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A S the mind of man is ever fond of variety, H nothing seems better calculated to entertain, than a judicious collection of the smaller, though not on that account less laboured, productions of eminent poets : an entertainment, not unlike that which we receive from furveying a finished landschapé, or well disposed piece of shell-work: where each particular object, tho’ singly beautiful, and sufficiently striking by itself, receives an additional charm, thuś, as Milton expresses it, sweetly INTERCHANGED.
The first miscellaneous collection of poems, that ever appeared in Great-Britain with any reputation, is that published by Dryden : which was afterwards continued by Tonson. There are many pieces of the highest merit in this collection, by Dryden, Denham, Creech, Drayton, Garth, Marvell, and many others; yet the compilers, it is evident, were not always sufficiently scrupulous and cautious in their choice, as several pieces are admitted, among the rest, which would otherwise utterly have perished, and which had no other recommendation, than that they served to swell the volume. Since this, many miscellanies have been publifhed both in Scotland and England : to enumerate which
It will be necessary to take notice, that our chief care has been to furnish out the following miscellany with those pieces, regard being first had to real merit, which have laid unknown and inobserved from their MANNER of publication ; several of them having been printed by themselves, and so perished as it were for want of bulk, and others lost amid the rubbifh of collections injudiciously made, and perhaps not easily to be met with. Nor will it be improper to mention, that in order to render our volume still more compleat, we have had the favour of some original poems, written by a late member of the university of Aberdeen, whose modefty would not permit us to prefix his name : one of which in this edition is printed with many improvements, from a corrected copy. And from these ingenious essays, the public may be enabled to form some judgment beforehand of a poem of a nobler and more important nature, which he is now preparing. Nor must we forget to return our public thanks to this gentleman, for the service he has been to us, not only in making this collection more excellent by his own contributions, but in selecting such pieces of others as were suitable to our design.. w
It is hoped that the ancient Scottish poems (a-mongst which THE THISTLE AND THE rose, and HARDYKNUTE are more particularly distinguished) A 3