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tations of many disappointed authors: but we have seldom, if ever, been more affected than by a letter from Mr. White of Nottingham, complaining of the tendency of our strictures on his poem of Cliftou Grove, in our last number. His expostulation is written with a warmth of feeling in which we truly sympathize, and which shall readily excuse, with us, some expressions of irritation: but Mr. White must receivė our most serious declaration, that we did “ judge of the book by the book itself;" excepting only, that from his former letter, we were desirous of mitigating the pain of that decision which our public duty required us to pro
We spoke with the utmost sincerity, when we stated our wishes for patronage to an unfriended man of talents, for talents Mr. White certainly possesses, and we repeat those wishes with equal cordiality. Let him still trust, that, like Mr. Giffard, (see Preface to his Translation of Juvenal), some Mr. Cookesley may yet appear, to foster a capacity which endeavours to escape from its present confined sphere of action; and let the opulent inhabitants of Nottingham reflect, that some portion of that wealth which they have worthily acquired by the habits of industry, will be laudably applied in assisting the efforts of mind.”
Henry was not aware that reviewers are infallible. His letter seems to have been answered by a different writer; the answer has none of the common-place and vulgar insolence of the criticism; but to have made any concession would have been admitting that a review can do wrong, and thus violating the fundamental principle of its constitution.
The poems which had been thus condemned, appeared to me to discover strong marks of genius. I had shewn them to two of my friends, than whom no persons living better understand what poetry is, nor have given better proofs of it; and their opinion coincided with my own. I was fully convinced of the injustice of this criticism, and having accidentally seen the letter which he had written to the reviewers, understood the whole cruelty of their injustice. In consequence of this I wrote to Henry, to encourage him: told him that though I was well aware how imprudent it was in young poets to publish their productions, his circumstances seemed to render that 'expedient, from which it would otherwise be right to dissuade him, advised him therefere, if he had no better prospects, to print a larger volume by subscription, and offered to do what little was in my power to serve him in the business. To this he replied in the following letter:
“ I dare not say all I feel respecting your opinion of my little volume. The extreme acrimony with which the Monthly Review (of all others the most important), treated me, threw me into a state of stupefaction; I regarded all that had passed as a dream, and thought I had been deluding myself into an idea of possessing poeʻic Gevius, when in fact I had only the longing, without the affiatus.I mustered resolution enough, however, to write spiritedly to them: their answer, in the ensuing number, was a tacit acknowledgment that they had been somewhat too unsparing in their correction. It was a poor attempt to salve over a wound wantonly and most ungenerously inflicted. Still I was damped, because I knew the work was very respectable, and therefore could not, I concluded, give a criticism grossly deficient in équity --the more especially, as I knew of no sort of inducement to extraordinary severity. Your letter, however, has revived me, and I do again venture to hope that I may still produce something which will survive me,
« With regard to your advice and offers of assistance, I will not attempt, because I am unable, to thank you for them. To-morrow morning I depart for Cambridge, and I have considerable hopes that, as I do not enter into the university with any sinister or interested views, but sincerely desire to perform the duties of an af. fectionate and vigilant pastor, and become more useful to mankind, I therefore have hopes, I say, that I shall find means of support in the University. If I do not, I shall certainly act in pursuance of your recommendations: and shall, without hesitation, avail myself of your offers of service, and of your directions.
“In a short time, this will be determined; and when it is, I shall take the liberty of writing to you at Keswick, to make yoų acquainted with the result.
“ I have only one objection to publishing by subscription, and I confess it has weight with me. It is, that in this step, I shall seem to be acting upon the advice, so unfeelingly and contumeliously given by the Monthly Reviewers, who say what is equal to this that had I gotten a subscription for iny poems, before their merit was known, I might have succeeded: provided, it seems, I had made a particular statement of my case; like a beggar, who stands with his hat in one hand, and a full account of his cruel treatment on the coast of Barbary, in the other, and so gives you his penny sheet for your sixpence, by way of half purebase, halfcharity,
“I have materials for another volume, but they were written principally while Clifton Grove was in the press, or soon after, and do not now at all satisfy me. Indeed, of late, I have been obliged to desist, almost entirely, from converse with the dames of Helicon. The drudgery of an attorney's office, and the pecessity of preparing myself, in case I should succeed in getting to College, in what little leisure I could boast, left no room for the flights of the ima. gination.”
In another letter he speaks, in still stronger terms, of what he had suffered from the unfeeling and iniquitous criticism.
« The unfavourable review (in the “ Monthly") of my unhappy work, has cut deeper than you could have thought; not in a litera. ary point of view, but as it affects my respectability. It represents me actually as a beggar, going about gathering money to put myself at college, when my book is worthless; and this, with every appearance of candour. They have been sadly misinformed respecting me: this review goes before me wherever I turn my steps; it haunts me incessantly, and I am persuaded it is an instrument in the hands of Satan to drive me to distraction, I must leave Nottingham."
It is not unworthy of remark, that this very reviewal, which was designed to crush the hopes of Henry, and suppress his struggling genius, has been in its consequences, the main occasion of bringing his Remains to light, and obtaining for him that fame which assuredly will be his portion. Had it not been for the indignation which I felt at perusing a criticism at once so cruel and so stupid, the little intercourse between Henry and myself would not have taken place; his papers would probably have remained in oblivion, and his name, in a few years, have been forgotten.
[ have stated that his opinions were, at one time, inclining towards deism; it needs not be said on what slight grounds the opinions of a youth must needs be founded: while they are confined to matters of speculation, they indicate, whatever their eccentricities, only an active mind; and it is only when a propensity is nanifested to such principles às give a sanction to inmorality, that they show something wrong at heart. One little poem of Henry's remains, which was written in this unsettled state of mind. It exhibits much of his character, and can excite no feelings towards him, but such as are favourable.
MY OWN CHARACTER.
Addressed (during illness) to a Lady.
DEAR Fanny, I mean, now I'm laid on the shelf,