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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would not have deemed himself justified in saying, upon this occasion, so much of performances either unfinished, or unpublished, if he had not thought that the labour bestowed by him upon what he has heretofore and now laid before the Public, entitled him to candid attention for such a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,
That ever was put forth in personal form
Surpassing the most fair ideal Forms Which craft of delicate Spirits hath composed From earth's materials-waits upon my steps ; Pitches her tents before me as I move, An hourly neighbour. Paradise, and groves Elysian, Fortunate Fields like those of old Sought in the Atlantic Main—why should they be A history only of departed things, Or a mere fiction of what never was ? For the discerning intellect of Man, When wedded to this goodly universe In love and holy passion, shall find these A simple produce of the common day. -I, long before the blissful hour arrives, Would chant, in lonely peace, the spousal verse Of this great consummation :—and, by words Which speak of nothing more than what we are, Would I arouse the sensual from their sleep Of Death, and win the vacant and the vain To noble ruptures ; while my voice proclaims How exquisitely the individual Mind (And the progressive powers perhaps no less Of the whole species) to the external World Is fitted :--and how exquisitely, tooTheme this but little heard of among menThe external World is fitted to the Mind ; And the creation (by no lower name Can it be called) which they with blended might Accomplish :--this is our high argument. --Such grateful haunts foregoing, if I oft Must turn elsewhere—to travel near the tribes And fellowships of men, and see ill sights Of madding passions mutually inflamed ; Must hear Humanity in fields and groves Pipe solitary anguish ; or must hang Brooding above the fierce confederate storm Of sorrow, barricadoed evermore
Within the walls of cities—may these sounds