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TRANSLATED INTO ENGLISH,
BY THE REV. W. BELO E, F. S. A.
TRANSLATOR OF HERODOTUS, &c.
IN THREE VOLUMES.
PRINTED FOR J. JOHNSON, ST. PAUL'S CHURCH-YARD.
M DCC XCY.
ORE pleafing works' than the prefent may certainly be found; but my object in writing this, was to provide my children as well as myself with that kind of amufement, in which they might properly relax and indulge themfelves, at the intervals from more important business. I have preferved the fame accidental arrangement which I had before used in making the collection. Whatever book came into my hand, whether it was Greek or Latin, or whatever I heard that was either worthy of being recorded or agreeable to my fancy, I wrote down without diftinction, and without order. These things I treafured up to aid my memory, as it were by a ftorehouse of learning: fo that when I wanted to refer to any particular circumftance or word which I had at the moment forgotten, and the books from which they were taken happened not to be at hand, I could eafily find and apply it. Thus the fame irregularity will appear in thefe Commentaries, as exifted in the original annotations, which were A 2 concifcly
concisely written down without any method of arrangement in the course of what I at different times had heard or read. As thefe obfervations at first constituted my bufinefs, and my ȧmufement, through many long winter nights, which I spent in Attica, I have given them the name of Attic Nights, by no means imitating the fine titles with which various books of a fimilar kind have been inscribed, by writers in both languages. Thefe authors having got together a various, mixed, and as it were immethodical kind of learning, have for this reafon ftudied to give their books refined and Vlainty titles. Some of them we find called "The Mufes," others "Silvæ:" one man calls his book "Minerva's Robe+," another, " The Horn of Amalthea "." One is termed "Honey-combs," another "Paftures," another "My own Readings," another "Ancient Readings," another "Flowrets," another "Inventions." This man names his work "Lights," that Tapestries," others are called "Pandects"," "Helicon," "Problems," " Manuals"," "Small Arms;" fome alfo are ftiled "Memorials," "Practical Hints," "Leifure Amusements," and "Leffons." We meet alfo with "Natural Hif
nay, fome have been ftiled "Moral Epistles," others << Epiftolary or Mixed Questions," with various other appellations, which to me appear too quaint, and to fmell of affected refinement. For my own part, and suitably to my own capacity, without care or study, and as fome may think rudely enough, I have called my book Attic Nights, from the place where it was written, and from the circumftance of its being in the winter; thus yielding the palm to others in the dignity of my title, as the work itself is obviously inferior with respect to the labour and embellishment of ftile. But in making these collections and remarks, I had not even the fame purpose in view with the majority of thofe to whom I allude; for all these, and the Greeks in particular, reading perpetually a vast multitude of things, have heaped together, whatever they met with, without any difcrimination", as if the quantity were their only object; in perufing which the mind will be fatigued and exhausted, before it meets here and there with any thing amusing to read, ornamental to know, or useful to remember. As to myself, being very partial to the saying of Heraclitus" the Ephefian, a man of the highest eminence, namely, that various but confused knowledge does not lead to wisdom ", I have most affiduously employed, and even wearied myself in all thofe intervals I could steal from business, in turning over and curforily reading a great numA 3