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I had rather be a kitten, and cry, mew!
SHAKESPEARE. Such shameless Bards we have; and yet 'tis true, There are as mad, abandon'd Critics too.
my friends, learned and unlearned, have urged me not to publish this Satire with my name. If I were to be « turn'd from the career of my humour by quibbles quick, and paper bullets of the brain, » I should have complied with their counsel. But I am not to be terrified by abuse, or bullied by reviewers, with or without arms. I can safely say that I have attacked none personally who did not commence on the offensive. An Author's works are public property : he who purchases may judge, and publish his opinion if he pleases ; and the Authors I have endeavoured to commemorate may do by me as I have done by them : I dare say they will succeed better in condemning my scribblings, than in mending their own. But my object is not to prove that I can write well, but, if possible, to make others write better.
(1) This Preface was written for the second edition of this poem, and printed with it.
As the Poem has met with far more success than I expeeted, I have endeavoured in this edition to make some additions and alterations to render it more worthy of public perusal.
In the first edition of this Satire, published anonymously, fourteen lines on the subject of Bowles's Pope were written and inserted at the request of an ingenious friend of mine, who has now in the press a volume of poetry. In the present edition they are erased, and some of my own substituted in their stead ; my only reason for this being that which I conceive would operate with any other person in the same manner : a determination not to publish with my name any production which was not entirely and exclusively my own composition.
With regard to the real talents of many of the poetical persons whose performances are mentioned, or alluded to in the following pages, it is presumed by the Author that there can be little difference of opinion in the public at large; though, like other sectaries, each has his separate tabernacle of proselytes, by whom