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tion is, what shall I writer and in what form shall I embedy my thoughts, or no-thoughts ? shall it be ode, elegy, epigram, tale, sonnet, or pastoral-essay, dialogue, critique, sermon, oration, or argument? I am equally prepared for all, that is, equally unprepared.”
“ Psha!" said Heaviside, “never mind the subject; write first, and choose the subject afterwards. Or-stay--why not strike off a description of last Thursday's ball ?”
I shook my head. “ It would be encroaching on Peregrine's province."
“Or an ode on the Spanish revolution ?" said William, Another shake.
But, for my part, I never like to meddle
With politics, Sir." " Why not a sonnet on me, Harcourt ?" said my sister.
“ A sonnet! why, bless your life, Mary, I have not written a fourteener these five years ; let me see, not since the day Susan Willis married young Croft. (Here a parenthetical sigh to the memory of early but ill-placed attachment.) And, besides, you are only my sister, and I have left my book of rhymes at Cambridge ; and"
“ Apropos,” interrupted Martin, “ now you talk of Cambridge, what say you to · College Sketches, or Recollections of an Academic Life ?!"
“ I detest Cambridge,” said I.
5. So much the better. Fiction is the soul of poetry, as my friend the author of Lacon observed to me the other day.”
Besides, how can I recollect what is not yet past ?" “ Nothing more easy. You have only to imagine yourself a cross-grained old bachelor of fifty, full of discontent and hypochondria, looking back to the golden days when gout and spleen were not.”
Accordingly, after a little more hesitation and coy drawingback, I began as follows:
“Of all the years of our life, there are none, perhaps, so delightful in retrospect as those spent at college. Our academic existence may be considered as a kind of blissful intermediate state, exempt alike from the petty restraints and annoyances of boyhood, and the oppressive cares of maturer life-an oasis between two deserts-a green isle in the waste ocean of life. We sit down full of youth and spirits, exulting in our newly-acquired liberty, with enough to do, indeed, but under little or no restriction as to the time and manner of doing it, which makes all the difference-honour and emolument, and perhaps still sweeter rewards, in prospect-all one's old school friendships revived, and new ones formed-alas! our only true friendships ! Never shall I forget my sensations on first entering college-the reverence with which I looked round on the nursery of philosophers, and poets, and statesmen—the superstitious awe with which, in my freshman's insignificance, I regarded the ruling authorities of the placetutors, lecturers, deans, fellows, senior fellows-things which were then to me a marvel and a mystery'—a graduated scale of dignity, terminating in that most solemn of abstractions, the Master. Never shall I forget the delightful feeling of self-importance with which I looked round on my undisputed dominion of an attic, seven feet by six, containing three obsolete-looking chairs, and a small mahogany table delicately marbled with, ink; together with correspondent appendages of bed-chamber and lumber-room ; with what a 'sigh of full contented rest’ I planted my feet on my own fender!
- Often, at the peaceful time of evening, when I return to my solitary chamber, sick and tired of the frivolities and vexations of the day, reclining on my easy chair in a pensive mood of dreamy abstraction, while the kettle is beginning to simmer, and my cat,
* Friend and sole solace of my solitude,' lies with her party-coloured length stretched along the genial hearth-rug, singing her monotonous song, the very soul of vacant happiness and lazy self-complacency, often do I, in imagination, live over my academical days from first to last-from my freshman state even to the moment when I put on a Bachelor's gown, casting aside the former tattered investment with a sigh, as if it were the falling leaf of youth and youthful happiness. I think of the old college with its sculptured gate and · broad green courts,' and antique hall, (alas! why did Dr. — overlay its noble oak wainscot with a tawdry coat of postdiluvian paint,' making the brown one green ?') and the piety-compelling chapel-bell, and the grim-faced porter, and the round good-natured face of the college-clock, and the rowing-match, and the cricket-club, and the debating society, and the wine-party; even the lecture-room and the hall of examination look beautiful through the softening medium of memory
• Making the very darkness there
More beautiful than light elsewhere !'' Here I laid down my pen, and burst into a long, loud, irrepressible fit of laughter, to the consternation of the whole assembly. “I can stand it no longer,” exclaimed I, as soon as I recovered a little, “it is too much: I have not Courtenay's art of telling a lie with a grave face; I am a bad hand at makebelieve. So you may finish the college sketches yourself.”
“ The deuce !” exclaimed Heaviside,” surely you don't mean to leave Frederic in the lurch?”
A sudden thought here struck my sister; “ My dear fellow,” said she, with hesitation, “ have you no little manuscript article in your literary drawer, ready made, which might serve to eke out the present deficiency ?” “Not a line! I have burned my college exercises and lent my Album !—I will try again—I have a tort'-as Handel exclaimed when he called for the tinder-box.
At this juncture a packet from Vyvyan arrived, with the following consolatory note :“ DEAR PETER,
“I am starting by the mail for a ball at Teignmouth. Knight is raving for : What you will.' I have scrambled up some pearls which you may string.
6. Your's ever,
J. V.” My troubles were over. What have we here ? “Egotisms, by Edward Haselfoot.” Why this is a most arrogant and appropriating title ! “ Egotisms!” They are the staple cominodity of all the Magazines of the day, from the delightful recollections of Elia to the impertinent paradoxes of Hazlitt-from the impudent wit of Sir Christopher North, to the bungling philosophy of Sir Richard Phillips. We are nothing now, if not egotistical ; and this fellow sets up for the Copyright of the Title. Let us hear what he has to say for himself :
It is the hush of night, all sounds of life,
That jarr'd my sick ear through the live-long day,
The murmur of dull talk are past away;
The stars are walking on their mute career ;
Half sound, half silence, to the listening ear:
Steals o'er me, like the coming on of sleep;
The shapes of fear and anguish, that infest
My thoughts by day, seem soften d now and chang'd,
Rest, troubled spirit, rest! confide in Him,
Whose eye is on thee thro' thy watch of pain: When earthly comfort waxeth cold and dim,
Trust thou in that which doth for aye remain. Thy heart-deep sighs to truth and freedom given, Can find no answer here; but they are heard in Heaven.
Brood not on things gone by ;
Before the autumn blast.
Brood not on things gone by!
Away, my soul, away!
No longer weakly cower
Of thy departed joys.
Another star hath risen,
Away, my soul, away!
Thou comest once again, beloved May!
Very tolerable indeed, Mr. Edward Haselfoot. They have the true “ green and yellow melancholy” tint, which is so delightfully interesting in young gentlemen under forty. But we have something here in a bolder strain :
PREPARATIONS FOR THE BATTLE OF SALAMIS.
FROM THE PERSÆ OF ÆSCHYLUS.
Και νυξ εχώρει, 8c.
The night ; nor aught of secret flight the Greeks
every heart on fire ; and straight, to sound
of exhortation : time was none
More sentiment !_Well, I suppose these four little tributes of the heart will be read ;-the thoughts are exceedingly just and pretty—the rhythm very exact and musical—the author feels and expresses himself like a true poet. But I have some doubt whether the day for Occasional Pieces' is