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But before I conclude, may each man at this board
Derry down, &c.
SYLVANUS URBAN AND CHRISTOPHER NORTH. Gentle Reader,
soul, and the very Antipodes of narTime makes a few changes, not only rowness and regularity, he breaks in kingdoms and manners, but also in through all humdrum restraints, and periodicals. We have now got before follows wherever the irrepressible and us the lucubrations of Sylvanus Urban, inexhaustible elasticity of his mind Gent. for the year 1761, and have impels him. much am used ourselves with contrast-, We have often smiled within ouring them with the magazine labours of selves at the thought of the consternathe present day, and more especially, tion which a Number of our Work with our own. What an alteration would have caused about sixty years has the interval between two corona, since, were it possible for one to have tions produced !-Sylvanus Urban and appeared, even but in a vision, to our Christopher North. The one is an forefathers. The venerable Sylvanus antithesis of the other. The latter is would instaneously have been petrified all life, buoyancy, and fire, while the with surprise, and, like old Eli, would former is the personification of home have fallen down in his chair at the liness and heaviness. The tendency news and broke his back. The whole of the one is continually upwards, tribe of allegory and essay writers while the other is carried downwards would have been compelled to use the by supernatural force of gravitation. exclamation of Othello, and mourn We never say or write a dull or stupid over their departed vocation. After thing, while our worthy predecessor one smack of the high-flavoured and proses and doses to eternity. We are exciting viands of our table, the public however, mindful of the ties of rela- taste would have become too fastidious tionship which subsist between us, and to relish the homeliness of their orditherefore do not scorn the humbler, but nary repasts. Nothing plain or unequally necessary pages, of that ancient seasoned would have served ; our litepattern of urbanity. He was to us rary cookery would have tickled them what the frugal shopkeeper, the founder too much to allow them to bear with of his family, is to the dashing young less skilful and scientific provisions. heir his grandson, who inherits the What a pity that “My Grandmother,"* accumulated products of his industry. respectable old woman as she is, did The one, mindful of pounds, shillings, not take to writing in those days! then, and pence, keeps to his dirty shop in undoubtedly, was her time. Why she Threadneedle Street, or Mincing Ale would have been considered as a very ley, and jogs along the “even tenor of prodigy amongst her kind for clever his way," without ever emerging into writing. Even her lumbering heavithe airy regions of gaiety and fashion. ñess, which renders her rather a danTo him all the world' is contained gerous article on shipboard, might in within the limits of his daily occupa- those happy days have been considertion; he has no idea of further extend- ed as volatility itself. Such is the ing his researches. Bond Street and misfortune of not paying sufficient atBerkeley Square are no more to him tention to times and seasons in our than the Giants' Causeway or the enterprizes, and of being born either Orkney Islands-he is satisfied in his too soon or too late. But we were own sphere. His successor, on the speaking of ourselves. We can picture other hand, looks not to the east, but the astonishment which would have to the west. Full of the spirit of youth pervaded the world of literature had and life, he scatters around him his one of our Numbers, for instance the income with generous prodigality of present, been able to anticipate its
• See Don Juan.
existence by about sixty years, and to “Grizzle," said I to her, “ Grizzle, figure away at the coronation of George my dear, consider that you are but the Third, instead of that of his worthy weakly, always ailing, and will never successor, whom God long preserve. bear sitting out all night upon the Ossian himself, that apocryphal per- scaffold. You remember what a cold sonage, and the Boy of Bristol, would you caught the last fast day, by rising have created less controversy and con- but half an before your time to go to tention. It would have given a kind church, and how I was scolded as the of St Vitus's dance to every limb of cause of it. Besides, my dear, our the mighty body of letters, and would daughter, Anna Amelia Wilhelmina have operated like an electrical shock. Carolina will look like a perfect fright In short, good reader, you may pro- if she sits up, and you know the girl'sbably have observed, if you are in the face is something, at her time of life, habit of making use of soda powders, considering her fortune is but small. the effect which is produced by the Mr Grogram,' replied my, wife, infusion of cold water on the particles 'Mr Grogram, this is always the case as they lie scattered at the bottom of when you find me in spirits. I don't the glass. The cold and translucid want to go out, I own, I don't care whelymph, late so calm and motionless, ther I go at all; it is seldom that I am effervesces instantaneously, and boils in spirits, but this is always the case.' upwards in foaming agitation, moved In short, sir, what will you have on't? as if by a spirit. Such and so potent to the coronation we went.” Poor would have been the effect of one Goldy, he would have written an exNumber of our astonishing Miscellany. cellent series for our Magazine, and
The names of O'Doherty, Kempfer- we would have paid him handsomely. hausen, Wastle, Timothy Tickler, What a pity he did not live in the days and Lauerwinckel, must certainly ever of Blackwood. Burke, too, would have preclude imitators; yet there were un- been of some use to us in any political questionably many men of that period department. To be sure he was rather to which we have alluded, whom we whiggish at his outset, but we could think we could have made something have fully satisfied him, we think, as of in the way of contributors. There to this point. A letter or two of his to was Johnson, for instance. To be sure certain noble lords, whom we have in his style is not of the fittest for our view, would have suited us exactly. airy and etherial pages, and his wit is Churchhill, it must be acknowledged, rather too clumsy for us, who delight was a sad fellow-releutlessly indisa more to use the razor than the hatchet. criminate in abusive satire ; his only Properly trained, however, we think excuse is, that he did not live within the old fellow might have been made the period of our publication. He was, to do great things. We have a notion however, an engine of power, though he could have written a very forcible improperly directed, and we could have letter, though a Cockney himself, on turned him, we think, to very consiCockneys and Cockneyism, and occa- derable use. What a fine character he sionally we might have suffered him would have drawn of the amiable to take up, in conjunction with our Scotsman! How minutely would he friend, Timothy Tickler, the review- have marked the different features of ing department of our work, provi- this Ursa Major, and how glowingly he ded the subject was not poetry; his would have coloured the whole. He Rasselas, after being entirely rewrit- would have transfixed him in the very ten by ourselves, we might proba- act of shedding the venom of his spleen bly have inserted, but his Ramblers over the brightest characters of his we should have taken the liberty of de- country. Gray would have done very clining. As for Goldsmith, he would well for the Diletante Society, and very have just done for us. All our read- well for our Magazine. He was a man ers, we dare say, remember his account of taste, and of habits of thinking and of the Common Council-man's visit to writing something like our own, and, see the coronation of George the in spite of his whims and his delicaThird. In what an admirable spirit cies, we are confident we should have is it written! We should actually not agreed to a tittle. As for the rest, they have been ashamed of inserting it in would all have had their posts, some our Magazine. Hear but Mr Gro- in the higher and some in the lower grams consultations with his wife.- chambers of our temple of immortali
ty, as our old friend Jeremy very pro- appearing as periodically as the seasons perly denominates it. Sylvanus should themselves.-Epigrams which look as have superintended our obituaries. dismal as epitaphs, and songs which Horace Walpole might have arranged seem elegies miscalled, are the ordiour pieknacks ; and Voltaire, who nary stuff of which the venerable Sylwould have been delighted at the idea vanus weaves his monthly chaplet of of writing in our Magazine, might poetical flowers. It must certainly have officiated as our jack of all trades. have been a most comfortable and soOur readers will observe we say no- lacing reflection to the young manuthing of the author of Junius. We are facturers of these useful articles, the inabove mysteries, but there is a delica- genious youths of sixty years ago, who cy in this case which restrains us. In now, alas ! having lost the fire of their fact, to tell the truth, we wrote the younger days, write for the Edinburgh book ourself, when our politics and Review, and “My Grandmother," to our principles were not properly fixed. think that such a good-natured reposiWe must, however, observe, as a kind tory was extant, which, like the poors' of corollary to the preceding, that there box in a church, was continually open is yet another instance in which our for the contributions of the well-dispomodesty has prevented us from coming sed. But now, indeed, Tempora mutanopenly forward, and receiving in our tur et nos mutamur in illis. Editors own person the acclamations and plau are grown hard hearted, and constant dits of the world. There is yet another reacters, as well as constant writers, instance in which our possession of plead in vain. We will not number Gyges's Ring bas procured us the the hosts of young men, "smit with immunities of invisibility. This ex. the love of poetry and prate," whose cusable instance-but no-we will not hearts we have broken by our repeated anticipate, or withdraw the veilwe refusals, sometimes, indeed, embittered will leave it to futurity to determine with the shafts of our wit, yet really what is this third and greatest claim of the number is quite alarming. We Christopher North to pre-eminence in are not without our fears of awaking letters.
some night, like King Richard the But we are, in the mean time, di- Third, to see our victims pass in regressing entirely from the subject; a view before us, upbraiding us with mode of writing, to use the phrase of our cruelty. We wish, too, we had that eminent auctioneer Mr Smirk, not similar cruelties to the fair sex to "pleasant, but wrong." We began charge ourselves with ; yet such is the with Sylvanus, and we have ended melancholy case. It is an ascertained with ourselves, a topic certainly inex- fact, that two sempstresses died within haustible. In short, good reader, what the last month of a decline, into which champaigne is to homely black strap, our neglect of the Odes of the one and are we when compared with our wor- the Stanzas of the other had precipithy predecessor. Nevertheless, there tated them. We are accused of being are times and seasons when plain severe; but we assure our readers, that dishes are grateful to the palate, and, no sooner were we made acquainted after the flash and glare of our pages, with their melancholy situation, than it may not be unamusing to look back we hobbled out as fast as our gouty at the sober and serious miscellany of limbs allowed us, to be the messenger Sylvanus, who, good man! takes care of glad tidings to them, and offer them, that his guests shall never injure their if necessary for their recovery, the health by interdicted spiceries. We long-desired admission.
We were, will, therefore, with thy permission, however, too late. “Mr North," said our gentle friend, just tumble over one of them, “ your kind attention his coronation volume for the year is unavailing; we are now going fast 1761. And first of all, we must ob- to the bourne, from which, to use the serve, that the poetry is sad stuff. It expression of Shakspeare, no traveller is all of that particular sort which returns; yet, why should we deny it, neither gods nor men are said to per- it would be some consolation to us mit. Tales, Acrostics, Verses to Miss before we die, to see ourselves in A. Miss B. and all the Misses in the Blackwood's Magazine. We should alphabet,- Odes to Narcissa, Næra, then have finished our concerns on this Cloe, and other names of classical no- side of the grave.” Our good readers toriety,-Stanzas on the Four Seasons, will believe that we could not refuse Vol. X.
them a request under such circum-, devised, through which, as through a stances. Even we, albeit unused to common sewer, these bad humours of the melting mood, were dissolved into young and old may meet with an untears, when we took leave of these two obstructed passage. Thus shall we see interesting young creatures. Their many walk lighter along the streets, parting request it was not in our power who now seem as if pressed and weighto perform. They died, alas! before ed to the earth by some unaccountable the 20th of the month, without having internal force of heaviness acting upon that felicity to which they so anxious- them like the night-mare, and, in ly looked. All this is very melancholy, short, the spirit of cheerfuluess, ease, we wish we could say it was not very freedom, and self-enjoyment will be true. We should certainly have im- diffused through his Majesty's domimortalized their memory, as we have nions. As an inducement to the hapdone that of Sir Daniel Donelly, by a py person who first seizes upon this Luctus expressly for the occasion; but bright idea which we have here thrown the coronation intervening, we thought out for the benefit of the world of lithe expression of sorrow at such a pe- terature, we hereby promise to set him riod would have been indecorous and up with two MSS. poems of Leigh disloyal, and have therefore abandoned Hunt, some unpublished verses by the idea. We feel yet the remem- Lord Byron, and several ditto by our brance of this sad event casts a damp excellent friend the Patriarch Jeremy, upon our spirits, and we will accord- who has taken to the writing of poetry ingly drop the subject.
in a most extraordinary manner of late, We were speaking of Sylvanus and and who now sends us regularly conhis poetry. It would really have done tributions of this description, the posthim good to look into our repository age of which, we are sorry to say, be for rejected verse, a heap which does not as regularly discharge. Nehas been gradually and prodigiously vertheless, this is excusable enough in accumulating for the last four years, an old man like him, whose memory and now shews a bulk “ like Teneriffe was never of the best. or Atlas unremoved." There would But let us now see what the good have been matter enough to supply Sylvanus has got in the way of prose. his poetical corner for twenty years. It is but homely stuff, but it is unand such matter, too, as the old gentle- questionably better than his poetry. man would have jumped at. We can- Yet, “ Interesting Queries concerning not help observing by the way, that, the Dutch,” “New Project for inclonotwithstanding the great number of sing the Common Land, " “ Account of Magazines and periodical works, there a Cure for a Cold,” « Some Proceedis yet one desideratum, and that is,- ings in the last Session of Parliament,” a Repository expressly for dull or “Narrative of the Attempt on Belmiddling poetry. We are confident it leisle," and “ Description of a terrible would have a prodigious sale, and we Shipwreck,” are amongst some of the should certainly recommend it as a most attracting contents of his Miscelgood speculation to Mr Colburn, or lany. These, we have a notion, would Messrs Taylor and Hessey. It is a look rather curious by the side of “ An thing much wanted. The mighty Hour's Tête-a-tête with the Public," pent up mass of dullness, to adopt the or the intrepid Standard-bearer's Boxphrase of that well known resolution iana. The story of Almoran and Haof the House of Commons," has in- met would hardly pair well either with creased, is increasing, and ought to be the “ Ayrshire Legatees," or the diminished.” We, of course, never “ Steam-Boat.” People now-a-days admit any portion of it into our pages. grow sick at the names of Omar, and The London Magazine, and the New Abdallah, and Caled, and feel no great Monthly, take off a great deal, and the desire to traverse the plains of Circasother periodicals still more ; yet the sia, even with a Genius at hand to inpart taken has but a very small pro- struct them. Mountains and forests portion to the part left. It is like now rather pall the stomach, and “Son paying off the interest of the national of man" inevitably gives us the vadebt, and even those who contribute pours. The time is past when the to its reduction feel it as a tax. We old men saw visions, and the young therefore think it absolutely necessary men dreamed dreams. Visions now that some public channel should be only make us shut our eyes, and dreams
set us instantly a-sleeping. That use- now employed, need only to look into ful class of the community who would the Edinburgh Review. dream you a dream of six columns as But, after all, Sylvanus must be conregularly as the week came on, is now, sidered as one of the sages of literature; like the tribe of scriveners, extinct, and we shall be quite satisfied if we though, in both cases, the same thing are enabled to continue our career as is revived under another denomination. long as he has done, and, throughout The writers on politics have taken up the whole period, be regarded with as the falling mantle; and he who wishes much uniform respect and esteem by to see how the old sect of dreamers are the Gentlemen of England.
CONTINUATION OF DON JUAN.
“ Hail, Muse! et cetera. We left Juan As I know you have a confounded sleeping, moral ill will at Byron, and lately
Pillow'd upon a fair and happy breast, threw yourself into a devil of a passion And watch'd by eyes that never yet knew at his racketting boy, Don Juan, I
weeping, have determined, before you can get
And loved by a young heart, too deeply
blest the three new Cantos, to put it out of To feel the poison through her spirit creepyour power, for a month at least, to
ing, say one uncivil word on the subject- Or know who rested there; a foe to rest For you will not venture to reject any Had soil'd the current of her sinless years, communication of mine; and two ar- And turn'd her pure heart's purest blood ticles on the same topic, is what you to tears. will never permit in the same number. “Oh, Love! what is it in this world of ours This afternoon, as I was at dinner, an
Which makes it fatal to be loved ? Ah, unknown porter brought me a copy of
why the book --what bookseller sent it he With cypress branches hast thou wreathed either would not or could not tell, but
thy bowers, I have no doubt, when I get my bill As those who dote on odours pluck the
And made thy best interpreter a sigh? from Murray, I shall find it there. At
flowers, the sight of Don Juan, I need not say
And place them on their breast-but that the dissection of joint and fowl
place to die was instantly abandoned, even had I Thus the frail beings we would fondly not been seized with the determination cherish to anticipate the severity of your stric- Are laid within our bosoms but to perish.” tures, by immediately sitting down to This, you must allow, is pretty try if I could get this sketchy critique enough, and not at all objectionable in off by the post,
a moral point of view. I fear, however, In the first place, then, Christopher, that I cannot say so much for what I take leave to insist that these three follows; marriage is nojoke, and therecantos are like all Byron's poems, and, fore not a fit subject to joke about; by the way, like every thing else in besides, for a married man to be merry this world, partly good, and partly on that score, is very like trying to bad. In the particular descriptions, overcome the pangs of the toothache they are not quite so naughty as their by affecting to laugh. predecessors ; indeed his Lordship has “Men grow ashamed of being so very fond; been so pretty and well behaved on They sometimes also get a little tired, the present occasion, that I should not (But that, of course, is rare,) and then de. be surprised to hear of the work being detected among the thread-cases, flow
The same things cannot always be ad.
mired; er-pots, and cheap tracts, that litter the Yet 'tis “ so nominated in the bond,”. drawing-room tables of some of the
That both are tied till one shall have best regulated families. But to the
expired. work itself.—The third canto opens Sad thought ! to lose the spouse that was with a reference to the condition in
adorning which the hero and Haidée were left Our days, and put one's servants into at the conclusion of the second.
· Don Juan ; Cantos III, IV, and V. London: Printed by Thomas Davison, Whitefriars. 1821.