London: Printed for G. Pearch, and sold by Joseph Johnson, 1775.
As the representative of my native city, permit me to dedicate this improved edition of a collection of poems to you, hoping they will not prove less worthy your patronage, when I inform you they are not a hasty selection; great attention having been paid to the opinions of some of our first critics. The Index will inform you of the very respectable names, who have contributed [p. 1 / p. 2] to this work, many of whose pieces contained in these volumes are omitted in the several editions of their works.
Agreeable to the various dispositions and interests of mankind; so have been their different motives for dedication.--We read of Evar, king of Arabia, dedicating his book on the Nature of Precious Stones to Nero, because there was an (E) in his name, as well as the emperor's; nor are our modern authors less singular in this respect than the ancients; witness an ingenious poet, who addressed some of his poems to a noble earl, the motive for which address, he says, was not because he was a judge of the sciences, or the patron of learned men, but as having the honour to be [p. 2 / p. 3] born in the same county with his lordship. A Reverend Divine dedicates his Christian Discourses to a Royal- Arch-Druidess, styling himself Chyndonax of Mount Haemus, Druid. Another, in a virulent humour, bespatters a Bishop in his satyrical dedication of Sermons; while many, not content with the various objects of this world, have traversed the planets for a patron. With less romantic views, I have been principally anxious that this inscription should be to a meritorious, as well as a distinguished, character. My ideas naturally lead me to solicit the present honour of addressing you, whose senatorial abilities have been so deservedly applauded in a neighbouring isle, and whose domestic virtues, tho' more confined, are not less [p. 3 / p. 4] conspicuous in the extensive circle of your friends.
I have the honour to be, with the utmost respect and esteem, Sir,
your very obliged,
and most devoted
[p. 4 / p. 5]
In an age like the present, wherein the study of Poetry is so much cultivated and encouraged; many poetical performances, whose merit might entitle them to a longer remembrance than fugitive pieces usually meet with, are daily thrown upon the public, and left to perish in oblivion. To select these from the trifling productions of the day has frequently been esteemed an employment, not unworthy the attention of our most eminent authors; and the favourable reception the late Mr. Robert Dodsley's elegant Collection of Poems has obtained from the public, is a sufficient motive to encourage a continuation of that deservedly esteemed Miscellany. Some attempts of this kind have been already made, but none with success enough to render the present undertaking useless or unnecessary. Seventeen [p. 5 / p. 6] years are now elapsed since the last volumes of that work were published, during which period many pieces haave made their appearance, which are not inferior to the best preserved in that Miscellany. To confirm the truth of this assertion, the Editor has only to appeal to the following Collection, which is compiled from the best productions published within that time, with the addition of others, which seem to have escaped Mr. Dodsley's researches, and several original Poems, with which the Editor has been favoured by gentlemen, whose names are sufficient to give reputation to any Collection. On the first publication of the present selection, the Editor submitted to the determination of the public, how far it was entitled to their protection; and from the sale of two numerous impressions, he has been induced to make such alterations in the present as he trusts will render it still more worthy their favour. He flatters himself, that he has not suffered private friendship to obtrude any piece into this Collection, which is unworthy of the rest; and great care has been taken to prevent the insertion of any [p. 6 / p. 7] performance, which has not been approved by gentlemen of distinguished reputation; but as he is sensible, that the taste of persons is very different, he expects not, after all, that every piece will meet with equal applause, being convinced of the truth of Mr. Dodsley's observation, "That it is impossible to furnish out an entertainment of this nature, where every part shall be relished by every guest."
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