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THE following Translations were selected from many
others done by the Author in his Youth; for the most part indeed but a sort of Exercises, while he was improving himself in the Languages, and carried by his early bent to Poetry to perform them rather in Verse than Prose. Mr. Dryden's Fables came out about that time, which occasioned the Translations from Chaucer. They were first separately printed in Milcellanies by J. Tonson and B. Lintot, and afterwards collected in the Quarto Edition of 1717. The Imitations of English Authors, which follow, were done as early, some of them at fourteen or fifteen
THE hint of the following piece was taken from
Chaucer's House of Fame. The design is in a manner entirely altered, the descriptions and most of the particular thoughts my own; yet I could not suffer it to be printed without this acknowledgment. The reader who would compare this with Chaucer, may begin with his third book of Fame, there being nothing in the two first books that answers to their title: wherever any hint is taken from him, the passage itself is set down in the marginal notes.
The Poem is introduced in the manner of the Provençal Poets, whose works were for the most part Vifions, or pieces of imagination, and constantly descriptive. From these, Petrarch and Chaucer frequently borrowed the idea of their poems. See the Trionfi of the former, and the Dream, Flower and the Leaf, &c. of the latter. The Author of this therefore chose the same sort of Exordium.
IN that foft season, when descending thowers
Call forth the greens, and wake the rising flowers ;
purer flumbers spread their golden wings)
I stood, methought, betwixt earth, feas, and skies ;
Though beheld I fields and plains,
In air self-balanc'd hung the globe below,
O’er the wide prospect as I gaz’d around,
25 Whose towering summit ambient clouds conceal'd. High on a rock of Ice the structure lay, Steep its afcent, and Nippery was the way ; The wonderous rock like Parian marble shone, And seem'd, to distant fight, of solid stone. 30
It stood upon so high a rock,