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else bas related a similar story. I didn't borrow it, for all that.-I made a comparison at table some time since, which has often been quoted and received many compliments. It was that of the mind of a bigot to the pupil of the eye; the more light you pour on it, the more it contracts. The simile is a very obvious, and, I suppose I may now say, a happy one; for it has just been shown me that it occurs in a Preface to certain Political Poems of Thomas Moore's published long before my remark was repeated. When a person of fair character for literary honesty uses an image such as another has employed before him, the presumption is, that he has struck upon it independently, or unconsciously recalled it, supposing it his own.
It is impossible to tell, in a great many cases, whether a comparison which suddenly suggests itself is a new conception or a recollection. I told you the other day that I never wrote a line of verse that seemed to me comparatively good, but it appeared old at once, and often as if it had been borrowed. But I confess I never suspected the above comparison of being old, except from the fact of its obviousness. It is proper, however, that I proceed by a formal instrument to relinquish all claim to any property in an idea given to the world at about the time when I had just joined the class in which Master Thomas Moore was then a somewhat advanced scbolar.
I, therefore, in full possession of my native honesty, but knowing the liability of all men to be elected to public office, and for that reason feeling uncertain how soon I may be in danger of losing it, do hereby renounce all claim to being considered he first person who gave utterance to a certain simile or comparison referred to in the accompanying documents, and relating to the pupil of the eye on the one part and the mind of the bigot on the other. I hereby relinquish all glory and profit, and especially all claims to ietters from autograph collectors, founded upon my supposed property in the above comparison, -knowing well, that, according to the laws of liter. ature, they who speak first hold the fee of the thing said. I do also agree that all Editors of Cyclopedias and Biographical Dictionaries, all Publishers of Reviews and Papers, and all Critics writing therein, shall be at liberty to retract or qualify any opinion predicated on the supposition that I was the sole and undisputed author of the above comparison. But, inasmuch as I do affirm that the comparison aforesaid was uttered by me in the firm belief that it was new and wholly my own, and as I have good reason to think that I had never seen or heard it when first expressed by me, and as it is well known that differ ent persons may independently utter the same idea,
as is evinced by that familiar line from Dona
" Pereant illi qui ante nos nostra dixerunt," —
now, therefore, I do request by. this instrument that all well-disposed persons will abstain from asserting or implying that I am open to any accusation whatsoever touching the said comparison, and, if they have so asserted or implied, that they will have the manliness forthwith to retract the same assertion or insinuation.
I think few persons have a greater disgust for plagiarism than myself. If I had even suspected that the idea in question was borrowed, I should have disclaimed originality, or mentioned the coincidence, as I once did in a case where I had happened to hit on an idea of Swift's.—But what shall I do about these verses I was going to read you? I am afraid that half mankind would accuse me of steal. ing their thoughts, if I printed them. I am convinced that several of you, especially if you are getting a little on in life, will recognize some of these senti. ments as having passed through your consciousness at some time. I can't help it,-it is too late now The verses are written, and you' must have them. Listen, then, and you shall hear
WHAT WE ALL THINK.
Taat age was older once than now,
In spite of locks untimely shed,
That babes make love and children wed.
That sunshinc had a heavenly glow,
Which faded with those “ good old days," When winters came with deeper snow,
And autumns with a softer baze.
That-mother, sister, wife, or child
The “ best of women" each has known. Were schoolboys ever hijf so wild ? :
How young the grandpapas have grown
That but for this our souls were free,
And bul for that our lives were blest; That in some season yet to be
Our cares will leave us time to resto
Whene'er we groan with ache or pain,
Some cominon ailment of the race, Though doctors think the matter plain,
That ours is “ a peculiar case."
That when like babcs with fingers burned
We count one bitter maxim more, Our lesson all the world has learned,
And men are wiser than before.
That when we sob o'er fancied woes,
The angels hovering overhead Count every pitying drop that flows
And love us for the tears we shed.
That when we stand with tearless eye
And turn the beggar from our door, They still approve us when we sigh, “Ah, bad I but one thousand more!"
That weakness smoothed the path of sin,
In balf the slips our youth bas known;
That Mercy flowers on faults outgrown.
Though temples crowd the crumbled brink
O'erbanging truth's eternal flot.,
Their echoes dumb to what we know ;
That one unquestioned text we read,
All doubt beyond, all fear above,
Can burn or blot it: GOD 18 Love!
(This particular record is noteworthy principally for containing a paper by my friend, the Professor, with a poem or two annexed or intercalated. I would suggest to young persons that they should pass over it for the present, and read, instead of it, that story about the young 'man who was in love with the young lady, and in great trouble for something like nine pages, but happily married on the tenth page or thereabouts, which, I take it for granted, will be contained in the periodical where this is found, unless it differ from all other publications of the kind. Perhaps, if such young people will lay.