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J. Johnson; J. Richardson; R. Faulder and Son; F. C.
TO THE READER.
nascitur non fit, is a sentence of as great truth as antiquity; it being most certain, that all the acquired learning imaginable is insufficient to compleat a poet, without a natural genius and propensity to so noble and sublime an art. And we may, without offence, observe, that many very learned men, who have been ambitious to be thought poets, have only rendered themselves obnoxious to that satyrical inspiration our Author wittily invokes :
Which made them, though it were in spight
Exegi monumentum ære perennius :
Nec poterit ferrum, nec edax abolere vetustas.
The Author of this celebrated Poem wos of this last composition: for although he had not the happiness of an academical education, as some
* Shakespeare, D'Avenant, &c.
affirm, it may be perceived, throughout his whole Poem, that he had read much, and was very well accomplished in the most useful parts of human learning.
Rapin (in his reflections) speaking of the ne. *cessary qualities belonging to a poet, tells us, he must have a genius extraordinary; great natural gifts; a wit just, fruitful, piercing, solid, and universul ; an understanding clear and distinct; an imagination neat and pleasant ; an elevation of soul, that depends not only on art or study, but is purely the gift of heaven, which must be sustained by a lively sense and vivacity; judgment to consider wisely of things, and vivacity for th beautiful expression of them, &c.
Now, how justly this character is due to our Author, we leave to the impartial reader, and those of nicer judgment, who had the happiness to be more intimately acquainted with him.
The reputation of this incomparable Poem is so thoroughly established in the world, that it would le superfluous, if not impertinent, to endeavour any panegyric upon it. King Charles II. whom the judicious part of mankind will readily acknowledge to be a sovereign judge of wit, was so great an admirer of it, that he would often pleasantly quote it in his conversation. However, since most men have a curiosity to have some ac. count of such anonymous authors, whose compositions have been eminent for wit or learning, we have, for their information, subjoined a short Life of the Author,