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Plate described in the last-mentioned Edition, but printed separately from the letter-press title-page.
" Attacks may be leveled, either against failures in Genius, or against the Pretensions of writing without one." Letter to Mist, June 22,1728.--"Come we now to Pope's Translation of the Iliad, celebrated by numerous pens: yet shall it suffice to mention the indefatigable Sir Richard Blackmore, knt, who (though otherwise a severe censurer of our Author) yet styleth this a lauciable Translation. That ready Writer Mr. Oldmixon frequently coinmends the same. And the painful Mr. Lewis Theobald ihus extols it: 'The spirit of Homer breathes through his Translation. I am in doubt, whether I should must admire the justness to the original, or the force and beauty of the language, or the sounding variety of the numbers? But, when I find all these meet, it puts me in mind of what the Poet says of one of his Heroes: that he alone raised and flung with ease a weighty stone, that two common men could not list from the ground: just so one single person has performed in this Translation, what I once despaired to have seen done by the force of several masterly hands.' — Indeed the same gentleman appears to have changed his sentiment, in his Essay on the Art of sinking in Reputation g, where he ways thus: 'In order to sink in Reputation, let him take it into his head to descend into Homer (let the world wonder, as it will, how the devil he got there), and pretend to do him into English, so his version denote his neglect of the manner how.' Strange variation ! — We are told in “ Mist's Journal, June 8, • That this Translation of the Iliad was not in all respects conformable to the fine taste of his friend Mr. Addison. “Insomuch that he employed a younger Muse in an undertaking of this kind, which he supervised himself.' Whether Mr. Addison did find it conformable to his taste, or not, best appears from his own testimony the year following its publication : “Mr. Addison, Preeholiler - When I consider myself as a British Freeholder, I am in a particular manner pleased with the labours of those who have improved our language with the Translation of old Greek and Latin Authors. We have already most of their Historians in our own tongue; and, what is more for the honour of our language, it has been taught to express with elegance the greatest of their Poets in each nation. The illiterate among our own Countrymen may learn to judge from Dryden's Virgil, of the most perfect Epic performance. And those parts of Homer which have been published already by Mr. Pope, give us reason to think that the Iliad will appear in English with as little disadvantage to that immortal Poem.' — As to the rest, there is a slight mistake, for this younger Muse was elder: nor was the Gentleman (who is a Friend of our Author) employed by Mr. Addison to translate it after him, since he saith himself that he did it before. Contrariwise, that Mr. Addison engaged our
& Published after the appearance of “The Dunciad;" and by no means ascertained to be the production of Theobald.
In 1732 appeared "A Collection of Pieces in Author in this work, appeareth by declaration thereof in the Preface to the Iliad, printed some years before his death; and by his own Letters of October 26, and November 2, 1713, where he declares it his opinion that no other person was equal to it. “ Next comes his Shakespeare on the stage.
· Let him (quoth one, whom I take to be Mr. Theobald, Mist, March 30,1728,) publish such an Author as he has least studied, and forget to discharge even the dull duty of an Editor. In this project let him lend the Bookseller his name (for a competent sum of money though) to promote the credit of an erorbitant subscription.'—Gentle Reader, be pleased to cast thine eye on the Proposal below quoted, and on what follows (some months after the former assertion) in the samne Journalist of June 8: • The Bookseller vroposed the book by subscription, and raised some thousands of pounds for the same: I believe the Gentleman did not share the profits of this extravagant subscription. .“ Afier the Iliad, he undertook (saith Mist's Journal, June 8,) the sequel of that Work. the Olyssey: and, having secured the success by a numerous subscription, he employed some underlings to perform what, according to his Proposals, should come from his own hands. To which heavy charge we can in truth oppose nothing but the words of Mr. Pope's Proposals for che Odyssey (printed by J. Watts, Jan. 10, 1724):
I take this (:('casion 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, by 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 subiime, and retard the declension of the whole.' Behold! these underlings are become good Writers !-- If any say that, before the said Proposals were printed, the Subscription was begun withouc declaration of such assistance ; verily those who set it on foot, or (as their term is) secured it, to wit, the Right Honourable the Lord Viscount Harcourt, were he living, woull testify, and the Right Honourable the Lord Bathurst now living doth testify, that the same is a falsehood. Sorry I am, that persons professing to be learned, or of whatever rank of Authors, should either falsely tax, or be falselv laved. Yet let us, who are only Reporters, be impartial in our citations." Dunciud, 1729, 8vo, pp. 25—27.
The greater part of the preceding quotation is ascribed to Theobali on supposition only. Let us see what the Letter-writer, whoever he was, really did say, in the same paper of June 8, 1728, “ The Dunciad being now a prevailing amusement, I hope you will postpone one Lecture in Politics for the sake of such sublime Heroics. I must confess myself nothing concerned with the Muses, having all my life been devoted to Verse and Prose, which have been published on occasion of The Dunciad.” To this volume is prefixed, different studies. But I have a most flowing and extensive benevolence; and when I assert the rights, or avenge the wrongs of mankind, as I act from the first principles of Nature, whatever the cause may be which I make my concern, none can say I act out of my province. — The Preface to the Poem declares the Author to be the Friend and Advocate of Mr. Pope; his professed design is to scourge that gentleman's enemies; and his great complaint, that of all that ingenious person's admirers, modestly computed within these three kingrloms, to be one hundred thousand, not one has appeared in defence of his character, which has long been the subject of general satire, and suffered unusual insults.
— Now I think this complaint must prejudice the most indifferent Reader against Mr. Pope, that, having so prodigious an interest with the publick, he has not one advocate amongst an hundred thousand admirers; a misfortune which in common reason he can only owe to the worst cause, and most palpable injustice. I am therefore of opinion, the Preface to The Dunciad is a satire on Mr. Pope, infinitely more severe than any that has yet appeared.
“The point of the Satire was not only wrong applied, but most unnatural and unjust. It reproached a person for the erercise of his own private judgment, and abused him for not being severe, or ill-natured, to the party he could not approre. -And what shewed the ungenerous disposition of the Author more than all, he worked up the Satire with the most inhuman unmanly reflections on persons distressed by involuntary evils; charging it on them as criminal, that they were poor and unbefriended, a fate that has often befel the bravest and the worthiest men; a fate which Dryden, Butler, and Cowley, could not escape; which even the great Homer suffered, to whose immortal Work be owes so much wealth himself, and which had possibly been his own lot, had not better stars decreed him Maro, the friend whom he thus abused.--After this, he undertook a Translation, the sequel of that Work which occasioned this contention; and having secured the success by a numerous subscription, he employed some underlings to perform what, according to his Proposal, should come from his own hands. And now we must explain the occasion of The Dunciad. An eminent Bibliopole, well known for his thriving genius, was desirous to publish a correct Edition of a famed British Poet, and applied to this gentleman as the ablest hand, in his opinion, that could do him justice. Our Author, being thus applied to, named a sum, which he thought a reasonable premium ; and, on that consideration, undertook the Work. The Bookseller immediately proposed it by subscription, and raised some thousands of pounds for the same; I believe the gentleman did not share in the profits of this extravagant subscription; yet this is no excuse for publishing the Author with so many errors, and is no satisfaction to the Subscribers for that
a Dedication to the Right Honourable Charles Sackville Earl of Middlesex; to which the name of Richvast price they paid for a bad Edition. - As the world. resented the imposition, and were angry with the man who had given the sanction of his name to such an abuse, a different hand thought he had sufficient right to restore the Original Text, which, without invading any property the Editors could claim, he performed to the satisfaction of the publick, and obtained a kind reception, though unassisted by any subscription.- Our ingenious Author, on this occasion, thought fit to exert his uncommon ill-nature; and, having collected all the rubbish of twenty years, the best part whereof was none of his own, he inserted the famous Satire I have mentioned, with some lines expunged, and others added, to express his indignation at the man who had supplied his defects without his reward, and faithfully performed what himself undertook, and ought to have discharged. — The reproach Our Author made use of in this case, was that his opponent Rival had no genius; a rare objection, I confess, when his own exalted self, with all his great abilities, never discharged the labour which gained his Opponent such credit ! — And it being impracticable to expose any errors in that Work, he was extravagantly witty on soine earlier productions of his antagonist; a poor shift in truth, and very little to the purpose! The question to the publick was, Who had done most justice to Shakespeare? or, in other words, Who understood him best? And such ungenerous reprizals did more mischief than service to our Author's reputation.—At this time, likewise, many bickerings and skirmishes happened; a barbarous unnatural Civil War being commenced between our Author and the minor Poets, some complained of Characters abused, and others of Collections plundered; which latter was unprecedented cruelty; for the Gentleman might have scorned to rob those persons he had libeled for their Poverty; nor was it any honour to defraud those of their Works whom he had decried as Dunces.
- At length he published The Dunciad, to abuse all his Friends, and scourge all his Enemies. The sublime Poet Maurus *, and his Arthurs, were introduced, to adorn the Work, and save the expence of invention. Poor Namby Pamby + likewise was aspersed, because he had written much better Pastorals than himself. And his • Persian Tales' were censured in the next place, because they were translated for thirty pence apiece; - a crime, indeed, that deserves reproach; for it is not the virtue of all men to deal in five guinea subscriptions ! — But the Hero of his Farce was the man who had incurred his eternal vengeance, by doing justice to poor Shakespeare. Over him, and all the brethren of the quill, he triumphed in heroic rage; though I cannot but think he might have spared Cibber, for having shewn less mercy to Shakespeare than he himself. - He took an uncommon delight in burlesquing the Dramatic Pieces of his Enemy, and was upmerciful in his usage to abundance of Poets and Poems; but his own Plays and Farces * Sir Richard Blackmore. + Ambrose Philips.
ard Savage is subscribed, but generally supposed to have been written by Pope himself *.
The name of Colley Cibber of was first introduced as the Hero of The Dunciad in the Edition of 1742; would have adorned The Dunciad much more gracefully, for he had neither genius for Tragedy nor Comedy; and when he had laid aside bis inimitable jingle of rhymes, he wanted spirit, taste, and sense, as much as any man whatever. — The model of his Poem seems copied from Mack-Fleckno, and the Dispensary; but is as different from Dryden, if compared with that pointed Satire, as it is below the admired and elegant reflections which are the Beauties of Garth. The smooth numbers of The Durciad are all that recommend it, nor has it any other merit."
* This “ Collection," formed by Pope's Bookseller (Lawton Gilliver) out of several detailed Pamphlets remaining unsold in his shop, comprises, “Two Epistles to Mr. Pope, concerning the Authors of the Age. By the Author of the Universal Passion, 1730." “ An Essay on Satire, particularly on The Dunciad. By Walter Harte, of St. Mary Hall, Oxon. To which is added, A Discourse on Satires, arraigning Persons by Name; by Monsieur Boileau, 1730." “ Harlequin Horace; or, the Art of Modern Poetry. 1731." “ An Epistle to Mr. Pope from a young Gentleman at Rome, 1730.". “ Certain Epigrams in Laud and Praise of the Gentlemen of The Dunciadl." (" An Author to be let. Being a Proposal, humbly addressed to the Consideration of the Knights, Esquires, Gentlemen, and other worshipful and weighty Members of the old and ancient Society of the Bathos. By their Associate and Well-wisher Iscariot Hackney." Essays, Letters, and other Occasional Pieces, relating to the War of the Dunces, from May 14 to October 6, 1730."
“Whereas, upon occasion of certain Pieces relating to the Gentlemen of The Dunciad, some have been willing to suggest, as if they looked upon them as an abuse, we can do no less than own, it is our opinion, that to call these Gentlemen bad Authors is no sort of abuse, but a great truth. We cannot alter this opinion without some reason; but we promise to do it in respect to every person who thinks it an injury to be represented as no Wit, or Poet, provided he procures a Certificate of his being really such, from any three of his companions in The Dunciad, or from Mr. Dennis singly, who is esteemed equal to any three of the number.” Advertisement printed in the Journals, 1730.
+ The introductory couplet in the original Edition, and continued till 1742, reads thus :
“ Books and the Man I sing, the first who brings
The Smithfield Muses to the ear of Kings."
“The mighty Mother, and her Son, who brings