Advertisement to Volume One
Poems, Chiefly by Gentlemen of Devonshire and Cornwall:
In Two Volumes
Bath: Printed by R. Cruttwell and sold by D. Cadell, C. Dilly, C.C.J. and J. Robinson,
London, Fletcher, Oxford, and Merrill, Cambridge (1792). 240 pp.
(With a half-title to each volume and a preliminary advertisement leaf.)
Original Copy held at Bodleian Library, Oxford
The Advertisement, which contains the names and some information about the poets whose work appears in this book was produced from a digital copy of the book, which can be downloaded from: https://books.google.com/. Google, in partnership with a number of public libraries has sought to make more widely accessible, old, hard-to-get books on which copyright has expired. A complete copy of the book in pdf as well as plain text can be downloaded at: https://books.google.com.au/books?id=jFICAAAAQAAJ
IT was a mere accidental circumstance that suggested the idea of the following collection: but with this the public have no concern. They are more interested in the information, that the greater part of these poems was never before printed. With respect to the arrangement of the poems, the reader will perceive, that they are classed according to their different species; and that, in each class, they generally succeed each other, according to the alphabetical direction of their signatures.
For the Signatures,
D. R. - M.
F. - N.
IBC - V.
K. - W.D.
L.E. - Y.
the Editor is not at liberty to mention any name. The diffidence of the writers imposes on him this restraint. Yet, of one piece in particular, though it remain anonymous, he cannot suppress his sentiments.
The Ode signed G. must be ranked among the happiest productions of a young and glowing imagination. It is written with all the delicacy of COLLINS: while it preserves the independence of an original, it breathes all his sensibilities - all his fine spirit! The very soul of COLLINS seems to have been transfused into its author! With regard to the other signatures, the Editor is happy in being permitted to gratify the curiosity of his readers.
The Poem with the signature B. was written by the late Rev. SAMUEL BADCOCK. Perhaps it is the only one remaining, by his elegant pen, which he would not have chosen to conceal from the public.
The Poems signed B. E. were written by Mr. JOHN BAMPFYLDE. All who read these specimens will probably join with his friends in lamenting, that the early promises of an amiable and accomplished mind were frustrated by a cruel, and, it is to be feared, an irrecoverable disorder.
But it is with the most lively satisfaction, that the Editor announces the author of the poems signed D. Dr. DOWNMAN, M.D. of Exeter; to attempt a delineation of whose literary character would be, in this place, frivolous and impertinent; though his poetical assistance, on the present occasion deserves the warmest acknowledgment, since the little he hath contributed, stamps a value on the work, which must necessarily secure it from oblivion. D. E. is the signature of EDWARD DREWE, esq; of Exeter. The "Military Sketches" of this gentleman, humourous, spirited, and brilliant, have been for several years before the public; who have just cause, indeed, to regret that he has not favoured them with other specimens of his talents. And these few pieces of Mr. DREWE, whilst they reflect fresh lustre on him as a poet, must excite a wish that his literary pursuits were less interrupted.
The poems marked E. are the production of Mr. EMETT, of Exeter. It was with difficulty that the Editor could prevail on this gentleman to suffer his name to be mentioned. Such modesty is the surest criterion of that merit which Mr. EMETT'S poetry more peculiarly possesses; the merit of refined sentiment - of an elegant and feeling mind.
In the mean time it was an honour for which the Editor could scarcely hope, in moments of the most sanguine expectation, to have the "Poet of Arthur" for his associate in this work. But to be favoured with such fine original pieces as his Odes to Terror and to Melancholy, was a mark of attention to the Editor, which checked, in silent gratitude, every effort to acknowledge it.
The beautiful Elegy on Dunkeswell Abbey in Devonshire, signed H. T. is the production of Miss HUNT, daughter of the late Dr. HUNT, Rector of Stoke-Dayle in Northamptonshire. P. is the signature for the Rev, R. POLWHELE; and S. for the Rev. JOHN SWETE, of Oxton-House, near Exeter. Mr, SWETE, who, in these volumes, is, for the first time, enrolled among authors, had he before condescended to entertain the public, would, doubtless, have attracted the public attention. Of his MSS. in prose and verse, his friends are well acquainted with the merits: But of those numerous effusions, the pleasing Sonnets here printed will convey a very inadequate idea.
For the Poems signed W. we are indebted to the late Rev. THOMAS WARWICK, a gentleman of Cornwall; who, though his publications, from a strange fatality, have been little regarded, was yet gifted with the vivida vis of the poet, as his Lyrics evidently shew. His Odes, it must be owned, are often obscure; but this is owing to an abruptness which is never forced or affected. They are fiery: they are enthusiastic : they will remain, indeed, the too expressive types of a life irregular and eccentric, and of a death that put a sudden period to the career of his genius and his pleasures, Mr. HOLE'S pieces are signed H.
The Rev. STEPHEN WESTON, late rector of Mamhead, and now resident in London, is the author of the Poems that bear the signature of W. N. The literary world are greatly obliged to this gentleman for his elaborate criticisms, both classical and scriptural; in which he hath displayed a familiar acquaintance with the Greek and Hebrew languages.
Those signed W. R. were written by the Rev. JOHN WHITAKER, rector of Ruan-Lanyhorne, in Cornwall; whose friendship the Editor is proud to boast. The veteran historian disdains not to come forward as a poet. And it is with some degree of triumph, that the Editor announces his appearance; since the same vigor of mind, the same uncommon nervousness, and the same fervor that distinguish his historical works, are equally characteristic of his poetical. Such are the principal authors of this collection. Of the Poems themselves it would ill become the Editor to say more than he has already said: He neither presumes nor wishes to anticipate the public opinion of them. That the criticism to which they are submitted, will be candid and liberal, he has every reason to be assured. Yet there is often a difficulty in determining the merits of a book of this description; and, even where no suspicion of any improper prepossession is entertained, the decision is not always satisfactory. In discriminating the character of such a collection, there is nothing more obvious than a comparison between the respective authors of it. An invidious comparison, however, the critic will doubtless avoid; though he need not scrupulously balance his applauses. The greater number of the authors of these poems rejoice in being friends - superior to every mean competition; who are truly interested in each other's success; and who, at present, have all ideas of comparative excellence perfectly absorbed in the pleasure of thus uniting in an elegant pursuit, which may contribute to the stock of polite literature,
January 12th, 1792.