« PreviousContinue »
Yet, excepting a short explanatory letter to Col. M. and the Letters to Mr. A, and Mr. W. (the latter of which are given to Thew the Editor's inducements, and the engagements he was under, to intend the care of this Edition) excepting these, I say, the rest are all here published from the Author's own printed tho' not published, copies delivered to the Editor.
On the whole, the Advantages of this Edition, above the preceding, are these, That it is the first complete collection which has ever been made of his original Writings; That all his principal poems, of early or later date, are here given to the public with his last corrections and improvements ; That a great number of his verses are here first printed from the Manuscript copies of his principal poems of later date;
of later date; That many new notes of the Author's are here added to his Poems; and, lastly, that several pieces, both in prose and verse, make now their first appearance before the Public.
The Author's life deserves a just volume; and the Editor intends to give ita For to have been one of the first Poets in the world is but his second praise. He was in a higher Class. He was one of the nobleft works of God. He was an bo
nest Man *. A Man, who alone possessed more real virtue than, in very corrupt times, needing a Satirist like him, will fometimes fall to the share of multitudes. In this history of his life t, 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 charačer exemplified by his more distinguilhed virtues ; his filial piety, his difinterested 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 fincere 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,
66. 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, to as to make a
put of then.
word I mean not to be his Panegyrift, but his Historian. And may 1, when Envy and Calumny take the same advan
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 iny
honest fame as I have been of His ! Together with his Works, he hath bequeathed 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 fcandalizes 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.
Two Chorus's to the Tragedy of Brutus,
Page 38. In the quotation from Virgil, 1. 1. for mani
Jeala, r. munuscula.
P R E F A CE.
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. Mes thinks, 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 paft 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 side will make no allowances, the other will be brought to no acknowledgments *.
* In the former editions it was thus For as long as one fide defrifes a well meant endeavour, the other qvill not be satisfied with a moderate approbation. But the author altered it, as these words were rather a consequence from the conclufion he would draw, than the conclusion itself, which he has now inserted.