Imágenes de páginas

expression, to clip and torture the English language without remorse, to split occasionally an unfortunate word in two, and to attach the dislocated syllables to different lines, adding a due proportion of double and treble rhymes, to be perfectly Hudibrastic. Indeed, much of their versification is so rugged and uneven as to vie with the jolting of the road known by the name of the Devil's back-bone. They display occasionally some share of humour, but in wit they are poor indeed. Butler was by no means deficient in humour, but it was cast into a dim eclipse by the predominance of his wit. His characters do not show themselves off unconsciously as fools or coxcombs—they are set up as marks at which the author levels all the shafts of his ridicule and sarcasm. These imitations in general are much too long : a burlesque in a dozen cantos is too serious a joke.

To conclude: we consider the manner of Butler as peculiarly easy of imitation, (which may account for the number of works at the head of this article); his matter as inimitable, except by an equal or a greater genius. We do not look upon successful imitators as little better than the mocking-bird, who copies the melody of other songsters without possessing any note of its own. To catch not only the style and turn of thought of another writer, but to express the same thoughts, clothed in the same language, which that writer would, in all probability, have thought and written on a given subject, requires a considerable portion of the genius of the original, as well as a thorough insight into the mechanism of his mind. The author of the most successful series of imitations which perhaps has ever appeared (the Rejected Addresses) has shown himself an original poet of no ordinary powers. Sir Walter Scott's imitations of Crabbe and Moore are eminently happy, and Hogg's half-serious, halfludicrous imitations, in the Poetic Mirror, almost strike us as fac-similes. We have no doubt Lord Byron could write an excellent imitation either of Milton or Butler, though, we confess, we have no wish to see him attempt either. We shall conclude with an extract from some scholastic pleasantries by Mr. Moore, which, as they are not very likely to be familiar to our Hudibrastic readers, we shall make no apology for introducing. If they have not the terseness and pregnant brevity of Butler, they have much of his point and ingenious subtlety..

“But, to begin my subject rhyme-
'Twas just about this dev'lish time,
When scarce there happen'd any frolics,
That were not done by Diabolics,
A cold and loveless son of Lucifer,
Who woman scorn'd, nor knew the use of her;
A branch of Dagon's family,
(Which Dagon, whether he or she,

Is a dispute that vastly better is
Referr’d to Scaliger et cæteris,)
Finding that in this cage of fools,
The wisest sots adorn the schools,
Took it at once his head Satanic in,
To grow a great scholastic mannikin;
A doctor, quite as learn'd and fine as
Scotus John or Tom Aquinas,
Lully, Hales irrefragabilis,
Or any doctor of the rabble is !
In languages, the polyglotts,
Compar'd to him, were Babel sots;
He chatter'd more than ever Jew did,
Sanhedrim and priest included.
Priest and holy Sanhedrim
Were one-and-seventy fools to him!
But chief the learned dæmon felt a
Zeal so strong for gamma, delta,
That, all for Greek and learning's glory,
He nightly tippled · Græco more,'
And never paid a bill or balance
Except upon the Grecian Kalends;
From whence your scholars, when they want tick,
Say, to be at-tick’s to be on tick!
In logics, he was quite Ho Panu!
Knew as much as ever man knew.
He fought the combat syllogistic
With so much skill and art eristic,
That though you were the learned Stagyrite,
At once upon the hip he had you right!
Likewise to show his mighty knowledge, he,
On things unknown in physiology,
Wrote many a chapter to divert us,
Like that great little man Albertus,
Wherein he shew'd the reason why,
When children first are heard to cry,
If boy the baby chance to be
He cries O A!—if girl, O E!-
They are, says he, exceeding fair hints
Respecting their first sinful parents;

Oh Eve!' exclaimeth little madam,
While little master cries, 'Oh Adam !'
In point of science astronomical,
It seem'd to him extremely comical
That once a year the frolic sun
Should call at Virgo's house for fun,

And stop a month and blaze around her,
Yet leave her Virgo, as he found her.
But 'twas in optics and dioptricks,
Our dæmon play'd his first and top tricks :
He held that sunshine passes quicker
Through wine than any other liquor;
That glasses are the best utensils
To catch the eye's bewilder'd pencils;
And though he saw no great objection
To steady light and pure reflection,
He thought the aberrating rays,
Which play upon a bumper's blaze,
Were by the doctors look’d, in common, on,
As a more rare and rich phenomenon!
He wisely said, that the sensorium
Is for the eye a great emporium,
To which these noted picture stealers
Send all they can and meet with dealers.
Our doctor thus with stuff'd sufficiency'
Of all omnigenous omniciency,
Began (as who would not begin
That had, like him, so much within ?)
To let it out in books of all sorts,
Folios, quartos, large and small sorts :
Poems, so very grave and sensible
That they were quite incomprehensible;
Prose which had been at learning's fair,
And bought up all the trump’ry there;
The tatter'd rags of ev'ry vest
In which the Greeks and Romans drest,
And o'er her figure, swoll'n and antic,
Scatter'd them all with airs so frantic,
That those who saw the fits she had,
Declar'd unhappy Prose was mad!
Epics he wrote and scores of rebusses,
All as neat as old Turnebus's !
Eggs and altars, cyclopædias,
Grammars, prayer-books-oh! 'twere tedious
Did I but tell the half, to follow me.
Not the scribbling bard of Ptolemy,
No-nor the hoary Trismegistus,
(Whose writings all, thank heav'n! have miss'd us,)
E'er fill’d with lumber such a ware-room
As this great porcus literarum !'

Art. VIII. Olor Iscanus. A Collection of some Select Poems

and Translations, formerly written by Mr. Henry Vaughan, Silurist. Published by a Friend.

“Flumina amo, Sylvasque inglorius.”—Virg. Georg. London, printed by T. W. for Humphrey Moseley, and are to be sold at his shop, at the signe of the Prince's Arms, in St. Paul's Churchyard. 1651. Small 8vo.

This little volume has long lain hid in undeserved oblivion. Henry Vaughan, the Silurist, as he loved to be called, appears to have been a very accomplished individual, though given, as we learn from Anthony Wood, to be “ singular and humoursome.” He has not, indeed, scaled the highest heaven of invention, nor even succeeded in bestowing fame and celebrity on his favorite river of Isca ; but if a considerable command of forcible language, and an occasional richness of imagery, be sufficient to arrest a poet fast falling into total oblivion, we think we shall be justified in selecting the “ Olor Iscanusas the subject of an article. This little production is moreover peculiarly adapted to our purposes. We could not recommend a reprint of the whole, though the poetry only runs to sixty-four small octavo pages, for there are many parts in which the author falls into dulness or obscurity, or where, following the cold and vapid taste of the times, he spends his strength on frigid and bombastic conceits; but, at the same time, Vaughan possessed both feeling and imagination,-flowers which not unfrequently shew themselves above the weeds which the warped judgment of the age encouraged to grow up in too great luxuriance. Added to this, he is a translator of no little skill; and has succeeded in turning many of the metrical pieces of Boëtius, and some of the odes of Casimir, into free and forcible English. It is very much to be lamented, that he did not give more of his attention to this good service; for we cannot help thinking there are very few versions in the language executed with more ability than those which we shall presently submit to the reader.

These poems chiefly come under the head of what is usually termed occasional poetry,-a species of writing ill adapted to carry the fame of the author down to Posterity, a personage generally too busy in pursuing her own trifles, to attend to those which may have caught the attention of an individual of a former age. Sometimes, however, the occasion is a general one; and at others, the writer rises above his subject, and making it

but the stepping-stone of his course, wings a lofty and enduring flight. Probably, Henry Vaughan contemplated some more lasting and worthy theme than eulogies and elegies upon his friends, if we may judge from the following address to his native Isca, the theme of the first poem in this volume :

“ But Isca, whensoe'er those shades I see,
And those lov'd arbours must no more know me,
When I am laid to rest hard by thy streams,
And my sun sets where first it sprang in beams,
I'll leave behind me such a large kind light,
As shall redeem thee from oblivious night,
And in these vows which (living yet) I pay,
Shed such a precious and enduring ray,
As shall from age to age thy fair name lead,
'Till rivers leave to run, and men to read."

By this “precious and enduring ray” is intended, we presume, the identical little book from which we have been brushing the cobwebs and wiping the dust, and whose“ scattered beams” we are about to let fall once more on the public, who, most unaccountably, as the Silurist would think, are little aware of their brightness, though rivers have not left to run, nor men to read. After celebrating the Isca, our author proceeds to the charnelhouse, his reflections on which are written with a vigorous pen. It may be that, in this following quotation from it, there are few new ideas; but it breathes forth a vigorous strain of morality, which shall be “as a modicum of salt to charm away the rottenness of oblivion :"

“Where are you, shoreless thoughts, vast-tenter'd * hope,
Ambitious dreams, aims of an endless scope,
Whose stretch'd excess runs on a string too high,
And on the rack of self-extension die ?
Cameleons of state, air-mongring + band,
Whose breath (like gunpowder) blows up a land,
Come see your dissolution, and weigh
What a loath'd nothing you shall be one day.
As th' elements by circulation pass
From one to th' other, and that which first was
Is so again, so 'tis with you. The grave
And nature but complot: what the one gave

*Tenter'd, extended.
Air-mongring, dealing in air, or unsubstantial visions.

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