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TO THOMAS BARNES, ESQ.
OF THE INNER TEMPLE.
MY DEAR BARNES, I DEDICATED the first poetical attempt of my maturer years to a man of wit and scholarship, who stood the next above me at school ;-allow me to present the second to another, who stood the next below. How far he was my superior in general knowledge, and the anticipation of a manly judgment, I well remember;—but I am not
going to deviate into the old language of dedications ;-I merely allude to these circumstances as calculated to call up pleasant recollections with a variety of readers, and in grateful acknowledgment of a species of friendship, which is of all others the most agreeable. It is the oldest of all friendships; and yet has a charm, which prevents the enjoyers of it from ever seeming to grow old with each other.
Pray forget, if you can, while you are listening to a still more familiar and fire-side voice, your other intimate friends, the great poets; and believe me
Most sincerely your's,
Surrey Jail, 10th July, 1814.
The following piece was written, partly to -vary the hours of imprisonment and ill health, partly to indulge the imagination of the author during a season of public joy when he could realize no sights for himself, and chiefly to express the feelings of hope and delight, with which every enthusiastic lover of freedom must have witnessed the downfall of the great Apostate from Liberty. The romantic nature of the circumstances, which led to and accompanied that striking event, rendered a political allusion more
than ordinarily susceptible of poetry; and it was the production of some verses at the moment, which unconsciously assuming something of a dramatic air, suggested the composition of a larger piece on the subject. They are subjoined, on this account, at the end of the succeeding article upon Masks.
The author was aware, at the same time, that whatever might be the case at present, allusions to public matters, of however extraordinary a description, might soon become 'an unpleasant tax on a number of readers, who in proportion as they are fond of poetry are averse from politics, or at least, whenever they come to the one, chuse to be abstracted and wrapped up from the other. It seems like bringing the bustle of the world into their still walks and leafy retirements. He