Page images
[ocr errors]

That once was Britain-Happy! had she seen
No tiercer sons, had Easter never been.
In peace, great goddess, ever be ador'd;
How keen the war, if Dulness draw the sword! 120
Thus visit not thy own! on this blest age
O spread thy influence, but restrain thy rage.
And see, my son! the hour is on its way,
That lifts our goddess to imperial sway;
This favourite isle, long sever'd from her reign,
Dove-like she gathers to her wings again. [draws!
Now look through fate! behold the scene she
What aids, what armies, to assert her cause !
See all her progeny, illustrious sight!
Behold, and count them, as they rise to light, 130
As Berecynthia, while her offspring vye
In homage to the mother of the sky,
Surveys around her, in the blest abode,
An hundred sons, and every son a god
Not with less glory mighty Dulness crown'd
Shall take through Grubstreet her triumphant
And, her Parnassus glancing o'er at once, [round;
Behold an hundred sons, and each a Dunce. [place,
Mark first that youth who takes the foremost
And thrusts his person full into your face.
With all thy father's virtues blest, be born!
And a new Cibber shall the stage adorn.


[blocks in formation]

Ver, 149. in the first edit. it was,

Woolston, the scourge of Scripture, mark with
And mighty Jacob, blunderbuss of law! [awe!
Ver. 151, 152. Lo, P-p-le's brow, &c.] In
the former edit. thus:

Lo, next two slip-shod Muses traipse along,
In lofty madness, meditating song,
With tresses staring from poetic dreams,
And never wash'd, but in Castalia's streams.
Haywood, Centlivre, glories of their race,
Lo, Horneck's fierce and Roome's funereal face.

Lo sneering Goode, half malice and half whim,
A fiend in glee, ridiculously grim.


He is

siderable master of Romsey in Southampton-
shire, and bred to the law under a very eminent
attorney: who, between his more laborious
studies, has diverted himself with poetry.
a great admirer of poets and their works, which
has occasioned him to try his genius that way—
He has writ in prose the Lives of the Poets, Essays,
and a great many law books, The Accomplished
of himself, Lives of Poets, vol. 1.
Conveyancer, Modern Justice, &c." Giles Jacob
He very
grossly, and unprovoked, abused in that book the
author's friend, Mr. Gay.

Ver. 149, 150.

Jacob, the scourge of grammar, mark with


[ocr errors]


Nor less revere him, blunderbuss of law.] There may seem some errour in these verses, Mr. Jacob having proved our author to have a respect for him, by this undeniable argument. had once a regard for my judgment; otherwise he never would have subscribed two guineas to me, for one small book in octavo," Jacob's Letter to Dennis, printed in Dennis's Remarks on the Dunciad, p. 49. Therefore I should think the appellation of Blunderbuss to Mr. Jacob, like that of Thunderbolt to Scipio, was meant in hi


Mr. Dennis argues the same way. "My writings having made great impression on the minds of all sensible men, Mr. P. repented, and to give proof of his repentance, subscribed to my two volumes of Letters." Ibid. p. 80. We should hence believe, the name Mr. Dennis hath also crept into this poem by some mistake. But from hence, gentle reader! thou may'st beware, when thou givest thy money to such authors, not tą flatter thyself that thy motives are good-nature, or charity.

Ver. 152. Horneck and Roome] These two were virulent party-writers, worthily coupled together, and one would think prophetically, since, after the publishing of this piece, the former dying, the latter succeeded him in honour and employment. The first was Philip Horneck, author of a Billingsgate paper called The High German Doctor. Edward Roome was son of an undertaker for funerals in Fleetstreet, and writ some of the papers called Pasquin, where by malicious inuendoes, he endeavoured to represent our author guilty of malevolent practices with a great man then under prosecution of parVer. 126. Dove like, she gathers] This is ful-liament. Of this man was made the following filled in the fourth book.


Ver 117, 118. Happy! had Easter never been!] Wars in England anciently, about the right time of celebrating Easter.

Ver. 128. What aids, what armies to assert her cause!] i. e. Of poets, antiquaries, critics, divines, free-thinkers. But as this revolution is only here set on foot by the first of these classes, the poets, they only are here particularly celebrated, and they only properly fall under the care and review of this colleague of Dulness, the laureat. The others, who finish the great work, are reserved for the fourth book, where the goddess herself appears in full glory.

Ver. 149. Jacob, the scourge of grammar, mark with awe ;] "This gentleman is son of a con


You ask why Roome diverts you with his jokes, Yet if he writes, is dull as other folks!" You wonder at it-This, Sir, is the case, The jest is lost unless he prints his face. P-le was the author of some vile plays and pamphlets. He published abuses on our author in a paper called the Prompter.

Ver. 153. Goode,] an ill-natured critic, who writ a satire on our author, called The Mock Esop, and many anonymous libels in news-papers for hire.

So sweetly mawkish, and so smoothly dull;
Heady, not strong; o'erflowing, though not full.

Ah Dennis! Gildon ah! what ill-starr'd rage
Divides a friendship long confirm'd by age?
Blockheads with reason wicked wits abhor,
But fool with fool is barbarous civil war.


Each cygnet sweet, of Bath and Tunbridge race, Whose tuneful whistling makes the waters pass: Each songster, riddler, every nameless name, All crowd, who foremost shall be damn'd to fame. Some strain in rhyme; the Muses, on their racks, Scream like the winding of ten thousand jacks; 160 Some, free from rhyme or reason, rule or check, Break Priscian's head, and Pegasus's neck; knowledged in his occasional poems, in a manner Down, down the larum, with impetuous whirl, The Pindars and the Miltons of a Curll. [howls, that will make no small part of the fame of his Silence, ye wolves! while Ralph to Cynthia protectors. It also appears from his works, that And makes night hideous-Answer him, ye owls! h was happy in the patronage of the most illustrious characters of the present age-Encouraged Sense, speech, and measure, living tongues and Let all give way,--and Morris may be read. [dead. by such a combination in his favour, he---published Flow, Welsted, flow! like thine inspirer, beer; a book of poems, some in the Ovidian, some in Though stale, not ripe; though thin, yet never the Horatian manner; in both which the most clear; 170 exquisite judges pronounce he even rivalled his masters-His love verses have rescued that way of writing from contempt-In his translations, he has given us the very soul and spirit of his author, His Ode-his Epistle-his Verses--his Love-tale-all, are the most perfect things in all poetry. Welsted of himself, Char. of the Times, 8vo, 1728, page 23, 24. It should not be forgot for his honour, that he received at one time the sum of five hundred pounds for secret service, among the other excellent authors hired to write anonymously for the ministry. See Report of the Secret Committee, &c. in 1742.


Ver. 155, 156, are added since the first edit. Ver. 157. Each songster, riddler, &c.] In the former ed.

Lo Bond and Foxton, every nameless name.
After ver. 158. in the first ed. followed,

How proud, how pale, how earnest all appear!
How rhymes eternal gingle in their ear!
Ver. 168. In former ed.-and Durgen may be


Ver. 156. Whose tuneful whistling makes the waters pass] There were several successions of these sorts of minor poets at Tunbridge, Bath, &c. singing the praise of the annuals flourishing for that season; whose names indeed would be nameless, and therefore the poet slurs them over with others in general.

Ver. 165. Ralph] James Ralph, a name inserted after the first editions, not known to our author till he writ a swearing piece called Sawney, very abusive of Dr. Swift, Mr. Gay, and himself. These lines allude to a thing of his, entitled Night, a Poem. This low writer attended his own works with panegyrics in the Journals, and once in particular praised himself highly above Mr. Addison, in wretched remarks upon that author's Account of English Poets, printed in a London Journal, Sept 1728. He was wholly illiterate, and knew no language, not even French. Being advised to read the rules of dramatic poetry before he began a play, he smiled and replied, "Shakespeare writ without rules." He ended at last in the common sink of all such writers, a political news paper, to which he was recommended by his friend Arnall and received a small pittance for


Ver. 168. Morris,] Besaleel. See Book ii.

Ver. 169. Flow, Welsted, &c.] Of this author see the Remark on Book ii. v. 209. But (to be impartial) add to it the following different character of him :

Mr. Welsted had, in his youth, raised so great expectations of his future genius, that there was a kind of struggle between the most eminent of the two Universities, which should have the honour of his education. To compound this he (civilly) became a member of both, and after having passed some time at the one, he removed to the other. From thence he returned to town. where he became the darling expectation of all the polite writers, whose encouragement he ac

[ocr errors]

became the public scorn by a mere mistake of their talents. They would needs turn critics of their own country writers (just as Aristotle and Longinus did of theirs), and discourse upon the

Ver. 173. Ah Dennis! Gildon ah!] These men

beauties and defects of composition:

How parts relate to parts, and they to whole; The body's harmony, the beaming soul. Whereas had they followed the example of those microscopes of wit, Kuster, Burman, and their followers, in verbal criticism on the learned languages, their acuteness and industry might have raised them a name equal to the most famous of the scholiasts. We cannot therefore but lament the late apostacy of the prebendary of Rochester, who beginning in so good a train, has now turned short to write comments on the Fire-side, and dreams upon Shakespeare; where we find the spirit of Oldmixon, Gildon, and Dennis, all revived in his belaboured ohservations.-Scribl.

Here Scriblerus, in this affair of the Fire-side, I want thy usual candour. It is true Mr. Upton did write notes upon it, but with all the honour and good faith in the world. He took it to be a panegyric on his patron. This it is to have to do with wits; a commercè unworthy a scholiast of so solid learning.-Arist.

Ver. 173. Ah, Dennis, &c.] The reader, who has seen, through the course of these notes, what a constant attendance Mr. Dennis paid to our author and all his works, may perhaps wonder he should be mentioned but twice, and so slightly touched, in this poem. But in truth he looked upon him with some esteem, for having (more generously than all the rest) set his name to such writings. He was also a very old man at this time. By his own account of himself in Mr. Jacob's Lives, he must have been above threescore, and happily lived many years after. So that he was senior to Mr. D'Urfey, who hitherto of all our poets enjoyed the longest bodily life.

[blocks in formation]

After ver. 180. in many editions, stood,

A lumberhouse of books in every head,
For ever reading, never to be read!

But, where each science lifts its modern type
History her pot, Divinity her pipe,

While proud Philosophy repines to show,
Dishonest sight! his breeches rent below;
Imbrown'd with native bronze, lo! Henley stands,
Tuning his voice, and balancing his hands. 200


Ver. 197. in the first edit. it was,

And proud Philosophy with breeches tore,
And English music with a dismal score.
Fast by in darkness palpable inshrin'd
W-s, B-r, M-n, all the poring kind.


the darker his author is, the better he is pleased; Fam'd for good-nature, Burnet, and for truth; like the famous quack doctor, who put up in Ducket for pious passion to the youth.


Ver. 179. Behold yon pair, &c.] One of these was author of a weekly paper called The Grumbler, as the other was concerned in another called Pasquin, in which Mr. Pope was abused with the duke of Buckingham, and bishop of Rochester. They also joined in a piece against his first undertaking to translate the Iliad, entituled Homerides, by Sir Iliad Doggrel, printed 1715.

his bills, he delighted in matters of difficulty. Somebody said well of these men, that their heads were libraries out of order.

Ver. 199. lo! Henley stands, &c.] J. Henley the orator; he preached on the Sundays upon theological matters, and on the Wednesdays upon all other sciences. Each auditor paid one shilling. He declaimed some years against the greatest persons, and occasionally did our author that houour.-Welsted in Oratory Transactions, No. 1. published by Henley himself, gives the Of the other works of these gentlemen the world following account of him: "He was born at has heard no more, than it would of Mr. Pope's, Melton Mowbray, in Leicestershire. From his had their united laudable endeavours discouraged own parish school he went to St. John's College, him from pursuing his studies. How few good in Cambridge. He began there to be uneasy; for works had ever appeared (since men of true merit it shocked him to find he was commanded to beare always the least presuming) had there been lieve against his own judgment in points of religion, always such champions to stifle them in their philosophy, &c. for his genius leading him freely conception? And were it not better for the pub- to dispute all propositions, and call all points to lic, that a million of monsters should come into account, he was impatient under those fetters of the world, which are sure to die as soon as born, the free-born mind.-Being admitted to priest's than that the serpents should strangle one Her-orders, he found the examination very short and cules in his cradle?

The union of these two authors gave occasion to this epigram:

Burnet and Ducket, friends in spite,
Came hissing out in verse;
Both were so forward, each would write,
So dull, each hang an a
Thus Amphisbaena (I have read)

At either end assails;

None knows which leads or which is led,

For both heads are but tails.

After many editions of this poem, the author thought fit to omit the names of these two persons, whose injury to him was of so old a date.

Ver. 184. That shines a consul, this commissioner.] Such places were given at this time to such sort of writers.

Ver. 187. myster wight.] Uncouth mortal. Ver. 188. Wormius hight.] Let not this name, purely fictitious, be conceited to mean the learned Olaus Wormius; much less (as it was unwarrantably foisted into the surreptitious editions) our own antiquary Mr. Thomas Hearne, who had no way aggrieved our poet, but on the contrary published many curious tracts which he hath to his great contentment perused.

Ver. 192. Wits, who, like owls, &c.] These few lines exactly describe the right verbal critic:

superficial, and that it was not necessary to conform to the Christian religion, in order either to deaconship or priesthood." He came to town, and, after having for some years been a writer for booksellers, he had an ambition to be so for ministers of state. The only reason he did not rise in the church, we are told," was the envy of others, and a disrelish entertained of him, because he was not qualified to be a complete spaniel." However, he offered the service of his pen to two great men, of opinions and interests directly opposite; by both of whom being rejected, he set up a new project, and styled himself the Restorer of ancient Eloquence. He thought "it as lawful to take a licence from the king and parliament in one place, as another; at Hickes's Hall, as at Doctor's Commons; so set up his oratory in Newportmarket, Butcher-row. There," (says his friend) "he had the assurance to form a plan, which no mortal ever thought of; he had success against all opposition; challenged his adversarics to fair disputations, and none would dispute with him; writ, read, and studied twelve hours a day; composed three dissertations a week on all subjects; undertook to teach in one year what schools and universities teach in five; was not terrified by menaces, insults, or satires, but still proceeded, matured his bold scheme, and put the church,


How fluent nonsense trickles from his tongue!
How sweet the periods, neither said, nor sung!
Still break the benches, Henley! with thy strain,
While Sherlock, Hare, and Gibson, preach in
Oh great restorer of the good old stage,
Preacher at once, and zany of thy age!
Oh worthy thou of Egypt's wise abodes,
A decent priest, where monkeys were the gods!
But Fate with butchers plac'd thy priestly stall,
Meek modern Faith to murder, hack, and mawl; 210
And bade thee live, to crown Britannia's praise,
In Toland's, Tindal's, and in Woolston's days.

Yet oh, my son, a father's words attend:
(So may the Fates preserve the years you lend)
'Tis yours, a Bacon or a Locke to blame,
A Newton's genius, or a Milton's flame :


Ver. 204. In former ed.

While K**, B**, W**, preach in vain.
After ver. 212. followed in former ed.
Here too, great Woolston! here exalt thy throne,
And prove, no miracles can match thy own.
Ver. 216. In former ed.—or a seraph's flame.


and all that, in danger."--Welsted, Narrative in Orat. Transact. N. 1.

After having stood some prosecutions, he turned his rhetoric to buffoonery upon all public and private occurrences. All this passed in the same room; where sometimes he broke jests, and sometimes that bread which he called the primitive eucharist. This wonderful person struck medals, which he dispersed as tickets to his subscribers: the device a star rising to the meridian, with this motto, AD SVMMA; and below, INVENIAM VIAM AVT FACIAM. This man had an hundred pounds a year given him for the secret service of a weekly paper of unintelligible nonsense, called the Hyp-Doctor.

Ver. 204. Sherlock, Hare, Gibson,] Bishops of Salisbury, Chichester and London; whose sermons and pastoral letters did honour to their country as well as stations.

Ver. 212. Of Toland, and Tindal, see Book ii. Tho. Woolston was an impious madman, who wrote in a most insolent style against the miracles of the Gospel, in the year 1'726, &c.

Ver. 213. Yet oh, my sons, &c.] The caution against blasphemy here given by a departed son of Dulness to his yet existing brethren, is, as the poet rightly intimates, not out of tenderness to the ears of others, but their own. And so we see that when that danger is removed, on the open establishment of the goddess in the fourth book, she encourages her sons, and they beg assistance to pollute the source of light itself, with the same virulence they had before done the purest emanations from it.

Ver. 215. 'Tis yours, a Bacon or a Locke to blame,

But oh! with One, immortal One, dispense,
The source of Newton's Light, of Bacon's sense.
Content each emanation of his fires

[ocr errors]

That beams on Earth, each virtue he inspires, 220
Each art he prompts, each charm he can create,
Whate'er he gives, are given for you to hate.
Persist, by all divine in man unaw'd,
But, "Learn, ye Dunces! not to scorn your God.»
Thus he, for then a ray of reason stole
Half through the solid darkness of his soul;
But soon the cloud return'd-and thus the sire:
See now, what Dulness and her sons admire!
See what the charms, that smite the simple heart
Not touch'd by Nature, and not reach'd by Art. 230
His never-blushing head he turn'd aside
(Not half so pleas'd when Goodman prophesy'd);
And look'd, and saw a sabte sorcerer rise,
Swift to whose hand a winged volame flies:
All sudden, gorgons hiss, and dragons glare,
And ten-horn'd fiends and giants rush to war.
Hell rises, Heaven descends, and dance on Earth:
Gods, imps, and monsters, music, rage and mirth,


Ver. 231, 232. Added when the hero was changed.


matical demonstration" (saith he) "founded upon the proportions of lines and circles to each other, and the ringing of changes upon figures, these have no more to do with the greatest part of philosophy, than they have with the man in the moon. Indeed, the zeal for this sort of gibberish [mathematical principles] is greatly abated of late: and though it is now upwards of twenty years that the Dagon of modern philosophers, sir Isaac Newton, has lain with bis face upon the ground before the ark of God, scripture philosophy; for so long Moses's Principia have been published; and the Treatise of Power Essential and Mechanical, in which sir Isaac Newton's philosophy is treated with the utmost contempt, has been published a dozen years; yet is there not one of the whole society who hath had the courage to attempt to raise him up. And so let him lie."-The philosophical principles of Moses asserted, &c. p. 2. by Julius Bate, A. M. Chaplain to the right honourable the Earl of Harrington. London, 1744, octavo.-Scribl.

Ver. 224. But, "Learn, ye Dunces! not to scorn your God."] The hardest lesson a Dunce can learn. For being bred to scorn what he does not understand, that which he understands least he will be apt to scorn most. Of which, to the disgrace of all government, and (in the poet's opinion) even of that of Dulness herself, we have had a late example in a book entitled, Philosophical Essays concerning human understanding.

Ver. 224.-not to scorn your God."] Sce this subject pursued in Book iv.

Ver. 232. (Not half so pleas'd, when Goodman prophesy'd.)] Mr. Cibber tells us, in his Life, p. 149. that Goodman being at the rehearsal of a play, in which he had a part, clapped him on the shoulder, and cried, "if he does not make a good actor, I'll be d-d." "And," says Mr. Cibber, "I make it a question, whether Alexander himself, or Charles the twelfth of Sweden, when "As to mathe-at the head of their first victorious armies, could

A Newton's genius, or a Milton's flame:] Thankfully received, and freely used, is this gracious licence by the beloved disciple of that prince of cabalistic dunces, the tremendous Hutchinson. Hear with what honest plainness he treateth our great geomieter,

[blocks in formation]

Thence a new world, to Nature's laws unknown, Breaks out refulgent, with a heaven its own; Another Cynthia her new journey runs, And other planets circle other suns. The forests dance, the rivers upward rise, Whales sport in woods, and dolphins in the skies; And last, to give the whole creation grace, Lo one vast egg produces human race.

Joy fills his soul, joy innocent of thought;. "What power," he cries, "what power these wonders wrought?" 250 Son; what thou seekst is in thee! Look, and find Each monster meets his likeness in thy mind. Yet wouldst thou more in yonder cloud behold, Whose sarsenet skirts are edg'd with flaming gold, A matchless youth! his nod these worlds controls, Wings the red lightning, and the thunder rolls. Angel of Dulness sent to scatter round Her magic charms o'er all unclassic ground: Yon stars, yon sons, he rcars at pleasure higher, Illumes their light, and sets their flames on fire. Immortal Rich! how calm he sits at ease 'Midst snows of paper, and fierce hail of pease; And, proud his mistress' orders to perform, Rides in the whirlwind, and directs the storm. But lo! to dark encounter in mid air, New wizards rise; I see my Cibber there!


Ver. 266. In former edit.


New wizards rise: here Booth, and Cibber there.


feel a greater transport in their bosoms than I did in mine."

Ver. 233, a sable sorcerer] Dr. Faustus, the subject of a set of farces, which lasted in vogue two or three seasons, in which both playhouses strove to outdo each other for some years. All the extravagancies in the sixteen lines following were introduced on the stage, and frequented by persons of the first quality in England, to the twentieth and thirtieth time.

Ver. 237. Hell rises, Heaven descends, and dance on Earth.] This monstrous absurdity was actually represented in Tibbald's Rape of Proserpine.

Ver. 248. Lo! one vast egg] In another of these farces Harlequin is hatched upon the stage, out of a large egg.

Ver. 261. Immortal Rich!] Mr. John Rich, master of the theatre royal in Covent-garden, was the first that excelled this way.

Ver. 266. I see my Cibber there!] The history of the foregoing absurdities is verified by himself, in these words, (Life, chap. xv.) "Then sprung forth that succession of monstrous medleys that have so long infested the stage, which arose upon one another alternately at both houses, out-vying each other in expense." He then proceeds to exense his own part in them, as follows: "If I am asked why I assented? I have no better excuse for my errour than to confess I did it against my conscience, and had not virtue enough to starve. Had Henry IV. of France a better for changing his religion? I was still in my heart as much as he could be, on the side of truth and sense: but with this difference, that I had their leave to quit

Booth in his cloudy tabernacle shrin'd

On grinning dragons thou shalt mount the wind.
Dire is the conflict, dismal is the din,
Here shouts all Drury, there all Lincoln's-inn;
Contending theatres our empire raise,
Alike their labours, and alike their praise.


And are these wonders, son, to thee unknown? Unknown to thee? These wonders are thy own. These Fate reserv'd to grace thy reign divine, Foreseen by me, but ah! withheld from mine. In Lud's old walls though long I rul'd, renown'd Far as loud Bow's stupendous bells resound: Though my own aldermen conferr'd the bays, To me committing their eternal praise, Their full-fed heroes, their pacific mayors, Their annual trophies, and their monthly wars: Though long my party built on me their hopes, For writing pamphlets, and for roasting popes



Ver. 268. Cibber mounts the wind.
After ver. 274. in the former edit. followed.
For works like these let deathless journals tell,
"None but thyself san be thy parallel.”
Vår. None but thyself can be thy parallel.] A
marvellous line of Theobald; unless the play
called the Double Falsehood be (as he would have
it believed) Shakespeare's: but whether this line
be his or not, he proves Shakespeare to have writ-
ten as bad (which methinks in an author, for
whom he has a veneration almost rising to idola-
try, might have been concealed); as for èx-

Try what repentance can: what can it not?
But what can it, when one cannot repent?

-For cogitation

Resides not in the man who does not think, &c. Mist's Journ.

It is granted they are all of a piece, and no man doubts but herein he is able to imitate Shakespeare.

After ver. 284. in the former edit. followed,

Different our parties, but with equal grace
The goddess smiles on Whig and Tory race.
'Tis the same rope of several ends they twist;
To Dulness, Ridpath is as dear as Mist.


them when they could not support me. But let the question go which way it will, Harry IVth be confessed a full answer; only the question still has always been allowed a great man." This must seems to be, 1. How the doing a thing against one's conscience is an excuse for it? and, 2dly, It will be hard to prove how he got the leave of truth and sense to quit their service, unless he can produce a certificate that he ever was in it.

Ver. 266, 267. Booth and Cibber were joint managers of the theatre in Drury-lane.

Ver. 268. On grinning dragons thou shalt mount the wind. In his letter to Mr. P. Mr. C. solemnly declares this not to be literally true. We hope therefore the reader will understand it allegorically only.

Ver. 282. Annual trophies on the lord-mayor's day; and monthly wars in the artillery ground.

Ver. 283. Though long my party] Settle, like most party-writers, was very uncertain in his

« PreviousContinue »