To the Reader.
WEre it my expectation, or design, to gain a Reputation for Verse, I should have chosen a Subject more suited to move the Affections; without humouring of which, the smoothest Rythms please the the generality no better than Pictures in dead Colours.
Yet as those Commands, which ennoble these Endeavours, were entirely with re∣spect to publick benefit: if I can attain that end, tho with the censure of being an ill Poet, or what perhaps would be worse for me, a tolerable good one; I shall be con∣tent, with King David dancing before the Ark, to appear vile,* or like one of the vain Fellows. I must confess, I had not finish'd this Task, before I met with a Page [unnumbered] Translation of this Book into English Prose, by an excellent Hand, which might have seemed justly to supersede my farther Pro∣gress. But I cannot but believe that many may be willing to divert themselves with this, who would think the other not suffici∣ently entertaining; for which I take leave to apply that of the admirable Herbert;
Measure is at least an art of Memory, an help for the treasuring up those thoughts which may inrich our Minds; such I am sure Grotius's are; and what so well de∣serve to be thought on more than once, that I am confident many, who have read both the Latin and English Prose, nay, and the original Dutch Verse too, will not think their time lost in reading the same Argu∣ments repeated, in such a way as I have represented that Impression which they made upon my Mind. Wherein I must needs say, I never labour'd for a second Thought, if the first, without offending against the com∣mon rules, or (a) practice of Verse, seem'd clearly to express Grotius's Sense; nor hunted about for taking Epithets, or Flow∣ers; but left Truth, and dry reasoning, to their natural Energy, if not Graces.
Page [unnumbered]I cannot but flatter my self, that in se∣veral places I have removed some Clouds, and made the Arguments more easy to be comprehended, by taking from their length.
The Truths here propounded, are of that nature, that me-thinks the Mind should be eager to come to the proof of them, and impatient even of Ornaments which may detain from the full view of their de∣lightful Features.
If however this Version appear dull and flat, I hope it will be considered that it is but a Copy of a Copy; and if I had under∣stood the Original Dutch Poem, as I should have had more assistance to Fancy, I know not but I might have offered here some∣thing more Poetical.
Yet still it must have been as careless and unlabour'd as now it is, unless I could have stolen more time from a Life not unactive, than I fear the Critiques will think, I have already but thrown away on this occasion.