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How I came possessed of it, is no concern to the reader; but it would have been a wrong to him had I detained the publication: since those names which are its chief ornaments die off daily so fast, as must render it too soon unintelligible. If it provoke the author to give us a more perfect edition, I have my end.
Who he is, I cannot say (which is a great pity) there is certainly nothing in his style and manner of writing which can distinguish or discover him; for if it bears any resemblance to that of Mr. Pope, it is not improbable but it might be done on purpose, with a view to have it pass for his. But by the frequency of his allusions to Virgil, and a laboured (not to say affected) shortness in imitation of him, I should think him more an admirer of the Roman poet than of the Grecian, and in that not of the same taste with his friend.
I have been well informed that this work was the labour of full six years of his life, and that
6 This irony had small effect in concealing the author. The Dunciad, imperfect as it was, had not been published two days, but the whole town gave it to Mr. Pope. W.
7 This also was honestly and seriously believed by divers gentlemen of the Dunciad. J. Ralph, preface to Sawney; We are told it was the labour of six years, with the utmost assiduity and application: it is no great compliment to the author's sense to have employed so large a part of his life,' &c. So also Ward, preface to Durgen: Dunciad, as the publisher very wisely confesses, cost the author six years' retirement from all the pleasures of life; though it is somewhat difficult to conceive, from either its bulk or beauty, that it could be so long in hatching,' &c. But the length of time and closeness of application were mentioned to prepossess the reader with a good opinion of it. They just as well understood what Scriblerus said of the poem.
he wholly retired himself from all the avocations and pleasures of the world to attend diligently to its correction and perfection; and six years more he intended to bestow upon it, as it should seem by this verse of Statius, which was cited at the head of his manuscript:
'Oh mihi bissenos multum vigilata per annos,
Hence also we learn the true title of the poem ; which, with the same certainty as we call that of Homer the Iliad, of Virgil the Eneid, of Camoëns the Lusiad, we may pronounce could have been, and can be, no other than
It is styled heroic, as being doubly so; not only with respect to its nature, which, according to the best rules of the ancients, and strictest ideas of the moderns, is critically such; but also with regard to the heroical disposition and high courage of the writer, who dared to stir up such a formidable, irritable, and implacable race of mortals.
There may arise some obscurity in chronology from the names in the poem, by the inevitable removal of some authors, and insertion of others in their nitches: for, whoever will consider the unity of the whole design, will be sensible that the poem was not made for these authors, but these authors
8 The prefacer to Curl's Key, p. 3, took this word to be really in Statius: By a quibble on the word Duncia, the Dunciad is formed.' Mr. Ward also follows him in the same
for the poem. I should judge that they were clapped in as they rose, fresh and fresh, and changed from day to day; in like manner as when the old boughs wither, we thrust new ones into a chimney.
I would not have the reader too much troubled or anxious, if he cannot decipher them; since, when he shall have found them out, he will probably know no more of the persons than before.
Yet we judged it better to preserve them as they are, than to change them for fictitious names; by which the satire would only be multiplied, and applied to many instead of one. Had the hero, for instance, been called Codrus, how many would have affirmed him to have been Mr. T., Mr. E., Sir R. B.? &c. but now all that unjust scandal is saved, by calling him by a name which, by good luck, happens to be that of a real person,
List of Books, Papers, and Werses,
IN WHICH OUR AUTHOR WAS ABUSED BEFORE THE PUBLICATION OF THE DUNCIAD; WITH THE TRUE NAMES OF THE AUTHORS.
REFLECTIONS, Critical and Satirical, on a late Rhapsody, called An Essay on Criticism. By Mr. Dennis. Printed by B. Lintot, price 6d.
A New Rehearsal; or, Bayes the Younger; containing an Examen of Mr. Rowe's plays, and a Word or two on Mr. Pope's Rape of the Lock. Anon. [By Charles Gildon.] Printed for J. Roberts, 1714, price 1s.
Homerides; or, A Letter to Mr. Pope, occasioned by his intended Translation of Homer. By Sir Iliad Dogrel, [Tho. Burnet, and G. Ducket, Esquires.] Printed for W. Wilkins, 1715, price 9d.
Æsop at the Bear-Garden: a Vision, in imitation of the Temple of Fame, by Mr. Preston. Sold by John Morphew, 1715, price 6d.
The Catholic Poet; or, Protestant Barnaby's sorrowful Lamentation; a Ballad about Homer's Iliad. By Mrs. Centlivre and others, 1715, price 1d.
An Epilogue to a Puppet-Show at Bath, concerning the said Iliad. By George Ducket, Esq. Printed by E. Curl.
A complete Key to the What-d'ye-call it. Anon. [By Griffin, a player, supervised by Mr. Th] Printed by J. Roberts, 1715.
A true Character of Mr. P. and his Writings, in a Letter to a Friend. Anon. [Dennis.] Printed for S. Popping, 1716, price 3d.
The Confederates, a farce. By Joseph Gay.
[J. D. Breval.] Printed for R. Burleigh, 1717, price 1s.
Remarks upon Mr. Pope's Translation of Homer; with two Letters concerning the Windsor Forest, and the Temple of Fame. By Mr. Dennis. Printed for E. Curl, 1717, price 1s. 6d.
Satires on the Translators of Homer, Mr. P. and Mr. T. Anon. [Bez. Morris.] 1717, price 6d. The Triumvirate; or, A Letter from Palæmon to Celia at Bath. Anon. [Leonard Welsted.] 1711, folio, price 1s.
The Battle of Poets, an heroic poem. By Tho. Cooke. Printed for J. Roberts, folio, 1725.
Memoirs of Lilliput. Anon. [Eliza Haywood.] octavo. Printed in 1727.
An Essay on Criticism, in prose. By the author of the Critical History of England. [J. Oldmixon.] octavo. Printed 1728.
Gulliveriana and Alexandriana; with an ample preface and critique on Swift and Pope's Miscellanies. [By Jonathan Smedley.] Printed by J.
Roberts, octavo, 1728.
Characters of the Times; or, An Account of the Writings, Characters, &c. of several gentlemen libeled by S- and P. in a late Miscellany, octavo, 1728.
Remarks on Mr. Pope's Rape of the Lock, in Letters to a Friend. By Mr. Dennis; written in 1724, though not printed till 1728, octavo.
VERSES, LETTERS, ESSAYS, OR
MENTS, IN THE PUBLIC PRINTS.
British Journal, Nov. 25, 1727. A Letter on Swift and Pope's Miscellanies. [Written by Mr. Concanen.]