« AnteriorContinuar »
of such Authors, namely Dulness and Poverty; the one born with them, the other contracted by neglect of their proper talents, through self-conceit of greater abilities. This truth he wrappeth in an Allegory' (as the construction of Epic poesy requireth) and feigns that one of these Goddesses had taken up her abode with the other, and that they jointly inspired all such writers and such works. He proceedeth o to shew the qualities they bestow on these authors, and the effects they produces : then the materials, or stock with which they furnish them *; and (above all) that self-opinions , which causeth it to seem to themselves vastly greater than it is, and is the prime motive of their setting up in this sad and sorry merchandise. The great power of these Goddesses acting in alliance (whereof as the one is the mother of Industry, so is the other of Plodding), was to be exemplified in some one, great and remarkable Action 6: and none could be more so than that which our poet hath chosen, viz. the restoration of the reign of Chaos and Night, by the ministry of Dulness their Daughter, in the removal of her imperial seat from the City to the polite World; as the Action of the Æneid is the restoration of the empire of Troy, by the removal of the race from thence to Latium. But as Homer singing only the Wrath of Achilles, yet includes in his poem the whole history of the Trojan war; in like manner our author hath drawn into this single Action the whole history of Dulness and her children.
A Person must next be fixed upon to support this Action. This Phantom in the poet's mind must have a Name?: He finds it to be- ; and he becomes of course the Hero of the Poem.
The Fable being thus, according to the best Example, one and entire, as contained in the Proposition; the Machinery is a continued chain of Allegories, setting forth the whole Power, Ministry, and Empire of Dulness, extended through her subordinate instruments, in all her various operations.
This is branched into Episodes, each of which hath its Moral apart, though all conducive to the main end. The Crowd assembled in the second book demonstrates the design to be more extensive than to bad poets only, and that we may expect other Episodes of the Patrons, Encouragers, or Paymasters of such authors, as occasion shall bring them forth. And the third book, if well considered, seemeth to embrace the whole World. Each of the Games relateth to some or other vile class of writers: The first concerneth the Plagiary, to whom he giveth the name of Moore; the second, the libellous Novelist, whom he styleth Eliza; the i third, the flattering Dedicator; the fourth, the bawling Critic, or noisy Poet; the fifth, the dark and dirty Party-writer; and so of the rest ; assigning to each some proper name or other, such as he could find.
As for the Characters, the public hath already acknowledged how justly they are drawn: the manners are so depicted, and the sentiments so peculiar to those to whom applied, that surely to transfer them to any other or wiser personages would be exceeding difficult: and certain it is that every person concerned, being consulted i apart, hath readily owned the resemblance of every portrait, his own excepted. So Mr Cibber calls them, “a parcel of poor wretches, so many silly flies 8 : but adds, our Author's Wit is remarkably more bare and barren, whenever it would fall foul on Cibber, than upon any other Person whatever."
The Descriptions are singular, the Comparisons very quaint, the Narration various, yet of one colour: The purity and chastity of Diction is so preserved, that
1 Bossu, chap. VII.
6 Bossu, chap. VII, VIII.
Vide Aristot. Poetic. cap. IX.
8 Cibber's Letter to Mr P. pp. 7.9, &c.
in the places most suspicious not the words but only the images have been censured, and yet are those images no other than have been sanctified by ancient and classical Authority (though, as was the manner of those good times, not so curiously wrapped up), yea, and commented upon by the most grave Doctors, and approved Critics.
As it beareth the name of Epic, it is thereby subjected to such severe indispensable rules as are laid on all Neoterics, a strict imitation of the Ancients; insomuch that any deviation, accompanied with whatever poetic beauties, hath always been censured by the sound Critic. How exact that Imitation hath been in this piece, appeareth not only by its general structure, but by particular allusions infinite, many whereof have escaped both the commentator and poet himself; yea divers by his exceeding diligence are so altered and interwoven with the rest, that several have already been, and more will be, by the ignorant abused, as altogether and originally his own.
In a word, the whole poem proveth itself to be the work of our Author, when his faculties were in full vigour and perfection; at that exact time when years have ripened the Judgment, without diminishing the Imagination : which, by good Critics, is held to be punctually at forty. For, at that season it was that Virgil finished his Georgics; and Sir Richard Blackmore, at the like age composing his Arthurs, declared the same to be the very Acme and pitch of life for Epic poesy: Though since he hath altered it to sixty, the year in which he published his Alfred? True it is, that the talents for Criticisni, namely, smartness, quick censure, vivacity of remark, certainty of asseveration, indeed all but acerbity, seem rather the gifts of Youth than of riper Age. But it is far otherwise in Poetry; witness the works of Mr Rymer” and Mr Dennis, who, beginning with Criticism, became afterwards such Poets as no age hath paralleled. With good reason therefore did our author choose to write his Essay on that subject at twenty, and reserve for his maturer years this great and wonderful work of the Dunciad. Ø.
By AUTHORITY. By virtue of the Authority in Us vested by the Act for subjecting Poets to the power of a Licenser, we have repised this Piece; where finding the style and appellation of King to have been given to a certain Pretender, Pseudo-Poet, or Phantom, of the name of TIBBALD; and apprehending the same may be deemed in some sort a reflection on Majesty, or at least an insult on that Legal Authority which has bestowed on another Person the Crown of Poesy: We habe ordered the said Pretender, PseudoPoet, or Phantom, utterly to vanish and evaporate out of this work: And do declare the said Throne of Poesy from henceforth to be abdicated and vacant, unless duly and lawfully supplied by the LAUREATE himself. And it is hereby enacted, that no other Person do presume to fill the same.
I See his Essays. P.
(1693), which contains some absurd cavils against ? [The author of a Short View of Tragedy Shakspere as well as against later authors. ]
THE Proposition, the Invocation, and the Inscription. Then the Original of the great Empire of Dulness, and cause of the continuance thereof. The College of the Goddess in the City, with her private Academy for Poets in particular; the Governors of it, and the four Cardinal Virtues. Then the Poem hastes into the midst of things, presenting her, on the evening of a Lord Mayor's day, revolving the long succession of her Sons, and the glories past and to come. She fixes her eye on Bays to be the Instrument of that great Event which is the Subject of the Poem. He is described pensive among his Books, giving up the Cause, and apprehending the Period of her Empire: After debuting whether to betake himself to the Church, or to Gaming, or to Party-writing, he raises an Altar of proper books, and (making first his solema' prayer and declaration) purposes thereon to sacrifice all his unsuccessful writings, As the pile is kindled, the Goddess, beholding the flame from her seat, flies and puts it out, by casting upon it_ the poem of Thule. She forthwith reveals herself to him, transports him to her Temple, unfolds her Arts, and initiates him into her Mysteries; then denouncing the death of Eusden the Poet Laureate, anoints him, carries him to Court, and proclaims him Successor,
THE Mighty Mother, and her Son, who brings
The Smithfield Muses 3 to the ear of Kings,
And pour'd her Spirit o'er the land and deep. 1
[In considering the relations between Pope 2 The Mighty Mother, &c.] in the first Edd. and Swift, concerning which see Introductory it was thus, Memoir, it should never be left out of sight that 'Books and the Man I sing, the first who brings their acquaintance commenced at a time (1713) The Smithfield Muses to the ear of Kings,'&c P., when Swift was at the height of his influence as 3 The Smithfield Muses] Smithheld is the a political adviser as well as literary champion of place where Bartholomew Fair was kept, whose the Tory party, while Pope had hardly secured shows, machines, and dramatical entertainments the first step on the ladder of fame. The compo- formerly agreeable only to the taste of the sition of the Dunciad was as it were cradled by Rabble, were, by the Hero of this
poem the friendship of Swift; and the dedication by others of equal genius, brought to the Theatres which it was accompanied when first published of Covent-garden, Lincolns-inn-fields, and the in a complete form in April 1729, was therefore Haymarket, to be the reigning pleasures of the a tribute in every sense merited by the person to Court and Town. This happened in the reigns whom it was addressed. It must have reached of King George I. and II. See Book III. P. him at the most miserable period of his life, after 4 By Dulness, Jove, and Fate:) i.e. by their his return from his last visit to England and after Fudgments, their Interests, and their Inclina. the death of Stella.]
In eldest time, ere mortals writ or read,
Still her old Empire to restore” she tries,
0 Thou! whatever title please thine ear,
Close to those walls where Folly holds her throne,
Conformably to Milton's doctrine, Par. coin in Ireland, which, upon the great discontent Lost, 11. 894 and 96o. Wakefield.
of the people, his Majesty was graciously pleased ? Still her old Empire to restore] This Resto- to recal. P. ration makes the Completion of the Poem. Vide 8 Boeotia of old lay under the raillery of the Book IV. P.
neighbouring wits, as Ireland does now; though 3 [In the Satirc on John Partridge the Alma- each of those nations produced one of the greatnac-maker and subsequent publications. Steele est wits and greatest generals of their age. P. borrowed the pseudonym of Isaac Bickerstaff 9 Mourn not, my Swift, at aught our Realm from Swift, who was a contributor to a few of the acquires.] Ironicè iterum. The Politics of earlier papers of the Tatler.]
England and Ireland were at this time by some 4-Drapier, Bickerstaff, or Gulliver!] The thought to be opposite, or interfering with each several names and characters he assumed in his other: Dr Swift of course was in the interest of ludicrous, his splenetic, or his party-writings; the latter, our Author of the former. P. which take in all his works. P.
10 To hatch a new Saturnian age of Lead.) 5 [In the Travels of Gulliver, as Warburton The ancient Golden Age is by. Poets styled interprets the passage. But Mr Booth, in Field- Saturnian, as being under the reign of Saturn; ing's Amelia, is beyond a doubt right in his but in the Chemical language Saturn is Lead. observation that he does not remember to have She is said here only to be spreading her wings ever seen in Swift's works the least attempt in to hatch this age; which is not produced comthe manner of Cervantes,' and that the name of pletely till the fourth book. P. Lucian might have been appropriately introduced 11 (Physician to Bedlam Hospital.] among those of the authors whom Swift studied 12 Mr Caius Gabriel Cibber, father of the Poet above all others.)
Laureate. The two Statues of the Lunatics over 6 After Ver. 22 in the MS.
the gates of Bedlam Hospital were done by him, 'Or in the graver Gown instruct mankind, and as the son justly says of them) are no ill
Or silent let thy morals tell thy mind.' monuments of his fame as an artist. P. But this was to be understood, as the Poet says, 13 Poverty and Poetry] I cannot here omit a Ironicè, like the 23rd Verse. P.
remark that will greatly endear our Author to ? Or praise the Court, or magnify Mankind,] every one, who shall attentively observe that Ironice, alluding to Gulliver's representations of Humanity and Candour, which every where apboth. The next line relates to the papers of the pear in him towards those unhappy objects of Drapier against the currency of Wood's copper the ridicule of all mankind, the bad Poets. He every New-year's day, the words of which ar: 3 Ver. 41 in the former Editions,
Keen, hollow winds howl thro' the bleak recess,
In clouded Majesty here Dulness shone ;
Here she beholds the Chaos dark and deep?,
here imputes all scandalous rhymes, scurrilous -new born nonsense first is taught to cry: weekly papers, base flatteries, wretched elegies, at others, dead-born Scandal has its monthly songs, and verses (even from those sung at Court funeral, where Dulness assumes all the various to ballads in the streets), not so much to malice shapes of Folly to draw in and cajole the Rabble. or servility as to Dulness; and not so much to The eruption of every miserable Scribbler ; the Dulness as to Necessity. And thus, at the very scum of every dirty News-paper; or Fragments commencement of his Satire, makes an apology of Fragments, picked up from every Dunghill
, for all that are to be satirized. P.
under the title of Papers, Essays, Reflections, "Ov. Metam. XIII. [v. 918). Warburton. A Confutations, Queries, Verses, Songs, Epigrams, very close resemblance to the lines of Young in his Riddles, &c. equally the disgrace of human Wit, first epistle on the authors of the age, addressed Morality, Decency, and Common Sense. P. axi to Mr Pope. Warton.
Warburton. 2 Curl's chaste press, and Lintot's rubric Sepulchral Lies,). Is a just satire on the post:) Two Booksellers, of whom see Book 1. Flatteries and Falsehoods admitted to be inscribed The former was fined by the Court of King's on the walls of Churches, in Epitaphs. P. Bench for publishing obscene books; the latter 6 New-year Odes,] Made by the Poet Lavusually adorned his shop with titles in red let. reate for the time being, to be sung at Court ac P.
happily drowned in the voices and instruments 'Hence hymning. Tyburn's elegiac lay, The New-year Odes of the Hero of this work Hence the soft sing-song on Cecilia's Day.' were of a cast distinguished from all that precede
Warburton. him, and made a conspicuous part of his characHence hymning, Tyburn's elegiac lines,] It ter as a writer, which doubtless induced or is an ancient English custom for the Malefactors Author to mention them here so particularly. P to sing a Psalm at their execution at Tyburn; ? Compare Milton, Par, Lost, Bk, n. v. IL and no less customary to print Elegies on their Wakefield. deaths, at the same time, or before. P.
s (Jacob Tonson the bookseller: 'left-legge 4 MAGAZINES.). The common name of those Jacob, as he was afterwards called, who publs upstart collections in prose and verse; in which, ed for both Dryden and Pope.] at some times,