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With the apothecary in the earnings
From broken libs and accidents arising. But somehow the good Romford drones
Were so confounded careful against harms,
They neither broke their legs nor arms,
Among these cruel calf and pig-herds,
Was ever such a set of niggards!
Departed from the Swan with the Two Necks,
Those travellers of either sex,
Meaning to pass the Opposition,
Th’ imprison'd sufferers unpounded,
Into his house ;
Of all the mistresses and masters;
His wife put on her tragi-comic features :-
To the main chance, and so she cried—“ Poor creatures !
I mean that's better, for it lasts the longer;
How lucky that they hadn't got to Ongar! Two bad contusions-several ugly wounds, Why this should be a job of fifty pounds!
So now there's no excuse for being stingy ;
'Tis full twelve years—no matter when it was At all events, the parlour's horrid dingy,
And now it shall be painted—that is poz!_" The Painters come-two summer-days they give
To scrape acquaintance with each pannel,
(The smell's enough to make the stoutest man ill,)
It looks four times as large, and eight times lighter,
Well, be it so, you've my consent, my love,
They set to work instanter,
Into a species of snail's canter.
That they were only dabbling, paddling,
Twiddling, and fiddle-faddling,
Why," quoth the honest man, scratching his nob,
Week after week, new pills and plasters,
Looks very grave on their disasters,
l'll tell them they shall leave the place
The moment there's another race Run by the Patent Safety Coach.
Et pavidas mentes falsa timere jubent. CATULLUS. The various phenomena of dreams have hitherto baffled the speculations of all the physiologists, from Wolfius down to Spurzheim. Visions arising in sleep, and Aoating over the surface of the mind, are still as unaccounted for as the congregated vapours which hover in the heavens. They are analogous to them in other respects as well, for they often present us the brightest and most fantastic imagery, and pour over our senses a dew, as refreshing as that which falls on earth * from the bosom of a dropping cloud." But were the illusory wonderings of the brain, during its demi-collapsed state-or when the nervous fluid ceases to communicate with it—or when our mental lethargy is broken by the excitement of some organ of sensation or when, in short, (to quit the jargon of theory, and speak plainly,) we are asleepwere they but one continuous chain of pleasure, an article would never have been written “on the Nightmare.” Passing, then, from those exquisite illusions of slumber, when “delighted thought in Fancy's maze runs mad," and forgetting the still more delicious waking dreams, those
noontide trances, hung With gorgeous tapestries of pictured joys, we must now turn to the dreadful visitings of that demon, who comes upon us at times, “ making night hideous."
It has been supposed and asserted, that fearful dreams are the consequences of evil thoughts. It is true that they are often so; and, if the dreadful punishment of Incubus were to fall only on the doers of bad deeds, its retributive inflictions might be considered endurable. But we know that the preceding frame of mind has no positive influence on the victims of this inexorable fiend, who often passes by the breast “ the deepliest stained with sin," to fix on the bosom of innocence and beauty: for
Oft on his nightmare through the evening fog
Alights, and grinning sits upon her breast. Nor is sanctity itself a safeguard from the encounters of this evil spirit, call it by what name, or imagine it under what figure we may :
Saint Withold footed thrice the would,
Bade her alight, and ber troth plight. We find in these two last quoted passages a rather puzzling distinction in their respective personifications of the spirit, arising from the absurdity of the compound word which designates it in the English language, and which comes from Night, and, according to Temple, from Mara, the name of a spirit, that in the northern mythology was related to torment or suffocate sleepers. It would be hard to find an instance of a simple derivation more absurdly mismanaged than in the formation of our word, which has led Shakspeare to make the night-demon a mare, and Darwin, to convert it into a fiend mounted on a mare. The latter bold supposition is certainly the more tolerable of the two, and is daringly embodied in Fuseli's picture ; which, though in itself the fore my
essence of caricature, serves seriously to illustrate Burke's remark, as to the ludicrous effect produced by painting, whenever it attempts to bring before us the palpable forms of those phantoms which poetry makes forcible and grand.
This demon has been, from the earliest times, the privileged tormentor of mankind, and a favourite subject with poets. The
nocturni lemures of every age have been honoured with many a painful celebration ; but probably the finest description of the morbid oppression in which all this phantasma originates, is that of Eliphaz, in the fourth chapter of the book of Job. “In thoughts from the visions of the night, when deep sleep falleth upon men, fear came upon me and trembling, which made all my bones to shake. Then a spirit passed be
face. The hair of my flesh stood up. An image was before mine eyes ; it stood still, but I could not discern the form thereof."
Compared with the sublimity of this vague but appalling passage, all succeeding attempts seem feeble. The vision of Pompey, in Lucan's Pharsalia, is powerless beside it. Clarence's and Caliban's well-specified imaginings produce nothing of the same effect; and the details of Athalie's terrific dream, when her mother Jezabel appears before her, require the acting of Mademoiselle Duchesnois to make a legitimate horror rise superior to disgust.
En achevant ces mots épouvantables,
D'os et de chair meurtris et trainés dans la fange. These instances are but a proof of the many efforts to produce vivid image of the horrors of sleep, by means of spectral agency in its most revolting aspects. Other poets have traced the persecuting fancies which oppress the dreamer, unmixed with the personal terrors of those just cited. Thus Young
My soul fantastic measures trod
Or scaled the cliff, or danced on hollow winds And Coleridge, who, in the following powerful lines, seems to have been strongly imbued with the vague intensity that distinguishes the passage from holy writ above quoted:
But yesternight I pray'd aloud
For all seem'd guilt, remorse, or woe;
Life-stifling fear, soul-stifling shame! All these scattered allusions to the influence of night-mare in its various modifications, are but imperfect tributes to its potent operations, and only prove it a good auxiliary for poetic purposes. A more extended homage to its tyranny, and a wider elucidation of its effects, have been, however, lately furnished by a modern writer; and Nightmare, Incubus, or Oreinodynia, now stands upon its proper pedestal, in all the becoming obscurity and terror by which "it lives and has its being.” All that has been before written on the subject of dreams falls short of the work now alluded to, in the detailed display of their afflicting attributes. We cannot, indeed, raise it to the level of the beautiful imaginings which abound in our own periodical writings~the Spectators, Guardians, Tatlers, &c.; nor does it give any glimpse into the philosophy so richly displayed in the Somnium Scipionis of Cicero. Its merits are, singularity of conception, great eloquence, and an occasional strain of chaste yet voluptuous feeling, which breaks through its generally exaggerated tone. It has been observed, that "La Poésie à ses monstres aussi bien que la Prose,” and Smarra, or the Night-demons, is probably the most eminent of those extraordinary abstractions which the romantic extravagance of the age so fluently pours forth. It professes to be a translation from the Sclavonian; but the pretended translator and real author is M. Charles Nodier, a writer little known in England, but familiar to French readers from a wildness of genius, glowing style, and facility of composition, which hurry him on to fritter away his powers on works which can hope for no more lasting celebrity than that of the other ephemera of the day. One of his last effusions is “Smarra;” and he tells us in his preface, that, to enter with interest into the secret of its composition, it is, perhaps, a sine quá non to have suffered the illusions of the nightmare, of which triste phenomène Smarra is the primitive name.
It appears also, on the authority of this author, that Illyria is the chosen region of this frightful disease ; for he tells us, that it is rare to meet with a family in that country, of which all the members are free from its attacks; and, without offering any needless explanation on the part of his supposed Sclavonian original, in whom it would have been quite natural to have devoted his talents to the illustration of this national infirmity, M. Nodier gives us a train of apologetical reasoning, which, as applied to himself, is ingenious and eloquent: but infinitely more eloquent is the rhapsody which follows, and whose only plan,
If plan it may be called which plan hath none
Distinguishableis the recital of a tissue of dreams which never were dreamt, by a personage who never existed.
Lucius, the imaginary hero, travelling in Thessaly, in those days when the magicians of that country enjoyed the amplest exercise of powers which mocked the conjurations of the Olympian Psychagogi, and apparently under their influence, falls asleep on his courser's neck: -but it is better to let him tell his own story.—“I had just completed my studies at the school of Athenian philosophy, and, eager to explore the beauties of Greece, I had visited for the first time the poetic land of Thessaly. My slaves awaited me at Larissa, in a palace prepared