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THE FIRST EDITION *.
The following pages are the result of hours, stolen from an application to higher interests, and from the severity of graver subjects. They were written in the privacy of retirement, among scenes, worthy the pen of Virgil and the pencil of Lorrain ;-scenes, which áfford perpetual subjects for meditation to all those, who take a melancholy pleasure in contrasting the dignified simplicity of Nature with the vanity, ignorance, and presumption of Man.
“ There is no one,” says one of the best and soundest moralists of our age,“ however limited his powers, who ought not to be actuated by a desire
* This work was first published in two small volumes) under the title of “ The PhiloSOPHY OF NATURE.”
of leaving something behind him, which should operate, as an evidence, that he once existed.” During those hours of peaceful enjoyment, in which these pages were composed, such was the ambition by which the writer was animated. Upon revising what he has written, however, and comparing it with those ideas of excellence, which, in no very courteous language, whisper a knowledge of what abler pens than his would have written on a subject, so well selected for eliciting all the best energies of Genius, he is awed from any expectation of honourable distinction ; and nothing supplies the place of those golden dreams, which once delighted him, but the satisfaction of having passed, happily and innocently, hours, which would otherwise have been useless, listless, and unnumbered.