1726 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Christopher Pitt

Alexander Pope to Christopher Pitt, 23 July 1726; Works, ed. Warton (1796-97) 7:381.



Twitenham, near Hampton-Court,

July 23, 1726.

SIR,

I received a letter from you with satisfaction, having long been desirous of any occasion of testifying my regard for you, and particularly of acknowledging the pleasure your Version of Vida's Poetick had afforded me. I had it not indeed from your bookseller, but read it with eagerness, and think it both a correct and a spirited translation. I am pleased to have been (as you tell me) the occasion of your undertaking that work: that is some sort of merit; and, if I have any in me, it really consists in an earnest desire to promote and produce, as far as I can, that of others. But as to my being the publisher, or any way concerned in reviewing or recommending of Lintot's Miscellany, it is what I never did in my life, though he (like the rest of his tribe) makes a very free use of my name. He has often reprinted my things, and so scurvily, that, finding he was doing so again, I corrected the sheets as far as they went, of my own only. And being told by him that he had two or three copies of yours, (which you also had formerly sent me (as he said) through his hands,) I obliged him to write for your consent, before he made use of them. This was all: your second book he has just now delivered to me, the inscription of which to myself I will take care he shall leave out; and either return the rest of your verses to him, or not, as you shall think best.

I am obliged to you, Sir, for expressing a much higher opinion of me than I know I deserve: the freedom with which you write is yet what obliges and pleases me more; and it is with sincerity that I say, I would rather be thought, by every ingenious man in the world, his servant, than his rival.

I am, etc.