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contrived to fix himself under his princely incognito at the very house of Mr. Commissioner Pthe father of his mistress; and the result is that he has actually married her with the entire approbation of her friends. Whether the sequel of the affair will correspond with its success hitherto, remains however to be seen. Certain it is, that for the present, until the prince's pleasure can be taken, Mr. Yon Holster has been committed to prison under the new law for abolishing bets of a certain description, and also for having presumed to personate the sovereign."
Thus far the newspaper :-however, in a few days, all clouds hanging over the prospects of the young couple cleared away. Mr. Von Holster, in a dutiful petition to the prince, declared that he had not personated his serene highness. . On the contrary, he had given himself out both before and after his entry into the town for no more than the Count Fitz-Hum: and it was they, the good people of that town, who had insisted on mistaking him for a prince ; if they would kiss his hand, was it for him an humble individual of no pretensions arrogantly to refuse? If they would make addresses to him, was it for an inconsiderable person like himself rudely to refuse to listen or to answer, when the greatest kings (as was notorious) always attended and replied in the most gracious terms ? On further inquiry, the whole circumstances were detailed to the prince, and amused him greatly; but, when the narrator came to the final article of the 5 rebellion, (under which sounding title a friend of Von Holster's had communicated to him a general plot amongst his creditors for seizing his person,) the good-natured prince laughed so immoderately that it was easy to see that no very severe punishment would follow. In fact, by his services to the late prince, Von H. had established some claims upon the gratitude of this, an acknowledgment which the prince generously made at this seasonable crisis. Such an acknowledgment from such a quarter, together with some other marks of favour to Von H., could not fail to pacify the s rebels" against that gentleman, and to reconcile Mr. Commissioner Pig to a marriage which he had already once approyed of. His seruples had originally been vanquished in the wine cellar, and there also it was, that upon hearing of the total extinction of the " rebellion," he drowned all scruples for a second time.
The town of has, however, still occasion to remember the bļue landau, and the superb whiskers, from the jokes which they are now and then called on to parry upon that subject. Doctor B-, in particular, the physician of that town, having originally offered 100 dollars to the man who should notify to him his appointment to the place of court physician, has been obliged solemnly to advertise in the gazette for the information of
the wits in the capital, “ that he will not consider himself bound by that promise ; seeing that every week he receives so many private notifications of that appointment, that it would quite beggar him
for them at that rate.”. With respect to the various peti. tioners, the bakers, the glaziers, the hair-dressers, 8c., they all maintain, that though Fitz-Hum may have been a spurious prince, yet, undoubtedly the man had so much sense and political discernment that he well deserved to have been a true one.
ON THE POETRY OF SOUTHEY.
SOUTHEY and Scott are the only great writers of the present day, that have confined themselves in their verses to the fair and direct path of poetry. They have come forward simply, as men moulded and informed like the rest of the world, not affecting to be honoured with temper or wisdom different from that of their fellows. They display superiority of genius, 'tis true, but that superiority not in kind, but in degree. They do not strike at any latent chord of sympathy, at any untried sentiment ; but their bold and seemingly hopeless attempt is to enchant and enthrall us by touching on those common feelings, that have been stricken, and harped, and jarred, almost into apathy. Yet do they succeed. Pure heroism, unmingled with any save common
traits of character, infantine love, unsophisticated religion—these • are the trite sentiments with which they, yet contrive to fling a
spell over us—these are the vulgar every-day passions, with which unalloyed they enchain our sympathy, and lead us, lost in delight; from volume to volume.
Few people accustomed to the egotism and consequent facility of our present style of verse, are aware of the great arduousness attendant on writing poetry in this old and modest style. In past times there were no schools of poetry, as amongst us, there might have been diversity of taste, but that applied merely to the accidents of criticism, to words, to rhymes, to melody, or some such particulars. And whatever different creeds of philosophy were then afloat, they at least had not as yet pretended to make part of poetry.
To this unity and universality of feeling there was allowed but a general appeal. Then was fraternity in the reading world - all were to be addressed or none. The poet, to be one, must have been " the poet of all civilization," and his only means of success lay in awakening those feelings that were in every heart. Any attempt,
similar to those made in the present day, 'to obtain the name and reputation of a poet, by catering to the select passions or philosophies of a narrow sect, would have fallen to the ground, contemned and unnoticed. The poet was compelled to look abroad, not within; and to consult his own spirit but so far as it beat in unison with all its fellows. The fillagree work of oddness, or of egotism, would have availed nothing. He could work but on the staple feelings of humanity; on those which every writer of sense and nonsense had been weaving and interweaving for a thou
It would not be astonishing, if other poets of inferior, at least of not superior talents, have reached a much higher point of fame and popularity by deserting this strait path. These have sought by-paths in the sympathies of individuals, and, as a narrow sect is always loudest in its adorations, their names have been noised and are famed in places even where their works are unknown. This has in a great degree been the good fortuneof the Lake school, to which, as developed in most popular publications, we can scarcely consider Mr. Southey to belong.
When Mr. Wordsworth presents the public with a volume, he presupposes them to have gone through a certain course of thought and chain of argument, without which his verse is nonsense. When Lord Byron presents us with a canto in octave rhyme, he presupposes us to be worn-out men of dissipation, who have made sufficient progress
in sentiment to have none, without which his verses are worse than nonsense*. So that if a person will not undergo the pains of hard thinking to enjoy the one poet, or hard raking to enjoy the other, he may as well leave their volumes on the shelf. Southey and Scott make no such unreasonable demands ; it is merely necessary for their readers to be blessed with sound
fair taste, a decent respect for religion and virtue, in order to enjoy all the delights of poetry from the instant they open the volume. The greater the reader's feeling or his taste, the
greater will be his pleasure; and if he have but a moderate portion of either, he is still not debarred from a proportionable measure of delight. The door is not slapped in the face of his understanding, as would be the case if such a reader ventured on the Excursion; nor would his rigid sense of propriety be outraged, as in the case of his opening Don Juan.
There are two modes of criticism--the absolute, which judges a work singly, examines how far and how justly it is calculated to convey pleasure, and how much it excels or falls below the ideal standard of excellence in its kind—the other, which we may call
* We need scarce assert, that the essay containing these allusions to the great man we have so lately lost, had been written before tidings of that melancholy eyent had reached England.
the relative; is more the mode at presents and chiefly aims at determining the comparative powers and genius of the writer. It is a pity that the first, or old, stern species of criticism has been so utterly destroyed and rendered disgusting by the dull scholastic cant, verbal cavillings, and straight-waistcoated rules of its ancient professors. If its influence still prevailed, we should at least not be so inundated with crude volumes of silly affectations, or of loose verses loosely strung together. Still, however, it might be too stiff the other way: and were its judgments without appeal, there can be no doubt that Southey would be considered the first poet of the
age. This is not altogether our opinion; but we are much mistaken, if it would not be the opinion of Dennis, or of Johnson, were these critics resuscitated. The new or comparative species of criticism, seems at the first glance odious, according to the proverb; but it is so vague, so indefinite, possesses so many outlets, and permits so many digressions into infinite speculation, that it is, notwithstanding, less personal and more kindly than its predecessor. For all disquisitions of the kind—the balancing of one poet against another, and estimating their respective merits,--at length become resolved into one or two questions, which must ever be left at issue, às incapable of being decided one way or the other. Southey, of all the poets of the day, has undoubtedly the greatest power in pictures of pure imagination. Byron has equal or greater pre-eminence in the conception and expression of passion--but who shall decide which of these qualities, their degrees supposed equal, constitutes the greater genius. Southey has no passion-he seems all as bloodless as a fish. Byron, on the other hand, hath but scant imagination, and whenever he is in want of a basis for
of his poetic fabrics, he generally takes it from the nearëst source, without even the affectation of originality. But then who shall speak a passionate soliloquy like to him? No poet, that the earth ever produced, except Shakspeare. In this point of view, Southey and Byron stand together, as Milton and Shakspeare; for Milton had none of the passion we speak of, yet few would class him inferior to his brother-bard. Were we compelled to decide as to the pre-eminence of mental powers, we should be inclined to bestow it on the mixed imagination-on the inventive faculty, nourished by observation of self and others, and applied to the scenes of life.
In this, Shakspeare again excepted, Scott is with out a rival. But he is not equal to scenes of pure imagination: he can conjure up a spirit, and cause us to shudder at it, but his sympathies are all the while with his fellows, with the flesh and blood, not the spirit. Whereas Southey seems quite à denizen of the kingdom of the elements. He is calm and loftily at ease in the midst of marvel and magic-he does not create his world of spirits to gaze on them from a distance, or from this grovelling earth-he
spreads his wing like his own beautiful Glendoveer; and becomes one of the celestial throng:
« Of huinan form divine was he,
Even such as that divinest forin shall be
When no infirmity,
Deface the semblance of our heavenly sire." KEHAMA: There is no man of genius, the cast of whose spirit is so much to be envied as Southey's. It is the pure “well of feeling undefiled," the mind of an infant grown, with the maturity of all but disappointment about it. It has never been steeped in passion, nor resolved by the alchemy of human life into any essence of feeling, foreign to itself. It has not undergone the usual changes of quick and high-wrought minds, that run a brief career from one vain species of excitement to another, till they end in languor and demoralization. There is all life and freshness about Southey, as palpable in his latest as in his earliest productions; he betrays no morbidity, no disease of the heart, but seems ever ready, as a child, to play with the bright creations of his own fancy. The gradual loss of this freshness is the great canker of passionate minds, which soon lose all taste for pure imagination, and cease at last to disco ver mental food in aught save downright egotism. They corrupt their own minds, and in retribution are condemned to behold no object but that same mind corrupted. The imagination, in its natural state the medium of poetic vision, becomes unavoidably tinged by the objects that are permitted to pass through or to dwell in it. If these be corrupt and base, the imagination itself is corrupted by them, grows coloured, and at length opaque; it excludes the beautiful and refreshing pictures of life, while it presents itself in their stead, no longer the medium, but the sole and exclusive object of contemplation.
From this description of poets is Mr. Southey toto cælo removed, and he is in consequence much and unjustly looked down upon by the followers of the impassioned muse. He has thus met the fate of all who avoid extremes and choose the middle way, whether in politics or poetry. Contemned by the lovers of turbid frenzy and frantic passion in verse, he is almost equally deserted by the contemplative votaries of the Lake school, who deem him büt an uninitiated intruder upon their fantastic realms. And if it were not their policy to keep on good terms with the critic, it is to be doubted if the poet alone would possess attractions powerful enough to preserve the co-fraternity.
If Southey in some instances does appear to disadvantage in comparison with Wordsworth, it is that he has not so devotedly