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MANY of the Poems here collected have already been published in a separate form. Some of them represent the impressions I received during youth, that season of enthusiasm when the most formless of our day-dreams are cherished with more devotion than we accord to the stubborn realities of life. These realities, however, will sooner or later assert their empire over us; and accordingly I find, in looking at my verses with reference to the different periods at which they were written, that, from composing "Invitations to the moon-lit Banks of the Avon," and stanzas descriptive of the fairy-like festival of the "Queen of Golconda," I have gradually sobered down into an inditer of "Political Poems" and "Epistles to a Friend in Town." Of the former, I may be permitted to observe, that they contain an unreserved expres
sion of opinions which I have always entertained, and which I hope to carry unchanged to the grave.
Surely every real friend to freedom must desire the perfect re-establishment of Poland as an independent kingdom, the renovation of Italy, and fervently hope for the abolition of slavery in America.
It is on such themes as these (upon which, in England at least, there can be little or no difference of opinion) that I have composed political verses.
Since the "Epistles
Epistles" were written, many of the distinguished characters introduced into them have disappeared from the busy stage of life. We have lost Huskisson and Canning, and Scott, Byron, and Shelley, and Ricardo and Malthus: but other wise and lofty spirits have arisen, both in the political world, and in those of philosophy and imagination:
Jam redit et virgo, redeunt Saturnia regna,
May they prove worthy of their predecessors!
The literary ambition I entertain will be fully accomplished, if, in the "Nugæ Canora" I now offer to the world, a single passage shall be found to awaken an echo in the breast of some lover of poetry and of old romance, or suggest a thought capable of prompting the energy of any labourer in the cause of humanity and freedom.
JUNE 24TH, 1839.