This little volume is offered to the world without any apology than its contents. Many of the pieces were composed in bitter moments, amid the horrors of a gaol, under the pressure of sickness. They were the transcripts of melancholy feelings – the warm effusions of a bleeding heart. The writer amused his imagination with attiring his sorrows in verse, that, under the romantic appearance of fiction, he might sometimes forget his misfortunes were real.

Perhaps the reader may be curious to be informed of the circumstances to which these trifles owe their existence. Suffice it to say, the writer is very young, and has been very unfortunate. Twice, in the course of twelve months, he was sentenced to the penalties and imprisonment for imputed offences.* He forbears, however, to enter into the unimportant detail; less from the dread of exposing himself, than an unwillingness to wound the vindictive sensibility of others.

Should these humble essays obtain only a moderate share of public favour, the writer may be emboldened to risk the publication of another more voluminous work, which was also composed during the long leisure of imprisonment.

S–––––––, February

11, 1797.

* In January 1795, and again in January 1796: the first time – a fine of twenty pounds, and three months confinement: the second – six months confinement, and a fine of thirty pounds.