Слике страница
PDF
ePub

O heavens! how he would fall upon thy neck,
And weep forgiveness !
Ord.

Spirit of the dead !
Methinks I know thee! ha! my brain turns wild
At its own dreams !-off-off-fantastic shadow !

Alv. I fain would tell thee who I am, but dare not !

Ord. Cheat! villain ! traitor! whatsoever thou be-
I fear thee, man!

Alv. Does then this thin disguise impenetrably
Hide Alvar from thee? Toil and painful wounds
And long imprisonment in unwholesome dungeons,
Have marred perhaps all trait and lineament
Of what I was ! But chiefly, chiefly, brother,
My anguish for thy guilt !

Ordonio-Brother!
Nay, nay, thou shalt embrace me.
Ord.

Touch me not !
Touch not pollution, Alvar! I will die.

Alv. We will find means to save your honour. Live,
Oh live, Ordonio! for our father's sake!
Spare his grey hairs.

Ord. O horror! not a thousand years in heaven
Could recompose this miserable heart,
Or make it capable of one brief joy!
Live! live! Why yes. "Twere well to live with you :
For is it fit a villain should be proud ?
Forgive me, Alvar !-Curse me with forgiveness !

Alv. Call back thy soul, Ordonio, and look round thee!
Now is the time for greatness.
In these strange dread events
Just Heaven instructs us with an awful voice,
That conscience rules us e'en against our choice.
Our inward monitress to guide or warn,
If listened to; but if repelled with scorn,
At length, as dire remorse, she re-appears:
Works in our guilty hopes, and selfish fears !
Still bids, Remember! and still cries, Too late !
And while she scares us, goads us to our fate.

SECTION XXXIII. SOUTHEY—PORSON..... Walter S. Landor. Porson. I SUSPECT, Mr. Southey, you are angry with me for the freedom with which I have spoken of your poetry and Wordsworth's.

Southey. What could have induced you to imagine it, Mr. Professor ? You have indeed bent your eyes upon me, since we have been together, with somewhat of fierceness and defiance. I presume that you fancied me to be a commentator ; and I am not irritated at a mistake. What man ever existed, who spent a more retired, a more inoffensive, a more virtuous life, or who adorned it with nobler studies than he ?

Por. I believe, none; I have always heard it; and those who attack him with virulence or with levity, are men of as little morality as reflection.

South. Nothing is easier than to mark and number the striking parts of an author: it is little more difficult to demonstrate why they are so. These pieces may afterwards be summed up and collated. Every man will be capable or incapable of it, in proportion as his mind is poetical ; few indeed will ever write any thing on the subject worth reading; but they will acquire strength and practice. The critic of the trade will gain a more certain livelihood and a more reputable one than before, and little will be spent upon his education

Por. Which however must be entered on in an opposite way from the statuary's: the latter begins with dirt and ends with marble; the former begins with marble and ends with dirt.

South. For my own part, I should be well contented with that share of reputation which might come meted out and delivered to me after the analytical and close comparison you propose. Its accomplishment can hardly be expected in an age when every thing must be done quickly. To run with oars and sails, was formerly the expression of orators for velocity : it would now express slowness.

Por. You were speaking of the changes among us. Dwarfs are in fashion still; but they are the dwarfs of literature. These little zanies are invited to the assemblies of the gay world, and admitted to the dinners of the political. Limbs of the law, paralysed and laid up professionally, enter into association with printers, and take retaining fees from some authors, to harangue against others out of any brief before them.

South. And they meet with encouragement and success! We stigmatize any lie but a malignant one, and we repel any attack but against fame, virtue, and genius.

Por. No other country has ever been so abundant in speculations as ours; but it would be incredible if we did not see it, that ten or fifteen men, of the humblest attainments, gain a livelihood by periodical attacks on its best writers. Shew me, if you can, Mr. Southey, a temperate, accurate, solid exposition, of any English work whatever, in any English review.

South. Not having at hand so many numbers as it would be requisite to turn over, 1 must decline the challenge.

Por. I have observed the same man extol in private, the very book on whose ruin he dined the day before.

South. His judgment then may be ambiguous, but you must not deny him the merit of gratitude. If you

blame the

poor and vicious for abusing the solaces of poverty and vice, how much more should you censure those who administer to them the means of such indulgence. ·

Por. The publications which excite the most bustle and biting from these fellows, are always the best, as the fruit on which the flies gather is the ripest. Periodical critics were never so plentiful as they now are. There is hardly a young author who does not make his first attempt in some review ; shewing his teeth, hanging by his tail, pleased and pleasing by the volubility of his chatter,

and doing his best to get a penny for his exhibitor and a nut for his own pouch, by the facetiousness of the tricks he performs upon our heads and shoulders. Even the little man who followed you in the Critical Review, poor Robin Fellowes, whose pretensions widen every smile his imbecility has excited, would, I am persuaded, if Homer were living, pat him in a fatherly way upon the cheek, and tell him that, by moderating his fire and contracting his prolixity, the public might ere long expect something from him worth reading.

I had visited a friend in King's Road when Robin entered,

Have you seen the Review ? cried he-worse than ever! I am resolved to insert a paragraph in the papers, declaring that I had no concern in the last number.

Is it so very bad? said I quietly.
Infamous ! detestable! exclaimed he.
Sit down then ... nobody will believe you ; was my an-

Since that morning he has discovered that I drink harder than usual, that my faculties are wearing fast away, that once indeed I had some Greek in my head, but... he then claps the fore-finger to the side of his nose, turns his eye slowly upward, and looks compassionately and calmly.

swer.

Southey. What could have induced you to imagine it, Mr. Professor ? You have indeed bent your eyes upon me, since we have been together, with somewhat of fierceness and defiance. I presume that you fancied me to be a commentator ;

and I am not irritated at a mistake. What man ever existed, who spent a more retired, a more inoffensive, a more virtuous life, or who adorned it with nobler studies than he ?

Por. I believe, none; I have always heard it; and those who attack him with virulence or with levity, are men of as little morality as reflection.

South. Nothing is easier than to mark and number the striking parts of an author: it is little more difficult to demonstrate why they are so. These pieces may afterwards be summed up and collated. Every man will be capable or incapable of it, in proportion as his mind is poetical; few indeed will ever write any thing on the subject worth reading ; but they will acquire strength and practice. The critic of the trade will gain a more certain livelihood and a more reputable one than before, and little will be spent upon his education

Por. Which however must be entered on in an opposite way from the statuary's : the latter begins with dirt and ends with marble; the former begins with marble and ends with dirt.

South. For my own part, I should be well contented with that share of reputation which might come meted out and delivered to me after the analytical and close comparison you propose. Its accomplishment can hardly be expected in an age when every thing must be done quickly. To run with oars and sails, was formerly the expression of orators for velocity : it would now express slowness.

Por. You were speaking of the changes among us. Dwarfs are in fashion still; but they are the dwarfs of literature. These little zanies are invited to the assemblies of the gay world, and admitted to the dinners of the political. Limbs of the law, paralysed and laid up professionally, enter into association with printers, and take retaining fees from some authors, to harangue against others out of any brief before them.

South. And they meet with encouragement and success! We stigmatize any lie but a malignant one, and we repel any attack but against fame, virtue, and genius.

Por. No other country has ever been so abundant in speculations as ours; but it would be incredible if we did not see it, that ten or fifteen men, of the humblest attainments, gain a livelihood by periodical attacks on its best writers. Shew me, if you can, Mr. Southey, a temperate, accurate, solid exposition, of any English work whatever, in any English review.

South. Not having at hand so many numbers as it would be requisite to turn over, I must decline the challenge.

Por. I have observed the same man extol in private, the very book on whose ruin he dined the day before.

South. His judgment then may be ambiguous, but you must not deny him the merit of gratitude. If you blame the

poor and vicious for abusing the solaces of poverty and vice, how much more should you censure those who administer to them the means of such indulgence. ·

Por. The publications which excite the most bustle and biting from these fellows, are always the best, as the fruit on which the flies gather is the ripest. Periodical critics were never so plentiful as they now are. There is hardly a young author who does not make his first attempt in some review ; shewing his teeth, hanging by his tail, pleased and pleasing by the volubility of his chatter, and doing his best to get a penny for his exhibitor and a nut for his own pouch, by the facetiousness of the tricks he performs upon our heads and shoulders. Even the little man who followed you in the Critical Review, poor

Robin Fellowes, whose pretensions widen every smile his imbecility has excited, would, I am persuaded, if Homer were living, pat him in a fatherly way upon the cheek, and tell him that, by moderating his fire and contracting his proJixity, the public might ere long expect something from him worth reading.

I had visited a friend in King's Road when Robin entered,

Have you seen the Review ? cried he-worse than ever ! am resolved to insert a paragraph in the papers, declaring that I had no concern in the last number.

Is it so very bad? said I quietly.
Infamous ! detestable! exclaimed he.
Sit down then ... nobody will believe you ; was my an-

Since that morning he has discovered that I drink harder than usual, that my faculties are wearing fast away, that once indeed I had some Greek in my head, but... he then claps the fore-finger to the side of his nose, turns his eye slowly upward, and looks compassionately and calmly.

swer.

« ПретходнаНастави »