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ber of books. But I have felected from them not many things, and indeed fuch only as might lead lively and ingenious minds, by a fhort and fimple procefs, to the defire of liberal science, and the study of useful arts, or which might refcue men bufied with other occupations, from a mean and difgraceful ignorance of things as well as words. The few things, therefore, which may occur in this volume, curious or perplexing, on the fubjects of grammar, rhetoric, or even of geometry, or the ftill fewer and more abftrufe on the rights of augurs and the priesthood, let them not be paffed over as either unimportant to be known, or hard to be understood. I have not explored, nor difcuffed elaborately the intricacies of these quef tions. I have rather given the first fruits ", and a tafte as it were of thofe liberal arts, the total ignorance of which indicates a fhameful neglect, and would be unpardonable in a man of the moft moderate and ordinary education 14.-Of thofe, therefore, if any fuch there be, who at their leifure may have fome amufement in perufing these lucubrations, I would intreat, that if they fhall find what they long fince knew, they would not defpife it as being trite and very common; for what is there in literature fo abstrüse, but that imany men know it? It is recommendation enough, that these have been neither prated over again and again in fchools, nor thumbed in commentaries. Should they meet, perchance, with any






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thing that is new and original, I think it just that they should weigh without any spirit of cavil, whether these very few flight leffons are contemptible as to their power of exciting literary application, or languid in affording ingenuous amusement, or whether they are not rather of that nature and description by which the natural talents may be improved and strengthened, the memory become more prompt", the faculty of reafon more acute, the fpeech more correct, in hours of relaxation more delightful, and in exercise more liberal. As for those parts which may feem not fufficiently perfpicuous, or too incomplete and fcanty, I beg to have them confidered as written not fo much to inftruct as to suggest; and that my readers would be contented with them as pointing out the paths in which they are to go, which afterwards, if they think proper, they may pursue farther by the aid of either books or tutors: as to whatever they may think reprehenfible, let their refentment, if they please to indulge any, be directed against those by whom it was originally written. If they fhall find the fame thing expreffed differently elfewhere, let them not be too haftily displeased; I would have them firft refer to the contents of those books, and the authorities of those writers, which they from whom I differ, as well as myself, must have examined; but it will be far better for fuch as have



neither enjoyed


pleasure nor bestowed pains in reading, writing, and making remarks, who have not employed their waking hours as I have, who have never polished their minds by examining and extracting the rival efforts of votaries of the fame mufe, but who are immerfed in fcenes of riot, or the cares of bufinefs, to go their way from thefe Nights, and feek out for themselves other amufements. It is an old proverb, "A jay a has no concern with mufic, nor a hog with perfumes," but that the ill-humour and invidioufnefs of certain ill taught people may be fill more exafperated, I shall borrow a few verfes from a chorus of Ariftophanes; and what he, a man of moft exquifite humour, proposed as a law to the fpectators of his play, I alfo recommend to the readers of this volume, that the vulgar and unhallowed herd, who are averfe to the sports of the mufes, may not touch, nor even approach it. The verses are thefe:

Silent be they "7, and far from hence remove,
By fcenes like ours not likely to improve,
Who never paid the honour'd mufe her rights,
Who fenfelefs live in wild impure delights;
I bid them once, I bid them twice begone,
I bid them thrice, in still a louder tone:
Far hence depart, whilft ye with dance and


Cur folemn feaft, our tuneful nights prolong,


At present there are twenty books of thefe remarks. Whatever portion of future life the gods may give me to enjoy, that I can spare from the care of my domeftic concerns, and the education of my children, it fhall be wholly employed in making a fimilar collection, at hours stolen from weightier business, and dedicated to fubjects of secondary concern. The number of my books, therefore, with the favour of heaven, shall correspond with the extent of my life, whatever this may be; nor do I defire to live any longer than I may be able to retain this faculty of writing and making observation.-To each chapter I have prefixed an account of its particular contents, that it may immediately appear what may be fought, and found in every book.


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THE whole of this Preface in the earlier editions which

appeared of our author, was fubjoined to the last chapter of the laft book. It seems wonderful how it should get, there, having no manner of connection with the fubject of that chapter. Later editions reftored it to the place for which it was obviously intended, for no preface can be adduced, which more fenfibly or in more elegant terms informs the reader of what the author had in view.


More pleaing works, &c.]-I have in a former work ✔remarked, that it was an elegant distinction of the earlier writers to enter at once with a manly abruptnefs on their fubject, without mifemploying their reader's time or their own, by elaborate and ufelefs apologies, yet in their dialogues fuch apologies were often interwoven. V

My children. Thus Cicero avowedly wrote his Book of Offices for the use of his fon,

Fine titles.]In the infancy of letters in this country, a propenfity prevailed for giving the moft whimsical and unaccountable titles to books: we accordingly meet with


Hunger's Prevention," "Omnibus et Singulis, or Matter for all Men," "The Will of Wit, Wit's Will, or Will's Wit, chufe you whether," "The Dialogues of the Creatures," "A Springe to catch Woodcocks,' "Your fervant Gentlemen," with innumerable others. On this fubject alfo


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