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be told why this request, which was made with equal earnestness on all sides, is not complied with; and he may think that even the limited selection which has been made from the productions of the class which the petitioner represents might well have been abbreviated; while there are probably at least a thousand people in the land each one of whom has a profound conviction that a previous section of our libel* might have been well increased by the addition of one song, which shall be nameless. The opinion is perhaps natural; it is at least pardonable; and in some instances it may possibly be correct. Each competitor who has looked in vain through this booklet for that song which a circle of admiring, but strictly impartial, nay, look you, rather envious, friends had deemed surely worthy of the prize-good at sight for two hundred and fifty, if not five hundred dollars to say nothing of the opinion of a certain person of fine natural taste and abilities, whose reputation is not quite so high as it deserves to be, and who had so often scrutinised it, without the slightest prejudice, and had yet been led to the same conclusion-every such competitor has an undeniable right to believe that that is the much-needed song, which by some oversight, or through the dulness of the committee, was ruthlessly basketed, and would have been irretreviably lost to the world, were it not for the wise precaution to which that carefully preserved

*Libellus, a little book. The word is used, of course, only in that

sense.

and oft perused copy (which luckily can yet be found) was due. The others, of course, only met the fate which their writers, if they had possessed the least spark of modesty or self appreciation, might have expected for them. Because a national song is the product of peculiar circumstances, and-dont you see?— of peculiar qualifications,-not necessarily great, mind you, but peculiar; and is not something to be written by anybody and everybody, and to be made up of a certain number of rhyming lines about waving banners and spread eagles,—and with a mercenary motive too. It must come warm from the heart as that one did; and it must speak directly to the heart of the people as that one would speak, were it only allowed to be heard; and it must embody great sentiments common to the whole nation in strong and simple language as that one did-simple, you know, because that one was written by a person who don't make pretensions to be literary, whatever he might do; and such a song would have been sure to get the prize if there were any taste or any justice in the world.

O incensed competitor, you are right. Such a song as that would surely have taken the prize, if it had been found among the twelve hundred. That the song you wot of was awarded neither the five hundred dollars, nor a place where you sought it, must be because either it was not such a song, or the committee to whom it was voluntarily submitted had not the ability to perceive that it was. In either of which cases don't you see?-you have no right to complain at all about the matter. And as to anything that has

been said in this dissertation upon the subject of national hymns in general, or any hymn in particular, your capacity to write a national hymn will best appear by your preservation of a discreet silence. For there is not a cap between these covers that, except it is already labelled, the world will know fits you, unless you publicly put it on.

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