Page images

Englislı society, entitle them to the use of such costly | Indian or European traders -- respectable personages attire. Notwithstanding this, we are informed that enough in their way, and, peradventure, not much given there is no such thing as distress to be found in this to show; but the wife and the daughters must have brilliant and imprudent community. Formerly, accordo their britska or barouche, though they do pinch a little ing to Mr Forbes, when an officer of respectability, at home to maintain it; and on the course at least, the whether civil or military, died, a subscription was im- wife of the uncovenanted subordinate may jostle the lady mediately set on foot for the widow and children, which of the head of the office. When we consider how much was not only always liberal, but not unfrequently con- is often sacrificed to support the dignity of the carriage ferred on the parties a degree of permanent afiluence and pair-how much substantial comfort is thrown greater than the prospects from which death had ex- aside to make room for this little bit of ostentationcluded them. At present, the reviewer tells us, such that the equipage is with many the thing from which subscriptions are not known---simply because they are they derive much of their importance--we soon cease not wanted. The funds for the retirement of officers, to wonder at the formidable array of assuming conveyand the maintenance of widows and children, together ances which throng the course every evening at sunset, with the almost universal custom of life-insurance, do and present a scene which, as one of daily recurrence, everything that before was accomplished through the has not perhaps its parallel in the world.' painful means of charity. A young civilian is said, On the return from the drive, a late dinner winds up in the matrimonial market, to be worth L.300 a-year, the day; at which the patriotic guests, with carpets dead or alive, and a young military officer worth L.100 beneath them, and curtains around them, determine to a-year. Yet private benevolence is still active, not in be European all over, and stew themselves in broad occasional, and perhaps ostentatious donations, but in cloth! Formerly, white jackets were tolerated, and the regular support of hospitals, infirmaries, and other white trousers fashionable ; but now, the greater the institutions; while the extra funds of the Anglo-Indians dinner or the ball, and the more stifling the crowd, the are likewise freely bestowed in the patronage of the arts more indispensable is it for the English in India to disand sciences, unknown to their predecessors of even the pense with everything adapted to the place and climate, last generation.

and cover their persons with garments similar to those The mode of spending a day in India has been fre. worn by the English at home. quently described, but, as regards the present time, Much of the improvement of manners and morals very erroneously. Formerly, the case was different. which has taken place within the last fifty years in The number of English was small, and the habits of India is owing, as has been said, to corresponding imsociety, therefore, uniform. Up to a certain date we provements at home, but something is also due to the are able to note, with tolerable accuracy, their mode of influence of the press. A growing indulgence in the passing the time; but they now form a large, variously, respectable literature of England is one of the most obviconstituted, and widely-dispersed community, and the ous engines of social advancement. We have more leisame social differences are observed among them as sure in Calcutta for reading,' says a recent Anglo-Indian we find at home. Early rising, however, is the general writer, 'than the majority of people in England who rule; many men being habitually on horseback before work for their daily bread. We are seldom called upon the sun is up. Breakfast is taken at all hours--from to consider the relative advantages of a new book and a sunrise till eleven; and it varies from a cup of tea and country ride. We are so little out of doors, that books a slice of dry toast, to a repast of rice, eggs, fish, cold constitute our principal source of recreation; and new meat, fruits, and preserves. From breakfast to five or books are as plentiful in Calcutta-I speak of course six o'clock, the men of business, civil or military, toil with regard to the demands of the community—as they in their sultry offices; while with others, and especially are in any town of England. Then there are our newsmany of the female part of the community, the day is papers. Wly, no man could possibly read them attendivided by tiffin--the substantial Indian lunch. Before tively, without making a tolerable acquaintance with tiffin is the time for paying and receiving morning visits; the literature and science of the western world in all after that, a lady is her own mistress till her husband their rapidly-progressive stages.'. But this is not the returns from business, and takes her out for a drive, or case in the capitals of the presidencies alone; for the accompanies her carriage on horseback; or, wearied, remotest station has its book-club, furnished either vexed, and dispirited with the cares of the world, sends from these cities, or from London direct; and there is her forth to eat the air' alone. As for the siesta hardly a regiment or detachment, either in cantonments between tiffin and the drive, that has gone a good deal or on the march, which is not provided with its library, out of fashion. Men of business can no longer afford and regularly supplied with newspapers and periodicals. the time; and it has been discovered that sleeping in Recently, indeed,' says the Calcutta Review, 'every. the daytime is merely an indolent habit, and not an thing has been in our favour; and not the least of the indispensable of the climate.

many favourable circumstances which have tended toThe evening drive is the grand slow of Calcutta. wards the advancement of European literature in India, Hyde Park in full season is nothing to it. “No sooner resides in the cheapness and portability of many works does the setting sun tinge the western horizon, than all now issuing from the London press. Though we are the English residents in Calcutta throw open their doors now in the enjoyment of improved means of internal and windows, make a hasty toilet, and sally forth, in communication throughout the country, there are still carriage or on horseback, to enjoy the evening air. many parts of India in which no great facilities for the Before the sun has disappeared behind the western conveyance of heavy parcels exist; and such convey. bank of the river, the strand is crowded with vehicles ance, even under most favourable circumstances, of every description — a concourse as denso as that always attended with considerable expense. The treawhich may be seen on the Epsom Road during the race- suries of regimental book-clubs are seldom overflowing ; week, with even more entanglements and embarrass- and there are not many private individuals who can set ments, for there is a stream setting both ways. One aside any very large sums for the purchase and the marvels who all these people are that own these hun- carriage of new books. India is therefore especially be

dreds of carriages. The first impression made upon the holden to those enterprising publisliers who have under| mind of the stranger is, that there must be an enormous taken to reduce both the price and the bulk of the

number of wealthy inhabitants in Calcutta. But the works they put in circulation.' equipage is, in reality, no sort of index to the worldly All this is so far good, but as we presume that Bripossessions of the owner. It may let you, perhaps, into tain retains India as much for the benefit of the native the secret of a man's vanity, certainly not of his income. races as for that of the mercantile and military classes Some of the most pretending equipages on the course of England, we hope the Calcutta reviewer will soon be are sported by people belonging to the second class of able to give us an account of what is doing to elevate society—uncovenanted goverument servants, petty East ! and improve that enormous native population of India

by the establishment of schools and otherwise. Until little gentry in the place for information about Shelley : this is done, and done thoroughly, we shall view Hin- they knew nothing of any such person. At length, doostan only in the light of an encampment-a country after much research, and the running to and fro of kept and domineered over only for the sake of plunder, waiters from the inn, I was directed to an ancient surall pretensions to the contrary notwithstanding. geon who had attended almost every body for the last

half century. I found him an old man of nearly ninety,

He recollected Shelley ; had attended him, but knew HOWITT'S HIOMES AND HAUNTS OF THE little about him. He was a very unsocial man, lie POETS.*

said ; kept no company but Mr Peacock's, and that of

his boat, and was never seen in the town but he had a Me Howitt, with good literary powers in himself, has book in his hand, and was reading as lie went along. that feeling for literature and literary men which seems The old gentleman, lowever, kindly sent liis servant to necessary to one who would describe in a fitting manner point out Shelley's house to me; and as I returned up the homes and haunts of the poets. He has accord the street, I saw him standing bareheaded on the paveingly produced out of this subject one of those works, ment before his door, in active discourse with various lighter than history, graver than fiction, half-informing, Marlowean curiosity. On coming up, the old gentle

neighbours. My inquiries had evidently aroused the half-emotional, which are now becoming the predo- man inquired eagerly if I wanted to learn more yet minant books of the day. It is a beautifully-prepared about Mr Shelley ? I had learned little or nothing. I book, with excellent wood-engravings, and some of those replied that I should be very happy. “Then,” said external elegancies which mark the Christmas publica- he, “ come in, sir, for I have sent for a gentleman who tions. Like every other work of its author, it contains knows all about him.” I entered, and found a tall, some free enunciations of opinion, which are apt to go well-dressed man, with a very solemn aspect. “It is gratingly over certain consciences; it is also not free the squire of the place,” said I to myself. With a very from errors in small matters of fact; but, apart from sat down opposite to each other.

solenin bow he arose, and with very solemn bows we these drawbacks — and what book can be wholly free hear,” I said, " that you knew Mr Shelley, and can give

"I am happy to from them?—we consider it as a most pleasant visitant, me some particulars regarding his residence here." "I whether for the season, or for a permanency.'

can, sir," he replied with another solemn bow. I waited There are about forty poets noticed, three-fourths of to hear news; but I waited in rain. That Mr Shelley whom are men of the last or present age. The selec- had lived there, and that he had long left there, and tion is not wholly with a regard to the distinction of that his house was down the street, and that he was a individuals, but partly with reference to the accident of very extraordinary man, he knew, and I knew; but that there being something interesting to say about their Marlowe came out of the solemn brain of that large

was all: not a word of his doings or his sayings at homes or haunts. There is also much biographical and solemn man. But at length a degree of interest apcritical matter, the former necessarily not new. Geo- peared to gather in his cheeks and brighten in his eyes. graphical considerations have evidently been no ob ** Thank God!” I exclaimed inwardly; "the man is struction to Mr Howitt. He has gone north to Deeside slow, but it is coming now.”. His mouth opened, and for the scenes of Byron's boyhood, and into the wilds he said, " But pray, sir, what became of that Mr of Ireland for the residences of Spencer and Goldsmith. Shelley ?" On many occasions he seems to have travelled as a

“Good gracious!" I exclaimed.

“\Vhat! did you pedestrian with a knapsack, in quest of the places he miles from London—that sad story of his death, which

never hear? Did it never reach Marlowe—but thirty required to visit. He mingled freely with the people on created a sensation throughout the civilised world?" | all occasions; drew from them their traditionary remi. No; the thing had never penetrated into the Baotian niscences, and listened to their remarks, of which he denseness of that place! 'I rose up, and now bowed has made liberal use in his book. It occurs to us, solemnly too. “ And pray what family might he leave?" largely experienced in the same kind of adventures- asked the solemn personage, as I was hasting away. that Mr Howitt was at times unreasonable in expect--- You will learn that," I said, still going away, “ in the ing information from a humble class of people, and Baronetage, if such a book ever reaches Marlowe.” expresses a needless impatience under the disappoint- ready for my departure, and was just in the act of

I hastened to the inn where my chaise was standing ments he met with. The best intelligence about a person entering it, when I heard a sort of outcry, perceived a or an event is not always to be got exactly at the spot sort of bustle behind me, and turning my head, saw the where the one lived or the other took place.

tall and solemn man hasting with huge and anxious There is, nevertheless, some value in what Mr IIowitt strides after me. sets down with regard to those living near the homes of “You'll excuse me, sir ; you'll excuse me, I think ; the poets. The general result is, that the common people but I could relate to you a fact, and I think I will venture are either grossly ignorant of the names and characters to relate to you a fact, connected with the late Mr of the bright spirits which lived amongst them, or else Shelley.” “Do,” said I. “I think I will,replied the tall have regarded them with prejudice. We are told, for his full height, far above my head, and casting a most

stout man, heaving a deep sigh, and erecting himself to example, of Wordsworth, Coleridge, and one or two other awful glance at the sky. “ I think I will-I think I may Foung literary men living harmlessly in studious retire- venture.” • It is certainly something very sad and ment at Allfoxden, and being so much persecuted by agonising,” I said to myself; “ but I wish he would only the gross suspicions of their neighbours, as to be at last bring it out.” “Well, then,” continued he, with another obliged to leave the place. Mr Howitt went down to heave of his capacious chest, and another great glance Marlowe, to inquire after the residence of Shelley in at the distant horizon, “I certainly will mention it

. that town, and had considerable difficulty in learning all his bills to be paiù most honourably, certainly most

It was this. When Mr Shelley left Marlowe, he ordered anything about the object of his inquiries ; in this case honournbly ; and they were all paid-all-exceptit was not the humbler class of people alone who mine! There, sir! it is out; excuse it-excuse it; but showed ignorance. We give some of his adventures in I am glad it is out." his own words.

" What!-a bill?” I exclaimed in profoundest as• It was in vain that I inquired amongst the class of tonishment. “A bill! Was that all?”*

“ All, sir-all! Everything of the sort : every shilling, * Two volumes, 8vo. Bentley, London. 1847.

I assure you, has been paid but my little account, and

“ But

it was my fault: I don't know how in the world I forgot | little ungrateful that he has never written to us since to send it in."

he went, three years ago. Yet I hear that he is alive “What!” said I; "are you not the squire here? and well in Jamaica. I cannot but think that rather What are you?"

ungrateful,” he added; "but of a' Robin Burns's poems, “Oh, Lord! no, sir! I am no squire here. I am a there's none, to my thinking, that comes up to that one tradesman! I am-in the general way!”

_Man was made to mourn.'” “Drive on!” I said, springing into the carriage ; 'I could not help again glancing at the thin pale " drive like the Dragon of Wantley out of this place- figure which went as softly at my side as if it were a Shelley is remembered in Marlowe because there was ghost, and could not wonder that Burns was the idol one bill left unpaid !”

of the poor throughout Scotland, and that the Sunday Perhaps there are reasons for this ignorance beyond wanderer of his native place had clung so fondly to the what Mr Howitt thinks of. We shall say what occurs southern visitor of the same sacred spot. to us on the subject after quoting what will generally “ Can you explain to me,” I asked, “ what it is that be felt as an interesting contrast, Mr Howitt's conver- makes Burns such a favourite with you all in Scotland ? sation with a poor elderly working-man, whom he fell in Other poets you have, and great ones. Out of the same with on a Sunday forenoon, while walking from Ayr to class, too, you had Hogg, but I do not perceive the same the Burns scenery on Doonside. Our author having instant flash, as it were, of an electric feeling when any made an inquiry as to which of two ways led to Burns's name is named but that of Burns.” monument, the face of his fellow-stroller kindled with an “I can tell,” said he, “why it is. It is because he instant animation. ""I am going part of the way, sir," had the heart of a man in him. He was all heart and he said, " and will be proud to show it you.” I begged all man; and there's nothing, at least in a poor man's him not to put himself at all out of his way. “Oh,” experience, either bitter or sweet, which can happen to said he, “ I am going to look at my potato plot, which him, but a line of Burns springs into his mouth, and lies out here.” We fell into conversation about Burns: gives him courage and comfort if he needs it. It is like the way again showed a fresh branch-that was the way a second Bible.” to his potato field; but the poor fellow gave a hesi •I was struck with the admirable criticism of the tating look; he could not find in his heart to give up poor artisan. What acuteness of genius is like the talking about Burns, and begged that I would do him acuteness of a sharp experience after all ?' the honour to allow him to walk on with me.

With one remark on Mr Howitt's friend, that he your potatoes, my friend?” “Oh, they'll tak no harm, was but a type of a whole genus of toiling, self-denying sir: the weather's very growing weather. One feels a poor in our land- too often laughed at as over-cautious natural curiosity to see how they thrive, but that will and frugal, when they are only just and independentdo next Sunday, if you would allow me to go on with we pass on to say that one cause of the difference beyou?”

tween Marlowe and Ayr may be in what Mr Howitt I assured him that nothing would give me greater himself unconsciously suggests—that such writings as pleasure. I only feared that I might keep him out too those of Shelley have not that adaptation to common long, for I must see all about Burns's birthplace, Kirk feelings and common necessities and sorrows which Alloway, the Brig of Doon, the monument, and every- belongs to those of Burns. Burns was, in fact, one of a thing of the kind. It was now about noon, and must thousand anong the poets, in the fact of his having be his dinner hour. He said “ No; he never had dinner written for the people. It is not, therefore, wonderful to on a Sunday; for years he had accustomed himself to find the remainder of the thousand comparatively little only two meals on that day, because he earned nothing known. on it, and had ten children! But he generally took a Mr Howitt has been at unusual pains with the locawalk out into the country, and got a good mouthful of lities of poor Goldsmith, notwithstanding that Mr fresh air, and that did him a deal of good.”

Prior, his biographer, has gone over and described I looked more closely at my new companion. He everything most carefully. The Auburn of the “Dewas apparently sixty, and looked like a man accustomed serted Village' is the hamlet of Lissoy, near Kilkenny to dine on air. He was of a slight and grasshopper West; yet not exactly so, for the poet, to give his poem build ; his face was thin and pale; his hair grizzled; greater currency, adopted many traits of the villages of yet there was an intelligence in his large gray eyes, but | England into his description of an Irish hamlet. The it was a sad intelligence-one which had long kept fel- place really had been depopulated and rooted out, as lowship with patience and suffering. His gray coat, happens with villages every day in Ireland; but the and hat well worn, and his clean but coarse shirt-collar celebrity of the poem afterwards caused a Mr Hogan to turned down over a narrow band of a blue cotton re-erect it in part, including the public-house, which is neckerchief, with its long ends dangling over his waist- perhaps the most English article in the whole descripcoat, all denoted a poor, but a careful and superior man. tion. Mr Hogan rebuilt the public-house, on the spot I cannot tell what a feeling of sympatlıy came over me, where tradition placed the old one, with the traditionary how my heart warmed towards the poor fellow. We thorn in front. He gave it the sign of “The Jolly went on. Gay groups of people met us, and seemed to Pigeons ;” he supplied it with new copies of “ The cast looks of wonder at the stranger and his poor asso Twelve Good Rules,” and “The Royal Game of Goose;" ciate; but I asked myself whether, if we could know, as he went even to the length of the ludicrous in his zeal God knows, the hearts and merits of every individual for an accurate fac-simile of the genuine house-and of those well-dressed and laughing walkers, we should find amongst them one so heroic as to renounce his

“ Broken ten-cups, wisely kept for show, Sunday dinner, as a perpetual practice, because he

Ranged o'er the chimney, glistened in a row." “earned nothing on that day, and had ten children.” | These, to perpetuate them, were fast imbedded in the Was there a man or a woman amongst them who, if mortar; but in vain. Relic-hunters knocked them out, they knew this heroic man, as I now knew him, would fictitious as they were, and carried them off as genuine. not desire to give him, for that one day at least, a good | The very sign did not escape this relic mania. It is no dinner, and as much pleasure as they could ?

longer to be seen; nor, I suppose, were a new one to be “ My friend,” said I, “ I fear you have had more than set up, would it long remain. The new “ Twelve Good your share of hardship in this life?”

Rules," and new “ Royal Game of Goose," have gone “ Nay,” he replied, he could not say that. He had the same way; and there is no question that a brave had to work hard, but what poor man had not? But trade in such things might be carried on with what he had had many comforts; and the greatest comfort Goldsmith calls “ the large family of fools," if a supply in life had been, that all his children had taken good were kept here. The very thorn before the door has ways; "if I don't except,” and the old man sighed, been cut down piecemeal, and carried off to all quarters one lad who has gone for a soldier; and I think it a of the world. The house is wholly unlike the proto

type in the poem. "The “Jolly Pigeons” is just a re 'A poor woman named Catherine Geraghty was supgular Irish alehouse, or rather whisky-shop. On going posed to be in, you look in vain for the picture Goldsmith has so

"Yon widowed, solitary thing, beautifully drawn. The varnished clock clicking be

That feebly bends beside the plashy spring : hind the door, the pictures placed for ornament and

Bhe, wretched matron, pressed in age for bread, use, the twelve good rules, the royal game of goose,

To strip the brook with mantling cresses spread." where are they? Not there, but in many an old- The brook and ditches near where her cabin stood still fashioned hamlet of England. The mud-floor, the dirty furnish cresses, and several of her descendants reside in walls, the smell of whisky, these are what meet you. the neighbourhood. The school-house is still pointed You look for the “parlour splendours,” and on your left out; but it is unfortunate for its identity that no schoolhand there is, for a wonder, a separate room ; but it is, house was built then, school being taught in the masas usual, filled with the candles, the herrings, the breadter's cottage. There is more evidence in nature of the of the Irish alehouse; and the whisky is doled out over poet's recalling the place of his boyhood as he wrote his the suspicious counter, instead of the nut-brown ale poem. The waters and marshy lands, in more than one being brought in the generous foaming cup to the direction, gave him acquaintance with the singular bright clean fireside by the neat and blooming maid.' bird which he has introduced with such effect, as an

After some remarks on the still continued practice of image of desolationdepopulation, Mr Howitt thus proceeds :- Under all

“ Along thy glades, a solitary guest, these circumstances, Auburn or Lissoy, which you will,

The hollow-sounding bittern guards its nest." will always be visited with enthusiasm by the genuine lovers of purest poetry and of kindly humanity. The Little charm as Lissoy has at the present moment, invisitor will not find all there that he naturally looks for. dependent of association with Oliver Goldsmith, with He will not find the country very beautiful, or the mill, him and genius it possesses one that grows upon you the brook, the alehouse, as rural and picturesque as he the more you trace the scenes made prominent in his could wish; but he will find the very ground on which poem, and we leave it with regret.' Oliver Goldsmith ran in the happy days of his boyhood, Amidst the sentiments scattered through this book the ruins of the house in which that model of a village are many in which we cannot sympathise. Some, howpreacher-simple, pious, and warm-hearted, justly, in- ever, are noble and beautiful-as, for example, the foldeed, dear to all the country-lived, the father of the lowing, which occurs after a quotation from "Thomson's poet; the ruins of the house in which the poet himself Seasons :'— 'It is the grand defect of our systems of spent a happy childhood, cherishing under such a parent education, for rich and for poor, but pre-eminently for one of the noblest spirits which ever glowed for truth the former, that it is not taught that no man can live and humanity - fearing no ridicule, contracting no innocently who lives only for his own enjoyment; that worldliness; never abating, spite of harsh experience to live merely to enjoy ourselves is the highest treason and repeated imposition, one throb of pity or of gene- against God and man; that God does not live merely rous sympathy for the wretched. ... Every circum- for himself

, his eternal existence is one constant work stance connected with the “Deserted Village” of such a of beneficence; and that it is the social duty of every man will always be deeply interesting to the visitor of rational being to live like God his Creator, for the good the spot, and we must, for that reason, notice one or two of others. Were this law of duty taught faithfully in facts of the kind before quitting Lissoy. Mr Best, an all our schools, with all its responsibilities, the penalties Irish clergyman, met by Mr Davies in his travels in the of its neglect, the ineffable delight of its due discharge, United States, said, “ The name of the schoolmaster there would be no longer seen that moral monster, the was Paddy Burns. I remember him well. He was in man or woman who lives alone for the mere purpose of deed a man severe to view. A woman called Walsey selfish enjoyment. That host of gay and idle creatures Cruse kept the alebouse. I have often been in the who pass through life only to glitter in the circles of house. The hawthorn bush was remarkably large, and fashion ; to seek admiration for personal attractions and stood opposite the house. I was once riding with Brady,, accomplishments—for dressing, playing, dancing, or titular bishop of Ardagh, when he observed to me- riding-whose life is but the life of a butterfly, when

Ma foy, Best, this huge overgrown bush is mightily it should be the life of a man, would speedily disperse, in the way: I will order it to be cut down! What, and be no more seen. That life would be shrunk from sir!' said I, cut down Goldsmith's hawthorn bush, that as a thing odious and criminal, because useless, when supplies so beautiful an image in the Deserted Village!' faculties, wealth, and fame are put into their hands, Ma foy!' exclaimed the bishop, “is that the hawthorn and a world is laid before them in which men are to be bush? Then ever let it be sacred from the edge of the saved and exalted; misery, crime, shame, despair, and axe, and evil to him that would cut from it a branch !”” | death prevented; and all the hopes and capacities for

• In other places the schoolmaster is called, not Paddy good in the human soul are to be made easy to the Burns, but Thomas Byrne, evidently the same person. multitude. To live for these objects is to be a hero or He had been educated for school teaching, but had gone a heroine, and any man or woman may be that; to live into the army, and serving in Spain during the reign through this world of opportunities given but once, and of Queen Anne, became quartermaster of the regiment. to neglect them, is the most fearful fate that can befall On the return of peace he took up his original calling. a creature of eternal responsibilities.' He is represented to be well qualified to teach ; little Mr Howitt indulges in some fierce outbursts against more than writing, reading, and arithmetic were wanted, critics--he had better let these gentlemen alone. After but he could translate extemporaneously Virgil's Ec- all, a critic is but a literary man in a certain position, logues into Irish verse in considerable elegance. But liis or undertaking a certain duty. The general inducegrand accomplishment was the narration of his adven- ments for his doing this duty conscientiously, and to tures, which was commonly exercised in the alehouse; the best of his judgment and power, are as great as at the same time that, when not in a particular humour these are in any other department of literature. If he for teaching, he would edify his boys in the school with fails in many instances, do not men fail in other tasks as one of his stories. Amongst his most eager listeners well? Our author is often misled, too, by what appear was Oliver, who was so much excited by what he heard, to us as singular prejudices. For example, he rails that his friends used to ascribe his own love of rambling at universal England for not endowing the descendants to this cause. The schoolmaster was, in fact, the very of Shakspeare's sister! Alas! how many duties more man to raise the imagination in the young poet. He pressing and practical has England failed in! How was eccentric in his habits, of a romantic turn, wrote vain, then, the denunciations on such a subject ! poetry, was well-versed in the fairy superstitions of the In the article on Wordsworth, Mr Howitt gives a country, and, what is not less common in Ireland, be view of that gentleman's poetry, which will startle lieved implicitly in their truth.

many of his young worshippers. • It is,' says our


" A gift

author, 'simply a poetic Quakerisn. He [the quaker] of the inductive philosophy ? We suspect, however, believes that if he “ centres down," as he calls it, into that the truth of feeling, not the truth of fact, is meant his own mind, and puts to rest all his natural faculties by the votaries of this systeni, or at least that beyond and thoughts, he will receive the impulses and intima- that point it is but a dream. tions of the Divine Spirit. He is not to seek, to strive, to inquire, but to be passive and receive. This is precisely the great doctrine of Wordsworth as it regards WAITING FOR A COMMISSION. poetry. He believes the Divine Spirit which fills the universe to have so moulded all the forms of visible nature, as to make them to us perpetual monitors and IDLENESS, they say, is the parent of all evil. If the instructors.' Thus in the poem, The Tables Turned," proverb be a true one—and few, I think, will be disthis doctrine is announced. The poet calls his friend posed to doubt it—there is then a suficient reason why from his books, as full of toil and trouble, adding this green isle of ours should be one of the most “And hark! how blithe the throstle sings!

vicious countries in the world; for certainly in no other lle, too, is no mean preacher:

under the sun are so many genuine idlers to be found, Come forth into the light of things,

young men especially. Living on their "expectancies,' Let nature be your teacher.

they go on from day to day-from boyhood to youth, She has a world of ready wealth

and from youth to manlıood-existing, nobody knows Our minds and hearts to bless Spontancous wisilom breathed by health,

how, and looking forward to, nobody can tell what. In Truth breathed by chcerfulness.

other lands, parents educate and bring up their cluildren One impulse from a vernal wood

with some definite pursuit in view. Here, it is different. My teach you more of man,

Fathers and mothers trust to chance, as though it were
Of moral evil and of good,
Than all the sages can.

the surest possible source of provision for their fami.

lies. One man depends upon his own interest, another Swect is the loro which nature brings; Our meddling intellect

upon that of his wife. One has a twenty-first cousin Misshapes the beauteous forms of things :

deputy something or other in a government office. A We murder to dissect.

second is connected by marriage with a lord (people in Enough of science and of art;

Ireland think a lord can do anything and everything).
Close up their barren leaves;

A third was a schoolfellow of the lord chancellor, or a
Come forth, and bring with you a heart
That watches and receives."

college companion of the attorney-general. A fourth * Wordsworth tells us that to this practice of quitting served in the militia. A fifth gave the casting vote at men, louks, and theories, and seeking communion with a contested election: and the great-grandfather of a nature, he owes

sixth did something wonderful a hundred years ago.

Thus each and all have, or imagine they have, a cerOf aspect most sublime: that blessed mood

tainty of one at least of their offspring being provided In which the burden of the mystery,

for; and thus they bring them up in idleness, having In which the heavy and the weary weight Of all this unintelligible world

given them an education, to get on hereafter as they Is lightened : that serene and blessed mood,

best may-upon their expectations. The consequence In which the affections gently lead us on, Until the breath of this corporeal frame,

is, that idlers are to be found wherever you go. There And even the motion of our human blood,

is no circle without then—no family, from the peasant's Almost suspended, we are laid asleep

to the peer's, but can reckon one or more of them In body, and become a living soul. While with an eye made quiet by the power

amongst its members or connexions. Of harmony, aud the deep power of joy,

These idlers are of various grades, according to their We see into the life of things."

different degrees of respectability, or perhaps I should • This is perfect Quakerism; the grand demand of rather say according to the rank of life in which each which is, that you shall put down“ this meddling intel- is born and moves. Some look forward to one thing, lect, which missliapes the beauteous forms of things ;” some to another. There is no situation in the empire, shall lay at rest the actions and motions of your own minds, and subdue the impatience of the body, till, as

from the treasury to a tide-waitership, but has at least Wordsworth has most clearly stated it,

a hundred pair of expectant eyes watching eagerly for " The breath of this corporeal frame,

a vacancy. The grand object, however, is a commission And even the motion of our human Wood,

in the army—that is the great end and object of an Almost suspended, we are laid asleep

Irishman's ambition. It is really astonishing how nuIn body, and become a living soul."

merous are these would-be heroes ; and I verily believe There is much more to this purpose-the passage is that if but one-half the youth of Ireland who are at this altogether a remarkable one. The poet and the moment wasting their time and talents in the unproFriends agree,' we are told, that there is a power seated fitable pursuit of waiting for commissions, were at in the human soul superior to the understanding, supe-once to obtain the thing they seek, an army would be rior to the reasoning faculty, the sure test of truth, to created, of officers alone, sufficient to carry conquest which every man may confidently appeal in all cases, for it is the voice of God himself. With the poet and throughout the world. I know not whether it be owing the I'riends the result of this divine philosophy is the to the martial spirit of her sons, or the degree of admisame-the most perfect patience, the most holy con ration bestowed upon red-coats by her daughters, but it fidence in the ever-present Divinity; connected with no is an undeniable fact, that the thing I speak of is a forms, no creeds, no particular conditions of men ; not perfect passion in Ireland, and that, let the cause be confined by, not approachable only in temples and what it may, at least a moiety of our respectable' churches, but free as his own winds, boundless as his own seas, universal as his own sunshine over all his young men set the first wishes of their hearts upon varied lands and people ; whispering peace in the lonely

entering the army. forest, courage on the seas, adoration on the mountains

You go to a dinner-party or a ball, and meet a goodtops, hope under the burning tropics and the blistering looking, well-dressed, gentlemanly fellow, who knows lash of the savage white man, joy in the dungeon, and everybody, and is up to everything in the ring. From the glory on the deathbed.'

turf to the drawing-room, from the kennel to the library, If truth is to be learnt in this way, what is the use his conversation ranges. With the details and materiel

« PreviousContinue »