The Seasons (Thomson)/Preface

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3344888The Seasons — PrefaceJames Thomson


I have very little to inform the Reader concerning this new edition of a poet whose immortal fame is so universally established in every country, where due honour is paid to genius, and uncommon natural endowments. It being chiefly intended for the use of schools, correctness and cheapness have been more consulted than that elegance and splendour, which too often exceeds the narrow circumstances of the diligent, but indigent youth.

The best editions have been carefully compared, as well these that appeared during the author's life as those since his death: the variations of the text have been constantly attended to, the differences duly weighed, and those readings chosen and oftentimes replaced, that had been either corrupted by the carelessness and inadvertency of former editors, or altered for the worse without taste and critical judgment. I submit them to the decision of able critics; and should think myself highly rewarded for many a laborious and toilsome hour, if by this new edition the unrivalled masterpiece of the British Bard should be more universally spread and acknowledged amongst my countrymen; and the favourite of the Muses, the inimitable painter of Nature be more studied in the original.

Murdoch's life of the author, and Aikins excellent Essay on the plan and character of the poem will I hope, meet with a favourable reception, they never having been printed in Germany. Notwithstanding my unremitted assiduity and strict accuracy a few errors of the press may have crept in, which, I flatter myself, the Reader will kindly excuse.

The Editor.