Page images

o well as himself; as none, it is plain, was so little in their friendships, or so much n that of those whom they had most abused, namely the Greatest and Best of all Parties. Let me add a further reason, that, tho' engaged in their Friendships, he never spoused 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, hrough 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. I am

Your most humble servant,
St James's,
Dec. 22, 1728,


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 shewed it not only to be 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 prophesies 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, Tho' perhaps inferior to the former 3.

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 Epistola Obscurorum Virorum4; which, together with some others of the same kind

end of the South Sea year, and after his death: his Friend, or a sincerer attachment to the others only in Epitaphs. P.

Constitution of his Country. P.-And yet for all 1 Pliny, in Hist. Nat., ad in. % 15.

this, the Public-will not allow him to be the 2 This Gentleman was of Scotland, and bred author of this Letter. Warburton. at the University of Utrecht, with the Earl of 3 (According to Donatus, Vergil left to his Mar. He served in Spain under Earl Rivers. friends Varius and Tucca (who had prevented After the Peace, he was made one of the Com- him from burning the Æneid), his works, on conmissioners of the Customs in Scotland, and then dition that they should not introduce any emendaof Taxes in England, in which having shewn tions of their own. Augustus bade them interpret himself for twenty years diligent, punctual, and the proviso thus; that they might emend their incorruptible, though without any other assistance author by omissions, but not by additions. ] of Fortune, he was suddenly displaced by the 4 [This title is of course borrowed from that of Minister in the sixty eighth year of his age; the famous attacks on the schoolmen, in which and died two months after, in 1741. He was a Ulrich von Hutten took the most prominent person of Universal Learning, and an enlarged part.) Conversation; no man had a warmer heart for

formerly laid by for that end, may make no unpleasant addition to the future impressions of this poem.


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 com. mentary 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 humourous 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 an one was reserved for this Post, as has since obtained the Laurel: But since that had happened, he could no longer deny this justice either to him or the Dunciad.

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. Warburton.


Printed in the JOURNALS, 1730. WHEREAS, upon occasion of certain Piéces relating to the Gentlemen of the Dunciad, some have been willing to suggest, as if they 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 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

Taken from the Grub-street Journal, but printed with such variations as evidently shes a wish to conceal its origin. Carruthers.

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 Odyss. X. And accordingly Aristotle, in his Poetic, chap. iv., doth further set forth, that as the Iliad and Odyssey gave 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 had 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 oil 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 3, with just pomp and dignity heroic, than a Margites, a Codrus“, or a Flecknoe.

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 licence 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.

8 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 his 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

1 [The Margites is ascribed to Homer by rendering the beginning of the M.: . Aristotle (Poet. c. iv.), and stated to hold the

‘Once to Colophon came an ancient and hea

"Once same relation to comedy, that the Iliad and venly singer, Odyssey hold to tragedy. K. O. Müller thinks Votary he of the Muses and of far-darting Apollo, that the iambic verses introduced into it were And in his hands he held a well-tuned lyre.'l interpolated in a later version; and states that 2 [The fabulous King of Britain, the hero of

from the few fragments and notices relative to Wace's and Layamon's poems. the poem which have come down to us, we can 3 (Godfrey of Bouillon, the hero of Tasso's gather that it was a representation of a stupid Jerusalem Delivered.) inan, who had a high opinion of his own clever 4 (See Ep. to Arbuth ness, for he was said, 'to know many works, but 5 Vide Bossu, Du Poeme Epique, ch. viii. know all badly.' The following is an attempt at

badly saidh presenta

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 1 (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 shew the qualities they bestow on these authors, and the effects they produce 3 : then the materials, or stock with which they furnish them *; and (above all) that self-opinions 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 I is the other of Plodding), was to be exemplified in some one, great and remarkable i Action 6: 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 hath 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 Plagiąry, to whom he giveth the name of Moore; the second, the litellous 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 8 ; 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 Narration various, yet of one colour: The purity and chastity of Diction is so preserved, that

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

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 asseveration, 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 Dunciad. P.

By AUTHORITY. 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, Pseudo-Poet, 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 : Uue habe 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.

•C. Ch.

· See his Essays. P.

(1693), which contains some absurd cavils against [The author of a Short View of Tragedy Shakspere as well as against later authors. ]

« PreviousContinue »