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Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 46.djvu/121

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Pope
Pope
115

covered some real passion. If so, however, it was probably converted into antipathy by the contempt with which she received his declaration. The relation to Martha Blount [q. v.] was more enduring, though the obscure allusions in Pope's correspondence are insufficient to explain the circumstances. Teresa, born 1688, and Martha, born 15 June 1690, were daughters of Lister Blount of Mapledurham, who died in 1715. They had been educated abroad, and the date of Pope's acquaintance is uncertain. He had at any rate begun to correspond with them in 1712, when he sent the 'Rape of the Lock' to Martha, and his tone to both sisters is that of a familiar family friend, with some playful gallantry, and occasionally passages of strange indecency. On the marriage of their brother, Michael Blount, in 1715, they left Mapledurham, and afterwards lived in London, and occupied also a small house at Petersham in Pope's neighbourhood. In 1717 some difficulty arose between Pope and Teresa Blount. He wrote letters soon after his father's death (ix. 279-83), of which it is the most obvious interpretation that he had hinted at a marriage with Martha ; that Teresa elicited some confession of his intentions, and then convinced Martha that Pope's offer was 'only an amusement, occasioned by [his] loss of another lady.' A month later (March 1718) he executed a deed settling upon Teresa an annuity of 40l. for six years, on condition of her not marrying within that time, but no explanation is given of the circumstances. He afterwards for a time kept at a greater distance. In later years Pope complained to Caryll that Teresa (apparently) had spread reports affecting the innocence of his relations to Martha (26 Dec. 1725). He indignantly denies them, and says that for the last two years he has seen less of her than ever. He subsequently to Caryll (20 July 1729) accuses Teresa of an intrigue with a married man, and of scandalous ill-treatment of her mother. The mother, however, according to his account, was so bewitched as not to resent the treatment. His suspicions appear to have been based upon mere scandalous gossip. He can hardly have been a welcome visitor at the house where the mother (until her death on 31 March 1743) still lived with her two daughters. Teresa survived till 7 Oct. 1769. Pope continued, however, to preserve affectionate relations with Martha, which became closer in later life. Pope's deformity and infirmities would have been obstacles to any project of marriage, but his relation to Martha was the nearest approach in his life to a genuine love affair.

Aflter the final publication of the 'Iliad,' Pope was engaged for a time on task-work. In 1722 he edited the poems of Parnell (who died in 1717), and began an edition of Shakespeare for Tonson. For this he received 217l. 12s. It appeared in 1725, and had little success. Though he recognised the importance of collating the early editions, he had neither the knowledge nor the patience necessary for a laborious editor. He made some happy conjectures, and his preface, which was generally admired, is interesting as indicating the prevalent opinion about Shakespeare. The edition, according to Johnson's report, was a commercial failure : many copies had to be sold for 16s. instead of six guineas. A pamphlet by L. Theobald, 'Shakespeare Restored,' 1726, pointed out 'many of Mr. Pope's errors,' and left a bitter grudge in the poet's mind. Another undertaking was at least more profitable. Pope resolved to translate the 'Odyssey;' and, to save himself labour, took for associates William Broome [q. v.], who had already helped him in the notes to the 'Iliad,' and Elijah Fenton [q. v.] (The story told by Ruffhead and Spence, that Broome and Fenton had started the project, seems to be erroneous ; see the correspondence between them and Pope, first published in the Elwin and Courthope edition, viii. 30-185.) Fenton translated the 1st, 4th, 19th, and 20th books; Broome the 2nd, 6th, 8th, 11th, 12th, 16th, 18th, and 23rd books, and wrote the notes. A Mr. Lang is also reported to have translated part of two other books, for which Pope gave him a 'twenty-two guineas medal' (Spence, p. 330). They had caught Pope's style so well that the difference of authorship has never been detected from the internal evidence. Broome, in a note at the conclusion, said that Pope's revision of his assistant's work had brought the whole up to his own level. Mr. Elwin (Works, viii. 123 n.) states, after examining Fenton's manuscripts in the British Museum, that this is an 'outrageous exaggeration.' Lintot paid 600l. for the copyright, half what he had paid for the 'Iliad;' but the result was apparently less profitable. The amount received from subscribers made up the total received by the translators to 4,500l., out of which Pope paid Broome 500l., while Fenton probably received 200l. Since Pope originated the plan, and the large sale was entirely due to his reputation, his assistants had no right to complain of being paid at the rate of literary journeymen. Many jealousies and difficulties, however, arose from the alliance. Pope in his proposals, issued 10 Jan. 1724-5, stated that he was to be helped by Broome and by a friend whose name was to be con-