Abbildungen der Seite

like all other converts, by pushing the new costume to extravagance, and looking with supreme contempt upon all those who do not choose to follow your example. This process is perpetually going on in petticoats and principles, trowsers and theories, parties and pellisses, coats and consciences, and forms one great source of the bitterness engendered by judging of men and things from their accidents instead of their elements.

Association sometimes lifts an object out of its materiality, elevates it to the dignity of a sentiment, and endears to our eyes that which is intrinsically revolting or disgusting, as in the case of relics and hideous idols; and sometimes the beauty of the object blinds the mental eye to the ugliness of the moral association, as in the exquisite group in the Baths of Apollo at Versailles, where Louis the Fourteenth is represented as that diety, while his six mistresses, as attendant nymphs, are performing the most menial offices about his person; and yet we forget the detestable baseness of the whole conception in the unrivalled symmetry of the material forms.

Sounds are subject to the same law, for the ear is as great a traitor as the eye, and both are made the playthings of the understanding. As to the sweet tone attributed to joy in our opening extract, surely laughter, apart from association, is as harsh and cacophonous as any modulation of which the voice is susceptible; and if, instead of emanating from merriment, we are told that it is uttered by some maniac, who vociferates

"That laugh appalling, where the features flare,
With joy in which the reason owns no share,"

we are penetrated with instant horrour, and pronounce it the most dissonant yell that ever lacerated our ears. The "quam juvat immitem audire ventum" of the Roman bard, where the howling of the

night storm is made melodious to our souls from the sense of our own security, is but a cowardly and selfish way of setting the wind to music; but if the signal guns of a ship in distress, or the screams of drowning mariners, be mingled with the gale, a painful sympathy imparts dissonance to the whole tune; and if, at the same time our neighbour's stack of chimneys be blown down, and we reflect that our own is equally lofty and crazy, we decidedly think the hubbub altogether worthy of Pandemonium. Instead of thus travelling from the pleasant to the terrible of the same sound, we may reverse the process, and take but one step from the sublime to the ridiculous, if we find that the imaginary thunder which had filled us with such awe was but the rumbling of a cart under an arched gateway.

It would be but decent in the mind, which is thus perpetually deluding the senses, and destroying all approximation towards a standard, if it would at least be consistent with itself; but this is by no means the case. In literature, in intellectuals of all sorts, the meddler, association, is perpetually at his old work of bribing, intimidating, and unsettling the judgment. In poetry, for instance-" Let but a Lord once own" the proverb's somewhat musty, but really one cannot help sometimes exclaiming

"What wretched stuff this Madrigal would be,

In some starved hackney Sonneteer, or me."

Most people judge of the writing by the writer, admiring, as a matter of course, every thing that emanates from the head of Mr. Tomkins, and condemning every thing in the shape of print that is perpetrated by Mr. Simkins. Fashion is as omnipotent in Paternoster Row as at Almack's. There are critics, again, who decide upon a man's poetry by his politics, holding it impossible for any one to make a good rhyme who is independent in his prin

ciples; and it shall go hard but they will prove him to be an advocate of scepticism and obscenity, (whatever be the contents of his book,) if he be an acknowledged reformer. If they really think so, they are to be pitied for thus narrowing to themselves the fountains of literary delight: if they do not, they may merit our contempt, but we cannot still refuse them our commiseration.

Talents and virtue, the good heads and the good hearts, will, however, be generally found to go together; for an enlarged intellect will be aware, that, according to the vulgar adage of honesty being the best policy, amiability is the surest happiness, since we cannot impart without receiving pleasure. Many writers have considered crime such a gross error in calculation as to amount to madness: certain it is, that he who is the most virtuous, is the best consulter of his own interest; while he is at the same time affording the finest evidence of his superior understanding. Nor is there any thing selfish in this feeling; "For true self-love and social are the same," and no man can be accused of egotism, who becomes a blessing to himself by bestowing blessings upon others.


Он, warble not that fearful air!

For, sweet and sprightly though it be,
It wakes in me a deep despair

By its unhallow'd gaiety.

It was the last my Fanny sung,

The last enchanting playful strain

That breathed from that melodious tongue,
Which none shall ever hear again.

From memory's fount what pleasures past
At that one vocal summons flow;
Bliss which I vainly thought would last-
Bliss which but deepens present woe!

Where art thou, Fanny ? can the tomb

Have chill'd that heart so fond and warm-
Ilave turn'd to dust that cheek of bloom-
Those eyes of light-that angel form?

Ah no! the grave resigns its prey :
See, see! my Fanny's sitting there;
While on the harp her fingers play
A prelude to my favourite air.

There is the smile which ever bless'd
The gaze of mine enamour'd eye-
The lips that I so oft have press'd
In tribute for that melody.

She moves them now to sing: bark! hark!
But ah! no voice delights mine ears:
And now she fades in shadows dark;
Or am I blinded by my teara?

Stay yet awhile, my Fanny, stay,

Nor from these outstrech'd arms depart;
'Tis gone!-the vision 's snatch'd away!
1 feel it by my breaking heart.

Lady forgive this burst of pain,
That seeks a sad and short relief,
In coining from a 'wilder'd brain
A solace for impassion❜d grief.

But sing no more that fearful air!
For, sweet and sprightly though it be,

It wakes in me a deep despair

By its unhallow'd' gaiety,


"Animula vagula, blandula,
Hospes, comesque corporis,
Quæ nunc abibis in loca?”

O THOU wondrous arch of azure,
Sun, and starry plains immense!
Glories that astound the gazer
By their dread magnificence!-


O thou ocean, whose commotion
Awes the proudest to devotion!
Must I-must I from ye fly,
Bid ye all adieu-and die?—

O ye keen and gusty mountains,
On whose tops I braved the sky!
O ye music pouring fountains,

On whose marge I lov'd to lie!
O ye posies-lilies, roses,

All the charms that earth discloses!
Must I must I from ye fly,
Bid ye all adieu--and die?

Oye birds, whose matin chorus
Taught me to rejoice and bless!
And ye beasts, whose voice sonorous
Swell'd the hymn of thankfulness!
Learned leisure, and the pleasure
Of the muse, my dearest treasure;
Must I-must I from ye fly,
Bid ye all adieu-and die?

O domestic ties endearing,

Which still chain my soul to earth! O ye friends, whose converse cheering Wing'd the hours with social mirth! Songs of gladness chasing sadness, Wine's delight without its madness; Must I-must I from ye fly,


ye all adieu--and die?

Yes-I now fulfil the fiction

Of the swan that sings in death :-
Earth, receive my benediction;
Air, inhale my parting breath;
Hills and valleys, forest alleys,
Prompters of my muse's sallies;
Fields of green and skies of blue,
Take, oh, take my last adieu.

Yet, perhaps, when all is ended,

And the grave dissolves my frame,
The elements from which 'twas blended
May their several parts reclaim;
Waters flowing, breezes blowing,
Earth, and all upon it growing,
Still may have my alter'd essence
Ever floating in their presence.


« ZurückWeiter »