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EPISTLE TO DR. ARBUTHNOT;
PROLOGUE TO THE SATIRES.
[Motto to the first edition, published in folio, 1734.]
"Neque sermonibus vulgi dederis te, nec in præmiis humanis spem posueris rerum tuarum; suis te oportet illecebris ipsa virtus trahat ad verum decus. Quid de te alii loquantur, ipsi videant, sed loquentur tamen."-CICERO.
[And do not yield yourself up to the speeches of the vulgar, nor in your affairs place hope in human rewards: virtue ought to draw you to true glory by its own allurements. Why should others speak of you? Let them study themselves-yet they will speak.]
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 persons 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 extraor dinary 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 anything pleasing, it will be that by which I am most desirous to please, the truth and the sentiment; and if anything 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, 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;
What walls can guard me, or what shades can hide?
Ev'n Sunday shines no Sabbath-day to me:
Is there a parson, much bemused in beer,
A clerk, foredoom'd his father's soul to cross,
"Is there a bard in durance? turn them free,
With all their brandish'd reams they run to me:
Who would do something in his sempstress' praise-"
1 [John Serle, his old and faithful servant, remembered in his will. Curll speaks of "honest Serle, Mr. Pope's gardener at Twickenham," in 1735. After his master's death, in 1744, John published a plan of the poet's garden, with an account of the mineral and other curiosities it contained, which we have given in the appendix to the poet's life. He next went into the employment of Mr. Allen, at Bath.
2 [The Mint in Southwark was a sanctuary for insolvent debtors. It included several streets and alleys. Nahum Tate, the poet, died in the Mint, in 1716. An attempt was made to curtail the privilege, in the reign of William III., and it was finally suppressed in the reign of George I.] 3 After ver. 20, in the MS.
Arthur, whose giddy son neglects the laws,1
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;
He'll write a journal, or he'll turn divine."7
"If you refuse, he goes, as fates incline,
To plague Sir Robert, or to turn divine."
4 [Arthur Moore, father of the poetical James Moore Smythe. See life of Pope, and Notes to Dunciad.]
5 In the first edition
"Dear Doctor, tell me, is not this a curse?
Say, is their anger or their friendship worse?"
6 The name taken from a foolish poet of Rhodes, who pretended much to Greek. Schol. in Horat. 1. i. Dr. Bentley pretends that this Pitholeon libelled Cæsar also. See notes on Hor. Sat. 10, 1. i.
In the MS.