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TO THE PRINTER
THE ST. JAMES'S CHRONICLE.
As there is nothing I dislike so much as newspapercontroversy, particularly upon trifles, permit me to be as concise as possible in informing a correspondent of yours, that I recommended Blainville's Travels, because I thought the book was a good one; and I think so still. I said, I was told by the bookseller that it was then first published; but in that, it seems, I was misinformed, and my reading was not extensive enough to set me right. · Another correspondent of yours accuses me of having taken a ballad, I published some time ago, from one* by the ingenious Mr. Percy. I do not think there is any great resemblance between the two pieces in question. If there be any, his ballad is taken from mine. I read it to Mr. Percy some years ago; and he (as we both considered these things as trifles at best) told me with his usual good humour, the next time I saw him, that he had taken my plan to form the fragments of Shakspeare into a ballad of his own. He then read me his little cento, if I may so call it, and I highly approved it. Such petty anecdotes as these are scarce worth printing: and were it not for the busy disposition of some of your correspondents, the public should never have known that he owes me the hint of his ballad, or that I am obliged to his friendship and learning for communications of a much more important nature.
* “ The Friar of Orders Gray."
“ Turn, gentle hermit of the dale,
And guide my lonely way,
With hospitable ray.
With fainting steps and slow; Where wilds, immeasurably spread,
Seem lengthening as I go.” “Forbear, my son,” the Hermit cries,
“To tempt the dangerous gloom; For yonder faithless phantom flies
To lure thee to thy doom.
“Here to the houseless child of want
My door is open still; .
I give it with good will.
Whate'er my cell bestows; My rushy couch and frugal fare,
My blessing and repose. " No flocks that range the valley free
To slaughter I condemn: Tanght by that Power that pities me,
I learn to pity them : “ But from the mountain's grassy side,
A guiltless feast I bring; A scrip with herbs and fruits supplied,
And water from the spring. “ Then, pilgrim, turn, thy cares forego;
All earth-born cares are wrong: Man wants but little here below,
Nor wants that little long."
His gentle accents fell:
And follows to the cell.
The lonely mansion lay;
And strangers led astray.