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That a second volume of “ The IRIS” should be
submitted to the Public, is a sufficient indication of the favourable reception which was experienced by the first. For the encouragement thus afforded to their undertaking at a period of almost unprecedented embarrassment, the Proprietors are truly grateful;- and the present volume will, they confidently trust, prove that they are anxious to merit a continuance of the public approbation.
Of the Editor's peculiar duties, one part alone is attended with other than pleasurable feelings. He has received so many valuable communications, of which he has been prevented from availing himself,—- some which have reached him too late for insertion, and others which are not sufficiently adapted to the peculiar nature of the work; —that he is precluded from expressing his gratitude, except by a general acknowledgment. He cannot, however, refrain from specifying several articles of superior interest, which were designed for insertion in this volume, and which the limits of the work compelled him most reluctantly to omit.“ The Ways of Pleasantness,” a Tale, by Mrs. Sherwood; “The Christian Gladiator,” by Miss Agnes STRICKLAND; a “Memorial of Edward Seymour,” by the HarrovIAN; and the “Bride of Draumur Vatn,” an Icelandic Tale, by the Author of the ‘Bath of Isis.' Nor would he do justice to his feelings, did he omit the tender of his thanks to the Author of the Last of the Plantagenets,' for his beautiful “ Scene of the Pestilence ;” of the Author of “ Judith,” whose name, were he permitted to mention it, would stamp authority on the facts which constitute the foundation of the tale; to the Venerable Archdeacon Spencer; the Rev. Drs. Rudge and Booker; the Rev. Messrs. C. R. Ashfield, J. H. Caunter, Pearson, Creed, Thomas, Cushman (of Philadelphia), the Author of 'Cottage Melodies,' Edmund Morris, of Philadelphia, and many other Correspondents, English and American, by whose kindness he hopes to profit in a future volume.
The EMBELLISHMENTS will be found, it is presumed, to say the least, not inferior, either in interest or in execution, to those of the preceding volume. In the selection of these, the Editor can claim no merit; but he willingly becomes the organ of the Proprietors, in offering their most grateful acknowledgments to the Most Noble the MARQUIS OF EXETER, to whom they are indebted for permission to engrave the exquisite picture of Christ Blessing the Bread, by Carlo Dolci ; and The Mother and Child, by Correggio: to Samuel Rogers, Esq., whose kindness supplied the picture of Christ meeting Mary in the Garden, by Titian : and to the Governors of the FOUNDLING HOSPITAL,
for the interesting subject, by West, which constitutes the Frontispiece. The Vignette, Christ Crowned with Thorns, is from an original drawing, by the late lamented President of the Royal Academy, now in the possession of the Publishers; -and should the introduction of Engravings from modern Artists be considered as a departure from the original plan, the distinguished names of Sir Joshua Reynolds, Benjamin West, and Sir Thomas Lawrence, — three brilliant hues, blending to form an “Iris” of British art— will doubtless be accepted as an apology.
It only remains to add, that the principle on which this Work was originally planned, “that recreative reading should be made subservient to the great ends of religious and moral instruction ;” a principle which the Public has sanctioned by its approval — has been rigidly adhered to in the volume for 1831. And if we cannot adopt the quaint but high-sounding titles which our ancestors gave to publications of a similar nature to the present;—if we cannot designate our
« Annual” as a Gorgeous GALLERY OF GALLANT Inventions, or a PARADISE OF Dainty Devices, or a Phenix Nest, or even a GARDEN OF THE Muses; we may, at least, claim for it the more modest appellation of a SMALL HANDFUL OF FRAGRANT Flowers, SELECTED AND GATHERED OUT OF THE LOVELY GARDEN OF Holy SCRIPTURE ; and address, in the name of our “Iris,” both to readers and reviewers, the following humble but expressive lines of the worthy old Editor, Nicholas Breton.
Since I, poor book, am put into thy hand,
Although the tome or volume little be,
With zealous mind, I beg and crave of thee :
If, then, I cast a jewel unto thee,
Play not the cock that Æsop speaketh on;
Than for to find the costly precious stone.