« ZurückWeiter »
I am afraid my friend Joe Hume would hardly agree with this last prayer, but it is evident that Joseph has no taste for the fine arts. The philological student will discover in this verse the origin of the phrase, “ leathering a man's wife.” On the moral propriety of conjugal fistycuffery I had prepared some copious remarks, when I received information from a sure hand, that my Lord. Holland has a folio on the subject nearly ready for the press, and I bow to his Lordship's superior talents and experience.
Socrates and Aristotle
and I wish, &c.
I care not a fig for the black art, and defy the foul fiend, Prince Hohenlohe, and Ingleby the Emperor of the Conjurors--so shall make no remark on the last two lines. It would lead us into too deep a historico-metaphysical disquisition, were I to enter into a history of the fortunes of the Aristotelian philosophy. During the life of Aristotle, he was looked on as the prince of philosophers; and such did his estimation continue, as long as there were minds in the world manly enough to understand him. While Europe was sunk in darkness, he was taken up by the acute Arabians, then at the head of the intellect of the earth. From them the schoolmen caught him, badly translated and imperfectly understood ; and when their day was over, the puny whipsters who had got possession of the ear of the metaphysical world, thought nothing could be finer than to disparage, because he had been caricatured, him whom they could not read; and we see, in our own day, Stewart mumping and mumbling pretty little nothings, with full assurance that the Peripatetic whom he cannot construe, or who, if construed for him, is far above any reach of thought he could bring to the consideration, is unworthy to unloose the latchet of his shoe. But to his fortune in our poetry I may briefly advert: it is a fine illustration of the elder Mr Shandy's theory of the influence of a name. That he was a hard drinker I hope, for he was a great man; but whether he was or not, no name of the ancients occurs so often in juxta-position with the bottle. See the verse above. So also the eminent Harry Carey,
Zeno, Plato, Aristotle,
All were lovers of the bottle. So in MS. penes me,
To moisten our throttle,
All owing to the two last syllables of his name. With respect to the remark in the text, that
H the Black Jack a man often toss over,
I can vouch, from my own experience, that the illustration is correct ; for I have had the honour of being intimately acquaiuted with fifteen of the first philosophers of the age, fourteen of whom went to bed drunk as widgeons every night of their lives, and the fifteenth retired when he found himself tipsy.
Besides, my good friend, let me tell you, that fellow
and I wish his soul no comfort may lack,
That first devised the bouncing Black Jack. I am not antiquarian enough to decide on the correctness of the above objurgation against the uncleanliness of the bottles of the olden time, and willingly leave the consideration of the matter to Mr John Nichols, who presides, and long may he preside, over the archæologists who wield the pen for the Gentleman's Magazine, in which, perhaps, he will favour us with an engraved likeness of a leathern bottle, as, I think, churches are running rather low. But, be that as it may, he must have little gusto for the sublime who can fail to admire the splendid epithet of the CanxoN-BORE Jack. What vast ideas of stupendous bibosity does not it excite? Conceive a nine-pounder-like machine charged with ale, levelled on your table, in full range against your brains ! Nay, the very word is good. It makes us think of battle and blood-of square column and platoon mowed down in unrelenting sweep—of Sir William Congreve, the Duke of Wellington, and the field of Waterloo-of Buonaparte, St Helena, and Sir Hudson Lowe—and thence, by the association of ideas, of Barry O'Meara, and the horse-whipping of old Walter of the Times. I shall lump my dissertation on the four following verses :
Your leather bottle is used by no man
And may his successors never want sack,
That brst devised the long Leather Jack.
and I wish his soul, &c.
Pe that's drunk in a Jack, looks as fierce as a spark,
and I wish his heirs map never lack sack,
When bottle and Jack stand together, fie on't,
And may they ne'er want, for belly nor back,
Chat keep up the trade of the bonny Black Jack.
On the above, four things are to be particularly noticed.
II. That the progress of time has extinguished various sorts of ales-for who, now-a-days, drinks Orange, Lemon, or Lambeth--they sleep with the Chians and Falernians of the days of Greece and Rome.
III. That a partiality for a man's favourite pursuit may lead him to bestow on it unjust and undeserved praise; for, after various and repeated experiments in drinking out of every vessel under the sun, I can give it as my unbiassed opinion, that the shape of the instrument imparts no additional value to the liquor drunk, and that therefore the idea that he, who imbibes from a black jack, acquires a superior fierceness or martiality of aspect, must be classed among such innocent delusions as induced the barber to recominend whitehandled razors as the best fitted for abrading of beards.
Lastly and finally, we cannot help being pleased by the vein of genuine and unaffected piety which runs through both these dignified compositions. The prayers which in both conclude each verse, though more varied and poetical in the latter, are not more solemn and impressive than the solitary ejaculation of blessing bestowed on the earlier production. There is something striking, which sinks into the soul, in the constant choral-like repetition of the one formulary which amply compensates for the picturesque diversity, which excites our admiration, but fills us not with awe. The one goes to the head—the other to the heart. To conclude, if the brows of the inventors of the Bottle and Jack deserve to be bound with snow-white fillets, as being men who civilized life by new productions of art and genius, the bards who hymned their exploits may justly claim the same honour, as being pious poets, who spoke things worthy of Apollo.
LEAVING PORT.-A PASSENGER'S OLIO.
Clad in respectable attire,
From ragamuffin standing neat,
Who cannot understand the stir, Of porters, patiently who fag,
Panting, and open mouth'd and nosing,
Stand in the heat of disputation,
He, with an air secure and free,
If 'twere for food, or for diversion, Slipp'd_down into the water sank, Snuffs at the sufferer from submersion ; That upwards in a fury splash'd ;
His face, arms, body, all about Ropes, oars to succour him are dash'd, Scenting, he still remains in doubt, And boats, with hubbub fell and loud, When, with a sudden kick assail'd, Are storm'd by an officious crowd, At once his thirst for knowledge quail'd, More willing, certainly, than able, Yelping he scuds away–a crew To save th' existence of Kit Cable, Of barking tykes his flight pursue. A man quite full of flesh and vigour, If near, you could not miss his figure;
Of varying voices the collision, But sought by every eye in vain,
At length produces the decision, No traces of him now remain.
That, by the heels the body taken, After a space, however, past
Should be suspended, and well shaken. In deep anxiety, at last
A practice sage, to ascertain His body found, they brought on shore,
Whether the vital spark remain ; And to a neighbouring tavern bore.
If so, 'gainst being thus opprest The frowzy hostess would complain,
"Twill surely enter its protest. But deems it wiser to refrain,
Already, they with eager zeal Pardoning th' entrance of dead guest,
Were swinging Cable by the heel, In favour of the living rest.
When came an order that forbade The sight of death full well she knows
Farther attempts should here be made The mind is apt to discompose,
The extinguish'd flame of life to rouse, And either joyfulness is bred
Seeing 'twas but a common house, At finding we ourselves not dead ;
Unauthorised by any patent Or sorrow rises, when we view
To bring to light the spirit latent. The corpse of him we haply knew.
It also stated, that a place The one state or the other causes
Existed, whence a legal chase In many dryness of the fauces,
Arising, truant sprite would meet,
And turn it though in full retreat.
That proper messenger, or bailiff, 'Tis quench'd alone, or render'd weaker,
Would be at hand to capture stray life,
Furnish'd with writ 'gainst fleeting sense, By copious draughts of good strong liquor. Before the attendants think it fit
And fugitive intelligence. At Bacchanalian board to sit,
Th’ injunction was convey'd, in short, They roar and brawl in fierce debate
That they the body should transport How Kit they may reanimate.
To the establishment intended Noised round the town the misadventure,
Particularly for lives suspended, Gossips in shoals begin to enter ;
(House of Recovery by name,) The filthy riff-raff of the port,
And medical assistance claim. Mingled with those of better sort;
Check'd now restorative exertion, Women, who gaze with silly stare, The crowd moved off in quick dispersion. While infants in their arms they bear, His party, Kit, with brine still moise Unconscious brats, whose gloating lust And heavy, on their shoulders hoist, Is fix'd upon a mumbled crust,
And tow'rds the 'Spital take the road That, deviously directed, comes
As fast as may be with their load.
Symptoms of consciousness Kit gives, A fond attention to explore And once more breathes, and moves, and What friends still linger on the shore. lives.
At present oft occurs the thought
Of something heedlessly forgot ; From each quarter of the town
Or the wish rises in the heart, Passengers, perturb'd, come down,
Some new-sprung impulse to impart, Flaunting figures making stir,
Or love-engender'd hope or fear, In their cloaks and caps of fur.
To pour into the trusty ear Maudlin comrades, who have ta'en
Of parted friend still standing near. Parting cups with might and main,
A meaning look the while convey'd, With demeanour frank and free,
Maugre night's interposing shade, Give their escort on the quay.
Produces mutual fix'd regard, Ample dame, and slender miss,
When intercourse of words is barr'd; Wrapt in shawl and long pelisse,
The mournful smile, and shaking head, Mincing tread, or waddling walk,
Marking the time for utterance fled. While engaged in eager talk.
A numerous and pensive band Comes the time to try the heart,
Persisting on the deck to stand, Best of friends at length must part;
Two strapping youths of sturdy mood, Right hand with the right conjoin'd,
Who comfort deem the sovereign good, Shakes away with fervour kind,
And sentiment a thing of air, Nay, both hands of some are taken,
Which men nor eat, nor drink, nor wear ; Squeez'd, then eased, then squeez'd and Keen hunters of accommodations, shaken ;
Shrewd spies of easy situations, Friendly fist in such a crisis,
Hastily towards the cabin steer, Oft no better than a vice is ;
Duck low their heads, and disappear. Sensibility no balm
The rest, resolved above to stay
Sights, sounds, that penetrate the dark. Swaggering blades, with manners rough, The organ slowly moves its round, Feelings hearty, voices gruff,
With rolling, winding, winning sound. Give their benedicite
The organist was once elate In a hoarse half whimpering key.
With fortune's gifts, but fall'n his state. Damsels in close contact stand,
His country_haps—I may not tell, Murmuring in accents bland,
But music loved he passing well.
His muffled form, and vesture poor,
Youth's stamp hath faded from his face, Of deep valedictory woe,
Its outlines wherefore should we trace ? E'en the most minute direction,
Each wintery night he wanders late, Touching care and circumspection
Silent, and sadly desolate. In the choice of silks and laces,
No fellowship he seeks or owris, To be sent from foreign places.
Save with his organ's mellow tones. As if he from a cloud had dropp'd,
Rich, pleasant, slow, the airs it plays, Or quickly out of earth had hopp'd
Discoursing, sure, of other days; A very maggot, blown with pride,
Of situations, feelings deep, The Captain comes, with sprawling stride.
That in the heart have lain asleep ; A thing no bigger than a goose,
The warmth, and vivid glow of soul, Yet with an air precise and spruce,
Which present modes of life control; Upon the quay he struts about,
Of persons-places-powerful ties ; Giving his orders with a shout,
All that the wishes wont to prize,
With destiny's dark cloud between ;
That have—but no! that might have beeni. The creature boasts a voice of brass,
A ballad-singer putting down And brays with it more loud than ass. The organ's music with her own, That out of nothing such a thunder
Twangs through her nose a flippant strain, Should come, is surely cause for wonder. Suited to servant-wench and swain. This small, pot-bellied, huffing dwarf
BALLAD. Plays chanticleer upon the wharf
Oh !- Would you hear how Spanish lady “ Make way, make way," with downward Wood and won an Englishman? • snip
Wooing, sweethearts ! is a trade ye
He a master stout and brave was
Of a tight built merchantman ; To go on board, and soon a row
But sore stress'd by wind and wave was, Of figures on the deck bestow
When on Spanish coast he ran. Vol. XIV.