6. Robert Bloomfield to an unidentified bookseller [? William Bent], before 21 June 1798*
To Mr. **********
A total stranger, very low, and very obscure, ventures to address you. In my sedentary employment as a journeyman shoemaker, I have amused and exercised my mind, I hope innocently: in putting the little events of my boyage into metre, intending it as a present to an aged mother now living on the spot; to whom the Church, the Mad Girl, the Farm-house, and all the local circumstances of the piece are intimately known.
Before I send it away, something perswades me that I might possibly find some person capable, and possessing condescension enough to satisfy me in a desire I feel of knowing whether the little piece, particularly Autumn, and Winter, contains any thing like poetical merit. — that is to say, to what excellence in others it makes the nearest approaches. I am fully sensible, from my situation in the world, from the nature of this application, and from the Better employment of your time, Sir, that silent neglect is what I have most reason to look for. But in that case I am determined to rely on your justice so far as to let the copy be return'd to me when I call for it, which I mean to do this day fortnight. When, if I should find a word of opinion inserted in the blank leaves, my end would be answerd, and it shall allways be held in grateful remembrance by one who, with the strictest truth, and with all possible deference and expect, subscribes, Sir,
Your very humble servant,
No. 14, Great Bell-alley, Coleman-street.