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answered, the dear Public's critical judgment, begin to think sharp-witted Horace spoke sooth when he said, that the Public sometimes hit the truth.

In reading these lines, you perhaps have a vision of a person in pretty good health and condition, and yet, since I put forth my primary edition, I have been crushed, scorched, withered, used up and put down (by Smith with the cordial assistance of Brown), in all, if you put any faith in my rhymes, to the number of ninety-five several times, and, while I am writing, - I tremble to think of it, for I may at this moment be just on the brink of it, - Molybdostom, angry at being omitted, has begun á critique, — am I not to be pitied ? *

Now I shall not crush them since, indeed, for that matter, no pressure I know of could render them flatter; nor wither, nor scorch them, - no action of fire could make either them or their articles drier; nor waste time in putting them down - I am thinking not their own self-inflation will keep them from sinking; for there's this contradiction about the whole bevy, - though without the least weight, they are awfully heavy. No, my dear honest bore, surdo fabulam narras, they are no more to me than a rat in the arras. I can walk with the Doctor, get facts from the Don, or draw out the Lambish quintessence of John, and feel nothing more than a half-comic sorrow, to think that they all will be lying to-morrow tossed carelessly up on the waste-paper shelves, and forgotten by all but their half-dozen selves. Once snug in my attic, my fire in a roar, I leave the whole pack of them outside the door. With Hakluyt or Purchas I wander away to the black northern seas or barbarıc Cathay : get fou with O'Shanter, and sober me then with that builder of brick-kilnish dramas, rare Ben ; snuff Herbert, as holy as a flower on a grave; with Fletcher wax tender, o'er Chap

man grow brave; with Marlowe or Kyd take a fine poet-rave; in Very, most Hebrew of Saxons, find peace : with Lycidas welter on vext Irish seas; with Webster grow wild, and climb earthward again, down by mystical Browne's Jacob's-ladder-like brain, to that spiritual Pepys (Cotion's version) Montaigne; find a new depth in Wordsworth, undreamed of before, - that divinely inspired, wise, deep, tender, grand - bore. Or, out of my study, the scholar thrown off, Nature holds up her shield ’gainst the sneer and the scoff ; the landscape, forever consoling and kind, pours her wine and her oil on the smarts of the mind. The waterfalls, scattering its vanishing gems; the tall grove of hemlocks, with moss on their stems, like plashes of sunlight; the pond in the woods, where no foot but mine and the bittern's intrudes; these are all my kind neighbors, and leave me no wish to say aught to you all, my poor critics, but pish! I have buried the hatchet : I am twisting an allumette out of one of you now, and relighting my calumet. In your private capacities, come when you please, I will give you my hand and a fresh pipe apiece.

As I ran through the leaves of my poor little book, to take a fond author's first tremulous look, it was quite an excitement hunt the errata, sprawled in as birds' tracks are in some kinds of strata (only these made things crookeder). Fancy an heir, that a father had seen born well-featured and fair, turning suddenly wry-nosed, clubfooted, squint-eyed, hair-lipped, wapper-jawed, carrot haired, from a pride become an aversion, - my case was yet worse. A club-foot (by way of a change) in a verse, I might have forgiven, an o's being wry, a limp in an e, or a cock in an i, - but to have the sweet babe of my brain served in pi! I am not queasy-stomached, but such a Thyestean banquet as that was quite out of the question.

In the edition now issued, no pains are neglected, and my verses, as oratory say, stand corrected. Yet some blun

to

* The wise Scandinavians probably called their bards by the queer-looking title of Scald, in a delicate way, as it were, just to hint to the world th; hot water they always get into.

ders remain of the public's own make, which I wish to correct for my personal sake. For instance, a character drawn in pure fun and condensing the traits of a dozen in one, has been, as I hear, by some persons applied to a good friend of mine, whom to stab in the side, as we walked along chatting and joking together, would not be my way. I can hardly tell whether a question will ever arise in which he and I should by any strange fortune agree, but meanwhile my esteem for him grows as I kvow him, and, though not the best judge on earth of a poem, he knows what it is he is saying and why, and is honest and fearless, twe good points which I have not found, so rife I can

easily smother my love for them, whether on my side or t’other.

For my other anonymi, you may be sure that I know what is meant by a caricature, and what by a portrait. There are those who think it is capital fun to be spattering their ink on quiet, unquarrelsome folk, but the minute the game changes sides and the others begin it, they see something savage and horrible in it. As for me I respect neither women nor men for their gender, nor own any sex in a pen. I choose just to hint to some causeless unfriends that, as far as I know, there are always two ends (and one of them heaviest, too) to a staff, and two parties also to every good laugh.

A FABLE FOR CRITICS.

With a dull wooden thing that will live

and will die a log, Not to say that the thought would for

ever intrude That you ’ve less chance to win her the

more she is wood? Ah! it went to my heart, and the mem

ory still grieves, To see those loved graces all taking

their leaves ; Those charms beyond speech, so en

chanting but now, As they left me forever, each making its

bough! If her tongue had a tang sometimes

more than was right, Her new bark is worse than ten times

her old bite."

PH@bus, sitting one day in a laurel

tree's shade, Was reminded of Daphne, of whom it

was made, For the god being one day too warm in

his wooing, She took to the tree to escape his pur

suing; Be the cause what it might, from his

offers she shrunk, And, Ginevra-like, shut herself up in a

trunk; And, though 't was a step into which he

had driven her, He somehow or other had never for

given her; Her memory he nursed as a kind of a

tonic, Something bitter to chew when he 'd

play the Byronic, And I can't count the obstinate nymphs

that he brought over, By a strange kind of smile he put on

when he thought of her. “My case is like Dido's,” he some

times remarked ; “When I last saw my love, she was

fairly embarked In a laurel, as she thought - but (ah

how Fate mocks !) She has found it by this time а

very

bad box; Let hunters from me take this saw when

they need it, You're not always sure of your game

when you've treed it. Just conceive such a change taking

place in one's mistress! What romance would be left? who

can flatter or kiss trees? And, for mercy's sake, how could one keep up a dialogue

Now, Daphne, – before she was hap

pily treeified, Over all other blossoms the lily had

deified, And when she expected the god on a

visit ('T was before he had made his inten

tions explicit), Some buds she arranged with a vast

deal of care, To look as if artlessly twined in her hair, Where they seemed, as he said, when

he paid his addresses, Like the day breaking through the long

night of her tresses ; So whenever he wished to be quite irre

sistible, Like a man with eight trumps in his

hand at a whist-table (I feared me at first that the rhyme was

untwistable, Though I might have lugged in an allu

sion to Cristabel),

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Well, here, after all the bad rhyme

I've been spinning, I've got back at last to my story's be

ginning : Sitting there, as I say, in the shade of

his mistress, As dullas a volume of old Chester mys

teries, Or as those puzzling specimens, which,

in old histories, We read of his verses — the Oracles,

namely, (I wonder the Greeks should have

swallowed them tamely, For one might bet safely whatever he

has to risk, They were laid at his door by some an

cient Miss Asterisk, And so dull that the men who retailed

them out-doors Got the ill name of augurs,

because they were bores, --) First, he mused what the animal sub

stance or herb is Would induce a mustache, for you

know he's imberbis ; Then he shuddered to think how his

youthful position Was assailed by the age of his son the

physician; At some poems he glanced, had been

sent to him lately, And the metre and sentiment puzzled

him greatly ; Mehercle ! I'd make such proceed

ing felonious, Have they all of them slept in the cave

of Trophonius? Look well to your seat, 't is like taking

an airing On a corduroy road, and that out of re

pairing; It leads one, 't is true, through the

primitive forest, Grand natural features, at, then, one

has no rest ; You just catch a glimpse of some rav

ishing distance, When a jolt puts the whole of it out of

existence,

Why not use their ears, if they happen

to have any?Here the laurel-leaves murmured

the name of poor Daphne. O), weep with me, Daphne," he

sighed, “ for you know it's A terrible thing to be pestered with

poets ! But, alas, she is dumb, and the proverb

holds good, She never will cry till she's out of the

wood ! What would n't I give if I never had

known of her? 'T were a kind of relief had I some

thing to groan over : If I had but some letters of hers, now,

to toss over, I might turn for the nonce a Byronic

philosopher, And bewitch all the flats by bemoaning

the loss of her. One needs something tangible, though,

to begin on, A loom, as it were, for the fancy to spin

on ; What boots all your grist? it can never

be ground Till a breeze makes the arms of the

windmill go round (Or, if 't is a water-mill, alter the meta

phor, And say it won't stir, save the wheel be

well wet afore, Or lug in some stuff about water

dreamily,' It is not a metaphor, though, 't is a

simile): A lily, perhaps, would set my mill

a-going, For just at this season, I think, they

are blowing. Here, somebody, fetch one, not very

far hence They 're in bloom by the score, 't is

but climbing a fence; There's a poet hard by, who does roth

ing but fill his Whole garden, from one end to t’other,

with lilies; A very good plan, were it not for sati

ety, One longs for a weed here and there,

for variety ;

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the press,

He unlocked the door, and stept forth

a poor donkey. Though kicked and abused by his bi

pedal betters Yet he filled no mean place in the king

dom of letters ; Far happier than many a literary

hack, He bore only paper-mill rags on his

back (For it makes a vast difference which

side the mill One expends on the paper his labor

and skill); So, when his soul waited a new trans

migration, And Destiny balanced 'twixt this and

that station, Not having much time to expend upon

bothers, Remembering he'd had some convec

tion with authors, And considering his four legs had grown

paralytic, She set him on two, and he came forth

a critic.

steps he

Though a weed is no more thar, a flower

in disguise, Which is seen through at once, if love

give a man eyes." Now there happened to be among

Phæbus's followers, A gentleman, one of the omnivorous

swallowers, Who bolt every book that comes out of Without the least question of larger or

less, Whose stomachs are strong at the ex

pense of their head, For reading new books is like eating

new bread, One can bear it at first, but by gradual Is brought to death's door of a mental

dyspepsy. On a previous stage of existence, our

Hero Had ridden outside, with the glass be

low zero; He had been, 't is a fact you may safely

rely on, Of a very old stock a most eminent

scion, A stock all fresh quacks their fierce

boluses ply on, Who stretch the new boots Earth 's

unwilling to try on, Whom humbugs of all shapes and sorts

keep their eye on, Whose hair 's in the mortar of every

new Zion, Who, when whistles are dear, gr direct

ly and buy one, Who think slavery a crime tha“ we

must not say fie on, Who hunt, if they e'er hunt at all, with

the lion (Though they hunt lions also, whenever

they spy one), Who contrive to make every good for

tune a wry one, And at last choose the hard bed of

honor to die on, Whose pedigree, traced to earth's

earliest years, Is longer than anything else but their

ears; In short, he was sent into life with the

wrong key,

Through his babyhood no kind of

pleasure he took In any amusement but tearing a book; For him there was no intermediate stage From babyhood up to straight-laced

middle age ;

There were years when he did n't wear

coat-tails behind, But a boy he could never be rightly de

fined: Like the Irish Good Folk, though in

length scarce a span, From the womb he came gravely, a

little old man; While other boys' trousers demanded

the toil Of the motherly fingers on all kinds of

soil, Red, yellow, brown, black, clayey,

gravelly, loamy, He sat in the corner and read Viri

Romæ. He never was known to unbend or to

revel once In base, marbles, hockey, or kick up

the devil once ; He was just one of those ivho excite

the benevolence

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