« FöregåendeFortsätt »
The driver sprang—the door opened—I jumped. Alas, alas, as I
turned, the threat
came ; and, striking me namelessly, I was deluged
from hips to heels. What followed is not to be told. I looked behind me. I mounted the box. I journeyed on my way, musing and meditating on the vanities of life.
“Quidguid agunt homines, votum, timor, ira, voluptas, guadia, discursus, nostri farrago libelli.”
'Tis a dark and rainy night;-in a neatly furnished room a fire is briskly burning—not in the good old-fashioned Franklin—but in the more recent, patent, time-labor-and-fuel-saving coal stove. In a remote corner, amid heaps of Tomes and Epitomes, strewed on desk and window ledge, and presenting a formidable ar-ray in the dim ray of an old lamp, sits Iphigenus—his green spectacles nicely balanced on a formidable proboscis, and his thoughtful éxpression, as he rests, pen in hand, upon the elbow of his arm-chair, betokening at once the student and philosopher. A knock is heard at the door:— enter Josephus Jumble, a man whose character no one has yet been able to fathom. Iph. Good evening, Josephus;—happy to see you; but why so late 2 Jum. Confound that mathematics' I've been these two hours— what a mountain of books (taking them up) “Old English Poets,” “Ovid's Art of Love,” “Homer,” “Virgil,” “Treatise on Astronomy,” “Newtoni Principia”—ah! mathematics still possessing your brain ; but why the plague did you send for me this cold rainy night 2 Iph. (rising solemnly and locking the door.) Business of importance; do you swear secrecy Jum. Most assuredly, my dear sir; what's in the wind now Iph. I suppose you attended the great meeting the other day. Jum. Meeting ! what, the Harrison meeting ! a fig for your public dinners; they are mere apologies, with their parboiled hams and indigestible toasts. Iph. Pooh pooh ! man ; for ever at your nonsense; I mean the great college meeting for the “Magazine.” Jum. Ah! quite a different thing ! no, I was better employed at the horticultural exhibition of pretty flowers and pretty girls—flowers of Eden, (chuckling.) But what in the name of wonder have I to do with the Magazine Am I appointed Editor Iph. Not exactly;-simply this;–remember your promise—after those eloquent appeals— Jum. Deuce take your “appeals”—I suppose you were one of the 'pealers, or you would not be so anxious to discuss the subject. But the business the business || Iph. Well then, if you will have it, I have a proposal to make with regard to the matter of the work.
Jum. A critique, I suppose ; what’s the matter with the work 2 Mathematical accuracy If you hated mathematics as much as I do, you would not be so fond of such nice criticism. You'll soon be like the man, who, after abusing the whole world, turned in and abused himself.
Iph. You are a Jumble, sure enough ; but is not the Magazine a good thing, and may it not be a great source of improvement 2
Jum. Most assuredly ; but what then 2
Iph. Why, my plan ; suppose—suppose—in a word, suppose we write for the Magazine :
Jum. Write How 2
Iph. Write together, something new and strange.
Jum. Strange indeed it will be. You, a philosopher, governing your ideas by rule and measure, looking always toward the end of things; I, a scape-goat of the world, a half in half, here-a-little, there-a-little, sort of man; you, discussing grave, philosophical subjects, with an occasional dip into the sublime or sentimental; and I, a plain unvarnished genius.
Iph. So much the better; the more variety; but come, what say you ?
Jum. Yes; any thing—
I'll open my budget, and from it produce
But what shall be the subject of our speculations : Iph. Morals, ethics and magnetics; men, women and children ; physics and metaphysics; things lunar, sublunar, cacodemoniacal, analytical and hyperbolical ; in short, every thing. Jum. Quite a Salmagundi—“A spice of every thing;”—by the way, shall that be the caption of our papers? Iph. Pooh man—let's be classical ; hand the Lexicon. . I saw a word to-day,+perhaps I’ll find it; let me try; ’twas under II. Ah! here it is—IIoxvulyia. Jum. Exactly ; thanks to your classics. But when shall we begin 7 Iph. Now;-here are materials. As Horace says— “Accipe si vis, Accipe jam tabulas; deturnobis locus, hora, Custodes: videamus uter plus scribere possit.”
Jum. (looking at his watch.) Now? If midnight will give you a poetical, or any other mania, you are welcome to sit up and enjoy your reveries; but I'm sure I shall not; friend Horace to the contrary notwithstanding.
Iph. Is it so late | I should not have known it; I am not at all sleepy. *
Jun. (rising.) Go to work then. I’ll go to bed.
Iph. But stop ! when shall we meet again
Jum. “ In summer, sunshine, or in rain;” but I hope not the latter, as I room out.
Iph. Well then, to-morrow night at nine, bring your introductory address.
Jum. Aye, my lord, good night! (Exit.)
Iph. (solus.) Well, he is an odd compound; I hardly thought he would accede so readily. But what shall I write—philosophy— metaphysics—poetry : Ah! that's the idea. But what shall be the theme ! Oh! here I was reading my friend Virgil's description of the sea; very apropos. I’ll write upon the Sea.
One—Two—Three—the clock strikes nine, and Josephus Jumble, Esq.-for once punctual—enters the neat room of the little, green-spectacled philosopher and poet. After the usual salutations, each being somewhat sobered by his late deep cogitations—without effort at pun or fun, presents his respective piece. First, Iphigenus—
Behold the deep, blue sea; calm aud unruffled; reflecting in beauteous irised tints the rays of the bright orb of day ! Indeed “a glorious mirror where the Almighty's form doth glass itself!” How placid is its surface —its bosom undisturbed by throbbings' Anon, Neptune arises and shakes the foaming spray from his hoary locks; he mounts the chariot of the storms; his steeds are the raging winds; their hoofs flash lightning; the noise of his chariotwheels is the crashing of thunder ; the ocean yawns, and heaves, and rolls; the frantic elements conspire to vent their fury. The “oak leviathans” are tossed like baubles to and fro, till, “as the snowy flake, they melt into the yeast of waves.” Vain is the power of man! Impotent are his efforts to stay the tempest' The sea's hollow caverns echo in solemn mockery to his shrieks of woe, as he sinks into their deep recesses, to rise no more. How fearfully sublime the scene ! With what awe and admiration does it inspire the soul! Yet is there beauty in the sea—in the sea—
PAPERS FROM THE AT TIC.
Authors AND THEIR comment Ators, ANTIQUARIANs, Etc. Etc.
—“multum largiunto nihiladeptus est.”
Posthumous papers and recovered manuscripts have always seemed to have a sort of witchery about them. Why this is so is a puzzle. Sometimes indeed they are valuable; but for the most part they are the poorest things in nature, dusty defaced scrapings together of some lazy bookworm, or the counterfeited nothings of some blear-eyed smutty-saced antiquarian. If of a political cast, they are pilferings from Tully or Aristotle; if on morals, they are from Seneca or some one else; is disquisitions on scholastic divinity, they are scraps from Duns Scotus or clear headed Thomas Aquinas. Maxims, apothegms, and smart sayings, tricked off in just such guise as only dulls their point and blunts their keenness, are soisted upon us, and wit and genuine humor through these false media, become the most puling and insufferable vapidity.
Yet aster all, methinks, I would not quarrel with the world on this point; for if posthumous papers do receive a degree of attention denied to the writings of living authors, it is perhaps greatly to the world's credit. It shows men are not utterly bad; and that though they have ever scrupled to give authors credit where such credit were of advantage, they are nevertheless willing to take notice of them, when to any such notice they have now become insensible hy death—a degree of virtue not to be spoken lightly of.
It ought not to be overlooked perhaps, that men sometimes drag forth the writings of the dead for other than the best purposes. The human heart is an odd thing ; and it is as hard to assign the proper motive for all its actions, as it would be for a man to jump down his own throat. Nevertheless, something may be learned by such as keep their eyes open to their own and the conduct of others; and it is little to be doubted, that much of the praise which this or that man bestows upon the writings of antiquity, may be resolved into some indirect attempt to tickle his own vanity. Why has the sweet bard of Avon had so many commentators; they hoped to get on the giant's back and get a peep at posterity—that's the secret of it. But alas! alas! what an error they made; they should have remembered that to get on Shakspeare's back, was to foist a common man out of sight. The great Johnson with all his greatness, is lost in the blaze of the luminary he would sain have given laws to; and Murray, and Stevens, and Malone, and a host of others who looked at the light, have seemed to lose their eye-sight by it.