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In Mars's livery, prancing in the press,
No more, my dear, no more these counsels try;
I do not envy Aristotle's wit,
Nor do aspire to Cæsar's bleeding fame;
Love still a boy, and oft a wanton, is,
Of all the kings that ever here did reign,
O happy Thames, that didst my STELLA bear,
Highway, since you my chief Parnassus be;
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—
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 illuminating action, pursuits, studies, feats of arms, the opinions of contemporaries and his judgment of them. An historical thread runs through them, which almost affixes a date to them; marks the when and where they were written.
I have dwelt the longer upon what I conceive the merit of these poems, because I have been hurt by the wantonness (I wish I could treat it by a gentler name) with which W. H. takes every occasion of insulting the memory of Sir Philip Sydney. But the decisions of the Author of Table Talk, &c. (most profound and subtle where they are, as for the most part, just) are more safely to be relied upon, on subjects and authors he has a partiality for, than on such as he has conceived an accidental prejudice against. Milton wrote sonnets, and was a king-hater; and it was congenial perhaps to sacrifice a courtier to a patriot. But I was unwilling to lose a fine idea from my mind. The noble images, passions, sentiments, and poetical delicacies of character, scattered all over the Arcadia (spite of some stiffness and encumberment), justify to me the character which his contemporaries have left us of the writer. I cannot think with the "Critic," that Sir Philip Sydney was that opprobrious thing which a foolish nobleman in his insolent hostility chose to term him. I call to mind the epitaph made on him, to guide me to juster thoughts of him; and I repose upon the beautiful lines in the "Friend's Passion for his Astrophel," printed with the Elegies of Spenser and others.
You knew-who knew not Astrophel? (That I should live to say I knew,
And have not in possession still!)-
Within these woods of Arcady
The Muses met him every day,
When he descended down the mount,
To hear him speak, and sweetly smile,
A sweet attractive kind of grace;
I trow that count'nance cannot lye,
Above all others this is he,
Did never love so sweetly breathe
He wrote of Love with high conceit,
Or let any one read the deeper sorrows (grief running into rage) in the Poem,-the last in the collection accompanying the above,which from internal testimony I believe to be Lord Brooke's-beginning with "Silence augmenteth grief," and then seriously ask himself, whether the subject of such absorbing and confounding regrets could have been that thing which Lord Oxford termed him.
NEWSPAPERS THIRTY-FIVE YEARS AGO.
DAN STUART once told us, that he did not remember that he ever deliberately walked into the Exhibition at Somerset House in his life. He might occasionally have escorted a party of ladies across the way that were going in; but he never went in of his own head. Yet the office of the "Morning Post" newspaper stood then just where it
A word or two of D. S. He ever appeared to us one of the finest-tempered of Editors
does now--we are carrying you back, Reader, some thirty years or more-with its giltglobe-topt front facing that emporium of our artists' grand Annual Exposure. We sometimes wish that we had observed the same abstinence with Daniel.
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 all over. We have worked for both these must be poignant. gentlemen.
It is soothing to contemplate the head of the Ganges; to trace the first little bubblings of a mighty river,
A fashion of flesh, or rather pink-coloured hose for the ladies, luckily coming up at the juncture when we were on our probation for the place of Chief Jester to S.'s Paper, established our reputation in that line. We were pronounced a capital hand." O the conceits which we varied upon red in all its prismatic differences! from the trite and obvious flower of Cytherea, to the flaming costume of the lady that has her sitting upon "many waters." Then there was the collateral topic of ankles. What an occasion to a truly chaste writer, like ourself, of touching that nice brink, and yet never tumbling over it, of a seemingly ever approximating something" not quite proper;" while,
With holy reverence to approach the rocks,
Fired with a perusal of the Abyssinian Pilgrim's exploratory ramblings after the cradle of the infant Nilus, we well remember on one fine summer holyday (a "whole day's leave" we called it at Christ's hospital) sallying forth at rise of sun, not very well provisioned either for such an undertaking, to trace the current of the New River-Middletonian stream!—to its scaturient source, as we had read, in meadows by fair Amwell. like a skilful posture-master, balancing beGallantly did we commence 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 Calestum 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 was as yet too arduous for our young IN HER ASCENT TO THE HEAVENS BY THE TRACT OF THE GLOWING INSTEP. This might be called the crowning conceit: and was esteemed tolerable writing in those days.
Not more refreshing to the thirsty curiosity of the traveller is the tracing of some mighty waters up to their shallow fontlet, than it is to a pleased and candid reader to go back to the inexperienced essays, the first callow flights in authorship, of some established 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 followed, but none methought so pregnant, so invitatory of shrewd conceits, and more than single meanings.
In those days every Morning Paper, as an essential retainer to its establishment, kept an author, who was bound to furnish daily a quantum of witty paragraphs. Sixpence a joke and it was thought pretty high toowas Dan Stuart's settled remuneration in these cases. The chat of the day, scandal,
But the fashion of jokes, with all other things, passes away; as did the transient mode which had so favoured us. The ankles
Somebody has said, that to swallow six cross-buns daily, consecutively for a fortnight, would surfeit the stoutest digestion. But to have to furnish as many jokes daily, and
that not for a fortnight, but for a long twelvemonth, as we were constrained to do, was a little harder exaction. "Man goeth forth to his work until the evening "-from a reasonable hour in the morning, we presume it was meant. Now, as our main occupation took us up from eight till five every day in the City; and as our evening hours, at that time of life, had generally to do with anything rather than business, it follows, that the only time we could spare for this manufactory of jokes-our supplementary livelihood, that supplied us in every want beyond mere bread and cheese-was exactly that part of the day which (as we have heard of No Man's Land) may be fitly denominated No Man's Time; that is, no time in which a man ought to be up, and awake, in. To speak more plainly, it is that time 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 call him up so preposterously, has to wait for his breakfast.
It was not every week that a fashion of pink stockings came up; but mostly, instead of it, some rugged untractable subject; some topic impossible to be contorted into the risible; some feature, upon which no smile could play; some flint, from which no process of ingenuity could procure a scintillation. There they lay; there your appointed tale of brick-making was set before you, which you must finish, with or without straw, as it happened. The craving Dragon—the Public
O those head-aches at dawn of day, when at five, or half past five in summer, and not much later in the dark seasons, we were compelled to rise, having been perhaps not above four hours in bed-(for we were no go-to-beds with the lamb, though we anticipated the lark ofttimes in her rising we like a parting cup at midnight, as all young men did before these effeminate times, and to have our friends about us-we were not constellated under Aquarius, that watery sign, and therefore incapable of Bacchus, cold, washy, bloodless-we were none of your Basilian water-sponges, nor had taken our degrees at Mount Ague-we were right toping Capulets, jolly companions, we and they)—but to have to get up, as we said before, curtailed of half our fair sleep, fasting, with only a dim vista of refreshing bohea, in the distance-to be necessitated to rouse ourselves at the detestable rap of an old hag of a domestic, who seemed to take a diabolical pleasure in her announcement that it was "time to rise;" and whose chappy knuckles we have often yearned to amputate, and string them up at our chamber door, to be a terror to all such unseasonable rest-breakers in future
"Facil" and sweet, as Virgil sings, had been the " descending" of the over-night, balmy the first sinking of the heavy head
upon the pillow; but to get up, as he goes on to say,
-revocare gradus, superasque evadere ad auras—
and to get up moreover to make jokes with malice prepended-there was the "labour," there the "work."
No Egyptian taskmaster ever devised a slavery like to that, our slavery. No fractious operants ever turned out for half the tyranny which this necessity exercised upon us. Half a dozen jests in a day, (bating Sundays too,) why, it seems nothing! We make twice the number every day in our lives as a matter of course, and claim no Sabbatical exemptions. But then they come into our head. But when the head has to go out to them-when the mountain must go to Mahomet
like him in Bel's temple-must be fed; it expected its daily rations; and Daniel, and ourselves, to do us justice, did the best we could on this side bursting him.
While we were wringing out coy sprightlinesses for the Post, and writhing under the toil of what is called " easy writing," Bob Allen, our quondam schoolfellow, was tapping his impracticable brains in a like service for the "Oracle." Not that Robert troubled himself much about wit. If his paragraphs had a sprightly air about them, it was sufficient. He carried this nonchalance so far at last, that a matter of intelligence, and that no very important one, was not seldom palmed upon his employers for a good jest; for example sake-" Walking yesterday morning casually down Snow Hill, who should we meet but Mr. Deputy Humphreys! we rejoice to add, that the worthy Deputy appeared to enjoy a good state of health. We do not ever 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
the curt "Astræan allusion"—would be thought pedantic and out of date, in these days.
gesture, was a constant butt for mirth to the small paragraph-mongers of the day; and our friend thought that he might have his fling 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 premises. We traced our friend's pen afterwards in the "True Briton," the "Star," the "Traveller,”—from all which he was successively dismissed, the Proprietors having no further occasion for his services." Nothing was easier than to detect him. When wit failed, or topics ran low, there constantly appeared the following-"It is not generally known that the three Blue Balls at the Pawnbrokers' shops are the ancient arms of Lombardy. The Lombards were the first money-brokers in Europe." Bob has done more to set the public right on this important point of blazonry, than the whole College of Heralds.
F., without a guinea in his pocket, and having left not many in the pockets of his friends whom he might command, had purchased (on tick doubtless) the whole and sole Editorship, Proprietorship, with all the rights and titles (such as they were worth) of the Albion from one Lovell; of whom we know nothing, save that he had stood in the pillory for a libel on the Prince of Wales. With this hopeless concern-for it had been sinking ever since its commencement, and could now reckon upon not more than a hundred subscribers-F. resolutely determined upon pulling down the Government in the first instance, and making both our fortunes by way of corollary. For seven weeks and more did this infatuated democrat go about borrowing seven-shilling pieces,
The appointment of a regular wit has long ceased to be a part of the economy of a 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 be difficult to discover in the biographer of Mrs. Siddons, any traces of that vivacity and fancy which charmed the whole town at the
Recollections of feelings-which were all that now remained from our first boyish heats kindled by the French Revolution, when, if we were misled, we erred in the