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And it is upon that pretence, I here presume to shelter this trifle under your protection; for indeed it hath great need of such protection: having at its first coming into the world met with many enemies, and very industrious ones too; but this way I was sure it must live: Would he but once vouchsafe to espouse its defence, whose generosity will overthrow the ignoblest envy; whose good nature cannot but confound the most inveterate malice, and whose wit must baffle the sauciest ignorance.
My Lord, it would but argue me of the meanest impertinence and formality, to pretend here an harangue of those praises you deserve: for he who tells the world whose son you are, has said enough to those who did not know you; and the happy few, whom you have picked and chosen for your conversation, cannot but every hour you are pleased to bestow upon them, be sensible of more than I could tell them in a volume: your Lordship being the best panegyric upon yourself; the son of that great father of his country, who, when all manner of confusion, ruin, and destruction was breaking in upon us, like the guardian angel of these kingdoms, stood up, and with the tongue of an angel too, confounded the subtleties of that infernal serpent, who would have debauched us from our obedience, and turned our Eden into a wilderness. Certainly his name must be for ever honourable, precious his memory, and happy his generation, who durst exert his loyalty, when it was grown almost a reproach to have any; and stem a torrent of faction, popular fury, and fermenting rebellion, to the preserving
of the best of kings in his throne, and the happiest of people in their liberties.
May he live long to complete the reparations he has made in our defence; still, by the strength of his judgment, to foresee those evils that may yet threaten us, and by the power of his wisdom to prevent them; to root out the footing and foundations of the king's open (nay, and bosom) enemies: as a watchful, bold, and sincere counsellor to his master; to be a driver of treacherous, grinning, self-ended knaves, insinuating spies, and useless unprofitable fools from his service: a patron and promoter of honesty, merit, and ability, which else too often, by neglect, are corrupted to their contraries.
In fine to continue (as he is) a kind indulgent father to your Lordship, so much every way his son, and fit to inherit his honours, as, in the strong and shining virtues of your mind, the fixed and steady disposition of your loyalty, the goodness and obliging temper of your nature, is apparent; by which only I must ever humbly confess, and no presumptive merit of my own, I have been encouraged to take this opportunity of telling the world how much I desire to be thought
humble servant to be commanded,
THOUGH plays and prologues ne'er did more abound,
Ne'er were good prologues harder to be found.
Writing by rote; small wit, or none to spare;
Jockeys and Jennys set to northern airs,
And merry catches how to rule the state.
Vicars neglect their flocks, to turn translators,
That is, write worse and worse, 'till he can please ye.