Imatges de pÓgina
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PREFACE.

T

HE Usefulness, or the Necesity rae ther, of a work of this Nature,

(if it be executed with proper Judgment and Diligence) can never be disputed by such as profess any Regard for Claffic Learning, or for those mighty and celebrated Names, who have been transmitted to us, with Honour, thro' so many Ages, as the great and venerable Founders of it. Reading and Grammatical Understanding of these Writers must be dry and unaffecting, without you are in some measure made acquainted with their Charaxters, their Lives, Their Histories, their several Beauties and Imperfe&tians, the Times in which they lived.

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the Figure they have made in the Republic of Letters, the Sentiments and Judgment of the Learned in all Ages upon their Works and Compositions. These, and many more Circumstances, are so necessary to be known by a young Student, (who begins to tread upon Classic Ground) in order to conduct him with Pleasure and Advantage through the Course of his Studies, that without these Helps, he must walk with Doubt and Diffidence, must be led aftray by false Lights, and be deprived of many wonderful and agreeable Discoveries, which a Collection of this fort must unavoidably hold out to him.

I would have it understood, that the following Volumes are chiefly design’d for the Ufe and Instruction of younger Scholars, tho' perhaps they may be of real Benefit to Gentlemen, who have for some Years neglected the Advantages of their Education, and have a mind to resume those pleasant and useful Studies, in which they formerly made a Progress at the Schools or Universities. Evegry thing contained in them is submitted, with great Deference, to the professed Masters in Classic Knowledge, who will find no greater Faults, than I hope may be atoned for by the Diligence they will see I have used in colletting proper Materials, and the Care I have taken to dispose them in a clear and

useful

useful Method. In short, I prefume I have in this Design come pretty near to what the Title promises, and therefore shall not plead want of Time or Abilities, the mean and common Refuge of little Authors; since those must be sorry Excuses for a Man's Writing but indifferently, which are strong Reasons why he should not have written at all.

I am not aware of any notable Objection that can be offer'd against the Method I have observed in the Digesting of this Work, tho? it intirely differs from the Scheme that has been followed ky those who bave gone before me. The Lives of the Grecian Poets bave been written many Years ago by a very learned Hand, and lately (and at a great Distance indeed) have appear'd the Lives of the Roman Poets, attended with Remarks and Criticisms. But these Writers seem to have studied more to display their own Accomplishments, and the Quaintness of their own Skill, than to inform the young Student that wants Help ; they entertain you with their own Observations, and rest wholly upon them, without vouchsaving to call to their Aid the Judgment and Sense of the many Learned that went before them, and have acquired Immortality by their laborious Commentaries, and Disquisitions ; they overpower you with pompous and long Quotations, that cover above half their Paper. Be-

and Oftentation of Learning. I have indeed introduced the Translation of some few Latin and Greek Pasages, which the

judicious Reader will excuse, because he will see the Use of it. And when there is Occasion, 'tis as much Conceit and Pedantry, superstitioufly to avoid citing Greek or Latin, as it is to be pompous and profuse in those Citations wben there is no Occahon.

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