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SATIRES AND EPISTLES
The occasion of publishing these imitations was the
clamour raised on some of my Epistles. An answer 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 so eminent a divine as Dr. Donne, seemed a proof with what indignation and contempt a Christian may treat vice or folly, in ever so low or ever so high a station. Both these authors were ac. ceptable to the princes and ministers under whom they lived. The satires of Dr. Donne I versified at the desire 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 looked upon a satire on vicious courts as any reflection on those they served in. And, indeed, there is not in the world a greater error, than that which fools are so apt to fall into, and knaves with good reason to encourage the mistaking a satirist for a libeller; whereas to a true satirist nothing is so odious as a libeller, for the same reason as to a man truly virtuous nothing is so hateful as a hypocrite.
Uni æquus virtuti atque ejus amicis.
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 uses the Roman poet for little more than his canvass: and if the old design or colouring chance to suit his purpose, it is well; if not, he employs his own, without scruple or ceremony. Hence it is, he is so frequently serious where Horace is in jest, and at ease where Horace is disturbed. In a word, he regulates his movements no further on his original, than was necessary for his concurrence in promoting their common plan of reformation of manners.
Had it been his purpose merely to paraphrase an ancient satirist, he had hardly made choice of Ho. race; with whom, as a poet, he held litile in coni. mon, besides a comprehensive knowledge of life and manvers, and a certain curious felicity of expression, which consists in using the simplest language with dignity, and the most ornamented with ease.
For the rest, his harmony and strength of numbers, his "force and splendour of colouring, bis gravity and sublimity of sentiment, would have rather led him to another model. Nor was his temper less unlike that of Horace, than his talents. What Horace would only smile at, Mr. Pope would treat with the grave severity of Persius; and what Mr. Pope would strike with the caustic lightning of Juvenal, Horace would coutent 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 sort of imitations, which are of the nature of parodies, adds reflected grace and splendour on original wit. Besides, he deemed it more modest to give the name of imita. tions to his satire, than, like Despreaux, to give the Game of satires to imitations.
BOOK II. SATIRE I.
TO MR. FORTESCUE.
P. THERE are (I scarce can think it, but am told)
There are, to whom my satire seems too bold;
P. Not write? but then I think,
F. You could not do a worse thing for your life.
you veeds must write, write Cæsar's praise, You'll gain at least a knighthood, or the bays. P. What? like sir Richard, rumbliog, rough, and
fierce, With arms and George and Brunswick crowd the
verse, Rend with tremendous sound your ears asunder, With gun, drum, trumpet, blunderbuss, and thunder?
Or nobly wild, with budgell's fire and force,
F. Then all your muse's softer art display,
P. Alas! few verses touch their nicer ear;
F. Better be Cibber, I'll maintain it still,
P. What should ail'em?
P. Each mortal has his pleasure: none deny Scarsdale his bottle, Darty his ham-pie; Ridotta sips and dances, till she see The doubling lustres dance as fast as she : F-- loves the senate, Hockleyhole his brother, Like in all else, as one egg to another. I love to pour out all myself, as plain As downright Shippen, or as old Montagne : In them, as certain to be lov'd as seen, The soul stood forth, nor kept a thought within; In me what spots (for spots I have) appear, Will prove at least the medium must be clear. In this impartial glass, my muse intends Fair to expose myself, my foes, my friends; Publish the present age; but where iny text Is vice too high, reserve it for the next: My foes shall wish my life a longer date, And every friend the less lament my fate. My head and heart thus flowing through my quill, Verseman or proseman, term me what you will,
Papist or Protestant, or both between,
Satire's my weapon, but I'm too discreet
Slander or poison dread from Delia's rage;
Then, learned sir! (to cut the matter short)
F. Alas, young man! your days can ne'er be long,