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OCTOR FORDYCE's excellent Ser
mons for Young Women in fome meafure gave rife to the following compilation. In that work, where he fo judiciously points out all the defects of female conduct to remedy them, and all the proper ftudies which they should pursue, with a view to improvement, Poetry is one to which he particularly would attach them. He only objects to the danger of pursuing this charming ftudy through all the immoralities and false pictures of hapA pinefs
piness with which it abounds, and thus becoming the martyr of innocent curiofity.
In the following compilation care has been taken to select, not only fuch pieces as innocence may read without a blush, but fuch as will even tend to strengthen that innocence. In this little work a Lady may find the most exquifite pleasure, while she is at the fame time learning the duties of life; and, while fhe courts only entertainment, be deceived into wifdom. Indeed, this would be too great a boast in the preface to any original work; but here it can be made with fafety, as every Poem in the following collection would fingly have procured an Author great reputation.
They are divided into Devotional, Moral, and Entertaining, thus comprehending the three great duties of life; that which we owe to GOD, to our neighbour, and to ourfelves.
In the first part, it must be confessed, our English Poets have not very much excelled.
In that department, namely, the praise of our Maker, by which Poetry began, and from which it deviated by time, we are most faultily deficient. There are one or two, however, particularly the Deity, by Mr. Boyse; a Poem, when it first came out, that lay for fome time neglected, till introduced to public notice by Mr. Hervey and Mr. Fielding. In it the Reader will perceive many ftriking pictures, and perhaps glow with a part of that gratitude which feems to have inspired the Writer.
In the Moral part I am more copious, from the same reason, because our language contains a large number of the kind. Voltaire, talking of our Poets, gives them the preference in moral pieces to thofe of any other nation; and indeed no Poets have better fettled the bounds of duty, or more precisely determined the rules for conduct in life than ours. In this department the fair Reader will find the Muse has been folicitous
to guide her, not with the allurements of a fyren, but the integrity of a friend.
In the Entertaining part my greatest difficulty was what to reject. The materials lay in fuch plenty, that I was bewildered in my choice; in this cafe then I was folely determined by the tendency of the Poem; and where I found one, however well executed, that feemed in the least tending to diftort the judgment, or inflame the imagination, it was excluded without mercy. I have here and there indeed, when one of particular beauty offered with a few blemishes, lopt off the defects, and thus, like the tyrant, who fitted all ftrangers to the bed he had prepared for them, I have inferted fome, by first adapting them to my plan; we only differ in this, that he mutilated with a bad defign, I from motives of a contrary nature.
It will be easier to condemn a compilation of this kind, than to prove its inutility. While young Ladies are readers, and while