THE Author of the Ballads contained in this little volume presents them to the younger generation of Canadians, as an attempt to show, most inadequately as he feels, that by those who are blessed with the divine gift of poesy, many worthy themes may be found, without quitting their own country.
That we shall one day be a great northern nation, and develope within ourselves that best fruit of nationality, a new and lasting literature, is the firm belief, at least of those to whom this volume is mainly addressed. And here I would remind them, that, of all the forms of patriotism, a wise, public-spirited patriotism in literature, is not the least admirable. It is, indeed, glorious to die in battle in defence of our homes or altars; but not less glorious is it to live to celebrate [Page 7] the virtues of our heroic countrymen, to adorn the history, or to preserve the traditions of our country. From Homer’s age to that of Scott, Moore, and Béranger, Patriotism has been the passion of the noblest succession of sweet singers the world ever saw—and the civic virtue they celebrated has, in turn, immortalized their own names.
Simply as an offering of first-fruits, I present this little volume to the young people of Canada. Hereafter, if greater leisure is allowed me, I may hope to do something better in the same direction.
MONTREAL, December, 1858. [Page 8]