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was not to keep me alone, but that she would find out some more of her neighbours, whom I should serve in conjunction with her, and who all together would pay me the salary she had promised me, but that, in the mean time, she would pay me i. part. And then, asking me if I had a bed, and being told I had not, Very well, (said she) my husband is a taylor, and you may creep in with the boys; neither could you have found a better place in all the town, for before three days be at an : you shall have six other mistresses, who will give you a blanc a y. “I was strangely surprized at the state of this taylor's wife, who behaved herself as if she had been some lady of distinction, or, at least, a rich citizen's wife; and what did yet further surprize me was, that from seven mistresses I was to serve, I should earn but eight or nine poor blancs a day. Yet I considered this was better than nothing, and especially since it was not a laborious trade, which I ever hated like the devil, choosing always rather to eat cabbage and garlick without working, than partridges and capons with any labour. “As soon as we came home, she gave me her veil and her pattens to give to the maid; and then I saw what I desired, her face, that was not ugly, being of a pleasant countenance, a brown complexion, and good shape; the only thing about her that displeased me was the paint, which made her skin shine as if it had been the varnishing of a box. Then giving me her blanc, she bid me attend her twice a day, to see if she would go abroad, viz. at eleven in the morning, and three in the afternoon. I went strait to a pastry-shop, where I soon laid out my money, passing away the remainder of the day very poorly, having before consumed all I had got in alms, and not daring to beg any more, lest it should come to my mistress's knowledge. “At three o'clock I returned to wait upon her ladyship, who told me she would not go abroad, and informed me that she would pay me only on such days as she went out, and that if she went but once, she would give me but one half of my salary; adding further, that since she gave me a bed, I ought to prefer her to all my other mistresses, and stile myself in particular her servant, which the bed well deserved, and much more. This fine bed was nothing else but the working table, upon which I lay with her husband's apprentices, having nothing to cover us but an old rotten blanket, and that in a little time was torn i. twenty pieces, by pulling and hauling to see which of us should We 1:. “Two days I passed over in such misery as may easily be imagined I should with four deniers a day; when a tanner's wife entered into the society, and was above an hour in agreeing with me for four deniers more: so that, in short, in five days I had seven mistresses, and six or seven blancs a day. Then I began to eat most splendidly, and to drink none of the worst, tho' none of the dearest, that I might not cut my cloak larger than my cloth. “The five other mistresses were, the widow of a bailiff's follower, a gardener's wife, another that pretended to be cousin to a Carmelite monk, and a tripe-woman, the last of whom I liked better than all the rest, because, when she gave me my blanc, she never failed to add
some bit or other for the belly, nor did I ever leave her house without three or four porringers of good porridge in my stomach; and thus 1 led a life so much to my liking, that 1 pray God I may never lead a worse.
"As for the devout hypocrite, I had more trouble with her than all the rest, because she was continually visiting, but not continually in contemplation.
"In all my life-time, I never saw a greater hypocrite than that woman, who, when in the street, never took her eyes off the ground, nor let her beads be out of her hands, but was always muttering over prayers, so that every one that saw her desired her to pray for them, believing certainly that God Almighty would hear her. Her reply used to be, that she was a great sinner; in which she did not lye, but cozened the world with a sad and serious truth.
"Every one of them walked in the street as if she had been the president of Castile's lady, nor could any body have taken them, by their mien, for less than judges' wives at least.
"It happened one day, that the Carmelite's kinswoman and the catchpole's widow meeting together in the same church, and being both to return home at the same time, there arose in the middle of the church a furious quarrel between them, which of the two I should first attend, and with so much rage did they pull me and haul me, that they tore my cloak in pieces, under which appeared a nasty shirt, as full of holes as a fishing net; and the people seeing my skin through it, began to banter poor Lazarillo, while the rest were diverted by my two mistresses, who were tearing their great grand-fathers out of their graves. For my part, I was so busy in taking up the pieces of my cloak, that I could not listen to the compliments of either, only I heard the widow cry out, Where the devil has this baggage got all this pride, that was but yesterday a tankard-wench; and now she ruffles it in her silks, at the expence of the poor souls in pnrgatory !—How now, Mrs. Wagtail! reply'd the other; what means this noise with you, to strut it out so proudly with what you earn of those that owe all their gettings to a God reward you? Why, sure there must be a little difference still between the shepherd and his bitch!
"When I had got up the pieces of my cloak, and patched it together as well as I could, with the assistance of some pins I begged of an old pater-noster mumbler that was busy at her prayers, after the by-standers had parted their claws from one another's hair, I left them brawling in the church, and went to pay attendance on my mistress, the taylor's wife, who had ordered me to wait upon her about eleven o'clock, because she was to go abroad to dinner. As soon as she saw me in that pickle, she began chiding me at a most unmerciful rate. What's the meaning of this? (said she.) Do you think to earn my money by coming to attend me like a beggar? For smaller wages than I give you, I could have a gentleman-usher, with a curious doublet, fine breeches, and a handsome coat and cloak; and you must tipple away, after such a scandalous manner, the money I give you!"
The translation, as our readers have no doubt remarked, is executed in a masterly, spirited, and excellent style.
Art. VIII. The Works ofWilliam Browne; containing Britannia's Pastorals; with notes and observations, by the Rev. W. Thompson, late of Queen's College, Oxford. The Shepherd's Pipe, consisting of Pastorals. The Inner Temple Masque, never published before; and other Poems, with the Life of the Author; in 3 Volumes, 1772.
By much the greater portion of modern readers of poetry confine their attention to the productions of our contemporary bards, and content themselves with but few and hasty draughts at the "well of English pure and undefiled." We much fear that it is now considered a far more indispensable thing to possess, than to read, the classics of the language; who are too often allowed to keep their high and splendid state in dignified and unmolested repose—duly purchased, gorgeously bound, and richly installed, they appear, as has been said of the bishops of the church, rather as the graceful and ornamental heads of an establishment, than active and useful labourers in the vineyard. The plays of Shakspeare are, indeed, read, or at least, such of them as are acted on the stage, and praised with perhaps more zeal than discrimination. Milton, too, is undertaken as a duty, and the whole of Paradise Lost achieved at the due age, in a given time. After this exploit, the name of Milton is ever after as familiar in the mouth as " household words," and any grown young lady or gentleman would be indignant at the bare suspicion of their not being perfectly well versed in his works. Pope is also read; but then, in comparison with Scott or Byron, he is no poet, and so dismissed. In addition to this stock of our national poetry, the fashionable lover of verse, in a luckless hour, may probably have met with some ardent eulogiums on Spenser, written by a person of accredited taste in an entertaining book. The "Faerie Queene" is instantly put into requisition ; but alas! what appears to him the monotony, the lifelessness, the want of character and interest, quickly arrest the progress of one, accustomed to all the "means and appliances to boot" of modern verse. So, with Milton, Spenser, Pope, and Dryden, in the mouth, and a mixture of contempt and ignorance of them in the heart, the genteel reader of poetry sits down to the highly relished preparations of the modern caterers to the public taste—to witness the stormy exhibitions of power in Byron, to revel in the " gossamer and roses" of Moore, listen to the" fabling rhyme," which tells of the " magnificence of yore," in Scott, or sail along the smooth sea of tender and delicious beauty in the pages of Barry Cornwall. We do not complain of this devotion of the common run of readers to contemporary song, for it has its foundation in the natural circumstances of the case.—For they who love poetry, for the sake of an interesting story, for the sake of the morbid excitation, created by the exhibition of fierce thoughts of dark minds, and bad consciences in dire conflict with themselves—they who love poetry for the attraction of smooth numbers, meretricious graces, and incitements to hot passions, disguised in highly finished and delicately drawn portraits of luxurious beauty, will eagerly seize either the last new novel, or the last new poem—indifferently—save, that prose is passed over with more expedition—but poetry, being a harder material, bears a higher polish, and a finer point—and that the former, coming so much nearer the ordinary language of life, must be confined within the acknowledged limits; while the poet is a privileged person, and may come and go, where his less accomplished brother would be denied admittance, and may any time take a liberty, or lift a forbidden veil, provided he will do it with a grace, and touch off what he is admitted to behold, with a pencil dipped in the colours of a warm imagination.
There are however many, we do not doubt, who love the "soul-pleasing high-infused art," with a true and pure devotion, because there is a spirit in it, which animates, elevates, and enriches every object over which it is poured. Many who take up a poem with
"a smooth and stedfast mind,
Gentle thoughts, and calm desires,"
and behold with a sincere delight the unlocking and the displaying of the charms of nature—many, to whom a deep view or far insight into the ideal world, which passes in vivid colours before the mind of a poet, is dearer, and confers more lasting gratification, than the brilliant pleasures of life—many, to whom a fine thought or beautiful image gives a sensible delight, though it occur in a production, which puts forth none of the factitious claims of poetry, and may perhaps be divested of the " manners and passions that constitute human interest." It is for such we write.—Our Review is not one, which can derive assistance, of the most trivial kind, from any source, except the innate truth and beauty of literature. Wecan take up none of the questions, which divide the country "billowed high with human agitation ;" we have no politics, and are the very antipodes of novelty. The subjects of our criticism are in their grave, alike deaf to the voice of praise or censure; and we are not ingenious enough, or it may be, too honest, to put our contemporaries to the rack on the monuments of the dead. We cannot supply the lounger with small talk at an easy rate, or cut out a royal road to literature, for those who would be wise, deep, and learned, at the expense of an hour's study divided with a due attention to breakfast.—They who read Reviews for a “précis” of the last new book, that they may appear to have read it, without having seen it, will skim over our “contents” with sovereign disdain-We can tell them of none, save those whom they might have known long since, and whom they will get no credit for knowing now. We have been insensibly led into these observations by a feeling, something like what is called, in philosophy, the “attraction of repulsion.”—We had been copying the title of a book, which we knew to be the extreme opposite of that which is calculated to please a modern palate.--Here is a book which none but they of simple unsophisticated taste may relish—they, whose plain appetites would lead them to drink of the rill, and feast upon rustic fare, may expect a considerable portion of pleasure from the pastorals of the gentle shepherd, William Browne. We hope with “neat hand” to cull a few, not insipid herbs, for the lovers of nature; but away, ye profane! pampered and highfed, who “ dine with aldermen.” William Browne wrote his poems, when a very young man: filled with pleasing recollections of his native county of Devon, and, apparently, captivated with the poems of Spenser, which had |. then appeared, and with the works of the “divine Astrophel,” e deserted the law for “the muses.” Young, and ignorant of life and manners, well skilled in classic lore, and ardently in love with nature, Spenser, and Sidney, we might easily have imagined the class of poetry, which he was likely to pursue.—He took to writing pastorals, and has composed a series of poems, which, though alo with pleasing passages, are devoid of all interest or passion, and frequently of all propriety of character or subject. -He seems to have o writing, without any object and without any guide, except the assumed character of a shepherd, which he takes no other care to preserve, than by calling his pen a “pipe,” and his readers “sheep.” We have no subject, story, or plan, from one end to the other of the two long books, or ten songs, of the “Britannia's Pastorals,” though there are frequent beginnings, and a constant introduction of characters, if they may be so called, who are expected, but in vain, to commence or carry into effect some projected design.—The . too which are introduced, are the faintest and most indistinct visions of character that ever floated before the eye of a poetical dreamer; and the story, if story may be discovered, is as faint and indistinct as the characters themselves.—The whole poem, indeed, gives you the idea of a faded landscape in water colours, found on some damp neglected wainscot, where the original painting has melted away to indistinctness; and in which, the persons of the piece have lost all traits of individuality, and almost all appearance of life and action; and where every thing is tame and