The Pilot: A Nautical Burletta, in Three Acts (Classic Reprint)by Edward Fitz-Ball
We hold that critic no philosopher at all, who gets up his opinion in opposition to his interest, and tells the public they are a parcel of numskulls, when, by just hinting they are wise men, he might enjoy a fair reputation, and, what is better - a reasonable portion of the good things of this life. The
Excerpt from The Pilot: A Nautical Burletta, in Three Acts
We hold that critic no philosopher at all, who gets up his opinion in opposition to his interest, and tells the public they are a parcel of numskulls, when, by just hinting they are wise men, he might enjoy a fair reputation, and, what is better - a reasonable portion of the good things of this life. The advice of Stephano, "Trincolo, keep a good tongue in your head," is saving counsel. The first step towards making a man pleased with you, is to make him pleased with himself - tickle his self-love, and you have him, as the bleeding nun had Raymond, "body and soul for ever." Now we, in our critical capacity, have been more than usually complaisant to the public; we have given "coot worts" that we might get "good cabbage," we have not told them that they were fools, even if we have thought them so; and our greatest puzzle in writing has not been to express, but to conceal, our thoughts. This concealment, however, cannot be said to feed on our damask cheek - on the contrary, it has contributed to puff it out, and tinge it more after the fashion of the mulberry than the rose; to say nothing of our person, which, though more fat than bard beseems, is of that true critical rotundity as to inspire the same reverence as Lingo's wig; that belonged not to a scholar only, by a master of scholars!
It is the remark of a witty satirist of former days -
"Were I to curse the man I hate,
Attendance and dependence be his fate;
Were I to curse him still once more,
May he be always proud, and always poor!"
And it is the bounden duty of every critic, who, like old Mr. Silky, would "provide for his family," not to let his literary pride (for your proud stomach is generally a hungry one!) confine him to a crust and a garret; when, by accommodating himself a little to the public taste (even to the crucifixion of his own), he might command genteel lodgings in the second floor, and eat, drink, and be merry.
For ourselves, we are the very bass-string of humility in our devotion to the public. We cannot, however, say with Mawitorm, that "we likes to be despised," nor are we emulous of squibs, except they be literary, nor of crackers, but such as appertain to wine and walnuts.
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