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HE Occafion of publishing these Imitations was the Clamour rais'd on fome of my Epifiles. An Answer from Horace was both more full, and of more Dignity, than any I could have made in my own person; and the Example of much greater Freedom in fo eminent a Divine as Dr. Donne, feem'd a proof with what indignation and contempt a Chriftian may treat Vice or Folly, in ever fo low, or ever fo high a Station. Both these Authors were acceptable to the Princes and Minifters under whom they lived. The Satires of Dr. Donne I verfifyed, at the defire of the Earl of Oxford while he was Lord Treasurer, and of the Duke of Shrewsbury who had been Secretary of State; neither of whom look'd upon a Satire on Vicious Courts as any Reflection on those they ferv'd in. And indeed there is not in the world a greater error, than that which Fools are fo apt to fall into, and Knaves with good reason to encourage, the mistaking a Satirift for a Libeller; whereas to a true Satirift nothing is fo odious as a Libeller, for the fame reason as to a man truly virtuous nothing is so hateful as a Hypocrite.
Uni aequus Virtuti atque ejus Amicis. P.
First Satire of the Second Book
WHOEVER expects a Paraphrase of Horace, or a faithful Copy of his genius, or manner of writing, in these IMITATIONS, will be much difappointed. Our Author ufes the Roman Poet for little more than his canvas: And if the old defign or colouring chance to fuit his purpose, it is well: if not, he employs his own, without fcruple or ceremony. Hence it is, he is fo frequently serious where Horace is in jeft; and at ease where Horace is difturbed. In a word, he regulates his movements no further on his Original, than was neceffary for his concurrence, in promoting their common plan of Reformation of
Had it been his purpose merely to paraphrafe an ancient Satirift he had hardly made choice of Horace; with whom, as a Poet, he held little in common,
befides a comprehensive knowledge of life and manners, and a certain curious felicity of expreffion, which confifts in ufing the fimpleft language with dignity, and the most ornamented, with ease. For the reft, his harmony and ftrength of numbers, his force and fplendor of colouring, his gravity and sublime of fentiment, would have rather led him to another model. Nor was his temper less unlike that of Horace, than his talents. What Horace would only smile at, Mr. Pope would treat with the grave severity of Perfius: And what Mr. Pope would strike with the cauftic lightening of Juvenal, Horace would content himself in turning into ridicule.
If it be asked then, why he took any body at all to imitate, he has informed us in his Advertisement. To which we may add, that this fort of Imitations, which are of the nature of Parodies, add reflected grace and fplendor on original wit. Befides, he deem'd it more modeft to give the name of Imitations to his Satires, than, like Defpreaux, to give the name of Satires to Imitations.