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In offering this Edition of the Poems of Ramfay to the world, the Publishers beg leave to fubmit what they hope will be allowed to give this a preference to any former edition.
Some poems have been now added, which had escaped the diligence of former Collectors; and the whole book has been thrown into a new, and, they trust, a better arrangement.
They have endeavoured to ornament this Edition with fuch embellishments, as they prefumed would be welcome to every reader: there is prefixed a portrait of the author, which has been finely engraved by Mr. Ryder, from a drawing which was made by Allan Ramfay, the poet's fon; the original of which is now in the poffeffion of A. F. Tytler, Efq. of Edinburgh: there is added, as a tail-piece, an engraving of the rustic temple which has been dedicated by that gentleman, who happily poffeffes the fuppofed fcene of the Gentle Shepherd, to the place, and poet. Curiosity,must,
naturally, be gratified, by the accurate fac fimile of the hand-writing of fuch an author, which is now first presented to the public.
It is understood, that Allan Ramsay, the painter, left fome account of his father for publication: but it is hoped, that the Public will be full as well pleased with the perusal of the Life of the Author, and the Remarks on his Poems, which have been written by the neutral pen of a stranger.
The Bookbinder is defired to place the Fac-fimile, at the
WHILE History employs her peculiar powers, in developing the intrigues of statesmen, in adjusting the disputes of nations, and in narrating the events of war, Biography bufies her analogous pen in tracing the progrefs of letters, in ascertaining the influence of manners, and in appreciating literary characters. The pursuits of History must be allowed to be most dignified; the employment of Biography is most pleasing: it is the business of History to record truth, and to inculcate wisdom; it is the duty of Biography to pay just tributes of respect, and praise, to genius, to knowledge, and to virtue.
In every age, and in every nation, individuals have arisen, whose talents, and labours, merited the notice, and the remembrance, of the biographer; although in fome periods, and among fome tribes, the tumults of barbarity allowed little leifure, or fecurity, for collecting anecdotes, and arranging documents, had learning exifted to record, and detail them. Among other civilized nations, North Britain has produced her full fhare of genius to be admired, of knowledge to be learned, and of virtue to be imitated. It has, however, been conceived by ignorance, and afferted by dogmatism, that Scotland did not produce, in the century, which elapsed in 1715, any perfon, except Burnet, who is worthy of biographical notice; although, in fact, the did produce, in that period, men who were distinguished for their jurifprudence *, for their science and learning f, for their bravery ‡, and for their
* The Lord President Lockart, the Lord President Gilmour, the Lord President Stair.
James Gregory was born in 1639; David Gregory in 1661; John Keil was born in 1670; and James Keil in 1673; Colin McLaurin in 1698.-" the Latin Poetry of Deliciæ "Poetarum Scotorum," fays Johnson, "would have done "honour to any country."-At the end of the feventeenth century, followed Ruddiman.
The Marquis of Montrofe, and Lord Dundee.