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Motto to the first edition, published in folio, 1734: « Neque sermonibus vulgi dederis te, nec in sræmiis humanis spem posueris rerum tuarum ; suis te oportet illecebris ipsa virtus trahat ad verum decus. Quid de te alii loquantur, ipsi videant, sed loquentur tamen.”
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 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 aukward 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