Poems (1786), Volume I.

Helen Maria Williams
Poems (1786), Volume I.

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Title: Poems (1786), Volume I.
Author: Helen Maria Williams
Release Date: February 12, 2004 [EBook #11054]
Language: English
Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1
(1786), VOLUME I. ***

Produced by Jonathan Ingram, Carol David and PG Distributed


I am too sensible of the distinguished honour conferred upon me, in

your Majesty's gracious protection of these Poems, to abuse it by
adopting the common strain of dedication.
That praise corresponds best to your Majesty's generous feelings, which
is poured without restraint from the heart, and is repeated where you
cannot hear.
I suppress therefore, in delicacy to those feelings, the warmth of my
own, and subscribe myself,
With profound respect,
Devoted servant,

The apprehension which it becomes me to feel, in submitting these
Poems to the judgment of the Public, may perhaps plead my excuse, for
detaining the reader to relate, that they were written under the
disadvantages of a confined education, and at an age too young for the
attainment of an accurate taste. My first production, the Legendary Tale
of Edwin and Eltruda, was composed to amuse some solitary hours,
and without any view to publication. Being shewn to Dr. Kippis, he
declared that it deserved to be committed to the press, and offered to
take upon himself the task of introducing it to the world. I could not
hesitate to publish a composition which had received the sanction of his
approbation. By the favourable reception this little poem met with, I
was encouraged still farther to meet the public eye, in the "Ode on the
Peace," and the poem which has the title of "Peru." These poems are
inserted in the present collection, but not exactly in their original form.
I have felt it my duty to exert my endeavours in such a revision and
improvement of them, as may render them somewhat more worthy of
perusal. It will, I am afraid, still be found, that there are several things
in them which would shrink at the approach of severe criticism. The
other poems that now for the first time appear in print, are offered with
a degree of humility rather increased than diminished, by the powerful
patronage with which they have been honoured, in consequence of the
character given of them by partial friends. Knowing how strongly
affection can influence opinion, the kindness which excites my

warmest gratitude has not inspired me with confidence.
* * * * *
When I survey such an evidence of the zeal of my friends to serve me,
as the following honourable and extensive list affords, I have cause for
exultation in having published this work by subscription. They who
know my disposition, will readily believe that the tear which fills my
eye, while I thank them for their generous exertions, flows not from the
consideration of the benefits that have arisen from their friendship. It is
to that friendship itself, that my heart pays a tribute of affection which I
will not attempt to express--for my pen is unfaithful to my
purpose.--While I am employed in testifying my thankfulness for the
favours I have received, it is impossible that I should forget how much
I owe to one Gentleman in particular, whose exertions in my behalf,
though I was a stranger to him, have been so marked, so generous, and
indeed so unexampled, that it is a very painful task which his delicacy
has imposed upon me, in not permitting me to mention his name. But
such goodness cannot be concealed. The gratitude of my own heart has
proclaimed it to my private friends; and the noble and honourable
subscribers his zeal has procured, cannot avoid being sensible to whom
I am indebted for so illustrious a patronage.

His Royal Highness the PRINCE of WALES.
Her Grace the Dutchess of Ancaster. The Right Hon. the Earl of
Abingdon. The Right Hon. the Dowager Countess of Albemarle. The
Right Hon. the Earl of Aylesford, Captain of the Yeomen of the Guards.
The Right Hon. the Earl of Ashburnham. The Right Hon. the Earl of
Aylesbury, Lord Chamberlain of her Majesty's Houshold. The Right
Rev. the Bishop of St. Asaph. The Right Hon. Lord Amherst, a General
in the Army, Colonel of the Second Troop of
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