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THE Occafion of publishing these Imitations was the Clamour raised on fome of my Epistles. An Anfwer from Horace was both more full, and of more Dignity, than any I could have made in my own Perfon; and the Example of much greater Freedom in fo eminent a Divine as Dr. Donne, feemed a proof with what indignation and contempt a Christian may treat Vice or Folly, in ever fo low, or ever so high a Station. Both thefe Authors were acceptable to the Princes and Minifters under whom they lived. The Satires of Dr. Donne I verfified, 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 looked upon a Satire on Vicious Courts as any Reflection on those they served 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 reafon to encourage, the miftaking a Satirist for a Libeller; whereas to a true Satirist nothing is fo odious as a Libeller, for the fame reason as to a man truly virtuous nothing is fo hateful as a Hypocrite.
Uni æquus Virtuti atque ejus Amicis.
THE FIRST SATIRE
SECOND BOOK OF HORACE
WHOEVER expects a Paraphrafe of Horace, or a faithful Copy of his genius, or manner of writing, in thefe IMITATIONS, will be much difappointed. Our Author ufes the Roman Poct 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 ferious when 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 manneṛs.
Had it been his purpofe merely to paraphrase an ancient Satirift, he had hardly made choice of Horace; with whom, as a Poet, he held little in common, befides a comprehenfive 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 eafe. For the reft, his harmony and ftrength of numbers, his force and fplendor of colouring, his gravity and fublime of fentiment, would have rather led him to another model. Nor was his temper lefs unlike that of Horace, than his talents. What Horace would only fmile at, Mr. Pope would treat with the grave severity of Perfius: And what Mr. Pope would ftrike with the cauftic lightning of Juvenal, Horace would content himself with 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 Imitation, which is of the nature of Parody, throws reflected grace and fplendor on original wit. Befides, he deemed it more modeft to give the name of Imitations to his Satires, than, like Defpreaux, to give the name of Satires to Imi
SUNT quibus in Satira videar nimis acer, et ultra Legem tendere opus; b fine nervis altera, quid
Compofui, pars effe putat, fimilefque meorum
Mille die verfus deduci poffe.
Quid faciam? præfcribe.
VER. 1. There are,] "When I had a fever one winter in town,' faid Pope to Mr. Spence," that confined me to my room for five or fix days, Lord Bolingbroke came to see me, happened to take up a Horace that lay on the table, and, in turning it over, dipt on the firft fatire of the fecond book. He obferved how well that would fuit my cafe, if I were to imitate it in English. After he was gone, I read it over, translated it in a morning or two, and fent it to press in a week or a fortnight after. And this was the occafion of my imitating fome other of the Satires and Epistles.” "To how cafual a beginning," adds Spence, "we are obliged for the most delightful things in our language! When I was faying to him, that he had already imitated near a third part of Horace's fatires and epiftles, and how much it was to be wished that he would go on with them, he could not believe that he had gone fo far; but, upon computing it, it appeared to be above a third. He feemed on this not difinclined to carry it farther; but his last illness was then growing upon him, and robbed us of him, and of all hopes of that kind, in a few months."
Tranfcribed from Spence's Anecdotes, 1754.
No parts of our Author's Works have been more admired than thofe Imitations. The aptnefs of the allufions, and the happiness of many of the parallels, give a pleasure that is always no