Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub

BEAUTY.

BY MRS. CRAWFORD.

Oh! tell me not of cheeks, that wear

The rosy freshness of the morn,Of Hebe lips and flowing hair ;

True love is not of such things born: They have their value but to me, As flowers, if nothing more I see.

I could as soon bow soul and knees

To some bright shade of Titian's art, Or statue of Praxiteles,

As beauty, without mind or heart : For why? because it seems to me, Like casket without jewelry.

I care not what the colour be

Of beauty's eye,--if jet or blue, So every glance speak sympathy,

With what is kind, and good, and true : Eyes have their value but to me,

As in their light a soul I see.

I heed not if the cheek be pale

As monumental marble, so
A modest blush doth there prevail,

When fit occasion bids it glow:
Cheeks have their value but to me,
As types of inward purity.

I mind not if the lips be red,

And full, as infant bud of rose,
So gay good temper round them shed

The sunshine of the mind's repose :
Lips have their value but to me,
When clothed with sweet amenity.

Yet neither lips, nor cheeks, nor eyes,

Though all that I have now portrayed, Could shake my peace, or wake my sighs,

Unless they love for me displayed: Their chiefest beauty still must be, To breathe of love, and love for me.

But if I see in beauty's eye,

Affection's glance when I appear,
And on her cheek and lip, espy

The tokens of a love sincere;
Then eyes, and cheeks, and lips, to me
Do wear their true divinity.

THE NEW MANUAL OF ELOQUENCE.

MR. Editor, I am one of those ingenious persons called projectors, who have always on hand some undertaking, partly for the public good and advantage, and partly for the improvement of their own private fortunes. Having witnessed with much satisfaction your unremitting exertions to promote every well-directed plan for the better diffusion of useful information, and presuming more especially upon your zeal for the advancement of literature, I now venture to solicit that you will insert in your excellent miscellany the following notices of a work of great merit and utility, to be intitled, “ The New Manual of Eloquence.” A prospectus of the work and subscription papers will, in a short time, be lodged with all the principal booksellers, and the printing will commence as soon as fifty thousand subscribers, at one guinea each, shall have come forward to encourage the publication. If this request is complied with, it is probable that you may hear from me again, and that I may be induced to draw forth from the repositories in which they have long slumbered, a number of schemes and lucubrations well worthy of the public attention. In the meantime, relying upon your patronage and approbation, I beg leave to subscribe myself, Mr. Editor, Your very obedient humble servant,

SPECULATOR.

Every judicious reader must be aware of the great advantages that have resulted from the use of images somewhat obscure and of terms that are rather ill-defined, whether for the purpose of indicating a profound and philosophical mode of thinking, or of attaining true perfection in that ambitious and grandiloquent style, which is usually called fine writing, or fine oratory. But grandeur of every sort is apt to be monotonous, whether it consist in pomp of phrases or in outward show and magnificence; and the love of variety is so natural, that, whether in books or in oratory, a constant recurrence of the same images, or of the same words, cannot be endured without weariness and disgust, even though they should be so obscure and ill-defined as to convey no distinct idea to the mind. Too often we see all the effect of a profound and imposing mistiness entirely lost through the want of attention to vary and diversify a little, and there are multitudes who seem utterly unable to exceed the range of some few phrases and embellishments which have got into fashion, and are put to every sort of service while they continue in vogue. If the reader is old enough to remember the orators of the French convention, I take it for granted that he must often have been put out of all patience by incessant repetitions of the words organ and organizing, and by others of that nation who went on germinating and developing in

the same merciless way. The word “monster' seems also to have been reckoned upon as particularly serviceable for producing an impression upon the sovereign people. Every man might then announce himself as the organ of something or other--of fraternal unanimity, of pure civism, or of a regenerated epoch; or sound an alarm that the monster Federalism, or the monster Superstition, was busy here or there, organising its monstrous conceptions, hatching some catastrophe which should engulf in its jaws the virtuous Sans-culottes of the 10th of August, the enlightened patriots of the 1st of September, and the entire republic one and indivisible.

But to descend from these stormy declamations to phrases and flourishes of our own native growth. I have myself perused two very sizeable quartos, the work of a certain genius, whose productions might be easily recognised and identified as belonging to the same author, solely by our meeting at every turn with such sentences as the following :-a most pregnant era,—a most pregnant moment,—a mind every day engendering new miracles,exquisite digression, pregnant with imagery and sentiment —offensive manners, engendered by dishonesty and intemperance,—duels pregnant with apprehension,

-matter generating visible images. Devil another metaphor the filthy pedant has from beginning to end of his two quartos! or, if by accident one of a different sort does sometimes intervene, it makes no more figure than some stray specimen of the lesser weeds, in a waste overrun with nettles and ragworts.

The word “devoted' is at this present time (April, 1836) in exceeding great favour and popularity. With romance writers it saves the trouble of colouring over and excusing all sorts of immoralities. An action may be neither fit, nor just, nor religious, nor suitable to a rational and accountable being, it may even be neither decent nor honest, but call it devoted, and it becomes quite a high-souled affair, which forthwith soars too high to be measured by the ordinary rules that confine the general herd. A man may be devoted to his neighbour's wife, a woman to her neighbour's husband, for it matters not how absurdly and mischievously placed this same feeling of devotedness may be, provided only that it shall be so managed as to produce its proper quantity of sentiment and stage effect. Nor is this all : besides its popularity with the fanciful and romantic, this word is of the greatest utility to that worldly-minded generation who are engaged in squab. bling with and circumventing each other for the good things of this life. When a man of this stamp talks of having a friend who is devoted to him, or of his having devoted himself to some desirable patron, it serves to intimate, in the genteelest manner, that he has acquired a useful catspaw, or hooked himself to a convenient dupe.

The word “ people' has worked excellently, and is not likely to be soon worn out. By advertising a book for the people, it is possible to sell enormously-piled up reams of nonsense; and under colour of talking or writing in the people's cause, any one may very patriotically vent as much insolence, envy, malice, and disloyalty, as he pleases.

In our days, too, every body has been nauseated by the talk about a fetid moral atmosphere, morbid moral symptoms, and morbid moral anatomy. Next in succession came marches and evolutions, both

May 1836.-VOL. XVI.-NO. LXI.

very fashionable, as, for example, the march of investigation, the evolutions of intellect, or the march of Hume over the field of history, &c. &c. These last were supposed to contain much deep and philosophical meaning ; but such is the mutation attached to all sublunary things, that the fashion even of tropes and figures is subjected to vicissitude, and it has become a standing joke to pelt the celebrated march of intellect with incessant derision. Another instance of the same ill-temper has come down to us from the days of the great Doctor Samuel Johnson—“ Powers, that villanous word powers,” excited by its constant recurrence the spleen of critical and discourteous readers, “and yet it is an excellent good word too," when used with moderation, which it has been, ever since the word 'gifts' has been seized upon and subjected to the same intolerable drudgery.

The word foot' was also in great reputation about a century ago, when people talked not only of placing things upon a right foot, or standing upon a foot, but even of cultivating a foot. Every one knows the wonderful resources which, in every emergency, have been found in the four monosyllabic exclamations--ah! oh! yes ! what !as also the excessive prettiness and prepossessing qualities of the word • little, insomuch that, if we mean to be interesting, we must apply this epithet to every thing. If a lady bends over her harp, it is to sing a little romance, or a little air; or if our dramatis personæ should happen to be devout peasants. they must read from a little Bible, which reposes on a little shelf; their lamp must be a little lamp, their loaf a little loaf, and they must drive their cows into a little field. But, alas! it is to be feared that these prettinesses, like many others which have preceded them, may soon fail to make an impression, and that the next generation may listen to them, as we do to a tune that has been whistled about the streets till every body is tired of it. And even the ah ! oh! ves! what! which had such prodigious force and success in the school of Jean Jaques Rousseau, and is now more laudably employed in edifying the religious public, in a multitude of tracts and theological discussions, may cease to produce any sensation.

Nor is this all. Besides this indiscreet frequency, and incessant wearing out of particular words, some have addicted themselves to a few sorry alliterations, while others have a fancy for one particular termination, such as, classify, ramify, modify, diversify, or, matuality, totality, universality. But it would be useless to multiply examples.

That persons who affect a grand, strutting, and redundant flow of language, should fall into such unaccountable poverty, will appear the more astonishing, when we consider that the community of authors, like the community of rooks, make no scruple to build their nests with their neighbour's sticks, or, to speak without a metaphor, to borrow or appropriate whatever they may have occasion for. And from the very liberal use that has been made of this general privilege of pilfering without remorse or acknowledgment, we may certainly infer, that it does not proceed from any fastidiousness on this point, and that many would willingly increase their stock of fine terms and rhetorical flourishes, if they only knew how or where to help themselves. Actuated, therefore, by pure benevolence to my brethren of the quill, and to many worthy gentlemen who make sermons and speeches, I have, by means of an excellent pair of scissors, together with a needle and thread, compiled, or rather, so to speak, manipulated and constructed a work of singular utility, from which they may select at pleasure such new phrases, and such flowers of eloquence, as they may deem fit to be transplanted into their compositions and discourse. That such a work has long been very much wanted, I suppose there is nobody so unreasonable as to dispute, and it is confidently anticipated, that it will be welcomed with universal plaudits by the entire republic of letters, and outshine in reputation, even the celebrated rhyming dictionary of Mr. Byshe.

But that the reader may sufficiently estimate the merit and usefulness of this performance, it is necessary to insert a few short extracts, from which he may be enabled to understand something of its plan and materials. The work is nearly in the dictionary form, for the convenience of being more easily consulted ; but the specimens have been selected without any regard to alphabetical arrangement, from some of the many chapters into which so great a variety of matter naturally divided itself.

Chapter 17th treats of curious furniture, implements, and utensils; such as

The key that opens the sacred source of sympathetic tears.

The key of art, for tuning the ears of persons who are going to make verses. Pope had his ears tuned by this key. It must be held in the band of Nature.

The great wheel of sublunary bliss.

The wheel of Fortune, which in its perpetual revolution round the axis of uncertainty, scatters from its circumference vicissitudes among the sons of men.

The hammers of perpetual discussion.
The nails and pins of prejudice.

That most powerful air-pump, adversity, which ejects from the mind all that gas, that comes under the denomination of nonsense.

The torch of exposure.
The sling of eloquence.
The empty shell of philosophy for holding the sound of arguments in.

The mysterious magnet of friendship attracted only by invisible atoms of sympathy.

The pillars of sentiment and imagination for the spirit to repose on. Milton had them-Cobbett had them not; therefore he ran away to America.

The vocal looking-glass. To give our ideas voice and accent is, ac. cording to Lord Shaftesbury, the vocal looking-glass, &c. &c. &c.

Chapter 18th is of trinkets and wearable articles, such as,
The black brood of ignorance.
The cloak of sadness.
A mantle of love, to cast over faults.
The mantle of impunity.

The cloak of common sense. No woman, says the novel, must stir with. out it.

The chaste habiliments of eloquent persuasion.
The gems of virtue.

The signet of the stage, for making impressions with, when the heart is melted by the scene, &c.

« НазадПродовжити »