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convenience of the vulture. But when men have killed their prey, said the pupil, why do they not eat it? When the wolf has killed a sheep, he suffers not the vulture to touch it till he has satisfied himself. Is not man another kind of wolf? Man, said the mother, is the only beast who kills that which he does not devour, and this quality makes him so much a benefactor to our species. If men kill our prey, and lay it in our way, said the young one, what need shall we have of labouring for ourselves ? Because man will, sometimes, replied the mother, remain for a long time quiet in his den. The old vultures will tell you when you are to watch his motions. When you see men in great numbers moving close together, like a flight of storks, you may conclude that they are hunting, and that you will soon revel in human blood. But still, said the young one, I would gladly know the reason of this mutual slaughter. I could never kill what I could not eat. My child, said the mother, this is a question which I cannot answer, though I am reckoned the most subtle bird of the mountain. When I was young, I used frequently to visit the ayry of an old vulture, who dwelt upon the Carpathian rocks; he had made many observations; he knew the places that afforded prey round his habitation, as far in every direction as the strongest wing can fly between the rising and the setting of the summer sun; he had fed year after year on the entrails of men. His opinion was, that men had only the appearance of animal life, being really vegetables with a power of motion; and that as the boughs of an oak are dashed together by the storm, that swine may fatten upon the

fallen acorns, so men are by some unaccountable power driven one against another, till they lose their motion, that vultures may be fed. Others think they have observed something of contrivance and policy among these mischievous beings; and those that hover more closely round them, pretend, that there is, in every herd, one that gives

to the rest, and seems to be more eminently delighted with a wide carnage. What it is that entitles him to such pre-eminence we know not; he is seldom the biggest or the swiftest, but he shews by his eagerness and diligence that he is, more than

any

of the others, a friend to the vuliures,

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IT is now more than half a century since the PA

ADISE Lost, having broke through the clouds with which the unpopularity of the author, for time, obscured it, has attracted the general admi. ration of mankind; who have endeavoured to com. pensate the error of their first neglect, by lavish praises and boundless veneration. There seems to have arisen a contest, among men of genius and lis terature, who should most advance its honour, or best distinguish its beauties. Some have revised editions, others have published commentaries, and all have endeavoured to make their particular studies, in some degree, subservient to this general emulation.

« * It is to be hoped, nay, it is expected, that the elegant “ and nervous writer, whose judicious sentiments, and ini“ mitable style, points out the author of Lauder's Preface " and Postscript, will no longer allow one to plume bimself " with his feathers, who appears so little to have deserved his “ assistance; an assistance which I am persuaded would ne

ver have been communicated, had there been the least suspicion of those facts which I have been the instrument of

conveying to the world in these sheets, "Milton vindisated from the charge of plagiarism brought against bim by Mr Lauder, and Lauder bimself convicted of several forgeries and gross impositions on the publick. By John Douglas, M. A. Rector of Eator Constantine, Salop, 8vo. 1751, p. 77.

Among the inquiries to which this ardour of criticism has naturally given occasion, none is more ubscure in itself, or more worthy of rational curiosity, than a retrospection of the progress of this mighty genius, in the construction of his work; a view of the fabrick gradually rising, perhaps from snall beginnings, till its foundation rests in the centre, and its turrets sparkle in the skies; to trace back the structure, through all its varieties, to the simplicity of its first plan; to find what was first projected, whence the scheme was taken, how it was improved, by what assistance it was executed, and from what stores the materials were collected, whether its founder dug them from the quarries of nature, or demolished other buildings to embellish his own,

This inquiry has been, indeed, not wholly neglected, nor, perhaps, prosecuted with the care and diligence that it deserves. Several criticks have offered their conjectures; but none have much endeavoured to enforce or ascertain them.

* Mr VOLTAIRE tells us, without proof, that the first

Essay upon the Civil Wars of France, and also upon the Epick Poetry of the European Nations, from Homer down to Milcon, 8vo, 1727, p. 103. E.

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