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to insure success, or attempting to discriminate the portions possessed by the aspirants alluded to, it will undoubtedly be admitted, that no man is by chance a Rhetorician; and that he, who, by study, familiarises himself with the most distinguished Authors, has the best prospect of succeeding, provided his intellect, in any measure, equals his experience. Of the ability I possess, I, of course, can be no judge; at the same time, I have no hesitation in saying, that this undertaking was not blindly rushed on, without a conviction that I had, in some measure, qualified myself for its accomplishment, by unremitted application and patient industry. This search after knowledge, and the acquaintance with Authors in general which resulted from it, far from encouraging me to embark in an attempt of this kind, has tended rather to deter me, by presenting me with specimens of excellence it were impossible to equal; consequently, even at this instant, when my labours may be said to have terminated, I dare not ask myself the question,“ can it possibly succeed?" when I reflect, that even to myself little appears in the performance, save blemishes and errors; although I am, in all probability, blinded to its most obvious deficiencies, by that self-love, in
which no man is wanting. All, therefore, I shall
attempt to say at present, is, that however defective
my execution may be found, the models I have kept within view, are of the very first order; and I trust it will appear, on a perusal of the following pages, that I have not, at least wilfully, neglected the suggestion of Aristotle, who observes, that
Xρη δε και εν τοισηθεσιν ωσπερ και εν τη των πραγμάτων συστασει, αει ζητειν, ή τε αναγκαιον, ή το εικος.
“ Gentle Reader;" or, in the words of a noble, and recently departed Bard, “ still gentler Purchaser,” from what has been said above, it will be evident to you, that my hopes of conducing to your entertainment, are founded rather on my memory than my genius: to the former of which, I have considered it safest to trust, as I cannot be ignorant of the extent of the one, although, from obvious reasons, it would ill
become me to attempt an estimation of the other Before I conclude, I will, however, venture to say, that, humble as is the opinion I unfeignedly entertain of the work now submitted to you, I have no fears of being accused of presumption, in entering the lists with the Dear Joys, who have hitherto selected Ireland as the scene of their narrations; neither can I persuade myself it is inferior, as a literary composition, to many performances, which, if necessary, I could particularise. This species of comparison, I am, how. ever, conscious, can at best only be considered as one of the manifold devices which pride and self-love are for ever conjuring up, to assuage our mortifications ; nay-is in fact, I feel assured, but a different impulse given to that feeling, which, when I have felt myself vexed, by reflecting on my deficiency of stature as a Man, has ever been ready to administer consolation, by suggesting, that I still am much larger than a Monkey.
Reader, I am perfectly aware it would now become me seriously to apologise for the extent to which this
Preface has run; but as an attempt of the kind would only increase the evil I fain would excuse, no doubt remains on my mind that such an essay will be cheerfully dispensed with. In taking my leave of you, therefore, I shall merely trespass farther on your patience to observe, that with whatever feelings you may arise, from a perusal of the ensuing pages, mine, during their construction, were by no means of an enviable description; and consequently, whatever may be the portion of lassitude I unfortunately inflict, rest assured, you are already sufficiently revenged, by the weariness, the disgust, which attended the com