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And that of all those men who have received pleasure from his works (which by modest computation may be* about a hundred thousand in these kingdoms of England and Ireland ; not to mention Jersey, 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 fauthor 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, joined with a greater personal love for him, than any other of his numerous friends and admirers.
Farther, that he was in his peculiar intimacy, appears from the knowledge he manifests of the most private authors of all the anonymous pieces against him, and from his having in this poem at
about a hundred thousand] It is surprising 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.
P. Hear the Laureate (Letter to Mr. Pope, p. 9.), “ Though I grant the Dunciad a better poem of its kind than ever was writ; yet when I read it with those vainglorious encumbrances of Notes and Remarks upon it, &c.—it is amazing, that you, who have writ with such masterly spirit upon the ruling Passion, should be so blind a slave to your own, as not to see how far a low uvarice of praise," &c. (taking it for granted that the notes of Scriblerus and others were the author's own.)
P. + the author of the following poem, &c.] A very plain irony, speaking of Mr. Pope himself.
tacked *no man living, who had not before printed, or published, some scandal against this gentleman.
How I came possessed of it, is no concern to the reader; but it would have been a wrong to him had I detained the publication, since those names which are its chief ornaments 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 fcertainly 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, it is 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 laboured, not to say affected, shortness in 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 informed, that this work was the labour of full Isix years of his life, and that he
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 scurrilities, or self-conceit, all mankind agreed to have justly entitled them to a place in the Dunciad. P.
† there is certainly nothing in his style, &c.] This irony had small 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.
P. I the labour of full sir years, &c.] This also was honestly and
wholly retired himself from all the avocations and pleasures of the world, to attend diligently to its correction and perfection; and six 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,
O mihi bissenos multum vigilata per annos, Duncia !* Hence also we learn the true title of the poem; which with the same certainty as we call that of Homer the Iliad, of Virgil the Æneid, of Camoëns the Lusiad, we may pronounce, could have been, and can be no other than
It is styled Heroic, as being doubly so; not only with respect to its nature, which, according to the
seriously believed by divers gentlemen of the Dunciad. J. Ralph, pref. to Sawney: “ We are told it was the labour of six years, with the utmost assiduity and application. It is no great compliment to the author's sense, to have employed so large a part of his life,” &c. So also Ward, pref. to Durgen : “ The Dunciad, as the publisher very wisely confesses, cost the author six 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.
* The prefacer to Curl's Key, p. 3. took this word to be really in Statius : “ By a quibble on the word Duncia, the Dunciud is formed.” Mr. Ward also follows him in the same opinion. P.
† In the edition of 1729 was here inserted, “ of Voltaire VOL. IV.
best rules of the ancients, and strictest ideas of the moderns, is critically such ; but also with regard to the heroical disposition and high courage of the writer, who dared to stir up such a formidable, irritable, and implacable race of mortals.
There may arise some obscurity in chronology from the 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 clapped in as they rose, fresh and fresh, and changed 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 persons than before.
Yet we judged 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 instead of one. Had the Hero, for instance, been called Codrus, how many would have affirmed him to have been Mr. T. Mr. E. Sir R. B. &c. but now all that unjust scandal is saved, by calling him by a name, which by good luck happens to be that of a real person. the Henriad," and in a note was added, “ The French poem of Mons. Voltaire, entitled La Henriade, had been published at London the year before ;" but this was afterwards omitted.
A List of Books, PAPERS, and VERSES, in which · our Author was abused, before the Publication
of the DUNCIAD; with the true Names of the Authors.
REFLECTIONS critical and satirical, on a late Rhapsody, called An Essay on Criticism. By Mr. Dennis; printed by B. Lintot, price 6d.
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 1s.
Homerides, or a Letter to Mr. Pope, occasioned by his intended translation of Homer. By Sir Iliad Doggrel (Tho. Burnet and G. Ducket, Esquires). Printed for W. Wilkins, 1715, price 9d.
Æsop at the Bear-garden; a vision, in imitation of the Temple of Fame, by Mr. Preston. Sold by John Morphew, 1715, price 6d.
The Catholic Poet, or Protestant Barnaby's Sorrowful Lamentation; a Ballad about Homer's Iliad. By Mrs. Centlivre, and others, 1715, price ld.
An Epilogue to a Puppet-shew at Bath, concerning the said Iliad. By George Ducket, Esq. Printed by E. Curl.