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praise could ever produce such an offer. You are a good creature, my dear Roberts, and a clever fellow ; else I could almost suspect that you
had fallen into the very trap set for you in verse by this anonymous wag, who will certainly be but too happy to see you saving him the trouble of making you ridiculous. The fact is, that the solemnity of your eleventh article does make you
look a little more absurd than you ever yet looked, in all probability, and at the same time, does no good; for if any body believed before in the octave stanzas, they will believe still, and
will find it not less difficult to prove your negative, than the learned Partridge found it to demonstrate his not being dead, to the satisfaction of the readers of almanacs.
What the motives of this writer may have been for (as you magnificently translate his quizzing you) “ stating, with the particularity which belongs to fact, the forgery of a groundless fiction,” (do, pray, my dear R., talk a little less “ in King Cambyses' vein,") I cannot pretend to say ; perhaps to laugh at you, but that is no reason for your benevolently making all the world laugh also. I approve of your being angry; I tell you I am angry too; but you should not have shown it so outrageously. Your solemn“ if somebody personating the Editor of the, &c. &c. has received from Lord B. or from other person,” reminds me of Charley Incledon's usual exordium when people came into the tavern to hear him sing without paying their share of the reckoning
-“ if a maun, or ony maun, or ony other maun,” &c. &c.; you have both the same redundant eloquence.
But why should you think any body would personate you? Nobody would dream of such a prank who ever read your compositions, and perhaps not many who have heard your conversation. But I have been inoculated with a little of your prolixity. The fact is, my dear Roberts, that somebody has tried to make a fool of you, and what he did not succeed in doing, you have done for him and for yourself.
With regard to the poem itself, or the author, whom I cannot find out, (can you ?) I have nothing to say; my business is with you. I am sure that you will, upon second thoughts, be really obliged to me for the intention of this letter, however far short my expressions may have fallen of the sincere good will, admiration, and thorough esteem, with which I am ever, my dear Roberts,
Most truly yours,
P. S. My letter is too long to revise, and the post is going. I forget whether or not I asked you the meaning of your last words, “the forgery of a groundless fiction.” Now, as all forgery is fiction, and all fiction a kind of forgery, is not this tautological ? The sentence would have ended more strongly with “ forgery;" only, it hath an awful Bank of England sound, and would have ended like an indictment, besides sparing you several words, and conferring some meaning upon the remainder.
But this is mere verbal criticism. Good-bye-once more, yours truly,
P.S. 2d. — Is it true that the Saints make up the loss of the Review ? - It is very handsome in them to be at so great an expense. yours,
Twice more, SOME OBSERVATIONS
AN ARTICLE IN BLACKWOOD'S MAGAZINE,
No. XXIX., August, 1819.
[See“ Testimonies of Authors,” No. XVII antè, p. 18.]