« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »
Your approbation of this poem, is the only exception to the opinion the world has of your judgement, that ought to relish nothing fo much as what you write yourself but you are refolved to forget to be a critic, by remembering you are a friend. To say more, would be uneafy to you; and to fay lefs, would be unjust in Your humble Servant.
for a hurry in the leifure in reflexion; ftumble the oftenest.
this following Poem in a manner stole inte the world, I could not be furprized to find it uncorrect: though I can no more fay I was a stranger to its coming abroad, than that I approved of the Publifher's precipitation in doing it execution generally produces a fo when we run the fastest, we However, the errors of the printer have not been greater than the candour of the reader: and if I could but fay the fame of the defects of the author, he would need no juftification against the cavils of fome furious critics, who, I am sure, would have been better pleased if they had met with more faults.
Their grand objection is, that the Fury Difeafe is an improper machine to recite characters, and recommend the example of prefent writers: but though I had the authority of fome Greek and Latin Poets, upon parallel inftances, to justify the defign; yet that I might not introduce any thing that feemed inconfiftent, or hard, I ftarted this objection myself, to a gentleman, very remarkable in this fort of criticism, who would by no means allow that the contrivance was forced, or the conduct incongruous.
Difeafe is represented a Fury as well as Envy: fhe is imagined to be forced by an incantation from her recefs;
and, to be revenged on the Exorcift, mortifies him with an introduction of feveral perfons eminent in an accomplishment he has made fome advances in.
Nor is the compliment lefs to any great genius mentioned there; fince a very fiend, who naturally repines at any excellency, is forced to confefs how happily they have all fucceeded,
Their next objection is, that I have imitated the Lutrin of Monfieur Boileau. I must own, I am proud of the imputation; unless their quarrel be, that I have not done it enough: but he that will give himfelf the trouble of examining, will find I have copied him in nothing but in two or three lines in the complaint of Moleffe, Canto II. and in one in his first Canto; the sense of which line is entirely his, and I could wish it were not the only good one in mine.
I have fpoke to the most material objections I have heard of, and thall tell thefe gentlemen, that for every fault they pretend to find in this poem, I will undertake to fhew them two. One of thefe curious perfons does me the honour to fay, he approves of the conclufion of it; but I fuppofe it is upon no other reafon, but because it is the conclufion. However, I fhould not be much concerned not to be thought excellent in an amufement I have very little praflifed hitherto, nor perhaps ever fhall again.
Reputation of this fort is very hard to be got, and very easy to be loft; its purfuit is painful, and its poffetfion unfruitful; nor had I ever attempted any thing in this kind, till finding the animofities among the Men bers
Members of the College of Phyficians increafing daily (notwithstanding the frequent exhortations of our worthy Prefident to the contrary) I was perfuaded to attempt fomething of this nature, and to endeavour to railly fome of our difaffected Members into a fenfe of their duty, who have hitherto moft obftinately opposed all manner of union; and have continued fo unreasonably refractory, that it was thought fit by the College, to reinforce the obfervance of the ftatutes by a bond, which fome of them would not comply with, though none of them had refufed the ceremony of the cuftomary oath; like fome that will trust their wives with any body, but their money with none. I was forry to find there could be any conftitution that was not to be cured without poifon, and that there fhould be a profpect of cllecting it by a lefs grateful method than reafon and perfuafion.
The original of this difference has been of fome ftanding, though it did not break out to fury and excefs, until the time of erecting the Difpenfary, being an apartment in the college, fet up for the relief of the fick poor, and managed ever fince with an integrity and difintereft, fuitable to fo charitable a design.
If any person would be more fully informed about the particulars of fo pious a work, I refer him to a freatife, fet forth by the authority of the Prefident and Cenfors, in the year 97. It is called, "A fhort Account of the "Proceedings of the College of Phyficians, London, in "relation to the fick Poor." The reader may there not only be informed of the rife and progrefs of this fo public an undertaking, but also of the concurrence and encourageinent
encouragement it met with from the moft, as well as the most ancient Members of the Society, notwithstanding the vigorous oppofition of a few men, who thought it their intereft to defeat fo laudable a defign.
The intention of this preface is not to perfuade mankind to enter into our quarrels, but to vindicate the author from being cenfured of taking any indecent liberty with a faculty he has the honour to be a member of. If the fatire may appear directed at any particular person, it is at fuch only as are prefumed to be engaged in difhonourable confederacies for mean and mercenary ends, against the dignity of their own profeffion. But if there be no fuch, then these characters are but imaginary, and by confequence ought to give nobody offence.
The defcription of the battle is grounded upon a feud that happened in the Difpenfary, betwixt a member of the College with his retinue, and some of the fervants that attended there to difpenfe the medicines; and is fo far real, though the poetical relation be fictitious. I hope nobody will think the author too undecently reflecting through the whole, who, being too liable to faults himself, ought to be less fevere upon the miscarriages of others. There is a character in this trivial performance, which the town, I find, applies to a particular perfon: it is a reflection which I fhould be forry fhould give offence; being no more than what may be faid of any physician remarkable for much practice. The killing of numbers. of patients is fo trite a piece of raillery, that it ought not to make the leaft impreffion, either upon the reader, or the perfon it is applied to; being one that I think in my