I entered upon my task with delight, and I leave it with regret. Upon the easy stream of my narrative I have been borne along, leisurely and pleasantly plucking a richly-scented flower as I sailed past, which, thrown upon the current, gave interest and variety to its still, small prattle. A thousand and a thousand coronals might be woven with equal [illegible] talent; the humble author, however, dares the most potent of his rivals to twine one in equal sincerity and love. In these qualifications he will yield to none; and if the work which he has given forth to the world, with all its imperfections on its head,1 give one feeling of delight to the admirers of the great bard – and that means all mankind – he will be richly and amply recompensed.
To return to the first person – and it is pleasing in person to return gratitude for undeserved and partial favours – I bid thee farewell, gentle and patient reader; and it must be a farewell long and limitless. Having started forth and proved my maiden armour, it remains for the authority to decide whether the unknown squire deserves his spurs, or whether he must abide a longer probation. At all events, he may be allowed to retire from the lists with honour, and carry with him a due sense of the magnanimity of his judges.
1. ‘With all my imperfections on my head’ (Hamlet I, v, 75).