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or the arrow flying in the dark, there is no public punishment left, but what a good Writer inflicts.
The next objection is, that these sort of authors are poor. That might be pleaded as an excuse at the Old Bailey, for lesser crimes than Defamation (for 'tis the case of almost all who are tried there); but sure it can be none: for who will pretend that the robbing another of his Reputation supplies the want of it in himself? I question not but such authors are poor, and heartily wish the objection were removed by any honest livelihood. But Poverty is here the accident, not the subject: He who describes Malice and Villainy to be pale and meagre, expresses not the least anger against Paleness or Leanness, but against Malice and Villainy. The Apothecary in Romeo and Juliet is poor; but is he therefore justified in vending poison? Not but Poverty itself becomes a just subject of satire, when it is the consequence of vice, prodigality, or neglect of one's lawful calling; for then it increases the public burden, fills the streets and highways with Robbers, and the garrets with Clippers, Coiners, and Weekly Journalists.
But admitting that two or three of these offend less in their morals, than in their writings: must Poverty make nonsense sacred? If so, the fame of bad authors would be much better consulted than that of all the good ones in the world ; and not one of an hundred had ever been called by his right name.
They mistake the whole matter: It is not charity to encourage them in the way they follow, but to get them out of it; for men are not bunglers because they are poor, but they are poor because they are bunglers.
Is it not pleasant enough to hear our authors crying out on the one hand, as if their persons and characters were too sacred for Satire; and the public objection on the other, that they are too mean even for Ridicule? But whether Bread or Fame be their end, it must be allowed, our Author, by and in this Poem, has mercifully given them a little of both.
There are two or three, who by their rank and fortune have no benefit from the former objections, supposing them good, and these I was sorry to see in such company. But if, without any provocation, two or three Gentlemen will fall upon one, in an affair wherein his interest and reputation are equally embarked; they cannot certainly, after they have been content to print themselves his enemies, complain of being put into the number of them.
Others, I am told, pretend to have been once his Friends. Surely they are their enemies who say so, since nothing can be more odious than to treat a friend as they have done.
But of this I cannot persuade myself, when I consider the constant and eternal aversion of all bad writers to a good one.
Such as claim a merit from being his Admirers I would gladly ask, if it lays him under a personal obligation? At that rate he would be the most obliged humble servant in the world. I dare swear for these in particular, he never desired them to be his admirers, nor promised in return to be theirs. That had truly been a sign he was of their acquaintance; but would not the malicious world have suspected such an approbation of some motive worse than ignorance, in the author of the Essay on Criticism? Be it as it will, the reasons of their Admiration and of his Contempt are equally subsisting; for his works and theirs are the very same that they were.
One, therefore, of their assertions, I believe may be true: “That he has a contempt for their writings. And there is another, which would probably be sooner allowed by himself than by any good judge beside: “That his own have found too much success with the public.” But as it cannot consist with his modesty to claim this as a justice, it lies not on him, but entirely on the public, to defend its own judgment.
There remains what in my opinion might seem a better plea for these people,
than any they have made use of. If Obscurity or Poverty were to exempt a man from satire, much more should Folly or Dulness, which are still more involuntary; nay, as much so as personal Deformity. But even this will not help them: Deformity becomes an object of Ridicule when a man sets up for being handsome; and so must Dulness when he sets up for a Wit. They are not ridiculed, because Ridicule in itself is, or ought to be, a pleasure; but because it is just to undeceive and vindicate the honest and unpretending part of mankind from imposition; because particular interest ought to yield to general, and a great number, who are not naturally Fools, ought never to be made so, in complaisance to a few who are. Accordingly we find that in all ages, all vain pretenders, were they ever so poor or ever so dull, have been constantly the topics of the most candid satirists, from the Codrus of JUVENAL to the Damon of BOILEAU ".
Having mentioned BOILEAU, the greatest Poet and most judicious Critic of his age and country, admirable for his Talents, and yet perhaps more admirable for his Judgment in the proper application of them; I cannot help remarking the resemblance betwixt him and our Author, in Qualities, Fame, and Fortune; in the distinctions shewn them by their Superiors, in the general esteem of their Equals
, and in their extended reputation amongst Foreigners; in the latter of which ours has met with the better fate, as he has had for his Translators persons of the most eminent rank and abilities in their respective nations 2. But the resemblance holds in nothing more, than in their being equally abused by the ignorant pretenders to Poetry of their times; of which not the least memory will remain but in their own Writings, and in the Notes made upon them. What BOILEAU has done in almost all his poems, our Author has only in this: I dare answer for him he will do it in no more; and on this principle, of attacking few but who had slandered him, he could not have done it at all, had he been confined from censuring obscure and worthless persons, for scarce any other were his enemies. However, as the parity is so remarkable, I hope it will continue to the last; and if ever he shall give us an edition of this Paem himself, I may see some of them treated as gently, on their repentance or better merit, as Perrault and Quinault 3 were at last by BOILEAU.
In one point I must be allowed to think the character of our English Poet the more amiable. He has not been a follower of Fortune or Success; he has lived with the Great without flattery; been a friend to Men in power without pensions ; from whom, as he asked, so he received no favour, but what was done Him in his Friends. As his Satires were the more just for being delayed, so were his Panegy. rics; .bestowed only on such persons as he had familiarly known, only for such virtues as he had long observed in them, and only at such times as others cease to praise, if not begin to calumniate them, -I mean when out of power or out of fashion! A satire, therefore, on writers so notorious for the contrary practice, became no man
! (Juv. Sat. 1. & 111. ; Boileau Sat. 1.]
3 [Perrault, an academician and author of Essay on Criticism, in French verse, by erotic poetry and of Parallèles des Anciens et General Hamilton; the same, in verse also, by Modernes, was attacked by Boileau in his ixth Monsieur Roboton, Counsellor and Privy Secre- and xth Satires, and in several epigrams: Quinault, tary to King George I. after by the Abbé Reynel, a more famous (dramatic) poet, in the earlier in verse, with notes. Rape of the Lock, in Satires. To the former Boileau became recon French, by the Princess of Conti, Paris, 1728, ciled in 1700 (scc his Lettre à M. Perrault): his and in Italian verse, by the Abbé Conti a Noble reconciliation with the latter was very incomplete. Venetian; and by the Marquis Rangoni, Envoy See the allusion in the Art Poétique, ch. 1. v. 232f.) Extraordinary fron Modena to King George II. • As Mr Wycherley, at the time the Town Others of his works by Salvini of Florence, &c. declaimed against his book of Poems; Mr Walsh, His Essays and Dissertations on Homer, several after his death; Sir William Trumbull, when he times translated in French. Essay on Man, by had resigned the office of Secretary of State: the Abbé Reynel, in verse, by Monsieur Silhouet, Lord
Bolingbroke, at his leaving England after in prose, 1737, and since by others in French, the Queen's death, Lord Oxford, in his last Italian, and Latin. P.
decline of life; Mr Secretary Craggs, at the
so well as himself; as none, it is plain, was so little in their friendships, or so much in that of those whom they had most abused, namely the Greatest and Best of all Parties. Let me add a further reason, that, tho' engaged in their Friendships, he never espoused their Animosities; and can almost singly challenge this honour, not to have written a line of any mạn, which, through Guilt, through Shame, or through Fear, through variety of Fortune, or change of Interests, he was ever unwilling to own.
I shall conclude with remarking what a pleasure it must be to every reader of Humanity, to see all along, that our Author in his very laughter is not indulging his own ill-nature, but only punishing that of others. As to his Poem, those alone are capable of doing it justice, who, to use the words of a great writer, know how hard it is (with regard both to his subject and his manner) VETUSTIS DARE NOVITATEM, OBSOLETIS NITOREM, OBSCURIS LUCEM, FASTIDITIS GRATIAM.
Your most humble servant,
ADVERTISEMENT To the First Edition of the Fourth Book of the DUNCIAD, when printed
separately in the Year 1742. We 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 condition, and in so many detached pieces, as plainly shewed it not only to be 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 is said, that the design is more extensive, and that we may expect other episodes to complete it: and from the declaration in the argument to the third book, that the accomplishment of the prophesies 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 Ţucca and Varius for that of the last six books of the Æneid, tho' perhaps inferior to the former 3.
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 Authors; or any letters sent us (though not to the purpose) shall yet be printed under the title of Epistola Obscurorum Virorum“; which, together with some others of the same kind end of the South Sea year, and after his death: his Friend, or a sincerer attachment to the others only in Epitaphs. P.
Constitution of his Country. P.-And yet for all Pliny, in Hist. Nat., ad in. $ 15.
this, the Public-will not allow him to be the 2 This Gentleman was of Scotland, and bred author of this Letter. Warburton. at the University of Utrecht, with the Earl of 3 (According to Donatus, Vergil left to his Mar. He served in Spain under Earl Rivers. friends Varius and Tucca (who had prevented After the Peace, he was made one of the Com- him from burning the Æneid), his works, on conmissioners of the Customs in Scotland, and then dition that they should not introduce any emendaof Taxes in England, in which having shewn tions of their own. Augustus bade them interpret himself for twenty years diligent, punctual, and the proviso thus; that they might emend their incorruptible, though without any other assistance author by omissions, but not by additions.) of Fortune, he was suddenly displaced by the * [This title is of course borrowed from that of Minister in the sixty eighth year of his age; the famous attacks on the schoolmen, in which and died two months after, in 1741.
Ulrich von Hutten took the most prominent person of Universal Learning, and an enlarged part.) Conversation; no man had a warmer heart for
He was a
formerly laid by for that end, may make no unpleasant addition to the future impressions of this poem.
To the complete EDITION of 1743. I HAVE long had a design of giving some sort of Notes on the works of this poet. Before I had the happiness of his acquaintance, I had written a com. mentary on his Essay on Man, and have since finished another on the Essay on Criticism. There was one already on the Dunciad, which had met with general approbation; but I still thought some additions were wanting (of a more serious kind) to the humourous 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 desired, and favour me with his explanation of several passages 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 sensible of its defect in that particular, and owned he had let it pass with the Hero 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 he La rel: But since that had happened, he could no longer deny nis 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 person was one, who from every Folly (not to say 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. Warburton.
Printed in the JOURNALS, 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
Of the POEM. This poem, as it celebrateth the most grave and ancient of things, Chaos, Night, and Dulness; so is it of the most grave and ancient kind. Homer (saith Aristotle) was the first who gave the Form, and (saith Horace) who adapted the Measure, to heroic poesy; But, even before this, may be rationally presumed from what the Ancients have left written, was a piece by Homer composed, of like
? Taken from the Grub-street Journal, but printed with such variations as evidently shew a wish to conceal its origin. Carruthers.
nature and matter with this of our poet. For of Epic sort it appeareth to have been, yet of matter surely not unpleasant, witness what is reported of it by the learned archbishop Eustathius, in Odyss. X. And accordingly Aristotle, in his Poetic, chap. iv., doth further set forth, that as the Iliad and Odyssey gave example to Tragedy, so did this poem to Comedy its first idea.
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 had 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 oil 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 Godfreys, with just pomp and dignity heroic, than a Margites, a Codrus“, or a Flecknoe.
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 demands 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 publish slanders unpunished, the authors being anonymous, and skulking under the wings of Publishers, a set of men who never scrupled to vend either Calumny or Blasphemy, as long as the Town would call for it.
5 Now our author, living in those times, did conceive it an endeavour well worthy an honest Satirist, to dissuade the dull, and punish the wicked, the only way that was left. In that public-spirited view he laid the plan of his Poem, as the greatest service he was capable (without much hurt, or being slain) to render his dear country. First, taking things from their original, he considereth the Causes creative
1 [The Margites is ascribed to Homer by rendering the beginning of the M.: Aristotle (Poet. c. iv.), and stated to hold the "Once to Colophon came an ancient and heasame relation to comedy, that the Iliad and venly singer, Odyssey hold to tragedy.' K. 0. Müller thinks Votary he of the Muses and of far-darting Apollo, that the iambic verses introduced into it were And in his hands he held a well-tuned lyre.'] interpolated in a later version; and states that ? (The fabulous King of Britain, the hero of ' from the few fragments and notices relative to Wace's and Layamon's poems.) the poem which have come down to us, we can 3 (Godfrey of Bouillon, the hero of Tasso's gather that it was a representation of a stupid Jerusalem Delivered.] inan, who had a high opinion of his own clever- * (See Ep. to Arbuthnot, v. 85.) ness, for he was said, 'to know many works, but 5 Vide Bossu, Du Poeme Epique, ch. viii. know all badly.' The following is an attempt at