Abbildungen der Seite

dered away

If this were madness, it seemed to On the whole, if Walking Stewart me a somewhat sublime madness: were at all crazy, he was so in a and I assured him of my co-opera- way which did not affect his natural tion against the kings, promising genius and eloquence-but rather that I would bury “The Harp of exalted them. The old maxim, inApollo" in my own orchard in Gras- deed, that “ Great wits to madmere at the foot of Mount Fairfield; ness sure are near allied,” the maxim that I would bury “ The Apoca- of Dryden and the popular maxim, lypse of Nature" in one of the coves I have heard disputed by Mr. Coleof Helvellyn, and several other works ridge and Mr. Wordsworth, who in several other places best known to maintain that mad people are the myself. He accepted my offer with dullest and most wearisome of all gratitude ; but he then made known people. As a body, I believe they to me that he relied on my assistance are so. But I must dissent from the for a still more important service authority of Messrs. Coleridge and which was this: in the lapse of that Wordsworth so far as to distinguish. vast number of ages which would Where madness is connected, as it probably intervene between the pre- often is, with some miserable desent period and the period at which rangement of the stomach, liver, &c. his works would have reached their and attacks the principle of pleasurdestination, he feared that the Eng- able life, which is manifestly seated lish language might itself have moul- in the central organs of the body

“No!” I said, that (i. e. in the stomach and the apparawas not probable: considering its tus connected with it), there it canextensive diffusion, and that it was not but lead to perpetual suffering now transplanted into all the conti- and distraction of thought; and there nents of our planet, I would back the patient will be often tedious and the English language against any incoherent. People who have not other on earth.” His own persua- suffered from any great disturbance sion however was that the Latin in those organs are little aware how was destined to survive all other lan- indispensable to the process of thinkguages; it was to be the eternal as ing are the momentary influxes of well as the universal language; and pleasurable feeling from the regular his desire was that I would trans- goings on of life in its primary funclate his works, or some part of them, tions ; in fact, until the pleasure is into that language. This I promis- withdrawn or obscured, most people ed; and I seriously designed at are not aware that they have any some leisure hour to translate into pleasure from the due action of the Latin a selection of passages which great central machinery of the sysshould embody an abstract of his tem: proceeding in uninterrupted philosophy. This would have been continuance, the pleasure as much doing à service to all those who escapes the consciousness as the act might wish to see a digest of his pe- of respiration : a child, in the happiest culiar opinions cleared from the per- state of its existence, does not know plexities of his peculiar diction and that it is happy. And generally brought into a narrow compass from whatsoever is the level state of the the great number of volumes through hourly feeling is never put down by which they are at present dispersed. the unthinking (i.e. by 99 out of 100) However, like many another plan of to the account of happiness: it is mine, it went unexecuted.

never put down with the positive • I was not aware until the moment of writing this passage that Walking Stewart had publicly made this request three years after making it to myself: opening the Harp of Apollo, I have just now accidentally stumbled on the following passage, “ This stupendous work is destined, I fear, to meet a worse fate than the Aloe, which as soon as it blossoms loses its stalk. This first blossom of reason is threatened with the loss of both its stalk and its soil : for, if the revolutionary tyrant should triumph, he would destroy all the English books and energies of thought. I conjure my readers to translate this work into Latin, and to bury it in the ground, communicating on their death-beds only its place of concealment to men of nature.".

From the title page of this work, by the way, I learn that “ the 7000th year of Astronomical History” is taken from the Chinese tables, and coincides (as I had supposed) with the year 1812 of our computation.

sign, as equal to + &'; but simply experience an opposite statement of as = 0. And men first become many hasty and misjudging travellers aware that it was a positive quantity, which he thought injurious to huwhen they have lost it (i. e. fallen man nature: the stateinent was this, into — «). Meantime the genial plea- that in all his countless rencontres sure from the vital processes, though with uncivilized tribes, he had never not represented to the consciousness, met with any so ferocious and brutal is immanent in every act—impulse- as to attack an unarmed and demotion-word-and thought: and a fenceless man who was able to make philosopher sees that the idiots are them understand that he threw himin a state of pleasure, though they self upon their hospitality and forcannot see it themselves. Now I bearance. say that, where this principle of On the whole, Walking Stewart pleasure is not attached, madness is was a sublime visionary: he had often little more than an enthusiasm seen and suffered much amongst highly exalted; the animal spirits men; yet not too much, o so as to are exuberant and in excess; and dull the genial tone of his sympathy the madman becomes, if he be other with the sufferings of others. His wise a man of ability and informa- mind was a mirror of the sentient tion, all the better as a companion. universe. The whole mighty vision I have met with several such mad- that had fleeted before his eyes in men; and I appeal to my brilliant this world,—the armies of Hyder-Ali friend, Professor w- who is not and his son with oriental and bara man to tolerate dulness in any baric pageantry,—the civic grandeur quarter and is himself the ideal of a of England, the great desarts of delightful companion, whether he Asia and America,-the vast capitals ever met a more amusing person of Europe,-London with its eternal than that madman who took a post- agitations, the ceaseless ebb and flow chaise with us from to Carlisle, of its “ mighty heart,”-Paris shaken long years ago, when he and I were by the fierce torments of revolutionhastening with the speed of fugitive ary convulsions, the silence of Lapfelons to catch the Edinburgh mail. land, and the solitary forests of CaHis fancy and his extravagance, and nada, with the swarming life of the his furious attacks on Sir Isaac New- torrid zone, together with innumerton, like Plato's suppers, refreshed able recollections of individual joy us not only for that day but when- and sorrow, that he had participated ever they recurred to us; and we by sympathy-lay like a map bewere both grieved when we heard neath him, as if eternally co-present some time afterwards from a Cam- to his view; so that, in the contembridge man that he had met our plation of the prodigious whole, he clever friend in a stage coach under had no leisure to separate the parts, the care of a brutal keeper. Such or occupy his mind with details. a madness, if any, was the madness Hence came the monotony which the of Walking Stewart: his health was frivolous and the desultory would perfect; his spirits as light and ebul- have found in his conversation. I lient as the spirits of a bird in spring- however, who am perhaps the pertime; and his mind unagitated by son best qualified to speak of him, painful thoughts, and at peace with must pronounce him to have been a itself. Hence, if he was not an man of great genius; and, with rez amusing companion, it was because ference to his conversation, of great the philosophic direction of his eloquence.

That these were not thoughts made him something more. better known and acknowledged was Of anecdotes and matters of fact he owing to two disadvantages ; one was not communicative: of all that grounded in his imperfect education, he had seen in the vast compass of the other in the peculiar structure of his travels he never availed himself his mind. The first was this: like in conversation. I do not remember the late Mr. Shelley he had a fine at this moment that he ever once al- vague enthusiasm and lofty aspiraluded to his own travels in his inter- tions in connexion with human nacourse with me except for the pur- ture generally and its hopes; and pose of weighing down by a statement like him he strove to give steadiness, grounded on his own great personal a uniform direction, and an intelligible purpose to these feelings, by obscure, half developed, and not profitting to them a scheme of philoso- ducible to a popular audience. He phical opinions. But unfortunately was aware of this himself: and, the philosophic system of both was so though he claims everywhere the fafar from supporting their own views culty of profound intuition into huand the cravings of their own enthu- man nature, yet with equal candor siasm, that, as in some points it was he accuses himself of asinine stupibaseless, incoherent, or unintelligi- dity, dulness, and want of talent. ble, so in others it tended to moral He was a disproportioned intellect, results, from which, if they had fore- and so far a monster: and he must seen them, they would have been be added to the long list of originalthemselves the first to shrink as minded men who have been looked contradictory to the very purposes in down upon with pity and contempt by which their system had originated. common-place men of talent, whose Hence, in maintaining their own powers of mind—though a thousand system they both found themselves times inferior--were yet more manpainfully entangled at times with ageable, and ran in channels more tenets pernicious and degrading to suited to common uses and common human nature. These were the in- understandings. evitable consequences of the apurov

NB. About the year 1812 I repev&os in their speculations; but were member seeing in many of the printnaturally charged upon them by shops a whole-length sketch in wathose who looked carelessly into their ter-colours of Walking Stewart in books as opinions which not only for his customary dress and attitude. the sake of consistency they thought This, as the only memorial (1 prethemselves bound to endure, but to sume) in that shape of a man whose which they gave the full weight of memory I love, I should be very glad their sanction and patronage as to so to possess; and therefore I take the many moving principles in their sys- liberty of publicly requesting as a tem. The other disadvantage under particular favour from any reader of which Walking Stewart laboured, was this article, who may chance to rethis: he was a man of genius, but not a member such a sketch in any collecman of talents ; at least his genius tion of prints offered for sale, that was out of all proportion to his ta- he would cause it to be sent to the lents, and wanted an organ as it Editor of the LONDON MAGAZINE, were for manifesting itself; so that who will pay for it. his most original thoughts were de

X. Y. 2 livered in a crude state-imperfect,



CAVERSWELL, ancient Caverswell, later day the lady of George Crathe residence of the Cradocks, re- dock brought him at a birth, if I nowned in romance, of Jervis, fa- read the legendary inscription in the mous i'i maritime story, and esteem- church aright—" a pair-royal of ined over the east for thy delightful comparable daughters, Dorothy,Jane, ale and thy beautiful women ; I think and Mary ;” and that, for her sake, of thee with reverence and awe. Can the castle of Caverswell “

was beauthe lovers of romance forget that tified even unto beauty,” as the same Cradock's lady alone, of all the dames singular authority bears ? Or can we of Arthur's court, wore, without sus- forget, that in Caverswell church picion or reproach, the charmed kir- kneels the devout Countess of old tle of chastity ; which, by its shrivel- brave St. Vincent-praying in the ling and curling like a November ripeness of beauty and pride of youth leaf, showed the lightness of Queen -stamped off in the eternal grace Gueniver and her ladies ? Can the and perpetual loveliness of art-her lovers of beauty forget, that in a hands folded over her bosom, and her head bowed down with such an ex- their true shape and native hue--nor pression of meekness and benevo- will they be deceived by the magic lence as would inspire a preacher- of book or spell which can make if preachers were not inspired, and

A cobweb on a dungeon wall keep from slumber a congregation,

Seem tapestry in lordly hall. if the pleasant people of Caverswell ever slept at a sermon? But Cavers. Those who admire beauty will love well, fair and ancient Caverswell, thy maidens; and those who love thou hast other attractions. Thy themselves will drink thy glorious daughters are passing-fair, with nut- ale, old Staffordshire ! brown locks and hazel eyes; and thy But besides its ale, and its native sons love dancing, mirth, minstrelsy, maidens, Caverswell has other attracand ale. If thy maidens are fair and tions to which it is indebted to excelling-so is thy ale, surpassing all Spain and France: there is a refuge other potations, whether dribbled for ladies whom unhappy love or through a distillery worm, or poured devotion has stung, and driven to seout free and foaming from the mys- clusion and perance. Beneath the terious union of hops and barley. It church-yard wall, I observed a little is called ale by the dull and gross plat of greensward, redeemed from a peasantry at festivals and bridals wood, and bestrewn by Nature's labut it is not ale--it is drink for the vish and hasty hand with violets and lesser divinities and mitred divines. daisies and other flowers of summer. The art of brewing it was no happy I saw two long narrow ridges-one labour of man's brain—there is a green and flourishing in its grass and mystery about the manner of its being flowers; the other appeared with its communicated to earth; it was dropt turf newly turned, and the flowers in a receipt from the moon. It was had begun to lift afresh their heads Staffordshire ale that I once saw two and revive. Small crosses of wood bards drink out of an antique silver stood at the head of the nuns' graves flagon-at each alternate quaff their —for such they were on one the eyes grew brighter, their faces be- hand of some unbidden but not unincame flushed with a ruddy light re- terested villager had written, “ alas sembling a July morn—their forms Julia,”—the other no writing had seemed dilate into what statua- appropriated—it was a plain cross, ries call the heroic standard—at each white and pure. The old castle of glut of the divine beverage they had Caverswell 'threw its shadow in the more and more the port of the demi- descending sun as far as these two gods, and there they sat superior to solitary graves. I looked up and bethe sons of little men- --the dabblers held many young and beautiful faces in the blood-royal of the grape—and at the latticed windows—saw female seemed

forms gliding among the trees, and Possest beyond the Muse's painting.

beheld a grave and staid lady look

ing on me with an eye less of beneSuch is the true Caverswell nectar, volence than suspicion. I left the known among men by the name of two graves; and seeking my way to Staffordshire

ale. I thirst afresh at a distant lawn, passed over part of the remembrance, and long to renew the castle garden-ground. It skirted my intercourse with the frothing the margin of a fosse or lake, and and foaming flagons which welcom- was filled with fruit-trees and blosed me into happy little Caverswell. somed shrubs and flowers. Part of Those who would view this village it was portioned out into small plots ; aright must not go in the company and here the secluded daughters of of the moon, as a poet somewhere re- devotion amused themselves in sowcommends let them trust to a lessing and in planting, and sought, in capricious influence than that of a the beauty of the flowers they nursed, planet-let them wipe the foam of some solace for their removal from their second flagon from their lips, and the pleasant cares and gentle solicithen go forth and look on its ladies tudes of domestic life. But the and on its towers. Ale, like the world is not so easily forgot-and a fairy's eye-salve, will purge the sight stung spirit is not so readily solaced. of its grossness-things will come in A shirt of hair-self-denial rigid penance--the torture of daily confes- ture of fancy-her air was not of the sion-the presence of one who comes ladies of this land she seemed from to teach suffering rather than plea- a far country-for though a dark veil sure-high walls and the curses of descended over her whole person, it the church, all serve to bring to mind could not conceal her elegant shape, the joy and the gladness they have nor lessen much the brightness of two forsaken. To be a daughter of God large dark eyes, which from below a -I say it with reverence-is less white forehead beamed full upon me. acceptable above and praiseworthy We stood for half a minute's space below, than to be the mother of man. -I with my eyes half averted :To be carried away from a convent, at length I thought to address her; may be the hope of many a sister ; but her looks were not on me I am and I believe many a homely mai- not sure she even saw me, though I den has been stolen from the sanctity could have caught her bridle. The of a cloister, whose charms would gate commanded a fine view of never have obtained a husband in groves, and lawns, and enclosures ; the common way of courtship. To it might resemble a place in her naoverleap a high wall, to overreach tive land where she had loved to the vigilance of the godly - to as- wander--perhaps to meet some one cend to a turret window, and from whose looks had influenced her that giddy height bear away a more youthful heart and continued to haunt giddy lady, is altogether very roman- her thoughts. Her mule, accustomed tic. She can be no common spirit to bear her to this solitary place, whom the love of relatives consigned stood motionless—she raised herself to religion and the protection of the in her seat—and her mind, overleapsaints, and she can be no ordinary ing time and place, consecrated the beauty for whom we would risk homely groves and grassy lawns of breaking our neck in this world, and old Caverswell, and made them into the pains of punishment in the next. the scented pathway and the citron

While these reflections passed over grove of her native Spain. Her my mind, I stood on the limit of the form seemed to dilate with joy ; little domain within which religious with both hands she raised her veil jealousy had penned up so many fair —and showed me such a face as faces and ardent spirits. I leaned Correggio saw in his inspirations over a little gate, and pondered more a countenance of light and beauty, deeply on the hopes and the passions beaming amid a cloud of sable drawhich were smothered and spell- pery. The enthusiasm lightened up bound in the cloister. Something as her face for a moment's space or more a shadow darkened the greensward -she gave a sigh-her hands dropt beside me. I looked up, and a young gently down—the mule turned slowly, lady_tall and slender-attired in and almost compassionately round, black-seated on a small mule, ap- and the fair Nun of Caverswell vapeared before me. I say appeared, nished among the groves. because I almost imagined her a crea



FROM THE AGAMEMNON. The character of Clytemnestra is treachery and savage barbarity are drawn with great vigour and discri- finely excused to herself by the remination. She is such a personage as

sentment which she feels for the saShakspeare would have delighted to crifice of her daughter, and by a jeapaint; with mixed motives, and some lousy, affected, or at least exaggetender and womanly qualities, over- rated, of Agamemnon's virgin capborne, however, and counteracted by tive. These feelings seem to be not unrestrained criminal passion. Her altogether insincere ; but her conduct

« ZurückWeiter »