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NOTE TO CANTO XIII.
Note 1. Stanza vii.
Right honestly," he liked an honest hater."
"Sir, I like a good hater.”—See the Life of Dr. Johnson, &c.
His bell-mouth'd goblet makes me feel quite Danish,
If I err not, "Your Dane" is one of Iago's Catalogue of Nations "exquisite in their drinking."
Note 6. Stanza lxxviii.
Even Nimrod's self might leave the plains of Dura.
Note 7. Stanza xcvi.
"That Scriptures out of church are blasphemies."
"Mrs. Adams answered Mr. Adams, that it was blasphemous to talk of Scripture out of church." This dogma was broached to her husband-the best christian in any book. See Joseph Andrews, in the latter chapters.
Note 8. Stanza cvi.
The quaint, old, cruel coxcomb, in his gullet
Should have a hook, and a small trout to pull it.
It would have taught him humanity at least. This sentimental savage, whom it is a mode to quote (amongst the novelists) to show their sympathy for innocent sports and old songs, teaches how to sew up frogs, and break their legs by way of ex
periment, in addition to the art of angling, the cruellest, the coldest, and the stupidest of pretended sports. They may talk about the beauties of nature, but the angler merely thinks of his dish of fish; he has no leisure to take his eyes from off the streams, and a single bite is worth to him more than all the scenery around. Besides, some fish bite best on a rainy day. The whale, the shark, and the tunny fishery have somewhat of noble and perilous in them; even net-fishing, trawling, &c., are more humane and useful-but angling!-No angler can be a good man.
"One of the best men I ever knew-as humane, delicate-minded, generous, and excellent a creature as any in the world-was an angler: true, he angled with painted flies, and would have been incapable of the extravagances of I. Walton."
The above addition was made by a friend in reading over the MS.-" Audi alteram partem"-I leave it to counterbalance my own observation.
IF from great Nature's or our own abyss
Much as old Saturn ate his progeny;
But system doth reverse the Titan's breakfast,
You bind yourself, and call some mode the best one.
For me, I know nought; nothing I deny,
An age may come, font of eternity,
When nothing shall be either old or new.
A sleep without dreams, after a rough day
'T is round him, near him, here, there, every where; And there's a courage which grows out of fear, Perhaps of all most desperate, which will dare
The worst to know it :-when the mountains rear Their peaks beneath your human foot, and there You look down o'er the precipice, and drear The gulf of rock yawns,-you can't gaze a minute Without an awful wish to plunge within it.
'T is true, you don't-but, pale and struck with terror,
To the unknown; a secret prepossession,
To plunge with all your fears—but where? You know not, And that's the reason why you do—or do not.
But what's this to the purpose? you will say.
I write what's uppermost, without delay;
But a mere airy and fantastic basis,
To build up common things with common places.
You know, or don't know, that great Bacon saith,
Fling up a straw, 't will show the way the wind blows;" And such a straw, borne on by human breath,
Is poesy, according as the mind glows;
A paper-kite which flies 'twixt life and death,
A shadow which the onward soul behind throws And mine 's a bubble not blown up for praise, But just to play with, as an infant plays.
The world is all before me-or behina:
Of passions too, I 've proved enough to blame,
I've brought this world about my ears, and eke
Tiring old readers, nor discovering new.
But "why then publish?"—There are no rewards
I ask in turn,—why do you play at cards?
Why drink? Why read?—To make some hour less dreary.
It occupies me to turn back regards
On what I've seen or ponder'd, sad or cheery;
And what I write I cast upon the stream,
To swim or sink-I 've had at least my dream.
I think that were I certain of success,
I hardly could compose another line:
So long I've battled either more or less,
That no defeat can drive me from the Nine. This feeling 't is not easy to express,
And yet 't is not affected, I opine.
In play, there are two pleasures for your chusing-
Besides, my Muse by no means deals in fiction :
Of course with some reserve and slight restriction,
Love, war, a tempest-surely there 's variety;
A slight glance thrown on men of every station.
And though these lines should only line portmanteaus,