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tories, and sepulchral recesses, ordinarily included in those edifices.
The Author would not have deemed himself justified in saying, upon this occasion, so much of performances either unfinished, or unpublished, if he had not thought that the labour bestowed by him upon what he has heretofore and now laid before the Public, entitled him to candid attention for such a statement as he thinks necessary to throw light upon his endeavours to please and, he would hope, to benefit his countrymen.—Nothing further need be added, than that the first and third parts of The Recluse will consist chiefly of meditations in the Author's own person; and that in the intermediate part (The Excursion) the intervention of characters speaking is employed, and something of a dramatic form adopted.
It is not the Author's intention formally to announce a system : it was more animating to him to proceed in a different course; and if he shall succeed in conveying to the mind clear thoughts, lively images, and strong feelings, the Reader will have no difficulty in extracting the system for himself. And in the mean time the following passage, taken from the conclusion of the first book of The Recluse, may be acceptable as a kind of Prospectus of the design and scope of the whole Poem.
' On Man, on Nature, and on Human Life, Musing in solitude, I oft perceive Fair trains of imagery before me rise, Accompanied by feelings of delight Pure, or with no unpleasing sadness mixed ; And I am conscious of affecting thoughts
And dear remembrances, whose presence soothes
-To these emotions, whencesoe'er they come,
So prayed, more gaining than he asked, the Bard, Holiest of Men.- Urania, I shall need Thy guidance, or a greater Muse, if such Descend to earth or dwell in highest heaven ! For I must tread on shadowy ground, must sink Deep-and, aloft ascending, breathe in worlds To which the heaven of heavens is but a veil. All strength—all terror, single or in bands, That ever was put forth in personal formJehovah—with his thunder, and the choir Of shouting Angels, and the empyreal thronesI pass them unalarmed. Not Chaos, not The darkest pit of lowest Erebus, Nor aught of blinder vacancy, scooped out By help of dreams-can breed such fear and awe As fall upon us often when we look Into our Minds, into the Mind of ManMy haunt, and the main region of my song. -Beauty-a living Presence of the earth,
Surpassing the most fair ideai Forms
Within the walls of cities-may these sounds Have their authentic comment ; that even these Hearing, I be not downcast or forlorn ! Descend, prophetic Spirit! that inspir'st The human Soul of universal earth, Dreaming on things to come ; and dost possess A metropolitan temple in the hearts Of mighty Poets : upon me bestow A gift of genuine insight ; that my Song With star-like virtue in its place may shine, Shedding benignant influence, and secure Itself, from all malevolent effect Of those mutations that extend their sway Throughout the nether sphere !-And if with this I mix more lowly matter ; with the thing Contemplated, describe the Mind and Man Contemplating ; and who, and what he wasThe transitory Being that beheld This Vision ; when and where, and how he lived ;Be not this labour useless. If such theme May sort with highest objects, then-dread Power! Whose gracious favour is the primal source Of all illumination—may my Life Express the image of a better time, More wise desires, and simpler manners ;-~-nurse My Heart in genuine freedom :-all pure thoughts Be with me ;-50 shall thy unfailing love Guide, and support, and cheer me to the end !'