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and to prove this, played a rhapsody upon it with no small effect. After the applause had subsided, he informed us however, in a rather transcendental tone, that the cinder came from a subterraneous fire in Abyssinia, and the hair from the tail of a black horse with green eyes, of a mysterious breed, preserved by a certain German baron, a friend of his, and a descendant of Dr Faustus, on his domain in the Harts mountains; a piece of information which seemed to excite as much merriment as wonder in some of his hearers. - e. After Mr C–le—dge, Mr M-re was universally called upon, who, as soon as he had recovered from his laughing, played us an exquisite old Irish air on the flute, with a pathos that brought the tears into my old eyes. He then attempted a grand Turkish march, with the aid of Turkish bells, which he jingled as an accompaniment; this, however, by no means accorded well with the genius of his instrument. So, suddenly laying down his flute, he seized a dancing master's kit, which had belonged to the famous Bath Guide, Anstey, on which he rattled off a humorous divertimento with infinite spirit. Elated with the success of this piece of gayety, he produced a mail-coach horn, and proceeded to amuse the audience with a burlesque of Mr S.–th—y's grand trumpet flourish, in which he at last got so personal as to raise a terrible tumult in the gallery. Some groaned, some applauded, some hissed, some catcalled, and some roared “go on.” Mr J–ff—y, who took his art, had like to have got to loggerfi. with our friend Mr Bl—k—d, who was sitting next him. There was no saying how matters might have ended, had not Ensign Odoherty, who had chosen to pack himself in a snug corner of the gallery, luckily hit upon the expedient of volunteering “ the Humours of Glen” through a pocket comb, in a most stentorian voice, accompanied by himself, with a pewter pot and two tobacco-pipes, by way of kettle-drum, which at length drowned the clamour. But when the ensign proceeded with a thumb in each side of his mouth, and a finger on each nostril, in order to produce the swells and falls like a pedal, to whistle a Polonoise, (which he called “his Pulleynose,”) with original variations—good
humour was completely restored. L—d St—gf—d finally mollified every body, by breathing some Portuguese airs, with much sweetness, through a third flute. I observed by the way, that his L-dsh—p played with a “mouth-piece”—which, somebody told me, he had found amongst the remains of Camoëns, when in those parts. In emulation, I presume, of L–ds B–n and St—gf—d, L–d T—w next essayed; but whether some mischievous wag had greased his fiddlestick, or how it happened I cannot tell, but he produced only some uncouth noises, that hardly amounted to tones; so that the ensign, who now took Mr M-re's place as joker, recommended him to the barrel organ on the stairhead. P-cy B–she Sh—ll—y succeeded better in out B-ning B–n; for, with a trombone, he horrified us with some of the most terrific passages I ever heard. They became, at last, perfectly disagreeable. The next performer, to my great delight, was Sir W-r S-t. He blew a clarionet; and whether the mood was “Marcia,” “Fieramente,” or “Pastorale,” this fine bold natural player made all ring again. He concluded with a most spirited reveille on the patent bugle. I could not help remarking the strong hankering that Sir W-r seemed to have after a pair of huge old bagpipes, which had last belonged to Allan Ramsay, but which now lay dusty and neglected. Many a joke was launched at this unfortunate instrument. M-re called it, slily, “a green bag—and of the worst sort;” and C–le—dge, a “ doodle sack,” which he said was “ the German name, and, like all other German names, highly expressive.” Sir W–r stood stoutly up for them ; and proved, by some Roman sculptures, the venerable date and good estimation of the instrument. In fine, after regretting the absence of A–1—n C—gh—m, who, he said, would play them better than any man in Scotland, he called upon Mr H–g, the Ettrick Shepherd, to rub up his old craft, and give them a lilt; which he did in a style that set little M-re a dancing, and drew a flood of tears down C–le—dge's cheeks. After Mr H–g had laid down the bagpipes, he pulled out a pandean pipe, and played some strains of extraordinary power and execution, as wild and resonant as
if they had been echoed by a hundred hills. They were only exceeded in fancy by Mr W-n, who, on the hautboy, breathed a lay so soft and imaginative, that I never heard the like. It was the very moonlight of sound. He suddenly passed into a tone of terror, sometimes amounting almost to a scream, mingled with snatches of plaintive lamentation. It reminded me forcibly of the massacre of Glencoe. I took the liberty of asking Mr W-n if he played it? He said he did not. On which I begged to recommend to him Frazer's Highland tunes, amongst which that extraordinary air is to be found, and made bold to assure him, that his hautboy would make more of it than all the other instruments put together; —at which he smiled, and shook his head. We were interrupted by a wonderfully striking, expressive, and even sweet ditty, which, on turning round, I found to proceed from an elderly clerical-looking personage, who was playing on the hurdy-gurdy. When I saw it was Mr C–bbe, I was not surprised at the pleasure which even this monotonous, not to say vulgar, instrument afforded me. But what cannot genius do? It is reported Mr C bbehas some thoughtsof training a band of marrowbones and cleavers, and every body says it would be the finest thing that has been heard for a long time. Mr W n informed me, that the reverend gentleman sung a ballad to admiration, the which he i. been known to accompany with his thumb on the great kitchen table, very successfully, by way of bass. Just as the word ballad was mentioned, a dispute fell out with Mr C–bbe, Mr S—th—y, Mr C–le—dge, and Mr W–dsw—th, whether “the Cobbler of Bucklersbury,” “the Bloody Gardiner,” “Giles Scroggins' Ghost,” or “the Babes of the Wood,” was the most sublime piece. I thought Mr C—bbe seemed to have the advan
e. Whilst this argument was going on, happening to turn my eyes towards the side of the room, I saw an old musical instrument or two, which I went and examined. There was a violoncello which, Mr W-n informed me, had once been Dryden's, and which, he said, they were very shy of touching now-a-days. It was a strong formid
able-looking instrument. Next to it was a gigantic double bass, with a bow like that of Ulysses, which, it seems, used to be played upon by Dr Young. Beside it stood an antiquated harp of great dimensions, on which was carved, EDMUND SPENsek; but the greatest curiosity of all, in my mind, was a unique, ebony, old English flute, as big as a blunderbuss, and not very unlike one. It was the flute of Chaucer, and as, Mr W-n said, it had not been touched in the memory of man, the precise gamut was probably lost. I was contemplating this venerable old relic with profound attention, when I got a terrible start with the most hideous noise I ever heard in my life. This, upon examination, I found to come from Mr F-tzg—d, who insisted upon treating the company with “God save the King” upon a Chinese gong. The din was so great that I can't say I made much tune out. It was no small relief to hear Mr.Cr—k—r play “Lord Wellington,” with some variations for the fife. He also gave us the “Death of Nelson” very finely. Mr R.—g—rs then warbled a beautiful little “ dolce” on the double flageolet; and Mr Sp-nc-r, a madrigal on the French flageolet. Mr M-to-m-y played the “German Hymn” on a celestina, and Mr Fr—re a most ingenious capriccio on the triangle. These having ended, my attention was attracted by arather conceited London-looking gentleman, who was strumming, with some execution and a good deal of affectation, on an old-fashioned spinnet, or rather virginal; when he turned round I discovered him to be Mr L-gh H-nt, who, when the company congratulated him, informed us that his spinnet was of the true Italian make, and had probably belonged to Tasso. He had o: however, been obliged to refit and add a good many strings. Upon some one doubting this pedigree, and saying that, af. ter all, the extent of what was known with any certainty about the matter was, that the spinnet had been found in an old house in little Britain, in the occupation of Mr Peter Prig, late eminent pawnbroker, deceased, to whose father it was pawned by an Italian toyman, I thought Mr H-nt seemedmore piqued than the occasion seemed to require. However, he soon recovered himself, and taking L-d B—n aside, with a jaunty and familiar air, held him by the button, and whispered in his ear for some minutes, during which I overheard the words, “ mere malice” and “political rancour,” repeated once or twice. Mr H–nt then introduced a young gentleman without a neckcloth, of the name of K-ts, who played a sort of Sapphic ode, in the metre dicolos petrastrophos, upon a lyre, which he said was exactly modelled after that given by ancient sculptors to Apollo. Nor was I displeased with the music, notwithstanding the eccentricity of the instrument. Indeed Mr K–ts hardly had fair-play. The lyre being of his own manufacture, and not put together in the most workmanlike manner, a string or two got loose during the performance, which marred the effect sadly. After him Mr. B–rr—y C—rnw—ll favoured us with a serenade on the Spanish guitar, and sung a madrigal of Shakspeare, set by the celebrated old composer, Bird, accompanying himself, and giving this ancient harmony great effect. Our applauses were suddenly interrupted by a most extraordinary phenomenon. This was a young gentleman of the name of Sm-th, who professed to play after the manner of the famous Signior What-d'ye-callem, upon ten instruments at once; which he did, to the admiration of all present. I never heard such thunders of applause and laughter; and when, like a full band all playing in concert—“sackbuts and psalteries,” —he struck up, and introduced, as fimale, the grotesque old ballad-tune of “Jingling Geordie,” I thought the house would have come down. What pleased me as much as any thing, was to see the most popular poets of the
time, who were thus a sort of outdone, enjoy the joke, and clap, and vociferate, as zealously as any of us. This it would seem was the concluding performance, and I was still laughing and clapping my hands in ecstasy, when I found a circle round me, politely begging me to favour them with a stave or two. I was unluckily in * glee ; and, oh! Mr North, how I longed for my Northumberland small-pipes, with ebony and silver drones, and ivory chanter 1 I felt as if I could have given them “ Over the Border,” or “ the Peacock follows the Hen,” with all the fire of Jamie Allan, or Fitzmaurice himself. As I had owned myself a musician, however, they insisted upon thy playing something, and forced an instrument into my hands—but whether it was flute, clarionet, pipe, or whistle, I am sure I cannot tell. One imagines, in a dream, that one can do every thing—so I put it to my mouth, and produced some notes of what Pope says is “harmony not understood,”—that is to say, discord. Maugre the contortions of the countenances around me, I was still persevering, and getting from bad to worse, when suddenly a voice with a strong Seotch accent, and a tone of most irresistible humour, exclaimed, “Lord safe our lugs—what a guse's thrapple.” The whole assemblage burst out a-laughing at this ejaculation of the shepherd, and I awoke in a cold sweat, with my tobacco-pipe in both hands, like a flute, and the candle just expiring in the socket, at a quarter to one in the morning. I am, &c. &c. &c. Josia H SHUFFLE Both AM. Gowks-hall, Northumberland, Sept. 20th, A. D. 1820.
vaganize Titan SFORt HIAN res
MY DEAR FRIEND,
Kelso, September 29th.
You may remember, that the last time we had the pleasure of spending an evening together, part of our conversation was concerning some of the most remarkable topographical localities of Scotland—of scenes rendered interesting by natural beauty, or celebrated for being the haunts of historical or legendary recollections: You spoke with delight of the splendid achievements of the pencil, which the exertions of a body of admirable artists were massing together in that beautiful work, “The Provincial Antiquities,” and wished that a series of illustrative sonnets might yet be added by some of our patriotic bards to the topographical illustrations; to which, from the alliance of the sister arts, you thought they would form a fine addition. For my own part, my good friend, I shall not even throw out, whether I approve of your plan or not; I shall only say, that it is far from my intention, the ever presuming to take upon my shoulders any such elaborate task. The difficulty of managing such a subject is obvious enough ; yet I could adduce an instance where the thing has been achieved with the most complete success, in the Sonnets of Wordsworth, published in your own work, on Westall's pictures of the Yorkshire caves.
You may also remember my telling you, that in rambling over our fine country, where one is constantly bursting into romantic landscapes, or “stumbling into recollections,” I had occasionally indulged myself by throwing my feelings or reflections into “fourteen lines of sensibility.” Half a dozen of these sonnets I have sent you, “would they were worthier"—but you will excuse their faults. ... If your good nature should tempt you to think them “beautiful exceedingly,” I strongly advise you to attempt the converse of your plan, and set some of your friends, the artists, to illustrate them for you; so that next time I have the pleasure of paying my devoirs to you personally, I may have the agreeable surprise, in entering your parlour, of beholding over the mantle-piece a splendid picture of an old soldier firing a mortar at Queen Mary on Loch Leven, in juxta position to the genius of poetry, with a good whip, lashing six Celtic barbarians, with axes on their shoulders, from cutting wood on the Trosachs.
I remain, dear Christopher, your friend and servant to command,
A, To Christopher North, Esq.
BI.UE is the bosom of the sunless lake,
“Not a mountain rears its head unsung.”
OH ! who would think, in cheerless solitude,
These wild lone scenes so proudly hath embued 1
Or that from “hum of men” so far remote, -
A poet here should from his tractless thought
No one can feel sufficient indignation at the outrage against nature, which has recently been committed in the sale and destruction of the wood on the Trosachs. For a few paltry pounds, one of Scotland's classic scenes, and one of her most romantic, has been defaced. Public subscription would have given ten times as much to have saved it.
Un arbre, le dernier adieu de la vegetation, est devant sa porte; et c'est à l'ombre de son pale feuillage que les voyageurs ont coutume d'attendre. CORINNE.
A LIGHT breeze curls the Leven's silver tide,
He lukit again, and the scene was new,
A spirit hath been here—the dry bones live—