I shall never assume that arrogance to pretend no other or further objections may be raised; but I do really believe no such objection can be raised as will overthrow any scheme here laid down so as to render the thing impracticable.
Neither do I think but that all men will acknowledge most of the proposals in this book would be of as great, and perhaps greater, advantage to the public than I have pretended to.
Critics are even in the precarious position of not knowing if Defoe is merely a creature we have put together in our heads from works that may or may not be by him.
However, the poems discussed here are, for the most part, well established in the canon.
The poems in were written in Defoe’s neat hand on twenty-three pages of manuscript (originally titled “Meditations”) and consist of seven highly personal, contemplative pieces on themes of unworthiness, conscience, and guilt-ridden flight. Most impressive in the light of relationships Defoe will find in future poems between the poet and other artists is “Shall The Clay Say Unto The Potter?
&ca” (part 4), wherein “a Rustic Artist” complains that he is “A Drudge” and the pile of clay is “a Dish of qualitye,” but the poet is now calmed in his complaint by these observations.The poems mirror also the resolution of the conflict in favor of the secular life.Defoe married Mary Tuffley in 1684, participated in Monmouth’s Rebellion, and apparently fought at Sedgemoor in 1685; he was pardoned in 1687.Here and there, especially in the (the periodical that he wrote singlehandedly from February 1704 to June 1713), he left distichs, lampoons, pasquinades, fragments of songs, and ballads; he also included verses in his novels.One can track the development of his thought in the poems, his attachment to certain ideas, such as reform or morality, his theoretical interests in the language and style of poetry, his habit of casting poems into irony, and his skill in creating large poetic “fictions” that permit him to draw together numerous “characters” in recognizable patterns.As for such who read books only to find out the author's faux pas, who will quarrel at the meanness of style, errors of pointing, dulness of expression, or the like, I have but little to say to them.I thought I had corrected it very carefully, and yet some mispointings and small errors have slipped me, which it is too late to help.They display a sharp mind that is always preoccupied with the social, religious, and political issues of the day.Defoe wrote some form of poetry all his life, but his great period of poetic composition was from 1699 to 1707.In the not-too-distant past it was more customary to refer to his “verses” than to his poems—and to add such qualifiers as “execrable.” In recent years, however, a few critics have begun to pay serious attention to the poems and to discover artistry in them and a reflection of his quick and subtle mind.Defoe is an author still being assessed critically. It is not certain that he wrote the 566 works assigned to him by John Robert Moore in the 1971 edition of his .