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HOURS OF IDLENESS:

A SERIES OF POEMS, ORIGINAL AND TRANSLATED.

[FIRST PUBLISHED IN 1807.]

'Virginibus puerisque canto.—HORACE, lib. iii. Ode 1.

* Μήτ' άρ με μάλ' αίνει, μήτε τι νείκει.’HOMER, Πίπα, Χ. 249.

'He whistled as he went, for want of thought.'-DRYDEN.

TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE

FREDERICK, EARL OF CARLISLE,

KNIGHT OF THE GARTER, ETC. ETC.,

THE SECOND EDITION OF THESE POEMS IS INSCRIBED,

BY HIS

OBLIGED WARD AND AFFECTIONATE KINSMAN,

THE AUTHOR.

PREFACE TO THE FIRST EDITION.

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 connection, 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 coincidence with authors whose works I have been accustomed to

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