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TO THE READER
Why then a final note prolong,
a Or lengthen out a closing song, Unless to bid the gentles speed, Who long have listed to my rede? To statesmen grave, if such may deign To read the minstrel's idle strain, Sound head, clean hand, and piercing wit, And patriotic heart - as Pitt! A garland for the hero's crest, And twined by her he loves the best! To every lovely lady bright, What can I wish but faithful knight? To every faithful lover too, What can I wish but lady true? And knowledge to the studious sage, And pillow soft to head of age! To thee, dear school-boy, whom my lay Has cheated of thy hour of play, Light task and merry holiday! To all, to each, a fair good-night, And pleasing dreams, and slumbers light!
THE VISION OF DON RODERICK
Quid dignum tuis, Hispanio, terris,
Vox humana valet ! - CLAUDIAN.
JOHN WHITMORE, ESQ.
AND TO THE COMMITTEE OF SUBSCRIBERS FOR RELIEF
OF THE PORTUGUESE SUFFERERS IN WHICH HE PRESIDES
COMPOSED FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE FUND UNDER THEIR MANAGEMENT IS RESPECTFULLY INSCRIBED BY
The following Poem is founded upon a Spanish Tradition, particularly detailed in the Notes; but bearing, in general, that Don Roderick, the last Gothic King of Spain, when the Invasion of the Moors was impending, had the temerity to descend into an ancient vault, near Toledo, the opening of which had been denounced as fatal to the Spanish Monarchy. The legend adds, that his rash curiosity was mortified by an emblematical representation of those Saracens who, in the year 714, defeated him in battle, and reduced Spain under their dominion. I have presumed to prolong the Vision of the Revolutions of Spain down to the present eventful crisis of the Peninsula; and to divide it, by a supposed change of scene, into Three Periods. The First of these represents the Invasion of the Moors, the Defeat and Death of Roderick, and closes with the peaceful occupation of the country by the Victors. The Second Period embraces the state of the Peninsula when the conquests of the Spaniards and Portuguese in the East and West Indies had raised to the highest pitch the renown of their arms; sullied, however, by superstition and cruelty. An allusion to the inhumanities of the Inquisition terminates this picture. The Last Part of the Poem opens with the state of Spain previous to the unparalleled treachery of Bonaparte; gives a sketch of the usurpation attempted upon that unsuspicious and friendly kingdom, and terminates with the arrival of the British succours. It may be further proper to mention that the object of the Poem is less to commemorate or detail particular incidents, than to exhibit a general and impressive picture of the several periods brought upon the stage.
I am too sensible of the respect due to the Public, especially by one who has already experienced more than ordinary indulgence, to offer any apology for the inferiority of the poetry to the subject it is chiefly designed to commemorate. Yet I think