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Obfcurity of the persons it treats of, that it partakes of the nature of a Secret, which most people love to be let into, though the men or the things be ever fo inconfiderable or trivial.

Of the Perfons it was judged proper to give fome account: For fince it is only in this monument that they must expect to furvive (and here furvive they will, as long as the English tongue fhall remain fuch as it was in the reigns of Queen ANNE and King GEORGE,) it seemed but humanity to bestow a word or two upon each, juft to tell what he was, what he writ, when he lived, and when he died.

If a word or two more are added upon the chief offenders, 'tis only as a paper pinned upon the breast, to mark the enormities for which they fuffered; left the correction only fhould be remembered, and the crime forgotten.

In fome articles it was thought fufficient, barely to tranfcribe from Jacob, Curl, and other writers of their own rank, who were much better acquainted with them than any of the authors of this comment can pretend to be. Most of them had drawn each other's characters on certain occasions; but the few here inferted are all that could be faved from the general deftruction of fuch works.

Of the part of Scriblerus I need fay nothing; his manner is well enough known, and approved by all but those who are too much concerned to be judges.

The

The Imitations of the Ancients are added to gratify those who either never read, or may have forgotten them; together with fome of the parodies and allufions to the most excellent of the Moderns. If, from the frequency of the former, any man think the poem too much a Cento, our poet will but appear to have done the fame thing in jeft which Boileau did in earneft; and upon which Vida, Fracaftorius, and many of the most eminent Latin poets, profeffedly valued themselves.

IV.

ADVERTISEMENT

To the FIRST EDITION of the FOURTH BOOK of the DUNCIAD, when printed feparately in the Year 1742.

W

E 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 furvey of the Library of a late eminent nobleman; but in fo blotted a condition, and in fo many detached pieces, as plainly fhewed it to be not only incorrect, but unfinished. That the author

author of the three first books had a design to extend and complete his poem in this manner, appears from the differtation prefixed to it, where it is faid, that the defign is more extenfive, and that we may expect other epifodes to complete it: And from the declaration in the argument to the third book, that the accomplishment of the prophecies 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 Tucca and Varius for that of the last fix books of the Aeneid, though perhaps inferior to the former.

If any perfon be poffeffed of a more perfect copy of this work, or of any other fragments of it, and will communicate them to the publisher, we fhall make the next edition more complete: In which we also promise to infert any Criticisms that shall be published (if at all to the purpose) with the Names of the Authors; or any letter fent us (though not to the purpose) fhall yet be printed under the title of Epiftolae Obfcurorum Virorum; which, together with fome others of the fame kind formerly laid by for that end, may make no unpleasant addition to the future impreffions of this poem.

V.

ADVERTISEMENT

To the complete EDITION of 1743.

I

HAVE long had a design of giving fome fort of Notes on the works of this poet. Before I had the happiness of his acquaintance, I had written a commentary on his Effay on Man, and have fince finished another on the Effay on Criticifm. There was one already on the Dunciad, which had met with general approbation: but I ftill thought fome additions were wanting (of a more ferious kind) to the humorous notes of Scriblerus, and even to those written by Mr. Cleland, Dr. Arbuthnot, and others. I had lately the pleasure to pass fome months with the author in the country, where I prevailed upon. him to do what I had long defired, and favour me with his explanation of several paffages in his works. It happened, that just at that juncture was published a ridiculous book against him, full of Perfonal Reflection, which furnished him with a lucky opportunity of improving This Poem, by giving it the only thing it wanted, a more confiderable Hero. He was always fenfible 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 fince obtained the Laurel: But fince that had

happened,

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happened, he could no longer deny this juftice either
to him or the Dunciad.

And yet I will venture to fay, there was another motive which had still more weight with our Author: This perfon was one, who from every Folly (not to fay Vice) of which another would be ashamed, has conftantly derived a Vanity; and therefore was the man in the world who would leaft be hurt by it.

W. W.

VI.

ADVERTISEMENT

Printed in the JOURNALS, 1730.

HEREAS, upon occafion of certain Pieces re-
W
lating to the Gentlemen of the Dunciad, fome
have been willing to fuggeft, as if they looked upon
them as an abuse: we can do no lefs than own, it is
our opinion, that to call these Gentlemen bad authors
is no fort of abuse, but a great truth. We cannot
alter this opinion without some reason; but we pro-
mise to do it in refpect to every person who thinks it
an injury to be reprefented as no Wit, or Poet, pro-
vided he procures a Certificate of his being really
fuch, from any three of his companions in the Dunciad,
or from Mr. Dennis fingly, who is esteemed equal to
any three of the number.

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