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Not to search too deeply into the reason hereof, I will only observe as a fact, that every week for these two months past, the town has been persecuted with b pamphlets, advertisements, letters, and weekly essays, not only against the wit and writings, but against the character and person of Mr. Pope. And that of all those men who have received pleasure from his works, which by modeft computation may be about a chundred thousand in these kingdoms of England and Ireland; (not to mention Jersey,
prefixed, for the most part at random. But such was the Number of Poets eminent in that art, that some one or other took every letter to himself. All fell into so violent a fury, that for half a year, or more, the common News-papers (in most of which they had some property, as being hired writers) were filled with the most abusive falsehonds and fcurrilities they could possibly devise ; a liberty no ways to be wondered at in those people, and in those papers, that, for many years, during the uncontrolled Licence of the press, had aspersed almost all the great characters of the age; and this with impunity, their own persons and names being utterly secret and obscure. This gave Mr. Pope the thought, that he had now some opportunity of doing good, by detecting and dragging into light these common Enemies of mankind; since to invalidate this universal Nander, it sufficed to thew what contemptible men were the authors of it. He was not without hopes, that by manifesting the dulness of those who had only malice to recommend them; either the booksellers would not find their account in employing them, or the men themselves, when discovered, want courage to proceed in so unlawful an occupation. This it was that gave birth to the Dunciad ; and he thought it an happiness, that by the late flood of Nander on himself, he had acquired such a peculiar right over their Names as was necessary to his design.
b pamphlets, advertisements, &c.] See the Lift of thofe anonymous papers, with their dates and authors annexed, inferted before the Poem.
c about a hundred thousand) It is surprizing with what stupidity this preface, which is almost a continued irony, was taken by those authors. All such passages as these were understood by Curl, Cook, Cibber, and others, to be serious. Here the Laureate (Letter to Mr. Pope, p. 9.) « Tho' I grant the Dunciad a better poem of its kind than ever was « writ; yet, when I read it with those vain-glorious encumbrances of “ Notes and Remarks upon it, &c. it is amazing, that you, who “ have writ with such malterly spirit upon the ruling Paffion, should “ be so blind a Nave to your own, as not to see how far a low avarice
of Praise,” &c. (taking it for granted that the notes of Scriblerus and others, were the author's own.)
Guernsey, the Orcades, those in the new world, and foreigners who have translated him into their languages) of all this number not a man hath stood up to say one word in his defence.
The only exception is the d author of the following poem, who doubtless had either a better insight into the grounds of this clamour, or a better opinion of Mr. Pope's integrity, join'd with a greater personal love for him, than any other of his numerous friends and admirers.
Further, that he was in his peculiar intimacy, appcars from the knowledge he manifests of the most private authors of all the anonymous pieces against him, and from his having in this poem attacked eno man living, who had not before printed, or published, some scandal againit this gentleman.
How I came pofsest of it, is no concern to the reader ; but it would have been a wrong to him had I detain'd the publication ; since those names which are its chief orna. ments die off daily so fast, as must render it too soon unintelligible. If it provoke the author to give us a more perfect edition, I have my end.
Who he is I cannot say, and (which is a great pity) there is certainly nothing in his style and manner of writing, which can distinguish or discover him : For if it bears any resemblance to that of Mr. Pope, 'tis not improbable but it might be done on purpose, with a view to have it pass for his. But by the frequency of his allusions to Virgil, and a labour'd (not to say affected) fortness in
d The author of the following poem, &c.] A very plain irony, speaking of Mr. Pope himself,
• The publisher in these words went a little too far : But it is certain, whatever names the reader finds that are unknown to him, are of such; and the exception is only of two or three, whose dulness, impudent scurrility, or self-conceit, all mankind agreed to have justly entitled them to a place in the Dunciad.
f there is certainly nothing in bis ftyle, &c] This irony had fmall effect in concealing the author. The Dunciad, imperfect as it was, had not been published two days, but the whole Town gave it to Mr. Pope,
imitation of him, I should think him more an admirer of the Roman poet than of the Grecian, and in that not of the same taste with his friend.
I have been well inform’d, that this work was the labour of full & fix years of his life, and that he wholly retired himself from all the avocations and pleasures of the world, to attend diligently to its correction and perfection; and fix years more he intended to bestow upon it, as it should seem by this verse of Statius, which was cited at the head of his manuscript,
Oh mibi biffenos multum vigilata per annos,
Duncia h! Hence also we learn the true title of the poem ; which with the fame certainty as we call that of Homer the Iliad, of Virgil the Æneid, of Camoens the Lafiad, we may pronounce, could have been, and can be no other than
The D UN CI A D. It is ftyled Heroic, as being doubly fo ; not only with respect to its nature, which, according to the best rules of the ancients, and stricteit ideas of the moderns, is critically fuch; but also with regard to the heroical disposition and high courage of the writer, who dar'd to stir up such a formidable, irritable, and implacable race of mortals.
There may arise some obscurity in chronology from the
8 the labour of full fix years, &c.] This also'was honestly and seri. ously believed by divers gentlemen of the Dunciad. J. Ralph. pref, to Sawney. “ We are told it was the labour of fix years, with the ut. « moft affiduity and application : It is no great compliment to the au. " thor's sense, to have employed fo large a part of his life," &c. So also Ward, pref. to Durgen, “ The Dunciad, as the publisher very « wisely confeffes, cost the author fix years retirement from all the * pleasures of life; though it is somewhat difficult to conceive, from « either its bulk or beauty, that it could be so long in hatching, &c. « But the length of time and closeness of application were mentioned “ to prepossess the reader with a good opinion of it."
They just as well understood what Scriblerus said of the Poem.
h The prefacer to Curl's Key, p. took this word to be really in Statius : “ By a quibble on the word Duncia, the Dunciad is formed," Mr. Ward also follows him in the fame opinion,
Names in the poem, by the inevitable removal of some authors, and insertion of others, in their niches. For whoever will consider the unity of the whole design, will be sensible, that the poem was not made for these authors, but these authors for the poem. I should judge that they were clapp'd in as they rose, fresh and fresh, and chang'd from day to day; in like manner as, when the old boughs wither, we thrust new ones into a chimney.
I would not have the reader too much troubled or anxious, if he cannot decypher them ; since when he shall have found them out, he will probably know no more of the perfons than before.
Yet we judg’d it better to preserve them as they are, than to change them for fictitious names ; by which the satire would only be multiplied, and applied to many inItead of one. Had the hero, for instance, been called Codrus, how many would have affirm'd him to have been Mr. T. Mr. E. Sir R.B.&c. but now all that unjuk fcandal is saved by calling him by a name, which by good luck happens to be that of a real person,
A LIST of
cation of the DUNCIAD; with the true Names of
EFLECTIONS critical and satyrical on a late Rhap
sody, called An Essay on Criticism. By Mr. Dennis, printed by B. Lintot, price 6 d.
A New Rehearsal, or Bays the younger ; containing an Examen of Mr. Rowe's plays, and a word or two on Mr. Pope's Rape of the Lock. Anon. [by Charles Gildon] printed for J. Roberts, 1714. price is.
Homerides, or a Letter to Mr. Pope, occasioned by his intended translation of Homer. By Sir Iliad Dogrel. [Tho. Burnet and G. Ducket esquires] printed for W. Wilkins, 1715. price 9 d.
Æfop at the Bear-garden ; a vision, in imitation of the Temple of Fame. By Mr. Preston. Sold by John Morphew, 1715. price 6 d.
The Catholic Poet, or Protestant Barnaby's Sorrowful Lamentation ; a Ballad about Homer's Iliad. By Mrs. Centlivre, and others, 1715. price i d.
- An Epilogue to a Puppet-fnew at Bath, concerning the said Iliad. By George Ducket esq. printed by E. Curl.
A complete Key to the What d'ye call it. Anon. [by Griffin a player, supervised by Mr. Th-] printed by J. Roberts, 1715
A true Character of Mr. P. and his writings, in a letter to a friend. Anon (Dennis) printed for S. Popping, 1716. price 3 d.
The Confederates, a Farce. By Joseph Gay (J. D. Breval) printed for R. Burleigh, 1717, price i s.
Remarks úpon Mr. Pope's translation of Homer ; with two letters concerning the Windsor Forest, and the Temple of Fame. By Mr. Dennis, printed for E. Curl, 1717, price i s. 6 d.
Satyrs on the translators of Homer, Mr. P. and Mr. T. Anon. [Bez. Morris) 1717, price 6 d.
The Triumvirate : or, a Letter from Palæmon to Celia at Bath. Anon (Leonard Welfted) 1711, Folio, price 1 s.
The Battle of Poets, an heroic poem. By Tho. Cooke, printed for J. Roberts, Folio, 1725.
Memoirs of Lilliput. Anon. (Eliza Haywood) octavo, printed in 1727
An Efay on Criticism, in profe. By the Author of the Critical History of England (). Oldmixon) octavo, print
Gulliveriana and Alexandriana ; with an ample preface and critique on Swift and Pope's Miscellanies. By Jonathan Smedley, printed by J. Roberts, octavo, 1728.