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I DEDICATE the following Poem on AFFECtion to your Royal Highness, having, with great satisfaction, witnessed, on several occasions, how highly you exemplify the virtue of filial attachment.
In making you the first offering of my Muse, I approach you with no venal strainsI heap no incense on the altars of flattery. The period in which we live is of a nature to teach even Royalty the vanity of adulation.
In the course of human events, it may be expected that you will one day sway Britain's sceptre.—Then may you, like England's Elizabeth, reign in the hearts of a brave and free people, the protector of your subjects, and the terror of your enemies.
Anxious that your growing years may be marked by your distinguished virtues,
I subscribe myself, most respectfully,
Your Royal Highness's
Although a life of active business is unfriendly to the Muses, they have often occupied a leisure hour with delight; and among the evanescent moments of past existence, next to those which have been devoted to the discharge of duties, there are none which I recal with more pleasure than those employed in literary attainments; nor have they been without benefit: whilst my imagination has penetrated human nature with Shakespear, or soared sublimer heights with Milton, I have found my judgment matured, and my heart corrected.
On no occasion have I suffered the pursuit to interfere with more important duties. But “ the “most busy man, in the most active sphere, can“not be always occupied by business. He who “ is so happy as to have acquired a relish for the “ entertainments of taste, or the study of polite “ literature, is not in hazard of being a burden 6 to himself. He is not obliged to fly to low “ company, or to court the riot of loose plea“sures, in order to alleviate the tediousness of « existence.”
Philip of Macedon, who was not less fond of wine than dominion, being at table with Dionysius, spoke of the odes and tragedies which his father had left behind him with an air of raillery and contempt, and seemed unable to comprehend at what period of his life he had leisure for such compositions: Dionysius pointedly replied, “Why "he composed them at those hours which you “ and I, and many others, employ in getting " drunk.”
I am aware, by those who consider the attainment of wealth as the desideratum of life, these sentiments may be denominated romantic; but so fully am I convinced of the truth of them, that in the superintendance of the numerous family with which Providence has privileged me, next to the cultivation of the heart and the duties of religion, I have endeavoured strongly to inculcate the importance of attaining eminence in some ornamental or useful art or science,
either as an employment for those leisure hours which would otherwise be in danger of being spent in inanity or dissipation, or as a most valuable resort in the hour of misfortune; to the female sex in particular I would urge this, for reasons innumerable. And it is with considerable pleasure I notice, that long after having written the above observations, I find the sentiments contained in them fully confirmed by the opinion of that illustrious character Sir Thomas More. From an entertaining and ingenious life of him just published by Mr. John Macdiarmid, in his Lives of Eminent British Statesmen, I select, with permission, the following extracts.
“ His opinions respecting female education, “ which are distinctly related by Erasmus, and “ to the following purport, differed very widely “ from what the comparative rudeness of that “age might have led us to expect. By nothing, “ he justly thought, is female virtue so much “ endangered as by idleness and wanton amuse“ments; nor against these is there such an effec“ tual safeguard as an attachment to literature. “ Some security is indeed afforded by a diligent