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Taming of the Shrew.
In this age of reviews, when every author who puts forth his book, and every painter who exhibits his picture, is sure of the gratification of reading his character wherever he goes, it appears peculiarly hard that a very important description of work, which unites the beauties of them both, should be altogether neglected. I mean those excellent establishments for the encouragement of literature and the fine arts called Ladies' Albums, the rapid increase of which has done such visible wonders for the benefit of polite society. How many of the choice geniuses of the age are here indebted for their first inspiration !-How many, but for this, had been compelled to remain on their perch for want of a fair field to try their wings, and how greedily will posterity scramble after gilt-edged books with golden clasps to trace the germ of the great works which have descended to them ! Alas ! had our grandmothers - but it cannot be helped, and every happy undertaking like the invention of Albums may cause us to lament that the world has gone on so long without it. All that we can do is to perpetuate our blessings for our children, and with this view I can do no less than encourage my fair friends in their new pursuit, by reviewing all the Albums which fall in my way. I do this with the greater satisfaction, as it is partly in payment of a debt of gratitude, seeing that it was in them that I myself commenced fluttering my wings; and I feel that, like the lark, whatever height I may soar, I shall still look with an eye of affection to the nest from which I sprang. Most fortunately does it happen, that I have not soared too far to describe it with becoming exactness, for, if the truth must be confessed, the secret of my ability was only communicated to me last week, and the admiring reader is now gazing on my first adventurous flight.
My nest-blessings on it!
-it was the preto tiest nest that ever was made, and the bird that fostered me was a bird of Paradise. were as blue as the heavens, and its voice was sweet as any within them. “Dear Mr. " it sung, “ I am sure you are a poet, and, therefore, you must write in my Album." Alas! how could I doubt? Had such a voice assured me that I was Apollo himself, I should have believed it. To drop the metaphor, which is not convenient, I took the book, which was locked, as well it might be, where there was so much to steal, and began seriously to be daunted by its costly appearance of red morocco and emblazoned Cupids. I felt that it was only meant to receive first-rate treasures, and submitted that it was hard to expose my first attempt to such a dangerous comparison. The appeal, however, was in vain. My beauty assured me that I need fear no comparison there, and gave me, as a reward for my labours, the enviable privilege of turning over as many leaves as I pleased. I will not deny that this examination gave me a good heart, for I thought it was not impossible, after all, that I might maintain my credit respectably enough; not that the articles were indifferent, but rather that the perusal of them lighted me up with unwonted fire.
It would be difficult, when staring upon the noonday, to say which ray is the most beautiful, or the most dazzling; and, if I instance a few of my brother-contributors, I must not be understood as doing it with any view of settling their claims to superiority. I merely go upon the judgment of my pretty friend, who seemed anxious to direct my attention to the lucubrations of a young gentleman who screened himself from fame under the pathetic name of Alphonso. I rather suspect he was her lover, for she described him very affectionately as a melancholy youth, who had an opinion that geniuses were not long-lived, and had made his will the moment after he had composed his first stanza. I do not wonder that the piece made him low-spirited. It ran as follows :
Madonna, still my fount of song is hidden
By names that are not thine ; for I am one
Albeit so deeply, dearly learnt by none.
Madonna dear, 'tis midnight, and the blast
Is telling of the times when thou wert here To clasp my hand, and listen as it pass'd
To the wild tale with which I won thine ear.
Still, still for thee this lonely hour I borrow
To muse, if yet thy kindly thoughts remain; And the bright eyes, that wept unreal sorrow,
Find a fond tear for those I need not feign.
Perchance the wand'rings of a joyless heart,
Too chilled to merit what it might not claimPerchance the story ne'er at loss to start
In raven swiftness on the wounded name
Perchance the spirit kindled by thine own,
Too high to plead 'gainst faults too soon allow'd, Have swept me from thy mind, my course unknown,
Like the sear'd leaf before the wintry cloud.
'Twere hard to blame thee, hard as to forget,
And mem'ry still creates thy vision nigh; Lovely and loved, and mild and melting yet,
To list my story as in days gone by.
Come, with thy gentle hand once more in mine,
Thy lips prepared to murmur my rewardCome, soul of beauty, o'er my harp incline,
And mark if grief hath left one tuneful chord.
Alphonso was said to have been flirting with some one