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will appropriated his whole estate for that purpose.

It was perhaps from some considerations on the narrowness of his fortune, that he forbore to marry; for he was no enemy to wedlock, had a high opinion of many' among the fair sex, was fond of their society, and no stranger to the tenderest impressions. One, which he received in his youth, was with difficulty surmounted. The lady was the subject of that sweet pastoral, in four parts, which has been so universally admired; and which, one would have thought, must have subdued the loftiest heart, and foftened the most obdurate.

His person, as to height, was above the middle stature, but largely and rather inelegantly formed: his face seemed plain till you conversed with him, and then it grew very pleasing. In his dress he was negligent, even to a fault ; though when young, at the university, he was accounted a Beau. He wore his own hair, which was quite grey very early, in a partićular manner; not from any affectation of singularity, but from a maxim he had laid down, that

without

without too slavish à regard to fashion, every one should dress in a manner most suitable to his own person and figure. In short, his faults were only little blemishes, thrown in by nature, as it were on purpose to prevent him from rising too much above that level of imperfection allotted to humanity.

His character as a writer will be distinguished by simplicity with elegance, and genius with correctness. He had a sublimity equal to the highest attempts; yet from the indolence of his temper, he chose rather to amuse himself in culling flowers at the foot of the mount, than to take the trouble of climbing the more arduous steeps of PARNASSUS. But whenever he was difposed to rise, his steps, tho' natural, were noble, and always well supported. In the tenderness of elegiac poetry he hath not been excelled ; in the fimplicity of pastoral, one may venture to say he had very few equals. Of great sensibility himself, he never failed to engage the hearts of his readers : and amiềst the nicest attention to the harmony of his numbers, he always took care to express with propriety the sentiments of an elegant mind. In all his writings, his

greatness

greatest difficulty was to please himself. I re-
member a passage in one of his letters, where,
speaking of his love songs, he says_“ Some
“ were written on occasions a good deal ima.
“ ginary, others not fo; and the reason there
" are fo many is, that I wanted to write one
“ good song, and could never please myfelf."
It was this diffidence which occasioned him to
throw afide many of his pieces before he had
bestowed upon them his last touches. I have
suppressed several on this account; and if among
those which I have selected, there should be
discovered some little want of his finishing
polish, I hope it will be attributed to this cause,
and of course be excused : yet I flatter myself
there will always appear something well worthy
of having been preserved. And though I was
afraid of inserting what might injure the cha-
racter of my friend, yet as the sketches of a
great master are always valuable, I was un-
willing the public should lose any thing material
of so accomplished a writer. In this dilemma
it will easily be conceived that the talk I had to
perform would become somewhat difficult. How
I have acquitted my.elf, the public muft judge.
Nothing, however, except what he had al-

ready
ready published, has been admitted without the advice of his most judicious friends, nothing altered, without their particular concurrence. It is impossible to please every one ; but 'tis hoped that no reader will be so unreasonable, as to imagine that the author wrote folely for his amusement: his talents were various ; and though it may perhaps be allowed that his excellence chiefly appeared in subjects of tenderness and fimplicity, yet he frequently condescended to trifle with those of humour and drollery: these, indeed, he himself in fome measure degraded by the title which he gave them of LeVITIES: but had they been entirely rejected, the public would have been deprived of some JEUX D'ESPRITS, excellent in their kind, and Mr. Shenstone's character as a writer would have been but imperfectly exhibited.

But the talents of Mr. SHENSTONE were not confined merely to poetry; his character, as a man of clear judgment, and deep penetration, will best appear from his profe works. It is there we must search for the acuteness of his understanding, and his profound knowledge of the human heart. It is to be lamented indeed,

that that some things here are unfinished, and can be regarded only as fragments : many are left as single thoughts, but which, like the sparks of diamonds, shew the richness of the mine to which they belong; or like the foot of a HerCULES, discover the uncommon strength, and extraordinary dimensions of that hero. I have no apprehension of incurring blame from any one, for preserving these valuable remains : they will discover to every reader, the author's sentiments on several important subjects. And there can be very few, to whom they will not impart many thoughts, which they would never perhaps have been able to draw from the source of their own reflections.

But I believe little need be said to recommend the writings of this gentleman to public attention. His character is already fufficiently established. And if he be not injured by the inability of his editor, there is no doubt but he will ever maintain an eminent station among the best of our English writers.

R. DODSLEY.

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