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As I always desire a Preface to the Work of another, I seldom omit to do, in this respect , as I would be done by. The plan of the present Volume requires no explanation : its matter will, I trust, be found conformable to its title.

Of that matter it is scarcely necessary to repeat the defence which I have given in my former publications of a similar nature. I hear, from so many quarters, that modern taste runs in a direction entirely opposite , that I have ceased to hope any impression on the public ear.

But ignorance and conceit are, nevertheless, deeply revolting even to the most candid of the intelligent part of mankind. That neither poetry, nor morals, nor politics, nor history, were understood till the present day, seems a most strange assumption. On the part of the mob, this opinion is the belief of blindness : on the part of the disseminators, it is mainly design. Among the eminent moralists and politicians of former days, there are few in whose writings the principles of sub

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ordination and government are not such, as the leaders of our own time find inconvenient to their · views and ambitions. They call them therefore a set of prejudiced, slavish, unenlightened rhetoricians and pedants.

The poets of the day are as intolerant, as the politicians. They have a theory of their own to establish; and therefore they do not like to be compared with the practice of those, who obtained fame amongst our ancestors. They seem to think moral truth and good sense inconsistent with genuine poetry. But I deny that these are incompatible with the highest and most splendid fancy and invention. Warmth of colouring, and eloquence of language, arise from the vivid mental presence of the objects which give birth to them. Our forefathers were not in the habit of indulging that factious temperament ,

which is considered to be the glory of the present epoch.

Nor in those more simple days was Literature fallen into that system of intrigue, mechanism, and trick, by which it is now regularly carried on: by the aid of which the most contemptible witlings are lified into notice , fame, and fortune : and without which no genius can emerge from obscurity!

In no age perhaps did the mass of mankind make much attempt to judge for themselves. In the present age they do not affect to conceal,

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