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mon people to be judges of poetry, because they do not single out his verses for their study or amusement, yet this is no reason why they may not, in some degree, be considered as such; nay, it argues most powerfully in their favour, and is the most striking proof that his muse is unworthy of their notice: for, as simplicity is the strongest expression of nature, and natural expressions are the strongest marks of a poetical genius, so the common people, by being more accustomed than the learned, to the genuine expressions of nature, select those poems for their amusement which are most strongly marked for their pathos and simplicity, and may, therefore, be allowed to be judges; for these are the highest qualities of the most sublime poetry.
If, therefore, those who are not generally
allowed to possess knowledge in literature feel true delight in the perusal of genuine poetry, it is not to be considered as a matter of surprise, if those, possessed of taste and of the gifts of fortune, whose education and rank in life afford the most extensive means of mental gratification, should feel that delight in a degree proportioned to the difference of station; nor let it be considered as neglect, that whilst the exertion of benevolence, so amiably conspicuous amongst the noble families of this country, is frequently extended to distressed men of genius, some who are worthy and unknown should remain unprotected in the shade. For, though the lamentable tales of Boyse, of Otway, and of Chatterton, may be told in contradiction to this remark, yet the life of Savage, and the pages which contain the more extraordinary history of the unfortunate author of these volumes, will satisfy the most scrupulous philanthropist, that patronage is not yet lost in England.
It may perhaps be asked, why a book, containing poetry, should bear the appellation of The Harp of Erin. To such a question the editor can only answer— Ireland gave birth to the poet and his works: he therefore conceives this title (as titles are the fashion of the day) to be an appropriate one; if this will not satisfy the dissatisfied, he must submit to censure; for were he to search for a title to accord with the eccentricity and genius of the unfortunate youth who was the author of these poems, he inight waste the half of the longest life in the pursuit, and then say, " the toil is vain.”
HARP OF ERIN.
OH for a journey to th’Antipodes : Or some lone region of remotest Ind; Where, sagely sad, in solitary ease My weary sprite a safe retreat might find Where nothing might perturb my pensive mind, But such delicious fantasies as please The forming eye, when fiery flakes at eve With wayward sbapes the listless sense deceive !
Then wingy-heelid Imagination's flight
Such was my wish, romantic wish I ween,
The western wind did, scant-respiring, sigh,
IIcre cherries riper than thy leman's lip,