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WHEN an Author, by appearing in print, requefts an audience of the Public, and is upon the point of speaking for himself, whoever prefumes to step before him with a preface, and to fay, "Nay, but hear me firft," fhould have fomething worthy of attention to offer, or he will be justly deemed officious and impertinent. The judicious reader has probably, upon other occafions, been beforehand with me in this reflection: and I am not very willing it fhould now be applied to me, however I may feem to expose myself to the danger of it. But the thought of having my own name perpetuated in connection with the name in the title page, is so pleasing and flattering to the feelings of my heart, that I am content to risk something for the gratification.


This Preface is not defigned to commend the Poems to which it is prefixed. My teftimony would be infufficient for those who are not qualified to judge properly for themfelves, and unneceffary to those who are. Befides, the reasons which render it improper and unfeemly for a man to celebrate his own performances, or those of his nearest relatives, will have some influence in fuppreffing much of what he might otherwife wifh to fay in favour of a friend, when that friend is indeed an alter idem, and excites almost the same emotions of fenfibility and affection as he feels for himself.

It is very probable these Poems may come into the hands of fome perfons, in whom the fight of the Author's name will awaken a recollection of incidents and scenes which, through length of time, they had almost forgotten. They will be reminded of one, who was once the companion of their chofen hours, and who set out with them in early life, in the paths which lead to literary honours, to influence and affluence, with equal profpects of fuccefs. But he was fuddenly and powerfully withdrawn from those pursuits, and he left them without regret; yet not till he had fufficient opportunity of counting the coft, and of knowing the value of what he gave up. If happiness

could have been found in claffical attainments, in an elegant taste, in the exertions of wit, fancy, and genius, and in the esteem and converfe of fuch perfons as in these refpects were most congenial with himself, he would have been happy. But he was not-He wondered (as thousands in a fimilar fituation still do) that he should continue diffatisfied, with all the means apparently conducive to fatisfaction within his reach-But in due time, the cause of his disappointment was difcovered to him-He had lived without God in the world. In a memorable hour, the wisdom which is from above vifited his heart. Then he felt himself a wanderer, and then he found a guide. Upon this change of views, a change of plan and conduct followed of course. When he saw the bufy and the gay world in its true light, he left it with as little reluctance as a prifoner, when called to liberty, leaves his dungeon. Not that he became a Cynic or an Afcetic-A heart filled with love to God, will affuredly breathe benevolence to men. But the turn of his temper inclining him to rural life, he indulged it, and the providence of God evidently preparing his way and marking out his retreat, he retired into the country. By thefe fteps the good hand of God, unknown to me, was providing for me one of the principal bleffings of my life; a friend and a counsellor, in whofe


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