Imatges de pÓgina
PDF
EPUB

Tabitha. Nay, they mocked and feered at us, as we sung the Psalm the last Sunday night.

Cutter. That was that mungrel Rhymer; by this light he envies his brother poet John Sternhold, be cause he cannot reach his heights. ⚫ ..

Doggrell (reciting his own verses.) Thus pride deth still with beauty dwell,

And like the Baltic ocean swell.

Blade. Why the Baltic, Doggrell?

Doggrell. Why the Baltic-this 'tis not to have read the Poets. • ..

She looks like Niobe on the mountain's top. Cutter. That Niobe, Doggrell, you have used worse than Phoebus did. Not a dog looks melancholy but he's compared to Niobe. He beat a villainous Tapster 'tother day, to make him look like Niobe.

C. L.

ANCIENT WAGGERY.

For the Table Book.

[From the "Pleasant Conceits of old Hobson, the merry Londoner; full of humourous Discourses and merry Merriments:-1607."]

How Maister Hobson hung out a lanterne and candlelight.

In the beginning of queen Elizabeth's reign, when the order of hanging out lanterne and candlelight first of all was brought up, the bedell of the warde where Maister Hobson dwelt, in a dark evening, crieing up and down, "Hang out your lauternes! Hang out your lanternes !" using no other wordes, Maister Hobson tooke an emptie lanterne, and, according to the bedells call, hung it out. This flout, by the lord mayor, was taken in ill part, and for the same offence Hobson was sent to the Counter, but being released, the next night following, thinking to amend his call, the bedell cryed out, with a loud voice, "Hang out your lanternes and candle!" Maister Hobson, hereupon, hung out a lanterne and candle unlighted, as the bedell again commanded; whereupon he was sent again to the Counter; but the next night, the bedell being better advised, cryed "Hang out your lanterne and candle light! Hang out your lanterne and candle light!" which Maister Hobson at last did, to his great commendations, which cry of lanterne and candle light is in right manner used to this day.

Hobson's wife had many pyes in the oven, one of his servants had stole one of them out, and at the tauerne had merrilie eat it. It fortuned, the same day, that some of his friends dined with him, and one of the best pyes were missing, the stealer thereof, after dinner, he found out in this manner. He called all his servants in friendly sort together into the hall, and caused each of thein to drinke one to another, both wine, ale, and beare, till they were all drunke; then caused hee a table to be furnished with very goode cheare, whereat hee likewise pleased them. Being set altogether, he saide, "Why sit ye not downe fellows?" -"We bee set already," quoth they.-"Nay," quoth Maister Hobson, "he that stole the pye is not yet set."-"Yes, that I doe!" quoth he that stole it, by which means Maister Hobson knewe what was become of the pye; for the poor fellowe being drunke could not keepe his owne secretts,

stealer.

In Christmas Holy-dayes when Maister

• The custom of hanging out lanterns before lamps were in use was earlier than queen Elizabeth's reign.

THE FIRST VIOLET.

The spring is come: the violet's gone,
The first-born child of the early sun;
With us she is but a winter flower,
The snow on the hills canuot blast her bower-
And she lifts up her head of dewy blae
To the youngest sky of the self-same hue.

And when the spring comes with her host
Of flowers-that flower beloved the most,
Shrinks from the crowd that may confuse
Her heavenly odour and virgin hues.
Pluck the others, but still remember
Their herald out of dim December-
The morning star of all the flowers,
The pledge of daylight's lengthened hours,
Nor, midst the roses, e'er forget
The virgin-virgin violet.

YORKSHIRE SAYING.

For the Table Book. "LET'S BEGIN AGAIN LIKE THE CLERK OF BEESTON."

The clerk of Beeston, a small village near Leeds, one Sunday, after having sung a psalm about half way through the first verse, discovered he had chosen a wrong tune, on which he exclaimed to the singers,

How Maister Hobson found out the Pye- "Stop lads, we've got into a wrong metre, let's begin again!" Hence the origin of the saying, so common in Leeds and the neighbourhood, "Let's begin again, like

the clerk of Beeston."

T. Q. M.

TO CONTENTMENT.

I.

Spark of pure celestial fire,
Port of all the world's desire,

Paradise of earthly bliss,
Heaven of the other world and this;
Tell me, where thy court abides,
Where thy glorious chariot rides?

II.

Eden knew thee for a day,

But thou wouldst no longer stay;
Outed for poor Adam's sin,
By a flaming cherubin;

Yet thou lov'st that happy shade
Where thy beauteous form was made,
And thy kindness still remains
To the woods, and flow'ry plains.

III.

Happy David found thee there,
Sporting in the open air;
As he led his flocks along,
Feeding on his rural song:
But when courts and honours had
Snatch'd away the lovely lad,
Thou that there no room cou'dst find,
Let him go and staid behind.

IV.

His wise son, with care and pain,
Search'd all nature's frame in vain;
For a while content to be,
Search'd it round, but found not thee;
Beauty own'd she knew thee not,

Plenty had thy name forgot:
Music only did aver,

Once you came and danc'd with her.

Biography.

PIETRE METASTASIO.

This celebrated Italian lyric and dramatic poet was born at Rome, in 1698, of parents in humble life, whose names were Trapassi. At ten years of age, he was distinguished by his talents as an improvvisatore. The eminent jurist, Gravina, who amused himself with writing bad tragedies, was walking near the Campus Martius one summer's evening, in company with the abbé Lorenzini, when they heard a sweet and powerful voice, modulating verses with the greatest fluency to the measure of the

• From Dunton's "Athenian Sport."

canto improvviso. On approaching the shop of Trapassi, whence the melody proceeded, they were surprised to see a lovely boy pouring forth elegant verses on the persons and objects which surrounded him, and their admiration was increased by the graceful compliments which he took an opportunity of addressing to themselves. When the youthful poet had concluded, Gravina called him to him, and, with many encomiums and caresses, offered him a piece of money, which the boy politely declined. He then inquired into his situation and employment, and being struck with the intelligence of his replies, proposed to his parents to educate him as his own child. They consented, and Gravina changed his name from Trapassi to Metastasio, and gave him a careful and excellent education for his own profession.

At fourteen years of age, Metastasio produced his tragedy of "Giustino," which so pleased Gravina, that he took him to Naples, where he contended with and excelled some of the most celebrated improvisatori of Italy. He still, however, continued his study of the law, and with a view to the only two channels of preferment which prevail at Rome, also assumed the minor order of priesthood, whence his title of abate. In 1718, death deprived him of his patron, who bequeathed to him the whole of his personal property, amount ing to fifteen thousand crowns. Of too liberal and hospitable a disposition, he gradually made away with this provision and then resolved to apply more closely to the law. He repaired to Naples, to study for that purpose, but becoming acquainted with Brugnatelli, usually called "the Romanina," the most celebrated actress and singer in Italy, he gave himself up entirely to harmony and poetry. The extraordinary success of his first opera, "Gli Orti Esperidi," confirmed him in this resolution, and joining his establishment to that of "the Romani" and her husband, in a short time he composed three new dramas, "Cato in Utica," ," "Ezio," and "Semiramide." He followed these with several more of still greater celebrity, until, in 1730, he received and accepted an invitation from the court of Vienna, to take up his residence in that capital, as coadjutor to the imperial laureate, Apostolo Zeno, whom he ultimately succeeded. From that period, the life of Metastasio presented a calm uniformity for upwards of half a century. He retained the favour of the imperial family undiminished, for his extraordinary talents were admirably seconded by the even tenor of

na

his private character, and avoidance of court intrigue. Indefatigable as a poet, he composed no less than twenty-six operas, and eight oratorios, or sacred dramas, besides cantatas, canzoni, sonnets, and minor pieces to a great amount. The poetical characteristics of Metastasio are sweetness, correctness, purity, simplicity, gentle pathos, and refined and elevated sentiment. There is less of nature than of elegance and beauty in his dramas, which consequently appear insipid to those who have been nourished with stronger poetic aliment.

Dr. Burney, who saw Metastasio at the age of seventy-two, describes him as look. ing like one of fifty, and as the gayest and handsomest man, of his time of life, he had ever beheld. He died after a short illness at Vienna, in April 1782, having completed his eighty-fourth year, leaving a considerable property in money, books, and valuables. Besides his numerous works, which have been translated into most of the European languages, a large collection of his letters, published since his death, supplied copious materials for his biography.*

Mrs. Piozzi gives an amusing account of Metastasio in his latter days. She says:

-

Here (at Vienna) are many ladies of fashion very eminent for their musical abilities, particularly mesdemoiselles de Martinas, one of whom is member of the academies of Berlin and Bologna: the celebrated Metastasio died in their house, after having lived with the family sixty-five years more or less. They set his poetry and sing it. very finely, appearing to recollect his conversation and friendship with infinite tenderness and delight. He was to have been presented to the pope the very day he died, and in the delirium which immediately preceded dissolution, raved much of the supposed interview. Unwilling to hear of death, no one was ever permitted to mention it before him; and nothing put him so certainly out of humour, as finding that rule transgressed. Even the small-pox was not to be named in his presence, and whoever did name that disorder, though unconscious of the offence he had given, Metastasio would see no more."

Mrs. Piozzi adds, "The other peculiarities I could gather from Miss Martinas were these that he had contentedly lived half a century at Vienna, without ever even

wishing to learn its language; that he had never given more than five guineas English money in all that time to the poor; that he always sat in the same seat at church, but never paid for it, and that nobody dared ask him for the trifling sum; that he was grateful and beneficent to the friends who began by being his protectors, but who, in the end, were his debtors, for solid benefits as well as for elegant presents, which it was his delight to be perpetually making. He left to them at last all he had ever gained, without the charge even of a single legacy; observing in his will, that it was to them he owed it, and that other conduct would in him have been injustice. He never changed the fashion of his wig, or the cut or colour of his coat, so that his portrait, taken not very long ago, looks like those of Boileau or Moliere at the head of their works. His life was arranged with such methodical exactness, that he rose, studied, chatted, slept, and dined, at the same hours, for fifty years together, enjoying uninterrupted health, which probably gave him that happy sweetness of temper, or habitual gentleness of manners, which was never ruffled, except when his sole injunction was forgotten, and the death of any person whatever was unwittingly mentioned before him. No solicitation had ever prevailed on him to dine from home, nor had his nearest intimates ever seen him eat more than a biscuit with his lemonade, every meal being performed with even mysterious privacy to the last. When his end approached by rapid steps, he did not in the least suspect that it was coming; and mademoiselle Martinas has scarcely yet done rejoicing in the thought that he escaped the preparations he so dreaded. Latterly, all his pleasures were confined to music and conversation; and the delight he took in hearing the lady he lived with sing his songs, was visible to every one. An Italian abate here said, comically enough, Oh! he always looked like a man in the state of beatification when mademoiselle de Martinas accompanied his verses with her fine voice and brilliant finger.' The father of Metastasio was a goldsmith at Rome, but his son had so devoted himself to the family he lived with, that he refused to hear, and took pains not to know, whether he had in his latter days any one relation left in the

·

world."

We have a life of Metastasio, chiefly derived from his correspondence, by Dr. Burney.

• General Biog. Diet. Dict. of Musicians.

he reserved to be sung on Christmas Night, which we always passed with him, and he sang it with the freshness of an impending event. How his eyes would sparkle when he came to the passage:

A DEATH-BED:

IN A LETTER TO R. H. Esq. of B
For the Table Book.

I called upon you this morning, and
found that you were gone to visit a dying
friend. I had been upon a like errand.
Poor N. R. has lain dying now for almost a
week; such is the penalty we pay for having
enjoyed through life a strong constitution.
Whether he knew me or not, I know not,
or whether he saw me through his poor
glazed eyes; but the group I saw about
him I shall not forget. Upon the bed, or
about it, were assembled his Wife, their
two Daughters, and poor deaf Robert,
looking doubly stupified. There they were,
and seemed to have been sitting all the
week. I could only reach out a hand to
Mrs. R. Speaking was impossible in that
mute chamber. By this time it must be all
over with him. In him I have a loss the
world cannot make up. He was my friend,
and my father's friend, for all the life that I
can remember. I seem to have made
Those are the
foolish friendships since.
friendships, which outlast a second genera-
tion. Old as I am getting, in his eyes I
was still the child he knew me. To the
last he called me Jemmy. I have none to
call me Jemmy now. He was the last link
that bound me to B. You are but of
yesterday. In him I seem to have lost the
old plainness of manners and singleness of
heart. Lettered he was not; his reading
scarcely exceeding the Obituary of the old
Gentleman's Magazine, to which he has
never failed of having recourse for these
last fifty years. Yet there was the pride of
literature about him from that slender peru-
sal; and moreover from his office of archive
keeper to your ancient city, in which he
must needs pick up some equivocal Latin;
which, among his less literary friends as-
sumed the airs of a very pleasant pedantry.
Can I forget the erudite look with which
having tried to puzzle out the text of a
Black lettered Chaucer in your Corporation
Library, to which he was a sort of Libra-
rian, he gave it up with this consolatory
reflection" Jemmy," said he, "I do not
know what you find in these very old books,
but I observe, there is a deal of very indif-
ferent spelling in them." His jokes (for he
had some) are ended; but they were old
Perennials, staple, and always as good as
new. He had one Song, that spake of the
"flat bottoms of our foes coming over in
darkness," and alluded to a threatened In-
vasion, many years since blown over; this February 21, 1827.

We'll still make 'em run, and we'll still make 'em
sweat,
In spite of the devil and Brussels' Gazette !
What is the Brussels' Gazette now? I cry,
while I endite these trifles. His poor girls
who are, I believe, compact of solid good-
ness, will have to receive their afflicted
mother at an unsuccessful home in a petty
village in --shire, where for years they
have been struggling to raise a Girls' School
with no effect. Poor deaf Robert (and the
less hopeful for being so) is thrown upon a
deaf world, without the comfort to his
father on his death-bed of knowing him
provided for. They are left almost pro-
visionless. Some life assurance there is;
but, I fear, not exceeding--. Their hopes
must be from your Corporation, which their
father has served for fifty years. Who or
what are your Leading Members now, I
Is there any, to whom without
impertinence you can represent the true
circumstances of the family? You cannot
say good enough of poor R., and his poor
Wife. Oblige me, and the dead, if you
L.

know not.

can.

London, 10 Feb. 1827.

LINES

FOR THE

TABLE BOOK.

What seek'st thou on the heathy lea,
So frequent and alone?

What in the violet cans't thou see?
What in the mossy stone?

Yon evening sky's empurpled dye
Seems dearer to thy gaze

Than wealth or fame's enrapt'ring uame,
Or beauty's 'witching blaze.

Go, mingle in the busy throng

That tread th' imperial mart;
There listen to a sweeter song

Than ever thrill'd thy heart.

The treasures of a thousand lands

Shall pour their wealth before thee;
Friends proffer thee their eager hands
And envious fools adore thee.

Ay-I will seek that busy throng,
And turn, with aching breast,
From scenes of tort'ring care and wrong-
To solitude and rest!

AMICUE.

WAVERLEY.

""

It is a curious, yet well authenticated fact, that the novel of " Waverley "-the first, and perhaps the best, of the prose writing of sir Walter Scott-remained for more than ten years unpublished. So far back as 1805, the late talented Mr. John Ballantyne announced "Waverley as a work preparing for publication, but the announce excited so little attention, that the design was laid aside for reasons which every reader will guess. In those days of peace and innocence, the spirit of literary speculation had scarcely begun to dawn in Scotland; the public taste ran chiefly on poetry; and even if gifted men had arisen capable of treading in the footsteps of Fielding, but with a name and reputation unestablished, they must have gone to London to find a publisher. The magician" himself, with all his powers, appears to have been by no means over sanguine as to the ultimate success of a tale, which has made millions laugh, and as many weep; and in autumn he had very nearly delivered a portion of the MSS. to a party of sportsmen who visited him in the country, and were complaining of a perfect famine of wadding.

[graphic]

A Young Artist's Letter

FROM SWITZERLAND.

From the letter of an English artist, now abroad, accompanied by marginal sketches with the pen, addressed to a young relation, I am obligingly permitted to take the following

EXTRACT,

Interlaken, Switzerland. Sunday, Sept. 10, 1826.

I arrived at Geneva, after a ride of a day and a night, from Lyons, through a delightful mountainous country. The steam-boat carried me from Geneva to Lausanne, a very pretty town, at the other end of the fine lake, from whence I went to Berne, one of the principal towns in Switzerland, and the most beautiful I have seen yet. It is extremely clean, and therefore it was quite a treat, after the French towns, which are filthy.

Berne is convenient residence, both in sunny and wet weather, for all the streets have arcades, under which the shops are in this way,

The Times, 26th March, from an "Edinburgh paper."

so that people are not obliged to walk in the middle of the street at all. The town is protected by strong fortifications, but the ramparts are changed into charming lawns and walks. There are also delightful terraces on the river side, commanding the surrounding country, which is enchantingrich woods and fertile valleys, swelling mountains, and meadows like velvet; and, beyond all, the snowy Alps.

At Berne I equipped myself as most persons do who travel on foot through Switzerland; I have seen scores of young men all in the same pedestrian costume. give you a sketch, that you may have a better idea of it.

The dress is a light sort of smock-frock, with a leather belt round the waist, a straw hat, a knapsack on the back, and a small bottle, covered with leather, to carry spirits, fastened round the neck by a leather strap The long pole is for climbing up the mountains, and jumping over the ice.

From Berne I arrived at Thun. The fine lake of Thun is surrounded by mountains of various forms, and I proceeded along it to this place. I have been on the lake of Brientys and to Lauterbrunnen, where there is the celebrated waterfall, called the "Stubach;" it falls about 800 feet; the rocks about it are exceedingly romantic, and close to it are the snowy mountains, among which I should particularize the celebrated "Yung frow," which has never been ascended.

Interlaken is surrounded by mountains,

[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinua »