« PredošláPokračovať »
ing into the nook where I was born, fate, I found myself rapidly drawn felt some of the sensations natural to back through the channel which I had home. As I was the largest and most traversed with such speed. The senpowerful tenant of the stream, I had sation in my throat now grew more no fear of rivalry; I swept through all torturing than ever. At last, judge its depths and recesses with the delight of my horror when I saw the monster of novelty, tasted its fresh herbage, standing on the bank above me. His sheltered myself from the heat under miry covering seemed more miry than the shade of its drooping willows, and ever, the props on which he tottered at will sported in the sun. But one more tottering, but his countenance day, as I was darting with the speed of was distended with a hideous look of an arrow and the rapture of full anima- triumph. It was not hunger like my tion, through the centre of the stream own about to be satiated, for the wretch that rippled in silver under a breeze had a rotundity of stomach which perfumed with the fragrance of a thou- showed that he was already gorged. sand flowers, I was startled by the It was not poverty about to make gain sight of a monster such as I had never of me, for I saw it throw coin to a seen before. It was of indescribable crowd of young monsters standing on ugliness. Instead of the brilliant naked props, to venture into the sheathing, the diamond scale, and the water where I lay and seize me. It rainbow painting, to which I had been was sport. That detestable passion accustomed in the tribes of the ocean, which belongs to such two-legged monits clothing was of the colour of the sters alone; the unaccountable disredingiest mire. Instead of the light- gard of others' pain, the unaccountable ning rapidity, ease and grace of the enjoyment of seeing a creature endowed fin, it rowed, or rather tottered, on two with a thousand faculties of life and singularly shapeless props; its employ, pleasure finishing them all in agony. I ment seemed as idiotic as its figure was was in torture. But the more I writhed deformed. It stood sometimes gazing at the more the monster was evidently dethe sun, sometimes at the water, stretch- lighted. Every fibre of my throat ing out its arms alternately with a look of was torn. I felt alternately the deaddullintenseness, and holding along reed liest chill and the most scorching flame. which it helplessly waved back and My eyes started from their sockets. My forward, like one of the willows under heart panted in wild spasms. My flesh the breeze. My first sensation was quivered as if poison had been dropped alarm, but I saw that the monster on every scale. A sudden and violent dreaded the water, and I despised him pull, which forced the steel into my for his impotence. My next was dis- very brain, dragged me on the bank. gust at his deformity. I gave a final Here I felt a new scene of misery. In glance, dashed the waters with my the next moment my whole frame tail in scorn, and darted away. But burned as if coated in fire. The air, let my folly be all told. That glance no longer softened by the water, was fatal. I saw at the same moment, seemed to me all flame. The sun, just touching the waters, one of the untempered by the shade, looked a most delightful flies that imagination vast furnace stooping from the sky, had ever shaped for the banquet of The horrors of that moment defy all an epicure. I was an epicure. And conception. Fortunately they were his blue wing, purple body, and golden brief-life could bear no more-I gave crest would have fascinated the most one wild convulsion, and lost all sense self-denying eye. I was young, rash, of being. Yet as I gave my last ardent, and hungry. I made but one groan I could faintly hear a hurrah,' spring at the temptation, and seized it at and the words, a five-and-twenty the moment. But to my inexpressible pounds fish at least--capital sport!' utsurprise I felt a singularly sharp pangin tered by the crowd of monsters in mire the very act of seizure. "I plunged in- round me. stantly into the depths of the river. But “How long I remained in this condithe pang was there and every where. tion I have no means of knowing ; but Still I plungedon. But I suddenly found I began to feel a sudden sensation of a strange check. At once furious and life. I looked round and saw myself frightened, I plunged on. But the in a basket on a bed of wet grass, check grew more powerful as I grew whose coolness and moisture had proexhausted. And at last, yielding to bably restored me. I now saw the
monster take the basket from his back, did his best to stir up his menagerie ; and, laying it on the ground, wipe bis among the rest was “ Conversation heavy brows, and mutter confound- Sharpe.” How this trite and affected edly hot, and five miles more to walk. person ever attained the name, trifling It was good sport, no doubt, to catch as it now is, must be left to the discrithis fine fellow ; but I am sick of fish. mination of his trifling coterie. But I have had fish enough since I came he has left a legacy of his talent behind on this stupid visit to make me loathe him, and nothing on earth or under it, the sight of it on the table. Well, I can be more dry, formal, or shallow. dine at the corporation feast to-day. His book has buried his reputation, it This fellow will cut a figure among has carried his little buoyancy down the turtle and turbot. To the corpo- like a mill-stone. No man since ration he shall go.' As I looked at the Sheridan has actually been a good conmonster's bloated visage, and heard his
A mere man of anecdote may reckless speech, a throb of indignation be amusing but he is not a good conshot through me.
What! was I to be verser, he is a walking jest-book, an curtailed of my existence, mutilated edition of Joe Millar in coat and and mangled only to fill the stomachs breeches ; a reciter of scraps out of of a herd of clowns, already pampered Dryden or Pope, with now and then a with gluttony ? Indignation gave me stanza from Byron, to show that he new strength. I made one tremend- has not grown too old for the rising ous bound, sprang up in the monster's generation, is not a good converser, face, and to my measureless joy felt but a walking commonplace book, a that I descended in the river. One mutilated copy of “ the elegant ex. thing alone was now wanting to my tracts.” A repeater of the reminiscentriumph. It was not wanting long. ces of the last century who plagues the The monster, startled by my parting table still with newspaper paragraphs, blow, lost his balance, toppled off the new fifty years ago, assumes a superibank, and fell headlong into the stream. ority for having lived in the days of He roared like a bull, and struggled the departed great, though he lived like a sea-horse. But the stream was no more connected with them than a strong, and I had the pleasure of ac- rat in one of their stables; the man companying him, side by side, for seve- who rises in his chair and settles all ral hundred yards down the river. At questions by, “Sir, I saw Mr Fox, nay, length the crowd of monsters whom saw him frequently; he was a short his cries had brought, running along man, with a round stomach and a large the bank, dragged him out in the midst head; I heard him speak, sir, and I of peals of laughter. He was more shall never hear such eloquence again, miry than ever, his face was all duck- though the one half of his speech was weed and dismay; and without basket, lost in his ownsputtering, and the other rod, or hat, terrified, dripping, and half in the applause of the house." This half drowned, he looked the most help- reminiscent is not a good converser, less and ridiculous of all possible mon- but a walking turnpike, through which sters. I left him, with a dash of my the great and little pass alike, and tail that ploughed up the water, in leave nothing but halfpenny tickets scorn, and sailed away for my old behind. But incomparably the most loved haunts in the Atlantic. From alarming of the whole tribe, the bore time to time I turned to gaze on the par excellence, is the academic, whose scene of the monster's discomfiture, life, between the college and the churchwhere I saw the crowd carrying him yard, seems to be one great gulf, the away, and uttering roars of laughter, world a nonentity, and no image in his till all was lost in distance and silence; mind but the absurdities of some head and I inhaled alone the living breeze, of a college dead, &c., fifty years ago, and saw before me the sapphire stream and as obscure in his life as ever he bending over the majesty of ocean.' was in his grave. The quoter of Ho
race, to prove that a venison-pasty is In Sir Walter Scott's Memoirs by not a plumpudding, deliberately talking Lockhart, some slight mention is made Aristotle over his sherry, and in his of a dinner to which he was invited, moments of confidence mouthing the less as the lion, than to be one of a first half dozen lines of the Iliad ; this party of lions. All were conversation- man is not a good converser, but a ists, the den was full, and the feeder public nuisance, and ought to be extin
guished by petition to the two houses the Weird Sisters before Macbeth. It of the legislature ; he is a fly leaf of perpetually molests, mystifies, and Lilly's Grammar, scratched over with masters him. He quotes all through the autographs of booby scholarship. his waking hours. If he drops asleep,
Sir James Mackintosh was an ambi, which he does of late, in the best comtious converser, and therefore not a pany, he slides from a discussion on good one. He overdid his work, had Perigord Pie into a sarcasm from Jua prodigious memory, with prodigious venal, or an episode from Silius Italiquotations, ticketed like an attorney's cus. His waking hours are rendered pigeon-holes, and between long reci- unhappy to himself and mankind by tations from Dryden, and forgotten alternate citations from Martial and fragments of the Edinburgh Review, the “ Marattah war.” But, of all men, was among the most innocent and in- living or dead, Sheridan was the best tolerable men of his time. Sir Walter
Poor Richard ! poor, inScott was clever in all things, and deed! thy life was an old “ almanack," therefore in conversation. All his re- a catalogue of sunrises and sunsets, collections were Scottish, and though fasts and feasts, and all not worth a amusing and characteristic, English- penny when the year was done. His was men were but slowly brought to give a Whig life; professional patriotism, up their souls to the memories of the useless ability, lip honesty, and House Hopes, the Blairs, and Mackenzies of Commons honour. But his nature of Auld Reekie. Yet there was a was Tory; he had not an item of malice perpetual animation about Sir Wal. in his composition. He loved Engter, a readiness to be happy, and land and Englishmen; he would have make everybody else happy ; an ab- stood by the Constitution, if he had sence of all discoverable sense of self, not been a pauper all his life, and had, and a kind of conversational good in the turf phrase, not a leg to stand will to all round the table, that made Unhappy Lazarus, at the gate of him always pleasing. He had the the Dives of Devonshire House; livtrue conversational temper. No af. ing on Whig crumbs all his wretched fectation of superiority, no harshness life, and at its end left to any dog that of remark, no severity in looking at would, to lick his sores.
But he was men or times, no occasional sullenness. the wit of wits, after all; and the deHe was always in the vein, and never parting genius of conversation crushwithout some pleasant anecdote, just ing together the bones and brains of of the right length, and just odd all the conversationists before or since, enough to amuse. It is a thousand ought to build a monument of them pities that in the latter years of his life over the spot where this pleasant and he did not write his “ Recollections." unhappy, powerful and feeble, brilIt would have been one of the most liant and extinguished luminary of the amusing pieces of nature and eccen- table, the Commons, and the Stage, tricity in the world. But he was no is wedded to the worm. wit. His pleasantries were of the Sheridan, too, had his conversational memory, and except by the quaintness faults. “ Nemo omnibus horis.” Which, which seems to be impressed on the being interpreted, is, no one can be Scottish idiom, and the dry humour, always telling the best stories, and which seems equally national, he sel- saying the most sparkling things in dom - set the table in a roar.'
the world. He was uneven. He was The Marquis Wellesley would be either all cloud or all sunshine. But a good converser, except for the mis- from the cloud sometimes shot a flash fortune of his having gone to Eton. that was more brilliant than all sunThe “ fifth form" rises before him as shine.
" Lando manentem,"_HORACE.
We have been much gratified by those simple and undeviating printhis little performance, the first edi. ciples by which the views of the pretion of which, we confess, had escap- sent Administration have been and are ed our notice. There is a spirit of likely to be guided. We look upon it frankness and candour about it, and as a sort of light pilot, sent ont to an absence of all disguise in the ex- show how the wind sits, before venposition of the principles of the turing to launch the real balloon. party from which it emanates, which Should the broehure be favourably are worthy of all acceptation. It con- received, the work will no doubt be tains, in fact, the existing philosophy of claimed by its true authors: if the Whiggism reduced to its elements, and public, on the contrary, be startled by conveyed in the popular form of a lyric the naked simplicity of the Ministerial operetta, instead of being embodied in creed, poor Mr Dibdin will probably prosy pamphlets, or dreary quarterly be left to bear the pelting of the storm manifestoes in the Edinburgh Review.
as he best may. To such an extent, indeed, is the can- In the mean-time, it is delightful to dour of the author carried, that we see in what a spirit of true philosophy were at first a little puzzled to discover these little pleasantries are composed. whether the poem was really the pro- The authors do not affect to conceal duction of a bona fide Whig, or of some from themselves that they are the subwicked Tory wit, who, like Lord Pal. jeets of general ridicule ; they are the merston of yore, in his celebrated new first to admit, that with the exception Whig Guide, had adopted this conve- of their immediate dependents, and of nient vehicle of satire against his poli. those who agree to march through tical opponents. A careful compa- Coventry with them in the mean-time, rison, however, of the sentiments which that they may turn them to the rear, the author attributes to the personages and make use of them for their own of his piece, with the opinions avowed ends afterwards,—they are despised by the leaders of the present Admini. and rejected of all men ; but they do stration“ in their place in Parlia- all this with such a poor-devil air of ment,” has satisfied us that the author openness and bonhommie, and bear is what he professes to be-a genuine with such resignation the visitation of Whig, in fact," a Hebrew of the He- national contempt, that they absolutely brews ;” and that the work, notwith disarm our resentment.
« Do not standing the comic mask which the beat me," said, or looked, Sterne's ass, author affects to wear, has its serious “ but if you will you may." It was side, and is in truth little more than a impossible to beat him under the cirpoetical version of the speeches of cumstances. So it is with us on pethe different members of Government, rusing this good-humoured Ministerial as recorded in the Mirror of Par- confession. The foot which was about liament. How far the publication may to be “ unsupportably advanced" is be made with the sanction of Ministers withdrawn; the knout drops from our we know not; though, from the cha- hand; solvuntur risu tabule,-and the racteristic nature of the speeches and culprit leaves the bar with a verdict of lyrics assigned to the leading actors in
“ nodding and cocking the scene, we are strongly inclined to his eye to the jury" as if nothing had think that some of them at least have happened. been written, or at least revised, by the The author, as we have said, has parties concerned ; and that the work chosen to throw his subject into a dramay be regarded as an experimental matic form, and has selected as the publication made with the view of as- time when the unflinching principles certaining how far the public mind of his party might be supposed to be is yet prepared for the reception of displayed to the greatest advantage
The Cabinet ; a Downing Street Operetta ; in one Act. The Music selected from various Composers. By Thomas Dibdin the Younger, Second Edition. London. 1837.
the Ministerial muster in Lord Mel- in fairness to state, that the recitative bourne's after the triumphant majority of his piece, as is too generally the case of five upon the English Church-Rates with these musical performances, “is Bil. The fears, hopes, and consola naught." It has been obviously tions of men in office ;—the statement “ slobbered up in haste," being “horand enforcement of the grand prin- ribly stuffed with epithets," which ciples by which they are determined have no meaning or purpose beyond to be governed ;-the contrast be- that of filling up the line, and enatween the weak and wavering coun- bling the poet to conform withi appasels of those who, almost in spite of rent decency to the exigencies of the themselves, are compelled to still musical composer.
It is, in short, avow a lingering attachment to de- precisely such bombastic ten-syllabled cency and consistency of conduct, and trash as we have lately been compelthe firmness of those who follow the led to encounter in the Duchess de la surer guidance of self-interest through Valiere, but which, after the ques good report and bad, afford room for tionable success of that experiment, some scenes of considerable interest we trust we shall not be again sub
jected to in the long-threatened draThere is one point in Mr Dib- ma of “ Cromwell." We think, din's performance by which it is therefore, we shall do a service both favourably distinguished from the to our readers and to the author, by crude and irregular productions with confining our extracts from his ope. which our theatres are at present de retta to the lyrical portion of the luged ; viz. the attention which he piece. It is a department of poetry for pays to the unities. Unity of place, which he seems to us to have a consiin particular, to whieh, since the pre- derable turn, and in which we are judice produced by Dr Johnson's pre- inclined to think (certainly with no face to Shakspeare, too little attention party prejudices in his favour) that we fear has been paid, is with him a he has been tolerably successful. paramount consideration. His scene The piece opens with a duo between is laid in Downing Street, once for Lord Morpeth and Spring Rice, who all; and from that no consideration have just entered, not a little disconwill induce his characters to stir. certed by the miserable display of the Unity of plot and unity of interest this night, and who, in the first moments little drama also possesses in perfection. of consternation, give vent to the From first to last the characters think gloomiest views as to the ministerial and speak of one thing only, namely, prospects. There is a wonderful cohow best "to rob me the King's Ex- incidence, in some respects, and conchequer," with the smallest possible trast in others, between this despondequivalent of services rendered in re- ing effusion of the honourable gentleturn. We had at first thought that men and the triumphant opening duet the author had even discovered a new of Noodle and Doodle in Tom Thumb. unity, viz. the unity of sex,—the per- Indeed, we observe that Mr Dibdin, sonages of the piece being, nominally in several of the lyrics with which the at least, of the masculine gender; but piece is interspersed, has obviously the pretensions of Lord Holland, at derived considerable assistance from least, to the character of an old wo- some of our popular afterpieces ; such man, may be stated to us by a friend as “ Tom Thumb" and - The Forty to be so plausible, as to make it doubt. Thieves ;” and that, in particular, he ful to our minds whether Mr Dibdin has been not a little indebted to the can fairly take credit for the success- great lyric poet of his party, the ful achievement of the dramatic no- translator of Anacreon, whose manvelty at which he appears to have ner he has more than once copied with aimed. The unity of time, it will considerable success. In this instance, easily be imagined, has not occa- indeed, he has pretty plainly indicasioned the author much difficulty ; ted the source from which the idea of since the whole action takes place his opening has been taken, since, in the course of a single petit souper with all the candour of Joseph Surat Lord Melbourne's after the divi- face, he actually attaches the somesion.
what ludicrous adjuncts of Noodle and While admitting the author's merits Doodle to the names of the two Miin regard to the unities, we are bound nisterial performers.