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a Dæmon: for thus Mr. Gildon": "Certain it is, "that his original is not from Adam, but the Devil; "and that he wanteth nothing but horns and tail to

be the exact refemblance of his infernal father." Finding, therefore, fuch contrariety of opinions, and (whatever be ours of this fort of generation) not being fond to enter into controverfy, we fhall defer writing the life of our poet, 'till authors can determine among themselves what parents or education he had, or whether he had any education or parents at all.

Proceed we to what is more certain, his Works, tho' not lefs uncertain the judgments concerning them; beginning with his ESSAY on CRITICISM, of which hear firft the moft antient of critics.


His precepts are falfe or trivial, or both; his "thoughts are crude and abortive, his expreffions ab"furd, his numbers harsh and unmufical, his rhymes trivial and common;-inftead of majefty, we have fomething that is very mean; instead of gravity, fomething that is very boyish; and instead of perfpi"cuity and lucid order, we have but too often obfcu

rity and confufion." And in another place: "What 6:6 rare numbers are here! Would not one fwear that this youngfter had efpoufed fome antiquated mufe, who had "fued out a divorce from fome fuperannuated finner,

upon account of impotence, and who, being poxed by "the former fpoufe, has got the gout in her decrepid age, which makes her hobble fo damnably."

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n Character of Mr. P. and his Writings, in a Letter to a Friend, printed for S. Popping, 1716, p. 10. Curl, in his Key to the Dunciad (first edit. faid to be priated for A. Dodd) in the roth page, declared Gildon to be au thor of that libel; though in the fubfequent editions of his K-y he left out this affertion, and affirmed (in the Curliad, p. 4. and 8.) that it was written by Dennis only.

o Reflections critical and fatirical on a Rhapfody, called, An Effay on ticifm. Printed for Bernard Lintot, octavo.





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No lefs peremptory is the cenfure of our hypercritical hiftorian,


"I dare not say any thing of the Effay on Criticism "in verse; but if any more curious reader has difco"vered in it fomething new which is not in Dryden's "prefaces, dedications, and his effay on dramatic poe"try, not to mention the French critics, 1 should be "very glad to have the benefit of the discovery "."

He is followed (as in fame, fo in judgment) by the modeft and fimple-minded


Who, out of great refpect to our poet, not naming him, doth yet glance at his Effay, together with the duke of Buckingham's, and the Criticisms of Dryden, and of Horace, which he more openly taxeth : "As to the "numerous treatifes, effays, arts, &c. both in verfe and "profe, that have been written by the moderns on this "ground-work, they do but hackney the fame thoughts over "again, making them ftill more trite. Moft of their pieces are nothing but a pert infipid heap of common place. Ho"race has even in his Art of Poetry thrown out feveral things which plainly fhew, he thought an Art of Poetry was of no use, even while he was writing one.” To all which great authorities, we can only oppofe


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"The Art of Criticism (faith he) which was published "fome months fince, is a mafter-piece in its kind. "The observations follow one another like thofe in Ho"race's Art of Poetry, without that methodical regula"rity which would have been requifite in a profe writer.

p Essay on Criticism in prose, octavo, 1728, by the author of the Critical Hiftory of England.

q Preface to his Poems, p, 18, 53a

r Spectator, No. 253.


They are fome of them uncommon, but fuch as the rea❝der muft affent to, when he fees them explained with "that ease and perfpicuity in which they are delivered. "As for those which are the most known and the most re

ceived, they are placed in fo beautiful a light, and illuftrated with fuch apt allufions, that they have in "them all the graces of novelty; and make the reader, "who was before acquainted with them, ftill more con"vinced of their truth and folidity. And here give me "leave to mention what Monfieur Boileau has fo well "enlarged upon in the preface to his works: that wit

and fine writing doth not confift so much in advanc"ing things that are new, as in giving things that are "known an agreeable turn. It is impoffible for us who

live in the latter ages of the world, to make obferva❝tions in criticifm, morality, or any art or science,

which have not been touched upon by others; we "have little elfe left us, but to represent the common

fenfe of mankind in more ftrong, more beautiful, or "more uncommon lights. If a reader examines Ho❝race's Art of Poetry, he will find but few precepts in "it which he may not meet with in Ariftotle, and which "were not commonly known by all the poets of the << Auguftan age, His way of expreffing, and applying "them, not his invention of them, is what we are "chiefly to admire.

“Longinus, in his reflections, has given us the fame "kind of fublime, which he obferves in the feveral paf"fages that occafioned them: I cannot but take notice "that our English author has after the fame manner ex"emplified feveral of the precepts in the very precepts "themselves." He then produces fome inftances of a particular beauty in the numbers, and concludes with. faying, that "there are three poems in our tongue of "the fame nature, and each a mafter-piece in its kind: "the Effay on Tranflated Verfe; Effay on the Art of "Poetry; and the Effay on Criticism,"

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Of WINDSOR FOREST, pofitive is the judgment of the affirmative


"That it is a wretched rhapsody, impudently writ in emulation of the Cooper's Hill of Sir John Den"ham: the author of it is obfcure, is ambiguous, is af"fected, is temerarious, is barbarous."

But the author of the Dispensary',



in the preface to his poem of Claremont, differs from this opinion: "Those who have feen those two excellent 66 poems of Cooper's Hill, and Windfor Foreft, the one "written by Sir John Denhan, the other by Mr. Pope, will fhew a great deal of candor if they approve of this."

Of the Epiftle of ELors A, we are told by the obscure writer of a poem called Sawney, "That because Prior's "Henry and Emma charmed the fineft taftes, our au"thor writ his Eloifa in oppofition to it; but forgot in"nocence and virtue: if you take away her tender thoughts, and her fierce defires, all the reft is of no "value." In which, methinks, his judgment refembleth that of a French taylor on a villa and gardens by the Thames "All this is very fine; but take away the "river, and it is good for nothing."


But very contrary hereunto was the opinion of


Mr. himself, faying in his Alma ".


O Abelard! ill-fated youth,
Thy tale will justify this truth:
But well I weet, thy cruel wrong
Adorns a nobler poet's fong:

f Letter to B. B. at the end of the Remarks on Pope's Homer, 1717.

t Printed 1728, p. 12. u Alma, Cant. 2.


Dan Pope, for thy misfortune griev'd,
With kind concern and skill has weav'd
A filken web; and ne'er fhall fade
Its colours: gently has he laid

The mantle o'er thy fad diftrefs,

And Venus fhall the texture bless, &c.

Come we now to his tranflation of the ILIAD, celebrated by numerous pens, yet fhall it fuffice to mention the indefatigable

Sir RICHARD BLACKMORE, Kt. Who (though otherwise a fevere cenfurer of our author) yet ftileth this a "laudable tranflation ":" That ready writer



in his forementioned Effay, frequently commends the fame. And the painful



thus extols it, "The fpirit of Homer breathes all "through this tranflation.-I am in doubt, whether I "should moft admire the juftnefs of the original, or the "force and beauty of the language, or the founding va

riety of the numbers: but when I find all these meet, "it puts me in mind of what the poet fays of one of his "heroes, That he alone raised and flung with ease a "weighty ftone, that two common men could not lift "from the ground; just so, one fingle perfon has per"formed in this tranflation, what I once despaired to "have seen done by the force of several masterly hands.” Indeed the fame gentleman appears to have changed his fentiment in his Effay on the Art of finking in reputation, (printed in Mift's Journal, March 30, 1728.) where he fays thus: "In order to fink in reputation, let him "take it into his head to defcend into Homer (let the "world wonder, as it will, how the devil he got there)

w In his Effays, vol. 1. printed for E. Curl.

x Cenfor, vol. 2. p. 33.


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