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Temple, Feb. 25th, 1833.
I COMMENCED this translation without the slightest idea of publishing it, and even when, by aid of preface and notes, I thought I had produced a book which might contribute something towards the promotion of German literature in this country, I still felt unwilling to cast it from me beyond the power of alteration or recall. I therefore circulated the whole of the first impression amongst my acquaintance, and made up my mind to be guided by the general tenor of the opinions I might receive from them. I also wished the accuracy of my version to be verified by as many examinations as possible, and I hoped to get some additional matter for the notes. “ The complete explanation of an author (says Johnson) not systematic and consequential, but desultory and vagrant, abounding in casual allusions and light hints, is not to be expected from any single scholiast. What can be known, will be collected by chance from the recesses of obscure and obsolete papers (or from rare and curious books), perused commonly with some other view. Of this knowledge every man has some, and none has much ; but when an author has engaged the public attention, those who can add anything to his illustration, communicate their discoveries, and time produces what had eluded diligence."