« PreviousContinue »
To France, in the days of Henry the Fourth, we might recur, in a spirit of gallantry, for an illustration of the finest forms of Beauty and of Grace. But these lovely shapes, however flitting and evanescent, can still be discerned; and the Empire, as well as the Kingdom of Love, boasts of the charms of its subjects. The consort of the present Ruler of France is described, by contemporary Criticism, as one of the most attractive of the Austrian race. The spirited exertions of our accomplished Engraver will, unquestionably, support the opinion. We, who are such sturdy republicans, can gaze with rapture at the features of Imperial Beauty; and the majority of our readers will survey with every complacent emotion, the interesting countenance of Maria Louisa. Indeed, it requires no very severe induction of Logic to prove that the chosen partner of the modern Hannibal is not unworthy of the eminence, to which she has been exalted. Encircled by the cestus of Venus, and endowed with every fascinating Power, she detains the statesman from his Bureau and the Warrior from his Tent.
THE SALLAD, NO. I.---FOR THE PORT FOLIO.
BY CHRISTOPHER CROTCHET.
Scribimus indocti, doctique--Hor. Epist.
These wlio cannot write, and those who can,
THERE is nothing which emb.iirusses an author more, after he has determined io lake his dei,ut it: the republic of letters as an essayist, than the choice of ü proper title for his specuiations. It is infiitely worse than see it for a naine of buptism among the Hebrew roots. The author of the Rimiler himself was perplı xed in the extreme, and at that period too, waen he wis composing his great philological work. Hliving scttled upoa the plan to be pursued and ferventiy soiicitud Providence to aid the undertaking, his next care was the selection of an appropriate name. Sitting, standing or walking, in society or solitude, for one entire day, there was hardly any other subject, that occupied his mind. At length, like the trumpeter's wife in the tale of Slawkenbergius, he determined not to close his cycs, until he was satisfied, and was leaning almost in desp.ir, on his bed-side, when by accident, he hit upon that, wliich was adopted.
How importunt an agent is chance in the economy and management of the world! Pythagoras originally invented music. It is said he fortuitously discerncu the true proportion of notes from the noise of hammer's, on an artist's anvil. Sir tac Newton has transmitted his name to posterity, cover'd with imperishable glory, by discovering and applying the principics, which prevail in the establishment of the sublime harmony of the celestial spheres. His thoughts were led to the investigation, by the fall of a pippin upon his forehead.
But since neither mcuitation nor chancehave assisted me in my researches after a genuine titic, it is necessly that I should draw upon another's wit, for what my own is incompetent to supply. When Mr. Moore undertook "The World” anumbercihis friends, and David Garrick among tlic rest, met in conclave to officiate as sponsors, and fix upon the appellation of the cherished bant
ling. The histrionic hero, desirous to gratify the taste of every reader, from the plainest to the most fastidious, proposed The Sallad. But the recommendation was frustrated. Dodsley had previously determined the matter within himself. I shall take this occasion of offering an inconsiderable homage to his memory, "whose death eclipsed the gayety of nations, and diminished the public stock of harmless pleasure.”
This preliminary being satisfictorily arranged, I have yet a small difficulty to encounter and surmount. Voltaire in one of his works, I think it is Zidig, has recorded a curious disputation which arose among the Bubylonians, in regard to the manner of entering the temple of Mitra. One portion of them declares, they should cross the threshold with the left foot foremost, whilst the other swore by Mahomer's ass and dove, that unless the right was advanced first, the presiding divinity vrould deny the accustomed dispensations. Even such a corfiict, every young author experiences in his own breast. How shall I, who never appeared in a drawing room, withcut committing some misprision against the graces, who was never placed under the elegant discipline of the dancing master, or bred amid the ri finements of the Lyceum; how shall I introduce myself to public attention? It is certain I ought to put my best foct foremost, according to the vulgar apophthegm; but in what manncr shall the preference be awarded?
It is usual with essayists, and the practice is generally applauded by their well-wishers, to present a full portraiture of themselves in the first number of their lucubrations, and remark every characteristic, howerer minute. They imitate Sallust, who in his biography of Cataliie descends to the utmost particularity. IIe goes so für as to describe the wilk of the arch traitor, as alternately ripid and slow, bcing in his idea thci dication of a spirit subject to the successive paroxysms of hope and fear. Perhaps indeed some knowledge of an cuci's siyle of life and habits is necessary to the full understanding of his writings. Different persons would however require different points to be developed. The disciples of Montesquicu would ask to be acquainted with the region of his birth. Whether he first drew his breath under the tropics or at the poles; whether his nativity was cast under benignant skies, where every zephyr brings health and fragrance, and every sound is the voice of cheerfulness; or in a country cursed with plagues and monsters, unconscious of the course of the seasons where the wild misrule of equinoctial storm or northern tempest low:rs over a land, that presents scarcely any thing to the traveller but prospects of barren waste and gloomy desolation.
Another set of readers would desire to understand the system of education pursued towards the author. They would demand is it was Mr. Locke's or Rousse:xu's? If he was brought up under the guidance of an Aristotie or Ximenes? Whether like Paschal and Montaigne the germe of his genius expanded in an carly blossom, and unscasonably ripendiato lasting luxuriance; or like Young and Goldsmith,!is mind was long concealed, before it spread its opulce and treasures to tie sur; or if unlike cither of them, he had ever giren procés cf mind or genius at all?
· A third class might condescend to interrogate me upon the subject of my physiognony. Lavater would ask, u hut is the proportion of his nose, and the degree of the returning angle, occasioned by its junction with his upper-lip? What are the dimensions of liis mouth? These features have long been considered as high evidences of the first qualification. Aretine* mentions a curious speculation, in regard to the tuo great poteritates of continental Europe during the sixteenth century. Agrecably to this speculation Charles V is considered as under infinite obligation to his large mouth for all the aggrandizement and honour to which he had arrived; and Francis I entirely indebted to his notable nose, for all his grandeur and influence. It was moreover imagined, that the balance of power ( the favourite subject of modern writers, on political economy) was by this allotmentonly preserved secure. The magnitude of the Emperor's mouth by its counteraction prevented the universal despotism of Francis, and e converso, the plenitude of the king's nose precluded the overwhelming supremacy of Charles.
* Vide Dr. Ferriar's Illustrations of Sterne, p. 109.