Puslapio vaizdai

dantry of a conclufion.

Several of the

wits of the laft age wrote pages on their own pre-existent state; and many writers of our times have penned volumes, which, if they have any meaning, tend to prove that it would have been better had they not exifted at all. Some fuppofe the road to fame lies through the labyrinth of inexplicable paradoxes; while others, who publish one book to difprove what they have written in another, feem to think that, in order to advance, it is necessary to move backward, like a crab. In vain does Criticism attempt to restrain these excurfive flights:-the modern Pegasus is too reftive to endure the rein, and too volatile to attend to the lafh; and most writers have fucceeded, who have attempted to found their reputation on the broad basis of fingularity; for what greater proof of originality and fpirit


can be given, than by doing or faying something which furprises or terrifies every body?

But though thefe huge Leviathans may thus toss and sport as they please in the great deeps of literature, the leffer fry of authors must fubmit to some precautions, or endure the harder alternative of annihilation. Our morose taskmasters not only impofe upon us the stern laws of having a beginning, a middle, and an end; but they state the neceffity of unity of defign, and an attention to costume in age, place, and character. As I purpofed, therefore, to treat of the effects arifing from the marriage of lady Monteith, it became neceffary for me to hurry into the midft of the fcene, to bring forth Powerfcourt-house in "high pomp jubilant;" and, like Homer, Virgil, and Milton, to adjust relative circumftances in an epifo

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epifodical manner. In one refpe& I differ from thefe high authorities, by making myself the relator; but even here I have an ingenious fiction ready to obviate critical afperity. It is only fuppofing me the old Neftor of the fable, or the chorus of the scene, and I may tell as many long ftories as I please, and moralife whenever I have an inclination, without offending against any of the ftatutes of Parnaffus in that case made and provided. I will now introduce my heroine upon the stage.

The connexion between a lively fenfible girl and a fickly petulant parent could be but flender; the concern, therefore, which Geraldine felt for lady Powerfcourt's death was foon overcome. She had long confidered Mrs. Evans as moft truly fulfilling the maternal character; and fhe felt for her judicious, firm, but affectionate reproofs, that

filial deference which the eternal whine of her mother's complaining cenfures failed to infpire. Under the care of an experienced governefs and celebrated mafters, procured at unfparing expence, the rapidly acquired every female grace and fuitable accomplishment; but it was to the instructions of Mrs. Evans, and to the tender friendship of her daughter Lucy, that her mind was indebted for its richest treasures.

At the age of feventeen fhe appeared an enchanting beauty; polite, fenfible, accomplished, affable, and generous; the idol of her father, the delight of her friends and dependants, the envy of the neighbourhood, and the object to which every man of fortune in the county fecretly afpired:

"She was indeed the glass

"Wherein the neighbouring youth did dress them


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Mifs Powerscourt's example would fanétion a fmall abfurdity; and her enchanting manners excited a herd of awkward imitators. They forgot, however, that it was her wit which fupported her opinion, and her graceful beauty that gave elegance to the form of a bonnet, or adjusted the drapery of a robe.

Some faftidious obfervers, who, cold to the fascination of captivating lovelinefs, contemplate "the human form divine" with the fame cautious difcrimination with which they would ana lyze the merits of a picture, pointed out fome fhades in this portrait. They obferved, that her vivacity at times approached to levity; that, under the form of eafy nonchalance, her eye was on the watch for adulation; and that the perfections which nature had fo liberally beftowed loft their most delicate


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