Зображення сторінки

a permanent friendship. Moreorer, there is oftentimes a danger of indulging sceptical opinions amongst this sparkling tribe: novelty is sometimes amusing, but good sense alone is substantial. I once knew a witty young lady, who, on being asked whether she had ever read Locke's Reasonableness of Christianity, replied, that she understood it was first published in the 17th century, and contained all the false metaphysics of that age!

4. The Charming Belle is the counterpart of the Delightful Beau ; she talks, she sings, she plays charmingly: she looks charmingly at a concert, but more charmingly in the dress of a Spanish Count' at a masquerade. There is, however, occasionally, a mixture of gravity in these charming Belles ; for a pensive and meditative air sometimes heightens the expression of a beautiful face. The principal wish of them is, to be thought, in every respect, charming creatures: at their devotions, or during their studies, they hope equally to charm; though it oftentimes happens that they fail to charm the heart, and to secure, what they are most anxious to obtain, an amiable and excellent gentleman for a partner through life.

5. The Smart Belle I would designate as a young lady always anxious for the reputation of being dressed in the very pink of fashion—so that she may be considered as a model for others, and, in consequence, a sort of standard of taste-about which philosophers have so ridiculously wrangled. These smart Belles, however, are not free from a portion of vanity and conceit; and if nature has been kind enough to form them in one of her choicest moulds, they take care to convince us of their sense of such a favour, by walking, sitting, or reclining in the most gracefully-studied attitudes. The foot is sure to project beyond the usual limits, under the Grecian-bordered flounce of a transparent gown; and the eye is constantly at work, like a wheel turning on its axis, to discover to what part of their dress the attention of the bystanders is directed. I question whether a young lady of this description

does not experience ten times more anxiety and more tification than does the most homely-featured Miss in his majesty's united kingdoms.

6. The Captivating Belle seems formed of quite ethereal matter. She neither talks, nor looks, nor conducts herself as an ordinary human being. She is far beyond the charming Belle, inasmuch as downright captivation exceeds a mere charm. She carries, every thing by assault and storm—and while others are pursuing the usual quiet routine of courtship, she is determined to conquer her lover by a coup de mainneither parleys nor delays are granted. Women of this description live in a constant state of flutter and alarm

they are perpetually dreading a rival—some fresh constellation in the hemisphere of fashion, which is to shine with brighter rays, and to excite a more general admiration. Of domestic duties they entertain very limited and imperfect notions--they are born for a larger sphere of action, for a wider range among the follies and absurdities of the world. Their chief excellence consists in playing and singing—and in these departments they captivate beyond expression : but the worst of it is, mankind like to be captivated with qualifications a little more substantial--for the remembrance of these die away almost as soon as the sounds which are produced.

7. The Accomplished Belle. It is difficult to do justice to this species of the fair sex,----for it comprehends a vast variety, and includes a very general description of young ladies. The word "accomplished" has, in regard to this subject, a very particular meaning: it is not solely confined to the improvements of the mind or the virtues of the heart it has no exclusive reference to domestic duties to the needle, or the book-but comprehends rather those attainments which arise froin dress, from playing, from singing, and from dancing. Thus, the daughter of a tradesman is as accomplished as the daughter of a nobleau : andithe sounds of the piano or the harp are as frequently heard to proceed from behind the shop, as from the splendid drawing

room above. In regard to dress, we oftentimes see the former young lady as fashionably attired as the latterfor muslin is muslin, and rouge is rouge, apply them as you please. Money purchases accomplishments: it is a mistaken notion to imagine that intellectual pursuits or domestic virtues produce the accomplished Belle. The music-master, and the dancing-master, and the charming shops in Bond-street, with a little dash of confidence and colloquial fluency--these are the chief sources from which I would recommend all young ladies to make themselves accomplished.

8. The Aged Belle is immediately known by an affected air and studied spriglıtliness of demeanour. She talks much more than either of the foregoing of her class, and puts on a greater superabundance of ornaments. Her cheeks glow with more colour, and her dress betrays a more liberal turn of thinking. A blooming miniature of a fancied lover supplies the place of a faded one of her father; and though it is with

difficulty she can ascend her carriage steps, she never refuses a partner at a ball, because it is the fashion to slide down a dance. But follow her to her home and see the fretful airs and indignant passions into which she is thrown-because some one more engaging has received greater attentions than herself. A faro-table, or some other ingenious gaming amusement, is resorted to as the most efficacious method of revenge for past vexations; and if a young captain or country squire wins of her a few sovereigns, she retires to repose, vastly gratified.



Unfit for toil, unable to collect
A fix'd attention; pain'd to grasp the thoughts
That books present, or close pursue mine own;
Weak, weary, wretched, at the sultry bour

Of noon I issue forth with nerves unstrung,
Half-lifeless, and unheeding where I stray,
Till, cross'd the sun-burnt lawn, I reach at lengtli,
With many a slow sad step, the sloping bank,
Where the pale willow droops athwart the stream;
Here, though I taste not gladness, will I stretch
My languid frame beneath the chequer'd shade,
Haply to find a mitigated pain,
And lighten'd feel this burthen of myself,
Till day's meridian fierceness be o'erpast.

[ocr errors]


Now all is mute, and the right-downward beam, That browns the pasturage, and drains each flower Of all its freshness, shrivelling up its leaves, Falls too on herd and cattle; round the deer Lie faint beneath their beech-shades, while the flocks Stand idly in the shallows of the brook, Fanning off insects with the slow-swung tail. Where now are all the gambols of their young, The frisking antics of the morning hour? When midst the fresh and sparkling dew they leap'd, And the cool air breathed gladness? Now the lark, That with the sun had risen, and upward sprung Joyous to heaven-gate, carolling her lay, Folds up her russet pinion, and withdraws, Languid and silent, to yon inmost grove. Such o'er all nature is th' oppressive sway Of noon-tide heat: ah! like the leaden mace Of Tyranny, that numbs each heaven-born power, And levels low all energies of mind; Or the yet heavier role of dumb Despair, That with its weight breaks down each inward spring.

Me, too, th' intenseness of the sultry beam
Has sunk in languor, drain'd my nimble spirits,
Exhaled the health and marrow of my brain;
A heavier load of atmosphere appears
To press around me; painful 'tis to breathe,
An effort ev'n to lift the listless hand.
Yet not alone with herds and flocks I share

Meridian feebleness. Ah me! 'twere well
If this close air and burning sun subdued
Only my animal frame: but who can tell
The wretchedness, the loathing of my life,
With its vain toils, vain pleasures, that attend
This Incubus of Day? who can recount
All the sad thoughts he wakes within my breast ?

Time was, when, eager in life's joyous prime,
This bosom knew no heaviness; gay Pleasure
Danced like a blooming nymph before my path,
And, pointing to her rose-bowers, beckond me
To pluck their sweetness; ardent fancy sketch'd,
With rainbow hues, upon the pendent veil
That hid futurity, a brilliant scene,
Fields ever fair, and skies without a cloud;
Then every nerve was thrilld with hope and joy;
Or, if a transient sorrow claim'd a tear,
It fell and vanish'd like an April shower ;
And all again was sunshine, promise, peace :
Or, if I upward look'd, lo! Glory sate
High on a rock, and cheer'd me to ascend,
To claim a niche within the marble fane
That crown'd the steep. With glowing breast I heaved
From the low vale, and bounded at her call,
Like a young roe along the mountain side.

These days_no more of them-Oh! gone they are, For ever gone.

Even in the spring of life
The rose-buds died. The curtain is drawn up,
And lo! the scene is sad reality.

And did I fondly ween, Ambition, crown'd With glad success, would compensation yield For Pleasure's lie, for Fancy's vanish'd bliss !

Ah! envied few, ye comrades of my youth, With whom I started in life's eager race, And like whose glorious course mine might have proved; Nor lingering, nor misled, with panting hearts

« НазадПродовжити »