« ForrigeFortsett »
son of genius to whom the work is dedicated, if he should chance to read the volume, will be doing injustice to his friend the author, if he do not advise him, that if he has, in sober earnestness,
'set up for a wit,
We agree with some of our contemporaries, that it is truly melancholy to see fine paper, beautiful printing, and respectable wood-cuts, worse than thrown away, in the production and illustration of such irredeemable nonsense.
POEMS BY GEORGE LUNT. In one volume, 12mo. pp. 160. New-York: GOULD AND NEWMAN.
WITHOUT attempting a review, (for weighty reasons, elsewhere stated,) of this little volume, the unbound sheets of which have been laid before us by the publishers, we would at once commend it to our readers, as containing much good poetry, that will satisfy the imagination, and find a ready way to the heart. We beg the reader to rely upon this summary judgment of the work, until we have leisure and space to prove its correctness; and in the mean time, we offer the following from the lesser attractions of the book, as security for our appearance at court,' when Mr. LUNT'S trial comes uppermost on our calendar:
THE HUGUENOT. A TALE OF THE FRENCH PROTESTANTS. By the Author of 'Richelieu.' In two volumes, 12mo. pp. 525. New-York: HARPER AND BROTHERS.
THESE volumes are named in this place, because we would keep the reader advised of the prominent works of fiction, as they issue from the press, and not for the purpose of review; since the demands of illness-stalking like a grim shadow through a small domestic circle, and pulling each member by the ears, as the quaint THOMAS BROWNE hath it-have left us no leisure for its perusal. A friend, however, in whose literary judgment the reader may implicitly confide, has been more fortunate than ourselves. He has perused the volumes, he informs us, with unabated interest to the last; and gives it as his opinion, that no previous work of the author will effect more for his reputation.
'MUSIC AND FRIENDS.' Great is our delectation, on behalf of our readers, that through the kindness of an attentive correspondent in London, whose means are equal to the suggestions of a generous will, we are now made, and shall continue to be made, the earliest recipients on this side the water, of copies of whatsoever is rich and rare in the literary novelties, whether of books or periodicals, of the prolific 'trans-Atlantines.' In addition to the original 'Monthly Record of Foreign Literature,' collected up to the latest possible period, by our capable contributor, and embracing, beside, all the imporant works in progress of publication, we shall not unfrequently be favored with early extracts from volumes in the London press, which are likely to prove attractive to American readers, and in one or two instances, with early sheets from the best of the magazines; so that we may safely promise an ample variety of matters, damp from a foreign press, or fresh from the pen of a resident correspondent, to mingle, in due proportion, with the domestic productions of our review and 'table' department. In the case of GRANT's amusing 'Sketches in London,' the copious extracts from our advance copy were widely circulated in the various journals of the United States, long before the book was on sale here, and even while it was yet a novelty in the London catalogues of new works; and we have now before us, through the same agency, a couple of volumes, even more entertaining than the one in question, which has not yet reached the American literary mart, and from which we purpose to draw liberally, for the entertainment and amusement of the reader.
'Music and Friends, or Pleasant Recollections of a Dilettante,' by WILLIAM GARDINER, is the work to which we allude. The 'Music of Nature,' by the same author, has made the writer favorably known to the musical public. Though the present work is sadly deficient in aim and method, without chronological order, or any thing like regular arrangement in any respect, it is nevertheless a light, lively, and amusing funfaron, wherein the writer has compressed and brought together the floes of all subjects with which the ocean of society wherein he moved, by reason of his musical taste and abilities, was overspread. SIR WALTER SCOTT once said, that he never remarked one who was exclusively attached to his own profession, who did not become a great twaddler in good society: this is undoubtedly true, and yet your professional twaddler may be an acute observer; and with a good memory, his brain soon becomes like a pawnbroker's shop, full of other men's intellectual goods; here a scrap of information, picked up casually on the road, and there a sprightly anecdote, gleaned at a dinner in good society. Here a composite joke, it may be, of the Joe Miller school, and there a profound disquisition, by some one eminent in science, upon a momentous theme. With all this, in the present instance, there is mixed up, it is true, a superabundance of musical leaven. Full often does 'the conversation turn chiefly on music;' and the most striking thought suggested to our author by the battle of Waterloo, where a hundred thousand combattants were engaged for eight hours, with all the horrid implements of war, is, what a great pity it was, that BEETHOVEN Could not have been there, to seize upon the long roll of the artillery, the yells of mangled thousands, and the clash of arms, as a grand climax to his celebrated battle symphony! The still more sublime war of the elements,
when the author was approaching the mountainous coast of Scotland, during a violent storm at sea, suggested no idea so forcibly, as that the 'low roll of the thunder was formed of the lowest sound in the musical scale.' The writer was at Hull, when the emigrants (principally priests, with their eyes sadly cast on their breviaries, and clad in their soiled monkish habits, which they had no time to throw aside,) from the Low Countries fled before the French into England; yet this sad spectacle was entirely merged in the melancholy reminiscence, that 'Hull was the most unmusical place he ever visited.' Let us pass, however, to our extracts, which we shall commence with an anecdote of a celebrated English chevalier :
'At one of the music-meetings, in St. Martin's church, for the benefit of the Leicester Infirmary, I noticed a tall, handsome man, in a scarlet coat, with a gold button-hole in a black collar, the fashion of the day, moving with a gentleman-like air. This person proved to be the notorious Barrington, the pickpocket. In going up the middle aisle, he was invited into the mayor's pew, and sat between Miss St. John and Mr. Ashby, of Quenby, our late Member of Parliament. One of the plates was held at the door by this lady and gentleman, and when Mr. Barrington laid his guinea upon the plate, he was kindly thanked by his new acquaintance, and passed on with a graceful bow. The gentry who held the plates retired into the vestry, to add their contributions, and when Mr. Ashby would have placed his ten guineas on the plate, to his utter astonishment, they had flown from his pocket. After considerable amazement, the mystery was explained by one of the company remarking that Miss St. John's pocket was turned inside out; and that the elegant gentleman who sat between them had helped himself to the subscription he had put on the plate, and something beside. It is said that Barrington facilitated his operations by instruments, which he had made for the purpose. I recollect a circumstance of this kind. He waited upon a surgical-instrument maker, and ordered a pair of scissors, of a curious form; a few days afterward, he called for them, liked them, and paid two guineas, which the maker charged. After he had left the shop, the cutler's wife said, 'My dear, as the gentleman seemed so pleased with the scissors, I wish we had asked him what use they were for- he might recommend us - do run after him!' The cutler scampered out of the shop, and, overtaking the gentleman, hoped he would excuse him, but would he tell him what use he intended to make of the scissors? Why, my friend,' said Barrington, catching him by the button of his coat, and staring him in the face, 'I don't know whether I can tell you it's a great secret.' O, pray do, Sir-it may be something in our way.' Upon which, Barrington pressing hard upon his shoulder, whispered in his ear, They are for picking of pockets! In the utmost consternation, the scissors-maker ran back, and the moment he got into the shop, My dear,' he cried, will you believe it? they are for picking of pockets!' Yes, my dear,' cried the wife, 'but what is the matter with your clothes?' The cutler looked, and presently discovered that the scissors had extracted the two guineas he had just received for them!"
The reader will remember GOLDSMITH's account of a clerical dinner which he once attended in England, where he anticipated a rich intellectual banquet, from the attrition and conversation of some fifteen or twenty country 'lights of the church.' Being ushered into the apartment, he was greatly surprised and scandalized, when, after a long pause, a prominent divine broke the expressive silence which had mused their praise, by observing, that 'a sow in his parish had recently had fifteen pigs at a litter!" We have always fancied that this scene was something of a caricature; but if such things as the following are seen 'in the green tree,' what may we not expect from 'the dry?' Our author is at Cambridge, searching for a young clergyman, a fellow townsman of his. At length, says Mr. GARDINER :
'I found his rooms; the door was fast, but through the window I discovered his cap and gown, lying on the floor. In the dusk of the evening I went again, and seeing a disconsolate man pacing the dark cloisters of that monkish place, I gently stepped behind him, and asked if he could tell me where Mr. B was? Starting from his reverie, he replied, Yes, Sir; he is coaching it in the next quadrangle!' 'Pray, Sir, what is that?' I said. "Why, don't you know what coaching is? He is dining out, Sir; follow me, and I will show you where he is.' As I mounted the stairs, I heard sounds of revelry. Surely, said I to myself, B-cannot be here; the demure, sanctified B-? I had to pass through a dark room, and poked my way to the door, directed by bursts of laughter within. I rapped gently; a loud voice cried out, Tumble in! Opening the first door, I found myself between two. There was no retreating on tapping at the second, the invitation was repeated louder than before, with some addition, Tumble in, and show your ugly face!' I instantly found myself in the company of three fine fellows, who showed signs of having spent a glorious day. In the midst of my odd entanglement, a thundering voice shouted, Red or white, red or white?' I stood amazed; still louder the demand was repeated, 'Red or white, Sir? I paused for a moment, and catching a portion of their sanctified humor, I stoutly answered, 'Red!' and sat me down. Not another word was spoken: fresh wine and clean glasses were brought; we drank round, and in silence I bowed to my new friends. After a short pause, I begged to express my good fortune in falling into such civilized company, as I had never dreamed of finishing the day so much to my mind. I told them I was wandering about in search of a townsman of mine, one John B, of Leicester, whom I could not find, but had little to regret on that score, since my inquiries had brought me into the present party. Upon which one of my jovial friends got up, and pointing to the floor, cried out, There he lies! there he lies, Sir! The Rev. John B, Bachelor of Arts, and like one of the profane! There he lay; the saint-like B, dead as Bacchus, under the table!
At a dinner at the London Coffee-House, our author met Mr. SAMUEL WESLEY, who told him many anecdotes of his uncle John, the celebrated founder of the Methodists, and in the midst of their port and claret, called for a pen and ink, and wrote the following lines upon the death of WHITFIELD, which have never before been published:
SERVANT of God, well done!
Thy glorious warfare's past;
In condescending love,
Thy ceaseless prayer he heard,
Thy beauteous feet' were shod,
With saints enthroned on high,
Redeemed from earth and pain,
Here is a passage or two of geology. The writer has been describing an interview with Mr. DAVID BOOTH, a Scottish literary friend :
In his terse broad Scotch, my literary friend said, ' Are ye tied to Mooses's account of the creation? By no means,' said I. Then I'll show ye a very curious book upon China, in which the histories of that antique country go back more than six thousand years. As a proof of their authenticity, in every king's reign is set down the celestial phenomena, as they occurred, and which, upon tracing back, is found to be a correct account of the motions of the heavenly bodies, and demonstrates, to a certainty, the truth of these records. There can be no doubt of that nation being in a high state of civilization before the time from which Moses dates the creation of the world. They have, however, histories that run back more than thirty thousand years, but these are so mixed with fable that they cannot be depended upon.'
In a conversation with Dr. Lardner, stating how much we were indebted to the discoveries in geology, demonstrating the antiquity of the earth, he replied, that we need not resort to geology to prove the fact; for, as it regards the creation of the heavenly bodies, it could be proved that the fixed stars are at such an immense distance, that, notwithstanding light moves at the rate of a hundred thousand miles per second, it would take three hundred thousand years for a ray of it to travel through space ere it reached the earth; so that the stars we now see must have been created more than three hundred thousand years ago.'
Mr. GARDINER Would seem to have been rather raw, on his first visit to London; for being in the gallery of the House of Commons, listening to SHERIDAN, PITT, and Fox, he became so excited by the oratory of the latter, that he vociferated an uproarious 'Bravo!' to the great scandal of the house and the speaker, who despatched a sergeant-at-arms to bring the offender to the bar, for the gross breach of privilege of which he had been guilty. The Prince of Wales, whom the importance of the debate had brought into the house, commiserating the young man's situation, waved the officer away with his hand; but the gallery was cleared; and as the innocent cause of the summary movement passed through the crowd, he heard execrations, and mutterings not loud but deep, against the deep damnation of their violent 'taking off.' Many years after, he was shown into the traveller's room of an inn in the south of England, where a gentleman was inveighing against the rustic, whose folly in calling out 'bravo!' caused him to be turned out of the gallery of the House of Commons, on a remote occasion, while Fox was speaking. Our author kept his countenance, and joined in the laugh.
The subjoined presents a very striking sketch of the commencement and completion of a work of art, which will immortalize the name of the intrepid artist:
"When I visited Sir R. Phillips, in Bridge-street, in 1821, every morning, when I rose, I was interested in viewing the habitation of Quaker Horner, at the top of St. Paul's. When the cross was taken down to be re-gilt and repaired, this enterprising young artist, through the influence of George the Fourth, obtained permission to build a small wooden house on the scaffold poles that
rose above the site of the cross, for the purpose of sketching the panoramic view or London, now exhibited in the Colosseum. After a stormy night, it was with trepidation that I opened my bedroom shutters, lest the structure should have been blown away from its frightful elevation. When the weather was calm and bright, I had great pleasure, with a telescope, in watching some of their domestic operations. As we breakfasted about the same time with our neighbors in the clouds, I was sure to see the contents of the slop-basin thrown out of the little sash window upon the dome below. The laborious toil of the artist in ascending the stair-cases and ladders to reach his aerial dwelling, and the attendant danger, so often repeated, would have damped the ardor of most men. 'On entering the cathedral at three in the morning, the stillness of the streets,' says Mr. Horner, 'contrasted with the mid-day bustle, was only surpassed by the sepulchral stillness of the cathedral. But not less impressive at this early hour, was the immense scene from this lofty summit. Without any indication of animated existence, it was interesting to mark the gradual symptoms of returning life, until the rising sun vivified the whole into activity, bustle, and business. The weather was frequently so boisterous, during the stormy summer of 1821, as to frustrate the contrivance for security, and it was difficult to obtain workmen, at a high remuneration, to repair the scaffolding and machinery. This will not appear surprising, when it is known that, during the high winds, it was impossible for a person to stand, without clinging to the frame-work. The creaking, whistling of the timbers, was like a ship laboring in a storm; during a squall, a great part of the heavy planks were carried away over the house-tops to a considerable distance. At this moment the observatory was torn from its fastening, and turned partly over the edge of the platform. The fury of the wind rendered the door impassable, and an outlet was obtained by forcing a passage on the opposite side.' Mr. Horner, with an unparalleled degree of courage, surmounted all these difficul ties, and finished his sketch of the metropolis upon two hundred and eighty sheets of drawing. paper, comprising a surface of six hundred and eighty square feet, and as long as the Colosseum lasts, his name will be perpetuated.'
Dining one day with those two splendid fellows, CHERRY and CHARLES MATTHEWS,' our author tells us, the former gave as a toast, after some political discussion, 'May men of principle be our principal men;' and the latter,' May our future time be pastime.' It may be proper here, 'speaking of actors,' to mention a system of audience-packing, which would be a novelty, we think, in the theatres of this country. The operation of being 'screwed in,' is 'effected by placing the back of the person against a powerful engine, opposite one of the doors, which forces him into the pit, where, so close are the people wedged together, when the screw is in motion, that its action may be felt in the remotest part.' What an eligible situation for a DANIEL LAMBERT!- what a machine to pack a jury! The description of PAGANINI's first appearance in London is not without interest. There also might you see 'packing:'
'I was present when Paganini made his first appearance in the Opera House, and the crowd that surrounded the doors at an early hour, consisted entirely of composers and musicians. The eagerness was much increased by two previous disappointments; Paganini not daring for some time to come before an English audience. I got in, at the hazard of my bones, and the house was filled in an instant; hundreds being left in the street. I stood next to Mr. Venua, of Cambridge, and a Scotchman, who had come from Edinburgh, and was more fortunate than Venua, who had made an unsuccessful journey the week before. We stood in breathless anxiety until the Signor made his appearance. As his gaunt figure glided from the side scenes to the front of the stage, involuntary shouts burst from all parts of the house; many rising from their seats to view the spectre. His appearance was more like a devotee about to suffer martyrdom, than one to delight you with his art; he was evidently in great trepidation, but gained confidence as the thunders of applause and cheering continued.'
Mr. GARDINER records, from Dr. PARR's own lips, that celebrated scholar's rebuke of Sir JAMES MACKINTOSH, who had said that O'COIGHLY richly deserved his fate, since it was impossible to conceive of a greater scoundrel.' 'By no means, Jamie,' said the Doctor; it is very possible to conceive of a greater scoundrel. He was an Irishman; he might have been a Scotchman: he was a priest; he might have been a lawyer: he was a traitor; he might have been an apostate! The following is characteristic:
'The Doctor was very proud of his bells and his choir, and always encouraged them to sing a long hymn or an anthem before sermon, during which he used to steal into the vestry and get his pipe. When they had done, the clerk informed him, and, if the Doctor had not finished, he would say, John, tell them to sing the two last verses over again; my people love singing, and I love smoking.' It mattered not what part of the service he was in, his colloquial style would now and then break out. A farming man, coming in rather late, the Doctor stopped short, and said, 'John, how many times am I to tell you not to stump up the aisle in those hob-nailed shoes?"
Our author seems not to have been altogether free from the 'ducks and nods which weak minds pay to rank,' yet he gives us a fearless and most pitiable picture of George the Third, in his saddle, reviewing the Oxford Blues at Windsor, in 1805: A more deplorable object surely never was seen. His countenance was imbecile, and his look