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"But, friend, take heed whom you attack; You'll bring a house (I mean of peers)
"Red, blue, and green, nay, white and black, and all about your ears.
"You'd write as Imooth again on glass,
"And run, on ivory, so glib, "As not to stick at fool or ass, "Nor ftop at flattery or fib.
"Athenian queen! and fober charms!
"I tell ye, fool, there's nothing in't: " "Tis Venus, Venus gives these arms; "In Dryden's Virgil fee the print.
“Come, if you'll be a quiet foul,
"That dares tell neither truth nor lies,
"I'll lift you in the harmless roll
Tis with pleasure I hear, that you have procured a correct copy of the DUNCIAD, which the many furreptitious ones have rendered so neceffary; and it is yet with more, that I am informed it will be attended with a COMMENTARY: a work fo requifite, that I cannot think the author himself would have omitted it, had he approved of the first appearance of this Poem.
Such Notes as have occurred to me I herewith fend you: you will oblige me by inserting them amongst those which are, or will be, tranfmitted to you by others; fince not only the author's friends, but even ftrangers, appear engaged by humanity, to take fome care of an orphan of fo much genius and spirit, which its parent feems to have abandoned from the very beginning, and fuffered to ftep into the world naked, unguarded, and unattended.
It was upon reading some of the abufive papers lately published, that my great regard to a perfon, whose friendfhip I efteem as one of the chief honours of my life, and a much greater refpect to Truth, than to him or any man living,
living, engaged me in enquiries, of which the enclosed Notes are the fruit.
I perceived, that most of these authors had been (doubtless very wifely) the firft aggreffors. They had tried, 'till they were weary, what was to be got by railing at each other; Nobody was either concerned or furprized, if this or that fcribbler was proved a dunce. But every one was curious to read what could be said to prove Mr. POPE one, and was ready to pay fomething for such a discovery: a ftratagem, which would they fairly own, it might not only reconcile them to me, but fcreen them from the resentment of their lawful fuperiors, whom they daily abuse, only (as I charitably hope) to get that by them, which they cannot get from them.
I found this was not all: ill fuccefs in that had tranfporred them to perfonal abufe, either of himself, or (what I think he could lefs forgive) of his friends. They had called men of virtue and honour bad men, long before he had either leifure or inclination to call them bad writers and fome had been fuch old offenders, that he had quite forgotten their perfons as well as their flanders, 'till they were pleafed to revive them.
Now what had Mr. POPE done before, to incenfe them He had published those works which are in the hands of every body, in which not the leaft mention is made of any of them. And what has he done fince? He has laughed, and written the DUNCIAD. What has that faid of them? A very ferious truth, which the public had faid before, that they were dull: and what it had no fooner faid, but they themselves were at great pains to procure, or even purchase room in the prints, to teftify under their hands to the truth of it.
I fhould ftill have been filent, if either I had feen any inclination in my friend to be ferious with fuch accufers, or if they had only meddled with his writings; fince whoever publishes, puts himfelf on his trial by his country. But when his moral character was attacked, and in a manner from which neither truth nor virtue can fecure the