A Dedication to a Great Man

My Lord,

Having, a priori, intended to dedicate The Amours of My Uncle Toby to Mr. ***⁠⸺⁠I see more reasons, a posteriori, for doing it to Lord *******.

I should lament from my soul, if this exposed me to the jealousy of their Reverences; because a posteriori, in Court-latin, signifies the kissing hands for preferment⁠—or anything else⁠—in order to get it.

My opinion of Lord ******* is neither better nor worse, than it was of Mr. ***. Honours, like impressions upon coin, may give an ideal and local value to a bit of base metal; but Gold and Silver will pass all the world over without any other recommendation than their own weight.

The same goodwill that made me think of offering up half an hour’s amusement to Mr. *** when out of place⁠—operates more forcibly at present, as half an hour’s amusement will be more serviceable and refreshing after labour and sorrow, than after a philosophical repast.

Nothing is so perfectly amusement as a total change of ideas; no ideas are so totally different as those of Ministers, and innocent Lovers: for which reason, when I come to talk of Statesmen and Patriots, and set such marks upon them as will prevent confusion and mistakes concerning them for the future⁠—I propose to dedicate that Volume to some gentle Shepherd,

Whose thoughts proud Science never taught to stray,
Far as the Statesman’s walk or Patriot-way;
Yet simple Nature to his hopes had given
Out of a cloud-capp’d head a humbler heaven;
Some untam’d World in depths of wood embraced⁠—
Some happier Island in the watry-waste⁠—
And where admitted to that equal sky,
His faithful Dog should bear him company.

In a word, by thus introducing an entire new set of objects to his Imagination, I shall unavoidably give a Diversion to his passionate and lovesick Contemplations. In the meantime,