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Of sheltering trees it humbly peeped between ; The stone-rocked wagon with its rumbling sound; The windmill's sweeping sails at distance seen; And every form that crowds the circling round, Where the sky, stooping, seems to kiss the meeting ground.
And dear to him the rural sports of May, When each cot-threshold mounts its hailing bough, And ruddy milkmaids weave their garlands gay, Upon the green to crown the earliest cow; When mirth and pleasure wear a joyful brow; And join the tumult with unbounded glee, The humble tenants of the pail and plough: He loved 'old sports,' by them revived, to see, But never cared to join in their rude revelry.
O'er brook-banks stretching, on the pasture-sward He gazed, far distant from the jocund crew; "Twas but their feats that claimed a slight regard; "Twas his-his pastimes lonely to pursue Wild blossoms creeping in the grass to view, Scarce peeping up the tiny bent as high, Betinged with glossy yellow, red or blue, Unnamed, unnoticed but by Lubin's eye, That like low genius sprang, to bloom their day and die.
O! who can tell the sweets of May-day's morn,
While all the prospect round beams fair to view, Like a sweet opening flower with its unsullied dew.
Ah! often brushing through the dripping grass, Has he been seen to catch this early charm, Listening the 'love-song' of the healthy lass Passing with milk-pail on her well-turned arm; Or meeting objects from the rousing farmThe jingling plough-teams driving down the steep, Wagon and cart; and shepherd-dogs' alarm, Raising the bleatings of unfolding sheep, As o'er the mountain top the red sun 'gins to peep.
Nor could the day's decline escape his gaze; He loved the closing as the rising day, And oft would stand to catch the setting rays, Whose last beams stole not unperceived away; When, hesitating like a stag at bay, The bright unwearied sun seemed loath to drop, Till chaos' night-hounds hurried him away, And drove him headlong from the mountain top, And shut the lovely scene, and bade all nature stop.
And here the rural muse might aptly say,
All by the brook the pasture-flowers among:
O Poverty! thy frowns were early dealt
That showered full thick on his unsheltered head;
With contemplation's stores his mind to fill, O doubly happy would he roam as then, When the blue eve crept deeper round the hill, While the coy rabbit ventured from his den, And weary labour sought his rest again; Lone wanderings led him haply by the stream, Where unperceived he 'joyed his hours at will, Musing the cricket twittering o'er its dream, Or watching o'er the brook the moonlight's dancing
JAMES AND HORACE SMITH.
JAMES SMITH (1775-1839) was a lively and amusing author both in prose and verse. His father, Mr Robert Smith, was an eminent legal practitioner in London, and solicitor to the Board of Ordnancea gentleman of learning and accomplishments, whose
latter years were gratified by the talents and reputation of his two sons, James and Horace. James, the eldest, was educated at a school at Chigwell, in Essex, and was usually at the head of his class. For this retired schoolboy spot' he ever retained a strong affection, rarely suffering, as his brother relates, a long interval to elapse without paying it a visit, and wandering over the scenes that recalled the truant excursions of himself and chosen playmates, or the solitary rambles and musings of his youth. Two of his latest poems are devoted to his reminiscences of Chigwell. After the completion of his education, James Smith was articled to his father, was taken into partnership in due time, and eventually succeeded to the business, as well as to the appointment of solicitor to the Ordnance. With a quick sense of the ridiculous, a strong passion for the stage and the drama, and a love of London society and manners, Smith became a town wit and humorist-delighting in parodies, theatrical colloHis first pieces quies, and fashionable criticism. appear to have been contributed to the Pic-Nic newspaper established by Colonel Henry Greville, which afterwards merged into The Cabinet, both being solely calculated for the topics and feelings of the day. A selection from the Pic-Nic papers, in two small volumes, was published in 1803. He next joined the writers for the London Review-a journal established by Cumberland the dramatist, on the novel principle of affixing the writer's name to his critique.
stroying equally the harmless curiosity of the reader,
The Review proved a complete failure. The system right, which had been originally offered to Mr Mur of publishing names was an unwise innovation, de-ray for L.20, was purchased by that gentleman, in 1819, after the sixteenth edition, for L.131. The articles written by James Smith consisted of imita tions of Wordsworth, Cobbett, Southey, Coleridge, Crabbe, and a few travesties. Some of them are inimitable, particularly the parodies on Cobbett and Crabbe, which were also among the most popular. Horace Smith contributed imitations of Walter Scott, Moore, Monk Lewis, Lord Byron, W. T. Fitzgerald (whose Loyal Effusion' is irresistibly ludicrous for its extravagant adulation and fustian), Dr Johnson, &c. The amount of talent displayed by the two brothers was pretty equal; for none of James Smith's parodies are more felicitous than that of Scott by Horace. The popularity of the Rejected Addresses' seems to have satisfied the ambition of the elder poet. He afterwards confined himself to short anonymous pieces in the New Monthly Maga zine and other periodicals, and to the contribution of some humorous sketches and anecdotes towards Mr Mathews's theatrical entertainments, the author. ship of which was known only to a few. The Country Cousins, Trip to France, and Trip to America, mostly written by Smith, and brought out by Mathews at the English Opera House, not only brought the witty writer a thousand pounds-a sum filled the theatre, and replenished the treasury, but allusion without shrugging up his shoulders, and to which, we are told, the receiver seldom made ejaculating, A thousand pounds for nonsense! Mr Smith was still better paid for a trifling exer tion of his muse; for, having met at a dinner party the late Mr Strahan, the king's printer, then sufferDring from gout and old age, though his faculties remained unimpaired, he sent him next morning the following jeu d'esprit :
Me toil and ease alternate share,
(To see is to adore 'em);
To London he seems to have been as strongly at
tached as Dr Johnson himself. 'A confirmed me
tropolitan in all his tastes and habits, he would often quaintly observe, that London was the best place in summer, and the only place in winter; or quote Dr Johnson's dogma-"Sir, the man that is tired of London is tired of existence." At other times he would express his perfect concurrence with Mosley's assertion, that in the country one is always maddened with the noise of nothing: or laughingly quote the Duke of Queensberry's rejoinder on being told one sultry day in September that London was exceedingly empty-" Yes, but it's fuller than the country." He would not, perhaps, have gone quite so far as his old friend Jekyll, who used to say, that "if compelled to live in the country, he would have the approach to his house paved like the streets of London, and hire a hackney-coach to drive up and down the street all day long;" but he would relate, with great glee, a story showing the general conviction of his dislike to ruralities. He was sitting in the library at a country house, when a gentleman, informing him that the family were all out, proposed a quiet stroll into the pleasure-grounds. "Stroll! why, don't you see my gouty shoe?" "Yes, but what then? you don't really mean to say that you have got the gout? I thought you had only put on that shoe to avoid being shown over the improvements." There is some good-humoured banter and exaggeration in this dislike of ruralities; and accordingly we find that, as Johnson found his way to the remote Hebrides, Smith occasionally transported himself to Yorkshire and other places, the country seats of friends and noblemen. The 'Rejected Addresses' appeared in 1812, having engaged James and Horace Smith six weeks, and proving one of the luckiest hits in literature. The directors of Drury Lane theatre had offered a premium for the
best poetical address to be spoken on opening the
new edifice; and a casual hint from Mr Ward, secre
tary to the theatre, suggested to the witty brothers the composition of a series of humorous addresses, professedly composed by the principal authors of the day. The work was ready by the opening of the theatre, and its success was almost unexampled.
The easy social bachelor-life of James Smith was perately, and at his club-dinner restricted himself fa much impaired by hereditary gout. He lived tem his half-pint of sherry; but as a professed joker and diner out,' he must often have been tempted to over-indulgence and irregular hours. Attacks of gout began to assail him in middle life, and he gra
Eighteen editions have been sold; and the copy-dually lost the use and the very form of his limbs,
*Memoir prefixed to Smith's Comic Miscellanies, 2 vols.
bearing all his sufferings, as his brother states, with an undeviating and unexampled patience.' One of
Your lower limbs seemed far from stout
The power that props the body's length,
In you mounts upwards, and the strength
Mr Strahan was so much gratified by the compli ment, that he made an immediate codicil to his will, by which he bequeathed to the writer the sum of L.3000! Horace Smith, however, mentions that Mr Strahan had other motives for his generosity, for he respected and loved the man quite as much as he admired the poet. James made a happier, though, in a pecuniary sense, less lucky epigram on Miss Edgeworth :
We every-day bards may 'anonymous' sign
the stanzas in his poem on Chigwell displays his philosophic composure at this period of his life :
World, in thy ever busy mart I've acted no unnoticed part
Would I resume it? oh no!
Four acts are done, the jest grows stale; The waning lamps burn dim and pale, And reason asks-Cui bono?
He held it a humiliation to be ill, and never complained or alluded to his own sufferings. He died on the 24th December 1839, aged 65. Lady Blessington said, If James Smith had not been a witty man, he must have been a great man.' His extensive information and refined manners, joined to an inexhaustible fund of liveliness and humour, and a happy uniform temper, rendered him a fascinating companion. The writings of such a man give but a faint idea of the original; yet in his own walk of literature James Smith has few superiors. Anstey comes most directly into competition with him; yet it may be safely said that the Rejected Addresses' will live as long as the New Bath Guide.'
The surviving partner of this literary duumvirate -the most constant and interesting, perhaps, since that of Beaumont and Fletcher, and more affectionate from the relationship of the parties-has distinguished himself by his novels and historical romances, and by his generosity to various literary men. Mr Horace Smith has also written some copies of verses, one of which, the Address to the Mummy, is a felicitous compound of fact, humour, and sentiment, forcibly and originally expressed.
The Theatre. By the Rev. G. C. [Crabbe.]
What various swains our motley walls contain!
The full-price master, and the half-price clerk;
Yet here, as elsewhere, chance can joy bestow,
In Holywell Street, St Pancras, he was bred
Silence, ye gods! to keep your tongues in awe, The muse shall tell an accident she saw.
Pat Jennings in the upper gallery sat; But, leaning forward, Jennings lost his hat; Down from the gallery the beaver flew, And spurned the one, to settle in the two. How shall he act! Pay at the gallery door Two shillings for what cost when new but four! Or till half price, to save his shilling, wait, And gain his hat again at half-past eight! Now, while his fears anticipate a thief, John Mullins whispers, Take my handkerchief. Thank you, cries Pat, but one won't make a line; Take mine, cried Wilson; and, cried Stokes, take mine. A motley cable soon Pat Jennings ties, Where Spitalfields with real India vies. Like Iris' bow, down darts the painted hue, Starred, striped, and spotted, yellow, red, and blue, Old calico, torn silk, and muslin new. George Green below, with palpitating hand, Loops the last 'kerchief to the beaver's band; Upsoars the prize; the youth, with joy unfeigned, Regained the felt, and felt what he regained, While to the applauding galleries grateful Pat Made a low bow, and touched the ransomed hat. **
The Baby's Debut.-By W. W. [Wordsworth.] [Spoken in the character of Nancy Lake, a girl eight years of age, who is drawn upon the stage in a child's chaise by Samuel Hughes, her uncle's porter.]
My brother Jack was nine in May,
Jack's in the pouts, and this it is,
And bang, with might and main,
This made him cry with rage and spite;
If he's to melt, all scalding hot,
Aunt Hannah heard the window break,
And trotted down the street.
I saw them go: one horse was blind; The tails of both hung down behind; Their shocs were on their feet.
An awful pause succeeds the stroke,
And Eagle firemen knew
And poured the hissing tide:
He tottered, sunk, and died!
But ah! his reckless generous ire
Where Muggins broke before.
He sunk to rise no more.
Still o'er his head, while Fate he braved,
Whitford and Mitford ply your pumps;
The Upas in Marybone Lane.
A tree grew in Java, whose pestilent rind
Face-muted, the culprits crept into the vale,
Britannia this Upas-tree bought of Mynheer,
The house that surrounds it stands first in the row,
There enter the prude, and the reprobate boy,
Tax, Chancellor Van, the Batavian to thwart,
Address to the Mummy in Belzoni's Exhibition.
And thou hast walked about (how strange a story!)
And time had not begun to overthrow
Speak! for thou long enough hast acted dumby;
Thou hast a tongue, come, let us hear its tune;
Tell us for doubtless thou canst recollect
To whom should we assign the Sphinx's fame! Was Cheops or Cephrenes architect
Of either pyramid that bears his name?
Is Pompey's pillar really a misnomer?
By oath to tell the secrets of thy trade-
In Memnon's statue, which at sunrise played?
Perchance that very hand, now pinioned flat,
Has hob-a-nobbed with Pharaoh, glass to glass;
Or doffed thine own to let Queen Dido pass,
They cautious advance with slouched bonnet and hat, Didst thou not hear the pother o'er thy head,
When the great Persian conqueror, Cambyses,
They enter at this door, they go out at that;
Marched armies o'er thy tomb with thundering tread,
O'erthrew Osiris, Orus, Apis, Isis,
And shook the pyramids with fear and wonder,
I need not ask thee if that hand, when armed,
Ere Romulus and Remus had been suckled:
Thou couldst develope, if that withered tongue
Still silent, incommunicative elf!
Art sworn to secrecy? then keep thy vows;
Reveal the secrets of thy prison-house;
Since first thy form was in this box extended,
We have, above ground, seen some strange mutations;
The Roman empire has begun and ended,
New worlds have risen-we have lost old nations, And countless kings have into dust been humbled, Whilst not a fragment of thy flesh has crumbled.
If the tomb's secrets may not be confessed,
A heart has throbb'd beneath that leathern breast,
What was thy name and station, age and race?
Statue of flesh-immortal of the dead!
And standest undecayed within our presence,
Why should this worthless tegument endure,
In living virtue, that, when both must sever,
*Originally published in the New Monthly Magazine.