A Fable for Critics (Classic Reprint)

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Excerpt from A Fable for Critics

It being the commonest mode of procedure, I premise a few candid remarks

To the Reader:

This trifle, begun to please only myself and my own private fancy, was laid on the shelf. But some friends, who had seen it, induced me, by dint of saying they liked it, to put it in print. That is, having come to that very conclusion, I consulted them when it could make no confusion. For, (though in the gentlest of ways,) they had hinted it was scarce worth the while, I should doubtless have printed it.

I began it, intending a Fable, a frail, slender thing, rhymeywinged, with a sting in its tail. But, by addings and alterings not previously planned, - digressions chance-hatched, like birds' eggs in the sand, - and dawdlings to suit every whimsy's demand, (always freeing the bird which I held in my hand, for the two perched, perhaps out of reach, in the tree,) - it grew by degrees to the size which you see.

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