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It only remains for me to say, that, during my short pre-eminence of popularity, I faithfully observed the rules of moderation which I had resolved to follow before I began my course as a man of letters. If a man is determined to make a noise in the world, he is as sure to encounter abuse and ridicule, as he who gallops furiously through a village must reckon on being followed by the curs in full cry. Experienced persons know, that in stretching to flog the latter, the rider is very apt to catch a bad fall; nor is an attempt to chastise a malignant critic attended with less danger to the author. On this principle, I let parody, burlesque, and squibs, find their own level; and while the latter hissed most fiercely, I was cautious never to catch them up, as schoolboys do, to throw them back against the naughty boy who fired them off, wisely remembering that they are, in such cases, apt to explode in the handling. Let me add, that my reign' (since Byron has so called it) was marked by some instances of good-nature as well as patience. I never refused

i "Sir Walter reign'd before,” &c.

Don Juan, canto xi. st. 57.]

14

INTRODUCTION TO THE LADY OF THE LAKE.

a literary person of merit such services in smoothing his way to the public as were in my power ; and I had the advantage, rather an uncommon one with our irritable race, to enjoy general favour, without incurring permanent ill-will, so far as is known to me, among any of my contemporaries.

W. S.

ABBOTSFORD, April 1800.

THE

LADY OF THE LAKE.

A POEM.

IN SIX CANTOS."

1 [Published in 4to, June 1810.]

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