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putation of so many dull and immoral things as, partly by malice, and partly by ignorance, have been ascribed to me. I must further acquit myself of the presumption of having lent my name to recommend any miscellanies or works of other men; a thing I never thought becoming a person who has hardly credit enough to answer for his own,
In this office of collecting my Pieces, I am altogether uncertain whether to look upon myself as a man building a monument, or burying the dead.
If time shall make it the former, may these poems, as long as they lait, remain as a testimony that their Author never made his talents fubfervient to the mean and unworthy ends of party or self-interest; the gratification of public prejudices or private patrions; the fiattery of the undeserving, or the insult of the unfortunate. If I have written well, let it be considered that it is what no man can do without good sente, a quality that not only renders one capable of being a good writer, but a good man. And if I have made any acquisition in the opinion of any one under the notion of the former, let it be continued to me under no other title than that of the latter.
But if this Publication be only a more solemn funeral of my remains, I desire it may be known that I die in charity, and in my senses; without any murmurs against the justice of this age, or any mad appeals to pofterity. I declare I shall think the world in the right, and quietly submit to every truth which time Thall discover to the prejudice of these Writings; not so much as wishing so irrational a thing as that every body should be deceived merely for my credit. However, I defire it may then be considered, that there are very few things in this Collection which were not written under the age of five-and-twenty; so that my youth may be made (as it never fails to be in execu. tions) a case of compassion; that I never was fo concerned about my Works as to vindicate them in print, believing, if any thing was good, it would defend it's self, and what was bad could never be defended ; that
I used no artifice to raise or continue a reputationi, depreciated no dead author I was obliged to, bribed no living one with unjust praise, insulted no adversary with ill language; or, when I could not attack a rival's works, encouraged reports against his morals. To conclude, if this volume perish, let it serve as a warning to the critics not to take too much pains for the future to destroy such things as will die of themselves; and a memento mori to some of my vain contemporaries the poets, to teach them that, when real merit is wanting, it avails nothing to have been encouraged by the great, commended by the eminent, and favoured by the public in general.
Nov. 10, 1716.
Variations in the Author's Manuscript Preface.
AFTER page 48. 1. 21. it followed thus---For my part, I confess, had I feen things in this view at first, the public had never been troubled either with my writings, or with this apology for them. I am sensible how difficult it is to speak of one's self with decency; but when a man muft speak of himielf, the best way
is to speak truth of himself, or he may depend upon it, others will do it for him. I'll therefore make this Preface a general confeffion of all my thoughts of my own poetry, resolving with the fanie freedom to expose myself as it is in the power
any other to expole them. In the first place, I thank God and Nature that I was born with a love to poetry; for nothing more conduces to fill up all the intervals of our time, or, if rightly used, to make the whole courte of life entertaining: Cantantes licet usque (minus via ladet.) It is a vait happiness to poffeis the pleasures of the head, the only pleasures in which a man is fufficient to himself, and the only part of him which, to his fatisfaction, he can employ all day long. The Mures are amica omnium horarum; and, like our gay acquaintance, the best company in the world as
long as one experts no real service from them. I confets i here was a time when I was in love with myself, and my first productions were the children of Self-love upon Innocence. I had made an epic poem, and panegyrics on all the princes in Europe, and thought myself the greatest genius that ever was. I can't but regret those delightful visions of my childhood, which, . like the fine colours we fee when our eyes are fhut, are vanished for ever. Many trials, and fad experience, have fu undeceived me by degrees; that I am utterly at a loss at what rate to value myself. As for fame, I hall be glad of any I can get, and not repine at any · I miss; and as for vanity, I have enough to keep me from hanging myself, or even from withing those hanged who would take it away. It was this that made me write. The sente of my faults made me correct; besides that it was as pleasant to me to correct as to write.
At p. 50. 1. 25. In the first place, I own that I have used my belt endeavours to the finishing these pieces; that I made what advantage I could of the judgment of authors dead and living; and that I omitted no means in my power to be informed of my errors by my friends and my enemies; and that I expect no favour on account of my youth, business, want of health, or any such idle excufes. But the true reason they are not yet more correct, is owing to the confideration how short a time they and I have to live. A man that can expect but fixty years, may be ashamed to employ thirty in measuring syllables, and bringing sense and rhime together. We spend our youth in pursuit of riches or fame, in hopes to enjoy them when we are old; and when we are old, we find it is too late to enjoy any thing. I therefore hope the wits will pardon me if I reserve some of my time to fave my soul; and that lone wise men will be of my opinion, even if I should think a part of it better spent in the enjoyments of life than in pleasing the critics.
MR. POPE AND HIS POEMS,
BY HIS GRACE
DUKE OF BUCKINGHAM.
Caring for nothing but what ease requir’d;
Encomiums fuit not this cenforious time,
15 Apollo bids it, and they must obey.
And yet so wonderful, sublime a thing,
'Tis great delight to laugh at some mens' ways, But a much greater to give merit praise.
TO MR. POPE, ON HIS PASTORALS. In these more dull, as more censorious days, When few dare give, and fewer merit praile, A Muse sincere, that never flatt’ry knew, Pays what to friendship and desert is due. Young, yet judicious; in your verse are found 5 Art itrength ning Nature, sense improv'd by found; Unlike those wits, whose numbers glide along So smooth, no thought e'er interrupts the song : Laboriously enervate they appear, And write not to the head, but to the ear : VOL. I.
Our minds unmoy'd and unconcern'd they lull,
35 Yet still unchang'd the form and mode remain, Shap'd like the homely ruffet of the swain. Your rural Muse appears to justify The long lost graces of fimplicity: So rural beauties captivate our sense
40 With virgin charms and native excellence. Yet long her modefty those charms conceald, 'Till by mens' envy to the world reveal’d; For wits industrious to their trouble seem, And needs will envy what they must etteem. 45
Live and enjoy their spite! nor mourn that fate Which would, if Virgil liv’d, on Virgil wait; Whose Mufe did once, like thine, in plains delight : Thine shall, like his, foon take a higher flight: So larks, which first from lowly fields arise,
50 Mount by degrees, and reach at lait the skies.