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my attention has been turned from Donatello, Ghiberti, and their successors, to the dearer juvenile artist who, after the faireft promise of future excellence, under your · tender and animating care, has been destined to lose the uncommon advantages he possessed, and valued, by a length of sickness and complicated sufferings.
I have now watched, you know, considerably more than two years over this interesting invalide : I have feen him enduring a horrible series and variety of increasing tortures ; yet in this very long trial of a martyr's constancy and courage I have never heard a single murmur escape from his lips ; but have beheld him triumph over the severest unmerited corporeal torments by the serenity, fortitude, and sweetness of a spirit truly angelic. In a part of this long and distressing period I have resumed, at his affe&ionate request, my suspended Work, and advanced in it, by such troubled industry, as those only can perfectly conceive, who have forced the mind to labour
with motives of similar affection, and with similar difquietude.
· Under such circumstances, you will not blame me for allowing my juft admiration of your affectionate and magnanimous, though disabled disciple, to alter the intended current of my verse. Writing, as I have ever done, from the heart, I have followed its imperious suggestions; and your fympathy, my dear friend, which I am confident I fhall obtain, in this part of my subject, will form, at once, my justification and my reward.
For your credit I ought, perhaps, to apprize my reader, that whatever defects he may discover in my Book, they are to be ascribed folely to myself. As my sequestered life has not allowed me to derive from several distant friends (of intelligence far superior to mine on the subject which I presume to treat) that light which might otherwise have embellished my composition, I ought not to expose them to a suspicion of having suggested, or countenanced any
erroneous ideas, that a production of retired, yet often interrupted study, may happen to contain. ' ...!
- To guard myself also from a charge of presumption, it may be proper to declare that, in venturing to write upon Sculpture, I pretend not to instruct the accomplished artist, or the real connoisseur; (two classes of men whom I ought rather to consult for information, and from whom I must ever have much to learn!) but I had persuaded myself, that, by an extensive Poem on this untried subject, I might be so fortunate as to promote the celebrity of a friend, in whose talents I delight; and afford some kind of aslistance to all the admirers of Sculpture, in their various endeavours to naturalize a deserving Art, which may still be considered as little more than an alien in our country, if we compare the portion of public notice and favour, which it has hitherto obtained among us, to the honour and influence it enjoyed in the ancient world.