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Her gods and godlike heroes rise to view,
Oh, when shall Britain, conscious of her claim,
EPISTLE TO DR. ARBUTHNOT;
THE PROLOGUE TO THE SATIRES.
To the first Publication of this Epistle.
This paper is a sort of bill of complaint, begun many years since, and drawn up by snatches, as the several occasions offered. I had no thoughts of publishing it, till it pleased some persons of rank and fortune [the authors of Verses to the Imitator of Horace, and of an Epistle to a Doctor of Divinity froin a Nobleman at Hampton Court] to attack, in a very extraordinary manner, not only my writings (of which, being public, the public is judge) but my person, morals, and family; whereof, to those who know me not, a truer information may be requisite. Being divided between the necessity to say something of myself, and my own laziness to undertake so awkward a task, I thought it the shortest way to vut the last hand to this Epistle. If it have any thing pleasing, it will be that by which I am most desirous to please, the truth and the sentiment; and if any thing offensive, it will be only to those I am least sorry to offend, the vicious or the ungenerous.
Many will know their own pictures in it, there
being not a circumstance but what is true ; but I
have, for the most part, spared their names; and , they may escape being laughed at, if they please. I would have some of them to know, it was owing
to the request of the learned and candid friend to whom it is inscribed, that I make not as free uso of theirs as they have done of mine. However, I shall have this advantage and honour on my side, . that whercas, by their proceeding, any abuse may be directed at any man, no injury can possibly be done by mine, since a nameless character can never be found out but by its truth and likeness.
P. SHUT, shut the door, good John ! fatigu'd, I
"Tie up the knocker, say I'm sick, l'm dead.'
; hide ?
Is there a parson, much bemus'd in beer,
Arthur, whose giddy son neglects the laws,
Friend to my life! (which did not you prolong,
• Nine years ! cries he, who, high in Drury-lane, Lull'd by soft zephyrs through the broken pane, Rhymes ere he wakes, and prints before term ends. Oblig'd by hunger and request of friends :.
The piece, you think, is incorrect: why take it, I'm all submission; what you'd have it make it.'
Three things another's modest wishes bound, My friendship, and a prologue, and ten pound.
Pitholeon sends to me: You know his grace: I want a patron; ask him for a place.' Pitholeon libell'd me but here's a letter Informs you, sir, 'twas when he knew no better. Dare you refuse him ? Curll invites to dine, He'll write a journal, or he'll turn divine.' Bless me! a packet.---' 'Tis a stranger sues, A virgin tragedy, an orphan muse.' If I dislike it, . Furies, death, and rage!' If I approve, Commend it to the stage.' There (thank my stars) my whole commission ends, The players and I are, luckily, no friends. Fir'd that the house reject him,. 'Sdeath! I'll print And shame the fools---your interest, sir, with Lintot.' Lintot, dull rogue! will think your price too much : • Not, sir, if you revise it, and retouch.' All my demurs but double his attacks : At last he whispers, • Do; and we go snacks.' Glad of a quarrel, straight I clap the door, • Sir, let me see your works and you no more.'
'Tis sung, when Midas' ears began to spring (Midas, a sacred person and a king), His very minister, who spied them first (Some say his queen), was forc'd to speak, or burst. And is not mine, my friend, a sorer case, When every coxcomb perks them in my face? A. Good friend, forbear! you deal in dangerous
things, I'd never name queens, ministers, or kings; Keep close to ears, and those let asses prick, Tis nothing.--P. Nothing ? if they bite and kick ? Out with it, Dunciad! let the secret pass, That secret to each fool, that he's an ass : The truth once told (and wherefore should we lie?) The queen of Midas slept, and so may I.
You think this cruel : take it for a rule, No creature smarts so little as a fool. Let peals of laughter, Codrus ! round thee break, Thou unconcern'd canst hear the mighty crack: Pit, box, and gallery, in convulsions hurl'd, Thou stand'st unshook amidst a bursting world. Who shames a scribbler? Break one cobweb through, He spins the slight, self-pleasing thread anew : Destroy his fib or sophistry, in vain, The creature's at his dirty work again, Thron'd on the centre of his thin designs, Proud of a vast extent of flimsy lines ! Whom have I hurt? has poet yet, or peer, Lost the arch'd eyebrow, or Parnassian sneer? And bas not. Colly still his lord and whore ? His butchers Henley? bis free-masons Moore? Does not one table Bavius still admit? Still to one bishop Philips seems a wit?