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The nohappy man who once has trail'd a pén,
Dryden's Prologue to N. Lee's Cæsar Borgia.
Mending Old Stories. It often happens that we hear some excellent stories told in conversation, where the actors are the historians. Smart repartees, severe replies, and animated objurgations form these amusing narratives. Experience in time, and knowledge of the personal characters of the narrators, teach us to suspect that these were not the original facts, speeches, &c. but were, on the recollection of these entertaining persons, enlarged, improved, and enlivened by posterior meditation, and by the aid of second thoughts, and which were not likely to have sprung up suddenly on the first occasion of them.
Taste for Rural Objects Is often influenced by personal feelings, and circumstances not connected with literature. Dr. Johnson declaimed against the generally attractive species of poetry called Pastorals. His love of a city life, and that throne of human happiness, to use his own words,-an armed chair in a tavern, accounts for his dislike to rural scenes, rural
ideas, and rural personages.
His entertaining biographer has related that, once walking in Greenwich Park with his learned friend, he observed, to indulge his companion's taste, “ This is fine, Sir, but not so fine as Fleet-street.” No! Sir,' he replied warmly and vociferously.
Encomiastic Critics. Some readers, more nice, perhaps, than wise, shew great dislike to critics who point out the beauties of authors, and express themselves delighted with those passages. Yet surely to have a sensible and an agreeable companion with us, when we are travelling a country of much diversity of good and bad prospect, it is a happiness, arising from social sympathy, to see our guide and fellowtraveller joining us in our applause, and participating in our enjoyments. This is “ smoothing the brow of criticism."
Boasting, and real Bravery. The man who
that he does not fear death, is a vain boaster, most probably a coward, and most certainly a fool. To fear death, is natural; to overcome this apprehension, the result of honour and sense. An officer may be a timid man, naturally; yet perform the most intrepid actions, from principle and reflection on his duties. Charles the Second wittily ridiculed this boasting in a fool. “ That man,” said Charles, to never snuffed a candle with his finger.” And the Poet said wisely,
Let valiant fools
After reading the solemn and trivial praises of the privileges of honest Englishmen in voting for their representatives, we are not a little amused to find the real state of things as narrated in the followingsatiric lines
When the Duke's grandson for the country stood,
He's ten to one a corporation bite, &c.
Since pastorals have been the fashion from the time of Theocritus to Johnny Gay, the innocent pleasures, and the honest inhabitants, and the peaceful hours of a rural life, have been the favourite themes ; but poels, like doctors, can disagree.
Virtue no more in rural plains,
The tinker some a better teacher, &c.
see Epistles, Familiar and Humorous.
Ancients and Moderns. In works of fancy, and in the art and practice of poetry and rhetoric, perhaps, the ancients were equal, if not superior, to us. In the art of close reasoning the moderns certainly excel them. This superiority arises from the gradual increase of the reasoning powers produced by experience and observation. No one can doubt that Joha
Locke was a better reasoner, though not so elegant a writer, as Plato.
Ancient and Modern Customs. Canonization in the Romish Church is very analogous in its principles and practices to the apotheosis of the Grecians and Romans. The persons, indeed, were different, and the virtues also for which they received their honours. In modern Rome the pious cardinal was canonized, and in ancient Rome the military hero.
Public Libraries. In these large and crowded depôts of human knowledge and human imagination, I cannot help reflecting that a great diminution of volumes would have taken place, if their authors had previously studied Locke on the Human Understanding, and gravely used their thoughts on the abuse of words, and on the boundaries and real powers of the human intellect.
Faith. When this means a belief in religious opinions, merely speculative, and altogether removed from practice, it produces the most fatal consequence to all religion, viz. an absolute divorce of piety and morality. Violent arguments in favour of any opiņion may be the product solely of an