Page images

I. E. H.

A good disposition will not con- and thus many persons pass half tent itself with its own happiness, their lives without ever lighting on but its possessor will feel a degree M'Fingal, to whom that work is of interest, and will rejoice in the calculated to afford very high enfelicity of those around him. But tertainment. Such readers will not, the malignant eye of envy is either it is hoped, think our time mispent averted from such prospects with in introducing this poem to their disgust, or contemplates it with sen- acquaintance, and begging their atsations of the keenest anguish. All tention to a few passages from a work who are in pursuit of happiness, which has been universally acknowand are striving to soften the rug- ledged to be in no respect inferior, ged path of life, are engaged in a and in several respects much supesort of conspiracy against his quiet. rior, to the far-famed Hudibras. The blooming cheek of youth and The adventures celebrated in beauty that enraptures the heart, M Fingal are more coherent, inteland the noblest deeds of valour that ligible, and consistent than those of awake the soul, and expand all the Hudibras, probably because the chagenerous feelings of our nature, are racter of the principal hero was not equally contending to blast his en- drawn for any particular person, joyments; and he derives satisfac. but stands as representative of the tion only when the slow hand of tory faction in general. The autime has furrowed the brow and un thor's language is not usually so strung the nerve, when the eye that careless as Butler's; and this attenonce set the world on fire has lost tion may be thought to impose some its lustre, and the arm that kept na. restraint on the freedom of his hutions in awe has become feeble. mour; yet, misled, probably, by

that general applause which covers the slovenly rhymes that are often to be found in his model, the author

sometimes tags the ends of some of For the Literary Magazine. his lines with words in which the

coarsest ear must disown any corTRUMBULL'S M'FINGAL. respondence of sound: but humour

ous poets should always bear in THERE are few Americans who mind Butler's rule, though, like read at all, or who consort with many other preceptors, he paid but readers, who have not heard of little attention to it himself; and, if MʻFingal. There was a time when one line contains the sense, they the work was new, and when the should give us, at least, a rhyme in topics which gave rise to it were the other. fresh in popular memory.

Then, M.Fingal, the hero of the piece, it is probable, few who read verse is thus described : at all omitted to read this performance : but has not this time passed From Boston, in his best array, away? and is not there a vast num Great 'squire M.Fingal took his way, ber of ingenious and inquisitive And, grac’d with ensigns of renown, readers, to whom the revolution is Steer'd homeward to his native town. an obscure and antiquated story; To Ossian's fam'd Fingalian race;

His high descent our heralds trace that have never seen M-Fingal? This omission is owing more to ac

For though their name some part may cident than design.


We seldom seek after that which is not recom•

Old Fingal spelt it with a Mac ;

Which great M.Pherson, with submis. mended to our notice by its novelty, sion, or by its connection with noted cha- We hope will add, the next edition. racters and passing events. Books His fathers flourish'd in the Highwhich we do not seek very rarely lands fall in our way of their own accord, Of Scotia's fog-benighted islands ;

Whence gain'd our 'squire two gifts by Gazettes no sooner rose a lye in, right,

But strait he fell to prophesying ; Rebellion and the second sight. Made dreadful slaughter in his course, Of these the first, in ancient days, O'erthrew provincials, foot and horse, Had gain’d the noblest palms of praise, Brought armies o'er by sudden pressings, 'Gainst kings stood forth, and many a Of Hanoverians, Swiss, and Hessians; crown'd head

Feasted with blood his Scottish clan, With terror of its might confounded; And hang'd all rebels, to a man; Till rose a king with potent charm Divided their estates and pelf, His foes by goodness to disarm; And took a goodly share himself. Whom ev'ry Scot and Jacobite All this, with spirit energetic, Straight fell in love with at first sight; He did by second-sight prophetic. Whose gracious speech, with aid of Thus stor'd with intellectual riches, pensions,

Skill'd was our 'squire in making Hush'd down all murmurs of dissentions, speeches, And, with the sound of potent metal, Where strength of brains united centres Brought all their blust'ring swarms to With strength of lungs surpassing settle;

Stentor's. Who rain'd his ministerial mannas, But as some musquets so contrive it, Till loud sedition sung hosannas; As oft to miss the mark they drive at, The good lords-bishops and the kirk And tho' well aim'd at duck or plover, United in the public work ;

Bear wide and kick their owners over: Rebellion from the northern regions So far'd our 'squire, whose reas'ning With Bute and Mansfield swore alle.

toil giance,

Would often on himself recoil, And all combin'd to raze as nuisance, And so much injur'd more his side, Of church and state the constitutions; The stronger arg’ments he apply'd : Pull down the empire, on whose ruins As old war-elephants, dismay'd, They meant to edify their new ones; Trode down the troops they came to Enslave th American wildernesses,

aid, And tear the provinces in pieces. And hurt their own side more in battle For these our 'squire, among the vali. Than less and ordinary cattle. ant'st,

Yet at town.meetings ev'ry chief Employ'd his time, and tools, and ta. Pinn'd faith on great M.Fingal's lents;

And in their cause, with manly zeal, And, as he motion'd, all by rote
Us'd his first virtue, to rebel;

Rais'd sympathetic hands to vote.
And found this new rebellion pleasing
As his old king-destroying treason.
Nor less avail'd his optic sleight,

M'Fingal attends the town-meet. And Scottish gift of second-sight.

ing, which was held in a church, No ancient sybil, fam'd in rhyme, where we are entertained with an Saw deeper in the womb of time; altercation between him and a whig, No block in old Dodona's grove which is carried on whimsically Could ever more orac'lar prove. enough, like the snip-snap argumenNor only saw he all that was,

tative dialogues between sir Hudi. But much that never came to pass; bras and his squire Ralph : among Whereby all prophets far outwent he,

other things, we have a humorous Tho' former days produc'd a plenty:

apology for political lying, in the For any man with half an eye What stands before him may espy:

genuine spirit of Butler : But opties sharp it needs, I ween, To see what is not to be seen.

Quoth he, For lies and promise, As in the days of ancient fame

Prophets and poets were the same, Ye need not be in such a taking;
And all the praise that poets gain For lying is, we know and teach,
Is but for what th' invent and feign: The highest privilege of speech,
So gain’d our'squire his fame by seeing The universal magna charta,
Such things as never would have being, To which all human race is party ;
Whence he for oracles was grown

Whence children first, as David says, The very tripod of his town.

Lay claim to't in their earliest days;


The oniy stratagem in war

For we have in this hurly-burly Our gen’rals have occasion for ; Sent off our consciences on furlough; The only freedom of the press

Thrown our religion o'er in form, Our politicians need in peace :

Our ship to lighten in the storm. And 'tis a shame you wish t'abridge us Nor need we blush your whigs before; Of these our darling privileges. If we've no virtue, you've no more. Thank heav'n, your shot have miss'd Yet black with sins would stai their aim,

mitre, For lying is no sin or shame

Rail ye at crimes by ten tints whiter? As men's last wills may change again, And, stuff?d with choler atrabilious, Though drawn in name of God, amen ; Insult us here for pecadilloes? Be sure they must have much the more While all your vices run so high O’er promises as great a pow'r, That mercy scarce could find supply: Which, made in haste, with small in. While, should you offer to repent, spection,

You'd need more fasting days than Lent, So much the more will need correction;' More groans than haunted church-yard And when they've careless spoke, or vallies, pennd 'em,

And more confessions than broad-alleys*. Have right to look 'em o'er, and mend I'll show you all, at fitter time, 'em ;

Th' extent and greatness of your crime, Revise their vows, or change the text, And here demonstrate to your face, By way of codicil annex'd;

Your want of virtue, as of grace, Turn out a promise that was base, Eyinc'd from topics old and recent: And put a better in its place.

But thus much must suffice at present. So Gage of late agreed, you know, To th' after portion of the day, To let the Boston people go;

I leave what more remains to say; Yet when he saw 'gainst troops that when I've good hope you'll all appear, bray'd him,

More fitted and prepared to hear, They were the only guards that sav'd And griev'd for all your vile demeanour : him,

But now 'tis time t adjourn for dinner. Kept off that Satan of a Putnam, From breaking in to maul and mutt'n

The second canto opens with a him, He'd too much wit such leagues t'ob- and of the resuming of the meeting:

description of the dinner vacation, serve, And shut them in again to starve. So Moses writes, when female Jews Two hours had pass’d the midway line,

The sun, who never stops to dine, Made oaths and vows unfit for use,

And driving at his usual rate, Their parents then might set them free Lash'd on his downward car of state. From that consc'entious tyranny : And shall men feel that spir’tual bon. And now expir’d the short vacation,

And dinner done in epic fashion ; dage

While all the crew beneath the trees, For ever, when they grow beyond age; Eat pocket-pies, or bread and cheese ; Nor have pow'r their own oaths to

Nor shall we, like old Homer, care change?

To versify the bill of fare. I think the tale were very strange. Shall vows but bind the stout and strong, Throng’d in, like sheep, at sound of bell,

For now each party, feasted well, And let go women weak and young,

With equal spirit took their places; As nets enclose the larger crew,

And meeting op'd with three Oh yesses; And let the smaller fry creep through?

When first the daring whigs t'oppose, Besides, the whigs have all been set on.

Again the great M.Fingal rose, The tories to affright and threaten,

Stretch'd magisterial arm amain, Till Gage, amidst his trembling fits,

And thus assum'd the accusing strain. Has hardly kept him in his wits; And though he speak with art and finesse,

Alluding to a species of church dis'Tis said beneath duress per minas. cipline, where a person is obliged to For we're in peril of our souls

stand in an aisle of the church, called From feathers, tar, and lib’rty-poles ; the broad-alley, name the offence of And vows extorted are not binding which he has been guilty, and ask par. In law, and so not worth the minding don of his brethren.



I shall not pursue the thread of But now the storm grew high and the eccentric orations : but the fol. louder, lowing passage will show that the As nearer thund'rings of a cloud are, tory 'squire is not inferior to the And ev'ry soul with heart and voice fanatical knight, in the use of tropes Each listning ear was set on torture,

Supply'd his quota of the noise ; and figures :

Each tory bellowing out, to order ; Vain, quoth the 'squire, you'll find to And some, with tongue not low or weak,

Were clam'ring fast, for leave to speak; At Gage's first triumphant year; The moderator, with great vi'lence, For Providence, dispos'd to teaze us, The cushion thump'd with “ Silence! Can use what instruments it pleases.

Silence !" To pay a tax at Peter's wish,

The constable to ev'ry prater His chief cashier was once a fish; Bawld out, “ Pray, hear the modeAn ass, in Balaam's sad disaster,

rator :" Turn’d orator, and say'd his master; Some call'd the vote, and some, in turn, A goose plac'd sentry on his station Were screaming high, “ Adjourn, ad. Presery'd old Rome from desolation;

journ.” Au English bishop's cur of late Not chaos heard such jars and clashes Disclos'd rebellions 'gainst the state; When all the elements fought for places. So frogs croak’d Pharaoh to repentance, Each bludgeon soon for blows was timid; And lice revers'd the threat'ning sen Each fist stood ready cock'd and prim'd; tence;

The storm each moment louder grew; And Heav'n can ruin you at pleasure, His sword the great M.Fingal drew, By our scorn'd Gage, as well as Cæsar. Prepar'd in either chance to share, Yet did our hero in these days

To keep the peace or aid the war. Pick up some laurel-wreaths of praise. Nor lack'd they each poetic being, And as the statuary of Seville

Whom bards alone are skill'd in seeing; Made his crack'd saint an excellent Plum'd Victory stood perch'd on high, devil ;

Upon the pulpit canopy, So, though our war few triumphs brings, To join, as is her custom tried, We gain'd great fame in other things. Like Indians, on the strongest side;

The destinies, with shears and distaff, Honorius is the effective hero Drew near, their threads of life to twist of the piece, who is employed to buffet this man of straw, MFingal, The furies 'gan to feast on blows, for the reader's amusement and edi. And broken heads or bloody nose; fication ; and he performs his part When on a sudden from without, according to the writer's intentions. Arose a loud terrific shont; At the conclusion of one of his And straight the people all at once speeches,

heard As thus he said, the tories' anger

Of tongues a universal concert;

Like Æsop's times, as fable runs,
Could now restrain itself no longer,
Who tried before by many a freak, or

When every creature talk'd at once;

Or like the variegated gabble Insulting noise to stop the speaker;

That craz'd the carpenters of Babel. Swung th’unoil'd hinge of each pew. Each party soon forgot the quarrel, door ;

And let the other go on parole; Their feet kept shuffing on the floor;

Eager to know what fearful matter Made their disapprobation known

Had conjur'd up such gen'ral clatter. By many a murmur, hum, and groan, That to his speech supplied the place.

This breaking up of one uproar Of counterpart in thorough-bass : As bagpipes, while the tune they breathe, In the third, they all sally forth to

by another closes the second canto. Still drone and grumble underneath; Or as the fam'd Demosthenes

discover the cause of the disturbance, Harangu'd the tumbling of the seas,

particularly 'squire M.Fingal, with Held forth with eloquence full grave

a constable at his elbow to second To audience loud of wind and wave;

him. They find a whiggish mob And had a stiller congregation

erecting a liberty pole in the marThan tories are to hear th' oration. ket-place; whom M.Fingal ade


[ocr errors]

dresses, as Hudibras does the bear. That down his beard and vestřents ran, baiters, and to as good a purpose. And cover'd all his outward man. His oration provokes them to hosti. As when (so Claudian sings) the gods lities: the tories are routed; and And earth-born giants fell at odds, M‘Fingal and his constable are

The stout Enceladus in malice knocked down and captured. They Tore mountains up to throw at Pallas; fix the constable by his waistband The rivers from their fountains fed,

And as he held them o'er his head, to a rope, and draw him up to the Pour'd down his back its copious tide, top of the pole, where he makes a And wore its channels in its hide : formal abjuration of his tory princi. So from the high-rais’d urn the torrents ples; on which symptom of repen. Spread down his side the various currents; tance he is let down, promising fu. His Howing wig, as next the brim, Lure good behaviour.

First met and drank the sable stream;

Adown his visage, stern and grave, Not so our 'squire submits to rule, Rollid and adher'd the viscid wave; But stood heroic as a mule.

With arms depending as he stood, You'll find it all in vain, quoth he, Each cuff capacious holds the flood; To play your rebel tricks on me. From nose and chin's remotest end All punishments the world can render The tarry icicles depend; Serve only to provoke th' offender; Till all o'erspread with colours gay The will's confirm'd by treatment horrid, He glitter'd to the western ray, As hides grow harder when they're Like sleet-bound trees in wintry skies, curri'd.

Or Lapland idol carv'd in ice. No man e'er felt the halter draw, And now the feather-bag display'd With good opinion of the law; Is wav'd in triumph o'er his head, Or held in method orthodox

And spread him o'er with feathers misHis love of justice in the stocks;

sive, Or fail'd to lose by sheriff's shears And down, upon the tar adhesive: At once his loyalty and eats.

Not Maia's son, with wings for ears, Have you made Murray look less big, Such plumes around his visage wears; Or smok'd old Williams to a whig ? Nor Milton's six-wing'd angel gathers Did our mobb’d Oliver quit his station, Such superfluity of feathers. Or heed his vows of resignation? Till all complete appears our 'squire, Has Rivington, in dread of stripes, Like gorgon or chimera dire; Ceas'd lying since you stole his types ? Nor more could boast, on Plato's plan, And can you think my faith will alter To rank amid the race of man, By tarring, whipping, or the halter? Or prove his claim to human nature, I'll stand the worst; for recompence As a two-legg'd, unfeather'd creature. I trust king George and Providence. And when, our conquest gain’d, I come, Array'd in law and terror, home,

In this ridiculously distressful You'll rue this ivauspicious morn,

plight, M.Fingal, in the fourth canAnd curse the day you e'er were born,

to, at midnight, harangues an asIn Job's high style of imprecations,

sembly of tories in his cellar; and, With all his 'plagues, without his giving up all hopes of his cause, he patience.

relates a vision to his friends, which,

in prophetic style, glances over the Such daring incorrigibility pro- subsequent events of the American Cured him the distinction of being war. tarred and feathered; an operation Here the talents of a luckless which is thus described :

general are celebrated; with a Forthwith the crowd proceed to deck: good display of the advantages Withi halter'd noose, M.Fingal's neck,

which genius derives from the posa While he, in peril of his soul,

sessor of it being in confinement : Stood tied half-hanging, to the pole ; Then lifting high the pond'rous jar, Behold that martial macaroni, Pour'd o'er his head the smoking tar: Compound of Phæbus and Bellona, With less profusion erst was spread With warlike sword and sing-song lay, The Jewish oil on royal head, Equipp'd alike for feast or fray,

« PreviousContinue »