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not forward to communicate their occult disco-
veries to others : they are withheld partly by
envy, and partly by pusillanimity. The strongest
minds are by rights the most independent and
ingenuous: but then they are competitors in
the lists, and jealous of the prize. The prudent
(and the wise are prudent!) only add their
hearty applause to the acclamations of the mul-
titude, which they can neither silence nor dis-
pute. So Mr. Gifford dedicated those verses to
Mr. Hoppner, when securely seated on the
heights of fame and fortune, which before he
thought might have savoured too much of flat-
(tery or friendship. Those even who have the
sagacity to discover it, seldom volunteer to in-
troduce obscure merit into publicity, so as to
endanger their own pretensions : they praise the
world's idols, and bow down at the altars which
they cannot overturn by violence or undermine
by stealth! Suppose literary men to be the
judges and vouchers for literary merit:—but it
may sometimes happen that a literary man
(however high in genius or in fame) has no pas-
sion but the love of distinction, and hates every
person or thing that interferes with his inadmis-
sible and exorbitant claims. Dead to every
other interest, he is alive to that, and starts up,
like a serpent when trod upon, out of the slum-

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ber of wounded pride. The cold slime of in-
difference is turned into rank poison at the sight
of your approach to an equality or competition
with himself. If he is an old acquaintance, he
would keep you always where you were, under
his feet to be trampled on: if a new one, he
wonders he never heard of

before. As

you become known, he expresses a greater contempt for you,

and grows more captious and uneasy. The more you strive to merit his good word, the farther you are from it. Such characters will not only sneer at your well-meant endeavours, and kept silent as to your good qualities, but are out of countenance, “quite chop-fallen," if they find you have a cup of water, or a crust of bread. It is only when you are in a jail, starved or dead, that their exclusive pretensions are safe, or their Argus-eyed suspicions laid asleep. This is a true copy, nor is it taken from one sitting, or a single subject.-An author now-a-days, to succeed, must be something more than an author, — a nobleman, or rich plebeian : : the simple literary character is not enough. “Such a poor forked animal,” as a mere poet or philosopher turned loose upon public opinion, has no chance against the flocks of bats and owls that instantly assail him. It is name, it is wealth, it is title and influence that mollifies the tender,



The Tha And

It is jealou:

that 1

this, 1 day a


hearted Cerberus of criticism-first, by placing the honorary candidate for fame out of the reach of Grub-street malice; secondly, by holding out the prospect of a dinner or a vacant office to successful sycophancy. This is the reason why a certain Magazine praises Percy Bysshe Shelley, and villifies “ Johnny Keats *.” they know very well that they cannot ruin the one in fortune as well as in fame, but they may ruin the other in both, deprive him of a livelihood together with his good name, send him to Coventry, and into the Rules of a prison ; and this is a double incitement to the exercise of their laudable and legitimate vocation. We do not hear that they plead the good-natured motive of the Editor of the Quarterly Review, that “ they did it for his good,” because some one, in consequence of that critic's abuse, had sent the author a present of five-and-twenty pounds! One of these writers went so far, in a sort of general profession of literary servility, as

to declare broadly that there had been no great | English poet, and that no one had a right to

pretend to the character of a man of genius in this country, who was not of patrician birth—or connections by marriage! This hook was well baited.

* Written in June 1820.

These are the doctrines that enrich the shops, That pass with reputation through the land, And bring their authors an immortal name. It is the sympathy of the public with the spite, jealousy, and irritable humours of the writers, that nourishes this disease in the public mind; this, this "embalms and spices to the April day again," what otherwise "the spital and the lazar-house would heave the gorge at !"

Second Series, VOL. II.

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