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PREFACE TO THE FIRST EDITION.
TO THE SUBSCRIBERS.
MY LORDS, LADIES, AND GENTLEMEN,
I AM entrusted with the delightful privilege of introducing a man of genius to the world,-EDWARD CAPERN, a Poet.
On taking possession of the necessary papers I consulted some literary friends, and it was of course soon decided that no alterations should be made except by Mr. Capern; nor, indeed, were many needed; for, except a few slips of the penmere verbal inaccuracies, scarcely worth alluding to-the whole of these beautiful poems appear as they were first produced by him.
I reserved to myself, however, the absolute right of rejection, and this was frequently a rather pain. ful duty. In a walk together of thirteen miles,
during which some of my decisions were communicated, the Poet would sometimes contend in the very accents of despair, “ What! exclude
my Morning, and the Apostrophe to the Sun !' Why, Sir, I wrote those pieces when I had but four shillings a-week to live
but frugal meals."
Firmness was, however, necessary ; and “ Morning" still stands excluded as beautiful, but too diffuse for this publication."
It is not my intention even to touch upon the trying incidents of Mr. Capern's early life. He is a rural letter-carrier from Bideford to Buckland Brewer and its neighbourhood, distributing the Mail through a discursive walk of thirteen miles daily, including Sundays; for which his salary is ten shillings and sixpence per week. He has a real Poet's Wife; his JANE, a charming brunette, is intelligent, prudent, and good. He has two children, Charles, a boy of seven,* and Milly, a girl just three years
* What a delightful opportunity for some really charitable Governor of Christ's Hospital, who has a “presentation" at his disposal!
of age; and he tells me that he is happy-happy where thousands would be discontented; rich, where many would be in want; blessing Providence for its bounties, instead of repining for that which has been denied.
Mr. Capern's features have a striking resemblance to those of Oliver Goldsmith; he has also the Doctor's sturdy build, though not his personal height. Nor is this the only point of resemblance to our dear Goldy,—Mr. Capern has an ear for music, he plays touchingly on the flute, and sings his own songs to his own tunes with striking energy or tenderness.
Mr. Capern has, however, a defect in his vision which seems to increase with age; and he has, under the advice of his friends, consented to this mode of raising a little sum to assist in the education of his rising family, and to commence a provision for the future. Is it too much to hope that these charming emanations of his mind may induce the wealthy and well-disposed to assist in this lovely work ? A man who has written these beautiful