Imágenes de páginas

genius deal so frequently in fragments? The Muse visits his slumbers nightly, but seems to forsake him during unfinished dreams. In • Christabelle," " that singularly wild and original poem," as Byron rightly called it, mystery is perhaps essential; and there is a wonder that ought never to be broken a dim uncertain light, that is « darkness visible," and should neither be farther brightened nor obscured. But in the “ Wanderings of Cain," the subject being Scriptural, and most ruefully and fatally true, the heart demands that its emotions shall be set at rest, and every thing told, how dreadful soever it may be, that the poet foresaw in the agonies of his inspiration. I fear Coleridge knows that he cannot conclude - The Wanderings of Cain” according to the meaning of the Bible, and, therefore, verily his lips are mute. But then, what exquisite diction! The imagery how simple,-yet Oriental all,--and placing us, as it were, on the deserts bordering on Paradise, at whose gales now flamed the fiery sword of the Cherubim !

And now, fairest, thou art released from that attitude in which thou hast so long been standing, obedient to a garrulous old man-nor yet 6 thinking his prattle to be tedious,” for too thoroughly good art thou, my Caroline, to be wearied with any attention which thy high but humble heart willingly pays to one who bears on his forehead the authority of gray hairs.

Who now advances with the pink sash so broad-yet not too broad-with timid though not downcast eyes, and with footsteps so soft, as noiseless as their own shadows? Thy sirname is of no moment now-but thy Christian name is Mary-to my ear the mildest and most musical and most melancholy of all. Thy poetical library is already well stored-and so is thy poetical memory-for the music of sweet verse never enters there but to abide always-meeting with melodies within, perpetually in. spired by a thoughtful spirit heeding all things in silent wonder and love. Yes, Mary, the old man loves to hear thy low sweet voice repeating some pure and plaintive strain of Hemans, whose finest verse is steeped in sound so exquisite, that it sinks with new and deeper meanings into the heart-or some feeling and fanciful effusion of


the rich.minded Landon, wandering at eve, with sighs and tears, amidst the scents of the orange-bloom, and the moonlight glimmer that tames the myrtle bower. But at present-I address thee as a small historian--and lo! here are “ The Tales of a Grandfather, being Stories taken from Scottish History, humbly inscribed to Hugh Littlejohn!"

Hugh Littlejohn is about thine own age, Mary,—and pleased should I be to see you and him reposing together on this sofa, reading off one and the same book !-one of those three pretty little volumes! Great, long, broad quartos and folios, are not for little, short, narrow readers, like Mary and Hugh. Were one of them, in an attempt to push it out of its place on the shelf, to tumble upon your heads, you would all three fall down, with the floor, into the parlour below. But three such tiny volumes as these you may carry in your bosom out to the green knolls, when spring returns, and read them on your knees in the sunshine. Only you would have to remember not to leave them there all night; for on your return to look for them in the morning, you would lift up your hands to see that they had been stolen by the fairies, after their dance had ceased on those yellow rings. Children though you beyou, Mary and Flugh—yet it is natural for you to wish to know something about the great grown-up people of the world--how they behave and employ themselves in dif. serent countries--all enlightened, as you know, however distant from one another, by the same sun. But more especially you love--because you are children to be told all about the country in which you yourselves, and your father and mother, and their father and mother, were born. Dearly do your young eyes love to pore over the pages of history, and your young ears to hear the darker passages explained by one who knows every thing, because he is old. Now, who do you think is the grandfather that tells those tales—and who is Hugh Littlejohn to whom they are told ? Sir Walter Scott, Mary, is the grandfather, and Hugh Littlejohn is no other than dear, sweet, clever Johnny Lockhart, whose health you and I, and all of us, shall drink by and by in a glass of cowslip wine. Men are osten desperately wicked-as you who read your Bible know-and that which is commonly called history, is but a tale after all of tears and blood--and the tale-teller too osten cares little whether he is talking about the good or the bad, vices or virtues,-nay, he too often takes part with the bad against the good, and seems no more to hate sin because it triumphs. But Sir Walter is too good, too wise a man to do so--and as the people of Scotland have, for many hundred years been, on the whole, an excellent peo. ple, you will far ostener be glad than sorry in reading their history as it is told here--and when you have finished all the volumes and come to Finis, you will think--and there will be no harm in thinking—that you would rather be-what you are--a little Scottish girl, than even an English one-although, now that the iwo kingdoms have so long been united into one, Scottish and English girls are all sisters; and so on, indeed, up to the very oldest old women.

Never, never ought the time to come when one's own country is less beloved than any other land. Neither you, Mary, nor Hugh, must ever be citizens of the world. Wil. liam Tell, you have heard, was a glorious Swiss peasant, who made all his countrymen free, and procured for them liberty to live as they liked, without a great king, who cared little about them, having it in his power to plague and humble them in their beautiful little cottages up among the mountains. Love always and honour his memory but love and honour still more the memory of Sir William Wallace, because he did the same and more for Scot. land.— I declare-John with the lunch-tray !


(Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, 1828.)


WE delight, as all the world has long well known, in every kind of fishing, from the whale to the minnow; but we also delight, as all the world now well knows, in every kind of fowling, from the roc to the wren. Not that we ever killed either a roc or a wren; but what comes to the same thing, we have, on two occasions, by design brought down an eagle, and, on one occasion, accidentally levelled a tom-tit. In short, we are considerable shakes of a shot ; and, should any one of our readers doubt the fact, his scepticism will probably be renioved by a perusal of the following article.

There is a fine and beautiful alliance between all pastimes pursued on flood and field and fell. The principles in human nature on which they are pursued, are in all the same; but those principles are subject to infinite modifications and varieties, according to the difference of individual and na. tional character. All such pastimes, whether followed merely as pastimes, or as professions, or as the immediate means of sustaining life, require sense, sagacity, and knowledge of nature and nature's laws; nor less, patience, perseverence, courage even, and bodily strength or activity, while the spirit which animates and supports them is a spirit of anxiety, doubt, fear, hope, joy, exultation, and triuniph,-in the heart of the young a fierce passion,-in the heart of the old a passion still, but subdued and tamed down, without, however, being much dulled or deadened, by various experience of all the mysteries of the calling, and by the gradual subsiding of all impetuous impulses in the frame of all mortal men beyond perhaps threescore, when the blackest head will be becoming gray, the most nervous knee less firmly knit, the most steely-springed in. step less elastic, the keenest eye less of a far-keeker, and, above all, the most boiling heart less like a cauldron or a crater-yea, the whole man subject to some dimness or decay, and, consequently, the whole duty of man like the new edition of a book, from which many passages that formed the chief glory of the editio princeps have been ex. punged, and the whole character of the style corrected. indeed, without being improved, just like the later editions of the Pleasures of Imagination, which were written by Akenside when he was about twenty-one, and altered by him at forty-to the exclusion or destruction of many most splendida vitia, by which process, the poem, in our hum. ble opinion, was shorn of its brightest beams, and suffered disastrous twilight and severe eclipse-perplexing critics.

Now, seeing that these pastimes are in number almost infinite, and infinite the varieties of human character, pray what is there at all surprising in your being madly fond of shooting and your brother Tom just as foolish about fishing-and cousin Jack perfectly insane on fox-huntingwhile the old gentleman your father, in spite of wind and weather, perennial gout and annual apoplexy, goes a coursing of the white-hipped hare on the bleak Yorkshire wolds and uncle Ben, as if just escaped from Bedlam or St. Luke's, with Dr. Haslam at his heels, or with a few hundred yards' start of Dr. Warburton, is seen galloping, in a Welsh wig and strange apparel, in the rear of a pack of Lilliputian beagles, all barking as if they were as mad as their master, supposed to be in chase of an invisible animal that keeps eternally doubling in field and forest" still hoped for, never seen,” and well christened by the name of Escape?

Phrenology sets the question for ever at rest. All people have thirty-Three faculties. Now there are but twenty-four letters in the alphabet-yet how many languages-some six thousand we believe, each of which is susceptible of

« AnteriorContinuar »