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Hocus-pocus, and Mon-tong-paw,
There was Mrs. F.
So very deaf,
Of patience, indeed, a perfect scorner,
Down the street, and round the corner !
Like Juno or Rose,
Whose ear undergoes
And after all a matter of doubt,
On purpose to try a surgical spell,
And paid a guinea, and might as well
That instead of curing deafened him rather,
Ana happy your luck
If you don't get stuck
Why, bless you, a woman with organs like yours
Or a bullock comes, as mad as King Lear,
LITERATURE OF THE MONTH.
LIFE AND LITERARY REMAINS OF L. E. L.
Ir is seldom that we meet with such a book as this; and when we do, it is but too often obtained, as in the present instance, at the dear and bitter cost of having been prematurely bereaved of the subject of it. True fame indeed is only to be had by dying for it; and, as regards the individual, it is worth the purchase, even at that price. But not so as regards the generation to whom that individual belonged, England would give all the literary fame that Byron has conferred upon ber, to have him back again; and not to have lost L. E. L. we would willingly have been without even the present beautiful monument to her genius and her name-a monument constructed, one half of the enduring marble of her own literary deeds—the other half of those delicate and graceful sculptural ornaments, and those sadly-sweet funereal flowers which the mingled skill, taste, and friendship of her biographer have wreathed about it. The first volume of Mr. Blanchard's tribute to Miss Landon's memory, comprises a sketch of her literary and personal life, written in pursuance of her own express wish, and " in fulfilment of a pledge given to her long before she meditated leaving England, and reviewed immediately preceding her departure I should not otherwise" (adds Mr. Blanchard in his brief preface), “ have presumed to attempt anything of the kind.” Then we are doubly indebted to Miss Landon's judgment and taste in exacting the pledge--for it would be difficult to name any other individual among her literary friends or acquaintance so perfectly well qualified for the pleasing, yet eminently painful and difficult task-especially difficult as regards the disastrous circumstances under which Miss Landon died. As we think it due to the memory of our favourite female poet, that all her compatriots should read, in its original form, the account which Mr. Blanchard gives of those circumstances, we shall tempt them to do so by not saying one more word on the melancholy subject, -except to intimate, that although everything has been done that could be done to clear up the strange mystery, it still remains, and is likely to remain, unsolved.
Miss Landon was of a respectable Herefordshire family, and very early exhibited signs of that genius, and the leading tendencies of it, which marked her after life. " At so early an age as this,” says her biographer (seven years), “ she would occupy an hour or two of the evening amusing her father aud mother with accounts of the wonderful castles she built in her imagination.” In fact, never was any human creature more entirely made up of imagination, even to her sensibility itself, which, intense as it was, was “of imagination all compact. Unhappily, too, in her castle-building, the gloomy dungeons of grief and sadness occupied more of her care and skill than the gay halls for revelry, or the pleasant chambers for repose. This was the blot in her poetry, and the bane of her life. She allowed her imagination to revel in the dark places of the world of sentiment and sensibility, till it acquired a diseased propensity for dwelling in such spots, and the
free air and wholesome sunshine of life grew at last distasteful to her. She was in some sort, a female Byron-made the more so perhaps by his fatal example; and much of her poetry, instead of being to herself and others the rich solace of real ills, became the fertile source of imaginary ones.
It is true that in her own case, no less than in that of her “ great exemplar,” the evil was but a temporary one, and was rapidly passing away when she was prematurely snatched from among us. There is every reason to feel confident that both Byron and Miss Landon (but particularly the latter) had they lived but a few years longer, would have repudiated all the dangerous mistakes and debasing errors of their poetry, and become as eminently the benefactors and teachers of mankind through the gentle and genial wisdom of their verse, as they were but too often the misleaders by its ill-regulated passion, and its overstrained and unhealthy excitement. Miss Landon said once, when quite a child, “I would rather be a Spartan than a Sybarite." This was said in reference to her habits of physical life. But unfortunately her intellectual habits grew up to be more Sybarite than Spartan : a rumpled rose-leaf banished her mind's repose, and changed its whole. some and invigorating slumbers into painful and exhausting dreamscausing her "poet's eye,” instead of performing its true office of seeing “ the light that never was on sea or land,” to discern a darkness equally visionary, and still more apt to propagate its like in the imagination of others.
But enough of this. The unhealthy because the unhappy tendency of Miss Landon's poetical writings was, as we have said, rapidly passing away, and giving place to that higher and purer tone which was alone wanting to them, when she was snatched from us, leaving behind her only the Remains," which form so valuable and delightful a portion of the present work. Indeed there need be no hesitation in pronouncing these “Remains" (it is a melancholy word to be so applied) to be upon the whole superior in practical qualities of the highest cast to any previous publication of L. E. L.'s of similar length, both as regards the verse and the prose. The latter occupies nearly one-third of the volume, and consists entirely of a series of sketches, entitled, “ The Female Picture Gallery,” each sketch being devoted to the principal female characters in one of Scott's novels. The subject is a most delightful one in every point of view, and especially so in such hands; and it has been treated with as much critical acumen as strong and deep feeling. Among the poetry, the principal piece is a tragedy, of which much expectation had been excited among the writer's friends during her lifetime, and which, with some faults, is fully answerable to her high poetical reputation. Passion, which is, or should be, the essence of all tragedy, was also the essence of L E. L.'s genius ; and this drama, which is called “Castruccio Castrucani," will be read with intense interest, and might unquestionably be adapted to the stage with every prospect of success. The remainder of the volume consists of a large number of miscellaneous pieces, every one of which presents some peculiar point of interest and attraction, and the whole of which include an amount of poetry, imaginative, reflective, and passionate, which would alone have established for its writer a high and enduring reputation, had she never written another line.
This work will no doubt be the most popular one of the season,
and what is seldom the case with works so 'favoured, it will rise in public estimation in proportion as its mere temporary popularity passes away.
The first volume is embellished by a portrait of Miss Landon, after a painting by Maclise, the original of which is no less remarkable as a likeness than attractive as a picture.
HISTORY OF INDIA.*
Excellent as Mr. Mill's “ History of India" undoubtedly is, since his volumes were published, such an abundance of materials has come to light illustrative of Indian history, that another and more complete work on the same subject has lately been much required. The Oriental Translation Fund has done much to facilitate the labours of the historian, but a considerable mass of information has been collected by residents and travellers in India, civil and military, in the service of the East India Company, who found it either to their advantage or amusement to preserve and publish the results of their observations upon, and studies of, the literature and people belonging to the vast continent in which they found a temporary home. Various periodicals are published in the two presidencies, besides several that are produced in London, the principal object of which has been the collection of every description of knowledge relating to this important and interesting portion of Asia, and the diffusion of such intelligence has created a love for this branch of study among all who have leisure or opportunity to pursue it.
The Hon. Mountstuart Elphinstone has for some years been engaged in collecting the materials for a more important production, and
-an advantage, a very material one, his predecessors did not possesshas been studying the subject where alone its numberless features could be properly considered-in India. A portion of the result of his labours, the first two volumes of his history, embracing the Hindoo and Mahomedan periods is now before the public, and the student may refer to their pages with the fullest assurance that he will there find the information he needs. Mr. Elphinstone has entered upon his laborious duties with the patience of a scholar, and the spirit of a philosopher, making the field of his inquiry as comprehensive as the most exacting critic could desire. In the physical history will be found all the geographical features of the country-its vegetable and mineral products, its animals, and the other divisions of its natural history; and besides the regular chronicle of events, the author enters deeply into the intellectual history of the different nations, pourtraying their progress in poetry, philosophy, the fine arts, and religion; the several castes into which the people are divided, their manners, customs, and festivals, with a full account of the various dynasties by whom they were ruled, the wars in which they were engaged, and the laws by which they were governed; their commerce, agriculture, and manufactures, and every
• A History of India. By the Hon. Mountstuart Elphinstone. 2 vols.