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Free-thinkers. I imagined, too, it was for the interests of Religion 'to have it known, that so great a Genius had a due abhorrence of these pests of Virtue and Society. He came readily into my opinion; but, at the same time, told me it would create him many Enemies. He was not mistaken. For tho' the terror of his pen kept them for some time in respect, yet on his death they rose with unrestrained fury in numerous Coffee-house tales, and Grub-street libels. The plan of this admirable Satire was artfully contrived to Thew, that the follies and defects of a fashionable EDUCATION naturally led to, and necessarily ended in, Free-THINKING; with design to point out the only remedy adequate to fo fatal an evil. It was to advance the same ends of virtue and religion, that the Editor prevailed on him to alter every thing in his moral writings that might be suspected of having the least glance towards Fate or NaTURALISM ; and to add what was proper to convince the world that he was warmly on the side of moral Government and a revealed Il'ill. And it would be injuflice to his memory not to declare that he embraced these occasions with the most unfeigned pleasure.
The sixth Volume consists of Mr. Pope's miscellaneous pieces in verse and prose. Amongst the Verse several fine poems make now their first appearance in his Works. And of the Profe, all that is good, and nothing but what is exquisitely so, will be found in this Edition.
The seventH, EIGHTH, and Ninth Volumes consist entirely of his Letters. The more valuable, as they are the only true models which we, or perhaps any of our neighbours have, of familiar Epistles. This collection is now made more complete by the addition of several new pieces. Yet, excepting a short explanatory letter to Col. M. and the Letters to Mr. A. and Mr. W. (the latter of which are given to shew the Editor's inducements, and the engagements he was under; to intend the care of this Edition) excepting these, I fay, the rest are all here published from the Author's own printed, tho' not published, copies delivered to the Editor.
On the whole, the Advantages of this Edition, above the preceding, are these, That it is the first complete collection which has ever been made of his original Writings; That all his principal poems, of early or later date, are here given to the public with his last corrections and improvements; That a great number of his verses are here first printed from the Manuscript-copies of his principal poems of later date; That many new notes of the Author's are here added to his Poems; and lastly, that several pieces, both in prose and verse, make now their first apearance before the Public.
The Author's life deserves a just Volume; and the Editor intends to give it. For to have been one of the first Poets in the world is but his second praise. He was in a higher Class.
He was one of the noblest works of God.
He was an honest Man". A Man who alone possessed more real Virtue than, in very corrupt times, needing a Satirist like him, will sometimes fall to the share of multitudes.
a“ A wit's a feather, and a chief's a rod,
In this history of his life, will be contained a large account of his writings; a critique on the nature, force, and extent of his genius, exemplified from these writings; and a vindication of his moral character exemplified by his more distinguished virtues; his filial piety, his disinterested friendships, his reverence for the constitution of his country, his love and admiration of virtue, and, (what was the necessary effect) his hatred and contempt of vice, his extensive chas rity to the indigent, his warm benevolence to mankind, his supreine veneration of the Deity, and, above all, his sincere belief of Revelation. Nor shall his faults be concealed. It is not for the interests of his Virtues that they should. Nor indeed. could they be concealed, if we were so minded, for they shine thro' his Virtues ; no man being more a dupe to the specious appearances of Virtue in others. In a word, I mean not to be his Panegyrist but his Historian. And may I, when Envy and Calumny take the same advantage of my absence (for, while I live, I will freely,