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The Poets and Poetry of Cecil County, Maryland   By:

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A verse may finde him whom a sermon flies, And turn delight into a sacrifice.




Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1887, by


In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington, D.C.


This volume owes its existence to the desire of some of the teachers and pupils of the public schools in the northeastern part of Cecil county, to do honor to the memory of the late School Commissioner David Scott. Shortly after Mr. Scott's death, some of the parties referred to, proposed to collect enough money by voluntary contributions to erect a monument over his grave, in order to perpetuate his memory, and also to show the high regard in which he was held by them. This project being brought to the knowledge of the editor, he ventured to express the opinion that the best monument Mr. Scott could have, would be the collection and publication of his poems in book form. This suggestion met the approbation of the originators of the project, who asked the writer to undertake the work of collecting the poems and editing the book. Subsequent investigation showed that Mr. Scott had not left enough poems to justify their publication in a volume by themselves; and the original plan of the work was changed, so as to include, so far as it has been practicable to do so, the writings of all the native poets of the county, and those who though not natives, have resided and written in it.

Owing to causes not necessary to state it was impracticable, in some cases, to make as creditable a selection as could have been made had it been possible to have had access to all the poetry of the different writers. In a few instances the book contains all the poetry of the different writers that it has been practicable to obtain. Herein, it is hoped, will be found sufficient apology, if any apology is needed, for the character of some of the matter in the book.

If any apology is needed for the prominence given to the poems of David Scott (of John.) it may be found in the foregoing statement concerning the origin of the book; and in the fact, that, for more than a quarter of a century, the editor was probably his most intimate friend. So intimate indeed were the relations between Mr. Scott and the writer, that the latter had the pleasure of reading many of his friend's poems before they were published. The same may be said in a more extended sense, of the poems of David Scott (of James) to whose example and teaching, as well as to that of the other Mr. Scott for he was a pupil of each of them the writer owes much of whatever literary ability he may possess.

The editor is also on terms of intimacy with many of the other contemporary writers whose poetry appears in the book, and has striven to do justice to their literary ability, by the selection of such of their poems as are best calculated, in his opinion, to do credit to them, without offending the taste of the most fastidious readers of the book.

From the foregoing statement it will be apparent that the object of the editor was not to produce a book of poetical jems, but only to select the poems best adapted to the exemplification of the diversified talents of their authors. The work has been a labor of love; and though conscious that it has been imperfectly performed, the compiler ventures to express the hope that it will be received by a generous and discriminating public, in the same spirit in which it was done.


It is a remarkable fact that all the native poets of Cecil county except one or two were born in the northern part of it, and within about eight miles of the boundary line between Maryland and Pennsylvania. What effect, if any, the pure atmosphere and picturesque scenery of the country along the banks and romantic hills of the Susquehanna and Octoraro may have had to do with producing or developing poetical genius, cannot be told; but nevertheless it is a fact, that William P... Continue reading book >>

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