1823 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Robert Millhouse

Luke Booker, "Biographical Sketch of Robert Millhouse" in Millhouse, Poetical Blossoms (1823) 3-32.



A late amiable Prelate [author's note: Porteus, Bishop of London], who equally recommended Christianity by the virtues of his life, by the elegance of his pen; and by the diligent discharge of every part of episcopal duty, points out other ways of benefiting our fellow-creatures besides assisting them with our alms; proving demonstratively, that whatever portion of good we cannot accomplish with our purse, we should endeavour to effect in our person: that is, by some of those manifold means which are in the power of every one, though not possessed with wealth.

Speaking of the numerous family of Want, and of the multifarious wretchedness by which they are affected, he says, "Sometimes they seek in vain admission to those who can alone effectually assist them: and true benevolence will accommodate itself to the various distresses that fall in its way; will, with a versatility truly admirable, 'become all things to all men,' and assume as many different shapes as there are modes of misery in the world. It will facilitate their access to the seats of justice; it will knock for them at the doors of the great; it will raise them up friends, where they could never have thought of looking for them; it will be as Aaron was to Moses, 'a mouth to them;' it will speak those wants which they are unable to represent, and plead for them with an eloquence which nothing can resist. These are so many instruments of beneficence that God puts into our hands for the benefit of others. These were intended to supply the place of wealth; and will, in many cases, relieve distresses which wealth cannot reach."

In this last mentioned way it is, that I hope to benefit the humble individual, whose productions, in the following pages, solicit the notice of an indulgent, — I should rather say, of a generous Public; — for, too much of excellence do they possess to need indulgence, or to require a revelation of circumstances connected with their Author, for the purpose of disarming criticism of severity. "Non tali Auxilio, nec defensoribus istis, &c."

Yet though on the firm basis of their own intrinsic merits they might stand a critical ordeal, and prefer a legitimate claim to honest applause; he who gave them being is too lowly in his own eyes thus to appreciate them. Witness the following Memorial, which I encouraged him to prepare and to transmit whither real Merit in Distress never preferred its modest suit in vain.

"To the President and Committee of the

Royal Literary Fund.

The humble Memorial of Robert Millhouse

Sheweth,

That your Memorialist is indebted for the little education with which he is blessed to a Sunday School; where, between the age of six and ten, those truths were inculcated upon his mind, for which he trusts he will be benefited both through time and eternity:

"That in the volume which is most humbly laid at your feet (with a few additional Pieces annexed to this respectful Memorial), he has fearlessly avowed, in the midst of Sedition and Infidelity, those religious and moral principles, without which the virtue of the poor has no reward, and the honour of the rich has nothing but a name:

"That, although his little work has received very favourable notice from some of the critical publications of the day, yet its sale has not been sufficiently extensive to procure for his wife and offspring the slender comforts which he fondly anticipated; nor to alleviate the personal distresses which have, for a considerable time, accompanied a failure of his labours at the loom: distresses which, in common with many other framework-knitters, it is his lot bitterly to feel:

"That the slender pittance of a Corporal's pay, in the Regiment of Royal Sherwood Foresters, is his principal dependence for the support of himself and family:

"That, to your Royal and Beneficent Institution he therefore lifts a supplicating eye, as to the last refuge of the unhappy, for that aid which can alone rescue him from the fate, which poverty and accumulated disappointments are otherwise preparing for a frame, already half devoured by sickness and by suffering — the fate of unsuccoured wretchedness — an untimely grave!

"But that, should your cheering and merciful smile illuminate his path, at present so dark and dreary, his future energies will be unceasingly awake in the cause of Virtue and Truth; and, with a heart full of gratitude for your kindness, his anxious hope will be, never to create in your generous bosoms a wish that your bounty had been withheld.

ROBERT MILLHOUSE.

Nottingham, April 12, 1822."

The effect of this Memorial will best be seen in the following Letter of grateful acknowledgement:

"To the Honourable Committee of the
Royal Literary Fund.
My Lords and Gentlemen,
I embrace the earliest opportunity of thus manifesting my most unfeigned and heartfelt thanks for your most salutary Bounty, which has 'turned my heaviness into joy;' and if a steady perseverance in the paths of truth and virtue may be deemed a further token of my gratitude, it shall be my study to prove to your generous and noble minds, that your valuable donation has not been bestowed upon one who is either ungrateful or unworthy.
I am, my Lords and Gentlemen,
With gratitude and respect,
Your very much obliged
And humble servant,
ROBERT MILLHOUSE,
Corporal in the Royal Regiment of
Sherwood Foresters.
Nottingham, May 8, 1822."

A Letter, of the same date, addressed to myself, as the humble instrument in the hand of Divine Providence, that pointed his way to this beneficent Institution, "at a time," says he, "when darkness surrounded me on every side," occasioned by domestic affliction, is too complimentary for insertion here: a circumstance which I regret, because it precludes me from gratifying the reader with a perusal of beautifully-glowing language, emanating from a grateful heart, embodying thoughts that breathe an exalted mind.

About the same time, the following appeal in his behalf appeared in the Gentleman's Magazine; and, from that excellent Storehouse of useful truth, was copied into the Nottingham Journal, with a humane wish in its respectable Editor to render the humble Bard some service in his native town; a town, which had previously been honoured as the birth-place of that singularly-gifted and amiable youth, now an inhabitant of heaven, Henry Kirke White.

"March 12.

MR. URBAN,

Your Magazine having frequently been the successful medium of directing the hand of charity to succour meritorious Want, as well as to lead unobtrusive Genius up the steps of Fame, I know it will gratify your good heart to co-operate with me in the honest endeavour, at least, to accomplish both these objects, in the person of one, who forms too humble an estimate of his own talents or of his own deserts, to claim kindness for himself.

"At present I have no other knowledge of the individual whom I wish to serve, than what is derived from a small volume of Poems, with which, some time since, he was pleased to present me, accompanied by a modest letter, expressive of his fears that it would not prove worthy of my acceptance. The contrary, however, was the case. I found much in it to admire, on account of its genuine poetic character, and much also to applaud, for a soundness of religious and moral principle. From that volume many extracts might be made, confirmatory of this impartial judgment: but I prefer a transcription of two short pieces (because they are short) which he has this day sent me in a letter of too-grateful acknowledgment, for a trifling return I made for the present, with which he was pleased to favour me. Sincerely wishing to serve a man, apparently so deserving of Patronage, he will pardon me if I introduce the short specimens, by quoting a part of his last letter. After feelingly stating the failure of a subscription to indemnify him for publishing his little volume, at a time when sickness had reduced a wife and infant child to the borders of the grave, and a stagnation in that branch of business to which he is devoted, he says, "I am now labouring under indisposition both of body and mind; which, with the united evils of poverty and a bad trade, have brought on me a species of nervous melancholy that requires the utmost exertions of my philosophy to encounter. Begging pardon for thus obtruding myself upon your retirement, and throwing myself at the footstool of Divine Providence, I am Rev, and much-venerated Sir, your very obedient humble servant, R. Millhouse, Mole-court, Milton-street, Nottinghamshire.

TO A LEAFLESS HAWTHORN;
WRITTEN IN AUTUMN.
Hail, rustic Tree! for, though November's wind
Has thrown thy verdant mantle to the ground;
Yet Nature, to thy vocal inmates kind,
With berries red thy matron-boughs has crown'd.
Thee do I envy: for, bright April show'rs
Will bid again thy fresh green leaves expand;
And May, light floating in a cloud of flow'rs,
Will cause thee to re-bloom with magic hand.
But, on mg Spring, when genial dew-drops felt,
Soon did Life's North-wind curdle them with frost
And, when my Summer-blossom op'd its bell,
In blight and mildew was its beauty lost.

SONNET;
WRITTEN IN SPRING.
When, in my happy vernal day of life,
Succeeding autumns ravag'd Nature's bloom,
Oft have I felt a transitory gloom,
And, anxious, wish'd an end to wintry strife,
Seen, with new joy, the green hill break the tomb
Of melting snows, — whence the gay sky-lark sprung,
And, mounting up, his morning carol sung,
While violets sigh'd away their first perfume.
But now, tho' flow'rs are all around me flung,
Tho', into anthems, burst forth ev'ry grove,
Sad, mid the varied sweetness do I rove,
And, melancholy, stray the groves among!
For, ah! what charm has Nature for the breast
That holds a throbbing heart with want opprest?

"These two witnesses, if I mistake not, will speak more forcibly to the generous feelings and elegant minds of your readers, Mr. Urban, in behalf of the stricken Bard, than any friend can speak for him. The fresh green leaves of the hawthorn, expanding in the bright sunny showers of April; and May, with the lightness of an Ariel, floating on a cloud of flowers, — the green hill of Spring, as at the great Resurrection-Day, breaking the tomb of melting snows, in which it had been imprisoned, — the lark, rising from it to sing his carol at the gate of heaven, — the pristine violets sighing away their virgin perfume, — the groves bursting forth into anthems, at the return of that glad season, — these are expressions uttered by the very Spirit of Poesy; while the dark and melancholy contrasts, with which each picture is concluded, must be felt by every one not unsusceptible of the finest impressions of human nature.

"Should a humane and enlightened publick be disposed to aid this mentally-endowed child of Nature (his sole endowment) perhaps the promptest way of befriending him may be the best — 'bis dat,' &c.; and that would be by speedily purchasing the remaining sets of his publication, or by encouraging a reprint of it, with such additional Poems as he may have written.

Yours, &c. LUKE BOOKER, Vicar of Dudley.

"P.S. It may interest the friends of their country to be informed, that the man thus respectfully introduced to their compassionate consideration, has filled with credit the post of Corporal in a Provincial Regiment."

That this appeal was not wholly in vain, the present Publication evinces; the expense of which is nearly defrayed by what it excited — the Liberality of an unknown Individual; who, should the sale answer my hopes, will have the cordial satisfaction, not only of considering himself as the Maecenas to one of no ordinary merit, but by relieving the necessities of an industrious family, as adding to the stock of human comfort.

Longer I would not detain the Purchaser of this little Volume from the pleasure it will afford him, had I not a still further design upon his Purse; wishing to draw from it an additional trifle in the purchase of his before-mentioned volume, intituled, "Vicissitude, a Poem, in four Books, &c. by Robert Millhouse, Corporal on the Staff of the Royal Sherwood Foresters." Printed at Nottingham for the Author, by H. Barnett, and sold by Baldwin, Cradock, and Joy. Although I trust, that with the whole of that primal offspring of my humble Friend's Muse, they who read this will be familiar, by ordering it of one of the above-mentioned respectable Sons of "the Trade;" yet, conceiving the present Biographical Sketch would otherwise be incomplete without them, a few natural touches are here introduced from the artless pencil of his elder brother.

"Robert Millhouse was born at Nottingham, the 14th of October 1788, and was the second of ten children. The poverty of his parents compelled them to put him to work at the age of six years; and when ten he was placed in a stocking-loom. He had been constantly sent to a Sunday School till about the last-mentioned age; when a requisition having been sent by the Rector of St. Peter's Parish to the Master of the School for six of his boys to become singers at the church, Robert was one that was selected, and thus terminated his education, which consisted merely of reading, and the first rudiments of writing.

"When sixteen years old, he seemed, for the first time, struck with the power of Poetry, by reading on a tablet under a small image of Shakspeare, this inscription:

The cloud-capt towers, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great Globe itself,
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve;
And, like the baseless fabric of a vision,
Leave not a wreck behind!

"The uncommon beauty and sublimity of the passage exciting in his mind the highest degree of admiration, he said, 'Is it not Scripture?' On being told it was from Shakspeare's Play of the Tempest, he immediately read that inimitable piece, and several other standard poetical works with eagerness.

"When he had obtained the age of 22 he entered the Nottinghamshire Militia; which, four years afterwards, being disembodied, he again returned to the stocking-loom till 1817; when he was placed on the Staff of that Regiment, then called the Royal Sherwood Foresters; and in the following year became a married man. The cares and necessities of a family soon increasing, he began seriously to reflect on his future prospects; and perceiving no better chance of improving his condition, he began to think of publishing the few small pieces he had written; but as they were not sufficient to form a volume, he resolved 'to attempt something of greater length and importance. Thence originated his Poem of 'Vicissitude,' which he prosecuted with unceasing ardour; sometimes composing it while at work under the pressure of poverty and ill-health; at other times, when released from his daily labour, encroaching upon the hours which ought to have been allotted to sleep."

Such "short and simple Annals of the Poor," will not fail to interest the Rich, especially those highly privileged persons, who, with hearts to pity a fellow creature's distress, and with wealth to relieve it, are blessed with minds susceptible of admiration, and of something like gratitude, when, from the same lowly individual they derive rational entertainment, though only for an hour. This feeling we show even towards inanimate objects. The violet, concealed beneath the obscurity of the bramble, at the time it delights our sense, awakens our thankfulness and partiality.

Persons of this enviable generous class, who, admiring Nature, know how to appreciate those who faithfully pourtray her charms, are now respectfully addressed by the present voluntary Advocate of his modest townsman: or, rather, they shall thus be more effectually addressed by himself, from a corrected copy of his already-published Poem on "Vicissitude."

Ye who delight in Nature's various forms,
And smile alike in sunshine and in storms;
Who learn to bear, with fortitude resign'd,
Those changes dire which daunt the timid mind!
For you the blossom clothes the spreading thorn,
For you burst forth the anthems of the morn;
For you does earth produce her choicest flow'rs,
And clouds distil their dews and vernal show'rs.
Zephyrs for you bear odours on their wings,
And deep in shades the bird nocturnal sings;
Fields, groves, and forests, all their charms display;
Streams gently glide, and barren hills look gay.
Harvests for you, all beauteous to behold,
Wave in the breeze, and ripen into gold;
For you shine out the brilliant lamps of night,
And you e'en drooping Nature can delight.
For in the storm that bends the leafless tree,
Your minds with joy can future beauty see;
In rapture dream of Vegetation's pow'r,
To paint the mead, and rear the blushing flow'r;
Traverse the plains where crocus carpets spread
A velvet softness for the lambkin's bed;
See new-born foliage screen the songster's nest,
And weave fresh green to deck gay Nature's vest....

Then, welcome change; and, oh! be doubly dear,
Those varying scenes that lead along the year.
Thou Sun and Moon! and every lesser light!
Thou smiling dawn! with morning, noon, and night!
Ye little birds which first begin to sing,
And sweetly chant your prelude to the Spring;
Ye buds and blossoms bursting into day,
Ye primal flow'rs that make the meadows gay;
Ye woods and groves in Summer robes array'd,
Which lure th' enthusiast to enjoy your shade;
Ye melancholy views of Autumn mild,
Ye rugged prospects of the Winter wild!
Oh may ye still in beauteous order roll,
Nor cease to captivate my glowing soul;
But, while mine eyes from earth to heav'n I raise,
Inspire my bosom with your Maker's praise!

A little farther in the same Poem, how finely does he characterize the Poet who first transfused into his soul the fire of inspiration! His works he paints

—still brightening in the rolls of Fame,
And towering o'er the laws by critics made,
A splendid pile on Nature's basis laid.
—Hail! great Enchanter, darling of our Isle!
May round thy tomb unfading laurels smile!
There may the wild-flow'r usher in the Spring,
And gentle gales their balmy odours fling!
May Summer beams shine sweetly on thy Clay,
And yellow Autumn yield a placid ray;
And wintry winds thy green grass softly wave,
And failing snows drop lightly on thy grave!

Unlike some of the Muse's votaries in the present day, that he whom I wish to serve is friendly to the Religion and Laws of the country, these lines will prove.

See! wickedly a factious band combine,
Foes to all laws or human or divine;
Virtue in king or subject they deride,
And every act of violence their pride.
Who, foes to Peace, when other projects fail,
Against Religion spread their cob-web sail
Dip the envenom'd pen in rankest gall,
And with their gilded snares the weak enthrall.
Ye impious Cavillers! whose gloomy souls,
Nor reason warms, nor honesty controuls;
Say, what great motive, to the world unknown,
Excites your wish Religion to dethrone?
Is it to give assurance to the breast,
And bid the busy stings of conscience rest?
Is it to humanize the vicious mind,
And form a creature of a better kind?
Fatal experience the surmise o'erthrows,
And finds, instead, a train of deadly woes!
For human laws will villains feebly bind,
When fear of an hereafter leaves the mind.
Is it Establish'd Faith to undermine,
And fit the base for every dark design?
Or is the Fall of Governments your aim,
That o'er their Ruins ye may stalk to Fame?

O ye Profane! with Matter for your God,
Whose hopes are center'd in the mouldering sod,
Who fear not Hell, nor wish reward from Heav'n,
Flow shall your vile intentions be forgiv'n?
How shall ye stand before His awful throne,
When, time complete, all secrets shall be known?
How will ye answer a reproof like this,
Ye robb'd the poor man of his hopes of bliss;
Hopes, kindly giv'n, his sorrows to sustain,
His surest solace in a life of pain.

Thou uncreated, self-existent Mind!
Whose pow'r not vast immensity can bind,—
Who guid'st the whole creation with thine hand,
Oh! guard in mercy this my native land!
Preserve our hearts from false opinions free,
And teach our Rulers to look up to thee
That, by their sway, GREAT BRITAIN may be found,
Great in example to the Nations round!

With this pious wish for his Country's welfare, I originally meant to close these extracts; but, desirous of promoting his welfare, I add the concluding lines of the Poem, containing an Apostrophe to his Harp; which will likewise prove an irresistible apostrophe to all who have either patriotism or sensibility.

Now cease, my Harp! and shou'd thy varied strain,
In this bold prelude have been made in vain,
Silence shall henceforth rest thy chords among!
But, shou'd Britannia's Sons approve the song,
TRENT, winding on, shall hear again thy voice,
And nodding SHERWOOD listen and rejoice;
Truth ever fair shall lend her sacred ray,
And Virtue guide each foster'd future lay.
So, when thy master's mortal hour is past,
And, o'er his green turf, sweeps the moaning blast,
Some gentle bard may wake thy strings anew;
Then, as reviving spring-flow'rs charm his view,
Or Autumn mild his throbbing breast inspires,
Or tranquil midnight lights her lambent fires,
Then may he, pondering on thy magic worth,
Reflect on him who call'd that magic forth,
And haply say, "To him one strain is due,
Who once the feelings of a Poet knew;
For he thine accents hath to Nature giv'n,
And often bath'd thee in the dews of heav'n."

Such are a few of the poetic flowers which I have culled (not as being the most beautiful) from the pleasing wilderness of his larger creation; concerning which he writes to me thus: "I know that my Poem on 'Vicissitude' is very defective. Do you think it would be time mis-spent, were I to take away some of the duller parts, and substitute others in their places? — But perhaps it will be best to wait till after the appearance of my next little volume. We shall then see whether the copies, yet remaining unsold of the first, will be called for, and a second edition wanted."

In this opinion I concur; at the same time sanguinely hoping that both these tests of public approbation will be afforded him; namely, the call for his dormant copies, and also the demand for a second edition; which, greatly improved as he is in the art of composition, would become, under his now more correct and discriminating judgment, almost a new Work. To hasten the sale of those copies, I have advised him to sell them at the reduced price of 3s. 6d.; as, till they are sold, to publish a fresh edition would be imprudent.

From the other Poems in the volume many striking passages might be extracted especially from his "Nottingham Park;" which, like some other lovely scenes in the same neighbourhood, should it ever be covered with human habitations, will, as depicted by him, "Live in description, and look green in song." To the fidelity of his picture I can testify having, in the morning of my days, been as familiar as himself with every feature of it. The castle, seated on a lofty rock, perpendicular on three sides of it, is a fine historical painting:

Where yonder mansion rears its head on high,
O'erlooks the vale, and cleaves the yielding sky,
There scepter'd kings a royal home have found,
When sanguine War has spread destruction round.
In peaceful grandeur now it decks the land,
And keeps, in solitude, its rocky stand.
Safe on the steep, where school-boys dare not climb,
The clamorous daw may build her nest sublime;
Whence issuing forth, she wings her airy way,
And holds, in peace, hereditary sway.

Whether my ingenious friend and townsman be conversant with the poetic writings of Dr. Darwin I know not. His "Youthful Vision," as related in page 86, et seq. leads me to suppose that he is. If not, the Doctor's benignant Shade will not frown at the lines being dropped within the precincts of his "Botanic Garden."

Where Trent meandering laves with fond delight,
His wealthy fields and flowery meadows bright,
And Clifton rears aloft, in solemn pride,
Her woods reflected in the deepening tide:—
'Twas here, in youth, ere care its clouds outspread,
And the sweet years flew gently o'er my head,
What time dim Evening slumber'd on the plain,
And dusky Twilight held her transient reign,
Pleas'd, as on yonder eminence I lay,
Watching the beauties of departing Day,
Sleep, with its balmy pow'rs mine eyelids seal'd,
And, as I lay entranc'd, this scene reveal'd:
Deep in a vale conceal'd from mortal sight,
Where Cynthia's beams diffus'd a silver light,
Aerial Forms, of pure celestial mould,
With filmy wings, and robes bedropt with gold,
To sounds melodious lightly mov'd along,
Join'd the gay dance, and thrill'd the jocund song;
And thus they sang, while Echoes, listening round,
Roll'd a sweet concord of harmonious sound:—
Here, in these haunts the changeful year we pass,
And hold our revels on the velvet grass;
Those Gardens we secure from noxious weeds,
And chace the insect from the new-sown seeds;
Each opening flow'r with fragrance we perfume,
Paint the bright Rose, and streak the Tulip's bloom;
From vernal frosts we keep the blossoms free,
And load with luscious fruit each bending tree.
We guide the wandering pilgrim on his way,
And cheer the lab'rer at the close of day;
The lone Enthusiast, oft, by us inspir'd,
Tastes pure delight, and feels his bosom fir'd,
Owns the kind flame that soothes his youthful mind,
And casts desponding sorrow to the wind.—
Here may the virtuous, safe from fraudful guile,
Fearless approach, and court our grateful smile;
But far away shall feet profane be driv'n,
And all who rev'rence not the will of Heav'n.

They ceas'd: and, gliding from my ravish'd view,
To Trent's fair banks, on sloping moon-beams flew.
That instant sounds from heav'nly harps I heard,
And, lo! the Genius of the place appear'd.
In her right hand a hawthorn branch was seen,
With blossoms crown'd, and leaves of shining green.
Celestial smiles her graceful brows array'd,
And auburn tresses round her shoulders play'd.
She bade me look, where varied landscapes smil'd,
Painted by Nature in her frolics wild;
Hills, meads, and streams, arose with aspect bland:
I view'd the scenes, and hail'd my NATIVE LAND;
And, as my thoughts in wandering mazes ran,
In accents mild, she thus her strain began;
"Know, thou art destin'd by th' Eternal Sire,
Within thy breast to feel the Muse's fire:
The works of Nature shall delight thine eyes,
Whether they grace the earth, or deck the skies:
The changeful Year shall thy preceptor be;
For, all its changes shall have charms for thee.
Yet, in thy numbers modesty display;
Adhere to Truth, nor quit her onward way:
To flatter Baseness ne'er employ thy tongue;
The free-born Muse disdains the servile song.
As the sweet sky-lark hail the rising morn,
With simple lore thy self-taught lays adorn.
TRUTH for thy guide, let her direct thy mind,
Nor e'er in labyrinths mislead mankind.
Smooth is her open path, bedeck'd with flowers,
Warm'd with mild suns, and wash'd with genial show'rs.
No thorns are there, the pilgrim's feet to wound;
No sickly vapours taint the smiling ground.
Far, far away, the birds of carnage fly,
And gales of fragrance fan the ambient sky:
While ERROR'S maze nor form, nor order knows;
Beat by rude winds, and chill'd with drifting snows;
Where hideous monsters, eager to destroy,
Dash from Contentment's lip the cup of joy."
She said: and with the branch my temples bound;
The fragrant blossoms shedding odours round;
And, as I strove to thank the heavenly Fair,
She rose in flight, and mingled with the air.

The present Selection from his MSS. will be found to contain Pieces of one kind only — Sonnets: a species of composition in which, I doubt not, the Reader will think with me, he particularly excels. Yet, limited as the Sonnet is, to a precise number of lines, there is so much art requisite to produce excellence, that he who does produce it, may be regarded with the astonishment we should feel on beholding a slave dance gracefully in chains. Like an exquisitely-fine cabinet-picture, the sonnet is valued for its goodness rather than its size. The touches after nature must be true, — the colouring beautiful, — the finishing correct. In one respect, it resembles the Epigram, though totally dissimilar in the spirit of it. They both convey a strongly-condensed meaning in their close: the one expressing keen wit or a pungent jest, the other an elegant moral or pathetic thought.

That these, contained in this little volume are uniformly of the latter description, however they may be defective in laboured finishing, I believe the candid Reader will find. Nor will he peruse them without wonder when told they were nearly all composed while the Author's hands were busily employed at the loom, amidst the din of a dozen stocking frames, and the heterogeneous conversation or singing of as many workmen. In one of his letters he says, "at a former period I thought of writing no more sonnets; but working, as I do, in a shop with ten or twelve men, I can manage little things like them better than any other." With what a faculty of abstraction must he be gifted! or what a power must he possess of transferring his thoughts from such a Babel to the most lovely scenes in nature! But the "res angustae Domi," constantly occupying his mind, kindled within him at all times, a peculiar poignancy of feeling; and a fervid imagination, enriched with an intimate knowledge of rural scenery, always supplied him with apposite themes of poesy, with suitable images and fitting language." So that "He left no calling for this idle trade;" but while his hands were busy, in working "for the meat that perisheth," his mind was harmlessly, if not commendably, employed in sublimer contemplations.

I shall now commend this "self-taught" Child of the Muse to the courteous Reader: nor have I many fears concerning his reception. That he deems himself solemnly devoted to the cause of truth and virtue, these specimens, especially the last, will show. And his epistolary assurances to me, that nothing shall alter his high and holy purpose, will find credence, I trust, with others, as they do with me. Those pledges I retain as his Surety, on behalf of the Public, and that excellent Institution which has been pleased to make me the Almoner of its bounty to him. The fine cast of his mind is certainly one of my inducements for befriending him; but his pressing temporal Wants form an additional plea, which will be admitted by the Christian as well as the Scholar.

LUKE BOOKER,

Vicar of Dudley.