Page images

a favourable account of a club from were not permitted. First, there was which he has been unanimously black- a country-dance, and then quadrilles, balled; and somewhat in a similar till the clock struck twelve, at which predicament, we imagine, our author witching hour cloaks were huddled stands- this account, we fear, shews upon many a lovely form, that longed that he has never been present at a for one other set. And before the ball held in them ; for, if we mistake finger of time had pointed half way to not, his virtuous indignation against the “wee short hour, ayont the twal” waltzes is entirely thrown away. In the bald-pated, silk-stockinged Alunthe time of our vacation-sojourns in key, who extinguished the brilliant the Bath, we know-and then felt lamps and lustres, considerably disappointed-that they

" walk'd alone
The banquet hall deserted,
Whose lights were fled, whose garlands dead,
And all but he departed.”

But though we are not prepared to gers on the extreme verge of a Parioffer any thing in praise of waltzing, sian beauty's waist, and twirl round we should certainly be very guarded and round, (the two smirking insigin expressing our opinion of its perni- nificant-looking figures !) till they are cious influence either upon the man- tired of admiring each other and themners or the morals. We know that selves. But we hate to see steady, many of the purest and wisest amongst quiet, massive - looking Englishmen us see no more harm in a waltz than in twisting and pirouetting with a fine, a quadrille; and though we should not sonsy, modest-looking lassie dependbe altogether delighted to see a great ing from their arms; and verily we brawny Irish jontleman twirling round rejoice with a malicious satisfaction a daughter of ours, we should not be when, as is generally the case in an inclined to think that any great sin English ball-room, another couple of had been committed on any side, revolvers come into contact with the either in thought, word, or deed. first, and they spin off at a tangent, Our great objection is, that it is so de- one into the fire-place, and the other cidedly unnational. It seems all well creating an uproar among the fiddles enough for a bowing, scraping, fiddling at the other end of the room. But Frenchman, with his enormous mouth from waltzing, whether commendable displaying its grinning vastness under or not, the Bath assemblies are free; the shade of his twisted whiskers and but hear the censormoustaches, to put his kid-covered fin

“Go to the vaunted Rooms'- what find you there?
The noise of folly, and the lamp's high glare,
The dazzling robe, the lofty waving plume,
Bright eyes, gay glances, music, mirth, perfume,
All that destroys the taste or spoils the heart,
Truth, Nature, Virtue, sacrificed to art !
Lo! the young girl by scheming mother led
With but one wish to see her daughter wed,
Leaves on one glittering night the modest grace
Which gave new beauties to her form and face,
And stands unmoved a thousand stares, and then
Quells every fear, and boldly stares again!
What joys to her shall simple Nature yield,
The once loved river, and the flow'ry field ?
Even in her far-off rustic home, a blight
Falls on her heart from that remember'd night;
And oft in Memory's ear those strains shall sound
When first she twirl'd the waltz's giddy round;
And he, the whispering bright-eyed youth, who danced,
And smiled so softly, so bewitching glanced,
Oft comes bis form," &c. &c.

We had not imagined that there heart

t to music," – is it to make her breathed in a Christian land a man despise the simple beauties that she who was so lost in his feelings to was once fond of—and from the effects Christian charity. Is one gay night, of that one overwhelming night, when one brilliant assemblage of all that is she saw seven or eight hundred wellmost bright and fascinating, to corrupt dressed people, with all the parapher the purity and destroy the happiness nalia which he has conjured up, of of any girl who is a spectator of it? light hearts, gay glarices, robes, feaFar from it. With what a much thers, perfumes, and mirth, to make stronger relish will she return to the her ever after a puling sentimental quiet

delights of her country home whining girl, sighing to leave her quiet perhaps to yonder white-walled par- birthplace, and

mingle for ever in the sonage among the sycamores, where laborious pleasures of a “ball-going duly as the Sabbath bell is tolled, she young lady?” We don't believe that has been seen supporting the tottering it ever had this melancholy effect upon steps of her greyhaired father into the any man, woman, or child, since the house of God, the beloved of all the creation till now. She talks of the villagers, and the ornament and pride gaiety of that evening for two days, of that old man's widowed hearth ? and on the third she has totally forIs once being present at an assembly gotten, unless when reminded by a to wash away all her former recollec- chance look at her gauze or feathers, tions, to take the sweetness from the that she ever was at a Bath ball in her strains of that winged song, the reste life. One other quotation and we have less nightingale, which turns its lone done.

“ Once did I mark a maid, whose beauties won
Each wondering eye e'er folly's reign begun
Night after night she graced the sounding hall,
The brightest, gayest,

loveliest of them all ;
Yet soon the glow, which roseate health had shed,
Far from her pallid cheek for ever fled ;
But art supplied what nature doom'd to fade,
And still she bloom'd, though still her health decay'd,
Still gleam'd her eye, though half it's light was o'er,
Still smiled she sweetly as she smiled before,
Till, worn her strength, no well-timed cares applied,

A smiling, waltzing, glittering thing she died.”-P. 17. This example comes with peculiar We advise our friend, the satirist, force, as having happened within the to give up versifying, as a sort of trade sphere of our author's knowledge, and in which he will never excel. Let him to one of his own acquaintance. But, stick to his blacking and shoe brush, in addition to the causes to which he and we have no doubt he will earn has attributed her death, attending more coppers as deputy boots at an balls, smiling, rouging, and being inn, than ever be will acquire laurels pretty, he has forgot what we are in- by writing poems. His Bath, even as formed by one of the surgeons of the a satire, is a complete failure. It is hospital, was one of the main instru. too general either to be feared or usements of her decease. We allude to ful; but let the natives be particularthe immoderate use of gin, which the ly on their guard, for, as we intend author knows as well as we do, was shortly to visit their city, we shall the unfortunate propensity of his de- show in old Maga, that funct friend and kinswoman, Miss " A chield's amang them taking notes, Joanna Scraggs. But no more of this.

An' faith he'll prent it."


TALES OF The O'HARA FAMILY. How comes it to pass, that among til the commencement of the 18th the numerous endeavours to amuse the century, that the character of native reading public with scenes of humble Hibernians afforded so copious and Irish life and manners, offering, it frequent a subject for the novelist and should seem, a rich field for genius to play-writer, the success of whose early expatiate on, so few have been little labours on the stage, particularly, has better than miserable failures ? Miss given birth to a number of descripa Edgeworth, alone, seems to have en- tions, for the most part extravagant joyed the happy talent of just descrip- and overdrawn, the natural result of tion, as well in the humorous as the imitation falling into incompetent pathetic; the rest, for the most part, hands. Literary labour seems to be bearing to her pictures the same pro- in this respect the reverse of mechani. portion which extravagant caricatures cal. When a very useful or ingenious do to the vivid representations of Ho- piece of mechanism brings emolument garth's pencil. We may sometimes or excites admiration, it is sure to be find a single scene tolerably well ex- not only copied, but improved, by hibited, or a natural representation of others, among whom, perhaps, there Hibernian character in a short essay, might be none possessed of the same such as lately appeared in your Mise inventive powers as the original concellany, under the title of the “ Irish triver. But let a novel work of liteYeoman;" but in works professing to rary merit be brought forward, though give an ample delineation of Irish hu- it shall find thousands of copiers, how mour, feelings, habits, and manners, I few will be the instances of adequate have not been fortunate enough to and commendable imitation! What meet with any deserving of just com- a host of pens and printers have been mendation, save those of Miss Edge. pressed into the service of romance worth.

and novelism by the appearance of the Shakspeare, whose comprehensive Waverley Novels! The wish to be range of mind nothing seems to have equally agreeable and instructive, was escaped, and to whom nihil humani very natural, but the wishers, unforwas alienum, is, as far as I know, the tunately, for the most part at least, forfirst who introduced the peculiarity of got what was first not only to be wishIrish character to public notice, and ed for, but to be attained,-a genius that only in one of his dramas. It was capable of equalling or approximating not, however, yet ripe for such a pure the compositions of the great Leader. pose; and all that can be said of the Ireland being out of his way, obvious. great dramatist is, that he laid the ly afforded fine ground for something foundation. Captain Macmorris ap- like rivalship, in contrasting the amupears but in one scene, and is remarke sing varieties of her national characable only for a hot temper, an intrepid ter. It had, indeed, been successfully spirit, and a profane tongue. Those of trod before, by the lady above menhis nation had mixed little with the tioned, whose works will bear no disEnglish in Shakspeare's time, and it is advantageous comparison with any of probable, that the great Bard drew the a like nature. It had also been tramportrait less from personal knowledge pled by the bog-trotting buskius of than the report of others. The same Lady Morgan ; who, wild as her ficmay be said of the Scotch, one of whom tions are, is somewhat more at home appears in the same play (Henry V.), in endeavouring to paint the rude and is distinguished only by his north- manners in which she was bred, than ern dialect; the great influx of Cale, those of the civilized countries into donians being subsequent to the which she has intruded. She always reign of Elizabeth, during which most put me in mind of a passage in Hamof Shakspeare's dramas were written. let's advice to the players, to apply Of Welsh peculiarities, from his own which, the reader has only to substiintimate acquaintance with them, he tute the word "writer” for players." has made frequent and happy use, and “ Oh, there be players that I have would have done the same with the seen play, and heard others praise, and others, had he possessed an equal that highly, not to speak it profanely, knowledge. It was not, I believe, une that neither having the accent of Christian, nor the galt of Christian, Pa- ening to puffs, for puffers every writer gan, or man, have so strutted and bel- contrives to find even among those lowed, that I thought some of Nature's from whom some degree of sound journeymen had made men, and not judgment is expectable. How this is made them well, they imitated human- inanaged, I don't pretend to say-parity so abominably.” Truly, her Lady- tiality to a friend, or unwillingness to ship is one of the vile imitators of hue appear ill-natured, or any thing in manity, and yet she has her admirers, short, but saying that the reproach Sir Jonah Barrington among the rest. cast upon the greatest city of old times, --No wonder-" Qui Bavium non is true of London - Omnia venalia odit, amet tua carmina, Mævi.” Well! Romæ. Scarce a work issues from the 'tis all for the good of trade. As long recessesof the printing house, but you *as there are superficial readers, there see it puffed, sometimes openly and li. will be superficial writers, and to say berally, sometimes incidentally as it nothing of both being worse employ- were, in some sly corner of a Periodied, as was probably the case before cal, a Magazine, a Literary Journal, or the invention of printing, a man of a newspaper. It is true, few of any humanity finds great consolation in note escape the knife of critical disa thinking, that a vast number of per- section, and some are handled a little song earn their daily bread in the fac too roughly; but it is also true, that brication of paper, the casting of types, others escape either with a slight the working of presses, and all the et- scratch, or without any censorial ani. ceteras that go to the production of vo. madversion. lumes, which, after a few months, or It is some comfort to a person, who, at most years, are only fit for lining like me, possesses, or fancies that he trunks, or wrapping spices.

possesses, a little of criticizing talent, Though I will not say that the Tales when he does happen to light upon a of the O'Hara Family were written book of false pretensions, to think that with a view of rivalling the Waverley, he has got a subject wherein that taor of rendering Irish subjects as pro lent may be amusingly employed. But ductive of general interest and delight, then it must be worth cutting up, as Sir Walter Scott has rendered those otherwise the zest of employment is of Caledonia, I may at least venture to gone; for who would descend to the affirm, that they owe their birth to task of refuting folly, and commentthe success of his incomparable com- ing upon absolute dulness ? Fortupositions. In this respect, Ireland nately I have a neighbour or two, to did afford new and fair ground for hoe whom, having many an hour to spare nourable emulation in well-wrought from the ordinary pursuits of life, and adventures, deduced from stories of minds not very hard to be pleased, the olden time, in scenes of rich ro- every new tale is welcome, particulara mantic beauty, and in skilful delinea- ly in the long evenings of a winter in tions of Irish character, modern as the country. As they have the means well as antique. But oh, sad indeed is of gratifying their reading propensities, the falling off, and mortifying the they are good customers to the book disparity! For why? A different ge- seller, who knows their palates, and nius illumines the brain, a different takes care to supply them with suitspirit rules the heart, and a very dif- able provision ; such literary dainties ferent hand governs the pen. I had as have reference to their own counbeen led to expect much from the re- try being most acceptable. To one of presentations of that lively genius these kind friends my pocket is inwhich produced the burletta of Midas, debted for retaining the price thatotherand I believe some other compositions wise would have gone to cumber my of a like nature. I had heard those ta. shelves with the tales of the O'Hara lents praised “ highly,” if not (as Family. I have already told you how Shakspeare says) “profanely," so that much my hopes of entertainment had they were among the few works of the been raised by the promise of the kind which I had a desire to see, name-they were still farther enhanced though before I made them my own, by the title page announcing, a Sce I thought it prudent to try and bore cond Edition. Oh, thought I, my row them from a friend. I have more hour for amusive reading will this than once been sadly taken in by liste night pass smoothly; and so as soon as it struck nine, I commenced reading and surprise." On the contrary, Crothe first tale, entitled, “ Crohoore of hoore keeps aloof in sullen silence. the Billhook."

Like King Alfred, who trimmed his Crohoore of the Billhook, however bow while the cakes were burning, the unheroical his appellation, is not- heroic Crohoore sat apart with his hat withstanding, if not the intended hero on, sharpening his billhook, but for of the tale, at least the most extraor. what purpose, I defy the most fertile dinary personage of the drama, and of romantic invention to guess, or even such a one as certainly never appeared to make the smallest approach to in the upon the stage of life. It seems to be way of conjecture. It was not indeed the opinion of many writers of tales, for the purpose of trimming his beard that the more they recede from nature on Christmas morning, but it was for and reason, the more they will engage the purpose, -one never certainly conthe attention of the reader; and that templated by any but the ingenious if they can fill their pages with won- authors of these tales,-of going out on ders enough, the object of their ambie the night preceding Christmas—to tion is attained. It is not very diffi- snare rabbits!!! And for whom was cult to construct volumes on this prin- the heroic Crohoore to hook rabbits on ciple, and if children were to be their a night of such preposterous selection ? readers, the plan might answer well Why, for a poor old woman in the enough, provided the stories were neighbourhood, who, it seems, some short, and the language simple. Une time before informed him that she was interesting prolixity is a sad penance his mother, and to whose support he either to eye or ear.

chose that singular method of contribu. Crohoore is introduced to the reader ting. But though Crohoore could have as making one in a Christmas Eve turned the billhook to little account party, at a rich farmer's house in the as a poacher, it was materially requicounty of Kilkenny, generally, I bee site for the views of the author, and' lieve, considered to be one of the least indeed so necessary to conduct the mountainous and most civilized parts plot, that the tale itself might with of the island. In this farmer's family great propriety be nominated, The he, taken in many years before as an Billhook. Crohoore's sullen behaviour, orphan child, lived as a servant, well and the noise of the billhook, having fed, clothed, and lodged, and repay, justly given some offence, he is reproing the benevolence that sustained ved by the man of the house, and not him, by his daily labour within and answering with due respect, the old without. That family consisted of the man proceeds to blows, and the upman of the house, represented as pas- shot is, that Crohoore takes his de. sionate but good-natured, his wife, a parture, refusing to listen to any apovery kind and gentle mistress, and their logy, and denouncing vengeance with daughter, a most amiable, as well as his scowling looks. That very night beautiful young creature. That party, the old couple are murdered, and the on that night of peculiar festivity, was daughter missing; the circumstances increased by the company of some of the preceding night, corroborated neighbours, among whom was a merry by the billhook found in the house piper, and a very handsome young bloody, necessarily conspiring to fix man (Pierce Shea,) the young lady's the charge of the murder on Crohoore. accepted lover. One would think that But the person of this hero must there was not a heart in company that not be passed unnoticed, though the should have beat with warmer feelings entire of the picture is too long to inof joy and gratitude than that of Crou sert. To a head of enormous size, fure hoore, contrasting his actual situation nished with features, not merely ugly, in such a house, with what it might but approaching to horrible, the dehave been, had not the charity of the scriber attaches a "trunk considerably inmates taken pity on the destitute under the height of even men of low condition of the orphan. This, indeed, stature; their unnatural disproportion would have been natural and reason- probably heightened their unfavourable, especially in a generous mind, as able expression, and joined to anohis eventually proves to be; but then ther cause, we shall have occasion to it would not have suited the story, notice,” (namely his reputation of beor answered the purposes of an author, ing in league with the devil), “ creadetermined, like Mr Bayes, “ to elevate ted, among his rustic compeers, a feel.

« PreviousContinue »