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ferts. “The slumberous pout” which Keats has so delightfully described in his sleeping Deity is the only one which is becoming.
I see another of my readers mincing up her mouth, with that toss of the head and self-satisfied air, which assure me that she is a flirt and a coquette ; and though her lips be ruddy, " as they in pure vermillion had been dyed,” I entreat her to recollect, that “lips though rosy must still be fed,” and recommend her “ to fall upon her knees and thank heaven fasting for a good man's love." "If she make mouths at me as well as at her lovers, and heed not my counsel, I can only exclaim
“ Take, O take those lips away,
Which so often were forsworn,” &c. and have nothing to thank her for but the recalling of those exquisite lines, whether they be Shakspeare's or Fletcher's.
Now, however, I behold a nobler vision hanging over and irradiating the page. It is of a lovely nymph, in whose looks and lips the bows of Apollo and Cupid seem intertwined and indented. She does not simper from affectation, nor smile because it is becoming, nor compress her lips to hide a defective tooth, nor open them to display the symmetry of the rest; but her mouth has that expression which the painter of Bathyllus, in the Greek Anthology, was instructed to catch,
“And give his lips that speaking air
As if a word were hovering there." Hers is not of that inexpressive doll-like character, which seems to smirk as if it were conscious of its own silly prettiness; nor has she the pouting come-kiss-me under-lip of sealing-wax hue which one sees in the portraits of Lely and Kneller ; but while in the animation of her looks intelligence seems to be beaming from her eyes, enchantment appears to dwell within the ruby portals of her mouth. Its very silence is eloquent, for hers are the lips which Apollo loved in Daphne, and Cupid in his Psyche,—which Phidias and Praxiteles have immortalised in marble, and which immutable Nature still produces when she is in her happiest and most graceful moods. Hers is the mouth, in short, which, to use an appropriate botanical phrase, conducts us by a natural and delightful inosculation to the second division, or rather union of my subject-Kissing.
This is a very ancient and laudable practice, whether as a mark of respect or affection. The Roman Emperors saluted their principal officers by a kiss; and the same mode of congratulation was customary upon every promotion or fortunate event. Among the same people, men were allowed to kiss their female relations on the mouth, that they might know whether they smelt of wine or not, as it seems those vaunted dames and damsels were apt to make too free with the juice of the grape, notwithstanding a prohibition to the contrary. The refinement of manners among these classical females was probably pretty much upon a par with that depicted in the Beggar's Opera, where Macheath exclaims, after saluting Jenny Diver, —"one may know by your kiss that your gin is excellent." The ancients used not only to kiss their dying relations, from a strange notion that they should Vol. HII. No. 17.-1822.
inhale the departing soul,* but repeated the salutation when dead, by way of valediction; and, finally, when they were laid upon the funeral pile. There is no accounting for tastes; but for my own part, I would rather salute the living; and I even carry my singularity so far as to prefer the soft lips of a female, to that mutual presentation of bristled cheeks to which one is subject by the customs of France. A series of essays has been written on the rational recreation of kissing, by John Everard, better known as Johannes Secundus, the author of the Basia, which has the disgrace of being even more licentious than his prototypes, Propertius and Catullus. This gentleman held the same situation under the Archbishop of Toledo, that Gil Blas filled under the Archbishop of Granada ; but instead of devoting his time to the improvement of homilies, he employed himself in describing kisses of every calibre, from the counterpart of that bestowed by Petruchio upon his bride, who
“kist her lips
All the church echo'd”to the fond and gentle embrace described by Milton, when Adam, gazing upon our first parent in the delicious bowers of Eden
With kisses pure.” Old Ben Jonson, unlike Captain Wattle, preferred the taste of his mistress's lip to Sillery or Chateau-Margaud, for which we have the authority of his well known song
“ Or leave a kiss within the cup,
And I'll not ask for wine." And Anacreon himself, tippler as he was, did not relish his Chian, “had not the lips of love first touched the flowing bowl.” The poets in general can hardly be supposed to have possessed “lips that beauty hath seldom bless'd;" and if they have not always recorded this fact, they were probably restrained by the sanctitude of that injunction which orders us not to kiss and tell. Yet there ought to be no squeamishness in the confession, for Nature herself is ever setting us examples of cordiality and love, without the least affectation of secrecy
-“This woody realm
The wanton wind woos every thing it meets.”
" The far horizon kisses the red sky," or look out
“When the uplifted waters kiss the clouds.” Plato seems to have thought that this interchange might occur among the living, for he says when he kisses his mistress,
“My soul then flutters to my lip,
There was doubtless an open footpath over that “heaven-kissing hill," whereon, according to Shakspeare, the feathered Mercury alighted ; and there were, probably, many enamoured wanderers abroad on that tranquil night recorded by the same poet
“ When the sweet wind did gently kiss the trees,
And they did make no noise." Even that phlegmatic compound, a pie, has its kissing-crust. There is no kissing, indeed, animate or inanimate, that has not its recommendations; but there is a nondescript species, somewhat between both, against which I beg to enter my protest-I mean the degrading ceremony of a man made in Gud's image, kneeling to kiss the hand of a fellow mortal at Court, merely because that mortal is the owner of a crown, and the dispenser of places and titles. Nay, there are inconsistent beings who have kissed the foot of the Servant of servants at Rome, and yet boggled at performing the ko-tou at Pekin, to the Son of the Moon, the Brother of the Sun, and the Lord of the Celestial Empire. Instead of complaining at knocking their nobs upon the floor before such an august personage, it seemed reasonable to suppose that they would conjure up in their imaginations much more re
revolting indignities. Rabelais, when he was in the suite of Cardinal Lorraine, accompanied him to Rome, and no sooner saw him prostrate before the Pope, and kissing his toe, as customary, than he suddenly turned round, shut the door, and scampered home. Upon his return, the cardinal asked him the meaning of this insult. When I saw you, said Rabelais, who are my master, and, moreover, a cardinal and a prince, kissing the Pope's foot, I could not bear to anticipate the sort of ceremony that was probably reserved for your servant.
FROM THE ITALIAN OF GIAMBATTISTA PASTORINI.
Written after the bombardment of Genoa by Louis XIV.
Thy beauteous bosom in its blood bedew'd,
But that my struggling soul denies a sigh.
Stern token of thy courage unsubdued;
And in thy peril read thy prowess high.
And nobly hast thou triumph'd o’er thy foes
In that immutable tranquillity;
Still may'st thou proudly say amidst thy woes,
This sonnet is cited by the Edinburgh Reviewer of Mathias' work, as the finest in the Italian language.
TRINITY COLLEGE, CAMBRIDGE, FORTY YEARS AGO. It was a lovely morning; a remittance had arrived in the very nick of time; my two horses were in excellent condition, and I resolved, with a College chum, to put in execution a long concerted scheme of driving to London, Tandem. We sent our horses forward, got others at Cambridge, and tossing algebra and Anacharsis “ to the dogs," started in high spirits.-We ran up to London in style-went ball-pitch to the play-and after a quiet breakfast at the St. James's, set out with my own horses upon a dashing drive through the west end of the town. We were turning down the Haymarket, when whom, to my utter horror and consternation, should I see crossing to meet us, but my old warmhearted, but severe and peppery, uncle, Sir Thomas
To escape was impossible.-X cart before, and two carriages behind, made us stationary; and I mentally resigned all idea of ever succeeding to his five thousand per annum. Up he came. “ What! can I believe my eyes ? George? what the do do here? Tandem too, by
" (I leave blanks for the significant accompaniments which dropped from his mouth, like pearls and rubies in the fairy tale, when he was in a passion.) “I have it,” thought I, as an idea crossed my mind which I resolved to follow. I looked right and left, as if it was not possible it could be me he was addressing.—“What! you don't know me, you young dog? don't know your own uncle? Why, Sir, in the name of common sense-Pshaw! you've done with that.—Why in
name an't you at Cambridge?” “ At Cambridge, sir !” said I. " At Cambridge, sir,” he repeated, mimicking my affected astonishment;“why, I suppose you never were at Cambridge! Oh! you young spendthrift; is this the manner you dispose of my allowance? Is this the way you read hard ? you young profligate! you young you”Seeing he was getting energetic, I began to be apprehensive of a scene; and resolved to drop the curtain at once. Really, sir,” said I, with as brazen a look as I could summon upon emergency, “I have not the honour of your acquaintance”-His large eyes assumed a fixed stare of astonishment_“I must confess you have the advantage of me. Excuse me, but, to my knowledge, I never saw you before.”—A torrent, I perceived, was coming.–Make no apologies, they are unnecessary. Your next rencontre will, I hope, be more fortunate ; though your finding your country cousin in London is like looking for a needle in a bundle of hay.-Bye bye, old buck.” The cart was removed, and I drove off; yet not without seeing him, in a paroxysm of rage half frightful half ludicrous, toss his hat on the ground, and hearing him exclaim-"He disowns me!-the jackanapes disowns his own uncle, by
Poor Philip Chichester's look of amazement at this finished stroke of impudence is present, at this instant, to my memory. I think I see his face, which at no period had more expression than a turnip, assume that air of a pensive simpleton, d'un mouton qui réve, which he so often and so successfully exhibited over an incomprehensible problem in “ Principia.” “Well! you've done it.-Dished completely. What could induce you to be such a blockhead ?” said he. « The family of the Blockheads, my dear Phil," I replied, “is far too creditably established in society to render their alliance disgraceful. I'm proud to belong to so prevailing a party.” “Pshaw! this is no time for joking. What's to be done?” “Why, when does a man want a joke, Phil, but when he's in trouble? However, adieu to badinage, and hey for Cam. bridge instantly." “Cambridge ?” “ In the twinkling of an eye-not a moment to be lost. My uncle will post there with four horses instantly; and my only chance of avoiding that romantic misfortune of being cut off with a shilling, is to be there before him.”
Without settling our bill at the inn, or making a single arrangement, we dashed back to Cambridge. Never shall I forget the mental anxiety I endured on my way there. Every thing was against us. A heavy rain had fallen in the night, and the roads were wretched. The traces broke-turnpike gates were shut-droves of sheep and carts impeded our progress;—but in spite of all these obstadles, we reached the college in less than six hours. “ Has Sir Thomas been here ?" said I to the porter with an agitation I could not conceal. No, sir." Phil “ thanked God, and took courage.” “ If he does, tell him so and so,” said I, giving veracious Thomas his instructions, and putting a guinea into his hand to sharpen his memory. “ Phil, my dear fellow, don't show your face out of college for this fortnight. You twig! God bless you.”—I had barely
time to get to my own room, to have my toga and trencher beside me, Newton and Aristotle before me, optics, mechanics, and hydrostatics, strewed around in learned confusion when my unele drove up to the gate.
“ Porter, I wish to see Mr. ,” said he; “ is he in his rooms ?” “ Yes sir; I saw him take a heap of books there ten minutes ago." This was not the first bouncer the Essence of Truth, as Thomas was known through college, had told for me; nor the last he got well paid for. “Ay! very likely. Reads very hard, I dare say?"No doubt of that, I believe, Sir," said Thomas, as bold as brass. « You audacious fellow! how dare you look in my face and tell me such a deliberate falsehood ? You know he's not in college!” “ Not in college, sir, as I hope—""None of your hopes or fears to me. Show me his rooms. -If two hours ago I did not see- -. See him-yes, I've seen him, and he's seen the last of me."
He had now reached my rooms; and never shall I forget his look of astonishment, of amazement bordering on incredulity, when I calmly came forward, took his hand, and welcomed him to Cambridge. “My dear Sir, how are you? What lucky wind has blown you here ps.
What, George! who-what-why-I can't believe my eyes !”— “ How happy I am to see you!" I continued ; “How kind of you to come! How well you're looking!”—“ How people may be deceived ! My dear George, (speaking rapidly,) I met a fellow, in a tandem, in the Haymarket, so like you, in every particular, that I hailed bim at
The puppy disowned me-affected to cut a joke—and drove off
. Never was I more taken off my stilts! I came down directly, with four post-horses, to tell your Tutor; to tell the Master; to tell all the College, that I would have nothing more to do with you; that I would be responsible for your debts no longer; to inclose you fifty pounds, and disown you for ever.”—“My dear Sir, how singular!
-“Singular! I wonder at perjury no longer, for my part. I would have gone into any court of justice, and have taken my oath it was you. I never saw such a likeness. Your father and the fellow's