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“ Man goeth
that not for a fortnight, but for a long upon the pillow; but to get up, as he goes twelvemonth, as we were constrained to do, on to say, was a little harder exaction.
-revocare gradus, superasque evadere ad auras forth to his work until the evening”—from a reasonable hour in the morning, we pre- and to get up moreover to make jokes with sume it was meant. Now, as our main malice prepended—there was the “labour," Occupation took us up from eight till five there the “work.” every day in the City ; and as our evening No Egyptian taskmaster ever devised a hours, at that time of life, had generally to slavery like to that, our slavery. No fractious do with anything rather than business, it operants ever turned out for half the tyranny follows, that the only time we could spare which this necessity exercised upon us. for this manufactory of jokes—our supple- Half a dozen jests in a day, (bating Sundays mentary livelihood, that supplied us in every too,) why, it seems nothing ! We make want beyond mere bread and cheese—was twice the number every day in our lives as exactly that part of the day which (as we a matter of course, and claim no Sabbatical have heard of No Man's Land) may be fitly exemptions. But then they come into our denominated No Man's Time; that is, no head. But when the head has to go out to time in which a man ought to be up, and them—when the mountain must go to awake, in. To speak more plainly, it is that Mahomettime of an hour, or an hour and a half's Reader, try it for once, only for one short duration, in which a man, whose occasions twelvemonth. call him up so preposterously, has to wait for It was not every week that a fashion of his breakfast.
pink stockings came up; but mostly, instead O those head-aches at dawn of day, when of it, some rugged untractable subject ; some at five, or half-past five in summer, and topic impossible to be contorted into the not much later in the dark seasons, we were risible; some feature, upon which no smile compelled to rise, having been perhaps not could play; some flint, from which no process above four hours in bed—(for we were no of ingenuity could procure a scintillation. go-to-beds with the lamb, though we There they lay; there your appointed tale anticipated the lark ofttimes in her rising- of brick-making was set before you, which we like a parting cup at midnight, as all you must finish, with or without straw, as young men did before these effeminate times, it happened. The craving Dragon--the Public and to have our friends about us--we were - like him in Bel's temple-must be fed ; it not constellated under Aquarius, that watery expected its daily rations; and Daniel, and sign, and therefore incapable of Bacchus, ourselves, to do us justice, did the best we cold, washy, bloodless—we were none of could on this side bursting him. your Basilian water-sponges, nor had taken While we were wringing out coy sprightour degrees at Mount Ague—we were right linesses for the Post, and writhing under the toping Capulets, jolly companions, we and toil of what is called “ easy writing,” Bob they)—but to have to get up, as we said Allen, our quondam schoolfellow, was tapping before, curtailed of half our fair sleep, fasting, his impracticable brains in a like service for with only a dim vista of refreshing bohea, the “Oracle.” Not that Robert troubled in the distance—to be necessitated to rouse himself much about wit. If his paragraphs ourselves at the detestable rap of an old hag had a sprightly air about them, it was of a domestic, who seemed to take a diabolical sufficient. He carried this nonchalance so pleasure in her announcement that it was far at last, that a matter of intelligence, and “time to rise ;” and whose chappy knuckles that no very important one, was not seldom we have often yearned to amputate, and palmed upon his employers for a good jest ; string them up at our chamber door, to be a for example sake"Walking yesterday mornterror to all such unseasonable rest-breakers ing casually down Snow Hill, who should we in future
meet but Mr. Deputy Humphreys! we rejoice “Facil” and sweet, as Virgil sings, had to add, that the worthy Deputy appeared to been the “ descending” of the over-night, enjoy a good state of health. We do not ever balmy the first sinking of the heavy head remember to have seen him look better.” This
gentleman so surprisingly met upon Snow commencement of the present century. Even Hill, from some peculiarities in gait or the prelusive delicacies of the present writer gesture, was a constant butt for mirth to the —the curt "Astræan allusion"-would be small paragraph-mongers of the day; and thought pedantic and out of date, in these our friend thought that he might have his days. fling at him with the rest. We met A. in From the office of the Morning Post (for Holborn shortly after this extraordinary we may as well exhaust our Newspaper rencounter, which he told with tears of Reminiscences at once) by change of property satisfaction in his eyes, and chuckling at the in the paper, we were transferred, mortifying anticipated effects of its announcement next exchange! to the office of the Albion day in the paper. We did not quite com- Newspaper, late Rackstrow's Museum, in prehend where the wit of it lay at the time ; Fleet-street. What a transition from a nor was it easy to be detected, when the handsome apartment, from rose-wood desks, thing came out advantaged by type and and silver inkstands, to an office—no office, letter-press. He had better have met any- but a den rather, but just redeemed from thing that morning than a Common Council the occupation of dead monsters, of which it Man. His services were shortly after seemed redolent—from the centre of loyalty dispensed with, on the plea that his para- and fashion, to a focus of vulgarity and graphs of late had been deficient in point. sedition! Here in murky closet, inadequate The one in question, it must be owned, had from its square contents to the receipt of an air, in the opening especially, proper to the two bodies of Editor, and humble awaken curiosity; and the sentiment, or paragraph-maker, together at one time, sat moral, wears the aspect of humanity and in the discharge of his new editorial functions good neighbourly feeling. But somehow the (the “ Bigod ” of Elia) the redoubted John conclusion was not judged altogether to Fenwick. answer to the magnificent promise of the F., without a guinea in his pocket, and premises. We traced our friend's pen after having left not many in the pockets of his wards in the “True Briton,” the “Star,” the friends whom he might command, had “Traveller,"—from all which he was suc- purchased (on tick doubtless) the whole and cessively dismissed, the Proprietors having sole Editorship, Proprietorship, with all the " no further occasion for his services.” rights and titles (such as they were worth) Nothing was easier than to detect him. of the Albion from one Lovell ; of whom we When wit failed, or topics ran low, there know nothing, save that he had stood in the constantly appeared the following-"It is pillory for a libel on the Prince of Wales. not generally known that the three Blue Balls With this hopeless concern-for it had been at the Pawnbrokers' shops are the ancient arms sinking ever since its commencement, and of Lombardy. The Lombards were the first could now reckon upon not more than a money-brokers in Europe." Bob has done hundred subscribers-F. resolutely determore to set the public right on this important mined upon pulling down the Government point of blazonry, than the whole College of in the first instance, and making both our Heralds.
fortunes by way of corollary. For seven The appointment of a regular wit has weeks and more did this infatuated democrat long ceased to be a part of the economy of a go about borrowing seven-shilling pieces, Morning Paper. Editors find their own and lesser coin, to meet the daily demands jokes, or do as well without them. Parson of the Stamp office, which allowed no credit Este, and Topham, brought up the set to publications of that side in politics. An custom of “witty paragraphs” first in the outcast from politer bread, we attached our “World.” Boaden was a reigning para- small talents to the forlorn fortunes of our graphist in his day, and succeeded poor friend. Our occupation now was to write Allen in the “Oracle.” But, as we said, the treason. fashion of jokes passes away; and it would Recollections of feelings—which were all be difficult to discover in the biographer of that now remained from our first boyish Mrs. Siddons, any traces of that vivacity and heats kindled by the French Revolution, fancy which charmed the whole town at the when, if we were misled, we erred in the
company of some who are accounted very be marked at that office, with a view of its good men now—rather than any tendency being submitted at least to the attention of at this time to Republican doctrines—assisted the proper Law Officers—when an unlucky, us in assuming a style of writing, while the or rather lucky epigram from our pen, aimed paper lasted, consonant in no very under at Sir J—8M-h, who was on the eve tone-to the right earnest fanaticism of F. of departing for India to reap the fruits of Our cue was now to insinuate, rather than his apostacy, as F. pronounced it, (it is hardly recommend, possible abdications. Blocks, worth particularising,) happening to offend axes, Whitehall tribunals, were covered with the nice sense of Lord, or, as he then flowers of so cunning a periphrasis - as delighted to be called, Citizen Stanhope, Mr. Bayes says, never naming the thing deprived F. at once of the last hopes of a directly—that the keen eye of an Attorney guinea from the last patron that had stuck General was insufficient to detect the lurking by us; and breaking up our establishment, snake among them. There were times, left us to the safe, but somewhat mortifying, indeed, when we sighed for our more gentle- neglect of the Crown Lawyers. It was about man-like occupation under Stuart. But this time, or a little earlier, that Dan Stuart with change of masters it is ever change made that curious confession to us, that he of service. Already one paragraph, and had “never deliberately walked into an another, as we learned afterwards from a Exhibition at Somerset House in his life.” gentleman at the Treasury, had begun to
BARRENNESS OF THE IMAGINATIVE FACULTY IN THE PRODUCTIONS
OF MODERN ART.
HOGARTH excepted, can we produce any | reeling satyr rout about him, re-peopling and one painter within the last fifty years, or re-illuming suddenly the waste places, drunk since the humour of exhibiting began, that with a new fury beyond the grape, Bacchus, has treated a story imaginatively? By this born in fire, fire-like flings himself at the we mean, upon whom his subject has so Cretan. This is the time present. With acted, that it has seemed to direct him-not this telling of the story—an artist, and no to be arranged by him ? Any upon whom ordinary one, might remain richly proud. its leading or collateral points have impressed Guido, in his harmonious version of it, saw themselves so tyrannically, that he dared not no further. But from the depths of the treat it otherwise, lest he should falsify a imaginative spirit Titian has recalled past revelation ? Any that has imparted to his time, and laid it contributory with the present compositions, not merely so much truth as is to one simultaneous effect. With the desert enough to convey a story with clearness, but all ringing with the mad cymbals of his that individualising property, which should followers, made lucid with the presence and keep the subject so treated distinct in new offers of a god,-as if unconscious of feature from every other subject, however Bacchus, or but idly casting her eyes as upon similar, and to common apprehensions almost some unconcerning pageant—her soul undisidentical ; so as that we might say, this and tracted from Theseus-Ariadne is still pacing this part could have found an appropriate the solitary shore in as much heart-silence, place in no other picture in the world but and in almost the same local solitude, with this? Is there anything in modern art—we which she awoke at day-break to catch the will not demand that it should be equal— forlorn last glances of the sail that bore away but in any way analogous to what Titian has the Athenian. effected, in that wonderful bringing together Here are two points miraculously coof two times in the “Ariadne,” in the uniting ; fierce society, with the feeling of National Gallery? Precipitous, with his solitude still absolute; noon-day revelations,
with the accidents of the dull grey dawn to battle for indecorous mastery. We have unquenched and lingering; the present seen a landscape of a justly admired neoteric, Bacchus, with the past Ariadne; two stories, in which he aimed at delineating a fiction, with double Time; separate, and harmonising. one of the most severely beautiful in antiquity Had the artist made the woman one shade -the gardens of the Hesperides. To do less indifferent to the God; still more, had Mr. justice, he had painted a laudable she expressed a rapture at his advent, where orchard, with fitting seclusion, and a veritable would have been the story of the mighty dragon (of which a Polypheme, by Poussin, desolation of the heart previous ? merged in is somehow a fac-simile for the situation), the insipid accident of a flattering offer met looking over into the world shut out backwith a welcome acceptance. The broken wards, so that none but a “still-climbing heart for Theseus was not lightly to be Hercules " could hope to catch a peep at the pieced up by a God.
admired Ternary of Recluses. No convenWe have before us a fine rough print, tual porter could keep his eyes better than from a picture by Raphael in the Vatican. this custos with the “lidless eyes.” He not It is the Presentation of the new-born Eve only sees that none do intrude into that to Adam by the Almighty. A fairer mother privacy, but, as clear as daylight, that none of mankind we might imagine, and a goodlier but Hercules aut Diabolus by any manner of sire perhaps of men since born. But these means can. So far all is well. We have are matters subordinate to the conception of absolute solitude here or nowhere. Ab extra the situation, displayed in this extraordinary the damsels are snug enough. But here the production. A tolerably modern artist artist's courage seems to have failed him. would have been satisfied with tempering He began to pity his pretty charge, and, to certain raptures of connubial anticipation, comfort the irksomeness, has peopled their with a suitable acknowledgment to the solitude with a bevy of fair attendants, maids Giver of the blessing, in the countenance of of honour, or ladies of the bed-chamber, the first bridegroom ; something like the according to the approved etiquette at a divided attention of the child (Adam was court of the nineteenth century; giving to here a child-man) between the given toy, the whole scene the air of a fête champêtre, if and the mother who had just blest it with we will but excuse the absence of the gentlethe bauble. This is the obvious, the first- men. This is well, and Watteauish. But sight view, the superficial. An artist of a what is become of the solitary mystery—the higher grade, considering the awful presence
Daughters three, they were in, would have taken care to That sing around the golden tree ! subtract something from the expression of the more human passion, and to heighten the This is not the way in which Poussin would more spiritual one. This would be as much have treated this subject. as an exhibition-goer, from the opening of
The paintings, or rather the stupendous Somerset House to last year's show, has been architectural designs, of a modern artist, have encouraged to look for. It is obvious to hint been urged as objections to the theory of our at a lower expression yet, in a picture that, motto. They are of a character, we confess, for respects of drawing and colouring, might to stagger it
. His towered structures are of be deemed not wholly inadmissible within the highest order of the material sublime. these art-fostering walls, in which the Whether they were dreams, or transcripts of raptures should be as ninety-nine, the grati- some elder workmanship-Assyrian ruins tude as one, or perhaps zero! By neither old—restored by this mighty artist, they the one passion nor the other has Raphael satisfy our most stretched and craving conexpounded the situation of Adam. Singly ceptions of the glories of the antique world. upon his brow sits the absorbing sense of It is a pity that they were ever peopled. On wonder at the created miracle. The moment that side, the imagination of the artist halts, is seized by the intuitive artist, perhaps not and appears defective. Let us examine the self-conscious of his art, in which neither of point of the story in the “Belshazzar's the conflicting emotions - a moment how Feast." We will introduce it by an apposite abstracted !-have had time to spring up, or anecdote.
The court historians of the day record, that anxiety for the preservation of their persons, at the first dinner given by the late King -such as we have witnessed at a theatre, (then Prince Regent) at the Pavilion, the when a slight alarm of fire has been givenfollowing characteristic frolic was played off. an adequate exponent of a supernatural The guests were select and admiring ; the terror ? the way in which the finger of God, banquet profuse and admirable; the lights writing judgments, would have been met by lustrous and oriental; the eye was perfectly the withered conscience? There is a human dazzled with the display of plate, among fear, and a divine fear. The one is disturbed, which the great gold salt-cellar, brought from restless, and bent upon escape. The other is the regalia in the Tower for this especial bowed down, effortless, passive. When the purpose, itself a tower! stood conspicuous spirit appeared before Eliphaz in the visions for its magnitude. And now the Rev. of the night, and the hair of his flesh stood the then admired court Chaplain, was pro- up, was it in the thoughts of the Temanite ceeding with the grace, when, at a signal to ring the bell of his chamber, or to call up given, the lights were suddenly overcast, and the servants ? But let us see in the text a huge transparency was discovered, in which what there is to justify all this huddle of glittered in gold letters,
From the words of Daniel it appears that “ BRIGHTON-EARTHQUAKE-SWALLOW-UP
Belshazzar had made a great feast to a ALIVE!”
thousand of his lords, and drank wine before Imagine the confusion of the guests; the the thousand. The golden and silver vessels Georges and garters, jewels, bracelets, moulted are gorgeously enumerated, with the princes, upon the occasion! The fans dropped, and the king's concubines, and his wives. Then picked up the next morning by the sly court- followspages! Mrs. Fitz-what's-her-name fainting, “In the same hour came forth fingers of a and the Countess of * * *
holding the smell- man's hand, and wrote over against the ing-bottle, till the good-humoured Prince candlestick upon the plaster of the wall of caused harmony to be restored, by calling in the king's palace ; and the king saw the part fresh candles, and declaring that the whole of the hand that wrote. Then the king's was nothing but a pantomime hoax, got up countenance was changed, and his thoughts by the ingenious Mr. Farley, of Covent troubled him, so that the joints of his loins Garden, from hints which his Royal High- were loosened, and his knees smote one ness himself had furnished ! Then imagine against another.” the infinite applause that followed, the This is the plain text. By no hint can it mutual rallyings, the declarations that “they be otherwise inferred, but that the appearance were not much frightened,” of the assembled was solely confined to the fancy of Belshazzar, galaxy.
that his single brain was troubled. Not a The point of time in the picture exactly word is spoken of its being seen by any else answers to the appearance of the trans- there present, not even by the queen herself, parency in the anecdote. The huddle, the who merely undertakes for the interpretation flutter, the bustle, the escape, the alarm, and of the phenomenon, as related to her, doubtthe mock alarm; the prettinesses heightened less, by her husband. The lords are simply by consternation; the courtier's fear which said to be astonished ; i.e. at the trouble and was flattery; and the lady's which was the change of countenance in their sovereign. affectation ; all that we may conceive to Even the prophet does not appear to have have taken place in a mob of Brighton seen the scroll, which the king saw. He courtiers, sympathising with the well-acted recals it only, as Joseph did the Dream to surprise of their sovereign ; all this, and no the King of Egypt. “Then was the part of more, is exhibited by the well-dressed lords the hand sent from him [the Lord), and this and ladies in the Hall of Belus. Just this writing was written.” He speaks of the sort of consternation we have seen among a phantasm as past. flock of disquieted wild geese at the report Then what becomes of this needless multionly of a gun having gone off!
plication of the miracle ? this message to a royal But is this vulgar fright, this mere animal conscience, singly expressed-for it was said,