« ПредишнаНапред »
This is very good, yet inferior, we think, to the 'Old Cumberland Pedlar,' in Warreniana,' which is really the perfection of parody. We annex a passage or two. The first is a description given by 'Old Solitary,' of an Excursion' which he once took among the passes of Helvellyn, where he saw WARREN's name engraved upon the rocks:
'It chanced one summer morn I passed the clefts
"Then in thought I said,
That morn I lost my breakfast, but returning
The horse-pond, where our sturdy villagers
Duck all detected vagrants, I espied
A solitary stranger; like a snail
He wound along his narrow course with slow
For this closing catalogue of mountains, vide Wordsworth's 'Johanna.' The Solitary goes on to say, that he is an agent for Warren's blacking, and that he is travelling for the purpose of engraving the manufacturer's name upon picturesque rocks, to the end that a 'tide of wealth may roll into the sea of Number Thirty, Strand.'
The episode of the gnat-bite, which succeeds to the old man's story, is too characteristic to be omitted:
'When Peter ended, I proposed a walk
To Rydal, for the day was fresh with youth,
On the left side my nose: 't was streaked with hues
And edged, as is the thunder-cloud, with tints
The picture of Peter Bell's external aspect, has its recorded counterpart, as the reader will at once discover:
'He was clad
In thick buff waistcoat, cotton pantaloons
A drab great coat, on whose pearl buttons beained
WASHINGTON IRVING, trailing the flowery vines of poetry along the formal walks of prose,' is well imitated in the following extract, which succeeds a florid description of the enthusiasm with which the writer first wandered about London, ferreting out those sweet but unobtrusive nestling-places, which are consecrated by the recollection of living or departed genius.' Roscoe, in the Sketch-Book,' appears to have been the personal model. The author is here worshipping at the shrine of the manufacturer and minstrel of the Strand :'
'As, for this reverential purpose, I was once buying a pot of blacking, at Number 30 Strand, my attention was attracted to a person who was seated, in a state of deep abstraction, behind the counter. He was advanced in life, tall, and of a form that might once have been commanding, but it was a little bowed by care, perhaps by business. He had a noble Roman style of countenance, a head that would have pleased a painter; and though some slight furrows on either side his nose showed that snuff and sorrow had been busy there, yet his eye still beamed with the fire of a poetic soul. There was something in his whole appearance, that indicated a being of a different order, from the bustling shop-boys around him.
'I inquired his name, and was informed that it was WARREN. I drew back with an involuntary feeling of veneration. This, then, was an artist of celebrity; this was one of those imaginative spirits, whose newspaper advertisements had gone forth to the ends of the earth, and with whose blacking I had polished my shoes, even in
the solitudes of America! It was a moment pregnant with emotion; and though the popular graces of his poetry had made me familiar with the name of Warren, yet it could not diminish the reverence which his immediate presence inspired.
As I quitted his abode, the recollection of this great man gave a tone of deep meditation to my mind. I recalled what I had heard of his character, his lowly origin, and subsequent elevation; his unconquerable diligence, and rich poetic fancy. Nature, I internally exclaimed, appears to have disseminated her bounties with a more impartial profusion than our vanity is willing to allow. If to one favorite she has assigned the glittering endowments of rank and fortune, she has compensated the want of them in another, by an intellect of superior elevation. Such has been the case with Mr. Warren. Though humble in origin, and suckled amid scenes repulsive to the growth of mind, he has yet contrived to hew himself a path to the Temple of Fame, and having become the poetical paragon of the Strand, has turned the whole force of his genius to manufacture and to eulogize his blacking. This prudent concentration of his faculties has been attended with the most felicitous consequences. The stream of his fancy, that before flowed over a wide, ungrateful surface, by contracting its channel has deepened its power, and now rolls onward to the ocean of eternity, reflecting on its bosom the rich lights of pöesy and wit.
'Independently, however, of his imagination, this mighty manufacturer has shown how much may be effected by diligence alone, and how attractive it may present itself in the columns of a newspaper, the placards of a pedestrian, or the sides of a church-yard wall. The memoranda of his name and profession display themselves in alphabetical beauty, at every department of the metropolis. They have elbowed Doctor Solomon's Elixir, pushed Day and Martin from their stools, and taken the wall of that interesting anomaly, the Mermaid. Such is the triumph of genius. Doctor Solomon is dead and gone, and there is no balm in Gilead; but Warren's blacking will be immortal. Its virtues will insure its eternity; for not only doth it irradiate boots, shoes, and slippers, with a gentle and oleaginous refulgence, but while it preserves the leather, it cherishes, like piety, the old and stricken sole.
In America, we know Mr. Warren only as the tradesman; in Europe, Asia, and Africa, he is spoken of as the poet; and at the Canaries, on my voyage to England, I was told by a Hottentot of his having been unfortunate in love. I was sensibly afflicted at the intelligence, but felt that the illustrious invalid was far, far above the reach of pity. There are some lofty minds that soar superior to calamity, as the Highlands of the Hudson tower above the clouds of earth. Warren has a soul of this stamp. His majestic spirit may feel, but will not bow before the strong arm of adversity. The blighting winds of care may howl around him in their fury, but like the oak of the forest, he will stand unshaken to the last. Beside, it may, perhaps, be to this very accident that his advertisements owe their charm; for the mind, when breathed over by the scathing mildew of calamity, naturally turns for refreshment to its own healing stores of intellect.
'Drury's Dirge.' — By ‘Laura Matilda!'
'I do not wish to censure, but surely, surely if the commercial residents of the Strand had been properly sensible of what was due to Mr. Warren and themselves, they would have evinced some public mark of sympathy with his misfortune. They would have shown him those gentle and unobtrusive attentions which win their way in silence to the heart, when the more noisy professions of esteem stick like Amen in the larynx of Macbeth. Even I, stranger and sojourner as I am in the land, can heave the sigh of pity for his sorrows; what then should be the sensibility of those who have seen him grow up a bantling, as it were, of their own; who have marked the plant put forth its first tender blossoms, and watched its growing luxuriance, until the period when it overshadowed the Strand with the matured abundance of its foliage?
'But it is an humbling reflection for the pride of human intellect, that the value of an object is seldom felt, until it be for ever lost. Thus, when the grave has closed around him, the name of Warren may be possibly recalled with sentiments of sincerest affection. At present, while yet in existence, he is undervalued by an invidious vicinity. But the man of letters, who speaks of the Strand, speaks of it as the residence of Warren. The intelligent traveller who visits it, inquires where Warren is to be seen. He is the literary land-mark of the place, indicating its existence to the distant scholar. He is like Pompey's column at Alexandria, towering alone in classic dignity.'
'DRURY'S DIRGE,' by LAURA MATILDA,' is an admirable satire upon that species of writing, in which no very precise ideas are affixed to the words employed, and wherein jingle is the only thing aimed at. The whip and branding-iron were here effectively applied. 'Laura Matilda' was wont to poke out a weekly crudity in the Morning Post; but after the appearance of the Addresses,' she ceased altogether to write, and ever after remained incog. We can spare but small space for Drury's Doleful Dirge.' A few stanzas are annexed:
THE prose imitations, in 'Warreniana,' are most felicitous. of MILLS, entitled Digression on the Family of WARREN, at the time of the Crusades,' wherein the lineage of the Strand artizan is traced, with the tedious minuteness of a prosy historian, to a remote ancestor, Peter de la Warene,' is capital. The Parliamentary Debate on Warren's blacking,' also, by the Reporter of the Times. newspaper, in outline and detail, is in perfect keeping. Boz' must have had this debate in mind, when he recorded the noisy discussion of the Pickwick Club. An honorable member, who has vehemently advocated a reduction of the expenses attending Warren's blacking, as used for the army, and particularly the Horse Guards, and who has shown that nine thousand pounds, and an odd sixpence, may be saved to the country, by abridging the jack-boots of the Guards to Wellingtons, and cleaning the substitutes but twice a week, instead of every day, as in the case of the original article, is succeeded by Mr. BROUGHAM, who rises to address the house, and to 'speak the indignant language of a prostituted, insulted, and inconceivably-impoverished nation.' The reader is desired to note how the sentences are packed one within another, like untrimmed bonnets in a milliner's shop :
'It is a well accredited fact, Sir, that Warren's blacking possesses the lucid properties of a mirror, and when rightly applied to leather, lends it an inexpressible polish. Now supposing that our Horse Guards have already made this discovery a discovery as palpable as the characteristic activity of our chancellor is it not highly probable that, from motives of economy, they will forthwith dispense with mirrors? And if this omission is to take place in four full regiments of Guards alone, to say nothing of the band, as my honorable friend observed, and a more accomplished band of brigands never yet disturbed the patience of an insulted nation, a patience equalled only by the identical animal that chews the thistle; if, I repeat, this diabolical omission is to take place, is it not as notorious as the corruption of parliament (and what can be more notoriously corrupt?) that the glass manufacturers must be ruined? We all know the contemptible caprice of that senseless idol, fashion; and I make no doubt, that if Warren's blacking be encouraged among these Prætorian guards to its present extent an extent destructive alike to the country and the crown, to the country from its precedent, and to the crown from its absurdity- we shall see mirrors universally discarded. Let me entreat this house then to reflect, solemnly reflect, ere it sanction such notable injustice. Every manufacturer, be he who or what he may, merits equally the encouragement of Parliament; but why sacrifice hundreds to the interests of one individual? Did the house, let me ask, ever see the individual for whose gains it is thus shamefully solicitous? If they did, they will not easily forget him, for a more horrible and hoary wretch exists not on the face of the earth. The never-to-be forgotten expression of that eye, that nose - that mouth - the muddy channels of those cheeks channels to which Fleet ditch were a river of paradise, and a horsepond a fountain of the Nile
all all betoken the pander to pub