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To His Royal Highness PRINCE POSTERITY.

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Here present your Highness with the fruits of a very a world of business, and of an employment quite alien from such amusements as this, the poor production of that refuse of time which has lain beavy upon my hands, during a long prorogation of parliament, a great dearth of foreign news, and a tedious 'fit of rainy weather. For which, and other reasons, it cannot chuse ex. tremely to deserve such a patronage as that of your Highnefs, whose numberless virtues, in so few years, make 'the world look upon you as the future example to all princes. For although your Highness is hardly got clear of infancy, yet has the universal learned world already * resolved upon appealing to your future dictates with the lowest and most resigned submission; fate having decreed you fole arbiter of the productions of human wit, in this polite and most accomplished age. Methinks, the number of appellants were enough to shook and Atarde any judge of a genius lefs unlimited than yours. But, in order to prevent fuch glorious trials, the perfon, it seems, to whose care the education of your Highness is committed, has resolved (as I am told) to keep you in almost an uni. verfal ignorance of our studies, which it is your inherent birthright to infpect.

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The citation out of Irenæus in the title-page, which seems to be all gibberis, is a form of initiation, used anciently by the Marcolian heretics. 1. Wotton.

It is the usual style of decried writers, to appeal to Poslerily; who is here represented as a prince in his nonage, and Time'as his governor; and the author begins in a way very frequent with him, by personating other writers, who foinetimes offer fuch reasons and excuses for publishing their works, as they ought chiefly to conceal, and be alamed af,


It is amazing to me, that this person should have as furance, in the face of the sun, to go abous persuading your Highness, that our age is almost wholly illiterate, and has hardly produced one writer upon any subject. I know very well, that when your Highness shall come to riper years, and have gone through the learning of antiquity, you will be too curious to neglect enquiring into the authors of the very age before you. And to think that this infolent, in the account he is preparing for your view, designs to reduce them to a number fo insignificant as I am alhamed to mention : it moves my zeal and my spleen for the honour and interest of our valt Nourishing body, as well as of myself, for whom I know, by long experience, he has profelled, and still continues, a peculiar malice.

It is not unlikely, that when your Highness will one day peruse what I am now writing, you may be ready to expostulate with your governor upon the credit of what I here affirm; and command bim 10 shew


fome of our productions. To which he will answer, (for I am well informed of his designs), by asking your Highness; Where they are ? and, What is become of them? and pretend it a demonstration that there never any, becaufe they are not then to be found. Not so be found! Who has millaid them? Are they sunk in the abyss of things ? It is certain, that in their own nature they were light enough to swim upon the surface for all eternity. Therefore the fault is in him, whó tied weights so heavy to their heels, as to depress them to the centre. - Is their very esserce destroyed ! who has annihilated them ? were they drowned by purges, or martyred by pipes? who adminiftered them to the posteriors of ? But that it may no longer be a doubt with your Highness, who is to be the author of this uni... versal ruin ; i beseech you to observe that large and terrible fcytle, which your governor affects to bear contingally about him. Be pleafed to remark the length and strengt'), the sharpness and hardness of his nails and teeth; consider his baveful, abominable breath, enemy to life and matter, infectious and corrupting ; and then reflect, whether it be poilible for any mortal ink and paper of this generation to make a luitable resistance.



Oh! that your Highness would one day resolve to disarm this usurping maitre du palais * of his furious engines, and bring your empire hors de page to

It were endless to recount the several methods of ty: ranny and destruction which your governor is pleased to practise upon this occalion. His inveterate malice is such to the writings of our age, that of several thousands produced yearly from this renowned city, before the next revolution of the sun there is not one to be heard of : Unhappy infants, many of them barbarously destroyed, before they have so 'much as learned their mother tongue to beg for pity. Some he stilles in their cradles; others be frights into convulsions, whereof they suddenly die : fonie he fays alive, other's he tears limb from limb : great numbers are offered to Moloch ; and the relt, tainted by his breath, die of a languishing consumption.

But the concern I have most at heart, is for our corporation of poets; from whom I am preparing a petition to your Highness, to be subscribed with the names of one hundred thirty-six of the first rate ; but whose immortal productions are never likely to reach your eyes, though each of them is now an humble and an earneft appellant for the laurel, and has large comely volumes ready to lew for a support to his pretensions. The never dying works of these illustrious persons, your governor, Sir, has devoted to unavoidable death ; and your Highness is to be made believe, that our age has never arrived at the honour to produce one single poet.

We confess Irinmortality to be a great and powerful goddess, but in vain we offer up to her our devotions and our facrifices, if your Highness's governor, who has ufurped the priesthood, must, by an unparallelled ambition and avarice, wholly intercept and devour them.

To affirm that our age is altogether unlearned, and devoid of writers in any kind, feems to be an assertion

* Comptroller. The kingdom of France had a race of kings, which they call les rays faineans, (from their doing nothing) who lived lazily in their apartments, while the kingdom was administered by the mayor de palais ; till Charles Martel, the last may, or, put his master to death, and took the kingdom into his own hand. Hawkes. + Out of guardianship,


so bold and so false, that I have been sometime thinking, the contrary may almost be proved by uncontroulable demonstration. It is true indeed, that although their numbers be vast, and their productions numerous in proportion ; yet are they hurried so hastily off the fcene, that they escape our memory, and elude our fight! When I first thought of this address, I had prepared a copious lift of titles to present your Highness, as an uno disputed argument for what I affirm. The originals were posted fresh upon all gates and corners of streets ; but, returning in a very few hours to take a review they were all torn down, and fresh ones in their places. I enquired after them among readers and booksellers ; but I enquired in vain ; the memorial of them was loft among men, their place was no more to be found : and I was laughed to fcorn for a clown and a pedant, without all taste and refinement, little versed in the course of pres sent affairs, and that knew nothing of what had passed in the best companies of court and town. So that I can only avow in general to your Highness, that we do abound in learning and wit; but to fix upon particulars, is a task too flippery for my Nender abilities. If I should venture in a windy day to affirm to your Highnefs, that there is a large cloud near the horizon, in the form of a bear, another in the zenith, with the head of an afs, a third to the westward, with claws like a dragon; and your Highness should in a few minutes think fit to examine the truth ; it is certain, they would all be changed in figure and position ; new ones would arise ; and all. we could agree upon, would be, that clouds there were, but that I was grossly mistaken in the zosgrophy and topography of them.

But your governor perhaps may still insist, and put the question, What is then become of those immense bales of paper, which must needs have been employed in such numbers of books ? Can these also be wholly annihilate, and so of a sudden, as I pretend ? What shall I say in return of so invidious an objection ?- Ir il befits the distance between your Highness and me, to send you for ocular conviction to a jakes or an oven ; to the windows of a bawdy-house, or to a sordid lantern. Books, like men, their authors, have no more than one way

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into the world; but there are ten thousand to go out of it, and return no more.

I profess to your Highness, in the integrity of my beart, that what I am going to say, is literally true this minute I am writing. What revolutions may happen before it shall be ready for your perusal, I can by no means warrant :: however, I beg you to accept it as a fpecimen of our learning, our politeness, and our wit. I do therefore affirm, upon the word of a sincere man, that there is now actually in being a certain poet, called John Dryden, whose translation of Virgil was lately printed in a large folio, well bound, and, if diligent search were made, for aught I know, is yet to be seen. There is another, called Nahum Tate, who is ready to make oath, that he has caused many reams of verse to be published, whereof both himself and "his bookseller (if lawfully required) can still produce authentic copies; and therefore wonders, why the world is pleased to make such a secret of it. There is a third, known by the name of Tom Durfey, a poet of a vaft comprehension, an universal genius, and most profound learning. There are also one Mr. Rymer, and one Mr. Dennis, most profound critics. There is a person styled Dr. Bentley, who has written near a thousand pages of immense erudition, giving a full and true account of a certain squabble of wonderful importance between himfelf and a bookseller *. He is a writer of infinite wit and humour; no man rallies with a better grace, and in more sprightly turns. Farther, I avow to your Highness, that with these eyes I have beheld the person of Wils liam Wotton, B. D. who has written a good sizeable vojume against a friend of your governor + (from whom, alas, he mult therefore look for little favour) in a most gentlemanly style, adorned with the utmost politeness and civility; replete with discoveries, equally valuable for their novelty and use.; and embellished with

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* Bentley, in his controversy with Lord Orrery upon the genuineness of Phalaris's epiftles, has given, in a preface, a long account of his dialogues with a bookseller, about the loan and restitution of a MS. Hawkes, Sir William Temple,


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