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the labours of those who have improved our language with the translations of old Greek and Latin authors. We have already most of their historians in our own tongue, and what is more for the honour of our language, it hath been taught to express with elegance the greatest of their poets in each nation. The illiterate among our own countrymen may learn to judge from Dryden's Virgil of the most perfect epic performance; and those parts of Homer which have been published already by Mr. Pope, give us reason to think that the Iliad will appear in English with as little disadvantage to that immortal poem.'
As to the rest, there is a slight mistake; for this younger Muse was an elder: nor was the gentleman (who is a friend of our author) employed by Mr. Addison to translate it after him, since he saith himself that he did it before 23. Contrariwise, that Mr. Addison engaged our author in this work, appeareth by declaration thereof in the Preface to the Iliad, printed some time before his death, and by his own letters of October 26, and November 2, 1713, where he declares it is his opinion, that no other person was equal to it.
Next comes his Shakspeare on the stage; 'Let him (quoth one, whom I take to be
MR. THEOBALD, MIST'S JOURNAL, JUNE 8, 1728) publish such an author as he has least studied, and forget to discharge even the dull duty of an editor. In this project let him lend the bookseller
23 Vide Preface to Mr. Tickel's translation of the First Book of the Iliad, 4to.
his name (for a competent sum of money) to promote the credit of an exorbitant subscription.' Gentle reader, be pleased to cast thine eye on the proposal below quoted, and on what follows (some months after the former assertion) in the same Journal of June 8: The bookseller proposed the book by subscription, and raised some thousands of pounds for the same: I believe the gentleman did not share in the profits of this extravagant subscription.'
• After the Iliad, he undertook (saith
MIST'S JOURNAL, JUNE 8, 1728,)
the sequel of that work, the Odyssey; and having secured the success by a numerous subscription, he employed some underlings to perform what, according to his proposals, should come from his own hands.' To which heavy charge we can, in truth, oppose nothing but the words of
MR. POPE'S PROPOSALS FOR THE ODYSSEY, (Printed for J. Watts, Jan. 10, 1724.)
I take this occasion to declare, that the subscription for Shakspeare belongs wholly to Mr. Tonson: and that the benefit of this proposal is not solely for my own use, but for that of two of my friends, who have assisted me in this work.' But these very gentlemen are extolled above our poet himself in another of MIST's Journals, March 30, 1728, saying, That he would not advise Mr. Pope to try the experiment again of getting a great part of a book done by assistants, lest those extraneous parts should unhappily asscend to the sublime, and retard the declension of
the whole.' Behold! these underlings are become good writers!
If any say, that before the said proposals were printed, the subscription was begun, without declaration of such assistance; verily those who set it on foot, or (as the term is) secured it, to wit, the right honourable the Lord Viscount Harcourt, were he living, would testify; and the right honourable the Lord Bathurst, now living, doth testify, the same is a falsehood.
Sorry I am that persons professing to be learned, or of whatever rank of authors, should either falsely tax, or be falsely taxed. Yet let us, who are only reporters, be impartial in our citations, and proceed.
MIST'S JOURNAL, JUNE 8, 1728.
Mr. Addison raised this author from obscurity, obtained him the acquaintance and friendship of the whole body of our nobility, and transferred his powerful interests with those great men to this rising bard, who frequently levied, by that means, unusual contributions on the public.' Which
surely cannot be, if, as the author of the Dunciad Dissected reporteth, Mr. Wycherley had before introduced him into a familiar acquaintance with the greatest peers and brightest wits then living.'
'No sooner (saith the same Journalist) was his body lifeless, but this author, reviving his resentment, libelled the memory of his departed friend; and, what was still more heinous, made the scandal public.' Grievous the accusation! unknown the accuser! the person accused no witness in his
own cause; the person, in whose regard accused, dead! But if there be living any one nobleman whose friendship, yea, any one gentleman whose subscription, Mr. Addison procured to our author, let him stand forth, that truth may appear! Amicus Plato, amicus Socrates, sed magis amica veritas. In verity, the whole story of the libel is a lie; witness those persons of integrity who, several years before Mr. Addison's decease, did see and approve of the said verses, in no wise a libel, but a friendly rebuke, sent privately, in our author's own hand, to Mr. Addison himself, and never made public, till after their own Journals and Curl had printed the same. One name alone, which I am here authorized to declare, will sufficiently evince the truth, that of the right honourable the Earl of Burlington.
Next is he taxed with a crime (in the opinion of some authors, I doubt, more heinous than any in morality) to wit, plagiarism, from the inventive and quaint-conceited
JAMES MOORE SMITH, GENT.
24 Upon reading the third volume of Pope's Miscellanies, I found five lines which I thought excellent; and happening to praise them, a gentleman produced a modern comedy (the Rival Modes) published last year, where were the same verses to a tittle.
These gentlemen are undoubtedly the first plagiaries, that pretend to make a reputation by stealing from a man's works in his own lifetime, and out of a public print.' Let us join to this 24 Daily Journal, March 18, 1728.
what is written by the author of the Rival Modes, the said Mr. James Moore Smith, in a letter to our author himself, who had informed him, a month before that play was acted, Jan. 27, 1726-7, That these verses, which he had before given him leave to insert in it, would be known for his, some copies being got abroad.' He desires, nevertheless, that since the lines had been read in his comedy to several, Mr. P. would not deprive it of them, &c. Surely if we add the testimonies of the Lord Bolingbroke, of the lady to whom the said verses were originally addressed, of Hugh Bethel, Esq. and others, who knew them as our author's long before the said gentleman composed his play, it is hoped the ingenuous, that affect not error, will rectify their opinion by the suffrage of such honourable personages.
And yet followeth another charge, insinuating no less than his enmity both to Church and State, which could come from no other informer than the said
MR. JAMES MOORE SMITH.
25 The Memoirs of a Parish Clerk was a very dull and unjust abuse of a person who wrote in defence of our religion and constitution, and who has been dead many years.' This seemeth also most untrue, it being known to divers that these Memoirs were written at the seat of the Lord Harcourt, in Oxfordshire, before that excellent person's (Bishop Burnet) death, and many years before the appearance of that history of which they are pretended to be an abuse. Most true it
25 Daily Journal, April 3, 1728.