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In a word, in the moral essay line we are somewhat overstocked ;-and shall therefore be happy, on suitable terms, to dispose of a great variety on every virtue and its contraries, with classical mottos and translations complete.
Of Descriptive Pieces, by which name, for want of a better, we entitle the numerous class of Magazine articles on subjects of life and manners, we have a considerable stock. The
is indeed excessively prolific in writers upon such matters. “Nought is for them too high, or nought too low.” Like Socrates they have brought philosophy from the clouds,-to make her figure in a description of a sugar basin, or a sedan chair. A gentleman's personal feelings and habits now supply an inexhaustible subject for his pen; he cannot shave himself without acquiring materials for an elegant Dissertation on Razors, or devour_his Sunday dinner without concocting hints for a treatise on “ Roast Pig." We hope you will go with the stream on these points, as the London and New Monthly have made their fortunes by a discreet attention to them. In this particular we are very anxious for your advantage ;-and therefore send you a few specimens to which we beg to direct your especial notice.
ON BRITISH WINES. We subjoin an extract on Gooseberry:
“ And now, while the wall-flower, with its rich velvet, is painted by the western sun, and the honeysuckle has crept through our latticed bower, coyly, like a fair maiden entering her first ballroom-let us taste our Champagne. Ah, Johnson, in spite of the Borough faction, we have some luxuries left yet;—the time may come when shall taste it “ unexcis’d by kings”- ut even now we will taste it. The glasses! Pooh! not these pale thimbles,--but the ample globes of green, in which the sparkling beads shall shine like emeralds. • To the fairest.? — Well, how do you like it??• Admirable ; -exquisite ; - the true Chateau-Margot,' answers Johnson, with a speaking uplooking eye of faith, and an undoubting smack of the lip. Ha, ha! Johnny, tell your mamma to send another bottle of the gooseberry.' - The gooseberry ?'. “Yes, the gooseberry. And thus it is that we can be as great in imagination as in Grosvenor-square; and have something left for flowers, and books, and busts, and Mozart, and a green bower, and à delicate voice to summon us to tea.""
ON BLACK PUDDINGS. This essay has been entrusted to us as an original of a celebrated anonymous writer ;-but we do not warrant its genuineness.
“ I have no anti-Christian prejudices against these mysterious rouleaus.
“I consider them, however, creatures whose birth place should be some solitary farm, or unsophisticated village. They do not belong to the City. I cannot vouch for them at the Freemason's Tavern, hot and savory as G
affirms they are.
are undefinable, and they ask therefore an entire self abandonment of faith on the part of their devotees. I wish I could believe with the innocent Cockney that black-puddings grew. I must, however, to commence a friendship with them, dimly see them bourgeoning under the white fingers of some cleanly dairy-maid, such as I have beheld them at sweet S- in Hertfordshire. The notion of Fleet-street and chopping machines would make them as suspicious as A-la-mode Beef.
ON POKERS. The writer of this essay is a great contributor to all the crack Magazines of the day:
“ There is a more than common importance attached to that most useful article of domestic economy, the Poker. I have known you seven years, so I may stir your fire,' is a proverbial piece of courtesy. It is an English idea, and has more philosophy in it than a German stove or Mr. Coleridge can supply. When I sit alone, in the calm interval between dinner and tea, with my
feet on each hob, and my rum-and-water on the mantle shelf, the poker is my magician's wand. With this I can annihilate castles, build
up rocks ;--with this I can quench the volcano of a gasspouting coal, or sweep off the Ariel wings of the filmy bars. A Lord Chamberlain's staff is a thing to be flung away after birth nights, or broken over graves ;—but a poker is an ever present appendage to home delights. No ill-tempered man ever used a poker skilfully. The Editor of the Quarterly Review is a testy bungler at a stir ;-he is too irascible for a grate man. A Scotchman pokes a fire timidly from niggardliness :-an Irishman rashly, from a careless and self-willed abstraction. The most dainty master of the weapon I ever knew was Leigh Hunt. He accomplished the feat with the most amiable and poco-curante air in the world.”
In Criticism we are very rich. We are not only provided with stock articles on the various schools of poetry, but have several minute and elaborate treatises on the comparative merits of every author of the present day. For Reviews of New Books, we have cards of Terms from sixteen professional critics, who may be always engaged at an hour's notice, as they employ a number of hands to execute any order speedily, and in any mode that the employer may dictate.
In Theatrical Criticism we have a gentleman who contracts with four Magazines, to produce an article for each, on the same piece, perfectly varied and original; and we have little doubt, though we do not absolutely vouch for the fact, that he did Miss Mitford in the last London, New Monthly, European, Gentleman's and Sir Richard ;-to say nothing of three daily, and seven weekly journals. We have, however, a critic who is chary of his great powers ;-like Shenstone he would shrink from being thought an author by profession, and it was with the greatest difficulty that we could induce him to oblige us with a sample of his eloquent and glowing style. The following is a little jeu d'esprit in his happiest manner;—the excellence of which will justify us in transcribing it at length.
“ A CRITIQUE ON Punch.—The amusements of the modern multitude have little association with the rare and resplendent relics of the olden time. Sophocles and Æschylus have come down to us in fragments; Menander has perished; Plautus and Terence are consecrated only to the stentorian rhetoricians of Westminster and Dr. Valpy; John Bale is buried in black letter; Decker, and Massinger, and Marlow, and even Shakspeare, have been consigned, 0! cruel fate! to the suet-sheltering stupidity of Warburton's cook. But Punch is entire—fresh in the bloom of youth and vigour-speaking the same universal language that he ever spokethe true • transmitter of a foolish face' through all ages—the indivisible and imperishable inheritor of the interests of all time'the only citizen of the world—the wandering Jew' who has put a girdle round the earth'—the immortal who has outlived his posterity, and who stands in the retrospective and prospective relations of ancestor and descendant of the mimetic art. The foundations of empires, the glories of governments, the dynasties of despots, the embattlements of imperial cities, have perished; languages have lapsed into oblivion; arts have been swallowed up in the unartificial attributes of mortality; Herculaneum has been buried, and Babylon is a sand-pit-but Punch is still among us, and 0! we will cherish him.
“ And well may we cherish a hero of such versatile and vivacious vitality. His is the courage that knows no craven qualms—his is the honour that · feels a stain as a wound'—his is the fortitude that fights, not for fame and fortune, but for life and liberty--his is the gallantry that is ready to throw down the gauntlet with a gladsome and generous championship—his is the domestic love which clings to the chosen of his bosom with a rare fidelity, but that mingles the majesty of the man with the softness of the suitor, and that kisses off the tear while it bestows the blow. The struggles of his lot are of no common order. The course of his chaste and confiding love is crossed by a crabbed churl;-he is driven to desperation ; but his sincere and ingenuous spirit is not subdued; he looks upon the scowling sky, hears the tempest from afar, bares his forehead to the lightning's flash, bides the pelting of the pitiless storm,' and yet he sings as the lark at Heaven's gate, and the note of his exultation is heard, with its delighting and delighted carol, while the last minister of the laws is about to perpetrate his cruel injustice, and the great enemy of mankind is whispering in his ear the unutterable thoughts of woe, and darkness, and death, and demoniacal destruction.
“ The character of Punch is unquestionably a creation of the days of chivalry. He is the bold and beautiful knight-errant of ordinary life. He goes forth in his confident career of courageous curiosity, to deliver distressed damsels from husbands and giants
to redress the inequalities of the law-to defy all the powers of darkness—to resist the great tempter, even unto the death. His staff is more mighty than the sword of Orlando—the lance of Godfrey is a puny reed in its comparison. He lives in an atmosphere of assault—his birth-place is the abode of the torrent and the cataract - his home is the whirlpool and the volcano-his elastic spirit rebounds from every attack of evil with an enterprizing and elevated alacrity. He is the only universal conqueror, for he equally triumphs over a cuckold and a constable, a bull-dog and a bully, a hector and a hangman, a scolding wife, and the devil. He triumphs—O! he triumphs, in his singleness of purpose, and his recklessness of will. He triumphs by the magnanimity of his mirth, and the firmness of his fist. He is the living emblem of a contented and confiding spirit, struggling,' sans peur et sans reproche,' with the cold and calculating opposition of worldly cunning and satanic malignity. He fights against no mortal engines, but still he triumphs. 0! there is an earthquake under his feet, and the soil heaves with a tremulous impatience, and the seas rush from their beds, and the air is darkened, and the vulture screams, and the palaces and the temples rock with a wide-spreading and all-involving fury; but he stands erect amidst the convulsion, creeps out of the ruins, sings his song of gladness in the desert, claps his hands with a tremulous and triumphant delight, rushes through the mist that the genius of evil has spread around him. He comes once more into the breeze, and the sunshine--the world rejoices in his prosperity—and all is happiness."
For Criticism in the Fine Arts we are abundantly prepared. As these things are generally arranged you must be quite aware that the painter is his own critic, and that it as usual for a great master to hire a puffer, as to employ a drudge to set his pallet. We can, however, supply two or three very impartial, and, if necessary, growling critics, who charge five guineas a sheet if they praise–because, in that case, they get an invitation to the painter's dejeuné,—and six guineas if they cut him up. The terms, you will agree, are very just and moderate. We have many specimens ;—but the following unpublished sample denotes the talent and reputation of our first hand in this branch:
“ON PANORAMAS.-Experienced as I have been, during the last thirty years, in every thing that pertains to Literature, Science, and Art;-honoured as I am by the acquaintance, by the patronage, by the friendship of so many distinguished persons in those branches; -having contributed in various ways to the illustration, to the decoration, and to the classification of many subjects of literary and artistical research ;-being myself a member of several eminent societies in this metropolis; and holding an extensive correspondence in various parts of the United Kingdom, of Europe, of the worldI think myself qualified to write on Panoramas."
We proceed to our Poetical Stock, which is very considerable. Of Odes, we have an immense assortment, in which the Pindarics abound ;- but the age is grown too frivolous for this elevated and learned species of composition. The same remark, we fear, must apply even to a greater variety of University Prize Poems, all written upon the same classical model of correctness and regularity. We sometimes tell the authors of these productions that they must infuse a little wildness into them to make them saleable ;—and we have a joke in our establishment, that it is only necessary to read the first line of each couplet to understand its meaning, and that if we find “ lands,” we shall be sure to meet with “ hands”-that “ bowers” receive “ showers”-that “ earth” is certain to beget“ birth"-and that “ air” must unquestionably be followed by “ fair.” You are welcome to look over the whole heap ;-and as an inducement we beg to inform you, in confidence, that money is no object with this race of authors ;—that their great ambition is to be in print;-and that, in their case, the Editor of a Magazine may receive a gratuity for the occupation of his columns, rather than pay a douceur for the exercise of their genius. To a new concern this must certainly be a considerable advantage.
Of Descriptive Poems we have a sweet composition Winter,” beginning “ All Hail.” The author being somewhat straitened for a great coat, through the lengthened severity of the season, would contribute this at a reasonable price. In the Pastoral Line we have a very tender piece composed in the Regent's Park, on the 2d of April, commencing thus, in irregular measure :
“ How beautiful the country doth appear
At this time of the year.”
We are really bewildered amidst the riches of our poetical department, and know not how to choose out a pattern-card that may give you an idea of the beauty of the colours, and the fineness of the texture, of these commodities. We have not only gentlemen disposed to contribute in styles which are perfectly new and untried ;—but we boast a larger number who will do you any thing in the way of Byron, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Southey, Milman, or Barry Cornwall
, to the life. Epics of course are out of your way;—but we have several splendid ones that would cut up nicely as “ Specimens of an Unpublished Poem,”—and as for tragedies, ours is the common receptacle for all those exquisite pieces which the ignorance of the Managers daily rejects ;-and of which the authors would have no objection to sell any single scene, ad valorem—which might make a pretty variety as a “ Dramatic Sketch.” In a word,