Hours with the Muses
Home Biography Hours with the Muses Dreams and Realities Poetic Rosary Autumn Leaves Miscellaneous Poems Unpublished Poems Miscellanea Main Index Site Search


 

 

PREFACE TO THE FOURTH EDITION.


IN the year 1841 this little work was put forth by the Author with fear and trembling, with uncertainty as to its fitness for the public eye.  It is gratifying to remember, that its appearance attracted immediate attention in the neighbourhood of its publication.  Warmly commended by a few generous and intellectual friends, and encouragingly noticed by the public journals, both in this country and in America, it gained a popularity which far exceeded the Author's expectations.  Not the least flattering of its results, are, the kindly aid and good will which have been extended to him, by gentlemen whose rank, benevolence, and genius, have given them an elevated and influential position in society.  A combination of these favourable circumstances, perhaps, rather than any commanding merit in the Author's effusions, has brought the work to a Fourth Edition.

    Nearly all the poems contained in the volume were written for, and addressed to, the humble and industrious classes: but the price of the former impressions being beyond their means of purchase, a neat edition for the people has been projected and ventured upon at a large cost, and at the smallest remunerative price, in the hope and desire that it may be widely diffused among that class to which the Author belongs, that peaceful order of workers and readers, whose wishes prompt them to solace and cultivate their minds by such productions as win by their truthfulness, yet endanger not by their harshness of language, or their violence of thought.

    The work has been carefully and conscientiously revised, and for some verses of a trifling and unimportant character, most of them the Auther's boyish efforts, have been substituted poems never before published, which, it is hoped, will be found an acceptable feature in the edition.

    In conclusion; that the ensuing pages, read by the evening fire of the industrious artizan, to a friend, to a wife, a child, may have some effect in awakening thought in the thoughtless, arousing the listless to useful action, steadying the reckless, reforming the rude, solacing the sad, inspiring with hope and endeavour the desponding, or in any way dropping a flower, or shedding a gleam of light, on the poor man's heart and hearth, is the sincere wish of their friend and brother,

THE AUTHOR.

Henry Square, Ashton-under-Lyne,
              January 1, 1847.

_______________

PREFACE TO THE THIRD EDITION.


THE demand for a Third Edition of "Hours with the Muses" imposes upon the Author a debt of gratitude, which he feels utterly incapable of discharging.  He is wanting in forms of expression, which would adequately describe his own feelings; and he will not attempt to supply the want, by borrowing the common place phrases of acknowledgment.  He can only beseech his generous patrons to be assured, that insensibility to their extraordinary kindness forms no part of his character.

    The present volume contains many additional poems, to the extent of forty pages of letter press; they are distinguished in the Table of Contents by an asterisk.  The Author hopes that neither in sentiment nor composition, will they be considered such as to call for the forfeiture of that public favour, which has hitherto been so abundantly showered upon his efforts.

Manchester, 20th September, 1842.

_______________

PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION.


THE publication of a Second Edition of "Hours with the Muses" affords the Author an opportunity to tender, in a more formal and express manner than he has been hitherto enabled to adopt, his grateful acknowledgments for the extraordinary interest which has been manifested, and the efforts which have been made, on his behalf, since the appearance of the first edition of his Poems.  That this gratifying circumstance is in any material degree, attributable to the merits of the Poems themselves, the Author certainly has not the vanity to imagine: he rather ascribes it—as being much more consonant with his feelings—to the design which he trusts is obvious in the principal Poems,—that of advocating the rights, and elevating the tastes and pursuits, of his labouring fellow, countrymen; and to a generous desire, on the part of the public, to aid the Author in those struggles with poverty, and its many attendant evils, which have so far been his portion through life.

    The Author feels inadequate to the due expression of his feelings for the kindness which has been so liberally bestowed upon him by the Public Press.  To one highly gifted member of that Press, Mr. John Harland, of the Manchester Guardian, he is especially indebted, as it is owing to that gentleman's eloquent advocacy, that the Author has enjoyed so large a portion of public favour, and without which kind interference he feels that he might, like many far more deserving objects in his own rank of life, have remained uncared for and unknown.

    To the generous friends who have promptly come forward to provide the means of putting his Poems a second time through the Press;—to those who have exerted themselves so strenuously to obtain subscribers for the second edition;—the Author can only say, that he sincerely hopes, the present edition will be found to possess stronger claims to their approval, than those presented by the former edition.

    Having now discharged, though imperfectly, a most pleasing debt of gratitude, the Author begs to refer briefly to the circumstances of the publication.  Fearful of incurring a responsibility which he was by no means able to bear, and not having the slightest anticipation of the success with which his efforts have—owing to the causes already alluded to—since been attended, he limited the impression of the first edition to almost the precise number of subscribers obtained at the time the first sheets were put to press.  By the efforts of kind friends, however, such a further addition of subscribers was obtained in the course of the printing of the volume, that upon its issue, the impression was found to fall short of the subscription list, by upwards of three hundred copies.  The list was further increased after the publication to such an extent, that the Author was soon placed in a position to require another and a much larger edition; and, further, was as speedily relieved, by the generous zeal of friends, from the anxiety attendant upon a speculation so far beyond his own pecuniary means.

    A careful perusal of the Poems in print, (after the excitement of their composition was over), and the suggestions of friends, soon made the author aware that there were some passages therein, in which the forms of expression adopted might warrant an interpretation far different from that which he intended.  These passages have been strictly revised, so as to obviate the objections to which they were fairly liable.  Several stanzas have been added to "The Poet's Sabbath;" and many additional poems, including some of the longest in the collection, appear in this edition: so as, to a considerable extent, to impart to the book a new feature.  The Author hopes, also, that the superior style of this edition, as to the arrangement, verbal correctness, and typographical execution, will render the volume more attractive.

    With these remarks and a renewal of his grateful acknowledgments, the Author respectfully takes his leave.  It may be many years ere he meets his kind friends again in the character of an Author; but however his future lot may be cast, he can never revert to the circumstances upon which he has now been dwelling, without feelings of the most heartfelt gratitude.

Manchester, 6th October, 1841.

_______________

PREFACE TO THE FIRST EDITION.


ALTHOUGH a Preface may, by some, be considered an almost useless appendage to a book, yet the Author of the following pages deems it necessary to inform his readers, that his Poems have been composed at all times and in all places;—some to lighten his weary wanderings in a foreign land; and others as a relief to poverty and toil on his own shore.  These disadvantages, together with his total want of even a moderate education, will, he trusts, entitle him to some consideration from the candid critic,—some allowance for the defects which such circumstances were likely to produce.

    Several of his productions have received the approbation of private friends, and been favoured with a place in highly respectable journals; and he has thus been induced to submit them, in a collective form, to the more general and impartial judgment of public opinion, satisfied that its decision will be just and conclusive.

    That his effusions contain numerous and glaring faults, the Author is fully aware; but he trusts that their merits, though few, are such as will preserve his little work from utter condemnation.  He consoles himself with the thought that, if he succeed in fostering the slightest taste for the ineffable beauties of Nature,—in awakening one moral sentiment—one generous feeling—one thrill of liberty in the mind of any human being, he will not have written idly, nor in vain.

    To those literary friends who have honoured him with their advice and experience, the Author takes this opportunity of acknowledging the obligation, and assuring them that he has adopted their hints, as far as was consistent with his own ideas of principle and independence.  At the same time he hopes that they will not withhold their assistance should he venture, a second time, to become a candidate for poetic fame.

Manchester, July, 1841.



CONTENTS.
_________
 

Sketch of the Author's Life

Random Thoughts on Poetry

The Poet's Sabbath

31.

Sonnet written in the Castle of Carnarvon

107.

Who are the Free?

45.

Spring

ib.

May

47.

A Farewell to Poesy

108.

The Poet to his Child

48.

Verses suggested by the Rhaidr Mawr

110.

A Vision of the Future

49.

The Carrier to his Pony

112.

To an Early Primrose

53.

To the Poles

113.

The Maid of a Mountain Land

55.

An Appeal on behalf of the Uneducated

114.

To France

56.

Written in Affliction

119.

Thou art Wooed and Won

57.

An Evening Song

120.

The Contrast

ib.

The Child of Song

122.

To Poesy

60.

My Country and my Queen

124.

Hope

62.

To Julius

125.

A Father's Lament

63.

There's Falsehood

126.

A Call to the People

65.

Lines written on a Blank Leaf

127.

On quitting North Wales

67.

The Rose and the Nightingale

ib.

To J. B. Rogerson

ib.

Song

128.

Clifton Grove

68.

Temperance Song

129.

The Blind Enthusiast

69.

Extempore Apology

130.

A Summer's Day

70.

A Sick Man's Fancies

131.

Domestic Melody

72.

The Banks of Conway

137.

Land and Sea

73.

To a Brother Poet

139.

Stanzas after a Winter's Walk

74.

To the Cricket

140.

Epistle to a Brother Poet

75.

Song

ib.

A Song of Freedom

79.

To my Friend, John Dickinson

141.

On receiving the Poems of Keats

80.

To G. R.

142.

Linda. A Ballad

ib.

Stanzas suggested at the Grave of Shakespear

ib.

To Hypatia

83.

A Winter's Evening

145.

Lines on seeing a Picture

84.

 Hymn to Spring

ib.

A Sketch among the Mountains

85.

What is Glory? What is Fame?

146.

To Quintus Hortensius

89.

The Voice of the Primrose

149.

The Captive's Dream

ib.

I Go for Evermore

151.

The Voice of Spring

95.

The Mountain Spring

152.

         ditto       Summer

96.

The Poor Man's Appeal

155.

ditto       Autumn

97.

To J. P. Westhead

158.

ditto       Winter

98.

The Slave

162.

To Sylvan

100.

The Student of Nature

165.

To the Fall of the Swallow, North Wales

101.

A Fragment for the People

168.

The Profligate awakened

ib.

The Poet at the Grave of his Child

172.

To Lilla, Weeping

103.

The Inquiry

174.

There is Beauty

104.

The Robin

178.

Stanzas addressed to a Child

ib.

The Three Angels

180.

The Oak and the Sapling     183.

LYRICS FOR THE PEOPLE:—

I. Let the Boisterous Bacchanal

187.

V. Sons of my Mother, England

191.

II. Man of Toil

188.

VI. Oh! despise not my Harp

193.

III. There is Beauty on Earth

189.

VII. Let us drink to the Bards

194.

IV. Sad and Sick unto Death

190.

 VIII. The Pen and the Press

195.

 



[Home] [Biography] [Hours with the Muses] [Dreams and Realities] [Poetic Rosary] [Autumn Leaves] [Miscellaneous Poems] [Unpublished Poems] [Miscellanea] [Main Index] [Site Search]

Correspondence should be sent to Webmaster@Gerald-Massey.org.uk