1807 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. William Beloe

William Beloe, in Preface to Anecdotes of Literature 1 (1807) xv-xvii.



Thus was I engaged, and with these resources and these aids, in an occupation, of all others, the most grateful to my habits, when a dark and sudden tempest arose, which menaced my little bark with inevitable destruction. While I was basking in the sunshine of a fair fame, with the fond hope, and strong expectation, that I had only to draw my vessel on shore and suspend my votive tablet in the Muses' Temple, a whirlwind swept me to a gulph, where all but integrity must have foundered. "Animus meminisse horret!" A man was introduced at the Museum, with the sanction of the most respectable recommendation. I mention not his name — the wounds of his own conscience must be so severe a punishment, that I shall not increase his sufferings.

Satisfied with the credentials which he brought with him, and imposed upon by his frank, and seemingly honest manner, I received him in the progress of many attendances and unsuspecting confidence. I believed, for why was I to distrust, the artful tale of what he had in view, and thought that I did no more than discharge my duty by promoting and facilitating its accomplishment.

He proved to be dishonest; he purloined valuable property which was in my custody, and it was thought that the good government of the institution required my dismissal.

I acquiesced in the decision, and retired with no murmurs of resentment, with no querulous expostulation; but with what anguish of mind, I leave those to determine who have experienced, or who can imagine what it is to have all their literary and domestic plans, in one unexpected moment, overthrown, and to exchange peace, competence, and a situation most congenial to their feelings and pursuits, for loss, anxiety, uncertainty; and above all, the dread of unmerited obloquy.