페이지 이미지

marks of his memorable mind,- carriage : there he abides! He may watching the shifting expressions of be chafing his wayward melancholy his speaking face, and listening to into anger in a back-room in Albethe prodigious accounts of the flying marle Street, or inditing faith less editions of his first book, given by farewells in his chambers in Piccadilly Messrs Cadell and Davies, and pre- with his fatal and black pen; or he may served by the inspired author with be distilling the poison plants of satire laudable care and matchless poetical to drug the life-draught of a domesawe. Copyright is with him a real tic;-but he must arise at my bidestate: it is not, as with others, a ding, and walk by me, or sit to me! mere personal property, liable to the He must flee from the gondolas and changes and the chances of the times; the guitars of Venice, --from the flow-it is "All that piece or parcel of ery masks of Paris,-if I but say to arable land” that never passes away, my book, “ Call him, let me see him!” -that is mowed season after season, The spell on Manfred was not strongand is always green,-that yields after- er: the spirit of Lara was not more crop on after-crop! He may leave it charmed. to his children (if he has any) or to To resume, I can turn to the his friends, and they will be sure of letter 0, and under it I find (the an estate on which they can live. The letter being a fit forerunner of the writer of this would jump at such a person) the name of “ Opie, Mrs." devise, and he would preserve the i behold her at once, the pride of the publishers' returns with scrupulous Blues,--the gentle sharer of the blue industry and sacred zeal, in justice to throne with my Lady Morgan,--the the wishes of the inspired deviser. Fatima of Mr Murray's Blue ChamBut you will think, Mr Editor, I am ber! That Abomclique of books ! Her bestriding a dream already, and in decision upon those luckless authors sooth I fear I have taken a light canter who do not tread the party-coloured upon a waking vision. “My uncle carpets of “ the higher circles," is faToby dismounted immediately.” tal, and unchangeable. It is not,

You will see and acknowledge that What is the book ? it is, “Who is the the virtues of my common-place-book author ?" If the latter be Mr Hazlitt, are great ; like the wonderful volume there is but one line of vituperation told of in that golden tale of the fai- to be taken; if Mr Luttrell, (the ries, " The Golden Bough.” I can silken writer of “. Advice to Julia,") open its leaves, and see living figures be the person, he is a charming poet, dioving therein ; turn to one part of and his book is pleasant and fanciful the book and see feasting, and splen- indeed. I like this lady's happy, sendour, and merriment; turn to ano- timental, one-sided, little criticism ther and hear intelligent conversation, prodigiously, and I turn to her leafand see the brightest persons in the home in my book, occasionally to hear world. In truth, Prince Tortocoli's her fashionable chimes playing the Folume could hardly have surprised old established tune. Lady Morgan him, so much as mine delights me. I have seen, and I have therefore taI look into it on high days with ear- ken a lodging for her in a room at the nestness and rapture, -I open it on top of an obscure page. She has her holidays with superstitious zeal, as a harp there, which she pretends to play, young girl prys into a legend book and her books, which she professes to to know her love-fate. I look in the understand ; and I leave her alone in index, if I happen to be Lockish and her light summer dishabille, of which Methodical, at the letter B, and she is peculiarly fond, to write voagainst it I find “Byron, Lord, page lumes on countries through which she

-". I turn to that page, and, lo! has ravaged a tour, and to quote inthere he is !" In his habit as he geniously from languages which she lives !” There is his low soft voice, cannot comprehend, but which an anlike a stormy wind controlled ; there cestor of hers is said to have underis the fine breadth and paleness of his stood. And, marvellous it is, that in forehead, -the black intense curls of this family learning, she does not hear his lordly hair,—the haught-lip,--the "ancestral voices prophesying war." dark and dreaming blue light of his But let me not here omit the soEve. There is the humility of his ciety of one, whose mind is the storemanner, the extreme politeness of his house of all deep thoughts and proud


If his early hopes, Having thus stated to you the wonfrom their very ardour, have been ders of my matchless common-placebroken and frustrated, still the me- book, I come to the dream of which I mory of those hopes sheds a melan- spoke to you at the opening of this choly thoughtfulness over his mind, paper. I stated that I would account and over his countenance, which awa- for the poetical colours which illumikens in others a fellow pensiveness. nated it, which I shall proceed at once He is the first prose writer of the age, to do, previous to giving a detail of and yet of manners simple and modest the dream itself. as a child. The world, by repeated I was detained at home the other blows, has stricken him into patience. evening by the harassing showers He has learned to endure, in a hard which at this season of the year fall, school. His keen, yet ser ous face, as if purposely, at all pleasurable or encircled by its raven hair, has all the leisure hours; and being alone in the intellect and quiet power of one of front of a grate, which, in Spring's Titian's portraits. His prose is lion- despite, clutched its little bars full of hearted, and lion-sinewed. His style bright and burning coals, I took out of writing, however, it must be con- my book of literary treasures, drew fessed, is very superior to his style of the sofa in front of the fire, married shaking hands. The first is all eager- the two boisters together under my ness, intensity, and vigour; the last head, and plunged heart and soul into is cold, tame, and indecisive. He ap- the innermost recesses of the volume's pears to abandon a bunch of melan- leafed chambers. I read, aud read, choly fingers to your threatened and read, and my eyes became more squeeze, with some hope of their not and more enamoured of their food. I coming to a shake. His hand strikes laughed, and revelled, and loved with you as doubly chill, from its taking Moore, and heard his voice again and no interest in the ardour and nerve of again. I attended Mr Campbell's your own.

It swoons away. It ap- lecture, listened to his readings from pears to have something on its mind, Homer, and caught with attentive ear or to be of an absent disposition. If his minute criticisms on the Hebrew Isaac Walton had received such a writers. Hours chased each other hand in the way of salutation at twin with unnoticed rapidity, and still I light after a day's hard fishing, he turned untired to a new page, and would have thought some wag had read on. The shades of evening now greeted him with four gudgeons and darkened through my window panes, a Miller's Thumb. I wish he would and threw an indistinctness over my

palpably confirm his grasp” in fu- book. Still I read on, teazing with ture, that my own paw may not be earnest eyes the passages from the disconcerted or lured into the same page, till they were so lost in shade lifeless habits. But what has this to as to baffle all further reading. But do with his strong and impressive writ even yet my mind's appetite had grown ings ? Nothing. Only I find it re so by what it fed on, that it supplied corded in my observant book, and imaginary food to the eyes, and I therefore I cannot choose but remem- therefore still appeared to read on. ber it. He is a good hearted man, as From this state, and I know not well as a fine minded one,-good how long I remained in it,) you will hearted still, in spite of rude usage, acknowledge that the transition to and the despoiled poetry of his youth- sleeping and dreaming was natural ful hopes. May he yet see a happy enough. I know not how I passed sunset after all the boisterous gusti- to sleep, but my eyes closed in the ness of his morning!"

twilight, and as the evening deepen

ed, I became involved in a romantic It is a curious fact, that the Indica- and wondrous vision. It was but the tor (a very clever little periodical work) poetry of my waking thoughts; it has written a paper on the “ shakings of was imagination snatching the flowers the hand,” and even remarked upon the from the hand of memory, and wearvery individual of whom I have spoken. This is a curious coincidence. i did not ing them into a strange and fantastic see it till long after my own observations garland. were written ; and I only notice it now, fur

I can scarcely describe to you the the sake of declaring, at the same time, sweetness of the blooming plants that I am innocent of all literary theft. which grew around me in my dream,

as I lay on a gentle bank which slop- soft and drooping lids, and by the ed its easy and springy turf down to sweetest fringe of smoothed lashes à fresh and gallant rivulet. The blos- that I had ever looked upon; but still soms were bright and fragrant, and they melted a softened light over the leaned in lustrous beauty towards and countenance, which seemed" to show, over the lively waters. The rapid yet shade, a forehead more than fair.' stream gambolled along, as though it But I am becoming romantic in my were “ sufficient to itself, its own re- description, and, lest I should be taward ;” and it brake the reflected ken to task by old Mr Gifford in the images of the lilies nto a milli Quarterly Review, in the same way white and green fragments of restless that Lady Morgan was reproved for colour. A mountain was in sight, “writing lies," I shall desist, -mereand the sky over my head bent its ly referring those young ladies who peaceful blue around, as seeming to enjoy the poetry of pretty faces, and bless and protect. I reclined with who love to read tender extravagance my head upon my hand, drinking in in the shape of tumultuous descripthe beauty of the world. For ever tions, to the novels of two worthy could I have so reclined; for ever booksellers near the East India House, could I have so drunk at that boun- who are celebrated for their five voteous and noble spring, and still should lumes of marble-covered immorality I have thirsted, still taken the waters and passionate trash. To proceed of beauty to my heart :- but the in The form advanced, in its veil of constancy of dreaming disturbed my silvery and transparent mist, towards fascinated reverie, and forced on me me, and became more distinct and other sounds and other sights than more beautiful as it approached. I those which so spelled and soothed could make out a shape more clearly, me. It was evening- sunny, still, and have a perfect perception of the Grecian evening and suddenly 1 face. While I was gazing with all heard a dim, airy music coming up my soul at this singular and sweet the valley, stealing along like a sum- presence, she brake silence, with a mer mist. It seemed to be born of voice so soft and charming, that it no instrument, to be no decided sound, could scarcely be said to break it. I but rather to be the harmony of the cannot recollect the precise words she world made audible.

spake to me, for I was so awed and I heard this divine music, and lift- enchanted that I felt plunged in a ed up my head to ascertain from what tenfold charmed sleep. "But the purquarter it came, when I saw the wa- port of her address was, that she had ter before me trembling and shudder- permitted me to approach her sacred ing in redoubled brightness-leaping stream, of which she was the guardand moaning like the Lady Christa- ian spirit; that the waters which ran, belle in her sleep-coiling and writh- mad with light and music, at my feet, ing in its silver Justre, even as a play- were the real waters of poetry, of ful fascinated snake in the sun. In a which " so many rave, although they moment a mist arose from the waters, know them not." Sue informed me, and through it I could dimly distin- that, on that very evening, and at guish a beautiful female figure, light that very hour, the living poets peras the thistle-down when it first quits formed their pilgrimage to fetch waits parent stalk, radiant as a vase illu- ter from the stream of inspiration, minated. She approached me, the and, in return for my love of the tribe, mist still continuing to follow and to she granted me permission to see, myveil her. Perhaps this was in pity to self unseen, the wondrous sight. As the poverty of mortal eyes, which she spake, her hair heaved its gentle might not endure the unshadowed waves, like the sunny waters of an lustre of the immortals. Still, howe evening sea, over her shoulders, and ever, the jewels trembled in her hair, her eyes lightened as with glorious and shot their lights around in a thou- poesy. I looked her my thanks as sand fanciful ways. Her bounteous well as I was able, though they took and golden hair ran in glowing waves more the semblance of adoration, and about her shoulders, and never, me- bowed my face on the grass before her. thought, had I seen a form so beauti- I should not forget to state, that she ful, so visionary, so light. Her eyes, likewise informed me that the poets mercy be praised! were shaded by were compelled to tell her, as they re



men !

ceived the waters, to what use they branch over me, passed slowly in her intended to apply them. I raised my mantle of mist to the middle of the head, looked once more on the stream, stream, over which she now appeared and truly it seemed to trip on with to preside. a pleasant dactylic motion. Suddenly In a little time the poetical crowd I heard the sound of approaching feet, advanced witbin an ode's length of i and a melodious murmur of mingled the water, and then halted. They voices. The Spirit said to me, "Sing then chaunted a hymn to the Spirit

, to their approach-Welcome them!” written expressly for the occasion by And, on the instant, though I had Moore, and set by Sir John Stevennever before ventured on verse, my son in his best manner, as I was aflips broke silence, and I lifted up my terwards informed. I could perceive virgin song. I fear that persons a- that each poet held in his hand a ves- 1 wake will not see much meaning in sel to bear away his portion of the init, but, as it was my first and last ate spired waters. The Spirit now becktempt, done into English at the in- oned with her laurel branch, and each spiration of the moment, and fashion- walked singly from the throng, and ed in the presence of such an awful dipped his vessel in the blue, wild, company, I trust that its beauties, and Castalian wave. I will endeavour, as not its defects, will be sought for and well as my recollection will allow me, eulogized.

to describe the manner and words of

the most interesting of our living poets They come ! they come ! -All the lordly on this most interesting occasion. The

evening became more joyous-PegaThey are winding adown the Grecian glen. sus might be seen courting the winds Lords of the giant mind— They come in wild rapture on one of the neighWith musical voices and winged fancies, bouring mountains-sounds of glad While 'round them the merry air dirls and and viewless wings were heard way

dances, Alive with their presence !-They come ! ing and fluttering high above the - they come !

stream--and “all the air was filled

with pleasant noise of waters." With godlike talk,--all timed well

And first I saw a lonely and meTo the cadence of their beating feet, lancholy figure slowly move towards Men of sweet charm, and awful spell, the brink. I knew, by its noble air Of awful thought, and feeling sweet, and peculiar carriage, that it was Lord! They come, and the laurel leaf trembles Byron. He filled a Grecian urn. He

and lightens, And plays in the sun, which hallows and bulent and rash hand; but he drew

plunged it into the stream with a turbrightens

it forth with sorrow and cold serenity. Its own green child-See-They come !they come!

He declared he would keep the urn

and its contents by him " for some See their proud foreheads And see their years;" but he had scarcely spoken hair !

ere he had sprinkled forth some careTheir white broad foreheads of radiant less drops on the soiling earth. He thought ;

retired, but did not join the crowd. Their crowning hair their crowned hair!

There then advanced a polite and And oh hear their voices of music wrought! comely personage, of a pleasant visage, And look at their eyes, as they feed on the and a northern accent, yet withal very

sun, Like eagles when first the high day is be- oddly clad. He had a breast-plate on,

and over that a Scottish plaid,-and, gun : Behold them-behold them -- They come

strange to say, with these, silk stackthey come !

ings and dress shoes. It was Walter

Scott, as I guessed. lle brought an Having finished this unmeaning old helmet, which had been newly rhapsody, and received from the Spi- gilt and embossed for the occasion, as rit an encouraging smile, (which here- his vessel. It did not hold enougli after may excite me to a sonnet or for a very deep draught, but the wasomething less,) I slid down the grass ter it contained took a pleasant sparkle nearer to the water, and looked grate from the warlike metal which shone fully and anxiously on the Spirit's through its shallowness. He said he eyes. She exclaimed, “ Be silent had disposed of his portion on advanbe unseen !” and, waving a laurel tageous terms. The Spirit, with a

[ocr errors]

a man

shrewd look, begged to ask him one intention was to make weak tea of question, to which he bowed with the little he obtained. "an attent' ear.” She wished to Crabbe, with a firm and steady be informed whether he was the au- countenance, walked sedately to the thor of those Scotch novels, which stream, and plunged a wooden bowl she had read herself with defight in into it. He observed, that he should spite of her antipathy to prose. Wal- make stout for the poor of his portion, ter smiled,-shook' bis head, was and that, after the first brewing, he sorry to refuse a lady any request, and should charitably allow Mr Fitzgerald made the best of his way from the to make small beer for the use of the Spirit's presence.

Literary Fund. Next came Thomas Moore. With Montgomery advanced to the wathe pleasantest eye in the world, and ter in a pensive and sincere mood. with an air of freedom quite enchant- With a firm hand he reached for the ing, he came laughing onward. The water-and with a manly step he reSpirit siniled at him; and he winked tired, at her. He gaily dipped his goblet, Campbell approached the stream as and protested he would turn its con

girt for travel.” He was on tents to sherbet or nectar. The Spi- the eve of a journey. Iberian seemrit asked after the Fudges: Moore ed his hoot." With a lecture in one said he had more Rhymes on the road. hand, and an Indian bowl in the Exit laughing

other, he appeared divided between I now perceived a person avance, poetry and prose. He took his allotwbom I knew to be Southey. He ment of water, and expressed his delooked like an eagle without its eyes. termination to analyse it. His brow was bound in am awkward Lord Strangford would have advanmanner by a wreath of faded and ced, but the voice of the Spirit forbad scanty laurel, which lrad all the marks him, as he did not come for water on of a Manchester Square growth, or of his own account. He was an ambashaving been reared in a pot at a win- sador and no poet. Peter Corcoran dow at Carlton Palace. He appeared followed at his heel, but was likewise quite bewildered, and scarcely could discouraged, as he was a lawyer: On remember his way to the inspiring being asked what he should do with stream. His voice was chaunting in the water if it were granted to him, maudlin tones the praises of courts he replied, that he should, out of reand kings, as he advanced ;-but he spect to pugilism, turn it into punch. dropt from his coat pocket some little The Spirit dismissed him with a repoems, as he passed me, which were fusal, on account of his pun. of a very opposite tendency to those Coleridge, Lamb, and Lloyd, walkwhich he was now so piously and ed forth arm in arın, and moved plamournfully hymning. He was com- cidly to the water. They conversed pelled to stoop before he could reach as they passed on the beauty of the the water,--and the gilded vessel country,--on its peaceful associations, which he had brought for use pro- -and on the purity of the domestic cured but little at last. The sensi- affections. Coleridge talked in the tive and tremulous water ran out like grandest strain, and his voice was as quicksilver ; but he said common wa- deep and melodious as mournful muter would suit him as well. His in- sic. His own conversation involved tention was, as he declared, to make him in a web of magic thoughts. He sack of what he obtained. On retir- passed from poetry to metaphysics, ing, he mounted a large cream-colour- and lost hiinself in the labyrinths of ed horse, and set off in bobbling paces abstruse systems. Lamb remarked, to St James's.

that he should prefer one of his affecRogers appeared next with a glass tionate and feeling sonnets to all his in his hand, which had the cypher of learned wanderings of mind. He Oliver Goldsmith engraved upon it. thonght that the rose that peeped at It had evidently belonged io that his cottage window suited Coleridge sweet poet,-but to have been much better than the volume of Jacob Behill-used by its after possessor. He men that encumbered his book-shelf. caught but a few drops, but these Each of these poets held in his hand were enough, for, as he declared, he 'a simple porrenger, such as is used in could borrow from his friends. His the Lyrical Ballads,-cleclaring that

« 이전계속 »