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ON BRITISH NOVELS AND ROMANCES, INTRODUCTORY TO A SERIES OF
CRITICISMS ON THE LIVING NOVELISTS
COLLEY CIBBER'S APOLOGY FOR HIS LIFE
ON THE GENIUS AND WRITINGS OF WORDSWORTH
HAZLITT'S LECTURES ON THE DRAMA
WALLACE'S PROSPECTS OF MANKIND, NATURE, AND PROVIDENCE
MR. OLDAKER ON MODERN IMPROVEMENTS .
New Monthly Magazine.
DESTRUCTION OF THE BRUNS CK THEATRE BY FIRE
FIRST APPEARANCE OF Miss Fanny KEMBLE
THE MELO-DRAMAS AGAINST GAMBLING .
ON THE INTELLECTUAL CHARACTER OF THE LATE WILLIAM HAZLITT 121
ADDRESS AT THE ANNIVERSARY OF THE MANCHESTER ATHENÆUM 132
Manchester Guardian, October 25, 1845.
SPEECH FOR THE DEFENDANT IN THE PROSECUTION OF THE QUEEN v.
Moxon, FOR THE PUBLICATION OF SHELLEY's Works .
Delivered in the Court of Queen's Bench, June 23, 1841.
SPEECH ON THE MOTION FOR LEAVE TO BRING IN A BILL TO AMEND THE
Delivered in the House of Commons, Thursday, May 18, 1837.
SPEECH ON THE MOTION FOR THE SECOND READING OF THE BILL TO
Delivered in the House of Commons, Wednesday, April 25, 1838.
Speech On MOVING THE SECOND READING OF A BILL TO AMEND THE
Delivered in the House of Commons, Thursday, February 28, 1839.
ON BRITISH NOVELS AND ROMANCES, INTRODUCTORY TO A
SERIES OF CRITICISMS ON THE LIVING NOVELISTS.
[New MONTHLY MAGAZINE.)
We regard the authors of the best novels fair and glistening eyes in moments snatched and romances as among the truest benefactors from repose, and beneath counters and shopof their species. Their works have often con boards minister delights “secret, sweet, and veyed, in the most attractive form, lessons of precious.” It is possible that, in particular the most genial wisdom. But we do not prize instances, their effects may be baneful; but, on them so much in reference to their immediate the whole, we are persuaded they are good. aim, or any individual traits of nobleness with | The world is not in danger of becoming too which they may inform the thoughts, as for romantic. The golden threads of poesy are not their general tendency to break up that cold 100 thickly or too closely interwoven with the and debasing selfishness with which the souls ordinary web of existence. Sympathy is the of so large a portion of mankind are encrusted. first great lesson which man should learn. It They give to a vast class, who by no means will be ill for him if he proceeds no farther; if would be carried beyond the most contracted his emotions are but excited to roll back on his range of emotion, an interest in things out of heart, and to be fostered in luxurious quiet. themselves, and a perception of grandeur and But unless he learns to feel for things in which of beauty, of which otherwise they might ever he has no personal interest, he can achieve have lived unconscious. Pity for fictitious suf- nothing generous or noble. This lesson is in ferings is, indeed, very inferior to that sympa- reality the universal moral of all excellent rothy with the universal heart of man which mances. How mistaken are those miserable inspires real self-sacrifice; but it is better even reasoners who object to them as giving "false to be moved by its tenderness, than wholly to be pictures of life-of purity too glossy and etheignorant of the joy of natural tears. How real-of friendship too deep and confiding-of many are there for whom poesy has no charm, love which does not shrink at the approach of and who have derived only from romances ill, but looks on tempests and is never shaken,” those glimpses of disinterested heroism and because with these the world too rarely blosideal beauty, which alone “make them less for. soms! Were these things visionary and unlorn,” in their busy career! The good house- real, who would break the spell, and bid the dewife, who is employed all her life in the seve-licious enchantment vanish? The soul will rest drudgery, has yet some glimmerings of a not be the worse for thinking too well of its state and dignity above her station and age, kind, or believing that the highest excellence and some dim vision of meek, angelic suffer is within the reach of its exertions. But these ing, when she thinks of the well-thumbed vo- things are not unreal; they are shadows, inlume of Clarissa Harlowe, which she found, deed, in themselves; but they are shadows cast when a girl, in some old recess, and read, with from objects stately and eternal.
Man can breathless eagerness, at stolen times and mo- never imagine that which has no foundation in ments of hasty joy. The careworn lawyer or his nature. The virtues he conceives are not politician, encircled with all kinds of petty the mere pageantry of his thought. We feel anxieties, thinks of the Arabian Nights Enter- their truth-not their historic or individual tainments, which he devoured in his joyful truth—but their universal truth, as reflexes of school-days, and is once more young, and in- human energy and power. It would be enough nocent, and happy. If the sternest puritan were for us to prove that the imaginative glories acquainted with Parson Adams, or with Dr. which are shed around our being, are far Primrose, he could not bate the clergy. If brighter than “the light of common day," which novels are not the deepest teachers of hu- mere vulgar experience in the course of the manity, they have, at least, the widest range. world diffuses. But, in truth, that radiance is They lend to genius "lighter wings to fly." not merely of the fancy, nor are its influences They are read where Milion and Shakspeare lost when it ceases immediately to shine on are only talked of, and where even their names our path. It is holy and prophetic. The best are never heard. They nestle gently beneath joys of childhood—its boundless aspirations the covers of unconscious sofas, are read by and gorgeous dreams, are the sure indications