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FROM THE REIGN OF EDWARD THE THIRD TO THE TIME
Fruits of a genial morn, and glorious noon,
JOSEPH THOMAS, 1, FINCH-LANE, CORNHILL;
HENRY NEELE was the second son of a respectable engraver in the Strand, where he was born January 29th 1798. He was educated at a day school in Kentish Town, where, although he acquired “ little Latin and less Greek,” he became an excellent French scholar; but, at no time, displayed any very devoted application, or even aptitude, for any description of study. To Poetry, however, he evinced thus early a decided inclination; and he produced several specimens of considerable merit, for so juvenile a writer.
On leaving school, he was articled to an attorney ; and, after the usual probationary
term, was admitted to practice as a Solicitor. During his clerkship, appreciating the value of those attainments he had neglected at school, he added a general knowledge of German and Italian to his previous acquirements; and in January, 1817, made his first appearance as an author by publishing a Volume of Poems; the expenses of which were borne by his father, who properly estimated and encouraged the dawning genius of his Son. This work displayed evident marks of youth and inexperience; but it was decidedly characterised by a depth of thought and feeling, and an elegance and fluency of versification, which gave the surest promise of future excellence. The Poems were chiefly lyrical, and the ill-fated Collins was avowedly his model.
The publication of this volume introduced the young Poet to Dr. Nathan Drake, author of “ Literary Hours,” &c.; who, though acquainted with him “only through the medium of his writings,” devoted a chapter of his “Winter Nights” to a critical examination and eulogy of his Poems; of which, he says,