Imagini ale paginilor
PDF
ePub

THE BLUES:

A LITERARY ECLOGUE.

“ Nimium ne crede colori."-VIRGIL.
O trust not, ye beautiful creatures, to hue,
Though your hair were as red as your stockings are blue.

Ink.

Hold, my good friend, do you know ECLOGUE FIRST.?

Whom you speak to ?
London-Before the Door of a Lecture Room. Tra. Right well, boy, and so does “the Row :''

You're an author-a poet-
Enter Tracy, meeting Inkel.

Ink.

And think you that I Ink. You're too late.

Can stand tamely in silence to hear you decry
Tra.
Is it over ?

The Muses?
Ink.

Nor will be this hour. Tra. Excuse me: I meant no offence But the benches are cramm'd, like a garden in flower, To the Nine ; though the number who make some With the pride of our belles, who have made it the

pretence fashion ;

(passion” To their favors is such—but the subject to drop, So, instead of “ beaux arts,” we may say "la belle I am just piping hot from a publisher's shop, For learning, which lately has taken the lead in (Next door to the pastry-cook's ; so that when I The world, and set all the fine gentleinen reading. Cannot find the new volume I wanted to buy Tra. I know it too well, and have worn out my On the bibliopole's shelves, it is only two paces, patience

As one finds every author in one of those places ;) With studying to study your new publications. Where I just had been skimming a charming critique, There's Vamp, Scamp, and Mouthy, and Wordswords So studded with wit, and so sprinkled with Greek! and Co.:

Where your friend-you know who—has just got With their damnable

such a threshing,

Ta'en in such cruel sort, as grieres me still:
Lore, that denial takes from none beloved,
Caught me with pleasing him so passing well,
Thai, as thou seest, he yet deserts me not.
Love brought us to one death: Caina waits
The soul, who spilt our life.' Such were their words ;
Ai hearing which downward I bent my looks,
And held them there so long, that the Bard cried :
• What ari ihou pondering ?" I in answer thus :

Alas! by whal sweet ihoughts, what fond desire,
Must they at length to that all pass have reach'u:

"Then turning, I to them my speech addressid,
And thus egan : Francesca! your sad fate
Even to tears my grief and pity moves.
But tell me; in the ume of your sweet sighs,
By what, and how Love granted, that ye knew
Your yet uncertain wishes?' She replied:
No greater grief than to remember days
Of jov, when inisery is at hand. That kens
Thy learn'd instructor. Yet so eagerly
If thou art bent to know the primal root
From whence our love gat being, I will do
As one, who weeps and tells his tale. One day,
For our delight, we read of Lancelot,
How hin love thrallid, Alone we were, and no
Suspicion near us. Ofttimes by that reading
Our eyes were drawn together, and the hue
Fled from our alter'd cheek. But at one point
Alone we fell. When of that smile we read,
The wished smile, so rapturously kiss'd
By one so deep in love, then he, who ne'er
From me shall separate, at once iny lips
All trembling kissid. The book and writer both
Were love's purveyors.

In its leaves that day
We read no inore.'

While thus one spirit spake,
The other wald so sorely, that heart-struck,
I, through compassion fainting, seem'd not far

Proin death, and like a corse sell to the ground."
The story of Francesca and Paolo is a great favorite with
the Italians. It is noticed by all the historians of Ravenna.
Petrarch introduces it, in his Trionti d' Amore, among his
Elárnples of calamitous passion ; and Tassoni, in his Sec.
chia Kapita, represents Paolo Malatesta as leading the
troops of Rimini, and describes him, when mounted on his
charger, as contemplating a golden sword-chain, presented
lo him by Francesca :-

* Rimini vien con la bandiera sesta, Guida mille cavalli, e mille fanti

Halli donata al dispartir Francesca
L' aurea catena, il cu la spada appende.
La vi inirando al misero, e rinfresca
Quel foco ognor, che l'anima gli accende,

Quanto cerca fuggir, tanio s' invesca."
" To him Francesca gave the golden chain

Ai parting-time, from which his siord was hung; The wretched lover gazed at it with pain,

Adding new pangs to those his heart had wrung ; The more he sought to fly the luscious bane,

The firmer he was bound, the deeper stung.") [This trifle, which Lord Byron has himself designated as a "mere buttoonery, never ineant for publication," was written in 1820, and first appeared in “ The Liberal.” The personal allusions in which it abounds are, for the most part, sufficiently intelligible ; and, with a few exceptions, so good. humored, that the parties concerned may be expected to join in the laugh.)

? [" About the year 1781, it was much the fashion for several ladies to have evening assemblies, where the fair sex might participate in conversation with literary and ingenious men, animated by a desire to please. These societies were denominated Blue-stocking Clubs ; the origin of wuch title being little known, it may be worth while to relate it. One of the most eminent members of those societies, when they first commenced, was Mr. Stillingtleet, whose dress was remarkably grave, and in particular it was observed that he wore blue stockings. Such was the excellence of his conversation, that his absence was felt as so great a loss, that it used to be said, We can do nothing without the blue stockings;' and thus by degrees the title was established."Boswell, vol. viii. p. 86. Sir William Forbes, in his Life of Dr. Beattie, says that " a foreigner of distinction hearing the expression, translated it literally, · Bas Bleu,' by which these meetings came to be distinguished. Miss Hannah More, who was herself a member, has written a poem with the title of Bas Bleu,' in allusion to this mistake of the foreigner, in which she has characterized most of the eininent personages of which it was composed."]

3 (See the stanzas on Messrs. Wordsworth and Southey in Don Juan, canto ill.]

* (Paternoster-row-long and still celebrated as a very bazaar of booksellers. Sir Walter Scott "hitches into rhyme" one of the most important firms--that

“Of Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown,

Our fathers of the Row.")

[ocr errors]

That it is, as the phrase goes, extremely “refreshing." Ink,

Say rather an angle. What a beautiful word!

If you and she marry, you'll certainly wrangle. Ink.

Very true ; 'tis so soft I say she's a Blue, man, as blue as the ether. And so cooling—they use it a little too oft ;

Tra. And is that any cause for not coming toAnd the papers have got it at last but no matter.

gether? So they've cut up our friend then ?

Ink. Humph! I can't say I know any happy alliance Tra.

Not left him a tatter Which has lately sprung up from a wedlock with Not a rag of his present or past reputation,

science. Which they call a disgrace to the age and the nation. She's so learu'd in all things, and fond of concerning ! Ink. I'm sorry to hear this! for friendship, you Herself in all matters connected with learning, know

That--
Our poor friend !---but I thought it would terminate Tra. What ?

Ink. I perhaps may as well hold my tongue; 1 Our friendship is such, I'll read nothing to shock it. But there's five hundred people can tell you you're You don't happen to have the Review in your pocket?

wrong. Tra. No; I left a round dozen of authors and others Tra. You forget Lady Lilac's as rich as a Jew. (Very sorry, no doubt, since the cause is a brother's) Ink. Is it miss or the cash of mamma you purue? All scrambliug and jostling, like so many imps,

Tra. Why, Jack, I'll be frank with you—something! And on fire with impatience to get the next glimpse.

of both. Ink. Let us join them. The girl's a fine girl.

1 Tra. What, won't you return to the lecture ? Ink.

And you feel nothing loth

1 Ink. Why, the place is so cramm’d, there's not To her good lady-mother's reversion ; and yet room for a spectre.

Her life is as good as your own, I will bet. Besides, our friend Scamp is to-day so absurd

Tra. Let her live, and as long as she likes; I Tra. How can you know that till you hear him?

demand

{hand. Ink.

I heard Nothing more than the heart of her daughter and Quite enough ; and, to tell you the truth, my retreat Ink. Why, that heart's in the inkstand-that hand Was from his vile nonsense, no less than the heat.

on the pen. Tra. I have had no great loss then?

Tra. A propos—Will you write mo a song now Ink. Loss !—such a palaver!

and then ? I'd inoculate sooner my wife with the slaver

Ink. To what purpose ? Of a dog when gone rabid, than listen two hours

Tra. You know, my dear friend, that in prose To the torrent of trash which around him he pours, My talent is decent, as far as it goes ; Pump'd up with such effort, disgorged with such labor, But in rhymo'That -come-do not make me speak ill of one's Ink.

You're a terrible stick, to be sure. neighbor.

Tra. I own it ; and yet, in these times, there's no Tra. I make you!

Jure Ink.

Yes, you! I said nothing until For the heart of the fair like a stanza or two; You compell’d me, by speaking the truth

And so, as I can't, will you furnish a few ? Tra.

To speak ill? Ink. In your name? Is that your deduction ?

Tra.

lu my name. I will copy them out, Ink.

When speaking of Scamp ill, To slip into her hand at the very next rout. I cortainly follow, not set an example.

Ink. Are you so far advanced as to hazard this? The fellow's a fool, an impostor, a zany.

Tra.

Wby, Tra. And the crowd of to-day shows that one fool Do you think me subdued by a Blue-stocking's eye;

So far as to tremble to tell her in rhyme But we two will be wise.

What I've told her in prose, at the least, as sublime ? Ink.

Pray, then, let us retire. Ink. As sublime! If it be so, no need of my Muse. Tra. I would, but

Tra. But consider, dear Inkel, she's one of the Ink. There must be attraction much higher

• Blues." Than Scamp, or the Jews' harp he nicknames his lyre, Ink. As sublime :-Mr. Tracy-I've nothing to say. To call you to this hotbed.

Stick to prose-As sublimo!!-but I wish you good Tra. I own it-'tis trueday.

(WTOUS; A fair lady

Tra. Nay, stay, my dear fellow--consider-I'm
Ink.
A spinster ?

I own it ; but, prithee, compose me the song.
Tra.
Miss Lilac!

Ink. As sublime !!
Ink.

The Blue ! Tra.

I but used the expression in haste. The heiress?

Ink. That may be, Mr. Tracy, but shows damn'd Tra. The angel !

bad taste. Ink.

The devil! why, man! Tra. I own it-I know it—acknowledge it—what Pray get out of this hobble as fast as you can. Can I say to you more? You wed with Miss Lilac ! 'twould be your perdition : Ink.

I see what you'd be at: She's a poet, a chymist, a mathematician.

You disparage my parts with insidious abuse, Tra. I say she's an angel.

Till you think you can turn them best to your own

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

inukes many

[ocr errors]

"[This cant phrase was first used in the Edinburgh Review-probably by Mr. Jeffrey.) ? [** Her favorite science was the mathematical

In short she was a walking calculation,

Miss Edgeworth's novels stepping from ineir covers,
Morality's priin personfication
But-oh! ye lords of ladies intellectual,
Inform us truly, have they not hen-peck'd you all ?",

Don Juan, Canio 1.)

Tra. And is that not a sign I respect them?

Ink.

That 's clear. Why that

But for God's sake let's go, or the Bore will be here. To be sure makes a difference.

Come, come: nay, I'm off.

(Exit INKEL. Tra. I know what is what: Tra.

You are right, and I'll follow; And you, who're a man of the gay world, no less 'Tis high time for a Sic me servarit Apollo.* Than a poet of t' other, may easily guess

And yet we shall have the whole crew on our kibes, That I never could mean, by a word, to offend Blues, dandies, and dowagers, and second-hand scribes, A genius like you, and moreover my friend.

All flocking to moisten their exquisite throttles Ink. No doubt ; you by this time should know With a glass of Madeira at Lady Bluebottle's. what is due

(Exit Tracy. To a man of- but come-let us shake hands. Tra.

You knew, And you know, my dear fellow, how heartily I,

ECLOGUE SECOND. Whatever you publish, am ready to buy. (sale,

Ink. That's my bookseller's business; I care not for An Apartment in the House of LADY BLUEBOTTLE
Indeed the best poems at first rather fail.

-A Table prepared.
There were Renegade's epics, and Botherby's plays,'
And my own grand romance-

Sir RICHARD BLUEBOTTLE solus.
Tra.

Had its full share of praise. Was there ever a man who was married so sorry? I myself saw it puff'd in the “Old Girl's Review."?

Like a fool, I must needs do the thing in a hurry. Ink. What Review ?

[Trevoux;"

My life is reversed, and my quiet destroy'd ; Tra.

'Tis the English “Journal de My days, which once pass'd in so gentle a void, A clerical work of our Jesuits at home.

Must now, every hour of the twelve, be employ'd : Have you never yet seen it?

The twelve, do I say?-of the whole twenty-four, lak.

That pleasure 's to come. Is there one which I dare call my own any more? Tra. Make haste then.

What with driving and visiting, dancing and dining, lak. Why so?

What with learning, and teaching, and scribbling, Tra. I have heard people say

and shining That it threatend to give up the ghost t’ other day.

In science and art, I'll be cursed if I know Ink. Well, that is a sign of some spirit.

Myself from my wife ; for although we are two, Tra.

No doubt. Yet she somehow contrives that all things shall be done Shall you be at the Countess of Fiddlecomo's rout?

In a style which proclaims ns eternally one. 1 lok. I've a card, and shall go: but at present, as

But the thing of all things which distresses me more

Than the bills of the week, (though they trouble me is friend Scamp shall be pleased to step down from

sore,) the moon, Where he seems to be soaring in search of his wits,) Of scribblers, wits, lecturers, white, black, and blue,

Is the numerous, humorous, backbiting crew And an interval grants from his lecturing fits,

Who are brought to my house as an inn, to my costI'm engaged to the Lady Bluebottle's collation,

For the bill here, it seems, is defray'd by the hostTo partake of a luncheon and learu'd conversation :

No pleasure ! no leisure ! no thought for my pains, 'Tis a sort of reunion for Scamp, on the days of his lecture, to treat him with cold tongue and A smatter and chatter, glean'd out of reviews,

But to hear a vile jargon which addles my brains: praise. And I own, for my own part, that 'tis not unpleasant. A rabble who know not —

By the rag, tag, and bobtail, of those they call“ Blues;"

-But soft, here they come! Will you go? There's Miss Lilac will also be present. Would to God I were deaf! as I'm not, I'll be dumb.

Tra. That “ metal 's attractive."
Ink.
No doubt-to the pocket.

Enter Lady BLUEBOTTLE, Miss Lilac, Lady BLUETro. You should rather encourage my passion than

MOUNT, MR. BOTHERBY, INKEL, Tracy, Miss shock it.

MAZARINE, and others, with SCAMP the Lecturer, But let us proceed; for I think, by the hum

foc., g-c. ! Ink. Very true; let us go, then, before they can

Lady Blueb. Ah! Sir Richard, good morning ; I've Or else we'll be kept here an hour at their levy,

brought you some friends. On the rack of cross questions, by all the blue bevy. Sir Rich. (bows, and afterwurds aside.) If friends, Hark! Zounds, they 'll be on us; I know by the drone

they're the first. 1 Of old Botherby's spouting ex-cathedra tone.

Lady Blueb.

But the luncheon attends. Ay! there he is at it. Poor Scamp! better join I pray yo bo seated, " sans cérémonie.Your friends, or he 'll pay you back in your own coin. Mr. Scamp, you're fatigued; take your chair there, Tra. All fair ; 'tis but lecture for lecture.

[They all sit.

soon

come,

next me.

[Messrs. Southey and Sotheby.) aps My Grandmother's Review, the British." This heavy journal has since been gathered to its grandmothers.)

[The “ Journal de Trevoux" (in fifty-six volumes) is one of the most curious collections of literary gossip in the world,-and the Poet paid the British Review an extrava. gani compliment, when he made this coinparison.]

4 {** Sotheby is a good man-rhymes well, (if not wisely ;) but is a bore. He seizes you by the button. One night of a rout at Mrs. Hope's, he had fastened upon me-(something

about Agamemnon, or Orestes, or some of his plays)--notwithstanding my symptoms of manifest distress--(ior I was in love, and just nicked a minute when neither mothers, nor husbands, nor rivals, nor gossips were near my then idol, who was beautiful as the statues of the gallery where we stood at the time.) Sotheby, I say, bad seized upon me by the button and the heart-strings, and spared neither. Wil. liam Spencer, who likes fun, and don't dislike mischief, saw my case, and coming up to us both, took me by the hand, and pathetically bade me farewell; “for,' said he, “I see it is all over with you.' Sotheby then went his way: sic me servavit Apollo.''--Byron Diary, 1821.)

[graphic]

THE BLUES:

A LITERARY ECLOGUE."

“Nimium ne crede colori."-VIRGIL.
O trust not, ye beautiful creatures, to hue,
Though your hair were as red as your stockings are blue.

Ink.
ECLOGUE FIRST.?

Hold, my good friend, do you know

Whom you speak to?
London-Before the Door of a Lecture Room. Tra. Right well, boy, and so does “the Row :''4

You're an author-a poet-
Enter Tracy, meeting INKEL.

Ink.

And think you that I Ink. You're too late.

Can stand tamely in silence to hear you decry
Tra.
Is it over?

The Muses?
Ink.

Vor will be this hour. Tra. Excuse me : I meant no offence Bot the benches are crammid, like a garden in flower, To the Nine ; though the number who make some With the pride of our belles, who have made it the

pretence fashion ;

(passion" To their favors is such—but the subject to drop, So, instead of " beaux arts," we may say “ la belle I am just piping hot from a publisher's shop, For learning, which lately has taken the lead in (Next door to the pastry-cook's; so that when I The world, and set all the fine gentlemen reading. Cannot find the new volume I wanted to buy Tra. I know it too well, and have worn out my On the bibliopole's shelves, it is only two paces, patience

As one finds every author in one of those places ;) With studying to study your new publications. Where I just had been skimming a charming critique, There's Vamp, Scamp, and Mouthy, and Wordswords So studded with wit, and so sprinkled with Greek! and Co.a

Where your friend-you know who—has just got With their damnable

such a threshing,

Ta'en in such cruel sort, as grieves me still :
Love, that denial takes from none beloved,
Caught me with pleasing him so passing well,
Thai, as thou seesi, he yet deserts me not.
Lore brought us to one death: Caina waits
The soul, who spill our life.' Such were their words ;
At hearing which downward I bent my looks,
And held them there so long, that the Bard cried :
What art ihou pondering ?' I in answer thus :
* Alas! by what sweet thoughts, what fond desire,
Must they at length to that ill pass have reach'd!

" Then turning, I to them my speech address'd,
And thus began : Francesca! your sad fate
Even to tears my grief and pity moves.
But tell me ; in the time of your sweet sighs,
By what, and how Love granted, that ye knew
Your yet uncertain wishes!' She replied:
No greater grief than to remember days
Of joy, when misery is at hand. That kens
Thy leam'd instructor. Yet so eagerly
If thou art bent to know the primal root
From whence our love gat being, I will do
As one, who weeps and tells his tale. One day,
For our delight, we read of Lancelot,
How him love thralld. Alone we were, and no
Suspicion near us. Ofttimes by that reading
Our eyes were drawn together, and the hue
Fled from our alter'd cheek. But at one point
Alone we fell. When of that smile we read,
The wished smile, so rapturously kiss'd
By one so deep in love, ihen he, who ne'er
From me shall separate, at once my lips
All trembling kiss'd. The book and writer both
Were love's purveyors. In its leaves that day
We read no more.' While thus one spirit spake,
The other wail'd so sorely, that heart-struck,
I, through compassion fainting, seem'd not far

From death, and like a corse fell to the ground."
The story of Francesca and Paolo is a great favorite with
the Italians. It is noticed by all the historians of Ravenna.
Petrarch introduces it, in his Trionfi d' Amore, among his
txanples of calarnitous passion ; and Tassoni, in his Sec.
Chia Rapita, represents Paolo Malatesta as leading the
troops of Rimini, and describes him, when mounted on his
charger, as contemplating a golden sword-chain, presented
to burn by Francesca :

" Rimini vien con la bandiera sesta, Guida mille cavalli, e mille fanti-

Halli donata al dispartir Francesca
L'aurea catena, à cui la spada appende.
La vi mirando al misero, e rinfresca
Quel foco ognor, che l' anima gli accende,

Quanto cerca fuggir, tanto s' invesca."
“ To him Francesca gave the golden chain

At parting-time, from which his sword was hung;
The wretched lover gazed at it with pain,

Adding new pangs to those his heart had wrung;
The more he sought to fly the luscious bale,

The firmer he was bound, the deeper stung.")
*[This trifle, which Lord Byron has himself designated
as a "mere buffoonery, never meant for publication," was
written in 1820, and first appeared in "The Liberal.” The
personal allusions in which it abounds are, for the most part,
sufficiently intelligible ; and, with a few exceptions, so good-
hunored, that the parties concerned may be expected to
join in the laugh.)

3 [“ About the year 1781, it was much the fashion for several ladies to have evening assemblies, where the fair sex might participate in conversation with literary and ingenious men, animated by a desire to please. These societies were denominated Blue-stocking Clubs; the origin of which title being little known, it may be worth while to relate it. One of the most eininent meinbers of those societies, when they first commenced, was Mr. Sullingfleet, whose dress was remarkably grave, and in particular it was observed that he wore blue stockings. Such was the excellence of conversation, that his absence was felt as so great a loss, that it used to be said, “We can do nothing without the blue stockings ;' and thus by degrees the title was established."Boswell, vol. viii. p. 86. Sir William Forbes, in his Life of Dr. Beattie, says that “a foreigner of distinction hearing the expression, translated it literally. - Bas Bleu,' by which these meeungs came to be distinguished. Miss Hannah More, who was herself a member, has written a poem with the title of Bas Bleu,' in allusion to this mistake of the foreigner, in which she has characterized most of the eminent personages of which it was composed."]

3 (See the stanzas on Messrs. Wordsworth and Southey in Don Juan, canto in.)

* (Paternoster-row-long and still celebrated as a very bazaar of booksellers. Sir Walter Scott ** hitches mto rhyme" one of the inost important firms--that

“ Of Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown,

Our fathers of the Row.”)

« ÎnapoiContinuați »