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Ludentis speciem dabit, et torquebitur. HOR.
THE occasion of publishing these Imitations was the clamour raised on some of my Epistles. An answer from Horace was both more full and of more dignity than any I could have made in my own person; and the example of much greater freedom in so eminent a divine as Dr. Donne seemed a proof with what indignation and contempt a Christian may treat vice or folly in ever so low or ever so high a station. Both these authors were acceptable to the princes and ministers under whom they lived. The Satires of Dr. Donne I versified at the desire of the Earl of Oxford, when he was the Lord Treasurer, and of the Duke of Shrewsbury, who had been Secretary of State, neither of whom looked upon a satire
on vicious courts as any reflection on those they served in. And indeed there is not in the world a greater error than that which fools are so apt to fall into, and knaves with good reason to encourage, the mistaking a satirist for a libeller; whereas to a true sati. rist nothing is so odious as a libeller; for the same reason as to a man truly virtuous nothing is so hateful as a hypocrite.
æquus virtuti atque ejus amicis. P.
WHOEVER expects a paraphrase of Horace, or a faithful copy of his genius or manner of writing, in these Imitations, will be much disappointed. Our Author uses the Roman Poet for little more than his canvas; and if the old design or colouring chance to suit his purpose, it is well; if not, he employs his own without scruple or ceremony. Hence it is he is so frequently serious where Horace is in jest, and at case where Horace is disturbed. In a word, he regulates his movements no further on his original, than was necessary for his concurrence in promoting their common plan of reformation of manners.
Had it been his purpose merely to paraphrase an ancient satirist, he had hardly made choice of Horace, with whom, as a pcet, he held little in common, besides a comprehensive knowledge of life and manners, and the most ornamented with ease. For the rest, his harmony and strength of numbers, his force and splendour of colouring, his gravity and sublimity of sentiment, would have rather led him to another model. Nor was his temper less unlike that of Horace than his talents. What Horace would only smile at, Mr. Pope would treat with the grave sever
ity of Persius; and what Mr. Pope would strike with the caustic lightning of Juvenal, Horace would content himself with turning into ridicule.
If it be asked, then, why he took any body at all to imitate, he has informed us in his Advertisement; to which we may add, that this sort of Imitation, which is of the nature of Parody, throws reflected grace and splendour on original wit. Besides, he deemed it more modest to give the name of Imitations to his Sa, tires, than, like Despreaux, to give the name of Sa. tires to Imitations.
TO MR. FORTESCUE.
P. THERE are, (I scarce can think it, but am told,) There are to whom my Satire seems too bold; Scarce to wise Peter complaisant enough, And something said of Chartres much too rough. The lines are weak, another's pleas'd to say ; 5 Lord Fanny spins a thousand such a day. Tim'rous by nature, of the rich in awe, I come to council learned in the law : You'll give me, like a friend both sage and free, Advice ; and (as you use) without a fee.
10 F. I'd write no more.
P. Not write? but then I think,
F. You could not do a worse thing for your life. 15