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at a time too when an unlimited toleration is so strenuously contended for in affairs of much greater moment, and which are of a much more abstruse and inscrutable nature.

Yet oh unpardonable temerity.! the author has presumed to be. severe in his strictures on Shakespear, the idol of his countrymen ; in whose praises so many productions have lately appeared, and written too with great ingenuity and plaufibility. But reasoning is not neceffarily included in a flow of words, nor is conviction inspired by the music of a well-turn’d period. And the author cannot admire what he thinks reprehensible; or join with others in condemning, where approbation seems to him to be more deservedly : due.

By the situation of our country we are divided from the rest of the world, and hence perhaps the reason why we are in general contented with our own writers, and seem to think that perfection in modern literature is confined within the narrow limits of Great Britain. For the ornament of our persons, for the luxuries of our tables no region is too distant to be explored, no sea too boisterous to be attempted ; whilst the circumscribed spot, which we inhabit, is thought to be amply provided with all that is requisite for the cultivation of our minds, the improvement of our taste, and the amusement of our literary hours. Some few of our wits indeed, for reasons, which need not be here affigned, but which truth and impartiality can never approve, have


treated with uncommon acrimony the writers of other countries, with whom at the same time they seem to have had but a very flender acquaintance. The author wishes to be able to refute their calumnies, and to be himself candid and impartial. Happy if he can remove the prejudices of many, and shew them those objects in a true light, which they have been taught to view through the false medium of prepossession : or if (conscious as he is of his own inabilities) this is more than he shall be able to effect, may he by his example excite some more able advocate to plead the cause of truth and justice.

He has not rendered into English the passages quoted from foreign writers, because he thinks himself

unequal unequal to such a task. Translations in general convey but a very imperfect idea of the originals ; to which they bear much the same resemblance, as a dead body does to a living one. It is true, it may poffibly be known by its features; but where is the vivid penetration of the eye, the ruddy warmth of complexion, the spirit, animation, and energy of the whole frame? It is a mass of inactive, lifeless, loathfome clay.

Poetry, above all other sciences, has been most generally cultivated ; wherever religion and love prevail, there she may always be found ; no country so inhospitable but she has deigned to visit it ; she has cheated the tedious length of the burning sands of Arabia, and dissipated the

gloomy gloomy horrors of ice-bound Lapland. Nothing therefore, it is presumed, need be said in behalf of the author of the following sheets, for having endeavoured to recommend her altho'attir'd in a foreign dress. If however any one shall think it worth his while to censure him, either for the motives that induced him to take up the

pen, or for the manner in which he has treated his subject, to such an one he shall content himself with applying the following lines of the Abbé Metastasio ;

Se'l moffe Leggerezza; no'l curo: Se follia ; lo compiango. Se ragion; gli son grato : e se in lui sono . Impeti di malizia; io gli perdono.

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