« ZurückWeiter »
it appears he cannot, unfortunately, get married, and his delight in visiting Paris, Waterloo, and all the other lions of the continent. We are sure that some of our fair readers will take pity on Mr. Maude, when they read his apostrophe to female beauty.
Oh beauty! female beauty !--if amid
In Alpine dell, Parisian boulevard,
* Thou mak'st the world a garden : in thy light
What are the pillared dome, the terraced green,
• What resting-place like her dear bosom sweet,
Of love withdraws not,— life's benigner sun
Our all in all on earth-our heaven on earth begun !'-pp. 30, 31. If the number of tragedies, and other dramas which are printed, were compared with those which ill-starred managers, or their deputies, have to read in manuscript, we should undoubtedly have to congratulate ourselves on the difference. And if we, who examine only the printed dramas, have reason to complain of the fatuity which leads every unfledged bard to try his hand in this species of composition, what head-aches, what groans must afflict the poor devil who, in some remote room behind the scenes, is obliged to wade through the piles of trash in opera, farce, and comedy, pantomime, burletta, and tragedy, which are left at the theatres for inspection, with a desire that they be forthwith produced.
• Montmorency' was never acted, save within the precincts of a private theatre. It is founded upon the treason of the Duke of that illustrious name, and is the first of a series of historical and other dramas which, if the public approve of this example, are to be brought forth in due season. We, as a part of the public, enter
our protest against Mr. Montague doing any such thing. If his private acting of his own compositions give him or his friends amusement, let them enjoy it to the end of their days; but we pray him not to inflict his tragic writings, at all events, upon
the public. The specimen now before us is nothing but a continuation of tiresome scenes; the language is feeble and puerile, the characters are a set of old women. Some of the minor poems are readable, but we have found in them neither imagery nor diction entitled to particular notice.
Art. XII.-The History and Antiquities of the Abbey, and Cathedral
Church of Bristol. Illustrated by a Series of Engravings of Views, Elevations, Plans, and Details of that Edifice : with Biographical Anecdotes of Eminent Persons connected with the Establishment. By John Britton, F.S.A. M. R. S.L., &c. 4to. London: Longman and Co.
1830. W dilave had no such man as Mr. Britton, in this country, for centuries. By individual enterprize, industry and peculiar ability, he has done more during thirty years than the whole race of what are called the patrons of the arts, to establish in the public mind a taste for the true principles of architectural excellence. The illustration of the Cathedrals of England, graphically as well as by literature, was a stupendous task for one man to contemplate as within the scope of his own personal ability. Hundreds may possess the ambition to accomplish such a work, but how few are there that will consent to abandon the thousand short roads to independence, and embark in an enterprize where profit is contingent on the soundness of the public taste, or the warmth of the public gratitude. We hope that it is not from any failure in his expectations from both that Mr. Britton is induced to indulge in those reminiscences of his early life, with which are mingled some aspirations towards another and a different career from that which he has chosen.
• It has been his destiny,' Mr. Britton says of himself,' to labour to get his own living by exerting the faculties with which nature has endowed him, and by these, he hopes to enrol the name of Britton, amongst the worthies of his county and country, although he may fail to emblazon it in letters of gold.'-Preface, p. v.
And a little afterwards
• Had the author of this volume been apprenticed in Bristol forty-five years ago, as recommended about that time, he is persuaded that he would have been enabled, by the same assiduity and zeal which he has exerted in literature, to have obtained a seat in the Corporation of that respectable city.'-ib.
The very thought of such a man as Mr. Britton being lost to the empire in a provincial alderman, is enough to drive us into a fever. What, to live and die like a sloth--eat his sensual path up to the top of the tree of life, and then tumble down into oblivion or igno
miny ; to abandon choirs, and vaulted roofs, and long drawn aisles, for the mimic architecture of the cunning, and not to be despised, in his way, pastry cook ; to become an investigator of sauces; a collector of soys, and a patron of caviare; to measure the dimensions not of a chancel or a vestibule, but of a Guildhall table on the day of a banquet; to admire the proportions of a sir-loin, and take the elevation of a plum-pudding; and, alas, to know nothing of carvingbeautiful art !—except in its modern capacity as a pioneer to the appetite; is this the occupation for his body and mind, which Mr. Britton now sighs to remember that he had once abandoned? Yet we doubt not but the innate love of ancient art would be still too strong in his heart not to prompt him to do something that would raise him above the degree of an Alderman. A Guildhall, in the Cathedral style, at least, would ere this have adorned Bristol, and its clumsy Court of Justice would have been undoubtedly swept away, and during the mayoralty of Mr. Brition, the public windows would be stained, and some beautiful monsters be appended to the civic cornices; or if out-voted in the Common Council, Mr. Briton might have taken his disappointment to heart, and there would be no more heard of him. How then could England be indemnified for the loss of those pictorial registers which multiply a thousand times over, as it were, those monuments of art, in which she embodied the sublimest conceptions of the Divinity to whom they were dedicated? Who was to carry far and wide the living images of those grand structures ? No, not even for the sake of Mr. Britton himself; not even to make him rich and influential; not even though it might lead to the possession of a coach and four, or a yacht on the channel, with sundry other blessings with which menbers of Corporations are so conversant, not for all this should we consent to an alteration in his destiny, such a one at least, as would háve excluded him from Cathedrals, and quenched the love of ancient art, which, still as he goes, burns with a steady light.
With his usual patient and impartial diligence, Mr. Britton investigates the ancient history of Bristol Cathedral. The date of its origin, as the seat of a diocese, is so late as 1542, it having been previously the conventical Church of St. Augustine's Abbey. Nothing very remarkable occurs in his account of the edifice, or of the lives of the Bishops, who successively occupied the See of Bristol. In the interior of the Church, Mr. Britton notices a peculiar, and he believes unique example of construction which deserves the ato tention of the antiquarian and the architect. In almost all Churches, the aisles are lower than the nave and choir, " which are supported or strengthened by flying buttresses, extending from the side walls of the former to other larger buttresses, against the aisles." A new principle has been adopted in Bristol Cathedral, for the arches between the choir and aisles rise as high as the central vaulting, and the side windows of the aisles correspond in height. Hence both the choir and aisles are lighted by the lateral windows. This, and some other peculiar beauties which characterize this edifice, are shown to great advantage in the plates annexed by our author. From personal observation, we can attest the minute accuracy of the details of the engravings; and as to the effect, we certainly do say that it is almost as imposing as the original itself. We can also answer for the completeness of the account of the monuments, which are contained in the Cathedral.
Art. XIII. - The Family Library, Nos, 11, 12; and No. 1 of the Dramatic
Series. Murray: 1830. The life of Columbus occupies the first of these volumes. It is a very happy miniature, by Mr. W. Irving, of the noble full length picture of the illustrious Navigator, which the American writer had some time since given to the world.
Volume 12th contains a reprint, with some amendments, of Mr. Southey's Life of Nelson,-a work which, as long as the Englis language is understood, will be regarded as one of the finest monuments that genius ever raised to valour. Half the utility of a great example of any virtue is lost, if it be not celebrated in a suitable
The nation is happy indeed that can boast of such a hero as Nelson; but still happier is that country which, with a Nelson,
1 possesses also a historian worthy of recording his actions,-sharing himself in that immortality which his pen confers. The secondary title of Southey's Life of Nelson should be—or, Sailor's Manual.
The Dramatic Series of the Family Library has been planned in such a manner, as to promise to make it one of the most important features of that admirable collection. Hitherto there has been scarcely any attempt-certainly no successful one--at opening the immense mine of poetical treasure, which is to be found in the works of those dramatists who flourished cotemporaneously with the mightiest of them all. Mr. Charles Lamb vindicated the truth of his instinct, when he so constantly adverted in his various writings to those early productions; and we believe that he took a vast deal of trouble to diffuse a general taste for their beauties. We do not know what the fate was of an octavo volume of excerpts from the old dramatists, published some years ago, we believe, under his auspices; but it would seem that its reception was not very encouraging, since the remainder of the materials which Mr. Lamb had in his possession, were transferred by him to other hands. We do not wonder at the comparative failure which, we have no doubt, this volume experienced; for it was scarcely a whit more exempt from the objections which existed to the indiscriminate circulation of the originals themselves. Mr. Lamb, we really believe, had too pure a mind to comprehend the mischievous or offensive character of many passages which he retained. The book was certainly not fit for female reading, and long may it be the glorious distinction
of our literature, that every work which is remarkable for its popu. larity, shall also be remarkable for its innocence. But why have we had no better attempt made, either before or afterwards, up to the present publication, to familiarize the reading public with Massinger and Ford, and those real masters of the art of poetry, whose achievements, though so long ago crowned with applause, are now only, for the first time, about to be restored to that inheritance of fame which they should sooner have begun to enjoy ? The reason may be fanciful, but we cannot find a better. There were two classes of persons who cultivated these dramatists: the one description is well represented by Mr. Lamb; they were persons who truly felt all the beauties of these authors, but in the fulness of their admiration, they confounded with what was commendable, that which certainly ought to have been concealed. Of the number of selections prepared by the men of this class, none that we know of attained even the stage of printing in its progress to the public, but the work of Mr. Lamb. The other class to which we allude was composed of persons, who, like Mr. Gifford, had a just relish for the merits of the early dramatists, but 'who also joined to it the ambition of a commentator. They know but little of the history of literature who are not aware of the enthusiastic attachment which a commentator is sure to contract for the works of his principal. Every line of them is sacred in his eyes, and no part of them must be subjected to the slightest disparagement. Under such circumstances how foolish it would be to expect a selection out of the pages of the early dramatists from such an admirer of them as Mr. Gifford? We do not.wonder, therefore, that our popular literature was so long deprived of its natural property. We rather rejoice that the task of restoration has been destined to wait for the editor of the present volume, who though he does not lack a becoming partiality for his subject, does not yet suffer his judgment to be blinded, or his sense of decorum to be blunted; he goes practically to his work with an exact estimate of what he has to perform, and is one of the few editors that we know of, who, upon such ticklish occasions has no favourite little propensity of his own to fondle at the bottom of every page. We have blessed our stars upwards of one hundred times that he is no philologist, and consequently we may expect that he will keep his temper, and be very humane to the end of the chapter. Upon the principle that the excitement of wrath should be in the inverse ratio as the insignificance of the question in dispute, these syllable combatants have afforded clouds of testimony as to the nothingness of their general controversies. We doubt even if the green-eyed monster himself has been fertile in more numerous and disastrous broils than the settlement of a single word in the text of an ancient author.
Burke neyer suffered half so much anxiety for his beloved impeachment;