« ZurückWeiter »
In vain he appeal’d to both Weimar and Gotha,
faithful Hans Beudix vouchsafe to impart
So, so!” thought his Highness; “ the priest has me there !
old fox, with your ifs and your ans ?
you shall not come off with an if or an an."
*** The above is nearly a translation of a Ballad of Bürger's.
METEOROLOGICAL OBSERVATIONS EXTRAORDINARY,
CLOUPLAND, gorgeous land !
Coleridge's Fancy in Nubibus.
TO CHRISTOPHER NORTH, ESQ.
page, whose counter I found groaning I am a little crazy. My friends with the incumbrance of modern pubspeak of the circumstance with con- lications, and he told me, that so many cern; but I cannot say that it causes new poems were perpetually forth me any annoyance, except it be from coming, that he thought the old ones the suspicion with which they receive of living authors must soon be used my evidence. They are very apt to as waste paper. I certainly chewed look incredulous, and say to one ano. the cud upon this speech a good deal, ther, Ay, ay, very well, 'tis his in a little room which I have at the wild way of talking, but no such thing end of my garden, and which over ever happened.” Now, surely the ha looks a wildish sort of common. They ving a supernumerary cranny in the tell me I fell asleep there, or indulged skull, (for it must be confessed I am my imagination awake, whenever I decidedly crack-brained), ought not have spoken of what I am going to to interfere with a man's being be relate. But to both of these solutions lieved, when he plainly tells you about I say no. With these eyes, then, did things which he saw with eyes that I see the shopman of my bookseller have no flaw, and ears of which the trundle a wheelbarrow full of books apertures are all as they should be. upon the common, where there was It was only last Wednesday se’ennight & pot boiling, slung between three that the incident befel me, which will sticks, and which I thought had bee form the subject of this letter. I told longed to a party of gypsies. His mas. it to Doctor Scammony, who is kind ter followed, with more drab-coated voenough to feel my pulse at times, and lumes under his arm, and I could see he said it was " hallucinatio mentis," that, one by one, he popt the works of -my intimate friend, Sam Pottinger, living versifiers into the cauldron, out interrupted me with,“ my dear fellow, of which, after a little simmering, they this is all fudge,” and my cousin, issued in the shape of vapour, and sucLucy Manning, advised me, that I cessively overspread the heaven with “had better not talk about it again, as clouds, which, knowing Mr Howard's it was mererodomontade," and, when theory, I was luckily able to systems. I had found a more rational listener in tize. Perhaps you will be able to draw old Alice Tugwell, who has nursed me some wiser inferences from what I saw when ill, even she at the end squalled than I can only believe in the pot out, “ Lard love thy swivity head, and the wheelbarrow; surely a leaky thee'st been dreaming broad awake.' scull is able to recognize the famous Judge you, Mr Christopher, and hold utensil of Mr Accum, and the coach the scales of equity ever, between me of Mr Punch. I thought, however, and my detractors, Dr Scammony, that whenever thunder grumbled, or Sam Pottinger, Miss Lucy Manning; rain fell from these clouds so distil. and Dame Alice Tugwell, aforesaid. led from paper, that there was some My pursuits consist in reading new thing bad in taste or morals in the poetry, and noticing the weather. For poems which made the broth, whence instruction about the latter, I have the steam issued. read what is said of Mr Howard's Nos Tom Moore's progeny were first immenclature of Clouds, as expounded mersed. His songs whirled (a coin of by Dr T. L. Forster, in the Supple- his friend King Leigh the First's mintment to the Encyclopædia Britannica. age) into cirri or curl-clouds, and pretty Since which, I never lift up my eyes little fantastic chignons and lovelocks without taking especial care to refer they became. Lalla Rookh was methe passing clouds to one of the seven tamorphosed into a cirrocubulus, of genera they have established. Now, sonder-cloud, rather heavy in the main, it happened that about a fortnight ago patchy, spotty, and disjointed, made I went to my bookseller's, Mr Title- up of separate parts, some of which
were exquisitely good in themselves, thing be more apt? Moreover, “ it is but not coalescing into a pleasing and in this cloud that those peculiar reproper unity.
fractions of the sun's light called haThe abundantoffspringof the laureat, loes, mocksuns, &c. usually appear;" as well as that of Sir Walter, mounted and certainly this etherial quintessence up and took the shape of cumuli, or of Mr L. H.'s publications in rhyme stacken-clouds, those marble-like mass- was extremely fertile of these gaudy es which shine like temples or cities delusions, the consequence, I
suppose, in the intense blue of a summer noon. of the bewildering paltry claptraps of -Southey's were somewhat heavily Cockney applause, with which his disgrouped in places, but they sailed along tiches are tricked out. It is not to be nobly. The solidity of Sir Walter's denied that portions of his cloud were was relieved by the outline running beautiful, but the whole was treacherinto freakish shapes, like those Gothic ous and threatening; and indeed the ornaments, which, separately viewed, lower extremities deliquesced into redisfigure, but, in connection with the gular nimbus, or rain-cloud, and a pitiwhole, contribute to the delightful less drenching I got from incautious effect of our venerable cathedrals. exposure to it-his own
" washerwoCrabbe's works tumbled up into the men” could not have saturated my same sort, and a good homely batch of garments with wet more thoroughly, stacken-cloud they made. flirted han the effects of his bad taste did, down indeed a few drops in my eyes, while I was trying to ascertain, by as it were by way of a sly joke; but nubilous analogy, the degree of his this was so trifling that it neither in- poetical merit. jured the nap of my coat, nor detract- The barrow next supplied the works ed much from the merit of the author, of Campbell and Rogers. They were though it was an indication that his soon subtilized into cirrocumulus, or taste is not unquestionable. His cloud sonder-cloud. The Pleasures of Hope looked as if much useful household took a station to the windward quarrain-water might upon occasion be ter, and there imbibing a golden light collected from it, both for cookery and from “ the fiery-tressed sun,” came for washing.
sailing nearer to us, with much proLord Byron's were next shot into mise of increasing attractiveness. The the boiler, and they emerged in the Pleasures of Memory went to leeward form of cumulo-stratus, or twain-cloud. at first, and passing from us, though A fine wild picturesque appearance of it never actually got out of sight, kept troubled atmosphere was the result of gaining in tenderness of hue, for what the decoction of Childe Harold, and his it lost in distinctness of contour and other misanthropical personages. The feature. bosom of the cloud, which seemed by Montgomery's, Milman's, Croly's, its working to be suffering intestine Maturin's, and Shelley's productions, commotion, was of a lurid purple, and rose into cumulostrati, or twain-clouds, a flash or two of lightning issued from which are described as being top-heavy, it, deepening, by its momentary radi- and apt to degenerate into nimbi, or ance, the gloom through which it positively rainy clouds. Of course, the struggled. The English Bards, the component parts, originating from such Poems on Domestic Circumstances, different authors, varied much. Where and Don Juan, took rather a more Montgomery's had a share in produairy shape, but as the wind moved the cing some of the mass, there was great lighter part of them, the nucleus was beauty-a floating delicacy in some of seen to be fraught with “sulphureous the wreaths of vapour which was quite and thought-executing fires, vaunt- exquisite-not that his division had couriers to oak-cleaving thunderbolts." altogether an escape from extreme and
Leigh Hunt's Rimini, Bacchus and frothy tenuity. Milman's part of the Ariadne, and others, most of them cloud was rather overbeetling and stiff
inoaculating,” (as Dr Forster hath in figure, but a magnificent apparition it,) slid upwards, and the pretty Ne- notwithstanding; and I made no doubt pheliads were dispatched to their own that his and Croly's would devolve quarters, and the whole became in- at last into something nearer to the stantly cirrostratus or wane-cloud, which nature of cumulus, which is the true sort, as Mr Howard avers, " is cha- fine-weather harbinger and exponent. racterized by shallowness.' Can any There was a blue brimstone miasma
about Maturin's which foreboded ers of the choicest, was not half so elethunder which did growl a little, and gant a road. As for the Excursion, it the distillation from some of his mud- became a fine cumulus-high-shouldy metaphors dropped in not very dered, mayhap, and too portly in the transpicuous streams. The stormy paunch, but nevertheless truly dignirack raised from Shelley's was evi- fied ; and it wore the sunlight well, dently of dangerous import, while the " sailing with supreme dominion in body of the cloud in that direction the azure depth of air.” was plainly a garner of hail and thun- Next came some poems, comparader=it was not long before a forked tively few in number, and not large flash of lightning pierced it, dazzling in bulk; and yet they played such our eyes, and followed by a surly
peal; pranks in the air, that they were as and I was instantly well peppered with “noticeable” for their vagaries, as their hail-stones, but thought it well that I author for his " large grey eyes." got nothing worse from such a brewage They were Coleridge's. The Ancient of tempest. Barry Cornwall’s Sketches Mariner and Cristabel were transmohad not body enough to consolidate grified into something between cirrointo cumulus, but they made a very stratus and cirrocumulus-wildest and fine kind of cirrocumulus, with some most ominous where the
extracted locks of the cirrus fancifully wafted from the Mariner was whirling in groamong the spaces between denser tesque volumes, and reflecting as many parts, and all were refracting on their colours as a “witch's oils," which, as sunny sides colours of the least ob- Mr Coleridge informs us, “burn green, strusive brilliancy. Hogg's broke in, and red, and white.” It would, certes, to clouds of the same genus, and in- puzzle the acutest adept in terminolodeed presented a sky such as the shep- gy, or rather orismology, (as the puherd himself must by moonlight have rists speak ;-see Kirby and Spence's often gazed at with tranquil pleasure, Letters on Entomology,) to describe and have been struck with its resem- what shape the cloud was of, which blance to his own charge, then either was formed by Cristabel ;-it looked quietly grazing, or lying at rest on the in front a little like the head of a masgreen heather, -hardly less lovely ob- tiff bitch, and ended, (if end it could jects than “ the snowy flock of Cyn- be called,) with something like a child thia's fold” studding the blue arch of “singing and dancing to itself.” Alnight over his head ;-whether Hogg though these clouds vexed the eyemay have pursued the parallel between sight, and threatened an explosion of the respective overseers of the two something very fearful and mysteriflocks, I cannot tell ; but if he did, he ous, it was impossible to keep one's may possibly have thought himself eyes from looking at them. One poem, able to compete in brilliance with the however, called Genevieve, sublimed moon at her brightest.
into a faultless shape and hue of loveOf the Lyrical Ballads, after they had liness, “ as glorious to our sight, bebeen nightly stewed down, some crept ing o'er our heads, as is a winged mesalong in a stratus, or fall-cloud, and senger of heaven.
rose like an exhalation" into Wilson's “Plagues and Palms," rose a delightful cirrostratus, or wane-cloud, aloft in a semblance hard to be classiwhich, however, emitted a soft shower, fied,--the Isle of Palms had some(a proof belike of something wrong thing of the changeable look of cirroamid graces beyond the reach of art to stratus,—but the City of the Plague, snatch.) Yet this ill luck was redeem- though not altogether removed from ed by the beauty of the rainbow which that genus, was trenching closely upwas tenderly hodied forth in the cloud on the solid and steady appearance of as it passed away. Wordsworth's heart the cumulus, “ with fleecy folds voluwould have “ leapt up” at beholding minous.” the sight. Iris, in the times of the There was a long horizonal stratus, Greeks, never shot down from the em- or fall-cloud, condensed from the pyreum in a more delicately-tinted works of various writers. Among the curve, and we may well envy that authors who contributed to this lowdamsel for having such a meteor for lying sheet of mist, were the followher pathway,—the raised platform at ing. Lloyd, though he made an efthe coronation, although Miss Fellows fort to mount; but metaphysics kept and her nymphs strewed it with flow- him down ;-Bowles, who not only at