« PreviousContinue »
made of any of them. And what has he done fince ? He has laughed, and written the DUNCIAD. What has that faid of them? A very serious truth, which the Public had faid before, that they were dull: And what it had no fooner faid, 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 fhould ftill have been filent, if either I had feen any inclination in my friend to be ferious with fuch accufers, or if they had only meddled with his Writings; fince 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 fecure the most innocent; in a manner, which, though it annihilates the credit of the accufation with the juft and impartial, yet aggravates very much the guilt of the accufers; I mean by Authors without names; then I thought, fince the danger was common to all, the concern ought to be fo; 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 feveral years past have made free with the greatest names in Church and State, expofed to the world the private misfortunes of Families, abufed all, even to women, and whose prostituted papers (for one or other Party, in the unhappy divifions of their Coun> try) have infulted the Fallen, the Friendlefs, the Exiled, and the Dead.
Befides this, which I take to be a public concern, I have already confeffed I had a private one,
I am one
VI. On Mev. Coxer, who died of a cancer in
VIL. On the monsters of the Hon. ROBERT Diony, and of his lifter MARY, 1727, Vill, On Sir GODFREY KELLER, in WeminHer abbey,
1X. On General HEERY WITHERS, in Weftminfter abbey,
X. On Mr. ELIJAH FENTON, at Eafthamftead
X1. On Mr. GAY, in Weftminster-abbey, 1732, 3 ́3
X11. Intended for bir ISAAC NEWTON, jn Weft
XII. On Dr. FRANCIS ATTERBURY, Bishop of
died in the nineteenth year of his age, 1735, 365
XV. For one who would not be buried in Weft
of that number who have long loved and esteemed Mr. POPE; and had often declared it was not his capacity or writings, (which we ever thought the leaft valuable part of his character,) but the honeft, open, and beneficent man, that we moft efteemed, and loved in him. Now, if what these people say were believed, I must appear to all my friends either a fool, or a knave; either imposed on myself, or impofing on them; fo that I am as much interested in the confutation of thefe calumnies, as he is himself.
I am no Author, and confequently not to be suspected either of jealoufy or refentment against any of the Men, of whom scarce one is known to me by fight; and as for their Writings, I have fought them (on this one occafion) in vain, in the clofets and libraries of all my acquaintance. I had ftill been in the dark, if a Gentleman had not procured me (I fuppofe from fome of themselves, for they are generally much more dangerous friends than enemies) the paffages I fend you. I folemnly protest I have added nothing to the malice or abfurdity of them; which it behoves me to declare, fince the vouchers themselves will be fo foon and fo irrecoverably loft. You may in some measure prevent it, by preferving at least their Titles a, and discovering (as far as you can depend on the truth of your information) the Names of the concealed authors.
The first objection I have heard made to the Poem is, that the perfons are too obfcure for fatire. The per
a Which we have done in a Lift printed in the Appendix.
fons themselves, rather than allow the objection, would forgive the fatire; and if one could be tempted to afford it a ferious answer, were not all affaffinates, popudar infurrections, the infolence of the rabble without doors, and of domeftics within, moft wrongfully chaftifed, if the Meannefs of offenders indemnified them from punishment? On the contrary, Obfcurity renders them more dangerous, as less thought of: Law can pronounce judgment only on open facts: Morality alone can pass cenfure on intentions of Mischief; so that for fecret calumny, or the arrow flying in the dark, there is no public punishment left, but what a good Writer inflicts.
The next objection is, that these fort of authors are poor. That might be pleaded as an excuse at the Old Bailey, for leffer crimes than Defamation (for it is the cafe of almost all who are tried there), but fure it can be none here: for who will pretend that the robbing another of his Reputation fupplies the want of it in himself? I queftion not but such authors are poor, and heartily with the objection were removed by any honeft livelihood. But Poverty is here the accident, not the subject: He who describes Malice and Vilainy to be pale and meagre, expreffes not the least anger against Paleness or Leannefs, but against Malice and Villainy. The Apothecary in Romeo and Juliet is poor; but is he therefore juftified in vending poison? Not but Poverty itself becomes a just subject of fatire, when it is the confequence of vice, prodigality, or neglect of one's lawful calling; for then it increases