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Wild Flowers Or, Pastoral and Local Poetry   By: (1766-1823)

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[Illustration]

WILD FLOWERS

OR,

PASTORAL AND LOCAL POETRY.

By ROBERT BLOOMFIELD Author of "The Farmer's Boy" and "Rural Tales".

LONDON: Printed for Vernor, Hood, and Sharpe, Poultry; and Longman, Hurst, Rees, and Orme, Paternoster Row.

1806.

WRIGHT, Printer, No. 32, St. John's Square, Clerkenwall.

PREFACE

A man of the first eminence, in whose day (fortunately perhaps for me) I was not destined to appear before the public, or to abide the Herculean crab tree of his criticism, Dr. Johnson, has said, in his preface to Shakspeare, that "Nothing can please many, and please long, but just representations of general nature." My representations of nature, whatever may be said of their justness , are not general , unless we admit, what I suspect to be the case, that nature in a village is very much like nature every where else. It will be observed that all my pictures are from humble life, and most of my heroines servant maids. Such I would have them: being fully persuaded that, in no other way would my endeavours, either to please or to instruct, have an equal chance of success.

The path I have thus taken, from necessity, as well as from choice, is well understood and approved by hundreds, who are capable of ranging in the higher walks of literature. But with due deference to their superior claim, I confess, that no recompense has been half so grateful or half so agreeable to me as female approbation. To be readily and generally understood, to have my simple Tales almost instinctively relished by those who have so decided an influence over the lives, hearts, and manners of us all, is the utmost stretch of my ambition.

I here venture, before the public eye, a selection from the various pieces which have been the source of much pleasure, and the solace of my leisure hours during the last four years, and since the publication of the "Rural Tales." Perhaps, in some of them, more of mirth is intermingled than many who know me would expect, or than the severe will be inclined to approve. But surely what I can say, or can be expected to say, on subjects of country life, would gain little by the seriousness of a preacher, or by exhibiting fallacious representations of what has long been termed Rural Innocence .

The Poem of "Good Tidings" is partially known to the world, but, as it was originally intended to assume its present appearance and size, I have gladly availed myself of an endeavour to improve it; and, from its present extended circulation, I trust it will be new to thousands.

I anticipate some approbation from such readers as have been pleased with the "Rural Tales;" yet, though I will not falsify my own feelings by assuming a diffidence which I do not conceive to be either manly or becoming, the conviction that some reputation is hazarded in "a third attempt," is impressed deeply on my mind.

With such sentiments, and with a lively sense of the high honour, and a hope of the bright recompence, of applause from the good, when heightened by the self approving voice of my own conscience, I commit the book to its fate.

ROBERT BLOOMFIELD.

DEDICATION.

TO MY ONLY SON.

MY DEAR BOY,

In thus addressing myself to you, and in expressing my regard for your person, my anxiety for your health, and my devotion to your welfare, I enjoy an advantage over those dedicators who indulge in adulation; I shall at least be believed.

Should you arrive at that period when reason shall be mature, and affection or curiosity induce you to look back on your father's poetical progress through life, you may conclude that he had many to boast as friends, whose names, in a dedication, would have honoured both him and his children; but you must also reflect, that to particularize such friends was a point of peculiar delicacy. The earliest patron of my unprotected strains has the warm thanks which are his due, for the introduction of blessings which have been diffused through our whole family, and nothing will ever change this sentiment... Continue reading book >>




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