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at tijt prtbate lift*** of Etc 'Priors ;




IHE Lee Priory Printer long ago expressed
to me his wish to publish a volume in
which all the WOOD ENGRAVINGS that have
been used at this Press might be produced
together, with some poetical illustrations
or notices of each. The avocations of the Editor, whose
contributions would have been so much more valuable
than mine, being too numerous to permit him to give
his attention to an undertaking, that, however desultory
or even frivolous, was likely to involve much sacrifice of
time, the Printer requested my assistance, which has by
degrees supplied him with the following trifles. - -Trifles
I call them very sincerely, and only in that character
introduce them to his Subscribers: and, even then, by
no means as claiming kindred with those airy children


2 ...

of fancy that sometimes appear at the incantations of
lyrical poets, and charm more by their lightness and
delicacy than the nobler spirits evoked by mightier ma-
gicians. Gladly would I persuade myself, if I could,
that even a few of mine partake of that graceful nature:
but, after looking over them in their present dress, I
consign them to their destiny with a sort of despair, for
it is no longer in my power to retard them. Like the
dancing-master who has prepared pupils for the Italian
stage, I see them go forward with all the advantages
of "scenery and decoration" to favour their appear-
ance; but I have not, like him, a flattering expectation
that their harmony and variety of movement will be
found such as to entitle them to the praise of trifling
with elegance.

The embellishments in most books are secondary to
the printed composition: in this, with very few excep-
tions, the reverse is the fact. I will not deny that this pe-
culiarity has sometimes had the effect of saving me the
trouble of invention, but it has, at least as often, been

. ... 3

productive of embarrassment. It was not always easy
to form well-adapted combinations from various and
independent materials, nor always practicable to disci-
pline the mind to the proper entertainment o'f subjects
not of my own choice. Nor is this remark made to
predispose the reader in my favour, but to anticipate
objections: all that I desire or expect is, that my part
in the volume may pass without giving much discontent
to its purchasers*; and that the main attraction of the
work will be sought for in the WOOD ENGRAVINGS.
Many of these were executed by the first artists, in their
most spirited and finished manner, and the Printer is
well known for his skill in working them off.

If I cherished hopes of exciting any sentiment kinder
than toleration for these verses, I certainly should not
express them; still less should I be weak enough to sup-
plicate for kindness. I am too well convinced of the

* It is hardly necessary for me to say that the printer and his booksellers
are the only persons to whom this work can convey any emolument, as to which
I have no concern whatever, beyond what arises from my wish to serve him.

4 ...

I truth of Johnson's assertion, that the supplications of a
writer never yet reprieved him one moment from obli-

Much has been said of the vanity of authors. As-
suredly the person who deliberately offers his produc-
tions to the public must, in most instances, suppose that
they are worthy of notice, and therefore arrogate some
merit to himself, and as all pretensions to merit are re-
ceived with jealousy, it is not wonderful that the vanity
of authors should be a favourite topic of animadversion.
But every man, let his affected humility be what it may,
has vanity of some kind: and that is surely not the most
disgraceful which springs from a love of letters, and is
fostered by the desire, however beguiling, of literary

Having made what few observations I intended with
regard to the contents of this volume, may I here be
permitted to say something on the subject of my other
productions? By the publication of MONTHERMER and
of the SACRIFICE OF ISABEL, I long since laid myself open

* ... 5

to the charge of being a vain author, and what is still
worse, an author in vain. I can only plead in extenu-
ation of the confidence in my own abilities implied by
the publication of the first of those poems, that youth is the
season of rashness, and that it was published when I was
very young. I can already see how much I might have
improved my chance of future reputation (for I once
thought I had a chance), by laying aside those works
till time should open my eyes to their faults, and enable
me to correct them. MONTHERMER, more especially,
was sent to the press too precipitately. "How often,"
says the Author of TALES OF THE HALL " has youth been
pleaded for deficiencies or redundancies, for the existence
of which youth may be an excuse, and yet be none for
their exposure." With great deference to such autho-
rity, I cannot but consider this inference quite wrong.
If youth be an excuse for writing incorrectly, it surely is
also an excuse for publishing inconsiderately. The same
inexperience that causes the first error superadds the


second, and when the plea of youth is received in exte-
nuation of the one, on what possible ground can it be
rejected in palliation of the other?

In our courts of justice the misconduct of the young
is in general visited with mitigated penalty; and the
spendthrift, if a minor, is not made responsible by law
for his extravagancies. The offender, as he grows older,
if his heart is not quite callous, becomes more and more
sensible of the tenderness that was shown him, and ab-
stains from the repetition of offence: and the prodigal,
when time has improved his judgment, as well as put
him in possession of his inheritance, not only calls in his
debts as a point of honour, but remembers that he is still
under obligation to society for the benevolent indulgence
that protected him in his days of folly, and turns his
mind with quickened zeal to useful and respectable ex-
ertion. So, I would say, at the bar of literature, juve-
nile offences against taste should be mildly judged; and
their recurrence would be more effectually checked by
temperate remonstrance, than by malicious severity or

outrageous reproach: and so too, would I hope, the ex-
travagancies of thought and diction in the compositions
of a young author should not subject him to be dogged
by the common bailiffs of criticism, or to have his faculties
imprisoned, with Ridicule for their jailor. It may be said
that none but those whose faults in composition are
balanced by many excellencies can be entitled to such
lenity. I do not pray mercy for presumptuous stupidity:
but, in all cases, forbearance is at least more generous,
and, I should think, not less beneficial, than coarse abuse
and vulgar brutality.

As to myself, some kind encouragers no doubt will
tell me that mine was vanity indeed, and that I mistook
my calling when I strove to be admitted among the ser-
vants of the Muses. It may be so: no error is more
common. But, even thus, it is a harmless mistake, and
one which has afforded me so much happiness that I could
not easily be persuaded to regret it. Criticism can in-
deed convince me that my powers are very limited, and
can repress all idle aspirations after fame; but it cannot

8 ... preface.

subdue the enthusiastic fondness with which from my
childhood I have cultivated poetry. Whether the Muse
for whom I have attempted to raise up flowers be one of
the inspired Sisters, or a deluding Spirit of my own cre-
ation, and whether I have made my garden in the genial
soil, or on ground remote from the sacred spring, the
employment has not been unrewarded. It has often
given a livelier and more healthy impulse to enjoyment?
and still more frequently been a consolation in those
many hours of trouble from which the most fortunate
are not exempt.

As to "the dew of praise," I confess that little has
fallen on the objects of my labour, except from private,
and most frequently partial, sources. I ow r e but few
thanks to Reviewers, and have long ceased to look to
them for any thing but censure; I ought not however,
individually to complain ; for it has pleased them in their
wisdom to decide that no soldier can write common sense.
Who shall dare to distrust the oracles of Apollo? A
Critic in an Edinburgh Magazine, a very paragon of


Critics, has gone so far as to denounce vengeance against
every soldier, whether horse, foot, or dragoon, who shall
presume to write, print, and publish a book. There are
other heroes besides the children of Mars; and one can-
not but concede the palm of heroism to this intrepid
priest of the Muses, who thus posts himself at the porch
of their temple, and, with more than the spirit of Leo-
nidas, guards the pass with a wand of ebony alone, against
hosts of barbarians in arms. *

* See a Review of Dunluce Castle in Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine
for an early month of 1819. I forget which. 1 did not see it for some months
after its appearance, and I have since thought it unnecessary to make any
reply, though I believe myself to be in possession of the name and character
of the gentleman to whom belongs the honour of that elaborate performance.
However, as Dunluce Castle is one of the works printed at this Press, it may
be as well to introduce the subject here. The poem was written when I was
a boy, after a first visit to Ireland, and it was printed, as the subscribers to
this press know, nearly six years since. I was then in the south of France,
and it was by the partiality of the Editor that it appeared. He was well
aware that it was far from being worthy of the compliment which he paid to
it ; and was not blind to its exaggerated descriptions, nor to its redundance and


I am too orthodox to question the infallibility of re-
viewers; otherwise the authority of Horace, strengthened
by the history of poets of all times, might tempt me to
suspect that no person can become a true poet who was
not born with a mind poetically constituted, and that
the adventitious circumstances of life can no more des-
troy than they can create the powers of imagination.
I might then grow bolder, and believe that if any par-
ticular profession could be more favourable than another
to the exercise of poetical faculties, that of a soldier
might fairly be considered so. Let his attention to his
military duties be ever so exact, he will still have much
leisure at his disposal. He is necessarily a visitor of

inaccuracy of language ; but being- a man always more ready to discover good
than to dwell on faults, he was tempted to believe, or to hope, that it was not
without some recommendations, and so gave it into the hands of the printer.
I had long congratulated myself on the restricted circulation which it must
have, issuing from a private press, and had hoped that it was quietly drown-
ing in oblivion, when the above-mentioned Critic was so kind as to snatch it
from the gulf, and, in a tone of characteristic candour, to announce its merits
to the world as a new and admirable production.

preface.... 11

many countries, in which the endless variety of manners
and customs are continually soliciting his observation.
He beholds the grandest and the fairest objects in na-
ture, and often under romantic circumstances and with
picturesque additions, that augment the interest excited
by their magnificence and beauty. The follower of the
chase, who has noble opportunities of admiring the
charms of rural objects, which, in his keenness for his
sport he usually disregards, yet does not visit spots so
much out of the track of ordinary travellers, as he who
serves in a campaign. The tent of the Soldier is often
pitched amidst the wildest and the least frequented re-
cesses ; on the difficult mountain's side, or in the narrow
rocky glen, visited by the mountain torrents. He pene-
trates into woods whose gloomy depths look like primeval
solitudes; he witnesses the shock of battles, and after-
wards contemplates the desolation they have caused;
and death is constantly before him in every awful and
fearful shape. His life is an irregular but active drama,
in which the scene is incessantly changing; and, if nature

12 ...

has made him a poet, these changes instead of bewilder-
ing his mind and perplexing his judgment, might be
supposed to have quite a contrary effect, by familiar-
izing him with striking objects, and suggesting corres-
pondent thoughts. If military biography furnishes us
with few names of poetical celebrity, it is not because a
soldier's profession precludes him from being a poet, but
because genuine poets very rarely appear in any pro-
fession, or among any condition of men.

What I have here ventured to say with respect to
the poetical advantages of a military life, is of course
spoken generally, and not in relation to myself, or to
any pretensions of mine. I have seen very little of
" service/' and no more lay claim to the laurel than
to the bays. I have hazarded these remarks, not only
because it has been the custom, as unjust as dis-
courteous, of many periodical writers, to shew decided
hostility to every military author, unless of a military
book ; but because, in more instances than one, occa-
sion has been taken, in pretended reviews of my com-

preface* . . . is

positions, to throw out the most absurd and sweeping
sarcasms on the literary qualifications of military men.
All for which I would contend on rny own part is, that
if my productions be devoid of merit, my profession has
nothing whatever to do with the deficiency; and all that
I would claim for myself is, that if they possess any re-
deeming qualities, notwithstanding all their faults, I may
not be deprived of the benefit of them because I am a
soldier, not an author by profession, and have but little
personal communication with Booksellers, and no ac-
quaintance whatever with Reviewers.

I know the tone which is likely to . be adopted in
reply to these observations; and some of my brother
soldiers will tell me that I have not acted like a wily
partisan, but rashly entered the enemy's territory, ex-
posed to ambushes on every side. This, however, is not
exactly the case. I have not advanced without pre-
viously making myself acquainted, in some degree at
least, with the nature of the ground, and the strength



of the adversary; and as to the Individual to whom
some of my remarks are more particularly pointed, I
must be bold enough to say that I have hopes of being
able, in case of necessity, to prove myself a match for
so formidable an antagonist*, without resorting either
to his ribaldry or his fiction.


See ' < Peter's Letters to his Kinsfolk.

SPIRIT of Heaven, immortal Child,
On whom the great Creator smiled,

Before the date of time !
When Man's new race was call'd to birth,
He bade thee seek the sons of earth,

And teach the thoughts sublime.

But ah, to few of all the race,
Was granted the surpassing grace,

To know the heaven-begot :
Save those, the warm of heart and mind,
The rest beheld thee, and were blind ;

They heard, and own'd thee not.

to t!)e

In vain thy glorious voice they heard;
No waken 'd pulse within them stirr'd

A tremulous delight :
With dull regard they pass'd thee by,
They saw thy wild prophetic eye,

And wonder'd at the sight.

Not the supreme in power and pride,
The rich, the great, the high-allied,

Thy choicest boons have blest :
O generous Muse, through every age,
Thy gifts have sooth'd, on sorrow's stage,

The poor and the opprest.

Angel of light, the spell is thine
That lifts with raptures all divine

Coy Nature's lowliest child:
In spite of penury and scorn,
For Him is Fancy's sweetest morn,

Dear Nurse of visions wild !


to tf)c

Or if, when Pride so high aspires,
Thy Torch some subtile Spirit fires

In Rank or Fortune's throng,
How shines the Ore, how beams the Crest,
In the majestic splendor drest

Of Genius and of Song !

O many a Soul of feeble power
Oft dares, in hope's delusive hour,

To linger o'er that Torch:
Alas! 'tis an enchanted light;
It's flames ascend with Souls of might:

The Weak they vainly scorch.

Yet e'en the Weak may not despair:
Thou canst not quite reject the prayer

Of Him that loves Thee well:
His hand whose skill thy Harp disowns
May sometimes wake imperfect tones

From Love or Pity's Shell.

tie to tf)c

Oft from his couch of cloudier dreams
He springs with dawn's congenial gleams

To drink the youthful air ;
And, wandering through the twilight dews,
In some lone spot he meets thee, Muse,

And then forgets his care.

Where virgin roses chastely blush,
While solemn-sounding waters rush

To kiss thy buskin'd feet,
Lull'd with the fragrance and the sound,
He finds thee wrapt in thought profound,

On some romantic seat.

He knows thee by thine eye inspired,
And by thy stedfast brow, attired

In myrtle's lyric crown,
And by thy wings of stainless white,
That seem prepared for upward flight,

To waft him to renown.

to t^e

He knows thee by his panting breast,
That throbs with wishes unexprest,

With wishes scarce defined;
And by the thoughts of deep emotion,
That flow, like troubled waves of ocean ,

Tumultuous on his mind.

O might he from those Wings presume
To snatch but one etherial plume,

To trace the verse of flame ;
Or from that Crown purloin away
One little amaranthine spray

Of poetry and fame !

DAUGHTER of Memory and Jove !
While flowery braids by Fancy wove

Thy Sisters' brows adorn,
Truth's simple laurel circles thine,
Where not a flower has leave to twine ;

For Fancy is thy scorn.

But with that chaplet's sober green
Are mingled gems of ray serene,

Prefer' d when thou wert young
By History's Prince and Father first,*
On whose chaim'd ear at Samos burst

The dictates of thy tongue

* Herodotus. f Thucydides.

And Him + who, doom'd his throne to' inherit,
Wept, with a young enthusiast's spirit,

When in the' Olympic ring
That venerable Carian's theme
Flow'd to his soul, like mountain-stream

Into a rising spring

By Him* who from the' Assyrian field,
Still baffling Power with Wisdom's shield,

Led the Ten Thousand home:
Worthy of Socrates, his mind,
Like fire in a tempestuous wind,

Blazed out in storm and gloom
Xenophon. The plains of Cunaxa.

And by that Chaeronean just*

To whom didst thou the scales intrust

Where fame's true weight is tried :
Oft, while the deeds of heroes pondering,
Unmoved he saw the Graces wandering

By old Cephisus' side.

Thy name with ancient Greece was Glory!
Thy first disciples traced her story

In characters of flame;
And for the splendour thus confer'd,
Well did she choose a golden word,

A Halo for thy name.

There Caesar's shines: and brighter yet,
Though by too frail a votary set

On thy averted brow,
There beams the gem that Sallust gave:
O how could Pleasure's willing slave

So pure an offering vow !

Though Horace strung the' Alcaic Lyre,

Though Virgil breath'd Maeonian fire,

Yet Rome's Augustan Age
Scarce owes it's lustre more to Them
Than to thy rich historic gem,
The gift of Padua's Sage.t

But not that favour' d land alone
Distinguish'd by thy presence shone

And paid Thee honour due;
Amidst thy laurel-girded hair
Glow gems of Latian tribute, rare

As Greece presents to view.

He too by virtuous Pliny loved, t
And in imperial courts approved,

Though Flattery's foe profest,
He with no vulgar hand repaid
Thy grace that to his eye display' d

The secret human breast.

These, with that wreath of green combining,
And with a chasten'd radiance shining,

Compose thine antique crown :
O teach us by their blended light
To see the hearts of others right,

And thence correct our own.

* Plutarch.

t Livy.

t Tacitus.

GODDESS of the green retreats,
Thee my boundless worship greets !
Every hill and every dell
Has for me a druid cell,
Every leafy fane of thine
Holds for me a holy shrine.

Where the river flows and flaunts,
Wide astray from human haunts;
Where the ruin's lonely mass
Clouds it's waters as they pass;

to Nature.

Where the light and frolic fawn
Bounds among the dews of dawn;
Where at noon, by pool or brook,
Crowds the herd in wild-wood nook;
Where at eve from toil released,
Rests the meek disburthen'd beast
Wheresoe'er my footsteps roam,
Nature, still I find a home:
And in every bower of thine
Still my worship finds a shrine!


I HAVE found the young Gleaner, the Cherub of Morn:
Like the red blooming poppy she sleeps in the corn ;

Those gay eyes, of the hue

Of the corn-blossoms blue,
Are like daisy's lids clos'd by a summer Eve's dew.

Though her pillow be rugged, serene is her sleep,
While she dreams of the fields that the harvest-men reap;

Like the Lark in it's nest,

When no dangers molest,
Though so rude be her bed, yet so fresh is her rest.

There are those, little Maid, if adduced to the proof,
Though by Indolence lull'd under Luxury's roof,

Who would joyfully share

Thine exemption from care,
And for that be content thy privations to bear.

Fan softly, I pray thee, thou gale of the west,
Fan softly, sweet gale, the repose of the blest !

For these fair yellow shocks

That thy light pinion rocks
Are the cradle of Innocence nurs'd among flocks.

How sleeps the Squire who sinks to rest
By gout and gluttony opprest!
When Night, with drowsy wand of lead,
Returns to lull his ponderous head,
She there shall clog a coarser brain
Than Fancy's jest could ever feign.

By pinching Imps his neck is wrung ;
By pigmy Fiends his feet are stung ;
There Surfeit comes, with sultry face,
To wrap his breast in hot embrace ;
And Nightmare shall awhile repair,
To sit a smothering monster there!

COME away to the greenwood bowers;

Come away with the May-day posies
We'll ride in a chair of flowers;

We'll dance on a rope of roses.

There are full-grown sons of pleasure,
Who trust to as frail a stay :

Then swing to the whirling measure ;
For sure we're as light as They.



WHO with me will wander? straying
Through the purple vines I go j
Laughing with the Nymphs, and playing
Where the richest clusters grow :

Who will wander with me >

Round my staff the tendrils wreathing,
Thus the' autumnal prize I bear ;
All it's musky ripeness breathing
Sweets to load the wings of air.

Who will wander with mer

Who with me will wander, joying?
Welcome to the fair and gay ;
Never cloy'd, and never cloying;
Here and there, and then away ?

Who will wander with me ?

POETS loiter all their leisure,
Culling flowers of rhyme ;

Thus they twine the wreath of pleasure
Round the glass of time:
Twining flowers of rhyme.

Fancy's Children, ever heedless !
Why thus bribe the hours?

Death, to prove the trouble needless,
Withers all your flowers:
Why then bribe the hours?

Like the Sand, so fast retreating,
Thus your hopes shall fall j

Life and fame are just as fleeting j
Poets, flowers, and all :
Thus your fancies fall.

THROW back the locks redundant from those eyes,
Young Florimel ! and o'er this moss-grown bench
While bending hawthorns shower
Their blooms, my strange tale hear.

Where stands yon Rustic, there last night I stood,
Beneath the brow of that monastic Arch :

Scarce breath'd the drowsy winds;

The waters caroll'd out

To the pleased Moon; who ne'er with sweeter grace
On Latmus Hsten'd to the Boy she loved;

Touched by her serious beam

The pale hills sadly smiled.

Soon through those rustling lilachs I beheld
A shape of beauty glide in robes of white :

Hither her steps were bent;

And, ere this seat she gain'd,

Through the long grass a tall majestic Bird
Came floating, to salute the well-known form;

'Twas such as Hebe yoked

To Juno's golden car.

But not with Argus' hundred eyes adorn'd,
Nor freak'd with orient tints like Iris' wings;

White where its quivering plumes

As Juno's milky way.

The stately tenants too of yon green isle,

The Swans, came plunging from their secret bed,

To welcome to their stream

The Wanderer of the Night.

Winnowing the water-lilies as they turn'd
With snowy pinions, by this bank they sail'd,

With fond familiar court

Acknowledging their queen.

JMato ti>at lobrt) tfre J&oon.

Who with bland voice repaid them, and, the while,
With playful fingers the tall Bird caress'd

That proudly trail'd its fan,

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Online LibraryEdward QuillinanWoodcuts and verses → online text (page 1 of 4)