Page:What will he do with it.djvu/362

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all the principles by which works that necessitate integrity of plan, and a certain harmony of proportion, are constructed ; more especially those works which aim at artistic representa- tions of human life ; for, in human life, we must presume that nothing is left to chance, and chance must be no less rigidly banished from the art by which human life is depicted. That art admits no hap-hazard chapters, no uncertainty as to the consequences that must ensue from the incidents it decides on selecting. Would the artist, on after-thought, alter a consequence, he must reconsider the whole chain-work of inci- dent which led to one inevitable result, and which would be wholly defective if it could be made to lead to another. Hence, a work of this kind cannot be written currente cala?no, from month to month ; the entire design must be broadly set forth be- fore the first page goes to press ; and large selections of the whole must be always completed in advance, in order to allow time for deliberate forethought, and fair opportunity for such revisions, as an architect, having prepared all his plans, must still admit to his building, should difficulties, not foreseen, sharpen the invention to render each variation in detail an im- provement consistent to the original design.

Secondly. — May the Reader — accpeting this profession of the principles by which is constructed the history that invites his at- tention, and receiving now the assurance that the Work has actually passed out of the Author's hands, is as much a thing done and settled as any book composed by him twenty years ago — banish all fear lest each Number should depend for its aver- age merit on accidental circumstances — such as impatient haste, or varying humor, or capricious health, or the demand of more absorbuig and practical pursuits, in which, during a considera- ble portion of the year, it has long been the Author's lot to be actively engaged. Certes, albeit in the course of his life he has got through a reasonable degree of Ubor, and has habitually re- lied on application to supply his defects in genius ; yet to do one thing at a time is the practical rule of those by whom, in the course of time, many things have been accomplished. And ac- cordingly a work, even so trivial as this may be deemed, is not composed in the turmoil of metropolitan life, nor when other occupations demand attention, but in the quiet leisure of rural shades, and in those portions of the year which fellow-workmen devote to relaxation and amusement. For even in holidays, something of a holiday-task adds a zest to the hours of ease.

Lastly. — Since this survey of our modern world requires a large and a crowded canvas, and would be incomplete did it not

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