At the beginning of our amusements this year we congratulated our Society and ourselves on the numerous contributions we had received, but we are sorry to observe that the warmth of spring which awakens the dormant power of Nature, and stimulates to action all her tribes of being, has had a different effect on our correspondents, and if they do not speedily rouse themselves we are apprehensive that the termination will not realize the expectation raised by such a splendid commencement. Indeed the authors of the Sylphiad and the Restoration still soar with unwearied pinion, but our Moth and our Philo Fillagree, and several others who have occasionally regaled us with a glass of Helicolian Spirit, have either been excluded from the sacred well or niggardly kept the liquor all to themselves. Pope says
Drink deep, or taste not, the Castalian Spring.
But we fear our correspondents following this maxim, have drank to intoxication, and therefore can neither speak nor sing.
The Sonnet written in the Chair of Dean Swift which will first be read, is on a subject that will touch the feelings of genius by awakening the reflection of how near the richest ornament which heaven can bestow on mortal man is allied to a state the most pitiable, and how frequently those who are viewed with envy by their contemporaries close their brief triumphs in a distressing state of mental derangement. Of these besides Dean Swift we can number the pride of modern epic poets, Tasso, with Collins, Cowper and many others, most of them men whose manners were blameless and who probably owed their sufferings to a life of seclusion and would have avoided them had they mingled more in the world. The human mind in all its pursuits requires change and relaxation, and especially in those studies by which the imagination is the principal agent.
The poem which we shall call the Author’s Address to His Muse shows facility of versification and abounds in satyric humour.
The familiar Epistle to a Daughter possesses that affectionate sentiment, and ornamental diction, which has distinguished the poems we have received from the same quarter.
The Hern is an old acquaintance, which gave us pleasure upwards of thirty years ago, and we hope it will now be heard with pleasure, even by those who may have known it before. It was written on a Lady whose affection for a ducal coronet caused her to refuse many a titled lover of inferior rank till her glass reminding her that life was short and beauty a fading flower, she accepted the hand of a country squire and sunk into obscurity in Northumberland. The Editor advises our fair auditory neither to cry for coronets nor stoop to rusticity but place their hopes and wishes on good sense and good manners. The verses being written from memory, we are not certain that they are correct.
The Lines to a Lady Distinguished by Her Dutiful Attention to Her Aged Parrots, need not our praise. It will be felt rather than uttered by those who are either the agents or objects of filial piety.
We have received the fourth Canto of the Sylphiad, and the third and fourth Cantos of the third book of the Restoration, of which we could speak much in praise, notwithstanding a number of small errors which may be easily corrected in a revisal. We however must express our regret that two such poets should have chosen to display their talents on the same subject, in which as they do not agree. We know not which to believe, and therefore cannot give explicit credit to either. If we had supposed at the beginning that they would have run counter to each other, as they appear to do, or that they would have extended to such a length, we should have kept back one of them, till the other had been completed, when each of them would have had its due effect, and merited our approbation by being consistent with itself. We have advanced too far, however, to change our plans, and we must wait the term of this season or the next, by which time we hope these interminable poems will be terminated, before we can form an opinion of the judgement and contrivance of the authors. But poor Maria must be carried off before we can have the conclusion of her history.