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ON THE COCKNEY SCHOOL OF POETRY.
OUR TALK SHALL BE (A THEME WE NEVER TIRE ON)
The two greatest egotists of the pre- air above us, where he finds serene
“ And singeth sweetly to the cloud he wisest of poets and men, should in any It is no wonder that he should have
cleaves." respect bear resemblance to such a thing as the Examiner. But there learned almost to forget the existence are reasons for every thing, and we of those who rejected him; and that shall try to account for the phenome- egotism is pardonable in him, which non.
would infalibly expose any other man Mr Wordsworth is a man of high of his genius to the just derision even original genius, whose reputation in of his inferiors. The egotism or nosism the general ear lags far, very far be- of the other luminaries of the Lake hind its merits. The world knows School, is at times extravagant enough, little or nothing about Mr Words and amusing enough withal, but these Forth. What can fine ladies under- also are men of great genius, and stand about Ruthi or fine gentlemen though not in the same degree, they about Michael? Who, that wears
are sharers in the excuse which we black silk breeches or a crimson sattin have already made for Mr Wordspetticoat, cares a farthing about the
worth. gray headed pedlar with his substan
The egotism of the Cockneys is a tial coat of Galashiels cloth, or for far more inexplicable affair. None of Lucy Fell with her " little
them are men of genius--none of cloak?”. One might as well imagine them are men of solitary meditative a Geraldine sighing in solitude over a
habits ;--they are lecturers of the leading article of the sulky Scotsman, Surrey Institution, and editors of or feeding her midnight dreams with Sunday, papers, and so forth. They dim shadows of the Ettrick Shephere have all abundance of admirers in the and his top-boots.
same low order of society to which “ These are things that may not be,
they themselves originally belong, and There is a rule in destiny."
to which alone they have all their lives
addressed themselves. Why then do Mr Wordsworth may perhaps look they perpetually chatter about themvery long before he finds fit audience'; selves ? Why is it that they seem to when he does find them, there is no think the world has no right to hear question they must be “ few." His one single word about any other perwords are all of the φωναντα συνετοισι sons than Hunt, the Cockney Homer, kind; and even Mr Jeffrey, with all Hazlitt, the Cockney Aristotle, and his cleverness, has, for these ten years, Haydon, the Cockney Raphael? These been railing at the contents of a book are all very eminent men in their own shut-to whose eipher he has no key. eyes, and in the eyes of the staring
It is no great wonder that a mind and listening groupes whom it is their such as Mr Wordsworth's, finding ambition to astonisḥ. Mr Hazlitt that its productions were not tasted as cannot look round him at the Surrey, they should be, should have gathered without resting his smart eye on the itself all into itself. His genius came idiot admiring grin of several dozens down to us like a beautiful unknown of aspiring apprentices, and critical bird of heaven, wheeling around us, clerks, Mr Hunt cannot be at home at and courting us in its innocence, with Hampstead, without having his Johnny colours we had never seen before, and Keatses and his Corny Webbs to cram wild sweet melodies to which our ears sonnets into his waistcoat pockets, and were strangers. But we repelled the crown his majestic brows with yisitor, and he has taken him to the • The wreath that Dante worę ! ! !" VOL. V.
Mr Haydon enjoys every day the sa- lect his narrative of his own reflections tisfaction of sitting beforeoneof the car- upon the “swirly" smoke, as it ascends toons of Raphael, with his own greasy with its “ brief lambency, or darts out hair combed loosly over his collar, after with a spiral thinness, and a sulphurethe manner of Raphael-hatted among ous and continued puffing as from a his hatless disciples—a very God among reed !" But we prefer illustrating our the Landseers. What would these present discussion by a few extracts men have? Are they still unsatisfied from a later publication. It is well with flattery, still like the three daugh- known that Mr Hunt's forte is comters of the horse-leech, “crying, monly supposed to lie in his theatrical Give! give! give !" There is abso- criticisms; therefore, to shew our faire lutely no pleasing of some people. ness, we shall begin with the follow
The most amusing of the Cockney ing. egotists is certainly our friend Leigh. There is an air of innocent unsuspect
“ One of those venal prints, called a daily ing self-adulation about him, which is paper, lately had the audacity to state, that enough to make one sorry to break up- den Theatre was a posthumous piece of the
the new comedy rehearsing at Covent-Garon the train of his sweet fancies. He late Mr A- A new comedy from that sits at Hampstead with his pen in his pen was a refreshing event; and though we hand, from year's end to year's end, were suffering much from a pain in our and we venture to asscrt, that he never tooth, which, by the way, we have not yet yet published a single Number of the got entirely rid of (though we think it our Examiner paper-a single sonnet or
duty to such of our readers as live at a dis
tance from the Examiner-office to announce, song-of which one half at least was not, in some shape or other, dedicated speak of), we prepared ourselves, with be
that it is at present hardly any thing to to himself.
coming alacrity, to attend its first represen“ HUNT est quodcunque vides- quodcun- tation. As the author was said to be dead, que movetur."
we made up our mind to something above We are sick of the personalities of this meliocrity, for we have long despaired of man-of his vituperative personalities seeing any thing good, or even amusing, concerning others, and his commenda
from the living herd of dramatic scribblers, tory personalities concerning himself.
your B-'s, your C—'s, and your Do's.
We felt all our early school-boy play-going The only thing he has not yet done is propensities rushing upon us, like old friends to give the public an engraving of his returned after a long absence, and we re“face divine,” and upon what prin- ceived them with a suitable welcome; and ciple he has so long neglected this ob- as it was then but twelve o'clock, it seemed vious piece of civility, we profess our
as if six o'clock would never come: and we selves much at a loss to imagine
were as impatient to hear the musical cry of What a large book his Confessions will
“ Fine fruit, or a bill of the play,” warbled make when he publishes them, as he
by some old cracked piazza throat, of thirty has so long promised to do! There is , were treated to a play once in the Christmas
years' service, as we used to be when we no need of a Jemmy Boswell in Cock- holidays. aigne. The truth is, that the whole “ We felt ourselves cosey and comfort. of the Great Cockney's writings are able, and just-the-thingish; and at our preonly episodes and detached fragments sent age, sitting round our fire, with a friend of a “ Voyage autour de ma chambre." or two after a cheerful dinner, with our feet But we beg pardon of the Chevalier on our fender, and our chin on our knees Ximenes, who was a wit, a poet, and a
(to the great annoyance of our wife's peace, gentleman, for making use of the name
by the way, who thinks that every one
ought to have a smell of the fire"), this, we of one of the most exquisite of books, to say, is almost as delightful as it used to be illustrate the character of one of the
to us when we were a boy to gallop over most vulgar of scribblers.
green fields, and wage a war of exterminaThose who know any thing about tion on the butter-cups quite as useful and the writings of Mr Hunt cannot have less expensive than that with which our preforgotten that very long essay of his in
cious ministers amuse themselves. We have the Round Table, entitled '“ A Day often told our readers that our habits and by the Fireside.” They must still re- feelings are domestic, but as want of room
hinders our saying more on this subject at member with accuracy the description present, we shall reserve it for the leading of Mr Hunt poking the fire, and his article in our next. We shall only add, wife pouring out the tea with her fin- that though we do now and then fidget the gers, having a touch of Sir Peter fire with the poker, in spite of our wife's enLely about them.” They must recole creaties to • let it draw up a bit,' yet we
love our little fire-side with all its appen. “ As to what the author (funny rogue !) dages. And then, to make all as it should may call the plot of his piece, we shall not be, we have pussy to frisk about us, whom attempt to give any account of it; we must we have lately decorated with a scarlet rib- leave that task to more patient heads than bon-by the way, we wish all ribbons were our's, for with all our sagacity we could as well merited and as disinterestedly given make nothing of it. For the characters, as -and the singing of the tea-kettle too, the people who walked on and off the stage which we like a thousand times better than were called in the play-bill, we must refer the Italian bravuras of Madame E-, with our readers to the printer of it, who perher thick ancles, and a face that reminds haps can furnish them with furtlier partione of a monkey in the measles, though we culars :' but seriously, if such a set of unknow what good Italian music is, and can meaning chatterers are to be dignified by even applaud it on an occasion. Upon the the name of characters, we must put our whole, we may say that our little evening Shakspear and Congreve into the fire. We circles, in point of good taste and right feels have already described the texture of the ing, might put to the blush some that the dialogue, that is, we have named the author Morning Post jocosely calls brilliant and il- of the piece, which is at once letting the lustrious, and gives a hundred other impos- public into the secret. It contains the usual ing names to. The sly rogues of managers number of ohs! and ahs! and dam'mes : know well enough that we like our home, the serious part made up of insipid noand no doubt thought it would be an excel- meanings ; and the comic (the only part, of lent hoax to kidnap us to the theatre by course, which did not excite a laugh) of hook or by crook. We can fancy those vulgar, common-place, and worn-out jests, bright geniuses, Messrs F-, G-, and H-, from the renowned Mr Joseph Miller. By sitting down together in the green room, the way, the best joke was in the play-bill, puzzling their brains (we speak of brains where the author facetiously called his piece here by courtesy) how they might get the a comedy! We shall dismiss the piece with Esaminer to the first night of their new a word of advice to the author, and we comedy. “Let's give out that it is by A-," hope we shall profit by it. He usually insays after an hour's thinking.- flicts on us at least one play a year, and no “ Damned good," says G- “ Excellent, doubt chuckles at the folly of the town, dam'me!” says H-. Their scheme suc- while he ostentatiously supports his family ceeded to their own surprise, and no doubt, on the produce of it; but unless he can every one else's, for we could hear some- present us with something like King Lear thing like a buzz in the house as we entered. or the Way of the World, we seriously re
" As our friends declined taking their commend him to get his bread honestly by afternoon's nap at the new comedy, we went making shoes, or, as that requires somealone. We bought a play-bill at the door, thing of talent-by blacking them.” and could not help thinking that if the At. We shall conclude with a specimen of torney-General had bought one, he would the regular Cockney Essay and Sonnet. have read it carefully through, to see whether there might not be something in it to “ On Sonnet-Writing, and Sonnet-Writers file an information against, and then have
in general. gone home and facetiously talked about the “ Petrarch wrote Sonnets. This, I think, liberty of the press ; though, by the way, is pretty generally known-I mean among it is notorious that you cannot write a few the true lovers of Italian poetry. Of course, pages of scurrility and abuse, particularly I do not here allude to those young ladies if you tack P-R-to the end of it, and gentlemen who are beginning to learn without danger of being hospitably lodged Italian, as they say, and think Petrarch in a certain rural retreat in Horsemonger really a charming man, and know by heart lane, enlivened by what are archly ’ycleped the names of Tasso and Ariosto, and of that arcades and views of the Surrey hills. For wholesale dealer in grand vagaries, Dante. our own part, we are sure our readers will But besides these, several other Italian do us the justice to acknowledge that we writers have composed sonnets, though I do did all we could to get in there, but as we not think with the rest of the world that found we did not like it, and then did all they have brought this species of composiwe could to get out again, we shall tion to any thing like perfection. Dot readilly be friends with a certain great “ Among us, Shakspeare and Milton Personage, who insisted on our staying there have made attempts. Milton, by the way, the full term of our sentence : and though is known to people in general merely as the on certain concessions we may forgive him, author of Paradise Lost; but his masque, he must not expect there can ever exist be called Comus, I think the finest specimen of tween us a “ How-d'ye-do-George-my-boy” his poetical powers, faulty as it is in many sort of familiarity."
respects. Some allowance, however, must The acting and actors being dismiss- be made for his youth at the time he wrote
it; and indeed I must, in common fairness, ed with the usual kind of nonchalance, admit, that when I composed my Descent our Cockney proceeds to a graver part of Liberty, I had the advantage of being of his theme.
“ When I inform my readers that Shak. sonnet on myself as a specimen. By the speare wrote sonnets, I know they will be way, I intend it only for such readers as inclined to receive the revelation with a have a fine eye for the truth of things--for bless-my-soal sort of stare, and for any sweet hearts and fine understandings--for thing I know, discredit it altogether. Peo. maids whose very souls peep out at their ple, generally speaking, are very ignorant bosonis, as it were, and who love the moonabout the great nature-looking through light stillness of the Regent's Park. Bard, though I know they pretend to talk a
“ SOXNET ON MYSELF. good deal about him. His sonnets, for in
I love to walk towards Hampstead saunstance, are known only to the few whose
teringly, souls are informed with a pure taste, and
And climb thy grassy eminence, Primrose whose high aspirings enable them to feel
Hill ! and enjoy all the green leafiness and dewy
And of the frolicksome breeze, swallow freshness of his poetry. For my own part, I think well of them ; and certainly upon And gaze all round and round me.
Then the whole, they are not unworthy of their
Ilie great author. Yet he has left something to Flatlily on the grass, ruralily, be done in that way.
And sicken to think of the smoke-mantled “ Among the moderns we have no great
city, examples. This lack of good sonnet-writers
But pluck a butter-cup, yellow and pretty, in England is in some sort attributable to
And twirl it, as it were, Italianly. the style of versification prevalent among us,
And then I drink hot milk, fresh from and which is totally unfit for the streamy, gurgling-brooky, as it were, flow of the son
Not such as that they sell about the towni; Dryden and Pope, I think, were
and then wretched versifiers, though I know this opi
I gaze at the sky with high poetic nion will absolutely horrify all the boarding,
feeling, school misses, as well as many other well And liken it to a gorgeously spangled intentioned folks, who like verses which
ceiling; cost them no trouble to read into music.
Then my all-compassing mind tells me But to come to the point. What our poet.
as now, ry has hitherto wanted, is a looseness and
And as it usually does that I am foremost irregularity-a kind of broken, patchy chop
of men !"
P. 21. piness in the construction of its verse, and an idiomatic how-d'ye-do-pretty-well-thank- And so “good bye for the present, ye sort of freedom in its language. This, sweet Master Shallow;" we shall come at length, I have succeeded in giving it, back to thee anon, as sure as our name and present my readers with the following is
LITERARY AND SCIENTIFIC INTELLIGENCE.
Libraries in Germany.--GERMANY POS- volumes, and 2000 MSS. ; the magazine sesses, in about 150 of her cities, libraries library, about 90,000 volumes, and 3437 open to the public. We believe it will be MSS.; and the city library, about 15,000 gratifying to our readers to present them, volumes. In the provinces, the most con. from the Ephemerides of Weimar, with siderable are those of Lyons, 106,000 ; an estimate of the number of works contain- Bourdeaux, 105,000; Aix, 72,670; Beed in some of the principal of these. sançon, 53,000; Toulouse, (2) 50,000 ;
Vienna has eight public libraries, of Grenoble, 42,000 ; Tours, 30,000, Metz, which three only contain 438,000 volumes; 31,000 ; Arras, 34,000 ; Le Mans, 41,000 ; viz the imperial library, 300,000 printed Colmar, 30,000 ; Versailles, 40,000 ; Abooks, exclusive of 70,000 tracts and dis miens, 40,000. The total number of these sertations, and 15,000 manuscripts :-The libraries in France amounts to 273 ; of university library, 108,000 volumes; and above 80, the quantity of volumes they conthe Theresianum, 30,000. The number tain is not known. From the data given in contained in the other five are not exactly this work, it appears that the general total known.
of those which are known, amounts to The royal library at Munich possesses 3,345,287, of which there are 1,125,347 in 400,000 volumes; the library at Göttingen, Paris alone. (one of the most select,) presents 280,000 Several of the libraries in the departworks or numbers, 110,000 academical ments are useless, from not being open to dissertations, and 5,000 manuscripts ; Dres- the public, and some others nearly so, from den, 250,000 printed books, 100,000 dis- a sufficient time each day not being allowed sertations, and 4000 MSS. ; Wolfenbuttel, for their admission. But the time is arriv190,000 printed books, (chiefly ancient,) ed, (says the editor,) when all these estab40,000 dissertations, and 4000 MSS.; Stutt- lishments must cease to be useless; and gard, 170,000 volumes, and 12,000 bibles. probably the time is not far distant, when Berlin has seven public libraries, of which every chief town of a sous-prefecture will the royal library contains 160,000 volumes, have a library really public. and that of the academy, 30,000 ; Prague, 110,000 volumes; Gratz, 105,000 volumes; Professor Mohs' Observations on Corn. Frankfort on the Maine, 100,000 ; Ham- wall.-" In all Cornwall I could observe no burgh, 100,000; Breslau, 100,000 ; Wei- greywacke nor greywacke slate. The killas mar, 95,000 ; Mentz, 90,000; Darmstadt, is an intermediate substance between mica 85,000 ; Cassel, 60,000 ; Gotha, 60,000; slate and clay slate, very similar to some Marbourg, 55,000; Mell, in Austria, varieties which occur at Johann Georgen35,000 ; Heidelberg, 30,000; Werning- stadt. It alternates here and there with erode, 30,000; Newburg, in Austria, beds of a porphyry, whose basis is an inti. 25,000 ; Kremsmunster, 25,000; Augs- mate mixture of felspar, quartz, and mica. burg. 24,000; Meiningen, 24,000; New In some places it alternates with beds of Strelitz, 22,000 ; Saltzburg, 20,000; Mag. greenstone and limestone, and contains deburgh, 20,000; Halle, 20,000 ; Land- granite in that very remarkable relation shut, 20,000.
which I described in a preceding letter, Thus it appears that thirty cities of Ger- (namely, that which the English mineralomany possess in their principal libraries, gists, and particularly the Huttonians, call greatly beyond three millions, either of granite veins). I believe I have seen all works or printed volumes, without taking the remarkable appearances of this kind. into account the academical dissertations. They agree exactly with the stockroerke at detached memoirs, pamphlets, or the ma- Geyer. St Michael's Mount, near Pennuscripts. It is to be observed, likewise, zance, is a very remarkable mountain, that these numbers are taken at the very which exhibits the relations of these stocklowest estimate.
werkes in a striking manner, as the same Libreries in France. A similar aperçu veins penetrate into both, and contain the of the state of the public libraries in France very same minerals ; namely, tinstone, apais given at the end of a curious volume, tite, copper pyrites, &c. Lately published by M. Petit Radel, en- “ Similar veins, equally remarkable, octitled, « Recherches sur les Bibliotheques cur at Conglure, near St Austle, and at anciennes et modernes," &c. In Paris Cliggerpoint, not far from St Agnes. At there are five public libraries, besides the latter place are some of the celebrated about forty special ones. The royal lib- granite dikes, unconformable masses in rary contains about 350,000 volumes of killas, and without doubt, of the same age printed books, besides the same number of with the rock in which they occur. Darttracts, collected into volumes, and about moor is a desert, and bare and almost un50,000 MSS.; the library of the arsenal, inhabited place, in which the most interest. about 150,000 volumes, and 5000 MSS. í ing thing which I observed is the Zinnseithe library of St Genevieve, about 110,000 feite The geological relations of Cornwall