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fashion * ? It may be urged, that all these inaccuracies of style should be forgiven for the excellence and richness of the matter; but this argument will bear a contrary application. We expect more nicety of hand from the sculptor who works upon a vase of gold, than from him who carves a beechen cup; and if a mantle hangs ungracefully, the fault is not rendered less vexatious by the splendour of the velvet or rarity of the furs. If indeed it were probable that the writings in which these blemishes occur would slide into oblivion when their hour of novelty was past, I should think the labour of correction not unwisely spared; but considering that a great portion, at least, of the works thus hastily put forth, is likely to be incorporated for ever with the living body of our literature, I watch their imperfections with as much concern as if I

* • Tressilian and Varney,' says the Queen, are near your persons: - you will see that they attend you at Kenilworth. And as we will • then have both Paris and Menelaus within our call, so we will have

this same fair Helen also,' &c.— Kenilworth, vol. ii. ch. 4. The will' in Italics appears to be used Scoticè for shall : if not, the sentence is at least extremely uncouth. • I judged as much as • that he was mad,' said Nicholas Blount, whenever I saw him • with these damned boots.''-Kenilworth, vol. iii. ch. 6. Whenever for as soon as ever, and these' for those; the said boots not being then in the speaker's presence. A similar use of whenever' in The Abbot, vol. iii. ch. 2. And will’ is used for shall' in the letter to Captain Clutterbuck, (Introduction to the Monastery). •I • have never seen, and never will see, one of their faces, and notwith

standing, I believe that as yet I am better acquainted with them than any man who lives.'


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saw a magnificent piece of porcelain going to the furnace with the manifest impression of a workman's thumb. It is mortifying to anticipate that at some future day, a dunce who has · broken’ Priscian's • head across,' and given’ Lindley Murray bloody coxcomb*,' shall imagine himself to be composing after the author of Waverley.

It is not in the spirit of Momus's uncandid criticism on the Goddess of Beauty, that I hazard this free censure of a graceful but too negligent Muse. The lovely slattern may perhaps poutingly remark, that a true admirer of her natural perfections would overlook mere outward disadvantages; but I answer, that the very fondness with which we regard her transcendent charms, inflames our jealousy of whatever tends to obstruct their influence.

“ If thou, that bidst me be content, wert grin,

Ugly, and sland'rous to thy mother's womb,

Lame, foolish, crooked, swart, prodigious,


I would not care, I then would be content;
For then I should not love thee."

King John, Act III. Sc. l.

I speak the more unreservedly on this point, because the works of our two authors, although so loose and unfinished in general, yet contain more than enough of polished and harmonious writing to convince us that the faults complained of are not the result of any constitutional unaptness, of any innate or rooted indisposition to the limæ labor.' A great part, for instance, of the excellent Life of Dryden (prefixed to the edition of his works in eighteen volumes) is composed with an accuracy and neatness entirely unexceptionable; but in this as in the other productions under review (and here I include the poems), we may often find, within the compass of a few pages, two styles as different from each other as the sluttish Artemisia from the ele

* Twelfth Night, last scene.

gant Belinda.

It would, however, be unjust to dismiss this part of the subject without acknowledging that on some happy occasions both the novelist and his rival exhibit a much higher excellence than mere neatness or accuracy; I mean that irresistible natural sweetness which flows from true feeling and refined taste, and, without these, is unattainable by the most experienced pen. It is impossible for tenderness and poetic beauty of sentiment to be more enchantingly set off by artless melody of diction than in the first introductory pages of Old Mortality; and after indulging so unreservedly in the language of dispraise, I shall not, I think, incur your blame for extracting a passage which excites, in my mind, unmingled admiration.


• Most readers,' says the manuscript of Mr. Pattieson, 'must have witnessed with delight the joyous

burst which attends the dismissing of a villageschool on a fine summer evening. The buoyant • spirit of childhood, repressed with so much difficulty during the tedious hours of discipline, may then be seen to explode, as it were, in shout and song, and frolic, as the little urchins join in groups on their play-ground, and arrange their matches of sport for the evening. But there is one in

dividual who partakes of the relief afforded by the moment of dismission, whose feelings are not so obvious to the eye of the spectator, or so apt to receive his sympathy. I mean the teacher himself, who, stunned with the hum, and suffocated 6 with the closeness of his school-room, has spent the whole day (himself against a host) in controuling petulance, exciting indifference to action, striving to enlighten stupidity, and labouring to • soften obstinacy; and whose very powers of in• tellect have been confounded by hearing the same * dull lesson repeated a hundred times by rote, and

only varied by the various blunders of the reciters. Even the flowers of classic genius, with

which his solitary fancy is most gratified, have 'been rendered degraded, in his imagination, by • their connexion with tears, with errors, and with

punishment; so that the Eclogues of Virgil and Odes of Horace are each inseparably allied in


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6 association with the sullen figure and monotonous

recitation of some blubbering school-boy. If to • these mental distresses are added a delicate frame of body, and a mind ambitious of some higher • distinction than that of being the tyrant of childhood, the reader may have some slight conception

of the relief which a solitary walk, in the cool of a fine summer evening, affords to the head which • has ached, and the nerves which have been shat

tered, for so many hours, in plying the irksome • task of public instruction.

• To me these evening strolls have been the happiest hours of an unhappy life; and if any gentle reader shall hereafter find pleasure in perusing • these lucubrations, I am not unwilling he should • know, that the plan of them has been usually • traced in those moments, when relief from toil - and clamour, combined with the quiet scenery

around me, has disposed my mind to the task of - composition

My chief haunt, in these hours of golden leisure, is the banks of the small stream, which, winding through a ' lone vale of green bracken,' passes in front of the village school-house of Gandercleugh. For the first quarter of a mile, per"haps, I may be disturbed from my meditations, • in order to return the scrape, or doffed bonnet, of

such stragglers among my pupils as fish for trouts or minnows in the little brook, or seek rushes and

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