Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

Dress'd in a fashion now forgotten quite; 1

For all the fashions of the flesh stick long
By people in the next world ; where unite

All the costumes since Adam's, right or wrong,
From Eve's fig-leaf down to the petticoat,
Almost as scanty, of days less remote.

LXVII.
The spirit look'd around upon the crowds

Assembled, and exclaim'd, “ My friends of all
The spheres, we shall catch cold amongst these clouds;

So let's to business : why this general call ? If those are freeholders I see in shrouds,

And 't is for an election that they bawl, Behold a candidate with unturn'd coat! Saint Peter, may I count upon your vote ? "

LXVIII. “ Sir," replied Michael, “ you mistake; these things

Are of a former life, and what we do Above is more august; to judge of kings

Is the tribunal met: so now you know." “ Then I presume those gentlemen with wings,"

Said Wilkes, “ are cherubs; and that soul below Looks much like George the Third, but to my mind A good deal older — Bless me! is he blind ? "

LXIX. “ He is what you behold him, and his doom

Depends upon his deeds,” the Angel said. “ If you have aught to arraign in him, the tomb

Gives license to the humblest beggar's head To lift itself against the loftiest." — “ Some,"

Said Wilkes, “ don't wait to see them laid in lead, For such a liberty — and I, for one, Have told them what I thought beneath the sun."

To see him punish'd here for their excess,

Since they were both damn'd long ago, and still in Their place below: for me, I have forgiven, And vote his habeas corpus' into heaven.”

LXXII. “ Wilkes," said the Devil, “ I understand all this ;

You turn'd to half a courtier ere you died, 2 And seem to think it would not be amiss

To grow a whole one on the other side Of Charon's ferry; you forget that his

Reign is concluded; whatsoe'er betide, He won't be sovereign more: you 've lost your labour, For at the best he will but be your neighbour.

LXXIII. “ However, I knew what to think of it,

When I beheld you in your jesting way, Flitting and whispering round about the spit

Where Belial, upon duty for the day,
With Fox's lard was basting William Pitt,

His pupil ; I knew what to think, I say:
That fellow even in hell breeds farther ills;
I'll have him gagg'd-'t was one of his own bilis.

LXXIV. “ Call Junius !” 3 From the crowd a shadow stalk'd,

And at the name there was a general squeeze, So that the very ghosts no longer walk'd

In comfort, at their own aërial ease, But were all ramm'd, and jamm'd (but to be balk'd, As we shall see), and jostled hands and knees, Like wind compress'd and pent within a bladder. Or like a hunian colic, which is sadder.

LXXV. The shadow came - a tall, thin, grey-hair'd figure,

That look'd as it had been a shade on earth; Quick in its motions, with an air of vigour,

But nought to mark its breeding or its birth :
Now it wax'd little, then again grew bigger,

With uow an air of gloom, or savage mirth;
But as you gazed upon its features, they
Changed every instant - to what, none could say.

LXXVI.
The more intently the ghosts gazed, the less

Could they distinguish whose the features were ; The Devil himself seem'd puzzled even to guess;

They varied like a dream -- now here, now there ; And several people swore from out the press,

They knew him perfectly; and one could swear He was his father : upon which another Was sure he was his mother's cousin's brother:

66

LXX. “ Above the sun repeat, then, what thou hast

To urge against him," said the Archangel. Why," Replied the spirit, “ since old scores are past,

Must I turn evidence ? In faith, not I.
Besides, I beat him hollow at the last,

With all his Lords and Commons: in the sky
I don't like ripping up old stories, since
His conduct was but natural in a prince.

LXXI.
“ Foolish, no doubt, and wicked, to oppress

A poor unlucky devil without a shilling ; But then I blame the man himself much less

Than Bute and Grafton, and shall be unwilling

i flim

“ Beholding the foremost,
Slim by the cast of his eye oblique, I knew as the firebrand
Whom the unthinking populace held for their idol and hero,
Lord of Misrule in his day. But how was that countenance alter'd
Where emotion of fear or of sh une had never been witness'd;
That invincible forehead abash'd; and those eyes wherein malice
Once had twen wont to shine with wit and hilarity temper'd,
Into how deep a gloom their mournful express on had set ied!
Little availed it now that not from a purpose malignant,
Not with evil intent, he had chosen the service of evil,
But of his own desires the slave, with profligate finpu'se.
Solely by selfishness moved, and reckless of aucht that might follow
Could he plead in only excuse a confession of baseness?
Could he hide the extent of his hilt; or hope to atone for
Faction excited at home, when all old feuds were abitat,
Insurrection al road, wd the train of woes that had follow'd !
Discontent and disloyalty, like the teeth of the dragon,
He had sown on the winis ; they had ripen'i leyond the Atlantic ; *
Thence in natural birth, sedition, revoli, resolution,
France had received the seeds, and rept the harvest of horrors;
Where – where should the plague be stay'd ? Oh, most to be pitied
They of all souls in bale, who see no term to the evil
They lry their guilt have raiel, no end to their inner upbraidings!
Hin I could not choose but know," &c. - SOUTHEY.]

* ("Our new world has generally the creclit of having first lighted the torch which was to illuminate, and see in a blws, the finest part of Europe; et I think the first flint was struck, and the fint sparklicited, by the patrwi John Wulkes, a few years belure. In a time of profound

2 [For the political history of John Wilkes, who died cham. berlain of the city of London, we must refer to any history of the reign of George 111. His proilizate personal character is abundantly displayed in the collection of his letters, published by his daughter! since his death.] 3 [" Who might the other be, his cornrode in guilt and in suffering,

Prought to the proot like hin, and shrinking the ham from the trial?
Nameless the Libeller lived, and shot his arrows in darkness;
Undetected he pass'il to the grave, and, leasing hehind him
Noxious work on earth, and the pest of an evil example,
Went to the world beyond, where no offences are hidden.

Ka hael he been in his life, and now visor of iron,
Rivetted round his head, had abolish'd l.is features for ever.
Speechless the slanderer rool, and turnd his face from the Monarch,
Iron-Lorind as it was,...so insupportably dreauitul
Soon or late to conscious guilt is the eye of the injured." - SOUTHEY.)

peace, the restless spirit of men, deprived of other objects of public curiosity, seized with avidity on those questions which were then aiitated with so much violence in England, touching the rights of the then ple and of the government, and the nature of power. The end of the political Irama was in favour of what was called, and in some respects was, the Liberty of the people. Encouraged by the success of this great comedian, the curtain was no sooner dropped on the scene of Europe, than new actors haste ned to raise it again in America, and to give the world a new play, intinitely more interesung and more brilliant than the time." - 21. SINOND.)

Them written without heads; and books, we see,

Are fill'd as well without the latter too: And really till we fix on somebody

For certain sure to claim them as his due, Their author, like the Niger's mouth, will bother The world to say if there be mouth or author.

LXXXII. “ And who and what art thou ?" the Archangel said.

“ For that you may consult my title-page," Replied this mighty shadow of a shade :

“ If I have kept my secret half an age, I scarce shall tell it now.”—“ Canst thou upbraid,"

Continued Michael, “ George Rex, or allege Aught further?" Junius answer'd, “ You had better First ask him for his answer to my letter:

LXXVII.
Another, that he was a duke, or knight,

An orator, a lawyer, or a priest,
A nabob, a man-midwife 1: but the wight

Mysterious changed his countenance at least
As oft as they their minds: though in full sight

He stood, the puzzle only was increased ;
The man was a phantasmagoria in
llimself - he was so volatile and thin. ?

LXXVIII.
The moment that you had pronounced him one,

Presto! his face changed, and he was another; And when that change was hardly well put on,

It varied, till I don't think bis own mother (If that he had a mother) would her son

Have known, he shifted so from one to t'other;
Till guessing from a pleasure grew a task,
At this epistolary “ Iron Mask.”3

LXXIX.
For sometimes he like Cerberus would seem -

“ Three gentlemen at once" (as sagely says Good Mrs. Malaprop); then you might deem

That he was not even one ; now many rays Were flashing round him; and now a thick steam

Hid him from sight-like fogs on London days : Now Burke, now Tooke, he grew to people's fancies, And certes often like Sir Philip Francis. *

LXXX.
I've an hypothesis — 't is quite my own;

I never let it out till now, for fear
Of doing people harm about the throne,

And injuring some minister or peer,
On whom the stigma might perhaps be blown :

It is - my gentle public, lend thine ear! 'Tis that what Junius we are wont to call Was really, truly, nobody at all.

LXXXI.
I don't see wherefore letters should not be

Written without hands, since we daily view

LXXXIII. “ My charges upon record will outlast

The brass of both his epitaph and tomb." “ Repent'st thou not,” said Michael, “ of some past

Exaggeration ? something which may doom Thyself if false, as him if true? Thou wast

Too bitter – is it not so ? — in thy gloom Of passion ? "_" Passion !" cried the phantom dim, I loved my country, and I hated him.

LXXXIV. “ What I have written, I have written : let

The rest be on his head or mine! So spoke Old “ Nominis Umbra 5;" and while speaking yet,

Away he melted in celestial smoke. 6 Then Satan said to Michael, “ Don't forget (Tooke,

To call George Washington 7, and John Horne And Franklin ;"- but at this time there was heard A cry for room, though not a phantom stirr'd.

LXXXV. At length with jostling, elbowing, and the aid

Of cherubim appointed to that post, The devil Asmodeus to the circle made

His way, and look'd as if his journey cost

' [Among the various persons to whom the Letters of Junius have been attributed we find the Duke of Portland, Lord George Sackville, Sir Philip Francis, Mr. Burke, Mr. Dunning, the Rev. John Horne Tooke, Mr. Hugh Boyd, Dr. Wilmot, &c.)

3 ["I don't know what to think. Why should Junius be dead? If suddenly apoplexed, would he rest in his grave without sending his lower to shout in the ears of posterity, • Junius was X. Y. Z., Esq. buried in the parish of * Repair his monument, je church wardens ! Print a new edition of his Letters, ye booksellers! Impossible, – the man must be alive, and will never die without the disclosure. I like him ;--- he was a good hater."Byron Diary, Nov. 23. 1813. Sir Philip Francis died in Dec. 1818.)

3 [The mystery of “l'homme au masque de fer," the ever. lasting puzzle of the last century, has at length, in general opinion, been cleared up, by a French work published in 1825, and which formed the basis of an entertaining one in English by Lord Dover. See Quarterly Review, vol. xxxiv. p. 19.)

* (That the work entitled “ The identity of Junius with a distinguished Living Character established" proves Sir Philip Francis to be Junius, we will not athrm ; but this we can sarely assert; that it accumulates such a mass of circumstantial evidence as renders it extremely difficult to believe he is not, and that, if so many coincidences shall be found to have misled us in this case, our faith in all conclusions drawn from proofs of a similar kind may henceforth be shaken. - Mack. INTOSH.)

5 [The well-known motto of Junius is, “ Stat nominis umbra."'] 6 ("Caitifts, are ve dumb » cried the multifaced Temon in anger:

Think ye then by shame to shorten the tern of your penance ?
Back to your penal dens ! - And with horrible grasp sganuc

Seizing the guilty pair, he swung them aloft, and in rengeance
Huri them all abroad, far into the sulphurous darkney.
Sons of Faction, be war'd! And ye, ye Slanderers ! leam re
Justice, and bear in mind that after death there is judgrnent.
Whirling, away they tlev! Vor long hirnseit did he tarry, (wind,
Ere from the ground where he stood, caught up by a vebement shirt-
He too was hurried away and the blast with lightning and Thunder
Vollying anight and alett amid the accumulate blackness,
Scatter'u its inmates accurst, and beyond the limits of ether
Drove the hircine host obscene; the howling and groaning

Fell precipitace down to their dolorous place of endurance."-SOUTIET.) 7 (

« The roll of the thunder Ceased, and all sounds were hush'd, till again from the gate alarantine Was the voice of the Angel heard through the silence of Heaven. Ho! he exclaim'd, King George of England standeth in judement ! Hell hath been dumb in his presence. Ye who on earth arraign d birn, Come ye before him now, and here accuse or above him!

... From the Souls of the Blessed, Some were there then who advanced ; and more from the skirts of the

meeting,
Spirits who had not get accomplish'd their purification,
Yet being cleansed from pride, from faction and error deliver'd,
Purged of the talm wherewith the eye of the mind is clouded,
They, in their better state, saw all things clear. ..
One alone remaind, when the rest had retired to their station.
Silently he had stool, and still unmoved and in wlence,
With a steady mien, regarded the face of the Monarch.
Thoughtful awhile he gazed:

Here then at the Gate ot Hearen we are met!' said the Spirit ;
• King of Eng and! albeit in life opposed to each other,
Here we meet at last. Vot unprepared for the meeting
Ween I ; for we had both outlised all enmity, rendering
Each to each that justice which each from each had withholden.
In the course of events, to theel veem'd as a Rebel,
Thou a Tirant to me; - so strongly doth circumstance rule men
During eral dass, when right and wrong are confounded!

Washington !' said the Monarch,' vel hast thou spoken, and truly.
Just to threelf and to me. On them is the guilt of the contest
Who, for wicked ends, with foul arts of faction and falsehood,
Kindled and fed the flame: but reruiy they bave their guerdon.
Thou and I are free from offence.'
When that Spint withdrew, the Monarch around the assembly
Look'd, but none else came forth, &c.- Ibid.)

Some trouble. When his burden down he laid, " What's this?” cried Michael ; “ why, 't is not a

ghost ? “ I know it," quoth the incubus ; “ but he Shall be one, if you leave the affair to me.

LXXXVI. “ Confound the renegado! I have sprain'd

My left wing, he's so beavy; one would think Some of his works about his neck were chain'd.

But to the point; while hovering o'er the brink
Of Skiddaw' (where as usual it still rain'd),

I saw a taper, far below me, wink,
And stooping, caught this fellow at a libel-
No less on history than the Holy Bible.

LXXXVII.
“ The former is the devil's scripture, and

The latter yours, good Michael ; so the affair Belongs to all of us, you understand.

I snatch'd him up just as you see him there,
And brought him off for sentence out of hand :

I've scarcely been ten minutes in the air-
At least a quarter it can hardly be :
I dare say that his wife is still at tea,"

LXXXVIII.
Here Satan said, “ I know this man of old,

And have expected him for some time here;
A sillier fellow you will scarce behold,

Or more conceited in his petty sphere : But surely it was not worth while to fold

Such trash below your wing, Asmodeus dear: We had the poor wretch safe (without being bored With carriage) coming of his own accord.

LXXXIX. “ But since he's here, let's see what he has done."

“ Done!" cried Asmodeus," he anticipates The very business you are now upon,

And scribbles as if head clerk to the Fates. Who knows to what his ribaldry may run,

When such an ass as this, like Balaam's, prates ? " “Let's hear," quoth Michael, “what he has to say; You know we're bound to that in every way."

XC.
Now the bard, glad to get an audience, which

By no means often was his case below,
Began to cough, and hawk, and hem, and pitch

His voice into that awful note of woe
To all unhappy hearers within reach

Of poets when the tide of rhyme's in flow;
But stuck fast with his first hexameter,
Not one of all whose gouty feet would stir.

XCI.
But ere the spavin'd dactyls could be spurr'd

Into recitative, in great dismay,
Both cherubim and seraphim were heard

To murmur loudly through their long array ;

And Michael rose ere he could get a word

Of all his founder'd verses under way, (bestAnd cried, “ For God's sake, stop, my friend ! 't were Non Di, non homires — you know the rest."9

XCII. .
A general bustle spread throughout the throng,

Which seem'd to hold all verse in detestation ;
The angels had of course enough of song

When upon service, and the generation
Of ghosts had heard too much in life, not long
Before, to profit by a new occasion;

(what ! 3 The monarch, mute till then, exclaim d, “ What! Pye 4 come again? No more — no more of that!"

XCIII.
The tumult grew; an universal cough

Convulsed the skies, as during a debate,
When Castlereagh has been up long enough

(Before he was first minister of state, I mean — the slaves hear now); some cried “ Off, off "

As at a farce ; till, grown quite desperate,
The bard Saint Peter pray'd to interpose
(Himself an author) only for his prose.

XCIV.
The varlet was not an ill-favour'd knave;

A good deal like a vulture in the face,
With a hook nose and a hawk's eye, which gave

A smart and sharper-looking sort of grace
To his whole aspect, which, though rather grave,

Was by no means so ugly as his case ;
But that indeed was hopeless as can be,
Quite a poetic felony

de se."

XCV.
Then Michael blew his trump, and still'd the noise

With one still greater, as is yet the mode
On earth besides; except some grumbling voice,

Which now and then will make a slight inroad
Upon decorous silence, few will twice

Lift up their lungs when fairly overcrow'd;
And now the bard could plead his own bad cause,
With all the attitudes of self-applause.

XCVI.
He said — (I only give the heads) — he said,

He meant no harm in scribbling; 't was his way Upon all topics; was, besides, his bread,

Of which he butter'd both sides ; 't would delay Too long the assembly (he was pleased to dread),

And take up rather more time than a day, To name his works - he would but cite a few “ Wat Tyler" - Rhymes on Blenheim -“ Waterloo."

XCVII.
He had written praises of a regicide ;

He had written praises of all kings whatever;
He had written for republics far and wide,

And then against them bitterer than ever ;

2

1 (Mr. Southey's residence is on the shore of Derwentwater, near the mountain Skiddaw. )

1-" Mediocribus esse poetis Non Di, non homines, non concessere columnæ."- Horace.)

3 (The king's trick of repeating his words in this way was a fertile source of ridicule to Peter Pindar (Dr. Wolcot); for example

" The conducting monarch, stopping to take breath
Amidst the revinents of death,

Now turnillo Whithread with complacence round;
And, merry, thus address the man of leer :-
• Whitbread, is 't true? I hear, I hear,

You 're of an ancient family - renown'd

What? What? I'm told that you're a limb
or l'ym, the famous fellow Pym:
What, Whitbreid, is it true what people say?
Son of a roundhead are you? h? h? ha?
Thirtieth of Januars don't you feed ?

Yes, yes, you eat call's head, you eat calf's head!" - (Henry James Pye, the predecessor of Mr. Southey in the poet-laureateship, died in 1813. He was the author of many works, besides his official Odes, among others “ Alfred," an epic poem - all of which have been long since defunct. Pye was a man of good family in Berkshire, sat some time in par. liament, and was eminently respectable in every thing but his poetry.]

Like king Alfonso. 3 When I thus see double, I save the Deity some worlds of trouble."

For pantisocracy he once had cried

Aloud, a scheme less moral than 't was clever ; Then grew a hearty anti-jacobin Had turn'd his coat-and would have turn'd his skin.

XCVIII.
He had sung against all battles, and again

In their high praise and glory; he had callid
Reviewing 1 “the ungentle craft," and then

Become as base a critic as e'er crawlid Fed, paid, and pamper'd by the very men

By whom his muse and morals had been inaul'd: He had written much blank verse, and blanker prose, And more of both than any body knows.

CII.
He ceased, and drew forth an MS.; and do

Persuasion on the part of devils, or saints,
Or angels, now could stop the torrent; so

He read the first three lines of the contents; But at the fourth, the whole spiritual show

Had vanish'd, with variety of scents, Ambrosial and sulphureous, as they sprang, Like lightning, off from his “ inelodious twang." 4

CIII.
Those grand heroics acted as a spell ;

The angels stopp'd their ears and plied their pinions ; The devils ran howling, deafen'd, down to hell ;

The ghosts Aed, gibbering, for their own domi(For 't is not yet decided where they dwell, (nions

And I leave every man to his opinions); Michael took refuge in his trump - but, lo! His teeth were set on edge, he could not blow !

XCIX. He had written Wesley's life: - here turning round

To Satan, “ Sir, I 'm ready to write yours, In two octavo volumes, nicely bound,

With notes and preface, all that most allures
The pious purchaser; and there 's no ground

For fear, for I can choose my own reviewers :
So let me have the proper documents
That I may add you to my other saints."

C.
Satan bow'd, and was silent. “ Well, if you,

With amiable modesty, decline
My offer, what says Michael ? There are few

Whose memoirs could be render'd more divine.
Mine is a pen of all work; not so new

As it was once, but I would make you shine Like your own trumpet. By the way, my own Has more of brass in it, and is as well blown.

CI. “ But talking about trumpets, here 's my Vision !

Now you shall judge, all people; yes, you shall Judge with my judgment, and by my decision

Be guided who shall enter heaven or fall. 2 I settle all these things by intuition,

Times present, past, to come, heaven, hell, and all,

CIV.
Saint Peter, who has hitherto been known

For an impetuous saint, upraised his keys,
And at the fifth line knock'd the poet down ; 5

Who fell like Phaeton, but more at ease,
Into his lake, for there he did not drown;

A different web being by the Destinies
Woven for the Laureate's final wreath, whene'er
Reform shall happen either here or there.

Сү. .
He first sank to the bottom-like his works,

But soon rose to the surface - like himself;
For all corrupted things are buoy'd like corks, 8

By their own rottenness, light as an elf, Or wisp that flits o'er a morass : he lurks,

It may be, still, like dull books on a shelf, In his own den, to scrawl some“ Life" or " Vision," 7 As Welborn says—“ the devil turn'd precisian."

I See “ Life of Henry Kirke White."
2 (" Lift up your heads, ye Gates; and re everlasting Portals,

Be re lift up! For lo! a glorined stonarch approacheth,
One who in righteousness regn'd, and religiously govern' his people.
Who are these that await him within ?-Vasuthe Deliserer,
Ilim I knew

Thou, too, O matchless Eliza,
Excellent Queen, wert there! and thy brother's beautiful spirit.
There too was he of the sable mail, the hero of Cressy,
Lion-hearted Richard was there, redoubtable warrior.

I saw the spirit of Alfred
Alfred, than whom no pirince with lottier intellect gifted.

Bede I beheid, who, humble and holy,
Shone like a single star, serene in a night of darkness.
Bacon also was there, the marvellous Friar;
Thee, two, Father Chaucer! I saw, and delighted to see thee -
And Shasspeare, who in our hearts for himself hath erecteu an empire.

A tr in whom nearer duty attracted, Through the Gate of Bliss came forth to welcome their Sovereign. Many were ther, and glorious all. Conspicuous among them Wolfe was seen; and the Seaman who fell on the shores of Owhyhee.* And the might Musician of Germany , ours by adoption, Who beheld in the king his munificent pupil and patron There, too, Wesley, I saw and knew - And Burke I beheld there. Here, where wTONES are forgiven, was the injurut lasting beside him; There was our late-lost Queen, the nation's example of virtue, * &c. &c.

SOUTHXY.] · Alfonso, speaking of the Ptolomean system, said, that had he been consulted at the creation of the world, he would have spared the Maker some absurdities."

• See Aubrey's account of the apparition which disappeared " with a curious perfume and a most melodious trang;" or see the" Antiquary." vol. i. p. 225.-("As the vision shut his volume, a strain of delightful music seemed to fill the apartment"-" The usual time," says Grose," at which ghosts make their appearance is midnight, and seldom before it is dark; though some audacious spirits have been said to appear even by day-light; but of this there are few instances, and those mostly ghosts who had been laid, and whose terms of confinement were expired. I cannot learn that ghosts Cook.

carry tapers in their hands, as they are sometimes depicted.
Dragging chains is not the fashion of English ghosts : chains
and black vestments being chiefly the accoutrements of foreign
spectres seen in arbitrary governments ; dead or alive, En.
Elish spirits are free. During the narration of its business, a
g'ost must by no means be interrupted by questions of any
kind: its narration being completed, it vanisbes away, fre-
quently in a flash of light; in which case, some ghosts have
been so considerate as to desire the party to whom they ap-
peared to shut their eyes :- sometimes its departure is at-
tended with most delightful music.")
5 " When I beheld them meet, the desire of my soul o'ercame me:

And when with harp and roice the loud hosannahs of welcome
Filled the rejoicing sky, as the happy company enter'd
Through the Everlasting Gates, 1, too, presa'd forward to enter -
But the reight of the body withheld me. - I stoop'd to the fountain,
Eacer to drink thereuf, and to put away all that was earthis.
Darkness came over me then at the chilling touch of the water,
And my feet methought sunk, and I feil precipitate. Starting,
Then I awoke, and beheld the mr.cuntains in twilight before me,
Dark and distinct ; and, instead of the rapturous sound of havannahs,
Heard the bell from the tower, TOLL! TOLL! through the silence of

evening. - SOCTHBY. 6 A drowned body lies at the bottom till rotten; it then foats, as most people know.

? [Southey's Vision of Judgment appears to us to be an illjudged, and not a well-executed work. It certainly has added nothing to the reputation of its author in any respect. The nobleness of his motive does not atone for the indiscretion of putting it into so reprehensible a form. Milton's example will, perhaps, be pleadeil in his vindication ; but Milton alone has ever founded a fiction on the basis of revelation, without degrading his subject. He alone has succeeded in carrying his readers into the spiritual world. No other attempt of the kind has ever appeared that can be read without a constant feeling of something like burlesque, and a wish that the Tartarus and Elysium of the idolatrous Greeks should still be the hell and the heaven of poetry. A smile at the puerilities, and

11 ande!

|

CVI.
As for the rest, to come to the conclusion

Of this true dream, the telescope is gone
Which kept my optics free from all delusion,

And show'd me what I in my turr. have shown;

All I saw farther, in the last confusion,
Was, that King George slipp'd into heaven for

one ;
And when the tumult dwindled to a calm,
I left him practising the hundredth psalm. I

a laugh at the absurdity of the poet, might then be enjoyed by show :) they are the true ones, and I abide by them, as I tell the reader, without an apprehension that he was guilty of you, and I told Leigh Hunt, when he questioned ine on the profanity in giving it. Milion has been blamed by the most subject of that letter. He was violently hurt, and never will judicious crítics, and his warmest admirers, for expressing the forgive me at the bottom; but I cannot help that. I never counsels of Eternal Wisdom, and the decrees of Almighty meant to make a parade of it; but if he chose to question Power, by words assigned to the Deity. It offends against me, I could only answer the plain truth; and I confess, I did poetical propriety and poetical probability. It is impossible not see any thing in the letter to hurt him, unless I said he to deceive ourselves into a momentary and poetical belicf was "a bore," which I don't remember. Had th': Journal that words proceeded from the Holy Spirit, except on the gone on well, and I could have aided to make it better for warrant of inspiration itself. It is here only that Milton fails, them, I should then have left them after a safe pilotage off a and here Milton sometimes shocks. The language and coile lee shore to make a prosperous voyage by themselves.

As it duct ascribed by Milton to his inferior spirits, accord so well is, I can't, and would not if I could, leave them among the with our conceptions and belief respecting their nature and breakers. As to any community of feeling, thought, or existence, that in many places we forget that they are, in opinion, between Leigh Hunt and me, there is little or none. any respect, the creatures of imagination. The blasphemies We meet rarely, hardly ever ; but I think him a good-prin. of Milton's devils offend not a pious ear, because they are cipled and able man, and must do as I would be done by.” devils who utter them. Nor are we displeased with the poet's The Reviewer proceeds to comment on Mr. Hunt's general presumption in feigning language for heavenly spirits, because abuse of Lord Byron's manners, habits, and conversation : it is a language that lifts the soul to heaven; and we more

“ The witness is, in our opinion, disqualified to give evithan believe, we know and feel, that, whatever may be the

dence upon any such subjects: his book proves him to be nature of the language of angels, the language of the poet truly interprets their sentiments. The words are hunian ;

equally ignorant of what manners are, and inconipetent to

judge what manners ought to be : his elaborate portraiture but the truths they express, and the doctrines they teach, are

of his own habits is from beginning to end a very caricature of divine. Nothing of the same kind can be said of any other

absurdity; and the man who wrote this book, studiously cast, fable, serious or ludicrous, pious or profane, that has yet been

as the whole language of it is, in a free and-easy, conversawritten in any age or language. - Blackwood, 1822.)

tional tone, has no more right to decide about the conversation [The “ Vision of Judgment" appeared, as has been al- of such a man as Lord Byron, than has a pert apprentice to ready said, in " The Liberal” - a Journal which, consisting pronounce ex cathedra - from his one-shilling gallery, to wit chictly of pieces by the late Mr. Hazlitt and Mr. Leigh Hunt, on the dialogue of a polite comedy. We can easily believe, was not saved from ruin by a few contributions, some of the that Lord Byron never talked his best when this was his highest :nerit, by Lord Byron. In his work, entitled “ Lord Companion. We can also believe, that Lord Byron's serious Byron and his Contemporaries,” Mr. Hunt assaulted the dead conversation, even in its lowest tone, was often unintelligible poet, with reference to this unbappy Journal; and his charges to Mr. Leigh Hunt. We are morally certain, that in such were thus taken to pieces at the time in the Quarterly Re- company Lord Byron talked, very often indeed, for the mere view:

purpose of amusing himself at the expense of his ignorant, “Mr. Hunt describes himself as pressed by Lord Byron

fantastic, lack-a-daisical guest ; that he considered the Maginto the undertaking of that hapless magazine: Lord Byron,

nus Apollo of Paradise Row as a precious butt, and acted on the contrary, represents himself as urged to the service by absolutely inadmissible, on stroug preliminary grounds. But

accordingly. We therefore consider Mr. Hunt's evidence as the Messrs. Hunt themselves." e.g. "Genoa, Oct. 9th, 1822. -- I am afraid the Journal is a bad

what are we to say to it, when we find it, as we do, totally business, and won't do, but in it I am sacrificing myself for

and diametrically at variance both with the substance and others. I can have no advantage in it. I believe the brothers

complexion of Lord Byron's epistolars correspondence; and Hunts to be honest inen; I am sure that they are poor ones;

with the oral testimonies of men whose talents, originally they have not a Xap. They pressed me to engage in this

superior beyond all possibility of ineasurement to Mr. Hunt's, work, and in an evil hour I consented; still I shall not repent

have been matured and perfected by study, both of books and if I can do them the least service. I have done all I can for

men, such as Mr. Hunt never even dreamed of; who had Leigh Hunt since he came here, but it is almost useless : his

the advantage of meeting Lord Byron on terms of perfect wife is ill; his six children not very tractable ; and in affairs

equality to all intents and purposes ; and who, qualified, as of this world he himself is a perfect child. The death of

they probably were, above any of their contemporaries. to Shelley left them totally aground ; and I could not see them

appreciate Lord Byron, whether as a poet, or as a man of in such a state without using the common feclings of hu

high rank and pre-eminent fame, mingling in the world in manity, and what means were in my power to set them afloat

society such as he ought never to have sunk below, all with again.'

one voice pronounce an opinion exactly and in every par. .“ Again -- Mr. Hunt represents Lord Byron as dropping

ticular, as well as looking to things b: adly and to the general his connection with 'The Liberal,' partly because his friends

effect, the reverse of that which this unworthy and ungrateful at homo (Messrs. Moore, Hobhouse, Murray, &c.) told him it

dependant has thought himself justified in promulgating, on was a discreditable one, and partly because the business did

the plea of a penury which no Lord Byron survives to relieve ?

It is too bad, that he who has, in his own personal conduct, not turn out lucrative. "• It is a mistake to suppose, that he was not mainly in.

as well as in his writings, so much to answer for -- who fluenced by the expectation of profit. He expected very large

abused great opportunities and great talents so lamentably returns from · The Liberal.' Readers in these days need not

who sinned so deeply, both against the society to which he

belonged and the literature in which his name will ever hold be told, that periodical works which have a large sale are a mine of wealth: Lord Byron had calculated that matter well.' a splendid place – it is really too bad, that I.ord Byron, in Lord Byron and his Contemporaries, p. 50.

addition to the grave condemnation of men able to appreciate **. The failure of the large profits - the non-appearance

both his merits and his demerits, and well «lisposed to think of the golden visions he had looked for, of the Edinburgh or

more in sorrow than in anger of the worst crrors that exQuarterly returns — of the solid and splendid proofs of this

isted along with so much that was excellent and noble -- it new country, which he should conquer in the regions of no

is by much too bad, that this great man's glorious though toriety, to the dazzling of all men's eyes and his own - this

melancholy memory it was -- this was the bitter disappointment which made him

• Must also bear the vile attacks determine to give way.' - Ibid. p. 51.

Of ragged curs and vulgar hacks “ Now let us hear Lord Byron himself:

whom he fed ; - that his bones must be scraped up from their ". Genoa, göre 18th, 1822.- They will, of course, attribute

bed of repose to be at once grinned and howled over by creamotives of all kinds ; but I shall not abandon t man like

tures who, even in the least hyena-like of their moods, can Hunt because he is unfortunate. Why, I could have no touch nothing that mankind would wish to respect without pecuniary motives, and, least of all, in connection with polluting it.' Ilunt.'

Mr. Moore's Verses on Mr. Hunt's work must not be * • Genoa. 10bre 25th, 1822. – Now do you see what you omitted here: and your friends do by your injudicious rudeness? actually

· Next week will be published (as . Lives' are the rage) cement a sort of connection which you strove to prevert,

The whole Reminiscences, wondrous and strange, and which, had the Hunts prospercd, would not, in all pro- of a small puppr-uog that lived once in the cage bability, have continued. As it is, I will not quit them in

Of the late noble lion at Exeter 'Change. their adversity, though it should cost me character, fame, money, and the usual et cetera. My original motives I al. “ Though the dog is a dog of the kind they call .sad,' ready explained ; (in the letter which you thought proper to 'T is a puppy that much to good breeding pretends :

« ForrigeFortsæt »