« AnkstesnisTęsti »
or weaken one virtuous principle. But they are not composed like a forgotten novel of Dr. Towers's to be read aloud in dissenting families instead of a moral essay, or a sermon; nor like Mr. Kett's Emily to complete the education of young ladies by supplying them with an abstract of universal knowledge. Neither have they any pretensions to be placed on the same shelf with Celebs. But the book is a moral book; its tendency is good, and the morality is both the wholesomer and pleasanter because it is not administered as physic, but given as food. I don't like morality in doses."
“ But why, my good Mr. Author, why lay yourself open to censure ?"
“ Miss Graveairs, nothing excellent was ever produced by any author who had the fear of censure before his eyes. He who would please posterity must please himself by chusing his
There are only two classes of writers who dare do this, the best and the worst, -for this is one of the many cases in which extremes meet. The mediocres in
grade aim at pleasing the public, and conform themselves to the fashion of their age whatever it may be.”
My Doctor, like the Matthew Henderson of Burns, was a queer man, and in that respect I his friend and biographer, humbly resemble him. The resemblance may be natural, or I may have caught it,—this I pretend not to decide, but so it is. Perhaps it might have been well if I had resolved upon a farther designation of Chapters, and distributed them into Masculine and Feminine: or into the threefold arrangement of virile, feminile and puerile; considering the book as a family breakfast, where there should be meat for men, muffins for women, and milk for children. Or I might have adopted the device of the Porteusian Society, and marked my Chapters as they (very usefully) have done the Bible, pointing out what should be read by all persons for edification, and what may be passed over by the many, as instructive or intelligible only to the learned.
Here however the book is,
An orchard bearing several trees,
Ladies and Gentlemen, my gentle Readers, one of our liveliest and most popular old Dramatists knew so well the capricious humour of an audience that he made his Prologue say
He'd rather dress upon a Triumph-Day
But I, gentle Readers, have set before you a table liberally spread. It is not expected or desired that every dish should suit the palate of all the guests, but every guest will find something that he likes. You, Madam, may prefer those boiled chicken, with stewed celery,-or a little of that fricandeau ;—the Lady opposite will send her plate for some pigeon pye. The Doctor has an eye upon the venison-and so
* MIDDLETON and ROWLEY's Spanish Gipsey.
I see has the Captain.—Sir, I have not forgotten that this is one of your fast days—I am glad therefore that the turbot proves so good, -and that dish has been prepared for you. Sir John, there is garlic in the fricassee. The Hungarian wine has a bitterness which every body may not like; the Ladies will probably prefer Malmsey. The Captain sticks to his Port, and the Doctor to his Madeira.--Sir John I shall be happy to take Sauterne with you. There is a splendid trifle for the young folks, which some of the elders also will not despise : -and I only wish my garden could have furnished a better dessert; but considering our climate, it is not amiss.-Is not this entertainment better than if I had set you all down to a round of beef and turnips?
If any thing be set to a wrong taste
Like such a dinner I would have my book, -something for every body's taste and all good of its kind.
* BEN JONSON.
It ought also to resemble the personage of whom it treats; and
If ony whiggish whingin sot
To blame the Doctor dare man;
For the Doctor was a rare man !
Some whiggish sots I dare say will blame him, and whiggish sots they will be who do!
“ En un mot ; mes amis, je n'ai entrepris de vous contenter tous en general, ainsi uns et autres en particulier : et par special, moymême."