Letter to the Editor

Miss Porden


As you appear desirous that the members of the Attic Society should occasionally exercise their talents in prose composition, which though a less engaging study is certainly more generally useful, I take the liberty of offering you a few hints upon the subject, though at the same time I feel it extremely probable that they may have previously occurred to you. The members of the Attic Society have, I believe, not heard with inattention you repeated calls for compositions in prose, but fearful of being the first to venture on a difficult and dangerous sea, have remained inactive on the shore, in the hope that some able pilot might soon appear, to guide their bark in safety to the destined port. While others, who have ventured out to sea, have felt themselves so overpowered by terror, as to return suddenly without attaining their object. But why, you will say, are those who are not afraid of appearing as candidates for poetic fame, so apprehensive of attempting prose, which they have been “thinking and writing” all their lives. But sir, it is for that very reason they have written it so long and so often, that they would not wish to enter the lists, unless they were sure of overcoming all that opposed them. Those whose genius and learning have raised the Attic Chest to its present celebrity could be loath to lose their well-earned honours — to tarnish their poetic laurels, by appearing to less advantage in prose, though it must be acknowledged that those who have turned their attention principally to the study of poetry seldom excel in prose composition. How then, you will say, is this timidity or this pride (for it is both) to be vanquished? Perhaps if the Editor were occasionally in his preparatory remarks, to propose some subject on which the various members might try their strength, it would at once overcome timidity and excite emulation. The choice of a subject would no longer distract their attention, and encouraged by the example and the association of others, they would not be fearful of exposing their essays to the eye of an Editor, as famous for his correct taste and acute discrimination in the works of others, as for the exemplification of them in his own. In the hope that the above remarks may not be found unworthy of your attention,

I am sir,

Your most obedient

A. Contributor