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beauties which they may have made their own, in the two volumes published under the superintendence of the Rev. Derwent Coleridge, and prefaced by a memoir of the poet from his hand.
In reference to some doubts which have lately been expressed in print, as to the certainty with which the contents of that edition may be attributed to Praed, the present opportunity is taken of repeating positively the statement of Mr. Coleridge's advertisement, that the poems were all carefully verified before admission. Every piece in that collection was most certainly written by Praed, and none have been excluded from the list as spurious without good grounds for belief, and in most cases demonstration, to the contrary.
It has now become possible to attempt the task of selection. Few poets of the second order do not gain by the process. The limit of fastidiousness in rejection may easily be drawn too narrow for the reader's pleasure, but hardly for the author's fame. This volume aims at being a cabinet of rarities, rather than a mine of treasure; it appeals to the reader who may linger over its pages, in the fancy-guided humour most in harmony with their mood.
The story of the poet's life may be here shortly recapitulated. His father, William Mackworth Praed, of Bitton, near Teigpmouth, in Devonshire, was a Serjeant-at-Law, and the first Chairman of the Board of Audit. His mother he lost in early childhood ; his name of Winthrop was the surname of her family. He was born on the 26th of July, 1802, in London, where also his early years were passed. The family consisted of three brothers, the poet being the youngest; and two sisters, upon the elder of whom almost as a child it fell to supply the place of a mother to the rest, while the younger, who was nearly of his own age, was his constant playmate and companion. His powers of invention were first exercised in the construction of numerous miniature dramas ; a bent often noticed in the minds of clever children, as for instance in the yoụnger Pitt; for the imitative faculties, being soonest developed, are the first to seek expression in childhood, at one time in games, at another in attempts at composition. He first went to school in the year 1810, and was removed, four years afterwards, to Eton. In the studies of the place he was distinguished, and read largely of English classical authors. By the system of teaching then constituted at Eton, a boy's time was left greatly at his own disposal. The ambitious found guidance in classical study, the sole path of academical distinction; the idle learnt nearly as little as they pleased. Meanwhile individual tastes flourished more vigorously than is possible under a stricter discipline. The schoolboy periodicals, generally in manuscript, which were at that time fashionable among the Etonians, exhibit signs of care and industry for which their successors probably want leisure. One of these was conducted with much spirit by Praed; it was succeeded by “ The Etonian,” in the more ambitious form of a regular magazine, which he started at the commencement of his last year at school. About one half of the contents, besides all the literary editorship, was throughout contributed by Praed.
With a reputation such as a young man rarely brings with him to College, he entered upon his University career. His literary pursuits, though not abandoned, were now interrupted by the keener competitions of a Cambridge student's life. The same facility of expression which was his peculiar gift made him an elegant if not accomplished scholar; and, united with something more of the poetic fire than usually finds its way into prize exercises, won for him a handful of the gold medals with which such performances are honoured. In other respects also his University distinctions were creditable to him ; he took his degree as third Classic in 1825, and was elected Fellow of Trinity College in 1827. In the