A mind well skilled to find, or forge a fault;
A turn for punning—call it Attic salt;
To Jeffrey go, be silent and discreet,
His pay is just ten sterling pounds per sheet:70
Fear not to lie, 'twill seem a sharper hit;
Shrink not from blasphemy, 'twill pass for wit;
Care not for feeling—pass your proper jest,
And stand a Critic, hated yet caressed.
By Jeffrey's heart, or Lamb's Bœotian head.
And shall we own such judgment? no—as soon
Seek roses in December—ice in June;
Hope constancy in wind, or corn in chaff,
Believe a woman or an epitaph,
Or any other thing that's false, before
You trust in Critics, who themselves are sore;80
Or yield one single thought to be misled
- —— a lucky hit.—(Second, Third, and Fourth Editions.]
- Messrs. Jeffrey and Lamb are the alpha and omega, the first and last of the Edinburgh Review; the others are mentioned hereafter. [The MS. Note is as follows:—"Of the young gentlemen who write in the E. R., I have now named the alpha and omega, the first and the last, the best and the worst. The intermediate members are designated with due honour hereafter."]
"This was not just. Neither the heart nor the head of these gentlemen are at all what they are here represented. At the time this was written, I was personally unacquainted with either."—B., 1816.
[Francis Jeffrey (1773-1850) founded the Edinburgh Review in conjunction with Sydney Smith, Brougham, and Francis Horner, in 1802. In 1803 he succeeded Smith as editor, and conducted the Review till 1829. Independence of publishers and high pay to contributors ("Ten guineas a sheet," writes