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of those embellishments which are afforded in the belief of those ancient heathens.

And it is true, that in the severe notions of our faith, the fortitude of a Christian consists in pa. tience, and suffering, for the love of God, whatever hardships can befal in the world; not in any great attempts, or in performance of those enterprises which the poets call heroic; which are commonly the effects of interest, ostentation, pride, and

runs into a flat thought, sometimes for a hundred lines together, but it is when he is got into a track of scripture: his antiquated words were his choice, not his necessity; for therein he imitated Spenser, as Spenser imitated Chaucer. And though, perhaps, the love of their masters may have transported both too far, in the frequent use of them; yet, in my opinion, obsolete words may then be laudably revived, when either they are more sounding, or more significant, than those in prac-worldly honours. That humility and resignation tice; and, when their obscurity is taken away, are our prime virtues; and that these include no by joming other words to them, which clear the action, but that of the soul whereas, on the consense; according to the rule of Horace, for the trary, an heroic poem requires to its necessary admission of new words. But in both cases a design, and as its last perfection, some great action moderation is to be observed in the use of them. of war, the accomplishment of some extraordinary For unnecessary coinage, as well as unnecessary undertaking, which requires the strength and virevival, runs into affectation; a fault to be avoid-gour of the body, the duty of a soldier, the caed on either hand. Neither will I justify Milton for his blank verse, though I may excuse him, by the example of Hannibal Caro, and other Italians, who have used it: for whatever causes be alledges for the abolishing of rhyme, (which I | have not now the leisure to examine) his own particular reason is plainly this, that rhyme was not his talent; he had neither the ease of doing it, nor the graces of it; which is manifest in his Juvenilia, or verses written in his youth; where his rhyme is always constrained and forced, and comes hardly from him, at an age when the soul is most pliant, and the passion of love makes almost every man a rhymer, though not a poet.

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By this time, my lord, I doubt not but that you wonder, why I have run off from my bias so long together, and made so tedious a digression from satire to heroic poetry. But, if you will not excuse it, by the tattling quality of age, which, as sir William Davenant says, is always narrative; yet I hope the usefulness of what I have to say on this subject, will qualify the remoteness of it; and this is the last time I will commit the crime of prefaces, or trouble the world with my notions of any thing that relates to verse. I have then, as you see, observed the failings of many great wits amongst the moderns, who have attempted to write an epic poem: besides these, or the like animadversions of them or other men, there is yet a farther reason given, why they cannot possibly succeed so well as the ancients, even though we could allow them not to be inferior, either in genius or learning, or the tongue in which they write, or all those other wonderful qualifications which are necessary to the forming of a true accomplished heroic poet. The fault is laid on our religion: they say, that Christianity is not capable

pacity and prudence of a general; and, in short, as much, or more, of the active virtue, than the suffering. But to this, the answer is very obvious. God has placed us in our several stations; the virtues of a private Christian are patience, obedience, submission, and the like; but those of a magistrate, or general, or a king, are prudence, counsel, active fortitude, coercive power, awful commands, and the exercise of magnanimity, as well justice. So that this objection hinders not, but that an epic poem, or the heroic action of some great commander, enterprised for the common good and honour of the Christian cause, and executed happily, may be as well written now, as it was of old by the heathens; provided the poet be endued with the same talents; and the language, though not of equal dignity, yet, as near approaching to it as our modern barbarism will allow, which is all that can be expected from our own or any other now extant, though more refined; and therefore we are to rest contented with that only inferiority, which is not possibly to be remedied.

I wish I could as easily remove that other difficulty which yet remains. It is objected by a great French critic, as well as an admirable poet, yet living, and whom I have mentioned with that honour which his merit exacts from me, I mean Boileau, that the machines of our Christian religion, în heroic poetry, are much more feeble to support the weight than those of heathenism. Their doctrine, grounded as it was on ridiculous fables, was yet the belief of the two victorious monarchies, the Grecian and Roman. Their gods did not only interest themselves in the event of wars (which is, the effect of a superior Providence); but also espoused the several parties, in a visible corporeal descent, managed their intrigues, and fought their

battles sometimes in opposition to each other: though Virgil (more discreet than Homer in that last particular) has contented himself with the partiality of his deities, their favours, their counsels, or commands, to those whose cause they had espoused, without bringing them to the outrageousness of blows. Now our religion, says he, is deprived of the greatest part of those machines; at least the most shining in epic poetry. Though St. Michael, in Ariosto, seeks out Dis'cord, to send her among the pagans, and finds her in a convent of friars, where Peace should reign, which indeed is fine satire; and Satan, in Tasso, excites Solyman to an attempt by night on the Christian camp, and brings an host of devils to his assistance; yet the archangel, in the former example, when Discord was restive, and would not be drawn from her beloved monastery with fair words, has the whip hand of her, drags her out with many stripes, sets her, on God's name, about her business; and makes her know the difference of strength betwixt a nuncio of Heaven, and a minister of Hell: the same angel, in the latter instance from Tasso (as if God had never another messenger belonging to the court, but was confined, like Jupiter to Mercury, and Juno to Iris) when he sees his time, that is, when half of the Christians are already killed, and all the rest are in a fair way of being routed, stickles betwixt the remainders of God's host, and the race of fiends; pulls the devils backwards by the tails, and drives them from their quarry; or otherwise the whole business had miscarried, and Jerusalem remained untaken. This, says Boileau, is a very unequal match for the poor devils, who are sure to come by the worst of it in the combat; for nothing is more easy, than for an Almighty Power to bring his old rebels to reason, when he pleases. Consequently, what pleasure, what entertainment, can be raised from so pitiful a machine, where we see the success of the battle, from the very beginning of it; unless that, as we Christians, we are glad that we have gotten God on our side, to maul our enemies, when we cannot do the work ourselves? For if the port had given the faithful more courage, which had cost him nothing, or at least had made them exceed the Turks in number, then he might have gained the victory for us Christians, without interesting Heaven in the quarrel; and that with as much case, and as little credit to the conqueror, as when a party of one hundred soldiers defeats another, which consists only of fifty.


This, my lord, I confess, is such an argument against our modern poetry, as cannot be answered

by those mediums which have been used. We cannot hitherto boast, that our religion has furnished us with any such machines, as have made the strength and beauty of the ancient buildings.

But what if I venture to advance an invention of my own, to supply the manifest defects of our new writers? I am sufficiently sensible of my weakness; and it is not very probable that I should succeed in such a project, whereof I have not had the least hint from any of my predecessors, the poets, or any of their seconds, and coadjutors, the critics. Yet we see the art of war is improved in sieges, and new instruments of death are invented daily: something new in philosophy and the mechanics is discovered almost every year: and the science of former ages is improved by the succeeding. I will not detain you with a long preamble to that, which better judges will, perhaps, conclude to be little worth.

It is this, in short, that Christian poets have not hitherto been acquainted with their own strength. If they had searched the Old Testament as they ought, they might there have found the machines which are proper for their work; and those more certain in their effects, than it may be the New Testament is, in the rules sufficient for sal vation. The perusing of one chapter in the Prophecy of Daniel, and accommodating what there they find, with the principles of Platonic philosophy, zá it is now christianized, would have the ministry of angels as strong an engine, for the working up heroic poetry, in our religion, as that of the ancients has been to raise theirs by all the fables of their gods, which were only received for truths by the most ignorant and weakest of the people.

It is a doctrine almost universally received by Christians, as well protestants as catholics, that there are guardian angels appointed by God Almighty as his vicegerents, for the protection and government of cities, provinces, kingdoms, and monarchies; and those as well of heathens, as of true believers. All this is so plainly proved from those texts of Daniel, that it admits of no farther controversy. The prince of the Persians, and that other of the Grecians, are granted to be the guardians and protecting ministers of those empires It cannot be denied, that they were opposite, and resisted one another. St. Michael is mentioned by his name, as the patron of the Jews, and is now taken by the Christians, as the protector general of our religion. These tutelar genii, who presided over the several people and regions committed to their charge, were watchful over them for good, as far as their commissions could possibly extend. The general purpose and design of

all, was certainly the service of their great Creator, he writes; if such a man, I say, be now arisen, or shall arise, I am vain enough to think, that I have proposed a model to him, by which he may build a nobler, a more beautiful, and more perfect poem, than any yet extant, since the ancients.

But it is an undoubted truth, that, for ends best known to the Almighty Majesty of Heaven, his providential designs for the benefit of his creatures, for the debasing and punishing of some nations, and the exaltation and temporal reward of others, were not wholly known to these his ministers; else why those factious quarrels, controversies, and battles, amongst themselves, when they were all united in the same design, the service and honour of their common master? But being instructed only in the general, and zealous of the main design; and, as finite beings, not admitted into the secrets of government, the last resorts of Providence, or capable of discovering the final purposes of God, who can work good out of evil, as he pleases; and irresistibly sways all manner of events on Earth, directing them finally for the best, to his creation in general, and to the ultimate end of his own glory in particular: they must of necessity be sometimes ignorant of the means conducing to those ends, in which alone they can jar and oppose each other. One angel, as we may suppose the prince of Persia, as he is called, judging that it would be more for God's honour, and the benefit of his people, that the Median and Persian monarchy, when delivered from the Babylonish captivity, should still be uppermost and the patron of the Grecians, to whom the will of God might be more particularly revealed, contending on the other side, for the rise of Alexander and his successors, who were appointed to punish the backsliding Jews, and thereby to put them in mind of their offences, that they might repent, and become more virtuous, and more observient of the law revealed. But how far these controversies and appearing enmities of those glorious creatures may be carried; how these oppositions may best be managed, and by what means conducted, is not my business to show or determine: these things must be left to the invention and judgment of the poet: if any of so happy a genius be now living, or any future age can produce a man, who, being conversant in the philosophy of Plato, as it is now accommodated to Christian use; for (as Virgil gives us to understand by his example) he is the only proper person, of all others, for an epic poem, who, to his natural endowments, of a large invention, a ripe judgment, and a strong memory, has joined the knowledge of the liberal arts and sciences, and particularly moral philosophy, the mathematics, geography, and history, and with all these qualifications is born a poet; knows, and can practise, the variety of numbers, and is master of the language in which

There is another part of these machines yet wanting; but, by what I have said, it would have been been easily supplied by a judicious writer. He could not have failed to add the opposition of ill spirits to the good; they have also their design, ever opposite to that of Heaven; and this alone has hitherto been the practice of the moderns: but this imperfect system, if I may call it such, which I have given, will infinitely advance and carry farther that hypothesis of the evil spirits contending with the good. For, being so much weaker since their fall than those blessed beings, of God, of acting ill, as, from their own depraved they are yet supposed to have a permitted power nature, they have always the will of designing it. A great testimony of which we find in holy writ, when God Almighty suffered Satan to appear in the holy synod of the angels (a thing not hitherto drawn into example by any of the poets), and gave him power over all things belonging to his servant Job, excepting only life.


Now what these wicked spirits cannot compass of the superior beings, they may by their fraud by the vast disproportion of their forces to those and cunning carry farther, in a seeming league, confederacy, or subserviency to the designs of some good angel, as far as consists with his purity, to suffer such an aid, the end of which may possibly be disguised, and concealed from his finite knowledge. This is indeed to suppose a great errour in such a being: yet since a devil can appear like an angel of light; since craft and malice may sometimes blind for a while a more perfect understanding; and lastly, since Milton has given us an example of the like nature, when Satan appearing like a cherub to Uriel, the intelligence of the Sun, circumvented him even in his own province, and passed only for a curious traveller through those new-created regions, that he might observe therein the workmanship of God, and praise him in his works.

I know not why, upon the same supposition, or some other, a fiend may not deceive a creature of more excellency than himself, but yet a creature; at least by the connivance, or tacit permission, of the omniscient Being.

Thus, my lord, I have, as briefly as I could, given your lordship, and by you the world, rude draught of what I have been long labouring in my imagination, and what I had intended to have put in practice (though far unable for the

attempt of such a poem); and to have left the stage, to which my genius never much inclined me, for a work which would have taken up my life in the performance of it. This too, I had intended chiefly for the honour of my native country, to which a poet is particularly obliged: of two subjects, both relating to it, I was doubtful whether I should choose that of king Arthur conquering the Saxons; which, being farther distant in time, gives the greater scope to my invention : or that of Edward the Black Prince, in subduing Spain, and restoring it to the lawful prince, though a great tyrant, Don Pedro the Cruel which, for the compass of time, including only the expedition of one year; for the greatness of the action, and its answerable event; for the magnanimity of the English hero, opposed to the ingratitude of the person whom he restored, and for the many beautiful episodes which I had interwoven with the principal design, together with the characters of the chiefest English persons; wherein, after Virgil and Spenser, I would have taken occasion to represent my living friends and patrons of the noblest families, and also shadowed the events of future ages, in the succession of our imperial lines: with these helps, and those of the machines, which I have mentioned, I might perhaps have done as well as some of my predecessors; or at least chalked out a way for others to amend my errours in a like design. But, being encouraged only by fair words by king Charles II. my little salary ill paid, and no prospect of a future subsistence, I was then discouraged in the beginning of my attempt; and now age has overtaken me, and want, a more insufferable evil, through the change of times, has wholly disenabled me. Though I must ever acknowledge, to the honour of your lordship, and the eternal memory of your charity, that since this revolution, wherein I have patiently suffered the ruin of my small fortune, and the loss of that poor subsistence which I have had from two kings, whom I had served more faithfully than profitably to myself, then your lordship was pleased, out of no other motive but your own nobleness, without any desert of mine, or the least solicitation from me, to make me a most bountiful present, which, at that time, when I was most in want of it, came most seasonably and unexpectedly to my relief. That favour, my lord, is of itself sufficient to bind any grateful man to a perpetual acknowledgment, and to all the future service, which one of my mean condition can ever be able to perform. May the Almighty God return it for me, both in blessing you here, and rewarding you hereafter. I must not presume to

defend the cause for which I now suffer, because your lordship is engaged against it: but the more you are so, the greater is my obligation to you: for your laying aside all the considerations of factions and parties, to do an action of pure disinterested charity. This is one among many of your shining qualities, which distinguish you from others of your rank: but let me add a farther truth, that without these ties of gratitude, and abstracting from them all, I have a most particular inclination to honour you; and, if it were not too bold an expression, to say, I love you. It is no shame to be a poet, though it is to be a bad one. Augustus Cæsar of old, and cardinal Richlieu of late, would willingly have been such; and David and Solomon were such. You, who without flattery, are the best of the present age in England, and would have been so had you been born in any other country, will receive more honour in future ages, by that one excellency, than by all those honours to which your birth has entitled you, or your merits have acquired you.

Ne, forte, pudori

Sit tibi musa lyræ soleis, & canto Apollo. I have formerly said in this epistle, that I could distinguish your writings from those of any others: it is now time to clear myself from any imputation of self-conceit on that subject. I assume not to myself any particular lights in this discovery; they are such only as are obvious to every man of sense and judgment, who loves poetry, and understands it. Your thoughts are always so remote from the common way of thinking, that they are, as I may say, of another species than the conceptions of other poets; yet, you go not out of nature for any of them: gold is never bred upon the surface of the ground; but lies so hidden and so deep, that the mines of it are seldom found; but the force of waters casts it out from the bowels of mountains, and exposes it amongst the sands of rivers: giving us of her bounty, what we could not hope for by our search. This success attends your lordship's thoughts, which would look like chance, if it were not perpetual, and always of the same tenour. If I grant that there is care in it, it is such a care as would be ineffectual and fruitless in other men. It is the curiosa felicitas which Petronius ascribes to Horace in bis odes. We have not wherewithal to imagine so strongly, so justly, and so pleasantly in short, if we have the same knowledge, we cannot draw out of it the same quintessence: we cannot give it such a term, such a propriety, and such a beauty: something is deficient in the manner,

or the words, but more in the nobleness of our conception. Yet when you have finished all, and it appears in its full lustre, when the diamond is not only found, but the roughness smoothed, when it is cut into a form, and set in gold, then we cannot but acknowledge, that it is the perfect work of art and nature and every one will be so vain, to think he himself could have performed the like, till he attempts it. It is just the description that Horace makes of such a finished piece: it appears so easy, Ut sibi quivis speret idem; sudet multum, frustraque laboret, ausus idem. And besides all this, it is your lordship's particular talent to lay your thoughts so close together, that were they closer they would be crowded, and even a due connection would be wanting. We are not kept in expectation of two good lines, which are to come after a long parenthesis of twenty bad; which is the April-poetry of other writers; a mixture of rain and sunshine =by fits; you are always bright, even almost to a fault, by reason of the excess. There is continual abundance, a magazine of thought, and yet a perpetual variety of entertainment; which creates such an appetite in your reader, that he is not cloyed with any thing, but satisfied with all. It is that which the Romans call cœna dubia; where there is such plenty, yet withal, so much diversity and so good order, that the choice is difficult betwixt one excellency and another; and yet the conclusion, by a due climax, is evermore the best; that is, as a conclusion ought to be, ever the most proper for its place. See, my lord, whether I have not studied your lordship with some application: and since you are so modest, that you will not be judge and party, I appeal to the whole world, if I have not drawn your picture to a great degree of likeness, though it is but in miniature and, that some of the best features are yet wanting. Yet, what I have done is enough to distinguish you from any others, which is the proposition I took upon me to demonstrate.

all possible respect and gratitude, your acceptance of their work. Some of them have the honour to be known to your lordship already; and they who Re have not yet that happiness, desire it now. pleased to receive our common endeavours with your wonted candour, without entitling you to the protection of our common failings, in so difficult an undertaking. And allow me your patience, if it be not already tired with this long epistle, to give you, from the best authors, the origin, the antiquity, the growth, the change, and the compleatment of satire among the Romans. To describe, if not define, the nature of that poem, with its several qualifications and virtues, together with the several sorts of it. To compare the excellencies of Horace, Persius, and Juvenal, and show the particular manners of their satires. And lastly, to give an account of this new way of version which is attempted in our performance. All which, according to the weakness of my ability, and the best lights which I can get from others, shall be the subject of my following discourse.

The most perfect work of poetry, says our mas.. ter Aristotle, is tragedy. His reason is, because it is the most united; being more severely con◄ fined within the rules of action, time, and place. The action is entire, of a piece, and one, without episodes: the time limited to a natural day; and the place circumscribed at least within the com pass of one town or city. Being exactly proportioned thus, and uniform in all its parts, the mind is more capable of comprehending the whole beauty of it without distraction.

But after all these advantages, an heroic poem is certainly the greatest work of human nature. The beauties and perfections of the other are but mechanical; those of the epic are more noble. Though Homer has limited his place to Troy and the fields about it; his action to forty-eight natural days, whereof twelve are holidays, or cessation from business, during the funerals of Patroclus. To proceed, the action of the epic is greater: the extension of time enlarges the pleasure of the reader, and the episodes give it more ornament, and more variety. The instruction is equal; but in the first is only instructive, the latter forms a hero and a prince.

And now, my lord, to apply what I have said to my present business. The satires of Juvenal and Persius appearing in this new English dress, cannot so properly be inscribed to any man as to your lordship, who are the first of the age in that way of writing. Your lordship, amongst many If it signifies any thing which of them is of the other favours, has given me your permission for more ancient family, the best and most absolute this address; and you have particularly encouraged heroic poem was written by Homer long before me by your perusal and approbation of the sixth tragedy was invented: but if we consider the naand tenth satires of Juvenal, as I have translated tural endowments, and acquired parts, which are them. My fellow-labourers have likewise com- necessary to make an accomplished writer in either missioned me to perform in their behalf this office kind, tragedy requires a less and more confined of a dedication to you; and will acknowledge, with | knowledge: moderate learning, and observation of

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