Imágenes de páginas

however I may seem to expose myself to the danger of it. But the thought of having my own name perpetuated in connexion with the name in the title page, is so pleasing and flattering to the feelings of my heart, that I am content to risk something for the gratification.

This Preface is not designed to com; mend the Poems, to which it is prefixed. My teftimony would be insufficient for those, who are not qualified to judge properly for themselves, and unnecessary to those, who are. Besides the reasons, which render it improper and unseemly for a man to celebrate his own perforniances, or those of his nearest relatives, will have some influence in suppressing much of what he might otherwise wish to say in favour of a friend, when that friend is indeed an alter idem, and excites almoft the same emotions of senfibility and affe&tion, as he feels for himfelf.

It is very probable these Poems may come into the hands of fome perfons, in whom the fight of the author's name will awaken a recollection of incidents and fcenes, which through length of time they had almost forgotten. They will be reminded of one, who was once the companion of their chosen hours, and who set out with them in early life in the paths, which lead to literary honours, to influence, and affluence, with equa! prospects of fuccess. But he was fud. denly and powerfully withdrawn from thofe pursuits, and he left them without regret ; yet not till he had sufficient opportunity of counting the coft, and of knowing the value of what he gave up. If happiness could have been found in clasical attainments, in an elegant tafte, in the exertions of wit, fancy, and gez nius, and in the esteem and converse of such persons, as in these respects were most congenial with hinself, he would have been happy. But he was not---He wondered (as thousands in a similar fituation ftill do that he should continue diflatisfied, with all the means apparenily conducive to satisfaction within his reach-But in due time the cause of his disappointment was discovered to him-He had lived without God in the world. In a memorable hour the wildom which is from above visited his heart. Then be felt himself a wanderer, and then he found a guide. Upon this change of views, a change of plan and conduct followed of course. When he saw the busy and the gay world in its

true light, he left it with as little reluctance as a prisoner, when called to liberty, leaves his dungeon. Not that he became a Cynic or an Ascetic-A heart filled with love to God, will assuredly breathe benevolence to men. But the turn of his temper inclining him to rural life, he indulged it, and the providence of God evidently preparing his way and marking out his retreat, he retired into the country. By these steps the good hand of God, unknown to me, was providing for me one of the principal bleffings of my life; a friend and a counsellor, in whose company for almost seven years, though we were seldom seven succeffive waking hours separated, I always found new pleasure. A friend who was not only a comfort to myself, but a bles. fing to the affectionate poor people, among whom I then lived.

Some time after inclination had thug removed him from the hurry and bustle of life, he was still more secluded by a long indisposition, and my pleasure was fucceeded by a proportionable degree of anxiety and concern. But a hope, that the God whom he served would support him under his affliction, and at length vouchsafe him a happy deliverance, never forsook me. The defirable crisis, I truft, is now nearly approaching. The dawn, the presage of returning day, is already arrived. He is again enabled to resume his pen, and some of the first fruits of his recovery are here presented to the public. In his principal subjects the same acumen, which diftinguished him in the early period of life, is happily employed in illustrating and enforcing the truths, of which he received such deep and unalterable impressions in bis

« AnteriorContinuar »