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A MEMOIR OF THE AUTHOR, A CRITICAL VIEW OF HIS
WRITINGS, AND EXPLANATORY NOTES.
JAMES ROBERT BOYD,
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1851, by
CHARLES SCRIBNER, In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for the Southern District
of New York.
In preparing this new edition of the “Night Thoughts," with a memoir of the author, a critical estimate of his celebrated writings, and notes explanatory of the text, the editor has been influenced in no small degree by a desire to make the Poem far more useful than it has hitherto been without notes. It has by no means the erudite character of the Paradise Lost, and does not, on this account, stand in so much need of explanatory observations ; but it is not without its many learned and historical allusions, its recondite truths, its obscurities, intricacies, and difficulties, which, to most readers, greatly require elucidation.
The fact that it is extensively used in seminaries of learning, as a text book for grammatical analysis and rhetorical criticism, has also recommended it to the editor as a peculiarly fitting subject of his critical study and annotation. For this use it is, perhaps, not less valuable than the Paradise Lost, in expanding the intellect, giving scope to the imagination, exuberance to fancy, cultivation to literary taste, and improvement to the moral feelings. These Poems are so entirely different in their metrical structure and style of thought from the Paradise Lost, except in the single attributo of sublimity, that a study of the one for educational purposes, or for higher