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THE

DUNCIAD:

TO

DR. JONATHAN SWIFT. BOOK THE FIRST.

ARGUMENT.

The Proposition, the Invocation, and the Inscription. Then the

Original of the great Empire of Dulness, and cause of the continuance thereof. The College of the Goddess in the City, with her private Academy for Poets in particular : the Governors of it, and the four Cardinal Virtues. Then the Poem hastes into the midst of things, presenting her on the edening of a Lord Mayor's day, revolving the long succession of her Sons, and the glories past and to come. She fixes her eye on Bays to be the Instrument of that great Event which is the Subject of the Poem. He is described pensive among his Books, giving up the Cause, and apprehending the Period of her Empire. After debating whether to betake himself to the Church, or to Gaming, or to Party-writing, he raises an Altar of proper books, and (making first his solemn prayer and declaration) purposes thereon to sacrifice all his unsuccessful writings. As the pile is kindled, the Goddess, beholding the flame from her seat, flies and puts it out by casting upon it the poem of Thulé. She forthwith reveals herself to him, transports him to her Temple, unfolds her Arts, and initiates him into her Mysteries; then, announcing the death of Eusden, the Poet Laureate, anoints him, carries him to Court, and proclaims him Successor.

THE DUNCIAD.

BOOK I.

THE

HE Mighty Mother, and her Son, who brings The Smithfield Muses to the ear of Kings, I sing. Say you, her instruments, the Great! Call’d to this work by Dulness, Jove, and Fate;

REMARKS.

The DUNCIAD, sic MS. It may well be disputed whether this be a right reading. Ought it not rather to be spelled Dunceiad, as the etymology evidently demands ? Dunce with an e, therefore Dunceiad with an e. That accurate and punctual man of letters, the restorer of Shakespeare, constantly observes the preservation of this very letter e, in spelling the name of his beloved author, and not like his common careless Editors, with the omission of one, nay sometimes of two ee's (as Shakspear) which is utterly unpardonable. “ Nor is the neglect of a single letter so trivial as to some it may appear; the alteration whereof in a learned language is an achievement that brings honour to the critic who advances it; and Dr. Bentley will be remembered to posterity for

his

VARIATIONS.

Ver. 1. The Mighty Mother. &c.] In the first Edit. it was thus,

Books and the Man I sing, the first who brings
The Smithfield Muses to the Ear of Kings.
Say, great Patricians! since yourselves inspire
These wond'rous works (so Jove and fate require)
Say, for what cause, in vain decried and curst,
Still

P.

IMITATIONS.

. Say, great Patricians! since yourselves inspire

These wondrous works
“ Dii coeptis (nam vos mutàstis et illas).”

Ovid. Met. 1.

P.

You, by whose care, in vain decried and curst, 5 Still Dunce the second reigns like Dunce the first;

REMARKS.

his performances of this sort, as long as the world shall have any esteem for the remains of Menander and Philemon.”

THEOBALD. P. I have a just value for the letter E, and the same affection for the name of this poem as the fore-cited critic for that of his author; yet cannot it induce me to agree with those who would add yet another e to it, and call it the Duncciade ; which being a French and foreign termination, is no way proper to a word entirely English and vernacular. One e therefore in this case is right, and two ee's wrong. Yet, upon the whole, I shall follow the manuscript and print it without any e at all ; moved thereto by authority (at all times with critics equal, if not superior to reason). In which method of proceeding, I can never enough praise my good friend, the exact Mr. Thomas Hearne; who, if any word occur, which to him and all mankind is evidently wrong, yet keeps he it in the text with due reverence, and only remarks in the margin sic MS. In like manner, we shall not amend this error in the Title itself, but only note it obiter, to evince to the learned that it was not our fault, nor any effect of our ignorance or inattention.—SCRIBL. P.t

This poem was written in the year 1726. In the next year an imperfect edition was published at Dublin, and reprinted in London in twelves ; another at Dublin, and another at London in octavo ; and three others in twelves the same year. But there was no perfect Edition before that of London in quarto ; which was attended with Notes. We are willing to acquaint posterity, that this poem was presented to King George the Second and his Queen, by the hands of Sir Robert Walpole, on the 12th of March 1728-9.-SCHOL. Vet.

P. It was expressly confessed in the preface to the first edition, that this poem was not published by the author himself. printed originally in a foreign country. And what foreign country? Why, one notorious for blunders; where, finding blanks only instead of proper names, these blunderers filled them their pleasure.

The very Hero of the poem hath been mistaken to this hour; so that we are obliged to open our Notes with a discovery who

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