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Twelve. Played half a lesson on the piano. What can Rosina mean by writing such difficult music!

One o'clock. Took up a needle and thread, and looked out of the window at the cattle feeding, for three quarters of an hour. Cows lead happy lives. I wonder why man does not ruminate.

At two. Luncheon.

Three. Forced to walk out. I hate exercise. Was told my petticoat is longer than my gown ; but what does that signify ?

Half-past four. Very tired and very hungry. Played again with the cat. Made Fidelle, the French poodle, leich a stick three times out of the water. N. B. Fidelle tore my glove to pieces. I wish my brother bad been by to take it from him.

Five. Played at scratch-cradle, and then three games of Troumadame till dressing time. Can't think why mamma does not allow me a maid to dress me. N. B. scolded for throwing my hair-papers about the room.

What has the housemaid to do but gather them up ? It's monstrous tiresome to be scolded.

Six. Dinner. Aster coffee sat still doing nothing till bedtime. Thought half-past ten would never come. Went to bed very tired. N. B. Doing nothing is extremely troublesome, and I hate it exceedingly. But then what can one do ?

Such, with a few trifling variations, is the life of this young lady, except as before excepted, when pleasure is afloat. During the season, as it is called, the case is different, and she undergoes great fatigues and hardships without repining; sits up half the night, and will dance you three or four miles of quadrille, without “ fainting by the way." This however is a defect, of which time, I have little doubt, will cure her ; and I dare believe that when she is once married, and

has the cares of a family on her hands, her conduct will become so simplex duntaxat et unus,-perfectly consistent throughout; and that she will relapse into an indolence as genuine and perfect as heart could desire. Heigh ho! Mr. Editor, I never thought I could have written so long a letter.

M.

Yours truly,

SONNET.

To the Ruins of Ionia.

lonia-sad Ionia !-is this wreck

All that remains to tell thy splendid tale?
Was it for this thy myriads toil'd to deck

Nature with Art, until the priest grew pale

In his own fane-and deem'd the incensed gale
Waved the rich tresses of his Phidian god ?

Are glories born like thine, but to exhale,
As dews forgotten from the mountain sod ?-
Yes-fallen lonia !-as thy temples nod,

Earthquaked by Time-while, at night's pensive noon,
The jackal howls through theatres untrod,

Mute as the soft light of their Asian moon;
So fade the fair, the proud, the famed, the streng-

All save eternal truth and sacred song!
VOL. X. No. 59.-1825.

60

J.

MOORE'S LIFE OF SHERIDAN.* The favourite prose reading of the present day is biography. With the single exception of trashy and polemic theology, no books are perused with greater avidity than those various “ Lives," “ Memoirs," " Reminiscences,"

," “ Conversations,” and “ Letters,” which teem forth on the demise of eminent persons, to “ prate of their whereabouts.” The spreading civilization of the age has drawn men out of the circle of private and professional exclusiveness; and has opened the intellects and the hearts of all classes to a common sympathy with the poet, the warrior, the philosopher, the actor and the artist, with every one, in short, who has distinguished himself from the mass, no matter in what department of the world's business, or its pleasures. Within the short period which has elapsed since the last “ avatar" of the New Monthly Magazine, two biographical works have appeared, which though different in their pretensions, opposite in their style and matter, and of very unequal degrees of importance, will both be extensively read, and will contribute, each in its separate sphere, to the amusement of the town. One of these publications is the life of the late R. B. Sheridan; the other, the “ Reminiscences of Michael Kelly," which incidentally treats of the extraordinary person upon whose biography Mr. Moore has expended so much of his time and talent.

Whoever has read the Newgate Calendar, “ must needs” remember the contrasted figures in the double print of “ Charles Price disguised as a beggar,” and “ Charles Price in his proper dress.” Much such a difference of exterior does Mr. Sheridan exhibit, as he shines in the embellished en buste of Mr. Moore, a statesman and a poet, in all the sentimental elevation of his passion for the beautiful maid of Bath,"— and as he appears in Michael Kelly's homely whole-length, the jolly boon companion, intriguing to put off a creditor, or plotting to put off a joke. Yet is not either of these portraits deficient in faithfulness to the particular aspect under which it was drawn; and the difference but serves to show how much the biographer infuses of himself into his hero, and how, in the very best delineations of persons and of things, the resemblance takes its colour from the modalities of thought and feeling of the artist by whom it is sketched. It is not our intention to enter upon an elaborate criticism of Mr. Moore's volume. His merits and demerits as an author, his splendid endowments, and striking peculiarities, are too well known to render such a task necessary. Every one who is acquainted with his style of writing and turn of mind, will readily anticipate that the present, like most of his past works, is remarkable for strong imagery, brilliance of illustration, intensity of feeling, and an abhorrence of abstract reasoning ; such as have long stamped him a finished poet and a careless philosopher.f Elegant diction, glowing expression, delicate sentiment, bursts of strong passion, will pretty generally be expected in his pages, rather than a painful analysis of moral problems, or a bold philosophy of those striking events and combinations, which constituted the politics of the bustling and contentious period of Mr. Sheridan's public-life. And Memoirs of the Life of the Right Hon. R. B. Sheridan. By Thomas Moore. 410.

+

- fair Science, to you
“I've long bid a last and a careless adieu !"

these expectations being gratified, we are little disposed to ask from the author results, which the innate qualities of his mind and his accidental acquirements,_his genius and his associations, could not enable him to attain. To quarrel with a writer because in some of his developements he has exceeded our notions of fitness, or has given to others a comprehension less than is “ dreamed of in our philosophy," is a species of criticism which belongs rather to trading, than to honest and liberal reviewers. Yet is, in remembering the vast and allinvolving themes which are connected with the epoch of Sheridan's political career, we sometimes feel that more light, is desirable to penetrate the chaos of affairs, than Mr. Moore has cast upon them, we may be permitted to express a regret that the speculative disposition of booksellers should induce them to prescribe to highly gisted beings, tasks more completely within the competence of commoner intellects.

The life of Mr. Sheridan presents three distinct aspects; that of the dramatist, the legislator and the man: and it is with no view to disparage Mr. Moore's production, we state our conviction—that in the first of these departments, its author has succeeded the most happily. Seizing, as he has done, the loftier and more ideal aspect of Sheridan's character, the delicacy of his tact has forced him to keep in the background those personal defects of his hero, which were so much out of keeping with his original design,-defects, in which posterity will feel little interest, and with which the present generation is but too well acquainted : and as the French tragedy, in its jealousy of tbe ignoble, is osten compelled to exclude the natural, so has the biographer, in his effort to sustain the tone of his work, been forced to shade off some of the most characteristic traits of his subject, and to sacrifice the real to the poetic truth of his composition. This fastidiousness has rendered the details of an eccentric and diversified life more sterile than the anecdotical taste of the time will relish ; and the lovers of gossip, that great majority of the book-buying public, will often lament the absence of some portraiture of the convivial drolieries of Brooke's, or specimen of the wit and frolic of the green-room.

In his review of Sheridan's political career, Mr. Moore has had to contend with many difficulties. Sheridan, though attached to the Foxites was not strictly a party man; and the author's known connexion with the wreck of the old whigs, and his avowed bias towards their opinions, must often have embarrassed him in the progress of his narration. That Mr. Sheridan should have entered more warmly into the views of the reformers than some of his coadjutors, and that the names of Mackintosh and Whitbread should have appeared, with his, upon the lists of the “Friends of the people," before those of the great aristocratical whigs, though by no means unnatural, must, in the present bright hour of political illumination, be a painful recollection to a staunch advocate of the party, and have required all Mr. Moore's hardihood to avow.

Another difficulty with which Mr. Moore has had to struggle, lies in the peculiar epoch of his story. Too recent for history, and yet too remote to live in the memory of the existing generation, the events he had to describe will neither adnit of a lengthened developement, nor be fully understood from a hasty summary. The more important phasis of modern politics has also stripped the miserable squabbles for place and power, which formed the groundwork of some of Sheridan's most brilliant efforts, of much of that interest, which would otherwise belong to their nearness. In order therefore to avoid details, which he perhaps suspected nobody would read, Mr. Moore has sometimes become obscure, and has forced us to recur for information to those annual and parliamentary registers, the pages of which he says he has disdained to compile. Thus it happens that, in his relations, the story is for the most part made subservient to the man, and as soon as Mr. Sheridan's conduct and speech are discussed, the subject is abandoned as if exhausted. That our author is a politician at all, has indeed long seemed to us more a matter of chance than of liking. Nature designed him for a poet; and like genuine poets, he feels more deeply than he thinks. Being born an Irishman and a Catholic, his quick apprehension of the wrongs which weigh on this category of persons seems to have given their point, venom, and direction to the satirical breathings of his muse. Goarded to indignation by overmastering injury, he apprehends a world of figures, and clothes the sentiment of liberty in language that goes at once to the understanding and the heart. But for a laborious investigation of the particulars which constitute liberty, or determine its existence among men, we should imagine him, both by his poetic and his pleasurable temperament, peculiarly indisposed. Placed likewise in social contact with whatever is most distinguished among the upper classes of all political creeds, his own opinions must occasionally be shaken by their influence. It is impossible for a good-natured man to avoid wishing that his associates may be not utterly in the wrong; and it is difficult for a scholar and a wit to credit the corruption and baseness, that too often hide themselves beneath a smooth surface of refinement, urbanity, and convivial ease. To these causes we are inclined to attribute some occasional apologies for men and measures, into which Mr. Moore has been seduced, not exactly in accordance with his own eloquent appeals in favour of liberty; apologies of which men of a more scrutinizing turn will at once perceive the fallacy. With an evident endeavour to conciliate all parties, we question, therefore, whether Mr. Moore will satisfy any. Let it not however be imagined that this portion of the volume before us is deficient in ability, it abounds in fine writing, and in just and often penetrating views; and it possesses a sustained tone rarely displayed in Mr. Moore's former prose works. As a specimen of his manner, we take at hazard his remarks on Mr. Pitt's administration.

When we are told to regard his policy as the salvation of the country-when (to use a figure of Mr. Dundas) a claim of salrage is made for him, it may be allowed us to consider a little the nature of the measures, by which this alleged salvation was achieved. If entering into a great war, without either consistency of plan, or preparation of means, and with a total ignorance of the financial resources of the enemy—if allowing one part of the cabinet to flatter the French Royalists, with the hope of seeing the Bourbons restored to undiminished power, while the other part acted, whenever an opportunity offered, upon the plan of dismembering France for the aggrandisement of Austria, and thus, at once, alienated Prussia at the very moment of subsidizing him, and lost the confidence of all the Royalist party in France, except the few who were ruined by English assistance at Quiberon-if going to war in 1793 for the right of the Dutch to a river, and so managing it that in 1794 the Dutch lost their whole Seven Provinces—if lavishing more inoney upon failures than the successes of a century had cost, and supporting this profusion by schemes of finance, either hollow and delusive, like the Sinking Fund, or desperately regardless of the future, like the paper issues-if driving Ireland into rebellion by the perfidious recall of Lord Fitzwilliam, and reducing England to two of the most fearful trials that a nation, depending upon credit and a navy, could encounter, the stoppage of her bank and a mutiny in her fleet-if, finally, floundering on from effort to effort against France, and then dying upon the ruins of the last coalition he could muster against her-if all this betokens a wise and able minister, then is Mr. Pitt most amply entitled to that name ;-then are the lessons of wisdom to be read, like Hebrew, backward, and waste, and rashness, and systematic failure to be held the only true means of saving a country.

Had even success, by one of those anomalous accidents, which sometimes baffle the best-founded calculations of wisdom, been the immediate result of this long monotony of error, it could not, except with those to whom the event is every thing

Eveníus stultorum magister"'--reflect back merit upon the means by which it was achieved, or, by a retrospective miracle, convert that into wisdom, which chance had only saved from the worst consequences of folly. Just as well might we be called upon to pronounce alchemy a wise art, because a perseverance in its failures and reveries had led by accident to the discoveries of chemistry. But even this sanction of good luck was wanting to the unredeemed mistakes of Mr. Pitt. During the eight years that intervened between his death and the termination of the contest, the adoption of a far wiser policy was forced upon his more tractable pupils ; and the only share that his measures can claim in the successful issue of the war, is that of having produced the grievance that was then abated-of having raised up the power opposed to him to the portentous and dizzy height, from which it then fell by the giddiness of its own elevation, and by the reaction, not of the princes, but the people of Europe against its yoke.

His observations on the regency question are extremely sagacious.

Taking this as a correct exposition of the doctrines of the two parties, of which Mr. Fox and Mr. Pitt may be considered to have been the representatives in the regency question of 1789, it will strike some minds that, however the Whig may flatter himself that the principle by which he is guided in such exigencies is favourable to liberty, and however the Tory may, with equal sincerity, believe his suspension of the prerogative on these occasions to be advantageous to the Crown, yet that, in both of the principles, so defined, there is an evident tendency to produce effects, wholly different from those which the parties professing them contemplate.

On the one side, to sanction from authority the notion, that there are some powers of the Crown which may be safely dispensed with,—to accustom the people to an abridged exercise of the prerogative, with the risk of suggesting to their minds that its full efficacy needs not be resumed,—to set an example, in short, of reducing the kingly power, which, by its success, may invite and authorize still farther encroachments,-all these are dangers to which the alleged doctrine of Toryism, whenever brought into practice, exposes its idol; and more particularly in enlightened and speculative times, when the minds of men are in quest of the right and the useful, and when a superfluity of power is one of those abuses, which they are least likely to overlook or tolerate. In such seasons, the experimnent of the Tory might lead to all that he most deprecates, and the branches of the prerogative, once cut away, might, like the lopped boughs of the fir-tree, never grow again.

On the other hand, the Whig, who asserts that the royal prerogative ought to be reduced to such powers as are beneficial to the people, and yet stipulates, as an invariable principle, for the transfer of that prerogative full and unimpaired, whenever it passes into other hands, appears, even more perhaps than the Tory, to throw an obstacle in the way of his own object. Circumstances, it is not denied, may arise, when the increase of the powers of the Crown, in other ways, may render it advisable to control some of its established prerogatives. Bút, where are we to find a fit moment for such a reform,-or what opening will be left for it by this fas. tidious Whig principle, which, in 1680, could see no middle step between a change of the succession and an undiminished maintenance of the prerogative,-and which, in 1789, almost upon the heels of a declaration, that “the power of the Crown had increased, and ought to be diminished,” protested against even an experimental reduction of it!

According to Mr. Fox, it is a distinctive characteristic of the Tory, to attach more importance to the person of the king than to his office. But, assuredly, the Tory is not singular in this want of political abstraction; and in England (from a defect, Hume thinks, inherent in all limited monarchies), the personal qualities and

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