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nearly allied in family, so closely bound in affection, and in whose mind presides the same critical taste which he exerted to the delight of all who heard him. He doubtless united with his unequalled abilities, a fund of goodnature; and this possibly led him to speak favourably of, and give satisfaction to writers, with whose productions he might not be entirely satisfied; nor must I allow myself to suppose his desire of obliging, was with-holden, when he honoured any effort of mine with his approbation: But, my Lord, as there was discrimination in the opinion he gave: as he did not veil indifference for insipid mediocrity of composition under any general expression of cool approval; I allow myself to draw a favourable conclusion from the verdict of One who had the superiority of intellect few would dispute, which he made manifest by a force of eloquence peculiar to himself; whose excellent judgment, no one of his friends found cause to distrust, and whose acknowledged candour no enemy had the temerity to deny.
With such encouragement, I present my Book to your Lordship: the Account of the Life and Writing's of Lopez de Vega, have taught me what I am to expect; I there per
ceive how your Lordship can write, and am there taught how you can judge of writers : my faults, however numerous, I know will none of them escape through inattention, nor will any merit be lost for want of discernment: My verses are before him who has written elegantly, who has judged with accuracy, and who has given unequivocal proof of abilities in a work of difficulty ;-a translation of poetry, which few person in this kingdom are able to read, and in the estimation of talents not hitherto justly appreciated: In this view, I cannot but feel some apprehension: but I know also, that your Lordship is apprised of the great difficulty of writing well; that you will make much allowance for failures, if not too frequently repeated; and, as you can accu. rately discern, so you will readily approve, all the better and more happy efforts of one, who places the highest value upon your Lordship’s approbation and who has the honour to be,
ABOUT twenty-five years since, was published a poem called The Library; which, in no long time, was followed by two others, The Village and The Newspaper: These, with a few alterations and additions, are here reprinted; and are accompanied by a poem of greater length, and several shorter attempts, now, for the first time, before the Public; whose reception of them creates in their Author, something more than common solicitude, because he conceives that, with the judgment to be formed of these latter productions, upon whatever may be found intrinsically meritorious or defective, there will be united an enquiry into the relative degree of praise or blame, which they may be thought to deserve, when compared with the more early attempts of the same Writer.
And certainly, were it the principal employment of a man's life, to compose verses, it might seem reasonable to expect, that he would continue to improve as long as he continued to live; though, even then, there is some doubt whether such improvement would follow, and perhaps proof might be adduced to shew, it would not: but when to this “ idle trade,” is added some “ calling," with superior claims upon his time and attention, his progress in the art of versification will probably be in proportion neither to the years he has lived, nor even to the attempts he has made.
While composing the first-published of these poems, the Author was honoured with the notice and assisted by the advice of the Right Honourable EDMUND BURKE: Part of it, was written in his presence, and the whole submitted to his judgement ; receiving, in its progress, the benefit of his correction : I hope, therefore, to obtain pardon of the Reader, if I eagerly seize the occasion, and, after so long a silence, endeavour to express a grateful sense of the benefits I have received from this Gentleman, who was solicitous for my more essential interests, as well as benevolently anxious for my eredit as a writer.
I will not enter upon the subject of his extraordinary abilities; it would be vanity, it would be weakness in me to believe that I could make them better known or more admired than they now are ; but of his private worth, of his wishes to do good, of his affability and condescension; his readiness to lend assistance when he knew it was wanted, and his delight to give praise where he thought it was deserved ; of these I may write with some propriety: all know that his powers were vast, his acquirements various, and I take leave to add, that he