Alexander Pope: The Critical Heritage

By John Barnard | Go to book overview

ELEGY TO THE MEMORY OF AN UNFORTUNATE LADY

3 June 1717


36.

Blacklock is 'thrown into Agitation'

c. 1742

Thomas Blacklock, conversation with David Hume c. 1742, reported in a letter of 15 October 1754, from Hume to Rev. Joseph Spence, Anecdotes, ed. S.W. Singer (1820), p. 448.

Hume was writing to Spence on behalf of Blacklock (1721-91), the self-educated blind bard of Dumfries.

I soon found [Blacklock] to possess a very delicate Taste, along with a passionate Love of Learning…. I repeated to him Mr. Pope's Elegy to the Memory of an Unfortunate Lady, which I happen'd to have by heart: And though I be a very bad Reciter, I saw it affected him extremely. His eyes, indeed, the great Index of the Mind, cou'd express no Passion: but his whole Body was thrown into Agitation: That Poem was equally qualified, to touch the Delicacy of his Taste, and the Tenderness of his Feelings.

-143-

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