1742 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

John Dennis

Alexander Pope, in The Dunciad (1728; 1742); Works, ed. Warton (1796-97) 5:154-55 &n.



Now thousand tongues are heard in one loud din:
The Monkey-mimicks rush discordant in.
'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!
But that this well-disputed game may end,
Sound forth, my Brayers, and the welkin rend.

Dennis and Dissonance,] "Which two lines, (says Harris, in his Philological Enquiries, p. 101.) though truly poetical and humorous, may be suspect by some to shew their art too conspicuously, and too nearly resemble that verse of old Ennis; "O Titi, tuti, tati, tibi, tanta, tyranna tulisti." Alliteration, I must add, is a figure too lavishly used by man modern writers; there are beautiful examples of it in Lucretius and Virgil; and Dryden, who had so fine and just an ear, often adopted it with much success. But in his most harmonious lines, he seldom extended it beyond two words; it is apt to fall into affectation if carried farther.