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It has become usual, as if there were something in the act of which a sensible man should feel ashamed, for those who write poetry, to make an excuse for intruding upon the literary world ; and this is generally the purport of the preface to works like the present.
Although it may be in the power of criticism to bring a blush upon my cheek for having ventured the present volume, without patronage, and with what can scarce be called encouragement, before the eye of the public; yet, I have the consolation of feeling that few have adventured such an undertaking with so plausible an excuse, or under circumstances meriting in a more eminent degree indulgence, and I may almost say immunity.
The pieces here collected were, most of them, written ere the judgment of their author could be expected to have been matured ; and were published in Newspapers of the day. - A residence of some
length in the dense and smoky atmosphere of Manchester completely overthrew a constitution previously undermined by an affection of the lungs; and last Spring I was advised by the physicians under whose care I had been for some time, to try as a last resource what effect would be produced by my native air. I arrived in Dublin, and, unable to follow my profession from the state of my health, endeavoured to wile away the long and tedious hours of confinement by selecting from those scraps published with my signature such as I deemed at all worthy of preservation. These I copied out,-interspersed with others more recently written,--showed to some friends,-came to the resolution to print,--andsuch is the history of my authorship.
In that which must for many reasons be termed the poem of the work, I am prepared to hear charges of imitation, plagiary, and (perhaps in one or two instances) illiberality; however, lest I might be accused of that whereof I am not guilty, I consider it needful to state that the various characters, drawn at different times, are to be found neither in any particular village or parish that I am aware of, tho' the curious in such matters, acquainted with the vicinity I have described as their locale, would not fail to recognize the striking features in the portrait of each.
Many of the “REVERIES were written without any intention beyond that of transcribing them for the gratification of a momentary whim; many have
been inserted to please individuals; and yet there are some by whose character I would be content to be judged, but to point these out would be rather presumptuous on my part.
The “FRAGMENTS FROM HISTORY and the “ SNATCHES OF HUMOUR ” must stand or fall by their own merits. Amongst the latter are some whose tone will be styled levity, especially when contrasted with that of other pieces in the volume ; but it must not be forgotten that the circumstances under which both were composed were varied, and to those who know me I need scarcely state that 66 there was a time' when few were more under the influence of the mercurial temperament of my native land than myself.
In canvassing for subscribers I have met with the many disappointments that must necessarily attend one who starts forward in such an undertaking almost without a name ; and strange as it may appear when I now look over my list, I find many names which I never dreamt of, while those are wanting which I most confidently relied on having. One matter however I feel it my duty to state ; and it is this : In at least one of every five instances where I applied for signatures to my prospectus, the an“When the work is printed, I may
take a copy; but since the affair of Lewis's Topographical Dictionary,' I have resolved never to put my name to any work till I see it.”
I think I have now said all that is necessary, in the way of explanation, for my subscribers. I feel the responsibility to which I have subjected myself, but I have, to the extent of my capacity, done my duty to all; and, nerving myself to meet the consequences, I am
Their Obedient Servant,