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Ludgate-Street. 1784, .
page, Through Britain's realms, and many a foreign clime,
Have charm'd the last, and charm the present age. Unnumber'd rivals, urg'd by thy renown,
To match thy useful labours oft have tried ; In vain they tried ; unnotic'd and unknown,
In cold oblivion's shade they sunk and died. Cheard by the fostering beams of public praise,
Continue still “ to profit and delight *** Whilst Learning all her ample store displays,
Her“ varying" charms at thy command " unitet." Hence future HAWKESWORTHS, WARTONS, Grays, may sing, Where virtuouis Johnson * plum'd his eagle wing K. J. N. • Prodesse et delectare.
+ E pluribus unum. # To whoin the writer of these lives had the pleasure of shewing them in the last interview with which he was honoured by this illustrious paltern of true piety. " Take care of
your eternal salvation," and,“ Remember to observe the Sabbath; let it never be a
day of business, nor wholly a day of dissipation; were parts of his last solemn farewell. “Lel my words bave their due weight,” he added; "they are those of a dying man."
§ To the far greater part of our readers the following elegant verses by Dr. Jobuson will have the charms of novelty. To the few who recollect having seen them in our VIIIth volume, p. 136, the repetition, we are sure, cannot be disagreeable. URBANB, pullis fesse laboribus,
Intende nervos fortis, inanibus UUBAN2, nullis victe calumniis,
Risurus olim nisibus Emuli;
Intende jam nervos, habebis
Participes operæ Camenar.
Novit, fatigatamque augis
Utilibus recreare mentem.
Immista, sic Iris refulget
Æthercis variata fucis,
N quest of fame, whilst to the skies
Our Blanchards and Lunardis rise,
For there the profitable page
W.J. Dec. 31.
P R E F A C E.
T is no small satisfaction to the Editors of the Gentleman's Magazine lo learu
profitable communications" meet with general approbation; that they ao soorier adopt one mode of iinprovement, ihan another is offered to their cuosideration, and that there seems an emulation among men of letters to unite their collective learning to bring to perfection une periodical publication, which has been long held forth as a pattern to the rest.
That the Gentleman's Magazine is not yet arrived to that degree of utility of which a work on so extensive a plan is capable, every day's experience evinces. To the numerous correspondeots, of whose assistance ihe Editors may justly boast; others, who still find something wanting, are continually adding their contributions to supply the defects.
A most ingenious and learned Antiquary, marking the progress of our pursuits, and approving !hem, has favoured us, and, by our means, the Public, with an extensive plan of improvenieot*, which he thinks would raise our Magazine to be one of the most useful Repositories of that species of knowledge which he recommends "thal is any where to he met with." And as he is desirous that we should announce to the Public how far it may be agreeable to connect his plan with our own, we think it incumbent opon us thankfully to acknowledge our obligation, and to declare our readiness to give free admission to such facts, and observations upon facts, respecting the History and Antiquities of our Country, as the genileman himself or his friends shall be pleased to communicate; and that precedents and explanations of our constitution; matters yet undescribed, and poiols not yel sufficiently explained ; with useful discoveries of every kind which gentlemen of learning may transienlig make; are among the materials which the Editors will rejoice to lay before the Public.
But it is not to the Antiquary alone, however respectable. that the Editors ought to devole their allention. The Philosopher, the Historian, the Pbysidian, the Critic, the Poei, the Divine, and above all the Public, have au un. cuubted claim to the utmost exertion of their abilities.
Those, who in general approve of our account of Books, have expressed their wishes to have that part of our Magazine inore amply extended." With them we are ready to join issue, and for the future mean io increase our Catalogue without enlarging the limits. The method we have chosen to adopt we shall still follow, namely, to decide briefly on the general merits of works of genius:-oot to erect a court of inquisition to examine closely for faults to condeinn authors, but rather “ to encourage modest merit, and to create excellence by excitiog emulation." Among such a variety of books as are continually issuing from the press, by far the greater number must just be named, the contents of others barely recited, some epitomised, and but few extracted. lo short, as we have no desire to encroach upon the province of others, we would rather wish to have this part of our work cousidered as Annals of Literature, than as a Critical Review of Books.
It would be an idle affectation not to acknowledge, that, notwithstanding the multitude of testimonials we can produce in our favour, we have experienced the impossibility of an exact coincidence with varying taste. We have been told, that a due regard has not been shewn to our Fair Readers, a numerous class of literary judges, who are charmed with fine writing; that there is little or none of that fine sprightly kind of composition calculated to kill time, and furnish fashionable conversation ; done of those select novels, love-stories--those brilliant sallies of wit and bumour, that captivate the young and delight the gay. And perhaps (though we can boast of some of the first female names in Europe among our regular correspondents) this complaint is not wholly groundless.
* See our September Magazine, p. 655. Vol. LIV. PART I.