Page images
PDF
EPUB

from guilt, I do not affirm that much of sentiment and much of expression may not be detected in the vast collection of English poetry: it is sufficient for an author, that he uses not the words or ideas of another without acknowledgment, and this, and no more than this, I mean, by disclaiming debts of the kind; yet resemblances are sometimes so very striking, that it requires faith in a reader to admit they were undesigned. A line in the second Letter,

“ And monuments themselves memorials need,”

was written long before the author, in an accidental recourse to Juvenal, read

“Quandoquidem data sunt ipsis quoque fata sepulchris."

Sat. x. l. 146.

and for this I believe the reader will readily give me credit. But there is another apparent imitation in the life of Blaney (Letter xiv), a simile of so particular a kind, that its occurrence to two writers at the same time must appear as an extraordinary event; for this reason I once determined to exclude it from the relation; but, as it was truly unborrowed, and suited the place in which it stood, this seemed, on .after-consideration, to be an act of cowardice, and the lines are therefore printed as they were written about two months before the very same thought (prosaically drest) appeared in a periodical work of the last summer. It is highly probable, in these cases, that both may derive the idea from a forgotten but common source; and in this

way

I must entreat the reader to do me justice, by accounting for other such resemblances, should any be detected.

I know not whether to some readers the placing two or three Latin quotations to a Letter may not appear pedantic and ostentatious, while both they and the English ones may be thought unnecessary. For the necessity I have not much to advance; but if they be allowable (and certainly the best writers have adopted them), then, where two or three different subjects occur, so many of these mottoes seem to be required: nor will a charge of pedantry remain, when it is considered that these things are generally taken from some books familiar to the school-boy, and the selecting them is facilitated by the use of a book of common-place: yet, with this help, the task of motto-hunting has been so unpleasant to me, that I have in various instances given up the quotation I was in pursuit of, and substituted such English verse or prose as I could find or invent for my purpose.

THE BOROUGH.

LETTER I.

GENERAL DESCRIPTION.

These did the ruler of the deep ordain,
To build proud navies, and to rule the main.

Pope's Homer's Iliad, book vi, line 45.

Such scenes has Deptford, navy-building town,

Woolwich and Wapping, smelling strong of pitch ;
Such Lambeth, envy of each band and gown,
And Twickenham such, which fairer scenes enrich.

Pope's Imitation of Spenser.

Et cum coelestibus undis
Æquoreæ miscentur aquæ: caret ignibus æther,
Cæcaque nox premitur tenebris hiemisque suisque;
Discutient tamen has, præbentque micantia lumen
Fulmina : fulmineis ardescunt ignibus undæ.

Ovid. Metamorph. lib. xi. ver. 520.

VOL. U.

B

The Difficulty of describing Town Scenery-A Comparison with certain Views in the Country- The River and Quay - The Shipping and Business-Ship-Building-Sea-Boys and Port-Views—Village and Town Scenery again compared—Walks from Town-Cottage and adjoining Heath, &c.--House of Sunday Entertainment—The Sea: a Summer and Winter View-A Shipwreck at Night, and its Effects on Shore-Evening Amusements in the BoroughAn Apology for the imperfect View which can be given of these Subjects.

THE BOROUGH.

LETTER 1.

GENERAL DESCRIPTION.

“ DESCRIBE the Borough”—though our idle tribe
May love description, can we so describe,
That you shall fairly streets and buildings trace,
And all that gives distinction to a place?
This cannot be; yet, moved by your request,
A part I paint-let fancy form the rest.

Cities and towns, the various haunts of men,
Require the pencil; they defy the pen :
Could he, who sang so well the Grecian fleet,
So well have sung of alley, lane, or street ?
Can ineasured lines these various buildings show,
The Town Hall Turning, or the Prospect Row ?
Can I the seats of wealth and want explore,
And lengthen out my lays from door to door ?

« PreviousContinue »