Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

the catastrophe of that miscreant adventurer!

But of all these pieces, some composed with more and some with less care and circumspection, more immediately forced itself

upon the attention, inscribed

one

TO AN OLD WOMAN.

Something of an introduction seems indispensable on the present occasion, and perhaps nothing more to the purpose could easily be met with ; so it is inserted verbatim et literatim from the original document.

My dear old Woman, “6 Those were good old times for

poor authors, when the usual accompaniment of an adulatory Dedication to some great personage, was ten pounds. Alas! there is no such thing now-a-days. It is well if when dismissed from the audience of the patron, you are bowed out with a little faint praise, and a civil leer. Yet such is the

effect

effect of habit, and so inconsistent is the character of man, that there are no authors of equal celebrity with myself, (hem!) who will condescend to place their works before the public, without a Dedication, or Inscription of one kind or other.

“ But as ill luck would have it, my literary pilgrimage has been so long and so extended, that I have exhausted my catalogue of illustrious names, numerous as it

I am compelled, as the French term it, “ jouer a coupe un," in other words, to play alone. I am reduced to the necessity of looking about for somebody who cannot in reason refuse the honour intended ; from whom nothing is to be expected but a good-humoured acquiescence in whatever I may choose to say; whose vanity expects no flattery, whose pride can receive no wound.

was.

66 Where then can I look with more complacency, comfort, and confidence, than to

66 MY DEAR OLD WOMAN?

66 Here

“ Here I may expatiate without fear of interruption, and what is more, without suspicion of my sincerity upon those intellectual qualities, which I have witnessed for almost half a century, growing as it were from a grain of mustard-seed to a tree, beneath whose spreading branches children and grand-children have reposed in security and peace. I might enlarge upon the sagacity which foresaw the approach of human ill, on the discretion which encountered, and on the fortitude which endured it. Yes! the imagination might indulge itself in remembering the delight with which we traversed together, the gay and enlivening fields of youth, and the cheerfulness and composure with which the chilling winds of age were opposed.

« But on this subject it is time to pause, difficult as it is to forego the last opportunity of expatiating upon these fairy visions, the remembrance of which is still so dear.

Mirror of Life, the glories thus depart

Of all that Love, and Youth, and Fancy frame, When painful Anguish speeds the piercing dart,

Or Envy blasts the blooming flowers of Fame.

• To conclude in plain prose. Mayst thou with whom the various incidents of a perturbed life have been participated, the pressure of which has again and again been alleviated by thy sympathy, accept, in no adulatory terms of praise, but in those of sober gratitude and truth, my heartfelt acknowledgments of thy goodness.

66 Well can I remember that when thou wast an object of admiration, not to the gay and thoughtless alone, but to the grave, the sedate, and the wise, that no external allurement could ever divert thee from the obligations of duty.

Nor can I forget that when our earlier career was obstructed by briars and thorns, thy sagacity found means to lessen their asperity, and thy unwearied exertions never failed to facilitate their removal. Surely too, amidst the sufferings and sorrows of repeated sickness, did thy tenderness assuage the pain, and impart the most delightful and salutary balın.

66 The

3

· The first vigour of my warm and youthful fancy was employed in representing the emotions excited by thy presence. The last occupation of my trembling pen, is to offer, with an unfeigned devotion, the solemn prayer, that thy decline of life may be as little rugged and disturbed as the condition of humanity will permit; and so Farewell."

« ПредишнаНапред »