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PREFACE.




  ― iii ―

In consenting to the publication of this poem, the Author has been guided rather by the wishes of his friends, than by his own; and he begs it to be distinctly understood, that by this act he does not seek in anywise to impugn the decision of those learned and respectable judges, who have awarded to Mr. Praed's poem the Chancellor's Gold medal. On the contrary, he is free to admit, that in smoothness and melody of versification Mr. Praed's Poem has undoubtedly the superiority over his:— and, altho'he can never be brought to consider mere music the first requisite of poetry:— altho' he can never fall into the ranks of those who

——by numbers judge a poet's song,
And smooth or rough with them is right or wrong:




  ― iv ―

—Yet—inasmuch as it is the province of a University not to create, but to refine, —not to inspire genius, but to prune its luxuriances, and to subject it to those rules which the great critics of ancient times and of modern have extracted from the pure models of Greece and Rome, —he bows to their award, if not with satisfaction, at least with all due deference and humility. In the distribution of University‐honours, he admits that the judges should decide between competitors in poetry, as if these were mere sculptors. They are not to inquire to whose lot a block of the richest marble has fallen, but to ascertain from whom the crude substance, without reference to its intrinsic qualities, has received the highest polish. They are, in fine, to have regard to the artist, and not to the material.

The Author, however, does not mean to imply, that, if his poem and Mr. Praed's had been analysed by other tests, —by the fancy, the vigour, the accuracy, or the art of their respective delineations, the result of the adjudication would have been different. An implication thus arrogant would but ill become him; and he feels


  ― v ―
moreover that it would be the less decorous, inasmuch as he knows that, however well qualified he might be to decide between others, in his own case he cannot be otherwise than a partial and incompetent judge. And here it is but justice to the umpires to notice, that his poem, as now published, is not precisely in that form in which it was submitted to their consideration. Some trivial corrections, alterations, and omissions have been made in it, by which. it is conceived that the texture of some few of its parts has been softened and improved.

The author feels that his poem would have been much more perfect, if some allusion had been made in it to the religious improvement which has been effected in Australasia, and particularly to the great missionary efforts which are now in progress in the Polynesian Archipelago. An allusion of this nature, as a friend has justly observed to him, naturally belongs to the subject; and its omission too was the less excusable, as it may be considered a species of ascription glebæto the ancient and religious manor from which the subject sprung. He can only plead in apology the hurry in


  ― vi ―
which his poem was written ; little more than three weeks having elapsed between its commencement and completion. Had he joined the University a month sooner, both the argument and execution of the poem would have been very different.

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