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is to be taken in the acceptation of merely intends to sii conservat (cavit); so that the transla
**j «f l*t irarxir—ARISTOril.
"Every lover of literature will therefore be pleased to learn, that he has been employed, from a due regard to after fame, in collecting his numerous and elegant essays from the various works through which they were originally scattered, and that the present volume was lately published as the first of a series intended to answer this highly desirable end. It is principally composed of essays formerly published in the " Bee," a periodical work which was largely honoured with his lordship's contributions; for, as he informs us, page 7th, with that "curiosa felicitas' so peculiarly his own, " I highly esteem the industry of the Bee, and fill its combs with honey, and provide for the winter." The carping spirit of modern criticism might perhaps object to the title of the work, as seeming to indicate that the noble author was ranked in the Irish Peerage, without reflecting that it only displays the characteristic obscurity indulged in by genius, and
, that, in their original form, when we are told they were "carried on the thighs of the busy Bee to the uttermost limits of the rational world," they appeared anonymous. Even in this point of view doubts might be entertained of the strict propriety of the epithet, as the many delicate and modest allusions all the papers contain, must have led their readers to conclude that " Albanicus" was at least a wondrous intimate friend of the Head of the House of Buchan.
This circumstance, however, we look upon, for our part, as adding in the highest degree to the interest and value of the work. How often has it been a subject of regret, that men of the greatest genius and celebrity have given after-times so slight an opportunity of judging, from their writings, of their private life, and don't sue habits and affections. Here the case is happily different; we not only behold the philosopher, but know the man; and this volume must alone prove a rich legacy to posterity, hom exhibiting so many original traits of character, and holding up such an admirable picture of the noble author's studies and pursuits in retirement. An enthusiastic admirer of nature, he always charms us with the glow of his descriptions; the scenery of the Tweed is brought before our eyes in language that never savours of the puerile, the frigid, or the bombast; and his own lofty feelings and aspirations are painted in colours that admirably correspond to their originality and sublimity. The dewy gaits of the spring, or the solemn silence of the midnight hour, never fail to wake him into rapture. How peculiarly grand is the following burst!
"I can pour out my complaints to the roaring streams, and my voice shall not be heard. I can woo the zephyrs with the praises of vernal and syivan beauty, and they shall waft the harmks» theme to the remotest corners of the earth." Page 73.
The last idea, indeed, being almost too magnificent for the comprehension of a common mind. But how beautifully interesting is the description that immediately follows in the prosecution of his morning walk. "The breakfast smoke of the village was rising in spir> volumes to the clouds;" when, besides the reps of the landscape, we have the rural image introduced by a single word of the cottage children, happy at their plenteous meal, and the father ploughman thankfully despatching his six pounds of porridge, which is stated in the statistical accounts of that part of the country, to be the regular mess with which these hardy rustics break their fast.
We must return, however, more particularly, to the/contents of the volume, as we feel ourselves apt to be led away, perhaps, from indulging in that kindred sublimity, which Longinus says the sublime always infuses into the mind of the reader. We would therefore remark the peculiar delight we experienced from the classical composition of the " Letters in imitation of the Ancients," which occupy a considerable portion of this volume. They principally consist of descriptions of the scenery of Dryburgh, its gainful " pomaria," and the occupations of its right honourable proprietor. With what classical dignity and simplicity is this beautiful seat at once introduced in the epistle •f Albanicus to his friend Hortus.
"You have no doubt frequently looked down on my humble residence between the 36th and 37th mile-stones, on the road to Jedburgh."
The sentimental reader would perhaps be more delighted with the highly natural description of the shepherd in the leafy shade, playing to the graceful Amaryllis by his side, or the midnight wavings of " the solitary yewf but we prefer the following passage, as his lordship seems to write more "con amore," when he turns to the prospect of a goodly pear-tree, of which he thus informs his Roman friend in the Ciceronian style.
"A pear-tree in my orchard produced last year a crop that sold for seven guineas; and so favourable is the situation in every respect to orchards, that I have planted one with my own hands, from which, if a live a dozen of years, I may be able to brew a considerable quantity of cider, after supplying the neighbourhood with dumpling fruit to qualify their bacon," Arc Page 98.
The master spirits of this age do not meet with the greatest share of popular applause. The glorious Excursion of Wordsworth has never seen a second edition,—and the volume of Anonymous Essays, by the Earl of Buchan, has shared the same unmerited neglect. We are therefore happy to find this prosperous account of his
lordship's labours, since we much doubt if the fruits of his genius will ever enrich him so much as the profits arising from the sale of the fruits of his orchards—the fine gooseberries and "dumpling fruit" that ripen on the sunny slopes of Dryburgh.
His lordship's praises of the beauty and fertility of this lovely spot, however profuse or loftily expressed, are not in reality the least exaggerated. It certainly exhibits a singular combination of the richest beauties of nature with the noblest relics of ancient grandeur; in a word, the lofty lines of Lord Byron most happily characterise it. "There rtieflowers ever blossom—the beams
ever shine, And all, save the spirit of man, is divine."
The aid of art, too, has not been awanting. As a specimen of his taste in this way, and as an appropriate accompaniment to the volume, the titlepage has been adorned with an engraving of the Temple of the Muses lately erected by this classical peer. That it might nave nothing of an anonymous appearance, he has placed, we believe, above each of the pillars, the name of one of the tuneful nine in large golden letters, that form an elegant decoration to the red freestone on which they are pasted. The plate also represents a figure, which we take to be his lordship, in a reclining attitude against one of the pillars, meditating lofty song, and thus literally invoking the " UmMt 'Ayumn' of the ancient poets.
Besides some biographical sketches, and other miscellaneous articles, the papers on Female Education hold a conspicuous place in the volume of which we have endeavoured this imperfect account. We would particularly recommend them to all whose task it is "to teach the young idea how to shoot." We traced, with great delight, the progress of mind in his imaginary pupil, Alathea, and his mode of conveying instruction. What can be better than the manner in which he gives her an idea of a great first cause? She had observed the ingenuity of her father as he amused himself with a turning-lathe; and being one night struck with some little trays of his manufacture, the sagacious young lady ventured to ask—
"« My dear papa, will you tell me who turned the moon r ' Yes, Alathea. I Cm til you that at once, it was the great papa of the whole world that turned the moon, —he turned every thing in a lathe of his own to answer the good purposes of his children and creatures; and we are all his children and creatures, men, women, children, horses, cows, sheep, and dogs, &c &c' Alathea leaps upon my knee, kisses me again and again, and, laughing in tears, cries out, * O mamma! this is charming. Then papa is my brother, and you are my sister; and my grandpapa made the moon, and every thing else.'" Pages 42 and 43.
This is beautifully naif and simple, and, at the same time, admirably calculated to impress the youthful mind. We can easily conceive, that any little roaster or miss, after reading this passage, would next as naturally ask—" And pray, my dear papa, what turned Lord Buchan s head?
We would have wished to extend our extracts to greater length, and could have gratified our readers with numberless others equally edifying, had our limits permitted; but we roust defer all further criticism till the happy period when the remaining volumes of this great work shall appear. In the mean time, we would refer all our readers, who desire more intimate acquaintance with his lordship's writings, to the admirable portion of it already before the public. It is to be had, we believe, at the colossal statue of Sir William Wallace, erected on the hill above Dryburgh by the patriotic earl, who, by a metamorphosis even still more strange than that of the fair Miss Porter, has converted the warrior into a bookseller, and now makes him the means of disseminating taste and learning over the land he formerly saved by his prowess.
IN MY YOUNGER DAYS.
"We have heard of the golden and silver age, and have seen a little of the iron age." When I happened to make this observation (trite enough I allow), a friend of mine remarked, that in his apprehension no appellation was more appropriate to the present times than the Selfish Age; and truly, upon consideration, I am very much inclined to be of my friend's opinion.
That the propensities of human nature, in the main, have undergone any
material change in the course of the last century, I am not prepared to maintain, but it certainly appears to me, that a much more disgusting attention to self predominates at present, than existed, or at least was exhibited, forty or fifty years ago,—not only in matters directly connected with money, but in the intercourse and in dulgencies of life in general, of which I shall content myself with noticing only two or three slight instances.
In my younger days (pray do not write me down Laudator temporis acti) some sort of generosity was practised between man and man. In those days there actually were people who would have put themselves to some personal inconvenience to oblige a friend or neighbour, but now every thing, however trifling, proceeds by way of bargain and sale, and with a quick eye to the quid pro quo.
In my younger days, any one who pretended to write gentleman after his name, would have been considered « very shabby fellow had he resorted to the present fashion of selling a terrier, a pointer, or a greyhound, to a friend who happened to want one of these animals; and then, it was more common to send a basket of fruit to a neighbour in the country, as a present, than to a fruit-shop in town for sale. But in our days of economy, the produce of the kennel, and the gardens, even to the little superfluity of flowers, seems destined to augment the family supplies in the same way with the ox-stall or the farm-yard. Indeed I understand that a well-fed puppy is reckoned a toothsome article by some people, and a sort of dainty that frequently supersedes the necessity of purveying a more costly cntremet or remove—But this by the way.
Under the present system, if one happen to ask a friend for leave to sport over his grounds, whether moor or dale, the request is received, and contemplated pretty much in the same manner, as if you had asked leave to kiss his wife during the honeymoon ; that is to say, if he has power to grant the favour;—but it now frequently happens, that gentlemen let their game, as well as their farms, to the best bidder (by-and-by they may let their wives also), only reserving a right for the supply of their own occasions; and when such is the case, "their sorrow is inexpressible at not being able to accommodate a friend with a day's sport." This is a refuge far exceeding the hackneyed pretence of a jubilee, that father of many lies. Now, sir, this fashion of letting game would also have been reckoned a very shabby thing in my younger days. But it is quite unnecessary to multiply instances of the reigning regard to what is vulgarly called the main chance. Those I have already referred to must be obvious, and familiar to every one; and there is no person whose own experience and reflection will not furnish forth many more.
From this display of economy in such matters, one would almost conclude that the same spirit pervaded the whole menage, and that our country gentlemen were wallowing in wealth, and proud in independence, at least that they were enabled to live with greater comfort at home, and to appear with more splendour abroad, than it was in the power of their progenitors to enjoy and exhibit in my younger days.
I am much afraid, however, that any one venturing on such a conclusion, would find that he had reckoned without his host, and that there is neither so much real comfort within doors, nor so much dignity displayed without, as in the days that have gone by. Then, when one went to visit a friend in the country, although the courses at dinner were not so numerous, yet the fare was equally abundant, and to the full as savoury; and although there was not the same endless, and I must say teasing, variety of shilpit wines produced, a good many more bottles of substantial claret were put upon the table, fully atoning for the absence of their more feckless and fashionable brethren. Then, gentlemen of two thousand a-year drove four good cattle in their carriage, attended by a brace of outriders "armed for war complete;" but now very few commoners in Scotland drive more than a pair of horses, and the poor animals are so loaded with dickies before, and barouche-seats behind the vehicle, that it looks more like a first rate Newcastle waggon than a gentleman's equipage. I actually saw a baronet of my acquaintance get under way at Cheltenham, for his seat in the north of Scotland, with a cargo of thirteen souls stowed away in, and on, his coach, viz.
2 on the dickie before.
Item, 3 in the barouche-scat behind.
Item, 7 sitters, or rather, squeezers, w the inside.
Item, 1 young gentleman, 4 months old, pendant in slings from the top of the carriage.
13 grand total.
Yet, Mr Editor, these wonderful efforts of, or rather at, economy, seem to answer no proportionate end. In my younger days, country gentlemen, with few exceptions, made I shift to continue in the management of their own affairs during life; but now the prevailing fashion, or rather passion, is to get Trusteed with all possible expedition ;—a landlord, whose estate is not at nurse, is as great a show as ll live author was in my younger days, previous to our being afflicted with the writing typhus; and a country gentleman selects for the nonce a few of his friends, assisted by the disinterested labours of a city and a country-writer, who underlie all the trouble of managing his affairs at an expense not much exceeding that of a stud of running horses, and a crack pack of fox-hounds. From this arrangement, one evident advantage results, viz. that the trusteed, from employing these legal characters, these aucupii, secures all the pleasure, as well as the profit, arising from the sport, entirely to himself—no mean consideration in this selfish age.
In my humble opinion, six or seven years may be considered a reasonable allowance of time for a man of middling fortune to " outrun the constable;" but a man of very large estate will probably accomplish the object much sooner, especially if the lady of the mansion be a woman of business, who starts at six o'clock in the morning, and piques herself on being a notable. In that case I have known the object very decently achieved in about half the time.
It invariably happens, that the progress of incumbrance, as observed above, advances with increased rapidity in proportion to the largeness of the estate, a circumstance doubtless arising from the proprietor being sensible of the necessity of using despatch, when so great a mass of business lies before him; and if his pecuniary difficulties happened to be great, previous to his succession, the greater seems to» be the impulse to hasten the return of similar embarrassments,—a prepossession for which I confess myself unable to account satisfactorily, unless by admitting the force of habit, which we all know " is prodigious and unaccountable."
Should you, Mr Editor, consider this sketch worthy of appearing in print, it may, however slight, afford a cud for rumination to some of your readers, and may perhaps induce me, in a future Number, to consider, a little more at large, a subject which I have only touched Skin Deep.
COCKNEY SCHOOL OF POETRY.
• OF KEATS,
THE MUSES' SON OF PROMISE, AND WHAT FEATS
He Yet May Do, &c.
Of all the manias of this mail age, the most incurable, as well as the most common, seems to be no other than the Metromanie. The just celebrity of Robert Burns and Miss Baillie has had the melancholy effect of turning the heads of we know not how many farm-servants and unmarried ladies; our very footmen compose tragedies, and there is scarcely a superannuated governess in the island that does not leave a roll of lyrics behind her in her band-box. To witness the disease of any human understanding, however feeble, is distressing ; but the spectacle of an able mind reduced to a state of insanity is of course ten times more afflicting. It is with such sorrow as this that we have contemplated the case of Mr John Keats. This young man appears to have received from nature talents of an excellent, perhaps even of a superior order—talents which, devoted to the purposes of any useful profession, must have rendered him a respectable, if not an eminent citizen. His friends, we understand, destined him to the career of medicine, and he was bound apprentice some years ago to a worthy apothecary in town. But all has been undone by a sudden attack of the malady to which we have alluded. Whether Mr John had been sent home with a diuretic or composVol. III.
ing draught to some patient far gone
"What though, for shewing truth to flat-