Imagens das páginas

And still the Mercury mounts higher,.

'Till London seems again on fire.'-pp. 149, 150.

'See, how beneath the cloudless beams

Of a hot sun the river steams!

The breeze is hushed; a dazzling glare,
Shot from the water, fires the air.
And since, alas! in sultry weather
Few are the amateurs who feather
And pull, like watermen, together,
Long ere the destined voyage is ended,
Full many a dashing oar's suspended,
Till, checked awhile, beneath the awning
Breaks out, at length, a general yawning ;
As melting in " day's garish eye,"
Becalmed and motionless they lie.
Or worse befalls. For oft a raw gust
Broods o'er the burning brow of August,
And "hushed, expects" throughout the day,
"In grim repose, its evening prey."
Bursting at last, a sudden squall

Drenches the ladies near Black-wall;
Or the vext waters make a breach

Clean over them in Chelsea reach.'-pp. 152-154.

Now cloudless skies eir heat redouble:
TheSwart Star" rages o'er the stubble.
Now, half dried up, the river shrinks,
And the parched common yawns in chinks;
Dogs in the fancied chase grow hot,
And birds impatient to be shot.

These signs, and more-but 'twould encumber
My verse to reckon up their number,

The earth, in short, the air, the sun,

Proclaim The Capital undone.'-pp. 162, 163.

The trip to Margate in the steam-boat is excellent in its way: and our readers will not fail to observe here and there, amid the broad and accurate humour of the description, touches of a finer pleasantry.

Now many a city-wife and daughter
Feels that the dipping rage has caught her.
Scarce can they rest upon their pillows,
For musing on machines and billows;
Or, should they slumber, 'tis to dream
All night of Margate and of Steam;
Of Steam, which stronger than a giant,
Duly invoked, is more compliant.
At half-past eight, propitious hour!
He's at their service, at the Tower.


Embarked, they catch the sound, and feel
The thumping motion of his wheel.
Lashed into foam by ceaseless strokes,
The river roars, the funnel smokes,
As onward, like an arrow, shoots
The giant, with his seven-league boots;
Spite of their crowded sails, outstripping
With ease the speed of all the shipping
Through every reach-mast following mast
Descried, approached, o'ertaken, past.
Look where you will, you find no traces
Of qualm-anticipating faces
From shifting helm or taught lee braces,
Ills with which fate the bliss alloys,
Else perfect, of the Margate-hoys.
No calm, so dead that nothing stirs,
Baffles the sea-sick passengers.
With ecstacy no tongue can utter,
They take to tea and bread and butter.
On the smooth deck some stretch their legs,
Some feast below on toast and eggs,
As, cheered by clarinet and song,
Ten knots an hour, they spank along,
(Sure at their destined post to sup,
Unless, perchance, they're all blown up,)
By Graves-end, South-end, through the Nore,

Till the boat land them all at four,

Exulting, on the Margate shore !'-pp. 156-158.

There is something in the following illustration of that gentle violence with which political favours are thrust upon us,' which


savours of Swift.

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They feel the obligation doubled."

Ask not the meaning, or the force

Of words like these--they're words of course;
Sounds which, however strange to utter,

Add relish to men's bread and butter.—p. 197.


These airy and clever passages, (and these are not the only ones


of this description in the poem,) shew the author to more advantage than the whole work; for he is never satisfied to sketch his scene-he labours it with the care, but without the effect, of a Dutch painter; and rarely intermits his pains, till he has confused and flattened his first design by the cruel luxuriance of his illustration.

If this redundancy of rhyme be attributable to copiousness,to the errors of taste, and the inexperience of a young author, we entertain great hopes of his future success; but if, on the other hand, as we see some reason to suspect, the Letter to Julia is the vehicle of the hoarded facetiousness of a practised dealer in jeux d'esprits, we can expect not merely nothing better, but perhaps even nothing more of this kind from the same pen. The accumulated pleasantries of years have apparently been lavished in an incautious fortnight on the extravagant Julia.

ART. XI.-Memoirs of Richard Lovell Edgeworth, Esq. Begun by himself and concluded by his Daughter, Maria Edgeworth. 2 vols. 8vo. London. 1820.

E have been so much amused with the writings of Mr. Edgeworth and his daughter, and their style seems so particularly adapted to domestic biography, that we found it impossible to open this book without certain anticipations of pleasure. But it too often happens that those who exhibit the shrewdest good sense in measuring or describing the qualities of others, are woefully deficient in appreciating their own. To speak of one's self with moral truth is difficult; with absolute truth perhaps impossible. Endless indeed are the forms which vanity takes; but it may generally be said that the two most frequent, and yet most intolerable faults are, on the one hand, long-winded explanations of minute and trivial facts, and on the other, pompous declamations, in which the facts are overlaid by a verbose and unwearied panegyric. We are afraid that our readers will find these observations not altogether inapplicable to the present volumes.

Richard Lovell Edgeworth was born at Bath, in the year 1744 of a family which had been settled in Ireland since the time of Queen Elizabeth, but which he says had been, God knows how long, established at Edgeworth, in Middlesex, now erroneously called Edgeware.'

Mr. Edgeworth favours us with some memoranda of his immediate ancestors, which it required no little exertion of candour to give, and which are only curious as showing that some of the most absurd scenes of his Castle Rack-rent were copied from the traditions of his own family. And here, perhaps, we may be allowed to observe as the literary reputation of the Edgeworths is mainly

built on their representation of Irish characters-that their habit was to write down (even in society) any expressions which appeared to them likely to suit their publications; and we have been informed that when Mr. Edgeworth acted as a magistrate in hearing the disputes of his Irish neighbours, his daughter was often in the room taking notes of the peculiar manners or expressions of the litigants. This accounts for the admirable truth and minuteness with which they have painted individual Irish character. It explains also why such of their works, and such parts of the works, as are not peculiarly Irish, are so very inferior to those which are; and it removes a little of the wonder which we have felt, that the authors of Castle Rack-rent and Ennui should have produced such works as Belinda, Harrington and Ormond, and the two voluines before us. But it is also worthy of observation, that this mode, of sketching after individual nature, has a strong tendency to caricature, and that, accordingly, the portraits which Mr. and Miss Edgeworth compose, on the principle of Apelles, by collecting into one canvass the features of many individuals, are often exaggerated, and tend to give us an amusing rather than a just representation of the Irish character.

As a specimen of the manners, or rather, of what Mr. Edgeworth believes to have been the manners, of his forefathers, we extract the following passage.

'Captain Edgeworth had a son by his former wife, and the present wife had a daughter, by her former husband. The daughter was heiress to her father's property. These young people fell in love with each other. The mother was averse to the match. To avoid the law against running away with an heiress, the lovers settled, that the young lady should take her lover to church behind her on horseback. Their marriage was effected. Their first son, Francis, was born before the joint ages of his father and mother amounted to thirty one years.

After the death of Captain Edgeworth and his wife which happened before this young couple had arrived at years of discretion, John Edgeworth took possession of a considerable estate in Ireland, and of an estate in England in Lancashire, which came to him in right of his wife; he had also ten thousand pounds in money, as her fortune. But they were extravagant, and quite ignorant of the management of money. Upon an excursion to England, they mortgaged their estate in Lancashire, and carried the money to London in a stocking, which they kept on the top of their bed. To this stocking, both wife and husband had free access, and of course its contents soon began to be very low. The young man was handsome, and very fond of dress. At one time, when he had run out all his cash, he actually sold the ground-plot of a house in Dublin, to purchase a high crowned hat and feathers, which was then the mode. He lived in high company in London, and at court. Upon some occasion, King Charles the Second insisted upon knighting him. His lady was presented at court, where she was so much taken notice of by VOL. XXIII. NO. 46.-Q. R. 65 the

the gallant monarch, that she thought it proper to intimate to her husband, that she did not wish to go there a second time; nor did she ever after appear at court, though in the bloom of youth and beauty. She returned to Ireland. This was an instance of prudence as well as of strength of mind, which could hardly have been expected from the improvident temper she had shewn at first setting out in life. In this lady's character there was an extraordinary mixture of strength and weakness. She was courageous beyond the habits of her sex in real danger, and yet afraid of imaginary beings. According to the supersti tion of the times, she believed in fairies. Opposite to her husband's castle of Li-sard, in Ireland, and within view of the windows, there is a mount, which was reputed to be the resort of fairies; and when Lady Edgeworth resided alone at Lissard, the common people of the neighbourhood, either for amusement, or with the intention of frightening her away, sent children by night to this mount, who by their strange noises, by singing, and the lights they shewed from time to time, terrified her exceedingly. But she did not quit the place. The mount was called Fairy-mount, since abbreviated into Fir-mount.*


Of the courage and presence of mind of this Lady Edgeworth, whe was so much afraid of fairies, I will now give an instance. While she was living at Lissard, she was, on some sudden alarm, obliged to go at night to a garret at the top of the house, for some gunpowder, which was kept there in a barrel. She was followed up stairs by an ignorant servant girl, who carried a bit of candle without a candiestick, between her fingers. When Lady Edgeworth had taken what gunpowder she wanted, had locked the door, and was half way down stairs again, she observed that the girl had not her candle, and asked what she had done with it, the girl recollected, and answered, that she had left it • stuck in the barrel of black salt.' Lady Edgeworth bid her stand still, and instantly returned by herself to the room where the gunpowder was; found the candle as the girl had described-put her hand carefully underneath it -carried it safely out, and when she got to the bottom of the stairs, dropped on her knees, and thanked God for their deliverance.'-Vol. i. pp. 10-14.

We have chosen this extract because, while it shews Mr. Edgeworth's style, it gives us occasion to observe on one or two points which will subsequently present themselves in the consideration of some particulars of his own life.

The first is, that Mr. Edgeworth's notion about the degrees of kindred between whom marriage may be contracted, seems very loose, as the only epithet he applies to this union of two persons who stood almost in the relation of brother and sister, and who had several brothers and sisters common to both, is, that it was inconsiderate. Perhaps Mr. Edgeworth was induced to quote this family failing, as a kind of hereditary justification of his own practice.

* We believe nothing of this abbreviation, as it is ridiculously called. Fir is as ancient a term as Fairy, which, we suspect, was unknown in Ireland when the mount was named


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