Front Page Titles (by Subject) THE DUNCIAD IN FOUR BOOKS - The Complete Poetical Works of Alexander Pope
THE DUNCIAD IN FOUR BOOKS - Alexander Pope, The Complete Poetical Works of Alexander Pope 
The Complete Poetical Works of Alexander Pope. Cambridge Edition, ed. Henry W. Boynton (Boston and New York: Houghton, Mifflin and Co., 1903).
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- Editor’s Note
- Biographical Sketch
- Early Poems
- Ode On Solitude
- A Paraphrase (on Thomas À Kempis, L. III. C. 2)
- To the Author of a Poem Entitled Successio [ ]
- The First Book of Statius’s Thebais Translated In the Year 1703
- Imitations of English Poets
- Spenser [ ] the Alley
- Waller On a Lady Singing to Her Lute
- Cowley the Garden
- Earl of Rochester On Silence
- Earl of Dorset Artemisia
- Dr. Swift the Happy Life of a Country Parson
- Discourse On Pastoral Poetry
- I: Spring; Or, Damon [ ] to Sir William Trumbull
- II: Summer; Or, Alexis to Dr. Garth
- III: Autumn; Or, Hylas and Ægon [ ] to Mr. Wycherley
- IV: Winter; Or, Daphne [ ] to the Memory of Mrs. Tempest
- Windsor Forest [ ] to the Right Hon. George Lord Lansdown
- Paraphrases From Chaucer
- January and May: Or, the Merchant’s Tale
- The Wife of Bath Her Prologue
- The Temple of Fame [ ]
- Translations From Ovid
- Sappho to Phaon From the Fifteenth of Ovid’s Epistles
- The Fable of Dryope [ ] From the Ninth Book of Ovid’s Metamorphoses
- Vertumnus and Pomona From the Fourteenth Book of Ovid’s Metamorphoses
- An Essay On Criticism [ ]
- Part I
- Part Ii
- Part Iii
- Poems Written Between 1708 and 1712
- Ode For Music On St. Cecilia’s Day
- The Balance of Europe
- The Translator
- On Mrs. Tofts, a Famous Opera-singer
- Epistle to Mrs. Blount, With the Works of Voiture.
- The Dying Christian to His Soul
- Epistle to Mr. Jervas [ ] With Dryden’s Translation of Fresnoy’s Art of Painting
- Impromptu to Lady Winchilsea Occasioned By Four Satirical Verses On Women Wits, In the Rape of the Lock
- Elegy to the Memory of an Unfortunate Lady
- The Rape of the Lock an Heroi-comical Poem [ ]
- Canto I
- Canto Ii
- Canto Iii
- Canto Iv
- Canto V
- Poems Written Between 1713 and 1717
- Prologue to Mr. Addison’s Cato
- Epilogue to Mr. Rowe’s Jane Shore Designed For Mrs. Oldfield
- To a Lady, With the Temple of Fame
- Upon the Duke of Marlborough’s House At Woodstock
- Lines to Lord Bathurst
- Macer [ ] a Character
- Epistle to Mrs. Teresa Blount On Her Leaving the Town After the Coronation
- Lines Occasioned By Some Verses of His Grace the Duke of Buckingham
- A Farewell to London [ ] In the Year 1715
- Imitation of Martial
- Imitation of Tibullus
- The Basset-table [ ] an Eclogue
- Epigram On the Toasts of the Kit-cat Club [ ] Anno 1716
- The Challenge a Court Ballad
- The Looking-glass On Mrs. Pulteney
- Prologue, Designed For Mr. D’urfey’s Last Play
- Prologue to the ‘three Hours After Marriage’
- Prayer of Brutus From Geoffrey of Monmouth
- To Lady Mary Wortley Montagu
- Extemporaneous Lines On a Portrait of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, Painted By Kneller
- Eloisa to Abelard [ ]
- Poems Written Between 1718 and 1727
- An Inscription Upon a Punch-bowl In the South Sea Year, For a Club: Chased With Jupiter Placing Callisto In the Skies, and Europa With the Bull
- Epistle to James Craggs, Esq. Secretary of State
- A Dialogue
- Verses to Mr. C. St. James’s Palace, London, Oct. 22
- To Mr. Gay Who Had Congratulated Pope On Finishing His House and Gardens
- On Drawings of the Statues of Apollo, Venus, and Hercules Made For Pope By Sir Godfrey Kneller
- Epistle to Robert Earl of Oxford and Mortimer Prefixed to Parnell’s Poems
- Two Choruses to the Tragedy of Brutus
- To Mrs. M. B. On Her Birthday
- Answer to the Following Question of Mrs. Howe
- On a Certain Lady At Court
- To Mr. John Moore Author of the Celebrated Worm-powder
- The Curll Miscellanies Umbra
- Poems Suggested By Gulliver
- Later Poems
- On Certain Ladies
- Prologue to a Play For Mr. Dennis’s Benefit, In 1733, When He Was Old, Blind, and In Great Distress, a Little Before His Death
- Song, By a Person of Quality Written In the Year 1733
- Verses Left By Mr. Pope On His Lying In the Same Bed Which Wilmot, the Celebrated Earl of Rochester, Slept In At Adderbury, Then Belonging to the Duke of Argyle, July 9th, 1739
- On His Grotto At Twickenham Composed of Marbles, Spars, Gems, Ores, and Minerals
- On Receiving From the Right Hon. the Lady Frances Shirley a Standish and Two Pens
- On Beaufort House Gate At Chiswick
- To Mr. Thomas Southern On His Birthday, 1742
- 1740: A Poem [ ]
- Poems of Uncertain Date
- To Erinna
- Lines Written In Windsor Forest
- Verbatim From Boileau First Published By Warburton In 1751
- Lines On Swift’s Ancestors
- On Seeing the Ladies At Crux Easton Walk In the Woods By the Grotto Extempore By Mr. Pope
- Inscription On a Grotto, the Work of Nine Ladies
- To the Right Hon. the Earl of Oxford Upon a Piece of News In Mist [mist’s Journal] That the Rev. Mr. W. Refused to Write Against Mr. Pope Because His Best Patron Had a Friendship For the Said Pope
- Epigrams and Epitaphs
- On a Picture of Queen Caroline Drawn By Lady Burlington
- Epigram Engraved On the Collar of a Dog Which I Gave to His Royal Highness
- Lines Written In Evelyn’s Book On Coins
- From the Grub-street Journal
- I: Epigram
- II: Epigram
- III: Mr. J. M. S[myth]e Catechised On His One Epistle to Mr. Pope
- IV: Epigram On Mr. M[oo]re’s Going to Law With Mr. Giliver: Inscribed to Attorney Tibbald
- V: Epigram
- VI: Epitaph On James Moore-smythe
- VII: A Question By Anonymous
- VIII: Epigram
- IX: Epigram
- On Charles Earl of Dorset In the Church of Withyam, Sussex
- On Sir William Trumbull One of the Principal Secretaries of State to King William Iii
- On the Hon. Simon Harcourt Only Son of the Lord Chancellor Harcourt
- On James Craggs, Esq. In Westminster Abbey
- On Mr. Rowe In Westminster Abbey
- On Mrs. Corbet Who Died of a Cancer In Her Breast
- On the Monument of the Hon. R. Digby and of His Sister Mary Erected By Their Father, Lord Digby, In the Church of Sherborne, In Dorsetshire, 1727.
- On Sir Godfrey Kneller In Westminster Abbey, 1723
- On General Henry Withers In Westminster Abbey, 1729
- On Mr. Elijah Fenton At Easthamstead, Berks, 1729
- On Mr. Gay In Westminster Abbey, 1730
- Intended For Sir Isaac Newton In Westminster Abbey
- On Dr. Francis Atterbury Bishop of Rochester, Who Died In Exile At Paris, 1732
- On Edmund Duke of Buckingham Who Died In the Nineteenth Year of His Age, 1735
- For One Who Would Not Be Buried In Westminster Abbey
- Another On the Same
- On Two Lovers Struck Dead By Lightning
- An Essay On Man [ ]
- In Four Epistles to Lord Bolingbroke
- The Design
- Epistle I of the Nature and State of Man, With Respect to the Universe
- Epistle Ii of the Nature and State of Man With Respect to Himself As an Individual
- Epistle Iii of the Nature and State of Man With Respect to Society
- Epistle Iv of the Nature and State of Man, With Respect to Happiness
- Moral Essays
- Epistle I [ ] to Sir Richard Temple, Lord Cobham
- Epistle Ii [ ] to a Lady of the Characters of Women
- Epistle Iii [ ] to Allen, Lord Bathurst
- Epistle IV: To Richard Boyle, Earl of Burlington of the Use of Riches
- Epistle V: To Mr. Addison Occasioned By His Dialogues On Medals
- Universal Prayer Deo Opt. Max.
- Epistle to Dr. Arbuthnot [ ] Being the Prologue to the Satires
- Satires, Epistles, and Odes of Horace Imitated [ ]
- The First Satire of the Second Book of Horace
- The Second Satire of the Second Book of Horace [ ]
- The First Epistle of the First Book of Horace [ ]
- The Sixth Epistle of the First Book of Horace [ ]
- The First Epistle of the Second Book of Horace [ ]
- The Second Epistle of the Second Book of Horace [ ]
- Satires of Dr. John Donne, Dean of St. Paul’s, Versified [ ]
- Epilogue to the Satires [ ] In Two Dialogues. Written In 1738
- The Sixth Satire of the Second Book of Horace [ ]
- The Seventh Epistle of the First Book of Horace [ ]
- The First Ode of the Fourth Book of Horace [ ]
- The Ninth Ode of the Fourth Book of Horace
- The Dunciad In Four Books
- Martinus Scriblerus of the Poem
- Preface Prefixed to the Five First Imperfect Editions of the Dunciad, In Three Books, Printed At Dublin and London, In Octavo and Duodecimo, 1727.
- The Publisher to the Reader
- A Letter to the Publisher Occasioned By the First Correct Edition of the Dunciad
- Advertisement to the First Edition With Notes, Quarto, 1729
- Advertisement to the First Edition of the Fourth Book of the Dunciad, When Printed Separately In the Year 1742
- Advertisement to the Complete Edition of 1743
- The Dunciad [ ] to Dr. Jonathan Swift
- Book I
- Book Ii [ ]
- Book Iii [ ]
- Book Iv [ ]
- Translations From Homer the Iliad
- Pope’s Preface
- Book I: The Contention of Achilles and Agamemnon
- Book II: The Trial of the Army and Catalogue of the Forces
- Book III: The Duel of Menelaus and Paris
- Book IV: The Breach of the Truce, and the First Battle
- Book V: The Acts of Diomed
- Book VI: The Episodes of Glaucus and Diomed, and of Hector and Andromache
- Book VII: The Single Combat of Hector and Ajax
- Book VIII: The Second Battle, and the Distress of the Greeks
- Book IX: The Embassy to Achilles
- Book X: The Night Adventure of Diomede and Ulysses
- Book XI: The Third Battle, and the Acts of Agamemnon
- Book XII: The Battle At the Grecian Wall
- Book XIII: The Fourth Battle Continued, In Which Neptune Assists the Greeks. the Acts of Idomeneus
- Book XIV: Juno Deceives Jupiter By the Girdle of Venus
- Book XV: The Fifth Battle, At the Ships; and the Acts of Ajax
- Book XVI: The Sixth Battle: the Acts and Death of Patroclus
- Book XVII: The Seventh Battle, For the Body of Patroclus.—the Acts of Menelaus
- Book XVIII: The Grief of Achilles, and New Armour Made Him By Vulcan
- Book XIX: The Reconciliation of Achilles and Agamemnon
- Book XX: The Battle of the Gods, and the Acts of Achilles
- Book XXI: The Battle In the River Scamander
- Book XXII: The Death of Hector
- Book XXIII: Funeral Games In Honour of Patroclus
- Book XXIV: The Redemption of the Body of Hector
- Pope’s Concluding Note.
- The Odyssey
- Book III: The Interview of Telemachus and Nestor
- Book V: The Departure of Ulysses From Calypso
- Book VII: The Court of AlcinoÜs
- Book IX: The Adventures of the Cicons, Lotophagi, and Cyclops
- Book X: Adventures With Æolus, the LÆstrygons, and Circe
- Book XIII: The Arrival of Ulysses In Ithaca
- Book XIV: The Conversation With EumÆus
- Book XV: The Return of Telemachus
- Book XVII: Book XXI: The Bending of Ulysses’ Bow
- Book XXII: The Death of the Suitors
- Book XXIV: Postscript By Pope
- A. a Glossary of Names of Pope’s Contemporaries Mentioned In the Poems.
- Bibliographical Note
IN FOUR BOOKS
The first edition of The Dunciad was published in the spring of 1728, and included the first three books. In 1729 an edition with notes and other illustrative matter appeared, the original frontispiece of the owl being superseded by a vignette of a donkey bearing a pile of books upon which an owl perched. In this edition appeared the Dedication to Swift and the Letter to the Publisher. William Cleland, whose name is signed to this letter, was a real person and an acquaintance of Pope’s, but it is generally conceded that the letter is directly or indirectly the work of Pope himself. The fourth book, then called The New Dunciad, was published separately in 1742. In the complete edition of 1743, Cibber takes the place of Theobald as hero of the poem. During these fifteen years, public interest in the satire, which was undoubtedly great, was artificially stimulated by Pope. So subtle were his mystifications that the confusion into which he threw his commentators has only recently been set straight.
MARTINUS SCRIBLERUS OF THE POEM
This poem, as it celebrateth the most grave and ancient of things, Chaos, Night, and Dulness, so is it of the most grave and ancient kind. Homer (saith Aristotle) was the first who gave the form, and (saith Horace) who adapted the measure, to heroic poesy. But even before this may be rationally presumed, from what the ancients have left written, was a piece by Homer, composed of like nature and matter with this of our poet; for of epic sort it appeareth to have been, yet of matter surely not unpleasant; witness what is reported of it by the learned Archbishop Eustathius, in Odyssey X. And accordingly Aristotle, in his Poetic, chap. iv., doth further set forth, that as the Iliad and Odyssey gave an example to Tragedy, so did this poem to Comedy its first idea.
From these authors also it should seem that the hero, or chief personage of it, was no less obscure, and his understanding and sentiments no less quaint and strange (if indeed not more so) than any of the actors of our poem. Margites was the name of this personage, whom antiquity recordeth to have been Dunce the First; and surely, from what we hear of him, not unworthy to be the root of so spreading a tree, and so numerous a posterity. The poem, therefore, celebrating him, was properly and absolutely a Dunciad; which though now unhappily lost, yet is its nature sufficiently known by the infallible tokens aforesaid. And thus it doth appear that the first Dunciad was the first epic poem, written by Homer himself, and anterior even to the Iliad or Odyssey.
Now, forasmuch as our poet hath translated those two famous works of Homer which are yet left, he did conceive it in some sort his duty to imitate that also which was lost; and was therefore induced to bestow on it the same form which Homer’s is reported to have had, namely, that of epic poem; with a title also framed after the ancient Greek manner, to wit, that of Dunciad.
Wonderful it is that so few of the moderns have been stimulated to attempt some Dunciad; since, in the opinion of the multitude, it might cost less pain and toil than an imitation of the greater epic. But possible it is also that, on due reflection, the maker might find it easier to paint a Charlemagne, a Brute, or a Godfrey, with just pomp and dignity heroic, than a Margites, a Codrus, or a Fleckno.
We shall next declare the occasion and the cause which moved our poet to this particular work. He lived in those days when (after Providence had permitted the invention of printing as a scourge for the sins of the learned) paper also became so cheap, and printers so numerous, that a deluge of authors covered the land: whereby not only the peace of the honest unwriting subject was daily molested, but unmerciful demands were made of his applause, yea, of his money, by such as would neither earn the one nor deserve the other. At the same time the license of the press was such, that it grew dangerous to refuse them either; for they would forthwith publish slanders unpunished, the authors being anonymous, and skulking under the wings of publishers, a set of men who never scrupled to vend either calumny or blasphemy, as long as the town would call for it.
Now our author, living in those times, did conceive it an endeavour well worthy an honest satirist, to dissuade the dull, and punish the wicked, the only way that was left. In that public-spirited view he laid the Plan of this poem, as the greatest service he was capable (without much hurt, or being slain) to render his dear country. First, taking things from their original, he considereth the causes creative 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 to show the qualities they bestow on these authors, and the effects they produce; then the materials, or stock, with which they furnish them; and (above all) that self-opinion 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; 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 has 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 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 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;’ 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 narrations various, yet of one colour, the purity and chastity of diction is so preserved, that 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 criticism, namely, smartness, quick censure, vivacity of remark, certainty of asservation, 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 Dunclad.
PREFIXED TO THE FIVE FIRST IMPERFECT EDITIONS OF THE DUNCIAD, IN THREE BOOKS, PRINTED AT DUBLIN AND LONDON, IN OCTAVO AND DUODECIMO, 1727.
THE PUBLISHER TO THE READER
It will be found a true observation, though somewhat surprising, that when any scandal is vented against a man of the highest distinction and character, either in the state or literature, the public in general afford it a most quiet reception, and the larger part accept it as favourably as if it were some kindness done to themselves: whereas, if a known scoundrel or blockhead but chance to be touched upon, a whole legion is up in arms, and it becomes the common cause of all scribblers, booksellers, and printers whatsoever.
Not to search too deeply into the reason hereof, I will only observe as a fact, that every week, for these two months past, the town has been persecuted with pamphlets, advertisements, letters, and weekly essays, not only against the wit and writings, but against the character and person of Mr. Pope; and that of all those men who have received pleasure from his works (which by modest computation may be about a hundred thousand in these kingdoms of England and Ireland, not to mention Jersey, Guernsey, the Orcades, those in the New World, and foreigners who have translated him into their languages), of all this number not a man hath stood up to say one word in his defence.
The only exception is the author of the following poem, who doubtless had either a better insight into the grounds of this clamour, or a better opinion of Mr. Pope’s integrity, joined with a greater personal love for him than any other of his numerous friends and admirers.
Farther, that he was in his peculiar intimacy, appears from the knowledge he manifests of the most private authors of all the anonymous pieces against him, and from his having in this poem attacked no man living who had not before printed or published some scandal against this gentleman.
How I came possessed of it, is no concern to the reader; but it would have been a wrong to him had I detained the publication; since those names which are its chief ornaments die off daily so fast, as must render it too soon unintelligible. If it provoke the author to give us a more perfect edition, I have my end.
Who he is I cannot say, and (which is a great pity) there is certainly nothing in his style and manner of writing which can distinguish or discover him; for if it bears any resemblance to that of Mr. Pope, it is not improbable but it might be done on purpose, with a view to have it pass for his. But by the frequency of his allusions to Virgil, and a laboured (not to say affected) shortness in imitation of him, I should think him more an admirer of the Roman poet than of the Grecian, and in that not of the same taste with his friend.
I have been well informed that this work was the labour of full six years of his life, and that he wholly retired himself from all the avocations and pleasures of the world to attend diligently to its correction and perfection; and six years more he intended to bestow upon it, as it should seem by this verse of Statius, which was cited at the head of his manuscript:—
- ‘Oh mihi bissenos multum vigilata per annos,
Hence also we learn the true title of the poem; which, with the same certainty as we call that of Homer the Iliad, of Virgil the Æneid, of Camöens the Lusiad, we may pronounce could have been, and can be, no other than
It is styled heroic, as being doubly so; not only with respect to its nature, which, according to the best rules of the ancients, and strictest ideas of the moderns, is critically such; but also with regard to the heroical disposition and high courage of the writer, who dared to stir up such a formidable, irritable, and implacable race of mortals.
There may arise some obscurity in chronology from the names in the poem, by the inevitable removal of some authors, and insertion of others in their niches: for, whoever will consider the unity of the whole design, will be sensible that the poem was not made for these authors, but these authors for the poem. I should judge that they were clapped in as they rose, fresh and fresh, and changed from day to day; in like manner as when the old boughs wither we thrust new ones into a chimney.
I would not have the reader too much troubled or anxious, if he cannot decipher them; since, when he shall have found them out, he will probably know no more of the persons than before.
Yet we judged it better to preserve them as they are, than to change them for fictitious names; by which the satire would only be multiplied, and applied to many instead of one. Had the hero, for instance, been called Codrus, how many would have affirmed him to have been Mr. T., Mr. E., Sir R. B.? &c., but now all that unjust scandal is saved, by calling him by a name which, by good luck, happens to be that of a real person.
A LETTER TO THE PUBLISHER
OCCASIONED BY THE FIRST CORRECT EDITION OF THE DUNCIAD
It is with pleasure I hear that you have procured a correct copy of the Dunciad, which the many surreptitious ones have rendered so necessary; and it is yet with more, that I am informed it will be attended with a Commentary; a work so requisite, that I cannot think the author himself would have omitted it, had he approved of the first appearance of this poem.
Such Notes as have occurred to me I herewith send you: you will oblige me by inserting them amongst those which are, or will be, transmitted to you by others; since not only the author’s friends, but even strangers, appear engaged by humanity, to take some care of an orphan of so much genius and spirit, which its parent seems to have abandoned from the very beginning, and suffered to step into the world naked, unguarded, and unattended.
It was upon reading some of the abusive papers lately published, that my great regard to a person whose friendship I esteem as one of the chief honours of my life, and a much greater respect to truth than to him or any man living, engaged me in inquiries of which the enclosed Notes are the fruit.
I perceived that most of these authors had been (doubtless very wisely) the first aggressors. They had tried, till they were weary, what was to be got by railing at each other: nobody was either concerned or surprised if this or that scribbler was proved a dunce, but every one was curious to read what could be said to prove Mr. Pope one, and was ready to pay something for such a discovery; a stratagem which, would they fairly own it, might not only reconcile them to me, but screen them from the resentment of their lawful superiors, whom they daily abuse, only (as I charitably hope) to get that by them, which they cannot get from them.
I found this was not all: ill success in that had transported them to personal abuse, either of himself, or (what I think he could less forgive) of his friends. They had called men of virtue and honour bad men, long before he had either leisure or inclination to call them bad writers; and some of them had been such old offenders, that he had quite forgotten their persons, as well as their slanders, till they were pleased to revive them.
Now what had Mr. Pope done before to incense them? He had published those works which are in the hands of every body, in which not the least mention is made of any of them. And what has he done since? He has laughed, and written the Dunciad. What has that said of them? A very serious truth, which the public had said before, that they were dull; and what it had no sooner said, but they themselves were at great pains to procure, or even purchase, room in the prints to testify under their hands to the truth of it.
I should still have been silent, if either I had seen any inclination in my friend to be serious with such accusers, or if they had only meddled with his writings; since whoever publishes, puts himself on his trial by his country: but when his moral character was attacked, and in a manner from which neither truth nor virtue can secure the most innocent; in a manner which, though it annihilates the credit of the accusation with the just and impartial, yet aggravates very much the guilt of the accusers—I mean by authors without names—then I thought, since the danger was common to all, the concern ought to be so; and that it was an act of justice to detect the authors, not only on this account, but as many of them are the same who, for several years past, have made free with the greatest names in church and state, exposed to the world the private misfortunes of families, abused all, even to women; and whose prostituted papers (for one or other party in the unhappy divisions of their country) have insulted the fallen, the friendless, the exiled, and the dead.
Besides this, which I take to be public concern, I have already confessed I had a private one. I am one of that number who have long loved and esteemed Mr. Pope; and had often declared it was not his capacity or writings (which we ever thought the least valuable part of his character), but the honest, open, and beneficent man, that we most esteemed and loved in him. Now, if what these people say were believed, I must appear to all my friends either a fool or a knave; either imposed on myself, or imposing on them; so that I am as much interested in the confutation of these calumnies as he is himself.
I am no author, and consequently not to be suspected either of jealousy or resentment against any of the men, of whom scarce one is known to me by sight; and as for their writings, I have sought them (on this one occasion) in vain, in the closets and libraries of all my acquaintance. I had still been in the dark, if a gentleman had not procured me (I suppose from some of themselves, for they are generally much more dangerous friends than enemies) the passages I send you. I solemnly protest I have added nothing to the malice or absurdity of them; which it behoves me to declare, since the vouchers themselves will be so soon and so irrecoverably lost. You may, in some measure, prevent it, by preserving at least their titles, and discovering (as far as you can depend on the truth of your information) the names of the concealed authors.
The first objection I have heard made to the poem is, that the persons are too obscure for satire. The persons themselves, rather than allow the objection, would forgive the satire; and if one could be tempted to afford it a serious answer, were not all assassinates, popular insurrections, the insolence of the rabble without doors, and of domestics within, most wrongfully chastised, if the meanness of offenders indemnified them from punishment? On the contrary, obscurity renders them more dangerous, as less thought of: law can pronounce judgment only on open facts; morality alone can pass censure on intentions of mischief; so that for secret calumny, or the arrow flying in the dark, there is no public punishment left but what a good writer inflicts.
The next objection is, that these sort of authors are poor. That might be pleaded as an excuse at the Old Bailey for lesser crimes than defamation (for it is the case of almost all who are tried there), but sure it can be none here: for who will pretend that the robbing another of his reputation supplies the want of it in himself? I question not but such authors are poor, and heartily wish the objection were removed by any honest livelihood; but poverty is here the accident, not the subject. He who describes malice and villany to be pale and meagre, expresses not the least anger against paleness or leanness, but against malice and villany. The apothecary in Romeo and Juliet is poor; but is he therefore justified in vending poison? Not but poverty itself becomes a just subject of satire, when it is the consequence of vice, prodigality, or neglect of one’s lawful calling; for then it increases the public burden, fills the streets and highways with robbers, and the garrets with clippers, coiners, and weekly journalists.
But admitting that two or three of these offend less in their morals than in their writings; must poverty make nonsense sacred? If so, the fame of bad authors would be much better consulted than that of all the good ones in the world; and not one of a hundred had ever been called by his right name.
They mistake the whole matter: it is not charity to encourage them in the way they follow, but to get them out of it; for men are not bunglers because they are poor, but they are poor because they are bunglers.
Is it not pleasant enough to hear our authors crying out on the one hand, as if their persons and characters were too sacred for satire; and the public objecting, on the other, that they are too mean even for ridicule? But whether bread or fame be their end, it must be allowed, our author, by and in this poem, has mercifully given them a little of both.
There are two or three who, by their rank and fortune, have no benefit from the former objections, supposing them good, and these I was sorry to see in such company: but if, without any provocation, two or three gentlemen will fall upon one, in an affair wherein his interest and reputation are equally embarked, they cannot, certainly, after they have been content to print themselves his enemies, complain of being put into the number of them.
Others, I am told, pretend to have been once his friends. Surely they are their enemies who say so, since nothing can be more odious than to treat a friend as they have done. But of this I cannot persuade myself, when I consider the constant and eternal aversion of all bad writers to a good one.
Such as claim a merit from being his admirers, I would gladly ask, if it lays him under a personal obligation. At that rate, he would be the most obliged humble servant in the world. I dare swear for these in particular, he never desired them to be his admirers, nor promised in return to be theirs: that had truly been a sign he was of their acquaintance; but would not the malicious world have suspected such an approbation of some motive worse than ignorance, in the author of the Essay on Criticism? Be it as it will, the reasons of their admiration and of his contempt are equally subsisting, for his works and theirs are the very same that they were.
One, therefore, of their assertions I believe may be true, ‘that he has a contempt for their writings:’ and there is another which would probably be sooner allowed by himself than by any good judge beside, ‘that his own have found too much success with the public.’ But as it cannot consist with his modesty to claim this as a justice, it lies not on him, but entirely on the public, to defend its own judgment.
There remains, what, in my opinion, might seem a better plea for these people than any they have made use of:—If obscurity or poverty were to exempt a man from satire, much more should folly or dulness, which are still more involuntary; nay, as much so as personal deformity. But even this will not help them: deformity becomes an object of ridicule when a man sets up for being handsome; and so must dulness, when he sets up for a wit. They are not ridiculed because ridicule in itself is, or ought to be, a pleasure; but because it is just to undeceive and vindicate the honest and unpretending part of mankind from imposition; because particular interest ought to yield to general, and a great number, who are not naturally fools, ought never to be made so, in complaisance to those who are. Accordingly we find that in all ages all vain pretenders, were they ever so poor, or ever so dull, have been constantly the topics of the most candid satirists, from the Codrus of Juvenal to the Damon of Boileau.
Having mentioned Boileau, the greatest poet and most judicious critic of his age and country, admirable for his talents, and yet perhaps more admirable for his judgment in the proper application of them, I cannot help remarking the resemblance betwixt him and our author, in qualities, fame, and fortune; in the distinctions shown them by their superiors, in the general esteem of their equals, and in their extended reputation amongst foreigners; in the latter of which ours has met with the better fate, as he has had for his translators persons of the most eminent rank and abilities in their respective nations. But the resemblance holds in nothing more than in their being equally absued by the ignorant pretenders to poetry of their times; of which not the least memory will remain but in their own writings, and in the notes made upon them. What Boileau has done in almost all his poems, our author has only in this. I dare answer for him he will do it in no more; and on this principle, of attacking few but who had slandered him, he could not have done it at all, had he been confined from censuring obscure and worthless persons: for scarce any other were his enemies. However, as the parity is so remarkable, I hope it will continue to the last; and if ever he should give us an edition of this poem himself, I may see some of them treated as gently, on their repentance or better merit, as Perrault and Quinault were at last by Boileau.
In one point I must be allowed to think the character of our English poet the more amiable; he has not been a follower of fortune or success; he has lived with the great without flattery; been a friend to men in power without pensions, from whom, as he asked, so he received, no favour, but what was done him in his friends. As his satires were the more just for being delayed, so were his panegyrics; bestowed only on such persons as he had familiarly known, only for such virtues as he had long observed in them, and only at such times as others cease to praise, if not begin to calumniate them—I mean when out of power, or out of fashion. A satire, therefore, on writers so notorious for the contrary practice, became no man so well as himself; as none, it is plain, was so little in their friendships, or so much in that of those whom they had most abused; namely, the greatest and best of all parties. Let me add a further reason, that though engaged in their friendships, he never espoused their animosities; and can almost singly challenge this honour, not to have written a line of any man which, through guilt, through shame, or through fear, through variety of fortune, or change of interests, he was ever unwilling to own.
I shall conclude with remarking, what a pleasure it must be to every reader of humanity to see all along that our author, in his very laughter, is not indulging his own ill nature, but only punishing that of others. As to his poem, those alone are capable of doing it justice who, to use the words of a great writer, know how hard it is (with regard both to his subject and his manner) vetustis dare novitatem, obsoletis nitorem, obscuris lucem, fastiditis gratiam.
Your most humble Servant,
St. James’s, Dec. 22, 1728.
ADVERTISEMENT TO THE FIRST EDITION WITH NOTES, QUARTO, 1729
It will be sufficient to say of this edition, that the reader has here a much more correct and complete copy of the Dunciad than has hitherto appeared. I cannot answer but some mistakes may have slipt into it, but a vast number of others will be prevented 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 former editions, which had no more than the initial letters, 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 unequally written; yet will have one advantage over most commentaries, that it is not made upon conjectures, or at a remote distance of time: and the reader cannot but derive one pleasure from the very obscurity 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 so inconsiderable or trivial.
Of the persons, it was judged proper to give some account: for, since 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 offenders, it is only as a paper pinned upon the breast to mark the enormities for which they suffered; lest the correction only should be remembered, and the crime forgotten.
In some articles it was thought sufficient barely to transcribe from Jacob, Curll, 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 inserted are all that could be saved from the general destruction of such works.
Of the part of Scriblerus I need say nothing: his 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 those who either never read, or may have forgotten them; together with some of the parodies and allusions 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 same thing in jest which Boileau did in earnest, and upon which Vida, Fracastorius, and many of the most eminent Latin poets, professedly valued themselves.
ADVERTISEMENT TO THE FIRST EDITION OF THE FOURTH BOOK OF THE DUNCIAD, WHEN PRINTED SEPARATELY IN THE YEAR 1742
We 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 so blotted a condition, and in so many detached pieces, as plainly showed 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 is said, that ‘The design is more extensive, and that we may expect other episodes 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 six books of the Æneid, though, perhaps, inferior to the former.
If any person be possessed 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 sent us (though not to the purpose) shall yet be printed, under the title of Epistolœ obscurorum 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.
ADVERTISEMENT TO THE COMPLETE EDITION OF 1743
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 Essay on Criticism. There was one already on the Dunciad, which had met with general approbation; but I still thought some additions were wanting (of a more serious 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 some months with the author in the country, where I prevailed upon him to do what I had long desired, and favour me with his explanation of several passages 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 hero it had, purely for want of a better, not entertaining the least expectation that such a 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.
And 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 folly (not to say 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.
By virtue of the Authority in us vested by the Act for subjecting Poets to the power of a Licenser, we have revised this Piece; where finding the style and appellation of King to have been given to a certain Pretender, Pseudopoet, 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 have 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.
THE DUNCIAD[ ]
TO DR. JONATHAN SWIFT
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 Bayes, 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 debating 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 solemn 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 Thulé. She forthwith reveals herself to him, transports him to her Temple, unfolds her Arts, and initiates him into her Mysteries; then announcing 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 to the ear of Kings ,
- I sing. Say you, her instruments the great!
- Call’d to this work by Dulness, Jove, and Fate;
- You by whose care, in vain decried and curst,
- Still Dunce the second reigns like Dunce the first;
- Say how the Goddess bade Britannia sleep,
- And pour’d her Spirit, o’er the land and deep.
- In eldest time, ere mortals writ or read,
- Ere Pallas issued from the Thund’rer’s head,10
- Dulness o’er all possess’d her ancient right,
- Daughter of Chaos and eternal Night:
- Fate in their dotage this fair idiot gave,
- Gross as her sire, and as her mother grave;
- Laborious, heavy, busy, bold, and blind,
- She ruled, in native anarchy, the mind.
- Still her old empire to restore she tries,
- For, born a Goddess, Dulness never dies.
- O thou! whatever title please thine ear,
- Dean, Drapier, Bickerstaff, or Gulliver!20
- Whether thou choose Cervantes’ serious air,
- Or laugh and shake in Rabelais’ easy chair,
- Or praise the Court, or magnify Mankind,
- Or thy griev’d country’s copper chains unbind;
- From thy Bœotia tho’ her power retires,
- Mourn not, my Swift! at aught our realm requires.
- Here pleas’d behold her mighty wings out-spread
- To hatch a new Saturnian age of Lead.
- Close to those walls where Folly holds her throne,
- And laughs to think Monroe would take her down,30
- Where o’er the gates, by his famed father’s hand,
- Great Cibber’s brazen, brainless brothers stand;
- One cell there is, conceal’d from vulgar eye,
- The cave of Poverty and Poetry:
- Keen hollow winds howl thro’ the bleak recess,
- Emblem of Music caus’d by Emptiness:
- Hence bards, like Proteus long in vain tied down,
- Escape in monsters, and amaze the town;
- Hence Miscellanies spring, the weekly boast
- Of Curll’s chaste press, and Lintot’s rubric post;40
- Hence hymning Tyburn’s elegiac lines;
- Hence Journals, Medleys, Merceries, Magazines ;
- Sepulchral Lies, our holy walls to grace,
- And new-year Odes , and all the Grubstreet race.
- In clouded majesty here Dulness shone,
- Four guardian Virtues, round, support her throne:
- Fierce champion Fortitude, that knows no fears
- Of hisses, blows, or want, or loss of ears:
- Calm Temperance, whose blessings those partake,
- Who hunger and who thirst for scribbling sake:50
- Prudence, whose glass presents th’ approaching jail:
- Poetic Justice, with her lifted scale,
- Where, in nice balance, truth with gold she weighs,
- And solid pudding against empty praise.
- Here she beholds the Chaos dark and deep,
- Where nameless somethings in their causes sleep,
- Till genial Jacob , or a warm third day,
- Call forth each mass, a Poem or a Play:
- How hints, like spawn, scarce quick in embryo lie,
- How new-born nonsense first is taught to cry,60
- Maggots, half-form’d, in rhyme exactly meet,
- And learn to crawl upon poetic feet.
- Here one poor word a hundred clenches makes,
- And ductile Dulness new meanders takes;
- There motley images her fancy strike,
- Figures ill pair’d, and Similes unlike.
- She sees a Mob of Metaphors advance,
- Pleas’d with the madness of the mazy dance;
- How Tragedy and Comedy embrace;
- How Farce and Epic get a jumbled race;70
- How Time himself stands still at her command,
- Realms shift their place, and Ocean turns to land.
- Here gay description Egypt glads with showers,
- Or gives to Zembla fruits, to Barca flowers;
- Glitt’ring with ice here hoary hills are seen,
- There painted valleys of eternal green;
- In cold December fragrant chaplets blow,
- And heavy harvests nod beneath the snow.
- All these, and more, the cloud-compelling Queen79
- Beholds thro’ fogs that magnify the scene.
- She, tinsel’d o’er in robes of varying hues,
- With self-applause her wild creation views;
- Sees momentary monsters rise and fall,
- And with her own fools-colours guilds them all.
- ’T was on the day when Thorold, rich and grave,
- Like Cimon, triumph’d both on land and wave
- (Pomps without guilt, of bloodless swords and maces,
- Glad chains, warm furs, broad banners, and broad faces):
- Now Night descending, the proud scene was o’er,
- But lived in Settle’s numbers one day more.
- Now Mayors and Shrieves all hush’d and satiate lay,91
- Yet eat, in dreams, the custard of the day;
- While pensive Poets painful vigils keep,
- Sleepless themselves to give their readers sleep.
- Much to the mindful Queen the feast recalls
- What city swans once sung within the walls;
- Much she revolves their arts, their ancient praise,
- And sure succession down from Heywood’s days.
- She saw with joy the line immortal run,
- Each sire imprest and glaring in his son.100
- So watchful Bruin forms, with plastic care,
- Each growing lump, and brings it to a bear.
- She saw old Prynne in restless Daniel shine,
- And Eusden eke out Blackmore’s endless line;
- She saw slow Philips creep like Tate’s poor page,
- And all the mighty mad in Dennis rage.
- In each she marks her image full exprest,
- But chief in Bayes’s monster-breeding breast;
- Bayes, form’d by nature stage and town to bless,109
- And act, and be, a coxcomb with success;
- Dulness with transport eyes the lively dunce,
- Rememb’ring she herself was Pertness once.
- Now (shame to Fortune!) an ill run at play
- Blank’d his bold visage, and a thin third day:
- Swearing and supperless the hero sate,
- Blasphemed his gods the dice, and damn’d his fate;
- Then gnaw’d his pen, then dash’d it on the ground,
- Sinking from thought to thought, a vast profound!
- Plunged for his sense, but found no bottom there,
- Yet wrote and flounder’d on in mere despair.120
- Round him much Embryo, much Abortion lay,
- Much future Ode, and abdicated Play;
- Nonsense precipitate, like running lead,
- That slipp’d thro’ cracks and zigzags of the head;
- All that on folly frenzy cold beget,
- Fruits of dull heat, and Sooterkins of wit.
- Next o’er his books his eyes began to roll,
- In pleasing memory of all he stole;
- How here he sipp’d, how there he plunder’d snug,129
- And suck’d all o’er like an industrious bug.
- Here lay poor Fletcher’s half-eat scenes, and here
- The frippery of crucified Molière;
- There hapless Shakspeare , yet of Tibbald sore,
- Wish’d he had blotted for himself before.
- The rest on outside merit but presume,
- Or serve (like other fools) to fill a room;
- Such with their shelves as due proportion hold,
- Or their fond parents dress’d in red and gold;
- Or where the pictures for the page atone,
- And Quarles is saved by beauties not his own.140
- Here swells the shelf with Ogilby the great;
- There, stamp’d with arms, Newcastle shines complete:
- Here all his suff’ring brotherhood retire,
- And ’scape the martyrdom of jakes and fire:
- A Gothic library! of Greece and Rome
- Well purged, and worthy Settle, Banks, and Broome .
- But, high above, more solid Learning shone,
- The classics of an age that heard of none;
- There Caxton slept, with Wynkyn at his side,
- One clasp’d in wood, and one in strong cow-hide;150
- There, saved by spice, like mummies, many a year,
- Dry bodies of Divinity appear:
- De Lyra there a dreadful front extends,
- And here the groaning shelves Philemon bends.
- Of these, twelve volumes, twelve of amplest size,
- Redeem’d from tapers and defrauded pies,
- Inspired he seizes: these an altar raise;
- A hecatomb of pure unsullied lays
- That altar crowns; a folio Commonplace
- Founds the whole pile, of all his works the base:160
- Quartos, octavos, shape the less’ning pyre,
- A twisted Birth-day Ode completes the spire.
- Then he: ‘Great tamer of all human art!
- First in my care, and ever at my heart;
- Dulness! whose good old cause I yet defend,
- With whom my Muse began, with whom shall end,
- E’er since Sir Fopling’s periwig was praise,
- To the last honours of the Butt and Bays:
- O thou! of bus’ness the directing soul
- To this our head, like bias to the bowl,170
- Which, as more pond’rous, made its aim more true,
- Obliquely waddling to the mark in view:
- Oh! ever gracious to perplex’d mankind,
- Still spread a healing mist before the mind;
- And, lest we err by Wit’s wild dancing light,
- Secure us kindly in our native night.
- Or, if to Wit a coxcomb make pretence,
- Guard the sure barrier between that and Sense;
- Or quite unravel all the reas’ning thread,
- And hang some curious cobweb in its stead!
- As, forced from wind-guns , lead itself can fly,181
- And pond’rous slugs cut swiftly thro’ the sky;
- As clocks to weight their nimble motion owe,
- The wheels above urged by the load below;
- Me Emptiness and Dulness could inspire,
- And were my elasticity and fire.
- Some Daemon stole my pen (forgive th’ offence),
- And once betray’d me into common sense:
- Else all my prose and verse were much the same;189
- This prose on stilts, that poetry fall’n lame.
- Did on the stage my fops appear confin’d?
- My life gave ampler lessons to mankind.
- Did the dead letter unsuccessful prove?
- The brisk example never fail’d to move.
- Yet sure, had Heav’n decreed to save the state,
- Heav’n had decreed these works a longer date.
- Could Troy be saved by any single hand,
- This gray-goose weapon must have made her stand.
- What can I now? my Fletcher cast aside,
- Take up the Bible, once my better guide?
- Or tread the path by venturous heroes trod,201
- This box my Thunder, this right hand my God?
- Or chair’d at White’s, amidst the doctors sit,
- Teach oaths to Gamesters, and to Nobles Wit?
- O bidd’st thou rather Party to embrace?
- (A friend to party thou, and all her race;
- ’T is the same rope at diff’rent ends they twist;
- To Dulness Ridpath is as dear as Mist ;)
- Shall I, like Curtius, desp’rate in my zeal,
- O’er head and ears plunge for the Commonweal?210
- Or rob Rome’s ancient geese of all their glories,
- And cackling save the monarchy of Tories?
- Hold—to the Minister I more incline;
- To serve his cause, O Queen! is serving thine.
- And see! thy very Gazetteers give o’er,
- Ev’n Ralph repents, and Henley writes no more.
- What then remains? Ourself. Still, still remain
- Cibberian forehead, and Cibberian brain;
- This brazen brightness to the ’Squire so dear;
- This polish’d hardness that reflects the Peer;220
- This arch absurd, that wit and fool delights;
- This mess, toss’d up of Hockley-hole and White’s;
- Where dukes and butchers join to wreathe my crown,
- At once the Bear and fiddle of the town.
- ‘O born in sin, and forth in folly brought!
- Works damn’d or to be damn’d (your father’s fault)!
- Go, purified by flames, ascend the sky,
- My better and more Christian progeny!
- Unstain’d, untouch’d, and yet in maiden sheets,
- While all your smutty sisters walk the streets.230
- Ye shall not beg, like gratis-given Bland,
- Sent with a pass and vagrant thro’ the land;
- Not sail with Ward to ape-and-monkey climes,
- Where vile Mundungus trucks for viler rhymes;
- Not sulphur-tipt, emblaze an alehouse fire!
- Not wrap up oranges to pelt your sire!
- O! pass more innocent, in infant state,
- To the mild limbo of our Father Tate:
- Or peaceably forgot, at once be blest
- In Shadwell’s bosom with eternal rest!240
- Soon to that mass of nonsense to return,
- Where things destroy’d are swept to things unborn.’
- With that, a tear (portentous sign of grace!)
- Stole from the master of the sev’nfold face;
- And thrice he lifted high the Birthday brand,
- And thrice he dropt it from his quiv’ring hand;
- Then lights the structure with averted eyes:
- The rolling smoke involves the sacrifice.
- The opening clouds disclose each work by turns,
- Now flames the Cid, and now Perolla burns;250
- Great Cæsar roars and hisses in the fires;
- King John in silence modestly expires:
- No merit now the dear Nonjuror claims,
- Molière’s old stubble in a moment flames.
- Tears gush’d again, as from pale Priam’s eyes,
- When the last blaze sent Ilion to the skies.
- Rous’d by the light, old Dulness heav’d the head,
- Then snatch’d a sheet of Thulé from her bed;
- Sudden she flies, and whelms it o’er the pyre:
- Down sink the flames, and with a hiss expire.260
- Her ample presence fills up all the place;
- A veil of fogs dilates her awful face:
- Great in her charms! as when on Shrieves and Mayors
- She looks, and breathes herself into their airs.
- She bids him wait her to her sacred dome:
- Well pleas’d he enter’d, and confess’d his home.
- So spirits ending their terrestrial race
- Ascend, and recognize their Native Place.
- This the Great Mother dearer held than all
- The clubs of Quidnuncs, or her own Guildhall:270
- Here stood her opium, here she nursed her owls,
- And here she plann’d th’ imperial seat of Fools.
- Here to her chosen all her works she shows,
- Prose swell’d to verse, verse loit’ring into prose:
- How random thoughts now meaning chance to find,
- Now leave all memory of sense behind:
- How Prologues into Prefaces decay,
- And these to Notes are fritter’d quite away:
- How index-learning turns no student pale,
- Yet holds the eel of science by the tail:
- How, with less reading than makes felons scape,281
- Less human genius than God gives an ape,
- Small thanks to France, and none to Rome or Greece,
- A past, vamp’d future, old revived, new piece,
- ’Twixt Plautus, Fletcher, Shakspeare, and Corneille,
- Can make a Cibber, Tibbald, or Ozell.
- The Goddess then o’er his anointed head,
- With mystic words, the sacred opium shed.
- And lo! her bird (a monster of a fowl,
- Something betwixt a heideggre and an owl)290
- Perch’d on his crown:—‘All hail! and hail again,
- My son! the promised land expects thy reign.
- Know Eusden thirsts no more for sack or praise;
- He sleeps among the dull of ancient days;
- Safe where no critics damn, no duns molest,
- Where wretched Withers, Ward, and Gildon rest,
- And high-born Howard, more majestic sire,
- With fool of quality completes the quire.
- Thou, Cibber! thou his laurel shalt support;299
- Folly, my son, has still a Friend at Court.
- Lift up your gates, ye princes, see him come!
- Sound, sound ye viols, be the cat-call dumb!
- Bring, bring the madding Bay, the drunken Vine,
- The creeping, dirty, courtly Ivy join.
- And thou! his Aid-de-camp, lead on my sons,
- Light-arm’d with Points, Antitheses, and Puns.
- Let Bawdry, Billingsgate, my daughters dear,
- Support his front, and Oaths bring up the rear:
- And under his, and under Archer’s wing,
- Gaming and Grub-street skulk behind the King.310
- ‘Oh! when shall rise a monarch all our own,
- And I, a nursing mother, rock the throne;
- ’Twixt Prince and People close the curtain draw,
- Shade him from light, and cover him from law;
- Fatten the Courtier, starve the learned band,
- And suckle Armies, and dry-nurse the land;
- Till Senates nod to lullabies divine,
- And all be sleep, as at an Ode of thine?’
- She ceas’d. Then swells the Chapelroyal throat;
- ‘God save King Cibber!’ mounts in every note.320
- Familiar White’s, ‘God save King Colley!’ cries,
- ‘God save King Colley!’ Drury-lane replies.
- To Needham’s quick the voice triumphant rode,
- But pious Needham dropt the name of God;
- Back to the Devil the last echoes roll,
- And ‘Coll!’ each butcher roars at Hockley-hole.
- So when Jove’s block descended from on high
- (As sings thy great forefather Ogilby),
- Loud thunder to its bottom shook the bog,
- And the hoarse nation croak’d, ‘God save King Log!’330
BOOK II[ ]
The King being proclaimed, the solemnity is graced with public games and sports of various kinds; not instituted by the Hero, as by Æneas in Virgil, but for greater honour by the Goddess in person (in like manner as the games Pythia, Isthmia, &c. were anciently said to be ordained by the Gods, and as Thetis herself appearing, according to Homer, Odyssey xxiv. proposed the prizes in honour of her son Achilles). Hither flock the Poets and Critics, attended, as is but just, with their Patrons and Booksellers. The Goddess is first pleased, for her disport, to propose games to the Booksellers, and setteth up the phantom of a Poet, which they contend to overtake. The Races described, with their divers accidents. Next, the game for a Poetess. Then follow the exercises for the Poets, of tickling, vociferating, diving; the first holds forth the arts and practices of Dedicators, the second of Disputants and fustian Poets, the third of profound, dark, and dirty Party-writers. Lastly, for the Critics the Goddess proposes (with great propriety) an exercise, not of their parts, but their patience, in hearing the works of two voluminous authors, the one in verse and the other in prose, deliberately read, without sleeping; the various effects of which, with the several degrees and manners of their operation, are here set forth, till the whole number, not of Critics only, but of spectators, actors, and all present, fall fast asleep; which naturally and necessarily ends the games.
- High on a gorgeous seat, that far outshone
- Henley’s gilt tub or Fleckno’s Irish throne,
- Or that whereon her Curlls the public pours,
- All bounteous, fragrant grains and golden showers,
- Great Cibber sate; the proud Parnassian sneer,
- The conscious simper, and the jealous leer,
- Mix on his look: all eyes direct their rays
- On him, and crowds turn coxcombs as they gaze.
- His peers shine round him with reflected grace,
- New-edge their dulness, and new-bronze their face.10
- So from the sun’s broad beam, in shallow urns,
- Heav’n’s twinkling sparks draw light, and point their horns.
- Not with more glee, by hands pontific crown’d,
- With scarlet hats wide-waving circled round,
- Rome, in her capitol saw Querno sit,
- Throned on sev’n hills, the Antichrist of wit.
- And now the Queen, to glad her sons, proclaims
- By herald hawkers, high heroic games.
- They summon all her race: an endless band
- Pours forth, and leaves unpeopled half the land;20
- A motley mixture! in long wigs, in bags,
- In silks, in crapes, in Garters, and in Rags,
- From drawing rooms, from colleges, from garrets,
- On horse, on foot, in hacks, and gilded chariots;
- All who true Dunces in her cause appear’d,
- And all who knew those Dunces to reward.
- Amid that area wide they took their stand,
- Where the tall Maypole once o’erlook’d the Strand,
- But now (so Anne and Piety ordain)
- A Church collects the saints of Drury-lane.
- With Authors, Stationers obey’d the call31
- (The field of glory is a field for all);
- Glory and gain th’ industrious tribe provoke,
- And gentle Dulness ever loves a joke.
- A poet’s form she placed before their eyes,
- And bade the nimblest racer seize the prize;
- No meagre, Muse-rid Mope, adust and thin,
- In a dun nightgown of his own loose skin,
- But such a bulk as no twelve bards could raise,
- Twelve starveling bards of these degen’rate days.40
- All as a partridge plump, full fed and fair,
- She form’d this image of well-bodied air;
- With pert flat eyes she window’d well its head,
- A brain of Feathers, and a heart of Lead;
- And empty words she gave, and sounding strain,
- But senseless, lifeless! idol void and vain!
- Never was dash’d out, at one lucky hit,
- A Fool so just a copy of a Wit;
- So like, that Critics said, and Courtiers swore,
- A Wit it was, and call’d the phantom Moore.50
- All gaze with ardour: some a poet’s name,
- Others a swordknot and laced suit inflame.
- But lofty Lintot in the circle rose:
- ‘This prize is mine, who tempt it are my foes;
- With me began this genius, and shall end.’
- He spoke; and who with Lintot shall contend?
- Fear held them mute. Alone untaught to fear,
- Stood dauntless Curll! ‘Behold that rival here!
- The race by vigour, not by vaunts, is won;
- So take the hindmost, Hell,’ he said, and run.60
- Swift as a bard the bailiff leaves behind,
- He left huge Lintot, and outstript the wind.
- As when a dabchick waddles thro’ the copse
- On feet and wings, and flies, and wades, and hops;
- So lab’ring on, with shoulders, hands, and head,
- Wide as a windmill all his figure spread,
- With arms expanded Bernard rows his state,
- And left-legg’d Jacob seems to emulate.
- Full in the middle way there stood a lake,
- Which Curll’s Corinna chanced that morn to make70
- (Such was her wont, at early dawn to drop
- Her ev’ning cates before his neighbour’s shop):
- Here fortuned Curll to slide; loud shout the band,
- And ‘Bernard! Bernard!’ rings thro’ all the Strand.
- Obscene with filth the miscreant lies bewray’d,
- Fall’n in the plash his wickedness had laid:
- Then first (if Poets aught of truth declare)
- The caitiff Vaticide conceiv’d a prayer.
- A place there is betwixt earth, air, and seas,
- Where, from ambrosia, Jove retires for ease.
- There in his seat two spacious vents appear,
- On this he sits, to that he leans his ear,
- And hears the various vows of fond Mankind;
- Some beg an eastern, some a western wind:
- All vain petitions, mounting to the sky,
- With reams abundant this abode supply:90
- Amused he reads, and then returns the bills,
- Sign’d with that ichor which from Gods distils.
- In office here fair Cloacina stands,
- And ministers to Jove with purest hands.
- Forth from the heap she pick’d her vot’ry’s prayer,
- And placed it next him, a distinction rare!
- Oft had the Goddess heard her servant’s call,
- From her black grottos near the temple wall,
- List’ning delighted to the jest unclean
- Of linkboys vile, and watermen obscene;100
- Where as he fish’d her nether realms for wit,
- She oft had favour’d him, and favours yet.
- Renew’d by ordure’s sympathetic force,
- As oil’d with magic juices for the course,
- Vig’rous he rises; from th’ effluvia strong;
- Imbibes new life, and scours and stinks along;
- Repasses Lintot, vindicates the race,
- Nor heeds the brown dishonours of his face.
- And now the victor stretch’d his eager hand
- Where the tall Nothing stood, or seem’d to stand;110
- A shapeless shade, it melted from his sight,
- Like forms in clouds, or visions of the night.
- To seize his papers, Curll, was next thy care;
- His papers light, fly diverse, toss’d in air;
- Songs, Sonnets, Epigrams, the winds uplift,
- And whisk ’em back to Evans, Young, and Swift.
- Th’ embroider’d suit at least he deem’d his prey;
- That suit an unpaid tailor snatch’d away.
- No rag, no scrap, of all the Beau or Wit,
- That once so flutter’d and that once so writ.120
- Heav’n rings with laughter: of the laughter vain,
- Dulness, good Queen, repeats the jest again.
- Three wicked imps of her own Grub-street choir,
- She deck’d like Congreve, Addison, and Prior;
- Mears, Warner, Wilkins , run; delusive thought!
- Breval, Bond, Bezaleel , the varlets caught.
- Curll stretches after Gay, but Gay is gone,
- He grasps an empty Joseph for a John:
- So Proteus, hunted in a nobler shape,
- Became, when seized, a puppy or an ape.
- To him the Goddess: ‘Son! thy grief lay down,131
- And turn this whole illusion on the town.
- As the sage dame, experienced in her trade,
- By names of toasts retails each batter’d jade
- (Whence hapless Monsieur much complains at Paris
- Of wrongs from Duchesses and Lady Maries);
- Be thine, my stationer! this magic gift;
- Cook shall be Prior ; and Concanen Swift;
- So shall each hostile name become our own,
- And we, too, boast our Garth and Addison.’
- With that she gave him (piteous of his case,141
- Yet smiling at his rueful length of face)
- A shaggy tap’stry, worthy to be spread
- On Codrus’ old, or Dunton’s modern bed;
- Instructive work! whose wry-mouth’d portraiture
- Display’d the fates her confessors endure.
- Earless on high stood unabash’d De Foe,
- And Tutchin flagrant from the scourge below:
- There Ridpath, Roper , cudgell’d might ye view,
- The very worsted still look’d black and blue:150
- Himself among the storied chiefs he spies,
- As, from the blanket, high in air he flies,
- And, ‘Oh! (he cried) what street, what lane but knows
- Our purgings, pumpings, blanketings and blows?
- In every loom our labours shall be seen,
- And the fresh vomit run for ever green!’
- See in the circle next Eliza placed,
- Two babes of love close clinging to her waist;
- Fair as before her works she stands confess’d,
- In flowers and pearls by bounteous Kirkall dress’d.160
- The Goddess then: ‘Who best can send on high
- The salient spout, far-streaming to the sky,
- His be yon Juno of majestic size,
- With cow-like udders, and with ox-like eyes.
- This China Jordan let the chief o’ercome
- Replenish, not ingloriously, at home.’
- Osborne and Curll accept the glorious strife
- (Tho’ this his son dissuades, and that his wife);
- One on his manly confidence relies,
- One on his vigour and superior size.170
- First Osborne lean’d against his letter’d post;
- It rose, and labour’d to a curve at most:
- So Jove’s bright bow displays its wat’ry round
- (Sure sign that no spectator shall be drown’d).
- A second effort brought but new disgrace,
- The wild mæander wash’d the Artist’s face:
- Thus the small jet, which hasty hands unlock,
- Spirts in the gard’ner’s eyes who turns the cock.
- Not so from shameless Curll; impetuous spread
- The stream, and smoking flourish’d o’er his head:180
- So (famed like thee for turbulence and horns)
- Eridanus his humble fountain scorns;
- Thro’ half the heav’ns he pours th’ exalted urn;
- His rapid waters in their passage burn.
- Swift as it mounts, all follow with their eyes;
- Still happy Impudence obtains the prize.
- Thou triumph’st, victor of the high-wrought day,
- And the pleas’d dame, soft smiling, lead’st away.
- Osborne, thro’ perfect modesty o’ercome,
- Crown’d with the Jordan, walks contented home.190
- But now for Authors nobler palms remain;
- Room for my Lord! three jockeys in his train;
- Six huntsmen with a shout precede his chair:
- He grins, and looks broad nonsense with a stare.
- His honour’s meaning Dulness thus exprest,
- ‘He wins this patron who can tickle best.’
- He chinks his purse, and takes his seat of state;
- With ready quills the dedicators wait;
- Now at his head the dext’rous task commence,199
- And, instant, fancy feels th’ imputed sense;
- Now gentle touches wanton o’er his face,
- He struts Adonis, and affects grimace;
- Rolli the feather to his ear conveys,
- Then his nice taste directs our operas;
- Bentley his mouth with classic flatt’ry opes,
- And the puff’d orator bursts out in tropes.
- But Welsted most the poet’s healing balm
- Strives to extract from his soft, giving palm.
- Unlucky Welsted! thy unfeeling master,
- The more thou ticklest, gripes his fist the faster.210
- While thus each hand promotes the pleasing pain,
- And quick sensations skip from vein to vein,
- A youth unknown to Phœbus, in despair,
- Puts his last refuge all in Heav’n and prayer.
- What force have pious vows! The Queen of Love
- Her sister sends, her vot’ress from above.
- As taught by Venus, Paris learn’d the art
- To touch Achilles’ only tender part;
- Secure, thro’ her, the noble prize to carry,
- He marches off, his Grace’s Secretary.220
- ‘Now turn to diff’rent sports (the Goddess cries),
- And learn, my sons, the wondrous power of Noise.
- To move, to raise, to ravish ev’ry heart,
- With Shakespeare’s nature, or with Jonson’s art,
- Let others aim; ’t is yours to shake the soul
- With thunder rumbling from the mustard bowl ;
- With horns and trumpets now to madness swell,
- Now sink in sorrow with a tolling bell!
- Such happy arts attention can command
- When Fancy flags, and Sense is at a stand.
- Improve we these. Three Cat-calls be the bribe231
- Of him whose chatt’ring shames the monkey tribe;
- And his this drum, whose hoarse heroic bass
- Drowns the loud clarion of the braying ass.’
- Now thousand tongues are heard in one loud din:
- The monkey mimics rush discordant in;
- ’T was chatt’ring, grinning, mouthing, jabb’ring all,
- And noise and Norton, brangling and Breval,
- Dennis and dissonance, and captious art,
- And snipsnap short, and interruption smart,240
- And demonstration thin, and theses thick,
- And Major, Minor, and Conclusion quick.
- ‘Hold (cried the Queen), a Cat-call each shall win;
- Equal your merits! equal is your din!
- But that this well-disputed game may end,
- Sound forth, my Brayers, and the welkin rend.’
- As when the long-ear’d milky mothers wait
- At some sick miser’s triple-bolted gate,
- For their defrauded absent foals they make
- A moan so loud, that all the guild awake;
- Sore sighs Sir Gilbert, starting at the bray,
- From dreams of millions, and three groats to pay,252
- So swells each windpipe; ass intones to ass,
- Harmonic twang! of leather, horn, and brass;
- Such as from lab’ring lungs th’ Enthusiast blows,
- High sound, attemper’d to the vocal nose;
- Or such as bellow from the deep divine;
- There Webster! peal’d thy voice, and, Whitefield! thine.
- But far o’er all, sonorous Blackmore’s strain;
- Walls, steeples, skies, bray back to him again;260
- In Tot’nam Fields the brethren, with amaze,
- Prick all their ears up, and forget to graze!
- Long Chancery Lane retentive rolls the sound,
- And courts to courts return it round and round;
- Thames wafts it thence to Rufus’ roaring hall,
- And Hungerford reëchoes bawl for bawl.
- All hail him victor in both gifts of song,
- Who sings so loudly, and who sings so long.
- This labour past, by Bridewell all descend
- (As morning prayer and flagellation end )270
- To where Fleet Ditch, with disemboguing streams,
- Rolls the large tribute of dead dogs to Thames;
- The king of dykes! than whom no sluice of mud
- With deeper sable blots the silver flood.
- ‘Here strip, my children! here at once leap in;
- Here prove who best can dash thro’ thick and thin,
- And who the most in love of dirt excel,
- Or dark dexterity of groping well:
- Who flings most filth, and wide pollutes around
- The stream, be his the Weekly Journals bound;280
- A Pig of Lead to him who dives the best;
- A Peck of Coals apiece shall glad the rest.’
- In naked majesty Oldmixon stands,
- And, Milo-like, surveys his arms and hands;
- Then sighing, thus, ‘And am I now three-score?
- Ah, why, ye Gods! should two and two make four?’
- He said, and climb’d a stranded lighter’s height,
- Shot to the black abyss, and plunged downright.
- The senior’s judgment all the crowd admire,289
- Who but to sink the deeper rose the higher.
- Next Smedley dived; slow circles dimpled o’er
- The quaking mud, that closed and oped no more.
- All look, all sigh, and call on Smedley lost;
- ‘Smedley!’ in vain resounds thro’ all the coast.
- Then [Hill] essay’d; scarce vanish’d out of sight,
- He buoys up instant, and returns to light;
- He bears no tokens of the sabler streams,
- And mounts far off among the swans of Thames.
- True to the bottom, see Concanen creep,
- A cold, long-winded native of the deep;300
- If perseverance gain the diver’s prize,
- Not everlasting Blackmore this denies:
- No noise, no stir, no motion canst thou make;
- Th’ unconscious stream sleeps o’er thee like a lake.
- Next plunged a feeble, but a desp’rate pack,
- With each a sickly brother at his back:
- Sons of a Day! just buoyant on the flood,
- Then number’d with the puppies in the mud.
- Ask ye their names? I could as soon disclose
- The names of these blind puppies as of those.310
- Fast by, like Niobe (her children gone),
- Sits mother Osborne, stupefied to stone!
- And monumental brass this record bears,
- ‘These are, ah no! these were the Gazetteers!’
- Not so bold Arnall; with a weight of skull
- Furious he dives, precipitately dull.
- Whirlpools and storms his circling arms invest,
- With all the might of gravitation blest.
- No crab more active in the dirty dance,
- Downward to climb, and backward to advance,320
- He brings up half the bottom on his head,
- And loudly claims the Journals and the Lead.
- The plunging Prelate, and his pond’rous Grace,
- With holy envy gave one layman place.
- When lo! a burst of thunder shook the flood,
- Slow rose a form in majesty of mud;
- Shaking the horrors of his sable brows,
- And each ferocious feature grim with ooze.
- Greater he looks, and more than mortal stares;
- Then thus the wonders of the deep declares.330
- First he relates how, sinking to the chin,
- Smit with his mien, the mud-nymphs suck’d him in;
- How young Lutetia, softer than the down,
- Nigrina black, and Merdamante brown,
- Vied for his love in jetty bowers below,
- As Hylas fair was ravish’d long ago.
- Then sung, how shown him by the nut-brown maids
- A branch of Styx here rises from the shades,
- That tinctured as it runs with Lethe’s streams,
- And wafting vapours from the land of dreams340
- (As under seas Alpheus’ secret sluice
- Bears Pisa’s offering to his Arethuse),
- Pours into Thames; and hence the mingled wave
- Intoxicates the pert, and lulls the grave:
- Here, brisker vapours o’er the Temple creep;
- There, all from Paul’s to Algate drink and sleep.
- Thence to the banks where rev’rend bards repose
- They led him soft; each rev’rend bard arose;
- And Milbourn chief, deputed by the rest,
- Gave him the cassock, surcingle, and vest.
- ‘Receive (he said) these robes which once were mine;351
- Dulness is sacred in a sound divine.’
- He ceas’d, and spread the robe; the crowd confess
- The rev’rend flamen in his lengthen’d dress.
- Around him wide a sable army stand,
- A low-born, cell-bred, selfish, servile band,
- Prompt or to guard or stab, or saint or damn,
- Heav’n’s Swiss, who fight for any God or Man.
- Thro’ Lud’s famed gates, along the well-known Fleet,
- Rolls the black troop, and overshades the street,360
- Till showers of Sermons, Characters, Essays,
- In circling fleeces whiten all the ways.
- So clouds replenish’d from some bog below,
- Mount in dark volumes, and descend in snow.
- Here stopt the Goddess; and in pomp proclaims
- A gentler exercise to close the games.
- ‘Ye Critics! in whose heads, as equal scales,
- I weigh what author’s heaviness prevails;
- Which most conduce to soothe the soul in slumbers,
- My Henley’s periods, or my Blackmore’s numbers;370
- Attend the trial we propose to make:
- If there be man who o’er such works can wake,
- Sleep’s all subduing charms who dares defy,
- And boasts Ulysses’ ear with Argus’ eye;
- To him we grant our amplest powers to sit
- Judge of all present, past, and future wit;
- To cavil, censure, dictate, right or wrong,
- Full and eternal privilege of tongue.’
- Three college Sophs, and three pert Templars came,
- The same their talents, and their tastes the same!380
- Each prompt to query, answer, and debate,
- And smit with love of Poesy and Prate.
- The pond’rous books two gentle readers bring;
- The heroes sit, the vulgar form a ring;
- The clam’rous crowd is hush’d with mugs of mum,
- Till all tuned equal send a gen’ral hum.
- Then mount the clerks, and in one lazy tone
- Thro’ the long, heavy, painful page drawl on;
- Soft creeping words on words the sense compose,
- At ev’ry line they stretch, they yawn, they doze.390
- As to soft gales top-heavy pines bow low
- Their heads, and lift them as they cease to blow,
- Thus oft they rear, and oft the head decline,
- As breathe, or pause, by fits, the airs divine;
- And now to this side, now to that they nod,
- As verse, or prose, infuse the drowsy God.
- Thrice Budgell aim’d to speak, but thrice supprest
- By potent Arthur, knock’d his chin and breast.
- Toland and Tindal, prompt at priests to jeer,
- Yet silent bow’d to ‘Christ’s no kingdom here.’400
- Who sat the nearest, by the words o’ercome,
- Slept first; the distant nodded to the hum,
- Then down are roll’d the books; stretch’d o’er ’em lies
- Each gentle clerk, and mutt’ring seals his eyes.
- As what a Dutchman plumps into the lakes,
- One circle first and then a second makes,
- What Dulness dropt among her sons imprest
- Like motion from one circle to the rest:
- So from the midmost the nutation spreads,
- Round and more round, o’er all the sea of heads.410
- Thus the soft gifts of sleep conclude the day,
- And stretch’d on bulks, as usual Poets lay.
- Why should I sing what bards the nightly Muse421
- Did slumb’ring visit, and convey to stews?
- Who prouder march’d, with magistrates in state,
- To some famed roundhouse, ever-open gate?
- How Henley lay inspired beside a sink,
- And to mere mortals seem’d a priest in drink,
- While others, timely, to the neighb’ring Fleet
- (Haunt of the Muses) made their safe retreat?
BOOK III[ ]
After the other persons are disposed in their proper places of rest, the Goddess transports the King to her Temple, and there lays him to slumber with his head on her lap; a position of marvellous virtue, which causes all the visions of wild enthusiasts, projectors, politicians, inamoratos, castle-builders, chymists, and poets. He is immediately carried on the wings of Fancy, and led by a mad poetical Sibyl, to the Elysian shade; where, on the banks of Lethe, the souls of the dull are dipped by Bavius, before their entrance into this world. There he is met by the ghost of Settle, and by him made acquainted with the wonders of the place, and with those which he himself is destined to perform. He takes him to a Mount of Vision, from whence he shows him the past triumphs of the Empire of Dulness; then, the present; and, lastly, the future: how small a part of the world was ever conquered by Science, how soon those conquests were stopped, and these very nations again reduced to her dominion. Then distinguishing the island of Great Britain, shows by what aids, by what persons, and by what degrees, it shall be brought to her empire. Some of the persons he causes to pass in review before his eyes, describing each by his proper figure, character, and qualifications. On a sudden the scene shifts, and a vast number of miracles and prodigies appear, utterly surprising and unknown to the King himself, till they are explained to be the wonders of his own reign now commencing. On this subject Settle breaks into a congratulation, yet not unmixed with concern, that his own times were but the types of these. He prophesies how first the nation shall be overrun with Farces, Operas, and Shows; how the throne of Dulness shall be advanced over the Theatres, and set up even at Court; then how her sons shall preside in the seats of Arts and Sciences; giving a glimpse, or Pisgahsight, of the future fulness of her glory, the accomplishment whereof is the subject of the fourth and last book.
- But in her temple’s last recess inclosed,
- On Dulness’ lap th’ anointed head reposed.
- Him close she curtains round with vapours blue,
- And soft besprinkles with Cimmerian dew:
- Then raptures high the seat of Sense o’erflow,
- Which only heads refin’d from Reason know.
- Hence from the straw where Bedlam’s prophet nods,
- He hears loud oracles, and talks with Gods;
- Hence the fool’s paradise, the statesman’s scheme,
- The air-built castle, and the golden dream,
- The maid’s romantic wish, the chymist’s flame,11
- And poet’s vision of eternal Fame.
- And now, on Fancy’s easy wing convey’d,
- The king descending views th’ Elysian shade.
- A slipshod Sibyl led his steps along,
- In lofty madness meditating song;
- Her tresses staring from poetic dreams,
- And never wash’d but in Castalia’s streams.
- Taylor , their better Charon, lends an oar
- (Once swan of Thames, tho’ now he sings no more);20
- Benlowes , propitious still to blockheads, bows;
- And Shadwell nods, the poppy on his brows.
- Here in a dusky vale, where Lethe rolls,
- Old Bavius sits to dip poetic souls,
- And blunt the sense, and fit it for a skull
- Of solid proof, impenetrably dull.
- Instant, when dipt, away they wing their flight,
- Where Browne and Mears unbar the gates of light,
- Demand new bodies, and in calf’s array
- Rush to the world, impatient for the day.
- Millions and millions on these banks he views,31
- Thick as the stars of night or morning dews,
- As thick as bees o’er vernal blossoms fly,
- As thick as eggs at Ward in pillory .
- Wond’ring he gazed: when, lo! a Sage appears,
- By his broad shoulders known, and length of ears,
- Known by the band and suit which Settle wore
- (His only suit) for twice three years before:
- All as the vest, appear’d the wearer’s frame,
- Old in new state—another, yet the same.
- Bland and familiar, as in life, begun41
- Thus the great father to the greater son:
- ‘Oh! born to see what none can see awake,
- Behold the wonders of th’ oblivious lake!
- Thou, yet unborn, hast touch’d this sacred shore;
- The hand of Bavius drench’d thee o’er and o’er.
- But blind to former as to future fate,
- What mortal knows his preexistent state?
- Who knows how long thy transmigrating soul
- Might from Bœotian to Bœotian roll?50
- How many Dutchmen she vouchsafed to thrid?
- How many stages thro’ old monks she rid?
- And all who since, in mild benighted days,
- Mix’d the Owl’s ivy with the Poet’s bays?
- As man’s mæanders to the vital spring
- Roll all their tides, then back their circles bring;
- Or whirligigs, twirl’d round by skilful swain,
- Suck the thread in, then yield it out again;
- All nonsense thus, of old or modern date,
- Shall in thee centre, from thee circulate.60
- For this our Queen unfolds to vision true
- Thy mental eye, for thou hast much to view:
- Old scenes of glory, times long cast behind,
- Shall, first recall’d, rush forward to thy mind:
- Then stretch thy sight o’er all her rising reign,
- And let the past and future fire thy brain.
- ‘Ascend this hill, whose cloudy point commands
- Her boundless empire over seas and lands.
- See, round the poles where keener spangles shine,
- Where spices smoke beneath the burning Line70
- (Earth’s wide extremes), her sable flag display’d,
- And all the nations cover’d in her shade!
- ‘Far eastward cast thine eye, from whence the sun
- And orient Science their bright course begun:
- One godlike monarch all that pride confounds,
- He whose long wall the wand’ring Tartar bounds:
- Heav’ns! what a pile! whole ages perish there,
- And one bright blaze turns learning into air.
- ‘Thence to the south extend thy gladden’d eyes;
- There rival flames with equal glory rise;80
- From shelves to shelves see greedy Vulcan roll,
- And lick up all their physic of the soul.
- ‘How little, mark! that portion of the ball,
- Where, faint at best, the beams of Science fall:
- Soon as they dawn, from hyperborean skies
- Embodied dark, what clouds of Vandals rise!
- Lo! where Mæotis sleeps, and hardly flows
- The freezing Tanais thro’ a waste of snows,
- The North by myriads pours her mighty sons,
- Great nurse of Goths, of Alans, and of Huns!90
- See Alarie’s stern port! the martial frame
- Of Genseric! and Attila’s dread name!
- See the bold Ostrogoths on Latium fall!
- See the fierce Visigoths on Spain and Gaul!
- See where the morning gilds the palmy shore
- (The soil that arts and infant letters bore ),
- His conqu’ring tribes th’ Arabian prophet draws,
- And saving Ignorance enthrones by laws!
- See Christians, Jews, one heavy sabbath keep,
- And all the western world believe and sleep!100
- ‘Lo! Rome herself, proud mistress now no more
- Of arts, but thund’ring against heathen lore;
- Her gray-hair’d synods damning books unread,
- And Bacon trembling for his brazen head.
- Padua, with sighs, beholds her Livy burn,
- And ev’n th’ Antipodes Virgilius mourn.
- See the Cirque falls, th’ unpillar’d Temple nods,
- Streets paved with Heroes, Tiber choked with Gods;
- Till Peter’s keys some christen’d Jove adorn,
- And Pan to Moses lends his Pagan horn.110
- See graceless Venus to a virgin turn’d,
- Or Phidias broken, and Apelles burn’d!
- ‘Behold yon isle, by Palmers, Pilgrims trod,
- Men bearded, bald, cowl’d, uncowl’d, shod, unshod,
- Peel’d, patch’d, and piebald, linsey-woolsey brothers,
- Grave Mummers! sleeveless some and shirtless others.
- That once was Britain—Happy! had she seen
- No fiercer sons, had Easter never been.
- In peace, great Goddess, ever be ador’d;
- How keen the war, if Dulness draw the sword!120
- Thus visit not thy own! on this bless’d age
- O spread thy influence, but restrain thy rage.
- ‘And see, my son! the hour is on its way
- That lifts our Goddess to imperial sway;
- This fav’rite isle, long sever’d from her reign,
- Dove-like, she gathers to her wings again.
- Now look thro’ Fate! behold the scene she draws!
- What aids, what armies, to assert her cause!
- See all her progeny, illustrious sight!
- Behold, and count them, as they rise to light.130
- As Berecynthia, while her offspring vie
- In homage to the mother of the sky,
- Surveys around her, in the bless’d abode,
- A hundred sons, and every son a God,
- Not with less glory mighty Dulness crown’d,
- Shall take thro’ Grub-street her triumphant round,
- And her Parnassus glancing o’er at once,
- Behold a hundred sons, and each a Dunce.
- ‘Mark first that youth who takes the foremost place,139
- And thrusts his person full into your face.
- With all thy father’s virtues bless’d, be born!
- And a new Cibber shall the stage adorn.
- ‘A second see, by meeker manners known,
- And modest as the maid that sips alone;
- From the strong fate of drams if thou get free,
- Another Durfey, Ward! shall sing in thee.
- Thee shall each alehouse, thee each gill-house mourn,
- And answering ginshops sourer sighs return.
- ‘Jacob, the scourge of grammar , mark with awe;149
- Nor less revere him, blunderbuss of law.
- Lo Popple’s brow, tremendous to the town,
- Horneck’s fierce eye, and Roome’s funereal frown.
- Lo sneering Goode , half malice and half whim,
- A fiend in glee, ridiculously grim.
- Each cygnet sweet, of Bath and Tunbridge race,
- Whose tuneful whistling makes the waters pass:
- Each songster, riddler, ev’ry nameless name,
- All crowd, who foremost shall be damn’d to Fame.
- Some strain in rhyme: the Muses, on their racks,
- Scream like the winding of ten thousand jacks:160
- Some free from rhyme or reason, rule or check,
- Break Priscian’s head, and Pegasus’s neck;
- Down, down they larum, with impetuous whirl,
- The Pindars and the Miltons of a Curll.
- ‘Silence, ye wolves! while Ralph to Cynthia howls,
- And makes night hideous—Answer him, ye owls!
- ‘Sense, speech, and measure, living tongues and dead,
- Let all give way—and Morris may be read.
- Flow, Welsted, flow! like thine inspirer, beer,
- Tho’ stale, not ripe, tho’ thin, yet never clear;170
- So sweetly mawkish, and so smoothly dull;
- Heady, not strong; o’erflowing, tho’ not full.
- Ah, Dennis! Gildon, ah! what ill-starr’d rage
- Divides a friendship long confirm’d by age?
- Blockheads with reason wicked wits abhor,
- But fool with fool is barb’rous civil war.
- Embrace, embrace, my sons! be foes no more!
- Nor glad vile poets with true critics’ gore.
- ‘Behold you pair, in strict embraces join’d;
- How like in manners, and how like in mind!180
- Equal in wit, and equally polite
- Shall this a Pasquin, that a Grumbler write;
- Like are their merits, like rewards they share,
- That shines a Consul, this Commissioner.’
- ‘But who is he, in closet close y-pent,
- Of sober face, with learned dust besprent?
- Right well mine eyes arede the myster wight,
- On parchment scraps y-fed and Wormius hight.
- To future ages may thy dulness last,
- As thou preserv’st the dulness of the past!
- ‘There, dim in clouds, the poring scholiasts mark,191
- Wits, who, like owls, see only in the dark,
- A lumberhouse of books in ev’ry head,
- For ever reading, never to be read!
- ‘But, where each science lifts its modern type,
- Hist’ry her pot, Divinity her pipe,
- While proud Philosophy repines to show,
- Dishonest sight! his breeches rent below,
- Imbrown’d with native bronze, lo! Henley stands ,
- Tuning his voice, and balancing his hands.
- How fluent nonsense trickles from his tongue!201
- How sweet the periods, neither said nor sung!
- Still break the benches, Henley! with thy strain,
- While Sherlock, Hare, and Gibson preach in vain.
- O great restorer of the good old stage,
- Preacher at once, and Zany of thy age!
- O worthy thou of Egypt’s wise abodes,
- A decent priest where monkeys were the gods!
- But fate with butchers placed thy priestly stall,
- Meek modern faith to murder, hack, and maul;210
- And bade thee live, to crown Britannia’s praise,
- In Toland’s, Tindal’s, and in Woolston’s days.
- ‘Yet, oh, my sons! a father’s words attend
- (So may the Fates preserve the ears you lend):
- ’T is yours a Bacon or a Locke to blame,
- A Newton’s genius, or a Milton’s flame:
- But, oh! with One, immortal One, dispense,
- The source of Newton’s light, of Bacon’s sense.
- Content, each emanation of his fires
- That beams on earth, each virtue he inspires,220
- Each art he prompts, each charm he can create,
- Whate’er he gives, are giv’n for you to hate.
- Persist, by all divine in man unawed,
- But learn, ye Dunces! not to scorn your God.’
- Thus he, for then a ray of Reason stole
- Half thro’ the solid darkness of his soul;
- But soon the cloud return’d—and thus the sire:
- ‘See now what Dulness and her sons admire!
- See what the charms that smite the simple heart,
- Not touch’d by Nature, and not reach’d by art.’230
- His never-blushing head he turn’d aside
- (Not half so pleas’d when Goodman prophesied ),
- And look’d, and saw a sable sorcerer rise,
- Swift to whose hand a winged volume flies:
- All sudden, Gorgons hiss, and Dragons glare,
- And ten-horn’d Fiends and Giants rush to war;
- Hell rises, Heav’n descends, and dance on earth;
- Gods, imps, and monsters, music, rage, and mirth,
- A fire, a jig, a battle, and a ball,
- Till one wide conflagration swallows all.240
- Thence a new world, to Nature’s laws unknown,
- Breaks out refulgent, with a Heav’n its own:
- Another Cynthia her new journey runs,
- And other planets circle other suns.
- The forests dance, the rivers upward rise,
- Whales sport in woods, and dolphins in the skies:
- And last, to give the whole creation grace,
- Lo! one vast egg produces human race.
- Joy fills his soul, joy innocent of thought:
- ‘What Power (he cries), what Power these wonders wrought?’250
- ‘Son, what thou seek’st is in thee! look and find
- Each monster meets his likeness in thy mind.
- Yet would’st thou more? in yonder cloud behold,
- Whose sarsenet skirts are edged with flamy gold,
- A matchless youth! his nod these worlds controls,
- Wings the red lightning, and the thunder rolls.
- Angel of Dulness, sent to scatter round
- Her magic charms o’er all unclassic ground,
- Yon stars, yon suns, he rears at pleasure higher,
- Illumes their light, and sets their flames on fire.260
- Immortal Rich! how calm he sits at ease,
- Midst snows of paper, and fierce hail of pease!
- And proud his mistress’ orders to perform,
- Rides in the whirlwind, and directs the storm.
- ‘But lo! to dark encounter in mid air
- New wizards rise; I see my Cibber there!
- Booth in his cloudy tabernacle shrined;
- On grinning dragons thou shalt mount the wind.
- Dire is the conflict, dismal is the din,
- Here shouts all Drury, there all Lincoln’s-inn;270
- Contending theatres our empire raise,
- Alike their labours, and alike their praise.
- ‘And are these wonders, Son, to thee unknown?
- Unknown to thee! these wonders are thy own.
- These Fate reserv’d to grace thy reign divine,
- Foreseen by me, but ah! withheld from mine.
- In Lud’s old walls tho’ long I ruled renown’d,
- Far as loud Bow’s stupendous bells resound;
- Tho’ my own aldermen conferr’d the bays,
- To me committing their eternal praise,280
- Their full-fed heroes, their pacific mayors,
- Their annual trophies , and their monthly wars;
- Tho’ long my party built on me their hopes,
- For writing pamphlets, and for roasting Popes;
- Yet lo! in me what authors have to brag on!
- Reduced at last to hiss in my own dragon.
- Avert it, Heav’n! that thou, my Cibber, e’er
- Shouldst wag a serpent-tail in Smithfield fair!
- Like the vile straw that ’s blown about the streets,
- The needy poet sticks to all he meets,290
- Coach’d, carted, trod upon, now loose, now fast,
- And carried off in some dog’s tail at last.
- Happier thy fortunes! like a rolling stone,
- Thy giddy dulness still shall lumber on;
- Safe in its heaviness, shall never stray,
- But lick up every blockhead in the way.
- Thee shall the patriot, thee the courtier taste,
- And ev’ry year be duller than the last;
- Till raised from booths, to theatre, to Court,
- Her seat imperial Dulness shall transport.
- Already Opera prepares the way,301
- The sure forerunner of her gentle sway:
- Let her thy heart (next Drabs and Dice) engage,
- The third mad passion of thy doting age.
- Teach thou the warbling Polypheme to roar,
- And scream thyself as none e’er scream’d before!
- To aid our cause, if Heav’n thou canst not bend,
- Hell thou shalt move; for Faustus is our friend:
- Pluto with Cato thou for this shalt join,
- And link the Mourning Bride to Proserpine,310
- Grub-street! thy fall should men and Gods conspire,
- Thy stage shall stand, insure it but from fire .
- Another Æschylus appears! prepare
- For new abortions, all ye pregnant fair!
- In flames like Semele’s , be brought to bed,
- While opening Hell spouts wildfire at your head.
- ‘Now, Bavius, take the poppy from thy brow,
- And place it here! here, all ye heroes, bow!
- This, this is he foretold by ancient rhymes,
- Th’ Augustus born to bring Saturnian times.320
- Signs foll’wing signs lead on the mighty year!
- See the dull stars roll round and reappear!
- See, see, our own true Phœbus wears the bays!
- Our Midas sits Lord Chancellor of plays!
- On poets’ tombs see Benson’s titles writ!
- Lo! Ambrose Philips is preferr’d for wit!
- See under Ripley rise a new Whitehall,
- While Jones’ and Boyle’s united labours fall;
- While Wren with sorrow to the grave descends,
- Gay dies unpension’d with a hundred friends,330
- Hibernian politics, O Swift! thy fate,
- And Pope’s, ten years to comment and translate!
- ‘Proceed, great days! till learning fly the shore,
- Till birch shall blush with noble blood no more;
- Till Thames see Eton’s sons for ever play,
- Till Westminster’s whole year be holiday;
- Till Isis’ elders reel, their pupils’ sport,
- And Alma Mater lie dissolv’d in port!’
- ‘Enough! enough!’ the raptured monarch cries,339
- And thro’ the iv’ry gate the vision flies.
BOOK IV[ ]
The poet being, in this book, to declare the Completion of the Prophecies mentioned at the end of the former, makes a new Invocation; as the greater poets are wont, when some high and worthy matter is to be sung. He shows the Goddess coming in her majesty to destroy Order and Science, and to substitute the Kingdom of the Dull upon earth: how she leads captive the Sciences, and silences the Muses; and what they be who succeed in their stead. All her children, by a wonderful attraction, are drawn about her; and bear along with them divers others, who promote her empire by connivance, weak resistance, or discouragement of Arts; such as Half-wits, tasteless Admirers, vain Pretenders, the Flatterers of Dunces, or the Patrons of them. All these crowd round her; one of them offering to approach her, is driven back by a rival, but she commends and encourages both. The first who speak in form are the Geniuses of the Schools, who assure her of their care to advance her cause by confining youth to words, and keeping them out of the way of real knowledge. Their address, and her gracious answer; with her charge to them and the Universities. The Universities appear by their proper deputies, and assure her that the same method is observed in the progress of Education. The speech of Aristarchus on this subject. They are driven off by a band of young Gentlemen returned from travel with their tutors; one of whom delivers to the Goddess, in a polite oration, an account of the whole conduct and fruits of their travels; presenting to her at the same time a young Nobleman perfectly accomplished. She receives him graciously, and endues him with the happy quality of Want of Shame. She sees loitering about her a number of indolent persons abandoning all business and duty, and dying with laziness: to these approaches the antiquary Annius, entreating her to make them Virtuosos, and assign them over to him; but Mummius, another antiquary, complaining of his fraudulent proceeding, she finds a method to reconcile their difference. Then enter a troop of people fantastically adorned, offering her strange and exotic Presents: among them, one stands forth, and demands justice on another who had deprived him of one of the greatest curiosities in Nature; but he justifies himself so well, that the Goddess gives them both her approbation. She recommends to them to find proper employment for the Indolents before mentioned, in the study of Butterflies, Shells, Birds-nests, Moss, &c., but with particular caution not to proceed beyond trifles, to any useful or extensive views of Nature, or of the Author of Nature. Against the last of these apprehensions, she is secured by a hearty address from the Minute Philosophers and Freethinkers, one of whom speaks in the name of the rest. The Youth thus instructed and principled, are delivered to her in a body, by the hands of Silenus; and then admitted to taste the cup of the Magus, her high priest, which causes a total oblivion of all Obligations, divine, civil, moral, or rational. To these her adepts she sends Priests, Attendants, and Comforters, of various kinds; confers on them Orders and Degrees; and then dismissing them with a speech, confirming to each his privileges, and telling what she expects from each, concludes with a Yawn of extraordinary virtue: the Progress and Effects whereof on all orders of men, and the Consummation of all, in the restoration of Night and Chaos, conclude the Poem.
- Yet, yet a moment, one dim ray of light
- Indulge, dread Chaos, and eternal Night!
- Of darkness visible so much be lent,
- As half to show, half veil the deep intent.
- Ye Powers! Whose mysteries restor’d I sing,
- To whom Time bears me on his rapid wing,
- Suspend a while your force inertly strong,
- Then take at once the Poet and the Song.
- Now flamed the Dogstar’s unpropitious ray,9
- Smote ev’ry brain, and wither’d ev’ry bay;
- Sick was the sun, the owl forsook his bower,
- The moon-struck prophet felt the madding hour:
- Then rose the seed of Chaos, and of Night,
- To blot out Order, and extinguish Light,
- Of dull and venal a new world to mould,
- And bring Saturnian days of Lead and Gold.
- She mounts the Throne: her head a cloud conceal’d,
- In broad effulgence all below reveal’d
- (’T is thus aspiring Dulness ever shines);19
- Soft on her lap her Laureate Son reclines:
- Beneath her footstool Science groans in chains,
- And Wit dreads exile, penalties, and pains.
- There foam’d rebellious Logic, gagg’d and bound;
- There, stript, fair Rhetoric languish’d on the ground;
- His blunted arms by Sophistry are borne,
- And shameless Billingsgate her robes adorn,
- Morality, by her false guardians drawn,
- Chicane in furs, and Casuistry in lawn,
- Gasps, as they straiten at each end the cord,
- And dies when Dulness gives her Page the word .30
- Mad Mathesis alone was unconfin’d,
- Too mad for mere material chains to bind,
- Now to pure Space lifts her ecstatic stare,
- Now running round the Circle, finds it square.
- But held in tenfold bonds the Muses lie,
- Watch’d both by envy’s and by flatt’ry’s eye .
- There to her heart sad Tragedy addrest
- The dagger, wont to pierce the Tyrant’s breast;
- But sober History restrain’d her rage,
- And promis’d vengeance on a barb’rous age.40
- There sunk Thalia, nerveless, cold, and dead,
- Had not her sister Satire held her head:
- Nor couldst thou, Chesterfield! a tear refuse,
- Thou wept’st, and with thee wept each gentle Muse.
- When Io! a harlot form soft sliding by,
- With mincing step, small voice, and languid eye:
- Foreign her air, her robe’s discordant pride
- In patchwork flutt’ring, and her head aside;
- By singing peers upheld on either hand,
- She tripp’d and laugh’d, too pretty much to stand;50
- Cast on the prostrate Nine a scornful look,
- Then thus in quaint recitativo spoke:
- ‘O cara! cara! silence all that train!
- Joy to great Chaos! let Division reign!
- Chromatic tortures soon shall drive them hence,
- Break all their nerves, and fritter all their sense:
- One Trill shall harmonize joy, grief, and rage,
- Wake the dull Church, and lull the ranting Stage;
- To the same notes thy sons shall hum, or snore,59
- And all thy yawning daughters cry encore.
- Another Phœbus, thy own Phœbus, reigns,
- Joys in my jigs, and dances in my chains.
- But soon, ah, soon, rebellion will commence,
- If Music meanly borrows aid from Sense:
- Strong in new arms, Io! giant Handel stands,
- Like bold Briareus, with a hundred hands;
- To stir, to rouse, to shake the soul he comes,
- And Jove’s own thunders follow Mars’s drums.
- Arrest him, Empress, or you sleep no more’—
- She heard, and drove him to th’ Hibernian shore.70
- And now had Fame’s posterior trumpet blown,
- And all the nations summon’d to the Throne:
- The young, the old, who feel her inward sway,
- One instinct seizes, and transports away.
- None need a guide, by sure attraction led,
- And strong impulsive gravity of head;
- None want a place, for all their centre found,
- Hung to the Goddess, and cohered around.
- Not closer, orb in orb, conglobed are seen
- The buzzing bees about their dusky queen.80
- The gath’ring number, as it moves along,
- Involves a vast involuntary throng,
- Who gently drawn, and struggling less and less,
- Roll in her vortex, and her power confess.
- Not those alone who passive own her laws,
- But who, weak rebels, more advance her cause:
- Whate’er of Dunce in College or in Town
- Sneers at another, in toupee or gown;
- Whate’er of mongrel no one class admits,
- A Wit with Dunces, and a Dunce with Wits.90
- Nor absent they, no members of her state,
- Who pay her homage in her sons, the Great;
- Who, false to Phœbus, bow the knee to Baal,
- Or impious, preach his word without a call:
- Patrons, who sneak from living worth to dead,
- Withhold the pension, and set up the head;
- Or vast dull Flatt’ry in the sacred gown,
- Or give from fool to fool the laurel crown;
- And (last and worst) with all the cant of wit,99
- Without the soul, the Muse’s hypocrite.
- There march’d the Bard and Blockhead side by side,
- Who rhymed for hire, and patronized for pride.
- Narcissus, prais’d with all a parson’s power,
- Look’d a white lily sunk beneath a shower.
- There moved Montalto with superior air;
- His stretch’d-out arm display’d a volume fair;
- Courtiers and Patriots in two ranks divide,
- Thro’ both he pass’d, and bow’d from side to side;
- But as in graceful act, with awful eye,
- Composed he stood, bold Benson thrust him by:110
- On two unequal crutches propt he came,
- Milton’s on this, on that one Johnston’s name.
- The decent knight retired with sober rage,
- Withdrew his hand, and closed the pompous page:
- But (happy for him as the times went then)
- Appear’d Apollo’s mayor and aldermen,
- On whom three hundred gold-capp’d youths await,
- To lug the pond’rous volume off in state.
- When Dulness, smiling—‘Thus revive the Wits!
- But murder first, and mince them all to bits;120
- As erst Medea (cruel, so to save!)
- A new edition of old Æson gave;
- Let standard authors thus, like trophies borne,
- Appear more glorious as more hack’d and torn.
- And you, my Critics! in the chequer’d shade,
- Admire new light thro’ holes yourselves have made.
- Leave not a foot of verse, a foot of stone,
- A page, a grave, that they can call their own;
- But spread, my sons, your glory thin or thick,
- On passive paper, or on solid brick.130
- So by each Bard an Alderman shall sit ,
- A heavy Lord shall hang at every Wit,
- And while on Fame’s triumphal car they ride,
- Some slave of mine be pinion’d to their side.’
- Now crowds on crowds around the Goddess press,
- Each eager to present the first address.
- Dunce scorning Dunce beholds the next advance,
- But Fop shows Fop superior complaisance.
- When lo! a spectre rose, whose index hand
- Held forth the virtue of the dreadful wand;
- His beaver’d brow a birchen garland wears,141
- Dropping with infants’ blood and mothers’ tears.
- O’er ev’ry vein a shudd’ring horror runs,
- Eton and Winton shake thro’ all their sons.
- All flesh is humbled, Westminster’s bold race
- Shrink, and confess the Genius of the place:
- The pale boy-senator yet tingling stands,
- And holds his breeches close with both his hands.
- Then thus: ‘Since man from beast by words is known,
- Words are man’s province, words we teach alone.150
- When reason doubtful, like the Samian letter ,
- Points him two ways, the narrower is the better.
- Placed at the door of learning, youth to guide,
- We never suffer it to stand too wide.
- To ask, to guess, to know, as they commence,
- As Fancy opens the quick springs of Sense,
- We ply the Memory, we load the Brain,
- Bind rebel wit, and double chain on chain,
- Confine the thought, to exercise the breath,
- And keep them in the pale of words till death.160
- Whate’er the talents, or howe’er design’d,
- We hang one jingling padlock on the mind:
- A poet the first day he dips his quill;
- And what the last? a very poet still.
- Pity! the charm works only in our wall,
- Lost, lost too soon in yonder house or hall .
- There truant Wyndham ev’ry Muse gave o’er,
- There Talbot sunk, and was a Wit no more!
- How sweet an Ovid, Murray was our boast!
- How many Martials were in Pulteney lost!
- Else sure some bard, to our eternal praise,
- In twice ten thousand rhyming nights and days,172
- Had reach’d the work, the all that mortal can,
- And South beheld that masterpiece of man .
- ‘O (cried the Goddess) for some pedant reign!
- Some gentle James, to bless the land again:
- To stick the doctor’s chair into the throne,
- Give law to words, or war with words alone,
- Senates and Courts with Greek and Latin rule,
- And turn the Council to a grammar school!
- For sure if Dulness sees a grateful day,181
- ’T is in the shade of arbitrary sway.
- O! if my sons may learn one earthly thing,
- Teach but that one, sufficient for a King;
- That which my priests, and mine alone, maintain,
- Which, as it dies, or lives, we fall, or reign:
- May you, may Cam, and Isis, preach it long!
- ‘ “The right divine of Kings to govern wrong.” ’
- Prompt at the call, around the Goddess roll
- Broad hats, and hoods, and caps, a sable shoal:190
- Thick and more thick the black blockade extends,
- A hundred head of Aristotle’s friends.
- Nor wert thou, Isis! wanting to the day
- (Tho’ Christ Church long kept prudishly away):
- Each stanch polemic, stubborn as a rock,
- Each fierce logician, still expelling Locke ,
- Came whip and spur, and dash’d thro’ thin and thick,
- On German Crousaz, and Dutch Burgersdyck .
- As many quit the streams that murm’ring fall
- To lull the sons of Marg’ret and Clare Hall,
- Where Bentley late tempestuous wont to sport201
- In troubled waters, but now sleeps in port .
- Before them march’d that awful Aristarch;
- Plough’d was his front with many a deep remark;
- His hat, which never veil’d to human pride,
- Walker with rev’rence took, and laid aside.
- Low bow’d the rest; he, kingly, did but nod;
- So upright Quakers please both man and God.
- ‘Mistress! dismiss that rabble from your throne;
- Avaunt—is Aristarchus yet unknown?210
- Thy mighty scholiast, whose unwearied pains
- Made Horace dull, and humbled Milton’s strains.
- Turn what they will to verse, their toil is vain,
- Critics like me shall make it prose again.
- Roman and Greek grammarians! know your better;
- Author of something yet more great than letter;
- While tow’ring o’er your alphabet, like Saul,
- Stands our Digamma , and o’ertops them all.
- ’T is true, on words is still our whole debate,
- Disputes of me or te, of aut or at,220
- To sound or sink in cano, O or A,
- Or give up Cicero to C or K.
- Let Friend affect to speak as Terence spoke,
- And Alsop never but like Horace joke:
- For me what Virgil, Pliny, may deny,
- Manilius or Solinus shall supply:
- For Attic phrase in Plato let them seek,
- I poach in Suidas for unlicens’d Greek.
- In ancient sense if any needs will deal,
- Be sure I give them fragments, not a meal;
- What Gellius or Stobæus hash’d before,231
- Or chew’d by blind old scholiasts o’er and o’er.
- The critic eye, that microscope of wit,
- Sees hairs and pores, examines bit by bit.
- How parts relate to parts, or they to whole,
- The Body’s harmony, the beaming Soul,
- Are things which Kuster, Burman, Wasse shall see;
- When man’s whole frame is obvious to a flea.
- ‘Ah, think not, Mistress! more true dulness lies
- In Folly’s cap, than Wisdom’s grave disguise.240
- Like buoys, that never sink into the flood,
- On learning’s surface we but lie and nod.
- Thine is the genuine head of many a house,
- And much divinity without a νου̑ς.
- Nor could a Barrow work on ev’ry block,
- Nor has one Atterbury spoil’d the flock!
- See! still thy own, the heavy Canon roll,
- And metaphysic smokes involve the pole.
- For thee we dim the eyes, and stuff the head
- With all such reading as was never read:
- For thee explain a thing till all men doubt it,251
- And write about it, Goddess, and about it:
- So spins the silkworm small its slender store,
- And labours till it clouds itself all o’er.
- ‘What tho’ we let some better sort of fool
- Thrid ev’ry science, run thro’ ev’ry school?
- Never by tumbler thro’ the hoops was shown
- Such skill in passing all, and touching none.
- He may indeed (if sober all this time)
- Plague with Dispute, or persecute with Rhyme.260
- We only furnish what he cannot use,
- Or, wed to what he must divorce, a Muse:
- Full in the midst of Euclid dip at once,
- And petrify a Genius to a Dunce:
- Or, set on metaphysic ground to prance,
- Show all his paces, not a step advance.
- With the same cement, ever sure to bind,
- We bring to one dead level ev’ry mind:
- Then take him to develop, if you can,
- And hew the Block off, and get out the Man.270
- But wherefore waste I words? I see advance
- Whore, pupil, and laced governor from France.
- Walker! our hat!’—nor more he deign’d to say,
- But stern as Ajax’ spectre strode away.
- In flow’d at once a gay embroider’d race,
- And titt’ring push’d the pedants off the place:
- Some would have spoken, but the voice was drown’d
- By the French horn or by the opening hound.
- The first came forwards with as easy mien,
- As if he saw St. James’s and the Queen.
- When thus th’ attendant orator begun:281
- ‘Receive, great Empress! thy accomplish’d son;
- Thine from the birth, and sacred from the rod,
- A dauntless infant! never scared with God.
- The sire saw, one by one, his Virtues wake;
- The mother begg’d the blessing of a Rake.
- Thou gavest that ripeness, which so soon began,
- And ceas’d so soon, he ne’er was boy nor man.
- Thro’ school and college, thy kind cloud o’ercast,
- Safe and unseen the young Æneas past:290
- Thence bursting glorious, all at once let down,
- Stunn’d with his giddy larum half the town.
- Intrepid then, o’er seas and lands he flew;
- Europe he saw, and Europe saw him too.
- There all thy gifts and graces we display,
- Thou, only thou, directing all our way!
- To where the Seine, obsequious as she runs,
- Pours at great Bourbon’s feet her silken sons;
- Or Tyber, now no longer Roman, rolls,
- Vain of Italian arts, Italian souls:300
- To happy convents, bosom’d deep in vines,
- Where slumber abbots, purple as their wines:
- To isles of fragrance, lily-silver’d vales,
- Diffusing languor in the panting gales:
- To lands of singing, or of dancing, slaves,
- Love-whisp’ring woods, and lute-resounding waves.
- But chief her shrine where naked Venus keeps,
- And Cupids ride the lion of the deeps;
- Where, eas’d of fleets, the Adriatic main
- Wafts the smooth eunuch and enamour’d swain.310
- Led by my hand, he saunter’d Europe round,
- And gather’d ev’ry vice on Christian ground;
- Saw every Court, heard every King declare
- His royal sense of Op’ras or the Fair;
- The Stews and Palace equally explored,
- Intrigued with glory, and with spirit whored;
- Tried all hors-d’œuvres, all liqueurs defined,
- Judicious drank, and greatly daring dined;
- Dropp’d the dull lumber of the Latin store,
- Spoil’d his own language, and acquired no more;320
- All classic learning lost on classic ground;
- And last—turn’d Air, the Echo of a Sound!
- See now, half-cured, and perfectly well-bred,
- With nothing but a solo in his head;
- As much estate, and principle, and wit,
- As Jansen, Fleetwood, Cibber shall think fit;
- Stol’n from a Duel, follow’d by a Nun,
- And, if a borough choose him not, undone;
- See, to my country happy I restore
- This glorious youth, and add one Venus more.330
- Her too receive (for her my soul adores);
- So may the sons of sons of sons of whores
- Prop thine, O Empress! like each neighbour Throne,
- And make a long posterity thy own.’
- Pleas’d, she accepts the Hero and the Dame,
- Wraps in her veil, and frees from sense of shame:
- Then look’d, and saw a lazy lolling sort,
- Unseen at Church, at Senate, or at Court,
- Of ever listless loit’rers, that attend339
- No cause, no trust, no duty, and no friend.
- Thee, too, my Paridell! she mark’d thee there,
- Stretch’d on the rack of a too easy chair,
- And heard thy everlasting yawn confess
- The pains and penalties of Idleness.
- She pitied! but her pity only shed
- Benigner influence on thy nodding head.
- But Annius, crafty seer, with ebon wand,
- And well-dissembled em’rald on his hand,
- False as his gems, and canker’d as his coins,
- Came, cramm’d with capon, from where Pollio dines.350
- Soft, as the wily fox is seen to creep,
- Where bask on sunny banks the simple sheep,
- Walk round and round, now prying here, now there,
- So he, but pious, whisper’d first his prayer:
- ‘Grant, gracious Goddess! grant me still to cheat!
- O may thy cloud still cover the deceit!
- Thy choicer mists on this assembly shed,
- But pour them thickest on the noble head.
- So shall each youth, assisted by our eyes,
- See other Cæsars, other Homers rise;360
- Thro’ twilight ages hunt th’ Athenian fowl,
- Which Chalcis, Gods, and Mortals call an owl;
- Now see an Attys, now a Cecrops clear,
- Nay, Mahomet! the pigeon at thine ear;
- Be rich in ancient brass, tho’ not in gold,
- And keep his Lares, tho’ his House be sold;
- To heedless Phœbe his fair bride postpone,
- Honour a Syrian prince above his own;
- Lord of an Otho, if I vouch it true;
- Bless’d in one Niger, till he knows of two.’
- Mummius o’erheard him; Mummius, fool renown’d,371
- Who, like his Cheops, stinks above the ground,
- Fierce as a startled adder, swell’d and said,
- Rattling an ancient Sistrum at his head:
- ‘Speak’st thou of Syrian Princes? traitor base!
- Mine, Goddess! mine is all the horned race.
- True, he had wit to make their value rise;
- From foolish Greeks to steal them was as wise;
- More glorious yet, from barb’rous hands to keep,379
- When Sallee rovers chased him on the deep.
- Then taught by Hermes, and divinely bold,
- Down his own throat he risk’d the Grecian gold,
- Receiv’d each demigod, with pious care,
- Deep in his entrails—I revered them there,
- I bought them, shrouded in that living shrine,
- And, at their second birth, they issue mine.’
- ‘Witness, great Ammon! by whose horns I swore
- (Replied soft Annius), this our paunch before
- Still bears them, faithful; and that thus I eat,
- Is to refund the Medals with the Meat.390
- To prove me, Goddess! clear of all design,
- Bid me with Pollio sup as well as dine:
- There all the learn’d shall at the labour stand,
- And Douglas lend his soft obstetric hand.’
- The Goddess, smiling, seem’d to give consent;
- So back to Pollio hand in hand they went.
- Then thick as locusts black’ning all the ground,
- A tribe with weeds and shells fantastic crown’d,
- Each with some wondrous gift approach’d the Power,
- A nest, a toad, a fungus, or a flower.400
- By far the foremost two, with earnest zeal
- And aspect ardent, to the throne appeal.
- The first thus open’d: ‘Hear thy suppliant’s call,
- Great Queen, and common Mother of us all!
- Fair from its humble bed I rear’d this flower,
- Suckled, and cheer’d, with air, and sun, and shower.
- Soft on the paper ruff its leaves I spread,
- Bright with the gilded button tipp’d its head,
- Then throned in glass, and named it Caroline.
- Each maid cried, “Charming!” and each youth, “Divine!”410
- Did Nature’s pencil ever blend such rays,
- Such varied light in one promiscuous blaze?
- Now prostrate! dead! behold that Caroline:
- No maid cries, “Charming!” and no youth, “Divine!”
- And lo, the wretch! whose vile, whose insect lust
- Laid this gay daughter of the spring in dust.
- O punish him, or to th’ Elysian shades
- Dismiss my soul, where no Carnation fades.’
- He ceas’d, and wept. With innocence of mien
- Th’ accused stood forth, and thus address’d the Queen:420
- ‘Of all th’ enamell’d race, whose silv’ry wing
- Waves to the tepid zephyrs of the spring,
- Or swims along the fluid atmosphere,
- Once brightest shined this child of Heat and Air.
- I saw, and started from its vernal bower
- The rising game, and chased from flower to flower.
- It fled, I follow’d; now in hope, now pain;
- It stopt, I stopt; it mov’d, I mov’d again.
- At last it fix’d, ’t was on what plant it pleas’d.
- And where it fix’d the beauteous bird I seiz’d:430
- Rose or Carnation was below my care;
- I meddle, Goddess! only in my sphere.
- I tell the naked fact without disguise,
- And, to excuse it, need but show the prize;
- Whose spoils this paper offers to your eye,
- Fair ev’n in death, this peerless butterfly!’
- ‘My sons! (she answer’d) both have done your parts:
- Live happy both, and long promote our Arts.
- But hear a mother when she recommends
- To your fraternal care our sleeping friends.
- The common soul, of Heav’n’s more frugal make,441
- Serves but to keep Fools pert, and Knaves awake;
- A drowsy watchman, that just gives a knock,
- And breaks our rest, to tell us what’s o’clock.
- Yet by some object ev’ry brain is stirr’d;
- The dull may waken to a Humming-bird;
- The most recluse, discreetly open’d, find
- Congenial matter in the Cockle kind;
- The mind, in metaphysics at a loss,
- May wander in a wilderness of Moss;450
- The head that turns at superlunar things
- Pois’d with a tail, may steer on Wilkins’ wings.
- ‘O! would the sons of men once think their eyes
- And Reason giv’n them but to study flies!
- See Nature in some partial narrow shape,
- And let the Author of the whole escape:
- Learn but to trifle; or, who most observe,
- To wonder at their Maker, not to serve!’
- ‘Be that my task (replies a gloomy Clerk,
- Sworn foe to myst’ry, yet divinely dark;460
- Whose pious hope aspires to see the day
- When moral evidence shall quite decay,
- And damns implicit faith, and holy lies;
- Prompt to impose, and fond to dogmatize):
- Let others creep by timid steps, and slow,
- On plain Experience lay foundations low,
- By common sense to common knowledge bred,
- And last, to Nature’s Cause thro’ Nature led.
- All-seeing in thy mists, we want no guide,
- Mother of Arrogance, and source of pride!
- We nobly take the high priori road,471
- And reason downward, till we doubt of God:
- Make Nature still encroach upon his plan,
- And shove him off as far as e’er we can:
- Thrust some Mechanic Cause into his place,
- Or bind in Matter, or diffuse in Space:
- Or, at one bound o’erleaping all his laws,
- Make God man’s image; man, the final Cause;
- Find Virtue local, all Relation scorn,
- See all in self, and but for self be born:480
- Of nought so certain as our Reason still,
- Of nought so doubtful as of Soul and Will.
- O hide the God still more! and make us see
- Such as Lucretius drew, a God like thee:
- Wrapt up in self, a God without a thought,
- Regardless of our merit or default.
- Or that bright image to our fancy draw,
- Which Theocles in raptured vision saw,
- While thro’ poetic scenes the Genius roves,
- Or wanders wild in academic groves;490
- That Nature our society adores,
- Where Tindal dictates, and Silenus snores!’
- Rous’d at his name, up rose the bousy Sire,
- And shook from out his pipe the seeds of fire;
- Then snapt his box, and stroked his belly down;
- Rosy and rev’rend, tho’ without a gown.
- Bland and familiar to the Throne he came,
- Led up the youth, and call’d the Goddess Dame;
- Then thus: ‘From priestcraft happily set free,
- Lo! every finish’d son returns to thee:500
- First slave to Words, then vassal to a Name,
- Then dupe to Party; child and man the same;
- Bounded by Nature, narrow’d still by Art,
- A trifling head, and a contracted heart.
- Thus bred, thus taught, how many have I seen,
- Smiling on all, and smil’d on by a Queen!
- Mark’d out for honours, honour’d for their birth,
- To thee the most rebellious things on earth:508
- Now to thy gentle shadow all are shrunk,
- All melted down in Pension or in Punk!
- So K[ent] so B * * sneak’d into the grave,
- A monarch’s half, and half a harlot’s slave.
- Poor W[harton] nipt in Folly’s broadest bloom,
- Who praises now? his chaplain on his tomb.
- Then take them all, O take them to thy breast!
- Thy Magus, Goddess! shall perform the rest.’
- With that a wizard old his Cup extends,
- Which whoso tastes, forgets his former Friends,
- Sire, Ancestors, Himself. One casts his eyes
- Up to a star, and like Endymion dies:520
- A feather, shooting from another’s head,
- Extracts his brain, and Principle is fled;
- Lost is his God, his Country, everything,
- And nothing left but homage to a King!
- The vulgar herd turn off to roll with hogs,
- To run with horses, or to hunt with dogs;
- But, sad example! never to escape
- Their infamy, still keep the human shape.
- But she, good Goddess, sent to every child
- Firm Impudence, or Stupefaction mild;530
- And straight succeeded, leaving shame no room,
- Cibberian forehead, or Cimmerian gloom.
- Kind Self-conceit to some her glass applies,
- Which no one looks in with another’s eyes:
- But as the Flatt’rer or Dependant paint,
- Beholds himself a Patriot, Chief, or Saint.
- On others Int’rest her gay liv’ry flings,
- Int’rest, that waves on party-colour’d wings:
- Turn’d to the sun, she casts a thousand dyes,539
- And, as she turns, the colours fall or rise.
- Others the Syren Sisters warble round,
- And empty heads console with empty sound.
- No more, alas! the voice of Fame they hear,
- The balm of Dulness trickling in their ear.
- Great C **, H **, P **, R **, K * ,
- Why all your toils? your sons have learn’d to sing.
- How quick Ambition hastes to Ridicule:
- The sire is made a Peer, the son a Fool.
- On some, a priest succinct in amice white549
- Attends; all flesh is nothing in his sight!
- Beeves, at his touch, at once to jelly turn,
- And the huge boar is shrunk into an urn:
- The board with specious Miracles he loads,
- Turns hares to larks, and pigeons into toads.
- Another (for in all what one can shine?)
- Explains the sève and verdeur of the Vine.
- What cannot copious sacrifice atone?
- Thy truffles, Périgord, thy hams, Bayonne,
- With French libation, and Italian strain,
- Wash Bladen white, and expiate Hays’s stain,560
- Knight lifts the head; for, what are crowds undone,
- To three essential partridges in one?
- Gone ev’ry blush, and silent all reproach,
- Contending Princes mount them in their coach.
- Next bidding all draw near on bended knees,
- The Queen confers her Titles and Degrees.
- Her children first of more distinguish’d sort,
- Who study Shakespeare at the Inus of Court,
- Impale a glow-worm, or Vertù profess,
- Shine in the dignity of F. R. S.570
- Some, deep Freemasons, join the silent race,
- Worthy to fill Pythagoras’s place:
- Some Botanists, or florists at the least,
- Or issue members of an annual feast.
- Nor past the meanest unregarded; one
- Rose a Gregorian, one a Gormogon .
- The last, not least in honour or applause,
- Isis and Cam made Doctors of her Laws.
- Then, blessing all, ‘Go children of my care!
- To practice now from theory repair.580
- All my commands are easy, short and full:
- My sons! be proud, be selfish, and be dull.
- Guard my Prerogative, assert my Throne:
- This nod confirms each privilege your own.
- The cap and switch be sacred to His Grace;
- With staff and pumps the Marquis leads the race;
- From stage to stage the licens’d Earl may run,
- Pair’d with his fellow charioteer, the sun;
- The learned Baron butterflies design,
- Or draw to silk Arachne’s subtle line;590
- The Judge to dance his brother sergeant call;
- The Senator at cricket urge the ball:
- The Bishop stow (pontific luxury!)
- A hundred souls of turkeys in a pie;
- The sturdy Squire to Gallic masters stoop,
- And drown his lands and manors in a soup.
- Others import yet nobler arts from France,
- Teach Kings to fiddle, and make Senates dance.
- Perhaps more high some daring son may soar,599
- Proud to my list to add one monarch more;
- And nobly-conscious, Princes are but things
- Born for first Ministers, as slaves for Kings,
- Tyrant supreme! shall three estates command,
- And make one mighty Dunciad of the land!’
- More she had spoke, but yawn’d—All nature nods:
- What mortal can resist the yawn of Gods?
- Churches and chapels instantly it reach’d
- (St. James’s first, for leaden Gilbert preach’d);
- Then catch’d the Schools; the Hall scarce kept awake;
- The Convocation gaped, but could not speak.610
- Lost was the Nation’s sense, nor could be found,
- While the long solemn unison went round:
- Wide, and more wide, it spread o’er all the realm;
- Ev’n Palinurus nodded at the helm:
- The vapour mild o’er each committee crept;
- Unfinish’d treaties in each office slept;
- And chiefless armies dozed out the campaign;
- And navies yawn’d for orders on the main.
- O Muse! relate (for you can tell alone,
- Wits have short memories, and Dunces none),620
- Relate who first, who last, resign’d to rest;
- Whose heads she partly, whose completely blest;
- What charms could Faction, what Ambition lull,
- The venal quiet, and entrance the dull,
- Till drown’d was Sense, and Shame, and Right, and Wrong;
- O sing, and hush the nations with thy song!
- In vain, in vain—the all-composing hour
- Resistless falls; the Muse obeys the power.
- She comes! she comes! the sable throne behold
- Of Night primeval, and of Chaos old!630
- Before her Fancy’s gilded clouds decay,
- And all its varying rainbows die away.
- Wit shoots in vain its momentary fires,
- The meteor drops, and in a flash expires.
- As one by one, at dread Medea’s strain,
- The sick’ning stars fade off th’ ethereal plain;
- As Argus’ eyes, by Hermes’ wand opprest,
- Closed one by one to everlasting rest;
- Thus at her felt approach, and secret might,
- Art after Art goes out, and all is night.640
- See skulking Truth to her old cavern fled,
- Mountains of casuistry heap’d o’er her head!
- Philosophy, that lean’d on Heaven before,
- Shrinks to her second cause, and is no more.
- Physic of Metaphysic begs defence,
- And Metaphysic calls for aid on Sense!
- See Mystery to Mathematics fly!
- In vain! they gaze, turn giddy, rave, and die.
- Religion, blushing, veils her sacred fires,
- And unawares Morality expires.650
- Nor public flame, nor private, dares to shine;
- Nor human spark is left, nor glimpse divine!
- Lo! thy dread empire, Chaos! is restor’d;
- Light dies before thy uncreating word:
- Thy hand, great Anarch! lets the curtain fall;
- And universal Darkness buries all.
Vide Bossu, du Poeme Epique, chap. viii.
Bossu, chap. vii.
Book i. ver. 32, &c.
Book i. ver. 45 to 54.
Ver. 57 to 77.
Bossu, chap. vii., viii.
Bossu, chap. viii. Vido Aristot. Poetic, cap. ix.
Essay on Criticism, in French verse, by General Hamilton; the same, in verse also, by Monsieur Roboton, counsellor and privy secretary to King George I., after by the Abbé Resnel, in verse, with notes. Rape of the Lock, in French, by the Princess of Conti, Paris, 1728; and in Italian verse by the Abbé Conti, a noble Venetian, and by the Marquis Rangoni, envoy extraordinary from Modena to King George II. Others of his works by Salvini of Florence, &c. His Essays and Dissertations on Homer, several times translated into French. Essay on Man, by the Abbé Resnel, in verse, by Monsieur Silhouette, in prose, 1737; and since by others in French, Italian, and Latin.
As Mr. Wycherley, at the time the town declaimed against his book of poems; Mr. Walsh, after his death; Sir William Trumbull, when he had resigned the office of Secretary of State; Lord Bolingbroke, at his leaving England, after the Queen a death; Lord Oxford, in his last decline of life; Mr. Secretary Craggs, at the end of the South-Sea year, and after his death; others only in Epitaphs.
This gentleman was of Scotland, and bred at the University of Utrecht with the Earl of Mar. He served in Spain under Earl Rivers. After the peace, he was made one of the commissioners of the customs in Scotland, and then of taxes in England; in which having shown himself for twenty years diligent, punctual, and incorruptible (though without any other assistance of fortune), he was suddenly displaced by the minister, in the sixty-eighth year of his age, and died two months after, in 1741. He was a person of universal learning, and an enlarged conversation; no man had a warmer heart for his friend, or a sincerer attachment to the constitution of his country; and yet, for all this, the public would never believe him to be the author of this Letter.
[Page 225.]The Dunciad.Book I.
[Line 1.]The Mighty Mother, etc., in the first Edd. it was thus:—
[Line 2.]The Smithfield Muses. Smithfield is the place where Bartholomew Fair was kept, whose shows, machines, and dramatical entertainments, formerly agreeable only to the taste of the Rabble, were, by the Hero of this poem and others of equal genius, brought to the Theatres of Covent-garden, Lincolns-inn-fields, and the Haymarket, to be the reigning pleasures of the Court and Town. This happened in the reigns of King George I. and II. See Book III. (Pope.)
[Line 30.]Monroe. Physician to Bedlam Hospital.
[Line 31.]His famed father. Caius Cassius Cibber, father of Colley Cibber; a sculptor in a small way. ‘The two statues of the lunatics over the gate of Bedlam Hospital were done by him,’ says Pope, ‘and (as the son justly says of them) are no ill monuments of his fame as an artist.’
[Line 40.]Lintot’s rubric post. Lintot, according to Pope, ‘usually adorned his shop with titles in red letters.’
[Line 41.]Hence hymning Tyburn’s elegiac lines. It is an ancient English custom for the Malefactors to sing a Psalm at their execution at Tyburn; and no less customary to print Elegies on their deaths, at the same time, or before. (Pope.)
[Line 42.]Magazines. The common name of those upstart collections in prose and verse, in which, at some times,—
[Line 44.]New-year Odes. Made by the Poet Laureate for the time being, to be sung at Court on every New-year’s day, the words of which are happily drowned in the voices and instruments. (Pope.)
[Line 57.]Jacob. Jacob Tonson.
[Line 63.]Clenches. Puns. Pope has a long note citing a punning passage from Dennis aimed at himself.
[Line 98.]Heywood. John Heywood, whose interludes were printed in the time of Henry VIII. (Pope.)
[Line 103.]Prynne, William, sentenced in 1633 to a fine, the pillory, and imprisonment for his Histriomastix. Defoe was similarly punished for his Shortest Way with the Dissenters.
[Line 103.]Daniel. Daniel Defoe.
[Line 104.]Eusden. Laurence Eusden, Poet Laureate before Cibber.
[Line 108.]Bayes’s. The name of Theobald (Tibbald) stood here originally. This of course stands for Cibber.
[Line 126.]Sooterkins. False births. (Ward.)
[Line 134.]Hapless Shakespear, etc. It is not to be doubted but Bays was a subscriber to Tibbald’s Shakespear. He was frequently liberal this way; and, as he tells us, ‘subscribed to Mr. Pope’s Homer, out of pure Generosity and Civility; but when Mr. Pope did so to his Nonjuror, he concluded it could be nothing but a joke.’ Letter to Mr. P., p. 24.
[Line 141.]Ogilby. Originally dancing master, then poet and printer. Author of a great many books which Pope ridicules in a note.
[Line 142.]Newcastle. The Duchess of Newcastle, one of the most copious of seventeenth-century writers.
[Line 146.]Worthy Settle, Banks, and Broome. The Poet has mentioned these three authors in particular, as they are parallel to our Hero in three capacities: 1. Settle was his brother Laureate; only indeed upon half-pay, for the City instead of the Court; but equally famous for unintelligible flights in his poems on public occasions, such as Shows, Birth-days, etc. 2. Banks was his Rival in Tragedy (tho’ more successful) in one of his Tragedies, the Earl of Essex, which is yet alive: Anna Boleyn, the Queen of Scots, and Cyrus the Great are dead and gone. These he drest in a sort of Beggar’s Velvet, or a happy Mixture of the thick Fustian and thin Prosaic; exactly imitated in Perolla and Isidora, Cæsar in Egypt, and the Heroic Daughter. 3. Broome was a serving-man of Ben Jonson, who once picked up a Comedy from his Betters, or from some cast scenes of his Master, not entirely contemptible. (Pope.)
[Line 153.]De Lyra. Or Harpsfield, a very voluminous commentator, whose works, in five vast folios, were printed in 1472. (Pope.)
[Line 154.]Philemon. Philemon Holland, Doctor in Physic. ‘He translated so many books that a man would think he had done nothing else.’ Winstanley. (Pope.)
[Lines 180, 181.]As, forced from wind-guns, etc. Adapted from lines 17, 18 of the early verses, To the Author of Successio.
[Line 207.]Ridpath—Mist. George Ridpath, author of a Whig paper, called the Flying-post; Nathaniel Mist, of a famous Tory Journal. (Pope.)
[Line 214.]Gazetteers. A band of ministerial writers, hired at the price mentioned in the note on Book II. ver. 316, who, on the very day their patron quitted his post, laid down their paper, and declared they would never more meddle in Politics. (Pope.)
[Line 215.]Ralph. James Ralph. See III. 163 below.
[Line 221.]Hockley-hole. See Imitations of Horace, Book III. Sat. i. 49, and note.
[Line 232.]Ward. Edward Ward.
[Line 257.]Thulé. A fragmentary poem by Ambrose Philips.
[Line 289.]A heideggre. A strange bird from Switzerland, and not (as some have supposed) the name of an eminent person. (Pope.) The allusion is of course to the ‘eminent person,’ the German Heidegger, who managed English opera.
[Line 296.]Withers. ‘George Withers was a great pretender to poetical zeal against the vices of the times, and abused the greatest personages in power, which brought upon him frequent correction. The Marshalsea and Newgate were no strangers to him.’ Winstanley. (Pope.)
[Line 297.]Howard. Hon. Edward Howard, author of the British Princes, and a great number of wonderful pieces, celebrated by the late Earls of Dorset and Rochester, Duke of Buckingham, Mr. Waller, etc. (Pope.)
[Line 323.]Needham. Mother Needham, a notorious procuress.
[Line 325.]The Devil. The Devil Tavern in Fleet Street, where these Odes are usually rehearsed before they are performed at court.
[Page 230.]Book II.
[Line 2.]Henley’s gilt tub. The pulpit of a Dissenter is usually called a Tub; but that of Mr. Orator Henley was covered with velvet, and adorned with gold. He had also a fair altar, and over it this extraordinary inscription. The Primitive Eucharist. See the history of this person. Book III. ver. 199. (Pope.)
[Line 3.]Or that whereon her Curlls, etc. An allusion to an experience of Edmund Curll’s in the pillory.
[Line 15.]Querno. Camillo Querno, a would-be poet of Apulia, introduced as a buffoon to Leo X. and given in return for his verses a mock coronation.
[Line 68.]Jacob. Jacob Lintot.
[Line 70.]Corinna. Supposed to refer to Mrs. Elizabeth Thomas, whom Pope accuses of having sold some private correspondence of his to Curll.
[Line 82.] The Bible, Curll’s sign; the crosskeys, Lintot’s. (Pope.)
[Line 93.]Cloacina. The Roman Goddess of the sewers. (Pope.)
[Line 125.]Mears, Warner, Wilkins. Booksellers, and printers of much anonymous stuff. (Pope.)
[Line 126.]Breval. Bond, Bezaleel [Bezaleel Morris]. Three small authors of the day.
[Line 138.]Cook shall be Prior. The man here specified writ a thing called The Battle of Poets, in which Philips and Welsted were the Heroes, and Swift and Pope utterly routed. He also published some malevolent things in the British, London, and Daily Journals; and at the same time wrote letters to Mr. Pope, protesting his innocence. His chief work was a translation of Hesiod, to which Theobald writ notes and half notes, which he carefully owned. (Pope.)
[Lines 149, 150.]Tutchin—Ridpath, Roper. London editors of The Observator, The Flying Post, and The Post-boy, whom Pope, in long notes, accuses of scandalous practices.
[Line 157.]Eliza. Eliza Hagwood, authoress of those most scandalous books called The Court of Carimania, and The New Utopia. (Pope.)
[Line 160.]Kirkall. The name of an Engraver. Some of this lady’s works were printed . . . with her picture thus dressed up before them. (Pope.)
[Line 205.]Bentley his mouth, etc. Not spoken of the famous Dr. Richard Bentley, but of one Tho. Bentley, a small critic, who aped his uncle in a little Horace. (Pope.)
[Line 226.]Thunder rumbling from the mustard bowl. The old way of making Thunder and Mustard were the same; but since, it is more advantageously performed by troughs of wood with stops in them. (Pope.)
[Line 270.] (As morning prayer and flagellation end.) It is between eleven and twelve in the morning, after church service, that the criminals are whipt in Bridewell.—This is to mark punctually the time of the day: Homer does it by the circumstance of the Judges rising from court, or of the Labourer’s dinner; our author by one very proper both to the Persons and the Scene of his poem, which we may remember commenced in the evening of the Lord-mayor’s day: The first book passed in that night; the next morning the games begin in the Strand, thence along Fleet-street (places inhabited by Booksellers); then they proceed by Bridewell toward Fleet-ditch, and lastly thro’ Ludgate to the City and the Temple of the Goddess. (Pope.)
[Line 291.]Smedley. Jonathan, editor of the Whitehall Journal, and author of an attack on Pope and Swift called Gulliveriana and Alexandriana.
[Line 299.]Concanen. Matthew Concanen, an Irishman, bred to the law. He was author of several dull and dead scurrilities in the British and London Journals, and in a paper called the Speculatist. In a pamphlet, called a Supplement to the Profund, he dealt very unfairly with our Poet, not only frequently imputing to him Mr. Broome’s verses (for which he might indeed seem in some degree accountable, having corrected what that gentleman did) but those of the duke of Buckingham and others. To this rare piece somebody humorously caused him to take for his motto, De profundis clamavi. He was since a hired scribbler in the Daily Courant, where he poured forth much Billingsgate against the lord Bolingbroke, and others; after which this man was surprisingly promoted to administer Justice and Law in Jamaica. (Pope.)
[Line 400.] ‘Christ’s no kingdom here.’ This alludes to a series of sermons preached by Bishop Hoadley before George I.
[Line 411.]Centlivre. Mrs. Susanna Centlivre, wife to Mr. Centlivre, Yeoman of the Mouth to his Majesty. She writ many Plays, and a Song (says Mr. Jacob) before she was seven years old. She also writ a Ballad against Mr. Pope’s Homer before he began it. (Pope.)
[Line 412.]Motteux. Peter Anthony Motteux, the excellent translator of Don Quixote, and author of a number of forgotten dramatic pieces. Dryden addressed a complimentary Epistle to him. He died in 1718. (Carruthers.)
[Line 413.]Boyer the State, and Law the Stage gave o’er. A. Boyer, a voluminous compiler of Annals, Political Collections, &c.—William Law, A. M. wrote with great zeal against the Stage; Mr. Dennis answered with as great. Their books were printed in 1726. (Pope.)
[Line 414.]Morgan. A man of some learning, and uncommon acuteness, with a strong disposition to Satire, which very often degenerated into scurrility. His most celebrated work is the Moral Philosopher, first published in the year 1737. (Bowles.)
[Line 415.]Norton, from Daniel, etc. Norton De Foe.
[Page 236.]Book III.
[Line 19.]Taylor. John Taylor, a Thames waterman and poet under Charles I. and James I.
[Line 21.]Benlowes. A country gentleman, famous for his own bad poetry, and for patronizing bad poets, as may be seen from many Dedications of Quarles and others to him. Some of these anagram’d his name, Benlowes into Benevolus: to verify which he spent his whole estate upon them. (Pope.)
[Line 22.]Shadwell nods, the poppy, etc. Shadwell [hero of MacFlecknoe] took opium for many years, and died of too large a dose, in the year 1692. (Pope.)
[Line 24.] Mr. Dennis warmly contends, that Bavius was no inconsiderable author; nay, that ‘He and Mævius had (even in Augustus’s days) a very formidable party at Rome, who thought them much superior to Virgil and Horace: for (saith he) I cannot believe they would have fixed that eternal brand upon them, if they had not been coxcombs in more than ordinary credit.’ Rem. on Pr. Arthur, part II. c. 1. An argument which, if this poem should last, will conduce to the honour of the gentlemen of The Dunciad. (Pope.)
[Line 28.]Browne and Mears. Booksellers, and printers for anybody. (Pope.)
[Line 34.]Ward in pillory. John Ward of Hackney, Esq., member of Parliament, being convicted of forgery, was first expelled the House, and then sentenced to the pillory on the 17th of February, 1727. (Pope.)
[Line 96.]The soil that arts and infant letters bore. Phœnicia, Syria, etc., where letters are said to have been invented. In these countries Mahomet began his conquests. (Pope.)
[Line 104.]Bacon. Roger Bacon.
[Line 150.]Jacob, the scourge of grammar. Giles Jacob, author of a Lives of the Poets, in which sufficiently obscure book he had abused Gay.
[Lines 152, 153.]Popple, Horneck, and Roome. London journalists and pamphleteers who had offended Pope.
[Line 154.]Goode. An ill-natured critic, who writ a satire on our author, called The Mock Æsop, and many anonymous libels in newspapers for hire. (Pope.)
[Line 165.]Ralph. James Ralph.
[Line 168.]Morris. Bezaleel Morris. See Book II. 126.
[199.]Henley stands, etc. J. Henley the Orator; he preached on the Sundays upon Theological matters, and on the Wednesdays upon all other sciences. Each auditor paid one shilling. He declaimed some years against the greatest persons, and occasionally did our Author that honour. After having stood some Prosecutions, he turned his rhetoric to buffoonery upon all publick and private occurrences. This man had an hundred pounds a year given him for the secret service of a weekly paper of unintelligible nonsense, called the Hyp-Doctor. (Pope.)
[Line 204.]Sherlock, Hare, and Gibson. Bishops of Salisbury, Chichester, and London; whose sermons and pastoral letters did honour to their country as well as stations. (Pope.)
[Line 212.]Woolston. Thomas. An impious madman, who wrote in a most insolent style against the miracles of the Gospel. (Pope.)
[Line 232.]When Goodman prophesied. One Goodman had prophesied that Cibber would be a good actor, and Cibber had boasted of it.
[Line 233.]A sable sorcerer. Dr. Faustus.
[Line 248.]One vast egg. Pope says that in one of the absurd farces of the period, Harlequin is hatched upon the stage out of a large egg.
[Line 282.]Annual trophies, on the Lord Mayor’s day; monthly wars, in the artillery ground. (Pope.)
[Line 305.]Polypheme. A translation of the Italian opera Polifemo.
[Lines 308, 309.]Faustus—Pluto. Names of miserable farces which it was the custom to act at the end of the best tragedies, to spoil the digestion of the audience. (Pope.)
[Line 310.]The Mourning Bride. By Congreve.
[Line 312.]Insure it but from fire. In Tibbald’s farce of Proserpine, a corn-field was set on fire: whereupon the other play-house had a barn burnt down for the recreation of the spectators. They also rivalled each other in sharing the burnings of hell-fire, in Dr. Faustus. (Pope.)
[Line 313.]Another Æschylus appears. It is reported of Æschylus that when his Tragedy of the Furies was acted, the audience were so terrified that the children fell into fits. (Pope.)
[Line 315.]Like Semele’s. See Ovid, Met. iii. (Pope.)
[Line 325.]On poets’ tombs see Benson’s titles writ! W—m Benson (Surveyor of the Buildings to his Majesty King George I.) gave in a report to the Lords, that their House and the Painted-chamber adjoining were in immediate danger of falling. Whereupon the Lords met in a committee to appoint some other place to sit in, while the House should be taken down. But it being proposed to cause some other builders first to inspect it, they found it in very good condition. In favour of this man, the famous Sir Christopher Wren, who had been Architect to the Crown for above fifty years, who built most of the churches in London, laid the first stone of St. Paul’s, and lived to finish it, had been displaced from his employment at the age of near ninety years. (Pope.)
[Line 328.]While Jones’ and Boyle’s united labours fall. At the time when this poem was written, the banqueting-house at Whitehall, the church and piazza of Covent-garden, and the palace and chapel of Somerset-house, the works of the famous Inigo Jones, had been for many years so neglected, as to be in danger of ruin. The portico of Covent-garden church had been just then restored and beautified at the expense of the earl of Burlington and [Richard Boyle]; who, at the same time, by his publication of the designs of that great Master and Palladio, as well as by many noble buildings of his own, revived the true taste of Architecture in this kingdom. (Pope.)
[Page 242.]Book IV. This Book may properly be distinguished from the former, by the name of the Greater Dunciad, not so indeed in size, but in subject; and so far contrary to the distinction anciently made of the Greater and Lesser Iliad. But much are they mistaken who imagine this work in any wise inferior to the former, or of any other hand than of our Poet; of which I am much more certain than that the Iliad itself was the work of Solomon, or the Batrachomuomachia of Homer, as Barnes hath affirmed. ‘Bentley.’ (Pope.)
[Line 15.]A new world. In allusion to the Epicurean opinion, that from the Dissolution of the natural World into Night and Chaos a new one should arise; this the Poet alluding to, in the Production of a new moral World, makes it partake of its original Principles. (Pope and Warburton.)
[Line 21.]Beneath her footstool, etc. We are next presented with the pictures of those whom the Goddess leads in captivity. Science is only depressed and confined so as to be rendered useless; but Wit or Genius, as a more dangerous and active enemy, punished, or driven away: Dulness being often reconciled in some degree with learning, but never upon any terms with wit. And accordingly it will be seen that she admits something like each Science, as Casuistry, Sophistry, etc., but nothing like Wit, Opera alone supplying its place. (Pope and Warburton.)
[Line 30.]Gives her Page the word. There was a Judge of this name, always ready to hang any Man that came before him, of which he was suffered to give a hundred miserable examples during a long life, even to his dotage. (Pope and Warburton.)
[Line 31.]Mad Mathesis. Alluding to the strange Conclusions some Mathematicians have deduced from their principles, concerning the real Quantity of Matter, the Reality of Space, etc. (Pope and Warburton.)
[Line 36.]Watch’d both by envy’s and by flatt’ry’s eye. One of the misfortunes falling on Authors from the act for subjecting plays to the power of a Licenser, being the false representations to which they were exposed, from such as either gratify’d their envy to merit, or made their court to greatness, by perverting general reflections against Vice into libels on particular Persons. (Pope and Warburton.)
[Line 45.]A harlot form. Italian Opera.
[Line 110.]Benson. See Book III. 325 ante, and note. Benson published several editions of Arthur Johnston’s version of the Psalms.
[Line 113.]The decent knight. Sir Thomas Hanmer, who in 1744 published an edition of Shakespeare.
[Line 131.]An alderman shall sit. Alluding to the monument erected for Butler by Alderman Barber.
[Line 144.]Winton. Winchester.
[Line 151.]The Samian letter. The letter Y, used by Pythagoras as an emblem of the different words of Virtue and Vice: ‘Et tibi quae Samios diduxit litera ramos.’ Persius. (Pope and Warburton.)
[Line 166.]Yonder house or hall. Westminster Hall and the House of Commons. (Pope.)
[Line 174.]That masterpiece of man. Viz., an epigram. The famous Dr. South declared a perfect epigram to be as difficult a performance as an Epic poem. And the critics say, ‘An Epic poem is the greatest work human nature is capable of.’ (Pope and Warburton.)
[Line 194.]Tho’ Christ Church, etc. Warburton gives a note for which Pope is doubtless responsible, accounting for the bracketing of this line on the score of its probable spuriousness, and signing the name ‘Bentley.’
[Line 196.]Still expelling Locke. In the year 1703 there was a meeting of the heads of the University of Oxford to censure Mr. Locke’s Essay on Human Understanding, and to forbid the reading it. See his Letters in the last Edit. (Pope.) But he was never expelled, only deprived of his studentship at Christ-Church; and this on the ground of political suspicions, before he had written his great Essay. (Ward.)
[Line 198.]Crousaz—Burgersdyck. According to Dugald Stewart, Pope was in error in placing Crousaz, whose philosophy was founded upon the method of Locke, with Burgersdyck, an Aristotelian.
[Line 199.]The streams. The river Cam, running by the walls of these Colleges, which are particularly famous for their skill in Disputation. (Pope and Warburton.)
[Line 202.]Sleeps in port. Viz. ‘now retired into harbour, after the tempests that had long agitated his society.’ So Scriblerus. But the learned Scipio Maffei understands it of a certain wine called Port, from Oporto, a city of Portugal, of which this Professor invited him to drink abundantly. Scip. Maff.De Compotationibus Academicis. (Pope and Warburton.)
[Line 206.]Walker. John Walker, Vice-Master of Trinity College, Cambridge, while Bentley was Master. (Carruthers.)
[Line 212.] This refers to Bentley’s editions of Horace and Paradise Lost.
[Line 218.]Stands our Digamma. Alludes to the boasted restoration of the Æolic Digamma, in his [Bentley’s] long projected edition of Homer.
[Line 220.]Me or te. Whether at the end of the first Ode of Horace, the reading would be, Me doctarum hederae, or Te doctarum hederae.
[Line 223.]Friend—Alsop. Dr. Robert Friend, master of Westminster School; Dr. Anthony Alsop, a happy imitator of the Horatian style. (Pope and Warburton.)
[Line 237.]Kuster, Burman, Wasse. Three contemporary German scholars and editors of merit.
[Lines 245-246.]Barrow—Atterbury. Isaac Barrow, Master of Trinity; Francis Atterbury, Dean of Christ Church, both great geniuses and eloquent preachers. (Pope and Warburton.)
[Line 326.]Jansen, Fleetwood, Cibber. Three very eminent persons, all Managers of Plays; who, tho’ not Governors by profession, had, each in his way, concerned themselves in the education of youth: and regulated their wits, their morals, or their finances, at that period of their age which is the most important, their entrance into the polite world. Of the last of these, and his Talents for this end, see Book I. ver. 199, &c. (Pope and Warburton.) Fleetwood was patentee of Drury-Lane Theatre from 1734 to 1745; it was the attempted secession of his actors in 1743 which gave rise to the famous quarrel of Macklin with Garrick. (Ward.)
[Line 371.]Mummius. This name is not merely an allusion to the Mummies he was so fond of, but probably referred to the Roman General of that name, who burned Corinth, and committed the curious Statues to the captain of a ship, assuring him, ‘that if any were lost or broken, he should procure others to be made in their stead:’ by which it should seem (whatever may be pretended) that Munamius was no Virtuoso. (Pope and Warburton.)
[Line 394.]Douglas. A Physician of great Learning and no less Taste; above all curious in what related to Horace, of whom he collected every edition, translation, and comment, to the number of several hundred volumes. (Pope and Warburton.)
[Line 492.]Silenus. By Silenus, says Warton, Pope means ‘Thomas Gordon, the translator of Tacitus, who published the Independent Whig, and obtained a place under government.’
[Line 511.]K[ent] and B**. K* probably stands for the Duke of Kent; but the next name is doubtful from the wide choice possible.
[Line 512.]Wharton. Philip, Duke of Wharton.
[Line 545.] Considerable doubt attaches to the names here hinted at; though four of them may be Carteret, Hervey, Pulteney, and King.
[Line 556.]Sève and verdeur. French terms relating to wines, which signify their flavour and poignancy. (Pope.)
[Line 560.]Bladen—Hays. Names of Gamesters. Bladen is a blackman. Robert Knight, Cashier of the South-Sea Company, who fled from England in 1720 (afterwards pardoned in 1742). These lived with the utmost magnificence at Paris, and kept open Tables frequented by persons of the first Quality of England, and even by Princes of the Blood of France. (Pope and Warburton.)
[Line 576.]A Gregorian, one a Gormogon. A sort of Lay-brothers, Slips from the Root of the Free-Masons. (Pope and Warburton.) ‘Gregorians’ are mentioned as ‘a convivial sect,’ and ‘a kind of Masons, but without their sign,’ in Crabbe’s Borough, Letter x. (Ward.)
[Line 608.]Gilbert. Archbishop of York.
[Line 629.]She comes! she comes! etc. Here the Muse, like Jove’s Eagle, after a sudden stoop at ignoble game, soareth again to the skies. As Prophecy hath ever been one of the chief provinces of Poesy, our Poet here foretells from what we feel, what we are to fear; and, in the style of other prophets, hath used the future tense for the preterite: since what he says shall be, is already to be seen, in the writings of some even of our most adored authors, in Divinity, Philosophy, Physics, Metaphysics, &c. who are too good indeed to be named in such company. (Pope.)