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It is difficult to know whether more to admire the cleverness of a passage such as this, or to feel vexed at its injustice. Sydney Smith, himself the prince of diners-out, was not the man to discharge this shaft against a wit and man of genius.

Passing by, however, what can be said of Canning as a politician, let us consider him solely as a man of letters. In his younger days graceful and accurate scholarship constituted in itself a social and literary distinction of high value. The two leaders of our two great political parties of the present day still keep up the memory of this former time; but notwithstanding the brilliant examples of the Earl of Derby and Mr. Gladstone, it is to be feared that the circle within which such pursuits are understood and appreciated is daily becoming narrower. When Canning had scarcely emerged from boyhood we find that he was one of the principal contributors to the Microcosm, or, to quote its full title, The Microcosm: a Periodical Work, by Gregory Griffin, of the College of Eton. Inscribed to the Rev. Dr. Davies. It consisted of papers by various youthful authors, written in imitation of the Spectator, and published every Monday from November 6, 1786, to July 30, 1787. From one of the papers written by Canning in imitation of Addison's commentary on the ballad of Chery Chase we extract the following passage, commended to the attention of some learned but withal rather heavy commentators :

The Qucen of IIcarts,
She made some tarts

All on a summer's day. On this last line we have the following comment :-". All on a summer's day.'- I cannot leave this line without remarking that one of the Scribleri, a descendant of the famous Martinus, has expressed his suspicions of the text being corrupted here, and proposes, instead of “All on,' reading • Alone,' alleging, in favour of this alteration, the effect of solitude in raising the passions. But Hiccius Doctius, a High Dutch commentatorone, nevertheless, well versed in British literature—in a note of his usual length and learning, has confuted the arguments of Seriblerus. In support of the present reading, he quotes a passage from a poem, written about the same period with our author's, by the celebrated Johannes Pastor (most commonly known as Jack Sheppard), entitled An Elegiac Epistle to the Turnkey of Newgate, wherein the gentleman declares that rather indeed in compliance with an old custom than to gratify any particular wish of his own—he is going

all hanged for to be,

Upon that fatal Tyburn tree. Now, as nothing throws greater light on an anthor than the concurrence of a contemporary writer, I am inclined to be of Hiccius's opinion, and to consider the "All'

an elegant expletive, or, as he more aptly phrases it, eleyans erpleticon.'"

The publication, however, with which the name of Canning is most generally associated is the celebrated Anti-Jacobin, the object of which

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was to ridicule and refute the theories of religion, government, and social economy propounded by the revolutionary leaders in France, and their friends and admirers in England. Its first appearance was on November 7, 1797, its last on July 9, 1798. In 1799 the poetical portion of it was reprinted in one volume, and in 1854 it was again issued, under the editorship of Mr. Charles Edmonds, who fulfilled his task with industry and discrimination. He was at great pains to ascertain the authorship of the various contributions, but not in every case, apparently, with success. He appears to have relied on four principal authorities, viz. Canning's own copy of the poetry; * the copy belonging to the Earl of Westmoreland, then Lord Burghersh, the publisher's copy, and information derived from W. Upcott, the authors' amanuensis. Appended to the table of contents is a curious account, derived, the editor tells us, from “ the researches of E. Hawkins, Esq., of the British Museum :

“ Wright, the publisher of the Anti-Jacobin, lived at 169, Piccadilly, and his shop was the general morning resort of the friends of the Ministry, as Debrett's was of the Oppositionists. About the time when the AntiJacobin was contemplated, Owen, who had been the publisher of Burke's pamphlets, failed. The editors of the Anti-Jacobin took his house, paying the rent, taxes, &c., and gave it up to Wright, reserving to themselves the first floor, to which a communication was opened through Wright's house. Being thus enabled to pass to their own rooms through Wright's shop, where their frequent visits did not excite any remarks, they contrived to escape particular observation. Their meetings were most regular on Sundays, but they not unfrequently met on other days of the week, and in their rooms were chiefly written the poetical portions of the work. What was written was generally left open upon the table, and as others of the party dropped in, hints or suggestions were made; sometimes whole passages were contributed by some of the parties present, and afterwards altered by others, so that it is almost impossible to ascertain the names of the authors. Gifford was the working editor, and wrote most of the refutations and corrections of the “Lies," "Mistakes," and "Misrepresentations." The papers ·

“ on finance were chiefly by Pitt; the first column was frequently reserved for what he might send; but his contributions were uncertain, and generally very late, so that the space set apart for him was sometimes filled up by other matter. He only once met the editors at Wright's. Upcott, who was at the time assistant in Wright's shop, was employed as amanuensis, to copy out for the printer the various contributions, that the authors' handwriting might not be detected."

The account here given of the authorship of these pieces seems to be

* A writer in the Edinburgh Review (July, 1858), speaking of this copy, says, After the fullest inquiries amongst his surviving relatives and friends (with the exception of the Governor-General of India), we cannot discover a trace of its existence at any period.”

very improbable. Good writing is seldom wrought out in the hap-hazard

· manner here described. The more highly polished any composition is,

the greater the ease with which it flows, in such proportion does it tell of quiet thought and patient elaboration.

Among Canning's contributions, the best known are the “Inscription for the Door of the Cell in Newgate where Mrs. Brownrigg the Prenticide was Confined, previous to her Execution,” and the “Friend of Humanity and the Knife-grinder."

In the year 1796, Mr. Payne Knight published The Progress of Civil Society, a didactic poem in six books. This production, which evinced a decided preference for man in a savage state, when uncorrupted by the unnatural customs of civilization, offered a fair mark for the ridicule of Canning. In the Progress of Man, a parody of Mr. Knight's poem, his description of love passions as "warming the whale on Zembla's

frozen shore ” is well satirized, though with but little exaggeration, in the following lines :

HIow Lybian tigers' chawdrons love assails,
And warms, midst seas of ice, the melting whales ;
Cools the crimpt cod, fierce pangs to perch imparts,
Shrinks shrivell’d shrimps, but opens oysters' hearts;
Then say, how all these things together tend
To one great truth, prime object, and good end ?

In the second part we are told how man in his downward progress to civilization became a flesh-eater. Having seen a tiger devour a leveret or a pig, he becomes desirous of doing the same. Taught by some instinct to make a bow and arrow,

Then forth he fares. Around in careless play
Kids, pigs, and lambkins unsuspecting stray ;
With grim delight he views the sportive band,
Intent on blood, and lifts his murderous hand;
Twangs the bent bow, resounds the fateful dart,

Swift-wing'd, and trembles in a porker's heart. In the concluding part, marriage is treated of. Taking up Mr. Knight's rather free notions on the subject, Canning opens this part with an invo. cation to the South Sea Islands, tells us of the happy absence of form and ceremony which there characterize all nuptial rites, and thus proceeds :

Learn hence, each nymph, whose free aspiring mind
Europe's cold laws and colder customs bind,
Oh ! learn what Nature's genial laws decree,
What Otaheite is, let Britain be!

*

Of whist or cribbage mark th' amusing game,
The partners changing, but the sport the same :
Else would the gamester's anxious ardour cool,
Dull every deal, and stagnant every pool.
Yet must one man, with one unceasing wife,
Play the long rubber of connubial life.

The Loves of the Triangles is another piece in which we can discern the airy grace of Canning's genius. The first part of this poem was written by J. H. Frere; but as Addison borrowed and improved upon Steele's Sir Roger de Coverley, so did Canning with the original conception of Frere. This poem Jeffrey pronounced to be the perfection of parody. It far excels, however, the production it aims at ridiculing, viz. Darwin's Loves of the Plants, and it may be questioned whether at times it does not awaken more elevated associations than could possibly have been suggested by the original. The contest between Parabola, Hyperbola, and Ellipsis for the love of “the Phænician cone” is exceedingly humorous. Respecting this object of the affections of the mathematical Goddesses, the following information is given us in a note : "It was under this shape that Venus was worshipped in Phænicia. Mr. Higgins thinks it was the Venus Urania, or Celestial Venus ; in allusion to which the Phænician grocers first introduced the practice of preserving sugar-loaves in blue or skycoloured paper; he also believes that the conical form of the original grenadier's cap was typical of the loves of Mars and Venus." Two lines of this poem are well known, through the application made of them by the late Daniel O'Connell to the present Earl of Derby

So down thy hill, romantic Ashbourn, glides

The Derby dilly, carrying Three Insides ; or, as the great Irish agitator read it, to give point to his joke—" six insides."

In the last number of the Anti-Jacobin appeared what is generally considered its masterpiece, viz. “New Morality." From this we extract the lines on Candour,—lines sometimes quoted, at least in part, by many who are ignorant of the source whence they are derived :

“Much may be said on both sides," hark, I hear
A well-known voice that murmurs in my ear, -
The voice of Candour. Hail ! most solemn sage,
Thou drivelling virtue of this moral age,
Candour-which softens party's headlong rage;
Candour—which spares its foes ; nor e'er descends
With bigot zeal to combat for its friends.
Candour-which loves in see-saw strain to tell
Of acting foolishly, but meaning well ;
Too nice to praise by wholesale, or to blame,
Convinced that all men's motives are the same ;
And finds, with keen discriminating sight,
Black's not so black, nor white so very white.
“Fox, to be sure, was vehement and wrong ;
But then Pitt's words, you'll own, were rather strong.
Both must be blamed, both pardon'd ; 'twas just so
With Fox and Pitt full forty years ago!
So Walpole, Pulteney ;-factions in all times
Have had their follies, ministers their crimes."

Give me the avow'd, th' erect, the manly foc.
Bold I can meet-perhaps may turn his blow;
But of all plagues, good Heav'n, thy wrath can send,
Save, save, oh ! save me from the Candid Friend !

It is unnecessary to observe, however, that the lesson inculcated by these brilliant lines must be taken cum grano. There is such a thing as genuine, unsophisticated candour, which is deserving of all respect; though every effort should be made to put down the canting candour adopted by men who either have no opinions of their own to express, or who are too timid and servile to give them utterance.

The following lines on the British Oak are generally attributed to Pitt. Both for their innate beauty, and for the political lesson they teach, they are worthy of attention :

So thine own Oak, by some fair streamlet's side,
Waves its broad arms and spreads its leafy pride ;
Towers from the earth, and rearing to the skies
Its conscious strength, the tempest's wrath defies :
Its ample branches shield the fowls of air ;
To its cool shade the panting herds repair.
The treacherous current works its noiseless way,
The fibres loosen, and the roots decay ;
Prostrate the beauteous ruin lies, and all
That shared its shelter perish in its fall.

To Pitt is also attributed the concluding stanza of Rogero's song in “ The Rovers; or, Double Arrangement." This was a parody upon the German drama, which was at that time only known to Englishmen through the medium of a few very bad translations of some of the least meritorious of the works of Goethe, Schiller, and Kotzebue. This song, though often quoted, will bear quotation once more :

1.

Whenc'er with haggard eyes I view

This dungeon that I'm rotting in,
I think of those companions true
Who studied with me at the U-

-niversity of Gottingen,
-niversity of Gottingen.

II.

Sweet kerchief, check'd with heavenly blue,

Which once my love sat knotting in !
Alas ! Matilda then was true !
At least I thought so at the U-

—niversity of Gottingen,-
-niversity of Gottingen.

III.

Barbs ! Barbs ! alas ! how swift you flew

Her nent post-waggon trotting in !
Ye bore Matilda from my view.
Forlorn I languished at the U-

—niversity of Gottingen,
-niversity of Gottingen.

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