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if in grave words you sacred thoughts bestow,
A deep attention sits on every brow;
If through the sciences your fancy strays,
With joy we follow through the flowery maze ;
Or if you mirth and humorous airs assume,
An universal laughter shakes the room ;
Each comes with pleasure ; while he stays ad.

mires ;
Goes with regret, nor unimproved retires.

Of the theological tenets of Dr. Byles the writer is unable to give a description. He leaves that subject, with all others he may have omitted, to the pen of some more competent biographer.

Boston, Dec. 1806.


Lucubrations of Nehemiah Notional.

No. II. "Ludere qui nescit, campestribus abstinet armis." * Some have at first for wits, then poets past, Turned criticks next, and proved plain fools at last." MR. EDITOR,

A CANDID and judicious critick is one of the most valuable members of the literary community. By his sentence the fate of every production, worthy of notice is deter

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mined. His correct judgment and good taste, matured and refined by extensive reading and information, make his opinion a standard, by which the publick ascertain the merits and de merits of our authors. ; 'Tis true, that a faithful performance of his duty leads him, rather to censure than to praise, to point out defects than to select beauties. Yet possessing can, dour, that characteristick of a well informed mind, he condemns without insult; and a young author may be confident that, though his vanity should sometimes be humbled, his feelings will never be intentionally wounded by the result of a critical examination.

It would be well, did all wlio assume the important office possess the qualifications of a critick. But unfortunately most of those, who undertake to determine the merits of a writer: and graciously communicate their opinion of him to the world, are blind ; or, if they can see, use a, smoked glass, which prevents their being dazzled by his splendour, while it enables them to discern with ease his most trifling blemishes. The learned, divided into political and religious parties, labour- under prejudices, which make their judgment illiberal and unjust. Their standard of excellence is continually fuctuata ing, or rather they have no standard ; for they form their opinions under the influence of party spirit, and generally judge not the autlior, but the man.

This want of integrity must make genuine criticism blush and hide her head. She must




sincerely regret, that passion and prejudice gain such influence in the minds of the best of men. With what indignation then must she see beardless ignorance usurp her authority, and presumptuously pronounce sentence upon authors in her Ridiculous as it must seem to every one, the court of criticism, as it is most falsely called, is chiefly composed of boys !

I am told there is a society of young Notionals formed to abash modest merit and crush humble genius.—A society, which prostitutes the name and disgraces the character of a critick by its attempts to criticise. This honourable body so bedaubs its favourites with unqualified approbation, that their most intimate friends would in vain attempt to recognize them ; and even the subjects of their fulsome panegyricks are doubtful whether to attribute them to irony or adulation. Extravagant in praises, they are despicably illiberal in their censure, which is indiscriminately poured on all, their cronies ex. cepted. They spare neither the failings nor feelings of any one, who is so unfortunate as to be arraigned at their bar. Predetermined to condemn, their inquiry is not, what fault has he ? but how shall he word his condemnationYet these apes of the manners of a generous censor conceitedly imagine that the opinion of the town is under their

control ! For the honour of common sense I hope this information is false ; yet certain circumstances induce me to think it true. There is a young relation of mine, who devotes half of

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that time, which should be employed in the business of life, to giving the publick his opinion of authors and actors. He spends his time and money in purchasing and reading new publications ; frequents the theatre, where he talks loudly, is foremost in a hiss, and when there is no danger, engages in a riot. He neglects his business and his friends &c. and spends most of his evenings with several young men, who, I suspect, form this aforementioned literary soci. ety, scientifick association, chub of criticks or whatever they please to call themselves.- The boy is in a sad case, I assure you.

Freedom of opinion is a privilege enjoyed by all. Every individual, however unqualified, has a right to form and express - his judgment of whatever comes within the reach of his observation ; that is, no one has a right to hin. der him. Propriety however should keep ev. ery man in his own sphere. Had she this influence in society, we believe that Criticism would have no reason to complain that her courts are thronged by beardless boys.

L... Boston, Dec. 1806.

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Μελιγλώσσαν αοίδων άνθρα. ONE excellence of the Bards of Scotland is accuracy of description, couched in words apo propriate and elegant, and numbers truly harmonious. But his chief beauty we think is tliat art with which he interweaves, many little episodes, whose elegance charms the mind, and whose pathos touches the heart. Of this we liave already given one example, we now present the reader another which is in our opinion equally excellent.

From day to day as blow the hawthorn flowers That canopy the “ Merlie's” home of love, The plumage of the younglings shoots and spreads Killing with joy the fond parental eye. Alas ! not long the parent's partial eye Shall view the fledging wing ; ne'er shall they see The timorous pinion's first essay to flight. The truant schoolboy's eager, bleeding hand, Their house, their all, tears from the bending bush; A shower of blossoms mourns the ruthless deed ! The piercing anguished note, the brushing wing, The spoiler heeds not; triumphing, his way Smiling he wends : The ruin'd hopeless pair, O’er many a field follow his townward steps, Then back return ; and, perching on the bush,

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