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INTRODUCTION.

The most beautiful Lake in North Wales is

that of Llanberis, in the county of Carnaryon. Mountains rise around it, on every side ; and as the clouds roll round the girdle and summit

of Snowdon, they are reflected on the bosom of

the lake;—and, purpled with the last tints of

the descending sun, enchant the traveller into

a state of sensation,

more partaking of heaven

than of earth.”

On this spot the Author of the following pages conceived the plan of his Philosophy of NATURE :--and retiring into one of the most

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beautiful valleys, in South Wales, experienced

more real satisfaction in the unmolested tran

quillity, with which he was permitted to indulge his love of Natural Philosophy, than it is the lot of many men to enjoy.

Upon returning to the neighbourhood of Lon

don, the Philosophy of Nature was printed.

But none of the necessary arts of publishing

having been exercised in its behalf, it would

have rested," as a dead weight,” upon the

fame of the author, had not one reader affec

tionally recommended it to another. In this

manner, with all its imperfections, it gradually acquired some share of celebrity.

Two years after this, the author spent some

few months at a cottage, not far distant from

the ruins of a castle, which, with the surround

ing scenery, often seemed to realize the pic

tures of Ariosto and Tasso, Spenser, and the

“Genius of Udolpho.” With an imagination,

enriched by scenes like these, he resumed

his pen: and, with a view of noting the

enjoyments with which science, literature,

and the elegant arts, impregnate the privacy

of life, he composed his AMUSEMENTS in Re

TIREMENT.

The two succeeding winters were passed in the environs of London: where, being occasionally at the theatres, the manner of representing Hamlet, Macbeth, Cymbeline, and Othello, in

spired him with a wish, if possible, to write a tra

gedy.--Hence originated the Italians.

For some time previous to this, no small

share of attention had been devoted to the pre

paration of materials, for a series of Essays on

the Pleasures and Advantages of a cultivated

Imagination:-and to render those meditations

and reflections more permanently valuable, the

author resolved upon engrafting them on the

best portions of the Philosophy of Nature.

Thus resolved, the plan became so extensive,

that he found himself under the necessity of

adopting that comprehensive brevity of style,

which could alone enable him to compress the

abundance of his materials into classical limits.

These materials, upon examination, will be

found to be results, arising from a frequent observance of some of the finest specimens of

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