Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

Widow" of Southey, is said to have annihilated English Sapphics. Various attempts were formerly made to adapt classic metres to English ; not only Gabriel Harvey but Sir Philip Sydney tried to bring in hexameters. Beattie says the attempt was ridiculous, but since Longfellow's “Evangeline ” we look upon them with more favour, though they are not popular. Dr. Watts wrote a Sapphic ode on the “ Last Judgment,” which notwithstanding the solemnity of the subject, almost provokes a smile.

Frere was a man of great taste and humour. He wrote many amusing poems. Among his contributions, jointly with Canning and Ellis, to the “Anti-Jacobin,” is the “ Loves of the

Triangles,” and the scheme of a play called the “Double Arrangement,” a satire upon the immorality of the German plays then in vogue. Here a gentleman living with his wife and another lady, Matilda, and getting tired of the latter, releases her early lover, Rogero, who is imprisoned in an abbey. This unfortunate man, who has been eleven years a captive on account of his attachment to Matilda, is found in a living sepulchre. The scene shows a subterranean vault in the Abbey of Quedlinburgh, with coffins, scutcheons, death's heads and cross-bones ; while toads and other loathsome reptiles are seen traversing the obscurer parts of

[blocks in formation]

the stage. Rogero appears in chains, in a suit of rusty armour, with his beard grown, and a cap of grotesque form upon his head. He sings the following plaintive ditty :

“ Whene'er with baggard eyes I view

This dungeon that I'm rotting in,
I think of those companions true
Who studied with me at the U.

-niversity of Gottingen, .

-niversity of Gottingen. (Weeps and pulls out a blue kerchief with which he wipes his eyes; gazing tenderly at it he proceeds :) Sweet kerchief, checked with heavenly blue, Which once my love sat knotting in! Aias ! Matilda then was true! At least, I thought so at the U

-niversity of Gottingen,
-niversity of Gottingen.

(Clanks his chains.)
"Barbs ! barbs! alas ! how swift you flew,
Her neat post waggon trotting in,
Ye bore Matilda from my view;
Forlorn I languished in the U-

-niversity of Gottingen,

•niversity of Gottingen.
“ This faded form! this pallid hue!

This blood my veins is clotting in,
My years are many—they were few,
When first I entered at the U.

-niversity of Gottingen,

-niversity of Gottingen.
“There first for thee my passion grew,
Sweet! sweet Matilda Pottingen!
Thou wast the daughter of my tu-
•tor, law professor at the U.

-niversity of Gottingen,

-niversity of Gottingen.
“Sun, moon, and thou, vain world, adieu,

That kings and priests are plotting in;
Here doomed to starve on water gru-
-el, never shall I see the U.

-niversity of Gottingen,
-niversity of Gottingen.”

The idea of making humour by the division of words may have been original in this case, but it was conceived and adopted by Lucilius, the first Roman satirist.

The “Progress of Man,” by Canning and Hammond, is an ironical poem, deducing our origin and development according to the natural, and in opposition to the religious system. The argument proceeds in the following vein :“Let us a plainer, steadier theme pursue, Mark the grim savage scoop his light canoe, Mark the fell leopard through the forest prowl, Fish prey on fish, and fowl regale on fowl; How Lybian tigers' chawdrons love assails, And warms, midst seas of ice, the melting whales; Cools the crimpt cod, fierce pangs to perch imparts, Shrinks shrivelled shrimps, but opens oysters' hearts; Then say, how all these things together tend

To one great truth, prime object, and good end ? “First—to each living thing, whate'er its kind,

Some lot, some part, some station is assigned
The feathered race with pinions skim the air;
Not so the mackerel, and still less the bear. . . .
Ah! who has seen the mailed lobster rise,
Clap her broad wings, and soaring claim the skies?
When did the owl, descending from her bower,
Crop, midst the fleecy flocks the tender flower;
Or the young heifer plunge, with pliant limb,
In the salt wave, and fish-like strive to swim ?
The same with plants-potatoes 'tatoes breed-
Uncostly cabbage springs from cabbage seed,
Lettuce from lettuce, leeks to leeks succeed,
Nor e'er did cooling cucumbers presume
To flower like myrtle, or like violets bloom;
Man, only-rash, refined, presumptuous man,
Starts from his rank, and mars Creation's plan;
Born the free heir of Nature's wide domain,
To art's strict limits bonnds bis narrowed reign,
Resigns his native rights for meaner things,
For faith and fetters, laws, and priests, and kings."

The Anti-Jacobin Revicw.

149

The “ Anti-Jacobin” was continued under the name of the “ Anti-Jacobin Review," and in this modified form lasted for upwards of twenty years. It was mostly a journal of passing events, but there were a few attempts at humour in its pages.

150

CHAPTER X.

Wolcott-Writes against the Academicians—Tales of a

Hoy—“New Old Ballads”-“ The Sorrows of Sunday”— Ode to a Pretty Barmaid-Sheridan- Comic Situations“The Duenna”- Wits.

OLCOTT, a native of Devonshire,

was educated at Kingsbridge, and apprenticed to an apothecary. He soon discovered a genius for painting and poetry, and commenced to write about the middle of the last century as Peter Pindar. He composed many odes on a variety of humorous subjects, such as “The Lousiad,” “Ode to Ugliness,” “ The Young Fly and the Old Spider,” “Ode to a Handsome Widow," whom he apostrophises as “Daughter of Grief,” “Solomon and the Mouse-trap," “ Sir Joseph Banks and the Boiled Fleas,” “ Ode to my Ass,” “To my Candle,” “An Ode to Eight Cats kept by a Jew,” whom he styles, “Singers of Israel.” Lord Nelson's night-cap took fire as the poet was wearing it reading in bed, and he returned it to him with the words,

was

« ПредишнаНапред »