Page images
PDF
EPUB

This situation, on some disagreement, Mr. King quitted in September 1788, rather suddenly. He was greatly pressed, and frequently called on in the public prints, to account for his conduct on the occasion, which he shortly did, in a way that gained him infinite credit: and the town, who lamented the loss sustained by the retreat of the actor, gave great praise to the candour and moderation of the man. Mr. King repaired to Dublin, where he had in early life been so cherished; he there made an engagement for a few nights only: but he was so uncommonly followed, that he entered into, and fulfilled, a second and a third; highly gratified by his reception and profit, having constantly a certain share of the night's receipt. He appeared twenty-five times; and, according to the declaration of Mr. Daly, then proprietor of that very elegant theatre, a like sum had never been drawn in that metropolis, in an equal number of nights, by any performer of either sex. Mr. King was pressed to enter into fresh engagements in Dublin; but he had, in the early part of his first, given a promise to Mr. Jackson, the patentee of the Edinburgh Theatre Royal, to join him for a few nights, some time in the month of March, which he did; and by his performances in Edinburgh and Glasgow very greatly benefited the manager and himself. He had never before appeared in Scotland; and the lovers of the drama there gave a strong proof of their taste by loudly applauding, and of their liberality by respecting and rewarding him.

[To be continued.]

OF HOURS.

Things the most unreasonable become so familiar through custom, that they make no impression on us.

What can be more completely irrational than the allotment of our hours as to sleeping and waking? The most natural arrangement would be, to give those hours to sleep which are pointed out by nature; following, as much as possible, the custom of animals, who can have no guide but nature. I say as much as possible; for our avocations are in general so regular, that we could not bring them to coincide with the irregularity of the length of the days, in the different seasons in our climate. But then, surely, it is natural, if the days of winter are too short for us, at least to sit up all that short day, and not borrow more than is absolutely necessary from the dreary hours of night; and, on the contrary, if the days of summer are too long, we need not sacrifice more of the genial hours of sunshine to sleep than we can avoid, and then borrow largely of the sight. I speak now only of moderate people, who rise at ten, and

go to bed at twelve. Those who live a highly fashionable life, are generally up during the whole night in summer, and only rise is winter to take a short ride or walk in the dusk of the evening.

The modern hours of eating are got to an excess that is perfectly ridiculous. I think we may at this time put the general hour of dining at six. Those of the first Ton * extend it to seven or eight. Now what do people who do not lie in bed all the day, and sit up all the night, gain by this? In the first place, if they make dinner their principal meal, and do not like to pall their appetite by eating before it, they injure their health by long fasting. Then in winter they have two hours of candle light before dinner, and in summer they are at table during the only pleasant part of the day; and all this to get a long morning for idle people, to whom one would suppose the shortest morning would seem too long. The man of business, or of literature, may wish for a long morning; but surely the hours after dinner are those of amusement and festivity. To this arrangement is also sacrificed that most sociable meal, the supper, in which alone there is a free intercourse between the sexes, and where alone the ladies can partake of the pleasures of the convivial hour ; and to those who do not sit up all night, a supper, in the present order of things, is proscribed.

The following extract, from Strutt's account of the manners and customs of the English, shews the fashionable hours of the age of Elizabeth.

"In those days, when coffee and tea, and other slops were not known, it was no uncommon thing for the chief lords and ladies of the court to breakfast upon a fine beef-steak broiled, with a cup of ale, and that at eight, or perhaps nine, in the morning at furthest. They then usually dined at mid-dayt, or one o'clock, and such as eat supper most commonly sat down to meat about seven, or a little before, in the evening." 1 It was also the custom for persons of fortune to take some highly spiced wine on going to bed. This species of refection was called

THE WINES.

Strange .as these meal-times now seem, only change their names, and they much resemble those of the present day. Substitute rolls

• And yet, from a passage in Swift's Polite Conversation, the contrary seems te have been the case in Ins time; for, on Sir John Linger coming in after the dinner is served up, he says, " What, you keep court hours, I see f" which must imply dining earlier than the hour he supposi-d.

t It appears from a passage in the Woman-Hater of Beaumont and Fletcher, . that eleven was the usual hour of dinner in tiieir time.

"Soy . I run ;—but not so fast as your mouth will do upon the stroke of eleven."

and tea for beef-steaks, and the hour of breakfast is not much too early for moderate people. The dinner answers to the repast many people take between breakfast and dinner, and the supper is equivalent with our dinner. The Wines answer to that unsocial substitute for supper, sandwiches and wine brought round in a salver.

If we called our meals by the names in use with our ancestors, the fashionable man, who does not rise till one, might be said to lie in bed till dinner-time; and the early man, who will not eat between meals lest he should hurt his appetite, might be said to go without his dinner. 'H. J .P.

TUTORS AND PUPILS.

No—the task of education is not easy. But it is the greatest it* which man or woman can be engaged; and ought therefore to be attended to by all who undertake it, with every energy of the mind. Every day should have its allotted business, and its allotted pleasures. The slowest capacity can comprehend that the more hours are consumed in business, the fewer there will be for pleasure.— It is necessary to lay down the premises, and inflexibly to abide by them. The conclusion every child can draw for itself. If that conelusion is as infallible, as it is unpleasant, in a little time it will be carefully avoided. To the reason of its instructors a child may not readily submit: it is against reason that it should. But to the reason of facts, children will always yield, provided it is made clear to them. To guard against the faults of a child is not halfthe business. The weakness of the tutor is much more inimical to the success of his efforts. To be unyielding in matters (simply considered) of little import; to bear a cold countenance with a warm heart; to be insensible, apparently, to the blandishments of childhood, are not easy tasks, to a feeling and affectionate mind; and no other is fitted for the task of education. Then will not the tutor have to combat Ins own indolence; his own unevenness of disposition; his caprice, and his partialities? There is another formidable difficulty in his way: the indiscreet interference of others. He must be perfectly steady, though often at the expence of a heart ach. The pupils should learn to consider the laws of their tutor to be as immutable as the decrees of fate, and then they will accommodate themselves to them as they would to any physical necessity. Constant application makes the task of learning easy; and when something new, however little, is acquired every day, the sum total, at the end of two or three years, will be surprising. Q. a ORIGINAL LETTER

FROM '.

THE LATE WILLIAM COWPER, ESQ.

JO MR. PARK.

May 17,1793. Dear Sir, It has not been without frequent self-reproach that I have so long omitted to answer your last very kind and most obliging letter. I am by habit and inclination extremely punctual in the discharge of such arrears, and it is only through necessity, and under constraint of various indispensible engagements of a different kind, that I am become of late much otherwise.

I have never seen Chapman's translation of Homer, and will not refuse your offer of it, unless, by accepting it, I shall deprive you of a curiosity that you cannot easily replace. The line or two which you quote from him, except that the expression * a well-written soul' has the quaintness of his times in it, do him credit. He cannot surely be the same Chapman who wrote a poem, I think, on the battle of Hockstadt, in which, when I was a very young man, I remember to have seen the following lines:

"Think of two thousand gentlemen at least,
And each man mounted on his capering beast.
Into the Danube they were push'd by shoals,
And sunk and bobb'd, and bobb'd and sunk, and sunk and
bobb'd their souls."*

• Among the extensive literary collections of Thomas Hill, Esq. a copy of this ludicrous performance has been discovered, and it serves to evince the reminiscent powers of Cowper, though the name of Chapman does not appear in the title-page, which runs thus:—" La I'eude Joye; or a brief description of two most glorious victories obtained by her majesty's forces and those of her allies, over the French and Bavarians, in July and August 1704, at Schellenburgh and Blainheim, near Hocksted: under the magnanimous and heroick conduct of his Grace the Duke of Marlborough. A poem. By a British Muse." Lontf. 1705. 4to. The following are the passages recollected by Mr- Cowper, and reported by him without any of that in. ftating exaggeration so common to reporters of mirthful tales."Suppose four thousand gentlemen at least, And each man ntowited on his cap'ring beast. Should, at an instant, iu a body roll And plunge into the deep their violent soul: &c. Whole shoals together sink and scream in shoals, And bob and sink, and bob and sink their with.'* r p—Vol. xvI.

i . i . .

These are lines that could not fail to impress the memory, though not altogether in the Homerican stile of battle.

I am, as you say, an hermit, and probably an irreclaimable one, having a horror of London that I cannot express, nor indeed very easily account for. Neither am I much less disinclined to migration in general. I did no little violence to my love of home last summer, when I paid Mr. Hayley a visit, and in truth was principally induced to the journey, by a hope that it might be useful to Mrs. Unwin; who, however, derived so little benefit from it, that I purpose for the future to avail myself of the privilege my years may reasonably claim, by compelling my younger friends to visit me.— But even this is a point which I cannot well compass at present, both because I am too busy, and because poor Mrs. Unwin is not able to bear the fatigue of company. Should better days arrive,* days of more leisure to me, and of some health to her, I shall not fail to give you notice of the change, and shall then hope for the pleasure of seeing you at Weston.

The epitaph you saw,-|- is on the tomb of the same Mr. Unwin to whom the Tirocinium is inscribed; the son of the lady abovementioned. By the desire of his executors I wrote a Latin one, which they approved, but it was not approved by a relation of the deceased, and therefore was not used. He objected to the mention I had made in it, of his mother having devoted him to the service of God in his infancy. She did it, however, and not in vain, as I wrote my epitaph. Who wrote the English one I know not.

The poem called the Slave is not mine, nor have I ever seen it. I wrote two on the subject—one eutitled The Negro's Complaint, and the other, The Morning Dream. With thanks for all your kindness, and the patience you have with me,

I remain, '•

Dear Sir,

Sincerely yours,

Wm. Cowper.

Another instance of the bathos may equally bear citation :—
"One body flying to the woods, for fear,
Thirty battalions were imprisan'd there;
As many squadrons to the Danube pusht,
Dy'd its black streams with blood, and so were hushi.

* These days never did arrive, and that they did not, will ever leave a selfish as well as a social regret on the memory of his highly-favoured correspondent.

t In the Gentleman's Magazine for March 1793.

« PreviousContinue »