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and being prevented from growing higher, extends itself laterally in all directions. But the growth being as rapid at the upper edge as it is lower down, the steepness of the face of the reef is still preserved. These are the circumstances which render coral reefs so dangerous in navigation; for, in the first place, they are seldom seen above the water; and in the next, their sides are so steep, that a ship's bow may strike against the rock before any change of soundings has given warning of the danger."

With these brief quotations to explain the two principal circumstances on which the poem is founded, the Author abandons his "Pelican Island" to the judgment of the public, having no hope to conciliate favour by apology or vindication, where he has painfully felt that both would be necessary, if the success or failure of of his work did not wholly depend on the manner in which it has been executed. He only requests the reader to bear in mind, that the narrative is supposed to be delivered by the imaginary being who witnesses the series of

events, after the whole has happened, and who therefore describes them in such language, and with such illustrations, as the knowledge which he then possessed enabled him to use, whether he be identified with the Author, or (if the latter will so far condescend) with the reader himself, as spectator, actor, thinker, in this masquerade of

"Truth severe by fairy-fiction drest.”

Sheffield, July 19, 1827.




METHOUGHT I lived through ages, and beheld
Their generations pass so swiftly by me,

That years were moments in their flight, and hours
The scenes of crowded centuries reveal'd;

While Time, Life, Death, the world's great actors,


New and amazing changes: these I sing.

Sky, sun, and sea were all the universe;

The sky, one blue, interminable arch,


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