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13: X 4 LEI:
voice, when he was young, was fo
pleafing, that he was called in fondness
the little Nightingale.
Being not fent early to fchool, he was taught to read by an aunt; and when he was feven or eight years old became a lover of books. He first learned to write by imitating printed books; a fpecies of penmanship in which he retained great excellence through his whole life, though his ordinary hand was not elegant.
When he was about eight, he was placed in Hampshire under Taverner, a Romish priest, who, by a method very rarely practifed, taught him the Greck and Latin rudiments together. He was now firft regularly initiated in poctry by
the perufal of Ogylby's Homer, and Sandys's Ovid: Ogylby's affiftance he never repaid with any praife; but of Sandys he declared, in his notes to the Iliad, that English poetry owed much of its prefent beauty to his tranflations. Sandys very rarely attempted original compofition.
From the care of Taverner, under whom his proficiency was confiderable, he was removed to a school at Twyford near Winchester, and again to another school about Hyde-park Corner; from which he used fometimes to ftroll to the playhouse, and was fo delighted with theatrical exhibitions, that he formed a kind of play from Ogylby's Iliad, with fome verfes of his own intermixed,
which he perfuaded his fchool-fellows to act, with the addition of his master's gardener, who perfonated Ajax.
At the two laft fchools he used to reprefent himself as having loft part of what Taverner had taught him, and on his mafter, at Twyford he had already exercised his poetry in a lampoon.. Yet under those mafters he tranflated more than a fourth part of the Metamorphofes. If he kept the fame proportion in his other exercises, it cannot be thought that his lofs was great.
He tells of himfelf, in his poems, that he lifp'd in numbers; and used to fay that he could not remember the time when he began to make verfes.. In the style of fiction it might have been faid
of him as of Pindar, that when he lay in his cradle the bees fwarmed about his mouth.
About the time of the Revolution his father, who was undoubtedly difap pointed by the fudden blaft of popish profperity, quitted his trade, whatever it was, and retired to Binfield in Windfor Foreft, with about twenty thousand pounds; for which, being confcientioufly determined not to intruft it to the government, he found no better use than that of locking it up in a cheft, and taking from it what his expences required; and his life was long enough to confume a great part of it, before his fon came to the inheritance...
To Binfield Pope was called by his father when he was about twelve years old and there he had for a few months the affiftance of one Deane, another prieft, of whom he learned only to con ftrue a little of Tully's Offices. How Mr. Deane could fpend, with a boy who had tranflated fo much of Ovid,. fome months over a fmall part of Tully's Offices, it is now vain to enquire.tot
Of a youth fo fuccefsfully employed, and fo confpicuoufly improved, a minute. account must be naturally defired; but curiosity must be contented with confused, imperfect, and fometimes impro bable intelligence. Pope, finding little advantage from external help, refolved thenceforward to direct himself, and at twelve