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'The author is allowed to be a perfect master of an easy and elegant versification. In all his works we find the most happy turns, and natural simitie*, wonderfully short and thick sown. ':
The Essay on the Dunciad also owns, p. 25, it it very full of beautiful images. But the panepyric, which crowns all thai can be said on this poem, is bestowed by our laureate,
Mr. Collcy Cibber, who 'grants it to be a better poem of its kind than ever was writ:' but adds, ' it was a victory over a parcel of poor wretches, whom it was almost coward* ice to conquer.—A man might as well trinmph for having killed So'many silly flies that offended him. Could he have let them alone, by this time, poor souls! they had all been buried in oblivionV Here we see our excellent laureate allows the justice of the satire on every man in it, but himself; as the great Mr. Dennis did before him. The said
Mr. Dennis and Mr. Gildon, in the most furious of all their works (the forectted character, p. 5), do in concertt confess, * That some
• Cibber's Letter to Mr. Pope, p. 9,12.
t In concert] Hear how Mr. Dennis hath prored our mistake in this place: 'As to my writing in concert with Mr. Gildon, I declare upon the honour and word of a gentleman, that I never wrote so much as one line in concert with any other nun whatsoever. And these two letters from Gildon will plainly show, that we are not writers in concert with each other. 'Sir,
• The height'of my ambition is to please men of the best judgement; and, finding that I have entertained my master agreeably, i have the extent of the reward of my labour.'
men of good understanding value him for his rhymes.'
And (p. 17), that he has got, like Mr. Bays in the Hehearsal (that is, like Mr. Dry den), a notable knack at rhyming, and writing smooth verse.'
Of his Essay on Man, numerous were the praises bestowed by his avowed enemies, in the imagination that the same was not written by him, as it wa>, printed anonymously. ''.
Thus sang of it even
Bczaleei Morris: . -.' ' . Auspicious bard! while all admire thy strain, All but the selfish, ignorant, and vain; J, whom no bribe to servile flatt'ry drew, Must pay the tribute to thy merit due: Thy muse sublime, significant, and clear. Alike informs the soul and charms the ear, &e. And ''
Mr. Leonard Wclsted
tlius wrote* to the unknown author, on the first publication of the said Essay; ' I must own, after the reception which the vilest and most immoral ribaldry bath lately met with, I was surprised to see what I bad
* I had not the opportunity of hearing of yout excellent pamphlet till this day. I am infinitely satisfied and pleased with it, and hope you will meet with that encouragement your admirable performance deserves-,' &c. 1 CH. G1LDON.'
* Now is it not plain that any one who sends such compliments to another, has not been used to write in partnership with him to whom he sends them f Dennis, Remarks on the Dunciad, p. 50. Mr. Den* nis is therefore welcome to take this piece to himself.
* In a letter under his own band, dated March IS, ma.
long despaired, a performance deserving the nam* of a poet. Such, sir, is your work. It is, indeed, above all cdmmendation, and ought to have been published in an age and country more worthy of it. If my testimony be of weight any where, you are sure to have it in the amplest manner,' See. Sec. &c.
Thus we see every one ofhis works hath been extolled by one or otherof his most inveterate tnemitsf and to the success of them all they do unanimously give testimony. But it is sufficient, instar omnium, to behold the great critic, Mr. Dennis, sorely lamenting it, even from the Essay on Criticism to this day of the Dunciad 1 * A most notorious instance (qnoth he) of the depravity of genins and taste, the approbation this Essay meets with*.—I can safely affirm, that I never attacked any of these writings, unless they had success infinitely beyond their merit. This, though an empty, has been a popular scribbler. The epidemic madness of the times has given him reputation t—If, after1 the cruel treatment so many extraordinary men (Spenser, lord Bacon, Ben Jonson, Milton, Butler, Otway, Sad others) have received from this country, for these,last hundred years, I should shift the scene, and show all that penury changed at once to riot and profuseness; and more squandered away upon one object, than would have satisfied the greater pan of those extraordinary men; the reader to whom this onc ere* 'ture should be unknown, would fancy him a prodigy of art and nature, would believe that alt the great qualities of -these persons were centred in him alone. But if I should venture to assure him, that the people of England had made such a choice v-thejeader would either believe me a malicious enemy, and slanderer, or that the reign of the last
* Dennis, Pref. to his Reflect, on the Essay oa Criticism, t Preface to his Remarks on Homer.
(queen Anne's) ministry was designed by fate to encourage fools*.'
But it happens that this our poet never had any place, pension, or gratuity, in any shape, from the said glorious queen, or any of her ministers. All he owed, in the whole course of his life, to any *court, was a subscription for his Homer, of 2001* from King George I. and 1002. from the prince and princess.
However, lest we imagine our anthor's success was constant and universal, they acquaint us of certain works in a less degree of repute, whereof, although owned by others, yet do they assure us he is the writer. Of this sort Mr. Dennist ascribes to him two farces, whose names he does not tell, but assures us that there is not one jest in them; and an imitation of Horace, whose title he does not mention, but assures us it is much more execrable than all his works}. The Daily Journal, May 11, 1728, assures us, ' He is below Tom Durfey in the drama, becanse (as that writer thinks) the MarriageHater Matched, and the Boarding-School, are better than the What-d'ye-call-it;' which is not Mr. P.'s, 'fcut Mr. Gay's. Mr. Gildon assures us, in his New Rehearsal, p. 48, 'That he was writing a play of the Xady Jane Grey;' but it afterwards proved to be Mr.- Rowe's. We are assured by another, 'He wrote, a pamphlet, called Dr. Andrew Tripe$;' which proved to be one Dr. WagstafTs. Mr. Theobald assures us, in Mist of the 27th of April, * That the treatise of the Profound is very dull, and that Mr. Pope is the anthor of it.' The writer of Gulliveriana is of another opinion; and says, * The whole, or greatest part, of the merit of this treatise must and can only, be ascribed to Gul liver ||.' [Here, gentle reader! cannot I but smile at the strange blindness and po
* Rem. on Homer, p. 8, 9. t lb. p. 8.
J Character of Mr. Pope, p. 7.
1 Character of Mr. Pope, p. 6. fl Gutliv. p.M0. sitiveness of men; knowing the said treatise to appertain to none other but to mr, Martinus Scriblerus.]
We are assured, in Mist of June 8, ' That his own plays and farces would better have adorned the Dunciad, than those of Mr. Theobald: for he had neither genins for tragedy nor comedy.' Which whether true or not, it is not easy to judge; in as much as he had attempted neither. Unless we will take it for granted, with Mr. Cibber, that hU being once very angry at hearing a friend's play abused, was an infallible proof the play was his own , the maid Mr. Cibber thinking it impossible for a man to be much concerned for any bnt himself: * Now let any man judge (saith he) by his concern, who wis the true mother of the child•?'
But from all that hath been said, the discerning reader will collect, that it little availed our author to have any candour, since, when he declared he did not write for others, it was not credited; as little to have any modesty, since, when he declined writ* ing in any way himself, the presumptiou of others was imputed to him- If he singly enterprised one great work, be was taxed of boldness and madness to a prodigy t: if he took assistants in another, it was complained of, and represented as a great injury to the public J. The loftiest heroics, the lowest ballads, treatises against the state or church, satires ou lords and ladies, raillery on wits and authors squabbles with booksellers, or even full and true ae* counts of monsters, poisons, and murders; of any hereof was there nothing so good, nothing so bad, which hath not at one or other season been to him ascribed. If it bore no author's name, then lay hi
• Gibber's Letter to Mr. P. p. 19. t Burnet's Homerides, p. 1. of his translation of the Iliad.
J The London and Mist's Journals, on his undertaking the Odyssey.