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Harte, Walter / An Essay on Satire, Particularly on the Dunciad
E-text prepared by Chris Curnow, Stephanie Eason, Joseph Cooper, and the
Project Online Distributed Proofreading Team

Transcriber's note:

Text in italics is enclosed between underscores (_italics_).

The Augustan Reprint Society



Particularly on the DUNCIAD.


Introduction by


Publication Number 132
William Andrews Clark Memorial Library
University of California, Los Angeles

* * * * *


George Robert Guffey, _University of California, Los Angeles_
Maximillian E. Novak, _University of California, Los Angeles_
Robert Vosper, _William Andrews Clark Memorial Library_


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, _University of California, Los Angeles_
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_


Edna C. Davis, _William Andrews Clark Memorial Library_

* * * * *


Since the first publication of Walter Harte's _An Essay on Satire,
Particularly on the Dunciad_,[1] it has reappeared more than once: the
unsold sheets of the first edition were included in _A Collection of
Pieces in Verse and Prose, Which Have Been Publish'd on Occasion of
the Dunciad_ (1732), and the _Essay_ is also found in at least three
late eighteenth- or early nineteenth-century collections of poetry.[2]
For several reasons, however, it makes sense to reprint the _Essay_
again. The three collections are scarce and have forbiddingly small
type; I know of no other twentieth-century reprinting; and, perhaps
most important, Aubrey Williams claims that "the critical value for
the _Dunciad_ of Harte's poem has not been fully appreciated."[3] Its
value can best be substantiated, or disputed, if it is rescued from
its typographical limbo in the collections and reprinted from its more
attractive first edition.

Probably the immediate reason for the _Essay_ was Harte's admiration
for Pope, which arose in part from personal gratitude. On 9 February
1727, Harte wrote an unidentified correspondent that "Mr. Pope was
pleased to correct every page" of his forthcoming _Poems on Several
Occasions_ "with his own hand." Furthermore, Harte may have learned
that Pope had petitioned Lady Sarah Cowper, in 1728, to use her
influence to obtain him a fellowship in Exeter College, Oxford.[4]

But however appealing the _Essay_ may be as an installment on Harte's
debt to Pope, there must obviously be better reasons for reprinting
it. Harte himself doubtless had additional reasons for writing it. To
understand them and the poem, we must also understand, at least in
broad outline, the two traditional ways of evaluating satire which
Harte and others of his age had inherited. One of them was distinctly
at odds with Harte's aims; to the other he gave his support and made
his own contribution.

One tradition stressed the "lowness" of satire, in itself and compared
with other genres. This tradition, moreover, had at least two sources:
the practice of Elizabethan satirists and the critical custom of
assigning satire to a middle or low position in the hierarchy of

From the time of _Piers Plowman_, it was characteristic of English
satirists "to taxe the common abuses and vice of the people in rough
and bitter speaches."[5] This native character was reenforced by the
Elizabethan assumption that there should be similarities between
satire and its supposed etymological forebears--the satyrs, legendary
half men, half goats of ancient Greece. Believing that the Roman
satirists Persius and Juvenal had imitated the uncouth manners and
vituperative diction of the satyrs, Elizabethan satirists likewise
strove to be as rough, harsh, and licentious as possible.[6] Despite
the objections to the satire-satyr etymology stated by Isaac
Casaubon,[7] scurrilous satire, especially as a political weapon, was
a recognizable subspecies in England at least to 1700. The anonymous
author, for instance, of _A Satyr Against Common-Wealths_ (1684)
contended in his preface that it is "_as disagreeable to see a Satyr
Cloath'd in soft and effeminate Language, as to see a Woman scold and
vent her self in_ Billingsgate _Rhetorick in a gentile and
advantageous Garb_." But as Harte certainly realized, _The Dunciad_
differed greatly from unvarnished abuse, and thus required different
standards of critical judgment.

Harte also rejected the critical habit of giving satire a relatively
low rank in the scale of literary genres. This habit can be traced to
Horace, who belittled the literary status of his own satires,[8] and
it was prominent in the Renaissance. The place of satire in a
hierarchical list of Julius Caesar Scaliger is perhaps typical: "'And
the most noble, of course, are hymns and paeans. In the second place
are songs and odes and scolia, which are concerned with the praises of
brave men. In the third place the epic, in which there are heroes and
other lesser personages. Tragedy together with comedy follows this
order; nevertheless comedy will hold the fourth place apart by itself.
After these, satires, then exodia, lusus, nuptial songs, elegies,
monodia, songs, epigrams.'"[9] Similar rankings of satire frequently
recurred in the neo-classical period,[10] as did the Renaissance
supposition that each genre has a style and subject matter appropriate
to it. This supposition discouraged any "mixing" of the genres: in
Richard Blackmore's words, "all comick Manners, witty Conceits and
Ridicule" should be barred from heroic poetry.[11] The influence of
the genres theories even after Pope's death may be shown by the fact
that Pope, for the very reason that he had failed to work in the major
genres, was often ranked below such epic or tragic poets as Spenser,
Shakespeare, and Milton.[12]

One senses the foregoing critical assumptions about satire behind much
of the early comment on _The Dunciad_. Most of the critics, to be
sure, were anything but impartial; in many instances they were
smarting from Pope's satire and sought any critical weapons available
for retaliation. But it will not do to dismiss these men or their
responses to _The Dunciad_ as inconsequential; they had the weight of
numbers on their side and, more important, the authority of
long-established attitudes toward satire.

Although it is frequently impossible to determine exactly which
critics Harte was answering in his _Essay_, brief illustration of two
prominent types of attack can indicate what he had to vindicate _The
Dunciad_ against. One of those types resembled Blackmore's objection
to a mixing of genres. If satire should be barred from heroic poetry,
the reverse, for some critics, was also true, and Pope should not have
used epic allusions and devices in _The Dunciad_. Edward Ward, for
one, thought the poem an incongruous mixture "against all rule."[13]
Pope's violation of "rule" seemed almost a desecration of epic to
Thomas Cooke; of the mock-heroic games in Book II of _The Dunciad_, he
complained that "to imitate _Virgil_ is not to have Games, and those
beastly and unnatural, because _Virgil_ has noble and reasonable
Games, but to preserve a Purity of Manners, Propriety of Conduct
founded on Nature, a Beauty and Exactness of Stile, and continued
Harmony of Verse concording with the Sense."[14]

The other kind of attack accused Pope of wasting his talents in _The
Dunciad_, but palliated blame by reminding him of his demonstrated
ability in more worthy poetical pursuits. This was one of Ward's
resources; perhaps disingenuously, he professed amazement that a poet
with Pope's "_sublime Genius_," born for "an Epick Muse," "sacred
Hymns," and "heav'nly Anthems," would lower himself to mock at
"_trifling Foibles_" or "the Starvlings of _Apollo's_ Train."[15] More
concerned with Pope's potentialities than with his recent ignominy,
George Lyttelton nevertheless made essentially the same point: Pope
could never become the English Virgil if he "let meaner Satire ...
stain the Glory" of his "nobler Lays."[16] And Aaron Hill wrote an
allegorical poem to show Pope the error of _The Dunciad_ and to
suggest means of escape from entombment "in his _own_ PROFUND."[17] In
such censure we perhaps glimpse an opinion attributable to the still
influential genres theories: a poet of "_sublime Genius_" should work
in a more sublime poetic genre than satire.

In opposing this low view of satire, Harte drew upon ideas more
congenial to his purposes and far more congenial to _The Dunciad_.
Originating with the Renaissance commentaries on the formal verse
satire of the Romans, their lineage was just as venerable as that of
the low view. These critical concepts were probably just as
influential too, for they continued to be reiterated by commentaries
down to and beyond Pope's time.

Whatever their quarrels, the Renaissance commentaries were virtually
united in regarding satire as exalted moral instruction and satirists
as ethical philosophers. Casaubon's choice for this sort of praise was
Persius; Heinsius and Stapylton likened their respective choices,
Horace and Juvenal, to Socrates and Plato; and Rigault considered all
three satirists to be philosophers, distinguished only by the
different styles which their different periods required. The satirist
might disguise himself as a jester, but only to make his moral wisdom
more easily digestible; peeling away his mask, "we find in him all the
Gods together," "_Maxims or Sentences, that like the lawes of nature,
are held sacred by all Nations_."[18]

Dryden's _Discourse Concerning the Original and Progress of Satire_
drew heavily and eclectically upon these commentaries, investing their
judgments with a new popularity and authority. Although Dryden
condemned Persius for obscurity and other defects, he agreed with
Casaubon that Persius excels as a moral philosopher and that "moral
doctrine" is more important to satire than wit or urbanity. Dryden
knew, moreover, that the satirist's inculcation of "moral doctrine"
meant a dual purpose, a pattern of blame and praise--not only "the
scourging of vice" but also "exhortation to virtue"--long recognized
as a definitive characteristic of formal verse satire.[19] But if
Dryden insisted on the moral dignity of satire, he laid equal stress
on the dignity attainable through verse and numbers. After
complimenting Boileau's _Lutrin_ for its successful imitation of
Virgil, its blend of "the majesty of the heroic" with the "venom" of
satire, Dryden speaks of "the beautiful turns of words and thoughts,
which are as requisite in this [satire], as in heroic poetry itself,
of which the satire is undoubtedly a species"; and earlier in the
_Discourse_ he had called heroic poetry "certainly the greatest work
of human nature."[20]

It is clear that Harte's _Essay_ belongs in the tradition of criticism
established by the commentaries on classical satire and continued by
Dryden. Like these predecessors, Harte believes that satire is moral
philosophy, teaching "the noblest Ethicks to reform mankind" (p. 6).
Like them again, he believes that to fulfill this purpose satire must
not only lash vice but recommend virtue, at least by implication:

Blaspheming _Capaneus_ obliquely shows
T'adore those Gods _Aeneas_ fears and knows, (p. 10)[21]

But perhaps Harte's overriding concern was to do for satire (with _The
Dunciad_ as his focus) what Dryden's _Discourse_ had done: to reassert
its dignity and majesty.

Although Harte is quite careful to distinguish satire from epic
poetry, the total effect of his _Essay_ is to blur this distinction
and to raise _The Dunciad_ very nearly to the level of genuine epic.
The term "_Epic Satire_" (p. 6) certainly seems to refer to the
wedding of two disparate genres in _The Dunciad_, lifting it above
satire that is merely "rugged" or "mischievously gay" (p. 8). (The
epithet is also, perhaps, a thrust at Edward Ward, who had pinned it
on _The Dunciad_ with a sneer.)[22] Harte's claim that

_Books and the Man_ demands as much, or more,
Than _He who wander'd to the Latian shore_ (p. 9)

has a similar effect. The greatest epic poets and satirists have
always transcended rules to follow "Nature's light"; Pope,
over-topping them all, has "still corrected Nature as she stray'd"
(pp. 19, 21). But perhaps Harte's most successful attempt to elevate
_The Dunciad_ comes in section two of his poem. Unlike Dryden, in
whose _Discourse_ the account of the "progress" of satire is confined
almost exclusively to a few Roman writers, Harte begins his account of
its progress with Homer and brings it down to Pope. Deriving the
ancestry of _The Dunciad_ from Homer, the greatest epic poet,
obviously enhances Pope's satire. Perhaps less obviously, by extending
Dryden's account to the present, Harte makes _The Dunciad_ not only a
chronological _terminus ad quem_ but, far more important, the fruit of
centuries of slowly accumulating mastery and wisdom.

The strategies mentioned thus far constitute one series of answers to
critics who charged Pope with debasing true epic. But Harte also
addressed himself to such critics more directly. Although Aubrey
Williams (p. 54) has clearly demonstrated Harte's awareness that the
world of _The Dunciad_ does in one sense sully epic beauties, at the
same time, I think, Harte knew that the epic poems to which _The
Dunciad_ continually alludes remain fixed, unsullied polestars;
otherwise the reader of the poem would lack a way of measuring the
meanness of its characters and principles. The "charms of _Parody_" in
_The Dunciad_ provide a contrast between its dark, fallen world and
the undimmed luster of epic realms (p. 10). By using the ambiguous
word _parody_, which in the eighteenth century could mean either
ridicule or straight imitation,[23] Harte skillfully suggests the
complex purpose of Pope's epic backdrop. The dunces, not Pope,
ridicule the epic world by their words and deeds; but in turn, this
world ridicules them simply by being "imitated" and incorporated in
_The Dunciad_. And its incorporation is by no means equivalent to the
pollution of epic. That, Harte hints, is the achievement of scribblers
like Blackmore (p. 12). It is they who inadvertently write mock-epics,
parodies which degrade their great models; Pope, nominally writing
mock-epic, actually approaches epic achievement.

Harte's reply to those who believed Pope had wasted his talent in
attacking "the Refuse of the Town" centers in the stanza beginning on
p. 24 but can be found elsewhere as well. Literary "Refuse," he
realized, could not safely be ignored, for he at least came close to
understanding that it was "the metaphor by which bigger
deteriorations," social and moral, "are revealed" (Williams, p. 14).

... Rules, and Truth, and Order, Dunces strike;
Of Arts, and Virtues, enemies alike. (p. 24)

Ultimately, then, Harte seemed aware that the dunces pose a colossal
threat, a threat which warrants Pope's numerous echoes of _Paradise
Lost_. Harte's _Essay_, in fact, contains several echoes of the same
poem. Though, like most of Pope's, these Miltonic echoes are given a
comic turn which indicates a wide gap between the real satanic host
and its London auxiliary, there is little doubt that Harte grasped the
underlying seriousness of his mentor's analogies and his own.

* * * * *

A few words remain to be said about Boileau's _Discourse of Satires
Arraigning Persons by Name_, which so far as I know appeared with all
early printings of Harte's _Essay_.

The _Discourse_ was first published in 1668, with the separately
printed edition of Boileau's ninth satire; in the same year it was
included in a collected edition of the satires. It was occasioned,
evidently, by a critic's complaint that the modern satirist, departing
from ancient practice, "offers insults to individuals."[24]

The only English translation of the _Discourse_ that I have discovered
before 1730 appears in volume two (1711) of a three-volume translation
of Boileau's works. This, however, is not the same translation as the
one accompanying Harte's _Essay_; it is noticeably less fluent and
lacks (as does the French) the subtitle "arraigning persons by name."

The 1730 translation is faithful to the original, and the subtitle
calls attention to the aptness of the _Discourse_ as a defense of
Pope's satiric practice.[25] It is so apt, indeed, that one could
almost suspect Pope himself of making the translation and submitting
it to Harte or his publisher. Pope had already invoked Boileau's name
and precedent in the letter from "William Cleland"; nothing could be
more logical than for Pope to turn the esteemed Boileau's
self-justification to his own ends.

Cornell College


[1] Robert W. Rogers, _The Major Satires of Alexander Pope_, Illinois
Studies in Language and Literature, XL (Urbana, 1955), p. 140, dates
the Essay January 7-14, 1731, N. S., on the evidence of _The
Grub-Street Journal_; No. 484 of _The London Evening-Post_ (Saturday,
January 9, to Tuesday, January 12, 1731) advertises its publication
for the following day.

[2] Rogers, p. 141. Thomas Park, _Supplement to the British Poets_
(London, 1809), VIII, 21-36; Alexander Chalmers, _The Works of the
English Poets_ (London, 1810), XVI, 348-352; Robert Anderson, _A
Complete Edition of the Poets of Great Britain_ (London, 1794), IX,
825-982 [_sic_].

[3] _Pope's "Dunciad": A Study of Its Meaning_ (Baton Rouge, 1955), p.

[4] _The Correspondence of Alexander Pope_, ed. George Sherburn
(Oxford, 1956), II, 430 n., 497.

[5] George Puttenham, _The Arte of English Poesie_ (1589), in
_Elizabethan Critical Essays_, ed. G. Gregory Smith (Oxford, 1904),
II, 27.

[6] Alvin Kernan, _The Cankered Muse: Satire of the English
Renaissance_, Yale Studies in English, CXLII (New Haven, 1959), pp.
55, 58, 62; Oscar James Campbell, _Comicall Satyre and Shakespeare's
"Troilus and Cressida"_ (San Marino, 1959), pp. 24-25, 27, 29-30.

[7] _De Satyrica Graecorum Poesi, & Romanorum Satira Libri Duo_
(Paris, 1605).

[8] J. F. D'Alton, _Roman Literary Theory and Criticism: A Study in
Tendencies_ (London, New York, and Toronto, 1931), pp. 356, 414 and
n.; George Converse Fiske, _Lucilius and Horace: A Study in the
Classical Theory of Imitation_, University of Wisconsin Studies in
Language and Literature, No. 7 (Madison, 1920), p. 443.

[9] Bernard Weinberg, _A History of Literary Criticism in the Italian
Renaissance_ (Chicago, 1961), II, 745. For similar appraisals of
satire, see also I, 148-149; II, 759, 807; and Puttenham, pp. 26-28.

[10] E.g., John Dennis, "The Grounds of Criticism in Poetry" (1704),
in _The Critical Works_, ed. Edward Niles Hooker (Baltimore,
1939-1943), I, 338; Joseph Trapp, _Lectures on Poetry Read in the
Schools of Natural Philsophy at Oxford_ (London, 1742), p. 153.

[11] _Essays upon Several Subjects_ (London, 1716-1717), I, 76.

[12] Paul F. Leedy, "Genres Criticism and the Significance of Warton's
Essay on Pope," _JEGP_, XLV (1946), 141.

[13] _Durgen. Or, A Plain Satyr upon a Pompous Satyrist_ (London,
1729), p. 48.

[14] "The Battel of the Poets," in _Tales, Epistles, Odes, Fables,
etc._ (London, 1729), p. 138n. Though the poem was first published in
1725, it was revised to attack _The Dunciad_; Cooke claims ("The
Preface," p. 107) that not more than eighty lines in the two versions
are the same.

[15] _Durgen_, pp. [i], 19, 40-41.

[16] _An Epistle to Mr. Pope, from a Young Gentleman at Rome_ (London,
1730), pp. 6-7.

[17] _The Progress of Wit_ (London, 1730), p. 31. Two months after
Harte's Essay appeared Hill's _Advice to the Poets_, which complements
the earlier allegory by urging Pope to shun "_vulgar Genii_" and
emulate "Thy own _Ulysses_" (pp. 18-19).

[18] Daniel Heinsius, "De Satyra Horatiana Liber," in _Q. Horati
Flacci Opera_ (1612), pp. 137-138; Sir Robert Stapylton, "The Life and
Character of Juvenal," in _Mores Hominum. The Manners of Men,
Described in Sixteen Satyrs, by Juvenal_ (London, 1660), p. [v];
Nicolas Rigault, "De Satira Juvenalis Dissertatio" (1615), in _Decii
Junii Juvenalis Satirarum Libri Quinque_ (Paris, 1754), p. xxv; and
André Dacier, _An Essay upon Satyr_ (London, 1695), p. 273.

[19] _Essays of John Dryden_, ed. W. P. Ker (Oxford, 1900), II, 75,
104-105; Howard D. Weinbrot, "The Pattern of Formal Verse Satire in
the Restoration and the Eighteenth Century," _PMLA_, LXXX (1965),
394-401; Causaubon, _De Satyrica Graecorum Poesi, & Romanorum Satira
Libri Duo_, pp. 291-292; Heinsius, pp. 137-138.

[20] _Essays_, II, 43, 107-108.

[21] See Weinbrot, p. 399.

[22] _Durgen_, p. 3.

[23] Howard D. Weinbrot, "Parody as Imitation in the 18th Century,"
_AN&Q_, II (1964), 131-134.

[24] Boileau, _Oeuvres Complètes_, ed. Françoise Escal (Éditions
Gallimard, 1966), p. 924.

[25] Numerous protests against Pope's use of names made such a defense
desirable. See, for example, Ward (p. 9) and "A Letter to a Noble
Lord: Occasion'd by the Late Publication of the Dunciad Variorum," in
_Pope Alexander's Supremacy and Infallibility Examin'd_ (London,
1729), p. 12. Boileau's _Discourse_ is a particularly apposite reply
to the latter, which had contrasted Pope's satiric practice with that
of Horace, Juvenal, and Boileau.


The text of this edition is reproduced from a copy in the University
of Illinois Library.


Particularly on the DUNCIAD.

(Price One Shilling.)

Speedily will be Published,

The Works of VIRGIL Translated into Blank Verse by _J. Trapp_, D. D.
in Three Volumes in 12º with Cuts.


Particularly on the


of St. _Mary-Hall_, Oxon.

To which is added, A
_Arraigning Persons by Name_.

By Monsieur BOILEAU.


Printed for LAWTON GILLIVER at _Homer's_ Head
against St. _Dunstan's_ Church, in _Fleetstreet_,


I. _The Origine and Use of_ Satire. _The Excellency of_ Epic Satire
_above others, as adding Example to Precept, and animating by_ Fable
_and sensible Images. Epic Satire compar'd with Epic Poem, and wherein
they differ: Of their_ Extent, Action, Unities, Episodes, _and the
Nature of their_ Morals. _Of_ Parody: _Of the_ Style, Figures, _and_
Wit _proper to this Sort of Poem, and the superior Talents requisite
to Excel in it._

II. _The_ Characters _of the several Authors of Satire. 1. The
Ancients;_ Homer, Simonides, Archilochus, Aristophanes, Menippus,
Ennius, Lucilius, Varro, Horace, Persius, Petronius, Juvenal, Lucian,
_the Emperor_ Julian. _2. The Moderns;_ Tassone, Coccaius, Rabelais,
Regnier, Boileau, Dryden, Garth, Pope.

III. _From the Practice of all the best Writers and Men in every Age
and Nation, the_ Moral Justice _of_ Satire _in General, and of this
Sort in Particular, is Vindicated. The_ Necessity _of it shewn in_
this Age _more especially, and why bad Writers are at present the_
most proper Objects of Satire. _The_ True Causes _of bad Writers._
Characters _of several Sorts of them now abounding; Envious Critics,
Furious Pedants, Secret Libellers, Obscene Poetesses, Advocates for
Corruption, Scoffers at Religion, Writers for Deism, Deistical and_

_Application of the Whole Discourse to the_ DUNCIAD _concluding with
an Address to the Author of it._


T' Exalt the Soul, or make the Heart sincere,
To arm our Lives with honesty severe,
To shake the wretch beyond the reach of Law,
Deter the young, and touch the bold with awe,
To raise the fal'n, to hear the sufferer's cries,
And sanctify the virtues of the wife,
Old Satire rose from Probity of mind,
The noblest Ethicks to reform mankind.

As _Cynthia's_ Orb excels the gems of night:
So _Epic Satire_ shines distinctly bright.
Here Genius lives, and strength in every part,
And lights and shades, and fancy fix'd by art.
A second beauty in its nature lies,
It gives not _Things_, but _Beings_ to our eyes,
_Life_, _Substance_, _Spirit_ animate the whole;
_Fiction_ and _Fable_ are the Sense and Soul.
The _common Dulness_ of mankind, array'd
In pomp, here lives and breathes, a _wond'rous Maid_:
The Poet decks her with each unknown Grace,
Clears her dull brain, and brightens her dark face:
See! Father _Chaos_ o'er his First-born nods,
And Mother _Night_, in Majesty of Gods!
See _Querno's Throne_, by hands Pontific rise,
And a _Fool's Pandæmonium_ strike our Eyes!
Ev'n what on C----l the Publick bounteous pours,
Is sublimated here to _Golden show'rs_.

A _Dunciad_ or a _Lutrin_ is compleat,
And _one_ in action; ludicrously great.
Each wheel rolls round in due degrees of force;
E'en _Episodes_ are _needful_, or _of course_:
_Of course_, when things are virtually begun
E'er the first ends, the Father and the Son:
Or else so _needful_, and exactly grac'd,
That nothing is _ill-suited_, or _ill-plac'd_.

True Epic's a vast World, and this a small;
One has its _proper_ beauties, and one _all_.
Like _Cynthia_, one in _thirty days_ appears,
Like _Saturn_ one, rolls round in _thirty years_.
_There_ opens a wide Tract, a length of Floods,
A height of Mountains, and a waste of Woods:
_Here_ but one Spot; nor Leaf, nor Green depart
From Rules, e'en Nature seems the Child of Art.
As _Unities_ in Epick works appear,
So must they shine in full distinction here.
Ev'n the warm _Iliad_ moves with slower pow'rs:
That forty days demands, This forty hours.

Each other Satire humbler arts has known,
Content with meaner Beauties, tho' its own:
Enough for that, if rugged in its course
The Verse but rolls with Vehemence and Force;
Or nicely pointed in th' _Horatian_ way
Wounds keen, like _Syrens_ mischievously gay.
Here, All has _Wit_, yet must that Wit be _strong_,
Beyond the Turns of _Epigram_, or _Song_.
The _Thought_ must rise exactly from the vice,
_Sudden_, yet _finish'd_, _clear_, and yet _concise_.
_One Harmony_ must _first_ with _last_ unite;
As all true Paintings have their _Place_ and _Light_.
_Transitions_ must be _quick_, and yet _design'd_,
Not made to fill, but just retain the mind:
And _Similies_, like meteors of the night,
Just give one flash of momentary Light.

As thinking makes the Soul, low things exprest
In high-rais'd terms, define a _Dunciad_ best.
_Books and the Man_ demands as much, or more,
Than _He_ who _wander'd to the Latian Shore_:
For here (eternal Grief to _Duns_'s soul,
And _B_----'s thin Ghost!) the _Part_ contains the _Whole_:
Since in Mock-Epic none succeeds, but he
Who tastes the Whole of Epic Poesy.

The _Moral_ must be clear and understood;
But finer still, if negatively good:
Blaspheming _Capaneus_ obliquely shows
T' adore those Gods _Æneas_ fears and knows.
A _Fool's_ the _Heroe_; but the _Poet's_ end
Is, to be _candid_, _modest_, and a _Friend_.

Let _Classic Learning_ sanctify each Part,
Not only show your Reading, but your Art.

The charms of _Parody_, like those of Wit,
If well _contrasted_, never fail to hit;
One half in light, and one in darkness drest,
(For contraries oppos'd still shine the best.)
When a cold Page half breaks the Writer's heart,
By this it warms, and brightens into Art.
When Rhet'ric glitters with too pompous pride,
By this, like _Circe_, 'tis un-deify'd.
So _Berecynthia_, while her off-spring vye
In homage to the Mother of the sky,
(Deck'd in rich robes, of trees, and plants, and flow'rs,
And crown'd illustrious with an hundred tow'rs)
O'er all _Parnassus_ casts her eyes at once,
And sees an hundred Sons--_and each a Dunce_.

The _Language_ next: from hence new pleasure springs;
For _Styles_ are dignify'd, as well as _Things_.
Tho' Sense subsists, distinct from phrase or sound,
Yet _Gravity_ conveys a surer wound.
The chymic secret which your pains wou'd find,
Breaks out, unsought for, in _Cervantes'_ mind;
And _Quixot_'s wildness, like that King's of old,
Turns all he touches, into _Pomp_ and _Gold_.
Yet in this Pomp discretion must be had;
Tho' _grave_, not _stiff_; tho' _whimsical_, not _mad_:
In Works like these if _Fustian_ might appear,
Mock-Epics, _Blackmore_, would not cost thee dear.

We grant, that _Butler_ ravishes the Heart,
As _Shakespear_ soar'd beyond the reach of Art;
(For Nature form'd those Poets without Rules,
To fill the world with _imitating Fools_.)
What _Burlesque_ could, was by that Genius done;
Yet faults it has, impossible to shun:
Th' unchanging strain for want of grandeur cloys,
And gives too oft the horse-laugh mirth of Boys:
The short-legg'd verse, and double-gingling Sound,
So quick surprize us, that our heads run round:
Yet in this Work peculiar Life presides,
And _Wit_, for all the world to glean besides.

Here pause, my Muse, too daring and too young!
Nor rashly aim at Precepts yet unsung.
Can Man the Master of the _Dunciad_ teach?
And these new Bays what other hopes to reach?
'Twere better judg'd, to study and explain
Each ancient Grace he copies not in vain;
To trace thee, Satire, to thy utmost Spring,
Thy Form, thy Changes, and thy Authors sing.

All Nations with this Liberty dispense,
And bid us shock the Man that shocks Good Sense.
Great _Homer_ first the Mimic Sketch design'd
What grasp'd not _Homer's_ comprehensive mind?
By him who _Virtue_ prais'd, was _Folly_ curst,
And who _Achilles_ sung, drew _Dunce the First_.[26]

Next him _Simonides_, with lighter Air,
In Beasts, and Apes, and Vermin, paints the _Fair_:
The good _Scriblerus_ in like forms displays
The reptile Rhimesters of these later days.

More fierce, _Archilochus_! thy vengeful flame;
Fools read and _dy'd_: for Blockheads then had _Shame_.

The Comic-Satirist[27] attack'd his Age,
And found low Arts, and Pride, among the Sage:
See learned _Athens_ stand attentive by,
And _Stoicks_ learn their Foibles from the Eye.

_Latium's fifth Homer_[28] held the _Greeks_ in view;
Solid, tho' rough, yet incorrect as new.
_Lucilius_, warm'd with more than mortal flame
Rose next[29], and held a torch to ev'ry shame.
See stern _Menippus_, cynical, unclean;
And _Grecian Cento_'s, mannerly obscene.
Add the last efforts of _Pacuvius'_ rage,
And the chaste decency of _Varro_'s page.[30]

See _Horace_ next, in each reflection nice,
Learn'd, but not vain, the Foe of Fools nor Vice.
Each page instructs, each Sentiment prevails,
All shines alike, he rallies, but ne'er rails:
With courtly ease conceals a Master's art,
And least-expected steals upon the heart.
Yet _Cassius_[31] felt the fury of his rage,
(_Cassius_, the _We----d_ of a former age)
And sad _Alpinus_, ignorantly read,
Who murder'd _Memnon_, tho' for ages dead.

Then _Persius_ came: whose line tho' roughly wrought,
His Sense o'erpaid the stricture of his thought.
Here in clear light the _Stoic_-doctrine shines,
Truth all subdues, or Patience all resigns.
A Mind supreme![32] impartial, yet severe:
Pure in each Act, in each Recess sincere!
Yet _rich ill_ Poets urg'd the _Stoic_'s Frown,
And bade him strike at _Dulness_ and a _Crown_[33].

The Vice and Luxury _Petronius_ drew,
In _Nero_ meet: th' imperial point of view:
The Roman _Wilmot_, that could Vice chastize,
Pleas'd the mad King he serv'd, to satirize.

The next[34] in Satire felt a nobler rage,
What honest Heart could bear _Domitian_'s age?
See his strong Sense, and Numbers masculine!
His Soul is kindled, and he kindles mine:
Scornful of Vice, and fearless of Offence,
He flows a Torrent of impetuous Sense.

Lo! Savage Tyrants Who blasphem'd their God
Turn Suppliants now, and gaze at _Julian_'s Rod.[35]

_Lucian_, severe, but in a gay disguise,
Attacks old Faith, or sports in learned Lyes;[36]
Sets Heroes and Philosophers at odds;
And scourges Mortals, and dethrones the Gods.

Then all was Night--But _Satire_ rose once more
Where _Medici_ and _Leo_ Arts restore.
_Tassonè_ shone fantastic, but sublime:
And He, who form'd the _Macaronique_-Rhime:

Then _Westward_ too by slow degrees confest,
Where boundless _Rabelais_ made the World his Jest;
_Marot_ had Nature, _Regnier_ Force and Flame,
But swallow'd all in _Boileau_'s matchless Fame!
Extensive Soul! who rang'd all learning o'er,
Present and past--and yet found room for more.
Full of new Sense, exact in every Page,
Unbounded, and yet sober in thy Rage.
Strange Fate! _Thy solid_ Sterling _of two lines,_
_Drawn to our_ Tinsel, _thro' whole Pages shines!_[37]

In _Albion_ then, with equal lustre bright,
Great _Dryden_ rose, and steer'd by Nature's light.
Two glimmering Orbs he just observ'd from far,
The Ocean wide, and dubious either Star,
_Donne_ teem'd with Wit, but all was maim'd and bruis'd,
The periods endless, and the sense confus'd:
_Oldham_ rush'd on, impetuous, and sublime,
But lame in Language, Harmony, and Rhyme;
These (with new graces) vig'rous nature join'd
In one, and center'd 'em in _Dryden_'s mind.
How full thy verse? Thy meaning how severe?
How dark thy theme? yet made exactly clear.
Not mortal is thy accent, nor thy rage,
Yet mercy softens, or contracts each Page.
Dread Bard! instruct us to revere thy rules,
And hate like thee, all Rebels, and all Fools.

His Spirit ceas'd not (in strict truth) to be;
For dying _Dryden_ breath'd, O _Garth!_ on thee,
Bade thee to keep alive his genuine Rage,
Half-sunk in want, oppression and old age;
Then, when thy pious hands repos'd his head,[38]
When vain young Lords and ev'n the Flamen fled.
For well thou knew'st his merit and his art,
His upright mind, clear head, and friendly heart.
Ev'n _Pope_ himself (who sees no Virtue bleed
But bears th' affliction) envies thee the deed.

O _Pope_! Instructor of my studious days,
Who fix'd my steps in virtue's early ways:
On whom our labours, and our hopes depend,
Thou more than Patron, and ev'n more than Friend!
Above all Flattery, all Thirst of Gain,
And Mortal but in Sickness, and in Pain!
Thou taught'st old Satire nobler fruits to bear,
And check'd her Licence with a moral Care:
Thou gav'st the Thought new beauties not its own,
And touch'd the Verse with Graces yet unknown.
Each lawless branch thy level eye survey'd.
And still corrected Nature as she stray'd:
Warm'd _Boileau_'s Sense with _Britain_'s genuine Fire,
And added Softness to _Tassonè_'s Lyre.

Yet mark the hideous nonsense of the age,
And thou thy self the subject of its rage.
So in old times, round godlike _Scæva_ ran
_Rome_'s dastard Sons, a _Million_, and a _Man_.

Th' exalted merits of the Wise and Good
Are seen, far off, and rarely understood.
The world's a father to a Dunce unknown,
And much he thrives, for Dulness! he's thy own.
No hackney brethren e'er condemn him _twice_;
He fears no enemies, but dust and mice.

If _Pope_ but writes, the Devil _Legion_ raves,
And meagre Critics mutter in their caves:
(Such Critics of necessity consume
All Wit, as Hangmen ravish'd Maids at _Rome_.)
Names he a Scribler? all the world's in arms,
_Augusta_, _Granta_, _Rhedecyna_ swarms:
The guilty reader fancies what he fears,
And every _Midas_ trembles for his ears.

See all such malice, obloquy, and spite
Expire e're morn, the mushroom of a night!
Transient as vapours glimm'ring thro' the glades,
Half-form'd and idle, as the dreams of maids,
Vain as the sick man's vow, or young man's sigh,
Third-nights of Bards, or _H_----'s sophistry.

These ever hate the Poet's sacred line:
These hate whate'er is glorious, or divine.
From one Eternal Fountain _Beauty_ springs,
The Energy of _Wit_, and _Truth of Things_,
That Source is GOD: From _him_ they downwards tend,
Flow round--yet in their native center end.
Hence Rules, and Truth, and Order, Dunces strike;
Of Arts, and Virtues, enemies alike.

Some urge, that Poets of supreme renown
Judge ill to scourge the Refuse of the Town.
How'ere their Casuists hope to turn the scale,
These men must smart, or scandal will prevail.
By these, the weaker Sex still suffer most:
And such are prais'd who rose at Honour's cost:
The Learn'd they wound, the Virtuous, and the Fair,
No fault they cancel, no reproach they spare:
The random Shaft, impetuous in the dark,
Sings on unseen, and quivers in the mark.
'Tis Justice, and not Anger, makes us write,
Such sons of darkness must be drag'd to light:
Long-suff'ring nature must not always hold;
In virtue's cause 'tis gen'rous to be bold.
To scourge the bad, th' unwary to reclaim,
And make light flash upon the face of shame.

Others have urg'd (but weigh it, and you'll find
'Tis light as feathers blown before the wind)
That Poverty, the Curse of Providence,
Attones for a dull Writer's want of Sense:
Alas! his Dulness 'twas that made him poor;
Not _vice versa_: We infer no more.
Of Vice and Folly Poverty's the curse,
Heav'n may be rigid, but the Man was worse,
By good made bad, by favours more disgrac'd,
So dire th' effects of ignorance misplac'd!
Of idle Youth, unwatch'd by Parents eyes!
Of Zeal for pence, and Dedication Lies!
Of conscience model'd by a Great man's looks!
And arguings in religion--from No books!

No light the darkness of that mind invades,
Where _Chaos_ rules, enshrin'd in genuine Shades;
Where, in the Dungeon of the Soul inclos'd,
True Dulness nods, reclining and repos'd.
Sense, Grace, or Harmony, ne'er enter there,
Nor human Faith, nor Piety sincere;
A mid-night of the Spirits, Soul, and Head,
(Suspended all) as Thought it self lay dead.
Yet oft a mimic gleam of transient light
Breaks thro' this gloom, and then they think they write;
From Streets to Streets th' unnumber'd Pamphlets fly,
Then tremble _Warner_, _Brown_, and _Billingsly_.[39]

O thou most gentle Deity appear,
Thou who still hear'st, and yet art prone to hear:
Whose eye ne'er closes, and whose brains ne'er rest,
(Thy own dear Dulness bawling at thy breast)
Attend, O _Patience_, on thy arm reclin'd,
And see Wit's endless enemies behind!

And ye, _Our Muses_, with a _hundred tongues_,
And Thou, O _Henley!_ blest with _brazen lungs_;
Fanatic _Withers!_ fam'd for rhimes and sighs,
And _Jacob Behmen!_ most obscurely wise;
From darkness palpable, on dusky wings
Ascend! and shroud him who your Off-spring sings.

The first with _Egypt_'s darkness in his head
Thinks Wit the devil, and curses books unread.
For twice ten winters has he blunder'd on,
Thro' heavy comments, yet ne'er lost nor won:
Much may be done in twenty winters more,
And let him then learn _English_ at threescore.
No sacred _Maro_ glitters on his shelf,
He wants the mighty _Stagyrite_ himself.
See vast _Coimbria_'s comments[40] pil'd on high,
In heaps _Soncinas_,[41] _Sotus_, _Sanchez_ lie:
For idle hours, _Sa_'s[42] idler casuistry.

Yet worse is he, who in one language read,
Has one eternal jingling in his head,
At night, at morn, in bed, and on the stairs ...
Talks flights to grooms, and makes lewd songs at pray'rs
His Pride, a Pun: a Guinea his Reward,
His Critick _G-ld-n_, _Jemmy M-re_ his Bard.

What artful Hand the Wretch's Form can hit,
Begot by _Satan_ on a _M----ly_'s Wit:
In Parties furious at the great Man's nod,
And hating none for nothing, but his God:
Foe to the Learn'd, the Virtuous, and the Sage,
A Pimp in Youth, an Atheist in old Age:
Now plung'd in Bawdry and substantial Lyes,
Now dab'ling in ungodly Theories;
But so, as Swallows skim the pleasing flood,
Grows giddy, but ne'er drinks to do him good:
Alike resolv'd to flatter, or to cheat,
Nay worship Onions, if they cry, _come eat_:
A foe to Faith, in Revelation blind,
And impious much, as Dunces are by kind.

Next see the Master-piece of Flatt'ry rise,
Th' anointed Son of Dulness and of Lies:
Whose softest Whisper fills a Patron's Ear,
Who smiles unpleas'd, and mourns without a tear.[43]
Persuasive, tho' a woful Blockhead he:
Truth dies before his shadowy Sophistry.
For well he knows[44] the Vices of the Town,
The Schemes of State, and Int'rest of the Gown;
Immoral Afternoons, indecent Nights,
Enflaming Wines, and second Appetites.

But most the Theatres with dulness groan,
Embrio's half-form'd, a Progeny unknown:
Fine things for nothing, transports out of season,
Effects un-caus'd, and murders without reason.
Here Worlds run round, and Years are taught to stay,
Each Scene an Elegy, each Act a Play.[45]
Can the same Pow'r such various Passions move?
Rejoice, or weep, 'tis ev'ry thing for _Love_.
The self-same Cause produces Heav'n and Hell:
Things contrary as Buckets in a Well;
One up, one down, one empty, and one full:
Half high, half low, half witty, and half dull.
So on the borders of an ancient Wood,
Or where some Poplar trembles o'er the Flood,
_Arachnè_ travels on her filmy thread,
Now high, now low, or on her feet or head.

Yet these love Verse, as Croaking comforts Frogs,[46]
And Mire and Ordure are the Heav'n of Hogs.
As well might Nothing bind Immensity,
Or passive Matter Immaterials see,
As these shou'd write by reason, rhime, and rule,
Or we turn Wit, whom nature doom'd a Fool.
If _Dryden_ err'd, 'twas human frailty once,
But blund'ring is the Essence of a Dunce.

Some write for Glory, but the Phantom fades;
Some write as Party, or as Spleen invades;
A third, because his Father was well read,
And Murd'rer-like, calls Blushes from the dead.
Yet all for Morals and for Arts contend----
They want'em both, who never prais'd a Friend.
More ill, than dull; For pure stupidity
Was ne'er a crime in honest _Banks_, or me.

See next a Croud in damasks, silks, and crapes,
Equivocal in dress, half-belles, half-trapes:
A length of night-gown rich _Phantasia_ trails,
_Olinda_ wears one shift, and pares no nails:
Some in _C----l_'s Cabinet each act display,
When nature in a transport dies away:
Some more refin'd transcribe their Opera-loves
On Iv'ry Tablets, or in clean white Gloves:
Some of Platonic, some of carnal Taste,
Hoop'd, or un-hoop'd, ungarter'd, or unlac'd.
Thus thick in Air the wing'd Creation play,
When vernal _Phoebus_ rouls the Light away,
A motley race, half Insects and half Fowls,
Loose-tail'd and dirty, May-flies, Bats, and Owls.

Gods, that this native nonsense was our worst!
With Crimes more deep, O _Albion!_ art thou curst.
No Judgment open Prophanation fears,
For who dreads God, that can preserve his Ears?
Oh save me Providence, from Vice refin'd,
That worst of ills, a _Speculative Mind_![47]
Not that I blame divine Philosophy,
(Yet much we risque, for Pride and Learning lye.)
Heav'n's paths are found by Nature more than Art,
The Schoolman's Head misleads the Layman's Heart.

What unrepented Deeds has _Albion_ done?
Yet spare us Heav'n!

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Main -> Harte, Walter -> An Essay on Satire, Particularly on the Dunciad