Зображення сторінки


“ Leaving the small oratory, a terrace church, on one side ; and on the other you of flowers leads to a gothic stone-seat at look over a great extent of country. On a the end, and, returning to the flower-gar. still summer's evening, the distant sound den, we wind up a 'narrow path from the of the hurrying coaches, on the great Lone more verdant scene, to a small dark path, don road, are heard as they pass to and with fantastic roots shooting from the from the metropolis. On this spot this last bank, where a grave-stone appears, on which admonitory inscription fronts youan hour-glass is carved.

* There lie the village dead, and there too I“ A root-house fronts us, with dark

When yonder dial points the hour, shall lie. boughs branching over it.-Sit down in Look round, the distant prospect is display'd, that old carved chair. If I cannot welcome

Like life's fair landscape, mark'd with light and some illustrious visitors in such consum.

Stranger, in peace pursue thy onward road, mate verse as Pope, I may, I hope, not But ne'er forget thy long and last abode !"" without blameless pride, tell you, reader, Gentle author-gentle reader-gene in this chair have sat some public charac

tle critic, we must now part, and each ters, distinguished by far more noble qua. lities than the nobly pensive St John!' I

pursue his own appointed path in life. might add, that this seat has received,

Our parting shall be kind-and being among other visitors, Sir Samuel Romilly,

in Mr Bowles's own delightful words, Sir George Beaumont, Sir Humphry Davy it shall not be unaffecting. --poets as well as philosophers, Madame “ Christian reader! we have passed de Stael, Dugald Stewart, and Christo. a few hours together, I hope not enPHER NORTH, Esq. !

tirely unprofitable to you. But the “Two lines on a small board on this root. sun is shining out-the bells are ringhouse point the application

ing-we will now leave the parsonage, Dost thou lament the dead, and mourn the loss the garden, the churchyard, and pass Of many friends, oh! think upon the cross !"

along this village terrace. I may take Over an old tomb-stone, through an arch, up a few moments more of your time, at a distance in light beyond, there is a whilst we slowly pace along the pathvista to a stone cross, which, in the se- way which leads to the road, and lisa venteenth century, would have been idola. ten to the village peal. trous !

" To detail more of the garden would appear ostentatious, and I fear I may be

“ Before we part look round once thought egotistical in detailing so much.

Yonder is the termination of Having conducted the reader through the parish thus far, I shall take him, before

Wiltshire downs; there winds alone, we part, through an arch, to an old yew,

Wansdike, of whose mighty march I which has seen the persecution of the loyal have spoken in the commencement of English clergy; has witnessed their re- this parish perambulation. The disa turn, and many changes of ecclesiastical tant Tower of Devizes crests the fure and national fortune. Under the branches ther hill beyond that eminence, the of that solitary but mute historian of the scene of the great battle in the days pensive plain, let us now rest; it stands of Charles the First—Round-way-hill. at the very extreme northern edge of that we have now come to the end of this garden which we have just perambulated, meadow. Here is the path that once It fronts the tower, the churchyard, and looks on to an old sun-dial, once a cross.

led to the rural abode of the royal AbThe cross was found broken at its foot,

bot of Malmesbury, and which still probably by the country iconoclasts of leads to the humbler parsonage. There the day. I have brought the interesting is the road that conduets you back to fragment again into light, and placed it the Great World. Companion of a few conspicuously opposite to an old Scotch fir hours, while the sunshine of life lasts, in the churchyard, which I think it not and ere the church-bell shall toll, unlikely was planted by Townson on his when we are beyond the sound of all restoration. The accumulation of the soil human things, you will hear the mornof centuries had covered an ascent of four steps at the bottom of this record of silent ing music of these bells at a distance,

anıl remember, if any thing should hours. These steps have been worn in

have been said worth remembering in places, from the act of frequent prostra

this account of tions or kneeling, by the forefathers of the

retired parish in hamlet, perhaps before the church existed. Wiltshire, From a seat near this old yew tree, you see

in peace pursue thy onward road, the churchyard, and battlements of the But ne'er forget thy long and last abude."



This is a book on a very delightful height to the level of ordinary more subject, by a very distinguished man. tals,-to see them eating, drinking, But although it is occasionally rather yawning, sleeping, walking, trotting, a pleasant book than otherwise, it is cantering, and galloping, shooting, not by any means worthy either of the fishing, and fox-hunting, like the oi subject or the man- the one being soldes of the human race. By doing Angling, and the other Sir Humphry so, so far from degrading themselves, Davy. It formed the occupation of they elevate others; “ they justify the the Author, he tells us, during many ways of man to man;" and by conmonths of severe and dangerous ill- necting the pastimes and amusements ness, when he was wholly incapable of this life with its cares and duties, of attending to more useful studies, or why, they bring all its discordant of following more serious pursuits. components into harmonious amalga. Now, in our humble opinion, no man mation. Thus a bishop, sans wig and should write a book of any kind du- petticoat, in a hairy cap, black jacket, ring severe and dangerous illness ; for, corduroy breeches, and leathern legunder such circumstances, how can it gins, creel on back, and rod in hand, escape being mortally stupid? Pere sallying from his palace, impatient to haps a man might write a tolerable reach a famous salmon cast ere the sermon during a season of dangerous sun leave his cloud, attended by bis illness, a passable prayer, or a fair chaplain, brandishing a gaff and lister, last will and testament. But a good appears not only a pillar of his church, book upon Angling can be written, but of his kind, and in such a costume take our word for it, only in a state of is manifestly on the high road to Cans vigorous health of mind and body- terbury,and the Kingdom-Come. Paley tongue pure, eyes bright, stomach never was a bishop,-nor, with all his strong, pulse steady, and palate trem. great virtues and talents, did he deblingly alive to the taste of Glenlivet. serve to be one,- for he was bot orSir Humphry must have been in a thodox either in his morality or his bad way indeed during the composia religion. And we will never allow tion of the greater part of Salmonia— heterodoxy to wear the lawn sleeves, very comatose-his physician mustand ominously squint on bench epishave been fearful of the result-and copal. But Paley was a pellucid writer, his recovery may be placed among and a bloody angler; he was a tena the modern miracles of the Healing dozen-trout-a-day-man,-dressed bis Art.

own flies, and threw as far and fine Were Sir Humphry to write a book a line as ever dropped, gossamer-like, on Angling, in high health and spirits, on deep or shallow. Lord Nelson we are disposed to think it would be was an angler till he lost his righta good one ; for, independently of his arm; and-But, in our article, we great scientific attainments, he has the must touch on topics, not exhaust reputation of being a man of taste and them-so suffice it to say, that to the literature. Nay, in his early mana list of anglers, we are now authorized hood, Sir Humphry was even a bit to add the name of the First Chemist of a poet; and we have read a pub- of his day, and the illustrious invente lished poem of his, that appeared to or of the Safety-Lamp. us to lift up and set down its feet We had often heard, before Sal. with considerable vigour and alacrity, monia, of Sir Humphry's fame as an even like one of Mr Ducrow's horses angler. Tom Purdy says “ he flings a dancing on a platform to a band of gude flee for a gentleman.” The Kerss music.

-He of the Trows-threeps“ he can It is at all times agreeable to see fish nane;" and poor Sandy Givan, men of eminence, men who

at name of the Baronet, used to shake spicuous objects in a nation's eyes," his head like Lord Burleigh. It is true descending from their proud and airy that these three great artists, having



Salmonia : or Days of Fly Fishing, in a series of Conversations ; with some account of the Habits of Fishes belonging to the genus Salmo. By an Angler. London. Murray. 1828.


themselves reached the top of the tree, the same objection applies, with even may, very possibly, look down rather more force, to all the rivers of the too contemptuously on a philosopher New World. like Sir Humphry sitting among the If he prefer weight to number, he lower branches and their opinion ona bas but to say the word-tackle on salmon fisher must, just like a salmon and off at six and six. Our fish to go itself, be taken oum grano salis. Still to scale in or out of basket-whichthe amateur in angling, as in any other ever is the more agreeable to the fancy of the fine arts, painting for example, of the Baronet--and if he will give is amenable to the judgment of the 5 to 4, we engage that Kit's creel artist. Tried by his peers, Sir Hum- shall draw Humphry's by TWO STONE phry might be pronounced a firstrater-by a jury of genuine fishermen A public challenge may perhaps apfrom the Tweed, the Tay, the Awe, pear impertinent. But it is not sothe Spey, the Dee, and the Findhorn, it is the perfection of politeness. For but à pretender. It is painful, in- he who publishes a book on anglingdeed, to be forced to believe that als say Salmonia, or Days of Fly-Fishing most nothing is perfectly well done -thereby declares that he is " open by-gentlemen. Billiards? There are to all the world. Sir Humphry canhundreds of markers who could give not be a stranger to our skill-at least four to the best gentleman player in not to our fame, all England. Cricket? Beauclerk and “ Whereof all Europe rings from side to Harbord themselves were nothing to

side." the Marsdens. Race-riding ? Poo. He must acknowledge that we are a poo-poo-look at Chiffney, Buckle, or “ foeman worthy of his steel," al. the worst of the Three Days, and though his hooks are the handy-work Delme Ratcliffe himself is transmogri- of O'Shaughnessy of Limerick; to be fied into a tailor. Fiddling? Nay- vanquished by Us can, he well knows, Sandy Ballantyne himself-beautiful be no dishonour; whereas to beat Us as is his bow, and fine his finger, must (even by a grilse) would be undying lower his tone to Cramer or Spagnoletti. keudos-everlasting glory-immortal Shooting ? Lord Kennedy, Mr Os fame. Were he to outangle North at baldeston, and Captain Ross, are all Coldstream, Sir Humphry might hang beaten by Arrowsmith. Boxing ? Ury, up his rod in wreaths of ivy and lauthe best gentleman sparrer that ever rel-just as Wellington his Fieldflung down or took up a glove, was marshal's baton, after the overthrow but a boy in the hands of John Jack, of Napoleon at Waterloo. son. Running? Abraham Wood

We have said that we judge Sir could have distanced all the Universi- Humphry's skill as an angler by his ties. Leaping ? Ireland, at hop, step, Book. Now, no sooner did we see his and leap, could have given two yards to Book advertised in Mr Murray's list, young Beattie of the Border. And to than we ordered it to be sent down to return to angling-why, Mulcocky of Us per mail, on the very day of its Killarney could have safely and easily publication-that we might laud it to allowed a salmon an hour to the late the skies. We love all brothers of the Lord Somerville.

angle, and shall praise them always All this being the case, the only both in written and oral discourse, remaining question respecting Sir provided we can do so by moderately Humphry is this is be, among gen- stretching the strings of our conscitlemen anglers, a first-rate gentleman ence. Obscure scribblers on the Genangler? We shrewdly suspect—not. tle Craft, if they shew but a true feel We judge of his skill and prowessing, shall by Us be brought forward from his book; and, as a proof of the into the light, and their place assignconfidence we repose in our own judg- ed them among angling authors-toment, we hereby challenge Sir Hum- wards the bottom of the country dance. phry (a cool five hundred) for the first But when the Illustrious not only put seven salmon, in any river and any the pieces of their rods together, but month, week, or day, he may choose to undertake to appoint, in Great Britain or Ireland.

• Teach the old idea how to fish," We object decidedly to Norwaywhere Sir Humphry, we perceive, has then we feel that such formidable preangled a little as too far off; and paration " must give us pause;" we


2 I

put our spectacles astraddle on our The Complete Angler, by Walton sharpened nose, clear our throat with and Cotton, has indeed fully proved a few sharp short hems; place our “ the utility and popularity of this mearms akimbo-so; and fixing our face thod of treating the subject;"—but Sir on the philosopher, so insufferably Humphry must know very well that bright with expression, that it seems even a good copy of an invalu. all oculus-like the very eye of day- able original is worth not very much we see into and through him—be he -an indifferent one, very little-a bad as dark and as deep as he may-and one, nothing. Old Izaak is often very intuitively know the precise place he tiresome-very prosy--but then he is destined to occupy in company with is a very endearing character. So, Walton and Bainbridge.

too, more or less, are all the other in Salmonia is certainly, on the whole, terlocutors. We become intimate with stupid. The servile adoption, or ra- them-like, nay love them—and it is ther slavish imitation, of old Izaak very pleasant to put up with the Walton, is, at this time of day, not to failings of such friends. Indeed, nobe endured in any writer having the thing endears one's friends to a goodslightest pretensions to original power hearted man so much as their little -and is of itself enough deservedly to failings. Peculiarities beget affection. damn the volume. Sir Humphry in. Who cares a straw for a person of forms us, that “ the conversational perfectly irreproachable character in manner and discursive style were cho- all the littlenesses of life? Some sen as best suited to the state of health of thing absurd even must there be in the author, who was incapable of con- the face or figure, the dress or mansiderable efforts and long-continued ner of a man, before you can take him exertion; and he could not but have to your heart. How pleasant the abin mind a model, which has fully sence-the departure of an intimate proved the utility and popularity of and wearisome bosom-friend! You this method of treating the subject love him for the relief. You feel a ten-The Complete Angler, by Walton der contrition for having wished him at and Cotton."

the devil. You set down every yawn What does he mean by speaking of of yours, ere he breathed farewell, as "' considerable efforts and long.conti- a separate sin to be atoned for by the nued exertion”? Good gracious! are aggravated cordiality of the return. You either the one or the other necessary in become pensive at the remembrance writing a book upon Angling? “Days of your own guffaws-the quiz in of Fly-fishing" is a light and airy absence is thought of with much of title, and such a volume might have that tenderness and pity with which been written off-hand, just as you we regard the dead--and we vow would talk familiarly to an old friend, if ever we meet again in this wicked or scribble an epistle, without any world, to laugh at him less immodeeffort at all, or any attention. One rately, to do more honour to his modoes not expect a work on Fly-fishing dest worth, to look on all his singular. to be in several folios, on which had ities in the light of originalities, and been bestowed the unremitting and to own that, with all his qualities, he undivided labour of a long life-the must indeed have been a character. pulse on the thin wrist of the author Much of all this we experience in readstopping just as his shrivelled fingers ing, and laying aside, and returning to, had written “ Finis.” Had Sir Hume the Complete Angler. Walton himphry been as strong as a horse, his self we always reverence, even through health equal to that of Hygeia herself, our smiles. "Cotton we always admire, would he have chosen a style mainly wild though we know him to be ; but different from the conversational and the queer cits, with names as queer, discursive,” and belaboured his vo- who prate and prose through the dialume with “ considerable efforts and logues, we regard with kindly affeclong-continued exertion ?" Surely he tion, chiefly on account of the amiawould not have been so silly. If so, ble specific silliness by which each then would his book have been even is distinguished, and which proves one duller and heavier than it is—which and all of them, beyond possibility is saying a good deal—for even in its of error, to be good anglers, true present shape we should be sorry to Christians, and blameless men. swim the Tweed with it in our creel. But the interlocutors in Salmonia are It is the weight of a good fish. introduced without the smallest dra.

matic skil. Never was there such themselves a much worse ; à confudrawling discourse by theside of a mur- sion arises among their personal identimuring stream as that indulged in byties, from which result many unpleathese elderly gentlemen. The charace sant feelings and awkward mistakes; ters chosen to support these conversa- and they all are aware how dangerous tions are, quoth Sir Humphry, Ha- it would be for any one of them to LIEVS, who is supposed to be an accom- swear to a fact as having been consisplished fly-fisher ; ORNITHER, who is tent with his own knowledge, since, to be regarded as a gentleman generally on farther reflection, it would appear fond of the sports of the field, though equally probable to have occurred to not a finished master of the art of an- another of the squad. The student of gling; FOIETES, whois to be considered “Salmonia” is puzzled at every page as an enthusiastic lover of nature, and to remember who is speaking and partially acquainted with the myste- dislikes the endless trouble of turning ries of fly-fishing; and Physicus, who back to look for bis name. Read from is described as uninitiated as an an- it a dialogue to a blind man,-howgler, but as a person fond of inqui- ever cheerful and acute-and all blind ries in natural history and philoso- men are cheerful and acute

and good phy. There is nothing very much and happy too,--and you must take amiss in this attempt at deviation care never to omit the name of a single from the characters in the Complete interlocutor. Not so in Plato—not so in Angler, though manifestly a woful Walton-not so in Landor-not so in wantofingenuity-originality-which North. In those divine dialogues, for last is to a book about any rural sport example, the Noctes Ambrosianæ, you

- life and soul. Without it, such book could not change the name of one is what Sir Humphry and the che speaker for another, even for one ree mists understand by a caput mor- tort courteous, or quip modest, withtuum. But the worst of it is, that the out the misnomer being instantly decharacters, unoriginal, are also unre. tected by the dullest ear. But in Sal. deemed by any strong natural traits, monia, it would seldom matter much unbrightened by the vivacity, we will were the names of the speakers put not say of genius, but even of animal into a hat, and then affixed to the dife spirits, and all repeat a lesson which ferent speeches, in the order in which they seem to have painfully conned they were drawn from the beaver. before reaching the river side. Sir Sir Humphry Davy must be too Humphry is seen for ever exerting well-read a man in dramatic literahimself, to the very utmost his feeble ture, not to know how essential to the health would allow, to “ preserve the production of any effect at all, is the similitude.” Halieus, of course, per- perpetual preservation of dramatic forms all the feats of skill, and holds propriety. Let the sentiments, feela the rest of the party dog-cheap. Or. ings, opinions, descriptions, reflections, nither is the only one of the four who in a dialogue, be as excellent as may ought to know an eagle when he sees be, natural and true; yet, unless they it. Never was there, on all occasions, are all felt to be congenial and appro, such another imaginative simpleton as priate to the character of him who Poietes; while Physicus, being drawn, utters them, they seem stale, flat, and as we are told, from the life, is as pe- unprofitable ; and absolutely are felt to dantic and as empty as most other lose much of their native worth from philosophical Physicians, who have being so transmitted to our heart or dealt more with theory than practice. understanding. The genius by which

The fatal fault--the original sin of the truth of nature is preserved this production—is in the conception. throughout all the fluctuations and There is no individuality of character windings, and turnings, of a free and in any one of these four unfortunate animated dialogue, in which many gentlemen. Unfortunate we call them, strongly-marked and clearly contraste on that very account; for, howevered characters are displayed, is not, in rich or reputable a gentleman may be, our opinion, a very rare gift; it is he cannot be pronounced fortunate, if possessed, in a thousand distinct dehe have no individuality of character. grees, from Shakepeare down to the Not only, in such cases, are gentle, wit of the village smithy; but nature men liable to be mistaken for one an- seems to have withholden it entirely other by others a bad case--but by from Sir Humphry Davy, wliile she

« НазадПродовжити »