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HE Occafion of publishing these Imitations was the Clamour rais'd on fome of my Epifiles. An Anfwer from Horace was both more full, and of more Dignity, than any I could have made in my own person; and the Example of much greater Freedom in fo eminent a Divine as Dr. Donne, feem'd a proof with what indignation and contempt a Christian may treat Vice or Folly, in ever fo low, or ever so high a Station. Both these Authors were acceptable to the Princes and Minifters under whom they lived. The Satires of Dr. Donne I verfifyed, at the defire of the Earl of Oxford while he was Lord Treasurer, and of the Duke of Shrewsbury who had been Secretary of State; neither of whom look'd upon a Satire on Vicious Courts as any Reflection on those they ferv'd in. And indeed there is not in the world a greater error, than that which Fools are fo apt to fall into, and Knaves with good reason to encourage, the mistaking a Satirift for a Libeller; whereas to a true Satirift nothing is fo odious as a Libeller, for the fame reafon as to a man truly vir tuous nothing is fo hateful as a Hypocrite.
Uni aequus Virtuti atque ejus Amicis. P.
First Satire of the Second Book
WHOEVER expects a Paraphrase of Horace, or a faithful Copy of his genius, or manner of writing, in these IMITATIONS, will be much disappointed. Our Author ufes the Roman Poet for little more than his canvas: And if the old defign or colouring chance to fuit his purpose, it is well: if not, he employs his own, without fcruple or ceremony. Hence it is, he is fo frequently serious where Horace is in jeft; and at ease where Horace is difturbed. In a word, he regulates his movements no further on his Original, than was neceffary for his concurrence, in promoting their common plan of Reformation of
Had it been his purpose merely to paraphrase an ancient Satirift he had hardly made choice of Horace; with whom, as a Poet, he held little in common,
befides a comprehensive knowledge of life and manners, and a certain curious felicity of expreffion, which confifts in ufing the fimpleft language with dignity, and the moft ornamented, with eafe. For the reft, his harmony and ftrength of numbers, his force and fplendor of colouring, his gravity and fublime of fentiment, would have rather led him to another model. Nor was his temper lefs unlike that of Horace, than his talents. What Horace would only fmile at, Mr. Pope would treat with the grave severity of Perfius: And what Mr. Pope would ftrike with the cauftic lightening of Juvenal, Horace would content himself in turning into ridicule.
If it be asked then, why he took any body at all to imitate, he has informed us in his Advertisement. To which we may add, that this fort of Imitations, which are of the nature of Parodies, add reflected grace and fplendor on original wit. Befides, he deem'd it more modeft to give the name of Imitations to his Satires, than, like Defpreaux, to give the name of Satires to Imitations.
*SUNT quibus in Satira videar nimis acer, et ultra
Legem tendere opus; fine nervis altera, quidquid
Quid faciam? praescribe.
VER. 3. Scarce to wife Peter-Chartres] It has been commonly observed of the English, that a Rogue never goes to the Gallows without the pity of the Spectators, and their parting curfes on the rigour of the Laws that brought him thither: and this has been as commonly afcribed to the good nature of the people. But it is a miftake. The true caufe is their hatred and envy of power. Their compaffion for Dunces and Scoundrels (when expofed by great writers to public contempt, either in juftice to the age, or in vindication of their own Characters) has the fame fource. They cover their envy to a fuperior genius, in lamenting the feverity of his Pen.