Alexander Pope and the Somerset family.
Hitherto, our rather fragmentary knowledge of Pope's dealings with the family has rested largely upon his own correspondence. Frances (Scudamore) Somerset (1711-50), 3rd Duchess of Beaufort, had been well known to Pope since her childhood.(2) This acquaintance stemmed from Pope's long friendship with her mother, Frances (Digby), Viscountess Scudamore (d. 1729), who was a cousin of Pope's close friend, Robert Digby, the younger son of William 5th Lord Digby. Pope's collected correspondence is riddled with references to her daily life in London and at her country residence, Holm Lacy, near Hereford.(3) So intimate was the relationship that Pope could even suggest, in a letter of 27 March 1729 to the Earl of Oxford, that her London house would provide a convenient distribution point for The Dunciad Variorum by Edward Digby, the elder brother of Robert:
I beg your Lordship to send about 20 books to Cambrige, [sic] but by no means to be given to any Bookseller, but disposd of as by your own Order at 6s. by any honest Gentleman or Head of a House. If you send to Mr Digby's at Lady Scudamores house in Pall mall, he will deliver 'em to your order.
As the editor of this letter wryly noted: 'This paragraph shows well Pope's amazing gift for getting services even from noble friends. Clearly his intimacy with the Digby family continued after the death of his friend Robert Digby in 1726.'(4) In fact, within six weeks of this arrangement in 1729, the Viscountess herself had also died (of smallpox).
In the Muniments Room of Badminton House there are two copies of an anonymous verse elegy of 102 lines, lamenting the Viscountess' sudden demise, and dedicated to her daughter Frances, entitled: 'Panthea. A Pastoral Elegy on ye. Death of ye. Lady Viscountess Scudamore humbly inscribe'd to her Grace the Dutchess of Beaufort'.(5) Although the level of poetic accomplishment in these verses is somewhat modest, their conventional tone and phrasing still manage to convey the sharp sense of loss felt by her closest friends at her unexpected sickness and death. The opening eighteen lines of the elegy also specifically praise her interest in poetic composition:
Where Vaga murmuring glides, in pensive State Damon beneath the bending Willows sate, And mourn'd sincere ye. stern Decrees of Fate; His Tears incessant swell ye. rolling Stream, How just the Grief! Panthea was his Theme.
Yet still, he cryed, a Debt remains, which She May claim from others but exact from me: Can I so sing Panthea's Praise refuse Or how presume? with Her I've lost ye. Muse.
Thou, Gratitude, canst yet my Soul inspire, Fresh Flames excite, or fan ye. languid Fire, Make me reflect, how She would condescend To call, the far unworthy me her Friend.(6) How she my humble Strains would oft commend While still ye. Muse received her surest Aid From what she practise'd, and from what she said When words were apt or juster thoughts appear, They all were copyed, all deriv'd from Her.
Following some eighty further lines of panegyrical platitudes--'Whenever She spoke, how ev'ry Bosom glow'd' (line 28), 'How well her looks her tender Heart express'd' (line 39)--the anonymous poet concludes in more interesting vein, by deftly requesting an elegy on the Viscountess from Pope himself:
But such a Pourtraict asks a Master's Hand, Thy Muse, O Pope, Panthea may demand: Neglecting Her just Praise, yourself you wrong Her Fame, with yours, to distant Times prolong, Nor let it sink Obscure in Damon's Song.
Although no such poem by Pope on the Viscountess' death is known to have been written, the concluding lines of the 'Panthea' elegy seem to imply that Pope was being addressed as a familiar member of her literary circle, rather than simply as a nationally known name.
Unfortunately, at this point it is also necessary to note that the various manuscripts in Badminton Muniments Room have been sorted through on a number of occasions since the 1st Duke of Beaufort instituted the systematic storing and recording of the muniments in the late seventeenth century: most extensively by Richard Salter, the assistant Badminton agent and acting librarian, in the 1840s; and by Queen Mary, during her wartime residence on the estate from September 1939 until June 1945. Although the Beaufort manuscript collections at Badminton have now been meticulously catalogued by His Grace's archivist, Mrs Margaret E. Richards, there is often significant uncertainty over which member of the family first obtained specific items in the various collections. Nevertheless, internal evidence suggests that at least three individuals may have played major roles in compiling the material in the Badminton Muniments Room which relates to Alexander Pope.
First, some of the surviving manuscripts were undoubtedly once owned by Frances (Digby), Viscountess Scudamore (d. 1729), since, for example, three anonymous poems survive in letters which still bear her address on the reverse side of the page.(7) These poems, along with the two copies of the 'Panthea' elegy, most probably came to Badminton, via the Viscountess' daughter, Frances (Scudamore) Somerset (1711-50), 3rd Duchess of Beaufort. Both women cultivated literary interests, and were presumably responsible for bringing together many of the poetic items in the collections.
Two other female members of the Somerset family are also known to have enjoyed Pope's friendship. Anne Somerset (d. 1741), the wife of Uvedale Price of Foxley, was a daughter of Arthur Somerset (1671-1743), fifth son of Henry Somerset (d. 1699), 1st Duke of Beaufort.(8) Both Pope and his most intimate female friend, Martha Blount, corresponded with Anne Price.(9) And on 8 September 1740, Martha Blount wrote to Mrs Price, who was, or had been, taking the waters at Spa, asking to be remembered to her elder sister, Mary (d. 1769), the wife of Algernon Greville, second son of Fulke Lord Brooke (d. 1739).(10) Mary Greville was also well known to Pope himself, who, for example, in a letter of 7 July 1739, recommended that Martha Blount should accompany Mrs Greville on a trip to Astrop.(11)
In view of these known connections, it will be of interest to record here two previously unpublished letters, both written by Mary Greville, to Lord Charles Noel Somerset (1709-56), later 4th Duke of Beaufort.(12) The first confirms the intimacy which existed between the two Somerset sisters, Martha Blount, and Pope himself, by implying that in June 1734 Mrs Greville was residing at Pope's own house at Twickenham.(13) In this letter, Mary Greville provides, primarily for the benefit of Frances (Scudamore) Somerset, 3rd Duchess of Beaufort, an interesting account of his garden:(14)
June 20th 1734
Yours Dear Lord Noel deserv'd my earliest acknowledgment, and I think my self much oblig'd to your LoP for not only so generously contributing your self to ye collection I recomended for poor Mrs Clerke,(15) but obtaining also (in pursuance of my farther request) (20) guineas towards it from ye Duke of Beaufort, and 5 from ye Dutchess. This will find you I hope in the perfect health I always wish you: Mine has been a little interrupted by an accidental disorder not without a small touch of ye Cholick, but I thank God I am well again, and able to enjoy ye out of ye way pretty retirement. It stands just out of ye Town of Twittenham on a fine part of ye River both wth regard to its self, and ye Country on to'ther side. The Garden you are led to by a Grotto of a considerable length and it consists of five Acres surprizingly well manag'd. There you have a Grove, a Mount, other beautiful Eminences (that discover fine Prospects) a Wilderness, a Bowlingreen and wt not. and for Ornaments--Statues, Busts, Buildings, an Obelisk, Vases: and this without any air of Pretence, or ye Place seeming crouded.(16) I beg your Lop will comunicate (wth my humble duty) ye account to my Aunt, that she may be acquainted wth my present Habitation. I am in the Neighbourhood of a great deal of Company, and many that I know, but was determin'd before I came, to visit none, & shall keep to yt resolution. I heard wth great pleasure that your LoP brought in a prodigeous number of Men to ye County Election. I need not say I am interested in wt concerns you; I dare say you believe it. The Travellers are I doubt not safe at Aix, tho I have not heard from ym since they quitted Holland: wn I write I shall mention to my Sister(17) Dear Ld Noels kind concern for her who I beg to be assur'd I am ever his
Most humble & affectionate Servant M Grevile
Mollys best complemts wait on yr Lop, as do mine on ye Duke & [Du]tchess. I desire ye favour of yr Lop to return my thanks to ye Duke and Duts of Beaufort for wt they do for Mrs Clerke at my request.
It is known that Pope, in the company of General James Dormer and the Honourable George Berkeley, left his house at Twickenham on about 17 June 1734 to go to Stowe and Rousham, where he intended to stay a week and then go on to Cirencester. This 'ramble', which spun out until early October 1734 (apart from a few days at home in early September), eventually included London, Southampton, and Bath.(18)
The second letter demonstrates that a similar arrangement was made in the following year, when once again Mary Greville moved for part of the summer into Pope's house at Twickenham, but this time its owner was also there. Writing on 12 August 1735 to Lord Charles Noel Somerset, she described an enjoyable rural walk and picnic with Pope himself:
I had extream pleasure in Dr Lord Noels, and shd have told it you sooner had I had any pretence for it, nor cou'd have answer'd the expectation your Lop is pleas'd to hint at of being from my Situation furnish'd for a correspondent. You forget ye Town is empty, nobody stirring in it, or any thing doing. You forget also if you expect any entertainment from me now, that I am dull and careless and little able to give it dated from Dian Street at a Season for it; but I can always tell you wt will not I hope be quite unacceptable, that I have a sincere friendship for your Lop. & follow you wth my good wishes. I have experienc'd less retirement here than I expected, & propos'd; but happily been more engag'd wth Mr Pope than any other company, except my Neighbours in ye Park, and had Fryday last particularly ye most agreeable Party wth him imaginable. We went to see Esher Mr Pelham's,(19) whose House is curious and vastly pretty in its way, being a Gothick Building occasion'd by Cardinal Woolsey's beginning it; and whose Garden & that together is all harmony & tranquiility. After walking over it Mr Pope conducted us to a Building call'd the Thatcht House cool gloomy & retir'dly plac'd, where we were much refresh'd (the weather being very hot) and eat our cold Loaf & Pidgeon Pie conveniently and chearfully, the Servts of the Family having of their own accord put every thing in order for us, and added wt was necessary that we cou'd not bring. In the evening we went to Cleremont, acknowledg'd ye Garden there fine and pleasant, but seen disadvantageously after Esher (a much less Thing) being forc'd and unnatural, whereas in the other Art is quite conceal'd, and you see, as you think only beautifull Nature. In about ten days I take possession again of Mr Pope's House at Twitenham, which I am fond of but shou'd doubly enjoy if I cou'd have the honour & pleasure of Dear Ld Noel's company there a little while; but the wish is vain & so adieu to it. I have several times seen Mr B. & my Daughter lately who have been diverting themselves very well among their Friends, and in seeing fine Places, and really if she were to have no Children and cou'd keep out of Town, wth her Aeconomy they might live on their small Income Genteelly, and under no want of any thing necessary; But if it pleases God to send ym Children, she'll find her self finely straigten'd and reduc'd. Wt a Rapsody of Stuff have I troubled you wth ! pardon it Dear Ld Noel, for 'tis natural for me to write thus wn I write to those I regard, and who I flatter my self have some kindness for me. I am ever
Your LoP most humble & affect Servt M Grevile
Hettys best complimts wait on you. I beg my sincere ones to their Graces. Augst 12th 1735
I have heard of another Instance of ye success of spruce Beer: Mr Berkely (formerly the most afflicted wth the Gout imaginable) on drinking it constantly has been without a Fit a year & a half.
I have been abominably impertinent wth your Lps Name, wch has carried every letter free I have ventur'd to write it upon the out side of.(20)
In view, then, of these known associations between Pope and various female members of the Somerset family, it may be of interest to examine briefly several other manuscripts also preserved in the Muniments Room of Badminton House. Most notably, there survives there, hitherto entirely unknown to Pope scholars, the printer's autograph manuscript of Pope's 'Epistle to Robert Earl of Oxford, and Earl Mortimer', which prefaced the posthumous edition of Poems on Several Occasions. Written by Dr. Thomas Parnell . . . and Published by Mr. Pope (1722).(21) An earlier autograph draft of this dedication, beginning 'Such were the Notes thy once-lov'd Poet sung', is already known to be preserved in the collections of the Marquis of Bath at Longleat House.(22) However, unlike the Longleat version, which differs from the final printed version in several substantive respects (most notably, the last 10 lines were entirely revised), the Badminton manuscript of the poem is identical, in all substantive and almost all incidental details, to the final, printed version. It is clear, from Pope's directions to the printer (also in his own hand), that this draft of the poem was the version used for setting up the printed version.(23) This meticulously penned manuscript also demonstrates how, for his own dedicatory poem, Pope chose to set out for the printer exact details of page layout, punctuation, and capitalization.(24)
In another bundle of manuscripts in the Muniments Room of Badminton House is a contemporary copy (not autograph) of Pope's poem, 'On a Certain Lady at Court', first printed in the Pope and Swift Miscellanies: The Third Volume (1732). However, since the Badminton version contains several readings which differ from those of the printed version, the text of the poem is given here in full:
'On a Lady Wth. one fault occasion'd by a Spitefull Persons savying she was deaf.'
I know the thing thats most uncommon (envy be silent and attend) I know a reasonable Woman handsome and witty yet a friend Not led by custome, mov'd by rumour Not grave thro' pride; or gay thro' folly, An equal mixture of good humour And sensible soft melancholy has she no fault then envy says? Sr. Yes she has one I must averr When all the world conspires to praise her Alass she is deaf and does not hear.(25)
Although the recipient of these verses is nameless in all printed versions, both the British Library and Longleat manuscripts are entitled: 'On Mrs. Howard by Mr. Pope'--namely, Henrietta (Hobart) Howard (1681-1767), later Countess of Suffolk.(26) If this attribution is correct, then it is interesting to note that another poem on Mrs Howard is also preserved in the Badminton collections. Entitled: 'Ld Peterboroughs Verses Upon Mrs Howard', the poem was by Charles Mordaunt (1658-1735), 3rd Earl of Peterborough, and was printed in the Pope and Swift Miscellanies: The Last Volume (1727).(27) The Badminton version of the poem also offers some identifications of the characters, thereby indicating three further court figures in whom the Somerset ladies appear to have been interested:
I said to my heart betwixt sleeping & waking Thou wild thing, that art always Leaping or aching For the Black, for the Fair, in what clime, or what nation Hast thou not felt a fitt of pit-a-pat-tation
Thus accus'd the wild thing gave this sober reply See the heart wthout motion, tho Celia pass by Nor the beauty she has, nor the witt that she borrows Gives ye eyes any Joy,---or the heart any Sorrow's
When our Sapho appears whose wit's so refin'd I am forc'd to applaud wth the rest of mankind Her charms are confess't, her spirit & Fire Every word I atend, but I only admire
Prudentia as vainly dos put in her claim Ever gazing at Heaven yet man is her aim 'tis Love not devotion, that turns up her eyes, Those stars of this world are too good for the skys
But my [Cole ?] so eassy, so Lively, so Fair Her witt so genteel wthout art wthout care When she comes in my way oh ye motion & pain The Leaping & achings they return all again
Thou wonderful creature, a woman of reason Never grave out of pride, never gay out of season When so eassy to guess, who this angel shou'd be Wou'd one think Mrs Howard? nere thought it was she.
In the left-hand margin, 'Mrs Harvey' is written against the second stanza; 'Lady Mary Wortley' against the third; and 'Mrs Medows' against the fourth. 'Mrs Harvey' may be Mary (Lepell) Hervey, the wife of John Lord Hervey (d. 1743), and daughter of Pope's acquaintance, Mrs Nicholas Lepell.(28) The Badminton manuscripts also include some amusing, risque verses, entitled: 'Verses on Lady Harvey', which begin:
The Muses quite jaded with Rhiming To Molly Mogg bid a farewell But renew their sweet melody and Chiming To the name of Dear Molly Leppell
Bright Venus yet never saw bedded, So perfect a Beau and a Bell, As when Harvey the Handsome was wedded, To the Beautyfull Molly Leppell.
So powerfull her Charms and so moveing They could warm an old monk in his Cell. Should the Pope himself goe a roving He would follow Dear Molly Leppell.
After 11 more stanzas in similar vein, the satire, possibly by Philip Dormer Stanhope, Earl of Chesterfield, concludes with references to the publishers Edmund Curll and John Dennis:
If Curl would but print me this sonnet To a Vollume my verses should swell A figg for what Dennis says on it He can never find fault with Leppell
Then Handell to Musick shall set it Thro England my Ballad will sell And all the world readyly get it To sing to the praise of Leppell(29)
Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (1689-1762), with whom Pope maintained a lively friendship and witty correspondence until a somewhat mysterious falling out during the 1720s, was also certainly known, by reputation at least, to some of the female members of the Somerset family(30) One of them, for example, acquired in manuscript a copy of her well-known verses: 'Why will Delia thus Retire', with their answer reputedly by Anne Lady Irwin (d. 1764): 'Tho Delia oft retires'.(31)
Three other miscellaneous items in the Badminton Muniments Room also make passing references to Pope. On a small scrap of a paper is found a brief commentary on the meaning of 'Unhouzzel'd, Unannointed, Unanneal'd' (Hamlet, I. V. 77), which specifically refers to Pope's interpretation of the same line.(32) Secondly, another anonymous poem in the collection, commenting possibly on John Churchill (1650-1722), 1st Duke of Marlborough, and various other political figures, begins:
Curst Be that Verse how Smooth, So Err itt Flow That leads to make one Worthy Man my Foe. This Plunder, O Indulgent Pope, forgive, And in thy Words, my sentiment Receive.(33)
Thirdly, on a single sheet in the same bundle there are some brief jottings, relating to the collaboration of William Broome in Pope's translation of the Odyssey, which state: '2. 6. 8. 11. 12. 16. 18. 23. this Books of the Iliad are supposed to have been translated by Mr Broome.'(34)
This clandestine arrangement, proposed in November 1724, has brought little credit to Pope from modern biographers, with Broome apparently being persuaded by Pope to admit publicly to only three of the eight books which he had actually translated.(35)
It seems clear, then, that Pope was a figure of considerable interest to the ladies of Badminton House, particularly in the late 1720s and 1730s. In view of these demonstrable associations, it is worth concluding by noting that the Badminton collections also include a hitherto unrecorded poem, clearly headed: 'Verses made by Mr: Pope'.(36) Although no positive confirmation of this attribution is possible--indeed such an identification should be held as doubtful without any further supporting evidence--it seems certain that at least one member of the Somerset circle believed the following satirical lines, including a punning reference to Pope's own name and glances at the scandal surrounding the 'South Sea Bubble', to be from the pen of Alexander Pope himself:(37)
Since Sr: on the alphabet lately tis Grown The fashion to spread our wits about Town My horn book once more I will take into hand And explain all the letters as in order they stand. Great A stands for army as be stands for buble And C: points out craftsmen or caleb in trouble The Duck & the Devil begins with a D And England the famed balanced with an E F stands for Gay France whom I hope will not swerve And G for great George whom you long preserve With an H: we spell horace for his wit so renown'd And I: denotes Issak that statsman profound With an K and an L: we spell lawer & knave Look on M: as momento how we ought to behave P stands for a name which I dare not speak out But O is a Cypher will explain it no doubt With a P: we beg pensions to keep out the pope And Quibles to Q: the law will give Scope And R: stands for Robin or Ribon or Rope S: squint at south sea which has made ye land rue Tiburn with T: calls aloud for his due [. . .]
1 The Correspondence of Alexander Pope, ed. G. Sherburn (Oxford, 1956), v. 21-48.
2 Pope refers to her in a letter to Robert Digby of probably 1725, when she was about 14 years old. She married the Duke of Beaufort in 1729 but was divorced by Act of Parliament in 1744 (Pope, Correspondence, ii. 330 n.; Journal of the House of Lords, xxvi. 279). See also, Pope, Correspondence, iv. 266, in which Martha Blount writes to Mrs Price about her on 8 Sept. 1740.
3 See Pope, Correspondence, i. 473, her manner of life in town (1718); ii. 44, she wishes Robert Digby were in town (1720); ii. 48, she may visit Sherborne (1720); ii. 58, she intends to stay in the country all winter (1720); ii. 234, Thomas Southerne, the dramatist, is her guest (1724); ii. 240, returns to Holm Lacy (1724); ii. 304-5, Robert Digby writes to Pope from Holm Lacy (1725); ii. 314, Holm Lacy is to be improved by Lord Bathurst (1725).
4 Ibid. iii. 26-7.
5 Badminton MS, FmI 3/6, items 2 & 3. The latter draft is an exact copy in a much clearer hand of the former, which might possibly be in the anonymous author's own hand. It was printed, in revised form, as Panthea. An Elegy on the Death of the Right Honourable the Lady Viscountess Scudamore. Humbly Inscrib'd to Her Grace the Dutchess of Beaufort (London, 1729). The first line was revised to: 'Pensive, where Vaga's current murm'ring glides'. See D. F. Foxon, English Verse 1701-1750: A Catalogue of Separately Printed Poems With Notes on Contemporary Collected Editions (Cambridge, 1975), P44. This poem is briefly referred to by P. Martin, Pursuing Innocent Pleasures: The Gardening World of Alexander Pope (Hamden, Conn., 1984), 100.
6 That the anonymous poet was male is made clear by lines 83-4: 'Accept, O honour'd Shade, a tender Tear / From him whom living you esteem'd sincere'.
7 Badminton MS, FmI 3/6: item 4, verses, beginning 'Phillander retir'd one day from ye swains' (19 lines) (in a letter addressed 'For the Rt. Honble / Laday [sic] Scudamore / at Homlacy / near Hereford'); item 5, fragment of verses, beginning 'The winds blow soft, ye Moon shines bright' (7 lines) (in the remnants of a damaged letter addressed to the Viscountess at Holm Lacy); item 6, verses entitled: 'William and Margaret', beginning 'When Hope lay hush'd in silent night' (17 stanzas of 4 lines) (in a letter addressed to the Viscountess at Holm Lacy). Pope's interest in the 1720s in the gardens of Holm Lacy is noted by Martin, Pursuing Innocent Pleasures, 74-5.
8 The 1st Duke's grandson, Henry (1707-45), 3rd Duke of Beaufort, married Frances Scudamore (1711-50) in 1729.
9 Pope, Correspondence, iv. 212, 27 Dec. 1739; iv. 266, 8 Sept. 1740; iv. 350, 14 July 1741.
10 Ibid. iv. 265: 'I hope my dear Miss Greville is in good health; pray assure her of my affectionate services . . . Mrs Greville was extremely kind and obliging to me, when I was last at the Grove: I think all that country excessively fine.'
11 Ibid. iv. 188. Astrop Wells was 15 miles from Rousham, the home of Pope's friends, James and Robert Dormer.
12 Badminton MS, FmJ 2/12, 20 June 1734, addressed 'To. / The Rt Honble / The Ld Charles Noel Somerset / at Snitfield near Stratford / upon Avon / Warwickshire.
13 Pope also played a major role in the landscaping of a nearby estate, that of Henrietta Howard (1681-1767), Countess of Suffolk. In 1723 she had received a settlement of [pounds]11,500 from the Prince of Wales, and had acquired 25 acres of land near the Thames at Twickenham, called Marble Hill. A large Palladian mansion was erected under the guidance of Thomas Herbert (d. 1733), 8th Earl of Pembroke, and the builder, Roger Morris. Pope collaborated with the gardener, Charles Bridgeman, in planning the gardens, although few details of the estate have survived (Martin, Pursuing Innocent Pleasures, 145-82; M. Mack, Alexander Pope: A Life (New Haven and London, 1985), 375-7).
14 Confirmation that this description is actually of Pope's own house and garden is given in Mary Greville's second letter of 12 Aug. 1735: 'In about ten days I take possession again of Mr Pope's House at Twitenham.'
15 Unidentified, although two Mrs Clarks are noted in Pope's Correspondence: i. 402 (as taking in lodgers), and ii. 135 n. (a singer).
16 Mary Greville's description includes some of the best-known features of Pope's garden at Twickenham, such as the underground passage, the groves, the large mount, the bowling green, and the obelisk erected in memory of his mother. See M. Mack, The Garden and the City: Retirement and Politics in the Later Poetry of Pope (Toronto, 1969), 240-1; A. J. Sambrook, 'The Shape and Size of Pope's Garden', Eighteenth-Century Studies, 5 (1972). 450-5, which reproduces John Searle's A Plan of Mr. Pope's Garden (1745); J. D. Hunt, 'Pope's Twickenham Revisited', in R. P. Maccubbin and P. Martin (edd.), British and American Gardens in the Eighteenth Century, (Williamsburg, 1984), 26-35; Mack, Pope, 358-66; Martin, Pursuing Innocent Pleasures, 39-61, which reproduces (as plate 21) Pope's villa in 1735, engraved by Nathaniel Parr after Peter Rysbrack.
17 i.e. Mrs Anne Price.
18 Pope, Correspondence, iii. 409 n. 3.
19 Possibly the Hon. Henry Pelham (?1695-1754), a friend and patron of William Kent, the designer, landscapist, and portrait painter, See ibid. ii. 416, iv. 149, 163; Mack, Life, 752-5.
20 Badminton MS, FmJ 2/13 (26). Mary Greville to Lord Charles Noel Somerset (1709-56), 12 Aug. 1735, addressed: 'To The / Rt Honble / The Ld Charles Noel Somerset / at Badminton near Chippenham / Wilts'. In a letter of 6 Aug. 1735 to Lord Bathurst, Pope refers to George (later Lord) Lyttelton. The notes state: 'Towards the end of August, when Pope was at Bevis Mount, he evidently lent his house to Martha Blount's friend, Mrs. (Algernon) Greville, to whom Lyttelton addressed the four quatrains found among his poems, "Verses, written at Mr. Pope's house, which he had lent to Mrs. Greville. In August 1735"' (Pope, Correspondence, iii. 480). I have not been able to trace a copy of these verses.
21 Badminton MS, FmJ 2/41, item 1.
22 Longleat House Archives, Portland Papers, XIII.
23 On fo. 2b of the Badminton MS, which is torn and partly worm-eaten, there is still just legible the remains of what appears to be Pope's clear instruction to the printer: '[. . .] Half-title, / [H E ?] S I O D / or the [ Rise of Wom [an ?]'. These words appear exactly as directed on sig. A4a of the 1722 printed edition.
24 This is only the third autograph MS by Pope known to have been used by his printers. See D. Foxon, Pope and the Early Eighteenth-Century Book Trade, rev. and ed. J. McLaverty (Oxford, 1991), 23, 162, which notes the survival of two other autograph MSS--of the Essay on Criticism and of parts of the Odyssey--which were used as printer's copy. I have examined the Badminton MS in more detail in 'Alexander Pope's "Epistle to Robert Earl of Oxford, and Earl Mortimer": a New Autograph Manuscript', The Library, 6th ser. 15 (1993), 187-205.
25 Badminton MS, FmK 1/4/6, item 52. The Twickenham Edition of the Poems of Alexander Pope, vol. vi, Minor Poems, ed. N. Ault, completed by J. Butt (London and New Haven, 1954), 250-1. Other contemporary MS versions of the poem are in Longleat, Portland Papers, XVIII; British Library MS Harl. 7316; and Bodleian MS Ballard 50, fo. 102v. The following collation is with the Longleat MS and the 1732 edn. of Miscellanies: The Third Volume. Title] On Mrs Howard by Mr Pope (L) On a certain Lady at Court (1732) 1 the] a (L) 5 (L) reads Not led by custome, mov'd by Rumour, (1732) reads Not warp'd by Passion, as'd by Rumour. 6 or gay] nor gay (L) 9 Sr.] omitted m (L) 11 to praise her] her praise (L) 12 Alass she is] Alas she's (L) The Woman's deaf, (1732).
26 The inspiration for this poem may have derived from a letter of 14 Sept. 1725, which Pope sent to Swift, attempting to persuade him to come to England: 'If you come to us I'll find you elderly Ladies enough that can hallow, and two that can nurse, and they are too old and feeble to make too much noise; as you will guess when I tell you they are my own mother, and my own nurse. I can also help you to a Lady who is as deaf, tho' not so old as your self; you'll be pleas'd with one another, I'll engage, tho' you don't hear one another: you'll converse like spirits by intuition. What you'll most wonder at is, she is considerable at Court, yet no Party-woman, and lives in Court, yet wou'd be easy and make you easy' (Pope, Correspondence, ii. 322). See also Pope, Minor Poems, 250-1.
27 Badminton MS, FmK 1/4/7, item 22. Printed in Miscellanies: The Last Volume (1727), 166. See also M. Crum, A First-Line Index of English Poetry 1500-1800 in Manuscripts of the Bodleian Library. Oxford (Oxford, 1969), 1426. Peterborough's relationship with Mrs Howard is examined in Mack, Pope, 375-9; Martin, Pursuing Innocent Pleasures, 153-4, 178-80; I. Grundy, 'Pope, Peterborough, and the Characters of Women', RES NS 20 (1969), 461-8.
28 Pope, Correspondence, iii. 434, 17 Sept. 1734, at Mapledurham: 'I saw Dr Arbuthnot; who, was very cheerful. I past a whole day with him at Hampsted: he is at the Long room half the morning, & has Parties at Cards every night. Mrs Lepell, & Mrs Saggioni the Singer, & his Son, & his two Daughters, are all with him.'
29 Badminton MS, FmK 1/4/7, item 24. In a contemporary manuscript in the Bodleian Library these lines are attributed to Philip Dormer Stanhope, Earl of Chesterfield, 'On Mrs Lepell'. Crum, T. 1067.
30 R. Halsband, The lafe of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (Oxford, 1956), 48-54, 57-8, 62-3, 86-7, 91-3, 113-14; Mack, Pope, 301-6, 339-40, 367-8, 548-62.
31 Badminton MS, FmT/B/1/4/4, item 3, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu's 'Song', also known under the alternative title of 'A Receit to Cure the Vapours'. Printed in Montagu, Essays and Poems and 'Simplicity'. A Comedy, ed. R. Halsband and I. Grundy (Oxford, 1977), 257-8. The same bundle of papers, Badminton MS, FmT/B/1/4/4, item 2, also contains a 2-page prose account, dated 'April 18th 1751', beginning 'A Letter was this day read before the Royal Society wroten by an English Lady giving an Account of what she observed in visiting Herculaneum, a City swallowed up by an Earth quake in Pliny the Elders time'. It has been endorsed in another hand: 'LY. Mary Wortley', although I have not been able to confirm this attribution. Badminton MS, FmS/G 4/26, item 6, the papers of Norborne Berkeley (1717-70), Lord Botetourt, includes a contemporary manuscript copy of Lady Mary's 'Verses Written in a Garden'. Printed in Essays and Poems, 300-1.
32 Badminton MS, FmK 1/4/6, item 60. The conclusion to this brief commentary states: 'T'is Observable, that Mr. Pope is so embarrassed by this Word, that he thinks (after Dr. Bentley's Manner) It ought to have been some Other, and therefore very Wisely Substitutes Another in It's Room.' This commentary misquotes the line, which should read: 'Unhouseled, disappointed, unaneled', as is found in all the early quarto (1603-5) and First Folio (1623) texts of the play.
33 Badminton MS, FmK 1/4/6, item 65.
34 Ibid., item 24. It seems feasible to assume that the Iliad is cited here in error for the Odyssey. This brief observation is followed on the same sheet by the following verses:
Threats urge the fearful, and the valiant praise.
Sarpedon to Glaucus The life which others pay, let us bestow And give to fame what we to nature owe; Brave if we fall, and honour'd if we live Or let us glory gain or glory give! He ceased, but left so charming on their Ears His voice that listening still they seem'd to hear.
35 See Mack, Pope, 412-17.
36 Badminton MS, FmK 1/4/6, item 84. This poem, apparently incomplete, is written on fo. 2b of a single sheet folded over once to give four pages. Fos. 1a-2a contain: 'Verses made by Sr: William Young. To the Ladies att the bridge when the Duke of Lorrain was att Norfolk', beginning: 'News to expect from Houghton Hall'. Another copy of these verses, entitled, 'Sir Wm. Youngs verses on Sir Rt. Wall[pole's] seat and company', is found in BL Add. MS 31152, fo. 35. See also Crum, N122, for another copy in the Bodleian Library, MS Add. B.105, fo. 94.
37 Pope's losses during the South Sea stock crash of autumn 1720-1 are examined in Mack, Pope, 392-4. As late as 9 July 1720 Robert Digby was writing to Pope: 'I rejoyce in the universal riches I hear of, in the thought of their having this effect. They tell me you was soon content; and that you cared not for such an increase as others wished you. By this account I judge you the richest man in the South-sea' (Pope, Correspondence, ii. 49). See also Digby's letter of 30 July 1720 (ibid. ii. 51). On 22 Aug. Pope was urging Lady Mary Wortley Montagu to become an investor (ibid. ii. 52). After the collapse of the stock, by 28 Oct. 1720 Pope lamented: 'For my part all I see is ruin and mischief: all I wish is quiet and resignation' (ibid. ii. 57).
|Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback|
|Publication:||The Review of English Studies|
|Date:||Aug 1, 1994|
|Previous Article:||Langland, Milton, and the felix culpa.|
|Next Article:||The urban idyll in 'Martin Chuzzlewit.' (novel by Charles Dickens)|