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The Printer of the St. James's Chronicle.
As there is nothing I dislike so much as newspaper controversy, particularly upon trifles, permit me to be as concise as possible in informing a correspondent of yours, that I recommended Blainville's Travels, because I thought the book was a good one; and I think so still. I said, I was told by the bookseller that it was then first published; but in that, it seems, I was misinformed, and my reading was not extensive enough to set me right.
Another correspondent of yours accuses me of having taken a ballad, I published some time ago, from one * by the ingenious Mr. Percy. I do not
think there is any great resemblance between the two pieces in question. If there be any, his ballad is taken from mine. I read it to Mr. Percy some years ago; and he (as we both considered these things as trifles at best) told me with his usual good humour, the next time I saw him, that he had taken my plan to form the fragments of Shakspeare into a ballad of his own. He then read me his little cento, if I may so call it, and I highly approved it. Such petty anecdotes as these are scarce worth printing : and were it not for the busy disposition of some of your correspondents, the public should never have known that he owes me the hint of his ballad, or that I am obliged to his friendship and learning for communications of a much more important nature.
I am, sir,
“ Turn, gentle hermit of the dale,
And guide my lonely way, To where yon taper cheers the vale
With hospitable ray.
“For here forlorn and lost I tread;
With fainting steps and slow; Where wilds, immeasurably spread,
Seem length’ning as I go.”
“Forbear, my son," the hermit cries,
“To tempt the dang’rous gloom ; For yonder faithless phantom flies
To lure thee to thy doom.