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TO THOMAS MITCHELL, ESQ.
Late Fellow of Sydney College, Cambridge.
MY DEAR MITCHELL, Allow me to surprise you with a Dedication. It is not quite so disinterested a one as you may imagine, for it is a cheap way of paying my debts for many an hour of enjoyment in health, and refreshment in sickness; and besides, I wish to shew that alarming body of people, called “ some persons,” that the most unaccommodating
politician need not absolutely want friends, and warm ones, even among those who have minds of their own. You and I differ upon more than one point of importance, public as well as private; but on the subject of poetry, with some little exception perhaps as to your old friend Ben Jopson; we are. generally agreed ; and no two persons can be more firmly persuaded, that there is but one thing happier than friendships and nothing better than principle.
Your's most sincerely,
SURREY JAIL, January 10th, 1914.
As the following little piece, which was first published in a magazine* privately set up and not enjoying the usual means of conținuance, attracted a degree of attention which was thought to promise still more for it if presented to the public in a different manner, the author has been induced to give it such revision and enlargement, as may strengthen, perhaps, its claims on their good opinion. For this purpose he has considerably increased the text, and added almost the whole of the present notes. The latter, it is true, after all, are rather results of criticism, than criticism itself; and the smallness of the poem perhaps hardly warranted even this; but he was anxious to shew that he had at least considered the subjects of which he talked, and was particularly desirous of doing justice to a great living poet, of whom, in the first instance, led away by the impatience of seeing him pervert his genius, he had suffered himself to speak with unqualified and therefore unbecoming distaste.
* The Reflector.