« PreviousContinue »
ago, by a near relation of Mr Hunt's, now, we fear, in jail. But it could not be a challenge, surely, to General Izzard-for gentlemen do not communicate private messages of that kind through the medium of the public prints;—they are never sent on stamped paper.
Pray, what does Mr Hunt mean by calling all our contributors "men of the world?"-Many of us are so-Ourselves, Dr Morris, Wastle, Lawerwinkle, Odoherty, and some others. But can there be a more enormous absurdity than to call Kemperhausen, or Delta, or the two Mullions, or Dr Berzelius Pendragon, or Tims, or the many other old ladies, and young misses, who embellish and adorn our work, men of the world? Mr Hunt must see his idiotcy the moment it is thus pointed out. Yet granting that Blackwood's Magazine were, in some measure, written by men of the world, is it not generally reported that the Examiner is much more written by women of the town? Now, what would Mr Hunt think of our liberality, were we, on a mere malicious rumour like this, to assert that most of the articles on life and manners have been, for some years past, written by a Mrs Simmous, formerly the kept mistress of the late Lord Camelford, and who was the innocent cause of his fatal duel with Mr Best? Would it not be extremely illiberal in us to bring forward this report as an accusation against the character of the Examiner? Mrs Simnons' alleged articles seem, to our unprejudiced minds, often the most clever, and always the least indecent, of iny in that work. And we should think neanly of ourselves indeed, if we were ver to taunt Mr Hunt with the proession of any of the fair writers, whose ucubrations gain him bread. We have 10 doubt, indeed, that Mrs Simmons has more regard to her own character han to write in the Examiner. But were she to do so, we confess that many allowances should have to be nade for a woman of genius, placed n her peculiar circumstances, even while we lament that distress should ever have driven her from a life of error and misfortune, into a connexion which a harsh world might call one still more degrading.
Mr Hunt regrets that bad health as for some time past prevented him rom putting down our Magazine. It rieves us to think that Mr Hunt
should be so sorely troubled with the cholic, the gripes, and the mullygrubs. Is he sure that he regularly follows his doctor's prescriptions? We suspect he is a restive patient, and does not take kindly to his pills. However unpoetical a dose of salts may seem to be to his distempered fancy, let him make a mouth, and gulp them. A very sweet series of sonnets might, we think, be composed by the Centurion, entitled, " Series of Sonnets, on seeing my friend Leigh Hunt boggling at a Dose of Glauber Salts." How can we better illustrate our humanity, than by wishing to see Mr Hunt restored to sanity, both of mind and body, though we know that he is to leap up like a giant refreshed, and sally forth to our destruction? One single anecdoto of us, such as this, is a sufficient answer to all the calumnies that have ever wounded our peace of mind. The day on which Mr Hunt is able to sit up in his night-gown and slippersmay be that of our doom; and yet we not only wish to see him so sitting once more, but absolutely arrayed in his most formidable and terrific and irresistible garb, his yellow breeches, and flesh-coloured silk stockings. There is true magnanimity!-Why, if Mr Hunt has not a heart of cherrystone, he will weep to think that he should ever have uttered one syllable in our dispraise. If, after this, he should persist in his attempts to destroy us, we shall, both by the law of nature and of nations, be justified in putting his majesty to death.
Mr Hunt informs the Public, in direct contradiction to her own knowledge, that our sale is diminishing. Has Mr Hunt nothing to do with his own private affairs-his own sales and purchases, that he must thus interfere with ours? We never boasted of our sale-17,000 is not such a sale as we desire, and deserve. But, as sales go, it is not so much amiss;—and even if Mr Hunt should have ascertained that it has fallen off a few dozens in his own kingdom, of which he has given no proof but his own assertion, (and that, to those who know Mr Hunt, would not, in a court of justice, greatly endanger either life or property,) yet, is the royal edict proclaiming the great fact somewhat premature. For our last quarter's revenue surpassed that of any previous quarter by nearly L.1500; so that, if a few subscribers in Cockaigne have, either from fear
or favour, taken off their names from the list which contains those of all the talent, virtue, taste, and wealth in the country, the erasure, however portentous to our existence it may have been deemed by the poor creatures about the Court, has not been followed, instantly at least, either by gradual decay, or sudden annihilation, and we still continue to distress the Banks by our deposits.
But this is one way of reviewing a book-so to business.
Mr Hunt, (as we suppose,) indites his feelings and sentiments respecting the holidays that are still kept in the metropolis; and, with certain abatements and drawbacks, these little slim Essays are amiable and lively. There is in almost one and all of them a por tion of sulky and senseless whining about starvation, taxes, money-getting, and so forth, which, in handling the description of a holiday, honest people ought not to be badgered with-it is disgusting and repulsive. Thus he says, before he has well opened his mouth, "Holidays serve to put people in mind that there is a green and a glad world, as well as a world of brick and mortar, and money-getting. They remind them disinterestedly of one another, or that they have other things to interchange besides bills and commodities. If it were not for holidays, and poetry, and such like stumblingblocks to square-toes, there would be no getting out of the way of care and common-places." This is cockneyish and ugly. It checks the genial current of the soul before it has well began to flow. We see Mr Hunt beginning to bristle up, and put himself
happy on a holiday. Sooth her-rub her gently with the hair-chuck her under the chin, and coax her to hold up her head-whisper into her ear that she is quite killing-squeeze her hand-give her a kiss, and treat her to a glass not of bitters and blue ruin, but of double brown stout, with a beefsteak and a quartern loaf. So ought England to be treated on a holidayand so she will be treated, in spite of Mr Hunt, and all those other dolorous swains, who make love in a whisper, and imagine they can win the affections of a jolly, bouncing, buxom wench like England, by impudently telling her that she is half starved, and has a face as shrivelled as an apple-John. There is also some bad wit in the Pocket-Book-but so is there in Blackwood's Magazine, which is some excuse for Mr Hunt, and all other men. However, in a few short essays, a considerable quantity of bad wit is more apt to attract attention than a small quantity in many long volumes. (That sentence, by the way, must have been quoted unintentionally from some work of Sir John Sinclair's). The following paragraph should have been scratched out of Mr Hunt's MS. with red ink, and a distinct DELE put upon it:-"We might as well trace a laugh or an appetite to a particular nation, as the rejoicing for a new year; we might as well deduce our noses from the Dog-ribbed Indians, or our wish to be comfortable from the Tartars, or our tendency to look sad in the toothache from the Hyperboreans, or yawning from the Celtic tribes, or lifting our hands to our heads (especially in putting on our hats) from the negroes, into a fume. He is an Indicator of the or our disinclination to be kicked from Examiner, and in that character he is the Samothracians." This is pure most offensive. A little farther on, in nonesense, and can amuse nobody. alluding to the expression of "merry Whatever be our other faults and deold England," he says, "We feel too ficiencies-and, God knows, they are truly that it is melancholy new Eng- not a few,-nobody has ever denied to land-as melancholy as a new jail, or us a nice perception of the humora new cut from a canal, or a new light, ous, the lively, and the witty. This or a new lease under a racking land- is neither. It is like the pleasantry of lord." Now does our good and sensible a man with a numbness in his shoulfriend Charles Ollier think that Eng- der from the touch of a bum-hailiff's lish people, who buy little red Literary lily-hand. It might have been writPocket-Books, will pick out such tid- ten in a spunging-house, as a specibits as these, and smack their lips after men of non-chalance. But the smile them on a holiday?—He cannot. If of the poor gentleman is seen through. England have the vapours and the blue He himself feels a pain in the muscles devils-if she be as melancholy as a of his cheek, as he strains to bring gib-cat, do not tell her so to her face, them into an effective position. when she is exerting herself to be To be done with our objections at
last few as these sketches are, the writer has so little sense of propriety, so little feeling, that he more than once lets out that he is a deist; and seems to hug and pat himself upon the back for being so liberal as to speak flatteringly-of what?-of the Christian Religion, and its Divine Author. This is something in the same taste and spirit with Mr Hazlitt, who pronounced an eulogium on his Saviour, in a lecture, at the Surry-Institution, on the literature of the age of Elizabeth. Coxcombs below the Cross!
But we have said that some of these little articles are amiable and lively. If Mr Hunt would but however, it is in vain for us to hope ever to make Mr Hunt what he might be So, for an extract, or specimen. Why, really, on looking over these Holidays again, there is not one that is not disfigured-we had almost said polluted-by the peculiar vices of Mr Hunt's mind, more than, on the first glance, we had suspected. So we beg pardon of him, the Messrs Olliers, and our readers,-but, positively, we will on no account whatever transfer any of them to our pages.
We therefore turn to the concluding part of the Pocket-Book, and present to our readers the following pleasant, picturesque, and well-written article, entitled, "Walks round London."
"KENSINGTON Gardens have been objected to because they are flat, and planted in an artificial or formal manner. It is chiefly on those very accounts that we like them so well as we do; for we are of opinion that the present fashion of laying out this kind of gardens in what is called a picturesque, or wild, or natural manner, is by no means an improvement on the stateliness of the old English method, which is an imitation of the Dutch, without its clipped conceits. To say nothing of the absurdity of being industriously negligent, of making arrangements for accidental effects, or of cultivating little domestic wildernesses, a garden is perfect in proportion as it possesses every thing that art, in con
tradistinction to the untamed caprices of nature, can do for it,-wide and level terraces, clear perspectives drawn to a minute point,
High roof'd, and walks beneath, and alleys brown,"
fountains, statues, shapely groves, trim arbours, smooth-shaven lawns, &c. (We large scale of many acres.) Were it only are speaking, of course, of gardens on a for the sake of keeping the keenness of our enjoyment alive for the mighty irregularities of Nature, we would wish to have no imitation of them in gardens. Distinction is in itself a great source of beauty.
"How many things by season season'd are To their right praise and true perfection." SHAKESPEARE.
"In the delight arising from the contemplation of uncultivated scenery there is something of melancholy; the mind is elevated, expanded, and tasked in speculation. But in a garden we seek recreation bodily and mental; we enter it idly, and are disappointed if we do not find in it luxury and repose. In open Nature there are many unenjoyable parts,-intricacies, sudden obstructions, and places of difficult access; imitations of all which are to be included in the new system; but in what are stigmatized as formal gardens every portion is dedicated to human pleasure. Nature is trained in happy discipline to be the servant of man.
"In other things we count Art to excel,
It over-rules, and is her master here.
"The old gardeners were, therefore, right in selecting flat spots in which to lay out their plantations, and where their avenues might stretch away uninterruptedly; for there are few objects in Nature finer than those old-fashioned long perspectives, and few accidental effects more grateful to the eye than remote figures in them, coming, as they must, so palpably in the line of vision, and yet looking so fairy-like in their size and noiseless footfalls. These are vistas, if we may speak profanely, finer than Nature ever made; nor is any inequality of ground equal to the wide and costly terraces of the old style of gardening, or so fit for the promenading of those courtly dames who used to undulate along them in all the triumph of their beauty and brocade. The garden festivities in the pictures of Watteau would lose nearly
See the delicious inductions to the different books of the Decameron.
all their gusto were they surrounded by any thing resembling romantic scenery. The careless, amorous air of the gallants, and soft figures of the ladies, beautiful as they are, would seem impertinent amongst hills and tangled dells; and so would 'Boccaccio's holiday-party of " seven honourable ladies, and three noble gentlemen," who, in the seclusion of goodly gardens, sing canzonets, and pace dances, and slumber under orange-trees, and banquet, and cluster round fountains, and tell the Hundred Tales of the Decameron. Groupes such as these require the pervading consciousness, indicated by the character of the garden, and always included by Boccaccio and Watteau, that the mansion, with all its luxuries is at hand. The ladies
must have no fatigue in prospect to daunt the brilliance of their eyes; no chance of brambles or mire to sully the elaborate polish, or discompose the folds of their alluring satins; no dank overgrowth to muffle with cold the tones of their silver voices.
"The writer of these remarks has a picture, by Cawse, hanging over the mantleshelf, in which this sentiment is exquisitely felt. It represents a southern Cavalier playing his guitar to a young Signora in a garden at night. The moon is rising behind some poplars; and in the girl's uncovered head a chaplet of flowers is just seen in the uncertain light; her little lapdog is gambolling with his own shadow in the gravel-walks; the glimmering of the moon falls here and there upon the leaves of some exotics which stand about in garden-pots; a piece of sculpture is near them half in shadow, and the house is dimly discerned at a short distance. All is delicious, tranquil, secure from intrusion,
It has been observed of Milton, that he anticipated the present taste of gardening in his description of Eden; but it should be recollected, that Eden was the whole world to Adam and Eve, not a small spot inclosed out of it, for the purposes of careless pleasure. Let us see what his taste was when he has to allude to such. It is
a part of the sublime invocation in his
"And add to these, retired Leisure,
That in trim gardens takes his pleasure." Warton's note on these lines is, in our opinion, hardly warranted; the passage he cites from Du Bartas is not a parallel one. "Kensington Gardens, which are now three miles and a half in circumference, originally comprized only twenty-six acres. Queen Anne added thirty acres, which were laid out by her gardener, Mr Wise;
and afterwards much improved by the ce lebrated Brown, who did not, however, take from the Gardens the character we have attempted to vindicate. Brown, deed, whatever might have been his prac tice in his art, did not hesitate to recognise the merits of the old style; for, when he had his late Majesty's permission to re model the gardens of Hampton-Court, and introduce such natural effects as his ima gination might suggest, he declared his opinion that they appeared to the best advantage in their present grand and regular
"The approach to Kensington Gardens through Hyde-Park, on the south side, is very fine and stately; the one on the northeast is, we think, the most beautiful. The Park hereabouts deserves to be so called, by reason of its extensive spread of pasturage, spotted with trees, and groups of cattle and deer. The massy line of wood on the confines of the Gardens is very magnificent, and full of announcement, which is well answered by the noble sheet of water near the entrance, with its willows and smooth shores. Whatever we have commended in our foregoing observations, excepting only fountains and statues, are here to be found in the utmost perfection. At the western extremity are some exquisite specimens of alleys green,' terminating in delicious retreats. The terrace in this part is bordered by deep-coloured yews, and commands a view of one end of the palace, seen through an avenue of tall elms, trained arch-wise. The chief pros pect from the house is almost beyond praise. It is artificial, if you please; but when we look at that circular and ample. bosomed lake, round which those fullleaved groves stand as if to do it honour, it is impossible to restrain the burst of our admiration by the knowledge that what has excited it is nothing more than an instance of professional contrivance. The greenhouse which stands in this part of the Gardens, is a large ornate piece of architecture, in the manner of Vanbrugh; a spacious paved terrace is spread out in front of it: and a glorious place it would be for a courtly banquet and numerous revel in a moonlight summer's night.
"If we have a preference for any par ticular spot in the Gardens, it is for one of the semicircular nooks in the neighbour hood of this green-house. It is the largest of the recesses, and the most retired; it has its own leafy bower, its own lawn, green alleys, gravel walk, patrician trees, and bushy underwood,-its
almost its own sky.'
"A friend of ours, who lives in the but the principal addition was made by neighbourhood of Kensington Gravel-Pits, Caroline, consort of George II., who took having a party of musical professors and in nearly three hundred acres from Hyde- amateurs at his house one fine sultry night Park. These were laid out by Bridgman, proposed to them to try the effect of their
concert in the Gardens. It was a late hour when they adjourned there, and the place was quite deserted. The nook we have just spoken of was chosen for the performance, and thither the instruments and music were brought, the part of the company who were not engaged in the harmony holding lights over the books. It was a fine thing to see the effect of the partiallyilluminated group, and hear the graceful harmonies of Haydn rising and falling in that leafy covert. We ought not to omit mentioning, that the circumstance came to the knowledge of the late Dr Calcott, who resided on the spot; and that, in the midst of their second quartett, a strange individual was observed by the company walking at a short distance from them. When it was ascertained that this was the Doctor, the performers laid aside their instruments, and burst, with their skilful voices, into one of his best glees. It was a fine compliment, and we dare say the musician laid up the memory of that night-concert and unexpected homage among the trees of Kensington Gardens as one of the pleasant moments of his existence."
Then follows the poetry, which is all > excellent in its way. Nothing can be more comfortable than to see so much good poetry staring one in the face now-a-days, go where we will. We know upwards of 3000 people who write excellent verses; of these, about 1850 are very nearly first-rate poets. They all see deep into human naturemore especially that part of it known under the names of passion and imagination. Pope had little passion, we have been informed, and no imagination. We should like to know the reason of this. Are all these 1850 living gentlemen better poets than Pope? How foolish he would have looked, had he lived during our era! This objection seems to lie against modern poetry, that almost any one volume may as well bear the name on its title-page of any one author as another. Put Byron, Wordsworth, Crabbe, Scott, and Southey, aside, and all the other great living poets seem to us one flock of sheep. We mean no offence by this pastoral image-but really there is not much to pick and chuse between Coleridge, Montgomery, Hogg, Heber, Bowles, Millman, Shelly, Hunt, Wilson, Procter, and the other 1850. Now, this being the case, how can it be expected that we can make a guess even at the names of the anonymous bards of the Pocket-Book School of Poetry? The verses do, for the most
part, run not only upon wheels, but as upon a rail-road. By this happy contrivance, indeed, of a rail-road, Pegasus can draw ten times as much stuff round Parnassus, at a canter, as would once have tethered him. What better poetry would a man desire than the following?-and ought not we all to be beyond measure or expression happy that such poetry can at the same time be produced by 1850 men, yet living, of the greatest genius?
TO A CONQUEROR'S WIFE,
"Divine lady, who hast been,
"Thou, to whom, thro' toil and war,
Thy great husband cometh far,
Fail not at this joy-bright hour!
Re-array thy holliest bower,