Εικόνες σελίδας
PDF
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

Above all, those insufferable concertos, and this infernal plague of melancholy seizeth on pieces of music, as they are called, do plague them, and terrifies their souls, representing and embitter my apprehension.

Words are some dismal object to their minds ; which now, something; but to be exposed to an endless by no means, no labour, no persuasions, they can battery of mere sounds ; to be long a dying, avoid, they cannot be rid of, they cannot to lie stretched upon a rack of roses ; to keep resist.” up languor by unintermitted effort ; to pile Something like this “SCENE TURNING” I honey upon sugar, and sugar upon honey, to have experienced at the evening parties, at the an interminable tedious sweetness ; to fill up house of my good Catholic friend Noo; sound with feeling, and strain ideas to keep who, by the aid of a capital organ, himself the pace with it ; to gaze on empty frames, and be most finished of players, converts his drawingforced to make the pictures for yourself; to room into a chapel, his week days into Sundays, read a book, all stops, and be obliged to supply and these latter into minor heavens.* the verbal matter ; to invent extempore tra- When my friend commences upon one of gedies to answer to the vague gestures of an those solemn anthems, which peradventure inexplicable rambling mime—these are faint struck upon my heedless ear, rambling in shadows of what I have undergone from a the side aisles of the dim Abbey, some fiveseries of the ablest-executed pieces of this and-thirty years since, waking a new sense, empty instrumental music.

and putting a soul of old religion into my I deny not, that in the opening of a concert, I young apprehension—(whether it be that, in have experienced something vastly lulling and which the Psalmist, weary of the persecutions agreeable :-afterwards followeth the languor of bad men, wisheth to himself dove's wings and the oppression.—Like that disappointing -or that other, which, with a like measure of book in Patmos ; or, like the comings on of sobriety and pathos, inquireth by what means melancholy, described by Burton, doth music the young man shall best cleanse his mind)make her first insinuating approaches :—“Most a holy calm pervadeth me. I am for the time pleasant it is to such as are melancholy given -rapt above earth, to walk alone in some solitary grove, betwixt And possess joys not promised at my birth. wood and water, by some brook side, and to

But when this master of the spell, not con meditate upon some delightsome and pleasant tent to have laid a soul prostrate, goes on, in subject, which shall affect him most, amabilis his power, to inflict more bliss than lies in her insania, and mentis gratissimus error. A most capacity to receive,—impatient to overcome incomparable delight to build castles in the her “earthly” with his “heavenly,”-still air, to go smiling to themselves, acting an infi- | pouring in, for protracted hours, fresh waves nite variety of parts, which they suppose, and and fresh from the sea of sound, or from that strongly imagine, they act, or that they see

inexhausted German ocean, above which, in done.—So delightsome these toys at first, they triumphant progress, dolphin-seated, ride those could spend whole days and nights without Arions Haydn and Mozart, with their attendant sleep, even whole years in such contemplations, Tritons, Bach, Beethoven, and a countless tribe, and fantastical meditations, which are like so

whom to attempt to reckon up would but many dreams, and will hardly be drawn from plunge me again in the deeps,—I stagger under them-winding and unwinding themselves as the weight of harmony, reeling to and fro at $0 many clocks, and still pleasing their my wits' end ;-clouds, as of frankincense, humours, until at the last the SCENE TURNS oppress me—priests, altars, censers, dazzle UPON A SUDDEN, and they being now habitated before me—the genius of his religion hath me to such meditations and solitary places, can

in her toils—a shadowy triple tiara invests endure no company, can think of nothing but

the brow of my friend, late, so naked, so ingeharsh and distasteful subjects. Fear, sorrow,

nuous—he is Pope,-and by him sits, like as suspicion, subrusticus pudor, discontent, cares,

in the anomaly of dreams, a she-Pope too,—triand weariness of life, surprise them on a sudden coroneted like himself !—I am converted, and and they can think of nothing else ; continually * I have been there, and still would go; suspecting, no sooner are their eyes open, but "Tis like a little heaven below.-Dr. Watts.

yet a Protestant ;-at once malleus hereticorum, true Lutheran beer (in which chiefly my friend and myself grand heresiarch : or three here- shows himself no bigot) at once reconciles me sies centre in my person :-I am Marcion, to the rationalities of a purer faith ; and reEbion, and Cerinthus-Gog and Magog—what stores to me the genuine unterrifying aspects not ?-till the coming in of the friendly supper- of my pleasant-countenanced host and hostess. tray dissipates the figment, and a draught of

ALL FOOLS' DA Y.

merers.

sea.

The compliments of the season to my worthy | It is long since you wenta salamander-gathering masters, and a merry first of April to us all ! down Ætna. Worse than samphire-picking

Many happy returns of this day to you—and by some odds. 'Tis a mercy your worship did you—and you, Sir-nay, never frown, man, nor not singe your mustachios. put a long face upon the matter. Do not we Ha ! Cleombrotus! and what salads in faith know one another ? what need of ceremony did you light upon at the bottom of the Mediamong friends ? we have all a touch of that same terranean ? You were founder, I take it, of the -you understand me—a speck of the motley. disinterested sect of the Calenturists. Beshrew the man who on such a day as this, Gebir, my old free-mason, and prince of the general festival, should affect to stand aloof. plasterers at Babel, bring in your trowel, most I am none of those sneakers. I am free of the Ancient Grand ! You have claim to a seat corporation, and care not who knows it. He here at my right hand, as patron of the stamthat meets me in the forest to-day, shall meet

You left your work, if I remember with no wise-acre, I can tell him. Stultus sum. Herodotus correctly, at eight hundred million Translate me that, and take the meaning of it toises, or thereabout, above the level of the to yourself for your pains. What ! man, we Bless us, what a long bell you must have have four quarters of the globe on our side, at pulled, to call your top workmen to their the least computation.

nuncheon on the low grounds of Shinar. Or Fill us a cup of that sparkling gooseberry, did you send up your garlic and onions by a we will drink no wise, melancholy, politic port rocket ? I am a rogue if I am not ashamed to on this day-and let us troll the catch of show you our Monument on Fish-street Hill, Amiens-duc ad me-duc ad mem

-how goes it ?

after your altitudes. Yet we think it sonieHere shall he see

what.

What, the magnanimous Alexander in tears? Now would I give a trifle to know histori- -cry, baby, put its finger in its eye, it shall cally and authentically, who was the greatest have another globe, round as an orange, pretty fool that ever lived. I would certainly give moppet ! him in a bumper. Marry, of the present breed, Mister Adams- -'odso, I honour your coat I think I could without much difficulty name -pray do us the favour to read to us that you the party.

sermon,

which

you

lent to Mistress SlipslopRemove your cap a little further, if you the twenty and second in your portmanteau please : it hides my bauble. And now each there-on Female Incontinence—the sameman bestride his hobby, and dust away his bells it will come in most irrelevantly and impertito what tune he pleases. I willgive you, for nently seasonable to the time of the day. my part,

Good Master Raymund Lully, you look wise. -The crazy old church clock,

Pray correct that error.

Duns, spare your definitions. I must fine Good master Empedocles, you are welcome. you a bumper, or a paradox. We will have

Gross fools as he.

And the bewildered chimes.

[ocr errors]

nothing said or done syllogistically this day. To descend from these altitudes, and not to Remove those logical forms, waiter, that no protract our Fool's Banquet beyond its approgentleman break the tender shins of his appre- priate day,—for I fear the second of April is hension stumbling across them.

not many hours distant-in sober verity I Master Stephen, you are late.—Ha ! Cokes, will confess a truth to thee, reader. I love a is it you ?-Aguecheek, my dear knight, let Fool—as naturally, as if I were of kith and me pay my devoir to you.--Master Shallow, kin to him. When a child, with child-like your worship's poor servant to command.

apprehensions, that dived not below the surMaster Silence, I will use few words with you. face of the matter, I read those Parables-not -Slender, it shall go hard if I edge not you in guessing at the involved wisdom-I had more somewhere—You six will engross all the poor yearnings towards that simple architect, that wit of the company to-day.-I know it, I know it. built his house upon the sand, than I enter• Ha ! honest R—-, my fine old Librarian tained for his more cautious neighbour : I of Ludgate, time out of mind, art thou here grudged at the bard censure pronounced upon again? Bless thy doublet, it is not over-new, the quiet soul that kept his talent ; and threadbare as thy stories :—what dost thou prizing their simplicity beyond the more profitting about the world at this rate ?—Thy vident, and, to my apprehension, somewhat customers are extinct, defunct, bed-rid, have unfeminine wariness of their competitors—I ceased to read long ago.—Thou goest still felt a kindliness, that almost amounted to a among them, seeing if, peradventure, thou tendre, for those five thoughtless virgins.—I canst hawk a volume or two.--Good Granville have never made an acquaintance since, that S- thy last patron, is flown.

lasted : or a friendship, that answered ; with King Pandion, he is dead,

any that had not some tincture of the absurd All thy friends are lapt in lead.

in their characters. I venerate an honest Nevertheless, noble R-, come in, and obliquity of understanding. The more laughtake your seat here, between Armado and able blunders a man shall commit in your Quisada ; for in true courtesy, in gravity, in company, the more tests he giveth you, that fantastic smiling to thyself, in courteous smiling he will not betray or overreach you. I love upon others, in the goodly ornature of well-appa- | the safety, which a palpable hallucination relled speech, and the commendation of wise warrants ; the security, which a word out of sentences, thou art nothing inferior to those season ratifies. And take my word for this, accomplished Dons of Spain. The spirit of reader, and say a fool told it you, if you please, chivalry forsake me for ever, when I forget that he who hath not a dram of folly in his thy singing the song of Macheath, which mixture, hath pounds of much worse matter declares that he might be happy with either, in his composition. It is observed, that “ the situated between those two ancient spinsters foolisher the fowl or fish, — woodcocks,-when forget the inimitable formal love dotterels—cods’-heads, &c., the finer the flesh which thou didst make, turning now to the thereof,” and what are commonly the world's one, and now to the other, with that Malvolian received fools, but such whereof the world is smile--as if Cervantes, not Gay, had written it not worthy? and what have been some of the for his hero ; and as if thousands of periods kindliest patterns of our species, but so many must revolve, before the mirror of courtesy darlings of absurdity, minions of the goddess, could have given his invidious preference and her white boys ?—Reader, if you wrest between a pair of so goodly-propertied and my words beyond their fair construction, it is meritorious-equal damsels.

you, and not I, that are the April Fool.

A QUAKERS MEETING.

Still-born Silence! thou that art
Flood-gate of the deeper heart !
Offspring of a heavenly kind !
Frost o' the mouth, and thaw o' the mind !
Secrecy's confidant, and he
Who makes religion mystery!

Admiration's speaking'st tongue !
Leave, thy desert shades among,
Reverend hermiis' hallow'd cells,
Where retired devotion dwells !
With thy enthusiasms come,
Seize our tongues, and strike us dumb !.

READER, would'st thou know what true and closed eyes would seem to obscure the peace and quiet mean ; would'st thou find a great obscurity of midnight. refuge from the noises and clamours of the There are wounds, which an imperfect multitude; would'st thou enjoy at once solitude solitude cannot heal. By imperfect I mean that and society ; would’st thou possess the depth which a man enjoyeth by himself. The perfect is of thy own spirit in stillness, without being that which he can sometimes attain in crowds, shut out from the consolatory faces of thy but nowhere so absolutely as in a Quakers' species ; would’st thou be alone, and yet | Meeting.—Those first hermits did certainly accompanied ; solitary, yet not desolate ; understand this principle, when they retired singular, yet not without some to keep thee into Egyptian solitudes, not singly, but in in countenance; a unit in aggregate; a simple shoals, to enjoy one another's want of converin composite :—come with me into a Quakers' sation. The Carthusian is bound to his Meeting.

brethren by this agreeing spirit of incomDost thou love silence deep as that “ before municativeness. In secular occasions, what the winds were made ?” go not out into the so pleasant as to be reading a book through a wilderness, descend not into the profundities long winter evening, with a friend sitting by of the earth ; shut not up thy casements; nor

or – -say, a wife-he, or she, too, (if that be propour wax into the little cells of thy ears, with bable,) reading another, without interruption, little-faith'd self-mistrusting Ulysses.—Retire or oral communication ?- can there be no with me into a Quakers' Meeting.

sympathy without the gabble of words ?For a man to refrain even from good words, away with this inhuman, shy, single, shadeand to hold his peace, it is commendable; but and-cavern-haunting solitariness. for a multitude, it is great mastery.

Master Zimmermann, a sympathetic solitude. What is the stillness of the desert, com- To pace alone in the cloisters, or side aisles pared with this place ? what the uncommuni- of some cathedral, time-stricken ; cating muteness of fishes ?—here the goddess

Or under hanging mountains, reigns and revels.—“ Boreas, and Cesias, and

Or by the fall of fountains ; Argestes loud,” do not with their inter-con- is but a vulgar luxury, compared with that founding uproars more augment the brawl- which those enjoy, who come together for the nor the waves of the blown Baltic with their

Give me, benches of a Quakers' Meeting. Here are no story of that much-injured, ridiculed man (who tombs, no inscriptions,

purposes of more complete, abstracted solitude. clubbed sounds—than their opposite (Silence This is the loneliness“ to be felt.”—The Abbey her sacred self) is multiplied and rendered Church of Westminster hath nothing so solemn, more intense by numbers, and by sympathy. so spirit-soothing, as the naked walls and She too hath her deeps, that call unto deeps.

* From “ Poems of all sorts," by Richard Fleckno, Negation itself hath a positive more and less ;

1653.

perhaps hath been a by-word in your mouth), -Sands, ignoble things,

-James Naylor : what dreadful sufferings, Dropt from the ruined sides of kings

with what patience, he endured, even to the but here is something, which throws Antiquity boring through of his tongue with red-hot herself into the fore-ground—SILENCE-eldest irons, without a murmur; and with what of things language of old Night-primitive strength of mind, when the delusion he had Discourser—to which the insolent decays of fallen into, which they stigmatised for blasmouldering grandeur have but arrived by a phemy, had given way to clearer thoughts, he violent, and, as we may say, unnatural pro- could renounce his error, in a strain of the gression.

beautifullest humility, yet keep his first How reverend is the view of these hushed heads, grounds, and be a Quaker still !—so different Looking tranquillity!

from the practice of your common converts Nothing-plotting, nought-caballing, unmis- from enthusiasm, who, when they apostatize, chievous synod ! convocation without intrigue! apostatize all, and think they can never get far parliament without debate! what a lesson dost enough from the society of their former thou read to council, and to consistory !_if errors, even to the renunciation of some saving my pen treat of you lightly—as haply it will truths, with which they had been mingled, not wander-yet my spirit hath gravely felt the implicated. wisdom of your custom, when sitting among Get the Writings of John Woolman by you in deepest peace, which some out-welling heart ; and love the early Quakers. tears would rather confirm than disturb, I How far the followers of these good men in have reverted to the times of your beginnings, our days have kept to the primitive spirit, or and the sowings of the seed by Fox and in what proportion they have substituted forDewesbury. I have witnessed that, which mality for it, the Judge of Spirits can alone brought before my eyes your heroic tranquil- determine. I have seen faces in their assemlity, inflexible to the rude jests and serious blies, upon which the dove sate visibly brooding. violences of the insolent soldiery, republican Others again I have watched, when my thoughts or royalist, sent to molest you—for ye sate should have been better engaged, in which I betwixt the fires of two persecutions, the out- could possibly detect nothing but a blank cast and off-scouring of church and presbytery. inanity. But quiet was in all, and the dis

I have seen the reeling sea-ruffian, who had position to unanimity, and the absence of the wandered into your receptacle, with the fierce controversial workings. If the spiritual avowed intention of disturbing your quiet, pretensions of the Quakers have abated, at from the very spirit of the place receive in least they make few pretences. Hypocrites å moment a new heart, and presently sit they certainly are not, in their preaching. It among ye as a lamb amidst lambs. And I is seldom indeed that you shall see one get up remember Penn before his accusers, and Fox amongst them to hold forth. Only now and in the bail-dock, where he was lifted up in then a trembling, female, generally ancient, spirit, as he tells us, and “the Judge and the voice is heard—you cannot guess from what Jury became as dead men under his feet.”

part of the meeting it proceeds—with a low, Reader, if you are not acquainted with it, I buzzing, musical sound, laying out a few words would recommend to you, above all church- which “ she thought might suit the condition narratives, to read Sewel's History of the of some present,” with quaking diffidence, Quakers. It is in folio, and is the abstract of which leaves no possibility of supposing that the Journals of Fox and the primitive Friends. anything of female vanity was mixed up, It is far more edifying and affecting than any where the tones were so full of tenderness, thing you will read of Wesley and his col- and a restraining modesty.—The men, for what leagues. Here is nothing to stagger you, I have observed, speak seldomer. nothing to make you mistrust, no suspicion Once only, and it was some years ago, I of alloy, no drop or dreg of the worldly or witnessed a sample of the old Foxian orgasın. ambitious spirit. You will here read the true It was a man of giant stature, who, as Words

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »