« PreviousContinue »
pierce into the nature of things by the mere house had its protecting gods, which had blessed effort of the will, arrived at conclusions visible | the inmate's ancestors, and which would bless to none but their own yearning and impatient him also, if he cultivated the social affections : eyes, and lost themselves in the ethereal dog for the same word which expressed piety towards matisms of Plotinus and Porphyry.
the Gods expressed love towards relations and The greatest pleasure arising to a modern friends. If in all this there was nothing but imagination from the ancient mythology, is in the worship of a more graceful humanity, there a mingled sense of the old popular belief and may be worships much worse as well as much of the philosophical refinements upon it. We better. And the divinest spirit that ever aptake Apollo, and Mercury, and Venus, as peared on earth has told us that the extension shapes that existed in popular credulity, as of human sympathy embraces all that is rethe greater fairies of the ancient world : and quired of us, either to do or to foresee. we regard them, at the same time, as personi- Imagine the feelings with which an ancient fications of all that is beautiful and genial in believer must have gone by the oracular oaks the forms and tendencies of creation. But of Dodona ; or the calm groves of the Eumethe result, coming as it does, too, through nides ; or the fountain where Proserpine avenues of beautiful poetry, both ancient and vanished under ground with Pluto; or the modern, is so entirely cheerful, that we are apt Great Temple of the mysteries at Eleusis ; or to think it must have wanted gravity to more the laurelled mountain Parnassus, on the side believing eyes. We fancy that the old world of which was the temple of Delphi, where saw nothing in religion but lively and graceful Apollo was supposed to be present in person. shapes, as remote from the more obscure and Imagine Plutarch, a devout and yet a liberal awful hintings of the world unknown, as believer, when he went to study theology and physics appear to be from the metaphysical; as philosophy at Delphi : with what feelings the eye of a beautiful woman is from the inward must he not have passed along the woody speculations of a Brahmin; or a lily at noon- paths of the hill, approaching nearer every inday from the wide obscurity of night-time. stant to the divinity, and not sure that a glance
This supposition appears to be carried a of light through the trees was not the lustre great deal too far. We will not inquire, in this of the god himself going by! This is mere place, how far the mass of mankind, when these poetry to us, and very fine it is ; but to him it shapes were done away, did or did not escape was poetry, and religion, and beauty, and from a despotic anthropomorphitism ; nor how gravity, and hushing awe, and a path as from far they were driven by the vaguer fears, and one world to another. the opening of a more visible eternity, into With similar feelings he would cross the avoiding the whole subject. rather than court- ocean, an element that naturally detaches the ing it; nor how it is, that the nobler practical re- mind from earth, and which the ancients ligion which was afforded them, has been unable regarded as especially doing so. He had been to bring back their frightened theology from in the Carpathian sea, the favourite haunt of the angry and avaricious pursuits into which Proteus, who was supposed to be gifted above they fled for refuge. But, setting aside the every other deity with a knowledge of the portion of terror, of which heathenism partook causes of things. Towards evening, when the in common with all faiths originating in uncul- winds were rising, and the sailors had made tivated times, the ordinary run of pagans were their vows to Neptune, he would think of the perhaps more impressed with a sense of the old“ shepherd of the seas of yore,” and believe invisible world, in consequence of the very it possible that he might become visible to his visions presented to their imagination, than eyesight, driving through the darkling waters, the same description of men under a more and turning the sacred wildness of his face toshadowy system. There is the same difference wards the blessed ship. between the two things, as between a populace In all this, there is a deeper sense of another believing in fairies, and a populace not believ- world, than in the habit of contenting oneself ing. The latter is in the high road to some- with a few vague terms and embodying nothing thing better, if not drawn aside into new terrors but Maminon. There is a deeper sense of on the one hand or mere worldliness on the another world, precisely because there is a other. But the former is led to look out of deeper sense of the present ; of its varieties, the mere worldly common-places about it, its benignities, its mystery. It was a strong twenty times to the other's once. It has a sense of this, which made a living poet, who sense of a supernatural state of things, how- is accounted very orthodox in his religious ever gross. It has a link with another world, opinions, give vent, in that fine sonnet, to his from which something like gravity is sure to impatience at seeing the beautiful planet we strike into the most cheerful heart. Every live upon, with all its starry wonders about it, forest, to the mind's eye of a Greek, was so little thought of, compared with what is haunted with superior intelligences. Every ridiculously called the world. He seems to stream had its presiding nymph, who was have dreaded the symptom, as an evidence of thanked for the draught of water. Every materialism, and of the planets being dry selfexisting things, peopled with mere successive Candid inquiries into one's decumbency, mortalities, and unconnected with any super- besides the greater or less privileges to be intendence or consciousness in the universe allowed a man in proportion to his ability of about them. It is abhorrent from all we think keeping early hours, the work given his faculand feel, that they should be so : and yet ties, &c. will at least concede their due merits Love might make heavens of them, if they to such representations as the following. In were.
the first place, says the injured but calm · The world is too much with us. Late and soon,
appealer, I have been warm all night, and find Getting and spending we lay waste our powers :
my system in a state perfectly suitable to a Little we see in Nature that is ours:
warm-blooded animal. To get out of this state We liave given our hearts away, a sordid boon! into the cold, besides the inharmonious and This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon;
uncritical abruptness of the transition, is so The Winds that will be howling at all hours, Add are upgathered now like sleeping flowers;
unnatural to such a creature, that the poets, For this, for every thing, we are out of tune; refining upon the tortures of the damned, It moves is not --Great God! I'd rather be
make one of their greatest agonies consist in A Pagan suickled in a creed outworn,
being suddenly transported from heat to cold, So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
—from fire to ice. They are “haled” out of Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn ; Ilave sight of Proteus coming from the sea,
their “beds,” says Milton, by “ harpy-footed Or hear old Triton blow his wreathed horn.“
furies,”—fellows who come to call them. On my first movement towards the anticipation of getting up, I find that such parts of the sheets and bolster, as are exposed to the air of the
room, are stone-cold. On opening my eyes, XXIV.-GETTING UP ON COLD
the first thing that meets them is my own MORNINGS.
breath rolling forth, as if in the open air, like An Italian author-Giulio Cordara, a Jesuit smoke out of a chimney. Think of this symp-has written a poem upon insects, which he tom. Then I turn my eyes sideways and see begins by insisting, that those troublesome the window all frozen over. Think of that. and abominable little animals were created Then the servant comes in. “It is very
cold for our annoyance, and that they were certainly this morning, is it not ?”—“ Very cold, Sir.”—pot inhabitants of Paradise. We of the north “Very cold indeed, isn't it ?”—“Very cold inmay dispute this piece of theology; but on the deed, Sir.”—“ More than usually so, isn't it, other hand, it is as clear as the snow on the even for this weather ?” (Here the servant's house-tops, that Adam was not under the wit and good-nature are put to a considerable necessity of shaving ; and that when Eve test, and the inquirer lies on thorns for the walked out of her delicious bower, she did not answer.) “ Why, Sir ....I think it is.” step upon ice three inches thick.
(Good creature ! There is not a better, or Some people say it is a very easy thing to more truth-telling servant going.) “I must get up of a cold morning. You have only, rise, however-get me some warm water.”— they tell you, to take the resolution ; and the Here comes a fine interval between the departhing is done. This may be very true ; just ture of the servant and the arrival of the hot as a boy at school has only to take a flogging, water; during which, of course, it is of “ and the thing is over. But we have not at all use ?” to get up. The hot water comes. “ Is made up our minds upon it ; and we find it a it quite hot ?"_“Yes, Sir.”—“Perhaps too hot very pleasant exercise to discuss the matter, for shaving : I must wait a little ?”—“No candidly, before we get up. This at least is Sir ; it will just do." (There is an over-nice not idling, though it may be lying. It affords propriety sometines, an officious zeal of virtue, an excellent answer to those, who ask how a little troublesome.) “Oh-the shirt-you lying in bed can be indulged in by a reasoning must air my clean shirt ;-linen gets very being, - a rational creature. How? Why damp this weather.”—“ Yes, Sir.” Here an. with the argument calmly at work in one's other delicious five minutes. A knock at the head, and the clothes over one's shoulder. Oh door. “Oh, the shirt—very well. My stock-it is a fine way of spending a sensible, ings- I think the stockings had better be aired impartial half-hour.
too.”—“ Very well, Sir." —Here another interIf these people would be more charitable, val. At length everything is ready, except they would get on with their argument better. myself. I now, continues our incumbent (a But they are apt to reason so ill, and to assert happy word, by the bye, for a country vicar) so dogrnatically, that one could wish to have -I now cannot help thinking a good deal --them stand round one's bed of a bitter morn- who can l-upon the unnecessary and villaning, and lie before their faces. They ought to ous custom of shaving: it is a thing so unmanly hear both sides of the bed, the inside and out. (here I nestle closer)–so effeminate (here I If they cannot entertain themselves with their recoil from an unlucky step into the colder own thonghts for half an hour or so, it is not part of the bed.)-No wonder that the Queen the fault of those who can.
of France took part with the rebels against
no our own
that degenerate King, her husband, who first affronted her smooth visage with a face like
XXV.-THE OLD GENTLEMAN. her own. The Emperor Julian never showed the luxuriancy of his genius to better advan- Our Old Gentleman, in order to be exclu. tage than in reviving the flowing beard. Look sively himself, must be either a widower or a at Cardinal Bembo's picture at Michael bachelor. Suppose the former. We do not Angelo's—at Titian's — at Shakspeare's — at mention his precise age, which would be inviFletcher's—at Spenser's — at Chaucer's - at dious :-nor whether he wears his own hair or Alfred's—at Plato's — I could name a great a wig; which would be wanting in universality. man for every tick of my watch.—Look at the If a wig, it is a compromise between the more Turks, a grave and otiose people. Think of modern scratch and the departed glory of the Haroun Al Raschid and Bed-ridden Hassan.- toupee. If his own hair, it is white, in spite of Think of Wortley Montague, the worthy son his favourite grandson, who used to get on the of his mother, above the prejudice of his time chair behind him, and pull the silver bairs out, -Look at the Persian gentlemen, whom one is ten years ago. If he is bald at top, the hair. ashamed of meeting about the suburbs, their dresser, hovering and breathing about him like dress and appearance are so much finer than a second youth, takes care to give the bald
- Lastly, think of the razor itself, place as much powder as the covered ; in order how totally opposed to every sensation of bed that he may convey to the sensorium within a -how cold, how edgy, how hard ! how utterly pleasing indistinctness of idea respecting the different from anything like the warm and exact limits of skin and hair. He is very clean circling amplitude, which
and neat; and, in warm weather, is proud of
opening his waistcoat half-way down, and Sweetly recommends itself Unto our gentle senses.
letting so much of his frill be seen, in order to
show his hardiness as well as taste. His watch Add to this, benumbed fingers, which may and shirt-buttons are of the best ; and he does helpyou to cut yourself, a quivering body, a fro- not care if he has two rings on a finger. If his zen towel, and a ewer full of ice; and he that watch ever failed him at the club or coffee
nothing to oppose in all this, only house, he would take a walk every day to the shows, that he has no merit in opposing it. nearest clock of good character, purely to keep
Thomson the poet, who exclaims in his it right. He has a cane at home, but seldom Seasons
uses it, on finding it out of fashion with his
elderly juniors. He has a small cocked hat for Falsely luxurious! Will not man awake?
gala days, which he lifts higher from his head used to lie in bed till noon, because he said he than the round one, when bowed to. In his had no motive in getting up. He could imagine pockets are two handkerchiefs (one for the the good of rising ; but then he could also neck at night-time), his spectacles, and his imagine the good of lying still ; and his ex
pocket-book. The pocket-book, among other clamation, it must be allowed, was made upon things, contains a receipt for a cough, and summer-time, not winter. We must propor
some verses cut out of an odd sheet of an old tion the argument to the individual character. magazine, on the lovely Duchess of A., beginA money-getter may be drawn out of his bed ningby three or four pence; but this will not suf
When beauteous Mira walks the plain. fice for a student. A proud man may say, He intends this for a common-place book which “What shall I think of myself, if I don't get he keeps, consisting of passages in verse and up ?” but the more humble one will be content prose, cut out of newspapers and magazines, to waive this prodigious notion of himself, out and pasted in columns; some of them rather of respect to his kindly bed. The mechanical gay. His principal other books are Shakspeare's man shall get up without any ado at all ; and Plays and Milton's Paradise Lost ; the Specso shall the barometer. An ingenious lier in tator, the History of England, the Works of bed will find hard matter of discussion even Lady M. W. Montague, Pope and Churchill ; on the score of health and longevity. He will Middleton's Geography; the Gentleman's Maask us for our proofs and precedents of the ill gazine ; Sir John Sinclair on Longevity; effects of lying later in cold weather ; and so- several plays with portraits in character; phisticate much on the advantages of an even Account of Elizabeth Canning, Memoirs of temperature of body; of the natural propensity George Ann Bellamy, Poetical Amusements at (pretty universal) to have one's way; and of Bath-Easton, Blair's Works, Elegant Extracts ; the animals that roll themselves up, and sleep Junius as originally published ; a few pamphall the winter. As to longevity, he will ask lets on the American War and Lord George whether the longest is of necessity the best ; Gordon, &c. and one on the French Revolution. and whether Holborn is the handsomest street In his sitting-rooms are some engravings from in London.
Hogarth and Sir Joshua; an engraved portrait of the Marquis of Granby; ditto of M. le Comte de Grasse surrendering to Admiral Rodney;
a bumorous piece after Penny; and a portrait takes cognizance of the day's information. If of himself, painted by Sir Joshua. His wife's he leaves off, it is only when the door is opened portrait is in his chamber, looking upon his by a new-comer, or when he suspects somebed. She is a little girl, stepping forward with body is over-anxious to get the paper out of his a smile, and a pointed toe, as if going to dance. hand. On these occasions he gives an imporHe lost her when she was sixty.
tant hem! or so; and resumes. The Old Gentleman is an early riser, because In the evening, our Old Gentleman is fond he intends to live at least twenty years longer. of going to the theatre, or of having a game of He continues to take tea for breakfast, in spite of cards. If he enjoys the latter at his own house what is said against its nervous effects ; having or lodgings, he likes to play with some friends been satisfied on that point some years ago by whom he has known for many years ; but an Dr. Johnson's criticism on Hanway, and a great elderly stranger may be introduced, if quiet liking for tea previously. His china cups and and scientific ; and the privilege is extended to saucers have been broken since his wife's death, younger men of letters; who, if ill players, are all but one, which is religiously kept for his good losers. Not that he is a miser, but to use. He passes his morning in walking or win money at cards is like proving his victory riding, looking in at auctions, looking after his by getting the baggage ; and to win of a India bonds or some such money securities, younger man is a substitute for his not being furthering some subscription set on foot by his able to beat him at rackets. He breaks up excellent friend Sir John, or cheapening a new early, whether at home or abroad. old print for his portfolio. He also hears of At the theatre, he likes a front row in the the newspapers ; not caring to see them till pit. He comes early, if he can do so without after dinner at the coffee-house. He may also getting into a squeeze, and sits patiently cheapen a fish or so ; the fishmonger soliciting waiting for the drawing up of the curtain, with his doubting eye as he passes, with a profound his hands placidly lying one over the other on bow of recognition. He eats a pear before the top of his stick. He generously admires dinner.
some of the best performers, but thinks them His dinner at the coffee-house is served up far inferior to Garrick, Woodward, and Clive. to him at the accustomed hour, in the old During splendid scenes, he is anxious that the accustomed way, and by the accustomed waiter. little boy should see. If William did not bring it, the fish would be sure
He has becn induced to look in at Vauxhall to be stale, and the flesh new. He eats no tart; again, but likes it still less than he did years or if he ventures on a little, takes cheese with back, and cannot bear it in comparison with it. You might as soon attempt to persuade Ranelagh. He thinks everything looks poor, him out of his senses, as that cheese is not good flaring, and jaded. “Ah!” says he, with a sort for digestion. He takes port; and if he has of triumphant sigh, “Ranelagh was a noble drunk more than usual, and in a more private place ! Such taste, such elegance, such beauty! place, may be induced by some respectful in. There was the Duchess of Ă., the finest woman quiries respecting the old style of music, to sing in England, Sir ; and Mrs. L., a mighty fine a song composed by Mr. Oswald or Mr. Lampe, creature; and Lady Susan what's her name, such as
that had that unfortunate affair with Sir Chloe, by that borrowed kiss,
Charles. Sir, they came swimming by you like the swans.”
The Old Gentleman is very particular in Come, gentle god of soft repose,
having his slippers ready for him at the fire, or his wife's favourite ballad, beginning- when he comes home. He is also extremely
choice in his snuff, and delights to get a fresh At Upton on the hill, There lived a happy pair.
box-full in Tavistock-street, in his way to the theatre.
His box is a curiosity from India. Of course, no such exploit can take place in He calls favourite young ladies by their Christhe coffee-room : but he will canvass the theory tian names, however slightly acquainted with of that matter there with yon, or discuss the them; and has a privilege of saluting all brides, weather, or the markets, or the theatres, or the mothers, and indeed every species of lady, on merits of " my lord North” or “my lord Rock- the least holiday occasion. If the husband for ingham;" for he rarely says simply, lord; it is instance has met with a piece of luck, he generally“ my lord," trippingly and genteelly instantly moves forward, and gravely kisses the off the tongue. If alone after dinner, his great wife on the cheek. The wife then says, “ My delight is the newspaper ; which he prepares niece, Sir, from the country ;” and he kisses to read by wiping his spectacles, carefully ad- the niece. The niece, seeing her cousin biting justing them on his eyes, and drawing the can- her lips at the joke, says, “My cousin Harriet, dle close to him, so as to stand sideways betwixt Sir;" and he kisses the cousin. He “never his ocular aim and the small type. He then recollects such weather,” except during the holds the paper at arm's length, and dropping “Great Frost," or when he rode down with his eyelids half down and his mouth half open,
“ Jack Skrimshire to Newmarket.” He grows
young again in his little grand-children, espe- A team of Dolphins ranged in array cially the one which he thinks most like him- Drew the smooth charett of sad Cymoent.
They were all taught by Triton to obey self; which is the handsomest. Yet he likes
To the long reins at her commandement : best perhaps the one most resembling his wife; As swift as swallows on the waves they went, and will sit with him on his lap, holding his That their broad flaggy finnes no foam did reare, hand in silence, for a quarter of an hour Ne bubbling roundell they behind them sent.
The rest of other fishes drawen were, together. He plays most tricks with the
Which with their finny oares the swelling sea did sheare. former, and makes him sneeze. He asks little boys in general who was the father of Zebedee's Soon as they been arrived upon the brim children. If his grandsons are at school, he
of the Rich Strand, their charets they forlore;
And let their teamed fishes softly swim often goes to see them; and makes them blush
Along the margent of the foamy shore, by telling the master or the upper-scholars, Lest they their finnes should bruise, and surbeat sore that they are fine boys, and of a precocious Their tender feete upon the stony ground. genius. He is much struck when an old ac
There are a couple of Dolphins like these, in quaintance dies, but adds that he lived too fast ; and that poor Bob was a sad dog in his
Raphael's Galatea. Dante, with his tendency youth ; "a very sad dog Sir; mightily set
to see things in a dreary point of view, has upon a short life and a merry one."
given an illustration of the agonies of some of
the damned in his Inferno, at once new, fine, When he gets very old indeed, he will sit for whole evenings, and say little or nothing ;
and horrible. It is in the 22d book," Come i dd. but informs you, that there is Mrs. Jones (the sini,"&c. Hesays that some wretches, swimming
in one of the gulfs of hell, shot out their housekeeper)—“ She'll talk.”
backs occasionally, like Dolphins, above the pitchy liquid, in order to snatch a respite from
torment; but darted them back again like XXVI. DOLPHINS.
lightning. The devils would prong them as Our old book-friend, the Dolphin, used to be
they rose. Strange fancies these for main
taining the character of religion ! confounded with the porpus ; but modern
Hear Shakspeare, always the noble and the writers seem to concur in making a distinction
good-natured. We forget of what great chabetween them. We remember being much mortified at this separation ; for having, i
racter he is speaking ; but never was an image
that more singularly yet completely united childhood, been shown something dimly rolling
superiority and playfulness. in the sea, while standing on the coast at twilight, and told with much whispering solemnity
His delights that it was a porpus, we had afterwards learnt Were dolphin-like; and showed themselves above
The element he lived in. to identify it with the Dolphin, and thought we had seen the romantic fish on whom Arion rode playing his harp.
Spenser introduces Arion most beautifully, in all his lyrical pomp, in the marriage of
XXVII.- RONALD OF THE PERFECT the Thames and Medway. He goes before
HAND. the bride, smoothing onwards with the sound
[The following tale is founded on a Scottish tradition. of his harp, like the very progress of the It was intended to be written in verse; which will account water.
for its present appearance.) Then there was heard a most celestiall sound
The stern old shepherd of the air, Of dainty musicke, which did next ensue
The spirit of the whistling hair, Before the Spouse. That was Arion crowned:
The wind, has risen drearily Who, playing on his harp, unto him drew
In the Northern evening sea, The eares and hearts of all that goodly crew;
And is piping long and loud That even yet the Dolphin, which him bore
To many a heavy upcoming cloud, Through the Ægean seas from pirates' view,
Upcoming heavy in many a row, Stood still by him astonished at his lore;
Like the unwieldy droves below And all the raging seas for joy forgot to roar.
Of seals and horses of the sea,
That gather up as drearily,
And watch with solemn visaged eyes
Those mightier movers in the skies. Perhaps in no one particular thing or image, have some great poets shown the different
'Tis evening quick ;-'tis pight:
Is sowing wide the fruitless main, characters of their genius more than in the use
Thick, thick ;-no sight remains the while of the Dolphin. Spenser, who of all his tribe
From the farthest Orkney isle, lived in a poetical world, and saw things as No sight to sea-horse, or to seer, clearly there as in a real one, has never shown But of a little pallid sail, this nicety of realisation more than in the
That seems as if 'twould struggle Dear,
And then as if its pinion pale following passage. He speaks of his Dolphins
Gave up the battle to the gale. with as familiar a detail, as if they were horses
Four chiefs tbere are of special note, waiting at a door with an equipage.
Labouring in that earnest boat;