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VERSES

OCCASIONED BY READING

THE LIFE OF MR JAMES LACKINGTON.

ADDRESSED TO THE INGENIOUS AUTHOR

BY HIS UNKNOWN FRIEND.

SINCE your pen, friend unknown, sach improvement conveys,
'Tis but justice to you that this tribute repays ;
For when in the bosom mild gratitude burns,
"Tis a pleasing relief, which the feeling returns:
For as dear as the light to the thoughts of the blind,
Is the pen, or the voice, that enlightens the mind ;
And the more, as from nature and genius untaught
Your various adventures and humour are brought,
Which display all the farce of the Methodist plan,
The shame of religion, of reason, and man;
While no libertine motives their secrets dispense,
But propriety joins hand-in-band with good sense,
Oh! with thee, could the crowd view each sanctified scene,
Where the hypocrite oft wears simplicity's mien,
Where youth, second childhood, and weakness of sex,
Are objects they ever prefer to perplex ;
Like thee, they'd contemn, or indignantly leave,
Whom folly and knav'ry combine to deceive;
And whose Newgate conversions blasphemously paint
The wretch most deprav'd the most excellent saint.
Go on; and discover each latent design,
And your rivals expose, who against learning combine :
O'er such craft shall fair conduct, like thine, still prevail,
And an envied success lay them low in the scale.
But as time is too short all your steps to retrace,
Let your Life speak the rest, and succeed in their place :

с

VERSES ADDRESSED TO THE AUTHOR. How books mend the manners; and now so abound, Where rudeness and ignorance lately were found. But plain truth, for itself, it must still be confest, Is the faithfulest advocate- therefore the best : So I rise from the feast with a satisfied mind, That the same every taste, and each temper, may find. Still to drop all comparison, mental's the fare, That needs only good taste to invite us to share ; Entertainment and knowledge, the objects in view ; Then receive, as the donor, the praise that is due.

C. H-S. Bury St Edmund's.

THE LIFE

OF

JAMES LACKINGTON.

BOOKSELLER.

LETTER I.

“ Others with wishful eyes on glory look,

When they have got their picture, toward a book,
Or pompous title, like a gaudy sign
Meant to betray dull sots to wretched wine.
If at his title had dropt his quill,
L might have passed for a great genius still :
But alas! (excuse him if you can)
Is now a scribbler, who was once a man.”

Young's Love of Fame.

Dear FRIEND, You have often requested me to devote what few leisure moments I could spare, in minuting down some of the principal occurrences of my life, with a view, sooner or later, of exhibiting the account to the public eye; who, as you were pleased to say, could not but be somewhat curious to learn some wellauthenticated particulars of a man, well known to have risen from an obscure origin to a degree of notice, and to a participation of the favour of the public, in a particular line of business, I may without vanity say, hitherto unprecedented. This will appear more conspicuous, if you consider that I was not only poor, but laboured under every other disadvantage; being a stranger in London, and without friends, &c.

Ever willing to pay a becoming deference to the judgment of a person of your acknowledged merits, and

whom I have the felicity of numbering among my firmest friends, yet being less anxious to appear as an adventurer among the numerous tribe of authors, than to continue a considerable vender of the produce of their labours, I have continually delayed complying with your kind wishes. By the bye, does the publication of a catalogue of books entitle the compiler to the name of author ? If it does, many booksellers have long had a claim to that distinction, by the annual publication of their catalogues, and myself, as author of a very voluminous one every six months. The reason for my asking this question is, I last year observed that a certain bookseller published his first catalogue with this introduction:-“ As this is the first catalogue ever the author made, and is done in great haste, he hopes inaccuracies will be treated with lenity.”

But to return from this digression. I should pro. bably have still delayed compiling my narrative, if the editors of a certain periodical publication, who monthly labour to be witty, had not deemed me of sufficient consequence to introduce into their work what they are pleased to call a portrait of me! And though it was by them intended as a caricatura, yet I am persuaded that it will appear to those who best know me as a daubing more characteristic of the heavy brush of a manufacturer of signs, than the delicate pencil of a true portrait-painter ; and on that account I should most certainly have considered it as unworthy notice, had they not daubed me with false features. This at once determined my wavering resolution, and I am now fully resolved to minute

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