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THREE PART S.
Written in the Time of
THE CIVIL WARS.
SAMUEL BUTLER, Esq
AN ACCURATE EDITION,
Printed for B. LONG, and T. PRIDDEN.
то тн Е
POETA nafcitur, non fit, is a sentence of
as great truth as antiquity; it being most certain, that all the acquired learning imaginable is infufficient to complete a Poer, without a natural genius and propensity to fo noble and fublime an art. And we may, without offence, obferve, that many very learned men, who have been ambitious to be thought poets, have only rendered themfelves obnoxious to that fatirical infpiration our Author wittily invokes,
Which made them, tho' it were in spite
On the other fide, fome who have had very little human learning*, but were endued with a large share of natural wit and parts, have become the most celebrated poets of the age they lived in. But as these laft are rara avis in terris; fo when the Mufes have not difdained the affiftances of A 2 Shakespeare, D'Avenant, &c.
other arts and sciences, we are then blessed with those lafting monuments of wit and learning which may juftly claim a kind of eternity upon earth, And our Author, had his modefty permitted him, might, with Horace, have said,
Exegi monumentum ære perennius ;
Or, with Ovid,
Famque opus exegi, quod nec Jovis ira, nec ignes,
Nec poterit ferrum, nec edax abolere vetuftas.
The author of this celebrated Poem was of this last compofition; for although he had not the happiness of an academical educa. tion, as fome affirm, it may be perceived throughout his whole Poem, that he had read much, and was very well accomplished in the most useful parts of human learning.
Rapin, in his Reflections, fpeaking of the neceffary qualities belonging to a poet, tells us, he must have a genius extraordinary; great natural gifts; a wit juft, fruitful, piercing, folid, and universal; an understanding clear and distinct; an imagination neat and pleasant; an elevation of foul, that depends not only on art or study, but is purely the gift of Heaven, which must be
fuftained by a lively fenfe and vivacity; judgment to confider wifely of things, and vivacity for the beautiful expreffion of them, &c.
Now, how juftly this character is due to our Author, I leave to the impartial reader, and thofe of nicer judgments, who had the happiness to be more intimately acquainted with him.
The reputation of this incomparable Poem is fo thoroughly established in the world, that it would be fuperfluous, if not impertinent, to endeavour any panegyric upon it. King Charles the Second, whom the judicious part of mankind will readily acknowledge to be a fovereign judge of wit, was fo great an admirer of it, that he would often pleasantly quote it in his converfation. However, fince moit men have a curiofity to have fome account of fuch anonymous authors whofe compositions have been eminent for wit and learning, I have been defired to oblige them with fuch informations as I could receive from thofe who had the happiness to be acquainted with him, and alfo to rectify the mistakes of the Oxford Antiquary, in his Athena Oxonienfes, concerning him,