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time, we are most faultily deficient. There are one or two, however, particularly the Deity, by Mr. Boyse; a Poem when it first came out, that lay for some time neglected, till introduced to public notice by Mr. Hervey and Mr. Fielding. In it the reader will perceive many striking pictures, and perhaps glow with a part of that gratitude which seems to have inspired the writer.
In the Moral part I am more copious, from the same reason, because our language contains a large number of the kind. Voltaire, talking of our 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 than ours. In this department the fair reader will find the Muse has been solicitous to guide her, not with the allurements of a syren, but the integrity of a friend.
In the entertaining part my greatest difficulty was what to reject. The materials lay in such plenty, that I was bewildered in my choice; in this case then I was solely determined by the tendency of the Poem; and where I found one, however well executed, that seemed in the least tending to distort the judgment, or inflame the imagination, it was excluded without mercy. I have here and there indeed, when one of particular beauty offered with a few blemishes, lopt off the defects, and thus, like the tyrant, who fitted all strangers to the bed he had prepared for them, I haye inserted some, by first adapting them to my plan; we only differ in this, that he mutilated with a bad design, I from motives of a contrary nature.
It will be easier to condemn a compilation of this kind, than to prove its inutiliy. While young Ladies are readers, and while their guardians are solicitous that they shall only read the best books, there
can be no danger of a work of this kind being disagreeable. It offers, in a very small compass, the very flowers of our Poetry, and that of a kind adapted to the sex supposed to be its readers. Poetry is an art, which no young Lady can, or ought to be wholly ignorant of. The pleasure which it gives, and indeed the necessity of knowing enough of it to mix in modern conversation, will evince the usefulness of my design, which is to supply the highest and the most innocent entertainment at the smallest expence; as the Poems in this collection, if sold singly, would amount to ten times the price of what I am able to afford the present.