Imagens das páginas

of this fact Mr. Verdier's servant is ready to attest upon oath, who, taking an exact survey of the volumes, found that which wounded my head, to be Gruterus’s Lampas Critica, and that which broke Mr. Lintot's shin, was Scaliger's Poetices. After this, Mr. John Dennis, strengthened at once by rage and madness, snatched up a peruke-block, that stood by the bed-side, and wielded it round in so furious a manner, that he broke three of the cupping-glasses from the crown of his head, so that much blood trickled down his visage. He looked so ghastly, and his passion was grown to such a prodigious height, that myself, Mr. Lintot, and Verdier's servant, were obliged to leave the room in all the expedition imaginable.

I took Mr. Lintot home with me, in order to have our wounds dressed, and laid hold of that opportunity of entering into discourse with him about the madness of this person, of whom he gave me the following remarkable relation :

That on the 17th of May, 1712, between the hours of ten and eleven in the morning, Mr. John Dennis entered into his shop, and opening one of the volumes of the Spectator, in the large paper, did suddenly, without the least provocation, tear out that of No.where the author treats of poetical justice, and cast it into the street. That the said Mr. John Dennis, on the 27th of March, 1712, finding on the said Mr. Lintot's counter a book called an Essay on Criticism, just then published, he read a page or two with much frowning, till coming to these two lines, Some have at first for wits, then poets pass’d, Turn'd critics next, and prov'd plain fools at last ; he flung down the book in a terrible fury, and cried, By G-d, he means me.

That being in his company on a certain time, when

Shakespeare was mentioned as of a contrary opinion to Mr. Dennis, he swore the said Shakespeare was a rascal, with other defamatory expressions, which gave Mr. Lintot a very ill opinion of the said Shakespeare.

That, about two months since, he came again into the shop, and cast several suspicious looks on a gentleman that stood by him, after which he desired some information concerning that person.

He was no sooner acquainted, that the gentleman was a new author, and that his first piece was to be published in a few days, but he drew his sword upon him; and, had not my servant luckily catched him by the sleeve, I might have lost one author upon the spot, and another the next sessions.

Upon recollecting all these circumstances, Mr. Lintot was entirely of opinion, that he had been mad for some time, and I doubt not, but this whole narrative must sufficiently convince the world of the excess of his frenzy. It now remains, that I give the reasons which obliged me, in my own vindication, to publish this whole unfortunate transaction.

In the first place, Mr. John Dennis had industriously caused to be reported, that I entered into his room, vi et armis, either out of a design to deprive him of his life, or of a new play called Coriolanus, which he has had ready for the stage these four years.

Secondly. He hath given out, about Fleet-street and the Temple, that I was an accomplice with his bookseller, who visited him with intent to take away divers valuable manuscripts, without paying him copy-money.

Thirdly. He hath told others, that I am no graduate physician, and that he had seen me upon a mountebank stage in Moorfields, when he had lodgings in the college there.

Fourthly. Knowing that I had much practice in the city, he reported at the Royal Exchange, Custom-house, and other places adjacent, that I was a foreign spy, employed by the French king to convey him into France; that I bound him hand and foot; and that, if his friend had not burst from his confinement to his relief, he had been at this hour in the Bastile.

All which several assertions of his are so very extravagant, as well as inconsistent, that I appeal to all mankind, whether this person be not out of his senses. I shall not decline giving and producing further proofs of this truth in open court, if he drives the matter so far. In the mean time I heartily forgive him, and pray that the Lord may restore him to the full enjoyment of his understanding: so wisheth, as becometh a Christian,


From my House in Snow-Hill,

July the 30th, 1713.

God save the Queen !

A full and true Account of a horrid and barbarous

REVENGE BY Poison, on the body of Mr. EDMUND CURLL!, bookseller.



HISTORY furnisheth us with examples of many satirical authors, who have fallen sacrifices to revenge, but not of

any booksellers, that I know of, except the unfortunate subject of the following paper; I mean Mr. Edmund Curll, at the Bible and Dial in Fleet-street, who was yesterday poisoned by Mr. Pope, after having lived many years an instance of the mild temper of the British nation.

1 The period that gave rise to this piece is marked by Curll himself, who in the preface to his second volume of Pope's Literary Correspondence, says, You know very well, Sir, that in the year 1717, when the Court Poems (viz. The Basset-Table, The Toilet, and The Drawing-Room) were published, upon your sending to me to the Swan Tavern in Fleetstreet, in company with Mr. Lintot, and inquiring into the publication of that pamphlet, I then frankly told you, that those pieces were by Mr. Joseph Jacobs, a dissenting teacher, given to Mr. John Oldmixon, who sent the same to be published by Mr. James Roberts in Warwick Lane, and that my neighbour, Mr. Pemberton, and myself, had each of us a share with Mr. Oldmixon in the said pamphlet. For this you were pleased to treat me with half a pint of Canary antimonially prepared; for the emetic effects of which, it has been the opinion of all mankind you deserved the stab. My purgation was soon over ; but yours will last (without a timely repentance) till, as the ghost says in Hamlet, with all your imperfections on your head, you are called to your account ; and your offences purged by fire. Yet notwithstanding your behaviour to me, in turning this matter into ridicule, and making me the subject of several of your libels, all which I have equally despised, I made you an offer of reconciliation, though you yourself was the aggressor.”. This was too favourable an opportunity for Pope to neglect ; and accordingly we have here the history of the poisoning and its consequences in a strain which could scarcely have been exceeded by Swift himself, either for its humour or its indelicacy.

The poisoning of Curll was frequently the subject of a joke among the friends of Pope. Congreve in one of his letters, says, “ By the inclosed you will see I am like to be impressed and enrolled in the list of Mr. Curll's authors ; but I thank God I shall have your company. I believe it is high time you should think of administering another emetic.”

Every body knows, that the said Mr. Edmund Curll, on Monday the 26th instant, published a satirical piece, intitled, Court-poems, in the preface whereof they were attributed to a lady of quality, Mr. Pope, or Gay; by which indiscreet method, though he had escaped one revenge, there were still two behind in


Now, on the Wednesday ensuing, between the hours of ten or eleven, Mr. Lintot, a neighbouring bookseller, desired a conference with Mr. Curll, about settling a title-page, inviting him at the same time to take a whet together. Mr. Pope, who is not the only instance how persons of bright parts may be carried away by the instigation of the devil, found means to convey himself into the same room, under pretence of business with Mr. Lintot, who, it seems, is the printer of his Homer. This gentleman, with a seeming coolness, reprimanded Mr. Curll for wrongfully ascribing to him the aforesaid poems: he excused himself by declaring, that one of his authors (Mr. Oldmixon by name) gave the copies to the press, and wrote the preface. U pon this Mr. Pope being to all appearance reconciled, very civilly drank a glass of sack to Mr. Curll, which he as civilly pledged ; and though the liquor, in colour and taste, differed not from common sack, yet was it plain, by the unhappy stationer felt soon after, that some poisonous drug had been secretly infused therein.

About eleven o'clock he went home, when his wife observing his colour changed, said, “ Are you not sick, my dear?” He replied,

He replied, “Bloody sick;" and incontinently fell a vomiting and straining in an uncommon and unnatural manner, the contents of his vomiting being as green as grass. His wife had been just reading a book of her husband's printing concerning Jane Wenham, the famous witch of Hertford, and her mind misgave her, that he was bewitched; but he soon let

pangs this

« AnteriorContinuar »