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SELECTED TO ENFORCE
THE PRACTICE OF VIRTUE;
And with a View to comprise in
The Beauties of English Poetry.
BY THOMAS TOMKINS.
The Ninth Edition.
The pleafing Art of Poetry's defign'd.
PRINTED FOR J. WALLIS, AT YORICK'S HEAD,
TO THE PUBLIC.
POETRY may be said to claim our first attention, as it was originally intended to express our gratitude to the Deity, and teach mankind the most important precepts of religion and virtue; by which the human soul is not only exalted and refined, but the heart is fortified against all the various assaults of human calamities, and by which we are taught to consider happiness as entirely depending on the reflections of our own minds, We shall be sufficiently convinced of these truths, if we only consider the particular end and design of the several species of poetry. The Epic Poem was intended to convey
instructions disguised under the allegory of an important and heroic action. The Ode, to celebrate the exploits of great men, in order to excite a general imitation in others. TRAGEDY, to inspire us with a detestation of guilt, 1 y painting the fatal consequences that follow it ; and with a veneration for virtue, by representing the rewards and just praises that attend it. Comedy and SATIRE, to correct whilst they divert us, and wage implacable war with vice and folly, ELEGY, to weep over the tombs of such as
deserve to be lamented; and PASTORAL, to sing the innocence and pleasures of rural life.
To promote such desirable ends, the study of poetry has ever met with the fanction and encouragement of men the most eminent for their wisdom and virtue : and it is much to be feared, that those whose imaginations are not enlivened by the charms of Poetry, must either have their affections depraved, or be náturally insensible of the exquisite pleasure resulting from the proper exercise of them.
To allure those who are inattentive to the excel. lence of virtue, and Jirect their thoughts to the no. blest qualifications, induced the Editor of this small volume to select such poems as have been universally esteemed the first ornaments of our language, and admired, not only for purity of sentiment, but for beauty and harmony of numbers.