Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]

planted among rows of fayas, firs, and camphor-trees. Travels in New Zcaland, by ERNEST DIEFTENBACH, If it were not for these precautions, the oranges M.D. late naturalist to the New Zealand Company would be blown down in such numbers as to interfere (1843), is a valuable history of an interesting with or swallow up the profits of the gardens; none of country, destined apparently to transmit the Engthe windfalls or ground-fruit,' as the merchants lish language, arts, and civilisation. Mr Dieffenhere call them, being exported to England.

bach gives a minute account of the language of New Suddenly we came upon merry groups of men and Zealand, of which he compiled a grammar and dicboys, all busily engaged in packing oranges, in a tionary. He conceives the native population of New square and open plot of ground. They were gathered Zealand to be fit to receive the benefits of civilisaround a goodly pile of the fresh fruit, sitting on heaps tion, and to amalgamate with the British colonists. of the dry calyx-leares of the Indian corn, in which | At the same time he believes in the practice of caneach orange is wrapped before it is placed in the nibalism often imputed to the New Zealanders. boxes. Near these circles of laughing Azoreans, who Life in Mexico, during a Residence of Two Years sat at their work and kept up a continual cross-fire of in that Country, by MADAME CALDERON DE LA rapid repartee as they quickly filled the orange-cases, Barca, an English lady, is full of sketches of dowere a party of children, whose business it was to pre-mestic life, related with spirit and acuteness. In pare the husks for the men, who used them in pack- no other work are we presented with such agreeable ing. These youngsters, who were playing at their glimpses of Mexican life and manners. Letters on work like the children of a larger growth that sat by Paraguay, and Letters on South America, by J. P. and their side, were with much difficulty kept in order by W. P. ROBERTson, are the works of two brothers an elderly man, who shook his head and a long stick who resided twenty-five years in South America. whenever they flagged or idled.

The Narrative of the Voyages of H.M.S. AdvenA quantity of the leaves being heaped together ture and Beagle (1839), by Captains King and near the packers, the operation began. A child Fitzroy, and C. Darwin, Esq. naturalist of the handed to a workman who squatted by the heap of Beagle, detail the various incidents which occurred fruit a prepared husk; this was rapidly snatched during their examination of the southern shores of from the child, wrapped round the orange by an in- South America, and during the Beagle's circumnatermediate workman, passed by the feeder to the next; vigation of the globe. The account of the Patawho (sitting with the chest between his legs) placed gonians in this work, and that of the natives of it in the orange-box with amazing rapidity, took a second, and a third, and a fourth as fast as his hands while the geological details supplied by Mr Darwin

Tierra del Fuego, are both novel and interesting, could move and the feeders could supply him, until at length the chest was filled to overflowing, and was

possess a permanent value.

Notes on the United States during a Phrenological ready to be nailed up. Two men then handed it to the carpenter, who bent over the orange-chest several thin | GEORGE COMBE, in three volumes. Though attach

Visit in 1839-40 have been published by MR boards, secured them with the willow band, pressed it with his naked foot as he sawed off the ragged ends ing what is apt to appear an undue importance to of the boards, and finally despatched it to the ass traveller. He paid particular attention to schools

his views of phrenology, Mr Combe was a sensible which stood ready for lading. Two chests were slung across his back by means of cords crossed in a figure of and all benevolent institutions, which he has deeight; both were well secured by straps under his scribed with care and minuteness. Among the belly, the driver took his goad, pricked his beast, and matter-of-fact details and sober disquisitions in this uttering the never-ending cry Sackaaio,' trudged off work, we meet with the following romantic story. to the town.

The author had visited the lunatic asylum at BloomThe orange-trees in this garden cover the sides of a ingdale, where he learned this realisation of Cymon glen or ravine, like that of the Dargle, but somewhat and Iphigenia—finer even than the version of Dry.

den! less steep; they are of some age, and have lost the stiff clumpy form of the younger trees. Some idea of In the course of conversation, a case was mentioned the rich beauty of the scene may be formed by ima- to me as having occurred in the experience of a highly gining the trees of the Dargle to be magnificent shrubs respectable physician, and which was so fully authenloaded with orange fruit, and mixed with lofty arbu- ticated, that I entertain no doubt of its truth. The tuses

physician alluded to had a patient, a young man, who Groves whose rich fruit, burnished with golden rind, was almost idiotic from the suppression of all his faculHung amiable, and of delicious taste.

ties. He never spoke, and never moved voluntarily, but In one part scores of children were scattered among sat habitually with his hand shading his eyes. The the branches, gathering fruit into small baskets, physician sent him to walk as a remedial measure. In hallooing, laughing, practically joking, and finally the neighbourhood, a beautiful young girl of sixteen emptying their gatherings into the larger baskets lived with her parents, and used to see the young underneath the trees, which, when filled, were slowly man in his walks, and speak kindly to him. For some borne away to the packing-place, and bowled out upon time he took no notice of her; but after meeting her the great heap. Many large orange-trees on the steep for several months, he began to look for her, and to sides of the glen lay on the ground uprooted, either feel disappointed if she did not appear. He became from their load of fruit, the high winds, or the weight so much interested, that he directed his steps volunof the boys, four, five, and even six of whom will tarily to her father's cottage, and gave her bouquets of climb the branches at the same time; and as the soil flowers. By degrees he conversed with her through is very light, and the roots are superficial (and the the window. His mental faculties were roused; the fall of a tree perhaps not unamusing), down the trees dawn of convalescence appeared. The girl was vircome. They are allowed to lie where they fall; and tuous, intelligent, and lovely, and encouraged his those which had evidently fallen many years ago were visits when she was told that she was benefiting his still alive, and bearing good crops. The oranges are mental health. She asked him if he could read and not ripe until March or April, nor are they eaten ge- write ? He answered, No. She wrote some lines to nerally by the people here until that time—the boys, him to induce him to learn. This had the desired however, that pick them are marked exceptions. The effect. He applied himself to study, and soon wrote young children of Villa Franca are now almost uni- good and sensible letters to her. He recovered his versally of a yellow tint, as if saturated with orange reason. She was married to a young man from the juice.

neighbouring city. Great fears were entertained that this event would undo the good which she had ac- The Literary Character. The whole of these are now complished. The young patient sustained a severe printed in one large volume. In 1841 this author, shock, but his mind did not sink under it. He ac- though labouring under partial blindness, followed quiesced in the propriety of her choice, continued to up the favourite studies of his youth by another improve, and at last was restored to his family cured. work in three volumes, entitled The Amenities of She had a child, and was soon after brought to the Literature, consisting, like the Curiosities and Missame hospital perfectly insane. The young man cellanies, of detached papers and dissertations on heard of this event, and was exceedingly anxious to literary and historical subjects, written in a pleasee her; but an interview was denied to him, both on sant philosophical style, which presents the fruits her account and his own. She died. He continued of antiquarian research and careful study, without well, and became an active member of society. What their dryness and general want of connexion. a beautiful romance might be founded on this nar- In the same style of literary illustration, with rative!

more imagination and poetical susceptibility, may America, Historical, Statistical, and Descriptive, by be mentioned SIR EGERTON BRYDGES, who published J. S. BUCKINGHAM, is a vast collection of facts and the Censura Literaria, 1805-9, in ten volumes; the details, few of them novel or striking, but apparently edition of Collins's British Peerage ; Letters on the

British Bibliographer, in three volumes ; an enlarged written with truth and candour. The work fatigues Genius of Lord Byron, &c. As principal editor of from the multiplicity of its small statements, and the Retrospective Review, Sir Egerton Brydges the want of general views or animated description. drew public attention to the beauties of many old În 1842 the author published two additional volumes, writers, and extended the feeling of admiration which describing his tour in the slave states. These are more interesting, because the ground is less hack for the early masters of the English lyre. In 1935

Charles Lamb, Hazlitt, and others, had awakened neyed, and Mr Buckingham feels strongly, as a benevolent and humane man, on the subject of poetical works in six volumes. A tone of querulous

this veteran author edited an edition of Milton's slavery, that curse of the American soil.

Two remarkable works on Spain have been pub- egotism and complaint pervades most of the original lished by George Borrow, late agent of the British works of this author, but his taste and exertions and Foreign Bible Society in Spain. The first of in English literature entitle him to high respect. these, in two volumes 12mo. 1841, is entitled The

JOSEPH RITSON (1752-1803), another zealous liteZincali

, or an Account of the Gipsies of Spain. Mr rary antiquary and critic, was indefatigable in his Borrow calculates that there are about forty thou- the neglected ballad strains of the nation. He pub

labours to illustrate English literature, particularly sand gipsies in Spain, of which about one-third are lished in 1783 a valuable collection of English songs; to be found in Andalusia. The caste, he says, has in 1790, Ancient Songs, from the Time of Henry III. diminished of late years. The author's adventures with this singular people are curiously com

to the Revolution ; in 1792, Pieces of Ancient Popular pounded of the ludicrous and romantic, and are

Poetry; in 1794, A Collection of Scottish Songs ; in presented in the most vivid and dramatic form. Me 1795, A Collection of all the Ancient Poems, &c. ReBorrow's second work is termed The Bible in Spain, and acute editor, profoundly versed in literary anti

lating to Robin Hood, &c. Ritson was a faithful or the Journeys, Adventures, and Imprisonments of an Englishman, in an attempt to circulate the quities, but of a jealous irritable temper, which Scriptures in the Peninsula. There are many things brother collectors. He was in diet a strict Pytha

kept him in a state of constant warfare with his in the book which, as the author acknowledges, have little connexion with religion or religious enterprise. gorean, and wrote a treatise against the use of ani. It is, indeed, a series of personal adventures, varied Mr Ellis in 1803, remarks— Poor Ritson is no

mal food. Sir Walter Scott, writing to his friend and interesting, with sketches of character and romantic incidents drawn with more power and

All his vegetable soups and puddings have

not been able to avert the evil day, which, I under. vivacity than those of most professed novelists.

An account of The Highlands of Ethiopia, by stand, was preceded by madness." Scott has borne MAJOR W. Cornwallis Harris

, H. E. 1. C. En ample testimony to the merits of this unhappy gineers, three volumes, 1844, also abounds with gleaner in the by-paths of literature.

The Illustrations of Shakspeare, published in 1807 novel and interesting information. The author was employed to conduct a mission which the British by Mr Francis Douce, and the British Monachissi, government sent to Sahela Selasse, the king of Shoa, the Rev. T. D. FOSBROOKE, are works of great re

1802, and Encyclopædia of Antiquities, 1824, by in southern Abyssinia, whose capital, Ankober, was supposed to be about four hundred miles inland search and value as repositories of curious infor from the port of Tajura, on the African coast. The mation. Works of this kind illustrate the pages of king consented to form a commercial treaty, and our poets and historians, besides conveying pictures

of national manners now faded into oblivion. Major Harris conceives that a profitable intercourse might be maintained by Great Britain with this the same time with this study of antiquities. THOMAS

A taste for natural history gained ground about productive part of the world.

PENNANT (1726-1798), by the publication of his

works on zoology, and his Tours in Scotland, excited MISCELLANEOUS WRITERS.

public curiosity; and in 1789 the Rev. GILBERT

WHITE (1720-1793) published a series of letters One of the most laborious and successful of modern addressed by him to Pennant and Daines Barringmiscellaneous writers, and who has tended in a ton, descriptive of the natural objects and appear. material degree to spread a taste for literary history ances of the parish of Selborne in Hampshire. White and anecdote, is Isaac D'ISRAELI, author of the was rector of this parish, and had spent in it the Curiosities of Literature, and other works. The first greater part of his life, engaged in literary occuvolume of the Curiosities was published in 1791 ; a pations and the study of nature. His minute and second appeared a few years afterwards, and a third interesting facts, the entire devotion of the amiable in 1817. *A second series has since been published author to his subject, and the easy elegance and in three volumes. The other works of Mr D’Israeli simplicity of his style, render White's history a are entitled Literary Miscellanies; Quarrels of Authors; universal favourite--something like Izaak Walton's Calamities of Authors; Character of James I.; and book on angling, which all admire, and hundreds

more.

REV. WILLIAM GILPIN-SIR UVEDALE PRICE.

have endeavoured to copy. The retired naturalist all the seasons, are afterwards delineated in the was too full of facts and observations to have room choicest language, and with frequent illustration for sentimental writing, yet in sentences like the from the kindred pages of the poets; and the work following (however humble be the theme), we may concludes with an account of the English forests trace no common power of picturesque painting :- and their accompaniments—lawns, heaths, forest

The evening proceedings and manoeuvres of the distances, and sea-coast views; with their proper rooks are curious and amusing in the autumn. Just appendages, as wild horses, deer, eagles, and other before dusk they return in long strings from the picturesque inhabitants. As a specimen of Gilpin's foraging of the day, and rendezvous by thousands manner (though a very inadequate one), we subjoin over Selborne-down, where they wheel round in the his account of the effects of the sun, * an illustrious air, and sport and dive in a playful manner, all the family of tints,' as fertile sources of incidental while exerting their voices, and making a loud caw- beauty among the woods of the forest :ing, which, being blended and softened by the distance that we at the village are below them, becomes

(Sunrise and Sunset in the Woods.] & confused noise or chiding; or rather a pleasing murmur, very engaging to the imagination, and not The first dawn of day exhibits a beautiful obscu. uulike the cry of a pack of hounds in hollow echoing rity. When the east begins just to brighten with the woods, or the rushing of the wind in tall trees, or the reflections only of effulgence, a pleasing progressive tumbling of the tide upon pebbly shore. When light, dubious and amusing, is thrown over the face this ceremony is over, with the last gleam of day of things. A single ray is able to assist the picthey retire for the night to the deep beechen woods turesque eye, which by such slender aid creates a of Tisted and Ropley. We remember a little girl, thousand imaginary forms, if the scene be unknown, who, as she was going to bed, used to remark on such and as the light steals gradually on, is amused by an occurrence, in the true spirit of physico-theology, correcting its vague ideas by the real objects. What that the rooks were saying their prayers ; and yet in the confusion of twilight perhaps seemed a stretch this child was niuch too young to be aware that the of rising ground, broken into various parts, becomes Scriptures have said of the Deity—that 'he fecdeth now vast masses of wood and an extent of forest. the ravens who call upon him.'

As the sun begins to appear above the horizon, an. The migration of the swallows, the instincts of ani- other change takes place. What was before only mals, the blossoming of flowers and plants, and the form, being now enlightened, begins to receive effect. humblest phenomena of ever-changing nature, are

This effect depends on two circumstances—the catchrecorded by Gilbert White in the same earnest and ing lights which touch the summits of every object,

and the mistiness in which the rising orb is commonly unassuming manner.

enveloped.

The effect is often pleasing when the sun rises in

unsullied brightness, diffusing its ruddy light over Among works on the subject of taste and beauty, the upper parts of objects, which is contrasted by the in which philosophical analysis and metaphysics deeper shadows below; yet the effect is then only are happily blended with the graces of refined transcendent when he rises accompanied by a train of thought and composition, a high place must be vapours in a misty atmosphere. Among lakes and assigned to the writings of the Rev. William GIL- mountains this happy accompaniment often forms PIN (1724-1804) and Sir UVEDALE Price, The the most astonishing visions, and yet in the forest it is former was author of Remarks on Forest Scenery. nearly as great. With what delightful effect do we and Observations on Picturesque Beauty, as connected sometimes see the sun's disk just appear above a with the English lakes and the Scottish Highlands. woody hill, or, in Shakspeare's language, As vicar of Boldre, in the New Forest, Hampshire,

Stand tiptoe on the misty mountain's top, Mr Gilpin was familiar with the characteristics of and dart his diverging rays through the rising vapour. forest scenery, and his work on this subject (1791). The radiance, catching the tops of the trees as they is equally pleasing and profound--a storehouse of hang midway upon the shaggy steep, and touching images and illustrations of external nature, remark- here and there a few other prominent objects, imperable for their fidelity and beauty, and an analysis ceptibly mixes its ruddy tint with the surrounding

patient and comprehensive, with no feature of the mists, setting on fire, as it were, their upper parts, chilling metaphysics of the schools.' His • Remarks while their lower skirts are lost in a dark mass of on Forest Scenery' consist of a description of the varied confusion, in which trees, and ground, and various kinds of trees. It is no exaggerated praise," radiance, and obscurity are all blended together. he says, 'to call a tree the grandest and most beau. When the eye is fortunate enough to catch the glowtiful of all the productions of the earth. In the for-ing instant (for it is always a vanishing scene), it mer of these epithets nothing contends with it, for furnishes an idea worth treasuring among the choicest we consider rocks and mountains as part of the appearances of nature. Mistiness alone, we have obfarth itself. And though among inferior plants, served, occasions a confusion in objects which is often shrubs, and flowers, there is great beauty, yet when picturesque ; but the glory of the vision depends on we consider that these minuter productions are the glowing lights which are mingled with it. chiefly beautiful as individuals, and are not adapted Landscape painters, in general, pay too little attento form the arrangement of composition in land- tion to the discriminations of morning and evening. scape, nor to receive the effect of light and shade, We are often at a loss to distinguish in pictures the they must give place in point of beauty-of pic-rising from the setting sun, though their characters turesque beauty at least-to the form, and foliage, are very different both in the lights and shadows. The and ramification of the tree. Thus the splendid ruddy lights, indeed, of the evening are more easily tints of the insect, however beautiful, must yield to distinguished, but it is not perhaps always sufficiently the elegance and proportion of animals which range observed that the shadows of the evening are much in a higher class. Having described trees as indi- less opaque than those of the morning. They may be viduals, he considers them under their various com- brightened perhaps by the numberless rays floating in binations, as clumps, park scenery, the copse, glen, the atmosphere, which are incessantly reverberated in grove, the forest, &c. Their permanent and inci- every direction, and may continue in action after the dental beauties in storm and sunshine, and through sun is set; whereas in the morning the rays of the

86

to oppose it.

preceding day baving subsided, no ohject receives any Many painters, and especially Rubens, have been fond light but from the immediate lustre of the sun. of introducing this radiant spot in their landscapes. Whatever becomes of the theory, the fact I believe is But in painting, it is one of those trifles which prowell ascertained.

duces no effect, nor can this radiance be given. In The incidental beauties which the meridian sun poetry, indeed, it may produce a pleasing image. exhibits are much fewer than those of the rising sun. Shakspeare hath introduced it beautifully, where, In summer, when he rides high at noon, and sheds his speaking of the force of truth entering a guilty con• perpendicular ray, all is illumination ; there is no science, he compares it to the sun, which shadow to balance such a glare of light, no contrast The judicious artist, therefore, rarely

Fires the proud tops of the eastern pines,

And darts his light through every guilty hole. represents his objects under a vertical sun. And yet no species of landscape bears it so well as the It is one of those circumstances which poetry may scenes of the forest. The tuftings of the trees, the offer to the imagination, but the pencil cannot well recesses among them, and the lighter foliage hanging produce to the eye. over the darker, may all have an effect under a meridian sun. I speak chiefly, however, of the in

The Essays on the Picturesque, by Sir Uvedale ternal scenes of the forest, which bear such total Price, were designed by their accomplished author brightness better than any other, as in them there is to explain and enforce the reasons for studying the generally a natural gloom to balance it. The light works of eminent landscape painters, and the prinobstructed by close intervening trees will rarely pre- ciples of their art, with a view to the improvement dominate ; hence the effect is often fine. A strong what has been termed landscape gardening. He 11

of real scenery, and to promote the cultivation of sunshine striking a wood through some fortunate chasm, and reposing on the tuftings of a clump, just examined the leading features of modern gardening, removed from the eye, and strengthened by the deep in its more extended sense, on the general principles shadows of the trees behind, appears to great advan- of painting, and showed how much the character of tage; especially if some noble tree, standing on the the picturesque has been neglected, or sacrificed to foreground in deep shadow, flings athwart the sky its a false idea of beauty. The best edition of these dark branches, here and there illumined with a essays, improved by the author, is that of 1810; splendid touch of light.

but Sir Thomas Dick Lauder has published editions In an open country, the most fortunate circumstance of both Gilpin and Price--the latter a very handthat attends a meridian sun is cloudy weather, which some volume, 1842--with a great deal of additional occasions partial lights. Then it is that the distant matter. Besides his • Essays on the Picturesque,' forest scene is spread with lengthened gleams, while Sir Uvedale has written essays on artificial water, the other parts of the landscape are in shadow ; the on house decorations, architecture, and buildings, tuftings of trees are particularly adapted to catch this all branches of his original subject, and treated with effect with advantage; there is a richness in them the same taste and elegance. The theory of the from the strong opposition of light and shade, which author is, that the picturesque in nature has a chais wonderfully fine. A distant forest thus illumined | racter separate from the sublime and the beautiful; wants only a foreground to make it highly picturesque. and in enforcing and maintaining this, he attacked

As the sun descends, the effect of its illumination the style of ornamental gardening which Mason the becomes stronger. It'is a doubt whether the rising poet had recommended, and Kent and Brown, the or the setting sun is more picturesque. The great great landscape improvers, had reduced to practice. beauty of both depends on the contrast between splen- Some of Price's positions have been overturned by dour and obscurity. But this contrast is produced by Dugald Stewart in his Philosophical Essays; but these different incidents in different ways. The the exquisite beauty of his descriptions must ever grandest effects of the rising sun are produced by the render his work interesting, independently altovapours which envelope it—the setting sun rests its gether of its metaphysical or philosophical distineglory on the gloom which often accompanies its part- tions. His criticism of painters and paintings is ing rays. A depth of shadow hanging over the eastern equally able and discriminating; and by his works hemisphere gives the beams of the setting sun such we consider Sir Uvedale Price has been highly inpowerful effect, that although in fact they are by no strumental in diffusing those just sentiments on means equal to the splendour of a meridian sun, yet matters of taste, and that improved style of landthrough force of contrast they appear superior. A scape gardening, which so eminently distinguish the distant forest scene under this brightened gloom is English aristocracy of the present times. particularly rich, and glows with double splendour. The verdure of the summer leaf, and the varied tints of the autumnal one, are all lighted up with the most resplendent colours.

WILLIAM COBBETT (1762 - 1835), by his Rural The internal parts of the forest are not so happily Rides, his Cottage Economy, his works on America, disposed to catch the effects of a setting sun. The and various parts of his Political Register, is justly. meridian ray, we have seen, may dart through the entitled to be remembered among the miscellaneous openings at the top, and produce a picture, but the writers of England. He was a native of Farnham flanks of the forest are generally too well guarded in Surrey, and brought up as an agricultural laagainst its horizontal beams. Sometimes à recess bourer. He afterwards served as a soldier in brifronting the west may receive a beautiful light, tish America, and rose to be sergeant-major. He spreading in a lengthened gleam amidst the gloom of first attracted notice as a political writer by publishthe woods which surround it; but this can only be ing a series of pamphlets under the name of Peter had in the outskirts of the forest. Sometimes also we Porcupine. He was then a decided loyalist and find in its internal parts, though hardly in its deep high churchman; but having, as is supposed, rerecesses, splendid lights here and there catching the ceived some slight from Mr Pitt, he attacked his foliage, which though in nature generally too scattered ministry with great bitterness in his Register, to produce an effect, yet, if judiciously collected, may After the passing of the Reform Bill, he was returned be beautiful on canvass.

to parliament for the borough of Oldham, but he We sometimes also see in a woody scene corusca- was not successful as a public speaker. He was tions like a bright star, occasioned' by a sunbeam apparently destitute of the faculty of generalising darting through an eyelet hole among the leaves. This information and details, and evolving from them

WILLIAM COBBETT.

[merged small][ocr errors]

1

a lucid whole. His unfixedness of principle also to see all the scenes of my childhood; for I had operated strongly against him; for no man who is learned before the death of my father and mother. not considered honest and sincere, or can be relied There is a hill not far from the town called Crooksupon, will ever make a lasting impression on a bury Hill, which rises up out of a fiat in the form of popular assembly. Cobbett's inconsistency as a a cone, and is planted with Scotch fir-trees. Here I political writer was so broad and undisguise,, as to used to take the eggs and young ones of crows and have become proverbial. He had made the whole magpies. This hill was a famous object in the neighround of politics, from ultra-toryism to ultra-radi. bourhood. It served as the superlative degree of calism, and had praised and abused nearly every height. “As high as Crooksbury Hill,' meant, with public man and measure for thirty years. Jeremy us, the utmost degree of height. Therefore the first Bentham said of him, “He is a man filled with odium object that my eyes sought was this hill. I could humani generis. His malevolence and lying are be- not believe my eyes! Literally speaking, I for a yond anything.' The retired philosopher did not moment thought the famous hill removed, and a make sufficient allowance for Cobbett: the latter little heap put in its stead ; for I had seen in New acted on the momentary feeling or impulse, and Brunswick a single rock, or hill of solid rock, ten never calculated the consequence to himself or times as big, and four or five times as high! The others. We admit he was eager to escape when a post-boy, going down hill, and not a bad road, difficulty arose, and did not scruple as to the means; whisked me in a few minutes to the Bush Inn, but we are considering him only as a public writer. from the garden of which I could see the prodiNo individual in Britain was better known than gious sand-hill where I had begun my gardening Cobbett, down to the minutest circumstance in his works. What a nothing! But now came rushing character, habits, and opinions. He wrote freely of into my mind all at once my pretty little garden, himself, as he did of other men; and in all his writ- my little blue smock-frock, my little nailed shoes, ings there was much natural freshness, liveliness, my pretty pigeons that I used to feed out of my and vigour. He had the power of making every hands, the last kind words and tears of my gentle one who read him feel and understand completely and tender-hearted and affectionate mother! i haswhat he himself felt and described. The idiomatic tened back into the room. If I had looked a moment strength, copiousness, and purity of his style have longer I should have dropped. When I came to rebeen universally acknowledged ; and when engaged fect, what a change! I looked down at my dress. in describing rural subjects, or depicting local man

What a change! What scenes I had gone through! ners, he is very happy. On questions of politics or

How altered my state! I had dined the day before criticism he fails, because he seems resolved to at

at a secretary of state's in company with Mr Pitt, tack all great names and established opinions. He and had been waited upon by men in gaudy liveries! remarks on one occasion that anybody could, at the I had had nobody to assist me in the world. No time he wrote, be made a baronet, since Walter teachers of any sort. Nobody to shelter me from the Scott and Dudley Coutts Trotter (what a classifica- consequence of bad, and no one to counsel me to good tion!) had been so elevated. It has become," he behaviour, I felt proud. The distinctions of rank, says, "of late years the fashion to extol the virtues birth, and wealth, all became nothing in my eyes of potatoes, as it has been to admire the writings of and from that moment (less than a month after my Milton and Shakspeare;' and he concludes a ludi arrival in England) I resolved never to bend before

them. crous criticism on Paradise Lost by wondering how it could have been tolerated by a people amongst

There is good sense and right feeling in the folwhom astronomy, navigation, and chemistry are lowing paragraph on field sports : understood! Yet Cobbett had a taste for what may Taking it for granted, then, that sportsmen are as be termed the poetry of nature. He is lond in his goo as other folks on the score humanity, the praises of the singing birds of England (which he sports of the field, like everything else done in the missed so much in America), and he loved to write fields, tend to produce or preserve health. I prefer on green lanes and meadows. The following de- them to all other pastime, because they produce scription of his boyish scenes and recollections is early rising; because they have no tendency to lead like the simple and touching passages in Richard- young men into vicious habits. It is where men son's Pamela :

congregate that the rices haunt. A hunter or a After living within a few hundreds of yards of West- shooter may also be a gambler and a drinker; but minster Hall, and the Abbey Church, and the Bridge, he is less likely to be fond of the two latter if he be and looking from my own windows into St James's fond of the former. Boys will take to something in Park, all other buildings and spots appear mean and the way of pastime; and it is better that they take insignificant. I went to-day to see the house I for

to that which is innocent, healthy, and manly, than merly occupied. How small! It is always thus: that which is vicious, unhealthy, and effeminate. the words large and small are carried about with us

Besides, the scenes of rural sport are necessarily at in our minds, and we forget real dimensions. The

a distance from cities and towns. This is another idea, such as it was received, remains during our great consideration; for though great talents are absence from the object. When I returned to Eng- wanted to be employed in the hives of men, they land in 1800, after an absence from the country parts rounding objects are too numerous, too near the eye,

are very rarely acquired in these hives; the surof it of sixteen years, the trees, the hedges, even the parks and woods, seemed so small! It made me

too frequently under it, and too artificial. laugh to hear little gutters, that I could jump over, called rivers! The Thames was but a 'creek! But when, in about a month after my arrival in London, The miscellaneous writings of MR SOUTHEY are I went to Farnham, the place of my birth, what was numerous, and all are marked by an easy flowing my surprise! Everything was become so pitifully style, by extensive reading, a strain of thought and small! I had to cross, in my postchaise, the long reflection simple and antiquated, occasional dia. and dreary heath of Bagshot. Then, at the end of logues full of quaint speculation and curious erudiit, to mount a hill called Hungry Hill; and from tion, and a vein of poetical feeling that runs through that hill I knew that I should look down into the the whole, whether critical, historical, or political, beautiful and fertile vale of Farnham. My heart In 1807 Mr Southey published a series of observafluttered with impatience, mixed with a sort of fear, tions on our national manners and prospects, en

1

ROBERT SOUTHEY.

« AnteriorContinuar »