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* Authors are martyrs, witnesses to the truth, or else nothing."CARLYLE.

" Poets utter great and wise things which they do not themselves understand.”



THOSE who have the pleasure of attending meetings of Literary

Institutes and Mutual Improvement Societies are generally expected at the same time to offer a few observations such as experience may suggest to those about to enter on a literary career. I have at many such gatherings, taken the opportunity of dwelling on the delights and advantages we enjoy from reading the best authors of ancient and modern times, and I can only hope that the quotations in prose and verse occurring in the following lectures may afford as much pleasure to my readers as they have afforded myself. The following are the titles of a few of the lectures I have-during the past forty years—delivered to various Literary Societies and Clubs: “Oliver Goldsmith," 1865; "The Poetry of Byrom," 1876; “ Thomas Campbell,” 1877; “Wordsworth,” 1878; “Thomas Moore,” 1879; “Longfellow," 1879; “Robert Burns," 1880; " The Natural System of Botanical Classification," 1882 ; “ What the Great Poets have said about Flowers,” 1883; “ Thomson, Wordsworth and Tennyson as Descriptive Poets,” 1883; “What the Minor Poets have

about Flowers,"

1884; “Erasmus Darwin,” 1886; "The early song writers of Ireland,” 1887; “John Ruskin,” 1888; “The later song writers of Ireland," 1888; “The Rarity of Inherited Genius,” 1889; “Ben Jonson,” 1890; "Dean Swift," 1890; “Daniel Defoe," 1891; “Sir Walter Raleigh," 1891; “Manchester Authors," 1892; "The First and Second Chapters of British Eloquence and Literature,” 1895 and 1896; and “Birds,” 1897.



is my first lecture of the series, and is a very fit subject to write about for one who has lived among and mixed much with our local authors for nearly forty years.

Lancashire authors may naturally be divided into two classes, namely, prose and verse. I have confined myself to the latter. The poets of this county are so numerous that I had to limit my observations to those born previous to the beginning of the present century. That a remarkable number of short, sweet poems have proceeded from the pens of our Lancashire lyrists nobody, I think, will deny. The poets born during the 19th century are, in my opinion, greater than those who lived in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries. In a future lecture I intend to deal with

those who have lived in the Victorian era, and in the works of these will be found pungent wit, jollity, and fun in large store indeed. I have not exhausted the subject, but I hope I have done so much that I shall attract others to dig deep into what I must regard

as a mine of literary wealth. There is no county in England, to my knowledge, that has given birth to a larger number of writers in prose and verse, who, if they are not of the highest class of genius, display at least abundant talent. In many of the smaller poems of our lyrists there is a beauty, a simplicity, and a grace that is only to be compared to the compositions of the minor poets who lived in the reign of Queen Anne. Witness the following from Mrs. Hemans'

lines on “Books":

“Come, let me make a sunny realm around thee,

Of thoughts of beauty. Here are books and flowers, With spells to loose the fetters which hath bound


The ravelled coil of this world's feverish hours."

And again, in "The Departed":

Are ye for ever to your skies departed ?

Oh! will ye visit this dim world no more?
Ye, whose bright wings a solemn splendour darted

Through Eden's fresh and flowery shades, no more.


is another beautiful thought of hers on “The Cottage Homes of England":

“The cottage homes of England! By thousands on

our plains, They are smiling o'er the silvery brook, and round

the hamlet fanes; Through glowing orchards forth they peep, each from

its nook of leaves,

And fearless there, the lowly sleep, as birds beneath

the eaves."

The above short quotation from the works of Lancashire's greatest poetess proves the truth of my statement, namely, that our local poets have style as well as beauty and simplicity.

Mrs. Lydia Sigourney's beautiful tribute to Mrs. Hemans is here worth remembering:

“Every unborn age

Shall mix thee with its household charities;

The hoary sire shall bow his deafened ear,
And greet thy sweet words with his benison;
The mother shrine thee as a restal flame

In the lone temple of her sanctity;

And the young child who takes thee by the hand

Shall travel with a surer step to heaven."


The second lecture of the series is on


Authors, Old and New," a more numerous class than I at first imagined they could be. I am persuaded that they form a fair proportion of the industry, the energy, the intelligence, and scientific knowledge of the county. They have not all published books, for

some of the best treatises or contributicns to science

and literature have been given to us in pamphlet form. I have not been able to get extracts from all their books, or sketches of all their lives, because there is no biographical dictionary extant that I know of which their names would, in my opinion, worthily ador. Of course, my lecture is not intended to exhaust the subject, but rather to introduce to the public some of the greater intellects of the Royal Borough. During the last three hundred years there has been born in Salford quite a galaxy of intellect which, if full justice was done to it, not only a pamphlet would be the result, but a large volume might be published. A town that can boast of such names as John Byrom, William Crabtree, Sir E. W. Watkin, Richard Wright Proctor, J. Prescot Joule, Charles

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