« PreviousContinue »
We should be glad to know how Peter could have lived to give us his lucubrations had it not been for his eleemofynary friend, and the unexpected shilling, which he has lugged in to opportunely. · Peter's history of his two uncles to whose care he was left, the one of them an honest cobler of eighty-two years of age, and the other a morole sullen zealot, with an affectation of learning, which only amounted to a facility of murdering hard words, is rather carried too far, beyond the bounds of probability, and yet it contains some laughable circumstances. The account of his own sentiments after he comes to a fortune is but too well founded in nature and experience, and, with all their imperfections, we cannot help recommending Peter's sentiments to the perusal of the thoughtles, rather than the unseel. ing (for they are too often irreclaimable) members of high life.
V. Poems, confifing of Tales, Fables, Epigrams, &c. &c. By
Nobody. 12mo. Pr. 35. Robinson and Roberts. THIS Mr. Nobody appears to be so pleasant and face:ious a
fellow that we cannot avoid granting the request contained in his mutto.
Procul este reveri. Keep your distance, fellows, and I'll speak with you. • Having been some months pait out of town, says he, I called, to-day at Mr. Elzivir's, to know if my Poems were printed off :-He told me they were, and that he now waited for the dedication ; asking me at the same time, who I designed that honour for? " Dedication !” fays I " Why, fuppose the dedication was to run thus"-" To Every Body, those luminaries of learning, those patrons of genius, those candid readers, those inost judicious critics, &c. &c. &c--the following farrago is dedicared by the humblest of their admirers, Nobody:"-" Oh, dear Sir," says Elzivir, “ that will never do: the quibble is stale : you might as well dedicate it to your own individual self, (Nobody) as to Every Body: besides that sneer upon Every Body wou'd set Every Body a smeering at you ; --Consider, Sir, your very name is a bait for farcaftical quibbles-- But what think you of chuling Paoli for your patron : he's a glorious subject for panegyric, and his name at the beginning of your book wou'd help the sale greatly, especially if you were to have his portrait by way of frontis. piece done by an eminent hand :”-“ Neither will that do,” faid 1,-" Had it been an epic poem indeed, and the hero of Vol. XXIX. Feb. 1770.
it such another as himself, I don't know how far my vanity might have spurred me; but nou'd I dedicate such a trifle. like this to him, the world wou'd be apt to think I was bribed by some great man, or other to throw an affront on him," " I believe you are right," replies Elzivir, “ and now I think again, I fear the poor gentleman stands more in need to be patronized than to patronize :- Suppose then,” added he, “ you dedicate it to the Reviewers.-" That,” says I, “ wou'd be vastly impolitic, for as I am a stranger to them, and intend to remain so, a bundred to one but in return for my compliments they'd fall foul of me, as a proof of their impartiality. No, no, hang it, I'll have no dedication at all.”“ You must have a preface, however,” cries Elzivir :-" That to me,” says I, 6 seems as needless as the other: what can I say in a preface ?-but that · The following poems (or small talk in rhyme, if you please) were written at different times and upon different occafions, and not originally designed for the press : that they are now fent into the world in a loose unconnected manner :' “ (for by the bye, Master Elzivir, you have been rather careless in that respect, as you know that part of the affair was entrusted to you)” • That avocations of a diffèrent nature prevented the author's giving them a revisal, (too much wanting, he fears): that the oleo, such as it is, is now offered to the public with a hearty welcome ; and that Mr. Cook begs his guests wou'd fall to, and eat heartily, or at least pick a bit here and there, as the dish is made up of various ingredients, and none of them over large, or hard of digestion, he hopes :'-" I can say nothing but such stuff as this ;- no, no, publish it directly, and let the , brat take its chance."-" My dear Sir,” replied Elzivir, " a new book without preface or dedication is as imperfect as a new play without a' prologue: how can you think of thrusting yourself on the public without a by your leave, or with your leave :or what wou'd you think, for example, of a stranger bursting into our club-room, and seating himself at the table without a precursor to announce his approach, or some one of the club to announce him ?”-I fill persisted in my resolutions of no preface, not knowing, in short, what to say upon the occasion, when Mrs. Elzivir, who, L.must own, has more sense than either her good-man or myself, declared it her opinion, that a preface would be necessary, if it only answered the pur. fose of adding three or four pages to the book; that it availed but little wbat was said in it, and that if her advice might be taken, the dialogue that had just pailed between Mr. Elzivir and me wou'd antwer the purpose as well as any thing.
+ As I always pay an uncommon deference to Mrs. Elzivir's opinion, I immediately took her advice, and have, as near as I can recollect, verbatim, and without any additional flourishes, scribbled down what was said upon the occasion, which the reader is intreated to look upon as a preface; the common intention of such precursors (as my letter'd friend terms 'em) being generally to add a something to the size of the book.'
From this specimen of the author's humour in profe, the readers will be naturally led to expect entertainment when he prances in Hudibrastic verse, which is the kind he most frequently makes use of. There is such variety in his subjects, that the muse is not always uniformly gay, but where she is not lively, the is seldom tedious. We shall present our readers with the following elegiac poem, as aggrandizing a trifling incident.
• The LAMENTATION of a Mouse in a Trap.
- Unhappy maid! within this wiry cave,
Death's certain summons doom'd, alas to wait! Shall curs Grimalkin's guts prove Muzzy's grave? So young!--In pleasure's spring to meet my fate?
II. « Those jet-bead eyes, that fir'd beholders' hearts,
This velvet skin, small ears, and needle claws ? Those whiskers, (often stil'd love's keeneit darts) Must they be cruth'd within a murderer's jaws ?
From the scoop'd cheese, or bacon's tasteful side,
* Touch not your prey, 'till well the place you scan; Grimalkin!-Of that monster, oh beware! And that inore lavage two-legg'd monster, man."
My duty's forfeit, now untimely pay;
- To poor papa had this sad hour been givin,
How wou'd the fight his tender bofom wound ! But poor papa-(such the high will of Heav'n !) Last April-day was in a cream-bowl drown'd.
That erst so many youthful hearts have won ?
Cou'd save or doom to death the nibbling breed ;"
(Squeekero! loveliest youth of youthful mice !) Shall flattering homage pay ;-in hopes to gain That heart, whose worth he swore was past all price.
Nor hero's form again shall bless my sight;
On earth, from your embrace shou'd Muzzy tear;"
With eyes like fiery suns that flash forth dread;
On lightning's wings to fly with vengeful aid !
Bring armies-quick-lear, send this hated jail :
Lest your fond heart Tould break to see me thus :
So tempting,—now how hateful to mine eyes !
Attends the wretch who not a parent hears :
XVIII. • She said-and, trembling, sweeps the wires ;-when, lo!
Murd'rous Grimalkin, darting baleful fires, Enters the room :- All nature feels the blow;
Poor Muzzy squeeks,--and with a nip expires.' There are many more poems of the humorous kind in this collection.-Master Nobody is said to be a very droll Somebody that figures on one of the Theatres-Royal in the North of England.
VI. The New Brighthelmstone Directory : or, Sketches in Miniature
of the British Shore. 8vo. Pr. Is. 6d. Durham. THESE sketches are formed upon the model of the New
1 Bath Guide, and wrote in the hendecasyllable measure, The author informs us that they were intended only for the amusement of a friend, for which we very readily give him cre. dit, and join with him in opinion where he says, “ That the only reputation I expect to acquire by this publication, is, that of that of a faithful historian ; and yet I am afraid it will be lost in a few years. Some of the facts I relate will, perhaps, appear to our virtuous grand-daughters, so void of probability, that my whole correspondence runs a risk of being deemed fictitious.—They will not, among other things, be able to conceive, that any of the circumstances of the promiscuous bathing of the gentlemen and ladies were true; or else, (I have this chance of support to my veracity) they will imagine, that the mere narration of those circumstances has been sufficient to banish the custom from a Christian country.'