the right honourable
the baroness Howe.
It would be a sufficient reason for sanctioning this work with your Ladyship’s name, that it is an offering of gratitude, presented because there is nothing worthier to give.
But there is another cause. He who celebrates a patriot, cannot address himself to any one more properly than to the daughter of a patriot; of one who was for years the naval sun of England, and from whom the young and enterprising caught the unextinguishable rays of patriotism and courage.
For actions and glory such as his, the female mind is not formed; but in the calm and active virtues of private life, which are almost equally honourable to the possessor, your Ladyship maintains the dignity of your race. I call to witness those whom you have soothed in affliction, and those whom you have honoured with your friendship. They will vindicate me from the charge of flattery, and support my assertion, that your patronage is as glorious to me, as any I could possibly have chosen.
With the hope, that the virtues of your excellent daughter, and your son, whom I am proud to call my friend, may answer your fullest expectations,
And devoted Servant,
As the author of these Poems is only seventeen, some apology may be required for offering them to the public.
Many precedents may be quoted in favour of early publication; and the practice perhaps is not in itself blameable, except when the advice of good judges is unasked, or the work itself uncorrected and negligent. To neither of these charges is the author liable. These poems, as well as the design of publishing them, have been approved of by many sincere and judicious friends; and the work has been altered in many parts, in conformity to the advice of the same persons. The author has made no improper sacrifice to the Muse: he has deserted no duty, and neglected no necessary employment. Influenced by these motives, he appears before the bar of criticism, not indeed without diffidence, but unconscious of having deserved censure. If his verses are bad, he is content to sink into oblivion; and if the public confirms the favourable judgment of his friends, he does not deny that it will give him real satisfaction.—He is sensible, that if he delayed till time had matured his judgment, and reflection perfected his ideas, the “scribendi cacoethes,” perhaps an unfortunate inclination, would take a firm and unalterable possession of his mind. He is therefore determined to try the public opinion; that he may be enabled either to pursue his poetical studies under their encouragement, or to desist in time from an useless employment. This