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those happier hours of abstraction of thë soul, or wheñi 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 as 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 usefül, notices, which blackletter researches afford? Will it be deemed an unpardonable ambition, to have aspired occasionally to higher tasks than copying old title-pages, and trắnscribing 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 bronght into a common stock.
Actuated by this conviction I have, in addition to the memoirs, begún 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. Por my own, I must confess that I have not hitherto in any degree satisfied my wishes or expectations : but I yet believe, that the private causes of my 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 yaluable communications I have been the means of drawing from others better qualified. To many ingenious 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 100 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
are flies, or wasps which may be easily brushed away, without disturbing the quiet of an enlightened spirit.
When I hear whispers of dryness and want of interest in this work, I sometimes ask, what such unrea. sonable censurers expect. Do they hope for a book of merry tales? Or do they think that the quaint title of some obsolete volume is to be made a peg to hang a set of Aippant jests upon? Or a piquant disquisition worked up with all the flowers of modern rhetoric? It may be the defect of the uncommon gravity of my nature; but I will not conceal, that of all things a joke out of place is to me the most odious! And in a work, which proposes for its main object a register of the titles, contents, and specimens of scarce or neglected volumes, the reader, who expects to be entertained by the editor's witticisms, or relies on any other amusement, than what results from the gratification of curious research, deserves to be disappointed. To those who read merely for the purpose of filling up a passing hour, who are not desirous of a just or permanent impression either on thc head or heart, but seek to have their faucies tickled for a moment by the high-seasoned charms of meretricious composition, or the pungent asperities of degrading malice, I have neither the ability, nor the wish to recommend myself.
I suspect that a good taste seldom exists, where a good heart is wanting. That sensibility, which is its fountain, becomes degraded by vicious thinking, still more perhaps than by vicious conduct; at least infinitely more, than by the occasional indulgence of vice, on the pressure of accidental and passing temptations. Great scholars therefore are not always more pure in
their literary judgments, than the half-learned amateurs, whom they despise. The memory may be marvellously stored with Latin and Greek, without one generous emotion of the bosom, or one responsive emotion at the quiverings of genius. These things perhaps with perfect readiness, and in every varied combination,
Play round the head, but come not to the heart."
Such men will continue to think with the vulgar, wherever they have the boldness to indulge their undisguised opinions. Their authority therefore can add little weight to the scale into which it is thrown. I remember in my earlier days, when at Cambridge, more than one character of this sort, who appeared to me to do much injury by arrogating an influence over the minds of others, to which they were by no means entitled.
If industry be considered inconsistent with genius, if what is sound and faithful be therefore deemed dull, I am fearful that I must plead guilty to the charge of being a very stupid and heavy compiler. Still, delusive as may be my hopes, I will flatter myself, that I am performing a task, of which the value will hereafter be better estimated; and that, when these meteors are passed away, my steadier labours will be classed
among the useful, if not the brilliant, works of my cotemporaries.
In the present age, we are as anxious to become acquainted with the modes of thinking and expression of former centuries as of our own day. He, therefore, who endeavours to give facility to these inquiries, by labour, for which he can only be repaid by the esteem of those, whom he assists, merits at least a liberal re