« PreviousContinue »
rages, to compass which the poor quadrupeds are half fed, and the bipeds are wholly unpaid, and either fed upon promises, or upon their savings in former places, being allowed to run on an account of board wages and standing wages without any certain time of payment for either.
Here, Miss Priscilla, whose Pa was a merchant, has fortune enough for house, for servants-male and female, for hospitality, and for charity; but, then, although her charms are either invisible to all but her own partial eye, or are declining apace, yet she may make a good match, and as appearance is every thing, she must have her landau to sun herself in, and her men both in livery and out of it. For this purpose, the hospitable board must shrink into a sandwich and a glass of table-beer for self,-not at home, for poor relations,-meagre fare for her domestics, and a sparing hand for her poor cattle: add to which, coachee converts the economical allowance of corn into ale or gin for himself, and trusts to the stimulus of the whip instead of hand-feeding to get his sorry animals on; whilst the poor, who blessed the sire, now anathematize the daughter, with famished countenances and with angry looks.
Knighthood has raised sir Robert above himself. He was once the faithful picture of an honest John Bull. Substantial fare furnished the plenteous board both above stairs and below; his friends, his neighbours, his clerks, and his servants, his porters and shopmen, his dependants and the poor, all partook of his generosity; and every thing flourished. Now, he fain would be the courtier, and would act and look the nobleman.
My lady too, has suffered a metamorphosis, since she was presented at court. Now, Botolph-lane smells offensive to her nose; St. Paul's church is an eye-sore to her quality; its matin bell an impertinent intrusion on her first sleep; she must have a house in some of the squares, (not Finsbury, for that has counting housesmoke in it, and savours of sugar and tobacco, of tea and indigo, of odious articles of traffic from the East and West Indies:) she must have her villa at Richmond or at Wimbledon, and her hothouse, conservatory, etcetera; not forgetting expensive dress and extravagant losses at play, in order to pay her footing amongst the nobility.
To meet all these expenditures, the open table is retrenched; state dinners are given in imitation of ministerial ones, but differing in this leading feature, that there-not a guest is asked but from some motive of interest, public or private, not a dish but is paid for again and again; nor is there even a miserable rat about the house that does not bring his price with him. Clerks, relatives, and dependents, are either treated as inferiors, or wholly cut; the servants' stomachs are guaged by my lady's wants, in order to pay her play debts; the horses' appetites are measured by the hunger of coachmen and grooms, unaccustomed to half allowance or short commons, and who purloin the corn to make up the deficit; all is finery or misery, excess or starvation, (the latter always falling to
the lot of the lower hardworking class;) the poor have no longer any portion in their bowels of compassion; nor have their bowels any portion of their former allowance; all is changed, all is external pomp and internal parsimony.
Such, too, is the rage for fashion, that every thing is immolated at its shrine; so that an empty coxcomb will put his whole fortune on his back, doing injustice to all around, in order to occupy a place in the beau monde; and a vain female will spend as much on rouge, odours, cosmetics, foreign frippery, and domestic dissipation, as would keep a whole family creditably, whilst she starves herself at home, and forces her abigail either to vice or dishonesty, in order to nourish the en bon point of her person, and the rose upon her cheek.
I know a lady, who has such a rage for high life, that, leaving a score of unprovided kinsmen and kinswomen in Essex, she has fixed her head-quarters in town. There she has sunk her small fortune for an annuity; what used to procure a substantial dinner daily, is converted into feathers and French lace; four maid-servants are turned into one footman and a char-woman; cousin Betty's annuity pays for the share of an opera box; the fat horses have been sold for a vis-a-vis with job cattle; the cows, poultry, and favourites of the brute species, with all implements of horticulture, dairy, etcetera, are melted into a suit of pearls; whilst the pittance of the poor hires musicians for one ball. Not a fragment must be lost, in order to pay for the chalking of her floors; and the flowers, which adorn her saloon, are extracted from so many ounces diur nally purloined from the stomachs of her two established attendants; whilst she shabbily receives the card-money, in order to remunerate occasional hired domestics, who are to swell her consequence by their number, at her occasional entertainment, and to impose upon the ignorant as her regular retinue.
These gilded meannesses, and unworthy sacrifices, are, every where, and in every body, unbecoming and disgusting. They pro ceed from a narrow heart and shallow understanding; and are generally and deservedly punished by the detection of envy. The thin veil which covers these moral deformities is easily seen through; and contempt and derision are, not unfrequently, substituted for admiration and praise, just as those who raise a dust in order to blind their neighbours, are obscured and smothered by it themselves.
I spare the name of a dowager, whose allowance to servants is a red herring or an egg each per diem, and half a pound of coarse bread, with the smallest beer in Europe. This enables her to keep a man and a boy, and to give Madeira at her suppers; whilst port and sherry, and one male less, might have afforded one good meal to each of the inmates of her house. It happened, that the footboy's stomach making an ugly rumbling behind her ladyship's chair at supper, she gave him one of her petrifying looks, and asked him what was that vile noise which she heard? The lad (an Aberdo
nian) answered, It's naething but an empty soond, my leddy.' A, general titter seized her guests, among which was
THE HERMIT IN LONDON..
ART. V.-New American Poems.
1. New England, and other Poems; by William B. Tappan. Philadelphia. 1819. 24mo. pp. 108.
2. Imagination; The Maniac's Dream, and other Poems; by Henry T. Farmer, M. D. Member of the Historical Society of New York. New York. 1819. 12mo. pp. 163.
3. Mississippian Scenery, a Poem, descriptive of the interior of North America; by Charles Mead. Philadelphia. 1819. 12mo. Pp. 113.
4. The Frontier Maid, or a Tale of Wyoming; a Poem in Five Cantos. Wilkesbarre. 1819. pp. 208.
5. The Battle of Niagara. Second edition. Enlarged with other Poems; by John Neal. Baltimore 1819. pp. 272.
F the poetical department of our national literature, has heretofore suffered under neglect and fallen into disrepute, certainly present indications seem to promise an alteration for the better.
The poems whose titles we have mentioned above, all recently published, although not perhaps destined to immortalize their authors, are all very respectable, and merit a welcome admission into the libraries of our belles-lettres scholars. The public will naturally augur well, from seeing the fearlessness with which these young, or at least new poets, put themselves forward, giving their names openly, with their productions, to the world, as an assurance of their own confidence in the merit of their poetry, and in the liberal judgment of their fellow citizens.
We have not the pleasure of a personal acquaintance with any one of them; it is impossible to peruse the poems, however, without a conviction that the writers are our countrymen, and gentlemen of talent and cultivated taste.
The modest, and simply eloquent, preface of Mr. Tappan, particularly, is inexpressibly prepossessing. It is not,' he says, without diffidence the following productions of a youthful Muse are submitted to an impartial public. The author is conscious that individual approbation is not the criterion by which success is to be anticipated. Under the full weight of this impression, he ventures to publish these effusions, with the sincere hope, that if they do not add a sprig to the increasing luxuriance of American literature, they will not diminish the number of those who regard piety and virtue as the only sure avenues to peace and happiness.'
The poetry of this little volume is remarkable for the purity of sentiment which breathes throughout; it contains New England,' a poem of about three hundred lines, descriptive of the early history of the Eastern states; a number of smaller miscellaneous pieces, and a collection of Sacred Pieces,' in which the charms of
verse are most happily employed in the expression of religious feeling. We proceed to extract a few specimens, without selection, for all are good. And first from New England.'
Say, youthful muse, how glows the generous heart,
A phalanx firm, in freedom's cause arrayed,
Here on thy plainst the symbol was unfurled,
Thy fields yet stained with veteran blood, can tell
How rived thy bosom when thy children fell!
Thy chieftains brave-thy statesmen, wisdom's pride,
*Landing of the Fathers.
+ Battle of Lexington.
In the revolutionary struggle, the daughters of New England by a voluntary sacrifice, abstaining from the use of foreign luxuries, accelerated the efforts of their husbands and fathers in the cause of liberty.
From the Sacred Pieces.
'Weep not, when sad distress is nigh,
Weep not, when death with cruel dart,
When hallowed friendship decks the bier,
Weep not-for as the morning cloud,
With opening spring, its bloom revives;
THE MORNING STAR.
'I am the root and offspring of David, and the Bright and Morning Star. Rev. xxii. 16.'
'Benighted on the troublous main,
While stormy terrors clothe the sky;
And nought but dark despair is nigh-
With radiant splendour shines afar;
That beams on ocean's weary breast;
It lulls his fears to peaceful rest-
For night and danger, now are far;
His guide the Bright and Morning Star.
And waves of sorrow, and of sin,
And all is dark and drear within-
And shines the Bright and Morning Star.
From the Miscellaneous Pieces, we take the following.