The Printer TO THE READER:
WHen the Author of these Verses (Written only to please himself, and such particular persons to whom they were directed) return∣ed from abroad some years since, He was troubled to find his name in Print, but somewhat satisfied to see his Lines so ill rendred that he might justly disown them, and say to a mistaking Printer, as one did to an ill Reciter,—Male dum recitas, incipit esse tuum. Having been ever since pressed to correct the many and gross faults (such as use to be in Impressions wholly neglected by the Authors) his answer was, that he made these when ill Verses had more favour and escaped better, than good ones do in this age; the severity whereof he thought not unhappily diverted by those faults in the impression, which hitherto have hung upon his Book, as the Turks hang old rags (or such like ugly things) upon their fairest Horses and other goodly Creatures, to secure them against fascination; and for Page [unnumbered] those of a more Confin'd understanding, who pretend not to Cens••e) as they ad m•re most what they least compre∣hend, so his Verse• (maimed to that degree that himself scarce knew what to make of many of them) might that may at least have a Title to some Admiration, which is no small matter, if what an old Author observes be true, That the aim of Orators, is Victory; of Historians, Tr••• and of Poets, Admiration; He had reason therefore to in∣dulge those faults in his Book whereby it might be recon∣siled to some, and commended to others.
The Printer also be thought would fore the worse, if those faults were amended; for we see maimed statues sell better than whole ones, and clipt and washt Many go about when the entire and weighty lies •oarded up. These are the reasons which for above twelve years past he has opposed to our request; To which it was replyed, that as it would be too late to recal that which had so long been made publick, so might it find excuse from his Youth (the season it was produced in) And for what had been dome source and now added, if it commend not his Poetry, it might his Philosophy, which teaches him so chearfully to bear so great a Calamitr, as the loss of the best part of his fortune (torn from him in Prison, in which, and in 〈◊〉, the best portion of his life hath also been spent) that he can still sing under the burthen, not un∣like that Roman,
Who yet not long after could say,
NOT having the same Argument as at first to persuade the Author that I might print his Verses more Correctly, which he found so ill done at his Return; I have now, adventured, without giving him farther Trouble by, importuning him for a new Permission, to Collect all that I can find, either left out of the former Edition, or such as have been since made by him; to which I am the more encouraged, because the first (thô most of them were compos'd Fifty or Sixty years since) seem still New, which would be more strange in so changing a Language, had it not been by him im∣prov'd, which may make one think it true that I have heard from some learned Criticks, that Virgil when he said—Nova carmina pango. Meant not Verses that were never seen before (for in that sence all at first are New) but such as he thought might be ever New. May these still appear to be so for the diversion of the Readers, and interest of 〈…〉
〈…〉 Their Humble Servant.