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"The author is allowed to be a perfect master of an easy and elegant versification. In all his works we find the most happy turns, and natural similies, wonderfully short and thick sown.'
The Essay on the Dunciad also owns, p. 25, it is very full of beautiful images. But the panegyric, which crowns all that can be said on this poem, is bestowed by our laureate,
Mr. Colley Cibber, who grants it to be a better poem of its kind than ever was writ:' but adds, it was a victory over a parcel of poor wretches, whom it was almost coward. ice to conquer.-- A man might as well triumph for having killed so many silly flies that offended him. Could he have let them alone, by this time, poor souls! they had all been buried in oblivion' Here we see our excellent laureate allows the justice of the satire on every man in it, but himself ; as the great Mr. Dennis did before him.
Mr. Dennis and Mr. Gildon, in the most furious of all their works (the forecited character, p. 5), do in concert t confess, . That some
Cibber's Letter to Mr. Pope, p. 9, 12.
In concert] Hear how Mr. Dennis hath proved our mistake in this place: 'As to my writing in concert with Mr. Gildon, I declare upon the honour and word of a gentleman, that I never wrote so much as one line in concert with any o her man whatsoever. And these two letters from Gildon will plainly show, that we are not writers in concert with each other.
• The height 'of my ambition is to please men of the best judgement; and, finding that I have entertained my master agreeably, I have the extent of the reward of my labour.'
men of good understanding value him for his rhymes." And (p. 17), that he has got, like Mr. Bays in the Rehearsal (that is, like Mr. Dryden), a potable knack at rbyming, and writing smooth verse. I .
of his Essay on Man, numerous were the praises bestowed by his avowed enemies, in the imagina, tion that the same was not written by him, as it was printed anonymously. . . . . .
Thus sang of it even :
Bezaleel Morris: , .séri * Auspicious bard! while all admire thy strain, · All but the selfish, ignorant, and vain; 'i
1, whom no bribe to servile flatt'ry drew, Must pay the tribute to thy merit due:
Thy muse sublime, significant, and clear, " • Alike informs the soul and charms the ear, &e." And
Mr. Leonard Welsted , thus wrote to the unknown author, on the first pub. lication of the said Essay; • I must own, after the reception which the vilest and most immoral ribaldry bath lately met with, I was surprised to see what I had
• Sir, - • I had not the opportunity of hearing of your excellent pamphlet till this day. I am infinitely satisfied and pleased with it, and hope you will meet with that encouragement your admirable performance deserves,' &c.
•CH. GILDON.'' • Now is it not plain that any one wlio sends such compliments to another, has not been used to write in partnership with him to whom he sends them?" Dennis, Remarks on the Dunciad, p. 50. Mr. Dennis is therefore welcome to take this piece to himself.
* In a letter under his own hand, dated March 12, 1733.
long despaired, a performance deserving the name of a poet. Such, sir, is your work. It is, indeed, above all commendation, and ought to have been published in an age and country more worthy of it. If my testimony be of weight any where, you are sure to have it in the amplest manner,' &c. &c. &c. . Thus we see every one of his works bath been extolled by one or other of his most inveterate enemits; and to the success of them all they do unanimously give testimony. But it is sufficient, instar omnium, to behold the great critic, Mr. Dennis, sorely la menting it, even from the Essay on Criticism to this day of the Dunciad! A most notorious instance (quoth he) of the depravity of genius and taste, the approbation this Essay meets with*.--I can safely affirm, that I never attacked any of these writings, unless they had success infinitely beyond their merit. This, though an empty, has been a popular scribe bler. The epidemic madness of the times has given him reputationt.--If, after the cruel treatment so many extraordinary men (Spenser, lord Bacon, Ben Jonson, Milton, Butler, Otway, and others ) bave received from this country, for these, last hundred years, I should shift the scene, and show all tbat penury changed at once to riot and profuseness; and more squandered away upon one ohject, than would have satisfied the greater part of those extraordinary mep; the reader to whom this one creas ture should be unknown, would fancy him a prodi. gy of art and nature, would believe that all the great qualities of these persons were centred in him alone. But if I should venture to assure him, that the people of England had made such a choice e--the reader would either believe me a malicious enemy, and slanderer, or that the reign of the last
* Dennis, Pref. to his Reflect. on the Essay on Criticism,
† Preface to his Remarks on Homer
(queen Anne's) ministry was designed by fate to encourage fools'
But it happens that this our poet never had any place, pension, or gratuity, in any shape, from the said glorious queen, or any of her ministers. All he owed, in the whole course of his life, to any court, was a subscription for his Homer, of 2001. from King George I. and 1002. from the prince and princess.
However, lest we imagine our author's success was constant and universal, they acquaint us of certain works in a less degree of repute, whereof, al. though owned by others, yet do they assure us he is the writer. Of this sort Mr. Dennist ascribes to him two farces, whose names he does not tell, but assures us that there is not one jest in them; and an imitation of Horace, whose title he does not mention, but assures us it is much more execrable than all his works. The Daily Journal, May 11, 4728, assures us, . He is below Tom Durfey in the drama, because (as that writer thinks) the Marriage Hater Matched, and the Boarding-School, are better than the What-d'ye-call-it;' which is not Mr. P.'s, but Mr. Gay's. Mr. Gildon assures us, in his New Rehearsal, p. 48, That he was writing a play of the Lady Jane Grey;' but it afterwards proved to be. Mr.Rowe's. We are assured by another, “He wrote a pamphlet, called Dr. Andrew Tripe;' which proved to be one Dr. Wagstaff's. Mr. Theobald as. sures us, in Mist of the 27th of April, “That the trea. tise of the Profound is very dull, and that Mr. Pope is the author of it. The writer of Gulliveriana is of another opinion; and says, “The whole, or greatest part, of the merit of this treatise must and can only be ascribed to Gulliverlo' (Here, gentle reader ! cannot I but smile at the strange bliudness and po.
• Rem. on Homer, p. 8, 9.
Character of Mr. Pope, p. 7.
ll Gulliv. p. 336.
sitiveness of men; knowing the said treatise to ap. pertain to none other but to me, Martinus Scrible. rus.]
We are assured, in Mist of June 8, “That his own plays and farces would better have adorned the Dunciad, than those of Mr. Theobald; for he had neither genius for tragedy nor comedy. Which whether true or not, it is not easy to judge; in as inuch as he had attempted neither. Unless we will take it for granted, with Mr. Cibber, that his being once very angry at hearing a friend's play abused, was an infallible proof the play was his own; the said Mr. Cibber thinking it impossible for a man to be much concerned for any but himselt: Now let any man judge (saith he) by his conceru, who was the true mother of the child*?"
But from all that hath been said, the discerning reader will collect, that it little availed our author to have any candour, since, when he declared he did not write for others, it was not credited: as little to have any modesty, since, when he declined writs ing in any way himself, the presumption of others was imputed to him. If he singly enterprised one great work, he was taxed of boldness and madness tv a prodigyt: if he took assistants in another, it was complained of, and represented as a great injury to the public $. The loftiest heroics, the lowest ballads, treatises against the state or church, satires on lords and ladies, raillery on wits and authors,
squabbles with booksellers, or even full and true ac- counts of monsters, poisons, and murders'; of any
hereof was there nothing so good, nothing so bad, which hath not at one or other season been to him ascribed. If it bore no author's name, then lay his
Cibber's Letter to Mr. P. p. 19. † Burnet's Homerides, p. 1. of his translation of the Iliad.,
I The London and Mist's Journals, on his under. taking the Odyssey.
yssey. . . .