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THE INDICATOR, a series of papers originally published in weekly numbers, having been long out of print, and repeated calls having been made for it among the booksellers, the author has here made a selection, comprising the greater portion of the articles, and omitting such only as he unwillingly put forth in the hurry of periodical publication, or as seemed otherwise unsuited for present publication, either by the nature of their disquisitions, or from containing commendatory criticisms now rendered superfluous by the reputation of the works criticised.
THE COMPANION, a subsequent publication of the same sort, has been treated in the like manner.
The author has little further to say, by way of advertisement to these pages, except that both the works were written with the same view of inculcating a love of nature and imagination, and of furnishing a sample of the enjoyment which they afford; and he cannot give a better proof of that enjoyment, as far as he was capable of it, than by stating, that both were written during times of great trouble with him, and both helped him to see much of that fair play between his own anxieties aud his natural cheerfulness, of which an indestructible belief in the good and the beautiful has rendered him perhaps not undeserving.
London, Dec. 6, 1833.
I. DIFFICULTY OF FINDING A NAME FOR A WORK OF THIS KIND
VI. PLEASANT MEMORIES CONNECTED WITH VARIOUS PARTS OF THE METRO-
. . . . . . .
There is a bird in the interior of Africa, whose habits would rather seem to belong to the interior of Fairy-land: but they have been well authenticated. It indicates to honey-hunters, where the nests of wild bees are to be found. It calls them with a cheerful cry, which they answer; and on finding itself recognized, flies and hovers over a hollow tree containing the honey. While they are occupied in collecting it, the bird goes to a little distance, where he observes all that passes ; and the hunters, when they have helped themselves, take care to leave him his portion of the food. This is the CUCULUS INDICATOR of Linnæus, otherwise called the Moroc, Bee Cuckoo, or Honey Bird.
There he, arriving, round about doth flie,
1.-DIFFICULTY OF FINDING A NAME | into a jest. It was like that exquisite picture
FOR A WORK OF THIS KIND. of a set of laughers in Shakspeare :NEVER did gossips, when assembled to deter
One rubbed his elbow, thus; and fleered, and swore,
A better speech was never spoke before : mine the name of a new-born child, whose
Another, with his finger and his thumb, family was full of conflicting interests, experi Cried“ Via! We will do't, come what will come !" ence a difficulty half so great, as that which
The third he capered, and cried “ All goes well!"
The fourth turned on the toe, and down he fell. an author undergoes in settling the title for a
With that they all did tumble on the ground, periodical work. In the former case, there is
With such a zealous laughter, so profound, generally some paramount uncle, or prodi That in this spleen ridiculous, appears, gious third cousin, who is understood to have To check their laughter, passion's solemn tears. the chief claims, and to the golden lustre of
Love's LABOUR 's Lost. whose face the clouds of hesitation and jealousy Some of the names had a meaning in their gradually give way. But these children of the absurdity, such as the Adviser, or Helps for brain have no godfather at hand : and yet | Composing ;-the Cheap Reflector, or Every their single appellation is bound to comprise Man His Own Looking-Glass ;—the Retailer, as many public interests, as all the Christian or Every Man His Own Other Man's Wit ;names of a French or a German prince. It is | Nonsense, To be continued. Others were to be modest : it is to be expressive : it is to laughable by the mere force of contrast, as be new : it is to be striking : it is to have the Crocodile, or Pleasing Companion ;-Chaos, something in it equally intelligible to the man or the Agreeable Miscellany ;—the Fugitive of plain understanding, and surprising for the Guide ;-the Foot Soldier, or Flowers of Wit; man of imagination :-in a word, it is to be --Bigotry, or the Cheerful Instructor ;-the impossible.
Polite Repository of Abuse ;-Blood, being a How far we have succeeded in the attain- Collection of Light Essays. Others were sheer ment of this happy nonentity, we leave others ludicrousness and extravagance, as the Pleasto judge. There is one good thing however | ing Ancestor ; the Silent Companion ; the which the hunt after a title is sure to realise ; Tart; the Leg of Beef, by a Layman ; the -a great deal of despairing mirth. We were Ingenious Hatband; the Boots of Bliss; the visiting a friend the other night, who can do Occasional Diner; the Tooth-ache ; Recollecanything for a book but give it a title ; and tions of a Very Unpleasant Nature ; Thoughts after many grave and ineffectual attempts to on Taking up a Pair of Snuffers ; Thoughts on furnish one for the present, the company, after a Barouche-box ; Thoughts on a Hill of Conthe fashion of Rabelais, and with a chair siderable Eminence; Meditations on a Pleasshaking merriment which he himself might / ing Idea ; Materials for Drinking; the Knocker, have joined in, fell to turning a hopeless thing No. I. ;-the Hippopotamus entered at Sta
tioners' Hall; the Piano-forte of Paulus And for a similar reason, the southern EuroÆmilius ; the Seven Sleepers at Cards; the pean is unprepared for a cold day. The houses Arabian Nights on Horseback : — with an in many parts of Italy are summer-houses, infinite number of other mortal murders of unprepared for winter; so that when a fit of common sense, which rose to “push us from cold weather comes, the dismayed inhabitant, our stools," and which none but the wise or walking and shivering about with a little good-natured would think of enjoying.
brazier in his hands, presents an awkward image of insufficiency and perplexity. A few of our fogs, shutting up the sight of everything
out of doors, and making the trees and the II.-A WORD ON TRANSLATION FROM eaves of the houses drip like rain, would adTHE POETS.
monish him to get warm in good earnest. If INTELLIGENT men of no scholarship, on
“the web of our life” is always to be “ of a reading Horace, Theocritus, and other poets,
mingled yarn,” a good warm hearth-rug is not through the medium of translation, have often
the worst part of the manufacture. wondered how those writers obtained their
Here we are then again, with our fire before glory. And they well might. The transla
us, and our books on each side. What shall tions are no more like the original, than a
we do? Shall we take out a Life of somebody, walking-stick is like a flowering bough. It is / or a Theocritus, or Petrarch, or Ariosto, or the same with the versions of Euripides, of
Montaigne, or Marcus Aurelius, or Moliere, Æschylus, of Sophocles, of Petrarch, of Boileau,
or Shakspeare who includes them all? Or &c. &c., and in many respects of Homer.
shall we read an engraving from Poussin or Perhaps we could not give the reader a more
Raphael ? Or shall we sit with tilted chairs, brief, yet complete specimen of the way in
planting our wrists upon our knees, and toastwhich bad translations are made, than by
ing the up-turned palms of our hands, while selecting a well-known passage from Shaks
we discourse of manners and of man's heart peare, and turning it into the common-place
and hopes, with ai least a sincerity, a good kind of poetry that flourished so widely among
intention, and good-nature, that shall warrant us till of late years. Take the passage, for
what we say with the sincere, the good-ininstance, where the lovers in the Merchant
tentioned, and the good-natured ? of Venice seat themselves on a bank by moon
Ah-take care. You see what that oldlight :
looking saucer is, with a handle to it? It is a
venerable piece of earthenware, which may How sweet the moonlight sleeps upon this bank !
have been worth, to an Athenian, about twoHere will we sit, and let the sounds of music Creep in our ears; soft stillness, and the night,
pence; but to an author, is worth a great deal Become the touches of sweet harmony.
more than ever he could-deny for it. And Now a foreign translator, of the ordinary
yet he would deny it too. It will fetch his kind, would dilute and take all taste and fresh
imagination more than ever it fetched potter ness out of this draught of poetry, in a style
or penny-maker. Its little shallow circle oversomewhat like the following :
flows for him with the milk and honey of a
thousand pleasant associations. This is one of With what a charm, the moon, serene and bright, Lends on the bank its soft reflected light!
the uses of having mantel-pieces. You may Sit we, I pray; and let us sweetly hear
often see on no very rich mantel-piece a The strains melodious with a raptured ear;
representative body of all the elements phyFor soft retreats, and night's impressive hour,
sical and intellectual-a shell for the sea, a To harmony impart divinest power.
stuffed bird or some feathers for the air, a curious piece of mineral for the earth, a glass of water with some flowers in it for the visible
process of creation,-a cast from sculpture for III.-AUTUMNAL COMMENCEMENT OF FIRES
the mind of man ;-and underneath all, is the MANTEL-PIECES APARTMENTS FOR STUDY.
bright and ever-springing fire, running up How pleasant it is to have fires again! We through them heavenwards, like hope through have not time to regret summer, when the cold materiality. We like to have any little fogs begin to force us upon the necessity of a curiosity of the mantel-piece kind within our new kind of warmth ;-a warmth not so fine | reach and inspection. For the same reason, as sunshine, but, as manners go, more sociable. we like a small study, where we are almost in The English get together over their fires, as contact with our books. We like to feel them the Italians do in their summer-shade. We about us ;--to be in the arms of our mistress do not enjoy our sunshine as we ought; our Philosophy, rather than see her at a distance. climate seems to render us almost unaware | To have a huge apartment for a study is like that the weather is fine, when it really becomes lying in the great bed at Ware, or being snug so : but for the same reason, we make as much on a mile-stone upon Hounslow Heath. It is of our winter, as the anti-social habits that have space and physical activity, not repose and grown upon us from other causes will allow, concentration. It is fit only for grandeur and