« PreviousContinue »
T is with pleasure I hear, that you have procured a
of the DUNCIAD, which the many furreptitious ones have rendered so necessary; and it is yet with more, that I am informed it will be attended with a CommenTARY: A work fo requisite, that I cannot think the Author himself would have omitted it, had he approved of the first appearance of this Poem.
Such Notes as have occurred to me I herewith fend you : You will oblige me by inserting them amongst those which are, or will be, transmitted to you by others; since not only the Author's friends, but even strangers, appear engaged by humanity, to take some care of an Orphan of so much genius and spirit, which its parent seems to have abandoned from the very beginning, and suffered to step into the world naked, unguarded, and unattended.
It was upon reading some of the abusive papers lately published, that my great regard to a Person, whose Friendship I esteem as one of the chief honours of my life, and a much greater respect to Truth, than to him or any man living, engaged me in inquiries, of which the inclosed Notes are the fruit.
I perceived, th: most of these Authors had been (doubtless very wisely), the first aggressors. They had tried, till they were weary, what was to be got by railing at each other : Nobody was either concerned or surprized, if this or that scribbler was proved a dunce. But every one was curious to read what could be said to prove Mr. Pope one, and was ready to pay fomething for such a discovery: A stratagem, which would they fairly own, it might not only reconcile them to me, but screen them from the resentment of their lawful Superiors, whom they daily abuse, only (as I charitably hope) to get that by them, which they cannnot get from them.
I found this was not all: Ill success in that had tranfported them to personal abuse, either of himself, or (what I think he could less forgive) of his Friends. They had called Men of virtue and honour bad Men, long before he had either leisure or inclination to call them bad Writers : And some had been such old offenders, that he had quite forgotten their persons as well as their slanders, till they were pleased to revive them.
Now what had Mr. Pope done before, to incenfe them? He had published those works which are in the liands of every body, in which not the least mention is
made of any of them. And what has he done since ? He has laughed, and written the Dunciad. What has that said of them? A very serious truth, which the Public had said before, that they were dull: And what it had no sooner said, but they themselves were at great pains to procure, or even purchase room in the prints, to testify under their hands to the truth of it.
I should still have been filent, if either I had seen any inclination in my friend to be serious with such accusers, or if they had only meddled with his Writings; since whoever publishes, puts himself on his trial by his Country. But when his Moral character was attacked, and in a manner from which neither truth nor virtue can secure the most innocent; in a manner, which, though it annihilates the credit of the accusation with the just and impartial, yet aggravates very much the guilt of the accusers ; I mean by Authors without names; then I thought, since the danger was common to all, the concern ought to be so; and that it was an act of justice to detect the Authors, not only on this account, but as many of them are the fame who for several years past have made free with the greatest names in Church and State, exposed to the world the private misfortunes of Families, abused all, even to women, and whose prostituted papers (for one or other Party, in the unhappy divisions of their Country) have insulted the Fallen, the Friendless, the Exiled, and the Dead.
Besides this, which I take to be a public concern, I have already confessed I had a private one, I am one
VI. (14 Vrs,1,4,7377, hotel É a car in 1*14*,
360 V1, On the mm stier of the Hon. ROZLIT
114*1,14 tis for Muzi, 1727, V111, lot fait (1404427 KOLLL22, in Weimis
ib. XI, on Mr. Car, in Westminster-abbey, 1732, 3'3 Another,
iv. XII. Intended for bir Isaac Newton, in Westminster Abbey,
364 XIII. On Dr. H'HANCIS ATTERBURY, Bishop of
Rochester, who died in exile at Paris 1732,
ib. XIV. OM EDMUND Duke of Buckingham, who
Hund in the mineteenth year of his age, 1735, 365 XV, he who would not be buried in Wett
unter alias Anored on the taniny,
ib. 1. Io Candi fp:castle TONS :ument,
987 the MANN WERDE,