« 上一頁繼續 »
without our making any effort either to keep them above the horizon, or plunge them, ere the time, below it. Let them point out to us one work of imagination which, having never been noticed in these pages, retains anything like popular favour after the lapse of one year from the day of its publication~and we shall confess ourselves to have been in the wrong.
The two little works named first at the head of our paper appear to us to deserve more attention than most recent contributions to the stock of what is (so often absurdly) denominated light reading. May Fair' is a playful satire on the fashionable manners of the time-displaying talents quite equal, in our opinion, to the “ Advice to Julia'—though not, we rather suspect, written by an author quite so intimately conversant with the scenes touched upon. However that may be, we venture to point out the following sketches as worthy of some respect-and, to say truth, we are surprised that the volume, of which they are only fair specimens, has been so little talked of. The poem is divided into four cantos, entitled respectively,
· The Morning Visit, “The Dinner,' • The After-dinner,' and · The Midnight Drive. Our quotations shall be from the second. Le Diplomat, ecstatic fate The length of chin, the tint of nose, Of the fifth cousins of the great: The holes in breeches, and in hose. Blest with a pound a-day for life, Scribble the rout and dinner packs, To lacquey Monsieur L'Envoy's Lock up the royal pounce and wax; wife
Feel laugh'd at by the luckier Teach French and figures to the fribbles, daughters,
Till life between your fingers See that they swallow their Spa dribbles ; waters;
Condemn'd, till its last sands are Prepared to answer every question rollid, Touching your “ sweet eleve's" To fold and frank, and frank and
digestion; Take passport-pictures of the mob, And envying every wretch in fetters, Who ramble to be robb’d, or rob; Die as you've lived -a man of letters.'
A circumstance that persuades us this author is no regular denizen of May Fair is the spleen which he displays on literary subjects: at least, in that milk and water region, we are credibly informed, the oral perpretator of such pungencies as the following could not be tolerated for half a season. He is describing the conversation of "The After-dinner;' part of which turns naturally enough on Captain Parry, then starting on his fourth voyage.
Sir! listen, if you like a fact: After three months' knocks and After three months' ice-parading, bumps After three months' masquerading, That bring his luggerto her stumps ;
After loss of pipes and spoons, Learning's resurrection-men,
Wielders of the church-yard pen, Hairbreadth scapes of white bear Worthy of the plundered leadpaws,
Worms, that feed but on the dead: Sentimental loves of
squaws ; Sweeps, that never lift their eyes Just as he espied the channel, Where the flames of Learning rise; Brought to his last yard of flannel; But beside its altar's foot All his best cigars burnt out, Fill their pouches with the soot. Winds all whistling right about; All the crazing, and the crazed, Quarter-day, you'll have him back, Hurry all-to be amazed ! With his volume in his pack. Page by page unrolls before ye i Out the wonder comes at last,
Britain's Argonautic glory; Wondering how it came so fast- How the grand Discovery Fleet, All the world, including Murray, Several months sailed several feet. In a philosophic flurry;
Sunday, hanging o'er the stove, All the botanizing belles,
Thought the vessel meant to move. All whom Brande provides with Monday, rather felt the frost; smells,
Tuesday, thump'd, and crost, and All the twaddlers of the Alfred,
tost; All the quarter and the half read: Wednesday, kick'd from post to All the paper-headed members
pillar, Shivering over learning's embers: Knock'd the nozzle off the tiller: All Parnassus' wither'd shrubs,
Thursday, white bears in the disAll the sages of the Clubs;
tance, All the doldrum F. R. S.'s,
Kill’d, long shots, severe resistance; Deep in duckweed, straws, and Ate a sailor once or twicecresses ;
White bears seldom over nice. Worthy measurers of dust Friday, Mercury at Zero, Worthy of Sir Joseph's bust,
Every soul on board a hero. Worthy to complete the ranks Saturday, all cased in rime, Of the mighty name of Bankes,
Scarcely thawed at pudding-time; Deep in nondescript descriptions, Every nose of land or able, Puzzling as their own Egyptians; Living ices at the table ; Lecturers on a gnat’s proboscis,
Crystallizing in a row, Oracles in mire and mosses ;
Fine as Jarrin's Christmas show. Hunters up of Autographs— * But the keenest was to come: At whose labours mankind laughs; Muse of History be dumb ! Delving through the hideous scrib- Though the passage lay in sight, bles
Somewhere to the left or right, Of forgotten knaves and fribbles. Or behind them, or before them, All thy tribe, Lord Aberdeen,
Home the scoundrel breezes bore Sense and nonsense stuck be
them. tween ;
But next summer 'twill be found, Wise in all things dead and rotten, Who will bet ten thousand pound? Useful as a herring shotten; * But there's something for the Solemn beggars, in whose bags
blues, All the gathering is rags.
Grieving for their two pound twos,
Not a squaw but has a story, All the mighty officemen,
Perch'd on stock, or rock, or fen; You've a list of every needle, Puzzling all the blubber hordes, That could soul or body wheedle. With Lords—alas! no longer Lords. Tare and tret of every quid, Hope boasts a marsh, and gallant That for dog or duckling bid ;
More How much brandy in her water Is monarch of a mile of shore : Warm’d old Sealskin's oily daugh-Ill-omen'd Melville has his isle, ter.
Grim as his own paternal pile ; Every bill on Monmouth-street, And stamp'd by friendship’s broadPaid for leagues of genuine sleet:
est arrow, Every Admiralty name,
Looms through eternal mists Cape Yet to fill the trump of fame; Barrow.'-p. 114-126.
The persons with whom these liberties are taken can afford to smile over · May Fair. We hope the author will in his next performance take care to be as lively and entertaining as he appears in the lines we have quoted, without exhibiting any of that illnature, and, we must add, that ill-breeding, of which it would be more easy than ornamental to afford specimens from this duodecimo. He owes it to himself to set to work with little more of plan, and to polish with a great deal more care; and if he does so, we venture to promise him a place among our comic satirists.
The goodly tome entitled · Whitehall; or, George IV.,' in which we have discovered no allusion either to Whitehall or our gracious sovereign, seems also to deserve a sentence or two at our hands. The conception of this piece is better than its execution : the author has spoiled a laudable joke by wire-drawing it to 330 pages; and, what is much worse, by engrafting malice, sometimes coarseness into the bargain, on a stock which ought to have borne no fruits but those of sheer merriment. The object is to laugh down the Brambletye House species of novel—and for this purpose we are presented with such an ' historical romance' as an author of Brambletye House, flourishing in Barbadoes 200 or 2000 years hence, we are not certain which, nor is the circumstance of material moment, might fairly be expected to compose of and concerning the personages, manners, and events of the age and country in which we live. We have no desire to analyze the structure of so mere an extravaganza; but humbly recommend the 12mo., as it stands, to the study of those well-meaning youths who imagine that a few scraps of blundered antiquarianism, a prophetical beldame, a bore, and a rebellion, are enough to make a Waverley novel. The book is, in fact, a series of parodies upon unfortunate Mr. Horace Smith--and it is paying the author no compliment to say that his mimicry (with all its imperfections) deserves to outlive the ponderous original.--One spe
cimen may suffice: it is the description of a trooper in the Life Guards, in the year of grace 1827, by name Esterhazy :
• He was a tall man, standing six feet four inches, with a countenance indicative of determination, if not of ferocity. A circular mark, in which the blue colour had begun to yield to the yellow, round his left eye, testified that he had not long before been engaged in personal rencontre; while the pustulary excrescences that disfigured his aquiline nose, showed that he was not less accustomed to the combats of Bacchus than those of Mars. He wore a fur tiara, of enormous dimensions and a conical figure. A pewter plate, indented with the royal arms of England-gules sable, on a lion passant, guarded by an unicorn wavy, on a fess double of or argent, with a crest sinople of the third quarter proper, and inscribed with the names of several victories, won or claimed by the household troops of England, proved him to be a member of the Horse Guards. A red doublet, with a blue cuff, cape, and lappelles, was buttoned with mother-of-pearl buttons, reaching from his waist to his chin, where they were met by a black leather stock, garnished and fastened by a brass clasp, on which was inscribed, Dieu et mon Droit, the well known war-cry of the English nation. White kerseymere trowsers, buttoned at the knee, and a pair of D. D. boots—as they were called, from the circumstance of their having been invented by a Duke of Darlington-completed his dress. His arms were a ponderous cut-and-thrust sword, with a handle imitating a lion's head, sheathed in an iron scabbard, that clanked as he moved along. Over his shoulder was slung a carbine, or short gun, which military law required to be always primed, loaded, and cocked. A pair of horse-pistols were stuck in his leathern belt, and in his hand he bore a large spontoon, or pike. Such was the dress of the Hanoverian Horse Guards of England at that period; and such, even in secondary occasions, their formidable armour; for the absence of the hauberk, (or morion) and of the ponderous target of bull's-hide and ormolu, showed that the gigantic Hussar was not at present upon actual duty. - Whitehall, p. 88–91.
After this, Mr. Smith will probably have some mercy on the feelings of Dr. Meyrick.
We now approach the literary pocket books,' a species of publication which we have recently borrowed from the Germans, and in which we have little doubt we shall ere long far
surpass our masters. We should have noticed them before now, had the literary part of the performances appeared to deserve much either of praise or of blame. This year, we think, they begin to assume a somewhat better character than heretofore ; and, at all events, the taste for them is so evidently gaining strength, that we must hazard a few words on what they are—and on what they ought to be.
Mr. Ackermann's book, the Forget Me Not, deserves the praise of having led the way in this new path. A gentleman, bearing the name of Alaric Attila Watts, and, notwithstanding his name,
the author of some minor poems which really have nothing either Gothic, or Hunnish, or Methodistical about them, has the higher merit of having refined it first, and taught its use' in the Literary Souvenir. The other publications named at the head of our paper are (with one exception) mere imitations of these—none of them, on the whole, superior to their originals—the majority far below them.
Mr. Watts unquestionably gave a new turn to the affair. He it was who introduced the fashion of embellishing these little books with really fine engravings from really fine pictures : he is justified, accordingly, in claiming the honour of having been of considerable service in promoting a taste for the fine arts in every part of the kingdom.'
With the exception of the · Keepsake,' which is double the price of the “Souvenir,' his embellishments have not been surpassed ; and, although the terms in which he speaks of the literary part of his publication, in his prefaces, are sufficiently self-complacent, he has not, perhaps, been beaten, taking things in the mass, in that department neither. Some of his rivals have, undoubtedly, printed a few detached poems better than any he has been able to produce; but, on the average, his sheets need not fear any such comparison.
The Keepsake, which is the most splendid of its class as to the embellishments, is, we are sorry to see, in literary merit, about the meanest of them all. Except the clever sketch Cavendish,' (the author of which ought to set about a comic novel,) a tale entitled "The False One,' and one or two more novelettes, there is nothing in this silk-clothed volume that has the slightest right to be bound up with engravings by Heath and Goodall, from paintings by Lawrence, Turner, Cooper, Stothard, and Chalon.
The Winter's Wreath may deserve to be specially noticed, as being the first provincial Souvenir. It is of necessity much below its London predecessors as to the matter of embellishment—but in other respects may hold its ground with the best of them. We understand it has been published for the benefit of some of the Liverpool charities; and hope it will have success.
The writing in it is generally of a graver cast than in the rival works; and Mr. Wordsworth has honoured it with two or three little pieces of great beauty.
The Christmas Box must also be separately noticed; for it is the first of these little books that professes to be adapted for one particular class of readers, namely, children. It is smaller and much cheaper than any of those designed for babes of larger growth; and its embellishments are not fine, highly-finished engravings, but dozen upon dozen of wood-cuts, from the designs of a