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THE 'HE Author of the several pieces contained in
the ensuing Volumes, bad meditated a complete edition of bis Works, but had made small progress in his design even a few months before bis decease, when bis infirmities obliged him to abandon it. . By certain papers, bowever, that came to my bands, be bad so far ascertained the particulars of his intended publication as to enable me to carry his purpose into execution.
Thus informed, I bave, at the request of some of his friends, taken upon myself the office of bis Editor, and accordingly here present to view as complete a collection of the various writings of Dr. Samuel Johnson as I was able to form, and ibe directions be left behind him would permit me to publish.
As I food engaged, by a promise made to him a Niort time before his deceajé, to be as well the guardian of his fame as an executor of his will, I thought I could no way better discharge the former of these obligations than by giving to the world a succinēt narration of the principal events of his life, interspersed with such particulars as best served to delineate and illustrate his character; in the performance of zehich task, having endeavoured with equal care to avoid the extremes of praise and blame, I trust to the charity, the gratitude, and the justice of impartial pofterity, ihat the failings of a man whose whole life was a confie with pain and adversity, will either be for. given or forgotten, and that the remembrance of bis viriues, and a reverence for the wonderful endowments of bis mind, and bis zeal in the employment of them to the best purposes, will be coeval with those excellent lessons of religion, morality, and economical wisdom, which he has left behind him.
In the Lives of the Poels I have inserted notes that contain either additional facts, or that tend to explain particular pelages. The pancity of ancedutes in this part of the Author's writings, it is presumed, will juslify this liberty, it bring a known
part of his character, that be was more ingenious in critical disquisition than industrious in collecting memoirs ; fo that, in many infances, what be calls tbe life of a poet may more properly be termed an examen of his works.
Of the Latin pieces in the last of these volumes, many were composed in those intervals of ease, wbich during his last illness be at times experienced: others, and those the greater number, were the employment of his thoughts, when, being retired to rest, the powers of feep failed him, when the remission of pain became to him positive pleasure, and having no outward objects present to his view, bis ever-active imagination had liberty to wander through the boundless regions of fancy, and his reason to investigate the most important and fublime truths. The originals, as they were from time to time committed to writing, were by bim delivered to Mr. Langton, with directions to publi,h them; and it is to that gentleman that we owe the pleasure of perusing, in this form, these the most recent effufions of his genius, and latest evidences of his piety.
Besides the Pieces contained in the ensuing Volumes, there is extant, of Dr. Johnson's writing, 5