Obrazy na stronie

Names of the AUTHORS whose

POEMS are Mentioned, and
Censured in this Book.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]
[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

Marino Muret Muleus Mamircus

[ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]


Sidonias Apollinaris
Silius Italicus
Scaliger Julius
Scaliger Fosephus
Sandte Martbe


[blocks in formation]

Talo Torquato Triffino


Aler. Flaccus

Virgil Tefti

Vida Tyrtaus




The Author's PREFACE to

The Reflections upon History.
Esides that this work is but a rude Essay upon

the Manner of writing History, and what I bave drawn from too superficial Acquaintance with ancient and modern Historians ; the natural Diffidence that I have of my self, inclines me to fear, that Impatience or Inadvertency may have forced out of my Hands,what could never have lain under them long enough to appear tolerable at its coming abroad. But that I may not disgust my Readers by too much undervaluing the Present I am about to make them, I shall, without Scruple, confess, That 'tis a Kind of an Abridgment of whatever has been offer'd on this Subject, by the greatest Men of former or latter Ages; that 'tis an Extract of the most rational Observations,

made by Dionysius Halicarnassæus in his Answer to Pompey the Great, who desir’d his Judgment upon the Greek Historians, and their several CharaEters: that 'tis a Copy taken from the most judicious Reflections of Lucian, in his admirable Treatise of the historical Stile. In a Word, that the Notions which I advance in this Discourse, are not properly mine, but are rather those of Patricius, in his Dialogues of Marucci, Mascard, Beni, Cabrera, and other modern Criticks of Spain and Italy.

But as’tis possible, I'may have spoilt their Thoughts by the Intermixture of my own; so I declare beforehand, That I don't look upon it as a Point of Honour, absolutely to convince my Reader of all that I say. Í am not here enacting Laws; for which I have no Authority or Jurisdiétion: I am barely offering Advice, which may be taken or rejected at Pleasure : Nay, so far am I from presuming to give Instructions to any person living, that I am dispos'd to receive them from all the World. For, if I have not Judgment enough to attain that Exactness which is ne

cessary cessary to so important a Design, I have yet enough to suspect my Abilities, and to apprehend my Danger.

Again, there's so much true Wisdom in not hanging out the Sign of Wisdom, and so much good Serle in being modest, that I could gladly have soften'd my opon Conjectures with Aristotle's Perhaps, or Cicero's It seems, that I might be the less positive, and might declare my self with greater Caution and Reo serve, if that Simplicity to which I have confin’d my Stile; would admit this Way of Expression. For a very little Share of Prudence will keep a Man from being formard in dičtating and deciding, in an age remarkably obstinate and self-opiniative.

To proceed, the Discourse which I am going to make of History, is by no means of the severe Character of that of Lucian, who never commends those that write well, but for an Occasion of Exposing those that write ill, and under his seeming Approbation of good Authors, conceals a most refind and artful Satyr upon the Bad. I am not of this Temper, nor have I an evil Thought against any Man. All that I propose, is so to lay open to the intelligent Reader, the

great Hazard of attempting History, as a Work in which'tis fovery difficult to succeed; and to observe to him that the Judgment of Dionysius Halicarnasszus upon Thucydides, is alone sufficient to strike Terror into any discreet Author who is engaging in the same Field.

In fine, to add somewhat concerning the Character of the Work, after having spoken of the Workman: 1 here profess that the leading Quality intended in these Reflections, is rather Soundnes of Sense, than Refinement of Politicks, though the latter be that which the Curious and Inquisitive are wont chiefly to seek for in History. For as false Policy is the Vainest of al Arts and Sciences, so all true Policy is built upon good Sense, as its most universal and most solid Foundation. Nor do I pretend to offer all that can be said on this Malter, or to drain a Subječt which is really inexhaustible.


« PoprzedniaDalej »