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that was likely to prove useful, and to be attached, to Napoleon. He had sufficient talent of a particular kind to merit employment; sufficient warmth of nature to become faithful in extremities; and an equal quantity of vanity to make him love glory in his master, and be delighted with every circumstance that made him seem a sharer in it.
ART. VII.-Parriana; or Notices of the Rev. Samuel Parr, LL.D. Collected from various sources, printed and manuscript, and in part written by E. H. Barker, Esq., of Thetford, Norfolk. Vol. 1. 8vo. pp. 695. London: Colburn. 1828.
We have to return our best thanks to Mr. Barker for this amusing octavo. It presents the richest display the public have had for a long while, of the coxcombry and pomposity of the small fry of literature, and, although not certainly written by the brightest wits of the age, contains numerous passages, the comic effect of which it is quite impossible to resist. We request, therefore, that our readers will not be terrified by the title of the volume-as we ourselves very nearly were when we found we had again got into contact with the everlasting Doctor, of whom the trumpet of gossip has brayed so long and so vociferously, and inflicted on us already so many blasts of unparalleled emptiness. The subject, we can assure them, has assumed, in Mr. Barker's hands, a freshness of interest that is altogether surprising-and to be accounted for only by the magic power of genius, and the original and sui generis style in which it is sure to treat even the most hackneyed topics to which it deigns to direct its attention.
It is not, in fact, Dr. Parr alone that we have here. The representation Mr. Barker has given of him is rather a dramatic than a historical one-the great scholar being introduced to us in the midst of a crowd of attendant luminaries, not a few of whom are, fortunately, as entertaining personages as one could well desire to meet with. It is these subordinate characters, indeed, we confess, that are our greatest favorites throughout the piece. The humours of the Doctor himself are, to our taste, rather solemn and elaborate-and, besides, have now been described so often, that they have lost whatever attractiveness they at any time possessed; but those of the other dramatis persona to whom we allude, besides being now presented to us for the first time, have in general the merit of being perfectly natural, and are often as superlatively ridiculous as those of Shakspeare's fools themselves. The book in this way, which would have been a dull enough one had it been occupied solely with Dr. Parr, has been actually rendered very exhilarating reading upon the whole, simply by the accommodating kindness of the other very good-natured gentlemen who have consented to exhibit themselves for our gratification in its pages.
They, and the Doctor together, make a very passable farce of it indeed.
The scheme or plot, of the production, is a sufficiently simple one. Dr. Parr, while alive, seems to have possessed a peculiar attraction for the ninnies of the literary world-who, accordingly, found their way to him from all quarters as naturally as so many crows to their carrion. These worthy persons were in the habit of repaying the Doctor for his solid pudding,' by abundance of empty praise'; and he appears to have swallowed the one commodity at least as greedily as they could possibly have done the other. Nay, so highly delighted was he with their boisterous paeans that, not satisfied with dispensing to them in return his good cheer and Greek quotations, he was actually wont almost to echo their own adulation, and if they insinuated to him, by many a stare and gape of admiration, that he was something more than man, to thunder out to them in reply that, for mere men, they might rest assured they themselves were among the most extraordinary productions of the age. Now the work before us, in so far as it bears any relation to its title page, (for a great deal of it is merely about things in general,') consists of a series of gospels by these faithful disciples, touching themselves and their defunct deity, in which all the particulars of the intercourse between the parties are chronicled with the most unreserving simplicity, and the mysteries of the Hatton idolatry laid open to the gaze of the profane, with the most unaccountable disregard that can be of all the feelings and rules of conduct in reference to such matters that have been sanctioned by the practice of preceding ages. Each individual narrator gives us his own part of the performance, and is sure, at all events, to tell us enough about himself, whatever else may form the burthen of his memorabilia. Indeed, this habit of frank communication respecting themselves and their own concerns, is one of the most remarkable points of character about Mr. Barker and his associates-nor will those of our readers who have ever looked into any of the publications of the great Doctor, at whose feet they used to worship, be much at a loss to account for the origin of the propensity. Dr. Parr never thought he could entertain his readers better than by treating them to some oracular expression of his own feeling or opinions, or some anecdote, no matter how insignificant, about his private history or habits; and he seems to have bequeathed his egotism to his surviving followers who figure in the present volume, each of whom evidently imagines himself to be an object of the very first magnitude in the eye of the public, and is accordingly as pompously loquacious in the enumeration of his various personalities, as if he were describing to us the eighth wonder of the world.
Let us listen, in the first place, to the style in which Mr. Barker himself descants upon his own intellectual character, in the preface to the volume. If he had been one of a superior order of
beings come down to announce to us a new revelation, he could not have addressed us on the subject of his qualifications for the high task he had undertaken, with more particularity or solemnity. By him, with a seductive shew of modesty he sets out by informing us such is the imperfection of his nature, or the failure of his endeavours-we must be content to be shewn the mere broken arches and columus' of Dr. Parr's great mind-his publication, forsooth, with reference to the grandeur and the importance of the subject, standing a fair chance of disappointing our expectations, and of injuring the little literary reputation which he possesses in our eyes. Nevertheless, he does hold himself to be not without some requisites for the right execution of his undertaking, in those qualities of mind which he has made it the business of his life to cherish and cultivate. 6 He e so accustoms himself to look at human nature,'-' is too sincere a lover of candour and of truth,' &c. &c.-in short, is exactly the person to do all manner of justice to any subject he may choose to take in hand. The reader,' he then proceeds, will also remark, that the author manifests no particular zeal for one branch of literature more than another; and he has never been disposed so to narrow his mind, as to condemn what he does not understand (damnant quod non intelligunt.) All literature, and all science, however imperfectly he may be acquainted with either, (and the imperfection may be supplied in time) are equally dear to him, from men of every tongue and every clime, of every church and every sect. With him, truth has no gradations-he finds no pleasures, which this world can afford, superior to the acquisition and the communication of knowledge-and in disposition, though not in means, he is a determined promoter of talent and learning.' All which, we dare say, may be very true-as well as the additional piece of information that the author fears he will still continue to be employed for several weeks on The Index to the Greek Thesaurus of Henry Stephens,' but who is Mr. Barker, that the world should be thus magniloquently advised in regard to his character and doings? The picture he has drawn of himself is, doubtless, an imposing enough one, particularly when we add to it the finishing feature of his enthusiasm,' with its vitality, activity, energy, and brightness; but when did the public ever express a wish to be favoured with any such delineation? Mr. Barker lived, to be sure, for some years in habits of intimacy with Dr. Parr-but really this circumstance alone is hardly enough to entitle him to set up as one of the lions of the day. He and his brother paw-lickers (we do not use the term offensively) were only, he should remember, at best, the puppies in the lion's cage-nor, even if their lion had been a much more extraordinary animal than he was, would it have been possible for him to have reflected upon them any very large share of his own greatness.
But we leave Mr. Barker, or the author, if he will have it so,
though really it is the first time we ever heard of a man calling himself the author of a book, on the score merely of having written the preface to it-and proceed to introduce to our readers one or two of the more remarkable characters among the other contributors to the volume. The first to whom we shall direct our attention, is the Rev. John Stewart, Curate of Sporle cum Palgrave, in the county of Norfolk, whose name, it mortifies us to acknowledge, we have for the first time become acquainted with by finding it in the work before us. This Reverend gentleman, it appears, is actually one of the most distinguished of our living poets! A long list of his works is given by Mr. Barker, which begins with "The Pleasures of Love," published in 1806, and ends with "Bible Gems," which were scattered, we fear, before a very ungrateful world, in 1827. By the bye, the remarkable contrast between these two titles seems to evidence a decided improvement in the moral character of Mr. Stewart's Muse, during their twenty years' connection, whatever progress she may have made in other respects. It was a poem called "The Resurrection," in five books, which first made our author known to Dr. Parr. The Doctor, after designating it as an elegant production, had quoted from it a dozen execrably stupid lines in allusion to Mr. Fox, in his "Characters by Philopatris Varvicensis," and Mr. Stewart immediately took advantage of the circumstance, to write his discerning eulogist a letter of acknowledgment for his kind notice, which, in due course, produced for him an invitation to Hatton. Never, certainly, were two men made for each other as were the Doctor and the bard. Their mutual suitableness shewed itself almost in the first moment of their first interview. Scarcely had they exchanged a few words together when, as Mr. Stewart expresses it, they were old friends. Whether they owed this instantaneous establishment in each other's affections to some happy barter of compliments the first time they opened their mouths in each other's hearing, or simply to an intuitive sagacity which did not need even a tone to direct it, we are not informed. But commence in what manner it might, their intercourse seems very soon to have become a continued discharge of adulation on both sides, such as human vanity has certainly not often broken out into. single specimen of the style in which this sort of thing was carried on between the two, we quote the following portentous scene, as detailed by our Reverend Poet:
'Doctor Parr retained a love for poetry to the last. His taste was exquisite, his judgment infallible. How delightful was this bewitching relaxation to a mind, that was so much wont to expatiate among the researches of philosophy-to be immersed in the depths of metaphysics! It was when on my last visit to him, that he ordered a port-folio to be brought forth, from which he took a MS. poem of considerable extent, and paid me the compliment to solicit my opinion of it, significantly assuring me, that few indeed had ever seen it. I read it aloud. It' betrayed the towering independence of Parr, in the nervous eloquence of
Dryden. It revealed its author. I characterised it in the language of truth. He was very reserved about it.
"In a late periodical work, containing details of Dr. Parr, his opinion. of the living poets is given. The account is perfectly correct as far as it goes. It contains the truth, but not the whole truth. I shall briefly.. state his conversation with me on the subject.
'One morning he sent for me to attend him in his library. I found him seated at one side of the fire, Mrs. Parr leaning against the mantle on the opposite, and a chair placed for me between them. "Mrs. Parr," (he began,) "you have seen Moore in this spot, some time ago; you now see Mr. Stewart. The race of true poets is now nearly extinct. There is you," (turning to me,)" and Moore, and Byron, and Crabbe, and Campbell, I hardly know of another. You, Stewart, are a man of genius, of real genius, and of science, too, as well as genius. I tell you so. It is here, it is here," (shaking his head, and sagaciously touching his forehead with his finger,) "I tell you, again, it is here! As to Walter Scott, his jingle will not out-live the next century; it is namby pamby. I do not enumerate him with poets!"-vol. i., pp. 86, 87.
It is impossible not to admire the serene and unfaltering consciousness of genius with which all this is narrated, and which, very properly, prevents the reporter from either introducing or dismissing it with any of those apologies for its insertion which would certainly have suggested themselves, on such an occasion, to a person less entitled to think loftily of his own powers. It does, to be sure, jar a little with the popular prejudices of the day, to find the author of the "Pleasures of Love," announced as one of the only four or five true poets,' in existence, and his unknown verses characterised as full of genius and destined for immortality, by a critic who tells us in the same breath that Sir Walter Scott is no poet at all, and that the "Lady of the Lake" and "Marmion are mere jingle and namby-pamby-but these antiquated scruples will not, of course, annoy our posterity in the next century, when, the very name of his unworthy rival being forgotten, Mr. Stewart shall divide the veneration of his country with our Miltons and our Shakspeares, if indeed he and his compeers, Moore, Byron, Crabbe, and Campbell, do not extinguish altogether the fame of these older and ruder bards. We request the reader also to remark the laudable sense of what he owes to himself, which determines our tuneful clerk to lay before the public the whole truth' of Dr. Parr's opinion of the living poets.' Some previous reporter, it would appear, had in his ignorance understood the expressions of the learned Doctor, respecting the bard of Love, and the Resurrection, as if they had been merely uttered in jest or banter, and had accordingly omitted them altogether in his detail. But Mr. Stewart repeats them to us with the most commendable gravity and minuteness, as conveying the sincere and deliberately formed sentiments of the person by whom they were spoken, and that person one whose taste for poetry, we are at the same time assured, was exquisite,' and his judgment in