Dedication: 'To Lord Tennyson. Permit me to dedicate this volume to you in remembrance of golden hours of life spent with you in various ways. Our happy walks together in the groves and over the downs in the neighbourhood of Farringford, and through the bowery lanes and across the green fields around Aldworth; the hours of rare enjoyment vouchsafed to me when, under your honoured roof, I have listened to your reading of your immortal poems; the delicate kindnesses extended to me by the gracious lady who, for so many years, has made the spiritual sunshine of your illustrious life-all remain with me as memories whose beauty can never die. Henry Parkes. Sydney, December, 1889.'
Author's Preface: 'This book is sent into the world, like a friendless child, with no claim to notice, and no expectation of favour, but with all the fond attachment of a hopeless parent. The verses collected in its pages have been written on occasions which have been as breaks in the chain of nearly sixty years of incessant labour and struggling effort in fields far removed from literary study. They form in some measure the broken record of the inner life of a busy public career, which men at times have treated too indulgently and at other times have blindly and perversely misjudged, but which few have critically understood. The hidden burning passion, the pulsations of prescient thought, the unsullied yearning for the higher part, the involuntary scorn of worldly-mantled meanness, the better aspirations of the unsatisified spirit-have found imperfect expression in these desultory verses. To those who desire to know the author in his political character they will have an interpretable interest, and in the investigations of the curious they may serve to throw light on transactions and proposals which are now as little heard of as if they were forgotten....'