Графични страници
PDF файл


But the most intolerable of all nuisances, (next to being near a table all spread over with the new reviews, magazines, music, and poems, at a blue-stocking lady's evening-party,) is to be placed at dinner near a Bore who has a forty-goose power of gabbling about literary matters. Such a Bore shortens your life by remarks which you can scarcely support even with the aid of green glasses and hock-and still less when you are suffering under the double infliction of ennui and green-tea. He will tell you that Gifford was the author of the Baviad and Mæviad, and was moreover the editor of the Quarterly Review,--and that Mr. Campbell, who wrote the Pleasures of Hope and Gertrude of Wyoming, is the presiding genius of the New Monthly Magazine. He assures you (whatever you may hear to the contrary) that Lord Byron really wrote Don Juan : and though he thinks it a great pity that the Memoirs should have been destroyed, he consoles himself with the reflection that they will certainly some day or other be printed by Galignani, at Paris. He is convinced that Scott is the author of Waverley, &c. though he has seen part of a letter from that illustrious person to Miss Edgeworth, in which he denies it However he puts little faith in this evidence against the Baronet; for this particular part of the letter happened to be covered by the seal: and it is quite uncertain whether the word not ever stood in that place. The words were- - I certainly

-the author of these Novels.'-Now, as the Bore ingeniously argues—if the word not be supplied, this sentence contains an unquestionable disavowal of the Novels on the part of Sir Walter Scott. But as some people, he adds, have a strange habit of leaving a blank space for the seal, it is probable that in this case Scott, led away by custom, had followed the way of this wicked generation. He thinks it odd that both Scott and Byron should be lame,-although it is just as singular that they should both have had noses. Their lameness, he facetiously adds, never made their verses halt in the feet. He will inform you that Barry Cornwall and Geoffrey Crayon are fictitious names ;—and that the Tales of a Traveller are now-adays in no great danger of being believed-particularly the Ghost-stories. He asks you slily if you know who Tom Brown is that wrote the Twopenny Post-bag and Fudge Family, and tells you that the author is a cunning fellow to have concealed himself so long and so well under that name. He piques himself upon knowing how much money every author gets for every new book-but is of course always wrong. I have heard a Bore of this description maintain to a certain Author's face that 15001. and not 12001. were given for his last work: but the Author, with the modesty peculiar to his tribe, assured the Bore that he spoke rather from a knowledge of the VALUE than the PRICE of his book.

The Bore reads the new poems before they come out, and under the pretence of giving you their beauties, he misquotes the very worst passages,not yet having the Reviews to guide him in his selection. He is acquainted with all the Editors of all the Newspapers, and misapplies all their misinformation. He promises to tell you something new, and spoils all Jekyll's and Luttrell's best known puns in repeating them. He gives you some of his own bad jokes as the inventions of these eminent punning persons. If you praise the French mode of making coffee, he will cruelly rejoin—' Ah! I have grounds for believing that ours is not so good,--as my friend Sam Rogers said the other day.' He says with a mysterious air and sotto voce that Campbell is writing a new poem, to be published in quarto,--that he has read part of it, and that the scene is either in Europe, Asia, Africa,

or America, he is not quite sure which. He is particularly fond of preserving autographs of celebrated persons; all of which he thinks characteristic of the genius of the writer. He thinks Lord Byron's MSS. decidedly of a misanthropic cast, and in the true pococurante style, as if the noble Baron did not much care whether his letters were readable or not. He preserves as a valuable curiosity a note from Mr. Campbell, in which the celebrated author of Hohenlinden, &c. informs him that a sonnet of his to that unheard-of lady, the Moon, is decidedly rejected as a contribution to the New Monthly, as well as every thing that he would in future write. But I shall say no more in this place about the Literary Bore, lest I should be supposed to be myself the great Sublime I have been drawing.

[This paper, which, our correspondent informs us, has been printed in the only number of an obscure periodical ever published, seems to have been the origin of the long chapter on Bores in the Janus; or Edinburgh Literary Almanack].


O Fortune! Long years have I borne uncomplaining

The scorn-wrinkled frown of thy fool-loving brow ;-
Seen each hope sink beneath it,-each fair prospect waning,

But ne'er cursed thee in anguish of spirit till now!

I had hopes (who has not !) that thy hated dominion

Would release me, at length, from its heart-chilling blight;
They were vain! Though the brush of thy earth-sweeping pinion

Oft hath checked-it hath never assisted my flight!

Whilst things, garmented like me in vestments of clay,

Sons of meanness and mud, thou couldst lift to thy heaven;
For that they basely quailed to thy time-serving sway

For the sake of the boon thou couldst give,--and hast given !

Let them bask in thy day-beam, I envy them not ;

Like the reptiles of Nile, were they sunned into birth;
Can the source of their splendour be ever forgot?

Can the slime of the land turn to wisdom and worth ?

None can deem me of such :-tho’thou wouldst not allow me

To share in the smiles that seemed common to all ;
To the idols of interest, tly power could not bow me,

Enchain my proud soul,--my firm purpose enthrall !

Yet I've prayed in my heart, with a miser's fond craving,

For the gifts in themselves I but scorned and despised :-
They may come-but'twill be when they're not worth the having !

The time is gone by when they might have been prized.

All pitiless demon! The die is now cast!

I can brave thy worst malice, and curse thee aloud;
My one deep thought of bliss thou hast breathed on-to blast;

The lone hope of my soul thou hast stirred but to cloud!



On the banks of the sonorous river Tsampu, whose thundering cataracts refresh the burning soil, and sometimes shake the mighty mountains that divide Thibet from the empire of Mogul, lived a wealthy and esteemed Lama, whose lands were tributary to the supreme Lama, or sacerdotal emperor, the governor of the whole country, from China to the pathless desert of Cobi. But although his flocks and herds were scattered over a hundred hills, and the number of his slaves exceeded the stars in heaven, yet was he chiefly known throughout all the East as the father of the beautiful Zerinda. All the anxiety that Lama Zarin had ever experienced arose from the conviction that he must soon leave his beloved daughter; and the question was always present to his mind, ‘who will guard her innocence when I shall have quitted her for ever?' The Lama was at this time afflicted with a dreadful malady, peculiar to the inhabitants of the country in which he resided, which threatened, in spite of all that medicine could do, to put a speedy period to his existence.

One day, after an unusually severe attack of his disorder, he sent for the fair Zerinda, and gently motioning her to approach his couch, thus addressed her :- Daughter of my hopes and fears, heaven grant that thou mayest smile for ever; yet whilst my soul confesses its delight in gazing on thee, attend to the last injunctions of thy dying father : The angel of death, who admonishes and warns the faithful in the hour of sickness before he strikes the fatal blow, has summoned me to join thy sainted mother, who died in giving birth to thee. Yet let me not depart to the fearful land of death, and leave my daughter unprotected. Oh! my Zerinda, speak! Hast thou ever seriously reflected on the dangers to which thy orphan state must shortly be exposed, surrrounded as thou wilt be by suitors of various dispositions and pretensions; some wooing, with mercenary cunning, thy possessions through thy person ; others haughtily demanding both, and threatening a helpless heiress with their powerful love ?' He then reminded his daughter that he had lately presented her with the portraits of several princes who had solicited an union with his house, which they had sent to her according to the custom of Thibet, where the parties can never behold each other till they are married; proceeded to give a brief outline of their various characters; and concluded by asking her which of all these mighty suitors she thought she should prefer? Zerinda sighed, but answered not. Lama Zarin desired her to withdraw, compare their several portraits, and endeavour to decide on which of the Lamas she could bestow her love. At the word LOVE Zerinda blushed, though she knew not why ;-her father, who saw the crimson on her cheek, but attributed it to timidity, again urged her to withdraw, and be speedy in her decision. Zerinda replied with a smile- 'My father knows that he is the only man I ever saw, and I think the only being I can ever love; at least my love will ever be confined to those objects which delight or benefit the author of my being;' and turning round, she continued, playfully, “I love this favourite dog which my father so frequently caresses ; I loved the favourite horse on which my father rode, until he stumbled, and endangered his master's life ; but when the tiger had dragged my father to the ground, and he was delivered by his trusty slave, I LOVED Ackbar; and


since my father daily acknowledges that he saved his life, I love Ackbar still.' Zarin heard her artless confession with a smile, but reminded her that Ackbar was a slave. · But which of those Lamas who now demand my love has created an interest in my heart by services rendered to thee like those of the slave Ackbar? And yet I have not seen either his person or his picture; nor know I whether he be old or young—but I know that he saved the life of Lama Zarin, and therefore do I LOVE Ackbar. The old Lama gently reproved his child for her freedom of expression; he explained to her that love was impious, according to the laws of Thibet, between persons of different ranks in society. Zerinda left her father, and as she stroked her favourite dog a tear trembled in her eye, from the apprehension that she might possibly be guilty of impiety.

About this time the slave Ackbar, who for his services had been advanced from the chief of the shepherds to be chief of the household, had an audience of his master; observing him to be unusually dejected, he declared that he himself had acquired some knowledge of medicine, and humbly begged permission to try his skill in a case in which every other attempt had proved unsuccessful. The Lama heard his proposal with a mixture of pleasure and contempt. The slave, nothing daunted by the apparent credulity of his master, proceeded— May Lama Zarin live for ever !—I boast no secret antidote, no mystic charm, to work a sudden miracle; but I have been taught in Europe the gradual effects of alterative medicines; 'tis from them alone that I hope to gain at length a complete victory over your disease; and if in seven days' time the smallest change encourages me to persevere, I will then boldly look forward, and either die or conquer.' Lama Zarin assented, and from that day became the patient of Ackbar, whose new appointment of physician to the Lama, gave him a right to remain always in his master's presence, save when the beautiful Zerinda paid her daily visit to her father, at which times he was invariably directed to withdraw,

The first week had scarcely elapsed, when the Lama was convinced that his disease was giving way to the medicines of his favourite; his paroxysms indeed returned, but grew every day shorter in duration; and in proportion as Ackbar became less necessary in his capacity of physician, his company was so much the more courted by Zarin as an associate. He possessed a lively imagination, and had improved his naturally good understanding by travel in distant countries. Thus his conversation often turned on subjects which were quite new to his delighted master. They talked of the laws, religion, and customs, of foreign nations, comparing them with those of Thibet; and by degrees the slave became the friend and almost the equal of the Lama. Amongst other topics .of discourse, the latter would frequently enumerate the virtues and endowments of his beloved daughter, whilst Ackbar listened with an interest and delight for which he was quite at a loss to account. On the other hand, the Lama, in the fulness of his gratitude, could not avoid speaking of the wonderful skill and knowledge displayed by the slave, nor forbear relating to Zerinda the substance of the various conversations which had passed between them.

It happened one day, when he had been repeating to his daughter the account which the physician had given him of European manners, that Zerinda blushed and sighed : her father entreated to know the cause of her emotion, when she confessed that he had so often mentioned the extraordinary acquirements of this young slave, that she could think of nothing else ; and that in her dreams she saw him, and fancied he was a Lama

[ocr errors]

worthy of her love; then turning to her father, she asked, “Oh, Lama, tell me, can my sleep be impious ?' Zarin beheld her with emotion, and told her that she must think of him no more. I will endeavour to obey,' she replied, “ but I shall dream, and sleep will impiously restore the thoughts which I will strive to banish during the day.'

The Lama dreading the effects of the passion which he had himself kindled in his daughter's breast, resolved never again to mention in her presence the name of Ackbar; but this resolution was formed too late : love of the purest kind had taken possession of the maiden's heart, and whilst she struggled to obey her father, her sunken eye, and wasted form, proclaimed the strife of feeling in her breast.

It was impossible for Lama Zarin to conceal from his physician the sickness of Zerinda; and whilst he confessed alarm for his daughter's life, he plainly saw that he had too often described that daughter to his favourite; he saw, too, that which it was impossible for Ackbar to conceal; that he had been the fatal cause of a mutual passion between two lovers who had never seen, and but for him, would never have heard of each other. Thus circumstanced (even if the laws of Thibet had permitted the visits of a male physician) prudence would have forbidden his employing the only skill in which he now had confidence; but Zerinda, whose disease was occasionally attended by delirium, would call upon the name of Ackbar, and add, he saved the life of my father, and he only can save that of the dying Zerinda.'

Overcome by his daughter's agony, the afflicted father inwardly cursed the cruel laws of Thibet, and assured her that she should see the physician Ackbar. Zerinda listened with extasy to the voice of Zarin; and knowing that that which a Lama promises must ever be performed, the assurance fell like balsam upon her heart; but the Lama had not fixed the period when his sacred promise should be fulfilled, nor could he be provailed on to do so till he had retired and weighed the consequences of what had fallen from his lips. The oftener he revolved the subject in his mind, the more the difficulties appeared to diminish, till at length he resolved to disregard the slavish prejudices and customs of his country.

Elated by the prospect of being enabled to secure the future happiness of two individuals so deservedly dear to him, he determined to ask the sanction of that higher power to which all the Lamas of Thibet are subject. He, accordingly, lost no time in despatching messengers to the grand Lama who resided at Tonker, and with whom his influence was so great that he had sanguine hopes of obtaining whatever he might request, even though the boon craved should be contrary to the existing laws of the country; and being unable to conceal the joy he felt at the consummation of happiness which awaited the lovers, he communicated to Ackbar the plan of future bliss which he had formed for him, and raised in the breast of the physician a transport of hope which neither his love nor his ambition had ever before dared to cherish. To Zerinda he promised that she should be withheld the sight of her lover but one week longer, or till the messenger should return from the great Lama at Tonker !

From this time the physician was no longer necessary; but the week appeared an age to the expecting hearts of Ackbar and the beautiful Zerinda.

Seven days having at length expired, the messenger arrived from Tonker with the following reply :— The most Sacred Sultan the Sovereign Lama, who enjoys the life for ever, and at whose nod a thousand Princes

« ПредишнаНапред »