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 up by the master-spirits of old time, that had no peers, and rising bright and beautiful until its summit is hid in the mists of antiquity. Of the many causes which have hitherto retarded the growth of polite literature in our country, I have not time to say much. The greatest, which now exists, is doubtless the want of that exclusive attention, which eminence in any profession so imperiously demands. Ours is an age and a country of great minds, though perhaps not of great endeavors. Poetry with us has never yet been anything but a pastime. The fault, however, is not so much that of our writers as of the prevalent modes of thinking which characterize our country and our times. We are a plain people, that have had nothing to do with the mere pleasures and luxuries of life: and hence there has sprung up within us a quicksightedness to the failings of literary men, and an aversion to everything that is not practical, operative, and thoroughgoing. But if we would ever have a national literature, our native writers must be patronized. Whatever there may be in letters, over which time shall have no power, must be ‘born of great endeavors,’ and those endeavors are the offspring of liberal patronage. Putting off, then, what Shakespeare calls ‘the visage of the times,’ —we must become hearty well-wishers to our native authors:
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