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To the OCTAVO EDITION of Mr. POPE's Works, 1751.
R. POPE, in his laft illness, amufed himself,
amidst the care of his higher concerns, in preparing a corrected and complete Edition of his writings; and, with his ufual delicacy, was even folicitous to prevent any share of the offence they might occafion, from falling on the Friend whom he had engaged to give them to the Public.
In difcharge of this truft, the Public has here a complete Edition of his Works, executed in fuch a manner, as, I am perfuaded, would have been to his fatisfac tion.
The Editor hath not, for the fake of profit, suffered the Author's Name to be made cheap by a Subfcription; nor his Works to be defrauded of their due honours by a vulgar or inelegant Impreffion; nor hist memory to be difgraced by any pieces unworthy of his talents or virtue. On the contrary, he kath, at a very great expence, ornamented this Edition with all the advantages which the best Artists in Paper, Printing, and Sculpture, could bestow upon it.
If the Public hath waited longer than the deference due to it fhould have fuffered, it was owing to a reafon which the Editor need not make a fecret; it was his regard to the family-interefts of his deceased Friend.
Mr. Pope, at his death, left large impreffions of several parts of his Works, unfold; the property of which was adjudged to belong to his Executors; and the Editor was willing they should have time to difpofe of them to the best advantage, before the publication of this Edition (which hath been long prepared) fhould put a ftop to the fale.
But it may be proper to be a little more particular concerning the fuperiority of this Edition above all the preceding; fo far as Mr. Pope himself was concerned. What the Editor hath done, the Reader must collect for himfelf.
The firft Volume, and the original poems in the second, are here printed from a copy corrected throughout by the Author himself, even to the very preface; which, with feveral additional notes in his own hand, he delivered to the Editor a little before his death. The Juvenile Tranflations, in the other part of the fecond Volume, it was never his intention to bring into this Edition of his Works, on account of the levity of fome, the freedom of others, and the little importance of any : but these being the property of other men, the Editor had it not in his power to follow the Author's intention.
The third Volume, all but the Effay on Man, (which, together with the Effay on Criticism, the Author, a little before his death, had corrected and published in Quarto, as a fpecimen of his projected Edition) was printed by him in his last illness (but never published) in the manner it is now given. The difpofition of the Epistle on the Characters of Men is quite altered; that