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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 them. selves.
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 favor 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 pero sonal reflections, which furnished him with a lucky
opportunity of improving this Poem, by giving it the only thing it wanted, a more considerable He
He was always sensible of its defect in that particular, and owned be 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. W, W.
Printed in the Journals, 1730.
WHEREAS, upon occasion of certain pieces relating to the gentlemen of the Dunciad, some have been willing to suggest, as if they had looked upon them as an abuse: we can do no less than own it is our opinion, that to call these gentlemen bad authors is no sort of abuse, but a great truth. We
cannot alter this opinion without some reason ; but we promise to do it in respect to every person who thinks it an injury to be represented as no wit, or poet, provided he procures a certificate of his being really such from any three of his companions in the Dunciad, or from Mr. Dennis singly, who is esteemed equal to any three of the number.
OF MR. DRYDEN AND MR. POPE,
As drawn by certain of their cotemporaries.
MR. DRYDEX, HIS POLITICS, RELIGION,
MR. DRYĐen is a mere renegado from monarchy, poetry, and good sense*. A true republican son of monarchial church t. A republican Atheist . Dryden was from the beginning an αλλοπρόσαλλος, and I doubt not will continue 50 to the last 6.
In the poem called Absalom and Achithopel, are notoriously traduced the King, the Queen, the Lords and Gentlemen, not only their honourable persons exposed, but the whole nation and its representatives notoriously libelled. It is scandalum magnatum, yea of Majesty itself ||.
He looks upon God's gospel as a foolish fable, like the Pope, to whom he is a pitiful purveyor 1. His very Christianity may be questioned **. He ought to expect more severity than other men, as he is most unmerciful in his own reflections on others tt. With as good a right as his Holiness, he sets up for poetical infallibility #1 * Milbourn on Dryden's Virgil, 8vo. 1698. p. 6.
# Ib. p. 192. & Ib. p. 8. ll! Whip and Key, 4to, printed for R. Janeway, 1682. Pref.
** Milbourn, p. 9. ++ Ib. p. 173. : Ib. p. 39.
+ Ib. p. 38.