"Beat Bentley, if you can, but omit the brutality; rival Parr, eschewing all pomposity; outlinguist old Magliabechi, and yet be a man of the world; emulate Swift in satire, but suffer not one squeeze of his saeva indignatio to eat your own heart. Be and do all this, and the 'Doctor' will no longer be a unique. Long may he continue at once the star of our erudition, our philosophy and our dialectics, and in his own immortal words,—
A randy bandy, brandy, no Dandy,
Rollicking jig of an Irishman!"
So far, the brilliant schizzo in Fraser, for which, the Doctor's native modesty not allowing to exhibit himself, the pen of his ever constant friend, J. G. Lockhart, was called into requisition. Jubilant in prospect, sad in retrospect, — for it is sad to think that the renowned "standard-bearer," — a giant in literature, — an erratic genius, Protean in intellect as in appellation, — an [Greek characters], — should, in his own miserable case, serve to point to the old, old moral, — one of the most melancholy, because the most striking, instances in the history of letters, — of the utter absence, amid all his splendid endowments, of that "Prudent, cautious self-control" which another unfortunate son of genius has told us, as the lesson of his own bitter experience, "Is wisdom's root."
"Few men," says S. C. Hall, whose acquaintance with Maginn went back to the days when the latter was a schoolmaster in Cork, "ever started with better prospects; there was hardly any position in the state to which he might not have aspired. His learning was profound; his wit of the tongue and the pen ready, pointed, caustic and brilliant, his essays, tales, poems, scholastic disquisitions, — in short his writings upon all conceivable topics were of the very highest order.... His acquaintances, who would willingly have been his friends, were not only the men of genius of his time; among them were several noblemen and statesmen of power as well as rank. In a word, he might have climbed to the highest rung of the ladder, with helping hands, all the way up; he stumbled and fell at its base."
This is, indeed, nothing but the literal and miserable truth. What can be therefore more sad than to survey, however imperfectly, this profitless and broken career; and know that, after all, one so variously and rarely gifted, — of learning so profound and extensive, — who, in philosophy was pronounced by Dr. Moir, "abler than Coleridge," — in satire, declared by Macnish "equal to Swift," — as a political writer, termed by another great authority, "the greatest in the world," — as a companion, remembered by Charles Knight as "one of the pleasantest and most improving of his visitors," — whose intellect, as the "Modern Pythagorean" wrote, "adorned every theme that it touched," — who was characterized by his biographer, Kenealy, "as a scholar, perhaps, the most universal of his time, — far more various in his learning than Voltaire, far more profound and elegant than Johnson," — of whose "abilities as a writer and conversationist, and excellent nature as a man," Maclise could not find "words powerful enough to convey his opinion," — whom Richard Oastler, who was his companion in the Fleet, styled "the brightest star of intellectual light," — to whom the able editor of the Homeric Ballads said the "celebrated eulogy of Parr on Fox so perfectly applied that it seemed to have been written for him," — and who was described to Sir Robert Peel by the friend who wrote to that illustrious statesman on behalf of the dying man, as "an individual of exalted genius, the most universal scholar, perhaps, of the age, and as good, and kind, and gentle-hearted a being as ever breathed;" — should perish in the very prime and flower of life; and this, as we must infer, from his own impudencies in great measure, — and be indebted to the munificence of a stranger for the support of his last days, and the means of decent burial.
Passing from these anticipatory reflections, let us take a brief glance at the leading events in the literary career of this extraordinary man.
William Maginn was born in 1794, and was a native of Cork, — a city which can also boast of having given birth to Crofton Croker, James Sheridan Knowles, Forde, Hogan (the Sculptor), Barry and Maclise (the Royal Academicians), Jack Boyle (the witty editor of the Cork Freeholder), the learned James Roche (the well-known "J. R." of the Gentleman's Magazine), Richard Sainthill (the numismatist), Rogers ("the father of landscape painting in Ireland"), Richard Millikin (author of the immortal Groves of Bladney), Francis Mahony (better known as "Father Prout"), Dr. Edward Vaughan Kenealy (the Barrister, — a scholar, a poet, and a man of genius), the early lost Jeremiah Daniel Murphy, my late friend, J. Milner Barry, M.D., of Tunbridge Wells (an amiable man, and skilful physician, whose knowledge of literature was equalled by few), — calm multis aliis quos nunc perscribere longum est. He entered Trinity College, Dublin, in his tenth year, and became a Doctor of Laws at the unprecedentedly early age of twenty-five. While at the University, he was the reputed author of a poem entitled Aeneas Eunuchus, which excited much attention from the singularity of its theory, — sufficiently indicated by the title, — and the boldness of its thought.
If I am not mistaken, Maginn commenced his career in this country in the columns of The Literary Gazette, under the management of Jerdan. He first corresponded with Blackwoods in 1819, in the November number of which year appeared his extraordinary Latin version of Chevy Chase. In the June number for the same year will be found his continuation (Part iii.) of the Christabel of Coleridge, a poem which in weird fancy, and graceful imagery, is, perhaps, hardly inferior to the original. To the Literary Souvenir of 1828 he contributed his beautiful story of The City of the Demons; to the volume for 1829, The Vision of Purgatory; and he lent assistance, together with Thomas Keightley, to the Fairy Legends of Crofton Croker. In 1830 was started Fraser's Magazine, the early numbers of which were almost entirely written by the Doctor, and his friend, Mr. Hugh Fraser, after whom, and not after James Fraser, the publisher, the serial derived its name. Here in the well-known Regent Street back-parlour, were written the inimitable Fraser Papers: and here also were knocked off, currente calamo, and moistened by a ros purus, which, alas! was not of Castalia, the illustrative text to the Maclise portraits, "the most original and sparkling of the Doctor's productions;" and another evidence, when we think of the manner of their production, how meteoric was the intellect from which they emanated. In Fraser's Magazine, Nov., 1837, appeared a Shakespearian paper; and in vol. xx. (Sept., Oct. and Dec.) a series of three articles on the celebrated essay of Dr. Farmer, On the Learning of Shakespeare. These, with all their faults, — they leave Farmer's essay, perhaps, where they found it, — are brilliant in treatment and discursive in illustration, showing the wide and unexpected extent and direction of the Doctor's reading, and I am at a loss to understand how it is that in these days of "reprints," it has not occurred to some adventurous publisher to collect and issue these Shakspeariana, — including old Farmer's prolusions, — in a substantive form. In No. lxiv. of Fraser, occurs the brilliant paper, The Fraserians, and in No. lxxiii., the libellous, and certainly unjustifiable, review of the novel, Berkeley Castle. This led to the personal and severe castigation, by the agency of a horsewhip, of Fraser, the publisher, by the Hon. Grantley Berkeley, the author of the novel; and the action at law, "Fraser v. Berkeley and Another," which was tried before Lord Abinger, in the Exchequer Court at Westminster, Dec. 3, 1836, resulting in damages for the plaintiff of £100; an amount which will not be thought excessive when we reflect that he never recovered from the shock, which was, indeed, the proximate cause of his death. There was also a cross action, "Berkeley v. Fraser," in which a verdict was entered by consent for the plaintiff, with damages forty shillings, each party paying his own costs.
Besides these forensic tourneys, the litigant parties had recourse to a more direct and speedy mode of settling their differences. On hearing of the assault on Fraser, Maginn at once wrote to Berkeley, avowing the authorship of the objectionable article. A challenge, in that day at least, was the almost inevitable result. The meeting took place in a field on the New Barnet Road, when three exchanges of shots took place between the belligerents, without further damage than a graze on the heel of Maginn's boot, and one on the collar of his adversary's coat. Bad blood always remained between the antagonists. In the year following the trial, Maginn again appeared in Fraser with a more carefully guarded, but still truculent, attack on the Berkeley family, for which Henry F. Berkeley took revenge by stigmatizing the critic as "a blackguard hireling of the most profligate part of the press, a stipendiary assassin of character, and a mean and malignant liar." Years after, when Grantley Berkeley came to write his Reminiscences, he wove together that tissue of lies and misrepresentations, relating to Maginn and Miss Landon, which the late Mr. Gruneisen so conclusively pulled to pieces in The Globe or Pall Mall Gazette (?). Grantley Berkeley died so recently as Feb. 23, 1881, at the advanced age of 81.
The report in full of the trial will be found in Fraser's Magazine for Jan., 1837; followed by Maginn's "defence," such as it is.
To The Drawing-Room Scrap-Book for 1836, then edited by Miss Landon ("L. E. L."), Maginn contributed a poetical piece on the subject of Albertus Magnus, at the age of 84, suddenly becoming aware, in the presence of his class of pupils at Cologne, of the death, in 1274, of his former pupil, St. Thomas Aquinas, "the Angelical Doctor," and bursting into tears. Perhaps also by the same pen are the lines signed "W. M.," The Farewell, page 33.
Turning again to Fraser's Magazine, in Nos. xcvi., xcvii. and xcix., appeared that marvellous farrago of Rabelaisian wit and learning, The Doctor, a conjectural review of, and commentary upon, the celebrated work of Southey, the authorship of which was then not known. But it is impossible to give anything like a complete list of Maginn's contributions to "Regina," of which he was, from the commencement, the very soul and presiding spirit. Again, in Blackwood (vol. xlviii.) we have his "Tobias Correspondence," which, as he himself said, "contains the whole art and mystery of writing a newspaper;" this was written in a garret in Wych Street, when hiding from the emissaries of the law, and is pregnant with his own diversified literary experiences. Here, too, (vol. xi.) I would point to his inimitable song, The Wine Bibber's Glory, in English, and rhyming Latin verse, equal to anything of Walter de Mapes or Vincent Bourne, and reminding one of the choicest gems in the Eloge de l'Yvresse, or the Vaux de Vire of the old Norman Anacreon, Olivier Basselin.
Space will not allow me to trace the course of Maginn through the volumes of Blackwood. In vol. vii. is his Latin version of Chevy Chase, Fytte the Second, and in vol. viii., The Semihorae Biographicae; and here is also, in a paper entitled Extracts from a Lost (and found) Memorandum Book, a project for getting rid of peripatetic beggars which may be useful in these days, and which for the inimitable gravity and apparent sincerity with which the absurd device is propounded, is almost worthy of comparison with Swift's notorious Project for Eating Children. In the number for April, 1854, appeared his Story without a Tail, since republished in the Tales from Blackwood.
I must not omit to point out that in Fraser's Magazine, Jan., 1838, appeared the first of the celebrated Homeric Ballads, of which there are sixteen in all, the concluding one, actually dictated from his death-bed to a friend, being the last poetical essay that proceeded from the Doctor's facile pen, as his last prose paper was a "leader" for the Age. It is needless to speak at length of these Ballads, which are well known through the various reprints by Professor Conington, "the Modern Pythagorean," and others. Gladstone himself speaks of their "admirably turned Homeric tone;" and Matthew Arnold says that "they are vigorous and genuine poems in their own way, and not one continued falsetto, like the pinchbeck Roman Ballads of Lord Macaulay," while an able anonymous critic affirms that he does not know a book "better calculated to inspire a clever youth with a love of the Homeric poems."
In the name of the Prophet, figs! Goldsmith, with the same pen that traced the undying lineaments of the Vicar of Wakefield, wrote for John Newbury, the publisher, a catchpenny pamphlet on the Cock Lane Ghost, — not included in his collected works till the appearance of Peter Cunningham's edition of 1854; Lockhart's range of subjects extended, as we have seen, "from poetry to dry rot;" and Maginn, who had sung the deeds of the Trojan heroes, did not disdain, in a novel entitled the Red Barn, to embody the strange story of Maria Martin, and the Polestead murder, of 1828. The book sold by thousands, but the authorship was never revealed.
In 1838, Maginn translated some of the dramatic pieces of Lucian for Fraser; but notwithstanding their high merit, they did not seem to be popular, and were not continued.
In newspaper literature, he was one of the chief contributors to the John Bull; he was on the staff of the Age, he wrote for the True Sun; he was chosen by Murray foreign editor of the unfortunate and short-lived Representative and in this capacity, resided for a while at Paris and on the establishment of the Standard was appointed joint-editor with Dr. Gifford. It must be held, moreover, a singular proof of the estimation in which his abilities were held, that Murray, — that [Greek characters], of booksellers, as Lord Byron termed him, — should have made overtures to him, at that time unknown to the public, so recently a junior schoolmaster in an Irish provincial town, and who had written no book, to undertake a life of the illustrious poet who had then just died. The letters and papers of Byron were actually placed in his hands; and it is probably true that if he had executed the task we should have had a record emulating in its shameless profligacy the Confessions of Rousseau, the Amours of Faublas, and the Vie of Casanova. But Murray took alarm; and it perhaps was as well for the cause of morality and the reputation of Byron, that the task of drawing up his life should have been ultimately placed in the hands of one who, having been a Whig all his life, knew what would please his party and has finally given us that idealized portraiture which will convey the "wayward childe" to posterity as a travelling nobleman of average respectability.
The impulsive and versatile character of the genius of Maginn was not favourable for the production of literary work requiring continuity and concentration of effort. In this department, however, we must not forget a somewhat remarkable novel from his pen, entitled Whitehall, or the Days of King George ) IV., an octavo volume, published by W. Marsh, without date (1827), or author's name. This is styled by Jerdan "a singular example of wild genius," and another authority characterized it as "one of the most wild and extraordinary productions of the day, overflowing with madcap wit and quaint humour, and containing sketches of all the leading characters of the time, from George IV. down to Jack Ketch, the hangman. To the last-named office, by an inimitable stroke of humour, is appointed Mr. Tierney, who, having come up to town, with an earnest desire to be made Prime Minister, and having in vain solicited that or some other place, finally, in despair, accepts the office of executioner, and performs the last ceremonies of the law on Mr. Huskisson who, he tells us, 'amid the acclamations of surrounding thousands, died easily and instantaneously.' This work is very rare, but it will well repay any one who will take the trouble of searching for it through the old bookshops of London." This very curious book, in which a fair joke is somewhat spoiled, it must be confessed, by being wire-drawn through 330 pages and encrusted with a certain amount of ill-nature and coarseness, is noticed in the Quarterly Review (Jan., 1828), where its true object is pointed out, — "to laugh down the Brambletye House species of novel," and its study recommended to those "well-meaning youths who imagine that a few scraps of plundered antiquarianism, a prophetical beldam, a bore, and a rebellion are enough to make a Waverley novel." The book may, indeed, be regarded as a satire on Horace Smith, and a series of parodies of his so-called historical fictions. Just as a taste of its quality, — and to serve as a pendant to Byron's versified satire on the banker-poet, — I shall transcribe an extract, — the prose portrait of "Sam Hodges":—
"This singular and eccentric man was never seen by strangers, but with astonishment. Nature, which made him by profession a punster, seemed to have intended his very person for a sort of joke. He was about four feet high, and his head was at least a quarter of that size. It hung heavily to one side, and his countenance, of an unearthly paleness, drooped like an overgrown turnip hanging upon a pole. His under jaw projected considerably, and gave him the appearance of a perpetual grin. His lack-lustre eye shot its leaden beams from under shaggy eyebrows and his locks, untamed by brush or comb, hung in grizzly knots over his wrinkled brow. Lord Byron, with that disregard for decorum of language which so conspicuously marked the conversations of that celebrated poet, used rather blasphemously to call him a caricature of a crucifixion. Strange being. Yet under that odd and repulsive appearance he possessed wit unbounded, jocularity unceasing, deliberate courage, magnanimous philanthropy. Sage in council, jocose at table, valiant in action, luxurious in ease, he was the idol of London. Wherever he went, joy brightened every countenance, and the very phrase, 'It's a saying of Sam's,' became proverbial to express the highest degree of wit. In this particular, Indeed, he was unequalled; none, in fact, approached him, except the illustrious Hallam, who, we are informed by some of the principal critical works of the age, wrote a jocular treatise on the Middle Ages which has not come down to posterity, but which, in his own generation, appears to have excited a universal laugh wherever it was mentioned."
Another novel, which had originally appeared in Ainsworth's Magazine, was reissued in separate form, after his death, and assumes an importance not its own from the designs of the inimitable George Cruikshank, by which it is illustrated; this is John Manesty; or the Liverpool Merchant, 1844, 2 vols. 8vo. The collector, too, may care to be reminded of that little pocket La Rochefoucauld of the diner-out and man-about-town, The Maxims of Sir Morgan O'Doherty, Bart. Blackwood, 1849.
I have alluded to Maginn's skill in Parody; in this branch of humorous literature he was truly facile princeps, the greatest of his time, if not of all time. His effusions in this way are scattered here and there, but the curious reader may find some specimens in W. Jerdan's Autobiography, vol. iii., p. 82. As a Song-writer he was not excelled even by Procter ("Barry Cornwall"); and as a Conversationist, his table-talk is represented by one who had enjoyed it, to be "an outpouring of the gorgeous stores wherewith his mind was laden, flowing on like the storied Pactolus, all golden"—
Quidquid come loquens, atque omnia dulcia linquens,
—and to be devoid alike of the turgid pomposity of Johnson, and of the often tedious monotony of Coleridge. The learned Heinsius was pronounced by our own Selden "quam severarum tum amaenarum literarum Sol"; and Buchanan, the Scottish poet, was characterized as "omni liberali eruditione non leviter tinctus, sed penitus imbutus." Such hyperbolic phrases of eulogy, which the scholars of old were wont to apply to each other, find a parallel in those by which the friends and immediate contemporaries of William Maginn have expressed their estimation of the genius and attainments of the departed scholar. Hear only one, capable of judging, and who knew him from the very commencement of his literary career to its mournful close, — the late William Jerdan — "There is scarcely any species of literature of which he has not left examples as masterly as any in the language. Romancist, Parodist, Politician, Satirist, Linguist, Poet, Critic, Scholar, — pre-eminent in all, and in the last all but universal, — the efflux of his genius inexhaustible.
But here I am warned to bring these notes to a conclusion, and hasten to the closing scene, over which I would fain draw the curtain. With the induration of intemperate habits, and the want of ordinary prudence — his "only fault," said Macnish, was that he was careless of the morrow, — Maginn had been gradually descending in the world, till at length he became a prey to all the ills, — barring, indeed, the fourth, — which
—the scholar's life assail
Toil, envy, want, the patron and the gaol—
and which are happily more characteristic of the age which produced his countrymen, Goldsmith, Sheridan, and Dermody, than his own. Finally, a speculation to reprint, under the title of Magazine Miscellanies, the choicest of his contributions to serial literature, not having been successful, Maginn, in 1842, was thrown into the Fleet Prison for the expenses. Hence he emerged penniless, and in the last stage of consumption. In this sad condition, he was enabled to retreat to Walton-upon-Thames, and there he breathed his last, Aug. 20, 1842, in the forty-ninth year of his age, like Sheridan, utterly forsaken by the party for which he had done so much, and in ignorance of the noble munificence of Sir Robert Peel, whose gift of £100, in answer to the touching appeal made to him on behalf of the dying scholar, only arrived in time to pay his burial fees. Alas! poor Yorick.
In the Dublin University Magazine for January, 1844, appeared a long, affectionate and scholarly, — if laboured and pedantic — biographical notice of Maginn. This has been attributed to D. M. Moir, but was actually written by his reverent and faithful friend and townsman, the late Edward Vaughan Kenealy, LL.D. The portrait prefixed to this, — a sort of imitation of ours in Fraser, — is by Mr. Samuel Skillin, of Cork; it is pronounced an admirable likeness, but its artistic inferiority is at once manifest, on comparing it with the masterly sketch by Maclise.
In the following year, 1845, was published by Churton of Holles Street, a charming little volume by the since notorious writer to whom I have just alluded; a rare mixture of Attic learning and Irish fun, which the lover of classical deliciae will do well to hunt up, and place, — if he has the luck to meet with it, for it, too, is now a rare book, — by the side of the Reliques of Father Prout. It is entitled Brallaghan, or the Deipnosophists, and besides the humorous characterizations of Maginn and the other members of the Fraserian party, it contains at the end an affectionate and touching tribute to the deceased scholar, and a generous estimate of his character as a writer, and a man. One passage from this and I have done:—
"His funeral was quite private, and was attended only by a very few friends, who loved him fondly while he lived, and venerate his memory now that he is gone; and the tears that fell upon his grave were the last sad tribute to as true and warm and beautiful a soul as ever animated a human breast. The place in which he is buried is one that his own choice might have selected, for the Spirit of Repose itself seems to dwell around it, and lends a new charm to its rustic beauty. No noise is ever heard there but the rustling of the trees, or the gay chirp of the summer blackbirds, or the echo of the solemn hymns as they ascend to heaven in music on the Sabbath. Strangely contrasted, indeed, is its peacefulness with the troublous scenes of his many-coloured life, and provocative of pensive reflection the gentle silence that invests it like a spell. The rude villager, as he passes over his grave, little dreams of the splendid intellect that slumbers beneath, or the host of sweet and noble traits that lived within the heart already mouldering under his feet into a clod of the valley. But his genius has already sanctified the ground, lending to it the magic which entwines itself with the homes or tombs of celebrated men, rendering it henceforward a classic and muse-haunted solitude, to which history will point, and making it for all time a spot to which the scholar will piously resort, and where the young enthusiast of books will linger long and idolatrously in the soft sunlight, or beneath the radiant stars."
The following witty and pathetic lines, — termed by one of our leading newspaper critics "a vicious epitaph," — were written on his deceased friend, by Lockhart:—
Here, early to bed, lies kind William Maginn,
Who with genius, wit, learning, life's trophies to win,
Had neither great lord, nor rich cit of his kin,
Nor discretion to set himself up as to tin;
So, his portion soon spent, like the poor heir of Lynn,
He turn'd author, while yet was not beard on his chin;
For your Tories his fine Irish brains he would spin;
Who received prose and rhyme with a promising grin,
"Go ahead, you queer fish, and more power to your fin!"
But to save from starvation, stirr'd never a pin.
Light for long was his heart, though his breeches were thin,
Else his acting, for certain, was equal to Quin;
But at last he was beat, and sought help from this bin,
(All the same to the Doctor, from claret to gin),
Which led swiftly to gaol, with consumption therein.
It was much, when the bones rattled loose in his skin,
He got leave to die here, out of Babylon's din,
Barring drink and the girls, I ne'er heard of a sin,
Many worse, better few, than bright, broken Maginn.
I would touch with the softest hand upon the vice which, in these beautiful lines, is spoken of as having brought this gifted son of genius to disgrace, disease, and death. "The rock upon which Steele and Burns split," — says one who knew him, — "the sole blot upon Addison, the only stigma upon Charles Lamb, that which exiled Fox from the cabinet of England, and reduced Sheridan to poverty and shame, was the ruin, too, of the late William Maginn." Here, in expanding the moral character of the man, it is but fair to take into account the possibility that he was unhappy in his domestic relations. I say "possibility," because there is a discrepancy of evidence which I am unable to reconcile from my own knowledge. Kenealy says that he loved his children with devotion, and that "their presence always brought brightness to his eyes:' but he adds, — if indeed he was the author of the obituary article I have referred to, — that he had "the misfortune to render applicable to him the bitterest part of the epigram of Phillipides, [Greek characters]. On the other hand, a better authority, — John Gibson Lockhart, — speaks of the widow of his friend as "a most respectable gentlewoman;" nor did he, it is well to add, relax his exertions on her behalf, till he had secured for her "comfortable quarters in Bath," where she survived him till 1859. Of the children so loved, the only son received a cadetship in the East Indies from Sir Robert Peel's last government; one daughter died young; and a second married Mr. P. Scott, H.E.I.C.S., who is, I think, known as a writer of verses.
It may be pretty safely assumed that "Charlie Shandon," of Pendennis, was intended as a portraiture of Maginn, — correct, doubtless, in many respects, but cruel, cynical, Thackerayish!
An adequate life of Maginn would be an interesting work, and could not fail to throw much light upon the journalistic and serial literature of his brief period. What has become of the materials, which, it was understood, the late Thornton Hunt, a man in every way fitted for the performance of this desiderated task, had been long employed in bringing together? As to republication of the works themselves, the booksellers seem to have in view the failure which attended Maginn's own attempt to bring into collected form his scattered contributions to periodical literature. The Magazine Miscellanies, to which I have referred as a last link in the author's chain of misfortunes, are so rare that twenty years' search among the London "bouquinistes" will hardly result in the recovery of an odd number or two. Mr. W. Carpenter is fortunate in his Notes and Queries (First Series, vol. ii. p. 13, 1850). Almost equally difficult of procuration is the Transatlantic collection of Maginn's writings, published in New York, under the editorship of J. Shelton Mackenzie, L.L.D., a review of which will be found in the Gentleman's Magazine, for June, 1859. What have become of the collections of Mr. Tucker Hunt (the brother of F. Knight Hunt, author of the Fourth Estate, etc.), which we were led to believe would some day see the light? Surely the time has arrived when some enterprising publisher would find his account in collecting and giving forth, if not a complete, — this I am afraid is impossible, not only from the vast mass of material, but the death of those who possessed knowledge to discriminate, — at least a partial gathering of Maginn's fugitive and scattered pieces. Surely a selection would sell; and if judiciously made would still serve to hand down to later ages a portraiture of the man, — the extent and profundity of his learning, the brilliancy of his wit, the richness of his humour, the versatility of his genius, — and vindicate his claim to a proximate niche in the temple of fame with the great foregone masters in his own peculiar line of writing, — with Lucian, with Aristophanes, with Rabelais, and with Swift.