« ForrigeFortsæt »
lumes have any merit ? Show us either promise or performance, and without any appearance of patronage, which is the mere triumph of pride over humility, we address the writer in terms of friendly encouragement and inspiriting commendation. We have the pure satisfaction of knowing that we have been of substantial service to several persons of merit in this way: and without wishing to misrepresent the character of any one of our Contemporaries, we simply ask, which of them have treated unobtrusive and modest merit with half the kindness of that bloody-minded hobgoblin-Blackwood's Magazine ?
With some two or three writers of more than ordinary genius, or talent, or taste, we alone have dealt either with common sense or common feeling. We may mention three-Keats, Shelley, Procter. Keats possessed from nature some “fine powers," and that was the very expression we used in the first critique that ever mentioned his name. We saw, however, with mixed feelings of pity, sorrow, indignation, and contempt, that he was on the road to ruin. He was a Cockney, and Cockneys claimed him for their own. Never was there a young man so encrusted with conceit. He added new treasures to his mother-tongue, -and what is worse, he outhunted Hunt in a species of emasculated pruriency, that, although invented in Little Britain, looks as if it were the product of some imaginative Eunuch's muse within the melancholy inspiration of the Haram. Besides, we know that the godless gang were flattering him into bad citizenship, and wheedling him out of his Christian faith. In truth, they themselves broke the boy's heart, and blasted all his prospects. We tried to save him by wholesome and severe discipline—they drove him to poverty, expatriation, and death. Then they howled out murder against, first the Quarterly Review, and then this Magazine. Heartless slaves! Did not John Hunt himself, even Prince John, publish, for the sake of filthy lucre, Byron's cutting sarcasms on poor Keats, after he was in his grave ? Nay, did he not publish Byron's outrageous merriment on this very charge of murder ?-an instance of heartless effrontery unparalleled since the Age of Bronze ?
We remember-we believe it was in John Scott's abuse of ushaving it particularly bandied against us as a heinous crime that we had ventured to hint that Keats was an apothecary, and been jocose on his pestle and mortar. A sad offence! These people must be quite new in the world of wit. We thought all these common-places of quizzing were perfectly understood, and of course harmless. From long prescription in this style of writing, a lawyer is a rogue--a physician kills his patients—a parson has
a round paunch-an alderman guttles and guzzles an attorney is an arrant knave--and so on. What man of the least sense in these eminent professions, takes offence at these threadbare jests? Some of our jesters, it appears, could not resist the revival of the union of poetry and pharmacy in John Keats, as they had existed in Apollo, and made sorry jokes thereupon. But for the spirit of exaggeration which has attended everything connected with our Magazine, this never would have been considered as an offence. It was set down as a most grievous one by the same party who were calling Dr Phillpotts (one of the most accomplished men in England) a foul-mouthed parson, and cracking jokes on Wordsworth for being a stamp-master-Wordsworth, who, independently of his unequalled genius, is by birth, education, character, and independence, precisely the man best fitted to hold in any country an office of trust and responsibility, and of such moderate emolument as suits and satisfies the wishes of a Poet and Philosopher.
Percy Bysshe Shelley was a man of far superior powers to Keats. He had many of the faculties of a great poet. He was, however, we verily believe it now, scarcely in his right mind. His errors in private life had been great, but not prodigious, as the Quarterly Review represented them; and they brought evils along with them which Shelley bore with fortitude and patience. He had many noble qualities; and thus gifted, thus erring, and thus an outcast, we spoke of him with kindness and with praise. He felt, and gratefully acknowledged both ; and was proud to know, that some of the articles in our work on his poetry, were written by a poet whose genius he admired and imitated. How did the Cockneys swallow our praises of Shelley ?-As wormwood. For envy and jealousy are the corroding and cancerous passions which are for ever gnawing at a Cockney's heart.
Procter we once loved to praise, and our praises did much for him, as he must know, now that his popularity has departed from him. Most cordially will we praise him again, whenever he shall produce a poem worthy of himself-of his taste and his genius. But Mr Procter forgot altogether the measure of his powerswrote on in opposition to the advice of his wisest friends and sunk every additional poem deeper and deeper into the mire of mannerism-selected classical subjects of which he knew nothing, and less than nothing, committing flagrant falsehoods in sincerest truth-till, ere his shoes were old, he dozed the public usque ad nauseam-got set down for a bore-was teased, tolerated, defended, damned, and forgotten.
So much for our critical character ; and we have merely furnished a few slight. hints for the world at large to ruminate upon. But that is but part, and a very small part too, of our general character. Were we to enlarge upon that, we should have to write till next Christmas. Are there any of our readers old enough to recollect or to have forgotten the Chaldee Number? We then laid before mankind a list of intended articles. They stared, quaked, gabbled, or were dumb. “ All Fudge !” exclaimed many wiseacres, with brains of their own as the barren summit of Benevis. “Why do you tell ?” said other nincompoops ; “ other editors will forestall you.” What say ye now, ye miserables ? Essays on all imaginable subjects under the sun--letters to, from, for, and against almost every party, profession, and individual in the British Empire-sketches of character, so multiform and multitudinous, as to give an extended idea of the inexhaustible varieties of human nature-inquiries into a thousand subjects, the very existence of which had never been previously suspected-advices to people under every possible coincidence of circumstances--memoirs of men in the moon--disquisitions on the drama, epic, lyrical, didactic, and even pastoral poetry, here, there, and everywhere, on continent and isle, all over the face of the habitable globe-songs, epigrams, satires, elegies, epithalamia, epicediaand God knows what:-out they all came, helter-skelter, headover-heels, and leap-frog, to the endless amazement of the widemouthed world. For upwards of eight years has this inexplicable system prevailed; and with the true “ vires-acquirit-eundo” spirit, the Magazine is now more pregnant and productive than ever,-boiling over like a Geyser, scalding all natural philosophers that approach without wisdom or. warning; but diffusing a flowery warmth over every region, it overflows and astonishes the natives with unexpected and almost untoiled-for harvests.
True it is, and most happy are we to be able to say it, that other periodicals are spouting away very respectably, in imitation of Maga. Long may they spout. But who taught the art of welldigging? who fanged the wells when dug? Christopher North. And however unwilling we are at all times to allude, even distantly, to our own name, we are much mistaken if posterity-nay, not posterity--but our grateful coevals or contemporaries, will not place our names in juxtaposition with those of Smeaton, Arkwright, and Watt.
As for our literary articles, knowing by whom they are written, and by what men they are valued, we leave them freely to be criti
cised by any petty litterateur that pleases. In our politics, we have been Tory through thick and thin, through good report and evil report; or, as Mr Montgomery well expressed it, come wind, come sun; come fire, come flood. Honouring and venerating the churches established under divine Providence in these islands, we have to the utmost of our power supported their interests—not from any idle or obstinate bigotry, but because we conscientiously look upon them as the main stays of the constitution of England, as the bulwarks of the Protestant faith, as tending in the highest degree to promote Christianity, i. e. virtue and happiness. Finally, believing that a kingly government, checked and balanced by a proud aristocracy, and a due admixture of a popular representation, is the only one fit for these kingdoms, (we meddle not with what may be fit under other circumstances in other lands or ages,) we have always inculcated the maxim of honouring the King, and all put in authority under him, with the honours they deserve. Their enemies, Whig, Jacobin, Radical, Deist, Demagogue, or whatever other title they take, are our enemies, and with them we have no truce. Caring little for the newfangled and weathercock doctrines every day broached around us, and knowing, by long experience, that we have thriven under the old notions, we hold to them with a tenacity, which to some may appear obstinate, but which, as yet, we have seen no reason to repent. Intimately convinced that this country is a great instrument in the hands of God, we hope that it will not be turned to evil, and to the utmost of our ability shall resist all machinations for that purpose. And loving that country with a more than filial love, attached to all its interests, rejoicing in its prosperity, grieved to the soul in its adversity, delighted to see it victorious in war, still more delighted to see it tranquil at home, and honoured abroad during peace, we shall never cease to advocate the cause of those whose exertions we firmly believe have promoted, and will promote, its happiness or its glory. Of the effect of our work in diffusing a healthy and manly tone throughout the empire, and of creating a proper spirit of courage and patriotism, it would be vanity to speak. It has had its effect, and we are satisfied.
Hark! exquisite music! Our street-bands are indeed wondrously executive.—“Wha wadna be in love with bonny Maggy Lauder?” -Come, Tickler-a jig, a jig !-Gentle reader, farewell, and pardon us for having thus bestowed our tediousness upon you. Not one half of our good works are yet touched upon, but true merit is ever modest,
SO WE WISH THE UNIVERSE A Happy New Year.
A few words to correspondents. We began our work without ever dreaming of correspondents, being in ourselves an host. Matter enough we have ever had far more than enough ; and by means of such machinery as we possess, we can, in one day, work up the raw material into the most firm and beautiful texture for immediate sale-all articles warranted. But month after month, correspondents, unasked, have joined our banners. Country gentlemen of fortune, and no profession-town gentlemen of profession, and no fortune-doctors of Æsculapian skill-clergymen of the old Jeremy Taylor breed—barristers, who one day or other will be Copleys-naval and military officers, emulous of Nelson and ODoherty-men before the mast and among the light-bobs-travelling Fellows of Colleges-merchants worth a plum-clerks with salalaries of L.75 per annum-maiden ladies of true motherly affections-misses in their teens-and wonderful old women, who have cut young teeth at fourscore and ten--A merry New-year to you all! You know us too well now to be in any feverish anxiety about the insertion of your articles. An Editor must be something of a despot, although by nature the mildest of men. But he never forgets one single soul of you-and every now and then, an Article, supposed to be lost for ever, appears suddenly with all the effulgence of a comet. Talent, wit, learning, never can knock in vain at the door of our Sanctum; nor is there one instance on record of either having left its interior in disappointment. Delightful has it been to us to see genius coming forth in power from the most unexpected quarters, to the support of principles for ever exposed to danger, but we now believe imperishable. In another year or so, perhaps we shall publish a List of Contributors, such as never appeared to any Joint-Stock Company. The world knows the inexhaustible richness of_THE MINE,