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IN submitting to the public eye the following collection, I have not only to combat the difficulties that writers of verse generally encounter, but may incur the charge of presumption for obtruding myself on the world, when, without doubt, I might be, at my age, more usefully employed.
These productions are the fruits of the lighter hours of a young man who has lately completed his nineteenth year. As they bear the internal evidence of a boyish mind, this is, perhaps, unnecessary information. Some few were written during the disadvantages of illness and depression of spirits: under the former influence, " CHILDISH RECOLLECTIONS," in particular, were composed. This consideration, though it cannot excite the voice of praise, may at least arrest the arm of censure. A considerable portion of these poems has been privately printed, at the request and for the perusal of my friends. I am sensible that the partial and frequently injudicious admiration of a social circle is not the criterion by which poetical genius is to be estimated, yet "to do greatly" we must "dare greatly;" and I have hazarded my reputation and feelings in publishing this volume. I have "passed the Rubicon," and must stand or fall by the "cast of the die." In the latter event I shall submit without a murmur; for, though not without solicitude for the fate of these effusions, my expectations are by no means sanguine. It is probable that I may have dared much and done little; for, in the
words of Cowper, "it is one thing to write what may please our friends, who, because they are such, are apt to be a little biassed in our favour, and another to write what may please everybody; because they who have no connexion, or even knowledge of the author, will be sure to find fault if they can." To the truth of this, however, I do not wholly subscribe; on the contrary, I feel convinced that these trifles will not be treated with injustice. Their merit, if they possess any, will be liberally allowed; their numerous faults, on the other hand, cannot expect that favour which has been denied to others of maturer years, decided character, and far greater ability.
I have not aimed at exclusive originality, still less have I studied any particular model for imitation; some translations are given, of which many are paraphrastic. In the original pieces there may appear a casual coïncidence with authors whose works I have been accustomed to read; but I have not been guilty of intentional plagiarism. To produce anything entirely new, in an age so fertile in rhyme, would be a Herculean task, as every subject has already been treated to its utmost extent. Poetry, however, is not my primary vocation; to divert the dull moments of indisposition, or the monotony of a vacant hour, urged me "to this sin;" little can be expected from so unpromising a muse. wreath, scanty as it must be, is all I shall derive from these productions; and I shall never attempt
to replace its fading leaves, or pluck a single addi- | tiquity, are thereby rescued from the obscurity tional sprig from groves where I am, at best, an in- which unluckily overshadows several voluminous truder. Though accustomed, in my younger days, productions of their illustrious bearers. to rove a careless mountaineer on the Highlands of Scotland, I have not, of late years, had the benefit of such pure air, or so elevated a residence, as might enable me to enter the lists with genuine bards, who have enjoyed both these advantages. But they derive considerable fame, and a few not less profit, from their productions; while I shall expiate my rashness as an interloper, certainly without the latter, and in all probability with a very slight share of the former. I leave to others "virûm volitare per ora." I look to the few who will hear with patience, " dulce est desipere in loco." To the former worthies I resign, without repining, the hope of immortality, and content myself with the not very magnificent prospect of ranking amongst " the mob of gentlemen who write;"-my readers must determine whether I dare say "with ease," or the honour of a posthumous page in "The Catalogue of Royal and Noble Authors,"-a work to which the Peerage is under infinite obligations, inasmuch as many names of considerable length, sound, and an
With slight hopes, and some fears, I publish this first and last attempt. To the dictates of young ambition may be ascribed many actions more criminal and equally absurd. To a few of my own age the contents may afford amusement; I trust they will, at least, be found harmless. It is highly improbable, from my situation and pursuits hereafter, that I should ever obtrude myself a second time on the public; nor even, in the very doubtful event of present indulgence, shall I be tempted to commit a future trespass of the same nature. The opinion of Dr. Johnson on the poems of a noble relation of mine, “That when a man of rank appeared in the character of an author, he deserved to have his merit handsomely allowed," can have little weight with verbal, and still less with periodical, censors; but were it otherwise, I should be loth to avail myself of the privilege, and would rather incur the bitterest censure of anonymous criticism, than triumph in honours granted solely to a title.
*The Earl of Carlisle, whose works have long received the meed of public applause, to which, by their intrinsie worth, they were well entitled.
HOURS OF IDLENESS.
TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE
FREDERICK, EARL OF CARLISLE,
KNIGHT OF THE GARTER, ETC. ETC.
THE SECOND EDITION OF THESE POEMS IS INSCRIBED,
ON THE DEATH OF A YOUNG LADY,
Cousin to the Author, and very dear to him.
Within this narrow cell reclines her clay,
That clay, where once such animation beam'd;
Or Heaven reverse the dread decrees of fate,
Where endless pleasures virtue's deeds repay.
And shall presumptuous mortals Heaven arraign,
LET Folly smile, to view the names
OH, Friend! for ever loved, for ever dear!
The spot where now thy mouldering ashes lie,
WHEN, to their airy hall, my fathers' voice
ON LEAVING NEWSTEAD ABBEY. "Why dost thou build the hall, son of the winged days? Thou lookest from thy tower to-day: yet a few years, and the blast of the desert comes, it howls in thy empty court."-OSSIAN.
THROUGH thy battlements, Newstead, the hollow winds whistle;
Thou, the hall of my fathers, art gone to decay; In thy once smiling garden, the hemlock and thistle Have choked up the rose which late bloom'd in the way.
Of the mail-cover'd Barons, who proudly to battle Led their vassals from Europe to Palestine's plain, The escutcheon and shield, which with every blast rattle,
Are the only sad vestiges now that remain. No more doth old Robert, with harp-stringing numbers, [wreath; Raise a flame in the breast for the war-laurell'd Near Askalon's towers, John of Horistan slumbers, Unnerved is the hand of his minstrel by death. Paul and Hubert, too, sleep in the valley of Cressy; For the safety of Edward and England they fell: My fathers! the tears of your country redress ye; How you fought, how you died, still her annals can tell.
On Marston, with Rupert, 'gainst traitors contending, [field; Four brothers enrich'd with their blood the bleak For the rights of a monarch their country defending, Till death their attachment to royalty seal'd. Shades of heroes, farewell! your descendant, departing
From the seat of his ancestors, bids you adieu! Abroad, or at home, your remembrance imparting New courage, he'll think upon glory and you. Though a tear dim his eye at this sad separation, 'Tis nature, not fear, that excites his regret; Far distant he goes, with the same emulation, The fame of his fathers he ne'er can forget. That fame, and that memory, still will he cherish; He vows that he ne'er will disgrace your renown: Like you will he live, or like you will he perish; When decay'd, may he mingle his dust with your 1803.