« ZurückWeiter »
more real virtue than, in very corrupt times, needing a Satirist like him, will sometimes fall to the share of multitudes. In this history of his life +, will be contained a large account of his writings ; a critique on the nature, force, and extent of his genius, exemplified from these writings; and a vindication of his moral charaćfer exemplified by his more distinguished virtues; his filial piety, his disinterested friendships, his reverence for the constitution of his country, his love and admiration of virTUE, and (what was the necessary effect) his hatred and contempt of vice, his extensive charity to the indigent, his warm benevolence to mankind, his supreme veneration of the Deity, and, above all, his sincere belief of Revelation. Nor shall his faults be concealed. It is not for the interests of his Virtues that they should. Nor indeed could they be concealed if we were so minded, for they shine thro' his Virtues; no man being more a dupe to the specious appearances of Virtue in others. In a
* “A wit’s a feather, and a chief’s a rod,
“An honest Man's the noblest work of God.
+ It will be printed in the same form with this and
every future edition of his works, so as to make a
part of them. word
word I mean not to be his Panegyrist, but his Historian. And may I, when Envy and Calumny take the same advantage of my absence (for, while I live, I will freely trust it to my Life to confute them) may I find a Friend as careful of my honest fame as I have been of His Together with his Works, he hath be
queathed me his DUNCEs. So that as the property is transferred, I could wish they would now let his memory alone. The veil which Death draws over the Good is so sacred, that to throw dirt upon the Shrine scandalizes even Barbarians. And though Rome permitted her Slaves to calumniate her best Citizens on the day of Triumph, yet the same petulancy at their Funeral would have been rewarded with execration and a gibbet.
N. B. This Edition of Mr. Pope's Works is printed verbatim from the large Octavo, with all his Notes, and a select number of the Editor's.
AM inclined to think that both the writers of books, and the readers of them, are generally not a little unreasonable in their expectations. The first seem to fancy that the world must approve whatever they produce, and the latter to imagine that authors are obliged to please them at any rate. Methinks, as on the one hand, no single man is born with a right of controuling the opinions of all the rest; so on the other, the world has no title to demand, that the whole care and time of any particular person should be sacrificed to its entertainment. Therefore I cannot but believe that writers and readers are under equal obligations, for as much fame, or pleasure, as each affords the other. Every one acknowledges, it would be a wild notion to expect perfection in any work of man: and yet one would think the contrary was taken for granted, by the judgment commonly past upon Poems. A Critic supposes he has done his part, if he proves a writer to have failed in an expression, or erred in any particular point: and can it then be wondered at, if the Poets in general seem resolved not to own themselves in any error For as long as one fide will make no allowances, the other will be brought to no acknowledgments *.