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RHAPSODIES OVER A PUNCH-BOWL.
By Paddy from Cork, with his Coat Buttoned Behind.
[Scene. The SHINING Daisy.-Time 6 o'clock, A.M.-Audience Asleep.]
DIOGENES (see Lempriere) took a true Socratic principle, and get him to lantern in his hand, and sought all go along with me in all my examinaover Athens for an honest man. If he tion of the affairs of his rivals; and had found one, I know his first ques- then, still adhering to the same prin. tion would have been, “ 'lyade, is not ciple, I would turn upon him in such this a world full of humbug?" and the a way that he should find himself honest man's answer must have been, most woefully entangled,-and, if I “Yes, truly, Diogenes; and you, with mistake not, look, with all his long your tub and your lantern, are the teeth, very like “ a hairy fool that finest piece of humbug in the whole of hath ta'en a hurt from the hunters." it.” Now, in regard to the professional I will not trouble you with the cuncritics of the present day, it appears to ning method by which I should inme that any given member of their veigle him: but I will tell you what sect resembles very much Diogenes the end of it should be: and do you, strolling up and down the town with my good friend, write this down for his dark lantern in his hand, exclaim- gospel meo periculo. What things I ing against humbug, and trying to pass should make him confess ! himself off upon the women and chil- I would make him own, in the first uren crossing the streets as a person place, that the Quarterly Review is in pursuit of honesty. I am the honest conducted upon no plan whatever ; man they all pretend to have been that it is written by a great number of seeking after: and none of them in men,-no two of their number holdreality ever did seek for me: but here ing any thing like the same set of opiI am—and I tell each and all of them nions about almost any one of those that they themselves are the very hum- great questions in literature, without bug they pretend to detest, and let me unity and the air and influence of see which of them it is that will have unity, as to the which no literary the assurance to bandy any more words journal ever did or ever can produce with me. I assure you I will “cleave an effect honest, direct, comprehenhis beaver with a downright blow,” sive ;-by far the greater part of them and not imagine myself to have me- not only totally ignorant of these matrited a second long cork neither. Me- ters,—but, speaking in a large and thinks I can vividly and briefly pour- philosophic sense, totally ignorant of tray to myself how I should deal with literature, and perfectly incapable of them! how finely I would illustrate forming any opinion worth one straw Coriolanus' saying, “ It is better to upon any one thing that deserves to follow thine enemy in a fiery gulf, be considered as a literary subject. ! than to flatter him in a bower.' would not condescend, however, to give
And, first of the first, let us imagine myself much trouble, or him much for a moment (for, as Pantagruel pain, by bringing out his confessions says, “now is the very time for sweet in regard to his canaille. It would imaginations”) let us suppose that the serve my turn quite well enough to most atrabilious Lord Protector of the make him speak the truth about the Quarterly came forth at my asking. I very first of the band-himself incluwould question him, although you -ded and I think I should find means may perhaps think, that, as was said to make him do so. of Shylock of old, one might as well What is the opinion of the Quarteruse question with the wolf.” I would ly Review upon any given subject? wenture, however, for all his growling; It is possible that it may be the op!for I know very well “ he would not nion of nobody: at the very best, it is be a wolf, but that he sees the Romans the opinion of Mr Southcy, or of Mr be but sheep.” I would begin on the another person, (who must be pleased,) Gifford himself. Now, I have much sibly set about reviewing it. But then respect for the talents of each of these he would speak such utter nonsense two gentlemen, but from which of about it, that Mr Gifford would not them is it, that either I or any sensible hear of its being inserted. They would man would care much to hear an opi- laugh over it for a day or two,--parnion upon two-thirds of the matters ticularly if it were written in hexathat do, or should fall to be discussed in meters, or contained any bulletin of a journal of the general literature of the state of Mr Southey's family,– England ? Suppose, for a moment, and then the article would either be such a book as Pope's Dunciad were to put in the fire, or inclosed under a be published to-morrow, Mr Southey, blank cover to “ the British,” in the even though he did not find himself view of helping my poor grandmother's mentioned in it, would infallibly toss pot to boil for a day or two longer, or, up his nose and pronounce it the work perhaps, of extinguishing the old boof a man of no imagination-no ori- dy's life altogether in the smoke. ginality-no poetry. Mr Gifford would This is, however, a very unfair way not in his heart like it, because he of putting the thing: for few things would feel, after reading twofull pages, are less likely than the appearance of that all was over with his Bæviad and
a Dunciad in an age when there is so Mæviad. How would this work be re- little besides duncery. There is no viewed in the Quarterly?
need of imagining or supposing any It would not be reviewed by any thing. Just look at what is, and you hearty fellow, because he would know will be satisfied. Look, for example, that he could not express his true opi- at Mr Milman, writing three or four nion of it without offending Southey articles every year in the Quarterly, and Gifford in the first place, and and, for his pains, having one article without saying things that could not in the year written in praise of himfail to appear quite absurd, and out of self by some friend of his own. Look place in the Quarterly Review, in the at Mr Mitchell writing two dissertasecond. How could a sharp witty sa- tions on Aristophanes in the Quartirist be praised with any honesty or terly Review: and then turn to the effect in a journal, the prime supporter next number of the Quarterly, and of which is the author of " the Vision see Mr Mitchell praised through thirty of Judgment,”—in a journalwhere you pages, (no matter how justly
and de find Milman extolled as a first-rate servedly), for a translation of Aristopoet the one number, and Shelley run phanes, to which these very
dissertadown as no poet at all the next-in a tions of his have been prefixed. See journal where you find Waverley and Reginald Heber writing regularly in Guy Mannering treated as works of the Review, and his poetry, -Regie: very slender merit (the second of them nald Heber's pretty college-prize-poeindeed as little better than a piece of try,-quoted-absolutely quoted, -in. silliness)--and Ivanhoe lauded to the the Quarterly Review.-Look at Re-, third heavens,—in a journal where ginald Heber puffing Robert Southey, William Hazlitt is talked of as and Robert Southey puffing Regiprattling ninny, and Signor Ugo Fudge nald Heber. Look at authors dedicaiolo as one of the greatest geniuses in ting their books to Mr Gifford, and Europe?
Mr Gifford reviewing their books eiIt would not be reviewed by Mr ther by himself or by his true legitiGifford, because Mr Gifford, though mate vassals—his nameless knot-headnot at all delighted with the book, ed templars and curates ! It all goes could not for his life be blind to its the same way in the Edinburgh ; merits; and although he might also yes, and in the inferior journals, inhave many private reasons for not ferior animals trudge defiled still more wishing to speak the truth, I do the damnably, the same vile path on which splenetic Mr Gifford the justice to say, they canter. Behold Sir James Macthat I do not believe he is capable of intosh filling a hundred pages of the sitting down gravely to write in his Edinburgh Review, with his insipid, own person what he feels to be un- fifty-times-distilled nonsense about retrue.
form ; and then remember, if you can, Mr Southey would receive the book the multitude of notes and parentheat Keswick by his next mail-coach ses, in which the Edinburgh Review parcel, and I think he might very pos- insinuates that Sir James is destined
to be the true Livy, Sallust, and Ta- whole literary treasures of the world, citus, (all in one,) of Great Britain. and pronounces of them accordingly, Look at Mr Brougham, who has lived, that it expresses, concerning every in a great measure, for twenty years thing, the judgment of the same spirit of his life, by writing in the Édin- or spirits, judging of every thing on burgh Review, and see with what face the same principles, and by the same he can bear to hear the Edinburgh standards. No English journal has Review puffing him as the “ immor- ever exhibited any thing like what I tal statesman and legislator" of the would wish to describe; but they have age. See the radlical Examiner prai- all exhibited its contraries, -(even sing the borough-mongering Edin- Blackwood has done so,) and so you burgh Review, and the Pope-wore may form some notion of what I would shipping Edinburgh Review praising say. Without unity of principle and the little painted crockery-pots of Mr purpose, nothing honest can be acLeigh Hunt. See Hazlitt writing in complished ; and pray, what unity, the Edinburgh Review, and Hazlitt either of literary principle, or of lipraised in the Edinburgh Review. See terary purpose, can any one suppose Wordsworth quizzed in the Edin- to exist in a work, in which it is the burgh Review, and Keates and Corn- toss-up of a halfpenny, whether a new wall patted on the back in it.- Poor poem shall be reviewed by MrSouthey, Keates! I cannot pass his name with, or Mr Milman, or Mr Gifford, or Mr out saying that I really think he had Croker,-or by Mr Jeffrey, or Mr some genius about him. I do think Brougham, or Sir James Macintosh, he had something that might have ri- or Mr Hazlitt. It is utter nonsense pened into fruit, had he not made to talk about Editors, and to say that such a mumbling work of the buds— they, as things go, can model what something that might have been wine, passes through their hands, so as to and tasted like wine, if he had not make every thing express, upon the kept dabbling with his fingers in the whole, or in the main, their own opivat, and pouring it out and calling so nion. If it were so in regard to such lustily for quaffers, before the grounds Editors as I have been speaking of, had time to be settled, or the spirit to it would be no great matter ; but it is be concentrated, or the flavour to be not so, and it never can be so, unless formed. Still poorer Barry! The Edin- “ all old things pass away," and the burgh Review compares you to Lord Edinburgh and Quarterly become as Byron. Upon my honour you ought much forgotten as two “ withered not to swallow such utter humbug. scrolls.” Who supposes that the edi. You are very far from being, or even tor of a Review can afford to give sefor promising to be even a Keates; rious disgust to a regular, clever, and for there is more merit in thrumming effectual writer in his book ? ---that on the craziest spinnet in the world, Mr Gifford would afford to damn an however miserably, than in making author, patronized really and du ben the prettiest barrel-organ in the world cour by Mr Southey or to refuse “ discourse excellent music.”] praising such an author, if Mr Southey
Now, these things are all very bad, chose to make a point of it? There but they are merely the bad things of may, for ought I know, be not one, detail. The system out of which they nor three, but three dozen literary proceed is the real evil, and, unless the men, in regard not only to one and system be guarded against, there is no all of whom, but to one and all of more use in pointing out the subordic whose friends, Mr Gifford feels himnate absurdities, than there is in crop- self as effectually fettered as if he were ping off the head of a toadstool, and tied with all the cords that Sampson leaving the vile root in the ground. broke, and that nobody but Sampson The whole system of your modern could have dreamed of breaking. It journal is a piece of utter dishonesty must be just the same with Mr Jeffrey; from the foundation. The only sup- indeed he himself, in one of his late position upon which any man of sense Reviews, had the candour to say, alwould put any faith in such a work, is most in so many words, that it is so. the supposition that it speaks to the To please one person, an editor must particulars of literature from the ge- puff this man; and, if he have to do nerals of literature that it considers with men of a certain sort of temper, individual works in relation to the there is perhaps no way of pleasing but by DAMNIŃG that man, and ainsi as clear as possible. There is ham na le monde. : Not Creevy himself bug on every hand, and I know not could compute the extent to which the where there is most of it. There is ramifications of this vile systein may much humbag in the article in the extend or caleulate from how many Quarterly Review, although Lord Bye! scores of dirty puddles the same trim- ron calls it “ able;" for there is more ly-foliaged poison-tree may be sucking sense in three lines of Lord Byron's its continual nutriment.
own pamphlet, than in the whole of My Lord Byron, in that prime its smartness. There is much hum-) specimen of humbug, his Letter to bug again in any pretence, (eithers Bowles, gives that gentleman a casti- from the Quarterly or Lord Byron) gation for his complaint to Mr Gifford, that Pope stands in need of being dear on the subject of an article in the fended for nobody abuses Pope exQuarterly Review on Spence's Anec- cept Wordsworth and Southey, whom dotes. Mr Bowles wrote a letter to every body pities for conceit and preMr Gifford, lamenting over some cuts judice, and Barry Cornwall, and the at a publication of his own in that ar- like, whom every one despises for ute ticle, and wondering how such cuts ter incapacity. There is some humcould have been permitted against a bug in Mr Bowles's pathetic address publication which he says Mr Southey, to Mr Gifford; and there is also very * the most able and eloquent writer exquisite humbug in Lord Byron's in the Quarterly Review, approved." method of commenting on that perLord Byron tells Mr Bowles, that it formance. was a very foolish thing of him to I say there is exquisite humbug ; imagine that the Quarterly Review and Lord Byron knows it is; and I either does, or pretends to express the confess this is one piece of his Lord. opinions of one man, and lauds, in a ship’s humbug, to discover the motive certain sort, the impartiality of the of which I am excessively puzzled. editor of the Quarterly, who allowed Perhaps it was only to try what peoMr Bowles to be cut up, even though ple would swallow-but people have Mr Southey approved of Mr Bowles. not swallowed, and never will swallow, Mr Bowles' is, indeed, somewhat too an assertion from Lord Byron, that he sensitive, and he never shewed that (Lord Byron) thinks, if the English more clearly, than by making any nation were to perish, Milton and complaint to any body at all about Shakespeare “ would perish along such a matter as a cut in a Review. with it, and Pope survive." If the But if he had been to make any com- English nation were to perish to-morplaint upon this paltry occasion, he row, I have no doubt each of those should evidently have addressed it, three poets would survive, because the not to Mr Gifford, but to Mr Southey ; French and Italians would take care of for nothing could ever make Southey Pope, and the Germans and other biband Gifford think in the same way of bers of Rhenish would take exceeding Pope ; but every body knows, that good care of the rest. But if Lord if Mr Southey had chosen to put him- Byron had really looked back on the self to any trouble, there would have history of other literatures, I don't say been no such thing as any cuts at Mr he would not have formed, but he Bowles in the Quarterly Review. would not have ventured to feign such There is Mr Wordsworth now, who an opinion as this about the probable has blasphemed all his life against fate of English literature in a very Pope ; why was no notice taken of the improbable situation. If he had aska blasphemy of such a sturdy heretic as ed himself, for example, who they are this, while such grievous notice was that have survived the national ruin of taken of Mr Bowles? Does not every the Greeks and Romans, what would body know that Wordsworth was he have found? Would he not have spared, because the Quarterly Review- found, that the authors, which are the ers know any attack upon the first greatest favourites with the world now, of Lakers would infallibly offend the are precisely those who stood to the second of the Lakers ? and that Mr people for whom they, wrote most Bowles was sacrificed, because they nearly in the same relations in which knew that Laker the second would Milton and Shakespeare do now stand not are one single hexameter for the to the English people? Is Shakespeare fate of Mr Bowles ? Patet ; this is all more decidedly an English author than Vol. XI.
Homer or Aristophanes was a Greek pictures of manners and charaeters obauthor? Is his spirit more decidedly served by his own keen eye, and pecuEnglish than theirs Greek? Is his liarly English-bis letters- his satires language more intensely English than-his Rape of the Lock-any thing natheirs was Greek? Is Milton, either ther than his Essay on Man, or his in thought or in style, more peculiar. Elegy on the Unfortunate Lady--the ly an English author than Plato is a very two of his works that one could Greek author ? Never was any species the most easily imagine to have been of hum more entirely exploded, than written_not by an Englishman; and that old Frenchified species of abu-, if the French and Italians be not of sing authors for addressing themselves, the same way of thinking about Pope, with all their pith and power, to the that is only one instance more that peculiar nations of whose " mother there is very little of just or tasteful tongues” they make use. All authors criticism in France and Italy. Take must do so, if they are to produce a any other author of the present day, great effect while they are new, and, and apply the principle to him. Is in spite of what Byron says, if they there any man now living, or will are to sustain their character with pose there be any man living a hundred . terity. If I were a civilized African years hence, who would rather read or American, living in the year of Campbell's verses against scepticism God four thousand and twenty-two, I than bis British Soldier's Dream?" would feel more curiosity to read an Is there any body who wishes Sir English author expressing fervidly the Walter Scott to publish three volumes spirit, character, inanners, and babits of Sermous every three months ? Does of the English people, as they existed any one prefer
Lord Byron's un-Engin the year 1822, than I would to read lish verses on Talavera, to his English any piece of didactic poetry, or didac. verses upon Waterloo ? Who likes tic prose, that ever has been, or ever Wordsworth, when he writes of will be produced, either in England or' “ man," and " fate," and " loyalty," in any other country under heaven. and “ religion ?"-And who does not Take even a didactic author, and ask like him when he describes a common of yourself what is the part of his. Cumberland beggar, travelling his works you feel most interest in read- rounds in a sequestered valley, carry ing. What do you read the oftenesting the news of one hamlet to another, in Cicero ?--not surely his disserta- and so forming a sort of bond between tions about the utile and the pulchrum, the good English country people, who but his speeches which lay before us give him their alms ? No-There is the picture of a high-bred Roman's nothing for it but sticking to life and mind, as affected by matters of Roman nature, and the people we live among. interest and his letters, which shew By not doing so, Mr Southey has writhow' a great man, of a nation extinct ten many heavy scores of dead and for so many centuries, conducted him- dying books; and, by doing so, be self in his private circle-how he ad, has written one that is life and health dressed himself to his friend--bis son all over, and bids fair for immortality -his daughter. What is it you read -his Life of Nelson. with most interest in Pope himself? Not certainly his exquisite versifications of Lord Bolingbroke's didactie prose, but his inuch more exquisite