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it as a record of past feelings, as a proof that though now thoroughly estranged from those idle. chimæras, school friendships, I have never forgotten that they once existed. Indeed any such juvenile recollections, however puerile per se, are sacred from their association with Dr. Valpy, the most liberal and the most enlightened of scholars and of men. In this, I believe, and in some other Essays, I have ventured to use the numerical representative we, which, however, is merely adopted to conceal the individuality of the unit.
The poem of the Village Girl, was suggested by a similar occurrence, that took place a few years since at the Isle of Wight. I have put it into the mouth of a prolix peasant, who is supposed to be well acquainted with the circumstances, and to relate them to an assemblage of the neighbourhood. With respect to the versification of this, as well as of the other trifles in the volume, I am aware that like some arrant poacher, I am trespassing on the manors of Parnassus, and that the critics, the game-keepers of the estates, will not only warn me off the premises, but peradventure have a shot at me as I retire. On this point secure in conscious innocence, I am impregnable. Though I have got no licence, I have done no damage, and am not afraid of being mistaken for a
Bard; for the Village Girl, with her usual candor, will honorably acquit me of any such poetical capabilities.
In the legend of the Devil's Coach, I have lowly and reverently to apologise for condemning so many worthy publishers to H-ll. But what in the name of poetical justice, was I to do? Had I placed them in heaven, the critics aware of such an utter improbability, would have laughed in their sleeves-those at least who had any to laugh inand had I terminated their existence with the grave, the injured ghosts of Grub-street would have haunted me for my glaring injustice. Trembling at the bare idea of such a visitation, I forthwith plunged them into Tophet, where as the present winter is likely to be a cold one, I trust that they will not sustain much inconvenience.
The first part of the School-master, is borrowed from a similar anecdote related of the celebrated Dr. Busby, one of those sturdy flagellants, who to use the language of Diedrich Knickerbocker, "first discovered the marvellous sympathy between the seat of honor, and the seat of intellect; and that the shortest way to get knowledge into the head, was to hammer it into the bottom." The circumstance of his love is purely fictitious; but the pun which concludes the tale, is the pro
perty of the witty writer of Lacon. I think it right to mention this fact, in order that my Punica fides may be in no wise impeached.
In the essay on Falling in Love, it was my intention to have glanced at the brief and flimsy petticoats of our ball-room belles. But this is a delicate subject to handle, and as young ladies are almost as reluctant to take advice, as to take physic; I feared that from spite they might leave off petticoats altogether, so like Peter Stuyvesant on a similar occasion, I contented myself with simply disserting on the modern system of manufacturing love-jobs. And here it may not be amiss to observe, that this, together with a few additional essays have already appeared in print, and that some of them have been inserted without acknowledgement in divers periodical publications. To this I could not reasonably object, if there had been no admixture of sentiment or style; for I am not unwilling to stand god-father to my own peccadillos, but have a marvellous reluctance to father the abortions of others. By such adulterations, indeed, the blessings invoked on my worldly undertakings by reason of my name are utterly annihilated; although at the same time I never hear a benediction pronounced upon "all Bishops, Priests, and Deacons," without slily
chuckling at the idea, that I am a nominal partner in the firm.
But one word more-the plan of my volume having compelled me to place'this sort of explanation at the end, when it would have been better adapted to the commencement, I have, I trust, but to mention the motives, in order to satisfy the most orthodox scruples of my readers, from whom in the meantime, I beg leave for once and for ever to withdraw.
HOWLETT AND BRIMMER, PRINTERS, IO, FRITH STREET, souo.