Open main menu

Page:Samuel Johnson (1911).djvu/52

This page needs to be proofread.


to discover; for having accurately weighed the reasons for arrogance and submission, I find them so nearly equiponderant, that my impatience to try the event of my first per- formance will not suffer me to attend any longer the trepidations of the balance.

There are, indeed, many conveniences al- most peculiar to this method of publication, which may naturally flatter the author, whether he be confident or timorous. The man to whom the extent of his knowledge, or the sprightliness of his imagination, has, in his own opinion, already secured the praises of the world, willingly takes that way of display- ing his abilities which will soonest give him an opportunity of hearing the voice of fame ; it heightens his alacrity to think in how many places he shall hear what he is now writing, read with ecstasies to-morrow. He will often please himself with reflecting, that the author of a large treatise must proceed with anxiety, lest, before the completion of his work, the attention of the public may have changed its object ; but that he who is confined to no single topic may follow the national taste through all its variations, and catch the aura popularis, the gale of favour, from what point soever it shall blow.

Nor is the prospect less likely to ease the

�� �