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serve the dramatic consistency of the persons. He has made no attempt to imitate Milton's plastic power;-that power by which our great poet has made his Heaven and Hell, and the very regions of space, sublime realities, palpable to the imagination, and has traced the lineaments of his angelic messengers with the precision of a sculptor. The Lucifer of * Cain,” is a mere bodyless abstraction,-the shadow of a dogma; and all the scenery over which he presides is dim, vague, and seen only in faint outline. There is, no doubt, a very uncommon power displayed, even in this shadowing out of the ethereal journey of the spirit and his victim, and in the vast sketch of the world of phantasms at which they arrive; but they are utterly unlike the massive grandeurs of Milton's creation. This is one of the eloquent
exclamations of Cain as he proceeds:
Cain. Oh, thou beautiful And unimaginable ether 1 and Ye multiplying masses of increased And still increasing lights! what are ye? what Is this blue wilderness of interminable Air, where ye roll along, as I have seen The leaves along the limpid streams of Eden P Is your course measured for ye? Or do ye Sweep on in your unbounded revelry Through an aerial universe of endless Expansion, at which my soul aches to think, Intoxicated with eternity? Oh God! Oh Gods ! or whatsoe'er yeare! How beautiful ye are! how beautiful Your works, or accidents, or whatsoe'er ' They may be! Let me die, as atoms die, (If that they die) or know ye in your might And knowledge! My thoughts are not in this hour
Unworthy what I see, though my dust is; Spirit! let me expire, or see them nearer.
The region of the phantoms thus appears to Cain:— Cain. What are these mighty phantoms which I see Floating around me?—they wear not the form Of the intelligences I have seen Round our regretted and unenter'd Eden, Nor wear the form of man as I have view’d it In Adam's, and in Abel's, and in mine, Nor in my sister-bride's, nor in my children's: And yet they have an aspect, which, though not
Of men nor angels, looks like something, which, If not the last, rose higher than the first, Haughty, and high, and beautiful, and full Of seeming strength, but of inexplicable Shape; for I never saw such. They bear not s The wing of seraph, nor the face of man, Norform of mightiest brute, nor aught that is Now breathing; mighty yet and beautiful As the most beautiful and mighty which Live, and yet so unlike them, that I scaree Can call them living. We are far from imputing intentional impiety to Lord Byron for this “mystery;” nor, though its language sometimes shocks us, do we apprehend any danger will arise from its erusal. The difficulty on which it ounds its “obstinate questionings” has often recurred to every mind capable of meditating; it is equally felt in every system, except absolute Atheism; and, if it is reverently pursued, serves, while it baffles our scrutiny, to make us feel all the high capabilities, and intense yearnings,
Thou child of the boxtree, that flexile combined
On the poplar that lofty upturns to the wind
The shrill east's hissing gale shall but dally with thee,
Let me lean back my neck at the root of the tree,
of our own immortal nature.
LETTERS FROM LONDON TO A FRIEND IN EDINBURGH.
THE LEITH Smack.
My BEAR FRANK, I recollect reading, about four years ago, a little dbook written by J. Jamieson, called, I think, “A Voyage to London, in a Berwick Smack,” and a very amusing little book it was: whether the author actually encountered the adventures of which he gives so interesting a narrative, or coined them in a journey round his study table, H cannot pretend to decide; the effect of them is equally good on his readers either way. My adventures, however, in a voyage to London in a Berwick Smack, will not be liable to any doubts on the score of authenticity; and when you see Jamieson, you may give him my compliments, and say, that if I possessed his powers of description, I would publish a second voyage, which, I e little doubt, would drive its elder bro, ther clean out of the field; and, what is more, I would head my work with a “challenge to the whole world” to question the truth of my marrative. To make sure of being perfectly safe in the latter particular, I shall avoid all mention of dates and numbers, and coufine myself to facts, persons, and circumstances; a precaution of which I am sure my readers will perceive the prudence, and appreciate the motive. . You cannot, I suppose, controvert ‘the fact of my embarkation in the - Smack, Capt. S-, with some twenty or thirty people; and still less, if possible, can you controvert my having sailed with her for London. Of the persons, I believe, you had a rough so at the pier head; but they will be sketched more amply to you, along with the circumstances with which they were all more or less connected. We had got fairly into the German ocean before our acquaintance was of that social description which allows of unreserved communication of sentiments on any subject; and had reached Holy Island before any of us ventured more than a thought at the character of his fellow. The third morning, however, discovered us to ourselves, and one of us found that his fellow passengers consisted, inter allos, of two French. officers
(unknown to each other), a player,
that these doughty polemics adopted upon the question, “Whether the ublic worship of the kirk of ScotÉ. is consonant with its belief in the Divinity and Omnipotence of the object of its adoration?” The quilldriver, you suppose, maintained lustily the affirmative, and the Frenchman bah'd and mondieu'd the idea of the term worship being at all applied to our service. Quite the reverse ! The quill-driver had been readin Gay's “good Lord of Bolingbroke,” and consequently had imbibed the principles, without fully comprehending the arguments, of that learned iii. : the Frenchman had fallen in love with the daughter of a clergyman, and had j squired her to the parish church on *... ; and thus the scribbler's reason, as he thought it, had overcome his prejudice,—and the Frenchman's prejudice had overcome his reason; for at bottom he was clearly a freethinker. The kirk was most unceremoniously handled by Coram. Your stickler to onefixed form of worship, in preference to another, can be argued with ; but a denouncer of all public worship is like a declaimer against all sorts of medicine—you leave him to die without pity; and though I believe M. Rotte's sincerity in his praise of our establishment was to the full as questionable as his adversary's irreverence was unbecoming, et the latter had almost my aborrence, while the former had barely my contempt. The debate was about closing with a “ weel a weel, Mr. Rotte, ye'll gang your way to heaven, and I'll gang mine; and gin we meet o' the road, I'se warrant we'll no cast out about the means we took to come till't;” when the theme was taken up by that strange creature the Doctor. He had sat silent and unobserved, and really by me unseen, since the removal of the cloth; and the effect of his now poking in his lank sallow face among us was like that of a knuckle of veal after a sirloin of beef; one is surprised at its appearance, vexed at not being able to partake of it, yet unwilling to let it o away without being tasted. M. #. had just assented to Coram's summing up, when—“So the end is gained n'importent the means, Monsieur,” issued from a voice of an in
describable structure; a cracked clarionet, a half-penny whistle, and a trombone, present themselves as possibly able to give you an idea of the sound ; but to complete it, I think, you must add the rattling of a bullet in a copper-kettle, for the Doctor was a Northumbrian. As not one of his hearers was prepared for this salute, and not one could tell whether it was meant assentingly, ironically, or disputaciously, the consequence was, that after an awkward pause of staring hesitation we burst unanimously into a loud laugh! The Doctor, however, was not to be driven from his point by such a rebuff; for after we had confirmed him in the belief that the laugh was at him by our eagerness to i. it upon other matters, he took up the cudgels on the side of the Frenchman
with such an apparent zeal, that i began to think, either that he was one of that respectable body at whom Coram i." levelled his jeers, or, at least, that he was earnest and conscientious in the side which he adopted. “The question seems,” said he, after some previous debate, “ to be, whether a church that has made herself what she is by the determined spirit of her founders, and maintained her principles by the zeal and piety of her clergy, in defiance of the persecutions of all her enemies; whether, ye see, this church has framed a mode of public worship worthy of its Almighty object. A poet of your country, Sir, (to Coram) has called religious pride, “in all the pomp of method and of art,” poor in comparison with the simple devotions of a cotter and his family by their own fireside; what shall we call it in comparison with an assemblage of Christians who have no fire to warm them but the flame of their own bosoms?—hem l—the inference is irrefragable.”—Now, what did he mean, Frank?—whatever he meant, the effect of what he said was again a loud laugh from his auditors; the face, the voice, above all the concatenation of rs in his sentence, fairly upset our gravity, and drove the Frenchman bursting out of the cabin. Coram was on his way after him, and a general move was takin
place at table, when a smart blackwhiskered fellow of a footman entered, and, in broken English, presented Colonel St. Etienne's compliments, and requested the favour of our company to a ball upon deckAn interruption of a much less agreeable kind would have been most welcome ; you may guess whether that of Colonel St. Etienne's valet was so or not.—It was received by the Doctor, however, with a most ungracious pish, and, instead of accepting the invitation, he skulked away to his birth, with a Tacitus and a raw turnip, on both of which he seemed to feed with some avidity. A very elegant little parterre appeared upon deck, where we found the rest of the company assembled.— The master of the ceremonies, Colonel St. Etienne, welcomed us like a Frenchman; (you recollect Handel's “like a prince,”) that is, he bowed us along with assurances of his thanks for the honour, &c. while he laughed in his sleeve at our bâtise in believing him. He then requested Mr. L.'s permission to ask Mrs. L. to commence the ball, by walking a waltz with him, which being granted much more readily than I had imagined, the Colonel proceeded to avail himself of it, and in an instant appeared upon the floor with Mrs. L. who, However, had demurred to a waltz, but consented, as we were informed, to a minuet. They walked it beautifully;anden passant, I beg to ask, whether there is any comparison between the very best dance of the very best modern school, and the elegance of the old court minuet. A country dance of seven couples followed.— Where the women came from, or who they were, I know not; but they appeared quite genteel, and precedence was strictly attended to. Mr. P. and Mrs. L. led off; the other couples seemed well enough matched, the fourth being, by the master's express arrangement, your humble servant and Miss. We had kept it up till near nine o'clock, when an occurrence of a very painful nature, while it lasted, spoiled our enjoyment for the rest of the evening. The musicians (by-the-bye I have not told you that we mustered two violins and a harp)—the musicians had just given that nondescript kind of twirl which announces the dance at an end, when, before the consequent buz of conversation could commence, we distinctly heard a heavy
plunge into the water, at the stern of the vessel, and simultaneously a scream of horror. There is always a second or two of dead silence, a momentary stupor of a terrible nature, before people fly to discover the cause of an alarm; in that moment all possible circumstances, and chiefly those of an aggravated nature, suggest themselves to the mind; but rarely does the true cause of dread occur to any one. The sailors were the first to shout, “a man overboard,” while the Captain and Mate ordered and assisted in the lowering of the boat.— She was afloat in an instant, manned by the Captain, three sailors, M. Rotte, and Mr. P.-The scene I witnessed upon deck was really pathetic: it is wonderful how strongly one is affected by a plain, simple, unbrought-about incident, a genuine burst of nature, unaided by situation, surprise, or previous excitement.— Mrs. L. had been sitting nearest the part of the vessel whence the sound F. and having lost sight of er youngest girl for some little time, the thought of her child being the sufferer had struck her, as she afterwards expressed it, like a flash of lightning, and elicited from her the scream, which, more than any thing else, had horrified us. . During the interval of lowering the boat, all hands appeared above, Doctor included, yet little Susan L. was not among them ; her father could hardly support himself, and her mother was just sinking, as I thought, into a swoon, when the little cherub appeared from the boat which stands upon deck, and, unconscious of the uneasiness she had caused, cried, * Mammal"—I will not attempt to describe what followed, Frank, because I am sure I should bombast it; the circumstance of parents finding a child, which both had given up for lost, makes a very pretty tale in many a pretty book; but I question if any of them ever had more effect on their hearers than this simple incident had upon our company. The child was a most fascinating creature, and indeed the whole family were remarked for their peculiarly engaging manners. We were again in the dark then as to the person who had gone overboard, for no one doubted that some one had so gone; and we now recollected a stupid pert little girl of nine or ten years old, who had been repeatedly checked in climbing about the cables, seats, &c. She was in the care of no one, though the steward seemed to have adopted her as his protegée during the voyage ; and she it was who was now doomed to the waves. Holmes (the cockney) was the first to name her, and he was seconded by all the sailors, one of whom did not scruple to say that “ he seed the bit lassie hinging at the starm-post.” Our anxiety was extreme about her—the boat had made no discovery, and we were giving up the poor little girl for lost, when a remark of Holmes's (a drywitted odd sort of fellow, by the way) confirmed me in a suspicion, that he knew the whole cause of the alarm, if he was not the framer of it ; he had been more than usually silent during the stir, and the coldness of his observations must have struck every body. The boat was still seen in the gloom, about 100 yards off; and was, as we thought, on her return to the vessel; the girl was still unfound, as Holmes said, and we all concluded that she was lost for ever. But at that instant we heard a loud Haugh from those in the boat, and the captain calling out that they had found the body, begged a warm bed to be prepared for it. Holmes desired him not to be uneasy, for he was a member of the Humane Society, and would undertake to revive a drowned body, though as dead as mutton. Before we could discern what they had found, we saw the living body which we had lost making her way out from among some cables, sails, &c. where she had been lying fast asleep for the last hour. The poor girl was most unmercifully rated, and very unjustly, when one thinks of it; Holmes, in particular, was ludicrously severe upon her for being only asleep when they all thought her dead. As the boat neared, he congratulated them upon having found the lost sheep, and assisted the sailors in handing up— what?—a side of mutton which had dropped, or been cut from the stern, where, with many other matters, it had been hung for air!! Mr. and Mrs. L. grew very grave, and Holmes grew very facetious; but there was a coldness between the whole
company and him for a long time after, in spite of his droll sayings: we forgave the fellow, however, for his impudence ; and when we had told the boat-party of our alarm, we found them rather of his way of thinking, that we had made fools of ourselves. “Come, cook,” said the captain, “ hang up the haunch,” “Ay,” said Holmes, “hang him up —he must have some more capers before he goes to pot;” and many such saucy remarks. The event served us for supper talk; but we parted for the night rather displeased with each other. The next morning, however, seemed to dawn favourably for a renewal of our sociality; and the day passed without a gloom. My time was principally taken up by P. and L. whose conversation was really most attractive. The former is a thorough man of the world, in as far as being above the liability of being imposed upon by its arts can give right to that title. The latter is a gentleman, complete in all but purse. You have seen his works, and you have seen the powers of his mind in those masterly personifications of dramatic character which were the admiration of our city for two winters. P. is not at all of a literary turn, but good society has given him knowledge enough never to appear ignorant to the degree which puts one in pain; and his superior acquaintance with real life renders him not only a fit but a desirable companion for most ranks of respectable people. I have received general invitations to visit both of these gentlemen in London, of which I shall most certainly avail myself. We had a little joviality at night (being Saturday), and more than one of us fell sacrifices to the rosy God. I wonder if the proverb “drunkenness reveals what soberness conceals,” be as correct as proverbs gemerally are ; if it be, we are a sad set of dissemblers, because almost every man's nature undergoes a thorough change under the influence of drink; the taciturn become talkative, the peaceable uproarious, the dull lively. I vow I suspect the proverb a little in particulars; but in the main it is right, else proverb it had never been. If I recollect Jamieson's book aright, he had a parson on board with him, by whose and Jamieson's