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The Poem on the LADY'S DRESSING-ROOM
having given Offence to a few squeamish Ladies, and fome fine Gentlemen, it was thought proper to publish the following DEFENCE.
Modest Defence, &c.
Poem, or Pamphlet, published in this
Kingdom without a Name, will not long want one, if the Paper maketh
There is a certain Person of Distinction among us, who is conjectured to have written many Things, both in Prose and Verfe, for the Service of the Nation, which, undoubtedly, were published with his own Consent. It is also believed, that he hath composed others occasionally, for the Amusement of himself, and a few intimate Friends ; which, by the Indiscretion of others, were, from stolen and uncorrect Copies, dragged into Light.
But, I hold it for certain, that a much greater Number have, by the Boldness of Printers, and the Want of Judgment in Readers, been charged upon that Author, wherein he never had the smallest Finger, as I am afsured he hath often declared; and, which is remarkable, was as free in disowning fome Writings charged upon him, of which he had no Reason to be ashamed, as he could be of the meanest Productions of Hibernian Grubstreet.
As to those fatal Verses, called the Lady's Dressing-Room, which have so highly inflamed the whole Sex, (except a very few of better Judgment) as I can by no Means justify the vulgar Opinion, that seemeth to fix it upon a Person, so well known for Works of a very different Nature; fo I cannot but lament the prevailing ill Taste among us, which is not able to discover that useful Satýr running through every Line, and the Matter as decently wrapped up, as it is possible the Subject could bear.
Cleanliness-hath, in all polite Ages and Nations, been esteemed the chief corporeal Perfection in Women ; as it is well known to those who are conversant with the antient Poets. And so it is still among the young People of Judgment and Sobriety, when they are disposed to marry. And I do not doubt, but that there is a great Number of young Ladies in this Town and Kingdom, who, in reading that
Poem, find great Complacency in their own Minds, from a Consciousness, that the fatyrical Part in the Lady's Dressing-Room, doth not in the least affect them.
Wherefore it is manifest, that no Poem was ever written with a better Design for the Service of the Sex : Wherein our Author hath obferved, to a Tittle, the Precepts of his Maf-. ter Horace; or, indeed, rather hath
gone very far beyond him, in the Article of Decency.
That great Poet, instructing us what Actions are fittest to be produced openly upon the Scene, and which are most proper to be only related to the Audience, goeth many Lengths beyond the Author of the Lady's Dresing-Room; for at the same Instant when he sayeth, fome Actions should not appear as done upon the Stage, he allows they may be recited with Pleasure and Elegance ; and yet when he cometh to Particulars, his Recital is extreamly grofs, and so arehis very Precepts which forbid the: Actions :. That if our infinitely more modeft Author had. imitated his Master's Stile, the whole World might, with great Appearance of Reason, have been up in Arms against him.
Therefore, to set these two Poets in a true Light, I have ventured, for the Satisfaction of both Sexes, to translate, as literally as I could, ten Lines in Horace, upon the very fame Subject, which our Author hath handled with a Decency so far. fuperior to his Roman Master.
To justify the Truth of my Trandation, I desire all fine Gentlemen and Ladies will ap. peal from me to the Information of the Learned, that I may be wholly clear from the least Censure of misrepresenting so great an Authority; for, indeed, if I have been guilty of any Fault, it is in palliating the gross Expressions in the Original, and softening them very
much to the Politeness of the present Age.
The Latin is Word for Word, as follows:
Aut agitur res in fcenis, aut acta refertur.
The literal Translation whereof is thus :
Some Ladies do their Need before your Face;