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. could think of no one to whom I could address it with fo much propriety as to your Lordfhip. And that for several reasons. In the first place, your Lordship is the beft and happiest imitator of Lucian our nation has yet produced, and you have, with a peculiar felicity, hit off the natural air and turn of his dialogue. In the next place, of a learned and animated writer as your Lordship undoubtedly is, you are the pureft and chafteft of any I know now living, and the remoteft from that affectation and Lexiphanicifm which are at once the difgrace and characteristick of the age. Therefore it was most natural for me, an humble follower of our own common and great original, and a declared advocate for the purity and fimplicity of language, to pitch upon your Lordship for a Patron, who are the beft imitator of the one, or rather a most beautiful original in a path he has only fhewn you, and give
in your admirable writings, the best example of the other.
But there was another confideration, which at the time influenced me even more than this, and made me think the present addrefs, not only a matter of propriety in regard to myfelf, but alfo a fort of debt or atonement due to your Lordship. I beg leave to explain myfelf. I have been all my lifetime very little converfant with authors that can ftrictly be called modern; (for even Swift is now to be looked upon as a kind of ancient) and I reckon it my great happiness to have been fo. I had indeed heard, for who that dabbles in books has not, of the EXCELLENT RAMBLER, the Great Mr. S—————l 7n; I had likewife feen his voJin lumes on a bookfeller's counter, or a friend's table, and had fometimes taken them up with an intent to perufe a paper or fo, but was never able to go through the task; for being present
ly difgufted with the pedantry and affectation in every page, I could not help throwing them down with a con tempt and indignation, which, per haps, the defects of the language excepted, might be very undeserved. At last, during a long voyage at fsea, when I had access to no other English books but what I had been long ac quainted and very familiar with, excepting the Ramblers which happened accidentally to be on board, in order to divert the idle and folitary hours un avoidable in that fort of life, I was in a manner obliged to read them, which accordingly I did with great care and attention. I immediately perceived, and was very forcibly ftruck with the ftrong resemblance there fubfifts between Mr. Jn's character, and that of the Limoufin fcholar in Rabelais, and of Lexiphanes in Lucian. And I concluded, that that an imitation of the latter would be admirably well fuited
to expose that falfe taste and ridiculous manner of writing; and that it might alfo be of eminent ufe to letters, by decrying that abfurd Lexiphanick ftile, which from the great and universal reputation this Pedant enjoyed, I reafonably imagined had become fashionable among us, and might, in a short time, bring on an entire decline and corruption, nay, a total alteration of our language, as had been the cafe with the Roman tongue under the Emperors.
Therefore, as foon as I had an opportunity, I fet about the following work with all the diligence and application I was master of. In the course of it, befides Mr. Jn's, I carefully perused, it may fafely be said, for the first time, what other modern writings came in my way; and I generally found them more or lefs Lexiphanick in proportion to the share of fame and reputation their feveral authors enjoyed. I now recollected, that your Lordship had a 4 written
written Dialogues of the Dead, in imitation of Lucian, and that I had heard them highly applauded. I hope your Lordship will forgive me, for I can hardly forgive my felf, if I concluded, not having then read them, that those applaufes might be owing, partly to their author's quality and exalted ftation, but much more to their Lexipbanicifm, or being written in compliance with the reigning tafte of the times. I was ambitious, like the young Ascanius, who, hunting with his father Eneas and Dido,
-Daria pecora inter inertia votis. Optat aprum, aut fulvum defcendere monte leonern.
I thought your Lordship would be a much nobler object of Criticifm, than even the great Mr. S1 J
and if I fhould be able to extract a Rhapsody from the Dialogues, as easily as from the Ramblers, at least I hoped