Such are the reasons why the little volume here laid before the public is defective in those decorations which the exalted state of literature demands. Something of compensation is supplied by a Memorandum of Ephraim Barnett, written upon the inner cover, and printed below.
The Editor, it will be perceived, is but little practised in the ways of literature; much less is he gifted with that prophetic spirit which can anticipate the judgment of the public. It may be that he is too idle or too apathetic to think anxiously or much about the matter; and yet he has been amused, in his earlier days, at watching the first appearance of such few books as he believed to be the production of some powerful intellect. He has seen people slowly rise up to them, like carp in a pond when food is thrown into it; some of which carp snatch suddenly at a morsel, and swallow it; others touch it gently with their barb, pass deliberately by, and leave it; others wriggle and rub against it more disdainfully; others, in sober truth, know not what to make of it, swim round and round it, eye it on the sunny side, eye it on the shady, approach it, question it, shoulder it, flap it with the tail, turn it over, look askance at it, take a pea-shell or a worm instead of it, and plunge again their heads into the comfortable mud. After some seasons the same food will suit their stomachs better.
About one hour before noontide the youth William Shakspeare, accused of deer-stealing, and apprehended for that offence, was brought into the great hall at Charlecote, where, having made his obeisance, it was most graciously permitted him to stand.
The worshipful Sir Thomas Lucy, Knight, seeing him right opposite, on the farther side of the long table, and fearing no disadvantage, did frown upon him with great dignity; then, deigning ne’er a word to the culprit, turned he his face toward his chaplain, Sir Silas Gough, who stood beside him, and said unto him most courteously, and unlike unto one who in his own right commandeth, —
“Stand out of the way! What are those two varlets bringing into the room?”
“The table, sir,” replied Master Silas, “upon the which the consumption of the venison was perpetrated.”
The youth, William Shakspeare, did thereupon pray and beseech his lordship most fervently, in this guise:-
“Oh, sir! do not let him turn the tables against me, who am only a simple stripling, and he an old codger.”
But Master Silas did bite his nether lip, and did cry aloud, —
“Look upon those deadly spots!”
And his worship did look thereupon most staidly, and did say in the ear of Master Silas, but in such wise that it reached even unto mine,
“Good honest chandlery, methinks!”
“God grant it may turn out so!” ejaculated Master Silas.