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farther extremity on his route; if he found an opening there, he returned and drove the sheep into the pasture to pick up a little on their way—if not, he occupied the gap, and resolutely denied them entrance, driving them, with barking, along the turnpike road. Mr. J. affirms that the greyhound, is kindly treated, is as sensible as other dogs; not so the pug. But the pointer is one of the most sagacious—and his action in sporting is highly eulogized. On Monday we saw a water-spaniel which was so fond of duckshooting, that when very hungry his owner threw him down a piece of meat, and at the same moment took up his gun to go upon the deck of the yacht; and the animal left his food untouched to leap upon deck to see the piece discharged. This fellow liked also a sport of his own, which consisted in catching crabs in the water and giving them a crunch betwixt his jaws, which spoilt their swimming for ever after he had dropt their mangled shells. This species is closely allied in acuteness to the Newfoundlanders: of whom Mr. J. farther relates:—
“A Newsoundland dog of the true breed was brought from that country, and given to a gentleman who resided near Thames Street, in London. As he had no means of keeping the animal, except in close confinement, he sent him to a friend in Scotland by a Berwick smack. When he arrived in Scotland, he took the first opportunity of escaping, and though he certainly had never before travelled one yard of the road, yet he sound his way back to his former residence on Fish Street Hill, but in so exhausted a state that he could only express his joy at seeing his master, and then died. So wondersul is the sense of these dogs, that I have heard of three instances in which they have voluntarily guarded the bedchamber doors of their mistresses, during the whole night, in the absence of their masters, although on no other occasion did they approach them.”
We will not swear to the truth of the following, but we heard it on the spot, at Limehouse, near unto Blackwall. A dog attached to the yard of a leading shipbuilder there was stolen by a sailor, and concealed on board a vessel bound for India and China. In the Chinese seas the vessel was attacked by pirates, and, after a sharp battle, driven ashore and destroyed. Almost the entire crew perished; but what was the astonishment in the building yard when, months after, the dog made his appearance, having, by some means or other, found his way back from China and dark pirates to
the neighborhood of white-bait banquets on the banks of the Thames | Two more anecdotes from our author, and two more of our own, and we have done with the dogs:
“A mastiff belonging to a tanner had taken a great dislike to a man, whose business frequently brought him to the house. Being much annoyed at his antipathy, and fearful of the consequences, he requested the owner of the dog to endeavor to remove the dislike of the animal to him. This he promised to do, and brought it about in the following manner, by acting on the noble disposition of the dog. Watching his opportunity, he one day, as if by accident, pushed the dog into a well in the yard, in which he allowed it to struggle a considerable time. When the dog seemed to be getting tired, the tanner desired his companion to pull it out, which he did. . The animal on being extricated, after shaking himself, sawned upon his deliverer, as if sensible that he had saved his life, and never molested him again; on the contrary, he received him with kindness whenever they met, and often accompanied him a mile or two on his way home.”
In the following anecdote, we have the dog in the character of a groom —
“The extraordinary sense of a dog was shown in the following instance. A gentleman, residing near Pontipool, had his horse brought to his house by a servant. While the man went to the door, the horse ran away, and made his escape to a neighboring mountain. A dog belonging to the house saw this, and of his own accord followed the horse, got hold of the bridle, and brought him back to the door.”
In the next, the dog is a physician;–
“During a very severe frost and fall of snow in Scotland, the fowls did not make their appearance at the hour when they usually retired to roost, and no one knew what had become of then ; the house-dog at last entered the kitchen, having in his mouth a hen, apparently dead. Forcing his way to the fire, the sagacious animal laid his charge down upon the warm hearth, and immediately set off. He soon came again with another, which he deposited in the same place, and so continued till the whole of the poor birds were rescued. Wandering about the stack-yard, the fowls had become quite benumbed by the extreme cold, and had crowded together, when the dog, observing them, effected their deliverance: for they all revived by the warmth of the fire.”
The dog of the succeeding anecdote was a church-goer, and sound Protestant:—
“It is a curious fact that dogs can count time. I had, when a boy, a favorite terrier, which always went with me to church. M mother, thinking that he attracted too muc of my attention, ordered the servant to fasten him up every Sunday morning. He did so once or twice, but never afterwards. Trim concealed himself every Sunday morning, and either met me as I entered the church, or 1 sound him under my seat in the pew.”
And here is a good Catholic of a dog, and unconvertible :
“Mr. Southey, in his ‘Omniana,’ informs us, that he knew of a dog which was brought up by a Catholic, and afterwards sold to a Protestant; but still he refused to eat anything on a Friday.”
The following dogs were sentimental dogs:-
“Dogs have been known to die from excess of joy at seeing their masters after a long absence. An English officer had a large dog, which he left with his family in England, while he accompanied an expedition to Ainerica, during the war of the Colonies. Throughout his absence, the animal appeared very much dejected. When the officer returned home, the dog, who happened to be lying at the door of an apartment into which his mas: ter was about to enter, in mediately recognized him, leaped upon his neck, licked his face, and in a few minutes fell dead at his feet. A favorite spaniel of a lady recently died on seeing his beloved mistress, after a long absence.”
From Fraser's Magazine.
PAST AND PRESENT CONDITION OF BRITISH POETRY.
PART II. AND CoNCLUsion.
Hogg has told an amusing anecdote of Wordsworth at Mount Rydal. It chanced one night while the bard of Kilmeny was at the Lakes with Wordsworth, Wilson, and De Quincey, that a resplendent arch, something like the aurora borealis, was observed across the zenith, from the one horizon to the other. The splendid meteor became the subject of conversation, and the table was left for an eminence outside where its effect could be seen to greater advantage. Miss Wordsworth, the poet's sister, who accompanied them, expressed a fear lest the brilliant stranger might prove ominous, when Hogg, thinking he was saying a good thing, hazarded the remark
that it was neither more nor less “than joost a treeumphal airch raised in honor of the meeting of the poets.” Miss Wordsworth smiled, and Wilson laughed and declared the idea not amiss. But when it was told to Wordsworth he took De Quincey aside, and said loud enough to be heard by more than the person he was addressing, “Poets poets what does the sellow mean 1. Where are they " Hogg was a little offended at the time, but he enjoyed it afterwards; and we have heard him tell the story in his own “slee” and inimitable manner, and laugh immoderately as he told it. Poor James Hogg' ReGINA has reason to remember James; nor was the poet of “ Kilmeny ” forgotten when dead, by the great poet of the Ezcursion. There is nothing more touching in poetry since the time of Collins than Wordsworth's extempore verses on the shepherd's death. He knew his claims to be called a poet, and time will confirm his judgment and make the Rydal Aurora a story merely to amuse. Poets, where are they ! Is poetry extinct among us, or is it only dormant? Is the crop exhausted, and must the field lie sallow for a time ! Or is it that, in this commercial nation of ours, where every thing is weighed in Rothschild's scales of pecuniary excellence, that we have no good poetry because we have no demand for it ! ... We falter while we think it is so. Poets we still have, and poetry at times of a rich and novel, but not a cultivated flavor. Hardly a week elapses that does not give birth to as many different volumes of verses as there are days in a week. But then there is little that is good; much that was imagination, and much that might have passed for poetry when verse was in its infancy among us. Much of that clock-work tintinabulum of rhyme—that cuckoo kind of verse which palls upon the inind and really disgusts you with verse of a higher character. But now we look, and justly too, for something more. Whilst we imitate others, we can no more excel than he that sails by others' maps can make a new discovery. All the old dishes of the ancients have been new heated and new set forth usque ad But we forbear. People look for something more than schoolboy commonplaces and thoughts at second-hand, and novelties and nothing more, without a single grain of salt to savor the tun of unmeaningness which they carry with them. It is no easy matter to become a poet,
“Consules fitint quotannis, et novi proconsules, Solus autrex aut poeta non quotannis nascitur ;"
or, as the old water-poet phrased it,
“When Heaven intends to do some mighty thing He makes a poet, or at least—a king.”
South was of opinion that the composition of an epigram was the next great difficulty to an epic poem.
“And South beheld that master-piece of man.”
Coxcombs who consider the composition of a song an easy matter should set themselves down, as Burns says, and try. Ask Tommy Moore how many days and nights he has given to a single stanza in an Irish melody ? Ask Sam Rogers how long he has spent over the composition of a couplet in An Epistle to a Friend; or Wordsworth how long he has labored with a sonnet; or Bowles—yes, ask the Vicar of Bremhill, if he does not owe the bright finish of his verse as much to pains as happiness 7 Dryden toiled for a fortnight over his Alerander's Feast, and yet he wrote with ease— not the ease of the mob of gentlemen ridiculed by Pope, but with great fluency of idea and great mastery of expression. Good things are not knocked off at a heat— for a long jump there must be a very long run, and a long preparatory training too. There is no saying “I will be a poet.” Only consider not the long apprenticeship alone, but the long servitude which the muse requires from those who would invoke her rightly.
“In a poet no kind of knowledge is to be overlooked ; to a poet nothing can be useless. Whatever is beautiful and whatever is dreadful must be familiar to his imagination; he must be conversant with all that is awfully vast or elegantly little. The plants of the garden, the animals of the wood, the minerals of the earth, the meteors of the sky, must all concur to store his mind with inexhaustible variety, for every idea is useful for the enforcement or decoration of religious truth, and he who knows most will have most power of diversifying his scenes and of gratifying his reader with remote allusions and unexpected instruction.”
Every one remembers (poets themselves perhaps excepted) the long course of study and preparation which Milton laid down for himself before he stripped for the Par
adise Lost. And yet one would hardly think, on first reflection, that any course of preparation was necessary for the poet of Comus and Lycidas, and the Hymn on the Nativity of Christ. But Milton fully understood the height of his great argument, and how unequalled with every lengthened preparation he must be to record it rightly. But people (not poets) start epics nowadays without any kind of consideration. No subject is too great for them. Satan, Chaos, The Messiah, The Omnipresence of the Deity, the Fall of Nineveh, The World before the Flood. One shudders at the very idea of subjects so sublime taken up as holyday recreations by would-be poets, without the vision and the faculty divine, or any other merit (if merit it may be called) than the mere impudence of daring —
“When will men learn but to distinguish spirits,
hoofs '''-BEN Jonson
Benjamin West, the painter, trafficked with subjects of the same sublime description. And in what way 7 “Without expression, fancy, or design;” without genius and without art. People forget, or choose to forget, that subject alone is not sufficient for a poem. Look at Burns's “Mouse,” or Wordsworth's “Peter Bell,” or Wilkie's “Blind Fiddler,” or Gainsborough's “Cottager" with a dish of cream. It is the treatment which ennobles. But there is no driving this into some people's ears. Big with the swollen ambition of securing a footing on the sun-bright summits of Parnassus, they plume themselves on borrowed wings and bladders of their own, and after a world of ink, a world of big ideas, and a copied invocation, they struggle to ascend, and pant and toil to the end of an epic in as many books as the Iliad or the AEneid. Would that your Robert Montgomerys, your Edwin Atherstones, and sundry such who understand the art of sinking in the low profound—would that they would reflect for five minutes on what an epic poem really is And what it is, and ought to be, glorious John Dryden tells us in a very few words. “A heroic poem,” he says, “truly such, is undoubtedly the greatest work which the soul of man is capable to perform.” And so it is.
“A work,” says Milton, “not to be raised from the heat of youth or the vapors of wine; but by devout prayer to that Eternal Spirit who can enrich with all utterance and knowledge, and sends out his seraphim with the hallowed fire of his altar to touch and purify the lips of whom he pleases.”
And yet Murray and Moxon are troubled once a-week, at the least, with the offer of a new epic, for a certain sum—so run the terms—or, in case of declining that, for half profits. As if epics were blackberries, and men sought fame as Smith O'Brien seeks reputation—by an impertinent folly of their own! But “Fools rush in,” and there will still be poetasters—Blackmore and his brethren—in spite of critics, hard words, and something harder still—contemptuous neglect. Few live to see their fame established on a firm and unalterable foundation. The kind criticisms of friends conspire at times to give a false position to a poem, or the malice of enemies unite to obtain for it one equally undeserved. Who now reads Hayley? How many are there in the position of Gascoigne and Churchyard as described by old Michael Drayton —
“Accounted were great meterers many a day,
That “lived but a little longer " It is well they didn't. How will it be with the poets of the past generation two hundred years from this? They cannot possibly go down “complete.” There must be a weeding. Fancy Sir Walter Scott in twelve volumes, Byron in ten, Southey in ten, Moore in ten, Wordsworth in six—to say nothing of Campbell in two volumes, Rogers in two, and Shelley in four. The poets of the last generation form a library of themselves. And if poetry is multiplied hereafter at the same rate, we shall want fresh shelves, fresh patience, and a new lease of life, for threescore and ten of scriptural existence is far too short to get acquainted with the past and keep up our intimacy with the present. The literature of the last fifty years is a study of itself— Scott's novels, Scott's poetry, Scott's Miscellanies, and Scott's Life . Then of the present, there are the daily papers, the weekly journals, the monthly magazines, the quarterly reviews, all of which we are expected to have a fair passing acquaintance
with. There is Mr. Dickens's last book on the table, which I have not as yet had time to read, and old Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy by its side, coaxing me to renew a youthful acquaintance with its pages; and there are Tristram Shandy, and Humphrey Clinker, and dear delightful Amelia, which I fain would read again, but cannot, I fear, for want of time. Only observe the dust on that fine Froissart on my shelves, and that noble old copy of Ben Jonson's works in folio, with a mark, I could swear, in the third act of the Alchemist or the Silent Woman. There is no keeping pace with the present while we pay any thing like due attention to the past. I pity that man who reads Albert Smith who never read Parthenissa; but perhaps he pities me because I am indifferently up in the writer he admires. How people are cut off from the full literary enjoyments of this life who never read “Munro his Expedition,” or the Duchess of Newcastle's Life of the Duke her husband, or Tom Brown, or Ned Ward, or Roger L'Estrange, or Tom Coryat, or “the works sixty-three in number" of old John Taylor, the sculler on the Thames | We wish for poets who will write when Nature and their full thoughts bid them, and are not exacting when we look for more than one sprig of laurel to grace a garland. We have already enough of would-be poets—Augustus Caesar, King James I., Cardinal Richelieu, the great Lord Clarendon, the celebrated Lord Bolingbroke, the famous Lord Chatham; but poetry is what old George Chapman calls it, a flower of the sun, which disdains to open to the eye of a candle.
“No power the muses' favor can command. What Richelieu wanted Louis scarce could gain And what young Ammon wish'd, and wish'd in vain.”
Your “rich ill poets are without excuse.” “Your verses, good sir, are no poems, they'll not hinder your rising in the state.”f “'Tis ridiculous for a lord to print verses; 'tis well enough to make them to please himself, but to make them public is foolish.”f People affect to think that the same talents and application which raised Lord Mansfield to the highest honor
* Lord Roscommon. f Ben Johnson. # Selden's Table-Talk.
of the gown, would, had they been turned to the study of poetry, have raised him to as high a position in the catalogue of our poets. 'Tis pretty enough when told in werSe—
“How many an Ovid was in Murray lost;"
yet we are inclined to think that there is very little in it, and that Wordsworth is nearer the mark, who says of self communing and unrecorded men,
“Oh, many are the poets that are sown
But this one word “accomplishment” implies a good deal more than mere dexterity and ease—culture and the inspiring aid of books,
“Pauses, cadence, and well-vowell'd words, And all the graces a good ear affords.
For words are in poetry what colors are in painting, and the music of numbers is not to be matched or done without. Look at Donne. Would not Donne's Satires, which abound with so much wit, appear more charming if he had taken care of his words and of his numbers ? Whereas his verse is now—if verse it may be called—
“A kind of hobbling prose, Which limps along and tinkles in the close.”
There goes much more to the composition of even a third-rate poet than rhymesters at first are willing to allow, for to nature, exercise, imitation, study, art must be added to make all these perfect, ovts quous town yuretal rozy's wrog, ovie Tay tszyn um qvow xext susyn-Without art nature can never be perfect, and without nature art can claim no being. One of Boswell's recorded conversations with the great hero of his admiration was on the subject of a collection being made of all the poems of all the English poets who had published a volume of poems.
“Johnson told me,” he says, “that a Mr. Coxeter, whom he knew, had gone the greatest length towards this, having collected about 500 volumes of poets whose works were little known; but that upon his death Tom Osborne bought them, and they were dispersed, which he thought a pity, as it was curious to see any series complete, and in every volume of poems something good may be found.”
This was a kindly criticism, uttered in
the good nature of an easy moment, hardly applicable to the volumes of verse we see published now. Surely there are many put forth without a redeeming stanza or passage to atone for the dry desert of a thousand
lines through which the critic is doomed to
wander in quest of beauties which he fain would find. Surely Coxeter's collection contained a very large number of one-idea'd volumes | We could have helped him from our own shelves to a very fair collection of verse printed before 1747, when this “curious” collector died, full of the most trivial nothingnesses. For a little volume of verse of the reign of Queen Elizabeth, said to be unique, or nearly so, Mr. Miller has been known to give twenty guineas or more, and think himself lucky that he has been let off thus easily. Some of these twenty-guinea volumes we have had the curiosity to look into. Poetry there is none; nothing more, indeed, than the mere similitude of verse. Songs, differing from sonnets because the lines are shorter, and sonnets, only to be recognized as such from the fourteen lines which the writer, in compliance with custom, has prudently confined them to.
“Authors, like coins, grow dear as they grow old; It is the rust we value, not the gold.”
‘It is curious, however, to see any collection complete; and Mr. Miller is to be praised for his unceasing endeavors to make his collection of English poetry (literally so called) as complete as possible. The poet of the Irish Melodies made an observation when at Abbotsford, too curions to be passed over in a paper of this description, when we consider the merit of the remark itself, the rank of the poet who made it, and the reputation of the poet who responded to its truth:— “Hardly a magazine is now published,” said Moore, “that does not contain verses which, some thirty years ago, would have made a reputation.” Scott turned with a look of shrewd humor on his friend, as if chuckling over his own success, and said, “ Ecod, we were in the luck of it to come before these fellows " and added, playfully flourishing his stick as he spoke, “we have, like Boabdil, taught them to beat us at our own weapons.” There cannot be a doubt but that the poetry of the present day is of that mediocre level of description which neither pleases nor offends; and that much of it, if pub