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POSTSCRIPT TO THE READER.
IT is not for every one to relish a true and natural Satire: being,
of itself, besides the nature and inbred bitterness and tartness of particulars, both hard of conceit and harsh of style; and, therefore, cannot but be unpleasing both to the unskilful and over musical ear: the one being affected with only a shallow and easy matter; the other, with a smooth and current disposition. So that I well foresee, in the timely publication of these my concealed satires, I am set upon the rack of many merciless and peremptory censures; which, since the calmest and most plausible writer is almost fatally subject unto, in the curiosity of these nicer times, how may I hope to be exempted upon the occasion of so busy and stirring a subject? One thinks it mis-beseeming the author; because a poem: another, unlawful in itself; because a satire: a third, harmful to others; for the sharpness: and a fourth, unsatire-like; for the mildness: the learned, too perspicuous; being named with Juvenal, Persius, and the other antient satires: the unlearned, savourless; because too obscure, and obscure because not under their reach. What a monster must he be, that would please all!
Certainly, look what weather it would be, if every almanack should be verified: much-what like poems, if every fancy should be suited. It is not for this kind to desire or hope to please, which naturally should only find pleasure in displeasing notwithstanding, if the fault-finding with the vices of the time may honestly accord with the good will of the parties, I had as lieve ease myself with a slender apology, as wilfully bear the brunt of causeless anger in my silence.
For Poetry itself, after the so effectual and absolute endeavours. of her honoured patrons, either she needed no new defence, or else might well scorn the offer of so impotent and poor a client. Only, for my own part, though were she a more unworthy mistress, I think she might be inoffensively served with the broken messes of our twelve o'clock hours, which homely service she only claimed and found of me, for that short while of my attendance; yet, having thus soon taken my solemn farewell of her, and shaked hands with all her retinue, why should it be an eye-sore unto any, since it can be no loss to myself?
For my Satires themselves, I see two obvious cavils to be answered.
One, concerning the matter: than which, I confess, none car be more open to danger, to envy; since faults loath nothing more than the light, and men love nothing more than their faults: and, therefore, what through the nature of the faults and fault of the persons, it is impossible so violent an appeachment should be quietly brooked. But why should vices be unblamed, for fear of blame? And, if thou mayst spit upon a toad unvenomed, why mayst thou not speak of a vice without danger? Especially so warily as I have endeavoured: who, in the unpartial mention of so many vices, may safely profess to be altogether guiltless in myself to the intention of any guilty person who might be blemished by the likelihood of my conceived application; thereupon choosing rather to mar mine own verse than another's name: which notwithstanding, if the injurious reader shall wrest to his own spite, and disparaging of others, it is a short answer, "Art thou guilty?" Complain not thou art not wronged. "Art thou guiltless?" Complain not thou art not touched.
The other, concerning the manner: wherein, perhaps, too much stooping to the low reach of the vulgar, I shall be thought not to have any whit kindly raught my ancient Roman predecessors, whom, in the want of more late and familiar precedents, I am constrained thus far off to imitate: which thing I can be so willing to grant, that I am further ready to warrant my action therein to any indifferent censure.
First, therefore, I dare boldly avouch, that the English is not altogether so natural to a satire as the Latin: which I do not impute to the nature of the language itself, being so far from disabling it any way, that methinks I durst equal it to the proudest in every respect; but to that which is common to it with all other common languages, Italian, French, German, &c. In their poesies the fettering together the series of the verses, with the bonds of like cadence or desinence of rhyme, which if it be usually abrupt, and not dependent in sense upon so near affinity of words, I know not what a loathsome kind of harshness and discordance it breedeth to any judicial ear: which if any more confident adversary shall gainsay, I wish no better trial than the translation of one of Persius's Satires into English; the difficulty and dissonance whereof shall make good my assertion. Besides, the plain experience thereof in the Satires of Ariosto, (save which, and one base French satire, I could never attain the view of any for my direction, and that also might for need serve for an excuse at least) whose chain verse, to which he fettereth himself, as it may well afford a pleasing harmony to the ear, so can it yield nothing but a flashy and loose conceit to the judgment. Whereas, the Roman numbers, tying but one foot to another, offereth a greater freedom of variety, with much more delight to the reader.
Let my second ground be, the well-known daintiness of the
The edition of 1599, followed by the Oxford, reads unusually. I have restored the reading of the first edition. EDITOR.
time: such, that men rather chuse carelessly to lose the sweet of the kernell, than to urge their teeth with breaking the shell wherein it was wrapped: and therefore, since that which is unseen is almost undone, and that is almost unseen which is unconceived, either I would say nothing to be untalked of, or speak with my mouth open that I may be understood.
Thirdly, the end of this pains was a satire; but the end of my satire, a further good: which whether I attain or no, I know not; but let me be plain with hope of profit, rather than purposely obscure only for a bare name's sake.
Notwithstanding, in the expectation of this quarrel, I think my First Satire doth somewhat resemble the sour and crabbed face of Juvenal's which I, endeavouring in that, did determinately omit in the rest, for these forenamed causes, that so I might have somewhat to stop the mouth of every accuser. The rest to each man's censure which let be as favourable as so thankless a work can deserve or desire.
This Post-script having been published with "The Three Last Bookes, of Byting Satyres," by the First Satire" here is to be understood the First of the Fourth Book. EDITOR.
SUCH OBSOLETE OR UNUSUAL WORDS
AS OCCUR IN THE
Abandon-To remove, to banish.
Ablude-To differ, to deviate.
Ablative-For removal, taking away.
Abstension-The act of withholding or keeping off.
Accension-Kindling, enflaming, flame. Acclaim-To applaud
Accumbent-One who lies or sits at meals. Acknown-Marked, discovered, known. Action-The session of an assembly.
Adiaphorist-One who is neutral or indifferent.
Adulterine-Polluted, not genuine.
Affective-Relating to the affections,
Affeign-To pretend, to imagine.
Allocution-An address to another.
Ampliate-To extend, to enlarge.
Angariation-A pressing or forcing of an
other to an action.
Anoiling The act of anointing with oil
Anomy-Transgression of the law.
Antelucan-Before daylight, early,
Anthropopathy--A figure whereby human passions are attributed to God. Antichthones-Antipodes, men living on the opposite side of the earth. Antiperistatis-When heat or cold is rendered more intense by being beset with its contrary.
Antonomasy-A figure, by which an appellative is substituted for a proper
Apaid-Dealt with, satisfied, rewarded.
Appay To discharge, to satisfy.
Apprecatory-Praying, of the nature of
Apprehensive-Ready to conceive.
Aretinisms-Impurities: so named from
Arrectary-The upright beam of the cross, as far as the transverse.
Aspectable-Capable of being seen.
Assay-To state, to satisfy.
Assecuration-The act of rendering se
Assume-To take up.
Astipulate-To agree, to vouch.
Astructive-Opposed to destructive.