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POPE, Alexander (1688-1744). Autograph letter signed ("A: Pope") to John Caryll, Jr., n.p., 8 November 1712. 3 pages, 4to, address panel in Pope's hand on p.4, central fold neatly strengthed, noted "Answered" at top of p.1, minor soiling and spotting. With two letters from John Murray relating to this letter and to Pope.
THE PROPERTY OF A LADY
POPE, Alexander (1688-1744). Autograph letter signed ("A: Pope") to John Caryll, Jr., n.p., 8 November 1712. 3 pages, 4to, address panel in Pope's hand on p.4, central fold neatly strengthed, noted "Answered" at top of p.1, minor soiling and spotting. With two letters from John Murray relating to this letter and to Pope.

Details
POPE, Alexander (1688-1744). Autograph letter signed ("A: Pope") to John Caryll, Jr., n.p., 8 November 1712. 3 pages, 4to, address panel in Pope's hand on p.4, central fold neatly strengthed, noted "Answered" at top of p.1, minor soiling and spotting. With two letters from John Murray relating to this letter and to Pope.

"I WRITE IN SOME HEAT" -- AN IMPORTANT LETTER, COMMENTING ON HIS INSPIRATION FOR THE 'RAPE OF THE LOCK'

A lengthy letter from Pope to the son of his close friend, John Caryll (ca 1666-1736). Pope writes that a passage in Caryll's last letter is "the kindest I ever received...." Pope commends Caryll and but comments: "Our nominal, unperforming friends! As for my own pt, whom have I been ever able to oblige? Whom have I ever serv'd to that degree? By what Right of Merit can I pretend to expect a signal service from any man? I am serious by far from imagining that because people have twice or thrice been civill to me, they are bound always to serve me; the prior obligation was mine, not theirs. Or (if they like my Poetry) that because they laugh with me, they will therefore cry for me-- But I must be content to take my fortune, will all my own sins upon my own head..."

Pope then alludes to the controversy over the incident described in the "Rape of the Lock" (first published the same year, in the 'Miscellanies' published by Lintot). The young Lord Petre had cut off a lock of hair of Miss Arabella Fermor, a beauty of the day, who was offended. Both were known to Pope, and the poem was written at the suggestion of their common friend, John Caryll, in order to palliate the quarrel with a little humor. In Pope's poem, Lord Petre is represented by the baron, "Sir Plume" is Sir George Brown and Thalestris his sister, Miss Fermor. The incident is referred to explicitly by Pope: "Sir Plume blusters (I hear) nay the celebrated Lady Herself is offended, which is stranger, not at herself but me: Mr. W (they say) is gloomy upon the matter, the Tyrant meditates revenge, nay the Distressed Dame herself has been taught to suspect I serv'd her but by halves, & without Prudence. Is not this enough to make a man for the future neither presume to blame disjustice, or pity innocence, as in Mr. W's wife, to make a writer never be tender of another's character or Fame as in Belinda's, to act with more Reserve and write with less?..."

"I can be satisfied in my conscience of having acted with honour, & (as to the last) I dare stand to posterity in the character of an un-bigotted Roman Catholic & Impartial Critick; I dare trust future times, & lye down contented under the Impotence of my present censurers, which like other impotence, would naturally vex & sieze one more, the less it can do. As for my writings, I pray God they may never have other enemies than those they have yet met with, which are first Priests, secondly Women (who are the fools of Priests) & thirdly Beaus & Fopps (who are the fools of Women). You see, I write in some heat; but I would not do so if I had not a great idea of the friendship of him to whom I write. This Frankness, the less discreet it is, is the more an Act of Trust in me to you, my mind is really a little sower'd by all this, & yet more by a piece of sad news Mr. Southcote yesterday sent me, that the Rascally Scribbler of the Flying Post has maliciously reflected upon Mr. Caryll, on account of his crossing the Seas at this time." He pledges his support for Caryll's father: "A am on fire to snatch the first opportunity I ever had of doing something (at least endeavoring to do something) for your Father & my Friend. I hope he is not now to be told with what Ardour I love & with what Esteem I honour him; any more than you how sincerely and affectionately I shall ever be." A postcript states that "the Verses you inquire about were never written upon you any where else than in the letter I sent you."

Pope first met John Caryll, the elder, at the Englefields of Whiteknights. Caryll's suggestion of "The Rape of the Lock is acknowledged in the opening of the poem: 'This verse to Caryll, Muse, is due. The hero of the piece was his cousin and neighbour, Lord Petre.' The correspondence between Pope and Caryll covers the period from 1710 to 1735. Some of Pope's letters are addressed to Caryll's son (as here), who married Lady Mary Mackenzie, daughter of Lord Seaforth, and died young in 1718. The present letter provides important background for the writing of one of Pope's most celebrated poems, and provides insight into his inspiration behind it.
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