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An Essay on the Lyric Poetry of the Ancients

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The Augustan Reprint Society

JOHN OGILVIE

An ESSAY on the LYRIC POETRY of the ANCIENTS

(1762)

_Introduction by_ WALLACE JACKSON

Publication Number 139 William Andrews Clark Memorial Library University of California, Los Angeles 1970

GENERAL EDITORS

William E. Conway, _William Andrews Clark Memorial Library_ George Robert Guffey, _University of California, Los Angeles_ Maximillian E. Novak, _University of California, Los Angeles_

ASSOCIATE EDITOR

David S. Rodes, _University of California, Los Angeles_

ADVISORY EDITORS

Richard C. Boys, _University of Michigan_ James L. Clifford, _Columbia University_ Ralph Cohen, _University of Virginia_ Vinton A. Dearing, _University of California, Los Angeles_ Arthur Friedman, _University of Chicago_ Louis A. Landa, _Princeton University_ Earl Miner, _University of California, Los Angeles_ Samuel H. Monk, _University of Minnesota_ Everett T. Moore, _University of California, Los Angeles_ Lawrence Clark Powell, _William Andrews Clark Memorial Library_ James Sutherland, _University College, London_ H. T. Swedenberg, Jr., _University of California, Los Angeles_ Robert Vosper, _William Andrews Clark Memorial Library_

CORRESPONDING SECRETARY

Edna C. Davis, _William Andrews Clark Memorial Library_

EDITORIAL ASSISTANT

Roberta Medford, _William Andrews Clark Memorial Library_

INTRODUCTION

John Ogilvie (1733-1813), Presbyterian divine and author, was one of a group of Scottish literary clergy and a fellow of the Edinburgh Royal Society. Chambers and Thomson print the following generous estimation of his work:

Of all his books, there is not one which, as a whole, can be expected to please the general reader. Noble sentiments, brilliant conceptions, and poetic graces, may be culled in profusion from the mass; but there is no one production in which they so predominate, (if we except some of the minor pieces,) as to induce it to be selected for a happier fate than the rest. Had the same talent which Ogilvie threw away on a number of objects, been concentrated on one, and that one chosen with judgment and taste, he might have rivalled in popularity the most renowned of his contemporaries.[1]

The present letters reproduced here, along with the two volumes of his _Philosophical and Critical Observations on Composition_ (London, 1774), are Ogilvie's major contributions to literary criticism. The remainder of his work, which is extensive, is divided almost equally between poetry and theological inquiry. At least one of his poems, "The Day of Judgment" (1758), was known to Churchill, Boswell, and Johnson, but unfortunately for Ogilvie's reputation Johnson "saw nothing" in it.[2]


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