Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub

more impious than Homer's, who makes them as full of bustle and bad passions as the meanest of us. Now it is very clear: for the reason is, that Homer's gods have something in common with us, and are subject to our troubles and concerns ; whereas Lucretius's live like a parcel of bon-vivants by themselves, and care for nobody.

The Dean.—There are two admirable good things in that essay. One is an old usurer's, who said, that “no man could have peace of conscience, that run out of his estate.” The other is a Spanish proverb; that “ a fool knows more in his own house, than a wise man in another's.”

The conversation turning upon our discussion last time respecting anglers, the Dean said he once asked a scrub who was fishing, if he ever caught the fish called the scream. The man protested he had never heard of such a fish. “What !” says the doctor, “ you an angler, and never heard of the fish that gives a shriek when coming out of the water? It is true, it is not often found in these parts; but ask any Crim Tartar, and he will tell you of it. 'Tis the only fish that has a voice; and a sad dismal sound it is.” The man asked who could be so barbarous as to angle for a creature that shrieked. “ That,” says the doctor, “is another matter : but what do you think of fellows that I have seen, whose only reason for hooking and tearing all the fish they can get at, is that they do not scream." I shouted this not in his ear, and he almost shuffled himself into the river.

Mr. Walscott.—Surely, Mr. Dean, this argument would strike the dullest.

Dr. Swift.— Yes, if you could turn it into a box on the ear. Not else. They would sain give you one meantime, if they had the courage ; for men have such a horror of the very notion of doing wrong, that they would rather do it, than be told of it. You know Mr. Wilcox of Hertfordshire (to Mr. Pope); I once convinced him he did an inbuman thing to angle; at least I must have gone very near convincing him; for he cut short the dispute, by referring me to his friends for a good character. It gives me the spleen to see an honest man make such an owl of himself.

Mr. Pope. And all anglers perhaps, as he was ?

Dr. Swift - Very likely, 'faith. A parcel of sneaking, scoundrelly understandings get some honest man to do as they do, and then, forsooth, must dishonour him with the testimony of their good opinion. No: it requires a very rare benevolence, or as great an understanding, to see beyond even such a paltry thing as this angling, in angling times ; about as much as it would take a good honest-hearted cannibal to see further than man-eating, or a goldsmith beyond his money. What! isa't Tow-woo a good husband and jaw-breaker ; and must he not stand upon reputation ?

Mr. Walscott. - It is common to hear people among the lower orders talk of " the poor dumb animal,” when they desire to rescue a cat or dog from ill-trealment.

The Dean.— Yes ; and the cat is not dumb; nor the dog either. A horse is dumb; a fish is dumber; and I suppose this is the reason why she horse is the worst used of any creature, except trout and grayling. Come: this is melancholy talk. Mrs. Patty, why didn't you smoke the bull ?

Mrs. Blount.-Smoke the bull, Sir ?

Dr. Swift.— Yes; I have just made a bull. I said horses were dumb, and fish dumber.

Mrs. Pope.-Pray, Mr. Dean, why do they call those kind of mistakes bulls ?

Dr. Swift.-Why, Madam, I cannot tell; but I can tell you the prettiest bull that ever was made. An Irishman laid a wager with another, a bricklayer, that he could not carry him to the top of a building, in his hod. The fellow took him up, and at the risk of both their necks landed him safely. Well,” cried the other, “ you have done it; there 's no denying that ; but at the fourth story I had hopes."

Mr. Pope.--Doctor, I believe you take the word smoke to be a modern cant phrase. I found it, when I was translating Homer, in old Chapman. He says, that Juno smoked Ulysses through his disguise.

Mention was made of the strange version of Hobbes. Mr. Pope.You recollect, Mr. Honeycomb, the passage in the first book of Homer, where Apollo comes down to destroy the Greeks, and how his quiver sounded as he came. “ Yes, Sir,” said I,“ very well;" and I quoted from his translation :

Fierce as he moved, the silver shafts resound. Mr. Pope.—I was speaking of the original; but that line will do very well to contrast with Hobbes. What think you of

His arrows chink as often as he jogs? Mr. Pope mentioned another passage, just as ridiculous. I forget something of the first line, and a word in the second :-speaking of Jupiter,

With that his great black brow he nodded

Wherewithi (astonishid) were the powers divine :
Olympus shook at shaking of his god-head;

And Thetis from it jump'd into the brine. Mr. Pope.-Dryden goodnaturedly says of Hobbes, that he took to poetry when he was too old.

Dr. Swift.-(With an arch look.) Perhaps had he begun at forty, as Dryden did, he would have been as great as my young master.

Mr. Walscoit could not help laughing to hear Dryden, and at forty, called my young master.” However, he was going to say something, but desisted.

I wish I could recollect many more things that were said, so as to do them justice. Altogether, the day was not quite so pleasant as the former one. With Mr. Pope, one is both tranquil and delighted. Doctor Swift somehow makes me restless. I could hear him talk all day long, but should like to be walking half the time, instead of sitting. Besides, he did not appear quite easy himself, notwithstanding what the boatman said ; and he looked ill. I am told he is very anxious about the health of a friend in Ireland.

THE LADY OF THE CASTLE. From "The Portrait-Gallery," an unfinished Poem.

Thou seest her pictured with her shining hair
(Famed were its tresses in Provençal song),
Half braided, half o'er cheek and bosom fair
Let loose, and pouring sunny waves along
Her gorgeous vest. A Child's light hand is roving
'Midst the rich curls, and oh ! how meekly loving
Its earnest looks are lifted to the face
Which bends to meet its lip in laughing grace !
-Yet that bright Lady's eye methinks hath less
Of deep, and still, and pensive tenderness,
Than might beseem a Mother's on her brow
Something too much there sits of native scorn,
And her smile kindles with a conscious glow,
As from the thought of sovereign beauty born.

- These may be dreams ?--but how shall woman tell
Of woman's shame?that radiant creature fell !
That Mother left that Child !

-went hurrying by
Its cradle-haply not without a sigh-
Haply one moment o'er its rest serene
She hung-but no! it could not thus have been,
For she pass'd on !—forsook her home and hearth,
All pare affection, all sweet household mirth,
To live a gaudy and dishonour'd thing,
Sharing in guilt the splendors of a King !

Her Lord, in very weariness of life,
Girt on his mail for scenes of distant strife;
He reck'd no more of glory; grief and shame
Crush'd out his fiery nature, and his name
Died silently. A shadow o'er bis Halls
Crept year by year; the Minstrel pass'd their walls,
The Warders horn hung mute: meantime the Child
On whose first flowering thoughts no parent smiled,
A gentle girl, and yet deep-hearted, grew
Into sad youth, for well, too well, she knew
Her Mother's tale !-Its memory made the sky
Seem all too joyous for her shrinking eye;
Froze on her lip the stream of song, which fajn
Would there have linger'd; flash'd her cheek to pain
If met by sudden glance, and gave a tone
Of sorrow, as for something lovely gone,
Even to the Spring's glad voice !-Her own was low
As drooping bird's—there lie such depths of woe
In a young blighted spirit !-Manhood rears
A haughty brow, and Age hath done with tears,
But Youth bows down to misery, in amaze
At the dark cloud o'ermantling its young days ;
And thus it was with her !-A mournful sight
In one so fair-for she indeed was fair,
Not with her Mother's dazzling eyes of light,
Her's were more shadowy, full of thought and prayer,
And with long lashes o'er a white-rose cheek
Drooping in gloom; but tender still, and meek

Still that fond Child's !-and oh! the brow above,
So pale and pure! so form'd for holy love
To gaze upon in silence !—but she felt
That love was not for her-though hearts would melt
Where'er she moved, and reverence, mutely given,
Went with her, and low prayers, that callid on Heaven
To bless the young Isaure.

One laughing morn,
With alms before her Castle-gate she stood,
'Midst peasant groups ; wben breathless and o'erworn,
And shrouded in long weeds of widowhood,
A stranger through them broke: the orphan maid,
With her soft voice and proffer'd hand of aid,
Turn'd to give welcome; but a wild sad look
Met ber's, a gaze that all her spirit shook,
And that pale woman, suddenly subdued
By some strong passion in its gushing mood,
Knelt at her feet, and bathed them with such tears
As rain the hoarded agonies of years
From the heart's urn; and with her white lips press'd
The ground they trod; then, burying in her vest
Her brow's quick flush, sobb'd out, “Oh undefiled!
I am thy Mother !-spurn me not, my Child !"

-Isaure had pray'd for that lost Mother-wept
O'er her stain'd memory, while the happy slept
Jo the hush'd midnight; stood with mournful gaze
Before yon picture's smile of other days ;
But never breathed in human ear the name
Which weigh'd her being to the earth with shame!
-What marvel if the anguish, the surprise,
The dark remembrances—the alter'd guise,
Awhile o'erpower'd her?-from the weeper's touch
She shrank—'twas but a moment-yet too much
For that all-humbled one!-its mortal stroke
Came down like lightning's, -and her full heart broke
At once, in silence !-heavily and prone
She sank, while o'er her Castle's threshold-stone
Those long fair tresses they still brightly wore
Their early pride, though bound with pearls no more
Bursting their fillet, in sad beauty rollid,
And swept the dust with coils of wavy gold !
Her child bent o'er her-call'd her-'twas too late-
Dead lay the wanderer at her own proud gate!
The joy of courts, the star of knight and bard
-How didst thou fall, oh I bright hair'd Ermengarde !

F. H.

RUSSIAN TRAVELLING SKETCHES.-NO. 11.*

I will honestly avow that I was highly delighted with my perambulations in the vicinity of Moscow. Here I had expected to find the indications of barbarism in a savage country at every step of my progress ; in place of which I beheld some of the most romantic and agreeable scenery which surrounds any of the capitals of Europe with which I am acquainted ; I remarked noble mansions, splendid villas, and elegant churches, every where built in the Italian siyle of architecture ; and, besides, I was astonished by the enormous size of some princely establishments ; I saw gardens laid out in fine style, and hothouses and orangeries, as they are called, producing choice fruits in abundance in the frigid climate of the North ; I observed the walls of a number of the mansions of the nobles covered with paintings, some of them by the greatest masters of the art; I examined a few collections of minerals and other natural productions ; and I visited one of the most extensive botanic gardens in the world. I then exclaimed, Is this Russia ? But the human mind is apt to be misled by first and rapid conceptions, and therefore I must now proceed to enter into the details of my rambles. The reader will pardon me, however, if I should follow no regular order; for I must inform him, that I am one of those beings who love to be unconstrained in their wanderings and in their writings. I shall begin my present sketches by the history of a place little known.

Melnitsa, also called Kuzminka, is a fine villa, situated about six miles to the south-east of Moscow, in the middle of woods and cultivated lands. Unfortunately, from its low situation, the view is very limited. This estate belonged to the late Prince Michael Galitsin, and is now the property of his son Prince Serge Galitsin, one of the most gentlemauly, most civilized, and best informed of the Russian nobles. Within these few years he has spent a vast sum of money in making improvements about this country residence. The mansion-house is not large, but is neat and commodious, and the numerous edifices around it, together with a fine church-the general concomitant of every nobleman's country seat of any consequence throughout the empire-give Melnitsa a cheerful and noble appearance. The surrounding grounds are laid out with much taste, and fine gravel-walks wind by the sides of lakes and woods. As Prince Galitsin displays great good sense and refined taste in all his undertakings, as he is a liberalminded man, and as he intends to continue his improvements, this estate will, in a short time, be rivalled by few in the vicinity of Moscow.

I dined with the prince in handsome style, and afterwards was astonished and gratified by a visit to an adjoining small hospital for this nobleman's slaves, so well arranged, so clean, and so admirably managed, that it would do honour to the first city in the world. In fact, it is the miniature of the celebrated Galitsin's Hospital at Moscow, which was built by the prince's relations, and is under his able direction.t Attached to the hospital is a neat apothecary-shop, well supplied with medicines of the best quality. The establishment is superintended by Dr. Quinland, assisted by a vassal of the estate.

* Continued from p. 55, vol. 10 VOL, X. No. 57.-1825.

+ Vide Lyall's Moscow.

27

« НазадПродовжити »