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I knew thee when that tongue was sweeter,
Or sweeter seem'd to be ;
Or so it seemed to me.
Had hung upon thy song,
Nor sought the applauding throng.
Not all indifferent;
With love alone was blent.
Like what I once adored;
I would not be its lord.
These wove my spirit's net;
SELECTED FOR THE MUSEUM,
From unpublished Manuscripts. It is pleasant and instructive too to take a peep into the study of a celebrated author, and watch the process by which he arrives at celebrity; to mark the first draft of a work, and trace the various alterations and polishings which it undergoes before it is deemed worthy of meeting the eye of the great world. Where excellence has been attained, the labour has in general not been slight, nor the time short. Inspiration descends in the likeness of a dove only upon the heads of a very few of the favoured of heaven: the greater part of those whose eyes and resolutions are fixed on performing something deserving of praise, must supply its place by silent toil and unceasing diligence. Of the latter class was Samuel Butler, a great quantity of whose unpublished manuscripts are now in our possession, from which we are able to trace the mode of composition which he practised. Butler's progress was by “ toilsome steps and slow;" although he was one of the wittiest, he was also one of the most learned of authors: he had not only read every thing which was commonly read by the philosophers and poets of his time, but he had deviated into all the obscure corners and by-ways of literature, and devoured whatever was strange or fantastical, learned or ridiculous. The extent of his knowledge was only equalled by the keenness of his observation, and the brilliancy of his wit. He had an eye for every thing whimsical or singular, the most exquisite perception of the resemblances and differences of things; his comparisons are uncommon, and his combinations surprising. Of these characteristics, the manuscripts
afford abundant examples. They are partly in prose and partly in
For breaking of the laws of the land, at least,
Can cast up all their reckonings, how long
It turns edge when it ventures upon truth. Some other couplets are distinguished by the curious manner in which opposite things are brought together, and some by the singularity of the rhyme. We add a few examples.
For to hang oneself is counted no disgrace,
The following are specimens of the manner in which the Common-place Book is composed.
As no edge is accounted sharp and keen,
So the blind moor that smelling to a clod,
As candles tremble when they give us light. Several parts of the above extracts are distinguished by the peculiar aptness and novelty which characterize Hudibras, and are not unworthy of the pen of Butler. They are also deserving of notice, as showing, in some measure, the manner in which he composed. He seems to have considered these books as mere depositaries of his loose thoughts, which he has heaped together without care or selection, reserving the classification of them to such times as he should have occasion to bring them into actual use. They are written as fairly out as they could be, without blot or obliteration, and, to the eye, have the appearance of a series of regular poems, instead of paragraphs, which have no mutual dependence or connexion. We shall give more of them.
Mr. MʻPhun, we understand, intends giving as a frontispiece to his next volume of the Glasgow Mechanics' Magazine, a highly finished portrait of Professor Anderson, the original founder of Mechanics' Institutions. This engraving is from a very scarce etching in the possession of Alexander MʻGrigor, Esq. of Kernock, in which, it is said, the likeness of thewenerable Doctor is remarkably well preserved.
New Editions. The following whimsical law-suit is at present the subject of much conversation in Paris:-A dramatic author, Mr. C. B. sold to a publisher an edition of one of his last comedies, for 1,500 francs. The publisher, however, find. ing the work go off heavily, by dint of a new title-page converted the copies of the first edition, which remained on his hands, into a second, and even a third edition. The author has brought his action against the publisher, and nobody can guess how the matter will be decided.
The encouragement given to oriental literature in France, becomes every day more extensive, the vast stores of the royal library, so rich in oriental literature, are to be explored anew, and those MSS. deemed worthy of impression are to be printed at the public expense.
The governments of Europe vie with each other in seconding this impulse. The King of Prussia has founded an university at Bonn, which is devoted to the study of the Asiatic languages; the King of Bavaria, the Duke of Gotha, and the King of Denmark, have sent into Asia and into Africa in search of manuscripts; Holland brings forth successors to the Schultens, and Russia is lavish in its encouragements and rewards to genius.
After mentioning these facts, a report by the keeper of the seals in Paris, proceeds: “Would it not be possible, after the model of the great Byzantian collection, and the compilations of the councils, and of the historians of France, which were formerly executed at the royal press, to undertake the formation of a collection of the principal oriental works, to be published under the auspices of your Majesty? It would be very easy for the royal press* to complete the execution of this enterprise, without any interruption in the usual course of its proceedings, or even without its causing any material expense.”
A decree has since been issued, containing regulations for the accomplishment of the project.
Mr. Bentley, a member of the Asiatic Society, has in the press, we understand, “ An Historical View of the Hindu Astronomy,” from the earliest dawn of that sci. ence in India, down to the present time.
Preparing for publication, Remains of the Rev. Christian Frederick Schwartz, Missionary in India; consisting of lis Letters and Journals; with a Sketch of his Life.
Select Specimens of English Prose and Poetry, from the Age of Elizabeth to the present l'ime, including, in a moderate size, considerable portions of those authors who have had a decided influence over our language and literature; to which will be added, Introductory Essays, by the Rev. Geo. Walker, Head-master of the Leeds Grammar-school, in two volumes, duodecimo, are nearly ready for publication.
Mr. C. A. Elton, author of Specimens of the Classic Poets, has in the press a History of the Roman Emperors, from the Accession of Augustus to the Fall of the last Constantine.
Sketches, Political, Geographical, and Statistical, of the United Provinces of Rio de la Plata, &c., will soon be published.
The Second Correspondence of Madame de Maintenon, and the Princess des Ursines, from the original letters, in the possession of the Duke de Choiseul, is in the press; and stated to contain a more interesting account of the political transactions and secret intrigues of the Court of Louis XIV. than any other hitherto published.
The royal press was founded by Francis the First, and has since that era greatly contributed to the adrancement of learning.-Ed. L. G.