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THE LION'S HEAD.
Our Correspondent, W.C. P. who inquires whether the King's Library is to be sent to Montague House for the use of the statues or the public, is informed that we do not know.
We have received the following letter.
To the Editor of the London Magazine. SIR.-On looking over some old papers which belonged to an intimate friend long since deceased, I found the inclosed little poem, which perhaps you may be happy to rescue from that oblivion to which it was apparently hastening. It appears, as you will observe, to be written in a female hand; but I have seldom met with as beautiful specimens of unpretending poetry from “the lords of the creation." I have no idea who the fair Sappho might be, for the poem is without signature ; nor perhaps would she wish to acknowledge it, as my friend, to whom the verses were addressed, died at an early age, unmarried. Its publication, however, can betray no secret ; and I think it needs only to be known to be admired.
I am, Sir, yours, &c.
A. B. Lichfield, June 3, 1823.
Whene'er we part from those we love,
And, faint with sorrow, languish,
The pressure of such anguish ?
For past delight is sorrow;
Long ere the promised morrow.
The moment of returning
And recompense its mourning.
Keep such convenient measure :
I pay too dear for pleasure.
“ A Project for the Prevention of Duels" is certainly as simple in theory, as, we have no doubt, it would be found efficacious in practice. The projector requires merely an Act, of the following nature, to be passed by the legislature, to ensure the total suppression of this honourable species of homicide throughout the kingdom, viz. “ that all other methods of duelling shall be illegal and punishable by death, but that by pistols : that under the same penalty, the parties shall be obliged to fight in spencers, waistcoats, or coats without skirts, at their choice: that under the same penalty, they shall be compelled to stand with their backs facing each other; and,
that under the same penalty, each shall take aim at the life of the other, by stooping himself forward, and firing between his own legs at his opponent. The projector contends, and it must be allowed with some show of truth, that the ludicrous position in which each party would view the other at the fatal moment, would inevitably lead to good humour and reconciliation. He further adds, that no man of honour, in his opinion, could think of taking another person's life behind his back, as he must do in the situation prescribed by the projector.” We have no hesitation in declaring that the above humane project has our warmest approval; but we very much doubt whether it would be conformable to the gravity and sobriety of our Collective Wisdom to pass such a statute. Nevertheless, if the projector choose to persist in his design, we recommend him to lay the case before Richard Martin, Esq. MP. who has always been celebrated for his abhorrence of the practice of Duelling, and has lately immortalized himself by his Act against “ Cruelty to Animals,” under which head the custom of duelling may very properly come.
The Author of the verses to “ Ellen” may be assured that if the sincerity of his attachment does not recommend him to his mistress, his poetry never will.
(By a Person who never could write one.) Sonnets are things I never yet could write :
And yet can give no reason. Why the deuce !
Should not I-such a Genius-write a spruce,
• 0, silver-shifted Maid ! bright Luna'-Truce,
Writes sonnets at the Moon : I'll no excuse.
Truly, a pretty piece of business of it; scrawling,
Blotting, and Oh's! and Ah's! and zig-zag drawling,
Gave me his crown, I could not do it. Tut! man-
If the Author of “ Four Quatrains on the Four Seasons” could by any means contrive to curtail his poem fifteen or sixteen lines, we will readily give it insertion.
G. Li's MSS. remain at our publisher’s till called for. They display considerable ability, but are totally unsuited to the nature of our work. :
“ Letters from Spain" would be peculiarly acceptable under the existing circumstances of our Continental neighbours; but they must be authentic, judiciously written, and, moreover, free from party spirit of either denomination.
MR. SOUTHEY AND PROFESSOR PORSON.
rature, could not construe a Greek I SUSPECT, Mr. Southey, that you sentence or scan a verse; and I have are angry with me for the freedom fallen on the very index from which with which I have spoken of your he drew out his forlorn hope on the poetry and Mr. Wordsworth's. parade. This is incomparably the
most impudent fellow I have met What could have induced you to with in the course of my reading, imagine it, Mr. Professor? You which has lain, you know, in a prohave, indeed, bent your eyes upon vince where impudence is no rarity. me, since we have been together, He has little more merit in having with somewhat of fierceness and de- stolen, than he would have had if he fiance; but I presumed that you had never stolen at all. Those who fancied me to be a commentator; have failed as painters turn pictureand I am not irritated at a mistake. cleaners, those who have failed as You wrong me, in your belief that writers turn reviewers. Orator Henan opinion on my poetical works ley taught in the last century, that hath molested me; but you afford the readiest made shoes are boots me more than compensation in sup- cut down : there are those who aposing me acutely sensible of any in- bundantly teach us now, that the justice done to Wordsworth. If we readiest made critics are cut down must converse at all upon these to- poets. Their assurance is, however, pics, we will converse on him. What by no means diminished from their man ever existed, who spent a more ill success. Even the little man who retired, a more inoffensive, a more followed you in the Critical Review, virtuous life, or who adorned it with poor Robin Fellowes, whose pretenmore noble studies ?
sions widen every smile his imbecility
has excited, would, I am persuaded, I believe so; I have always heard if Homer were living, pat him in a it; and those who attack him with fatherly way upon the cheek, and tell virulence or with levity are men of him that, by moderating his fire and no morality and no reflection. I contracting his prolixity, the public have demonstrated that one of them, might ere long expect something he who wrote the Pursuits of Lite- from him worth reading. JULY, 1823.
I had visited a friend in King's public drain to look for a needle, and Road when Robin entered.
may miss it. My nose is not easily “ Have you seen the Review ?" offended; but I must have somecried he to him-" worse than ever! thing to fill my belly : come, we will I am resolved to insert a paragraph in lay aside the scrip of the transpositor the papers, declaring that I had no and the pouch of the pursuer, in reconcern in the last number.”
serve for the days of unleavened “ Is it so very bad 9" said I qui. bread, and again, if you please, to etly,
the lakes and mountains. Now we « Infamous ! detestable !" exclaim- are both in better humour, I must ed he.
bring you to a confession that in your “ Sit down then nobody will believe friend Wordsworth there is occayou ;” was my answer.
sionally a little trash. Since that morning he has discovered that I drink harder than usual, A haunch of venison would be that my faculties are wearing fast trash to a Hindoo, a bottle of buraway, that once indeed I had some gundy or tokay to the xerif of Mecca. Greek in my head, but—he then We are guided in our choice, by preclaps the fore-finger to the side of cept, by habit, by taste, by constituhis nose, turns his eye slowly up- tion. Hitherto all our sentiments on ward, and looks compassionately and poetry have been delivered down to calmly.
us from authority; and, if it can be
demonstrated, as I think it may be, Come Mr. Porson, grant him his that the authority is inadequate, and merits: no critic was ever better that the dictates are often inapplicontrived to make any work a very cable and often misinterpreted, you periodical one, no writer more dex. will allow me to remove the cause terous in giving a finishing touch. out of court. Every man can see
what is very bad in a poem, almost The plagiary has a greater latitude every one can see what is very good; of choice than we; and if he brings but you, Mr. Porson, who have home a parsnip or turnip-top, when turned over all the volumes of all he could as easily have pocketed a the commentators, will inform me nectarine or a pine-apple, he must whether I am right or wrong be a blockhead." I never heard the serting, that no critic hath yet apname of that pursuer of literature; peared who has been able to fix or and I have forgotten that other to discern the exact degrees of exman's, who evinced his fitness to be cellence above a certain point. the censor of the age, by a transla
PORSON. tion of the most naked and impure None. satires of all antiquity, those of Ju
SOUTHEY. venal, which owe their preservation The reason is, because the eyes of to the partiality of the friars; but, no one have been upon a level with indeed, they are so impregnated and it. Supposing, for the sake of ar, incrusted with bay-salt and alum gument, the contest of Hesiod and that they would not burn. I shall Homer to have taken place: the entertain a very unfavourable opi- judges, who decided in favour of the nion of him if he has translated them worse, who indeed has little merit, well: pray has he?
may have been elegant, wise, and SOUTHEY.
conscientious men. Their decision Indeed I do not know. I read was in favour of that poetry, to the poets for their poetry, and to extract species of which they had been the that nutriment of the intellect and of most accustomed. Corinna was prethe heart which poetry should con ferred to Pindar no fewer than five tain. I never listen to the swans of times ; and the best judges in Greece the sess-pool, and must declare that gave her the preference; yet what nothing is heavier to me than rotten ever were her powers, and beyond all ness and corruption.
question they were extraordinary, PORSON.
we may assure ourselves that she You are right, sir, perfectly right. stood many degrees below Pindar. A translator of Juvenal would open a Nothing is more absurd than the re
port, that the judges were prepose in the first instance, than to interrosessed in her favour by her beauty. gate our hearts in what manner they Plutarch tells us that she was much have been affected. If the ear is older than her competitor, who con- satisfied; if at one moment a tu. sulted her judgment in his earlier mult is aroused in the breast, and odes. Now, granting their first tranquillized at another with a percompetition to have been when Pin- fect consciousness of equal power dar was twenty years old, and that exerted in both cases; if we rise up all the others were in the years suc- from the perusal of the work with a ceeding, her beauty must have been strong excitement to thought, to imasomewhat in the decline; for in gination, to sensibility ; above all if Greece there are few women who re we sat down with some propensities tain the graces, none who retain the towards evil, and walk out with bloom of youth, beyond the twenty- much stronger towards good, in the third year. Her countenance, I doubt midst of a world, which we never had not, was expressive: but expression, entered, and of which we never had although it gives beauty to men, dreamed before; can we so suddenly makes women pay dearly for its put on again the old man of criticism, stamp, and pay soon. Nature seems, as to deny that we have been conin protection to their loveliness, to ducted by a most beneficent and have ordered that they, who are our most potent genius ? Nothing proves superiors in quickness and sensibility, to me so manifestly in what a pestishould in general be little disposed ferous condition are its lazarettos, as to laborious thought, or to long ex- when I observe how little hath been cursions in the labyrinths of fancy. objected against those who have subWe may be convinced that the ver- stituted words for things, and how dict of the judges was biassed by much against those who have reinnothing else than their habitudes of stated things for words. thinking: we may be convinced too, Surely Wordsworth ought to prove that, living in an age when poetry to the world, that there may be aniwas cultivated so highly, and se mation without blood and broken lected from the most acute and the bones, and tenderness far remote from most dispassionate, they were sub- Sodom and the stews. But alas! ject to no greater errors of opinion even things more evident, more cor. than_are the learned messmates of poreal, are often strangely estimated. our English colleges.
Swift ridiculed the music of Handel
and the generalehip of Marlborough; more liberal in your Pope the style of Middleton, Gray the largesses to the fair Greeks, than a abilities of Shaftesbury and the elofriend of mine was, who resided in quence of Rousseau. Virgil in his Athens to acquire the language. He time was antiquated and rustic, Ciassured me that beauty there was in cero Asiatic. What a rabble of rasbud at thirteen, in full blossom at cals has persecuted Wordsworth, the fifteen, losing a leaf or two every great glory of our country, to whom day at seventeen, trembling on the the world has produced only one thorn at nineteen, and under the tree poet superior in two thousand years, at twenty. He would have been but and nothing of a nature more noble an indifferent courtier in the palace and more pure. But an elephant is of a certain prince, whose exclama- born to be consumed by ants in the
midst of his unapproachable solitudes. O could a girl of sixty breed,
Wordsworth is the prey of Jeffrey. Then, marriage, thou wert bliss indeed !
Why repine ? and not rather amuse
ourselves with allegories, and recolI will not dissemble or deny, that lect that God in the creation left his to compositions of a new kind, like noblest creature at the mercy of a Wordsworth's, we come without serpent. scales and weights, and without the means of making an assay.
Your friend is too verbose; not in
deed without something for his words Mr. Porson, it does not appear to to rest upon, but from a resolution to me, that anything more is necessary gratify and indulge his capacity. He