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1832.] Letter from the Right Hon. Thomas Peregrine Courtenay.
ning himself, from whom it detracts that entirely English policy of which he boasted, and to whose measures it ascribes effects ridiculously exaggerated.
I have some difficulty in noticing the next paragraph, because I am not anxious to disclaim obligation to Mr Canning; yet, thus challenged, I must say, that when I mentioned the confidence and kindness which I had experienced at Mr Canning's hand, I described the whole obligation. I was not under obligation to him in the sense in which that word is commonly used, as between a placeman and a patron.
The quotation from the "New Morality," is the only part of this letter in which there is any merit or cleverness. I only wish that the whole poem may be read, including a passage which I took the liberty of citing elsewhere, in which the "patriot of the world," is described. I am the defender of Mr Canning against those who would put on his head the cap of folly, which he fitted to the Frenchified English of 1797. But, surely, my opponent's quotation is somewhat whimsically applied, by an anonymous assailant, to one who publishes his name!
Will that assailant stand erect and avow himself? He must indeed be an unfortunate man, if his name would add nothing to the severity of his rebuke. For, though one who conceals his name, often assumes to himself a purity, of which no man whose mortal deeds are known can safely boast, yet the world will be apt, and not unnaturally, to ascribe to the anonymous writer even less of merit than belongs to him. Known,
my antagonist might prove to be my superior in claims to public confidence; concealed, I shall beat him. However, I tell him frankly this; if I cannot persuade him to unmask, I shall not find him out. I have no suspicion of his name. I have already given reasons against suspecting Mr Stapleton; and I feel quite sure that he knows me too well, to ascribe to me the motives, or apply to me the epithets, which are to be found in these letters. He could not suspect me, of all men, of intentionally injuring Mr Canning's memory. Nor is it probable that one who has in his own name so boldly attacked men of much greater importance than mine, should be so partial to anonymous proceedings, as to shrink from the avowal of himself, when charging with calumny one, whom he has known as the friend of Mr Canning.
The writer, assuredly, has "mistaken the character of Mr Courtenay's article," and the character of Mr Courtenay himself. On the latter point I say no more; for proofs of the former, let him read the article with this in his mind-what the Whigs and Mr Stapleton impute to Mr Canning as meritorious, has in my view a different character. I have painted the Mr Canning whom I loved and supported, consistent, patriotic, and conservative; they describe him as inconsistent, cosmopolitan, and almost jacobinical. Are they, or am I, the true friend of Mr Canning?
I am, sir,
Your faithful servant, THOMAS PEREGRINE COURTENAY. London, May 9, 1832.
LINES WRITTEN AT KELBURNE CASTLE, Ayrshire.
A LOVELY eve-though yet it is but spring,
With its soft west wind, and its mild white clouds,
* In the House of Commons, Feb. 9, 1832. See Mirror of Parliament.
O'ermantling like an aureat crown the brow
Weave, for the hundredth time, their annual boughs,
Hark the bleat
A proud memento of the days when men
Gazed o'er a scene more picturesque, or more
As near'd the stranger horseman to thy gate,
Which from Kilwinning's spire had oft brought down
Mournfully, alas !
Yet in thy quietude not desolate,
Now, like a spectre of the times gone by,
Down from thine Alpine throne, upon the sea,
The gull, far shrieking, through yon stern ravine,
Rocks wild and rude-where brawls the mountain stream
Wings to the sea, and seeks, beyond its foam,
Its own precipitous home upon the coast
Of fair and fertile Cumbrae: while the rook,
Conscious of coming eventide, forsakes
The leafing woods, and round thy chimneyed roofs,
Caws as he wheels, and, ever and anon,
Renews his circling flight in clamorous joy.
Mountains that face bald Arran! though the sun
Now, with the ruddy light of eventide,
Gilds every pastoral summit, on which Peace,
Sings lullaby to bird and beast, and wings
But not alone, by that fierce trumpet call,
The inglorious weeds of thraldom: Every hearth
Yea, while the mother and the sister mourned;
Wept for her love, who might return no more-
A blessing after his departing boy,
Arm'd for the battles of his native land,
Nor hoped him back, unless with freedom won!
While thrill'd, from Bruce's war-cry, through each heart
The bright heart-stirring past, when human life
In stream, and crag, and isle, and crumbling wall
Physical proof, that History is no mere
So different is the present from the past
Would deem the pageant an illusion all.
Sweet scenes of beauty and peace, farewell! The eyes
But of a passing visitor are mine
On thee; before this radiant eve, thou wert
Known but in name; but now thou art mine own,
Shrined 'mid the pictures, which fond memory
In musing fantasy will ofttimes love.
To conjure up, gleaning, amid the stir
WHAT IS AN ENGLISH SONNET?
BY S. T. COLeridge, esq.
WHAT is an English Sonnet? Down with Theory-Facts, facts, facts must decide. And some myriad of these, with deliberate rhymes, if not metre or reason, perpetrated facts, have established that a copy of verses, consisting of exactly fourteen lines, is an English Sonnet. What have our Reading Public, what has our enlightened Press, to do with the Literature of the NATION? With such a bigoted Aristocrat as MILTON, who contradistinguished the Populace, the Political Unions, from the PEOPLE, as the Vermin, the Ascarides, and Lumbrici, from the skin and bowels of the Man-though numerous in proportion to the dirt and ill-diet of the animal so tenanted; and who regarded the PEOPLE itself, thus contradistinguished from the Populace (Populus a Plebe), but as the tan and dung-bed for the production of the Pine-apple-a NATION.-And as to Petrarch-otherwise called Plutarch-the TIMES would soon dish up his business with Laura, and finish him in the Duke of Cumberland style.Ergo-it is demonstrated that fourteen lines, neither more nor less, give the Procrustes Definition of an English Sonnet-rhymes being the ordinary, but not necessary accompaniment. From all which it is demonstrated, that the following Out-slough, or hypertrophic Stanza, of a certain poem, called "Youth and Age," having, by a judicial Ligature of the Versemaker's own tying, detached itself, and dropt off from the poem aforesaid, assumes the name and rank of an integral Animal, and standing the test of counting the lines, twice seven exactly, is a legitimate English Sonnet, -according to the critical Code established since the happy and glorious separation of the British Press (four-fifths Scotch and Irish) from the Literature of England-and the virtual extinction of the latter in the noonday blaze of the former.
S. T. COLERidge.
THE OLD MAN'S SIGH. A SONNET.
Dewdrops are the gems of Morning,
In our old age,
Whose bruised wings quarrel with the bars of the still narrowing cage
That only serves to make us grieve
With oft and tedious taking-leave,
Like a poor nigh-related guest,
Who may not rudely be dismiss'd;
Yet hath outstay'd his welcome while,
And tells the Jest without the smile.
O! might Life cease! and Selfless Mind,
Whose total Being is Act, alone remain behind!
18th May, 1832-Grove, Highgate.
S. T. COLERIDGE.
LIVING POETS AND POETESSES.*
WE glory in being the slave of despotical nationalities-and our justification is, that we are sons of Scotland. We blandly smile to hear the silly Southrons laugh at our Mighty Mother; and with a cheerful countenance we castigate the contumelious Cockneys. Like Jupiter Pluvius "subridens ollis," we launch our storm-showers of Scotticisms on the heads of the quaking coxcombs. The people are delighted to see how the infatuated fools shrink from the chastisement they persist in provoking, and admire the attitudes in which the various victims receive the crutch. Of these attitudes "custom cannot stale the infinite variety." One ninny claps his paw on his poll, and another on his posteriors, according as he is conscious of its being the peccant part. But they soon find that they are playing a losing game of cross purposes; for of the defender of the poll-thwack comes the crutch across the unsuspecting posteriors; and of the protector of the posteriors-crack comes the same weapon upon the too simple poll. A third more circumspect assailant lavishes all his anxiety on the preservation of his midriff; but the torpedo touch of the Timber benumbs his elbow, and all down along that side, from nape to heel, he is a paralytic for life. A fourth fool judges that our aim is his jugular; but that flourish of ours is all a feint; and on legs from which the shinbones have spun in splinters, never more shall the lameter limp up Ludgate or Hampstead-Hill.
Here the question naturally arises -is such conduct cruel? The answer arises as naturally-it is humane. Rather than insult any human being, how humble soever he may be, we would submit henceforth to write all our articles, not with a sharp-nibbed pen, as we now do, but with a round-nosed pinion, just as it is plucked from the gander's wing. The case is the reverse with Cockneys. You surely cannot
be justly accused of insulting a cur, when you merely, and perhaps reluctantly, without pausing on your path, kick the heel-snarler into the kennel. He, it is true, may make a pathetic appeal to the passengers, or with hanging ears and hidden tail yelp his wrongs to the skies. But deaf to his clamours are heaven and earth, and all that move therein; and the only wonder with them is, that he does not terminate in a kettle.
Of course, they are not included in the late population returns; but we believe, on the authority of a curious and credible enquirer, that the breed of Cockneys is on the increase in England. The females are marriageable long before, and continue prolific long after, the season usually assigned to our species. The period of gestation, too, we understand, is shorter, varying from four to five months; nay, we have been assured that there are well authenticated instances on record, in the hospitals, of quick Cockneys, half a span long, having been produced some weeks within three moons from the mother's original conjecture. True, such instances of ante-natal precocity among the Cockneys are rare; but still they would be sufficient, even in the absence of stronger evidence, to establish the fact, that the creature bears but a very distant analogy inWe beg deed to the human race. it, however, to be distinctly understood, that we attribute not to him The a common origin with the ape. ourang-outang is an animal of a totally different order. His stature alone should save the Man of the Woods from the malicious imputation of being even Highland cousin to a Cockney; and no disciple either of Lavater or Spurzheim, when he considers the facial line, and the craniological developement of the creature of the city, would venture, for a single instant, to class him with the Blue-faced Baboon.
Here is one-who calls himself on his title-page-Nicholas Michell.
Living Poets and Poetesses; a Biographical and Critical Poem. By Nicholas Michell, Author of "The Siege of Constantinople." London: William Kidd.