14 May 1712
Sir Richard Steele, extract from letter to Pope, 1 June 1712, Corresp., i. 146.
Steele (1672-1729), essayist and pamphleteer, was friendly towards Pope, and the 'Messiah' first appeared in The Spectator, no. 378, which was written by Steele. In response to Steele's comments, Pope revised the couplet,
Before him Death, the grisly Tyrant flies;
He wipes the Tears for ever from our Eyes.
It reads as follows in 1717,
No Sigh, no Murmur the wide World shall hear,
From ev'ry Face he wipes off ev'ry Tear.
In adamantine Chains shall Death be bound,
And Hell's grim Tyrant feel th'eternal Wound. (ll. 45-8)
See Twickenham, i. 99-100, 117.
... I have turn'd to every verse and chapter, and think you have preserv'd the sublime and heavenly spirit throughout the whole, especially at-Hark a glad voice [l. 29]-and-the lamb with wolves shall graze [l. 77]-There is but one line which I think below the original,
He wipes the tears for ever from our eyes.