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The following trifles are not the production of the poet, who, with all the advantages of learned art, and, perhaps, amid the elegancies and idlenesses of 5 upper life, looks down for a rural theme, with an eye to Theocritus or Virgil. To the author of this, these and other celebrated names (their countrymen) are, at least in their original language, "a fountain shut up, and a book sealed." Unacquainted with the necessary requisites for commencing poet2 by rule, he sings the sentiments and manners he felt and saw in himself and his rustic compeers around him, in his and their native language. Though a rhymer from his earliest years, at least from the earliest impulses of the softer passions, it was not till very lately that the applause, perhaps the partiality, of friendship, wakened his vanity so far as to make him think any thing of his was worth showing; and none of the following works were composed with a view to the press. To amuse himself with the little 25 creations of his own fancy, amid the toil
and fatigues of a laborious life; to transcribe the various feelings, the loves, the griefs, the hopes, the fears, in his own breast; to find some kind of counterpoise 30 to the struggles of a world, always an
alien scene, a task uncouth to the poetical mind; these were his motives for courting the Muses, and in these he found poetry to be its own reward.
Now that he appears in the public character of an author, he does it with fear and trembling. So dear is fame to the rhyming tribe, that even he, an obscure, nameless bard, shrinks aghast at the 40 thought of being branded as "An imper
2 for beginning the vocation of a poet