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EPISTLE TO DR. ARBUTHNOT,
BEING THE PROLOGUE TO THE SATIRES.
This paper is a sort of bill of complaint, begun many years since, and drawn up by snatches, as the several occasions offered. I had no thoughts of publishing it, till it pleased some persons1 of rank and fortune [the authors of "Verses to the imitator of Horace," and of an "Epistle to a doctor of divinity from a nobleman at Hampton Court"] to attack, in a very extraordinary manner, not only my writings (of which, being public, the public is judge), but my person, morals, and family; whereof, to those who know me not, a truer information may be requisite. Being divided between the necessity to say something of myself, and my own laziness to undertake so awkward a task, I thought it the shortest way to put the last hand to this epistle. If it have any thing pleasing, it will be that by which I am most desirous to please, the truth and the sentiment; and if any thing offensive, it will be only to those I am least sorry to offend, the vicious or the ungenerous.
Many will know their own pictures in it, there being not a circumstance but what is true; but I have, for the most part, spared their names, and they may escape being laughed at if they please.
I would have some of them know it was owing to the request of the learned and candid friend to whom it is inscribed.
1 See Memoir prefixed to these volumes, p. xcii. VOL. III.
that I make not as free use of theirs as they have done of mine. However, I shall have this advantage and honour on my side, that whereas, by their proceeding, any abuse may be directed at any man, no injury can possibly be done by mine, since a nameless character can never be found out but by its truth and likeness.
P. "SHUT, shut the door, good John !" fatigued, I said;
"Tie up the knocker, say I'm sick, I'm dead."
What walls can guard me, or what shades can hide?
They pierce my thickets, through my grot they glide,
By land, by water, they renew the charge,
E'en Sunday shines no sabbath day to me:
Is there a parson much bemus'd in beer,
A clerk foredoom'd his father's soul to cross,
2 John Searl, Pope's faithful servant.
All fly to Twit'nam, and in humble strain
Friend to my life, (which did not you prolong,
If foes, they write, if friends, they read me dead.
With honest anguish and an aching head,
8 Arthur Moore, Esq.
Pitholeon sends to me:
And shame the fools-your interest, Sir, with
Lintot, dull rogue, will think your price too much : "Not, Sir, if you revise it, and retouch."
All my demurs but double his attacks;
At last he whispers, "Do, and we go snacks." Glad of a quarrel, straight I clap the door; "Sir, let me see your works and you no more." 'Tis sung, when Midas' ears began to spring, (Midas, a sacred person and a king)
His very minister who spied them first
(Some say his queen) was forc'd to speak or burst. And is not mine, my friend, a sorer case, When every coxcomb perks them in
4 The London Journal.
An allusion to Sir Robert Walpole and Queen Caroline.
A. Good friend, forbear! you deal in dangerous things;
I'd never name queens, ministers, or kings;
You think this cruel? take it for a rule,
Orator Henley declaimed among the butchers in Newport Market and Butcher's Row.
7 He used frequently to head the processions of the Free