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ing; Aristides, the good citizen; and Atticus, the well-bred friend; and bring them in as examples of my Lord Dorset's wit, his judgment, his justice, and his civility: but for his charity, my Lord, we can scarce find a parallel in history itself.
Titus was not more the deliciæ humani generis, on this account, than my Lord Dorset was: and, without any exaggeration, that prince did not do more good, in proportion, out of the revenue of the Roman empire, than your father out of the income of a private estate. Let this, my Lord, remain to you and your posterity a possession for ever; to be imitated, and, if possible, to be excelled.
As to my own particular, I scarce knew what life was, sooner than I found myself obliged to his favour; nor have had reason to feel any sorrow so sensibly as that of his death :
Ille dies—quem semper acerbum
Æneas could not reflect upon the loss of his own father with greater piety, my Lord, than I must recall the memory of your’s : and when I think whose son I am writing to, the least I promise myself from your goodness is an uninterrupted continuance of favour, and a friendship for life : to which, that I may with some justice entitle myself, I send your Lordship a Dedication, not filled with a long detail of your praises, but with my sincerest wishes that you may deserve them: that you may employ those extraordinary parts and abilities, with which Heaven has blessed you, to the honour of your family, the benefit of your friends, and the
good of your country: that all your actions may be great, open, and noble, such as may tell the world whose son and whose successor you are.
What I now offer to your Lordship is a Collection of poetry, a kind of Garland of goodwill. If any verses of my writing should appear in print under another name and patronage than that of an Earl of Dorset, people might suspect them not to be genuine. I have attained my pre sent end, if these Poems prove the diversion of some of your youthful hours, as they have been occasionally the amusement of some of mine; and I humbly hope, that as I may hereafter bind up my fuller sheaf, and lay some pieces of a very different nature (the product of my severer studies) at your Lordship's feet, I shall engage your more serious reflection: happy if, in all my endeavours, I may contribute to your delight, or to your instruction.
I am, with all duty and respect,
and most humble servant,
The greatest part of what I have written having been already published, either singly, or in some of the Miscellanies, it would be too late for me to make any excuse for appearing in print. But a collection of poems has lately appeared under my name, though without my knowledge, in which the publisher has given me the honour of some things that did not belong to me, and has transcribed others so imperfectly, that I hardly knew them to be mine. This has obliged me, in my own defence, to look back upon some of those lighter studies, which I ought long since to have quitted; and to publish an indifferent collection of poems, for fear of being thought the author of
Thus I beg pardon of the public for reprinting some pieces which, as they came singly from their first impression, have (I fancy) lain long and quietly in Mr. Tonson's shop; and adding others to them which were never before printed, and might have lain as quietly, and perhaps more safely, in a corner of my own study.
The reader will, I hope, make allowance for their having been written at very distant times, and on very different occasions, and take them as they happen to come: public Panegyrics, amorous Odes, serious Reflections, or idle Tales;, the product of his leisure hours, who had business enough upon his hands, and was only a poet by accident.
I own myself much obliged to Mrs. Singer', who has given me leave to print a pastoral of her writing; that poem having produced the verses immediately following it. I wish she might be prevailed with to publish some other pieces of that kind, in which the softness of her sex, and the fineness of her genius, conspire to give her a very distinguishing character.
I MUST help my Preface by a Postscript, to tell the reader that there is ten years distance between my writing one and the other; and that (whatever I thought then, and have somewhere said, that I would publish no more poetry) he will find several copies of verses scattered through this edition, which were not printed in the first. Those relating to the public, stand in the order they did before; according to the several years in which they were written, however the disposition of our national affairs, the actions or the fortunes of some men, and the opinions of others, may have changed. Prose and other human things may take what turn they can; but poetry, which pre
1 Afterwards the celebrated Mrs. Rowe.
tends to have something of divinity in it, is to be more permanent. Odes once printed cannot well be altered, when the author has already said that he expects his works should live for ever: and it had been very foolish in my friend Horace if, some years
after his exegi monumentum, he should have desired to see his building taken down again.
The Dedication, likewise, is reprinted to the Earl of Dorset, in the foregoing leaves, without any alteration; though I had the fairest opportunity, and the strongest inclination to have added a great deal to it. The blooming hopes which I said the world expected from my then very young patron, have been confirmed by most noble and distinguished first-fruits; and his life is going on towards a plentiful harvest of all accumulated virtues. He has, in fact, exceeded whatever the fondness of my wishes could invent in his favour: his equally good and beautiful lady enjoys in him an indulgent and obliging husband; his children a kind and careful father; and his acquaintance a faithful, generous, and polite friend. His fellow peers have attended to the persuasion of his eloquence, and have been convinced by the solidity of his reasoning. He has, long since, deserved and attained the honour of the Garter. He has managed some of the charges of the kingdom with known ability, and laid them down with entire disinterestment: and as he continues the exercises of these eminent virtues (which that he may to a very old age shall be my perpetual wish) he
may be one of the greatest men that our age, or possibly our nation, has bred; and leave ma