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A D VERTISE M E N T
To the FIRST EDITION with Notes,
in Quarto, 1729.
T will be sufficient to say of this edition, that the
reader has here a much more correct and plete copy of the DUNCIAD, than has hitherto appear. ed. I cannot answer but fome mistakes may have flipt into it; but a vast number of others will be prevented by the names being now not only fet at length, but justified by the authorities and reafons given. I make no doubt, the author's own motive to use real rather than feigned names, was his care to preserve the innocent froin any false application ; whereas, in the former editions, which had no more than the initial letters, he was made, by keys printed here, to hurt the inoffenfive ; and (what was worse) to abuse his friends, by an impression at Dublin.
The commentary which attends this poem was fent me from feveral hands, and confequently must be un. equally written; yet will have one advantage over most conimentaries, that it is not made upon conjectures, or at a remote distance of time: And the read. er cannot but derive one pleasure from the very Obfcurity of the perfons it treats of, that it partakes of the nature of a Secret, which most people love to be let
into, tho' the men or the things be ever so inconsiderable or trivial.
Of the Persons it was judged proper to give some account: for since it is only in this monument that they muft expect to furvive and here furvive they will, as long as the English tongue shall remain such as it was in the reigns of Queen Anne and King GEORGE,) it seemed but humanity to be tow a word or two upon each, just to tell what he was, what he writ, when he lived, and when he died.
If a word or two more are added upon the chief of fenders, 'tis only as a paper pinned upon the breast, to mark the enormities for which they suffered; Jest the correction only should be remembered, and the crime forgotten.
In some articles it was thought fufficient, barely to transcribe from Jacob, Curl, and other writers of their own rank, who were much better acquainted with them than any of the authors of this comment can pretend to be. Most of them had drawn each other's characters on certain occasions ; but the few here 'inserted are all that could be saved from the general destruction of such works.
Of the part of Scriblerus I need say nothing; his manner is well enough known, and approved by all but those who are too much concerned to be judges.
The imitations of the Ancients are added, to gratify those who either never read, or may have forgotten them; together with furne of the Parodies and allusions to the most excellent
of the Moderns. If, from
the frequency of the former, any man think the poem too much a Cento, our poet will but appear to have done the same thing in jest which Boileau did in ear. nelt; and upon which Vida, Fracastorius, and many of the most eminent Latin poets, professedly valued themselves.
To the FIRST EDITION of
The Fourth Book of the DUNCIAD, when
printed separately in the Year 1742.
E apprehend it can be deemed no injury to the
author of the three first books of the Dunciad, that we publish this Fourth. It was found merely by accident, in taking a survey of the Library of a late eminent nobleman; but in so blotted a conditon, and in so many detached pieces, as plainly shewed it to be not only incorrect, but unfinished. That the author of the three first books had a design to extend and complete his poem in this manner, appears from the dissertation prefixed to it, where it faid, that the design is more extensive, and that we may expect other episodes to complete it : And from the declaration in the
argu. ment to the third book, that the accompliskment of the prophefies therein would be the theme hereafter of a greater Dunciad. But whether or no he be the author
of this, we declare ourselves ignorant. If he be, we are no more to be blamed for the publication of it, than Tucca and Varius for that of the last fix books of the Æneid, tho' perhaps inferior to the former.
If any person be possessed of a more perfect copy of this work, or of any other fragments of it, and will communicate them to the publisher, we shall make the next edition more complete : In which we also promise to insert any Criticisms that shall be published (if at all to the purpose) with the Names of the Allthors; or any letters fent us (tho' not to the purpose) shall yet be printed under the title of Epiftola Obscu. rorum Virorum ; which, together with some others of the same kind formerly laid by for that end, may make no unpleasant addition to the future impressions
of this poem.
A D V ER TIS E M E N T
Notes on the works of this poet. Before I had the happiness of his acquaintance, I had written a commentary on his Essay on Man, and have since finished another on the Flay on Criticism. There was one already on the Dunciad, which had met with general appro
bation : but I still thought some additions were wanting (of a more serious kind) to the humorous notes of Scriblerus, and even to those written by Mr Cleland, Dr Arbuthnot, and others. I had lately the pleasure to pass some months with the author in the country, where I prevailed upon him to do what I had long defired, and favour me with his explanation of several paffages in his works. It happened, that just at that juncture was published a ridiculous book against him, full of Personal Reflections, which furnished him with a lucky opportunity of improving This Poem, by giving it the only thing it wanted, a more considerable Hero. He was always fenfible of its defect in that particular, and owned he had let it pass with the He. to it had, purely for want of a better; not entertaining the least expectation that such an one was reserved for this post, as has since obtained the Laurel: But Gince that had happened, he could no longer deny this justice either to him or the Dunciad. And
yet I will venture to say, there was another motive which had still more weight with our Author: This perfou was one, who, from every Folly (not to fay Vice) of which another would be ashamed, has constantly derived a Vanity; and therefore was the man in the world who would least be hurt by it.