« AnteriorContinuar »
It were but silliness to tell,
A bridge unrestored, To make a Dulman's chronicle,
Your second's a fordFor which consult Cook's oracle.
A difficult thing for the wisest to pass, And scarcely needs it to be told,
Though the learnedest dons; A riddled pot will nothing hold,
Asinorum the pons
May puzzle, but never a ford, any ass.
At Oxford your whole,
Have an eye to the goal ;. A gang of gypseys may be seen
And if you make sure, never mind being slow, Boiling their pot upon a cross-sticks.
For if you're too fast,
Ten to one but you're last; 27.
And, lacking certificate, find you're no go. Silence is neither thing nor personSilence you kill if you converse on ;
29. Silence, with ancient sages, dwells In musty libraries and cells;
If lawyer parchment made indictment And sleeps enveloped in their pages,
'Gainst Drum for riotous excitement, Subsisting on the dust of ages.
“ Re Drum" would be its form and title; Breathe not a whisper where she lies,
After would follow the recital And name her not, or silence dies.
Of all the mischiefs drum had done,
Both old and new, beneath the sun. 28.
“ Auld Sootie," if“ Re Drum” he saw, Your first is an ox,
On that alone would put his claw; Which the butcher down knocks, And as he always backwards reads, And, clever as harlequin, turns into beef; For fear of stumbling upon creeds— And it goes to the East
To clench the nail 'gainst Drum still furTo furnish a feast
ther, To the soldier as well as commander-in-chief. He'd cry, delighted, Murder! murder !
EVELYN AND PEPYS.
THE "long results of time" bring satisfies so frankly has no means of about strange combinations. Meet- ascertaining now; but it requires no ing and crossing each other here and great penetration to perceive with there on their living way, there yet what stately disgust his patrician could be no less likely union in the companion, who leaves behind him thoughts of posterity, or in the history nothing to be ashamed of, would turn of their time, than that of the two from this wicked little impersonation names which head this page. The of bustle, vanity, and spirit, who most frank and unreserved of auto- smuggles along the solemo highway biographers, knowing many compunc- of history by the Lord of Wotton's tions, but no shame; and the most side. courtly and polished of antique gentle In spite of all the vices of the men, perpetually holding himself erect time, the very climax and culmination on the poise of natural self-respect as it was of public riot and license, of and formal dignity, Samuel Pepys universal depravity and fashionable and John Evelyn, of all men most vileness, it keeps its hold strangely unlike each other, come down to us, upon the imagination, perhaps, as the side by side. The one unfolds his close of the picturesque in English brisk panorama, the other solemnly history. It was hard to believe in exbibits his stately picture. Wicked domestic peace after so long an interhuman nature, always least alive to val of broil and battle; and the unmipropriety, looks respectfully, but with tigated disaster of the civil war, and a yawn, upon the one, and chuckles the rugged heroical sway of the Comaloud, shaking its head for decorum's monwealth, if they braced the kingsake, with infinite amusement and dom and its people for all imaginable unrestrained laughter, over the other. hardships, left them shiftless and unHow the two chroniclers might esteem defended against the enervating in. their different degrees of popularity, fluences of luxury. No sooner had or if the disclosure of all his wicked the iron gripe of Cromwell faltered ways would shame Mr Secretary from the reins of state which he alone Pepys at last, the curiosity which he could hold—no sooner had the sunny
light of holiday burst forth again over your man of pleasure. Where great a land so long held fast by the stern affairs of state were deliberatedclaims of duty and necessity-than where vast projects were put forth by all England yielded itself up, flushed one imperial will, and executed by and languid, to the unaccustomed many stout and valorous hands in pleasure. With song and story in comparative silence-every corner was his train-with misfortune and exile alive now with some device of enterpast to endear him to the human tainment—something to beguile and heart of the nation-with fluttering cheat the time which Cromwell found imps, gay in the stolen robes of Loves so short and fleeting for all he had to and Graces, scattering flowers upon do; and when sober men began to his way, the banished Charles, a resume their common life once more, youthful gallant, burst gay upon the they turned still a smiling glance upon fascinated sight which for many a day those gardens of Armida, those fabuhad forgotten pageants. The tradi- lous bowers of youth and luxury and tionary splendours of Elizabeth, the royal pleasure, which enclosed the meaner merrymakings of James, the king. austere magnificence of that melan But, after all, there is no such wearieholy Charles whom many honoured some thing in the world as a proas a martyr, and all knew in the longed unnatural holiday: Capricious majesty of fate and sorrow, had links England grew tired of its play-the of association with this new period dusty heated afternoon eclipsed the which the Commonwealth altogether fresh glories of the morning. The lacked. The hereditary monarchy revels that looked so bright at first, resumed its place with triumph, and began to pall. It was no longer the the king who could speak of his royal exuberance of youth, but the coarse ancestors through many a previous mirth of custom that rang in shouts generation, grasped to the instincts of as loud as ever from the high places ; the people, in a way which the king, and the astonished nation, stopping liest man on earth, being the son of short in its own dance, looked with his own deeds alone, must always disenchanted eyes upon the whirl of fail to do. The kingdom flashed into careless gaiety, which bid from royal a sudden uproar of unreasoning en- sight and observation the life of the joyment. No one asked if it was, country and the wellbeing of the after all, so mighty a felicity for Eng- world. No virtuous man, were he land that the king should enjoy his ever so great a votary of the royal own again. The country blindfolded Martyr, could contrast the clear day, itself with hearty purpose and good- light of the great usurper's rule, and will, and, breaking forth of all its late this hectic illumination, without an restraints, gave itself up heart and involuntary sigh for the sovereign soul to the frolic, glad to forget what power which was no longer an honour went before, and unthinking of all and a defence to England. The sober that should follow when its pranks sense of the nation sickened at this were done.
heedless tumult of gaiety; all that Youth and high spirits masked with was pure and honourable shrank back
natural and graceful illusion the in horror from the undisguised delicense of the Court; and so long as bauchery of these polluted palaces; the the crowned head was new in its national pride was at once offended dominion, no intrusive familiarity and humiliated by defenceless coasts, stepped in to draw aside the veil. and a presuming and unpunished The country, which enjoyed so tho- enemy, while rumours of French infoughly its own riotous festival, was fluence meanly submitted to - of
octly pleased to look on with in- French bribes still more meanly acsent complacency on the more cepted-sank the once worshipped onged rejoicings of the king; a king into the depths of popular con
activity of pleasure stirred the tempt. But there is seldom so great asal pulses. Long ago one must an evil in present existence as to So one would be gay; but now shut out fear of a greater, and the
none of all your sober Duke of York, the unwise and un
constantly occupied as prosperous James, was his brother's
guardian angel. "No one will kill in our day, peering everywhere with me to make you king," said the Merry a hundred eyes; and, on the other Monarch to his successor; it was the hand, Learning marching solemnly on greatest defence which remained to to its sum of knowledge, yet making this idol of the popular fancy—this itself a very prodigy of industry and waster of the most royal gifts of Pro- research by the way. Through this vidence—and the strongest tie which and in it, and through a hundred little bound the undeceived and discontent- intricacies of official jobbery, of politied country to its failure of a king. calintrigue, of private broils and match
Religious persecution and intoler makings, flows such an overflowing ance, far from chary of their alliance and abundant soul of energy as puts at any time, took kindly to the pro- life and breath into the whole. A fane sovereign, and made no scruple corrupt and self-degrading state, with in using his power. Good, passive, every element of ruin in its bosom; law-obeying Puritanism, forgetting its yet in such rude might of vitalityold usage of resistance, suffered itself every pulse throbbing with strength, to be slain with edifying resignation. every vein full-blooded, every muscle And the time-bred monsters too—the sound-that the current of its perpePopish plot fabulous or real — the tual activity sweeps our languid footpseudo-Protestant plot, which hunted steps into it with an irresistible attracthis spectre into mad chaos and unbe- tion-the stream hurries upon its course lief-agitated the public mind with with such a visible impetus of life. fright and indignation; and heavy and And what even the brillant record real disaster added its crushing and re- of Macaulay cannot do for Dutch peated blow. One such event as the William and his austere and virtuous Great Plague or Fire of London seems heroism, a crowd of self - biograenough, in ordinary course, for a gene- phers have done for the times of lawration of men; and we can scarcely less Charles. When the broad and understand the strain of nerve and general story fails, it is rare that a bit of courage which resisted, or the passive sun-bright daguerreotype-a homely unreflective endurance which lived clear succession of every days threaded through, such overwhelming calami- upon some individual life-is unsucties. Nor only lived through—but, cessful in catching the eye and rousing dancing on the graves of pestilence, the interest; nor is there any period and over the ashes of destruction, so fertile in such as is this and the spread its unwholesome gaiety around preceding generation. The records of without a pause.
Mary Hutchinson, the wife-like story Yet sparkling with profane wit, rich of Lady Fanshaw, and those breathin wanton beauty, profusely endowed ings of ascetic piety and meek devowith the lesser talents which sparkle tion, which startle us so much, from in their generation more than the the pen of a maid of honour in the disgreat lights of genius, there is no solute court of Charles—the diaries of period more picturesque in costume, Mrs Godolphin-add touches of femimore animated in grouping, or more nine nicety to Evelyn's gentlemanpictorial in general light and shadow. like chronicle and the unparalleled Dawning Science, that has not yet revelations of Mr Secretary Pepys; quite forgotten its old tricks of leger- not to speak of narratives less demain, but mixes up the half-dis- known—the journals of pious Noncovered grandeur of its vast new conformists, and sketches of personal truth with pranks of old astrology experience, which, by some necessity and nimble sleight of hand – Art laid upon them, hosts of those good that comes a full-grown giant from people have felt it their duty to leave over the sea, holding up a mirror by behind. We had almost added to the the courtly hands of Lely and Knel- list that person of real flesh and blood, ler to the voluptuous Graces of the the citizen of London who indites thé court, and overflooding with perukes true history of the Great Plague ; and and laced coats the ancestral picture but that scoffers say he is no more to galleries of all England — the two be relied upon than the redoubtable great faculties of curiosity and wonder, Crusoe, his brother and kiosman, no primitive capacities almost exhausted bit of individual story throws more
light upon the time than does his. to restrain her freedom-yet in loving We can spare it, however, in the pro- mockery withal. Not to inspect anfusion of autobiographical riches, con- other newly-completed and princely cerning the authenticity of which garden, but to see some “incomparthere can be no dispute; and passing able pieces" of Titian or of Raphael, Master Defoe on the one side, and my and to tell the noble amateur of Lord Clarendon, authentic, but pon. Grindling Gibbons and his wonderderous, on the other, there are still ful feats of carving, with benevolent abundant materials from which to purpose of enriching this humble glean the history, both public and genius, the Master of Sayes Court domestic, of this lively and animated drives to town; thence to kiss hands time.
at Court, perhaps, and with pious Shut your eyes, gentle reader ! for- horror and courtly curiosity to beget that there are steam-engines and come aware of the unbecoming pomp iron ways, reformed Houses of Parlia- and extravagance of my Lady Castlement, public meetings, variable funds, maine; thence to the Royal Society, and invariable income-taxes, in this where are many curious tricks of working-day world. Let the old sun- science strangely mingled and mixed shine of romance break upon you up with great discoveries, to be seen through the old rich foliage of that and heard of, and where learned and old old England, which was in story lordly dilettantism does not disdain a and in rhyme, if it never was in the gossip now and then to lighten graver sober light of every day. Never stop discussions; and thence, with ento inquire if the road is safe at night ; counter of many notable names and rather admire the antique pistols in historical personages by the way, to this knave's holsters, and that stout coach again, and home at a quieter steed of his, which was never intended pace along the dewy road, where the to run away, you may be certain, if labourer hastens to be housed before all the highwaymen between Thames nightfall, and the outriding knaves and Humber cried “Stand !" Stout look to their pistols,—for though the rascals are those riders, too, as good country is quiet, the road has no for a blow as any of their inches who great name by night. ride upon the other side of the law; Or if, most worshipful spectator of and with such an escort the gilded these elder ages, your taste directs coach goes at a leisurely pace along you to a gayer scene-lo, only a street the warm and sandy track, threading apart, "mighty fine" in the new the mazes of shadow and sunshine camlet suit, whose bravery he enjoys that chequer all this quiet way: Per- with genuine delight and a profeshaps the worthy gentleman within is sional appreciation, in his new-curled doing a bit of his Sylva, or taking black peruke, his eyes twinkling with notes upon his tablets, or making curiosity, with fun and wickedness, mental memorandums for his diary, see Mr Secretary at his desk in his which he will fill in when he gets office, perchance discussing with natuhome; and looking back upon his ral acuteness some matter of busicomposed and guiltless memory, such ness, or warily receiving a letter vistas of trim gardens rise to his which feels heavy, but which the offi. vision, such a sheen of dazzling foun- cial's unsuspecting faculties will take tains glitter in the sun, such fair and no cognisance of at present. If you goodly terraces, such winding alleys have real business to transact, and of green shade, such artful delusions can but catch this twinkling eye, you and tricks of perspective expand be- will forth with entertain a higher opifore him, that these fair bright homely nion of Mr Secretary Pepys; for a fields map themselves out to his fancy clear understanding and some sharp in labyrinths and mazes of intricate bits of insight are in the pleasureart, and nature smirks out of her loving officer of the Admiralty, and quaintly fashioned livery, but keeps he does not fail to despatch your her bloom and her luxuriance still, affairs out of hand with the true ecoand flings her flowers and green nomy of promptitude, having various leaves in handfuls at the feet of Eve- more pleasurable engagements in his lyn, in mockery of all he would do faithful memory. And now it is
noon : perhaps Mr Pepys has a veni- our wife, “poor wretch" no longer, is son pasty at home, where his wife, discovered in high spirits; and so, “poor wretch," grumbles to know of having posted our diary, “to bed,” the gay programme of her husband's with more virtuous resolutions for afternoon, yet is not without projects the morrow. of her own, and is little less fine in So, according to the representation her tabby gown, turned and newly of each, is the daily life of John laced, than Samuel himself; and now, Evelyn and of Samuel Pepys. A large having locked up our office like a good amount of business somehow or other subject and honest official, having manages to get transacted by the dined with our wife at home like a bustling hands of the pleasure-loving loyal and loving husband, and gene- secretary; and it is wonderful how rally satisfied all the requirements of much grave and decorous festivity, duty and propriety-now for our own sight-seeing, and merry-making, acprivate and particular delights. It is cumulate in the busy days of the odd if these twinkling eyes do not lofty gentleman, his neighbour and make observations at the playhouse, contemporary. Both have their hands piquant and relishing, of the regnant full of perpetual negotiations; not a Mrs Nelly, or the presumptuous my maneuvring mamma in a fashionable lady, who fills with scandalised but novel makes more matches than the most lively curiosity a hundred look- learned and courtly Evelyn; and as ers-on more scrupulous than Mr for Samuel, his gloryings over one Pepys; and perhaps a little episode successful enterprise of the kind, his behind the scenes gives a still more delight at my lady's acknowledgment piquant conclusion to the beloved di- of his cousinship, and his tribulations vertisement. Then, it may be, we on account of the bashful bridegroom, have a stroll in the Exchange, to are as amusing as they are charactercheapen gloves of a famous beauty, istic. No modern glossings over of who does not disdain to vend her deli- the bargain, no sentimentality of cate wares, embroidered in gold, to attachment or congenial feelings, are the Court gallants, among whom we necessary in these honest records; it swagger with the best; and close by is enough, as well for the high-prinhere is some singular rarity, which cipled Evelyn as for the less particumay be a fine picture, or an old awful lar Pepys, that the estates and posemblazoned manuscript, an artful sessions of their protégés are conautomaton, or a conjuror, to whom genial, and afford mutual satisfaction, many-bladed knives and burning coals whereupon they proceed with downare wholesome daily fare, but which, right sincerity to the less important whatever it is, we do not fail, with matter of personal introduction, nor most observant curiosity, to see and leave the passive pair, whom we can take diligent note of. From this we scarcely suspect of being the principal hasten, with still more pleasurable performers, till their little drama of a anticipations, to present to our Valen- day is fairly concluded, with settletine the embroidered gloves we have ments signed and responses given, just purchased from the humbler and another wedding added to the beauty, but passing near our own records of fate. Other negotiations house encounter, much discomfited, besides these occupy the active minds the French servant of a Mr Somebody of the contemporaries. Mr Secretary whom our wife has had acquaintance has much in his power, and can with in France, and are straightway procure contracts, victuallings, shipoverwhelmed with a host of sucblike buildings, for such honest craftsmen as small jealousies as we ourselves com recommend themselves in a due and saplacently compassionate in our wife ; tisfactory manner to his human or offiafter which, though on returning cial preference; and Mr Evelyn stands, home we have a very nice supper and a sort of self-constituted plenipotenmuch music, playing on the viol our tiary and ambassador, between the selves with great relish, and listening arts and their noble patrons—between to the songs of our companions, we the great nobleman who does not know find the day somewhat beclouded the value of his antiquities, and the looking back upon it, especially as eager representatives of learning who