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ILLUSTRATIONS

of

STERNE.

B

STERNE, for whose sake I plod thro' miry ways
Of antic wit, and quibbling mazes drear,
Let not thy shade malignant censure fear,
Tho' aught of borrow'd mirth my search betrays.
Long slept that mirth in dust of ancient days,
(Erewhile to GUISE, or wanton VALOIS dear)
Till wak'd by thee in SKELTON's joyous pile,
She flung on TRISTRAM her capricious rays.
But the quick tear, that checks our wond'ring

smile,

In sudden pause, or unexpected story,
Owns thy true mast'ry; and Le Fevre's woes,
Maria's wand'rings, and the Pris'ner's throes
Fix thee conspicuous on the shrine of glory,

ILLUSTRATIONS,
&c.

CHAPTER I.

Probable origin of Sterne's ludicrous writings.-General account of the nature of the ludicrous.-Why the sixteenth century produced many authors of this class.

It sometimes happens, in literary pursuits, as in the conduct of life, that particular attachments grow upon us by imperceptible degrees, and by a succession of attentions, trifling in themselves, though important in their consequences. When I published some desultory remarks on the writings of Sterne, a few years ago, having told all that I knew, I had no intention to resume the subject. But after an enquiry

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