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rally fools, ought never to be made so, in complaisance to those who are. Accordingly we find, that in all ages, all vain pretenders, were they ever so poor, or ever so dull, have been constantly the topics of the most candid satirists, from the Codrus of Juvenal to the Damon of Boileau.
Having mentioned Boileau, the greatest poet and most judicious critic of his age and country; admirable for his talents, and yet perhaps more admirable for his judgment in the proper application of them; I cannot help remarking the resemblance betwixt him and our author, in qualities, fame, and fortune; in the distinctions shown them by their superiors, in the general esteem of their equals, and in their extended reputation amongst foreigners; in the latter of which ours has met with the better fate, as he has had for his translators persons of the most eminent rank and abilities in their respective nations'. But the resemblance holds in nothing more than in their being equally abused by the ignorant pretenders to poetry of their times; of which not the least
2 Essay on Criticism, in French verse, by General Hamilton; the same, in verse also, by Monsieur Roboton, counsellor and privy secretary to King George I. after by the Abbé Du Resnel, in verse, with notes. Rape of the Lock, in French, by the Princess of Conti, Paris, 1728; and in Italian verse by the Abbe Conti, a noble Venetian; and by the Marquis Rangoni, envoy extraordinary from Modena to King George II. Others of his works by Salvini of Florence, &c. His Essays and Dissertations on Homer, several times translated into French. Essay on Man, by the Abbé Du Resnel, in verse: by Monsieur Silhouette, in prose, 1737; and since, by others in French, Italian, and Latin: and also into Portuguese, by Francisco Bento Maria Targini, Baraō de Sao Lourenço, in 1819; with voluminous Notes; beautifully printed by C. WHITTINGHAM, in three large quarto volumes.
memory will remain but in their own writings, and in the notes made upon them. What Boileau has done in almost all his poems, our author has only in this. I dare answer for him, he will do it in no more; and on this principle, of attacking few but who had slandered him, he could not have done it at all, had he been confined from censuring obscure and worthless persons; for scarce any other were his enemies. However, as the parity is so remarkable, I hope it will continue to the last; and if ever he should give us an edition of this poem himself, I may see some of them treated as gently, on their repentance or better merit, as Perrault and Quinault were at last by Boileau.
In one point I must be allowed to think the character of our English poet the more amiable: he has not been a follower of fortune or success; he has lived with the great without flattery; been a friend to men in power without pensions, from whom, as he asked, so he received, no favour, but what was done him in his friends. As his satires were the more just for being delayed, so were his panegyrics; bestowed only on such persons as he had familiarly known, only for such virtues as he had long observed in them, and only at such times as others cease to praise, if not begin to calumniate them-I mean when out of power, or out of fashion3. A satire, therefore, on writers
3 As Mr. Wycherley, at the time the town declaimed against his book of poems; Mr. Walsh, after his death; Sir William Trumbal, when he had resigned the office of secretary of state; Lord Bolingbroke, at his leaving England, after the Queen's death; Lord Oxford, in his last decline of life; Mr. Secretary Craggs, at the end of the South sea year, and after his death: others only in Epitaphs.
so notorious for the contrary practice, became no man so well as himself; as none, it is plain, was so little in their friendships, or so much in that of those of whom they had most abused; namely, the greatest and best of all parties. Let me add a further reason, that, though engaged in their friendships, he never espoused 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, through 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
St. James's, Dec. 22, 1728.
Your most humble servant,
4 This gentleman was of Scotland, and bred at the university of Utrecht with the Earl of Mar. He served in Spain under Earl Rivers. After the peace, he was made one of the commissioners of the customs in Scotland, and then of taxes in England; in which, having shown himself for twenty years diligent, punctual, and incorruptible, (though without any other assistance of fortune) he was suddenly displaced by the minister, in the sixty-eighth year of his age, and died two months after, in 1741. He was a person of universal learning, and of an enlarged conversation; no man had a warmer heart for his friend, or a sincerer attachment to the constitution of his country.
PROLEGOMENA AND ILLUSTRATIONS
WITH THE HYPERCRITICS OF ARISTARCHUS.
DENNIS, Remarks on Prince Arthur.
I CANNOT but think it the most reasonable thing in the world to distinguish good writers, by discouraging the bad: nor is it an ill-natured thing, in relation even to the very persons upon whom the reflections are made. It is true, it may deprive them a little the sooner of a short profit and a transitory reputation; but then it may have a good effect, and oblige them (before it be too late) to decline that for which they are so very unfit, and to have recourse to something in which they may be more successful.
Character of Mr. P. 1716.
The persons whom Boileau has attacked in his writings, have been for the most part authors, and most of those authors poets: and the censures he hath passed upon them have been confirmed by all Europe.
GILDON, Preface to his New Rehearsal.
It is the common cry of the poetasters of the town, and their fautors, that it is an ill-natured thing to expose the pretenders to wit and poetry.
The judges and magistrates may with full as good reason be reproached with ill-nature for putting the laws in execution against a thief or impostor.The same will hold in the Republic of Letters, if the critics and judges will let every ignorant pretender to scribbling pass on the world.
THEOBALD, Letter to MIST, June 22, 1728.
Attacks may be levelled either against failures in genius, or against the pretensions of writing without one.
CONCANEN, Ded. to the Author of the Dunciad. A Satire upon dulness is a thing that has been used and allowed in all ages.
Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee, wicked Scribbler.
TESTIMONIES OF AUTHORS
Our Poet and his Works.
M. SCRIBLERUS LECTORI S.
BEFORE we present you with our exercitations on this most delectable poem (drawn from the many volumes of our adversaria on modern authors) we shall here, according to the laudable usage of editors, collect the various judgments of the learned concerning our poet; various, indeed, not only of different authors, but of the same author at different seasons. Nor shall we gather only the testimonies of such eminent wits as would