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Harvard College Library.

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I cannot omit to return you my your ceny Mlizing present, from the penial of which Than unived quat pleasur + pleasure as well as information. One might perhaps & segut that is valuable a piece of criticism was not sooner communicated 2 the world; but, in another light, I confess I must consider the publication of it at the present moment as a fortunate circumstance, for the interests of taste and I good letters. I am in hopes that your book may from a timely antidote & that poison, (out sout poison, and suited, I fear too well, If the ages both. ) with which we have been lately overaflend Under the shelter of your authority, may perhap,

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Welbeck Shut 22. Jan 29 1792.

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Your most dedient humble Sewant

I. Tyrwhitt

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THE first dawnings of polite literature in Italy,
appeared in tale-writing and fables. Boccace
gave a currency and vogue to this species of
composition. He collected many of the common
B
tales

VOL. II.

tales of his country, and delivered them in the purest stile, enlivened with interesting circumstances. Sacchetti published tales before him, in which are many anecdotes of Dante and his contemporaries. Boccace was faintly imitated by several Italians, Poggio, Bandello, Cinthio, Firenzuola, Malespini, and others. * Machiavel himself did honour to this species of writing, by his Belphegor.

To produce, and carry on with probability and decorum, a series of events, is the most difficult work of invention; and if we were minutely to examine the popular stories of every nation, we should be amazed to find how few circumstances

*Michiavel, who possessed the liveliest wit with the profoundest reflection, wrote also two comedies, Mandgragora and Clytia, the former of which was played before Leo X. with much magnificence; the latter is an imitation of the Cassina of Plautus: 66 Indigna vero homine Christiano (says Balzac) qui sanctiores Musas colit, et, in ludicris quoque, meminisse debet severitatis." Epist. Select. pag. 202. I have been informed that Machiavel, towards the latter part of his life, grew religious, and that some pieces of ascetic devotion, composed by him, are preserved in the libraries of Italy. Lord Bacon says remarkably of Machiavel, that he teaches what men usually do, not what they ought to do.

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