Imatges de pÓgina
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depicts the difficulty of finding places for the disposal of the hats and gowns, which were not to be soiled or rumpled for the world; and then for the globes, and papers, and mathematical instruments which were equally dear and indispensable to the learned coquette. These were the women who lived with amiable and well-instructed men, and were educated to please such companions. French is the best conversational language, because all the ablest and cleverest

persons of both sexes endeavoured to distinguish themselves by their conversation. Nor was the turn for epigram and satire which this species of society introduced, without its moral and political value : the bon-mot was the weapon by which intelligence combated power, or, as a French lady once said to us—« Les conversations des salons tenaient lieu de la liberté de la presse." When a peculiar impulse has been given to a people, it takes some time to check or to change it. While the elegant exiles of the Faubourg St. Germain were starving in a garret in London, or wandering through the wilds of North America, Barras reigned by his soirées, and Madame de Staël was banished for an epigram.

Of late years, however, a kind of juvenility and vapidity has been creeping into the circles of Paris. Wits are growing scarce, and dandies frequent. But still the deep-rooted social disposition of the people in general, and the long devotion of forty years to society, hitherto paid by those who made politics their ultimate pursuit, and more especially the happy and ingenious turns of that language, lately much altered, but created under the auspices of other times, have retained something of their ancient spirituality and elegance in the salons of Paris. But the thing is changing. The de la Rochefoucaulds of the day are no longer men of fashion. A higher and nobler career is open to the ambition of France than the success of a soirée or a petit souper. By and by, as the objects of a man's ambition diverge from the circle of female influence, the women of France will probably be left as the women of England now are by the talented and ambitious to the frivolous and the idle—by the frivolous and the idle their tastes will be formed, and so grow into the ton of society in general-unless an entire revolution in the social follows that which has taken place in the political system.

We have said that that society in which the ambition of the cabinet was disguised beneath the graces of the drawing-room, in which the ablest men and the most beautiful women were brought into perpetual contact, while both sexes, each by the means of the other, struggled for praise and power, was the society which surrounded a despotic monarch- the clever and profligate society of the Trianon and the Tuileries ;---no one can deny its gaiety and wit: a hollow craft, however, an undisguised debauchery, an insolent mockery, a dirty servility, were inseparable from those in whom the highest ability was but the parent of the most intriguing obsequiousness. It is not for the bold and august tone of true philosophy to be soothed into a lisp or pointed into a joke. The doctrines of philanthropy were little likely to be urged when the interests of the individual did not depend on serving the intelligent mass, but in "flattering the dull cold ear" of a capricious master. There was a rottenness in the core of this species of civilization. Its brilliant gleams of talent were the lights

that play aboủt putridity; but even that false kind of illumination was better than utter darkness.” When court favour is worth little, few people worth any thing will dispute for it. All who have any esteem for themselves will turn to better things: the crowd who remain influenced by the servility of old, will be free from the grace and genius of their predecessors, and what was once the brilliant courtier will degenerate into the drawling coxcomb or the fawning placeman.

The fact is, that the whole frame of society should undergo a change, similar to that change which has taken place in European institutions, and as those institutions are better than formerly, so is it possible to give a better tone to the social organization which should accompany them. If we wish to rescue society from its dullness, we must make it fit for men of talent, which we can only do by interesting the female sex in the pursuits of such men. Let our readers converse with any one who remembers society in Ireland from the year 1780 to the period of the Union. Dissolute and to a certain degree depraved it was. Is there anything in that unfortunate country over which the trail of the serpent has not been ? But for wit; for gaiety, for classical elegance, was there ever a society under a representative Government to be compared with it? Where shall we match those who are still the living history of that time--of that time when the first orators were the ornaments of the drawingroom, the most celebrated beauties the constant attendants at the bar and at the House of Commons. So, in England, why is it that to this day we look back with so earnest a regret to that circle which the brilliant Duchess of Devonshire created, and in which the Graces were found gathered round their old appropriate God—the God of wit, and eloquence, and song? The reason both at the Viceregal Court and at Devonshire House, why society was so dazzling in its spirit and intellectual in its tone, is this: the women were capable of appreciating the genius of men. That genius was the highest recom, mendation that could be brought to society; and all the homage now granted to youth, to rank, to fortune, to dress, was then granted in a tenfold degree to the mind. Unhappily in both the circles we refer to, a profligate, an open licentiousness prevailed, and we are tempted to cry out in the old sarcasm .“ Les mæurs en souffrent lorsque le bon goût se perfectionne.” But this licentiousness was not necessary to the brilliancy of the circle. And we know at least that the dullness of our age has not preserved us from its vices.

Perhaps, as the human intellect spreads its discoveries, it may yet be possible to unite the more solid excellencies of the present century with the more amiable manners of the last. In the mean time, let us urge, aš a truth which cannot too forcibly or frequently be repeated, the great moral lever by which, and by which alone, the present tone of society can be exalted while it is refined, is a proper system of female education.

H.

OURSELVES, OUR CORRESPONDENTS, AND THE PUBLIC. "They talk like a Justice of Peace, of a thousand matters."-Old Play.

SCENE-THE EDITORS' ROOM.
and tttt

Co-editors.
TIME-AFTER DINNER.

Editor * * * * * An excellent paper this on “Windham :" it shall appear very shortly. Eh?

Editor + + + + Nothing can be better. It is not one of those characters that perpetual anecdotes have worn threadbare. Have you seen his Diary in Amyot's possession ?-a strange work.

Editor * * * * * Ay, so I hear : we are to have it one of these days, when the scandal it contains will not offend the living. But what is this letter?

A clergyman-humph! A very touching communication—offers us, Reminiscences of the Cambridge Union.—Knew it in its zenith, when Rosser, Macaulay, Austin, Praed, were making Night eloquent. Have we not real politics enough now? The times are too stirring and actual for mimic fights. Ah! those were happy days

“ When thou and I, Dear Fred. Golightly, trod those boards of yore:” Pleasant enough is it to recall our public patriotism and our private squabbles—the intrigues against the President, and our noisy supper at 0-—'s when the debate was over. But tout finit dans l'éblouissement, as Montaigne says. What is the Union now—with the Bar to some of us, and the House of Commons to others? But let us hear from our Clergyman again—let him send us something in a higher vein, and we will accept it kindly, or reject it sorrowfully. It is a hard task, that of rejection.

Editor + + + + Till one's used to it.

Editor * * * * * True! that custom is the universal blunter. How well I can sympathise with the young contributor: his maiden verse—so neatly copied—the letter so timorously written, with a dash of hypocritical confidence in it too—the hope, the fear—the hasty walk down to the bookseller, to look at that dingy, dull-looking spot in the wrapper, where, in this magazine at least, our enterprising friends are so unceremoniously thrust ;-a villainous, uncivil, hole-and-corner method of communication, that, please Minos and Rhadamanthus, we must amend one of these days. Then, the rapid glance-the quickened pulse—the pang of disappointment—the Aush of mortified vanity--the sense of wrong, and the salutary indignation against that prejudiced ass, the Editor. Well, well! it's all very affecting. Here, now, is a young gentleman, not twenty, and whose assurance we have that “the enclosed pieces are original, perhaps too original—and have never appeared before !" He adds---dangerous inquiry !_“I should feel particularly obliged if you would mention in your answer, if you think I should persist in attempting to write poetry.”—My

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dear young gentleman, your verses are by no means bad ; nay, they show genius—but recollect, Mrs. Hemans's poetry scarcely covers the expenses of printing ; Wordsworth's are not marketable, and Murray has in his hands a poem of Crabbe's that he cannot venture to publish. Who, then, can advise you to persist? No, Apollo himself had other professions besides that of the poet-he was a doctor and an orator as well—how else could he have kept so large an establishment ? Nine Muses indeed ! Imitate him, my dear G-; study physic, or be called to the Bar, and, now and then, you may afford to pay a visit to Helicon. This is sound advice

" And may you better reck the rede
Than ever did the adviser."

Editor + + + +
What's this?-"My Native Land, from the German."

Editor * * * * *
My Native Land, Good Night !”

Editor + + + + It is very pretty. But we are Germanized to death already. I have nine translations from Körner, four critical reviews on Goëthe, fifteen metaphysical essays on Kant, and tales without number about Number Nip.

Editor * * * * * Best thanks to them all. We have a gentleman at Highgate, who monopolizes the German department. Hey-day! soul of Hannah More, what is this? --" The following stanzas were written on the seduction of a young woman.”—Upon my word, Sir!-But stayNot by the writer ; of that crime he has not to accuse himself."Then really, Mr. Fexjohvtu,—so you sign yourself—you have cut yourself off from the sole excuse that you had for dabbling with such a subject. What the deuce, immortalize other men's errors on this head! Catterwawl for pusses in general ! Go to! I tell you what, my dear + + + t, there is a pernicious love of false sentimentality lingering about this age, which we must cut up, root and branch: this young man, Mr. Fexjohvtu, has genius too let him put it to its proper uses—make love for himself, and that honestly, and he'll write very different stuff from this “ rollicking rhodomontade” about parched skins and maddening fiends. As for the young lady, versifying won't make her better. The more stanzas one writes in recommendation of penitence, the more provocatives we give to sin; like the Italian contemporaries of Cæsar Borgia, the poison is wrapped up in an elegy.

Editor + + + + Here is a very different vein-“ an Ercles' vein"_“ They met in Heaven.”

Editor * A noble poem!—a noble poem !-it shall appear in our next number—we have something to say about the writer.

Our criticisms in our present number embrace so much poetry, that we must reluctantly defer till then a contribution, such as no other poet now,“ in this dim sphere which men call earth,” could give usmeanwhile, let us open this packet from America; a communication we owe to our friend Willis Clarke, a brother editor, and a young poet

of considerable merit.- Newspapers !—Ehem!—What! the House of Commons--the Reform Billagain ! —Newton Barry-Irish YeomanryLord John Russell—Mr. Hunt-O'Connell-Wetherell !—why, half the papers in the New England are filled with our proceedings in the Old !--this, too, in a country that we are told looks upon us with so much dislike-or, God woti-disdain. Now, is it not impossible for a man with three grains of candour and one of common sense, to read these, his daily journals, and not see how fondly our good brother Jonathan interests himself in all that relates to us--our literatureour politics - our police reports—Sir Richard Birnie, God bless him! as large as life, in New York !)—our great men—nay, our fine ladies and court beauties ?why, here's a long paragraph about Lady Charlotte Bury, and the beauty of her sisters! Come, we must try and make this fraternal interest and affection mutual; not by long, dry political articles, and vehement declamations about equality and republics, which only shock our national preconceptions, but by amusing sketches of the manners, and customs, and scenery, and literature of our worthy brother. We must see to this forthwith. Talking of lite| rature, it is too bad for a score of booby editors on this side the Atlantic telling us very gravely, that America has not a single poet. Let us make room for these pretty verses upon

“ AUGUST.

BY WILLIAM CULLEN BRYANT.

The quiet August noon is come ;

A slumberous silence fills the sky;
The fields are still, the woods are dumb,

In glassy sleep the waters lie.
0, how unlike those merry hours

In sunny June, when earth laughs out;
When the fresh winds make love to flowers,

And woodlands sing and waters shout!
When in the grass sweet waters talk,

And strains of tiny music swell
From every moss-cup of the rock,

From every nameless blossom's bell!
But now a joy too deep for sound,

A peace no other season knows,
Hushes the heavens, and wraps

the ground-
The blessing of supreme repose.
Away! I will not be, to-day,

The only slave of toil and care ;
Away from desk and dust, away!

I'll be as idle as the air.
Beneath the open sky abroad,

Among the plants and breathing things,
The sinless, peaceful works of God,

I'll share the calm the season brings.
Come thou, in whose soft eyes I see

The gentle meaning of the heart,
One day amid the woods with thee,

From men and all their cares apart;
And where, upon the meadow's breast,

The shadow of the thicket lies,
The blue wild flowers thou gatherest

Shall glow yet deeper near thine eyes.

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