THE MIRROR OF LITERATURE, AMUSEMENT, AND INSTRUCTION.
VOL. XII, No. 344.] SUPPLEMENTARY NUMBER. [PRICE 2d.
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EHRENBREITSTEIN ON RHINE.
Here Ehrenbreitstein, with her shattered wall, Black with the miners' blast, upon her height, Yet shows of what she was, when shell and ball Rebounding idly on her strength, did light; A tower of victory! from whence the flight Of baffled foes was watched along the plain: But peace destroyed what war could never blight, And laid those proud roofs bare to summer's rain, On which the iron shower for years had poured in vain.
SPIRIT OF THE "ANNUALS."
We have the pleasure of presenting to the readers of the MIRROR, the completion of our notices of these very elegant publications; and in pursuance of the plan of our former Supplement, we are enabled to assemble within the present sheet the characteristics of eight works, whilst our quotations include fourteen prose tales and sketches, and poetical pieces, of great merit.
The above engraving and its pendant are copied from the Literary Souvenir, specially noticed in our last Supplement. The original is a drawing by J.M.W. Turner, R.A. and the plate in the Souvenir is by J. Pye—both artists of high excellence in their respective departments:—
The waters of the Rhine have long maintained their pre-eminence, as forming one of the mightiest and loveliest among the highways of Europe.
But among all its united trophies of art and nature, there is not one more brightly endowed with picturesque beauty, or romantic association, than the fortress of Ehrenbreitstein. When the eye of our own Childe Harold rested upon its "shattered wall," and when the pencil of Turner immortalized its season of desolation, it had been smitten in the pride of its strength by the iron glaive of war: and its blackened fragments and stupendous ruins had their voice for the heart of the moralist, as well as their charm for the inspired mind of genius. But now that military art hath knit those granite ribs anew,—now that the beautiful eminence rears once more its crested head, like a sculptured Cybele, with a coronet of towers,—new feelings, and an altered scale of admiration wait upon its glories. Once more it uplifts its giant height beside the Rhine, repelling in Titan majesty the ambition of France; once more, by its united gifts of natural position and scientific aid, it appears prepared to vindicate its noble appellation of "the broad stone of honour."
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THE MUSICAL SOUVENIR.
This is an elegant little collection of seven songs, a trio, duet, and glee, set to music, or "as they are appointed to be said or sung." As we have not our musical types in order, we can only give our readers a specimen of its literary merits. The first piece is Akenside's beautiful Invocation to Cheerfulness; this is pleasingly contrasted with a Song to the Forget-me-not, by Mrs. Opie. Then follow five pieces from recent volumes of Friendship's Offering and the Amulet. The three remaining compositions (expressly for the work) are a Song by T. Bradford, Esq.; a Scotch Song, by Mr. Feist; and the following pathetic Lines, by the Rev. Thomas Dale:—
Oft as the broad sun dips Beneath the western sea, A prayer is on my lips, Dearest! a prayer for thee. I know not where thou wand'rest now, O'er ocean-wave, or mountain brow— I only know that He, Who hears the suppliant's prayer, Where'er thou art, on land or sea, Alone can shield thee there.
Oft as the bright dawn breaks Behind the eastern hill, Mine eye from slumber wakes, My heart is with the still— For thee my latest vows were said, For thee my earliest prayers are pray'd— And O! when storms shall lour Above the swelling sea, Be it thy shield, in danger's hour, That I have pray'd for thee.
Whether we consider the purity of its sentiments and the amiable tone of feeling, or its merit as a musical work, we are induced to recommend the present volume as an elegant present for a musical friend, and it will doubtless become a favourite with thousands of graceful pianists. Thanks to the Muses, our lyrical poetry is rapidly rising in the literary scale, when such beautiful compositions as those of Mrs. Hemans and Miss Landon are no sooner written than set to music.
The Musical Souvenir is embellished with two engravings and a presentation plate, and bound in crimson silk—so that it has all the attractions of the annual Christmas presents, except prose.
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EDITED BY F.M. REYNOLDS, ESQ.
This is a magnificent affair, and is one of the proud triumphs of the union of Painting, Engraving, and Literature—to which we took occasion to allude in a recent number of THE MIRROR. Each department is unique, and the lists are like the Morning Post account of a drawing room, or Almack's—the princes of the arts, and the peers of the pen. Painters—Lawrence, Howard, Corbould, Westall, Turner, Landseer, Stephanoff, Chalon, Stothard, &c. Engravers—C. Heath, Finden, Engleheart, Portbury, Wallis, Rolls, Goodyear, &c. Contributors—Scott, Mackintosh, Moore, the Lords Normanby, Morpeth, Porchester, Holland, Gower, and Nugent; Wordsworth, Southey, Coleridge, Shelley, Hook, Lockhart, Croker, Mrs. Hemans, and Miss Landon; and the cost of the whole eleven thousand guineas! Of course, such a book has not been the work of a day, month, or, perhaps, a year; and its literature entitles it to a permanent place in the library, where we hope to see it stand auro perennius; were its fate to be otherwise, we should condemn the public—for we hate ingratitude in every shape—and write in the first page the epitaph—For, O, for, O, the hobby-horse is forgot. A guinea to twopence—Hyperion to a Satyr—how can we extend the fame of The Keepsake!
We cannot particularize the engravings; but they are all worthy companions of the frontispiece—a lovely portrait of Mrs. Peel, engraved by Heath, from Sir Thomas Lawrence's picture. In the literary department—a very court of fiction—is, My Aunt Margaret's Mirror, a tale of forty-four pages; and, The Tapestried Chamber, by Sir Walter Scott; both much too long for extract, which would indeed be almost unfair. Next comes an exquisite gem—
BY PERCY BYSSHE SHELLEY.
What is Love? Ask him who lives what is life; ask him who adores what is God.
I know not the internal constitution of other men, nor even of thine whom I now address. I see that in some external attributes they resemble me, but when, misled by that appearance, I have thought to appeal to something in common, and unburden my inmost soul to them, I have found my language misunderstood, like one in a distant and savage land. The more opportunities they have afforded me for experience, the wider has appeared the interval between us, and to a greater distance have the points of sympathy been withdrawn. With a spirit ill-fitted to sustain such proof, trembling and feeble through its tenderness, I have every where sought, and have found only repulse and disappointment.
Thou demandest what is Love. It is that powerful attraction towards all we conceive, or fear, or hope, beyond ourselves, when we find within our own thoughts the chasm of an insufficient void, and seek to awaken in all things that are, a community with what we experience within ourselves. If we reason we would be understood; if we imagine, we would that the airy children of our brain were born anew within another's; if we feel, we would that another's nerves should vibrate to our own, that the beams of their eyes should kindle at once, and mix and melt into our own; that lips of motionless ice should not reply to lips quivering and burning with the heart's best blood:—this is Love. This is the bond and the sanction which connects not only man with man, but with every thing which exists. We are born into the world, and there is something within us, which, from the instant that we live, more and more thirsts after its likeness. It is probably in correspondence with this law that the infant drains milk from the bosom of its mother; this propensity develops itself with the development of our nature. We dimly see within our intellectual nature, a miniature as it were of our entire self, yet deprived of all that we condemn or despise, the ideal prototype of every thing excellent and lovely that we are capable of conceiving as belonging to the nature of man. Not only the portrait of our external being, but an assemblage of the minutest particles of which our nature is composed: a mirror whose surface reflects only the forms of purity and brightness: a soul within our own soul that describes a circle around its proper Paradise, which pain and sorrow and evil dare not overleap. To this we eagerly refer all sensations, thirsting that they should resemble and correspond with it. The discovery of its antitype; the meeting with an understanding capable of clearly estimating our own; an imagination which should enter into and seize upon the subtle and delicate peculiarities which we have delighted to cherish and unfold in secret, with a frame, whose nerves, like the chords of two exquisite lyres, strung to the accompaniment of one delightful voice, vibrate with the vibrations of our own; and a combination of all these in such proportion as the type within demands: this is the invisible and unattainable point to which Love tends; and to attain which, it urges forth the powers of man to arrest the faintest shadow of that, without the possession of which, there is no rest or respite to the heart over which it rules. Hence in solitude, or that deserted state when we are surrounded by human beings, and yet they sympathize not with us; we love the flowers, the grass, the waters, and the sky. In the motion of the very leaves of Spring, in the blue air, there is then found a secret correspondence with our heart. There is eloquence in the tongueless wind, and a melody in the flowing brooks and the rustling of the reeds beside them, which, by their inconceivable relation to something within the soul, awaken the spirits to dances of breathless rapture, and bring tears of mysterious tenderness to the eyes, like the enthusiasm of patriotic success, or the voice of one beloved singing to you alone. Sterne says that if he were in a desert he would love some cypress. So soon as this want or power is dead, man becomes a living sepulchre of himself, and what yet survives is the mere husk of what once he was.
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This and a fragment, with a character of Mr. Canning, by Sir James Mackintosh, are the transcendentals of the volume; as are the tale—The Half-brothers, by Mr. Banim, with an Ossian-like plate of the heroine; The Sisters of Albano, by Mrs. Shelley—Death of the Laird's Jock, by the author of Waverley—and Ferdinando Eboli, by Mrs. Shelley, with Adelinda, a plate, by Heath, on which we could feast our eyes for a full hour. Next, a sketch, by Theodore Hook, part of which will serve to vary our sheet:—
THE OLD GENTLEMAN.
"To-morrow morning," said my friend, "when you awake, the power will be your own; and so, sir, I wish you a very good night."—"But, sir," said I, anxious to be better assured of the speedy fulfilment of the wish of my heart, (for such indeed it was,) "may I have the honour of knowing your name and address?"—"Ha, ha, ha!" said the old gentleman; "my name and address; ha, ha, ha! my name is pretty familiar to you, young gentleman; and as for my address, I dare say you will find your way to me some day or another, and so, once more, good night."—Saying which, he descended the stairs and quitted the house, leaving me to surmise who my extraordinary visiter could be. I never knew; but I recollect, that after he was gone, I heard one of the old ladies scolding a servant-girl for wasting so many matches in lighting the candles, and making such a terrible smell of brimstone in the house. I was now all anxiety to get to bed, not because I was sleepy, but because it seemed to me as if going to bed would bring me nearer to the time of getting up, when I should be master of the miraculous power which had been promised me. I rang the bell; my servant was still out; it was unusual for him to be absent at so late an hour. I waited until the clock struck eleven, but he came not; and resolving to reprimand him in the morning, I retired to rest. Contrary to my expectation, and, as it seemed to me, to the ordinary course of nature, considering the excitement under which I was labouring, I had scarcely laid my head on my pillow before I dropped into a profound slumber, from which I was only aroused by my servant's entrance to my room. The instant I awoke, I sat up in bed, and began to reflect on what had passed, and for a moment to doubt whether it had not been all a dream. However, it was daylight; the period had arrived when the proof of my newly acquired power might be made.—"Barton," said I to my man, "why were you not at home last night?"—"I had to wait, sir, nearly three hours," he replied, "for an answer to the letter which you sent to Major Sheringham."—"That is not true," said I; and, to my infinite surprise, I appeared to recollect a series of occurrences, of which I never had previously heard, and could have known nothing: "you went to see your sweetheart, Betsy Collyer, at Camberwell, and took her to a tea-garden, and gave her cakes and cider, and saw her home again: you mean to do exactly the same thing on Sunday, and to-morrow you mean to ask me for your quarter's wages, although not due till Monday, in order to buy her a new shawl."—The man stood aghast: it was all true. I was quite as much surprised as the man.—"Sir," said Barton, who had served me for seven years without having once been found fault with, "I see you think me unworthy your confidence; you could not have known this, if you had not watched, and followed, and overheard me and my sweetheart; my character will get me through the world without being looked after. I can stay with you no longer; you will please, sir, to provide yourself with another servant."—"But Barton," said I, "I did not follow or watch you; I—"—"I beg your pardon, sir," he replied; "it is not for me to contradict; but you'll forgive me, sir, I would rather go; I must go."
At this moment I was on the very point of easing his mind, and retaining my faithful servant by a disclosure of my power; but it was yet too new to be parted with; so I affected an anger I did not feel, and told him he might go where he pleased. I had, however, ascertained that the old gentleman had not deceived me in his promises; and, elated with the possession of my extraordinary faculty, I hurried the operation of dressing, and before I had concluded it, my ardent friend Sheringham was announced; he was waiting in the breakfast-room. At the same moment, a note from the lovely Fanny Haywood was delivered to me—from the divine girl who, in the midst of all my scientific abstraction, could "chain my worldly feelings for a moment." "Sheringham, my dear fellow," said I, as I advanced to welcome him, "what makes you so early a visiter this morning?"—"An anxiety," replied Sheringham, "to tell you that my uncle, whose interest I endeavoured to procure for you, in regard to the appointment for which you expressed a desire, has been compelled to recommend a relation of the marquess; this gives me real pain, but I thought it would be best to put you out of suspense as soon as possible."—"Major Sheringham," said I, drawing myself up coldly, "if this matter concerns you so deeply as you seem to imply that it does, might I ask why you so readily agreed to your uncle's proposition or chimed in with his suggestion, to bestow the appointment on this relation of the marquess, in order that you might, in return for it, obtain the promotion for which you are so anxious?"—"My dear fellow," said Sheringham, evidently confused, "I—I—never chimed in; my uncle certainly pointed out the possibility to which you allude, but that was merely contingent upon what he could not refuse to do."—"Sheringham," said I, "your uncle has already secured for you the promotion, and you will be gazetted for the lieutenant-colonelcy of your regiment on Tuesday. I am not to be told that you called at the Horse-guards, in your way to your uncle's yesterday, to ascertain the correctness of the report of the vacancy which you had received from your friend Macgregor; or that you, elated by the prospect before you, were the person, in fact, to suggest the arrangement which has been made, and promise your uncle 'to smooth me over' for the present."—"Sir," said Sheringham, "where you picked up this intelligence I know not; but I must say, that such mistrust, after years of undivided intimacy, is not becoming, or consistent with the character which I hitherto supposed you to possess. When by sinister means the man we look upon as a friend descends to be a spy upon our actions, confidence is at an end, and the sooner our intercourse ceases, the better. Without some such conduct, how could you become possessed of the details upon which you have grounded your opinion of my conduct?"—"I—," and here again was a temptation to confess and fall; but I had not the courage to do it. "Suffice it, Major Sheringham, to say, I knew it; and, moreover, I know, that when you leave me, your present irritation will prompt you to go to your uncle and check the disposition he feels at this moment to serve me."—"This is too much, sir," said Sheringham; "this must be our last interview, unless indeed your unguarded conduct towards me, and your intemperate language concerning me, may render one more meeting necessary; and so, sir, here ends our acquaintance."—Saying which, Sheringham, whose friendship even to my enlightened eye was nearly as sincere as any other man's, quitted my room, fully convinced of my meanness and unworthiness; my heart sank within me when I heard the door close upon him for the last time. I now possessed the power I had so long desired, and in less than an hour had lost a valued friend and a faithful servant. Nevertheless, Barton had told me a falsehood, and Sheringham was gazetted on the Tuesday night.
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I went into the Water-colour Exhibition at Charing-cross; there I heard two artists complimenting each other, while their hearts were bursting with mutual envy. There, too, I found a mild, modest-looking lady, listening to the bewitching nothings of her husband's particular friend; and I knew, as I saw her frown and abruptly turn away from him with every appearance of real indignation, that she had at that very moment mentally resolved to elope with him the following night. In Harding's shop I found authors congregated "to laugh the sultry hours away," each watching to catch his neighbour's weak point, and make it subject matter of mirth in his evening's conversation. I saw a viscount help his father out of his carriage with every mark of duty and veneration, and knew that he was actually languishing for the earldom and estates of the venerable parent of whose health he was apparently taking so much care. At Howell and James's I saw more than I could tell, if I had ten times the space afforded me that I have; and I concluded my tour by dropping in at the National Gallery, where the ladies and gentlemen seemed to prefer nature to art, and were actively employed in looking at the pictures, and thinking of themselves. Oh! it was a strange time then, when every man's heart was open to me, and I could sit, and see, and hear, all that was going on, and know the workings of the inmost feelings of my associates; however, I must not detain the reader with reflections.
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Clorinda, or the Necklace of Pearl, is an intensely interesting tale by Lord Normanby, with a most effective illustration by Heath.
But the prose of the "Keepsake" is decidedly superior to the poetry, notwithstanding the high names in the latter list. Mr. Moore's contribution is, however, only sixteen lines. The poetical pieces consist chiefly of fragments or "scraps"—among which those on Italy, by Lord Morpeth; and three by Shelley, are very beautiful. Our specimen is—
THE VICTIM BRIDE.
BY W.H. HARRISON.
I saw her in her summer bow'r, and oh! upon my sight Methought there never beam'd a form more beautiful and bright! So young, so fair, she seem'd as one of those aerial things That live but in the poet's high and wild imaginings; Or like those forms we meet in dreams from which we wake, and weep That earth has no creation like the figments of our sleep.
Her parent—loved not he his child above all earthly things! As traders love the merchandize from which their profit springs: Old age came by, with tott'ring step, and, for the sordid gold With which the dotard urged his suit, the maiden's peace was sold And thus (for oh! her sire's stern heart was steel'd against her pray'r) The hand he ne'er had gain'd from love, he won from her despair.
I saw them through the churchyard pass, but such a nuptial train I would not for the wealth of worlds should greet my sight again. The bridemaids, each as beautiful as Eve in Eden's bow'rs, Shed bitter tears upon the path they should have strewn with flow'rs. Who had not deem'd that white rob'd band the funeral array, Of one an early doom had call'd from life's gay scene away!
The priest beheld the bridal group before the altar stand, And sigh'd as he drew forth his book with slow reluctant hand: He saw the bride's flow'r-wreathed hair, and mark'd her streaming eyes, And deem'd it less a Christian rite than a Pagan sacrifice; And when he call'd on Abraham's God to bless the wedded pair, It seem'd a very mockery to breathe so vain a pray'r.
I saw the palsied bridegroom too, in youth's gay ensigns drest; A shroud were fitter garment far for him than bridal vest; I mark'd him when the ring was claim'd, 'twas hard to loose his hold, He held it with a miser's clutch—it was his darling gold. His shrivell'd hand was wet with tears she pour'd, alas! in vain, And it trembled like an autumn leaf beneath the beating rain.
I've seen her since that fatal morn—her golden fetters rest As e'en the weight of incubus, upon her aching breast. And when the victor, Death, shall come to deal the welcome blow, He will not find one rose to swell the wreath that decks his brow: For oh! her cheek is blanch'd by grief which time may not assuage,— Thus early Beauty sheds her bloom on the wintry breast of Age.
Our commendation of the "Keepsake" might be extended much further, were we to consult our inclination to do justice to its high character. With so lavish an expenditure and such an array of talent as we have shown it to contain, to wonder at its success,
Were nothing but to waste night, day, and time.
We congratulate the proprietors on their prospects of remuneration, for the attractions of their publication are irresistible. It is altogether a splendid enterprise, and we doubt not the reward will be more than proportionate to the expectation it has raised—both in the proprietors and their patrons—the public.
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EDITED BY ALLAN CUNNINGHAM.
Perhaps we are getting too panegyrical, for panegyric savours of the poppy; but we must not flinch from our duty.
Allan Cunningham—there is poetry in the name, written or sung—and high-wrought poetry too, in nearly every production to which that name is attached—and among these "The Anniversary for 1829." All the departments of this work too, (as in the "Keepsake") are unique. Mr. Sharpe, the proprietor, is a man of refined taste, his Editor and his contributors are men of first-rate genius, the Painters and Engravers are of the first rank, and the volume is printed at Mr. Whittingham's Chiswick-press. Excellence must always be the result of such a combination of talent, and so it proves in the Anniversary. As might have been expected from the talent of its editor, the volume is superior in its poetical attractions—both in number and quality.
By way of variety, we begin with the poetry. First is a stirring little ballad, the Warrior, by the editor; then, a humorous epistle from Robert Southey, Esq. to Allan Cunningham, in which the laureat deals forth his ire on the "misresemblances and villanous visages" which have been published as his portrait. Next is a gem of another water, Edderline's Dream, by Professor Wilson, the supposed editor of "Blackwood's Magazine." This is throughout a very beautiful composition, but we must content ourselves with the following extract:—
Castle-Oban is lost in the darkness of night, For the moon is swept from the starless heaven, And the latest line of lowering light That lingered on the stormy even, A dim-seen line, half cloud, half wave, Hath sunk into the weltering grave. Castle-Oban is dark without and within, And downwards to the fearful din, Where Ocean with his thunder shocks Stuns the green foundation rocks, Through the green abyss that mocks his eye, Oft hath the eerie watchman sent A shuddering look, a shivering sigh, From the edge of the howling battlement!
Therein is a lonesome room, Undisturbed as some old tomb That, built within a forest glen, Far from feet of living men, And sheltered by its black pine-trees From sound of rivers, lochs, and seas, Flings back its arched gateway tall, At times to some great funeral! Noiseless as a central cell In the bosom of a mountain Where the fairy people dwell, By the cold and sunless fountain! Breathless as a holy shrine, When the voice of psalms is shed! And there upon her stately bed, While her raven locks recline O'er an arm more pure than snow, Motionless beneath her head,— And through her large fair eyelids shine Shadowy dreams that come and go, By too deep bliss disquieted,— There sleeps in love and beauty's glow, The high-born Lady Edderline.
Lo! the lamp's wan fitful light, Glide,—gliding round the golden rim! Restored to life, now glancing bright, Now just expiring, faint and dim! Like a spirit loath to die, Contending with its destiny. All dark! a momentary veil Is o'er the sleeper! now a pale Uncertain beauty glimmers faint, And now the calm face of the saint With every feature re-appears, Celestial in unconscious tears! Another gleam! how sweet the while, Those pictured faces on the wall, Through the midnight silence smile! Shades of fair ones, in the aisle Vaulted the castle cliffs below, To nothing mouldered, one and all, Ages long ago!
From her pillow, as if driven By an unseen demon's hand Disturbing the repose of heaven, Hath fallen her head! The long black hair From the fillet's silken band In dishevelled masses riven, Is streaming downwards to the floor. Is the last convulsion o'er? And will that length of glorious tresses, So laden with the soul's distresses. By those fair hands in morning light, Above those eyelids opening bright, Be braided nevermore! No, the lady is not dead, Though flung thus wildly o'er her bed; Like a wretched corse upon the shore, That lies until the morning brings Searchings, and shrieks, and sorrowings; Or, haply, to all eyes unknown, Is borne away without a groan, On a chance plank, 'mid joyful cries Of birds that pierce the sunny skies With seaward dash, or in calm bands Parading o'er the silvery sands, Or mid the lovely flush of shells, Pausing to burnish crest or wing. No fading footmark see that tells Of that poor unremembered thing!
O dreadful is the world of dreams, When all that world a chaos seems Of thoughts so fixed before! When heaven's own face is tinged with blood! And friends cross o'er our solitude, Now friends of our's no more! Or dearer to our hearts than ever. Keep stretching forth, with vain endeavour, Their pale and palsied hands, To clasp us phantoms, as we go Along the void like drifting snow. To far-off nameless lands! Yet all the while we know not why, Nor where those dismal regions lie, Half hoping that a curse to so deep And wild can only be in sleep, And that some overpowering scream Will break the fetters of the dream, And let us back to waking life, Filled though it be with care and strife; Since there at least the wretch can know The meanings on the face of woe, Assured that no mock shower is shed Of tears upon the real dead, Or that his bliss, indeed, is bliss, When bending o'er the death-like cheek Of one who scarcely seems alive, At every cold but breathing kiss. He hears a saving angel speak— 'Thy love will yet revive!'
 An artist of celebrity is now engaged on a portrait of Mr. Southey, cum privilegio, we suppose, Mr. Southey is not the only public man, whose lineaments have been traduced by engravers. Only look at some of the patriotic gentlemen who figure at public meetings, and in outline on cards, &c. But Houbraken is now known to have been no more honest than his successors in portrait engraving: although physiognomy and craniology ought to help the moderns out in these matters.
Then comes A Farewell to the year, one of Mr. Lockhart's elegant translations from the Spanish; a pretty portrait of rustic simplicity—the Little Gleaner, by the editor; and some playful lines by M.A. Shee, accompanying an engraving from his own picture of the Lost Ear-Rings. The Wedding Wake, by George Darley, Esq. is an exquisite picture of saddened beauty. The Ettrick Shepherd has the Carle of Invertine—a powerful composition, and the Cameronian Preacher, a prose tale, of equal effect. In addition to the pieces already mentioned, by the editor, is one of extraordinary excellence—the Magic Bridle: his Lines to a Boy plucking Blackberries, are a very pleasing picture of innocence:—
There stay in joy, Pluck, pluck, and eat thou happy boy; Sad fate abides thee. Thou mayst grow A man: for God may deem it so, I wish thee no such harm, sweet child: Go, whilst thou'rt innocent and mild: Go, ere earth's passions, fierce and proud, Rend thee as lightning rend the cloud: Go, go, life's day is in the dawn: Go, wait not, wish not to be man.
One of his pieces we quote entire:—
THE SEA KING'S DEATH-SONG.
I'll launch my gallant bark no more, Nor smile to see how gay Its pennon dances, as we bound Along the watery way; The wave I walk on's mine—the god I worship is the breeze; My rudder is my magic rod Of rule, on isles and seas: Blow, blow, ye winds, for lordly France, Or shores of swarthy Spain: Blow where ye list, of earth I'm lord, When monarch of the main.
When last upon the surge I rode, A strong wind on me shot, And tossed me as I toss my plume, In battle fierce and hot. Three days and nights no sun I saw, Nor gentle star nor moon; Three feet of foam dash'd o'er my decks, I sang to see it—soon The wind fell mute, forth shone the sun, Broad dimpling smiled the brine; I leap'd on Ireland's shore, and made Half of her riches mine.
The wild hawk wets her yellow foot In blood of serf and king: Deep bites the brand, sharp smites the axe, And helm and cuirass ring; The foam flies from the charger's flanks, Like wreaths of winter's snow; Spears shiver, and the bright shafts start In thousands from the bow— Strike up, strike up, my minstrels all Use tongue and tuneful chord— Be mute!—My music is the clang Of cleaving axe and sword.
Cursed be the Norseman who puts trust In mortar and in stone; Who rears a wall, or builds a tower, Or makes on earth his throne; My monarch throne's the willing wave, That bears me on the beach; My sepulchre's the deep sea surge, Where lead shall never reach; My death-song is the howling wind, That bends my quivering mast,— Bid England's maidens join the song, I there made orphans last.
Mourn, all ye hawks of heaven, for me Oft, oft, by frith and flood, I called ye forth to feast on kings; Who now shall give ye food? Mourn, too, thou deep-devouring sea, For of earth's proudest lords We served thee oft a sumptuous feast With our sharp shining swords; Mourn, midnight, mourn, no more thou'lt hear Armed thousands shout my name. Nor see me rushing, red wet shod, Through cities doomed to flame.
My race is run, my flight is flown; And, like the eagle free, That soars into the cloud and dies, I leave my life on sea. To man I yield not spear nor sword Ne'er harmed me in their ire, Vain on me Europe shower'd her shafts, And Asia pour'd her fire. Nor wound nor scar my body bears, My lip made never moan, And Odin bold, who gave me life, Now comes and takes his own.
Light! light there! let me get one look,— Yon is the golden sky, With all its glorious lights, and there My subject sea flows by; Around me all my comrades stand, Who oft have trod with me On prince's necks, a joy that's flown, And never more may be. Now put my helmet on my head, My bright sword in my hand, That I may die as I have lived. In arms and high command.
In the prose department the most striking is the description of Abbotsford, quoted in our 339th number. There is an affecting Tale of the Times of the Martyrs, by the Rev. Edward Irving, which will repay the reader's curiosity. The Honeycomb and Bitter Gourd is a pleasing little story; and Paddy Kelleger and his Pig, is a fine bit of humour, in Mr. Croker's best style. The brief Memoir of the late Sir George Beaumont is a just tribute to the memory of that liberal patron of the Fine Arts, and is an opportune introduction into such a work as the present. The letter of Lord Byron, too, from Genoa in 1823, will be interesting to the noble poet's admirers.
Among the illustrations we can only notice the Lute, by C. Rolls, after Bonnington; Morning, by E. Goodall, from Linton's "joyful" picture; Sir W. Scott in his Study (qy. the forehead); a little "Monkeyana," by Landseer; Chillon, by Wallis, from a drawing by Clarkson Stanfield—a sublime picture; Fonthill, an exquisite scene from one of Turner's drawings; Beatrice, from a picture by Howard; the Lake View of Newstead, after Danby; the Snuff-Box, from Stephanoff; and last, though not least, Gainsborough's charming Young Cottagers, transferred to steel, by J.H. Robinson—perhaps the most attractive print in the whole series.
With this hasty notice we conclude, in the language of our announcement of the present work, "wishing the publisher many Anniversaries"
* * * * *
EDITED BY THOMAS PRINGLE, ESQ.
The present volume will support, if not increase, the literary reputation which this elegant work has enjoyed during previous years. The editor, Mr. Pringle, is a poet of no mean celebrity, and, as we are prepared to show, his contribution, independent of his editorial judgment, will do much toward the Friendship's Offering maintaining its ground among the Annuals for 1829.
There are twelve engravings and a presentation plate. Among the most beautiful of these are Cupid and Psyche, painted by J. Wood, and engraved by Finden; Campbell Castle, by E. Goodall, after G. Arnald; the Parting, from Haydon's picture now exhibiting with his Mock Election, "Chairing;" Hours of Innocence, from Landseer; La Frescura, by Le Petit, from a painting by Bone; and the Cove of Muscat, a spirited engraving by Jeavons, from the painting of Witherington. All these are of first-rate excellence; but another remains to be mentioned—Glen-Lynden, painted and engraved by Martin, a fit accompaniment for Mr. Pringle's very polished poem.
The first prose story is the Election, by Miss Mitford, with the hero a downright John Bull who reads Cobbett. The next which most attracts our attention is Contradiction, by the author of an Essay on Housekeepers—but the present is not so Shandean as the last-mentioned paper; it has, however, many good points, and want of room alone prevents our transferring it. Then comes the Covenanters, a Scottish traditionary tale of fixing interest; the Publican's Dream, by Mr. Banim, told also in the Winter's Wreath, and Gem:
Thrice the brindled cat hath mewed;
and Zalim Khan, a beautiful Peruvian tale of thirty pages, by Mr. Fraser. The French story, La Fiancee de Marques, is a novelty for an annual, but in good taste. Tropical Sun-sets, by Dr. Philip, is just to our mind and measure:—
A setting sun between the tropics is certainly one of the finest objects in nature.
From the 23rd degree north to the 27th degree south latitude, I used to stand upon the deck of the Westmoreland an hour every evening, gazing with admiration upon a scene which no effort either of the pencil or the pen can describe, so as to convey any adequate idea of it to the mind of one who has never been in the neighbourhood of the equator. I merely attempt to give you a hasty and imperfect outline.
The splendour of the scene generally commenced about twenty minutes before sun-set, when the feathery, fantastic, and regularly crystallized clouds in the higher regions of the atmosphere, became fully illumined by the sun's rays; and the fine mackerel-shaped clouds, common in these regions, were seen hanging in the concave of heaven like fleeces of burnished gold. When the sun approached the verge of the horizon, he was frequently seen encircled by a halo of splendour, which continued increasing till it covered a large space of the heavens: it then began apparently to shoot out from the body of the sun, in refulgent pencils, or radii, each as large as a rainbow, exhibiting, according to the rarity or density of the atmosphere, a display of brilliant or delicate tints, and of ever changing lights and shades of the most amazing beauty and variety. About twenty minutes after sun-set these splendid shooting rays disappeared, and were succeeded by a fine, rich glow in the heavens, in which you might easily fancy that you saw land rising out of the ocean, stretching itself before you and on every side in the most enchanting perspective, and having the glowing lustre of a bar of iron when newly withdrawn from the forge. On this brilliant ground the dense clouds which lay nearest the bottom of the horizon, presenting their dark sides to you, exhibited to the imagination all the gorgeous and picturesque appearances of arches, obelisks, mouldering towers, magnificent gardens, cities, forests, mountains, and every fantastic configuration of living creatures, and of imaginary beings; while the finely stratified clouds a little higher in the atmosphere, might really be imagined so many glorious islands of the blessed, swimming in an ocean of light.
The beauty and grandeur of the sunsets, thus imperfectly described, surpass inconceivably any thing of a similar description which I have ever witnessed, even amidst the most rich and romantic scenery of our British lakes and mountains.
Were I to attempt to account for the exquisite enjoyment on beholding the setting sun between the tropics, I should perhaps say, that it arose from the warmth, the repose, the richness, the novelty, the glory of the whole, filling the mind with the most exalted, tranquillizing, and beautiful images.
* * * * *
There is likewise a tale, Going to Sea, and the Ship's Crew, by Mrs. Bowdich, which equally merits commendation.
Powerful as may be the aid which the editor has received from the contributors to the "Friendship's Offering," we are bound to distinguish one of his own pieces—Glen-Lynden, a Tale of Teviot-dale, as the sun of the volume. It is in Spenserian verse, and a more graceful composition cannot be found in either of the Annuals. It is too long for entire extract, but we will attempt to string together a few of its beauties. The scenery of the Glen is thus described:—
A rustic home in Lynden's pastoral dell With modest pride a verdant hillock crown'd: Where the bold stream, like dragon from the fell, Came glittering forth, and, gently gliding round The broom-clad skirts of that fair spot of ground, Danced down the vale, in wanton mazes bending; Till finding, where it reached the meadow's bound, Romantic Teviot on his bright course wending. It joined the sounding streams—with his blue waters blending.
Behind a lofty wood along the steep Fenced from the chill north-east this quiet glen: And green hills, gaily sprinkled o'er with sheep, Spread to the south; while by the brightening pen, Rose the blithe sound of flocks and hounds and men, At summer dawn, and gloaming; or the voice Of children nutting in the hazelly den, Sweet mingling with the winds' and waters' noise, Attuned the softened heart with Nature to rejoice.
Upon the upland height a mouldering Tower, By time and outrage marked with many a scar, Told of past days of feudal pomp and power When its proud chieftains ruled the dales afar. But that was long gone by: and waste and war, And civil strife more ruthless still than they, Had quenched the lustre of Glen-Lynden's star, Which glimmered now, with dim reclining ray, O'er this secluded spot,—sole remnant of their sway.
Lynden's lord, and possessor of this tower, is now "a grave, mild, husbandman," and his wife—
She he loved in youth and loved alone, Was his.
* * * * *
And now his pleasant home and pastoral farm Are all the world to him: he feels no sting Of restless passions; but, with grateful arm, Clasps the twin cherubs round his neck that cling, Breathing their innocent thoughts like violets in the spring.
Another prattler, too, lisps on his knee, The orphan daughter of a hapless pair, Who, voyaging upon the Indian sea, Met the fierce typhon-blast—and perished there: But she was left the rustic home to share Of those who her young mother's friends had been: An old affection thus enhanced the care With which those faithful guardians loved to screen This sweet forsaken flower, in their wild arbours green.
* * * * *
But dark calamity comes aye too soon— And why anticipate its evil day? Ah, rather let us now in lovely June O'erlook these happy children at their play: Lo, where they gambol through the garden gay, Or round the hoary hawthorn dance and sing, Or, 'neath yon moss-grown cliff, grotesque and grey Sit plaiting flowery wreaths in social ring, And telling wondrous tales of the green Elfin King.
* * * * *
Ah! evil days have fallen upon the land; A storm that brooded long has burst at last; And friends, like forest trees that closely stand With roots and branches interwoven fast, May aid awhile each other in the blast; But as when giant pines at length give way The groves below must share the ruin vast, So men who seemed aloof from Fortune's sway Fall crushed beneath the shock of loftier than they.
Even so it fared. And dark round Lynden grew Misfortune's troubles; and foreboding fears, That rose like distant shadows nearer drew O'ercasting the calm evening of his years; Yet still amidst the gloom fair hope appears, A rainbow in the cloud. And, for a space, Till the horizon closes round of clears, Returns our tale the enchanted path to trace Where youth's fond visions rise with fair but fleeting grace. Far up the dale, where Lynden's ruined towers O'erlooked the valley from the old oak wood, A lake blue gleaming from deep forest bowers, Spread its fair mirror to the landscape rude: Oft by the margin of that quiet flood, And through the groves and hoary ruins round, Young Arthur loved to roam in lonely mood; Or here, amid tradition's haunted ground, Long silent hours to lie in mystic musings drowned.
* * * * *
Here Arthur loved to roam—a dreaming boy— Erewhile romantic reveries to frame, Or read adventurous tales with thrilling joy. Till his young breast throbbed high with thirst of fame; But with fair manhood's dawn a softer flame 'Gan mingle with his martial musings high; And trembling wishes—which he feared to name, Yet oft betrayed in many a half-drawn sigh— Told that the hidden shaft deep in his heart did lie.
And there were eyes that from long silken lashes With stolen glance could spy his secret pain— Sweet hazel eyes, whose dewy light out-flashes Like joyous day-spring after summer rain; And she, the enchantress, loved the youth again With maiden's first affection, fond and true, —Ah! youthful love is like the tranquil main, Heaving 'neath smiling skies its bosom blue— Beautiful as a spirit—calm, but fearful too!
Our limits compel us to break off once more, which is a source of regret, especially when our path is strewn with such gems as these:—
A gentle star lights up their solitude And lends fair hues to all created things; And dreams alone of beings pure and good Hover around their hearts with angel wings— Hearts, like sweet fountains sealed, where silent rapture springs.
Here is a beautiful apostrophe—
Oh Nature! by impassioned hearts alone Thy genuine charms are felt. The vulgar mind Sees but the shadow of a power unknown; Thy loftier beauties beam not to the blind And sensual throng, to grovelling hopes resigned: But they whom high and holy thoughts inspire Adore thee, in celestial glory shrined In that diviner fane where Love's pure fire Burns bright, and Genius tunes his loud immortal Lyre!
The halcyon days at length draw to a close, and sorrows "in battalions" compel them to emigrate and bid
Farewell to the scenes they ne'er shall visit more.
The remainder is rather abrupt, at least much more so than the lovers of fervid poetry could wish, especially as the termination is with the following exquisite ballad:—
Our native land, our native vale, A long and last adieu! Farewell to bonny Lynden-dale, And Cheviot mountains blue.
Farewell, ye hills of glorious deeds, And streams renowned in song: Farewell, ye blithsome braes and meads Our hearts have loved so long.
Farewell, ye broomy elfin knowes, Where thyme and harebells grow; Farewell, ye hoary haunted howes, O'erhung with birk and sloe.
The battle-mound, the border-tower, That Scotia's annals tell: Thy martyr's grave, the lover's bower— To each—to all—farewell!
Home of our hearts! our father's home! Land of the brave and free! The keel is flashing through the foam That bears us far from thee.
We seek a wild and distant shore Beyond the Atlantic main: We leave thee to return no more, Nor view thy cliffs again.
But may dishonour blight our fame, And quench our household fires, When we or ours forget thy name, Green island of our sires.
Our native land—our native vale— A long, a last adieu! Farewell to bonny Lynden-dale, And Scotland's mountains blue!
We have only space to add that the poetical pieces are very numerous, and those by Allan Cunningham, the Ettrick Shepherd, Delta, and William Kennedy, merit especial notice.
The elegant embossed binding is similar to that of last year, which we mentioned to our readers, and which we think an improvement on the silken array.
* * * * *
Though last in the field, (for it is scarcely published) the Bijou will doubtless occupy a different place in public favour. Its embellishments are selected with much judgment, and in literary merit, it equals either of its contemporaries. Its second title is an Annual of Literature and the Fine Arts, and from the choice of its illustrations, deservedly so. Thus, among the painters, who have furnished subjects for the engravers, we have Holbein, Claude, and Primaticcio; and two from Sir Thomas Lawrence. The engraving from Holbein, Sir Thomas More and his Family,—is a novelty in an Annual, and is beautifully executed by Ensom. It has all the quaintness of the great master, whose pictures may be called the mosaic of painting. The Autumnal Evening, engraved by Dean, after Claude, is not so successful; although it should be considered that little space is allowed for the exquisite effect of the original: still the execution might have been better. The Frontispiece, Lady Wallscourt, after Sir Thomas Lawrence is in part, a first-rate engraving; Young Lambton, after the same master, is of superior merit. The face is beautifully copied; and, by way of hint to the scrappers, this print will form a companion to the Mountain Daisy, from the Amulet for the present year. There are, too, some consecrated landscapes, dear to every classical tourist, and of, no common interest at home—as Clisson, the retreat of Heloise; Mont Blanc; and the Cascade of Tivoli—all of which are delightfully picturesque. The view of Mont Blanc is well managed.
In the prose compositions we notice some of intense interest, among which are the Stranger Patron and the Castle of Reinspadte—both of German origin. There is too, a faithful historiette of the Battle of Trafalgar, which, with the History of the Family of Sir Thomas More, will be read with peculiar attention. Our extracts from the poetical department are by Mrs. Hemans and Miss Landon.
Oh! lightly, lightly tread! A holy thing is sleep. On the worn spirit shed, And eyes that wake to weep:
A holy thing from heaven, A gracious dewy cloud, A covering mantle, given The weary to enshroud.
Oh! lightly, lightly tread! Revere the pale still brow, The meekly drooping head, The long hair's willowy flow!
Ye know not what ye do, That call the slumberer back, From the world unseen by you, Unto Life's dim faded track.
Her soul is far away, In her childhood's land perchance, Where her young sisters play, Where shines her mother's glance.
Some old sweet native sound Her spirit haply weaves; A harmony profound Of woods with all their leaves:
A murmur of the sea, A laughing tone of streams:— Long may her sojourn be In the music-land of dreams!
Each voice of love is there, Each gleam of beauty fled. Each lost one still more fair— Oh! lightly, lightly tread!
Miss Landon has contributed more to the "Bijou" than to any other Annual, and a piece from her distinguished pen will increase the value and variety of our columns.
THE FEAST OF LIFE.
I bid thee to my mystic Feast, Each one thou lovest is gathered there; Yet put thou on a mourning robe, And bind the cypress in thy hair.
The hall is vast, and cold, and drear; The board with faded flowers is spread: Shadows of beauty flit around, But beauty from each bloom has fled;
And music echoes from the walls, But music with a dirge-like sound; And pale and silent are the guests, And every eye is on the ground.
Here, take this cup, tho' dark it seem, And drink to human hopes and fears; 'Tis from their native element The cup is filled—it is of tears.
What! turnest thou with averted brow? Thou scornest this poor feast of mine; And askest for a purple robe, Light words, glad smiles, and sunny wine.
In vain, the veil has left thine eyes, Or such these would have seemed to thee; Before thee is the Feast of Life, But life in its reality!
We should not, however, pass over in silence a poem, of the antique school, entitled the Holy Vengeance for the Martyrdom of George Wishart, the merits of which are of a high order. Indeed, this piece, and the admirable composition of the History of Sir Thomas More and his Family, with the Holbein print, distinguish the Bijou from all other publications of its class, and are characteristic of the good taste of Mr. Pickering, the proprietor. Altogether, the Bijou for 1829 is very superior to the last volume, and, to our taste, it is one of the most attractive of the Christmas presents.
* * * * *
THE WINTER'S WREATH.
This is a provincial, but not a first appearance in London; the present being the fourth "Wreath" that has been entwined for the lovers of song and sentiment. It is culled from Liverpool, (next to our own metropolis) the most literary city in the empire; but many of its flowers have been gathered from our metropolitan parterre. Thus, in addition to the respected names of Roscoe, Currie, and Shepherd, (of Liverpool), we have among the contributors those of Hemans, Bowring, Howitt, Opie, with Mitford, Montgomery, and Wiffen. The editorship has passed into different hands, and "the introduction of religious topics has been carefully avoided" as unsuited to a work of elegant amusement.
The plates are twelve in number, among which are Lady Blanche and her Merlin, after Northcote (rather too hard in the features); an exquisite View of the Thames near Windsor, after Havell; Medora and the Corsair, after Howard; the Sailor Boy, by Lizars; and a beautiful Wreath Title-page, after Vandyke. All these will bear comparison with any engravings in similar works.
The Wreath contains 132 pieces or flowers, some of them perennials—others of great, but less lasting beauty—and but few that will fade in a day. Among those entitled to special distinction, in the prose department, are an Italian Story, of considerable interest; the Corsair, a pleasing sketch; and Lough Neagh, a tale of the north of Ireland. One of the perennials is a Journey up the Mississippi, by Audubon, the American naturalist. Kester Hobson, a legendary tale of the Yorkshire Wolds, which turns upon a lucky dream, will probably set thousands dreaming—and we hope with the same good effect—viz. half-a-bushel of gold. "A Vision," by the late Dr. Currie, is a successful piece of writing; Le Contretems is a pleasant tale enough, with a sprinkling of French dialogue. Next is a well-told historiette of the eventful times of the Civil Wars.—The Memoir of a young Sculptor can scarcely fail to awaken the sympathy of the reader. The introduction of the paper on Popular Education, in what the editor himself calls "a work of elegant amusement like the present," is somewhat objectionable, and the writer's sentiments will be very unpalatable to a certain party. The Ridley Coach is a sketch in the style of Miss Mitford, who has contributed only one article, and that in verse. Mrs. Opie has a slight piece—The Old Trees and New Houses—but our prose selection is, (somewhat abridged)—
THE LADY ANNE CARR,
BY THE AUTHOR OF "MAY YOU LIKE IT."
Have you not sometimes seen, upon the bosom of dark, stagnant waters, a pure, white water-lily lift up its head, breathing there a fresh and delicate fragrance, and deriving its existence thence—yet partaking in nothing of the loathsome nature of the pool, nor ever sullied by its close contact with the foul element beneath?
It is an honest simile to say that the gentle Anne Carr resembled that sweet water-lily. Sprung from the guilty loves of the favourite Somerset and his beautiful but infamous wife, she was herself pure and untainted by the dark and criminal dispositions of her parents. Not even a suspicion of their real character had ever crossed her mind; she knew that they had met with some reverse of fortune,—for she had heard her father regret, for her sake, his altered estate. She knew this, but nothing more: her father's enemies, who would gladly have added to his wretchedness, by making his child look upon him with horror, could not find in their hearts, when they gazed on her innocent face, to make one so unoffending wretched. It is a lovely blindness in a child to have no discernment of a parent's faultiness; and so it happened that the Lady Anne saw nothing in her father's mien or manner, betokening a sinful, worthless character.
Of her mother she had but few and faint recollections. Memory pictured her pale and drooping, nay gradually sinking under the cureless malady which brought her to her grave at last. She remembered, however, the soft and beautiful smiles which had beamed over that haggard countenance, when it was turned upon her only child—smiles which she delighted to recognise in the lovely portrait, from which her idea of her mother was chiefly formed. This portrait adorned her own favourite apartment. It had been painted when the original was as young and happy as herself; and her filial love and fond imagination believed no grace had been wanting to make all as beautiful and glorious within.
As the Lady Anne grew up to womanhood, the sweetness of her disposition and manners began to be acknowledged by those, who had seen without astonishment her extraordinary beauty; and many persons of distinction, who would hold no kind of fellowship with the Lord Somerset, sought the acquaintance of his innocent daughter for her own sake.
The most beloved friend of the Lady Anne was the Lady Ellinor G——, the eldest daughter of the Earl of G——: and with her, Lady Anne often passed several months in the year. A large party of young ladies were assembled at G—— Castle; and it happened that a continual rain had confined the fair companions within doors the whole summer afternoon. They sat together over their embroidery and various kinds of needlework, telling old tales of fearful interest—the strange mishaps of benighted travellers—stories of witchcraft, and of mysterious murder.
The conversation turned at last to the legends belonging to a certain family; and one circumstance was mentioned so nearly resembling, in many particulars, the murder of Sir Thomas Overbury, that the Lady Ellinor, scarcely doubting that some slight suspicion of her parents' crimes had reached the ears of the Lady Anne, determined to change the subject at once. She proposed to her fair friends that they should ramble together through the apartments of the castle; and she called for the old housekeeper, who had lived in the family from her childhood, to go along with them, and asked her to describe to them the person and manners of Queen Elizabeth, when she had visited at the castle, and slept in the state apartment; always since called, The Queen's Bedchamber.
Led by their talkative guide, the careless, laughing party wandered from one chamber to another, listening to her anecdotes, and the descriptions she gave of persons and things in former days. She had known many of the originals of the stately portraits in the picture gallery; and she could tell the names, and the exploits of those warriors in the family, whose coats of mail and glittering weapons adorned the armoury. "And now," said the Lady Ellinor, "what else is there to be seen? Not that I mean to trouble you any longer with our questions, good Margaret, but give me this key, this key so seldom used," pointing to a large, strangely shaped key, that hung among a bunch at the old housekeeper's side. "There!" she added, disengaging it herself from the ring, "I have taken it, and will return it very safely. I assure you. This key," she said, turning to her young companions, "unlocks a gallery at the end of the eastern wing, which is always locked up, because the room is full of curious and rare treasures, that were brought by my father's brother from many foreign lands."
They enter.—"This may be a charming place," said one of the youngest and liveliest of the party, "but see, the rain has passed away, and the sun has at last burst out from the clouds. How brightly he shines, even through these dull and dusty windows!" She gave but a passing glance to the treasures around her, and hastened to a half open door at the end of the gallery. Some of her companions followed her to a broad landing place, at the top of a flight of marble stairs. They were absent but a few minutes, and they returned with smiles of delight, and glad, eager voices, declaring that they had unbolted a door at the bottom of the staircase, and found themselves in the most beautiful part of the gardens. "Come!" said the young and sprightly girl, "do not loiter here; leave these rare and beautiful things until it rains again, and come forth at once with me into the sweet, fresh air."
The Lady Ellinor and her friend the Lady Anne were sitting side by side, at the same table, and looking over the same volume—a folio of Norman chronicles, embellished with many quaint and coloured pictures. They both lifted up their faces from the book, as their merry companions again addressed them. "Nay, do not look up, but rise up!" said the laughing maiden, and drawing away the volume from before them, she shut it up instantly, and laid it on another table; throwing down a branch of jessamine in its place.
"Yes, yes, you are right, my merry Barbara," replied the Lady Ellinor, and she rose up as she spoke, "we have been prisoners all the day against our will, why should we now be confined when the smile of Nature bids us forth to share her joy. Come, come! my sweet Anne, you are not wont to be the last," turning to her friend, who lingered behind. "Oh!" cried Lady Anne, "I am coming, I will soon be the first amongst you, I only wait a moment to bind up my troublesome hair." As she spoke, her eyes rested upon a little volume, which lay upon the broad sill of the casement. The wind fluttered in the pages, and blew them over and over; and half curiously, half carelessly, she looked again, and yet again. The word murder caught her eye; her feelings were still in a state of excitement from the tales and legends to which she had just been listening. Resting her head upon her hand, she leaned over the volume; and stood motionless, absorbed by the interest of the tale which she read, forgetful of her young companions—of all but the appalling story then before her.
But these feelings were soon lost in astonishment, and horror so confounding, that for awhile she lost all power of moving, or even of thinking. Still her eyes were fixed upon the words which had pierced her heart:—she could not force them away. Again and again, struck with shame and horror, she shrunk away;—again and again, she found herself forced by doubt, by positive disbelief, to search the terrible pages. At last she had read enough—quite, quite enough to be assured, not that her father—her mother, had been suspected, but that by the law of the land they had been convicted, and condemned to death as foul, adulterous murderers;—the murderers of Sir Thomas Overbury!
The Lady Ellinor returned alone into the gallery, "You little truant!" she cried, "why so long? you said you would soon be with the foremost. I thought you must have escaped me, and have sought you through half the garden, and you are here all the while!"
No voice replied: not a sound was heard; and the Lady Ellinor had already returned to the door of the gallery to seek her friend elsewhere, when something fell heavily to the ground.
She flew back; and in one of the receding windows, she found the Lady Anne lying senseless in a deep swoon. Throwing herself on the ground beside her, she raised her tenderly in her arms, and not without some difficulty, restored her to herself. Then laying her head upon her bosom, she whispered kind words. "You are ill, I fear, my own Anne, who has been here? What have you seen? How so changed in this short time? I left you well and smiling, and now—nay, my dear, dear friend, do not turn from me, and look so utterly wretched. Do not you see me! What can be the matter!" The Lady Anne looked up in her friend's face with so piteous and desolate a look, that she began to fear her reason was affected.
"Have I lost your confidence? Am I no longer loved?" said the Lady Ellinor. "Can you sit heart-broken there, and will not allow me to comfort you? Still no answer! Shall I go? Shall I leave you, my love? Do you wish me absent?" continued she in a trembling voice, the tears flowing over her face, as she rose up. Her motion to depart aroused the Lady Anne. "Ellinor! my Ellinor!" she cried, and throwing herself forward, she stretched forth her arms. In another moment she was weeping on the bosom of her friend. She wept for a long time without restraint, for the Lady Ellinor said nothing, but drew her nearer and nearer to her bosom, and tenderly pressed the hand that was clasped in hers.
"I ought not to be weeping here," at length she said, "I ought to let you leave me, but I have not the courage, I cannot bear to lose your friendship,—your affection, my Ellinor! Can you love me? Have you loved me, knowing all the while, as every one must? To-day—this very hour, since you left me, I learned:—no I cannot tell you! Look on that page, Ellinor, you will see why you find me thus. I am the most wretched, wretched creature!"—here again she burst into an agony of uncontrollable grief.
* * * * *
Who can describe the feelings of the Lady Anne—alone, in her chamber, looking up at the portrait of her mother, upon which she had so often gazed with delight and reverence! "Is it possible?" said she to herself, "can this be she, of whom I have read such dreadful things? Have all my young and happy days been but a dream, from which I wake at last? Is not this dreadful certainty still as a hideous dream to me?"
She had another cause of bitter grief. She loved the young and noble-minded Lord Russell, the Earl of Bedford's eldest son; and she had heard him vow affection and faithfulness to her. She now perceived at once the reasons why the Earl of Bedford had objected to their marriage: she almost wondered within herself that the Lord Russel should have chosen her; and though she loved him more for avowing his attachment, though her heart pleaded warmly for him, she determined to renounce his plighted love. "It must be done," she said, "and better now;—delay will but bring weakness. Now I can write—I feel that I have strength." And the Lady Anne wrote, and folded with a trembling hand the letter which should give up her life's happiness; and fearing her resolution might not hold, she despatched it by a messenger, as the Lord Russel was then in the neighbourhood; and returned mournfully to her own chamber. She opened an old volume which lay upon her toilette—a volume to which she turned in time of trouble, to seek that peace which the world cannot give.
Lady Ellinor soon aroused her by the tidings that a messenger had arrived with a letter from her father, and she descended in search of him.
"Oh, why is this? why am I here?" exclaimed the Lady Anne, as trembling and almost sinking to the ground—her face alternately pale and covered with crimson blushes, she found herself alone with the Lord Russell. "You have received my letter, might not this trial have been spared? my cup was already sufficiently bitter—but I had drunk it. No!" she continued gently withdrawing her hand which he had taken, "Do not make me despise myself—the voice of duty separates us. Farewell! I seek a messenger from my father." "I am the messenger you seek," replied he, "I have seen the Lord Somerset, and bring this letter to his daughter."
The letter from the Earl of Somerset informed his daughter that he had seen the Earl of Bedford, and had obviated all obstacle to her union with the Lord Russell; that he was going himself to travel in foreign parts; and that he wished her to be married during a visit to the Earl and Countess of Bedford, whose invitation he had accepted for her.
"Does not your father say, that in this marriage his happiness is at stake?" said the Lord Russell, gently pressing her hand. The Lady Anne hung down her head, and wept in silence. "Are you still silent, my dearest?" continued he, "then will I summon another advocate to plead for me."
He quitted the apartment for a moment, but soon returned with the Countess of Bedford, who had accompanied him to claim her future daughter-in-law. The Lady Anne had made many resolutions, but they yielded before the sweet and eloquent entreaties that urged her to do what, in fact, she was all too willing to consent to.
They were married, the Lord Russell and the Lady Anne Carr; and they lived long and happily together. It was always thought that the Lord Russell had loved not only well, but wisely; for the Lady Anne was ever a faithful wife, and a loving, tender mother. It was not until some years after her marriage, that the Lady Russell discovered how the consent of the earl of Bedford had been obtained. Till then, she knew not that this consent had been withheld, until the Earl of Somerset should give his daughter a large sum as her marriage portion:—the Earl of Bedford calculating upon the difficulty, nay almost impossibility, of his ever raising this sum.
But he had not calculated upon the devotion of the wretched father's love to his fair and innocent child: and he was astounded when his terms were complied with, and the money paid at once into his hands. He could no longer withhold his consent; nor could he refuse some admiration of this proof of a father's love for his child. The Lord Somerset had, in fact, sold his whole possessions, and reduced himself to an estate not far removed from beggary, to give his daughter the husband of her choice.
It was the Lady Anne Carr, of whom Vandyke painted an exquisite and well-known portrait, when Countess of Bedford. She was the mother of William Lord Russell; and died heart-broken in her old age, when she heard of the execution of her noble and first-born son.
This is, perhaps, one of Mr. Tayler's most successful pieces; it has more breadth (if we may use such a term) than he is wont to employ, the absence of which from his writing, we have more than once had occasion to regret.
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Our old friend Time has this year illustrated his march, or object-glass, with a host of images or spectra—that is, woodcuts of head and tail pieces—to suit all tastes—from the mouldering cloister of other days to the last balloon ascent. The Notices of Saints' Days and Holidays, Chronology and Biography, Astronomical and Naturalist's Notices, are edited with more than usual industry; and the poetry, original and selected, is for the most part very pleasing.
As we have a running account with Time's Telescope, (who has not?) and occasionally illustrate our pages with extracts during the year, we content ourselves for the present with a quotation from an original article, by "a correspondent from Alveston," possessing much good feeling and a tone of reflection, to us very pleasing:—
THE INFLUENCE OF A FLOWER.
Towards the close of a most lovely spring day—and such a lovely one, to my fancy, has never beamed from the heavens since—I carelessly plucked a cowslip from a copse side, and gave it to Constance. 'Twas on that beautiful evening when she told me all her heart! as, seated on a mossy bank, she dissected, with downcast eyes, every part of the flower; chives, pointal, and petal, all were displayed; though I am sure she never even thought of the class. My destiny through life I considered as fixed from that hour.—Shortly afterwards I was called, by the death of a relative, to a distant part of England; upon my return, Constance was no more. The army was not my original destination; but my mind began to be enfeebled by hourly musing upon one subject alone, without cessation or available termination; yet reason enough remained to convince me, that, without change and excitement, it would degenerate into fatuity.
The preparation and voyage to India, new companions, and ever-changing scenes, hushed my feelings, and produced a calm that might be called a state of blessedness—a condition in which the ignoble and inferior ingredients of our nature were subdued by the divinity of mind. Years rolled on in almost constant service; nor do I remember many of the events of that time, even with interest or regret. In one advance of the army to which I was attached, we had some skirmishing with the irregulars of our foe; the pursuit was rapid, and I fell behind my detachment, wounded and weary, in ascending a ghaut, resting in the jungle, with languid eyes fixed on the ground, without any particular feeling but that of fatigue, and the smarting of my shoulder. A cowslip caught my sight! my blood rushed to my heart—and, shuddering, I started on my feet, felt no fatigue, knew of no wound, and joined my party. I had not seen this flower for ten years! but it probably saved my life—an European officer, wounded and alone, might have tempted the avarice of some of the numerous and savage followers of an Indian army. In the cooler and calmer hours of reflection since, I have often thought that this appearance was a mere phantom, an illusion—the offspring of weakness: I saw it but for a moment, and too imperfectly to be assured of reality; and whatever I believed at the time seems now to have been a painting on the mind rather than an object of vision; but how that image started up. I conjecture not—the effect was immediate and preservative. This flower was again seen in Spain: I had the command of an advance party, and in one of the recesses of the Pyrenees, of the romantic, beautiful Pyrenees, upon a secluded bank, surrounded by a shrubbery so lovely as to be noticed by many—was a cowslip. It was now nearly twenty years since I had seen it in Mysore: I did not start; but a cold and melancholy chill came over me; yet I might possibly have gazed long on this humble little flower, and recalled many dormant thoughts, had not a sense of duty (for we momentarily expected an attack) summoned my attentions to the realities of life: so, drawing the back of my hand across my eyes, I cheered my party with, "Forward, lads," and pursued my route, and saw it no more, until England and all her flowery meadows met my view; but many days and service had wasted life, and worn the fine edge of sensibility away; they were now before me in endless profusion, almost unheeded, and without excitement; I viewed not the cowslip, when fifty, as I had done with the eyes of nineteen.
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THE CHRISTMAS BOX.
This is the happiest title in the whole list of annuals. There is nothing sentimental or lachrymose in it; but it is warm and seasonable, and done up in a holly-green binding, it is all over old Christmas.
The first story in the volume is Old Christmas; one of the gems or sweets is Garry Owen, or the Snow-Woman, by Miss Edgeworth, for it abounds with good sentiment, just such as we should wish in the hearts and mouths of our own children, as a spice for their prattle.
We pass over L'Egotiste Corrigee, par Madame de Labourt—pretty enough—and the Ambitious Primrose, by Miss Dagley. Then a Song, by Miss Mitford; and a Story of Old Times, by Mrs. Hofland; and the Tragical History of Major Brown, a capital piece of fun; and Pretty Bobby, one of Miss Mitford's delightful sketches. The Visit to the Zoological Gardens is not just what we expected; still it is attractive. Major Beamish has accommodated military tactics to the nursery in a pleasant little sketch; and the proverb of Much Coin Much Care, by Mrs. R.S. Jameson is a little farce for the same stage.
But the Cuts—the pictures—of which it would have been more juvenile to have spoken first. These are from the pencil of our "right trustye" friend and excellent artist, Mr. W.H. Brooke, whose horses, coaches, and dogs excite so much mirth among the young friends of the MIRROR—for, in truth, Mr. Brooke is an A.M.—an associate of the MIRROR, and enables us to jump from Whitehall to Constantine's Arch at Rome, shake hands with the Bears of the Zoological Society, and Peg in the Ring at Abury.
The Christmas Box cuts are all fun and frolic—the tail-piece of the preface, a bricklayer on a ladder, "spilling" a hod of bricks—the Lord of Misrule, with his polichinel army—the Boar's Head—a little squat Cook and a steaming Plum-Pudding—the Bee and Honeysuckle—Major Brown with a Munchausen face—the Bear Pit, Monkeys' Houses, and Horned Owl, in the Zoological Gardens—and the Parliament of Animals, with the Elephant as Chancellor, the Tortoise for "the table," and Monkeys for Counsel—the groups of Toy Soldiers—and the head pieces of the Cobbler and his Wife—all excellent. Then the Cricket and Friar, and a pair of Dancing Crickets—worth all the fairy figures of the Smirkes, and a hundred others into the bargain. These are the little quips of the pencil that curl up our eye-lashes and dimple our faces more than all the Vatican gallery. They are trifles—aye, "trifles light as air"—but their influence convinces us that trifling is part of the great business of life.
Now we are trifling our readers' time; so to recommend the Christmas Box for 1829, as one of the prettiest presents, and as much better suited to children than was its predecessor—and—pass we off.
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Here our motley-minded sheet finishes, and we leave our readers in possession of its sweet fancies. Its little compartments of poetry and prose remind us of mosaic work, and its sentimentalities have all the varieties of the kaleidoscope. To gladden the eye, study the taste, and improve the heart, of each reader has been our aim—feelings which we hope pervade this and every other Number of the MIRROR.
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Number 340 of the MIRROR contains the Notices of the Literary Souvenir, Forget-Me-Not, Gem, and Amulet, and with the present Number forms the Spirit of the Annuals for 1829.
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Printed and Published by J. LIMBIRD, 143, Strand, (near Somerset-House,) London; sold by ERNEST FLEISCHER, 626, New Market, Leipsic; and by all Newsmen and Booksellers.