Imatges de pÓgina
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And, when I turned and beheld the creature “who was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day," crawling amid the receptacles of the tranquil dead, unable to arise, like a man, and stand erect before his Maker, but trembling with fear and sin, even in that hallowed solitude, I felt ashamed that I had degraded myself by yielding to the momentary impulse of revenge.

“ I deserved it, Leyden,” he exclaimed, in a low and broken tone; “but justice shall not be deprived of her prey. I came to England with the intention of delivering myself as a murderer to the offended laws of my country; for I could no longer support the load of misery that each year brings more heavily upon my soul. God of mercy! have I not been punished ? I seem to have lived an eternity of remorse. Each night I see her at my bed-side, with out-stretched arms, and the same sad and unreproachful face as when she sank into the pitiless waters. How could I reply to her father's letter ? For years I wrestled with my feelings; I tried to believe there was no God; I drank the richest, the most intoxicating wines--they blistered in my throat. The jest and the song were as funeral music in mine ears. The young and the beautiful would have been mine—mine only; but I could not bring the earthly to meet the spirit bride. Honours poured upon me; gold cursed me, with its yellow and pestilential abundance. I was called brave-brave at the very moment when I felt that I only rushed into the battle, courting death to be released from misery. How little does the world know of the motives that actuate men! How little does it care, provided its own comforts are not disturbed by the misfortunes of those who excite its curiosity ! Cicely is never absent from me by day or night.—It is there nownow”—and he pointed his finger upward as he spoke, “ there—pure, transparent, so transparent that I can count the stars through its shadowy form ; and yet, with that ever before me, the world called me fortunate. O rare world! O wise-judging mortality! Fortunate! ay, as hell's own devils !”

Loud and terrific laughter succeeded this horrid summary; and, at the same instant, the bright moon discovered features riven, as it were, by madness.

I conducted him to the inn, where his valet assured me that his master was subject to such insane fits. “ He says strange things, sir," said the old man in a compassionate tone, " but the wildness soon passes." I must hasten to conclude. The wretched man was dying. I will not harrow up your feelings by a detail of his last agonies: they are over. Oh! it was awful to hear him imploring the spirit of the departed Cicely to stand away from between him and heaven!”

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A NEW BATCH OF UNRDUCATED POETS.

A GREAT man ought to think before he speaks. Society is so tenderly constructed, and the human mind is composed of such nice and delicate materials, that a single word, uttered with proper emphasis, will sometimes produce as much effect as the report of a pistolamong mountain snows. Strange things have happened in a world that grows stranger every day: a nod has not unfrequently overturned a nation; a wink has been sufficient to eclipse a whole country; and a whisper has “ seemed to shake the spheres." We can entertain no doubt of the truth of all this; for we are at this instant living witnesses of its verity. We are writing under the weight of an avalanche, brought down upon us by the breath of no less a person than the Poet Laureate. Dr. Southey knows very well (no one better) the extent of his influence; but in this instance he could not have calculated on the “ probable tendency” of what he was inditing. Some of his epics passed over the heads of the world as unlike thunderbolts as possible; but here is a single stroke of his pen, in a prose paragraph, that produces a convulsion. His light is not a safety-lamp: a spark or two has fallen ; a train has been fired; and this, our Magazine, has experienced the consequences in an explosion which we shall immediately proceed to explain.

Thus, then, it is. Dr. Southey, in his editorial observations on Mr. John Jones's “ Attempts in Verse," has thought fit to record his determination-unalterable, he tells us, as the laws of Mede and Persian-to take no more youthful poets under his patronising wing. He paints, in the vivid colours of truth and eloquence, a startling and affecting picture of the horrors of a Poet Laureateship. He lays bare, with an ingenuousness which, amidst our commiseration, we cannot too earnestly commend, all the sorrows of his sinecure. He has convinced us, sceptics as we were, that his laurel-wreath is fixed to his temples with unnumbered thorns; and that his sack, like that of Falstaff, has a dash of “lime in it” utterly destructive of its deliciousness. Ever since the days of Kirke White, it has been his fate to be beset with a troop of lyrical Lilliputians, clinging to the great Gulliver of genius, and pinning his spirit to the earth—a swarm of small and scarcely perceptible poets, hovering night and day about him, and fastening him down with chords, which, like those of his own lyre, were perfectly irresistible. The good-nature of Dr. Southey, in placing a protecting hand upon the scattered Remains of Kirke White, first plunged him into this perplexity; and his laureate-laurel has been, it appears, for some years past, gradually weighing him down deeper and deeper into it. His wreath was a sort of land-mark for the rising generation of poets. He has stood, Laertes-like, mountains of manuscript piling upon his head. Every post brought its plague, in the shape of “Proposals for Publishing,” &c. Every correspondent (and the Laureate has thousands) was, as a matter of course, very intimately acquainted with an untaught genius : and it no doubt very often happened, that this poetical prodigy ("linked sweetness" being generally “long drawn out,"') was blessed with half-a-dozen brothers and sisters, almost as marvellously gifted as himself. It was said of Pope, that he never “ took tea without a stratagem;" Dr. Southey, we may safely predict, never diped out, but in the very centre of a conspiracy. Epic traps were set to catch him; alexandrines,'“ needless” enough, were laid about to ensnare him; odes were fired at him, like air-guns ; detonating balls, in the likeness of sonnets, were sent to him in letters; and anagrams and acrostics fell unceasingly upon his table with the rapidity of hail. A fiftieth part of these persecutions, to say nothing of the necessity of organizing an Anti-Autograph and Album-Abolition Society, of which, we believe, the Laureate is to be the President, would be sufficient to deter any rational poet (if that be not a contradiction in terms) from accepting the Premiership of Poetry for the future: so that Mr. Hume's soul has a chance of being delighted by a saving to the country of, at least, one hundred a-year, in addition to the annual thousand which literature has lately lost.

But the Laureate, as we intimated, has released himself from the fetters which his fame had forged for him : he has risen, like a giant, and shaken them off at once and for ever.

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“ Nonsense has done its worst ; nor song, nor satire,
Poem dramatic, foolish essay,

nothing Can touch him further." He is no longer the Editor of the Uneducated; he has surrendered the Directorship of the College of Dunces ; he has come to the resolution of being “ Allworthy" to no more “ Joneses, whether Johns or Toms. The little foundlings of genius must now be laid at other people's doors. The epigrams that came to bask in the light of the great Epic—the small octo-syllabics that grew strong by feeding on the grand Hexameter, must now look out for themselves, and seek immortality as they may. The Laureate plainly tells them, that they shall get none in his company, And here begins our grievance—the “out upon it !" comes in here.

Our editorial box, for the reception of contributions, is, as the auctioneer said the other day of a certain relic of the royal wardrobe,“ of capacious dimensions." We have long been accustomed, upon every inspection, to find it full; but, for the last three months, we have observed an overflow, for which the march of magazine-writing affords no precedent. An inundation of correspondence, a positive Nile of nonsense, has been pouring in upon us with a remorselessness only equalled by its rapidity. Like the Nile, to which we have justly likened it, we could not, at first, find out the source of the vast and inconveviently increasing current. We have, at length, traced it to this announcement of the Laureate! His imps have transferred their fangs to us; they have fixed their talons (or, as they call them, talents) too deep for mere human efforts to evade them. Hour after hour they increase. Polite replies have become impossibilities; for, inasmuch as their “communications' are evil, our “goodmanners” are corrupted. Letters multiply with a more than forty-mushroom power, and the very Post-Office is beginning to complain. The clerks seem to ihink that the 14th of February will never be over. Our table “groans” (a note to which we, with great sincerity, make responsive echoes) under the burthen of its abuses. They spring from all classes and conditions of persons,“ taking all shapes, and bearing many names.” As various are the quarters of the town whence they are dispatched; for genius is not nice in its habitation, and flourishes in alleys, whatever it may do in courts. But the one grand point on which they are unanimously agreed is, that each of the twice ten thousand individually is gifted with the most miraculous powers that ever dawned on the dazzled understanding of man. There is no obscurity in terms in their mode of expressing their sentiments upon this head : they seem respectively impressed with a most exalted love of candour, and an equally insurmountable detestation of diffidence. Merit, according to these, the most gifted of all the children of literature, ought not to creep about under the mask of modesty, but “ show to the sun its wav'd coat, dropp'd with gold.” Our only fear is, in contemplating this extraordinary amount of capacity, that nature has exhausted herself in producing it; and that poets will be as rare in the next generation, as purchasers are in this. At all events, it behoves the inhabitants of the various parishes and places that gave birth to our correspondents, to look well to their wits; for, as Shakspeare monopolized all the intellect of Stratford, and the rest of the natives have been fools up to this moment, it appears to us more than probable that there may be, even now, a vast number of districts left in the dry depths of ignorance, by reason of the rich streams of enlightenment that are perpetually flowing to us through every channel of epistolary communication.

After this appropriate flourish of trumpets, we proceed to introduce a few of our “ Tom Thumbs,” “ their first appearance upon any stage.”. We must relieve the reader, however, from all apprehension of infant prodigies : they have become, by many degrees, too numerous. Every family in the three kingdoms contains one, at least, some being blessed with four or five. We therefore pass over their productions without a single note of admiration—even over the “ Essay on the Human Character,” which the writer assures us was written before he could speak! To be sure, it turns out, in the postscript, that he is dumb, which detracts a little from our astonishment.

John SMITH. Misery has made many poets, and the untaught genius for whom the reader's sympathy is now solicited, has been exposed to no common

degree of affliction, arising from the singular power of multiplication which his name seems to possess. Nothing can be more trying to a sensitive mind than to see oneself figuring in the newspapers as the hero of a police-report-a fate that regularly happens to the subject of this memoir, morning and evening. Mr. S. intimates that the authors of the “ Wealth of Nations,” and of the “ Rejected Addresses," sprang from a branch of his family; but that he himself, though in an humble station of life, is descended in a direct line from Cain; a fact which, as he modestly says, “ rests upon the authority of a brother-poet, Cowper,” who, in describing the invention of fire-arms, observes

“ And the first smith was the first murderer's son." His genealogy operating upon his genius, he was induced to write a poem upon the fate of his unfortunate ancestor; and it is not a little remarkable, that his apostrophe to Cain, should have terminated in his carrying one-he being immediately engaged as footman in the service of Lady Album in Portland Place. Here he soon became remarked, not only for the purity of his morals and the unsullied whiteness of his stockings, but for some“ wild and singularly original" lines to a lapdog, patronised by Lady A., who was struck with their pathos and beauty, and procured their insertion in the Morning Post. The editor of that paper, however, unfriendly to the growth of mind even among the footmen of the aristocracy, insisted upon placing the word “ advertisement" at the head of

Not at all discouraged by this illiberal insinuation, he determined on awakening his lyre to still loftier tones; and a short time afterwards, attending his lady to the exhibition of the Whale, he succeeded, while the door was ajar, in obtaining a glimpse of the great skeleton, and the result was—

the poem.

A LIVERY LAY,

ADDRESSED TO THE WHALE AT CHARING-CROSS.

Gog of the Sea, old Ocean's son,

With thee description fails;
Thou art—to use a novel pun--

The very Prince of Whales !
Noah, this skeleton alone

Had sunk the Ark ;-I fain
Would have thy portrait (done by Bone),

Oh! Magog of the Main.
I may not, with untutor’d hand,

Describe how it might be,
That thou—as bishops do on land-

Didst move from sea to sea.
Yet more like Popish priest's, alas !

Thy flesh of Indian-rubber ;
For as they blubber o'er their mass,

Thou wert a mass of blubber.
A thousand years were on thy brow

When Death began his feast;
A “guard of honour” thou hast now-

Ten cent’ries” at the least.
A thousand years ! old Cent. per Cent.

Why thou wert living when
Brave Harold's bow was fiercely bent

Against the Norman men.
Thy course commenced with William One,

And ends with William Four ;
A whale--ere yet thy sands were run,

A lion-when no more.
Some work should give a print of thee;

The Editor, perplex’d,
Concluding thus" This tail to be

Continued in our next !”

Lord LYRETON, M.P. The title of this noble votary of the Muses, at once introduces him to the reader as a personage of a very different grade from that of the last candidate for immortality. The superficial may affect surprise at our placing a lord among the uneducated poets; but the more acute observer, who knows that education is vulgar, suited only to the wants of the humbler classes, and utterly inconsistent with the refinement of aristocratic taste, will appreciate our arrangement. But Lord L. must speak for himself.

“Lord Lyreton presents his compliments, and begs to offer, gratuitously, a few poems for insertion in the N. M. M. They were written quite at his leisure, principally in the House of Commons during the Economy speeches, or while the Estimates were being passed. Lord L. begs to say that poetry is a thing quite foreign to his usual pursuits ; but being informed that one or two persons of his order' have become very popular (in private circles) as translators, and that others have innocently amused themselves in the Annual for the Aristocracy, he has attempted something more original, in the hope of redeeming the literary character of the nobility, and of showing that genius is not exclusively confined to such low-born persons as Shakspeare and Burns.”

We differ with the opinion insinuated in the closing paragraph of our noble poet's epistle. Some of his ideas are not quite new. Here is a stanza.

Full many a gem of purest ray serene,

Thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears,
Like angels' visits, few and far between,

Deck the long vista of departed years."
Surely we have seen some strange imitations of these lines somewhere. Again-

“ For panting Time toils after him in vain,

And drags at each remove a lengthening chain." We do not expect genius to be always original, nor do we condemn so ancient a practice among poets as that of borrowing; but this sort of stanza must at least be regarded as one of those“ strange coincidences” of which modern literature is so prolific of examples.

But to make amends for this we quote some lines on one of the most pathetic subjects ever touched by the golden quill of poetry. We pity the man who can read even the title without tears.

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EPITAPH ON A ROTTEN BOROUGH.

Darling of a ducal race,
Sire of pensions, source of place-
Snug retreat for younger sons ;
Sure asylum, safe from duns ;
Hast thou left me thus to moan,
When I thought thee all my own!
O’er this branch from Freedom's oak ·
Wynn shall whine and Croker croak ;
Pelham (Faction's " burning Cresset,”)
Twiss, in twisted phrase, shall bless it.
Many cheeks shall gain a furrow
By thy fall, disfranchised borough!
Farewell, represented steeple,
Which we loved to call “the people ;"
Farewell, my constituents,
Tenants (ten) that paid me rents !
Here my borough lies—as we did,

When we said that it was needed ! The Band of Hops. This prodigy of humble life, a native of the land of Burns and whisky, is certainly not the least of the great Untaught. Hearing when a child that every second man in Scotland was considered the first genius in the world, he began to “lisp in numbers ;" but finding afterwards that it was the practice in that country to make all great poets excisemen, as a mark of national gratitude, bis sympathies became excited in favour of another kind of

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