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of this paltry pretender, (added Elliot ;) he me, the list he supplies of no less than one is alluding to the trade of Shakespeare's hundred and ninety-three minor poets of father as a wool-dealer or butcher, and to the reigns of Elizabeth and James ; to the conjecture that the poet followed the whose names he ventures to affix a certain same business before he came up to Lon- mark, denoting whether they were above don; and how do you imagine he draws or below mediocrity, when probably the an argument in favour of the supposition most laborious antiquary that ever existed from the lines I just quoted? You might never had an opportunity even of seeing guess to eternity; all the ingenuity of the more than half of their productions. riddle-solvers, from Edipus down to Dame “ That is a pretence of learning (conPartlett, would be of no avail. He first tinued Bourne) almost offensive ; nor can I gives the passage, and then he adds, with agree with you, that he always cites his ausolemn gravity, Dr Farmer informs me thorities : I know that he over and over again that these words are merely technical. A quotes from the British Bibliographer or wool-man, butcher, and dealer in skewers,' Restituta, without naming it, and as if he (and he takes care that the point shall not had before him the original book there rebe lost for want of italics,) lately observ- viewed. In this way he has made up his ed to him, that his nephew, an idle lad, table of one hundred and ninety-three micould only assist in making them—he could nor poets. rough-luw them, but I was obliged to shape 66 You quite astonish me (cried Elliot) their cuds. Whoever recollects the profes- when you talk of such a number of minor sion of Shakespeare's father, will admit poets, not including, I suppose, many who that his soon might be no stranger to such made a greater figure in the world of letters a term. I have seen packages of wool at that time. pinned up with skewers.?
66 Yet the minor poets, I apprehend, ex" An involuntary fit of laughter, that ceed that amount, and the major poets, made the very shores re.echo, here burst (added Bourne,) some of whom are about from Bourne and Morton, in which Elliot as little known, would of themselves aljoined. The boatmen looked up astonished, most fill a library. To these the editors of and so much forgot their steerage that the Shakespeare have resorted ; some of them wherry nearly ran foul of Putney-bridge. were the first to make discoveries in this This circumstance suspended the mirth for unploughed Atlantic, however insignificant a few moments, but after the boat had pass. may be the use they have generally made ed the arch, the conversation was renewed. of them. Yet such a man as Mr Douce
“ I have always thought that Dr Far- knew how to employ them in his “Illusmer, who was a man of learning and judg- trations of Shakespeare,' and I might ment, (resumed Bourne,) was playing oifa name others who have made industry, joke upon the credulity of poor Steevens, learning, taste, and acuteness, combine in never imagining that it could be taken se- investigating the literary history of what riously that Shakespeare had put into the has been often called the Golden Age of mouth of the Prince of Denmark, in re- English poetry.' Among the most disference to the superintending wisdom of tinguished of these you will allow is the Providence, a figure taken from the exalt- editor of the recent reprints of Ben Jonson ed occupation of a skewer-maker. I re- and Nassinger. Can you wonder then, collected the note immediately after you notwithstanding the admitted disgrace repeated the first sentence; and I remem- brought upon the pursuit by unlearned ber too, that Dr Drake, in his late volumes knowledge, and the blind zeal of biblioon Shakespeare and his times, quotes it maniacs, who judge only of the value of with as much solemnity as Steevens inserts books by their scarcity, that I and others, it Dr Drake's work is an industrious and with such a field for inquiry before us, useful congregation of facts, and his disser- should enter upon it with ardour, in the tations on Fairies, Witches, &c. have some certainty of finding something in the pronovelty and learning ; but I do not think ductions of between two and three hun. he introduces a single anecdote of, or line dred poets, and innumerable prose writers, regarding, our great dramatist that had not that would well reward our been discovered before : his chief merit is, Pains without toil, and labours without that he has collected scattered materials in
pain ? to one body. Nearly all his knowledge of the literature of the age of Shakespeare is
" You make me envious of your knowderived from the British Bibliographer, ledge, (returned Elliot,) if not ashamed of and productions of the same class.
my own ignorance; and I should be “ His illustrations of the manners of ashamed too, if I were not aware how the age (said Morton) arc amusing, and it many thousands are in the same predicais but justice to admit that he does not pre
ment to keep me in countenance.” pp.
xxviii-xxxii. tend to any great originality, for he freely cites his authorities. The most defective
The mention of this galaxy of poets, and ill-judged part of his labours seems to of whom he knew nothing before, ex
cites Elliot's curiosity; and the fol. O let us loose our sight with shedding lowing conversations pass in Bourne's teares, library, when the friends turn over And with eternall weeping loose our eies : one book after another, with no great Loose breath with sighes, loose minde with
drerie feares, attempt at connection, and the two Loose sense with terror, and loose voice learned critics open upon Elliot, in a
with cries : pleasant and rambling manner, the Still meditating on our miseries, stores of their knowledge upon these Since we haue found our losse, he lost subjects. The first dialogue com
his breath; mences with Mr Bourne taking up a Since we haue lost his helpe, he found little book, which, he says, is
his death! “ Charles Fitzgeffrey's poem on the death But oh! why do we break our hearts with of Sir Francis Drake; the production ob
griefe, viously of a very young man, but with a And to the sencelesse aire sigh forth our great deal about it that is both admirable grones ? and reprehensible. There are few picces Sith all in vain, heavens send us no rethat have greater defects or more striking
liefe, beauties. The title-page is this,— Sir But stop their eares against our piteous Francis Drake, his Honorable Life's com
moanes ? mendation, and his Tragicall Deathe's la- Our sighes as soone may penetrate the mentation. It was printed at Oxford, by Joseph Barnes, in the year 1596."
As heauens hard eares ; therefore do we
plaine, A great many digressions spring And therefore weepe because we weepe from this text; the conversation is on in vaine ! fifty other subjects besides the poem
“ Elliot. I confess that what you have in question, though it always returns just read seems to me but a few degrees to it, and in a pleasing way intro- above mediocrity ; nor do I see much of duces specimens and critical obser- that ambitious effort of which you spoke. vations. The following is a good ex 66 Morton. The last stanza appears to ample of the style in which it is con me the best. I am pretty sure that I have ducted.
seen somewhere plagiarised that line, ' And
therefore weep because we weep in vain ;' “ Bournc. Here, I think, is a tolerably the copier has, I think, a little altered it, fair specinien of Fitzgeffrey's more re “And weep the more because we weep in strained style.
vain.' “ Elliot. Read it. Dr Jolinson, in his - Bourne. It is familiar also to my ear. preface to Shakespeare, says, that those I will give you a quotation or two presentwho endeavour to recommend our great ly, in rather a more animated and aspiring dramatist by select passages, would "
style. cecd like the pedant in Hierocles, who, “ Elliot. In what you read just now when he offered his house to sale, carried there is an obvious anxiety to say soinea brick in his pocket as a specimen;' but thing good, without the accomplishment. in criticising every work this is more or
- Bourne. We ought to recollect that in less unavoidable. “ Bourne. Dr Johnson alludes to mere
all poems of this kind, on the deaths of sententious quotations, detached from all writer in all probability is unconnected,
persons in high stations, with whom the the connecting portions of the scene ; our there must be more or less of what appears extracts shall be longer.
forced and unnatural ; a pumping up for 6 Elliot. The Brit. Bibl. did not even
tears, present us with a brick of the house : the longs to Fitzgeffrey : even George Chap
sighs, and groans, and this defect bewriter of the article thought it necessary to bring only the branch of a tree that grew
man, one of the most eloquent writers of before it-the dedicatory sonnet.
that day, and a little later, and a fine ma“ Bourne. What I am about to read is fine a subject as could well be chosen, I
jestic poet, betrays the same fault upon as from the body of Fitzgeffrey's poem. mean in his Epicede on the death of Henry « O dire mischance! O lamentable losse ! Prince of Wales,' 1012. Impov'rishing the riches of our Ile ;
“ Morton. There is a poetical and a O wherefore should sinister dest’nie crosse
private grief, if one may so say ; in proAnd with her frowne incurtaine fortunes portion as the last prevails, the first cannot smile?
operate : a good poem on a subject of this O now I see she smiles but to beguile!
kind is the result of strong feeling, no O Fortune alwaie to deserts unkinde; doubt, but it must not be immediately actThat England lost, not all the world cd upon : the mind must be something shall finde!
like the sea, which still continues its noble
swell and picturesque motton after the loud some doubt whether some other acute and winds that produced that swell and motion forcible passages' might not also have been have subsided.
bare-faced plagiaries. “ Elliot. Very jast. A good poem of “ Bourne. Among all the authors cited this kind is the effect not merely of pas. by Mr Todd, there is not one who receives sion, but of reflection of feeling regulated such lengthy and distinguished approbation by thought : while passion rages, reflec as R. Junius. tion, of course, is banished; the helm and " Morton. I have been turning over the rudder are carried away in the storm. leaves of his book, and I find here a cu
" Bourne. Fitzgeffrey's lines have had rious passage on which Cowley may have the effect of making you both figurative founded his Naufragium Joculare. and poetical : the first is the most new, 6 Elliot. Indeed, let us hear it. and the last, perhaps, the most applicable. “ Morton. • And have you not heard But to advert for a moment to the subject what Athenæus relates, how a tavern was, of plagiaries, which you mentioned just by the fancy and imagination of a drunken now, I will show you one of the most im- crew, turned into a gally ; who, having a pudent I ever remember, and which I dis- tempest in their heads, caused by a sea of covered only the other day. Here is Fel drinke within, verily thought this taptham's • Resolves,' a book you well know, house on land a pinnace at sea, and the the third edition, bearing date in 1028. In present storm so vehement, that they unthe address to the reader is this passage : laded the ship, throwing the goods out at "I haue so vsed them' (authorities and window, instead of overbord, calling the quotations) as you may see I do not steale constable Neptune, and the officers Trio but borrow. If I do, let the Reader trace tons ; whereupon some got under the tame, and if he will or can, to my shame bles, as if they lay under hatches, another discouer ; there is no cheating like the Fe- holding a great pot for the maste; all crylony of Wit : Hee which theeves that, ing out, that so many brave gentleman robbes the Owner, and coozens those that should be cast away.' heeare him :' an excellent sentiment, ex “ Bourne. It is not very likely that this pressed with the force and terseness that should have given the hint to Cowley, as belong to Feltham. Here, on the other his Latin play was printed in the same hand, is a book called the Drunkard's Cha- year, 1038 ; he might have rend the origiracter, or a true Drunkard with such sins nal, or most probably he had seen Thomas as raigne in him,' &c. by R. Junius, and Heywood's play, · The English Traveller,' the date, observe, is 1638, ten years after (1633,) in which the scene described by the third edition of Feltham's Resolves : Athenæus is humorously brought upon the first sentence of the Deelication to Bi- the stage. shop Hall, the satirist, is this : " I see “ Elliot. But, methinks, we are at sea many make vse of your lines, few acknow. ourselves, and shall soon be beyond our ledge, none return to giue thanks : but reckoning: if we go out of our course for no cheating like the fellony of wit, for he the sake of giving chase to pirates in this which thecues that, robs the owner, and way, we shall never reach the end of our coosens all that hcare him.'
present voyage-the end of Fitzgeffrey's “ Elliot. A most unblushing thief and
poem. cheat by his own confession ; at the mo “ Morton. Our pilate led us out of our ment too, when this Mr R. Junius was ac track. cusing others of making use of Hall's lines “ Bourne. I beg pardon ; the crew muwithout acknowledgment.
tiniell, and ran away with the ship :-how** Bourne. Yet Junius's book has many ever, the joke is not worth keeping up; we eloquent passages in it, and, upon the are now again in a direct course, with the whole, merits much of the praise bestowed greatest navigator of the world to steer us npon it by the Rev. Mr Todd, in the in. —Sir Francis Drake. troductory matter to his new edition of
“ Elliot. Do not suppose from my interJohnson's Dictionary, where he devotes the ruption, that I am generally averse to these following sentence to the Drunkard's Cha- digressions, excepting when we are really racter : 'An octavo of near 900 pages, wandering too far.- C'est élre,' (observes in many of which are very acute and for- Montaigne,) mais ce n'est pas vivre, que cible passages and descriptions, It is de
se tenir attaché et obligé par necessité à un dicated to Bishop Hall, to whom, as to scul train.' other authors, he professes his obligations ;
“ Bourne. I think so too, but the difficommencing his address with this just and culty is first to fix bounds, and afterwards pithy remark,' quoting the very words
to observe them.” pp. 22–28. stolen from Feltham. Had the reverend editor been aware of the theft, he might
We believe we must here fix our have been less sparing of his applause of bounds for the present; but we are the thief.
happy to think that this amusing and « Elliot. And might have entertained well-written “ Much ado about No
thing" may afford us matter for quo- properly called miscellaneous, for all the tation for some Numbers to come. It rest have one leading object, more or less will always be a resource in case of strictly pursued. Thus in the first, a very want, and it reads rather more smooth- rare poem of much talent by Fitzgeffrey
, ly than our lamented friend Dryas- may be said to be the ground-work; ali Lust, or even than the Letters from ing to illustrate it
. The second treats parHolland, for which we are under so ticularly of the rise and progress of undramuch obligation to an anonymous matic blank verse in English, used at least author. We may inform our read
a century before the publication of Paraers, by the bye, that two more epis- dise Lost. The four next conversations tles will complete that interesting are devoted to the origin and improvement series, and we shall give them both in of satirical poetry, of which Bishop Hall, our next Number.—Before leaving with a little of what Lord Bacon calls - the Mr Collier, we must debate with him varnish of boasting,' falsely claims, and has a little on the accusation of plagiary been generally admitted to be the earliest which he brings against poor Mr R. inventor or practiser, when, in truth, he
was preceded by several celebrated writers. Junius. We rather think there is no
The seventh contains a collection of cu. plagiary in the case, and that this.in. rious poems, independently of such as the passage from Feltham, so well known, furtherance of the main designs. The that it had probably become proverhe eighth criticises an original novel, on which ial, and did not require the author's Shakespeare founded his • Twelfth Night, name to be mentioned. This is the very recently discovered, and unknown to way in which (as Dr Paley shows in all his numerous editors: it also adverts to his Evidences) passages in Scripture other productions to which our great draare often given by the older Fathers; matic bard was indebted. The ninth and
tenth conversations embrace a review of and now, certainly we might quote, Who steals my purse steals trash, 'twas against theatrical performances, from the
many of the most rare productions for and mine, 'tis his, &c.
carliest times to the Restoration : it, of without thinking it necessary to say
course, includes not a few interesting parthat the author of the sentiment is ticulars illustrative of the history of the Shakespeare. This is both a more stage, and some tracts that have hitherto
cscaped notice." pp. vii-ix. charitable and a more probable account of Mr Junius's procedure, than the supposition of the plagiary. It is scarcely possible that he should have taken one of the most striking sen We had just finished our remarks tences out of a very popular book, and on Mr Collier, and were sitting with palmed it for his own, at the end of a much complacency in our Editorial armdedication, too, to a man of wit and chair, looking up to the ceiling of the letters, who must have known it per- room, somewhat after the mode of Sir fectly, supposing his other readers Percy Shafton in the Monastery, when to have been blind. We think Mr the door opened, and two of our most Collier will, upon consideration, be familiar companions entered. Somesatisfied that we are in the right, and, how or other we had never been able in a second edition of his Decameron, to impress them with any profound he may put our explanation, if he respect for the dignity of our high of pleases, into the mouth of Mr Elliot fice; and they were so rude on the or Mr Morton, and we shall not present occasion as to burst out into charge him with a plagiary, but shall a loud fit of laughter, when they disbe very well pleased to find our opi- covered the manner in which we had nion emanating from such respectable been employed. They began, too, to authority as that of either of these lay hold of our papers, as we were gentlemen. We shall add only, in conveying them into a private drawer, conclusion, what we ought rather to and that drawer being opened, their have begun with, the view which our sacrilegious hands were immediately author has given, in his preface, of the in the heart of it, disembowelling it subjects chiefly discussed in these of its contents, without shame or reconversations.
We were much piqued, no “ There is but one of the succeeding doubt, and remonstrated with becomonversations, the seventh, which can be ing spirit, but Jannes and Jambres
THE MODERN DECAMERON.
(for so we beg leave to designate these this ?” To the Editor of the Edingentlemen) would take no reproof, burgh Magazine. but very soon had our whole drawer emptied on the floor, amidst conti
Sir, the following was written by a wore nued peals of aosolos yeuws, as Ho- thy but unfortunate young man, a farmer's
son, previous to his departure for Jamaica, mer expresseth it. We saw there was
and as I think the piece has some merit, nothing for it, but to humour the the insertion of it in your Magazine will joke ; and, now gentlemen, (said much oblige, &c. we,) since you have scattered our
“Well, shall I read a stanza, Mr valuable MSS. like the Sybill's leaves,
Editor ?" “ We authorize you to do be so good as collect them again, and put them in the order in which you (said Jannes,) for Heaven's sake, come
“My dear fellow,
so, (we replied.”) found them.” “ My dear friends, down from your High Jinks. I shall (saíd Jannes,) for I must address you, not allow you to be a pluralist any Mr Editor, 'it seems, in the plural where but in print; but give us the number, your papers shall be all put
stanza, Jambres. right before we go, but Jambres and I must first have a little peep into Jambres. Loud roars the blast frae Siedlaw them.” “ You have lighted (said mountain, we) upon the poet's corner, and have And chilled by frost is ilka fountain ; let'in the day upon many
While I the weary hours am countin'
Frae mortal eye, ductions which might else never have been roused from their dark
My sighs high wi' the breeze are mountin' repose.
Alang the sky. Since we have entered upon these high functions, we have made a grand I wander out to mourn wi' nature, discovery that every human being is
An' sigh o'er ilka alter'd feature ;
Ah winter, winter, sair you treat her a poet ; we suspect poetry, indeed, is
An' gar her mourn, a necessary consequence of original or
An' wi' your whistling blasts you beat ber birth-sin; and that may be the mean
At ilka turn.ing of the saying, ' Poeta nascitur, non fit. All that huge mass of papers on
The storm alang the the floor are the accumulations of Hold, I beseech you, (said this itching humour, which have Jannes,) if you give us any more of grown upon us in the course of a few this, I shall be uncharitable enough months. One half of them we have to hope, that the poet encountered a never read, and we now look upon them more fatal storm in his way to Jamaiwith as hopeless an eye, as the Lord ca, and that 'the remorseless deep Chancellor of England did upon the closed o'er the head of the loved ever-growing mass of cases for his de- Lycidas.' What follows? Doggrel cision.” “You must appoint us (said verses, I think; have you ever seen Jannes) your Vice-Chancellors to help them, Mr Editor ?” you through. I doubt not but we shall Edit. O yes, they were sent me make a pretty dispatch.” Jambres (since I must not say us) for publicain the meantime had opened one of tion last February, and are a list of Mr Collier's volumes, and having read errata in verse for the January Numa page or two,-“ I do not see (says ber. he) but that you will find as much Jannes. There is something novel good stuff upon the carpet as this in- in the idea at least ; read them if you genious gentleman has been able to please ; but do not mouth them too glean out of the refuse of Old English much. poetry, and probably we may get hints Edit. I see what you are afterfor conversation and criticism no less and I suspect you to be one of those entertaining and discursive than his very good-natured friends, with whom interlocutors derived from their black- the world abounds, who will never let letter treasures. We cannot, to be a joke go down, but, if a man has sure, have much to say about dates or once been made a little ridiculous, are editions; but in other respects, I be- determined to remind him of it to the lieve, we may place your modern ver- end of the chapter, long after he himsifiers nearly along-side of his an- self has forgotten it, and has lost every eient ones. Let us see what comes feeling of irritation on the subject. first, for we must take whatever our Mouth say you? --No! I shall “ speak haul will bring to hand. What is the speech trippingly on the tongue.