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Poems (1786), Volume I.   By: (1762-1827)

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POEMS,

BY HELEN MARIA WILLIAMS.

IN TWO VOLUMES.

VOL. I.

MDCCLXXXVI.

TO HER MAJESTY.

MADAM,

I am too sensible of the distinguished honour conferred upon me, in your Majesty's gracious protection of these Poems, to abuse it by adopting the common strain of dedication.

That praise corresponds best to your Majesty's generous feelings, which is poured without restraint from the heart, and is repeated where you cannot hear.

I suppress therefore, in delicacy to those feelings, the warmth of my own, and subscribe myself,

MADAM,

With profound respect,

Your MAJESTY'S

Devoted servant,

HELEN MARIA WILLIAMS.

PREFACE.

The apprehension which it becomes me to feel, in submitting these Poems to the judgment of the Public, may perhaps plead my excuse, for detaining the reader to relate, that they were written under the disadvantages of a confined education, and at an age too young for the attainment of an accurate taste. My first production, the Legendary Tale of Edwin and Eltruda, was composed to amuse some solitary hours, and without any view to publication. Being shewn to Dr. Kippis, he declared that it deserved to be committed to the press, and offered to take upon himself the task of introducing it to the world. I could not hesitate to publish a composition which had received the sanction of his approbation. By the favourable reception this little poem met with, I was encouraged still farther to meet the public eye, in the "Ode on the Peace," and the poem which has the title of "Peru." These poems are inserted in the present collection, but not exactly in their original form. I have felt it my duty to exert my endeavours in such a revision and improvement of them, as may render them somewhat more worthy of perusal. It will, I am afraid, still be found, that there are several things in them which would shrink at the approach of severe criticism. The other poems that now for the first time appear in print, are offered with a degree of humility rather increased than diminished, by the powerful patronage with which they have been honoured, in consequence of the character given of them by partial friends. Knowing how strongly affection can influence opinion, the kindness which excites my warmest gratitude has not inspired me with confidence.

When I survey such an evidence of the zeal of my friends to serve me, as the following honourable and extensive list affords, I have cause for exultation in having published this work by subscription. They who know my disposition, will readily believe that the tear which fills my eye, while I thank them for their generous exertions, flows not from the consideration of the benefits that have arisen from their friendship. It is to that friendship itself, that my heart pays a tribute of affection which I will not attempt to express for my pen is unfaithful to my purpose. While I am employed in testifying my thankfulness for the favours I have received, it is impossible that I should forget how much I owe to one Gentleman in particular, whose exertions in my behalf, though I was a stranger to him, have been so marked, so generous, and indeed so unexampled, that it is a very painful task which his delicacy has imposed upon me, in not permitting me to mention his name. But such goodness cannot be concealed. The gratitude of my own heart has proclaimed it to my private friends; and the noble and honourable subscribers his zeal has procured, cannot avoid being sensible to whom I am indebted for so illustrious a patronage.

LIST OF SUBSCRIBERS.

His Royal Highness the PRINCE of WALES.

A.

Her Grace the Dutchess of Ancaster. The Right Hon. the Earl of Abingdon. The Right Hon. the Dowager Countess of Albemarle. The Right Hon. the Earl of Aylesford, Captain of the Yeomen of the Guards. The Right Hon. the Earl of Ashburnham. The Right Hon. the Earl of Aylesbury, Lord Chamberlain of her Majesty's Houshold. The Right Rev... Continue reading book >>




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