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It moves not in the heaven, the air
As it would greet the thoughts that dwell,
And pay that homage due so well
To thy true majesty.
I see thee in thy arms and crown,
Looking on ruin'd fane and wall
Of its own bolts have traversed past,
I hear thee chant at feast and fire
Of thy realm's enemy,
While treasuring in the impervious mind,
And now I see thee with the poor,
No stone upon thy bier is left,
The little earth that wraps thy dust
To tell where they have laid the just
What recks it then that thou shouldst have
Well, let thy bed be desolate,
Since worlds themselves must die
In lapse of years, and nought is great
These hills are thy bold sepulchre ;
The wild winds rushing by,
Chant thy dirge still, and thrilling stir
The pulse of memory.
What vaulted fane o'erhangs a bier
That men have used amiss.
SIR Mark Medium dined on Wednesday last with Colonel and Mrs. Nightingale in Albemarle-street. Having been born in the year 1775, he could not, with all his manoeuvring, escape being fifty years of age in the present year. In fact the decimals have sadly plagued him ever since the year 1805, when he attained the age of thirty. During the short Whig administration of that period he would persist in calling himself twenty-seven. In the year 1815 he was not half so much piqued by the escape of Napoleon Bonaparte from the island of Elba, as by the tormenting reflection that, however much he might persist in calling himself thirty-six, the fact was that he was forty and not all the blessings of railways, patent milk-pails, floating-chapels, pearl fisheries, and soap-sud companies, which emanate from the present year 1825, can compensate Sir Mark Medium for the tyranny of Time in making him half a century old. All that a middle-aged gentleman can do, however, in the way of fighting with the wielder of the scythe and hour-glass, Sir Mark does. He wears a most hyacinthine wig, one stray lock whereof plays over his forehead in a style of infantine loveliness. His three chins are propped by a perfectly modish cravat, and his belly is so tightly laced, that if any unlucky urchin were to steal behind and cut the bobbin with his pocket-knife, Sir Mark would go off like a Congreve rocket. In his youth Sir Mark Medium had rather a voice for singing. His "Rise, Cynthia, rise," was much admired in Great Russell-street, Bloomsbury; but what he most plumed himself upon was the bass of "We be three poor fishermen." His solid reading at that period was chiefly confined to Sydney Biddulph, and Hayley's Essay on Old Maids; while for his lighter perusal the Devil upon Two Sticks in London opened its never-ending pages. But whatever might be his study, whether poetry, prose, or music, he never had any mercy upon the women. On hot summer evenings, the nursery-maids in the Temple-gardens had but a sad time of it. I have heard of three of them in one season precipitating themselves from the broad gravelwalk into the Thames. Luckily, three low tides caused them to be merely engulfed apron-deep in mud, and the coroner had no occasion to summon a jury. In all the houses where Sir Mark is occasionally favoured with a knife and fork, there is a sad uniformity in the article of drawing-room. Take him in blind-folded, like the cobler in the Forty Thieves, and I will bet him ten to one, that on removing the bandage it would be impossible for him, with all his penetration, to ascertain whether he was in Baker-street, Saville-row, or Finsbury-square. This ditto repeated of architecture is the besetting sin of London dwellings. The beggar of Bethnal-green would be as much at home in all of them, give him but the habitude of one, as Argus himself. He would, as a matter of course, when arrived at the top of the stairs, march forward through the door that accosts him in front. He would know to a certainty that three windows there stared him in the face: that the chimney-piece lay on his right: and that there were two protruding sofas, the one on either side of it. Turning again to the right, VOL. IX. No. 53.-1825.
he would enter a back drawing-room through a pair of white painted folding-doors. Here he would, as a matter of course, look for a single bow-window at the end of the room: another fire-place would warm him on his left side, and a grand piano-forte would exhilarate him on his right. One Mr. Megrim actually shot himself last season: the sameness of every body's drawing-rooms was too much for him. All this, however, is digression.
I have often heard people talk of the darkness of the middle ages. Mr. Hallam has written a book upon the subject; but to those who have no time for reading, it may be curious to see it exemplified by living instances. The fact is, that middle-aged people have a strong propensity to forget every thing that happened in their youth. The censorious world is so apt to draw its own chronological conclusions, that folks who are neither young nor old, are uniformly seized with a sable oblivion of all that occurred above twenty years back-and this I call the darkness of the middle ages. Sir Mark Medium is by no means exempt from the general calamity. He has read about Ranelagh, but has not the most distant recollection of the existence of the rotunda. Miss Farren left the stage long before his time: John Wesley had ceased to preach at least ten years before he was born:-he has often heard his father talk of Dodd the player, and the mutiny at the Nore happened when he was a very little boy. Now and then, however, a ray of light shoots through the vast abyss. Some comiddle aged man starts up, who, having given up youth as a bad job, manfully sinks into a bald head, allows his ungirded intestines to wander where fancy leads them, and takes to partridge brown shorts, white stockings, half gaiters and a spencer. When such a man comes forward, he makes as great a merit of remembering as the opposite stamp of middle-aged gentlemen do of forgetting. Mr. Mullens is a man of this sort, and was invited on Wednesday to meet Sir Mark Medium at Colonel Nightingale's. "Sir Mark will be delighted to meet him," said the lady of the mansion;-"they were fellow collegians at Pembroke." Before the cloth was removed, Sir Mark was questioned as to his knowledge of the celebrated Lord Mansfield. He shook his head-the middle ages were absolutely sable:-he remembered Lord Kenyon faintly, but as for Lord Mansfield, he was gone long before his time; whereupon in darted Mullens the meteor, and the middle ages were a blaze of light. "Not remember Lord Mansfield !" said the meteor. "My dear Medium, what are you talking about?— don't you remember when you and I stood at the gate of Highgate Chapel one Sunday morning immediately after the service; there are two gates to the church-yard; it was that nearest to London: you had on a new pair of jockey boots, one of which had nearly annihilated your tendon Achilles; and, as his Lordship stepped into his carriage, you cast a glance at his square-toed shoe and mottled worsted stocking; and then eyeing the tight and polished leather that decorated your own matchless limb, you exclaimed a pretty fellow for a Lord Chief Justice!'" All this was wormwood in the teeth of the tenebrose Visigoth of the middle ages, but prudence forbad a reply. A little man in black, famous for peeling an orange and deluging it with white wine and sugar, now took advantage of a momentary silence to mention Bowden's Life of John Kemble; and to express his regret, that being a
member of a book-club, he knew nothing of the matter till it came to his turn. "You have seen John Kemble of course ?" said the little orange-peeler, turning to Sir Mark Medium. "Only in his decline," answered he of the tight waist. "I don't know what you call his decline,” exclaimed the inexorable Mullens," but I perfectly remember when you and I went to see him in Rover in his own alteration of Mrs. Behn's play of that name. He called it Love in many Masks:-he was dressed in blue velvet, and Jack Bannister played John Blunt, an Essex squire: it was in the year 1790: you and I came from Pembroke on purpose. At that period Kemble had a strange fancy to be the fine gentleman: he took to Charles Surface and Don Felix, of which latter personation George Colman said, it possessed too much of the Don, and too little of the Felix. Only in his decline indeed! why he had not been on the London boards more than four years." All this our Visigoth would not hear. He had pertinaciously entered into the merits and demerits of the French actors in Tottenham-street. He descanted upon the want of ease in Pelissié, and upon the possession of it by La Porte. He lamented that Délia grew so thin, and St. Ange so fat: he even eulogized the Vaudeville singing, to the grievous horror of Colonel Nightingale, who thought the back wall of his own house, like that of the King's Theatre, would tumble down at such a profane assertion. In short, Sir Mark Medium was absolutely engulfed in the French Theatre, and seemed to breathe freely in that unventilated and dismal emporium of fashion, which a toad would not exchange for his block of marble, when the relentless Mullens again drew him forty years back, by reminding him of Le Texier's Readings.
Colonel Nightingales's knocker now began to beat double-quick time. "What's all this about ?" inquired Mr. Thomas Willoughby, helping himself to a glass of water as a symptom of retreat upwards. "Nothing but my wife's evening visitors," answered the Colonel. "I flatter myself there is not a more industrious knocker than mine in the whole parish of St. James's. It is never idle from nine to twelve o'clock. At first it struck rather discordantly upon my ear, (which by the way is become more nice since my acquaintance with Madame Pasta.) But I have now so well drilled the footmen of all my acquaintance, (or, more properly speaking, my wife's) that they keep excellent time with the grand piano above. We tried them last night with Der Freischutz; and I can assure you, their rat, tat-a-tat, tat-a-tat, chimed in with "hark, follow hark, follow hark" quite harmoniously." Mr. Willoughby now passed through the parlour door-way into the hall, and took advantage of a momentary cessation of silk rustling, to skip up stairs, cautiously avoiding contact with the balustres, that he might not damage the pile of shawls that overhung them. "I'll tell you a good story about Willoughby," said Sir Mark Medium, thinking it highly expedient that somebody besides himself should be made ridiculous. "Willoughby's wife is evangelic; they have been married seven years, and have no family. Women, in that case, always take to old china, geology, charity, poodle dogs, or evangelism. Mrs. Willoughby has selected the last. Willoughby would not take to the collar for a long time; but wives are always victorious in the end. Tom Straitway mended his manners: cautiously abstained from
rapping out an oath; did not go to one of Catalani's concerts; ('Poor fellow!' ejaculated Colonel Nightingale,) and deposed Swift's Tale of a Tub from his book shelf, that Cunningham's Velvet Cushion might reign in its stead. Well, affairs were in this state, when, happening to be walking very disconsolately in the Green Park, with his hands in his breeches pockets, and whistling 'I sigh and lament me in vain!' he popped upon Jack Hammersley-by no means one of The Elect— so far from it, quite the re-werse, as Mat the Fulham coachman expresses himself. Well, Hammersley seizes him by the elbow, and exclaims, Damme Tom, how d'ye do?' Upon which, Tom Willoughby, quite forgetting the new part he had to play, answered, Thank ye -that's comfortable -- that 's the first oath I've heard these six months."
What happened up-stairs-how our semi-centenarian tried it on at the piano, and found that it would not fit; and how, disdaining to join the old people at whist, he hung suspended in the door-way of communication between the two drawing-rooms, must be the subject of a future epistle.
HOME of the homeless! blest retreat,
That there are such, our native clime
Of Charity's endowment.
For the best things abused, become
May sting, not calm the patient's soul,
Of underlings and nurses.
Misers may give their gold-do ye
And claim a higher merit;
Your time, your cares, your presence give,
O soothe the wounded spirit.