Page images

In addition to this, he is obliged to tell his age, and to give in an account of his property; is directed how to spend it; compelled to go to school; ordered to keep on constantly his belt and bayonet; and forbidden to buy superfluous food, or to dine from his mess, he must have no jolly parties, and, moreover, even on Sundays, he must be in his tent by nine o'clock.

6. Such as, without a murmur, prompt obey,
Nor from these orders turn their minds away,
Are well rewarded ; for, wedg'd side by side,

In one-horse chay with Captain QUIRK they ride."
It is absolutely a shame, 'tis pitiful, tis wondrous pitiful,
that a high spirited youth should be thus restrained by the
shackles of discipline and decorum ; and we seriously reconi-
merid it to the Directors to allow the Cadets to drink, to stray
about, and in short to do just as they please; as there can be
no doubt that the adoption of such a system would be pro-
ductive of consequences as beneficial to the British authority in
Hindostan, as to the Cadets themselves.

In part the third, I by myself I, monopolizes the major portion of the song; and here we find the best, or rather the least bad lines in the poem, and are pleased with the sentiments which they express. But, whenever the author gets back to the Cadet, he drops, past all sounding line, into the gulph of dulness. He cannot bear the idea of controul, and indignantly asks,

Don't harmless worms, which after death despoil

The mortal relic, trodden on, recoil ?"
And a few pages further on, he tells the hapless tribe, of which
he sings

« Ye taste the mingled chalice of distress;
Are placed beneath the guidance of a man;
Form'd, one would deem, by · Nature's journeyman :
If it be not, at least it

may so,
Ye're given to taste of many a minor woe.”
The remainder of this part, or canto, is a comment on this
may be," and froin it we extract the valuable information that

• Few, I can boldly venture to aver,

Live more dependent than an officer.” Part the fourth tells us, that persons in India may probably be robbed, and likewise sent to prison for debt. These two misfortunes do, and, we fear, not unusually, happen in other countries; even in England itself. With respect to jails and their


[ocr errors]


give om. belt dine Even

[ocr errors]
[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

inhabitants, the author has been fortunate enough to make some discoveries. He iš “ fully persuaded that criminals in gaols frequently commit excesses of all kinds;" he “ fancies that a prison is but too often a dangerous school for every kind of profligacy;" he really believes the gaol to be exempt from no kind of vice that is practised among mankind; and has “ doubt that many horrible circumstances have place in a gaol, which are never heard of beyond its confines." Surely, every reader must exclaim,“ O wise young judge ! A second Daniel come to judgment !" And yet, after all, we have some idea that these discoveries might have been made without a four years residence in India. A display of the miserable consequences of drunkenness, a severe censure of the British female emigrants to Hindostan, and a little abuse of the Hindoos, wind up part the fourth. Among other enormities, of the same kind, of which an Indian Devotee is guilty, we are assured that

Frequent he cuts his throat in reason's spite,

Where, sacred chance, two confluent streams unite."
In Part the fifth, he embattles, in formidable array, every cir-
cumstance which can tend to excite a horror of India. Among
these are bloody-minded and torturing pirates, superstitious
self-tormenting Fakeers, dancing prostitutes, carrion-eating crows
and ravens, and a variety of other nuisances and plagues. But .
Famine is the prominent figure in the groupe, and his personi-
fication of this tremendous fiend is such a master-piece in its
way, that it would be cruelty to our readers to deny them the
pleasure of beholding it presented to their view in all its poetical

“ Picture the monster,-from Tartarean lakes,-
Her squalid brows o'erhung with hissing snakes;
Her sunken jaws with fangs of rusty steel,
Arm'd on each side, like spokes of waggon wheel ;
Her sallow cheeks, with bones that seem to rise,
To form a hollow for her gleaming eyes;
Her nostrils open wide, in vengeful mood,
Discharge black smoke and gouts of clotted blood:
Her brows, deep furrow'd, tortur'd to a scowl,
Shap'd like the forehead of a monstrous owl;
Her ears hang pendant, like uncurried hides,

part conceal her lank and bony sides:
As clearest crystal balls, of mighty size,
Glare, gashly luminous, her gorgon eyes;
Her carrion Tips, with maggots pregnant, seem
Like muddy banks, min'd under by the stream ;
Her breasts resemble bladders void of wind,



[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


In con

[ocr errors]

O'er soll'd with filth, deform'd with sores unkind:
Her nether parts, disgusting to behold,

Roll vast along, in many a length’ning fold;
2 A monstrous sight--whilst eager round her waist,

Voracious harpies clamour for their feast :
Alternate each within he arms she hugs,
And feeds the scraggy monsters from her dugs;
Then sets them on to work her fell behest,
Whilst gasping Horror issues from her breast :
Seizes on all, and Famine at his heels

Speeds on, and in her own corruption reels.!!"
In the sixth part, the author is pathetic on the miseries of
those who are so unwise as to marry the fortune-hunting misses,
who go to India on matriinonial speculations. He then, not
znaturally, slides to bilious disorders, and next gives a loath-
some account of the selfishness of military officers in India, who,
if he may be credited, watch for the deaths of their comrades
with as much eagerness as a vulture does for carcasses.
clusion he assures us, that not one in fifty persons escapes from
Jndia; and that the one who does escape to England, far from
being happy there, lingers out the short remnant of his days in
solitude and misery.

“ Years spent in exile, all he finds at home,

A wretched end, a miserable tomb." į The remainder of the first volume consists of minor poems, one of the largest of which is “ brief sketch of the island of Madeira.”. From this we gather that the author does not like Madeira ; that he considers mountains as “abrupt excrescences ;” and that he is very angry with the people of the island, for being over-run with vermin, and being malignant and superstitious; and also for wearing few clothes, and paying more attention to the vines, than they do to shrubs and powers. It would not, perhaps, be difficult to urge something in extenuation of the last two crimes, and especially of the last of the two; but we do not wish to involve ourselves in a controversy: with so formidable an antagonist as the author of The Cadet. He unght take it into his head to write on the subject, and wc might be compelled to read. It is this dislike of a contest, which prevents us likewise from questioning, and perhaps directly contradicting bis doctrine, that " Memory is one of the sublimest among the intellectual faculties."

“ Farther on and fare worse.” We have at last reached the second volume, and a delectable prospect is spread before us, << Egbert and Amelia" is a tale, of between three and four thousand lines, and, to make the matter absolutely unbearable,


[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

" that

At is in blank verse.” While we drawled along before, in the old
golting waggon, though the road was rough, and the country
unpicturesque, we had the tinkling of the bells to amuse or to
lull us; but now, though neither the conveyance, nor the com
try, nor the road, is mended, we have lost the music, such as
it was, and must plod on in silence. If we must have bad verse,
we confess that we would rather have it in rhyme, because,
when taken in that form, it excites less nausea.
: In his preface, for this volume too bas a preface, the author,
after descantiug" on the more virulent shaft of criticism,” being
? held in readiness to be hurled on him, pleads that his tale
was written at sea,

withiu the

compass of three weeks;" and he shrewdly observes that: “ little can be expected from what engrossed so short a period in the composition. Certainly, when a man keeps scribbling, without ever looking backward or for ward for three weeks, at the rate of nearly two hundred lines a day, we have no reason to be disappointed, if we find that his production is an utterly worthless one. That we do not unjustly accuse the author of having scribbled on, without any plan, he himself 'vill bear witness; as he honestly owns, he followed, throughout the narrative, whatever the inclination of his mind led him to write, without any adherence to strictness of rule:;" and this he urges in apology for the long episode, giving the brief history of Edmund," which episode he confesses to have little or no business in the tale. Whether he wrote under the influence of sea-sickness we know not, but we know that he has sickened us completely. His friends, he says, advised him to publishe. What dangerous, animals some friends are! There is sound good sense in the Spanish proverb, which declares, “ Heaven defend me from my friends, and I will defend my. self from my enemies. "

Through this almost interminable tale we have looked in vain for a single good line. It is as intellectually barren as the deserts of Arabia are physically. Of misery it has an abundance, but not a particle of pathos. The author kills all his characters, and we cannot do otherwise than smile at the motive which he gravely assigns for so doing. He deemed it “ more charitable, and inuch more consistent with humanity; to put an end to those who remained in affliction, than suffer them to pass the residue of an advanced, or even a non-advanced, life in misery;" and, « the hours alloited to man for existence being short, he esteemed it better suited to the character of the tale, to follow every individual introduced therein to the termination thereof, ilan to: suffer the reader to leave off unsatisfied with the idea that any remained to combat against excess of sorrow." This is an admirable thought, and we hope that our writers of tra


[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

gedy will avail themselves of it. Let the next piece that is written, end with a philanthropic general massacre, in order to spare the spectators the pain of thinking after they get home, that, perhaps, at that moment, Don Felix is sitting under a willow, lamenting the loss of Donna Violante, and Donna Clara is going mad,“ in white satin," through the perfidy of Don Rodrigo. In comedy, too, as a hanging bout would not be quite suitable to its character, it would be well if a con plete gaol delivery were to take place, a miraculous conversion of the rogues to be effected, and sufficient arinuities for life settled on them, that no awkward fears might remain as to their future destiny.

Though we have but scanty room left for extracts, we can. not forbear quoting the following ludicrous image, which we believe to be original

6. But who shall bustle thro' the war of strife,
Which ever marks man's passage to the grave,
Without incessant stumbles For the world
Is a vast cullendar, its holes concealid,
And all who wander over it


fall Into its hidden chasms or soon or late." Among the fair sex the author will have few partisarts ; for he has said a thing, which cannot fail to offend all the ladies who are in, and even beyond, their teens. Speaking of a certant time, he with infinite gallantry, informs us, that

« Amelia then Would just attain her two and twentieth year,

An age when womanhood commenceś wise." He does not inform us at what age ladies become fully wise ? but, if they do not begin to learn till they are two and twentys we imagine that he will be disposed to fix at a very distant date the period of their mature wisdom. We wish, while he was on this subject, that he had given us his idea of the time at which men grow sage; as it would have enabled us to judge, whether he is likely to commit again the juvenile indiscretion of publishing wretched verses.

Of the remaining poems in the voluine, some of which are tolerably long, and in blank, the blankest, verse, much need not be said. There is nothing in them, except their sentiments, which we can praise, consistently with a regard to truth. We must lament that the author has lain violent hands on the beautiful story of Cupid and Psyche, and has mangled it in a barbarous manner. Psyche he treats worse than even the malignaut Venus did

64 Still

« PreviousContinue »