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THE occasion of publishing these Imitations was
the clamour raised on some of my Epistles. An answer from Horace was both more full, and of more dignity, than any I could have made in my own person; and the example of much greater freedom in so eminent a divine as Dr. Donne, seemed a proof with what indignation and contempt a Christian may treat vice or folly, in ever so low, or ever so high a station. Both these authors were acceptable to the Princes and Ministers under whom they lived. Thę satires of Dr. Donne I versified, at the desire of the Earl of Oxford, while he was Lord Treasurer, and of the Duke of Shrewsbury, who had been Secretary of State ; neither of whom looked upon a satire on vicious courts as any reflection on those they served in. And indeed there is not in the world a greater error, than that which fools are so apt to fall into, and knaves with good reason to encourage, the mistaking a Satirist for a Libeller ; whereas to a true Satirist nothing is so odious as a Libeller, for the same reason as to a man truly virtuous nothing is so hateful as a hypocrite. Uni equus Virtuti atque ejus Amicin
THE FIRST SATIRE
SECOND BOOK OF HORACE
TO MR. FORTESCUE.
P. THERE are, (I scarce can think it, but am told,) There are, to whom
satire seems too bold : Scarce to wise Peter complaisant enough, And something said of Chartres much too rough. The lines are weak, another's pleas’d to say, 5 Lord Fanny spins a thousand such a day. Tim'rous by nature, of the rich in awe, I come to council learned in the law : You'll give me, like a friend both sage and free, Advice; and (as you use without a fee. F. I'd write no more.
P. Not write ? but then I think, And for
my soul I cannot sleep a wink. I nod in company, I wake at night, Fools rush into my head, and so I write.
14 F. You
F. You could not do a worse thing for your life. Why, if the nights seem tedious— take a wife: Or rather truly, if your point be rest, Lettuce and cowslip-wine ; Probatum est. But talk with Celsus, Celsus will advise
19 Hartshorn, or something that shall close your eyes. Or, if you needs must write, write CÆSAR's praise, You'll gain at least a knighthood, or the bays. P. What? like Sir Richard, rumbling, rough, and
fierce, With Arms, and George, and BRUNSWICK crowd
Rend with tremendous sound your ears asunder, 25
F. Then all your muse's softer art display,
30 Lull with Amelia's liquid name the Nine, And sweetly flow through all the royal line.
P, Alas! few verses touch their nicer ear ; They scarce can bear their Laureat twice a year ; And justly CÆSAR scorns the poet's lays, 35 It is to history he trusts for praise.
F. Better be Cibber, I'll maintain it still, Than ridicule all taste, blaspheme quadrille,
Abuse Ver. 28. falling borse ?] The horse on which His Majesty charged at the battle of Oudenard; when the Prerender, and the Princes of she blood of Franse, fled before him.