« 前へ次へ »
swung through space at a tolerably brisk rate in the performance of our annual rotation around the sun ;—so many miles of life's journey have at all events brought us so much nearer to its end; they are struck off from our account; we shall never travel over them again. With every tick of our watch in that brief space of time, some hundreds or thousands have started from the great antenatal infinite to light and life ; while as many have returned into the darkness of the invisible world. And we ourselves, though we sometimes exclaim like the Emperor Titus, that we have lost a day, may be well assured that to-day has not lost sight of us. The footsteps of Time may not be heard when he treads apon roses, but his progress is not the less certain ; we need not shake his hour-glass to make the sands of life flow faster ; they keep perpetually diminishing ; night and day, asleep or awake, grain by grain, our existence dribbles away. We call those happy moments when Time flies most rapidly, forgetting that he is the only winged personage who cannot fly backwards, and that his speed is but hurrying us to the grave. The hours, his couriers and outriders, are at this instart hovering around us, busy as the Sylphs and Gnomes of the Rosicrucians, though we be not sensible of their ministry. Yet, now that I strict: v watch my sensations, methinks I feel one busy imp faintly tracing the outline of the abhorred crow's foot at the corner of my eye, which futions
rchins will gradually stamp in ineffaceable lines. Another insi indenting a wrinkie by the mouth, to be hereafter chiselled, p furrow; a third plucks out a single hair, the precursory theft baldness; a fourth is boring his gimlet through my most poti masticator,--fatal pelude to toothach and extraction! a fifth malignant, grinning spitenlly in the consciousness of his superior powers of annoyance, is distilling the first drop of his bleaching liquid upon my whiskers; while a sixth yellow-faced tormentor, the master-devil of the whole pandemonium, has leaped clean down my throat, and is at this momen: with a ladle of melted-butter in one hand and the drumstick of a g in the other, concocting the ingredients of a bilious attack. Ou ш Le is a chronometer, revealing our age with a fearful punctuality. The hour-hand leaves its impress with every rotation ; nay the minute-hand rakes its mark, though it may not write legibly. Smiles and laughter turn up the ends of the lines and indentations, as melancholy drag them down, turning our sixes into nines, and so putting us forward fifty per cent. desire a better argument for merriment?
Alas! these are not the worst pranks of the horal legion, some of whose more subtle members fly from one chamber of the brain to another, muddying the current of clear thought, dulling the imagination, and undermining the memory. One hoaxer in particular is ever prompting me to repeat the same joke which I have recounted to the same people twenty times before, and the a bursts out a laughing because nobody else does. And lo! even now sits one of these mischievous sprites upon the top of my pen, mocking and mowing, and perforating the quill, that so the spirit of the goose from whose wing it was plucked may flow down to the pub. Hence, senilising tribe ! avaunt, ye piecemeal destroyers! Whi'h of ye thus flutters at mine ear? Ah! your reproach is too true. I recall my words: pursue
your tasks, most dainty dilapidators, for your successors will set to work with a still more unsparing hand.
To-day has a triple claim to our consideration, for, besides its present appeal, it has beeh the future, and will be the past. He is wise, says an ancient philosopher, who lives to-day; he is wiser still, exclaims his commentator, who lived yesterday. But what is the best mode of life for the attainment of happiness? This question has puzzled the philosophers of all ages. Pyrrho, denying the existence of any beatitude, maintained that life and death were alike, and when asked why he did not seek the latter, since the former was so little attractive, replied, “ Because they are both indifferent to me." Crosus placed the chief good in riches ; Periander of Corinth in honour ; Socrates in knowledge; Plato in idea ; Orpheus in beauty ; Milo the Crotonian in bodily strength ; Thales the Milesian in the union of prudence and knowledge; Pittacus in benevolence; Aristotle in the practice and operation of virtue ; and Epicurus affirms that happiness is the chief good, and virtue the only happiness. Confirming this last theory by the sanctions of religion, we shall probably make the nearest approaches to perfect enjoyment which our nature will admit; and it may be laid down as an universal maxim, that no mind is so constituted as to be capable of unalloyed happiness while it can reproach itself with any crime towards man, however secret and undiscovered, since it must be always conscious of having offended a superior power from which nothing is hidden.
The To-day of England, nationally considered, cannot be reckoned happy. It is too bustling, laborious, and excessive. In France pleasure is almost the only business ; in England business is almost the only pleasure, and this is pushed to an extremity that surrounds it with hazard and anxiety. By devoting all its energies and faculties, physical and intellectual, to this one object, for a series of years, the nation has attained an eminence so fearfully beyond its natural claims and position, that nothing but a continuance of convulsive efforts, even in the midst of distress and exhaustion, can enable it to uphold the rank it has assumed. Hence every thing is artificial, and in all directions we contemplate tension, excitement, fever. Her navy exceeds that of the collected world so does her debt, a co-existence that cannot be very durable. Her establishments of all sorts are proportioned to what she owes rather than to what she has; her grandeur can only be equalled by her embarrassments. In one colony she has sixty millions of subjects, while a great proportion of her native population are paupers, and in her sister-island famine has lately stalked hand in hand with rebellion. Nor have her intellectual developements heen less extraordinary, for she possesses a constellation of living luminaries, who, pouring forth their streams of light with a profusion as unparalleled as their intensity, at this moment irradiate and supply all Europe. Splendid talents have excited public admiration, and procured unprecedented remuneration; while fame and riches have reacted upon and stimulated latent genius, until the existing literature of the country presents a universality of diffusion, an unbounded copiousness of production, and a magnificence of encouragement bitherto totally unknown in the history of the world. No social
system was ever pushed to such an energetic extremity, or afforded so curious and glorious a spectacle; but it has not sufficient repose for enjoyment : happiness loves to dwell amid more tranquil elements. Its tendency has been painfully illustrated by the recent fate of some of its leading members. Unable or unwilling to relax in their career, they have devoted mind and body to this restless principle of advancement, and have toiled and prospered, and become enslaved and enriched, and achieved misery and fame, until nature was exhausted in the strife, and their own hands relieved them from the burden of existence at the precise moment when they had attained every object of their ambition, and appeared to the world to stand upon the summit of human happiness. How long is this fearful tension upon all the nerves and sinews of the country to endure? What is to be the result of this overworking of the national machine? A certain Frenchman implored death to spare him till he saw the end of the French Revolution, so curious was he to witness its termination. An Englishman might well petition to be absolved from the omnivorous scythe, until he ascertained what would be the finale of the present ecstasy of his country.
Those individuals who seek happiness will withdraw themselves from this whirl and vortex of excitement. They will not aggravate the diseased enlargement of the public heart, and share the painful intensity of its pulsations, by residing in the capital. There is no holy calm, no sabbath of the soul, no cessation of strife in that vast arena of the passions, where life is a ceaseless struggle of money-getting and money-spending; a contest of avarice and luxury; a delirium of the senses or of the mind. If we desire peace and repose, let us look out upon the variegated earth, ever new and ever beautiful-upon the azure dome of Heaven hung around with painted clouds—upon the wide waters, dancing and glittering in the sun, or lying in the stillness of their crystal sleep. Let us listen to the music of the sky, when the boughs are singing to the wind, and the birds are serenading one another ; or surrender ourselves to that more pleasing sensation, when the serenity of Nature's silence imparts a congenial balm and tranquillity to the heart. Gazing upon the face of Nature, we shall encounter no human passions, no distrust, no jealousy, no intermission of friendship or attraction ; even her frowns are beautiful, and we need not fear that death shall tear her from us. We look upon an immortal countenance. A morning thus dedicated is an act of the purest piety; it is offering to the Deity a heart made happy by the contemplation of his works; and if I can prevail upon a single reader to detach himself for a time from crowds and enthralments, and betake himself to the sunny meadows or the green twilight of the woods, I shall felicitate myself on not having quite unprofitably employed the morning of_“To-day."
ANNUS MIRABILIS! or, A PARTHIAN GLANCE at 1822. JANUARY.-“ Cain, a Mystery,” published by Lord Byron: preface states his lordsbip's difficulty in making Lucifer talk like a clergyman.
A country vicar proceeded against in the Ecclesiastical Court, for * swearing that he had a horse that would gallop to hell: not equally
difficult, therefore, to make a clergyman talk like Lucifer. Miss Stephens nearly lost in the Trafalgar packet. If she be, as the newspapers say, the Syren of the stage, surely she might laugh at “ All the rude dangers of crossing the ocean." "Colonel Thornton proved himself alive, by asserting that he was in the daily practice of swallowing six muffins at breakfast and three pounds of roast or boiled at dinner : this would prove the death of any
other man. Tom and Jerry, or Life in London, still acting at the Adelphi Theatre, teaching the rising male generation “ that great moral lesson," how to patter slang, mill a lamp-lighter, or box a Charley. A great outcry from Mr. Loveday, who had placed his three daughters for education in a French convent, E' all the academies in England being full, and who expressed his sur
prise, on the Boulevard de Parnasse, that one of them should have turned Catholic. His subseqnent appeal to the Chamber of Deputies
mequalled by any production since Macpherson's Ossian. Mr. Sou: they published a reply to Lord Byron, wherein he assaulted that eccen
tric nobleman with a whip and a branding iron :" the cause alleged to be
the following paragraph in an opposition newspaper, under the head of = " Births :"_“At his bookseller's, Mr. Robert Southey, of a still-born
Vision of Judgment.” The offence lenient: poetical parturitions ought to be commemorated. Constitutional Society kept at bay by Mr. Carlile by means of an apparatus in the Temple of Reason like that of a cheque-taker in a playhouse: red whiskers also kept at bay by Rowland's Macassar oil. Country Gentlemen " combining and confederating" like so many defendants in a suit in Chancery. The Great King of Prussia sung by Signor Cartoni at the Opera House. Nothing outré during the present month on the part of Mr. Ex-sheriff Parkins; and not a single duel fought in the Phoenix Park by any gentleman with a name commencing with an O or a Mac!
February.--Cobbett patted on the back by some country gentlemen, pas much as to say, “ Bite the fund-holders." Olive, Princess of Cumberland, ejected from her lodgings on Ludgate-hill
. New tragedy at Drury-lane, called "Owen, Prince of Powys, or Welsh Feuds.” Army of English critics overran the principality, and extinguished his Highness and his feuds. “ The Pirate” bottled in theatrical spirits by Mr. Thomas Dibdin : too volatile: went to sea after a few nights' confinement. God save the King proved to be the private property of James the First. Insurgent meeting of White Boys at Doneraile, where the following resolution was passed :-“Resolved, that every thing coming from England be burnt, except their coals, which we have occasion for.” Speech from Mr. Thelwall at an agricultural meeting at Epsom; challenged to show where his landed estate lay; whereupon he quoted the two bow-pots outside his window in Blackfriars-road. Carlile's Temple of Janus closed. Orator Hunt's wife permitted to visit him at Ilchester, on bringing her marriage-certificate in her pocket. Vaccine Inoculation Report ; sınall-pox on the increase, owing to care
SO no more.
less vaccination, and the Reverend Rowland Hill admonished to grasp the pulpit-cushion and lay down the lancet. Mozart's modulation much shaken by Rossini's rattle. Mr. Daniel Whittle Harvey off the roll of attorneys and not on that of barristers. Between two bundles of hay: but for ass read fox. Injunction dissolved in Murray v. Benbow: Cain a mystery no longer. One John Tye executed at the Old Bailey, for uttering forged notes, and one Simon Shake applauded at Covent-garden for a similar offence. Grand chorus of “High Prices" sung by the country gentlemen at York. The Rev. H. 8. Milman produced the Martyr of Antioch, and the wife of a labouring man, at Enfield Chace, produced three male infants: the latter are doing well. Cobbett proved to have changed his opinion of Sir Francis Burdett. A still and a quantity of whisky carried off by a revenue party at Derry, with a mob of Irish peasantry clinging to them, like Aboulfaouris, the Persian, to the Load-stone Mountain. No child killed by a Paddington coach. March.-King of Spain lectured by the Cortes. He promises to do
A fire broke out on the premises of a bookseller in Paternoster-row, and over-broiled some beefsteaks at Dolly's Chophouse. Mr. Hume's “ total of the whole" much discussed : Cobbett sends him his new Grammar. Symptoms of downfall in the Navy 5 per cents. A collection of penny-wisdom at the Paul's Head, Cateaton-street, to reimburse Carlile for his pound-foolishness in Fleet-street. Death of Coutts the banker: his will opened in Stratton-street: only 900,000/. bequeathed to his poor widow: divers dandies observed to glance a look upward to the drawing-room window in their progress towards the Park. Two silver cups voted to Mr. Kean by the inhabitants of New York, and a lighter laden with coals despatched at the same time to Newcastle. A man unknown arraigned at the bar of the Old Bailey, and a woman unknown observed to tipple liquid at the bar of Hodges's prime proof repository in Fleet-market. Lafitte, the Paris banker, much amazed by an application from the executors of one Napoleon Bonaparte. Navy 5 per cents. slain by Mr. Vansittart, and a joint Post-master cut in two by Lord Normanby. Agricultural meeting at the Mermaid, Hackney: toleration of opinion recommended, and Sir J. Gibbons hooted down for acting under the recommendation. Mr. Wyatt charged with attempting to cram a marble monument of George the Third down the throat of the public: John Bull has a capacious swallow, and the artist was tempted to put it to the proof. Murder of Mrs. Donatty by persons unknown much talked of, and murder of Sir Archy Macsarcasm by Kean not talked of at all. Coup de grace to the Navy 5 per cents given by Mr. Henry Hase: many Jews who attended the funeral seer the next day upon the Royal Exchange with beards half an inch long The King's Civil List treated uncivilly by Lord King. Cinderella, a the Opera-house, exchanged her glass slipper for a bracelet, the forme being too slippery to dance in. Only twelve persons poisoned durin, the month from mistaking oxalic acid for Epsom salts.
April.—Easter week : all the city at Brighton, to the great annoy ance of people of fashion who went there to avoid them: poney-chaise and the Reverend Doctor Pearson. English in Paris estimated 20,184: marshalled by the Prefect in four divisions, viz. the idle, sick, the needy, and the disaffected. Appeal to the Court of Cassation Prefect's decree affirmed. Nineteen labourers out of work at