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Selected Poetry of Charles Sylvester
Chemist, Inventor, Engineer 1774-1828

These are some selected poems from a small book of poetry published in 1797 in Sheffield, England, when Charles was only 23 years old. Although originally published anonymously, there is ample contemporary evidence to substantiate that Charles Sylvester wrote them. Above the printed line in the copy of the book in the Sheffield Library is written in pencil, "By Chas. Sylvester, Sheffield, See p 27." There is other third party evidence giving Charles as the author.

There are many political references in the poems. A couple of favorites are included here.

Charles' own preface:

TO THE READER.
THE intention of the Author, in publishing the Songs and Pieces, which compose the following pages, was not of a sinister nature, but only to oblige the repeated solicitations of some of his best friends. He hopes, therefore, that an indulgent public will look over the extreme acrimonywith which some of them are tinged, and the inaccuracies almost universal in the first attempt of a youth, possessed with notions the most enthusiastic.


POEMS

An ADDRESS To a Friend, after Marriage.
FRIEND Thomas, I hear thou hast had the presumption,
To suffer thyself to be brought in conjunction;
I hope thou'lt excuse the short congratulation,
I offer to thee on this blessed occasion.
Of course this event I've abruptly reflected,
Because it occurr'd when I little expected :
I cannot with candor pronounce thou'st done wrong,
For as good folks as they may do so 'fore 'tis long.
Even none of our minds have the strength I protest,
To resist all the charms with which woman's possest:
Thou know'st the Creator, who gave us all birth,
Told Adam so 'sow and replenish the earth;'
To corroborate this, to the Gospel I'll turn,
Where St. Paul says ''tis better to marry than burn:'
So from reason as well as from Scripture 'tis plain,
That no part of man was created in vain.



On The BRIMSTONE TAX.
(Adressed to Mr. P..t. [Pitt])
SAY, great Master of Taxation,
Wilt thou stride the whole creation?
'Twould puzzle e'vn a Sage's pate,
To know where thou wilt terminate.
From sunshine to the farthing taper,
Even down to the lighted paper:
Yea, good God ! Hast dar'd to snatch
The purple-lighted stinking Match !
I wonder (but I may be dull,)
How Brimstone should have reach'd thy skull,
The d..d will surely make resistance,
For sulphur is their sole subsistence ;
Thou, from thy horrid reign of blood,
Mistakenly hast understood,
That such a levy might abate,
The judgments which thy soul await.--
How weak and futile is thy plan !
The d...l's more acute than man,
He has, thou may'st be well assur'd,
Before thy Tax a stock procur'd :
Thee and thy Friends I never fear,
Will find sufficient Brimstone there.

DECLARATION OF A DEIST.
HERE do I stand, a finite, fickle creature;
Mark'd with simplicity in every feature.
Such flesh and blood with error must abound,
With reverential gratitude I bow.
To worship him to whom I worship owe!
This grand surrounding Universe I deem
Thy wond'rous work of some Divine Supreme.
My mental parts were fram'd by That Creator,
To be my Moral Guide, My Sole Dictator.
By instinct first to action we are mov'd,
And afterwards by reason are improv'd:
The god-like genius, may her name resound !
By her I True Morality have found.
Things which I cannot clearly comprehend,
I neither will deny, nor yet defend :
But wisely will I hand them in suspence,
And, when they correspond with common sense,
With rev'rence I'll eternally embrace them,
And all the powers of Hell shall not erase them.
By Hell the author means the different Vices.



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