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Anno 1777.

rent poem, I would say something to persuade him to take it as it is, or to excuse it for not being better.

The noble images and reflections, the profound reasonings upon human actions, and excellent precepts for the government of life, which are found in the Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and other books commonly attributed to Solomon, affords subjects for finer poems in every kind than have, I think, as yet, appeared in the Greek, Latin, or any modern language : how far they were verse in their original, is a dissertation not to be entered into at present.

Out of this great treasure, which lies heaped up together in a confused magnificence, above all order, I had a mind to collect and digest such observations and apothegms as most particularly tend to the proof of that great assertion, laid down in the beginning of the Ecclesiastes, All is vanity.

Upon the subject thus chosen, such various images present themselves to a writers's mind, that he must find it easier to judge what should be rejected, than what ought to be received. The difficulty lies in draw. ing and disposing, or (as the painters term it) in grouping such a multitude of different objects, preserving still the justice and conformity of style and colouring, the simplex duntaxat et unum which Horace prescribes as requisite to make the whole picture beautiful and perfect,


As precept, however true in theory, or useful in practice, would be but dry and tedious in verse, espe. cially if the recital be long, I found it neeessary to form some story, and give a kind of body to the Poem. Under what species it may be comprehended, whether Didascalic of Heroic, I leave to the judgment of the critics, desiring them to be favourable in their censure, and not solicitous what the Poem is calied, provided it may be accepted.

The chief patronage or character in the Epic is ale ways proportioned to the design of the work, to carry on the narration and the moral. Homer intended to shew us, in his Iliad, that dissentions amongst great men obstruct the execution of the noblest enterprizes, and tend to the ruin of a state or kiogdom. His A. chilles, therefore, is hanghty and passionate, impati. ent of any restraint by laws, and arrogant in arms. In his Odysses, the same poet end avours to explain that the hardest difficulties may be overcome by labour, and onr fortune restored after the severest afAictions. Ulysses, therefore, is valiant, virtuous, and patient. Virgil's design was to tell us how, from a small colony established by the Trojans in Italy, the Roman empire rose, and from what ancient families Augustus (who was his prince and patron, descenda ed. His hero, therefore, was to fight his way to th: throne, still distinguished and protected by the far

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