Imatges de pÓgina
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

1"

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

_“Fine! beautiful! exquisite !” ejaculated several voices at once.

you

observe the effect of the lively metre when I come to express the festivity of the besutted citizens? So they giggle and laugh, dance, revel, and quaff. Does that strike you?” “Oh, inimitable !--an inimitable imitation !” exclaimed Mr. Jibe ;“ but I do not exactly see how a calf can be said to giggle, and laugh, and dance." “But it bleats, Mr. Jibe ; which under such circumstances, as it is a pleasurable sound, may be deemed equivalent to laughter.” “Very likely, very likely, you must know much better than I what a calf means, and what sort of sounds it makes." " Then, as to dancing," resumed the poet, “what says Pope ?

“The lamb thy riot dooms to bleed today,

Had he thy reason, would he skip and play?" Now, though I object to the word riot, since there is no such mighty excess in a leg of lamb with mintsauce, or a fore quarter with asparagus, you see he makes the animal skip; and if a lamb may skip, surely a calf may dance.” “I sit corrected, cried

” Jibe, bowing with an air of burlesque conviction.

“ In the following passage I have endeavoured to • delineate the deep stillness and repose of the night that witnessed the assault:

“ Drowsy Tyber lagging laves
The city walls, its winking waves
One another scarcely pushing,
With low-breathing hushing gushing,
Till the whole stream, with muffled head,

Lies stretch'd asleep within its bed." “ The best place it could possibly have chosen," cried Jibe. "Zooks !" sir, you must have written that passage under the direct inspiration of Morpheus, and ought to be crowned for it with a wreath of poppies. You were full of your subject when you set about it. It is a perfect soporific-an abso

[ocr errors]

.

lute opiate, so somnolent and lulling that-yawaw

-aw! excuse me, but I cannot pay you a greater compliment than by showing how completely I sympathise with its influence : Yaw-aw-aw.Mr. Quill took up his note as soon as it was relinquished by Mr. Jibe ; Mr. Snake succeeded; Mr. Ferret followed, and Mr. Briggs had recommenced half a dozen lines with the words.--" Dread omens,” and been as often interrupted by an audible gape,

before he could proceed with its recitation:

“ Dread omens, inauspiciously reveald,

Announce her fate--the city's doom is seal'd." " This is nothing," resumed the minstrel, “nothing whatever to my description of the clash of

words, the clank of armour, the rolling of the machines, the groans of the wounded, the cymbals and shouts of the victors. Talk of music of the siege of Belgrade, or Steibelt's Storm! I will give any man one of Tomkinson's grand pianos with three pedals, and will undertake to beat him by language alone, so stimulating the imagination through the ear, that the whole scene shall become as visible to the eye as if I had painted it upon a white wall. I do paint, in fact, only dipping my tongue in picturesque words instead of my brush in representative colours--that's the whole secret! But

you

shall hear the effect of my explosion when Alaric sets fire to the train of gunpowder.

“ Gunpowder!" ejaculated several voices at once;

surely that's an anachronism : have you not got the start of Friar Bacon some five hundred years or so? and will not the critics blow you up with your own combustibles ?”“ I little thought,” replied Briggs, with a complacent smile," that such a company, ' fit audience though few,' would have forgotten that Milton introduces artillery some thousands of years sooner.”

" "Egad," quoth Jibe," so he does, and Alaric doubtless took the hint from the .

VOL. II.

Bb.

blind bard. You see, gentlemen, 'It is not Homer nods, but we that dream.' Now for the explosion, but prythee have mercy upon our persons.

Pray observe,” resumed the poet," the gradual rolling down of the thick walls, the ecroulement, as the French call it

“The ponderous walls that circum-rock

(how do you like that compound epithet to express rocky solidity ?)

The ponderous walls that circum-rock the town,
Slow crumbling, stumbling, tumbling, rumble jumble down."

“Now mark the difference when a lofty tower falls with a sudden velocity and clutter.

Heaved by the writhing earth the towers creak, creak, Then with a crash slap-dash, smash helter-skelter, whack !"

a

The tide of risibility which now “burst its continents," overwhelmed the astonished bard. In vain did he attempt to proceed ; every effort was quashed by a quotation of his own last line, repeated in every possible variety of accent, gesture, and intonation, and when Jibe procured a momentary silence, he undertook the defence of his friend with an irony so solemn in appearance, and at the same timé só ludicrous in intention and effect, that the merriment became more obstreperous than ever. As their host repeatedly emptied his glass in the heat of his poetical furor, some of his company as regularly re-filled it, until he alternately hugged his defender with a maudlin fondness, and hurled defiance at the others with all the vociferation of an irritated and punch-inflamed poet. Jibe fostered his animosity by burlesquely arraigning the bad taste and delinquency of his assailants, and a scene en

sued upon which we deem it prudent to drop the
çurtain, contenting ourselves with stating in the
concluding lines of a well known song-
“ Then a quarrel arose, some reflections were cast,
But for decency's sake we'll not mention what past,

Derry down, down, down, derry down."

THE SHRIEK OF PROMETHEUS.

SUGGESTED BY A PASSAGE IN THE SECOND BOOK OF APOL

LONIUS RHODIUS.

[ocr errors]

a

Fresh was the breeze, and the rowers plied

Their oars with a simultaneous motion,
When the Argo sail'd in her stately pride

By the laureld shores of the Pontic ocean.
The island of Mars with its palmy coves,

The Sacred Mount, and Aretia's strands,
And Philyra's isle with its linden groves,

And Ophir's flood with its shelly sands-
Swiftly they past-till, stretching far,

On their right Bechiria's coast appears,
Where painted Sapirians, fierce in war,

Bristle the beech with bows and spears.

At distance they saw the sun-beams quiver

Where the long-sought towers of Colchos stood,
And mark'd the foam of the Phasis river,

As it flung from its rocky mouth the flood.

The Argonauts gaze with hungry eyes

On the land enrich'd by the golden fleece-
Already in fancy they grasp the prize,

And hear the shouts of applauding Greece.
Jason look'd out with a proud delight,

Castor and Pollux stood hand in hand,
Showing each other the welcome sight;

While fierce Meleager unsheath'd his brand.

Laocoon bade the rowers check

Their oars as the sun to the waters slanted,
For Orpheus sat with his harp on the deck,

And sweetly the hymn of evening chanted,

While the heroes round, at each pause of sound,
Stretch'd their right hands to the god of day,
And fervently join'd in the choral lay.

THE HYMN OF ORPHEUS,

Twin-born with Dian in the Delos isle,

Which afte the Ogygian deluge thou Didst first illumine with renovating smile,

Apollo! deign to hear our evening vow

CHORUS.

When thou’rt dim, our harp and hymn

Thy downward course shall follow :
Mail to thee! hail to thee!

Hail to thee, Apollo !

God of the art that heals the shatter'd frame,

And poetry that sooths the wounded mind;. Ten thousand temples, honour'd with thy names

Attest thy ceaseless blessings to mankind,

CHORUS

When thou 'rt dim, our harp and hymn

Thy downward course shall follow : llail to thee! hail to thee!

Hail to thee, Apollo !

:

Thy golden bow emits a gushing strain

of music when the Pythian serpent dies : His eyes flash fire-his writhings plough the plain ;

Hissing he leaps aloft--then lifeless lies.

[ocr errors]

CHORUS.

When thou ’rt dim, our harp and hymn

Thy downward course shall follow :
Hail to thee! hail to thee !

Hail to thee, Apollo !

4

Pan of his pipe and rural science proud,

Dreamt that his music might with thine aspire The mountain Tmolus was the judge-and bow'd His nodding woods in homage to thy lyre.

CHORUS

When thou 'rt dim, with harp and hymn

Thy downward course we follow : Hail to thee! hail to thee !

Hail to thee, Apollo !

« AnteriorContinua »