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sold By collins, KEESE, & co., New-York; OTIS, BROADERs, & Co., BOSTOM
OF VOLUME II.
SIR FRANcis DRAKE . . . .
MoraIN . . - - - - - - -
Marmor Norfolciense; or, an Essay on an ancient Prophetical Inscription in Monkish Rhyme, lately discovered near Lynn Observations on the State of Affairs in 1756 An Introduction to the Political State of Great Britain . . . . . . . . . . . Observations on the Treaty between his Britannic Majesty and his Imperial Majesty of jo - - - - - - - - Introduction to the Proceedings of the Committee appointed to manage the Contributions for §. French Prisoners of War, . . On the Bravery of the English Common Soldiers . . . . . . . . . . . . The False Alarm, 1770 . . . . . . . . Thoughts on the late Transactions respecting Falkland's Islands, 1771 . . . . . . . The Patriot: addressed to the Electors of Great Britain, 1774 . . . . . . . . . . . Taxation no Tyranny: an Answer to the Resolutions and Address of the American Congress, 1775 . . . . . . . . . .
PHILOLOGICAL TRACTS, &c.
The Plan of an English Dictionary . . . Preface to the English Dictionary . . . . . . . . Advertisement to the Fourth Edition of the English Dictionary . . . . . . . . . . . . ." Preface to the Octavo Edition of the English Dictionary . . . . . . . . . . . . Miscellaneous Observations on the Tragedy of Macbeth, with Remarks on Sir T. Hanmer's Edition of Shakspeare_. . . . . . . . Proposals for Printing the Dramatic Works of William Shakspeare . . . . . . . . Preface to Shakspeare. - - - - - - General Observations on the Plays of Shakspeare . . . . . . . . . . . . . An Account of the Harleian Library . . . . . Preface to the Catalogue of the Harleian Library . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . An Essay on the Origin and Importance of Small Tracts and Fugitive Pieces, written for the Introduction of the Harleian Miscellany . . . . . . . * * * * *
THE Life of Cowley, notwithstanding the penury of English biography, has been written by Dr. Sprat, an author whose pregnancy of imaginauon and elegance of language have deservedly set him high in the ranks of literature; but his zeal of friendship, or ambition of eloquence, has roduced a funeral oration rather than a history: i. has given the character, not the life, of Cowley; for he writes with so little detail, that scarcely any thing is distinctly known, but all is shown confused and enlarged through the mist of paneownic. § ABRAHAM Cowley was born in the year one thousand six hundred and eighteen. His father was a grocer, whose condition Dr. Sprat conceals under the general appellation of a citizen; and, what would probably not have been less carefully sup.. the omission of his name in the register of St. Dunstan's parish gives reason to suspect that his father was a sectary. Whoever he was, he died before the birth of his son, and conseuently left him to the care of his mother; whom Wood represents as struggling earnestly to procure him a literary education, and who, as she lived to the age of eighty, had her solicitude rewarded by seeing her son eminent, and, I hope, by seeing him fortunate, and partakinghis prosperity. We É. at least, from Sprat's account, that he always acknowledged her care, and justly paid the dues of filial gratitude. In the window of his mother's a Spenser's Fairy Queen; in which he very early took delight to read, till, by feeling the charms of verse, he became, as he relates, irrecoverably a poet. Such are the accidents which, sometimes remembered, and perhaps sometimes forgotten, produce that particular designation of mind, and propensity for some certain science or employment, which is commonly called genius. The true genius is a mind of large general powers, accidentally determined to some particular direction. Sir Joshua Reynolds, the great painter of the present age, had the first fondness for his art excited by the perusal of Richardson's treatise. By his mother's solicitation he was admitted into Westminster School, where he was soon distinguished. He was wont, says Sprat, to relate, “That he had this defect in his memory at that
time, that his teachers never could bring it to retain the ordinary rules of grammar.” This is an instance of the natural desire of man to propagate a wonder. It is surely very difficult to telf any thing as it was heard, when Sprat could not refrain from amplifying a commodious incident, though the book to which he prefixed his narrative contained his confutation. A memory admitting some things, and rejectin others, an intellectual digestion that concocte the pulp of learning, but refused the husks, had the appearance of an instinctive elegance, of a particular provision made by Nature for literary politeness. But in the author's own honest relation, the marvel vanishes: he was, he says, such “an enemy to all constraint, that his master never could prevail on him to learn the rules without book.” He does not tell that he could not learn the rules; but that, being able to perform his exercises without them, and being an “enemy to constraint,” he spared himself the labour. Among the English poets, Cowley, Milton, and Pope, might be said “to lisp in numbers,” and have given such early proofs, not only of powers of language, but of comprehension of things, as to more tardy minds seem scarcely credible. But of the learned puerilities of Cowley there is no doubt, since a volume of his poems was not only written, but printed in his thirteenth year;" containing, with other É. compositions, “The tragical History of Pyramus and Thisbe,” written when he was ten years old; and “Constantia and Philetus,” written two years after. While he was yet at school he produced a comedy called “Love's Riddle,” though it was not so till he had been some time at Camridge. This comedy is of the pastoral kind, which requires no acquaintance with the living world, and therefore the time at which it was composed adds little to the wonders of Cowley's minority.
* This volume was not published before 1633, when Cowley was sisteen years old. Dr. Johnson, as well as former biographers, seems to have been misled by the portrait of Cowley being by mistake unarked with the age of thirteen years.-R.