1715 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

John Hughes

Alexander Pope to John Hughes, 7 October 1715; Duncombe, ed. Letters by Several Eminent Persons (1772; 1773) 1:132-34.



Binfield, Oct. 7, 1715.

DEAR SIR,

Ever since I had the pleasure to know you, I have believed you one of that uncommon rank of authors, who are undesigning men and sincere friends; and who, when they commend another, have not any view of being praised themselves. I should be therefore ashamed to offer at saying any of those civil things in return to your obliging compliments in regard to my translation of Homer; only I have too great a value for you not to be pleased with them; and yet, I assure you, I receive praises from from you with less pleasure than I have often paid them to your merit before, and shall (I doubt not) have frequent occasions of doing again, from those useful pieces you are still obliging us with.

If you were pleased with my preface, you have paid me for that pleasure, in the same kind, by your entertaining and judicious essays on Spenser. The present you make me is of the most agreeable nature imaginable, for Spenser has ever been a favourite poet to me: he is like a mistress, whose faults we see, but love her with 'em all.

What has deferred my thanks till now, was a ramble I have been taking about the country, from which I returned home, and found your letter, but yesterday. A testimony of that kind, from a man of your turn, is to be valued at a better rate than the ordinary estimate of letters will amount to. I shall rejoice in all opportunities of cultivating a friendship I so truly esteem, and hope very shortly to tell you, in town, how much I am, Sir,

Your obliged and faithful

humble servant,

A. POPE.

Since you desire to hear of my progress in the translation, I must tell you that I have gone through four more books, which (with the remarks) will make the second volume.