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lect, that the two chief characteristics of high life, its nakedness, and conversion of night into day, have been preceded by examples of the most remote antiquity; the one, by the undress of primæval innocence; the other, by the exemplary orgies of the votaries of certain Heathen Deities, who held,
“ 'Twas only day-light that made sin ;" and who,
“ When the Dragon womb
were wont, from time immemorial, to celebrate their pure and rational rites with
“ Midnight shout and revelry,
As far as regards ourselves, however, and the work now offered to the world, we, without the slightest hesitation, give our full assent to the asiom of the wise man : not presuming to suppose, that we can present any thing to a sagacious, enlightened, and well-informed public ; (for by such epithets we perceive it to be generally designated, when appealed to for patronage and protection,) which, under some modification or other, it had not been in the possession of, long before our pamphlets existed, even in conception. We honestly announce to the future readers of the Omnium Gatherum, that our highest merit, even in what may be denominated the original matter of our sheets, will not surpass that of a thorough-bred French cook, who, by his skill in the science of novel combination, effects such strange metamorphoses in the simplest and most common products of the animal and vegetable worlds, as to give them the semblance of something that has never heretofore been seen, heard of, or imagined. To the enjoyment, however, of condiments of this description, we boldly venture to invite the public ; and, in order to satisfy our guests, that, however disguised the dishes shall be, nothing will be placed before them but wholesome diet, we will proceed to make them acquainted with those elements, from which we shall draw all the materials of our bill of fare: and here, for a moment, we drop our metaphor.
Religion.--Deeply sensible of the seriousness of this subject, and equally aware of its import
would not profane its sanctity by mingling it with lighter themes. Neither anxious to proselyte to any particular party of christians, nor desirous of dogmatizing with respect to any particular religious opinions, we shall not admit into our plan the discussion of controverted points of theology, nor the consideration of dis
puted passages of Holy writ: but content ourselves, with offering occasionally to our readers, such proofs of the authenticity of the Scriptures, and illustrations of their text, as arise from a comparison of the state of manners in the oriental world, in the present day, with that described in the Bible ; drawn from the accounts of those who have enjoyed the opportunity of personally remarking the customs and habits of the inhabitants of the East, and of becoming acquainted, on the spot, with their notions, opinions, and traditions.
MORALS.—That every literary work should have a tendency to discountenance vice, and give confidence to virtue, is a principle which we hold to be both sacred and true. But, as in all objects of human pursuit there are more modes than one of obtaining the end in view, so, in the business of reformation, we would willingly adopt that method, which works its effect through the medium of the agreeable. In a word, we would unite the utile with the dulce ; exercise the feathery rod of Horace, rather than the cato-nine-tails of Juvenal ; or, to come nearer our own times, imitate (if it were within our ability) the elegant raillery of Addison, in preference to the “grave saws” of the powerful, but tremendous Johnson. But, even in the exercise of this gentle instrument of moral correction, we shall be careful not to lay ourselves open to well-grounded charges of offence. Our pages will never be disgraced by personalities ; nor, when they castigate the vice, or ridicule the folly, will they ever descend, to indicate the man.
CRITICISM.-Had we the sagacity of a Bentley, or the brilliancy of that great Northern constel. lation, yclept the Edinburgh Review, (which, for the roughness of its grasp, may well be likened unto the Ursa Major,) we should, notwithstanding, direct our critical touchstone, rather to the discovery and display of beauties, than to the detec. tion and exhibition of faults. Though we by po means concede to the assertion of Voltaire, who, with his characteristical spleen, used to assert that “ Reviewers attacked every day that which
was best, and praised that which was worst; "and converted the noble profession of letters 'into a trade as base and despicable as them
selves;” yet we cannot but consider them, as sometimes exercising their assumed power with more severity, and less impartiality, than become a bench of English Judges ; and would, consequently, willingly avoid any approximation to such unconstitutional tyranny. We promise indeed to
our patrons, that our observations on the works of others shall be always characterized by that spirit of lenity, which we should wish others to exercise on our own, were they of sufficient importance to be arraigned at the bar of criticism; and that, in delivering these our remarks, we shall ever feel that we are handling a matter of the greatest delicacy; a matter that involves “the food and “raiment,” and (to some happy few) what is still dearer than both food and raiment, the literary fame of those who cater for the intellectual appetite of the public.
Poetry.--Popular as the Muses are among uș in the present day, we should deem it our duty, were it not our inclination, to offer occasional sacrifices on their altar; and, ever and anon, to adorn our pages with the flowers of Parnassus. We would not, however, wish to propitiate the genius of modern inspiration: norsuffer our imagination to wander into the darkness visible,” and “ palpable obscure,” of modern song. For to say the truth, the opinion we entertain of too many of our contemporary brother bards is somewhat low; nor can we help considering them in the light of sponges, filled wiih dirty water; which, squeczed by the rough hand of necessity, or the gentler pressure of vanity, pour out their streams vapid and foul; either neutralized by mock sentiment