網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

9564

B

DR. WILLIAM MAGINN

(1793-1842)

LACKWOOD was astonished one day by the intrusion of a wild Irishman from Cork into the publishing house of the staid Scotch magazine. With much warmth and an exaggerated brogue the stranger demanded to know the identity of one Ralph Tuckett Scott, who had been printing things in the periodical. Of course he was not told, and was very coldly treated; but Mr. Blackwood was much delighted at last to find in the person of his guest the original of his valued and popular Irish contributor, who taking

DR. WILLIAM MAGINN

this odd method disclosed the personality and name of William Maginn, a young schoolmaster who had begun to write over the name of Crossman, and afterwards assumed several other pseudonyms before he settled upon the famous "Sir Morgan O'Doherty."

Born in the city of Cork, November 11th, 1793, William Maginn may be said to have taken learning with his mother's milk. His father conducted an academy for boys in the Irish Athens, as Cork was then called; and the future editor of Fraser's Magazine was prepared for and entered Trinity College, Dublin, at the age of ten. He was graduated at fourteen; and so extraordinary was his mind that he was master not only of the classics but of most of the languages of modern Europe, including of course his own ancestral Gaelic. When his father died, William, then twenty years of age, took charge of the academy in Marlborough Street, and in 1817 took his degree of LL. D. at Trinity College. In the following year he made his way into the field of letters. When he went to London in 1824, his reputation as a brilliant writer was well established and enduring. He had married in 1817 the daughter of the Rev. Mr. Bullen, rector of Kanturk.

Immediately upon his removal to London, he was engaged by Theodore Hook as editor of John Bull. In 1827 he boldly published a broad and witty satire on Scott's historical novels. He was assistant editor of the Evening Standard upon its institution, a position

[graphic]

which he held for years at a salary of £400. These years he said afterwards were the happiest of his life. He was a sturdy Irishman, and proud of his country; and he had what is often an Irishman's strongest weakness,- he was a spendthrift. His appreciation of his relations toward creditors was embodied in the phrase "They put something in a book." Little wonder then that his last years were wretched and bailiff-haunted. The sketch of Captain Brandon in the debtors' prison, in 'Pendennis,' is said to have been taken from this period of Maginn's life.

Before this sad time, though, came a long era of prosperity, and the days of the uncrowned sovereignty of letters as editor of Fraser's Magazine. This periodical was started as a rival to Blackwood's because Maginn had fallen out with the publishers of that magazine. The first number appeared February 1st, 1830; and before the year was out it was not only a great financial success, but had upon its staff the best of all the English writers. The attachment between Dr. Maginn and Letitia E. Landon began in this time; and was, though innocent enough, a sad experience for them both,- torturing Maginn through the jealousy of his wife, and sending "L. E. L." to an uncongenial marriage, and death by prussic acid in the exile of the West Coast of Africa. Released from the Fleet by the Insolvency Act in 1842, broken in health and spirit, Maginn went to the village of Walton-on-Thames, where he died from consumption, penniless and almost starving, on the 20th of August of that year. Sir Robert Peel had procured for him from the Crown a gift of £100; but he died without knowledge of the scanty gratuity.

[blocks in formation]

Says he, "The salt water, I think,

Has made me most bloodily thirsty;

So bring me a flagon of drink,

To keep down the mulligrubs, burst ye,-
Of drink that is fit for a saint."

He preached then with wonderful force,

The ignorant natives a-teaching;

With a pint he washed down his discourse, "For," says he, "I detest your dry preaching." The people, with wonderment struck

At a pastor so pious and civil,

Exclaimed, "We're for you, my old buck,

And we pitch our blind gods to the Devil,

Who dwells in hot water below."

This ended, our worshipful spoon
Went to visit an elegant fellow,
Whose practice each cool afternoon
Was to get most delightfully mellow.
That day, with a black-jack of beer,

It chanced he was treating a party:
Says the saint, "This good day, do you hear,
I drank nothing to speak of, my hearty,
So give me a pull at the pot."

The pewter he lifted in sport

(Believe me, I tell you no fable); A gallon he drank from the quart,

And then planted it full on the table. "A miracle!" every one said,

And they all took a haul at the stingo:
They were capital hands at the trade,

And drank till they fell; yet, by jingo!
The pot still frothed over the brim.

Next day quoth his host, "'Tis a fast,

But I've naught in my larder but mutton;
And on Fridays who'd make such repast,
Except an unchristian-like glutton?"
Says Pat, "Cease your nonsense, I beg;

What you tell me is nothing but gammon:

Take my compliments down to the leg,

And bid it come hither a salmon!"

And the leg most politely complied.

You've heard, I suppose, long ago,

How the snakes in a manner most antic

He marched to the County Mayo,

And trundled them into th' Atlantic.
Hence not to use water for drink

The people of Ireland determine;

With mighty good reason, I think,

Since St. Patrick had filled it with vermin,

And vipers, and other such stuff.

Oh, he was an elegant blade

As you'd meet from Fair Head to Kilcrumper;

And though under the sod he is laid,

Yet here goes his health in a bumper!

I wish he was here, that my glass

He might by art magic replenish;

But as he is not, why, alas!

My ditty must come to a finish.
Because all the liquor is out!

I'

SONG OF THE SEA

"Woe to us when we lose the watery wall!»- TIMOTHY TICKLER.

F E'ER that dreadful hour should come -but God avert the day!When England's glorious flag must bend, and yield old Ocean's

sway;

When foreign ships shall o'er that deep, where she is empress, lord; When the cross of red from boltsprit-head is hewn by foreign sword; When foreign foot her quarter-deck with proud stride treads along; When her peaceful ships meet haughty check from hail of foreign

tongue:

One prayer, one only prayer is mine,- that ere is seen that sight, Ere there be warning of that woe, I may be whelmed in night!

If ever other prince than ours wield sceptre o'er that main,
Where Howard, Blake, and Frobisher the Armada smote of Spain;
Where Blake, in Cromwell's iron sway, swept tempest-like the seas,
From North to South, from East to West, resistless as the breeze;
Where Russell bent great Louis's power, which bent before to none,
And crushed his arm of naval strength, and dimmed his Rising Sun:
One prayer, one only prayer is mine,- that ere is seen that sight,
Ere there be warning of that woe, I may be whelmed in night!

If ever other keel than ours triumphant plow that brine,
[line;
Where Rodney met the Count de Grasse, and broke the Frenchman's
Where Howe upon the first of June met the Jacobins in fight,
And with old England's loud huzzas broke down their godless might;
Where Jervis at St. Vincent's felled the Spaniards' lofty tiers,
Where Duncan won at Camperdown, and Exmouth at Algiers:
One prayer, one only prayer is mine,- that ere is seen that sight,
Ere there be warning of that woe, I may be whelmed in night!

But oh! what agony it were, when we should think on thee,
The flower of all the Admirals that ever trod the sea!

I shall not name thy honored name; but if the white-cliffed Isle
Which reared the Lion of the deep, the Hero of the Nile,—
Him who 'neath Copenhagen's self o'erthrew the faithless Dane,
Who died at glorious Trafalgar, o'ervanquished France and Spain,-
Should yield her power, one prayer is mine,- that ere is seen that

sight,

Ere there be warning of that woe, I may be whelmed in night!

« 上一頁繼續 »