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Rules I have, according to the best of my Judgment, endeavour'd to extract from the Practice, and to frame after the Examples of the Poets that are moft celebrated for a fluent and numerous Turn of Verse.
Another Part of this Treatise, is a Dice tionary of Rhymes : To which having prefix'd a large Preface shewing the Method and Usefulness of it, I shall trouble the Reader in this place no farther than to acquaint him, that if it be as useful and acceptable to the Publick, as the compofing it was tedious and painful to me, I Náll never repent me of the Labour.
What I shall chiefly speak of here, is the largest Part of this Treatise, which I call a Collečtion of the most natural and sublime Thoughts that are in the best English Po
And to be ingenuous in the Discovery, this was the part of it that principally induc'd me to undertake the Whole: The Task was indeed laborious, but pleasing'; and the sole Praise I expected from it, was, that I made a judicious Choice and proper Disposition of the Pala
sages I extracted. A Mixture of so many different Subjects, and such a Variety of Thoughts upon them, may possibly not satisfy the Reader so well, as a Composition perfect in its Kind on one intire Subject ; bur certainly it will divert and amuse him better; for here is no Thread of Story, nor Connexion of one Part with another, to keep his Mind intent, and constrain him to any Length of Reading. I detain him therefore only to acquaint him, why it is made a Part of this Book, and how Serviceable it may be to the main Design of it.
Having drawn up Rules for making Verses, and a Dictionary of Rhymes, which are the Mechanick Tools of a Poo et ; I came in the next Place to consider, what other human Aid could be offer'd him ; a Genius and Judgment not being mine to give. Now I imagin'd that a Man might have both these, and yet sometimes, for the sake of a Syllable or two more or less, to give a Verse its true Measure, be at a stand for Epithets and Synonymes, with which I have seen Books
of this Nature in several Languages plen-
Now, tho’I have differ'd from them in
It would have been as easie a Task for me as it has been to others before mę, to have chreaded tedious Bead-rolls of Synonymes and Epithets together, and put them by themselves: But when they stand alone, they appear bald, infipid, uncouth; and offensive both to the Eye and Ear. In that Disposition they may indeed help the Memory, but cannot direct the Judg. ment in the Choice.
But besides, to confess a Secret, I am very unwilling it should be laid to my Charge, that I have furnish'd Tools, and given a Temptation of Versifying, to such as in spight of Art and Nature undertake to be Poets; and who mistake their Fondness to Rhyme, or Neceffity of Writing, for a true Genius of Poetry, and lawful Call from Apollo. Such Debasers of Rhyme and Dablers in Poetry would do well to consider, that a Man would justly deserve a higher Esteem in the World by being a good Mason or Shoo-maker, or hy excelling in any other Art chat his Talent inclines him to, and that is useful to Mankind, than by being an indifferent or se
of this Nature in several Languages plentifully furnish’d.
Now, tho’I have differ'd from them in Method, yet I am of Opinion this Collection may serve to the same End, with equal Profit and greater Pleasure to the Reader. For, what are Epithets, but Adjectives that denote and express the Qualities of the Substantives to which they are join'd ? as Purple, Rosie, Smiling, Dewy, Morning : Dim, Gloomy, Silent, Night. What Synonymes, but Words of a like Signification? as Fear, Dread, Terrokr, Confternation, Affright, Dismay, &c. Are they not then naturally to be sought for in the Descriptions of Persons and Things? And can we not better judge by a Piece of Painting, how Beautifully Colours may be dispos’d ; than by seeing the same several Colours scatter'd without Design on a Table ? When you are at a Loss therefore for proper Epithets or Synonymes, look into this Alphabetical Collection for any Word under which the Subject of your Thought may most probably be rang'd', and you will find what have been imploy'd by our best Writers, and in what Manner." It