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TO THE FIRST EDITION.
THE collection of this little volume was undertaken by the compiler, to occupy the leisure of a few weeks not otherwise appropriated. The design, though we believe entirely novel, needs but a word of explanation. It is a BOWDOIN BOOK-the united offering of her Poets at the shrine of the BOWDOIN MUSE;-and presented to her Alumni as a memento of their cherished Alma Mater. A thing of local interest, and principally intended to meet the partial eye of its friends, it was not fashioned exclusively in reference to the taste, or the criticism, of the literary Public. Yet in allowing it to pass beyond the circle for which it was especially intended, we must plead guilty to the charge of believing that its appearance abroad will be respectable ;-a vanity, pardonable perhaps, in one so little removed from college life, as not to have lost in the levelling of the great world, the student's peculiar regard for his own institution.
We mean, however, to claim for it no excellence superior to that which any similar book might possess, had one the idle curiosity to compile it.
The selection of the materials composing the volume, has been attended with many difficulties. Not the least of these, was that of deciding how far a rigid criticism should yield to a regard for the interest, which a larger number of contributors would give to the book, as intended for Bowdoin readers. Again, the little time allowed us after the project was conceived, before it was necessary to publish the bookif published at all-obliged us to commence the printing before all the materials were collected. For this reason, the arrangement of the poems will be found wholly miscellaneous,—no regard having been paid to subject or style, or priority of age in the writers, farther than, where it was convenient, to mingle "the green leaves with the dry."-Owing to the late date of many of the communications, a very disproportionate selection has been made from the different contributors.It will be noticed that we have drawn largely upon the published articles of some of our writers. If the peculiar excellence of any pieces has made them familiar to the public eye, it is not perhaps to our discredit, that we can claim them as our offspring,
Should individuals look in vain for names they expected to find in the volume, we have only to assure them of our intention to do impartial justice. We have spared no pains to ascertain the address of all who are entitled to a representation upon its pages, but fear that some have been overlooked. From a large number also to whom our Circular was sent, no answer has been received; leaving us to suppose that the communication, upon one side or the other, miscarried. Some articles furnished, have been necessarily excluded; and in others, their authors will notice a few slight alterations.
Several graduates, remembered by their college contemporaries as "Bowdoin Poets," have very modestly declined occupying the pages offered them. Among these, are Charles S. Daveis and Nathaniel Hawthorne, Esquires; the Hon. Messrs. Bellamy Storer, Robert P. Dunlap, George Evans and S. S. Prentiss; and the Rev. Messrs. Thomas T. Stone, Calvin E. Stowe, George B. Cheever and Horatio Southgate; whose failure to be represented here is matter of especial regret.
It will be perceived from the names starred in the following pages, that several of the writers have already passed to their immortality.
'Quos dei amant, immature moriuntur.'
They have erected their own monuments; not all of them perhaps in the public avenue, where the unfeeling wonder and pass on; but each in his own green retreat, frequented by the loved and the left, and hallowed by their tears.
We had intended to present a PROEM, wherein the Spirits of Bowdoin,
"Black spirits and white, blue spirits and gray,"
assembled from all her borders
From old Bungo-nungo-nock,
From the plains and from the highlands,
Of the sea
should have whispered to her Poets as of old, and borne them tidings of their once familiar haunts,
Where the giant night-wind marches
and where in time past,
As beneath the stars they wended,
From on high.
But, reminded by our Publisher that we have already transgressed the stipulated limits, we are obliged to abandon the design; leaving the hallowed memories of Bowdoin and Pejepscot to be suggested by the pages that follow.
From this little labor of alternate pleasure and perplexity, we turn to severer duties; and have now only to ask that our brethren will accept, at our hands, this humble effort to afford them an hour's entertainment. Should they call for a periodical offering of like nature, may the labor of its preparation fall into abler hands.
BRUNSWICK, AUGUST, 1840.
E. P. W.