Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

even the very instincts of his nature the soul, either by a natural sagacity, frequently give him a sort of salutary or some secret notice communicated presentiment indispensable to his to it, had a sort of divination," comes safety. It is upon this principle that much nearer the truth than any we would account for the presentie conclusion hitherto drawn by those ment of evil being so much more who have speculated on the subject. powerful than that of good, which It is much to be regretted, that a requires no harbinger to prepare us man of Bishop Burnet's acuteness for its approach. But for the very and "natural sagacity” should have same reason that we have sometimes suffered a matter so interesting to a general and indefinite presentiment pass without offering a single remark of coming evil, which may, in fact, on the subject. prove complex in its character, we The anecdote of the chaplain may have a distinct presage of the shows, that such presentiments as approach of death, which is one those I have been writing of are not event, and in itself the most awful confined to men exposed to the perils we are called upon to meet in the of war, and is at least one authentic present state of our being.

instance of such presages communia I am therefore of opinion, that cated by dreams ; και τ' όναρ εκ Διός Lord Rochester's “impression, that $5TO.

ONIROPOLOS.

Weath.
I saw a face once in a dream. O God !
Rather than gaze upon that face again,
Let sleep forsake my aching eyes for ever.
I knew the features well; they were the same
As those on whom my soul rejoiced to look
In luxury of love and happiness,
The same,-yet oh ! how changed! It cannot be
That Death has power like this o'er things so bright.
Death may corrupt; and in the grave the worm
May riot on young beauty. But can Death
Assume this marble stillness,—this dread air
Of sad but deep repose ? Can cold, stern Death
Embalm in gloomy immortality
The melancholy smile, or the faint flush
Of lingering life upon a fair wan cheek?
These are its horrors ! This wild mockery
Of life beyond the grave; this awful gaze
Of fix'd and stony nothingness, that still seems
To admit not of decay; that cold, glaz’d eye,
Yet fix'd upon you with a nameless meaning,
Which brings before your mind the sightless ball
Of some Egyptian statue, dimly seen
By moonlight on the Nile's lone banks, or where
In tombs eternal mouldering monarchs lie;
That damp white brow; that hair, robb’d of its lustre,
Yet as dark as ever, shaded across
The unchanging forehead like a cypress wreath :
These are Death's horrors ; when, with fiendish powers,
He sports with your affection for lost friends,
Converting love to awe, and a strange fear
Of something undefin'd,-a withering doubt
That what you look on is not what it seems,
Or what it was.

Then comes the stifled groan
Of complex woe; and then the sudden start
That robs you of the vision, and again
Wakes you to misery!

H. G. B.

LETTER FROM THE PRIVY COUNCIL OF SCOTLAND, TO KING JAMES VI.,

ANENT PUBLISHING THE WORKIS OF MR THOMAS CRAIG. 1610 *. To His Majestie, anent Mr Thomas these workis, togidder with our ferCraigis Workis.

vent desyre and requeist to zour Ma

jestie, to mak suche rare monumentis Pleis zour Sacred Majestie,

go abroad to the world, quhilkis justThe assuirance gevin to ws, of lie craves to receave their dew luster zour Majesteis good pleasour and and lyf frome zour Majesties self, will to have theworkis of umquhill whose princelie virtewis and royall Mr Thomas Craig, (zit unpublish- dispositioun towardis all learning ed,) to be perused and sene, hes ge- may onlie ansuerablie ryse up these vin ws the hardiement now, efter workis, and restore thame to thair exact consideratioun had be ws of deserved and desyred lycht. We are the same, to commend thame to zour

out of all doubt to find pardoun of Majesteis most gratious patronage, zour Majestie, for the offering of quhilk we the more bauldlie have these our lyke commendable endeundertaiken to do, in regard we find voris to zour heynes protectioun, the same to conteine most excellent knowing zour Majestie to be a peerles mater, eloquentlie penned be the patrone of all learned eruditioun, in author, who most learnedlie has not quhom God hes placed suche rare onlie expressed himselff in his bookis princelie qualities of force to mak the de feudis, bot also hes left honnour- world wonder and admire thame, and able monumentis in his poemes write to ws zour Majesties subjectis so ten in honour of zour Majesteis selff, powerfull

, that in most ardent zeale zour royall progenitouris, zour Ma

to the Almichtie, we pray for the jesteis most excellent quene, and the happie progres and perpetuitie of the prince, his grace, zour heynes sone,

same, in zour Majesties long and all of thame selffis worthy to be im- happie lenght and glorious reigne, parted to the aig present and posteri- and zour heynes royall progenie. In tie, and not so to be schaddowed up the quhilk prayer, we maist humblie in perisching scrollis. The publisch- tak our leive. Sic subscribitur. Zour ing quherof, can not bot beget hon- Majesties most humble and obedient nourable credite to this zour Majesties subjectis and servitouris, Jo. Preskingdome, and profitable good to the

toun Blyntyre, Sr T. Hammiltoun, subjects of the same. We think it SF A. Hay Kilsyth, clericus registri nocht expedient to impesche zour Edzell, SF A. Hammiltoun, J. Hay, sacred earis in declaring with quhat Robert Melvill. fervent zeale and devotioun to zour heynes service and publict good N.B.-Besides this letter from the the author wes consumed quhill Privy Council to the King, in favour he leved, as most notour to zour Ma- of his Works, there was a Recom. jesties selff and whole cuntrey ; the mendation from the Estates to his reporte quherof we remit to the Majestie of wmquhyle Mr Thomas richt honourable and alwyse learned Craige, his works."—" Acts of the zour Majesties chancellor of this Parliaments of Scotland.” Vol. IV., kingdome, of whome zour Majestie p. 623. Both are omitted by Mr may treulie try the worthy stuff of Tytler.

Transcribed from a volume of Letters from King James VI., and of the Privy Council, from 1604 to 1612, preserved in the General Register House.

THE AUTO-BIOGRAPHY OF GILBERT GREENWOOD;

In Four Paris.

Part I.

In truth, he was a strange and wayward svight. Beattic. BIOGRAPHICAL Memoirs are ge on the lap of the courtezan Aspasia ! nerally perused with avidity, often Or, to come to modern times, how with much pleasure, as a fruitful different was the mind of Bacon, source of amusement and instruction, when writing his Novum Organum, although this is sometimes obtained from the feeling with which he wrote at the expense of the character deli- his instructions for escaping the inneated. It formed part of the litany cantations of witchcraft! The fable of a man well acquainted with hue of Hercules wielding his club, and man nature "God preserve me from sitting at the feet of Omphale holdmy friends! I am aware of my ene ing the distaff, has been realised in mies." This prayer might be utter- later ages, by Charles, Emperor of ed by every one who prizes posthu- Germany, at ihe battle of Pavia, and mous fame, and who imagines it telling his beads in the monastery at possible that his “sayings and do- Estremadura. The author who be ings" will be recorded when he is lieves himself secured of immortal stretched in the narrow house, alike fame, writhes under the attack of a insensible to the voice of praise and dull scribbler, or feels a pang of censure.

envy, when a rival's name is mentionIt has been laid down as a maxim, ed with applause. Although the anthat no man was ever truly great to cient philosopher, when abused by his valet de chambre. To obtain and an impudent fellow, said, that if an preserve respect, it is necessary to ass kicked at him, he would not demaintain a kind of fictitious dignity, grade himself by returning the com which can be done only by keeping pliment; yet the contempt expressed at a certain distance, and avoiding in the observation proved that he improper familiarity; otherwise, we felt the insult; and our great moare sure to betray the weaknesses of dern moralist, Johnson, has left it our nature ; for there are infirmities, on record, that even his gigantic both physical and intellectual, inse- mind could not rise above that feel parable from the greatest and wisest, ing; for he says, which, when conspicuous, reduce them to the level of ordinary mortals. Of all the griefs that harass the disA general, at the head of his army,

tress'd, will march with fearless intrepidity Sure the most bitter is a scornful jest ; to the field of death, and after hav

Fate never wounds more deep the gener ing dared him at the cannon's mouth,

ous heart, will be afraid to snuff his candle with Than when a blackhead's insult points

the dart. his fingers. A philosopher may harangue his pupils in the Lyceum on This is according to nature ; we the beauty of virtue, and persuade may affect publicly to despise, but even himself that he is superior to we cannot help secretly feeling. The the infirmities of nature; yet the war-horse, that rushed fearlessly to impertinence of a servant may rouse the charge, will gallop round the him to anger, or the blandishments of park to avoid the sting of a gad-fy. a wanton provoke to libidinous desire. A practical illustration has just now What can be more opposed to each brought home this observation to other, than Cæsar writing Veni, vidi, my business and my bosom :" vici, and whining on his couch like a while writing this sheet, a puny fly sick baby," Give me some drink, Tin has been buzzing about my eyes, and tinius !” or Pericles, in the groves of tickling my nose, till it has wearied Academus, listening to the lectures out my patience; and, unlike Uncle of Zeno, and the same sege lolling Toby in a similar case, I have lost

T

VOL. XV.

How many

my temper; and, irritated by the . this been exemplified in the case of teasing intruder, now settled before the author last quoted ! me, I struck at the insect, missed it, of his licentious extemporaneous efbut peeled my knuckles on the hinge fusions have been preserved and reof my desk : yet the reader, if he has corded by blind admirers! They patience to peruse the auto-biography were the ideas of the moment, elicite which I am about to lay before him, ed by convivial hilarity,-unpremewill find that I have borne far great ditated sallies, prompted by the imer evils, if not with equanimity, at pulse of youthful passions and strong least without betraying the same im- feelings, aided by the intoxication of patience and irrascibility. Although flattery and potent liquor. The prethis may be thought a digression, it servation of these has caused a blush is intended as illustrative of the as on the cheek of those who respect sertion, that no man is great or wise his talents, and know what excuses at all times ; and that about all of and allowances ought to be made for us there are some things which it a frail mortal; while it has afford. were wise to keep concealed, or, in ed his detractors and enemies a fair the language of Burns,

pretence for insulting his memory,

and talking of him with contempt : Aye keep something to oursel's,

they can see and know his failings, We scarcely tell to ony.

but they are unacquainted with the From these considerations, I main strength of his temptations, or how tain, that it is seldom for the honour much may have been resisted. When of a character, who is brought before

we are informed that Pope was an the public, that his biographer should epicure, Gray a finical spruce fop, have been too familiar with him of and Thomson and Johnson gluttons, whom he writes ; above all things, it in spite of ourselves, it in some deis to be desiderated, that he should gree lessens our respect for their cha. not have been his doting and en

racters; and although good-nature thusiastic admirer, blind to the fois may philosophically smile at the bles and frailties which “ human

Fears of the brave, and follies of the wise, flesh is heir to." And the greater the veneration entertained for the yet bigotry, envy, and narrowcharacter, and the nearerit approaches minded or malignant dispositions, to idolatry, by so much the more will exult over these frailties with is the danger of injudicious disclo- indecent triumph. But no public sures increased. I would not have character has suffered more severely errors, or lapses, which may serve as from the blind idolatry of his biobeacons to the public, concealed. grapher than Johnson. The gosThere is no great risk of the inost sipping chit-chat and untiring garrudevoted admirer attempting to white-lity of Boswell, has exposed the great wash them, that they may appear as man, in his most unguarded movirtues. The danger is, either that ments ; forgetting that there are atthe biographer, considering the cha- titudes and positions in which we racter of whom he writes as an oracle, may allow ourselves to appear before retails all his thoughtless and unpres a very intimate friend, at the momeditated sallies as deliberate cogita- ment when restraint is banished, and tions and words of wisdom, or, if they the mird unbent, but which a sense will not bear that appellation, as be- of decorum would paint as an indeing at least excusable, on account of cent exposure, should we be thus seen him by whom they were uttered. by the public. A modest and deliIn this case, the biographer resem cate lady would not admit eren a fables a fond mother prating about voured lover into the privacies of her her child in a company of strangers; dressing-room, (at least in Britain ;) when, although she may tickle somé and would be ready to expire with itching ears, and gratify those who shame and vexation, could she bewish to see her or her bantling made lieve that her chamber-maid, after ridiculous, she is rashly exposing death, would expose her remains in both herself, and the object of her their original nudity. Yet all this idolatry, to the pity or contempt of has Boswell done ; and the public her auditors. How remarkably has have gazed on the hapless victim;

some with a sigh of pity, many with from the chase, to pursue the first wondering curiosity, and not a few wild-fowl that springs up before him. with gloating and delighted eye; People may talk of the happy days gazing on every scar, excrescence, or and guileless innocence of childhood, deformity, which was injudiciously when the path is always strewed laid bare before them; and ever af. with flowers, perpetual sunshine, and ter find him, in his own language, halcyon seas, smiling above and aPerversely grave, and positively wrong.

round them; when the sun never

went down on their wrath, and they It is to prevent the possibility of never rose but with a light heart. Í having such an injudicious friend for am much inclined to doubt the truth my historian that I have resolved of these descriptions; and suspect upon being my own biographer; al- they often proceed, not so much from though I believe there is no great a recollection of former happiness, as risk of my memory being injured in a peevish fretfulness under present that manner, for I have had few cares. At any rate, I maintain that friends ; and of those whom I expect my spring of life was like what Nato heave a sigh over my dust, there ture generally makes that season,is not one who makes the slightest changing April sky, clouds, and sunpretensions to authorship. It is, in- shine, rain and fair weather, alterdeed, a delicate task which I am nately. I had many friends, and, I about to undertake, and I have per- believe, not few enemies; my friend. haps resolved too rashly; but I scorn ships were warm, but not permanent; to retract ; for I have been through and my feuds were also violent, but life a reckless mortal, never calcula- of equally short duration. But let ting probabilities, and often over. me proceed methodically; and, as I looking most obvious consequences; intend to speak without disguise of enjoying the present, and careless of myself, I shall have no reserve conthe future. The degree of credit to cerning others. My chequered life be given to my narrative shall be may not be without its use to the left to the reader's own discretion; world, offering some not unimportant at the same time, I can assure him, lessons, to both parents and chilthat I have been too much of a fool dren; but bearing in mind, that ever to wear the mask of wisdom : 1 Men must be taught, as if we taught did sometimes, at the entreaty of my them not, friends, try to slip it on; but, like a new shoe, it was always uneasy ;

I shall very seldom harass the reader sometimes dimming the eye-sight, at with dry moralizings, but leave him others pinching my nose, or stifling to draw his own conclusions. my breath ; so that, lifting it for a Although there is no chance that momentary relief, I do not recollect seven cities will contend for the hoone occasion on which I escaped nour of having given me birth, as detection. From my earliest years, the Greeks did for Homer, I shall I may say from my cradle, till my leave my paternal spot, or, as D’Isstar of life was descending from its raeli expressively terms it, my fathermeridian altitude, I preferred fun to land involved in obscurity, and dark philosophy, and would rather have as the fogs that sometimes hovered lost a friend than a good joke. I over my native valley in a winter have been angry with myself, and morning. This may perhaps raise inany a man and woman besides; me in the reader's estimation ; for but I never indulged hatred against every body knows, that mist serves any one, and knew envy only by the same purpose as a magnifying description. I was not the slave, glass, representing pygmies as Patabut the keen combatant of my pas- gonians, and cottages as enchanted sions, with which I have had innu- castles. The names of my parents I Derable skirmishes, and not a few shall also leave to the reader's conpitched battles, in most of which Ijecture; it being impossible that confess being defeated. I was almost they can ever be discovered from the child of circumstances, as much mine, for I have long ago renounced as the shepherd's dog, that leaves the my patronymick; it was on that shepto follow a hare, and again turns evening on which my father gave me

« AnteriorContinuar »