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de Byzance, Tite Live, Suetone, Macrobe *, Quinte Curce, Stace, Pline, and Aulu-Gelle; but, let us not ourselves diftort, mangle, and murder the venerable names of claffical antiquity, with the fame ridiculous licentiousness.
The generality of those, who write for the inftruction of youth, are apt to forget, that their business is to accommodate their precepts to the lowest capacities, to readers, who are unacquainted with the first principles of science. They seem only folicitous to display their learning, and indulge themselves in abftrufe and elaborate difquifitions.
The author of the following effay has endeavoured to avoid this abfurdity, and to place every minute circumftance, argument, and observation in the cleareft light. Though the fubject has been investigated by many preceding writers,
*Who knows, but that hereafter, the name of Macrobius may be written, by a farther abbreviation, in the Scotch fashion, Mc Robe?
he flatters himself, that his remarks will be NEW to those readers, for whom they are chiefly intended; and that they are not improperly calculated to prepare the young ftudent for higher degrees of taste and knowledge,
§ I. MANY learned writers have imagined, that the English verfification is founded, like Greek and Roman poetry, on a certain, combination of long and short fyllables. That this is not true, will perhaps appear by a very fimple experiment. Let us take a poetical line, chiefly confifting of fhort fyllables; and, in the room of these short fyllables, fubftitute long ones, the measure will be ftill preserved, though the natural quantity of the fyllables is changed:
The hills and rocks attend my sylvan lāy.
Pope, Paft. ii. 17.
The trees and gales repeat my rural lay.