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REV. GEORGE RICHARDS, D. D.
VICAR OF 8T. MARTIN'S IN THE FIELDS, WESTMINSTER.
MY DEAR FRIEND, With great satisfaction I request your acceptance of the little volume now offered to the public.
It is, I think, six or seven and thirty years ago, that my acquaintance with you originated; and I still remember the pleasure and instruction which I derived from the occasional society of one, at that time distinguished among the ornaments of the University, of which I was lately become a humble member. During the succeeding period, under a considerable variety of circumstances, my intercourse with you has been continually maintained ; and I esteem the friendship, which has subsisted between us, among the most agreeable occurrences of
With these impressions, it is my desire to associate your name with my own on the present occasion: and thus to assure you of the affectionate regard for your person, as well as of the respect and esteem for your professional and literary character, with which I am, my dear friend,
Ever very truly yours,
RD. Down & CONNOR.
Yes, thou art gone! But where our names have stood
Signs, Friend beloved, of hearts in unison,
There stand they still! What though thy course be While mine is yet in trembling hope pursued: [done, Not thus I deem that death “ with finger rude"
Snaps short the band of sweet communion,
Which held congenial minds, but still they own
Thou with an angel's love mayst care for me,
I rise to holier thoughts by picturing thee, Of peace serene, the Saviour's boon possest, And from the taint of man's corruption free.
R. D. & C. Jan. 6, 1841.
The vast importance, as it appears to me, of the following topics; the lively interest belonging to them; and the invaluable practical effects which they may assist in producing: caused me, some time ago, to collect from Holy Scripture the materials of this treatise on “ The Happiness of the Blessed,” and to arrange them in the form of sermons, which have been delivered on different occasions in the course of my professional duties. The same motives, aided by circumstances attending the delivery of the sermons, now induce me to submit the substance of them to the public in a form better adapted to private perusal.
To the several sections of the treatise are annexed short poems, of which as they are not intended to carry forward the argument of the treatise, so they will be found, I hope, not to impede it: at the same time they may have the effect of giving prominence and emphasis to the sentiments which are conveyed by them, and which will be found closely connected with the subject matter of the treatise.
The form, under which these poems appear,
is that usually denominated the Sonnet: a name, degraded in many minds by. an association with light and frivolous effusions, wherein that form of composition has been frequently employed : and therefore in common acceptation hardly characteristic of a species of poem, which is in reality well suited to the conveyance of brief thoughts on serious and solemn subjects with compression, beauty, energy, and effect. That such however is a character to which the species is justly entitled, witness several of Milton's "SONNETS;” especially the 7th, 8th, 9th, 14th, 18th, 19th, and 22nd ; which for loftiness and dignity of sentiment, and for corresponding vigor of expression, as likewise for a structure of versification, sometimes harsh indeed and abrupt, but often presenting great variety and richness of modulation, are worthy of the Poet of Lycidas, Comus, and Paradise Lost.
It was with such an opinion in favor of this species of poetry, that I took in hand a series of Sonnets “ on the Church and her Services;" thinking that many particulars in our ecclesiastical provisions might be thus exhibited, compendiously and pointedly, and perhaps not inefficaciously or unpleasingly withal. Of the soundness of these opinions it will be for the reader to judge.
On completing this series, which terminated with the two last stages of man in this world, " the death-bed” and “the funeral," I was led to