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EDINBURGH: PRINTED BY J. HOGG.

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TO THE FIRST EDITION.

The Author of the following Sketches is aware that he may be accused of exaggeration and extravagance, particularly in his panegyrics of the various characters he has attempted to pourtray. He has only to plead, in mitigation of sentence, that his praise is perfectly sincere; that the men he has selected are, in his judgment, the leading lights—the decora et tutamina—of their age; that some of them are less known and less appreciated than they deserve; and that he is not afraid, once for all, to avow himself, even in this late age, a “ Hero-worshipper,” and to avow his conviction that, even now, there are many heroes.

Perhaps the life of every thinking man may be divided into three eras—the era of admiration, the era of action, and the era of repose. Should this division be esteemed correct, the Author would beg leave, as an additional apology, to suggest that, in the following work, he has garnered up the results of his young love and wonder for the masterpieces of his country's genius; that, with it, one mental period of his history is closing, and that it is for the public to decide whether he be encouraged to gird up his loins for some other more manlike, more solid, and strenuous achievement.

Since this preface was written, the Author has issued two other volumes, seeking to develop his more mature and deliberate

views of the litterateurs of the age, and of the “ Bards of the Bible.” Other literary schemes of a somewhat different kind are looming before his mind, but he forbears at present to indicate their nature. He has only to thank his friends, the public, and the critics, generally, for the kindness with which all his three works have been received.

DUNDEE, January 23, 1851.

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