Imágenes de páginas





in default of a wearer, could stand alone, The following is simply and unaf- "and go to court by themselves,—so stif, fectedly good.

stately, ruffling, and alive, does the very " There is no denying that these old imagination of them seem.” masters' had a something in them which we, of the present time, may in vain hope to imitate. But we can, if we please, do

The visitors of Dulwich College are what is perhaps almost as good a thing: thus admonished :-we can duly admire and appreciate their “ Let them, as they pursue the graceexquisite works.”

fully winding and picturesque road that leads to the village, watch (through the un

clothed hedge-rows) the various changes in He is always great in describing the prospect on either hand—which they gentlemen's places. Take the follow cannot do in summer, and which would ing about Knowle Park

scarcely look more lovely if they could ;* Immediately you pass the lodges, there let them listen to the low call of the robinrises before you, at a distance of about a redbreast, as he flits pertly from the road. hundred yards, a noble mass of foliage, side at their approach, or sings wildly sweet consisting of oaks, beeches, and chesnut as he perches himself on the topmost trig trees, finely blended and contrasted toge- of YONDER THORN, that has been suffered ther in point of shade and colour, but wear to outgrow the rest of the close-cut hedge ; ing the appearance of a solid impenetrable -FINALLY, let them, as they arrive at and body, rising like a green wall, to shut out are about to enter the Gallery, turn to the all intruders from the imaginary scene be little upland that faces it at a short distance, yond. The bright gravel road,—which in heaving its green bosom into a gentle sweep, tersects the rich turf between this mass of and looking as bright and happy beneath trees and the spot where you enter the park, the winter sun as it does beneath the sum-branches into two, just as it reaches the mer: trees, and pierces into the thick of them in “ The reader must not think that I am opposite directions."

heedlessly calling upon him to attend to these objects of external nature, instead of

leading him at once to those of which we “ The face of Silenus I will compare, for are more immediately in search. I have the quantity of expression it includes, to purposely asked him to fix the former on that of the child in Wilkie's Cut Finger.' his memory, and to yield himself for a mo. With the exception of that, I have seen no ment to their influence exclusively, in orexpression which so o'er-informs its tene that, by a pleasing and not abrupt conment of clay.' The flesh seems literally trast, he may be the better prepared to apmelting away with the meaning that is preciate the blush, the bloom, the burning flowing in upon it, and is ready to burst glow of beauty that will fall upon his senses with overmuch excitement."

from the rich summer of Art that greets him on his entrance to this exquisite Gal

lery: for whatever season may obtain withThe following is clear and philoso- out, within these walls a perpetual sumphical:

mer reigns, and diffuses its sweet influence “I should say, of the Apollo Belvidere through all that come, in virtue of those and the Venus de' Medici, that the former exquisite works of the Fleinish landscapeis the finest work in the world, as it re painters which form the staple of this colspects the art and the spectator, and the lat.

lection." ter the finest as it respects the artist—that the former is calculated to do most good in the world now it is produced, and is there. fington, we have the following very fine

Apropos to a picture of Peg Woffore the most valuable ; but that the lat. ter required, not only greater natural genius

burst of wisdom :in the artist who produced it, but greater

“ If the lady before us (for a lady she knowledge, taste, and practical skill.”

was one of Nature's own making)—if she

chose to fling away the gem of her beauty, xx.

did that destroy its value ?-or was it the " The next room is · Lady Betty Ger. less a gem ? _Diamonds bave been lost in main's Bed-room.' The very names of these

the dirt of London streets ; and they have places, even without the sight of them, been found there again, diamonds as they carry one back half a dozen generations.

were lost!” This room, and • The Spangled Bed-room,' which follows, contain nothing worthy of The volume concludes with this remark, except some curious old faded piece of idiocy and impertinence :tapestry, and a noble ebony wardrobe, that “ In Garrick's face, fine as it is, there is seems to tell of fine old silk dresses that, no characteristic expression whatever




nothing but that mobility, (or, as I have brows,) there is that general want of indiventured to call it, volubility,) which ena vidualized character which may be suppobled it to become . all things to all men. sed to have resulted from a constant asA similar want may, I think, be observed sumption of that of some other person. in the faces of Sir Walter Scott and of Mr There is, however, in the face of the repu. Mathews himself, as represented in the ted author of the Scotch novels, a look of busts in this collection. Indeed I will ven- worldly wisdom., (I had almost said cun. lure to point out (what has, I believe, not ning,) which is entirely absent in the been before remarked) a very striking ge- other.” neral resemblance between the busts of these two celebrated, and each in his way,

This kind of vermin must really be unrivalled persons. In both, too, (with the put an end to. We hope we have done exception of an intensely penetrative and the job. scrutinising look about the eyes and eye


Tais, love, is the blue star-bosom'd flower,

Which fond maids call Forget-me-not ;
And can'st thou remember the twilight hour,

When we braided its stems in a true-love-knot?
As, arm in arm, in our wild-wood walk,

Where the gor-cock haunts the forest-springs,
From mossy hillock, and tremulous stalk,

We gather'd the lovely scatterlings:
There was little Primrose, passion pale,

with a shy maid's bashful grace,
From her bower of leaves, through her gossamer veil,

Askance on young April's beamy face ;
And thine own Heath-bell was nestling there,

With hopes and memories richly fraught;
And Pansies, * that shadow, in vision fair,

The passionate bosom's tenderest thought;
And the “ Naiad” Lily was glean’d afar,

Her head on her gentle breast reclining;
The Flower of the Cross, and Bethlem's star,t

High hopes and promises combining.
And another bud thou would'st idling bring,

With blushful meanings, and shy caress-
For we loved and cherish'd that wilding thing,

Though the wise call it Love-in-idleness. #
With impulse deeper, in darker hour,

We gather'd, of brighter things unheeding-
Kiss'd it, and wept o'er the desolate flower,

Which the desolate heart names Love-lies-bleeding.
No, love, thou wilt never forget the hour,

Nor the communings deep of the hallowed spot,
Where we gather'd each sweet symbolic flower,

And around them wove Forget-me-not.

* “ Pansies—that's for thoughts."--HAMLET.
+ Early in May this lovely little flower is found in abundance in our woods.

* This is another variety of the wild pansy violet_“ the little western flower, made purple by Love's wound."



No. I.

Knowledge is of such a quality, that the more a man knoweth, the more increasettes his desire to know.

Wits' Commonwealth.

Few subjects have received less care: chinery, and the scarcely less extraor ful and minute examination, and, con dinary power which chemistry has sequently, are less thoroughly under given to man over the most minute stood and appreciated, than the vast and elementary operations and changes and rapid progress of this nation in of matter, and the rude, feeble, and everything connected with the im- unsteady industry of our ancestors. provement of its inhabitants; and yet In one point, however, and to that what subject can be more important, we mean to confine ourselves, the case or contain within itself the sources of is considerably different; we mean the greater interest ? Our ignorance with literary habits, acquirements, and taste regard to the nature and extent of of the present day, as contrasted with them, ought not, however, to be set those which distinguished this country down to apathy; it arises from diffe- half a century ago. We do not allude rent causes. Our advances in the com- here principally or exclusively to what forts and luxuries of life, in national is called information, though there are wealth and power, in every species of documents and proofs sufficient in exknowledge, and in literary habits and istence, and easily obtained and apacquirements, have been so gradual, pealed to, which would mark and meathough rapid, that we are as little sen sure with considerable exactness the sible of them, as a person who is coni progress that has been made in science stantly with a child, is of his increa- and general information during the pesing height; or, perhaps, a more close- riod we have mentioned. ly fitting comparison would be, that of Our allusion and object, however, is a person in the cabin of a ship, who, more definite and confined. We mean carried along with her, is quite insen to maintain that in intellect, properly sible and unaware of the progress she so called, (that is, in the structure and is making. Such a person, however, workings of the human mind, as they has an advantage over the inhabitants are exhibited in its reasoning powers, of a country advancing rapidly in im- in its imagination and invention, in its provement; for he, as soon as he goes taste, as well as in its mode of expressupon deck, perceives that he has been ing them,) the standard is much higher carried forward ; whereas, the whole than it was half a century ago; and state of things, as it existed half a cen that this position admits of more intury ago, being forced out of existence dubitable and direct proof and illusby modern improvements, there is no tration, by an appeal to obvious and immediate and palpable standard by conducive facts, than any other posiwhich we can compare our present tion relative to the progress of this with our by-gone condition.

country. Of this we shall be sensible, if we To appeal to a most easy and simple endeavour to contrast the domestic proof, let any person compare the coeconomy and habits of our immediate lumns of a newspaper fifty years old ancestors with our own ; the roads and with the columns of one published at vehicles for conveying passengers and present, and he will be immediately goods, with which they were obliged and strongly struck with the vast supeto content themselves, with the rapid riority of the latter with respect to the and pleasant mode of intercommuni- power of thought, and correctness of cation among all parts of the kingdom taste, it displays; and not less so with which we possess; and, above all, if the much superior correctness, elewe endeavour to obtain the means of gance, and vigour of its style. such a comparison between the present Let him next take up any of the results of human industry, aided as magazines that were published half a they are by the gigantic powers of ma century ago, he will be soon wearied

and uninterested with the common at the same time rest satisfied, that this place topics with which they abound, demand is very limited, and that those with the feeble and common-place who are both able and disposed to make manner in which these topics are treate it, are very few, compared with the ed, and with the bareness, if not the great mass of the nation. vulgarity, of the style. He will im So it is with regard to periodical mediately decide that the authors of publications ; they are a surer index of such papers must either have possess the state and progress of the mind, than ed very little power of mind original works of a higher character. As, by ly, or that they could never have im- throwing up a straw, we can easily and proved it by exercise ; and he will not at once perceive the direction, as well Tiesitate a moment to draw this con as the strength, of the wind; whereas clusion, that the public, which could we may often be left in ignorance, or encourage, which could even endure, even be deceived, if we endeavour to such publications, must have been far ascertain them by throwing up a heabehind the public of the present day vier object ; so the force as well as the in strength and comprehension of in- direction of the public mind may be tellect, as well as in correctness and measured and ascertained by periodipurity of taste, and in the knowledge cal publications, more certainly, as of the structure, the powers, and the well as more easily, than by any other graces of their own language.

mode. Occasionally, however, it must be There is still another point of view confessed, there appeared in the pe- in which this subject may be regardriodical publications of the period to ed. We have hitherto confined our which we allude, essays that display, remarks to the comparative nature and ed a vigour and reach of thought rising quality, in respect to matter and style, far above the level of the mass of the of the periodical publications of the contributions; but the rareness of these present day, and of those which existe essays only proves the paucity of the ed half a century ago; and from this readers, who were able and disposed to comparison we have drawn the sure peruse and understand them. Not inference that the public mind and only does the supply of every article, taste have advanced very much within whether it be the production of the that period. But the periodical pubsoil, of the forge, of the loom, or of the lications of the present day, besides haintellect, adapt itself in less time than ving wonderfully improved in the quawould seem possible, with most admi- lity of their contents, rise above their rable precision and fitting, to the exact predecessors in as wonderful a degree, demand for it; but the nature and par in their variety and numbers, as well ticular quality of the article supplied, as in the extent of their respective follows invariably the fancy and the sales. ability of those who are able and will

Fifty years since, readers of such ing to pay for it. This remark applies works were content with one or two in to all articles; and we can as surely a month; the number at present puband safely pronounce, that the intel- lished weekly, monthly, and quarterlect of the public generally is feeble, ly, we shall not stop to calculate, even and its taste puerile and incorrect, if we possessed the means for accurate when we see it supplied with common- and coinplete enumeration. Their place essays in the principal periodical vast increase, and the constant addiworks, written in a bald and school- tions which are almost daily making boy style, as we can pronounce that a to their number, are too notorious to nation is little advanced in civilization require proof or illustration. Another and wcalth, when we perceive the pro- point of comparison, however, though ducts of its industry not only few, but equally important and decisive of the awkward, rude, and imperfect. truth of our position, not being so ob

The parallel may be carried still far- vious and palpable, requires soine eluther. If, amidst the rude, awkward, cidation. If we may judge from the and imperfect products of a nation's in- contents of the periodical publications dustry, we perceive some few that iu- half a century ago, their readers must dicate greater skill and science, we may have consisted of persons to whom an be assured that these would not have essay on some common-place topic, been produced unless there had existe such as anger, pride, the shortness and ed a demand for them; but we may vanity of human life, or those of a

similar nature, with just as much in literature which consists in a knowfusion of intellect as was necessary to ledge of the classics—but that, which, give the symptoms of vitality to the as contraddistinguished from science, is words, and this essay written in a conversant about man, his intellectual most loose, feeble, and incorrect style, and moral constitution-his duties, quite on a par, however, with the feelings, and character: from the nathoughts-was a high treat, as being ture of the papers, however, on other exactly on a level with their intellects, topics, we may draw inferences regardand adapted to their comprehension ing our immediate subject. If we peand taste. Even if we turn to the pa ruse such papers as relate to facts, or pers on any other topics, the solution conclusions deduced from those facts, of which would seem to imply a con we are immediately struck with the sciousness of intellectual power, we ignorance and credulity which the forshall find them equally tame, feeble, mer display, and the unsoundness of and common-place in their thoughts, the inferences drawn, even when the and bare, inelegant, and incorrect in facts are accurate and appropriate. their style. It may, however, be al How many superstitious, how many leged, that, at this period, only very absurd things were believed then, to common-place authors wrote for pe which, at present, even the lowest and riodical works; but this plea will not least informed of the populace would avail ; for, allowing such to have been not give credit ? We do not exclusivethe case, does it not prove that the in ly allude to such things as could not tellect of the mass of readers was also be known to be true or false, without common-place; for the mass of readers more observation or investigation than then, as now, though not nearly so men in general have inclination or lei. numerous, principally engaged them sure to give but to such as, in the very selves in reading periodical works. statement of them, would, at the pre

Besides, in what work, however low sent day, be perceived to involve or its literary character, can we, at this suppose something extremely absurd day, find essays so feeble and des and improbable. titute of thought, as those which fill In the attempts at reasoning from ed the pages of all the periodical works the facts, there appears an equal inaphalf a century ago ? Is not then ano titude to attain and distinguish the ther inference plain and undoubted ;

truth. Instances of almost every spethat the level of mental habits and ac cies of false logic may be found ; either quirements--the level of intellectual authority alone supplies the place of power, both in writers and in readers, argument; or the whole question is has risen very considerably within the taken for granted; or the position to stated period ?

be proved, is first made the basis of We are by no means unaware that the principle or argument on which in the periodical works of our imme afterwards the proof is more exclusivediate ancestors, there appeared, occa- ly to rest; or we have the mere semsionally, essays which required and blanceof logical arrangement and proof; displayed considerable range and depth everything, in short, set down and conof thought, or a clear and familiar in ducted according to the most legitisight into the workings of the human mate and popular stem, of what was heart, or a cultivated and refined taste; called logic in those days, and then and that these essays were written in the inference drawn in terms and mana perspicuous, correct, vigorous, and, ner equally agreeable to the rules of it may be, an elegant, or even eloquent this logic. But as, when we examine style. But such were very rare, and the best written papers in the periodiit puzzles us extremely to conjecture, cal works of this period, we most frehow a magazine, filled as it usually was, quently find an excessive paucity and by common-place papers, could be en feebleness of thought, concealed under dured by those readers who were able to a flowing and interesting style; so, comprehend and relish such essays. when we examine those papers which

We have alrearly stated, that in com- profess to argue on any subject, we paring the intellectual character of the find merely the skeleton-the dry present day with that of our imme bones of logic, destitute utterly of vidiate ancestors, we did not mean to tality. enter on the investigation, except so No one can take up a periodical work far as it related to literature-not that of the period to which we refer, and

« AnteriorContinuar »