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On Johnson's smooth and placid mien
As lighted lachrymary urn.
In church or state, in bower and hall,
ONE word in your ear, reader, before we part. The writer of the foregoing is a Monster.' If you would see his like, (in some men's opinion,) consult Homer, Milton, and Dante, passim. You shall not find, in all their pages, a monster of more note, or one that less deserves the name. He is a summer's morning monster, and wears the brighter as the calmness of the mid-day hours plays full upon him. I have given you a clue- resolve me my Riddle.
SINCE our last number, introducing the 'Rejected Addresses' as a new acquaintance to many, and a rare one to all, who peruse our pages, a considerate friend has furnished us with a choice copy of the eighteenth London edition, elegantly produced, some few years since, from the press of MURRAY, embellished with spirited portraits of the two SMITHS, and other illustrations, and enriched with the latest preface, notes, and revisions. From this edition, we gather various interesting particulars and anecdotes, which we are well pleased to be able to lay before our readers. It should seem, that after the hurried execution of their project, the brothers had the greatest difficulty in procuring a publisher, although they asked nothing for their мss. After some half a dozen amusing rebuffs, from very discriminating bibliopoles, and at a moment when their ' Addresses' were in every sense 'rejected,' they were so fortunate as to betake themselves to JOHN MILLER, who at once took upon himself the risk of publication, promising half the profits, should any accrue, to the gifted but inexperienced authors. So rapid and decided was their success, that they were shortly enabled to dispose of their half copy-right to the publisher, for five thousand dollars! What a lesson to stupid book-sellers, as well as young writers, conscious of the gift within!'
After a lapse of twenty years, the successful authors state, much to the credit of the genus irritabile, that none of those whom they had parodied or burlesqued, ever betrayed the least soreness in relation to the satire, or refused to join in the laugh which so widely distended the national mouth. I must certainly have written this myself,' said Scott, to one of the authors, pointing to the admirable description of 'the burning,' although I forget upon what occasion!' Even the very motto* chosen, Sir Walter informed the annotator he had himself pitched upon, as appropriate to his collected works. Lord Byron wrote to Murray from Italy, Tell him I forgive him, though
THUS he went on, stringing one extravagance upon another, in the style his books of chivalry had taught him, and imitating, as near as he could, their very phrase.' DON QUIXOTTE.
he were twenty times our satirist.' Some were led astray by the disguise assumed; and a Leicestershire clergyman is said to have uttered this unique criticism: 'I don't see why they should have been rejected; I think some of them are very good!' Rogers and Campbell they could not imitate, without giving a servile copy of their manner, or an unrecognizable caricature. They claim to be ranked among the most ardent admirers of Coleridge and Wordsworth, notwithstanding they admit having pounced upon the popular ballads of the latter, and attempted to push their simplicity into puerility and silliness. This, it is added, was at a time when they were less conversant with the higher aspirations of his muse. In the notes, are sundry personal anecdotes of the lampooned subjects. Among others, the loyal Fitzgerald is mentioned, as an inflated actor, at a minor theatre, 'playing Zanga in a wig too small for his head.' He was first met by one of the authors at the table of an old lord, 'who familiarly called him Fitz,' but forgot to name him in his will.' It was this worthy of whom Byron spoke :
'Let hoarse Fitzgerald bawl His creaking couplets in a tavern hall.'
An obliging journalist dropped a hint, that we might find much food for fun in WARRENIANA,' a small volume which the authors of 'Rejected Addresses' were induced to put forth, by the great popularity which that work speedily attained. We sought the little booklet with great perseverance and zeal. The libraries had it not. Some persons there were who had had it, but none had it. Straightway we advertised it in the daily prints; and lo! early in the morning, on the fifth day thereafter, comes us the tome; thin, yellow, and ragged, but not ill-preserved, by one who knew that it had that within which passéd show. Of this Warreniana,' therefore, we propose to treat, in connexion with a farther notice of the 'Rejected Addresses,' than which it is scarcely less rich and matter-full.
In the introduction, by the assumed editor, Mr. GIFFORD, whose characteristic style is well preserved throughout, a history of the origin of Warreniana' is given, with the usual prolonged brevity' of that writer. After stating, that while languishing away six years of his life, as an apprentice to a shoe-maker, he had diverted ennui, by occasional correspondence with his early friend and school-mate, ROBERT WARREN, he adds, that when afterward himself was a student at Oxford, and his friend was pursuing his slow but certain career of blacking manufacturer, under the fostering patronage of the metropolis, their attachment remained unabated; so much so, indeed, that whenever he meditated a few days' retirement from the fatigue of literary pursuits, his inclination had always a reference to the Strand. It was during one of these later visits,' continues Mr. Gifford,' in the autumn of 18-, when both (shall I be excused the expression?) had acquired some little celebrity, that my friend proposed to me the editorship of the present volume. He was pleased to add, that the circumstance of my previous apprenticeship to a shoe-maker, peculiarly fitted me for the task, and that he would diminish what remained of difficulty, by his own immediate cooperation. It appeared, when I catechized him on the subject, that in
order to increase his connection, he had been for years in the habit of retaining the services of eminent literary characters. This, joined to his own poetical abilities, which displayed themselves in perpetual advertisements, had considerably enhanced the value of his profession. Still, a something seemed wanting; one complete edition of 'Warreniana,' to which the public might refer, as certificates of his merit. With this view, he had lately engaged all the intellect of England in his behalf; each author furnishing a modicum of praise, in the style to which he was best adapted, and receiving in return a recompense proportioned to its worth.' The erudite editor goes on to detail the difficulties which he encountered in sifting the various manuscripts, and ascertaining their authenticity; in the hieroglyphic confusion of characters, obscurity of the text, and of local allusions; and in the flimsy and apocryphal testimony on which many of the facts were set forth. All these verbal and local difficulties, however, are nullified by voluminous critical and explanatory notes at the end of the work; and they constitute not the least laughable portions of the volume. In conclusion, Mr. Gifford takes great credit to himself for not having excluded contributors of a different political faith from his own; and tenders his thanks for the generous assistance he has received in his labors, especially to D'ISRAELI, for the valuable light he had enabled him to throw upon the nature and origin of 'lollipop,' mentioned in LEIGH HUNT'S 'Nursery Ode;' to the reporter of the 'Times,' for the zeal with which he proffered the parliamentary debate upon Warren, and to his memorable coadjutor, the Coryphæus of blacking manufacturers, himself. The whole is dedicated to the 'King's Most Excellent Majesty,' by a 'devout admirer of church and state, who presumes to lay the succeeding pages, with characteristic propriety, at his feet;' and who adds, in relation to his subject: 'That as yet this mighty manufacturer has lived comparatively unnoticed, he casts no reflection on your Majesty. He resigns that office to his blacking.' A delicate hint, that his Majesty might see his face in his own boots, if it were his good fortune to patronize Warren!
We now proceed to our extracts; simply premising, that as well for variety as convenience, we shall draw from each work alternately. We promised some passages from 'The Baby's Debut,' by WORDSWORTH; and therefore annex a few stanzas, in which the mawkish affectation of childish simplicity and nursery stammering of 'Alice Fell' is well preserved. The Address is spoken in the character of Nancy Lake,' a girl of eight years, who is drawn upon the stage in a child's chaise, by Samuel Hughes, her uncle's porter:
'My brother Jack was nine in May,
'Jack's in the pouts, and this it is,
'Quite cross, a bit of string I beg,
And bang, with might and main,
This made him cry with rage and spite:
A pretty thing, forsooth!