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'The Fawn' is somewhat, though not a great deal, better. There are few, we fear, who, after reading the opening of the scene, would think of going on with it.
'Leopold. Lie there, dark murderous weapon! I renounce thee! Farewell, ye barbarous sports! Alas, poor fawn!
Bertha. Did I not hear a gun? The poor, poor fawn Licking its bleeding mother 1 This is cruel.
Leopold. Oh cruel! cowardly! Never again—
Bertha. Look how the poor fawn with his nudging nose
Leopold. Too sure. 'Twas not her motion; that fond thing
Striving 1 cannot bear to look on them!
She is too surely dead'. pp. 29, 30.
But venturing a little farther, we find that the real object of the meeting between Leopold and Bertha, is not to lament over 'the poor—poor Fawn,' but to give the former an opportunity of describing a piece of forest sceneiy, which, however irrelevant to the feeling of the moment, is unquestionably exquisitely painted. '—Look round thee, lady! There is not in the forest such a spot As this. Look how the wood-walks hither tend, As to a centre: some in vistas green, Pillared and overarched, as the long aisles Of an eld proud cathedral; others wandering In lovelier mazes through a various scene Holley or copse-wood; scarce the eye can trace Their coy meanders, but all meeting here Beneath this monarch oak, through whose thick boughs The sun comes flickering. How the indented leaves Of brightest green cut clearly the blue sky And the small clouds! And how this tiny spring Bubbles and sparkles round the moss-grown roots, Winding its silver thread along the short Elastic turf, so thickly set with flowers, And mixed with fragrant herbs, till it is lost Amongst the bowery thickets! Not a spot In all the forest can compare with this, Nature's own temple!" p. 31.
The character of Bertha, who is under the control of a severe guardian, Count Lindorf, is also happily delineated:
'She is all made up
Count Lindorf chide her—and, in sooth, even he
'The Wedding Ring,' founded on the old ballad of "The Berkshire Lady", is among the feeblest of these Sketches. As Miss Mitford has been so careful in acknowledging most of the authorities to which she is indebted, she might also have owned that a legend mentioned by Mr. Russell, and which Miss Landon has also used, furnished the ground work of 'Emily.' The story is, indeed, a common one enough—that of a young lady of high birth eloping with a youth who had little to recommend him, save a manly figure, and manners which fascinated her heart. Married for seven years, they still continue lovers; though separated from her family, Emily still hopes to be reconciled to them. Her only son meets his noble grandsire accidentally, and the incident leads to the consummation of her wishes—her restoration to the affection of her parent. The jocund mirth with which she bears up against her darker fortunes, is prettily depicted in a song which opens this sketch.
'The sun is careering in glory and might
'Mid the deep blue sky and the cloudlets white;
The air and the water dance, glitter and play
And why should not I be as merry as they?
The linnet is singing the wild wood through;
The fawn's bounding footstep skims over the dew;
The butterfly flits round the flowering tree;
And the cowslip and blue-bell are bent by the bee.
All the creatures that dwell in the forest are gay—
And why should not I be as merry as they?'—pp. 85, 86.
Most people who have been married for seven years, will perhaps decide that Miss Mitford has drawn not a little on her imagination, for the compliments which this husband and wife pay each other. But the emotion with which the mother speaks of her child, is the very voice of nature.
'Amelia. , this dearest child
Of love and sorrow! Till this boy was born
A friend, and love, pure, firm enduring love;
We pass over “The Painter's Daughter,” (for which Miss Mitford obtained the groundwork, in Mr. Mills’ “Travels of Theodore Ducas,”) in order to make room for a charming narrative, in the sketch called “Fair Rosamond.’ It is the tale of her love.
* Rosamond. "Twill soon be even. Did I never tell thee
Mabel. And thou lady ?
Rosamond. Why I too thought to fly, but loitered on
Comrades and hounds and quarry and himself
Mabel. He went with thee ?
Rosamond. No. At Lord Clifford's name he started.—Mabel,
Of all these scenes, perhaps “The Siege,’ has the greatest portion of spirit, though, certainly, as little of dramatic spirit as those which we have already noticed. We were particularly interested for the deaf and dumb boy, who figures in it; every line that relates to him, is touched with graceful feeling.
The sonnets and other poems which fill up the latter part of the volume, are, as compositions, generally unworthy of Miss Mitford's pen, however indicative they may be of the number of her friends, and of the sincere affection which she appears to entertain for them. We have in vain explored them with the view of extracting a specimen, which might afford the fairest proof of her talents for sonnetteering. One, however, we shall present to the reader, as we are confident that whatever may be thought of the poetry, the filial tenderness which it displays will be sufficient to induce those who have not the original, to transfer it from these pages to the choicest section of their scrap-books.
TO MY MOTHER SLEEPING.
Art. VII. The Lord Mayor's Visit to Oxford, in the Month of July, 1826. Written at the desire of the Party, by the Chaplain to the Mayoralty. 8vo. London: Longman & Co. 1826.
The example of the Spartan lawgiver who erected a temple to the Deity of Laughter, has been recently followed by the Lycurgus of Guildhall. There would seem at first sight to be as little analogy between the habits of Spartans and Aldermen, as between turtle soup and Lacedaemonian black broth: but the publication of the ridiculous volume before us, will prove to the great satisfaction of all those who had hitherto conceived such persons and things to be antipodes to each other, that lord mayors can sometimes act like the legislators of Lacedaemon.
The narrative of the famous journey of our illustrious magistrate of the Mansion house, was undertaken expressly at the desire of the Lord Mayor, by Mr. Dillon, the chaplain, who appears to have been the only person of the party who was qualified to put together words and sentences according to the usages of the English tongue. The worthy chaplain 'felt the communication of a wish, to be a command on the part of the distinguished individual to whom he owed the honour of the appointment,'and accordingly he indited the splendid performance of which we have now to give some account. We cannot help thinking, however, that the Lord Mayor, in laying his 'commands,' upon the reverend author, intended that he should pay for the venison, turtle, and Roman punch, which he consumed, in the way recommended by Cyrano de Bergerac, in his account of the kingdoms in the Moon. That ingenious author tells us, that Homer and Virgil there pay their bills in epics, which represent large bank notes,—Petrarch and Filicaja in sonnets,—Clement Marot in epigrams and chansons; and that the small coin in these distant regions consists of couplets. It would be a very pleasant thing, if Authors here could be permitted to adopt the mode of "cash payments" in use among their lunatic brethren—and we shall sincerely rejoice if the Lord Mayor set such a delightful example. To be sure, Mr. Dillon's book is only in prose—and in very ordinary prose too:—but we cannot expect Mansion-house chaplains to write like Homer and Virgil: and if Mr. Dillon has got so much "solid pudding" for his "empty prose," surely Scott, Rogers, Moore, and Crabbe, may expect in exchange for their poetry, delicate risolles and bechamels, pine-apples, hot-house grapes, and early peaches au poids d'or.
The book thus commences:
'although the jurisdiction of the Lord Mayor of London, as Conservator of the river Thames, has extended, time immemorial, from Yantlet, about 50 miles below London Bridge, on the east, to the London Mark stone, about thirty-six miles on the west: it has yet but rarely happened that the Court of Aldermen have thought proper, by any formality of proceeding,