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he employed some underlings to perform what, | morality), to wit, plagiarism, from the inventive according to his proposals, should come from his and quaint-conceited own hands." To which heavy charge we can in truth oppose nothing but the words of
MR. POPE'S PROPOSAL for the ODYYSSEY (PRINTED BY J. WATTS, JAN. 10, 1724.) "I take this occasion to declare that the subscription for Shakespeare belongs wholly to Mr. Tonson: and that the benefit of this proposal is not solely for my own use, but for that of two of my friends, who have assisted me in this work." But these very gentlemen are extolled above our poet himself in another of Mist's Journals, March 30, 1728, saying, "That he would not advise Mr. Pope to try the experiment again of getting a great part of a book done by assistants, lest those extraneous parts should unhappily ascend to the sub-month before that play was acted, Jan. 27, 1726-7, lime, and retard the declension of the whole." that "These verses, which he had before given Behold! these underlings are become good him leave to insert in it, would be known for his, writers! some copies being got abroad. He desires, nevertheless, that since the lines had been read in his comedy to several, Mr. P. would not deprive it of them," &c. Surely, if we add the testimonies of the lord Bolingbroke, of the lady to whom the said verses were originally addressed, of Hugh Bethel, Esq. and others, who knew them as our tes-author's, long before the said gentleman composed his play; it is hoped, the ingenuous, that affect not errour, will rectify their opinion by the suffrage of so honourable personages,
And yet followeth another charge, insinuating no less than his enmity both to church and state, which could come from no other informer than the said
If any say, that before the said proposals wore printed, the subscription was begun without declaration of such assistance; verily those who set it on foot, or (as the term is) secured it, to wit, the right honourable the lord viscount Harcourt, were he living, would testify, and the right honourable the lord Bathurst, now living, doth tify, the same is a falsehood.
JAMES-MOORE SMITH, GENT.
"Upon reading the third volume of Pope's Miscellanies, 1 found five lines which I-thought excellent; and happening to praise them, a gentleman produced a modern comedy (the Rivo Modes) published last year, where were the same verses to a tittle.
Sorry I am, that persons professing to be learned, or of whatever rank of authors, should either falsely tax, or be falsely taxed. Yet let us, who are only reporters, be impartial in our citations, and proceed.
"These gentlemen are undoubtedly the first plagiaries, that pretend to make a reputation by stealing from a man's works in his own life-time, and out of a public print '," Let us join to this what is writ n by the author of the Rival Modes, the said Mr. James-Moore Smith, in a letter to our author himself, who had informed him a
MIST'S JOURNAL, JUNE 8, 1728.
MR. JAMES-MOORE SMITH.
"Mr. Addison raised this author from obscurity, obtained him the acquaintance and friendship "The Memoirs of a Parish Clerk was a very of the whole body of our nobility, and transferred dull and unjust abuse of a person who wrote in his powerful interests with those great men to this defence of our religion and constitution, and who rising bard, who frequently levied by that means has been dead many years." This seemeth also unusual contributions on the public." Which most untrue; it being known to divers that these surely cannot be, if, as the author of the Dunciad Memoirs were written at the seat of the lord HarDissected reporteth, Mr. Wycherley had before court in Oxfordshire, before that excellent person introduced him into a familiar acquaintance with (bishop Burnett's) death, and many years before the greatest peers and brightest wits then liv-the appearance of that history, of which they are ing." pretended to be an abuse. Most true it is, that "No sooner (saith the same journalist) was his Mr. Moore had such a design, and was himself the body lifeless, but this author, reviving his resent- man who prest Dr. Arbuthnot and Mr. Pope to ment, libelled the memory of his departed friend; assist him therein; and that he borrowed those and what was still more heinous, made the scan- memoirs of our author, when that history came dal public." Grievous the accusation! unknown forth, with intent to turn them to such abuse. the accuser! the person accused, no witness in his But being able to obtain from our author but one own cause; the person, in whose regard accused, single hint, and either changing his mind, or havdead! But if there be living any one nobleman ing more, mind than ability, he contented himself whose friendship, yea any one gentleman whose to keep the said memoirs, and read them as his subscription, Mr. Addison procured to our author, own to all his acquaintance. A noble person there let him stand forth, that truth may appear! is, into whose company Mr. Pope once chanced Amicus Plato, amicus Socrates, sed magis amica to introduce him, who well remembereth the converitas. In verity, the whole story of the libel is versation of Mr. Moore to have turned upon the a lie; witness those persons of integrity, who, se. contempt he had for the work of that reverend veral years before Mr. Addison's decease, did see prelate, and how full he was of a design he deand approve of the said verses, in no wise a libel,clared himself to have of exposing it." This nobut a friendly rebuke sent privately in our author's ble person is the earl of Peterborougb. own hand to Mr. Addison himself, and never made public, till after their own journals, and Curll had printed the same. One name alone, which I am here authorised to declare, will sufficiently evince this truth, that of the right honourable the earl of Burlington.
Next is he taxed with a crime (in the opinion of some authors, I doubt, more heinous than any in
Here in truth should we crave pardon of all the foresaid right honourable and worthy personages, for having mentioned them in the same page with such weekly riff-raff railers and rhymers; but that we had their ever-honour'd commands for the
Daily Journal, March 18, 1728.
To the same tune also singeth that learned clerk, of Suffolk,
in his elegant and philosophical poem of the Sea
Although not sweeter his own Homer sings, Yet is his life the more endearing song.
1 Verses to Mr. P. on his translation of Homer. 2 Poem prefixed to his works.
In his poemas, printed for B. Lintot.
4 Universal Passion, Sat. i.
MR. WILLIAM BROOME,
Thus, nobly rising in fair Virtue's canse, From thy own life transcribe th' unerring laws'. And, to close all, hear the reverend dean of St. Patrick's:
"A soul with every virtue fraught,
A genius for each business fit,
Let us now recreate thee by turning to the other side, and showing his character drawn by those with whom he never conversed, and whose countenances he could not know, though turned against him: first again commencing with the high voiced and never enough quoted
MR. JOHN DENNIS, Who, in his Reflections on the Essay on Criticism, thus describeth him: "A little affected hypocrite, who has nothing in his mouth but candour, truth, friendship, good-nature, humanity, and magnanimity. He is so great a lover of falsehood, that, whenever he has a mind to calumniate his contemporaries, he brands them with some defect for which all their friends and acquaintance comwhich was just contrary to some good quality, mended them. He seems to have a particular pique to people of quality, and authors of that Omer's."-But in the character of Mr. P. and rank. He must derive his religion from St. his writings (printed by S. Popping, 1716) he saith, Though he is a professor of the worst religion, yet he laughs at it;" but that, " nevertheless, he is a virulent papist; and yet a pillar for the church of England."
Of both which opinions
MR. LEWIS THEOBALD
seems also to be; declaring in Mist's Journal of June 22, 1718, "That, if he is not shrewdly abused, he made it his practice to cackle to both parties in their own sentiments." But, as to his pique against people of quality, the same journalist doth not agree, but saith (May 8, 1728), "He had by some means or other, the acquaintance and friendship of the whole body of our nobility."
However contradictory this may appear, Mr. Dennis and Gildon, in the character last cited, make it all plain, by assuring us, "That he is a creature that reconciles all contradictions: he is a beast, and a man; a Whig, and a Tory; a writer (at one and the same time) of Guardians and Examiners; an asserter of liberty, and of the dispensing power of kings; a jesuitical professor of truth; a base and a foul pretender to candour." So that, upon the whole account, we must con. clude him either to have been a great hypocrite, or a very honest man; a terrible imposer upon both parties, or very moderate to either.
Be it as to the judicious reader shall seem good. Sure it is, he is little favoured of certain authors, whose wrath is perilous: for one declares he ought to have a price set on his head, and to be hunted
In his poems, and at the end of the Odyssey. 2 The names of two weekly papers.
down as a wild beast 1.
Another protests that he does not know what may happen; advises bim to ensure his person; says, he has bitter enemies, and expressly declares it will be well if he escapes with his life. One desires he would cut his own throat, or hang himself. But Pasquin seemed rather inclined it should be done by the government, representing him engaged in grievous designs with a lord of parliament then under prosecution. Mr. Dennis himself hath written to a minister, that he is one of the most dangerous persons in this kingdom'; and assureth the public, that he is an open and mortal enemy to his country; a monster, that will, one day, show as daring a soul as a mad Indian, who runs a muck to kill the first Christian he meets". Another gives information of treason discovered in his poem 7. Mr. Curll boldly supplies an imperfect verse with kings and princesses . And one Matthew Concanen, yet more impudent, publishes at length the two most sacred names in this nation, as members of the Dunciad?!
This is prodigious! yet it is almost as strange, that in the midst of these invectives his greatest enemies have (I know not how) borne testimony to some merit in him.
in censuring his Shakespeare, declares, “He has so great an esteem for Mr. Pope, and so high an opinion of his genius and excellencies; that, notwithstanding he professes a veneration almost rising to idolatry for the writings of this inimitable poet, he would be very loth even to do him justice, at the expense of that other gentleman's character 10."
Smedley, Pref. to Gulliveriana, p. 14. 16.
3 Gulliveriana, p. 332.
calls him a great master of our tongue; declares "the purity and perfection of the English language to be found in his Homer; and, saying there are more good verses in Dryden's Virgil than in any other work, except this of our author only '."
Page 6, 7. of the Preface, by Concanen, to a book called, A Collection of all the Letters, Essays, Verses, and Advertisements, occasioned by Pope and Swift's Miscellanies. Printed for A. Moore, octavo, 1712.
Key to the Dunciad, 3d edit. p. 18.
A List of Persons, &c. at the end of the forementioned Collection of all the Letters, Essays, &c.
1 Introduction to his Shakespeare Restored, in quarto, p. 3.
"Commentary on the duke of Buckingham's Essay, octavo, 1721. p. 97, 98.
MR. CHARLES CILDON, after having violently attacked him in many pieces, at last came to wish from his heart, "That- Mr. Pope would be prevailed upon to give us Ovid's Epistles by his hand, for it is certain we see the original of Sappho to Phaon with much more life and likeness in his version, than in that of sir Car Scrope. And this (he adds) is the more to be The Essay on the Dun iad also owns, p. 25. it wished, because in the English tongue we have is very full of beautiful images. But the panescarcely any thing truly and naturally written gyric, which crowns all that can be said on this upon love "." He also, in taxing sir Richard Black-poem, is bestowed by our laureate, more for his heterodox opinions of Homer, chalMR. COLLEY CIBBER, lengeth him to answer what Mr. Pope hath said in his preface to that poet.
MIST'S JOURNAL, JUNE 8, 1728. Although he says, "The smooth numbers of the Dunciad are all that recommend it, nor has it any other merit ;" yet that same paper hath these words; "The author is allowed to be a perfect master of an easy and elegant versification. In all his works we find the most happy turns, and natural similies, wonderfully short and thick Sown."
who grants it to be a better poem of its kind than ever was writ:" but ad ls, it was a victory over a parcel of poor wretches, whom it was al
1 Theobald, Letter in Mist's Journal, June 22, ways cowardice to conquer.-A man might as well 1728.
triumph for having killed so many silly flies that offended him. Could he have let them alone, by this time, poor souls! they had all been buried in oblivion "." Here we see our excellent laureate Rape of the Lock, p. 12. and in the last page of allows the justice of the satire on every man in it, that treatise.
"Preface to Rem. on the
but himself; as the great Mr. Dennis did before him.
MR. DENNIS AND MR. GILDON, in the most furious of all their works (the fore
1 In his prose Essay on Criticism.
Printed by J. Roberts, 1742, p. 11.
3 Battle of the Poets, folio, p. 15.
• Printed under the title of the Progress of Dulness, duodecimo, 1728.
* Cibber's Letter to Mr. Pope, p. 9, 12.
MR. LEONARD WELSTED
thus wrote to the unknown author, on the first publication of the said essay; "I must own, after the reception which the vilest and most immoral ribaldry hath lately met with, I was surprised to see what I had long despaired, a performance deserving the name of a poet. Such, sir, is your work. It is, indeed, above all commendation, and ought to have been published in an age and country more worthy of it. If my testimony be of weight any where, you are sure to have it in the amplest manner," &c. &c. &c.
Thus we see every one of his works hath been extolled by one or other of his most inveterate enemies; and to the success of them all they do unanimously give testimony. But it is sufficient, instar omnium, to behold the great critic, Mr. Dennis, sorely lamenting it, even from the Essay on Criticism to this day of the Dunciad! "A most notorious instance (quoth he) of the depravity of genius and taste, the approbation
in concert] Hear how Mr. Dennis hath proved our mistake in this place: "As to my writing in concert with Mr. Gildon, I declare upon the ho
nour and word of a gentleman, that I never wrote so much as one line in concert with any one man whatsoever. And these two letters from Gildon will plainly show, that we are not writers in concert with each other.
The height of my ambition is to please men of the best judgment; and tinding that I have entertained my master agreeably, I have the extent of the reward of my labous.'
I had not the opportunity of hearing of your excellent pamphlet till this day. I am infinitely satisfied and pleased with it, and hope you will meet with that encouragement your admirable performance deserves,' &c. 'CH. GILDON.' "Now is it not plain that any one who sends such compliments to another, has not been used to write in partnership with him to whom he sends them?" Dennis, Remarks on the Dunciad, p. 50. Mr. Dennis is therefore welcome to take this piece to himself.
In a letter under his own hand, dated March 12, 1733.
this Essay meets with'.-I can safely affirm, that I never attacked any of these writings, unless they had success infinitely beyond their merit. This, though an empty, has been a popular scribbler. The epidemic madness of the times has given him reputation.—If, after the cruel treatment so many extraordinary men (Spenser, Lord Bacon, Ben Jonson, Milton, Butler, Otway, and others) have received from this country, for these last hundred years, I should shift the scene, and show all that penury changed at once to riot and profuseness; and more squandered away upon one object, than would have satisfied the greater part of those extraordinary men; the reader to whom this one creature should be unknown, would fancy him a prodigy of art and nature, would believe that all the great qualities of these persons were centered in him alone. But if I should venture to assure him that the people of England had made such a choice the reader would either believe me a malicious enemy, and slanderer; or that the reign of the last (queen Anne's) ministry was designed by fate to encourage fools."
But it happens, that this our poet never had any place, pension, or gratuity, in any shape, from the said glorious queen, or any of her ministers. All he owed, in the whole course of his life, to any court, was a subscription for his Homer, of 2001. from king George I. and 1001. from the prince and princess.
However, lest we imagine our Author's success was constant and universal, they acquaint us of certain works in a less degree of repute, whereof, although owned by others, yet do they assure us he is the writer. Of this sort Mr. Dennis ascribes to him two farces, whose names he does not tell, but assures us that there is not one jest in them: and an imitation of Horace, whose title he does not mention, but assures us it is much more execrable than all his works. The Daily Journal, May 11, 1728, assures us, "He is below Tom Durfey in the drama, because (as that writer thinks) the Marriage-hater matched, and the Boarding-school, are better than the What-d'ye call-it;" which is not Mr. P.'s, but Mr. Gay's. Mr. Gildon assures us, in his New Rehearsal, p. 48. "That he was writing a play of the lady Jane Grey" but it afterwards proved to be Mr. Rowe's. We are assured by another, "He wrote a pamphlet called Dr. Andrew Tripe';" which proved to be one Dr. Wagstaff's. Mr. Theobald assures us, in Mist of the 27th of April, 66 That the treatise of the Profound is very dull, and that Mr. Pope is the author of it." The writer of Gulliveriana is of another opinion; and says, "The whole, or greatest part, of the merit of this treatise must and can only be ascribed to Gulliver'." [Here, gentle reader! cannot I b smile at the strange blindness and positiveness of men; knowing the said treatise to appertain none other but to me, Martinus Scriblerus.]
We are assured, in Mist of June 8, "That | so is it of the most grave and ancient kind. his own plays and farces would better have Homer (saith Aristotle) was the first who gave adorned the Dunciad, than those of Mr. Theobald; the form, and (saith Horace) who adapted the for he had neither genlus for tragedy ner comedy." measure, to heroic poesy. But even before this, Which whether true or not, it is not easy to may be rationally presumed from what the anjudge; in as much as he had attempted neither. cients have left written, was a piece by Homer Unless we will take it for granted, with Mr. composed, of like nature and matter with this of Cibber, that his being once very angry at hearing our poet. For of epic sort it appeareth to have a friend's play abused, was an infallible proof the been, yet of matter surely not unpleasant, witplay was his own; the said Mr. Cibber thinking ness what is reported of it by the learned archit impossible for a man to be much concerned for bishop Eustathius, in Odyss. x. And accordingly any but himself: "Now let any man judge (saith Aristotle, in his Poetics, chap. iv. doth further he) by his concern, who was the true mother of set forth, that as the Iliad and Odyssey gave exthe child?" ample to tragedy, so did this poem to comedy its first idea.
But from all that hath been said, the discerning reader will collect, that it little availed our author to have any candour, since, when he declared he did not write for others, it was not credited; as little to have any modesty, since, when he declined writing in any way himself, the presumption of others was imputed to him. If he singly enterprised one great work, he was taxed of boldness and madness to a prodigy: if he took assistants in another, it was complained of, and represented as a great injury to the public'. The loftiest heroics, the lowest ballads, treatises against the state or church, satires on lords and ladies, raillery on wits and authors, squabbles with booksellers, or even full and true accounts of monsters, poisons, and murders; of any hereof was there nothing so good, nothing so bad, which hath not at one or other season been to him ascribed. If it bore no author's name, then lay he concealed; if it did, he fathered it upon that author to be yet better concealed: if it resembled any of his styles, then was it evident; if it did not, then disguised he it on set purpose. Yea, even direct oppositions in religion, principles, and politics, have equally been supposed in him inherent. Surely a most rare and singular character; of which let the reader make what he
Doubtless most commentators would hence take occasion to turn all to their author's advantage, and from the testimony of his very enemies would affirm, that his capacity was boundless, as well as his imagination; that he was a perfect master of all styles, and all arguments; and that there was in those times no other writer, in any kind, of any degree of excellence, save he himself. But as this is not our own sentiment, we shall determine on nothing but leave thee, gentle reader, to steer thy judgment equally between various opinions, and to chuse whether thou wilt incline to the testimonies of authors avowed, or of authors concealed: of those who knew him, or of those who knew him not. P.
OF THE POEM.
THIS poem, as it celebrateth the most grave and ancient of things, Chaos, Night, and Dulness:
'Cibber's Letter to Mr. P. p. 19.
2 Burnet's Homerides, p. 1. of his translation of the Iliad.
The London and Mist's Journals, on his undertaking the Odyssey.
From these authors also it should seem, that the hero, or chief personage of it was no less obscure, and his understanding and sentiments no less quaint and strange (if indeed not more so) than any of the actors of our poem. Margites was the name of this personage, whom antiquity recordeth to have been Dunce the first; and surely from what we hear of him, not unworthy to be the root of so spreading a tree, and so numerous a posterity. The poem therefore celebrating him was properly and absolutely a Dunciad; which though now unhappily lost, yet is its nature sufficiently known by the infallible tokens aforesaid. And thus it doth appear that the first Dunciad was the first epic poem, written by Homer himself, and anterior even to the Iliad or Odyssey.
Now, forasmuch as our poet hath translated those two famous works of Homer which are yet left, he did conceive it in some sort his duty to imitate that also which was lost and was therefore induced to bestow on it the same form which Homer's is reported to have had, namely, that of Epic Poem; with a title also framed after the ancient Greek manner, to wit, that of Dunciad.
Wonderful it is, that so few of the moderns have been stimulated to attempt some Dunciad ! since, in the opinion of the multitude, it might cost less pain and toil than an imitation of the greater epic. But possible it is also, that, on due reflection, the maker might find it easier to paint a Charlemagne, a Brute, or a Godfrey, with just pomp and dignity heroic, than a Margites, a Codrus, or a Fleckno.
We shall next declare the occasion and the cause which moved our poet to this particular work. He lived in those days, when (after Providence had permitted the invention of printing as a scourge for the sins of the learned) paper also became so cheap, and printers so numerous, that a deluge of authors covered the land: whereby not only the peace of the honest unwriting subject was daily molested, but unmerciful deinands were made of his applause, yea of his money, by such as would neither earn the one, nor deserve the other. At the same time, the licence of the press was such, that it grew dangerous to refuse them either: for they would forthwith públish slanders unpunished, the authors being anolishers, a set of men who neither scrupled to vend nymous, and skulking under the wings of pubeither calumny or blasphemy, as long as the town would call for it.
Now our author, living in those times, did
! Vide Bossu, Du Poeme Epique, chap. viii.