« PreviousContinue »
SECOND EPISTLE TO A FRIEND IN TOWN.
P. 13, 1. 23.
When Kemble, like the god-like hero, shone.
It is an epoch in a man's life to have seen Kemble in Coriolanus. I have no more an abstract idea of Coriolanus as separated from Kemble, than Martinus Scriblerus had of a Lord Mayor without his insignia of office, his gold chain, &c. This great actor possessed the qualities necessary to make a first-rate tragedian in an eminent degree; but his distinguishing excellence was taste, which, in an ode, spoken at a public dinner given to Mr. Kemble upon his retirement from the stage, is thus beautifully described by the most refined poet of the present day :
Taste, like the silent gnomon's power,
To which supernal light is given ;
That dials inspiration's hour,
And tells its height in heaven.
P. 15, 1. 4.
At once their world of poetry and wit!
Shakspeare, Massinger, Fletcher! whom we might thus address in the language of an excellent modern poet :
Illustres animæ! si quid mortalia tangunt
HAWKINS BROWNE, De Animi Immortalitate.
P. 15, 1. 17.
Like Machiavel in politics.
"It has been contended by some of Machiavel's apologists that his real object, in unfolding and systematizing the mysteries of KingCraft, was to point out indirectly to the people the means by which the encroachments of their rulers might be most effectually resisted; and at the same time to satirise, under the ironical mask of loyal and courtly admonition, the characteristical vices of princes. But although this hypothesis has been sanctioned by several distinguished names, and derives some verisimilitude from various incidents in the author's life, it will be found on examination quite untenable; and accordingly it is now, I believe, very generally rejected. One thing is certain, that if such were actually Machiavel's views, they were much too refined for the capacity of his royal pupils."-See DUGALD STEWART's Preface to the Supplement to the Encyclopedia Britannica.
P. 15, 1. 21.
Yet politics are but ephemeral things.
"The very dregs and rinsings of the human intellect," as the author of the "Confessions of an English Opium Eater" says.
P. 15, 1. 22.
Kings, though the world's progressive, will be kings;
La bonne foi, dit le Sénateur Nani, manquera dans l'exécution des traitez tant que vivra l'intérest; et l'intérest vivra tant que les princes regneront.
L'Empéreur Maximilien disoit que les princes ne s'arrêtoient pas au texte de leurs traitez et de leurs capitulations, mais à la glose, c'est à dire, à l'interprétation qu'ils y vouloient donner.-Lettres du Cardinal d'Ossat, avec les Notes de M. Amelot de la Houssaie.
P. 16, 1. 4.
The skeleton at least of Taylor' prose?
The great Jeremy Taylor, of whom an eloquent writer in the Edinburgh Review thus justly says: "We will venture to assert that
there is in any one of the prose folios of Jeremy Taylor more fine fancy and original imagery, more brilliant conceptions and glowing expressions, more new figures, and new applications of old figures, more, in short, of the body and soul of poetry, than in all the odes and the epics that have since been produced in Europe.”—Article on FORD'S Dramatic Works, August 1811.
P. 17, 1. 8.
Notes tersely pencill'd show sententious wit.
As Witwould says in Congreve's "Way of the World," "Thou hast uttered folios in less than decimo sexto, my dear Lacedemonian; Sirrah Petulant, thou art an epitomizer of words."
P. 17, 1. 9.
Philips will sell their gewgaws that amaze, &c.
Mine eyes have made
Discovery of the caskets, and they open'd;
Each sparkling diamond from itself shot forth
Fix'd it a glorious star, and made the place
Heaven's abstract or epitome.-CITY MADAM.
Such was the wealth displayed in the house of a celebrated character, who rivalled in magnificence the Sultan of Gazna, or Musicanus.
P. 17, 1. 21.
Who buys not glittering toys when very dear.
This line may appear absurd to those who have not been at fashionable auction-rooms, nor have witnessed the competition that there is among bidders to purchase articles of no intrinsic value whatever, merely because they belonged to a “ Man of Fashion.” I have known books to bring a very high price at auctions because they were collected by a black-letter hunter, which might have been bought for half the sum at many booksellers' shops in London.
P. 17, 1. 23.
Who loves to breathe, &c.
I am indebted for this idea to the following beautiful passage in Tom Jones.
"It was now the middle of May, and the morning was remarkably
serene, when Mr. Allworthy walked forth on the terrace, where the dawn opened every minute that lovely prospect, we have before described, to his eye. And now having sent forth streams of light which ascended to the firmament before him, as harbingers preceding his pomp, in the full blaze of his majesty uprose the Sun; than which one object alone in this lower creation could be more glorious, and that Mr. Allworthy himself presented; a human being replete with benevolence, meditating in what manner he might render himself most acceptable to his Creator, by doing most good to his creatures."
This is the portrait of a fictitious personage; but I see in it a close resemblance to one whose memory I shall never cease to venerate!
P. 18, 1. 17.
Burke says ambition is too bold a vice.
"Avarice is a rival to the pursuits of many. It finds a multitude of checks, and many opposers in every walk of life. But the objects of ambition are for the few, and every person who aims at indirect profit, and therefore wants other protection than innocence and law, instead of its rival becomes its instrument. There is a natural allegiance and fealty due to this domineering paramount evil from all the vassal vices, which acknowledge its superiority, and readily militate under its banners; and it is under that discipline alone that avarice is able to spread to any considerable extent, or to render itself a general public mischief."-BURKE's Speech on the Nabob of Arcot's Debts.
Così cresce 'I desir vile et immondo
Del crudel oro, et l' insatiabil rabbia,
Onde non gusta huom mai viver giocondo.
ARIOSTO, Satira Quarta.
P. 18, 1. 25.
Crispus with studied negligence will speak.
"Il ne faut pas juger des hommes comme d'un tableau, ou d'une figure, sur une seule et première vue; il y a un intérieur et un cœur qu'il faut approfondir le voile de la modestie couvre le mérite, et le masque de l'hypocrisie cache la malignité; il n'y a qu'un très-petit nombre de connoisseurs qui discerne, et qui soit en droit de prononcer; ce n'est que peu-à-peu, et forcés même par le temps et les occasions, que la vertu parfaite et le vice consommé viennent enfin à se déclarer."
THIRD EPISTLE TO A FRIEND IN TOWN.
P. 27, 1. 7.
When life, and light, and love, the trinal beam,
Noi semo usciti fuore
Del maggior corpo al Ciel, ch' è pura luce;
Amor di vero ben pien di letizia,
Letizia, che trascende ogni dolore.
DANTE, Del Paradiso, Canto 30.
P. 29, 1. 9.
Then in my mind are suddenly revived
The days when SIDNEY, 'flower of knighthood,' lived.
How delightful is the character of Sir Philip Sidney, as given by Dr. Zouch!" The elegance of his manners; the versatility of his genius, adapting itself to the acquisition of universal knowledge; his unbounded munificence; his amiable demeanour in domestic life; his tender feelings for the miseries of those persecuted Protestants who, in defence of their religion and liberties, resisted the savage insolence of Spanish tyranny; the suavity of his disposition, so alluring that he was, as it were, nursed in the lap of the Graces; an experience above his years; an invincible patience under the most acute sufferingsall these qualities will render his name grateful to future ages. His dignified and winning deportment filled every beholder with delight." -ZOUCH's Memoirs of Sidney, p. 349.