« ПредишнаНапред »
O man, in ancient Rome, my Lord, would have
been furprized, I believe, to see a poet inscribe his works, either to Cicero, or the younger Pliny; not to mention any more amongst her most celebrated names. They were both, it is true, public magistrates of the first distinction, and had applied themselves feverely to the study of the laws; in which both emi. nently excelled. They were, at the same time, illustrious orators, and employed their eloquence in the service of their clients and their country. But, as they had both embellished their other talents by early cultivating the finer arts, and which has spread, we fee, a peculiar light and grace over all their productions ; no fpecies of polite literature could be foreign to their taste or patronage. And, in effect, we find they were the friends and protectors of the best poets their refpective ages produced.
It is from a parity of character, my Lord, and which will occur obviously to every eye, that I am induced
to place your name at the head of this collection, such as it is, of the different things I have written.
“ Nec Phæbo gratior ulla " Quam fibi quæ Vari præscripsit pagina nomen.” And were I as sure, my Lord, that it is deserving of your regard, as I am that these verses were not applied with more propriety at first than they are now; the publick would universally justify my ambition in presenting it to you. But, of that, the public only muft and will judge, in the last appeal. There is but one thing, to bespeak their favour and your friendship, that I dare be positive in : without which, you are the last person in Britain to whom I should have thought of addressing it. And this any man may affirm of himfelf, without vanity; because it is equally in every
Of all that I have written, on any occafion, there is not a line, which I am afraid to own, either as an honest man, a good subject, or a true lover of my country.
I have thus, my Lord, dedicated some few moments, the first day of this new year, to send you, according to good old custom, a present.
An humble one, I confess it is; and that can have little other value but what arises from the disposition of the sender. On that account, perhaps, it may not be altogether unacceptable ; for it indeed an offering rather of the heart than the head; an effufion of those sentiments, which great merit, employed to the best purposes, naturally creates.
May you enjoy, my Lord, through the whole course of this and many more years, that sound health of mind and body, which your important labours for the publick so much want, and so justly merit! And may you foon have the satisfaction to see, what I know you
fo ardently wish, this destructive war, however necessary on our part, concluded by a safe and lasting peace! Then, and not till then, all the noble arts, no less useful than ornamental to human life, and that now languish, may again flourish, under the eye and encouragement of those few, who think and feel as you do, for the advantage and honour of Great Britain. I am, with the fincerelt attachment,
Your most faithful