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A Clue to the Comedy of the Non-Juror. With Some Hints of Consequence Relating to That Play. In a Letter to N. Rowe, Esq; Poet Laureat to His Majesty
London: E. Curll, 1718. First edition. [3]-25, [3, ads] pp., lacking half-title. 8vo. Contemporary Cambridge calf, spine with raised bands in six compartments, morocco lettering piece in one, the rest gilt, edges sprinkled. Front joint just starting, some toning and staining, loss to margin of Cymbalum Mundi title-page, a few leaves close trimmed, affecting a word on Pope title-page and a few page numbers and words trimmed elsewhere. First edition. [3]-25, [3, ads] pp., lacking half-title. 8vo. Pope vs. Cibber. Rare first edition of Pope's pamphlet reply to Colley Cibber's The Non-Juror, a baldly propagandistic adaptation of Moliere's Tartuffe. Cibber's play slanders all non-jurors (such as the Catholic Alexander Pope) as outright Jacobites. Cibber alludes to Pope three times in the play and generally disparages his Catholicism. "These three allusions, not very meaningful in themselves, were probably meant to suggest that Pope's verse would be popular in homes disaffected to Hanoverian interests and to remind the audience or reader that Pope was a Catholic and, all too probably, like Dr Wolf, a Jacobite" (Guerinot, p. 70). Pope's ingenious reply twists Cibber's muddled work to suggest The Non-Juror is in fact a sly piece of pro-Jacobite propaganda. That Pope wrote a response to Cibber's play was known from Cibber's A Letter from Mr. Cibber to Mr. Pope (1742): "At this time then there came out a Pamphlet (the Title I have forgot) … The Purport of this odd Piece of Wit was to prove, that the Non-Juror in its Design, its Characters, and almost every Scene of it, was a closely couched Jacobite Libel against the Government: And, in troth, the Charge was in some places so shrewdly maintained, that I almost liked the Jest myself; at least, it was so much above the Spirit, and Invention of the Daily-Paper Satyrists, that all the sensible Readers I met with, without Hesitation gave it to Mr. Pope." The unnamed pamphlet was commonly thought to be A Compleat Key to the Non-Juror, published by Curll in 1718. George Sherburn's "Notes on the Canon of Pope's Works, 1714-20," in The Manly Anniversary Studies in Language and Literature (Chicago, 1923), shows conclusively that the present work, the similarly titled A Clue to the Comedy of the Non-Juror, is by Pope, and the attribution was accepted by Griffith in the appendix to his bibliography of Pope. The Non-Juror was round two in the Pope-Cibber quarrel; the feud began the previous year with Pope's Three Hours after Marriage - in which, remarkably, Cibber was cast in the lead of a play designed to mock him - and culminated with Cibber as the modern epitome of dullness in Pope's 1742 Dunciad. "The Pope-Cibber quarrel was of long standing. Temperamentally incompatible, intellectually unequal, on opposite sides in politics and differing radically in their lifestyles, yet both inhabiting a tiny, emotionally overheated segment of London life in which each was acutely aware of the other's presence, they were almost bound to clash sooner or later" (ODNB). [bound with:] ALBEMARLE, George Monck, Duke of. A Collection of Letters Written by His Excellency General George Monk. London: J. Roberts, 1714. Lacking half-title. ESTC T43 DES PÉRIERS, Bonavanture. Cymbalum Mundi. Or, Satyrical Dialogues Upon Several Subjects. London: A. Baldwin, 1712. ESTC T92151 Secret Memoirs of the New Treaty of Alliance with France. London: J. Roberts, 1716. Lacking half-title. ESTC T47410 The Defection Detected; or, Faults Laid on the Right Side. London: J. Peters, 1718. ESTC T32211 [WOODWARD, Josiah]. Some Thoughts Concerning the Stage in a Letter to a Lady. London: J. Nutt, 1704. ESTC T66155 WHATLEY, Stephen. A Collection of White and Black Lists. London: S. Popping, 1715. Lacking half-title. ESTC N208 GROSVENOR, Benjamin. An Authentick Account of Several Things Done and Agreed Upon by the Dissenting Ministers. London: John Clark, 1719. 3 pp. publisher's ads. ESTC T22790. ESTC T5525; Griffith Add. 90a; cf. Sherburn, "Notes on the Canon of Pope's Works, 1714-20," in The Manly Anniversary Studies in Language and Literature (Chicago, 1923), pp. 176-179
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