« ПредишнаНапред »
which have not only increafed our stock, but improved this mode of conveying lessons of morality: And tho' of late years we have had feveral collections or books of this sort, yet few, if any of them, can lay any just claim to originality, further than putting old Zfop into a new drefs, juft as the fashion of the times prevailed. Our English, poets, it must: be acknowledged, have gone further ; and by their most curious and valuable inventions, have greatly improved this useful branch of literature ; particularly Mr Gay, Mr Moore,, Mr Cunningham, andı fonte others. ; '.
The use of fable was first ettablished, if not originally introduced, by Ælop; a circumstance which not only manifefts his fhrewdness and fagacity, the quickness of his wit, and the fertility of his invention, but gives us also a strong idea of his good humour. - Advice (says a celebrated Writer) never comes with a better face, than when it comes with a laughing one :" And it is certain that fable rather pleases than offends the nicest sensibility ; since the instruction it conveys is not magisterially obtruded upon us, but is obliquely derived by our own application, and falls from it as it were by accident.
In compiling the present collection, all or most of our Fabulists, ancient and modern, both in prose and verse, have been consulted ; and great care has been taken to select such fables as are not only most easy and intelligible in the narrative, but also convey the most striking morals. The ancient fables, where the heathen mythology, is introducech in the fabulous part, are mostly omitted, as being thought too mysterious. The fables in verse are excellent of their kind, and are much the best we have in our language; and as Gay's are of themselves used for a school-book, they are all retained in this, which is designed for the use of schools ; and as it contains not only much more in quan. tity than any fable book extant, but also is sold at a lower price than most others, it will, 'tis hoped, have the preference, not only on that but other accounts.
The Editor does not expect tlie following collection will pleafe all persons, as some will object to the want of cuts; in reply to this, more than double the number of fables are given for the like price, and wood cuts in general are so badly executed, and the reprem fentations so imperfect, that little or no information or instruction can be gathered 23
from them : Others will say, that some of the fables are not so well told, or expressed in such pleasing and pertinent language as they ought to be,—but the worst will please fome, and the best will not please all. He confefses fome are too long ; but if the humour of the narrative does not make amends, he has no. thing further to advance by way of apology, but that he meant well.
FABLES from various AUTHORS.
THE Beaver and the Sloth .
1 Tame Geese and Wild Geese
Farmer, Cranes, and Stork . Ant and the Fly
Fortune and the School-boy