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of No. 17, Prince's Street; he sees
hints that Sheridan was no wit,-and, the same long vista of vestibule, front on parting, proposes a supper at Amshop, intermediate saloon, (where sits brose's. the same one eternal reader of the It is our fixed determination this Courier,) and remoter den, till he sinks month to do the agreeable. We shall, down in “ Rabelais' easy-chair" in the therefore, not suffer any argumentaSanctum Sanctorum.
tive contributor to open his mouth. You may have observed something We shall not hurt a fly or a worm. like this, not merely in literature, but Article shall vie with article in good in life. Think of any remarkable man, humour and philanthropy. We shall whom you may chance to know any strive to make it impossible for the man of genius. Why, one day is he most sensitive subscriber or non-subnot grim and gruff as a bear, and if scriber (the two great divisions of our he condescends to growl, did you ever race) to take OFFENCE. Should we, see such tusks ? Another day, he is nevertheless, fail in such avoidance, more like a tiger basking in the sun, and, by some unlucky monosyllable, with eyes of playful ferocity, and claws, (for occasionally one word of ours, so three inches long, sheathing and un- small perhaps as to be invisible to sheathing themselves in a sort of eager readers without spectacles, appears a but careless instinct within the velvet very mountain of mischief,) raise up of his stot-felling paws. Now he is all the whole world against us, we shall the world like a very absolute lion- make the amplest apology that ever marvellously imitating the part of the graced the pages of a periodical work. king of beasts !-Anon he is like the Yes ! Should the complainant be even unweaned lamb, sporting on the sun- the acknowledged Idiot of the poet's ny knoll-gentle as the cooing dove, corner of a Cockney newspaper, we “ weak as is the breaking wave,' shall, in our apology, cheerfully and voiced like Zephyr, or the Lady-Echo. unequivocally express our belief,
We insist on knowing whether, nay, knowledge, -that he is the Auamong all your numerous acquaint- thor of Waverley. ances, there be a single one whom you We had once intended to entitle love so dearly as this bear, tiger, lion, our leading article, “ Characters of lamb, dove, zephyr, and echo ? To- our Living Poets.” We have written day you have sworn to speak to him no it, but are quite at a loss what to do more,—for he has just cut you, as you with it ; for James Ballantyne informs think, on the street, or eyed you as- us that it would occupy twenty sheets, kance with leer malign,—or over- —that is, about three numbers of the whelmed you with such a flood of Magazine. There are, we find, exidea'd words, that you, in your slow actly 103 Living Poets of magnitude prosing way, have been unable to slip in this free and happy island ; and an in one of your long treasured truisms, average of three pages a-piece cannot -or with one kick he has smashed, surely be thought unreasonable.like so much crockery, an argument What, then, we ask once more, is to that you had been constructing, as you be done with the said article ? We are supposed with frame-work of iron, determined not to fretter it down into instead of wood,-or, with the touch · piecemeals. Will any publisher, Murof his little finger, he has let down the ray, Longman, Hurst, Constable, card-built edifice of one of your rejected Blackwood, or Oliver and Boyd, offer articles to Blackwood. To-morrow, Five Hundred Pounds ? he proposes an arm-in-arm walk round After dashing off the concluding the Calton Hill,—inquires kindly after words of our Essay, (“ the most gloyour wife, your sore throat, or your rious age of British Poetry,”) our rheumatism, -asks your opinion of a thoughts began to wander away, by book or a man,-expresses his concern some fine associations, into the woods and surprise that you do not confirm of our childhood,“ Bards of Scotland ! the opinion held of you by all your
Birds of Scotland !” and at that very friends, by giving to the public some moment, we heard the loud, clear, work worthy of your talents, genius, mellow, bold song of the BLACKBIRD. and erudition,—wonders you did not There he flits along upon a strong go to the bar,—requests you to repeat wing, with his yellow bill visible in that most exquisite story, --complains distance, and disappears in the silent of a pain in his side at your last pun,- wood. Not long silent. It is a spring
day in our imagination,-his clay-wall wisdom to be charmed with what is nest holds his mate at the foot of the charming, to live in it, for the time Silver-fir, and he is now perched on being, and compare the emotion with its pinnacle. That thrilling hymn former emotion whatever-unwill go vibrating down the stem till it less it be unconsciously in the workreaches her brooding breast. The ing of an imagination set a-going by whole vernal air is filled with the mur delight. Who, in reading this Magamur and the glitter of insects,—but zine, for example, would compare or the blackbird's song is over all other contrast it with any other Periodical symptoms of love and life, and seems under heaven ? You read it—and each to call upon the leaves to unfold into article is felt to be admirable or exebeauty. It is on that one Tree-top, crable—purely for its own sake. You conspicuous among many thousands love or you hate it, as the, not as a on the fine breast of wood, where, Magazine. You hug it to your heart, here and there, the pine mingles not or you make it spin to the other end unmeetly with the prevailing oak,- of the room, simply because it is that the forest minstrel sits in his in- Blackwood's Magazine, without, duspiration. The rock above is one ring the intensity of your emotion, which we have often climbed. There remembering that Colburn's, or the lies the glorious Loch and all its islands Monthly, or the London, or the Eu-one dearer than the rest to eye and ropean, or the Ladies', or the Gentleimagination, with its old Religious man's, exists. No doubt, as soon as House,-year after year crumbling the emotion has somewhat subsided, away unheeded into more entire ruin! you do begin to think of the other PeFar away, a sea of mountains, with all riodicals. On stooping to pick up the their billowing summits distinct in the Number that has so aroused your sky, and now uncertain and changeful wrath, you say, “I will subscribe to as the clouds! Yonder castle stands the New Monthly,”—yet no sooner well on the peninsula among the trees have the words escaped your lips than which the herons inhabit. Those cop- you blush, like a flower unseen, at pice woods on the other shore stealing your own folly. Your own folly up to the heathery rocks, and sprinkled stares you in the face, and out of counbirches, are the haunts of the roe ! tenance-You bless your stars that noThat great glen, that stretches sul- body was in the room at the timelenly away into the distant dark- You re-read the article, and perceive, ness, has been for ages the birth in your amended temper, that it is full and the death-place of the red deer. of the most important truths, couched Hark, 'tis the cry of an eagle! There in the most elegant language. You he hangs poised in the sunlight, and dissolve into tears of remorse and penow he flies off towards the sea.- nitence, and vow to remain a faithBut again the song of our BLACKBIRD ful subscriber on this side—at least“rises like a steam of rich distilled of the grave. perfumes," and our heart comes back Although, therefore, we cannot say to him upon the pinnacle of his own that we prefer the Thrush to the BlackHome-tree. The source of song is yet bird, yet we agree
with you in thinkin the happy creature's heart-but the ing it a most delightful bird. Where song itself has subsided, like a moun- a Thrush is, we defy you to anticitain-torrent that bas been rejoicing in pate his song in the morning. He is a sudden shower among the hills; the indeed an early riser. By the way, bird drops down among the balmy Chanticleer is far from being so. You branches; and the other faint songs hear him crowing away from shortly which that bold anthem had drowned, after midnight, and, in your simpliare heard at a distance, and seem tó city, may suppose him to be up, and encroach every moment on the si- strutting about the premises. Far Jence.
from it ;-he is at that very moment You say you greatly prefer the song perched in his polygamy, between two of the Thrush. Pray why set such de of his fattest wives. The sultan will lightful singers by the ears ? We dislike perhaps not stir a foot for several hours the habit that very many people have of to come ; while all the time the Thrush, trying everything by a scale. Nothing having long ago rubbed his eyes, is on seems to them to be good-positively his topmost twig, broad awake, and -only relatively. Now, it is true charming the ear of dawn with bis
beautiful vociferation. During mid- ing afresh at every time we waved our day he disappears, and is mute ; but hats, or vainly slung a pebble towards again, at dewy even, as at dewy morn, their nests—and one grove of elms, to he pours bis pipe like a prodigal, nor whose top, much lower than the castle, ceases sometimes, when night has came, ever and anon, some noiseless brought the moon and stars. Best belo- Heron from the muirs. ved, and most beautiful of all Thrushes Higher and higher than ever rose that ever broke from the blue-spotted the tower of Belus, soars and sings the shell !-thou who, for five springs; Lark, the lyrical poet of the sky.hast 66
hung thy procreant cradle" Listen, listen ! and the more remote among the roses, and honeysuckles, the bird, the louder is his hymn in and ivy, and clematis, that embower heaven. He seems, in his loftiness, to in bloom the lattice of my cottage- have left the earth for ever, and to have study-how farest thou now in the forgotten his lowly pest. The primsnow !—Consider the whole place as roses and the daisies, and all the sweet your own, my dear bird ; and re- hill-flowers, must be unremembered in member, that when the gardener's chil- the lofty region of light. But just as the dren sprinkle food for you and yours Lark is lost-he and his song together all along your favourite haunts, that it - both are again seen and heard wais done by our orders. And when all the vering down the sky, and in a little earth is green again, and all the sky while he is walking contented along blue, you will welcome us to our ru- the furrows of the braided corn, or ral domicile, with light feet running on the clover lea, that has not felt the before us among the winter leaves, plough-share for half a century, and then skim away to your new nest In our boyish days, we never felt that in the old spot, then about to be some- the Spring had really come, till the clearwhat more cheerful in the undis. singing Lark went careering before turbing din of the human life within our gladdened eyes away up to heathe flowery walls.
ven. Then all the earth wore a vernal Why do the songs of the Blackbird look, and the ringing sky said, “winand Thrush make us think of the song- ter is over and gone.' As we roamed, less STARLING ? It matters not. We do on a holiday, over the wide pastoral think of him, and see him too-a moors, to angle in the lochs and pools, beautiful bird, and his abode is ma- unless the day were very cloudy, the jestic. What an object of wonder and song of some lark or other was still awe is an old Castle to a boyish ima- warbling aloft, and made a part of our gination! Its height how dreadful! happiness. The creature could not up to whose mouldering edges his fear have been more joyful in the skies, carries him, and hangs him over the than we were on the greensward. We, battlements! What beauty in those too, had our wings, and flew through unapproachable wall-flowers, that cast our holiday. Thou soul of glee ! who a brightness on the old brown stones still leddest our flight in all our pasof the edifice, and make the horror times !—hold, bright, and beautiful pleasing! That sound so far below is child of Erin !—for many and many the sound of a stream the eye cannot a long, long year hast thou been minreach---of a waterfall echoing for ever gled with the dust! Dead and gone, among the black rocks and pools. The as if they had never been, all the capschool-boy knows but little of the his- tivations of thy voice, eye, laugh, motory of the old Castle—but that little tion, and hand, open as day to “ meltis of war, and witchcraft, and impri- ing charity !"--He, too, the sonment, and bloodshed. The ghostly thoughtful English boy, whose equiglimmer of antiquity appals him-he site scholarship we all so enthusiastivisits the ruin only with a companion, cally admired, without one single parand at mid-day. There and then it ticle of hopeless envy,—and who acwas that we first saw a Starling. We companied us on all our wildest expeheard something wild and wonderful ditions, rather from affection to his in their harsh scream, as they sat playmates than any love of their sports, upon the edge of the battlements, -he who, timid and unadventurous or flew out of the cbinks and cran- as he seemed to be, yet rescued little nies. There were Martens too, so Marian of the Brae from a drowning different in their looks from the pretty death, when so many growo-up men House-Swallows-Jack-daws clamour stood aloof in selfish fear,–gone, too, for ever art thou, my beloved Edward panniered three dozen, you are at a Harrington ! and, after a few brilliant wooden bridge--you fish the pool above years in the oriental clime,
it with the delicate dexterity of a Boaz, on Hoogley's banks afar,
capture the monarch of the flood, and Looks down on thy lone tomb the Evening Star."
on lifting your eyes from his starry Methinks we hear the " song o'the side as he gasps his last on the silvery Grey LINTIE,”, perhaps the darling shore, you behold a cottage, at one bird of Scotland. None other is more gable end an ash, at the other a sycatenderly sung of in our old ballads. more, and standing perhaps at the When the simple and fervent love-poets lonely door, a maiden far more beautiof our pastoral times first applied to the ful than any angel. maiden the words,“ my bonnie burd- This is the Age of Confessions ; and ie,” they must have been thinking of why, therefore, may we not make a the Grey Lintie—its plumage ungaudy confession of first love? I had finishand soberly pure--its shape elegant, ed my sixteenth year,-I was almost yet unobtrusive and its song various as tall as I am now,-almost as tall ! without any effort—now rich, gay, Yes, yes,-for my figure was then sprightly, but never rude or riotous straight as an arrow, and almost like now tender, almost mournful, but an arrow in its flight. I had given never gloomy or desponding. So, too, over bird-nesting,—but I had not are all its habits, endearing and delight ceased to visit the dell where first I ful. It is social, yet not averse to so- found the grey lintie's brood. Talelitude, singing often in groups, and as writers are told by critics to rememoften by itself in the furze-brake, or ber that the young shepherdesses of on the briary knoll. You often find Scotland are not beautiful as the ficthe lintie's nest in the most solitary tions of a poet's dream. But she was places-in some small self-sown clump beautiful beyond poetry. She was so of trees by the brink of a wild hill then, when passion and imagination stream, or on the tangled edge of a fo- were young,--and her image, her unrest; and just as often you find it in the dying, unfading image, is so now, hedgerow of the cottage garden, or in when passion and imagination are old, a bower within, or even in an old and when from eye and soul have gooseberry bush that has grown into disappeared much of the beauty and a sort of tree.
glory both of nature and life. I loved One wild and beautiful place we her from the first moment that our well remember--ay, the very bush in eyes met,--and I see their light at this which we first found a grey linnet's moment, the same soft, bright, burnnest—for, in our native parish, from ing light, that set body and soul on some cause or other, it was rather a fire. She was but a poor shepherd's rarish bird. That far-away day is as daughter; but what was that to me, distinct as the present now. Imagine, when I heard her voice singing one friend, first, a little well surrounded of her old plaintiff ballads among with wild cresses on the moor, some- the braes,—when I sat down beside thing like a rivulet flows from it, or ra- her,--when the same plaid was drawn ther you see a deep tinge of verdure, over our shoulders in the rain-storm, the line of which, you believe, must bé —when I asked her for a kiss, and produced by the oozing moisture-you was not refused,- for what had she follow it, by and by there is a descent to fear in her beauty, and her innopalpable to your feet—then you find cence, and her filial piety,—and was yourself between low broomy knolls, not I a mere boy, in the bliss of pasthat, heightening every step, become sion, ignorant of deceit or dishonour, ere long banks and braes, and hills. and with a heart open to the eyes of You are surprised now to see a stream, all as to the gates of heaven ? What and look round for its source-there music was in that stream! Could “Saseem now to be a hundred small sources bean odours from the spicy shores of in fissures, and springs on every side Araby the Blest” so penetrate my soul -you hear the murmurs of its course with joy, as the balmy breath of the over beds of sand and gravel-and broom on which we sat, forgetful of hark, a waterfall! A tree or two begins all other human life! Father, moto shake its tresses on the horizon—a ther, brothers, sisters, uncles, and birch or a rowan. You get ready aunts, and cousins, and all the tribe of your angle-and by the time you have friends that would throw me off,—if I should be so base and mad as to from the dead-fit of horrid dreams in marry a low-born, low-bred, ignorant, which I had lain on the floor of my uneducated, crafty, ay, crafty and de- Agnes's own cottage, and cursed the signing beggar,-were all forgotten in sight of the heaven and the earth, my delirium,-if indeed it were deli- and shuddered at the thought of the rium,--and not an everlastingly-sa- dread and dismal God—when I cred devotion of the soul to nature and We wish that we had lying on the to truth. For in what was I deluded ? table before us Grahame's pleasant A voice,-a faint and dewy voice,– Poem, “ The Birds of Scotland ;" but deadened by the earth that fills up we lent our copy some years ago to a her
grave, and by the turf that, at this friend—and a friend never returns a very hour, is expanding its primroses borrowed book.
But here is a very to the dew of heaven,-answers, “ In agreeable substitute—“A Treatise on nothing !"
British Song-Birds,” published by John “Ha! ha! ha!” exclaims some read- Anderson, jun., Edinburgh, and Simper in derision, "here's an attempt at kin and Marshall, London. The small the pathetic, a miserable attempt in- musicians are extremely well engraved deed, for who cares about the death of a by Mr Scott, of Edinburgh, from very mean but-girl ? we are sick of low life.” correct and beautiful drawings, done Why, as to that matter, who cares for by an English artist, and there is a the death of any one mortal being? well-written introduction, of 40 pages, Who weeps for the death of the late from the pen of Mr Patrick Syme. Emperor of all the Russias ? Who We presume that the rest of the letterwept over Napoleon the Great ? When press is by the same gentleman—and it Chatham or Burke, Pitt or Fox died does him very great credit. The volume -don't pretend to tell lies about a includes observations on their natural nation's tears. And if yourself, who, habits, and manner of incubation ; perhaps, are not in low life, were to with remarks on the treatment of the die in half an hour, (don't be alarm- young, and management of the old ed,) all who knew you, except two or birds, in a domestic state. three of your bosom friends, who, “ The delightful music of song-birds partly from being somewhat dull, and is, perhaps, the chief cause why these partly from wishing to be decent, charming little creatures are, in all might blubber-would walk along countries, so highly prized. Music is Prince's Street at the fashionable hour an universal language ;-it is underof three, the very day after your fu- stood and cherished in every country neral. Nor would it ever enter their —the savage, the barbarian, and the heads to abstain from a comfortable civilized individual, are all passiondinner at the British Hotel, ordered, ately fond of music, particularly of perhaps, a month ago, at which time melody. But, delightful as music is, you were in rude health, merely be- perhaps there is another reason that cause you had foolishly allowed a cold may have led man to deprive the to fasten upon your lungs, and carry warblers of the woods and fields of liyou off in the prime and promise of berty, particularly in civilized states, your professional life. In spite of all where the intellect is more refined, your critical slang, therefore, Mr Edi- and, consequently, the feelings more tor or Master Contributor to some li- adapted to receive tender impressions ; terary journal, SHE, though a poor -we mean the associations of ideas. Scottish Herd, was most beautiful; Their sweet melody brings him more and when, but a week after taking particularly in contact with groves and farewell of her, I went, according to meadows—with romantic banks, or our tryst, to fold her in my arms, and beautiful sequestered glades—the chewas told by her poor father that she rished scenes, perhaps, of his early was dead,-ay, dead and buried—that youth. But, independent of this, the she had no existence that neither the warble of a sweet song-bird is, in itself, daylight nor I should ever more be very delightful ;-and, to men of segladdened by her presence—that she dentary habits, confined to cities by was in a coffin, six feet in earth-that professional duties, and to their desks the worms were working their way to- most part of the day, we do not know wards the body, to crawl into her bo- a more innocent or more agreeable resom—that she was fast becoming one creation than the rearing and training mass of corruption—when I awoke of these little feathered musicians.”