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Was it not well with thee, then, when first thy lap was ungirdled,
We offer this as a very genuine specimen of Mr. Coleridge's periodical refuse, and there are few, we think, who, with ourselves, admire his genius and his powers, that will not be gratified by any occurrence which could have relieved him from such rubbish. Nor can we say that Mr. Barry Cornwall's scrapings are a whit less repugnant than those of Mr. Coleridge. Miss Mitford, indeed, who never fails, must needs have put something good even in her sweepings, and her country tale of the Carpenter's Daughter, though by no means equal to her other productions, has still some claims to attention. We do not think the plot of this narrative sufficiently interesting to enter into its details, and we shall confine ourselves to an extract of a general nature with which the tale is ushered in, and in which Miss Mitford vindicates the true power of her mind. The subject of the following sketch is, “ Children out of Doors.” The little aristrocratic-looking girl, she writes, of some five or six years old, whom I used to see two years ago, every morning at breakfast-time, tripping along the most romantic street in England, (the High-street, in Oxford), attended, or escorted, it is doubtful which, by a superb Newfoundland dog, curly and black, carrying in his huge mouth her tiny work-bag, or her fairy parasol, and guarding, with so true a fidelity, his pretty young lady; whilst she, on her part, queened it over her lordly subject with such diverting gravity, seeming to guide him whilst he guided her-led whilst she thought herself leading, and finally deposited at her daily school, with as much regularity as the same sagacious quadruped would have displayed in carrying his master's glove, or fetching a stick out of the water. How I should like to see a portrait of that fair, demure, elegant child, with her full short frock, her frilled trowsers, and her blue kid shoes, threading her way, by the aid of her sable attendant, through the many small impediments of the crowded streets of Oxford.
Or the pretty scene of childish distress which I saw last winter, on my way to East Court-a distress which told its own story as completely as the picture of the broken pitcher! Driving rapidly along the beautiful road from Emersley Bridge to Finchamstead,
up hill and down; on the one side a wide shelving bank, dotted with fine old oaks and beeches, intermingled with thorn and birch, and magnificent holly, and edging into Mr. Palmer's forest-like woods; on the other, an open hilly country, studded with large single trees. In the midst of this landscape, rich and lovely, even in winter, in the very middle of the road, stood two poor cottage children, a year or two younger than the damsel of Oxford; a large basket dangling from the hand of one of them, and a heap of barleymeal—the barley-meal that should have been in the basket, the week's dinner of the pig-scattered in the dirt at their feet. Poor little dears! how they cried. They could not have told their story had not their story told itself;—they had been carrying the basket between them, and somehow it had slipped. A shilling remedied that disaster, and sent away all parties siniling and content. Then again, this very afternoon, the squabbles of those ragged urchins at cricket on the common -a disputed point of out or not out? The eight years old boy who will not leave his wicket; the seven and nine years old imps, who are trying to force him from his post; the wrangling partisans of all ages, from ten to downwards; the two contending sides, who are bawling for victory; the grave ragged umpire, a lad of twelve, with a stick under his arm, who is solemnly listening to the cause; and the younger and less interested specta- . tors, some just breeched, and others still condemned to the ignominious petticoat, who are sitting on the bank, and wondering which party will carry the day!
What can be prettier than this, unless it be the fellow group of girls, sisters, I presume, to the boys, who are laughing and screaming round the great oak, then darting to and fro, in a game compounded of hide and seek and base ball. Now tossing the ball high, high amidst the branches; now flinging it low along the common, bowling, as it were, almost within the reach of the cricketers; now pursuing, now retreating, running, jumping, shouting, bawling, almost shrieking with ecstacy; whilst one sun-burnt black-eyed gipsy throws forth her laughing face from behind the trunk of the old oak, and then flings a newer and a gayer ball—fortunate purchase of some hoarded sixpence--amongst her admiring playmates. Happy, happy children! that one hour of innocent enjoyment is
Mr. Banim has contributed a very pleasant Irish tale, illustrating, very strikingly, the moral which is implied in the common saw, “ Ill got, ill gone.” There are several romantic narratives also in this volume, both in prose and verse, but neither in the details nor the execution are they worthy to be elevated to that class of imaginative literature which is calculated to please the cultivated minds of the present day.
It is by no means surprising that the Comic Offering should meet, from year to year, with a good deal of popularity, for it is particularly exempted from every quality whatever that might sub
worth an age.
ject it to the charge of being serious for a moment. The character of the work is far from entitling it to a place in the class of witty, and what we really understand by comic productions; it is much too broad in its display for the delicacy which wit and the higher species of humour require, and it may most fairly be described as a collection of whimsical sayings and doings, which simply, by the suddenness of their impression, give us a momentary sensation of merriment, that passes away almost in the instant that it is conveyed to us, without leaving behind the slightest wish for a renewal of the visit. The illustrations throughout are upon a very humble scale of art, but the intention of them being, in almost all instances, to form a sort of pictorial pun, the necessity of any great exertion of professional ability is dispensed with. We shall describe a few of those representations, to give the reader an insight into their nature. We have, for example, a scene in which a butler is upon his knees, after having fallen and scattered a tray of glasses on the floor; the mistress is standing beside the butler in the attitude and with the appearance of one in a terrible passion. This scene is denominated * Glass fallen-very stormy." A pea blossom is next given, and the corollas opened so as to allow a face and head to be placed within them, as in a cap, or hood: this is called “ Cap a Pea!” A man on horseback tumbling off a board on which he was crossing a ditch, is represented as having "come to a pretty pass.”. A negro servant leading his blind master in the street, is “Black Led," and
“Suttee Widow,” is a sweep's mistress. Some of the portraits and groups are very amusing, and very ingeniously executed.
The literary department contains a very varied miscellany of still more varied merits. They are all written in a frolicksome, unthinking manner, and have no merit beyond that of a very clever union of grace and extravagance. The smart punning effusions of the author of “ Absurdities,” now and then appear in a wilderness of dialogues, epistles, and epigrams, and appear like so many oases in the desart to cheer the tired'traveller. One of the best of these compositions is that entitled Pymalion, which runs thus:
Pygmalion was a sculptor rare,
Who dwelt in Cypress vile;
And make e'en blockheads smile.
He made a figure' oft, 'tis said,
• Cut out' his friends—how rude!
And hueless blocks he hewed.
You'll own she was his own;
To him-a precious stone!
What quarry rare produced the block ?
A magic round it plays!
Upon their quarry gaze!
Yet hardly loved, you'll own;
Nor touch'd her heart of stone.
He on her finger hung;
A belle without a tongue!
And viewing, cried with vigour-
“ You've cut a pretty figure."
He soon could boast a stock
Were chips of the old block. A very good letter from a romantic girl, and a narrative about a pet dish at a corporation dinner, will amuse most readers, and even the most fastidious will not refuse to deny a rewarding laugh on the doleful history of the misfortunes encountered by a near-sighted man, The adventures of “ An Heiress Hunter" form a good moral lesson, and, at the same time, a severe reproach on the cupidity of the rising generation; whilst a capital burlesque of a "Romaunt,' entitled the “Knight of the Swan," will be found well worthy of perusal. “ The Cad,” an Irish tale by Lady Clarke, contains the history of the rise of an Irish urchin from the condition of a street cad to be the driver of a cab to a military gentleman. The word cad is an abbreviation of that of Cadet, which was applied in Ireland to servants out of place. It is now given to the horse-boys in Dublin, a class which formerly was of some importance in that city, and went under the denomination of Dalteens. But there is nothing in the story worthy of more particular allusion. The only other composition which appears to be likely to afford amusement, is the following dialogue between two well-known public personages, who will be allowed to be as popular as they are useful.
“Good morning!" said the Weather-glass to the Weather-cock; "you don't look well this morning."
“ No wonder," said the Weather.cock, " for I've had nothing but wind in my teeth all night; and I don't see, Mr. Weatherglass, that you have much reason to boast, for you look rather down this morning.”
“ Do I?" said the Weatherglass. “At all events, I'm up to you;-up to you, indeed ;--now I look at myself, I'm up to sixty. You give yourself too many airs, Mr. Weathercock. 'Tis true, you are at the top of this establishment, of which you are not a little vain!"
“ Little vane!" said the Weathercock; “no, indeed, I don't see a larger or handsomer one than myself for miles round, except the church, and there we generally find more vane than useful; and as to my being the top of this establishment, you've always had the reins of the family in your own hands, and I should have very little objection to change places with you."
“Change places!" said the Weatherglass; " I never knew you keep one a minute together!"
“ That's my misfortune," said the Weathercock; “ but yesterday evening I engaged myself to Miss Zephyr, and went south about to meet her. I had not been with her for more than five minutes, when old Boreas made me rudely turn my back towards her, and look at him all night, while he amused himself with spitting hail and sleet in my face. If I am thus to be disturbed in my pleasure, I'll turn rusty about, and then I'll stick where I please."
“ Ah!" said the Weatherglass, “we all have our complaints: you know my existence depends upon my telling the truth :—now I marked much rain yesterday as plain as could be, but my young mistress, being promised a holiday if it were fine, screwed me up to set fair;' so they set out, and the rain set in, and I had nearly been discharged for this; but on my master carefully examining me, he found out the trick, which put him in a thundering passion, and I fell down to stormy:
“Ah, well!” said the Weathercock, “ I was only a little alarmed when I was first put up here, for when duly fixed and regulated by the compass, (which, by the bye, I consider must be rather a sharp instrument, for I heard it had a needle and thirty-two points!) I was declared by all present to stand square, when to my dismay, in two minutes afterwards, the wind blew me completely round; but since we've been talking, Mr. Weatherglass, I perceive, by your face, you're not many degrees from being very dry; what say you to a glass of something?"
« With all my heart," says the Weatherglass, “ if you'll stand it.”
“ I stand it ?" said the Weathercock, “ did you ever know me stand to any thing?"-here he turned half round and looked the other way.
“ Just like you, you shabby rascal,” says the Weatherglass ; " there's no trusting you."
“ Save your abuse, save your abuse;" said the Weathercock, speaking with his head turned away; “ tho? I'm used to blows, they must be given in a round about manner; and of all blows, the least I care about is a
We here conclude our notice of the new Annuals for the present, reserving for the next number the completion of our review, in which the whole shall be fully and fairly presented to our readers. We cannot, however, take even this temporary leave of the peculiar branch of literature which we have been considering, without remarking, that whilst the graphic department exhibits the proofs of a gradual and decided improvement, the literary portion is characterized by a considerable falling off, both in spirit, talent, feeling, and general merits, and, that under such circumstances, there is reason