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Two fiddlers in front took de lead to de grave,
Sing ri tum, &c.
As ve pass'd Gutter Lane, Dyball's fiddle it stops-
Yes-twas fumbling for something to vipe the bi; drops,
"Can't you come it melancholy?" says George, turning round,
"--But tis grief drives me on," says de lad, when he found
In this fashion were the rites and ceremonies of Jack Stuart's funeral celebrated. But there is now no ambitious talent to be goaded-no generous passion to be kindled by the example of high desert being crowned with abounding glories. The seeds of future honours for the reward of succeeding worth are no longer scattered from the wreath that entwines the brow of merit.
The once thriving establishment at the Seven Dials, above alluded to, is now absolutely a losing concern. Bat Corcoran, Pitt's great ballad factor, who kept his state in St. Giles's, still lives to mourn that he survives his independence, his comfort and influence. The man held his weekly market at the Beggar's Opera in Church-lane. The house is now called the Rose and Crown,—so rapid are the strides of innovation! Thither flocked in each Saturday night the unnumbered brothers and sisters of the profession, to purchase, to pay, to exchange, to bleed a tankard, to fathom a roley-poley, and blow a cloud. Ah, the glorious confusion of those festivals! Who that has heard, will ever forget the mingling contributions of the hundred voices, exercising themselves in the respective pastimes of singing, scolding, swearing, roaring, &c. Above the various chorus swelled the deep tones of Bat Corcoran. But let us see Bat amidst his customers-see him riding the whirlwind -let us take him in the shock, the crisis of the night when he is despatching the claims of a series of applicants. "I say, blind Maggie, you're down for a dozen Jolly Waterman,' thirteen to the dozen.— Pay up your score, Tom with the wooden leg, I see you are booked for a lot of Arethusas.'-Master Flowers, do you think that Cans of Grog' can be got for nothing, that you leave a stiff account behind you. Sally Sallop, you must either give back The Gentlemen of England,' or tip for them at once.-Friday, my man, there are ever so many Black-eyed Susans' against you. Jemmy get rid of the Tars of Old England,' if you can; I think Crazy Janes' are more in vogue. What say you to an exchange for Hosier's Ghost?" This was Bat's way. Up to this hour, poor fellow, he is a treasury of choice recollections, and is absolutely brilliant in his account of some early worthies. He commemorates the once celebrated ballad-singer, " Philip in the Tub," the original performer of "Jesse, or the Happy Pair;" and he exhibits the identical ballad which he extricated from the pertinacious grasp of the dying vocalist. This is the very Philip that flourishes in immortal lineaments in Hogarth's picture of "The Wedding of the Industrious Apprentice." Corcoran likewise abounds with some merry
anecdotes of Gravelot, a painter, who retained room in the Strand for the purpose of more conveniently receiving ballad-singers and mendicants, numbers of whom he induced to sit to him. The best of this artist's sketches is that of a blind ballad-singer, whose name we are at a loss for, but who was famous for the execution of "There was a wealthy lawyer," and "O Brave Nell." We have seen an admirable etching of this picture by Miller. But it is a difficult work to conine poor Bat to the mirthful mood; invariably will he strike into, and apparently without design, some mournful key, and will bewail the lot that leaves his old age in solitude and sorrow. His tuneful brethren all are dead,
And he, neglected and opprest,
LL Ah," would he say, "Blind Peter is dead, Sally Sallop is dead; not a hand remains of the old artists, except Abel Sandwich the pensioner, and Aby is scarcely himself. The only two men," continued Corcoran brightening up, " that ever wrote ballads to my fancy, were slender Ben and overhead-and-ears Nic. Ben had a gift at speeches for the prisoners at the Old Bailey. The man saved lives. The rogues of London Juries knew all his turns to a hair. You have heard of Nick ; the poor fellow drank himself out at elbows, paid nobody, rowed watchmen, and played the roaring lion every where. That was Nick all over, that was genius to a t; there's no hope of a man that doesn't do these things. I never gave the least encouragement to a sober decent man in my life. Take Nicholas, one day with another, and he gave you value for your money. No man had a chance with him at a last speech or dying declaration. He smoothed the bed of death with the hand of a master. Ah, Sir, an execution was something in our way when he lived. His criminals were the very best of characters, his hangmen were as good as born gentlemen, and as to his spectators, they were patterns for the world; it would be a blessing for a man to have such a crowd at his last moments."
At a future opportunity we may hold an inquest on Bat's Collection of Popular Ballads. W. Q.
THE WITHERED LEAF, OR MELANCHOLY.
POOR leaf, where fliest thou, torn
I hear thee answering say :-
Since then have swept me forth
Nor mourn nor dread my destiny;
Where rose and laurel fleet with me!
J. C. W.
THE FAMILY JOURNAL.-NO. VII.
Conversation of Pope. Dinner of Apsley Honeycomb with him. July 4, 1727.
YESTERDAY was a day of delight. I dined with Mr. Pope. The only persons present were the venerable lady his mother, Mrs. Martha Blount, and a Mr. Walscott, a great Tory, but as great a lover of Dryden; which, Mr. Pope was pleased to inform me, was the reason he had invited me to meet him. Mr. Pope was in black, with a tie-wig. I could not help regarding him, as he sat leaning in his arm-chair before dinner, in the light of a portrait for posterity. When he came into the room, after kindly making me welcome, he took some flowers out of a little basket that he had brought with him, and presented them, not to Mrs. Martha, who I thought looked as if she expected it, but to Mrs. Pope; which I thought very pretty and like a gentleman, not in the ordinary way. But the other had no reason to be displeased; for turning to her with the remainder, he said, “I was thinking of a compliment to pay you; so I have done it." He flatters with as much delicacy as Sir Richard Steele; and the ladies like it as much from him. What fine-shaped fellows have I seen, who could not call up half such looks into their eyes!
I was in a flutter of spirits, which took away my appetite. Mr. Pope recommended his fish and his Banstead mutton to no purpose. I was too well fed with hearing him talk. However, I mechanically drank his wine; which emboldened me to say something. What I said, I do not very well remember, and it is no matter. I have even forgotton some agreeable stories related by Mr. Walscott, about the civil wars; but every word that passed the lips of Mr. Pope seems engraven on my brain. From the subject of killing mutton, the talk fell upon cruelty to animals; upon which Mr. Pope made some excellent observations. He began by remarking how strange it was, that little or nothing had been said of it in books.
Mr. Walscott. I suppose authors have been too much in the habit of attending to the operation of their own minds.
Mr. Pope. But they have been anglers. I have a curious book in my library, written by one Isaac Walton, an old linen-draper in the time of Charles the Second, who was fond of meadows and village alehouses, and has really a pretty pastoral taste. This man piques himself on his humanity; and yet the directions he gives on the subject of angling (for the book is written on that art) are full of such shocking cruelty, that I do not care to repeat them before ladies. He wrote the lives of Donne, Hooker, and others, all anglers, and good religious men. Yet I suppose they were all as cruel. It is wonderful how the old man passes from pious reflections to the tortures of fish and worms, just as if pain were nothing. Yet what else are the devil and his doings made of?
Mr. Walscott. Dryden was an angler.
Mr. Pope. Yes; he once exclaimed of D―y,* “ He fish!” because the man attempted to write. There is a passage in his Astræa
* Who this was, I do not know. H. H.
Redux written in the proper fishing spirit; that is to say, in which all the consideration is for the fisher, and none for the fish.
Mr. Walscott. I remember it. He is speaking of General Monk, and the way in which he brought about the grand stroke for the Restoration.
"Twas not the hasty product of a day,
Mr. Pope. The "patient angler!" Mighty patient, truly, to sit at a man's ease and amuse himself! The question is, what the fish think
Mrs. Martha Blount. Sure it must be so; and yet I never once thought of that before. God forgive me for the murders I committed last year in Oxfordshire, at the instigation of my brother.
Mr. Pope looked at her with benevolence as she said this; but he was too much in earnest to pay her the compliments which ordinary gallantry would have struck out of the confession. I really believe he feels as much for carp and trout, as most men do for each other.
Mr. Walscott. But would it not be exchanging one pain for another, to make people think too much of these things?
Mr. Pope. That is well-said. But I know not what right we have to continue putting our fellow creatures to pain, for the sake of avoiding it ourselves. Besides, there is a pain that exalts the understanding and morals, and is not unallied with pleasure which cannot be said of putting hooks into poor creatures' jaws and bowels.
Mr. Walscott. There is a good deal in that. Yet all animals prey upon one another. We prey upon them ourselves. We are at this minute availing ourselves of the cruelties of butchers and fishermen.
Mr. Pope. Not the cruelties. Killing and torturing are different. Death is inevitable to all; and a sheep who has passed his days in the meadows, and undergone a short death from a knife, has had as good a bargain as most of us. Animals kill, but they do not torture one another.
Yes, I am sure of
Mr. Walscott. I think I have read of instances. it; and what think you of a cat with a mouse?
Mr. Pope. Why I think she is very like an angler. I should wish to see a treatise on the subject by a cat. It is a meditative creature, like old Isaac, and as fond of fish. I am glad to see how much the fera natura excuses them both; but to us, who can push our meditations farther, the excuse is not the same.
What say you to
Mr. Walscott. Yet this appears to be instinct. Nature? It is her own doing.
Mr. Pope. Nature is a very wide term. We make use of it rather to get rid of arguments, than to enforce them. If it is the cat's nature to torment, it is man's nature to know better. Improvement is nature. The reflections we are now making, are nature. I was wrong in saying that no animal tortures another; but pray observe,-we abuse animals when it suits us, as the brute creation; and call upon them to bear testimony to our natural conduct, when we are pleased to resemble them. Now the matter is, that we ought to imitate them solely in
what is good and beneficial; and in all other cases, give both them and ourselves the benefit of our better knowledge.
Mr. Walscott. Evil will exist in spite of us.
Mr. Pope. I do not know that. It is impossible for us, who only see to the length of a little miserable space in the midst of eternity, to say what will or will not exist. But we must give our fellow-creatures the benefit of our knowledge, and our ignorance too. If we cannot abolish evil, we may diminish it, or divide it better; and Nature incites us to do so by putting the thought in our heads. It is fancied by some, and I dare say anglers fancy it, that animals, different from us in their organization, do not feel as we do. I hope not. It is at least, a good argument for consolation, when we can do nothing to help them; but as we are not sure of it, it is an argument not to be acted upon, when we can. They must have the benefit of our want of certainty. Come, anglers shall have the benefit of it too. Old Walton was as good a man as you could make out of an otter and I like the otter the better for him. Dryden, I am sure, was humane: he was too great a man to be otherwise. But he had all his bodily faculties in perfection, and I sometimes think that animal spirits take the place of reflection, on certain animal occasions, and fairly occupy the whole man instead of it, even while he thinks he's thinking. Yet I am afraid Donne and the others sophisticated; for subtlety was their business. There are certain doctrines that do men no good, when the importance of a greater or less degree of pain in this world comes to be made a question of; and so they get their excuse that way. Any thing rather than malignity and the determination to give pain; and yet I know not how the angler is to be found guiltless on that score, if he reflects on what he is going about. I am sure he must hurt his own mind, and perplex his ideas of right and wrong.
Mr. Walscott concluded the argument by owning himself much struck with the variety of reflections which Mr. Pope had brought forward or suggested. He said he thought they would make a good poem. Mr. Pope thought so too, if enlivened with wit and description; and said he should, perhaps, turn it in his mind. He remarked, that till the mention of it by Sir Richard Steele, in the Tatler, he really was not aware that any thing had been said against cruelty to animals by an English writer, with the exception of the fine hint in Shakspeare about the beetle. "Steele," said he, " was then a gay fellow about town, and a soldier, yet he did not think it an imputation on his manhood to say a good word for tom-tits and robins. Shakspeare, they tell us, had been a rural sportsman; and yet he grew to sympathize with an insect." I mentioned the Rural Sports of Mr. Gay, as enlisting that poet among the anglers that rejected worms. "Yes," said he, "Gay is the prettiest fera natura that ever was, and catches his trout handsomely to dine upon. But you see the effect of habit even upon him. He must lacerate fish, and yet would not hurt a fly. Dr. Swift, who loves him as much as he hates angling, said to him one day at my Lord Bolingbroke's," Mr. Gay, you are the only angler I ever heard of with an idea in his head; and it is the only idea you have, not worth having." Angling makes the Dean melancholy, and sets him upon his yahoos."