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To the First EDITION with Notes,
in Quarto, 1729.
T will be fufficient to say of this edition, that the
plete copy of the DUNCIAD, than has hitherto appear. ed. I cannot answer but some mistakes may have slipt into it; but a vast number of others will be preventede by the names being now not only set at length, but justified by the authorities and reasons given. I make no doubt, the author's own motive to use real rather than feigned names, was his care to preserve the innocent from any false application; whereas, in the for. mer editions, which had no more than the initial leta ters, he was made, by keys printed here, to hurt the inoffensive ; and (what was worse) to abuse his friends, by an impression at Dublin.
The commentary which attends this poem was sent me from several hands, and consequently must be un. equally written; yet will have one advantage over most conimentaries, that it is not made upon conjectures, or at a remote distance of time: And the read. er cannot but derive one pleasure from the very Obfcus rity of the perfons it treats of, that it partakes of the nature of a Secret, which most people love to be let
înto, tho' the men or the things be ever fu inconsiderable or trivial.
Of the Persons it was judged proper to give some account : for fince it is only in this monument that they must expect to survive (and here survive they will, as long as the English tongue shall remain such as it was in the reigns of Queen ANNE and King GEORGE, it seemed but humanity to bestow a word or two upon each, just 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 of fenders, 'tis only as a paper pinned upon the breast, to mark the enormities for which they suffered ; left the correction only should be remembered, and the crime forgotten.
In some articles it was thought fufficient, barely to transcribe 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 de. ftruction of such works.
Of the part of Scriblerus I need fay nothing; bis manner is well enough known, and approved by all but those who are too much concerned to be judges.
The imitations of the Ancients are added, to gratify thofe who either never read, or may have forgotten them; together with suine 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 jest which Boileau did in ear. nest; and upon which Vida, Fracaftorius, and many of the most eminent Latin poets, professedly valued themselves.
To the FIRST EDITION of
The Fourth Book of the DUNCIAD, when
printed separately in the Year 1742.
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 survey of the Library of a late eminent nobleman; but in fo blotted a conditon, and in so many detached pieces, as plainly shewed it to be not only 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 said, that the design is more extensive, and that we may expect other episodes to complete it : And from the declaration in the argu. ment to the third book, that the accimplishment of the prophefies 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 Æneid, tho' perhaps inferior to the former.
If any person be poffefred 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 fent us (tho' not to the purpose) shall yet be printed under the title of Epiftolæ obfcu. rorum Virorum ; which, together with some others of the same kind formerly laid by for that end, may make no unpleasant addition to the future impressions
of this poem.
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 commentary on his Essay on Man, and have since finished another on the Esay on Criticism. There was one already on the Dunciad, which had met with general appro
bation : but I still thought some additions were wanting (of a more serious kind) to the huniorous notes of Scriblerus, and even to those written by Mr Cleland, Dr Arbuthnot, and others. I had lately the pleasure to pals some months with the author in the country, where ! prevailed upon him to do what I had long desired, and favour me with his explanation of several pallages 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 He. ro it had, purely for want of a better; not entertain ing the least expectation that such an one was reserved for this post, as has since obtained the Laurel: But since that had happened, he could no longer deny this justice either to him or the Dunciad. Anå
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 Foly (not to fay 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.