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Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1846,
By SILAS ANDRUS & SON,
in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of Connecticut
L D. LAWRENCE.
PRESS OF S. ANDRUS AND SON.
In preparing this edition of POLLOK's immortal poem, great pains have been taken to render it in every respect worthy of the genius, the talent, and the piety of its highly-gifted author, and of the sublime subjects which. are so beautifully depicted.
It has long been a source of regret among the admirers of "The Course of Time," that many editions heretofore issued in this country are so glaringly inaccurate, that numerous passages, abounding in splendid imagery and glowing with fervid devotion, are not merely marred, but utterly perverted, by the carelessness or the ignorance of those by whom the work has been undertaken. Indeed, such has been the popularity of this masterly production, that swarms of pretenders have found it to their interest to issue what are erroneously termed cheap editions; the mechanical execution of which, in most instances, is alike detrimental to the character of the poem and discreditable to "the art preservative of all arts." Of five copies, published at different periods within the last few years, which were consulted with a view to make this edition as perfect as possible, all were found dissimilar in several essential particulars, especially as regarded punctuation and the proper division of the poem into paragraphs; and, consequently, the editor has been compelled to rely partly upon his own judgment and partly upon the assistance of literary friends, whose aid and advice were kindly afforded.
Many, who highly estimate this admirable poem, have suggested that portions of it were so obscure as to be almost, if not entirely, unintelligible. It is probable, however, that the obscurity to which they allude, is more
attributable to the printer than to the author. Of all other species of composition, perhaps none is so dependent upon correct punctuation as blank verse; and, although the editor makes no pretensions to infallibility, yet he flatters himself that the system adopted will be found consistent, at least, and materially assist in developing the design and spirit of the illustrious poet.
In sub-dividing the poem, and prefixing heads to the several divisions, now introduced for the first time, it was presumed that the reader would thereby receive important aidance in elucidating such passages as have been hitherto considered "comparatively incomprehensible." Another advantage attending this new arrangement will be found in the facility afforded for readily referring to any subject which may be desirable.
Quotation marks, deemed essential to the clear understanding of every author, have also been introduced, in the hope that their use would more distinctly distinguish what may not improperly be termed the dialogue from the descriptive portions of the poem, which have formerly been so amalgamated as to "puzzle the will" of the most careful reader.
Of the typography, and other mechanical adjuncts, it is deemed unnecessary to speak; as its superiority over the mass of editions now in general use, will be selfapparent to the most superficial observer. Suffice it to say, that neither care nor expense have been spared to produce the book in a style befitting that exalted rank which the poem has attained, and must ever maintain, so long as towering conception and energetic expression are appreciated by the friends of literature.
HARTFORD, CONN., 1846.
W. C. A.
MEMOIR OF THE AUTHOR.
THE REV. ROBERT POLLOK was born at Muirhouse, in the parish of Eaglesham, about eleven miles south-east of Glasgow, on the 19th of October, 1798. He was the youngest son of a very worthy and intelligent farmer; and the days of his early life were devoted to such pursuits as his father's interests and inclinations required. The advantages of an extensive education were seldom enjoyed by the children of that class of people to which he properly belonged; and his, being in a ratio with theirs, was barely adapted to his condition in life. Economical of time, and anxious for instruction, instead of prodigally spending his evening hours in useless and childish pastimes, he devoted them to the reading and study of such books as at once imparted pleasure and information; thus storing his mind with a fund of literary lore, which he subsequently found an invaluable treasure. Before he attained the age of fourteen years-whether at the instance of his father, or of his own choice, is not known-he went to acquire the trade of a cartwright, in his native village; but by the advice of his elder brother, who was engaged in preparatory studies for the ministry, he relinquished his mechanical employment, and entered upon those incipient scholastic exercises necessary for one whose object was the clerical office. The new impulse given to his inclinations and feelings by his brother, received the sanction of his parents; and, in the year 1813, he began the study of the Latin Grammar, at a school in the parish of Fenwick, where he improved rapidly.
Such was his progress in learning, that in the month of October, 1815, he received admission into the University of Glasgow, where, after five years of close application to the studies incident to that institution, the degree of Master of Arts was conferred upon him at the age of twenty-two. His devotion to his studies, and his zeal for proficiency in them, justly received the approbation of his literary guardians, and procured him several prize honors, which his fellow-students cheerfully awarded him. But the assiduity with which he strove to acquire learning, considerably reduced the tone and vigor of his health; and, although unconscious of the injurious effect of too much application, yet it was evident he was destined, at no remote period, to become a martyr to his untiring industry.
Some time in the autumn of 1822, he entered as a student of theology the seminary of the United Sessions Church, under the direction of the Rev. Dr. Dick, of Glasgow. During this time he also constantly attended the lectures of Dr. MACGILL on theology, in the University. In conformity with the rules and regulations of Divinity Hall, he composed a number of discourses, which excited considerable interest; and, for want of that attention to the rigid rules of sermonizing, which the learned in divinity so much insist upon, he became the subject of the severest criticism among those of his fellows who were, perhaps, more uniform, but less gifted than himself. Indeed, it was not in the nature of a mind so vividly illuminated by the rays of genius, to bend to the authority of formal rules, for the arrangement and division of his subjects, which are essential for the regulation of the thoughts, and the government of the memory of persons of more ordinary capacities.
After the customary attendance of five sessions at the Hall, he obtained license to preach, simultaneously with his brother, in May, 1827, which was granted by the