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There have been fince published,
Verfes on the Imitator of Horace. By a Lady [or between a Lady, a Lord, and a Court-'Squire.] Printed for J. Roberts, folio.
An Epiftle from a Nobleman to a Doctor of Divinity, from Hampton-court [Lord Hy.] Printed for J. Roberts alfo, folio.
A Letter from Mr. Cibber to Mr. Pope. Printed for W. Lewis in Covent-Garden, oftavo.
To the FIRST EDITION with Notes, in Quarto, 1729.
IT T will be fufficient to say of this edition, that the reader has here a much more correct and complete copy of the DUNCIAD, than has hitherto appeared. I cannot answer but some mistakes may have flipt into it, but a vaft number of others will be prevented by the names being now not only fet at length, but juftified by the authorities and reafons given. I make no doubt, the author's own motive to use real rather than feigned names, was his care to preferve the innocent from any falfe application; whereas in the former editions, which had no more than the initial letters, he was made, by keys printed here, to hurt the inoffenfive; and (what was worfe) to abuse his friends, by an impreffion at Dublin,
The commentary which attends this poem was sent me from several hands, and consequently must be unequally written; yet will have one advantage over moft commentaries, that it is not made upon conjectures, or at a remote diftance of time: and the reader cannot but derive one pleasure from the very Obfcurity of the persons it treats of, that it partakes of the nature of a Secret, which most people love to be let into, tho' the men or the things be ever fo inconfiderable or trivial.
Of the Perfons it was judged proper to give fome account for fince it is only in this monument that they muft expect to furvive (and here furvive they will, as long as the English tongue fhall remain fuch as it was in the reigns of Queen ANNE and King GEORGE) it feemed but humanity to beftow a word or two upon each, just to tell what he was, what he writ, when he lived, and when he died.
If a word or two more are added upon the chief offenders, 'tis only as a paper pinned upon the breaft, to mark the enormities for which they suffered; left the correction only fhould be remembered, and the crime forgotten.
In fome articles it was thought fufficient, barely to transcribe from Jacob, Curl, and other writers of their own rank, who were much better acquainted with them than any of the authors of this comment can pretend to be. Moft of them had drawn each other's characters on certain occafions; but the few here inferted are all that could be faved from the genera deftruction of such works.
Of the part of Scriblerus I need say nothing; his manner is well enough known, and approved by all but those who are too much concerned to be judges.
The imitations of the Ancients are added, to gratify those who either never read, or may have forgotten them; together with fome of the parodies and allufions to the most excellent of the Moderns. If, from the frequency of the former, any man thinks the poem too anuch a Cento, our poet will but appear to have done the fame thing in jeft which Boileau did in earneft; and upon which Vida, Fracaftorius, and many of the moft eminent Latin poets, profeffedly value themfelves.
To the FIRST EDITION of
The FOURTH Bсok of the DUNCIAD, when printed separately in the Year 1742.
WE apprehend it can be deemed no injury to the au
thor of the three firft books of the Dunciad, thať we publish this Fourth. It was found merely by accident, in taking a furvey of the Library of a late eminent nobleman; but in fo blotted a condition, and in fo many detached pieces, as plainly fhewed it to be not only incorrect, but unfinished. That the author of the three firft books had a defign to extend and complete his poem in this manner, appears from the differtation prefixed to it, where it is faid, that the defign is more extenfive, and that we may expect other episodes to complete it: And from the declaration in the argument to the third book, that the accom→ plishment of the prophefies therein would be the theme hereafter of a greater Dunciad. But whether or no he be the author of this, we declare ourselves ignorant. If he be, we are no more to be blamed for the publication of it, than Tucca and Varius for that of the laft fix books of the Eneid, tho' perhaps inferior to the former.
If any perfon be poffeffed of a more perfect copy of this work, or of any other fragments of it, and will communicate them to the publisher, we shall make the next edition more complete: In which we also promise to infert any Criticisms that fhall be published (if at all to the purpose) with the Names of the Authors; or any letters fent us (tho' not to the purpose) fhall yet be printed under the title of Epiftola Obfcurorum Virorum; which, together with fome others of the fame kind formerly laid by for that end, may make no unpleasant addition to the future impreffions of this poem.
To the complete EDITION of 1743.
HAVE long had a defign of giving fome fort of Notes. on the works of this poet. Before I had the happinefs of his acquaintance, I had written a commentary on his Effay on Man, and have fince finished another on the Efay on Criticism. There was one already on the Dunciad, which had met with general approbation: but I fill thought fome additions were wanting (of a more ferious kind) to the humorous notes of Scriblerus, and even to those written by Mr. Cleland, Dr. Arbuthnot, and others. I had lately the pleasure to pafs fome months with the author in the country, where 1 prevailed upon him to do what I had long defired, and favour me with his explanation of feveral paffages in his works. It happened, that juft at that juncture was published a ridiculous book against him, full of perfonal Reflections, which furnish'd him with a lucky opportunity of improving This Poem, by giving it the only thing it wanted, a more confiderable Hero. He was always fenfible of its defect in that particular, and owned he had let it pass with the Hero it had, purely for want of a better, not entertaining the leaft expectation that fuch an one was reserved for this Poft, as has fince obtained the Laurel: But fince that had happened, he could no longer deny this juftice either to him or the Dunciad.
And yet 1 will venture to fay, there was another motive which had ftill more weight with our Author: This perfon was one, who from every Folly (not to fay Vice) of which another would be afhamed, has conftantly derived a Vanity; and therefore was the man in the world who would leaft be hurt by it.