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Let courtly wits to wits afford supply,
pure a mess almost as it came in;
F. This filthy simile, this beastly line, Quite turns my stomach-P.So does flattery mine; And all your courtly civet-cats can vent, Perfume to you, to me is excrement. But hear me further-Japhet, 'tis agreed, Writ not, and Chartres scarce could write or read; In all the courts of Pindus guiltless quite; But pens can forge, my friend, that cannot write; And must no egg in Japhet's face be thrown, Because the deed he forged was not my own? Must never patriot then declaim at gin Unless, good man! he has been fairly in? No zealous pastor blame a failing spouse Without a staring reason on his brows? And each blasphemer quite escape the rod, Because the insult's not on man, but God?
Ask you what provocation I have had ? The strong antipathy of good to bad. When truth or virtue an affront endures, The’affront is mine, my friend, and should be yours. Mine, as a foe profess’d to false pretence, Who think a coxcomb's honour like his sense ; Mine, as a friend to every worthy mind; And mine as man, who feel for all mankind.
F. You're strangely proud.
P. So proud, I am no slave;
I am proud; I must be proud to see
O sacred weapon ! left for Truth's defence,
away: All his grace preaches, all his lordship sings, All that makes saints of queens, and gods of kings; All, all but truth, drops dead-born from the press, Like the last gazette or the last address.
When black Ambition stains a public cause, A monarch's sword when mad Vainglory draws, Not Waller's wreath can hide the nation's scar, Nor Boileau turn the feather to a star. Not so when diadem'd with
rays divine, Touch'd with the flame that breaks from Virtue's
shrine, Her priestess Muse forbids the good to die, And opes the temple of eternity.
There other trophies deck the truly brave
Yes, the last pen for Freedom let me draw, When Truth stands trembling on the edge of law. Here, last of Britons ! let your names be read: Are none, none living? let me praise the dead; And for that cause which made your fathers shine, Fall by the votes of their degenerate line.
F. Alas! alas! pray end what you began, And write next winter more Essays on Man.
A LETTER TO THE PUBLISHER;
THE FIRST CORRECT EDITION
It is with pleasure I hear that you have procured a correct copy of the Dunciad, which the
many surreptitious ones bave rendered so necessary; and it is yet with more, that I am informed it will be attended with a Commentary; a work so requisite, that I cannot think the author himself would have omitted it, had he approved of the first appearance of this poem.
Such Notes as have occurred to me I herewith send you: you will oblige me by inserting them amongst those which are, or will be, transmitted to you by others; since not only the author's friends, but even strangers, appear engaged by humanity, to take some care of an orphan of so much genius and spirit, which its parent seems to have abandoned from the very beginning, and suffered to step into the world naked, unguarded, and unattended.
It was upon reading some of the abusive
papers lately published, that my great regard to a person whose friendship I esteem as one of the chief honours of my life, and a much greater respect to truth than to him or any man living, engaged me in inquiries of which the inclosed Notes are the fruit.
I perceived that most of these authors had been (doubtless very wisely) the first aggressors. They had tried, till they were weary, what was to be got by railing at each other: nobody was either concerned or surprised if this or that scribbler was proved a dunce, but every one was curious to read what could be said to prove Mr. Pope one, and was ready to pay something for such a discovery ; a stratagem which, would they fairly own it, might not only reconcile them to me, but screen them from the resentment of their lawful superiors, whom they daily abuse, only (as I charitably hope) to get that by them, which they cannot get from them.
I found this was not all : ill success in that had transported them to personal abuse, either of himself, or (what I think he could less forgive) of his friends. They had called men of virtue and honour bad men, long before he had either leisure or inclination to call them bad writers; and some of them had been such old offenders, that he had quite forgotten their persons, as well as their slanders, till they were pleased to revive them.
Now what had Mr. Pope done before to incense them? He had published those works which are in the hands of every body, in which not the least mention is made of any of them. And what has