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Clown. 'List ye now, friend—let's hear what this fellow would be saying.'
Farquhar. GENTLE READER, –
As I am about to have some little converse with thee, I cannot pass this first bright page of our Magazine, without a greeting word, and a "God's benison' on our acquaintanceship. Good fellowship and kind wishes betwixt man and man, should first be established. I have ever held this to be one of the little items that go towards making up the sum of human happiness; and as we ourselves cannot justly lay claim to that which we deny to others, and as I would at any sacrifice purchase thy good will, I must needs as a matter of course tell thee, how much I wish for thy prosperity. I cannot flatter thee, gentle reader, (and a wise man will not be flattered into fellowship,) else I should tell thee how much I respect thy good taste and sagacity, on all the delicate matters of nice criticism. I should tell thee, how anxious I am to please thee-how patiently I shall think-write and rewrite-polish and repolishroam here and every where, culling the sweetest plants and blossoms I can find—only to suit thee; and inake a melancholy hour, if any such thou hast, less painful; and if thou art troubled with misanthropy, bring thee back into peace with self and harmony with those around thee. I should tell thee, how patiently I shall submit to the opinions of others-receive their strictures--transpose and re-transpose-twist and re-twist some of my sentences—for fear they may not accomplish the object whereunto I send them, viz. thy pleasure and profit; and how, in more than one instance, I hope even to sacrifice my own taste, lest unhappily it come in contact with thine. I should tell thee, how I shall repeatedly twitch at my purse strings,
* The reader will please suppose himself conversing with the Editors of this Magazine, 'rolled into one.'
and with no miserly hand—and how, when unfortunately some inaccuracies slip into a page, I shall cast the same aside and give it a reprint, that nothing may offend the nicety of thine observation. But I cannot flatter thee—therefore these things shall all remain in oblivion.
Modesty does not permit me to speak largely of my deserts, gentle reader, (though we Editors—that means me—are excepted and a degree of favor, an egotistical licence, is sometimes extended to us,) else I should acquaint thee with some of my excellences. I should tell thee, how much I mourn the wicked independency which may characterize my speculations; and the silly egoisms which may disfigure my otherwise beautiful compositions. I should tell thee, how much I mourn over the badness of my style, so contrary to etiquette, and sometimes so outrageously fantastical; and the vile spirit of satire, which now and then perhaps, may be found in them. I should tell thee, how much I mourn over (what you may think) my inaccuracies of taste, thought, and expression ; and the vulgarisms, which, in spite of me, may creep into them; though, indeed, vulgarisins are less exceptionable of late, since the delicate (detestable—beg pardon !) Fanny Kemble pottered in them. I should tell thee, how much I mourn over my infallibility, as now established on the Editorial throne-that, as Editor, I can never be in the wrongthat I can never do or say a silly thing—that I can never criticise, but with the sagacity of Wisdom's self—that I can never be called into judgment by any one who honors himself by reading my papers—and that I shall feel my independence, shall act from it
, and always disregard every thing that barks or brays, and meet meddlers with the cartel—I am your servant, but I will not bear your dictation. But, as I am very modest, these things shall all remain in oblivion.
Would you believe it, gentle reader, I sometimes find me endeavoring to fashion to myself, who and what thou art ? 'Tis a truth though—and pray tell me now, who art thou? Art thou one who is ever looking on the dark side of poor humanity-one ever neglecting the beautiful truth, that thy being is necessary to the happiness of the world—one unconscious of the fact, that thou art an item in the great economy of human action—and one ever searching for, and caviling at, the wants and weaknesses of thy fellow men? I think thou wilt find something congenial in the work I proffer thee.
Again-art thou the reverse of this—one ever choosing the bright side, ever giving the light and fairer traits of human character thine admiration-one ever looking abroad on the earth with a deep spiritual eye—to whom nature is familiar--to whom the winds, and woods, and waters are companions--one to whom the breathings of spring, the twitter of birds, ihe voices of infancy are a melody-one ever sending out thy fancy for imaginary bliss, exploring amid the
haunts of evil for good, and tracing out the sweet attractivenesses of virtue ? Thou too, I think, wilt find something pleasant and profitable, in the medley 1 lay before thee; and to thee I commend it with a hearty good will, trusting that thou wilt be content to pass the evil for the sake of the better, and give the writer here a kind wish for his labor in your behalf.
Again--for our poets (for poets we must have, and I must defend them) let me ask, art thou one of those who look upon poetry, and the mystic profession of the poets, with contempı-one carrying a wise man's wig on a fool's crown-one talking of what thou hast not sense to understand—a child grasping at air? Wert thou,' in the quaint, yet rich language of Sir Philip Sidney, 'born so near the dull-making cataract of Nilus, that you cannot hear the planet-like music of poetry; have you so earth-creeping a mind, that it cannot lift itself up to look at the sky of poetry, or rather, by a certain rustical disdain, will become such a mome as to be a Momus of poetry?' If thou wert, take then, in his words, my hearty anathema – Though I will not wish unto you the ass's ears of Midas, nor to be driven by a poet's verses, as Bubonax was, to hang himself; nor to be rhymed to death, as is said to be done in Ireland; yet thus much curse I must send you, in the behalf of all poets ; that while you live, you live in love, and never get favor, for lacking skill of a sonnet; and when you die, your memory die from the earth, for want of an epitaph.'
Again-art thou a bright and gentle one-full of the rich life and soul of poetry-taking every thing in its first aspect-and ready to launch thy little barque on the stream of life? Ah! it is for such as thee I write. And yet, I tremble for thee, thou Peri, slight in thy person, pale, yet beautiful, glossy hair, and eyes as bright as Love ever looked on, and shrinking in thy native timidity as at the shadow of thine own happiness ! 'Tis painful to look at thee, so young, so beautiful-knowing that thou must one day cast thine all-thy dreams—thy high hopes—thine innocent feelings—thy depths of woman's tenderness into the hands of another--to hang upon himto look to him for hope, for council, for happiness ! It pains me to think of what a world this is; to think of the hazard thou must ever run of losing thy bliss, and of being dashed on some of the hidden shoals that lurk beneath the current of human felicity; to think of detraction, and the thousand calumnies that may be aimed at the purity of that breast, which seems too innocent even to suspect harm! But softly, softly-where the deuce am I running?
Finally—whatever be thy disposition, gentle reader, whether thou be critic or no critic, misanthrope or no misanthrope, fool or wise man-whether thou be sneering and cynical, or young and buoyant
-whether thou be a phlegmatic old proser, and a doughty advocate of mustified knowledge, or one not altogether too wise, and one that can be delighted with the more delicate blossoms of lite.
rature ;-I trust at least, thou art willing to be pleased; and that thou thinkest a hearty laugh at times, is no sacrilege. Now I give thee leave to laugh at me or about me, just as shall seem good to thee-only make thyself happy. I give thee leave to curse my work and all of my fraternity, from the days of—I know not who, down to those of old Kit North himself; and pour out thine honest indignation agặiost our Eleusinian mysteries (for such they are, and thou wilt never understand them, especially if thou be blessed with a stock of niodern dullness, and to hold us all in the most righteous contempt ;—this thou may'st do-only make thyself happy. I give thee leave to call me (thy humble servant,) conceited, because I dare to think—presumptuous, because I dare to print—impudent, because I present thee my speculations-only make thyself happy. In short, thou may'st do any thing, only pleasure thyself;—be thou thus employed, and I am content.
And now, gentle reader, as I have given thee thus much as I have made not the least reservation-as I have given thee permission to be happy, and in thine own way, and that too, without the least regard to my feelings-pray grant me in return, a simple privilege. Permit me sometimes in memory, to think upon the pleasant ramble we may have together—to think of its green and sunny spots, as well as its dark ones--of its pleasant, as well as disagreeable windings—and to enjoy the sweet consciousness of having sought to contribute to thine, a fellow creature's happiness.
• God's BENISON BE ON YE.'
REVOLUTIONS—AND THEIR TENDENCIES.
"Man is born to die,
To the search of unassisted reason, man is an enigma-his origin, a deep unfathomed mystery—his being, nothing but a sad and strange commingling of discordant elements—his destiny unknown ! He comes forth as it were unbidden-mingles for a few short hours in earth's sorrows and enjoyments,-hurries through the part assigned him in the mighty drama of existence, when the curtain closes and he vanishes forever. We tread over the 66 green
roof of his dark mansion,"—and he lives but in remembrance. The works too of his hands are frail and fleeting. The proudest monument he rears, but scarce outlasts his memory—and the very dwelling which has sheltered him is hastening to destruction. “The ivy clings to the mouldering tower, the brier hangs out from the shattered
window, and the wall-flower springs from the disjointed stones. The voices
of merriment and of wailing, the steps of the busy and the idle, have ceased in the deserted courts, and the weeds choke the entrances, and the grass waves upon the hearthstones.”
And it is so with nations ! Earth is little better than a splendid waste of ruins,-a vast unbroken solitude, garnished with the sepulchers of countless myriads, and crowded with the relics of departed grandeur! There is the tyranny of Desolation! There Change is ever busy, wandering amid the wasting forms of beauty, gathering the banquet of Decay !
Such to unassisted reason is the history of nations. They spring up into being, linger for a fleeting period,-are cut down and perish-their origin, their progress and their end, alike mysterious and inexplicable ! Revelation has indeed assured us of the destiny of
We know that the same grave which closes over his decaying body shrouds not the undying
spirit—that earth is but the threshold to another state of being. Far beyond its earthly scene of trial, Affection follows her departed object, and pillowed on the bosom of immortal hope, casts down the burden of her sorrows. The unfettered soul purified from her pollutions, soars upward,
« On a wing
It is thus that Revelation fathoms the deep mystery of death-that it brings before us man and the purpose of his being. Guided then by the clear light it radiates, we can walk amid the darkness which enshrouds the fate of nations, and gather even from their silent ruins the true cause of their extinction. More crowded is the catalogue of buried than of living generations. The records of departed States and Empires—the time-worn monuments of former strength and grandeur—the disjointed fragments of a once unbroken whole, each, all, are eloquent around us! Why is it we can gaze on nothing permanent? Why is it that we stand the beings of a universe which Change is ever wasting? Why is it that innumerable nations of the earth, in the midst of all their beauty and magnificence, are stricken down for ever, and the place they occupied left desolate? Is their fate without an object? Is their influence unfelt? Is it chance that rules their destiny?
One of the earliest theories respecting the progress of society, has been the regular tendency of our race to decline and degradation. This theory, the result partly of tradition and partly of poetic fancy, carries back the mind to a golden aye of primeval excellence, and represents the progress of mankind as a continual departure from a higher and a better state of being. Those occasional exhibitions of