Obrázky stránek

and Tafte corrected and improved. To thefe advantages of the THIRD Volume, must be added a great number of fine Verfes taken from the Author's Manufcriptcopies of these poems, communicated by him for this purpose to the Editor. Thefe, when he first published the Poems, to which they belong, he thought proper, for various reasons, to omit. Some from the Manufcript-copy of the Effay on Man, which tended to dif credit fate, and to recommend the moral government of God, had, by the Editor's advice, been restored to their places in the last Edition of that Poem. The reft, together with others of the like fort from his Manuscriptcopy 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 Epistle to Dr. Arbuthnot; and Epilogue, the two Poems intitled м DCC XXXVIII. The Prologue and Epilogue are here given with the like advantages as the Ethic Epiftles in the foregoing Volume, that is to say, with the Variations, or additional verses from the Author's Manufcripts. The Epilogue to the Satires is likewife enriched with many and large notes, now first printed from the Author's own Manufcript.

The FIFTH Volume contains a correcter and completer Edition of the Dunciad than hath been hitherto published; 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 should remain difgraced by the meanness of its fubject, the most infignificant of all Dunces, bad Rhymers and malevolent Cavillers: That he ought to raise and ennoble it by pointing his Satire against the most pernicious of all, Minute-philofophers and Free-thinkers. I imagined too, it was for the intereft 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 though the terror of his pen kept them for fome time in respect, yet on his death they rose with unrestrained fury, in numerous Coffee-house tales, and Grubftreet libels. The plan of this admirable Satire was artfully contrived to fhew, that the follies and defects of a fashionable 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 Wall. And it would be injuftice 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 leveral 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, asthey 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. Yet, excepting a fhort explanatory letter to Col. M. and the Letters to Mr. A. and Mr. W. (the latter of which are given to fhew the Editor's inducements, and the engagements he was under, to intend the care of this Edition) excepting these, I say,

the reft are all here published from the Author's own printed, though not published copies, delivered to the Editor.

On the whole, the Advantages of this Edition, above the preceding, are the fe, That it is the first complete collection which has ever been made of his original Writings; That all his principal poems, of early or later date, are here given to the Public with his last corrections and improvements; That a great number of his verses are here firft printed from the Manufcriptcopies of his principal poems of later date; That many new notes of the Author's are here added to his Poems; and laftly, that feveral pieces, both in profe and verse, make now their first appearance before the Public.

The Author's Life deserves a just Volume; and the Editor intends to give it. For to have been one of the first Poets in the world is but his fecond praife. He was in a higher Clafs. He was one of the nobleft works of God. He was an honeft Man *. A man who alone poffeffed more real virtue than, in very corrupt times, needing a Satirift like him, will fometimes fall to the fhare of multitudes. In this history of his life, will be contained a large account of his writings; a critique on the nature, force, and extent of his genius, exemplified from thefe writings; and a vindication of his moral · character, exemplified by his more distinguished virtues; his filial piety, his difinterefted friendships, his reverence for the conflitution of his country, his love and admiration of VIRTUE, and (what was the necessary effect) his hatred and contempt of VICE, his extensive charity to the indigent, his warm benevolence to mankind, his fupreme veneration of the Deity, and, above all, his fincere belief of Revelation. Nor fhall his faults be concealed. It is not for the interests of his virtues "A wit's a feather, and a chief's a rod,

"An honeft Man's the nobleft work of God."

that they should. Nor indeed could they be conceal ed, if we were fo minded, for they fine through his Virtues ; no man being more a dupe to the fpecious appearances of Virtue in others. In a word, I mean not to be his Panegyrift, but his Hiftorian. And may I, when Envy and Calumny take the fame advantage of my abfence (for, while I live, I will freely truft it to my Life to confute them) may I find a friend as careful of my honeft fame as I have been of His! Together with his Works, he hath bequeathed me his DUNCES. So that as the property is transferred, I could wish they would now let his memory alone. The veil which Death draws over the Good is fo facred, that to throw dirt upon the fhrine fcandalizes even Barbarians. And though Rome permitted her slaves to calumniate her best Citizens on the day of Triumph, yet the fame petulancy at their funeral would have been rewarded with execration and a gibbet. The Public may be malicious; but is rarely vindictive or ungenerous. It would abhor thefe infults on a writer dead, though it had borne with the ribaldry,or even fet the ribalds on work, when he was alive. And in this there was no great harm: for he must have a ftrange impotency of mind whom fuch miferable fcribblers can ruffle. Of all that grofs Beotian phalanx who have written fcurrilously against me, I know not fo much as one whom a writer of reputation would not wish to have his enemy, or whom a man of honour would not be ashamed to own for his friend. I am indeed but flightly converfant in their works, and know little of the particulars of their defamation. To my Authorship they are heartily welcome. Lut if any of them have been so abandoned by Truth as to attack my moral character in any instance whatfoever, to all and every one of thefe, and their abettors, I give the LYE în form, and in the words of honest Father Valerian, MENTIRIS IMPUDENTISSIME.

« PředchozíPokračovat »