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66 be more
The Author of the following pages is well aware that although it has long been an established custom to prefix to every work, of any magnitude, which may come from the press, something by way of preface or introduction ; yet, he thinks that custom would, in many cases, “ honoured in the breach than in the observance, and, perhaps, in the present case, as well as in many others, the remark may hold good.
But, as a book without a preface is a perfect anomaly, he will not be the first to set custom at defiance by intruding his labours upon the public without what, by some, may be thought most essential, and who think so, perhaps, from not being aware that in ninety nine cases out of a hundred a preface is never read.
His object is to write what he hopes may be read by many, and not what may be passed over as containing nothing save apologies to the public for appearing before it. He thinks it most idle for an Author to tell us that he has a deep sense of the demerit of his work; for, in truth, he has no feeling of the kind, and he thinks it equally ridiculous to find a claim made for indulgence which he rests satisfied he shall obtain, together with a whole string of et cæteras running over ten or a dozen pages, sometimes more, apparently written for no other purpose than to swell the size of the book, to increase its price, and consequently to add to the profits of the author as well as of the publisher.
He will, therefore, endeavour to avoid the error which he has thus deprecated by barely informing the reader that the original Poem “in blank verse," with the “ Reasons from Prophesy, &c.," thereto appended, came into his possession about twelve years ago, by such a train of accidents as if detailed would swell this preface into a volume, at least ; but as he is of opinion the reader would not have patience to wade through it, he will not add more here than that after the work had been in his possession upwards of ten years, he was induced to correct several lines in the original Poem, and subsequently to rewrite the Poem altogether, in rhyme—which the reader will perceive contains but few new ideas, as he was desirous not to depart from the model which he had had placed before him. He has, however, added very copious Notes to the work generally. His labours are now finished, and they are submitted to the public with a hope that the object the Author has in view may be obtained.