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In difcharge of this truft, the Public has here a complete Edition of his Works; executed in fuch a manner, as, I am perfuaded, would have been to his fatisfaction.
The Editor hath not, for the fake of profit, fuffered the Author's Name to be made cheap by a Subscription; nor his Works to be defrauded of their due Honours by a vulgar or inelegant Impreffion; nor his memory to be difgraced by any pieces unworthy of his talents or virtue. On the contrary, he hath, at a very great expence, ornamented this Edition with all the advantages which the best Artists in Paper, Printing, and Sculpture could beftow upon
If the Public hath waited longer than the deference due to it fhould have fuf fered, it was owing to a reason which the Editor need not make a fecret. It was his regard to the family-interefts of his deceafed Friend. Mr. Pope, at his death, left large impreffions of feveral parts of his Works, unfold; the property of which was adjudged to belong to his Executors; and the Editor was willing they fhould have time to difpofe of them to the best advantage, before the publication of this Edition (which hath been long prepared) hould put a stop to the fale.
But it may be proper to be a little more particular concerning the fuperiority of this Edition above all the preceding; fo far as Mr. Pope himself was concerned. What the Editor hath done, the Reader muft collect for himself.
The FIRST Volume, and the original poems in the SECOND, are here printed from a copy corrected throughout by the Author himself, even to the very preface: Which, with feveral additional notes in his own hand, he delivered to the Editor a little before his death. The Juvenile tranflations, in the other part of the SE COND Volume, it was never his intention to bring into this Edition of his Works, on account of the levity of fome, the freedom of others, and the little importance of any. But these being the property of other men, the Editor had it not in his power to follow the Author's intention.
The THIRD Volume, all but the Efay on Man (which together with the Essay on Criticism, the Author, a little before his death, had corrected and published in Quarto, as a specimen of his projected Edition) was printed by him in his last illnefs (but never published) in the manner it is now given. The difpofition of the Epifle on the Characters of Men is quite al
tered; that on the Characters of Women, much enlarged; and the Epiftles on Riches and Tafte corrected and improved. To thefe advantages of the THIRD Volume, must be added a great number of fine verses taken from the Author's Manufcriptcopies of these poems, communicated by him for this purpose to the Editor. These, when he first published the poems to which they belong, he thought proper, for various reafons, to omit. Some from the Manufcript-copy of the Efay on Man, which tended to difcredit fate, and to recommend the moral government of God, had, by the Editor's advice, been reftored to their places in the laft Edition of that Poem. The reft, together with others of the like fort from his Manufcript-copy of the other Ethic Epiftles, are here inferted at the bottom of the page, under the title of Variations.
The FOURTH Volume contains the Satires; with their Prologue, the Epiftle to Dr. Arbuthnot; and Epilogue, the two poems intitled MDCCXXXVIII. The Proogue and Epilogue are here given with the like advantages as the Ethic Epiftles in the foregoing Volume, that is to fay, with the Variations, or additional veries from the Author's Manufcripts. The Epi
logue to the Satires is likewife inriched 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 publifhed; of which, at prefent 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 pity fo fine a poem fhould remain difgraced by the meannefs of its fubject, the most infignificant of all Dunces, bad Rymers and malevolent Cavillers: That he ought to raise and enoble it by pointing his Satire against the most pernicious of all, Minute-philofophers and Free-thinkers. I imagined, too, it was for the interefts of Religion to have it known, that fo great a Genius had a due abhorrence of thefe pefts of Virtue and Society. He came readily into my opinion; but, at the fame time, told me it would create him many enemies. He was not mistaken. For tho' the terror of his pen kept them for fome time in refpect, yet on his death they rofe with unrestrained fury in numerous Coffee-house tales, and Grub-ftreet libels. The plan of this admirable Satire was artfully contrived to fhew, that the follies and defects of a fashion
fafhionable EDUCATION naturally led to, and neceffarily ended in, FREE-THINKING; with defign to point out the only remedy adequate to fo fatal an evil. It was to advance the fame ends of virtue and religion, that the Editor prevailed on him to alter every thing in his moral writings that might be fufpected of having the leaft glance towards Fate or NATURALISM; and to add what was proper to convince the world, that he was warmly on the fide of moral Government and a revealed Will. And it would be injustice to his memory not to declare that he embraced these occafions with the most unfeigned pleasure.
The SIXTH Volume confifts of Mr. Pope's mifcellaneous pieces in verfe and profe. Amongst the Verfe feveral fine poems make now their first appearance in his Works. And of the Profe, all that is good, and nothing but what is exquifitely fo, will be found in this Edition.
The SEVENTH, EIGHTH, and NINTH Volumes confift 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 Epiftles. This collection is now made more complete by the addition of feveral new pieces.