Alexander Pope.

The works of Alexander Pope Esq. : In nine volumes, complete. With his last corrections, additions, and improvements; as they were delivered to the editor, a little before his death. Together with the commentary and notes of Mr. Warburton (Volume 8) online

. (page 13 of 14)
Online LibraryAlexander PopeThe works of Alexander Pope Esq. : In nine volumes, complete. With his last corrections, additions, and improvements; as they were delivered to the editor, a little before his death. Together with the commentary and notes of Mr. Warburton (Volume 8) → online text (page 13 of 14)
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fhe did to all her acquaintance. I do not wonder
it fhould be reported I writ that Character, after a
flory which I will tell you in your ear, and to your
felf only. There was another Charatter written of
bcr Grace by herfelf (with what help, I know not)

* Mr. Bethel.

-J- The Viftory at Dettingen.

j He fays the old Duke, becaufe he wrote a very fine
Epitaph for the Son.

tut



but fhc (hewed it me in her blots, and preffecl
me, by all the adjurations of Friendfhip, to give her
my fincere opinion of it. I acted honeftly and did
fo. She feemed to take it patiently, and, upon
many exceptions which I made, engaged me to
take the whole, and to felect out of it juft as much
as I judged might ftand, and return her the Copy.
I did fo. Immediately me picked a quarrel with me,
and we never faw each other in five or fix years.
In the mean time, me mewed this Character (as
much as was extracted of it in my hand-writing)
as a compofition of my own, in her praife. And
very probably it is now in the hands of Lord Harvey.
Dear Sir, I iincerely wifh you, and your whole fa-
mily (whofe welfare is fo clofely connected) the
beft health and trueft happinefs 3 and am (as is alfo
the Mafter of this place)

Your, &c.



A LET-



A LETTER* to a NOBLE LORD.

On occafion of fome Libels written and propagated at
Court, in the Year 1732-3.

My LORD, Nov. 30, 1733.

YOUR Lordfhip's t Epifrle has been publifh'-d
fome days, but I had not the pleafui e and pain
of feeing it till yefterday : Pain, to think your
Lordfhip (hould attack me at all ; Pleafure, to find
that you can attack me fo weakly. As I want not
the humility, to think myfelf in every way but one
your inferiour, it feems but reafonable that I fhould
take the only method either of felf-defence or reta-
liation, that is left me, againft a perfon of your
cfuality and power. And as by your choice f this
weapon, your pen, you generoufly (ajid .Riodeftry
too, no doubt) meant to put yourfelf upon a level
with me ; I will as foon believe that your Lordlhip
would give ;a wound to a man unarm'd, as that you
would deny me the ufe of it in my own defence.

* This Letter (which was firft printed in the year 1733)
tears the fame place in our Author's profe that the Epi-
ille to Dr. Arbuthnot does in his poetry They are
.both Apologetical, repelling the libellous ilanderson his
Reputation : with this difference, that the ; piftle to Dr.
Arbuthnot, his friend, was chiefly directed againft Grub-
Jlreet Writers, and this letter to the Noble Lord, his ene-
my, againft Court tcriblers. For the reft, they are both
Ivlafter-pieces in their kinds ; That in verfe, more grave,
moral, and fublime ; 7 his in profe, more lively, critical,
and pointed ; but equally conducive to what he had moil
at heart, the vindication of his JVioral JCharacler : the
only thing he thought worth his care in literary alterca-
tions ; and the firft thing he would expecl from the good
offices of a furviving Friend.

f Entitled, An Epijlle to a Doftor of Divinity from
a Nobleman at Hampton Court, Aug. 28, .1733, an ^
printed the November following for J. Roberts. Fol.



A L E T T E R, &c.

I-prefume you will allow me to take the fame li-
berty, in my anfwer to fo candid, polite, and ingeni-
ous a Nobleman, which your Lordfhip took in yours,
to fo grave, religious, and refpeftabh a Clergyman * :
As you anfwcred his Latin in Engli/J), permit me to
anfwer your Verfe in Profe. And tho' your Lord-
ftiip's realbns for not writing in Latin, might be
ftronger than mine for not writing in Verfe, yet I
may plead Two good ones, for this conduct: the one
that I want the Talent of fpinning a thoufand lines in
a Day f (which, I think, is as much Time as this
fubjecl deferves) and the other, that I take your
Lordfhip's Verfe to be as much Profe as this letter.
But no doubt it was your choice, in writing to a
friend, to renounce all the pomp of Poetry, and
give us this excellent model of the familiar.

When I confider the great difference betwixt the
rank your Lordjhip holds in the World, and the rank
which your writings are like to hold- in th* learned
world T I pyefume that diftinclion of ftyle is bat ne-
ceflary, which you will fee obferv'd thro' this letter.
When I fpeak of you, my Lord, it will be with all
the deference due to the inequality which Fortune
has made between you and myfelf : but when I fpeak
of your writings, my Lord, I muft, I can do no-
thing but trifle.

I fhould be obliged indeed to leflen this Refpefi 9
if all the Nobility (and efpecially the elder brothers-
are but fo many hereditary fools J, if the privilege
of Lords be to want brains ||, if noblemen can hard-

* Dr. S.

f- dnd Pope iuith>juflice of fuch lines may Jay,

His Lordjhip him a thoufand in a day. Epift. p. 6.

That to good blood by old prefcriptiiie ra/et
Gives right hereditary to be Fooh.

^ Nor ivonder that my Brain no more affcrds,
But recollefi the privilege of Lords.



A L E T T E R

ly write or read *, if all their bufmefs is but to drefs
and votef, and all their employment in court, to
tell .lies, flatter in public, flander in private, be falfe
to each other, and follow nothing but felf-intereft .
Blefs me, my Lord, what an account is this you
give of them .' and what would have been faid of
me, had I immolated, in this manner, the whole
body of the Nobility, at the flail of a well-fed Pre-
bendary ?

Were it the mere Excefs of your Lordfhip's JVit t
that carried you thus triumphantly over all the
bounds of decency, I might confider your Lordfhip
on your Pegafus, as a fprightly hunter on a mettled
horfe ; and while you were trampling down all our
works, patiently fuffer the injury, in pure admira-
tion of the Noble Sport. But mould the cafe be
quite otherwife, mould your Lordfhip be only like
a Boy that is run away with ; and run away with by
a Very Foal; really common charity, as well as re-
fpe& for a noble family, would oblige me to flop
your carreer, and to help you down from this Pe-
gafus.

Surely the little praife of a Writer mould be a
thing below your ambition : You, who were no
fooner born, but in the lap of the Graces ; no fooner
at fchool, but in the arms of the Mufes ; no fooner
in the World, but you pradHs'd all the (kill of it ;
no fooner in the Court, but you poflefs'd all the art
of it ! Unrival'd as you are, in making a figure,

And when you fee me fairly 'write my name ;

Fr England's fake wifo all<oulddo the fame.
j- Wbiljl all our buinefs is to drefs and mote. ibid.
\ Courts are only larger families,

Ike growth of each, few truths, and many lies :

in private fatyrize, in public fatter.
Feiu to each other, all to one point (rite ;
Which one Ifiant, nor need explain. Adieu, p. ult.
1

and



TO A N O B LE LO RD.

and in making a fpeech, methinks, my Lord, you
may well give up the poor talent of turning a Dif-
ticn. And why this fondnefs for Poetry ? Prole
admits of the two excellencies you moft admire,
Di&ion and Fi6ticn : It admits of the talents you
chiefly pofiefs, a moft fertile invention, and moft
florid expreflion ; . it is with profe, nay the plaineft
profe, that you beft could teach our nobility to vote,
which, you juftly obferve, is half at leaft of their
bufmefs * : and give me leave to prophefy, it is to
your talent in profe,' and not in verfe, to your fpeak-
ing, not your writing, to your art at court, not
youc art of poetry, that your Lordfhip muft owe
your future figure in the world.

My Lord, whatever you imagine, this is the ad-
vice of a Friend, and one who remembers he for-
merly had the honour of fome profeflionofFriendfhip
from you : Whatever was his realjbare in it, whe-
ther fmall or great, yet as your Lordfliip could ne-
ver have had the leaft Lofs by continuing it, or the
leaft Intereft by withdrawing it ; the misfortune of
lofing it, I fear, muft have been owing to his own
deficiency or neglecJ. But as to any actual fault which
deferved to forfeit it in fuch a degree, he proteft-3
he is to this day guiltlefs and ignorant. It could at
moft be but a fault of omijfion ; but indeed by omif-
fions, men of your Lordfhip's uncommon merit
may fbmetimes think themfelves fo injur'd, as to be
capable of an inclination to injure another; who,
tho' very much below their quality, may be above
the injury.

I never heard of the leaft difpleafure you had con-
ceived againft me, till I was told that an imitation
I had made of f Horace had offended fome perfons,

* All their luinefs is to drefs, and vote.
f The firit Satire of the fecond Book, printed in
.1732.

and



Z92 A LETTER

and among them your Lordfhip. I could not have ap-
prehcndcd that a few general Jlrokes about a Lord
fcribling carehjly *, a Pimp, or a #y at Court, a
Sharper in a gilded chariot, &c. that thefe, I fay,
Ihould be ever applied as they have been, by any
malice but that which is the greateft in the world,
the Malice of III people to tbemf elves.

Your Lordfhip fo well knows (and the whole
Court and town thro' your means fo well know)
how far the refentment was carried upon that ima-
gination, not only in the Nature of the Libel f you
propagated againft me, but in the extraordinary
manner, place, and prefence in which it was propa-
gated J ; that I mail only fay, it fecm'd to me to ex-
ceed the bounds of juftice, common fenfe, and der
cency.

I wonder yet more, how a Lady, of great wit,
beauty and fame for her poetry (between whom
and your Lordfhip there is a natural, a ju/? 9 and a
well-grounded efteem) could be prevail'd upon to take
a part in that proceeding. Your refentments againft
me indeed might be equal, as my offence to you
both was the fame ; for neither had I the leaft mif-
underftanding with that Lady till after I was the
Author of my own misfortune in difcontinuing her
acquaintance. I may venture to own a truth,
which cannot be unpleafmg to either of you ; I af-
fure you my reafon for fo doing, was merely that
you fyad both too much wit for me || ; and that I could

* He mould have added, that he called this Nobleman
who fcribled fo carelefly, Lord Fanny.

f Verfes to the Imitator of Horace, afterwards printed
byj. Roberts 1 732. fol.

It was for this reafon that this Letter, as foon as it
Was printed, was communicated to the Q^

Once, and but once, his heedlefs youth was bit.
And lik'd that dang'rous thing a female Wit.
See the Letter to Dr. Arbutbnot amongjl the Variations.

not



TO A NOBLE LORD. 193

not do, with mine, many things which you could
with yours. The injury done you in withdrawing
myfelf could be but fmall, if the value you had for
me was no greater than you have been pleas'd fmce
to profefs. But furely, my Lord, one may fay, nei-
ther the revenge, nor the Language you held, bore
any proportion to the pretended offence : The appella-
tions of* Foe to humankind, an Enemy like the Devil
to all that have Being ; ungrateful, unjujl, deferving
to be whipt, blanketed, kicked, nay killed ; a Monfter^
an AJJaJJin, whofe converfation every man ought to
Jhun, and againlt whom all doors fhould be fhut ; I
befeech you, my Lord, had you the leaft right to
give or to encourage or juftify any other in giving
fuch language as this to me ? Could I be treated
in terms more ftrong or more atrocious, if during
Biy acquaintance with you, I had been a Betrayer,
a Backbiter, a JVbifyerer, an Eves-dropper, or an In-
former ? Did I in- all that time ever throw a faifs
Dye, or palm a foul Card upon you ? Did I ever
borrow, Jleal, or accept, either Money, ll^it, or Ad-
vice from you? Had I ever the honour to join with
either of you in one Ballad, Satire, Pamphlet, or
Epigram, on any perfon living or dead ? Did I ever
do you fo great an injury as to put off my own f^erfes
for yours, efpecially on thoje Perfins whom they
might moji offend? I am confident you cannot an -
fwer in the affirmative \ and I can truly affirm, that
ever fmce I loft the happinefs of your converfation
I have not publiflied or written, one fyllable of, or
to either of you ; never hitch 'd your names in a Verfe,
or trifled with your good names in company. Can I
be honeftly charged with any other crime but an
Qmijfan (for the word Negleft, which I us'd before,
flip'd my pen unguardedly) to continue my admira-
tion of you all my life, and ftill to contemplate, face

* See the aforefaid Ferfes to tbt Imitator of Horace.

VOL. VIII. O to



A L E T T E R

to face, your many excellencies and perfections ? 1
urn perfuacled you- can reproach me truly with no
great Faults, except my natural ones, which I am as
ready to own, as to do all juftice to the contrary
Beauties in you. It is true, my Lord, I am fhort,
not well fliap'd, generally ill-drefs'd, if not fome-
times dirty : Your Lordfhip and Ladyfhip are flill
in bloom ; your Figures fuch, as rival the jfpollo of
Belvedere, and the fiettta of Medicis ; and your faces
to finifh'd, that neither fickncfs or paflion can de-
prive them of Colour ; I will allow your own in par-
ticular to be the fineft that ever Man was bleft with :
preferve it, my Lord, and reflect, that to be a Cri-
tic, would coft it too many frowns, and to be a
Statefman, too many wrinkles ! I further confefs,
I am now fomcwhat old ; but fo your Lordfhip and
this excellent Lady, with all ypur beauty will (I
hope) one day be, I know your Genius and hers
fo perfectly tally, that you cannot but join in ad-
miring each other, and by confequence in the con-
tempt of all fuch as myfelf. You have both, in
my regard, been like (your Lordfhip, I know,
loves a Simile, and it will be one fuitablc to your
fatality] you have been like Two Princes, and I like
n. poor Animal facrificcd between them to cement a
Jailing League : I hope I have not bled in vain j but
that fuch an amity may endure for ever ! For tho*"
it be what common undcrjlandings would hardly con-
ceive, Two Wtts however may be pcrfuaded, that
it i i > in Fricndmip as in enmity, The more danger^
the more honour.

Give me the liberty, my Lord, to tell you, why
I never replied to thofe Verfes on the Imitator of Ho-
race ? They regarded nothing but my Figure, which
1 let no value upon ; and my Morals, which, I
knew, needed no defence : Any honcft man has the
pleafure to be confcious, that it is out of the power
of the Wiuin/ly nay the Great f ft Pu-Jon in the king-
dom)



TO A NOBLE LORD. 195

dom, to leffen him that way, but at the expence cf

his own Truth, H<mour 9 or Juftice.

But tho* I dedin'd to explain myfclf jtfft at the

time when I was fillily tfareaten'd, I (hall now give
your Lordftup a frank account of die offence you
imagined to be meant to you. Fanny (my Lord) is
the plain Englifh of Fanmus^ a real perfon, who was
a foolifh Critic, and an enemy of Horace: perhaps
a Noble one, for fo (if yourXatin be gone in earn-
eft *) I muft acquaint you, the Word Beatui may
beconftrued;

Btafui Famnius ! u/trt
Delatis eapjis et imagine.

This Famtius was, it feems, extremely fond both of
his Poetry and his Ptrfon, which appears by the pic-
tures and Statius he caufed to be made of himfelf,
and by his great diligence to propagate badVtrfes at
Court, and get them admitted into the library of
Auguftus. He was moreover of a delicate or effe-
minate contpUxlm^ and conftant at the affemblies and
Opera's of thofe days, where he took it into his
head toforukrfxMr Horace.



Fannius j ffermsgenis bedat caavtva TigzlR.

till it provoked him at laft juft to iumu him, give
him a Iajb 9 and (end him whimpering to the Ladies.

Difcipulzrum inter jubea plorare cathedra*.

So much for Fanny, my Lord. The word^/r/
(as Dr. Friend or even Dr. Sbervtln could afJure you)
was the literal tranflation of deduct ; a metaphor
taken from a Site-varm, my Lord, to fignify any

* all I learn J from Dr. Freind atfchcol,
Has jia'tf deftrted tbitpwr John Trot-beaJ,
A*d Ifft plain native Englijb in iti JlexL gpift. p. 2 .

O 2



196 A L E T T E R

/light, filken, or as your Lordfhip and the Ladies
call it) * flimzy piece of work. I prefume your
Lordfhip has enough of this, to convince you there
was nothing/^r/jwtf/ but to that Fannius^ who (with
all his fine accomplishments) had never been heard
of, but for that Horace he injur'd.

In regard to the right honourable Lady, your
Lordfhip's friend, I was far from defigning a perfon
of her condition by a name fo derogatory to her, as
that of Sappho ; a name proflituted to every infa-
mous Creature that ever wrote Verfe or Novels. I
proteft I never apply 1 d that name to her in any verfe
of mine, public or private ; and (I firmly believe)
not in any Letter or Converfation. Whoever could
invent a Falfehood to fupport an accufation, I pity ;
and whoever can believe fuch a Character to be
theirs, I pity ftill more. God forbid the Court or
Town fhould have the complaifance to join in that
opinion ! Certainly I meant it only of fuch modern
Sappho's^ as imitate much more the Lewdnefs than
the Genius of the ancient one ; and upon whom
their wretched brethren frequently beftow both the
Name and the Qualification there mentioned f.

There was another reafon why I was filent as to
that paper I took it for a Lady's (on the printer's
word in the title page) and thought it too prefuming,
as well as indecent, to contend with one of that Sex
in altercation : For I never was fo mean a creature
as to commit my Anger againft a Lady to paper^ tho*
but in a private Letter. But foon after, her denial
of it was brought to me by a Noble perfon of real
Honour and Truth. Your Lordfhip indeed faid you
had it from a Lady, and the Lady faid it was your
Lordfhip's ; fome thought the beautiful by-blow had
* Weak texture of his flimzy brain, p, 6.
f- From furious Sappho fcarce a milder fate,

Pox'd by her love, or libcll'd by her hate.

i Sat. B. ii. HOR.
Two



TO A NOBLE LORD. 197

Two Fathers, or (if one of them will hardly be al-
low'd a man) Two mothers ; indeed I think both
Sexes had a fhare in it, but which was uppermojt^ I
know not ; I pretend not to determine the exact
method of this tPitty Fornication: and if J call it
Tours, my Lord, 'tis only becaufe, whoever got it,
you brought it forth.

Here, my Lord, allow me to obferve the differ-
ent proceeding of the Ignoble poet, and his Noble Ene-
mies. What he has written of Fanny, Adonis, Sappho,
or who you will, he own'd he publifh'd, he fet his
name to : What they have publt/h'd of him, they
have deny'd to have written ; and what they have
written of him, they have deny'd to have publijh'd.
One of thefe was the cafe in the paft Libel, and the
other in the prefent. For tho' the parent has own'd
it to a few choice friends, it is fuch as he has been
obliged to deny in the moft particular terms, to the
great Perfon whofe opinion concerned him mo/f.

Yet, my Lord, this Epiftle was a piece not writ-
ten in hajh, or in a pajflon, but many months after
all pretended provocation ; when you was at full
leifure at Hampton-Court, and I the object Jingled^
like a Deer out of Seafon, for fo ill-timed, and ill-
placed a diverfion. It was a deliberate work, direc-
ted to a Reverend Perfon*, of the mo&ferious and
facred character, with whom you are known to cul.
tivate a Jlrift correspondence, and to whom it will
not be doubted, but you open yourfecrgt Sentiments,
and deliver your real judgment of men and things.
This, I fay, my Lord, with fubmiffion, could not
but awaken all my Refleclion and Attention. Your
Lordftiip's opinion of me as a Poet, I cannot help j
it is yours, my Lord, and that were enough to mor-
tify a poor man ; but it is not yours alone, you muft
be content to fhare it with the Gentlemen of the

* Dr. S.

O 3 Dunciad,



J9 8 A L E T T E R

Dundad, and (it may be) with many more innocent
and ingenious men. If your Lordfhip deftroys my
poetical character, ihey will claim their part in the
glory ; but, give me leave to fay, if my moral cha-
racter be ruin'd, it muft be wholly the work of
your Lord/hip ; and will be hard even for you to do,
unlefs I myjelf co-operate.

How can you talk (my moft worthy Lord) of
all Pope's Works as fo many Lib eh , affirm, that
hf has no invention but in Defamation *, and charge
him irith Jilting another man's labours printed with
his own name f ? Fye, my Lord, you forget your-
felf. He printed not his name before a line of the
perfon's you mention ; that perfon himfelf has told
you and all the world in the Book itfelf, what part
he had in it, as may be feen at the conclufion of
l>is notes to the Odyfley. I can only fuppofe your
Lordfhip (not having at that time forgot your Greek)
defpis'd to look upon the Tranjlation ; and ever fince
entertain 'd too mean an Opinion of the Translator
to caft an eye upon it. Befides, my Lord, when
you faid he fold another man's works, you ought
in juftice to have added that he bought them, which
very much alters the Cafe. What he gave him was
five hundred pounds : his receipt can be produced
to your Lordfliip. I dare not affirm lie was as well
paid as fome writers (much his inferiors) have been
fince ; but your Lordfhip will reflect that I am no
man of Quality, either to buy or fell fcribling fo
high : and that I have neither Place, Pen/ion, nor
Power to reward for fccret Services. It cannot be,
that one of your rank can have the leaft Envy to
fuch an author as I : but were that pojftble^ it were

* to his eternal Jkame,
Proved he fan ne'er invent but to defame.
j- And Jold Broom'j labours printed nvifb Pope' r Nane.

P- 7-

much



TO A NOBLE LORD. 199

much better gratify'd by employing not your own->
but fome of thofe low and ignoble pens to do you this
mean office. I dare engage you'll have them for lefs
than I gave Mr. Broom, if your friends have not
rais'd the market : Let them drive the bargain for
you, my Lord ; and you may depend on feeing,
every day in the week, as many ('and now and
then as pretty) Verfes, as thefe of your Lordfhip.

And would it not be full as well, that my poor
perfon mould be abus'd by them, as by one of
your rank and quality ? -Cannot Curl do the fame ?
nay has he not done it before your Lordfhip, in the
fame kind of Language, and almoft the fome word*?
I cannot but think the worthy and difcrcet Clergy-
man himfelf will agree., it is improper , nay uncbrir-
Jiian^ to expofe the pcrfonal defeats of our bro-
ther: that both fuch perfect forms as yours, and
fuch unfortunate ones as mine, proceed from the
hand of the fame Maker, who fo/hianetb h;s VeJJ'els
.as he pleafeth, and that it is not from their Jhape
we can tell whether they are made for bpnpur or
dijhonour. In a word, he would teach you Cha-
rity to your greateft enemies; of which number,
my Lord, I cannot be, reckon'd, lince, tho' a Poet,
I was never your flatterer.

Next, my Lord, as to the Obfcurity * of my Birth
(a reflection copy'd alfo from Mr. Curl and his bre-
thren) I am forry to be obliged to fuch a pre-
fumption as to name my Family in the fame leaf
with your Lordfhip's : but my Father had the ho-
nour in one inftance to refemble you, for he was a
younger Brother. He did not indeed think it a hap-
pinefs to bury his elder Brother, tho' he had one,
who wanted fome of thofe good qualities which
yours pofleft. How fincerely glad could I be, to
pay to that young Nobleman's memory the debt I

* Hard as thy Heart, and as thy Birth obfcure.

O 4 ow'd



zoc A L E T T E R



to bii fnendfiiip, whcfe early death deprived your
family of as much /^zV and Hsntxras he left behind
him in any branch of it. But as to my Father, I
could allure you, my Lord, that he was no mecha-
nic (neither a hatter, nor, which might pleafe TOUT
Lofdfhip yet better, a Cobler) but in trutb, of a
very tolerable family: And my Mother of an an-
c lent one, as well born and educated as that Lady,
whom your Lord/hip made choice of to be the Mo-
ther of jvrar -evsn Children; whcfe merit, beauty,
tBdHrivacity (if trinirnitted to your pofterity) will
te a better prefect than even the noble blood they

; only from yzu. A Mother, on whom I was
never oblig'd fo far to reflect, as to fay, fhe fpolled
me *. And a Father, who never found himfelf
ofaisgfd to fay of me that he difapprav 'd my Con-
duli. In a word, my Lord, I think it enough,
that my Parents, fuch as they were, never coft me
a JR&^P; and that their Son, fuch as he is, never

-.Hem a 7"zr.
I have purpofely omitted to cenfider your Lord-

Criticifms on my Poetry. As they are ex-

the fame with thofe of the foremewtiorfd Au-
ih'.rt, I apprehend they would juftly charge me

..artiality, if I gave to jaa what belongs to

or paid more difiincUon to the fame thing*


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Online LibraryAlexander PopeThe works of Alexander Pope Esq. : In nine volumes, complete. With his last corrections, additions, and improvements; as they were delivered to the editor, a little before his death. Together with the commentary and notes of Mr. Warburton (Volume 8) → online text (page 13 of 14)