Page images
[ocr errors]

The two foregoing periods, methinks, are so mystical, learned, and perplext, that if you have any statesmen or divines about you, they can't chuse but be pleased with them. One divine you cannot be without as a good christian; and a statesman you have lately had, for I hear my Lord Selkirk has been with you. But (that I may not be unintelligible quite to the bottom of this page) I must tell your Grace in English, that I have made a painter bestow the aforesaid ornaments round about you (for upon you there needs none), and L am, upon the whole, pleased with my picture beyond expression. I may now say of your picture, it is the thing in the world likest you, except yourself; as a cautious person once said of an elephant, it was the biggest in the world, except itself.

You see, Madam, it is not impossible for you to be compared to an elephant and you must give me leave to shew you one may carry on the simile.

[ocr errors]

'An elephant never bends his knees; and I am told your Grace says no prayers. An elephant has a most remarkable command of his snout, and so has your Grace when you imitate my Lady O An elephant is a great lover of men, and so is your Grace for all c know, tho' from your partiality to myself, I should rather think you lov'd little children.

'I beg you not to be discouraged in this point. Remember the text which I'll preach upon, the first day I am a parson. Suffer little children to come to me And-Despise not one of these little ones.

'No, Madam-despise great bears, such as Gay; who now goes by the dreadful name of The Beast of Blois, where Mr. Pulteney and he are settled, and where he shows tricks gratis, to all the beasts of his own country (for strangers do not yet understand the voice of the beast). I have heard from him but once, Lord Warwick twice, Mrs. Lepell thrice: if there be any that has heard from him four times, I suppose it is you.

I beg Mr. Blondel may know, Dr. Logg has received Ordination, and enters upon his function this winter at Mrs. Blount's. They have chosen this innocent man for their confessor; and I believe most Roman Catholick ladies, that have any sins, will follow their example. This good priest will be of the order of Melchisedeck, a priest for ever, and serve a family from generation to generation. He'll stand in a corner as quietly as a clock, and being wound up once a week, strike up a loud alarum to sin on a Sunday morning. Nay, if the Christian Religion should be abolish'd (as indeed there is great reason to expect it from the wisdom of the Legislature), he might at worst make an excellent bonefire, which is all that (upon a change of religion). can be desired from a heretique. I do not hope your Grace should be converted, but however I wish you would call at Mrs. B.'s out of curiosity. To meet people one likes, is thought by some the best reason for going to church, and I dare promise you'll like one another. They are extreamly your servants, or else I should not think them my friends.

I ought to keep up the custom, and ask you to send me something. Therefore pray, Madam, send me yourself, that is, a letter ; and gray make haste to bring up yourself, that is all I value, to towne. [


am, with the truest respect, the least ceremony, and the most zeal, Madam,

Your Grace's most obedient, faithfull,
and most humble servant,

Mr. Hamilton, I am your's.
There's a short letter for you.
We transcribe also letter 14, which is introduced with this
notice :

[The following Letter to Pope's early Correspondent, Henry
Cromwell, has been omitted in the editions of Pope's Works. It
is here retained, as being curious, and illustrative of Cromwell's
particularities. as well as on account of the contrast it forms to the
more laboured epistles. It appears to have been written in the
thoughtless gaiety of the moment, and is therefore a more natural
transcript of Pope's feelings. Certainly it is such as no one need
be ashamed of; and it is in some degree interesting, from the reasons
which have been mentioned. At the same time, a very few indeli-
cate passages, which youth might excuse, have been expunged]
April 25, 1708.
This Letter greets you from the shades;
(Not those which thin unbody'd shadows fill,
That glide along th' Elysian glades,

Or skim the flow'ry meads of Asphodill:)
But those in which a learned author said,

Strong drink, was drunk, and gambles play'd,

And two substantial meals a-day were made.
The business of it is t' express,

From me and from my holiness,
To you and your gentleness,

How much I wish you health and happiness;
And much good news, and little spleen as may be ;
A hearty stomach, and sound lady;
And ev'ry day a double dose of coffee,

To make you look as sage as any Sophy.

For the rest, I must be content in plain prose to assure you, that I am very much obliged to you for the favour of your letter, and in particular for the translation of that one Latin verse, which cost you three in English,

"One short, one long,

One smooth, one strong,

One right, one wrong.

But if I may be allowed to object against any thing you write (which I must do, if it were only to be even with you for your severity to me) it should be that passage in your's, where you are pleased to call the whores of Drury Lane, the nymphs of Drury. I must own it was some time before I could frame to myself any plausible excuse for this expression; but affection (which you know, Sir, excuses all things) at last furnished me with one in your justification; which I here sent you, in verse, that you may have at least some rhyme to defend you, though you should have no reason.

I make no question but the news of Sappho's staying behind me

in the town, would surprise you. But she is since come into the country, and. to surprise you more, I will inform you, that the first person she named, when I waited on her, was one Mr. Cromwell. What an ascendant have you over all the sex, who could gain the fair one's heart by appearing before her in a long, black, unpowdered perriwig; nay, without so much as the very extremities of clean linen in neckcloth and cuffs! I guess that your friend Vertumnus, among all the forms he assum'd to win the good graces of Pomona, never took upon him that of a slovenly beau. Well, Sir, I leave you to your medi tations on this occasion, and to languish unactive (as you call it).

But I find I have exceeded my bounds, and begin to travel on the confines of impertinence. However, to make you amends, I shall desire Mr. Wycherly to deliver you this letter, who will be sure, in less than a quarter of an hour's conversation with you, to give you wit enough to atone for twice as much dulness as I have troubled you with. Therefore I shall only give my respects to some of our acquaintance, and conclude,

To Barker first my service, pray;

To Tydcombe eke,

And Mr. Cheek;

Last to yourself my best respects I pay,
And so remain, for ever and for ay.

Sir, your

affectionate humble servant.

Letters to a Lady, published by Dodsley in 1769, and Letters to Judge Fortescue, copied from Mr. Polwhele's History of Devonshire, next succeed; and the whole of Pope's correspondence is closed by the republication from the original MS. of a letter to Mrs. Teresa Blount, at Mapledurham, near Reading, in order to afford a specimen of his first thoughts and last corrections. They who wish to see all that Pope ever wrote may feel themselves obliged to the editor for this last communication: but it is a sad specimen of Pope's want of delicacy in making love; and, if ghosts could blush, its publication is enough to suffuse poor Teresa Blount's cheeks with crimson even in the shades. We see no use in the emblazonment of such ribaldry.

Pope having had a share in the unsuccessful farce intitled Three Hours after Marriage, which was originally published by Mr. Gay, it is inserted at the end of this volume: -with respect to which, in closing our account, we must add that, though the editors have swelled it to an unnecessary size, they have illustrated it with many useful and judicious annotations.

ART. VII. Mr. Christie's Disquisition on Etruscan Vases. [Article concluded from our last Number, p. 424.] So early as in Mr. Christie's introduction to his remarks on the Wonders of Eleusis, we were sorry to meet with an


additional proof of a spirit of censure on the memory of Warburton, which we think cannot be wholly justified. He was a writer who was prevented from displaying the utmost strength of argumentative reasoning, only perhaps by possessing the most seductive ingenuity of conjecture. Too capable, in a word, of generalizing his vast store of facts into system and theory, always to withstand that temptation, it is true that he sometimes deserted the cautious and patient method of induction, for the more dangerous exercise of original genius, - for the proud invention and support of some brilliant hypothesis:but should an author, who is so much indebted as Mr. Christie is to boldness of conjecture, and in the mazes of the same labyrinth, reprove his illustrious precursor, and say, in Warburton all is darkness, μixan xai vecos Opoov? Surely he should not. The" audacious decisions" of the learned Bishop of Gloucester were long ago denounced by M. Voltaire: but M. Voltaire disdained not to abridge the whole of those "audacious decisions," in his Philosophy of History, chapter 37. where he mentions the mysteries of the Eleusinian Ceres; nor to print that abridgement as the result of his own researches into antiquity. Far above such an artifice, as far as he is above any occasion for it, is the present author: yet we cannot think that he allows enough to the great English mystagogue, to the scholar who first concentrated all the scattered rays of classical information on this curious subject, collected by Meursius, and in a great measure by himself (Warburton), when he (Mr. Christie) speaks as he does above. Warburton appears to us, on the contrary, to have been the first who drew the veil aside from the secret depository of the only spark of truth and light existing in Greece; and if a cloud still obscures it, that cloud is rather darkened than illuminated by the explanation of the mystical symbols exhibited at the shows of Eleusis: we mean the real cloud of ignorance under which the heathens lay: for, doubtless, as to the meaning of the signs or representations of that ignorance, we have gathered much from later expositors; particularly from D'Hancarville and Mr. Christie. They have made the "darkness more visible" but Warburton gave the clue, and led the way.


It would carry us too far to establish this assertion beyond all controversy by extracts from the Divine Legation, Vol. I. Book 2: but, not contented with this general reference, we shall observe that, at page 194, vol. 1. Warburton mentions (from Cicero and Porphyry) the inculcation of the doctrine of the Metempsychosis in the Mysteries, as an auxiliary to the belief of a future state of rewards and punishments; and that he points out the connection between the transmigration of


souls and the transformation of bodies, as taught by the heathens, in his second volume, where he most ably examines the opinions of the schools of antient philosophy on this particular subject. In this combined doctrine of the Metempsychosis and Metamorphosis, we find the cause of the allusions to the decay and reproduction of nature which are so frequent in the Eleusinian Mysteries; allusions which we are indeed pleased to see first pointed out, in a clear and comprehensive manner, by another countryman of our own. The highest prerogative of reason is the power of drawing legitimate inferences from acknowleged facts; and if Warburton manifested this power,. and claimed this prerogative, in his general survey of the design of the Mysteries, Mr. Christie also manifests and claims them both, in his learned and acute interpretation of the particular symbols used at the celebration of those Mysteries. The doctrines of the unity of the godhead, and of the immortality or rather permanency of the human soul, (for as to its individual immortality, that doctrine never formed a part of the esoteric philosophy of the antients; it was indeed destroyed by their notion of final absorption in the To 'Ev, the one great and universal spirit ;) were taught, however obscurely, in the Mysteries. Such at least is the fair inference from the sketch which the antients have ventured to give us of the interior of Eleusis. So far (and much farther, as we shall presently shew,) we are introduced into the temple by Warburton: but it was left for the present author to throw additional and original light on the whole subject,

[ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]

by his happy explanation of the figures and symbols on Etruscan Vases.

In his former work, to which we have more than once had occasion to refer, Mr. C. explained a variety of emblems used on vases, and significant that the scene in which they are introduced is placed in the Shades. To this passage, at page 148 of the Inquiry, &c. we can only call the attention of our readers but we shall transcribe from the present volume some remarks of similar import.

As many detached symbols appear on vases,' (says the author, page 65.) which form but supplementary parts in the illumined paintings, we may here take a hasty glance at them.' We confess that this hasty glance appears to us to give the clearest insight into the subject; for it is easy enough to discover the leading characters of any allegory to which we have a previous clue: but their dress, or instruments of office, REY. SEPT. 1810. F


« PreviousContinue »