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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 trabat 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
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, 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, sincn a nameless character can never be found out, but by its truth and likeness.
THE PROLOGUE TO THE SATIRES.
P. SHUT, shut the door, good John ! fatigu'd I said, the knocker, say
I'm sick, I'm dead. The dog-star rages ! nay, 'tis past a doubt, All Bedlam, or Parnassus, is let out: Fire in each eye, and papers in each hand,
5 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. 10 No place is sacred, not the church is free, Ev'n 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.
VER. I. Shut, sbut the door, good Jobn!] John Sear), his old and faithful servant, whom he has remembered, under that character, in his will; of whose fidelity Dodsley, from his own observation, used to mention many pleasing instances.