He had now advanced however too far to retreat. He had too much spirit to resume either of those professions, which for reasons so cogent in his opinion, he had already quitted. He wrote essays, squibs, and pamphlets for an extemporary support. But though these were finished with infinite rapidity, he found that they constituted a very precarious means of subsistence. The time of dinner often came, before the production that was to purchase it was completed; and when completed, it was frequently several days before it could find a purchaser. And his copy money and his taylor’s bill were too little proportioned to one another.
He now recollected, what in the gaiety of hope he had forgotten, that many a flower only blows, with its sweetness to refresh the air of a desert. He recollected many instances of works, raised by the breath of fashion to the very pinnacle of reputation, that sunk as soon again. He recollected instances scarcely fewer, of works, exquisite in their composition, pregnant with beauties almost divine, that had passed from the press without notice. Many had been revived by the cooler and more deliberate judgment of a future age; and more had been lost for ever. The instance of Chatterton, as a proof that the universal patronage of genius was by no means the virtue of his contemporaries, flashed in his face. And he looked forward to the same fate at no great distance, as his own.
To Mr. Godfrey however, fortune was in one degree more propitious. Damon was among the few whose judgment was not guided by the dictate of fashion. Having met accidentally with the performance we have mentioned, he was struck with its beauties. As he had heard nothing of it in the politest circles, he concluded, with his usual penetration, that the author of it was in obscure and narrow circumstances. Open as day to sweet humanity, interested warmly in the fortune of the writer of so amiable a performance, he flew to his bookseller’s with the usual enquiries. The bookseller stared, and had it not been for the splendour of his dress, and his gilded chariot, would have been tempted to smile at so unfashionable and absurd a question. He soon however obtained the information he desired. And his eagerness was increased, when the name of Godfrey, and the recollection of the talents by which he had been so eminently distinguished, led him to apprehend that he was one, to whose abilities and character he had been greatly attached.