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« Anne's) ministry was designed by Fate to encou
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 100l. from the Prince and Princess.
However, lest we imagine our Author's success was constant and unitersal, they acquaint us of certain works in a less degree of reputė, 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 the:e is not one jest in them; and an imitation of Horace, whose title he does not mention, but assures us it is much inore execrable than all his works I. The DAILY JOUPNAL, May 11, 1728, assures us, “ He is below Tom Durfey in the “ drama; because (as that writer thinks) the Mar
riage-Hater Matched, and the Boarding-Schcol,
are better than the What-d'ye-call it;” whichi is not Mr. P'e. 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 cailed Dr. An
* Remarks on Homer, p. 8, 9. t. ibid. p. 8. 1. Character of Mr. Pope, P. ?.
« drew Tripe *;" which proved to be one of Dr. Wagstaff's. Mr. Theobald assures, 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 merit of “ this treatise must, and can only be ascribed to “ Gullivert.” [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.]
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 much 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 himself: “ Now let any man judge (saith he) by this concern, “ who was the true mother of the child I ?”
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
* Character of Mr. Pope, p. 6. + Gulliver, p. 336. 1 Cibber's Letter to Mr. Pope, p. 19.
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 others was imputed to him. If he singly enterprized 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 Publict. The loftiest heroics, the lowest ballads, treaties 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 had 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 religion, principles, and politics, have equally been supposed in him inherent. Surely a most rare and singular character! of which let the reader make what he can.
Doubtless most commentators would hence take occasion to turn all to their author's advantage, and,
* Burnet's Homerides, p. 1. of his translation of the Iliad.
† The London, and Mist's Journal, on his undertaking the Odyssey.
from the testimony of his very enemies, would affirm, that his capacity was boundless as well as his ima, gination; that he was a perfect masier of all styles, and all arguments; and that there was in those times no other writer, in any kind, of any degree of excellence, save he himself. But as this is not our own sentiment, we shall determine on nothing; but leave thee, gentle Reader, to steer thy judgment equally þetween rious opinions, and to choose wh er thou wilt incline to the testimonies of authors avowed, or of authors concealed; of those who knew him, or of those who knew him not. P.
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 Eustachius, in Odyssey 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 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