18 May 1728
Criticism of The Dunciad followed its first appearance on 18 May 1728, a secondary burst was occasioned by The Dunciad Variorum on 10 April 1729, and a final flood marked the appearance of the final versions in 1742 and 1743. These responses have been kept in their chronological order (Nos 55-60, 90-5).
W.A., letter dated 29 May 1728, published in Mist's Weekly Journal, 8 June 1728. Pope believed this piece to have been written by 'some or other of the Club of Theobald, Dennis, Moore, Concanen, Cooke'. E.N. Hooker denies that Dennis had any part in the letter (Critical Works, ii. 516-17). It censures Pope strongly, but even so has some room for praise.
The DUNCIAD being now a prevailing Amusement, I hope, you will postpone one Lecture in Politicks for the sake of such sublime Heroicks….
The Preface to the Poem declares the Author to be the Friend and Advocate of Mr. P[ope]; his profess'd Design is to scourge that Gentleman's Enemies, and his great Complaint, that of all that ingenious Person's Admirers, modestly computed within these three Kingdoms, to be One hundred thousand, not one has appear'd in Defence of his Character, which has long been the Subject of general Satire, and suffer'd unusual Insults.
Now I think this Complaint must prejudice the most indifferent