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To the Octavo Edition of Mr. Pope's Works, 1751.


R. Pope, in his last illness, amused himself,

amidst the care of his higher concerns, in preparing a corrected and complete Edition of his writings; and, with his usual delicacy, was even solici. tous to prevent any share of the offence they might occasion, from falling on the Friend whom he had engaged to give them to the Public.

In discharge of this trust, the Public has here a com: plete Edition of his Works; executed in such a manner, as, I am persuaded, would have been to his fatisfaction.

The Editor hath not, for the sake of profit, suffered the Author's Name to be made cheap by a Subscription; nor his works to be defrauded of their due honours by a vulgar or inelegant Impression; nor his memory to be disgraced by any pieces unworthy of his talents or virtue. On the contrary, he hath, at a very great expence, ornamented this Edition with all the advantages which the best Artists in Paper, Printing, and Sculpture could bestow


it. If the Public hath waited longer than the deference due to it should have suffered, it was owing to a reason which the Editor need not make a secret. It was his regard to the family-interests of his deceased Friend. Vol. I.



in a higher Class. He was one of the noblest works of God. He was an honest Man *. A man who alone possessed more real virtue than, in very corrupt times, needing a Satirist like him, will sometimes fall to the share 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 these writings; and a vindication of his moral character, exemplified by his more distinguished virtues: his filial piety, his disinterested friendship, his revel'ence for the constitution 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 supreme veneration of the Deity, and, above all, his sincere belief of Revelation. Nor shall his faults be concealed. It is not for the interests of his virtues that they should. Nor indeed could they be concealed, if we were so minded, for they shine through his Virtues; no man being more a dupe to the specious appearances of Virtue in others. In a word, I mean not to be his Panegyrist, but his Historian.

And may I, when Envy and Calumny take the fame advantage of my absence (for, while I live, I will freely trust it to my Life to confute them) may I find a friend as careful of

my honest fame as I have been of His! Together with his Works, he hath bequeathed me his Dunces.



* « A wit's a feather, and a chief's a rod,

« An honest Man 's the noblest work of God.”


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 so facred, that to throw dirt upon the shrine scandalizes even Barbarians. And though Rome permitted her Slaves to calumniate her beft Citizens on the day of Triumph, yet the same petulancy at their funeral would have been rewarded with execration and a gibbet. The Public may be malicious; but is rarely vindi&tive or ungenerous. It would abhor these insults on a writer dead, though it had borne with the ribaldry, or even set the ribalds on work, when he was alive. And in this there was no great harm : for he must have a strange impotency of mind whom such miserable scribblers can ruffle. Of all that gross Boeotian phalanx who have written scurrilously against me, I know not so 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 Nightly conversant in their works, and know little of the particulars of their defamation. To my Authorship they are heartily welcome., But if any of them have been so abandoned by Truth as to attack my moral character in any instance whatsoever, to all and every one of these, and their abettors, I give the lye in form, and in the words honeft ather Valerian, “ Mentiris impudentissime."

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