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The Minstrel; or the Progress of Genius with some other poems   By: (1735-1803)

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THE MINSTREL, WITH SOME OTHER POEMS.

[Illustration]

THE MINSTREL; OR, THE PROGRESS OF GENIUS.

WITH SOME OTHER POEMS.

By JAMES BEATTIE, LL. D.

EDINBURGH: PRINTED BY JAMES BALLANTYNE, FOR WILLIAM CREECH, MANNERS AND MILLER, AND A. CONSTABLE AND CO. 1805.

TO SIR WILLIAM FORBES, OF PITSLIGO, BARONET, AS A MARK OF RESPECT FOR HIS CHARACTER, AND AS AN APPROPRIATE TRIBUTE TO ONE OF THE MOST VALUED FRIENDS OF THE AUTHOR, THIS EDITION OF THE POETICAL WORKS OF DR BEATTIE, IS INSCRIBED BY THE PUBLISHERS.

CONTENTS.

Page. The Minstrel, Book I. 1 Book II. 35

Retirement 71

Elegy 76

Ode to Hope 81

Pygmæo gerano machia: The Battle of the Pigmies and Cranes 89

Epistle to the Hon. C. B. 101

The Hares: A Fable 105

Epitaph: being Part of an Inscription for a Monument, to be erected by a Gentleman to the Memory of his Lady 118

Ode on Lord H's Birth Day 119

To the Right Hon. Lady Charlotte Gordon, dressed in a Tartan Scotch Bonnet, with Plumes, &c. 125

The Hermit 127

Ode to Peace 130

Triumph of Melancholy 139

PREFACE TO THE MINSTREL.

The design was, to trace the progress of a Poetical Genius, born in a rude age, from the first dawning of fancy and reason, till that period at which he may be supposed capable of appearing in the world as a MINSTREL, that is, as an itinerant Poet and Musician; a character, which, according to the notions of our fore fathers, was not only respectable, but sacred.

I have endeavoured to imitate SPENSER in the measure of his verse, and in the harmony, simplicity, and variety, of his composition. Antique expressions I have avoided; admitting, however, some old words, where they seemed to suit the subject; but I hope none will be found that are now obsolete, or in any degree unintelligible to a reader of English poetry.

To those, who may be disposed to ask, what could induce me to write in so difficult a measure, I can only answer, that it pleases my ear, and seems, from its Gothic structure and original, to bear some relation to the subject and spirit of the Poem. It admits both of simplicity and magnificence of sound and of language, beyond any other stanza that I am acquainted with. It allows the sententiousness of the couplet, as well as the more complex modulation of blank verse. What some critics have remarked, of its uniformity growing at last tiresome to the ear, will be found to hold true, only when the poetry is faulty in other respects.

THE MINSTREL; IN TWO BOOKS... Continue reading book >>




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