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WHEREAS certain Haberdashers of Points and Particles, being instigated by the spirit of Pride, and asluming to thems selves the name of Critics and Reftorers, have taken upon them to adulterate the common aud current sense of our Glorious Ancestors, Poets of this Realm, by clipping, coining, defacing the images, miring their own base allay, or other, wise falsifying the same; which they publish, utter, and vend as genuine Che said haberdashers having no right thereto, as neitheir heirs, executors, administrators, assigns, or in any fort related to such Poets, to all or any of them: Now We, having carefully revised this our Dunciad, beginning with the words The Mighty Mother, and ending with the words buries All, contaming the entice sum of One thoufand
I Read thus confidently, instead of “ beginning with the word Books, and ending with the word fles," as formerly it stood: Read alfo,"containing "the entire fum of one thousand, Seven hundred, and fifty-four verses," inftead of "one thousand and twelve lines;" fuch being the initial and final words, and fuch the true and entire contents of this poem.
Thou art to know, reader! that the firft Edition thereof, like that of Milton, was never feen by the Author (though living and not blind :) The Editor himself confefs'd as much in his preface: And no two poems were ever published in fo arbitrary a manner. The Editor of this, had as boldly fuppreffed whole Paffages, yea the entire last book, as the Editor of Paradise Loft, added and augmented. Milton himself gave but ten books, his Editor twelve; this Author gave four books. his Editor only three. But we have happily done juftice to both; and prefume we shall live, in this our last labour, as long as in any of our others.
feven hundred and fifty-four verfes, declare every word, kgure, point, and comma of this impression to be authentic; And do therefore strictly enjoin and forbid any person or persons whatfoever, to erase, reverse, put between hooks, or by any other means, directly or indirectly, change or mangle any of them. And we do hereby earnestly exhort all our brethren to follow this our example, which we heartily with our great Predes ressors had heretofore set, as a remedy and prevention of all such abuses. Provided always, that nothing in this Declara tion fhall be conftrued to limit the lawful and undoubted right of every subject of this Healw, to judge, censure, or condemn, in the whole or in part, any Poem or Poet whatsos eber.
Given under our hand at London, this third day of January, in the year of our Lord One thousand seven hundred thirty and two.
Declarat' cor' me,
PRE FAC E
Prefixed to the five firft imperfect Editions of the DUNCIAD, in three books, printed at DUBLIN and LONDON, in octavo and duodecimo, 1727.
The PUBLISHER' to the READER.
T will be found a true obfervation, tho' fomewhat furprizing, that when any scandal is vented against a man of the highest diftinction and character, either in the ftate or literature, the public in general afford it a moft quiet reception; and the larger part accept it as favourably as if it were fome kindness done to themselves : whereas if a known fcoundrel or blockhead but chance to be touched upon, a whole legion is up in arms, and S s 2 it
Who he was is uncertain; but Edward Ward tells us, in his preface to Durgen, "that most judges are of opinion this preface is not of English "extraction, but Hibernian," etc. He means it was written by Dr. Swift, who, whether publisher or not, may be faid in a fort to be author of the poem. For when he, together with Mr. Pope (for reafons fpecified in the preface to their Mifcellanies) determined to own the most trifling pieces in which they had any hand, and to destroy all that remained in their power; the first sketch of this poem was fnatched from the fire by Dr. Swift, who perfuaded his friend to proceed in it, and to him it was therefore inferibed. But the occafion of printing it was as follows:
There was published in thofe Mifcellanies, a Treatife of the Bathos, or Art of Sinking in Poetry, in which was a chapter, where the species of bad writers where ranged in claffes, and initial letters of names prefixed, for the most part at random. But fuch was the Number of Poets eminent in that
it becomes the common caufe of all fcribblers, booksellers, and printers whatsoever.
Not to fearch too deeply into the reafon hereof I will only obferve as a fact, that every week for these two months paft, the town has been perfecuted with pamphlets, advertisements, letters, and weekly effays, not only against the wit and writings, but against the character and perfon of Mr. Pope. And that of all thofe men who have received pleasure from his works, which by modeft computation may be about a hundred thousand in thefe kingdoms of England and Ireland; (not to mention Jersey, Guernfey, the Orcades, thofe in the new
art, that fome one or other took every letter to himfelf. All fell into fo violent a fury, that for half a year, or more, the common News-papers (in most of which they had fome property, as ben, hired writers) were filled with the most abufive falfhoods and fcurrilities they could poibly devife; a liberty no ways to be wondered at in thofe people, and in thofe papers, that, for many years, during the uncontrolled Licenfe of the prefs, had afperfed almost all the great characters of the age; and this with impunity, their own perfons and names being utterly fecret and obfcure. This gave Mr. Pope the thought, that he had now fome opportunity of doing good, by detecting and dragging into light thefe common Enemies of mankind; fince to invalidate this univerfal flander, it fufficed to fhew what contemptible men were the authors of it. He was not without hopes, that by manifesting the dulness of those who had only malice to recommend them; either the bookfellers would not find their account in employing them, or the men themselves, when difcovered, want courage to proceed in fo unlawful an occupation. This it was that gave birth to the Dunciad; and he thought it an happiness, that by the late flood of flander on himself, he had acquired fich a peculiar right over their Names as was neceffary to his defign.
2 See the Lift of those anonymous papers, with their dates and authors annexed, inferted before the Poem.
3 It is furprising with what ftupidity this preface, which is almost a con. tinued irony, was taken by thofe authors. All fuch paffages as these were understood by Curl, Cook, Cibber, and others, to be ferious. Hear the Laureate (Letter to Mr. Pope, p. 9.) "Tho' I grant the Dunciad a better poem "of its kind than ever was writ; yet, when I read it with those vain-glorious " encumbrances of Notes and remarks upon it, etc.-it is amazing, that
you, who have writ with much mailerly spirit upon the ruling paffion, fhould be fo blind a flave to your own, as not to see how far a low avarice of Praife, etc." (taking it for granted that the notes of Scribierus and others, were the author's own.)