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the pink pathetic in that rainbow of glory, which, he may flatter himself, will conspicuously over-arch the scene of his honorable retreat.
"Farewel, a long farewel to all my greatness!"
Now, my very dear, intelligent, and, of late, my very constant readers, consider the difficulties that occur to me in a somewhat similar situation, or I should rather say predicament. It cannot be advanced, for instance, that there was either glory or dignity to be won by editing The Cave; for the glory accrued, as a matter of course, to the very learned and ingenious contributors; and the dignity of the work, was, as you all know, a robe of office which could not ostensibly be worn by the Editor, and was accordingly resigned, with all its furry honors, to the mould and the moth.
It is astonishing how ignorant the world is of the mechanism of a periodical. People imagine, that some critical compounder of sentences, of a severe physiognomy, and a sadcolored coat, who has nothing else to do, pour se desennuyer, as we say at Dunkirk, sits down two or three days a month, with the public in his eye, and a
61 10 .br 11
That he (the said Editor) puts what end his good-nature or malice may suggest, to the Criminosis Tambis, the bad verse or prose of anonymous correspondents, sive flamma, sive mari Adriano; as, of late, in my own case, either in Saunton Limekiln, or the Severn Sea. People fancy there must be much amusement to be derived from setting up, in one person, for literary judge, jury, and executioner; and that this pleasure is doubled by an incognito state of existencea sort of nobody class of being; and, in fact, an obscure author of some Scotch novels, is a prominent example of the imaginary grandeur, and secret satisfaction, which may pos sibly arise from living in a literary Land of Mist.
But if the public could see behind the curtain, be initiated in the mysteries, and share in the secrets of the prison-house, it would appear that the Editorship of a Periodical is no sinecure. So laborious, indeed, has it been found in some instances, that regular committees have been committed for conducting this branch of literature alone. A solemn and sagacious band is assembled, sworn to inviolable secrecy, and
ranged around a board of green cloth, to deliberate upon the merit, and decide upon the admission or rejection of Epheme ral Prose, Fugitive Poetry, and Contributive Acrostic and Enigma. It follows from this, that where the proprietors cannot afford to provide so large an establishment of censors, they must, as in my own case, rely upon one sole depository of literary decision, and endow their forlorn unity with singular properties of plurality: thus the unpresuming Editor is lost in the arrogancy of a WE.'
And in that most awful of all characters, what have not We (Dry-den Beauclerc), 'undergone? up early and in bed late; ever on the alert for the honor and integrity of The Cave: How truly may our late Editorial existence be com pared to that of the soldier, passed, as it undoubtedly was, amid
"Days of danger, nights of waking."
How often have we labored at the almost undecipherable MSS of some prose-poetical contributor, and, when at last it became perusable, puzzled ourselves to decide in which department of our Periodical it should appear: and then, at length, on referring to our proprietors for instructions, beheld the object of our hebdomadal study unceremoniously consigned, ludibria ventis, that is, to the mermaids of the Bristol Channel, to discover whether it were fish or flesh.
Then, again, how often have we been distressfully balanced, like the coffin of Mahomet, between counteracting attractions; between the obligations due to contributors, and the profit due to proprietors; obtaining little credit from either; scorned by the one for rejecting, and abused by the other for admitting articles, in their opinion, alike injurious to the honor and success of our Periodical.
Witness for me, thou rejected bale of Epigrams! how diffi cult it was to draw the line, where wit was compromised in personality, or personality qualified by wit. How suddenly, anon, was I subject to freezing fits of discretion, which only allowed me to look into the Lancaster Sound of our Contribution Box; and, perhaps, as rashly to conclude, that the further inspection of particular articles, would be but a task of unprofitable endeavor.
But, without further enumerating the many difficulties which beset me in my late Official capacity, I shall, at least, carry with me into my retirement, a proud consciousness of having met them with the spirit they required; and that my Editorial decisions have been governed by a due regard to the
amusement of the readers, the fame of the contributors, and the profit of the proprietors of The Cave.
Nevertheless, 1 shall derive the principal part of my consolations in retirement, from a knowledge, that the Work in which I so materially assisted, (quorum pars magna fui) will not be discontinued with my removal.
Whether, for the future, it be ordained to flourish or to fade, the Proprietors have determined on affording it a typographical existence.
And, to confess the truth, our late MSS publication could, from its very nature, become but a fleeting and perishable record of ability for the contributory aspirants of the neighbourhood. The fanciful inditer of the Braunton Melodies, will now have a wider field open to his ambition, and his muse, perhaps, extend her flight far beyond the boundary of those local beauties he has epitomised in the 4th Number of his Lyrical Effusions—
Haunt of St. Branoc! by green hill and vale," 3 So bright in thy beauty, so rich in thy dower; Where the sun-beams lie warm, and the fountains ne'er fail, And blossom and leaf linger long in the bower! Where abundance, the wreath of her corn-land is blending, With orchard o'er-laden, and ever-green lea; Far away round the fane of thy Founder extending, Thy bank to the river, thy beach to the sea! Thou hast beauty wherever our glances may reach, From the green-wood of Ashe to the Cave on thy beach→→→→ From the sail of the sloop, that is glassed in thy Pill, To the Castle's pale diadem crowning the hill!
BRAUNTON MELODIES, NO. IV.
But it would be a waste of time to point out the many agreeable tendencies of the work now under contemplation. The deserved and unparalleled success of a cotemporary (though rather Enigmatical Periodical) solves all doubt, and relieves every apprehension. And, if the Miscellany I allude to has not followed our footsteps, quite as far as The Cave, if it has, as yet, confined itself to the insertion of articles principally of Barumian interest, I attribute it to the delicate disinclination which the conductors of it would naturally feel to trespass upon the preserves of a Periodical, which preceded, by some years, the appearance of their own.
I beg leave, however, to assure the Miscellaneous Committee, that the proprietors of The Cave are by no means touchy or particular about their royalty. The wrecks of literature are
of little value to us, farther than to boil our Sibyls' caldron at the Cave; where, as usual, the business of our Periodical will be principally conducted; the Printer's convenience being alone consulted in sending our manuscript to Barnstaple.
I have, moreover, resigned my Marino on a lease for fourteen years, to the present Editor, that he may be upon the spot ready to wait on the immediate pleasure of all future Contributors.
And, the mention of this Gentleman, brings me to the pleasing conclusion of a protracted letter. Gentle readers, be advised by these presents, that the bearer of this Epistle, and present Editor of The Cave, is my very engaging, though somewhat fastidious friend, DOMINO DASH THREESTARS ANONYMOUS; otherwise called, THE LITTLE UNKNOWN, at your service: and, as this is the first time of his approaching your very indulgent, but awful presence, he feels, of course, a sort of graceful timidity, which it is impossible for him to shake off; however, by and by he and you will be better acquainted meanwhile, hoping you will attribute his silence to the best of motives, allow me to announce, for him, the nature of his PERIODICAL-TO-BE, and to declare the principles on which The Cave will henceforth be conducted,
will be published at Barnstaple in monthly numbers, and will appear in the first week of every month, in an octavo form of from one to three sheets.
It will also be regularly deposited, for earlier perusal, and the convenience of the wet-paper clubs, at The CAVE, Saunton Sands, Braunton Castle, Mortehoe, Lee-bay, &c. &c., and forwarded regularly to Lundy Island, by the Lundy packet, on the day after publication.
There will be a Box for welcoming contributory favors, at our Printer's window, in Barum, who will duly forward all communications to the Editor, at Saunton Cave.
For heavy articles arriving by sea, there is a crane erected at Down End.
The CAVE will contain a Miscellaneous collection of original Prose and Poetry, Reviewing and Riddles. In the two first of these departments, subjects of local interest will form a prominent feature.
For the Reviewing Department, the proprietors beg leave to announce, that they have purchased, of Mr. JEFFREY BEN
SON, a quarter share of that popular periodical The Lundy Review, select articles from which will occasionally appear, under cover of The Cave.
Of the last, or enigmatical portion, the Editor engages to be very select.
N.B. Answers to riddles are requested to be brief, for we cannot allow 10, 20, and 30 line respondents to walk to a monosyllabical conclusion, in their seven-league boots, over the pages of our Periodical.
And as we are, moreover, desirous of cutting a figure, we must decline the insertion of many arithmetical, and mathematical ingenuities.
As to the Morale, (as the French call it) of our work, we shall merely premise
1. That we have no opinions of our own, on any subject what
2. We leave party politics to public-houses.
3. Our readers will find The Cave peremptorily barred against the entrane of personalities, whether they be bright or dull ours is not the Cave of a wild Indian, and any sort of toxicological weapon, would, we conceive, be a disgrace to our armory.
Integer vitæ, scelerisque purus,
The periodical upright
Such, we trust, will be the stainless banner of The CAVE; but, nevertheless, the proprietors request me to add, that they cannot consider themselves responsible for any ultra-interpretation of our contributors' articles beyond their several intentions, as plainly set forth in our pages. Periodical works being very often subjected to misconstruction, and articles, innocent of any particular application, are often pointed, by the reader, at persons and objects which the writers of them never contemplated. For, as the poet sings, *
*. Braunton Melodies.