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were attacked to conceal their pain and their resentment, The Dunciad might have made its way very slowly in the world'.

This, however, was not to be expected: every man is of im- 147 portance to himself, and therefore, in his own opinion, to others, and, supposing the world already acquainted with all his pleasures and his pains, is perhaps the first to publish injuries or misfortunes which had never been known unless related by himself, and at which those that hear them will only laugh; for no man sympathises with the sorrows of vanity.

The history of The Dunciad is very minutely related by Pope 148 himself, in a Dedication which he wrote to Lord Middlesex in the name of Savage 2.

'I will relate... the war of the Dunces (for so it has been commonly called), which began in the year 1727, and ended in 1730.

When Dr. Swift and Mr. Pope thought it proper, for reasons specified in the Preface to their Miscellanies, to publish such [some] little pieces of theirs as had casually got abroad, there was added to them The Treatise of the Bathos, or The Art of Sinking in Poetry. It happened that in one chapter of this piece the several species of bad poets were ranged in classes, to which were prefixed almost all the letters of the alphabet (the greatest part of them at random 3); but such was the number of poets eminent in that art, that some one or other took every letter to himself: all fell into so violent a fury that, for half a year or more, the common newspapers (in most of which they had some property, as being hired writers) were filled with the most abusive falsehoods and scurrilities they could possibly devise. A liberty no way to be wondered at in those people and in those papers that for many years during the uncontrouled license of the press had aspersed almost all the great characters of the age; and this with impunity, their own persons and names being utterly secret and obscure'.

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well known as Virgil, and Gildon will
be as well known as you, if his name
gets into your verses. Pope's Works
(Elwin and Courthope), vii. 64.

'Mr. Pope may indeed be said to
have raked many out of the kennels
to immortality.' FIELDING, Works,
1806, x. 123.

For a list of the publications against Pope see N. & Q. 5 S. xii. 36, 71, 89, 110, 192, 335, 415, 477; 6 S. i. 341, 380.

'This gave Mr. Pope the thought that he had now some opportunity of doing good, by detecting and dragging into light these common enemies of mankind; since to invalidate this universal slander it sufficed to shew what contemptible 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 slander on himself, he had acquired such a peculiar right over their names as was necessary to this design 2.

'On the 12th of March, 17293, at St. James's, that poem was presented to the King and Queen (who had before been pleased to read it) by the right honourable Sir Robert Walpole; and some days after the whole impression was taken and dispersed by several noblemen and persons of the first distinction".

Post, POPE, 357

In Pope's Works (Elwin and Courthope), iv. 3, v. 213, it is shown that he had practically finished' The Dunciad (the first three books) before The Art of Sinking was published. To justify the personality of the poem he made it appear that it was a weapon of self-defence. To propagate this belief he laid a plot marked by his usual subtlety.' Chapter vi of The Art of Sinking was made grossly personal. 'The enraged authors rushed into print.' His attack on them in The Dunciad seemed therefore provoked by their 'abusive falsehoods.' In reality he excited this attack, so that he might meet it with the deadly weapon which he had prepared.

3 It is strange that in 1732 he ventured to try to make it appear that it was published in March, 1729, whereas it had appeared nine months earlier. The quarto of March, 1729, was what he called 'the correct edition.' It contained the Prolegomena, &c., as well as the names, and is undoubtedly the first complete edition. Ib. iv. 5, 9, 303. See post, POPE, 151. 4 Pope, on June 17, 1728, wrote that he had been commanded to publish a Key to the Dunciad by 'the highest and most powerful person in the kingdom.' Ib. viii. 236.

In a note, dated 1743, on The Dunciad, Bk. i. l. 2—

'The Smithfield Muses to the ear of Kings,'

he writes:-'We are willing to ac-
quaint Posterity that this Poem was
presented to King George II and his
Queen,' &c. His impudence was
great, if the sixth line-

Still Dunce the second reigns like
Dunce the first,'


was, as Mr. Courthope says,
can scarcely doubt, meant for a re-
flection on the two first Georges,
whose contempt for letters was noto-
rious.' Pope's Works (Elwin and
Courthope), iv. 313.

""You ought not to write verses," said George II to Lord Hervey; "'tis beneath your rank; leave such work to little Mr. Pope; it is his trade." Warton, i. 282.

5 Post, POPE, 196. Pope, in 1726, mentions dining at Walpole's. Pope's Works (Elwin and Courthope), ix. 107. He wrote of him :'Seen him I have, but in his happier hour

Of social pleasure, ill exchang'd for power.' Epil. Sat. i. 29.

For Walpole's favourite subject of conversation see Boswell's Johnson, iii. 57.

In order to lessen the danger of prosecution for libel, Pope prevailed

'It is certainly a true observation that no people are so impatient of censure as those who are the greatest slanderers, which was wonderfully exemplified on this occasion. On the day the book was first vended a crowd of authors besieged the shop; intreaties, advices, threats of law and battery, nay cries of treason, were all employed to hinder the coming-out of The Dunciad: on the other side, the booksellers and hawkers made as great efforts to procure it'. What could a few poor authors do against so great a majority as the publick? There was no stopping a torrent with a finger, so out it came.

Many ludicrous circumstances attended it. The Dunces (for by this name they were called) held weekly clubs, to consult of hostilities against the author: one wrote a letter to a great minister, assuring him Mr. Pope was the greatest enemy the government had; and another bought his image in clay to execute him in effigy, with which sad sort of satisfaction the gentlemen were a little comforted.

'Some false editions of the book having an owl in their frontispiece, the true one, to distinguish it, fixed in its stead an ass laden with authors. Then another surreptitious one being printed with the same ass, the new edition in octavo returned for distinction to the owl again. Hence arose a great contest of booksellers against booksellers, and advertisements against advertisements; some recommending the edition of the owl, and others the edition of the ass; by which names they came to be distinguished, to the great honour also of the gentlemen of The Dunciad 3.

on three peers... Bathurst, Oxford, and Burlington, to act as his nominal publishers; and it was through them that copies of the enlarged edition were at first distributed, the booksellers not being allowed to sell any in their shops. . . . As the report spread that the poem was the property of rich and powerful noblemen, there was a natural disinclination on the part of the Dunces to take legal proceedings. ... When all danger appeared to be over, the three peers assigned the edition to Gilliver the publisher.' Pope's Works (Elwin and Courthope), v. 216. See also ib. viii. 250-4.

This seems in contradiction to what Johnson says, ante, POPE, 146; but he is speaking of the first edition of 1728, and Pope of 'the correct edition' of 1729.

2 These 'false editions' were all published by Pope. Pope's Works

(Elwin and Courthope), iv. 9.

Arbuthnot wrote to Swift on June 9, 1729:- Mr. Pope had got an injunction in chancery against the printers who had pirated his Dunciad: it was dissolved again, because the printer could not prove his property, nor did the author appear.' Swift's Works, xvii. 245.

For the bibliography of the first issues of The Dunciad' see N. & Q. 5 S. xii. 304.

3 See Pope's Works (Elwin and Courthope), iv. 299, for Notes on Editions of the Dunciad, from Notes and Queries, Nos. 268-70.' At the sale of Colonel Grant's library by Messrs. Sotheby & Co. on May 15, 1900, the following prices were paid:'The Dunciad, 1728, earliest issue, £75 os. od.; second issue of first edition, £50 os. od.; second edition, 1728, £32 os. od.' Daily News, May 16, 1900.

149 Pope appears by this narrative to have contemplated his



victory over the Dunces with great exultation; and such was his delight in the tumult which he had raised, that for a while his natural sensibility was suspended, and he read reproaches and invectives without emotion, considering them only as the necessary effects of that pain which he rejoiced in having given 1.

It cannot, however, be concealed that, by his own confession, he was the aggressor, for nobody believes that the letters in-TheBathos were placed at random2; and it may be discovered that, when he thinks himself concealed, he indulges the common vanity of common men, and triumphs in those distinctions which he had affected to despise. He is proud that his book was presented to the King and Queen by the right honourable Sir Robert Walpole; he is proud that they had read it before; he is proud that the edition was taken off by the nobility and persons of the first distinction.

The edition of which he speaks was, I believe, that, which by telling in the text the names and in the notes the characters of those whom he had satirised, was made intelligible and diverting3. The criticks had now declared their approbation of the plan, and the common reader began to like it without fear; those who were strangers to petty literature, and therefore unable to decypher initials and blanks, had now names and persons brought within their view, and delighted in the visible effect of those shafts of malice, which they had hitherto contemplated as shot into the air.

'The lofty ideas,' writes Mr. Courthope, which Pope had formed of his own virtue and benevolence were put to the rude test of experience....The "spretae iniuria formae" [Aeneid, i. 27], the slanderous reports, destructive of the ideal character which he had imagined for himself, the imputation of blasphemy and malignity calculated to rob him of the respect which he sought, must all be taken into account. We cannot possibly excuse Pope's conduct, but we can compassionate him.' Pope's Works (Elwin and Courthope), iii. 29.



Ante, SAVAGE, 108.

Ante, POPE, 148. The edition was The Dunciad, Variorum with

the Prolegomena of Scriblerus, London, printed for A. Dod, 1729, 4to.

4 Swift wrote to Wogan in 1732:'You judge very truly that the taste of England is infamously corrupted by shoals of wretches who write for their bread; and therefore I had reason to put Mr. Pope on writing the poem called The Dunciad, and to hale those scoundrels out of their obscurity by telling their names at length, their works, their adventures, sometimes their lodgings and their lineage; not with A's and B's according to the old way, which would be unknown in a few years.' Swift's Works, xvii. 398. See also Pope's Works (Elwin and Courthope), vii. 134.

Dennis, upon the fresh provocation now given him, renewed 152 the enmity which had for a time been appeased by mutual civilities, and published remarks, which he had till then suppressed, upon The Rape of the Lock'. Many more grumbled in secret, or vented their resentment in the newspapers by epigrams or invectives.

Ducket, indeed, being mentioned as loving Burnet with 'pious 153 passion,' pretended that his moral character was injured, and for some time declared his resolution to take vengeance with a cudgel. But Pope appeased him, by changing 'pious passion' to 'cordial friendship?,' and by a note, in which he vehemently disclaims the malignity of meaning imputed to the first expression 3.

Aaron Hill, who was represented as diving for the prize, 154 expostulated with Pope in a manner so much superior to all mean solicitation, that Pope was reduced to sneak and shuffle, sometimes to deny and sometimes to apologize: he first endeavours to wound, and is then afraid to own that he meant a blow*.

The Dunciad, in the complete edition, is addressed to 155 Dr. Swift of the notes, part was written by Dr. Arbuth


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Pope's Works (Elwin and Courthope),
iv. 152, 286.

Pope wrote to Hill:-'Has it es-
caped your observation that the name
is a syllable too long? Or, if you
will have it a Christian name, is there
any other in the whole book?' Ib.
x. 16. Hill also complained that he
was the A. H. in The Art of Sinking,
ch. vi. Ib. x. 11, 361. For the whole
correspondence see his Works, 1754,
i. 53-82. Pope, to make amends,
sent his daughter a copy of the
Odyssey. For Hill see ante, SAVAGE,
55, 59; post, POPE, 285; THOMSON,
8; MALLET, 8.

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5 The first edition was published in May, 1728, without the address to Swift.' He wrote to Pope on June 1, 1728:-'The doctor [Delany] told me your secret about The Dunciad, which does not please me, because it defers gratifying my vanity in the most tender point, and perhaps may wholly disappoint it.' Pope's Works (Elwin and Courthope), vii. 132. Pope replied on June 28:- The Dunciad is going to be printed in all pomp

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