« 前へ次へ »
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 ones but 'tis hoped that no reader will be so unreasonable, aś 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 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 fentiments 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 sufficiently 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.
E LE GI ES,
Many different OCCASIONS.
Tantùm inter densas umbrosa cacumina, fagos
PRE FATORY ESSAY.
E L E GY.
'Tis observable, that discourses prefixed to poetry are contrived very frequently to inculcate
such tenets as may exhibit the performance to the greatest advantage. The fabric is very commonly raised in the first place, and the measures, by which we are to judge of its merit, are ofterwards cdjusted.
There have been few rules given us by the critics concerning the structure of elegiac poetry; and for