Слике страница

from the barge. At the end of the hall stood two thrones, as precious as the Cerulean Throne of Coolburga,* on one of which sat Aliris, the youthful King of Bucharia, and on the other was, in a few minutes, to be placed the most beautiful Princess in the world. Immediately upon the entrance of Lalla Rookh into the saloon, the monarch decended from his throne to meet her ; but scarcely had he time to take her hand in his when she screamed with surprise, and fainted at his feet. It was Feramorz himself that stood before her!-Feramorz was, himself, the Sovereign of Bucharia, who in this disguise had accompanied his young bride from Delhi, and, having won her love as an humble minstrel, now amply deserved to enjoy it as a King

The consternation of Fadladeen at this discovery was, for the moment, almost pitiable. But change of opinion is a resource too convenient in courts for this experienced courtier not to have learned to avail himself of it. His criticisms were all, of course, recanted instantly: he was seized with an admiration of the King's verses, as unbounded as, he begged him to believe, it was disinterested; and the following week saw him in possession of an additional place, swearing by all the Saints of Islam that never had there existed so great a poet as the Monarch Aliris, and, moreover, ready to prescribe his favourite regimen of the Chabuk for every man, woman, and child, that dared to think otherwise.

of the happiness of the King and Queen of Bucharia, after such a beginning, there can be but little doubt; and, among the lesser symptoms, it is recorded of Lalla Rookh that, to the day of her death, in memory of their delightful journey, she never called the King by any other name than Feramorz.

* "On Mahommed Shaw's return to Koolburga (the capital of Dekkan), he made a great festival, and mounted this throne with much pomp and magnificence, calling it Firozeh or Cerulean. I have heard some old persons, who saw the throne Firozeh in the reign of Sultan Mamood Bhamenee, describe it. They say that it was in length nine feet, and three in breadth; made of ebony, covered with plates of pure gold, and set with precious stones of immense value. Every prince of the house of Bhamenee, who possessed this throne, made a point of adding to it some rich stones ; so that when, in the reign of Sultan Mamood, it was taken to pieces, to remove some of the jewels to be set in vases and cups, the jewellers valued it at one corore of oons (nearly four millions sterling). I learned also that it was called Firozeh from being partly enamelled of a sky-blue colour, which was in time totally concealed by the number of jewels."-Ferishta.



Elapsæ manibus cecidêre tabellæ.-OVID.


STEPHEN WOOLRICHE, ESQ. MY DEAR WOOLRICHE,— It is now about seven years since I promised (and I grieve to think it is almost as long since we met) to dedicate to you the very first Book, of whatever size or kind, I should publish. Who could have thought that so many years would elapse, without my giving the least signs of life upon the subject of this important promise? Who could have imagined that a volume of doggerel

, after all, would be the first offering that Gratitude would lay upon the shrine of Friendship?

If you continue, however, to be as much interested about me and my pursuits as formerly, you will be happy to hear that doggerel is not my only occupation ; but that I am preparing to throw my name to the Swans of the Temple of Immortality, * leaving it, of course, to the said Swans to determine whether they ever will take the trouble of picking it from the stream.

In the meantime, my dear Woolriche, like an orthodox Lutheran, you must judge of me rather by my faith than my works; and however trifling the tribute which I here offer, never doubt the fidelity with which I am, and always shall be, Your sincere and attached Friend,

THE AUTHOR. March 4, 1813

PREFACE. THE Bag, from which the following Letters are selected, was dropped by a Twopenny Postman about two months since, and picked up by an emissary of the Society for the Suppression ci Vice, who, supposing it might materially assist the private re

Ariosto, canto 35


searches of that Institution, immediately took it to his employers, and was rewarded handsomely for his trouble. Such a treasury of secrets was worth a whole host of informers; and accordingly, like t.le Cupids of the poet (if I may use so profane a simile) who "fell at odds about the sweet-bag of a bee," * those venerable Suppressors almost fought with each other for the honour and delight of first ransacking the Post-Bag. Unluckily, however, it turned out, upon examination, that the discoveries of profligacy which it enabled them to make lay chiefly in those upper regions of society which their well-bred regulations forbid them to molest or meddle with. - In consequence, they gained but very few victims by their prize, and, after lying for a week or two under Mr. Hatchard's counter, the Bag, with its violated contents, was sold for a trifle to a friend of mine.

It happened that I had been just then seized with an ambition (having never tried the strength of my wing but in a Newspaper) to publish something or other in the shape of a Book ; and it occurred to me that, the present being such a letter-writing era, a few of these Twopenny-Post Epistles, turned into easy verse, would be as light and popular a task as I could possibly select for a commencement. I did not, however, think it prudent to give too many Letters at first, and accordingly have been obliged (in order to eke out a sufficient number of pages) to reprint some of those trifles which had already appeared in the public journals. As, in the battles of ancient times, the shades of the departed were sometimes seen among the combatants, so I thought I might manage to remedy the thinness of my ranks by conjuring up a few dead and forgotten ephemerons to fill them.

Such are the motives and accidents that led to the present publication ; and as this is the first time my Muse has ever ventured out of the go-cart of a Newspaper, though I feel all a parent's delight at seeing little Miss go alone, I am also not without a parent's anxiety lest an unlucky fall should be the consequence of the experiment; and I need not point out how many living instances might be found of Muses that have suffered very severely in their heads from taking rather too early and rashly to their feet. Be. sides, a Book is so very different a thing from a Newspaper in the former, your doggerel, without either company or shelter, must stand shivering in the middle of a bleak page by itself; whereas, in the latter, it is comfortably backed by advertisements, and has sometimes even a Speech of Mr. Stephen's, or something equally warm, for a chauffe-pić-so that, in general, the very reverse of “laudatur et alget” is its destiny.

Ambition, however, must run some risks, and I shall be very well satisfied if the reception of these few Letters should have the effect of sending me to the Post-Bag for more.

* Herrick.



In the absence of Mr. Brown, who is at present on a tour through

I feel myself called upon, as his friend, to notice certain misconceptions and misrepresentations to which this little volume of Trifles has given rise.

In the first place, it is not true that Mr. Brown has had any accomplices in the work. A note, indeed, which has hitherto accompanied his Preface, may very naturally have been the origin of such a supposition ; but that note, which was merely the coquetry of an author, I have, in the present edition, taken upon myself to remove, and Mr. Brown must therefore be considered (like the mother of that unique production, the Centaur, uova kai movov *) as alone responsible for the whole contents of the volume.

In the next place it has been said that, in consequence of this graceless little book, a certain distinguished Personage prevailed upon another distinguished Personage to withdraw from the author that notice and kindness with which he had so long and so liberally honoured him. In this story there is not one syllable of truth. For the magnanimity of the former of these persons I would, indeed, in no case answer too rashly: but of the conduct of the latter towards my friend, I have a proud gratification in declaring that it has never ceased to be such as he must remember with indelible gratitude;a gratitude the more cheerfully and warmly paid from its not being a debt incurred solely on his own account, but for kindness shared with those nearest and dearest to him.

To the charge of being an Irishman, poor Mr. Brown pleads guilty; and I believe it must also be acknowledged that he comes of a Roman Catholic family: an avowal which I am aware is decisive of his utter reprobation, in the eyes of those exclusive patentees of Christianity, so worthy to have been the followers of a certain enlightened Bishop, Donatus,+ who held “that God is in Africa and not elsewhere." But from all this it does not necessarily follow that Mr. Brown is a Papist; and, indeed, I have the strongest reasons for suspecting that they who say so are somewhat mistaken. Not that I presume to have ascertained his opinions upon such subjects. All I profess to know of his orthodoxy is that he has a Protestant wife and two or three little Protestant children, and that he has been seen at church every Sunday, for a whole year together, listening to the sermons of his truly reverend and amiable friend, Dr. and behaving there as well and as orderly as most people.

There are yet a few other mistakes and falsehoods about Mr. Brown, to which I had intended, with all becoming gravity, to advert; but I begin to think the task is quite as useless as it is tiresome. Misrepresentations and calumnies of this sort are, like

* Pindar, Pyth. 2.-My friend certainly cannot add oir' év dvopa ou yepao popov.

| Bishop of Casa Nigra, in the fourth century.

[ocr errors]

the arguments and statements of Dr. Duigenan,-not at all the less vivacious or less serviceable to their fabricators, for having been refuted and disproved a thousand times over. They are brought forward again, as good as new, whenever malice or stupidity may be in want of them; and are quite as useful as the old broken lantern, in Fielding's Amelia, which the watchman always keeps ready by him, to produce, in proof of riotous conduct, against his victims. I shall therefore give up the fruitless toil of vindication, and would even draw my pen over what I have already written, had I not promised to furnish my publisher with a Preface, and know not how else I could contrive to eke it out.

I have added two or three more trifles to this edition, which I found in the Morning Chronicle, and knew to be from the pen of my friend. The rest of the volume remains * in its original state.

April 20, 1814.


My dear Lady Bab, you'll be shocked, I'm afraid,
When you hear the sad rumpus your Ponies have made;
Since the time of horse-consuls (now long out of date),
No nags ever made such a stir in the State!
Lord Eldon first heard—and as instantly prayed he
To God and his King--that a Popish young lady
(For though you've bright eyes and twelve thousand a year,
It is still but too true you're a Papist, my dear)
Had insidiously sent, by a tall Irish groom,
Two priest-ridden Ponies, just landed from Rome,
And so full, little rogues, of pontifical tricks,
That the dome of St. Paul's was scarce safe from their kicks,
Off at once to Papa, in a flurry, he flies-
For Papa always does what these statesmen advise,
On condition that they'll be, in turn, so polite
As, in no case whate'er, to advise him too right-
“Pretty doings are here, sir,” he angrily cries,
While by dint of dark eyebrows he strives to look wise,
'Tis a scheme of the Romanists, so help me God !
To ride over your most Royal Highness rough-shod-
Excuse, sir, my tears—they're from loyalty's source-
Bad enough 'twas for Troy to be sacked by a Horse,
But for us to be ruined by Ponies still worse!”

A new reading has been suggested in the original of the Ode of Horace, freely translated by Lord Eldon, page 570. In the line “Sive per Syrteis iter æstuosas," it is proposed, by a very trifling alteration, to read" Surtees," instead of “Syrteis," which brings the Ode, it is said, more home to the noble translator, and gives a peculiar force and aptness to the epithet "æstuosas.' I merely throw out this emendation for the learned, being unable myself to decide upon its merits.

+ This young lady, who is a Roman Catholic, has lately made a present of some beautiful Ponies to the Princess,

« ПретходнаНастави »