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this day, is suspected to be untrue, and of strange blood; for that Solymus the Second was thought to be suppositious.” But Bacon, in his historical authorities, is often inaccurate. I could give half a dozen instances from his apophthegms only.
Being in the humour of criticism, I shall proceed, after having ventured upon the slips of Bacon, to touch on one or two as trifling in the edition of the British Poets by the justly celebrated Campbell.-But I do this in good-will, and trust it will be so taken.-If any thing could add to my opinion of the talents and true feelings of that gentleman, it would be his classical, honest, and triumphant defence of Pope, against the vulgar cant of the day, and its existing Grub-street,
The inadvertencies to which I allude are,
Firstly, in speaking of Anstey, whom he accuses of having taken “his leading characters from Smollett.” Anstey's Bath Guide was published in 1766, Smollett's Hum. phry Clinker, (the only work of Smollett's from which Tabitha, &c. &c. could have been taken) was written during Smollett's last residence at Leghorn, in 1770.
Argal,” if there has been any borrowing, Anstey must be the creditor, and not the debtor. I refer Mr. Campbell to his own data in his lives of Smollett and Anstey.
Secondly, Mr. Campbell says in the life of Cowper (note to page 358, vol. 7,) that "he knows not to whom Cowper alludes in these lines :
Nor he who, for the bane of thousands born,
Built God a church, and laugh'd his word to scorp." The Calvinist meant Voltaire, and the church of Ferney, with its inscription, “Deo erixit Voltaire.”
Thirdly, in the life of Burns, Mr. C. quotes Shakspeare thus,
“ To gild refined gold, to paint the rose,
Or add fresh perfume to the violet." This version by no means improves the original, which is as follows:
“ To gild refined gold, to paint the lily,
A great poet quoting another should be correct; he should also be accurate, when he accuses a Parnassian Brother of that dangerous charge “ borrowing:" a poet had better borrow any thing (excepting money) than the thoughts of another-they are always sure to be reclaimed; but it is very hard, having been the lender, to be denounced as the debtor, as is the case of Anstey versus Smollett.
As there is “honour amongst thieves,", let there be some amongst poets, and give each his due,-none can afford to give it more than Mr. Campbell himself, who with a high reputation for originality, and a fame which cannot be shaken, is the only poet of the times (except Rogers) who can be reproached (and in him it is indeed a reproach) with having written too little.
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