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trary to some good quality for which all their friends and acquaintance commend them. He seems to have a particular pique to people of quality, and authors of that rank. He must derive his religion from St. Omer's.'-But in the character of Mr. P. and his writings (printed by S. Popping, 1716) he saith, 'Though he is a professor of the worst religion, yet he laughs at it;' but that 'nevertheless he is a virulent papist; and yet a pillar of the church of Eng. land. Of both which opinions
Mr. Lewis Theobald seems also to be ; declaring in Mist's Journal of June 22, 1718, ‘That if he is not shrewdly abused, he made it his practice to cackle to both parties in their own sentiments.' But as to his pique against people of quality, the same journalist doth not agree, but saith (May 8, 1728,) 'He had by some means or other, the acquaintance and friendship of the whole body of our nobility.'
However contradictory this may appear, Mr. Dennis and Gildon, in the character last cited, make it all plain, by assuring us, 'That he is a creature that reconciles all contradictions: he is a beast, and a man ; a Whig and a Tory; a writer (at one and the same time) of Guardians and Examiners ;' an assertor of liberty, and of the dispensing power of kings; a Jesuitical professor of truth ; a base and foul pretender to candour.' So that, upon the whole account, we must conclude him either to have been a great hypocrite, or a very honest man; a terrible impostor upon both parties, or very moderate to either.
Be it as to the judicious reader shall seem good. Sure it is, he is little favoured of certain authors, whose wrath is perilous ; for one declares he ough
1 The names of two weekly papers.
to have a price set on his head, and to be hunted down as a wild beast. Another protests that he does not know what may happen ; advises him to insure his person ; says he has bitter enemies, and expressly declares it will be well if he escapes with his life.2 One desires he would cut his own throat, or hang himself. But Pasquin seemed rather inclin. ed it should be done by the government, representing him engaged in grievous designs with a lord of par. liament then under prosecution. Mr. Dennis himself hath written to a minister, that he is one of the most dangerous persons in this kingdom ;5 and assureth the public, that he is an open and mortal enemy to his country ; a monster that will one day show as daring a soul as a mad Indian, who runs a-muck to kill the first Christian he meets. Another gives in. formation of treason discovered in his poem.? Mr Curll boldly supplies an imperfect verse with kings and princesses :S and one Matthew Concanen, yet more impudent, publishes at length the two most sacred names in this nation, as members of the Dunciad !9
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 meri• in him.
Mr. Theobald, in censuring his Shakspeare, declares, 'He has so great an esteem for Mr. Pope, and so high an opinion
1 Theobald, Letter in Mist's Journal, June 22, 1728. 2 Smedley, pref. to Gulliveriana. p. 14, 16. 3 Gulliveriana, p. 332. + Anno 1723. 5 Anno 1729.
6 Preface to Rem. on the Rape of the Lock, p. 12; and in the last page or that treatise.
7 Page 6, 7, of the Preface, by Concanen, to a book called, A Collection of all the Letters, Essays, Verses, and Advertisements, occasioned by Pope and Swift's Miscellanies. Printed for A. Moore, 8vo. 1712.
8 Key to the Dunciad, 3d edit. p. 18.
9 A list of Persons, &c. at the end of the foremen tioned Collection of all the Letters, Essays, &c.
of his genius and excellences, that, notwithstanding he professes a veneration almost rising to idolatry for the writings of this inestimable poet, he would be very loath even to do him justice, at the expence of that other gentleman's character.”!
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 Epistles by his 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 scarcely any thing truly and naturally written upon love. He also, in taxing sir Richard Blackmore for his heterodox opinions of Homer, challengeth him to answer what Mr. Pope hath said in his preface to that poet.
Mr. Oldmixon 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.'3
The Author of a Letter to Mr. Cibber says : 'Pope was so good a versifier [once) 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.'4 And
Mr. Thomas Cooke, after much blemishing our author's Homer, crieth out:
• But in his other works what beauties shine, While sweetest music dwells in every line! 1 Introduction to his Shakspeare Restored, in 4to. p. 3.
2 Commentary on the Duke of Buckingham's Ezsay Bvo, 1721, p. 97, 98. 3 In his prose Essay on Criticism. 4 Printed by J. Roberts, 1742, p. 11.
These he admired, on these he stamp'd his praise,
And bade them live to brighten future days." So also one who takes the name of
H. Stanhope, the maker of certain verses to Duncan Campbell,2 m that poem, which is wholly a satire upon Mr. Pope, confesseth,
''Tis true, if finest notes alone could show (Tuned 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 gliding 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 Dun. ciad 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 natural similes, 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 laureate,
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 cow ardice 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 oblivion.' Here we see
1 Battle of the Poets, folio, p. 15.
2 Printed under the title of the Progress of Dulness, 12mo, 1728.
3 Cibber's Letter to Mr. Pope, p. 9. 12.
our excellent laureate 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 words (the forecited Character, p. 5,) do in concert confess, 'that some men of good understanding value him 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.'
On his Essay on Man, numerous were the praises bestowed by his avowed enemies, in the imagination that the same was not written by him, as it was printed anonymously. Thus sang of it even
Bezaleel Morris : · Auspicious bard! while all admire thy strain, All but the selfish, ignorant, and vain;
1 In concert] Hear how Mr. Dennis hath proved our mistake in this case: ' As to my writing in concert with Mr. Gildon, I declare upon the honour and word of a gentleman, that I 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
“Sir, “ The height of my ambition is to please men of the best judgment; and, finding that 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 en. couragement 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 partnership with him to whom he sends them ?' Dannis Remarks on the Dunciad, p. 50. Mr. Dennis is there. Core welcome to take this piece to himself.