« PreviousContinue »
In Mars's livery, prancing in the press,
XI. O happy Thames, that didst my STELLA bear, I saw thyself, with many a smiling line Upon thy cheerful face, Joy's livery wear, While those fair planets on thy streams did shine; The boat for joy could not to dance for bear, While wanton winds, with beauty so divine Ravish'd, stay'd not, till in her golden hair They did themselves (O sweetest prison) twine. And fain those Æol's youth there would their stay Have made; but, forced by nature still to fly, First did with puffing kiss those locks display. She, so dishevell'd, blush'd; from window I With sight thereof cried out, O fair disgrace, Let honour's self to thee grant highest place!
VII. No more, my dear, no more these counsels try; O give my passions leave to run their race; Let Fortune lay on me her worst disgrace; Let folk o'ercharged with brain against me cry; Let clouds bedim my face, break in mine eye ; Let me no steps, but of lost labour, trace; Let all the earth with scorn recount my caseBut do not will me from my love to fly. I do not envy Aristotle's wit, Nor do aspire to Cæsar's bleeding fame; Nor aught do care, though some above me sit; Nor hope, 'nor wish, another course to frame, But that which once may win thy cruel heart : Thou art my wit, and thou my virtue art.
Highway, since you my chief Parnassus be;
VIII, LOVE still a boy, and oft a wanton, is, School'd only by his mother's tender eye ; What wonder then, if he his lesson miss, When for so soft a rod dear play he try? And yet my STAR, because a sugar'd kiss In sport I suck'd, while she asleep did lie, Doth lour, nay chide, nay threat, for only this. Sweet, it was saucy Love, not humble I. But no 'scuse serves ; she makes her wrath appear. In beauty's throne-see now who dares come near Those scarlet judges, threat'ning bloody pain? O heav'nly Fool, thy most kiss-worthy face Anger invests with such a lovely grace, That anger's self I needs must kiss again.
Of the foregoing, the first, the second, and the last sonnet, are my favourites. But the general beauty of them all is, that they are so perfectly characteristical. The spirit of " learning and of chivalry,"—of which union, Spenser has entitled Sydney to have been the “president,”-shines through them. I confess I can see nothing of the "jejune " or “frigid" in them ; much less of the “stiff” and cumbrous ”—which I have sometimes heard objected to the Arcadia. The verse runs off swiftly and gallantly. It might have been tuned to the trumpet; or tempered (as himself expresses it) to “trampling horses' feet.” They abound in felicitous phrases
IX. I never drank of Aganippe well, Nor ever did in shade of Tempe sit, And Muses scorn with vulgar brains to dwell ; Poor lay-man I, for sacred rites unfit. Some do I hear of Poet's fury tell, But (God wot) wot not what they mean by it ; And this I swear by blackest brook of hell, I am no pick-purse of another's wit. How falls it then, that with so smooth an ease My thoughts I speak, and what I speak doth flow In verse, and that my verse best wits doth please? Guess me the cause-what is it thus - fye, no. Or so ?-much less. How then ? sure thus it is, My lips are sweet, inspired with STELLA's kiss.
O heav'nly Fool, thy most kiss-worthy face
8th Sonnet. Sweet pillows, sweetest bed ; A chamber deaf to noise, and blind to light; A rosy garland, and a weary head.
That sweet enemy,-France
Of all the kings that ever here did reign,
But they are not rich in words only in vague and unlocalised feelings—the failing too much of some poetry of the present day —they are full, material, and circumstantiated. Time and place appropriates every one of them. It is not a fever of passion wasting itself upon a thin diet of dainty
words, but a transcendent passion pervading And have not in possession still!)-
Things known permit me to renew-and illuminating action, pursuits, studies,
of him you know his merit such, feats of arms, the opinions of contemporaries I cannot say-you hear— too much, and his judgment of them. An historical
Within these woods of Arcady thread runs through them, which almost
He chief delight and pleasure took ; affixes a date to them; marks the when and And on the mountain Partheny, where they were written.
Upon the crystal liquid brook,
The Muses met him every day, I have dwelt the longer upon what I con That taught him sing, to write, and say. ceive the merit of these poems, because I
When he descended down the mount, have been hurt by the wantonness (I wish I
His personage seemed most divine : could treat it by a gentler name) with which
A thousand graces one might count W. H. takes every occasion of insulting the
Upon his lovely cheerful eyne.
To hear him speak, and sweetly smile, memory of Sir Philip Sydney. But the de
You were in Paradise the while. cisions of the Author of Table Talk, &c. (most profound and subtle where they are,
A sweet attractive kind of grace ;
A full assurance given by looks ; as for the most part, just) are more safely to
Oontinual comfort in a face, be relied upon, on subjects and authors he The lineaments of Gospel bookshas a partiality for, than on such as he has
I trow that count'nance cannot lye,
Whose thoughts are legible in the eye. conceived an accidental prejudice against. Milton wrote sonnets, and was a king-hater;
Above all others this is hė, and it was congenial perhaps to sacrifice a Which erst approved in his song, courtier to a patriot. But I was unwilling
That love and honour might agree,
And that pure love will do no wrong. to lose a fine idea from my mind. The noble
Sweet saints, it is no sin or blame images, passions, sentiments, and poetical To love a man of virtuous name. delicacies of character, scattered all over the
Did never love so sweetly breathe Arcadia (spite of some stiffness and encum
In any mortal breast before : berment), justify to me the character which Did never Muse inspire beneath
A Poet's brain with finer store, his contemporaries have left us of the writer.
He wrote of Love with high conceit, I cannot think with the “Critic,” that Sir And Beauty rear'd above her height. Philip Sydney was that opprobrious thing which a foolish nobleman in his insolent Or let any one read the deeper sorrows (grief hostility chose to term him. I call to mind running into rage) in the Poem,—the last in the epitaph made on him, to guide me to the collection accompanying the above,juster thoughts of him ; and I repose upon which from internal testimony I believe to the beautiful lines in the “Friend's Passion be Lord Brooke's—beginning with "Silence for his Astrophel," printed with the Elegies augmenteth grief," and then seriously ask of Spenser and others,
himself, whether the subject of such absorb
ing and confounding regrets could have been You knew-who knew not Astrophel? (That I should live to say I knew,
that thing which Lord Oxford termed him.
NEWSPAPERS THIRTY-FIVE YEARS AGO.
Dan STUART once told us, that he did not , does now--we are carrying you back, Reader, remember that he ever deliberately walked some thirty years or more with its giltinto the Exhibition at Somerset House in his globe-topt front facing that emporium of our life. He might occasionally have escorted a artists' grand Annual Exposure.
We someparty of ladies across the way that were times wish that we had observed the same going in ; but he never went in of his abstinence with Daniel. own head. Yet the office of the “Morning A word or two of D. S. He ever appeared Post” newspaper stood then just where it to us one of the finest-tempered of Editors
Perry, of the Morning Chronicle, was equally but, above all, dress, furnished the material. pleasant, with a dash, no slight one either, of The length of no paragraph was to exceed the courtier. S. was frank, plain, and English seven lines. Shorter they might be, but they
We have worked for both these must be poignant. gentlemen.
A fashion of flesh, or rather pink-coloured It is soothing to contemplate the head of hose for the ladies, luckily coming up at the the Ganges ; to trace the first little bubblings juncture when we were on our probation for of a mighty river,
the place of Chief Jester to S.'s Paper, esta
blished our reputation in that line. We With holy reverence to approach the rocks, Whence glide the streams renowned in ancient song,
were pronounced a “capital hand.” O the
conceits which we varied upon red in all its Fired with a perusal of the Abyssinian prismatic differences ! from the trite and Pilgrim's exploratory ramblings after the obvious flower of Cytherea, to the flaming cradle of the infant Nilus, we well remember costume of the lady that has her sitting on one fine summer holyday (a“ whole day's upon “many waters." Then there was the leave we called it at Christ's hospital) sal- collateral topic of ankles. What an occasion lying forth at rise of sun, not very well pro- to a truly chaste writer, like ourself, of visioned either for such an undertaking, to touching that nice brink, and yet never trace the current of the New River-Middle- tumbling over it, of a seemingly ever approxitonian stream !—to its scaturient source, as we mating something“ not quite proper ;” while
, had read, in meadows by fair Amwell. like a skilful posture-master, balancing beGallantly did we
our solitary twixt decorums and their opposites, he keeps quest-for it was essential to the dignity of the line, from which a hair's-breadth deviaa DISCOVERY, that no eye of schoolboy, save tion is destruction ; hovering in the confines our own, should beam on the detection. By of light and darkness, or where “ both seem flowery spots, and verdant lanes skirting either ;” a hazy uncertain delicacy ; AutoHornsey, Hope trained us on in many a lycus-like in the Play, still putting off his baffling turn; endless, hopeless meanders, as expectant auditory with “ Whoop, do me no it seemed ; or as if the jealous waters had harm, good man !" But, above all, that dodged us, reluctant to have the humble spot conceit arrided us most at that time, of their nativity revealed; till spent, and and still tickles our midriff to remember, nigh famished, before set of the same sun, we where, allusively to the flight of. Astræa sate down somewhere by Bowes Farm near ultima Cælestûm terras reliquit, we proTottenham, with a tithe of our proposed nounced—in reference to the stockings still labours only yet accomplished ; sorely con--that MODESTY, TAKING HER FINAL LEAVE vinced in spirit, that that Brucian enterprise OF MORTALS, HER LAST BLUSH WAS VISIBLE
as yet too arduous for our young IN HER ASCENT TO THE HEAVENS BY THE shoulders.
INSTEP. This Not more refreshing to the thirsty curio- might be called the crowning conceit: and sity of the traveller is the tracing of some was esteemed tolerable writing in those mighty waters up to their shallow fontlet, days. than it is to a pleased and candid reader to But the fashion of jokes, with all other go back to the inexperienced essays, the first things, passes away; as did the transient callow flights in authorship, of some esta- mode which had so favoured us. The ankles blished name in literature; from the Gnat of our fair friends in a few weeks began to which preluded to the Æneid, to the Duck reassume their whiteness, and left us scarce which Samuel Johnson trod on.
a leg to stand upon. Other female whims In those days every Morning Paper, as an followed, but none methought so pregnant, essential retainer to its establishment, kept so invitatory of shrewd conceits, and more an author, who was bound to furnish daily a than single meanings. quantum of witty paragraphs. Sixpence a Somebody has said, that to swallow six joke—and it was thought pretty high too-cross-buns daily, consecutively for a fortnight, was Dan Stuart's settled remuneration in would surfeit the stoutest digestion. But to these cases. The chat of the day, scandal, have to furnish as many jokes daily, and
“ Man goeth
that not for a fortnight, but for a long upon the pillow; but to get up, as he goes twelvemonth, as we were constrained to do, on to say, was a little harder exaction.
—revocare gradus, superasque evadere ad aurasforth to his work until the evening”—from a reasonable hour in the morning, we pre- and to get up moreover to make jokes with sume it was meant. Now, as our main malice prepended—there was the “labour," occupation took us up from eight till five there the“ work." every day in the City; and as our evening No Egyptian taskmaster ever devised a hours, at that time of life, had generally to slavery like to that, our slavery. No fractious do with anything rather than business, it operants ever turned out for half the tyranny follows, that the only time we could spare which this necessity exercised upon us. for this manufactory of jokes-our supple- Half a dozen jests in a day, (bating Sundays mentary livelihood, that supplied us in every too,) why, it seems nothing ! We make want beyond mere bread and cheese-was twice the number every day in our lives as exactly that part of the day which (as we a matter of course, and claim no Sabbatical have heard of No Man's Land) may be fitly exemptions. But then they come into our denominated No Man's Time; that is, no head. But when the head has to go out to time in which a man ought to be up, and them— when the mountain must go to awake, in. To speak more plainly, it is that Mahomettime of an hour, or an hour and a half's Reader, try it for once, only for one short duration, in which a man, whose occasions twelvemonth. call him up so preposterously, has to wait for It was not every week that a fashion of his breakfast.
pink stockings came up; but mostly, instead O those head-aches at dawn of day, when of it, some rugged untractable subject; some at five, or half past five in summer, and topic impossible to be contorted into the not much later in the dark seasons, we were risible; some feature, upon which no smile compelled to rise, having been perhaps not could play; some flint, from which no process above four hours in bed—(for we were no of ingenuity could procure a scintillation. go-to-beds with the lamb, though we There they lay; there your appointed tale anticipated the lark ofttimes in her rising- of brick-making was set before you, which we like a parting cup at midnight, as all you must finish, with or without straw, as young men did before these effeminate times, it happened. The craving Dragon—the Public and to have our friends about us—we were —like him in Bel's temple--must be fed ; it not constellated under Aquarius, that watery expected its daily rations; and Daniel, and sign, and therefore incapable of Bacchus, ourselves, to do us justice, did the best we cold, washy, bloodless — we were none of could on this side bursting him. your Basilian water-sponges, nor had taken While we were wringing out coy sprightour degrees at Mount Ague-We were right linesses for the Post, and writhing under the toping Capulets, jolly companions, we and toil of what is called “easy writing,” Bob they)—but to have to get up, as we said Allen, our quondam schoolfellow, was tapping before, curtailed of half our fair sleep, fasting, his impracticable brains in a like service for with only a dim vista of refreshing bohea, the “Oracle.” Not that Robert troubled in the distance—to be necessitated to rouse himself much about wit. If his paragraphs ourselves at the detestable rap of an old hag had a sprightly air about them, it was of a domestic, who seemed to take a diabolical sufficient. He carried this nonchalance so pleasure in her announcement that it was far at last, that a matter of intelligence, and a time to rise;" and whose chappy knuckles that no very important one, was not seldom we have often yearned to amputate, and palmed upon his employers for a good jest; string them up at our chamber door, to be a for example sake—“Walking yesterday mornterror to all such unseasonable rest-breakers ing casually down Snow Hill, who should we in future
meet but Mr. Deputy Humphreys! we rejoice “ Facil” and sweet, as Virgil sings, had to add, that the worthy Deputy appeared to been the descending" of the over-night, enjoy a good state of health. We do not ever balmy the first sinking of the heavy head remember to have seen him look better.” This
gentleman so surprisingly met upon Snow' commencement of the present century. Even Hill, from some peculiarities in gait or the prelusive delicacies of the present writer gesture, was a constant butt for mirth to the —the curt "Astræan allusion"—would be small paragraph-mongers of the day; and thought pedantic and out of date, in these our friend thought that he might have his days. Aing at him with the rest. We met A. in From the office of the Morning Post (for Holborn shortly after this extraordinary we may as well exhaust our Newspaper rencounter, which he told with tears of Reminiscences at once) by change of property satisfaction in his eyes, and chuckling at the in the paper, we were transferred, mortifying anticipated effects of its announcement next exchange ! to the office of the Albion day in the paper. We did not quite com- Newspaper, late Rackstrow's Museum, in prehend where the wit of it lay at the time; Fleet-street. What a transition-from a nor was it easy to be detected, when the handsome apartment, from rose-wood desks, thing came out advantaged by type and and silver inkstands, to an office—no office, letter-press. He had better have met any- but a den rather, but just redeemed from thing that morning than a Common Council the occupation of dead monsters, of which it Man. His services were shortly after seemed redolent—from the centre of loyalty dispensed with, on the plea that his para- and fashion, to a focus of vulgarity and graphs of late had been deficient in point. sedition! Here in murky closet, inadequate The one in question, it must be owned, had from its square contents to the receipt of an air, in the opening especially, proper to the two bodies of Editor, and humble awaken curiosity; and the sentiment, or paragraph-maker, together at one time, sat moral, wears the aspect of humanity and in the discharge of his new editorial functions good neighbourly feeling. But somehow the (the “ Bigod” of Elia) the redoubted John conclusion was not judged altogether to Fenwick. answer to the magnificent promise of the F., without a guinea in his pocket, and premises. We traced our friend's pen after- having left not many in the pockets of his wards in the “True Briton,” the “Star," the friends whom he might command, had “ Traveller,”—from all which he was suc- purchased (on tick doubtless) the whole and cessively dismissed, the Proprietors having sole Editorship, Proprietorship, with all the
no further occasion for his services. rights and titles (such as they were worth) Nothing was easier than to detect him. of the Albion from one Lovell ; of whom we When wit failed, or topics ran low, there know nothing, save that he had stood in the constantly appeared the following—“It is pillory for a libel on the Prince of Wales. not generally known that the three Blue Ball: With this hopeless concern-for it had been at the Pawnbrokers' shops are the ancient arms sinking ever since its commencement, and of Lombardy. The Lombards were the first could now reckon upon not more than a money-brokers in Europe." Bob has done hundred subscribers-F. resolutely determore to set the public right on this important mined upon pulling down the Government point of blazonry, than the whole College of in the first instance, and making both our Heralds.
fortunes by way of corollary. For seven The appointment of a regular wit has weeks and more did this infatuated democrat long ceased to be a part of the economy of a go about borrowing seven-shilling pieces, Morning Paper. Editors find their own and lesser coin, to meet the daily demands jokes, or do as well without them. Parson of the Stamp office, which allowed no credit Este, and Topham, brought up the set to publications of that side in politics. An custom of “witty paragraphs" first in the outcast from politer bread, we attached our * World.” Boaden was a reigning para- small talents to the forlorn fortunes of our graphist in his day, and succeeded poor friend. Our occupation now was to write Allen in the “Oracle.” But, as we said, the treason. fashion of jokes passes away; and it would Recollections of feelings—which were all be difficult to discover in the biographer of that now remained from our first boyish Mrs. Siddons, any traces of that vivacity and heats kindled by the French Revolution, fancy which charmed the whole town at the when, if we were misled, we erred in the