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I know 'twas wrong—'twas very wrong
To listen to his wild romancing ;
One's always giddy after dancing :
And when he sigh'd, and ask'd me, would I ?
I'm sure I could not help it, could I ?
And talked of settlements and rentals ;-
He looked so well in regimentals !
While we were waiting for the carriage,
Something of Blacksmiths—and of marriage.
He'd soon come back-I wonder can he?
(What could he mean by Blacksmiths, Fanny ?)
I answer'd-it was lovely weather !—
The pleasant days we'd pass'd together.
A stronger spell than mine to bind him;
Those rhymes he made me love, behind him :
Not always sound to mirthful measures ;
And tears from those we love are treasures,
Tell him to break himself of smoking,
His hours are really quite provoking.
Tell him to act with due reflection;
Or else he'll ruin his complexion.
Perhaps to-morrow I'll be better ;
To write me a consoling letter :
He said he loved the best of any
And-bid him love me-won't you, Fanny?
THE EDITOR'S ROOM.
We will spend our Christmas in our Room! And truly this is not a stingy, unsocial, cheerless, bachelor resolve. Heaven be praised, we have friends enow to greet us at such a season--and most dear intimates, whom a single whistle would call around our humble but happy board. We are not of those wretched idolators of woe, who
Quarrel with mince-pie, and disparage
Their best and dearest friend, plum-porridge. We have a reverence for Christmas. We love its present enjoyments and its traditionary glories. We rejoice in the Turkey of 1828, and the Boar's Head of 1618. We lie awake at night listening for the Waits; and have a ready smile for the Beadle's verses, The dustman offends us not when he tells us that his medal is a head of Frederick the Great,--reverse, the Genius of Victory; -and the Sexton has our best wishes that he may laugh and grow fat when he brings us the Bills of Mortality.'—We love Christmas-its sentiment and its avarice, its jollity and its apoplexies :--but nevertheless, this Christmas we dine at home. Between church and dinner we will be critical.
And assuredly we shall spend this Christmas in most excellent society. Our books shall be our guests: and whilst our children (reader, we have seven) pay a visit to their aunts, we will entertain some of the choicest spirits of the month—we had almost said of our time—at our frugal board, where no boisterous mirth shall then intrude. On New Year's Eve and Twelfth Night our self-denial shall be repaid. Then, indeed, no night-mare of Maga shall lie heavy on our breast : -no vision of a fearful man, with a bald head and spectacles, crying
sleep no more, Duncan," shall start us from our irresponsible slumbers. We will eat, and drink, and laugh, and sleep, with no fear of the devil before our eyes (a polite but an inexorable devil); and it shall go hard but the prodigalities of old Christmas shall recompense us for the privations of the New.
And now to our consolations—Books, eternal books.—What a prolific monster is this Press. She devours her own children and produces them in new forms. The history that perished yesterday soars into the April skies the novel of to-day ;-and the novel of to-day, which dies ere the sun goes down, is transmuted into the history of to-morrow. And this is the course of Nature, and why not therefore of books?
Imperious Cæsar dead and turn'd to clay,
Might stop a hole to keep the wind away. The whole secret of the world's career is resolved by the little word Change; and whether the transformation be from a grub to a butterfly-or from a man to a grub,—the philosopher has only to rejoice that nothing is lost, and to hope that even a butterfly or his poet has not lived in vain.
We intend no reflection upon Mr. Bayly. Mr. Bayly is a very pretty poet; and may in some sort be considered the founder of a
school. The Crow-Quill School of Poetry' has been called into existence by the rage for Albums and Annuals; and it is truly a matter of rejoicing that such gentle talents receive their earthly reward. Although the honied sweetness of Keepsakes and Souvenirs may be copied into such rude productions as Mirrors and Extractors, the music of Mr. Bayly's verses is only allowed to be published by Mr. Power; and most encouraging it is, for us of small inclination to labour, and a pretty talent for rhyming, that a song is thus rendered worth fifty pounds in the market, while a sermon is printed for the especial benefit of the trunk-makers. For ourselves, seeing that no bookseller will buy our History of the Eighteenth Century, with original illustrations of the age of Louis XIV, and of the American and French Revolutions,' we intend to open a negotiation with Goulding and D’Almaine. Six hundred a year shall purchase us for life; and our • fatal facility' shall be the admiration of every fair pianist in the three kingdoms.
And yet, though the Muses be Sisters, each, as it appears to us, ought to have her appropriate empire. We are not sure that Mr. Bayly, or even Mr. Moore, do not come within the penalties of the old Statutes against monopoly, when they thus seduce Calliope and Polyhymnia into their services. The example is contagious. We have before us a most agreeable production,
• The Yule Log,' · Being a Christmas Eve's Entertainment, after the Ancient Custom, by Thomas Wilson, Teacher of Dancing; author of the “Danciad,' • Quadrille Panorama,' • Companion to the Ball-Room,' 'System of German and French Waltzing,' • Ecossaise Instructor,' • Analysis of Country Dancing,' and other various works on Dancing; also the • Disappointed Authoress, Plot_ against Plot, The Masquerade Rehearsal,' • Double Wedding,' • The Coronation,' • Old Heads upon Young Shoulders,' and · Aquatic Excursion. If this be not taking Parnassus by storm, there is not a pluralist in the land. The pretension, too, of the work is great; and ought not to be thought lightly of, by us who have only one string to our bow. Mr. Wilson, also, has an unfair advantage over his brother authors. If the critics assail him he can take to his legs. Great are the experiments he would introduce into literature. He regrets that our Christmas amusements should be so little of the intellectual kind ;-he scorns pudding and beef; and has no idea of mirth but the enactment of “ appropriate pieces” at his rooms, 18, Kirby Street, Hatton Garden. Really we are envious of Mr. Wilson; and will not quote a line of his book.
But there are other poets to sing of Christmas, beside Mr. Wilson and the Bellman.
CHRISTMAS; A Poem. By Edward Moxon,' is dedicated to Charles Lamb, as a token of the kindest regard." Mr. Lamb, like all men of real genius, is simple-hearted and goodnatured, and we dare say will say kind things to the poet, (we hope he is young,) and commend the skill with which he talks of
Beef all sprigg'd with rosemary, and Bethlehem, in the same breath. For ourselves, we commend him to Mr. Charles Lamb's good-nature; for even his subject, smileprovoking as it is, will not begule us to commend such lines as
There coaches rattle by in glee,
With hamper stow'd, and plump turkey. Such talk about eating really makes us fancy this “ chewing the cud of sweet and bitter thoughts, on a Christmas day, to be but “ lenten fare.” We derive no consolation, either, in our abstemiousness, from
• COMMENTS ON CORPULENCY,' By William Wadd, Esq. F.L.S., Surgeon Extraordinary to the King, etc. etc, etc. This book is an absolute provocative to feeding. Look at the frontispiece—the happy, smiling, conceited, impudent humourist, peering through his little grey-eyes, sunk three inches in fat, with the most knowing and laughter-provoking air in the world :
See his corpus advances
Are pregnant with fun. There is only one living man as fat and as mirth-exciting; but cast your eye upon the contrast at p. 91–the moping, snarling, hypochondriacal, timid, miserable old-bachelor,—who never enjoyed a full meal, or a foolish pun, in his whole life; and who thinks the world made for mankind to be thin and sensible in. The ass! Abernethy, and the political economists have brought him to this plight; and not even Wadd can save him. Clearly this erudite and funny author is one of
He is not to be despatched in a hurry; and we shall, therefore, lay him aside for a more lawful time. At Christmas he would kill us.
By way of leading us from illicit thoughts of this lower world, and all its abominable seductions, which unfit us for that
Perpetual feast of nectar'd sweets,
Where no crude surfeit reigns, turn we to
• A TREATISE ON ZODIACAL PHYSIOGNOMY' No. 1., by John Varley. This learned work was sent us by a comical friend, who admired our taste for astrology; and who sought to lead us from the error of our way in the matter of Francis Moore, Physician,' by this all-convincing tractate on the higher mysteries of the science. Let us meditate, with a mind open to the truth. Assuredly, we are half converted. It is almost “ the witching time o' night;" our lamp burns dimly as we trace what planet was " lord of the ascendant” at the hour of our birth; and fearfully does our black cat peer into our face, till we could almost fancy he is as wise as Agrippa's dog. Truly, Mr. Varley, if you should drive us from our settled purpose of exterminating the successors of Raymond Lully, the world will lose a hero, and its regeneration is postponed to another century. And really, if ever man by the force of his eloquence-a force built upon the perfect sincerity of his convictions—could restore the good old days of astrological faith, that man is Mr. John Varley. As a painter, who does not recognise his talents ? But what are common acquirements, such as the power of making the mimic landscape
glow with all the radiance of the noon-day sun, compared with the ability of reading the aspects of Saturn, or affirming whether Mars is in either of the houses of Venus. The prejudices of Reason would make us laugh at these things; but the seer speaks with a compelling voice,--and we are grave.
Hear Mr. Varley, O fellow-scoffers ! “The apparent power of the various signs of the Zodiac in creating a great diversity in the features and complexions of the human race has long been as well established among inquiring people, as the operation of the moon on the tides."
You believe Newton, you believe La Place—and yet you doubt Mr. Varley. Listen again
The circumstance most fortunate for proving the distinct and perfect division of one sign from another in the countenance and complexion of persons born under two signs, the one of which immediately precedes the other, is the fact of Sagittarius, the house of Jupiter, being the only sign (as I have found by my own experience) under which no persons are born having black or dark hair, eyes, and eyebrows, with the very rare exception of an occasional appearance of reflection of the sign Gemini, which gives a mild hazel-brown eye and hair, and sometimes a deficiency in the clearness of the complexion. I have almost uniformly found those born under Sagittarius to be very fair, with grey eyes; and in general of a lively, forgivinghearted, and free disposition. And I have frequently detected mistakes in the time of birth given to me by the parties or their parents, by the complexion alone, where the parties being dark, and who were born under the latter degrees of Scorpio, or the early degrees of Capricorn (which latter is usually a very dark, melancholic sign) were at first almost positive that they were born at such a time as would cause Sagittarius to ascend: but the line of separation is so distinctly marked, that while the very last degree, minute, and second of Sagittarius rises, the party then born never has black eyes or hair; and when the very commencement of the first degree of Capricorn rises, the person is generally very dark, though this sign, as well as all the others, will occasionally give fair persons, by reflection of Cancer, its opposite sign.
Any one who can scoff at these things must, indeed, be far gone in scepticism. But there are even more wonders in the science. The “ascendant” presides over our remains ages after our bodies are crumbling in the dust; and thus, centuries hence, when one of Mr. Varley's paintings shall be rescued from the brokers and varnish-men, to be set amongst the Claudes and Wilsons of some gorgeous gallery, the lucky star of Varley will lead the connoisseur to the purchase of the gem, upon the same principle as the following less noble instances :
Should a party of antiquaries, hundreds of years after a person's death, discover his grave, there must be some planet, or the sun, in conjunction, or some other aspect with his ascendant. For instance, when Hone, in his * Every Day Book, published Flamstead's horoscope for the instant that the first stone of Greenwich Observatory was laid, the moon's fortunate node was passing through the exact degree of the horoscope, on the day that the work was sent from the printer's. Again, when the coffin of Milton was sought for in the Chancel of Cripplegate church, a short time before the erection of his monument in 1737, the Herschel planet was passing over and near his ascendant. And it is a remarkable coincidence, that the Greenwich Observatory, having the same ascendant, Milton's Latin MSS. were translated and brought into notice, about the time that Flamstead's horoscope was published by Hone, viz. 17th deg. Sagittarius.