Jortin gives his own account of the whole affair thus:
The person employed by Mr. Pope was not at leisure to go on with the work, and Mr. Pope, by his bookseller, I suppose, sent to Jeffries, a bookseller at Cambridge, to find out a student who would undertake the task. Jeffries applied to Dr. Thirlby, who was my tutor, and who pitched upon me. I cannot recollect what Mr. Pope allowed for each book of Homer. I have a notion that it was three or four guineas. When I had gone through some books, I forget how many, Mr. Jeffries let us know that Mr. Pope had a friend to do the rest. When that part of Homer came out in which I had been concerned, I was much pleased to find that he had not only used almost all my notes, but had hardly made any alteration in the expressions. I was in some hopes in those days, for I was young, that Mr. Pope would make enquiry about his coadjutor, and take some civil notice of him, but he did not, and I had no intention of obtruding myself upon him. I never saw his face.'
The mean indifference of thus neglecting a man to whose underpaid scholarship Pope had been so greatly indebted, was a kind of treatment which Johnson had perhaps learned, by hard experience, to look on as more usual than it really is, and to accept as too little worthy of remark or censure. Cf. Johnson's letter to Chesterfield,
'Such treatment I did not expect, for I never had a patron before.'
« LAST» Note «NEXT»