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Having ventured to lay these papers before the Public, the Author dare not go further, in explanation or apology, than to express a hope that, whatever imperfections may be found in them, the candid reader will be more inclined to approve than condemn what he cannot but perceive has been done in good faith, and in honour of a noble art, which its advocate may have
“ loved, not wisely, but too well.” That art he pretends not to teach, but merely to illustrate according to his views of its worth and influence.
Claiming the right of an Author to borrow from himself, he has adopted a few brief passages, with necessary alterations, from the Introductory Essays to the Christian Psalmist and the Christian Poet, compiled by him for Mr. COLLINS, of Glasgow. A few larger sections, but entirely new modelled, have been taken from critical articles furnished by him to a respectable Review, between the years 1806 and 1815. The “ Retrospect of Literature," and the “ View of Modern English Literature,” were printed in the first volume of The Metropolitan, edited by MR. CAMPBELL, after they had been delivered at the ROYAL INSTITUTION.
To the noble President, and the honourable Managers of that Institution, as well as to the liberalminded Audiences before whom the whole series was delivered, it is but justice to add, distinctly, that they are in no wise responsible for any thing in these Lectures which was unworthy to be repeated before them. The Author would disdain to shelter himself under their sanction from any censure which honest criticism can inflict upon him, in cases where he may have abused their confidence. The Lectures have been anxiously revised, especially those parts which the limited time allowed for delivery required to be omitted on the spot, but which appeared to be more necessary for their intelligence when submitted to cool perusal, than when uttered before indulgent hearers with the living voice.
Sheffield, April 24. 1833.