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C Ο Ν Τ
Ν Τ Ε Ν Τ S
P 0 E M S.
29 56 80
The Ruins of Rome,
104 129 134 135 137 140 142 143 144
O man, in ancient Rome, my Lord, would have
been surprized, I believe, to see a poet infcribe bis works, either to Cicero, or the younger Pliny; not to mention any more amongst her most celebrated
They were both, it is true, public magistrates of the first distinction, and had applied themselves severely to the study of the laws ; in which both emi. nently excelled. They were, at the same time, illustrious orators, and employed their eloquence in the service of their clients and their country. But, as they had both embellished their other talents by early cultivating the finer arts, and which has spread, we see, a peculiar light and grace over all their productions ; no species of polite literature could be foreign to their taste or patronage. And, in effect, we find they were the friends and protectors of the best poets their respective ages produced,
It is from a parity of character, my Lord, and which will occur obviously to every eye, that I am induced
to place your name at the head of this collection, fuck as it is, of the different things I have written.
6. Nec Phuebo gratior ulla " Quam fibi quæ Vari præscripsit pagina nomen." And were I as fure, my Lord, that it is deserving of your regard, as I am that these verses were not applied with more propriety at first than they are now; the publick would universally justify my ambition in presenting it to you. But, of that, the public only must and will judge, in the last appeal. There is but one thing, to befpeak their favour and your friendship, that I dare be politive in : without whichi, you are the laft person in Britain to whom I Mould have thought of addressing it. And this any man may affirm of himfelf, without vanity; because it is equally in every man's power. Of all that I have written, on any occasion, there is not a line, which I am afraid to own, either as an honest man, a good subject, or a true lover of my country.
I have thus, my Lord, dedicated some few moments, the first day of this new year, to send you, according to good old custom, a present.
An humble one, I confess it is; and that can have little other value but what arises from the disposition of the fender. On that account, perhaps, it may not be altogether unacceptable; for it is indeed an offering rather of the heart than the head; an effufion of those sentiments, which great merit, employed to the best purposes, naturally creates.