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JOHN GILPIN, ESQUIRE,

HIS BRITANNIC MAJESTY'S VICE-CONSUL FOR THE STATES OF CONNECTICUT AND RHODE-ISLAND.

DEAR SIR,

THE book which I fend you across the Atlantic, it was long my purpose to address to your late excellent Father; unable to foresee that delay in the completion of it, which has extended beyond the term of a life, to the great gratification of his friends, and extenfive benefit among mankind, allowed by divine Providence to be full of years. But, in confidering you as fucceffor to his claim, I do not reckon that I am paying you any great compliment; knowing that I fhould have had to apologize to him, not for inscribing my book to him, but for having written it;—not perhaps for its defects fo much as, if it might have any, for its merits. I will therefore, for apology to you, tell you how I came to write it.

When, now near half a century ago, I was taught by my invaluable friend, your Father,

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Father, to scan the measures of the antient claffical poetry, and at the fame time to believe that, in our universities and principal fchools, more importance was given to the study than it deserved, his authority would of courfe have fufficed to establish the tenet in my mind. It was however no light confirmation to find my Father's opinion concurring; which I was prepared to reckon of the higher authority, as he had passed through the difcipline of Eton, where the study is peculiarly inforced, to that of Oxford, where it has always been in very high eftimation. When nevertheless I found them agreeing also in afferting that fome acquaintance with the mechanism of claffical poetry was neceffary to the scholar; when they added that, tho the works of the Greek and Latin poets must be looked to for the standard of fine tafte, yet that, to the English fcholar, an acquaintance with English poetry was not lefs neceffary; when, proceeding in the course thus pointed out, I found that to follow the Greek and Latin rules, for the mechanism of Greek and Latin verse, in writing was easy, but to comprehend the ground, to fee the reason, and to understand the application, fo that

the voice might follow as well as the pen, and the ear might acknowlege its performance, not only was beyond me, but, as far as I could difcover, beyond all teachers; when farther I obferved that for the very different harmony of English verfe no rule could be obtained, and yet the mechanism, under direction of the ear alone, was of eafy execution, these contradictions ingaged my thought. Paffing to Oxford, the intereft, once excited in the fubject, was likely to be kept alive, by the ordinary course of pursuits there, and common topics of converfation. However on entering the world as a man, it was diffipated by the new glare of things and a view to higher interests; and it might never have been recollected but for an accidental occurrence. It is now five and thirty years ago, that, in my way from London to Exbury, paffing through Southampton, I called upon my friend Mr. Pye, of Faringdon-house in Berkshire, fince reprefentative of that county in Parliament, and now poet-laureat, who was then refiding there for the benefit of bathing. I found him with a book before, him, confifting of Fofter's and Galley's treatifes on Accent and Quantity, bound together. With

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With the warmth of youth, on the impulfe of the moment, I expreffed my wonder that he, a votary of fancy and the mufes, could find patience for fuch dull and, I supposed, uninteresting controverfy. He answered that the interest in the fubject, fo warmly and extenfively taken of late among men of letters, had excited his curiofity, which had been gratified by elucidation of the subject itself, interesting inasmuch as it materially concerns the theory at least of verfification; but he had found farther gratification from an account, in Fofter's work, of the Greeks who, on the overthrow of the Conftantinopolitan empire, fpred their language and learning over western Europe. Thus my curiofity was excited, and the refult was that I borrowed the book.

Among iny oaks on the coaft of Hampfhire then was revived that interest in the fubject, which had originated while I was a boy under your Father's care on the verge of the Surrey downs. The information collected in Foster's book from Greek and Latin writers, concerning Greek and Latin versification, gratified me highly; his mistakes concerning English verfification, hurt me. It presently occurred that the former furnished no incon

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