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be complete and final, it has a biographic as well as a literary purpose, and the editor therefore has not felt at liberty to omit any of his acknowledged pieces which may illustrate the qualities of his mind or the variety of his culture, desiring it to be understood, however, that they are presented without having received the final revision of the author.
A few notes have been appended to those of the author, giving various readings of the text, or explanatory of the circumstances in which certain poems were written.
TO THE EDITION OF 1821.
THE first poem in this collection was delivered before a literary association. Some of the others have appeared before in different periodical publications, and are now by permission inserted in this volume.
TO THE EDITION OF 1832.
Most of the following poems have been already printed. The longest, entitled “The Ages," was published in 1821, in a thin volume, along with about half a dozen others now included in this collection. With a few exceptions, the remainder have since appeared in different publications, mostly of the periodical kind. The favor with which the public have regarded them, and of which their republication in various compilations seemed to the author a proof, has induced him to collect them in a volume. In preparing them for the press, he has made such corrections as occurred to him on subjecting them to a careful revision. Sensible as he is that no author had ever more cause of gratitude to his countrymen for the indulgent estimate placed by them on his literary attempts, he yet can not let this volume go forth to the public without a feeling of apprehension that it may contain things which did not deserve admission, and that the entire collection may not be thought worthy of the generous and partial judgment which has been passed upon some of the separate poems.
NEW YORK, January, 1832.
TO THE EDITION OF 1839.
The present edition, by the advice of the publishers, is somewhat enlarged. A few corrections have also been made in the text of the poems which were published in the other edition (that of 1836).
TO THE EDITION OF 1842.
The poems which compose this little volume have been written within the last five or six years—some of them merely as parts of a longer one planned by the author, which may possibly be finished hereafter. In the mean time he has been tempted to publish them in this form, by the reception which another collection of his verses has already met with among his countrymen.
New YORK, July, 1842.
TO THE EDITION OF 1846.
Perhaps it would have been well if the author had followed his original intention, which was to leave out of this edition, as unworthy of publication, several of the poems which made a part of his previous collections. He asks leave to plead the judgment of a literary friend,* whose opinion in such matters he highly values, as his apology for having retained them. With the exception of the first and longest poem in the collection, “The Ages,” they are all arranged according to the order of time in which they were written, as far as it can be ascertained. *
NEW YORK, 1846.
TO THE EDITION OF 1854.
The present edition has been carefully revised by the author, and some faults of diction and versification corrected. A few poems not in the previous editions have been added.
NEW YORK, August, 1854.
TO THE EDITION OF 1863.
The author has attempted no other classification of the poems in this volume than that of allowing them to follow each other according to the order of time in which they were
* Mr. Richard H. Dana, of Boston.-Ed.
+ Mistakes were made, however, in this respect, which the editor has tried to correct.
It has seemed to him that this arrangement is as
satisfactory as any other, since, at different periods of life, an author's style and habits of thought may be supposed to undergo very considerable modifications. One poem forms an exception to this order of succession, and should have appeared in an earlier collection. Three others have already appeared in an illustrated edition of the author's poems.
NEW YORK, December, 1863.