Imágenes de página

a soul as a mad Indian, who runs a-muck to kill the first Christian he meets 37. Another gives information of treason discovered in his poem 38. Mr. Curl boldly supplies an imperfect verse with kings and princesses 39; and one Matthew Con. canen, yet more impudent, publishes at length the two most sacred names in this nation as members of the Dunciad 40!

This is prodigious! yet it is almost as strange that, in the midst of these invectives, his greatest enemies have (I know not how) borne testimony to some merit in him.

MR. THEOBALD, in censuring his Shakspeare, declares," he has so great an esteem for Mr. Pope, and so high an opinion of his genius and excellencies, that notwithstanding he professes a veneration almost rising to idolatry for the writings of this inimitable poet, he would be very loth even to do him justice at the expense of that other gentleman's character 4!!

MR. CHARLES GILDON, after having violently attacked him in many pieces, at last came to wish from his heart, • that Mr. Pope would be prevailed upon to give us Ovid's

37 Preface to Remarks on the Rape of the Lock, p. 12, and in the last page of that treatise.

S8 Pages 6, 7, of the Preface, by Concanen, to a book entitled, A Collection of all the Letters, Essays, Verses, and Advertisements, occasioned by Pope and Swift's Miscellapies. Printed for A. Moore, octavo, 1714.

$9 Key to the Dunciad, 3d edition, p. 18. 40 A List of Persons, &c. at the end of the fore-mentioned Collection of all the Letters, Essays, &c.

11 latroduction to Sbakspeare Restored, in quarto, p. 3.

Epistles by bis hand; for it is certain we see the original of Sappho to Phaon with much more life and likeness in his version than in that of Sir Car Scrope. And this (he adds) is the more to be wished, because in the English tongue we have scarce any thing truly and naturally written upon Love 42. He also, in taxing Sir Richard Blackmore for his heterodox opinions of Homer, challenges him to answer what Mr. Pope hath said in his preface to that poet.

MR. OLDMÍXON calls him a great master of our tongue; declares

the purity and perfection of the English language to be found in his Homer; and, saying there are more good verses in Dryden's Virgil than in any other work, except this of our author only 43.

THE AUTHOR OF A LETTER TO MR. CIRBER says 4+, Pope was so good a versifier sonce] that his predecessor Mr. Dryden, and his contemporary Mr. Prior excepted, the harmony of his numbers is equal to any body's; and that he had all the merit that a man can have that way. And

MR. THOMAS COOKE, after much blemishing our author's Homer, crieth ont,

• But in bis other works wbat beauties shine,
While sweetest music dwells in every line!
These be admir'd, on these he stamp'd his praise,
And bade them live to brighten future days 45.

42 Commentary on the Duke of Buckingham's Essay, sro. 1721, p. 97, 98.

43 In his prose Essay on Criticism. 44 Printed by J. Roberts, 1749, p. il. 45 Battle of Poets, folio, p. 15.

So also one who takes the name of

H. STANHOPE, the maker of certain verses to Duncan Campbell, in that poem 46, which is wholly a satire on Mr. Pope, confesseth, • Tis true, if finest notes alone could show

(Tun'd justly high, or regularly low)
That we should fame to these mere vocals give;
Pope more than we can offer should receive :
For when some glidipg river is his theme,
His lines run smoother than the smoothest stream,' &c.

MIST'S JOURNAL, JUNE 8, 1728. Although he says, “the smooth numbers of the Dunciad are all that recommend it, nor has it any other merit;' yet that same paper hath these words : 'the author is allowed to be a perfect master of an easy and elegant versification. In all his works we find the most happy turns, and natoral similies, wonderfully short and thick sown.'

The Essay on the Dunciad also owns, p. 25, it is very full of beautiful images. But the panegyric, which crowns all that can be said on this poem, is bestowed by our Laureat,

MR. COLLEY CIBBER, who grants it to be a better poem of its kind than ever was writ:' but adds, it was a victory over a parcel of poor wretches, whom it was almost cowardice to conquer :--a man might as well triumph for having killed so many silly flies that offended him. Could he have let them alone, by this time, poor souls! they had all been buried in

48 Printed under the title of the Progress of Dulness, dnodeciino, 1728.

oblivion 47. Here we see our excellent Laureat allows the justice of the satire on every man in it but himself, as the great Mr. Dennis did before him. · The said

MR. DENNIS AND MR. GILDON, in the most furious of all their works, (the forecited Character, p. 5) do in concert 48 confess, " that some men of good understanding value bim for his rhymes. And (p. 17) · That he has got, like Mr. Bayés in the Rehearsal, (that is, like Mr. Dryden) a notable knack at rhyming, and writing smooth verse.

Of bis Essay on Man, numerous were the praises bestowed by his avowed enemies, in the imagina

47 Cibber's Letter to Mr. Pope, p. 9. 12.

48 Hear how Mr. Dennis hath proved our mistake in this place: "As to my writing in concert with Mr. Gildon, I declare upon the honou and word of a gentleman, that never wrote so much as one line in concert with any one man whatsoever: and these two letters from Gildon will plainly show that we are not writers in concert with each other.


--The height of my ambition is to please men of the best judgment; and finding tbat I have entertained my master agreeably, I have the extent of the reward of my labour.

Sir, I had not the opportunity of hearing of your excellent pamphlet till this day. I am infinitely satisfied and pleased with it, and hope you will meet with that encouragement your admirable performance deserves, &c.

CH. GILDON. * Now is it not plain that any one who sends such compliments to another, has not been used to write in partner. ship with him to whom he sends them ?' Dennis, Remarks on the Dunciad, p. 50. Mr. Dennis is therefore welcome to take this piece to himself.

tion that the same was not written by him, as it was printed anonymously.

Thus sang of it even

< Anspicions bard! while all admire thy strain,
All but the selfish, ignorant, and vain ;
I. whom no bribe to servile flattery drew,
Must pay the tribute to tby merit due ;
Thy Muse sublime, significat, and clear,
Alike informs the soul, and charins the ear.'



thus wrote 49 to the unknown author, on the first publication of the said Essay: 'I must own, after the reception which the vilest and most immoral ribaldry hath lately met with, I was surprised to see what I had long despaired, a performance deserving the name of a poet. Such, sir, is your work. It is, indeed, above all commendation, and ought to have been published in an age and country more worthy of it. If my testimony be of weight any where, you are sure to have it in the amplest manner,' &c. &c. &c.

Thus we see every one of his works hath been extolled by one or other of his most inveterate enemies; and to the success of them all, they do unanimously give testimony. But it is sufficient, instur omnium, to behold the great critic, Mr. Dennis, sorely lamenting it, even from the Essay on Criticism to this day of the Dunciad! “A most notorious instance (quoth he) of the depravity of

49 In a letter under his band, dated March 12, 1733.

« AnteriorContinuar »