« السابقةمتابعة »
E Mighty Mother, and her Son, who
brings The Smithfield Muses to the ear of
Kings, I sing. Say you, her instruments the Great!
1 The Dunciad, sic MS. It may well be disputed whether this be a right reading : Ought it not rather to be spelled Dunceiad, as the Etymology evidently demands? Dunce with an e, therefore Dunceiad with an e. That accurate and punctual Man of Letters, the restorer of Shakespear, constantly observes the preservation of this very Letter e, in spelling the Name of his beloved Author, and not like his common careless Editors, with the omission of one, nay, sometimes of two ee's (as Shakspear) which is utterly unpardonable. “Nor is the neglect of a Single Letter so trivial as to some it may appear; the alteration whereof in a learned language is an Achievement that brings honour to the Critic who advances it; and Dr. Pentley will be remembered to posterity for his performances of this sort, as long as the world shall have any esteem for the remains of Menander and Philemon.”—Theobald.-P.
This poem was written in 1726. In the next year an imperfect Edition was published at Dublin, and reprinted at London in 12mo ; another at Dublin, and
Called to this work by Dulness, Jove, and Fate;3 You by whose care, in vain decried and cursed, Still Dunce the second reigns like Dunce the first; 4
6 Say, how the Goddess bade Britannia sleep, And poured her Spirit o'er the land and deep.
In eldest time, ere mortals writ or read, Ere Pallas issued from the Thunderer's head, 10 Dulness o*er all possessed her ancient right, Daughter of Chaos and eternal Night :'
another at London in 8vo; and three others in 12mo the same year. But there was no perfect Edition before that of London in 4to; which was attended with Notes. We are willing to acquaint Posterity, that this Poem was presented to King George II. and his Queen, by the hands of Sir Robert Walpole, on the 12th of March, 1728-9.-Schol. Vet.-P.' w. (Pope and Warburton.).
For some account of the Dunciad see the Memoir prefixed to these volumes, pp. Xxx-xxxiii. It may here be remarked that the commentary which accompanies the poem was intended to parody the criticisms of Bentley and his school. This commentary has been considerably curtailed in the present edition.
2 Smithfield is the place where Bartholomew Fair was kept, whose shows, machines, and dramatical entertainments, formerly agreeable only to the taste of the rabble, were, by the Hero of this poem and others of equal genius, brought to the theatres of Covent Garden, Lincoln's-inn-fields, and the Haymarket, to be the reigning pleasures of the Court and Town. This happened in the reigns of King George I. and II. See Book iii.-P.
3 i.e. by their Judgments, their Interests and their Inclinations.- Warburton.
4 Alluding to a verse of Mr. Dryden, not in Mac Fleckno (as is said ignorantly in the Key to the Dunciad, p. i.), but in his verses to Mr. Congreve, “And Tom the second reigns like Tom the first.”—P.
5 The beauty of this whole Allegory being purely of the poetical kind, we think it not our proper busi
Fate in their dotage this fair Idiot gave,
Still her old Empire to restore she tries, 7 For, born a Goddess, Dulness never dies.
0 Thou! whatever title please thine ear, Dean, Drapier, Bickerstaff, or Gulliver !? '20 Whether thou choose Cervantes' serious air, Or laugh and shake in Rabelais' easy chair, Or praise the Court, or magnify Mankind, Or thy grieved Country's copper chains an
bind; From thy Boeotia though her Power retires, 25 Mourn not, my SWIFT, at aught our Realm
acquires. Here pleased behold her mighty wings out
spread - To hatch a new Saturnian age of Léad.*
ness, as a Scholiast, to meddle with it; but leave it (as we shall in general all such) to the reader, remarking only that Chaos (according to Hesiod's Okoyovía) was the Progenitor of all the Gods.—Scriblerus.-P.
1 A parody on a verse of Dryden, Æn. vii. 1044 : “Famed as his sire, and as his mother fair.”
Wakefield. 2 The several Names and Characters he assumed in his ludicrous, his splenetic, or his Party-writings ; which take in all his works. -Warburton.
3 Ironice, alluding to Gulliver's representations of both.—The next line relates to the papers of the Drapier against the currency of Wood's Copper coin in Ireland, which, upon the great discontent of the People, his Majesty was graciously pleased to recall. - P.
4 The ancient Golden Age is by Poets styled Saturnian, as being under the reign of Saturn; but in the Cheinical language Saturn is lead.-P. W.
1. Close to those walls where Folly holds her
throne, And laughs to think Monroe would take her
down, Where o'er the gates, by his famed father's
hand, Great Cibber's brazen, brainless brothers stand;One cell there is, concealed from vulgar eye, The Cave of Poverty and Poetry Keen, hollow winds howl through the bleak
recess, Emblem of Music caused by Emptiness. Hence Bards, like Proteus long in vain tied
down, Escape in Monsters, and amaze the town. Hence Miscellanies spring, the weekly boast Of Curl's chaste press, and Lintot's rubric post:*
1 A physician at Bedlam.
2 Mr. Caius Gabriel Cibber, father of the Poet Laureate. The two Statues of the Lunatics over the gates of Bedlam Hospital were done by him, and (as the son justly says of them) are no ill monuments of his fame as an Artist.-P. W.
3 I cannot here omit a reflection that will greatly endear the Author to every one, who shall attentively observe that Humanity and Candour, which everywhere appears in him towards those unhappy objects of the ridicule of all mankind, the bad Poets. He here imputes all scandalous rhymes, scurrilous weekly papers, base flatteries, wretched elegies, songs, and verses (even from those sung at Court to ballads in the streets), not so much to malice or servility as to Dulness ; and not so much to Dulness as to Necessity. And thus, at the very commencement of his Satire, makes an apology for all that are to be satirized.-P. W.
4 Two booksellers, of whom see Book ii. The former was fined by the Court of King's Bench for publishing obscene Books; the latter usually adorned his shop with titles in red letters.-P.
Hence hymning Tyburn's elegiac lines, 41 Hence Journals, Medleys, Merc'ries, MAGA
ZINES : 2 Sepulchral Lies, our holy walls to grace, And New-year Odes, and all the Grub-street
race. In clouded Majesty * here Dulness shone; 45 Four guardian Virtues, round, support her
throne: Fierce champion Fortitude, that knows no fears Of hisses, blows, or want, or loss of ears : ' Calm Temperance, whose blessings those par
take Who hunger and who thirst for scribbling sake:
“Genus unde Latinum, Albanique patres, atque alta mania Romæ.”—
Virg. Æn. i. It is an ancient English custom for the Malefactors to sing a Psalm at their execution at Tyburn; and no less customary to print Elegies on their deaths, at the same time, or before.-P.
2 The common name of those upstart collections in prose and verse ; in which, at some times,
“New-born nonsense first is taught to cry ;” at others, dead-born Scandal has its monthly funeral; where Dulness assumes all the various shapes of Folly to draw in and cajole the Rabble. The eruption of every miserable Scribbler ; the scum of every dirty News-paper; or fragments of fragments, picked up from every dunghill, under the title of Papers, Essays, Reflections, Confutations, Queries, Verses, Songs, Epigrams, Riddles, &c., equally the disgrace of human Wit, Morality, Decency, and Common Sense.-P. W.
3 Is a just satire on the Flatteries and Falsehoods admitted to be inscribed on the walls of Churches in Epitaphs.-P. W.
Rising in clouded majesty.”—Milton, Bookiv.--P. 5 “Quem neque pauperies, neque mors, neque vin
- The moon