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To France, in the days of Henry the Fourth, we might recur, in a spirit of gallantry, for an illustration of the finest forms of Beauty and of Grace. But these lovely shapes, however flitting and evanescent, can still be discerned; and the Empire, as well as the Kingdom of Love, boasts of the charms of its subjects. The consort of the present Ruler of France is described, by contemporary Criticism, as one of the most attractive of the Austrian race. The spirited exertions of our accomplished Engraver will, unquestionably, support the opinion. We, who are such sturdy republicans, can gaze with rapture at the features of Imperial Beauty; and the majority of our readers will survey with every complacent emotion, the interesting countenance of Maria Louisa. Indeed, it requires no very severe induction of Logic to prove that the chosen partner of the modern Hannibal is not unworthy of the eminence, to which she has been exalted. Encircled by the cestus of Venus, and endowed with every fascinating Power, she detains the statesman from his Bureau and the Warrior from his Tent.
THE SALLAD, NO. 1.–FOR THE PORT FOLIO.
BY CHRISTOPHER CROTCHET.
Scribimus indocti, doctique-Hor. Epist.
Those who cannot write, and those who can,
THERE is nothing which embarrasses an author more, after he has determined to niake his debut in the republic of letters as an essayist, than the choice of a proper title for his speculations. It is iniinitely worse than seeking for a name of baptism among the Hebrew roots. The author of the Rambler himself was perplexed in the extreme, and at that period too, when he was composing his great philological work. Having settled upon the plan to be pursued and fervently solicited Providence to aid the undertaking, his next care was the selection of an appropriate name. Sitting, standing or walking, in society or solitude, for one entire day, there was hardly any other subject, that occupied his mind. At length, like the trumpeter's wife in the tale of Slawkenbergius, he determined not to close his eyes, until he was satisfied, and was leaning almost in despair, on his bed-side, when by accident, he hit upon that, which was adopted.
How important an agent is chance in the economy and management of the world! Pythagoras originally invented music. It is said he fortuitously discerned the true proportion of notes from the noise of hammer's, on an artist's anvil. Sir Isaac Newton has transmitted his name to posterity, cover'd with imperishable glory, by discovering and applying the principles, which prevail in the establishment of the sublime harınony of the celestial spheres. His thoughts were led to the investigation, by the fall of a pippin upon his forehead. But since neither meditation norchance have'assisted me in
my researches after a genuine title, it is necessary that I should draw upon another's wit, for what my own is incompetent to supply. When Mr. Moore undertook "The World" a number of his friends, and David Garrick among the rest, met in conclave to officiate as sponsors, and fix upon the appellation of the cherished bant
ling. The histrionic hero, desirous to gratify the taste of every reader, from the plainest to the most fastidious, proposed The Sallad. But the recommendation was frustrated. Dodsley had previously determined the matter within himself. I shall take this occasion of offering an inconsiderable homage to his memory, “whose death eclipsed the gayety of nations, and diminished the public stock of harmless pleasure.”
This preliminary being satisfactorily arranged, I have yet a small difficulty to encounter and surmount. Voltaire in one of his works, I think it is Zadig, has recorded a curious disputation which arose among the Babylonians, in regard to the manner of entering the temple of Mitra. One portion of them declares, they should cross the threshold with the left foot foremost, whilst the other swore by Mahomet’s ass and dove, that unless the right was advanced first, the presiding divinity would deny the accustomed dispensations. Even such a conflict, every young author experiences in his own breast. How shall I, who never appeared in a drawing room, without committing some misprision against the graces, who was never placed under the elegant discipline of the dancing master, or bred amid the refinements of the Lyceum; how shall I introduce myself to public attention? It is certain I ought to put my best foot foremost, according to the vulgar apophthegm; but in what manner shall the preference be awarded?
It is usual with essayists, and the practice is generally applauded by their well-wishers, to present a full portraiture of themselves in the first number of their lucubrations, and remark every characteristic, however minute. They imitate Sallust, who in his biography of Cataline descends to the utmost particularity. He goes so far as to describe the walk of the arch traitor, as alternately rapid and slow, being in his idea the idication of a spirit subject to the successive paroxysms of hope and fear. Perhaps indeed some knowledge of an author's style of life and habits is necessary to the full understanding of his writings. Different persons would however require different points to be developed. The disciples of Montesquieu would ask to be acquainted with the region of his birth. Whether he first drew his breath under the tropics or at the poles; whether his nativity was cast under benignant skies, where every zephyr brings health and fragrance, and every sound is the voice of cheerfulness; or in a country cursed with plagues and monsters, unconscious of the course of the seasons where the wild misrule of equinoctial storm or northern tempest low:rs over a land, that presents scarcely any thing to the traveller but prospects of barren waste and gloomy desolation.
Another set of readers would desire to understand the system of education pursued towards the author. They would demand if it was Mr. Locke's or Rousseau's? If he was brought up under the guidance of an Aristotle or Ximenes? Whether like Paschal and Montaigne the gerine of his genius expanded in an early blossom, and unseasonably ripen'd into lasting luxuriance; or like Young and Goldsmith, his mind was long concealed, before it spread its opulence and treasures to the sun; or if unlike either of them, he had ever given proofs of mind or genius at all?
A third class might condescend to interrogate me upon the subject of my physiognomy. Lavater would ask, what is the proportion of his nose, and the degree of the returning angle, occasioned by its junction with his upper-lip? What are the dimensions of his mouth? These features have long been considered as high evidences of the first qualification. Aretine* mentions a curious speculation, in regard to the two great potentates of continental Europe during the sixteenth century. Agreeably to this speculation Charles V is considered as under infinite obligation to his large mouth for all the aggrandizement and honour to which he had arrived; and Francis I entirely indebted to his notable nose, for all his grandeur and influence. It was moreover imagined, that the balance of power (the favourite subject of modern writers, on political economy) was by this allotmentonly preserved secure. The magnitude of the Emperor's mouth by its counteraction prevented the universal despotism of Francis, and e converso, the plenitude of the king's nose precluded the overwhelming supremacy of Charles.
* Vide Dr. Ferriar's Ilustrations of Sterne, p. 109.