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PARALLEL OF THE CHARACTERS CHARACTE
MR. POPE AND MR. DRYDEN,
AS DRAWN BY CERTAIN OF THEIR CONTEMPORARIES,
HIS POLITICS, RELIGION, Morals.
MR. POPE is an open and mortal enemy to his country, and the commonwealth of learning'. Some call him a Popish Whig, which is directly inconsistent. Pope, as a Papist, must be a Tory and High-flyer3. He is both a Whig and Tory 4. He hath made it his custom to cackle to more than one party in their own sentiments 5.
In his Miscellanies, the persons abused are the king, the queen, his late majesty, both houses of parliament, the privy council, the bench of bishops, the established church, the present ministry, &c. To make sense of some passages, they must be construed into royal scandal .
He is a Popish rhymester, bred up with a contempt of the Sacred Writings 7. His religion allows him to destroy heretics, not only with his pen, but with fire and sword; and such were all those unhappy wits whom he sacrificed to his
Dennis, Rem. on the Rape of the Lock, pref. p. 12. 2 Dunciad Dissected. 3 Pref. to Gulliveriana.
4 Dennis, Character of Mr. P.
5 Theobald's Letter in Mist's Journal, June 22, 1728.
6 List at the end of a Collection of Verses, Letters, Advertisements, 8vo. printed for A. Moore, 1728, and the preface to it, p. 6.
7 Dennis's Remarks on Homer, p. 27.
MR. DRYDEN ONLY A VERSIFIER.
His whole libel is all bad matter, beautified (which is all that can be said of it) with good metre 10. Mr. Dryden's genius did not appear in any thing more than his versification, and whether he is to be ennobled for that only is a question 11.
MR. DRYDEN'S VIRGIL.
Tonson calls it Dryden's Virgil, to show that this is not that Virgil so admired in the Augustan age, but a Virgil of another stamp, a silly, impertinent, nonsensical writer 12. None but a Bavius, a Mævius, or a Bathyllus, carped at Virgil; and none but such unthinking vermin admire his translator 13. It is true, soft and easy lines might become Ovid's Epistles or Art of Love—but Virgil, who is all great and majestic, &c. requires strength of lines, weight of words, and closeness of expression; not an ambling muse, running on carpetground, and shod as lightly as a Newmarket-racer. -He has numberless faults in his author's meaning, and in propriety of expression 14.
MR. DRYDEN UNDERSTOOD NO GREEK NOR LATIN.
Mr. Dryden was once, I have heard, at Westminster School: Dr. Busby would have whipped him for so childish a paraphrase 15. The meanest pedant in England would whip a lubber of twelve for construing so absurdly 16. The translator is
10 Whip and Key, pref.
11 Oldmixon, Essay on Criticism, p. 84.
12 Milbourn, p. 2. 15 Ib. p. 72.
13 Ib. p. 35. 14 Ib. p. 22, and 102.
accursed Popish principles. It deserved vengeance to suggest that Mr. Pope had less infallibility than his namesake at Rome 9.
MR. POPE ONLY A VERSIFIER.
The smooth numbers of the Dunciad are all that recommend it, nor has it any other merit 1o, It must be owned that he hath got a notable knack of rhyming and writing smooth verse ".
MR. POPE'S HOMER.
The Homer which Lintot prints does not talk like Homer, but like Pope; and he who translated him, one would swear, had a hill in Tipperary for his Parnassus, and a puddle in some bog for his Hippocrene 22. He has no admirers among those that can distinguish, discern, and judge 13.
He hath a knack at smooth verse, but without either genius or good sense, or any tolerable knowledge of English. The qualities which distinguish Homer are the beauties of his diction, and the harmony of his versification.-But this little author, who is so much in vogue, has neither sense in his thoughts, nor English in his expression 14.
MR. POPE UNDERSTOOD NO GREEK.
He hath undertaken to translate Homer from the Greek, of which he knows not one word, into
8 Preface to Gulliveriana, p. 11.
9 Dedication to the Collection of Verses, Letters, &c. p. 9. 10 Mist's Journal of June 8, 1728.
11 Character of Mr. P. and Dennis on Homer.
12 Dennis's Remarks on Pope's Homer, p. 12.
13 Ib. p. 14.
14 Character of Mr. Pope, p. 17, and Remarks on Homer,
mad, every line betrays his stupidity 7. The faults are innumerable, and convince me that Mr. Dryden did not, or would not, understand his author 18. This shows how fit Mr. Dryden may be to translate Homer! A mistake in a single letter might fall on the printer well enough, but eixwp for ixwp, must be the error of the author: nor had he art enough to correct it at the press *9. Mr. Dryden writes for the court ladies.-He writes for the ladies, and not for use
The translator put in a little burlesque now and then into Virgil, for a ragout to his cheated subscribers 21.
MR. DRYDEN TRICKED HIS SUBSCRIBERS.
I wonder that any man, who could not but be conscious of his own unfitness for it, should go to amuse the learned world with such an undertaking! A man ought to value his reputation more than money; and not to hope that those who can read for themselves, will be imposed upon merely by a partially and unseasonably celebrated name Poëtis quidlibet audendi shall be Mr. Dryden's motto, though it should extend to picking of pockets 23.
NAMES BESTOWED ON MR. DRYDEN.
An APE.] A crafty ape dressed up in a gaudy gown-Whips put into an ape's paw to play pranks with-None but apish and papish brats will heed him 24.
English, of which he understands as little 15. I wonder how this gentleman would look, should it be discovered that he has not translated ten verses together in any book of Homer with justice to the poet; and yet he dares reproach his fellow writers with not understanding Greek 16. He has stuck so little to his original, as to have his knowledge in Greek called in question 17. I should be glad to know which it is of all Homer's excellencies which has so delighted the ladies, and the gentlemen who judge like ladies 18.
But he has a notable talent at burlesque; his genius slides so naturally into it, that he hath burlesqued Homer without designing it 19.
MR. POPE TRICKED HIS SUBSCRIBERS.
It is indeed somewhat bold, and almost prodigious, for a single man to undertake such a work but it is too late to dissuade, by demonstrating the madness of the project. The subscribers' expectations have been raised in proportion to what their pockets have been drained of 20. Pope has been concerned in jobs, and hired out his name to booksellers 21.
NAMES BESTOWED ON MR. POPE.
An APE.] Let us take the initial letter of his Christian name, add the initial and final letters of
15 Dennis's Remarks on Homer, p. 12.
17 Suppl. to the Profound Preface.
21 British Journal, Nov. 25, 1727.
20 Homerides, p. 1, &c.