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Historical Novel, in twenty chapters, 61, 129, 175, 197, 235, 251, 275, 313, 345
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REVIEWS OF BOOKS, &c.
Autumn Gleapings iu Literature and Art,
+ Arthur Duke of Wellington, Burial of .
Close of the Year, Sonnet for the
Cromwell, Sonnet on
Harp, Lines on an Irish
Home, . . .
Immortality, A Reverie on
Love and Friendship, A Little Story about
Melancholy, Sonnet to . .
Night, Ode to .
Poet by the Seaside, The
Try Again, .
Anacreon, Odes from .
The clock had just struck twelve at night. We were sitting in our own easy chair, near a light-hearted looking fire, whose smiles flitted across our editorial face, and attempted most energetically to drive away a certain troublous expression which seemed gradually stealing over our features. Fortunate indeed, that then and there, we did not meet the gaze of even one of those many excellent and praiseworthy individuals, induced, some time before, by our own eloquence, to promise us their warm support. Fortunate, aye! more than for. tunate ; for had any one of them seen us then, and formed a judgment merely from appearances, his hopes of literary brilliancy on our part would have at once sunk to zero. We heaved a deep sigh-it came from the bottom of our heart. We were getting, really and truly, very, very serious. We saw it would be no easy task to make our Magazine what we wished-one of high standing in every point of view. We acknowledged, in our own mind, the wholesome truth, that time alone should point out and establish real worth ; but we could not help reflecting, with regret, how often had unkind strictures driven true merit from the paths of literature, to pine and die by the way-side. Now we did not feel that there was the slightest probability of our own heart ever breaking from the effect of criticism, for we confess we have not that sensitiveness which generally distinguishes true genius. No, no. An Editor should be made of sterner stuff ; and we rather imagine that we are. But we thought on those productions which haply might pass through our hands-productions concealing perhaps the flower of genius amongst some weeds of commonplace—and we trembled for their fate.
Meanwhile we were half-unconsciously watching one corner of the fire-place, where a tiny flame worked hard to become on terms of closer in. timacy with a large block of coal, which looked very black indeed at the friendly efforts of the lively little flame. But it was plain that the diminutive fellow would eventually succeed. Somehow or other we felt greatly interested in his manoeuvres. He used to look for little crannies in the coal, and then dart small jets of fire into them, as if he was whispering something very amusing and insinuating. And we soon felt sure that he had said something good, for the coal commenced to crackle within, as if he was ready to split his sides with laughing. This looked well. The coal was evidently getting into good humour. No doubt it was from his internalmerriment that he soon got quite red in the
face, and assumed a most jovial and glowing expression. At last he fairly hugged the little flame into his bosom. We were delighted ! We took the cheering lesson to our own heart, and away flew all our fears and misgivings. We thought on what the little flame had effected, and what a pleasant companion the coal had gradually become. We compared the coal and the little flame to the public mind and our own Magazine, and we felt hopeful that, ere long, the same agreeable results would shine on our literary efforts. We did not by any means intend a disparagement to the public by comparing them to a coal. Far from it. We thought it one of the highest compliments we could pay, to liken them to such a useful mineral. For, in the bosoms of both the coal and the public, the sources of comfort lie concealed, and they only become somewhat more cheerful, and more enlightened, when affording support to the genial flame. Disparagement indeed! We knew that, if the public ever happened to learn our cogitations, they would not think a whit the less of themselves for our simile. We were sure they had too much good sense for that. As to our Magazine acting like a flame, of course that remained to be proved, so we did not dwell much on the idea, for, to tell the truth, it appeared rather vain.
Now that we felt quite pleased with our reflections, we determined on setting to work at once, and writing out all our intentions, objects, and projects at full length. We immediately drew a table close to our editorial chair. We opened our desk, took out a spotless sheet of paper, dipped our pen (an Irish goosequill) into the ink, and commenced. “In presenting the public with a New Magazine, it is but natural for “ us to find great difficulty in framing a proper preface. We therefore “ hope that what we should say, and do not say, will be obligingly “considered said ; and what we should not say, and do say, will be “ kindly deemed unsaid.” Nonsense! we exclaimed, as we read this opening sentence. What would the public think of such a statement ? It implies that we are an actual fool, and have not even the tact to conceal our folly. It distinctly infers that, not knowing what to say, we seek shelter in a ridiculous apology for all sins both of omission and commission : our pen was rapidly drawn across the absurd confession, and we began again. “ Blair has sagaciously observed, that the first step “ towards pleasing is not to offend. Such a truism is peculiarly appli“ cable to the advent of this Magazine-the first number of which we “ have now the honour of presenting to the public. Our pages, we trust, “ will not offend, and are therefore calculated (according to Blair) to “ afford the first step towards pleasing. The second number, we hope, “will furnish another step, so that, in process of time, our readers may “ expect to arrive at the very summit of pleasure.” Neither will that suit, we exclaimed, on perusing our unhappy effusion. It is futilem evinces levity of thought, and implies that we intend merely to avoid giving offence, without ever rising above the region of commonplace. Once more our pen erased what it had written. Again we commenced, and this time, in a more steady, business-like manner :
“ This Magazine is now started by a number of young men, princi“ pally students in the Queen's College, whose observations have led • them to think that Belfast is of sufficient size to support a monthly “ Magazine, and Ulster of sufficient literary standing to require one. “ They intend that its pages be filled with contributions coming under “ the heads of History, Science, General Literature, Poetry, &c. It