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blood.” This line is from the Battle of Bosworth Field by Sir John Beaumont (Brother to the Dramatist), whose poems are written with much spirit, elegance, and harmony; and have deservedly been reprinted lately in Chalmers's Collection of English Poets.
Page 63, line 23.
“ And both the undying Fish that swim
Through Bowscale-Tarn,” &c. It is imagined by the people of the country that there are two immortal Fish, inhabitants of this Tarn, which lies in the mountains not far from Threlkeld.Blencathara, mentioned before, is the old and proper name of the mountain vulgarly called Saddle-back.
Page 64, lines 19 and 20.
“ Armour rusting in his Halls
On the blood of Clifford calls." The martial character of the Cliffords is well known to the readers of English History; but it may not be improper here to say, by way of comment on these lines and what follows, that, besides several others who perished in the same manner, the four immediate Progenitors of the person in whose hearing this is supposed to be spoken, all died in the Field.
Page 91.-Poem on Rob Roy's Grave, “ And wondrous tength and strength of arm.” The people of the neighbourhood of Loch Ketterine, in order to prove the extraordinary length of their Hero's arm, tell you that “ he could garter his Tartan Stockings below the knee when standing upright.” According to their account he was a tremendous Swordsman;
after having sought all occasions of proving his prowess, he was never conquered but once, and this not till he was an Old Man.
Page 240.—The beginning is imitated from an Italian Sonnet.
Page 291, 3d line from the bottom.
“ Seen the Seven Whistlers,” &c. Both these superstitions are prevalent in the midland Counties of England: that of “ Gabriel's Hounds” appears to be very general over Europe; being the same as the one upon which the German Poet, Burger, has founded his , Ballad of the Wild Huntsman.
To the Second Edition of several of the foregoing Poems,
published, with an additional Volume, under the Title of LYRICAL BALLADS.
The first Volume of these Poems has already been submitted to general perusal. It was published, as an experiment, which, I hoped, might be of some use to ascertain, how far, by fitting to metrical arrangement a selection of the real language of men in a state of vivid sensation, that sort of pleasure and that quantity of pleasure may be imparted, which a Poet may rationally endeavour to impart.
I had formed no very inaccurate estimate of the probable effect of those Poems: I flattered myself that they who should be pleased with them would read them with more than common pleasure: and, on the other hand, I was well aware, that by those who should dislike them, they would be read with more than common dislike. The result has differed from my expectation in this only, that I have pleased a greater number, than I ventured to hope I should please.
* * * * * * * Several of my Friends are anxious for the success of these Poems from a belief, that, if the views with which they were composed were indeed realized, a class of Poetry would be produced, well adapted to interest mankind permanently, and not unimportant in the multiplicity, and in the quality of its moral relations : and on this account they have advised me to prefix a systematic defence of the theory upon which the poems were written. But I was unwilling to undertake the task, because I knew that on this occasion the Reader would look coldly upon my arguments, since I might be suspected of having been principally influenced by the selfish and foolish hope of reasoning him into an approbation of these particular Poems: and I was still more unwilling to undertake the task, because, adequately to display my opinions, and fully to enforce my arguments, would require a space wholly disproportionate to the nature of a preface. For to treat the subject with the clearness and coherence, of which I believe it susceptible, it would be necessary to give a full account of the present state of the public taste in this country, and to determine how far this taste is healthy or depraved; which, again, could not be determined, without pointing out, in what manner language and the human mind act and re-act on each other, and without retracing the revolutions, not of literature alone, but likewise of society itself. I have therefore altogether declined to enter regularly upon this defence; yet I am sensible, that there would be some impropriety in abruptly obtruding upon the Public, without a few words of introduction, Poems so materially different from those, upon which general approbation is at present bestowed.