Page images
[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]
[merged small][ocr errors]





T will be to little purpose, the Author presumes, to


in public; for it is ten to one whether he gives the true ; and if he does, it is much greater odds, whether the gentle reader is fo courteous as to believe him. He could tell the world, according to the laudable custom of Prefaces, that it was through the irresistible impora tunity of friends, or some other excuse of ancient renown, that he ventured them to the press; but he thought it much better to leave every man to guess for himself, and then he would be sure to satisfy himself: for, let what will be pretended, people are grown so very apt to fancy they are always in the right, that, unless it hit their humour, it is immediately condemned for a fam and hypocrisy.

In short, that which wants an excuse for being in print, ought not to have been printed at all; but whę. ther the ensuing poems deserve to stand in that class, the world must have leave to determine. What faults the true judgment of the Gentleman may find out, it is to be hoped his candour and good-humour will easily pardon; but those which the peevishness and ill-nature of the Critic may discover, must expect to be unmercia fully used: Though, methinks, it is a very preposterous pleasure, to scratch other persons till the bloo comes, and then laugh at and ridicule them,


Some persons, perhaps, may wonder, how Things of this Nature dare come into the world without the protection of some great name, as they call it, and a fulfome Epistle Dedicatory to his Grace, or Right Honourable: for, if a Poem struts out under my Lord's Patronage, the Author imagines it is no less than scandalum magnatum to dislike it; especially if he thinks fit to tell the world, that this same Lord is a perfon of wonderful Wit and Understanding, a notable judge of Poetry, and a very considerable poet himself. But if a Poem have no intrinsic excellencies, and real beauties, the greatest name in the world will never induce a man of sense to approve it; and if it has them, Tom Piper's is as good as my Lord Duke's; the only difference is, Tom claps half an ounce of snuff into the poet's hand; and his Grace twenty guineas : for, indeed there lies the strength of a great name, and the greatest protection an Author can receive from it.

To please every one, would be a new thing; and to writc so as to please nobody, would be as new : for even Quarles and Withers have their admirers. The Author is not so fond of fame, to desire it from the injudicious Many; nor of so mortified a temper, not to with it from the discerning Few. It is not the multitude of applauses, but the good sense of the applauders, which establishes a valuable reputation; and if a Rymer or a Congreve say it is well, he will not be at all solicitous how great the majority may be to the contrary. LONDON, Anno 1699.


« PreviousContinue »