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HE following Hiftory hath been chiefly compiled from original manufcripts, which the writer had the honour to be entrusted with by the reverend and learned prelate, the Bishop of Gloucefter, the intimate friend of Mr. POPE.
As a compofition of this nature ought to be compleat in itself, without reference to any other work, the reader will, nevertheless, unavoidably meet with fome repetitions of matter, which is already perhaps familiar to him.
In those instances, where the writer hath been indebted to others, more especially in what he hath borrowed from the Commentary and Notes, he hath, for the most part, followed the very words of the author, from whom the paffages are taken. As in justice to the public, he would not prefume to alter expreffions which he could not mend; fo in justice to himself, he would not incur
incur the fufpicion, of attempting to conceal the true owner, by a pitiful variation.
With respect to the critical animadversions on Mr. POPE's writings, and genius, he is far from being over anxious to make others adopt his fentiments. He will think it fufficient, if his remarks fhould engage the reader to review his own opinions. Where he hath prefumed to differ from the moft refpectable authorities, he would be rather underflood to propofe a doubt, than to offer a contradiction: he is not fo vain,
make light of the opinions of others; nor yet fo modeft, to fupprefs his own. It will give him lefs concern, however, to expofe his want of judgment, than to be confcious of the despicable infincerity of feigning a conviction, which he does not feel.
To fome, perhaps, the extracts will appear too copious, and he once entertained thoughts of referring to the paffages, he judged proper to felect. But, befide the great trouble and inceffant interruption, which this would have occafioned to the reader, it occurred to him that it would be impoffible, more especially in our 9 author's
author's moral and didactic pieces, fully and candidly to exemplify the beauties and blemishes. of his compofitions, without giving a short connected view of the plan of each piece, and of his chain of reafoning; which contributes, in fome inftances, to conftitute the peculiar excellencies and faults, which are most material to be remarked.
It would, to a few perhaps, have been fufficient to have pointed out particular beauties by inverted commas, or other marks of diftinction; and the writer is aware of the oftentation of citing fine paffages with general applauses, and empty exclamations, at the ends of them. But he recollected, that flight intimations do not always ftrike precipitate readers. Befides, it is fcarce poffible fometimes, when we are fmitten with a fine paffage, to suppress those involuntary bursts of applause---Euge! atque belle! though, in truth, they are but empty exclamations.
Whenever fuch may have efcaped from his pen, he trufts that the candid reader will afcribe them to a folicitude, which made him rather earneft to do juftice to the poet's merit, than to raise an admiration of his own judgment.
Should the following sheets, which have been the fruit of a leifure vacation, be deemed by his graver friends, too foreign from the line of his profeffion; he hath only to anfwer, that as the nature of the human mind requires diversity to preferve the edge of attention, fo, to him, no kind of relaxation could have been more agreeable: and in his choice, he is juftified by the authority of the great Lord Coke---After making certain allotments of time, not much perhaps to the tafte of a modern ftudent, this great fage of the law thus directs the application of the remainder
Quod fupereft, ultro facris largire camenis.