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left open on the table with so much careless care; —and the heaps of well-worn pens;—and the spattered inkstand ;—and the busts of Milton and Shakspeare;—and the real skull stuck between bouquets of artificial flowers;—and the pea-green walls hung round with portraits of living poets; —and the chimney-piece covered with "contributions from my female friends;"—and all the thousand theatrical affectations, by which the Tom Thumbs of literature strive to hide their native diminutiveness! And then the late hours (because Milton recommends lonely watching, and Schiller wrote his tragedies in the night), as our " young author" can do nothing in the daytime for " domestic annoyances," and he never joins the dinner-table, because " the children are so disgusting," but dines upon " one dry biscuit and a single glass of wine;" and drinks coffee for three hours afterwards, because it is " the only intellectual beverage;" and " composes aloud in his own room" (when he has any neighbours in the next); and "prepares himself for conversation;" and dislikes "feminine babble;" and "endures mirth rather than enjoys it," as his "dancing days are over," etc. etc. etc. Then comes the climax:—the pale and languid looks in public;—the " melancholy smile ;"—the little dry delicate cough, just to indicate " consumptive tendencies ;"—the alarm of mothers and matrons, lest " his genius should kill him;" and the declaration of the young ladies, that he is "more interesting than ever!" Well! it is certainly a fine thing to be a " young author!" But he shall now speak for himself, in his own memoVOL. III. Z
randa, a few of which are here transcribed from his pocket book; and to those who may think this sketch of ineffable puppyism a caricature, we only say—liscz el croyez!
"Mem.—' Determined,' as Bub Doddington says,' to make some sort of a figure in life ;' what it will be I cannot pretend to say; I must look 'round me a little, and consult my friends, but some figure I am resolved to make.
"Mem.—Miserable thing for genius to be born either after or before the age capable of appreciating it, as the chances of distinction diminish in exact proportion to the numbers who have already acquired, and the numbers who are now seeking to acquire it.—Eminent dead authors ought decidedly to be forgotten, and eminent living ones to give over writing, to leave room for rising 'men.' Young authors generally treated with gross injustice by their elder contemporaries, who dread being eclipsed. Public a great tyrant— unable to discover the violet of promise for the leaves of obscurity (to introduce this figure in conversation to-night); determined to distinguish myself in some way or other immediately.
"Mem.—To read over the Old Essayist, in order to see whether something may not be stolen from them, and dressed up again—perfectly benevolent, since no one reads them now—have been dreadfully overpraised. Pray, what are the 'Spectators,' the 'Tatlers,' the 'Idlers,' the 'Ramblers,' and all the rest of those old world things, but collections—
Of tame trite truths, correct and common-place T The present, decidedly, the golden age of intellect. Heard yesterday, there were six poets in *****, besides myself; the eldest not twenty-one 1
"Mem.—Agreed to contribute all the poetry for the *** Magazine; to write theatrical critiques for the New Whig Paper; and employ the odds and ends of my time on a tragedy subject, either the Burning of Rome, or the Siege of Gibraltar.—Z says I have very tragical turn of thought. — Astonishing how Z improves upon acquaintance!
"Mem.—Wrote yesterday six sonnets in imitation of Wordsworth's best—found it very easy. Parodied ' Auld Robin Gray:' and gave the 'Improvvisatrice' a regular cutting up Perfectly infamous for a woman to write, and write well; ought to be satisfied with reading what men write. Shall make a point of abusing every clever book written by a woman.
Shut, shut the door, good John, fatigued I said;
Wearied and overwhelmed with interruptions. Alas! the pains and penalties of a literary life! Must positively make some regulations to prevent such encroachments. Like Alfieri, open no letters of which I do not know the handwriting. Write over my study-door, 'Time is my estate;' forbid any morning callers; and make my sister answer all notes.
"Mem.—Luncheons, except of dry biscuits, fatal to intellectual exertions; bottled porter the best beverage for a literary man; roasted mutton, taken in small portions, the best food to compose after.
"Mem.—Pensive, a good epithet to apply to the evening star.
"Mem.—To beware of praising too much or too often: risked my character the other day by speaking well of lis poems. Must remember that it is more creditable to a person's taste to discover a fault than a beauty. Shenstone said, good taste and good nature were always united —meant fastidiousness.
"Mem.—To appear at Monday's ball without a neckcloth; to order an amethyst-coloured waistcoat, wear my arm in a sling, and sport bad spirits.
"Mem.—To fall in love without loss of time: deep blue downcast-looking eyes, not vulgarly happy,—' fond faint smile,'—' brow of alabaster;'— must celebrate her under the name of Laura; my own (of course) Petrarch. • • * * *
"Mem.—Mrs. Radcliffe's ' Italian,' vol. i. p. 173, contains a passage which may be turned into some touching stanzas.
"Mem.—To get a ' Walker's Rhyming Dictionary;' no degradation:—Byron used one constantly. His 'Dream,' by the way, strikingly resembles my ' Vision,' received with so much applause at our ' Juvenile Literary Society,' myself in the chair.
"Mem.—Determined to send Blackwood no more articles, particularly as he has inserted none of the last six; and told Z it would be better to bind me to some good thriving trade. A trade! bind myself to some little, low, paltry, sordid, shilling-scraping, penny-saving occupation, which would be as a benumbing light upon all the powers of my mind. There is madness in the thought! Suppose Shakspeare had taken his relations' advice, and continued a wool-comber, where
had been the world's poets? No! fired by this glorious example, I will calmly and proudly pursue the bent of my genius and inclination: the morning sun, and the midnight lamp, shall find me at my studies! I will write, though none may read; I will print, though none may purchase; and if the world's neglect canker my young spirit, and studious days and sleepless nights 'sickly my brow with the pale cast of thought,' till, like ' Chatterton, the marvellous boy,' I sink into an early and untimely grave!— how small the sacrifice! How glorious the reward! when the world, for which I toiled, become sensible of its injustice! and the marbled monument and laurelled bust
"Mem.—Prevented from finishing the above peroration by the forcible entrance of two villanous duns—a tailor and a washerwoman. May, nevertheless, introduce it as a soliloquy in my tragedy; for it possesses much of the sweep and swell of Burke."
But trusting that the reader is more than satisfied with the foregoing specimens of folly and foppery, I here close the Young Author's Memorandum-Book. ANONYMOUS.
WOUTER VAN TWILLER.
The renowned Wouter (or Walter) Van Twiller was descended from a long line of Dutch burgomasters, who had successively dozed away their lives, and grown fat upon the bench of magistracy in Rotterdam; and who had comported them