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The tripod's base, whose use no soul can guess,-
Why not the tripod and the Pythoness ?
The lantern of Diogenes resigns
Its Pagan purpose, and a belfry shines :-
Such the dull'freaks of plagiarists in stone,
Who know not others' meanings, nor their own.
If among heathen temples they must search
Emblems to deck th’exterior of the church,
For its internal structure they prefer
The model of sonie gaudy theatre,
Fitted for souls polite, who cannot pray
Unless the place remind them of the play,
And deem all sermons doubly orthodox,
At which they slumber in a private box.
Here is the logio and the colonnade,
Wisely invented in the South for shade,
Forind but to chill and darken where the sun
We seldom see, and never wish to shun.
There, is the modern Gothic, where we seek
In vain the genuine features of the antique,
A motley pile where every age has thrown
Some heterogeneous fragments of its own,
To all false taste impertinently true,
As old unreverenced, and scorn'd as new.
At least, you cry, our higher ranks ensure
Patrons more wise, and models less impure;
Some classic structure will their zeal provide,
To grace the present, and the future guide.
Turn to our teachers, and that hope withdraw;
Behold a cottage-palace thatch'd with straw,
Or view that gew-gaw bauble by the sea,
Each barbarism's dread epitome.
Kremlin, Alhambra, and 'Pagoda join

and

every Vandal fault purloin, To show at once whatever can displease In Tartar, Russ, Moor, Savage, or Chinese, Without-a nondescript that all deride, A mere bazaar and baby-house inside, Poor in effect, though mighty in pretence, And only truly royal in expense. Strange that our artists should new names devise, In works like these their share to signalise, And from posterity desire the shame Of having built what every age must blame. Lucky! their works, too crumbling to abide, With rapid ruin will defeat their pride, And both shall lie in joint oblivion wreck’d, The Aimsy pile, and nameless architect.

H.

Their own,

LONDON LETTERS TO COUNTRY COUSINS.
LETTER 1.--THE WILD BEASTS' BANQUET.

To my Cousin Frank. There's no resisting your flatteries, my dear Frank; so that I shall at once agree to comply with your wishes, and that of the eircle of which you are the eloquent mouth-piece, and employ some of my idle mornings, and my wandering, desultory, and (as you are pleased to term it) “ agreeable pen," in describing some of the peculiar external features of London town, in the year eighteen hundred and twentyfour; for, to say the truth, the various “ Pictures," “ Guides," &c. which you desire me to send in your next package, are likely to do something worse than leave you in the dark relative to the subjects of your inquiry; inasmuch as false impressions, on any point, lead us farther from the real ones than if we remain without any.

Candour, however, which, you know, is one of my fortes (or foibles, if it so please you), impels me to confess that there is a little, or perhaps not a little, selfishness mixed with my goodnature, in thus so promptly answering to your wishes ; for, besides the pleasure that I always feel when I am employed in penning down a fact, a sentiment, a description, or a witticism, that I know is, on reaching its destination, to be opened by friendly hands, and read aloud by cordial voices, and smiled upon by fair eyes, and then locked up till to-morrow or next day, to be brought out again in order to settle a dispute as to the precise information which it did or did not convey on a certain point or person-I say, besides the anticipation of all this,-which is equivalent to the power of projecting one's being forward in its course—to say nothing of its enabling one to live and move in two or three places at once, besides all this, I reckon on its procuring me another very great advantage, by saving me the trouble (which I suppose I must not otherwise have shrunk from) of talking to you, when you come up to town a year or so hence, all that I shall now be enabled to write : which, for one whose tongue is to his pen what a Dutch diligence is to an English mail, would be no slight undertaking.

Having premised thus much, let me add a few words as to the sort and degree of information you are likely to get from me; for I must not permit you to disappoint yourself (or me) by expecting what you will assuredly not receive. My mind, you must know, is like notliing in the world so little as the Encyclopedia Britannica, where all existing kinds of useful (and useless) knowledge are arranged " in alphabetical order.” It is not much more like Mr. Southey's Commonplace Book, where a multiplicity of curious matters are to be met with, that nobody living but Mr. Southey ever met with before; the whole paged, indexed, and arranged “in apple-pie order”--to be used as occasion and the Quarterly Review may require. Still less is it a "technical repository" of dry facts, dull details, dogmatical opinions, doubts, distances, and days of the month. In fact, it is much easier for me to tell you what it is not like, than what it is; unless I may compare it to one of those magic mirrors which have the power of calling up, at the will of the lucky possessor, the superficial images of all the pleasant objects that have ever passed before it, and of shewing them all through

a thin haze, which, while it renders them somewhat indistinct, and capable of occasionally being mistaken for other than what they actually are, at the same time casts over them a certain“ couleur de rose," which prevents them from ever assuming a dis-agreeable aspect. In short, I have lived long enough in the world to discover that there is

good in every thing," and that it is our own fault if we meddle with any thing but the good.

From this you will perhaps be able to judge as to the general purport and tendency of the information (if such it should deserve to be called) which I shall convey to you. As to the particular nature of that information, I shall endeavour to make it tally, as nearly as my desultory habit will permit, with what you have suggested in the letter in which--by means of certain gracefully-offered "golden opinions," as to my peculiar capabilities for the task you require me to undertake --you have contrived to bribe me to undertake it.

With respect to the precise subject of each letter, and the order in which I shall place them, I fancy this must be left a good deal to the choice of ance-if there be such things as either choice or chance. At all events, much will depend on the mood in which I may

find

my pen on calling upon it to perform its duty : for all I can ever reckon upon beforehand is, that it will write ; but whether its movements, at any given moment, will adapt themselves to the solemn pace of sentiment, or the sober march of description, or the gay flights of fancy, or the bright zig-zags of wit, or the merryandrew motions of mere nonsense,—is more than I can answer for. But thus much I can promise -that you shall be able to anticipate, from the party to whom any given letter shall be addressed, something as to the kind of matter it is likely to contain; for I should be sorry to have my “ wise saws and modern instances” meted out to ears that are awake only to laughter, or my jokes fall still-born, or have their points broken off, by coming jostling against a premeditated gravity.

Having said thus much by way of introduction, you will be pleased, on reaching this point, to hand over this first epistle to the only one of your party, who, being fera nature himself, is likely to appreciate itnamely, my cousin Reuben.

Of all the banquets on record or not on record, Reuben, from those of the heroes in Homer downwards,-commend me to the banquet of the beasts at Exeter 'Change! The Lord Mayor's feast is a fool to it; and the coronation banquet itself (seeing that there was no Queen present at it) was but a half-crown ordinary in comparison !

I disclaim all insidious or invidious allusions; but let me ask, what alderman of the whole corporation can preside in so portly a manner, feed so cleanly, or consume so much at a meal, (and this latter qualification I take to be the measure of merit in the matter of eating, and the point to which the palm must be conceded, which of them all, I say, can in these particulars pretend to compare with alderman Elepbant, who takes off a cart-load of carrots by way of dessert-washes them down with a washing-tub of water-and then wipes his trunk on a truss.of hay by way of a towel, and eats it afterwards? And as for the late banquet at Westminster Hall, --it

would, to be sure, not be legitimate to look upon that merely as an affair of eating; but I should be glad to know how it can be compared, even in other respects, with the one I am about to describe to you? Which of the peeresses, in the plenitude of her plumes, (borrowed from the ostrich upstairs) could compete in beauty with the panther, who sits down to dinner in puris naturalibus ? The lords may boast of their furred robes, for each of which they are indebted to whole hecatombs of innocent little ermines ; but the leopard may laugh at them all,- for his furred robe is furnished him by Nature herself, and would put to shame the workmanship of all the robemakers-royal in Christendom; and he can afford to wear it every day, because he gets a new one from the same source every year, without paying any thing for it.

But do you twit me with the lions-kings-at-arms, the champions, and the royal epicures themselves, who graced and glorified the banquet that I am, by comparison, depreciating? It shall go hard but, in reply, I will furnish you with worthy pendants for them all, and more, from among the company that grace our banquet. What royal epicure, though he were descended from Heliogabalus himself, would dare to dine on a liege subject of England, and he a captain of grenadiers,—as did the cousin-german of the royal tiger that is here ? And as for the champion, who had the courage to ride into the hall on horseback in the presence of his lawful sovereign,-I fancy he would not have waited to ride out again backwards, if his royal master had insisted on his putting his head into a lion's mouth as the man does here!

And now, Reuben, since I can perceive, by the significant looks of all the circle, that they are somewhat scandalized at these profane parallels of mine, and are moreover not prepared properly to appreciate the merits of the feast that I would introduce them to-that good Aunt Silence would be horrified at seeing the great serpent swallow a live chicken, though she allows the cat an extra cup of milk for every mouse he catches—that Rose would be petrified at the roar of the lion, and Phoebe actually faint at the idea of the no-better-than cannibals (as she would call them) eating their meat so underdone—and that, as for Frank, he had rather be present at the petit souper of a pack of hounds than a whole wilderness of wild beasts ;-all this, I say, being evident,

and I go by ourselves : so on with your wishing cap-that is to say, fancy yourself here in the Middle Temple with me—and as the Temple clock is now striking half-past seven, we'll sally forth, and shall just reach the place of our destination in time to look about us before the elephant rings for his cloth to be laid for supper,

Having received the awkward obeisance of the mock beef-eater at the bottom of the stairs, and followed the direction of the be-written walls, which tell us at every turn that “this is the way to the wild beasts," we reach the pay-place, and deposit our three and sixpences, nothing loth, in the hands of a pretty demure-looking maiden who sits confined there like a bird in a cage; remarking, by the by, that but for her pleasant looks, we should somewhat object to the high price of admission.

As we are to see the whole of this extraordinary exhibition, we will comply with the pretty money-taker's desire, and please to walk up stairs first"-reserving the great banquetting-room for the bonne

let you

bouche. The first room we enter is long and low, and lighted (or rather not lighted) by one dismal lamp; and its inhabitants are chiefly birds. We will therefore not give much time to it; for of all caged creatures, one would suppose that a bird is the least able to bear its lot patiently-and of all birds, an eagle--of which there are several here. Not that we come here to lament over the condition of the objects we meet with ;—and for my own part, I doubt whether any of them were ever better off than they are at present. At all events, we will leave our friend P- to institute a comparative inquiry of this kind, and to concoct an eloquent and pathetic paper on the subject, for the New Monthly Magazine, in which he will doubtless determine the exact effects producible on the animal mind by a transfer of the body to which it is appended, from “ native forests, boundless deserts, and trackless skies,” to a wooden cage three feet square. In the mean time, we will proceed in our examination,-admitting, however, by the way, that there is something bordering on the melancholy in the appearance of an eagle under the condition in which we find him herethat, as some one has compared a poet under certain circumstances (I forget what) to “a sick eagle gazing at the sky," so we can scarcely refrain from returning the compliment, and comparing the great eagle that sits moping here, to a poet confined in the King's Bench, without either pens, ink, or paper! This comparison, however, will be applicable only when the present Insolvent Act is repealed ; so that here is another cogent reason for the said repeal" for which, as in duty bound, your petitioners will never pray, &c.”

This room contains a great variety of other birds ; among which are some beautiful Belearic cranes, with crests on their heads in the form of crowns; two extremely curious eagles of a description not to be found in books of natural history; and some birds that you will remember to have heard of at school, Reuben. “ Rara avis in terris, nigroque simillima Cygno.” Night, however, is not the time to see this part of the show; so we will just glance at a few of the other objects in this room, and then pay our respects to Bob, and the great boa constrictor, the next. Here is the bison, a relative of whom, under the feigned name of the bonassus, lately enlivened every dead wall in the metropolis and its environs, and the whole fraternity of whom we consequently abhor almost as much as we do “Warren's Blacking" for the same reason. Next door neighbour to the above is a pretty animal that they dignify with the name of a wild horse ; but which you,

Reuben, would desire nothing better than to mount, on an open common, without saddle or bridle; and I'd back you to keep on him at least as well as Mazeppa did by the aid of all his cords. It has the head and neck of a zebra, but in other respects “ would make a clever hackney for any timid elderly gentleman in want of such a horse."

The only other animals we will stay to notice in this room are two beautiful little creatures of the antelope tribe, with spiral horns, and eyes like Mahomet's houris; and another of the same species, called the lama, used in the Peruvian mines.

But hark! the clock strikes eight, and the elephant hears and replies to it; so that we shall but just have time to take a look at the next room, and then repair to the more noisy attractions of the banquet below

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