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ALEXANDER POPE, ESQ.
WITH NOTES AND ILLUSTRATIONS
HIMSELF AND OTHERS.
TO WHICH ARE added,
A NEW LIFE OF THE AUTHOR,
AN ESTIMATE OF HIS
POETICAL CHARACTER AND WRITINGS,
AND OCCASIONAL REMARKS,
WILLIAM ROSCOE, ESQ.
IN TEN VOLUMES..
PRINTED FOR C. AND J. RIVINGTON; T. CADELL; LONGMAN, HURST, REES,
It has been so often repeated that the life of a literary man is unproductive of incident, that we seem disposed to credit it; but although this may soothe the indolence or allay the apprehensions of a biographer, it is by no means borne out by the fact. The professors of literature have always been too ready to pay their homage to the world, and to assent to the idea that nothing is deserving of notice but the affairs of states, and the great events and transactions of public life; but it is not for these that we look in the history of a man of genius. We have a different object in view, and his life is as full of interest and information in that after which we inquire, as that of a soldier in his battles, or a politician in his schemes. In human affairs, every thing is permanent in proportion as it is connected with intellect; and whilst the common events of life weary by repetition, and the memory of them perishes through neglect, the productions of the mind
preserve their lustre, and even shine brighter from age to age. Under such circumstances, nothing that relates to a favourite author or his writings can be indifferent to us. Though he be dead, he yet speaketh; his influence is with us, and around us; we feel him breathing in his works; and our minds are formed, and our characters modified, by a master-spirit that survives alike the attacks of envy, and the efforts of time.
On this account, it is not surprising that a great degree of earnestness has always been displayed as to the lives and characters of those, who, by their writings, have attracted a high degree of public approbation; and this earnestness has been manifested in a peculiar manner respecting POPE. In fact, there is scarcely a circumstance or an incident relating to him, from the time of his birth to that of his death; that has not been the subject of examination and doubt and frequently of keen and angry controversy. His family origin-his pėrson, his temper, and disposition-his talents and acquirements-his sincerity in his friendships-his religious belief and moral conduct and above all, the character and merit of his writings, have given rise to disputes which seem rather to increase