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injure Bolingbroke in any way, by its publication, which he only objected to because it had not received his last corrections, and there is no conceivable bad motive by which Pope could have been actuated, it is clear that the vindictive rage of his Lordship was excited by another cause, and that cause was Pope's preference of Warburton as the Editor of his works*. Mrs. Blount warmly assured Mr. Spence, that “she could take her oath, that The Patriot King was printed by Pope, out of his excessive esteem for the writer and his abilities,” which, as Roscoe remarks, is the only rational mode of accounting for the transaction. Now when we find that Bolingbroke's furious passion made him condescend to connect himself with such a personage as Mallet, of whom Johnson tells us it had been said that “he was the only Scotchman that Scotchmen did not commend,” and who
ready for any dirty job;" when we trace the unrelenting acrimony with which, in conjunction with this ready hireling, he endeavoured to blast the memory of his old friend ; let it be put to any candid and considerate reader, whether it is not more likely, that Bolingbroke coined or rather confirmed a malignant falsehood, than that Pope was guilty of the corruption imputed to him. It is true, that at first sight, there is something
Sir George Rose has a very violent note to the second of the two letters I have already quoted, and does not hesitate to use language respecting Pope that would have been worthy of Mallet himself. He calls him crooked-minded-takes it for granted that he is guilty of all that he is charged with, and describes his treatment of the Duchess as an act of singular baseness and malignity. No allusion is made by the Editor to his father's repetition of the late Lord Marchmont's statement, which it can hardly be supposed he had not seen. * D’Israeli accounts for Bolingbroke's rage in the same manner.
Ruffhead, however, in his Life of Pope, attributes it entirely to the hostile criticism of Warburton already noticed, and asserts that though Bolingbroke continued after that circumstance to caress Pope, he entertained for him a secret hatred on account of his friendship with Warburton. But this is not credible, for whatever were Bolingbroke's faults he cannot fairly be suspected of such mean and cold-blooded hypocrisy. He might have cloaked the real cause of his anger, but he was not such a consummate hypocrite as to shed tears of apparent tenderness over the man he hated.
against this view of the matter in the circumstance of his Lordship's making a kind of appeal to the Earl of Marchmont's knowledge of the bribe ; but it must be remembered that we have not the Earl's reply before us, and that it is possible he might have denied the possession of the imputed knowledge, or that at all events, he might only have heard of it as a rumour raised by some of Pope's numerous enemies, and Bolingbroke, to serve his own purpose, alluded to it as an indisputable fact with which they were mutually acquainted. Perhaps Bolingbroke himself was the first who communicated it to the Earl. The public ought not to give too hasty and ready a credence to the assertions of so interested a witness as Lord Bolingbroke, against one, who, whether as a man or a poet, is entitled to our admiration; for his actions were generally of an amiable and honorable character, and his works will delight and instruct mankind, as long as the language in which they are written shall endure*.
STANZAS TO A FEMALE FRIEND.
Fair Lady, as though friendship’s chain seem broken
* Mrs. Thomson in her “ Memoirs of Sarah Duchess of Marlborough,” lately published (1839), makes no allusion to the Marchmont Papers, and merely repeats, after Walpole and Warton, the old story of the bribe.
Fate with no heavier blow nor keener sting
Alas! I may not meet thee in the crowd,
But oh! the deadly pang, the freezing chill,
I cannot think that all our mutual dreams
THE DAY OF LIFE.
Oh! blue were the mountains,
The blue hills are shrouded,
In fear and in sadness,
Oh! visit not
Oh! come not, Maid !
Oh! weep not, Love!
Oh ! then, fair Maid !