Abbildungen der Seite

a single observation of its springs, is of the extremes, then the result in exceedingly vague, and may be very the one case would have been 297, incorrect, especially when it is remem- and in the other 837 feet for the elebered that a single degree of Fahren- vation of the place. If 46°.2 was asheit increases or diminishes the result certained to be the uniform temperano less than 270 feet. To illustrate ture of the spring, or the mean of a these observations, I shall apply them number of observations, I am ready to a particular case, which has been to admit that it demonstrates the appealed to as a proof of the accuracy practicability of finding a very near of the method on which I am now approximation to the elevation of a animadverting. It was found that the place by means of its springs, but still temperature of the Crawley spring on it does not remove the objection althe Pentland hills, where it first issues ready stated against assuming the temfrom the ground, was 46o.2, being 2.1 perature found by a single observabelow the standard temperature of the tion, as the true mean temperature, latitude at the level of the sea. Mul or supposing that by this method it tiplying this difference by 270, the is possible to determine, with any result is 567 feet for the elevation of thing like accuracy, the elevation of the spring, being only 3 feet more places whose springs are not examinthan the real height, as found by ed frequently, and at different seasons levelling. This was, no doubt, a sur of the year. To diminish labour in prising coincidence, but if the tempe- any department of science, is certain. rature of the spring was observed only ly desirable, but there is something at one particular season, it was impos- rather imposing than useful in those sible to say that its true mean tempe- attempts to do so, in which accuracy rature was 46°.2, and another obser- is sacrificed to simplicity. vation might have given a very differ I shall now submit to your readers ent result. If we allow 2° for the an- an abstract of observations, from nual variation of its temperature, which they will perceive that the which is more likely to be below than method of finding the mean temperaabove the truth, it may, at a certain ture by the of the daily experiod of the year, be 44o.2, or 48o.2, tremes, however tedious it may be, is if 46°:2 was either of the extremes; not so inaccurate, or so far inferior to , and if 46°.2 be its true mean temper- the method which your correspondent ature, then its actual temperature recommends, as he seems to think. would at one season be 45o.2, and at The temperature of the well and another 47o.2. Supposing the latter spring water, in each year, was taken to be the case, which is the view most three times every month, and the tafavourable to the argument of your ble exhibits the mean result of the correspondent, and that the observa- whole. tion had been made at or near either

[blocks in formation]

Owing to an accident that happen The latter comes in for the forsaken ed to my registering thermometer, I petticoats and disinherited tuckers; am unable to state the mean of the but she is not troubled with pearls daily extremes for 1814, but I have and diamonds, or overburthened with reason to believe that it was about rubies and amethysts. All the cha45.4. It was certainly lower than racters in Congreve would tell for that of 1815, as appeared from the more, if they were not so opulent in means of other observations made at wit and fine fancies. The splendour 10 o'clock, morning and evening, and of their language dazzles the eyes and this fact sufficiently shews that water, dazes the senses, and they become even at the depth of 25 feet, is sensibly “ dark with excessive light.” Of affected in the course of the year by any Congreve our lecturer thus writes : variation in the mean temperature of Congreve is the most distinct the atmosphere. To ascertain the from the others, (Wycherly, Farque true mean temperature of a spring, har, and Vanbrugh,) and the most therefore, a series of observations is easily defined, both from what he necessary, and that too for more than possessed, and from what he wanted. a single year.

R. G. He had by far the most wit and eleJanuary 30th, 1819.

gance, with less of other things, of humour, character, incident, &c. His

style is inimitable, nay perfect. It is MB HAZLITT'S LECTURES ON THE the highest reach of comic dialogue. COMIC GENIUS OF ENGLAND.

Every sentence is replete with sense LECTURE FOURTH.—On Wycherly, lished and pointed terms.

and satire, conveyed in the most po

Every Congreve, Vanbrugh, and Far

page presents a shower of brilliant quhar.

conceits, is a tissue of epigrams in LECTURE FIFTH.On the Periodical

prose, is a new triumph of wit, a new Essayists.

conquest over dulness. The fire of WE

resume our remarks on Mr artful raillery is nowhere else so well Hazlitt's Lectures, which assuredly do kept up. This style, which he was not decrease in interest on a further almost the first to introduce, and acquaintance with them. Congreve's which he carried to the utmost pitch comedies are, perhaps, the finest spe- of classical refinement, reminds one cimens of classical English wit that exactly of Collins's description of wit can be produced ; and we are well as opposed to humour, pleased to see them worthily spoken of by a critic so able and so eloquent

Whose jewels in his crisped hair, as the lecturer, of whose works we are

Are placed each other's light to share." now writing. The spirit of Congreve's The play of Love for Love is one dialogues never goes down, but, on of the best of the whole set. It is the contrary, it acquires fresh strength happier in its plot, more varied in its and elasticity the more it is exercised. characters, richer in its language. The The characters in these inimitable co scenes follow each other with a never medies play a game of repartee and ending sprightliness and variety, and elegant raillery, which is kept alive nothing is wanting in thought or with all the ardour, vigour, and gaie- word. In the very first scene the ty of children at forfeits. They speak conversation between Valentine and in epigrams, and the last speaker is his servant Jeremy would supply fifty sure to have said the liveliest thing. modern comedies with wit. It is a The great charm of Congreve lies not skilful display of mental fencing; so much in his characters as in their and, if Valentine makes many a clase conversation, for he could not abstain sical hit, it is “ like master, like man," from enriching the meanest servant, for Jeremny is 'never unsuccessful in the valet, or the waiting-maid, with the return. Old Foresight is, indeed, those jewels of wit which belonged “a marvel and a secret,"'-a sort of more properly to their masters and hieroglyphic, which it pozes the eyes mistresses. The polished gems of to read. Hiş mind is evidently inthe mind are not usually lavished up- fluenced by the changes of the moon, on the poor and the dependant, any and his eyes are star-struck. You more than the ornaments of the per see in him the' astrologer bewildered son are given by a lady to her maid. in the mysteries and sublimities of


his science, and borne to the brink of Millamant is the perfect model of the madness by hosts of perplexing and accomplished fine lady, vexatious planets. We know of nothing richer than his exclamation,

and in herself seems all delight, when he is contemplating the insanity

So absolute she seems., of Valentine, and writing down the She is the ideal heroine of the comedy wild rhapsodies of the supposed luna- of high life, who arrives at the height tic. He says that “ what most men of indifference to every thing from the call mad, I call inspired.” Munden height of satisfaction, to whom pleco represents this forlorn Man of Fate to sure is as familiar as the air she draws, perfection,-and, in the confusion of -elegance worn as a part of her dress, his dress, the awfulness of his gait, -wit the habitual language which and the intensity of his face, he calls she hears and speaks,-love a matter up Old Foresight“ in his habit as he of course, and who has nothing to lived.” Mrs Frail and Mrs Foresight hope or to fear, her own caprice being are two entertaining wicked women; the only law to herself, and to rule and their mutual exposures and re those about her, her words seem proaches are truly edifying. There composed of amorous sighs,--her looks are more Frails and Foresights in the are glanced at prostrate admirers or world than the world is aware of. envious rivals. The Double Dealer and the Old Bachelor are very slightly spoken of If there's delight in love, 'tis when I see by Mr Hazlitt,--with much less care,

That heart, that others bleed for, bleed for we think, than they deserve. We have not room, or we should be tempt- She refines on her pleasures to satiety, ed to make up for this neglect, by a and is almost stifled in the incense minute detail of their beauties. The that is offered to her person, her wit, Way of the World ---but Mr Hazlitt her beauty, and her fortune. Secure should be heard on this delightful of triumph, her slaves tremble at her play.

frowns,-her charms are so irresisti« The Way of the World was the ble, that her conquests give her neiauthor's last and most carefully finieh- ther surprise nor concern. We are ed performance. It is an essence al- pot sorry to see her tamed down at most too fine; and the sense of plea- last, from her pride of love and beau. sure evaporates in an aspiration after ty, into a wife. She is good-natured something that seems too exquisite and generous, with all her temptations ever to have been realized. After in- , to the contrary; and her behaviour haling the spirit of Congreve’s wit, to Mirabell reconciles us to her treatand tasting " love's thrice reputed ment of Witwould and Petulant, and nectar,” in his works, the head grows of her country admirer, Sir Wilful.”. giddy in turning from the highest After this follows a most admirable point of rapture to the ordinary busi- contrast of the heroine of artificial coness of life, and we can with diffi- medy with that of nature. The lecculty recal the truant Fancy to those turer says, that we think as much of objects which we are fain to take up Millamant's dress as of her person; with 'here, for better, for worse.

but that of Perdita and Rosalind our What can be more enchanting than ideas take a better turn. The poet Millamant and her morning thoughts, has painted them differently, in co her dour sonimeils ? What more pro- lours which“ nature's own sweet voking than her reproach to her lo- and cunning hand laid on ;-with ver, (who proposes to rise early,) health, with innocence, 'wild wit, in" Ah! idle creature ?". The meeting vention ever new,' with pure

red and of these two lovers, after the abrupt white like the wilding's blossoms, dismissal of Sir Wilful, is the height with warbled wood notes like the fear of careless and voluptuous elegance, thered choirs, with thoughts flutter as if they moved in air, anil drank a ing on the wings of imagination, and finer spirit of humanity.

hearts panting and breathless with

eager delight. The interest we feet Millamant. Like Phæbus sung the no less is in themselves,--the admiration they amorous boy.

excite is for themselves." Millaman: Mirabell. Like Daphạe she; as lovely and is, indeed, by far the finest piece of as coy.

fashionable workmanship that mortal

hand ever wrought. She is as gay situations, where the different parties and light as a life of youthful triumphs play upon one another's failings, and can make her. All the court beauties into one another's hand, keeping up were nothing to her ; bút she had the the jest like a game at battledore ani! good luck to be painted by Congreve, shuttlecock, and urging it to the utand not by Sir Peter Lely. It is not most verge of breathless extravagance fair to speak of Congreve's tragedy, or in the mere eagerness of the fray, 'is of his poems; the first is heavy, dull, beyond that of any other of our writand monotonous, the last are meagre ers. His fable is not so profoundly and insipid.

laid, nor his characters so well digesta Wycherly is next mentioned by ed as Wycherly's, who, in these reMr Hazlitt, and meets with “honour spects, bore some resemblance to Fielddue." The character of Peggy, ori- ing. Vanbrugh does not lay the same ginally drawn by hin, is full of spirit deliberate train from the outset to and nature. The name of this joyous the conclusion, so that the whole Hoyden recalls to our memories the hangs together, and tends inevitably, image of one, who never made one from the combination of different heart unhappy but her own,—whose agents and circumstances, to the same voice was the soul of humour and decisive point; but he works out kindness, and whose arch humour scene after scene on the spur of the and happy looks can never, never be occasion, and from the immediate forgotten. We need hardly mention hold they take of his imagination at the name of Mrs Jordan. Perhaps of the moment, without any previous all the actresses that ever made co bias or ultimate purpose, much more medy comic, she was the sprightliest, powerfully, with more nerve, and in a the most natural, the best! We speak richer vein of original invention. His of her with mingled emotions of mirth fancy warms and burnishes out, as if and sorrow ;-of mirth, because her he were engaged in the real scene of name was the watchword of it,-of action, and felt all his faculties sudSorrow, because she is lost to us for denly called out to meet the emerever. Mrs Jordan seemed as if she gency. He had more nature than art: could never help her merriment. It What he does best, he does because was a part of her. It danced in her he cannot help it. He has a masterblack eyes, and was continually med- ly eye to the advantages which certain dling with her features, and at times accidental situations of character preburst from her in a rich gush of laugh- sent to him on the spot, and executes ter. Like the courage of Acres, it the most difficult and rapid theatrical oozed from the palms of her hands. movements at a moment's warning.” From her heart it sprung at once to

Mr Hazlitt contrasts Farquhar with her lip, and played with every word Vanbrugb. The passage is extreme. as it was uttered. We shall never ly good. again see an actress of so unconscious * But we have every sort of good a vivacity.

will towards Farquhar's heroes, who Of Vanbrugh, the following chae have as many peccadillos to answer facter is given in the lectures. It is for, and play as many rogue's tricks, better than any thing we could give : but are honest fellows at bottom. Í "Vanbrugh comes next, and holds know little other difference between his own fully with the best. He is these two capital writers and copyists no writer at all, as to mere author- of nature, than that Farquhar's naship, but he makes up for it by a ture is the better nature of the two. prodigious fund of comic invention. We seem to like both the author and ånd ludicrous combination, bordering his favourites. He has humour, chasomewhat on caricature. Though he racter, and invention, in common with did not borrow from him, he was the other, with a more unaffected much more like Moliere, in genius, gaiety and spirit of enjoyment, which than Wycherly, who professedly imi- overflows and sparkles in this author. tated him. He had none of Con- He makes us laugh from pleasure ofpreve's wit or refinement, and as little tener than from malice. He someof Wycherly's serious manner and where prides himself in having introstudied insight into the springs of duced on the stage the class of comic ebaracter, but his exhibition of it in heroes here spoken of, which has since dramatic contrast and unlooked for become a standard character, and

[ocr errors]



any others.

which represents the warm-hearted er is admitted behind the curtain, rattle-brained, thoughtless, high-spi- and sits down with the writer in his rited young fellow, who floats on the gown and slippers, was a most magback of his misfortunes without re nanimous and undisguised egotist; pining, who forfeits appearances, but but Isaac Bickerstaff, Esq. was the saves his honour,--and he gives us to more disinterested gossip of the two. understand that it was his own. He The French author is contented to did not need to be ashamed of it. describe the peculiarities of his own Indeed, there is internal evidence, mind and person, which he does with that this sort of character is his own, a copious and unsparing hand. The for it pervades his works generally, English journalist good naturedly lets and is the moving spirit that informs you into the secret both of his own them. His comedies have, on this affairs and those of others. A young account, probably a greater appear. lady, on the other side of Temple Bar, ance of truth and nature than almost cannot be seen at hier glass for half a

His incidents succeed day together, but Mr Bickerstaff takes one another with rapidity, but with- due notice of it; and he has the first out premeditation ; his wit is easy intelligence of the symptoms of the and spontaneous. His style animated, belle passion appearing in any young unem barrassed, and flowing; his gentleman at the west end of the characters full of life and spirit, and town. The departures and arrivals of never overstrained so as to “overstep widows, with handsome jointures, eithe modesty of nature,” though they ther to bury their grief in the country, sometimes, from haste and careless, or to procure a second husband in town, ness, seem left in a crude unfinished are punctually recorded in his pages. state. There is a constant ebullition He is well acquainted with the celeof gay laughing invention, cordial brated beauties of the preceding age good humour, and fine animal spirits at the court of Charles II. and the old in his writings. Of the four writers gentleman (as he feigns himself) of here classed together, you would per- ten grows romantic in recounting haps have courted Congreve's ac “ the disastrous strokes which his quaintance most, for his wit and the youth suffered” from the glances of elegance of his manners, -Wycherly's their þright eyes and their unaccountfor his sense and observation on hu- able caprices. In particular, he dwells man nature,-Vanbrugh's for his with secret satisfaction on the recolpower of farcical description and tel- lection of one of his mistresses who ling a story,--and Farquhar's for the left him for a richer rival, and whose pleasure of his society, and the sake constant reproach to her husband, on of good-fellowship.”

occasion of any quarrel between them, T'he fifth lecture is on the periodic was, “ I, that might have married cal essayists,—and when it is recol- the famous Mr Bickerstaff, to be lected that, under this title, the names treated in this manner !” The club of Steele, Addison, Johnson, Goldat the Trumpet consists of a set of smith, &c. are included, it will be persons almost as well worth knowing seen how rich in subject the present as himself. The cavalcade of the juslecture is. After some excellent re tice of the peace, the knight of the marks on this style of writing, Mr shire, the country squire, and the Hazlitt gives a very able character of young gentleman his nephew, who Montaigne, who was the father of the came to wait on him at his chambers, essayists. He then comes to the Tat- in such form and cereniony, seem not ler, of which he thus speaks :

to have settled their order of prece “ The first of these papers that was dence to this hour; and I should attempted in this country was set up hope that the upholsterer and his comby Steele in the beginning of the last panions, who used to sun themselves century, and of all our periodical es in the Green Park, and who broke sayists, the Tatler (for that was the their rest and fortunes to maintain the name he assumed) has always ap- Lalance of power in Europe, stand as peared to me the most amusing and fair a chance for immortality as some agreeable. Montaigne, whom I have modern politicians. Mr Bickerstaff proposed to consider as the father of himself is a gentleman and a scholar, this kind of personal authorship a

a humourist and a man of the world, mong the moderns, in which the read with a great deal of nice easy raireté

« ZurückWeiter »