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O many are the Qualifications, as well natural as acquir'd, that are effentially requifite to the making of a good Poet, that 'tis in vain for any Man to aim at a great Reputation on account of his Poetical Performances, by barely fol lowing the Rules of others, and reducing their Speculations into Practice. It may not be impoffible indeed for Men, even of indifferent Parts, by making Examples to the Rules hereafter given, to compofe Verfes fmooth and well-founding to the Ear; yet if such Verses want ftrong Sense, Propriety and Elevation of Thought, or Purity of Diction, they will be at best bur what Horace calls them, Verfus inopes rerum, nugæque canora; and the Writers of them not Poets, but verfifying Scriblers. I pretend not therefore by the following Sheets to teach a Man to be a Poet in fpight of Fate and Nature, but only to be of help to the few who are born to be fo, and whom audit vocatus Apollo.
To this End I give in the firft Place Rules for making English Verfe: And these Rules
Rules I have, according to the best of my Judgment, endeavour'd to extract from the Practice, and to frame after the Examples of the Poets that are most celebrated for a fluent and numerous Turn of Verse.
Another Part of this Treatife, is a Dictionary of Rhymes: To which having prefix'd a large Preface fhewing the Method and Usefulness of it, I fhall trouble the Reader in this place no farther than to acquaint him, that if it be as useful and acceptable to the Publick, as the compofing it was tedious and painful to me, I fhall never repent me of the Labour.
What I fhall chiefly fpeak of here, is the largest Part of this Treatife, which I call a Collection of the most natural and fublime Thoughts that are in the best English Poets. And to be ingenuous in the Difcovery, this was the Part of it that principally induc'd me to undertake the Whole: The Task was indeed laborious, but pleafing; and the fole Praise I expected from it, was, that I made a judicious Choice and proper Difpofition of the Paf
fages I extracted. A Mixture of fo many different Subjects, and fuch a Variety of Thoughts upon them, may poffibly not fatisfy the Reader fo well, as a Compofition perfect in its Kind on one intire Subject; but certainly it will divert and amuse him better; for here is no Thread of Story, nor Connexion of one Part with another, to keep his Mind intent, and conftrain him to any Length of Reading. I detain him therefore only to acquaint him, why it is made a Part of this Book, and how Serviceable it may be to the main Design of it.
Having drawn up Rules for making Verses, and a Dictionary of Rhymes, which are the Mechanick Tools of a Poet; I came in the next Place to confider, what other human Aid could be offer'd him; a Genius and Judgment not being mine to give. Now I imagin'd that a Man might have both thefe, and yet fometimes, for the fake of a Syllable or two more or less, to give a Verfe its true Measure, be at a ftand for Epithets and Synonymes, with which I have feen Books
of this Nature in feveral Languages plentifully furnish'd.
Now, tho' I have differ'd from them in Method, yet I am of Opinion this Collection may serve to the fame End, with equal Profit and greater Pleasure to the Reader. For, what are Epithets, but Adjectives that denote and exprefs the Qualities of the Subftantives to which they are join'd? as Purple, Rofie, Smiling, Dewy, Morning: Dim, Gloomy, Silent, Night. What Synonymes, but Words of a like Signification? as Fear, Dread, Terrour, Confternation, Affright, Difmay, &c. Are they not then naturally to be fought for in the Defcriptions of Persons and Things? And can we not better judge by a Piece of Painting, how Beautifully Colours may be difpos'd; than by feeing the fame feveral Colours fcatter'd without Defign on a Table? When you are at a Lofs therefore for pro per Epithets or Synonymes, look into this Alphabetical Collection for any Word under which the Subject of your Thought may most probably be rang'd; and you will find what have been imploy'd by our beft Writers, and in what Manner."
It would have been as eafie a Task for me as it has been to others before me, to have threaded tedious Bead-rolls of Synonymes and Epithets together, and put them by themselves: But when they ftand alone, they appear bald, infipid, uncouth, and offenfive both to the Eye and Ear. In that Difpofition they may indeed help the Memory, but cannot direct the Judg ment in the Choice.
But befides, to confefs a Secret, I am very unwilling it fhould be laid to my Charge, that I have furnish'd Tools, and given a Temptation of Verfifying, to fuch as in fpight of Art and Nature undertake to be Poets; and who mistake their Fondnefs to Rhyme, or Neceffity of Writing, for a true Genius of Poetry, and lawful Call from Apollo. Such Debafers of Rhyme and Dablers in Poetry would do well to confider, that a Man would juftly deserve a higher Efteem in the World by being a good Mafon or Shoo-maker, or by excelling in any other Art that his Talent inclines him to, and that is ufeful to Mankind, than by being an indifferent or fe