Colley Cibber (1671-1757) was an actor, playwright, and theater manager who made a name for himself initially as a comic actor in his own play, Love’s Last Shift, playing Sir Novelty Fashion.
Hilliaria: Oh! For Heav’n’s sake! no more of this Galantry, Sir Novelty: for I know you say the fame of every Woman you see.
Novelty: Every one that sees you, Madam, must say the fame. Your Beauty, like the Rack, forces every Beholder to confess his Crime–of daring to adore you.
He also reworked Shakespeare’s Richard III and Moliere’s Tartuffe. It was for crimes such as these that he was made Britain’s poet Laureate in 1730, drawing ire from contemporary poet Alexander Pope and his friends. They mocked him aggressively in print, some perhaps in good fun, some perhaps with malice.
Benham’s Book of Quotations gives sixteen pages to Pope’s words and to Cibber’s one column, and lest they die their appointed death too soon, I’ll repeat some Cibber lines here.
“Poverty, the reward of honest fools.”
“The aspiring youth that fired the Ephesian dome
Outlives in fame the pious fool that raised it.”
“Ambition is the only power that combats love.”
“Dumb’s a sly dog.”
There you go. Should you be saying you can’t remember anything by Pope, if he’s supposed to be so much better, let me add a few of his lines here.
“Some to church repair,
Not for the doctrine, but the music there.”
“Ten censure wrong for one who writes amiss.
A fool might once himself alone expose,
No one in verse makes many more in prose.
‘Tis with our judgments as our watches, none
Go just aline, yet each believes his own.”
“Blunt truths more mischief than nice falsehoods do.”
“What dire offense from amorous causes springs,
What mighty contests rise from trivial things!”
Where is the line of artsy apparel and objects with Alexander Pope quotations? His words have so much polish, if you put them on your shirt you could walk through the night without a flashlight.