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EDINBURGH: JAMES HOGG & SONS.
The right of Translation is reserved.
270. f. 423
THESE Papers, which first of all took their station in the periodic journals of this country, which were secondly transplanted into the literature of the American United States, and are now, for the third time, published at home in a new form with many emendations, may be supposed to have suffered by errors of hurry and inadvertence, from their original adaptation to a service very nearly extemporaneous. It was natural that they should do so. But my own experience, in common with that of many other writers, has taught me that the disadvantages of hurry are not without their compensations. Performers on the organ, so far from finding their own impromptu displays to fall below their more careful and premeditated efforts, on the contrary, have oftentimes deep reason to mourn over the escape of inspirations born from the momentary fervours of improvisation, but fugitive and irrevocable as the pulses in their own flying fingers. Something analogous there is in the effects of that inexorable summons which forces a man to write against time, when racing along to intercept the final closing of a weekly or monthly journal. It is certain, howsoever it may be explained psychologically, that the fierce compression of mental activities which takes place in such a struggle, though painful and exhausting, has the effect of suddenly unlocking cells in the brain, and revealing evanescent gleams of original feeling, or startling suggestions of novel truth, that would not have obeyed a less fervent magnetism. Pain, and conflicts with suffering, are ministrations