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BY THE Rev. C. C. COLTON, A. M.
LORD BYRON,' &c. &c.
PUBLISHED BY LONGMAN, HURST, REBS, ORME, AND BROWN,
AND MAY BE HAD OP ALL POOKSELLERS.
THERE are three difficulties in authorship ;-to write any thing worth the publishing to find honest men to publish it—and to get sensible men to read it. Literature has now become a game; in which the Booksellers are the Kings ; the Critics, the Knaves ; the Public, the Pack; and the poor Author, the mere Table, or Thing played upon.
For the last thirty years, the public mind has had such interesting and rapid incidents to witness, and to reflect upon, and must now anticipate
, some that will be still more momentous, that any thing like dulness or prosing in authorship, will either nauseate, or be refused; the realities of life have pampered the public palate with a diet so stimulating, that vapidity has now become as insipid as water to a dram-drinker, or sober sense to a fanatic.
The attempts however of dulness, are constantly repeated, and as constantly fail. For the misfortune is, that the Head of Dulness, unlike the tail of the torpedo*, loses nothing of her benumbing and lethargising influence, by reiterated discharges ;
* See Humboldt's account of the Gymnotus Electricue.
ride over her, and mules and asses may trample upon her, but with an exhaustless and a patient perversity, she continues her narcotic
operations even to the end. In fact, the Press was never so powerful in quantity, and so weak in quality, as at the present day; if applied to it, the simile of Virgil must be reverscd,“ Non trunco sed frondibus efficit Umbran." It is in Literature as in Finance-much Paper and much Poverty may co-exist.
It may happen that I myself am now committing the very crime that I think, I am censuring. But while justice to my readers compels me to admit that I write, because I have nothing to do, justice to myself induces me to add, that I will cease to write the moment I have nothing
Discretion has been termed the better part of valour, and it is more certain, that diffidence is the better part of knowledge. Where I am ignorant, and know that I am so, I am silent. That Grecian gave a better reason for his taciturnity, than most authors for their loquacity, who observed, “ What was to the purpose I could not say; and what was not to the purpose, I would not say.” And yet Shakespeare has hinted, that even silence is not always “commendable :" since it may be foolish if we are wise, but wise if we are foolish. The Grecian's maxim would indeed be a sweeping clause in Literature ; it would reduce many a giant to a pigmy; many a speech to a sentence; and many a folio to a primer.
As the great fault of our orators is, that they get up to make a