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THE POPULAR POETS OF FIFTY YEARS AGO.

I HAVE long since renounced an old habit
of loitering at book-stalls; but I was lately
betrayed into a halt and a purchasea large
one of forty-two volumes. A collection of
Poems met my eyenot printed as a series,
but of uniform size, and uniformly bound.
Many of the single volumes have been
reprinted in the general works of their authors,
and were already in my possession  Other
of the volumes have gone to the same oblivion
that shrouds the dulness of the minor poets
of a previous age, embalmed though they be in
Johnsonian Prefaces. Why, then, did I bring
these volumes home? Why do I keep them
on my table, and take them up at vacant
moments, and turn over the leaves, and look,
with something of uncritical admiration, at
their frontispieces and their wood-cuts? It
is because they are the identical editions in
which I read when a boy. Here is "The
Pleasures of Hope," printed at the Glasgow
University press in 1800. All the old local
associations of my first joyful reading of that
book come across me, when I look again upon
that familiar print of the mournful mother
watching over the cradled child, and that of
the old man who leans o'er the cottage gate,
and wishes for such, a home and hamlet shade.
Here is my "Minstrel"—my school prizebook
long since lost. Young Edwin was my
model of a poet—"the visionary boy"—and
there he sits, as he sate when I first knew
him, on a black rock,

"Listening with pleasing dread to the deep roar
            Of the wide-weltering waves,"

Here is Southeywhose "Joan of Arc" I did
not much care for; but whose Eclogues and
Ballads look young again as I glance over
themand I rather dread to dream, as I must
have dreamt, of that horrible wood-cut,
"Showing how an old Woman rode double,
and who rode before her."  "The Pleasures of
Memory," though popular, was rather old
reading at the beginning of the century, and is
not amongst my recently-acquired collection;
but how well do I recollect that jewel of an
edition, some ten years later, with Stothard's
wood-cuts. Cowper has been a sixty years'
favourite; but he seems to have held a divided
empire with his friend Hayley for—"The Task"
and "The Triumphs of Temper" are here close
companions, as this series has an arrangement
of its own. Burns, too, is here, in a London
edition, with a Life, which begins "This celebrated
Bard."  "Thomas Little, Esq.," has his
due place; and the  Reverend W L. Bowles
does not scorn to stand beside him. I
confess to an innocent boy preference of the
layman.

Thus far of those who have endured. But
there are some others who are almost forgotten.
perhaps undeservedlyGeorge Dyer, Bishop,
Mary Robinson, Holloway, Harrop, Warren,
Gisborne, Graham, Leyden, Bloomfield. The
last name is suggestive of memories of early
scenes and antiquated manners; and I must
dwell on it.

Does any one now read "The Farmer's Boy,"
by Robert Bloomfield?  I have before me the
edition which I read in 1803, at which time it
is recorded that twenty-six thousand copies
had been sold since the first publication
of the poem in 1800. Byron has left a
contemptuous notice of Bloomfield in the "English
Bards." But "The Farmer's Boy," for all
that, will not be wholly forgotten. It is a
truthful poem, founded upon accurate observation
of common things, and describing the most
familiar incidents and feelings with a rare
fidelityrare, amidst the conventional
generalities of the verse-making of that day. At
that early age I had means of testing the truth
of its descriptions. Let me give, from my own
recollections, a picture of a farmer's household,
not long after the time when Bloomfield's
poem was first published.

On one of the roads from Windsor to Binfield,
in the parish of Warfield, stands, or
stood, a small farm-house, with gabled roof
and latticed windows. A rude woodbine-
covered porch led into a broad passage, which
would have been dark had not the great oaken
door generally stood open. To the right of the
passage' was a large kitchen, beyond which
loomed a sacred room theparlourunopened
except on rare occasions of festivity. To this
grange I travelled in a jolting cart, on a spring
afternoon, seated by the side of the good wife,
who had carried her butter and eggs and
fowls to market, and was now returning
home, proud of her gains, from whose
accumulations she boasted that she well-nigh paid

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