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EPISTLE TO DR. ARBUTHNOT,
BEING THE PROLOGUE TO THE SATIRES.
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 from 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 put 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 know it was owing to the request
of the learned and candid friend to whom it is inscribed
See Memoir prefixed to these volumes, p. xcii.
that I make not as free use of theirs as they have done of mine. However, I shall have this advantage and honour on my side, that whereas, 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!"! fatigued,
I said ; “ Tie up the knocker, say I'm sick, I'm dead.” The dogstar rages ! nay, 'tis past a doubt All Bedlam or Parnassus is let out :Fire in each eye, and papers in each hand, They rave, recite, and madden round the land. What walls can guard me, or what shades can
hide ? They pierce my thickets, through my grot they
glide, By land, by water, they renew the charge, They stop the chariot, and they board the barge. No place is sacred, not the church is free, E’en Sunday shines no sabbath day to me: Then from the Mint walks forth the man of rhyme, Happy to catch me just at dinner time.
Is there a parson much bemus’d in beer, A maudlin poetess, a rhyming peer, A clerk foredoom'd his father's soul to cross, Who pens a stanza when he should engross? Is there who, lock'd from ink and paper, scrawls With desperate charcoal round his darken'd walls?
9 John Searl, Pope's faithful servant.
All fly to Twit'nam, and in humble strain
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.”
3 Arthur Moore, Esq.