'Tis then—and shall be—lawful to present
Reform in writing, as in Parliament.
True, some decay, yet not a few revive;
As forests shed their foliage by degrees,
So fade expressions which in season please;90
And we and ours, alas! are due to Fate,
And works and words but dwindle to a date.
Though as a Monarch nods, and Commerce calls,
Impetuous rivers stagnate in canals;
Though swamps subdued, and marshes drained, sustain
The heavy ploughshare and the yellow grain,
And rising ports along the busy shore
Protect the vessel from old Ocean's roar,
All, all, must perish; but, surviving last,
The love of Letters half preserves the past.100
Though at a Monarch's nod, and Traffic's call
Reluctant rivers deviate to Canal.—[MSS. M., L. (a and b).]
- —— marshes dried, sustain.—[Proof b, British Museum.]
- Thus—future years dead volumes shall revive.—[Proof b, British Museum.]
- Old ballads, old plays, and old women's stories, are at present in as much request as old wine or new speeches. In fact, this is the millennium of black letter: thanks to our Hebers, Webers, and Scotts! [Richard Heber (1773-1833), book-collector and man of letters, was half-brother of the Bishop of Calcutta. He edited, inter alia, Specimens of the Early English Poets, by George Ellis, 3 vols., London: 1811.
W. H. Weber (1783-1818), a German by birth, was employed by Sir Walter Scott as an amanuensis and "searcher." He edited, in 1810, Metrical Romances of the 13th, 14th, and 15th Centuries, a work described by Southey (Letters, ii. 308) as "admirably edited, exceedingly curious, and after my own heart." He also published editions of