Imágenes de páginas

other-then a fourth. At this period wildered eyes of Gulliver. At last he Julia appeared at the door, and beck- resumed his human shape, and sat beoned upon the landlord, who arose fore me like “ Andes, giant of the from the table, saying he would rejoin Western Star,”-tippling the jorum, us immediately. Mr. Tims and I and sighing deeply. were thus left alone, and so we con- Yes, he sighed profoundly, passiontinued, for the landlord-strange to ately, tenderly ; and the sighs came say-did not again appear. What be- from his breast like blasts of wind came of him I know not. I supposed from the cavern of Eolus. By Jove, he had gone to bed, and left his great he was in love ; in love with Julia ! friend and myself to pass the time as and I thought it bigh time to probe we were best able.

him to the quick. We were now commencing our fifth “ Sir," said I, " you must be contumbler, and I began to feel my whole scious that you have no right to love spirit pervaded by the most delightful Julia. You have no right to put your sensations. My heart beat quicker, immense body between her and me. my head sat more lightly than usual She is my betrothed bride, and mine upon my shoulders; and sounds like she shall be forever.” the distant humn of bees, or the music “ I have weighty reasons for loving of the spheres, heard in echo afar off, her," replied Mr. Tims. Aoated around me. There was no “ Were your reasons as weighty as bar between me and perfect happiness, your person, you shall not love her.” but the Man-Mountain, who sat on the “ She shall be mine,” responded he, great elbow-chair opposite, drinking with a deeply-drawn sigh. “ You his brandy-toddy, and occasionally cannot, at least, prevent her image humming an old song with the utmost from being enshrined in my heart. indifference.

No, Julia ! even when thou descendest It was plain that he despised me. to the grave thy remembrance will While any of the others were present cause thee to live in my imagination, he was abundantly loquacious, but now and I shall thus write thine elegy: he was as dumb as a nshipping in I cannot deem thee dead-like the perfumes silence, and answering such questions Arising from Judea's vanished shrines as I put to him in abrupt monosylla- Thy voice still floats around me-nor can

tombs bles. The thing was intolerable, but

s vut A thousand, from my memory hide the lines I saw into it: Julia had played me of beauty, on thine aspect which abode, false ; the “ Mountain" was the man Like streaks of sunshine pictured there by

God. of her choice, and I bis despised and contemptible rival.

She shall be mine,” continued he in These ideas passed rapidly through the same strain. “Prose and verse my mind, and were accompanied with shall woo her for my lady-love ; and myriads of others. I bethought me she shall blush and hang ber head in of everything connected with Mr. modest joy, even as the rose when Tims his love for Julia-his elephan- listening to the music of her beloved tine dimensions, and his shadow, huge bulbul beneath the stars of night.” and imposing as the image of the These amorous effusions, and the moon against the orb of day, during tone of insufferable affectation with an eclipse. Then I was transported which they were uttered, roused my away to the Arctic sea, where I saw corruption to its utmost pitch, and I him floundering many a rood,“ hugest exclaimed aloud, “ Think not, thou of those that swim the ocean stream." revivification of Falstaff-thou enlargThen he was a Kraken fish, outspread ed edition of Lambert-thou folio of like an island upon the deep : then a humanity-thou Titan-thou Briareus mighty black cloud affrighting the ma- -thou Sphynx-thou Goliath of Gath, riners with its presence : then a flying that I shall bend beneath thy ponderisland, like that which greeted the be- ous insolence !” The Mountain was

[ocr errors]

amazed at my courage: I was amazed He tugged, he shook, till down they came, and

drew at it myself; but what will not love, Th

The whole roofafter them, with burst ofthunder, inspired by brandy, effect ?

Upon the heads of all who sat beneath." "No," continued I, seeing the im

“Psha !” said Julia, blusbing mopression my words bad produced upon

destly, “can't you let me go ?”— him, “ I despise thee, and defy thee,

Sweet Julia! I had got her in my even as Hercules did Antæus, as Sampson did Harapha, as Orlando

"But where,” said I, “is Mr. did Ferragus. • Bulk without spirit

Tims?” rast,' I fear thee not come on.” So

- Mr. Who ?” said she. saying, I rushed onward to the Moun

"The Man-Mountain." tain, who arose froin his seat to re

« Mr. Tims !-Man-Mountain !" ceive me. The following passage resumed Julia, with unfeigned surfrom the Agonistes of Milton will give

prise. “I know of no such persons. some idea of our encounter:

How jocular you are to-night-not to " As with the force of winds and waters pent, say how ill-bred, for you have been When mountains tremble, these two massy asleep for the last five minutes !"

pillars, With horrible convulsion to and fro,

“ Sweet-sweet Julia !”


It has been somewhere asserted, that brary, continues to pour forth volume “no one is idle who can do anything. after volume from his inexhaustible It is conscious inability, or the sense stores. Mr. Southey, too, the poet, of repeated failures, that prevents us the historian, the biographer, and I from undertaking, or deters us froin the know not what besides, is remarkable prosecution of any work.” In answer for his literary industry; and last, not to this it may be said, that men of very least, the noble bard, the glory and great natural genius are in general ex- the regret of every one who has a empt from a love of idleness, be- soul to feel those “ thoughts that cause, being pushed forward, as it breathe and words that burn,” the were, and excited to action by that mighty poet himself, notwithstanding vis virida, which is continually stirring the shortness of his life, is distinguishwithin them, the first effort, the origi- ed by the number, as well as by the nał impetus, proceeds not altogether beauty and sublimity of his works. from their own voluntary exertion, and Besides these and other male writers, because the pleasure which they, the best of our female authors, the above all others, experience in the boast and delight of the present age, exercise of their faculties, is an and who have been compared to “ so ample compensation for the labor many modern Muses''-Miss Landon, which that exercise requires. Ac- Mrs. Hemans, Miss Edgeworth, Miss cordingly, we find that the best Mitford, &c.--have they not already writers of every age have generally, supplied us largely with the means of though not always, been the most vo- entertainment and instruction, and luminous. Not to mention a host of have we not reason to expect still ancients, I might instance many of our greater supplies from the same sources ? own country as illustrious examples of But although it may be easily althis assertion, and no example more lowed that men of very great natural illustrious than that of the immortal genius are for the most part exempt Shakspeare. In our times the author from a love of idleness, it ought also to of “Waverley,” whose productions, be acknowledged that there are others in different branches of literature, to whom, indeed, nature has not been would almost of themselves fill a li- equally bountiful, but who possess a certain degree of talent which perse. race; and as birds have from nature a verance and study if to study they propensity to fly, horses to run, and would apply themselves) might gra- wild beasts to be savage, so is activity dually advance, and at last carry to and vigor of mind peculiar to man; excellence.

and hence his mind is supposed to be With the exception of a few master of divine original. But men are no spirits of every age and nation, genius more born with minds naturally dull is more equally distributed ainong and indocile, than with bodies of monmankind than many suppose. Hear strous shapes, and these are very

bis observations are these :-" It is a . From what has been premised, groundless complaint, that very few this conclusion may be drawn that are endowed with quick apprehension, it is not « conscious inability” alone, and that most persons lose the fruits but often a love of leisure, which of all their application and study prevents us from undertaking any through a natural slowness of under- work. Many, to whom nature had standing. The case is the very re- given a certain degree of genius, have verse, because we find mankind in lived without sufficiently exercising general to be quick in apprehension, that genius, and have, therefore, beand susceptible of instruction, this queathed no fruits of it to posterity at being the characteristic of the human their death.


THE French pulpit orators of the tion into a close comparison with the age of Louis XIV. are the only gorgeous opulence of the English considerable body of modern rhetori- rhetoric of the same century. Under cians out of the English language. such a comparison, two capital points No writers are more uniformly prais- of weakness would force themselves ed; none are more entirely neglected. upon the least observant of criticsThis is one of those numerous bypo- first, the defect of striking imagery ; crisies so common in matters of taste, and, secondly, the slenderness of the where the critic is always ready with thoughts. The rhetorical manner is his good word, as the readiest way of supported in the French writers chiefgetting rid of the subject. To blame ly by an abundance of ohs and ahsmight be bazardous ; for blame de- by interrogatories--apostrophes-and mands reasons ; but praise enjoys a startling exclamations : all which are ready dispensation from all reasons mere mechanical devices for raising and from all discrimination. Super- the style : but in the substance of the stition, however, as it is, under which composition, apart from its dress, the French rhetoricians hold their re- there is nothing properly rhetorical. putation, we have no thought of at- The leading thoughts in all pulpit elotempting any disturbance to it in so quence being derived froin religion, slight and incidental a notice as this. and, in fact, the common inheritance Let critics by all means continue to of human nature,--if they cannot be invest them with every kind of imagina- novel, for that very reason cannot be ry splendor. Meantime let us sug- undignified : but, for the same reason, gest, as a judicious caution, that they are apt to become unaffecting and French rhetoric should be praised with trite, unless varied and individualized a reference only to its own narrow by new infusions of thought and feelstandard : for it would be a most un- ing. The smooth monotony of the fortunate trial of its pretensions, to leading religious topics, as managed bring so meagre a style of composi- by the French orators, under the treatment of Jeremy Taylor receives at above himn, from the uniformity and each turn of the sentence a new flex- equality of its pressure, flashes upon ure-or what ipay be called a separate us with a sense of something equally arliculation :* old thoughts are survey- marvellous, in a case which we know ed from novel stations and under vari- to be a physical fact. We are thus ous angles : and a field absolutely ex- reconciled to the proposition, by the hausted throws up eternally fresh ver- same image which illustrates it. dure under the fructifying lava of Since the time we have referred to, burning imagery. Human life, for the very same developement of sciexample, is short-human happiness is ence and public business, operated in frail : how trite, how obvious a the- France and in England, to stifle the sis! Yet, in the beginning of the rhetorical impulses, and all those anaHoly Dying, upon that simplest of logous tendencies in arts and in manthemes how magnificent a descant! ners which support it. Generally it Variations the most original upon a may be assumed that rhetoric will not ground the most universal, and a sense survive the age of the ceremonious in of novelty diffused over truths coeval manners, and the gorgeous in costume. with human life ! Finally, it may be An unconscious sympathy binds toremarked of the imagery in the French gether the various forms of the elaborhetoric, that it is thinly sown, com- rate and the fanciful, under every mon-place, deficient in splendor, and, manifestation. Hence it is that the above all, merely ornamental ; that is national convulsions by which modern to say, it does no more than echo and France has been shaken, produced orrepeat what is already said in the ators, Mirabeau, Isnard, the Abbé thought which it is brought to illus- Maury, but no rhetoricians. Florian, trate; whereas, in Jeremy Taylor, Chateaubriand, and others, who have and in Burke, it will be found usually written the most florid prose that the to extend and amplify the thought, or modern taste can bear, are elegant to fortify it by some indirect argu- sentimentalists, sometimes maudlin ment of its truth. Thus, for instance, and semi-poetic, sometimes even eloin a passaget of J. Taylor, upon the quent, but never rhetorical. There is insensibility of man to the continual no eddying about their own thoughts ; mercies of God, at first view the mind no motion of fancy self-sustained is staggered by the apparent impossi- from its own activities ; no flux and bility that so infinite a reality, and of so reflux of thought, half meditative, continual a recurrence, should escape half capricious ; but strains of feelour notice; but the illustrative image, ing, genuine or not, supported at evedrawn from the case of a man standing ry step from the excitement of indeat the bottom of the ocean, and yet pendent external objects. insensible to that world of waters In a single mechanical quality of

* We take the opportunity of noticing what it is that constitutes the peculiar and characterizing circumstance in Burke's manner of composition. It is this,-that under his treatment every truth, be it what it may, every thesis of a sentence, grows in the very act of unfolding it. Take any sentence you please from Dr. Johnson, suppose, and it will be found to contain a thought-good or bad-fully preconceived. Whereas, in Burke, whatever may have been the preconception, it receives a new determination or inflection at every clause of the sentence, Some collateral adjunct of the main proposition, some temperament or restraint, some oblique glance at its remote affinities, will invariably be found to attend the progress of his sentenceslike the spray from a waterfall, or the scintillations from the iron under the blacksmith's hammer. Hence, whilst a writer of Dr. Johnson's class seems only to look back upon his thoughts, Burke looks forward--and does in fact advance and change his own station concurrently with the advance of the sentences. This peculiarity is no doubt in some degree due to the habit of extempore speaking, but not to that only.

† “ His mercies are more than we can tell, and they are more than we can feel : for all the world, in the abyss of the Divine mercics, is like a man diving into the bottom of the sea, over whose head the waters run insensibly and unperceived, and yet the weight is vast, and the sum of them is immeasurable : and the man is not pressed with the burden, nor confounded with numbers : and no observation is able to recount, no sense sufficient to perceive, no memory large enough to retain, no understanding great enough to apprehend this infinity.”-TAYLOR.

20 ATHENEUM, VOL. 2, 3d series.

good writing, that is, in the structure not as yet been very extensively apof their sentences, the French rheto- plied even to the classical languages : ricians, in common with French wri- the Scaligers, Casaubon, and Salmaters generally of that age, are superi- sius, were much more critics on things or to ours. In the age of our great than critics philologically. However, rhetoricians, it is remarkable that the even in that age, the French writers English language had never been made were more attentive to the cultivation an object of conscious attention. No of their mother tongue, than any other man seems to have reflected that there people. It is justly remarked by was a wrong and a right in the choice Schlegel, that the most worthless wriof words in the choice of phrases ters among the French, as to matter, in the mechanism of sentences—or generally take pains with their diction; even in the grammar. Men wrote or perhaps it is more true to say, that eloquently, because they wrote feel- with equal pains, in their language it ingly : they wrote idiomatically, be- is more easy to write well than in one cause they wrote naturally, and with- of greater compass. It is also true, out affectation : but if a false or ace that the French are indebted for their phalous structure of gentence,-if a greater purity from foreign idioms, to barbarous idiom-or an exotic word their much more limited acquaintance happened to present itself, no writer with foreign literatare. Still, with of the 17th century seems to have had every deduction from the merit, the any such scrupulous sense of the dig- fact is as we have said; and it is apnity belonging to his own language, as parent, not only by innumerable evishould make it a duty to reject it, or dences in the concrete, but by the suworth his while to re-model a line. periority of all their abstract auxiliaThe fact is, that verbal criticism had ries in the art of writing.

Yes, wreathe thy golden locks, fair Maid, Poor trusting Maid ! thy falling tears
Yes, deck thy blooming bower,

Too soon will mix with mine;
And tune thy lute, though clouds invade, I weep to think how sad appears
And gathering tempests lower.

The fate of thee and thine.
The storm will come, thy flowers shall die, Thy speech can like thy late delight
Thy lute's sweet strings be rent,

With music sweet and rare,
And thou shalt view their wreck, yet sigh The roses on thy cheek are bright,
O'er them no fond lament.

As those upon thy hair.
For he, the loved, the cherished youth, Yet what, alas ! in one short hour,
For whom thou bidst them smile,

Will this gay scene impart?
Ere then, shall own his changeful truth, A broken lute-a blighted bower-
And tell thee of his guile.

A torn and bleeding heart !


The Queen of the North is of an the pensive tear-to remember the excellent size; and we hope that, hundreds of sweet, snug, sheltered, during our day, she will not greatly cozy cottages-not thatched, but slatexpand her dimensions. There ought ed-with lattice-windows, and haply always to be a bright embroidered Venetian blinds-front-trelliced-and belt of villas, a mile broad at least, with gable-end rich in its jargonelle, between her and the sea ; and surely “ all wede away" by the irresistible She will not tread upon the feet “march of stone and lime," charging of the old Pentlands. We could in close street, and then taking up poheave the pensive sigh-almost drop şition in hollow square, on every knoll

« AnteriorContinuar »