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Swinburne looked as foolish as if he was making his debut at. Almack's. His embarrassment excited compassion in every
Even Mr. Oakley was so much affected by it that he offered him a seat at his tea-table.
Songs from various members concluded the evening. Mr. O'Connor, elated by the praise bestowed on bis Greek, gave us an extempore effusion addressed to the new Members. Having a vacant page, and nothing further to notice, I shall conclude the fifth King of Clubs with what Mr. O'Connor calls his
Hail to ye! hail ! ye
dissimilar Dubs! Plum-pudding Matthew, and syllabub Charles, Come hand in hand to the Monarch of Clubs,
Erudite Zoïlus, elegant Quarles.
Hail to thee, Swinburne! in raptures I call on
The sage of the red nose and sorrowful cheek, Όντα διδασκαλoν ου πανυ Φαυλον,
In parsing and prosing, in grammar and Greek.
Thine is the wisdom that flies from Quadrilles ; *
Thine is the virtue that shudders at ale ; Thine Home is to thee full of torments and ills,
Till we tack on a sweet little r to its tail.
Bentley, or Baxter, or Brunck, or Ruhnkenius,
Set by thy side, is an ignorant Put;
He and Golightly will find you--all but.
Come in your cloak of Hibernian frieze,
Sterling and Courtenay will set you to work ; You shall chop logic, while I chop the cheese-,
You draw conclusions, while I draw the cork.
* “ Quadrilles."-Vide Vol. I. No II. p. 155.-P.C.
While you are prosing of Persian or Punic,
Merry Golightly will pur o'er his pun ; While you are talking of toga or tunic,
Honest O'Connor will stick to the tun.
And thou, who thy rhymes must be hitching and stitching,
Till thy garland of laurel right dearly is earn'd, Whose stanzas and smiles are so very “ bewitching,"
Whose periods and arms are so very "well turn'd.”+ Come from thine Aunts, and thy sisters the Blues, With
grace in thy manner, and love in thy mien; Sup with the Monarch instead of the Muse,
And find in our punch-bowl a new Hippocrene.
But no, thou art pale at the mention of Rum,
Thou art ever the slave of the Nurse or the Nine, And thy measures so straight from the tea-table come, That we sip milk and water in every
Hail to ye both, ye dissimilar Dubs;
Plum-pudding Matthew, and syllabub Charles ; Come hand in hand to the Monarch of Clubs, Erudite Zoilus-elegant Quarles.
(Hear, hear, hear!)
* “ Bewitching."-Vide Vol. I. N° IV. p. 352.-P. C. + “ Well-turned.”—Vide Vol. I. N° IV. p. 356.-P. C.
ON CHARLES LAMB'S POETRY.
MY DEAR PAM,-Charles Lamb has published so little, and, as far as my observation has gone, that little, from many groundless prejudices, has been so little read, that I reckon upon the merit of introducing a new writer altogether to at least one half of our gentle readers. If I can show then any thing worthy of remembrance, any thing that savours of a fine and genial mind, and which none but one of the kindliest temperament and warmest affections could have produced, I think I shall have a claim to the thanks of every true son of the Muşes, who may have been hitherto a stranger to the works of this author. Perhaps it is needless to premise that I do not consider Lamb a great poet; he appears to be agitated by none of that fervent spirit of imagination, which masters and absorbs the faculties of one possessed by that “fine frenzy" of which Shakspeare speaks; there is in him no mysterious profoundness of thought, which gives subject for meditation, when the words are well nigh forgotten; but little wayward brilliancy of fancy; no romance ;, but all he can justly lay claim to in his poetry, is a heartfelt tenderness, a domestic freedom, and once or twice the most perfect excellence in what has been called the “ curiosa felicitas” of language, that can well be conceived. As a critic, or rather (for now-a-days criticism seems to mean nothing but dull analysis, or verbal pulling to pieces of the suffering subject,) as an indicator of the essentials of the genius of Shakspeare and Hogarth, and as a discerning advocate of all our old and golden dramatists, I do not scruple to pronounce him first-rate ;-as the author of “Rosamond Gray” he will make every girl and boy, ay,
and youth too, sigh and muse: as the exquisite imitator of that queer ancient master, Burton, he will make you laugh, even although you could have been as saturnine as they of Drury-lane, at the distress of poor damned “Mr. H—" Finally, without exception, and it is saying a good deal in the present day, Charles Lamb writes the best, the purest, and most genuine English of any man living
I know there are many persons, who for the most part are real lovers of poetry, and very just and accurate judges of merit and peculiarities in poets, who cannot endure aught else but what is in their opinions the highest heaven of invention;"—absorbed in Spenser, Shakspeare, and Milton, they look down upon Fletcher, or Collins, or Burns ; adoring Byron, or Shelley, or Wordsworth, they cannot waste their time and their feelings upon Lamb, Montgomery, or Campbell : life they say, is short; poetry after all is but an amusement, and when they may enjoy that amusement in highest luxury and most enduring profit to their minds why hunt about for scraps and fragments of genius, which, when found, hardly repay the labour of the chase ? True- let the busy Merchant, the keen Lawyer, the important Physician, stand out of the question; it is quite enough, in all conscience, if they ever humanize their hearts for half an hour with Hermia and Lysander, with Una in. Faery, or with Eve in Paradise: but, from the devoted scholar, from the meditative man of literature, from the watchman and nursing father of genius in all its forms, we expect other things; that he should know that great powers are not necessarily universal ones; that the grand intellectual instrument is valuable in all its melodies; and that sometimes even the milder and gentler tones issuing from it are more pleasing, because more symphonious with the feelings of the mass of mankind; that the rose, though not endued with the umbrageous magnificence of the forest oak, hath still a faint, yet exquisite perfume of its own;
and that many have remembered the Sparrow of Catullus, who have forgotten the Hector of Homer. I am not decrying the study, the rapturous study, of the master-spirits of the earth, nor puffing up into an absur importance the futterings of the little gregarious birds around the eagle of Heaven :-far from it; let your admiration of the first be paramount, but why should it be exclusive of the second ? Read Shakspeare, but why not also read sweet Fletcher ? Read Burns, but why trample upon Hogg ? Lastly, to the esoteric Wordsworthian I would say, “ Muse on your idol ; I do not forbid you; but condescend to pluck a flower from the shady vernal garden of the good-tempered, kindly-affectioned Charles Lamb !" It is far from my wish to kindle any incense to printed imbecility; I am more deaf than rocks to sailors, when the pulings of peasants are quoted and reviewed as the bursting forth of genius from the dust: I hate Della Crusca and all his little ones; neither am I much of a humour to believe that Master Dallas will turn out a great poet, because Pope wrote verses, perhaps not so good as his, at twelve years old! I make a difference between genius and mere cleverness: the slightest sure mark of the first I hold myself bound to watch; for the second, I care not if it be bound in morocco, or soiled with a gingerbread cake. The one is valuable, and deserves education, because it is the orphan of a Divinity, the latter (more Romano) may, without injury to the republic, be allowed to take its own chance of growing fat and plump, and turning out good common sense. This is my criterion of judging the Spirits; and thus it is, because I perceive, and have been charmed by, the plaintive querulousness, and sometimes joyous ebulliency, of his heart, that I now think Charles Lamb worthy of a short notice in the pages
of 66 The Etonian."
To prove, if they will be admitted as proof, that I have some reason for the commendation bestowed upon