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Why not make the catalogue-printer prove his words, and thus reduce the number to a snug coterie of some halfdozen ? Portrait of Mr. Barber Beaumont arrayed in an objectionable pair of pantaloons, casting a longing look at his own fire-office. Desdemona is smothered at the Opera-house in the embraces of Rossini. Wanstead house, which cost 300,0001. knocked down for 10,0001.--"I will stand the hazard of the die.” First appearance of Quentin Durward, and consequent dissension in divers book-clubs, each member thinking his predecessor detains it from him out of mere spite. Only five men kicked out of the Cannon coffee-house for saying that they have not read it.
June.—An old soldier advertises to quell the Irish rebellion for 10,0001. :-Query, which of them ? London sub-ways : plan of Mr. John Williams, of Cornhill, for constructing subterraneous passages under the streets : much patronized by divers young citizens, who have reasons of their own for not wishing to face their tailors. The Princess Olive of Cumberland's manifesto to her faithful subjects the Poles. Flowers of Billingsgate mutually scattered by Alderman Rowcroft and Mr. Hunt: the latter bound over by the Lord Mayor to keep the peace; a ceremony voluntarily performed by him for many years last past.
July.-Closing of Drury-lane and Covent-garden Theatres : customary thanks from Messrs. Fawcett and Terry for past favours, and promises of future improvement. Fête given by the Marquess of Hertford at Queensbury-house, Richmond : the Duke of Devonshire keeps his heart, but loses his hat. Sweethearts and Wives, notwithstanding the dissimilarity of their attractions, much approved of at the Haymarket Theatre. The proprietors of Vauxhall Gardens inform the public that "nothing can damp their ardour :" certainly if the present weather cannot, nothing can. Tom and Jerry are killed at the Cobourg Theatre. Dangers attendant on the liberty of the press in China, illustrated by the fate of Whang-se-hoo, who had the audacity to assert in print that he was descended from Whang-tee. By a fatal accident (and it may be added an unaccountable one) the perpetual curate of Sawley loses his life. Westminster improvements: New Law Courts said to be “so built as to be uniform :"arrangement highly approved of by the public, several of whom have heretofore been turned round and whisked out of the Court of King's Bench before they knew where they were, while others have spent a whole life in the Court of Chancery without being able to find their way out. Much money taken at a door in Fleet-street by a speculator, who exhibited, at a shilling a head, a live man who had not been to Fonthill Abbcy.
August.--Ezekiel Cohen, a Jew, is cruelly prosecuted for merely assuming the character of an attorney. The ghost of John Knox makes its appearance in Cross-street, Hatton-garden, arrayed in black whiskers and a dandy shirt-collar. Rossini, the Italian composer, nearly killed by eating six fat lobsters, to qualify himself to sing "0 Piscator del'onda.” Prince Hohenlohe miraculously cures "a lady of respectability, who had been for many years one of the religious community of Ranelagh :” the chief part of the miracle being the conversion of a fashionable community into a religious one. A new comedy kept sweet nine nights by opening the belly of its third act, taking out its sentiments and filling the orifice with powdered charcoal. A mar
ried churchwarden at Dundee, by mistake writes his own name in the register in lieu of that of the bridegroom : "Insatiate archer, would not one suffice ?" The Canal in St. James's-park cleansed of its impurities by mistake instead of the Mall. Meeting at the Freemasons' T'avern, to decide whether Mrs. Serres shall or shall not be Princess of Cumberland : decided in the negative, but resolved that she shall be Princess of Poland : a decision satisfactory to her Royal Highness, diet being her object. Mr. Graham seems disposed not to mount in his balloon from White Conduit-house Gardens : several of the mob threw brickbats at him to make him fly. A large fungus, of the citizen species, is found sticking to a mansion in Connaught-place: it measures five feet in height and six round the girdle. Witchcraft advertised to be abolished by Dr. Gardner's alterative medicine, in lieu of the old remedy of actual cautery. James Brandon is removed from his situation in Covent-garden Theatre : proprietors much blamed for assuming the privilege of dismissing their own servants. Rain suill continues, to the grievous annoyance of divers brokers, who are constrained to refrain from Brighton, and to attend to their business from want of something better to do.
September.—Ghost of “ Knocking Jack of the North,” still knocking and scratching in Cross-street, Hatton Garden : large and tumultuous assemblage of women of fashion, ministers of state, courtesans, poets, players, judges, and barristers, who experience an extraordinary delight in being sent to the devil to their faces. Tithes raised in three London parishes : inhabitants advised to use Rowland's kalydor, which “affords a pleasing relief after shaving.” More controversy between Mr. Owen of Lanark and the Presbytery of that Ilk : in spite of the parallelograms of the former, people in general no better than they should be. A London Gazette is published without a single whereas : in the evening the several tradesmen illuminated their houses. Fall of the Trocadero announced upon the Royal Exchange: benevolent hope expressed by an alderman that it did not hurt any body. “ The Great Unknown" is damned at the Haymarket Theatre, after undergoing that ceremony from all the romance writers of Great Britain. Death of Robert Bloomfield the poet: dismay and surprise of several sentimental young ladies on finding that the Farmer's Boy was fifty-six years old. New coinage of double sovereigns: much cavilled at by Sir W. C. who hoped that William and Mary would have proved the last.
October.– The winter theatres open, as usual, with God save the King !—“let schoolmen tell us why.” A Mr. Dando summoned before the Lord Mayor on a charge of detaining the money of another person : he is discharged, as incurable, on pleading that he spells his name with a y. Law courts at Westminster in a progressive state : “the memorable old pump” said to be “ still suffered to remain :" meaning, it is presumed, the British public. The Wesleyan Missionary Society dispatch two emissaries to labour in Palestine and a like number to Eutopia. Memorial of a murdered gentleman inserted in the Dublin papers. Cobbett versus Levy, lessee of the Kensington tolls: much mutual objurgation before the Bow-street magistrates : plaintiff proves defendant a Jew, but the latter fails in proving his adversary a Christian. Lord Cochrane in the Brazilian line-of-battle ship, Don Pedro the First, shows an unabated love of prize-money. Several instances of somnambulism in the theatrical world : actors and
actresses seen groping their way in Little Russell-street and Hartstreet through the stage-doors of the wrong theatre : play-goers much puzzled to know where to find them. In consequence of the projected improvements of St. James's Palace, several old women have received notice to quit. Captain Parry returns from the North Pole, and meets with a degree of coldness not experienced by him in Baffin's Bay. Tomb of Baron Swedenborg opened, and the deceased found to have no head : letter from one of his disciples to Mr. Sylvanus Urban, showing that he lost it before he wrote his Arcana Celestia.
November.-Several stray murders lying at the police offices to be owned, were claimed by the wrong perpetrators. Mr. Sinclair, the singer, denies the temperature of his sitting-room, not wishing to be " thought a greater fool than he is." The abbey church of Romsey broken into by some thieves, but the nave of the church happening to be in the pulpit escaped their sacrilegious clutches. Another Polar expedition talked of—" At him again, Mordecai, he'll get into a dom scrape by and by.” Mr. Maberly's horse-bazaar is removed to the winter theatres. Much mischief done on the fifth of November, being Guy Faux day, but much more done on the sixth, being the first day of Term. Lord Mayor's day: numerous females at open windows, with bare throats gazing at nothing till something comes, and then closing the casement on account of the cold. A woman pitched from the roof of the Fortitude Kentish-town coach into an undertaker's shop, and escaped with only a few slight bruises, to the great mortification of the sable shopkeeper. The Reverend C. C. Colton made a bankrupt as a wine-merchant: no good ever of preaching over one's liquor. Providential escape ! the elbows of nine fiddlers, at the Cateaton-street concert, gave way, and fell down with a tremendous crash; fortunately nobody was near. The author of Waverley said to have a curious mode of acquainting his domestics with his wants, by having the words " breakfast, lunch, dinner, supper,” painted upon a board. N.B. The only poet on record who can call for four meals in a day. A €50. bill said to be swallowed by a donkey at Liverpool, and the printed statement of it swallowed by several of the species in London. The usual quantum of suicides : several poor bodies rescued by the Humane Society from a watery grave to be interred in an earthen one.
December.--Meeting of Common Council at Guildhall to propose a Statue to Riego: ditto in Lincoln's-Inn Hall to propose a Statue to Lord Erskine : ditto in Leadenhall to propose a Statue to Mr. Charles Grant :
: a Scotch India stock-holder proposes that they should be clubbed together in the character of the three Graces, and that Sandy Mac-chisel, the stone-mason in Argyll-street, should have the job. Royal Society of Literature offer a new premium for poetry: not a garret in Grub-street to be had. Ghost of John Knox taketh unto itself a wife, to be shade of its shade: less knocking and scratching in Cross-street than heretofore: mysteries, moralities, and Drurylane dramas all end with a marriage. Doctrinal points still undecided;
One thinks on Calvin Heaven's own spirit fell,
Another deems him instrument of Hell. Dreadful storm of wind blows over the metropolis: melancholy effects thereof: Sir Walter Stirling cannot keep his hat upon his head : Miss
F. H. Kelly is cast by violence into Palermo, and falls through the boards : Mr. Cobbett and Mr. Wilberforce are thrown violently against each other, and some favourite American trees of the former are torn up by the roots: an eddy of the remorseless gale carries divers schoolboys prematurely to town for the Christmas holidays : numerous caitiffs in white great coats are blown from their own houses into those of other people, muttering something about the compliments of the season : Hights of Norfolk turkies are driven to London : dinner-cards whisk -through the air bringing heterogeneous relations together on Christmas-day : gallanti-showmen can hardly keep their legs: red morocco almanacs sail about on the wings of the wind, and the vendors of them, from fear of a falling stack of chimnies, are forced to take refuge in the first blind alley, where the few of them that read Horace, reflect, that the year 1823 is rapidly following her departed sister, and exclaim
“ Eheu! fugaces, Posthume, Posthume,
THE FIELD OF GRUTLI.
And lake, and plain, and palace, float in light,
What sky is brighter than her cloudless night?
Fair Venice-seen Benacus' sunset strand,
Before me bade the Lyric Roman stand:
So thrillid, as when the dark Waldstetter sea
Bearing to Grutli’s field of Liberty-
Of Selisberg at midnight still had fung
So far, that forked Mythen's echoes rung-
The gallant Schweitzer launch'd his silent bark
And Uri's men-sought, guiding through the dark,
And there with pure, devoted, fearless heart
Again its ancient freedom to impart.
And Morat’s blood-stain'd lake, and Laupen's crimsou'd heath.
No other scene can e'er again excite
Of patriot freemen-or the deep delight
And those sublime and glacier'd peaks around,
" Rousseau, Voltaire, our Gibbon, and de Staël,
Leman ! these names are worthy of thy shore."—Byron. From Calvin down to Madame de Staël, the banks of this “ lake of beauty" have scarcely ever been without their great man, for it is no bull to include her in this term. It is true Madame de Staël owed little of her inspiration to her country,—nor was her genius at all of the dry severe order which seems to be its natural product. But still she lived much at Coppet, if she did not much love it; and her name is inseparably interwoven with the associations connected with Geneva and its neighbourhood. But it is her name only. Her residence on the banks of the lake was but the physical, not the mental, locale of her works. Neither, indeed, does the place itself convey any very romantic feelings or ideas; it is a substantial, and, for the Continent, peculiarly comfortable gentleman's house, and nothing more.
But Ferney is the direct contrary of all this, if we except its outward appearance, which is exactly that of a French chateau, and therefore formal and unsightly enough. But, otherwise, it is, of all places inhabited by men of genius, one which has the greatest claims to interest. It is a name more closely connected with its great owner, than is generally that of the dwelling of any writer. “Du chateau de Ferney” is the date of nearly all those interesting letters, which, like the scattered limbs of Osiris, have been collected since his death. “Le patriarche de Ferney” is the name by which he is familiarly distinguished by his disciples. In a word, Ferney is almost as intimate to the ear of his admirers as his own name.
There is scarcely any man, distinguished for intellect, who ranks bigher than Voltaire.
« He ran
Through each mode of the lyre, and was master of all !” -poet in all styles,--dramatist-historian-and, as a wit, superior even to him of whom the line I have quoted was originally written. * Where is the man who, like him, attained a high rank in every branch of literary genius? Who can bear, like him, comparison and competition with those who have devoted their whole lives and minds to the cultivation of one pursuit ? It has been the fashion of late to undervalue Voltaire as a poet, and, as I think, solely because of his unapproached pre-eminence as a wit. When a man is associated in our minds with ludicrous sensations, even though it be only as exciting them against others, it is with difficulty that we can reconcile ourselves to his being equal to the higher branches of poetry. But it will scarcely, I think, be doubted, that the author of Zaire and Mérope is entitled to the rank of a poet of a very high, if not of the very first, order. Indeed, I think it is owing to the insurmountable nature of the French school, that Voltaire is not by the side of the highest poets of all. We English never can be brought to think the language itself equal to the
* Moore's verses on the death of Sheridan. VOL. X. NO, XXXVII.