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Ver. 78. Nor in an hermitage set Dr. Clarke.] Dr. Samuel Clarke, the learned Low Church divine, was a special favourite with Queen Caroline, as he had previously been with Queen Anne. He was distinguished as a man of science, a scholar, and a divine. When barely of age he had at Cambridge contributed to diffuse a knowledge of the Newtonian system, for which purpose he translated Rohault's Physics for the use of students. He afterwards translated Newton's Optics into Latin, for which Sir Isaac gave him £500. His classical and philological labours consisted in editing Cæsar's Commentaries, and the first twelve books of Homer, with a Latin version. His works on theological subjects were numerous, and not all orthodox. His Sermons on the Being and Attributes of the Deity, and on Natural and Revealed Religion, exhibited him as a close and powerful reasoner, though many objected to his argument a priori for the existence of a God. Another treatise, The Scripture Doctrine of the Trinity, was still more decidedly opposed, and became a subject of complaint in the lower House of Convocation. The upper house, however, interposed in his favour on his explaining away some of the most objectionable passages, and promising to write no more on those doctrines. Clarke had always a firm friend in Queen Caroline, and enjoyed the favour of the Court to the last. In 1727, on the death of Sir Isaac Newton, he was offered the place of Master of the Mint. He declined it as inconsistent with his profession, but Clarke would have been more appropriately set in such an office than in his rectory of St. James's. Bolingbroke had a strong aversion to this eminent divine-partly because he was a philosopher whom he could not confute, and partly because he was a favourite of the Queen. Pope shared in the same feeling, apparently without any personal cause for dislike.
Ver. 99. At Timon's villa let us pass a day.] This fine description, marked by such correct taste and thorough knowledge of the subject, and so striking for the pictures it contains, was universally considered to apply to Canons, the seat of the Duke of Chandos. A contemporary has given an account of this celebrated mansion:
"Near this town (Edgeware in Middlesex) the late Duke of Chandos built one of the most magnificent palaces in England, with a profusion of expense, and so well furnished within, that it had hardly its equal in England. The stucco and gilding were done by the famous Pargotti; the great hall was painted by Paolucci; the pillars were of marble; the great staircase was extremely fine, and the steps were all of marble, every step being of one whole piece, about twenty-two feet in length. The avenue was spacious and majestic; and as it gave you the view of two fronts, joined as it were in one, the distance not admitting you to see the angle, which was in the centre, so you were agreeably drawn in to think the front of the house almost twice as large
as it was. And yet when you came nearer you were again surprised by seeing the winding passage opening, as it were, a new front to the eye, of near 120 feet wide, which you had not seen before; so that you were lost awhile in looking near at hand for what you so plainly saw at a great distance. The gardens were well designed, and had a vast variety in them, and the canals were large and noble. The chapel was a singularity, both in its building and the beauty of its workmanship; and the late Duke at one time maintained there a full choir, and had the worship performed with the best music, after the manner of the Chapel Royal." 1
The writer then adverts to the short duration of all this grandeur, the great founder of which, he says, was more to be pitied and even admired than blamed, having made a noble though ineffectual stand to prevent a more general ruin to the African Company, which he was at the head of, and which swallowed up the fortune of one of the most munificent and princely-spirited noblemen that ever adorned this nation.
In 1731, when Pope published this Epistle, the Duke's fortune was understood to be impaired, but he was still magnificent; he scattered about his money freely, and was a favourite with the nation. He far outshone Burlington, and even Cobham. Hence, when Pope's satire appeared, there was a general burst of indignation against the poet. He was accused of having wantonly and malignantly defamed one of the best of our nobles, who had entertained him sumptuously at Canons, and presented him with a bank-note for £500 as a subscription for one of his books. The latter statement Pope emphatically denied: he had never, he said, seen the Duke of Chandos but twice, and he never received any present farther than the subscription for Homer from him, or from any great man whatsoever. He was no less zealous in denying the public belief that Timon's Villa was designed to represent Canons. "If there be truth in the world," he said, writing to Aaron Hill, "I declare to you I never imagined the least application of what I said of Timon could be made to the Duke of Chandos, than whom there is scarce a more blameless, worthy, and generous, beneficent character among all our nobility." Pope threw out a hint that Aaron Hill should take up his defence; it would have been a pleasure, he said, to have found some friend saying a word in his justification. Hill, however, did nothing. In his reply to Pope, he regretted the poet's "unguarded absence of caution" in this instance, and he remarked on the resemblance between the real and the poetical villa: "Such as the hundred footsteps, the exact number of his domestics for some years at Canons, and the pomp of the chapel and its music; for whether jiggish or solemn never struck the inquiry of a thousand who remembered the Duke's magnificence chiefly by that circumstance." A defence of Pope appeared in the newspapers in the form of a letter from Mr. Cleland to Mr. Gay, "written, says Warburton, "by the same hand that wrote the Letter to the Publisher prefixed to the Dunciad, and what hand that was, no one who reads this collection of letters can be at a loss to ascertain." Of course the hand was Pope's. A few weeks afterwards a pirated edition of the Epistle was published, with
* De Foe's Tour through Great Britain, continued by S. Richardson.
abusive notes, and with a frontispiece which told its tale more clearly than either the prose or verse of Welsted. This was a print, designed by Hogarth, representing Pope standing on a builder's high stage or platform, engaged in whitewashing the gate at Burlington-house, and at the same time bespattering the coach of the Duke of Chandos then passing by. Pope repeated his denial in still stronger terms in the Epistle to Arbuthnot, 1734, but neither the Duke himself nor the public were satisfied. The number of servants, as mentioned by Aaron Hill, the musical choir led by Handel, and the magnificence of the whole establishment at Canons, appeared to identify it with Timon's Villá.
EPISTLE TO DR. ARBUTHNOT;
PROLOGUE TO THE SATIRES.
[Motto to the first edition, published in folio, 1734.]
"Neque sermonibus vulgi dederis te, nec in præmiis humanis spem posueris rerum tuarum; suis te oportet illecebris ipsa virtus trahat ad verum decus. Quid de te alii loquantur, ipsi videant, sed loquentur tamen."-CICERO.
[And do not yield yourself up to the speeches of the vulgar, nor in your affairs place hope in human rewards: virtue ought to draw you to true glory by its own allurements. Why should others speak of you? Let them study themselves-yet they will speak.]
This paper is a sort of bill of complaint, begun many years since, and drawn up by snatches, as the several occasions offered. I had no thoughts of publishing it, till it pleased some persons of rank and fortune (the authors of Verses to the Imitator of Horace, and of an Epistle to a Doctor of Divinity from a Nobleman at Hampton-court) to attack, in a very extraordinary manner, not only my writings (of which, being public, the public is judge), but my person, morals, and family, whereof, to those who know me not, a truer information may be requisite. Being divided between the necessity to say something of myself, and my own laziness to undertake so awkward a task, I thought it the shortest way to put the last hand to this Epistle. If it have anything pleasing, it will be that by which I am most desirous to please, the truth and the sentiment; and if anything offensive, it will be only to those I am least sorry to offend, the vicious or the ungenerous. Many will know their own pictures in it, there being not a circumstance but what is true; but I have for the most part spared their names, and they may escape being laughed at, if they please.
I would have some of them know, it was owing to the request of the learned and candid friend to whom it is inscribed, that I make not as free use