1742 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

James Ralph

Alexander Pope, in The Dunciad (1728; 1742); Works, ed. Warton (1796-97) 5:196-97 & n.



Silence, ye Wolves! while Ralph to Cynthia howls,
And makes Night hideous — Answer him ye Owls!

Ralph] James Ralph, a name inserted after the first edition, not known to our Author till he writ a swearing-piece called Sawney, very abusive of Dr. Swift, Mr. Gay, and himself. These lines allude to a thing of his, intitled, Night, a Poem. This low writer attended his own works with panegyrics in the Journals, and once in particular praised himself highly above Mr. Addison, in wretched remarks upon that Author's Account of the English Poets, printed in a London Journal, Sept. 1728. He was wholly illiterate, and knew no language, not even French. Being advised to read the rules of dramatic poetry before he began a play, he smiled and replied, "Shakespear writ without rules." He ended at last in the common sink of all such writers, a political News-paper, to which he was recommended by his friend Arnal, and received a small pittance for pay; — and being detected in writing on both sides on one and the same day, he publicly justified the morality of his conduct. Warburton.
He was afterwards patronized by Lord Melcomb, who assisted him in compiling a very curious History of England from the Restoration to the Revolution, and is frequently mentioned in Lord Melcomb's Diary. Warton.