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Mr. Charles Lamb. John, not being able to bring Matilda,
the chaste daughter of the old Baron FitzTo the Editor:
water, to compliance with his wishes,
causes her to be poisoned in a nunnery. Dear Sir, It is not unknown to you, that about
Scene. John. The Barons : they being sixteen years since I published “Speci
as yet ignorant of the murder, and mens of English Dramatic Poets, who having just come to composition with lived about the Time of Shakspeare.” For the King after tedious wars. Matilda's the scarcer Plays I had recourse to the hearse is brought in by Hubert. Collection bequeathed to the British Mu
John. Hubert, interpret this apparition. seum by Mr. Garrick. But my time was
Hubert. Behold, sir, but short, and my subsequent leisure has
A sad-writ Tragedy, so feelingly discovered in it a treasure rich and exhaustless beyond what I then imagined. Contrived, and acted ; that wild savages
Languaged, and cast; with such a crafty cruelty In it is to be found almost every production would weep to lay their ears to, and (admiring in the shape of a Play that has appeared in
To see themselves outdone) they would conceive print, from the time of the old Mysteries Their wildness mildness to this deed, and call and Moralities to the days of Crown and
Men more than savage, themselves rational. D’Urfey. Imagine the luxury to one like And thou, Fitzwater, reflect upon thy name, * me, who, above every other form of Poetry, And turn the Son of Tears. Oh, forget have ever preferred the Dramatic, of sitting That Cupid ever spent a dart upon thee ; in the princely apartments, for such they That Hymen ever coupled thee; or that ever are, of poor condemned Montagu House, The hasty, happy, willing messenger which I predict will not speedily be fol Told thee thou had'st a daughter. Oh look here! lowed by a handsomer, and culling at will Look here, King John, and with a trembling eye, the flower of some thousand Dramas. It is Read your sad act, Matilda's tragedy. like having the range of a Nobleman's Li Barons. Matilda ! brary, with the Librarian to your friend.
Fitzwater. By the lab'ring soul of a much-injurel Nothing can exceed the courteousness and attentions of the Gentleman who has the
It is my child Matilda!
Bruce, Sweet niece! chief direction of the Reading Rooms here;
Leicester. Cbaste soul! and you have scarce to ask for a volume,
John. Do I stir, Chester ? before it is laid before you. If the occa
Good Oxford, do I move? stand I not still, sional Extracts, which I have been tempted
To watch when the griev'd friends of wrong'd Matilda to bring away, may find an appropriate
Will with a thousand stabs turn me to dust, place in your Table Book, some of them
That in a thousand prayers they might be happy? are weekly at your service. By those who
Will no one do it? then give a mourner room, remember the “Specimens,” these must be
A man of tears. Oh immaculate Matilda, considered as mere after-gleanings, supple. These shed but sailing heat-drops, misling showers, mentary to that work, only comprising a The faint dews of a doubtful April morning; longer period. You must be content with But from mine eyes ship-sinking cataracts, sometimes a scene, sometimes a song; a Whole clouds of waters, wealthy exhalations, speech, or passage, or a poetical image, as Shall fall into the sea of
my affliction, they happen to strike me. I read without Till it amaze the mourners. order of time; I am a poor hand at dates ;
Hubert. Unmatch'd Matilda ; and for any biography of the Dramatists,
Celestial soldier, that kept a fort of chastity I must refer to writers who are more skil
'Gainst all temptations. ful in such matters. My business is with
Fitzwater. Not to be a Queen,
Truth crowns your their poetry only Your well-wisher,
Unmatch'd Matilda was her name indeed.
C. LAMB. January, 27, 1827.
* Fitzwater: son of water. A striking instance of the compatibility of the serious pun with the expression
of the profoundest sorrows. Grief, as well as joy, finds Garrick Plays.
ease in thus playing with a word. Old John of Gaunt
in Shakspeare thus descants on his name : " Gaunt, and No. I.
gaunt indeed;" to a long string of conceits, which no
one has ever yet felt as ridiculous. The poet Wither [From King John and Matilda," a Tra thus, in a mournful review of the declining estate of gedy by Robert Davenport, acted in
his family, says with deepest nature:1651.]
"The very name of Wither shows decay.
John. O take into your spirit-piercing praise
Song. My scene of sorrow. I have well.clad woes,
Matildr, now go take thy bed Pathetic epithets to illustrate passion,
In the dark dwellings of the dead ; And steal true tears so sweetly from all these,
And rise in the great waking day Shall touch the soul, and at once pierce and please.'
Sweet as incence, fresh as May. [Peruses the Motto and Emblems on the hcarse.)
Rest there, chaste soul, fix'd in thy proper sphere,
Amongst Heaven's fair ones; all are fair ones there. " To Piety and Purity"-and" Lillies mix'd with
Rest there, chaste soul, whilst we here troubled say ; Roses" How well you have apparell'd woe! this Pendant,
Time gives us griefs, Death takes our joys away. To Piety and Purity directed,
This scene has much passion and poetry Insinuates a chaste soul in a clean body,
in it, if I mistake not. The last words of Virtue's white Virgin, Chastity's red Martyr! Fitzwater are an instance of noble tempeSuffer me then with this well-suited wreath
rament; but to understand him, the chaTo make our griefs ingenious. Let all be dumb,
racter throughout of this mad, merry, feelWhilst the king speaks her Epicedium.
ing, insensible-seeming lord, should be Chester. His very soul speaks sorrow.
read. That the venomous John could have Oxford. And it becomes him sweetly.
even counterfeited repentance so well, is John. Hail Maid and Martyr! lo on thy breast,
out of nature; but supposing the possiDevotion's altar, chaste Truth's nest, I offer (as my guilt imposes)
bility, nothing is truer than the way in Thy merit's laurel, Lillies and Roses ;
which it is managed. These old playLillies, intimating plain
wrights invested their bad characters with Thy immaculate life, stuck with no stain;
notions of good, which could by no posRoses red and sweet, to tell
sibility have coexisted with their actions. How sweet red sacrifices smell.
Without a soul of goodness in himself, how Hang round then, as you walk about this hearse, could Shakspeare's Richard the Third have The songs of holy hearts, sweet virtuous verse. lit upon those sweet phrases and induceFitzwater. Bring Persian silks, to deck her monu ments by which he attempts to win over ment;
the dowager queen to let him wed her John. Arabian spices, quick’ning by their scent; daughter. It is not Nature's nature, but Fitzwater. Numidian marble, to preserve her praise; Imagination's substituted nature, which John. Corinthian ivory, her shape to praise :
does almost as well in a fiction. Fitzwater. And write in gold upon it, In this breast
(To be continued.) Virtue sa te mistress, Passion but a guest.
John. Virtue is sweet; and, since griefs bitter be,
GLANCES AT New Books ON MY TABLE.
“ Constable's MISCELLANY of original Let Heaven question bim. Let us secure
and selected Publications" is proposed to And quit the land of Lewis.
consist of various works on important and Fitzwater. Do any thing ;
popular subjects, with the view of supplyDo all things that are honorable; and the Great King
ing certain chasms in the existing stock of Make you a good king, sir! and when
useful knowledge ; and each author or suhShall at any time reflect upon your follies,
ject is to be kept separate, so as to enable Good King John, weep, weep very heartily ;
purchasers to acquire all the numbers, or It will become you sweetly. At your eyes
volumes, of each book, distinct from the Your sin stole in; there pay your sacrifice.
others. The undertaking commenced in John. Back unto Dunmow Abbey. There we'll pay To sweet Matilda's memory, and her sufferings,
the first week of the new year, 1827, with the
first number of Captain Basil Hall's voyage A monthly obsequy, which (sweet'ned by The wealthy woes of a tear-troubled eye)
to Loo-Choo, and the complete volume of Shall by those sharp afflictions of my face
that work was published at the same time. Court mercy, and make grief arrive at grace.
“ EARLY METRICAL Tales, including the
History of Sir Egeir, Sir Gryme, and Sir * Also cruelly slair by the poisoning John.
Gray-šteill.” Edinb. 1826. sm. 8vo. 9s. ti: e. of peace ; which this monstrous act of John's (175 copies printed.) The most remarkable the discovered Death of Prince Arthur is like to break poem in this elegant volume is the rare the composition of the King with his Barons in Shak Scottish romance, named in the title-page, speare's Play.
| The Dauphin of France, wborn they had called in, which, according to its present editor, as in Shakspeare's Play.
6 would seem, along with the poems of sir
David Lindsay, and the histories of Robert printed for the first time from the Banthe Bruce, and of sir William Wallace, to natyne MS. 1568. 9. The Murning have formed the standard productions of Maiden, a poem “ written in the Augustan the vernacular literature of the country.” age of Scotish poetry.” 10. The Epistill In proof of this he adduces several au- of the Hermeit of Alareit, a satire on the thorities; “ and yet it is remarkable enough, Grey Friers, by Alexander earl of Glencairn. that every ancient copy should have hitherto 11. Roswall and Lillian, a “ pleasant hiseluded the most active and unremitting tory,” (chanted even of late in Edinburzlı,) research." The earliest printed edition is from the earliest edition discovered, printed presumed to have issued from the press of in 1663, of which the only copy known is Thomas Bassandyne, “ the first printer of in the Advocates' Library, from the Rox. the sacred Scriptures in Scotland.” An burghe sale. 12. Poem by Glassinberry, inventory of his goods, dated 18th October, a name for the first time introduced into 1577, contains an item of three hundred the list of early Scotish poets, and the “Gray Steillis," valued at the pece vid. poem itself printed from “ Gray's MS." summa £vir. X. 0." Its editor would 13. Sir John Barleycorn, from a stall-copy, willingly give the sum-total of these three printed in 1781, with a few corrections, hundred copies for “ one of the said Gray- concerning which piece it is remarked, that Steillis, were he so fortunate as to meet Burns's version “cannot be said to have with it." He instances subsequent editions, greatly improved it.” There is a vignette but the only copy he could discover was to this ballad, “ designed and etched by printed at Aberdeen in 1711, by James the ingenious young artist, W. Geikie," of Nicol, printer to the town and university; Edinburgh, from whence I take the liberty and respecting this, which, though of so to cut a figure, not for the purpose of conveyrecent date, is at present unique, “ the ing an idea of this “ Allan-a-Maut,” who editor's best acknowledgments are due to is surrounded with like “good” company his friend, Mr. Douce, for the kind manner by Mr. Geikie's meritorious pencil, but to in which he favoured him with the loan of extend the knowledge of Mr. Geikie's name, the volume, for the purpose of repub- who is perfectly unknown to me, except lication.” On the 17th of April, 1497, when through the single print 1 refer to, which James IV. was at Stirling : there is an entry compels me to express warm admiration of in the treasurer's accounts, “ Item, that his correct feeling, and assured talent. samyn day to twa Sachelaris that sang Gray Steil to the King, ixs. In MS. collec. tions made at Aberdeen in 1627, called a “ Booke for the Lute,” by Robert Gordon, is the air of “ Gray-Steel ;" and a satirical poem in Scottish rhyme on the marquis of Argyle, printed in 1686, is “appointed to be sung according to the tune of old Gray Steel.” These evidences that the poem was sung, manifest its popularity. There are conjectures as to who the person denominated Sir Gray Steel really was, but the point is undetermined.
In this volume there are thirteen poems. 1. Sir Gray-Steill above spoken of. 2. The Tales of the Priests of Peblis, wherein the three priests of Peebles, having met to regale on St. Bride's day, agree, each in turn, to relate a story. 3. Ane Godlie Dreame, by lady Culross. 4. History of a Lord and his three Sons, much resembling
Besides Mr. Geikie's beautiful etching, the story of Fortunatus. 5. The Ring of there is a frontispiece by W. H. Lizars the Roy Robert, the printed copies of from a design by Mr. c. Kirkpatrick which have been modernized and cor- Sharpe, and a portrait of Alexander earl of rupted. 6. King Estmere, an old romantic Eglintoune 1670, also by Mr. Lizars, from tale. 7. The Battle of Harlaw, considered a curiously illuminated parchment in the by its present editor" as the original of possession of the present earl. rather à numerous class of Scotish histo. rical ballads." 8. Lichtoun's Dreme,
SAYING NOT MEANING. BY WILLIAM BASIL WAKE.
For the Table Book.
and with a duelistic tear,
(His ire evanishing like morning vapours,) Found him possess'd of one remaining ear,
Who, in a manner sudden and uncouth,
Had given, not lent, the other ear to truth :
Sir! I meant-capers !”
Characters. THE OLD GENTLEMAN. Our old gentleman, in order to be exclusively himself, must be either a widower or a bachelor. Suppose the former. We do not mention his precise age, which would be invidious ;-nor whether he wears his own hair or a wig; which would be want. ing in universality. If a wig, it is a compromise between the more modern scratch and the departed glory of the toupee. If his own hair, it is white, in spite of his favourite grandson, who used to get on the chair behind him, and pull the silver hairs out, ten years ago. If he is bald at top, the hair-dresser, hovering and breathing about him like a second youth, takes care to give the bald place as much powder as the covered ; in order that he may convey, to the sensorium within, a pleasing indistinctness of idea respecting the exact limits of skin and hair. He is very clean and neat; and in warm weather is proud of opening his waistcoat half way down, and letting so much of his frill be seen; in order to show his hardiness as well as taste. His watch and shirt-buttons are of the best; and he does not care if he has two rings on a finger. If his watch ever failed him at the club or coffee-house, he would take a walk every day to the nearest clock of good character, purely to keep it right, He has a cane at home, but seldom uses it, on finding it out of fashion with his elderly juniors. He has a small cocked hat for gala days, which he lifts higher from his head than the round one, when made a bow to. In his pockets are two handkerchiefs, (one for the neck at night-time,) his spectacles, and his pocket-book. The pocketbook, among other things, contains a receipt for a cough, and some verses cut out of an odd sheet of an old magazine, on the lovely duchess of A., beginning
When beauteous Mira walks the plain. He intends this for a common-place book which he keeps, consisting of passages in verse and prose cut out of newspapers and magazines, and pasted in columns; some
Disputants often after hot debates
Leave the contention as they found it-bone, And take to duelling, or thumping tétes ;
Thinking, by strength of artery, to atone For strength of argument; and he who winces From force of words, with force of arms convinces !
With pistols, powder, bullets, surgeons, lint,
Seconds, and sinelling-bottles, and foreboding,
Our friends advanced ; and now portentous loading (Their hearts already loaded) serv'd to show It might be better they shook hands-but no;
When each opines elf, though frighten'd, right,
Each is, in courtesy, oblig'd to fight!
The unbeliever pull'd his trigger first;
The whizzing lead had whizz'd its very worst,
of them rather gay. His principal other inquiries respecting the old style of music, books are Shakspeare's Plays and Milton's to sing a song composed by Mr. Oswald or Paradise Lost; the Spectator, the History Mr. Lampe, such asof England; the works of Lady M, W.
Chloe, by that borrowed kiss, Montague, Pope, and Churchill; Middleton's Geography, the Gentleman's Maga
Come, gentle god of soft repose; zine; Sir John Sinclair on Longevity;
or his wife's favourite ballad, beginning several plays with portraits in character; Account of Elizabeth Canning, Memoirs
At Upton on the Hill
There lived a happy pair. of George Ann Bellamy, Poetical Amusements at Bath-Easton, Blair's Works, Ele. Of course, no such exploit can take place gant Extracts; Junius as originally pub- in the coffee-room; but he will canvass the lished; a few pamphlets on the American theory of that matter there with you, or War and Lord George Gordon, &c. and discuss the weather, or the markets, or the one on the French Revolution. In his theatres, or the merits of “my lord North" sitting rooms are some engravings from my lord Rockingham;" for he rarely Hogarth and Sir Joshua; an engraved por- says simply, lord; it is generally “ my trait of the Marquis of Granby; ditto of lord,” trippingly and genteelly off the M. le Comte de Grasse surrendering to tongue. If alone after dinner, his great Admiral Rodney; a humorous piece after delight is the newspaper; which he prePenny; and a portrait of himself, painted pares to read by wiping his spectacles, by Sir Joshua. . His wife's portrait is in his carefully adjusting them on his eyes, and chamber, looking upon his bed. She is a drawing the candle close to him, so as to little girl, stepping forward with a smile stand sideways betwixt his ocular aim and and a pointed toe, as if going to dance. the small type. He then holds the paper at He lost her when she was sixty.
arm's length, and dropping his eyelids half The Old Gentleman is an early riser, down and his mouth half open, takes cogbecause he intends to live at least twenty nizance of the day's information. If he years longer. He continues to take tea for leaves off, it is only when the door is openbreakfast, in spite of what is said againsted by a new comer, or when he suspects its nervous effects; having been satisfied somebody is over-anxious to get the paper on that point some years ago by Dr. John- out of his hand. On these occasions, he son's criticism on Hanway, and a great gives an important hem ! or so; and reliking for tea previously. His china cups and saucers have been broken since his In the evening, our Old Gentleman is wife's death, all but one, which is religi- fond of going to the theatre, or of having a ously kept for his use. He passes his game of cards. If he enjoy the latter at morning in walking or riding, looking in at his own house or lodgings, he likes to play auctions, looking after his India bonds or with some friends whom he has known for some such money securities, furthering many years; but an elderly stranger may some subscription set on foot by his excel- be introduced, if quiet and scientific; and lent friend sir John, or cheapening a new
the privilege is extended to younger men old print for his portfolio. He also hears of letters; who, if ill players, are good of the newspapers ; not caring to see them losers. Not that he is a miser; but to win till after dinner at the coffee-house. He money at cards is like proving his victory may also cheapen a fish or so; the fish- by getting the baggage; and to win of a monger soliciting his doubting eye as he younger man is a substitute for his not passes, with a profound bow of recognition. being able to beat him at rackets. He He eats a pear before dinner.
breaks up early, whether at home or His dinner at the coffee-house is served abroad. up to him at the accustomed hour, in the At the theatre, he likes a front row in the old accustomed way, and by the accustomed pit. He comes early, if he can do so withwaiter. If William did not bring it, the out getting into a squeeze, and sits patiently fish would be sure to be stale, and the flesh waiting for the drawing up of the curtain,
He eats no tart; or if he ventures with his hands placidly lying one over the 'on a little, takes cheese with it. You might other on the top of his stick. He geneas soon attempt to persuade him out of his rously admires some of the best performers, senses, as that cheese is not good for diges- but thinks them far inferior to Garrick, tion. He takes port; and if he has drank Woodward, and Clive. During splendid more than usual, and in a more private scenes, he is anxious that the litile boy, place, may be induced by some respectful should see.