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On Lady Macbeth
In considerable diffidence, but not without some faith that earnest feeling and right intentions have made themselves an intelligible voice in some of the pieces this volume contains, it is presented to the world.
It has struggled through the Press under circumstances of peculiar difficulty, from which its form, if not its spirit, may have in some degree suffered; yet the hope that it may attain a favourable reception with that portion of the public disposed to concede that
“All truth is precious, if not all divine," and who, therefore, gently foster rather than crush its humblest germ, has never deserted the author; for she has endeavoured to be faithful to feeling and conviction, whether arising from personal experience of the operations of the soul in some of its many emotions and aspirations, or from observation of its moral phenomena in others whose history may have involved circumstances of a poetical cast.
That there is great need of indulgence for many imperfections of style, as well as of allowance for the waywardness of impulse peculiar to all minds of a poetic bias, is sensibly felt; but the consciousness of the force of the aspiration towards whatever is essentially good and true, which has impelled her through the work, however imperfectly expressed, imparts the degree of courage needful to inspire fortitude in awaiting the fiat of public opinion, whether favourable or not.
With profound gratitude to the noble and highlyendowed little band who, from a distance, have cried, “On! on I” while the spirit of the author has hung in sickness and sorrow over the “ dim gulf” of a troubled Present; and with humble trust in the equitable judgment of the public in general, she subscribes herself their faithful humble servant,
JANE MARIA DAVIS.
Sept. 11, 1850.
TO THE MEMORY OF MY FATHER.
NO EPITAPH ADORNS THY DISTANT GRAVE
(TOO EARLY FOUND 'NEATH AFRIC'S BURNING SUN), RECORDS THY NAME, OR TELLS THAT THOU WERT BRAVE;
BUT HERE, MY FATHER, 18 AN HUMBLE ONE!
TO THBE I DEDICATE MY SIMPLE LAYS
TOO MEAN TO HONOUR, YET TOO TRUE TO SHAME : TO THEE I OFFER NO PROUD WREATH OF BAYS,
BUT A CHILD'S TRIBUTE TO A FATHER'S NAME.
I CANNOT HANG MY CHAPLET ON THY TOMB,
FOR ALL UNMARK'D THY RESTING-PLACE WAS LEFT; BUT, HAPLY, HERE AWHILE 'TWILL MEEKLY BLOOM,
CHERISH'D BY ORPHAN'D HEARTS, LIKE MINE BEREFT.
TOO MUCH I FEAR THE BLOSSOMS THAT IT BEARS
ARE PALE AND FAINT FROM GROWING AMIDST GRIEF, WITHER'D AND DROOPING 'NEATH THE TOILS AND CARES
THAT LIFE BENDS O'ER THEM LIKE THE CYPRESS LEAF;
FOR I HAVE MOURN'D THE LOVE I LOST IN THEE,
AND MI88'D THY GUIDANCE THROUGH MY YOUNG LIFE'S WAY, AND SOMEWHAT KNOWN OF HUMAN PERFIDY,
AND FELT TOO DEEP AFFLICTION'S POTENT SWAY.
BUT SHOULD THERE BE ONE FLOWER, 'MID THE LINKS,
THAT FRESHLY BRIGHT LOOKS UP TO HEAVEN AND THEE, AND FROM A HOLY SOURCE ITS NURTURE DRINK8,
A DAUGHTER'S OFF'RING LET ITS TITLE BE!