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Love and reverence might have expanded the volume to a heavier bulk and price; but in this case, the main intention of the Compiler would have been defeated, which was to furnish as good a copy of the venerable portrait as he could, for the sum of one shilling and sixpence.
E. P. H.
FIRST EFFORTS OF A GREAT LIFE.
How little is known of the personal histories of the Fathers of English Poetry! Rude outlines, alone, are preserved to us of the biographies of Chaucer, Spenser, and Shakespeare. • Of the men whose writings exercise most influence over our minds, only two or three doubtful anecdotes, and questionable notes, have been ascertained; while those whose talents were perverted to destroy their fellows, or whose lives were frittered away in a round of petty pursuits, not worth the name of occupations, are drawn at full length-their witless words all carefully jotted down, and their objectless movements
described with ridiculous minuteness. The sayings and doings of the illustrious patriarchs of genius are altogether unknown. What would we give for some account of the everyday life of Chaucer, at Donnington Castle? or of Spenser, at Mulla? How precious to us would be a genuine picture of a night at the "Mermaid," with all the real words that Shakspeare said!-for men like these become dear to us; we are not satisfied with what they have written for us; we long to draw near to them, and to hear them speak, and to see what was the real life they led. But no! Of these men we can know little more than nothing: their times are almost inarticulate about them: and, failing these, we must content ourselves with such ware as the "Life of Beau Brummell," in two bulky volumes; or, "Pepy's Diary," in four and, certainly, what we lacked in information touching the notes of the swan, is abundantly made up in ample details respecting the cackling of the goose.
Of John Milton, a name synonymous with the highest sublimity which inspired humanity has reached, we know little more than what is known of his illustrious predecessors. Of incidents we have scarcely any. The lives of such men are supposed,-perhaps correctly,-to be