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A · D E C L A R A TI O N.
WHERENS certain Haberdashers of Points and Particles, being inftigated by the spirit of Pride, and alluming ta them selves the name of Critics and Restorers, have taken upon them to adulterate the coinmon and current sense of our Glorious Ancestors, Poets of this Realm, by clipping, coining, defacing the images, iniring their own base allay, or otherwise falsifying the same ; which they publish, utter, and vend as genuine : Che said haberdashers having no right thereto, as neitheir heirs, erecutors, administrators, assigns, or in any fort related to such Poets, to all or any of them: Now We, having carefully revised this our Dunciad, 1 beginning with the words The Mighty Mother, and ending with the words buries All, containing the entire sum of One thousand
1 Read thus confidently, instead of " beginning with the word Books, and ending with the worflies," as formerly it stood: Read also, “ containing " the entire sum of one tbousand, ferven bundred, and fifty-four verses,” inItead of us
one i bousand and twelve lines ;" such being the initial and final words, and such the true and entire contents of this poem.
Thou art to know, reader ! that the first Edition thereof, like that of Milton, was never seen by the Author (though living and not blind :) The Editor himself confess'd as much in his preface: And no two poems were ever published in fo arbitrary a manner. The Editor of this, had as boldly fuppressed whole Passages, yea the entire last book, as the Editor of Paradisc Loft, added and augmented. Milton himself gave but ten books, his Editor twelve; this Author gave four books. his Editor only three. But we bave happily done jutlice to both; and presume we thall live, in this our last labour, as long as in any of our others.
BENTL. VOL. II,
leven hundred and fifty-four verses, declare every word, kgure, point, and comma of this impression to be authentic ; And do therefore ftrictly enjoin and forbid any person or persons whats soever, to erase, reversi", put between hooks, or by any oth® means, directly or indirectly, change or mangle any of them. And we do hereby earneftly exhort all our brethren to follow this our example, which we heartily with our gceat Predes cessors had heretofoce set, as a remedy and prevention of all such abuses. Provided always, that nothing in this Declaration shall ve conftrued to limit the lawful and undoubted right of everp subject of this Healw, to judge, censure, or cons demr, in the whole or in part, any poem or poet whatsas xber.
Given under our hand at London, this third day of Janu
ary, in the year of our Lord One thousand seven hundred thirty and two.
Declarat' cor me,
Prefixed to the five firft imperfect Editions of the.
DUNCIAD, in three books, printed at DUBLIN and London, in octavo and duodecimo, 1727.
The PUBLISHER ' to the READER.
IT T will be found a true obfervation, tho' fomewhat
surprizing, that when any scandal is vented against a man of the highest diftin&tion and character, either in the state or literature, the public in general afford it a most quiet reception; and the larger part accept it as favourably as if it were some kindness done to themselves : whereas if a known scoundrel or blockhead but chance to be touched upon, a whole legion is up in arms, and Ss 2
1 Who he was is uncertain ; but Edward Ward tells ns, in his preface to Dorgen, " that most judges are of opinion this preface is not of English " extraction, bui Hibernian,” etc. He means it was written by Dr. Swift, who, whether publisher or not, may be faid in a fost to be author of the poem. For when he, together with Mr. Pope (for reafons specified in the preface to their Miscellanies) determined to own the mott trifting pieces ia which they had any hand, and to destroy all that remained in their power; the firft fetch of this poem was snatched from the fire by Dr. Swift, who persnaded his friend to proceed in it, and to him it was therefore infcribed. But the occasion of printing it was as follows:
There was published in those Miscellanies, a Treatise of the Bathas, or Art of Sinking in Poetry, in which was a chapter, where the species of bad writers where ranged in classes, and initial letters of names prefixed, for the molt part at sandom. Byt such was the Number of Popis eminent in that
it becomes the common cause of all scribblers, booksellers, and printers whatsoever.
Not to search too deeply into the reason hereof I will only observe as a fact, that every week for these two months past, the town has been persecuted with pamphlets 2, advertisements, letters, and weekly essays, not only against the wit and writings, but against the cha. racter and person of Mr. Pope. And that of all those men who have received pieafure from his works, which by inodeft computation may be about a hundred 3 thousand in these kingdoms of England and Ireland ; (not to mention Jersey, Guernsey, the Orcades, those in the new
art, that some one or other took every letter to himself. All fell into lo violent a fury, that for half a year, or more, the common News-papers (in most of which they had some property, as bels, hired writers) were filled with the most abusive fallhoods and scurriliics they could poibly devise; a liberty no ways to be wondered at in these people, and in those rapers, that, for many years, during the uncontrolled License of the press, had afperfed almost all the great charachers of the age ; and this with impunity, their own persons and names being etterly secret and obscure. This gave Mr. Pope the thought, that he had now fome opportunity of doing good, by detecting and dragging into light there common Enemies of mankind; since to invalidate this universal Nander, it fufficed to thew what con'emptible men were the authors of it. He was not without hopes, that by manifesting the dulness of those who had only malice to recommend them; either the booksellers would not find their account in employing them, or the men themselves, when discovered, want courage to proceed in so unlawful an occupation. This it was that gave birth to the Dunciad ; and he thought it an happiness, that by the late flood of Nander on himself, he had acquired such a peculiar right over their Names as was necessary to his design.
2 See the List of those anonymous papers, with their dates and authors annexed, inserted before the Poem.
3. It is surprising with what stupidity this preface, which is almost a con. tinued irony, was taken by those authors. All such passages as these were understood by Curl, Cook, Cibber, and otliers, to be ferious. Hear the Lau. reate (Letter to Mr. Pope, p: 9.)" Tho'l grant the Dunciad a better poem " of its kind than ever was writ; yet, when I read it with those vain-glorious “ encumbrances of Notes and remarks upon it, et..it is amazing, chat
you, who have writ with much mailerly spirit upon the ruling pasfion, -“ fhould be so blind a slave to your own, as got to see how far a iuw avarice or of Pruife, etc.”' (taking it for granted that the notes of Scribierus and others, were the author's owo.)