[POPE, Alexander (attributed to)]. Manuscript, in an unidentified hand but described by John Wilson Croker as in the autograph of Alexander Pope, of a poem entitled 'The Confederate Translators', n.p., n.d. [1?], 31 lines of verse written in brown ink in a cursive hand, 1½ pages, 8vo, integral blank leaf (annotated in a later hand on verso); tipped on to a leaf, together with: CROKER, John Wilson (1780-1857). Two autograph letters signed to John Payne Collier, West Molesey, 11 February 1850 and 19 February 1855, 3 pages, 8vo. Provenance: John Payne Collier (lot 1053 in the sale of his library on 7 October 1884) -- purchased through James F. Drake, New York, from the Barret Sale, Parke-Bernet, 1 November 1950, lot 944, $100.
The poem refers to a collaboration between Congreve, Vanbrugh and [William] Walsh. Opening innocently, 'Oft has Apollo with harmonious sounds Oft has he strove w[i]th various antick rounds To entertain ye fair yet now he sees Nothing but sweet variety will please', it continues with mocking references to all three, but placing Walsh above the other two: 'The two Dramatik bards contend in wit Which still to Walsh's judgment they submit ... When drest in patch work by ye tripple pen Moliere can't know his country put again'. The reference is to their collaboration in March 1704 in a translation of Monsieur de Pourceaugnac, a farce by Molière, entitled for its London production Squire Trelooby with the setting transferred from Limoges to Cornwall. The following month a play of the same title was published anonymously, clearly based on the same work and almost certainly by the same authors (W.C.Ward. Sir John Vanbrugh, 1893, vol. I, introduction). The title of the present poem may also owe something to Vanbrugh's play The Confederacy, published in 1705.
Croker's letter of 1855 returns and comments on the present manuscript, asserting that it is in Pope's autograph, 'tho' rather less neat than his earlier & less free than his later hand'. His letter of 1850 refers to a verse broadside (also apparently belonging to Payne Collier) of which Croker has a copy given him by 'the late Mr Murray' who purchased it with other 'Popiana', and returns notes by [Edmund] Curll (the bookseller with whom Pope quarrelled and who was the source of various attributions). In the sale catalogue of John Payne Collier's library the manuscript (lot 1053) is described as a poem in Pope's autograph, 'against Vanbrugh, Congreve and Walsh, for their joint farce of Squire Trelooby, written when Pope was sixteen'. The broadside referred to (lot 1029 in the same sale) was Pope's verses To the ingenious Mr Moore, Author of the celebrated Worm-Powder (1st edition, 1716, including lines suppressed in later editions). The poem is not given in the Collected Works ed. N. Ault and J. Butt (1954), nor in the 1871 edition by W. Elwin and W.J. Courthorpe, which uses Croker's material.