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The Rowley Poems by Thomas Chatterton

“Most people know the legend of Thomas Chatterton -- brilliant poet who failed to make a living, starved himself to send expensive presents to his family, and died by his own hand at seventeen -- much better than his poems. Like all legends, it is partial and exaggerated, but was a powerful influence on the Romantic movement and long after. The painting "The Death of Chatterton" by Henry Wallis epitomises this reputation. His fame rests, apart from this almost unbearably romantic life story, on his "Rowley Poems". These he wrote in a sham Middle English dialect, and passed off as the work of Thomas Rowley, a priest of Bristol in the fifteenth century, and some of his friends. The imposture was quickly detected (though some continued to believe in him for many years), but they were published in a collected edition after his death and were popular and much admired by the Romantic poets, especially Wordsworth, Shelley, and Keats, who dedicated "Endymion" to the memory of Thomas Chatterton.”


Pseudodoxia Epidemica:
OR,
ENQUIRIES
Into very many Received
Tenents
And commonly presumed
Truths.


By Thomas Brown Knight, M. D.
Based on The Sixth and Last Edition of 1672


Thomas Brown’s Vulgar Errors treats the opposite of orthodoxy, pseudodoxy. An intelligent and readable presentation of an amusing classic.


Francis Hopkinson (1737-1791)

“Throughout his political career Hopkinson wrote poetry and satire on the politically derisive issues of the day. He penned a popular and humorous work on the 1787 Constitutional Convention. He was also an accomplished harpsichordist and composer. His work "My Days Have Been So Wondrous Free," set to the words of Thomas Parnell's "Love and Innocence," is the first extant secular song by a native American composer.”


THE BEECH TREE'S PETITION

O leave this barren spot to me!
Spare, woodman, spare the beechen tree!
Though bush or floweret never grow
My dark unwarming shade below;
Nor summer bud perfume the dew
Of rosy blush, or yellow hue;
Nor fruits of autumn, blossom-born,
My green and glossy leaves adorn;
Nor murmuring tribes from me derive
Th' ambrosial amber of the hive;
Yet leave this barren spot to me:
Spare, woodman, spare the beechen tree!

Thrice twenty summers I have seen
The sky grow bright, the forest green;
And many a wintry wind have stood
In bloomless, fruitless solitude,
Since childhood in my pleasant bower
First spent its sweet and sportive hour;
Since youthful lovers in my shade
Their vows of truth and rapture made,
And on my trunk's surviving frame
Carved many a long-forgotten name.
Oh! by the sighs of gentle sound,
First breathed upon this sacred ground;
By all that Love has whispered here,
Or Beauty heard with ravished ear;
As Love's own altar honor me:
Spare, woodman, spare the beechen tree!
Thomas Campbell [1777-1844]