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Title: The Works of Charles Lamb in Four Volumes, Volume 4
Author: Lamb, Charles, 1775-1834
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Works of Charles Lamb in Four Volumes, Volume 4" ***

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In Four Volumes


A New Edition





















       *       *       *       *       *


[_Those marked with an asterisk are by the Author's Sister._]













_TO T. L. H., A CHILD_




























       *       *       *       *       *






















































  Forgive me, BURNEY, if to thee these late
  And hasty products of a critic pen,
  Thyself no common judge of books and men,
  In feeling of thy worth I dedicate.
  My _verse_ was offered to an older friend;
  The humbler _prose_ has fallen to thy share:
  Nor could I miss the occasion to declare,
  What spoken in thy presence must offend--
  That, set aside some few caprices wild,
  Those humorous clouds that flit o'er brightest days,
  In all my threadings of this worldly maze,
  (And I have watched thee almost from a child),
  Free from self-seeking, envy, low design,
  I have not found a whiter soul than thine.


       *       *       *       *       *


It was noontide. The sun was very hot. An old gentlewoman sat
spinning in a little arbor at the door of her cottage. She was blind;
and her granddaughter was reading the Bible to her. The old lady had
just left her work, to attend to the story of Ruth.

"Orpah kissed her mother-in-law; but Ruth clave unto her." It was a
passage she could not let pass without a _comment_. The moral she
drew from it was not very _new_, to be sure. The girl had heard it a
hundred times before--and a hundred times more she could have heard
it, without suspecting it to be tedious. Rosamund loved her

The old lady loved Rosamund too; and she had reason for so doing.
Rosamund was to her at once a child and a servant. She had only _her_
left in the world. They two lived together.

They had once known better days. The story of Rosamund's parents,
their failure, their folly, and distresses, may be told another time.
Our tale hath grief enough in it.

It was now about a year and a half since old Margaret Gray had sold
off all her effects, to pay the debts of Rosamund's father--just
after the mother had died of a broken heart; for her husband had fled
his country to hide his shame in a foreign land. At that period the
old lady retired to a small cottage in the village of Widford in

Rosamund, in her thirteenth year, was left destitute, without fortune
or friends: she went with her grandmother. In all this time she had
served her faithfully and lovingly.

Old Margaret Gray, when she first came into these parts, had eyes,
and could see. The neighbors said, they had been dimmed by weeping:
be that as it may, she was latterly grown quite blind. "God is very
good to us, child; I can _feel_ you yet." This she would sometimes
say; and we need not wonder to hear, that Rosamund clave unto her

Margaret retained a spirit unbroken by calamity. There was a
principle _within_, which it seemed as if no outward circumstances
could reach. It was a _religious_ principle, and she had taught it to
Rosamund; for the girl had mostly resided with her grandmother from
her earliest years. Indeed she had taught her all that she knew
herself; and the old lady's knowledge did not extend a vast way.

Margaret had drawn her maxims from observation; and a pretty long
experience in life had contributed to make her, at times, a little
_positive:_ but Rosamund never argued with her grandmother.

Their library consisted chiefly in a large family Bible, with notes
and expositions by various learned expositors, from Bishop Jewell

This might never be suffered to lie about like other books, but was
kept constantly wrapt up in a handsome case of green velvet, with
gold tassels--the only relic of departed grandeur they had brought
with them to the cottage--everything else of value had been sold off
for the purpose above mentioned.

This Bible Rosamund, when a child, had never dared to open without
permission; and even yet, from habit, continued the custom. Margaret
had parted with none of her _authority_; indeed it was never exerted
with much harshness; and happy was Rosamund, though a girl grown,
when she could obtain leave to read her Bible. It was a treasure too
valuable for an indiscriminate use; and Margaret still pointed out to
her grand-daughter _where to read._

Besides this, they had the "Complete Angler, or Contemplative Man's
Recreation," with cuts--"Pilgrim's Progress," the first part--a
Cookery Book, with a few dry sprigs of rosemary and lavender stuck
here and there between the leaves, (I suppose to point to some of the
old lady's most favorite receipts,) and there was "Wither's Emblems,"
an old book, and quaint. The old-fashioned pictures in this last book
were among the first exciters of the infant Rosamund's curiosity. Her
contemplation had fed upon them in rather older years.

Rosamund had not read many books besides these; or if any, they had
been only occasional companions: these were to Rosamund as old
friends, that she had long known. I know not whether the peculiar
cast of her mind might not be traced, in part, to a tincture she had
received, early in life, from Walton and Wither, from John Bunyan and
her Bible.

Rosamund's mind was pensive and reflective, rather than what passes
usually for _clever_ or _acute_. From a child she was remarkably shy
and thoughtful--this was taken for stupidity and want of feeling; and
the child has been sometimes whipt for being a _stubborn thing_, when
her little heart was almost bursting with affection.

Even now her grandmother would often reprove her, when she found her
too grave or melancholy; give her sprightly lectures about good-humor
and rational mirth; and not unfrequently fall a-crying herself, to
the great discredit of her lecture. Those tears endeared her the more
to Rosamund.

Margaret would say, "Child, I love you to cry, when I think you are
only remembering your poor dear father and mother;--I would have you
think about them sometimes--it would be strange if you did not; but I
fear, Rosamund--I fear, girl, you sometimes think too deeply about
your own situation and poor prospects in life. When you do so, you do
wrong--remember the naughty rich man in the parable. He never had any
good thoughts about God, and his religion: and that might have been
your case."

Rosamund, at these times, could not reply to her; she was not in the
habit of _arguing_ with her grandmother; so she was quite silent on
these occasions--or else the girl knew well enough herself, that she
had only been sad to think of the desolate condition of her best
friend, to see her, in her old age, so infirm and blind. But she had
never been used to make excuses, when the old lady said she was doing

The neighbors were all very kind to them. The veriest rustics never
passed them without a bow, or a pulling off of the hat--some show of
courtesy, awkward indeed, but affectionate--with a "Good-morrow,
madam," or "young madam," as it might happen.

Rude and savage natures, who seem born with a propensity to express
contempt for anything that looks like prosperity, yet felt respect
for its declining lustre.

The farmers, and better sort of people, (as they are called,) all
promised to provide for Rosamund when her grandmother should die.
Margaret trusted in God and believed them.

She used to say, "I have lived many years in the world, and have
never known people, _good people_, to be left without some friend; a
relation, a benefactor, a _something_. God knows our wants--that it
is not good for man or woman to be alone; and he always sends us a
helpmate, a leaning place, a _somewhat_." Upon this sure ground of
experience, did Margaret build her trust in Providence.

       *       *       *       *       *


Rosamund had just made an end of her story, (as I was about to
relate,) and was listening to the application of the moral, (which
said application she was old enough to have made herself, but her
grandmother still continued to treat her, in many respects, as a
child, and Rosamund was in no haste to lay claim to the title of
womanhood,) when a young gentleman made his appearance and
interrupted them.

It was young Allan Clare, who had brought a present of peaches, and
some roses for Rosamund.

He laid his little basket down on a seat of the arbor; and in a
respectful tone of voice, as though he were addressing a parent,
inquired of Margaret "how she did."

The old lady seemed pleased with his attentions--answered his
inquiries by saying, that "her cough was less troublesome a-nights,
but she had not yet got rid of it, and probably she never might; but
she did not like to tease young people with an account of her

A few kind words passed on either side, when young Clare, glancing a
tender look at the girl, who had all this time been silent, took
leave of them with saying, "I shall bring _Elinor_ to see you in the

When he was gone, the old lady began to prattle.

"That is a sweet-dispositioned youth, and I _do_ love him dearly, I
must say it--there is such a modesty in all he says or does--he
should not come here so often, to be sure, but I don't know how to
help it; there is so much goodness in him, I can't find it in my
heart to forbid him. But, Rosamund, girl, I must tell you beforehand;
when you grow older, Mr. Clare must be no companion for _you_: while
you were both so young it was all very well--but the time is coming,
when folks will think harm of it, if a rich young gentleman, like Mr.
Clare, comes so often to our poor cottage.--Dost hear, girl? Why
don't you answer? Come, I did not mean to say anything to hurt
you--speak to me, Rosamund--nay, I must not have you be sullen--I
don't love people that are sullen."

And in this manner was this poor soul running on, unheard and
unheeded, when it occurred to her, that possibly the girl might not
be _within hearing_.

And true it was, that Rosamund had slunk away at the first mention of
Mr. Clare's good qualities: and when she returned, which was not till
a few minutes after Margaret had made an end of her fine harangue, it
is certain her cheeks _did_ look very _rosy_. That might have been
from the heat of the day or from exercise, for she had been walking
in the garden.

Margaret, we know, was blind; and, in this case, it was lucky for
Rosamund that she was so, or she might have made some not unlikely

I must not have my reader infer from this, that I at all think it
likely, a young maid of fourteen would fall in love without asking
her grandmother's leave--the thing itself is not to be conceived.

To obviate all suspicions, I am disposed to communicate a little
anecdote of Rosamund.

A month or two back her grandmother had been giving her the strictest
prohibitions, in her walks, not to go near a certain spot, which was
dangerous from the circumstance of a huge overgrown oak-tree
spreading its prodigious arms across a deep chalk-pit, which they
partly concealed.

To this fatal place Rosamund came one day--female curiosity, we know,
is older than the flood--let us not think hardly of the girl, if she
partook of the sexual failing.

Rosamund ventured further and further--climbed along one of the
branches--approached the forbidden chasm--her foot slipped--she was
not killed--but it was by a mercy she escaped--other branches
intercepted her fall--and with a palpitating heart she made her way
back to the cottage.

It happened that evening, that her grandmother was in one of her best
humors, caressed Rosamund, talked of old times, and what a blessing
it was they two found a shelter in their little cottage, and in
conclusion told Rosamund, "she was a good girl, and God would one day
reward her for her kindness to her old blind grandmother."

This was more than Rosamund could bear. Her morning's disobedience
came fresh into her mind; she felt she did not deserve all this from
Margaret, and at last burst into a fit of crying, and made confession
of her fault. The old gentlewoman kissed and forgave her.

Rosamund never went near that naughty chasm again.

Margaret would never have heard of this, if Rosamund had not told of
it herself. But this young maid had a delicate moral sense, which
would not suffer her to take advantage of her grandmother, to deceive
her, or conceal anything from her, though Margaret was old, and
blind, and easy to be imposed upon.

Another virtuous _trait_ I recollect of Rosamund, and now I am in the
vein will tell it.

Some, I know, will think these things trifles--and they are so--but
if these _minutiæ_ make my reader better acquainted with Rosamund, I
am content to abide the imputation.

These promises of character, hints, and early indications of a _sweet
nature_, are to me more dear, and choice in the selection, than any
of those pretty wild flowers, which this young maid, this virtuous
Rosamund, has ever gathered in a fine May morning, to make a posy to
place in the bosom of her old blind friend.

Rosamund had a very just notion of drawing, and would often employ
her talent in making sketches of the surrounding scenery.

On a landscape, a larger piece than she had ever yet attempted, she
had now been working for three or four months. She had taken great
pains with it, given much time to it, and it was nearly finished. For
_whose_ particular inspection it was designed, I will not venture to
conjecture. We know it could not have been for her grandmother's.

One day she went out on a short errand, and left her landscape on the
table. When she returned, she found it _gone_.

Rosamund from the first suspected some mischief, but held her tongue.
At length she made the fatal discovery. Margaret, in her absence, had
laid violent hands on it; not knowing what it was, but taking it for
some waste-paper, had torn it in half, and with one half of this
elaborate composition had twisted herself up--a thread-paper!

Rosamund spread out her hands at sight of the disaster, gave her
grandmother a roguish smile, but said not a word. She knew the poor
soul would only fret, if she told her of it,--and when once Margaret
was set a fretting for other people's misfortunes, the fit held her
pretty long.

So Rosamund that very afternoon began another piece of the same size
and subject; and Margaret, to her dying day, never dreamed of the
mischief she had unconsciously done.

       *       *       *       *       *


Rosamund Gray was the most beautiful young creature that eyes ever
beheld. Her face had the sweetest expression in it--a gentleness--a
modesty--a timidity--a certain charm--a grace without a name.

There was a sort of melancholy mingled in her smile. It was not the
thoughtless levity of a girl--it was not the restrained simper of
premature womanhood--it was something which the poet Young might have
remembered, when he composed that perfect line,

  "Soft, modest, melancholy, female, fair."

She was a mild-eyed maid, and everybody loved her. Young Allan Clare,
when but a boy, sighed for her.

Her yellow hair fell in bright and curling clusters, like

        "Those hanging locks
  Of young Apollo."

Her voice was trembling and musical. A graceful diffidence pleaded
for her whenever she spake--and, if she said but little, that little
found its way to the heart.

Young, and artless, and innocent, meaning no harm, and thinking none;
affectionate as a smiling infant--playful, yet inobtrusive, as a
weaned lamb--everybody loved her. Young Allan Clare, when but a boy,
sighed for her.

       *       *       *       *       *

The moon is shining in so brightly at my window, where I write, that
I feel it a crime not to suspend my employment awhile to gaze at her.

See how she glideth, in maiden honor, through the clouds, who divide
on either side to do her homage.

Beautiful vision!--as I contemplate thee, an internal harmony is
communicated to my mind, a moral brightness, a tacit analogy of
mental purity; a calm like _that_ we ascribe in fancy to the favored
inhabitants of thy fairy regions, "argent fields."

I marvel not, O moon, that heathen people, in the "olden times," did
worship thy deity--Cynthia, Diana, Hecate. Christian Europe invokes
thee not by these names now--her idolatry is of a blacker stain:
Belial is her God--she worships Mammon.

False things are told concerning thee, fair planet--for I will ne'er
believe that thou canst take a perverse pleasure in distorting the
brains of us, poor mortals. Lunatics! moonstruck! Calumny invented,
and folly took up, these names. I would hope better things from thy
mild aspect and benign influences.

Lady of Heaven, thou lendest thy pure lamp to light the way to the
virgin mourner, when she goes to seek the tomb where her warrior
lover lies.

Friend of the distressed, thou speakest only _peace_ to the lonely
sufferer, who walks forth in the placid evening, beneath thy gentle
light, to chide at fortune, or to complain of changed friends, or
unhappy loves.

Do I dream, or doth not even now a heavenly calm descend from thee
into my bosom, as I meditate on the chaste loves of Rosamund and her

       *       *       *       *       *


Allan Clare was just two years older than Rosamund. He was a boy of
fourteen, when he first became acquainted with her--it was soon after
she had come to reside with her grandmother at Widford.

He met her by chance one day, carrying a pitcher in her hand, which
she had been filling from a neighboring well--the pitcher was heavy,
and she seemed to be bending with its weight.

Allan insisted on carrying it for her--for he thought it a sin that a
delicate young maid, like her, should be so employed, and he stand
idle by.

Allan had a propensity to do little kind offices for everybody--but
at the sight of Rosamund Gray, his first fire was kindled--his young
mind seemed to have found an object, and his enthusiasm was from that
time forth awakened. His visits, from that day, were pretty frequent
at the cottage.

He was never happier than when he could get Rosamund to walk out with
him. He would make her admire the scenes he admired--fancy the wild
flowers he fancied--watch the clouds he was watching--and not
unfrequently repeat to her poetry which he loved, and make her love

On their return, the old lady, who considered them yet as but
children, would bid Rosamund fetch Mr. Clare a glass of her
currant-wine, a bowl of new milk, or some cheap dainty which was more
welcome to Allan than the costliest delicacies of a prince's court.

The boy and girl, for they were no more at that age, grew fond of
each other--more fond than either of them suspected.

         "They would sit, and sigh,
  And look upon each other, and conceive
  Not what they ail'd; yet something they did ail,
  And yet were well--and yet they were not well;
  And what was their disease, they could not tell."

And thus,

  "In this first garden of their simpleness
  They spent their childhood."

A circumstance had lately happened, which in some sort altered the
nature of their attachment.

Rosamund was one day reading the tale of "Julia de Roubignè"--a book
which young Clare had lent her.

Allan was standing by, looking over her, with one hand thrown round
her neck, and a finger of the other pointing to a passage in Julia's
third letter.

"Maria! in my hours of visionary indulgence, I have sometimes painted
to myself a _husband_--no matter whom--comforting me amidst the
distresses which fortune had laid upon us. I have smiled upon him
through my tears; tears, not of anguish, but of tenderness!--our
children were playing around us, unconscious of misfortune; we had
taught them to be humble, and to be happy; our little shed was
reserved to us, and their smiles to cheer it.--I have imagined the
luxury of such a scene, and affliction became a part of my dream of

The girl blushed as she read, and trembled--she had a sort of
confused sensation, that Allan was noticing her--yet she durst not
lift her eyes from the book, but continued reading, scarce knowing
what she read.

Allan guessed the cause of her confusion, Allan trembled too--his
color came and went--his feelings became impetuous--and flinging both
arms round her neck, he kissed his young favorite.

Rosamund was vexed and pleased, soothed and frightened, all in a
moment--a fit of tears came to her relief.

Allan had indulged before in these little freedoms, and Rosamund had
thought no harm of them; but from this time the girl grew timid and
reserved--distant in her manner, and careful of her behavior in
Allan's presence--not seeking his society as before, but rather
shunning it--delighting more to feed upon his idea in absence.

Allan too, from this day, seemed changed: his manner became, though
not less tender, yet more respectful and diffident--his bosom felt a
throb it had till now not known, in the society of Rosamund--and, if
he was less familiar with her than in former times, that charm of
delicacy had superadded a grace to Rosamund, which, while he feared,
he loved.

There is a _mysterious character_, heightened, indeed, by fancy and
passion, but not without foundation in reality and observation, which
true lovers have ever imputed to the object of their affections. This
character Rosamund had now acquired with Allan--something _angelic,
perfect, exceeding nature._

Young Clare dwelt very near to the cottage. He had lost his parents,
who were rather wealthy, early in life; and was left to the care of a
sister some ten years older than himself.

Elinor Clare was an excellent young lady--discreet, intelligent, and
affectionate. Allan revered her as a parent, while he loved her as
his own familiar friend. He told all the little secrets of his heart
to her--but there was _one_, which he had hitherto unaccountably
concealed from her--namely, the extent of his regard for Rosamund.

Elinor knew of his visits to the cottage, and was no stranger to the
persons of Margaret and her granddaughter. She had several times met
them, when she had been walking with her brother--a civility usually
passed on either side--but Elinor avoided troubling her brother with
any unseasonable questions.

Allan's heart often beat, and he has been going to tell his sister
_all_--but something like shame (false or true, I shall not stay to
inquire) had hitherto kept him back;--still the secret, unrevealed,
hung upon his conscience like a crime--for his temper had a sweet and
noble frankness in it, which bespake him yet a virgin from the world.

There was a fine openness in his countenance--the character of it
somewhat resembled Rosamund's--except that more fire and enthusiasm
were discernible in Allan's; his eyes were of a darker blue than
Rosamund's--his hair was of a chestnut color--his cheeks ruddy, and
tinged with brown. There was a cordial sweetness in Allan's smile,
the like to which I never saw in any other face.

Elinor had hitherto connived at her brother's attachment to Rosamund.
Elinor, I believe, was something of a physiognomist, and thought she
could trace in the countenance and manner of Rosamund, qualities
which no brother of hers need be ashamed to love.

The time was now come when Elinor was desirous of knowing her
brother's favorite more intimately--an opportunity offered of
breaking the matter to Allan.

The morning of the day in which he carried his present of fruit and
flowers to Rosamund, his sister had observed him more than usually
busy in the garden, culling fruit with a nicety of choice not common
to him.

She came up to him, unobserved, and, taking him by the arm, inquired,
with a questioning smile--"What are you doing, Allan? and who are
those peaches designed for?"

"For Rosamund Gray"--he replied--and his heart seemed relieved of a
burden which had long oppressed it.

"I have a mind to become acquainted with your handsome friend--will
you introduce me, Allan? I think I should like to go and see her this

"Do go, do go, Elinor--you don't know what a good creature she is;
and old blind Margaret, you will like _her_ very much."

His sister promised to accompany him after dinner; and they parted.
Allan gathered no more peaches, but hastily cropping a few roses to
fling into his basket, went away with it half-filled, being impatient
to announce to Rosamund the coming of her promised visitor.

       *       *       *       *       *


When Allan returned home, he found an invitation had been left for
him, in his absence, to spend that evening with a young friend, who
had just quitted a public school in London, and was come to pass one
night in his father's house at Widford, previous to his departure the
next morning for Edinburgh University.

It was Allan's bosom friend--they had not met for some months--and it
was probable a much longer time must intervene before they should
meet again.

Yet Allan could not help looking a little blank when he first heard
of the invitation. This was to have been an important evening. But
Elinor soon relieved her brother by expressing her readiness to go
alone to the cottage.

"I will not lose the pleasure I promised myself, whatever you may
determine upon, Allan; I will go by myself rather than be

"Will you, will you, Elinor?"

Elinor promised to go--and I believe, Allan, on a second thought, was
not very sorry to be spared the awkwardness of introducing two
persons to each other, both so dear to him, but either of whom might
happen not much to fancy the other.

At times, indeed, he was confident that Elinor _must_ love Rosamund,
and Rosamund _must_ love Elinor; but there were also times in which
he felt misgivings--it was an event he could scarce hope for very

Allan's _real presence_ that evening was more at the cottage than at
the house, where his _bodily semblance_ was visiting--his friend
could not help complaining of a certain absence of mind, a _coldness_
he called it.

It might have been expected, and in the course of things predicted,
that Allan would have asked his friend some questions of what had
happened since their last meeting, what his feelings were on leaving
school, the probable time when they should meet again, and a, hundred
natural questions which friendship is most lavish of at such times;
but nothing of all this ever occurred to Allan--they did not even
settle the method of their future correspondence.

The consequence was, as might have been expected, Allan's friend
thought him much altered, and, after his departure, sat down to
compose a doleful sonnet about a "faithless friend."--I do not find
that he ever finished it--indignation, or a dearth of rhymes, causing
him to break off in the middle.

       *       *       *       *       *


In my catalogue of the little library at the cottage, I forgot to
mention a book of Common Prayer. My reader's fancy might easily have
supplied the omission--old ladies of Margaret's stamp (God bless
them!) may as well be without their spectacles, or their elbow-chair,
as their prayer-book--I love them for it.

Margaret's was a handsome octavo, printed by Baskerville, the binding
red, and fortified with silver at the edges. Out of this book it was
their custom every afternoon to read the proper psalms appointed for
the day.

The way they managed was this: they took verse by verse--Rosamund
_read_ her little portion, and Margaret repeated hers in turn, from
memory--for Margaret could say all the Psalter by heart, and a good
part of the Bible besides. She would not unfrequently put the girl
right when she stumbled or skipped. This Margaret imputed to
giddiness--a quality which Rosamund was by no means remarkable
for--but old ladies, like Margaret, are not in all instances alike

They had been employed in this manner just before Miss Clare arrived
at the cottage. The psalm they had been reading was the hundred and
fourth--Margaret was naturally led by it into a discussion of the
works of creation.

There had been _thunder_ in the course of the day--an occasion of
instruction which the old lady never let pass--she began--

"Thunder has a very awful sound--some say God Almighty is angry
whenever it thunders--that it is the voice of God speaking to us; for
my part, I am not afraid of it"----

And in this manner the old lady was going on to particularize, as
usual, its beneficial effects, in clearing the air, destroying of
vermin, &c., when the entrance of Miss Clare put an end to her

Rosamund received her with respectful tenderness--and, taking her
grandmother by the hand, said, with great sweetness,--"Miss Clare is
come to see you, grandmother."

"I beg pardon, lady--I cannot _see_ you--but you are heartily
welcome. Is your brother with you, Miss Clare?--I don't hear him."

"He could not come, madam, but he sends his love by me."

"You have an excellent brother, Miss Clare--but pray do us the honor
to take some refreshment--Rosamund"----

And the old lady was going to give directions for a bottle of her
currant wine--when Elinor, smiling, said "she was come to take a cup
of tea with her, and expected to find no ceremony."

"After tea, I promise myself a walk with you, Rosamund, if your
grandmother can spare you." Rosamund looked at her grandmother.

"Oh, for that matter, I should be sorry to debar the girl from any
pleasure--I am sure it's lonesome enough for her to be with _me_
always--and if Miss Clare will take you out, child, I shall do very
well by myself till you return--it will not be the first time, you
know, that I have been left here alone--some of the neighbors will be
dropping in bye and bye--or, if _not_, I shall take no harm."

Rosamund had all the simple manners of a child; she kissed her
grandmother, and looked happy.

All tea-time the old lady's discourse was little more than a
panegyric on young Clare's good qualities. Elinor looked at her young
friend, and smiled. Rosamund was beginning to look grave--but there
was a cordial sunshine in the face of Elinor, before which any clouds
of reserve that had been gathering on Rosamund's soon brake away.

"Does your grandmother ever go out, Rosamund?"

Margaret prevented the girl's reply, by saying--"My dear young lady,
I am an old woman, and very infirm--Rosamund takes me a few paces
beyond the door sometimes--but I walk very badly--I love best to sit
in our little arbor when the sun shines--I can yet feel it warm and
cheerful--and, if I lose the beauties of the season, I shall be very
happy if you and Rosamund can take delight in this fine summer

"I shall want to rob you of Rosamund's company now and then, if we
like one another. I had hoped to have seen _you_, madam, at our
house. I don't know whether we could not make room for you to come
and live with us--what say you to it? Allan would be proud to tend
you, I am sure; and Rosamund and I should be nice company."

Margaret was all unused to such kindnesses, and wept--Margaret had a
great spirit--yet she was not above accepting an obligation from a
worthy person--there was a delicacy in Miss Clare's manner--she could
have no interest but pure goodness, to induce her to make the
offer--at length the old lady spake from a full heart.

"Miss Clare, this little cottage received us in our distress--it gave
us shelter when we had _no home_--we have praised God in it--and,
while life remains, I think I shall never part from it--Rosamund does
everything for me"--

"And will do, grandmother, as long as I live;"--and then Rosamund
fell a-crying.

"You are a good girl, Rosamund; and if you do but find friends when I
am dead and gone, I shall want no better accommodation while I
live--but God bless you, lady, a thousand times, for your kind

Elinor was moved to tears, and, affecting a sprightliness, bade
Rosamund prepare for her walk. The girl put on her white silk bonnet;
and Elinor thought she never beheld so lovely a creature.

They took leave of Margaret, and walked out together; they rambled
over all Rosamund's favorite haunts--through many a sunny field--by
secret glade or wood-walk, where the girl had wandered so often with
her beloved Clare.

Who now so happy as Rosamund? She had oft-times heard Allan speak
with great tenderness of his sister--she was now rambling, arm in
arm, with that very sister, the "vaunted sister" of her friend, her
beloved Clare.

Not a tree, not a bush, scarce a wild flower in their path, but
revived in Rosamund some tender recollection, a conversation perhaps,
or some chaste endearment. Life, and a new scene of things, were now
opening before her--she was got into a fairy land of uncertain

Rosamund was too happy to talk much--but Elinor was delighted with
her when she _did_ talk:--the girl's remarks were suggested most of
them by the passing scene--and they betrayed, all of them, the
liveliness of present impulse;--her conversation did not consist in a
comparison of vapid feeling, an interchange of sentiment lip-deep--it
had all the freshness of young sensation in it.

Sometimes they talked of Allan.

"Allan is very good," said Rosamund, "very good _indeed_ to my
grandmother--he will sit with her, and hear her stories, and read to
her, and try to divert her a hundred ways. I wonder sometimes he is
not tired. She talks him to death!"

"Then you confess, Rosamund, that the old lady _does_ tire _you_

"Oh no, I did not mean _that_--it's very different--I am used to all
her ways, and I can humor her, and please her, and I ought to do it,
for she is the only friend I ever had in the world."

The new friends did not conclude their walk till it was late, and
Rosamund began to be apprehensive about the old lady, who had been
all this time alone.

On their return to the cottage, they found that Margaret had been
somewhat impatient--old ladies, _good old ladies_, will be so at
times--age is timorous and suspicious of danger, where no danger is.

Besides, it was Margaret's bedtime, for she kept very good
hours--indeed, in the distribution of her meals, and sundry other
particulars, she resembled the livers in the antique world, more than
might well beseem a creature of this.

So the new friends parted for that night. Elinor having made Margaret
promise to give Rosamund leave to come and see her the next day.

       *       *       *       *       *


Miss Clare, we may be sure, made her brother very happy, when she
told him of the engagement she had made for the morrow, and how
delighted she had been with his handsome friend.

Allan, I believe, got little sleep that night. I know not, whether
joy be not a more troublesome bedfellow than grief--hope keeps a body
very wakeful, I know.

Elinor Clare was the best good creature--the least selfish human
being I ever knew--always at work for other people's good, planning
other people's happiness--continually forgetful to consult for her
own personal gratifications, except indirectly, in the welfare of
another; while her parents lived, the most attentive of
daughters--since they died, the kindest of sisters--I never knew but
_one_ like her. It happens that I have some of this young lady's
_letters_ in my possession--I shall present my reader with one of
them. It was written a short time after the death of her mother, and
addressed to a cousin, a dear friend of Elinor's, who was then on the
point of being married to Mr. Beaumont, of Staffordshire, and had
invited Elinor to assist at her nuptials. I will transcribe it with
minute fidelity.


Widford, July the --, 17--.

Health, Innocence, and Beauty, shall be thy bride-maids, my sweet
cousin. I have no heart to undertake the office. Alas! what have I to
do in the house of feasting?

Maria! I fear lest my griefs should prove obtrusive. Yet bear with me
a little--I have recovered already a share of my former spirits.

I fear more for Allan than myself. The loss of two such parents,
within so short an interval, bears very heavy on him. The boy _hangs_
about me from morning till night. He is perpetually forcing a smile
into his poor pale cheeks--you know the sweetness of his smile,

To-day, after dinner, when he took his glass of wine in his hand, he
burst into tears, and would not, or could not then, tell me the
reason--afterwards he told me--"he had been used to drink Mamma's
health after dinner, and _that_ came into his head and made him cry."
I feel the claims the boy has upon me--I perceive that I am living to
_some end_--and the thought supports me.

Already I have attained to a state of complacent feelings--my
mother's lessons were not thrown away upon her Elinor.

In the visions of last night her spirit seemed to stand at my
bedside--a light, as of noonday, shone upon the room--she opened my
curtains--she smiled upon me with the same placid smile as in her
lifetime. I felt no fear. "Elinor," she said, "for my sake take care
of young Allan,"--and I awoke with calm feelings.

Maria! shall not the meeting of blessed spirits, think you, he
something like this?--I think, I could even now behold my mother
without dread--I would ask pardon of her for all my past omissions of
duty, for all the little asperities in my temper, which have so often
grieved her gentle spirit when living. Maria! I think she would not
turn away from me.

Oftentimes a feeling, more vivid than memory, brings her before me--I
see her sit in her old elbow-chair--her arms folded upon her lap--a
tear upon her cheek, that seems to upbraid her unkind daughter for
some inattention--I wipe it away and kiss her honored lips.

Maria! when I have been fancying all this, Allan will come in, with
his poor eyes red with weeping, and taking me by the hand, destroy
the vision in a moment.

I am prating to you, my sweet cousin, but it is the prattle of the
heart, which Maria loves. Besides, whom have I to talk to of these
things but you?--you have been my counsellor in times past, my
companion, and sweet familiar friend. Bear with me a little--I mourn
the "cherishers of my infancy."

I sometimes count it a blessing that my father did not prove the
_survivor_. You know something of his story. You know there was a
foul tale current--it was the busy malice of that bad man, S----,
which helped to spread it abroad--you will recollect the active
good-nature of our friends W---- and T----; what pains they took to
undeceive people--with the better sort their kind labors prevailed;
but there was still a party who shut their ears. You know the issue
of it. My father's great spirit bore up against it for some time--my
father never was a _bad_ man--but that spirit was broken at the
last--and the greatly-injured man was forced to leave his old
paternal dwelling in Staffordshire--for the neighbors had begun to
point at him. Maria! I have _seen_ them _point_ at him, and have been
ready to drop.

In this part of the country, where the slander had not reached, he
sought a retreat--and he found a still more grateful asylum in the
daily solicitudes of the best of wives.

"An enemy hath done this," I have heard him say--and at such times my
mother would speak to him so soothingly of forgiveness, and
long-suffering, and the bearing of injuries with patience; would heal
all his wounds with so gentle a touch;--I have seen the old man weep
like a child.

The gloom that beset his mind, at times betrayed him into
skepticism--he has doubted if there be a Providence! I have heard him
say, "God has built a brave world, but methinks he has left his
creatures to bustle in it _how they may_."

At such times he could not endure to hear my mother talk in a
religious strain. He would say, "Woman, have done--you confound, you
perplex me, when you talk of these matters, and for one day at least
unfit me for the business of life."

I have seen her look at him--O GOD, Maria! such a _look_! it plainly
spake that she was willing to have shared her precious hope with the
partner of her earthly cares--but she found a repulse--

Deprived of such a wife, think you, the old man could long have
endured his existence? or what consolation would his wretched
daughter have had to offer him, but silent and imbecile tears?

My sweet cousin, you will think me tedious--and I am so--but it does
me good to talk these matters over. And do not you be alarmed for
me--my sorrows are subsiding into a deep and sweet resignation. I
shall soon be sufficiently composed, I know it, to participate in my
friend's happiness.

Let me call her, while yet I may, my own Maria Leslie! Methinks, I
shall not like you by any other name. Beaumont! Maria Beaumont! it
hath a strange sound with it--I shall never be reconciled to this
name--but do not you fear--Maria Leslie shall plead with me for Maria

             And now, my sweet Friend,
                God love you, and your
                    ELINOR CLARE.

I find in my collection several letters, written soon after the date
of the preceding, and addressed all of them to Maria Beaumont.--I am
tempted to make some short extracts from these--my tale will suffer
interruption by them--but I was willing to preserve whatever
memorials I could of Elinor Clare.



"----I have been strolling out for half an hour in the fields; and my
mind has been occupied by thoughts which Maria has a right to
participate. I have been bringing my _mother_ to my recollection. My
heart ached with the remembrance of infirmities, that made her
closing years of life so sore a trial to her.

"I was concerned to think that our family differences have been one
source of disquiet to her. I am sensible that _this last_ we are apt
to exaggerate after a person's death--and surely, in the main, there
was considerable harmony among the members of our little
family--still I was concerned to think that we ever gave her gentle
spirit disquiet.

"I thought on years back--on all my parents' friends--the H----s, the
F----s, on D---- S----, and on many a merry evening, in the fireside
circle, in that comfortable back parlor--it is never used now.--

"O ye _Matravises_[1] of the age, ye know not what ye lose in
despising these petty topics of endeared remembrance, associated
circumstances of past times;--ye know not the throbbings of the
heart, tender yet affectionately familiar, which accompany the dear
and honored names of _father_ or of _mother_.

[Footnote 1: This name will be explained presently.]

"Maria! I thought on all these things; my heart ached at the review
of them--it yet aches, while I write this--but I am never so
satisfied with my train of thoughts, as when they run upon these
subjects--the tears they draw from us, meliorate and soften the
heart, and keep fresh within us that memory of dear friends dead,
which alone can fit us for a readmission to their society hereafter."


"----I had a bad dream this morning--that Allan was dead--and who, of
all persons in the world do you think, put on mourning for him?
Why--_Matravis_. This alone might cure me of superstitious thoughts,
if I were inclined to them; for why should Matravis _mourn_ for us,
or our family?--Still it was pleasant to awake, and find it but a
dream.--Methinks something like an awaking from an ill dream shall
the Resurrection from the Dead be.--Materially different from our
accustomed scenes, and ways of life, the _World to come_ may possibly
not be--still it is represented to us under the notion of a _Rest_, a
_Sabbath_, a state of bliss."


"----Methinks, you and I should have been born under the same roof,
sucked the same milk, conned the same horn-book, thumbed the same
Testament, together:--for we have been more than sisters, Maria!

"Something will still be whispering to me, that I shall one day be
inmate of the same dwelling with my cousin, partaker with her in all
the delights which spring from mutual good offices, kind words,
attentions in sickness and in health,--conversation, sometimes
innocently trivial, and at others profitably serious;--books read and
commented on, together; meals ate, and walks taken, together,--and
conferences, how we may best do good to this poor person or that, and
wean our spirits from the world's _cares_, without divesting
ourselves of its _charities_. What a picture I have drawn, Maria! and
none of all these things may ever come to pass."


"----Continue to write to me, my sweet cousin. Many good thoughts,
resolutions, and proper views of things, pass through the mind in the
course of the day, but are lost for want of committing them to paper.
Seize them, Maria, as they pass, these Birds of Paradise, that show
themselves and are gone,--and make a grateful present of the precious
fugitives to your friend.

"To use a homely illustration, just rising in my fancy,--shall the
good housewife take such pains in pickling and preserving her
worthless fruits, her walnuts, her apricots, and quinces--and is
there not much _spiritual housewifery_ in treasuring up our mind's
best fruits--our heart's meditations in its most favored moments?

"This sad simile is much in the fashion of the old Moralizers, such
as I conceive honest Baxter to have been, such as Quarles and Wither
were with their curious, serio-comic, quaint emblems. But they
sometimes reach the heart, when a more elegant simile rests in the

"Not low and mean, like these, but beautifully familiarized to our
conceptions, and condescending to human thoughts and notions, are all
the discourses of our LORD--conveyed in parable, or similitude, what
easy access do they win to the heart, through the medium of the
delighted imagination! speaking of heavenly things in fable, or in
simile, drawn from earth, from objects _common_, _accustomed_.

"Life's business, with such delicious little interruptions as our
correspondence affords, how pleasant it is!--why can we not paint on
the dull paper our whole feelings, exquisite as they rise up?"


"----I had meant to have left off at this place; but looking back, I
am sorry to find too gloomy a cast tincturing my last page--a
representation of life false and unthankful. Life is _not_ all vanity
and disappointment--it hath much of evil in it, no doubt; but to
those who do not misuse it, it affords comfort, _temporary_ comfort,
much--much that endears us to it, and dignifies it--many true and
good feelings, I trust, of which we need not be ashamed--hours of
tranquillity and hope. But the morning was dull and overcast, and my
spirits were under a cloud. I feel my error.

"Is it no blessing that we two love one another so dearly--that Allan
is left me--that you are settled in life--that worldly affairs go
smooth with us both--above all that our lot hath fallen to us in a
Christian country? Maria! these things are not little. I will
consider life as a long feast, and not forget to say grace."


"----Allan has written to me--you know, he is on a visit at his old
tutor's in Gloucestershire--he is to return home on Thursday--Allan
is a dear boy--he concludes his letter, which is very affectionate
throughout, in this manner--

"'Elinor, I charge you to learn the following stanza by heart--

  "'The monarch may forget his crown,
    That on his head an hour hath been;
  The bridegroom may forget his bride
    Was made his wedded wife yestreen;

  "'The mother may forget her child,
    That smiles so sweetly on her knee:
  But I'll remember thee, Glencairn,
    And all that thou hast done for me."

"'The lines are in Burns--you know, we read him for the first time
together at Margate--and I have been used to refer them to you, and
to call you, in my mind, _Glencairn_,--for you were always very good
to me. I had a thousand failings, but you would love me in spite of
them all. I am going to drink your health.'"

I shall detain my reader no longer from the narrative.

       *       *       *       *       *


They had but four rooms in the cottage. Margaret slept in the biggest
room up-stairs, and her grand-daughter in a kind of closet adjoining,
where she could be within hearing, if her grandmother should call her
in the night.

The girl was often disturbed in that manner--two or three times in a
night she has been forced to leave her bed, to fetch her
grandmother's cordials, or do some little service for her--but she
knew that Margaret's ailings were _real_ and pressing, and Rosamund
never complained--never suspected, that her grandmother's
requisitions had anything unreasonable in them.

The night she parted with Miss Clare, she had helped Margaret to bed,
as usual--and, after saying her prayers, as the custom was, kneeling
by the old lady's bedside, kissed her grandmother, and wished her a
good-night--Margaret blessed her, and charged her to go to bed
directly. It was her customary injunction, and Rosamund had never
dreamed of disobeying.

So she retired to her little room. The night was warm and clear--the
moon very bright--her window commanded a view of _scenes_ she had
been tracing in the daytime with Miss Clare.

All the events of the day past, the occurrences of their walk arose
in her mind. She fancied she should like to retrace those scenes--but
it was now nine o'clock, a late hour in the village.

Still she fancied it would be very charming--and then her
grandmother's injunction came powerfully to her recollection--she
sighed, and turned from the window-and walked up and down her little

Ever, when she looked at the window, the wish returned. It was not so
_very late_. The neighbors were yet about, passing under the window
to their homes--she thought, and thought again, till her sensations
became vivid, even to painfulness--her bosom was aching to give them

The village-clock struck ten!--the neighbors ceased to pass under the
window. Rosamund, stealing downstairs, fastened the latch behind her,
and left the cottage.

One, that knew her, met her, and observed her with some surprise.
Another recollects having wished her a good-night. Rosamund never
returned to the cottage.

An old man, that lay sick in a small house adjoining to Margaret's,
testified the next morning, that he had plainly heard the old
creature calling for her granddaughter. All the night long she made
her moan, and ceased not to call upon the name of Rosamund. But no
Rosamund was there--the voice died away, but not till near daybreak.

When the neighbors came to search in the morning, Margaret was
missing! She had _straggled_ out of bed, and made her way into
Rosamund's room--worn out with fatigue and fright, when she found the
girl not there, she had laid herself down to die--and, it is thought,
she died _praying_--for she was discovered in a kneeling posture, her
arms and face extended on the pillow, where Rosamund had slept the
night before--a smile was on her face in death.

       *       *       *       *       *


Fain would I draw a veil over the transactions of that night--but I
cannot--grief, and burning shame, forbid me to be silent--black deeds
are about to be made public, which reflect a stain upon our common

Rosamund, enthusiastic and improvident, wandered unprotected to a
distance from her guardian doors--through lonely glens, and
wood-walks, where she had rambled many a _day_ in safety--till she
arrived at a shady copse, out of the hearing of any human habitation.

_Matravis_ met her.---"Flown with insolence and wine," returning home
late at night, he passed that way!

Matravis was a very ugly man. Sallow-complexioned! and if hearts can
wear that color, his heart was sallow-complexioned also.

A young man with _gray_ deliberation! cold and systematic in all his
plans; and all his plans were evil. His very lust was systematic.

He would brood over his bad purposes for such a dreary length of time
that, it might have been expected, some solitary check of conscience
must have intervened to save him from commission. But that _Light
from Heaven_ was extinct in his dark bosom.

Nothing that is great, nothing that is amiable, existed for this
unhappy man. He feared, he envied, he suspected; but he never loved.
The sublime and beautiful in nature, the excellent and becoming in
morals, were things placed beyond the capacity of his sensations. He
loved not poetry--nor ever took a lonely walk to meditate--never
beheld virtue, which he did not try to disbelieve, or female beauty
and innocence, which he did not lust to contaminate.

A sneer was perpetually upon his face, and malice _grinning_ at his
heart. He would say the most ill-natured things, with the least
remorse, of any man I ever knew. This gained him the reputation of a
wit--other _traits_ got him the reputation of a villain.

And this man formerly paid his court to Elinor Clare!--with what
success I leave my readers to determine. It was not in Elinor's
nature to despise any living thing--but in the estimation of this
man, to be rejected was to be _despised_--and Matravis _never

He had long turned his eyes upon Rosamund Gray. To steal from the
bosom of her friends the jewel they prized so much, the little ewe
lamb they held so dear, was a scheme of delicate revenge, and
Matravis had a twofold motive for accomplishing this young maid's

Often had he met her in her favorite solitudes, but found her ever
cold and inaccessible. Of late the girl had avoided straying far from
her own home, in the fear of meeting him--but she had never told her
fears to Allan.

Matravis had, till now, been content to be a villain within the
limits of the law--but, on the present occasion, hot fumes of wine,
cooperating with his deep desire of revenge, and the insolence of an
unhoped-for meeting, overcame his customary prudence, and Matravis
rose, at once, to an audacity of glorious mischief.

Late at night he met her, a lonely, unprotected virgin--no friend at
hand--no place near of refuge.

Rosamund Gray, my soul is exceeding sorrowful for thee--I loathe to
tell the hateful circumstances of thy wrongs. Night and silence were
the only witnesses of this young maid's disgrace--Matravis fled.

Rosamund, polluted and disgraced, wandered, an abandoned thing, about
the fields and meadows till daybreak. Not caring to return to the
cottage, she sat herself down before the gate of Miss Clare's
house--in a stupor of grief.

Elinor was just rising, and had opened the windows of her chamber,
when she perceived her desolate young friend. She ran to embrace
her--she brought her into the house--she took her to her bosom--she
kissed her--she spake to her; but Rosamund could not speak.

Tidings came from the cottage. Margaret's death was an event which
could not be kept concealed from Rosamund. When the sweet maid heard
of it, she languished, and fell sick--she never held up her head
after that time.

If Rosamund had been a _sister_, she could not have been kindlier
treated than by her two friends.

Allan had prospects in life--might, in time, have married into any of
the first families in Hertfordshire--but Rosamund Gray, humbled
though she was, and put to shame, had yet a charm for _him_--and he
would have been content to share his fortunes with her yet, if
Rosamund would have lived to be his companion.

But this was not to be--and the girl soon after died. She expired in
the arms of Elinor--quiet, gentle, as she lived--thankful that she
died not among strangers--and expressing, by signs rather than words,
a gratitude for the most trifling services, the common offices of
humanity. She died uncomplaining; and this young maid, this untaught
Rosamund, might have given a lesson to the grave philosopher in

       *       *       *       *       *


I was but a boy when these events took place. All the village
remember the story, and tell of Rosamund Gray, and old blind

I parted from Allan Clare on that disastrous night, and set out for
Edinburgh the next morning, before the facts were commonly known--I
heard not of them--and it was four months before I received a letter
from Allan.

"His heart," he told me, "was gone from him--for his sister had died
of a frenzy fever!"--not a word of Rosamund in the letter--I was left
to collect her story from sources which may one day be explained.

I soon after quitted Scotland, on the death of my father, and
returned to my native village. Allan had left the place, and I could
gain no information, whether he were dead or living.

I passed the _cottage_. I did not dare to look that way, or to
inquire _who_ lived there. A little dog, that had been Rosamund's,
was yelping in my path. I laughed aloud like one mad, whose mind had
suddenly gone from him--I stared vacantly around me, like one
alienated from common perceptions.

But I was young at that time, and the impression became gradually
weakened as I mingled in the business of life. It is now _ten years_
since these events took place, and I sometimes think of them as
unreal. Allan Clare was a dear friend to me--but there are times when
Allan and his sister, Margaret and her grand-daughter, appear like
personages of a dream--an idle dream.

       *       *       *       *       *


Strange things have happened unto me--I seem scarce awake--but I will
recollect my thoughts, and try to give an account of what has
befallen me in the few last weeks.

Since my father's death our family have resided in London. I am in
practice as a surgeon there. My mother died two years after we left

A month or two ago, I had been busying myself in drawing up the above
narrative, intending to make it public. The employment had forced my
mind to dwell upon _facts_, which had begun to fade from it--the
memory of old times became vivid, and more vivid--I felt a strong
desire to revisit the scenes of my native village--of the young loves
of Rosamund and her Clare.

A kind of dread had hitherto kept me back; but I was restless now,
till I had accomplished my wish. I set out one morning to walk--I
reached Widford about eleven in the forenoon--after a slight
breakfast at my inn--where I was mortified to perceive the old
landlord did not know me again--(old Thomas Billet--he has often made
angle-rods for me when a child)--I rambled over all my accustomed

Our old house was vacant, and to be sold. I entered, unmolested, into
the room that had been my bedchamber. I kneeled down on the spot
where my little bed had stood--I felt like a child--I prayed like
one--it seemed as though old times were to return again--I looked
round involuntarily, expecting to see some face I knew--but all was
naked and mute. The bed was gone. My little pane of painted window,
through which I loved to look at the sun when I awoke in a fine
summer's morning, was taken out, and had been replaced by one of
common glass.

I visited, by turns, every chamber--they were all desolate and
unfurnished, one excepted, in which the owner had left a harpsichord,
probably to be sold--I touched the keys--I played some old Scottish
tunes, which had delighted me when a child. Past associations revived
with the music--blended with a sense of _unreality_, which at last
became too powerful--I rushed out of the room to give vent to my

I wandered, scarce knowing where, into an old wood, that stands at
the back of the house--we called it the _Wilderness_. A well-known
_form_ was missing, that used to meet me in this place--it was
thine--Ben Moxam--the kindest, gentlest, politest of human beings,
yet was he nothing higher than a gardener in the family. Honest
creature! thou didst never pass me in my childish rambles, without a
soft speech, and a smile. I remember thy good-natured face. But there
is one thing, for which I can never forgive thee, Ben Moxam--that
thou didst join with an old maiden aunt of mine in a cruel plot, to
lop away the hanging branches of the old fir-trees--I remember them
sweeping to the ground.

I have often left my childish sports to ramble in this place--its
glooms and its solitude had a mysterious charm for my young mind,
nurturing within me that love of quietness and lonely thinking, which
has accompanied me to maturer years.

In this _Wilderness_ I found myself, after a ten years' absence. Its
stately fir-trees were yet standing, with all their luxuriant company
of underwood--the squirrel was there, and the melancholy cooings of
the wood-pigeon--all was as I had left it--my heart softened at the
sight--it seemed as though my character had been suffering a _change_
since I forsook these shades.

My parents were both dead--I had no counsellor left, no experience of
age to direct me, no sweet voice of reproof. The Lord had taken away
my _friends_, and I knew not where he had laid them. I paced round
the wilderness, seeking a comforter. I prayed that I might be
restored to that _state of innocence_, in which I had wandered in
those shades.

Methought my request was heard, for it seemed as though the stains of
manhood were passing from me, and I were relapsing into the purity
and simplicity of childhood. I was content to have been moulded into
a perfect child. I stood still, as in a trance. I dreamed that I was
enjoying a personal intercourse with my heavenly Father--and,
extravagantly, put off the shoes from my feet--for the place where I
stood I thought, was holy ground.

This state of mind could not last long, and I returned with languid
feelings to my inn. I ordered my dinner--green peas and a
sweetbread--it had been a favorite dish with me in my childhood--I
was allowed to have it on my birthdays. I was impatient to see it
come upon table--but, when it came, I could scarce eat a mouthful--my
tears choked me. I called for wine--I drank a pint and a half of red
wine--and not till then had I dared to visit the church-yard, where
my parents were interred.

The _cottage_ lay in my way--Margaret had chosen it for that very
reason, to be near the church--for the old lady was regular in her
attendance on public worship--I passed on--and in a moment found
myself among the tombs.

I had been present at my father's burial, and knew the spot again--my
mother's funeral I was prevented by illness from attending--a plain
stone was placed over the grave, with their initials carved upon
it--for they both occupied one grave.

I prostrated myself before the spot--I kissed the earth that covered
them--I contemplated, with gloomy delight, the time when I should
mingle my dust with theirs--and kneeled, with my arms incumbent on
the gravestone, in a kind of mental prayer--for I could not speak.

Having performed these duties, I arose with quieter feelings, and
felt leisure to attend to indifferent objects.--Still I continued in
the church-yard, reading the various inscriptions, and moralizing on
them with that kind of levity, which will not unfrequently spring up
in the mind, in the midst of deep melancholy.

I read of nothing but careful parents, loving husbands, and dutiful
children. I said jestingly, where be all the _bad_ people buried? Bad
parents, bad husbands, bad children--what cemeteries are appointed
for these?--do they not sleep in consecrated ground? or is it but a
pious fiction, a generous oversight, in the survivors, which thus
tricks out men's epitaphs when dead, who, in their lifetime,
discharged the offices of life, perhaps, but lamely? Their failings,
with their reproaches, now sleep with them in the grave. _Man wars
not with the dead._ It is a _trait_ of human nature, for which I love

I had not observed, till now, a little group assembled at the other
end of the church-yard; it was a company of children, who were
gathered round a young man, dressed in black, sitting on a

He seemed to be asking them questions--probably, about their
learning--and one little dirty ragged-headed fellow was clambering up
his knees to kiss him. The children had been eating black
cherries--for some of the stones were scattered about, and their
mouths were smeared with them.

As I drew near them, I thought I discerned in the stranger a mild
benignity of countenance, which I had somewhere seen before--I gazed
at him more attentively.

It was Allan Clare! sitting on the grave of his sister.

I threw my arms about his neck. I exclaimed "Allan"--he turned his
eyes upon me--he knew me--we both wept aloud--it seemed as though the
interval since we parted had been as nothing--I cried out, "Come, and
tell me about these things."

I drew him away from his little friends--he parted with a show of
reluctance from the church-yard--Margaret and her grand-daughter lay
buried there, as well as his sister--I took him to my inn--secured a
room, where we might be private--ordered fresh wine--scarce knowing
what I did, I danced for joy.

Allan was quite overcome, and taking me by the hand, he said, "This
repays me for all."

It was a proud day for me--I had found the friend I thought
dead--earth seemed to me no longer valuable, than as it contained
_him_; and existence a blessing no longer than while I should live to
be his comforter.

I began, at leisure, to survey him with more attention. Time and
grief had left few traces of that fine _enthusiasm_, which once
burned in his countenance--his eyes had lost their original fire, but
they retained an uncommon sweetness, and whenever they were turned
upon me, their smile pierced to my heart.

"Allan, I fear you have been a sufferer?" He replied not, and I could
not press him further. I could not call the dead to life again.

So we drank and told old stories--and repeated old poetry--and sang
old songs--as if nothing had happened. We sate till very late. I
forgot that I had purposed returning to town that evening--to Allan
all places were alike--I grew noisy, he grew cheerful--Allan's old
manners, old enthusiasm, were returning upon him--we laughed, we
wept, we mingled our tears, and talked extravagantly.

Allan was my chamber-fellow that night--and lay awake planning
schemes of living together under the same roof, entering upon similar
pursuits,--and praising GOD, that we had met.

I was obliged to return to town the next morning, and Allan proposed
to accompany me. "Since the death of his sister," he told me, "he had
been a wanderer."

In the course of our walk he unbosomed himself without reserve--told
me many particulars of his way of life for the last nine or ten
years, which I do not feel myself at liberty to divulge.

Once, on my attempting to cheer him, when I perceived him over
thoughtful, he replied to me in these words:

"Do not regard me as unhappy when you catch me in these moods. I am
never more happy than at times when, by the cast of my countenance,
men judge me most miserable.

"My friend, the events which have left this sadness behind them are
of no recent date. The melancholy which comes over me with the
recollection of them is not hurtful, but only tends to soften and
tranquillize my mind, to detach me from the restlessness of human

"The stronger I feel this detachment, the more I find myself drawn
heavenward to the contemplation of spiritual objects.

"I love to keep old friendships alive and warm within me, because I
expect a renewal of them in the _World of Spirits_.

"I am a wandering and unconnected thing on the earth. I have made no
new friendships, that can compensate me for the loss of the old--and
the more I know mankind, the more does it become necessary for me to
supply their loss by little images, recollections, and circumstances
of past pleasures.

"I am sensible that I am surrounded by a multitude of very worthy
people, plain-hearted souls, sincere and kind. But they have hitherto
eluded my pursuit, and will continue to bless the little circle of
their families and friends, while I must remain a stranger to them.

"Kept at a distance by mankind, I have not ceased to love them--and
could I find the cruel persecutor, the malignant instrument of GOD'S
judgments on me and mine, I think I would forgive, and try to love
him too.

"I have been a quiet sufferer. From the beginning of my calamities it
was given to me, not to see the hand of man in them. I perceived a
mighty arm, which none but myself could see, extended over me. I gave
my heart to the Purifier, and my will to the Sovereign Will of the
Universe. The irresistible wheels of destiny passed on in their
everlasting rotation,--and I suffered myself to be carried along
with them without complaining."

       *       *       *       *       *


Allan told me that for some years past, feeling himself disengaged
from every personal tie, but not alienated from human sympathies, it
had been his taste, his _humor_ he called it, to spend a great
portion of his time in _hospitals_ and _lazar-houses_.

He had found a _wayward pleasure_, he refused to name it a virtue, in
tending a description of people, who had long ceased to expect
kindness or friendliness from mankind, but were content to accept the
reluctant services, which the oftentimes unfeeling instruments and
servants of these well-meant institutions deal out to the poor sick
people under their care.

It is not medicine, it is not broths and coarse meats, served up at a
stated hour with all the hard formalities of a prison--it is not the
scanty dole of a bed to die on--which dying man requires from his

Looks, attentions, consolations,--in a word, _sympathies_, are what a
man most needs in this awful close of mortal sufferings. A kind look,
a smile, a drop of cold water to the parched lip--for these things a
man shall bless you in death.

And these better things than cordials did Allan love to
administer--to stay by a bedside the whole day, when something
disgusting in a patient's distemper has kept the very nurses at a
distance--to sit by, while the poor wretch got a little sleep--and be
there to smile upon him when he awoke--to slip a guinea, now and
then, into the hands of a nurse or attendant--these things have been
to Allan as _privileges_, for which he was content to live; choice
marks, and circumstances, of his Maker's goodness to him.

And I do not know whether occupations of this kind be not a spring of
purer and nobler delight (certainly instances of a more disinterested
virtue) than arises from what are called Friendships of Sentiment.

Between two persons of liberal education, like opinions, and common
feelings, oftentimes subsists a Variety of Sentiment, which disposes
each to look upon the other as the only being in the universe worthy
of friendship, or capable of understanding it,--themselves they
consider as the solitary receptacles of all that is delicate in
feeling, or stable in attachment: when the odds are, that under every
green hill, and in every crowded street, people of equal worth are to
be found, who do more good in their generation, and make less noise
in the doing of it.

It was in consequence of these benevolent propensities, I have been
describing, that Allan oftentimes discovered considerable
inclinations in favor of my way of life, which I have before
mentioned as being that of a surgeon. He would frequently attend me
on my visits to patients; and I began to think that he had serious
intentions of making my profession his study.

He was present with me at a scene--a, _death-bed scene_--I shudder
when I do but think of it.

       *       *       *       *       *


I was sent for the other morning to the assistance of a gentleman,
who had been wounded in a duel,--and his wounds by unskilful
treatment had been brought to a dangerous crisis.

The uncommonness of the name, which was _Matravis_, suggested to me,
that this might possibly be no other than Allan's old enemy. Under
this apprehension, I did what I could to dissuade Allan from
accompanying me--but he seemed bent upon going, and even pleased
himself with the notion, that it might lie within his ability to do
the unhappy man some service. So he went with me.

When we came to the house, which was in Soho-square, we discovered
that it was indeed the man--the identical Matravis, who had done all
that mischief in times past--but not in a condition to excite any
other sensation than pity in a heart more hard than Allan's.

Intense pain had brought on a delirium--we perceived this on first
entering the room--for the wretched man was raving to
himself--talking idly in mad unconnected sentences--that yet seemed,
at times, to have reference to _past facts_.

One while he told us his dream. "He had lost his way on a great
heath, to which there seemed no end--it was cold, cold, cold,--and
dark, very dark--an old woman in leading-strings, _blind_, was
groping about for a guide"--and then he frightened me,--for he seemed
disposed to be _jocular_, and sang a song about "an old woman clothed
in gray," and said "he did not believe in a devil."

Presently he bid us "not tell Allan Clare."--Allan was hanging over
him at that very moment, sobbing.--I could not resist the impulse,
but cried out, "_This_ is Allan Clare--Allan Clare is come to see
you, my dear Sir."--The wretched man did not hear me, I believe, for
he turned his head away, and began talking of _charnel-houses_, and
_dead men_, and "whether they knew anything that passed in their

Matravis died that night.

       *       *       *       *       *



To comfort the desponding parent with the thought that, without
diminishing the stock which is imperiously demanded to furnish the
more pressing and homely wants of our nature, he has disposed of one
or more perhaps out of a numerous offspring, under the shelter of a
care scarce less tender than the paternal, where not only their
bodily cravings shall be supplied, but that mental _pabulum_ is also
dispensed, which HE hath declared to be no less necessary to our
sustenance, who said, that, "not by bread alone man can live": for
this Christ's Hospital unfolds her bounty. Here neither, on the one
hand, are the youth lifted up above their family, which we must
suppose liberal, though reduced; nor on the other hand, are they
liable to be depressed below its level by the mean habits and
sentiments which a common charity-school generates. It is, in a word,
an Institution to keep those who have yet held up their heads in the
world, from sinking; to keep alive the spirit of a decent household,
when poverty was in danger of crushing it; to assist those who are
the most willing, but not always the most able, to assist themselves;
to separate a child from his family for a season, in order to render
him back hereafter, with feelings and habits more congenial to it,
than he could even have attained by remaining at home in the bosom of
it. It is a preserving and renovating principle, an antidote for the
_res angusta domi_, when it presses, as it always does, most heavily
upon the most ingenuous natures.

This is Christ's Hospital; and whether its character would be
improved by confining its advantages to the very lowest of the
people, let those judge who have witnessed the looks, the gestures,
the behavior, the manner of their play with one another, their
deportment towards strangers, the whole aspect and physiognomy of
that vast assemblage of boys on the London foundation, who freshen
and make alive again with their sports the else mouldering cloisters
of the old Grey Friars--which strangers who have never witnessed, if
they pass through Newgate Street, or by Smithfield, would do well to
go a little out of their way to see.

For the Christ's Hospital boy feels that he is no charity-boy; he
feels it in the antiquity and regality of the foundation to which he
belongs; in the usage which he meets with at school, and the
treatment he is accustomed to out of its bounds; in the respect and
even kindness, which his well-known garb never fails to procure him
in the streets of the metropolis; he feels it in his education, in
that measure of classical attainments, which every individual at that
school, though not destined to a learned profession, has it in his
power to procure, attainments which it would be worse than folly to
put it in the reach of the laboring classes to acquire: he feels it
in the numberless comforts, and even magnificences, which surround
him; in his old and awful cloisters, with their traditions; in his
spacious school-rooms, and in the well-ordered, airy, and lofty rooms
where he sleeps; in his stately dining-hall, hung round with
pictures, by Verrio, Lely, and others, one of them surpassing in size
and grandeur almost any other in the kingdom;[1] above all, in the
very extent and magnitude of the body to which he belongs, and the
consequent spirit, the intelligence, and public conscience, which is
the result of so many various yet wonderfully combining members.
Compared with this last-named advantage, what is the stock of
information (I do not here speak of book-learning, but of that
knowledge which boy receives from boy), the mass of collected
opinions, the intelligence in common, among the few and narrow
members of an ordinary boarding-school?

[Footnote 1: By Verrio, representing James the Second on his throne,
surrounded by his courtiers,(all curious portraits,) receiving the
mathematical pupils at their annual presentation: a custom still kept
up on New-year's-day at Court.]

The Christ's Hospital or Blue-coat boy, has a distinctive character
of his own, as far removed from the abject qualities of a common
charity-boy as it is from the disgusting forwardness of a lad brought
up at some other of the public schools. There is _pride_ in it,
accumulated from the circumstances which I have described, as
differencing him from the former; and there is _a restraining
modesty_ from a sense of obligation and dependence, which must ever
keep his deportment from assimilating to that of the latter. His very
garb, as it is antique and venerable, feeds his self-respect; as it
is a badge of dependence, it restrains the natural petulance of that
age from breaking out into overt acts of insolence. This produces
silence and a reserve before strangers, yet not that cowardly shyness
which boys mewed up at home will feel; he will speak up when spoken
to, but the stranger must begin the conversation with him. Within his
bounds he is all fire and play; but in the streets he steals along
with all the self-concentration of a young monk. He is never known to
mix with other boys; they are a sort of laity to him. All this
proceeds, I have no doubt, from the continual consciousness which he
carries about him, of the difference of his dress from that of the
rest of the world; with a modest jealousy over himself, lest, by
overhastily mixing with common and secular playfellows, he should
commit the dignity of his cloth. Nor let any one laugh at this; for,
considering the propensity of the multitude, and especially of the
small multitude, to ridicule anything unusual in dress--above all,
where such peculiarity may be construed by malice into a mark of
disparagement--this reserve will appear to be nothing more than a
wise instinct in the Blue-coat boy. That it is neither pride nor
rusticity, at least that it has none of the offensive qualities of
either, a stranger may soon satisfy himself, by putting a question to
any of these boys: he may be sure of an answer couched in terms of
plain civility, neither loquacious nor embarrassed. Let him put the
same question to a parish-boy, or to one of the trencher-caps in the
---- cloisters, and the impudent reply of the one shall not fail to
exasperate any more than the certain servility, and mercenary eye to
reward, which he will meet with in the other, can fail to depress and
sadden him.

The Christ's Hospital boy is a religions character. His school is
eminently a religious foundation; it has its peculiar prayers, its
services at set times, its graces, hymns, and anthems, following each
other in an almost monastic closeness of succession. This religious
character in him is not always untinged with superstition. That is
not wonderful, when we consider the thousand tales and traditions
which must circulate, with undisturbed credulity, amongst so many
boys, that have so few checks to their belief from any intercourse
with the world at large; upon whom their equals in age must work so
much, their elders so little. With this leaning towards an
over-belief in matters of religion, which will soon correct itself
when he comes out into society, may be classed a turn for romance
above most other boys. This is to be traced in the same manner to
their excess of society with each other, and defect of mingling with
the world. Hence the peculiar avidity with which such books as the
"Arabian Nights' Entertainments," and others of a still wilder cast,
are, or at least were in my time, sought for by the boys. I remember
when some half-dozen of them set off from school, without map, card,
or compass, on a serious expedition to find out _Philip Quarll's

The Christ's Hospital boy's sense of right and wrong is peculiarly
tender and apprehensive. It is even apt to run out into ceremonial
observances, and to impose a yoke upon itself beyond the strict
obligations of the moral law. Those who were contemporaries with me
at that school thirty years ago, will remember with what more than
Judaic rigor the eating of the fat of certain boiled meats[1] was
interdicted. A boy would have blushed as at the exposure of some
heinous immorality, to have been detected eating that forbidden
portion of his allowance of animal food, the whole of which, while he
was in health, was little more than sufficient to allay his hunger.
The same, or even greater, refinement was shown in the rejection of
certain kinds of sweet-cake. What gave rise to these supererogatory
penances, these self-denying ordinances, I could never learn;[2] they
certainly argue no defect of the conscientious principle. A little
excess in that article is not undesirable in youth, to make allowance
for the inevitable waste which comes in maturer years. But in the
less ambiguous line of duty, in those directions of the moral
feelings which cannot be mistaken or depreciated, I will relate what
took place in the year 1785, when Mr. Perry, the steward, died. I
must be pardoned for taking my instances from my own times. Indeed,
the vividness of my recollections, while I am upon this subject,
almost bring back those times; they are present to me still. But I
believe that in the years which have elapsed since the period which I
speak of, the character of the Christ's Hospital boy is very little
changed. Their situation in point of many comforts is improved; but
that which I ventured before to term the _public conscience_ of the
school, the pervading moral sense, of which every mind partakes and
to which so many individual minds contribute, remains, I believe,
pretty much the same as when I left it. I have seen, within this
twelvemonth almost, the change which has been produced upon a boy of
eight or nine years of age, upon being admitted into that school;
how, from a pert young coxcomb, who thought that all knowledge was
comprehended within his shallow brains, because a smattering of two
or three languages and one or two sciences were stuffed into him by
injudicious treatment at home, by a mixture with the wholesome
society of so many school-fellows, in less time than I have spoken
of, he has sunk to his own level, and is contented to be carried on
in the quiet orbit of modest self-knowledge in which the common mass
of that unpresumptuous assemblage of boys seem to move: from being a
little unfeeling mortal, he has got to feel and reflect. Nor would it
be a difficult matter to show how, at a school like this, where the
boy is neither entirely separated from home, nor yet exclusively
under its influence, the best feelings, the filial for instance, are
brought to a maturity which they could not have attained under a
completely domestic education; how the relation of a parent is
rendered less tender by unremitted association, and the very
awfulness of age is best apprehended by some sojourning amidst the
comparative levity of youth; how absence, not drawn out by too great
extension into alienation or forgetfulness, puts an edge upon the
relish of occasional intercourse, and the boy is made the better
_child_ by that which keeps the force of that relation from being
felt as perpetually pressing on him; how the substituted paternity,
into the care of which he is adopted, while in everything substantial
it makes up for the natural, in the necessary omission of individual
fondnesses and partialities, directs the mind only the more strongly
to appreciate that natural and first tie, in which such weaknesses
are the bond of strength, and the appetite which craves after them
betrays no perverse palate. But these speculations rather belong to
the question of the comparative advantages of a public over a private
education in general. I must get back to my favorite school; and to
that which took place when our old and good steward died.

[Footnote 1: Under the denomination of _gage_.]

[Footnote 2: I am told that the late steward [Mr. Hathaway], who
evinced on many occasions a most praiseworthy anxiety to promote the
comfort of the boys, had occasion for all his address and
perseverance to eradicate the first of these unfortunate prejudices,
in which he at length happily succeeded, and thereby restored to one
half of the animal nutrition of the school those honors which painful
superstition and blind zeal had so long conspired to withhold from

And I will say that when I think of the frequent instances which I
have met with in children, of a hard-heartedness, a callousness, and
insensibility to the loss of relations, even of those who have begot
and nourished them, I cannot but consider it as a proof of something
in the peculiar conformation of that school, favorable to the
expansion of the best feelings of our nature, that at the period
which I am noticing, out of five hundred boys there was not a dry eye
to be found among them, nor a heart that did not beat with genuine
emotion. Every impulse to play, until the funeral day was past,
seemed suspended throughout the school; and the boys, lately so
mirthful and sprightly, were seen pacing their cloisters alone, or in
sad groups standing about, few of them without some token, such as
their slender means could provide, a black riband or something, to
denote respect and a sense of their loss. The time itself was a time
of anarchy, a time in which all authority (out of school hours) was
abandoned. The ordinary restraints were for those days superseded;
and the gates, which at other times kept us in, were left without
watchers. Yet, with the exception of one or two graceless boys at
most, who took advantage of that suspension of authorities to _skulk
out_, as it was called, the whole body of that great school kept
rigorously within their bounds, by a voluntary self-imprisonment; and
they who broke bounds, though they escaped punishment from any
master, fell into a general disrepute among us, and, for that which
at any other time would have been applauded and admired as a mark of
spirit, were consigned to infamy and reprobation; so much _natural
government_ have gratitude and the principles of reverence and love,
and so much did a respect to their dead friend prevail with these
Christ's Hospital boys, above any fear which his presence among them
when living could ever produce. And if the impressions which were
made on my mind so long ago are to be trusted, very richly did their
steward deserve this tribute. It is a pleasure to me even now to call
to mind his portly form, the regal awe which he always contrived to
inspire, in spite of a tenderness and even weakness of nature that
would have enfeebled the reins of discipline in any other master; a
yearning of tenderness towards those under his protection, which
could make five hundred boys at once feel towards him each as to
their individual father. He had faults, with which we had nothing to
do; but, with all his faults, indeed, Mr. Perry was a most
extraordinary creature. Contemporary with him and still living,
though he has long since resigned his occupation, will it be
impertinent to mention the name of our excellent upper
grammar-master, the Rev. James Boyer? He was a disciplinarian,
indeed, of a different stamp from him whom I have just described;
but, now the terrors of the rod, and of a temper a little too hasty
to leave the more nervous of us quite at our ease to do justice to
his merits in those days, are long since over, ungrateful were we if
we should refuse our testimony to that unwearied assiduity with which
he attended to the particular improvement of each of us. Had we been
the offspring of the first gentry in the land, he could not have been
instigated by the strongest views of recompense and reward to have
made himself a greater slave to the most laborious of all occupations
than he did for us sons of charity, from whom, or from our parents,
he could expect nothing. He has had his reward in the satisfaction of
having discharged his duty, in the pleasurable consciousness of
having advanced the respectability of that institution to which, both
man and boy, he was attached; in the honors to which so many of his
pupils have successfully aspired at both our Universities; and in the
staff with which the Governors of the Hospital, at the close of his
hard labors, with the highest expressions of the obligations the
school lay under to him, unanimously voted to present him.

I have often considered it among the felicities of the constitution
of this school, that the offices of steward and school-master are
kept distinct; the strict business of education alone devolving upon
the latter, while the former has the charge of all things out of
school, the control of the provisions, the regulation of meals, of
dress, of play, and the ordinary intercourse of the boys. By this
division of management, a superior respectability must attach to the
teacher, while his office is unmixed with any of these lower
concerns. A still greater advantage over the construction of common
boarding-schools is to be found in the settled salaries of the
masters, rendering them totally free of obligation to any individual
pupil, or his parents. This never fails to have its effect at schools
where each boy can reckon up to a hair what profit the master derives
from him, where he views him every day in the light of a caterer, a
provider for the family, who is to get so much by him in each of his
meals. Boys will see and consider these things; and how much must the
sacred character of preceptor suffer in their minds by these
degrading associations! The very bill which the pupil carries home
with him at Christmas, eked out, perhaps, with elaborate though
necessary minuteness, instructs him that his teachers have other ends
than the mere love to learning, in the lessons which they give him;
and though they put into his hands the fine sayings of Seneca or
Epictetus, yet they themselves are none of those disinterested
pedagogues to teach philosophy _gratis_. The master, too, is sensible
that he is seen in this light; and how much this must lessen that
affectionate regard to the learners which alone can sweeten the
bitter labor of instruction, and convert the whole business into
unwelcome and uninteresting task-work, many preceptors that I have
conversed with on the subject are ready, with a sad heart, to
acknowledge. From this inconvenience the settled salaries of the
masters of this school in great measure exempt them; while the happy
custom of choosing masters (indeed every officer of the
establishment) from those who have received their education there,
gives them an interest in advancing the character of the school, and
binds them to observe a tenderness and a respect to the children, in
which a stranger, feeling that independence which I have spoken of,
might well be expected to fail.

In affectionate recollections of the place where he was bred up, in
hearty recognitions of old school-fellows met with again after the
lapse of years, or in foreign countries, the Christ's Hospital boy
yields to none; I might almost say, he goes beyond most other boys.
The very compass and magnitude of the school, its thousand bearings,
the space it takes up in the imagination beyond the ordinary schools,
impresses a remembrance, accompanied with an elevation of mind, that
attends him through life. It is too big, too affecting an object, to
pass away quickly from his mind. The Christ's Hospital boy's friends
at school are commonly his intimates through life. For me, I do not
know whether a constitutional imbecility does not incline me too
obstinately to cling to the remembrances of childhood; in an inverted
ratio to the usual sentiments of mankind, nothing that I have been
engaged in since seems of any value or importance compared to the
colors which imagination gave to everything then. I belong to no
_body corporate_ such as I then made a part of.--And here, before I
close, taking leave of the general reader, and addressing myself
solely to my old school-fellows, that were contemporaries with me
from the year 1782 to 1789, let me have leave to remember some of
those circumstances of our school, which they will not be unwilling
to have brought back to their minds.

And first, let us remember, as first in importance in our childish
eyes, the young men (as they almost were) who, under the denomination
of _Grecians_, were waiting the expiration of the period when they
should be sent, at the charges of the Hospital, to one or other of
our universities, but more frequently to Cambridge. These youths,
from their superior acquirements, their superior age and stature, and
the fewness of their numbers (for seldom above two or three at a time
were inaugurated into that high order), drew the eyes of all, and
especially of the younger boys, into a reverent observance and
admiration. How tall they used to seem to us! how stately would they
pace along the cloisters! while the play of the lesser boys was
absolutely suspended, or its boisterousness at least allayed, at
their presence! Not that they ever beat or struck the boys--that
would have been to have demeaned themselves--the dignity of their
persons alone insured them all respect. The task of blows, of
corporal chastisement, they left to the common monitors, or heads of
wards, who, it must be confessed, in our time had rather too much
license allowed them to oppress and misuse their inferiors; and the
interference of the Grecian, who may be considered as the spiritual
power, was not unfrequently called for, to mitigate by its mediation
the heavy unrelenting arm of this temporal power, or monitor. In
fine, the Grecians were the solemn Muftis of the school. Eras were
computed from their time;--it used to be said, such or such a thing
was done when S---- or T---- was Grecian.

As I ventured to call the Grecians, the Muftis of the school, the
King's boys,[1] as their character then was, may well pass for the
Janissaries. They were the terror of all the other boys; bred up
under that hardy sailor, as well as excellent mathematician and
conavigator with Captain Cook, William Wales. All his systems were
adapted to fit them for the rough element which they were destined to
encounter. Frequent and severe punishments which were expected to be
borne with more than Spartan fortitude, came to be considered less as
inflictions of disgrace than as trials of obstinate endurance. To
make his boys hardy, and to give them early sailor-habits, seemed to
be his only aim; to this everything was subordinate. Moral
obliquities, indeed, were sure of receiving their full recompense,
for no occasion of laying on the lash was ever let slip; but the
effects expected to be produced from it were something very different
from contrition or mortification. There was in William Wales a
perpetual fund of humor, a constant glee about him, which, heightened
by an inveterate provincialism of north-country dialect, absolutely
took away the sting from his severities. His punishments were a game
at patience, in which the master was not always worst contented when
he found himself at times overcome by his pupil. What success this
discipline had, or how the effects of it operated upon the
after-lives of these King's boys, I cannot say: but I am sure that,
for the time, they were absolute nuisances to the rest of the school.
Hardy, brutal, and often wicked, they were the most graceless lump in
the whole mass; older and bigger than the other boys, (for, by the
system of their education they were kept longer at school by two or
three years than any of the rest, except the Grecians,) they were a
constant terror to the younger part of the school; and some who may
read this, I doubt not, will remember the consternation into which
the juvenile fry of us were thrown, when the cry was raised in the
cloisters, that _the First Order was coming_--for so they termed the
first form or class of those boys. Still these sea-boys answered some
good purposes, in the school. They were the military class among the
boys, foremost in athletic exercises, who extended the fame of the
prowess of the school far and near; and the apprentices in the
vicinage, and sometimes the butchers' boys in the neighboring market,
had sad occasion to attest their valor.

[Footnote 1: The mathematical pupils, bred up to the sea, on the
foundation of Charles the Second.]

The time would fail me if I were to attempt to enumerate all those
circumstances, some pleasant, some attended with some pain, which,
seen through the mist of distance, come sweetly softened to the
memory. But I must crave leave to remember our transcending
superiority in those invigorating sports, leap-frog, and basting the
bear; our delightful excursions in the summer holidays to the New
River, near Newington, where, like otters, we would live the long day
in the water, never caring for dressing ourselves, when we had once
stripped; our savory meals afterwards, when we came home almost
famished with staying out all day without our dinners; our visits at
other times to the Tower, where, by ancient privilege, we had free
access to all the curiosities; our solemn procession through the City
at Easter, with the Lord Mayor's largess of buns, wine, and a
shilling, with the festive questions and civic pleasantries of the
dispensing Aldermen, which were more to us than all the rest of the
banquet; our stately suppings in public, where the well-lighted hall
and the confluence of well-dressed company who came to see us, made
the whole look more like a concert or assembly, than a scene of a
plain bread and cheese collation; the annual orations upon St.
Matthew's day, in which the senior scholar, before he had done,
seldom failed to reckon up, among those who had done honor to our
school by being educated in it, the names of those accomplished
critics and Greek scholars, Joshua Barnes and Jeremiah Markland (I
marvel they left out Camden while they were about it). Let me have
leave to remember our hymns and anthems, and well-toned organ; the
doleful tune of the burial anthem chanted in the solemn cloisters,
upon the seldom-occurring funeral of some school-fellow; the
festivities at Christmas, when the richest of us would club our stock
to have a gaudy day, sitting round the fire, replenished to the
height with logs, and the penniless, and he that could contribute
nothing, partook in all the mirth, and in some of the
substantialities of the feasting; the carol sung by night at that
time of the year, which, when a young boy, I have so often lain awake
to hear from seven (the hour of going to bed) till ten, when it was
sung by the older boys and monitors, and have listened to it, in
their rude chanting, till I have been transported in fancy to the
fields of Bethlehem, and the song which was sung at that season, by
angels' voices to the shepherds.

Nor would I willingly forget any of those things which administered
to our vanity. The hem-stitched bands and town-made shirts, which
some of the most fashionable among us wore; the town-girdles, with
buckles of silver, or shining stone; the badges of the sea-boys; the
cots, or superior shoestrings, of the monitors; the medals of the
markers; (those who were appointed to hear the Bible read in the
wards on Sunday morning and evening,) which bore on their obverse in
silver, as certain parts of our garments carried, in meaner metal,
the countenance of our Founder, that godly and royal child, King
Edward the Sixth, the flower of the Tudor name--the young flower that
was untimely cropt, as it began to fill our land with its early
odors--the boy-patron of boys--the serious and holy child who walked
with Cranmer and Bidley--fit associate, in those tender years, for
the bishops, and future martyrs of our Church, to receive, or, (as
occasion sometimes proved,) to give instruction.

  "But, ah! what means the silent tear?
    Why, e'en 'mid joy, my bosom heave?
  Ye long-lost scenes, enchantments dear!
    Lo! now I linger o'er your grave.

  "--Fly, then, ye hours of rosy hue,
    And bear away the bloom of years!
  And quick succeed, ye sickly crew
    Of doubts and sorrows, pains and fears!

  "Still will I ponder Fate's unaltered plan,
  Nor, tracing back the child, forget that I am man."[1]

[Footnote 1: Lines meditated in the cloisters of Christ's Hospital,
in the "Poetics," of Mr. George Dyer.]

       *       *       *       *       *



Taking a turn the other day in the Abbey, I was struck with the
affected attitude of a figure, which I do not remember to have seen
before, and which upon examination proved to be a whole-length of the
celebrated Mr. Garrick. Though I would not go so far with some good
Catholics abroad as to shut players altogether out of consecrated
ground, yet I own I was not a little scandalized at the introduction
of theatrical airs and gestures into a place set apart to remind us
of the saddest realities. Going nearer, I found inscribed under this
harlequin figure the following lines:--

  "To paint fair Nature, by divine command
  Her magic pencil in his glowing hand,
  A Shakspeare rose; then, to expand his fame
  Wide o'er this breathing world, a Garrick came.
  Though sunk in death the forms the Poet drew,
  The Actor's genius bade them breathe anew;
  Though, like the bard himself, in night they lay,
  Immortal Garrick called them back to day:
  And till Eternity with power sublime
  Shall mark the mortal hour of hoary Time,
  Shakspeare and Garrick like twin-stars shall shine,
  And earth irradiate with a beam divine."

It would be an insult to my readers' understandings to attempt
anything like a criticism on this farrago of false thoughts and
nonsense. But the reflection it led me into was a kind of wonder,
how, from the days of the actor here celebrated to our own, it should
have been the fashion to compliment every performer in his turn, that
has had the luck to please the Town in any of the great characters of
Shakspeare, with the notion of possessing a _mind congenial with the
poet's_; how people should come thus unaccountably to confound the
power of originating poetical images and conceptions with the faculty
of being able to read or recite the same when put into words;[1]or
what connection that absolute mastery over the heart and soul of man,
which a great dramatic poet possesses, has with those low tricks upon
the eye and ear, which a player, by observing a few general effects,
which some common passion, as grief, anger, &c., usually has upon the
gestures and exterior, can so easily compass. To know the internal
workings and movements of a great mind, of an Othello or a Hamlet for
instance, the _when_ and the _why_ and the _how far_ they should be
moved; to what pitch a passion is becoming; to give the reins and to
pull in the curb exactly at the moment when the drawing in or the
slackening is most graceful; seems to demand a reach of intellect of
a vastly different extent from that which is employed upon the bare
imitation of the signs of these passions in the countenance or
gesture, which signs are usually observed to be most lively and
emphatic in the weaker sort of minds, and which signs can after all
but indicate some passion, as I said before, anger, or grief,
generally; but of the motives and grounds of the passion, wherein it
differs from the same passion in low and vulgar natures, of these the
actor can give no more idea by his face or gesture than the eye
(without a metaphor) can speak, or the muscles utter intelligible
sounds. But such is the instantaneous nature of the impressions which
we take in at the eye and ear at a playhouse, compared with the slow
apprehension oftentimes of the understanding in reading, that we are
apt not only to sink the playwriter in the consideration which we pay
to the actor, but even to identify in our minds, in a perverse
manner, the actor with the character which he represents. It is
difficult for a frequent play-goer to disembarrass the idea of Hamlet
from the person and voice of Mr. K. We speak of Lady Macbeth, while
we are in reality thinking of Mrs. S. Nor is this confusion
incidental alone to unlettered persons, who, not possessing the
advantage of reading, are necessarily dependent upon the stage-player
for all the pleasure which they can receive from the drama, and to
whom the very idea of _what an author is_ cannot be made
comprehensible without some pain and perplexity of mind: the error is
one from which persons otherwise not meanly lettered, find it almost
impossible to extricate themselves.

[Footnote 1: It is observable that we fall into this confusion only
in dramatic recitations. We never dream that the gentleman who reads
Lucretius in public with great applause, is therefore a great poet
and philosopher; nor do we find that Tom Davis, the bookseller, who
is recorded to have recited the Paradise Lost better than any man in
England in his day (though I cannot help thinking there must be some
mistake in this tradition), was therefore, by his intimate friends,
set upon a level with Milton.]

Never let me be so ungrateful as to forget the very high degree of
satisfaction which I received some years back from seeing for the
first time a tragedy of Shakespeare performed, in which those two
great performers sustained the principal parts. It seemed to embody
and realize conceptions which had hitherto assumed no distinct shape.
But dearly do we pay all our life after for this juvenile pleasure,
this sense of distinctness. When the novelty is past, we find to our
cost that instead of realizing an idea, we have only materialized and
brought down a fine vision to the standard of flesh and blood. We
have let go a dream, in quest of an unattainable substance.

How cruelly this operates upon the mind, to have its free conceptions
thus cramped and pressed down to the measure of a strait-lacing
actuality, may be judged from that delightful sensation of freshness,
with which we turn to those plays of Shakspeare which have escaped
being performed, and to those passages in the acting plays of the
same writer which have happily been left out in the performance. How
far the very custom of hearing anything _spouted_, withers and blows
upon a fine passage, may be seen in those speeches from Henry the
Fifth, &c., which are current in the mouths of school-boys, from
their being to be found in _Enfield's Speaker_, and such kind of
books! I confess myself utterly unable to appreciate that celebrated
soliloquy in Hamlet, beginning "To be or not to be," or to tell
whether it be good, bad or indifferent, it has been so handled and
pawed about by declamatory boys and men, and torn so inhumanly from
its living place and principle of continuity in the play, till it is
become to me a perfect dead member.

It may seem a paradox, but I cannot help being of opinion that the
plays of Shakspeare are less calculated for performance on a stage,
than those of almost any other dramatist whatever. Their
distinguishing excellence is a reason that they should be so. There
is so much in them, which comes not under the province of acting,
with which eye, and tone, and gesture, have nothing to do.

The glory of the scenic art is to personate passion, and the turns of
passion; and the more coarse and palpable the passion is, the more
hold upon the eyes and ears of the spectators the performer obviously
possesses. For this reason, scolding scenes, scenes where two persons
talk themselves into a fit of fury, and then in a surprising manner
talk themselves out of it again, have always been the most popular
upon our stage. And the reason is plain, because the spectators are
here most palpably appealed to, they are the proper judges in this
war of words, they are the legitimate ring that should be formed
round such "intellectual prize-fighters." Talking is the direct
object of the imitation here. But in all the best dramas, and in
Shakspeare above all, how obvious it is, that the form of _speaking_,
whether it be in soliloquy or dialogue, is only a medium, and often a
highly artificial one, for putting the reader or spectator into
possession of that knowledge of the inner structure and workings of
mind in a character, which he could otherwise never have arrived at
_in that form of composition_ by any gift short of intuition. We do
here as we do with novels written in the _epistolary form_. How many
improprieties, perfect solecisms in letter-writing, do we put up with
in Clarissa and other books, for the sake of the delight which that
form upon the whole gives us!

But the practice of stage-representation reduces everything to a
controversy of elocution. Every character, from the boisterous
blasphemings of Bajazet to the shrinking timidity of womanhood, must
play the orator. The love dialogues of Romeo and Juliet, those
silver-sweet sounds of lovers' tongues by night! the more intimate
and sacred sweetness of nuptial colloquy between an Othello or a
Posthumus with their married wives, all those delicacies which are so
delightful in the reading, as when we read of those youthful
dalliances in Paradise--

                                "As beseem'd
  Fair couple link'd in happy nuptial league,

by the inherent fault of stage-representation, how are these things
sullied and turned from their very nature by being exposed to a large
assembly; when such speeches as Imogen addresses to her lord, come
drawling out of the mouth of a hired actress, whose courtship, though
nominally addressed to the personated Posthumus, is manifestly aimed
at the spectators, who are to judge of her endearments and her
returns of love!

The character of Hamlet is perhaps that by which, since the days of
Betterton, a succession of popular performers have had the greatest
ambition to distinguish themselves. The length of the part may be one
of their reasons. But for the character itself, we find it in a play,
and therefore we judge it a fit subject of dramatic representation.
The play itself abounds in maxims and reflections beyond any other,
and therefore we consider it as a proper vehicle for conveying moral
instruction. But Hamlet himself--what does he suffer meanwhile by
being dragged forth as the public schoolmaster, to give lectures to
the crowd! Why, nine parts in ten of what Hamlet does, are
transactions between himself and his moral sense; they are the
effusions of his solitary musings, which he retires to holes and
corners and the most sequestered parts of the palace to pour forth;
or rather, they are the silent meditations with which his bosom is
bursting, reduced to _words_ for the sake of the reader, who must
else remain ignorant of what is passing there. These profound
sorrows, these light-and-noise-abhorring ruminations, which the
tongue scarce dares utter to deaf walls and chambers, how can they be
represented by a gesticulating actor, who comes and mouths them out
before an audience, making four hundred people his confidants at
once! I say not that it is the fault of the actor so to do; he must
pronounce them _ore rotundo_; he must accompany them with his eye; he
must insinuate them into his auditory by some trick of eye, tone or
gesture, or he fails. _He must be thinking all the while of his
appearance, because he knows that all the while the spectators are
judging of it_. And this is the way to represent the shy, negligent,
retiring Hamlet!

It is true that there is no other mode of conveying a vast quantity
of thought and feeling to a great portion of the audience, who
otherwise would never earn it for themselves by reading, and the
intellectual acquisition gained this way may, for aught I know, be
inestimable; but I am not arguing that Hamlet should not be acted,
but how much Hamlet is made another thing by being acted. I have
heard much of the wonders which Garrick performed in this part; but
as I never saw him, I must have leave to doubt whether the
representation of such a character came within the province of his
art. Those who tell me of him, speak of his eye, of the magic of his
eye, and of his commanding voice: physical properties, vastly
desirable in an actor, and without which he can never insinuate
meaning into an auditory,--but what have they to do with Hamlet; what
have they to do with intellect? In fact, the things aimed at in
theatrical representation, are to arrest the spectator's eye upon the
form and the gesture, and so to gain a more favorable hearing to what
is spoken: it is not what the character is, but how he looks; not
what he says, but how he speaks it. I see no reason to think that if
the play of Hamlet were written over again by some such writer as
Banks or Lillo, retaining the process of the story, but totally
omitting all the poetry of it, all the divine features of Shakspeare,
his stupendous intellect; and only taking care to give us enough of
passionate dialogue, which Banks or Lillo were never at a loss to
furnish; I see not how the effect could be much different upon an
audience, nor how the actor has it in his power to represent
Shakspeare to us differently from his representation of Banks or
Lillo. Hamlet would still be a youthful accomplished prince, and must
be gracefully personated; he might be puzzled in his mind, wavering
in his conduct, seemingly cruel to Ophelia; he might see a ghost, and
start at it, and address it kindly when he found it to be his father;
all this in the poorest and most homely language of the servilest
creeper after nature that ever consulted the palate of an audience;
without troubling Shakspeare for the matter: and I see not but there
would be room for all the power which an actor has, to display
itself. All the passions and changes of passion might remain: for
those are much less difficult to write or act than is thought; it is
a trick easy to be attained, it is but rising or falling a note or
two in the voice, a whisper with a significant foreboding look to
announce its approach, and so contagious the counterfeit appearance
of any emotion is, that let the words be what they will, the look and
tone shall carry it off, and make it pass for deep skill in the

It is common for people to talk of Shakspeare's plays being _so
natural_; that everybody can understand him. They are natural indeed,
they are grounded deep in nature, so deep that the depth of them lies
out of the reach of most of us. You shall hear the same persons say
that George Barnwell is very natural, and Othello is very natural,
that they are both very deep; and to them they are the same kind of
thing. At the one they sit and shed tears, because a good sort of
young man is tempted by a naughty woman to commit a _trifling
peccadillo_, the murder of an uncle or so[1] that is all, and so
comes to an untimely end, which is _so moving_; and at the other,
because a blackamoor in a fit of jealousy kills his innocent white
wife; and the odds are that ninety-nine out of a hundred would
willingly behold the same catastrophe happen to both the heroes, and
have thought the rope more due to Othello than to Barnwell. For of
the texture of Othello's mind, the inward construction marvellously
laid open with all its strengths and weaknesses, its heroic
confidences and its human misgivings, its agonies of hate springing
from the depths of love, they see no more than the spectators at a
cheaper rate, who pay their pennies apiece to look through the man's
telescope in Leicester-fields, see into the inward plot and
topography of the moon. Some dim thing or other they see; they see an
actor personating a passion, of grief, or anger, for instance, and
they recognize it as a copy of the usual external effects of such
passions; or at least as being true to _that symbol of the emotion
which passes current at the theatre for it_, for it is often no more
than that: but of the grounds of the passion, its correspondence to a
great or heroic nature, which is the only worthy object of
tragedy,--that common auditors know anything of this, or can have any
such notions dinned into them by the mere strength of an actor's
lungs,--that apprehensions foreign to them should be thus infused
into them by storm, I can neither believe, nor understand how it can
be possible.

[Footnote 1: If this note could hope to meet the eye of any of the
Managers, I would entreat and beg of them, in the name of both the
Galleries, that this insult upon the morality of the common people of
London should cease to be eternally repeated in the holiday weeks.
Why are the 'Prentices of this famous and well-governed city, instead
of an amusement, to be treated over and over again with a nauseous
sermon of George Barnwell? Why _at the end of their vistas_ are we to
place the _gallows_?  Were I an uncle, I should not much like a
nephew of mine to have such an example placed before his eyes. It is
really making uncle-murder too trivial to exhibit it as done upon
such slight motives;--it is attributing too much to such characters
as Millwood:--it is putting things into the heads of good young men,
which they would never otherwise have dreamed of. Uncles that think
anything of their lives, should fairly petition the Chamberlain
against it.]

We talk of Shakspeare's admirable observations of life, when we
should feel, that not from a petty inquisition into those cheap and
every-day characters which surrounded him, as they surround us, but
from his own mind, which was, to borrow a phrase of Ben Jonson's, the
very "sphere of humanity," he fetched those images of virtue and of
knowledge, of which every one of us recognizing a part, think we
comprehend in our natures the whole; and oftentimes mistake the
powers which he positively creates in us, for nothing more than
indigenous faculties of our own minds, which only waited the
application of corresponding virtues in him to return a full and
clear echo of the same.

To return to Hamlet.--Among the distinguishing features of that
wonderful character, one of the most interesting (yet painful) is
that soreness of mind which makes him treat the intrusions of
Polonius with harshness, and that asperity which he puts on in his
interviews with Ophelia. These tokens of an unhinged mind (if they be
not mixed in the latter case with a profound artifice of love, to
alienate Ophelia by affected discourtesies, so to prepare her mind
for the breaking off of that loving intercourse, which can no longer
find a place amidst business so serious as that which he has to do)
are parts of his character, which to reconcile with our admiration of
Hamlet, the most patient consideration of his situation is no more
than necessary; they are what we _forgive afterwards_, and explain by
the whole of his character, but _at the time_ they are harsh and
unpleasant. Yet such is the actor's necessity of giving strong blows
to the audience, that I have never seen a player in this character,
who did not exaggerate and strain to the utmost these ambiguous
features,--these temporary deformities in the character. They make
him express a vulgar scorn at Polonius which utterly degrades his
gentility, and which no explanation can render palatable; they make
him show contempt, and curl up the nose at Ophelia's
father,--contempt in its very grossest and most hateful form; but
they get applause by it: it is natural, people say; that is, the
words are scornful, and the actor expresses scorn, and that they can
judge of: but why so much scorn, and of that sort, they never think
of asking.

So to Ophelia.--All the Hamlets that I have ever seen, rant and rave
at her as if she had committed some great crime, and the audience are
highly pleased, because the words of the part are satirical, and they
are enforced by the strongest expression of satirical indignation of
which the face and voice are capable. But then, whether Hamlet is
likely to have put on such brutal appearances to a lady whom he loved
so dearly, is never thought on. The truth is, that in all such deep
affections as had subsisted between Hamlet and Ophelia, there is a
stock of _supererogatory love_, (if I may venture to use the
expression,) which in any great grief of heart, especially where that
which preys upon the mind cannot be communicated, confers a kind of
indulgence upon the grieved party to express itself, even to its
heart's dearest object, in the language of a temporary alienation;
but it is not alienation, it is a distraction purely, and so it
always makes itself to be felt by that object: it is not anger, but
grief assuming the appearance of anger,--love awkwardly
counterfeiting hate, as sweet countenances when they try to frown:
but such sternness and fierce disgust as Hamlet is made to show, is
no counterfeit, but the real face of absolute aversion,--of
irreconcilable alienation. It may be said he puts on the madman; but
then he should only so far put on this counterfeit lunacy as his own
real distraction will give him leave; that is, incompletely,
imperfectly; not in that confirmed, practised way, like a master of
his art, or as Dame Quickly would say, "like one of those harlotry

I mean no disrespect to any actor, but the sort of pleasure which
Shakspeare's plays give in the acting seems to me not at all to
differ from that which the audience receive from those of other
writers; and, _they being in themselves essentially so different from
all others_, I must conclude that there is something in the nature of
acting which levels all distinctions. And, in fact, who does not
speak indifferently of the Gamester and of Macbeth as fine
stage-performances, and praise the Mrs. Beverley in the same way as
the Lady Macbeth of Mrs. S.? Belvidera, and Calista, and Isabella,
and Euphrasia, are they less liked than Imogen, or than Juliet, or
than Desdemona? Are they not spoken of and remembered in the same
way? Is not the female performer as great (as they call it) in one as
in the other? Did not Garrick shine, and was he not ambitious of
shining, in every drawling tragedy that his wretched day
produced,--the productions of the Hills, and the Murphys, and the
Browns,--and shall he have that honor to dwell in our minds forever
as an inseparable concomitant with Shakspeare? A kindred mind! O who
can read that affecting sonnet of Shakspeare which alludes to his
profession as a player:--

  "Oh for my sake do you with Fortune chide,
  The guilty goddess of my harmless deeds,
  That did not better for my life provide
  Than public means which public custom breeds--
  Thence comes it that my name receives a brand;
  And almost thence my nature is subdued
  To what it works in, like the dyer's hand."--

Or that other confession:--

  "Alas! 'tis true, I have gone here and there,
  And made myself a motley to thy view,
  Gored mine own thoughts, sold cheap what is most dear--"

Who can read these instances of jealous self-watchfulness in our
sweet Shakspeare, and dream of any congeniality between him and one
that, by every tradition of him, appears to have been as mere a
player as ever existed; to have had his mind tainted with the lowest
players' vices,--envy and jealousy, and miserable cravings after
applause; one who in the exercise of his profession was jealous even
of the women-performers that stood in his way; a manager full of
managerial tricks and stratagems and finesse; that any resemblance
should be dreamed of between him and Shakspeare,--Shakspeare, who, in
the plenitude and consciousness of his own powers, could with that
noble modesty, which we can neither imitate nor appreciate, express
himself thus of his own sense of his own defects:--

  "Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
  Featured like him, like him with friends possest;
  Desiring _this man's art, and that man's scope_."

I am almost disposed to deny to Garrick the merit of being an admirer
of Shakspeare? A true lover of his excellences he certainly was not;
for would any true lover of them have admitted into his matchless
scenes such ribald trash as Tate and Cibber, and the rest of them,

  "With their darkness durst affront his light,"

have foisted into the acting plays of Shakspeare? I believe it
impossible that he could have had a proper reverence for Shakspeare,
and have condescended to go through that interpolated scene in
Richard the Third, in which Richard tries to break his wife's heart
by telling her he loves another woman, and says, "if she survives
this she is immortal." Yet I doubt not he delivered this vulgar stuff
with as much anxiety of emphasis as any of the genuine parts: and for
acting, it is as well calculated as any. But we have seen the part of
Richard lately produce great fame to an actor by his manner of
playing it; and it lets us into the secret of acting, and of popular
judgments of Shakspeare derived from acting. Not one of the
spectators who have witnessed Mr. C.'s exertions in that part, but
has come away with a proper conviction that Richard is a very wicked
man, and kills little children in their beds, with something like the
pleasure which the giants and ogres in children's books are
represented to have taken in that practice; moreover, that he is very
close and shrewd, and devilish cunning, for you could see that by his

But is, in fact, this the impression we have in reading the Richard
of Shakspeare? Do we feel anything like disgust, as we do at that
butcherlike representation of him that passes for him on the stage? A
horror at his crimes blends with the effect which we feel, but how is
it qualified, how is it carried off, by the rich intellect which he
displays, his resources, his wit, his buoyant spirits, his vast
knowledge and insight into characters, the poetry of his part,--not
an atom of all which is made perceivable in Mr. C.'s way of acting
it. Nothing but his crimes, his actions, is visible; they are
prominent and staring; the murderer stands out, but where is the
lofty genius, the man of vast capacity,--the profound, the witty,
accomplished Richard?

The truth is, the characters of Shakspeare are so much the objects of
meditation rather than of interest or curiosity as to their actions,
that while we are reading any of his great criminal
characters,--Macbeth, Richard, even Iago,--we think not so much of
the crimes which they commit, as of the ambition, the aspiring
spirit, the intellectual activity, which prompts them to overleap
these moral fences. Barnwell is a wretched murderer; there is a
certain fitness between his neck and the rope; he is the legitimate
heir to the gallows; nobody who thinks at all can think of any
alleviating circumstances in his case to make him a fit object of
mercy. Or to take an instance from the higher tragedy, what else but
a mere assassin is Glenalvon? Do we think of anything but of the
crime which he commits, and the rack which he deserves? That is all
which we really think about him. Whereas in corresponding characters
in Shakspeare, so little do the actions comparatively affect us, that
while the impulses, the inner mind in all its perverted greatness,
solely seems real and is exclusively attended to, the crime is
comparatively nothing. But when we see these things represented, the
acts which they do are comparatively everything, their impulses
nothing. The state of sublime emotion into which we are elevated by
those images of night and horror which Macbeth is made to utter, that
solemn prelude with which he entertains the time till the bell shall
strike which is to call him to murder Duncan,--when we no longer read
it in a book, when we have given up that vantage ground of
abstraction which reading possesses over seeing, and come to see a
man in his bodily shape before our eyes actually preparing to commit
a murder, if the acting be true and impressive, as I have witnessed
it in Mr. K.'s performance of that part, the painful anxiety about
the act, the natural longing to prevent it while it yet seems
unperpetrated, the too close pressing semblance of reality, give a
pain and an uneasiness which totally destroy all the delight which
the words in the book convey, where the deed doing never presses upon
us with the painful sense of presence; it rather seems to belong to
history,--to something past and inevitable, if it has anything to do
with time at all. The sublime images, the poetry alone, is that which
is present to our minds in the reading.

So to see Lear acted,--to see an old man tottering about the stage
with a walking-stick, turned out of doors by his daughters in a rainy
night, has nothing in it but what is painful and disgusting. We want
to take him into shelter and relieve him. That is all the feeling
which the acting of Lear ever produced in me. But the Lear of
Shakspeare cannot be acted. The contemptible machinery by which they
mimic the storm which he goes out in, is not more inadequate to
represent the horrors of the real elements, than any actor can be to
represent Lear; they might more easily propose to personate the Satan
of Milton upon a stage, or one of Michael Angelo's terrible figures.
The greatness of Lear is not in corporal dimension, but in
intellectual: the explosions of his passion are terrible as a
volcano; they are storms turning up and disclosing to the bottom that
sea, his mind, with all its vast riches. It is his mind which is laid
bare. This case of flesh and blood seems too insignificant to be
thought on; even as he himself neglects it. On the stage we see
nothing but corporal infirmities and weakness, the impotence of rage;
while we read it, we see not Lear, but we are Lear,--we are in his
mind, we are sustained by a grandeur which baffles the malice of
daughters and storms; in the aberrations of his reason, we discover a
mighty irregular power of reasoning, immethodized from the ordinary
purposes of life, but exerting its powers, as the wind blows where it
listeth, at will upon the corruptions and abuses of mankind. What
have looks, or tones, to do with that sublime identification of his
age with that of the _heavens themselves_, when, in his reproaches to
them for conniving at the injustice of his children, he reminds them
that "they themselves are old?" What gesture shall we appropriate to
this? What has the voice or the eye to do with such things? But the
play is beyond all art, as the tamperings with it show; it is too
hard and stony; it must have love-scenes, and a happy ending. It is
not enough that Cordelia is a daughter, she must shine as a lover
too. Tate has put his hook in the nostrils of this Leviathan, for
Garrick and his followers, the showmen of the scene, to draw the
mighty beast about more easily. A happy ending!--as if the living
martyrdom that Lear had gone through,--the flaying of his feelings
alive, did not make a fair dismissal from the stage of life the only
decorous thing for him. If he is to live and be happy after, if he
could sustain this world's burden after, why all this pudder and
preparation,--why torment us with all this unnecessary sympathy? As
if the childish pleasure of getting his gilt robes and sceptre again
could tempt him to act over again his misused station,--as if, at his
years and with his experience, anything was left but to die.

Lear is essentially impossible to be represented on a stage. But how
many dramatic personages are there in Shakspeare, which though more
tractable and feasible (if I may so speak) than Lear, yet from some
circumstance, some adjunct to their character, are improper to be
shown to our bodily eye! Othello, for instance. Nothing can be more
soothing, more flattering to the nobler parts of our natures, than to
read of a young Venetian lady of the highest extraction, through the
force of love and from a sense of merit in him whom she loved, laying
aside every consideration of kindred, and country, and color, and
wedding with a _coal-black Moor_--(for such he is represented, in the
imperfect state of knowledge respecting foreign countries in those
days, compared with our own, or in compliance with popular notions,
though the Moors are now well enough known to be by many shades less
unworthy of a white woman's fancy)--it is the perfect triumph of
virtue over accidents, of the imagination over the senses. She sees
Othello's color in his mind. But upon the stage, when the imagination
is no longer the ruling faculty, but we are left to our poor
unassisted senses, I appeal to every one that has seen Othello
played, whether he did not, on the contrary, sink Othello's mind in
his color; whether he did not find something extremely revolting in
the courtship and wedded caresses of Othello and Desdemona; and
whether the actual sight of the thing did not overweigh all that
beautiful compromise which we make in reading;--and the reason it
should do so is obvious, because there is just so much reality
presented to our senses as to give a perception of disagreement, with
not enough of belief in the internal motives,--all that which is
unseen,--to overpower and reconcile the first and obvious
prejudices.[1] What we see upon a stage is body and bodily action;
what we are conscious of in reading is almost exclusively the mind,
and its movements; and this I think may sufficiently account for the
very different sort of delight with which the same play so often
affects us in the reading and the seeing.

[Footnote 1: The error of supposing that because Othello's color does
not offend us in the reading, it should also not offend us in the
seeing, is just such a fallacy as supposing that an Adam and Eve in a
picture shall affect us just as they do in the poem. But in the poem
we for a while have Paradisiacal senses given us, which vanish when
we see a man and his wife without clothes in the picture. The
painters themselves feel this, as is apparent by the awkward shifts
they have recourse to, to make them look not quite naked; by a sort
of prophetic anachronism, antedating the invention of fig-leaves. So
in the reading of the play, we see with Desdemona's eyes: in the
seeing of it, we are forced to look with our own.]

It requires little reflection to perceive, that if those characters
in Shakspeare which are within the precincts of nature, have yet
something in them which appeals too exclusively to the imagination,
to admit of their being made objects to the senses without suffering
a change and a diminution,--that still stronger the objection must
lie against representing another line of characters, which Shakspeare
has introduced to give a wildness and a supernatural elevation to his
scenes, as if to remove them still farther from that assimilation to
common life in which their excellence is vulgarly supposed to
consist. When we read the incantations of those terrible beings the
Witches in Macbeth, though some of the ingredients of their hellish
composition savor of the grotesque, yet is the effect upon us other
than the most serious and appalling that can be imagined? Do we not
feel spellbound as Macbeth was? Can any mirth accompany a sense of
their presence? We might as well laugh under a consciousness of the
principle of Evil himself being truly and really present with us. But
attempt to bring these things on to a stage, and you turn them
instantly into so many old women, that men and children are to laugh
at. Contrary to the old saying, that "seeing is believing," the sight
actually destroys the faith; and the mirth in which we indulge at
their expense, when we see these creatures upon a stage, seems to be
a sort of indemnification which we make to ourselves for the terror
which they put us in when reading made them an object of
belief,--when we surrendered up our reason to the poet, as children
to their nurses and their elders; and we laugh at our fears, as
children, who thought they saw something in the dark, triumph when
the bringing in of a candle discovers the vanity of their fears. For
this exposure of supernatural agents upon a stage is truly bringing
in a candle to expose their own delusiveness. It is the solitary
taper and the book that generates a faith in these terrors: a ghost
by chandelier light, and in good company, deceives no spectators,--a
ghost that can be measured by the eye, and his human dimensions made
out at leisure. The sight of a well-lighted house, and a well-dressed
audience, shall arm the most nervous child against any apprehensions:
as Tom Brown says of the impenetrable skin of Achilles with his
impenetrable armor over it, "Bully Dawson would have fought the devil
with such advantages."

Much has been said, and deservedly, in reprobation of the vile
mixture which Dryden has thrown into the Tempest: doubtless, without
some such vicious alloy, the impure ears of that age would never have
sat out to hear so much innocence of love as is contained in the
sweet courtship of Ferdinand and Miranda. But is the tempest of
Shakspeare at all a subject for stage-representation? It is one thing
to read of an enchanter, and to believe the wondrous tale while we
are reading it; but to have a conjurer brought before us in his
conjuring gown, with his spirits about him, which none but himself
and some hundred of favored spectators before the curtain are
supposed to see, involves such a quantity of the _hateful
incredible_, that all our reverence for the author cannot hinder us
from perceiving such gross attempts upon the senses to be in the
highest degree childish and inefficient. Spirits and fairies cannot
be represented, they cannot even be painted,--they can only be
believed. But the elaborate and anxious provision of scenery, which
the luxury of the age demands, in these cases works a quite contrary
effect to what is intended. That which in comedy, or plays of
familiar life, adds so much to the life of the imitation, in plays
which appeal to the higher faculties positively destroys the illusion
which it is introduced to aid. A parlor or a drawing-room,--a library
opening into a garden--a garden with an alcove in it,--a street, or
the piazza of Covent Garden, does well enough in a scene; we are
content to give as much credit to it as it demands; or rather, we
think little about it,--it is little more than reading at the top of
a page, "Scene, a garden;" we do not imagine ourselves there, but we
readily admit the imitation of familiar objects. But to think by the
help of painted trees and caverns, which we know to be painted, to
transport our minds to Prospero, and his island and his lonely
cell;[1] or by the aid of a fiddle dexterously thrown in, in an
interval of speaking, to make us believe that we hear those
supernatural noises of which the isle was full: the Orrery Lecturer
at the Haymarket might as well hope, by his musical glasses cleverly
stationed out of sight behind his apparatus, to make us believe that
we do indeed hear the crystal spheres ring out that chime, which if
it were to enwrap our fancy long, Milton thinks,

  "Time would run back and fetch the age of gold,
  And speckled Vanity
  Would sicken soon and die,
  And leprous Sin would melt from earthly mould;
  Yea, Hell itself would pass away,
  And leave its dolorous mansions to the peering day."

[Footnote 1: It will be said these things are done in pictures. But
pictures and scenes are very different things. Painting is a world of
itself; but in scene-painting there is the attempt to deceive; and
there is the discordancy never to be got over, between painted scenes
and real people.]

The garden of Eden, with our first parents in it, is not more
impossible to be shown on a stage, than the Enchanted isle, with its
no less interesting and innocent first settlers.

The subject of Scenery is closely connected with that of the Dresses,
which are so anxiously attended to on our stage. I remember the last
time I saw Macbeth played, the discrepancy I felt at the changes of
garment which he varied, the shiftings and reshiftings, like a Romish
priest at mass. The luxury of stage-improvements, and the importunity
of the public eye, require this. The coronation robe of the Scottish
monarch was fairly a counterpart to that which our King wears when he
goes to the Parliament house, just so full and cumbersome, and set
out with ermine and pearls. And if things must be represented, I see
not what to find fault with in this. But in reading, what robe are we
conscious of? Some dim images of royalty--a crown and sceptre may
float before our eyes, but who shall describe the fashion of it? Do
we see in our mind's eye what Webb or any other robe-maker could
pattern? This is the inevitable consequence of imitating everything,
to make all things natural. Whereas the reading of a tragedy is a
fine abstraction. It presents to the fancy just so much of external
appearances as to make us feel that we are among flesh and blood,
while by far the greater and better part of our imagination is
employed upon the thoughts and internal machinery of the character.
But in acting, scenery, dress, the most contemptible things, call
upon us to judge of their naturalness.

Perhaps it would be no bad similitude, to liken the pleasure which we
take in seeing one of these fine plays acted, compared with that
quiet delight which we find in the reading of it, to the different
feelings with which a reviewer, and a man that is not a reviewer,
reads a fine poem. The accursed critical habit--the being called upon
to judge and pronounce, must make it quite a different thing to the
former. In seeing these plays acted, we are affected just as judges.
When Hamlet compares the two pictures of Gertrude's first and second
husband, who wants to see the pictures? But in the acting, a
miniature must be lugged out; which we know not to be the picture,
but only to show how finely a miniature may be represented. This
showing of everything levels all things: it makes tricks, bows, and
curtseys, of importance. Mrs. S. never got more fame by anything than
by the manner in which she dismisses the guests in the banquet-scene
in Macbeth: it is as much remembered as any of her thrilling tones or
impressive looks. But does such a trifle as this enter into the
imaginations of the readers of that wild and wonderful scene? Does
not the mind dismiss the feasters as rapidly as it can? Does it care
about the gracefulness of the doing it? But by acting, and judging of
acting, all these non-essentials are raised into an importance,
injurious to the main interest of the play.

I have confined my observations to the tragic parts of Shakspeare. It
would be no very difficult task to extend the inquiry to his
comedies; and to show why Falstaff, Shallow, Sir Hugh Evans, and the
rest, are equally incompatible with stage-representation. The length
to which this Essay has run will make it, I am afraid, sufficiently
distasteful to the Amateurs of the Theatre, without going any deeper
into the subject at present.

       *       *       *       *       *


       *       *       *       *       *

When I selected for publication, in 1808, "Specimens of English
Dramatic Poets" who lived about the time of Shakspeare, the kind of
extracts which I was anxious to give were not so much passages of wit
and humor, though the old plays are rich in such, as scenes of
passion, sometimes of the deepest quality, interesting situations,
serious descriptions, that which is more nearly allied to poetry than
to wit, and to tragic rather than to comic poetry. The plays which I
made choice of were, with few exceptions, such as treat of human life
and manners, rather than masques and Arcadian pastorals, with their
train of abstractions, unimpassioned deities, passionate
mortals--Claius, and Medorus, and Amintas, and Amaryllis. My leading
design was to illustrate what may be called the moral sense of our
ancestors. To show in what manner they felt when they placed
themselves by the power of imagination in trying circumstances, in
the conflicts of duty and passion, or the strife of contending
duties; what sort of loves and enmities theirs were; how their griefs
were tempered, and their full-swoln joys abated: how much of
Shakspeare shines in the great men his contemporaries, and how far in
his divine mind and manners he surpassed them and all mankind. I was
also desirous to bring together some of the most admired scenes of
Fletcher and Massinger, in the estimation of the world the only
dramatic poets of that age entitled to be considered after
Shakspeare, and, by exhibiting them in the same volume with the more
impressive scenes of old Marlowe, Heywood, Tourneur, Webster, Ford,
and others, to show what we had slighted, while beyond all proportion
we had been crying up one or two favorite names. From the desultory
criticisms which accompanied that publication, I have selected a few
which I thought would best stand by themselves, as requiring least
immediate reference to the play or passage by which they were

       *       *       *       *       *


_Lust's Dominion, or the Lascivious Queen_.--This tragedy is in King
Cambyses' vein; rape, and murder, and superlatives; "huffing braggart
puft lines," such as the play-writers anterior to Shakspeare are full
of, and Pistol but coldly imitates.

_Tamburlaine the Great, or the Scythian Shepherd_.--The lunes of
Tamburlaine are perfect midsummer madness. Nebuchadnezzar's are mere
modest pretensions compared with the thundering vaunts of this
Scythian Shepherd. He comes in drawn by conquered kings, and
reproaches these _pampered jades of Asia_ that they can _draw but
twenty miles a day_. Till I saw this passage with my own eyes, I
never believed that it was anything more than a pleasant burlesque of
mine Ancient's. But I can assure my readers that it is soberly set
down in a play, which their ancestors took to be serious.

_Edward the Second_.--In a very different style from mighty
Tamburlaine is the Tragedy of Edward the Second. The reluctant pangs
of abdicating royalty in Edward furnished hints, which Shakspeare
scarcely improved in his Richard the Second; and the death-scene of
Marlowe's king moves pity and terror beyond any scene ancient or
modern with which I am acquainted.

_The Rich Jew of Malta_.--Marlowe's Jew does not approach so near to
Shakspeare's, as his Edward the Second does to Richard the Second.
Barabas is a mere monster brought in with a large painted nose to
please the rabble. He kills in sport, poisons whole nunneries,
invents infernal machines. He is just such an exhibition as a century
or two earlier might have been played before the Londoners "by the
royal command," when a general pillage and massacre of the Hebrews
had been previously resolved on in the cabinet. It is curious to see
a superstition wearing out. The idea of a Jew, which our pious
ancestors contemplated with so much horror, has nothing in it now
revolting. We have tamed the claws of the beast, and pared its nails,
and now we take it to our arms, fondle it, write plays to flatter it;
it is visited by princes, affects a taste, patronizes the arts, and
is the only liberal and gentlemanlike thing in Christendom.

_Doctor Faustus_.--The growing horrors of Faustus's last scene are
awfully marked by the hours and half hours as they expire, and bring
him nearer and nearer to the exactment of his dire compact. It is
indeed an agony and a fearful colluctation. Marlowe is said to have
been tainted with atheistical positions, to have denied God and the
Trinity. To such a genius the history of Faustus must have been
delectable food: to wander in fields where curiosity is forbidden to
go, to approach the dark gulf, near enough to look in, to be busied
in speculations which are the rottenest part of the core of the fruit
that fell from the tree of knowledge.[1] Barabas the Jew, and Faustus
the conjurer, are offsprings of a mind which at least delighted to
dally with interdicted subjects. They both talk a language which a
believer would have been tender of putting into the mouth of a
character though but in fiction. But the holiest minds have sometimes
not thought it reprehensible to counterfeit impiety in the person of
another, to bring Vice upon the stage speaking her own dialect; and,
themselves being armed with an unction of self-confident impunity,
have not scrupled to handle and touch that familiarly which would be
death to others. Milton, in the person of Satan, has started
speculations hardier than any which the feeble armory of the atheist
ever furnished; and the precise, strait-laced Richardson has
strengthened Vice, from the mouth of Lovelace, with entangling
sophistries and abstruse pleas against her adversary Virtue, which
Sedley, Villiers, and Rochester wanted depth of libertinism enough to
have invented.

[Footnote 1: Error, entering into the world with Sin among us poor
Adamites, may be said to spring from the tree of knowledge itself,
and from the rotten kernels of that fatal apple.--_Howell's

       *       *       *       *       *


_Old Fortunatus_.--The humor of a frantic lover in the scene where
Orleans to his friend Galloway defends the passion with which
himself, being a prisoner in the English king's court, is enamored to
frenzy of the king's daughter Agripyna, is done to the life. Orleans
is as passionate an inamorato as any which Shakspeare ever drew. He
is just such another adept in Love's reasons. The sober people of the
world are with him,

                  "A swarm of fools
  Crowding together to be counted wise."

He talks "pure Biron and Romeo;" he is almost as poetical as they,
quite as philosophical, only a little madder. After all, Love's
sectaries are a reason unto themselves. We have gone retrograde to
the noble heresy, since the days when Sidney proselyted our nation to
this mixed health and disease: the kindliest symptom, yet the most
alarming crisis, in the ticklish state of youth; the nourisher and
the destroyer of hopeful wits; the mother of twin births, wisdom and
folly, valor and weakness; the servitude above freedom; the gentle
mind's religion; the liberal superstition.

_The Honest Whore_.--There is in the second part of this play, where
Bellafront, a reclaimed harlot, recounts some of the miseries of her
profession, a simple picture of honor and shame, contrasted without
violence, and expressed without immodesty; which is worth all the
_strong lines_ against the harlot's profession, with which both parts
of this play are offensively crowded. A satirist is always to be
suspected, who, to make vice odious, dwells upon all its acts and
minutest circumstances with a sort of relish and retrospective
fondness. But so near are the boundaries of panegyric and invective,
that a worn-out sinner is sometimes found to make the best declaimer
against sin. The same high-seasoned descriptions, which in his
unregenerate state served but to inflame his appetites, in his new
province of a moralist will serve him, a little turned, to expose the
enormity of those appetites in other men. When Cervantes, with such
proficiency of fondness dwells upon the Don's library, who sees not
that he has been a great reader of books of knight-errantry--perhaps
was at some time of his life in danger of falling into those very
extravagances which he ridiculed so happily in his hero!

       *       *       *       *       *


_Antonio and Mellida_.--The situation of Andrugio and Lucio, in the
first part of this tragedy,--where Andrugio, Duke of Genoa, banished
his country, with the loss of a son supposed drowned, is cast upon
the territory of his mortal enemy the Duke of Venice, with no
attendants but Lucio, an old nobleman, and a page--resembles that of
Lear and Kent, in that king's distresses. Andrugio, like Lear,
manifests a king-like impatience, a turbulent greatness, an affected
resignation. The enemies which he enters lists to combat, "Despair
and mighty Grief and sharp Impatience," and the forces which he
brings to vanquish them, "cornets of horse," &c., are in the boldest
style of allegory. They are such a "race of mourners" as the
"infection of sorrows loud" in the intellect might beget on some
"pregnant cloud" in the imagination. The prologue to the second part,
for its passionate earnestness, and for the tragic note of
preparation which it sounds, might have preceded one of those old
tales of Thebes or Pelops' line, which Milton has so highly
commended, as free from the common error of the poets in his day, of
"intermixing comic stuff with tragic sadness and gravity, brought in
without discretion corruptly to gratify the people." It is as solemn
a preparative as the "warning voice which he who saw the Apocalypse
heard cry."

_What You Will_.--_O I shall ne'er forget how he went cloath'd_. Act
1. Scene 1.--To judge of the liberality of these notions of dress, we
must advert to the days of Gresham, and the consternation which a
phenomenon habited like the merchant here described would have
excited among the flat round caps, and cloth stockings upon 'Change,
when those "original arguments or tokens of a citizen's vocation were
in fashion, not more for thrift and usefulness than for distinction
and grace." The blank uniformity to which all professional
distinctions in apparel have been long hastening is one instance of
the decay of symbols among us, which, whether it has contributed or
not to make us a more intellectual, has certainly made us a less
imaginative people. Shakespeare knew the force of signs: a "malignant
and turbaned Turk." This "meal-cap miller," says the author of God's
Revenge against Murder, to express his indignation at an atrocious
outrage committed by the miller Pierot upon the person of the fair

       *       *       *       *       *


_The Merry Devil of Edmonton_.--The scene in this delightful comedy,
in which Jerningham, "with the true feeling of a zealous friend,"
touches the griefs of Mounchensey, seems written to make the reader
happy. Few of our dramatists or novelists have attended enough to
this. They torture and wound us abundantly. They are economists only
in delight. Nothing can be finer, more gentlemanlike, and nobler,
than the conversation and compliments of these young men. How
delicious is Raymond Mounchensey's forgetting, in his fears, that
Jerningham has a "Saint in Essex;" and how sweetly his friend reminds
him! I wish it could be ascertained, which there is some grounds for
believing, that Michael Drayton was the author of this piece. It
would add a worthy appendage to the renown of that Panegyrist of my
native Earth; who has gone over her soil, in his Polyolbion, with the
fidelity of a herald, and the painful love of a son; who has not left
a rivulet, so narrow that it may be stepped over, without honorable
mention; and has animated hills and streams with life and passion
beyond the dreams of old mythology.

       *       *       *       *       *


_A Woman Killed with Kindness_.--Heywood is a sort of _prose_
Shakspeare. His scenes are to the full as natural and affecting. But
we miss _the poet_, that which in Shakspeare always appears out and
above the surface of _the nature_. Heywood's characters, in this
play, for instance, his country gentlemen, &c., are exactly what we
see, but of the best kind of what we see in life. Shakspeare makes us
believe, while we are among his lovely creations, that they are
nothing but what we are familiar with, as in dreams new things seem
old; but we awake, and sigh for the difference.

_The English Traveller_.--Heywood's preface to this play is
interesting, as it shows the heroic indifference about the opinion of
posterity, which some of these great writers seem to have felt. There
is a magnanimity in authorship, as in everything else. His ambition
seems to have been confined to the pleasure of hearing the players
speak his lines while he lived. It does not appear that he ever
contemplated the possibility of being read by after-ages. What a
slender pittance of fame was motive sufficient to the production of
such plays as the English Traveller, the Challenge for Beauty, and
the Woman Killed with Kindness! Posterity is bound to take care that
a writer loses nothing by such a noble modesty.

       *       *       *       *       *


_A Fair Quarrel_.--The insipid levelling morality to which the modern
stage is tied down, would not admit of such admirable passions as
these scenes are filled with. A puritanical obtuseness of sentiment,
a stupid infantile goodness, is creeping among us, instead of the
vigorous passions, and virtues clad in flesh and blood, with which
the old dramatists present us. Those noble and liberal casuists could
discern in the differences, the quarrels, the animosities of men, a
beauty and truth of moral feeling, no less than in the everlastingly
inculcated duties of forgiveness and atonement. With us, all is
hypocritical meekness. A reconciliation-scene, be the occasion never
so absurd, never fails of applause. Our audiences come to the theatre
to be complimented on their goodness. They compare notes with the
amiable characters in the play, and find a wonderful sympathy of
disposition between them. We have a common stock of dramatic
morality, out of which a writer may be supplied without the trouble
of copying it from originals within his own breast. To know the
boundaries of honor, to be judiciously valiant, to have a temperance
which shall beget a smoothness in the angry swellings of youth, to
esteem life as nothing when the sacred reputation of a parent is to
be defended, yet to shake and tremble under a pious cowardice when
that ark of an honest confidence is found to be frail and tottering,
to feel the true blows of a real disgrace blunting that sword which
the imaginary strokes of a supposed false imputation had put so keen
an edge upon but lately; to do, or to imagine this done, in a feigned
story, asks something more of a moral sense, somewhat a greater
delicacy of perception in questions of right and wrong, than goes to
the writing of two or three hackneyed sentences about the laws of
honor as opposed to the laws of the land, or a commonplace against
duelling. Yet such things would stand a writer now-a-days in far
better stead than Captain Agar and his conscientious honor; and he
would be considered as a far better teacher of morality than old
Rowley or Middleton, if they were living.

       *       *       *       *       *


_A New Wonder; a Woman never Vext_.--The old play-writers are
distinguished by an honest boldness of exhibition,--they show
everything without being ashamed. If a reverse in fortune is to be
exhibited, they fairly bring us to the prison-grate and the
alms-basket. A poor man on our stage is always a gentleman; he may be
known by a peculiar neatness of apparel, and by wearing black. Our
delicacy, in fact, forbids the dramatizing of distress at all. It is
never shown in its essential properties; it appears but as the
adjunct of some virtue, as something which is to be relieved, from
the approbation of which relief the spectators are to derive a
certain soothing of self-referred satisfaction. We turn away from the
real essences of things to hunt after their relative shadows, moral
duties; whereas, if the truth of things were fairly represented, the
relative duties might be safely trusted to themselves, and moral
philosophy lose the name of a science.

       *       *       *       *       *


_The Witch_.--Though some resemblance may be traced between the
charms in Macbeth and the incantations in this play, which is
supposed to have preceded it, this coincidence will not detract much
from the originality of Shakspeare. His witches are distinguished
from the witches of Middleton by essential differences. These are
creatures to whom man or woman, plotting some dire mischief, might
resort for occasional consultation. Those originate deeds of blood,
and begin bad impulses to men. From the moment that their eyes first
meet with Macbeth's, he is spellbound. That meeting sways his
destiny. He can never break the fascination. These witches can hurt
the body; those have power over the soul. Hecate in Middleton has a
son, a low buffoon: the hags of Shakspeare have neither child of
their own, nor seem to be descended from any parent. They are foul
anomalies, of whom we know not whence they are sprung, nor whether
they have beginning or ending. As they are without human passions, so
they seem to be without human relations. They come with thunder and
lightning, and vanish to airy music. This is all we know of them.
Except Hecate, they have no _names_; which heightens their
mysteriousness. The names, and some of the properties which the other
author has given to his hags, excite smiles. The Weïrd Sisters are
serious things. Their presence cannot coexist with mirth. But in a
lesser degree, the witches of Middleton are fine creations. Their
power, too, is, in some measure, over the mind. They raise jars,
jealousies, strifes, "like a thick scurf" over life.

       *       *       *       *       *


_The Witch of Edmonton_.--Mother Sawyer, in this wild play, differs
from the hags of both Middleton and Shakspeare. She is the plain,
traditional old woman witch of our ancestors; poor, deformed, and
ignorant; the terror of villages, herself amenable to a justice. That
should he a hardy sheriff, with the power of the county at his heels,
that would lay hands on the Weïrd Sisters. They are of another
jurisdiction. But upon the common and received opinion, the author
(or authors) have engrafted strong fancy. There is something
frightfully earnest in her invocations to the Familiar.

       *       *       *       *       *


_The Revenger's Tragedy_.--The reality and life of the dialogue, in
which Vindici and Hippolito first tempt their mother, and then
threaten her with death for consenting to the dishonor of their
sister, passes any scenical illusion I ever felt. I never read it but
my ears tingle, and I feel a hot blush overspread my cheeks, as if I
were presently about to proclaim such malefactions of myself, as the
brothers here rebuke in their unnatural parent, in words more keen
and dagger-like than those which Hamlet speaks to his mother. Such
power has the passion of shame truly personated, not only to strike
guilty creatures unto the soul, but to "appall" even those that are

       *       *       *       *       *


_The Duchess of Malfy_.--All the several parts of the dreadful
apparatus with which the death of the Duchess is ushered in, the
waxen images which counterfeit death, the wild masque of madmen, the
tomb-maker, the bellman, the living person's dirge, the mortification
by degrees,--are not more remote from the conceptions of ordinary
vengeance, than the strange character of suffering which they seem to
bring upon their victim is out of the imagination of ordinary poets.
As they are not like inflictions of this life, so her language seems
not of this world. She has lived among horrors till she is become
"native and endowed unto that element." She speaks the dialect of
despair; her tongue has a smatch of Tartarus and the souls in bale.
To move a horror skilfully, to touch a soul to the quick, to lay upon
fear as much as it can bear, to wean and weary a life till it is
ready to drop, and then step in with mortal instruments to take its
last forfeit: this only a Webster can do. Inferior geniuses may "upon
horror's head horrors accumulate," but they cannot do this. They
mistake quantity for quality; they "terrify babes with painted
devils;" but they know not how a soul is to be moved. Their terrors
want dignity, their affrightments are without decorum.

_The White Devil_, _or Vittoria Corombona_.--This White Devil of
Italy sets off a bad cause so speciously, and pleads with such an
innocence-resembling boldness, that we seem to see that matchless
beauty of her face which inspires such gay confidence into her, and
are ready to expect, when she has done her pleadings, that her very
judges, her accusers, the grave ambassadors who sit as spectators,
and all the court, will rise and make proffer to defend her, in spite
of the utmost conviction of her guilt; as the Shepherds in Don
Quixote make proffer to follow the beautiful Shepherdess Marcela,
"without making any profit of her manifest resolution made there in
their hearing."

  "So sweet and lovely does she make the shame,
  Which, like a canker in the fragrant rose,
  Does spot the beauty of her budding name!"

I never saw anything like the funeral dirge in this play for the
death of Marcello, except the ditty which reminds Ferdinand of his
drowned father in the Tempest. As that is of the water, watery; so
this is of the earth, earthy. Both have that intenseness of feeling,
which seems to resolve itself into the element which it contemplates.

In a note on the Spanish Tragedy in the Specimens, I have said that
there is nothing in the undoubted plays of Jonson which would
authorize us to suppose that he could have supplied the additions to
Hieronymo. I suspected the agency of some more potent spirit. I
thought that Webster might have furnished them. They seemed full of
that wild, solemn, preternatural cast of grief which bewilders us in
the Duchess of Malfy. On second consideration, I think this a hasty
criticism. They are more like the overflowing griefs and talking
distraction of Titus Andronicus. The sorrows of the Duchess set
inward; if she talks, it is little more than soliloquy imitating
conversation in a kind of bravery.

       *       *       *       *       *


_The Broken Heart_.--I do not know where to find, in any play, a
catastrophe so grand, so solemn, and so surprising, as in this. This
is indeed, according to Milton, to describe high passions and high
actions. The fortitude of the Spartan boy, who let a beast gnaw out
his bowels till he died, without expressing a groan, is a faint
bodily image of this dilaceration of the spirit, and exenteration of
the inmost mind, which Calantha, with a holy violence against her
nature, keeps closely covered, till the last duties of a wife and a
queen are fulfilled. Stories of martyrdom are but of chains and the
stake; a little bodily suffering. These torments

  "On the purest spirits prey,
  As on entrails, joints, and limbs,
  With answerable pains, but more intense."

What a noble thing is the soul, in its strengths and in its
weaknesses! Who would be less weak than Calantha? Who can be so
strong? The expression of this transcendent scene almost bears us in
imagination to Calvary and the Cross; and we seem to perceive some
analogy between the scenical suffering which we are here
contemplating and the real agonies of that final completion to which
we dare no more than hint a reference. Ford was of the first order of
poets. He sought for sublimity, not by parcels, in metaphors or
visible images, but directly where she has her full residence, in the
heart of man; in the actions and sufferings of the greatest minds.
There is a grandeur of the soul, above mountains, seas, and the
elements. Even in the poor perverted reason of Giovanni and
Annabella, in the play[1] which stands at the head of the modern
collection of the works of this author, we discern traces of that
fiery particle, which, in the irregular starting from out the road of
beaten action, discovers something of a right line even in obliquity,
and shows hints of an improvable greatness in the lowest descents and
degradations of our nature.

[Footnote: "'Tis Pity she's a Whore."]

       *       *       *       *       *


_Alaham, Mustapha_.--The two tragedies of Lord Brooke, printed among
his poems, might with more propriety have been termed political
treatises than plays. Their author has strangely contrived to make
passion, character, and interest, of the highest order, subservient
to the expression of state dogmas and mysteries. He is in nine parts
Machiavel and Tacitus, for one part Sophocles or Seneca. In this
writer's estimate of the powers of the mind, the understanding must
have held a most tyrannical preeminence. Whether we look into his
plays or his most passionate love-poems, we shall find all frozen and
made rigid with intellect. The finest movements of the human heart,
the utmost grandeur of which the soul is capable, are essentially
comprised in the actions and speeches of Cælica and Camena.
Shakspeare, who seems to have had a peculiar delight in contemplating
womanly perfection, whom for his many sweet images of female
excellence all women are in an especial manner bound to love, has not
raised the ideal of the female character higher than Lord Brooke, in
these two women, has done. But it requires a study equivalent to the
learning of a new language to understand their meaning when they
speak. It is indeed hard to hit:

  "Much like thy riddle, Samson, in one day
  Or seven though one should musing sit."

It is as if a being of pure intellect should take upon him to express
the emotions of our sensitive natures. There would be all knowledge,
but sympathetic expressions would be wanting.

       *       *       *       *       *


_The Case is Altered_.--The passion for wealth has worn out much of
its grossness in tract of time. Our ancestors certainly conceived of
money as able to confer a distinct gratification in itself, not
considered simply as a symbol of wealth. The old poets, when they
introduce a miser, make him address his gold as his mistress; as
something to be seen, felt, and hugged; as capable of satisfying two
of the senses at least. The substitution of a thin, unsatisfying
medium in the place of the good old tangible metal, has made avarice
quite a Platonic affection in comparison with the seeing, touching,
and handling pleasures of the old Chrysophilites. A bank-note can no
more satisfy the touch of a true sensualist in this passion, than
Creusa could return her husband's embrace in the shades. See the Cave
of Mammon in Spenser; Barabas's contemplation of his wealth, in the
Rich Jew of Malta; Luke's raptures in the City Madam; the idolatry
and absolute gold-worship of the miser Jaques in this early comic
production of Ben Jonson's. Above all, hear Guzman, in that excellent
old translation of the Spanish Rogue, expatiate on the "ruddy cheeks
of your golden ruddocks, your Spanish pistolets, your plump and
full-faced Portuguese, and your clear-skinned pieces-of-eight of
Castile," which he and his fellows the beggars kept secret to
themselves, and did privately enjoy in a plentiful manner. "For to
have them to pay them away is not to enjoy them; to enjoy them is to
have them lying by us; having no other need of them than to use them
for the clearing of the eyesight, and the comforting of our senses.
These we did carry about with us, sewing them in some patches of our
doublets near unto the heart, and as close to the skin as we could
handsomely quilt them in, holding them to be restorative."

_Poetaster_.--This Roman play seems written to confute those enemies
of Ben in his own days and ours, who have said that he made a
pedantical use of his learning. He has here revived the whole Court
of Augustus, by a learned spell. We are admitted to the society of
the illustrious dead. Virgil, Horace, Ovid, Tibullus, converse in our
own tongue more finely and poetically than they were used to express
themselves in their native Latin. Nothing can be imagined more
elegant, refined, and court-like, than the scenes between this Louis
the Fourteenth of antiquity and his literati. The whole essence and
secret of that kind of intercourse is contained therein. The
economical liberality by which greatness, seeming to waive some part
of its prerogative, takes care to lose none of the essentials; the
prudential liberties of an inferior, which flatter by commanded
boldness and soothe with complimentary sincerity;--these, and a
thousand beautiful passages from his New Inn, his Cynthia's Revels,
and from those numerous court-masques and entertainments, which he
was in the daily habit of furnishing, might be adduced to show the
poetical fancy and elegance of mind of the supposed rugged old bard.

_Alchemist_.--The judgment is perfectly overwhelmed by the torrent of
images, words, and book-knowledge, with which Epicure Mammon (Act
ii., Scene 2) confounds and stuns his incredulous hearer. They come
pouring out like the successive falls of Nilus. They "doubly redouble
strokes upon the foe." Description outstrides proof. We are made to
believe effects before we have testimony for their causes. If there
is no one image which attains the height of the sublime, yet the
confluence and assemblage of them all produces a result equal to the
grandest poetry. The huge Xerxean army countervails against single
Achilles. Epicure Mammon is the most determined offspring of its
author. It has the whole "matter and copy of the father--eye, nose,
lip, the trick of his frown." It is just such a swaggerer as
contemporaries have described old Ben to be. Meercraft, Bobadil, the
Host of the New Inn, have all his image and superscription. But
Mammon is arrogant pretension personified. Sir Samson Legend, in Love
for Love, is such another lying, overbearing character, but he does
not come up to Epicure Mammon. What a "towering bravery" there is in
his sensuality! he affects no pleasure under a Sultan. It is as if
"Egypt with Assyria strove in luxury."

       *       *       *       *       *


_Bussy D'Ambois_, _Byron's Conspiracy_, _Byron's Tragedy_, &c.
&c.--Webster has happily characterized the "full and heightened
style" of Chapman, who, of all the English play-writers, perhaps
approaches nearest to Shakspeare in the descriptive and didactic, in
passages which are less purely dramatic. He could not go out of
himself, as Shakspeare could shift at pleasure, to inform and animate
other existences, but in himself he had an eye to perceive and a soul
to embrace all forms and modes of being. He would have made a great
epic poet, if indeed he has not abundantly shown himself to be one;
for his Homer is not so properly a translation as the stories of
Achilles and Ulysses rewritten. The earnestness and passion which he
has put into every part of these poems would be incredible to a
reader of mere modern translations. His almost Greek zeal for the
glory of his heroes can only be paralleled by that fierce spirit of
Hebrew bigotry, with which Milton, as if personating one of the
zealots of the old law, clothed himself when he sat down to paint the
acts of Samson against the uncircumcised. The great obstacle to
Chapman's translations being read, is their unconquerable quaintness.
He pours out in the same breath the most just and natural, and the
most violent and crude expressions. He seems to grasp at whatever
words come first to hand while the enthusiasm is upon him, as if all
other must be inadequate to the divine meaning. But passion (the all
in all in poetry) is everywhere present, raising the low, dignifying
the mean, and putting sense into the absurd. He makes his readers
glow, weep, tremble, take any affection which he pleases, be moved by
words, or in spite of them, be disgusted, and overcome their disgust.

       *       *       *       *       *


_Maid's Tragedy_.--One characteristic of the excellent old poets is,
their being able to bestow grace upon subjects which naturally do not
seem susceptible of any. I will mention two instances. Zelmane in the
Arcadia of Sidney, and Helena in the All's Well that Ends Well of
Shakspeare. What can be more unpromising, at first sight, than the
idea of a young man disguising himself in woman's attire, and passing
himself off for a woman among women; and that for a long space of
time? Yet Sir Philip has preserved so matchless a decorum, that
neither does Pyrocles' manhood suffer any stain for the effeminacy of
Zelmane, nor is the respect due to the princesses at all diminished
when the deception comes to be known. In the sweetly-constituted mind
of Sir Philip Sidney, it seems as if no ugly thought or unhandsome
meditation could find a harbor. He turned all that he touched into
images of honor and virtue. Helena in Shakspeare is a young woman
seeking a man in marriage. The ordinary rules of courtship are
reversed, the habitual feelings are crossed. Yet with such exquisite
address this dangerous subject is handled, that Helena's forwardness
loses her no honor; delicacy dispenses with its laws in her favor,
and nature, in her single case, seems content to suffer a sweet
violation. Aspatia, in the Maid's Tragedy, is a character equally
difficult with Helena, of being managed with grace. She too is a
slighted woman, refused by the man who had once engaged to marry her.
Yet it is artfully contrived, that while we pity we respect her, and
she descends without degradation. Such wonders true poetry and
passion can do, to confer dignity upon subjects which do not seem
capable of it. But Aspatia must not be compared at all points with
Helena; she does not so absolutely predominate over her situation but
she suffers some diminution, some abatement of the full lustre of the
female character, which Helena never does. Her character has many
degrees of sweetness, some of delicacy; but it has weakness, which,
if we do not despise, we are sorry for. After all, Beaumont and
Fletcher were but an inferior sort of Shakspeares and Sidneys.

_Philaster_.--The character of Bellario must have been extremely
popular in its day. For many years after the date of Philaster's
first exhibition on the stage, scarce a play can be found without one
of these women-pages in it, following in the train of some
pre-engaged lover, calling on the gods to bless her happy rival (his
mistress), whom no doubt she secretly curses in her heart, giving
rise to many pretty _equivoques_ by the way on the confusion of sex,
and either made happy at last by some surprising turn of fate, or
dismissed with the joint pity of the lovers and the audience. Donne
has a copy of verses to his mistress, dissuading her from a
resolution, which she seems to have taken up from some of these
scenical representations, of following him abroad as a page. It is so
earnest, so weighty, so rich in poetry, in sense, in wit, and pathos,
that it deserves to be read as a solemn close in future to all such
sickly fancies as he there deprecates.

       *       *       *       *       *


_Thierry and Theodoret_.--The scene where Ordella offers her life a
sacrifice, that the king of France may not be childless, I have
always considered as the finest in all Fletcher, and Ordella to be
the most perfect notion of the female heroic character, next to
Calantha in the Broken Heart. She is a piece of sainted nature. Yet,
noble as the whole passage is, it must be confessed that the manner
of it, compared with Shakspeare's finest scenes, is faint and
languid. Its motion is circular, not progressive. Each line revolves
on itself in a sort of separate orbit. They do not join into one
another like a running-hand. Fletcher's ideas moved slow; his
versification, though sweet, is tedious, it stops at every turn; he
lays line upon line, making up one after the other, adding image to
image so deliberately, that we see their junctures. Shakspeare
mingles everything, runs line into line, embarrasses sentences and
metaphors; before one idea has burst its shell, another is hatched
and clamorous for disclosure. Another striking difference between
Fletcher and Shakspeare is the fondness of the former for unnatural
and violent situations. He seems to have thought that nothing great
could be produced in an ordinary way. The chief incidents in some of
his most admired tragedies show this.[1] Shakspeare had nothing of
this contortion in his mind, none of that craving after violent
situations, and flights of strained and improbable virtue, which I
think always betrays an imperfect moral sensibility. The wit of
Fletcher is excellent,[2] like his serious scenes, but there is
something strained and far-fetched in both. He is too mistrustful of
Nature, he always goes a little on one side of her.--Shakspeare chose
her without a reserve: and had riches, power, understanding, and
length of days, with her for a dowry.

[Footnote 1: Wife for a Month, Cupid's Revenge, Double Marriage, &c.]

[Footnote 2: Wit without Money, and his comedies generally.]

_Faithful Shepherdess_.--If all the parts of this delightful pastoral
had been in unison with its many innocent scenes and sweet lyric
intermixtures, it had been a poem fit to vie with Comus or the
Arcadia, to have been put into the hands of boys and virgins, to have
made matter for young dreams, like the loves of Hermia and Lysander.
But a spot is on the face of this Diana. Nothing short of infatuation
could have driven Fletcher upon mixing with this "blessedness" such
an ugly deformity as Chloe, the wanton shepherdess! If Chloe was
meant to set off Clorin by contrast, Fletcher should have known that
such weeds by juxtaposition do not set off, but kill sweet flowers.

       *       *       *       *       *


_The Virgin Martyr_.--This play has some beauties of so very high an
order, that with all my respect for Massinger, I do not think he had
poetical enthusiasm capable of rising up to them. His associate
Decker who wrote Old Fortunatus, had poetry enough for anything. The
very impurities which obtrude themselves among the sweet pieties of
this play, like Satan among the Sons of Heaven, have a strength of
contrast, a raciness, and a glow, in them, which are beyond
Massinger. They are to the religion of the rest what Caliban is to

       *       *       *       *       *


_Old Law_.--There is an exquisiteness of moral sensibility, making
one's eyes to gush out tears of delight, and a poetical strangeness
in the circumstances of this sweet tragicomedy, which are unlike
anything in the dramas which Massinger wrote alone. The pathos is of
a subtler edge. Middleton and Rowley, who assisted in it, had both of
them finer geniuses than their associate.

       *       *       *       *       *


Claims a place amongst the worthies of this period, not so much for
any transcendent talent in himself, as that he was the last of a
great race, all of whom spoke nearly the same language, and had a set
of moral feelings and notions in common. A new language, and quite a
new turn of tragic and comic interest, came in with the Restoration.

       *       *       *       *       *



The writings of Fuller are usually designated by the title of quaint,
and with sufficient reason; for such was his natural bias to
conceits, that I doubt not upon most occasions it would have been
going out of his way to have expressed himself out of them. But his
wit is not always a _lumen siccum_, a dry faculty of surprising; on
the contrary, his conceits are oftentimes deeply steeped in human
feeling and passion. Above all, his way of telling a story, for its
eager liveliness, and the perpetual running commentary of the
narrator happily blended with the narration, is perhaps unequalled.

As his works are now scarcely perused but by antiquaries, I thought
it might not be unacceptable to my readers to present them with some
specimens of his manner, in single thoughts and phrases; and in some
few passages of greater length, chiefly of a narrative description. I
shall arrange them as I casually find them in my book of extracts,
without being solicitous to specify the particular work from which
they are taken.

_Pyramids_.--"The Pyramids themselves, doting with age, have
forgotten the names of their founders."

_Virtue in a Short Person_.--"His soul had but a short diocese to
visit, and therefore might the better attend the effectual informing

_Intellect in a very Tall One_.--"Ofttimes such who are built four
stories high, are observed to have little in their cockloft."

_Naturals_.--"Their heads sometimes so little, that there is no room
for wit; sometimes so long, that there is no wit for so much room."

_Negroes_.--"The image of God cut in ebony."

_School-Divinity_.--"At the first it will be as welcome to thee as a
prison, and their very solutions will seem knots unto thee."

_Mr. Perkins the Divine_.--"He had a capacious head, with angles
winding and roomy enough to lodge all controversial intricacies."

_The same_.--"He would pronounce the word _Damn_ with such an
emphasis as left a doleful echo in his auditors' ears a good while

_Judges in Capital Cases_.--"O let him take heed how he strikes that
hath a dead hand."

_Memory_.--"Philosophers place it in the rear of the head, and it
seems the mine of memory lies there, because there men naturally dig
for it, scratching it when they are at a loss."

_Fancy_.--"It is the most boundless and restless faculty of the soul;
for while the Understanding and the Will are kept, as it were, _in
libera custodia_ to their objects of _verum et bonum_, the Fancy is
free from all engagements: it digs without spade, sails without ship,
flies without wings, builds without charges, fights without
bloodshed; in a moment striding from the centre to the circumference
of the world; by a kind of omnipotency creating and annihilating
things in an instant; and things divorced in Nature are married in
Fancy as in a lawless place."

_Infants_.--"Some, admiring what motives to mirth infants meet with
in their silent and solitary smiles, have resolved, how truly I know
not, that then they converse with angels; as indeed such cannot among
mortals find any fitter companions."

_Music_.--"Such is the sociableness of music, it conforms itself to
all companies both in mirth and mourning; complying to improve that
passion with which it finds the auditors most affected. In a word, it
is an invention which might have beseemed a son of Seth to have been
the father thereof: though better it was that Cain's great-grandchild
should have the credit first to find it, than the world the
unhappiness longer to have wanted it."

_St. Monica_.--"Drawing near her death, she sent most pious thoughts
as harbingers to heaven, and her soul saw a glimpse of happiness
through the chinks of her sickness-broken body."[1]

[Footnote 1:

  "The soul's dark cottage, batter'd and decay'd,
  Lets in new lights through chinks which time has made."

_Mortality_.--"To smell to a turf of fresh earth is wholesome for the
body, no less are thoughts of mortality cordial to the soul."

_Virgin_.--"No lordling husband shall at the same time command her
presence and distance; to be always near in constant attendance, and
always to stand aloof in awful observance."

_Elder Brother_.--"Is one who made haste to come into the world to
bring his parents the first news of male posterity, and is well
rewarded for his tidings."

_Bishop Fletcher_.--"His pride was rather on him than in him, as only
gait and gesture deep, not sinking to his heart, though causelessly
condemned for a proud man, as who was a _good hypocrite_, and far
more humble than he appeared."

_Masters of Colleges_.--"A little allay of dulness in a Master of a
College makes him fitter to manage secular affairs."

_The Good Yeoman_.--"Is a gentleman in ore, whom the next age may see

_Good Parent_.--"For his love, therein like a well-drawn picture, he
eyes all his children alike."

_Deformity in Children_.--"This partiality is tyranny, when parents
despise those that are deformed; _enough to break those whom God had
bowed before_."

_Good Master_.--"In correcting his servant he becomes not a slave to
his own passion. Not cruelly making new _indentures_ of the flesh of
his apprentice. He is tender of his servant in sickness and age. If
crippled in his service, his house is his hospital. Yet how many
throw away those dry bones, out of the which themselves have sucked
the marrow!"

_Good Widow_.--"If she can speak but little good of him [her dead
husband] she speaks but little of him. So handsomely folding up her
discourse, that his virtues are shown outwards, and his vices wrapt
up in silence; as counting it barbarism to throw dirt on his memory,
who hath mould cast on his body."

_Horses_.--"These are men's wings, wherewith they make such speed. A
generous creature a horse is, sensible in some sort of honor; and
made most handsome by that which deforms men most--pride."

_Martyrdom_.--"Heart of oak hath sometimes warped a little in the
scorching heat of persecution. Their want of true courage herein
cannot be excused. Yet many censure them for surrendering up their
forts after a long siege, who would have yielded up their own at the
first summons.--Oh! there is more required to make one valiant, than
to call Cranmer or Jewel coward; as if the fire in Smithfield had
been no hotter than what is painted in the Book of Martyrs."

_Text of St. Paul_.--"St. Paul saith, Let not the sun go down on your
wrath, to carry news to the antipodes in another world of thy
revengeful nature. Yet let us take the Apostle's meaning rather than
his words, with all possible speed to depose our passion; not
understanding him so literally, that we may take leave to be angry
till sunset: then might our wrath lengthen with the days; and men in
Greenland, where the day lasts above a quarter of a year, have
plentiful scope for revenge."[1]

[Footnote 1: This whimsical prevention of a consequence which no one
would have thought of deducing,--setting up an absurdum on purpose to
hunt it down,--placing guards as it were at the very outposts of
possibility,--gravely giving out laws to insanity and prescribing
moral fences to distempered intellects, could never have entered into
a head less entertainingly constructed than that of Fuller or Sir
Thomas Browne, the very air of whose style the conclusion of this
passage most aptly imitates.]

_Bishop Brownrig_.--"He carried learning enough _in numerato_ about
him in his pockets for any discourse, and had much more at home in
his chests for any serious dispute."

_Modest Want_.--"Those that with diligence fight against poverty,
though neither conquer till death makes it a drawn battle, expect not
but prevent their craving of thee: for God forbid the heavens should
never rain, till the earth first opens her mouth; seeing _some
grounds will sooner burn than chap_."

_Death-bed Temptations_.--"The devil is most busy on the last day of
his term; and a tenant to be ousted cares not what mischief he doth."

_Conversation_.--"Seeing we are civilized Englishmen, let us not be
naked savages in our talk."

_Wounded Soldier_.--"Halting is the stateliest march of a soldier;
and 'tis a brave sight to see the flesh of an ancient as torn as his

_Wat Tyler_.--"A _misogrammatist_; if a good Greek word may be given
to so barbarous a rebel."

_Heralds_.--"Heralds new mould men's names--taking from them, adding
to them, melting out all the liquid letters, torturing mutes to make
them speak, and making vowels dumb,--to bring it to a fallacious
_homonomy_ at the last, that their names may be the same with those
noble houses they pretend to."

_Antiquarian Diligence_.--"It is most worthy observation, with what
diligence he [Camden] inquired after ancient places, making hue and
cry after many a city which was run away, and by certain marks and
tokens pursuing to find it; as by the situation on the Roman
highways, by just distance from other ancient cities, by some
affinity of name, by tradition of the inhabitants, by Roman coins
digged up, and by some appearance of ruins. A broken urn is a whole
evidence; or an old gate still surviving, out of which the city is
run out. Besides, commonly some new spruce town not far off is grown
out of the ashes thereof, which yet hath so much natural affection as
dutifully to own those reverend ruins for her mother."

_Henry de Essex_.--"He is too well known in our English Chronicles,
being Baron of Raleigh, in Essex, and Hereditary Standard Bearer of
England. It happened in the reign of this king [Henry II.] there was
a fierce battle fought in Flintshire, at Coleshall, between the
English and Welsh, wherein this Henry de Essex _animum et signum
simul abjecit_, betwixt traitor and coward, cast away both his
courage and banner together, occasioning a great overthrow of
English. But he that had the baseness to do, had the boldness to deny
the doing of so foul a fact; until he was challenged in combat by
Robert de Momford, a knight, eye-witness thereof, and by him overcome
in a duel. Whereupon his large inheritance was confiscated to the
king, and he himself, _partly thrust, partly going into a convent,
hid his head in a cowl, under which, betwixt shame and sanctity, he
blushed out the remainder of his life_."[1]--_Worthies_, article

[Footnote 1: The fine imagination of Fuller has done what might have
been pronounced impossible. It has given an interest, and a holy
character to coward infamy. Nothing can be more beautiful than the
concluding account of the last days, and expiatory retirement, of
poor Henry de Essex. The address with which the whole of this little
story is told is most consummate; the charm of it seems to consist in
a perpetual balance of antithesis not too violently opposed, and the
consequent activity of mind in which the reader is kept:--"Betwixt
traitor and coward"--"baseness to do, boldness to deny"--"partly
thrust, partly going, into a convent"--"betwixt shame and sanctity."
The reader by this artifice is taken into a kind of partnership with
the writer,--his judgment is exercised in settling the
preponderance,--he feels as if he were consulted as to the issue. But
the modern historian flings at once the dead weight of his own
judgment into the scale, and settles the matter.]

_Sir Edward Harwood, Knt._--"I have read of a bird, which hath a face
like, and yet will prey upon, a man: who coming to the water to
drink, and finding there by reflection, that he had killed one like
himself, pineth away by degrees, and never afterwards enjoyeth
itself.[1] Such is in some sort the condition of Sir Edward. This
accident, that he had killed one in a private quarrel, put a period
to his carnal mirth, and was a covering to his eyes all the days of
his life. No possible provocations could afterwards tempt him to a
duel; and no wonder that one's conscience loathed that whereof he had
surfeited. He refused all challenges with more honor than others
accepted them; it being well known that he would set his foot as far
in the face of his enemy as any man alive."--_Worthies_, article

[Footnote 1: I do not know where Fuller read of this bird; but a more
awful and affecting story, and moralizing of a story, in Natural
History, or rather in that Fabulous Natural History where poets and
mythologists found the Phoenix and the Unicorn and "other strange
fowl," is nowhere extant. It is a fable which Sir Thomas Browne, if
he had heard of it, would have exploded among his Vulgar Errors; but
the delight which he would have taken in the discussing of its
probabilities, would have shown that the _truth of the fact_, though
the avowed object of his search was not so much the motive which put
him upon the investigation, as those hidden affinities and poetical
analogies,--those _essential verities_ in the application of strange
fable, which made him linger with such reluctant delay among the last
fading lights of popular tradition; and not seldom to conjure up a
superstition, that had been long extinct, from its dusty grave, to
inter it himself with greater ceremonies and solemnities of burial.]

_Decayed Gentry_.--"It happened in the reign of King James, when
Henry Earl of Huntingdon was Lieutenant of Leicestershire, that a
laborer's son in that country was pressed into the wars; as I take
it, to go over with Count Mansfield. The old man at Leicester
requested his son might be discharged, as being the only staff of his
age, who by his industry maintained him and his mother. The Earl
demanded his name, which the man for a long time was loath to tell
(as suspecting it a fault for so poor a man to confess the truth); at
last he told his name was Hastings. 'Cousin Hastings,' said the Earl,
'we cannot all be top branches of the tree, though we all spring from
the same root; your son, my kinsman, shall not be pressed.' So good
was the meeting of modesty in a poor, with courtesy in an honorable
person, and gentry I believe in both. And I have reason to believe,
that some who justly own the surnames and blood of Bohuns, Mortimers,
and Plantagenets (though ignorant of their own extractions), are hid
in the heap of common people, where they find that under a thatched
cottage which some of their ancestors could not enjoy in a leaded
castle--contentment, with quiet and security."--_Worthies_, article
_Of Shire-Reeves or Shiriffes_.

_Tenderness of Conscience in a Tradesman_.--"Thomas Curson, born in
Allhallows, Lombard Street, armorer, dwelt without Bishopsgate. It
happened that a stage-player borrowed a rusty musket, which had lain
long leger in his shop: now though his part were comical, he
therewith acted an unexpected tragedy, killing one of the
standers-by, the gun casually going off on the stage, which he
suspected not to be charged. O the difference of divers men in the
tenderness of their consciences! some are scarce touched with a
wound, whilst others are wounded with a touch therein. This poor
armorer was highly afflicted therewith, though done against his will,
yea, without his knowledge, in his absence, by another, out of mere
chance. Hereupon he resolved to give all his estate to pious uses: no
sooner had he gotten a round sum, but presently he posted with it in
his apron to the Court of Aldermen, and was in pain till by their
direction he had settled it for the relief of poor in his own and
other parishes, and disposed of some hundreds of pounds accordingly,
as I am credibly informed by the then churchwardens of the said
parish. Thus, as he conceived himself casually (though at a great
distance) to have occasioned the death of one, he was the immediate
and direct cause of giving a comfortable living to many."

_Burning of Wickliffe's Body by Order of the Council of
Constance_.--"Hitherto [A.D. 1428] the corpse of John Wickliffe had
quietly slept in his grave about forty-one years after his death,
till his body was reduced to bones, and his bones almost to dust. For
though the earth in the chancel of Lutterworth, in Leicestershire,
where he was interred, hath not so quick a digestion with the earth
of Aceldama, to consume flesh in twenty-four hours, yet such the
appetite thereof, and all other English graves, to leave small
reversions of a body after so many years. But now such the spleen of
the Council of Constance, as they not only cursed his memory as dying
an obstinate heretic, but ordered that his bones (with this
charitable caution,--if it may be discerned from the bodies of other
faithful people) be taken out of the ground, and thrown far off from
any Christian burial. In obedience hereunto, Richard Fleming, Bishop
of Lincoln, Diocesan of Lutterworth, sent his officers (vultures with
a quick sight, scent, at a dead carcass) to ungrave him. Accordingly
to Lutterworth they come, Sumner, Commissary, Official, Chancellor,
Proctors, Doctors, and their servants, (so that the remnant of the
body would not hold out a bone amongst so many hands,) take what was
left out of the grave, and burnt them to ashes, and cast them into
Swift, a neighboring brook, running hard by. _Thus this brook has
conveyed his ashes into Avon, Avon into Severn, Severn into the
narrow seas, they into the main ocean; and thus the ashes of
Wickliffe are the emblem of his doctrine, which now is dispersed all
the world over._"[1]--Church History.

[Footnote 1: The concluding period of this most lively narrative I
will not call a conceit: it is one of the grandest conceptions I ever
met with. One feels the ashes of Wickliffe gliding away out of the
reach of the Sumners, Commissaries, Officials, Proctors, Doctors, and
all the puddering rout of executioners of the impotent rage of the
baffled Council: from Swift into Avon, from Avon into Severn, from
Severn into the narrow seas, from the narrow seas into the main
ocean, where they become the emblem of his doctrine, "dispersed all
the world over." Hamlet's tracing the body of Cæsar to the clay that
stops a beer-barrel is a no less curious pursuit of "ruined
mortality;" but it is in an inverse ratio to this: it degrades and
saddens us, for one part of our nature at least; but this expands the
whole of our nature, and gives to the body a sort of ubiquity,--a
diffusion as far as the actions of its partner can have reach or

I have seen this passage smiled at, and set down as a quaint conceit
of old Fuller. But what is not a conceit to those who read it in a
temper different from that in which the writer composed it? The most
pathetic parts of poetry to cold tempers seem and are nonsense, as
divinity was to the Greeks foolishness. When Richard II., meditating
on his own utter annihilation as to royalty, cries out,

  "O that I were a mockery king of snow,
  To melt before the sun of Bolingbroke,"

if we had been going on pace for pace with the passion before, this
sudden conversion of a strong-felt metaphor into something to be
actually realized in nature, like that of Jeremiah, "Oh! that my head
were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears," is strictly and
strikingly natural; but come unprepared upon it, and it is a conceit:
and so is a "head" turned into "waters."]

       *       *       *       *       *




       *       *       *       *       *

One of the earliest and noblest enjoyments I had when a boy, was in
the contemplation of those capital prints by Hogarth, the _Harlot's_
and _Rake's Progresses_, which, along with some others, hung upon the
walls of a great hall in an old-fashioned house in ----shire, and
seemed the solitary tenants (with myself) of that antiquated and
life-deserted apartment.

Recollection of the manner in which those prints used to affect me
has often made me wonder, when I have heard Hogarth described as a
mere comic painter, as one of those whose chief ambition was to
_raise a laugh_. To deny that there are throughout the prints which I
have mentioned circumstances introduced of a laughable tendency,
would be to run counter to the common notions of mankind; but to
suppose that in their _ruling character_ they appeal chiefly to the
risible faculty, and not first and foremost to the very heart of man,
its best and most serious feelings, would be to mistake no less
grossly their aim and purpose. A set of severer Satires (for they are
not so much Comedies, which they have been likened to, as they are
strong and masculine Satires) less mingled with anything of mere fun,
were never written upon paper, or graven upon copper. They resemble
Juvenal, or the satiric touches in Timon of Athens.

I was pleased with the reply of a gentleman, who being asked which
book he esteemed most in his library, answered,--"Shakspeare:" being
asked which he esteemed next best, replied, "Hogarth." His graphic
representations are indeed books: they have the teeming, fruitful,
suggestive meaning of _words_. Other pictures we look at,--his prints
we read.

In pursuance of this parallel, I have sometimes entertained myself
with comparing the _Timon of Athens_ of Shakespeare (which I have
just mentioned) and Hogarth's _Rake's Progress_ together. The story,
the moral, in both is nearly the same. The wild course of riot and
extravagance, ending in the one with driving the Prodigal from the
society of men into the solitude of the deserts, and in the other
with conducting the Rake through his several stages of dissipation
into the still more complete desolations of the mad-house, in the
play and in the picture, are described with almost equal force and
nature. The levee of the Rake, which forms the subject of the second
plate in the series, is almost a transcript of Timon's levee in the
opening scene of that play. We find a dedicating poet, and other
similar characters, in both.

The concluding scene in the _Rake's Progress_ is perhaps superior to
the last scenes of _Timon_. If we seek for something of kindred
excellence in poetry, it must be in the scenes of Lear's beginning
madness, where the King and the Fool and the Tom-o'-Bedlam conspire
to produce such a medley of mirth checked by misery, and misery
rebuked by mirth; where the society of those "strange bedfellows"
which misfortunes have brought Lear acquainted with, so finely sets
forth the destitute state of the monarch; while the lunatic bans of
the one, and the disjointed sayings and wild but pregnant allusions
of the other, so wonderfully sympathize with that confusion, which
they seem to assist in the production of, in the senses of that
"child-changed father."

In the scene in Bedlam, which terminates the _Rake's Progress_, we
find the same assortment of the ludicrous with the terrible. Here is
desperate madness, the overturning of originally strong thinking
faculties, at which we shudder, as we contemplate the duration and
pressure of affliction which it must have asked to destroy such a
building;--and here is the gradual hurtless lapse into idiocy, of
faculties, which at their best of times never having been strong, we
look upon the consummation of their decay with no more of pity than
is consistent with a smile. The mad tailor, the poor driveller that
has gone out of his wits (and truly he appears to have had no great
journey to go to get past their confines) for the love of _Charming
Betty Careless_,--. these half-laughable, scarce-pitiable objects,
take off from the horror which the principal figure would of itself
raise, at the same time that they assist the feeling of the scene by
contributing to the general notion of its subject:--

  "Madness, thou chaos of the brain,
  What art, that pleasure giv'st and pain?
  Tyranny of Fancy's reign!
  Mechanic Fancy, that can build
  Vast labyrinths and mazes wild,
  With rule disjointed, shapeless measure,
  Fill'd with horror, fill'd with pleasure!
  Shapes of horror, that would even
  Cast doubts of mercy upon heaven;
  Shapes of pleasure, that but seen,
  Would split the shaking sides of Spleen."[1]

[Footnote 1: Lines inscribed under the plate]

Is it carrying the spirit of comparison to excess to remark, that in
the poor kneeling weeping female who accompanies her seducer in his
sad decay, there is something analogous to Kent, or Caius, as he
delights rather to be called, in _Lear_,--the noblest pattern of
virtue which even Shakspeare has conceived,--who follows his royal
master in banishment, that had pronounced _his_ banishment, and
forgetful at once of his wrongs and dignities, taking on himself the
disguise of a menial, retains his fidelity to the figure, his loyalty
to the carcass, the shadow, the shell, and empty husk of Lear?

In the perusal of a book, or of a picture, much of the impression
which we receive depends upon the habit of mind which we bring with
us to such perusal. The same circumstance may make one person laugh,
which shall render another very serious; or in the same person the
first impression may be corrected by after-thought. The misemployed
incongruous characters at the _Harlot's Funeral_, on a superficial
inspection, provoke to laughter; but when we have sacrificed the
first emotion to levity, a very different frame of mind succeeds, or
the painter has lost half his purpose. I never look at that wonderful
assemblage of depraved beings, who, without a grain of reverence or
pity in their perverted minds, are performing the sacred exteriors of
duty to the relics of their departed partner in folly, but I am as
much moved to sympathy from the very want of it in them, as I should
be by the finest representation of a virtuous death-bed surrounded by
real mourners, pious children, weeping friends,--perhaps more by the
very contrast. What reflections does it not awake, of the dreadful
heartless state in which the creature (a female too) must have lived,
who in death wants the accompaniment of one genuine tear. That wretch
who is removing the lid of the coffin to gaze upon the corpse with a
face which indicates a perfect negation of all goodness or
womanhood--the hypocrite parson and his demure partner--all the
fiendish group--to a thoughtful mind present a moral emblem more
affecting than if the poor friendless carcass had been depicted as
thrown out to the woods, where wolves had assisted at its obsequies,
itself furnishing forth its own funeral banquet.

It is easy to laugh at such incongruities as are met together in this
picture,--incongruous objects being of the very essence of
laughter,--but surely the laugh is far different in its kind from
that thoughtless species to which we are moved by mere farce and
grotesque. We laugh when Ferdinand Count Fathom, at the first sight
of the white cliffs of Britain, feels his heart yearn with filial
fondness towards the land of his progenitors, which he is coming to
fleece and plunder,--we smile at the exquisite irony of the
passage,--but if we are not led on by such passages to some more
salutary feeling than laughter, we are very negligent perusers of
them in book or picture.

It is the fashion with those who cry up the great Historical School
in this country, at the head of which Sir Joshua Reynolds is placed,
to exclude Hogarth from that school, as an artist of an inferior and
vulgar class. Those persons seem to me to confound the painting of
subjects in common or vulgar life with the being a vulgar artist. The
quantity of thought which Hogarth crowds into every picture would
alone _unvulgarize_ every subject which he might choose. Let us take
the lowest of his subjects, the print called _Gin Lane_. Here is
plenty of poverty, and low stuff to disgust upon a superficial view;
and accordingly a cold spectator feels himself immediately disgusted
and repelled. I have seen many turn away from it, not being able to
bear it. The same persons would perhaps have looked with great
complacency upon Poussin's celebrated picture of the _Plague at
Athens_[1] Disease and Death and bewildering Terror, in _Athenian
garments_, are endurable, and come, as the delicate critics express
it, within the "limits of pleasurable sensation." But the scenes of
their own St. Giles's, delineated by their own countryman, are too
shocking to think of. Yet if we could abstract our minds from the
fascinating colors of the picture, and forget the coarse execution
(in some respects) of the print, intended as it was to be a cheap
plate, accessible to the poorer sort of people, for whose instruction
it was done, I think we could have no hesitation in conferring the
palm of superior genius upon Hogarth, comparing this work of his with
Poussin's picture. There is more of imagination in it--that power
which draws all things to one,--which makes things animate and
inanimate, beings with their attributes, subjects, and their
accessories, take one color and serve to one effect. Everything in
the print, to use a vulgar expression, _tells_. Every part is full of
"strange images of death." It is perfectly amazing and astounding to
look at. Not only the two prominent figures, the woman and the
half-dead man, which are as terrible as anything which Michael Angelo
ever drew, but everything else in the print, contributes to bewilder
and stupefy,--the very houses, as I heard a friend of mine express
it, tumbling all about in various directions, seem drunk--seem
absolutely reeling from the effect of that diabolical spirit of
frenzy which goes forth over the whole composition. To show the
poetical and almost prophetical conception in the artist, one little
circumstance may serve. Not content with the dying and dead figures,
which he has strewed in profusion over the proper scene of the
action, he shows you what (of a kindred nature) is passing beyond it.
Close by the shell, in which, by direction of the parish beadle, a
man is depositing his wife, is an old wall, which, partaking of the
universal decay around it, is tumbling to pieces. Through a gap in
this wall are seen three figures, which appear to make a part in some
funeral procession which is passing by on the other side of the wall,
out of the sphere of the composition. This extending of the interest
beyond the bounds of the subject could only have been conceived by a
great genius. Shakspeare, in his description of the painting of the
Trojan War, in his _Tarquin and Lucrece_, has introduced a similar
device, where the painter made a part stand for the whole:--

  "For much imaginary work was there,
  Conceit deceitful, so compact, so kind,
  That for Achilles' image stood his spear,
  Grip'd in an armed hand; himself behind
  Was left unseen, save to the eye of mind:
  A hand, a foot, a face, a leg, a head,
  Stood for the whole to be imagined."

[Footnote 1: At the late Mr. Hope's, in Cavendish Square]

This he well calls _imaginary work_, where the spectator must meet
the artist in his conceptions half way; and it is peculiar to the
confidence of high genius alone to trust so much to spectators or
readers. Lesser artists show everything distinct and full, as they
require an object to be made out to themselves before they can
comprehend it.

When I think of the power displayed in this (I will not hesitate to
say) sublime print, it seems to me the extreme narrowness of system
alone, and of that rage for classification, by which, in matters of
taste at least, we are perpetually perplexing, instead of arranging,
our ideas, that would make us concede to the work of Poussin above
mentioned, and deny to this of Hogarth, the name of a grand serious

We are forever deceiving ourselves with names and theories. We call
one man a great historical painter, because he has taken for his
subjects kings or great men, or transactions over which time has
thrown a grandeur. We term another the painter of common life, and
set him down in our minds for an artist of an inferior class, without
reflecting whether the quantity of thought shown by the latter may
not much more than level the distinction which their mere choice of
subjects may seem to place between them; or whether, in fact, from
that very common life a great artist may not extract as deep an
interest as another man from that which we are pleased to call

I entertain the highest respect for the talents and virtues of
Reynolds, but I do not like that his reputation should overshadow and
stifle the merits of such a man as Hogarth, nor that to mere names
and classifications we should be content to sacrifice one of the
greatest ornaments of England.

I would ask the most enthusiastic admirer of Reynolds, whether in the
countenances of his _Staring_ and _Grinning Despair_, which he has
given us for the faces of Ugolino and dying Beaufort, there be
anything comparable to the expression which Hogarth has put into the
face of his broken-down rake in the last plate but one of the _Rake's
Progress_,[1] where a letter from the manager is brought to him to
say that his play "will not do?" Here all is easy, natural,
undistorted, but withal what a mass of woe is here accumulated!--the
long history of a misspent life is compressed into the countenance as
plainly as the series of plates before had told it; here is no
attempt at Gorgonian looks, which are to freeze the beholder--no
grinning at the antique bedposts--no face-making, or consciousness of
the presence of spectators in or out of the picture, but grief kept
to a man's self, a face retiring from notice with the shame which
great anguish sometimes brings with it,--a final leave taken of
hope,--the coming on of vacancy and stupefaction,--a beginning
alienation of mind looking like tranquillity. Here is matter for the
mind of the beholder to feed on for the hour together,--matter to
feed and fertilize the mind. It is too real to admit one thought
about the power of the artist who did it. When we compare the
expression in subjects which so fairly admit of comparison, and find
the superiority so clearly to remain with Hogarth, shall the mere
contemptible difference of the scene of it being laid, in the one
case, in our Fleet or King's Bench Prison, and, in the other, in the
State Prison of Pisa, or the bedroom of a cardinal,--or that the
subject of the one has never been authenticated, and the other is
matter of history,--so weigh down the real points, of the comparison,
as to induce us to rank the artist who has chosen the one scene or
subject (though confessedly inferior in that which constitutes the
soul of his art) in a class from which we exclude the better genius
(who has happened to make choice of the other) with something like

[Footnote 1: The first perhaps in all Hogarth for serious
expression.  That which comes next to it, I think, is the jaded
morning countenance of the debauchee in the second plate of the
_Marriage Alamode_, which lectures on the vanity of pleasure as
audibly as anything in Ecclesiastes.]

[Footnote 2: Sir Joshua Reynolds, somewhere in his Lectures, speaks
of the _presumption_ of Hogarth in attempting the grand style in
painting, by which he means his choice of certain Scripture subjects.
Hogarth's excursions into Holy Land were not very numerous, but what
he has left us in this kind have at least this merit, that they have
expression of _some sort or other_ in them,--the _Child Moses before
Pharaoh's Daughter_, for instance: which is more than can be said of
Sir Joshua Reynolds's _Repose in Egypt_, painted for Macklin's Bible,
where for a Madonna he has substituted a sleepy, insensible,
unmotherly girl, one so little worthy to have been selected as the
Mother of the Saviour, that she seems to have neither heart nor
feeling to entitle her to become a mother at all. But indeed the race
of Virgin Mary painters seems to have been cut up, root and branch,
at the Reformation. Our artists are too good Protestants to give life
to that admirable commixture of maternal tenderness with reverential
awe and wonder approaching to worship, with which the Virgin Mothers
of L. da Vinci and Raphael (themselves by their divine countenances
inviting men to worship) contemplate the union of the two natures in
the person of their Heaven-born Infant.]

_The Boys under Demoniacal Possession_ of Raphael and Domenichino, by
what law of classification are we bound to assign them to belong to
the great style in painting, and to degrade into an inferior class
the Rake of Hogarth when he is the Madman in the Bedlam scene? I am
sure he is far more impressive than either. It is a face which no one
that has seen can easily forget. There is the stretch of human
suffering to the utmost endurance, severe bodily pain brought on by
strong mental agony, the frightful, obstinate laugh of madness,--yet
all so unforced and natural, that those who never were witness to
madness in real life, think they see nothing but what is familiar to
them in this face. Here are no tricks of distortion, nothing but the
natural face of agony. This is high tragic painting, and we might as
well deny to Shakspeare the honors of a great tragedian, because he
has interwoven scenes of mirth with the serious business of his
plays, as refuse to Hogarth the same praise for the two concluding
scenes of the _Rake's Progress_, because of the Comic Lunatics[1]
which he has thrown into the one, or the Alchymist that he has
introduced in the other, who is paddling in the coals of his furnace,
keeping alive the flames of vain hope within the very walls of the
prison to which the vanity has conducted him, which have taught the
darker lesson of extinguished hope to the desponding figure who is
the principal person of the scene.

[Footnote 1:
  "There are of madmen, as there are of tame,
  All humor'd not alike. We have here some
  So apish and fantastic, play with a feather;
  And though 'twould grieve a soul to see God's image
  So blemish'd and defac'd, yet do they act
  Such antick and such pretty lunacies,
  That, spite of sorrow, they will make you smile.
  Others again we have, like angry lions,
  Fierce as wild bulls, untameable as flies."
                                  _Honest Whore_.]

It is the force of these kindly admixtures which assimilates the
scenes of Hogarth and of Shakspeare to the drama of real life, where
no such thing as pure tragedy is to be found; but merriment and
infelicity, ponderous crime and feather-light vanity, like twiformed
births, disagreeing complexions of one intertexture, perpetually
unite to show forth motley spectacles to the world. Then it is that
the poet or painter shows his art, when in the selection of these
comic adjuncts he chooses such circumstances as shall relieve,
contrast with, or fall into, without forming a violent opposition to
his principal object. Who sees not that the Grave-digger in _Hamlet_,
the Fool in _Lear_, have a kind of correspondency to, and fall in
with, the subjects which they seem to interrupt: while the comic
stuff in _Venice Preserved_, and the doggerel nonsense of the Cook
and his poisoning associates in the _Rollo_ of Beaumont and Fletcher,
are pure, irrelevant, impertinent discords,--as bad as the
quarrelling dog and cat under the table of the _Lord and the
Disciples at Emmaus_ of Titian?

Not to tire the reader with perpetual reference to prints which he
may not be fortunate enough to possess, it may be sufficient to
remark, that the same tragic cast of expression and incident, blended
in some instances with a greater alloy of comedy, characterizes his
other great work, the _Marriage Alamode_, as well as those less
elaborate exertions of his genius, the prints called _Industry_ and
_Idleness_, _the Distrest Poet_, &c., forming, with the _Harlot's_
and _Rake's Progresses_, the most considerable, if not the largest
class of his productions,--enough surely to rescue Hogarth from the
imputation of being a mere buffoon, or one whose general aim was only
to _shake the sides_.

There remains a very numerous class of his performances, the object
of which must be confessed to be principally comic. But in all of
them will be found something to distinguish them from the droll
productions of Bunbury and others. They have this difference, that we
do not merely laugh at, we are led into long trains of reflection by
them. In this respect they resemble the characters of Chaucer's
_Pilgrims_, which have strokes of humor in them enough to designate
them for the most part as comic, but our strongest feeling still is
wonder at the comprehensiveness of genius which could crowd, as poet
and painter have done, into one small canvas so many diverse yet
cooperating materials.

The faces of Hogarth have not a mere momentary interest, as in
caricatures, or those grotesque physiognomies which we sometimes
catch a glance of in the street, and, struck with their whimsicality,
wish for a pencil and the power to sketch them down; and forget them
again as rapidly,--but they are permanent abiding ideas. Not the
sports of nature, but her necessary eternal classes. We feel that we
cannot part with any of them, lest a link should be broken.

It is worthy of observation, that he has seldom drawn a mean or
insignificant countenance.[1] Hogarth's mind was eminently
reflective; and, as it has been well observed of Shakspeare, that he
has transfused his own poetical character into the persons of his
drama (they are all more or less _poets_) Hogarth has impressed a
_thinking character_ upon the persons of his canvas. This remark must
not be taken universally. The exquisite idiotism of the little
gentleman in the bag and sword beating his drum in the print of the
_Enraged Musician_, would of itself rise up against so sweeping an
assertion. But I think it will be found to be true of the generality
of his countenances. The knife-grinder and Jew flute-player in the
plate just mentioned, may serve as instances instead of a thousand.
They have intense thinking faces, though the purpose to which they
are subservient by no means required it; but indeed it seems as if it
was painful to Hogarth to contemplate mere vacancy or insignificance.

[Footnote 1: If there are any of that description, they are in his
_Strolling Players_, a print which has been cried up by Lord Orford
as the richest of his productions, and it may be, for what I know, in
the mere lumber, the properties, and dead furniture of the scene, but
in living character and expression it is (for Hogarth) lamentably
poor and wanting; it is perhaps the only one of his performances at
which we have a right to feel disgusted.]

This reflection of the artist's own intellect from the faces of his
characters, is one reason why the works of Hogarth, so much more than
those of any other artist, are objects of meditation. Our
intellectual natures love the mirror which gives them back their own
likenesses. The mental eye will not bend long with delight upon

Another line of eternal separation between Hogarth and the common
painters of droll or burlesque subjects, with whom he is often
confounded, is the sense of beauty, which in the most unpromising
subjects seems never wholly to have deserted him. "Hogarth himself,"
says Mr. Coleridge,[1] from whom I have borrowed this observation,
speaking of a scene which took place at Ratzeburg, "never drew a more
ludicrous distortion, both of attitude and physiognomy, than this
effect occasioned: nor was there wanting beside it one of those
beautiful female faces which the same Hogarth, _in whom the satirist
never extinguished that love of beauty which belonged to him as a
poet_, so often and so gladly introduces as the central figure in a
crowd of humorous deformities, which figure (such is the power of
true genius) neither acts nor is meant to act as a contrast; but
diffuses through all and over each of the group a spirit of
reconciliation and human kindness; and even when the attention is no
longer consciously directed to the cause of this feeling, still
blends its tenderness with our laughter: and _thus prevents the
instructive merriment at the whims of nature, or the foibles or
humors of our fellow-men, from degenerating into the heart-poison of
contempt or hatred_." To the beautiful females in Hogarth, which Mr.
C. has pointed out, might be added, the frequent introduction of
children (which Hogarth seems to have taken a particular delight in)
into his pieces. They have a singular effect in giving tranquillity
and a portion of their own innocence to the subject. The baby riding
in its mother's lap in the _March to Finchley_, (its careless
innocent face placed directly behind the intriguing time-furrowed
countenance of the treason-plotting French priest,) perfectly sobers
the whole of that tumultuous scene. The boy mourner winding up his
top with so much unpretending insensibility in the plate of the
_Harlot's Funeral_, (the only thing in that assembly that is not a
hypocrite,) quiets and soothes the mind that has been disturbed at the
sight of so much depraved man and woman kind.

[Footnote 1: _The Friend_, No. XVI.]

I had written thus far, when I met with a passage in the writings of
the late Mr. Barry, which, as it falls in with the _vulgar notion_
respecting Hogarth, which this Essay has been employed in combating,
I shall take the liberty to transcribe, with such remarks as may
suggest themselves to me in the transcription; referring the reader
for a full answer to that which has gone before.

    "Notwithstanding Hogarth's merit does undoubtedly entitle him
    to an honorable place among the artists, and that his little
    compositions, considered as so many dramatic representations,
    abounding with humor, character, and extensive observations on
    the various incidents of low, faulty, and vicious life, are
    very ingeniously brought together, and frequently tell their
    own story with more facility than is often found in many of
    the elevated and more noble inventions of Raphael and other
    great men; yet it must be honestly confessed, that in what is
    called knowledge of the figure, foreigners have justly
    observed, that Hogarth is often so raw and unformed, as hardly
    to deserve the name of an artist. But this capital defect is
    not often perceivable, as examples of the naked and of
    elevated nature but rarely occur in his subjects, which are
    for the most part filled with characters that in their nature
    tend to deformity; besides his figures are small, and the
    jonctures, and other difficulties of drawing that might occur
    in their limbs, are artfully concealed with their clothes,
    rags, &c. But what would atone for all his defects, even if
    they were twice told, is his admirable fund of invention, ever
    inexhaustible in its resources; and his satire, which is
    always sharp and pertinent, and often highly moral, was
    (except in a few instances, where he weakly and meanly
    suffered his integrity to give way to his envy) seldom or
    never employed in a dishonest or unmanly way. Hogarth has been
    often imitated in his satirical vein, sometimes in his
    humorous: but very few have attempted to rival him in his
    moral walk. The line of art pursued by my very ingenious
    predecessor and brother Academician, Mr. Penny, is quite
    distinct from that of Hogarth, and is of a much more delicate
    and superior relish; he attempts the heart, and reaches it,
    whilst Hogarth's general aim is only to shake the sides; in
    other respects no comparison can be thought of, as Mr. Penny
    has all that knowledge of the figure and academical skill
    which the other wanted. As to Mr. Bunbury, who had so happily
    succeeded in the vein of humor and caricatura, he has for some
    time past altogether relinquished it, for the more amiable
    pursuit of beautiful nature: this, indeed, is not to be
    wondered at, when we recollect that he has, in Mrs. Bunbury,
    so admirable an exemplar of the most finished grace and beauty
    continually at his elbow. But (to say all that occurs to me on
    this subject) perhaps it may be reasonably doubted, whether
    the being much conversant with Hogarth's method of exposing
    meanness, deformity, and vice, in many of his works, is not
    rather a dangerous, or, at least, a worthless pursuit; which,
    if it does not find a false relish and a love of and search
    after satire and buffoonery in the spectator, is at least not
    unlikely to give him one. Life is short; and the little
    leisure of it is much better laid out upon that species of art
    which is employed about the amiable and the admirable, as it
    is more likely to be attended with better and nobler
    consequences to ourselves. These two pursuits in art may be
    compared with two sets of people with whom we might associate;
    if we give ourselves up to the Footes, the Kenricks, &c. we
    shall be continually busied and paddling in whatever is
    ridiculous, faulty, and vicious in life; whereas there are
    those to be found with whom we should be in the constant
    pursuit and study of all that gives a value and a dignity to
    human nature." [Account of a Series of Pictures in the Great
    Boom of the Society of Arts, Manufactures, and Commerce, at
    the Adelphi, by James Barry, R.A., Professor of Painting to
    the Royal Academy, reprinted in the last quarto edition of his

    "----It must be honestly confessed, that in what is called
    knowledge of the figure, foreigners have justly observed," &c.

It is a secret well known to the professors of the art and mystery of
criticism, to insist upon what they do not find in a man's works, and
to pass over in silence what they do. That Hogarth did not draw the
naked figure so well as Michael Angelo might be allowed, especially
as "examples of the naked," as Mr. Barry acknowledges, "rarely (he
might almost have said never) occur in his subjects;" and that his
figures under their draperies do not discover all the fine graces of
an Antinoüs or an Apollo, may be conceded likewise; perhaps it was
more suitable to his purpose to represent the average forms of
mankind in the mediocrity (as Mr. Burke expresses it) of the age in
which he lived: but that his figures in general, and in his best
subjects, are so glaringly incorrect as is here insinuated, I dare
trust my own eye so far as positively to deny the fact. And there is
one part of the figure in which Hogarth is allowed to have excelled,
which these foreigners seem to have overlooked, or perhaps
calculating from its proportion to the whole (a seventh or an eighth,
I forget which,) deemed it of trifling importance; I mean the human
face; a small part, reckoning by geographical inches, in the map of
man's body, but here it is that the painter of expression must
condense the wonders of his skill, even at the expense of neglecting
the "jonctures and other difficulties of drawing in the limbs," which
it must be a cold eye that, in the interest so strongly demanded by
Hogarth's countenances, has leisure to survey and censure.

"The line of art pursued by my very ingenious predecessor and brother
Academician, Mr. Penny."

The first impression caused in me by reading this passage was an
eager desire to know who this Mr. Penny was. This great surpasser of
Hogarth in the "delicacy of his relish," and the "line which he
pursued," where is he, what are his works, what has he to show? In
vain I tried to recollect, till by happily putting the question to a
friend who is more conversant in the works of the illustrious obscure
than myself, I learnt that he was the painter of a _Death of Wolfe_
which missed the prize the year that the celebrated picture of West
on the same subject obtained it; that he also made a picture of the
_Marquis of Granby relieving a Sick Soldier_; moreover, that he was
the inventor of two pictures of _Suspended and Restored Animation_,
which I now remember to have seen in the Exhibition some years since,
and the prints from which are still extant in good men's houses.
This, then, I suppose, is the line of subjects in which Mr. Penny was
so much superior to Hogarth. I confess I am not of that opinion. The
relieving of poverty by the purse, and the restoring a young man to
his parents by using the methods prescribed by the Humane Society,
are doubtless very amiable subjects, pretty things to teach the first
rudiments of humanity; they amount to about as much instruction as
the stories of good boys that give away their custards to poor
beggar-boys in children's books. But, good God! is this _milk for
babes_ to be set up in opposition to Hogarth's moral scenes, his
_strong meat for men_? As well might we prefer the fulsome verses
upon their own goodness to which the gentlemen of the Literary Fund
annually sit still with such shameless patience to listen, to the
satires of Juvenal and Persius; because the former are full of tender
images of Worth relieved by Charity, and Charity stretching out her
hand to rescue sinking Genius, and the theme of the latter is men's
crimes and follies with their black consequences--forgetful meanwhile
of those strains of moral pathos, those sublime heart-touches, which
these poets (in _them_ chiefly showing themselves poets) are
perpetually darting across the otherwise appalling gloom of their
subject--consolatory remembrancers, when their pictures of guilty
mankind have made us even to despair for our species, that there is
such a thing as virtue and moral dignity in the world, that her
unquenchable spark is not utterly out--refreshing admonitions, to
which we turn for shelter from the too great heat and asperity of the
general satire.

And is there nothing analogous to this in Hogarth? nothing which
"attempts and reaches the heart?"--no aim beyond that of "shaking the
sides?"--If the kneeling ministering female in the last scene of the
_Rake's Progress_, the Bedlam scene, of which I have spoken before,
and have dared almost to parallel it with the most absolute idea of
Virtue which Shakspeare has left us, be not enough to disprove the
assertion; if the sad endings of the Harlot and the Rake, the
passionate heart-bleeding entreaties for forgiveness which the
adulterous wife is pouring forth to her assassinated and dying lord
in the last scene but one of the _Marriage Alamode_,--if these be not
things to touch the heart, and dispose the mind to a meditative
tenderness: is there nothing sweetly conciliatory in the mild patient
face and gesture with which the wife seems to allay and ventilate the
feverish irritated feelings of her poor poverty-distracted mate (the
true copy of the _genus irritabile_), in the print of the _Distrest
Poet_? or if an image of maternal love be required, where shall we
find a sublimer view of it than in that aged woman in _Industry and
Idleness_ (plate V.) who is clinging with the fondness of hope not
quite extinguished to her brutal vice-hardened child, whom she is
accompanying to the ship which is to bear him away from his native
soil, of which he has been adjudged unworthy: in whose shocking face
every trace of the human countenance seems obliterated, and a brute
beast's to be left instead, shocking and repulsive to all but her who
watched over it in its cradle before it was so sadly altered, and
feels it must belong to her while a pulse by the vindictive laws of
his country shall be suffered to continue to beat in it. Compared
with such things, what is Mr. Penny's "knowledge of the figure and
academical skill which Hogarth wanted?"

With respect to what follows concerning another gentleman, with the
congratulations to him on his escape out of the regions of "humor and
caricatura," in which it appears he was in danger of travelling side
by side with Hogarth, I can only congratulate my country, that Mrs.
Hogarth knew _her_ province better than, by disturbing her husband at
his palette, to divert him from that universality of subject, which
has stamped him perhaps, next to Shakspeare, the most inventive
genius which this island has produced, into the "amiable pursuit of
beautiful nature," _i.e._, copying ad infinitum the individual charms
and graces of Mrs. H. "Hogarth's method of exposing meanness,
deformity, and vice, paddling in whatever is ridiculous, faulty, and

A person unacquainted with the works thus stigmatized would be apt to
imagine that in Hogarth there was nothing else to be found but
subjects of the coarsest and most repulsive nature. That his
imagination was naturally unsweet, and that he delighted in raking
into every species of moral filth. That he preyed upon sore places
only, and took a pleasure in exposing the unsound and rotten parts of
human nature:--whereas, with the exception of some of the plates of
the _Harlot's Progress_, which are harder in their character than any
of the rest of his productions (the _Stages of Cruelty_ I omit as
mere worthless caricatures, foreign to his general habits, the
offspring of his fancy in some wayward humor), there is scarce one of
his pieces where vice is most strongly satirized, in which some
figure is not introduced upon which the moral eye may rest satisfied;
a face that indicates goodness, or perhaps mere good-humoredness and
carelessness of mind (negation of evil) only, yet enough to give a
relaxation to the frowning brow of satire, and keep the general air
from tainting. Take the mild, supplicating posture of patient Poverty
in the poor woman that is persuading the pawnbroker to accept her
clothes in pledge, in the plate of _Gin Lane_, for an instance. A
little does it, a little of the _good_ nature overpowers a world of
_bad_. One cordial honest laugh of a Tom Jones absolutely clears the
atmosphere that was reeking with the black putrefying breathings of a
hypocrite Blifil. One homely expostulating shrug from Strap warms the
whole air which the suggestions of a gentlemanly ingratitude from his
friend Random had begun to freeze. One "Lord bless us!" of Parson
Adams upon the wickedness of the times, exorcises and purges off the
mass of iniquity which the world-knowledge of even a Fielding could
cull out and rake together. But of the severer class of Hogarth's
performances, enough, I trust, has been said to show that they do not
merely shock and repulse; that there is in them the "scorn of vice"
and the "pity" too; something to touch the heart, and keep alive the
sense of moral beauty; the "lacrymæ rerum," and the sorrowing by
which the heart is made better. If they be bad things, then is satire
and tragedy a bad thing; let us proclaim at once an age of gold, and
sink the existence of vice and misery in our speculations: let us

  "----wink, and shut our apprehensions up
  From common sense of what men were and are:"

let us _make believe_ with the children, that everybody is good and
happy; and, with Dr. Swift, write panegyrics upon the world.

But that larger half of Hogarth's works, which were painted more for
entertainment than instruction (though such was the suggestiveness of
his mind that there is always something to be learnt from them), his
humorous scenes,--are they such as merely to disgust and set us
against our species?

The confident assertions of such a man as I consider the late Mr.
Barry to have been, have that weight of authority in them which
staggers at first hearing, even a long preconceived opinion. When I
read his pathetic admonition concerning the shortness of life, and
how much better the little leisure of it were laid out upon "that
species of art which is employed about the amiable and the
admirable;" and Hogarth's "method," proscribed as a "dangerous or
worthless pursuit," I began to think there was something in it; that
I might have been indulging all my life a passion for the works of
this artist, to the utter prejudice of my taste and moral sense; but
my first convictions gradually returned, a world of good-natured
English faces came up one by one to my recollection, and a glance at
the matchless _Election Entertainment_, which I have the happiness to
have hanging up in my parlor, subverted Mr. Barry's whole theory in
an instant.

In that inimitable print (which in my judgment as far exceeds the
more known and celebrated _March to Finchley_, as the best comedy
exceeds the best farce that ever was written), let a person look till
he be saturated, and when he has done wondering at the inventiveness
of genius which could bring so many characters (more than thirty
distinct classes of face) into a room and set them down at table
together, or otherwise dispose them about, in so natural a manner,
engage them in so many easy sets and occupations, yet all partaking
of the spirit of the occasion which brought them together, so that we
feel that nothing but an election time could have assembled them;
having no central figure or principal group, (for the hero of the
piece, the Candidate, is properly set aside in the levelling
indistinction of the day, one must look for him to find him,) nothing
to detain the eye from passing from part to part, where every part is
alike instinct with life,--for here are no furniture-faces, no
figures brought in to fill up the scene like stage choruses, but all
dramatis personæ; when he shall have done wondering at all these
faces so strongly charactered, yet finished with the accuracy of the
finest miniature; when he shall have done admiring the numberless
appendages of the scene, those gratuitous doles which rich genius
flings into the heap when it has already done enough, the
over-measure which it delights in giving, as if it felt its stores
were exhaustless; the dumb rhetoric of the scenery,--for tables, and
chairs, and joint-stools in Hogarth are living and significant
things; the witticisms that are expressed by words (all artists but
Hogarth have failed when they have endeavored to combine two mediums
of expression, and have introduced words into their pictures), and
the unwritten numberless little allusive pleasantries that are
scattered about; the work that is going on in the scene, and beyond
it, as is made visible to the "eye of mind," by the mob which chokes
up the doorway, and the sword that has forced an entrance before its
master; when he shall have sufficiently admired this wealth of
genius, let him fairly say what is the _result_ left on his mind. Is
it an impression of the vileness and worthlessness of his species? or
is it not the general feeling which remains, after the individual
faces have ceased to act sensibly on his mind, a _kindly one in favor
of his species?_ was not the general air of the scene wholesome? did
it do the heart hurt to be among it? Something of a riotous spirit to
be sure is there, some worldly-mindedness in some of the faces, a
Doddingtonian smoothness which does not promise any superfluous
degree of sincerity in the fine gentleman who has been the occasion
of calling so much good company together; but is not the general cast
of expression in the faces of the good sort? do they not seem cut out
of the _good old rock_, substantial English honesty? would one fear
treachery among characters of their expression? or shall we call
their honest mirth and seldom-returning relaxation by the hard names
of vice and profligacy? That poor country fellow, that is grasping
his staff (which, from that difficulty of feeling themselves at home
which poor men experience at a feast, he has never parted with since
he came into the room), and is enjoying with a relish that seems to
fit all the capacities of his soul the slender joke, which that
facetious wag his neighbor is practising upon the gouty gentleman,
whose eyes the effort to suppress pain has made as round as
rings--does it shock the "dignity of human nature" to look at that
man, and to sympathize with him in the seldom-heard joke which has
unbent his careworn, hard-working visage, and drawn iron smiles from
it? or with that full-hearted cobbler, who is honoring with the grasp
of an honest fist the unused palm of that annoyed patrician, whom the
license of the time has seated next him?

I can see nothing "dangerous" in the contemplation of such scenes as
this, or the _Enraged Musician_, or the _Southwark Fair_, or twenty
other pleasant prints which come crowding in upon my recollection, in
which the restless activities, the diversified bents and humors, the
blameless peculiarities of men, as they deserve to be called, rather
than their "vices and follies," are held up in a laughable point of
view. All laughter is not of a dangerous or soul-hardening tendency.
There is the petrifying sneer of a demon which excludes and kills
Love, and there is the cordial laughter of a man which implies and
cherishes it. What heart was ever made the worse by joining in a
hearty laugh at the simplicities of Sir Hugh Evans or Parson Adams,
where a sense of the ridiculous mutually kindles and is kindled by a
perception of the amiable? That tumultuous harmony of singers that
are roaring out the words, "The world shall bow to the Assyrian
throne," from the opera of _Judith_, in the third plate of the series
called the _Four Groups of Heads_; which the quick eye of Hogarth
must have struck off in the very infancy of the rage for sacred
oratorios in this country, while "Music yet was young;" when we have
done smiling at the deafening distortions, which these tearers of
devotion to rags and tatters, these takers of heaven by storm, in
their boisterous mimicry of the occupation of angels, are
making,--what unkindly impression is left behind, or what more of
harsh or contemptuous feeling, than when we quietly leave Uncle Toby
and Mr. Shandy riding their hobby-horses about the room? The
conceited, long-backed Sign-painter, that with all the self-applause
of a Raphael or Correggio, (the twist of body which his conceit has
thrown him into has something of the Correggiesque in it,) is
contemplating the picture of a bottle, which he is drawing from an
actual bottle that hangs beside him, in the print of _Beer
Street_,--while we smile at the enormity of the self-delusion, can we
help loving the good-humor and self-complacency of the fellow? would
we willingly wake him from his dream?

I say not that all the ridiculous subjects of Hogarth have,
necessarily, something in them to make us like them; some are
indifferent to us, some in their natures repulsive, and only made
interesting by the wonderful skill and truth to nature in the
painter; but I contend that there is in most of them that sprinkling
of the better nature, which, like holy water, chases away and
disperses the contagion of the bad. They have this in them, besides,
that they bring us acquainted with the every-day human face,--they
give us skill to detect those gradations of sense and virtue (which
escape the careless or fastidious observer) in the countenances of
the world about us; and prevent that disgust at common life, that
_tædium quotidianarum formarum_, which an unrestricted passion for
ideal forms and beauties is in danger of producing. In this, as in
many other things, they are analogous to the best novels of Smollett
or Fielding.

       *       *       *       *       *


The poems of G. Wither are distinguished by a hearty homeliness of
manner, and a plain moral speaking. He seems to have passed his life
in one continued act of an innocent self-pleasing. That which he
calls his _Motto_ is a continued self-eulogy of two thousand lines,
yet we read it to the end without any feeling of distaste, almost
without a consciousness that we have been listening all the while to
a man praising himself. There are none of the cold particles in it,
the hardness and self-ends, which render vanity and egotism hateful.
He seems to be praising another person, under the mask of self: or
rather, we feel that it was indifferent to him where he found the
virtue which he celebrates; whether another's bosom or his own were
its chosen receptacle. His poems are full, and this in particular is
one downright confession, of a generous self-seeking. But by self he
sometimes means a great deal,--his friends, his principles, his
country, the human race.

Whoever expects to find in the satirical pieces of this writer any of
those peculiarities which pleased him in the satires of Dryden or
Pope, will be grievously disappointed. Here are no high-finished
characters, no nice traits of individual nature, few or no
personalities. The game run down is coarse general vice, or folly as
it appears in classes. A liar, a drunkard, a coxcomb, is _stript and
whipt;_ no Shaftesbury, no Villiers, or Wharton, is curiously
anatomized, and read upon. But to a well-natured mind there is a
charm of moral sensibility running through them, which amply
compensates the want of those luxuries. Wither seems everywhere
bursting with a love of goodness, and a hatred of all low and base
actions. At this day it is hard to discover what parts of the poem
here particularly alluded to, _Abuses Stript and Whipt_, could have
occasioned the imprisonment of the author. Was Vice in High Places
more suspicious than now? had she more power; or more leisure to
listen after ill reports? That a man should be convicted of a libel
when he named no names but Hate, and Envy, and Lust, and Avarice, is
like one of the indictments in the Pilgrim's Progress, where Faithful
is arraigned for having "railed on our noble Prince Beelzebub, and
spoken contemptibly of his honorable friends, the Lord Old Man, the
Lord Carnal Delight, and the Lord Luxurious." What unlucky jealousy
could have tempted the great men of those days to appropriate such
innocent abstractions to themselves?

Wither seems to have contemplated to a degree of idolatry his own
possible virtue. He is forever anticipating persecution and
martyrdom; fingering, as it were, the flames, to try how he can bear
them. Perhaps his premature defiance sometimes made him obnoxious to
censures which he would otherwise have slipped by.

The homely versification of these Satires is not likely to attract in
the present day. It is certainly not such as we should expect from a
poet "soaring in the high region of his fancies, with his garland and
his singing robes about him;"[1] nor is it such as
he has shown in his _Philarete_, and in some parts of his _Shepherds
Hunting_. He seems to have adopted this dress with voluntary
humility, as fittest for a moral teacher, as our divines choose sober
gray or black; but in their humility consists their sweetness. The
deepest tone of moral feeling in them (though all throughout is
weighty, earnest, and passionate) is in those pathetic injunctions
against shedding of blood in quarrels, in the chapter entitled
_Revenge_. The story of his own forbearance, which follows, is highly
interesting. While the Christian sings his own victory over Anger,
the Man of Courage cannot help peeping out to let you know, that it
was some higher principle than _fear_ which counselled this

[Footnote 1: Milton.]

Whether encaged, or roaming at liberty, Wither never seems to have
abated a jot of that free spirit which sets its mark upon his
writings, as much as a predominant feature of independence impresses
every page of our late glorious Burns; but the elder poet wraps his
proof-armor closer about him, the other wears his too much outwards;
he is thinking too much of annoying the foe to be quite easy within;
the spiritual defences of Wither are a perpetual source of inward
sunshine, the magnanimity of the modern is not without its alloy of
soreness, and a sense of injustice, which seems perpetually to gall
and irritate. Wither was better skilled in the "sweet uses of
adversity;" he knew how to extract the "precious jewel" from the head
of the "toad," without drawing any of the "ugly venom" along with it.
The prison-notes of Wither are finer than the wood-notes of most of
his poetical brethren. The description in the Fourth Eclogue of his
_Shepherds Hunting_ (which was composed during his imprisonment in
the Marshalsea) of the power of the Muse to extract pleasure from
common objects, has been oftener quoted, and is more known, than any
part of his writings. Indeed, the whole Eclogue is in a strain so
much above not only what himself, but almost what any other poet has
written, that he himself could not help noticing it; he remarks that
his spirits had been raised higher than they were wont, "through the
love of poesy." The praises of Poetry have been often sung in ancient
and in modern times; strange powers have been ascribed to it of
influence over animate and inanimate auditors; its force over
fascinated crowds has been acknowledged; but, before Wither, no one
ever celebrated its power _at home_, the wealth and the strength
which this divine gift confers upon its possessor. Fame, and that too
after death, was all which hitherto the poets had promised themselves
from their art. It seems to have been left to Wither to discover that
poetry was a present possession, as well as a rich reversion, and
that the Muse had promise of both lives,--of this, and of that which
was to come.

The _Mistress of Philarete_ is in substance a panegyric protracted
through several thousand lines in the mouth of a single speaker, but
diversified, so as to produce an almost dramatic effect, by the
artful introduction of some ladies, who are rather auditors than
interlocutors in the scene; and of a boy, whose singing furnishes
pretence for an occasional change of metre: though the seven-syllable
line, in which the main part of it is written, is that in which
Wither has shown himself so great a master, that I do not know that I
am always thankful to him for the exchange.

Wither has chosen to bestow upon the lady whom he commends the name
of Arete, or Virtue; and, assuming to himself the character of
Philarete, or Lover of Virtue, there is a sort of propriety in that
heaped measure of perfections which he attributes to this partly
real, partly allegorical personage. Drayton before him had shadowed
his mistress under the name of Idea, or Perfect Pattern, and some of
the old Italian love-strains are couched in such religious terms as
to make it doubtful whether it be a mistress, or Divine Grace, which
the poet is addressing.

In this poem (full of beauties) there are two passages of preeminent
merit. The first is where the lover, after a flight of rapturous
commendation, expresses his wonder why all men that are about his
mistress, even to her very servants, do not view her with the same
eyes that he does.

     "Sometime I do admire
  All men burn not with desire:
  Nay, I muse her servants are not
  Pleading love; but 0! they dare not.
  And I therefore wonder, why
  They do not grow sick and die.
  Sure they would do so, but that,
  By the ordinance of fate,
  There is some concealed thing,
  So each gazer limiting,
  He can see no more of merit,
  Than beseems his worth and spirit.
  For in her a grace there shines,
  That o'er-daring thoughts confines,
  Making worthless men despair
  To be loved of one so fair.
  Yea, the destinies agree,
  Some _good judgments_ blind should be,
  And not gain the power of knowing
  Those rare beauties in her growing.
  Reason doth as much imply:
  For, if every judging eye,
  Which beholdeth her, should there
  Find what excellences are,
  All, o'ercome by those perfections,
  Would be captive to affections.
  So, in happiness unblest,
  She for lovers should not rest."

The other is, where he has been comparing her beauties to gold, and
stars, and the most excellent things in nature; and, fearing to be
accused of hyperbole, the common charge against poets, vindicates
himself by boldly taking upon him, that these comparisons are no
hyperboles; but that the best things in nature do, in a lover's eye,
fall short of those excellences which he adores in her.

  "What pearls, what rubies can
  Seem so lovely fair to man,
  As her lips whom he doth love,
  When in sweet discourse they move,
  Or her lovelier teeth, the while
  She doth bless him with a smile?
  Stars indeed fair creatures be;
  Yet amongst us where is he
  Joys not more the whilst he lies
  Sunning in his mistress' eyes,
  Than in all the glimmering light
  Of a starry winter's night?
  Note the beauty of an eye--
  And if aught you praise it by
  Leave such passion in your mind,
  Let my reason's eye be blind.
  Mark if ever red or white
  Any where gave such delight,
  As when they have taken place
  In a worthy woman's face.

       *       *       *       *       *

  "I must praise her as I may,
  Which I do mine own rude way,
  Sometimes setting forth her glories
  By unheard of allegories "--&c.

To the measure in which these lines are written the wits of Queen
Anne's days contemptuously gave the name of Namby-Pamby, in ridicule
of Ambrose Philips, who has used it in some instances, as in the
lines on Cuzzoni, to my feeling at least, very deliciously; but
Wither, whose darling measure it seems to have been, may show, that
in skilful hands it is capable of expressing the subtilest movements
of passion. So true it is, which Drayton seems to have felt, that it
is the poet who modifies the metre, not the metre the poet; in his
own words, that

    "It's possible to climb;
  To kindle, or to stake;
    Altho' in Skelton's rhime."[1]

[Footnote 1: A long line is a line we are long repeating. In the
_Shepherds Hunting_  take the following--

  "If thy verse doth bravely tower,
  _As she makes wing, she gets power;_
  Yet the higher she doth soar,
  She's affronted still the more,
  'Till she to the high'st hath past,
  Then she rests with fame at last."

What longer measure can go beyond the majesty of this! what
Alexandrine is half so long in pronouncing or expresses _labor slowly
but strongly surmounting difficulty_ with the life with which it is
done in the second of these lines? or what metre could go beyond
these from _Philarete_--

  "Her true beauty leaves behind
  Apprehensions in my mind
  Of more sweetness, than all art
  Or inventions can impart.
  _Thoughts too deep to be expressed,
  And too strong to be suppressed._"]



       *       *       *       *       *


       *       *       *       *       *


Mr. Reflector,--I was born under the shadow of St. Dunstan's steeple,
just where the conflux of the eastern and western inhabitants of this
twofold city meet and justle in friendly opposition at Temple-bar.
The same day which gave me to the world, saw London happy in the
celebration of her great annual feast. This I cannot help looking
upon as a lively omen of the future great good-will which I was
destined to bear toward the city, resembling in kind that solicitude
which every Chief Magistrate is supposed to feel for whatever
concerns her interests and well-being. Indeed I consider myself in
some sort a speculative Lord Mayor of London: for though
circumstances unhappily preclude me from the hope of ever arriving at
the dignity of a gold chain and Spital Sermon, yet thus much will I
say of myself in truth, that Whittington with his cat (just emblem of
vigilance and a furred gown) never went beyond me in affection which
I bear to the citizens.

I was born, as you have heard, in a crowd. This has begot in me an
entire affection for that way of life, amounting to an almost
insurmountable aversion from solitude and rural scenes. This aversion
was never interrupted or suspended, except for a few years in the
younger part of my life, during a period in which I had set my
affections upon a charming young woman. Every man, while the passion
is upon him, is for a time at least addicted to groves and meadows
and purling streams. During this short period of my existence, I
contracted just familiarity enough with rural objects to understand
tolerably well ever after the _poets_, when they declaim in such
passionate terms in favor of a country-life.

For my own part, now the fit is past, I have no hesitation in
declaring, that a mob of happy faces crowding up at the pit-door of
Drury Lane Theatre, just at the hour of six, gives me ten thousand
sincerer pleasures, than I could ever receive from all the flocks of
silly sheep that ever whitened the plains of Arcadia or Epsom Downs.

This passion for crowds is nowhere feasted so full as in London. The
man must have a rare _recipe_ for melancholy who can be dull in Fleet
Street. I am naturally inclined to hypochondria, but in London it
vanishes, like all other ills. Often, when I have felt a weariness or
distaste at home, have I rushed out into her crowded Strand, and fed
my humor, till tears have wetted my cheek for unutterable sympathies
with the multitudinous moving picture, which she never fails to
present at all hours, like the scenes of a shifting pantomime.

The very deformities of London, which give distaste to others, from
habit do not displease me. The endless succession of shops where
_Fancy miscalled Folly_ is supplied with perpetual gauds and toys,
excite in me no puritanical aversion. I gladly behold every appetite
supplied with its proper food. The obliging customer, and the obliged
tradesman--things which live by bowing, and things which exist but
for homage--do not affect me with disgust; from habit I perceive
nothing but urbanity, where other men, more refined, discover
meanness: I love the very smoke of London, because it has been the
medium most familiar to my vision. I see grand principles of honor at
work in the dirty ring which encompasses two combatants with fists,
and principles of no less eternal justice in the detection of a
pickpocket. The salutary astonishment with which an execution is
surveyed, convinces me more forcibly than a hundred volumes of
abstract polity, that the universal instinct of man in all ages has
leaned to order and good government.

Thus an art of extracting morality from the commonest incidents of a
town life is attained by the same well-natured alchemy with which the
Foresters of Arden, in a beautiful country,

  "Found tongues in trees, books in the running brooks,
  Sermons in stones, and good in everything."

Where has spleen her food but in London! Humor, Interest, Curiosity,
suck at her measureless breasts without a possibility of being
satiated. Nursed amid her noise, her crowds, her beloved smoke, what
have I been doing all my life, if I have not lent out my heart with
usury to such scenes!

I am, Sir, your faithful servant,





       *       *       *       *       *


Mr. Reflector,--I was amused the other day with having the following
notice thrust into my hand by a man who gives out bills at the corner
of Fleet Market. Whether he saw any prognostics about me, that made
him judge such notice seasonable, I cannot say; I might perhaps carry
in a countenance (naturally not very florid) traces of a fever which
had not long left me. Those fellows have a good instinctive way of
guessing at the sort of people that are likeliest to pay attention to
their papers.


"A favorable opportunity now offers to any person, of either sex, who
would wish to be buried in a genteel manner, by paying one shilling
entrance, and twopence per week for the benefit of the stock. Members
to be free in six months. The money to be paid at Mr. Middleton's, at
the sign of the _First_ and the _Last_, Stonecutter's Street, Fleet
Market. The deceased to be furnished as follows:--A strong elm
coffin, covered with superfine black, and furnished with two rows,
all round, close drove, best japanned nails, and adorned with
ornamental drops, a handsome plate of inscription, Angel above, and
Flower beneath, and four pair of handsome handles, with wrought
gripes; the coffin to be well pitched, lined, and ruffled with fine
crape; a handsome crape shroud, cap, and pillow. For use, a handsome
velvet pall, three gentlemen's cloaks, three crape hat-bands, three
hoods and scarfs, and six pair of gloves; two porters equipped to
attend the funeral, a man to attend the same with band and gloves;
also, the burial-fees paid, if not exceeding one guinea."

"Man," says Sir Thomas Browne, "is a noble animal, splendid in ashes,
and pompous in the grave." Whoever drew up this little advertisement
certainly understood this appetite in the species, and has made
abundant provision for it. It really almost induces a _tædium vitæ_
upon one to read it. Methinks I could be willing to die, in death to
be so attended. The two rows all round close-drove best black
japanned nails,--how feelingly do they invite, and almost
irresistibly persuade us to come and be fastened down! what aching
head can resist the temptation to repose, which the crape shroud, the
cap, and the pillow present; what sting is there in death, which the
handles with wrought gripes are not calculated to pluck away? what
victory in the grave which the drops and the velvet pall do not
render at least extremely disputable? but, above all, the pretty
emblematic plate, with the Angel above and the Flower beneath, takes
me mightily.

The notice goes on to inform us, that though the society has been
established but a very few years, upwards of eleven hundred persons
have put down their names. It is really an affecting consideration to
think of so many poor people, of the industrious and hard-working
class (for none but such would be possessed of such a generous
forethought) clubbing their two-pences to save the reproach of a
parish funeral. Many a poor fellow, I dare swear, has that Angel and
Flower kept from the _Angel_ and _Punchbowl_, while, to provide
himself a bier, he has curtailed himself of _beer_. Many a savory
morsel has the living body been deprived of, that the lifeless one
might be served up in a richer state to the worms. And sure, if the
body could understand the actions of the soul, and entertain generous
notions of things, it would thank its provident partner, that she had
been more solicitous to defend it from dishonors at its dissolution,
than careful to pamper it with good things in the time of its union.
If Cæsar were chiefly anxious at his death how he might die most
decently, every Burial Society may be considered as a club of Cæsars.

Nothing tends to keep up, in the imaginations of the poorer sort of
people, a generous horror of the work-house more than the manner in
which pauper funerals are conducted in this metropolis. The coffin
nothing but a few naked planks coarsely put together,--the want of a
pall (that decent and well-imagined veil, which, hiding the coffin
that hides the body, keeps that which would shock us at two removes
from us), the colored coats of the men that are hired, at cheap
rates, to carry the body,--altogether give the notion of the deceased
having been some person of an ill life and conversation, some one who
may not claim the entire rites of Christian burial,--one by whom some
parts of the sacred ceremony would be desecrated if they should be
bestowed upon him. I meet these meagre processions sometimes in the
street. They are sure to make me out of humor and melancholy all the
day after. They have a harsh and ominous aspect.

If there is anything in the prospectus issued from Mr. Middleton's,
Stonecutter's Street, which pleases me less than the rest, it is to
find that the six pair of gloves are to be returned, that they are
only lent, or, as the bill expresses it, for use on the occasion. The
hood, scarfs, and hat-bands, may properly enough be given up after
the solemnity; the cloaks no gentlemen would think of keeping; but a
pair of gloves, once fitted on, ought not in courtesy to be
redemanded. The wearer should certainly have the fee-simple of them.
The cost would be but trifling, and they would be a proper memorial
of the day. This part of the Proposal wants reconsidering. It is not
conceived in the same liberal way of thinking as the rest. I am also
a little doubtful whether the limit, within which the burial-fee is
made payable, should not be extended to thirty shillings.

Some provision too ought undoubtedly to be made in favor of those
well-intentioned persons and well-wishers to the fund, who, having
all along paid their subscriptions regularly, are so unfortunate as
to die before the six months, which would entitle them to their
freedom, are quite completed. One can hardly imagine a more
distressing case than that of a poor fellow lingering on in a
consumption till the period of his freedom is almost in sight, and
then finding himself going with a velocity which makes it doubtful
whether he shall be entitled to his funeral honors: his quota to
which he nevertheless squeezes out, to the diminution of the comforts
which sickness demands. I think, in such cases, some of the
contribution money ought to revert. With some such modifications,
which might easily be introduced, I see nothing in these Proposals of
Mr. Middleton which is not strictly fair and genteel; and heartily
recommend them to all persons of moderate incomes, in either sex, who
are willing that this perishable part of them should quit the scene
of its mortal activities with as handsome circumstances as possible.

Before I quit the subject, I must guard my readers against a scandal,
which they may be apt to take at the place whence these Proposals
purport to be issued. From the sign of the _First_ and the _Last_,
they may conclude that Mr. Middleton is some publican, who, in
assembling a club of this description at his house, may have a
sinister end of his own, altogether foreign to the solemn purpose for
which the club is pretended to be instituted. I must set them right
by informing them that the issuer of these Proposals is no publican,
though he hangs out a sign, but an honest superintendent of funerals,
who, by the device of a Cradle and a Coffin, connecting both ends of
human existence together, has most ingeniously contrived to
insinuate, that the framers of these _first_ and _last_ receptacles
of mankind divide this our life betwixt them, and that all that
passes from the midwife to the undertaker may, in strict propriety,
_go for nothing_: an awful and instructive lesson to human vanity.

Looking over some papers lately that fell into my hands by chance,
and appear to have been written about the beginning of the last
century, I stumbled, among the rest, upon the following short Essay,
which the writer calls, "_The Character of an Undertaker_." It is
written with some stiffness and peculiarities of style, but some
parts of it, I think, not unaptly characterize the profession to
which Mr. Middleton has the honor to belong. The writer doubtless had
in his mind the entertaining character of _Sable_, in Steele's
excellent comedy of _The Funeral_.


"He is master of the ceremonies at burials and mourning assemblies,
grand marshal at funeral processions, the only true yeoman of the
body, over which he exercises a dictatorial authority from the moment
that the breath has taken leave to that of its final commitment to
the earth. His ministry begins where the physician's, the lawyer's,
and the divine's end. Or if some part of the functions of the latter
run parallel with his, it is only _in ordine ad spiritualia_. His
temporalities remain unquestioned. He is arbitrator of all questions
of honor which may concern the defunct; and upon slight inspection
will pronounce how long he may remain in this upper world with credit
to himself, and when it will be prudent for his reputation that he
should retire. His determination in these points is peremptory and
without appeal. Yet, with a modesty peculiar to his profession, he
meddles not out of his own sphere. With the good or bad actions of
the deceased in his lifetime he has nothing to do. He leaves the
friends of the dead man to form their own conjectures as to the place
to which the departed spirit is gone. His care is only about the
exuviæ. He concerns not himself even about the body, as it is a
structure of parts internal, and a wonderful microcosm. He leaves
such curious speculations to the anatomy professor. Or, if anything,
he is averse to such wanton inquiries, as delighting rather that the
parts which he has care of should be returned to their kindred dust
in as handsome and unmutilated condition as possible; that the grave
should have its full and unimpaired tribute,--a complete and just
carcass. Nor is he only careful to provide for the body's entireness,
but for its accommodation and ornament. He orders the fashion of its
clothes, and designs the symmetry of its dwelling. Its vanity has an
innocent survival in him. He is bedmaker to the dead. The pillows
which he lays never rumple. The day of interment is the theatre in
which he displays the mysteries of his art. It is hard to describe
what he is, or rather to tell what he is not, on that day: for, being
neither kinsman, servant, nor friend, he is all in turns; a
transcendant, running through all those relations. His office is to
supply the place of self-agency in the family, who are presumed
incapable of it through grief. He is eyes, and ears, and hands, to
the whole household. A draught of wine cannot go round to the
mourners, but he must minister it. A chair may hardly be restored to
its place by a less solemn hand than his. He takes upon himself all
functions, and is a sort of ephemeral major-domo! He distributes his
attentions among the company assembled according to the degree of
affliction, which he calculates from the degree of kin to the
deceased; and marshals them accordingly in the procession. He himself
is of a sad and tristful countenance; yet such as (if well examined)
is not without some show of patience and resignation at bottom;
prefiguring, as it were, to the friends of the deceased, what their
grief shall be when the hand of Time shall have softened and taken
down the bitterness of their first anguish; so handsomely can he
fore-shape and anticipate the work of Time. Lastly, with his wand, as
with another divining rod, he calculates the depth of earth at which
the bones of the dead man may rest, which he ordinarily contrives may
be at such a distance from the surface of this earth, as may
frustrate the profane attempts of such as would violate his repose,
yet sufficiently on this side the centre to give his friends hopes of
an easy and practicable resurrection. And here we leave him, casting
in dust to dust, which is the last friendly office that he
_undertakes_ to do."

Begging your pardon for detaining you so long among "graves, and
worms, and epitaphs," I am, Sir,

Your humble servant,


       *       *       *       *       *



       *       *       *       *       *


MR. REFLECTOR,--There is no science in their pretensions to which
mankind are more apt to commit grievous mistakes, than in the
supposed very obvious one of physiognomy. I quarrel not with the
principles of this science, as they are laid down by learned
professors; much less am I disposed, with some people, to deny its
existence altogether as any inlet of knowledge that can be depended
upon. I believe that there is, or may be, an art to "read the mind's
construction in the face." But, then, in every species of _reading_,
so much depends upon the eyes of the reader; if they are blear, or
apt to dazzle, or inattentive, or strained with too much attention,
the optic power will infallibly bring home false reports of what it
reads. How often do we say, upon a cursory glance at a stranger,
"What a fine open countenance he has!" who, upon second inspection,
proves to have the exact features of a knave? Nay, in much more
intimate acquaintances, how a delusion of this kind shall continue
for months, years, and then break up all at once.

Ask the married man, who has been so but for a short space of time,
if those blue eyes where, during so many years of anxious courtship,
truth, sweetness, serenity, seemed to be written in characters which
could not be misunderstood--ask him if the characters which they now
convey be exactly the same?--if for truth he does not _read_ a dull
virtue (the mimic of constancy) which changes not, only because it
wants the judgment to make a preference?--if for sweetness he does
not _read_ a stupid habit of looking pleased at everything?--if for
serenity he does not _read_ animal tranquillity, the dead pool of the
heart, which no breeze of passion can stir into health? Alas! what is
this book of the countenance good for, which when we have read so
long, and thought that we understood its contents, there comes a
countless list of heart-breaking errata at the end!

But these are the pitiable mistakes to which love alone is subject. I
have inadvertently wandered from my purpose, which was to expose
quite an opposite blunder, into which we are no less apt to fall,
through hate. How ugly a person looks upon whose reputation some
awkward aspersion hangs, and how suddenly his countenance clears up
with his character! I remember being persuaded of a man whom I had
conceived an ill opinion of, that he had a very bad set of teeth;
which, since I have had better opportunities of being acquainted with
his face and facts, I find to have been the very reverse of the
truth. _That crooked old woman_, I once said, speaking of an ancient
gentlewoman, whose actions did not square altogether with my notions
of the rule of right. The unanimous surprise of the company before
whom I uttered these words soon convinced me that I had confounded
mental with bodily obliquity, and that there was nothing tortuous
about the old lady but her deeds.

This humor of mankind to deny personal comeliness to those with whose
moral attributes they are dissatisfied, is very strongly shown in
those advertisements which stare us in the face from the walls of
every street, and, with the tempting bait which they hang forth,
stimulate at once cupidity and an abstract love of justice in the
breast of every passing peruser: I mean, the advertisements offering
rewards for the apprehension of absconded culprits, strayed
apprentices, bankrupts who have conveyed away their effects, debtors
that have run away from their bail. I observe, that in exact
proportion to the indignity with which the prosecutor, who is
commonly the framer of the advertisement, conceives he has been
treated, the personal pretensions of the fugitive are denied, and his
defects exaggerated.

A fellow whose misdeeds have been directed against the public in
general, and in whose delinquency no individual shall feel himself
particularly interested, generally meets with fair usage. A coiner or
a smuggler shall get off tolerably well. His beauty, if he has any,
is not much underrated, his deformities are not much magnified. A
runaway apprentice, who excites perhaps the next least degree of
spleen in his prosecutor, generally escapes with a pair of bandy
legs; if he has taken anything with him in his flight, a hitch in his
gait is generally superadded. A bankrupt, who has been guilty of
withdrawing his effects, if his case be not very atrocious, commonly
meets with mild usage. But a debtor, who has left his bail in
jeopardy, is sure to be described in characters of unmingled
deformity. Here the personal feelings of the bail, which may be
allowed to be somewhat poignant, are admitted to interfere; and, as
wrath and revenge commonly strike in the dark, the colors are laid on
with a grossness which I am convinced must often defeat its own
purpose. The fish that casts an inky cloud about him that his enemies
may not find him, cannot more obscure himself by that device than the
blackening representations of these angry advertisers must inevitably
serve to cloak and screen the persons of those who have injured them
from detection. I have before me at this moment one of these bills,
which runs thus:--


"Run away from his bail, John Tomkins, formerly resident in Princes
Street, Soho, but lately of Clerkenwell. Whoever shall apprehend, or
cause to be apprehended and lodged in one of his Majesty's jails, the
said John Tomkins, shall receive the above reward. He is a thick-set,
sturdy man, about five foot six inches high, halts in his left leg,
with a stoop in his gait, with coarse red hair, nose short and cocked
up, with little gray eyes, (one of them bears the effect of a blow
which he has lately received,) with a pot-belly; speaks with a thick
and disagreeable voice; goes shabbily drest; had on when he went away
a greasy shag great-coat with rusty yellow buttons."

Now, although it is not out of the compass of possibility that John
Tomkins aforesaid may comprehend in his agreeable person all the
above-mentioned aggregate of charms, yet, from my observation of the
manner in which these advertisements are usually drawn up, though I
have not the pleasure of knowing the gentleman, yet would I lay a
wager, that an advertisement to the following effect would have a
much better chance of apprehending and laying by the heels this John
Tomkins than the above description, although penned by one who, from
the good services which he appears to have done for him, has not
improbably been blessed with some years of previous intercourse with
the said John. Taking, then, the above advertisement to be true, or
nearly so, down to the words "left leg" inclusive, (though I have
some doubt if the blemish there implied amount to a positive
lameness, or be perceivable by any but the nearest friends of John,)
I would proceed thus:--

--"Leans a little forward in his walk; his hair thick and inclining
to auburn; his nose of the middle size, a little turned up at the
end; lively hazel eyes (the contusion, as its effects are probably
gone off by this time, I judge better omitted); inclines to be
corpulent; his voice thick, but pleasing, especially when he sings;
had on a decent shag great-coat with yellow buttons."

Now I would stake a considerable wager (though by no means a positive
man) that some such mitigated description would lead the beagles of
the law into a much surer track for finding this ungracious varlet,
than to set them upon a false scent after fictitious ugliness and
fictitious shabbiness; though, to do those gentlemen justice, I have
no doubt their experience has taught them in all such cases to abate
a great deal of the deformity which they are instructed to expect,
and has discovered to them that the Devil's agents upon this earth,
like their master, are far less ugly in reality than they are

I am afraid, Mr. Reflector, that I shall be thought to have gone wide
of my subject, which was to detect the practical errors of
physiognomy, properly so called; whereas I have introduced physical
defects, such as lameness, the effects of accidents upon a man's
person, his wearing apparel, &c., as circumstances on which the eye
of dislike, looking askance, may report erroneous conclusions to the
understanding. But if we are liable, through a kind or an unkind
passion, to mistake so grossly concerning things so exterior and
palpable, how much more are we likely to err respecting those nicer
and less perceptible hints of character in a face whose detection
constitutes the triumph of the physiognomist!

To revert to those bestowers of unmerited deformity, the framers of
advertisements for the apprehension of delinquents, a sincere desire
of promoting the end of public justice induces me to address a word
to them on the best means of attaining those ends. I will endeavor to
lay down a few practical, or rather negative, rules for their use,
for my ambition extends no further than to arm them with cautions
against the self-defeating of their own purposes:--

1. Imprimis, then, Mr. Advertiser! If the culprit whom you are
willing to recover be one to whom in times past you have shown
kindness, and been disposed to think kindly of him yourself, but he
has deceived your trust, and has run away, and left you with a load
of debt to answer for him,--sit down calmly and endeavor to behold
him through the spectacles of memory rather than of present conceit.
Image to yourself, before you pen a tittle of his description, the
same plausible, good-looking man who took you in, and try to put away
from your mind every intrusion of that deceitful spectre which
perpetually obtrudes itself in the room of your former friend's known
visage. It will do you more credit to have been deceived by such a
one; and depend upon it, the traitor will convey to the eyes of the
world in general much more of that first idea which you formed
(perhaps in part erroneous) of his physiognomy, than of that
frightful substitute which you have suffered to creep in upon your
mind and usurp upon it; a creature which has no archetype except in
your own brain.

2. If you be a master that have to advertise a runaway apprentice,
though the young dog's faults are known only to you, and no doubt his
conduct has been aggravating enough, do not presently set him down as
having crooked ankles. He may have a good pair of legs, and run away
notwithstanding. Indeed, the latter does rather seem to imply the

3. If the unhappy person against whom your laudable vengeance is
directed be a thief, think that a thief may have a good nose, good
eyes, good ears. It is indispensable to his profession that he be
possessed of sagacity, foresight, vigilance; it is more than
probable, then, that he is endued with the bodily types or
instruments of these qualities to some tolerable degree of

4. If petty larceny be his offence, I exhort you, do not confound
meanness of crime with diminutiveness of stature. These things have
no connection. I have known a tall man stoop to the basest action, a
short man aspire to the height of crime, a fair man be guilty of the
foulest actions, &c.

5. Perhaps the offender has been guilty of some atrocious and
aggravated murder. Here is the most difficult case of all. It is
above all requisite that such a daring violator of the peace and
safety of society should meet with his reward, a violent and
ignominious death. But how shall we get at him? Who is there among us
that has known him before he committed the offence, that shall take
upon him to say he can sit down coolly and pen a dispassionate
description of a murderer? The tales of our nursery,--the reading of
our youth,--the ill-looking man that was hired by the Uncle to
despatch the Children in the Wood,--the grim ruffians who smothered
the babes in the Tower,--the black and beetle-browed assassin of Mrs.
Ratcliffe,--the shag-haired villain of Mr. Monk Lewis,--the Tarquin
tread, and mill-stone dropping eyes, of Murder in Shakspeare,--the
exaggerations of picture and of poetry,--what we have read and what
we have dreamed of,--rise up and crowd in upon us such eye-scaring
portraits of the man of blood, that our pen is absolutely
forestalled; we commence poets when we should play the part of
strictest historians, and the very blackness of horror which the deed
calls up, serves as a cloud to screen the doer. The fiction is
blameless, it is accordant with those wise prejudices with which
nature has guarded our innocence, as with impassable barriers,
against the commission of such appalling crimes; but, meantime, the
criminal escapes; or if,--owing to that wise abatement in their
expectation of deformity, which, as I hinted at before, the officers
of pursuit never fail to make, and no doubt in cases of this sort
they make a more than ordinary allowance,--if, owing to this or any
accident, the offender is caught and brought to his trial, who that
has been led out of curiosity to witness such a scene has not with
astonishment reflected on the difference between a real committer of
a murder, and the idea of one which he has been collecting and
heightening all his life out of books, dreams, &c.? The fellow,
perhaps, is a sleek, smug-looking man, with light hair and
eyebrows,--the latter by no means jutting out or like a crag,--and
with none of those marks which our fancy had pre-bestowed upon him.

I find I am getting unawares too serious; the best way on such
occasions is to leave off, which I shall do by generally recommending
to all prosecuting advertisers not to confound crimes with ugliness;
or rather, to distinguish between that physiognomical deformity,
which I am willing to grant always accompanies crime, and mere
_physical ugliness_,--which signifies nothing, is the opponent of
nothing, and may exist in a good or bad person indifferently.



       *       *       *       *       *


Sir,--I am one of those unhappy persons whose misfortunes, it seems,
do not entitle them to the benefit of pure pity. All that is bestowed
upon me of that kindest alleviator of human miseries comes dashed
with a double portion of contempt. My griefs have nothing in them
that is felt as sacred by the bystanders. Yet is my affliction, in
truth, of the deepest grain--the heaviest task that was ever given to
mortal patience to sustain. Time, that wears out all other sorrows,
can never modify or soften mine. Here they must continue to gnaw as
long at that fatal mark----

Why was I ever born? Why was innocence in my person suffered to be
branded with a stain which was appointed only for the blackest guilt?
What had I done, or my parents, that a disgrace of mine should
involve a whole posterity in infamy? I am almost tempted to believe,
that, in some preëxistent state, crimes to which this sublunary life
of mine hath been as much a stranger as the babe that is newly born
into it, have drawn down upon me this vengeance, so disproportionate
to my actions on this globe.

My brain sickens, and my bosom labors to be delivered of the weight
that presses upon it, yet my conscious pen shrinks from the avowal.
But out it must----

O, Mr. Reflector! guess at the wretch's misery who now writes this to
you, when, with tears and burning blushes, he is obliged to confess
that he has been--HANGED----

Methinks I hear an involuntary exclamation burst from you, as your
imagination presents to you fearful images of your correspondent

Fear not, Mr. Editor. No disembodied spirit has the honor of
addressing you. I am flesh and blood, an unfortunate system of bones,
muscles, sinews, arteries, like yourself.

_Then, I presume, you mean to be pleasant.--That expression of yours,
Mr. Correspondent, must be taken somehow in a metaphorical sense----_

In the plainest sense, without trope or figure--Yes, Mr. Editor! this
neck of mine has felt the fatal noose,--these hands have tremblingly
held up the corroborative prayer-book,--these lips have sucked the
moisture of the last consolatory orange,--this tongue has chanted the
doleful cantata which no performer was ever called upon to
repeat,--this face has had the veiling nightcap drawn over it----

But for no crime of mine.--Far be it from me to arraign the justice
of my country, which, though tardy, did at length recognize my
innocence. It is not for me to reflect upon judge or jury, now that
eleven years have elapsed since the erroneous sentence was
pronounced. Men will always be fallible, and perhaps circumstances
did appear at the time a little strong----

Suffice it to say, that after hanging four minutes (as the spectators
were pleased to compute it,--a man that is being strangled, I know
from experience, has altogether a different measure of time from his
friends who are breathing leisurely about him,--I suppose the minutes
lengthen as time approaches eternity, in the same manner as the miles
get longer as you travel northward),--after hanging four minutes,
according to the best calculation of the bystanders, a reprieve came,
and I was CUT DOWN--

Really I am ashamed of deforming your pages with these technical
phrases--if I knew how to express my meaning shorter--

But to proceed.--My first care after I had been brought to myself by
the usual methods (those methods that are so interesting to the
operator and his assistants, who are pretty numerous on such
occasions,--but which no patient was ever desirous of undergoing a
second time for the benefit of science), my first care was to provide
myself with an enormous stock or cravat to hide the place--you
understand me; my next care was to procure a residence as distant as
possible from that part of the country where I had suffered. For that
reason I chose the metropolis, as the place where wounded honor (I
had been told) could lurk with the least danger of exciting inquiry,
and stigmatized innocence had the best chance of hiding her disgrace
in a crowd. I sought out a new circle of acquaintance, and my
circumstances happily enabling me to pursue my fancy in that respect,
I endeavored, by mingling in all the pleasures which the town
affords, to efface the memory of what I had undergone.

But, alas! such is the portentous and all-pervading chain of
connection which links together the head and members of this great
community, my scheme of lying perdu was defeated almost at the
outset. A countryman of mine, whom a foolish lawsuit had brought to
town, by chance met me, and the secret was soon blazoned about.

In a short time I found myself deserted by most of those who had been
my intimate friends. Not that any guilt was supposed to attach to my
character. My officious countryman, to do him justice, had been
candid enough to explain my perfect innocence.

But, somehow or other, there is a want of strong virtue in mankind.
We have plenty of the softer instincts, but the heroic character is
gone. How else can I account for it, that of all my numerous
acquaintance, among whom I had the honor of ranking sundry persons of
education, talents, and worth, scarcely here and there one or two
could be found who had the courage to associate with a man that had
been hanged.

Those few who did not desert me altogether were persons of strong but
coarse minds; and from the absence of all delicacy in them I suffered
almost as much as from the superabundance of a false species of it in
the others. Those who stuck by me were the jokers, who thought
themselves entitled by the fidelity which they had shown towards me
to use me with what familiarity they pleased. Many and unfeeling are
the jests that I have suffered from these rude (because faithful)
Achateses. As they passed me in the streets, one would nod
significantly to his companion and say, pointing to me, Smoke his
cravat, and ask me if I had got a wen, that I was so solicitous to
cover my neck. Another would inquire, What news from * * * Assizes?
(which you may guess, Mr. Editor, was the scene of my shame,) and
whether the sessions was like to prove a maiden one? A third would
offer to insure me from drowning. A fourth would tease me with
inquiries how I felt when I was swinging, whether I had not something
like a blue flame dancing before my eyes? A fifth took a fancy never
to call me anything but _Lazarus_. And an eminent bookseller and
publisher,--who, in his zeal to present the public with new facts,
had he lived in those days, I am confident, would not have scrupled
waiting upon the person himself last mentioned, at the most critical
period of his existence, to solicit a _few facts relative to
resuscitation_,--had the modesty to offer me--guineas per sheet, if I
would write, in his magazine, a physiological account of my feelings
upon coming to myself.

But these were evils which a moderate fortitude might have enabled me
to struggle with. Alas! Mr. Editor, the women,--whose good graces I
had always most assiduously cultivated, from whose softer minds I had
hoped a more delicate and generous sympathy than I found in the
men,--the women began to shun me--this was the unkindest blow of all.

But is it to be wondered at? How couldst thou imagine, wretchedest of
beings, that that tender creature Seraphina would fling her pretty
arms about that neck which previous circumstances had rendered
infamous? That she would put up with the refuse of the rope, the
leavings of the cord? Or that any analogy could subsist between the
knot which binds true lovers, and the knot which ties malefactors?

I can forgive that pert baggage Flirtilla, who, when I complimented
her one day on the execution which her eyes had done, replied, that,
to be sure, Mr. * * * was a judge of those things. But from thy more
exalted mind, Celestina, I expected a more unprejudiced decision. The
person whose true name I conceal under this appellation, of all the
women that I was ever acquainted with had the most manly turn of
mind, which she had improved by reading and the best conversation.
Her understanding was not more masculine than her manners and whole
disposition were delicately and truly feminine. She was the daughter
of an officer who had fallen in the service of his country, leaving
his widow, and Celestina, an only child, with a fortune sufficient to
set them above want, but not to enable them to live in splendor. I
had the mother's permission to pay my addresses to the young lady,
and Celestina seemed to approve of my suit.

Often and often have I poured out my overcharged soul in the presence
of Celestina, complaining of the hard and unfeeling prejudices of the
world; and the sweet maid has again and again declared, that no
irrational prejudice should hinder her from esteeming every man
according to his intrinsic worth. Often has she repeated the
consolatory assurance, that she could never consider as essentially
ignominious an _accident_, which was indeed to be deprecated, but
which might have happened to the most innocent of mankind. Then would
she set forth some illustrious example, which her reading easily
furnished, of a Phocion or a Socrates unjustly condemned; of a
Raleigh or a Sir Thomas More, to whom late posterity had done
justice; and by soothing my fancy with some such agreeable parallel,
she would make me almost to triumph in my disgrace, and convert my
shame into glory.

In such entertaining and instructive conversations the time passed
on, till I importunately urged the mistress of my affections to name
the day for our union. To this she obligingly consented, and I
thought myself the happiest of mankind. But how was I surprised one
morning on the receipt of the following billet from my charmer:--

SIR,--You must not impute it to levity, or to a worse failing,
ingratitude, if, with anguish of heart, I feel myself compelled by
irresistible arguments to recall a vow which I fear I made with too
little consideration. I never can be yours. The reasons of my
decision, which is final, are in my own breast, and you must
everlastingly remain a stranger to them. Assure yourself that I can
never cease to esteem you as I ought.


At the sight of this paper, I ran in frantic haste to Celestina's
lodgings, where I learned, to my infinite mortification, that the
mother and daughter were set off on a journey to a distant part of
the country, to visit a relation, and were not expected to return in
less than four months.

Stunned by this blow, which left me without the courage to solicit an
explanation by letter, even if I had known where they were, (for the
particular address was industriously concealed from me,) I waited
with impatience the termination of the period, in the vain hope that
I might be permitted to have a chance of softening the harsh decision
by a personal interview with Celestina after her return. But before
three months were at an end, I learned from the newspapers that my
beloved had----given her hand to another.

Heart-broken as I was, I was totally at a loss to account for the
strange step which she had taken; and it was not till some years
after that I learned the true reason from a female relation of hers,
to whom it seems Celestina had confessed in confidence, that it was
no demerit of mine that had caused her to break off the match so
abruptly, nor any preference which she might feel for any other
person, for she preferred me (she was pleased to say) to all mankind;
but when she came to lay the matter closer to her heart, she found
that she never should be able to bear the sight--(I give you her very
words as they were detailed to me by her relation)--the sight of a
man in a nightcap who had appeared on a public platform--it would
lead to such a disagreeable association of ideas! And to this
punctilio I was sacrificed.

To pass over an infinite series of minor mortifications, to which
this last and heaviest might well render me callous, behold me here,
Mr. Editor! in the thirty-seventh year of my existence, (the twelfth,
reckoning from my reanimation,) cut off from all respectable
connections: rejected by the fairer half of the community,--who in my
case alone seem to have laid aside the characteristic pity of their
sex; punished because I was once punished unjustly: suffering for no
other reason than because I once had the misfortune to suffer without
any cause at all. In no other country, I think, but this, could a man
have been subject to such a life-long persecution, when once his
innocence had been clearly established.

Had I crawled forth a rescued victim from the rack in the horrible
dungeons of the Inquisition,--had I heaved myself up from a half
bastinado in China, or been torn from the just-entering, ghastly
impaling stake in Barbary,--had I dropt alive from the knout in
Russia, or come off with a gashed neck from the half-mortal,
scarce-in-time-retracted cimeter of an executioneering slave in
Turkey,--I might have borne about the remnant of this frame (the
mangled trophy of reprieved innocence) with credit to myself in any
of those barbarous countries. No scorn, at least, would have mingled
with the pity (small as it might be) with which what was left of me
would have been surveyed.

The singularity of my case has often led me to inquire into the
reasons of the general levity with which the subject of hanging is
treated as a topic in this country. I say, as a topic: for let the
very persons who speak so lightly of the thing at a distance be
brought to view the real scene,--let the platform be bona fide
exhibited, and the trembling culprit brought forth,--the case is
changed; but as a topic of conversation, I appeal to the vulgar jokes
which pass current in every street. But why mention them, when the
politest authors have agreed in making use of this subject as a
source of the ridiculous? Swift, and Pope, and Prior, are fond of
recurring to it. Gay has built an entire drama upon this single
foundation. The whole interest of the _Beggar's Opera_ may be said to
hang upon it. To such writers as Fielding and Smollett it is a
perfect _bonne-bouche_.--Hear the facetious Tom Brown, in his
_Comical View of London and Westminster_, describe the _Order of the
Show at one of the Tyburn Executions_ in his time:--"Mr. Ordinary
visits his melancholy flock in Newgate by eight. Doleful procession
up Holborn Hill about eleven. Men handsome and proper that were never
thought so before, which is some comfort however. Arrive at the fatal
place by twelve. Burnt brandy, women, and sabbath-breaking, repented
of. Some few penitential drops fall under the gallows. Sheriffs' men,
parson, pickpockets, criminals, all very busy. The last concluding
peremptory psalm struck up. Show over by one."--In this sportive
strain does this misguided wit think proper to play with a subject so
serious, which yet he would hardly have done if he had not known that
there existed a predisposition in the habits of his unaccountable
countrymen to consider the subject as a jest. But what shall we say
to Shakspeare, who, (not to mention the solution which the
_Gravedigger_ in _Hamlet_ gives of his fellow-workman's problem,) in
that scene in _Measure for Measure_, where the _Clown_ calls upon
_Master Barnardine_ to get up and be hanged, which he declines on the
score of being sleepy, has actually gone out of his way to gratify
this amiable propensity in his countrymen; for it is plain, from the
use that was to be made of his head, and from _Abhorson's_ asking,
"Is the axe upon the block, sirrah?" that beheading, and not hanging,
was the punishment to which _Barnardine_ was destined. But Shakspeare
knew that the axe and block were pregnant with no ludicrous images,
and therefore falsified the historic truth of his own drama (if I may
so speak), rather than he would leave out such excellent matter for a
jest as the suspending of a fellow-creature in mid-air has been ever
esteemed to be by Englishmen.

One reason why the ludicrous never fails to intrude itself into our
contemplations upon this mode of death, I suppose to be, the absurd
posture into which a man is thrown who is condemned to dance, as the
vulgar delight to express it, upon nothing. To see him whisking and
wavering in the air,

  "As the wind you know will wave a man;"[1]

to behold the vacant carcass, from which the life is newly dislodged,
shifting between earth and heaven, the sport of every gust; like a
weathercock, serving to show from which point the wind blows; like a
maukin, fit only to scare away birds; like a nest left to swing upon
a bough when the bird is flown: these are uses to which we cannot
without a mixture of spleen and contempt behold the human carcass
reduced. We string up dogs, foxes, bats, moles, weasels. Man surely
deserves a steadier death.

[Footnote 1: Hieronimo in the Spanish Tragedy.]

Another reason why the ludicrous associates more forcibly with this
than with any other mode of punishment, I cannot help thinking to be,
the senseless costume with which old prescription has thought fit to
clothe the exit of malefactors in this country. Let a man do what he
will to abstract from his imagination all idea of the whimsical,
something of it will come across him when he contemplates the figure
of a fellow-creature in the daytime (in however distressing a
situation) in a nightcap. Whether it be that this nocturnal addition
has something discordant with daylight, or that it is the dress which
we are seen in at those times when we are "seen," as the Angel in
Milton expresses it, "least wise,"--this, I am afraid, will always be
the case; unless, indeed, as in my instance, some strong personal
feeling overpower the ludicrous altogether. To me, when I reflect
upon the train of misfortunes which have pursued men through life,
owing to that accursed drapery, the cap presents as purely frightful
an object as the sleeveless yellow coat and devil-painted mitre of
the San Benitos.--An ancestor of mine, who suffered for his loyalty
in the time of the civil wars, was so sensible of the truth of what I
am here advancing, that on the morning of execution, no entreaties
could prevail upon him to submit to the odious dishabille, as he
called it, but he insisted upon wearing, and actually suffered in,
the identical, flowing periwig which he is painted in, in the gallery
belonging to my uncle's seat in ----shire.

Suffer me, Mr. Editor, before I quit the subject, to say a word or
two respecting the minister of justice in this country; in plain
words, I mean the hangman. It has always appeared to me that, in the
mode of inflicting capital punishments with us, there is too much of
the ministry of the human hand. The guillotine, as performing its
functions more of itself and sparing human agency, though a cruel and
disgusting exhibition, in my mind has many ways the advantage over
_our way_. In beheading, indeed, as it was formerly practised in
England, and in whipping to death, as is sometimes practised now, the
hand of man is no doubt sufficiently busy; but there is something
less repugnant in these downright blows than in the officious
barber-like ministerings of _the other_. To have a fellow with his
hangman's hands fumbling about your collar, adjusting the thing as
your valet would regulate your cravat, valuing himself on his menial

I never shall forget meeting my rascal,--I mean the fellow who
officiated for me,--in London last winter. I think I see him now,--in
a waistcoat that had been mine,--smirking along as if he knew me----

In some parts of Germany, that fellow's office is by law declared
infamous, and his posterity incapable of being ennobled. They have
hereditary hangmen, or had at least, in the same manner as they had
hereditary other great officers of state; and the hangmen's families
of two adjoining parishes intermarried with each other, to keep the
breed entire. I wish something of the same kind were established in

But it is time to quit a subject which teems with disagreeable

Permit me to subscribe myself, Mr. Editor,

Your unfortunate friend,


       *       *       *       *       *


          "Sedet, asternumque sedebit,
   Infelix Theseus."  VIRGIL.

That there is a professional melancholy, if I may so express myself,
incident to the occupation of a tailor, is a fact which I think very
few will venture to dispute. I may safely appeal to my readers,
whether they ever knew one of that faculty that was not of a
temperament, to say the least, far removed from mercurial or jovial.

Observe the suspicious gravity of their gait. The peacock is not more
tender, from a consciousness of his peculiar infirmity, than a
gentleman of this profession is of being known by the same infallible
testimonies of his occupation. "Walk, that I may know thee."

Do you ever see him go whistling along the footpath like a carman, or
brush through a crowd like a baker, or go smiling to himself like a
lover? Is he forward to thrust into mobs, or to make one at the
ballad-singer's audiences? Does he not rather slink by assemblies and
meetings of the people, as one that wisely declines popular

How extremely rare is a noisy tailor! a mirthful and obstreperous

"At my nativity," says Sir Thomas Browne, "my ascendant was the
earthly sign of Scorpius; I was born in the planetary hour of Saturn,
and I think I have a piece of that leaden planet in me." One would
think that he were anatomizing a tailor! save that to the latter's
occupation, methinks, a woollen planet would seem more consonant, and
that he should be born when the sun was in Aries.--He goes on; "I am
no way facetious, nor disposed for the mirth and galliardise of
company." How true a type of the whole trade! Eminently economical of
his words, you shall seldom hear a jest come from one of them. He
sometimes furnishes subject for a repartee, but rarely (I think)
contributes one _ore proprio_.

Drink itself does not seem to elevate him, or at least to call out of
him any of the external indications of vanity. I cannot say that it
never causes his pride to swell, but it never breaks out. I am even
fearful that it may swell and rankle to an alarming degree inwardly.
For pride is near of kin to melancholy!--a hurtful obstruction from
the ordinary outlets of vanity being shut. It is this stoppage which
engenders proud humors. Therefore a tailor may be proud. I think he
is never vain. The display of his gaudy patterns, in that book of his
which emulates the rainbow, never raises any inflations of that
emotion in him, corresponding to what the wig-maker (for instance)
evinces, when he expatiates on a curl or a bit of hair. He spreads
them forth with a sullen incapacity for pleasure, a real or affected
indifference to grandeur. Cloth of gold neither seems to elate, nor
cloth of frieze to depress him--according to the beautiful motto
which formed the modest imprese of the shield worn by Charles Brandon
at his marriage with the king's sister. Nay, I doubt whether he would
discover any vainglorious complacence in his colors, though "Iris"
herself "dipt the woof."

In further corroboration of this argument--who ever saw the wedding
of a tailor announced in the newspapers, or the birth of his eldest

When was a tailor known to give a dance, or to be himself a good
dancer, or to perform exquisitely on the tight-rope, or to shine in
any such light and airy pastimes? to sing, or play on the violin?

Do they much care for public rejoicings, lightings up, ringing of
bells, firing of cannons, &c.?

Valiant I know they can be; but I appeal to those who were witnesses
to the exploits of Eliot's famous troop, whether in their fiercest
charges they betrayed anything of that thoughtless oblivion of death
with which a Frenchman jigs into battle, or whether they did not show
more of the melancholy valor of the Spaniard, upon whom they charged;
that deliberate courage which contemplation and sedentary habits

Are they often great newsmongers?--I have known some few among them
arrive at the dignity of speculative politicians; but that light and
cheerful every-day interest in the affairs and goings-on of the
world, which makes the barber[1] such delightful company, I think is
rarely observable in them.

[Footnote 1: Having incidentally mentioned the barber in a comparison
of professional temperaments, I hope no other trade will take
offence, or look upon it as an incivility done to them if I say, that
in courtesy, humanity, and all the conversational and social graces
which "gladden life," I esteem no profession comparable to his.
Indeed, so great is the goodwill which I bear to this useful and
agreeable body of men, that, residing in one of the Inns of Court
(where the best specimens of them are to be found, except perhaps at
the universities), there are seven of them to whom I am personally
known, and who never pass me without the compliment of the hat on
either side. My truly polite and urbane friend Mr. A----m, of
Flower-de-luce Court, in Fleet Street, will forgive my mention of him
in particular. I can truly say that I never spent a quarter of an
hour under his hands without deriving some profit from the agreeable
discussions which are always going on there.]

This characteristic pensiveness in them being so notorious, I wonder
none of those writers, who have expressly treated of melancholy,
should have mentioned it. Burton, whose book is an excellent abstract
of all the authors in that kind who preceded him, and who treats of
every species of this malady, from the _hypochondriacal_ or _windy_
to the _heroical_ or _love-melancholy_, has strangely omitted it.
Shakspeare himself has overlooked it. "I have neither the scholar's
melancholy (saith Jaques), which is emulation; nor the courtier's,
which is proud; nor the soldier's, which is politic; nor the lover's,
which is all these:" and then, when you might expect him to have
brought in, "nor the tailor's, which is," so and so, he comes to an
end of his enumeration, and falls to a defining of his own

Milton likewise has omitted it, where he had so fair an opportunity
of bringing it in, in his _Penseroso_.

But the partial omissions of historians proving nothing against the
existence of any well-attested fact, I shall proceed and endeavor to
ascertain the causes why this pensive turn should be so predominant
in people of this profession above all others.

And first, may it not be, that the custom of wearing apparel being
derived to us from the fall, and one of the most mortifying products
of that unhappy event, a certain _seriousness_ (to say no more of it)
may in the order of things have been intended to be impressed upon
the minds of that race of men to whom in all ages the care of
contriving the human apparel has been intrusted, to keep up the
memory of the first institution of clothes, and serve as a standing
remonstrance against those vanities which the absurd conversion of a
memorial of our shame into an ornament of our persons was destined to
produce? Correspondent in some sort to this, it may be remarked, that
the tailor sitting over a cave or hollow place, in the caballistic
language of his order is said to have _certain melancholy_ regions
always open under his feet.--But waiving further inquiry into final
causes, where the best of us can only wander in the dark, let us try
to discover the efficient causes of this melancholy.

I think, then, that they may be reduced to two, omitting some
subordinate ones, viz.:

    The sedentary habits of the tailor.--
    Something peculiar in his diet.--

First, his _sedentary habits_.--In Dr. Norris's famous narrative of
the frenzy of Mr. John Dennis, the patient, being questioned as to
the occasion of the swelling in his legs, replies that it came "by
criticism;" to which the learned doctor seeming to demur, as to a
distemper which he had never read of, Dennis (who appears not to have
been mad upon all subjects) rejoins, with some warmth, that it was no
distemper, but a noble art; that he had sat fourteen hours a day at
it; and that the other was a pretty doctor not to know that there was
a communication between the brain and the legs.

When we consider that this sitting for fourteen hours continuously,
which the critic probably practised only while he was writing his
"remarks," is no more than what the tailor, in the ordinary pursuance
of his art, submits to daily (Sundays excepted) throughout the year,
shall we wonder to find the brain affected, and in a manner
overclouded, from that indissoluble sympathy between the noble and
less noble parts of the body which Dennis hints at? The unnatural and
painful manner of his sitting must also greatly aggravate the evil,
insomuch that I have sometimes ventured to liken tailors at their
boards to so many envious Junos, _sitting cross-legged to hinder the
birth of their own felicity_. The legs transversed thus
[Illustration: X lying on its side] crosswise, or decussated, was
among the ancients the posture of malediction. The Turks, who
practise it at this day, are noted to be a melancholy people.

Secondly, his _diet_.--To which purpose I find a most remarkable
passage in Burton, in his chapter entitled "Bad diet a cause of
melancholy." "Amongst herbs to be eaten (he says) I find gourds,
cucumbers, melons, disallowed; but especially CABBAGE. It causeth
troublesome dreams, and sends up black vapors to the brain. Galen,
_Loc. Affect_, lib. iii. cap. 6, of all herbs condemns CABBAGE. And
Isaack, lib. ii. cap. 1, _animæ gravitatem facit_, it brings
heaviness to the soul." I could not omit so flattering a testimony
from an author who, having no theory of his own to serve, has so
unconsciously contributed to the confirmation of mine. It is well
known that this last-named vegetable has, from the earliest periods
which we can discover, constituted almost the sole food of this
extraordinary race of people.

BURTON, _Junior_.

       *       *       *       *       *




MR. REFLECTOR,--My husband and I are fond of company, and being in
easy circumstances, we are seldom without a party to dinner two or
three days in a week. The utmost cordiality has hitherto prevailed at
our meetings; but there is a young gentleman, a near relation of my
husband's, that has lately come among us, whose preposterous behavior
bids fair, if not timely checked, to disturb our tranquillity. He is
too great a favorite with my husband in other respects, for me to
remonstrate with him in any other than this distant way. A letter
printed in your publication may catch his eye; for he is a great
reader, and makes a point of seeing all the new things that come out.
Indeed, he is by no means deficient in understanding. My husband says
that he has a good deal of wit; but for my part I cannot say I am any
judge of that, having seldom observed him open his mouth except for
purposes very foreign to conversation. In short, sir, this young
gentleman's failing is, an immoderate indulgence of his palate. The
first time he dined with us, he thought it necessary to extenuate the
length of time he kept the dinner on the table, by declaring that he
had taken a very long walk in the morning, and came in fasting; but
as that excuse could not serve above once or twice at most, he has
latterly dropped the mask altogether, and chosen to appear in his own
proper colors, without reserve or apology.

You cannot imagine how unpleasant his conduct has become. His way of
staring at the dishes as they are brought in, has absolutely
something immodest in it: it is like the stare of an impudent man of
fashion at a fine woman, when she first comes into a room. I am
positively in pain for the dishes, and cannot help thinking they have
consciousness, and will be put out of countenance, he treats them so
like what they are not.

Then again he makes no scruple of keeping a joint of meat on the
table, after the cheese and fruit are brought in, till he has what he
calls _done with it_. Now how awkward this looks, where there are
ladies, you may judge, Mr. Reflector,--how it disturbs the order and
comfort of a meal. And yet I always make a point of helping him
first, contrary to all good manners,--before any of my female friends
are helped, that he may avoid this very error. I wish he would eat
before he comes out.

What makes his proceedings more particularly offensive at our house
is, that my husband, though out of common politeness he is obliged to
set dishes of animal food before his visitors, yet himself and his
whole family (myself included) feed entirely on vegetables. We have a
theory, that animal food is neither wholesome nor natural to man; and
even vegetables we refuse to eat until they have undergone the
operation of fire, in consideration of those numberless little living
creatures which the glass helps us to detect in every fibre of the
plant or root before it be dressed. On the same theory we boil our
water, which is our only drink, before we suffer it to come to table.
Our children are perfect little Pythagoreans: it would do you good to
see them in their nursery, stuffing their dried fruits, figs,
raisins, and _milk_, which is the only approach to animal food which
is allowed. They have no notion how the substance of a creature that
ever had life can become food for another creature. A beefsteak is an
absurdity to them; a mutton-chop, a solecism in terms; a cutlet, a
word absolutely without any meaning; a butcher is nonsense, except so
far as it is taken for a man who delights in blood, or a hero. In
this happy state of innocence we have kept their minds, not allowing
them to go into the kitchen, or to hear of any preparations for the
dressing of animal food, or even to know that such things are
practised. But as a state of ignorance is incompatible with a certain
age, and as my eldest girl, who is ten years old next Midsummer, must
shortly be introduced into the world and sit at table with us, where
she will see some things which will shock all her received notions, I
have been endeavoring by little and little to break her mind, and
prepare it for the disagreeable impressions which must be forced upon
it. The first hint I gave her upon the subject, I could see her
recoil from it with the same horror with which we listen to a tale of
Anthropophagism; but she has gradually grown more reconciled to it,
in some measure, from my telling her that it was the custom of the
world,--to which, however senseless, we must submit, so far as we
could do it with innocence, not to give offence; and she has shown so
much strength of mind on other occasions, which I have no doubt is
owing to the calmness and serenity superinduced by her diet, that I
am in good hopes when the proper season for her _début_ arrives, she
may be brought to endure the sight of a roasted chicken, or a dish of
sweet-breads for the first time without fainting. Such being the
nature of our little household, you may guess what inroads into the
economy of it,--what resolutions and turnings of things upside down,
the example of such a feeder as Mr. ---- is calculated to produce.

I wonder, at a time like the present, when the scarcity of every kind
of food is so painfully acknowledged, that _shame_ has no effect upon
him. Can he have read Mr. Malthus's Thoughts on the Ratio of Food to
Population? Can he think it reasonable that one man should consume
the sustenance of many?

The young gentleman has an agreeable air and person, such as are not
unlikely to recommend him on the score of matrimony. But his fortune
is not over-large; and what prudent young woman would think of
embarking hers with a man who would bring three or four mouths (or
what is equivalent to them) into a family? She might as reasonably
choose a widower in the same circumstances, with three or four

I cannot think who he takes after. His father and mother, by all
accounts, were very moderate eaters; only I have heard that the
latter swallowed her victuals very fast, and the former had a tedious
custom of sitting long at his meals. Perhaps he takes after both.

I wish you would turn this in your thoughts, Mr. Reflector, and give
us your ideas on the subject of excessive eating, and, particularly,
of animal food.




MR. REFLECTOR,--I am going to lay before you a case of the most
iniquitous persecution that ever poor devil suffered.

You must know, then, that I have been visited with a calamity ever
since my birth. How shall I mention it without offending delicacy?
Yet out it must. My sufferings, then, have all arisen from a most
inordinate appetite----

Not for wealth, not for vast possessions,--then might I have hoped to
find a cure in some of those precepts of philosophers or
poets,--those verba et voces which Horace speaks of:--

   "quibus hunc lenire dolorem
    Possis, et magnam morbi deponere partem;"

not for glory, not for fame, not for applause,--for against this
disease, too, he tells us there are certain piacula, or, as Pope has
chosen to render it,

  "Rhymes, which fresh and fresh applied,
   Will cure the arrant'st puppy of his pride;"

nor yet for pleasure, properly so called: the strict and virtuous
lessons which I received in early life from the best of parents,--a
pious clergyman of the Church of England, now no more,--I trust have
rendered me sufficiently secure on that side:----

No, Sir, for none of these things; but an appetite, in its coarsest
and least metaphorical sense,--an appetite for _food_.

The exorbitances of my arrowroot and pappish days I cannot go back
far enough to remember; only I have been told that my mother's
constitution not admitting of my being nursed at home, the woman who
had the care of me for that purpose used to make most extravagant
demands for my pretended excesses in that kind; which my parents,
rather than believe anything unpleasant of me, chose to impute to the
known covetousness and mercenary disposition of that sort of people.
This blindness continued on their part after I was sent for home, up
to the period when it was thought proper, on account of my advanced
age, that I should mix with other boys more unreservedly than I had
hitherto done. I was accordingly sent to boarding-school.

Here the melancholy truth became too apparent to be disguised. The
prying republic of which a great school consists soon found me out:
there was no shifting the blame any longer upon other people's
shoulders,--no good-natured maid to take upon herself the enormities
of which I stood accused in the article of bread and butter, besides
the crying sin of stolen ends of puddings, and cold pies strangely
missing. The truth was but too manifest in my looks,--in the evident
signs of inanition which I exhibited after the fullest meals, in
spite of the double allowance which my master was privately
instructed by my kind parents to give me. The sense of the
ridiculous, which is but too much alive in grown persons, is tenfold
more active and alert in boys. Once detected, I was the constant butt
of their arrows,--the mark against which every puny leveller directed
his little shaft of scorn. The very Graduses and Thesauruses were
raked for phrases to pelt me with by the tiny pedants. Ventri
natus--Ventri deditus,--Vesana gula,--Escarum gurges,--Dapibus
indulgens,--Non dans fræna gulæ,-Sectans lautæ fercula mensæ,
resounded wheresoever I passed. I led a weary life, suffering the
penalties of guilt for that which was no crime, but only following
the blameless dictates of nature. The remembrance of those childish
reproaches haunts me yet oftentimes in my dreams. My school-days come
again, and the horror I used to feel, when in some silent corner,
retired from the notice of my unfeeling playfellows, I have sat to
mumble the solitary slice of gingerbread allotted me by the bounty of
considerate friends, and have ached at heart because I could not
spare a portion of it, as I saw other boys do, to some favorite boy;
for if I know my own heart, I was never selfish,--never possessed a
luxury which I did not hasten to communicate to others; but my food,
alas! was none; it was an indispensable necessary; I could as soon
have spared the blood in my veins, as have parted that with my

Well, no one stage of suffering lasts forever: we should grow
reconciled to it at length, I suppose, if it did. The miseries of my
school-days had their end; I was once more restored to the paternal
dwelling. The affectionate solicitude of my parents was directed to
the good-natured purpose of concealing, even from myself, the
infirmity which haunted me. I was continually told that I was
growing, and the appetite I displayed was humanely represented as
being nothing more than a symptom and an effect of that. I used even
to be complimented upon it. But this temporary fiction could not
endure above a year or two. I ceased to grow, but, alas! I did not
cease my demands for alimentary sustenance.

Those times are long since past, and with them have ceased to exist
the fond concealment--the indulgent blindness--the delicate
overlooking--the compassionate fiction. I and my infirmity are left
exposed and bare to the broad, unwinking eye of the world, which
nothing can elude. My meals are scanned, my mouthfuls weighed in a
balance; that which appetite demands is set down to the account of
gluttony--a sin which my whole soul abhors--nay, which Nature herself
has put it out of my power to commit. I am constitutionally
disenabled from that vice; for how can he be guilty of excess who
never can get enough? Let them cease, then, to watch my plate; and
leave off their ungracious comparisons of it to the seven baskets of
fragments, and the supernaturally replenished cup of old Baucis: and
be thankful that their more phlegmatic stomachs, not their virtue,
have saved them from the like reproaches. I do not see that any of
them desist from eating till the holy rage of hunger, as some one
calls it, is supplied. Alas! I am doomed to stop short of that

What am I to do? I am by disposition inclined to conviviality and the
social meal. I am no gourmand: I require no dainties: I should
despise the board of Heliogabalus, except for its long sitting. Those
vivacious, long-continued meals of the latter Romans, indeed, I
justly envy; but the kind of fare which the Curii and Dentati put up
with, I could be content with. Dentatus I have been called, among
other unsavory jests. Doublemeal is another name which my
acquaintance have palmed upon me, for an innocent piece of policy
which I put in practice for some time without being found out; which
was--going the round of my friends, beginning with the most primitive
feeders among them, who take their dinner about one o'clock, and so
successively dropping in upon the next and the next, till by the time
I got among my more fashionable intimates, whose hour was six or
seven, I have nearly made up the body of a just and complete meal (as
I reckon it), without taking more than one dinner (as they account of
dinners) at one person's house. Since I have been found out, I
endeavor to make up by a damper, as I call it, at home, before I go
out. But, alas! with me, increase of appetite truly grows by what it
feeds on. What is peculiarly offensive to me at those dinner-parties
is, the senseless custom of cheese, and the dessert afterwards. I
have a rational antipathy to the former; and for fruit, and those
other vain vegetable substitutes for meat (meat, the only legitimate
aliment for human creatures since the Flood, as I take it to be
deduced from that permission, or ordinance rather, given to Noah and
his descendants), I hold them in perfect contempt. Hay for horses. I
remember a pretty apologue, which Mandeville tells, very much to this
purpose, in his Fable of the Bees:--He brings in a Lion arguing with
a Merchant, who had ventured to expostulate with this king of beasts
upon his violent methods of feeding. The Lion thus retorts:--"Savage
I am, but no creature can be called cruel but what either by malice
or insensibility extinguishes his natural pity. The Lion was born
without compassion: we follow the instinct of our nature; the gods
have appointed us to live upon the waste and spoil of other animals,
and as long as we can meet with dead ones, we never hunt after the
living; 'tis only man, mischievous man, that can make death a sport.
Nature taught your stomach to crave nothing but vegetables.--(Under
favor of the Lion, if he meant to assert this universally of mankind,
it is not true. However, what he says presently is very
sensible.)--Your violent fondness to change, and greater eagerness
after novelties, have prompted you to the destruction of animals
without justice or necessity. The Lion has a ferment within him, that
consumes the toughest skin and hardest bones, as well as the flesh of
all animals without exception. Your squeamish stomach, in which the
digestive heat is weak and inconsiderable, won't so much as admit of
the most tender parts of them, unless above half the concoction has
been performed by artificial fire beforehand; and yet what animal
have you spared, to satisfy the caprices of a languid appetite?
Languid, I say; for what is man's hunger if compared with the Lion's?
Yours, when it is at the worst, makes you faint; mine makes me mad:
oft have I tried with roots and herbs to allay the violence of it,
but in vain: nothing but large quantities of flesh can any ways
appease it."--Allowing for the Lion not having a prophetic instinct
to take in every lusus naturæ that, was possible of the human
appetite, he was, generally speaking, in the right; and the Merchant
was so impressed with his argument that, we are told, he replied not,
but fainted away. O, Mr. Reflector, that I were not obliged to add,
that the creature who thus argues was but a type of me! Miserable
man! _I am that Lion!_ "Oft have I tried with roots and herbs to
allay that violence, but in vain; nothing but----."

Those tales which are renewed as often as the editors of papers want
to fill up a space in their unfeeling columns, of great
eaters,--people that devour whole geese and legs of mutton _for
wagers_,--are sometimes attempted to be drawn to a parallel with my
case. This wilful confounding of motives and circumstances, which
make all the difference of moral or immoral in actions, just suits
the sort of talent which some of my acquaintance pride themselves
upon. _Wagers_!--I thank Heaven, I was never mercenary, nor could
consent to prostitute a gift (though but a left-handed one) of
nature, to the enlarging of my worldly substance; prudent as the
necessities, which that fatal gift have involved me in, might have
made such a prostitution to appear in the eyes of an indelicate

Rather let me say, that to the satisfaction of that talent which was
given me, I have been content to sacrifice no common expectations;
for such I had from an old lady, a near relation of our family, in
whose good graces I had the fortune to stand, till one fatal
evening----. You have seen, Mr. Reflector, if you have ever passed
your time much in country towns, the kind of suppers which elderly
ladies in those places have lying _in petto_ in an adjoining parlor,
next to that where they are entertaining their periodically invited
coevals with cards and muffins. The cloth is usually spread some
half-hour before the final rubber is decided, whence they adjourn to
sup upon what may emphatically be called _nothing_ ;--a sliver of
ham, purposely contrived to be transparent to show the china-dish
through it, neighboring a slip of invisible brawn, which abuts upon
something they call a tartlet, as that is bravely supported by an
atom of marmalade, flanked in its turn by a grain of potted beef,
with a power of such dishlings, _minims of hospitality_, spread in
defiance of human nature, or rather with an utter ignorance of what
it demands. Being engaged at one of these card-parties, I was obliged
to go a little before _supper-time_ (as they facetiously called the
point of time in which they are taking these shadowy refections), and
the old lady, with a sort of fear shining through the smile of
courteous hospitality that beamed in her countenance, begged me to
step into the next room and take something before I went out in the
cold,--a proposal which lay not in my nature to deny. Indignant at
the airy prospect I saw before me, I set to, and in a trice
dispatched the whole meal intended for eleven persons,--fish, flesh,
fowl, pastry,--to the sprigs of garnishing parsley, and the last
fearful custard that quaked upon the board. I need not describe the
consternation, when in due time the dowagers adjourned from their
cards. Where was the supper?--and the servants' answer, Mr. ---- had
eat it all.--That freak, however, jested me out of a good three
hundred pounds a year, which I afterwards was informed for a
certainty the old lady meant to leave me. I mention it not in
illustration of the unhappy faculty which I am possessed of; for any
unlucky wag of a school-boy, with a tolerable appetite, could have
done as much without feeling any hurt after it,--only that you may
judge whether I am a man likely to set my talent to sale, or to
require the pitiful stimulus of a wager.

I have read in Pliny, or in some author of that stamp, of a reptile
in Africa, whose venom is of that hot, destructive quality, that
wheresoever it fastens its tooth, the whole substance of the animal
that has been bitten in a few seconds is reduced to dust, crumbles
away, and absolutely disappears: it is called, from this quality, the
Annihilator. Why am I forced to seek, in all the most prodigious and
portentous facts of Natural History, for creatures typical of myself?
_I am that snake, that Annihilator:_ "wherever I fasten, in a few

O happy sick men, that are groaning under the want of that very
thing, the excess of which is my torment! O fortunate, too fortunate,
if you knew your happiness, invalids! What would I not give to
exchange this fierce concoctive and digestive heat,--this rabid fury
which vexes me, which tears and torments me,--for your quiet,
mortified, hermit-like, subdued, and sanctified stomachs, your cool,
chastened inclinations and coy desires for food!

To what unhappy figuration of the parts intestine I owe this
unnatural craving, I must leave to the anatomists and the physicians
to determine: they, like the rest of the world, have doubtless their
eye upon me; and as I have been cut up alive by the sarcasms of my
friends, so I shudder when I contemplate the probability that this
animal frame, when its restless appetites shall have ceased their
importunity, may be cut up also (horrible suggestion!) to determine
in what system of solids or fluids this original sin of my
constitution lay lurking. What work will they make with their acids
and alkalines, their serums and coagulums, effervescences, viscous
matter, bile, chyle, and acrimonious juices, to explain that cause
which Nature, who willed the effect to punish me for my sins, may no
less have determined to keep in the dark from them, to punish them
for their presumption!

You may ask, Mr. Reflector, to what purpose is my appeal to you; what
can you do for me? Alas! I know too well that my case is out of the
reach of advice,--out of the reach of consolation. But it is some
relief to the wounded heart to impart its tale of misery; and some of
my acquaintance, who may read my case in your pages under a borrowed
name, may be induced to give it a more humane consideration than I
could ever yet obtain from them under my own. Make them, if possible,
to _reflect_, that an original peculiarity of constitution is no
crime; that not that which goes into the mouth desecrates a man, but
that which comes out of it,--such as sarcasm, bitter jests, mocks and
taunts, and ill-natured observations; and let them consider, if there
be such things (which we have all heard of) as Pious Treachery,
Innocent Adultery, &c., whether there may not be also such a thing as
Innocent Gluttony.

I shall only subscribe myself,

Your afflicted servant,





       *       *       *       *       *


I, Democritus Junior, have put my finishing pen to a tractate _De
Melancholia_, this day, December 5, 1620. First, I blesse the
Trinity, which hath given me health to prosecute my worthlesse
studies thus far, and make supplication, with a _Laus Deo_, if in any
case these my poor labours may be found instrumental to weede out
black melancholy, carking cares, harte-grief, from the mind of man.
_Sed hoc magis volo quam expecto._

I turn now to my book, _i nunc liber, goe forth, my brave Anatomy,
child of my brain-sweat_, and yee, _candidi lectores_, lo! here I
give him up to you, even do with him what you please, my masters.
Some, I suppose, will applaud, commend, cry him up (these are my
friends), hee is a _flos rarus_, forsooth, a nonesuch, a Phoenix
(concerning whom see _Plinius_ and _Mandeuille_, though _Fienus de
Monstris_ doubteth at large of such a bird, whom _Montaltus_
confuting argueth to have been a man _malæ scrupulositatis_, of a
weak and cowardlie faith: _Christopherus a Vega_ is with him in
this). Others again will blame, hiss, reprehende in many things, cry
down altogether my collections, for crude, inept, putid, _post coenam
scripta, Coryate could write better upon a full meal_, verbose,
inerudite, and not sufficiently abounding in authorities, _dogmata_,
sentences of learneder writers which have been before me, when as
that first-named sort clean otherwise judge of my labours to bee
nothing else but a _messe of opinions_, a vortex attracting
indiscriminate, gold, pearls, hay, straw, wood, excrement, an
exchange, tavern, marte, for foreigners to congregate, Danes, Swedes,
Hollanders, Lombards, so many strange faces, dresses, salutations,
languages, all which _Wolfius_ behelde with great content upon the
Venetian Rialto, as he describes diffusedly in his book the World's
Epitome, which _Sannazar_ so bepraiseth, _e contra_ our Polydore can
see nothing in it; they call me singular, a pedant, fantastic, words
of reproach in this age, which is all too neoterick and light for my

One cometh to me sighing, complaining. He expected universal remedies
in my Anatomy; so many cures as there are distemperatures among men.
I have not put his affection in my cases. Hear you his case. My fine
Sir is a lover, an _inamorata_, a Pyramus, a Romeo; he walks seven
years disconsolate, moping, because he cannot enjoy his miss,
_insanus amor_ is his melancholy, the man is mad; _delirat_, he
dotes; all this while his Glycera is rude, spiteful, not to be
entreated, churlish, spits at him, yet exceeding fair, gentle eyes
(which is a beauty), hair lustrous and _smiling_, the trope is none
of mine, _Æneas Sylvius_ hath _crines ridentes_--in conclusion she is
wedded to his rival, a boore, a _Corydon_, a rustic, _omnino ignarus,
he can scarce construe Corderius_, yet haughty, fantastic,
_opiniâtre_. The lover travels, goes into foreign parts,
peregrinates, _amoris ergo_, sees manners, customs, not English,
converses with pilgrims, lying travellers, monks, hermits, those
cattle, pedlars, travelling gentry, _Egyptians_, natural wonders,
unicorns (though _Aldobrandus_ will have them to be figments),
satyrs, semi-viri, apes, monkeys, baboons, curiosities artificial,
_pyramides_, Virgilius his tombe, relicks, bones, which are nothing
but ivory as _Melancthon_ judges, though _Cornutus_ leaneth to think
them bones of dogs, cats, (why not men?) which subtill priests vouch
to have been saints, martyrs, _heu Pietas!_ By that time he has ended
his course, _fugit hora_, seven other years are expired, gone by,
time is he should return, he taketh ship for Britaine, much desired
of his friends, _favebant venti, Neptune is curteis_, after some
weekes at sea he landeth, rides post to town, greets his family,
kinsmen, _compotores, those jokers his friends that were wont to
tipple with him at alehouses_; these wonder now to see the change,
_quantum mutatus, the man is quite another thing_, he is
disenthralled, manumitted, he wonders what so bewitched him, he can
now both see, hear, smell, handle, converse with his mistress, single
by reason of the death of his rival, a widow having children, grown
willing, prompt, amorous, showing no such great dislike to second
nuptials, he might have her for asking, no such thing, his mind is
changed, he loathes his former meat, had liever eat ratsbane,
aconite, his humour is to die a bachelour; marke the conclusion. In
this humour of celibate seven other years are consumed in idleness,
sloth, world's pleasures, which fatigate, satiate, induce wearinesse,
vapours, _tædium vitæ:_ When upon a day, behold a wonder, _redit
Amor_, the man is as sick as ever, he is commenced lover upon the old
stock, walks with his hand thrust in his bosom for negligence, moping
he leans his head, face yellow, beard flowing and incomposite, eyes
sunken, _anhelus, breath wheezy and asthmatical, by reason of
over-much sighing:_ society he abhors, solitude is but a hell, what
shall he doe? all this while his mistresse is forward, coming,
_amantissima, ready to jump at once into his mouth_, her he hateth,
feels disgust when she is but mentioned, thinks her ugly, old, a
painted Jesabeel, Alecto, Megara, and Tisiphone all at once, a
Corinthian Lais, a strumpet, only not handsome; that which he
affecteth so much, that which drives him mad, distracted, phrenetic,
beside himself, is no beauty which lives, nothing _in rerum naturâ_
(so he might entertain a hope of a cure), but something _which is
not_, can never be, a certain _fantastic opinion_ or _notional image_
of his mistresse, _that which she was_, and that which hee thought
her to be, in former times, how beautiful! torments him, frets him,
follows him, makes him that he wishes to die.

This Caprichio, _Sir Humourous_, hee cometh to me to be cured. I
counsel marriage with his mistresse, according to Hippocrates his
method, together with milk-diet, herbs, aloes, and wild parsley, good
in such cases, though Avicenna preferreth some sorts of wild fowl,
teals, widgeons, beccaficos, which men in Sussex eat. He flies out in
a passion, ho! ho; and falls to calling me names, dizzard, ass,
lunatic, moper, Bedlamite, Pseudo-Democritus. I smile in his face,
bidding him be patient, tranquil, to no purpose, he still rages: I
think this man must fetch his remedies from Utopia, Fairy Land,
Islands in the Moone, &c.


* * * * * Much disputacyons of fierce wits amongst themselves, in
logomachies, subtile controversies, many dry blows given on either
side, contentions of learned men, or such as would be so thought, as
_Bodinus de Periodis_ saith of such an one, _arrident amici ridet
mundus_, in English, this man his cronies they cocker him up, they
flatter him, he would fayne appear somebody, meanwhile the world
thinks him no better than a dizzard, a ninny, a sophist. * *

* * * Philosophy running mad, madness philosophizing, much
idle-learned inquiries, what truth is? and no issue, fruit, of all
these noises, only huge books are written, and who is the wiser? * *
* * * Men sitting in the Doctor's chair, we marvel how they got there
being _homines intellectûs pulverulenti_ as _Trincauellius_ notes;
they care not so they may raise a dust to smother the eyes of their
oppugners; _homines parvulissimi_, as _Lemnius_, whom _Alcuin_ herein
taxeth of a crude Latinism; dwarfs, minims, the least little men,
these spend their time, and it is odds but they lose their time and
wits too into the bargain, chasing of nimble and retiring Truth: Her
they prosecute, her still they worship, _libant_, they make
libations, spilling the wine as those old Romans in their
sacrificials, _Cerealia, May games:_ Truth is the game all these hunt
after, to the extreme perturbacyon and drying up of the moistures
_humidum radicale exsiccant_, as _Galen_, in his counsel to one of
these wear-wits, brain-moppers, spunges saith. * * * and for all this
_nunquam metam attingunt_, and how should they? they bowle awry,
shooting beside the marke; whereas it should appear, that _Truth
absolute_ on this planet of ours is scarcely to be found, but in her
stede _Queene Opinion_ predominates, governs, whose shifting and ever
mutable _Lampas_, me seemeth, is man's destinie to follow, she
præcurseth, she guideth him, before his uncapable eyes she frisketh
her tender lights, which entertayne the child-man, untill what time
his sight be strong to endure the vision of _Very Truth_, which is in
the heavens, the vision beatifical, as _Anianus_ expounds in his
argument against certain mad wits which helde God to be corporeous;
these were dizzards, fools, _gothamites_. * * * * but and if _Very
Truth_ be extant indeede on earth, as some hold she it is which
actuates men's deeds, purposes, ye may in vaine look for her in the
learned universities, halls, colleges. Truth is no Doctoresse, she
takes no degrees at Paris or Oxford, amongst great clerks,
disputants, subtile Aristotles, men _nodosi ingenii, able to take
Lully by the chin_, but oftentimes to such an one as myself, an
_Idiota_ or common person, _no great things_, melancholizing in woods
where waters are, quiet places by rivers, fountains, whereas the
silly man expecting no such matter, thinketh only how best to
delectate and refresh his mynde continually with _Natura_ her
pleasaunt scenes, woods, water-falls, or Art her statelie gardens,
parks, terraces, _Belvideres_, on a sudden the goddesse herself
_Truth_ has appeared, with a shyning lyghte, and a sparklyng
countenance, so as yee may not be able lightly to resist her. * * * *


This morning, May 2, 1662, having first broken my fast upon eggs and
cooling salades, mallows, water-cresses, those herbes, according to
_Villanovus_ his prescription, who disallows the use of meat in a
morning as gross, fat, hebetant, _feral_, altogether fitter for wild
beasts than men, _e contra_ commendeth this herb-diete for gentle,
humane, active, conducing to contemplation in most men, I betook
myselfe to the nearest fields. (Being in London I commonly dwell in
the _suburbes_, as airiest, quietest, _loci musis propriores_, free
from noises of caroches, waggons, mechanick and base workes,
workshoppes, also sights, pageants, spectacles of outlandish birds,
fishes, crocodiles, _Indians_, mermaids; adde quarrels, fightings,
wranglings of the common sort, _plebs_, the rabble, duelloes with
fists, proper to this island, at which the stiletto'd and secrete
_Italian_ laughs.) Withdrawing myselfe from these buzzing and
illiterate vanities, with a _bezo las manos_ to the city, I begin to
inhale, draw in, snuff up, as horses _dilatis naribus_ snort the
fresh aires, with exceeding great delight, when suddenly there
crosses me a procession, sad, heavy, dolourous, tristfull,
melancholick, able to change mirth into dolour, and overcast a
clearer atmosphere than possibly the neighbourhoods of so great a
citty can afford. An old man, a poore man deceased, is borne on men's
shoulders to a poore buriall, without solemnities of hearse,
mourners, plumes, _mutæ personæ, those personate actors that will
weep if yee shew them a piece of silver;_ none of those customed
civilities of children, kinsfolk, _dependants_, following the coffin;
he died a poore man, his friends _accessores opum_, _those cronies of
his that stuck by him so long as he had a penny_, now leave him,
forsake him, shun him, desert him; they think it much to follow his
putrid and stinking carcase to the grave; his children, if he had
any, for commonly the case stands thus, this poore man his son dies
before him, he survives, poore, indigent, base, dejected, miserable,
&c., or if he have any which survive him, _sua negotia agunt_, they
mind their own business, forsooth, cannot, will not, find time,
leisure, _inclination, extremum munus perficere_, to follow to the
pit their old indulgent father, which loved them, stroked them,
caressed them, cockering them up, _quantum potuit_, as farre as his
means extended, while they were babes, chits, _minims_, hee may rot
in his grave, lie stinking in the sun _for them_, have no buriall at
all, they care not. _O nefas!_ Chiefly I noted the coffin to have
been _without a pall_, nothing but a few planks, of cheapest wood
that could be had, _naked_, having none of the ordinary _symptomata_
of a funerall, those _locularii_ which bare the body having on
diversely coloured coats, _and none black:_ (one of these reported
the deceased to have been an almsman seven yeares, a pauper,
harboured and fed in the workhouse of St. Giles-in-the-Fields, to
whose proper burying-ground he was now going for interment.) All
which when I behelde, hardly I refrained from weeping, and
incontinently I fell to musing: "If this man had been rich, a
_Croesus_, a _Crassus_, _or as rich as Whittington_, what pompe,
charge, lavish cost, expenditure, of rich buriall,
_ceremoniall-obsequies_, _obsequious ceremonies_, had been thought
too good for such an one; what store of panegyricks, elogies, funeral
orations, &c., some beggarly poetaster, worthy to be beaten for his
ill rimes, crying him up, hee was rich, generous, bountiful, polite,
learned, a _Mæcenas_, while as in very deede he was nothing lesse:
what weeping, sighing, sorrowing, honing, complaining, kinsmen,
friends, relatives, fourtieth cousins, poor relatives, lamenting for
the deceased; hypocriticall heirs, sobbing, striking their breasts
(they care not if he had died a year ago); so many clients,
dependants, flatterers, _parasites, cunning Gnathoes_, tramping on
foot after the hearse, all their care is, who shall stand fairest
with the successour; he mean time (like enough) spurns them from him,
spits at them, treads them under his foot, will have nought to do
with any such cattle. I think him in the right: _Hoec sunt majora
gravitate Heracliti. These follies are enough to give crying
Heraclitus a fit of the spleene._"

MR. H----.



       *       *       *       *       *

"Mr. H----, thou wert DAMNED. Bright shone the morning on the
play-bills that announced thy appearance, and the streets were filled
with the buzz of persons asking one another if they would go to see
Mr. H----, and answering that they would certainly; but before night
the gaiety, not of the author, but of his friends and the town, was
eclipsed, for thou wert DAMNED! Hadst thou been anonymous, thou haply
mightst have lived. Bet thou didst come to an untimely end for thy
tricks, and for want of a better name to pass them off--" _Theatrical

       *       *       *       *       *


Mr. H----            _Mr. Elliston_.
BELVIL               _Mr. Bartley_.
LANDLORD PRY         _Mr. Wewitzer_.
MELESINDA            _Miss Mellon_.
MAID TO MELESINDA    _Mrs. Harlowe_.
Gentlemen, Ladies, Waiters, Servants, &c.



  If we have sinn'd in paring down a name,
  All civil, well-bred authors do the same.
  Survey the columns of our daily writers--
  You'll find that some Initials are great fighters.
  How fierce the shock, how fatal is the jar,
  When Ensign W. meets Lieutenant R.
  With two stout seconds, just of their own gizzard,
  Cross Captain X. and rough old General Izzard!
  Letter to Letter spreads the dire alarms,
  Till half the Alphabet is up in arms.
  Nor with less lustre have Initials shone,
  To grace the gentler annals of Crim. Con.
  Where the dispensers of the public lash
  Soft penance give; a letter and a dash--
  Where Vice reduced in size shrinks to a failing,
  And loses half her grossness by curtailing.
  Faux pas are told in such a modest way,--
  "The affair of Colonel B---- with Mrs. A----"
  You must forgive them--for what is there, say,
  Which such a pliant Vowel must not grant
  To such a very pressing Consonant?
  Or who poetic justice dares dispute,
  When, mildly melting at a lover's suit,
  The wife's a Liquid, her good man a Mute?
  Even in the homelier scenes of honest life,
  The coarse-spun intercourse of man and wife,
  Initials I am told have taken place
  Of Deary, Spouse, and that old-fashion'd race;
  And Cabbage, ask'd by brother Snip to tea,
  Replies, "I'll come--but it don't rest with me--
  I always leaves them things to Mrs. C."
  O should this mincing fashion ever spread
  From names of living heroes to the dead,
  How would Ambition sigh, and hang the head,
  As each loved syllable should melt away--
  Her Alexander turn'd into great A----
  A single C. her Cæsar to express--
  Her Scipio shrunk into a Roman S----
  And, nick'd and dock'd to these new modes of speech,
  Great Hannibal himself a Mr. H----.

MR. H----,


       *       *       *       *       *


SCENE.--_A Public Room in an Inn. Landlord, Waiters, Gentlemen, &c._

               _Enter_ MR. H.

_Mr. H._ Landlord, has the man brought home my boots?

_Landlord_. Yes, Sir.

_Mr. H._ You have paid him?

_Landlord_. There is the receipt, Sir, only not quite filled up, no
name, only blank--"Blank, Dr. to Zekiel Spanish for one pair of best
hessians." Now, Sir, he wishes to know what name he shall put in, who
he shall say "Dr."

_Mr. H._ Why, Mr. H. to be sure.

_Landlord_. So I told him, Sir; but Zekiel has some qualms about it.
He says he thinks that Mr. H. only would not stand good in law.

_Mr. H._ Rot his impertinence! Bid him put in Nebuchadnezzar, and not
trouble me with his scruples.

_Landlord_. I shall, Sir.                                [_Exit_.

            _Enter a Waiter._

_Waiter_. Sir, Squire Level's man is below, with a hare and a brace
of pheasants for Mr. H.

_Mr. H._ Give the man half-a-crown, and bid him return my best
respects to his master. Presents, it seems, will find me out, with
any name or no name.

           _Enter 2d Waiter._

_2d Waiter._ Sir, the man that makes up the Directory is at the door.

_Mr. H._ Give him a shilling; that is what these fellows come for.

_2d Waiter._ He has sent up to know by what name your Honor will
please to be inserted.

_Mr. H._ Zounds, fellow, I give him a shilling for leaving out my
name, not for putting it in. This is one of the plaguy comforts of
going anonymous.

                                               [_Exit 2d Waiter._

           _Enter 3d Waiter._

_3d Waiter._ Two letters for Mr. H.                 [_Exit._

_Mr. H._ From ladies (_opens them_). This from Melesinda, to remind
me of the morning-call I promised; the pretty creature positively
languishes to be made Mrs. H. I believe I must indulge her
(_affectedly_). This from her cousin, to bespeak me to some party, I
suppose (_opening it_),--Oh, "this evening"--"Tea and
cards"--(_surveying himself with complacency_). Dear H., thou art
certainly a pretty fellow. I wonder what makes thee such a favorite
among the ladies: I wish it may not be owing to the concealment of
thy unfortunate----pshaw!

          _Enter 4th Waiter._

_4th Waiter._ Sir, one Mr. Printagain is inquiring for you.

_Mr. H._ Oh, I remember, the poet; he is publishing by subscription.
Give him a guinea, and tell him he may put me down.

_4th Waiter_. What name shall I tell him, Sir?

_Mr. H._ Zounds, he is a poet; let him fancy a name.

                                              [_Exit 4th Waiter._

          _Enter 5th Waiter._

_5th Waiter_. Sir, Bartlemy the lame beggar, that you sent a private
donation to last Monday, has by some accident discovered his
benefactor, and is at the door waiting to return thanks.

_Mr. H._ Oh, poor fellow, who could put it into his head? Now I shall
be teased by all his tribe, when once this is known. Well, tell him I
am glad I could be of any service to him, and send him away.

_5th Waiter_. I would have done so, Sir; but the object of his call
now, he says, is only to know who he is obliged to.

_Mr. H._ Why, me.

_5th Waiter_. Yes, Sir.

_Mr. H._ Me, me, me; who else, to be sure?

_5th Waiter_. Yes, Sir; but he is anxious to know the name of his

_Mr. H._ Here is a pampered rogue of a beggar, that cannot be obliged
to a gentleman in the way of his profession, but he must know the
name, birth, parentage, and education of his benefactor! I warrant
you, next he will require a certificate of one's good behavior, and a
magistrate's license in one's pocket, lawfully empowering so and so
to--give an alms. Anything more?

_5th Waiter_. Yes, Sir; here has been Mr. Patriot, with the county
petition to sign; and Mr. Failtime, that owes so much money, has sent
to remind you of your promise to bail him.

_Mr. H._ Neither of which I can do, while I have no name. Here is
more of the plaguy comforts of going anonymous, that one can neither
serve one's friend nor one's country. Damn it, a man had better be
without a nose, than without a name. I will not live long in this
mutilated, dismembered state; I will to Melesinda this instant, and
try to forget these vexations. Melesinda! there is music in the name;
but then, hang it! there is none in mine to answer to
it.                                                        [Exit.

(_While Mr. H. has been speaking, two Gentlemen have been observing
him curiously_.)

1_st Gent._ Who the devil is this extraordinary personage?

2_d Gent._ Who? Why, 'tis Mr. H.

1_st Gent._ Has he no more name?

2_d Gent._ None that has yet transpired. No more! why, that single
letter has been enough to inflame the imaginations of all the ladies
in Bath. He has been here but a fortnight, and is already received
into all the first families.

1_st Gent._ Wonderful! yet, nobody know who he is, or where he comes

2_d Gent._ He is vastly rich, gives away money as if he had infinity;
dresses well, as you see; and for address, the mothers are all dying
for fear the daughters should get him; and for the daughters, he may
command them as absolutely as----. Melesinda, the rich heiress, 'tis
thought, will carry him.

1_st Gent._ And is it possible that a mere anonymous--

2_d Gent._ Phoo! that is the charm.--Who is he? and what is he? and
what is his name?----The man with the great nose on his face never
excited more of the gaping passion of wonderment in the dames of
Strasburg, than this new-comer, with the single letter to his name,
has lighted up among the wives and maids of Bath; his simply having
lodgings here, draws more visitors to the house than an election.
Come with me to the Parade, and I will show you more of him.

SCENE _in the Street. Mr. H. walking, BELVIL meeting him._

_Belvil._ My old Jamaica school-fellow, that I have not seen for so
many years? it must--it can be no other than Jack _(going up to
him)._ My dear Ho----

_Mr. H. (Stopping his mouth)._ Ho----! the devil. Hush.

_Belvil._ Why, sure it is----

_Mr. H._ It is, it is your old friend Jack, that shall be nameless.

_Belvil._ My dear Ho----

_Mr. H. (Stopping him)._ Don't name it.

_Belvil._ Name what?

_Mr. H._ My curst unfortunate name. I have reasons to conceal it for
a time.

_Belvil._ I understand you--Creditors, Jack?

_Mr. H._ No, I assure you.

_Belvil._ Snapp'd up a ward, peradventure, and the whole Chancery at
your heels?

_Mr. H._ I don't use to travel with such cumbersome luggage.

_Belvil._ You ha'n't taken a purse?

_Mr. H._ To relieve you at once from all disgraceful conjecture, you
must know, 'tis nothing but the sound of my name.

_Belvil_ Ridiculous! 'tis true yours is none of the most romantic;
but what can that signify in a man?

_Mr. H._ You must understand that I am in some credit with the

_Belvil._ With the ladies!

_Mr. H._ And truly I think not without some pretensions. My fortune--

_Belvil._ Sufficiently splendid, if I may judge from your appearance.

_Mr. H._ My figure--

_Belvil._ Airy, gay, and imposing.

_Mr. H._ My parts--

_Belvil._ Bright.

_Mr. H._ My conversation--

_Belvil._ Equally remote from flippancy and taciturnity.

_Mr. H._ But then my name--damn my name!

_Belvil._ Childish!

_Mr. H._ Not so. Oh, Belvil, you are blessed with one which sighing
virgins may repeat without a blush, and for it change the paternal.
But what virgin of any delicacy (and I require some in a wife) would
endure to be called Mrs.----?

_Belvil._ Ha, ha, ha! most absurd. Did not Clementina Falconbridge,
the romantic Clementina Falconbridge, fancy Tommy Potts? and
Rosabella Sweetlips sacrifice her mellifluous appellative to Jack
Deady? Matilda her cousin married a Gubbins, and her sister Amelia a

_Mr. H._ Potts is tolerable, Deady is sufferable, Gubbins is
bearable, and Clutterbuck is endurable, but Ho----

_Belvil._ Hush, Jack, don't betray yourself. But you are really
ashamed of the family-name?

_Mr. H._ Ay, and of my father that begot me, and my father's father,
and all their forefathers that have borne it since the Conquest.

_Belvil_. But how do you know the women are so squeamish?

_Mr. H_. I have tried them. I tell you there is neither maiden of
sixteen nor widow of sixty but would turn up their noses at it. I
have been refused by nineteen virgins, twenty-nine relicts, and two
old maids.

_Belvil_. That was hard indeed, Jack.

_Mr. H_. Parsons have stuck at publishing the banns, because they
averred it was a heathenish name; parents have lingered their
consent, because they suspected it was a fictitious name; and rivals
have declined my challenges, because they pretended it was an
ungentlemanly name.

_Belvil_. Ha, ha, ha! but what course do you mean to pursue?

_Mr. H_. To engage the affections of some generous girl, who will be
content to take me as Mr. H.

_Belvil_. Mr. H.?

_Mr. H_. Yes, that is the name I go by here; you know one likes to be
as near the truth as possible.

_Belvil_. Certainly. But what then? to get her to consent--

_Mr. H_. To accompany me to the altar without a name--in short, to
suspend her curiosity (that is all) till the moment the priest shall
pronounce the irrevocable charm, which makes two names one.

_Belvil_. And that name--and then she must be pleased, ha, Jack?

_Mr. H_. Exactly such a girl it has been my fortune to meet with;
hark'e (_whispers_)--(_musing_). Yet, hang it! 'tis cruel to betray
her confidence.

_Belvil_. But the family-name, Jack?

_Mr. H_. As you say, the family-name must be perpetuated.

_Belvil._ Though it be but a homely one.

_Mr. H._ True; but come, I will show you the house where dwells this
credulous melting fair.

_Belvil._ Ha, ha! my old friend dwindled down to one letter.


SCENE._-An Apartment in_ MELESINDA'S _House._
MELESINDA _sola, as if musing._

_Melesinda._ H, H, H. Sure it must be something precious by its being
concealed. It can't be Homer, that is a Heathen's name; nor Horatio,
that is no surname: what if it be Hamlet? the Lord Hamlet--pretty,
and I his poor distracted Ophelia! No,'tis none of these; 'tis
Harcourt or Hargrave, or some such sounding name, or Howard,
high-born Howard, that would do; maybe it is Harley, methinks my H.
resembles Harley, the feeling Harley. But I hear him! and from his
own lips I will once forever be resolved.

               _Enter Mr. H._

_Mr. H._ My dear Melesinda.

_Melesinda._ My dear H. that is all you give me power to swear
allegiance to,--to be enamored of inarticulate sounds, and call with
sighs upon an empty letter. But I will know.

_Mr. H._ My dear Melesinda, press me no more for the disclosure of
that, which in the face of day so soon must be revealed. Call it
whim, humor, caprice, in me. Suppose, I have sworn an oath, never,
till the ceremony of our marriage is over, to disclose my true name.

_Melesinda._ Oh! H, H, H. I cherish here a fire of restless curiosity
which consumes me. 'Tis appetite, passion, call it whim, caprice, in
me. Suppose I have sworn, I must and will know it this very night.

_Mr. H_. Ungenerous Melesinda! I implore you to give me this one
proof of your confidence. The holy vow once past, your H. shall not
have a secret to withhold.

_Melesinda_. My H. has overcome: his Melesinda shall pine away and
die, before she dare express a saucy inclination; but what shall I
call you till we are married?

_Mr. H_. Call me? call me anything, call me Love, Love! ay Love: Love
will do very well.

_Melesinda_. How many syllables is it, Love?

_Mr. H_. How many? ud, that is coming to the question with a
vengeance! One, two, three, four,--what does it signify how many

_Melesinda_. How many syllables, Love?

_Mr. H_. My Melesinda's mind, I had hoped, was superior to this
childish curiosity.

_Melesinda_. How many letters are there in it?

[_Exit_ MR. H. _followed by_ MELESINDA _repeating the

SCENE.--_A Room in the Inn. Two Waiters disputing_.

_1st Waiter_. Sir Harbottle Hammond, you may depend upon it.

_2d Waiter_. Sir Harry Hardcastle, I tell you.

_1st Waiter_. The Hammonds of Huntingdonshire.

_2d Waiter_. The Hardcastles of Hertfordshire.

_1st Waiter_. The Hammonds.

_2d Waiter_. Don't tell me: does not Hardcastle begin, with an H?

_1st Waiter_. So does Hammond for that matter.

_2d Waiter_. Faith, so it does if you go to spell it, I did not think
of that. I begin to be of your opinion: he is certainly a Hammond.

_1st Waiter_. Here comes Susan Chambermaid: maybe she can tell.

             _Enter_ SUSAN.

_Both_. Well, Susan, have you heard anything who the strange
gentleman is?

_Susan_. Haven't you heard? it's all come out! Mrs. Guesswell, the
parson's widow, has been here about it. I overheard her talking in
confidence to Mrs. Setter and Mrs. Pointer, and she says they were
holding a sort of a _cummitty_ about it.

_Both_. What? What?

_Susan_. There can't be a doubt of it, she says, what from his
_figger_ and the appearance he cuts, and his _sumpshous_ way of
living, and above all from the remarkable circumstance that his
surname should begin with an H., that he must be--

_Both_. Well, well--

_Susan_. Neither more nor less than the Prince.

_Both_. Prince!

_Susan_. The Prince of Hessey-Cassel in disguise.

_Both_. Very likely, very likely.

_Susan_. Oh, there can't be a doubt on it. Mrs. Guesswell says she
knows it.

_1st Waiter_. Now if we could be sure that the Prince of Hessy
what-do-you-call-him was in England on his travels.

_2d Waiter_. Get a newspaper. Look in the newspapers.

_Susan_. Fiddle of the newspapers; who else can it be?

_Both_. That is very true (_gravely_).

              _Enter_ LANDLORD.

_Landlord_. Here, Susan, James, Philip, where are you all? The London
coach is come in, and there is Mr. Fillaside, the fat passenger, has
been bawling for somebody to help him off with his boots.

                        [_The Chambermaid and Waiters slip out_.

(_Solus_.) The house is turned upside down since the strange
gentleman came into it. Nothing but guessing and speculating, and
speculating and guessing; waiters and chambermaids getting into
corners and speculating; hostlers and stable-boys speculating in the
yard; I believe the very horses in the stable are speculating too,
for there they stand in a musing posture, nothing for them to eat,
and not seeming to care whether they have anything or no; and after
all what does it signify? I hate such curious--odso, I must take this
box up into his bedroom--he charged me to see to it myself;--I hate
such inquisitive--I wonder what is in it--it feels heavy; (_reads_)
"Leases, title-deeds, wills." Here now a man might satisfy his
curiosity at once. Deeds must have names to them, so must leases and
wills. But I wouldn't--no I wouldn't--it is a pretty box
too--prettily dovetailed--I admire the fashion of it much. But I'd
cut my fingers off, before I'd do such a dirty--what have I to
do--curse the keys, how they rattle!--rattle in one's pockets--the
keys and the half-pence (_takes out a bunch and plays with them_). I
wonder if any of these would fit; one might just try them, but I
wouldn't lift up the lid if they did. Oh no, what should I be the
richer for knowing? (_All this time he tries the keys one by one._)
What's his name to me? a thousand names begin with an H. I hate
people that are always prying, poking and prying into
things,--thrusting their finger into one place--a mighty little hole
this--and their keys into another. Oh Lord! little rusty fits it! but
what is that to me? I wouldn't go to--no, no--but it is odd little
rusty should just happen--(_While he is turning up the lid of the
box, _Mr. H. _enters behind him unperceived._)

_Mr. H._ What are you about, you dog?

_Landlord._ Oh Lord, Sir I pardon; no thief, as I hope to be saved.
Little Pry was always honest.

_Mr. H._ What else could move you to open that box?

_Landlord._ Sir, don't kill me, and I will confess the whole truth.
This box happened to be lying--that is, I happened to be carrying
this box, and I happened to have my keys out, and so--little rusty
happened to fit--

_Mr. H._ So little rusty happened to fit!--and would not a rope fit
that rogue's neck? I see the papers have not been moved: all is safe,
but it was as well to frighten him a little (_aside_). Come,
Landlord, as I think you honest, and suspect you only intended to
gratify a little foolish curiosity--

_Landlord_. That was all, Sir, upon my veracity.

_Mr. H._ For this time I will pass it over. Your name is Pry, I

_Landlord_. Yes, Sir, Jeremiah Pry, at your service.

_Mr. H._ An apt name: you have a prying temper--I mean some little
curiosity--a sort of inquisitiveness about you.

_Landlord_. A natural thirst after knowledge you may call it, Sir.
When a boy, I was never easy but when I was thrusting up the lids of
some of my schoolfellows' boxes,--not to steal anything, upon my
honor, Sir,--only to see what was in them; have had pens stuck in my
eyes for peeping through keyholes after knowledge; could never see a
cold pie with the legs dangling out at top, but my fingers were for
lifting up the crust,--just to try if it were pigeon or
partridge,--for no other reason in the world. Surely I think my
passion for nuts was owing to the pleasure of cracking the shell to
get at something concealed, more than to any delight I took in eating
the kernel. In short, Sir, this appetite has grown with my growth.

_Mr. H._ You will certainly be hanged some day for peeping into some
bureau or other just to see what is in it.

_Landlord._ That is my fear, Sir. The thumps and kicks I have had for
peering into parcels, and turning of letters inside out,--just for
curiosity. The blankets I have been made to dance in for searching
parish registers for old ladies' ages,--just for curiosity! Once I
was dragged through a horsepond, only for peeping into a closet that
had glass-doors to it, while my Lady Bluegarters was
undressing,--just for curiosity!

_Mr. H._ A very harmless piece of curiosity, truly; and now, Mr. Pry,
first have the goodness to leave that box with me, and then do me the
favor to carry your curiosity so far, as to inquire if my servants
are within.

_Landlord._ I shall, Sir. Here, David, Jonathan,--I think I hear them
coming,--shall make bold to leave you,
Sir.                                                     [_Exit._

_Mr. H._ Another tolerable specimen of the comforts of going

           _Enter Two Footmen._

_1st Footman._ You speak first.

_2d Footman._ You had better speak.

_1st Footman._ You promised to begin.

_Mr. H._ They have something to say to me. The rascals want their
wages raised, I suppose; there is always a favor to be asked when
they come smiling. Well, poor rogues, service is but a hard bargain
at the best. I think I must not be close with them. Well,
David--well, Jonathan.

_1st Footman._ We have served your honor faithfully--

_2d Footman._ Hope your honor won't take offence--

_Mr. H._ The old story, I suppose--wages?

_1st Footman._ That's not it, your honor.

_2d Footman._ You speak.

_1st Footman._ But if your honor would just be pleased to--

_2d Footman._ Only be pleased to--

_Mr. H._ Be quick with what you have to say, for I am in haste.

_1st Footman._ Just to--

_2d Footman._ Let us know who it is--

_1st Footman._ Who it is we have the honor to serve.

_Mr. H._ Why me, me, me; you serve me.

_2d Footman._ Yes, Sir; but we do not know who you are.

_Mr. H._ Childish curiosity! do not you serve a rich master, a gay
master, an indulgent master?

_1st Footman._ Ah, Sir! the figure you make is to us, your poor
servants, the principal mortification.

_2d Footman._ When we get over a pot at the publichouse, or in a
gentleman's kitchen, or elsewhere, as poor servants must have their
pleasures--when the question goes round, who is your master? and who
do you serve? and one says, I serve Lord So-and-so, and another, I am
Squire Such-a-one's footman--

_1st Footman_. We have nothing to say for it, but that we serve Mr.

_2d Footman_. Or Squire H.

_Mr. H_. Really you are a couple of pretty modest, reasonable
personages! but I hope you will take it as no offence, gentlemen, if,
upon a dispassionate review of all that you have said, I think fit
not to tell you any more of my name, than I have chosen for especial
purposes to communicate to the rest of the world.

_1st Footman_. Why, then, Sir, you may suit yourself.

_2d Footman_. We tell you plainly, we cannot stay.

_1st Footman_. We don't choose to serve Mr. H.

_2d Footman_. Nor any Mr. or Squire in the alphabet--

_1st Footman_. That lives in Chris-cross Row.

_Mr. H_. Go, for a couple of ungrateful, inquisitive, senseless
rascals! Go; hang, starve, or drown!--Rogues, to speak thus
irreverently of the alphabet--I shall live to see you glad to serve
old Q--to curl the wig of great S--adjust the dot of little i--stand
behind the chair of X, Y, Z--wear the livery of Etcætera--and ride
behind the sulky of And-by-itself-and!
                                                [_Exit in a rage_.


SCENE.--_A handsome Apartment well lighted, Tea, Cards, &c.--A large
party of Ladies and Gentlemen; among them MELESINDA._

_1st Lady_. I wonder when the charming man will be here.

_2d Lady_. He is a delightful creature. Such a polish--

_3d Lady_. Such an air in all that he does or says--

_4th Lady_. Yet gifted with a strong understanding--

_5th Lady_. But has your ladyship the remotest idea of what his true
name is?

_1st Lady_. They say, his very servants do not know it. His French
valet, that has lived with him these two years--

_2d Lady_. There, Madam, I must beg leave to set you right; my

_1st Lady_. I have it from the very best authority; my footma--

_2d Lady_. Then, Madam, you have set your servants on--

_1st Lady_. No, Madam, I would scorn any such little mean ways of
coming at a secret. For my part, I don't think any secret of that

_2d Lady_. That's just like me; I make a rule of troubling my head
with nobody's business but my own.

_Melesinda_. But then, she takes care to make everybody's business
her own, and so to justify herself that way--

_1st Lady_. My dear Melesinda, you look thoughtful.

_Melesinda_. Nothing.

_2d Lady_. Give it a name.

_Melesinda_. Perhaps it is nameless.

_1st Lady_. As the object--Come, never blush, nor deny it, child.
Bless me, what great ugly thing is that, that dangles at your bosom?

_Melesinda_. This? It is a cross: how do you like it?

_2d Lady_. A cross! Well, to me it looks for all the world like a
great staring H. _(Here a general laugh.)_

_Melesinda_. Malicious creatures! Believe me it is a cross, and
nothing but a cross.

_1st Lady_. A cross, I believe, you would willingly hang at.

_Melesinda_. Intolerable spite!

_(MR. H. is announced.)_

          _Enter MR. H._

_1st Lady_. O, Mr. H., we are so glad--

_2d Lady_. We have been so dull--

_3rd Lady_. So perfectly lifeless--You owe it to us to be more than
commonly entertaining.

_Mr. H_. Ladies, this is so obliging--

_4th Lady_. O, Mr. H., those ranunculas you said were dying, pretty
things, they have got up--

_5th Lady_. I have worked that sprig you commended--I want you to

_Mr. H_.  Ladies--

_6th Lady_. I have sent for that piece of music from London.

_Mr. H_. The Mozart _(seeing MELESINDA)_--Melesinda!

_Several Ladies at once_. Nay, positively, Melesinda, you shan't
engross him all to yourself.

[_While the ladies are pressing about MR. H., the gentlemen show
signs of displeasure_.

_1st Gent_. We shan't be able to edge in a word, now this coxcomb is

_2d Gent_. Damn him, I will affront him.

_1st Gent_. Sir, with your leave, I have a word to say to one of
these ladies.

_2d Gent_. If we could be heard--

                     [_The Ladies pay no attention but to MR. H_.

_Mr. H_. You see, gentlemen, how the matter stands. _(Hums an air.)_
I am not my own master: positively I exist and breathe but to be
agreeable to these--Did you speak?

_1st Gent_. And affects absence of mind--Puppy!

_Mr. H_. Who spoke of absence of mind; did you, Madam? How do you do,
Lady Wearwell--how do? I did not see your ladyship before--what was I
about to say--O--absence of mind. I am the most unhappy dog in that
way, sometimes spurt out the strangest things--the most
mal-à-propos--without meaning to give the least offence, upon my
honor--sheer absence of mind--things I would have given the world not
to have said.

_1st Gent_. Do you hear the coxcomb?

_1st Lady_. Great wits, they say--

_2d Lady_. Your fine geniuses are most given--

_3d Lady_. Men of bright parts are commonly too vivacious--

_Mr. H_. But you shall hear. I was to dine the other day at a great
Nabob's that must be nameless, who, between ourselves, is strongly
suspected of--being very rich, that's all. John, my valet, who knows
my foible, cautioned me, while he was dressing me, as he usually does
where he thinks there's a danger of my committing a _lapsus_, to take
care in my conversation how I made any allusion direct or indirect to
presents--you understand me? I set out double charged with my
fellow's consideration and my own; and, to do myself justice, behaved
with tolerable circumspection for the first half-hour or so,--till at
last a gentleman in company, who was indulging a free vein of
raillery at the expense of the ladies, stumbled upon that expression
of the poet, which calls them "fair defects."

_1st Lady_. It is Pope, I believe, who says it.

_Mr. H_.  No, Madam; Milton. Where was I? Oh, "fair defects." This
gave occasion to a critic in company, to deliver his opinion on the
phrase--that led to an enumeration of all the various words which
might have been used instead of "defect," as want, absence, poverty,
deficiency, lack. This moment I, who had not been attending to the
progress of the argument (as the denouement will show) starting
suddenly up out of one of my reveries, by some unfortunate connection
of ideas, which the last fatal word had excited, the devil put it
into my head to turn round to the Nabob, who was sitting next me, and
in a very marked manner (as it seemed to the company) to put the
question to him, Pray, sir, what may be the exact value of a lack of
rupees? You may guess the confusion which followed.

_1st Lady_. What a distressing circumstance!

_2d Lady_. To a delicate mind----

_3d Lady_. How embarrassing----

_4th Lady_. I declare, I quite pity you.

_1st Gent_. Puppy!

_Mr. H_. A Baronet at the table, seeing my dilemma, jogged my elbow;
and a good-natured Duchess, who does everything with a grace peculiar
to herself, trod on my toes at that instant: this brought me to
myself, and--covered with blushes, and pitied by all the ladies--I

_1st Lady_. How charmingly he tells a story.

_2nd Lady_. But how distressing!

_Mr. H_. Lord Squandercounsel, who is my particular friend, was
pleased to rally me in his inimitable way upon it next day. I shall
never forget a sensible thing he said on the occasion--speaking of
absence of mind, my foible--says he, my dear Hogs--

_Several Ladies_. Hogs--what--ha--

_Mr. H_. My dear Hogsflesh--my name--(_here a universal scream_)--O my
cursed unfortunate tongue! H. I mean--where was I?

_1st Lady_. Filthy--abominable!

_2nd Lady_. Unutterable!

_3rd Lady_. Hogs--foh!

_4th Lady_. Disgusting!

_5th Lady_. Vile!

_6th Lady_. Shocking!

_1st Lady_. Odious!

_2nd Lady_. Hogs--pah!

_3rd Lady_. A smelling-bottle--look to Miss Melesinda. Poor thing! it
is no wonder. You had better keep off from her, Mr. Hogsflesh, and
not be pressing about her in her circumstances.

_1st Gent_. Good time of day to you, Mr.Hogsflesh.

_2nd Gent_. The compliments of the season to you, Mr. Hogsflesh.

_Mr.H_. This is too much--flesh and blood cannot endure it.

_1st Gent_. What flesh?--hog's-flesh?

_2nd Gent_. How he sets up his bristles!

_Mr. H_. Bristles!

1_st Gent_. He looks as fierce as a hog in armor.

_Mr. H_. A hog!--Madam!--(_here he severally accosts the Ladies, who
by turns repel him_.)

1_st Lady_. Extremely obliged to you for your attentions; but don't
want a partner.

2_d Lady_. Greatly flattered by your preference: but believe I shall
remain single.

3_d Lady_. Shall always acknowledge your politeness; but have no
thoughts of altering my condition.

4_th Lady_. Always be happy to respect you as a friend; but you must
not look for anything further.

5_th Lady_. No doubt of your ability to make any woman happy; but
have no thoughts of changing my name.

6_th Lady_. Must tell you, Sir, that if, by your insinuations, you
think to prevail with me, you have got the wrong sow by the ear. Does
he think any lady would go to pig with him?

_Old Lady_. Must beg you to be less particular in your addresses to
me. Does he take me for a Jew, to long after forbidden meats?

_Mr. H_. I shall go mad!--to be refused by old Mother Damnable--she
that's so old, nobody knows whether she was ever manned or no, but
passes for a maid by courtesy; her juvenile exploits being beyond the
farthest stretch of tradition!--Old Mother Damnable!

           [_Exeunt all, either pitying or seeming to avoid him._

SCENE.--_The Street_.

BELVIL _and another Gentleman_.

_Belvil_. Poor Jack, I am really sorry for him. The account which you
give me of his mortifying change of reception at the assembly, would
be highly diverting if it gave me less pain to hear it. With all his
amusing absurdities, and amongst them not the least, a predominant
desire to be thought well of by the fair sex, he has an abundant
share of good-nature, and is a man of honor. Notwithstanding all that
has happened, Melesinda may do worse than take him yet. But did the
women resent it so deeply as you say?

_Gent._ O intolerably--they fled him as fearfully when 'twas once
blown, as a man would be avoided, who was suddenly discovered to have
marks of the plague, and as fast; when before they had been ready to
devour the foolishest thing he could say.

_Belvil_ Ha! ha! so frail is the tenure by which these women's
favorites commonly hold their envied preëminence. Well, I must go
find him out and comfort him. I suppose, I shall find him at the inn.

_Gent._ Either there or at Melesinda's--Adieu!   [_Exeunt._

SCENE.--Mr. H----'s _Apartment._

_Mr. H. (solus.)_ Was ever anything so mortifying? to be refused by
old Mother Damnable!--with such parts and address,--and the little
squeamish devils, to dislike me for a name, a sound.--Oh my cursed
name! that it was something I could be revenged on! if it were alive,
that I might tread upon it, or crush it, or pummel it, or kick it, or
spit it out--for it sticks in my throat, and will choke me.

My plaguy ancestors! if they had left me but a Van, or a Mac, or an
Irish O', it had been something to qualify it.--Mynheer Van
Hogsflesh,--or Sawney Mac Hogsflesh,--or Sir Phelim O'Hogsflesh,--but
downright blunt------. If it had been any other name in the world, I
could have borne it. If it had been the name of a beast, as Bull,
Fox, Kid, Lamb, Wolf, Lion; or of a bird, as Sparrow, Hawk, Buzzard,
Daw, Finch, Nightingale; or of a fish, as Sprat, Herring, Salmon; or
the name of a thing, as Ginger, Hay, Wood; or of a color, as Black,
Gray, White, Green; or of a sound, as Bray; or the name of a month,
as March, May; or of a place, as Barnet, Baldock, Hitchen; or the
name of a coin, as Farthing, Penny, Twopenny; or of a profession, as
Butcher, Baker, Carpenter, Piper, Fisher, Fletcher, Fowler, Glover;
or a Jew's name, as Solomons, Isaacs, Jacobs; or a personal name, as
Foot, Leg, Crookshanks, Heaviside, Sidebottom, Longbottom,
Ramsbottom, Winterbottom; or a long name, as Blanchenhagen, or
Blanchenhausen; or a short name, as Crib, Crisp, Crips, Tag, Trot,
Tub, Phips, Padge, Papps, or Prig, or Wig, or Pip, or Trip; Trip had
been something, but Ho---. (_Walks about in great
agitation--recovering his calmness a little, sits down._)

Farewell the most distant thoughts of marriage; the finger-circling
ring, the purity figuring glove, the envy-pining bridemaids, the
wishing parson, and the simpering clerk. Farewell the ambiguous
blush-raising joke, the titter-provoking pun, the morning-stirring
drum.--No son of mine shall exist, to bear my ill-fated name. No
nurse come chuckling, to tell me it is a boy. No midwife, leering at
me from under the lids of professional gravity. I dreamed of
caudle.--(_Sings in a melancholy tone._) Lullaby,
Lullaby,--hush-a-by-baby--how like its papa it is!--(_Makes motions
as if he was nursing._) And then, when grown up, "Is this your son,
Sir?" "Yes, Sir, a poor copy of me, a sad young dog,--just what his
father was at his age,--I have four more at home." Oh! oh! oh!

             _Enter_ LANDLORD.

_Mr. H._ Landlord, I must pack up tonight; you will see all my things
got ready.

_Landlord._ Hope your Honor does not intend to quit the Blue
Boar,--sorry anything has happened.

_Mr. H._ He has heard it all.

_Landlord._ Your Honor has had some mortification to be sure, as a
man may say; you have brought your pigs to a fine market.

_Mr. H._ Pigs!

_Landlord._ What then? take old Pry's advice, and never mind it.
Don't scorch your crackling for 'em, Sir.

_Mr. H._ Scorch my crackling! a queer phrase; but I suppose he don't
mean to affront me.

_Landlord._ What is done can't be undone; you can't make a silken
purse out of a sow's ear.

_Mr. H._ As you say, Landlord, thinking of a thing does but augment

_Landlord._ Does but _hogment_ it, indeed, Sir.

_Mr. H. Hogment_ it! damn it, I said augment it.

_Landlord._ Lord, Sir, 'tis not everybody has such gift of fine
phrases as your Honor, that can lard his discourse--

_Mr. H._ Lard!

_Landlord._ Suppose they do smoke you--

_Mr. H._ Smoke me!

_Landlord._ One of my phrases; never mind my words, Sir, my meaning
is good. We all mean the same thing, only you express yourself one
way, and I another, that's all. The meaning's the same; it is all

_Mr. H._ That's another of your phrases, I presume.

                      [_Bell rings, and the Landlord called for._

_Landlord._ Anon, anon.

_Mr. H._ Oh, I wish I were anonymous.

                                          [_Exeunt several ways._

SCENE.--_Melesinda's Apartment._

MELESINDA _and Maid._

_Maid._ Lord, Madam! before I'd take on as you do about a
foolish--what signifies a name? Hogs--Hogs--what is it--is just as
good as any other, for what I see.

_Melesinda._ Ignorant creature! yet she is perhaps blest in the
absence of those ideas, which, while they add a zest to the few
pleasures which fall to the lot of superior natures to enjoy, doubly
edge the----

_Maid._ Superior natures! a fig! If he's hog by name, he's not hog by
nature, that don't follow--his name don't make him anything, does
it? He don't grunt the more for it, nor squeak, that ever I hear; he
likes his victuals out of a plate, as other Christians do; you never
see him go to the trough----

_Melesinda._ Unfeeling wretch! yet possibly her intentions----

_Maid._ For instance, Madam, my name is Finch--Betty Finch. I don't
whistle the more for that, nor long after canary-seed while I can get
good wholesome mutton--no, nor you can't catch me by throwing salt on
my tail. If you come to that, hadn't I a young man used to come after
me, they said courted me--his name was Lion, Francis Lion, a tailor;
but though he was fond enough of me, for all that he never offered to
eat me.

_Melesinda._ How fortunate that the discovery has been made before it
was too late! Had I listened to his deceits, and, as the perfidious
man had almost persuaded me, precipitated myself into an inextricable
engagement before----

_Maid._ No great harm if you had. You'd only have bought a pig in a
poke--and what then? Oh, here he comes creeping----

       _Enter_ MR. H. _abject._

Go to her, Mr. Hogs--Hogs--Hogsbristles, what's your name? Don't be
afraid, man--don't give it up--she's not crying--only _summat_ has
made her eyes red--she has got a sty in her eye, I believe----

_Melesinda._ You are not going, Betty?

_Maid._ O, Madam, never mind me--I shall be back in the twinkling of
a pig's whisker, as they say.


_Mr. H._ Melesinda, you behold before you a wretch who would have
betrayed your confidence--but it was love that prompted him; who
would have trick'd you, by an unworthy concealment, into a
participation of that disgrace which a superficial world has agreed
to attach to a name--but with it you would have shared a fortune not
contemptible, and a heart--but 'tis over now. That name he is content
to bear alone--to go where the persecuted syllables shall be no more
heard, or excite no meaning--some spot where his native tongue has
never penetrated, nor any of his countrymen have landed, to plant
their unfeeling satire, their brutal wit, and national ill
manners--where no Englishmen--(Here_ MELESINDA, _who has been
pouting during this speech, fetches a deep sigh.)_ Some yet
undiscovered Otaheite, where witless, unapprehensive savages shall
innocently pronounce the ill-fated sounds, and think them not

_Melesinda._ Oh!

_Mr. H._ Who knows but among the female natives might be found----

_Melesinda._ Sir! (_raising her head._)

_Mr. H._ One who would be more kind than--some Oberea--Queen Oberea.

_Melesinda._ Oh!

_Mr. H._ Or what if I were to seek for proofs of reciprocal esteem
among unprejudiced African maids, in Monomotopa?

             _Enter Servant._

_Servant._ Mr. Belvil.                             [_Exit._

             _Enter_ BELVIL.

_Mr. H._ Monomotopa (_musing._)

_Belvil._ Heyday, Jack! what means this mortified face? nothing has
happened, I hope, between this lady and you? I beg pardon, Madam, but
understanding my friend was with you, I took the liberty of seeking
him here. Some little difference possibly which a third person can
adjust--not a word. Will you, Madam, as this gentleman's friend,
suffer me to be the arbitrator--strange--hark'ee, Jack, nothing has
come out, has there? you understand me. Oh, I guess how it
is--somebody has got at your secret; you haven't blabbed it yourself,
have you? ha! ha! ha! I could find in my heart--Jack, what would you
give me if I should relieve you?

_Mr. H._ No power of man can relieve me (_sighs_); but it must lie at
the root, gnawing at the root--here it will lie.

_Belvil._ No power of man? not a common man, I grant you: for
instance, a subject--it's out of the power of any subject.

_Mr. H._ Gnawing at the root--there it will lie.

_Belvil._ Such a thing has been known as a name to be changed; but
not by a subject--(_shows a Gazette_).

_Mr. H._ Gnawing at the root--(_suddenly snatches the paper out of_
BELVIL'S _hand_)--ha! pish! nonsense! give it me--what! (_reads_)
promotions, bankrupts--a great many bankrupts this week--there it
will lie. (_Lays it down, takes it up again, and reads._) "The King
has been graciously pleased"--gnawing at the root--"graciously
pleased to grant unto John Hogsflesh,"--the devil--"Hogsflesh, Esq.,
of Sty Hall, in the county of Hants, his royal license and
authority"--O Lord! O Lord!--"that he and his issue"--me and my
issue--"may take and use the surname and arms of Bacon"--Bacon, the
surname and arms of Bacon--"in pursuance of an injunction contained
in the last will and testament of Nicholas Bacon, Esq., his late
uncle, as well as out of grateful respect to his memory:"--grateful
respect! poor old soul-----here's more--"and that such arms may be
first duly exemplified "--they shall, I will take care of
that--"according to the laws of arms, and recorded in the Herald's

_Belvil._ Come, Madam, give me leave to put my own interpretation
upon your silence, and to plead for my friend, that now that only
obstacle which seemed to stand in the way of your union is removed,
you will suffer me to complete the happiness which my news seems to
have brought him, by introducing him with a new claim to your favor,
by the name of Mr. Bacon. (_Takes their hands and joins them, which_
MELESINDA _seems to give consent to with a smile._)

_Mr. H._ Generous Melesinda! my dear friend--"he and his issue," me
and my issue!--O Lord!--

_Belvil._ I wish you joy, Jack, with all my heart.

_Mr. H._ Bacon, Bacon, Bacon--how odd it sounds! I could never be
tired of hearing it. There was Lord Chancellor Bacon. Methinks I have
some of the Verulam blood in me already.--Methinks I could look
through Nature--there was Friar Bacon, a conjurer,--I feel as if I
could conjure too----

           _Enter a Servant._

_Servant._ Two young ladies and an old lady are at the door,
inquiring if you see company, Madam.

_Mr. H._ "Surname and arms"--

_Melesinda._ Show them up.--My dear Mr. Bacon, moderate your joy.

_Enter three Ladies, being part of those who were at the Assembly._

_1st Lady._ My dear Melesinda, how do you do?

_2nd Lady._ How do you do? We have been so concerned for you----

_Old Lady._ We have been so concerned--(_seeing him_)--Mr.

_Mr. H._ There's no such person--nor there never was--nor 'tis not
fit there should be--"surname and arms"--

_Belvil._ It is true what my friend would express; we have been all
in a mistake, ladies. Very true, the name of this gentleman was what
you call it, but it is so no longer. The succession to the
long-contested Bacon estate is at length decided, and with it my
friend succeeds to the name of his deceased relative.

_Mr. H._ "His Majesty has been graciously pleased"--

_1st Lady._ I am sure we all join in hearty

_2nd Lady._ And wish you joy with all our hearts--_(heigh ho!)_

_Old Lady._ And hope you will enjoy the name and estate many

_Belvil._ Ha! ha! ha! mortify them a little, Jack.

_1st Lady._ Hope you intend to stay--

_2nd Lady._ With us some time--

_Old Lady._ In these parts--

_Mr. H._ Ladies, for your congratulations I thank you; for the favors
you have lavished on me, and in particular for this lady's _(turning
to the old Lady)_ good opinion, I rest your debtor. As to any future
favors--_(accosts them severally in the order in which he was refused
by them at the assembly)_--Madam, shall always acknowledge your
politeness; but at present, you see, I am engaged with a partner.
Always be happy to respect you as a friend, but you must not look for
anything further. Must beg of you to be less particular in your
addresses to me. Ladies all, with this piece of advice, of Bath and

  Your ever grateful servant takes his leave.
  Lay your plans surer when you plot to grieve;
  See, while you kindly mean to mortify
  Another, the wild arrow do not fly,
  And gall yourself. For once you've been mistaken;
  Your shafts have miss'd their aim--Hogsflesh has
  saved his Bacon.



[Footnote 1: Prefixed to the Author's works published in 1818.]

       *       *       *       *       *


My Dear Coleridge,

You will smile to see the slender labors of your friend designated by
the title of _Works;_ but such was the wish of the gentlemen who have
kindly undertaken the trouble of collecting them, and from their
judgment could be no appeal.

It would be a kind of disloyalty to offer to any one but yourself a
volume containing the _early pieces,_ which were first published
among your poems, and were fairly derivatives from you and them. My
friend Lloyd and myself came into our first battle (authorship is a
sort of warfare) under cover of the greater Ajax. How this
association, which shall always be a dear and proud recollection to
me, came to be broken,--who snapped the threefold cord,--whether
yourself (but I know that was not the case) grew ashamed of your
former companions,--or whether (which is by much the more probable)
some ungracious bookseller was author of the separation,--I cannot
tell;--but wanting the support of your friendly elm, (I speak for
myself,) my vine has, since that time, put forth few or no fruits;
the sap (if ever it had any) has become, in a manner, dried up and
extinct; and you will find your old associate, in his second volume,
dwindled into prose and _criticism._

Am I right in assuming this as the cause? or is it that, as years
come upon us, (except with some more healthy-happy spirits,) Life
itself loses much of its Poetry for us? we transcribe but what we
read in the great volume of Nature; and, as the characters grow dim,
we turn off, and look another way. You yourself write no Christabels,
nor Ancient Mariners, now.

Some of the Sonnets, which shall be carelessly turned over by the
general reader, may happily awaken in you remembrances, which I
should be sorry should be ever totally extinct--the memory

  "Of summer days and of delightful years--"

even so far back as to those old suppers at our old ... Inn,--when
life was fresh, and topics exhaustless,--and you first kindled in me,
if not the power, yet the love of poetry, and beauty, and

         "What words have I heard
          Spoke at the Mermaid!"

The world has given you many a shrewd nip and gird since that time,
but either my eyes are grown dimmer, or my old friend is the _same_
who stood before me three-and-twenty years ago--his hair a little
confessing the hand of Time, but still shrouding the same capacious
brain,--his heart not altered, scarcely where it "alteration finds."

One piece, Coleridge, I have ventured to publish in its original
form, though I have heard you complain of a certain over-imitation of
the antique in the style. If I could see any way of getting rid of
the objection, without rewriting it entirely, I would make some
sacrifices. But when I wrote John Woodvil, I never proposed to myself
any distinct deviation from common English. I had been newly
initiated in the writings of our elder dramatists: Beaumont and
Fletcher, and Massinger, were then a _first love_; and from what I
was so freshly conversant in, what wonder if my language
imperceptibly took a tinge? The very time which I had chosen for my
story, that which immediately followed the Restoration, seemed to
require, in an English play, that the English should be of rather an
older cast than that of the precise year in which it happened to be
written. I wish it had not some faults, which I can less vindicate
than the language.

I remain,

My dear Coleridge,


With unabated esteem,



       *       *       *       *       *


  When maidens such as Hester die,
  Their place ye may not well supply,
  Though ye among a thousand try,
    With vain endeavor.

  A month or more hath she been dead,
  Yet cannot I by force be led
  To think upon the wormy bed,
    And her together.

  A springy motion in her gait,
  A rising step, did indicate
  Of pride and joy no common rate,
    That flush'd her spirit.

  I know not by what name beside
  I shall it call:--if 'twas not pride,
  It was a joy to that allied,
    She did inherit.

  Her parents held the Quaker rule,
  Which doth the human feeling cool,
  But she was train'd in Nature's school,
    Nature had blest her.

  A waking eye, a prying mind,
  A heart that stirs, is hard to bind,
  A hawk's keen sight ye cannot blind,
      Ye could not Hester.

  My sprightly neighbor! gone before
  To that unknown and silent shore,
  Shall we not meet, as heretofore,
      Some summer morning,

  When from thy cheerful eyes a ray
  Hath struck a bliss upon the day,
  A bliss that would not go away,
      A sweet fore-warning?

       *       *       *       *       *



  Alone, obscure, without a friend,
    A cheerless, solitary thing,
  Why seeks, my Lloyd, the stranger out?
    What offering can the stranger bring

  Of social scenes, home-bred delights,
    That him in aught compensate may
  For Stowey's pleasant winter nights,
    For loves and friendships far away?

  In brief oblivion to forego
    Friends, such as thine, so justly dear,
  And be awhile with me content
    To stay, a kindly loiterer, here:

  For this a gleam of random joy
    Hath flush'd my unaccustom'd cheek;
  And, with an o'ercharged bursting heart,
    I feel the thanks I cannot speak.

  Oh! sweet are all the Muses' lays,
    And sweet the charm of matin bird;
  'Twas long since these estrangèd ears
    The sweeter voice of friend had heard.

  The voice hath spoke: the pleasant sounds
    In memory's ear in after-time
  Shall live, to sometimes rouse a tear,
    And sometimes prompt an honest rhyme.

  For, when the transient charm is fled,
    And when the little week is o'er,
  To cheerless, friendless, solitude
    When I return, as heretofore;

  Long, long, within my aching heart
    The grateful sense shall cherish'd be;
  I'll think less meanly of myself,
    That Lloyd will sometimes think on me.

       *       *       *       *       *


  Three young maids in friendship met;
  Mary, Martha, Margaret.
  Margaret was tall and fair,
  Martha shorter by a hair;
  If the first excell'd in feature,
  Th' other's grace and ease were greater;
  Mary, though to rival loth,
  In their best gifts equall'd both.
  They a due proportion kept;
  Martha mourn'd if Margaret wept;
  Margaret joy'd when any good
  She of Martha understood;
  And in sympathy for either
  Mary was outdone by neither.
  Thus far, for a happy space,
  All three ran an equal race,
  A most constant friendship proving,
  Equally beloved and loving;
  All their wishes, joys, the same;
  Sisters only not in name.

    Fortune upon each one smiled,
  As upon a fav'rite child;
  Well to do and well to see
  Were the parents of all three;
  Till on Martha's father crosses
  Brought a flood of worldly losses,
  And his fortunes rich and great
  Changed at once to low estate:
  Under which o'erwhelming blow
  Martha's mother was laid low;
  She a hapless orphan left,
  Of maternal care bereft,
  Trouble following trouble fast,
  Lay in a sick-bed at last.

    In the depth of her affliction
  Martha now receiv'd conviction,
  That a true and faithful friend
  Can the surest comfort lend.
  Night and day, with friendship tried,
  Ever constant by her side
  Was her gentle Mary found,
  With a love that knew no bound;
  And the solace she imparted
  Saved her dying broken-hearted.

    In this scene of earthly things
  Not one good unmixèd springs.
  That which had to Martha proved
  A sweet consolation, moved
  Different feelings of regret
  In the mind of Margaret.
  She, whose love was not less dear,
  Nor affection less sincere
  To her friend, was, by occasion
  Of more distant habitation,
  Fewer visits forced to pay her;
  When no other cause did stay her;
  And her Mary living nearer,
  Margaret began to fear her,
  Lest her visits day by day
  Martha's heart should steal away.
  That whole heart she ill could spare her,
  Where till now she'd been a sharer.
  From this cause with grief she pined,
  Till at length her health declined.
  All her cheerful spirits flew,
  Fast as Martha's gather'd new;
  And her sickness waxèd sore,
  Just when Martha felt no more.

  Mary, who had quick suspicion
  Of her alter'd friend's condition,
  Seeing Martha's convalescence
  Less demanded now her presence,
  With a goodness, built on reason,
  Changed her measures with the season;
  Turn'd her steps from Martha's door,
  Went where she was wanted more;
  All her care and thoughts were set
  Now to tend on Margaret.
  Mary living 'twixt the two,
  From her home could oft'ner go,
  Either of her friends to see,
  Than they could together be.

    Truth explain'd is to suspicion
  Evermore the best physician.
  Soon her visits had the effect;
  All that Margaret did suspect,
  From her fancy vanish'd clean;
  She was soon what she had been,
  And the color she did lack
  To her faded cheek came back.
  Wounds which love had made her feel,
  Love alone had power to heal.

    Martha, who the frequent visit
  Now had lost, and sore did miss it,
  With impatience waxèd cross,
  Counted Margaret's gain her loss:
  All that Mary did confer
  On her friend, thought due to her.
  In her girlish bosom rise
  Little foolish jealousies,
  Which into such rancor wrought,
  She one day for Margaret sought;
  Finding her by chance alone,
  She began, with reasons shown,
  To insinuate a fear
  Whether Mary was sincere;
  Wish'd that Margaret would take heed
  Whence her actions did proceed.
  For herself, she'd long been minded
  Not with outsides to be blinded;
  All that pity and compassion,
  She believed was affectation;
  In her heart she doubted whether
  Mary cared a pin for either.
  She could keep whole weeks at distance,
  And not know of their existence,
  While all things remain'd the same;
  But, when some misfortune came,
  Then she made a great parade
  Of her sympathy and aid,--
  Not that she did really grieve,
  It was only _make-believe_,
  And she cared for nothing, so
  She might her fine feelings show,
  And get credit, on her part,
  For a soft and tender heart.

    With such speeches, smoothly made,
  She found methods to persuade
  Margaret (who being sore
  From the doubts she'd felt before,
  Was preparèd for mistrust)
  To believe her reasons just;
  Quite destroy'd that comfort glad,
  Which in Mary late she had;
  Made her, in experience' spite,
  Think her friend a hypocrite,
  And resolve, with cruel scoff,
  To renounce and cast her off.

    See how good turns are rewarded!
  She of both is now discarded,
  Who to both had been so late
  Their support in low estate,
  All their comfort, and their stay--
  Now of both is cast away.
  But the league her presence cherish'd,
  Losing its best prop, soon perish'd;
  She, that was a link to either,
  To keep them and it together,
  Being gone, the two (no wonder)
  That were left, soon fell asunder;--
  Some civilities were kept,
  But the heart of friendship slept;
  Love with hollow forms was fed,
  But the life of love lay dead:--
  A cold intercourse they held,
  After Mary was expell'd.

    Two long years did intervene
  Since they'd either of them seen,
  Or, by letter, any word
  Of their old companion heard,--
  When, upon a day once walking,
  Of indifferent matters talking,
  They a female figure met;
  Martha said to Margaret,
  "That young maid in face does carry
  A resemblance strong of Mary."
  Margaret, at nearer sight,
  Own'd her observation right;
  But they did not far proceed
  Ere they knew 'twas she indeed.
  She--but, ah I how changed they view her
  From that person which they knew her!
  Her fine face disease had scarr'd,
  And its matchless beauty marr'd:--
  But enough was left to trace
  Mary's sweetness--Mary's grace.
  When her eye did first behold them,
  How they blush'd!--but, when she told them,
  How on a sick-bed she lay
  Months, while they had kept away,
  And had no inquiries made
  If she were alive or dead;--
  How, for want of a true friend,
  She was brought near to her end,
  And was like so to have died,
  With no friend at her bedside;--
  How the constant irritation,
  Caused by fruitless expectation
  Of their coming, had extended
  The illness, when she might have mended,--
  Then, O then, how did reflection
  Come on them with recollection!
  All that she had done for them,
  How it did their fault condemn!

    But sweet Mary, still the same,
  Kindly eased them of their shame;
  Spoke to them with accents bland,
  Took them friendly by the hand;
  Bound them both with promise fast.
  Not to speak of troubles past;
  Made them on the spot declare
  A new league of friendship there;
  Which, without a word of strife,
  Lasted thenceforth long as life.
  Martha now and Margaret
  Strove who most should pay the debt
  Which they owed her, nor did vary
  Ever after from their Mary.

       *       *       *       *       *


  Smiling river, smiling river,
    On thy bosom sunbeams play;
  Though they're fleeting, and retreating,
    Thou hast more deceit than they.

  In thy channel, in thy channel,
    Choked with ooze and grav'lly stones,
  Deep immersed, and unhearsed,
    Lies young Edward's corse: his bones

  Ever whitening, ever whitening,
    As thy waves against them dash;
  What thy torrent, in the current,
    Swallow'd, now it helps to wash.

  As if senseless, as if senseless
    Things had feeling in this case;
  What so blindly, and unkindly,
    It destroy'd, it now does grace.

       *       *       *       *       *


  I have had playmates, I have had companions,
  In my days of childhood, in my joyful school-days,
  All, all are gone, the old familiar faces.

  I have been laughing, I have been carousing,
  Drinking late, sitting late, with my bosom cronies,
  All, all are gone, the old familiar faces.

  I loved a love once, fairest among women;
  Closed are her doors on me, I must not see her--
  All, all are gone, the old familiar faces.

  I have a friend, a kinder friend has no man;
  Like an ingrate, I left my friend abruptly;
  Left him, to muse on the old familiar faces.

  Ghostlike I paced round the haunts of my childhood.
  Earth seem'd a desert I was bound to traverse,
  Seeking to find the old familiar faces.

  Friend of my bosom, thou more than a brother,
  Why wert not thou born in my father's dwelling?
  So might we talk of the old familiar faces,--

  How some they have died, and some they have left me,
  And some are taken from me; all are departed;
  All, all are gone, the old familiar faces.

       *       *       *       *       *


  High-born Helen, round your dwelling
    These twenty years I've paced in vain:
  Haughty beauty, thy lover's duty
    Hath been to glory in his pain.

  High-born Helen, proudly telling
    Stories of thy cold disdain;
  I starve, I die, now you comply,
    And I no longer can complain.

  These twenty years I've lived on tears,
    Dwelling forever on a frown;
  On sighs I've fed, your scorn my bread;
    I perish now you kind are grown.

  Can I, who loved my beloved
    But for the scorn "was in her eye,"
  Can I be moved for my beloved,
    When she "returns me sigh for sigh?"

  In stately pride, by my bedside,
    High-born Helen's portrait's hung;
  Deaf to my praise, my mournful lays
    Are nightly to the portrait sung.

  To that I weep, nor ever sleep,
    Complaining all night long to her--
  _Helen, grown old, no longer cold,_
    _Said,_ "You to all men I prefer."

       *       *       *       *       *


  I saw a famous fountain, in my dream,
    Where shady pathways to a valley led;
  A weeping willow lay upon that stream,
    And all around the fountain brink were spread
  Wide-branching trees, with dark green leaf rich clad,
    Forming a doubtful twilight--desolate and sad.

  The place was such, that whoso enter'd in,
    Disrobèd was of every earthly thought,
  And straight became as one that knew not sin,
    Or to the world's first innocence was brought;
  Enseem'd it now, he stood on holy ground,
  In sweet and tender melancholy wrapt around.

  A most strange calm stole o'er my soothèd sprite;
    Long time I stood, and longer had I staid,
  When lo! I saw, saw by the sweet moonlight,
    Which came in silence o'er that silent shade,
  Where, near the fountain, SOMETHING like DESPAIR
  Made, of that weeping-willow, garlands for her hair.

  And eke with painful fingers she inwove
    Many an uncouth stem of savage thorn--
  "The willow garland, _that_ was for her love,
    And _these_ her bleeding temples would adorn."
  With sighs her heart nigh burst, salt tears fast fell,
  As mournfully she bended o'er that sacred well.

  To whom when I addrest myself to speak,
    She lifted up her eyes, and nothing said;
  The delicate red came mantling o'er her cheek,
    And gath'ring up her loose attire, she fled
  To the dark covert of that woody shade,
    And in her goings seem'd a timid gentle maid.

  Revolving in my mind what this should mean,
    And why that lovely lady plainèd so;
  Perplex'd in thought at that mysterious scene,
    And doubting if 'twere best to stay or go,
  I cast mine eyes in wistful gaze around,
  When from the shades came slow a small and plaintive

       *       *       *       *       *

      "Psyche am I, who love to dwell
      In these brown shades, this woody dell,
      Where never busy mortal came,
      Till now, to pry upon my shame.

      "At thy feet what dost thou see
      The waters of repentance be,
      Which, night and day, I must augment
      With tears, like a true penitent,

      "If haply so my day of grace
      Be not yet past; and this lone place,
      O'ershadowy, dark, excludeth hence
      All thoughts but grief and penitence."

      _"Why dost thou weep, thou gentle maid!
      And wherefore in this barren shade
      Thy hidden thoughts with sorrow feed?
      Can thing so fair repentance need?"_

      "O! I have done a deed of shame,
      And tainted is my virgin fame,
      And stain'd the beauteous maiden white
      In which my bridal robes were dight."

      _"And who the promised spouse? declare:
      And what those bridal garments were."_

      "Severe and saintly righteousness
      Composed the clear white bridal dress;
      JESUS, the Son of Heaven's high King,
      Bought with his blood the marriage ring.

      "A wretched sinful creature, I
      Deem'd lightly of that sacred tie,
      Gave to a treacherous WORLD my heart,
      And play'd the foolish wanton's part.
      Soon to these murky shades I came,
      To hide from the sun's light my shame.
      And still I haunt this woody dell,
      And bathe me in that healing well,
      Whose waters clear have influence
      From sin's foul stains the soul to cleanse;
      And, night and day, I them augment,
      With tears, like a true penitent,
      Until, due expiation made,
      And fit atonement fully paid,
      The Lord and Bridegroom me present,
      Where in sweet strains of high consent,
      God's throne before, the Seraphim
      Shall chant the ecstatic marriage hymn."

      "Now Christ restore thee soon"--I said,
      And thenceforth all my dream was fled.

       *       *       *       *       *


  O Lady, lay your costly robes aside.
  No longer may you glory in your pride.

  Wherefore to-day art singing in mine ear
  Sad songs were made so long ago, my dear?
  This day I am to be a bride, you know,
  Why sing sad songs, were made so long ago?

  O mother, lay your costly robes aside,
  For you may never be another's bride.
  That line I learn'd not in the old sad song.

  I pray thee, pretty one, now hold thy tongue,
  Play with the bridemaids; and be glad, my boy,
  For thou shalt be a second father's joy.

  One father fondled me upon his knee.
  One father is enough, alone, for me.

       *       *       *       *       *


  On a bank with roses shaded,
  Whose sweet scent the violets aided,
  Violets whose breath alone
  Yields but feeble smell or none,
  (Sweeter bed Jove ne'er reposed on
  When his eyes Olympus closed on,)
  While o'erhead six slaves did hold
  Canopy of cloth o' gold,
  And two more did music keep,
  Which might Juno lull to sleep,
  Oriana, who was queen
  To the mighty Tamerlane,
  That was lord of all the land
  Between Thrace and Samarchand,
  While the noontide fervor beam'd,
  Mused himself to sleep, and _dream'd_.

    Thus far, in magnific strain,
  A young poet soothed his vein,
  But he had nor prose nor numbers,
  To express a princess' slumbers.--
  Youthful Richard had strange fancies,
  Was deep versed in old romances,
  And could talk whole hours upon
  The Great Cham and Prester John,--
  Tell the field in which the Sophi
  From the Tartar won a trophy--
  What he read with such delight of,
  Thought he could as eas'ly write of--
  But his over-young invention
  Kept not pace with brave intention.
  Twenty suns did rise and set,
  And he could no further get;
  But, unable to proceed,
  Made a virtue out of need,
  And, his labors wiselier deem'd of,
  Did omit _what the queen dream'd of_.

       *       *       *       *       *



_To the Tune of the "Old and Young Courtier."_

  In a costly palace Youth goes clad in gold;
  In a wretched workhouse Age's limbs are cold:
  There they sit, the old men by a shivering fire,
  Still close and closer cowering, warmth is their desire.

  In a costly palace, when the brave gallants dine,
  They have store of good venison, with old canary wine,
  With singing and music to heighten the cheer;
  Coarse bits, with grudging, are the pauper's best fare.

  In a costly palace Youth is still carest
  By a train of attendants which laugh at my young Lord's jest;
  In a wretched workhouse the contrary prevails:
  Does Age begin to prattle?--no man heark'neth to his tales.

  In a costly palace if the child with a pin
  Do but chance to prick a finger, straight the doctor is called in;
  In a wretched workhouse men are left to perish
  For want of proper cordials, which their old age might cherish.

  In a costly palace Youth enjoys his lust;
  In a wretched workhouse Age, in corners thrust,
  Thinks upon the former days, when he was well to do,
  Had children to stand by him, both friends and kinsmen too.

  In a costly palace Youth his temples hides
  With a new-devised peruke that reaches to his sides;
  In a wretched workhouse Age's crown is bare,
  With a few thin locks just to fence out the cold air.

  In peace, as in war, 'tis our young gallants' pride,
  To walk, each one i' the streets, with a rapier by his side,
  That none to do them injury may have pretence;
  Wretched Age, in poverty, must brook offence.

       *       *       *       *       *


  By myself walking,
  To myself talking,
  When as I ruminate
  On my untoward fate,
  Scarcely seem I
  Alone sufficiently,
  Black thoughts continually
  Crowding my privacy;
  They come unbidden,
  Like foes at a wedding,
  Thrusting their faces
  In better guests' places,
  Peevish and malecontent,
  Clownish, impertinent,
  Dashing the merriment:
  So in like fashions
  Dim cogitations
  Follow and haunt me,
  Striving to daunt me,
  In my heart festering,
  In my ears whispering,
  "Thy friends are treacherous,
  Thy foes are dangerous,
  Thy dreams ominous."

    Fierce Anthropophagi,
  Spectra, Diaboli,
  What scared St. Anthony,
  Hobgoblins, Lemures,
  Dreams of Antipodes,
  Night-riding Incubi,
  Troubling the fantasy,
  All dire illusions
  Causing confusions;
  Figments heretical,
  Scruples fantastical,
  Doubts diabolical;
  Abaddon vexeth me,
  Mahu perplexeth me,
  Lucifer teareth me----

_Jesu! Maria! liberate nos ab his diris tentationibus Inimici._

       *       *       *       *       *


  May the Babylonish curse
  Straight confound my stammering verse,
  If I can a passage see
  In this word-perplexity,
  Or a fit expression find,
  Or a language to my mind,
  (Still the phrase is wide or scant)
  To take leave of thee, GREAT PLANT!
  Or in any terms relate
  Half my love, or half my hate:
  For I hate, yet love, thee so,
  That, whichever thing I show,
  The plain truth will seem to be
  A constrain'd hyperbole,
  And the passion to proceed
  More from a mistress than a weed.

    Sooty retainer to the vine,
  Bacchus' black servant, negro fine;
  Sorcerer, that mak'st us dote upon
  Thy begrimed complexion,
  And, for thy pernicious sake,
  More and greater oaths to break
  Than reclaimèd lovers take
  'Gainst women: thou thy siege dost lay
  Much too in the female way,
  While thou suck'st the lab'ring breath
  Faster than kisses or than death.

    Thou in such a cloud dost bind us,
  That our worst foes cannot find us,
  And ill-fortune, that would thwart us.
  Shoots at rovers, shooting at us;
  While each man, through thy height'ning steam,
  Does like a smoking Etna seem,
  And all about us does express
  (Fancy and wit in richest dress)
  A Sicilian fruitfulness.

    Thou through such a mist dost show us,
  That our best friends do not know us,
  And, for those allowèd features,
  Due to reasonable creatures,
  Liken'st us to fell Chimeras,
  Monsters that, who see us, fear us;
  Worse than Cerberus or Geryon,
  Or, who first loved a cloud, Ixion.

    Bacchus we know, and we allow
  His tipsy rites. But what art thou,
  That but by reflex canst show
  What his deity can do,
  As the false Egyptian spell
  Aped the true Hebrew miracle
  Some few vapors thou may'st raise,
  The weak brain may serve to amaze,
  But to the reins and nobler heart
  Canst nor life nor heat impart.

    Brother of Bacchus, later born,
  The old world was sure forlorn
  Wanting thee, that aidest more
  The god's victories than before
  All his panthers, and the brawls
  Of his piping Bacchanals.
  These, as stale, we disallow,
  Or judge of _thee_ meant; only thou
  His true Indian conquest art;
  And, for ivy round his dart,
  The reformèd god now weaves
  A finer thyrsus of thy leaves.

    Scent to match thy rich perfume
  Chemic art did ne'er presume
  Through her quaint alembic strain,
  None so sov'reign to the brain.
  Nature, that did in thee excel,
  Framed again no second smell.
  Roses, violets, but toys
  For the smaller sort of boys,
  Or for greener damsels meant;
  Thou art the only manly scent.

    Stinking'st of the stinking kind,
  Filth of the mouth and fog of the mind,
  Africa, that brags her foison,
  Breeds no such prodigious poison,
  Henbane, nightshade, both together,
  Hemlock, aconite----

                            Nay, rather,
  Plant divine, of rarest virtue;
  Blisters on the tongue would hurt you.
  'Twas but in a sort I blamed thee:
  None e'er prosper'd who defamed thee;
  Irony all, and feign'd abuse,
  Such as perplex'd lovers use,
  At a need, when, in despair
  To paint forth their fairest fair,
  Or in part but to express
  That exceeding comeliness
  Which their fancies doth so strike,
  They borrow language of dislike;
  And, instead of Dearest Miss,
  Jewel, Honey, Sweetheart, Bliss,
  And those forms of old admiring,
  Call her Cockatrice and Siren,
  Basilisk, and all that's evil,
  Witch, Hyena, Mermaid, Devil,
  Ethiop, Wench, and Blackamoor,
  Monkey, Ape, and twenty more;
  Friendly Trait'ress, loving Foe,--
  Not that she is truly so,
  But no other way they know
  A contentment to express,
  Borders so upon excess,
  That they do not rightly wot
  Whether it be pain or not.

    Or, as men, constrain'd to part
  With what's nearest to their heart,
  While their sorrow's at the height,
  Lose discrimination quite,
  And their hasty wrath let fall,
  To appease their frantic gall,
  On the darling thing whatever,
  Whence they feel it death to sever,
  Though it be, as they, perforce,
  Guiltless of the sad divorce.

    For I must (nor let it grieve thee,
  Friendliest of plants, that I must) leave thee.
  For thy sake, TOBACCO, I
  Would do anything but die,
  And but seek to extend my days
  Long enough to sing thy praise.
  But, as she, who once hath been
  A king's consort, is a queen
  Ever after, nor will bate
  Any tittle of her state,
  Though a widow, or divorced,
  So I, from thy converse forced,
  The old name and style retain,
  A right Katherine of Spain;
  And a seat, too,'mongst the joys
  Of the blest Tobacco Boys;
  Where, though I, by sour physician,
  Am debarr'd the full fruition
  Of thy favors, I may catch
  Some collateral sweets, and snatch
  Sidelong odors, that give life
  Like glances from a neighbor's wife;
  And still live in the by-places
  And the suburbs of thy graces;
  And in thy borders take delight,
  An unconquer'd Canaanite.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO T. L. H.


  Model of thy parent dear,
  Serious infant worth a fear:
  In thy unfaltering visage well
  Picturing forth the son of TELL,
  When on his forehead, firm and good,
  Motionless mark, the apple stood;
  Guileless traitor, rebel mild,
  Convict unconscious, culprit child!
  Gates that close with iron roar
  Have been to thee thy nursery door;
  Chains that chink in cheerless cells
  Have been thy rattles and thy bells;
  Walls contrived for giant sin
  Have hemm'd thy faultless weakness in;
  Near thy sinless bed black Guilt
  Her discordant house hath built,
  And fill'd it with her monstrous brood--
  Sights, by thee not understood--
  Sights of fear, and of distress,
  That pass a harmless infant's guess

    But the clouds, that overcast
  Thy young morning, may not last;
  Soon shall arrive the rescuing hour
  That yields thee up to Nature's power:
  Nature, that so late doth greet thee,
  Shall in o'erflowing measure meet thee.
  She shall recompense with cost
  For every lesson thou hast lost.
  Then wandering up thy sire's loved hill,[1]
  Thou shalt take thy airy fill
  Of health and pastime. _Birds shall sing
  For thy delight each May morning._
  'Mid new-yean'd lambkins thou shalt play,
  Hardly less a lamb than they.
  Then thy prison's lengthen'd bound
  Shall be the horizon skirting round:
  And, while thou fillest thy lap with flowers,
  To make amends for wintry hours,
  The breeze, the sunshine, and the place,
  Shall from thy tender brow efface
  Each vestige of untimely care,
  That sour restraint had graven there;
  And on thy every look impress
  A more excelling childishness.

  So shall be thy days beguiled,
  THORNTON HUNT, my favorite child.

[Footnote 1: Hampstead.]

       *       *       *       *       *



  The clouds are blackening, the storms threatening,
    And ever the forest maketh a moan:
  Billows are breaking, the damsel's heart acting,
    Thus by herself she singeth alone,
      Weeping right plenteously.

  "The world is empty, the heart is dead surely,
    In this world plainly all seemeth amiss:
  To thy breast, holy one, take now thy little one,
    I have had earnest of all earth's bliss,
      Living right lovingly."

       *       *       *       *       *


  David and his three captains bold
  Kept ambush once within a hold.
  It was in Adullam's cave,
  Nigh which no water they could have,
  Nor spring, nor running brook was near
  To quench the thirst that parch'd them there.
  Then David, king of Israël,
  Straight bethought him of a well,
  Which stood beside the city gate,
  At Bethlem; where, before his state
  Of kingly dignity, he had
  Oft drunk his fill, a shepherd lad;
  But now his fierce Philistine foe
  Encamp'd before it he does know.
  Yet ne'er the less, with heat opprest,
  Those three bold captains he addrest;
  And wish'd that one to him would bring
  Some water from his native spring.
  His valiant captains instantly
  To execute his will did fly.
  The mighty Three the ranks broke through
  Of armed foes, and water drew
  For David, their beloved king,
  At his own sweet native spring.
  Back through their arm'd foes they haste,
  With the hard-earn'd treasure graced.
  But when the good king David found
  What they had done, he on the ground
  The water pour'd ... "Because," said he,
  "That it was at the jeopardy
  Of your three lives this thing ye did,
  That I should drink it, God forbid."

       *       *       *       *       *


  Once on a charger there was laid,
  And brought before a royal maid,
  As price of attitude and grace,
  A guiltless head, a holy face.

    It was on Herod's natal day,
  Who o'er Judea's land held sway.
  He married his own brother's wife,
  Wicked Herodias. She the life
  Of John the Baptist long had sought,
  Because he openly had taught
  That she a life unlawful led,
  Having her husband's brother wed.

    This was he, that saintly John,
  Who in the wilderness alone
  Abiding, did for clothing wear
  A garment made of camel's hair;
  Honey and locusts were his food,
  And he was most severely good.
  He preachèd penitence and tears,
  And waking first the sinner's fears,
  Prepared a path, made smooth a way,
  For his diviner Master's day.

    Herod kept in princely state
  His birthday. On his throne he sate,
  After the feast, beholding her
  Who danced with grace peculiar;
  Fair Salome, who did excel
  All in that land for dancing well.
  The feastful monarch's heart was fired,
  And whatsoe'er thing she desired,
  Though half his kingdom it should be,
  He in his pleasure swore that he
  Would give the graceful Salome.
  The damsel was Herodias' daughter:
  She to the queen hastes, and besought her
  To teach her what great gift to name.
  Instructed by Herodias, came
  The damsel back: to Herod said,
  "Give me John the Baptist's head;
  And in a charger let it be
  Hither straightway brought to me."
  Herod her suit would fain deny,
  But for his oath's sake must comply.

    When painters would by art express
  Beauty in unloveliness,
  Thee, Herodias' daughter, thee,
  They fittest subject take to be.
  They give thy form and features grace;
  But ever in thy beauteous face
  They show a steadfast cruel gaze,
  An eye unpitying; and amaze
  In all beholders deep they mark,
  That thou betrayest not one spark
  Of feeling for the ruthless deed,
  That did thy praiseful dance succeed.
  For on the head they make you look,
  As if a sullen joy you took,
  A cruel triumph, wicked pride,
  That for your sport a saint had died.

       *       *       *       *       *



  The lady Blanch, regardless of all her lover's fears,
  To the Urs'line convent hastens, and long the Abbess hears,
  "O Blanch, my child, repent ye of the courtly life ye lead."
  Blanch look'd on a rose-bud and little seem'd to heed.
  She look'd on the rose-bud, she look'd round, and thought
  On all her heart had whisper'd, and all the Nun had taught.
  "I am worshipp'd by lovers, and brightly shines my fame,
  All Christendom resoundeth the noble Blanch's name.
  Nor shall I quickly wither like the rose-bud from the tree,
  My queen-like graces shining when my beauty's gone from me.
  But when the sculptured marble is rais'd o'er my head,
  And the matchless Blanch lies lifeless among the noble dead,
  This saintly lady Abbess hath made me justly fear,
  It nothing will avail me that I were worshipp'd here."

       *       *       *       *       *



  Who art thou, fair one, who usurp'st the place
  Of Blanch, the lady of the matchless grace?
  Come, fair and pretty, tell to me,
  Who, in thy lifetime, thou might'st be.
  Thou pretty art and fair,
  But with the lady Blanch thou never must compare.
  No need for Blanch her history to tell;
  Whoever saw her face, they there did read it well.
  But when I look on thee, I only know
  There lived a pretty maid some hundred years ago.

       *       *       *       *       *



  While young John runs to greet
  The greater Infant's feet,
  The Mother standing by, with trembling passion
  Of devout admiration,
  Beholds the engaging mystic play, and pretty adoration;
  Nor knows as yet the full event
  Of those so low beginnings,
  From whence we date our winnings,
  But wonders at the intent
  Of those new rites, and what that strange child-worship meant.
  But at her side
  An angel doth abide,
  With such a perfect joy
  As no dim doubts alloy,
  An intuition,
  A glory, an amenity,
  Passing the dark condition
  Of blind humanity,
  As if he surely knew
  All the blest wonder should ensue,
  Or he had lately left the upper sphere,
  And had read all the sovran schemes and divine riddles there.

       *       *       *       *       *


  Maternal lady with the virgin grace,
  Heaven-born thy Jesus seemeth sure,
  And thou a virgin pure.
  Lady most perfect, when thy sinless face
  Men look upon, they wish to be
  A Catholic, Madonna fair, to worship thee.


       *       *       *       *       *


  You are not, Kelly, of the common strain,
  That stoop their pride and female honor down
  To please that many-headed beast _the town_,
  And vend their lavish smiles and tricks for gain;
  By fortune thrown amid the actors' train,
  You keep your native dignity of thought;
  The plaudits that attend you come unsought,
  As tributes due unto your natural vein.
  Your tears have passion in them, and a grace
  Of genuine freshness, which our hearts avow;
  Your smiles are winds whose ways we cannot trace,
  That vanish and return we know not how--
  And please the better from a pensive face,
  A thoughtful eye, and a reflecting brow.



  Queen-bird that sittest on thy shining-nest,
  And thy young cygnets without sorrow hatchest,
  And thou, thou other royal bird, that watchest
  Lest the white mother wandering feet molest:
  Shrined are your offspring in a crystal cradle,
  Brighter than Helen's ere she yet had burst
  Her shelly prison. They shall be born at first
  Strong, active, graceful, perfect, swan-like able
  To tread the land or waters with security.
  Unlike poor human births, conceived in sin,
  In grief brought forth, both outwardly and in
  Confessing weakness, error, and impurity.
  Did heavenly creatures own succession's line,
  The births of heaven like to yours would shine.


  Was it some sweet device of Faëry
  That mock'd my steps with many a lonely glade,
  And fancied wanderings with a fair-hair'd maid?
  Have these things been? or what rare witchery,
  Impregning with delights the charmèd air,
  Enlighted up the semblance of a smile
  In those fine eyes? methought they spake the while
  Soft soothing things, which might enforce despair
  To drop the murdering knife, and let go by
  His foul resolve. And does the lonely glade
  Still court the footsteps of the fair-hair'd maid?
  Still in her locks the gales of summer sigh?
  While I forlorn do wander reckless where,
  And 'mid my wanderings meet no Anna there.


  Methinks how dainty sweet it were, reclined
  Beneath the vast out-stretching branches high
  Of some old wood, in careless sort to lie,
  Nor of the busier scenes we left behind
  Aught envying. And, O Anna! mild-eyed maid!
  Beloved! I were well content to play
  With thy free tresses all a summer's day,
  Losing the time beneath the greenwood shade.
  Or we might sit and tell some tender tale
  Of faithful vows repaid by cruel scorn,
  A tale of true love, or of friend forgot;
  And I would teach thee, lady, how to rail
  In gentle sort, on those who practise not
  Or love or pity, though of woman born.


  When last I roved these winding wood-walks green,
  Green winding walks, and shady pathways sweet,
  Oft-times would Anna seek the silent scene,
  Shrouding her beauties in the lone retreat.
  No more I hear her footsteps in the shade:
  Her image only in these pleasant ways
  Meets me self-wandering, where in happier days
  I held free converse with the fair-hair'd maid.
  I pass'd the little cottage which she loved,
  The cottage which did once my all contain;
  It spake of days which ne'er must come again,
  Spake to my heart, and much my heart was moved.
  "Now fair befall thee, gentle maid!" said I,
  And from the cottage turn'd me with a sigh.



  What reason first imposed thee, gentle name,
  Name that my father bore, and his sire's sire,
  Without reproach? we trace our stream no higher;
  And I, a childless man, may end the same.
  Perchance some shepherd on Lincolnian plains,
  In manners guileless as his own sweet flocks,
  Received thee first amid the merry mocks
  And arch allusions of his fellow swains.
  Perchance from Salem's holier fields return'd,
  With glory gotten on the heads abhorr'd
  Of faithless Saracens, some martial lord
  Took HIS meek title, in whose zeal he burn'd,
  Whate'er the fount whence thy beginnings came,
  No deed of mine shall shame thee, gentle name.


  If from my lips some angry accents fell,
  Peevish complaint, or harsh reproof unkind,
  'Twas but the error of a sickly mind
  And troubled thoughts, clouding the purer well,
  And waters clear, of Reason; and for me
  Let this my verse the poor atonement be--
  My verse, which thou to praise wert ever inclined
  Too highly, and with a partial eye to see
  No blemish. Thou to me didst ever show
  Kindest affection; and would oft-times lend
  An ear to the desponding lovesick lay,
  Weeping my sorrows with me, who repay
  But ill the mighty debt of love I owe,
  Mary, to thee, my sister and my friend.


  A timid grace sits trembling in her eye,
  As loath to meet the rudeness of men's sight,
  Yet shedding a delicious lunar light,
  That steeps in kind oblivious ecstasy
  The care-crazed mind, like some still melody:
  Speaking most plain the thoughts which do possess
  Her gentle sprite: peace, and meek quietness,
  And innocent loves, and maiden purity:
  A look whereof might heal the cruel smart
  Of changèd friends, or fortune's wrongs unkind;
  Might to sweet deeds of mercy move the heart
  Of him who hates his brethren of mankind.
  Turn'd are those lights from me, who fondly yet
  Past joys, vain loves, and buried hopes regret.



  John, you were figuring in the gay career
  Of blooming manhood with a young man's joy,
  When I was yet a little peevish boy--
  Though time has made the difference disappear
  Betwixt our ages, which _then_ seem'd so great--
  And still by rightful custom you retain
  Much of the old authoritative strain,
  And keep the elder brother up in state.
  O! you do well in this. 'Tis man's worst deed
  To let the "things that have been" run to waste,
  And in the unmeaning present sink the past:
  In whose dim glass even now I faintly read
  Old buried forms, and faces long ago,
  Which you, and I, and one more, only know.


  O! I could laugh to hear the midnight wind,
  That, rushing on its way with careless sweep,
  Scatters the ocean waves. And I could weep
  Like to a child. For now to my raised mind
  On wings of winds comes wild-eyed Fantasy,
  And her rude visions give severe delight.
  O wingèd bark! how swift along the night
  Pass'd thy proud keel! nor shall I let go by
  Lightly of that drear hour the memory,
  When wet and chilly on thy deck I stood,
  Unbonneted, and gazed upon the flood,
  Even till it seem'd a pleasant thing to die,--
  To be resolv'd into th' elemental wave,
  Or take my portion with the winds that rave.


  We were two pretty babes, the youngest she,
  The youngest, and the loveliest far, I ween,
  And INNOCENCE her name. The time has been,
  We two did love each other's company:
  Time was, we two had wept to have been apart.
  But when by show of seeming good beguiled,
  I left the garb and manners of a child,
  And my first love for man's society,
  Defiling with the world my virgin heart--
  My loved companion dropp'd a tear, and fled,
  And hid in deepest shades her awful head.
  Beloved, who shall tell me where thou art--
  In what delicious Eden to be found--
  That I may seek thee the wide world around?


       *       *       *       *       *


  In my poor mind it is most sweet to muse
  Upon the days gone by; to act in thought
  Past seasons o'er, and be again a child;
  To sit in fancy on the turf-clad slope,
  Down which the child would roll; to pluck gay flowers,
  Make posies in the sun, which the child's hand
  (Childhood offended soon, soon reconciled,)
  Would throw away, and straight take up again,
  Then fling them to the winds, and o'er the lawn
  Bound with so playful and so light a foot,
  That the press'd daisy scarce declined her head.

       *       *       *       *       *


                          On the green hill-top,
  Hard by the house of prayer, a modest roof,
  And not distinguish'd from its neighbor-barn,
  Save by a slender-tapering length of spire,
  The Grandame sleeps. A plain stone barely tells
  The name and date to the chance passenger.
  For lowly born was she, and long had eat,
  Well-earn'd, the bread of service:--hers was else
  A mountain spirit, one that entertain'd
  Scorn of base action, deed dishonorable,
  Or aught unseemly. I remember well
  Her reverend image; I remember, too,
  With what a zeal she served her master's house;
  And how the prattling tongue of garrulous age
  Delighted to recount the oft-told tale
  Or anecdote domestic. Wise she was,
  And wondrous skill'd in genealogies,
  And could in apt and voluble terms discourse
  Of births, of titles, and alliances;
  Of marriages, and intermarriages;
  Relationship remote, or near of kin;
  Of friends offended, family disgraced--
  Maiden high-born, but wayward, disobeying
  Parental strict injunction, and regardless
  Of unmix'd blood, and ancestry remote,
  Stooping to wed with one of low degree.
  But these are not thy praises; and I wrong
  Thy honor'd memory, recording chiefly
  Things light or trivial. Better 'twere to tell,
  How with a nobler zeal, and warmer love,
  She served her _heavenly Master_. I have seen
  That reverend form bent down with age and pain,
  And rankling malady. Yet not for this
  Ceased she to praise her Maker, or withdrew
  Her trust in Him, her faith, an humble hope--
  So meekly had she learn'd to bear her cross--
  For she had studied patience in the school
  Of Christ; much comfort she had thence derived,
  And was a follower of the NAZARENE.

       *       *       *       *       *


  The cheerful Sabbath bells, wherever heard,
  Strike pleasant on the sense, most like the voice
  Of one, who from the far-off hills proclaims
  Tidings of good to Zion: chiefly when
  Their piercing tones fall _sudden_ on the ear
  Of the contemplant, solitary man,
  Whom thoughts abstruse or high have chanced to lure
  Forth from the walks of men, revolving oft,
  And oft again, hard matter, which eludes
  And baffles his pursuit--thought-sick and tired
  Of controversy, where no end appears,
  No clue to his research, the lonely man
  Half wishes for society again.
  Him, thus engaged, the Sabbath bells salute
  _Sudden!_ his heart awakes, his ears drink in
  The cheering music; his relenting soul
  Yearns after all the joys of social life,
  And softens with the love of human kind.

       *       *       *       *       *


  The truant Fancy was a wanderer ever,
  A lone enthusiast maid. She loves to walk
  In the bright visions of empyreal light,
  By the green pastures, and the fragrant meads,
  Where the perpetual flowers of Eden blow;
  By crystal streams, and by the living waters,
  Along whose margin grows the wondrous tree
  Whose leaves shall heal the nations; underneath
  Whose holy shade a refuge shall be found
  From pain and want, and all the ills that wait
  On mortal life, from sin and death forever.

       *       *       *       *       *


  From broken visions of perturbèd rest
  I wake, and start, and fear to sleep again.
  How total a privation of all sounds,
  Sights, and familiar objects, man, bird, beast,
  Herb, tree, or flower, and prodigal light of heaven.
  'Twere some relief to catch the drowsy cry
  Of the mechanic watchman, or the noise
  Of revel reeling home from midnight cups.
  Those are the meanings of the dying man,
  Who lies in the upper chamber; restless moans,
  And interrupted only by a cough
  Consumptive, torturing the wasted lungs.
  So in the bitterness of death he lies,
  And waits in anguish for the morning's light.
  What can that do for him, or what restore?
  Short taste, faint sense, affecting notices.
  And little images of pleasures past,
  Of health, and active life--health not yet slain,
  Nor the other grace of life, a good name, sold
  For sin's black wages. On his tedious bed
  He writhes, and turns him from the accusing light,
  And finds no comfort in the sun, but says
  "When night comes I shall get a little rest."
  Some few groans more, death comes, and there an end.
  'Tis darkness and conjecture all beyond;
  Weak Nature fears, though Charity must hope,
  And Fancy, most licentious on such themes
  Where decent reverence well had kept her mute,
  Hath o'erstock'd hell with devils, and brought down
  By her enormous fablings and mad lies,
  Discredit on the gospel's serious truths
  And salutary fears. The man of parts,
  Poet, or prose declaimer, on his couch
  Lolling, like one indifferent, fabricates
  A heaven of gold, where he, and such as he,
  Their heads encompassed with crowns, their heels
  With fine wings garlanded, shall tread the stars
  Beneath their feet, heaven's pavement, far removed
  From damnèd spirits, and the torturing cries
  Of men, his breth'ren, fashion'd of the earth,
  As he was, nourish'd with the self-same bread,
  Belike his kindred or companions once--
  Through everlasting ages now divorced,
  In chains and savage torments to repent
  Short years of folly on earth. Their groans unheard
  In heav'n, the saint nor pity feels, nor care,
  For those thus sentenced--pity might disturb
  The delicate sense and most divine repose
  Of spirits angelical. Blessed be God,
  The measure of his judgments is not fix'd
  By man's erroneous standard. He discerns
  No such inordinate difference and vast
  Betwixt the sinner and the saint, to doom
  Such disproportion'd fates. Compared with him,
  No man on earth is holy call'd: they best
  Stand in his sight approved, who at his feet
  Their little crowns of virtue cast, and yield
  To him of his own works the praise, his due.


       *       *       *       *       *


  JOHN,   }
  SIMON,  }_his sons_.

  GRAY,   }_Pretended friends of John_.

SANDFORD. _Sir Walter's old steward_.
MARGARET. _Orphan Ward of_ Sir Walter.
FOUR GENTLEMEN. _John's riotous companions_.

SCENE--_for the most part at Sir Walter's mansion in_ DEVONSHIRE; _at
other times in the Forest of_ SHERWOOD.

TIME--_soon after the_ RESTORATION.

       *       *       *       *       *


SCENE--_A Servants' Apartment in Woodvill Hall. Servants drinking--_

TIME, _the Morning_.

_A Song, by_ DANIEL.

"When the King enjoys his own again."

_Peter_. A delicate song. Where didst learn it, fellow?

_Dan_. Even there, where thou learnest thy oaths and thy politics--at
our master's table.--Where else should a serving-man pick up his poor

_Mar_. Well spoken, Daniel. O rare Daniel! his oaths and his
politics! excellent!

_Fran_. And where didst pick up thy knavery, Daniel?

_Peter_. That came to him by inheritance. His family have supplied
the shire of Devon, time out of mind, with good thieves and bad
serving-men. All of his race have come into the world without their

_Mar_. Good thieves, and bad serving-men! Better and better. I marvel
what Daniel hath got to say in reply.

_Dan_. I marvel more when thou wilt say anything to the purpose, thou
shallow serving-man, whose swiftest conceit carries thee no higher
than to apprehend with difficulty the stale jests of us thy compeers.
When was't ever known to club thy own particular jest among us?

_Mar_. Most unkind Daniel, to speak such biting things of me!

_Fran_. See--if he hath not brought tears into the poor fellow's eyes
with the saltness of his rebuke.

_Dan_. No offence, brother Martin--I meant none. 'Tis true, Heaven
gives gifts, and withholds them. It has been pleased to bestow upon
me a nimble invention to the manufacture of a jest; and upon thee,
Martin, an indifferent bad capacity to understand my meaning.

_Mar_. Is that all? I am content. Here's my hand.

_Fran_. Well, I like a little innocent mirth myself, but never could
endure bawdry.

_Dan_. _Quot homines tot sententiæ._

_Mar_. And what is that?

_Dan_. 'Tis Greek, and argues difference of opinion.

_Mar_. I hope there is none between us.

_Dan_. Here's to thee, brother Martin. (_Drinks_.)

_Mar_. And to thee, Daniel. (_Drinks_.)

_Fran_. And to thee, Peter. (_Drinks_.)

_Peter_. Thank you, Francis. And here's to thee. (_Drinks_.)

_Mar_. I shall be fuddled anon.

_Dan_. And drunkenness I hold to be a very despicable vice.

_All_. O! a shocking vice. (_They drink round_.)

_Peter_. In as much as it taketh away the understanding.

_Dan_. And makes the eyes red.

_Peter_. And the tongue to stammer.

_Dan_. And to blab out secrets.

             [_During this conversation they continue drinking_.

_Peter_. Some men do not know an enemy from a friend when they are

_Dan_. Certainly sobriety is the health of the soul.

_Mar_. Now I know I am going to be drunk.

_Dan_. How canst tell, dry-bones?

_Mar_. Because I begin to be melancholy. That's always a sign.

_Fran_. Take care of Martin, he'll topple off his seat else.
                                          [MARTIN _drops asleep_.

_Peter_. Times are greatly altered, since young master took upon
himself the government of this household.

_All_. Greatly altered.

_Fran_. I think everything be altered for the better since His
Majesty's blessed restoration.

_Peter_. In Sir Walter's days there was no encouragement given to
good housekeeping.

_All_. None.

_Dan_. For instance, no possibility of getting drunk before two in
the afternoon.

_Peter_. Every man his allowance of ale at breakfast--his quart!

_All_. A quart!!                             [_In derision._

_Dan_. Nothing left to our own sweet discretions.

_Peter_. Whereby it may appear, we were treated more like beasts than
what we were--discreet and reasonable serving-men.

_All_. Like beasts.

_Mar_. (_Opening his eyes_.) Like beasts.

_Dan_. To sleep, wagtail!

_Fran_. I marvel all this while where the old gentleman has found
means to secrete himself. It seems no man has heard of him since the
day of the King's return. Can any tell why our young master, being
favored by the court, should not have interest to procure his
father's pardon?

_Dan_. Marry, I think 'tis the obstinacy of the old knight, that will
not be beholden to the court for his safety.

_Mar_. Now that is wilful.

_Fran_. But can any tell me the place of his concealment?

_Peter_. That cannot I; but I have my conjectures.

_Dan_. Two hundred pounds, as I hear, to the man that shall apprehend

_Fran_. Well, I have my suspicions.

_Peter_. And so have I.

_Mar_. And I can keep a secret.

_Fran_. (_to PETER_.) Warwickshire, you mean.  [_Aside._

_Peter_. Perhaps not.

_Fran_. Nearer, perhaps.

_Peter_. I say nothing.

_Dan_. I hope there is none in this company would be mean enough to
betray him.

_All_. O Lord, surely not.

                     [_They drink to_ SIR WALTER'S _safety_.

_Fran_. I have often wondered how our master came to be excepted by
name in the late Act of Oblivion.

_Dan_. Shall I tell the reason?

_All_. Ay, do.

_Dan_. 'Tis thought he is no great friend to the present happy

_All_. O! monstrous!

_Peter_. Fellow-servants, a thought strikes me.--Do we, or do we not,
come under the penalties of the treason-act, by reason of our being
privy to this man's concealment?

_All_. Truly a sad consideration.

                    [_To them enters_ SANDFORD _suddenly_.

_Sand_. You well-fed and unprofitable grooms,
Maintain'd for state, not use;
You lazy feasters at another's cost,
That eat like maggots into an estate,
And do as little work.
Being indeed but foul excrescences,
And no just parts in a well-order'd family;
You base and rascal imitators,
Who act up to the height your master's vices,
But cannot read his virtues in your bond:
Which of you, as I enter'd, spake of betraying?
Was it you, or you, or thin-face, was it you?

_Mar_. Whom does he call thin-face?

_Sand_. No prating, loon, but tell me who he was,
That I may brain the villain with my staff,
That seeks Sir Walter's life!
You miserable men,
With minds more slavish than your slave's estate,
Have you that noble bounty so forgot,
Which took you from the looms, and from the ploughs,
Which better had ye follow'd, fed ye, clothed ye,
And entertain'd ye in a worthy service,
Where your best wages was the world's repute,
That thus ye seek his life, by whom ye live.
Have you forgot, too,
How often in old times
Your drunken mirths have stunn'd day's sober ears,
Carousing full cups to Sir Walter's health?--
Whom now ye would betray, but that he lies
Out of the reach of your poor treacheries.
This learn from me,
Our master's secret sleeps with trustier tongues,
Than will unlock themselves to carls like you.
Go, get you gone, you knaves. Who stirs? this staff
Shall teach you better manners else.

_All_. Well, we are going.

_Sand_. And quickly too, ye had better, for I see
Young Mistress Margaret coming this way.

                                       [_Exeunt all but_ SANDFORD

_Enter_ MARGARET, _as in a fright, pursued by a Gentleman, who,
seeing_ SANDFORD, _retires muttering a curse_.

_Sand_. Good-morrow to my fair mistress. 'Twas a chance
I saw you, lady, so intent was I
On chiding hence these graceless serving-men,
Who cannot break their fast at morning meals
Without debauch and mistimed riotings.
This house hath been a scene of nothing else
But atheist riot and profane excess,
Since my old master quitted all his rights here.

_Marg_. Each day I endure fresh insult from the scorn
Of Woodvil's friends, the uncivil jests
And free discourses of the dissolute men
That haunt this mansion, making me their mirth.

_Sand_. Does my young master know of these affronts?

_Marg_. I cannot tell. Perhaps he has not been told.
Perhaps he might have seen them if he would.
I have known him more quick-sighted. Let that pass.
All things seem changed, I think. I had a friend,
(I can't but weep to think him alter'd too,)
These things are best forgotten; but I knew
A man, a young man, young, and full of honor,
That would have pick'd a quarrel for a straw,
And fought it out to the extremity,
E'en with the dearest friend he had alive,
On but a bare surmise, a possibility,
That Margaret had suffer'd an affront.
Some are too tame, that were too splenetic once.

_Sand_. 'Twere best he should be _told_ of these affronts.

_Marg_. I am the daughter of his father's friend,
Sir Walter's orphan ward.
I am not his servant-maid, that I should wait
The opportunity of a gracious hearing.
Enquire the times and seasons when to put
My peevish prayer up at young Woodvil's feet,
And sue to him for slow redress, who was
Himself a suitor late to Margaret.
I am somewhat proud: and Woodvil taught me pride.
I was his favorite once, his playfellow in infancy,
And joyful mistress of his youth.
None once so pleasant in his eyes as Margaret.
His conscience, his religion, Margaret was,
His dear heart's confessor, a heart within that heart,
And all dear things summ'd up in her alone.
As Margaret smil'd or frown'd John liv'd or died;
His dress, speech, gesture, studies, friendships, all
Being fashion'd to her liking.
His flatteries taught me first this self-esteem,
His flatteries and caresses, while he loved.
The world esteem'd her happy, who had won
His heart, who won all hearts;
And ladies envied me the love of Woodvil.

_Sand_. He doth affect the courtier's life too much,
Whose art is to forget,
And that has wrought this seeming change in him,
That was by nature noble.
'Tis these court-plagues, that swarm about our house,
Have done the mischief, making his fancy giddy
With images of state, preferment, place,
Tainting his generous spirits with ambition.

_Marg_. I know not how it is;
A cold protector is John grown to me.
The mistress, and presumptive wife, of Woodvil
Can never stoop so low to supplicate
A man, her equal, to redress those wrongs,
Which he was bound first to prevent;
But which his own neglects have sanctioned rather,
Both sancion'd and provok'd: a mark'd neglect,
And strangeness fastening bitter on his love,
His love, which long has been upon the wane.
For me, I am determined what to do:
To leave this house this night, and lukewarm John,
And trust for food to the earth and Providence.

_Sand_. O lady, have a care
Of these indefinite and spleen-bred resolves.
You know not half the dangers that attend
Upon a life of wand'ring, which your thoughts now,
Feeling the swellings of a lofty anger,
To your abused fancy, as 'tis likely,
Portray without its terrors, painting _lies_
And representments of fallacious liberty;--
You know not what it is to leave the roof that shelters you.

_Marg_. I have thought on every possible event,
The dangers and discouragements you speak of,
Even till my woman's heart hath ceased to fear them,
And cowardice grows enamor'd of rare accidents;
Nor am I so unfurnish'd, as you think,
Of practicable schemes.

_Sand_. Now God forbid; think twice of this, dear lady.

_Marg_. I pray you spare me, Mr. Sandford.
And once for all believe, nothing can shake my purpose.

_Sand_. But what course have you thought on?

_Marg_. To seek Sir Walter in the forest of Sherwood.
I have letters from young Simon,
Acquainting me with all the circumstances
Of their concealment, place, and manner of life,
And the merry hours they spend in the green haunts
Of Sherwood, nigh which place they have ta'en a house
In the town of Nottingham, and pass for foreigners,
Wearing the dress of Frenchmen.--
All which I have perused with so attent
And child-like longings, that to my doting ears
Two sounds now seem like one,
One meaning in two words, Sherwood and Liberty.
And, gentle Mr. Sandford,
'Tis you that must provide now
The means of my departure, which for safety
Must be in boy's apparel.

_Sand_. Since you will have it so
(My careful age trembles at all may happen),
I will engage to furnish you.
I have the keys of the wardrobe, and can fit you
With garments to your size.
I know a suit
Of lively Lincoln green, that shall much grace you
In the wear, being glossy fresh, and worn but seldom.
Young Stephen Woodvil wore them while he lived.
I have the keys of all this house and passages,
And ere daybreak will rise and let you forth.
What things soe'er you have need of I can furnish you;
And will provide a horse and trusty guide,
To bear you on your way to Nottingham.

_Marg_. That once this day and night were fairly past!
For then I'll bid this house and love farewell;
Farewell, sweet Devon; farewell, lukewarm John;
For with the morning's light will Margaret be gone.
Thanks, courteous Mr. Sandford.--

                                           [_Exeunt divers ways._


SCENE.--_An Apartment in Woodvil Hall._

JOHN WOODVIL--_alone_. (_Reading parts of a letter_).

"When Love grows cold, and indifference has usurped upon old Esteem,
it is no marvel if the world begin to account _that_ dependence,
which hitherto has been esteemed honorable shelter. The course I have
taken, (in leaving this house, not easily wrought thereunto,) seemed
to me best for the once-for-all releasing of yourself (who in times
past have deserved well of me) from the now daily, and
not-to-be-endured tribute of forced love, and ill-dissembled
reluctance of affection.

Gone! gone! my girl? so hasty, Margaret!
And never a kiss at parting? shallow loves,
And likings of a ten days' growth, use courtesies,
And show red eyes at parting. Who bids "Farewell!"
In the same tone he cries "God speed you, sir?"
Or tells of joyful victories at sea,
Where he hath ventures; does not rather muffle
His organs to emit a leaden sound,
To suit the melancholy dull "farewell,"
Which they in Heaven not use?--
So peevish, Margaret?
But 'tis the common error of your sex
When our idolatry slackens, or grows less,
(As who of woman born can keep his faculty
Of Admiration, being a decaying faculty,
Forever strain'd to the pitch? or can at pleasure
Make it renewable, as some appetites are,
As, namely, Hunger, Thirst!--) this being the case,
They tax us with neglect, and love grown cold,
Coin plainings of the perfidy of men,
Which into maxims pass, and apothegms
To be retail'd in ballads.--
                             I know them all.
They are jealous when our larger hearts receive
More guests than one. (Love in a woman's heart
Being all in one.) For me, I am sure I have room here
For more disturbers of my sleep than one.
Love shall have part, but love shall not have all.
Ambition, Pleasure, Vanity, all by turns,
Shall lie in my bed, and keep me fresh and waking;
Yet Love not be excluded. Foolish wench,
I could have loved her twenty years to come,
And still have kept my liking. But since 'tis so,
Why, fare thee well, old playfellow! I'll try
To squeeze a tear for old acquaintance' sake.
I shall not grudge so much----

          _To him enters_ LOVEL.

_Lovel_. Bless us, Woodvil! what is the matter? I protest, man, I
thought you had been weeping.

_Wood_. Nothing is the matter; only the wench has forced some water
into my eyes, which will quickly disband.

_Lovel_. I cannot conceive you.

_Wood_. Margaret is flown.

_Lovel_. Upon what pretence?

_Wood_. Neglect on my part: which it seems she has had the wit to
discover, maugre all my pains to conceal it.

_Lovel_. Then, you confess the charge?

_Wood_. To say the truth, my love for her has of late stopped short
on this side idolatry.

_Lovel_. As all good Christians' should, I think.

_Wood_. I am sure, I could have loved her still within the limits of
warrantable love.

_Lovel_. A kind of brotherly affection, I take it.

_Wood_. We should have made excellent man and wife in time.

_Lovel_. A good old couple, when the snows fell, to crowd about a
sea-coal fire, and talk over old matters.

_Wood_. While each should feel, what neither cared to acknowledge,
that stories oft-repeated may, at last, come to lose some of their
grace by the repetition.

_Lovel_. Which both of you may yet live long enough to discover. For,
take my word for it, Margaret is a bird that will come back to you
without a lure.

_Wood_. Never, never, Lovel. Spite of my levity, with tears I confess
it, she was a lady of most confirmed honor, of an unmatchable spirit,
and determinate in all virtuous resolutions; not hasty to anticipate
an affront, nor slow to feel, where just provocation was given.

_Lovel_. What made you neglect her, then?

_Wood_. Mere levity and youthfulness of blood, a malady incident to
young men; physicians call it caprice. Nothing else. He that slighted
her knew her value: and 'tis odds, but, for thy sake, Margaret, John
will yet go to his grave a bachelor.

                    [_A noise heard, as of one drunk and singing._

_Lovel_. Here comes one, that will quickly dissipate these humors.

              _Enter one drunk._

_Drunken Man_. Good-morrow to you, gentlemen. Mr. Lovel, I am your
humble servant. Honest Jack Woodvil, I will get drunk with you

_Wood_. And why to-morrow, honest Mr. Freeman?

_Drunken Man_. I scent a traitor in that question. A beastly
question. Is it not his Majesty's birthday? the day of all days in
the year, on which King Charles the Second was graciously pleased to
be born. (_Sings._) "Great pity 'tis such days as those should come
but once a year."

_Lovel_. Drunk in a morning! foh! how he stinks!

_Drunken Man_. And why not drunk in a morning? canst tell, bully?

_Wood_. Because, being the sweet and tender infancy of the day,
methinks, it should ill endure such early blightings.

_Drunken Man_. I grant you, 'tis in some sort the youth and tender
nonage of the day. Youth is bashful, and I give it a cup to encourage
it. (_Sings._) "Ale that will make Grimalkin prate."--At noon I drink
for thirst, at night for fellowship, but, above all, I love to usher
in the bashful morning under the auspices of a freshening stoop of
liquor. (_Sings._) "Ale in a Saxon rumkin then, makes valor burgeon
in tall men."--But, I crave pardon. I fear I keep that gentleman from
serious thoughts. There be those that wait for me in the cellar.

_Wood_. Who are they?

_Drunken Man_. Gentlemen, my good friends, Cleveland, Delaval, and
Truby. I know by this time they are all clamorous for me.

                                                 [_Exit singing._

_Wood._ This keeping of open house acquaints a man with strange

  _Enter, at another door, Three calling for_ HARRY FREEMAN.

Harry Freeman, Harry Freeman.
He is not here. Let us go look for him.
Where is Freeman?
Where is Harry?

                        [_Exeunt the Three, calling for_ FREEMAN.

_Wood._ Did you ever see such gentry? (_laughing._) These are they
that fatten on ale and tobacco in a morning, drink burnt brandy at
noon to promote digestion, and piously conclude with quart bumpers
after supper to prove their loyalty.

_Lovel_. Come, shall we adjourn to the Tennis Court?

_Wood_. No, you shall go with me into the gallery, where I will show
you the _Vandyke_ I have purchased. "The late King taking leave of
his children."

_Lovel_. I will but adjust my dress, and attend you.

                                                   [_Exit_ LOVEL.

_John Wood_. (_alone._) Now universal England getteth drunk
For joy, that Charles, her monarch, is restored:
And she, that sometime wore a saintly mask,
The stale-grown vizor from her face doth pluck,
And weareth now a suit of morris bells,
With which she jingling goes through all her towns and villages.
The baffled factions in their houses skulk;
The commonwealthsman, and state machinist.
The cropt fanatic, and fifth-monarchy-man,
Who heareth of these visionaries now?
They and their dreams have ended. Fools do sing,
Where good men yield God thanks; but politic spirits,
Who live by observation, note these changes
Of the popular mind, and thereby serve their ends.
Then why not I? What's Charles to me, or Oliver,
But as my own advancement hangs on one of them?
I to myself am chief.----I know,
Some shallow mouths cry out, that I am smit
With the gauds and show of state, the point of place,
And trick of precedence, the ducks, and nods
Which weak minds pay to rank. 'Tis not to sit
In place of worship at the royal masques,
Their pastimes, plays, and Whitehall banquetings,
For none of these,
Nor yet to be seen whispering with some great one,
Do I affect the favors of the court.
I would be great, for greatness hath great _power_,
And that's the fruit I reach at.--
Great spirits ask great play-room. Who could sit,
With these prophetic swellings in my breast,
That prick and goad me on, and never cease,
To the fortunes something tells me I was born to?
Who, with such monitors within to stir him,
Would sit him down, with lazy arms across,
A unit, a thing without a name in the state,
A something to be govern'd, not to govern,
A fishing, hawking, hunting, country gentleman?

            SCENE.--_Sherwood Forest._

SIR WALTER WOODVIL. SIMON WOODVIL. (_Disguised as Frenchmen._)

_Sir W_. How fares my boy, Simon, my youngest born,
My hope, my pride, young Woodvil, speak to me?
Some grief untold weighs heavy at thy heart:
I know it by thy alter'd cheer of late.
Thinkest thy brother plays thy father false?
It is a mad and thriftless prodigal,
Grown proud upon the favors of the court;
Court manners, and court fashions, he affects,
And in the heat and uncheck'd blood of youth,
Harbors a company of riotous men,
All hot, and young, court-seekers, like himself,
Most skilful to devour a patrimony;
And these have eat into my old estates,
And these have drain'd thy father's cellars dry;
But these so common faults of youth not named,
(Things which themselves outgrow, left to themselves,)
I know no quality that stains his honor.
My life upon his faith and noble mind,
Son John could never play thy father false.

_Simon_. I never thought but nobly of my brother,
Touching his honor and fidelity.
Still I could wish him charier of his person,
And of his time more frugal, than to spend
In riotous living, graceless society,
And mirth unpalatable, hours better employ'd
(With those persuasive graces nature lent him)
In fervent pleadings for a father's life.

_Sir W_. I would not owe my life to a jealous court,
Whose shallow policy I know it is,
On some reluctant acts of prudent mercy,
(Not voluntary, but extorted by the times,
In the first tremblings of new-fixed power,
And recollection smarting from old wounds,)
On these to build a spurious popularity.
Unknowing what free grace or mercy mean,
They fear to punish, therefore do they pardon.
For this cause have I oft forbid my son,
By letters, overtures, open solicitings,
Or closet tamperings, by gold or fee,
To beg or bargain with the court for my life.

_Simon_. And John has ta'en you, father, at your word,
True to the letter of his paternal charge.

_Sir W_. Well, my good cause, and my good conscience, boy,
Shall be for sons to me, if John prove false.
Men die but once, and the opportunity
Of a noble death is not an every-day fortune:
It is a gift which noble spirits pray for.

_Simon_. I would not wrong my brother by surmise;
I know him generous, full of gentle qualities,
Incapable of base compliances,
No prodigal in his nature, but affecting
This show of bravery for ambitious ends.
He drinks, for 'tis the humor of the court,
And drink may one day wrest the secret from him,
And pluck you from your hiding-place in the sequel.

_Sir W_. Fair death shall be my doom, and foul life his.
Till when, we'll live as free in this green forest,
As yonder deer, who roam unfearing treason:
Who seem the aborigines of this place,
Or Sherwood theirs by tenure.

_Simon_. 'Tis said, that Robert Earl of Huntingdon,
Men call'd him Robin Hood, an outlaw bold,
With a merry crew of hunters here did haunt,
Not sparing the king's venison. May one believe
The antique tale?

_Sir W_.               There is much likelihood,
Such bandits did in England erst abound,
When polity was young. I have read of the pranks
Of that mad archer, and of the tax he levied
On travellers, whatever their degree,
Baron, or knight, whoever pass'd these woods,
Layman, or priest, not sparing the bishop's mitre
For spiritual regards; nay, once 'tis said,
He robb'd the king himself.

_Simon_.                        A perilous man (_smiling_).

_Sir W_. How quietly we live here,
Unread in the world's business,
And take no note of all its slippery changes.
'Twere best we make a world among ourselves,
A little world,
Without the ills and falsehoods of the greater;
We two being all the inhabitants of ours,
And kings and subjects both in one.

_Simon_. Only the dangerous errors, fond conceits,
Which make the business of that greater world,
Must have no place in ours:
As, namely, riches, honors, birth, place, courtesy,
Good fame and bad, rumors and popular noises,
Books, creeds, opinions, prejudices national,
Humors particular,
Soul-killing lies, and truths that work small good,
Feuds, factions, enmities, relationships,
Loves, hatreds, sympathies, antipathies,
And all the intricate stuff quarrels are made of.

    MARGARET _enters in boy's apparel_.

_Sir W_. What pretty boy have we here?

_Marg_. _Bon jour, messieurs_. Ye have handsome English faces,

I should have ta'en ye else for other two,
I came to seek in the forest.

_Sir W_.                 Who are they?

_Marg_. A gallant brace of Frenchmen, curl'd monsieurs,
That men say, haunt these woods, affecting privacy,
More than the manner of their countrymen.

_Simon_. We have here a wonder.
The face is Margaret's face.

_Sir W_. The face is Margaret's, but the dress the same
My Stephen sometime wore.                          [_To_ Margaret.
Suppose us them; whom do men say we are?
Or know you what you seek?

_Marg_. A worthy pair of exiles,
Two whom the politics of state revenge,
In final issue of long civil broils,
Have houseless driven from your native France,
To wander idle in these English woods,
Where now ye live; most part
Thinking on home and all the joys of France,
Where grows the purple vine.

_Sir W_. These woods, young stranger,
And grassy pastures, which the slim deer loves,
Are they less beauteous than the land of France,
Where grows the purple vine?

_Marg_.                 I cannot tell.
To an indifferent eye both show alike.
'Tis not the scene,
But all familiar objects in the scene,
Which now ye miss, that constitute a difference.
Ye had a country, exiles, ye have none now;
Friends had ye, and much wealth, ye now have nothing;
Our manners, laws, our customs, all are foreign to you,
I know ye loathe them, cannot learn them readily;
And there is reason, exiles, ye should love
Our English earth less than your land of France,
Where grows the purple vine; where all delights grow
Old custom has made pleasant.

_Sir W_.                 You, that are read
So deeply in our story, what are you?

_Marg_. A bare adventurer; in brief a woman,
That put strange garments on, and came thus far
To seek an ancient friend:
And having spent her stock of idle words,
And feeling some tears coming,
Hastes now to clasp Sir Walter Woodvil's knees,
And beg a boon for Margaret; his poor ward.


_Sir W_. Not at my feet, Margaret; not at my feet.

_Marg_. Yes, till her suit is answered.

_Sir W_. Name it.

_Marg_. A little boon, and yet so great a grace,
She fears to ask it.

_Sir W_.         Some riddle, Margaret?

_Marg_. No riddle, but a plain request.

_Sir W_. Name it.

_Marg_.            Free liberty of Sherwood,
And leave to take her lot with you in the forest.

_Sir W_. A scant petition, Margaret; but take it,
Seal'd with an old man's tears.--
Rise, daughter of Sir Rowland.

                                         [_Addressing them both_.

                                O you most worthy,
You constant followers of a man proscribed,
Following poor misery in the throat of danger;
Fast servitors to crazed and penniless poverty,
Serving poor poverty without hope of gain;
Kind children of a sire unfortunate;
Green clinging tendrils round a trunk decay'd,
Which needs must bring on you timeless decay;
Fair living forms to a dead carcass joined;--
What shall I say?
Better the dead were gather'd to the dead,
Than death and life in disproportion meet.--
Go, seek your fortunes, children.--

_Simon_. Why, whither should we go?

_Sir W_. _You_ to the court, where now your brother John
 Commits a rape on Fortune.

_Simon_.              Luck to John!
A light-heel'd strumpet when the sport is done.

_Sir W_. _You_ to the sweet society of your equals,
Where the world's fashion smiles on youth and beauty.

_Marg_. Where young men's flatteries cozen young maids' beauty.
There pride oft gets the vantage hand of duty,
There sweet humility withers.

_Simon_.                  Mistress Margaret,
How fared my brother John, when you left Devon?

_Marg_. John was well, sir.

_Simon_.                    'Tis now nine months almost,
Since I saw home. What new friends has John made?
Or keeps he his first love?--I did suspect
Some foul disloyalty. Now do I know,
John has proved false to her, for Margaret weeps.
It is a scurvy brother.

_Sir W_.           Fie upon it.
All men are false, I think. The date of love
Is out, expired; its stories all grown stale,
O'erpast, forgotten, like an antique tale
Of Hero and Leander.

_Simon_. I have known some men that are too general-contemplative for
the narrow passion. I am in some sort a _general_ lover.

_Marg_. In the name of the boy God, who plays at hoodman blind with
the Muses, and cares not whom he catches: what is it _you_ love?

_Simon_. Simply, all things that live,
From the crook'd worm to man's imperial form,
And God-resembling likeness. The poor fly,
That makes short holiday in the sunbeam,
And dies by some child's hand. The feeble bird
With little wings, yet greatly venturous
In the upper sky. The fish in th' other element,
That knows no touch of eloquence. What else?
Yon tall and elegant stag,
Who paints a dancing shadow of his horns
In the water, where he drinks.

_Marg_. I myself love all these things, yet so as with a
difference:--for example, some animals better than others, some men
rather than other men; the nightingale before the cuckoo, the swift
and graceful palfrey before the slow and asinine mule. Your humor
goes to confound all qualities. What sports do you use in the

_Simon_. Not many; some few, as thus:--
To see the sun to bed, and to arise,
Like some hot amorist with glowing eyes,
Bursting the lazy bands of sleep that bound him,
With all his fires and travelling glories round him.
Sometimes the moon on soft night clouds to rest,
Like beauty nestling in a young man's breast,
And all the winking stars, her handmaids, keep
Admiring silence, while those lovers sleep.
Sometimes outstretcht, in very idleness,
Nought doing, saying little, thinking less,
To view the leaves, thin dancers upon air,
Go eddying round; and small birds, how they fare,
When mother Autumn fills their beaks with corn,
Filch'd from the careless Amalthea's horn;
And how the woods berries and worms provide
Without their pains, when earth has nought beside
To answer their small wants.
To view the graceful deer come tripping by,
Then stop, and gaze, then turn, they know not why,
Like bashful younkers in society.
To mark the structure of a plant or tree,
And all fair things of earth, how fair they be.

_Marg_. (_smiling_.) And, afterwards, them paint in simile.

_Sir W_. Mistress Margaret will have need of some refreshment. Please
you, we have some poor viands within.

_Marg_. Indeed I stand in need of them.

_Sir W_. Under the shade of a thick-spreading tree,
Upon the grass, no better carpeting,
We'll eat our noontide meal; and, dinner done,
One of us shall repair to Nottingham,
To seek some safe night-lodging in the town,
Where you may sleep, while here with us you dwell,
By day, in the forest, expecting better times,
And gentler habitations, noble Margaret.

_Simon_. _Allons_, young Frenchman----

_Marg_. _Allons_, Sir Englishman. The time has been

I've studied love-lays in the English tongue,
And been enamor'd of rare poesy:
Which now I must unlearn. Henceforth,
Sweet mother-tongue, old English speech, adieu;
For Margaret has got new name and language new.


     *       *       *       *       *


SCENE.--_An Apartment of State in Woodvil Hall_.

_Cavaliers drinking_.

JOHN WOODVIL, LOVEL, GRAY, _and four more_.

_John_. More mirth, I beseech you, gentlemen--Mr. Gray, you are not

_Gray_. More wine, say I, and mirth shall ensue in course. What! we
have not yet above three half-pints a man to answer for. Brevity is
the soul of drinking, as of wit. Despatch, I say. More wine.

_1st Gent_. I entreat you, let there be some order, some method, in
our drinkings. I love to lose my reason with my eyes open, to commit
the deed of drunkenness with forethought and deliberation. I love to
feel the fumes of the liquor gathering here, like clouds.

_2nd Gent_. And I am for plunging into madness at once. Damn order,
and method, and steps, and degrees, that he speaks of. Let confusion
have her legitimate work.

_Lovel_. I marvel why the poets, who, of all men, methinks, should
possess the hottest livers, and most empyreal fancies, should affect
to see such virtues in cold water.

_Gray_. Virtue in cold water! ha! ha! ha!

_John_. Because your poet-born hath an internal wine, richer than
lippara or canaries, yet uncrushed from any grapes of earth,
unpressed in mortal wine-presses.

3_rd Gent_. What may be the name of this wine?

_John_. It hath as many names as qualities. It is denominated
indifferently, wit, conceit, invention, inspiration, but its most
royal and comprehensive name is _fancy_.

3_rd Gent_. And where keeps he this sovereign liquor?

_John_. Its cellars are in the brain, whence your true poet deriveth
intoxication at will; while his animal spirits, catching a pride from
the quality and neighborhood of their noble relative, the brain,
refuse to be sustained by wines and fermentations of earth.

3_rd Gent_. But is your poet-born always tipsy with this liquor?

_John_. He hath his stoopings and reposes; but his proper element is
the sky, and in the suburbs of the empyrean.

3_rd Gent_. Is your wine-intellectual so exquisite? henceforth, I, a
man of plain conceit, will, in all humility, content my mind with

4_th Gent_. I am for a song or a catch. When will the catches come
on, the sweet wicked catches?

_John_. They cannot be introduced with propriety before midnight.
Every man must commit his twenty bumpers first. We are not yet well
roused. Frank Lovel, the glass stands with you.

_Lovel_. Gentlemen, the Duke. (_Fills_.)

_All_. The Duke. (_They drink_.)

_Gray_. Can any tell, why his Grace, being a Papist--

_John_. Pshaw! we will have no questions of state now. Is not this
his Majesty's birthday?

_Gray_. What follows?

_John_. That every man should sing, and be joyful, and ask no

2_nd Gent_. Damn politics, they spoil drinking.

3_rd Gent_. For certain, 'tis a blessed monarchy.

2_nd Gent_. The cursed fanatic days we have seen! The times have been
when swearing was out of fashion.

3_rd Gent_. And drinking.

1_st Gent_. And wenching.

_Gray_. The cursed yeas and forsooths, which we have heard uttered,
when a man could not rap out an innocent oath, but straight the air
was thought to be infected.

_Lovel_. 'Twas a pleasant trick of the saint, which that trim puritan
_Swear-not-at-all Smooth-speech_ used, when his spouse chid him with
an oath for committing with his servant-maid, to cause his house to
be fumigated with burnt brandy, and ends of scripture, to disperse
the devil's breath, as he termed it.

_All_. Ha! ha! ha!

_Gray_. But 'twas pleasanter, when the other saint
_Resist-the-devil-and-he-will-flee-from-thee Pureman_ was overtaken
in the act, to plead an illusio visûs, and maintain his sanctity upon
a supposed power in the adversary to counterfeit the shapes of

_All_. Ha! ha! ha!

_John_. Another round, and then let every man devise what trick he
can in his fancy, for the better manifesting our loyalty this day.

_Gray_. Shall we hang a puritan?

_John_. No, that has been done already in Coleman Street.

2_nd Gent_. Or fire a conventicle?

_John_. That is stale too.

3_rd Gent_. Or burn the Assembly's catechism?

4_th Gent_. Or drink the king's health, every man standing upon his
head naked?

_John (to Lovel)_. We have here some pleasant madness.

3_rd Gent_. Who shall pledge me in a pint bumper, while we drink to
the king upon our knees?

_Lovel_. Why on our knees, Cavalier?

_John_ (_smiling_). For more devotion, to be sure. (_To a servant_.)
Sirrah, fetch the gilt goblets.

  [_The goblets are brought. They drink the King's health, kneeling.
        A shout of general approbation following the first appearance
        of the goblets._

_John_. We have here the unchecked virtues of the grape. How the
vapors curl upwards! It were a life of gods to dwell in such an
element: to see, and hear, and talk brave things. Now fie upon these
casual potations. That a man's most exalted reason should depend upon
the ignoble fermenting of a fruit, which sparrows pluck at as well as

_Gray_ (_aside to Lovel_). Observe how he is ravished.

_Lovel_. Vanity and gay thoughts of wine do meet in him and engender

[_While the rest are engaged in a wild kind of talk_, JOHN _advances
         to the front of the stage, and soliloquizes_.

_John_. My spirits turn to fire, they mount so fast.
My joys are turbulent, my hopes show like fruition.
These high and gusty relishes of life, sure,
Have no allayings of mortality in them.
I am too hot now, and o'ercapable,
For the tedious processes, and creeping wisdom,
Of human acts, and enterprises of a man.
I want some seasonings of adversity,
Some strokes of the old mortifier Calamity,
To take these swellings down, divines call vanity.

1_st Gent_. Mr. Woodvil, Mr. Woodvil.

2_nd Gent_. Where is Woodvil?

_Gray_. Let him alone. I have seen him in these lunes before. His
abstractions must not taint the good mirth.

_John_ (_continuing to soliloquize_). O for some friend, now,
To conceal nothing from, to have no secrets.
How fine and noble a thing is confidence,
How reasonable, too, and almost godlike!
Fast cement of fast friends, band of society,
Old natural go-between in the world's business,
Where civil life and order, wanting this cement,
Would presently rush back
Into the pristine state of singularity,
And each man stand alone.

              (_A servant enters_.)

_Servant_. Gentlemen, the fireworks are ready.

1_st Gent_. What be they?

_Lovel_. The work of London artists, which our host has provided in
honor of this day.

2_nd Gent_. 'Sdeath, who would part with his wine for a rocket?

_Lovel_. Why truly, gentlemen, as our kind host has been at the pains
to provide this spectacle, we can do no less than be present at it.
It will not take up much time. Every man may return fresh and
thirsting to his liquor.

_3rd Gent_. There's reason in what he says.

_2d Gent_. Charge on then, bottle in hand. There's husbandry in that.

  [_They go out, singing. Only_ LOVEL _remains, who observes_ WOODVIL.

_John_ (_still talking to himself_).
This Lovel here's of a tough honesty,
Would put the rack to the proof. He is not of that sort
Which haunt my house, snorting the liquors,
And when their wisdoms are afloat with wine,
Spend vows as fast as vapors, which go off
Even with the fumes, their fathers. He is one,
Whose sober morning actions
Shame not his o'ernight's promises;
Talks little, flatters less, and makes no promises;
Why this is he, whom the dark-wisdom'd fate
Might trust her counsels of predestination with,
And the world be no loser.
Why should I fear this man?                     [_Seeing_ LOVEL.
Where is the company gone?

_Lovel_. To see the fireworks, where you will be expected to follow.
But I perceive you are better engaged.

_John_. I have been meditating this half hour,
On all the properties of a brave friendship,
The mysteries that are in it, the noble uses,
Its limits withal, and its nice boundaries.
_Exempli gratiâ_, how far a man
May lawfully forswear himself for his friend;
What quantity of lies, some of them brave ones,
He may lawfully incur in a friend's behalf!
What oaths, blood-crimes, hereditary quarrels,
Night brawls, fierce words, and duels in the morning,
He need not stick at, to maintain his friend's honor, or his cause.

_Lovel_. I think many men would die for their friends.

_John_. Death! why,'tis nothing. We go to it for sport,
To gain a name or purse, or please a sullen humor,
When one has worn his fortune's livery threadbare,
Or his spleen'd mistress frowns. Husbands will venture on it,
To cure the hot fits and cold shakings of jealousy.
A friend, sir, must do more.

_Lovel_. Can he do more than die?

_John_. To serve a friend this he may do. Pray, mark me.
Having a law within (great spirits feel one)
He cannot, ought not, to be bound by any
Positive laws or ord'nances extern,
But may reject all these: by the law of friendship
He may do so much, be they, indifferently,
Penn'd statutes, or the land's unwritten usages,
As public fame, civil compliances,
Misnamed honor, trust in matter of secrets,
All vows and promises, the feeble mind's religion,
(Binding our morning knowledge to approve
What last night's ignorance spake;)
The ties of blood withal, and prejudice of kin.
Sir, these weak terrors
Must never shake me. I know what belongs
To a worthy friendship. Come, you shall have my confidence.

_Lovel_. I hope you think me worthy.

_John_. You will smile to hear now--
Sir Walter never has been out of the island.

_Lovel_. You amaze me.

_John_. That same report of his escape to France
Was a fine tale, forged by myself--
Ha! ha!
I knew it would stagger him.

_Lovel_.                 Pray, give me leave.
Where has he dwelt, how lived, how lain conceal'd?
Sure I may ask so much.

_John_. From place to place, dwelling in no place long,
My brother Simon still hath borne him company,
('Tis a brave youth, I envy him all his virtues).
Disguised in foreign garb, they pass for Frenchmen,
Two Protestant exiles from the Limousin
Newly arrived. Their dwelling's now at Nottingham,
Where no soul knows them.

_Lovel_. Can you assign any reason why a gentleman of Sir Walter's
known prudence should expose his person so lightly?

_John_. I believe, a certain fondness,
A childlike cleaving to the land that gave him birth,
Chains him like fate.

_Lovel_.          I have known some exiles thus
To linger out the term of the law's indulgence,
To the hazard of being known.

_John_. You may suppose sometimes
They use the neighb'ring Sherwood for their sport,
Their exercise and freer recreation.--
I see you smile. Pray now, be careful.

_Lovel_. I am no babbler, sir; you need not fear me.

_John_. But some men have been known to talk in their sleep,
And tell fine tales that way.

_Lovel_. I have heard so much. But, to say truth, I mostly sleep

_John_. Or drink, sir? do you never drink too freely?
Some men will drink, and tell you all their secrets.

_Lovel_. Why do you question me, who know my habits?

_John_. I think you are no sot
No tavern-troubler, worshipper of the grape;
But all men drink sometimes,
And veriest saints at festivals relax,
The marriage of a friend, or a wife's birthday.

_Lovel_. How much, sir, may a man with safety drink?

_John_. Sir, three half-pints a day is reasonable;
I care not if you never exceed that quantity.

_Lovel_. I shall observe it;
On holidays two quarts.

_John_. Or, stay; you keep no wench?

_Lovel_. Ha!

_John_. No painted mistress for your private hours?
You keep no whore, sir?

_Lovel_.             What does he mean?

_John_. Who for a close embrace, a toy of sin,
And amorous praising of your worship's breath,
In rosy junction of four melting lips,
Can kiss out secrets from you?

_Lovel_. How strange this passionate behavior shows in you
Sure, you think me some weak one.

_John_. Pray pardon me some fears.
You have now the pledge of a dear father's life.
I am a son--would fain be thought a loving one;
You may allow me some fears: do not despise me,
If, in a posture foreign to my spirit,
And by our well-knit friendship, I conjure you,
Touch not Sir Walter's life.                          [_Kneels._
You see these tears. My father's an old man.
Pray let him live.

_Lovel_. I must be bold to tell you, these new freedoms
Show most unhandsome in you.

_John_ (_rising_).     Ha! do you say so?
Sure, you are not grown proud upon my secret!
Ah! now I see it plain. He would be babbling.
No doubt a garrulous and hard-faced traitor--
But I'll not give you leave.                           [_Draws._

_Lovel_. What does this madman mean?

_John_. Come, sir; here is no subterfuge;
You must kill me, or I kill you.

_Lovel_ (_drawing_). Then self-defence plead my excuse.
Have at you, sir.                                 [_They fight._

_John_.          Stay, sir.
I hope you have made your will.
If not,'tis no great matter.
A broken cavalier has seldom much
He can bequeath; an old worn peruke,
A snuffbox with a picture of Prince Rupert,
A rusty sword he'll swear was used at Naseby,
Though it ne'er came within ten miles of the place;
And if he's very rich,
A cheap edition of the _Icon Basilike_,
Is mostly all the wealth he dies possest of.
You say few prayers, I fancy;--

So to it again.   [_They fight again._ LOVEL _is disarmed._

_Lovel_. You had best now take my life. I guess you mean it.

_John_ (_musing_). No:--Men will say I fear'd him,
if I kill'd him.
Live still, and be a traitor in thy wish,
But never act thy thought, being a coward.
That vengeance, which thy soul shall nightly thirst for,
And this disgrace I've done you cry aloud for,
Still have the will without the power to execute.
So now I leave you,
Feeling a sweet security. No doubt
My secret shall remain a virgin for you!
                                   [_Goes out, smiling in scorn_.

_Lovel_ (_rising_). For once you are mistaken in your man.
The deed you wot of shall forthwith be done,
A bird let loose, a secret out of hand,
Returns not back. Why, then 'tis baby policy
To menace him who hath it in his keeping.
I will go look for Gray;
Then, northward ho! such tricks as we shall play
Have not been seen, I think, in merry Sherwood,
Since the days of Robin Hood, that archer good.


SCENE.--_An Apartment in Woodvil Hall_.

JOHN WOODVIL. (_Alone_.)

A weight of wine lies heavy on my head,
The unconcocted follies of last night.
Now all those jovial fancies, and bright hopes,
Children of wine, go off like dreams.
This sick vertigo here
Preacheth of temperance, no sermon better.
These black thoughts, and dull melancholy,
That stick like burrs to the brain, will they ne'er leave me?
Some men are full of choler, when they are drunk;
Some brawl of matter foreign to themselves;
And some, the most resolved fools of all,
Have told their dearest secrets in their cups.

SCENE.--_The Forest_.


_Lovel_. Sir, we are sorry we cannot return your French salutation.

_Gray_. Nor otherwise consider this garb you trust to than as a poor

_Lovel_. Nor use much ceremony with a traitor.

_Gray_. Therefore, without much induction of superfluous words, I
attach you, Sir Walter Woodvil, of High Treason, in the King's name.

_Lovel_. And of taking part in the great Rebellion against our late
lawful Sovereign, Charles the First.

_Simon_. John has betrayed us, father.

_Lovel_. Come, sir, you had best surrender fairly. We know you, sir.

_Simon_. Hang ye, villains, ye are two better known than trusted. I
have seen those faces before. Are ye not two beggarly retainers,
trencher-parasites, to John? I think ye rank above his footmen. A
sort of bed and board worms--locusts that infest our house; a leprosy
that long has hung upon its walls and princely apartments, reaching
to fill all the corners of my brother's once noble heart.

_Gray_. We are his friends.

_Simon_. Fie, sir, do not weep. How these rogues will triumph! Shall
I whip off their heads, father?


_Lovel_. Come, sir, though this show handsome in you, being his son,
yet the law must have its course.

_Simon_. And if I tell ye the law shall not have its course, cannot
ye be content? Courage, father; shall such things as these apprehend
a man? Which of ye will venture upon me?--Will you, Mr. Constable
self-elect? or you, sir, with a pimple on your nose, got at Oxford by
hard drinking, your only badge of loyalty?

_Gray_. 'Tis a brave youth--I cannot strike at him.

_Simon_. Father, why do you cover your face with your hands? Why do
you fetch your breath so hard? See, villains, his heart is burst! O
villains, he cannot speak. One of you run for some water; quickly, ye
knaves; will ye have your throats cut?

                                                 [_They both slink off_.

How is it with you, Sir Walter? Look up, sir, the villains are gone.
He hears me not, and this deep disgrace of treachery in his son hath
touched him even to the death. O most distuned and distempered world,
where sons talk their aged fathers into their graves! Garrulous and
diseased world, and still empty, rotten and hollow _talking_ world,
where good men decay, states turn round in an endless mutability, and
still for the worse; nothing is at a stay, nothing abides but vanity,
chaotic vanity.--Brother, adieu!

There lies the parent stock which gave us life,
Which I will see consign'd with tears to earth.
Leave thou the solemn funeral rites to me,
Grief and a true remorse abide with thee.

                                                   [_Bears in the body_.

SCENE.--_Another Part of the Forest_.

_Marg_. (_alone_.) It was an error merely, and no crime,
An unsuspecting openness in youth,
That from his lips the fatal secret drew,
Which should have slept like one of nature's mysteries,
Unveil'd by any man.
Well, he is dead!
And what should Margaret do in the forest?
O ill-starr'd John!
O Woodvil, man enfeoff'd to despair!
Take thy farewell of peace.
O never look again to see good days,
Or close thy lids in comfortable nights,
Or ever think a happy thought again,
If what I have heard be true.--
Forsaken of the world must Woodvil live,
If he did tell these men.
No tongue must speak to him, no tongue of man
Salute him, when he wakes up in a morning;
Or bid "good-night" to John. Who seeks to live
In amity with thee, must for thy sake
Abide the world's reproach. What then?
Shall Margaret join the clamors of the world
Against her friend? O undiscerning world,
That cannot from misfortune separate guilt,
No, not in thought! O never, never, John.
Prepared to share the fortunes of her friend
_For better or for worse_, thy Margaret comes,
To pour into thy wounds a healing love,
And wake the memory of an ancient friendship.
And pardon me, thou spirit of Sir Walter,
Who, in compassion to the wretched living,
Have but few tears to waste upon the dead.

SCENE.--_Woodvil Hall._

SANDFORD. MARGARET. (_As from a Journey_.)

_Sand_. The violence of the sudden mischance hath so wrought in him,
who by nature is allied to nothing _less_ than a self-debasing humor
of dejection, that I have never seen anything more changed and
spirit-broken. He hath, with a peremptory resolution, dismissed the
partners of his riots and late hours, denied his house and person to
their most earnest solicitings, and will be seen by none. He keeps
ever alone, and his grief (which is solitary) does not so much seem
to possess and govern in him, as it is by Him, with a wilfulness of
most manifest affection, entertained and cherished.

_Marg_. How bears he up against the common rumor?

_Sand_. With a strange indifference, which, whosoever dives not into
the niceness of his sorrow might mistake for obdurate and insensate.
Yet are the wings of his pride forever clipt; and yet a virtuous
predominance of filial grief is so ever uppermost, that you may
discover his thoughts less troubled with conjecturing what living
opinions will say, and judge of his deeds, than absorbed and buried
with the dead, whom his indiscretion made so.

_Marg_. I knew a greatness ever to be resident in him, to which the
admiring eyes of men should look up even in the declining and
bankrupt state of his pride. Fain would I see him, fain talk with
him; but that a sense of respect, which is violated, when without
deliberation we press into the society of the unhappy, checks and
holds me back. How, think you, he would bear my presence?

_Sand_. As of an assured friend, whom in the forgetfulness of his
fortunes he past by. See him you must; but not to-night. The newness
of the sight shall move the bitterest compunction and the truest
remorse; but afterwards, trust me, dear lady, the happiest effects of
a returning peace, and a gracious comfort, to him, to you, and all of

_Marg_. I think he would not deny me. He hath ere this received
farewell letters from his brother, who hath taken a resolution to
estrange himself, for a time, from country, friends, and kindred, and
to seek occupation for his sad thoughts in travelling in foreign
places, where sights remote and extern to himself may draw from him
kindly and not painful ruminations.

_Sand_. I was present at the receipt of the letter. The contents
seemed to affect him, for a moment, with a more lively passion of
grief than he has at any time outwardly shown. He wept with many
tears (which I had not before noted in him), and appeared to be
touched with the sense as of some unkindness; but the cause of their
sad separation and divorce quickly recurring, he presently returned
to his former inwardness of suffering.

_Marg_. The reproach of his brother's presence at this hour would
have been a weight more than could be sustained by his already
oppressed and sinking spirit. Meditating upon these intricate and
widespread sorrows, hath brought a heaviness upon me, as of sleep.
How goes the night?--

_Sand_. An hour past sunset. You shall first refresh your limbs
(tired with travel) with meats and some cordial wine, and then betake
your no less wearied mind to repose.

_Marg_. A good rest to us all.

_Sand._ Thanks, lady.


JOHN WOODVIL. (_dressing_).

_John_. How beautiful (_handling his mourning_)
And comely do these mourning garments show!
Sure Grief hath set his sacred impress here,
To claim the world's respect! they note so feelingly
By outward types the serious man within.--
Alas! what part or portion can I claim
In all the decencies of virtuous sorrow,
Which other mourners use? as namely,
This black attire, abstraction from society,
Good thoughts, and frequent sighs, and seldom smiles,
A cleaving sadness native to the brow,
All sweet condolements of like-grieved friends,
(That steal away the sense of loss almost,)
Men's pity and good offices
Which enemies themselves do for us then,
Putting their hostile disposition off,
As we put off our high thoughts and proud looks.

                           [_Pauses, and observes the pictures_.

These pictures must be taken down:
The portraitures of our most ancient family
For nigh three hundred years! How have I listen'd,
To hear Sir Walter, with an old man's pride,
Holding me in his arms, a prating boy,
And pointing to the pictures where they hung,
Repeat by course their worthy histories,
(As Hugh de Widville, Walter, first of the name,
And Anne the handsome, Stephen, and famous John:
Telling me, I must be his famous John.)
But that was in old times.
Now, no more
Must I grow proud upon our house's pride.
I rather, I, by most unheard-of crimes,
Have backward tainted all their noble blood,
Razed out the memory of an ancient family,
And quite reversed the honors of our house.
Who now shall sit and tell us anecdotes?
The secret history of his own times,
And fashions of the world when he was young:
How England slept out three-and-twenty years,
While Carr and Villiers ruled the baby king:
The costly fancies of the pedant's reign,
Balls, feastings, huntings, shows in allegory,
And Beauties of the court of James the First.

           MARGARET _enters_.

_John_. Comes Margaret here to witness my disgrace?
O, lady, I have suffer'd loss,
And diminution of my honor's brightness.
You bring some images of old times, Margaret,
That should be now forgotten.

_Marg_. Old times should never be forgotten, John.
I came to talk about them with my friend.

_John_. I did refuse you, Margaret, in my pride.

_Marg_. If John rejected Margaret in his pride,
(As who does not, being splenetic, refuse
Sometimes old playfellows,) the spleen being gone,
The offence no longer lives.
O Woodvil, those were happy days,
When we two first began to love. When first,
Under pretence of visiting my father,
(Being then a stripling night upon my age,)
You came a-wooing to his daughter, John.
Do you remember,
With what a coy reserve and seldom speech,
(Young maidens must be chary of their speech,)
I kept the honors of my maiden pride?
I was your favorite then.

_John_. O Margaret, Margaret!
These your submissions to my low estate,
And cleavings to the fates of sunken Woodvil,
Write bitter things 'gainst my unworthiness.
Thou perfect pattern of thy slander'd sex,
Whom miseries of mine could never alienate,
Nor change of fortune shake; whom injuries,
And slights (the worst of injuries) which moved
Thy nature to return scorn with like scorn,
Then when you left in virtuous pride this house,
Could not so separate, but now in this
My day of shame, when all the world forsake me,
You only visit me, love, and forgive me.

_Marg_. Dost yet remember the green arbor. John,
In the south gardens of my father's house,
Where we have seen the summer sun go down,
Exchanging true love's vows without restraint?
And that old wood, you call'd your wilderness,
And vow'd in sport to build a chapel in it,
There dwell

  "Like hermit poor
  In pensive place obscure."

And tell your Ave Maries by the curls
(Dropping like golden beads) of Margaret's hair;
And make confession seven times a day
Of every thought that stray'd from love and Margaret;
And I your saint the penance should appoint--
Believe me, sir, I will not now be laid
Aside, like an old fashion.

_John._ O lady, poor and abject are my thoughts;
My pride is cured, my hopes are under clouds,
I have no part in any good man's love,
In all earth's pleasures portion have I none,
I fade and wither in my own esteem,
This earth holds not alive so poor a thing as I am.
I was not always thus.                                  [_Weeps_.

_Marg_. Thou noble nature,
Which lion-like didst awe the inferior creatures,
Now trampled on by beasts of basest quality,
My dear heart's lord, life's pride, soul-honor'd John!
Upon her knees (regard her poor request)
Your favorite, once beloved Margaret, kneels.

_John_. What would'st thou, lady, ever honor'd Margaret?

_Marg_. That John would think more nobly of himself,
More worthily of high Heaven;
And not for one misfortune, child of chance,
No crime, but unforeseen, and sent to punish
The less offence, with image of the greater,
Thereby to work the soul's humility,
(Which end hath happily not been frustrate quite,)
O not for one offence mistrust Heaven's mercy,
Nor quit thy hope of happy days to come--
John yet has many happy days to live;
To live and make atonement.

_John_.                Excellent lady,
Whose suit hath drawn this softness from my eyes,
Not the world's scorn, nor falling off of friends,
Could ever do. Will you go with me, Margaret?

_Marg_. (_rising_). Go whither, John?

_John_.                                    Go in with me
And pray for the peace of our unquiet minds?

_Marg_. That I will, John.


SCENE.--_An inner Apartment_.

JOHN _is discovered kneeling_.--MARGARET _standing over him_.

_John_ (_rises_). I cannot bear
To see you waste that youth and excellent beauty,
('Tis now the golden time of the day with you,)
In tending such a broken wretch as I am.

_Marg_. John will break Margaret's heart, if he speak so.
O sir, sir, sir, you are too melancholy,
And I must call it caprice. I am somewhat bold
Perhaps in this. But you are now my patient,
(You know you gave me leave to call you so,)
And I must chide these pestilent humors from you.

_John_. They are gone.--
Mark, love, how cheerfully I speak!
I can smile too, and I almost begin
To understand what kind of creature Hope is.

_Marg_. Now this is better, this mirth becomes you, John.

_John_. Yet tell me, if I overact my mirth,
(Being but a novice, I may fall into that error.)
That were a sad indecency, you know.

_Marg_. Nay, never fear.
I will be mistress of your humors,
And you shall frown or smile by the book.
And herein I shall be most peremptory,
Cry, "This shows well, but that inclines to levity;
This frown has too much of the Woodvil in it,
But that fine sunshine has redeem'd it quite."

_John_. How sweetly Margaret robs me of myself!

_Marg_. To give you in your stead a better self!
Such as you were, when these eyes first beheld
You mounted on your sprightly steed, White Margery,
Sir Rowland my father's gift,
And all my maidens gave my heart for lost.
I was a young thing then, being newly come
Home from my convent education, where
Seven years I had wasted in the bosom of France:
Returning home true protestant, you call'd me
Your little heretic nun. How timid-bashful
Did John salute his love, being newly seen!
Sir Rowland term'd it a rare modesty,
And praised it in a youth.

_John_. Now Margaret weeps herself.

         (_A noise of bells heard_.)

_Marg_. Hark the bells, John.

_John_. Those are the church-bells of St. Mary Ottery.

_Marg_. I know it.

_John_. St. Mary Ottery, my native village
In the sweet shire of Devon.
Those are the bells.

_Marg._           Wilt go to church, John?

_John._ I have been there already.

_Marg._ How canst say thou hast been there already?
The bells are only now ringing for morning service,
And hast thou been at church already?

_John._ I left my bed betimes, I could not sleep,
And when I rose, I look'd (as my custom is)
From my chamber window, where I can see the sun rise;
And the first object I discern'd
Was the glistering spire of St. Mary Ottery.

_Marg._ Well, John.

_John._ Then I remember'd 'twas the sabbath day.
Immediately a wish arose in my mind,
To go to church and pray with Christian people.
And then I check'd myself, and said to myself,
"Thou hast been a heathen, John, these two years past,
(Not having been at church in all that time,)
And is it fit, that now for the first time
Thou shouldst offend the eyes of Christian people
With a murderer's presence in the house of prayer?
Thou wouldst but discompose their pious thoughts,
And do thyself no good: for how couldst thou pray,
With unwash'd hands, and lips unused to the offices?"
And then I at my own presumption smiled;
And then I wept that I should smile at all,
Having such cause of grief! I wept outright:
Tears like a river flooded all my face,
And I began to pray, and found I could pray;
And still I yearn'd to say my prayers in the church.
"Doubtless (said I) one might find comfort in it."
So stealing down the stairs, like one that fear'd detection,
Or was about to act unlawful business
At that dead time of dawn,
I flew to the church, and found the doors wide open.
(Whether by negligence I knew not,
Or some peculiar grace to me vouchsafed,
For all things felt like mystery.)

_Marg_. Yes.

_John_. So entering in, not without fear,
I passed into the family pew,
And covering up my eyes for shame,
And deep perception of unworthiness,
Upon the little hassock knelt me down,
Where I so oft had kneel'd,
A docile infant by Sir Walter's side;
And, thinking so, I wept a second flood
More poignant than the first;
But afterwards was greatly comforted.
It seem'd the guilt of blood was passing from me
Even in the act and agony of tears,
And all my sins forgiven.



       *       *       *       *       *



       *       *       *       *       *

_Servant_. One summer night Sir Francis, as it chanced,
Was pacing to and fro in the avenue
That westward fronts our house,
Among those aged oaks, said to have been planted
Three hundred years ago,
By a neighb'ring prior of the Fairford name.
Being o'ertasked in thought, he heeded not
The importunate suit of one who stood by the gate,
And begg'd an alms.
Some say he shoved her rudely from the gate
With angry chiding; but I can never think
(Our master's nature hath a sweetness in it)
That he could use a woman, an old woman,
With such discourtesy; but he refused her--
And better had he met a lion in his path
Than that old woman that night;
For she was one who practised the black arts,
And serv'd the devil, being since burnt for witchcraft.
She look'd at him as one that meant to blast him,
And with a frightful noise,
('Twas partly like a woman's voice,
And partly like the hissing of a snake,)
She nothing said but this
(Sir Francis told the words):--

    A mischief, mischief, mischief,
   And a nine-times killing curse,
  By day and by night, to the caitiff wight,
   Who shakes the poor like snakes from his door,
    And shuts up the womb of his purse.
And still she cried--

         A mischief,
   And a ninefold withering curse:
  For that shall come to thee that will undo thee,
    Both all that thou fearest and worse.

So saying, she departed,
Leaving Sir Francis like a man, beneath
Whose feet a scaffolding was suddenly falling;
So he described it.

_Stranger_. A terrible curse! What follow'd?

_Servant_. Nothing immediate, but some two months after,
Young Philip Fairford suddenly fell sick,
And none could tell what ail'd him; for he lay,
And pined, and pined, till all his hair fell off,
And he, that was full-flesh'd, became as thin
As a two-months' babe that has been starved in the nursing.
And sure I think
He bore his death-wound like a little child;
With such rare sweetness of dumb melancholy
He strove to clothe his agony in smiles,
Which he would force up in his poor pale cheeks,
Like ill-timed guests that had no proper dwelling there;
And, when they ask'd him his complaint, he laid
His hand upon his heart to show the place,
Where Susan came to him a-nights, he said,
And prick'd him with a pin.--
And thereupon Sir Francis call'd to mind
The beggar-witch that stood by the gateway
And begg'd an alms.

_Stranger_. But did the witch confess?

_Servant_. All this and more at her death.

_Stranger_. I do not love to credit tales of magic.
Heaven's music, which is Order, seems unstrung,
And this brave world
(The mystery of God) unbeautified,
Disorder'd, marr'd, where such strange things are acted.




       *       *       *       *       *



I do not know to whom a Dedication of these Trifles is more properly
due than to yourself. You suggested the printing of them. You were
desirous of exhibiting a specimen of the _manner_ in which
Publications, intrusted to your future care, would appear. With more
propriety, perhaps, the "Christmas," or some other of your own
simple, unpretending Compositions, might have served this purpose.
But I forget--you have bid a long adieu to the Muses. I had on my
hands sundry Copies of Verses written for _Albums_--

  Those books kept by modern young Ladies for show
  Of which their plain Grandmothers nothing did know--

or otherwise floating about in Periodicals; which you have chosen in
this manner to embody. I feel little interest in their publication.
They are simply--_Advertisement Verses_.

It is not for me, nor you, to allude in public to the kindness of our
honored Friend, under whose auspices you are become a Publisher. May
that fine-minded Veteran in Verse enjoy life long enough to see his
patronage justified? I venture to predict that your habits of
industry, and your cheerful spirit, will carry you through the world.

I am, Dear Moxon,

Your Friend and sincere Well-Wisher,


ENFIELD, _1st June_, 1839.



       *       *       *       *       *


       *       *       *       *       *

  Had I a power, Lady, to my will,
  You should not want Hand Writings. I would fill
  Your leaves with Autographs--resplendent names
  Of Knights and Squires of old, and courtly Dames,
  Kings, Emperors, Popes. Next under these should stand
  The hands of famous Lawyers--a grave band--
  Who in their Courts of Law or Equity
  Have best upheld Freedom and Property.
  These should moot cases in your book, and vie
  To show their reading and their Sergeantry.
  But I have none of these; nor can I send
  The notes by Bullen to her Tyrant penn'd
  In her authentic hand; nor in soft hours
  Lines writ by Rosamund in Clifford's bowers.
  The lack of curious Signatures I moan,
  And want the courage to subscribe my own.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO DORA W----.


  An Album is a Banquet: from the store,
  In his intelligential Orchard growing,
  Your Sire might heap your board to overflowing:
  One shaking of the Tree--'twould ask no more
  To set a Salad forth, more rich than that
  Which Evelyn[1] in his princely cookery fancied:
  Or that more rare, by Eve's neat hands enhanced,
  Where, a pleased guest, the Angelic Virtue sat.
  But like the all-grasping Founder of the Feast,
  Whom Nathan to the sinning king did tax,
  From his less wealthy neighbors he exacts;
  Spares his own flocks, and takes the poor man's beast.
  Obedient to his bidding, lo, I am,
  A zealous, meek, _contributory_             LAMB.

[Footnote 1: Acetaria, a Discourse of Sallets, by J. E. 1706.]

       *       *       *       *       *


  An Album is a Garden, not for show
  Planted, but use; where wholesome herbs should grow.
  A Cabinet of curious porcelain, where
  No fancy enters, but what's rich or rare.
  A Chapel, where mere ornamental things
  Are pure as crowns of saints, or angels' wings.
  A List of living friends; a holier Room
  For names of some since mouldering in the tomb,
  Whose blooming memories life's cold laws survive;
  And, dead elsewhere, they here yet speak and live.
  Such, and so tender, should an Album be;
  And, Lady, such I wish this book to thee.

       *       *       *       *       *


  In Christian world MARY the garland wears!
  REBECCA sweetens on a Hebrew's ear;
  Quakers for pure PRISCILLA are more clear;
  And the light Gaul by amorous NINON swears.
  Among the lesser lights how LUCY shines!
  What air of fragrance ROSAMOND throws round!
  How like a hymn doth sweet CECILIA sound!
  Of MARTHAS, and of ABIGAILS, few lines
  Have bragg'd in verse. Of coarsest household stuff
  Should homely JOAN be fashion'd. But can
  You BARBARA resist, or MARIAN?
  And is not CLARE for love excuse enough?
  Yet, by my faith in numbers, I profess,
  These all, than Saxon EDITH, please me less.

       *       *       *       *       *


  A passing glance was all I caught of thee,
  In my own Enfield haunts at random roving.
  Old friends of ours were with thee, faces loving;
  Time short: and salutations cursory,
  Though deep, and hearty. The familiar Name
  Of you, yet unfamiliar, raised in me
  Thoughts--what the daughter of that Man should be,
  Who call'd our Wordsworth friend. My thoughts did frame
  A growing Maiden, who, from day to day
  Advancing still in stature, and in grace,
  Would all her lonely Father's griefs efface,
  And his paternal cares with usury pay.
  I still retain the phantom, as I can;
  And call the gentle image--Quillinan.

       *       *       *       *       *


  CANADIA! boast no more the toils
  Of hunters for the furry spoils;
  Your whitest ermines are but foils
    To brighter Catherine Orkney.

  That such a flower should ever burst
  From climes with rigorous winter curst!--
  We bless you, that so kindly nurst
    This flower, this Catherine Orkney.

  We envy not your proud display
  Of lake--wood--vast Niagara;
  Your greatest pride we've borne away.
    How spared you Catherine Orkney?

  That Wolfe on Heights of Abraham fell,
  To your reproach no more we tell:
  Canadia, you repaid us well
    With rearing Catherine Orkney.

  O Britain, guard with tenderest care
  The charge allotted to your share:
  You've scarce a native maid so fair,
    So good, as Catherine Orkney.

       *       *       *       *       *


  Little Book, surnamed of _white_,
  Clean as yet, and fair to sight,
  Keep thy attribution right.

  Never disproportion'd scrawl;
  Ugly blot, that's worse than all;
  On thy maiden clearness fall!

  In each letter, here design'd,
  Let the reader emblem'd find
  Neatness of the owner's mind.

  Gilded margins count a sin,
  Let thy leaves attraction win
  By the golden rules within;

  Sayings fetch'd from sages old;
  Laws which Holy Writ unfold,
  Worthy to be graved in gold:

  Lighter fancies not excluding:
  Blameless wit, with nothing rude in,
  Sometimes mildly interluding

  Amid strains of graver measure:
  Virtue's self hath oft her pleasure
  In sweet Muses' groves of leisure.

  Riddles dark, perplexing sense;
  Darker meanings of offence;
  What but _shades_--be banish'd hence.

  Whitest thoughts in whitest dress,
  Candid meanings, best express
  Mind of quiet Quakeress.

       *       *       *       *       *


  Lady Unknown, who crav'st from me Unknown
  The trifle of a verse these leaves to grace,
  How shall I find fit matter? with what face
  Address a face that ne'er to me was shown?
  Thy looks, tones, gesture, manners, and what not,
  Conjecturing, I wander in the dark.
  I know thee only Sister to Charles Clarke!
  But at that name my cold muse waxes hot,
  And swears that thou art such a one as he,
  Warm, laughter-loving, with a touch of madness,
  Wild, glee-provoking, pouring oil of gladness
  From frank heart without guile. And, if thou be
  The pure reverse of this, and I mistake--
  Demure one, I will like thee for his sake.

       *       *       *       *       *



  Such goodness in your face doth shine,
  With modest look without design,
  That I despair, poor pen of mine
    Can e'er express it.
  To give it words I feebly try;
  My spirits fail me to supply
  Befitting language for't, and I
    Can only bless it!


  But stop, rash verse! and don't abuse
  A bashful Maiden's ear with news
  Of her own virtues. She'll refuse
    Praise sung so loudly.
  Of that same goodness you admire,
  The best part is, she don't aspire
  To praise--nor of herself desire
    To think too proudly.

       *       *       *       *       *


  Fresh clad from heaven in robes of white,
  A young probationer of light,
  Thou wert, my soul, an album bright,

  A spotless leaf; but thought, and care,
  And friend and foe, in foul or fair,
  Have "written strange defeatures" there;

  And Time with heaviest hand of all,
  Like that fierce writing on the wall,
  Hath stamp'd sad dates--he can't recall;

  And error gilding worst designs--
  Like speckled snake that strays and shines--
  Betrays his path by crooked lines;

  And vice hath left his ugly blot;
  And good resolves, a moment hot,
  Fairly began--but finish'd not;

  And fruitless, late remorse doth trace--
  Like Hebrew lore a backward pace--
  Her irrecoverable race.

  Disjointed numbers; sense unknit
  Huge reams of folly, shreds of wit;
  Compose the mingled mass of it.

  My scalded eyes no longer brook
  Upon this ink-blurr'd thing to look--
  Go, shut the leaves, and clasp the book.


       *       *       *       *       *


[Footnote 1: Suggested by a drawing in the possession of Charles
Aders, Esq., in which is represented the legend of a poor female
Saint; who, having spun past midnight, to maintain a bedrid mother,
has fallen asleep from fatigue, and Angels are finishing her work. In
another part of the chamber, an angel is tending a lily, the emblem
of purity.]

  This rare tablet doth include
  Poverty with sanctitude.
  Past midnight this poor maid hath spun,
  And yet the work is not half done,
  Which must supply from earnings scant
  A feeble bedrid parent's want.
  Her sleep-charged eyes exemption ask,
  And Holy hands take up the task;
  Unseen the rock and spindle ply,
  And do her earthly drudgery.
  Sleep, saintly poor one! sleep, sleep on;
  And, waking, find thy labors done.
  Perchance she knows it by her dreams;
  Her eye hath caught the golden gleams,
  Angelic presence testifying,
  That round her everywhere are flying;
  Ostents from which she may presume,
  That much of heaven is in the room.
  Skirting her own bright hair they run,
  And to the sunny add more sun:
  Now on that aged face they fix,
  Streaming from the Crucifix;
  The flesh-clogg'd spirit disabusing,
  Death-disarming sleeps infusing,
  Prelibations, foretastes high,
  And equal thoughts to live or die.
  Gardener bright from Eden's bower,
  Tend with care that lily flower;
  To its leaves and root infuse
  Heaven's sunshine, Heaven's dews.
  'Tis a type, and 'tis a pledge,
  Of a crowning privilege.
  Careful as that lily flower,
  This maid must keep her precious dower;
  Live a sainted maid, or die
  Martyr to virginity.

       *       *       *       *       *


  I saw where in the shroud did lurk
  A curious frame of Nature's work.
  A flow'ret crushed in the bud,
  A nameless piece of Babyhood,
  Was in her cradle-coffin lying;
  Extinct, with scarce the sense of dying:
  So soon to exhange the imprisoning womb
  For darker closets of the tomb!
  She did but ope an eye, and put
  A clear beam forth, then straight up shut
  For the long dark: ne'er more to see
  Through glasses of mortality.
  Riddle of destiny, who can show
  What thy short visit meant, or know
  What thy errand here below?
  Shall we say, that Nature blind
  Check'd her hand, and changed her mind,
  Just when she had exactly wrought
  A finish'd pattern without fault?
  Could she flag, or could she tire,
  Or lack'd she the Promethean fire
  (With her nine moons' long workings sicken'd)
  That should thy little limbs have quicken'd?
  Limbs so firm, they seem'd to assure
  Life of health and days mature:
  Woman's self in miniature!
  Limbs so fair, they might supply
  (Themselves now but cold imagery)
  The sculptor to make Beauty by.
  Or did the stern-eyed Fate descry,
  That babe or mother, one must die;
  So in mercy left the stock,
  And cut the branch; to save the shock
  Of young years widow'd; and the pain,
  When Single State comes back again
  To the lone man who, 'reft of wife,
  Thenceforward drags a maimed life?
  The economy of Heaven is dark;
  And wisest clerks have miss'd the mark,
  Why Human Buds, like this, should fall,
  More brief than fly ephemeral,
  That has his day; while shrivell'd crones
  Stiffen with age to stocks and stones;
  And crabbed use the conscience sears
  In sinners of an hundred years.
  Mother's prattle, mother's kiss,
  Baby fond, thou ne'er wilt miss.
  Rites, which custom does impose,
  Silver bells and baby clothes;
  Coral redder than those lips,
  Which pale death did late eclipse;
  Music framed for infants' glee,
  Whistle never tuned for thee;
  Though thou want'st not, thou shalt have them,
  Loving hearts were they which gave them.
  Let not one be missing; nurse,
  See them laid upon the hearse
  Of infant slain by doom perverse.
  Why should kings and nobles have
  Pictured trophies to their grave;
  And we, churls, to thee deny
  Thy pretty toys with thee to lie,
  A more harmless vanity?

       *       *       *       *       *


  Array'd--a half-angelic sight--
  In vests of pure Baptismal white,
  The mother to the Font doth bring
  The little helpless nameless thing,
  With hushes soft and mild caressing,
  At once to get--a name and blessing.
  Close by the babe the Priest doth stand,
  The Cleansing Water at his hand,
  Which must assoil the soul within
  From every stain of Adam's sin.
  The Infant eyes the mystic scenes,
  Nor knows what all this wonder means;
  And now he smiles, as if to say
  "I am a Christian made this day;"
  Now frighted clings to Nurse's hold,
  Shrinking from the water cold,
  Whose virtues, rightly understood,
  Are, as Bethesda's waters, good.
  Strange words--The World, The Flesh, The Devil--
  Poor Babe, what can it know of evil?
  But we must silently adore
  Mysterious truths, and not explore.
  Enough for him, in after-times,
  When he shall read these artless rhymes,
  If, looking back upon this day
  With quiet conscience, he can say--
  "I have in part redeem'd the pledge
  Of my Baptismal privilege;
  And more and more will strive to flee
  All which my Sponsors kind did then renounce for me."

       *       *       *       *       *


[Footnote 1: A picture by Henry Meyer, Esq.]

  While this tawny Ethiop prayeth,
  Painter, who is she that stayeth
  By, with skin of whitest lustre,
  Sunny locks, a shining cluster,
  Saint-like seeming to direct him
  To the Power that must protect him?
  Is she of the Heaven-born Three,
  Meek Hope, strong Faith, sweet Charity;
  Or some Cherub?--

  They you mention
  Far transcend my weak invention.
  'Tis a simple Christian child,
  Missionary young and mild,
  From her stock of Scriptural knowledge,
  Bible-taught without a college,
  Which by reading she could gather
  Teaches him to say OUR FATHER
  To the common Parent, who
  Color not respects, nor hue.
  White and black in Him have part,
  Who looks not to the skin, but heart.

       *       *       *       *       *



  Crown me a cheerful goblet, while I pray
  A blessing on thy years, young Isola;
  Young, but no more a child. How swift have flown
  To me thy girlish times, a woman grown
  Beneath my heedless eyes! in vain I rack
  My fancy to believe the almanac,
  That speaks thee Twenty-One. Thou shouldst have still
  Remain'd a child, and at thy sovereign will
  Gambol'd about our house, as in times past.
  Ungrateful Emma, to grow up so fast,
  Hastening to leave thy friends!--for which intent,
  Fond Runagate, be this thy punishment:
  After some thirty years, spent in such bliss
  As this earth can afford, where still we miss
  Something of joy entire, may'st thou grow old
  As we whom thou hast left! That wish was cold.
  O far more aged and wrinkled, till folks say,
  Looking upon thee reverend in decay,
  "This Dame, for length of days, and virtues rare,
  With her respected Grandsire may compare."
  Grandchild of that respected Isola,
  Thou shouldst have had about thee on this day
  Kind looks of Parents, to congratulate
  Their Pride grown up to woman's grave estate.
  But they have died, and left thee, to advance
  Thy fortunes how thou may'st, and owe to chance
  The friends which nature grudged. And thou wilt find,
  Or make such, Emma, if I am not blind
  To thee and thy deservings. That last strain
  Had too much sorrow in it. Fill again
  Another cheerful goblet, while I say
  "Health, and twice health, to our lost Isola."

       *       *       *       *       *


  For their elder Sister's hair
  Martha does a wreath prepare
  Of bridal rose, ornate and gay;
  To-morrow is the wedding-day.
                     She is going.

  Mary, youngest of the three,
  Laughing idler, full of glee,
  Arm in arm does fondly chain her,
  Thinking, poor trifler, to detain her--
                         But she's going.

  Vex not, maidens, nor regret
  Thus to part with Margaret.
  Charms like yours can never stay
  Long within doors; and one day
                         You'll be going.


       *       *       *       *       *


  By Enfield lanes, and Winchmore's verdant hill,
  Two lovely damsels cheer my lonely walk:
  The fair Maria, as a vestal, still;
  And Emma brown, exuberant in talk.
  With soft and Lady speech the first applies
  The mild correctives that to grace belong
  To her redundant friend, who her defies
  With jest, and mad discourse, and bursts of song.
  O differing Pair, yet sweetly thus agreeing,
  What music from your happy discord rises,
  While your companion hearing each, and seeing,
  Nor this nor that, but both together, prizes;
  This lesson teaching, which our souls may strike,
  That harmonies may be in things unlike!

       *       *       *       *       *


  I was not train'd in Academic bowers,
  And to those learned streams I nothing owe
  Which copious from those twin fair founts do flow;
  Mine have been anything but studious hours.
  Yet can I fancy, wandering 'mid thy towers,
  Myself a nursling, Granta, of thy lap;
  My brow seems tightening with the Doctor's cap,
  And I walk _gowned_; feel unusual powers.
  Strange forms of logic clothe my admiring speech,
  Old Ramus' ghost is busy at my brain;
  And my skull teems with notions infinite.
  Be still, ye reeds of Camus, while I teach
  Truths, which transcend the searching Schoolmen's vein,
  And half had stagger'd that stout Stagirite.

       *       *       *       *       *


  Rare artist! who with half thy tools, or none,
  Canst execute with ease thy curious art,
  And press thy powerful'st meanings on the heart,
  Unaided by the eye, expression's throne!
  While each blind sense, intelligential grown
  Beyond its sphere, performs the effect of sight:
  Those orbs alone, wanting their proper might,.
  All motionless and silent seem to moan
  The unseemly negligence of nature's hand,
  That left them so forlorn. What praise is thine,
  O mistress of the passions; artist fine!
  Who dost our souls against our sense command,
  Plucking the horror from a sightless face,
  Lending to blank deformity a grace.

       *       *       *       *       *


  Who first invented work, and bound the free
  And holiday-rejoicing spirit down
  To the ever-haunting importunity
  Of business in the green fields, and the town--
  To plough, loom, anvil, spade--and oh! most sad
  To that dry drudgery at the--desk's dead wood?
  Who but the Being unblest, alien from good,
  Sabbathless Satan! he who his unglad
  Task ever plies 'mid rotatory burnings,
  That round and round incalculably reel--
  For wrath divine hath made him like a wheel--
  In that red realm from which are no returnings:
  Where toiling, and turmoiling, ever and aye
  He, and his thoughts, keep pensive working-day.

       *       *       *       *       *


  They talk of time, and of time's galling yoke,
  That like a mill-stone on man's mind doth press,
  Which only works and business can redress:
  Of divine Leisure such foul lies are spoke,
  Wounding her fair gifts with calumnious stroke.
  But might I, fed with silent meditation,
  Assoiled live from that fiend Occupation--
  _Improbus Labor_, which my spirits hath broke--
  I'd drink of time's rich cup, and never surfeit:
  Fling in more days than went to make the gem
  That crown'd the white top of Methusalem:
  Yea on my weak neck take, and never forfeit,
  Like Atlas bearing up the dainty sky,
  The heaven-sweet burden of eternity.

       *       *       *       *       *


       *       *       *       *       *


  Rogers, of all the men that I have known
  But slightly, who have died, your Brother's loss
  Touch'd me most sensibly. There came across
  My mind an image of the cordial tone
  Of your fraternal meetings, where a guest
  I more than once have sat; and grieve to think,
  That of that threefold cord one precious link
  By Death's rude hand is sever'd from the rest.
  Of our old gentry he appear'd a stem--
  A Magistrate who, while the evil-doer
  He kept in terror, could respect the Poor,
  And not for every trifle harass them,
  As some, divine and laic, too oft do.
  This man's a private loss, and public too.

       *       *       *       *       *


  "Suck, baby, suck! mother's love grows by giving;
  Drain the sweet founts that only thrive by wasting;
  Black manhood comes, when riotous guilty living
  Hands thee the cup that shall be death in tasting.

  "Kiss, baby, kiss! mother's lips shine by kisses;
  Choke the warm breath that else would fall in blessings;
  Black manhood comes, when turbulent guilty blisses
  Tend thee the kiss that poisons 'mid caressings.

  "Hang, baby, hang! mother's love loves such forces,
  Strain the fond neck that bends still to thy clinging;
  Black manhood comes, when violent lawless courses
  Leave thee a spectacle in rude air swinging."

  So sang a wither'd Beldam energetical,
  And bann'd the ungiving door with lips prophetical.


       *       *       *       *       *


  Twelve years ago I knew thee, Knowles, and then
  Esteemed you a perfect specimen
  Of those fine spirits warm-soul'd Ireland sends,
  To teach us colder English how a friend's
  Quick pulse should beat. I knew you brave, and plain,
  Strong-sensed, rough-witted, above fear or gain;
  But nothing further had the gift to espy.
  Sudden you reappear. With wonder I
  Hear my old friend (turn'd Shakspeare) read a scene
  Only to _his_ inferior in the clean
  Passes of pathos: with such fence-like art--
  Ere we can see the steel, 'tis in our heart.
  Almost without the aid language affords,
  Your piece seems wrought. That huffing medium, _words_,
  (Which in the modern Tamburlaines quite sway
  Our shamed souls from their bias) in your play
  We scarce attend to. Hastier passion draws
  Our tears on credit: and we find the cause
  Some two hours after, spelling o'er again
  Those strange few words at ease, that wrought the pain.
  Proceed, old friend; and, as the year returns,
  Still snatch some new old story from the urns
  Of long-dead virtue. We, that knew before
  Your worth, may admire, we cannot love you more.

       *       *       *       *       *



  Let hate, or grosser heats, their foulness mask
  Under the vizor of a borrow'd name;
  Let things eschew the light deserving blame:
  No cause hast thou to blush for thy sweet task.
  "Marcian Colonna" is a dainty book;
  And thy "Sicilian Tale" may boldly pass;
  Thy "Dream" 'bove all, in which, as in a glass,
  On the great world's antique glories we may look.
  No longer then, as "lowly substitute,
  Factor, or PROCTER, for another's gains,"
  Suffer the admiring world to be deceived;
  Lest thou thyself, by self of fame bereaved,
  Lament too late the lost prize of thy pains,
  And heavenly tunes piped through an alien flute.

       *       *       *       *       *


  I like you, and your book, ingenuous Hone!
    In whose capacious all-embracing leaves
  The very marrow of tradition's shown;
    And all that history--much that fiction--weaves.

  By every sort of taste your work is graced.
    Vast stores of modern anecdote we find,
  With good old story quaintly interlaced--
    The theme as various as the reader's mind.

  Rome's lie-fraught legends you so truly paint--
    Yet kindly,--that the half-turn'd Catholic
  Scarcely forbears to smile at his own saint,
    And cannot curse the candid heretic.

  Rags, relics, witches, ghosts, fiends, crowd your page;
    Our fathers' mummeries we well-pleased behold,
  And, proudly conscious of a purer age,
    Forgive some fopperies in the times of old.

  Verse-honoring Phoebus, Father of bright _Days_,
    Must needs bestow on you both good and many,
  Who, building trophies of his Children's praise,
    Run their rich Zodiac through, not missing any.

  Dan Phoebus loves your book--trust me, friend Hone--
    The title only errs, he bids me say:
  For while such art, wit, reading, there are shown,
    He swears,'tis not a work of _every day_.

       *       *       *       *       *


  Consummate Artist, whose undying name
  With classic Rogers shall go down to fame,
  Be this thy crowning work! In my young days
  How often have I, with a child's fond gaze,
  Pored on the pictur'd wonders[1] thou hadst done:
  Clarissa mournful, and prim Grandison!
  All Fielding's, Smollett's heroes, rose to view;
  I saw, and I believed the phantoms true.
  But, above all, that most romantic tale[2]
  Did o'er my raw credulity prevail,
  Where Glums and Gawries wear mysterious things,
  That serve at once for jackets and for wings.
  Age, that enfeebles other men's designs,
  But heightens thine, and thy free draught refines.
  In several ways distinct you make us feel--
  _Graceful_ as Raphael, as Watteau _genteel_.
  Your lights and shades, as Titianesque, we praise;
  And warmly wish you Titian's length of days.

[Footnote 1: Illustrations of the British Novelists.]

[Footnote 2: Peter Wilkins.]

       *       *       *       *       *


  What makes a happy wedlock? What has fate
  Not given to thee in thy well-chosen mate?
  Good sense--good humor;--these are trivial things,
  Dear M----, that each trite encomiast sings.
  But she hath these, and more. A mind exempt
  From every low-bred passion, where contempt,
  Nor envy, nor detraction, ever found
  A harbor yet; an understanding sound;
  Just views of right and wrong; perception full
  Of the deform'd, and of the beautiful,
  In life and manners; wit above her sex,
  Which, as a gem, her sprightly converse decks;
  Exuberant fancies, prodigal of mirth,
  To gladden woodland walk, or winter hearth;
  A noble nature, conqueror in the strife
  Of conflict with a hard discouraging life,
  Strengthening the veins of virtue, past the power
  Of those whose days have been one silken hour,
  Spoil'd fortune's pamper'd offspring; a keen sense
  Alike of benefit, and of offence,
  With reconcilement quick, that instant springs
  From the charged heart with nimble angel wings;
  While grateful feelings, like a signet sign'd
  By a strong hand, seemed burn'd into her mind.
  If these, dear friend, a dowry can confer
  Richer than land, thou hast them all in her;
  And beauty, which some hold the chiefest boon,
  Is in thy bargain for a make-weight thrown.

       *       *       *       *       *

[In a leaf of a quarto edition of the "Lives of the Saints, written
in Spanish by the learned and reverend father, Alfonso Villegas,
Divine, of the Order of St. Dominick, set forth in English by John
Heigham, Anno 1630," bought at a Catholic book-shop in Duke Street,
Lincoln's Inn Fields, I found, carefully inserted, a painted flower,
seemingly coeval with the book itself; and did not, for some time,
discover that it opened in the middle, and was the cover to a very
humble draught of a St. Anne, with the Virgin and Child; doubtless
the performance of some poor but pious Catholic, whose meditations it

  O lift with reverent hand that tarnish'd flower,
  That shrines beneath her modest canopy
  Memorials dear to Romish piety;
  Dim specks, rude shapes, of Saints! in fervent hour
  The work perchance of some meek devotee,
  Who, poor in worldly treasures to set forth
  The sanctities she worshipp'd to their worth,
  In this imperfect tracery might see
  Hints, that all Heaven did to her sense reveal.
  Cheap gifts best fit poor givers. We are told
  Of the lone mite, the cup of water cold,
  That in their way approved the offerer's zeal.
  True love shows costliest, where the means are scant;
  And, in their reckoning, they _abound_, who _want_.

       *       *       *       *       *


  I had a sense in dreams of a beauty rare,
  Whom Fate had spell-bound, and rooted there,
  Stooping, like some enchanted theme,
  Over the marge of that crystal stream,
  Where the blooming Greek, to Echo blind,
  With Self-love fond, had to waters pined,
  Ages had waked, and ages slept,
  And that bending posture still she kept:
  For her eyes she may not turn away,
  'Till a fairer object shall pass that way--
  'Till an image more beauteous this world can show,
  Than her own which she sees in the mirror below.
  Pore on, fair Creature! forever pore,
  Nor dream to be disenchanted more:
  For vain is expectance, and wish in vain,
  'Till a new Narcissus can come again.


  Louisa, serious grown and mild,
  I knew you once a romping child,
  Obstreperous much and very wild.
  Then you would clamber up my knees,
  And strive with every art to tease,
  When every art of yours could please.
  Those things would scarce be proper now,
  But they are gone, I know not how,
  And woman's written on your brow.
  Time draws his finger o'er the scene;
  But I cannot forget between
  The Thing to me you once have been;
  Each sportive sally, wild escape,--
  The scoff, the banter, and the jape,--
  And antics of my gamesome Ape.



       *       *       *       *       *



  Where seven fair Streets to one tall Column[1] draw,
  Two Nymphs have ta'en their stand, in hats of straw;
  Their yellower necks huge beads of amber grace,
  And by their trade they're of the Sirens' race:
  With cloak loose-pinn'd on each, that has been red,
  But long with dust and dirt discolored
  Belies its hue; in mud behind, before,
  From heel to middle leg becrusted o'er.
  One a small infant at the breast does bear;
  And one in her right hand her tuneful ware,
  Which she would vend. Their station scarce is taken,
  When youths and maids flock round. His stall forsaken,
  Forth comes a Son of Crispin, leathern-capt,
  Prepared to buy a ballad, if one apt
  To move his fancy offers. Crispin's sons
  Have, from uncounted time, with ale and buns,
  Cherish'd the gift of _Song_, which sorrow quells;
  And, working single in their low-rooft cells,
  Oft cheat the tedium of a winter's night
  With anthems warbled in the Muses' spight.--
  Who now hath caught the alarm? the Servant Maid,
  Hath heard a buzz at distance; and, afraid
  To miss a note, with elbows red comes out.
  Leaving his forge to cool, Pyracmon stout
  Thrusts in his unwash'd visage. _He_ stands by,
  Who the hard trade of Porterage does ply
  With stooping shoulders. What cares he? he sees
  The assembled ring, nor heeds his tottering knees,
  But pricks his ears up with the hopes of song.
  So, while the Bard of Rhodope his wrong
  Bewail'd to Proserpine on Thracian strings,
  The tasks of gloomy Orcus lost their stings,
  And stone-vext Sysiphus forgets his load.
  Hither and thither from the sevenfold road
  Some cart or wagon crosses, which divides
  The close-wedged audience; but, as when the tides
  To ploughing ships give way, the ship being past,
  They reunite, so these unite as fast.
  The older Songstress hitherto hath spent
  Her elocution in the argument
  Of their great Song in _prose_; to wit, the woes
  Which Maiden true to faithless Sailor owes--
  Ah! "_Wandering He!_"--which now in loftier _verse_
  Pathetic they alternately rehearse.
  All gaping wait the event. This Critic opes
  His right ear to the strain. The other hopes
  To catch it better with his left. Long trade
  It were to tell, how the deluded maid
  A victim fell. And now right greedily
  All hands are stretching forth the songs to buy,
  That are so tragical; which She, and She,
  Deals out, and _sings the while_; nor can there be
  A breast so obdurate here, that will hold back
  His contribution from the gentle rack
  Of Music's pleasing torture. Irus' self,
  The staff-propt Beggar, his thin gotten pelf
  Brings out from pouch, where squalid farthings rest,
  And boldly claims his ballad with the best.
  An old Dame only lingers. To her purse
  The penny sticks. At length, with harmless curse,
  "Give me," she cries. "I'll paste it on my wall,
  While the wall lasts, to show what ills befall
  Fond hearts, seduced from Innocency's way;
  How Maidens fall, and Mariners betray."

[Footnote 1: Seven Dials]

       *       *       *       *       *




  For much good-natured verse received from thee,
  A loving verse take in return from me.
  "Good-morrow to my masters," is your cry;
  And to our David "twice as good," say I.
  Not Peter's monitor, shrill Chanticleer,
  Crows the approach of dawn in notes more clear,
  Or tells the hours more faithfully. While night
  Fills half the world with shadows of affright,
  You with your lantern, partner of your round,
  Traverse the paths of Margaret's hallow'd bound.
  The tales of ghosts which old wives' ears drink up,
  The drunkard reeling home from tavern cup,
  Nor prowling robber, your firm soul appall;
  Arm'd with thy faithful staff, thou slight'st them all.
  But if the market gard'ner chance to pass,
  Bringing to town his fruit, or early grass,
  The gentle salesman you with candor greet,
  And with reit'rated "good-mornings" meet.
  Announcing your approach by formal bell,
  Of nightly weather you the changes tell;
  Whether the Moon shines, or her head doth steep
  In rain-portending clouds. When mortals sleep
  In downy rest, you brave the snows and sleet
  Of winter; and in alley, or in street,
  Relieve your midnight progress with a verse.
  What though fastidious Phoebus frown averse
  On your didactic strain--indulgent Night
  With caution hath seal'd up both ears of Spite,
  And critics sleep while you in staves do sound
  The praise of long-dead Saints, whose Days abound
  In wintry months; but Crispin chief proclaim:
  Who stirs not at that Prince of Cobblers' name?
  Profuse in loyalty some couplets shine,
  And wish long days to all the Brunswick line!
  To youths and virgins they chaste lessons read;
  Teach wives and husbands how their lives to lead;
  Maids to be cleanly, footmen free from vice:
  How death at last all ranks doth equalize;
  And, in conclusion, pray good years befall,
  With store of wealth, your "worthy masters all."
  For this and other tokens of good will
  On boxing-day may store of shillings fill
  Your Christmas purse; no householder give less,
  When at each door your blameless suit you press:
  And what you wish to us (it is but reason)
  Receive in turn--the compliments o' th' season!

       *       *       *       *       *



  Beautiful Infant, who dost keep
  Thy posture here, and sleep'st a marble sleep,
  May the repose unbroken be,
  Which the fine Artist's hand hath lent to thee,
  While thou enjoy'st along with it
  That which no art, or craft, could ever hit,
  Or counterfeit to mortal sense,
  The heaven-infusèd sleep of Innocence!

       *       *       *       *       *


  Poor Irus' faithful wolf-dog here I lie,
  That wont to tend my old blind master's steps,
  His guide and guard; nor, while my service lasted,
  Had he occasion for that staff, with which
  He now goes picking out his path in fear
  Over the highways and crossings, but would plant,
  Safe in the conduct of my friendly string,
  A firm foot forward still, till he had reach'd
  His poor seat on some stone, nigh where the tide
  Of passers-by in thickest confluence flow'd:
  To whom with loud and passionate laments
  From morn to eve his dark estate he wail'd.
  Nor wail'd to all in vain: some here and there,
  The well-disposed and good, their pennies gave.
  I meantime at his feet obsequious slept;
  Not all-asleep in sleep, but heart and ear
  Prick'd up at his least motion, to receive
  At his kind hand my customary crumbs,
  And common portion in his feast of scraps;
  Or when night warn'd us homeward, tired and spent
  With our long day and tedious beggary.
  These were my manners, this my way of life,
  Till age and slow disease me overtook,
  And sever'd from my sightless master's side.
  But lest the grace of so good deeds should die,
  Through tract of years in mute oblivion lost,
  This slender tomb of turf hath Irus rear'd,
  Cheap monument of no ungrudging hand,
  And with short verse inscribed it, to attest,
  In long and lasting union to attest,
  The virtues of the Beggar and his Dog.

       *       *       *       *       *



  A tuneful challenge rings from either side
  Of Thames' fair banks. Thy twice six Bells, St. Bride,
  Peal swift and shrill; to which more slow reply
  The deep-toned eight of Mary Overy.
  Such harmony from the contention flows,
  That the divided ear no preference knows:
  Betwixt them both disparting Music's State,
  While one exceeds in number, one in weight.

       *       *       *       *       *



  Great Newton's self, to whom the world's in debt,
  Owed to School-Mistress sage his Alphabet;
  But quickly wiser than his Teacher grown,
  Discover'd properties to her unknown;
  Of A _plus_ B, or _minus_, learn'd the use,
  Known Quantities from unknown to educe;
  And made--no doubt to that old dame's surprise--
  The Christ-Cross-Row his ladder to the skies.
  Yet, whatsoe'er Geometricians say,
  Her lessons were his true PRINCIPIA!

       *       *       *      *       *



  The frugal snail, with fore-cast of repose,
  Carries his house with him, where'er he goes;
  Peeps out--and if there comes a shower of rain,
  Retreats to his small domicile amain.
  Touch but a tip of him, a horn--'tis well--
  He curls up in his sanctuary shell.
  He's his own landlord, his own tenant; stay
  Long as he will, he dreads no Quarter Day.
  Himself he boards and lodges; both invites,
  And feasts, himself; sleeps with himself o' nights.
  He spares the upholsterer trouble to procure
  Chattels; himself is his own furniture,
  And his sole riches. Wheresoe'er he roam--
  Knock when you will--he's sure to be at home.

       *       *       *       *       *



[Footnote 1: Benjamin Ferrers--Died A. D. 1732.]

  And hath thy blameless life become
  A prey to the devouring tomb?
  A more mute silence hast thou known,
  A deafness deeper than thine own,
  While Time was? and no friendly Muse,
  That mark'd thy life, and knows thy dues,
  Repair with quickening verse the breach.
  And write thee into light and speech?
  The Power, that made the Tongue, restrain'd
  Thy lips from lies, and speeches feign'd;
  Who made the Hearing, without wrong
  Did rescue thine from Siren's song.
  He let thee _see_ the ways of men,
  Which thou with pencil, not with pen,
  Careful Beholder, down didst note,
  And all their motley actions quote,
  Thyself unstain'd the while. From look
  Or gesture reading, more than _book_,
  In letter'd pride thou took'st no part,
  Contented with the Silent Art,
  Thyself as silent. Might I be
  As speechless, deaf, and good, as He!

       *       *       *       *       *



  Nigh London's famous Bridge, a Gate more famed
  Stands, or once stood, from old Belinus named,
  So judged Antiquity; and therein wrongs
  A name, allusive strictly to _two Tongues_[1]
  Her School hard by the Goddess Rhetoric opes,
  And _gratis_ deals to Oyster-wives her Tropes.
  With Nereid green, green Nereid disputes,
  Replies, rejoins, confutes, and still confutes.
  One her coarse sense by metaphors expounds,
  And one in literalities abounds;
  In mood and figure these keep up the din:
  Words multiply, and every word tells in.
  Her hundred throats here bawling Slander strains;
  And unclothed Venus to her tongue gives reins
  In terms, which Demosthenic force outgo,
  And baldest jests of foul-mouth'd Cicero.
  Right in the midst great Atè keeps her stand,
  And from her sovereign station taints the land.
  Hence Pulpits rail; grave Senates learn to jar;
  Quacks scold; and Billingsgate infects the Bar.

[Footnote 1: _Bilinguis_ in the Latin.]

       *       *       *       *       *



  Inspire my spirit, Spirit of De Foe,
  That sang the Pillory,
  In loftier strains to show
  A more sublime Machine
  Than that, where thou wert seen,
  With neck outstretcht and shoulders ill awry,
  Courting coarse plaudits from vile crowds below--
  A most unseemly show!


  In such a place
  Who could expose thy face,
  Historiographer of deathless Crusoe!
  That paint'st the strife
  And all the naked ills of savage life,
  Far above Rousseau?
  Rather myself had stood
  In that ignoble wood,
  Bare to the mob, on holiday or high-day.
  If nought else could atone
  For waggish libel,
  I swear on bible,
  I would have spared him for thy sake alone,
  Man Friday!


  Our ancestors' were sour days,
  Great Master of Romance!
  A milder doom had fallen to thy chance
  In our days:
  Thy sole assignment
  Some solitary confinement,
  (Not worth thy care a carrot,)
  Where in world-hidden cell
  Thou thy own Crusoe might have acted well,
  Only without the parrot;
  By sure experience taught to know,
  Whether the qualms thou mak'st him feel were truly such or no.


  But stay! methinks in statelier measure--
  A more companionable pleasure--
  I see thy steps the mighty Tread-Mill trace,
  (The subject of my song,
  Delay'd however long,)
  And some of thine own race,
  To keep thee company, thou bring'st with thee along.
  There with thee go,
  Link'd in like sentence,
  With regulated pace and footing slow,
  Each old acquaintance,
  Rogue--harlot--thief--that live to future ages;
  Through many a labor'd tome,
  Rankly embalm'd in thy too natural pages.
  Faith, friend De Foe, thou art quite at home!
  Not one of thy great offspring thou dost lack,
  From pirate Singleton to pilfering Jack.
  Here Flandrian Moll her brazen incest brags;
  Vice-stript Roxana, penitent in rags,
  There points to Amy, treading equal chimes,
  The faithful handmaid to her faithless crimes.


  Incompetent my song to raise,
  To its just height thy praise,
  Great Mill!
  That by thy motion proper
  (No thanks to wind, or sail, or working rill),
  Grinding that stubborn corn, the Human will,
  Turn'st out men's consciences,
  That were begrimed before, as clean and sweet
  As flour from purest wheat,
  Into thy hopper.
  All reformation short of thee but nonsense is,
  Or human, or divine.


  Compared with thee,
  What are the labors of that Jumping Sect,
  Which feeble laws connive at rather than respect?
  Thou dost not bump,
  Or jump,
  But _walk_ men into virtue; betwixt crime
  And slow repentance giving breathing time,
  And leisure to be good;
  Instructing with discretion demi-reps
  How to direct their steps.


  Thou best Philosopher made out of wood!
  Not that which framed the tub,
  Where sat the Cynic cub,
  With nothing in his bosom sympathetic;
  But from those groves derived, I deem,
  Where Plato nursed his dream
  Of immortality;
  Seeing that clearly
  Thy system all is merely
  Thou to thy pupils dost such lessons give
  Of how to live
  With temperance, sobriety, morality,
  (A new art,)
  That from thy school, by force of virtuous deeds,
  Each Tyro now proceeds
  A "Walking Stewart!"

       *       *       *       *       *



  Fine merry franions,
  Wanton companions,
  My days are ev'n banyans
    With thinking upon ye!
  How Death, that last stinger,
  Finis-writer, end-bringer,
  Has laid his chill finger,
    Or is laying on ye.


  There's rich Kitty Wheatley,
  With footing it featly
  That took me completely,
    She sleeps in the Kirk House;
  And poor Polly Perkin,
  Whose Dad was still firking
  The jolly ale firkin,
    She's gone to the Work-house;


  Fine Gard'ner, Ben Carter
  (In ten counties no smarter)
  Has ta'en his departure
    For Proserpine's orchards:
  And Lily, postilion,
  With cheeks of vermilion,
  Is one of a million
    That fill up the church-yards;


  And, lusty as Dido,
  Fat Clemitson's widow
  Flits now a small shadow
    By Stygian hid ford;
  And good Master Clapton
  Has thirty years napt on,
  The ground he last hapt on,
    Entomb'd by fair Widford;


  And gallant Tom Dockwra,
  Of Nature's finest crockery,
  Now but thin air and mockery,
    Lurks by Avernus,
  Whose honest grasp of hand
  Still, while his life did stand,
  At friend's or foe's command,
    Almost did burn us.


  Roger de Coverley
  Not more good man than he;
  Yet has he equally
    Push'd for Cocytus,
  With drivelling Worral,
  And wicked old Dorrell,
  'Gainst whom I've a quarrel,
    Whose end might affright us!--


  Kindly hearts have I known;
  Kindly hearts, they are flown;
  Here and there if but one
    Linger yet uneffaced,
  Imbecile tottering elves,
  Soon to be wreck'd on shelves,
  These scarce are half themselves,
    With age and care crazed.


  But this day Fanny Hutton
  Her last dress has put on;
  Her fine lessons forgotten,
    She died, as the dunce died;
  And prim Betsey Chambers,
  Decay'd in her members,
  No longer remembers
    Things, as she once did;


  And prudent Miss Wither
  Not in jest now doth _wither_,
  And soon must go--whither
    Nor I well, nor you know;
  And flaunting Miss Waller,
  _That_ soon must befall her,
  Whence none can recall her,
    Though proud once as Juno!

       *       *       *       *       *


  Some cry up Haydn, some Mozart,
  Just as the whim bites; for my part,
  I do not care a farthing candle
  For either of them, or for Handel.--
  Cannot a man live free and easy,
  Without admiring Pergolesi?
  Or through the world with comfort go,
  That never heard of Doctor Blow?
  So help me heaven, I hardly have;
  And yet I eat, and drink, and shave,
  Like other people, if you watch it,
  And know no more of stave or crotchet,
  Than did the primitive Peruvians;
  Or those old ante-queer-diluvians
  That lived in the unwash'd world with Jubal,
  Before that dirty blacksmith Tubal
  By stroke on anvil, or by summ'at,
  Found out, to his great surprise, the gamut.
  I care no more for Cimarosa,
  Than he did for Salvator Rosa,
  Being no painter; and bad luck
  Be mine, if I can bear that Gluck!
  Old Tycho Brahe, and modern Herschel,
  Had something in them; but who's Purcel?
  The devil, with his foot so cloven,
  For aught I care, may take Beethoven;
  And, if the bargain does not suit,
  I'll throw him Weber in to boot.
  There's not the splitting of a splinter
  To choose twixt him last named, and Winter.
  Of Doctor Pepusch old queen Dido
  Knew just as much, God knows, as I do.
  I would not go four miles to visit
  Sebastian Bach; (or Batch, which is it?)
  No more I would for Bononcini.
  As for Novello, or Rossini,
  I shall not say a word to grieve 'em,
  Because they're living; so I leave 'em.




A Dramatic poem.


       *       *       *       *       *


MR. SELBY, _A Wiltshire Gentleman._
KATHERINE, _Wife to Selby_.
LUCY, _Sister to Selby_.


SCENE--_At Mr. Selby's House, or in the grounds adjacent_.

       *       *       *       *       *

SCENE--_A Library_.


_Selby_. Do not too far mistake me, gentlest wife;
I meant to chide your virtues, not yourself,
And those too with allowance. I have not
Been blest by thy fair side with five white years
Of smooth and even wedlock, now to touch
With any strain of harshness on a string
Hath yielded me such music. 'Twas the quality
Of a too grateful nature in my Katherine,
That to the lame performance of some vows,
And common courtesies of man to wife,
Attributing too much, hath sometimes seem'd
To esteem as favors, what in that blest union
Are but reciprocal and trivial dues,
As fairly yours as mine: 'twas this I thought
Gently to reprehend.

_Kath._         In friendship's barter
The riches we exchange should hold some level,
And corresponding worth. Jewels for toys
Demand some thanks thrown in. You look me, sir,
To that blest haven of my peace, your bosom,
An orphan founder'd in the world's black storm.
Poor, you have made me rich; from lonely maiden,
Your cherish'd and your full-accompanied wife.

_Selby._ But to divert the subject: Kate too fond,
I would not wrest your meanings; else that word
Accompanied, and full-accompanied too,
Might raise a doubt in some men, that their wives
Haply did think their company too long;
And over-company, we know by proof,
Is worse than no attendance.

_Kath._                I must guess,
You speak this of the Widow--

_Selby._                'Twas a bolt
At random shot; but if it hit, believe me,
I am most sorry to have wounded you
Through a friend's side.  I know not how we have swerved
From our first talk. I was to caution you
Against this fault of a too grateful nature:
Which, for some girlish obligations past,
In that relenting season of the heart,
When slightest favors pass for benefits
Of endless binding, would entail upon you
An iron slavery of obsequious duty
To the proud will of an imperious woman.

_Kath_. The favors are not slight to her I owe.

_Selby_. Slight or not slight, the tribute she exacts
Cancels all dues--                            [_A voice within_.
                  even now I hear her call you
In such a tone, as lordliest mistresses
Expect a slave's attendance. Prithee, Kate.
Let her expect a brace of minutes or so.
Say you are busy. Use her by degrees
To some less hard exactions.

_Kath_.                 I conjure you,
Detain me not. I will return--

_Selby_.                 Sweet wife,
Use thy own pleasure--                        [_Exit_ KATHERINE.
                       but it troubles me.
A visit of three days, as was pretended,
Spun to ten tedious weeks, and no hint given
When she will go! I would this buxom Widow
Were a thought handsomer! I'd fairly try
My Katherine's constancy; make desperate love
In seeming earnest; and raise up such broils,
That she, not I, should be the first to warn
The insidious guest depart.

                _Reënter_ KATHERINE.

So soon return'd!
What was our Widow's will?

_Kath_.                    A trifle, sir.

_Selby_. Some toilet service--to adjust her head,
Or help to stick a pin in the right place--

_Kath_. Indeed 'twas none of these.

_Selby._                         Or new vamp up
The tarnish'd cloak she came in. I have seen her
Demand such service from thee, as her maid,
Twice told to do it, would blush angry-red,
And pack her few clothes up. Poor fool! fond slave!
And yet my dearest Kate!--This day at least
(It is our wedding-day) we spend in freedom,
And will forget our Widow. Philip, our coach--
Why weeps my wife? You know, I promised you
An airing o'er the pleasant Hampshire downs
To the blest cottage on the green hill-side,
Where first I told my love. I wonder much,
If the crimson parlor hath exchanged its hue
For colors not so welcome. Faded though it be,
It will not show less lovely than the tinge
Of this faint red, contending with the pale,
Where once the full-flush'd health gave to this cheek
An apt resemblance to the fruit's warm side,
That bears my Katherine's name.--
                                Our carriage, Philip.

           _Enter a Servant._

Now, Robin, what make you here?

_Servant._                May it please you,
The coachman has driven out with Mrs. Frampton.

_Selby._ He had no orders--

_Servant._ None, sir, that I know of,
But from the lady, who expects some letter
At the next Post Town.

_Selby._              Go, Robin.          [_Exit Servant._
                                      How is this?

_Kath._ I came to tell you so, but fear'd your anger--

_Selby._ It was ill done though of this Mistress Frampton,
This forward Widow.  But a ride's poor loss
Imports not much. In to your chamber, love,
Where you with music may beguile the hour,
While I am tossing over dusty tomes,
Till our most reasonable friend returns.

_Kath_. I am all obedience.               [_Exit_ KATHERINE.

_Selby_.                    Too obedient, Kate,
And to too many masters. I can hardly
On such a day as this refrain to speak
My sense of this injurious friend, this pest,
This household evil, this close-clinging fiend,
In rough terms to my wife. 'Death, my own servants
Controll'd above me! orders countermanded!
What next?              [_Servant enters and announces the Sister._

              _Enter_ LUCY.

Sister! I know you are come to welcome
This day's return. 'Twas well done.

_Lucy_.                       You seem ruffled.
In years gone by this day was used to be
The smoothest of the year. Your honey turn'd
So soon to gall?

_Selby_.        Gall'd am I, and with cause,
And rid to death, yet cannot get a riddance,
Nay, scarce a ride, by this proud Widow's leave.

_Lucy_. Something you wrote me of a Mistress Frampton.

_Selby_. She came at first a meek admitted guest,
Pretending a short stay; her whole deportment
Seem'd as of one obliged. A slender trunk,
The wardrobe of her scant and ancient clothing,
Bespoke no more. But in few days her dress,
Her looks, were proudly changed. And now she flaunts it
In jewels stolen or borrow'd from my wife;
Who owes her some strange service, of what nature
I must be kept in ignorance. Katherine's meek
And gentle spirit cowers beneath her eye,
As spell-bound by some witch.

_Lucy_.              Some mystery hangs on it.
How bears she in her carriage towards yourself?

_Selby_. As one who fears, and yet not greatly cares
For my displeasure. Sometimes I have thought,
A secret glance would tell me she could love,
If I but gave encouragement. Before me
She keeps some moderation; but is never
Closeted with my wife, but in the end
I find my Katherine in briny tears.
From the small chamber, where she first was lodged,
The gradual fiend by spacious wriggling arts
Has now ensconced herself in the best part
Of this large mansion; calls the left wing her own;
Commands my servants, equipage.--I hear
Her hated tread. What makes she back so soon?

              _Enter_ MRS. FRAMPTON.

_Mrs. F._ O, I am jolter'd, bruised, and shook to death,
With your vile Wiltshire roads. The villain Philip
Chose, on my conscience, the perversest tracks,
And stoniest hard lanes in all the county,
Till I was fain get out, and so walk back,
My errand unperform'd at Andover.

_Lucy_. And I shall love the knave forever after.

_Mrs. F._ A friend with you!

_Selby_.                    My eldest sister, Lucy,
Come to congratulate this returning morn.--
Sister, my wife's friend, Mistress Frampton.

_Mrs. F._                                Pray,
Be seated; for your brother's sake, you are welcome.
I had thought this day to have spent in homely fashion
With the good couple, to whose hospitality
I stand so far indebted.  But your coming
Makes it a feast.

_Lucy._            She does the honors naturally--

_Selby._ As if she were the mistress of the house.--

_Mrs. F._ I love to be at home with loving friends.
To stand on ceremony with obligations,
Is to restrain the obliger.  That old coach, though,
Of yours jumbles one strangely.

_Selby._                  I shall order
An equipage soon, more easy to you, madam--

_Lucy._ To drive her and her pride to Lucifer,
I hope he means.                                     [_Aside._

_Mrs. F._ I must go trim myself; this humbled garb
Would shame a wedding-feast. I have your leave
For a short absence?--and your Katherine--

_Selby._ You'll find her in her closet--

_Mrs. F._                          Fare you well, then.

_Selby._ How like you her assurance?

_Lucy._                              Even so well,
That if this Widow were my guest, not yours,
She should have coach enough, and scope to ride.
My merry groom should in a trice convey her
To Sarum Plain, and set her down at Stonehenge,
To pick her path through those antiques at leisure;
She should take sample of our Wiltshire flints.
O, be not lightly jealous! nor surmise,
That to a wanton bold-faced thing like this
Your modest shrinking Katherine could impart
Secrets of any worth, especially
Secrets that touch'd your peace. If there be aught,
My life upon't,'tis but some girlish story
Of a First Love; which even the boldest wife
Might modestly deny to a husband's ear,
Much more your timid and too sensitive Katherine.

_Selby_. I think it is no more; and will dismiss
My further fears, if ever I have had such.

_Lucy_. Shall we go walk? I'd see your gardens, brother;
And how the new trees thrive, I recommended.
Your Katherine is engaged now--

_Selby_.                    I'll attend you.


SCENE.--_Servants' Hall_.

HOUSEKEEPER, PHILIP, _and others, laughing_.

_Housekeeper_. Our Lady's guest, since her short ride, seems ruffled,
And somewhat in disorder. Philip, Philip,
I do suspect some roguery. Your mad tricks
Will some day cost you a good place, I warrant.

_Philip_. Good Mistress Jane, our serious housekeeper,
And sage Duenna to the maids and scullions,
We must have leave to laugh; our brains are younger,
And undisturb'd with care of keys and pantries.
We are wild things.

_Butler_.      Good Philip, tell us all.

_All_. Ay, as you live, tell, tell--

_Philip_. Mad fellows, you shall have it.
The Widow's bell rang lustily and loud--

_Butler_. I think that no one can mistake her ringing.

_Waiting-maid_. Our Lady's ring is soft sweet music to it,
More of entreaty hath it than command.

_Philip_. I lose my story, if you interrupt me thus.
The bell, I say, rang fiercely; and a voice
More shrill than bell, call'd out for "Coachman Philip!"

I straight obey'd, as 'tis my name and office,
"Drive me," quoth she, "to the next market-town,
Where I have hope of letters." I made haste:
Put to the horses, saw her safely coach'd,
And drove her--

_Waiting-maid_. By the straight high-road to Andover,
I guess--

_Philip_. Pray, warrant things within your knowledge,
Good Mistress Abigail; look to your dressings,
And leave the skill in horses to the coachman.

_Butler_. He'll have his humor; best not interrupt him.

_Philip_. 'Tis market-day, thought I; and the poor beasts,
Meeting such droves of cattle and of people,
May take a fright; so down the lane I trundled,
Where Goodman Dobson's crazy mare was founder'd,
And where the flints were biggest, and ruts widest,
By ups and downs, and such bone-cracking motions
We flounder'd on a furlong, till my madam,
In policy, to save the few joints left her,
Betook her to her feet, and there we parted.

_All_. Ha! ha! ha!

_Butler_. Hang her, 'tis pity such as she should ride.

_Waiting-maid_. I think she is a witch; I have tired myself out
With sticking pins in her pillow; still she scapes them--

_Butler_. And I with helping her to mum for claret,
But never yet could cheat her dainty palate.

_Housekeeper_. Well, well, she is the guest of our good Mistress,
And so should be respected. Though, I think,
Our master cares not for her company,
He would ill brook we should express so much
By rude discourtesies, and short attendance,
Being but servants. (_A Bell rings furiously._)
                    'Tis her bell speaks now;
Good, good, bestir yourselves: who knows who's wanted?

_Butler_. But 'twas a merry trick of Philip coachman.

       *       *       *       *       *

SCENE.--_Mrs. Selby's Chamber_.


_Mrs. F._ I am thinking, child, how contrary our fates
Have traced our lots through life.--Another needle,
This works untowardly.--An heiress born
To splendid prospects, at our common school
I was as one above you all, not of you;
Had my distinct prerogatives; my freedoms,
Denied to you. Pray, listen--

_Kath_.                 I must hear,
What you are pleased to speak--how my heart sinks here! [_Aside_.

_Mrs. F_. My chamber to myself, my separate maid,
My coach, and so forth.--Not that needle, simple one,
With the great staring eye fit for a Cyclops!
Mine own are not so blinded with their griefs,
But I could make a shift to thread a smaller.
A cable or a camel might go through this,
And never strain for the passage.

_Kath_.                      I will fit you----
Intolerable tyranny!                                    [_Aside_.

_Mrs. F_.        Quick, quick;
You were not once so slack.--As I was saying,
Not a young thing among ye, but observed me
Above the mistress. Who but I was sought to
In all your dangers, all your little difficulties,
Your girlish scrapes? I was the scape-goat still,
To fetch you off; kept all your secrets, some,
Perhaps, since then--

_Kath_.           No more of that, for mercy,
If you'd not have me, sinking at your feet,
Cleave the cold earth for comfort.                     [_Kneels_.

_Mrs. F._                     This to me?
This posture to your friend had better suited
The orphan Katherine in her humble school-days
To the _then_ rich heiress, than the wife of Selby,
Of wealthy Mr. Selby,
To the poor widow Frampton, sunk as she is.
Come, come,
'Twas something, or 'twas nothing, that I said;
I did not mean to fright you, sweetest bedfellow!
You once were so, but Selby now engrosses you.
I'll make him give you up a night or so;
In faith I will: that we may lie, and talk
Old tricks of school-days over.

_Kath._                     Hear me, madam--

_Mrs. F._ Not by that name. Your friend--

_Kath._                          My truest friend,
And savior of my honor!

_Mrs. F._           This sounds better;
You still shall find me such.

_Kath._                  That you have graced
Our poor house with your presence hitherto,
Has been my greatest comfort, the sole solace
Of my forlorn and hardly guess'd estate.
You have been pleased
To accept some trivial hospitalities,
In part of payment of a long arrear
I owe to you, no less than for my life.

_Mrs. F._ You speak my services too large.

_Kath._                                   Nay, less;
For what an abject thing were life to me
Without your silence on my dreadful secret!
And I would wish the league we have renew'd
Might be perpetual--

_Mrs. F._        Have a care, fine madam!          [_Aside._

_Kath._ That one house still might hold us. But my husband
Has shown himself of late--

_Mrs. F._                How, Mistress Selby?

_Kath._ Not, not impatient. You misconstrue him.
He honors, and he loves, nay, he must love
The friend of his wife's youth. But there are moods,
In which--

_Mrs. F._ I understand you;--in which husbands,
And wives that love, may wish to be alone,
To nurse the tender fits of new-born dalliance,
After a five years' wedlock.

_Kath._                      Was that well,
Or charitably put? do these pale cheeks
Proclaim a wanton blood? This wasting form
Seem a fit theatre for Levity
To play his love-tricks on; and act such follies,
As even in Affection's first bland Moon
Have less of grace than pardon in best wedlocks?
I was about to say, that there are times,
When the most frank and sociable man
May surfeit on most loved society,
Preferring loneness rather--

_Mrs. F._                  To my company--

_Kath._ Ay, yours, or mine, or any one's. Nay, take
Not this unto yourself. Even in the newness
Of our first married loves 'twas sometimes so.
For solitude, I have heard my Selby say,
Is to the mind as rest to the corporal functions;
And he would call it oft, the _day's soft sleep._

_Mrs. F._ What is your drift? and whereto tends this speech,
Rhetorically labor'd?

_Kath._                 That you would
Abstain but from our house a month, a week;
I make request but for a single day.

_Mrs. F._ A month, a week, a day! A single hour
Is every week, and month, and the long year,
And all the years to come! My footing here,
Slipt once, recovers never. From the state
Of gilded roofs, attendance, luxuries,
Parks, gardens, sauntering walks, or wholesome rides,
To the bare cottage on the withering moor,
Where I myself am servant to myself,
Or only waited on by blackest thoughts--
I sink, if this be so. No; here I sit.

_Kath_. Then I am lost forever!

                             [_Sinks at her feet--curtain drops._

SCENE--_An Apartment contiguous to the last._

SELBY, _as if listening_.

_Selby_. The sounds have died away. What am I changed to?
What do I here, list'ning like to an abject,
Or heartless wittol, that must hear no good,
If he hear aught? "This shall to the ear of your husband."
It was the Widow's word. I guess'd some mystery,
And the solution with a vengeance comes.
What can my wife have left untold to me,
That must be told by proxy? I begin
To call in doubt the course of her life past
Under my very eyes. She hath not been good,
Not virtuous, not discreet; she hath not outrun
My wishes still with prompt and meek observance.
Perhaps she is not fair, sweet-voiced; her eyes
Not like the dove's; all this as well may be,
As that she should entreasure up a secret
In the peculiar closet of her breast,
And grudge it to my ear. It is my right
To claim the halves in any truth she owns,
As much as in the babe I have by her;
Upon whose face henceforth I fear to look,
Lest I should fancy in its innocent brow
Some strange shame written.

           _Enter_ LUCY.

               Sister, an anxious word with you.
From out the chamber, where my wife but now
Held talk with her encroaching friend, I heard
(Not of set purpose heark'ning, but by chance)
A voice of chiding, answer'd by a tone
Of replication, such as the meek dove
Makes, when the kite has clutch'd her. The high Widow
Was loud and stormy. I distinctly heard
One threat pronounced--"Your husband shall know all."
I am no listener, sister; and I hold
A secret, got by such unmanly shift,
The pitiful'st of thefts; but what mine ear,
I not intending it, receives perforce,
I count my lawful prize. Some subtle meaning
Lurks in this fiend's behavior; which, by force,
Or fraud I must make mine.

_Lucy_.               The gentlest means
Are still the wisest. What, if you should press
Your wife to a disclosure?

_Selby_.              I have tried
All gentler means; thrown out low hints, which, though
Merely suggestions still, have never fail'd
To blanch her cheek with fears. Roughlier to insist,
Would be to kill, where I but meant to heal.

_Lucy_. Your own description gave that Widow out
As one not much precise, nor over-coy,
And nice to listen to a suit of love.
What if you feign'd a courtship, putting on,
(To work the secret from her easy faith,)
For honest ends, a most dishonest seeming?

_Selby_. I see your drift, and partly meet your counsel.
But must it not in me appear prodigious,
To say the least, unnatural, and suspicious,
To move hot love, where I have shown cool scorn,
And undissembled looks of blank aversion?

_Lucy_. Vain woman is the dupe of her own charms,
And easily credits the resistless power,
That in besieging beauty lies, to cast down
The slight-built fortress of a casual hate.

_Selby_. I am resolved--

_Lucy_.                  Success attend your wooing!

_Selby_. And I'll about it roundly, my wise sister.

SCENE.--_The Library_.


_Selby_. A fortunate encounter, Mistress Frampton.
My purpose was, if you could spare so much
From your sweet leisure, a few words in private.

_Mrs. F._ What mean his alter'd tones? These looks to me,
Whose glances yet he has repell'd with coolness?
Is the wind changed? I'll veer about with it,
And meet him in all fashions.                           [_Aside_.
                               All my leisure,
Feebly bestow'd upon my kind friends here,
Would not express a tithe of the obligements
I every hour incur.

_Selby_.       No more of that.
I know not why, my wife hath lost of late
Much of her cheerful spirits.

_Mrs. F._                It was my topic
To-day; and every day, and all day long,
I still am chiding with her. "Child," I said,
And said it pretty roundly--it may be
I was too peremptory--we elder school-fellows,
Presuming on the advantage of a year
Or two, which, in that tender time, seem'd much,
In after years, much like to elder sisters,
Are prone to keep the authoritative style,
When time has made the difference most ridiculous--

_Selby_. The observation's shrewd.

_Mrs. F._             "Child," I was saying,
"If some wives had obtain'd a lot like yours,"
And then perhaps I sigh'd, "they would not sit
In corners moping, like to sullen moppets,
That want their will, but dry their eyes, and look
Their cheerful husbands in the face," perhaps
I said, their Selbys, "with proportion'd looks
Of honest joy."

_Selby_.     You do suspect no jealousy?

_Mrs. F._ What is his import? Whereto tends his Speech?
Of whom, or what, should she be jealous, sir?

_Selby_. I do not know, but women have their fancies;
And underneath a cold indifference,
Or show of some distaste, husbands have mask'd
A growing fondness for a female friend,
Which the wife's eye was sharp enough to see,
Before the friend had wit to find it out.
You do not quit us soon?

_Mrs. F._          'Tis as I find;
Your Katherine profits by my lessons, sir.--
Means this man honest? Is there no deceit?              [_Aside._

_Selby_. She cannot choose.--Well, well, I have been thinking,
And if the matter were to do again--

_Mrs. F._ What matter, sir?

_Selby._                   This idle bond of wedlock;
These sour-sweet briars, fetters of harsh silk;
I might have made, I do not say a better,
But a more fit choice in a wife.

_Mrs. F._                  The parch'd ground,
In hottest Julys, drinks not in the showers
More greedily than I his words!                         [_Aside_.

_Selby_.                   My humor
Is to be frank and jovial; and that man
Affects me best, who most reflects me in
My most free temper.

_Mrs. F._        Were you free to choose,
As jestingly I'll put the supposition,
Without a thought reflecting on your Katherine,
What sort of Woman would you make your choice?

_Selby_. I like your humor and will meet your jest.
She should be one about my Katherine's age;
But not so old, by some ten years, in gravity,
One that would meet my mirth, sometimes outrun it:
No muling, pining moppet, as you said,
Nor moping maid that I must still be teaching
The freedoms of a wife all her life after:
But one that, having worn the chain before,
(And worn it lightly, as report gave out,)
Enfranchised from it by her poor fool's death,
Took it not so to heart that I need dread
To die myself, for fear a second time
To wet a widow's eye.

_Mrs. F._        Some widows, sir,
Hearing you talk so wildly, would be apt
To put strange misconstruction on your words,
As aiming at a Turkish liberty,
Where the free husband hath his several mates,
His Penseroso, his Allegro wife,
To suit his sober or his frolic fit.

_Selby_. How judge you of that latitude?

_Mrs. F._                                As one,
In European customs bred, must judge. Had I
Been born a native of the liberal East,
I might have thought as they do. Yet I knew
A married man that took a second wife,
And (the man's circumstances duly weigh'd,
With all their bearings) the considerate world
Nor much approved, nor much condemn'd the deed.

_Selby_. You move my wonder strangely. Pray, proceed.

_Mrs. F._ An eye of wanton liking he had placed
Upon a Widow, who liked him again,
But stood on terms of honorable love,
And scrupled wronging his most virtuous wife--
When to their ears a lucky rumor ran,
That this demure and saintly-seeming wife
Had a first husband living; with the which
Being question'd, she but faintly could deny.
"A priest indeed there was; some words had pass'd,
But scarce amounting to a marriage rite.
Her friend was absent; she supposed him dead;
And, seven years parted, both were free to choose."

_Selby_. What did the indignant husband? Did he not
With violent handlings stigmatize the cheek
Of the deceiving wife, who had entail'd
Shame on their innocent babe?

_Mrs. F._                He neither tore
His wife's locks nor his own; but wisely weighing
His own offence with hers in equal poise,
And woman's weakness 'gainst the strength of man,
Came to a calm and witty compromise.
He coolly took his gay-faced widow home,
Made her his second wife; and still the first
Lost few or none of her prerogatives.
The servants call'd her mistress still; she kept
The keys, and had the total ordering
Of the house affairs; and, some slight toys excepted,
Was all a moderate wife would wish to be.

_Selby_. A tale full of dramatic incident!--
And if a man should put it in a play,
How should he name the parties?

_Mrs. F._                  The man's name
Through time I have forgot--the widow's too;--
But his first wife's first name, her maiden one,
Was--not unlike to _that_ your Katherine bore,
Before she took the honor'd style of Selby.

_Selby_. A dangerous meaning in your riddle lurks.
One knot is yet unsolved; that told, this strange
And most mysterious drama ends. The name
Of that first husband--

                 _Enter_ LUCY.

_Mrs. F._           Sir, your pardon--
The allegory fits your private ear.
Some half hour hence, in the garden's secret walk,
We shall have leisure.                                  [_Exit_.

_Selby_.          Sister, whence come you?

_Lucy_. From your poor Katherine's chamber, where she droops
In sad presageful thoughts, and sighs, and weeps,
And seems to pray by turns. At times she looks
As she would pour her secret in my bosom--
Then starts, as I have seen her, at the mention
Of some immodest act. At her request,
I left her on her knees.

_Selby_.            The fittest posture;
For great has been her fault to Heaven and me.
She married me with a first husband living,
Or not known not to be so, which, in the judgment
Of any but indifferent honesty,
Must be esteem'd the same. The shallow Widow,
Caught by my art, under a riddling veil
Too thin to hide her meaning, hath confess'd all.
Your coming in broke off the conference,
When she was ripe to tell the fatal _name_
That seals my wedded doom.

_Lucy_.               Was she so forward
To pour her hateful meanings in your ear
At the first hint?

_Selby_.      Her newly flatter'd hopes
Array'd themselves at first in forms of doubt;
And with a female caution she stood off
Awhile, to read the meaning of my suit,
Which with such honest seeming I enforced,
That her cold scruples soon gave way; and now
She rests prepared, as mistress, or as wife,
To seize the place of her betrayèd friend--
My much offending, but more suffering, Katherine.

_Lucy_. Into what labyrinth of fearful shapes
My simple project has conducted you--
Were but my wit as skilful to invent
A clue to lead you forth!--I call to mind
A letter, which your wife received from the Cape,
Soon after you were married, with some circumstances
Of mystery too.

_Selby_.   I well remember it.
That letter did confirm the truth (she said)
Of a friend's death, which she had long fear'd true,
But knew not for a fact. A youth of promise
She gave him out--a hot adventurous spirit--
That had set sail in quest of golden dreams,
And cities in the heart of Central Afric;
But named no names, nor did I care to press
My question further, in the passionate grief
She show'd at the receipt. Might this be he?

_Lucy_. Tears were not all. When that first shower was past,
With clasp'd hands she raised her eyes to Heav'n,
As if in thankfulness for some escape,
Or strange deliverance, in the news implied,
Which sweeten'd that sad news.

_Selby_.                 Something of that
I noted also--

_Lucy_.   In her closet once,
Seeking some other trifle, I espied
A ring, in mournful characters deciphering
The death of "Robert Halford, aged two
And twenty." Brother, I am not given
To the confident use of wagers, which I hold
Unseemly in a woman's argument;
But I am strangely tempted now to risk
A thousand pounds out of my patrimony,
(And let my future husband look to it,
If it be lost,) that this immodest Widow
Shall name the name that tallies with that ring.

_Selby_. That wager lost, I should be rich indeed--
Rich in my rescued Kate--rich in my honor,
Which now was bankrupt. Sister, I accept
Your merry wager, with an aching heart
For very fear of winning. 'Tis the hour
That I should meet my Widow in the walk,
The south side of the garden. On some pretence
Lure forth my Wife that way, that she may witness
Our seeming courtship. Keep us still in sight,
Yourselves unseen; and by some sign I'll give,
(A finger held up, or a kerchief waved,)
You'll know your wager won--then break upon us,
As if by chance.

_Lucy_.     I apprehend your meaning--

_Selby_. And may you prove a true Cassandra here,
Though my poor acres smart for't, wagering sister.

       *       *       *       *       *

SCENE.--_Mrs. Selby's chamber._


_Mrs. F._ Did I express myself in terms so strong?

_Kath._ As nothing could have more affrighted me.

_Mrs. F._ Think it a hurt friend's jest, in retribution
Of a suspected cooling hospitality.
And, for my staying here, or going hence,
(Now I remember something of our argument,)
Selby and I can settle that between us.
You look amazed. What if your husband, child,
Himself has courted me to stay?

_Kath._                    You move
My wonder and my pleasure equally.

_Mrs. F._ Yes, courted me to stay, waived all objections,
Made it a favor to yourselves; not me,
His troublesome guest, as you surmised. Child, child,
When I recall his flattering welcome, I
Begin to think the burden of my presence

_Kath_. What, for Heaven--

_Mrs. F._                  A little, little spice
Of jealousy--that's all--an honest pretext,
No wife need blush for. Say that you should see,
(As oftentimes we widows take such freedoms,
Yet still on this side virtue,) in a jest
Your husband pat me on the cheek, or steal
A kiss, while you were by,--not else, for virtue's sake.

_Kath._ I could endure all this, thinking my husband
Meant it in sport--

_Mrs. F._      But if in downright earnest
(Putting myself out of the question here)
Your Selby, as I partly do suspect,
Own'd a divided heart--

_Kath._            My own would break--

_Mrs. F._ Why, what a blind and witless fool it is,
That will not see its gains, its infinite gains--

_Kath._ Gain in a loss.
                            Or mirth in utter desolation!

_Mrs. F._ He doating on a face--suppose it mine,
Or any other's tolerably fair--
What need you care about a senseless secret?

_Kath._ Perplex'd and fearful woman! I in part
Fathom your dangerous meaning. You have broke
The worse than iron band, fretting the soul,
By which you held me captive. Whether my husband
_Is_ what you gave him out, or your fool'd fancy
But dreams he is so, either way I am free.

_Mrs. F._ It talks it bravely, blazons out its shame;
A very heroine while on its knees;
Rowe's Penitent, an absolute Calista?

_Kath._ Not to thy wretched self these tears are falling;
But to my husband, and offended Heaven,
Some drops are due--and then I sleep in peace,
Relieved from frightful dreams, my dreams though sad

_Mrs. F._ I have gone too far. Who knows but in this mood
She may forestall my story, win on Selby
By a frank confession?--and the time draws on
For our appointed meeting. The game's desperate,
For which I play. A moment's difference
May make it hers or mine. I fly to meet him.             [_Exit._

       *       *       *       *       *

SCENE.--_A garden._


_Selby._ I am not so ill a guesser, Mrs. Frampton,
Not to conjecture, that some passages
In your unfinish'd story, rightly interpreted,
Glanced at my bosom's peace;
                             You knew my wife?

_Mrs. F._ Even from her earliest school-days--What of that?
Or how is she concern'd in my fine riddles,
Framed for the hour's amusement!

_Selby_.                     By my _hopes_
Of my new interest conceived in you,
And by the honest passion of my heart,
Which not obliquely I to you did hint;
Come from the clouds of misty allegory,
And in plain language let me hear the worst.
Stand I disgraced, or no?

_Mrs. F._            Then, by _my_ hopes
Of my new interest conceived in you,
And by the kindling passion in _my_ breast,
Which through my riddles you had almost read,
Adjured so strongly, I will tell you all.
In her school years, then bordering on fifteen,
Or haply not much past, she loved a youth--

_Selby._ My most ingenuous Widow--

_Mrs. F._                          Met him oft
By stealth, where I still of the party was--

_Selby._ Prime confidant to all the school, I warrant,
And general go-between--                                [_Aside._

_Mrs. F._            One morn he came
In breathless haste. "The ship was under sail,
Or in few hours would be, that must convey
Him and his destinies to barbarous shores,
Where, should he perish by inglorious hands,
It would be consolation in his death
To have call'd his Katherine _his_."

_Selby._                          Thus far the story
Tallies with what I hoped.                              [_Aside._

_Mrs. F._             Wavering between
The doubt of doing wrong, and losing him;
And my dissuasions not o'er hotly urged,
Whom he had flatter'd with the bridemaid's part;--

_Selby._ I owe my subtle Widow, then, for this.

_Mrs. F._ Briefly, we went to church. The ceremony
Scarcely was huddled over, and the ring
Yet cold upon her finger, when they parted--
He to his ship; and we to school got back,
Scarce miss'd, before the dinner-bell could ring.

_Selby._ And from that hour--

_Mrs. F._                     Nor sight, nor news of him,
For aught that I could hear, she e'er obtain'd.

_Selby._ Like to a man that hovers in suspense
Over a letter just received, on which
The black seal hath impress'd its ominous token,
Whether to open it or no, so I
Suspended stand, whether to press my fate
Further, or check ill curiosity,
That tempts me to more loss.--The name, the name
Of this fine youth?

_Mrs. F._ What boots it, if 'twere told?

_Selby._                           Now, by our loves,
And by my hopes of happier wedlocks, some day
To be accomplish'd, give me his name!

_Mrs. F._ 'Tis no such serious matter. It was--Huntingdon.

_Selby._ How have three little syllables pluck'd from me
A world of countless hopes!--                           [_Aside._
                              Evasive Widow.

_Mrs. F._ How, sir!--I like not this.                   [_Aside._

_Selby._                            No, no, I meant
Nothing but good to thee. That other woman,
How shall I call her but evasive, false,
And treacherous?--by the trust I place in thee,
Tell me, and tell me truly, was the name
As you pronounced it?

_Mrs. F._            Huntingdon--the name,
Which his paternal grandfather assumed,
Together with the estates of a remote
Kinsman: but our high-spirited youth--

_Selby._                          Yes--

_Mrs. F._                             Disdaining
For sordid pelf to truck the family honors,
At risk of the lost estates, resumed the old style,
And answer'd only to the name of--

_Selby._                      What--

_Mrs. F._ Of Halford--

_Selby._ A Huntingdon to Halford changed so soon!
Why, then I see, a witch hath her good spells,
As well as bad, and can by a backward charm
Unruffle the foul storm she has just been raising.
                                   [_Aside. He makes the signal._

My frank, fair-spoken Widow! let this kiss,
Which yet aspires no higher, speak my thanks,
Till I can think on greater.

          _Enter_ LUCY _and_ KATHERINE.

_Mrs. F._                 Interrupted!

_Selby._ My sister here! and see, where with her comes
My serpent gliding in an angel's form,
To taint the new-born Eden of our joys.
Why should we fear them? We'll not stir a foot,
Nor coy it for their pleasures.           [_He courts the Widow._

_Lucy (to Katherine)._      This your free,
And sweet ingenuous confession, binds me
Forever to you; and it shall go hard,
But it shall fetch you back your husband's heart,
That now seems blindly straying; or, at worst,
In me you have still a sister.--Some wives, brother,
Would think it strange to catch their husbands thus
Alone with a trim widow; but your Katherine
Is arm'd, I think, with patience.

_Kath._                      I am fortified
With knowledge of self-faults to endure worse wrongs,
If they be wrongs, than he can lay upon me;
Even to look on, and see him sue in earnest,
As now I think he does it but in seeming,
To that ill woman.

_Selby._       Good words, gentle Kate,
And not a thought irreverent of our Widow.
Why, 'twere unmannerly at any time,
But most uncourteous on our wedding-day,
When we should show most hospitable.--Some wine!
                                              [_Wine is brought._

I am for sports. And now I do remember,
The old Egyptians at their banquets placed
A charnel sight of dead men's skulls before them,
With images of cold mortality,
To temper their fierce joys when they grew rampant.
I like the custom well: and ere we crown
With freer mirth the day, I shall propose,
In calmest recollection of our spirits,
We drink the solemn "Memory of the Dead,"--

_Mrs. F._ Or the supposed dead--
                                                 [_Aside to him._

_Selby._                   Pledge me, good, wife--
                                                    [_She fills._
Nay, higher yet, till the brimm'd cup swell o'er,

_Kath._ I catch the awful import of your words;
And, though I could accuse you of unkindness,
Yet as your lawful and obedient wife,
While that name lasts (as I perceive it fading,
Nor I much longer may have leave to use it)
I calmly take the office you impose;
And on my knees, imploring their forgiveness,
Whom I in heaven or earth may have offended,
Exempt from starting tears, and woman's weakness,
I pledge you, sir--the Memory of the Dead!
                                          [_She drinks kneeling._

_Selby._ 'Tis gently and discreetly said, and like
My former loving Kate.

_Mrs. F._         Does he relent?                      [_Aside._

_Selby._ That ceremony past, we give the day
To unabated sport. And, in requital
Of certain stories and quaint allegories,
Which my rare Widow hath been telling to me
To raise my morning mirth, if she will lend
Her patient hearing, I will here recite
A Parable; and, the more to suit her taste,
The scene is laid in the East.

_Mrs. F._                 I long to hear it.
Some tale, to fit his wife.                             [_Aside._

_Kath._                Now, comes my TRIAL.

_Lucy._ The hour of your deliverance is at hand,
If I presage right. Bear up, gentlest sister.

_Selby._ "The Sultan Haroun"--Stay--O now I have it--
"The Caliph Haroun in his orchards had
A fruit-tree, bearing such delicious fruits,
That he reserved them for his proper gust;
And through the Palace it was Death proclaim'd
To any one that should purloin the same."

_Mrs. F._ A heavy penance for so light a fault--

_Selby._ Pray you, be silent, else you put me out.
"A crafty page, that for advantage watch'd,
Detected in the act a brother page,
Of his own years, that was his bosom friend;
And thenceforth he became that other's lord,
And like a tyrant he demean'd himself,
Laid forced exactions on his fellow's purse;
And when that poor means fail'd, held o'er his head
Threats of impending death in hideous forms;
Till the small culprit on his nightly couch
Dream'd of strange pains, and felt his body writhe
In tortuous pangs around the impaling stake."

_Mrs. F._ I like not this beginning--

_Selby._                             Pray you, attend.
"The Secret, like a night-hag, rid his sleeps,
And took the youthful pleasures from his days,
And chased the youthful smoothness from his brow,
That from a rose-cheek'd boy he waned and waned
To a pale skeleton of what he was;
And would have died, but for one lucky chance."

_Kath._ Oh!

_Mrs. F._ Your wife--she faints--some cordial--smell to this.

_Selby._ Stand off. My sister best will do that office.

_Mrs. F._ Are all his tempting speeches come to this?

_Selby._ What ail'd my wife?

_Kath._                       A warning faintness, sir,
Seized on my spirits, when you came to where
You said "a lucky chance." I am better now:
Please you go on.

_Selby._        The sequel shall be brief.

_Kath._ But, brief, or long, I feel my fate hangs on it.

_Selby._ "One morn the Caliph, in a covert hid,
Close by an arbor where the two boys talk'd,
(As oft, we read, that Eastern sovereigns
Would play the eavesdropper, to learn the truth.
Imperfectly received from mouths of slaves,)
O'erheard their dialogue; and heard enough
To judge aright the cause, and know his cue.
The following day a Cadi was despatch'd
To summon both before the judgment-seat;
The lickerish culprit, almost dead with fear,
And the informing friend, who readily,
Fired with fair promises of large reward,
And Caliph's love, the hateful truth disclosed."

_Mrs. F._ What did the Caliph to the offending boy,
That had so grossly err'd?

_Selby._              His sceptred hand
He forth in token of forgiveness stretch'd,
And clapp'd his cheeks, and courted him with gifts,
And he became once more his favorite page.

_Mrs. F._ But for that other--

_Selby._                      He dismissed him straight,
From dreams of grandeur, and of Caliph's love,
To the bare cottage on the withering moor.
Where friends, turn'd fiends, and hollow confidants,
And widows, hide, who in a husband's ear
Pour baneful truths, but tell not all the truth;
And told him not that Robin Halford died
Some moons before _his_ marriage-bells were rung.
Too near dishonor hast thou trod, dear wife,
And on a dangerous cast our fates were set;
But Heav'n, that will'd our wedlock to be blest,
Hath interposed to save it gracious too.
Your penance is--to dress your cheek in smiles,
And to be once again my merry Kate.--
Sister, your hand.
Your wager won makes me a happy man,
Though poorer, Heav'n knows, by a thousand pounds.
The sky clears up after a dubious day.
Widow, your hand. I read a penitence
In this dejected brow; and in this shame
Your fault is buried. You shall in with us,
And, if it please you, taste our nuptial fare:
For, till this moment, I can joyful say,
Was never truly Selby's Wedding Day.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Works of Charles Lamb in Four Volumes, Volume 4" ***

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