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minister, that he is one of the most dangerous persons in this kingdom; and assureth the public that he is an open and mortal enemy to his country; a monster that will, one day, show as daring a soul as a mad Indian, who runs a-muck to kill the first Christian he meets 37. Another gives information of treason discovered in his poem 38. Mr. Curl boldly supplies an imperfect verse with kings and princesses 39; and one Matthew Concanen, yet more impudent, publishes at length the two most sacred names in this nation as members of the Dunciad 4° !
This is prodigious! yet it is almost as strange that, in the midst of these invectives, his greatest enemies have (I know not how) borne testimony to some merit in him.
in censuring his Shakspeare, declares, he has so great an esteem for Mr. Pope, and so high an opinion of his genius and excellencies, that notwithstanding he professes a veneration almost rising to idolatry for the writings of this inimitable poet, he would be very loth even to do him justice at the expense of that other gentleman's character11?
36 Anno 1729.
37 Preface to Remarks on the Rape of the Lock, p. 12,. and in the last page of that treatise.
38 Pages 6, 7, of the Preface, by Concanen, to a book entitled, A Collection of all the Letters, Essays, Verses, and Advertisements, occasioned by Pope and Swift's Miscellanies. Printed for A. Moore, octavo, 1714.
39 Key to the Dunciad, 3d edition, p. 18.
40 A List of Persons, &c. at the end of the fore-mentioned Collection of all the Letters, Essays, &c.
41 Introduction to Shakspeare Restored, in quarto, p. 3.
MR. CHARLES GILDON,
after having violently attacked him in many pieces, at last came to wish from his heart, that Mr. Pope would be prevailed upon to give us Ovid's Epistles by his hand; for it is certain we see the original of Sappho to Phaon with much more life and likeness in his version than in that of Sir Car Scrope. And this (he adds) is the more to be wished, because in the English tongue we have scarce any thing truly and naturally written upon Love 42' He also, in taxing Sir Richard Blackmore for his heterodox opinions of Homer, challenges him to answer what Mr. Pope hath said in his preface to that poet.
calls him a great master of our tongue; declares the purity and perfection of the English language to be found in his Homer; saying there are more good verses in Dryden's Virgil than in any other work, except this of our author only 43?
THE AUTHOR OF A LETTER TO MR. CIBBER, says44, Pope was so good a versifier [once] that his predecessor Mr. Dryden, and his contemporary Mr. Prior excepted, the harmony of his numbers is equal to any body's; and that he had all the merit that a man can have that way. And
42 Commentary on the Duke of Buckingham's Essay, 8vo. 1721, p. 97, 98.
43 In his prose Essay on Criticism.
44 Printed by J. Roberts, 1742, p. 11.
MR. THOMAS COOKE,
after much blemishing our author's Homer, crieth out,
'But in his other works what beauties shine,
So also one who takes the name of
the maker of certain verses to Duncan Campbell, in that poem 46, which is wholly a satire on Mr. Pope, confesseth,
''Tis true, if finest notes alone could show
(Tuned justly high, or regularly low)
That we should fame to these mere vocals give ;
Pope more than we can offer should receive:
For when some gliding river is his theme,
His lines run smoother than the smoothest stream,' &c.
MIST'S JOURNAL, JUNE 8, 1728.
Although he says, 'the smooth numbers of the Dunciad are all that recommend it, nor has it any other merit;' yet that same paper hath these words: the author is allowed to be a perfect master of an easy and elegant versification. In all his works we find the most happy turns, and natural similies, wonderfully short and thick sown.'
The Essay on the Dunciad also owns, p. 25, it is very full of beautiful images. But the panegyric, which crowns all that can be said on this poem, is bestowed by our Laureat,
45 Battle of Poets, folio, p. 15.
46 Printed under the title of The Progress of Dulness, duodecimo, 1728.
MR. COLLEY CIBBER,
who grants it to be a better poem of its kind than ever was writ:' but adds, it was a victory over a parcel of poor wretches, whom it was almost cowardice to conquer :- -a man might as well triumph for having killed so many silly flies that offended him. Could he have let them alone, by this time, poor souls! they had all been buried in oblivion 47.' Here we see our excellent Laureat allows the justice of the satire on every man in it but himself, as the great Mr. Dennis did before him.
MR. DENNIS AND MR. GILDON, in the most furious of all their works, (the forecited Character, p. 5) do in concert 48 confess,
47 Cibber's Letter to Mr. Pope, p. 9, 12.
48 Hear how Mr. Dennis hath proved our mistake in this place: As to my writing in concert with Mr. Gildon, I declare upon the honour and word of a gentleman, that I never wrote so much as one line in concert with any one man whatsoever and these two letters from Gildon will plainly show that we are not writers in concert with each other.
-The height of my ambition is to please men of the best judgment; and finding that I have entertained my master agreeably, I have the extent of the reward of my labour. Sir,
I had not the opportunity of hearing of your excellent pamphlet till this day. I am infinitely satisfied and pleased with it, and hope you will meet with that encouragement your admirable performance deserves, &c.
Now is it not plain that any one who sends such compliments to another, had not been used to write in partnership with him to whom he sends them?' Dennis, Remarks on the Dunciad, p. 50. Mr. Dennis is therefore welcome to take this piece to himself.
⚫ that some men of good understanding value him for his rhymes.' And (p. 17) That he has got, like Mr. Bayes in the Rehearsal, (that is, like Mr. Dryden) a notable knack at rhyming, and writing smooth verse.'
Of his Essay on Man, numerous were the praises bestowed by his avowed enemies, in the imagination that the same was not written by him, as it was printed anonymously.
Thus sang of it even
Auspicious bard! while all admire thy strain,
I, whom no bribe to servile flattery drew,
Thy Muse sublime, significant, and clear,
MR. LEONARD WELSTED
thus wrote to the unknown author, on the first publication of the said Essay: I must own, after the reception which the vilest and most immoral ribaldry hath lately met with, I was surprised to see what I had long despaired, a performance deserving the name of a poet. Such, sir, is your work. It is, indeed, above all commendation, and ought to have been published in an age and country more worthy of it. If my testimony be of weight any where, you are sure to have it in the amplest manner,' &c. &c. &c.
Thus we see every one of his works hath been extolled by one or other of his most inveterate enemies; and to the success of them all, they do
49 In a letter under his hand, dated March 12, 1733.