페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

the gross ignorance of our would-be fine gentleman, are generally as ill spelled as applied. Thus, in the Star Chamber, Mr. D‘Israeli, jun., calls " Arlincourt a miserable imbecille !In another place, he talks of “ Le Marquis malgreé lui.” Both evince the meanest malignity in speaking of that accomplished scholar and gentleman, Mr. Stewart Rose, and revile him and his writings in pretty nearly similar terms. We could, if we chose, inform our readers why the ex-editor of the Representative dislikes Mr. Rose. Both sneer at Mr. Milman : the whole of the third number of the Star Chamber being devotod to spiteful abuse of him, and the most paltry verbal criticisms on his Anna Boleyn. That the editor of the Star Chamber should puff Vivian Grey, before and after its publication, is a coincidence by no means remarkable. In the first number of the work, Mr. DʻIsraeli informs us that “ that energetic publisher, Mr. Colburn, is about to introduce to our notice Vivian Grey,” that, “it will be extremely satirical, with portraits of living characters sufficient to constitute a national Gallery; and that the hero is to become acquainted with every literary and fashionable character in existence." Immediately after its appearance, the same modest young gentleman reviews it; and having designated it “ as a very extraordinary production,” declares “ that it must infallibly be very universally read!In a subsequent number, after calling himself, “ assuredly, one of the most lively, agreeable, and clever fellows, he has for a long time met with,” Mr. D'Israeli, jun., publishes what he calls “a Key to Vivian Grey,” which he introduces with a barefaced falsehood. He nick-names Mr. Canning, Mr. Charlatan Gas; and the editor of the Star Chamber calls the foreign secretary a charlatan. All these are trifling coincidences ; but if we had not known, from very excellent authority, that Mr. D'Israeli, the author of Vivian Grey, and the editor of the Star Chamber, were identical, we should have discovered the ass in his satirical disguise, by the extraordinary length of his ears, and the peculiarity of his bray. A few specimens of his literary taste and talent, and we have done; for with all his puffs, placards, and trickery,* the “ New Unknown,” as he calls himself, in his paragraphic advertisements, is by far too small an animal for regular dissection.

Mr. D‘Israeli junior's opinions of various living writers.Modern WRITERS IN THE AGGREGATE. The writers of the present day, both in prose and verse, are like eunuchs in extacies !

Mr. Milman is endowed with every requisite to shine among senile sentimentalists. He is for ever laboring after the magnificent, yet effecting only harshness and distortion. He is remarkable for uniform insanity of thought. His last poem “is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.'

L. E.L., authoress of the Improvisatrice, is a suburban Sappho, the peculiar poetess of sentimental ladies' maids.

Mr. Stewart Rose. Mr. D‘Israeli talks of the ignorant insolence,' the flippant ignorance,' the senile feebleness,' and 'crude frivolity,' of this gentleman.

* Among other equally ingenions devices for introducing the “ Star Chamber" to the fashionable world, the editor employed persons to distribute poft-placards respecting it, at the “grand masquerade,” given some time ago at the Argyll Rooms

Mr. M‘Culloch, the dullest charlatan that ever palmed fatuity on a slumbering public.

Mr. Alderman WAITHMAN is mentioned as an associate of glittering swindlers.'
ARCHDEACON WRANGHAM. A dunce of the very highest character.
Lord Gower. A defacer of Goethe, in English verse.
Shiel. The dullest dolt in print.

The Journalists of the METROPOLIS. Senseless puppets; who talk and act mechanically.

LORD Blessington. A daw in borrowed feathers, who claims the authorship of a book he did not write.

The Editors of the QUARTERLY THEOLOGICAL Review, Spawners of periodical imbecility.

In a wretched display of impotent envy and spleen, entitled a Satire upon Living Authors, full of the grossest plagiarisms from Matthias's Pursuits of Literature, Gifford's Baviad and Mæviad, and Lord Byron's English Bards, Mr. DʻIsraeli enumerates the various dunces of the day. Of Mrs. Hemans, he says,

'Tis well, on lighter, loftier wings she flies,
Since dreary Dartmoor won the royal prize ;
And now no more she weaves with woofs and warps,

Funereal dirges o'er a suckling's corpse.' He explains the meaning of his last line, (he should have appended notes to every word), by referring to Mrs. Hemans's beautiful and touching Dirge on a Child; a poem of which the Quarterly Reviewers remarked, that no living writer need be ashamed. To inscribe lines to the memory of a dead child, is, in Mr. D Israeli junior's phraseology, to

" Weave with woofs and warps

Funereal dirges o'er a suckling's corpse.”
Mr. Alaric Watts is of course a disciple of the Hemans' school,
because he has apostrophized in verse a dead child (see his Death of the
Firstborn). He is thus characterized in Mr. D'I.'s picquant Satire:

Idolator of grass-plots, lawns, and trees,
Slave of a sunbeam, panting for a breeze ;
Captive alike of flowerets or the fair,

A bed of cowslips, or a lock of hair." This is, no doubt, very clever and sarcastic; and would, we dare say, have galled Mr. Watts dreadfully, if it had not have been obvious that this mighty dealer of damnation had never seen the poetry he pretended to criticise ; for if he had, he would have known that there is scarcely a dozen lines descriptive of natural scenery in any of Mr. Watts's

poems. Of grass-plots, lawns, trees, and sunbeams, there is, consequently, no idolatry; and, with the exception of the last, which it is difficult to avoid introducing in poetry, no mention whatever. How a sunbeam panting for a breeze, can afford to keep an establishment of “ slaves," we leave to wiser heads than our own to decide ; and although a poet may very easily become a' captive to the fair, it is difficult to understand how he can be enchained by a floweret," a “ bed of cowslips,” or a “ lock of hair.”

Of the poetry of L. E. L., which, if it has any peculiarity, is remarkable for the warmth and brilliancy of its ideas, and the burning and forceful beauty of the diction in which they are conveyed, he says :

See how the cold idea, ripe and rife,
Peeps from its mist, and struggles into life;
Howe'er its end protracted, still seen through,
Fine as a cobweb, and as flimsy too ;
Betrays its starveling limbs, ali skin and bone,

And like an old man's ague shivers on." Can poor L. E. L. ever survive such caustic and perspicuous satire ? Perused, as it has been, by eighty-four persons ! Impossible! But the young gentleman alliterates withal, in the following, and other similar pieces of fustian :

See how the pensioned place-man's poor paltroon,

Swears, sweats, and swaggers, like a Dutch dragoon.” If he had devoted as much attention to orthography, as he appears to have given to the art of alliteration, he would not have shewn his ignorance of the latter science, so often as he has. But as he is, to borrow his own phraseology, “ anonimous,” and probably writes with a bad pen, he may stand in some degree excused. But something too much of this flippant jackanapes ; we have exposed his pretensions as a satirist, we hope, most satisfactorily. We can assure our readers, that the characteristics of such other writers as he takes occasion to notice, are given with similar tact and discrimination. Another stripe or two, and we will let the blockhead out of our clutches.

If any thing can be more ludicrous than the contortions of this wouldbe Aristarchus, it is the happy state of delusion into which he appears to have wrought himself, respecting his own talents and importance; and his attempts to persuade his readers that he keeps the best of “ good society," eats olives from Marseilles, sips his La Fitte, and rents his box at the Opera. During Mr. DʻIsraeli's short empire over the devils of the Representative office, he was eternally chaunting to the same tune; and it was his anxiety to inform the readers of that paper that he kept company with the late Emperor Alexander, that seduced him into that absurd and flagrant falsehood which brought down such unqualified ridicule and contempt on his master's property. In the seventh number of his Star Chamber, when his catchpenny had received its death-blow, and was within a week of being discontinued, because he could not (even by the paltry manæuvres we have particularized) secure readers enough to pay the trifle it cost printing, &c., he talks with much gravity of the “ clamour which had been raised against the work,” protests that it “ still lives and flourishes, is admired and feared,” and that he has set it on foot because no “ city should be without its satirist ;". adding, that if he should affect the METROPOLIS, he hopes one day to influence the EMPIRE!!! Elsewhere he protests that there is “ nothing that takes place in the literary world which is a secret from him !” Like old Solomon, in “The Stranger,” he seems to be in correspondence with persons in all quarters of the globe, not excepting Constantinople. In addition to his other influential acts, he talks of having written for the Quarterly (he never, of course, wrote a line there in his life, although he knows how to smile

and look significant when an article from an unknown pen happens to be mentioned in his presence), and of having set “ Mr. Milman's poetical character finally at rest in the Star Chamber.” Yet with powers of satire sufficient, according to his own account, to “ influence the empire ;"—powers of criticism unrivalled by those of any quarterly reviewer; and perfect omniscience, as it regards all that is passing in the literary world; the author of Vivian Grey, and ex-editor of the Representative, could not contrive to circulate enough of a sixpenny periodical to pay half the trivial cost incident upon its publication ; but after having swaggered, as no periodical editor ever swaggered before, “ of being universally read, admired, and feared”—of having printed repeated editions of his lucubrations—of being a member of that select club, the Atheneum ; and of having been able, on indisputable authority, to furnish a key to Vivian Grey, he is compelled to sneak out of his periodical existence at the end of nine weeks, with a loss to himself, or those who supplied him with the money, of upwards of a hundred pounds; and, worse than all, without being able to afford himself the pleasure of satirizing a fourth of the number of “ living writers” whom he had requested to “ prepare themselves” for annihilation.

THE ADVENTURES OF A FRENCH SERGEANT.*

one

The Germans are deservedly celebrated for the class of writing to which this volume appears to belong; of all liars, they are the most circumstantial; and they will produce you a book full of proper names, dates, and distortions of facts that have really occurred, the authenticity of which, unless you can detect its romance from your own personal knowledge of the incidents it purports to detail, you will

never,

for moment, dream of questioning. This is precisely the case with the memoirs of Mr. Colburn's French Sergeant; which if not translated from some ingenious German hoax, has probably been manufactured in a three pair of stairs room in the Strand. Monsieur Guillemard, the auto-biographer, professes to have worn the soldier-knot of the French army for twenty years, and although he admits, (modest fellow), that there are others well fitted to shed a lustre” on the exploits of his countrymen, determines to write the history of his “ military career" himself, and to dedicate it to his brothers in arms. From his narrative we learn that he was born at Sixfour, near Toulon ;—at the age of nineteen he was drawn for a soldier, and having marched to Perpignan and thence to Port-Vendres, was sent on board a transport, with the rest of the troops, under the pretence of joining an army that was then collecting on the coast of Brittany. On the 3d of ctober, 1805, our hero came to anchor with his fellow-conscripts in the bay of Cadiz, where the French and Spanish squadron, under admiral Villeneuve, were then assembled. On the same day he was ser along with his companions, on board the “ Redoubtable," a seventy-four gun ship, commanded by

* The Adventures of a French Sergeant; during his Campaigns in Italy, Spain, Germany, Russia, &c., from 1805 to 1823. pp. 346. Colburn.

Captain Lucas. It was intended they should sail for the Channel, to protect the landing of the troops in England ; but an English squadron, known to be commanded by Nelson, blockaded Cadiz, and prevented their leaving the bay; and it was generally understood, that Admiral Villeneuve had received

express orders to come to action immediately. On the 21st of October, the combined fleet left Cadiz to offer battle to the English. It consisted of thirty vessels, of which ten were Spanish, and occupied the left flank. The line was more than a league in length, and towards twelve o'clock had come within cannon shot of the English squadron. The details of this terrible battle have been furnished by more correct pens than Sergeant Guillemard's, but as he affects to have taken a very prominent part in the encounter, in fact, to have been the marine who shot the gallant Nelson, from the main top of the Redoubtable, his own account of his exploits may have some interest for our readers ; we shall therefore quote a portion of it for their edification ; merely premising, that all the top-men of the Redoubtable having been killed, Guillemard, and five others, were ordered aloft to supply their place.

When I reached the top, my first movement was to take a view of the prospect presented by the hostile fleets : for more than a league, extended a thick cloud of smoke, above which were discernible a forest of masts and rigging, and the flags, the pendants, and the fire of the three nations. Thousands of flashes, more or less near, continually penetrated this cloud ; and a rolling noise, pretty similar to the sound of continued thunder, but much stronger, arose from its bosom. The sea was calm; the wind light, and not very favourable for the execution of maneuvres.

When the English top-men, who were only a few yards distant from us, saw us appear, they directed a sharp fire upon us ; which we returned. A soldier of my company, and a sailor were killed ; two others, who were wounded, were able to go below by the shrouds. Our opponents were, it seems, still worse handled than we, for I soon saw the nglish tops deserted, and none sent to supply the places of those who must have been killed or wounded by our balls. I then looked to the English vessel and our own. The smoke enveloped them ; was dissipated for a moment, and returned thicker at each broadside. The two decks were covered with dead bodies, which they had not time to throw overboard. I perceived Captain Lucas motionless at his post, and several wounded officers still giving orders. On the poop of the English vessel, was an officer covered with orders, and with only one arm. From what I had heard of Nelson, I had no doubt it was he. He was surrounded by several officers, to whom he seemed to be giving orders. At the moment I first perceived him, several of his sailors were wounded beside him, by the fire of the Redoutable. As I had received no orders to go down, and saw myself forgotten in the tops, I thought it my duty to fire on the poop of the English vessel, which I saw quite exposed, and close to me. I could even have taken aim at the men I saw; but I fired at hazard among the groups I saw of sailors and officers. All at once I saw great confusion on board the Victory. The men crowded round the officer I had taken for Nelson. He had just fallen, and was taken below, covered with a cloak. The agitation shewn at this time, left me no doubt that I had judged rightly, and that it really was the English Admiral. An instant afterwards the Victory ceased from firing ; the deck was abandoned by all who occupied it; and I presumed the consternation produced by the Admiral's fall was the cause of this sudden change. I hurried below to inform the Captain of what I had seen of the enemy's situation. He believed me the more readily, as the slackening of the fire indicated that an event of the highest importance occupied the attention of the English ship's crew, and prevented them from continuing the action. He gave immediate orders for boarding, and every thing was prepared for it in a moment. It is even said, that young Fontaine, a midshipman, belonging to the Redoutable, passed by the ports into the lower decks of the English vessel, found it abandoned, and returned to notify that the ship had surrendered. As Fontaine was killed a few moments afterwards, these particulars were obtained from a sailor, who said he had witnessed the transaction.

« 이전계속 »