« EelmineJätka »
I PUBLISHED the first edition of this work with fear and trembling; and though I have somewhat less anxiety on the present occasion, I am very far indeed from feeling confident of success. The very kind and favorable terms in which both the London and Calcutta critics have been pleased to speak of my productions, and the many flattering and most valuable letters that I have received from my native country from authors of unquestionable genius and high celebrity, and to most of whom I am personally a stranger, have encouraged me to publish this new editionthe first being out of print. I could wish it were consistent with delicacy to mention the names of those eminent individuals who have condescended to recognize the claims of an obscure countryman in a foreign land. But though, if it were fitting, I should eagerly adduce such authorities in my favor, and it might possibly be attributed to vanity or presumption, I can safely say that I should be actuated by a very different feeling. They who are confident of their own merits do not readily admit the necessity of such support. Besides, I know how much should be deducted from the praises of a private correspondent, even when that correspondent is a stranger, and has no other
aim or interest to serve than the gratification of a generous impulse. But the mere honour of an intellectual intercourse with some of the finest spirits of the age is a fair subject of self-congratulation; and after every allowance shall be made for the warmth of compliment, I cannot help feeling that enough of commendation will remain to permit of my pleasing myself with the hope, that there may be something in the following pages not wholly unworthy of perusal.
Divided as I am, by such a dreary distance, from all personal association with the many gifted natures with whom I should be proud and delighted to be more intimately acquainted, it is a source of unspeakable gratification to me in this state of exile, that I am still able to continue even so imperfect an interchange of thought and sentiment as is afforded by epistolary converse; and whatever may be the fate of my humble literary efforts, I must always rejoice that they have met the indulgent eye of the persons to whom I venture to allude-that they have increased the list of my friends both here and in England,— and that they have whiled away many a weary hour with
an innocent amusement.
A comparison of the present edition with the first would show that there are numerous additional verses and prose papers included in the one that were not inserted in the other, and that there is scarcely a single essay which is not in some degree enlarged, and I trust improved.
CONTENTS. VOLUME I.
ON CARE AND CONDENSATION IN WRITING,
ON GOING HOME,
ON THE FREQUENT COMPLAINT OF WANT OF MEMORY,
ON IMITATIVE HARMONY,
ON THE NEW YEAR AND THE OLD,
ON BYRON'S OPINION OF POPE,
ON MEN OF THE WORLD,
THE ATOSSA BRIBE,
THEALMA AND CLEARCHUS,
SIR EGERTON BRYDGES,
ON THE ART OF READING,
ON PROSE MEMORANDA FOR POETICAL COMPOSITION,
ON LITERARY FAME AND LITERARY PURSUITS.
THERE is nothing more captivating than literary fame; and there are few men, who could resist its fascination if they thought it within their reach. It inflames the heart with a delicious poison. It excites a feverish thirst of praise that grows with what it feeds on, and too often destroys that healthy and tranquil tone of mind which is essential to genuine happiness. Of all human glory, it is the least allied to "a sober certainty" of enjoyment. It is generally attended with wild inquietudes, and a morbid sensibility to the strokes of fate and the mutabilities of opinion. The mariner, who trusts his life and fortunes to the treacherous ocean, regards not the varying winds of heaven with an anxiety so intense, as that with which the poet listens to the fickle voice of popular applause. The fame of the warrior occasions a comparatively temperate excitement. His exertions are chiefly physical; his achievements are palpable and defined; his honours are certain and immediate. All classes of men may judge with accuracy and precision of strength and courage, of victory or defeat. A gallant action is as warmly applauded and as fully appreciated by the artisan as by the soldier. Even the reputation of the statesman, though accompanied with greater care and perplexity of mind than the triumphs of the hero, is more open to general comprehension, and is less