Page images
[ocr errors]

no’the man to leave him on the road- road until I came in sight of the inn. side, alive or dead." This seemed to As I approached

nearer, I heard comfort his brother, but it did not sounds of mirth and revelry, and in convince me. I had a presentiment the disturbed state of my feelings hanging like a cloud about my heart, they came upon my ear like sportive and I felt assured that a bitter trial music at a funeral, or a joyous song awaited them. Although nearly ex- echoing from a house of mourning. hausted, I willingly agreed to return Having seen my horse well provided with them. I rode beside the cart, for, 1 entered the public room, where until we came to the fatal spot; my there were several farmers drinking, horse started as before, and I called smoking, and singing ; their united to them to stop, for I was a little a- powers appeared to have clouded the head. The youngest sprang out, held ideas and thickened the speech of the lantern to the face of the corse, them all, but of one in particular who and fell back with a loud shriek. I had just been bawling out part of a shall never forget the chill that ran song in praise of his greatest enemy through me when I heard the calm -the bottle ; but the combined fumes silence of the night broken by the cry of the leaf and the liquor were upon of a son who mourned his fatherhis memory, and he stopped just as I the voice of the living calling to the entered the room. 66 Never break off dead. The winds had died away, in the midst of a good song, neighand there was a dreary stillness over bour (cried a portly florid looking the whole scene. The pulse of nature man who seemed to act as president was stopped : and it seemed as if her among them, never leave a jug or a mighty heart had perished. The song until there's not a drop left in elder son did not shed a tear, but it the one nor a note in the other. Sing was evident that he felt acutely what on, man! sing on." “ Ay! it is an had befallen him. His was the deeper easy thing to say, Barney Thomson" grief that tears could not obliterate : (muttered the unsuccessful vocalist,)

but the rest is clean out of A grief that could not fade away


my Like tempest clouds of April day;

“ Ye ha' sung well so far, and we'll A grief that hung like blight on flowers, ha’ the end o’t; (exclaimed Barney) Which passeth not with summer showers.

-Come! I'll help ye on wi't: As they both stood inactive, I took

A pipe of tobacco and ale of the best up the corse myself and placed it in Are better, far better, ihan pillow and rest, the cart. There were, as far as I Than pillow and rest, than pillow and rest, could judge, not the least signs of

A pipe of__" violence about it, and death seemed “Dang it (cried a little grazier-lookto have reached it in the midst of ing fellow who was nursing his knees calmness and serenity, for a smile at the fire) it's twelve pence wi' one lingered even then on the pallid face, and a shilling wi' the other. Ye and the brow was unruffled and un- know the song, Barney, just as well knit. After a little while they got in as your neigbbour, and no better. I the cart, and we went forward in have still a clear noddle, and I'll sing silence. When we came near their it to ye. dwelling, which was a small farm

A pipe of tobacco and ale of the best house, a short distance from the high Are better, far better, than pillow and rest ; road, I left them to break the melan- We'll smoke and we'll drink, if it be but to spite choly tidings to their widowed mo

the shape of the nigbt.

In ale, good ale, the fiend we'll drown, ther; and, resisting their invitation to

And empty our pipes on his raven crown. remain there, I rode on towards N—- ferry, which they told me was

Give me the mug, Tommy Barker, about a mile farther, and where there for I think it's ill singing wi’ a dry was a tolerable inn. They lent me

throat. Gentlemen all, here's a merry their lantern, which I was to leave season to you and good cattle to me. for them at the ferry-house, and I And now for the next verse cantered along an almost straight A pipe of tobacco, and ale of

[ocr errors]

The devil who comes


We'll smoke and we'll drink


song awhile


No! no! that I gave before ; let's easy slumber, dreams of terror and Ay! ay ! that's it.

anxiety oppressed me. The song of

the topers for a moment dwelt in my It won't do, though I am I

imagination, but their voices seemed knew the whole

to be dying away, and the cry of the

agone. It won't do !"

youth who had lost his father burst upon my ear.

I awoke in horror, forgotten the words, but was at each and heard persons running to and fro new attempt giving us a variation on

beneath my chamber, and loud but the old air to which they were adapt- agitated whispers, and then groans ed. There was evidently a

and frequent sobbings. I sprang from loose in the machinery of his brain, my bed, hastily dressed myself

, and, and his memory was out of order! on reaching the ground floor, found á .

a He then tried another song, but with scene offering as strong a contrast to as little success; and at last the whole the second † have described, as the

Of all company began to sing what is called second offered to the first. a Dutch medley, and I thought it those who but a few hours before time to escape from their

had “ made the Can their confidant,"

company as fast as I could. I threw myself on

and laughed, and sung, and talked my bed, but could not sleep. The without a thought of sorrow; of all scenes which I had lately witnessed,

those who had spoken of finding differing so widely from each other, ale cup, and oblivion of care in the

eternity of life in the bowl and the yet happening in such close succession, still haunted me: The strik- fragrance of the tobacco leaf ; of all ing contrast of lonely agony and bois. those, one alone had escaped' to tell terous mirth ; of dark secluded roads,

the fate of his companions, who by and the light and cheerful parlour their own carelessness and impruwith its blazing fire and laughing in- dence had perished, whilst crossing mates, kept me awake for some time; the river, miserably perished, in drunand when I at length fell into an un

kenness and despair.


A SHADOW on my spirit fell,

When my hush'd footstep from thee pass’d;
And sad to me thy mild farewell,

To me, who fear'd it was thy last ;
And when I saw thee next, a veil
Was drawn upon thy features pale.
They strew'd thee in thy narrow bed

With roses from thy own loved bowers:
In melting anguish Memory fled

Back to thy valued rural hours :
And saw thee gently gliding round,
Where all to thee was Eden ground.
The God, whose presence met thee there,

Was with thee in thy slow decays ;
He answered to her dying prayer,

Whose life had been a hymn of praise :
Thy God was nigb-thy Shepberd-God,
With comfort of his staff and rod.
I lay thee where the loved are laid :

Rest-till their change and thine sball come;
Still voices whisper through the shade ;

A light is glimmering round the tomb;
The temple rends ! the sleep is ended-
The dead are gone, the pure ascended!



WHERE is one quality in the “L'Empereur" upon a cocoa nut, ar-

North American character which ranging coloured sea-shells into flowers, is generally overlooked, and which I and birds with wings like butterflies

; have never perceived in that of any or in making clay models of every other people to the same degree._st thing upon the island. The basketis a sort of serious ve

versatility. The maker in the fable was undoubtedly a French : have a greater, or rather a Frenchman, and the spider that Rob pleasanter sort, and accommodate ert Bruce beheld in the barn, was as themselves more readily to circum- undoubtedly a French spider ; no stances; and the ancient Greek had other would ever bave repeated the an excess of what we call versatility same experiment, precisely over and in his temper and power. But, in the over again, so often. Frenchman, it is more of a constitu- We all know what the versatility of tional habit, a more trivial and less a Frenchman is; and when I call to "Jespectable property, than it is in the mind what I have actually seen, noAmerican; although, to my notion, a thing that could be said of their power thousand-fold more agreeable. And, to employ or maintain themselves in the versatility of the Greek, there would seem to be extravagant. was always more of the bright, change- I have known a French prisoner able caprice of genius-more of the spend every leisure hour, for many spiritual, more of heroic audacity, and years, in manufacturing a line-of-batless of steady, invincible determination, tle ship, out of the little splinters of than in that of the North American. bone which he found in the soup. I

The Frenchman is never without have known another, who began by resources, but then his resources are planting coffee trees, in St. Domingo, always of a light and brilliant charac- with his own hand—realized a princeter. It is the smallest possible coin- ly fortune-lost it during some insurage that can be made use of, which a rection ; began again-became very Frenchman will contrive to disburse wealthy--lost that in the same way ; in any extremity. He would maintain narrowly escaped with his life, and a himself, though he had been a general few dollars, to America ; began to officer, or peer of the realm at home, teach French, while he was precisely if he were shipwrecked upon a foreign in the situation of George, in the Vishore, by expedients of which none car of Wakefield, who set off to teach but a Frenchman would ever dream; the Dutchmen English, and never nay, give him but one of the silver recollected, until he had arrived in pennies which are distributed here on Holland, that, to teach them English, his Majesty's birth-day, and I would he himself should know something of answer for him, in a strange country, Dutch-realized a little money, and if there were no other way, he would laid it out in a law-suit-in the purmaintain himself by making plaster chase of claims, which he spent about medallions of that little coin.

eighteen or twenty years in bringing Throw him among savages, and he to a determination-himself, a great will teach them to dance, (not that I part of the time, upon the water bebelieve the story of Chateaubriand ;) tween America and France, with tesamong wild beasts, and he will find timony which never failed, for many some way of reconciling them to his years, to be informal, inadequate, or presence, (where another man would inapplicable. But he prevailed after make war upon them outright,) either all, and is now independent. This by pulling thorns out of their feet, or was, perhaps, the most extraordinary dressing their manes ; upon a desolate case of what I have called serious island, and he will grow old in carving versatility, in a Frenchman, that was


ever known. That a French prisoner extended their operations all over the of war, a good seaman, (for a French- United States ; made money-specuman,) should employ himself, year lated—and failed. A council was held after year, in miniature ship-building; between them. The younger of the substituting beef bone for oak timber, two-he who had no educationand converting what other men would spent several hours in determining hardly have had the patience or the whether he should become a soldier, power to make a tooth-pick of, into. (for he was weary of mercantile afaccurate and beautiful machinery, is fairs)--go to India, and upset the Brino very surprising matter. There is tish power there ; or to South Ameria sort of serious pleasantry- ma kind ca, and help to revolutionize two or of busy, industrious trifling in it, alto- three empires in that quarter : a clergether French ; and very like what gyman; (but upon that profession he one would look for in the occupation hardly bestowed a second thought, of any Frenchman, after the quick- after the reflection occurred, that, in silver of his blood was precipitated by America, there was neither rank, revemisfortune. It was only the mimickry nue, nor dominion, for the clergy;) a of naval architecture. But that a West physician; a lawyer; an actor ; an Indian—a planter--and, above all, a auctioneer; or a politician. The reFrenchman, should venture to lay out sult was, that he concluded to become the wreck of his whole fortune upon a lawyer—the law in America being American justice, without understand- the highway to the highest honours of ing one word of American law; and the government—while his partner, at before he could say in English, so as the same time, resolved to become a to be understood, “ Your humble ser- divine. vant, sir," is a thing so incredible, The first went forthwith to his that, if I did not know the story to be room-laboured night and day for setrue, I would not repeat it. Yet, such veral years (supporting himself, in the a speculation would have been quite meantime, by what nobody but an in character for an American; perfect- American, in such a situation, would ly reconcilable to the presumptuous have thought of-in America-his versatility of his temper; for, when pen ;) became distinguished ; and is the spirit of adventure is disturbed in now a counsellor-at-law in the Sua genuine American, he appears to preme Court of the United States. reckon upon miracles and phenomena, And yet-hardly eight years have as other men do upon chances. passed since he was a broken mer

Thus, I have known two American chant, wholly uneducated and apparpartners in a large mercantile house. ently helpless. One had been educated for the bar; In the meantime, his partner purhad practised at the bar; and was be- sued his own studies in his own way; lieved to be in the way to great au- and is now one of the most distinthority, fell sick, consumed all his guished clergymen of the United property, and went into business with States. another adventurer, who had made These are not solitary examples and lost, already, half a dozen for. If they were, they would not be worth tunes : The other (of the two first mentioning. They are, in reality, named) had no education at all; had things of common occurrence. Most been put apprentice to a retail shop- of the distinguished men of the United keeper, at the age of twelve; and had States have gone through a course of grown up to manhood, in a course of education,” more or less of the same adventure, that, in any country but kind. I could mention several, in vathis, would have been thought roman- rious professions, at this moment ; tic and wonderful-as well as a com- but, as my object is only to show plete disqualification for every kind of what others have never seen, or not serious business.

mentioned, in the character of our These two, as I have said, were Transatlantic brethren, I shall only partners in the same house. They soon record one more, while giving a brief


account of the present state of the consider their numbers, infancy, and FINE Arts in America, and particu- want of encouragement,) when comlarly of PAINTING.

pared with what we ourselves have The Fine Arts, generally, are done, or any other people during the neglected by the Americans. By this same period. I mean, that they, the Americans,

But then, the most celebrated of do not themselves cultivate them. these American painters have been They have foreign musical

educated in this country; and some of

composers, and sculptors among them them have been born here. (most of whom are indigent, or star- The following are the names of ving, but none of their own. Capel- those, who have been, at one time or lono, the first sculptor of the King of another, known in Great Britain or Spain; and Causici, one of Canova’s France, with a brief criticism on each. finest and most gifted pupils, both COPLEY-HISTORICAL AND PORmen of high talent, are actually in a

TRAIT PAINTER. He was an Ameristate of abject dependance, now in can by birth ; a capital portrait paintAmerica. Architecture is hardly in a er, for the time; and, if I may judge better state. I know of no capital by a small but very good picture, in American architect; and the foreign- the Blue-Coat School here, which I ers, who are unfortunately driven to am told was painted by him, endowed America, in the hope of legislating for with a decided and vigorous talent for palaces, are, without exception, in a

historical composition. very precarious and unpleasant con- WEST-HISTORICAL PAINTER, and dition.

late President of the Academy :-An In fact-for we must deal plainly American by birth ; studied at Rome, in these matters, whatever may be our and in London. He had great power; partialities--I do not scruple to say, and a reputation much greater than that the North American republic is he deserved. His fame will not inone of the last countries in the world crease ; it will diminish. His compofor refuge to a devotee of the fine arts, sition is, generally speaking, confused who may be, no matter for what rea- –difficult of comprehension-and son, weary of the old world-particu- compounded, about in equal proporlarly if he be a man of extraordinary tions, of the sublime and ordinary. power. A second or third-rate musi- He was prone to exaggeration ; a cal

composer, performer, architect, slave to classical shapes ; and greatly sculptor, &c. &c. if he cannot get addicted to repetition. His capital bread at home, will be able to get pictures are often deficient in drawing ; bread—but nothing more-in Ame- and yet, extraordinary as it may aprica. By bread, I mean, such a pro- pear, his drawings are generally fine, vision as will keep him alive, depend- and, in some cases, wonderful. His ant, and wretched. If he be of the execution seldom equalled his conanointed few-the exalted—he will ception. The first hurried, bold, hazprobably starve, die of a broken heart, ardous drawing of his thought, was or destroy himself; for such men will generally the best ; in its progress,

; not barter their inspiration for bread; through every successive stage of imtheir immortality for a mess of pottage. provement, there a continual

But enough of this for the present. falling off, from the original character, Hereafter, there may be found a bet- in the most material parts—so that ter occasion for dwelling on these what it gained in finish it lost in points. I shall pass them over now, grandeur ; and what it gained in parts, together with all that relates to thé it lost in the whole. fine arts, except in the department of Compare his drawing of DEATH painting. In this the Americans have UPON THE PALE HORSE, with his made a surprising proficiency; sur- painting of the same subject. The prising, not only by comparison with first was exhibited in France many what they have done in every other years ago ; and was the astonishment department ; but surprising, (if we of everybody. The latter, I should



« PreviousContinue »