James M. Osborn (ed.), Joseph Spence: Observations, Anecdotes, and Characters of Books and Men: Collected from Conversation, Vol. 2

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pg 631appendix a to § 310Which Gardening Poem?

Pope's bibliographer, R. H. Griffith, has established that the 1728 reprint of Gardiner's translation of Rapin's Of Gardens was revised by Pope and Walter Harte ('Pope on the Art of Gardening', Univ. of Texas Studies in English, xxxi, 1952, 52–56; see also § 338). Hence, he contends that Pope's reference to 'the gardening poem' means this translation of Rapin, and not the Epistle to Burlington, as Bateson suggested in his discussion. Further examination of the subject upholds Bateson's contention:

1. There is nothing in Rapin's poem that fits the requirements of the context ('the happiness of contentment. Prodigality flings away all in wrong tastes'). The Epistle to Burlington opens with this idea.

2. Chronology supports Bateson: the edition of Rapin had appeared in 1728, but in 1730 Pope said 'the gardening poem will be of service', the Epistle to Burlington not yet having been completed.

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