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enlivening spark of imagination, it would be a great favour to them, and do them more service, than all the rules laid down in my Art of Poetry, and yours of Criticism.

Pope. I am much of your mind.—But I left in England some poets, whom you, I know, will admire, not only for the harmony and correctness of style, but the spirit and genius you will find in their writings.

Boil. France too has produced some very excellent writers, since the time of my death.-Of one particularly I hear wonders. Fame to him is as kind, as if he had been dead a thousand years. She brings his praises to me from all parts of Europe. You know I speak of Voltaire.

Pope. I do: the English nation yields to none in admiration of his extensive genius. Other writers excel in some one particular branch of wit or science; but when the king of Prussia drew Voltaire from Paris to Berlin, he had a whole Academy of Belles Lettres in him alone.

Boil. That prince himself has such talents før poetry, as no other monarch, in any age or country, has ever possessed. What an astonishing compass must there be in his mind, what an heroic tranquillity and firmness in his heart, that he can in the evening compose an ode or epistle in the most elegant verse, and the next morning fight a battle with the conduct of Cæsar or Gustavus Adolphus!

Pope. I envy Voltaire so noble a subject both for his verse and his prose. But, if that prince will write his own Commentaries, he will want no historian. I hope that, in writing them, he will

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not restrain his pen, as Cæsar has done, to a mere account of his wars; but let us see the politician, and the benignant protector of arts and sciences, as well as the warrior, in that picture of himself: Voltaire has shown us, that the events of battles and sieges are not the most interesting parts of good history; but that all the improvements and embellishments of human society ought to be carefully and particularly recorded there.

Boil. The progress of arts and knowledge, and the great changes that have happened in the manners of mankind, are objects far more worthy of a reader's attention than the revolutions of fortune. And it is chiefly to Voltaire that we owe this instructive species of history.

Pope. He has not only been the father of it among the moderns, but has carried it himself to its utmost perfection.

Boil. Is he not too universal? Can any writer be exact, who is so comprehensive? ·

Pope. A traveller round the world cannot inspect every region with such an accurate care, as exactly to describe each single part. If the outlines be well marked, and the observations on the principal points be judicious, it is all that can be required.

Boil. I would however advise and exhort the French and English youth, to take a fuller survey of some particular provinces; and to remember, that although, in travels of this sort, a lively imagination is a very agreeable companion, it is not the best guide. To speak without a metaphor, the study of history, both sacred and profane, requires critical and laborious investigation. The com

poser of a set of lively and witty remarks on facts ill examined, or incorrectly delivered, is not an historian.

Pope. We cannot, I think, deny that name to the author of the Life of Charles the XIIth, king of Sweden.

Boil. No, certainly.-I esteem it the very best history that this age has produced. As full of spirit as the hero whose actions it relates, it is nevertheless most exact in all matters of importance. The style of it is elegant, perspicuous, unaffected; the disposition and method are excellent, the judgments given by the writer acute and just.

Pope. Are you not pleased with that philosophical freedom of thought, which discovers itself in all the works of Voltaire, but more particularly in those of an historical nature?

Boil. If it were properly regulated, I should reckon it among their highest perfections. Superstition, and bigotry, and party spirit, are as great enemies to the truth and candour of history, as malice or adulation. To think freely, is therefore a most necessary quality in a perfect historian. But all liberty has its bounds; which, in some of his writings, Voltaire, I fear, has not observed. Would to heaven he would reflect, while it is yet in his power to correct what is faulty, that all his works will outlive him; that many nations will read them; and that the judgment pronounced here upon the writer himself will be according to the scope and tendency of them, and to the extent of their good or evil effects on the great society of mankind!

Pope. It would be well for all Europe, if some

other wits of your country, who give the ton to this age in all polite literature, had the same serious thoughts you recommended to Voltaire. Witty writings, when directed to serve the good ends of virtue and religion, are like the lights hung out in a pharos, to guide the mariners safe through dangerous seas: but the brightness of those that are impious or immoral shines only to betray, and to lead men to destruction.

Boil. Has England been free from all seductions of this nature?

Pope. No.-But the French have the art of rendering vice and impiety more agreeable than the English.

Boil. I am not very proud of this superiority in the talents of my countrymen. But, as I am told, that the good sense of the English is now admired in France, I hope it will soon convince both nations, that true wisdom is virtue, and true virtue is religion.

Pope. I think it also to be wished, that a taste for the frivolous may not continue too prevalent among the French. There is a great difference between gathering flowers at the foot of Parnassus, and ascending the arduous heights of the mountain. The palms and laurels grow there; and, if any of your countrymen aspire to gain them, they must no longer enervate all the vigour of their minds by this habit of trifling: I would have them be perpetual competitors with the English in manly wit and substantial learning. But let the competition be friendly. There is nothing which so contracts and debases the mind as national envy. True wit, like true virtue, naturally loves its own image, in whatever place it is found. Lord Lyttelton.




Servius Tull. YES, Marcus, though I own you to have been the first of mankind in virtue and goodness; though, while you governed, philosophy sat on the throne, and diffused the benign influences of her administration over the whole Roman empire, yet, as a king, I might, perhaps, pretend to a merit even superior to yours.

Marcus Aur. That philosophy you acribe to me has taught me to feel my own defects, and to venerate the virtues of other men. Tell me, therefore, in what consisted the superiority of your merit, as a king.

Servius Tull. It consisted in this, that I gave my people freedom. I diminished, I limited the kingly power, when it was placed in my hands. I need not tell you, that the plan of government instituted by me, was adopted by the Romans, when they had driven out Tarquin, the destroyer of their liberty; and gave its form to that republic,composed of a due mixture of the regal, aristocratical, and democratical powers, the strength aud wisdom of which subdued the world. Thus all the glory of that great people, who for many ages excelled the rest of mankind, in the arts of policy, belongs originally to me.

Marcus Aur. There is much truth in what you say. But would not the Romans have done better, if, after the expulsion of Tarquin, they had vested the regal power in a limited monarch, instead of

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