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MOST EXCELLENT MAJESTY,
The permission to inscrite: this Poem to YouR MAJESTY, an honour which we could not have presumed to solicit, is rendered yet more honourable and more gratifying to us by the spontaneous offer of it. The benevolent and gracious condescension which suggested that offer inspires us with grateful feelings, which it is not in our power to express.
Our regard to the memory of a brother, to whose affectionate protection and instruction we owe so much, renders it a peculiar felicity to us, that his poem should be presented to the public graced with the patronage of so high and so revered a name; and we humbly hope that it may be found not unworthy of its august Patroness. This we may be allowed to say, that his uniform endeavour was to promote by his writings the improvement of intellectual and moral excellence, which YOUR MAJESTY has so eminently attained, and by your example so powerfully recommended; to place in the fullest light the happiness attainable in all stationts; where the various duties of domestico rife are duly fulfiHed; to cherish the tender affections on which those duties depend; and to. enforce,..on all occasions, the purest lessons.of: Christian vittue.
That Your MAJESTY may long enjoy the heartfelt delight, inseparable from the practice of every thing truly good and great, is the fervent prayer of
and most grateful Servants,
THE AUTHOR'S SISTERS.
ACCOUNT OF THE AUTHOR.
As an extreme tenderness and liberality of brotherly affection formed the most striking feature in the character of the departed Author whose poem is here presented to the Reader, it is hoped that the Public will receive with indulgence a brief memorial of his life from the hand of a surviving Sister, who verstures to speák, not only for herself, but for three of her fellow-sufferers by his death. It is our united wish to render all the little honour in our power to his memory; for all of us have had abundant reason to contemplate the endearing character of the protector we have lost, with indelible gratitude and veneration. But it is not my intention to indulge myself in such praises of the deceased, as might appear likely to arise from the partiality of a Sister. I shall merely endeavour to record, as briefly as I can, the principal incidents of his life, and to illustrate his feelings, and his virtues, by selected passages from a few of his letters to the illustrious object of his esteem and imitation, the Author of the Task.
The Rev. JAMES HURDIS was born at Bishopstone in the county of Sussex, in the year 1763. He was the third child, and only son, of James Hurdis, Gent. by his second wife, whom he married in the year 1759. His father dying, and leaving his mother in no affluent circumstances, with seven children, our Author was at her expense sent to school in the city of Chichester, at the age of eight years, first under the tuition of the Revi. Richard 'Tirémán; an instructor whom he sincerely respected ; and afterwards under the Rev. John Atkinson, for whose memory and literary abilities he had the Irighest veneration. And as a mark of.Mr; Atkinson's esteem for his pupil, he bequeathed to him at his death a handsome legacy of valuable books. Here our Author also experienced the protection of his affectionate uncle, the Rev. Thomas Hurdis, D.D. Canon Residentiary of Chichester, and Canon of Windsor.
Being of a delicate frame and constitution, our Author seldom partook in the juvenile sports of his school-companions; but generally employed his hours of leisure in reading such books as are more attractive to a youth who has an early passion for literature. His inclination to poetry soon made its appearance in many poetical compositions; among which was a tragedy of five acts, entitled Panthea, founded on the story in Xeno