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P R E F A C E.
T will, without doubt, be expected, that the reader should be made privy to the reasons, upon which this work
was undertaken, and is now made public. The intrinhc beauty of the piece itself first allured me to the attempt ; and a regard for the public, especially for those who might be unable to read the original, was the main inducement to its publication.
The Treatise on the SUBLIME had sept for Several ages, covered up in the dust of libraries, till the middle of the fixteenth century. The first Latin verhon by Gabriel de Petra was printed at Geneva in 1612, But the first good translation of it into any modern language was the French one of the famous Boileau, which, tho' not always faithful to the text, yet has an elegance and a spirit, which few will ever be able to equal, much less to surpass.
The present translation was finished, before I knew of any prior attempt to make Longinus Speak English. The first translation of him I met with, was publisk'd by Mr. Welfted in
1724. But I was very much surprised, upon a. perusal,
to find it only Boileau's translation misrepresented, and mangled. For every beauty is impaired, if not totally effaced, and every error (even down to those of the printer) most injuriously preserved.
I have fince accidentally met with two other English verhons of this Treatise ; one by J. Hall Esq; London 1652; the other without a name, but printed at Oxford in 1698, and said in the title-page to have been compared with the French of Boileau. I saw nothing in either of these, which did not yield the greatest encouragement to a new attempt.
No less than nine years have intervened fince the finishing of this translation, in which space it has been frequently revised, fubmitted to the cenfure of friends, and amended again and again by a more attentive study of the original. The déhgn was, if possible, to make it 'read like an original : whether I have succeeded in this, the bulk of my readers may judge ; but whether the translation be good, or come any thing near to the life, the spirit, the energy of Longinus, is a decision peculiar to men of learning and taste, who alone know the difficulties which attend such an undertaking, and will be impartial enough to give the Translator the necessary indulgence.
Longinus himself was never accurately enough published, nor thoroughly understood, till
* Dr. Pearce did him justice in his late editions at London. My thanks are due to that gentleman, not only for his correct éditions on account of which the whole learned world is indebted to him; but for those animadverfions and corrections of this translation, with which he so kindly favoured me. Most of the remarks and obfervations were drawn up, before I had read bis Latin notes.
I am not the least in pain, about the pertinency of those instances which I have brought from the sacred writers, as well as from fome of the finest
of our own country, to illustrate the criticisms of Longinus. I am only fearful, left among the multiplicity of such as might be bad, I
be thought to have omitted some of the best. I am senhble, that what I bave done, might be done much better ; but if I have the good fortune to contribute a little, towards the fixing a true judicious taste, and enabling my readers to distinguish sense from found, grandeur from pomp, and the Sublime from fuftian and bombast, i Mall think ту
time well spent ; and Mall be ready to submit to the censures of a judge, but Mall only smile at the snarling of what is commonly called
* Now Lord Bishop of Bangor.
Ι Ν D E X
Of the Sections in Longinus.
SE CT. VII.
72 SECT. XVI. Of Figures.
95 SE CT. XX.. Of Heaps of Figures.
97 SECT. XXI. That Copulatives weaken the stile.
115 SECT. XXVIII. of Periphrafis or Circumlocution.
119 SE C T. XXIX. Sant Circumlocution carried too far grows insipid. 122
SECT. XXX. of Choice of terms.