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One kiss, fair traitress! (He kisses her.) Death-like cold and sweet.
Music at EVENING. ,
One peculiarity in this performance, on which the Author probably prides himself most, and which must be acknowledged as a most gratifying and honourable circumstance, is Mr. Canning's permission to have it dedicated to him. Of that Minister's politics this is not the place to speak; when the proper occasion comes, we shall pursue that topic in our own way without the most trivial deference for the majesty of Downing Street. But of Mr. Canning, when not wielding Princes and Peninsulas from Whitehall, or laughing down Opposition in the House, there can be but one opinion. Eminently a scholar and a man of taste, he has risen to the highest rank of the State, by the force and buoyancy of his accomplishments. No man has ever owed less to party, or more to himself. He thus comes forward as the REPRESENTATIVE of that vast and most admirable portion of the Community, which, feeling itself unsustained by the accidents of hereditary title or fortune, makes by its struggle for distinction the character of England; that powerful, lofty, and energetic character, to which no equal was to be found in the days of heroic Greece, nor of sovereign Rome ;-to which no
equal has lived in modern history, and which can be generated only among a people trained to honour by free privileges, and encouraged to a noble emulation by noble patronage and example.
The present work is thus simply dedicated to this eminent scholar and statesman.
“To the Right Honourable George CANNING, &c. &c. &c.
“SIR,-) offer these pages to you, as my tribute to public and private excellence
“To the great and popular Minister, by whose firmness, temperance and ability, Peace has been preserved to the Empire"
" And to the Man, eminent for those virtues and accomplishments which give Peace its highest dignity and splendour."
Memoir, descriptive of the Resources, Inhabitants, and Hydrography
of Sicily and its Islands, interspersed with Antiquarian and other Notices. By CAPTAIN WILLIAM Henry Smyth, R. N. 4to. pp. 378. Price 21, 12s. 6d. Murray. "1824.
The columns of the ancient Leptis, which now occupy the great court of the British Museum, have made the name of Captain Smyth familiar to all ranks of people. To the scientific world, he is known by his employment as hydrographical surveyor in the Mediterranean; and the work before us is a sort of collateral production arising out of his official labours. We will begin and end our criticism on it, by saying that it is a very condensed and sensible book, plainly written, and free from tediousness, superfluity, and affectation. Very new, it could not have been; but it will answer all its public purposes, by amusing readers at home, and by forming an useful guide to those who may chance to extend their travels to that island. We must endeavour to amuse and instruct our own readers, by doing what, in a case of this nature, we consider our sole duty; condensing, or extracting, the most interesting circumstances in his pages. As there is no connection, or mutual dependence of parts, in the original, we need not attempt to make a continuous abridgment.
Captain Smyth asserts, that the entire population of Sicily is not now greater than that of Agrigentum and Syracuse alone in former times. The population of antient nations has been grossly exaggerated. However that be, there are more bishops now than there were under the dynasty of Jupiter and Juno, besides which, there are “one hundred and twenty-seven Princes, seventy-eight Dukes, one hundred and forty Marquesses, with Counts, Barons and Knights, almost innumerable.". But the greater part of these are empty titles; not only otiose in themselves, but as it would appear, keeping their professors So. Of course, those dignitaries have nothing to do but to gamble, sleep, pay visits, and eat. But the right of eating, in the nobles, seems limited to the eldest son. To the young er, it is a favour; as they become retainers for life upon 6 il piatto," at the table of the representative, and prolongator of the family honours. The honours that never possessed any patrimony, enjoy the singular advantage of preventing the possessors from ever acquiring one; but it is a great consolation, that
VOL. I. NO. I.
not no former tirerated. ore undere hundreed an
they can receive dinner cards directed to “Sua Eccellenza l' Illustrissimo Signore Stimatissimo e Padrone Collendissimo Don, what d' ye call 'um.
The rest is consonant, as it ought to be. The Collendissimo lets his palace in lodgings, and starves himself, that he may keep a tall whiskered porter: a shoemaker exercises a "profession," and a porter goes on an “ Embassy.” Thus furnished with priests and nobles, it wants only lawyers to complete the catalogue of productive industry. This useful class, in Palermo alone, amounts to 4000. Of course they are all rich, and every body is at law with every body. A man keeps his law. yers in regular employment in Sicily, just as we keep butchers and bakers; nay, he must keep them in regular pay whether he is at law or not; "apparemment,” because, if the lawyer can get the money, he is indifferent about the suit; and because it is better for the client to pay the fees, than to do this, and have a suit into the bargain. Plato says, that the swarming of Lawyers is the mark of a profligate and diseased republic. We doubt to use the phrase of high authority, whether it is not pretty much the same in a mixed monarchy consisting of king, lords, and commons.
The fair sex in Sicily, are of no use but to be looked at; and, as it would appear by our author's account, they are not even very “spectabiles," after the lightning glance of youth has passed over them. Slatterns at home, and dolls abroad, they seem to possess the double merit of being neither useful nor attractive. The savage loads nature's chief work and blessing, with somewhat more than a fair half of the burden. To the divine Greeks, who have taught us all we know, she was a convenience. The Roman law declared her a "thing”-& moveable, a joint stool. In England, as in Palermo, she is a thing too, but a thing to be worshipped and looked at, an idol to dress, and visit, and neglect her family and children; unless indeed, she is a bar-maid or a house-maid. The savage is not widely wrong. He cannot hunt and fish, and dress the dinner, and make the clothes, and rock the children all at once. His helpmate must be his helpmate. He may say, or sing, with the Italian Orpheus, “ Che faro senza Euridice.” But chivalry is a fine thing, though Mr. Burke thought it was dead. The Sicilians are certainly a superior people, in spite of their bishops and lawyers. “As nations,” say the moral writers, “ rise from the savage state, they prove their refinement, and progress in love of order, morality and religion, by the respect which they pay to their females." And that is the reason, doubtless, why the barbarous Sitones, of whom Tacitus tells us, were governed by a woman; why woman was respected next to angels, by the savage Goths; why Tomyris and Bonduca, were Tomyris and Bonduca; and Reyner Lodbrog, that polished cavalier, attacked dragons that he might render himself worthy of his scornful mistress. Systems are fine things, and ladies are angels, and it is proper that they should be worshipped, especially in Sicily, where, (such are systems) they occasionally draw in a mill, and a man (the monster) drives them with a whip, just as he used to do in the good old times of Magna Græcia, when they cut off their hair to make bow strings. What was the range of the arrows?
The “Siculæ dapes,” by Captain Smyth's account, are not Fet forgotten. The Prince of Butera is the great Amphitryon, but we doubt if his thunny roasted whole, and garnished with cod and turbot, would compete with the “mets," which his Ex-supra Reverence the Prince of Benevento's nine cooks, serve at his highness's table. It is his highness's ambition to rival Esopus and Lucullus ; but alas! such is human fate, we know that he has been at length compelled actually to admit, with sighs, that the cookery of a noble marquess among ourselves, is yet a degree nearer to the point of absolute perfection, England has outdone France in cookery! Nothing remains but to out do her in boasting; and we hope that we are im a fair way, even for that. As “cinnamon, sugar, spices, oil and garlic," form “a prominent feature in every Sicilian dish," we hope that Sua Eccellentissima Stimatissima e Collendissima Eccellenza, will not send us a card for dinner. As Young's Night Thoughts, and Hervey's Meditations, are the only English works in esteem with the Sicilians, we shall lay their literature to the same account as the “cinnamon, sugar, oil and garlic,” and have done with it.
The lower orders have no galleries in the Sicilian theatre, and are not admitted to regulate the drama, and dictate to the public taste. This is better than Hervey's Meditations and the amalgamations of cinnamon and garlic, spice and sugar. When shall we learn as much common sense as Palermo and Messina. This was the ruin of the Roman stage; will nobody ask what share it has had in the ruin of our own? Is it by the "groundlings who are capable of nothing but dumb show and noise," that the drama is to be determined; and, argue as we may, it has its weight in the end, however it may be defeated on a single stand; for how can poor reason and taste, with its feeble “ filet de voix,” resist through rolling years "une gueule comme celle-là."
We shall pass over the remarks on religion, and some other