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The following LETTER, addressed to the Prin ter of the St. James's Chronicle, appeared in that Paper, in June, 1767.
As there is nothing I dislike so much as newspaper controversy, particularly upon trifles, permit me to be as concise as possible in informing a correspondent of yours, that I recommended Blainville's Travels, because I thought the book was a good one; and I think so still. I said, I was told by the bookseller that it was then first published; but in that, it seems, I was misinformed, and my reading was not extensive enough to set me right.
Another correspondent of yours accuses me of having taken a ballad, 1 published some time ago, from one by the ingenious Mr. Percy. I do not think there is any great resemblance between the two pieces in question. If there be any, his ballad is taken from mine. I read it to Mr. Percy some years ago; and he (as we both considered these things, as trifles at best) told me, with his usual good humour, the next time I saw him, that he had taken my plan to form the fragments of Shakespeare into a ballad of his own. He then read me his little cento, if I may so call it, and I highly approved it. Such petty anecdotes as these are scarce
The Friar of Orders Gray. "Reliq. of Anc. Poetry," vol. i. p. 243.
worth printing: and, were it not for the busy disposition of some of your correspondents, the public should never have known that he owes me the hint of his ballad, or that I am obliged to his friendship and learning for communications of a much more important nature.
I am, Sir,
TURN, gentle hermit of the dale,
To where yon taper cheers the vale
'For here forlorn and lost I tread,
" Forbear, my son,' the hermit cries, 'To tempt the dangerous gloom; For yonder faithless phantom flies To lure thee to thy doom.
'Here to the houseless child of want
My door is open still;
And though my portion is but scant, I give it with good will.
Then turn to night, and freely share Whate'er my cell bestows;
My rushy couch and frugal fare,
My blessing and repose.