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The Editor of this Collection has not much to say on the present occasion. Truth is seldom verbose: the truest things are most easily expressed in the shortest periods.
Poetry is an art of which no liberal or cultivated mind can, or ought to be wholly ignorant. The pleasure which it gives, and indeed the necessity of knowing enough of it to mix in modern conversation, will evince the utility of the following Compilation, which offers in a small compass the very flower of English Poetry, and in which, care has been taken to select not only such pieces as Innocence may read without a blush, but such as will even tend to strengthen that Innocence.
VOLTAIRE, speaking of the English Poets, gives them the preference, in moral pieces, to those of
any other nation; and, indeed, no Poets have better settled the bounds of duty, or more precisely determined the rules for conduct in life
In this little Collection the reader therefore may find the most exquisite pleasure, while he is at the same time learning the duties of life; and while he courts only Entertainment, be deceived into Wisdom,
In a word, it is the peculiar property of POETRY to do good by stealth; to hide the thorny path of Instruction by covering it with flowers; and the veriest infidel in polite learning must be something more than abandoned, if he will not visit the Temple of Instruction when Pleasure leads the way to it.