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DEDICATION.

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SIR JOHN EDWD. SWINBURNE, BART.

MY DEAR SIR JOHN,
This book belongs to you,

if

you will accept it. You are not one of those who pay the strange compliment to heaven of depreciating this world, because you believe in another: you admire it's beauties both in nature and art; you think that a knowledge of the finest voices it has uttered, ancient well as modern, ought, even in gratitude, to be shared by the sex that has inspired so many of them;-a rational piety and a manly patriotism does not hinder you from putting the Phidian Jupiter over your organ, or flowers at the end of your room;-in short, you who visit the sick and the prisoner, for the sake of helping them without frightening, cannot look more tenderly after others, than you are regarded by your own family; nor can any one of the manly and amiable friends that I have the happiness of possessing, more fitly receive a book, the object of which is to cultivate a love of nature out of doors, and of sociality within. Pray pardon me this public compliment, for my own sake, and for sincerity's. That you may long continue to be the centre of kind happy looks, and an example to the once cheerful gentry of this war and moneyinjured land, is the constant wish of

Your obliged
and affectionate servant,

LEIGH HUNT.

PREFACE,

INCLUDING

CURSORY OBSERVATIONS ON POETRY AND

CHEERFULNESS.

THE downfall of the French school of poetry has of late been encreasing in rapidity; it's cold and artificial compositions have given way, like so many fantastic figures of snow; and imagination breathes again in a more green and genial time. An attachment to the school undoubtedly survives in some quarters; but those who defend it as a superior one of poetry, merely shew that they have no real perception of that art; and the other critics,

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who are either loth to give it up from a natural self-love, or not magnanimous enough to own the conviction they feel, are in danger of being left behind by the public whom they would lead.

This has undoubtedly been owing, in the first instance, to the political convulsions of the world, which shook up the minds of men, and rendered them too active and speculative to be satisfied with their common-places. A second cause was the revived inclination for our older and great school of poetry, chiefly produced, I have no doubt, by the commentators on Shakspeare, though they were certainly not aware what fine countries they were laying open. The third, and not the least, was the accession of a new school of poetry itself, of which Wordsworth has justly the reputation of being the most prominent ornament, but whose inner priest of the temple perhaps was Coleridge,-a man who has been the real oracle of the time in more than one respect, and

who ought to have been the greatest visible person in it, instead of a hopeless and dreary sophist. Between these two for natural powers, and superior to both in what renders wisdom amiable and useful, which is social sentiment, I should place Charles Lamb, a single one of whose speculations upon humanity, unostentatiously scattered about in comments and magazines, is worth all the half-way-house gabbling of critics on the establishment.

The consequence of this re-awakening of the poetical faculty is not, as some imagine, a contempt for Pope and the other chief writers of the French school. It justly appreciates their wit, terseness, and acuteness; but it can 'neither confound their monotony with a fine 'music, nor recognize the real spirit of poetry in their town habits, their narrow sphere of imagination, their knowledge of manners rather than natures, and their gross mistake about what they called classical, which was Horace and the Latin breeding, instead of the

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