Page images
PDF
EPUB

which have been taken before. It seldom falls to the lot of even the most enterprising navigator to reach shores, which have not been reached before—now, not even to shores near to the north pole ; it is still more rare for travellers to be able to visit parts of countries, which have not been visited before ; and it is still rarer for an author to touch upon any subject, which has not been touched upon before, yet navigators and travellers, incessantly, “ see strange things,” and it is the peculiar province of an author to imagine, embody, and relate “ strange things.”

The mind of man is so versatile and soaring, that though two men may imagine an idea, and embody it as like as two proof engravings, yet their conception of it may still be original. Moreover, it would be passing strange, if something new, upon all subjects, was not eternally develop

ing itself from a source so fertile as the human imagination, which can mould and fashion a subject to its purpose, as fantastically and as prettily, as dress is conceived for a lovely woman, or a man of ton, which pleases for the time, till something else arises that continues to gratify personal vanity, and the love of change and of something new. The Author of the following pages, fearlessly (though with all due apprehension and caution against the quicksands, and all pre-conceived dangers which he may meet with in his journey, and with becoming deference to his fellow-travellers—his readers) pursues the course which he has taken, looking neither to the right hand nor to the left, and without regard to the path being new, or having been traced before, of which, therefore, he is unconscious of seeing any signs. The mottos, even, which grace the head of the chapters, were selected after the whole of the story was composed, and ready for the press.

In the legendary tale of “ The Ladye of the Rose; or, the Celestial Ladye,” the Author has endeavoured to describe-and oh! how far description, however glowing, must fall short of the reality--what, he imagines, an inhabitant of Heaven, may, in some degree, be like, to whom very peculiar attributes and properties may be allowed, but none more particularly prominent than lightness of frame, and the great facility, and inconceivable rapidity of motion, as infinite as the space which the divine creature inhabits. The idea of clapping feathered wings—the wings of a bird—to the back of a heavenly being, however pretty in figure and imagery, cannot be true or consistent with fact; and it clearly demonstrates, that the notions of those who have ventured to contemplate... upon the subject, were ex

tremely narrow and confined. In fact, comparatively speaking, they must have taken their views of the possible movement and flight of an angel through unbounded space, by the bounded flight of a sparrow. Whilst they have allowed incomparable excellence to a creature of Heaven, they have disallowed that rare being the power of speedy motion, without the aid of wings, which, were it the case, must limit the celerity of motion to the time which would be pecessarily required for the action of flapping the wings ; thus regulating the flight of a heavenly creature, by what a creature of the earth requires to have the power of soaring in the air at all. Moreover, beyond, comparatively, a very short distance high from the earth, in short, above the atmosphere, there is no air whatever, at least, it is so rarified, that all power of buoyancy, by the aid of wings, ceases. It appears, therefore, quite out of character, to give natural agency to a supernatural being.

The Author writes to amuse and please, and,—if you please_instruct. To satisfy the varied and infinite views, the wishes, the tastes, the associations, and the prejudices of every class of readers, it were vain to attempt, no author can even hope to do it, inasmuch, as while, by your favor, readers, however critical and shrewd, may -mark, gentle reader, we only say “may” -be liable to errors of judgement, authors, however eminent, precise and careful, are not without faults of diction, or of sentiment. In every production, therefore, written for public entertainment and advantage, we should learn to “ bear and forbear," by which liberal sentiment, a standard of gratification, and of mutual good will letween reader and author-a

« PreviousContinue »