Imagens das páginas

i he loveliest spots" ia Britain; but the negotiation was broken off. A twclvcaiouth passed, and liis child, to whom he was tenderly attached, sickened and died. This circumstance drove him from Bristol, and Coleridge being still resident at Keswick, he was attracted thither in his hour of bereavement. The grandeur and loveliness of the lake scenery soon began to exercise an influence on his poetical tastes, and we find him, on the 8th of September, 1803, thus writing to Lieutenant Southey: "Edith suffers deeply and silently. She is kept awake at night by recollections, and I am harassed by dreams of the poor child's illness and recovery; but this will wear away. Would that you could see these lakes and mountains! how wonderful they are! how awful in their beauty. All the poet part of me will be fed and fostered here. I feel already in tune, and shall proceed to my work with such a feeling of power as old Samson had when he laid hold of the pillars of the temple of Dagon."

In the congenial seclusion to which the poet had prudently withdrawn, he appears to have occupied himself with more zeal than ever in his varied literary pursuits. Few events occurred to vary the even tenor of his life, and his letters breathe a spirit of cheerful conleutedncss. Another daughter was born to him in April, 1801, whom he named, after her mother, Edith. In the spring of 1S05, the poem of Madoc, on which he had been employed at intervals for years, at length made its appearance, in an expensive style of typography. Its success was rather dubious. The critics of the Edinburgh were unfavourable, and the poem was not calculated to fix popular admiration. But the great merits of the work were admitted by a discerning few, among whom it is refreshing to find the great literary giant of the north, Sir Walter Scott. In a letter to Miss Seward, Sir Walter thus speaks of Southey's epic: "I think Southey does himself injustice in supposing the Edinburgh Review, or any other, could have hurt Madoc, even for a time. But the size and price of the work, joined to the frivolity of an age which must be treated as nurses humour children, are sufficient reasons why a poem on so chaste a model should not have taken immediately. We know the similar fate of Milton's immortal work in the witty age of Charles II., at a time when poetry was much more fashionable than at present."

The intelligent reader will find many passages to interest him, in the letters written by Southey at this period, to his various private friends. Many shrewd and humorous remarks are interspersed, and various opinions are expressed, which curiously illustrate the character of the man. We will make one, and but one, more quotation from this portion of the work, as a specimen of the material of these familiar epistles, Our extract is from a letter to John llickmau, Esq., March 22, 1S05.

"The abuses, or main abuses, of printing spring from one evil,—it almost immediately makes authorship a trade, l'er-fiheeting was in use as early a* Mi;tin Luther's time, who mentions the price — a

curious fact. The Reformation did one great mischief; in destroying the monastic orders, it deprived us of the only bodies of men who could not possibly be injured by the change which literature had undergone. They could have no peculium; they laboured hard for amusement; the society had funds to spare for printing, and felt a pride in thus disposing of them for the reputation of their Order. We laugh at the iguoranco of these Orders, but the most worthless and most ignorant of them produced more works of erudition than all the English and all the Scotch universities since the Reformation; and it is my firm belief that a man at this day will find better society in a Benedictine monastery than he could at Cambridge; certainly better than he could at Oxford."

Having now traced the poet to his comfortable retreat at Keswick, it will be convenient for us to pause. In a future number we will proceed with our Biography, and in as brief a compass as possible present the reader with the remaining incidents in the life of Robert Southey.



I -was passing from my office one day, to indulge myself with a walk, when a little hard-faced old man, with a black coat, broad-brimmed hat, velvet breeches, shoes and buckles, and gold-headed cane, stopped me, standing directly in my path. I looked at him. He looked at me. I crossed my hands before me patiently, forced my features into a civil smile, and waited the development of his intentions; not being distinctly certain, from his firm, determined expression, whether he was "a spirit of health or goblin damned," and whether his intents were "wicked or charitable"—that is, whether he came to discontinue or to subscribe, to pay a bill or present one, to offer a communication or a pistol, to shake me by the hand, or pull me by the nose. Editors now-a-days must always be on their guard. For my part, I am peaceable, and much attached to life, and should esteem it exceedingly disagreeable to be either shot or horsewhipped. I ara not built for action, but love to sail in quiet waters; cordially eshewing gales, waves, water-spouts, sea-serpents, earthquakes, tornadoes, and all such matters, both on sea and laud. My antipathy to a horsewhip is an inheritance from boyhood. It carried me across Cajsar's bridge, and through Virgil and Horace. I am indebted to it for a tolerable understanding of grammar, arithmetic, geography, and other occult sciences. It enlightened me not a little upon many algebraic processes, which to speak truth, presented, otherwise, but slender claims to my consideration. It discipline me into an uniform propriety of manners, and instille into ray bosom early rudiments of wisdom, and principles of virtue. In my maturcr years, the contingencies of life have thrust me rather abruptly, if not reluctantly into the editorial fraternity, (heaven bless them, I mean them no disrespect,) and in the same candour «Lich distinguishes my former acknowledgments, I niuftss that visions of this instrument have occasionally obtruded themselves somewhat forcibly upon Mj fancy, in the paroxysms of an article, dampening ibe glow of composition, and causing certain qualify;jj interlineations and prudent erasures, prompted by :he representations of memory or the whispers of iralence. The reader must not fancy, from the form of my expression, that I have ever been horsewhipped. I late hitherto escaped, (for which heaven be praised!) iithougb. my horizon has been darkened by many a cloudy threat, and thundering denunciation.

Nose-pulling is another disagreeable branch of the editorial business. To have any part of one pulled is moving; but there is a dignity about the nose impatient even of observation or remark; while the act of taking hold of it with the thumb and finger is worse than murder, and can only be washed out with blood. Kicking, cuffing, being turned out of doors, being abased in the papers, &c. are bad, but these are mere minor considerations. Indeed, many of my brother editors rather pique themselves upon some of them, as a soldier does on the scars obtained in fighting the battles of his country; they fancy that, thereby, they are invested with claims upon their party, and suffer indefinite dreams of political eminence to be awakened in their bosoms. I have seen a fellow draw his hat 1 nercdj down over his brow, and strut about, with liaciflerable importance, on the strength of having been 'itiorcagui; kicked by the enemy.

This is a long digression, but it passed rapidly

tarwgh my mind as the little, hard-faced old gentle

□an stood before me, looking at me with a piercing

dance, and a resolute air. At length, unlike a ghost,

i lie spoke first.

"You are the editor ?"—&c. A slight motion of acquiescence with my head, and an affirmative wave of my hand, a little leaning toward the majestic, announced to my unknown friend the joruracy of his conjecture.

The little old gentleman's face relaxed—he took off kb broad-brimmed hat, and laid it down with his cane Sinfully on the table, then seized my hand and shook t heartily. People are so polite and friendly when aiout to ask a favour.

"My dear sir," said he, "this is a pleasure I have long sought vainly. You must know, sir, I am the editor of a theatrical weekly—a neat thing in its way —here's the last number." He fumbled about in his £-:<rket, and produced a red-covered pamphlet.

"I have been some time publishing it, and though x is admitted by all acquainted with its merits, to be clearly the best thing of the kind ever started tins side of the Atlantic, yet people do not seem to take much notice of it. Indeed, my friends tell me that the public are not fully aware of its existence. Pray let me be indebted to you for a notice. I wish Vj get fairly afloat. You see I have been too diffident i about it. We modest fellows allow our inferiors to i [«» u» often. I will leave this number with you. Pray, pray give it a good notice."

He placed in my hands the eleventh number of the "North American Thespian Magazine," devoted to the drama, and also to literature, science, history, and the arts. On reading over the prospectus, I found it vastly comprehensive, embracing pretty much every subject in the world. If so extensive a plan were decently filled up in the details, the "North American Thespian Magazine" was certainly worth the annual subscription money, which was only one dollar. I said so uuder my "literary notices," in the next impression of my journal; and, although I had not actually read the work, yet it sparkled so with asterisks, dashes, and notes of admiration, that it looked interesting. I added in my critique, that it was elegantly got up, that its typographical execution reflected credit on the publishers, that its failure would be a grievous reproach to the city, that its editor was a scholar, a writer, and a gentleman, and was favourably known to the literary circles by the eloquence, wit, and feeling of his former productions. What those productions were, I should have been rather puzzled to say, never having read, or even heard of them. This, however, was the cant criticism of the day, which is so exorbitant and unmeaning, and so universally cast in one mould, that I was in sonic tribulation, on reading over the article in print, to find that I had omitted the words, "native genius," which possesses a kind of common-law right to a place in all articles on American literary productions. Forth, however, it went to the world, and I experienced a philanthropic emotion in fancying how pleased the little, hard-faced, old gentleman would be with these flattering encomiums on his "Thespian Magazine."

The very day my paper was out, as I was sitting "full fathom five" deep in mi article on "The Advantages of Virtue," (an interesting theme, upon my views of which I rather flattered myself,) I was startled by three knocks at the door, and my "Come in " exhibited to view the broad-brimmed hat of the hard-faced old gentleman, with his breeches, buckles, gold-headed cane, and all. He laid aside his hat and cane with the air of a man who has walked a great way, and means to rest himself a while. I was very busy. It was one of my inspired moments. Half of a brilliant idea was already committed to paper. There it lay—a fragment —a flower cut off in the bud—a mere outline—an embryo; and my imagination cooling like a piece of red-hot iron in the open air. I raised my eyes to the old gentleman, with a look of solemn silence, retaining my pen ready for action, with my little finger extended, and hinting, in every way, that I was "not i' the vein." I kept my lips closed. I dipped the pen in the inkstand several times, and held it hovering over the sheet. It would not do. The old gentleman was not to be driven off his ground by shakes of the pen, inkdrops, or little fingers. He fumbled about in his pockets, and drew forth the red-covered " North American Thespian Magazine," devoted to the drama, &c, number twelve. He wanted "a good notice. The last was rather general. I had not specified its peculiar claims upon the public. I had copied nothing. That sort of critique did no good. He begged me to read this carefully—to analyse it—to give it a candid examination." I was borne down by his emphatic manner; and being naturally of a civil deportment as well as, at that particular moment, in an impatient, feverish hurry to get on with my treatise on the "Advantages of Virtue," which I felt now oozing out of my subsiding brain with an alarming rapidity, I promised to read, notice, investigate, analyse to the uttermost extent of his wishes, or at least of my ability.

I could scarcely keep myself screwed down to common courtesy till the moment of his departure ; a proceeding which he accomplished with a most commendable self-possession and deliberate politeness. When lie was fairly gone, I poked my head out, and called my boy.



"Did you see that little old gentleman, Peter?"

"Yes, sir."

"Should you know him again, Peter?"

"Yes, sir."

"Well, if he ever come here again, Peter, tell him I am not in."

"Yes, sir."

I re-entered my little study, and closed the door after ine with a slam, which could only have been perceptible to those who knew my ordinary still and mild manner. There might have been also a slight accent in my way of turning the key, and (candour is a merit!) I could not repress a brief exclamation of displeasure at the little old gentleman with his magazine, who had broken in so provokingly upon my "essay on virtue." "Virtue or no virtue," thought I, "I wish linn to the d—."

My room is on the ground-floor, and a window adjoining the street lets in upon me the light and air through a heavy crimson curtain, near which I sit and scribble. I was just enlarging upon the necessity of resignation, while the frown yet lingered on my brow, and was writing myself into a more calm and complacent mood, when—another knock at the door. As I opened it, I heard Peter's voice asserting, sturdily, that I had "gone out." Never dreaming of my old enemy, I betrayed too much of my person to withdraw, and I was recognised and pounced upon by the little old gentleman, who had come back to inform me that he intended, as soon as the increase of his subscription would permit, to enlarge and improve the "North American Thespian Magazine," and to employ all the writers iu town. "I intend also," said he, and he was in the act of again laying aside that everlasting hat and cane, when a cry of fire in the neighbourhood, and the smell of the burning rafters attracted him into the street, where, as I feared, he escaped unhurt. I In many respects fires are calamities ; but I never saw a more forcible exemplification of Shakspeare's remark, "There is some spirit of good in things evil," than in the relief afforded me on the present occasion. I wrote, after that, with my door locked. This I knew was, from the confined air, prejudicial to my health;

but what was dyspepsy or consumption to that little hard-faced old gentleman—to those breeches—to that broad-brimmed hat—to those buckles—to that gold headed cane?

"llcmember, Peter," said I, the second morning after the foregoing, "I have gone out."

"Where have you gone?" inquired Peter, with grave simplicity. "They always ask mc where you have gone, sir. The little man with the hat was here last night, and wanted to go after you."

"Porbid it heaven! I have gone to Albany, Peter, on business."

I can hear in my room pretty much what passes in the adjoining one, where visitors first enter from the street. I had scarcely got comfortably seated, in a rare mood for poetry, giving the last touches to a poem, which, whatever might be the merits of Byrou and Moore, I did not think altogether indifferent, when I heard the little old gentleman's voice inquiring for inc.

"I must see him; I have important, business," it said.

"He has gone out," replied Peter, in an under tone, in which I could detect the consciousness that he was uttering a bouncer.

"But I must see him," said the voice.

"The scoundrel!" muttered I.

"He is not in town, sir," said Peter.

"I will not detain him a single minute. It is of the greatest importance. He would be very sorry, very, should he miss me."

I held my breath—there was a pause—I gave myself up for lost—when Peter replied firmly,

"He is in Albany, sir. Went off at five o'clock this morning."

"Be back soon?"

"Don't know."

"Where does he stay?"

"Don't know."

"I'll call to-morrow."

I heard his retreating footsteps, and inwardly resolved to give Peter a half-dollar, although he deserved to be horsewhipped for his readiness at deception. I laughed aloud triumphant);, and slapped my hand down upon my knee wit! the feelings of a fugitive debtor, who, hotly pursuer 6y a sheriff's officer, escapes over the line into another county and snaps his fingers at Monsieur Bailiff. I was aroused from my merry mood of reverie by a touch on my shoulder. I turned suddenly. It was the hard-faced little old gentleman, peeping in from the street. His broad-brimmed hat and two-thirds of his face were just lifted above the window-sill. He was evidently standing on tiptoe; and the window being open, he had put aside the curtain, and was soliciting my attention with the end of his cane.

"Ah 1" said he, "is it you? Well, I thought it was you, though 1 wasn't sure. I won't interrupt you. Here are the proofs of number thirteen; you'll find something glorious in that—just the thing for you— don't forget me next week—good-bye. I'll see you again in a day or two."

I shall not cast a gloom over my readers by dwelling ipoa my feelings. Surely, surely, there are sympathetic bosoms among them. To them I appeal. I di nothing. Few could have detected anything violent or extraordinary in my manner, as I took the proofs from the end of the little old gentleman's cane, aid laid them calmly on the table. I did not write uj more about "virtue" that morning. It was out "i the question. Indeed, my mind scarcely recovered from the shock for several days.

When my nerves are in any way irritated, I find a nlk in the woods a soothing and agreeable sedative. Accordingly, the next afternoon, I wound up the affairs ••■? the day earlier than usual, and set out for a ramble ikroagh the groves and along the shore of Hoboken. 1 was soon on one of the abrupt acclivities, where, tough the deep rich foliage of the intertwining branches, I overlooked the Hudson, the wide bay, and tie superb, steepled city, stretching in a level line of magnificence upon the shining waters, softened with an overhanging canopy of thin haze. I gazed at the picture, and contempleted the rivalry of nature with in, striving which could most delight. As my eye rawed from ship to ship, from island to island, and from shore to shore—now reposing on the distant blue, iken revelling in the nearer luxuriance of the forest green, I heard a step iu the grass, and a little ragged fellow came up and asked me if I was the editor of

', the . I was about replying to him affirmatively,

«b» his words arrested my attention. "A little

| gentleman with a hat and cane," he said, "had been

[squiring for the editor, &c. at the adjoining hotel,

■mi had given him sixpence to run up into the woods

i and fed him." I rushed precipitately, as I thought, into the thickest recesses of the wood. The path,

, however, being very circuitous, I suddenly came into it, and nearly ran against a person whom it needed no

'' second glance to recognise, although his back was luckily toward me. The hat, the breeches, the cane, wre enough. If not, part of a red-covered pamphlet, ;ticking out of the coat-pocket, was. "It must be '-.umber thirteen!" I exclaimed; and as the little old gentleman was sauntering north, I shaped my course »-th all possible celerity in a southerly direction.

la order to protect myself for the future, I took precautionary measures; and in addition to having myself denied, I kept the window down, and made my egress and ingress through a door round the corner, as Peter told me lie had several times seen the little oU gentleman, with a package in his hand, standing opposite the one through which we usually entered, and looking at the office wistfully.

By means of these arrangements, I succeeded in preserving my solitude inviolate, when, to my indignation, I received several letters from different parts

: r-f the country, written by my friends, and pressing opoame, at the solicitation of the little old gentleman, the propriety of giving the "Thespian Magazine" a ?j<sd notice. I tore the letters, each one as I read

I -ieai, into three pieces, and dropped them under the table. Business calling inc, soon after, to Piiiladel


phia, I stepped on board the steamboat, exhilarated with the idea that I was to have at least two or three weeks respite. I reached the place of my destination about five o'clock in the afternoon. It was lovely weather. The water spread out like unrippled glass, and the sky was painted with a thousand varying shadows of crimson and gold. The boat touched the shore, and while I was watching the chauge of a lovely cloud, I heard the splash of a heavy body plunged into the water. A sudden sensation ran along the crowd, which rushed from all quarters towards the spot; the ladies shrieked and turned away their heads; and I perceived that a man had fallen from the deck, and was struggling iu the tide, with only one hand held convulsively above the surface. Being a practised swimmer, I hesitated not a moment, but flung off my hat and coat, and sprang to his rescue. Willi some difficulty I succeeded in bearing him to a boat and dragging him from the stream. I had no sooner done so, than to my horror and astonishment 1 found 1 had saved the little hard-faced old gentleman. His snuffcoloured breeches were dripping before me—his broadbrimmed hat floated on the current—but his cane (thank heaven !) had sunk for ever. He suffered no other ill consequences from the catastrophe than some injury to his garments and the loss of his cane. His gratitude for my exertions knew no bounds. He assured me of his convietion that the slight acquaintance previously existing between us would now be ripened into intimacy, and informed me of his intention to lodge at the same hotel with me. He had come to Philadelphia to see about a plate for his sixteenth number, which was to surpass all its predecessors, and to which he would let me have an early copy, that 1 might notice it as it deserved.


England, we are assured, is in a defenceless state. All Europe menaces her safety; France, in particular, burning with hereditary hatred of the British Lion, is perpetually meditating an invasion of our crowded shores. "We meanwhile stand in our unmantled innocence, indulging in deep dreams of peace, and ready to be devoured by our gigantic enemy. Sir Francis Head, however, has been favoured witli a vision, and no doubt most people will consult his pleasant volume to learn the particulars of their approaching fate. The imagination has magical power, and will create for us the picture of England invaded by a French army, of our great roads filled by columns of Gallic cavalry, our capital occupied by foreign troops, and ourselves overwhelmed in the sack and slaughter that would desolate our wealthy city.

Suddenly, on a fine May morning, the sails and smoke of a strange fleet are observed on the horizon. Steamer after steamer, under convoy of mighty leviathans, appears in view. A vast armament displays its formidable length along the English coast. It ap

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proaches. The scared dwellers on the shore betake themselves to flight; the bells ring; stacks are set on fire; beacons blaze from cliff to cliff; the alarm runs along the country; and darkness arrives again, while the whole land is in commotion, and French columns are formed on English soil.

Some thoughtful patriots fly to the railway station. By "a few quivering motions of two little black needles," there appear simultaneously upon "the white dials of all the electric telegraphs in the United Kingdom the three words—Mene, Teiel, Upharsi; Anglice, Tiiey Are Coming!"

What sensations would thrill the nerves of all peaceful people! The great fearing for their property; the bishops for their revenues; the fundholders for their dividends; the landlords for their rents; the placemen for their salaries; the farmers for their crops; the parsons for their tithes; the tradesmen for their stocks; and the women for all but themselves. Then would the country, in unavailing sorrow, repent its niggardly economy. Had the proposition of Sir Francis Head been adopted, what a splendid result! Had we raised and paid a standing army of 150,000 men, we might set up the British banner, spread its folds to the blast, and meet the force of invasion by a shock of tenfold power. Our author draws a richly-coloured picture of the scenes that would ensue after the alarm was spread through England.

In our dockyards every ship of war would swarm like an ant-hill with labourers. Masts, yards, sails, and riggings, would assume their places as if by magic. Guns and powder-barrels would be rolled on deck. Trains of hardy tars, ready primed for battle, would pour on board; ship after ship would weigh anchor, and soon a mighty fleet, with the British flag displayed, would sail forth in search of the impudent invader. Next day the town would blaze with placards ; — " Latest Intelligence Halp-past Five.Glorious NewsBy Electric Telegraph. Destruction Op The French Fleet Off The Coast Of Kent.Rout Op The Invaders And Triumph Op TnE British Arms!!!"

With proper deference to the military science of Sir Francis Head, we imagine that if ever our neighbours should be so mad as to attempt an invasion of our shores, the newspaper-proprietors might print such placards beforehand, and rest certain of the receipt of such news. He, however, confides little trust to the navy—the sole and sufficient bulwark of our island. From all parts of England he would have the red-coated gentry issue in swarms out of their barracks to crowd down and defend their coasts. Soldiers, rammed, crammed, and jammed by thousands into first, second, and third-class carriages, bullock, ballast, coal, and luggage-trucks, "would, in silent joy, through the verdant fields of merry England be seen flying along every railway in the kingdom towards the metropolis." Cheers would welcome them as they passed; the chink of arms; the roll of drums, the tramp of feet, and "horses to battle going," the exciting shout, and all the varied notes of war would

perpetually strike the ear. All day and all nirht cannon would rumble through our streets, bayonets glimmer by myriads along our roads, every ray of sunlight be reflected from a sword, and the land quake under the ceaseless tramp of cavalry. The end of all this is most comfortable. The invaders, we are told, would be caught in the awkward position of having one leg on sea and the other on shore. The French officers would have to excite their troops, the English to restrain theirs. Ultimately, the Gallic host is to be smitten with the edge of the sword, routed, scattered, and driven back into the sea with awful and unsparing slaughter.

Next day the enemy would send by electric telegraph apologies and proposals of peace. London would be illuminated; John Bull would shed tears of joy. Pewter medals would be distributed among the soldiers of the line; stars and pensions among the officers. The army would then go comfortably into peace quarters, and be paid thirty millions a-ycar for standing between the people and their liberties. The nation could then express its thanks to Sir Francis Head by creating him field-marshal, giving him ten thousand a-year, erecting him a monument five hundred feet high, and getting the great sculptor Baily to execute a bust of him for the British Walhalla.

But supposing the French come now, says Sir Francis, before my plan is adopted! Ay, there's the rub! The Queen, he tells us, is to be packed off to a fortified dockyard, in a safe conveyance, marked, —" Royalty; with care. This side up." The army is to follow her into close quarters, and abandon the palaces, the Houses of Parliament, the bishops' castles, the Bank, the wealth, the property, not to mention the people of London, to their fate. What wonld that fate be? Sir Francis will explain presently. Meanwhile, he tells the reason why the useless and costly army we already have should not fight. If it fought and were destroyed, "the British nation would be Annihilated; whereas, if London only were to be captured, the nation would be Ruined, but not Annihilated." The country must wait three years to stir its blood up for an assault on the invader!

As for defending London by an entrenched line of positions, it would take a long time, and cost, at least, two millions, which Sir Francis hardly hopes will be expended on it. Holding it unfortified, would be impossible. The cities of Spain, containing massivelybuilt convents, with flat roofs and covered balconies, can resist no siege, therefore London could not. The reasoning is cogent; but we pass it by. The French army is on the march! It sweeps the country as it goes. Farmhouses, villages, towns, and cities, are devastated by the way, and foreign troops are quartered under every English roof on the road. Sir Francis shall carry on the narrative :—

*' Tl>c French army, after leisurely marching towards London, through—say Maidstone, Tunbridge, and Chatham, its right resting on the Thames, would probably encamp on and in the neighbourhood of Blackbcatn, and here Woolwich, Ocr Main Ahd Almost Onlt Arswai. in which all our brass guns are made,—the great depot

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