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Printed in the Journals, 1730.

WHEREAS, upon occasion of certain Pieces relating to the Gentlemen of the Dunciad, some have been willing to suggest, as if they looked upon them as an abuse we can do no less than own, it is our opinion, that to call these Gentlemen bad authors is no sort of abuse, but a great truth. We cannot alter this opinion without some reason; but we promise to do it in respect to every person who thinks it an injury to be represented as no Wit, or Poet, provided he procures a Certificate of his being really such, from any three of his companions in the Dunciad, or from Mr. Dennis singly, who is esteemed equal to any three of the number.



To the FIRST EDITION of the FOURTH BOOK of the DUNCIAD, when printed separately in the Year 1742.

WE apprehend it can be deemed no injury to the author of the three first Books of the Dunciad, that we publish this Fourth. It was found merely by accident, in taking a survey of the Library of a late eminent Nobleman; but in so blotted a condition, and in so many detached pieces, as plainly showed it to be not only incorrect, but unfinished. That the author of the three first books had a design to extend and complete his poem in this manner, appears from the Dissertation prefixed to it,

where it is said, that the design is more extensive, and that we may expect other episodes to complete it; and from the declaration in the argument to the third Book, that the accomplishment of the prophecies therein would be the theme hereafter of a greater Dunciad. But whether or no he be the author of this, we declare ourselves ignorant. If he be, we are no more to be blamed for the publication of it, than Tucca and Varius for that of the last six books of the Æneid, though perhaps inferior to the former.

If any person be possessed of a more perfect copy of this work, or of any other fragments of it, and will communicate them to the Publisher, we shall make the next edition more complete; in which we also promise to insert any Criticisms that shall be published (if at all to the purpose) with the Names of the Authors; or any letter sent us (though not to the purpose) shall yet be printed under the title of Epistolæ Obscurorum Virorum; which, together with some others of the same kind formerly laid by for that end, may make no unpleasant addition to the future impressions of this poem.




I HAVE long had a design of giving some sort of Notes on the works of this poet. Before I had the happiness of his acquaintance, I had written a commentary on his Essay on Man, and have since finished another on the Essay on Criticism. There was one already on the Dunciad, which had met with general

approbation but I still thought some additions were wanting, of a more serious kind, to the humourous notes of Scriblerus, and even to those written by Mr. Cleland, Dr. Arbuthnot, and others. I had lately the pleasure to pass some months with the author in the country, where I prevailed upon him to do what I had long desired, and favour me with his explanation of several passages in his works. It happened, that just at that juncture was published a ridiculous book against him, full of personal reflections, which furnished him with a lucky opportunity of improving This Poem, by giving it the only thing it wanted, a more considerable Hero. He was always sensible of its defect in that particular, and owned he had let it pass with the Hero it had purely for want of a better; not entertaining the least expectation that such an one was reserved for this Post, as has since obtained the Laurel; but, since that had happened, he could no longer deny this justice either to him or the Dunciad.

And yet, I will venture to say, there was another motive which had still more weight with our author, This person was one, who from every folly (not to say vice) of which another would be ashamed, has constantly derived a vanity; and therefore was the man in the world who would least be hurt by it.

W. W.






Nov. 19, 1729.

THE time of the election of a Poet Laureate being now at hand, it may be proper to give some account of the rites and ceremonies anciently used at that solemnity, and only discontinued through the neglect and degeneracy of later times. These we have extracted from an historian of undoubted credit, a reverend bishop, the learned Paulus Jovius; and are the same that were practised under the pontificate of Leo X., the great restorer of learning.

As we now see an age and a court, that for the encouragement of poetry rivals, if not exceeds, that of this famous Pope, we cannot but wish a restoration of all its honours to poesy; the rather, since there are so many parallel circumstances in the person who was then honoured with the laurel, and in him, who (in all probability) is now to wear it.

It is not easy to conceive, why this piece, which was written by Pope, and inserted in the first complete edition of the Dunciad, in Four Books, in 1743, should have been transferred, in all the subsequent editions, to another volume of the works of the author, with the rest of the contents of which it has no immediate connexion; whilst it is essential to the proper understanding of the character and dignity of the Poet Laureate, whose office is here traced from the times of Leo X. when

Rome in her capitol saw Querno sit,

Thron'd on seven hills, the antichrist of wit

to the days of George the Second.

We may also be permitted to observe, that notwithstanding the difference of age and country, this piece may still be of use, as a record of the duties, qualifications, and privileges of the Laureate, in order to prevent any person from being raised, in future, to that high station (as no person has yet been) who is not abundantly qualified for it-" such a person as is truly jealous of the honour and dignity of poetry; no joker or trifler, but a bard in good earnest; nay, not amiss if a critic, and the better if a little obstinate."

I shall translate my author exactly as I find it in the 82nd chapter of his Elogia Vir. Doct. He begins with the character of the poet himself, who was the original and father of all Laureates, and called Camillo. He was a plain countryman of Apulia, whether a shepherd or thresher is not material. "This man (says Jovius), excited by the fame of the great encouragement given to poets at court, and the high honour in which they were held, came to the city, bringing with him a strange kind of lyre in his hand, and at least some twenty thousand of verses. All the wits and critics of the court flocked about him, delighted to see a clown, with a ruddy, hale complexion, and in his own long hair, so top full of poetry; and at the first sight of him all agreed he was born to be Poet Laureate 2. He had a most hearty welcome in an island of the river Tiber (an agreeable place, not unlike our Richmond), where he was first made to eat and drink plentifully, and to repeat his verses to every body. Then they adorned him with a new and elegant garland, composed of vine-leaves, laurel, and brassica (a sort of cabbage), so composed, says my author, emblematically, ut tam sales, quam lepide ejus temulentia, Brassica remedio cohibenda, notaretur. He was then saluted by common consent with the title of archi-poeta, or arch-poet, in the style of those days; in ours, Poet Laureate. This honour the poor man received with the most sensible demonstrations of joy, his eyes drunk with tears and gladness. Next, the public acclamation was expressed in a canticle, which is transmitted to us, as follows:

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2 Apulus præpingui vultu alacer, et prolixe comatus, omnino dignus festâ laureâ videretur.

3 Manantibus præ gaudio oculis.

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