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BY DAVID IRVING, LL. D.

AUTHOR OF THE LIVES OF THE SCOTTISH POETS.

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PREFACE.

THE work now presented to the public, is chiefly intended for the perusal of those whose critical studies are yet in their commencement. To younger students, and to such as have not access to more extensive works, it may, perhaps, convey some useful instruction: it is not intruded upon those who are already conversant in polite literature. Should it be found a suitable introduction to this liberal study, the compiler will have attained the summit of his ambition.

Though it was my principal object to treat of prose composition, yet a few observations on poetry incidentally occur. The remarks which have been suggested with regard to the nature of figurative language, apply equally to prose and to poetry: but the poets have furnished me with the most copious and beautiful illustrations.

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