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The fourth volume contains the Satires, with their Prologue, the Epistle to Dr. Arbuthnot; and Epilogue, the two poems entitled MDCCXXXVIII. The Prologue and Epilogue are here given with the like advantages as the Ethic Epistles in the foregoing volume, that is to say, with the variations, or additional verses, from the author's manuscripts. The Epilogue to the Satires is likewise enriched with many and large notes, now first printed from the author's own manuscript.
The fifth volume contains a correcter and completer edition of the Dunciad than hath been hitherto published; of which, at present, I have only this further to add, that it was at my request he laid the plan of a fourth book. I often told him, it was a pity so fine a poem should remain disgraced by the meanness of its subject, the most insignificant of all dunces, bad rhymers, and malevolent cavillers; that he ought to raise and ennoble it, by pointing his satire against the most pernicious of all, minute-philosophers and free-thinkers. I imagined too, it was for the interest of religion, to have it known, that so great a genius had a due abhorrence of these pests of virtue and society. He came readily into my opinion; but, at the same time, told me it would create him many enemies: he was not mistaken; for, though the terrour of his pen kept them for some time in respect, yet on his death they rose with unrestrained fury, in numerous coffee-house tables, and Grub-street libels: The plan of this admirable satire was artfully contrived to show, that the follies and defects of a fashionable education naturally led to, and necessarily ended in, free-thinking; with design to point out the only remedy adequate to so fatal an evil. It was to advance the same ends of virtue and religion, that the editor prevailed on him to alter every thing in his moral writings that might be suspected of having the least glance towards fate, or naturalism; and to add what was proper to convince the world, that he was warmly on the side of moral government and a revealed will: and it would be injustice to his memory not to declare, that he embraced these occasions with the most unfeigned pleasure.
The sixth volume consists of Mr. Pope's Miscellaneous Pieces, in verse and prose'. Amongst the verse several fine poems make now their appearance in his works: and of the prose, all that is good, and nothing but what is exquisitely so, will be found in this edition.
The seventh, eighth, and ninth volumes, consist entirely of his Letters; the more valuable, as they are the only true models which we, or perhaps any of our neighbours have, of familiar epistles. This collection is now made more complete by the addition of several new pieces. Yet, excepting a short explanatory letter to Col. M. and the letters to Mr. A. and Mr. W. (the latter of which are given to show the editor's inducements, and the engagements he was under, to intend the care of this edition) excepting these, I say, the rest are all published from the author's own printed, though not published, copies, delivered to the editor.
On the whole, the advantages of this edition, above the preceding, are these: That it is the first complete collection which has ever been made of his original writings; that all his principal poems, of early or later date, are here given to the public with his last corrections and improvements; that a great number of his verses are here first printed from the manuscript copies of his principal poems of later date; that many new notes of the author's are here added to his poems; and lastly, that several pieces, both in prose and verse, make now their first appearance before the public.
The author's life deserves a just volume; and the editor intends to give it. For to have been one of the first poets in the world is but his second praise. He was in a higher class: he was one of the noblest works of God: he was an honest man2; a man who alone possessed more real virtue than, in very corrupt times, needing a satirist like him, will sometimes fall to the share of multitudes. In this history of his life, will be contained a large account of his writings; a critique on the nature, force, and extent of his genius, exemplified from these writings; and a vindication of his moral character, exemplified by his more distinguished virtues; his filial piety, his disinterested friendship, his reverence for the constitution of his country, his love and dmiration of virtue, and (what was the necessary effect) his hatred and contempt of vice, his extensive charity to the indigent, his warm benevolence to mankind, his supreme veneration of the deity, and, above all, his sincere belief of revelation. Nor shall his faults be concealed; it is not for the interest of his virtues that they
The prose is not within the plan of this edition.
A wit's a feather, and a chief's a rod;
An honest man 's the noblest work of God
should: nor indeed could they be concealed, if we were so minded; for they shine through his virtues, no man being more a dupe to the specious appearances of virtue in others. In a word, I mean not to be his panegyrist, but his historian. And may I, when envy and calumny take the same advantage of my absence, (for, while I live, I will freely trust it to my life to confute them) may I find a friend as careful of my honest fame as I have been of his! Together with his works, he hath bequeathed me his Dunces; so that, as the property is transferred, I could wish they would now let his memory alone. The veil which death draws over the good is so sacred, that to throw dirt upon the shrine scandalizes even barbarians. And though Rome permitted her slaves to calumniate her best citizens on the day of triumph, yet the same petulancy at their funeral would have been rewarded with execration and a gibbet. The public may be malicious, but is rarely vindictive or ungenerous. It would abhor these insults on a writer dead, though it had borne with the ribaldry, or even set the ribalds on work, when he was alive. And in this there was no great harm; for he inust have a strange impotency of mind whom such miserable scribblers can ruffle. Of all that gross
Baotian phalanx who have written scurrilously against me, I know not so much as one whom a writer of reputation would not wish to have his enemy, or whom a man of honour would not be ashamed to own for his friend. I am indeed but slightly conversant in their works, and know little of the particulars of their defamation. To my authorship they are heartily welcome: but if any of them have been so abandoned by truth as to attack my moral character in any instance whatsoever, to all and every one of these, and their abettors, I give the lye in form, and in the words of honest Father Valerian, Mentiris impudentissime.
In those more dull, as more censorious days,
When few dare give, and fewer merit praise,
A Muse sincere, that never flattery knew,
Pays what to friendship and desert is due.
Young, yet judicious; in your verse are found,
Art strengthening Nature, sense improv'd by sound.
Unlike those wits, whose numbers glide along
So smooth, no thought e'er interrupts the song;
Laboriously enervate they appear,
And write not to the head, but to the ear:
Our minds unmov'd and unconcern'd they lull,
And are at best most musically dull:
So purling streams with even murmurs creep,
And hush the heavy hearers into sleep.
As smoothest speech is most deceitful found,
The smoothest numbers oft are empty sound.
But wit and judgment join at once in you,
Sprightly as youth, as age consummate too:
Your strains are regularly bold, and please
With unforc'd care, and unaffected ease,
With proper thoughts, and lively images;
Such as by Nature to the ancients shown,
Fancy improves, and judgment makes your own :
For great men's fashions to be follow'd are,
Although disgraceful 'tis their cloaths to wear.
Some, in a polish'd style write pastoral;
Arcadia speaks the language of the Mall.
Like some fair shepherdess, the sylvan Muse
Should wear those flowers her native fields produce;
And the true measure of the shepherd's wit
Should, like his garb, be for the country fit:
Yet must his pure and unaffected thought
More nicely than the common swain's be wrought;
So, with becoming art, the players dress
In silks the shepherd, and the shepherdess;
Yet still unchang'd the form and mode remain,
Shap'd like the homely russet of the swain.
Your rural Muse appears to justify
The long lost graces of simplicity:
So rural beauties captivate our sense
With virgin charms, and native excellence :
Yet long her modesty those charms conceal'd,
Till by men's envy to the world revcal'd ;
For wits industrious to their trouble seem,
And needs will envy what they must esteem.
Live, and enjoy their spite! nor mourn that fate,
Which would, if Virgil liv'd, on Virgil wait;
Whose Muse did once, like thine, in plains delight;
Thine shall, like his, soon take a higher flight:
So larks, which first from lowly fields arise,
Mount by degrees, and reach at last the skies.
HAIL! sacred bard! a Muse unknown before
Salutes thee from the bleak Atlantic shore.
To our dark world thy shining page is shown,
And Windsor's gay retreat becomes our own.
The eastern pomp had just bespoke our care,
And India pour'd her gaudy treasures here:
A various spoil adorn'd our naked land,
The pride of Persia glitter'd on our strand,
And China's earth was cast on common sand:
Toss'd and down the glossy fragments lay, [bay.
And dress'd the rocky shelves, and pav'd the painted
Thy treasures next arriv'd: and now we boast
A nobler cargo on our barren coast:
From thy luxuriant forest we receive
More lasting glories than the East can give.
Where'er we dip in thy delightful page,
What pompous scenes our busy thoughts engage!
The pompous scenes in all their pride appear,
Fresh in the page, as in the grove they were:
Nor half so true the fair Lodona shows
The sylvan state that on her border grows,
While she the wondering shepherd entertains
With a new Windsor in her watery plains;
The juster lays the lucid wave surpass,
The living scene is in the Muse's glass.
Nor sweeter notes the echoing forests cheer,
When Philomela sits and warbles there,
Than when you sing the greens and opening glades,
And give us harmony as well as shades:
A Titian's hand might draw the grove; but you
Can paint the grove, and add the music too.
With vast variety thy pages shine;
A new creation starts in every line.
How sudden trees rise to the reader's sight,
And make a doubtful scene of shade and light,
And give at once the day, at once the night!
And here again what sweet confusion reigns,
In dreary deserts mix'd with painted plains!
And see! the deserts cast a pleasing gloom,
And shrubby heaths rejoice in purple bloom;
Whilst fruitful crops rise by their barren side,
And bearded groves display their annual pride.
Happy the man who strings his tuneful lyre
Where woods, and brooks, and breathing fields in-
Thrice happy you! and worthy best to dwell [spire!
Amidst the rural joys you sing so well.
I in a cold, and in a barren clime,
Cold as my thought, and barren as my rhyme,
Here on the Western beach attempt to chime.
O joyless flood! O rough tempestuous main !
Border'd with weeds, and solitudes obscene!
Snatch me, ye gods! from these Atlantic shores And shelter me in Windsor's fragrant bowers ;
Or to my much-lov'd Isis' walk convey,
And on her flowery banks for ever lay.
Thence let me view the venerable scene,
The awful dome, the groves eternal greed,
Where sacred Hough long found his fam'd retreat,
And brought the Muses to the sylvan seat;
Reform'd the wits, unlock'd the classic store,
And made that music which was noise before.
There with illustrious bards I spent my days,
Not free from censure, nor unknown to praise;
Enjoy'd the blessings that his reign bestow'd,
Nor envy'd Windsor in the soft abode.
The golden minutes smoothly danc'd away,
And tuneful bards beguil'd the tedious day:
They sung, nor sung in vain, with numbers fir'd
That Maro taught, or Addison inspir'd.
Ev'n I essay'd to touch the trembling string:
Who could hear them, and not attempt to sing?
Rous d from these dreams by thy commanding
I rise and wander through the field or plain; [strain,
Led by thy Muse, from sport to sport I run,
Mark the stretch'd line, or hear the thundering gun.
Ah! how I melt with pity, when I spy
On the cold earth the fluttering pheasant lie!
His gaudy robes in dazzling lines appear,
And every feather shines and varies there,
Nor can I pass the generous courser by;
But while the prancing steed allures my eye,
He starts, he's gone! and now I see him fly
O'er hills and dales; and now I lose the course,
Nor can the rapid sight pursue the flying horse.
Oh, could thy Virgil from his ōrb look down,
He'd view a courser that might match his own!
Fir'd with the sport, and eager for the chase,
Lodona's murmurs stop me in the race.
Who can refuse Lodona's melting tale?
The soft complaint shall over Time prevail;
The tale be told when shades forsake her shore,
The nymph be sung when she can flow no more.
Nor shall the song, old Thames! forbear to shine,
At once the subject and the song divine,
Peace, sung by thee, shall please ev'n Britons more
Than all their shouts for victory before.
Oh! could Britannia imitate thy stream,
The world should tremble at her awful name
From various springs divided waters glide,
In different colours roll a different tide,
Murmur along their crooked banks a while,
At once they murmur and enrich the isle ;
A while distinct through many channels run,
But meet at last, and sweetly flow in one;
There joy to lose their long-distinguish'd names,
And make one glorious and immortal Thames.
BY THE RIGHT HONOURABLE
ANNE COUNTESS OF WINCHELSEA.
THE Muse, of every heavenly gift allow'd
To be the chief, is public, though not proud.
Widely extensive is the poet's aim,
And in each verse he draws a bill on Fame.
For none have wit (whatever they pretend)
Singly to raise a patron or a friend ;
But whatsoe'er the theme or object be,
Some commendations to themselves foresee.
Then let us find in your foregoing page,
The celebrating poems of the age;
Nor by injurious scruples think it fit,
To hide their judgments who applaud your wit:
But let their pens, to yours, the heralds prove,
Who strive for you, as Greece for Homer strove;
Whilst he who best your poetry asserts,
Asserts his own, by sympathy of parts.
Me panegyric verse does not inspire,
Who never well can praise what I admire,
Nor in those lofty trials dare appear,
But gently drop this counsel in your ear:
Go on, to gain applauses by desert;
Inform the head, whilst you dissolve the heart?
Inflame the soldier with harmonious rage,
Elate the young, and gravely warm the sage:
Allure, with tender verse, the female race;
And give their darling passion, courtly grace;
Describe the forest still in rural strains,
With vernal sweets fresh-breathing from the plains &
Your tales be easy, natural, and gay,
Nor all the poet in that part display;
Nor let the critic there his skill unfold,
For Boccace thus and Chaucer tales have told ;
Sooth, as you only can, each different taste,
And for the future charm us in the past.
Then, should the verse of every artful hand
Before your numbers eminently stand,
In you no vanity could thence be shown,
Unless, since short in beauty of your own,
Some envious scribbler might in spite declare,
That for comparison you plac'd them there.
But Envy could not against you succeed:
'Tis not from friends that write, or foes that read
Censure or praise must from ourselves proceed.
BY MISS JUD. Cowper, AFTERWARDS MRS, MADAN.
O POPE! by what commanding wondrous art
Dost thou each passion to each breast impart?
Our beating hearts with sprightly measures move,
Or melt us with a tale of hapless love!
Th' elated mind's impetuous starts controul,
Or gently sooth to peace the troubled soul!
Graces till now that singly met our view,
And singly charm'd, unite at once in you;
A style polite, from affectation free,
Virgil's correctness, Homer's majesty !
Soft Waller's ease, with Milton's vigour wrought,
And Spencer's bold luxuriancy of thought.
In each bright page, strength, beauty, genius shine,
While nervous judgment guides each flowing line.
No borrow'd tinsel glitters o'er these lays,
And to the mind a false delight conveys :
Throughout the whole with blended power is found,
The weight of sense, and elegance of sound:
A lavish fancy, wit, and force, and fire,
Graces each motion of th' immortal lyre.
The matchless strains our ravish'd senses charm:
How great the thought! the images how warm!
How beautifully just the turns appear!
The language how majestically clear!
With energy divine each period swells,
And all the bard th' inspiring god reveals.
Lost in delights, my dazzled eyes I turn,
Where Thames leans hoary o'er his ample urn;