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· Thus sang of it even
Alike informs the soul, and charms the ear, &c.
thus wrote * the unknown author, on the first pub. fication of the said essay ;
· I must own, after the reception which the vilest and most immoral ribaldry hath lately met with, I was surprised to see what I had lang despaired, a performance de! serving the name of a poet. Such, Sir, is your work. It is, indeed, above all commendation, and ought tohave been published in an age and coun, try 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 hath been extolled by one or other of his most inveterate enemies: 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, solely lamenting it, even from the Essay on Criticism to this day of the Dunciad! • A most noto* rious instance (quòth he) of the depravity of genius and taste, the approbation this Essay meets
* In a letter under his own hand, March 12, 1733.
• 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 scribbler.
The epi• demic madness of the times has given him repu• tation t.-If, after the cruel treatment, so many extraordinary men (Spenser, Lord Bacon, Ben • Jonson, Milton, Butler, Otway, and others) have • received from this country for these last hundred
years, I should shift the scene, and shew all that penury changed at once to riot and profuseness,
and more squandered away upon one object than • would have satisfied the greater part of those
extraordinary men; the reader, to whom this • one creature should be unknown, would fancy • him a prodigy of Art and Nature; would be. • lieve that all the great qualities of these per*sons were centered in him alone-But if I should • venture to assure him that the people of England • had made such a choice--the reader would either
a malicious enemy and slanderer, or that the reign of the last (Queen Anne's) ministry was designed by Fate to encourage
« believe me
• fools I.'
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
Dennis, Preface to his Reflections on the Essay on Crit* Preface to lus Remarks on Homer.
Remarks on Homer, p. 8, 9.
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 1001. 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, although owned by others, yet do they assure us he is the writer. Of this sort Mr. Dennis * 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 t. The DAILY JOURNAL, May 11, 1728, assures us, ' He is be• low 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 Gray ;' 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 of Dr. Wagstaff's. Mr. Theobald assures us, in Mist, of the 27th of April, • That the treatise 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 meritof this ' treatise must, and can only be ascribed to Gulli. • ver *.' (Here, gentle Reader! cannot I but smile at the strange blindness and positiveness of men, knowing the said treatise to appertain to none other but to me, Martinus Scriblerus.]
Ibid. p. 8. + Character of Mr. Pope, p. 7. + Character of Mr. Pope, p. 6.
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 come:
dy.'-— Which, whether true, or not, it is not casy to judge, inasmuch as he had attempted neither ; unless we will take it for granted, with Mr. Cibber, that his being once very angry at hear. ing a friend's play abused, was an infallible proof, the play was his own; the said Mr. Cibber thinks ing it impossible for a man to be much concerned for any
but himself: " Now let any man judge * (saith he) by this concern, who was the true moother of the child + ?"
But from all that hath been said, the discerning reader will collect, that it little availed our Author to have any candor, since, when he declared he did not write for others, it was not credited; as little to have any modesty, since, when he declined ' writing in any way himself, the presumption of
Gulliver, p. 336.
others was imputed to him. If he singly enterprised one great work, he was taxed of boldness and madness to a prodigy *; if he took assistants in another, it was complained of, and represented as a great injury to the Public t. 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 accounts 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 he concealed; if it did, he father'd it upon that author to be yet better concealed ; if it resembled any of his styles, then was it evident: if it did not, then disguised he it on set purpose. Yea, even direct oppositions in relia gion, principles, and politics, have equally been supposed in him inherent. Surely a most rare and singular character of which let the rcader make what he can.
Doubtless mosť commentators would hence take occasion to turn all to their author's advantage, and, from the testimony of his very enemies, would affirm, that his capacity was boundless as well as his imagination ; that he was a perfect mastes of all styles, and all arguments; and that there was
• Burnet's Homerides, p. 1, of his translation of the Iliad. + The London, and Misi's Journal, on his undertaking the Odyssey