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Rural Tales, Ballads, and Songs   By: (1766-1823)

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Author of The Farmers Boy

LONDON: Printed for Vernor and Hood, Poultry; and Longman and Rees, Paternoster Row

By T. Bensley, Bolt court, Fleet street.



The Poems here offered to the Public were chiefly written during the interval between the concluding and the publishing of THE FARMER'S BOY, an interval of nearly two years. The pieces of a later date are, the Widow to her Hour Glass, the Fakenham Ghost, Walter and Jane , &c. At the tune of publishing the Farmer's Boy, circumstances occurred which rendered it necessary to submit these Poems to the perusal of my Friends: under whose approbation I now give them, with some confidence as to their moral merit, to the judgment of the Public. And as they treat of village manners, and rural scenes, it appears to me not ill tim'd to avow, that I have hopes of meeting in some degree the approbation of my Country. I was not prepar'd for the decided, and I may surely say extraordinary attention which the Public has shewn towards the Farmer's Boy: the consequence has been such as my true friends will rejoice to hear; it has produc'd me many essential blessings. And I feel peculiarly gratified in finding that a poor man in England may assert the dignity of Virtue, and speak of the imperishable beauties of Nature, and be heard, and heard, perhaps, with greater attention for his being poor.

Whoever thinks of me or my concerns, must necessarily indulge the pleasing idea of gratitude, and join a thought of my first great friend Mr. LOFFT. And on this head, I believe every reader, who has himself any feeling, will judge rightly of mine: if otherwise, I would much rather he would lay down this volume, and grasp hold of such fleeting pleasures as the world's business may afford him. I speak not of that gentleman as a public character, or as a scholar. Of the former I know but little, and of the latter nothing. But I know from experience, and I glory in this fair opportunity of saying it, that his private life is a lesson of morality; his manners gentle, his heart sincere: and I regard it as one of the most fortunate circumstances of my life, that my introduction to public notice fell to so zealous and unwearied a friend.[Footnote: I dare not take to myself a praise like this; and yet I was, perhaps, hardly at liberty to disclaim what should be mine and the endeavour of every one to deserve. This I can say, that I have reason to rejoice that Mr. George Bloomfield introduced the Farmer's Boy to me. C. L.]

I have received many honourable testimonies of esteem from strangers; letters without a name, but fill'd with the most cordial advice, and almost a parental anxiety, for my safety under so great a share of public applause. I beg to refer such friends to the great teacher Time: and hope that he will hereafter give me my deserts, and no more.

One piece in this collection will inform the reader of my most pleasing visit to Wakefield Lodge : books, solitude, and objects entirely new, brought pleasures which memory will always cherish. That noble and worthy Family, and all my immediate and unknown Friends, will, I hope, believe the sincerity of my thanks for all their numerous favours, and candidly judge the Poems before them.

R. BLOOMFIELD. Sept. 29, 1801.

P.S. Since affixing the above date, an event of much greater importance than any to which I have been witness, has taken place, to the universal joy (it is to be hoped) of every inhabitant of Europe. My portion of joy shall be expressed while it is warm: and the reader will do sufficient justice, if he only believes it to be sincere.

October 10.


Halt! ye Legions, sheathe your Steel: Blood grows precious; shed no more: Cease your toils; your wounds to heal Lo! beams of Mercy reach the shore! From Realms of everlasting light The favour'd guest of Heaven is come: Prostrate your Banners at the sight, And bear the glorious tidings home... Continue reading book >>

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