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AN EPISTLE

TO

A FRIEND.

Villula,

et pauper agelle, Me tibi, et hos unâ mecum, et quos semper amavi, Commendo.

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PREFACE.

Every reader turns with pleasure to those passages of Horace, and Pope, and Boileau, which describe how they lived and where they dwelt; and which, being interspersed among their satirical writings, derive a secret and irresistible grace from the contrast, and are admirable examples of what in Painting is termed repose.'

We have admittance to Horace at all hours. We enjoy the company and conversation at his table; and his suppers, like Plato's, “non solum in præsentia, sed etiam postero die jucundæ sunt.' But when we look round as we sit there, we find ourselves in a Sabine farm, and not in a Roman villa. His windows have every charm of prospect; but his furniture ght have descended from Cincinnatus; and gems, and pictures, and old marbles, are mentioned by him more than once with a seeming indifference.

His English Imitator thought and felt, perhaps, more correctly on the subject; and embellished his garden and grotto with great industry and success. But to these alone he solicits our notice. On the ornaments of his house he is silent; and he appears to have reserved all the minuter touches of his pencil for the library, the chapel, and the banquetting-room of Timon. · Le savoir de notre siècle,' says Rousseau, • tend beaucoup plus à détruire qu'à édifier, On censure d'un ton de maitre; pour proposer, il en faut prendre un autre.'

It is the design of this Epistle to illustrate the virtue of True Taste; and to shew how little she requires to secure, not only the comforts, but even the elegancies of life. True Taste is an excellent Economist. She confines her choice to few objects, and delights in producing great effects by small means: while False Taste is for ever sighing after the new and the rare; and reminds us, in her works, of the Scholar of Apelles, who, not being able to paint his Helen beautiful, determined to make her fine.

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An Invitation. The approach to a Villa described. Its situation.

Its few apartments--furnished with from the Antique, &c. The dining-room. The library. A cold-bath. A winter-walk. A summer-walk. The invitation renewed. Conclusion.

When, with a Reaumur's skill, thy curious mind
Has classed the insect-tribes of human-kind,
Each with its busy hum, or gilded wing,
Its subtle web-work, or its venomed sting;
Let me, to claim a few unvalued hours,
Point the green lane that leads thro' fern and flowers;
The sheltered gate that opens to my field,
And the white front thro' mingling elms revealed.

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