The Complaint: or Night-Thoughts on Life, Death & Immortality/Preface
As the Occasion of this Poem was real, not fictitious; so the method pursued in it, was rather imposed, by what spontaneously arose in the author's mind, on that occasion, than meditated, or designed. Which will appear very probable from the nature of it. For it differs from the common mode of Poetry, which is, from long narrations to draw short morals. Here, on the contrary, the narrative is short, and the morality arising from it makes the bulk of the Poem. The reason of it is, That the facts mentioned did naturally pour these moral reflections on the thought of the writer.