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THE FIRST VOLUME.

WHEN an author, by appearing in print, request an audience of the public, and is upon the point of speaking for himself, whoever presumes to step before him with a preface and to say, “ Nay, but hear me first,” should have something worthy of attention to offer, or he will be justly deemed officious and impertinent. The judicious reader has probably, upon other occasions, been beforehand with me in this reflection; and I am not very willing it should now be applied to me, 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 commend the Poems to which it is prefixed. My testimony 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 performances, 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 almost the same emotions of sensibility and affection as he feels for himself,

It is very probable these Poems may come into the hands of some persons, in whom the sight of the author's name will awaken a recollection of incidents and scenes, 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 equal prospects of success. But he was suddenly and powerfully withdrawn from

those pursuits, and he left them without regret ; yet not till he had sufficient opportunity of counting the cost, and of knowing the value of what he gave up. If happiness could have been found in classical attainments, in an elegant taste, in the exertions of wit, fancy, and genius, and in the esteem and converse of such persons, as in these respects were most congenial with himself, he would have been happy: but he was not. He wondered (as thousands in a similar situation still do) that he should continue dissatisfied, with all the means apparently 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 wisdom which is from above visited his heart. Then he 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 blessings of my life; a friend and a counsellor, in whose company for almost seven years, though we were seldom seven successive waking hours separated, I always found new pleasure: a friend who was not only a comfort to myself, but a blessing to the affectionate poor people, among whom I then lived.

Some time after inclination had thus removed him from the hurry and bustle of life, he was still more secluded by a long indisposition, and my pleasure was succeeded 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 desirable crisis, I trust, 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 distinguished 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 his maturer years. His satire, if it may be called so, is benevolent (like the operations of the skilful and humane surgeon, who wounds only to heal), dictated by a just regard for the honour of God, and indignant grief excited by the profligacy of the age, and a tender compassion for the souls of men.

His favourite topics are least insisted on in the piece entitled Table Talk;'which therefore, with some regard to the prevailing taste, and that those, who are governed by it, may not be discouraged at the very threshold from proceeding farther, is placed first. In most of the larger Poems which follow, his leading design is more explicitly avowed and pursued. He aims to communicate his own perceptions of the truth, beauty, and influence of the religion of the Bible-a religion, which however discredited by the misconduct of many, who have not renounced the Christian name, proves itself, when rightly understood and cordially embraced, to be the grand desideratum, which alone can relieve the mind of man from painful and unavoidable anxieties, inspire it with stable peace and solid hope, and furnish those motives and prospects, which, in the present state of things, are absolutely necessary to produce a conduct worthy of a rational creature, distinguished by a vastness of capacity, which no assemblage of earthly good can satisfy, and by a principle and pre-intimation of immortality.

At a time when hypothesis and conjecture in philosophy are so justly exploded, and little is considered as deserving the name of knowledge, which will not stand the test of experiment, the very use of the term experimental in religious concernments, is by too many unhappily rejected with disgust. But we well know, that they, who affect to despise the inward feelings which religious persons speak of, and to treat them as enthusiasm and folly, have inward feelings of their own, which, though they would, they cannot suppress. We have been too long in the secret ourselves, to account the proud, the ambitious, or the voluptuous happy. We must lose the remembrance of what we once were, before we can believe that a man is satisfied with himself, merely because he endeavours to appear so. A smile upon the face is often but a mask worn occasionally and in company, to prevent, if possible, a suspicion of what at the same time is passing in the heart. We know that there are people who seldom smile when they are alone, who therefore are glad to hide themselves in a throng from the violence of their own reflections, and who, while by their looks and their language they wish to persuade us they are happy, would be glad to change their conditions with a dog. But in defiance of all their efforts, they continue to think, forebode, and tremble. This we know, for it has been our own state, and therefore we know how to commiserate it in others.-From this state the Bible relieved us: when we were led to read it with attention, we found ourselves described. We learnt the causes of our inquietude-we were directed to a method of relief-we tried, and we were not disappointed.

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We are now certain, that the Gospel of Christ is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth. It has reconciled us to God and to ourselves, to our duty and our situation. It is the balm and cordial of the present life, and a sovereign antidote against the fear of death.

Sed hactenus hæc. Some smaller pieces upon less important subjects close the volume. Not one of them, I believe was written with a view to publication, but I was unwilling they should he omitted.

JOHN NEWTON.

Charles Square, Horton,

February 18, 1782.

CONTENTS.

18

ib.

POK

PART

Table Talk ....

25 The Poet's New Year's Gift 184

Progress of Error

43 Ode to Apollo .........

Truth ......

58 Pairing Time Anticipated.

Expostulation

72 A Fabie .....

Hope ........

90 The Dog and the Water-

Charity .......

109 Lily ................ 188

Conversation......

· 124 The Poet, the Oyster, and

Retirerpent .....

146 the Sensitive Plant.....
The Yearly Distress, or The Shrubbery..........

Tithing Time at Stock, The Winter Nosegay.....

in Essex.............

Mutual Forbearance neces-

Sonnet to Henry Cowper,

sary to the Happiness of

Esq.........

the Married state ...... 192

Lines addressed to Dr. Dar The Negro's Complaint ... 194

win.............

Pity for Poor Africans .... 195

On Mrs. Montagu's Feather The Morning Dream

197

Hangings ............ 169 The Nightingale and Glow-

Verses, supposed to be writ-

worm............... 198

ten by Alexander Selkirk, On a Goldfinch starved to

during his abode in the Death in his Cage...... 199

Island of Juan Fernandez 10 The Pineapple and the Bee 200

On the promotion of Ed. Horace, Book II. Ode 10... 201

ward Thurlow, Esq. to the A Reflection on the fore-

Chancellorship of Eng-

going Ode............ 202

land ...........

.... 172 The Lily and the Rose.... ib.

Ode to Peace .......... 173 Idem Latine Redditum... 203

Human Frailty..........

The Poplar Field........ 204

The Modern Patriot ...... 174 Idem Latine Redditum ...

On coserving some names of Votum ............... 205

little note recorded in the

Biographia Britannica .. 175 Translations from Vincent

Report of an adjudged Case,

Bourne.

not to be found in any of

Cicindela ...... 205

the Books .....

The Glow-worm..... 206

On the Burning of Lord

Cornicula.......... 207

Mansfield Library...... 176 The Jackdaw ........

On the same............

Ad Grillum. Anacreon-

The Love of the World re-

ticum ............

208

proved ..............

The Cricket ........ 209

On the Death of Lady

Simile agit in Simile.. 210

Throckmorton's Bulfinch

The Parrot ......... 211

The Rose .....

180 Translation of Prior's Chloe

The Doves ......... 181 and Euphelia ......... 212

A Fable .......

182

The History of John Gilpin 213

A Comparison .......... 183

183 Epistle to an aflicted Pro-

Apother, addressed to &

testant Lady in France.. 219

voung Lady .......... 184 To the Rev. W. C. Unwin 221

:

.........

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