« PreviousContinue »
strong and robust, was so unbroken, that he recovered his health ; and though he received no other sustenance than bread and water, yet
was remark. ably well, and resumed his former gaiety. In this state of mind he found means to sooth the tedium of so long an imprisonment, by making verses; which he set to music as well as he could, and sung for half the day. As he had nothing worse to dread, the king of Prussia was frequently the subject of bis songs, and was not spared in them. He also had recourse to the power of imagination, to sooth the horrors of his situation; and the whole time that he did not spend in singing, was passed in turning his ideas to all the agreeable conditions which it was possible for him to conceive. He was almost brought to consider these wanderings of his imagination as rea ties, and to regard his misfortunes as mere dreams. At last the Empress Queen, who for a long time had believed that he was dead, being informed of his miserable existence, solicited his liberty from the king of Prussia with so much earnestness, that she obtained his release. I saw him at Aix-la-Chapelle, enjoying very good health ; having married a handsome woman, the daughter of one of the principal inhabitants of that imperial city, to which he had retired that he might not be exposed to the power of an arbitrary government. He has published several German works, some of which are the fruits of the reflections he made during the time of his imprisonment; some poetry against the king of Prussia; and some details relative to the manner in which he passed his time at Magdeburgh. Ile gave them to me himself; and though his works had no great merit in the style, yet the singularity of his thoughts, and the extraordinary fate of the author, rendered them interesting, What astonished me most in him was, the force of mind, the courage and the constancy, which had supported him in a situation in which there was no hope of his seeing better days. He appeared now to have forgotton the whole, or to recall the remembrance of his past sufferings, only that he might the better enjoy the happiness of his present condition. He was very gay; and there were moments when one might have supposed, without doing him great injustice, that his reason had been in some degree affected by his long confinement; but it was only surprising that this did not appear in a more eminent degree*.
ON THE SUMMER SOLSTICE.
Fresh from the genial lap of earth,
Behold yon lily rise !
'Till foster'd by the skies !
* Poor Trenck, wishing to take a part in the French Revolution, went to Paris in the year 1793, and was guillotined on the 25th of July, 1794, two days before the execution of Robespiere,
By vernal breezes gently fann'd,
It sips the morning dew; And wider as its leaves expand,
Th' ascending stalk we view.
The slken blossoms next appear,
Which scarce the stem supports ; Its matchless charms then crown the year,
And mock the pride of courts*.
But ah! how short is beauty's reign!
Tho' blooming thus to day, To-morrow sees it in its wane,
Droop, wither, and decay.
Thus in his annual course, the Sun,
From Spring to Summer's height, Rejoices still each stage to run,
In all his splendour bright!
But, like the lustre of the flower,
(So swift the months go round) The solstice hardly keeps an hour
Its stationary ground.
Tho' Autumn for a while may cheer,
Soon Winter takes its room,
An universal gloom.
* Vide St. Matthew.
Such is the life of man, alas!
Fresh toys employ eactstage;
From manhood to old age.
We, like the lily, fresh and gay,
Spring up at early dawn,
Like mists that skim the lawn.
Charm’d with each shifting scene we view,
Or ravish'd with a song ;
Life gently glides along.
But tired to find each joy so fast
Thus vanish'd from our sight, ,
All's wrapt in endless night.
TRIUMPH OF THE ART OF HAIR-DRESSING OVER
Happy the man, alone thrice happy he,
For many years past the hair-dressers have complained of their art not being honoured according
to its dignity. Queues are cut off without any ceremony; or a small rat's tail, at the most, is alone suffered to remain : all the rest must be bristles. Even the animating powder is dispensed with; and instead of being indebted to the comb, as formerly, for the captivating lock, we are seen, like cats or flies, with our hands up to our heads whenever we are afraid the bristles are not sufficiently elevated. The flowing wig, at once that boast of the art, and ble ornament of our ancestors, is banished; and we must look back with a melancholy regret to the times when a courtier borrowed the gravity of a judge from his appendage*.
These allegations of the honourable fraternity of peruque-makers are certainly well founded. It is now with our hair as with our philosophy; each has experienced a discouraging change: once the former had much pudding, and the latter much bombast; but by degrees every thing has been so cut away from both, as to leave them shapeless masses, without a name. The complainants may, however, console themselves with having some place of refuge, where at least they will not starve amidst the universal desolation that has spread over their trade; but I
* With respect to a powdered head being an ornament to a human being, we have more than once expressed our opinion in the “ Flowers of Literature."-We shall not repeat our sentiments on that subject, the fashion having now become sufficiently ridiculous :—we do not, however, dispute the necessity of it to judges, courtiers, and old women!