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T HE Lives of private Men, though : T they afford not Examples which
1 máy fill the Mind with Ideas of Greatness and Power, like those of Princes and Generals, yet are they such as are more open to common Imitation; there are few within whose Compass those Actions are, that is, there are, comparatively speaking, few Princes or Generals, but the Actions of a private Man are as Counsel to all; if good eligible, if bad detestable, and to be avoided : For this Reason moji wise Men have delighted in faithful Biography. But here lies the Difficulty, so few are true to their Subject,” for Partiality either of
Love or Hate, has caused many so to mag· nify or multiply the good or bad Actions of
those whose Lives they write, that it is Scarce possible to know how to diminish, or what to divide by, to find the first Figure or Number they had to work upon; so that when (not without some Intreaty) I was induc'd to take upon me to write Memoirs of the Life and Writings of Mr. Pope, of whose Poetry, Criticism, and Satire, I had always been a profess'd Admirer, I refolvid not to suffer my Admiration to carry me greater Lengths than the coolest Reasoning could justify, it being not my. Business to write Panegyrick, but to illustrate Mr. Pope's Works, and hew what manner of Man be was, as well as how great a Poet: To this End, I have made use of all possible Means, my Friends, as well as myself, having spared no Pains to procure what Helps were attainable, fome few I had in my own Hands which were never made publick, and the World stands obliged to those of all Stations, who have been so kind to hand to me for this Use, what they thought would contribute to give Light" into his Life; but most of all we are affisted by his own Letters and Works, by which means, several Things before in Dispute, are now clear'd up, and others long forgotten, revealed to Memory, the Time and Place of A&tions doubtful, fully fixt, and many Things once warmly contended for by cer
tain cenforious and ill-natured People given up.
By the Quotations it will appear, that a large Number of Authors have been perused and consulted in this case, and that nothing is affirmed without fome Evidence ; for how vain would it be to impose Fictions upon the Publick under the Pretence of a real Character?
Besides this, I thougbt it bighly proper, writing of Mr. Pope's Patrons and Friends, not barely to mention their Names, but to give so much of their Character as might Jhow of what Člass (not only as to quality, but Taste and Understanding) they were in: This I have done in the Duke of Buckingham, pretty much at large, as well as the Bishop of Rochester ; I have taken Notice of Dean Swift, Mr. Dennis, Mr. Rowe, Mr. Cibber, Mr. Walsh, Sir William Trumbull, Sir Richard Blackmore, Mr. Oldmixon, Mr. Eusden, Dr. Garth, Mr. Mr. Welsted, Mr. Gay, Mr. Bloome, Mr. Digby, Mr. Theobald, Mr. Moore Smith, and have not forgot a great Number more, fome Friends, and some Enemies, to Mr. Pope, keeping as near as I could to their true Story of Life, and carefully c
voiding fuch Circumstances as have been rea ported upon Night, or no Authority.
As to the Criticism upon Pastoral, it will not be entirely disagreeable to the Ear of those who love Poetry; if the Comparisons be juft, be assured that the Quotations are fair. The Translations from the Italian of Taffo and Guarini are my own, those from the Aminta published some Years fince, being the fourth Translation of that Pastoral into English.
I hope it will be plain that I have spoken of Mr. Pope every where with the greatest Impartiality, and that I have not neglected to infert in these Memoirs, any Thing by which his Fame might be enlarged and continued down to late Posterity, if this Labour fhould live so long; for herein, I must confcss,, I have not consulted my own Interest, but took it in Hand (how unequal foever to the Talk) left some other of more Art, might, mingling . Falshoods with Truth, give to future Times a false and imperfeEt Idea of our great Poet, Critick, and Satirift.
There are several Things which I have omitted, though worthy of Notice, as not being certain whether they are not spurious, and some Pieces, though I am certain they
were wrote by him, as he has not thought fit to honour them with his Name, I enter not into their Merits, but, as he defires, impute them not to him: There are, likewise, a few Verses which he wrote upon a merry Mistake made by a Physcian, at the House of a noble and most estimable Earl; but, as I have not Liberty to publish them, they fall be suppress’d. • Except these, I have not received the least Hint from Persons of Honour and Credit, (to whom I return molt grateful Thanks) of which I have not made some Use, and.dehre to be excused by those from whom I have had Papers without Names or Vouchers, for the Facts contained, at the fame Time expressing a Difpleasure as gainst fome, which I know to be dishonourably false, and if I were able to learn where to return them, I would do it with the Reo proach and Contempt they and their Authors deserve.
It was by particular Defire that I enlarged so much on the Eflay on Man, and the Universal Prayer---In regard to the Ethicks, I have offered them to the Reader's Confideration, and taken Care to be guided in general by a Comment well asproved of by Mr. Pope.