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cated there for six weeks, during which time the fourth book of the Dunciad was completed. It was published in March, 1742, under the title of “The New DUNCIAD, as it was Found in the year 1741.” With his characteristic love of mystification, the poet, in an advertisement prefixed to the work, stated that it was "found merely by accident, in taking a survey of the library of a late eminent nobleman ” -Lord Oxford's library again !—“but in so blotted a condition, and in so many detached pieces, as plainly showed it to be not only incorrect, but unfinished.” Of the reception which the work experienced, and how it was estimated by one well fitted to judge, we have information in one of Gray's letters to West. “As to the Dunciad,” says Gray, “it is greatly admired: the genii of operas and schools, with their attendants, the pleas of the virtuosos and florists, and the yawn
of dulness at the end, are as fine as anything he has written. The metaphysicians' part is to me the worst; and here and there are a few ill-expressed lines, and some hardly intelligible.” Bolingbroke refrained from reading it for some time, as he heard it was so obscure ; but on perusing it he found it to be the best and most finished of all Pope's writings. It has one decided advantage over the former three books. The objects of the poet's satire are worthy of his ridicule and indignation. Instead of attacking weak or starving poets, dunces, and worthless booksellers, he has directed his verse against all false pretenders to taste and science-against the half-wits and libertines who affected admiration of Italian singers, and against those “Indolents” who spend their time in studying butterflies, shells, birds’-nests, moss, &c., never proceeding beyond trifles to any useful or extensive views of nature, or of the Author of nature. He also ridicules the system pursued in public schools, of confining our youth to words, and keeping them out of the way of real knowledge. These passages are, as Gray remarked, as fine as anything Pope has written-as brilliant, fanciful, and musical—and combine with the rich colouring of the poet a warm moral feeling and justness of
THE NEW DUNCIAD.
thought not 'excelled in any of his Moral Essays or Epistles. In some of the latter, while vindicating his own character, Pope rises to great dignity and force of expression, but still the subject is self: in the New Dunciad he attains to equal elevation on topics of public and national importance." Warton objects that in the fourth book the hero does nothing—and that the subjects introduced do not harmonize with the previous parts of the work. We may admit that the splendid passages would have been better wrought into a separate moral or critical poem, leaving the Dunciad with its machinery complete in three books. In reality, however, this critical objection is not felt by the reader. The satire is dignified and correct, the subjects various, and the
poein altogether greatly elevated and enriched by the addition made to it. There good sense in Johnson's advice to Crabbe: "Never fear putting the strongest and best you can think of into the mouth of your speaker, whatever may be his condition.”
That years had not dimmed the poet's fancy, or his power of painting in words, may be seen by turning to his description of the carnation and butterfly, or to that still finer passage, where he makes Dulness lead her fashionable and degenerate votary to France and Italy,
To where the Seine, obsequious as she runs,
Colley Cibber was again brought forward by his im
placable satirist. He had given some show of provocation in his Apology for his Life, published in 1740, wherein he referred to Pope's hostility, but admitted that the poet could not have more pleasure in writing his verses than he had in reading them, notwithstanding that he found himself, as Shakspeare terms it, dispraisingly spoken of. “When I find my name at length in the satirical works of our most celebrated living author, I never look upon those lines as malice meant to me (for he knows I never provoked it), but profit to himself. One of his points must be to have many readers ; he considers that my face and name are more known than those of many thousands of more consequence in the kingdom; that therefore, right or wrong, a lick at the laureate will always be a sure bait ad captandum vulgus to catch him little readers ; and that to gratify the unlearned by now and then interposing those merry sacrifices of an old acquaintance to their taste, is a piece of quite right poetical craft.” In retaliation Pope introduced Cibber into the New Dunciad as attendant on the goddess of Dulness while she is seated on her throne :
Soft on her lap her Laureate son reclines.
In the notes he was more personal.
Cibber was soon ready with another pamphlet—"A Letter from Mr. Cibber to Mr. Pope, inquiring into the motives that might induce him in his satirical works to be so frequently fond of Mr. Cibber's Name.” In the Apology for his Life Cibber says he had treated Pope like a gentleman, but finding from the New Dunciad that this course had not the desired effect, his friends insisted that it would be thought dulness, indeed, or a plain confession of being a bankrupt in wit, if he did not immediately answer those bills of discredit the poet had drawn on him. His answer is partly serious and partly ludicrous. In the former he is poor, for Cibber was no reasoner;
but he relates the anecdote of Pope's enmity on occasion of the revival of the Rehearsal, when he intro
duced the incident of the mummy and crocodile, and he mentions the poet's dislike to his play of the Nonjuror. He then makes a general charge against Pope, on the ground of what he calls his ruling passion, that is, “a low avarice of praise, which prejudices or debases that valuable character which his works, without his own commendatory notes upon them, might have maintained.” But the most galling part of Cibber's reply was a ridiculous story, accompanied with a print, of a scene which occurred “when Button's coffee-house was in vogue, and so long ago as when he (Pope) had not translated above two or three books of Homer," that is in 1714, or 1715. According to the graceless Cibber, a late young nobleman (Lord Warwick] who had a good deal of wicked humour, and who, though fond of having wits in his company, was not so restrained by his conscience but that he loved to laugh at any merry mischief he could do them; this noble wag, in his usual gaieté de coeur, with another gentleman, seduced Mr. Pope as a wit, and Colley himself as a laugher, into a tavern in the Haymarket, where the poet appeared in the character of a gallant; but Cibber says he snatched away the “ Tom Tit," conceiving that Homer would have been too serious a sacrifice to their evening merriment. “Now, as his Homer has since been so happily completed, who can say that the world may not have been obliged to the kindly care of Colley that so great a work ever came to perfection ?" This loose and disgraceful anecdote (which Pope declared to Spence was an absolute lie as to the main point”), set the laughers against Pope, and made him resolve to take the most signal vengeance. Horace Walpole predicted that it would “notably vex him," but who could have imagined that, for such a cause, the poet would have re-cast and altered the whole of the Dunciad, and have substituted Cibber for Theobald, as hero of the poem ?
? To this task, however, he now bent his fading energies, and some sad and serious reflections must have stolen across his mind as he
reviewed the long file of his victims. Death had been busy with dunces as with wits. Dennis and James Moore, the earliest objects of his hatred, were gone. Poor Corinna, sinned against and sinning, Gildon's “venal quill,” Tickell's classic rivalry, Theobald's dull criticism, Blackmore's epic ambition, and Bentley's ripe scholarship, were buried in the dust. The wretched Budgell and Arnall had disappeared, self-destroyed. Lord Fanny was sinking to the grave, and he died about two months after the publication of the new edition. Lady Mary was a wanderer in foreign countries, destined to return the wreck of her former self, old and wretched. New names required to be substituted for some of the “ ragged regiment” who had long been dead and forgotten-fresh bitterness had to be infused respecting such as were alive and prosperous. Welsted was happy in an appointment in the Ordnance Office, Concanen was Attorney-General in Jamaica, Namby Pamby Philips held An important office in Ireland, and sat in the Irish Parliament. For these there still burned
The vestal fire of undecaying hate.
For all there was a determined and unconquerable spirit, with a passion for literary labour and fame, that was to continue till the last throb of existence. The poet again invoked the assistance of Warburton :
“A project has arisen in my head to make you, in some measure, the Editor of this new edition of the Dunciad, if you have no scruple of owning some of the graver notes, which are now added to those of Dr. Arbuthnot. I mean it as a kind of prelude, or advertisement to the public, of your Commentaries on the Essay on Man and on Criticism, which I propose to print next in another volume proportioned to this. I only doubt whether an avowal of these notes to so ludicrous a poem be suitable to a character so established as yours for more serious studies. It was a sudden thought since we parted, and I would have you treat it as no more ; and tell me if it is not to be suppressed, freely and friendlily. I have a particular reason to make you interest yourself in me and my writings. It will cause both them and me to make the better figure to posterity. A very mediocre