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Your exemplary character for benevolence, with every other Christian virtue, so long the ornament of your worthy ancestors, together with the honour of the Douglas Family, being so well known, anticipates any thing that might come from my pen on these subjects. All I have to observe is, that I think myself highly honoured in being allowed to dedicate the following sheets to your Ladyship; which, next to Divine Providence, I commit to your patronage. And that that Almighty Being, whose goodness appeareth so conspicuous in Spring, may bless you and yours, is the sincere wish of,
Annan, July 21, 1803.
Creation is a subject which ought to fill every reasonable creature with wonder, and in no season more than Spring. Then Nature, having burst the iron fetters of stern Winter, and broken down its icy prison, shivering at first, creeps gently forth; but now, having become vivid, wantons gaily over all the fields, strewing the earth with flowers, and pouring melody from every grove, while it awakens in the human breast agreeable sensations, enlivening the mind to sublimity of thought and sweet contemplation. It is therefore in order to point out some suitable subjects for this, which may be happily improved for our advantage, that the following work is composed.
I am well aware, that those who expect to find in it that elegance of expression, sublimity of thought, or strength of judgment, which the subjects require, will be much disappointed ; and also that those who wish to show their skill in criticism, may find ample scope for employing their pens.
All I shall say by way of recommendation of it to my Readers is, I hope they will find nothing in it contrary to sound principles, but may find some little entertainment to pass a vacant hour, and some passages which, through the Divine blessing, to them may prove useful. And that this last may be the case, hath been, during the time of composing it, and still is, the sincere wish of its