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Nor fear lest genuine poesy expire,
While tuneful Beattie wakes old Spenser's lyre ;
His synıpathetic lay his soul reveals,
And paints the perfect bard from what he feels.

H. MORE'S SENSIBILITY.

No gifts have I from Indian coasts,
The infant year to hail ;
I send you more than India boasts,
In Edwin's simple tale.

BURNS.

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PREFACE.

The design was, to trace the progress of a Po

etical Genius, born in a rude age, from the first dawning of fancy and reason, till that period at which he may be supposed capable of appearing in the world as A MINSTREL, that is, as an itenerant Poet and Musician ;....a character which, according to the notions of our fore-fathers, was not only respectable, but sacred.

I have endeavoured to imitate SPENSER in the

measure of his verse, and in the harmony, simplicity, and variety, of his composition. Antique expressions I have avoided; admitting, however, some old words, where they seemed

to suit the subject: but I hope none will be found that are now obsolete, or in any degree not intelligible to a reader of English poetry.

To those who may be disposed to ask, what could induce me to write in so difficult a measure, I can only answer, that it pleases my ear, and seems, from its Gothic structure and original, to bear some relation to the subject and spirit of the Poem. It admits both simplicity and magnificence of sound and of language, beyond any other stanza that I am acquainted with. It allows the sententiousness of the couplet, as well as the more complex modulation of blank verse. What some critics have remarked, of its uniformity growing at last tiresome to the ear, will be found to hold true, only when the poetry is faulty in other respects.

The Minstrel,

A POEM.

Me vero, primum, dulces, ante omnia, Musae, Quarum sacra fero, ingenti perculsus amore, Accipiant.

VIRG.

BOOK I.

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1.
H! who can tell how hard it is to climb
The steep where Fame's proud temple shines afar;
Ah! who can tell how many a soul sublime
Has felt the influence of malignant star,
And waged with Fortune an eternal war;
Check'd by the scoff of Pride, by Envy's frown,
And Poverty's unconquerable bar,

In life's low vale remote has pined alone,
Then dropt into the grave, unpitied and unknown!

II.
And yet, the languor of inglorious days
Not equally oppressive is to all.
Him, who ne'er listen'd to the voice of praise,
The silence of neglect can ne'er appal.
There are, who, deaf to mad Ambition's call,
Would shrink to hear th’ obstreperous trump of Fame;
Supremely blest, if to their portion fall
Health, competence, and peace. Nor higher aim
Had HE, whose simple tale these artless lines proclaim.

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