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»"TpW not my Inrention to make an apology for JL my Poem: Somt will think it needs »» Excuse; and others will receive none. The design, I am sure, is henesi: But he who draws his Pen for one Party, must expect to make Enemies of the ether. Fot, Wit and Fool, are Consequents of Whig and Tory: And every Man is a Knave or an Ass to the contrary fide. There's a Treasury of Merits in the Phanatick Church, as well as in the Popish; and a Pennyworth to be had ofSaintfhip, Honesty and Poetry, for the Leud, the Factious, and the Block' heads: But the longest Chaprer in Deuteronomy, has net Curses enough for an ^/-Brominghani.' My Comfort is, their manrfest Prejudice to my Cause, will render their Judgment of less Authority against me. Tet if a Poem have a Genius, it witl force its own receprion in the World. For there's a sweetness in good Verse, which Trckles even while it Hurts: And no Man can be hearrily angry with htm who pleases him against his will. The Cemmendzumff Adversaries, is the grearest Triumph of a Wrirer; because it never Comes unless Extorred. But I can be sarisfied on more etfie rerms : If I happen to please the more Moderare sort, ,1 (I-all be sure of an honest Party; and in,.fll,f/,obtaf(ility•tofttj^r best Judges: Fot, the least Concerned are commonly the least Corrupt. And I confess I have laid in for those, by rebaring the .Satyr (where Justice would allots it) from carrying too [ha'pan Edge. ..They who can Criricise so weakly, as to imagine I have done my Worst, may be convine'd. at their own C«st, that I tan wrrte Severely, with more ease than I can Gently. I have but laugh'd atsme Mens Follies when I could have declarm'd aga\nst their Vices: And other Mens Virtues I haw commended, as freely as I have taxr! their Crimes. And now, if you are * Malicious Rea. dft, | expect you should return upon m>., that I afjeft to bethought more imparrial than lam. But if Men are not to be judg'd by their Profestions, Gad forgive you CommooweilthVMan fir Professing fe • pjausibly for the Government. Ton cannot be sa Unconscionable, as tc charge me for not subscribrng of my Name ;for that would reflect too gresty upon your own Party., who never dare; though they have the advantage of a Jury to secure-them. If' ytitt liteaot tn% Poem, the fault may poss,bly be in my Writing: (though 'ris hard for an Author to judge against himself y) But more probably'trt in jcur Morals,wfrtfb cannot bear the Truth of it. The Violent, on both suits, will condemn the ChttraHer of Absalom, as
either too favourably, or too hardly drawn. But they are not the Violent whom I desire to please. The fault, on the right hand is to Extenuate, Palliate, and Indulge; and to confess freely I have endeavoured to commit it. Besides the respect which j otve his Birth I have a greater for his Heroic Virtues; and David himself could not be more tender of the young Man's Life than I would be of his Reputation But since the most excellent Natures are almost the most eafie; and, as being such, are the sooneft perverted by ill Counsels _ especially when baited •with Fame and Glory; 'tis no more a wonder that he •withstood not the temptations of Achifophe', than it ■mas for Adam; not to have resisted the too Devils, the Serpent and the Witnan. The Conclusion of the Story 1 purpife/y forbore to prosecute; because I could not obtain from my (elf to shew Absalom Unfortunate. The Frame of it wa: cut out but for a Picture to t hi Waste, and if the Draught be so far true, 'tis as much as I destgnd.
Were I the Inventor, who am only the Historian, 1 should certainly conclude the Piece, with the Reconcilement of Absilom to David. And, who knows but this may come to pass ? Things were not brought to an Extremity where I left the Story: There seems, yet, to be room left for a Composure; hereafter, there nitty be only for Pity. I have not so much as an uncharitable Wish against Achitophel, but am content to be accusd of agotd-natur'd Error, and to hope with Origen, that the Devil himself may at last be fav'd, Tor which reason, in this Poem, he is neither brought to set his House in order, nor to dispose of his Person afterwards as he in Wisdom shall think sit. Cod is infinitely merciful: And his Vicegerent is only not so, because he is not Infinite
The true end of Satyr, is the amendment of Vices by correction. And he who writes Honestly, is no more an Enemy to the Offender, than the Physician to the Patient, when he prescribes harsh Remedies to an inveterate Disease ; for those are only in order to prevent the Chirurgeon's work of an Enlc rescindeadum, which I wish not to my very Enemies. To conelude all; If the Body Politick have any Analogy to the Natural, in my weak Judgment, an Ad ef Oblivion were as necessary in a Hot, Distemper'i State, as gf> Opiate would be m a Raging Fever*