« PreviousContinue »
IT is much easier to read a book, than to write one;—and should any sceptical gentleman doubt this proposition, I wish, for his own satisfaction, he would make the experiment.
— A reader may, either with or without his spectacles, as he and his eyes can settle it, travel through a volume just at what rate he pleases, or stop short the instant that he finds
Vol. II. B his
his road unentertaining; but a poor devil of an author must go on with the utmost caution, — looking backwards, and forwards, and sideways, and endways — and hath business enough on his hands, to keep every thing tight together, that his work doth not fumble to pieces.—He is in truth, only the reader's pioneer, to clear all obstructions, open his views, and render his way cheerful.-—
As every advantage seems to be thrown on the reader's side, I must, as an author, contend, that there are some indulgences due to us. — I do not presume to hint, that we have the privilege os taking a nap, because our reader hath; on the contrary, it is incumbent on us to keep his eyes open as long as possible, as his fleep may be death to us;—but surely, while
^we are busied in entertaining him, we may be allowed a little recreation ourselves,—and if a delicious meadow, or a tempting piece of greensward, lies by the road-side, what .literary code. is there, to prohibit our taking a eanter over it, though it lie out of the straight line of our journey ? — For my own part, whenever the old horse I ride hath a mind for a frisk, either to the right, or the left, I feel that I must, and will, indulge his humour, in spite of all the canons of criticism. — As long as it is natural, they may fire and welcome.— — Now straight lines are, and ever were, my aversion.; —my writingmaster could never tempt me when a child, to use them;—they may serve admirably well for rulers — walking.ilicks—^masts—or may.poles, — but B 2 the
the line of beauty disavows them.— The French, it is true, lay out their roach by them, because their notions of liberty and property, allow them to cut through any thing,—but ours in this country, being more delicate on the subject, it is by many curves —and windings—and pleasant turnings, that we get from town to town. —In short, straight lines are now absolutely exploded,—they are not found to lead to the preferments of the world;—nor do hereditary virtues, or fortunes, run any longer in them! — Every road from Berwick upon TwEEp to Penzance, is zig-zag— every modern walk, and plantation, zig-zag,—every avenue about court, zig-zag,—rand so too are all our ideas; •— nay, and what is much to be lamented, so are all our lives too. —