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OF THE SIXTH CONVERSATION.
N. Breton's poem in John Hind's very rare novel of Eliosio
thryftinesse," in 1586, with a new title—A list given by the
THE SIXTH CONVERSATION.
Bourne. The last work which occupied us yesterday was a tract by Nicholas Breton. The pamphlet I now present contains a poem by him not found elsewhere, and not noticed by bibliographers.
Elliot. I shall be glad to see it, because I have since taken the opportunity of reading some pastoral pieces by him in the reprint of " England's Helicon," and they give me a favourable opinion of his poetical talents. What title has the work in which the poem you refer to is inserted?
Bourne. It is a novel, or rather one of those early romances which are seldom met with, and are never to be purchased but at a very high price: this is of peculiar rarity: it is called "Eliosto Libidinoso: Described in two Bookes," &c. "Written by Iohn Hynd. At London, Printed by Valentine Simmes," &c. 1606. If I tell you what a copy sold for at the Roxburgh sale, it will give you a notion of its value. Elliot. Of its price it may, but not of its value.
Morton. Your distinctions are very hair-breadth, but among the collectors of old books the words are synonymous. What did it sell for?
Bourne. Only nine guineas, and if it were put up to auction now I dare say it would produce not far short of double that amount. I doubt whether the poem it contains by Breton will increase your respect for his talents.
Elliot. Then perhaps it would be as well to omit it.
Morton. I beg that we may hear it. Whatever you may wish, I would rather form a correct than too favourable an opinion of an author.
Elliot. But would it enable us to form a correct opinion? We might, perhaps, if we could see all he wrote.
Bourne. How often have I heard you quote that line of Boileau, Notre Steele est fertile en sots admirateurs, yet now you wish to enlist yourself in the number.
Elliot. To reply in another line of the same satirist, I do not wish to be Plus enclin a blamer que savant cl bien faire. At least, as I have before remarked, there is no more reason for reviving the bad productions of dead authors than for raking up the bad actions of dead men.
Morton. Your motto is Si malus est nequeo laudare et poscere; but if we cannot arrive at a per