« PreviousContinue »
appropriated the character, if not the Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet
His Endymion is not a Greek breathing. shepherd, loved by a Grecian goddess; Therefore, on every morrow, are we wreathhe is merely a young Cockney rhyme
ing ster, dreaming a phantastic dream at Spite of despondence, of the inhuman dearth
A flowery band to bind us to the earth, the full of the moon. Costume, were
Of noble natures, of the gloomy days, it worth while to notice such a trifle, Of all the
unhealthy and o’er-darkened ways is violated in every page of this goodly Made for our searching : yes, in spite of all, octavo. From his prototype Hunt, Some shape of beauty moves away the pall John Keats has acquired a sort of From our dark spirits. Such the sun, the vague idea, that the Greeks were a most tasteful people, and that no my
Trees old and young, sprouting a shady boon thology can be so finely adapted for For simple sheep ; and such are daffodils
With the green world they live in ; and clear the purposes of poetry as theirs. It is amusing to see what a hand the two That for them selves a cooling covert make Cockneys make of this mythology; 'Gainst the hot season ; the mid forest brake, the one confesses that he never read Rich with a sprinkling of fair musk-rose the Greek Tragedians, and the other blooms : knows Homer only from Chapman; And such too is the grandeur of the dooms and both of them write about Apollo, We have imagined for the mighty dead ; Pan, Nymphs, Muses, and Mysteries, All lovely tales that we have heard or read; as might be expected from persons of an endless fountain of immortal drink, their education.
We shall not, howe Pouring unto us from the heaven's brink. ever, enlarge at present upon this sub- “ Nor do we merely feel these essences ject, as we mean to dedicate an entire For one short hour ; no, even as the trees paper to the classical attainments and That whisper round a temple become soon attempts of the Cockney poets. As
Dear as the temple's self, so does the moon, for Mr Keats' “ Endymion," it has just Haunt us till they become a cheering light
The passion poesy, glories infinite, as much to do with Greece as it has Unto our souls, and bound to us so fast, with “old Tartary the fierce;" no man, That, whether there be shine, or gloom whose mind has ever been imbued o'ercast, with the smallest knowledge or feeling They alway must be with us, or we die. of classical poetry or classical history, could have stooped to profane and vul- Will trace the story of Endymion !!!"
“ Therefore 'tis with full happiness that I garise every association in the manner which has been adopted by this After introducing his hero to us in a “son of promise.”. Before giving any procession, and preparing us, by a few extracts, we must inform our readers, mystical lines, for believing that his that this romance is meant to be writ- destiny has in it some strange pecuten in English heroic rhyme.
To liarity, Mr Keats represents the bethose who have read any of Hunt's loved of the Moon as being conveyed poems, this hint might indeed be need- by his sister Peona into an island in a less. Mr Keats has adopted the loose, larmed by the appearance of the bro
This young lady has been anerveless versification, and Cockney rhymes of the poet of Rimini ; but in ther, and questioned him thus: fairness to that gentleman, we must
“ Brother, 'tis vain to hide add, that the defects of the system are
That thou dost know of things mysterious, tenfold more conspicuous in his dis- Immortal, starry; such alone could thus ciple's work than in his own. Mr
Weigh down thy nature. Hast thou sinn'd · Hunt is a small poet, but he is a clever Offensive to the heavenly powers ? Caught
in aught man. Mr Keats is a still smaller poet,
A Paphian dove upon a message sent ? and he is only a boy of pretty abili- Thy deathful bow against some deer-herd ties, which he has done every thing in bent, his power to spoil.
Sacred to Dian? Haply, thou hast seen The poem sets out with the follow- Her naked limbs among the alders green ; ing exposition of the reasons which And that, alas! is death. No, I can trace induced Mr Keats to compose it.
Something more high perplexing in thy
face!”, " A thing of beauty is a joy for ever : Its loveliness increases; it will never
Endymion replies in a long speech, Pass into nothingness; but still will keep
wherein he describes his first meeting A bower quiet for us, and a sleep
with the Moon. We annot mak
room for the whole of it, but shall To him her dripping hand she softly kist, take a few pages here and there. And anxiously began to plait and twist “ There blossom'd suddenly a magic bed
Her ringlets round her fingers, saying, Of sacred ditamy, and poppies red :
• Youth ! At which I wonder'd greatly, knowing well
Too long, alas, hast thou starv'd on the ruth, That but one night had wrought this flow
The bitterness of love: too long indeed, ery spell ;
Seeing thou art so gentle. Could I weed And, sitting down close by, began to muse
Thy soul of care, by Heavens, I would offer What it might mean. Perhaps, thought I, All the bright riches of my crystal coffer Morpheus,
To Amphitrite; all my clear-eyed fish, In passing here, his owlet pinions shook ; Golden, or rainbow-sided, or purplish, Or, it may be, ere matron Night uptook
Vermilion-tail'd, or finn'd with silvery gauze; Her ebon urn, young Mercury, by stealth, Yea, or my veined pebble-floor, that draws Had dipt his rod in it: such garland wealth A virgin light to the deep; my grotto-sands Came not by common growth. Thus on I Tawny and gold, ooz'd slowly from far lands thought,
By my diligent springs; my level lilies, Until my head was dizzy and distraught.
shells, Moreover, through the dancing poppies stole My charming rod, my potent river spells ; A breeze, most softly lulling to my soul,”' &c. Yes, every thing, even to the pearly cup
· Methought the lidless-eyed train Meander gave me,-for I bubbled up Of planets all were in the blue again. To fainting creatures in a desert wild. To commune with those orbs, once more I But woe is me, I am but as a child rais'd
To gladden thee; and all I dare to say, My sight right upward: but it was quite Is, that I pity thee : that on this day dazed
I've been thy guide ; that thou must wan. By a bright something, sailing down apace,
der far Making me quickly veil my eyes and face : In other regions, past the scanty bar Again I look'd, and, O ye deities,
To mortal steps, before thou can't be ta’en Who from Olympus watch our destinies ! From every wasting sigh, from every pain, Whence that completed form of all com- Into the gentle bosom of thy love. pleteness ?
Why it is thus, one knows in heaven above : Whence came that high perfection of all But, a poor Naiad, I guess not. Farewell! sweetness ?
I have a ditty for my hollow cell.”
patience for going over four books fill
ed with such amorous scenes as these, Not oat-sheaves drooping in the western sun; Not-thy soft hand, fair sister ! let me shun with subterraneous journeys equally Such follying before thee-yet she had, amusing, and submarine processions Indeed, locks bright enough to make me equally beautiful ; but we must not
omit the most interesting scene of the And they were simply gordian'd up and whole piece.
braided, Leaving, in naked comeliness, unshaded, “ Thus spake he, and that moment felt enHer pearl round ears,” &c.
dued “ « She took an airy range,
With power to dream deliciously; so wound And then, towards me, like a very maid, Through a dim passage, searching till he Came blushing, waning, willing, and afraid,
found And press’d me by the hand : Ah! 'twas The smoothest mossy bed and deepest, where too much ;
He threw himself, and just into the air Methought I fainted at the charmed touch, Stretching his indolent arms, he took, O bliss! Yet held my recollection, even as one
A naked waist : “ Fair Cupid, whence is Who dives three fathoms where the waters run
this? Gurgling in beds of coral : for anon, A well-known voice sigh’d, 'Sweetest, here I felt upmounted in that region Where falling stars dart their artillery forth,
At which soft ravishment, with doting cry And eagles struggle with the buffeting north They trembled to each other.-Helicon! That balances the heavy meteor-stone ;
O fountain'd hill! Old Homer's Helicon! Felt too, I was not fearful, nor alone,” &c. That thou wouldst spout a little streamlet
o'er Not content with the authentic love of the Moon, Keats makes his hero cap- And sing above this gentle pair, like lark
These sorry pages: then the verse would soar tivate another supernatural lady, of Over his nested young : but all is dark whom no notice occurs in any of his Around thine aged top, and thy clear fount predecessors.
Exhales in mists to heaven. Aye, the count " It was a nymph uprisen to the breast Of mighty poets is made up; the scroll In the fountain's pebbly margin, and she is folded by the Muses ; the bright roll stood
Is in Apollo's hand : our dazed eyes Mong lilies, like the youngest of the brood. Have seen a new tinge in the western skies:
The world has done its duty. Yet, oh yet, Fire-branded foxes to sear up and singe Although the son of poesy is set,
Our gold and ripe-ear'd hopes. With not These lovers did embrace, and we must weep one tinge That there is no old power left to steep Of sanctuary splendour, not a sight A quill immortal in their joyous tears. Able to face an owl's, they still are dight Long time in silence did their anxious fears By the blear-eyed nations in empurpled vests, Question that thus it was ; long time they lay And crowns, and turbans. With unladen Fondling and kissing every doubt away ;
breasts, Long time ere soft caressing sobs began Save of blown self-applause, they proudly To mellow into words, and then there ran
mount Two bubbling springs of talk from their To their spirit's perch, their being's high sweet lips.
account, • O known Unknown ! from whom my being Their tiptop nothings, their dull skies, their sips
thrones Such darling essence, wherefore may I not Amid the fierce intoxicating tones Be ever in these arms, &c.
Of trumpets, shoutings, and belaboured
drums, After all this, however, the “ modes
And sudden cannon. Ah ! how all this ty,” as Mr Keats expresses it, of the
hums, Lady Diana prevented her from own- In wakeful ears, like uproar past and gone ing in Olympus her passion for Endy- Like thunder clouds that spake to Babylon, mion. Venus, as the most knowing And set those old Chaldeans to their tasks.in such matters, is the first to discover Are then regalities all gilded masks ?” the change that has taken place in the
And now, good-morrow to the temperament of the goddess. An
Muses' son of Promise ;” as for “ the idle tale,” says the laughter-loving feats he yet may do," as we do not dame,
pretend to say, like himself,
" Muse " A humid eye, and steps luxurious, of my native land am I inspired," we When these are new and strange, are omi- shall adhere to the safe old rule of nous."
pauca verba. We venture to make The inamorata, to vary the intrigue, one small prophecy, that his bookseller carries on a romantic intercourse with will not a second time venture £50 Endymion, under the disguise of an upon any thing he can write. It is a Indian damsel.
At last, however, her better and a wiser thing to be a starvscruples, for some reason or other, are ed apothecary than a starved poet; so all overcome, and the Queen of Heaven back to the shop Mr John, back to owns her attachment.
“ plasters, pills, and ointment boxes,' “ She gave her fair hands to him, and be- &c. But, for Heaven's sake, young hold,
Sangrado, be a little more sparing Before three swiftest kisses he had told, of extenuatives and soporifics in your They vanish far away !--Peona went
have been in your Home through the gloomy wood in wonder
Z. And so, like many other romances, terminates the “ Poetic Romance” of
LETTER TO THE COMMITTEE OF Johnny Keats, in a patched-up wedding.
OCCASIONED We had almost forgot to mention,
THEIR REPORT ON THE PLANS that Keats belongs to the Cockney
FOR THE REPAIR OF ST GILES' School of Politics, as well as the Cock- CHURCH, EDINBURGH. ney School of Poetry. It is fit that he who holds Rimini
MY DEAR COMMITTEE, to be the first poem, should believe the I hope you will not feel any repugnance Examiner to be the first politician of to being shortly addressed by a brother the day. We admire consistency, even
Dilettanti, on the subject of your late in folly. Hear how their bantling has ingenious Report. By publishing that already learned to lisp sedition. important document in so widely-cir“ There are who lord it o'er their fellow-men Magazine, your design, no doubt, was
culated a miscellany as Blackwood's With most prevailing tinsel : who unpen
to attract the public attention both to Their baaing vanities, to browse away The comfortable green and juicy hay
yourselves and your production. From human pastures; or, o torturing fact! shall take the freedom to make a very Who, through an idiot blink, will see un
few remarks upon both ;--and, inaspack'd
much as creators are at all times en
titled to walk before their works, I dio's tongues and hams, than with the shall begin with you.
beauties of his defunct namesake's The Society by which you seem to temples and palaces. I dare say you have been appointed to examine and might have been able to frame a tolecomment upon Mr Elliot's plans, has rable enough report on the comparalong been regarded by me with great tive merits of draught or bottled poraffection and some respect. I became a ter, hot or cold punch, Finnan or rizmember of it because I understood that zard haddies, or any thing in that way; there was an excellent hot supper in the but as to gothic architecture and St wind every Thursday evening, at the Giles' cathedral, do not be offended, moderate expense of one shilling a head; my dear Committee, if I assure you, that Bill Young keeps tolerable rum, that you are publicly esteemed to and very good Glenlivet whiskey; and have gone in this instance, to say the that the chair is usually filled by a cere least of it, a little ultra crepidam. tain literary friend of ours, whose ta- Do not, however, be disconcerted or lents in that department are of the dissatisfied with yourselves. You are very highest distinction. These were really, without flattery, to use the my reasons for entering the Society of child-bed expression, “ doing as well Dilettanti; I did not at that period as could have been expected ;" your suspect the true nature of the honour first-born is certainly a poor creature, to which I had attained : I conceived and cannot survive long, but next time that your sole object in meeting toge- you may have better luck. Rome,” ther was to drink a few sober tumblers as the saying goes,
“ was not built of hot toddy, and crack a few good in a day." In process of time, it is tempered jokes on each other, after the undoubtedly within the range of posfatigues of the easel or the writing- sibility, that the Dilettanti Society desk. I by no means knew that you may be converted from a drinking and considered yourselves as the arbitri smoking club into an academia dello elegantiarum to the “ Good Town;" gusto. You have a longish walk beor that you were, in your official ca- fore you ; it would never do to lose pacity, to undertake the support of heart at the first galling of the heel. any such clever and reputable Miscel- But now for the Report itself; and lany as that in which your Report has you will please to observe, I am not, been inserted. It is, however, a plea- like our good friend Mr George Thomsure to be disappointed on the favour- son, writing against it before seeing able side. I am delighted to find, it. I have really read it with my that your powers of taste are no long- own eyes, in No XVI. of Blacker confined, as of old, to deciding on wood's Magazine, and I honestly tell the merits of Davy Bridges' bowls of you, that I consider it by far the most punch, or Jamie Hogg's pitchers of trashy thing that has ever yet aptoddy. The proverb says, that “a peared in that publication. On lookwork begun is half done.” Go on, ing over the rest of the contents of dear Dilettanti, and there is no says No XVI. I cannot help suspecting, ing but in time you may really come
that the other contributors will be to rival the architectural skill of Bai- very little flattered with the introduclie Johnston himself, although, as yet, tion of the virtuoso stranger into their certainly you are not worthy to tie the company. To say nothing of the anolatchet of that accomplished magis- nymous authors, whose compositions trate's shoes. Go on, and prosper. are stitched up along with yours, I
“ Novus rerum incipit ordo." dare say Messrs Wastle, Tickler, and You may all be so many Palladios ere Lauerwinkel-above all, old wicked Tis: you die, although many of you, at the mothy, the executioner of your brother present stage of your progress, will Gray-will take your intrusion in high have need, I doubt not, like the be- dudgeon. For my own part, I should fore-mentioned Bailie, to turn up Lem- not wonder if Timothy should cut priere before you can form any guess the concern on the occasion, though what sort of compliment I am paying I make no doubt the Editor would you when I say so. At present, to tell willingly purchase the continuance of the plain truth, I fancy a great majo- his favours by a promise to sport oak rity of you are much better acquainted in future against the Dilettanti Com-. with the flavour of the modern Palla- mittee and all their works. The ab
“ Iron eye
surdity of your opinions is only to be much for your criticisms on the exterivalled by the solemn affectation of rior. your high-flown style. Your rumba With regard to the interior, I canling long-winded sentences, which look not but think you should have been a as if they had been measured off upon little more cautious, before you venthe ell-wand—your apparent happy tured to attack that part of Elliot's self-complacency — your polite con- design. You might at least have tried tempt of the labours of an accomplish- your hand, to begin with, on your ed artist, whose merits you are totally own hall of assembly in Young's incapable of appreciating-all are some- Tavern; the sky-blue ceiling, pink corwhat original in their way, and must nices, and transparent linen blinds, undoubtedly have struck with surprise of which do little credit either to the even the readers of Blackwood's Ma- Committee under whose inspection it gazine, well as they have been drilled was fitted up, or to Bill himself, who for these eight or ten months past not ought to be ashamed to have such a to start at trifles.
glaring specimen of vulgar taste in his The subject upon which you have well-frequented house. You are for been pleased to make your critical de- having two churches in the nave"but, is one of some little importance there is nothing very new in that, to those who set any value on the ap
a hall for music, sculpture, and pearance of Edinburgh, otherwise I painting, in the transept!” O most rare should not have bothered myself with Committee of Dilettanti ! is it possible taking any notice of your fine flights. that you are the same persons who The external part of the church of apostrophise in such moving terms the St Giles is supposed, by all men of bones of John Knox, Andrew Melville, sense who have ever seen it, to be a- and the Covenanters, about two pages bout the poorest piece of patchwork before? How would the extant in this land of “shabby kirks.” It is a disgrace to so fine a city as
That saw fair Mary weep in vain," Edinburgh, and the sooner it be got have scowled upon a Committee from rid of the better. Mr Elliot's plan, a tavern club, who should have waited which I could almost suspect you upon the Bailies of that day with any have never seen, preserves every thing similar proposal. " Music !” that I that is worth preserving in the old ex- can understand vocal, I suppose, like terior, with the exception of one or that of St George's Church, or the two little niches; and it gives to the psalm concerts. But painting and city a beautiful gothic church, in place statuary!” Why, the very mention of of a vile ricklety of jails, police offices, this is horror to any Presbyterian ears. shops, and kirks, all jumbled together, Granting, however, that you had the with a degree of bold barbarity only to hall, to do as you please with, let me be paralleled by the late and present ask you wherewithal you propose to alterations, on the sister pile of the adorn it? Which of the Edinburgh Parliament House over the way. But artists do you mean to employ? I the Dilettanti have some fine ideas in observe Allan's name among your their heads about the impropriety of number. Does that elegant artist altering ancient buildings any other mean to cover the house of God with way than after the Westminster and luxurious representations of Circassian York method of refacciamento-tak- beauties? Does Mr Schetky propose ing out the old stone, and putting in a to furnish its walls with effects from the new one exactly like it. Truly, operæ Pyrenees? Will Williams convert the pretium foret, to take out the old stones whole circumference into a panorama of of St Giles and put in new ones. The Rome or Athens ? Or, will Peter Gibstones so removed and replaced on son vouchsafe to occupy a compartment, the buttresses of Henry the Seventh's with a distant view of the rising acachapel, are elaborately and exquisitely demy of Dollar?-Or, do you rather carved, and therefore worthy of so wish to fill St Giles with the work of much trouble. Those of St Giles are the old masters? You expect, no only plain black stones, which never doubt, that the whole country is to be saw carving, and therefore, if you have laid under contribution—that the Colnothing better to propose, you had bet- lege of Glasgow are to send you their ter let them stay as they are. So famous picture of Leda and the Swan