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Title: A Letter from Mr. Cibber to Mr. Pope
Author: Cibber, Colley
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "A Letter from Mr. Cibber to Mr. Pope" ***

  To H. T. Swedenberg, Junior
  _founder_, _protector_, _friend_

  _He that delights to_ Plant _and_ Set,
  _Makes_ After-Ages _in his_ Debt.

  Where could they find another formed so fit,
  To poise, with solid sense, a sprightly wit?
  Were these both wanting, as they both abound,
  Where could so firm integrity be found?

The verse and emblem are from George Wither, _A Collection of Emblems,
Ancient and Modern_ (London, 1635), illustration xxxv, page 35.

The lines of poetry (123-126) are from "To My Honoured Kinsman John
Driden," in John Dryden, _The Works of John Dryden_, ed. Sir Walter
Scott, rev. and corr. George Saintsbury (Edinburgh: William Patterson,
1885), xi, 78.





  _Introduction by_



  William E. Conway, William Andrews Clark Memorial Library
  George Robert Guffey, University of California, Los Angeles
  Maximillian E. Novak, University of California, Los Angeles
  David S. Rodes, University of California, Los Angeles


  Richard C. Boys, University of Michigan
  James L. Clifford, Columbia University
  Ralph Cohen, University of Virginia
  Vinton A. Dearing, University of California, Los Angeles
  Arthur Friedman, University of Chicago
  Louis A. Landa, Princeton University
  Earl Miner, Princeton University
  Samuel H. Monk, University of Minnesota
  Everett T. Moore, University of California, Los Angeles
  Lawrence Clark Powell, William Andrews Clark Memorial Library
  James Sutherland, University College, London
  H. T. Swedenberg, Jr., University of California, Los Angeles
  Robert Vosper, William Andrews Clark Memorial Library
  Curt A. Zimansky, State University of Iowa


  Edna C. Davis, William Andrews Clark Memorial Library


  Jean T. Shebanek, William Andrews Clark Memorial Library

Typography by Wm. M. Cheney


In the twentieth century, Colley Cibber's name has become synonymous
with "fool." Pope's _Dunciad_, the culmination of their long quarrel,
has done its work well, and Cibber, now too often regarded merely as a
pretentious dunce, has been relegated to an undeserved obscurity.

The history of this feud is replete with inconsistencies.[1] The image
Cibber presents of himself as a charming, good-natured, thick-skinned
featherbrain is as true as Pope's of himself as a patient, humorous,
objective moralist. Each picture is somewhat manipulated by its creator.
The reasons behind the manipulation are less matters of outright untruth
than of complex personalities disclosing only what they regard as
pertinent. Cibber, the actor, always tries to charm his audience; Pope,
the satirist, proffers those aspects best suited to his moral purpose.

Although the fact of their differences is evident in Pope's writings
after 1730, explanations of the cause, continuation and climax tend to
be muddled. The cause generally cited is Cibber's story in the Letter
concerning _Three Hours after Marriage_ and _The Rehearsal_. This is not
only a one-sided version, it is not even strongly substantiated. As
Norman Ault pointed out, it was not reported in any of the periodicals
at a time when such incidents were seized upon by journalists hungry for
gossip.[2] The only confirmation aside from Cibber is Montagu Bacon's
letter to his cousin James Montagu, which gives a slightly less
vivacious account:

     'I don't know whether you heard, before you went out of town, that
     _The Rehearsal_ was revived ... and Cibber interlarded it with
     several things in ridicule of the last play, upon which Pope went
     up to him and told him he was a rascal, and if he were able he
     would cane him; that his friend Gay was a proper fellow, and if he
     went on in his sauciness he might expect such a reception from
     him. The next night Gay came accordingly, and, treating him as Pope
     had done the night before, Cibber very fairly gave him a fillip on
     the nose, which made them both roar. The Guards came and parted
     them, and carried away Gay, and so ended this poetical scuffle.'[3]

A more likely cause is the second story in the _Letter_, the visit to
the bawdy house. If, as Ault goes on to suggest, there is even a shadow
of truth in it, Pope's attitude, as well as his reluctance to reveal its
cause, is understandable. The question then becomes: why did he
continually provoke Cibber, knowing the latter had such a story at hand?
This, however, might not be so illogical as it appears. Pope's work in
the thirties abounds in sneers at the actor, but none of them is equal
in scale to the full attack launched against Theobald. In comparison
with the 1735 portraits of Atticus and Sporus, the comments on Cibber
are minor barbs that could be ignored by a man whose reputation was
secure in its own right. Cibber evidently believed he was in such a
position, for he offered no defense before 1740, and took no offensive
action before 1742.

The "wicked wasp of Twickenham" is supposed to have meditated long and
fiendishly before bursting forth against his enemies, yet the _Dunciad_
of 1728 reveals no evidence of long fermentation. The choice of Theobald
as king of the Dunces obviously derives from _Shakespeare Restored; or a
Specimen of the many errors as well committed as unamended by Mr. Pope,
in his late edition of that Poet_ (1726). Theobald's remarks on Pope's
slipshod editing of Shakespeare are not couched in diplomatic terms, and
would be especially galling if Warburton's note is true:

     During two whole years while Mr. Pope was preparing his Edition of
     Shakespear, he publish'd Advertisements, requesting assistance, and
     promising satisfaction to any who could contribute to its greater
     perfection. But this Restorer, who was at that time solliciting
     favours of him by letters, did wholly conceal his design, till
     after its publication: (which he was since not asham'd to own, in a
     _Daily Journal_, of Nov. 26, 1728.)[4]

Pedantic, unimaginative and presumptuous, Theobald was the logical
choice for a Dunce King in 1728. Dennis, Ducket, Burnet, Gildon _et
cie._, had assailed him for years, and the prompt responses by
Scriblerus merely increased their fury. Pope bore as many undeserved
blows as Cibber, and he was no model of patience; the intense
hostilities waged against him in the twenties were ample cause for an
epic answer.[5]

Pope claimed he attacked only those who had attacked him. It seems
strange that, among the inimical host who had indulged in verbal
violence, he should have revised his satire against the one man who had
not contributed to the paper war, and who had, in his _Apology_, made
humble acknowledgment of Pope's gifts: "How terrible a Weapon is Satyr
in the hands of a great Genius?" Cibber asks, remarking on Pope's acid
portrait of Addison, and adds:

     But the Pain which the Acrimony of those Verses gave me is, in some
     measure, allay'd in finding that this inimitable Writer, as he
     advances in Years, has since had Candour enough to celebrate the
     same Person for his visible Merit. Happy Genius! whose Verse, like
     the Eye of Beauty, can heal the deepest Wounds with the least
     Glance of Favour.[6]

Even stranger is that with such eminent and vocal enemies as Lord Hervey
and Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, he should have been concerned with a
seventy-year-old semi-retired player who was too ineffectual, it would
appear, to be a proper target for his great satire, and whose words in
print could never have been a real threat.

The words "in print" are important, especially with reference to Cibber.
As far as direct attack in the form of broadsides, pamphlets and the
like, Cibber is clearly innocent; however, like many actors, he was an
expert improvisator of stage dialogue, and this in itself is a reason to
believe that his side of the feud was kept up from the theater platform.
A more potent and public method of ridicule would be difficult to

Stage warfare was as prevalent as paper warfare, as Cibber's mockery of
_Three Hours after Marriage_ suggests, and as the prologues and
epilogues amply demonstrate. _The Non-Juror_ (1719) with its
anti-Catholic remarks and its Jesuit villain played by Cibber himself,
has several barbs directed at Pope.[7]

If Pope's wounds had been festering since 1715, he had a perfect
opportunity to avenge them in the _Dunciad Variorum_ of 1729. When Gay's
_Polly_ was suppressed that year, Cibber was accused of being
responsible (though it was never proved),[8] since he had first refused
_The Beggar's Opera_, and then failed miserably to imitate its success
with his own _Love in a Riddle_. He was at this time more widely known
than Theobald, and had been a favorite target for anti-Hanoverians since
_The Non-Juror_.[9] It is very odd that Pope should have ignored this
chance, particularly when so many of his dunces are playwrights, only to
take it up fourteen years later under much less favorable
circumstances--when he himself was mortally ill and Cibber out of the
public eye--unless something else had provoked him.

One view is that the laureateship triggered the alteration, but while it
is true that Cibber was one of the worst versifiers ever to wear the
bays, that honor had been conferred in 1730, thirteen years before the
last _Dunciad_. The flood of burlesque Odes that followed each of
Cibber's Birth-Day and New-Year efforts had ebbed by the mid-thirties,
and in 1743 the laureate was a stale joke.

The _Apology_'s praise of Pope did not benefit Cibber; years before the
_Epistle to Dr. Arbuthnot_ had stated:

  A Fool quite angry is quite innocent;
  Alas! 'tis ten times worse when they repent (108-109).

and the minor slap on the wrist was misquoted by Pope, as the _Letter_
points out. The exchange is interesting, for it is an indication that
the man behind the actor's mask might have been less thick-skinned than
he liked to seem, that he was genuinely hurt by Pope's shafts.

Cibber did not mind being portrayed as a fool. That, after all was the
character he had created as Sir Novelty Fashion in _Love's Last Shift_
(1696), and which he continued to play in public throughout his life.
But a charge of immorality did bother him, for he was anxious to be
considered a moral man. Apparently he was--his enemies charged him with
gambling, highhandedness and plagiarism, but his life seems to have
been surprisingly free of the kind of scandal that plagued most
theatrical personalities. His plays embody the materialistic
middle-class values which he champions in his later prose writings, and
of all Pope's arrows, "And has not Colley still his lord and whore?"[10]
seems to have struck deepest. It may be significant that the bawdy house
story follows close upon Cibber's plaintive remonstrance against this

As long as Cibber was in his own territory, he could answer Pope orally,
but when he at last decided to reply in print, he was at a distinct
disadvantage. The actor has a notorious disregard for the written word;
his own experience on stage tells him that what is being said has less
impact than the manner in which it is delivered. Cibber's lack of
concern for language had been well publicized. His comment that Anne
Oldfield "Out-did her usual Out-doing"[11] was never allowed to rest,
and Fielding rarely missed an opportunity to use Cibber's "paraphonalia"
against him; that the most merciless parody of his Odes could scarcely
sink to the depths of the originals, did not deter the efforts of the

He was not entirely insensible of his weaknesses. The second edition of
_The Provoked Husband_ was silently changed to "Out-did her usual
Excellence," and the spelling of paraphernalia corrected. Dr. Johnson's
testimony supports this view of Cibber's seriousness:

     His friends gave out that he _intended_ his birth-day Odes should
     be bad: but that was not the case, Sir; for he kept them many
     months by him, and a few years before he died he shewed me one of
     them, with great solicitude to render it as perfect as might be,
     and I made some corrections, to which he was not very willing to

His unwillingness to take Johnson's advice might be more than mere
egotism, if the Ode was the same one mentioned elsewhere in the _Life_,
"I remember when he brought me one of his Odes to have my opinion of it,
I could not bear such nonsense, and would not let him read it to the
end; so little respect had I for _that great man_! (laughing.)."[14]

The laureateship marked only one of several changes in Cibber's life. In
1730, the triumvirate of actor-managers and their leading lady, a
quartet which had supported Drury Lane through its most prosperous
years, was broken by the death of Anne Oldfield; Wilks followed in 1732,
and Booth, too ill to perform for two years, in 1733. Cibber's royal
appointment meant a sure annual income of £100 (plus a butt of sack
worth £26), his children were grown, and he could afford some freedom
from the demands of the theater at last. He continued to act, but with
lessening frequency, until 1746, when as Cardinal Pandulph in his own
_Papal Tyranny in the Reign of King John_, he played the last role of a
career spanning more than half a century.

By 1740, he was far enough removed from the theater to have a slightly
different perspective on language. The _Apology_ betrays a concern for
his reputation beyond the immediate audience, and the need to leave a
written record other than his plays. Cibber had written prefaces and
dedications, but from this point on, he was to pursue his nondramatic
writing with _The egoist; or, Colley upon Cibber Being His Own Picture
retouch'd, to so plain a Likeness, that no One, now, would have the Face
to own it, but Himself_ (1743); _The lady's lecture, a theatrical
dialogue, between Sir Charles Easy and his marriageable daughter. Being
an attempt to engage obedience by filial liberty, and to given the
maiden conduct of virtue, chearfulness_ (1748); and _The Character and
Conduct of Cicero_ (1749), which Davies defends:

     A player daring to write upon a known subject without a college
     permission, was a shocking offense; and yet Dr. Middleton, to whom
     the conduct of Cicero was addressed, spoke of it with respect; and
     Mr. Hooke, the writer of the best Roman History in our language,
     has quoted Cibber's arguments in this [his?] pamphlet against the
     murderers of Julius Caesar, and speaks of them, not only with
     honour, but insists upon them as cogent and unanswerable.[15]

Cibber seems to have become more and more aware of the written word as a
powerful legacy, and Pope's attacks began to hold a menace they had not
had during the years of lighthearted stage warfare. On 20 March 1742,
the _New Dunciad_ struck him with enough force to cause him to reply
with this open _Letter_ of 7 July, which attracted a great deal of
attention.[16] Four engravings and at least six pamphlets, all focusing
on the bawdy house story, were shortly in circulation. Whether or not
the story is true, or whether it was even believed, is immaterial. Its
importance lies in that it allowed Pope's enemies to have at him in the
most devastating way. The _Letter_ may well have been as painful as
Jonathan Richardson, Jr. claimed when he told Dr. Johnson that

     he attended his father, the painter, on a visit to Twickenham when
     one of Cibber's pamphlets had just come into Pope's hands. 'These
     things are my diversion,' said Pope. They sat by him while he read
     it, and saw his features writhing with anguish. After the visitors
     had taken their leave, young Richardson said to his father that he
     'hoped to be preserved from such diversion as had been that day the
     lot of Pope.'[17]

If so, the other attacks must have been shattering, since they lacked
even the surface good humor of Cibber's _Letter_. Pope, at any rate, was
concerned enough to tell Spence:

     The story published by Cibber, as to the main point, is an absolute
     lie. I do remember that I was invited by Lord Warwick to pass an
     evening with him. He carried me and Cibber in his coach to a
     bawdy-house. There was a woman there, but I had nothing to do with
     her of the kind that Cibber mentions, to the best of my memory--and
     I had so few things of that kind ever on my hands that I could
     scarce have forgot it, especially so circumstanced as he

An answer to the _Letter_ was demanded, and it was not long in coming.
In August/September, Pope wrote his friend Hugh Bethel concerning a copy
of the _New Dunciad_ he had sent him:

     That poem has not done me, or my Quiet, the least harm; only it
     provokd Cibber to write a very foolish & impudent Letter, which I
     have no cause to be sorry for, & perhaps next Winter I shall be
     thought to be glad of: But I lay in my Claim to you, to Testify for
     me, that if he should chance to die before a New & Improved Edition
     of the Dunciad comes out, I have already, actually written (before,
     & not after his death) all I shall ever say about him.[19]

A Cibber-baiting campaign was undertaken by the poet's friends, and the
actor responded with _The egoist_, in which he defended himself, as in
his _Apology_, by freely admitting his flaws with infuriating
complacency. Then a false leaf of the last _Dunciad_ came into his hands
(though certainly not directly from Pope), and he published a second,
very brief, letter which indicated some stress. Pope knew, and at least
tacitly approved, of these tactics, for in February of 1743, he wrote
Lord Marchmont:

     I won't publish the fourth _Dunciad_ as 'tis newset till
     Michaelmas, that we may have time to play Cibber all the while....
     He will be stuck, like the man in the almanac, not deep, but all
     over. He won't know which way to turn himself to. Exhausted at the
     first stroke, and reduced to passion and calling names, so that he
     won't be able to write more, and won't be able to bear living
     without writing.[20]

Copyright difficulties not mentioned by Pope prevented the Michaelmas
publication date, but on 29 October 1743, the final _Dunciad_ appeared
with its new hero, for all the world to see.

Cibber kept his promise to "have the last word." _Another Letter from
Mr. Cibber to Mr. Pope_ followed the publication of this _Dunciad_,
stating his grievances with somewhat less humor, a number of
scatological references, and an accusation against Warburton for
instigating the change. Included was a twenty-page aside on the
offending Bishop, revealing a startlingly thorough knowledge of his
writings. This was the end. Cibber's friends were eager for him to keep
up his side of the battle, but he, having had his say, resumed his
good-humor and refused to speak out again.

It has been suggested that Pope may have planned the change in hero
earlier, and aimed the _New Dunciad_ with the express purpose of goading
Cibber into just such a reply as the _Letter_. This is, of course,
possible, but it cannot be more than speculation; the final _Dunciad_
does show evidence of hasty revision. Pope was severely ill when his
last variation on the dunce theme appeared, and the seven months of life
remaining to him were clearly not enough to permit him to polish it to
the level of perfection customary in his work. But, as Warburton once
noted, quality and posterity have awarded Pope the final say:

  Quoth Cibber to Pope, Tho' in Verse you foreclose,
  I'll have the last Word; for by G--, I'll write prose.
  Poor Colly, thy Reas'ning is none of the strongest,
  For know, the last Word is the Word that lasts longest.[21]

Cibber's words have not been reprinted since the eighteenth century, and
his reputation has become so distorted it is sometimes difficult to find
the man who, for so many years, amused and delighted London audiences.
Yet, if one looks closely, under the froth and foppery, some of the
charm and perception of the man still shines through. And, of more
importance to the world of literature, it seems fairly clear that,
whatever the original offense, the _Dunciad_ as we know it today was a
direct result of this _Letter_.

  California State College
  San Bernardino


[1] Not even the winner of the contest has been beyond dispute. 150
years afterward, Robert W. Lowe, "Supplementary Chapter to Colley
Cibber's Apology" in his edition of _An Apology for the Life of Colley
Cibber, Comedian, and Late Patentee of the Theatre-Royal_ (London: J. C.
Nimmo, 1889), II, 270, remarks on Cibber's later years: "His [Cibber's]
state of mind was probably the more 'chearful and contented' because of
his unquestionable success in his tilt with the formidable author of
'The Dunciad;' a success none the less certain at the time, that the
enduring fame of Pope has caused Cibber's triumph over him to be lost
sight of now."

[2] Norman Ault, _New Light on Pope_ (London: Methuen, 1949), pp.

[3] George Paston [Emily Morse Symmonds], _Mr. Pope His Life and Times_
(London: Hutchinson & Co., 1909), I, 197.

[4] Alexander Pope, _Works_, ed. William Warburton (London: J. and P.
Knapton, 1751), V, 86 (Book I, line 108). Griffith 643. This is a note
to the variations on lines 108ff: "But chief in BAYS'S monster-breeding
breast" and the wording is slightly altered from the earlier note quoted
in the Twickenham edition, V, 75, _Dunciad_ (A), Book I, line 106n.

[5] J. V. Guerinot, _Pamphlet Attacks on Alexander Pope 1711-1744_ (New
York: New York University Press, 1969), lists 15 pamphlets between 1724
and the publication of the first _Dunciad_, but he does not include the
frequent newspaper comments.

[6] Cibber, I, 38-39.

[7] William H. Peterson, "Pope and Cibber's _The Non-Juror_" MLN, LXX
(May, 1955), 332-335. Three instances are given:

     1. Maria, the coquette, quotes _The Rape of the Lock_ with great
     relish. The praise is in the wrong mouth.

     2. Maria speaks slightingly of her English version of Homer. Pope's
     last volume had just come out.

     3. Dr. Wolf refers to "Eloisa and Abelard" in his second attempt to
     seduce Lady Woodvil. The argument is twisted out of context.

These elements, combined with the strong anti-Catholic sentiment, would
certainly point attention toward Pope, and, in any case, were not
calculated to please him.

[8] See R. H. Barker, _Mr. Cibber of Drury Lane_ (New York: Columbia
University Press, 1939), p. 151.

[9] Cibber's supposition that Pope wrote the _Clue to the Non-Juror_ has
subsequently been established as correct. See Ault, pp. 303-313.

[10] _Epistle to Arbuthnot_, 97. It should be noted here that Cibber
misquotes the line, a failing habitual to him. The anonymous pamphlet,
_A Blast upon Bays; or, a New Lick at the Laureat_, which appeared
shortly after the Letter, points out rather severely the difference in
meaning between Cibber's "too" and Pope's "still", maintaining a
mistress twenty years after the events, _A Blast_ is as heated in
defense of Pope as it is in attack against Cibber, but it offers no
evidence; aside from Pope's original line, it is the only charge of this
kind among contemporary attacks.

[11] Colley Cibber, _The Provoked Husband_ (London, 1728), Preface.

[12] Two examples from the Birth-day Odes will give some idea of the
Cibberian quality:

  Her Fleets, that now the Seas command,
    Were late upon her Forests growing;
  Her wholesome Stores, for every Band,
    As late within her Fields were sowing. (1741)

  Behold! in clouds of fire serene,
  The royal hero heads his pow'rs:
  Alike to fame, with raptures seen,
  His younger hope, the eaglet soars.
  Fortune, to grace her fav'rite son,
  Stamps on his bleeding form renown. (1743)

[13] James Boswell, _Life of Johnson_, ed. George Birkbeck Hill, rev. L.
F. Powell (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1934), I, 402.

[14] Boswell, II, 92-93.

[15] Thomas Davies, _Memoirs of the Life of David Garrick, Esq._
(London, 1780), II, 202.

[16] In the Twickenham Edition of _The Dunciad_ (London: Methuen, 2nd
ed. rev., 1953, pp. xxxiii-xxxiv and (B) 341), James Sutherland refers
to line 20 ("Soft on her lap her Laureat son reclines") and holds that
Cibber's answer may have been less a protest than a warning. In _The New
Dunciad_ (1742), however, the footnote to this line expands the satire,
quotes from the _Apology_ and is a sharper attack than the line itself.

[17] Paston, I, 687.

[18] Joseph Spence, _Observations, Anecdotes and Characters of Books and
Men_, ed. James M. Osborn (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1966), I, 110 (no.

[19] Alexander Pope, Correspondence, ed. George Sherburn (Oxford: Oxford
University Press, 1956), IV, 415.

[20] Spence, I, 148-149 (no. 331).

[21] Pope, _Works_, V. 89 (Book I, line 109n). This verse appears in
the Twickenham edition, V, 276, as a note to _Dunciad_ (B) Book I, line


The facsimile of _A Letter from Mr. Cibber to Mr. Pope_ (1742) is
reproduced by permission from a copy of the first edition (Shelf Mark:
114527) in _The Huntington Library, San Marino, California_. The total
type-page (p. 47) measures 165 x 85 mm.


Price One Shilling.


  Inquiring into the MOTIVES that might
  induce him in his SATYRICAL WORKS,
  to be so frequently fond of
  Mr. CIBBER'S Name.

  _Out of thy own Mouth will I judge thee._
                                   Pref. to the _Dunciad_.

  Printed: And Sold by W. LEWIS in
  _Russel-Street, Covent-Garden_.
  Price 1s.



As you have for several Years past (particularly in your Poetical Works)
mentioned my Name, without my desiring it; give me leave, at last, to
make my due Compliments to _Yours_ in Prose, which I should not choose
to do, but that I am really driven to it (as the Puff in the Play-Bills
says) _At the Desire of several Persons of Quality_.

If I have lain so long stoically silent, or unmindful of your satyrical
Favours, it was not so much for want of a proper Reply, as that I
thought they never needed a Publick one: For all People of Sense would
know, what Truth or Falshood there was in what you have said of me,
without my wisely pointing it out to them. Nor did I choose to follow
your Example of being so much a Self-Tormentor, as to be concern'd at
whatever Opinion of me any publish'd Invective might infuse into People
unknown to me: Even the Malicious, though they may like the Libel, don't
always believe it. But since the Publication of your last new _Dunciad_
(where you still seem to enjoy your so often repeated Glory of being
bright upon my Dulness) my Friends now insist, that it will be thought
Dulness indeed, or a plain Confession of my being a Bankrupt in Wit, if
I don't immediately answer those Bills of Discredit you have drawn upon
me: For, say they, your dealing with him, like a Gentleman, in your
_Apology for your own Life_, &c. you see, has had no sensible Effect
upon him, as appears by the wrong-headed Reply his Notes upon the new
_Dunciad_ have made to it: For though, in that _Apology_ you seem to
have offer'd him a friendly release of all Damages, yet as it is plain
he scorns to accept it, by his still holding you at Defiance with fresh
Abuses, you have an indisputable Right to resume that Discharge, and may
now, as justly as ever, call him to account for his many bygone Years of
Defamation. But pray, Gentlemen, said I, if, as you seem to believe, his
Defamation has more of Malice than Truth in it, does he not blacken
himself by it? Why then should I give myself the trouble to prove, what
you, and the World are already convinc'd of? and since after near twenty
Years having been libell'd by our Daily-paper Scriblers, I never was so
hurt, as to give them one single Answer, why would you have me seem to
be more sore now, than at any other time?

As to those dull Fellows, they granted my Silence was right; yet they
could not but think Mr. _Pope_ was too eminent an Author to justify my
equal Contempt of him; and that a Disgrace, from such a Pen, might stick
upon me to Posterity: In fine, that though I could not be rouz'd from my
Indifference, in regard to myself, yet for the particular Amusement of
my Acquaintance, they desired I would enter the Lists with you;
notwithstanding I am under the Disadvantage of having only the blunt
and weak weapon of Prose, to oppose you, or defend myself, against the
Sharpness of Verse, and that in the Hand of so redoubted an Author as
Mr. _Pope_.

Their spiriting me up to this unequal Engagement, I doubt is but an ill
Compliment to my Skill, or my Discretion; or, at best, seems but to put
me upon a level with a famous Boxer at the _Bear-Garden_, called _Rugged
and Tough_, who would stand being drubb'd for Hours together, 'till
wearying out his Antagonist by the repeated Labour of laying him on, and
by keeping his own Wind (like the _Roman_ Combatant of old, who
conquer'd by seeming to fly) honest _Rugged_ sometimes came off
victorious. All I can promise therefore, since I am stript for the
Combat, is, that I will so far imitate this Iron-headed Hero (as the
_Turks_ called the late King of _Sweden_) as always to keep my Temper,
as he did his Wind, and that while I have Life, or am able to set Pen to
Paper, I will now, Sir, have the last Word with you: For let the Odds of
your Wit be never so great, or its Pen dipt in whatever Venom it may,
while I am conscious you can say nothing truly of me, that ought to put
an honest Man to the Blush, what, in God's Name, can I have to fear
from you? As to the Reputation of my Attempts, in Poetry, that has taken
its Ply long ago, and can now no more be lessened by your coldest
Contempt, than it can be raised by your warmest Commendation, were you
inclin'd to give it any: Every Man's Work must and will always speak
_For_, or _Against_ itself, whilst it has a remaining Reader in the
World. All I shall say then as to that Point, is, that I wrote more to
be Fed, than be Famous, and since my Writings still give me a Dinner, do
you rhyme me out of my Stomach if you can. And I own myself so contented
a Dunce, that I would not have even your merited Fame in Poetry, if it
were to be attended with half the fretful Solicitude you seem to have
lain under to maintain it; of which the laborious Rout you make about
it, in those Loads of Prose Rubbish, wherewith you have almost smother'd
your _Dunciad_, is so sore a Proof: And though I grant it a better Poem
of its Kind, than ever was writ; yet when I read it, with those
vain-glorious encumbrances of Notes, and Remarks, upon almost every Line
of it, I find myself in the uneasy Condition I was once in at an Opera,
where sitting with a silent Desire to hear a favourite Air, by a famous
Performer, a Coxcombly Connoisseur, at my Elbow, was so fond of shewing
his own Taste, that by his continual Remarks, and prating in Praise of
every Grace and Cadence, my Attention and Pleasure in the Song was quite
lost and confounded.

It is almost amazing, that you, who have writ with such masterly Spirit,
upon the _Ruling Passion_, should be so blind a Slave to your own, as
not to have seen, how far a low Avarice of Praise might prejudice, or
debase that valuable Character, which your Works, without your own
commendatory Notes upon them, might have maintained. _Laus propria
sordet_, is a Line we learn in our Infancy. How applicable to your self
then is what you say of another Person, _viz._

  _Whose Ruling Passion is the lust of Praise;
  Born, with whate'er could win it from the Wise,
  Women and Fools must like him, or he dies._
                                  Epist. to Ld. _Cobham_ Vers. 183.

How easily now can you see the Folly in another, which you yourself are
so fond of? Why, Sir, the very Jealousy of Fame, which (in the best
cruel Verses that ever fell from your Pen) you have with so much
Asperity reproved in _Addison_ (_Atticus_ I mean) falls still short of
yours, for though you impute it to him as a Crime, That he could----

  _Bear, like the_ Turk, _no Brother near the Throne._
                                  Vers. 190 of the same Epist.

Yet you, like outragious _Nero_, are for whipping and branding every
poor Dunce in your Dominions, that had the stupid Insolence not to like
you, or your Musick! If this is not a greater Tyranny than that of your
_Atticus_, at least you must allow it more ridiculous: For what have you
gain'd by it? a mighty Matter! a Victory over a parcel of poor Wretches,
that were not able to hurt or resist you, so weak, it was almost
Cowardice to conquer them; or if they actually _did_ hurt you, how much
weaker have you shewn yourself in so openly owning it? Besides, your
Conduct seems hardly reconcileable to your own Opinion: For after you
have lash'd them (in your Epistle to Dr. _Arburthnot_, ver. 84.) you
excuse the Cruelty of it in the following Line.

  ------_Take it for a Rule,
  No Creature smarts so little as a Fool._

Now if this be true, to what purpose did you correct them? For wise Men,
without your taking such Pains to tell them, knew what they were
before. And that publick-spirited Pretence of your only chastising them,
_in terrorem_ to others of the same malicious Disposition, I doubt is
but too thin a Disguise of the many restless Hours they have given you.
If your Revenge upon them was necessary, we must own you have amply
enjoy'd it: But to make that Revenge the chief Motive of writing your
_Dunciad_, seems to me a Weakness, that an Author of your Abilities
should rather have chosen to conceal. A Man might as well triumph for
his having kill'd so many silly Flies that offended him. Could you have
let them alone, by this time, poor Souls, they had been all peaceably
buried in Oblivion! But the very Lines, you have so sharply pointed to
destroy them, will now remain but so many of their Epitaphs, to transmit
their Names to Posterity: Which probably too they may think a more
eligible Fate than that of being totally forgotten. Hear what an Author
of great Merit, though of less Anxiety for Fame, says upon this

  _Fame is a Bubble, the Reserv'd enjoy,
  Who strive to grasp it, as they touch, destroy._
                                  Y-- Univers. Passion.

In a word, you seem in your _Dunciad_, to have been angry at the rain
for wetting you, why then would you go into it? You could not but know,
that an Author, when he publishes a Work, exposes himself to all
Weathers. He then that cannot bear the worst, should stay at home, and
not write at all.

But Sir--That _Cibber_ ever murmured at your Fame, or endeavoured to
blast it, or that he was not always, to the best of his Judgment, as
warm an Admirer of your Writings as any of your nearest Friends could
be, is what you cannot, by any one Fact or Instance, disprove. How comes
it then, that in your Works you have so often treated him as a Dunce or
an Enemy? Did he at all intrench upon your Sovereignty in Verse, because
he had now and then written a Comedy that succeeded? Or could not you
bear, that any kind of Poetry, but that, to which you chiefly pretended,
should meet with Applause? Or was it, that he had an equal Reputation
for Acting his own Characters as for Writing them, or that with such
inferior Talents he was admitted to as good Company as you, with your
superior, could get into; or what other offensive Merit had he, that has
so often made him the Object of your Contempt or Envy? It could not be,
sure, simple Ill-nature, that incited you, because in the Preface to
your _Dunciad_ you declare that you have------

     "In this Poem attacked no Man living, who had not before printed,
     or published some Scandal against you."

How comes it, I say, that you have so often fallen foul upon _Cibber_
then, against whom you have no Complaint, nor whose Name is so much as
mentioned in the printed List you have given us of all those high
Offenders, you so imperiously have proscribed and punish'd. Under this
Class at least, you acquit him of having ever provoked you?

But in your Notes, to this Preface (that is, in your Notes upon Notes)
from this general Declaration, you make an Exception,--"Of two, or three
Persons only, whose Dulness or Scurrility all Mankind agreed, to have
justly intitled them to a Place in the _Dunciad_." Here then, or no
where, you ground your Pretence of taking Me into it! Now let us enquire
into the Justness of this Pretence, and whether Dulness in one Author
gives another any right to abuse him for it? No sure! Dulness can be no
Vice or Crime, or is at worst but a Misfortune, and you ought no more
to censure or revile him for it, than for his being blind or lame; the
Cruelty or Injustice will be evidently equal either way. But if you
please I will wave this part of my Argument, and for once take no
advantage of it; but will suppose Dulness to be actually Criminal, and
then will leave it to your own Conscience, to declare, whether you
really think I am generally so guilty of it, as to deserve the Name of
the Dull Fellow you make of me. Now if the Reader will call upon My
Conscience to speak to the Question, I do from my Heart solemnly
declare, that I don't believe you _do_ think so of me. This I grant may
be Vanity in me to say: But if what I believe is true, what a slovenly
Conscience do you shew your Face with?

Now, Sir, as for my Scurrility, when ever a Proof can be produced, that
I have been guilty of it to you, or any one Man living, I will
shamefully unsay all I have said, and confess I have deserv'd the
various Names you have call'd me.

Having therefore said enough to clear my self of any Ill-will or Enmity
to Mr. _Pope_, I should be glad he were able equally to acquit himself
to Me, that I might not suppose the satyrical Arrows he has shot at me,
to have flown from that Malignity of Mind, which the talking World is so
apt to accuse him of. In the mean while, it may be worth the trouble to
weigh the Truth, or Validity of the Wit he has bestow'd upon me, that it
may appear, which of us is the worse Man for it; He, for his unprovoked
Endeavour to vilify and expose me, or--I, for my having or having not
deserv'd it.

I could wish it might be observed then, by those who have read the Works
of Mr. _Pope_, that the contemptuous Things he there says of me, are
generally bare positive Assertions, without his any sort of Evidence to
ground them upon: Why then, till the Truth of them is better prov'd,
should they stand for any more, than so many _gratis Dictums_? But I
hope I have given him fairer Play, in what I have said of him, and which
I intend to give him, in what I shall farther say of him; that is, by
saying nothing to his Disadvantage that has not a known Fact to support
it. This will bring our Cause to a fair Issue; and no impartial Reader,
then, can be at a loss on which side Equity should incline him to give
Judgment. But as in this Dispute I shall be oblig'd, sometimes to be
_Witness_, as well as _Accuser_, I am bound, in Conscience, not to
conceal any Fact, that may possibly mitigate, or excuse the resentful
manner, in which Mr. _Pope_ has publickly treated me. Now I am afraid,
that I once as publickly offended him, before a thousand Spectators; to
the many of them, therefore, who might be Witnesses of the Fact, I
submit, as to the most competent Judges, how far it ought, or ought not,
to have provoked him.

The Play of the _Rehearsal_, which had lain some few Years dormant,
being by his present Majesty (then Prince of _Wales_) commanded to be
revived, the Part of _Bays_ fell to my share. To this Character there
had always been allow'd such ludicrous Liberties of Observation, upon
any thing new, or remarkable, in the state of the Stage, as Mr. _Bays_
might think proper to take. Much about this time, then, _The Three Hours
after Marriage_ had been acted without Success; when Mr. _Bays_, as
usual, had a fling at it, which, in itself, was no Jest, unless the
Audience would please to make it one: But however, flat as it was, Mr.
_Pope_ was mortally sore upon it. This was the Offence. In this Play,
two Coxcombs, being in love with a learned Virtuoso's Wife, to get
unsuspected Access to her, ingeniously send themselves, as two
presented Rarities, to the Husband, the one curiously swath'd up like an
_Egyptian_ Mummy, and the other slily cover'd in the Paste-board Skin of
a Crocodile: upon which poetical Expedient, I, Mr. _Bays_, when the two
Kings of _Brentford_ came from the Clouds into the Throne again, instead
of what my Part directed me to say, made use of these Words, viz. "Now,
Sir, this Revolution, I had some Thoughts of introducing, by a quite
different Contrivance; but my Design taking air, some of your sharp
Wits, I found, had made use of it before me; otherwise I intended to
have stolen one of them in, in the Shape of a _Mummy_, and t'other, in
that of a _Crocodile_." Upon which, I doubt, the Audience by the Roar of
their Applause shew'd their proportionable Contempt of the Play they
belong'd to. But why am I answerable for that? I did not lead them, by
any Reflection of my own, into that Contempt: Surely to have used the
bare Word _Mummy_, and _Crocodile_, was neither unjust, or unmannerly;
Where then was the Crime of simply saying there had been two such things
in a former Play? But this, it seems, was so heinously taken by Mr.
_Pope_, that, in the swelling of his Heart, after the Play was over, he
came behind the Scenes, with his Lips pale and his Voice trembling, to
call me to account for the Insult: And accordingly fell upon me with all
the foul Language, that a Wit out of his Senses could be capable
of------How durst I have the Impudence to treat any Gentleman in that
manner? _&c. &c. &c._ Now let the Reader judge by this Concern, who was
the true Mother of the Child! When he was almost choked with the foam of
his Passion, I was enough recover'd from my Amazement to make him (as
near as I can remember) this Reply, _viz._ "Mr. _Pope_----You are so
particular a Man, that I must be asham'd to return your Language as I
ought to do: but since you have attacked me in so monstrous a Manner;
This you may depend upon, that as long as the Play continues to be
acted, I will never fail to repeat the same Words over and over again."
Now, as he accordingly found I kept my Word, for several Days following,
I am afraid he has since thought, that his Pen was a sharper Weapon than
his Tongue to trust his Revenge with. And however just Cause this may be
for his so doing, it is, at least, the only Cause my Conscience can
charge me with. Now, as I might have concealed this Fact, if my
Conscience would have suffered me, may we not suppose, Mr. _Pope_ would
certainly have mention'd it in his _Dunciad_, had he thought it could
have been of service to him? But as he seems, notwithstanding, to have
taken Offence from it, how well does this Soreness of Temper agree with
what he elsewhere says of himself?

  _But touch me, and no Minister so sore._
                                  1 Sat. 2 B. of Hor. ver. 76.

Since then, even his Admirers allow, that Spleen has a great share in
his Composition, and as Thirst of Revenge, in full Possession of a
conscious Power to execute it, is a Temptation, which we see the
Depravity of Human Nature is so little able to resist, why then should
we wonder, that a Man so easily hurt, as Mr. _Pope_ seems to be, should
be so frequently delighted in his inflicting those Pains upon others,
which he feels he is not himself able to bear? This is the only way I
can account for his having sometimes carried his satyrical Strokes
farther, than, I doubt, a true and laudable Satyrist would have thought
justifiable. But it is now time to open, what on my own part I have to
charge him with.

In turning over his Works of the smaller Edition, the eldest Date I
find, in print, of my being out of his Favour, is from an odd Objection
he makes to a, then, new Play of mine, _The Non-Juror_. In one of his
Letters to Mr. _Jervas_, p. 85. he writes thus----

     "Your Acquaintance, on this side the Water, are under terrible
     Apprehensions, from your long stay in _Ireland_, that you may grow
     too polite for them; for we think (since the great Success of _such
     a Play as the Non-Juror_) that Politeness is gone over the Water,

(By the way, was not his Wit a little stiff and weary, when he strained
so hard to bring in this costive Reflection upon the _Non-Juror_? Dear
Soul! What terrible Apprehensions it gave him!) And some few Lines after
he cries out----

     "Poor Poetry! the little that's left of thee, longs to cross the

Modestly meaning, I suppose, he had a mind to have gone over himself! If
he had gone, and had carried with him those polite Pieces, _The What
d'ye call it_, and _The Three Hours after Marriage_ (both which he had
a hand in) how effectually had those elaborate Examples of the true
Genius given, to the _Dublin_ Theatre, the Glory of Dramatick Poetry
restor'd? But _Drury-Lane_ was not so favourable to him; for there alas!
(where the last of them was unfortunately acted) he had so sore a Rap o'
the Fingers, that he never more took up his Pen for the Stage. But this
is not fair, you will say: My shewing Mr. _Pope_'s want of Skill in
Comedy, is no excuse for the want of it in myself; which his Satyr
sometimes charges me with: at least, it must be owned, it is not an easy
thing to hit by his missing it. And indeed I have had some doubt, as
there is no personal Reflection in it, whether I ought to have mention'd
his Objection to _The Non-Juror_ at all; but as the Particularity of it
may let one a good deal into the Sentiments of Mr. _Pope_, I could not
refrain from bestowing some farther Notes upon it.

Well then! upon the great Success of this enormous Play, _The
Non-Juror_, poor Mr. _Pope_ laments the Decay of Poetry; though the
Impoliteness of the Piece is his only insinuated Objection against it.
How nice are the Nostrils of this delicate Critick! This indeed is a
Scent, that those wide-mouth'd Hounds the Daily-Paper Criticks could
never hit off! though they pursued it with the Imputation of every
Offence that could run down a Play: Yet Impoliteness at least they
oversaw. No! they did not disguise their real dislike, as the prudent
Mr. _Pope_ did; They all fairly spoke out, and in full Cry open'd
against it, only for its so audaciously exposing the sacred Character of
a lurking, treason-hatching Jesuit, and for inhumanly ridiculing the
conscientious Cause of an honest deluded Jacobite Gentleman. Now may we
not as well say to Mr. Pope, _Hinc illæ lachrymæ_! Here was his real
Disgust to the Play! For if Impoliteness could have so offended him, he
would never have bestowed such Encomiums upon the _Beggars Opera_, which
whatever Beauties it might boast, Politeness certainly was not one of
its most striking Features. No, no! if the Play had not so impudently
fallen upon the poor Enemies of the Government, Mr. _Pope_, possibly,
might have been less an Enemy to the Play: But he has a charitable
Heart, and cannot bear to see his Friends derided in their Distress:
Therefore you may have observed, whenever the Government censures a Man
of Consequence for any extraordinary Disaffection to it; then is Mr.
_Pope_'s time generously to brighten and lift him up with Virtues,
which never had been so conspicuous in him before. Now though he may be
led into all this, by his thinking it a Religious Duty; yet those who
are of a different Religion may sure be equally excused, if they should
notwithstanding look upon him as their Enemy. But to my Purpose.

Whatever might be his real Objections to it, Mr. _Pope_ is, at least, so
just to the Play, as to own it had great Success, though it grieved him
to see it; perhaps too he would have been more grieved, had he then
known, that his late Majesty, when I had the Honour to kiss his Hand,
upon my presenting my Dedication of it, was graciously pleased, out of
his Royal Bounty, to order me two hundred Pounds for it. Yes, Sir! 'tis
true--such was the Depravity of the Time, you will say, and so enormous
was the Reward of _such a Play as The Non-Juror_!

This brings to my Memory (what I cannot help smiling at) the bountiful
Banter, you at this time endeavoured to put upon me. This was the Fact I
had, not long before, been a Subscriber to your _Homer_: And now, to
make up our Poetical Accounts, as you call'd it, you sent me a Note,
with four Guineas inclosed, for four Tickets, for the Author's Day of
_such a Play as The Non-Juror_. So unexpected a Favour made me conclude,
there must be something at the bottom of it, which an indifferent Eye
might have overlooked: However I sent you the Tickets with a written
Acknowledgment; for I was willing you should think the kind Appearance
had passed upon me; though every Gentleman I told it to laugh'd at my
Credulity, wondering I should not see, you had plainly done this, in
scorn of my Subscription to your _Homer_. Which, to say the Truth, I
never had the least doubt of, but did not think myself so far obliged to
gratify your Pride, as to shew any sign of my feeling the Hurt you
intended me. Though, as this was in the Infancy of your Disinclination
to me, I confess, I might have been better pleased, would your Temper
have suffered me to have been upon better Terms with you: But so it is!
of such insensible Stuff am I made, that I have been rated by my
Friends, for not being surprized, or grieved at Disappointments. This I
only offer as an early Instance of our different Dispositions. My
Subscription had no Disguise, I thought it due to the Merit of Mr.
_Pope_: But that his Bounty to me rose from the same Motive, I am
afraid would be Vanity in me to suppose.

There is another whimsical Fact relating to this Play, which common
Fame, just after the Run of it, charged to Mr. _Pope_: Had I his
Sagacity in detecting concealed Authors, or his laborious Curiosity to
know them, I do not doubt but I might bring my Fact to a Proof upon him;
but let my Suspicion speak for itself. At this time then there came out
a Pamphlet (the Title I have forgot) but the given Name of the Author
was _Barnevelt_, which every body believed to be fictitious. The Purport
of this odd Piece of Wit was to prove, that _The Non-Juror_ in its
Design, its Characters, and almost every Scene of it, was a closely
couched Jacobite Libel against the Government: And, in troth, the Charge
was in some places so shrewdly maintained, that I almost liked the Jest
myself; at least, it was so much above the Spirit, and Invention of the
Daily-Paper Satyrists, that all the sensible Readers I met with, without
Hesitation gave it to Mr. _Pope_. And what afterwards left me no doubt
of it was, that he published the same Charge against his own _Rape of
the Lock_, proving even the Design of that too, by the same sort of
merry Innuendos, to have been as audacious a Libel, as the other
Pamphlet had made _The Non-Juror_. In a word, there is so much
Similitude of Stile, and Thought, in these two Pieces, that it is scarce
possible to give them to different Authors. 'Tis true, at first Sight,
there appears no great Motive for Mr. _Pope_ to have written either of
them, more than to exercise the Wantonness of his Fancy: But some People
thought, he might have farther Views in this Frolick. He might hope,
that the honest Vulgar would take literally, his making a Libel of _The
Non-Juror_, and from thence have a good Chance of his turning the Stream
of their Favour against it. As for his playing the same game with his
_Rape of the Lock_, that he was, at least, sure could do him no harm;
but on the contrary he might hope, that such a ludicrous Self-accusation
might soften, or wipe off any severe Imputation that had lain upon other
parts of his Writings, which had not been thought equally Innocent of a
real Disaffection. This way of owning Guilt in a wrong Place, is a
common Artifice to hide it in a right one. Now though every Reader is
not obliged to take all I have said for Evidence in this Case; yet there
may be others, that are not obliged to refuse it. Let it therefore
avail no more, than in reality it ought to do.

Since, as you say, in one of your Letters to Mr. _Addison_, "_To be
uncensured and to be obscure is the same thing_;" I hope then to appear
in a better Light, by quoting some of your farther Flirts at _The

In your Correspondence with Mr. _Digby_ p. 150. complaining of People's
Insensibility to good Writing, you say (with your usual sneer upon the
same Play)

     "The Stage is the only Place we seem alive at: There indeed we
     stare, and roar, and clap Hands for King _George_ and the

This could be meant of no Play, but _The Non-Juror_, because no other
had made the Enemies of the King and Government so ridiculous; and
therefore, it seems, you think the Town as ridiculous to roar and clap
at it. But, Sir, as so many of the Government's Friends were willing to
excuse its Faults for the Honesty of its Intention; so, if you were not
of that Number, I do not wonder you had so strong a Reason to dislike
it. In the same Letter too, this wicked Play runs so much in your Head,
that in the favourable Character you there give of the Lady _Scudamore_,
you make it a particular Merit in her, that she had not then even

     _Seen_ Cibber_'s Play of the_ Non-juror.

I presume, at least, she had heard Mr. _Pope_'s Opinion of it, and then
indeed the Lady might be in the right.

I suppose by this time you will say, I have tir'd your Patience; but I
do assure you I have not said so much upon this Head, merely to
commemorate the Applauses of _The Non-juror_, as to shew the World one
of your best Reasons for having so often publish'd your Contempt of the
Author. And yet, methinks, the Good-nature which you so frequently
labour to have thought a part of your Character, might have inclin'd you
to a little more Mercy for an old Acquaintance: Nay, in your Epistle to
Dr. _Arbuthnot_, ver. 373, you are so good as to say, you have been so
humble as to _drink with Cibber_. Sure then, such Humility might at
least have given the Devil his Due: for, black as I am, I have still
some Merit to you, in the profess'd Pleasure I always took in your
Writings? But alas! if the Friendship between yourself and Mr.
_Addison_, (which with such mutual Warmth you have profess'd in your
publish'd Letters) could not protect him from that insatiable Rage of
Satyr that so often runs away with you, how could so frivolous a Fellow
as I am (whose Friendship you never cared for) hope to escape it?
However, I still comfort myself in one Advantage I have over you, that
of never having deserved your being my Enemy.

You see, Sir, with what passive Submission I have hitherto complained to
you: but now give me leave to speak an honest Truth, without caring how
far it may displease you. If I thought, then, that your Ill-nature were
half as hurtful to me, as I believe it is to yourself, I am not sure I
could be half so easy under it. I am told, there is a Serpent in some of
the _Indies_, that never stings a Man without leaving its own Life in
the Wound: I have forgot the Name of it, and therefore cannot give it
you. Or if this be too hard upon you, permit me at least to say, your
Spleen is sometimes like that of the little angry Bee, which, in doing
less Mischief than the Serpent, yet (as _Virgil_ says) meets with the
same Fate.----_Animasque in vulnere ponunt._ Why then may I not wish you
would be advis'd by a Fact which actually happen'd at the _Tower_
Guard? An honest lusty Grenadier, while a little creeping Creature of an
Ensign, for some trifling Fault, was impotently laying him on with his
Cane, quietly folded his Arms across, and shaking his Head, only reply'd
to this valiant Officer, "Have a care, dear Captain! don't strike so
hard! upon my Soul you will hurt yourself!"

Now, Sir, give me leave to open your _Dunciad_, that we may see what
Work your Wit has made with my Name there.

When the Goddess of _Dulness_ is shewing her Works to her chosen Son,
she closes the Variety with letting him see, _ver._ 235.

  _How, with less Reading than makes Felons 'scape
  Less human Genius than God gives an Ape,
  Small Thanks to_ France, _and none to_ Rome, _or_ Greece,
  _A patch'd, vamp'd, future, old, reviv'd, new Piece,
  'Twixt_ Plautus, Fletcher, Congreve _and_ Corneille,
  _Can make a_ Cibber, Johnson, _or_ Ozell.

And pray, Sir, why my Name, under this scurvy Picture? I flatter myself,
that if you had not put it there, no body else would have thought it
like me, nor can I easily believe that you yourself do: but perhaps you
imagin'd it would be a laughing Ornament to your Verse, and had a mind
to divert other Peoples Spleen with it, as well as your own. Now let me
hold up my Head a little, and then we shall see how far the Features hit
me! If indeed I had never produc'd any Plays, but those I alter'd of
other Authors, your Reflexion then might have had something nearer an
Excuse for it: But yet, if many of those Plays have liv'd the longer for
my meddling with them, the Sting of your Satyr only wounds the Air, or
at best debases it to impotent Railing. For you know very well that
_Richard the Third_, _The Fop's Fortune_, _The Double Gallant_, and some
others, that had been dead to the Stage out of all Memory, have since
been in a constant course of Acting above these thirty or forty Years.
Nor did even _Dryden_ think it any Diminution of his Fame to take the
same liberty with _The Tempest_, and the _Troilus and Cressida_ of
_Shakespear_; and tho' his Skill might be superior to mine, yet while my
Success has been equal to his, why then will you have me so
ill-favouredly like the Dunce you have drawn for me? Or do those alter'd
Plays at all take from the Merit of those more successful Pieces, which
were entirely my own? Is a Tailor, that can make a new Coat well, the
worse Workman, because he can mend an old one? When a Man is abus'd, he
has a right to speak even laudable Truths of himself, to confront his
Slanderer. Let me therefore add, that my first Comedy of _The Fool in
Fashion_ was as much (though not so valuable) an Original, as any one
Work Mr. _Pope_ himself has produc'd. It is now forty-seven Years since
its first Appearance upon the Stage, where it has kept its Station, to
this very Day, without ever lying one Winter dormant. And what Part of
this Play, Sir, can you charge with a Theft either from any _French_
Author, from _Plautus_, _Fletcher_, _Congreve_, or _Corneille_? Nine
Years after this I brought on _The Careless Husband_, with still greater
Success; and was that too

  _A patch'd, vamp'd, future, old, reviv'd, new Piece?_

Let the many living Spectators of these Plays then judge between us,
whether the above Verses, you have so unmercifully besmear'd me with,
were fit to come from the _honest Heart_ of a Satyrist, who would be
thought, like you, the upright Censor of Mankind. Indeed, indeed, Sir,
this Libel was below you! How could you be so wanting to yourself as not
to consider, that Satyr, without Truth, tho' flowing in the finest
Numbers, recoils upon its Author, and must, at other times, render him
suspected of Prejudice, even where he may be just; as Frauds, in
Religion, make more Atheists than Converts? And the bad Heart, Mr.
_Pope_, that points an Injury with Verse, makes it the more
unpardonable, as it is not the Result of sudden Passion, but of an
indulg'd and slowly meditating Ill-nature; and I am afraid yours, in
this Article, is so palpable, that I am almost asham'd to have made it
so serious a Reply.

What a merry mixt Mortal has Nature made you? that can thus debase that
Strength and Excellence of Genius she has endow'd you with, to the
lowest human Weakness, that of offering unprovok'd Injuries; nay, at the
Hazard of your being ridiculous too, as you must be, when the Venom you
spit falls short of your Aim! For I shall never believe your Verses have
done me the Harm you intended, or lost me one Friend, or added a single
Soul to the number of my Enemies, though so many thousands that know me,
may have read them. How then could your blind Impatience in your
_Dunciad_ thunder out such poetical _Anathemas_ on your own Enemies, for
doing you no worse Injuries than what you think it no Crime in yourself
to offer to another?

In your Remarks upon the above Verses, your Wit, unwilling to have done
with me, throws out an ironical Sneer at my Attempts in Tragedy: Let us
see how far it disgraces me.

After your quoting the following Paragraph from _Jacob's Lives of the
Dramatick Poets_, viz.

     "Mr. _Colley Cibber_, an Author, and an Actor, of a good share of
     Wit and uncommon Vivacity, which are much improv'd by the
     Conversation he enjoys, which is of the best," _&c._

Then say you,

     "Mr. _Jacob_ omitted to remark, that he is particularly admirable
     in Tragedy."

Ay, Sir, and your Remark has omitted too, that (with all his
Commendations) I can't dance upon the Rope, or make a Saddle, nor play
upon the Organ.--Augh! my dear, dear Mr. _Pope_! how could a Man of your
stinging Capacity let so tame, so low a Reflexion escape him? Why this
hardly rises above the pretty Malice of Miss _Molly_--_Ay, ay, you may
think my Sister as handsome as you please, but if you were to see her
Legs--I know what I know_! And so, with all these Imperfections upon me,
the Triumph of your Observation amounts to this: That tho' you should
allow, by what _Jacob_ says of me, that I am good for something, yet you
notwithstanding have cunningly discover'd, that I am not good for _every
thing_. Well, Sir, and am not I very well off, if you have nothing worse
to say of me? But if I have made so many crowded Theatres laugh, and in
the right Place too, for above forty Years together, am I to make up the
Number of your Dunces, because I have not the equal Talent of making
them cry too? Make it your own Case: Is what you have excell'd in at all
the worse, for your having so dismally dabbled (as I before observ'd) in
the Farce of _Three Hours after Marriage_? _Non omnia possumus omnes_,
is an allow'd Excuse for the Insufficiencies of all Mankind; and if, as
you see, you too must sometimes be forc'd to take shelter under it, as
well as myself, what mighty Reason will the World have to laugh at my
Weakness in Tragedy, more than at yours in Comedy? Or, to make us Both
still easier in the matter, if you will say, you are not asham'd of your
Weakness, I will promise you not to be asham'd of mine. Or if you don't
like this Advice, let me give you some from the wiser _Spanish_ Proverb,
which says, _That a Man should never throw Stones, that has glass
Windows in his Head_.

Upon the whole, your languid Ill-will in this Remark, makes so sickly a
Figure, that one would think it were quite exhausted; for it must run
low indeed, when you are reduc'd to impute the want of an Excellence, as
a Shame to me. But in _ver._ 261, your whole Barrel of Spleen seems not
to have a Drop more in it, though you have tilted it to the highest: For
there you are forc'd to tell a downright Fib, and hang me up in a Light
where no body ever saw me: As for Example, speaking of the Absurdity of
Theatrical Pantomimes, you say

  _When lo! to dark Encounter in mid Air
  New Wizards rise: Here_ Booth, _and_ Cibber _there:_
  Booth, _in his cloudy Tabernacle shrin'd,
  On grinning Dragons_ Cibber _mounts the Wind._

If you, figuratively, mean by this, that I was an Encourager of those
Fooleries, you are mistaken; for it is not true: If you intend it
literally, that I was Dunce enough to mount a Machine, there is as
little Truth in that too: But if you meant it only as a pleasant Abuse,
you have done it with infinite Drollery indeed! Beside, the Name of
_Cibber_, you know, always implies Satyr in the Sound, and never fails
to keep the Flatness or Modesty of a Verse in countenance.

Some Pages after, indeed, in pretty near the same Light, you seem to
have a little negative Kindness for me, _ver._ 287, where you make poor
_Settle_, lamenting his own Fate, say,

  _But lo! in me, what Authors have to brag on,
  Reduc'd at last to hiss, in my own Dragon,
  Avert it, Heav'n, that thou, or_ Cibber _e'er
  Should wag two Serpent-Tails in_ Smithfield _Fair._

If this does not imply, that you think me fit for little else, it is
only another barren Verse with my Name in it: If it does mean so;
why----I wish you may never be toss'd in a Blanket, and so the Kindness
is even on both Sides. But again you are at me, _ver._ 320, speaking of
the King of Dunces Reign, you have these Lines:

  _Beneath whose Reign,_ Eusden _shall wear the Bays,_
  Cibber _preside Lord-Chancellor of Plays._

This I presume you offer as one of the heavy Enormities of the
Stage-Government, when I had a Share in it. But as you have not given
an Instance in which this Enormity appear'd, how is it possible (unless
I had your Talent of Self-Commendation) to bring any Proofs in my
Favour? I must therefore submit it to Publick Judgment how full your
Reflexion hits, or is wide of me, and can only say to it in the mean
time,--_Valeat quantum valere potest_.

In your Remark upon the same Lines you say,

     "_Eusden_ no sooner died, but his Place of Laureat was supply'd by
     _Cibber_, in the Year 1730, on which was made the following
     Epigram." (May I not believe by yourself?)

         _In merry_ Old England, _it once was a Rule,
         The King had his Poet, and also his Fool.
         But now we're so frugal, I'd have you to know it,
         That_ Cibber _can serve both for Fool and for Poet._

Ay, marry Sir! here you souse me with a Witness! This is a Triumph
indeed! I can hardly help laughing at this myself; for, _Se non e vero,
ben Trovato_! A good Jest is a good Thing, let it fall upon who it will:
I dare say _Cibber_ would never have complain'd of Mr. _Pope_,

      ----_Si sic_
  ----_Omnia dixisset_------       Juv.

If he had never said any worse of him. But hold, Master _Cibber_! why
may not you as well turn this pleasant Epigram into an involuntary
Compliment? for a King's Fool was no body's Fool but his Master's, and
had not his Name for nothing; as for Example,

  _Those Fools of old, if Fame says true,
    Were chiefly chosen for their Wit;
  Why then, call'd Fools? because, like you
    Dear_ Pope, _too Bold in shewing it._

And so, if I am the King's Fool; now, Sir, pray whose Fool are you? 'Tis
pity, methinks, you should be out of Employment: for, if a satyrical
Intrepidity, or, as you somewhere call it, a _High Courage of Wit_, is
the fairest Pretence to be the _King's Fool_, I don't know a Wit in the
World so fit to fill up the Post as yourself.

Thus, Sir, I have endeavour'd to shake off all the Dirt in your
_Dunciad_, unless of here and there some little Spots of your Ill-will,
that were not worth tiring the Reader's Patience with my Notice of them.
But I have some more foul way to trot through still, in your Epistles
and Satyrs, _&c._ Now whether I shall come home the filthy Fellow, or
the clean contrary Man to what you make me, I will venture to leave to
your own _Conscience_, though I dare not make the same Trust to your
_Wit_: For that you have often _spoke_ worse (merely to shew your Wit)
than you could possibly _think_ of me, almost all your Readers, that
observe your Good-nature _will easily_ believe.

However, to shew I am not blind to your Merit, I own your Epistle to Dr.
_Arbuthnot_ (though I there find myself contemptibly spoken of) gives me
more Delight in the whole, than any one Poem of the kind I ever read.
The only Prejudice or wrong Bias of Judgment, I am afraid I may be
guilty of is, when I cannot help thinking, that your Wit is more
remarkably bare and barren, whenever it would fall foul upon _Cibber_,
than upon any other Person or Occasion whatsoever: I therefore could
wish the Reader may have sometimes considered those Passages, that if I
do you Injustice, he may as justly condemn me for it.

In this Epistle ver. 59. of your Folio Edition, you seem to bless
yourself, that you are not my Friend! no wonder then, you rail at me!
but let us see upon what Occasion you own this Felicity. Speaking of an
impertinent Author, who teized you to recommend his _Virgin Tragedy_ to
the Stage, you at last happily got rid of him with this Excuse----

  _There (thank my Stars) my whole Commission ends,_
  Cibber _and I, are luckily no Friends._

If you chose not to be mine, Sir, it does not follow, that it was
equally my Choice not to be yours: But perhaps you thought me your
Enemy, because you were conscious you had injur'd me, and therefore were
resolv'd never to forgive _Me_, because I had it in my Power to forgive
_You_: For, as _Dryden_ says,

  _Forgiveness, to the Injur'd does belong;
  But they ne'er pardon who have done the Wrong._

This, Sir, is the only natural Excuse, I can form, for your being my
Enemy. As to your blunt Assertion of my certain Prejudice to any thing,
that had your Recommendation to the Stage, which your above Lines would
insinuate; I gave you a late Instance in _The Miller of Mansfield_, that
your manner of treating Me had in no sort any Influence upon my
Judgment. For you may remember, sometime before that Piece was acted, I
accidentally met you, in a Visit to the late General _Dormer_, who,
though he might be your good Friend, was not for that Reason the less a
Friend to Me: There you join'd with that Gentleman, in asking my Advice
and Assistance in that Author's behalf; which as I had read the Piece,
though I had then never seen the Man, I gave, in such manner, as I
thought might best serve him: And if I don't over-rate my
Recommendation, I believe its way to the Stage was made the more easy by
it. This Fact, then, does in no kind make good your Insinuation, that my
Enmity to you would not suffer me to like any thing that you liked;
which though you call your good Fortune in Verse, yet in Prose, you see,
it happens not to be true. But I am glad to find, in your smaller
Edition, that your Conscience has since given this Line some Correction;
for there you have taken off a little of its Edge; it there runs only

  The Play'rs _and I, are luckily no Friends._

This is so uncommon an Instance, of your checking your Temper and taking
a little Shame to yourself, that I could not in Justice omit my Notice
of it. I am of opinion too, that the Indecency of the next Verse, you
spill upon me, would admit of an equal Correction. In excusing the
Freedom of your Satyr, you urge that it galls no body, because nobody
minds it enough to be mended by it. This is your Plea----

  _Whom have I hurt! has Poet yet, or Peer,
  Lost the arched Eye-brow, or_ Parnassian _Sneer?
  And has not_ Colley _too his Lord, and Whore?_ &c.

If I thought the Christian Name of _Colley_ could belong to any other
Man than myself, I would insist upon my Right of not supposing you meant
this last Line to Me; because it is equally applicable to five thousand
other People: But as your Good-will to me is a little too well known, to
pass it as imaginable that you could intend it for any one else, I am
afraid I must abide it.

Well then! _Colley has his Lord and Whore!_ Now suppose, Sir, upon the
same Occasion, that _Colley_ as happily inspired as Mr. _Pope_, had
turned the same Verse upon _Him_, and with only the Name changed had
made it run thus--

  _And has not_ Sawney _too his Lord and Whore?_

Would not the Satyr have been equally just? Or would any sober Reader
have seen more in the Line, than a wide mouthful of Ill-Manners? Or
would my professing myself a Satyrist give me a Title to wipe my foul
Pen upon the Face of every Man I did not like? Or would my Impudence be
less Impudence in Verse than in Prose? or in private Company? What ought
I to expect less, than that you would knock me down for it? unless the
happy Weakness of my Person might be my Protection? Why then may I not
insist that _Colley_ or _Sawney_ in the Verse would make no Difference
in the Satyr! Now let us examine how far there would be Truth in it on
either Side.

As to the first Part of the Charge, the _Lord_; Why--we have both had
him, and sometimes the _same_ Lord; but as there is neither Vice nor
Folly in keeping our Betters Company; the Wit or Satyr of the Verse! can
only point at my Lord for keeping such _ordinary_ Company. Well, but if
so! then _why_ so, good Mr. _Pope_? If either of us could be _good_
Company, our being professed Poets, I hope would be no Objection to my
Lord's sometimes making one with us? and though I don't pretend to write
like you, yet all the Requisites to make a good Companion are not
confined to Poetry! No, Sir, even a Man's inoffensive Follies and
Blunders may sometimes have their Merits at the best Table; and in
those, I am sure, you won't pretend to vie with me: Why then may not my
Lord be as much in the Right, in his sometimes choosing _Colley_ to
laugh at, as at other times in his picking up _Sawney_, whom he can only

Thus far, then, I hope we are upon a par; for the Lord, you see, will
fit either of us.

As to the latter Charge, the _Whore_, there indeed, I doubt you will
have the better of me; for I must own, that I believe I know more of
_your_ whoring than you do of _mine_; because I don't recollect that
ever I made you the least Confidence of _my_ Amours, though I have been
very near an Eye-Witness of _Yours_----By the way, gentle Reader, don't
you think, to say only, _a Man has his Whore_, without some particular
Circumstances to aggravate the Vice, is the flattest Piece of Satyr that
ever fell from the formidable Pen of Mr. _Pope_? because (_defendit
numerus_) take the first ten thousand Men you meet, and I believe, you
would be no Loser, if you betted ten to one that every single Sinner of
them, one with another, had been guilty of the same Frailty. But as Mr.
_Pope_ has so particularly picked me out of the Number to make an
Example of: Why may I not take the same Liberty, and even single him out
for another to keep me in Countenance? He must excuse me, then, if in
what I am going to relate, I am reduced to make bold with a little
private Conversation: But as he has shewn no Mercy to _Colley_, why
should so unprovok'd an Aggressor expect any for himself? And if Truth
hurts him, I can't help it. He may remember, then (or if he won't I
will) when _Button_'s Coffee-house was in vogue, and so long ago, as
when he had not translated above two or three Books of _Homer_; there
was a late young Nobleman (as much his _Lord_ as mine) who had a good
deal of wicked Humour, and who, though he was fond of having Wits in his
Company, was not so restrained by his Conscience, but that he lov'd to
laugh at any merry Mischief he could do them: This noble Wag, I say, in
his usual _Gayetè de Coeur_, with another Gentleman still in Being,
one Evening slily seduced the celebrated Mr. _Pope_ as a Wit, and myself
as a Laugher, to a certain House of Carnal Recreation, near the
_Hay-Market_; where his Lordship's Frolick propos'd was to slip his
little _Homer_, as he call'd him, at a Girl of the Game, that he might
see what sort of Figure a Man of his Size, Sobriety, and Vigour (in
Verse) would make, when the frail Fit of Love had got into him; in which
he so far succeeded, that the smirking Damsel, who serv'd us with Tea,
happen'd to have Charms sufficient to tempt the little-tiny Manhood of
Mr. _Pope_ into the next Room with her: at which you may imagine, his
Lordship was in as much Joy, at what might happen within, as our small
Friend could probably be in Possession of it: But I (forgive me all ye
mortified Mortals whom his fell Satyr has since fallen upon) observing
he had staid as long as without hazard of his Health he might, I,

  _Prick'd to it by foolish Honesty and Love,_

As _Shakespear_ says, without Ceremony, threw open the Door upon him,
where I found this little hasty Hero, like a terrible _Tom Tit_, pertly
perching upon the Mount of Love! But such was my Surprize, that I fairly
laid hold of his Heels, and actually drew him down safe and sound from
his Danger. My Lord, who staid tittering without, in hopes the sweet
Mischief he came for would have been compleated, upon my giving an
Account of the Action within, began to curse, and call me an hundred
silly Puppies, for my impertinently spoiling the Sport; to which with
great Gravity I reply'd; pray, my Lord, consider what I have done was,
in regard to the Honour of our Nation! For would you have had so
glorious a Work as that of making _Homer_ speak elegant _English_, cut
short by laying up our little Gentleman of a Malady, which his thin Body
might never have been cured of? No, my Lord! _Homer_ would have been too
serious a Sacrifice to our Evening Merriment. Now as his _Homer_ has
since been so happily compleated, who can say, that the World may not
have been obliged to the kindly Care of _Colley_ that so great a Work
ever came to Perfection?

And now again, gentle Reader, let it be judged, whether the _Lord_ and
the _Whore_ above-mention'd might not, with equal Justice, have been
apply'd to sober _Sawney_ the Satyrist, as to _Colley_ the Criminal?

Though I confess Recrimination to be but a poor Defence for one's own
Faults; yet when the Guilty are Accusers, it seems but just, to make use
of any Truth, that may invalidate their Evidence: I therefore hope,
whatever the serious Reader may think amiss in this Story, will be
excused, by my being so hardly driven to tell it.

I could wish too, it might be observed, that whatever Faults I find with
the Morals of Mr. _Pope_, I charge none to his Poetical Capacity, but
chiefly to his _Ruling Passion_, which is so much his Master, that we
must allow, his inimitable Verse is generally warmest, where his too
fond Indulgence of that Passion inspires it. How much brighter still
might that Genius shine, could it be equally inspired by Good-nature!

Now though I may have less Reason to complain of his Severity, than many
others, who may have less deserv'd it: Yet by his crowding me into so
many of his Satyrs, it is plain his Ill-will is oftner at Work upon
_Cibber_, than upon any Mortal he has had a mind to make a Dunce, or a
Devil of: And as there are about half a Score remaining Verses, where
_Cibber_ still fills up the Numbers, and which I have not yet produced,
I think it will pretty near make good my Observation: Most of them, 'tis
true, are so slight Marks of his Disfavour, that I can charge them with
little more, than a mere idle Liberty with my Name; I shall therefore
leave the greater part of them without farther Observation to make the
most of their Meaning. Some few of them however (perhaps from my want
of Judgment) seem so ambiguous, as to want a little Explanation.

In his First Epistle of the Second Book of _Horace_, ver. 86, speaking
of the Uncertainty of the publick Judgment upon Dramatick Authors, after
naming the best, he concludes his List of them thus:

  _But for the Passions,_ Southern _sure, and_ Rowe.
  _These, only these support the crouded Stage,
  From eldest_ Heywood _down to_ Cibber_'s Age_.

Here he positively excludes _Cibber_ from any Share in supporting the
Stage as an Author; and yet, in the Lines immediately following, he
seems to allow it him, by something so like a Commendation, that if it
be one, it is at the same time a Contradiction to _Cibber_'s being the
Dunce, which the _Dunciad_ has made of him. But I appeal to the Verses;
here they are--_ver._ 87.

  _All this may be; the Peoples Voice is odd,
  It is, and it is not the Voice of God.
  To_ Gammer Gurton _if it give the Bays,
  And yet deny_ The Careless Husband _Praise._

Now if _The Careless Husband_ deserv'd Praise, and had it, must it not
(without comparing it with the Works of the above-cited Authors) have
had its Share in supporting the Stage? which Mr. _Pope_ might as well
have allow'd it to have had, as to have given it the Commendation he
seems to do: I say (_seems_) because is saying (_if_) the People deny'd
it Praise, seems to imply they _had_ deny'd it; or if they had _not_
deny'd it, (which is true) then his Censure upon the People is false.
Upon the whole, the Meaning of these Verses stands in so confus'd a
Light, that I confess I don't clearly discern it. 'Tis true, the late
General _Dormer_ intimated to me, that he believ'd Mr. _Pope_ intended
them as a Compliment to _The Careless Husband_; but if it be a
Compliment, I rather believe it was a Compliment to that Gentleman's
Good-nature, who told me a little before this Epistle was publish'd,
that he had been making Interest for a little Mercy to his Friend
_Colley_ in it. But this, it seems, was all he could get for him:
However, had his Wit stopt here, and said no more of me, for that
Gentleman's sake, I might have thank'd him: But whatever Restraint he
might be under then, after this Gentleman's Decease we shall see he had
none upon him: For now out comes a new _Dunciad_, where, in the first
twenty Lines he takes a fresh _Lick at the Laureat_; as Fidlers and
Prize-fighters always give us a Flourish before they come to the Tune
or the Battle in earnest. Come then, let us see what your mighty
Mountain is in Labour of? Oh! here we have it! _New Dun. ver._ 20.
Dulness mounts the Throne, _&c._ and----

  _Soft in her Lap her Laureat Son reclines._

Hah! fast asleep it seems! No, that's a little too strong. _Pert_ and
_Dull_ at least you might have allow'd me; but as seldom asleep as any
Fool.----Sure your own Eyes could not be open, when so lame and solemn a
Conceit came from you: What, am I only to be Dull, and Dull still, and
again, and for ever? But this, I suppose, is one of your _Decies
repetita placebit_'s. For, in other Words, you have really said this of
me ten times before--No, it must be written in a Dream, and according to
_Dryden_'s Description of dead Midnight too, where, among other strong
Images, he gives us this--

  _Even Lust and_ Envy _sleep._

Now, Sir, had not _Your_ Envy been as fast as a fat Alderman in
Sermon-time, you would certainly have thrown out something more spirited
than so trite a Repetition could come up to. But it is the Nature of
Malevolence, it seems, when it gets a spiteful Saying by the end, not to
be tired of it so soon as its Hearers are.----Well, and what then? you
will say; it lets the World see at least, that you are resolv'd to write
_About me_, and _About me_, to the last. In fine, Mr. _Pope_, this
yawning Wit would make one think you had got into the Laureat's Place,
and were taking a Nap yourself.

But, perhaps, there may be a concealed Brightness in this Verse, which
your Notes may more plainly illustrate: let us see then what your
fictitious Friend and Flatterer _Scriblerus_ says to it. Why, first he
mangles a Paragraph which he quotes from my _Apology_ for my own Life,
_Chap._ 2. and then makes his particular Use of it. But as I have my
Uses to make of it as well as himself, I shall beg leave to give it the
Reader without his Castrations. He begins it thus,

     "When I find my Name in the Satyrical Works of this Poet," _&c._

But I say,----

     "When I, therefore, find my Name, _at length_, in the Satyrical
     Works _of our most celebrated living Author_"----

Now, Sir, I must beg your Pardon, but I cannot think it was your meer
Modesty that left out the Title I have given you, because you have so
often suffer'd your Friend _Scriblerus_ (that is yourself) in your Notes
to make you Compliments of a much higher Nature. But, perhaps, you were
unwilling to let the Reader observe, that though you had so often
befoul'd my Name in your Satyrs, I could still give you the Language due
to a Gentleman, which, perhaps, at the same time too, might have put him
in mind of the poor and pitiful Return you have made to it. But to go on
with our Paragraph----He again continues it thus----

     "I never look upon it as any Malice meant to me, but Profit to

But where is my Parenthesis, Mr. _Filch_? If you are asham'd of it, I
have no reason to be so, and therefore the Reader shall have it: My
Sentence then runs thus----

     "I never look upon those Lines as Malice meant to me (for he knows
     I never provok'd it) _&c._

These last Words indeed might have star'd you too full in the Face, not
to have put your Conscience out of countenance. But a Wit of your
Intrepidity, I see, is above that vulgar Weakness.

After this sneaking Omission, you have still the same Scruple against
some other Lines in the Text to come: But as you serve _your_ Purposes
by leaving them out, you must give me leave to serve _mine_ by supplying
them. I shall therefore give the Reader the rest entire, and only mark
what you don't choose should be known in _Italicks_, viz.

     "_One of his Points must be to have many Readers_: He considers,
     that my Face and Name are more known than _those of_ many
     _Thousands of more Consequence_ in the Kingdom, that, therefore,
     _right or wrong_, a Lick at the Laureat will always be a sure Bait,
     _ad captandum vulgus_, to catch him little Readers: _And that to
     gratify the unlearned, by now and then interspersing those merry
     Sacrifices of an old Acquaintance to their Taste, in a Piece of
     quite right Poetical Craft_."

Now, Sir, is there any thing in this Paragraph (which you have so maim'd
and sneer'd at) that, taken all together, could merit the injurious
Reception you have given it? Ought I, for this, to have had the stale
Affront of _Dull_, and _Impudent_, repeated upon me? or could it have
lessen'd the Honour of your Understanding, to have taken this quiet
Resentment of your frequent ill Usage in good part? Or had it not rather
been a Mark of your Justice and Generosity, not to have pursued me with
fresh Instances of your Ill-will upon it? or, on the contrary, could you
be so weak as to Envy me the Patience I was master of, and therefore
could not bear to be, in any light, upon amicable Terms with me? I hope
your Temper is not so unhappy as to be offended, or in pain, when your
Insults are return'd with Civilities? or so vainly uncharitable as to
value yourself for laughing at my Folly, in supposing you never had any
real malicious Intention against me? No, you could not, sure, believe,
the World would take it for granted, that _every_ low, vile Thing you
had said of me, was evidently _true_? How then can you hold me in such
Derision, for finding your Freedom with my Name, a better Excuse than
you yourself are able to give, or are willing to accept of? or,
admitting, that my deceived Opinion of your Goodness was so much real
Simplicity and Ignorance, was not even That, at least, pardonable?
Might it not have been taken in a more favourable Sense by any Man of
the least Candour or Humanity? But--I am afraid, Mr. _Pope_, the
severely different Returns you have made to it, are Indications of a
Heart I want a Name for.

Upon the whole, while you are capable of giving such a trifling Turn to
my Patience, I see but very little Hopes of my ever removing your
Prejudice: for in your Notes upon the above Paragraph (to which I refer
the Reader) you treat me more like a rejected Flatterer, than a Critick:
But, I hope, you now find that I have at least taken off that
Imputation, by my using no Reserve in shewing the World from what you
have said of _Me_, what I think of _You_. Had not therefore this last
Usage of me been so particular, I scarce believe the Importunity of my
Friends, or the Inclination I have to gratify them, would have prevailed
with me to have taken this publick Notice of whatever Names you had
formerly call'd me.

I have but one Article more of your high-spirited Wit to examine, and
then I shall close our Account. In _ver._ 524 of the same Poem, you have
this Expression, _viz._

  Cibberian _Forehead_------

By which I find you modestly mean _Cibber_'s Impudence; And, by the
Place it stands in, you offer it as a Sample of the _strongest_
Impudence.----Sir, your humble Servant----But pray, Sir, in your Epistle
to Dr. _Arbuthnot_, (where, by the way, in your ample Description of a
Great Poet, you slily hook in a whole Hat-full of Virtues to your own
Character) have not you this particular Line among them? _viz._

  _And thought a_ Lye, _in Verse or Prose the same._

Now, Sir, if you can get all your Readers to believe me as Impudent as
you make me, your Verse, with the Lye in it, may have a good Chance to
be thought true: if _not_, the Lye in your Verse will never get out of

This, I confess, is only arguing with the same Confidence that you
sometimes write; that is, we both flatly affirm, and equally expect to
be believ'd. But here, indeed, your Talent has something the better of
me; for any Accusation, in smooth Verse, will always sound well, though
it is not tied down to have a Tittle of Truth in it; when the strongest
Defence in poor humble Prose, not having that harmonious Advantage,
takes no body by the Ear: And yet every one must allow this may be very
hard upon an innocent Man: For suppose, in Prose now, I were as
confidently to insist, that you were an _Honest, Good-natur'd,
Inoffensive Creature_, would my barely saying so be any Proof of it? No,
sure! Why then might it not be suppos'd an equal Truth, that Both our
Assertions were equally false? _Yours_, when you call me _Impudent_;
_Mine_, when I call you _Modest_, &c. If, indeed, you could say, that
with a remarkable Shyness, I had avoided any Places of publick Resort,
or that I had there met with Coldness, Reproof, Insult, or any of the
usual Rebuffs that Impudence is liable to, or had been reduced to retire
from that part of the World I had impudently offended, your _Cibberian
Forehead_ then might have been as just and as sore a Brand as the
Hangman could have apply'd to me. But as I am not yet under that
Misfortune, and while the general Benevolence of my Superiors still
suffers me to stand my ground, or occasionally to sit down with them, I
hope it will be thought that rather the _Papal_, than the _Cibberian_
Forehead, ought to be out of Countenance. But it is time to have done
with you.

In your Advertisement to your first Satyr of your second Book of
_Horace_, you have this just Observation.

     _To a true Satyrist, nothing is so odious, as a Libeller._

Now, that you are often an admirable Satyrist, no Man of true Taste can
deny: But, that you are always a _True_ (that is a _just_) one, is a
Question not yet decided in your Favour. I shall not take upon me to
prove the Injuries of your Pen, which many candid Readers, in the behalf
of others, complain of: But if the gross things you have said of so
inconsiderable a Man as myself, have exceeded the limited Province of a
_true_ Satyrist, they are sufficient to have forfeited your Claim to
that Title. For if a Man, from his being admitted the best Poet,
imagines himself so much lifted above the World, that he has a Right to
run a muck, and make sport with the Characters of all Ranks of People,
to soil and begrime every Face that is obnoxious to his ungovernable
Spleen or Envy: Can so vain, so inconsiderate, so elated an Insolence,
amongst all the Follies he has lash'd, and laugh'd at, find a Subject
fitter for Satyr than Himself? How many other different good Qualities
ought such a Temper to have in Balance of this One bad one, this abuse
of his Genius, by so injurious a Pride and Self-sufficiency? And though
it must be granted, that a true Genius never grows in a barren Soil, and
therefore implies, that great Parts and Knowledge only could have
produced it; Yet it must be allow'd too, that the fairest Fruits of the
Mind may lose a great deal of their naturally delicious Taste, when
blighted by Ill-nature. How strict a Guard then ought the _true_
Satyrist to set upon his private Passions! How clear a Head! a Heart how
candid, how impartial, how incapable of Injustice! What Integrity of
Life, what general Benevolence, what exemplary Virtues ought that happy
Man to be master of, who, from such ample Merit, raises himself to an
Office of that Trust and Dignity, as that of our Universal Censor? A Man
so qualified, indeed, might be a truly publick Benefit, such a one, and
only such a one, might have an uncontested Right----

    --------_To point the Pen,
  Brand the bold Front of shameless, guilty Men;
  Dash the proud Gamester, in his gilded Car,
  Bare the mean Heart that lurks beneath a Star._

But should another (though of equal Genius) whose Mind were either
sour'd by Ill-nature, personal Prejudice, or the Lust of Railing, usurp
that Province to the Abuse of it. Not all his pompous Power of Verse
could shield him from as odious a Censure, as such, his guilty Pen could
throw upon the Innocent, or undeserving to be slander'd. What then must
be the Consequence? Why naturally this: That such an Indulgence of his
Passions, so let loose upon the World, would, at last, reduce him to fly
from it! For sure the Avoidance, the Slights, the scouling Eyes of every
mixt Company he might fall into, would be a Mortification no
vain-glorious Man would stand, that had a Retreat from it. Here then,
let us suppose him an involuntary Philosopher, affecting to
be----_Nunquam minus solus, quam cùm solus_----never in better Company
than when alone: But as you have well observed in your Essay----

  _Not always_ Actions _shew the Man--
  Not therefore humble He, who seeks Retreat,
  Guilt guides his Steps, and makes him shun the Great._

(I beg your Pardon, I have made a Mistake; Your Verse says _Pride_
guides his Steps, _&c._ which, indeed, makes the Antithesis to _Humble_
much stronger, and more to your Purpose; but it will serve mine as it
is, so the Error is scarce worth a Correction.) But to return to our
Satyrical Exile,----Whom though we have supposed to be oftner alone,
than an inoffensive Man need wish to be; yet we must imagine that the
Fame of his Wit would sometimes bring him Company: For Wits, like
handsome Women, though they wish one another at the Devil, are my Dear,
and my Dear! whenever they meet: Nay some Men are so fond of Wit, that
they would mix with the Devil himself if they could laugh with him: If
therefore any of this careless Cast came to kill an Hour with him, how
would his smiling Verse gloss over the Curse of his Confinement, and
with a flowing animated Vanity commemorate the peculiar Honours they had
paid him?

But alas! would his high Heart be contented, in his having the Choice of
his Acquaintance so limited? How many for their Friends, others for
themselves, and some too in the Dread of being the future Objects of his
Spleen, would he feel had undesired the Knowledge or the Sight of him!
But what's all this to you, Mr. _Pope_? For, as _Shakespear_ says, _Let
the gall'd Horse wince, our Withers are unwrung_! But however, if it be
not too late, it can do you no harm to look about you: For if this is
not as yet your Condition, I remember many Years ago, to have seen you,
though in a less Degree, in a Scrape, that then did not look, as if you
would be long out of another. When you used to pass your Hours at
_Button_'s, you were even there remarkable for your satyrical Itch of
Provocation; scarce was there a Gentleman of any Pretension to Wit, whom
your unguarded Temper had not fallen upon, in some biting Epigram; among
which you once caught a Pastoral Tartar, whose Resentment, that your
Punishment might be proportion'd to the Smart of your Poetry, had stuck
up a Birchen Rod in the Room, to be ready, whenever you might come
within reach of it; and at this rate you writ and rallied, and writ on,
till you rhym'd yourself quite out of the Coffee-house. But if Solitude
pleases you, who shall say you are not in the right to enjoy it? Perhaps
too, by this time you may be upon a par with Mankind, and care as little
for their Company as they do for Yours: Though I rather hope you have
chosen to be so shut up, in order to make yourself a better Man. If you
succeed in _that_, you will indeed be, what no body else, in haste will
be, A better Poet, than you _Are_. And so, Sir, I am, just as much as
you believe me to be,

  _Your Humble Servant_,

              COLLEY CIBBER.

  _July_ the 7th 1742.



The Augustan Reprint Society



16. Henry Nevil Payne, _The Fatal Jealousie_ (1673).

17. Nicholas Rowe, _Some Account of the Life of Mr. William Shakespear_

18. Anonymous, "Of Genius," in _The Occasional Paper_, Vol. III, No. 10
(1719), and Aaron Hill, Preface to _The Creation_ (1720).


19. Susanna Centlivre, _The Busie Body_ (1709).

20. Lewis Theobald, _Preface to the Works of Shakespeare_ (1734).

22. Samuel Johnson, _The Vanity of Human Wishes_ (1749), and two
_Rambler_ papers (1750).

23. John Dryden, _His Majesties Declaration Defended_ (1681).


26. Charles Macklin, _The Man of the World_ (1792).

31. Thomas Gray, _An Elegy Wrote in a Country Churchyard_ (1751), and
_The Eton College Manuscript_.


41. Bernard Mandeville, _A Letter to Dion_ (1732).


98. Selected Hymns Taken Out of Mr. Herbert's _Temple ..._ (1697).


109. Sir William Temple, _An Essay Upon the Original and Nature of
Government_ (1680).

110. John Tutchin, _Selected Poems_ (1685-1700).

111. Anonymous, _Political Justice_ (1736).

112. Robert Dodsley, _An Essay on Fable_ (1764).

113. T. R., _An Essay Concerning Critical and Curious Learning_ (1698).

114. Two Poems Against Pope: Leonard Welsted, _One Epistle to Mr. A.
Pope_ (1730), and Anonymous, _The Blatant Beast_ (1742).


115. Daniel Defoe and others, _Accounts of the Apparition of Mrs. Veal_.

116. Charles Macklin, _The Covent Garden Theatre_ (1752).

117. Sir Roger L'Estrange, _Citt and Bumpkin_ (1680).

118. Henry More, _Enthusiasmus Triumphatus_ (1662).

119. Thomas Traherne, _Meditations on the Six Days of the Creation_

120. Bernard Mandeville, _Aesop Dress'd or a Collection of Fables_


123. Edmond Malone, _Cursory Observations on the Poems Attributed to Mr.
Thomas Rowley_ (1782).

124. Anonymous, _The Female Wits_ (1704).

125. Anonymous, _The Scribleriad_ (1742). Lord Hervey, _The Difference
Between Verbal and Practical Virtue_ (1742).


129. Lawrence Echard, _Prefaces to Terence's Comedies_ (1694) and
_Plautus's Comedies_ (1694).


133. John Courtenay, _A Poetical Review of the Literary and Moral
Character of the Late Samuel Johnson_ (1786).

134. John Downes, _Roscius Anglicanus_ (1708).

135. Sir John Hill, _Hypochondriasis, a Practical Treatise_ (1766).

136. Thomas Sheridan, _Discourse ... Being Introductory to His Course of
Lectures on Elocution and the English Language_ (1759).

137. Arthur Murphy, _The Englishman From Paris_ (1736).


138. [Catherine Trotter], _Olinda's Adventures_ (1718).

139. John Ogilvie, _An Essay on the Lyric Poetry of the Ancients_

140. _A Learned Dissertation on Dumpling_ (1726) and _Pudding Burnt to
Pot or a Compleat Key to the Dissertation on Dumpling_ (1727).

141. Selections from Sir Roger L'Estrange's _Observator_ (1681-1687).

142. Anthony Collins, _A Discourse Concerning Ridicule and Irony in
Writing_ (1729).

143. _A Letter From A Clergyman to His Friend, With An Account of the
Travels of Captain Lemuel Gulliver_ (1726).

144. _The Art of Architecture, A Poem. In Imitation of Horace's Art of
Poetry_ (1742).


145-146. Thomas Shelton, _A Tutor to Tachygraphy, or Short-writing_
(1642) and _Tachygraphy_ (1647).

147-148. _Deformities of Dr. Samuel Johnson_ (1782).

149. _Poeta de Tristibus: or the Poet's Complaint_ (1682).

150. Gerard Langbaine. _Momus Triumphans: or the Plagiaries of the
English Stage_ (1687).


151-152. Evan Lloyd, _The Methodist._ A Poem (1766).

153. _Are these Things So?_ (1740), and _The Great Man's Answer to Are
these Things So?_ (1740).

154. Arbuthnotiana: _The Story of the St. Albans Ghost_ (1712), and _A
Catalogue of Dr. Arbuthnot's Library_ (1779).

155-156. A Selection of Emblems from Herman Hugo's _Pia Desideria_
(1624), with English Adaptations by Francis Quarles and Edmund Arwaker.

  William Andrews Clark Memorial Library
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Transcriber's Notes:

Passages in italics are indicated by _italics_.

The following misprints have been corrected:
  "geniunely" corrected to "genuinely" (page iv)
  "Copywright" corrected to "Copyright" (page viii)
  "severly" corrected to "severely" (page ix)

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