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TO THE KING.
HILE my deceased husband was engaged in
was not a little fupported in it, by the honour which he proposed to himself of dedicating it to your facred Majefty. This defign, which had given him fo much pleasure for fome years, out-lafted his abilities to put it in execution for, when his life was defpaired of, and this part of the book remained unfinished, he expreffed to me his defire, that this Tranflation fhould be laid at your Majefty's feet, as a mark of that zeal and veneration which he had always entertained for your Majefty's Royal Perfon and virtues. Had he lived to have made his own addrefs to your Majefty upon this occafion, he would have been able in fome meafure to have done justice to that exalted character, which it becomes fuch as I am to admire in filence : being incapable of reprefenting my dear husband in any thing, but in that profound humility and refpect, with which I am,
May it please your Majefty,
Your Majesty's most dutiful
and most obedient fervant,
BY JAMES WELWOOD, M.D. FELLOW OF THE ROYAL COLLEGE OF PHYSICIANS, LONDON.
I COULD not refift Mr. Rowe's request in his laft
fickness, nor the importunities of his friends fince, to introduce into the world this his pofthumous Translation of Lucan, with fomething by way of preface. I am very fenfible how much it is out of my fphere, and that I want both leifure and materials, to do justice to the Author, or to the memory of the Translator. The works of both will best plead for them; the one having already out-lived feventeen ages, and both one and the other like to endure as long as there is any taste of liberty or polite learning left in the world. Hard has been the fate of many a great genius, that while they have conferred immortality on others, they have wanted themselves fome friend to embalm their names to pofterity. This has been the fate of Lucan, and perhaps may be that of Mr. Rowe.
All the accounts we have handed down to us of the first, are but very lame, and fcattered in fragments of ancient authors. I am of opinion, that one
reason why his life is not to be found at any length, in the writings of his contemporaries, is the fear they were in of Nero's refentment, who could not bear to have the life of a man fet in a true light, whom, together with his uncle Seneca, he had facrificed to his revenge. Notwithstanding this, we have fome hints in writers who lived near this time, that leave us not altogether in the dark, about the life and works of this extraordinary young man.
Marcus Annæus Lucan was of an equeftrian family of Rome, born at Corduba in Spain, about the year of our Saviour 39, in the reign of Caligula. His family had been transplanted from Italy to Spain a confiderable time before, and were invested with feveral dignities and employments in that remote province of the Roman empire. His father was Marcus Annæus Mela, or Mella, a man of a diftinguished merit and intereft in his country, and not the lefs in esteem for being the brother of the great philofopher Seneca. His mother was Acilia the daughter of Acilius Lucanus, one of the moft eminent orators of his time and it was from his grandfather that he took the name of Lucan. The story that is told of Hefiod and Homer, of a swarm of bees hovering about them in their cradle, is likewise told of Lucan, and probably with equal truth: but whether true or not, it is a proof of the high efteem paid to him by the ancients, as a poet.
He was hardly eight months old when he was brought from his native country to Rome, that he