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late Mr. Gildon was one attached to Rymer by a similar way of Thinking and Studies. They were both of that Species of Criticks, who are desirous of displaying their Powers rather in finding Faults, than in consulting the Improvement of the World ; the bypercritical Part of the Science of Criticisin.
I had not mentioned the modelt Liberty I have here and there taken of animadverting on my Author, but that I was willing to obviate in Time the splenetick Exaggerations of my Adversaries o this Head. From past Experiments I have Reason to be conscious, in whar light this Attempt may be placed: and that what I call a modest Liberly, will, by a little of their Dexterity, be inverted into downright Impudence. From a hundred mean and dishoneit Artifices employ'd to discred t this Edition, and to cry down its Editor, I have all the Grounds in Nature to beware of Attacks. But tho' the Malice of Wit, joined to the Smoothness of Versification, may furnish fome Ridicule ; Fact, I hope, will be able to stand its Ground against Banter and Gaiety.
It has been my Fate, its seems, as I thought it my Duty, to discover fome Anachronisms in our Author; 'which might have Nepe in Obscurity but for this Reftorer, as Mr. Pope is pleas'd affectionately to stile me: as, for instance, where Aristotle is mentioned by Hector in Trolus and Crellida : and Galin, Cato, and Alexander the Great in Coriolanus. These in Mr. Pope's Opinion, are Blunders, which, the Illiteracy of the first publishers of his works has father'd upon the Poet's Memory: it not being al all credible, that These could be the Errors of any Man who had the least Tincture of a School, or the least Conversation will such as bad. But I have sufficiently proved, in the course of my Notes, that such Anachronisms were the Effect of Poetic Licence, rather than of Ignorance in our Poet. And if I may be permitted to ask a modelt Question by the way, Why may not I restore an Anachronism 84
really made by our Author, as well as Mr. Pope, takę the Privilege to fix others upon him, which he never had it in his Head to make; as I may venture to affirm he had noi, in che Instance of Sir Francis Drake, to which I have spoke in the proper Place ?
But who mali dare make any Words about this Freedom of Mr. Pope's towards Shakespear, if it can be prov'd, that, in his Fits of Criticifis it makes no more Ceremony with good Luin jim? To try, then, a Criticism of his own advance in the oth Book of the Odiley, where Demodocus innes ibe Fpisode of the Loves of Mars and Venus; and tnat, upon their being taken in the Net by Vulcan,
" The God of firms “ Must pay the Penalty for lawless Charms; Mr. Pope is so kind gravely to inform us, “ That Ho
mer in This, as in many other Places, seems to als “ Jude to the Laws of Albens, where Death was the “ Punishment of Adultery.” But how is this significant Observation made oui ? Why, who can possibly object any Thing to the contrary? Does no! Pausanias relate, that Draco the Lawgiver to the Athenians granted Impunity to any person that took Revenge upon an Adulterer? And was it not also the Inftitution of Solon, that if Any One took an Adulterer in the Fast, be might use him as be pleas'd? These Things are very true, and to see what a good Memory and found Judgment in Conjunction can atchieve! Tho' Homer's Date is not determin'd down to a single Year, yet 'tis pretty generally agreed that he liv'd above 300 Years before Draco and Solon: And that, it seems, has made himn seem to allude to the very Laws, which these Two Legillators propounded above 300 Years after. If this infcrence be not sometimes like an Anachronism or Prclepsis, I'll look once more into my Lexicons for the true Meaning of the words. It appears 10 me, that somebody belides Mars and Venus has
been caught in a Net by this Episode: and I could call in other Instances to confirm what treacherous Tackle this Net-work is, if not cautiously handļed.
How juft, notwithstanding, I have been in detecting the Anachronisms of my Author, and in defending him for the Use of them, our late Editor seems to think, they should rather have lepe in Obscurity; and the having discovered them is sneer'd at, as a Sort of wrong headed Sagacity.
The numerous Corrections, which I made of the Poet's Text in, my SHAKESPEAR Restorid, and which the Publick have been so kind to think well of, are, in the Appendix of Mr. Pope's last Edition, night. ingly call?d Various Readings, Guesses, &c. He confelles to have inserted as many of them as he judg'd of any the least Advantage to the Poet ; but says, that the whole amounted to about 25 Words : and pretends to have annexed a compleat List of the rest, which were not worth his embracing. Whoever has read my Book, will at one Glance fee, how in both thefe Points Veracity is ftrain'd, fo an Injury might but be done. Malus, etsi obėse non poteft, tamen, com gitat.
Another Expedient, to make my Work appear of a trifling Nature, has been an Attempt to depreciate Literal Criticism. To this End, and to pay a servile Compliment to Mr. Pope, an Anonymous Writer has, like a Scoich Pedlar in Wit, unbraced his Pack on the Subject. But, that his Virulence might not seem to be levelled lingly at me, he has done me the Honour to join Dr. Bentley in the Libel, I was in hopes, we should have been both abus'd with Smartness of satire, at least; tho' not with Solidity of Argument : that it might have been worth some Reply in Defence of the Science attacked. But I may fairly say of this Author, as Falstaffe does of Poins ; Hang bim, Baboon! bis Wit is as thick as Tewksbury Mustard; there is no more Conceit ira him, than is in a Mallet. If
it be not Prophanation to set the Opinion of the divine Longinus against such a Scribler, he tells us exprelly, " That to make a Judgment upon Words and (Writ
ings) is the most consummate Fruit of much Expe* rience.
και γαρ των λόγων κρίσις πολλής έσι πείρας Xeutaio inoyévunec. Whenever Words are depravěd, the Sense of Course must be corrupted; and thence the Readers betray'd into a false Meaning.
If the Lalin and Greek Languages have receiv'd the greatest Advantages imaginable from the Labours of the Editors and Criticks of the two laft Ages; by whole Aid and Amittance the Grammarians have been enabled to write infinitely better in that Art than even the preceding Grammarians, who wrote when thofe Tongues flourish'd as living Languages : I should account it a peculiar Happiness, that, by the faint Assay I have made in this Work, a Path might be chalk'd out, for abler Hands, by which to derive the same Advantages to our own Tongue: a Tongue, which, tho' it wants none of the fundamental Qualities of an universal Language, yet, as a noble Writer says, lisp and stammers as in its Cradle; and has produced little more towards its polishing than Complaints of its Barbarity.
Having now run thro' all those Points, which I in. tended should make any part of this Dissertation, and having in my former Edition made publick Acknowledgments of the Amhances lent me, I shall conclude with a brief Account of the Methods taken in Tbis.
It was thought proper, in order to reduce the Bulk and Price of the Impression, that the Nores, where: ever they would admit of it, might be abridg'd : for which Reason I have curtail'd a great Quantity of Such, in which Explanations were too prolix, or Authorities in Support of an Emendation too numerous: and Many I have entirely expung’d, which were judg'd rather Verbose and Declamatory, (and, fo, Notes merely of Oftentation ;) than necessary, or instructive.
The few literal Errors, which had escap'd Notice, for want of Revisals, in the former Edition, are here feform'd: and the Pointing of innumerable Pallages is regulated, with all the Accuracy I am capable of.
I shall decline making any farther D«claration of the Pains I have taken up:n my Author, because it was my Duty, as his Editor, to publish him with my best Care and Judgment: and becaule I am fensible, all such Declarations are construed to be laying a sort of a Debt on the Publ.ck. As the former Edition has been received with much Indulgence, l ought to make my ACknowledgments to the Town for their favourable Opi. nion of it: and I shall always be proud to think That Encouragement the best Payment I can hope to receive from my poor Studies.