1742 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

John Oldmixon

Alexander Pope, in The Dunciad (1728; 1742); Works, ed. Warton (1796-97) 5:160-62 & n.



"Here strip, my children! here at once leap in,
Here prove who best can dash through thick and thin,
And who the most in love of dirt excel,
Or dark dexterity of groping well.
Who flings most filth, and wide pollutes around
The stream, be his the Weekly Journals bound;
A pig of lead to him who dives the best;
A peck of coals apiece shall glad the rest."
In naked majesty Oldmixon stands,
And Milo-like surveys his arms and hands;
Then sighing, thus, "And am I now threescore?
Ah why, ye Gods! should two and two make four?"
He said, and climb'd a stranded lighter's height,
Shot to the black abyss, and plung'd downright.
The Senior's Judgment all the crowd admire,
Who but to sink the deeper, rose the higher.

In naked majesty Oldmixon stands,] Mr. JOHN OLDMIXON, next to Mr. Dennis, the most ancient Critic of our Nation; an unjust censurer of Mr. Addison in his prose Essay on Criticism; who also in his imitation of Bouhours (called the Arts of Logic and Rhetoric) he misrepresents in plain matter of fact; for in p. 45, he cites the Spectator as abusing Dr. Swift by name, where there is not the least hint of it; and in p. 304, is so injurious as to suggest that Mr. Addison himself writ that Tatler, No. 43, which says of his own Simile, that "'Tis as great as ever entered into the mind of man." "In Poetry he was not so happy as laborious, and therefore characterised by the Tatler, No. 62. by the name of Omicron the Unborn Poet." Curl, Key, p. 13. "He writ Dramatic works, and a volume of Poetry consisting of heroic Epistles, etc. some whereof are very well done," said that great Judge Mr. Jacob, in his Lives of Poets, vol. ii. p. 303.
In his Essay on Criticism, and the Arts of Logic and Rhetoric, he frequently reflects on our Author. But the top of his character was a perverter of History, in that scandalous one of the Stuarts in folio, and his Critical History of England, two volumes, octavo. Being employed by Bishop Kennet, in publishing the Historians in his Collection, he falsified Daniel's Chronicle in numberless places. Yet this very man, in the preface to the first of these books, advanced a "particular fact" to charge three eminent persons of falsifying the Lord Clarendon's History; which fact has been disproved by Dr. Atterbury, late Bishop of Rochester, then the only survivor of them; and the particular part he pretended to be falsified, produced since, after almost ninety years, in that noble author's original manuscript. He was all his life a virulent Party-writer for hire, and received his reward in a small place, which he enjoyed to his death. Warburton.