Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

All present were much affected, occasionally to put on. " I have been when Sabaoth, of whom no one had every thing that it has pleased you to thought in these arrangements, said, make me I have been cuckolded and sorrowfully, “ And what is to become beaten, and yet, my dear, I am hapof me then?" On turning their eyes py.”—His wife continued to cook, in on him, the sight of his bald head, his her best manner, for all the ladies who beard, that had been so inhumanly sought hospitality; and Ernestine had torn by the terrible Minstrel, and his the attention to keep the apartments dress all in tatters, together with his very clean, and the beds well made. strange countenance, formed such a The young boys now became as big as spectacle, that even at this melting father and mother ; passed one of them moment, it was impossible to check à for the best chimer, and the other for Laugh. Even Ernestine herself smi)- the best raker of walks in all the couned, for the first time, since her sepa- try of Cambresis. ration from Amurat-precious smile The Lord Abbot felicitated himself it was a prelude to the happiness she on having attached so many worthy was about to enjoy. The Lord Abbot people to his monastery. There were thrice opened his mouth to address Sa- none, not even Sabaoth, who did not feel baoth, and thrice burst out into laugh- pride in their employment, and he was ter-he recovered himself, however, quoted as the first of all grooms in bat it was not without difficulty, to that neighbourhood. The Abbot seesay, “ Sir Sabaoth, after the brillianting them all so contented by his situation you lately occupied under a means, was happy himself from havZegris, it may perhaps be indecorous ing been the cause—but we may search in mne to offer you the less honourable now alas in vain, for such worthiness employment of taking care of the mule, in monasteries or elsewhere. the ass, and two cart horses of the convent, together with my hackney—but it is all I can offer you, and the only employment that is now vacant."

THE PRISONER'S PRAYER TO SLEEP. * My reverend father,” replied the old Moor,“ beasts for beasts, it is all me to me; and I shall like as well to (By the Author of the Lines on the Funeral curry asses and mules, as Andalusian

of Sir John Moorc.) mares. My misery and troubles have cured me of ambition ; I therefore ac- O gentle Sleep! wilt Thou lay thy head cept your offer, and will be the head For one little hour on thy Lover's bed, of your stud, whatever it may consist And none but the silent stars of night

Shall witness be to our delight ! The marriage-day of Amurat and Alas ! 'tis said that the Couch must be Ernestine was fixed, it was a holy day of the Eider-down that is spread for 'Thee, for all the vassals of the monastery of So, I in my sorrow must lie alone, Vaucelles; and Amurat, on becoming For mine, sweet Sleep! is a Couch of stone. a husband, did not cease being a lover. Music to Thee I know is dear ; Emestine recovered her good looks, Then, the saddest of music is ever here, and the gayety of her age. She had For Grief sits with me in my cell, only one chagrin, when her husband And she is a Syren who singeth well. departed with the young Cambresian, of whom we have said so much in the But Thou, glad Sleep! lov'st gladsome airs, course of this true history; but this and wilt only come to thy Lover's prayers chagrin was not of any duration, for When the bells of merriment are ringing,

And bliss with liquid voice is singing. the war in Finland was neither perilous nor long

Fair Sleep! so long is thy beanty wooed, The Minstrel gayly grew old under No Rival hast Thou in my solitude; the shade of his serpent--the others Be mine, my Love ! and we two will lie began to taste happiness, but for him, Embraced for ever-or awake to die ! he had always been happy. Feeling, Dear Sleep! farewell !-hour, hour, hour, however, an increase of happiness at

hour, the comfortable arrangements, he ad- Will slowly bring on the gleam of Morrow, dressed his chaste companion in a dig- But Thou art Joy's faithful Paramour, nified manner, which he knew how And lie wilt Thou not in the arms of Sorrow. .

TRATED BY THE HISTORY OF MEN

THE LITERARY CHARACTER, ILLUS, with so much of the shrewdness, and

even wisdom of age ; in short, we know OF GENIUS, &c. BY MR D'ISRAELI.* of nobody else who seems to be a Man

of Letters, so entirely from the pure This is one of the most amusing works love of literature, who follows so unof one of the most amusing of our restrainedly the bent of his nature, English authors. Mr D’Israeli pos- and who therefore unites with the sesses a great fund of literary anecdote, knowledge, we might almost say the and it is at all times disposeable. He erudition, of the author-the liberal has not, perhaps, a very reasoning spirit and accomplishments of the genmind, and being aware of that, he tleman. rarely enters into any lengthened dis- If we have formed a just estimate of cussion of principles; but being a man the value of this volume, an abstract of sensibility, observation, and fancy, of some of its most interesting chaphe is perpetually throwing out very ters cannot fail to afford pleasure to true and delicate remarks and senti- such of our readers as may not have ments, expressed with much warmth seen the original book. And in our and earnestness, and accompanied with abstract we shall imitate the desultory rich and lively illustration. Open manner of Mr D'Israeli himself. where we may a volume of his writ- In his chapter “ On the Youth of ings, and we are sure at once to come Genius,” Mr D'Israeli observes, that on something entertaining; and if we many sources of genius have been laid be in the habit of thinking for our- open to us, but though these may selves as we read, every page is so sometimes call it forth, they have nevsprinkled over with hints, suggestions, er supplied its place. The equality of and feelings, that, like the conversation minds, in their native state, he justly of a well-informed and intelligent considers as monstrous a paradox as friend, Mr D'Israeli's compositions put the equality of men in a political state. our minds upon the alert, and exer- Johnson has defined genius as cise, without fatiguing our faculties. mind of general powers accidentally Though a great story-teller, he is never determined by some particular direca gossip; his stories, too, are all of in- tion," a theory which rejects any na, teresting people, and they are uniform- tive aptitude, and according to which ly narrated with a moral purpose. the reasoning Locke, without an ear Indeed, the principal charm of all his or eye, might have become the musiworks, and especially of the present, cal and fairy Spencer. Reynolds again is that we always find ourselves in the thought that pertinacious labour could very best company. Famous names do every thing. Akenside more truly shine over every page--the voices of says, that “ from Heaven descends the the illustrious dead become familiar to flame of genius to the human heart." our ears—we see the great men of But though the origin of genius be great times, not like ghosts rising from dark, its history may be clear, and al. the grave, but clothed in all the glad- though we cannot be her legislator, we ness of animation, and we constantly may be her annalist. In reading the shut his volumes with brightened fan- memoirs of a man of genius, we have cies, a heightened enthusiasm, and a often cause to reprobate the domestic more vital sympathy with the noblest persecutions of those who opposed his of our kind. We are inclined to think, inclinations. The Port Royal Society that in English literature at least, Mr thrice burned the romance which Rao D'Israeli is a writer sui generis, for cine at length got by heart. Pascal's we know not any other person in whom father would not suffer him to study is combined the same light literary in. Euclid. The father of Petrarch burnt formation with such power of lively the poetical library of his son, amid expression,-the same unaffected and the shrieks, groans, and tears of the empassioned enthusiasm towards every youth. The uncle of Alfieri for twen, thing in the shape of genius, with so ty years suppressed the poetical charac, considerable a share of that rare facul. ter of the noble bard. The truth is, ty in himself,—the same eager, ram- that the parents of a man of genius bling, and desultory spirit of youth, have had another association of ideas

concerning him than we have had. • London, John Murray, Albemarle We see a great man, they a disobedi. Street. 1818.

ent child, we track him through his

glory, they are wearied by the sullen The Youth of Genius assumes so resistance of his character.

many forms that, from the habits of The love of repose and of musing mere boys, it is impossible to prognosgenerally attends the ". Youth of Ge- ticate with much certainty any thing nius," and Mr D'Israeli asserts that it of the future character. I'he natures is retained through life. He asserts of men, Mr D'Israeli well says, are as too, that a man of fine genius is rarely varied as their fortunes. Some like enamoured of common amusements or diamonds must receive their splendour robust exercises. Beattie bas express- from the slow touches of the polisher, ly told us of his Minstrel,

while others, resembling pearls, apThe exploit of strength, dexterity, or speed pear at once born with their beauteous To hiin nor vanity nor joy could bring." lustre. It is delightful, however, Alfieri could never be taught to dance when a great man has reached his glo-Horace was a bad rider-Metastasio ry, to look back on little trifling cira bad shot—the younger Pliny was cumstances, by which he, in his boycharmed by the Roman mode of fowl- hood, strove to anticipate it. Ariosto, ing, which admitted him to sit a whole when a boy, composed a tragedy from day with his tablets and stylus—and the story of Pyramus and Thisbe; and Thomson was the hero of his own Pope indicated his passion for Homer Castle of Indolence. All this is very in these rough verses, which he drew inconclusive. Beattie, though a man up from Ogilby's version. Sir Wil. of real poetical genius, was sadly defi- liam Jones, at Harrow, divided the cient in strength and vigour, both of fields according to a map of Greece, intellect and passion--and “ young and portioned out to each school-fel. Edwin," though assuredly “no vulgar low a dominion. boy,” is very far indeed from being a The first efforts of genius are often fine ideal impersonation of a young po. wholly inauspicious. Indeed, though et. He is much too effeminate and some great men have, in very early timid, and too much troubled with de- youth, produced perfect specimens of licate nerves. There can be no reason coinposition, it may in general be rein nature why a man of imagination marked, that their early writings have and passion (and that man is a Poet) been worse than the early writings of should not, in the exuberance of ani- very inferior minds. They are troubmnal spirits and delight, pour out his led' and overmastered by their own Fery soul in the ardent enjoyment of conceptions or it may be that great all those pursuits, for which young and glorious visions are seen by Edwin, who was probably but weak them dimly and at a distance then, and sickly, had no relish. Much de- which afterwards burst upon them pends on his bodily frame-much on in perfect splendour. The causes the age in which he lives--much on of this Mr D'Israeli has not even his country-much on his early read- alluded to, but has merely given some ing-much on his rank in life. No- examples. The first attempts of Drything can be asserted generally, on this den and Swift were hopeless-Rapoint, of the Youth of Genius, nor in- cine's earliest compositions abounded deed of its manhood. Poets, philoso- in all the faults from which his later phers, statesmen, divines, there have productions were so remarkably free been, who loved and excelled in all Gibbon, in his" Essay on Literature,” manly accomplishments. In those ob- is but a feeble person and Raphael, jects and pursuits which Beattie and under Perugino, drew meagre and miMr D'Israeli would exclude from the serable forms, though afterwards the thoughts and passions of a youth of sole master of ideal beauty. genius, there is much to kindle and to Genius has even proceeded to feed those very powers and feelings manhood without its splendour.most essential to the character of ge- Goldsmith had no love of poetry till nius. There can be no doubt that the he was thirty. It was said of Johngreatest poets of all countries have been son, that he would never offend in men eminently endowed with bodily conversation, and of Boileau, that he powers, and that they rejoiced and ex. had no great understanding, but would celled in all manly exercises or pur- never speak ill of any one.

The great suits. So has it been with the great. Isaac Barrow's father used to say of est poets of Greece, Italy, and Eng- him, that if it pleased God to take

from him any of his children, he ho

ed it might be Isaac, as the least pro- prove very dull men, is not at all surmising. Unfortunately for our know. prising. But the fact is, that even at ledge of the human soul, men of ge- school, their superiority over boys of nius do not themselves attend philo- genius was not real, but apparent. sophically to all the numberless causes There can be nothing that is not enthat from childhood are constantly af- couraging and hopeful in the exhibifecting, forming, and moulding their tion of early genius, if we are assured characters. There is not much auto- that it is genius. Disappointment onbiography in the world, and but a ly follows mistake. We misconceive small part of it is valuable. It is a the nature and essence of the qualities difficult thing to live over again a life- exhibited by some favourite boy,--we time, without losing either its lights or anticipate a glorious future from an shadows. It is also a formidable erroneous view of the present, and thing. But if men of genius will not then we very wisely lay it down as a do it for themselves, none else can do grand truth, that nature is often not it for them; and in the very best me true to her promises, when her operamoir that ever was written of a man of tions have only falsified our hasty and genius by another mind, how little is unauthorised prophecies. there in which we can discover the Mr D'Israeli then gives us a chapter cause of any one part of his character. on the first studies of genius. Many Mr D’Israeli, we think, might have of those peculiarities, he observes, of entered a little more into the philoso- men of genius, both fortunate and unphy of this matter; for, from the mul- fortunate, may be easily traced to titude of his anecdotes, conclusions the them, As physicians tell us that most contradictory might be drawn. there is a certain point in youth at One good remark he does make, “ that which the constitution is formed, and it has happened to some men of genius on which the sanity of life revolves, so during a long period of their lives, to is it with the mind of genius. Johnhave an unsettled impulse, without son's early attachment to the works of having discovered the object of its ap- Sir Thomas Brown, produced his extitude, a thirst and fever in the tem- cessive admiration of Latinized Engperament of a too sentient being, lish. Rembrandt's father had a mill which cannot find the occupation which received light from an apertu to which it can only attach itself,” but at the top, and this habituated that that the instant the latent talent has great artist to view all objects as if declared itself, they have at once shone seen in that magical light. Pope, forth as men of genius.

when a child, read a small library of Mr D'Israeli says, that in general, mystical devotion, which he found in perhaps a master-mind exhibits pre- his mother's closet; and from the secocity, and we are inclined to agree raphic raptures of these erotic mystics, with him. He gives a great many in- he partly conceived the feelings of Hestances of this in his usual way, but loise; and to speak of great living undoubtedly, as many might be given to men,-- from the perusal of Rycaut's fothe contrary, according to imperfect bio- lio of Turkish History in childhood, graphies. We conceive that it a mind Lord Byron, it is said, derived imof genius were accurately observed in pressions which gave life and motion to boyhood, it would always exhibit that the Giaour, the Corsair and Alp. genius in some form of expression. All The education of genius must, in a the truly great spirits of whose youth great measure, be its own work. But we know any thing authentic, have too often men of genius have through done so. Traits of such thought in half their lives held a contest with bad boys of genius are not to be seen by or no education. Men of genius who common eyes; nay, often seem to ore have been late taught, with powers cadinary observers to denote dulness or pable of placing them in the first stupidity. The common remark that rank, are mortified to discover themboys of great talents seldom turn out selves only on a level with those by first-rate men, is good for nothing, be- nature much their inferiors. They cause by great talents, no more is have of necessity to go through in meant than some of the most unime manhood, that discipline which others portant qualities of the mind, by which have undergone in boyhood. This clever boys are enabled to make a fi- alone is an evil never wholly to be gure at school. That such boys should surmounted, for it disarranges the fa

culties of the soul, and perplexes na- England. In short, Mr D’Israeli is ture herself. “ I am unfortunately," of opinion, that it is equally dangerous says Winkleman, “one of those whom for a young writer to resign himself the Greeks named crimedus--sero sa- to the opinions of his friends, and to pientes, the late-learned, for I have pass them with inattention; so that appeared too late in the world and in he must be in a great embarrassment. Italy. To have done something, I We are not sure if we understand should have had an education anala- Mr D’Israeli very distinctly, and he gous to my pursuits, and this at your will pardon us for hinting, that he

does not appear very distinctly to unThe self-educated are accordingly derstand himself. if the youth of gemarked by strong peculiarities. Some- nius was likely to be blasted by the times the greater portion of their lives mere blindness of friends to its excelis past before they can throw them- lence, blasted it would indeed too ofselves out of that world of mediocrity ten be. But we conceive that genius to which they have been confined. so exists for and in itself, and works They are constantly struggling to re- in such a strong spirit of uncommunia alize their conceptions against many cated and uncommunicable delight, difficulties, which, with other persons, that the favourable or unfavourable education has removed. They are apt opinion of others respecting its young to become stubborn-hard-cynical productions, is not likely to have any But their enthusiasm is great, for it bad effect whatever on its strength or kindles equally at the sight of difficul- happiness. The love of a young mind ties overcome, and those yet to be sur- for its own creations, is not dependent mounted. No self-educated man ever on the love of others. Thomson, we sunk into despair with his art. “This dare say, cared little about the stu. race of the self-educated,” says our pidity of his worthy friends. True Author, “ are apt to consider some genius, we conceive, may be, and of of their own insulated feelings those ten is, greatly benefited by wise, kind, of all; their prejudices are often in, and judicious friends,-rarely injured Fincible, and their tastes unsure and by the mere ignorance of duller spircapricious; glorying in their strength, its. We mean to apply this merely while they are betraying their weak- to their compositions,—their early nesses, yet mighty even in that enthu- poems or pictures, as Mr D’Israeli siasm which is only disciplined by its has done. But if we take a larger own fierce habits. Bunyan is the view of the friendship of young men Spenser of the people. The fire burn- of genius, and think of their friends as ed towards heaven, although the altar objects of love, tenderness, or venerawas rude and rustic."

tion, then we do conceive, that so far Friends who, in ordinary cases, are from their being “ usually prejudi50 valuable in youth, are, according cial,” they are as breezes and stars to to Mr D'Israeli, usually prejudicial in the soul of genius; that without deep, the youth of genius. Real genius, he strong, pure, and intellectual friends says, has often been disconcerted and ship, for some mind similar to itself, thrown into despair, by the ill judg- genius would wither into desolate dea ments of his domestic circle. Taste cay; and that almost all the first nois of such variety, that not one of ble efforts of genius have been in the ten thousand well-educated intelligent joy and the strength of human affecmen, possess that prophetic kind of it tions. which anticipates the public opinion. One of the best Chapters in the Had some of our first writers set their Book is that on the Irritability of fortunes on the cast of their friend's Genius.” Mr D'Israeli, however, seems opinion, we might have lost many too broadly to admit, that men of precious compositions. Thomson's genius are generally of an irritable early friends saw little or no merit temperament. He ought to have statin his “ Winter.” Parnel was reck- ed, a little more precisely, first, what oned something of a dunce till Swift is meant by irritability applied to introduced him to Bolingbroke ; and them; and, secondly, how far the when Reynolds returned from Italy, charge is a true one. Some sorts with all the excellence of his art, his of genius there unquestionably are, old teacher Hudson exclaimed, that he which, so far from inclining their posdid not paint so well as when he left sessors to irritability, seem naturally Vol. IV.

с

« AnteriorContinuar »