you, my dear Friends, whose affection has
been the cordial of my life, and whose sympathy has been the solace of
my afflictions , to you whom neither absence, distance, nor the
revolution of years have estranged from me; yew, whom the influx of
prosperity never raised above me and who never withheld the
consideration which mind pays to mind, from the darkest hour of my
adversity To you I inscribe these Letters, which you have kindly
permitted me to
illuminate with names, which accredit the writer, and totally destroy
the unjust surmise, — that you are all like some gay creatures of the
element, the creation of an exuberant fancy. To those who could suppose
me capable of such an imposition, I only wish that, by being connected
by ties as tender, with minds as estimable, they may be convinced of the
possibility of your existence.
ADVERTISEMENT TO THE FIRST LONDON EDITION.
any of my readers should indulge the expectation of meeting, in the
ensuing pages, either ingenious or amusing narrative, it is but candid
to undeceive them.
simple and careless Letters here offered to the publick, carry in
themselves the evidences of originality. They are genuine, but broken
and interupted sketches of a life spent in the most remote obscurity .
Of the little interest such sketches might possess, much is lost by the
necessity of withholding those parts which contained most of narrative
letters should be. published at all, comprehending so little to excite
interest or gratify curiosity, is a question that naturally suggests
itself. It cannot be truly said that the gratification of the reader
could form an adequate motive for their publication: and, from the
nature of them, it is obvious that the unknown author could have no
purpose of vanity to answer by it. Yet may rot a picture, seldom drawn,
peculiar in its shades and scenery, true to nature, and chastely
coloured; may rot such a picture amuse, for a while, the leisure of the
idle and contemplative?—and it is hoped, that the images here offered of
untutored sentiment, of the tastes, the feelings, and habits, of those,
who, in the secret shades of privacy, cultivate the simple duties and
kindly affections of
domestick life, may not be without utility.
soul that rises above its condition, and feels underlines and painful
aspirations after unattainable elegance and refinement, may here find an
inducement to remain. in safe obscurity, contented with the love of
truth, of nature,
and the "Humanising Muse;" while those distinguished beings, who are at
once the favourites of nature and of fortune, may learn to look with
complacency en their fellow minds in the vale of life, and to know that
they too have their enjoyments.
hope of such a result might, in some decree, console the writer of "Letters
from the Mountains:" for the painful
circumstance that has elicited their publication.
ADVERTISEMENT TO THE SECOND LONDON EDITION.
the writer of these Letters was impelled to submit them to the publick
eye, unknown, unpatronized, nameless, without partial review or
favourable critick, or any prop visible or invisible, her prospect of
succeeding was very faint and dubious. Her only hope, on even partial
attention, was founded upon that lore of truth, which, for the best
moral purposes, is implanted in the human heart; this generous instinct,
which lives in the unsophisticated mind, and which feels and
acknowledges the language of nature and native feeling, wherever it is
heard. Reality, in short, was the prop on which I leant; and it has not
deceived me. Minds rich in every intellectual endowment, which talents
give brilliancy to their virtues, and whose virtues give solidity,
value, and effect to their talents ; minds, to which even the worthy and
the wise have been accustomed to look up for light, have shed the lustre
of their approbation on the simple sketches of narrative and
description, the artless effisions of the heart and imagination, which
constitute the whole interest of the fallowing selection. It is for such
minds as these to distinguish the durable pencil of truth from the
water-colours of fiction; and it is not for their satisfaction, but to
carry conviction home to a different and inferior class of readers, that
the undeniable proofs of a genuine correspondence are about to speak in
a second edition. This edition, drawn forth by the generous
encouragement of those whom the publick voice has ranked among the
worthy and the wise, is not, like the former, attended by the severe,
the nameless pangs of anxious diffidence. Yet, in ;he present case, how
oppressive is gratitude, and now gainful is self-denial. With what
delight, were it permitted me could my voice confer distinction , should
I rate my patrons but more especially my patronesses. Cheered by their
applause, exalted by their esteem, and essentially benefited by their
liberality, it would be a proud triumph indeed, were I at liberty to
name those virtuous, elegant and enlightened females, of whom. it is
fair enough to say, that they do honour to England as they are induced
an ornament to human nature. If one durst draw worth from its chosen
privacy, I should be tempted to boast, that the same elegant and amiable
mind which captivated Cuwper in .lesions (which he declared to excel any
others of the kind he had met with), I should boast, I say, that the
same had exerted its active beneficence, and poured forth its invaluable
kindness for me. But it is best to be silent on a subject where one must
needs say too little, or be thought to say too much.
old, beloved, and long tried friends, 1 nave made a separate
acknowledgment. Their personal appearance in my behalf may perhaps have
the effect of swelling affected contempt into real envy. Yet is rather
hard, that they should be reduced to the necessity so humorously
described in the fable, where the criticks so often contemned the
likeness which the painter had drawn, that he was forced, for the
vindication of his art, to desire the original to exhibit his
countenance through the canvass;—this too they declared no likeness,
till the man spoke out to the utter confusion of criticism.
The following lines are
introductory to a volume of Poems drawn from obscurity by the same
painful necessity which induced the publication, of "LETTERS FROM THE
MOUNTAINS" they allude to the same characters and circumstance, which
the Letters delineate, and may therefore very properly introduce this
edition of them.
GO, artless records of a
Memorials dear of loves aid friendships past,
Of blameless minds from strife and envy pure-
Go scattered by Affliction's bitter blast,
And tell the proud, the busy, and the gay,
How rural peace consumes the quiet day.
Oh ye, whom sad
remembrance loves to trace,
Look down complacent from your seats above,
Regard with soft compassion's melting grace,
The simple offering of surviving love:
For while I fondly think you hover near.
Your whispered melody I seem to hear.
Ye dear companions in
life's thorny way,
Who see your modest virtues here display'd,
Forgive, for well you know the unstudied lay,
Was only meant to soothe the lonely shade.
But when the rude thorn wounds the songster's breast,
The lengthen'd strains of woe betray her secret nest.
This series of letters is
in 2 volumes which you can download in pdf format below...
Volume 1 |