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note, as well as of boldness, withdrawing a printed work, previous to the day of publication, is not without precedent in the annals of literature; yet the boldness of Dr. J-hn-n is so COLOSSAL, and his just confidence in the propriety of his own taste, and the foundness of his critical creed, so completely INEBRANLABLE, that one may be justified in doubting, whether it could be possible for him to bring himself to cancel, from prudence, that which he had once printed off for publication. So ftands the argument on one ide: but πανι λογω ίσος λογος árlexeilo; “ for every Rebutter, there is a SurRebutter;" as the shrewd Sextus has told uş.
But whatever may be the Editor's opinion with respect to the authenticity of the Tract now offered to the Public, he finds himself at full liberty to acknowledge, that he has more than once repented of the resolution he had formed to reprint it. He soon found that the sheets were in fome places so faint and blotted, and in others fo erased and torn, that it was impossible to present it for publication, unless in a manuscript copy, taken with much pains, and in which it would be necessary to call in the aid of conjecture towards completing the fense by supplement and interpolation. Difficult as this appeared in prospect, he found it still more difficult in execution : but, though he was often tempted to abandon his enterprize,
[x] Perseverance at last bore hiin through the labour he had undertaken. How he has acquitted himself in it, it belongs not to him to say, He may have committed mistakes; bur he has committed none that he possessed the means of avoiding. In one or two proper names, he is not sure but he may have supplied the defaced characters incorreetly.
From what has been now stated, this Tract mult neceffarily be supposed to meet the Public eye, in a state somewhat different from that in which it came from the pen of its supposed Author. The characteristic peculiarities of the Writer, and that poignancy which distinguishes all his productions, must naturally be found in it, in a disguised and flattened ftate; and the Strictures must have lost, of course, “ part of what Tem“ ple would call their Race; a word which,
applied to wines, in its primitive sense, means " the flavour of the soil."
It was once intended to print the Criticisin in a manner resembling the editions of Feftus, which distinguish, by a difference of character, the unimpaired passages in the original, from the supplements and interpolations. But technical reasons were adduced against this mode; to which the Editor was obliged to yield, as he was not able to refute them. In place of this contrivance he had substituted another, which would have equally gratified the curiosity of
the Lovers of the IMITATIVE ARTS, for whose entertainment this Publication was meant. In imitation of Mr. Brooke Boothby, he meant to have deposited the Original in the British Mufeum, for the inspection of the curious. But, alas! the late dreadful conflagration, which extended itself in part to his chambers, deprived him of the power of executing what he had planned. The zeal and activity of friends, which saved all his valuable property, overlooked these dirty sheets. The Editor soon after saw their remains. They had died a gentle death. The Aame seemed just to have reached them at the time its violence was spent; for they lay undisipated in a drawer half open, and which was little more than singed. The characters were in part legible, being marked in a pale white, spreading over a dark ground; furnishing at once a proof of identity, and claiming a joint appropriation of the character which the Poer had applied exclusively to man: « EVEN IN OUR ASHES LIVE THEIR WONTED FIRES.”
Lincoln's Inn, 15th Jan. 1783.
editions of some late publications (an irreglio larity into which the high prices of town-made books, and the low state of his own finances, have sometimes betrayed him, to the detriment of copy-hold rights, and “ against the “ form of the Statute in that case provided;") he found the parcel, on its arrival in' his chambers, to be double-fortified with swathes of printed sheets'; resembling, in their general appearance, what is known among the Trade, by the name of Imperfetions. This, being quite “ selon les Regles,” excited neither curiofity nor attention ; but approaching, foon after, the parcel to his teeth, for the purpose of undoing the twine, the wrappers were again forced upon bis eye ; when he perceived, by certain cabalistical marks upon the margins and field, and which his printer would laugh at him should he attempt to depict, that what he had taken at first for imperfections, were no other than proof-feets, of a work apparently critical, and which he felicitated himself on his chance of feasting on, perhaps before the Public. He fet himself accordingly to examine the sheets with attention; and found them, not without some surprise, to contain a methodical criticism upon Gray's “ Elegy written in a Country Churchyard;" executed in a manner somewhat outré, and containing Observations on certain other Poems of Gray, together with allusions to certain Analyses of them, 'which were referred to as preceding this particular Criticism, but which were not to be found in these sheets. A sudden thought now entered his head, and one which some will perhaps think he too bastily adopted. Having been lately reading Dr. J-hn-n's Criticism on Gray (a work which afforded himn infinite amusement), and the Doctor's manner being then strongly impressed on his mind; he fancied hè perceived a resemblance betwixt the style and mode of Criticism difplayed in the Doctor's Strictures on Gray's other Poems, and that adopted in the Criti-cism now before himn. The leges judicandi were the same; and the Editor was led to fancy it possible, that the Observations on the Elegy written in a Country Church-yard, were composed by Dr. J-hn--n, printed off for publication, along with the other parts of the Criticism on Gray, but afterwards withdrawn; from the suspicion that a censure fo free, of one of the most popular productions in the English language, might be ill-received by the Public. a 2
her ample gashes, and bellowing for her HABEAS CORPUS. ... There lay the redoubted JUNIUS, his body dis. membered by the axe, and his quarters at the King's difposal,----and there the stately G-B-NS, laniatum corpore toto, with the vehicle of his keen elocution böred through with red-hot iron, &c. &c.
Non, mihi si linguæ cēntum sint, oraque centum,