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Turiuis of the Lousiad. The poet has not pushed his radicalism so far as to surprise his hero beneath the shelter of the royal wig; but (horresco referens) he compromises all the heads of the palace, and subjects the whole army of cooks and scullions to the operations of having their heads shaved. The fact is an unlucky piece of history: a louse had been discovered by George III. on his plate. Peter Pindar imparts to the insect all the emotions which the monarch in his turn experiences; he lavishes comparisons and metaphors. The horror felt by the king is equal to that with which he had been previously inspired, by the blow which Fox had attempted to strike at the royal authority, by the critical analysis made by Burke of the expences of the civil list. The heart of his majesty, bounding with indignation in his bosom, is compared to a dumpling tossing amidst the boiling surges of the saucepan. These allusions and comparisons are not, throughout, of very exquisite humour; but they raise a laugh, like a bad farce, from the very circumstance of their deficiency in common sense. The digressions are occasionally original: the action never languishes, and some details evince the poet. At length, by sovereign decree, the head cook and his satellites suffer their docile heads to be peacefully shaved. In fine, the Lousiad may be ranked much beneath the BcUrachomyomachia, the Secchia Rapita, the Lutrin, and all the other epopees founded on puerile and vulgar subjects; but the Lousiad, like George the Third's Visit to Whitbread's Brewery,
another poem of the same species, and more comic, to my view, is a curious exemplification of the liberty of the press in England. What has become of the times in which Elizabeth caused an unlucky radical, who had vented his spleen against her in a pamphlet, to have his hand cut ofF for the offence? It is true that the constitutional society, and the hypocritical inquisition for the suppression of vice, did not exist at the period when Peter Pindar was in vogue.
It is affirmed that the radical Homer, and the Juvenal of the Baviad, once had an altercation, which seriously compromised the shoulders of both, for they were near having recourse to the cane; but the quarrel went no farther than the prefatory menace.
Without directly refuting the democratic buffooneries of Peter Pindar, the tories, as early as the first year of the French revolution, possessed their aristocratic parodists. The journal called the Anti-Jacobin inserted them. Canning was one of the poets of this counter-opposition. His dialogue between the Friend of Humanity and the k Knife Grinder, and which has supplied Sir W. Scott with the epigraph of Nigel, is a humourous anti-demagogical squib. His New Code of Morality, a satire on the philanthropy and other selfdubbed virtues of the revolution, is deficient neither in animation nor in poetry. It is true that Canning therein breathes that hatred against France, which his object was to convert into a virtue, in default of other political virtues. He distinguishes,
therein, several memorabilia of 1797> the epoch when this little publication appeared. Canning has also rhymed in favbur of the Greeks. Should he become minister, we shall see what he will do for the Greeks and for Ireland.
Messrs. Frere* and Smith, fellow contributors with Canning, have since written an exclusively literary parody, called, The Rejected Addresses, to which I shall have occasion to refer. Thomas Moore has also his satirical burlesques, and Scotland has produced a pretty comic poem, by Tennant, (Anster Fair) which has more than one point of resemblance with the Secchia Rapita, &c.
TO MR. TAGES, D. M.
There is a current anecdote, of which more than one edition has been already got up, in order to natter the vanity of the English people. When a given continental sovereign, the Emperor Alexander, for instance, makes his entry into London, amidst crowds, which here, as elsewhere, obstruct the passage of the great man of the earth, it is
• * To whom is attributed also the Monks and the Giants, essay of a poem Chivalresque and Burlesque.
always taken for granted that the said foreign prince has asked, "Where is the lower class? Where are the poor?" to which the given response is—" Sire, there are none." John Bull, who always peruses in the papers the description of the festivities, in which he has sustained a part, and collects from them such on dits as he has not himself heard, begins to crow at this answer, and imagines that he constitutes the only people in Europe which is not apparelled in rags. Unfortunately, it is proved to demonstration, that more than 300,000 families in England receive charity yearly, and that the poor tax amounts to more than seven millions sterling. God only knows how many groans of poverty arise to his ear, from this isle, which is so boastful of its wealth! Accordingly, in their moments of candour, its public writers are driven to confess,* that the real and permanent prosperity of a nation is not to be estimated by the extent of its domains, the number of its population, and the amount of its revenues.
This external prosperity, like the antediluvian earth of Burnet's beautifully philosophical dream, may be, indeed, a brilliant and fertile superficies, but nothing but a superficies, covering the waters of the deep, and never appearing more flourishing than the evening before the inevitable deluge occurs to swallow it up for ever.
« See article on the poor, in the 15th volume of the Q/*arterlif Review.
The wound which gradually undermines the vital strength of England, is, doubtless, incurable; but the palliatives of a sound policy may indefinitely prolong its existence, in despite of the prophetic calculations of the economists. The compulsory impost which luxury pays to indigence, sufficiently demonstrates the power of the proletaires; but while this impost is insufficient, it retains the menacing majority of the people in a habit of dependence, and divests it of all energy by humiliation; for idleness also claims its share in the distribution of the tax. This justice must be done the government and the English philanthropists: they have perceived the constantly increasing degradation of the mass of the people, and have set on foot a vast plan of public education, to arrest its progress among the rising generation. I will one day say a few words to you about the different systems which have been adopted; it is my intention now merely to state that the English people has also its rags and its vices. You would be, perhaps, horrified, were I to quote Mr. Colquhoun's book on the metropolitan police; I shall limit myself at present to the exhibition of the picture in the mirror of poetry. It is the poets of the inferior classes to whom I am about to direct your attention.
The Rev. George Crabbe is a respectable minister of the gospel, whose tranquil life supplies no matter for biographical anecdote. His talent has not impelled him to enter the tumultuous stage of the world: he has been faithful to his