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239 man voluntarily holds out his hand to thee, take it with caution. If thou find him honest, be not backward to receive his proffered assistance, and be anxious, when occasion shall require, to yield to him thine own. A real friend is the most valuable blessing a man can possess, and, mark me, it is by far the most rare.

It is a black swan.

But, whatever thou mayest do, solicit not friendship. If thou art young, and would make thy way in the world, bind thyself a seven year's apprentice to a city tallow-chandler, and thou mayest in time come to be lord mayor. Many people have made their fortunes at a taylor's board. Perriwig-makers have been known to buy their country seats, and bellows menders have started their curricles; but seldom, very seldom, has the man who placed his dependance on the friendship of his fellow men, arrived at even the shadow of the honours to which, through that medium, he aspired. Nay, even if thou shouldst find a friend ready to lend thee a helping hand, the moment, by his assistance, thou hast gained some little eminence, he will be the first to hurl thee down to thy primitive, and now, perhaps, irremediable obscurity.

Yet I see no more reason for complaint on the ground of the fallacy of human friendship, than I do for any other ordonnance of nature, which may appear to run counter to our happiness. Man is naturally a selfish creature, and it is only by the aid of philosophy that he can so far conquer the defects of bis being, as to be capable of disinterested friendship. Who, then, can ex. peet to find that benign disposition which manifests itself in acts of disinterested benevolence and spontaneous affection, a common visitor? Who can preach pbilosophy to the mob* ?

The recluse, who does not easily assimilate with the herd of mankind, and whose manners with difficulty bend to the peculiarities of others, is not likely to have many real friends. His enjoyments, therefore, must be solitary, lone, and melancholy. His only friend is himself. As he sits immersed in reverie by his midnight fire, and hears without the wild gusts of wind fitfully careering over the plain, he listens sadly attentive; and as the varied intonations of the howling blast articulate to his enthusiastic ear, he converses with the spirits of the departed, while, between each dreary pause of the storm, he holds solitary communion with himself. Such is the social intercourse of the recluse; yet he frequently feels the soft consolations of friendship. A heart formed for the gentler emotions of the soul, often ,feels as strong an interest for what are called brutes, as most bipeds affect to feel for each other, Montaigne had his cat; I have read of a man whose only friend was a large spider; and Trenck, in his dun

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By the word mob here, the author does not mean to include merely the lower classes. In the present acceptation, it takes in a great part of the mob of quality: men who are either too igno. rant, or too much taken up with base and grovelling pursuits, to have room for any of the more amiable affections.

geon, would sooner have lost his right hand, than the poor little mouse, which, grown confident with indulgence, used to beguile the tedious hours of imprisonment with its gambols. For my own part, I believe my dog, who, at this moment, seated on his hinder legs, is wistfully surveying me, as if he was conscious of all that is passing in my mind:—my dog, I say, is as sincere, and, whatever the world may say, nearly as dear a friend as any I possess; and, when I shall receive that summons which may not now be far distant, he will whine a funeral requiem over my grave, more piteously than all the hired mourners in Christendom. Well, well, poor Bob has had a kind master of me, and, for my own part, I verily believe there are few things on this earth I shall leave with more regret than this faithful companion of the happy hours of my infancy.

W

VOL. II.

R

MELANCHOLY HOURS.

(No. V.]

Un Sonne sans defaut vaut seul un long poeme.
Mais en vain mille auteurs y pensent arriver;.
A peine....
· peut-on admirer deux ou trois entre mille:

Boileau.

THERE is no species of poetry which is better adapted to the taste of a melancholy man than the sonnet. While its brevity precludes the possibility of its becoming tiresome, and its full and expected close accords well with his dejected and perhaps somewhat languid tone of mind, its elegiac delicacy and querimonious plaintiveness come in pleasing consonance with his feelings.

This elegant little poem has met with a peculiar fate in this country: half a century ago it was regarded as utterly repugnant to the nature of our language, while at present it is the popular vehicle of the most admired sentiments of our best living poets. This remarkable mutation in the opinions of our countrymen may, however, be accounted for on plain and common principles. The earlier English sonnetteers confined themselves, in general, too strictly to the Italian model, as well in the disposition of the rhymes as in the cast of the ideas.

sonnet, with them, was only another word for some metaphysical conceit, or clumsy antithesis, contained in fourteen harsh lines, full of obscure inversions and ill-managed expletives. They bound themselves down to a pattern, which was in itself faulty, and they met with the common fate of servile imitators, in retaining all the defects of their original, while they suffered the beauties to escape in the process. Their sonnets are like copies of a bad picture: however accurately copied, they are still bad. Our contemporaries, on the contrary, have given scope to their genius in the sonnet without restraint, sometimes even growing licentious in their liberty, setting at defiance those rules which form its distinguishing peculiarity, and, under the name of sonnet, soaring or falling into ode or elegy. Their compositions, of course, are impressed with all those excellencies which would have marked their respective productions in any similar walk of poetry.

It has never been disputed that the sonnet first arrived at celebrity in the Italian: a language which, as it abounds in a musical similarity of terminations, is more eminently qualified to give ease and elegance to the legitimate sonnet, restricted as it is to stated and frequentlyrécurring rhymes of the same class. As to the inventors of this little structure of verse, they are involved in impenetrable obscurity. Some authors have ascribed it singly to Guitone D'Arrezzo, an Italian poet of the thirteenth century, but they have no sort of authority to adduce in support of their assertions. Arguing upon probabilities, with some slight co-incidental corroborations,

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