1882 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Thomas Cooke

W. J. Courthope, Note in Works of Alexander Pope (1871-89) 4:329.



As it appears from Memoranda of Curll's, published in Gentleman's Magazine, xciv. pp. 315, 410, 513, that Cooke was one of his "Pindars and Miltons," he may be the writer aimed at in the "Author to Let" [in Pope's Dunciad]. In a note to the edition of 1729, Pope says that he "was the son of a Muggletonian, who kept a public house in Braintree, Essex." He was born in 1702. His Hesiod was published in 1728, but before the appearance of the Dunciad he had written, besides the Battle of the Poets, several poems, and three plays, none of which, however, were successful. He died in 1756. After the publication of the first edition of the Dunciad he wrote to Pope, to apologise for the Battle of the Poets, and to deprecate the poet's resentment. The latter appears to have doubted whether to accept his excuses (see Lord Oxford's letter to him of January 20, 1729, Vol. viii. 245 and note), but he eventually printed the note which now appears against Cooke's name.