« ForrigeFortsæt »
occurred, though the "taking down the and with some on terms of intimacy ;” and poem seems to fix it in the library. Had that he knew “one family in particular to it been “taken up" it would probably have whom its suppression would give pleasure." been in the drawing-room. I presume also I did not hesitate one moment, it was canthat the "remarkable circumstance” took celled instantly; and it is no fault of inine place after dinner, as I conceive that nei- that it has ever been republished. When ther Bowles's politeness nor appetite I left England, in April, 1816, with no would have allowed him to detain "the very violent intentions of troubling that rest of the company” standing round their country again, and amidst scenes of various chairs in the "other room” while we were kinds to distract my attention-almost my discussing the Woods of Madeira” instead last act, I believe, was to sign a power of circulating its vintage. Of Mr. Bowles's of attorney, to yourself, to prevent or sup“good humour” I have a full and not un- press any attempts (of which several had grateful recollection; as also of his gentle- been made in Ireland) at a republication. manly manners and agreeable conversa- It is proper that I should state, that the tion. I speak of the whole, and not of par- persons with whom I was subsequently ticulars; for whether he did or did not acquainted, whose names had occurred in use the precise words printed in the pam- that publication, were made my acquaintpblet, I cannot say, nor could he with ances at their own desire, or through the accuracy. Of “the tone of seriousness” I unsought intervention of others. I never, certainly recollect nothing: on the con- to the best of my knowledge, sought a trary, I thought Mr. Bowles rather dis- personal introduction to any. Some of posed to treat the subject lightly; for he them to this day I know only by corressaid (I have no objection to be contradicted pondence; and with one of those it was if incorrect), that some of his good-natured begun by myself, in consequence, however, friends had come to him and exclaimed, of a polite verbal communication from a “Eh! Bowles ! how came you to make the third person. Woods of Madeira tremble?" and that he had I have dwelt for an instant on these cirbeen at some pains and pulling down of cumstances, because it has sometimes been the poem to convince them that he had made a subject of bitter reproach to me never made “the Woods” do any thing of to have cndeavoured to suppress that satire. the kind. He was right, and I was wrong, I never shrunk, as those who know me and have been wrong still up to this ac- know, from any personal consequences knowledgment; for 1 ought to have looked which could be attached to its publication. twice before I wrote that which involved Of its subsequent suppression, as I possessed an inaccuracy capable of giving pain. The the copyright, I was the best judge and fact was, that although I had certainly the sole master. The circumstances which before read “the Spirit of Discovery,” I occasioned the suppression I have now took the quotation from the Review. But stated; of the motives, each must judge the mistake was mine, and not the Review's, according to his candour or malignity. which quoted the passage correctly enough, Mr. Bowles does me the honour to talk of I believe. I blundered - God knows how “noble mind," and "generous magnanim-into attributing the tremors of the lovers ity;" and all this because “the circumto the “Woods of Madeira,” by which they stance would have been explained had not were surrounded. And I hereby do fully the book been suppressed." I see no "noand freely declare and asseverate, that the bility of mind” in an act of simple justice; Woods did not tremble to a kiss, and that and I hate the word “magnanimity," bethe lovers did. I quote from memory cause I have sometimes seen it applied to
the grossest of impostors by the greatest Stole on the list'ning silence,
of fools; but I would have “explained the They (the lovers) trembled,
circumstance,” notwithstanding “the supAnd if I had been aware that this decla- pression of the book,” if Mr. Bowles had ration would have been in the smallest expressed any desire that I should. As the degree satisfactory to Mr. Bowles, I should "gallant Galbraith " says to “Baillie Jarnot have waited nine years to make it, vie,” “Well, the devil take the mistake notwithstanding that “English Bards and and all that occasioned it.” I have had Scotch Reviewers" had been suppressed as great and greater mistakes made about some time previously to my meeting him me personally and poetically, once a month at Mr. Rogers's. Our worthy host might for these last ten years, and never cared indeed have told him as much, as it was very much about correcting one at his representation that I suppressed it. other, at least after the first eight and A new edition of that lampoon was prepar- forty hours had gone over them. ing for the press, when Mr. Rogers repre I'must now, however, say a word or sented to me, that “I was now acquainted two about Pope, of whom you have my with many of the persons mentioned in it, I opinion more at large in the unpublished
letter on or to (for I forget which) the have lent his talents to such a task. If editor of “Blackwood's Edinburgh Maga- he had been a fool, there would have been zine ; ” - and here I doubt that Mr. Bowles some excuse for him; if he had been a will not approve of my sentiments. needy or a bad man, his conduct would
Although I regret having published have been intelligible: but he is the oppoEnglish Bards and Scotch Reviewers," the site of all these; and thinking and feeling part which I regret the least is that which as I do of Pope, to me the whole thing is regards Mr. Bowles with reference to Pope. unaccountable. However, I must call thinga Whilst I was writing that publication, in by their right names. I cannot call bis 1807 and 1808, Mr. Hobhouse was desirous edition of Pope a "candid” work; and I that I should express our mutual opinion still think that there is an affectation of of Pope, and of Mr. Bowles's edition of his that quality not only in those volumes, but works. As I had completed my outline, in the pamphlets lately published. and felt lazy, I requested that he would He did it. His fourteen lines on
“Why yet he doth deny his prisoners." Bowles's Pope are in the first edition of Mr. Bowles says, that "he has seen passa"English Bards and Scotch Reviewers ; ” ges in his letters to Martha Blount which and are quite as severe and much more were never published by me, and I hope poetical than my own in the second. On i never will be by others;, which are so reprinting the work, as I put my name to gross as to imply the grossest licentiousit, I omitted Mr. Hobhouse's lines, and ness. .” Is this fair play? It may, or it may replaced them with my own, by which the not be that such passages exist; and that work gained less than Mr. Bowles. I have Pope, who was not a monk, although a stated this in the preface to the second catholic, may have occasionally sinned in edition. It is many years since I have word and in deed with woman in bis youth; read that poem; but the Quarterly Review, but is this a sufficient ground for such a Mr. Octavius Gilchrist, and Mr. Bowles sweeping denunciation ? Where is the nnhimself, have been so obliging as to refresh married Englishman of a certain rank of my memory, and that of the public. I am life, who (provided he has not taken orgrieved to say, that in reading over those ders) has not to reproach himself between lines, I repent of their having so far fallen the ages of sixteen and thirty with far short of what I meant to express upon the more licentiousness than has ever yet been subject of Bowles's edition of Pope's Works. traced to Pope? Pope lived in the public Mr. Bowles says, that “Lord Byron knows eye from his youth upwards; he had all he does not deserve this character.” I the dunces of his own time for his enemies, know no such thing. I have met Mr. Bowles and, I am sorry to say, some, who have occasionally, in the best society in Lon- not the apology of dulness for detraction, don; he appeared to me an amiable, well since his death; and yet to what do all their informed, and extremely able man. I desire accumulated hints and charges amount? nothing better than to dine in company to an equivocal liaison with Martha Blount, with such a mannered man every day in which might arise as much from his infirmthe week: but of “his character” I know ities as from his passions; to a hopeless nothing personally; I can only speak to flirtation with Lady Mary W. Montagu ; his manners, and these have my warmest to a story of Cibber's; and to two or three approbation. But I never judge from man- coarse passages in his works. Who could ners, for I once had my pocket picked by come forth clearer from an invidious inthe civilest gentleman I ever met with; quest on a life of fifty-six years? Why and one of the mildest persons I ever saw are we to be officiously reminded of snch was Ali Pacha. Of Mr. Bowles's "character" passages in his letters, provided that they I will not do him the injustice to judge exist. Is Mr. Bowles aware to what such from the edition of Pope, if he prepared rummaging among "letters ” and “stories” it heedlessly ; nor the justice, should it be might lead ? I have myself seen a collecotherwise, because I would neither become tion of letters of another eminent, nay, a literary executioner, nor a personal one. pre-eminent, deceased poet, so abominably Mr. Bowles the individual, and Mr. Bowles gross, and elaborately coarse, that I do the editor, appear the two most opposite not believe that they could be paralleled things imaginable.
in our language. What is more strange,
is, that some of these are couched as “And he himself one-mantithesis."
postscripts to his serious and sentimental I won't say “vile," because it is harsh; letters, to which are tacked either a piece nor “mistaken,” because it has two sylla- of prose, or some verses, of the most hybles too many: but every one must fill up perbolical indecency. He himself says, the blank as he pleases.
that if “obscenity (using a much coarser What I saw of Mr. Bowles increased my word) be the sin against the Holy Ghost, surprise and regret that he should ever lhe most certainly cannot be saved." These
letters are in existence, and have been seen cant moral; but always cant, multiplied by many besides myself; but would his through all the varieties of life. It is the editor have been "candid” in even alluding fashion, and while it lasts will be too to them? Nothing would have even pro- powerful for those who can only exist by voked me, an indifferent spectator, to allude taking the tone of the time. I say cant, to them, but this further attempt at the because it is a thing of words, without depreciation of Pope.
the smallest infinence upon human actions; What should we say to an editor of the English being no wiser, no better, and Addison, who cited the following passage much poorer, and more divided amongst from Walpole's letters to George Montagu? themselves, as well as far less moral, than “Dr. Young has published a new book. they were before the prevalence of this Mr. Addison sent for the young Earl of verbal decorum. This hysterical horror Warwick, as he was dying, to show him of poor Pope's not very well ascertained in what peace a Christian could die; un- and never fully proved amours (for even luckily he died of brandy: nothing makes Cibber owns that he prevented the soineA Christian die in peace like being maud- what perilous adventure in which Pope lin! but don't say this in Gath where you was embarking) sounds very virtuous in are.” Sappose the editor introduced it a controversial pamphlet; but all men of with this preface: “One circumstance is the world who know what life is, or at mentioned by Horace Walpole, which if | least what it was to them in their youth, true was indeed flagitious. Walpole in- must laugh at such a ludicrous foundation forms Montagu that Addison sent for the of the charge of “a libertine sort of love;" young Earl of Warwick, when dying, to while the more serious will look upon show him in what peace a Christian could those who bring forward such charges die; bnt unluckily he died drunk.” Now, upon an insulated fact, as fanatics or hyAlthough there might occur on the subse- pocrites, perhaps both. The two are somequent, or on the same page, a faint show times compounded in a happy mixture. of disbelief, seasoned with the expression Mr. Octavius Gilchrist speaks rather of “the same candour" (the same exactly irreverently of a "second tumbler of hot as throughout the book), I should say white-wine-negus.” What does he mean? that this editor was either foolish or false Is there any harm in negus? or is it the to his trust; such a story onght not to worse for being hot? or does Mr. Bowles have been admitted, except for one brief drink negus? I had a better opinion of mark of crushing indignation, unless it him. I hoped that whatever wine he drank were completely proved. . Why the words was neat; or at least, that like the ordi“if true?” that "if” is not a peace-maker. nary in Jonathan Wild, “he preferred punch, Why talk of “Cibber's testimony” to his the rather as there was nothing against it licentiousness; to what does this amount? in Scripture." I should be sorry to believe that Pope when very young was once de- that Mr. Bowles was fond of negus; it is coyed by some nobleman and the player to such a "candid” liquor, so like a wishya house of carnal recreation. Mr. Bowles washy compromise between the passion for was not always a clergyman; and when wine and the propriety of water. But difhe was a very young man, was he never ferent writers have divers tastes. Judge seduced into as much? If I were in the Blackstone composed his “Commentaries" humour for storytelling, and relating little (he was a poet too in his youth) with a Anecdotes, I could tell a much better story bottle of port before him. Addison's conof Mr. Bowles, than Cibber's, upon much versation was not good for much till he better authority, viz. that of Mr. Bowles had taken a similar dose. Perhaps the himself. It was not related by him in my prescription of these two great men was presence, but in that of a third person, not inferior to the very different one of a whom Mr. Bowles, names oftener than once soi-disant poet of this day, who after wanin the course of his replies. This gentle- dering amongst the hills, returns, goes to man related it to me a humourous bed, and dictates his verses, being fed by and witty anecdote; and so it was, what- a bystander with bread and butter during ever its other characteristics might be the operation. But should I, for a youthful frolic, brand I now come to Mr. Bowles's “invariable Mr. Bowles with a “libertine sort of love," principles of poetry.” These Mr. Bowles or with “licentiousness ? ” Is he the less and some of his correspondents pronounce now a pions or a good man, for not hav- "unanswerable;” and they are “unanswering always been a priest? No sach thing; ed,” at least by Campbell, who seems to I am willing to believe him a good man, have been astounded by the title. The almost as good a man as Pope, but no better. sultan of the time being offered to ally
The truth is, that in these days the himself to a king of France, because “ho grand "primum mobile" of England is cant; hated the word league;" wbich proves cant political, eant poetical, cant religious, that the Padisha understood French. Mr.
Campbell has no need of my alliance, nor they might have seen the sun shining on shall I presume to offer it; but I do hate a footman's livery, or on a brass warmingthat word "invariable.” What is there of pan; but could the “calm water," or the human, be it poetry, philosophy, wit, wis- | *wind," or the “gun,” make all, or any dom, science, power, glory, mind, matter, of these “poetical ?”. I think not. Mr. life, or death, which is "invariable?” of Bowles admits “the Ship” to be poetical, but course I put things divine out of the ques- only from those accessaries: now if they tion. Of all arrogant baptisms of a book, confer poetry so as to make one thing poetthis title to a pamphlet appears the most ical, they would make other things poetcomplacently conceited. It is Mr. Camp-ical; the more so, as Mr. Bowles calls a bell's part to answer the contents of this “ship of the line" without them, that is performance, and especially to vindicate to say, its “masts and sails and streamers,* his own “Ship,” which Mr. Bowles most "blue bunting,” and “coarse canvas," and triumphantly proclaims to have struck to tall poles.” So they are; and porcelain bis very first fire.
clay, and man is dust, and flesh is grass, “Quoth he, there was a Ship;
and yet the two latter at least are the subNow let me go, thou gray-hair'd loon, jects of much poesy. Or my staff shall make thee skip."
Did Mr. Bowles ever gaze upon the sea ? It is no affair of mine, but having once I presume that he has, at least upon a seabegun (certainly not by my own wish, but piece. Did any painter ever paint the sea called upon by the frequent recurrence to only, without the addition of a ship, boat, my name in the pamphlets), I am like an wreck, or some such adjunct ? Is the sea Irishman in a “row," "any body's custom- itself a more attractive, a more moral, a
I shall therefore say a word or more poetical object with or without a two on the “Ship.”
vessel, breaking its vast but fatiguing Mr, Bowles asserts that Campbell's “Ship monotony? Is a storm more poetical without of the Line” derives all its poetry not a ship; or, in the poem of the Shipwreck, from “art,” but from “nature. "Take is it the storm or the ship which most away the waves, the winds, the sun, one interests? both much undoubtedly; but will become a stripe of blue bunting; and without the vessel, what should we care the other a piece of coarse canvas on three for the tempest? It would sink into mere tall poles." Very true; take away the descriptive poetry, which in itself was “waves,” “the winds," and there will be never esteemed a high order of that art. no ship at all, not only for poetical, but I look upon myself as entitled to talk for any other purpose; and take away “the of naval matters, at least to poets:- with sun,” and we must read Mr. Bowles's pam- the exception of Walter Scott, Moore, and phlet by candlelight. But the “poetry" Southey, perhaps (who have been voyagers), of the “Ship” does not depend on “the 1 have swam more miles than all the rest waves ;” on the contrary, the “Ship of the of them together now living ever sailed, Line” confers its own poetry upon the and have lived for months and months on waters, and heightens theirs. I do not shipboard; and during the whole period deny, that the "waves and winds,” and of my life abroad bave scarcely ever passed above all the sun,” are highly poetical; a month ont of sight of the ocean: besides we know it to our cost, by the many de- being brought up from two years till ten scriptions of them in verse: but if the on the brink of it. I recollect, when waves bore only the foam upon their anchored off Cape Sigeum, in 1810, in an bosoms, if the winds wasted only the sea- English frigate, a violent squall coming Weed to the shore, if the sun shone neither on at sunset, so violent as to make us upon pyramids, nor fleets, nor fortresses, imagine that the ship would part cable, would its beams be equally poetical? I or drive from her anchorage. Mr. Hobthink not: the poetry is at least reciprocal. house and myself, and some officers had Take away “the Ship of the Line" "gwing- been up the Dardanelles to Abydos, and ing round” the “calm water,” and the were just returned in time. The aspect calm water becomes a somewhat monoton- of a storm in the Archipelago is as poetous thing to look at, particularly if not ical as need be, the sea being particularly transparently clear; witness the thousands short, dashing, and dangerous, and the who pass by without looking on it at all. navigation intricate and broken by the isles What was it attracted the thousands to the and currents. Cape Sigeum, the tumuli of launch? they might have seen the poetical the Troad, Lemnos, Tenedos, all added to "calm water” at Wapping or in the "Lon- the associations of the time. But what don Dock," or in the Paddington Canal, seemed the most "poetical” of all at the or in a horse-pond, or in a slopbasin, or moment, were the numbers (about two in any other vase. They might have heard hundred) of Greek and Turkish craft, the poetical winds howling through the which were obliged to “cut and run” bechinks of a pigstye, or the garret-window;l fore the wind, from their unsafe anchorage,
some for Tenedos, some for other isles, The beautiful but barren Hymettus, the some for the main, and some it might be whole coast of Attica, her hills and mounfor eternity. l'he sight of these little tains, Pentelicus, Anchesmus, Philopappus, scudding vessels, darting over the foam are in themselves poetical, and would be in the twilight, now appearing and now so if the name of Athens, of Athenians, disappearing between the waves in the and her very ruins, were swept from the cloud of night, with their peculiarly white earth. But am I to be told that the “nature" sails (the Levant sails not being of “coarse of Attica would be more poetical without canvas,” but of white cotton), skimming the “art” of the Acropolis? of the 'Temple along as quickly, but less safely than the of Theseus? and of the still all Greek sea-mews which hovered over them; their and glorious monuments of her exquisitely evident distress, their reduction to flutter- artificial genius? Ask the traveller what ing specks in the distance, their crowded strikes him as most poetical, the Parthenon, uuccession, their littleness, as contending or the rock on which it stands? The COLUMNS with the giant element, which made our of Cape Colonna, or the Cape itself ? The stout forty-four's teak timbers (she was rucks at the foot of it, or the recollection built in India) creak again; their aspect that Falconer's ship was bulged upon them? and their motion, all struck me as something There are a thousand rocks and capes, far far more “poetical” than the mere broad, more picturesque than those of the Acrobrawling, shipless sea, and the sullen winds, polis and Cape Sunium in themselves; could possibly have been without them. what are they to a thousand scenes in the
The Euxine is a noble sea to look upon, wilder parts of Greece, of Asia Minor, and the port of Constantinople the most Switzerland, or even of Cintra in Portugal, beautiful of harbours, and yet I cannot but or to many scenes of Italy, and the Sierras think that the twenty sail of the line, some of Spain? But it is the “art,” the columns, of one hundred and forty guns, rendered the temples, the wrecked vessel, which it more “poetical” by day in the sun, and give them their antique and their modern by night perhaps still more, for the Turks poetry, and not the spots themselves. Withilluminate their vessels of war in a man- out them, the spots of earth would be unner the most picturesque, and yet all this noticed and unknown; buried, like Babylon is artificial. As for the Euxine, I stood and Nineveh, in indistinct confusion, withupon the Symplegades – I stood by the out poetry, as without existence; but to broken altar still exposed to the winds whatever spot of earth these ruins were upon one of them-I felt all the “poetry” transported, if they were capable of transof the situation, as I repeated the first portation, like the obelisk, and the sphinx, lines of Medea ; but would not that “poetry" and the Memnon's head, there they would have been heightened by the Argo? It was still exist in the perfection of their beauty 80 even by the appearance of any merchant- and in the pride of their poetry. I opposed, vessel arriving from Odessa But Mr. and will ever oppose, the robbery of ruins Bowles says, “why bring your ship off the from Athens, to instruct the English in stocks?” For no reason that I know, except sculpture; but why did I do so ? The that ships are built to be launched. The ruins are as poetical in Piccadilly as they water undoubtedly AEIGHTENS the poetical | were in the Parthenon; but the Parthenon associations, thus it does not make them; and its rock are less so without them. Such and the ship amply repays the obligation: is the poetry of art. they aid each other; the water is more Mr. Bow les contends, again, that the pypoctical with the ship- the ship less so ramids of Egypt are poetical, because of without the water. But even a ship, laid “the association with boundless deserts," up in dock, is a grand and a poetical sight. and that a "pyramid of the same dimenEven an old boat, keel upwards, wrecked sions” would not be sublime in “Lincoln's upon the barren sand, is a “poetical” ob- Inn Fields:" not so poetical certainly; but ject (and Wordsworth, who made a poem take away the “ pyramids,” and what is about a washingtub and a blind boy, may the "desert ?" Take away Stone-henge from tell you so as well as I); whilst a long Salisbury-plain, and it is nothing more extent of sand and unbroken water, without than Hounslow-Heath, or any other uninthe boat, would be as like dull prose as closed down. It appears to me that St. Peany pamphlet lately published.
ter's, the Coliseum, the Pantheon, the PaWhat makes the poetry in the image of latine, the Apollo, the Laocoon, the Venus the “marble waste of Tadmor,” in Grainger's di Medicis, the Hercules, the dying Gla“Ode to Solitude,” so much admired by diator, the Moses of Michel Angelo, and Johnson? Is it the "marble," or the “waste," all the higher works of Canova (i have althe artificial or the natural object? The ready spoken of those of ancient Greece, “waste” is like all other wastes; but the still extant in that country, or transported “marble” of Palmyra makes the poetry of to England), are as poetical as Mont Blanc the passage as of the place.
or Mount Etna, perhaps still more 80, as