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should be, and in the act of ascending from a circle of houyhnhnms, kneeling around him in the act of adoration.
But for Pope's exquisite mock-heroic, what should we have known of Lord Petre, the lock-severing peer; or of Mrs. Arabella Fermor, from whom the fatal ringlet was excised; or of Sir George Brown, the Sir Plume of the Poem, who, in Bowles's splenetic edition, smirks at us in an engraving in all the self-satisfaction of a black wig, embroidered sleeve, and silken sash? After strutting their little hour upon the stage of life, they would long since have sunk into their original dust, and the passing of a single century would have overwhelmed them in impenetrable oblivion.
Patrician and wealthy readers! I implore you to bear in mind that Cheops and Cephrenes, who entrusted their preservation to the Pyramids, have been filched from their sarcophagi, and nobody knows by whom. I invite you to contemplate that affecting rebuke of ancestral pride, the burial-place of Thebes, whence the mummies of the whole aristocracy are dug up as fuel, cut into hundred and half hundred weights, and sold to the Arabs for the purpose of heating their ovens. Now, if they had committed the preservation of their name and exploits to some competent poet, they might have abandoned their earthly tegument to its kindred element;-they could not altogether have perished. Had they been embalmed in verse, they need not have been solicitous about pickling their bodies. I counsel you seriously to perpend what Epicurus wrote to Idomeneus: "All the glory and gran
deur of Persia, even should you succeed in all your undertakings, will never equal the honour conferred on you by my letters ;"—and that Seneca, writing to Lucullus, says; "I have credit with posterity, and can confer immortality upon you:" both of which assertions have been abundantly verified. But it is useless to multiply examples, or accumulate exhortations. Mine, I repeat, is the sole perpetuity. I have a seat to sell, not in a certain House, but in an imperishable vehicle just about to start for posterity. I have a portion of immortality to dispose of; and that it may be fairly knocked down to the highest bidder, I request that all offers and tenders may be sent to the publishers, postage paid, it being always understood that the fortunate purchaser of my Dedication must undertake to get my work noticed in the Edinburgh and Quarterly Reviews, or I will not answer for the sale of my first edition.
I WISH I had been born in that bloom and spring of the young world which modern phlegmatists presume to denominate the fabulous ages. To have died then would have been better than to live now; for me
thinks I might have left a name alone whose shadowy existence should have been sweeter than my present dull and lustreless vitality. When the beautiful Helle . fell from the golden-fleeced ram into the sea, since called the Hellespont, I might, perchance, (for I am as stout a swimmer as Leander,) have supported her fainting loveliness to the Propontic shore ;-might I not have arrested the flight of Cupid when the fatal curiosity of the trembling Psyche shook the oil from her suspended lamp and broke his slumbers; or have assisted Arethusa in the rescue of Proserpine, when "swarthy Dis" tore her from the flowers she was gathering "in Enna's field, beside Pergusa's lake," and so have left my name to be entwined with those rose-like nymphs in the unfading wreaths of poesy ?Of one thing I am confident; I should have joined the expedition of the Argonauts. My feet would have instinctively hurried me to the sea-shore,
"When Hercules advanced with Hylas in his hand,
for even now I have taken the same leap with my imagination. I feel myself shaking hands with the warriors and demigods, the sons of Jupiter, Neptune, Bacchus, and the winds, who formed the glorious crew; I taste the banquet and hear the music in the Cave of Chiron; I see the enamoured Naiads stretching up their white arms to pull the blooming Hylas into their fountain as he stoops to fill his vase; and I feel myself a partaker in the adventures with the
Harpies and Sirens, and all the magic and Mystery of Medea and the Golden Fleece. What a delicious perpetuity of stimulus and excitement, when the unexplored world was not only a continual novelty, offering fresh nations and wilder wonders with every new coast that was navigated, or country that was explored, but supernatural prodigies, "Gorgons, and Hydras, and chimeras dire," established themselves in every lone mountain and sequestered cave; and the woods, waves, and fields were peopled with şatyrs, fauns, and nymphs; while innumerable deities, hovering in the elements, occasionally presented themselves to human vision! In those imaginative days the faculties of man kept bounding from one enchantment to another. All nature was ready-made poetry, and life itself the very quintessence of vitality.
Oh, the contrast of the present!-We have passed through all the stages of civilization, and arrived at the antipodes of the fabulous: the world is in its old age; the fountain of its young fancies is as dry and dusty as a turnpike-road. We have fallen upon evil days, ay, and upon evil tongues too, for there is a suicidal rage for destroying the imaginations of our own youth, and degrading into bald, hateful allegory, all the poetic visions and romantic illusions of the world's infancy. It is a dull, plodding, scientific, money-getting, measuring, calculating, incredulous, cold, phlegmatic, physical age-a tangible world, limited to the proof of sense- -a horrible æra of fact. We have dragged up Truth from the bottom of a well, and looking through her muddy spectacles, refuse to
see any thing beyond our nose. If it appear too startling to aver that ignorance is bliss, I can maintain, from my own experience, that it is sometimes a misery to grow wise. With what awful wonder, not untempered by delight, have I, when a boy, contemplated a Will-o'-the-wisp, or Jack-o'-lanthorn, especially if he performed his luminous minuet in the vicinity of a churchyard; and how intensely was I interested in Dr. Shaw's account of the mysterious ignis fatuus which attended his whole company for above an hour in the valleys of Mount Ephraim, in the Holy Land; not to mention the numerous ballads and stories illuminated by the presence of this ominous flame!—Alas! it never appears to me now; and if it did, I should only recollect that one nasty philosopher has assured me it is generated by putrescence; another maintains it to be gaseous; and I have the satisfaction of reflecting that, under a new modification, I may every night see those fine old mysterious personages, Jack and Will, imprisoned in a lamp, and shedding their innocuous light upon the gutters of Thames-street and Pudding-lane. Their near relation, the fire-damp, the destructive agency of which, in mines, has rivetted my attention to many a tale of terror, has, by another lamp, been rendered so passive and uninflammable, that he now takes fire at nothing, and affords no materials for sympathy or fear.
Thunder and lightning have lost many of their sublime associations, since I have learnt the theory of their production. Every theatre contains a Salmoneus -the electric fluid has been brought down from