Зображення сторінки

evidence of the necessity of an additional tie with Deity and Infinity, with this world and the next. But the wish is accompanied with an afflicting regret that I cannot recognise it, free from barbarisms derogatory to both; and I sigh for some good old country church, finally delivered from the corruptions of the Councils, and breathing nothing but the peace and love befitting the Sermon on the Mount. I believe that a time is coming, when such doctrine, and such only, will be preached; and my future grave, by some old ivied tower, seems quieter for the consummation. But I anticipate.

For a short period before and after the setting up of the Examiner, I was a clerk in the War Office. The situation was given me by Mr. Addington, then prime minister, afterwards Lord Sidmouth, who knew my father. My sorry stock of arithmetic, which I taught myself on purpose, was sufficient for the work which I had to do; but otherwise I made a bad clerk ; wasting my time and that of others in perpetual jesting; going too late to office; and feeling conscious that if I did not quit the situation myself, nothing was more likely, or would have been more just, than a suggestion to that effect from others. The establishment of the Examiner, and the tone respecting the court and the ministry which I soon thought myself bound to adopt, increased the sense of the propriety of this measure; and, accordingly,

I sent in my resignation. Mr. Addington had fortunately ceased to be minister before the Examiner was set up; and though I had occasion afterwards to differ extremely with the measures approved of by him as Lord Sidmouth, I never forgot the personal respect which I owed him for his kindness to myself, to his own amiable manners, and to his undoubted, though not wise, conscientiousness. He had been Speaker of the House of Commons, a situation for which his figure and deportment at that time of life admirably fitted him. I think I hear his fine voice, in his house at Richmond Park, good-naturedly expressing to me his hope, in the words of the poet, that it might one day be said of me,

Not in fancy's maze he wander'd long,
But stoop'd to truth, and moraliz’d his song."

The sounding words, “moralized his song," came toning out of his dignified utterance like “ sonorous metal.” This was when I went to thank him for the clerkship. I afterwards sat on the grass in the park, feeling as if I was in a dream, and wondering how I should reconcile my propensity to verse-making with sums in addition. The minister, it was clear, thought them not incompatible : nor are they. Let nobody think otherwise, unless he is prepared to suffer for the mistake, and what is worse, to make others suffer. The body of the British Poets them

selves shall confute him, with Chaucer at their head, who was a “comptroller of wool” and “clerk of works."

"Thou hearest neither that nor this,

(says the eagle to him in the House of Fame);

For when thy labour all done is,
And hast made all thy reckonings,
Instead of rest and of new things,
Thou goest home to thine house anon,
And all so dumb as any stone
Thou sittest at another book,
Till fully dazèd is thy look.”

Lamb, it is true, though he stuck to it, has complained of

“ The dry drudgery of the desk's dead wood ;"

and how Chaucer contrived to settle his accounts in the month of May, when, as he tells us, he could not help passing whole days in the fields, looking at the daisies, his biographers do not inform us. The case, as in all other matters, can only be vindicated, or otherwise, by the consequences.

But that is a perilous responsibility; and it involves assumptions which ought to be startling to the modesty of young rhyming gentlemen not in the receipt of an income.

I did not give up, however, a certainty for an uncertainty. The Examiner was fully established when I quitted the office. My friends thought that I

should be better able to attend to it; and it was felt, at any rate, that I could not with propriety remain. So I left my fellow-clerks to their better behaviour and quieter rooms; and set my face in the direction of stormy politics.



Du Bois.- Campbell. Theodore Hook. Matheus. James and

Horace Smith.-Museli.--Bonnycastle--Kinnaird, &c.

Just after this period I fell in with a new set of acquaintances, accounts of whom may not be uninteresting. I forget what it was that introduced me to Mr. Hill, proprietor of the Monthly Mirror ; but at his house at Sydenham I used to meet his editor, Du Bois ; Thomas Campbell, who was his neighbour ; and the two Smiths, authors of The Rejected Addresses. I saw also Theodore Hook, and Mathews the comedian. Our host was a jovial bachelor, plump and rosy as an abbot; and no abbot could have presided over a more festive Sunday. The wine flowed merrily and long; the discourse kept pace with it; and next morning, in returning to town, we felt ourselves very thirsty. A pump by the road-side, with a plash round it, was a bewitching sight.

Du Bois was one of those wits, who, like the



« НазадПродовжити »