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Harvard College Library.
I cannot omit to return you my best thanks for your very obliging present, from the fenial of which Thane esived great pleasure as well as information. One might perhaps & regect that is valuable a piece of critiism was not sooner communicated If the world; but, in another light, I confess I minest ansider the publication at the present moment as a fortunate accumstance, for the interests of taste and,
d good letters. I am in hopes
book may from a timely
antidote & that
that your poison, ( out sout poison, and suited, Ipear too will Do the ages : Forth, ]) with which we have been lately overflow=
Under the shelter of your authority,
D avow an opinion, that Poetry is not confined to ich
complets, and that its greatest powers and opileques.
Welbeck Thut 22. Jan's 1782.
I am, Sir, with real nspect,
Your most obedient
tales of his country, and delivered them in the purest stile, enlivened with interesting circumstances. Sacchetti published tales before him, in which are many anecdotes of Dante and his contemporaries. Boccace was faintly imitated by several Italians, Poggio, Bandello, Cinthio, Firenzuola, Malespini, and others. * Machiavel himself did honour to this species of writing, by his Belphegor.
To produce, and carry on with probability and decorum, a series of events, is the most difficult work of invention; and if we were minutely to examine the popular stories of every nation, we should be amazed to find how few circumstances
*Michiavel, who possessed the liveliest wit with the profoundest reflection, wrote also two comedies, Mandgragora and Clytia, the former of which was played before Leo X. with much magnificence; the latter is an imitation of the Cassina of Plautus: "Indigna vero homine Christiano (says Balzac) qui sanctiores Musas colit, et, in ludicris quoque, meminisse debet severitatis." Epist. Select. pag. 202. I have been informed that Machiavel, towards the latter part of his life, grew religious, and that some pieces of ascetic devotion, composed by him, are preserved in the libraries of Italy. Lord Bacon says remarkably of Machiavel, that he teaches what men usually do, not what they ought to do.