It is the desire of the publisher of this new edition of my works, that I should prefix a few introductory lines to the first volume of the series, "The Life and Times of Salvator Rosa." But the great artist will speak best for himself to the present generation, as he has done to so many others in the course of those two centuries of his triumphs which have swept on to
"The years beyond the flood."
Painter, poet, musician, philosopher, and patriot, he combined in his fine organisation the supreme elements of high art, with the noblest instincts of intellectual humanity. He worked through his great vocation with a spirit of independence that never quailed, and with unflinching resistance to the persecutions of despotism and the intrigues of professional rivalry. His moral dignity refused to pander to the licentious tastes of the profligate times in which he flourished, and, in this respect superior to many of his great predecessors, he left not one picture that,
" - dying, he might blush to own,"
while he exhibited in his great historical compositions, "The Death of Regulus" and "The Conspiracy of Catiline," a graphic eloquence which Herodotus and Gibbon have scarcely surpassed.