1749 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Thomas Edwards

William Warburton, Note in The Dunciad, complete in Four Books (1749) 66-67 & n.



Next bidding all draw near on bended knees,
The Queen confers her Titles and Degrees.
Her children first of more distinguish'd sort,
Who study Shakespeare at the Inns of Court,
Impale a Glow-worm, or Vertu profess,
Shine in the dignity of F.R.S.

VER. 567. Her Children first of more distinguish'd sort,

Who study Shakespeare at the Inns of Court.]

Ill would that Scholiast discharge his duty, who should neglect to honour those whom DULNESS had distinguished: or suffer them to lye forgotten, when their rare modesty would have left them nameless. Let us not, therefore, overlook the Services which have been done her Cause, by one Mr. Thomas EDWARDS, a Gentleman, as he is pleased to call himself, of Lincoln's Inn: but, in reality, a Gentleman only of the Dunciad; or, to speak him better, in the plain language of our honest Ancestors to such Mushrooms, A Gentleman of the last Edition: who nobly eluding the solicitude of his careful Father, very early retained himself in the cause of Dulness against Shakespear, and hath now happily finished the Dunce's progress, in personal abuse. For a Libeller is nothing but a Grub-street Critic run to Seed. SCRIB.

This Tribe of Men, which Scriblerus has here so well exemplified, our Poet hath elsewhere admirably characterized in that happy line,

A brain of Feathers, and a heart of Lead.

For the satire extends much farther than to the person who occasioned it, and takes in the whole species of those on whom a good Education (to fit them for some useful and learned profession) has been bestowed in vain. That worthless band,

Of ever listless Loit'rers, that attend
No cause, no trust, no duty, and no Friend.

Who, with an understanding too dissipated and futile for the offices of civil life; and a heart too lumpish, narrow, and contracted for those of social, become fit for nothing: And so turn Wits and Criticks, where sense and civility are neither required nor expected.