« AnteriorContinuar »
North. Shocking indeed. In conversation, the exchange should be at par. That is the grand secret. Nor should any Christian ever exceed the maximum of three consecutive sentences-except in an anecdote.
Tickler. O merciful heavens! my dear North—What eternal talkers most men are now-a-days-all at it in a party at once -each farthing candle anxious to shine forth with its own vile wavering wick-tremulously apprehensive of snuffers— and stinking away after expiration in the socket!
North. Bad enough in town, but worse, far worse, in country places.
Tickler. The surgeon! The dominie! The old minister's assistant and successor! The president of the Speculative Society! Two landscape-painters! The rejected contributor to Blackwood! The agricultural reporter of the county! The surveyor! Captain Campbell! The Laird, his son! The stranger gentleman on a tour! The lecturer on an orrery! The poet about to publish by subscription! The person from Pitkeathly! The man of the house himself-My God! his wife and daughters! and the widow, the widow! I can no more, the widow, the widow, the widow ! (Sinks back in his chair.)
North. I have heard Coleridge. That man is entitled to speak on till Doomsday—or rather the genius within himfor he is inspired. Wind him up, and away he goes, discoursing most excellent music—without a discord-full, ample, inexhaustible, serious and divine !
Tickler. Add him to my list and the band of instrumental music is complete.
North. What stuff is spoken about the oratory of pulpit and parliament !
Tickler. Brougham is a volcano—an eruption-a devouring flame-a storm-a whirlwind-a cataract-a torrent-a seathunder and earthquake. You might apply the same terms, with the same truth, to a Billingsgate fishwife.
North. Brougham's invective is formidable chiefly for its vulgarity. One hates, loaths, fears to be pelted with the mud and missiles of an infuriated demagogue-just as a gentleman declines the proffered combat with a carman, although conscious that in three rounds he would leave the ruffian senseless in the ring.
Tickler. That sometimes occurs—as in the case of Canning.
North. The straight hitting of the Foreign Secretary soon dorses your round-about hand-over-head millers, like Harry Brougham.
Tickler. Yet how that outrageous violence and fury, arms aloft, eyes agog, cheeks convulsed, and lips quivering, passes with the multitude for demonstration of strength and science !
North. Brougham never fights at points-he throws away his blows—and beyond all the other men, lays himself open to fatal punishment, although he has weight, length, and reach, and generally enters the ring in good condition, and after long and severe training, yet has he lost every battle. His backers are never confident-yet in a casual turn-up, it must be allowed that he is an ugly customer.
admirer of Brougham. He is unquestionably a man of great and versatile talents.
North. Yes—and to hear his lickspittles speak, you would think that a man of great and versatile talents was a miracle; whereas there are some thousands of them publicly acknowledged in England at this day. We hear of his wonderful literary talents—wherein exhibited ?
Tickler. The Edinburgh Review.
North. Very well-many able papers in the Edinburgh Review no doubt—which are his ? Let us suppose all of them, and that the trash is Jeffrey's, Smith's, Mackintosh's, &c.; are the best of those papers astounding, prodigious, miraculous, prophetic of the Millennium ? I read them without awe -my hair does not rise—my knees do not tremble—no cold sweat overspreads my aged frame. I read on-on-on-am pleased to see intuitively the fallacy of all he writes—and fall asleep with a calm conscience.
Tickler. He is a great mathematician.
North. So is his brother Billy, who was to have beaten Joshua King at Cambridge, and come forth from the Senatehouse senior Wrangler, with “ Incomparabilis" at his name. But on the day of trial he was found wanting—and showed himself no mathematician at all, although he too, it is said, writes his scientific articles in the Edinburgh Review. Yes! he is the Euclid of the Edinburgh.
Tickler. His Colonial Policy?
HIS INAUGURAL DISCOURSE.
North. Speeches in the Speculative Society, and trialessays for the Edinburgh Review—a foolish farrago—although on some subjects I prefer the ignorant sincerity of the boy there exhibited, to the instructed hypocrisy of the man in his late bellowings on Slavery and the Blacks.
Tickler. Then what say you to his Glasgow affair ? ?
North. Why, as to his Inaugural Discourse, it is far from being a bad performance, but stiff, pedantic, and cumbrous. It was written, he tells the world, on the Northern Circuit; and his childish sycophant in the Edinburgh Review opens his mouth to a dangerous extent at this wonder of wonders, braying, that “it sounds like monstrous and shocking exaggeration, or fabulous invention."
Tickler. The short and the long of it is, then, that, when inquired into, Henry Brougham's literary and scientific pretensions sink into absolute nothingness, and that there are at this moment at least fifty thousand men in England equal to this prodigy in all the attainments of scholarship, and certainly not fewer than ten thousand his superior, incomparably, both in argument and capacity ?
North. Doubtless, Tickler,-add his Bar practice and Parliamentary howling, and still he can be accounted for without the aid of “fabulous invention."
Tickler. He is a first-rate fellow in his way, and that I can say, without "monstrous or shocking exaggeration." But his stature does not reach the sky, although his head is frequently in the clouds. Copley is his master.
North. That is a capital article on the Drama in the last number of Maga. It cuts up your dogmata, in your sprightly review of Doubleday's Babington, with civility and discretion.
Tickler. Indeed! What I asserted in my sprightly review of Doubleday's Babington was simply this, that it was easier for a man of great poetical genius to write dramatic poetry than any
other kind. In the course of my very sprightly review I remarked, that “with a powerful intellect, a vivid imagination, and a keen insight into human nature, particularly into its passions, where is the prodigious difficulty of writing a good tragedy?”
North. Why, I confess I see none. · Henry Brougham was Lord-Rector of the University of Glasgow in 1824. 2 Afterwards Lord Lyndhurst.
HOW SOON EVERYTHING IS FORGOTTEN.
Tickler. But hear our friend.—“To this I answer, None whatever; and when we shall find first-rate intellect, imagination, and knowledge of human passion combined, we shall have found the true writer of tragedy, and the true Phoenix besides.”
North. And what say you in reply?
Tickler. I say, that I cannot but wonder at such a sentence from so clever a correspondent. Why, are not all great poets that ever existed such men as I have described ? There was no description of a Phoenix, but of any one of some hundreds, or perhaps thousands, or tens of thousands of men and Christians. I did not argue the question at any great length; but I made out my point unanswerably, that epic poetry (for example) was more difficult than dramatic,—and that
North. Come, come-nobody remembers one single word that either of you have said upon that, or any other subject. It is pleasant to know how immediately everything said or done in this world is forgotten. Murder a novel, or a man, or a poem, or a child—forge powers of attorney without cessation during the prime of life, till old maids beyond all computation have been sold unsuspectingly out of the stocks in every country village in England—for a lustre furnish Balaam to a London magazine, at thirty shillings per bray - in short, let any man commit any enormity, and it is forgotten before the first of the month! Who remembers anything but the bare names—and these indistinctly—of Thurtell, and Hunt, and Fauntleroy, and Hazlitt, and Tims, and Soames, and Southeran. Soap-bubbles all-blown, burst, vanished, and forgotten.
Tickler. Why, you might almost venture to republish Maga herself in numbers, under the smirk of a New Series. I know a worthy and able minister of our church, who has been preaching (and long may he preach it) the self-same sermon for upwards of forty years. About the 1802 I began to suspect him; but having then sat below him only for some dozen years or so, I could not, of course, in a matter of so much delicacy, dare trust to my very imperfect memory. During the Whig ministry of 1806, my attention was strongly riveted to the practical illustrations," and I could have sworn to the last twenty minutes of his discourse, as to the voice of a friend familiar in early youth. About the time your Magazine first dawned on the world, my belief of its identity extended
SOUTHEY'S TALE OF PARAGUAY.
to the whole discourse; and the good old man himself, in the delight of his heart, confessed to me the truth a few Sabbaths after the Chaldee.
North. Come, now, tell me truth, have you ever palmed off any part of it upon me in the shape of an article ?
Tickler. Never, 'pon honour; but you shall get the whole of it some day, as a Number One; for, now that he has got an assistant and successor, the sermon is seldom employed, and he has bequeathed it me in a codicil to his will.
North. Tickler, you think yourself a good reader—there is Southey's new poem, " The Tale of Paraguay.” Spout.
Tickler. I read well-although hardly a John Kemble or a James Ballantyne. I do not read according to rules, but I follow my feelings, and they never mislead me. Accordingly, I never read the same composition in the same way, yet each way is the right one. But judge for yourself
.. Give me Southey.
(Rises and reads.)
“ He was a man of rarest qualities,
“ It was his evil fortune to behold
A faithful chronicler, in handing down
And, thus when exiled from the dear-loved scene,