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CHOICE EPIGRAMS, FANCIFUL INSCRIPTIONS,
AND POETICAL MORCEAUX.
GEORGE WENTWORTH, Esq.
What is an Epigram ?---A Dwarfish whole ;
PRINTED FOR A. ROBERTSON & Co
BRIDE COURT, BRIDGE STREET, BLACKFRIARS.
In this literary age, when the press teems with all sorts of productions, when almost every subject seems to be worn threadbare; and when there appears to be left no department, wherein to indulge the cacoethes scribendi ; the present writer has been greatly surprised that no one has hitherto published a collection of the most approved ENGLISH EPIGRAMS. These productions, though of a light and fugitive nature, are nevertheless, generally, of acknowledged merit; and give delight, both in the reading and repetition,
Impressed with these yiews, the Editor, who has been an amateur in the collection of Epigrams, was induced to enlarge his own store, by systematic reference to all those ephemeral and periodical publications of ancient and modern date, from whence such morceaux piquant were likely to be derived. His labour was amply compensated by the treasures which were discovered ; and he looks for no further reward than the pleasure which he anticipates the reader will now derive from their perusal.-For his greater convenience, in perusal, and for occasional reference, a very copious Index is added.
An Epigram, it is well known, is a short poem, treating of one thing only: its distinguishing characters being brevity, elegance, and point. But, as may be seen in the present collection, a compound Epigram contains a succession of witty sallies, and puns on particular words.
Epigrams derive their origin from sentences inscribed by the ancients on their statues, pillars, temples, and triumphal arches. These were generally in verse ; the better to be retained by the memory. This short way of writing came at length to be used on every occasion and subject ; and hence, the name of Epigram is given to a smart stanza, without regard to the original application. Epigrams are generally employed in praise or satire. Though the best are said to be such as are comprised in two or four verses, or stanzas, we are not to suppose but that many are perfect, which exceed those limits. Neither the ancients nor moderns have been so scrupulous with regard to the length of their epigrammatic compositions ;- brevity, however, in general, ought to be studied.