This little volume might be called 'Echoes from the land of youthful imaginings';
or 'Ghosts of old dreams.' It has been compiled at the reqeust of
Messrs. Gay and Hancock (my only authorised publishers in Great Britain),
and contains verses written in my early youth, and which never before (with
the exception, perhaps, of three or four) have been placed in book form.
Given the poetical temperament, and a lonely environment,
with few distractions, youthful imagination is sure to express itself in
mournful wails and despairing moans. such wails and moans will be
found to excess in this little book, and will serve to show better than
any amount of common-sense reasoning, how fleeting are the sorrows of youth,
and how slight the foundation on which the young build towers of despair.
In the days when these verses were written, each little
song represented a few dollars (to my emaciated purse), and so the slightest
experience of my own, or of any friend, with every passing mood, every
trivial happening, was utilized by my imaginative and thrifty muse.
That the writer has always possessed robust health, and
has lived to a good age, is proof positive that the verses are not all
expressions of personal experiences, since no human being could have borne
such continual agonies and retained life and reason.
All the verses in the book were written while I bore the
name of Ella Wheeler, and are quite inconsistent with the ideas and philosophy