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ODES OF HORACE,
ADVERTISEMENT. 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 tody in ever so low or ever soJilgha station. Both these authors were acceptable to the
?rinces and ministers under whom they lived. The Satires of Dr. >onne I versified at the desire of the Earl of Oxford, while he was Lord Treasurer, and of the DuVe of Shrewsbury, who had been Secretary of Suite; 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 fail into, and knaves with good reason to encourage—th« mistaking a satirist for a libeller; whereas to a true satirist nothing is so odious as a libeller, for the same reason as to a man truly virtuous nothing is so hateful as a hypocrite.
Uui oquus virtuti atqtie eius amkis. P.
Whoever expert* a paraphrase of Horace, or a faithful copy of hfi genius or manner of writing, in these Imitations, will be much disappointed. Our author uses the Roman Poet for little morer 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 ease 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 poet, he held little in common, besides a comprehensive knowledge of lire and manners, and a certain curious felicity of expression, which consists in uiing the simple t language with dignity, and the most ornamented with case. 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 severity 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 Satires, than, like Despreaux, to give the name of Satires to Imitations.
BOOK II. SAT. I.
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.
Timorous by nature, of the rich in awe,
I come to counsel learned in the law:
You'll give me, like a friend both sage and free,
Advice; and (as you use) without a tec. 10
F. I'd write no more.
P. Not write? but then I think, -
I'. You could not do a worse thing for your life. Why, if the night seem tedious—take a wife: 16
Or rather, truly, if your point be rest,
P. What? like Sir Richard, rumbling, rough, and
With arms, and George, and Brunswick, crowd the
Rend with tremendous sound your ears asunder,
With gun, drum, trumpet, blunderbuss, and thunder?
Or nobly wild, withBudgell's fire and force,
F. Then all your Muse's softer art display,
Lull with Amelia's liquid name the Nine,
P. Alas few verses touch their nicer ear;
It is to history he trusts for praise.
F. Better be Ciiiber, I'll maintain it still, Than ridicule all taste, blaspheme quadrille, Abuse the city's best good men in metre, And laugh at peers that put their trust in Peter. 40 Ev'n those you touch not hate you.
P. What should ail 'em?
F. A hundred smart in Timon and in Balaam: The fewer still you name, you wound the more; Bond is but one, but Harpax is a score.
P. Each mortal has his pleasure: none deny 45
I love to pour out all myself as plain
Will prove at least the medium must be clear.
My iocs shall wish my life a longer date,
Papist or Protestant, or both between, 65
Like good Erasmus, in an honest mean,
Satire's my weapon, but I'm too discreet
I only wear it in a land of Hectors,
Slander or poison dread from Delia's rage:
Bulls aim their horns, and asses lift their heels;
Then, learned sir! (to cut the matter short)
To wrap me in the universal shade;
F. Alas, young man, your days can ne'er be long;
P. What arm'd for virtue when I point the pen,
Unplac'd, unpension'd, no man's heir or slave?
To Virtue only and her friends a friend,
There my retreat the best companions grace, 125
Almost as quickly as he conqucr'd Spain.
Envy must own 1 live among the great,
This is my plea, on this 1 rest my cause—
F. Your plea is good ; -but still I say, beware!