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he became the most perfect Orator in the world. S. that, not so much to have made verses, as not to give over in time, leaves a man without excuse: the former presenting us with an opportunity at least of doing wisely, that is, to conceal those we have made; which I shall yet do, if my humble request may be of as much force with your Ladyship, as your commands have been with me. Madam, I only whisper these in your ear; if you publish them, they are your own : and therefore, as you apprehend the reproach of a Wit and a Poet, cast them into the fire: or, if they come where green boughs are in the chimney, with the help of your fair friends, (for, thus bound, it will be too hard a talk for your hands alone) tear them in pieces, wherein you will honour me with the fate of Orpheus; for fo his Poems, whereof we only hear the form, (not his limbs, as the story will have it) I suppose were scattered by the Thracian dames. Here, Madam, I'might take an opportunity to celebrate your virtues, and to instruct you how unhappy you
in that you know not who you are : how much you excel the most excellent of your own, and how much you amaze the least inclined to wonder of our, fex. But as they will be apt to take your Ladyship's for a Roman name, so would they believe that I en. deavoured the character of a perfect Nymph, worshiped an image of my own making, and dedicated this to the Lady of the brain, not of the heart, of
Your Lady ship's
to please himself, and such particular persons to whom they were directed) returned from abroad some years since, he was troubled to find his name in Print: but, somewhat satisfied, to see his Lines ro ill rendered that he might justly disown them; and say to a mistaking Printer, as one did to an ill Reciter,
** Male dum recitas, incipit esse tuus. Having been ever since pressed to correct the many and gross faults (such as use to be in impressions wholly neglected by the Authors); his answer was, that he made these when ill Verses had more favor, and escaped better, than good ones do in this age: the severity whereof he thought not unhappily diverted by those faults in the impression, which hitherto have hung upon his Book, as the Turks hang old rags, or
* Martial, Lib. i. Ep. 39.
such-like such-like ugly things, upon their fairelt horses, and other goodly creatures, to secure them against fascination. And, for those of a more confined understanding, who pretend not to censure; as they admire most what they least comprehend, fo, his verses (maimed to that degree that himself scarce knew what to make of many of them) might, that way at least, have a title to some admiration : which is no small matter, if what an old Author observes be true, that the aim of Orators, is victory; of Historians, truth; and of Poets, admiration. He had reason therefore to indulge those faults in his Book, whereby it might be reconciled to fome, and commended to others.
The Printer also he thought would fare the worse, if those faults were amended: for we see maimed ftatues seļl better than whole ones; and clipped and wathed money goes about, when the entire and weighty lies
These are the reasons which for above twelve years past he has opposed to our request; to which it was replied, that as it would be too late to recall that which had so long been made public; so, might it find excuse from his youth, the season it was produced in. And, for what had been done since, and now added, if it commend not his Poctry, it might his Philofophy, which teaches him fo chearfully to bear so great a calamity, as the loss of the best part of his fortune, torn from him in prison (in which, and in banishment, the best portion of his life hath also been spent), that
he can still fing under the burthen, not unlike that Roman*,
*** Quem dimisere Philippi
Who yet not long after could say,
Musis amicus, triftitiam & metus
Lib. I. Ode xxvi.
They that acquainted with the Muses be,
Not so much moved with these reasons of ours (or pleas’d with our rhymes) as wearied with our importunity, he has at last given us leave to assure the Reader, that the Poems which have been so long, and so ill set forth under his name, are here to be found as he first writ them: as also, to add some others which have fince been composed by him. And though his advice to the contrary might have discouraged us; yet, observing how often they have been reprinted, what price they have borne, and how earnestly they have been
* Horace, Lib. II. Epist, ii,
always always inquired after, but especially of late; (making good that of Horace, Meliora dies, ut vina, poemata reddit:
Lib. II. Epist. i. “ Some verses being, like some vines, recommended
“ to our taste by time and age,”) We have adventured upon this new and well-corrected Edition; which, for our own fakes as well as thine, we hope will succeed better than he apprehended. Vivitur ingenio, cætera mortis erunt.