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T will, without doubt, be expected, that the reader fhould be made privy to the reafons, upon which this work was undertaken, and is now made public. The intrinfic beauty of the piece itself first allured me to the attempt; and a regard for the public, efpecially for those who might be unable to read the original, was the main inducement to its publication.
The Treatise on the SUBLIME had slept for feveral ages, covered up in the duft of libraries, till the middle of the fixteenth century. The firft Latin verfion by Gabriel de Petra was printed at Geneva in 1612. But the first good tranflation of it into any modern language was the French one of the famous Boileau, which, tho' not always faithful to the text, yet has an elegance and a fpirit, which few will ever be able to equal, much less to surpass.
The prefent tranflation was finished, before I knew of any prior attempt to make Longinus Speak English. The first tranflation of him I met with, was publish'd by Mr. Welfted in 1724. But I was very much furprised, upon a perufal,
to find it only Boileau's tranflation mifrepresented, and mangled. For every beauty is impaired, if not totally effaced, and every error (even down to thofe of the printer) most injuriously preferved.
I have fince accidentally met with two other English verfions of this Treatife; one by J. Hall Efq; London 1652; the other without a name, but printed at Oxford in 1698, and faid in the title-page to have been compared with the French of Boileau. I faw nothing in either of thefe, which did not yield the greatest encouragement to a new attempt.
No less than nine years have intervened fince the finishing of this tranflation, in which space it has been frequently revifed, fubmitted to the cenfure of friends, and amended again and again by a more attentive study of the original. The defign was, if possible, to make it read like an original: whether I have fucceeded in this, the bulk of my readers may judge; but whether the tranflation be good, or come any thing near to the life, the fpirit, the energy of Longinus, is a decifion peculiar to men of learning and tafte, who alone know the difficulties which attend fuch an undertaking, and will be impartial enough to give the Tranflator the necessary indulgence.
Longinus himself was never accurately nough published, nor thoroughly understood, till Dr .
* Dr. Pearce did him juftice in his late editions at London. My thanks are due to that gentleman, not only for his correct editions on account of which the whole learned world is indebted to him; but for thofe animadverfions and corrections of this tranflation, with which he fo kindly favoured me. Most of the remarks and obfervations were drawn up, before I had read his Latin notes.
I am not the least in pain, about the pertinency of thofe inftances which I have brought from the Jacred writers, as well as from fome of the finest of our own country, to illuftrate the criticisms of Longinus. I am only fearful, left among the multiplicity of fuch as might be bad, I may be thought to have omitted fome of the best. I am fenfible, that what I have done, might be done much better; but if I have the good fortune to contribute a little, towards the fixing a true judicious taste, and enabling my readers to diftinguish fenfe from found, grandeur from pomp, and the Sublime from fuftian and bombaft, I shall think my time well spent; and shall be ready to fubmit to the cenfures of a judge, but shall only Smile at the fnarling of what is commonly called
*Now Lord Bishop of Bangor.
Of the SECTIONS in Longinus.
HAT Cecilius's treatise on the Sublime is im-
Whether the Sublime may be learned.
Of the Parenthyrfe, or ill-timed emotion.
How the Sublime may be known.
That there are five fources of the Sublime.
Of the Frigid.
Whence thefe imperfections take their rife.
That a knowledge of the true Sublime is attainable. 19
Of Elevation of thought.
That a choice and connexion of proper circumstances will
That the definition, which the writers of rhetoric give
Of Plato's Sublimity.
That the best authors ought to be our models in writing.
That Figures and Sublimity mutually afft one another. 89
Of Question and Interrogation.
8 Of Hyperbatons.
Of Heaps of Figures.
That Copulatives weaken the ftile.
Of Change of Number.
That Singulars fometimes caufe Sublimity.
Of Change of Tenfe.
Of Change of Perfon.
Of another Change of Perfon.
Of Periphrafis or Circumlocution.
That Circumlocution carried too far grows infipid. 122
Of Choice of terms.