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At the commencement of a new series of this work it may


proper to say something in explanation of the purposes which I have endeavoured to effect by the enlargement of my plan.

The habitual demands of literary curiosity seem to require a monthly, rather than a less frequent, publication: to this stated time, they who indulge themselves in periodical productions of the press, are accustomed to look; and a longer delay therefore forms a material impediment to their circulation. With this conviction I resolved, at the opening of the present year, regardless of my own labour, even amid a variety of other occupations, to produce a Number every month; and I did it the more willingly, because it would give me an opportunity of intermixing and contrasting, with the BLACK-LETTER materials which had hitherto almost engrossed my pages, a due proportion of modern literature,

On this scheme I have, after candid allowances for the imperfectness by which we too generally fall short in the execution of what we may have vigorously planned, brought this volume to a close. It is, no doubt, but a faint copy of what I had hoped to have done; and perhaps no one of its readers will be more sensible of its various defects than the author himself. For these, illness, perplexities of mind, and private business, will furnish no just apology, because they only


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remove the blame to the rashness of the attempt. I would rather throw myself on the mercy of those enlarged minds which kuow the difficulties of such undertakings; and for the rest, I am prepared to endure with silent fortitude the pert or acrimonious censures of the half-witted or malignant.

The subjects to which I have most wished to give the new space, are Sketches of Literary Biography, These, if executed with spirit and judgment, appear to me at once highly amusing, and highly instructive. If it be true, that

“ The proper study of mankind is man," șurely the account of those men, who most excel in intellect, the quality which principally lifts human beings above other terrestrial animals, is of the most important interest. We are anxious to know the opinions, and moral and mental habits, of those who have been distinguished for the powers of the head, and the sensibilities of the heart. We delight to bask in the rays of light they throw around them; and we feel a pleasing pity, and perhaps a strange mixture of selfconsolation, in contemplating their eccentricities, and even their occasional weaknesses and foibles. A generous admiration of merit, a breast glowing with liberal sentiments, and fired with sympathy for the romantic effusions of the poet, are necessary qualifications for him, who would enter on the arduous task of sketching the characters of Genius. For this purpose, a new apparatus of common-place and uninteresting facts is not necessary: many daily occupations, many familiar events, the most original and eccentric bard must experience in common with the vulgar herd of mankind. We look to the peculiar traits of mind, to those happier hours of abstraction of the soul, or when the bosom is surrendered up to a delicious tenderness for the ingredients of a portrait worthy of him who deserves to be commemorated. I have therefore had the presumption to suppose, that without possessing any other documents than those already before the public, I might seize and combine into groups such a variety of intellectual features aš might not only have the charm of novelty, but exhibit important pictures of the powers and tendencies of literary eminence.


Have I vainly flattered myself that such an enlargement of my original design forms a pleasing contrast to the heavy, though useful, notices, which black, letter researches afford? Will it be deemed an unpardonable ambition, to have aspired occasionally to higher tasks than copying old title-pages, and transcribing long specimens of obsolete books? I consider the labour of reviving the unjustly-forgotten works of our ancestors, both generous and beneficial; but I can never commend the narrow and pedantic spirit which limits all excellence to the ages that have long passed away, and beholds whatever is modern with silly and affected scorn. It is by the perpetual intermixture and comparison with each other, that a new charm is given to both; the faults of each are corrected; and all the varieties of language and sentiment are brought into a common stock.

Actuated by this conviction I have, in addition to the memoirs, begun a series of moral essays, under the title of THE RUMINATOR. Among these I trust that, by the assistance of a very able friend who will not permit his name to be mentioned, I have been the means of conveying to the public at least some good



papers. For my own, I must eonfess that I have not hitherto in any degrce satisfied my wishes or expectations : but I yet believe, that the private causes of my

I inability of exertion, which I had hoped would not have occurred, will not continue; and that I shall henceforth be able to produce something nearer the standard of my own hopes.

When, however, I turn my eye backward upon the many scarce and interesting works which have been registered in these four volumes, and when I compare what has been done in them, with what has been attempted by those, who have had better opportunities, as well as the advantage of the previous labours of this publication, I own I feel some pride; not on account of the humble part I have performed myself, but of the valuable communications I have been the means of drawing from others better qualified. To many in. genious correspondents I am indebted for various and continued assistance: but to my friend Mr. Park in particular, whose acquaintance with curious libraries, and astonishing extent and accuracy of bibliographical knowledge, more especially on the subject of old English poetry, are far beyond my powers of praise, I feel it a duty to make this acknowledgment. To him I owe a numerous and rich series of articles, most of which nobody but himself could have communicated, and all of which must be received, by those whose curiosty is excited to congenial researches, with constant and unabated interest. On these I may confidently rely to secure a permanent value to my work : and when it is known that they have been furnished with never-ceasing regularity and copiousness amid the most constant and fatiguing undertakings of his own ; while with a fidelity and industry seldom equalled, and never exceeded, he was carrying through the press his augmented and most rich edition of Lord Orford's Royal and Noble Authors, which has just made its appearance; collating the text for Sharpe's beautiful Collection of English Poets; and aiding the inquiries of a large literary acquaintance, who are in the habit of applying for his aid; the simple statement will exhibit traits of character, which do not require any comment. I know the diffidence of my friend will shrink from this acknowledgment with hesitation, and perhaps with momentary anger : but it it thus that I am resolved to prove my consciousness of what I owe him, and not to assume to myself the merits which belong to another. To him I am happy to say, that the public may now look for a new edition of Warton's His. tory of English Poetry, to which he will bring a perfect and intimate acquaintance with the recondite materials used by that ingenious and powerful, but sometimes too hasty, critic, and an accuracy of collation, and congeniality of feeling, eminently fitted for so arduous and important a task.

There are perhaps some few, I hope' not many, among my readers, who require to be reminded of the candour and indulgence due to the errors of inadvertence and haste which must necessarily occur in a periodical publication. Such I have too frequent occasion to perceive and lament; but I am sure that they will afford no cause of triumph or insult to the generous and enlarged mind. Petty critics may seize upon them as their prey; pedantic ill-temper may magnify them into proofs of dulness or ignorance; but these


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