University of Virginia Library

Search this document 


collapse section 
collapse section 
collapse section 
collapse section 
collapse section 
collapse section 
collapse section 
collapse section 
collapse section 
collapse section 
collapse section 
collapse section 
collapse section 

collapse section 
collapse section 

One of the unsolved riddles of Pope's literary career is the appearance on the same day, 8 March 1733, of two different versions of an attack on his writing, family, person, and morals:Verses Address'd to the Imitator of the First Satire of the Second Book of Horace and To the Imitator of the Satire of the Second Book of Horace. Both the authorship of the poem and the sources of the dual publication are shrouded in mystery. While one version advertised itself as 'By a Lady' (generally identified as Lady Mary Wortley Montagu), the other version did not, and it is known to have been revised subsequently by a gentleman (Lord Hervey). Advertisements for the two versions appeared on the very same day; the imprints carried the names only of a publisher (James Roberts) or a mercury (Anne Dodd); the versions differed widely in accidentals, though not in substantives; and both at subsequent points in their advertising campaigns criticized the other as a piracy. Paradoxically, publication of this most vicious of personal attacks suited Pope. His chief concern at the time was with the poem's manuscript publication, particularly at Court, and the damage it might do to his standing there; he had already been under pressure to withdraw his criticism of Lady Mary in the imitation of the First Satire as a sign of his loyalty to the King and Queen. Print publication of the attack on the imitator let him off the hook and gave him the chance to reply. The consequent controversy not only excused him from moderating his attacks on Lady Mary; it provided a justification for publishing the Epistle to Arbuthnot, focusing an anti-court, oppositional stance, and it gave an impetus to the publication of his Works and Letters in 1735. Immediately, it had the benefit of distracting attention from his relation to the simultaneously published Essay on Man. In an excellent account of the controversy surrounding the satire on the imitator of Horace, Professor Isobel Grundy wrote, 'The versions which were printed may have been authorized by him [Lord Hervey], by Lady Mary, by both, or by neither.'[1] My aim in this paper is to examine the variant editions of the


Page 184
attack and their context, and to venture a new hypothesis: that the instigator of publication was the imitator, Alexander Pope himself. It was probably in 1733 that Pope had a four-volume collection of pamphlet attacks bound, introducing them with a quotation from Job 31.35: 'Behold it is my desire, that mine Adversary had written a Book. Surely I would take it on my shoulder, and bind it as a crown unto me.' By publishing Verses Address'd to the Imitator and replying in the Epistle to Dr. Arbuthnot, he would have realized this desire.[2]

There are three figures involved in discussions of the authorship of the poem, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, Lord Hervey, and William Wyndham, and the current consensus is that all three probably had a hand in it, with the major role being played by Lady Mary and Lord Hervey. The occasion for the attacks, as the titles for the different versions imply, came in Pope's Imitation of the First Satire of the Second Book of Horace, published on 15 February. Lord Hervey was given a glancing blow in the first paragraph:

The Lines are weak, another's pleas'd to say,
Lord Fanny spins a thousand such a day. (lines 5-6)
Lady Mary was more plainly insulted later on:
Slander or Poyson, dread from Delia's Rage,
Hard Words or Hanging, if your Judge be Page.
From furious Sappho scarce a milder Fate,
P—x'd by her Love, or libell'd by her Hate. (lines 81-84)[3]
Sappho was readily identified by contemporaries as Lady Mary, while Delia was taken as a reference to Lady Deloraine, later to become William Wyndham's wife. Two of the four contemporary manuscript copies of the consequent attack on Pope, at Oxford and in the Portland papers, assigned the poem to Lady Mary, but in the British Library there is a scribal copy which Lord Hervey has revised, and at Ickworth a copy of To the Imitator of the Second Satire of Horace which Hervey has prepared for a second edition, with a draft preface and a draft title- page including the words 'Publish'd by the Author'.[4] The evidence for William Wyndham's involvement comes from


Page 185
an annotation by the second Earl of Oxford on his copy, 'The Authors of this poem are Lady Mary Wortley Lord Harvey & Mr Windham under tutor to the Duke of Cumberland and married to my Lady Deloraine', while Maynard Mack has identified a likely reference to Wyndham's involvement in a couplet in To Arbuthnot:
To please a Mistress, One aspers'd his life;
He lash'd him not, but let her be his Wife. (lines 376-377)[5]

The most important statement about authorship—the only statement by a principal, other than by Pope himself—comes from Lady Mary Wortley Montagu. Lady Mary denied writing the poem in a letter to Dr. Arbuthnot concerning the references to Sappho in To Arbuthnot. Sherburn assigns the letter to the day after the poem's publication on 2 January 1735:

I cannot help taking Notice of the terrible malice he bears against the Lady signify'd by that name, which appears to be irritated by supposing her writer of the verses to the Imitator of Horace, now I can assure him they were wrote (without my knowledge) by a Gentleman of great merit, whom I very much esteem, who he will never guess, & who, if he did know he durst not attack; but I own the design was so well meant, & so excellently executed that I cannot be sorry they were written . . . I desire Sir as a favour that you would shew this Letter to Pope . . .[6]
The letter is unlikely to be an instance of plain lying; there is no motive for a lie. Lady Mary shows no anxiety to appease Pope—she sharply criticizes him for attacking the dead James Moore Smythe and claims that Congreve ridiculed his wit and conversation—her aim is to damage his position, not to escape censure. The disclaimer of authorship is either truthful or equivocal, alluding to the truth with sufficient disguise to mislead Pope.[7] It follows that


Page 186
the 'Gentleman of great merit' is either Lord Hervey or William Wyndham. Wyndham might be said to have written the verses in the sense that he physically wrote them down or transcribed them; he may, for example, have pieced together fragments from others while adding ideas of his own. But as under- tutor to the Duke of Cumberland, Wyndham was hardly an important figure who was likely to intimidate Pope. Hervey, on the other hand, came from a powerful family and had influence at court, especially with the Queen. The papers in the British Library and at Ickworth show him taking a proprietorial interest in the poem. He alone could be the sole author of the attack on the imitator; the others could only have been co-authors or amanuenses. Lady Mary's claim that Pope 'durst not attack' him reads oddly in the light of the violent denunciation of Sporus in To Arbuthnot, but perhaps she failed to recognise Hervey under this name or was challenging Pope to a more open encounter. This paper does not claim to dispel the mystery surrounding the authorship of the attack on Pope as the imitator of Horace, but it is sympathetic to the simplicity of believing Lord Hervey when he says he wrote the attack ('Publish'd by the Author') and believing Lady Mary when she says she did not. Discussion of the authorship and publication of the poem should proceed by subjecting the statement on the title page of the Verses, 'By a Lady', to a sharp and salutary scepticism.[8]

Both versions of the poem were strongly advertised. The version I shall refer to as Verses was advertised in both the London Evening-Post and the Daily Post for 8 March:

This Day is publish'd, Price 6d.
(Being the same Size with the Dialogue)
Verses address'd to the Imitator of the first Satire of the Second Book of Horace.
Printed for A. Dodd without Temple-Bar, and sold at all the Pamphlet-shops in Town.
(London Evening-Post)
The Whitehall Evening-Post for the same day advertised its rival, which I shall call To the Imitator:
To the IMITATOR of the SATIRE of the Second Book of Horace.
Printed for J. Roberts near the Oxford Arms in Warwick Lane.
On the following day, 9 March, the advertisement for the Verses appeared in slightly different form in the Daily Post, saying more explicitly, '(Being very proper to be bound up with Mr. Pope's Dialogue with his Council)', while the advertisement for To the Imitator appeared there for the first time. 9 March is the date assigned for publication of the Verses by the Grub-Street Journal in its list of 'Books and Pamphlets published since Mar. 8' on 29 March. Interestingly, it has the Verses right next to 'An essay on man:


Page 187
Part I. a poem'. Advertisements for the Essay on Man, Part I appeared as early as 20 February, but there was fresh advertising for it on 9 March, which coincided with Pope's first mentioning it slyly in his correspondence. The Essay was entered in the Stationers' Register on 10 March, and, as entry was not efficacious if the work was already published, it seems likely that was the intended day of official publication. The contiguity of the Essay and the Verses in the Grubstreet Journal may be significant: two Popeian campaigns marching in step, the Horatian controversy leaving the Essay on Man free to enjoy the impartial reception its anonymity invited.[9] On 10 March, two days after the first advertisement, a publisher's war was declared in the London Evening-Post. After an advertisement for the Verses on the same lines as the previous day's in the Daily Post, the notice continued:
N.B. The publick are desired to observe the VERSES has the ABOVE TITLE; and the Words, By a Lady, and printed for A. Dodd, be in the Title Page; for there is a spurious and piratical Edition of these VERSES abroad, printed from a very bad Copy.
An advertisement for To the Imitator appears in the same paper. The publishers of To the Imitator retaliated the following day in the Whitehall Evening Post, adding to the customary advertisement, 'This being the Genuine and Correct Edition, is in Three Sheets'.

The next stage in the advertising campaign came with a new edition of the Verses. The advertisement in the London Evening-Post for 20 March turns technical on the matter of compatibility with Pope's Dialogue, saying the Verses are proper to be 'stitch'd up' with it; it adds the motto, 'Si Natura negat, facit Indignatio Versus. JUV.'; and it adds a new paragraph:

In that spurious Edition in three sheets (one of which is only the Title) the MOTTO, and one whole COUPLET in Page 5, are omitted; besides many notorious Blunders, and literal Errors.
The claim is cheeky, for the Verses had not itself included this material in its previous existence. The London Evening-Post of 27 March completes this stage of the campaign by changing the grammar of the 'N.B.' section of the advertisement for the Verses. They now 'have' the above title, and the subjunctive disappears: the words 'By a Lady' 'are' in the title page. There was also a coda. After the publication of To Arbuthnot early in 1735, advertisements for a fifth edition of the Verses appeared in the London Evening-Post from 16 to 23 January, quoting Pope's Advertisement to that poem and recommending the poems for binding together.

A general view of the advertising campaign highlights several features. The leading role was played by the Verses: there were more advertisements for this version, and they went on longer; the Verses advertisements initiated


Page 188
the quarrel over authenticity and counter-attacked when those for To the Imitator replied; the Verses were advertised again in 1735.[10] Whereas the advertisements for To the Imitator are neutral, those for the Verses have their preoccupations, and even a sense of humour. There is an insistence on the Lady's authorship, with the first advertisement particularly emphatic about her status ('By a LADY of QUALITY') and a later advertisement insisting that the words 'By a Lady' are a sign of the legitimate edition. There is a recurrent concern with the binding of the poem with Pope's works, the First Epistle of the Second Book of Horace and then To Arbuthnot. The Verses' advertisements give the title of Pope's imitation in full and in brackets as the sub-title, a 'Dialogue'. There is also an unusually detailed interest in the text: in the additional couplet in the second edition and in Pope's advertisement to To Arbuthnot. Finally, it should be emphasized that such campaigns are rare. There is nothing else at all like it in the newspapers of this immediate period, but we do find advertising controversy again later in the year when Hervey published his further attack on Pope, An Epistle from a Nobleman, and Pope's advertisements for his Letters in 1735 are very lively in their denunciations of Curll.[11]

There are three established explanations for the double publication of this poem: that one is a piracy of the other; that one is published by Lady Mary and one by Lord Hervey; that one or both are simply the consequence of a bookseller's illicitly obtaining copy. To these I wish to add a fourth: that Pope himself was responsible for the Verses edition.

The idea that one of the versions was a piracy of the other is a common explanation of the double publication, but it does not gain support from examination of the editions themselves. To the Imitator has been branded a piracy, perhaps because its advertisement appeared in the Daily Post on 9 March rather than 8 March like that for the Verses, though it was itself advertised in the Whitehall Evening- Post on 8 March.[12] A good reply to this charge, however, is to be found in To the Imitator's advertised response, 'This being the Genuine and Correct Edition, is in Three Sheets'. The scornful reply from the Verses, that one sheet is taken up with the title, deliberately misses the point. The Verses takes two sheets only: it is unlikely that anyone copying it would waste money on an extra sheet of paper; the cost of paper was around half the expense of printing a book. A pirate would generally


Page 189
aim to print more cheaply than the original.[13] The argument applies only slightly less powerfully in the case where a bookseller has got hold of a manuscript without any right to the copy: half-titles and pages with a small number of lines are usually for demanding authors or booksellers supplying the smart end of the trade; they are not for pirates. To the Imitator is attractively printed, on good paper, in sum, a quality product. There is also the evidence that Lord Hervey revised To the Imitator for a second edition, which implicates him in the original publication. Hervey prepared a copy of this Roberts version for a second edition, with a preface and a draft title-page reading 'the second Edition corrected by the Author'. His papers also contain revisions to the printed copy of An Epistle from a Nobleman, his attack on Pope later that year, and a copy of An Elegy to a Young Lady . . . With an Answer (1733). These are all the work of Roberts and a printer I shall refer to as the 'fruit basket' printer, and this is as strong evidence as one is likely to find that these publications were authorized by Hervey himself.[14]

The Verses, which is crammed into two sheets, cannot mount so straightforward a defence against a charge of piracy, but examination of the printer's changes shows an equivalent care for presentation. As David Foxon points out in English Verse 1701-1750, there are three interestingly different versions of Verses in 1733. V39 is the first edition; in the second edition or variant state, V40, 'Apparently sheet A and outer forme of B are reset', while V41 is 'Largely reset and corrected'. V41 is used as copy text in the Halsband and Grundy edition; it has the motto and the additional couplet referred to in the Verses advertisements. The reason for the revision to produce V41 is, therefore, clear, but why the revisions for V40? I suspect the purpose of V40 was to correct incompetent setting, quite possibly by an apprentice. The main problem is spacing between words, which is inadequate, though there are other mistakes, like the full-stop in the dropped head which does not sit correctly on the line and the failure to capitalize 'Distinction' on page 4, a feature noted by Mr. Foxon. The eccentricity of spacing is pervasive, but striking examples are to be found on page 3, line 4 'modernScandal', line 5, 'oneside', 'howHorace', line 10 'Greekhedid', and page 4, line 7 'rail,or'. Close


Page 190
examination of damaged types shows resetting to have followed the pattern suggested by Mr. Foxon. V40 may well be a consequence of stop-press correction: someone noticed what the incompetent compositor was doing and tried to put it right.[15] Both formes of sheet A were corrected, but only page 8, the last, of the outer forme of B. Subsequently, when the addition of the extra couplet for V41 necessitated the moving round of text, complementary changes were made: the inner forme of A, which began the text, was again reset, but page 4 of the outer forme, which had been corrected, retained much of its old type; page 5 of the outer forme of B, which had not been reset, now was, but pages 6 and 7, the inner forme of B, remained largely the same, in spite of the shift in type to accommodate the new couplet on page 5. Ironically, the apprentice seems to have been at work again on page 5, with bad spacing and a turned elision mark in 'belov'd' in line 18.[16] The impression given by this examination of the three 1733 versions of the Verses, therefore, is of care for correct and elegant printing, even though the original execution may have been inadequate. Of course, the new material for V41 is evidence of some form of authoritative intervention, but, even without it, the concern for correctness is at odds with a piratical job.

That neither version is a direct copy of the other is also evident from collation. Dr. Grundy notes in her edition that there are only four verbal variants in the text and one in the title. This represents a strong correspondence between them, but it obscures the large degree of accidental variation. I have recorded 103 variants in all. Spelling and elision variations are probably most interesting (Verses' reading first): stripe'd/strip'd, Copist/Copyst, shou'd/should [consistently], heav'n/Heaven, drawst/draw'st, Carcass/Carcase, rancorous/rancrous, Dullness/Dulness, Out-cast/Outcast, hate'st/hat'st. There are many variations in punctuation and some in typography. An interesting example of the latter is the inclination to greater italic in To the Imitator, including 'Human Kind' (line 33) and 'beware your Head' (line 59), where the italic seems to have rhetorical purpose. These variations are not likely to have been made by a compositor working from printed copy. The necessary conclusion is that these editions were prepared from different, good quality, manuscript transcriptions.

The second possible explanation for the two versions is one put forward briefly and tentatively by David Foxon: that Lady Mary was responsible for one version, the Verses, and Lord Hervey for another. This is a plausible explanation and the difficulties for it arise only from the identification of the author of the Verses as 'a Lady' and its relation to Lady Mary's usual publishing practice—or non-practice. As we have seen, she denied 'writing'


Page 191
the Verses in a letter to Arbuthnot, and she would have been affronted by the charge that she had published them. Isobel Grundy explains, 'As a woman and an aristocrat, Lady Mary frequently expressed horror at the idea of writing for print' (Essays and Poems, p. 172). The nub of the question is not whether she could have published them but whether in doing so she would have identified herself by putting 'By a Lady' on the title page. The vital role of these words in identifying her should not be overlooked: the lady could have been no one else, and it is questionable whether without this title-page Lady Mary would have been identified as the author at all. Advertisements for the Verses consistently emphasize that they are 'By a LADY of QUALITY' or 'By a LADY'; the public are advised that they should look for these words as a sign of authenticity. But in relation to the poem, with its often crude attack, this generic identification of the author can ring ironically:
If none with Vengeance yet thy Crimes pursue,
Or give thy manifold Affronts their due;
If Limbs unbroken, Skin without a Stain,
Unwhipt, unblanketed, unkick'd, unslain;
That wretched little Carcass you retain:
The Reason is, not that the World wants Eyes;
But thou'rt so mean, they see, and they despise. (lines 66-72)
This is not a ladylike stance (whether it is characteristic of actual eighteenth-century ladies is beside the point), as contemporary responses, like that in A Proper Reply to a Lady by 'a Gentleman', point out:
Sappho alone cou'd take the base Pretence
To frame this vulgar virulent Defence,
And vent rank Wit at Modesty's Expence. (lines 5-7)
Pope himself in the 'Letter to a Noble Lord' of November 1733 picks up the contrast between status and stance, saying, 'I am no man of Quality', and adding that Curll is capable of the same insults as one of Hervey's 'rank and quality' (Prose Works, II, 449). Later, in the advertisement of To Arbuthnot, he suggests that the reflections on the imitator of Horace are unworthy of persons of 'Rank and Fortune'. In this context 'By a Lady' is hardly a neutral designation; it exposes the writer to ridicule.

The best evidence for Lady Mary's involvement in publication of the Verses lies in the changes made for V41, which suggest something like authorial involvement. There are two major alterations. The first is the motto added to the title-page: 'Si Natura negat, facit Indignatio versus. JUVENAL'. This, however, has an immediate business consequence, and, I suspect, purpose, because 'versus' seems to confirm that this edition, the Verses, rather than To the Imitator, is the authentic one. The tag is famous, except that Juvenal writes 'versum'. 'If nature fails, then indignation generates verse', Niall Rudd translates, adding the following line, 'doing the best it can, like mine or likeCluvenius' '.[17] Swift remarks on the Verses' use of the motto in


Page 192
a letter to Pope, who has drawn the controversy to his attention, saying that it is inappropriate to resentment of personal injury (Correspondence, III, 368). The line is self-deprecating. The implication—that the writer is not gifted enough to compose ordinarily—is modestly amusing in the mouth of Juvenal or Swift or Pope; but in the mouths of Lord Hervey and Lady Mary it comes uncomfortably close to the truth. The second major change is the additional couplet:
Nor Dignity nor Innocence is spar'd,
Nor Age, nor Sex, nor Thrones, nor Gowns rever'd. (lines 38-39)
The reference to 'Thrones' introduces the political dimension that so worried Pope and helped prepare his reply in To Arbuthnot. Lord Hervey adds the couplet to his copy of To the Imitator in preparing a new edition of the poem; it is present in three of the four surviving manuscripts. This could be a later thought by Lady Mary, or it might simply have been omitted from some manuscript copies. Some further small changes may be due to the compositor: two semi-colons for colons (though another seems to have fallen off in the rearrangement), and even 'Copi'st', the best either edition has managed in negotiating the historical change from 'copist' to 'copyist'. Two other developments, however, seem purposive. The porcupine compared with Pope is made singular and its back now 'shoots' (ll. 73-74), while in the penultimate line of the poem a semi-colon is restored. The first version ended:
And with the Emblem of thy crooked Mind,
Mark'd on thy Back, like Cain, by God's own Hand;
Wander like him, accursed through the Land.
V40 changed this, for good grammatical reasons no doubt, to 'Hand,', but V41 restores the powerful rhetorical pause before the final line. These alterations are the most perplexing in the history of the Verses. Someone was taking care of the text. Lord Hervey can be ruled out, for his draft title-page contains a quite different motto:
Vicini oderunt, noti, Pueri atque Puellae.
'Everyone hates you'—a motto much more appropriate to the spirit of the Verses. The changes provide the best evidence for Lady Mary's involvement, but if 'By a Lady' and the ambiguous nature of the 'Si natura negat' motto rule her out, we are left with a conscientious bookseller who corrected his text (either from the original manuscript, or, more likely, from a variant one), or some other interested party. The curious nature of the motto, suggesting the authors' lack of talent and directly supporting the authenticity of the Verses version, admits the candidature of Pope or one of his friends, and they would be more likely to encounter copies of the poem than a bookseller would.

The publication arrangements are evidence against Lady Mary's involve-


Page 193
ment. The Verses were published by Mrs. Dodd and, on strong ornament evidence, they were printed by Henry Woodfall.[18] There is no real evidence to link Lady Mary with Dodd and none at all to link her with Woodfall; on the contrary, most of the links are between Dodd, Woodfall, and Pope. A Genuine Letter Written from Constantinople was published by Dodd and Roberts in 1719, but it was sent to the press by Abbé Conti, not by Lady Mary. The appearance of Dodd's or Roberts's name on a title-page is in itself of only minor interest—they handled a huge volume of newspapers, pamphlets, and books, and their names appeared on many title-pages—but patterns of association are worth remarking. The appearance of their names regularly on an author's publications or on a group of publications, or the information that the author dealt with them directly, or the association of their names with a particular printer may be significant. Mrs. Dodd tended to be associated with opposition literature. James Sutherland points out that in 1731 she had been in trouble with the authorities for publishing The Craftsman, a journal with a particular antipathy towards Hervey, as a Pope-Hervey conflict at the end of 1733, discussed later, will illustrate.[19] Roberts, on the other hand, was associated with the pro-government party, to which both Hervey and Lady Mary belonged. The appearance among Hervey's papers of three pamphlets published by Roberts and printed by the 'fruit basket' printer sets up something of a pattern. The printer's ornaments used in To the Imitator provide links with the two other publications. The large and distinctive fruit basket tailpiece also appears in Hervey's further attack on Pope, An Epistle from a Nobleman to a Doctor of Divinity. And it is used once more in a piece that may be Lady Mary's or Lord Hervey's, An Elegy to a Young Lady, In the Manner of Ovid. By ——— [James Hammond] With an Answer: By a Lady, Author of the Verses to the Imitator of Horace, printed for Roberts in 1733. The complexity of cross-reference in this title page is rather dizzying. By using the title, Verses, the Roberts/fruit-basket team are now referring to the rival publication in order to identify the author of one of their own. Halsband and Grundy attribute the Answer to Lady Mary, but Dodsley, who in compiling his Collection first identified James Hammond as the author of the Elegy, identified Lord Hervey as the author of the Answer to the elegy, and, presumably, the lady in question.[20] The most amusing way of reading this evidence from Hervey's papers is to assume that Hervey wrote and approved the publication of To the Imitator (his revisions and publication plans suggest that) and that 'By a Lady, Author of the


Page 194
Verses to the Imitator of Horace' is a neat joke at the expense of the publishers of the Verses, with their mistaken attribution. Associated ornaments are also found in The False Patriot: An Epistle to Mr. Pope, a poem attacking Pope's friendship with Bolingbroke, printed for James Roberts in 1734.[21] Lady Mary's publications (with or without To the Imitator and the Answer) also point in a Roberts, if not a fruit-basket, direction. As Robert Halsband shows in his biography and edition of Lady Mary's letters, her chief contact with the book trade was Roberts. When in 1737 she published her own pro-Walpole newspaper, The Nonsense of Commonsense, she dealt with Roberts and gave him instructions about printing. More strikingly, when she advertised for news of her runaway son in 1727, the reward for recovery was to be paid by Roberts.[22] Given Lady Mary's earlier association with Roberts, and this pattern of anti-Pope publication, it is difficult to see why she should have used Dodd and Woodfall for this poem.

The third explanation of the two separate publications of the attack on the imitator of Horace was that either or both were simply the work of rival members of the book trade who had come upon the poems illicitly. The evidence of the care taken in printing—the three sheets of To the Imitator and the correction and revision of the Verses—makes this unlikely, and Hervey's subsequent revision of To the Imitator and involvement with Roberts and the same printer mean that for this version we can rule it out altogether. The Verses could, however, be the output of some particularly scrupulous bookseller who obtained a copy of the manuscript and later corrected it from another manuscript in order to emphasize the merits of his edition. The imprints are not much help. Mrs. Dodd, a mercury, and simply a distributor, can be ruled out. The name that appears with hers in the 1735 edition, 'J. Fisher, against Tom's Coffee-house in Cornhill', is not much more helpful. His name appears with Dodd's in two of the four books with his name on the imprint listed by ESTC: Miscellaneous Poems on Several Occasions, by Mr. Dawson (1735) and The Remembrancer (1735). All four works belong, like the 'fifth' edition of the Verses, to 1735-6. His name may have appeared because he was an associate of Dodd's. A bookseller who would have enjoyed publishing the Verses, and might have taken trouble over it, is Bernard Lintot, at odds with Pope since the publication of the Odyssey in 1725. His opinion of Pope would not have differed greatly from that of


Page 195
the authors of the Verses and he would not have been sorry to see him ridiculed in print. Lintot used Woodfall for printing in the 1730s (for Pope's Works I, for example), and he might have playfully mimicked Pope's concern with collections of his works by styling advertisements in a Popeian manner. But when a bookseller's candidature can be advanced because he might imitate Pope and because he used the same printer to print Pope's Works, it seems worth turning to the case for Pope's own involvement in the publication of the Verses instead.[23]

The suspicion that Pope was involved in publication of the Verses arises for three reasons. He had a motive, both a specific and a general one. He had the means, through his contacts with the book trade. And he had something of a criminal record of clandestine publication: within a few months he seems to have been entangled in another offence. Pope's motives are clearest in his 'Letter to a Noble Lord', which, with his correspondence, constitutes the best guide to the whole affair.

Late in 1733 Hervey attacked Pope again, largely repeating a number of stale charges in Epistle from a Nobleman to a Doctor of Divinity, published on 10 November, and Pope drafted a reply, 'A Letter to a Noble Lord. On occasion of some Libels written and propagated at Court, in the Year 1732-3', which he dated 30 November, though it was not immediately published and first appeared in Warburton's edition of Pope's Works in 1751. This 'Letter' seems an example, like Pope's own Letters and Bolingbroke's The Idea of a Patriot King, of Pope's using his close relationship with the printer John Wright to have a work printed in readiness for publication should an opportunity arise. But the immediate use of the printed 'Letter' was for private circulation to friends and to Hervey's patron, the Queen. Warburton says, 'It was for this reason [the original propagation of the libel] that this Letter, as soon as it was printed, was communicated to the Q.'[24] The 'Letter' is concerned with the Verses as well as with Hervey's Epistle, and they are referred to as 'Verses on the Imitator of Horace', not To the Imitator of the Satire of the Second Book of Horace; the same title is used in the notes of To Arbuthnot. From the 'Letter' we learn that publication in print was of secondary importance to Pope. What mattered most was the initial, manuscript publication, which was at Court and, particularly, before the Queen:

Your Lordship so well knows (and the whole Court and town thro' your means so well know) how far the resentment was carried upon that imagination [that Lord Hervey


Page 196
had been attacked in the imitation of Horace], not only in the Nature of the Libel you propagated against me, but in the extraordinary manner, place, and presence in which it was propagated; that I shall only say, it seem'd to me to exceed the bounds of justice, common sense, and decency. (Prose Works, II, 444)
Later in the 'Letter', when Pope, pointing to his position as a Catholic under penal laws, is reminding Hervey of his vulnerability to the disapproval of those in power, he says, 'you inadvertently went a little too far when you recommended to THEIR perusal and strengthened by the weight of your Approbation, a Libel' (Prose Works, II, 455). The first of these passages occasioned Warburton's original note about the printed letter being sent to the Queen. A major concern in the 'Letter' is with this first manuscript publication of the Verses and the damage it might have done Pope with the King and particularly the Queen. The attack on Hervey in To Arbuthnot as an evil counsellor,
Or at the Ear of Eve, familiar Toad,
Half Froth, half Venom, spits himself abroad . . . (lines 319-320)
is a general one, but it is also particular and a reference to the propagation of the Verses.

One of Pope's informants about these events at Court was an unlikely one—Sir Robert Walpole. Walpole was drawn into Pope's quarrel with Lady Mary as early as 1729. Pope wrote to Fortescue on 13 September, 'I have seen Sir R. W. but once since you left. I made him then my confidant in a complaint against a lady, of his, and once of my, acquaintance, who is libelling me, as she certainly one day will him, if she has not already. You'll easily guess I am speaking of Lady Mary.'[25] This warning seems to have had no consequences, but it may have led Walpole to intercede between Pope and Lady Mary after the publication of the First Satire of the Second Book of Horace on 15 February 1733. The clues to what he might have said are in two letters from Pope to Fortescue. The second of these two letters, endorsed by Fortescue 18 March, provides the broader picture:

I wish you would take an opportunity to represent to the Person who spoke to you about that Lady, that Her Conduct no way deserves Encouragement from him, or any other Great persons: & that the Good name of a Private Subject ought to be as sacred even to the Highest, as His Behavior toward them is irreproachable, loyal, & respectfull.—What you writ of his Intimation on that head shall never pass my lips. (Correspondence, III, 357)
The letter is deliberately mysterious, but it invites interpretation. The 'Person' is surely Fortescue's friend Walpole, and the 'Great persons' are the King and Queen. The intimation seems closely related to Pope's fear for his personal position expressed in the 'Letter to a Noble Lord'. Walpole seems to have warned him that his loyalty as a subject had to be beyond question, and possibly that the attack on Lady Mary had led to that loyalty's coming into question. Issues of personal relationships and political power


Page 197
were becoming intertwined. The earlier letter, of 8 March, deals explicitly with the attack on Lady Mary in the First Satire, an attack we know she resented because of Peterborow's letter to her conveying Pope's denial that she was meant. Pope tells Fortescue,
Your most kind Letter was a Sensible pleasure to me: & the Friendship & Concern shown in it, to suggest what you thought might be agreeable to a Person whom you know I would not disoblige, I take particularly kindly. But the affair in question of any alteration is now at an end, by that Lady's having taken her own Satisfaction in an avowed Libell, so fulfilling the veracity of my prophecy. (Correspondence, III, 354)
Walpole ['a Person'] had evidently asked for a particular sign of Pope's loyalty in the form of an agreement to alter the lines on Sappho, an agreement Pope declines to make. The date of this letter is highly significant: it is written on the very day of the first advertisement of the Verses and To the Imitator, 8 March. Pope was somehow able to seize upon his vindication the instant it became available. The publication of the Verses constituted the complete justification of his original attack. Lady Mary, not Pope, was a public libeller; if he was in trouble at Court, it was because of her misrepresentation. I take it that when Pope says the 'Libell' is avowed he does not mean that it calls itself one (it does not) but that it declares its author ('a Lady'), something only the Verses does. Pope shows no distress at the newly published attack, either here or in a letter written to John Caryll on the same day; he shows instead some satisfaction that his judgement of Lady Mary has been justified. In short, publication of the Verses is to his advantage.

Pope's opinion at the time of writing his letters to Fortescue was that Lady Mary was directly responsible for the 'Libel'. By the time of the 'Letter to a Noble Lord' he adopted the view that Lady Mary had a supporting role in writing the Verses, 'I wonder yet more how a Lady, of great wit, beauty, and fame for her poetry . . . could be prevail'd upon to take a part in that proceeding' (Prose Works, II, 444), but he goes on to express perplexity about the precise allocation of responsibility:

There was another reason why I was silent as to that paper—I took it for a Lady's (on the printer's word in the title page) and thought it too presuming, as well as indecent, to contend with one of that Sex in altercation; For I never was so mean a creature as to commit my Anger against a Lady to paper, tho' but in a private Letter. But soon after, her denial of it was brought me by a Noble person of real Honour and Truth. Your Lordship indeed said you had it from a Lady, and the Lady said it was your Lordship's; some thought the beautiful by-blow had Two Fathers, or (if one of them will hardly be allow'd a man) Two Mothers; indeed I think both Sexes had a share in it, but which was uppermost, I know not: I pretend not to determine the exact method of this Witty Fornication: and, if I call it Yours, my Lord, 'tis only because, whoever got it, you brought it forth.
Here, my Lord, allow me to observe the different proceeding of the Ignoble poet, and his Noble Enemies. What he has written of Fanny, Adonis, Sappho, or what you will, he own'd he publish'd, he set his name to: What they have publish'd of him, they have deny'd to have written; and what they have written of him, they have denied to have publish'd. One of these was the case in the past Libel, and the other in the present. For tho' the parent has own'd it to a few choice friends, it is such as he


Page 198
has been obliged to deny in the most particular terms, to the great Person whose opinion concern'd him most. (Prose Works, II, 448)
The information in this passage makes the picture a little clearer. Hervey was responsible for putting the poem before the King and Queen (he 'brought it forth'); in doing so, he said it was by a Lady. Lady Mary denied authorship and said it was Hervey's. The innuendo about the sex of the author is very closely related to the subsequent Sporus attack ('now Master up now Miss'). It is possible that some of the material there ('Now trips a Lady') is directly related to the problem of the authorship of the attack. Pope is witty about the collaboration but he seems as baffled by it as twentieth-century scholarship has been. He is clearer about publication, 'what they have publish'd of him, they have denied to have written' is referred to the present 'libel', Epistle from a Noble Lord, which its parent has owned to friends but denied to 'the great Person whose opinion concern'd him most', whom I take to be the Queen. 'What they have written of him, they have deny'd to have publish'd' must, therefore, apply to the Verses, and it would suit my argument very well if Lady Mary had denied publishing them. Pope's confidence in Lady Mary's writing of the Verses seems to have weakened with the progress of time; perhaps that explains why he treated her so mildly in To Arbuthnot. It is possible that he made a mistake by believing the title-page of the Verses, as he claims here; alternatively the title page of the Verses may have reflected his own mistake, a mistake similar to the ones he had already made in attributing to her A Pop on Pope and One Epistle to Mr. A. Pope.

In addition to his particular motive for putting the Verses in the public sphere, where they could be acknowledged and challenged, Pope had general motives for making them public. This period saw him with a greatly enhanced sense of the potentiality of print. His chief project was the anonymous publication of An Essay on Man. He believed that declaring his authorship at first would prejudice him 'both in reputation and profit' (Correspondence, III, 350) and his letters show a gleeful pleasure in contrasting the performance of the author of the Essay with his own in the First Satire of the Second Book of Horace:

The town is now very full of a new poem intitled an Essay on Man, attributed, I think with reason, to a divine. It has merit in my opinion but not so much as they give it. . . . I find there is a sort of faction to set up the author and his piece in opposition to me and my little things, which I confess are not of so much importance as to the subject, but I hope they conduce to morality in their way. . . . (Correspondence, III, 354)
This letter, written, like that to Fortescue, on the day of publication of the Verses, 8 March 1733, shows Pope plotting an increased pleasure in the revelation that the rival authors are one and the same man; if the satirical author had just been attacked as a Cain-like enemy of mankind, so much the better. Later that same month Pope wrote to Curll in the first stage of his campaign to trick him into publishing an edition of his letters. The publication of both the letters and a new volume of works, contracted for


Page 199
the previous December, was central to a complex act of self-definition that preoccupied Pope for the remainder of his career. He publicised the private man, shaping the public's perception of both his works and character. His personal and secret control of printing and publishing processes enabled him to create public monuments like the Works and the Letters and shape their reception; monuments were the fruits of guile. Combining with the anonymous Essay on Man, the manoeuvres surrounding the Verses were a preliminary positioning in this campaign. The printing and private circulation of the 'Letter to a Noble Lord', at least as far as sending it to the Queen, began the delicate play on the boundaries of the public and private that characterized Pope's conduct in this period. His first new publication after the attack from Lady Mary and Lord Hervey was The Impertinent, Or a Visit to the Court, an adaptation of Donne's attack on courtiers, which he disguised as a shoddy piracy. The aristocrats had provided him with a topic for a new phase in his career.[26]

The second ground for suspicion that Pope was involved in publication of the Verses lies in his book-trade contacts. The Verses were published by Dodd and printed by Woodfall. Mrs. Dodd's name appears on the title-page of the Dunciad, and, although she may have had no direct connection with Pope, her name was consequently associated with his. Henry Woodfall, on the other hand, was personally connected with Pope. According to John Nichols, Pope was responsible for giving him his start in business: 'At the age of 40 he commenced master, at the suggestion, and under the auspices of Mr. Pope, who had distinguished his abilities as a scholar whilst a journeyman in the employment of the then printer to this admired author'.[27] Even if this story is discounted, for there are difficulties in linking Pope with Woodfall's master, John Darby, there is documentary evidence of Woodfall's printing Pope's Works I in 1735 (though this may have been arranged by Lintot) and of his printing directly for Pope in 1737.[28] Much of Pope's printing in the late 1730s was done by Woodfall. Although it would be wrong to argue that Pope would never have employed a printer used by his enemies for an important hostile publication, printers were associated with particular groups, and Woodfall was associated with Pope's.

Suspicion sharpens with the republication of the Verses, again printed by Henry Woodfall, on 14 February 1735, soon after the publication of the Epistle to Dr. Arbuthnot on 2 January 1735. The publications fit like two branches of a campaign. To Arbuthnot was preceded by the Pope's Advertisement, which insisted on its links with the Verses:

This Paper is a Sort of Bill of Complaint, begun many years since, and drawn up by snatches, as the several Occasions offer'd. I had no thoughts of publishing it, till it pleas'd some Persons of Rank and Fortune [the Authors of Verses to the Imitator of


Page 200
Horace, and of an Epistle to a Doctor of Divinity from a Nobleman at Hampton Court,] to attack in a very extraordinary manner, not only my Writings (of which being publick the Publick judge) but my Person, Morals, and Family, where of to those who know me not a truer Information may be requisite.
The Verses are not, therefore, incidental to the publication of the poem, one of many attacks to which the poet responds; they are the cause and justification of publication. Addressing the poem to Arbuthnot is bound in to this relationship:
I have, for the most part spar'd their Names, and they may escape being laugh'd at, if they please.
I would have some of them know, it was owing to the Request of the learned and candid Friend to whom it is inscribed, that I make not as free use of theirs as they have done of mine.
Arbuthnot acted as go-between both before and after the publication of To Arbuthnot. Two letters from Lady Mary to Arbuthnot protest her innocence in October 1729, a further letter to him from her denies her authorship of the Verses on 3 January 1735, and a letter from Lord Hervey tells Henry Fox that Arbuthnot had asked him why he had been so severe on Pope (Lord Hervey and His Friends, p. 189). The strong links of To Arbuthnot with the Verses are not confined to the title and advertisement. On page 16 Pope adds a note to the line, 'Or at the Ear of Eve, familiar Toad': 'In the fourth Book of Milton, the Devil is represented in this Posture, It is by justice to own, that the Hint of Eve and the Serpent was taken from the Verses on the Imitator of Horace.' On page 17 a note lists common charges against Pope in relation to Addison, Broome, and the Shakespeare, allegations 'shamelessly repeated' even in 'The Nobleman's Epistle'. On pages 18-19, in a note beginning with Curll's attacks on his family, he adds,
But, what is stranger, a Nobleman (if such a Reflection can be thought to come from a Nobleman) has dropt an Allusion to this pitiful Untruth, in his Epistle to a Doctor of Divinity: and the following Line,
Hard as thy Heart, and as thy Birth Obscure,
had fallen from a like Courtly pen, in the Verses to the Imitator of Horace.
Professor Grundy has written well on how Pope reworks the material of the attack on the imitator of Horace, turning it against the attackers. Pope uses the Verses; he wants and expects his readers to know them. In response, the new edition of the Verses was advertised on 14 February:
This Day is publish'd, Price 6d.
The fifth Edition Corrected.
(Proper to bind with an Epistle from Mr. Pope to Dr.
Arbuthnot, and Mr. Pope's other Pieces in Folio.)
Verses address'd to the Imitator of the first Satire of the second Book of Horace, by a Lady.
Si Natura negat, facit indignatio versus. Juvenal
Mr. Pope in his Advertisement to his Epistle to Dr. Arbuthnot, says, 'I had no thought of publishing it, till it pleased some Persons of Rank and Fortune (the


Page 201
Author of the Verses to the Imitator of Horace) to attack in a very extraordinary Manner, not only my Writings, (of which being Publick, the Publick judge) but my Person, Morals, and Family, whereof, to those who know me not, a truer Information may be requisite.
Printed for A. Dodd, without Temple-Bar; J. Fisher, against Tom's Coffee-house in Cornhill; and sold at most Pamphlet Shops in Town.
The style of advertisement is familiar from those of March 1733: informative, engaged, seeing the Verses as an adjunct to Pope's works. The new edition follows the earlier ones very closely. It is printed by the same printer, Woodfall, using the same distinctive ornament on the first page, but reverting to the ornamental initial of the first edition. There are a number of small changes that may or may not be compositorial: four commas removed (including 'Weeds as they are' for 'Weeds, as they are,'); one comma added; one capital missing; one paragraph not indented; 'while' for 'whilst' and 'overmatch'd' for 'over-match'd'; and two changes creating direct links to To Arbuthnot. 'Hard as thy Heart, and as thy Birth obscure' is italicised with an asterisk leading to a note to To Arbuthnot and 'Eve' has a similar asterisk and note. It is inconceivable, I think, that this edition was produced by Lady Mary or Lord Hervey or any of their friends. In drawing attention to Pope's response to and redeployment of this material, it is surely in Pope's camp. The person responsible for the cross- references to To Arbuthnot may well have been responsible also for removing the commas around 'as they are', and for the familiar style of advertisement; and the same person may have been responsible for the earlier changes supplying the motto and the additional couplet. The Epistle from a Nobleman, which also has close links with To Arbuthnot, was not reprinted at this time, possibly because it was published by Hervey, who can have had no desire to freshen up the context of To Arbuthnot. The publishers of the Verses, on the other hand, were keen to do so.

The concern in the advertisements with compatibility of format connects with a Popeian hobby-horse. David L. Vander Meulen has recently called attention to Pope's role in advertising and the need for greater attention to his advertisements,[29] and at this time Pope's plans for collected works and the need for good relations with his public made him particularly concerned about format. Advertisements of the complete Essay on Man, for example, offered separate epistles to make up sets, and those for the First and Second Satires of the Second Book of Horace offered copies of sizes compatible with earlier publications, just as the first advertisement of the Verses declared it to be 'the same Size with the Dialogue'.[30] There is an over-fussiness in the advertisements for the Verses that suggests the amateur's hand and yet falls short of parody. At other points there is humour. I have already suggested the emphasis on 'By a Lady' should be read ironically, and, when we


Page 202
remember that Hervey revised a copy of To the Imitator for a second edition, the attack on that publication as 'spurious' and 'piratical' seems a case of conscious mockery. The grammatical error in the early attempts to cast To the Imitator in the role of piracy (there is a wavering about the subjunctive) is not a serious problem for the Pope-as-publisher hypothesis; there is ample room for confusion in the passing on of instructions.

The third ground for suspicion of Pope's involvement in publication of the Verses is connected with the controversy over Hervey's Epistle from a Nobleman to a Doctor of Divinity and 'Verses on Dr Sherwin'. This was in itself a perplexing affair, but enough of it can be understood to throw some light on the Verses. Hervey's Epistle appears to have been published on 10 November 1733, but the intriguing part of the narrative starts around 20 November, when Hervey was thrown into a panic by what he took to be the threatened publication of a lampoon he had written on Dr. Sherwin, the addressee of the Epistle.[31] The supposed threat can be identified in the advertisement in the London Evening-Post for 20 November:

Next Week will be publish'd,
LETTERS and EPISTLES in Prose and Verse, between the Right Hon, the Lord
HERVEY, and the Rev. Dr. SHERWIN.
Printed for A. Dodd near Temple-Bar.
Dodd had not published Hervey's Epistle, but she was the publisher of the Verses and also the distributor of The Craftsman, a paper at war with Hervey; he would have feared the worst. A parallel advertisement was found the same day in the Daily Courant:
Speedily will be Publish'd
AN Epistle from a NOBLEMAN from HAMPTON-COURT, to the Reverend Dr.
SHERWIN. To which is added,
The Reverend Dr. Sherwin's Latin Epistle to the Lord Harvey; and also,
Verses on the said Dr. by the same Lord.
Printed for J. Roberts in Warwick-Lane. Price 1s. 6d.
The publisher of To the Imitator was now also implicated. Both advertisements named Hervey and both threatened the publication of additional material (in the Roberts advertisement the lampoon, 'Verses on the said Dr.' is referred to specifically). Hervey took steps to avert danger. He persuaded Sherwin the lampoon was an 'Epitaph on Ford' and he asked the Duke of Newcastle to intervene with the Daily Courant. The result was a statement in the issue of 22 November 1733:
An Advertisement having been incautiously inserted in the Paper on Thursday last, as likewise in other Papers, That shortly would be publish'd, An Epistle from a Nobleman to the Rev. Dr. Sherwin, and Dr. Sherwin's Latin Epistle to the Lord Hervey, &c. we can now assure the Publick that there was no such Poem wrote by the Lord Harvey, nor Latin Epistle sent his Lordship by Dr. Sherwin.
This was a mistake, as Hervey told his friend Fox:


Page 203
The jumble of the advertisements in the Daily Courier is too long a story for me to enter into the particulars of it. The first of them was owing to a mistake of the Duke of Newcastle, whom I desired to order the printer to say that nothing promised by a former advertisement to be published should come out; and instead of that they said what was come out was not mine, though I had own'd it to every mortal, and to Arbuthnot, who came to me from Pope about it. (Lord Hervey and His Friends, p. 179)
The Daily Courant of 10 December got the message right and also apologized for using Hervey's name. I suspect Hervey's letter to Fox is disingenuous, and that the question of his authorship of the Epistle from a Nobleman was a live issue. According to Pope, he had not owned the poem to 'the great Person whose opinion concern'd him most' and the planned denial in the Courant is confusing and equivocal. Certainly Pope's friends were keen Hervey should own the poem in public. The Craftsman seized on the dithering in the Courant ('pitiful Equivocation', it called it) on 15 December, and on 29 December published a challenge to Hervey at the end of its home news section. Elwin and Courthope printed the challenge as Pope's, and they have been followed in this view by Halsband and Cowler.[32] Having told the story of owning, disowning, and owning again, the paper declares, 'unless the said noble Lord shall next Week in a Manner as publick as the Injury, deny the said Poem to be his, or contradict the Aspersions therein contain'd, there will with all Speed be published A MOST PROPER REPLY to the same.' The threatened reply might be Pope's 'Letter to a Noble Lord', just written, printed, but not published, or the anonymous A Most Proper Reply to the Nobleman's Epistle, which Professor Cowler has attributed to Pope. Whether we find Pope's hand directly in the challenge and the Most Proper Reply or not, it would be difficult to deny his influence on this mini-campaign, which so strongly served his interest.

Hervey was right in seeing the advertisements as dangerous, but most probably they were a form of bluff or trap. If the aim of The Craftsman and/or Pope had been to publish the lampoon on Sherwin, they would simply have done it. Hervey told Henry Fox that the printer of The Craftsman (probably Richard Francklin rather than Henry Haines) had sent a copy of the lampoon to Sherwin and asked him to sign a certificate saying that Hervey was the author of the Epistle from a Nobleman. Sherwin, secured by Hervey's deceit, declared, 'Let him print if he dares.'[33] This provides the vital clue to the non-publication of the 'Letter to a Noble Lord' and possibly to the double publication of the original attack on the imitator of Horace. If Hervey would not admit publicly to writing the Epistle, Pope could not with any dignity or safety publish the 'Letter to a Noble Lord' attacking him for writing it. Dr. Sherwin's certificate would have given him the go-ahead, but Sherwin refused to sign it. The Craftsman's challenge to own up or re-


Page 204
tract was similarly unsuccessful. Perhaps, and this can be no more than speculation, Hervey was similarly approached over the Verses. The aim this time would have been to get an assurance they were by Lady Mary. The threat would have been to publish them if the information was not forthcoming. Hervey's response may have been to cry 'publish and be damned' and to order his own rival edition. Hence the signs of haste—a loosely conceived title, for example—in the Roberts edition. The Verses publisher would then have gone ahead as threatened, printing 'By a Lady' on the title page, as the closest he could get to holding Lady Mary responsible. Publication of the two versions on the very same day would still be a coincidence, but one easy to explain: one edition would have motivated the other without having to be published first.

Pope's role in the publication of the Verses is not established beyond reasonable doubt, but I think it provides the best available explanation for the known facts: the oddity of the dual publication; the coincidental publication of the Essay on Man; Pope's immediate knowledge and use of the fact of publication; the involvement of Dodd and Woodfall; the advertising campaign; the republication with To Arbuthnot. The manoeuvres with a manuscript in order to get the authorship of An Epistle from a Nobleman declared seem to reveal a parallel case. There can be no doubt that controversy over the Horatian satires benefited Pope by heightening the success of the Essay on Man deception. And he was glad to have an 'avowed libel' by Lady Mary that justified his attacks and saved him from the embarrassment of a retraction. It also gave an impetus to To Arbuthnot and the major projects of the following years. The Verses justified a full act of self-vindication, an explanation of the writer as well as of his works. If Pope was behind publication of the Verses the act has a significance to parallel Johnson's famous letter to Chesterfield rejecting the power of patronage. Verses circulating privately represented a narrow circle of power, a circle to which Pope had no direct access. The 'Letter to a Noble Lord', printed but only circulated privately, represents a curious half-solution; but public attack and publick response gave Pope a voice. In the Advertisement to To Arbuthnot he noted that the attack on him went beyond his writings 'of which being publick the Publick judge' to his person, morals, and family. His response was to draw them before the public judgement also. In the short term the tactic was a success, but the history of his reputation (like that of the British Royal Family) shows the dangers of such attempts to manipulate the boundaries of the public sphere.