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THE FOLLOWING LETTER,
ADDRESSED TO THE
Printer of the St. James's Chronicle,
APPEARED IN THAT PAPER,
IN JUNE, MDCC LXVII.
SIR, As there is nothing I dislike so much as newspaper controversy, 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 misinform’d, 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
Reliq. of Anc. Poetry."
• The Friar of Orders Gray. Vol. I. Book 2. No. 18.
these, are scarcely 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.
I am, Sir,
Note. On the subject of the preceding letter, the reader is desired to consult « The Life of Dr. Goldsmith,” under the year 1765.
URN, gentle Hermit of the dale, " And guide my lonely way, 6 To where yon taper cheers the vale,
6 With hospitable ray.
« For here forlorn and lost I tread,
( With fainting steps and slow; " Where wilds, immeasurably spread,
“ Seem length’ning 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 ; " And though my portion is but scant,
I give it with good will.
« Then turn to-night, and freely share
6 Whate'er my cell bestows; 66 My rushy couch and frugal fare,
“ My blessing and repose.
“ No flocks that range the valley free,
“ To slaughter I condemn; “ Taught by that power that pities me,
“ I learn to pity them :
( But from the mountain's
side " A guiltless feast I bring; “ A scrip with herbs and fruits supply'd,
“ And water from the spring.
Then, pilgrim, turn, thy cares forego;
66 All earth-born cares are wrong; U Man wants but little here below,
« Nor wants that little long."
Soft as the dew from Heav'n descends,
His gentle accents fell :
And follows to the cell.
Far in a wilderness obscure
The lonely mansion lay,
And strangers led astray.
No stores beneath its humble thatch
Requir'd a master's care;
Receiv'd the harmless pair.