Imatges de pÓgina
PDF
EPUB
[graphic][ocr errors][merged small][subsumed][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

TALKERS.

bnt did not discern the nicer streaks of
difference between them,)
Some faultless tulip which the Dutch ne'er saw.

The most common class of talkers is
THERE are as many varieties of Talkers composed of Babblers. There are seve-
as there are of tulips : to classify them ral varieties of these; but the most disa-
would require the nice discernment and greeable is the Long-tongued Babbler.
patient perseverance of an ethical Lin- One of them is sufficient to set a whole
næus ; and when done, it would be an village at war, or disturb the peace and
useless classification, upless, indeed, Taste sacredness of virtuous privacy. Rather
could be brought to have a love for the than be silent, he will wound his dearest
cultivation of them, with an ulterior view friend with a tongue, which, like Laertes'
to the improvement of the several classes, foil, poisons where it touches—and even
by marrying a common female scold of him who uses it. From this sort of talker
the last class with a refined male babbler you learn the origin of Miss A's finery,
of the first: and thus effect by artificial and Miss B’s faux pas ; the rise of Mr.
means what Wisdom, with all her old C's wealth, and the state of Mr. D's em-
endeavours, could never work by any barrassment, &c.
means,-an improvement of Talkers ge If you have doubts of the character of
nerally.

Browne, he hesitates at a fault-hemsThere is, however, a pleasure in hold- hints at a second-hems again, and out ing up a few of the first classes of Talkers comes a third. If you think well of to notice, similar to that, perhaps, which White, he damns him with 'faint praise,' a tulip-fancier feels, when he displays to -recollects to have heard something the wondering eyes of one not in the fan- whispered not entirely redounding to his cy, (who had perceived, on being shewn honour;—not that he believes it-idlerua bed of them, that they were ali tulips, mours are not gospel truths: and then he VOL. I.

5-SATURDAY, Feb. 9, 1928.

tells you what Thompson thought, but The next in succession are the Small. never said, and what Dixon said, but talkers. These are tea-table appendages never thought, of poor W. He publishes who sometimes hang by the sinister bend a mischievous piece of truth or scandal of ladies' elbows; and are usually prim, (either answers the purpose of the day) puss-gentlemen,' all prettiness and pettiin the morning, and follows the sound of ness. Ceaseless tonguers of 'words of his own rumour as a weather-mutton fol

no tone,' they lisp, or cultivate some delows his own bell. Gifted with the inter- licate mispronunciation of one of the fering spirit of Marplot, he gets the wages four-and-twenty letters, or of a few wellof Marall for his labours,-cuffs and con selected syllables. They have a chicken's tempt. The Babbler is commonly an perseverance in picking up the smallest unhappy person, for he has meddled grain or chaff of tea-table intelligence, and too much with the happiness of others to are not greedy in keeping it to themselves : be happy himself; and having made it –no,-you may have their second-hand the sole business of his life to betray some nothings at less than they cost. Their inhurtful truth, or harmless ill of all, no one telligence is a stewed frog in an Onthinks it absolutely necessary to speak tario of broth--as one dew-drop in the well of him, eitber in epitaph or elegy. desert of Arabia,-or as an inaccessible

Another variety is the Dullor Harmless island in a sea of three months' şail; you Babbler. This is a talker in his turn and may steer round it, and by it, and never out of his turn-in season and out of sea touch the land: it is a Thule beyond the son; and yet has nothing to communi- Ultima Thule of niental navigation, and cate. Yes—you may learn from him that lies beyond the reach of any intellectual it rained yesterday; and that it is not im- Cook or Vancouver : you think you despossible that it may rain to-day. He is cry it in the ofling, and tacking, hope to Francis Moore's counter-prophet : the drift on its shore ; but when you really one foretells when showers will fall-the see it under your bow, you may coast other registers their descent.

round it, and cast out your grapple-an.

chor to hold-to, but you should as soon destly betray that you are well read in tie up your horse with a sun-beam, or get the classics, and they accuse you of pea will-o'-the-wisp to light you like a well- dantry : you conceal your reading, and bred link-boy to your lodgings, as make they suspect you know very little either ground there. The light of their minds of books or men. You bring them old need not be hidden under a bushel; a opinions, and they doubt whether you pill-box would be a dome of ample space have any of your own : you deal in new and verge enough' for it: like one' good ones, and they object to them as untrue, deed in a naughty world,' it might shine yet adopt them as sound, and put them therein, and then not gild its confines. forth, where they are safe from detection, Their most delicate, prim mouths are like as their own. In short, you strive in perfumers' shops, and breathe nothing but vain to agree with men who will not, or

sweets.' Their talk is redolent of essence cannot, agree with themselves; and you of Tyre, bloom of Ninon, violet washes, have a good-natured talker's reward for pomade divine, and a hundred other your pains-words. essences. They'die of a rose in aroma A specimen of the fifth class is the tic' anguish, and are recovered by laven- Talker in admirations. His conversation der-water and other soft appliances' (if such it may be called) is all exclamafifty times in an evening in their over- tion, like a German drama : and is made exquisite moods.

up of such jargonisms as Good-God! God The third are Talkers of the objective bless me! Is it possible! Who would class. Be your opinions what they may, have thought it! You astonish me! Very however undeniable, correct, settled, or shocking ! Very pleasant, &c. &c. well-digested, they can object to them. The sixth are the interrogative class. They can find flaws in diamond-wit of the Their talk is all question: one might first water; motes in the brightest rays of think that their tongues were shaped like the mind; and beams in the eyes of Truth. an interrogation. You feel in conversing I know such an one. If you would take out with one of these like a catechized charity of his mouth an advantage which he is boy, when he is asked what his godfather gaining in argument, throw down a bad promised not to do for him. Talk for an pun as burglars toss a bribe of meat to a hour with one of these, and you will only house-dog who is getting the vantage- hear from him such interrogatory affirmaground of them, and he will instantly tions as these :-' And so Jones is well ? drop the argument (as that fabulous dog -and Johnson's married ?-and you dropped his substantial meat in the river really prefer Pope to Pomfret ?-and you for its duplicate shadow.) to tear the poor seriously deny that Cobbett is the author pun to pieces, analyzing nothing till he of' Junius ?'—and affirm that Dr. Watts proves it is something; and when he has did not write' Fly not Yet?' satisfied himself that a bad joke is not a The seventh and most insufferable class good one, he is, from mere politeness, are the exclusive Talkers. One of these obliged to laugh, however reluctantly.

will undertake to talk for all the persons The fourth is the contradictory class. present. If you impatiently throw in a Let your opinions to-day be to the letter word, it is like flinging a stone into a curwhat their's were yesterday, and they in- rent; it disturbs and cannot impede it, stantly run an opposition coach against but rather impels it still faster onwards: you, upset you on the mudbank of their or it is like striking a spark into a barrel own opinions, and leave you sprawling of gunpowder--a fresh explosion of words and bespattered, to get up as you can spreads a hubbub and confusion all When you have run them to a stand on around. Though he tells you every thing one point, and they find you are agreeing you already know, you cannot tell him with them, and they cannot object to the any thing that he does not know. He matter of your opinions, they have still a can tell you what a new book contains resource left in objecting to the manner. that is to come out next Tuesday, as well You speak unaffectedly, and they censure as if he was himself Wednesday : or antiyou for mediocrity, plainness, and want of cipate the merits of a great picture on the spirit: you talk on stilts, to be on a level easel. If you mean to see a new tragedy, with them, and then you presume too he has seen it, and he destroys all the demuch for so young a man, of so few opilight you anticipated in its newness, by nions. You speak with slowness and dis. repeating its best points, and unravelling tinctness, and they dislike a drawling its plot. If you set out with an anecdote speaker : they would as lief be tied to a he snatches it out of your mouth, as a colover's lute,' or 'a Lincolnshire drone:? vetous dog would a desired bone from his you speak high and quick, and your voice best companion and dearest puppy-friend, is shrill as a cricket's, and there is no fol- and tells it for you; you object that lowing it, like a grasshopper's. You mo, your's was a different version of the same

****

story, and gently persist in telling it your sion after hauteur : like the freedom of own way; he knows the other version as night-gown and slippers after tight boots well as you do, and re-relates it for you, and bursting buttons ; or a night of danbut thinks his own way preferable: if cing after a month of gout: like that deliyou persist, after all, in telling it for your- cious giggle some schoolboy gives way to self, he will insinuate to-morrow that you when some hush-compelling Busby turns are in your anecdotage; and declare that his back; or the laugh politeness hassupyou are the worst teller of a good thing pressed till one has shut the door on a since Goldsmith.

ndeed, you cannot do puppy or pedant : and it is like an olive a more impolitic thing than start an anec to the palate of a wine-bibber, sickly in dote in his hearing, for that one is too cer- itself, but giving a gusto to the old port tain of reminding him ofa hundred others; of the mind, or to the brisk, bubbling and the last one of that first century of champagne-wine of wit.-One of the most good things is so nearly related to the delightful of exaggerators is ***** first of the second century, that he cannot : it is, perhaps, the pleasantest inchoose but relate it, and you dare not gredient in his lighter writings; and in choose but hear it. If you commence a his more serious ones, it is only a more favourite quotation, he takes up the se- serious twanging of the same string. This cond line, goes on with it, and ends by is sometimes mistaken for mere affectaquoting twice as much as you intended : tion, but it is merely a vivid magnifying this invariably leads him to recollect ano of minor objects into an exaggerated imther poem by the same author, which no portance, by exhibiting them through a

doubt you have heard, but which some kind of mental microscope. This humour body else, who is present. would perhaps too, is the peculiar charm of his tablelike to hear; and then he begins without talk, and makes it very sprightly and further prelude, and you may if you sparkling : give him an idea which is please go to sleep ad interim, if you stretchable into exaggeration, and he will have no fear of his reproach for want of extenuate it into the most ludicrous elontaste before your eyes to keep them open. gations and monstrous distortions, resemYou have been to Paris, and he informs bling those long faces we have seen you of your expenses on the road; or thrown out by magic lanthorns. Dean you are going to Scotland, and he nar Swift was, perhaps, the greatest master rates most pathetically the miseries of a in this kind of talking and writing. German inn. Of all talkers these are There are several other classes, which the most insufferable.

I shall notice in brief. The slow Talkers, The seventh class are the Exaggerators, as tedious as the Te Deum; the quick --not your professional, but amateur fibó Talkers, sudden as a postman's kpock, bers. These are a pleasant set of talk- and not always as full of information; ers enough, only you must not take them the loud Talkers, to a nervous man, as too literally. It is a humour' that even agreeable as the din of a dustman's bell, witty persons cannot always appreciate: or a death-knell in November; and the to your thoroughly sensible and one-and- Talkers about taste, whose language is of one-make-two sort of minds' it is a stum no country, but is a jargon of all coun. bling-block and a' reproach. It is, tries, and consists of parrot-like repetiperhaps, as to its conversational value, tions of virtu, gusto, tout-ensemble, conmere nonsense : it is what an ingenious tour, chiaroscuro, Titianesque bits of copunster (fracturing a French word in lour, Turnerian crispness and clearness, pieces). considers bad-in-age, and not Claudian mellowness, Tintoretto touches, tolerable in youth. But, most sensible &c. &c. affected term on term, to the reader, shut not thive ears wholly against degrading of Taste into a chaotic cant of it: if thou wouldst enjoy Sense at any words.-Posthumous Papers. time listen sometimes to his less capable brother, Nonsense. After the mind has been wearied by abstruse studies, worldly cares, imaginary ills, or positive griefs, is SUBJECT OF THE ILLUSTRATION. not nonsense like letting a long-strained bow relax; or giving slackness to a lute It may be necessary to inform such string ? Nonsense is to sense like sbade of our readers who are not conversant unto light, making by contrast what is with the subject of Tasso's Heroic Poem, beautiful still more beautiful :-it is like Jerusalem Delivered, that it is founded on an intended discord in a delicious melody the attempt made by the Christian Powers making the next concord the sweeter: of Europe to deliver the Holy City from like silent sleep after sorrowful wakeful- the Saracens. The chief instigator of ness; the calm which succeeds a storm : these Holy Wars, was Peter the Hermit, like cheerfulness-after care; condescen- and the portion of the poem which forms

our first illustration, is the choosing God- baseless fabric of despotism, and restored frey of Bulloigne, commander of the the young warrior to the arms of a fond Christian Forces, assembled to carry their and doating father. The admiration that intentions into execution.

greeted his return to Mantua was loud

and deserved. "Toil and travel bad but When from his seat the hermit Peter stood;

perfected the graces of his noble form : Who sate with princes their debates to share. The holy author of this pious war.

the ever-changing life and duties of a What Godfrey speaks with ardour I approve, soldier had contributed only to foster the Such obvious truths must ev'ry bosom move ; enthusiasm of his soul, the ardent and 'Tis yours, O chiefs ! to own its genuine pow'r, But let me add to his one counsel more.

generous impulses of his nature. He had When now, revolving in my careful mind,

trod the red fields of war witli unsullied I view our actions past, by strife disjoin'd;: step, and for him its laurel had no poison. Our jarring wills; our disunited force;

First among those who welcomed his
And many plans obstructed in their course;
Methinks my judgment to their spring can trace

return to his native city were the long atThe troubled motions that our cause disgrace. tached friends of his father, the count and 'Tis in that power, in many leaders join'd, countess Gheranzi, whose only daughter, Of various tempers and discordant mind.

with somewhat of a prophetic spirit, had If o'er the rest no sovereign chief preside T' allot the several posts, the tasks divide;

been playfully betrotbed to him in their To scourge th' offender, or rewards bestow; years of childhood. Vincentio had left What riot and misrule the state o'ertlow!

Agatha a blooming girl, lively as a fawn,
Then in one body join our social band,
And trust the rule to one important hand;

and not less gentle; he found her à loveTo him resign the sceptre and the sway, ly woman, whose beauty was her least : And him their king th' united host obey. perfection. Amazed, delighted, enamour

Here ceas'd the reverend sage. Ozeal divine! ed, with the natural ardour of his tem-
What bosoms can withstand a pow'r like thine?
Thy sacred breath the herinit's words inspir'd,

perament he sought and won her affec-
And with his words the listening heroes fir'd; tions; and by families long united in
Dispelled their doubts, their passions lull'd to rest, friendship, and rich in ancestry and wealth
Then Guelpho first and William (chiefs of faine) menting tie which the union of children,

what more could be desired than that ce-
Saluted Godfrey with a general's name,
Their chief elect: the rest approv'd the choice, mutually loving and beloved, was about
And gave the rule to him with public voice. to produce! The count Gheranzi, it is
His equals once to his dominion yield
Supreme in council, and supreme in field ?*

true, was once heard to say, that, had not Book I. Agatha rejected the prince of Castel. Mon

ti, his house might have looked down on

that of Petroni; but a gentle remonstrance AGATHA GHERANZI. from the more generous countess silenced

the latent discontent which this observaBy John Bird, Esq.

tion seemed to imply. On the other hand,

the marquis Petroni, who lived but in his The joy of Mantua was great and un

son, hastened the nuptial preparations dissembled at the approaching nuptials of with an anxiety which seemed to border the bravest of her sons with the fairest on folly; but he was declining in years and most amiable of her daughters. Vin- and health, and it could not reasonably centio, the only child of the widowed therefore be matter of surprise that he marquis Petroni, had served under the should be desirous, by the marriage of viceroy Beauharnois, with honour to him

that son, to secure him from further wanself and credit to his native city, and had derings. Two days only were to elapse even attracted the particular observation before the celebration of the holy rite, to of the penetrating and sagacious Napo- which all Mantuia looked forward with leon, by his coolness and intrepidity on impatient joy, when the inarquis was sudseveral occasions of great difficulty and denly taken ill, and in a few hours breathed peril. The youth, in common with most his last in the arms of his distracted child. of his compatriots, had regarded the Em. The violence of the seizurè had deprived peror as the destined emancipator of bis him almost instantly of the power of country from her long slumber of thral- speech ; and, as it seemed, at a time when dom and abasement, but a clearer know

some fatal secret was labouring in bis ledge of the character and views of that breast. The expiring struggles of huambitious and selfish commander had long manity are at all times awful ; but when taught him the fallacy of his hopes; to the throes of nature are added the when the reverses consequent on the bat. pangs of conscience, how dreadful are tle of Leipsic dissolved the proud but the last moments of man! In vain did

Vincentio attempt to tranquillize his

wretched parent; even as his eyes glazed • See the Embellishment, illustrative of the in death his looks were of sorrow and above, page 65.

despair.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinua »