Now flamed the dog-star's unpropitious ray, Smote every brain, and wither'd every bay; 10 Sick was the sun, the owl forsook his bower, The moon-struck prophet felt the madding hour: Then rose the seed of Chaos, and of Night, To blot out order, and extinguish light, Of dull and venal a new world to mould, And bring Saturnian days of lead and gold.
BOOK THE FOURTH.
the mock-hero should have “Vanity, Impudence, and Debauchery”. As a wise man knows without being told, Pope says, so the vain man listens to no opinion but his own, and Pope quotes Cibber as saying, “Let the world… impute to me what Folly or weakness they please; but till Wisdom can give me something that will make me more heartily happy, I am content to be gazed at“.
Some Dæmon stole my pen (forgive th’ offense)
And once betray’d me into common sense:
Else all my Prose and Verse were much the same;
This, prose on stilts; that, poetry fall’n lame (I 187–190)
‘Twas chatt’ring, grinning, mouthing, jabb’ring all,
And Noise, and Norton, Brangling, and Breval,
Dennis and Dissonance; and captious Art,
And Snip-snap short, and Interruption smart.
‘Hold (cry’d the Queen) A Catcall each shall win,
Equal your merits! equal is your din! (II 229–234)
The proposition, the invocation, and the inscription. Then the original of the great empire of Dulness, and cause of the continuance thereof. The college of the goddess in the city, with her private academy for poets in particular; the governors of it, and the four cardinal virtues. Then the poem hastes into the midst of things, presenting her, on the evening of a Lord Mayor’s day, revolving the long succession of her sons, and the glories past and to come. She fixes her eye on Bayes to be the instrument of that great event which is the subject of the poem. He is described pensive among his books, giving up the cause, and apprehending the period of her empire: after debating whether to betake himself to the Church, or to gaming, or to party-writing, he raises an altar of proper books, and (making first his solemn prayer and declaration) purposes thereon to sacrifice all his unsuccessful writings. As the pile is kindled, the goddess, beholding the flame from her seat, flies and puts it out by casting upon it the poem of Thulè. She forthwith reveals herself to him, transports him to her temple, unfolds her arts, and initiates him into her mysteries; then announcing the death of Eusden the poet laureate, anoints him, carries him to court, and proclaims him successor.
The Dunciad, poem by Alexander Pope, first published anonymously in three books in 1728; by 1743, when it appeared in its final form, it had grown to four books. Written largely in iambic pentameter, the poem is a masterpiece of mock-heroic verse.
After Pope had edited the works of William Shakespeare to adapt them to 18th-century tastes, the scholar Lewis Theobald attacked him in Shakespeare Restored (1726). Pope responded in 1728 with the first version of his Dunciad, in which Theobald appears as Tibbald, favourite son of the Goddess of Dullness (Dulness), a suitable hero for what Pope considered the reign of pedantry. A year later Pope published The Dunciad Variorum, in which he expanded the poem and added elaborate false footnotes, appendices, errata, and prefaces, as if the Dunciad itself had fallen into the hands of an artless pedant. Both versions, which were published anonymously, are much more than the vengeance of an aggrieved crank, for Pope’s writing exudes facility, wit, and verve.
Pope did not formally acknowledge his authorship of the Dunciad until 1735, when he included it in a volume of his collected works. In 1742 Pope published The New Dunciad, intended as the Dunciad’s fourth book; in it the empire of the Goddess of Dullness has become universal. That same year the poet laureate Colley Cibber savaged Pope in print; Pope responded by revising the Dunciad so as to replace Theobald with Cibber as the work’s dubious hero. The result, The Dunciad in Four Books (1743), drew together, in revised form, the books and critical apparatus of previous versions.
Colley Cibber (6 November 1671 – 11 December 1757) was an English actor-manager, playwright and Poet Laureate. His colourful memoir Apology for the Life of Colley Cibber (1740) describes his life in a personal, anecdotal and even rambling style. He wrote 25 plays for his own company at Drury Lane, half of which were adapted from various sources, which led Robert Lowe and Alexander Pope, among others, to criticise his “miserable mutilation” of “crucified Molière [and] hapless Shakespeare“. He regarded himself as first and foremost an actor and had great popular success in comical fop parts, while as a tragic actor he was persistent but much ridiculed. Cibber’s brash, extroverted personality did not sit well with his contemporaries, and he was frequently accused of tasteless theatrical productions, shady business methods, and a social and political opportunism that was thought to have gained him the laureateship over far better poets. He rose to ignominious fame when he became the chief target, the head Dunce, of Alexander Pope’s satirical poem The Dunciad.
Cibber’s poetical work was derided in his time, and has been remembered only for being poor. His importance in British theatre history rests on his being one of the first in a long line of actor-managers, on the interest of two of his comedies as documents of evolving early 18th-century taste and ideology, and on the value of his autobiography as a historical source.
USURY HELL´S FUEL MANS OPPRESSOR
BOURGEOIS RESOLUTION AND
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