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the Author talk all alone. Whereas it has been justly obferved by many, that in Dialogues he imagines himself to fhare in the converfation. takes with one up fide or other, and is glad to meet the answers he had already given in his own thoughts, and to find them approv'd by the Author: Or where he is in a different opinion from him, he is either willing to be civilly disabused by one 'who feems rather to converse with him, than to pretend to teach him: Or he is pleased to look upon himfelf as judge between two contending parties.
NOT only thefe and the like reafons, but the real occafion of the following Reflections, determined me to write them by way of Dialogue. They were really occafion'd by converfation with one, who feemed to me too univerfal an admirer of a book written by an Author whom I fhall
fhall call by the name of Callicrates. I thereupon began to examine feveral of his periods, and the nature of his Style. Thence I enter'd into farther Reflections upon the Art of Writing, or Accuracy of Style, confirming my opinion with Inftances and Inftructions from feveral Authors, and endeavouring to make the matter lefs tedious, by feveral little paffages and applications from Hiftory and Erudition.
I Am fenfible that as it is no fign of courage to be quarrelsom, fo, according to a hint of Mr. Cowley it is no fign of wit to be critical, in the modern fenfe of the word. A Reflection too of Rapin, makes me fear that mine will not be fo eafily juftified in the reft, as in the method and manner of writing of them. This judicious Author obferves obferves, that
a Preface to his Comedy.
Flattery is odious to the Publick by too great a defire of pleasing particulars; and on the contrary, Satyr displeases particulars by too great a defire of pleafing the Publick. The fame often happens in Criticifms. And altho' a Satyrift and a Critick are very different in their true Characters, their Fate, as the world goes, is commonly much the fame. I must therefore defire the Reader to be so just as to believe me; not Criticifm, but meerly my own Improvement, was my defign in the following remarks. I writ them only by way of private exercife, that whilft I was employ'd in the ftudy of foreign languages, I might not totally forget my own. And as they were firft made without the leaft offenfive defign, I defire they may be as unoffenfive in their publick appearance.
I WOULD by no means be mifunderstood by thefe Remarks, to rank Callicrates among common Authors. On the contrary, I fhall always own he is in feveral refpects justly to be placed among the best. Upon this account I give the Author, whofe Book was the occafion of feveral of my Remarks, the name of Callicrates, which from the Greek, and in my opinion of him, will import, that whatever I may diflike in his Style, I look upon him to write with a great deal both of Beauty and Strength.
SOME will ftill know his true name, but many will not. And thofe who do, will fee I have taken this expedient out of refpect to him, and with a tender apprehenfion of being offenfive. Nor do I imagine an Author, who finds one has fo great a regard for his merit, can A 4 juftly
juftly refent the finding fome fault with his Style Especially fince it was not choice, but merely accident, that brought it into my Reflections; and wherein I am not confcious that any lefs civil terms have flipt even from my youthful pen. I hope,
therefore, to be excufed, if in this I cannot think him a perfect pattern. As he has feveral places almost inimitable; fo several, I think, ought not to be imitated. And even in those I wou'd apply to him what Paterculus fays of Cinna, aufum eum, quæ nemo auderet bonus; perfeciffe que a nullo nifi fortiffimo perfici poffent. As no perfect Author wou'd give fome of his bold ftrokes of the pen, fo nothing under an eminent wit cou'd perform so strongly. Nor does it follow, that I neither fee nor will own his graces, because I venture to say he has failings. La
Lib.2. aliquantò poft initium.