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due to be entrusted to any one poorer in experiences and regrets than yourself. . Within a bow-shot of the Bishop of London's Palace at Fulham, I was, the other day, bidden to admire the grave of a devoted champion of Church and State, who so valiantly administered the knout to the wicked Whigs, and, yet more chivalrously, to their womenkind; under the ensign of the Bible and Sceptre—the device of the John Bull. Poor Theodore Hook! that gayest of tablecompanions ! and best-natured of human creatures :that “ life and soul" (so runs the rhyme) of great tables, the plate on which you, too, have helped to clean :--that profound moralist who showed the black-heartedness of Bloomsbury, the low life of Leeds, the mechanical melancholy of “ Manchester Tradesmen,” to tenderconscienced Lord Johns, and innocent Lady Janes ; who opened their pretty eyes, and
Marvelled much to see the creatures dine ! --that Improvisatore who could set a rhyme against every name, and a gibe against every grave thing :—that man, in short (to use one of his own favourite verbs) who “ worried himself” to Death to please his patrons ! - here lies that delight of so many reverend Divines, and inane Peers, and delicate Duchesses, who laughed till their laces were like to burst at his double-refined doubleentendres,-without aught to mark his fame! 'Tis right. No vulgar-looking lamp with its fat flame toppling tipsily over his - ashes ! -no country-bumpkin handful of corn in the ear heavy for harvest ! no methodistical text with its regulation “assurance and certainty”-nor rubbishy Bellman's rhyme, to vaunt
His manly virtues and his brilliant parts, should deck the stone. Most refined, sir, is it not? His old friends haunt the spot, in tearful gratitude for his past services, in tearful memory of past carouses ; but they feel too poignantly to praise him by effigy, or device, or tribute !
Not that the world of survivors was to want its teaching because poor Hook wanted his monument. The above signal manifestation of self-denial is little less touching than the plain severity of the oration, published shortly after his decease. Strangers to the author of " Gilbert Gurney” had, during his life, thought of him only as the caustic and lively moralist, a little unscrupulous, and too much given to class-warfare, but blithe and animated ; or they heard of him from afar as “capital company"--the man who could " bring in ” to his verses names as unmanageable as Longshanks, or Shufflebottom, or Scratchby-who could make a wonderful imitation of the cathedral service on the piano-forte without playing a note, and act a whole Mecklenburg-square family--father, mother, swelling sons and smart daughters (the white-eyed lame governess not forgotten), between the courses !-a mocking Bird of Paradise, in short, whom kings and queens and dukes and ambassadors, alone, were worthy to cage and to feed! When they read of his decease, they grieved that a life so merry should come to an end. Some of them-grateful innocents !--were sure that he must have a nook or a niche in the Abbey; the hurablest went the length of Kensal Green, and there, in fond fancy, set up a cenotaph as showy as Mr. St. John Long's or that of the deceased Paintress, inaugurated by no meaner a personage than Mademoiselle Cerito! How little did they guess the truth! How indispensable was it that they should be disenchanted by those who had the Jester's secret! This, in its mercy, the Review told them. For the information of all who knew not Hook's history, by way of aid and solace to his bereaved family, a friendly hand took up the pen of the Accusing Angel. “ Go to,” said the writer, “we will prevent those who inquire not“we will show forth the deeds of our friend and brother. We “ will wash the paint from his cheeks, that Men may count the “ wrinkles and the pain-spots! We will strip him naked, that all “ may behold the grievousness of his sores." Alas! sir, more is the pity that this truth-telling spirit is not one in which the lives of men of letters have been written! The world has had too much of degrading excuse calling itself admiring sympathy ; too much of facts twisted, and blame bestowed amiss ; of false and frivolous confusions between virtue and vice ; of attempts to identify Geniusby every morbid passion and base desire, and to prove the two not merely co-existent but concomitant. Sorely and shamefully has. testimony been perverted by those called upon to speak. But herewas silence which none were bidden to break. The tale was tendered unasked. There was no thought of claiming a saintship for your friend and fellow-labourerno danger lest bis intimates (as few knew better than yourself) should open too ready a hand, or too merciful a heart to comfort and suocour those he had left behind. How strong, then, must have been the principle of duty which led some old fellow-actor of the deceased mimic to step forward, and tell us that he whom you had consorted with, and flattered and urged on, whose follies you had used, whose time you had usurped, was a wretched being harassed by perpetual terrors lest his daily bread should fail-bankrupt in health-bruised in spirit-dragging abroad with him the chain of debt, and all its enginry of torment from one scene of mirth to another; and when at home (the home your presence so often brightened) derived the most healthy support and the wholesome solace which Husband and Father can enjoy
Verily, Theodore Hook had his reward! Wits-party-writers -facetious novelists-boon companions, think of these things ; be grateful for the modesty of the grave in Fulbam church-yard. To me that unhonoured stone speaketh with a voice louder than a trumpet's. And for you, sir,--as Hook's old familiar friend—the share you have had, be it more or less, in reading a lesson so important to all possessing what are called “social qualities,” entitles you to the world's warmest gratitude. But we do not promise to emulate your example. Your virtues may be written on your tombstone.
I have the honour to remain,
; PAUL BELL.
MAY-DAY FOR THE PEOPLE.
The month of May is upon us—these pages will see the light upon the birth-day of the summer time. The season of the leaf and the flower of the greenness of the wood, and the richness of the sward, and the soothing murmurs of the brooklet has come. This is not the age for pastorals. We know it, and do not intend to “babble o' green fields,” to conjure up mossy grots—to make them resound to the lay of merriest birds—to people flowery meads with fickle Chloes, and shady groves with love-sick Strephons. Nevertheless there is something in the season to make us think of smokeless air, and budding trees, and turf in which you shall sink to the ancle—the richest carpet of Nature's weaving. It is the joyous period when Time for a space renews its youth. It is a period of renewed energy-a blithe awakening in green freshness of the earth. The world's blood which stag
nated during winter's sleepy frosts-Z which moved but with an inconstant and halting circulation under Spring's fickle influences, is now rushing, hot and mantling through Nature's veins, and the denizens of earth and air participate in the flushed vigour of the Universal Mother. .
May-day is a high festival of Nature. It is the real New. Year's day. The earth is rejoicing around us. The birds sing from their nests, and rising-incense-like from the earth-floats upwards the dumb music of the flowers. And we all partake, although perchance we know it not, in this general jubilee. The townpent man hurrying along the crowded street, hears with a species of semi-conscious thrill, the voice of the caged blackbird, hung out where à patch of sunshine comes cheeringly on the brown brick wall ; or he looks with a momentarily-awakened interest upon the budding greenness of a solitary tree, impounded as it were in some black city-garden ; and donning, with all the haste it may, every shred of summer-livery which smoke and confined air will permit it to assume.
It was then, yielding to these impulses-preparing a channel for these feelings to run riot in—that our forefathers instituted the games of May. And they were in the right. Gladness is natural to the season. · Man is not so far removed from inanimate things that he too should not feel some impulse from the influence which quickens them, and causes them to burst into the full flush of their beauty. Not that every season is not cheerful in its turn. Do we disparage the bracing days of frost and driving snow—when the fire is ruddy on the hearth, and the genial solemnities of Christmas tide are celebrated under the wreathed mistletoe and holly bough? Then come-smiling and cryingcoaxing and scolding—the fickle days of Spring. Perhaps Winter, which always seems loath to depart, and will keep dragging on an unhonoured existence, gives poor Spring a worse name than she deserves. But for all that, she ripens into Summer - the bud. becomes a leaf, the snowdrop, which seemed afraid of showing Winter that she could don Spring's livery, and therefore peeped fearfully out, as white as the snow around her-has drooped and died--and the whole tribe of gaudy flowrets-a gorgeous host, bedight in every hue-come forth, exultingly brighten on the earth, and open their bosoms to Summer's sun and Summer's breeze.
And our forefathers went forth with them. May-day sounded
a voice of joy throughout the land. The maidens bathed their rosy cheeks in May-dew, and if the fluid did them no good, the early rising and the fresh air of the summer dawn were more cffectual.
And here let us not be met by sneering remarks upon the quality of our ordinary May weather; about East-winds and rheumatism ; drenching 'rains and colds in the head. If as you say, the seasons have changed since Chaucer's time, make the 1st of June May-day. Here is no bull : postpone the festival do not omit it. What we want is a joyful welcome to the pleasant summer time ; a welcome to the leaf and to the flower ; a recognition of that awakening influence, which stirs within us and prompts to gaiety and cheering thoughts. This comes with the summer ; receive it, acknowledge it when the summer arrives. May-day is but a word, which signifies the opening of the balmiest, the pleasantest season of the year. Take it in its largest meaning, and hail Queen Summer when her buxom Majesty first smiles upon her throne !
We want May-day to be again celebrated. Not, mind, as of yore; but one would fain see the same spirit run in a more sagely-planned channel. Think for a moment of May-day in the reign of Queen Bess. Leslie's gorgeous picture rises before our eyes as we pen the words. First, a gallant May-pole floats on the vision. See the green wreaths which garland itin spiral veins of dewy greenery-crowned with a diadem of flowers. Mark the merry crowd which gambol round this, the standard of the summer. The sward is green and soft and springy beneath them. The summer sky is blue over head, and the summer sun shines down, flinging its light in dancing patches through the waving richness of the trees. Truly it is a most quaint revel. It is the bal masqué of the middle ages. Hark to the clash-rude but sprightly—of the pire and tabor ; and see the antics which dancers play. Merry on us ! what a group-what monsters what hobby horses—what quaint jesters-what marvellous masques-what a merry pageant! Truly, Master Erasmus, Holiday must have been the marshal of the host. Jolly old Pedant ! réply in thy quaint vernacular. Thou hast ordered the folds of that dragon's tail : thou hast traced the quaint mummings of the morris-dance: the attirings of Maid Marian, are they not thy right merrie conceit? and the Pope of fools-hast thou not set his Holiness up in his greenwood Vatican Round the May.