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THE proposition, the invocation, and the inscription.
Then the original of the great empire of Dulness, and cause of the continuance thereof. The college of the Goddess in the city, with her private academy for poets in particular; the governors of it, and the four cardinal virtues. Then the Poem haftes into the midst of things, presenting her, on the evening of a lord mayor's day, revolving the long succession of her fons, and the glories past and to come. She fixes her eye on Bays to be the instrument of tbat great event which is the subject of the Poem. He is described penfive among his books, giving up the cause, and apprehending the period of her empire : after debating whether to betake himself to the church, or to gaming, or to party-writing, he railes an VOL. II.
altar of proper books, and (making first his solemn prayer and declaration) purposes thereon to sacrifice all his unsuccessful writings. As the pile is kindled, the Goddess, beholding the flame from her seat, flies and puts it out by cafting upon it the poem of Thulé. She forthwith reveals herself to him, transports him to her temple, unfolds her arts, and initiates him into her mysteries; then announcing the death of Eusden, the poet laureate, anoints him, carries him to court, and proclaims him successor.
THE mighty mother *, and her son, who brings
The Smithfield muses to the ear of kings
R E M A R K S. The DUNCIAD.] It is inconyenience, to which writers of reputation are subject, that the justice of their resentment is not always rightly understood. For the calumnies of dull authors being soon forgotten, and those whom they aimed to injure, not caring to recall to memory the particulars of falfe and scandalous abuse, their necellary correction is suspected of severity unprovoked. But, in this case, it would be but candid to estimate the chas. tisement on the general character of the offender, compared with that of the person injured. Let this serve with the candid reader, in justification of the Poet; and, on occasion of the Editor.
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 evidentiy demands ? Dunce with an e, therefore Dunceiad with an e.
That accurate and punctual man of letters, the restorer of Shakespeare, constantly ob.. serves 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 Sbakspear) which is utterly unpardonable. “ Nor is the neglect of a fingle letter fo trivial as to some it may ap.
pear; the alteration whereof in a learned language is an archievement that “ brings honour to the critic who advances it; and Dr. Bentley will be re" membered to posterity for his performances of this fort, as long as the “ world shall have any esteem for the remains of Menander and Philemon,''
THEO BALD. This is surely a slip in the learned author of the foregoing note; there having been since produced by an accurate antiquary, an autograph of Shake speare himself, whereby it appears that he spelled his own name without the
And upon this authority it was, that those most critical curators of his monument in Westminster abbey erased the former wrong reading, and restored the true spelling on a new piece of old Ægyptian granite. Nor for this only do they deserve our thanks, but for exhibiting on the same monument the first specimen of an edition of an author in marble ; where (as may be seen on comparing the Tomb with the Book) in the space of five lines, two words and a whole verse are changed, and it is to be hoped will there sand and outlast whatever hath been hitherto done in paper; as for the future, our
I sing. Say you, her instruments the great!
learned sister university (the other eye of England) is taking care to perpetuate a Total new Shakespear, at the Clarendon press.
BENTL. It is to be noted, that this great critic also has omitted one circumstance ; which is, that the inscription with the name of Shakespear was intended to be placed on the marble scroll to which ke points with his hand ; instead of which it is now placed behind his back, and that specimen of an edition is put on the scroll, which indeed Shakespeare hath great reason to point at.
ANON. Though I have as just a value for the letter e, as any grammarian living, and the same affe&tion for the name of this Poem as any critic for that of his author; yet cannot it induce me to agree with those who would add yet another e to it, and call it the Dunceiade; which being a French and foreign termination, is no way proper to a word entirely English, and vernacular. One e therefore in this case is right, and two ee's wrong. Yet upon the whole, i shall follow the manuscript, and print it without any eat all; moved thereto by authority (at all times, with critics, equal, if not superior to reason.) In which method of proceeding, I can never enough praise my good friend, the exact Mr. Tho. Hearne ; who, if any word occur, which to him and all mankind is evidently wrong, yet keeps he it in the text with due reverence, and only remarks in the margin fic MS. In like manner, we shall not amend this error in the title itself, but only note it obiter, to evince to the learned that it was pot our fault, nor any effect of our ignorance or inattention.
SCRIBL. This Poem was written in the year 1726. In the next year an imperfect edition was published at Dublin, and reprinted at London in twelves; another at Dublin, and another at London in octayo; and three others in twelves the same year, but there was no perfect edition before that of London in quarto, which was attended with notes. We are willing to acquaint posterity, that this poen was presented to King George the Second and his Queen by the hands of Sir Robert Walpole, on the 12th of March, 1728-9. SCHOL, VET.
It was expressly confessed in the Preface to the first Edition, that this Poem was not published by the author himself. It was printed originally in a foreign country.
And what foreign country? Why, one notorious for blunders; where finding blanks only instead of proper names, these blun: derers filled them up at their pleasure.
The very bero of the Poem hath been mistaken to this hour; so that we are obliged to open our notes with a discovery who he really was. We learn from the former editor, that this piece was presented by the hands of Sir Robert Walpole to king George II. Now our author directly tells us, his hero is the man
-who brings " The Smithfield nafes to the ear of kings." And it is noforious who was the person on whom this prince conferred the honour of the lauril.
You by whose care, in vain decry'd and curst,
It appears as plainly from the apostrophe to the grear in the third verse, that Tibbald could not be the person, who was never an author in fashion, or caressed by the great : whereas this fingle characteristic is sufficient to point out the true hero ; who, above all other poets of his time, was the peculiar delight and chosen companion of the nobility of England ; and wrote, as he himself tells us, certain of his works at the earnest defire of persons of quality.
Lastly, The fixth verse affords full proof; this poet being the only one who was universally known to have had a fun fo exactly like him, in his poetical, theatrical, political, and moral capacities, that it could justly be faid of him
Still Dunce the second reigns like Dunce the first." BENTL. * The reader ought here to be cautioned, that the motber, and not the song is the principal agent of this Poem : the latter of them is only chosen as her colleague (as waș antiently the custom in Rome before some great expedition) the main action of the Poem being by no means the coronation of the laureate, which is performed in the very first book, but the reftoration of thc empire of Dulness in Britain, which is not accomplished till the last.
Ibid. Wonderful is the stupidity of all the former critics and commentators on this work! It breaks forth at the very first line. The author of the Critique prefixed to Sawney, a Roem, p. 5. hath been so dull as to explain ibe man who brings, &c. not of the hero of the picce, but of our poet himself, as if he vaunted that kings were to be his readers; an honour, which though this Poem hath had, yet knoweth he how to receive it with more modelty.
We remit this Ignorant to the firit lines of the Æneid, alluring him that Virgil there speaket h not of himself, but of Æneas :
“ Arma virumque cano, Trojæ qui primus ab oris
“ Littora : multum ille et terris jactatus et alto, &c. I cite the whole three verses, that I may by the way offer a conjectural emendation, purely my own, upon each : first, oris should be read aris, it being, as we fee, Æn. ii. 513. from the aitar of Jupiter Hercæus that Æneas filed as soon as he saw. Priam Nain. In the second line I would read flatu for fato, since it is most clear it was by winds that he arrived at the fore of Italy. Factitus, in the third, is as surely as improperly applied to terris, as proper to alto; to say a man is tost or land, is mich at one with fáying be walks at sea : Rifum tenebris amici? Correct it, as I doubt not it oughị to be, vexatus. SCRIBL.
Smithfield is the place where Bartholomew fair was kept, whose snews, 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 Hay-market, to be the reigning pleasures of the court and town. This happened in the reigns of K. George I. and II. See Book iii. 1. e. by their judgments, their interests, and their inclinations.