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DURING the publication of a cheap, popular edition of the following poems in extra numbers of a periodical, it was thought by the publishers of the present volume, that there would be a demand for a handsome library edition. The author was induced by the spontaneous offers of his present publishers, to make a more careful collection of his Poems than had yet appeared, and the result is this fairly printed volume.
A preface to these Poems would be, in any case, but a repetition. The author has suffered, as others have done before him, by a reputation too early acquired. Many of the poems which follow would have been very different, could the popularity of the thought embodied in them have been foreseen, and time and pains given to make the vehicle more worthy of its freight. Mending them has been thought of; but the mending of well-known poetry with new verses, shows as ill as new pieces of mahogany in old furniture.
Thus much said as to the defects of his poetry, the author has no hesitation in acknowledging the pedes
tal on which public favor has placed him. He wishes that he could climb to it again by a better considered path—(by a path less accidental, indeed, for he has written from present feeling, or for present gain, and with no design upon the future.) But, leaving, on the turn of the acclivity of life, all he has written, up to his meridian, he promises to himself more care in what shall occupy the down-hill side,—care, probably, come too late, though he feels, in truth, as if his ripeness of poetical feeling and perception were all before him.
To those who read him in his youth, the author commends this book.
New York, March, 1844.
CON TEN TS.