« PreviousContinue »
And oft, when slumber seald mine eyes,
First on the lisping infant's tongue ;
“ But here is a sweet and pleasing effusion. It becomes pathetic by the sorrow that we feel in remembering the author. All of his, we trust, shall not die.”
THE POET TO HIS WORKS.
When shall ye burst the envious shade?
Unseen, unhonour'd, must ye fade?
Yet droop not hopeless round his urn,
Untimely though your blossoms fall,
For you nor he shall perish all.
Sprung through a crevice of the tomb,
A solitary stem may blow,
And point the humble name below.
Some simple, unambitious strain,
Low breathed in beauty's pensive ear,
Framed in the flowing of a tear ;
The poet's pure immortal part,
From all unhallow'd dross refined,
The heaven of a poetic mind.
66 The Russians,” said Egeria one morning, as she was turning carefully over the leaves of several books which happened to be lying on the table, “ seem to me to hold a place, in their habits, manners, and pursuits, between the Europeans and Asiatics. They have a great deal of the intelligence, the activity, and the shrewdness of the former, with no small degree of the cunning, the pride, and the selfishness of the latter. Their taste for slaves and magnificence is quite oriental ; but they have social and convivial dispositions which do not belong to the Asiatics. The custom among the Muscovite nobility of keeping dwarfs is peculiar, I fancy, to themselves. Porter's account of these unfortunate little creatures is about one of the best things in his Travels in Russia and Sweden."
thand at almor, holding arcely a no
“ They are here the pages and the playthings of the great ; and at almost all entertainments stand for hours by their lord's chair, holding his snuff-box, or awaiting his commands. There is scarcely a nobleman in this country who is not possessed of one or more of these
frisks of nature; but in their selection, I cannot say that the noblesse display their gallantry, as they choose none but males.
“ These little beings are generally the gayest drest persons in the service of their lord, and are attired in a uniform or livery of very costly materials. In the presence of their owner, their usual station is at his elbow in the character of a page ; and during his absence, they are then responsible for the cleanliness and combed locks of their companions of the canine species.
“ Besides these lilliputians, many of the nobility keep a fool or two, like the motleys of our court in the days of Elizabeth ; but like in name alone, for their wit, if they ever had any, is swallowed up by indolence.Savoury sauce and rich repasts swell their bodies to the most disgusting size; and lying about in the corners of some splendid saloon, they sleep profoundly, till awak. ened by the command of their lord to amuse the company. Shaking their enormous bulk, they rise from their trance; and, supporting their unwieldy trunks against the wall, drawl out their heavy nonsense, with as much grace as the motions of a sloth in the hands of a reptile-fancier. One glance was sufficient for me of these imbruted creatures; and, with something like pleasure, I turned from them to the less humiliating view of human nature in the dwarf.
“ The race of these unfortunates is very diminutive in Russia, and numerous. They are generally well shaped, and their hands and feet particularly graceful. Indeed, in the proportion of their figures, we should no where discover them to be flaws in the economy of nature, were it not for a peculiarity of feature and the size of the head, which is commonly exceedingly enlarged. Take them on the whole, they are such compact, and even pretty little beings, that no idea can be formed of them from the clumsy deformed dwarfs which
pact, and evke them on the whmonly exceedin
are exhibited at our fairs in England. I cannot say that we need envy Russia this part of her offspring. It is very curious to observe how nearly they resemble each other; their features are all so alike, that you might easily imagine that one pair had spread their progeny over the whole country.”
“ I would also read to you an anecdote of Gustavus Vasa, which is very cleverly told.”
« On the little hill just mentioned, stood a very ancient habitation, of so simple an architecture, that you would have taken it for a hind's cottage, instead of a place that, in times of old, had been the abode of nobility. It consisted of a long barn-like structure, formed of fir, covered in a strange fashion with scales and odd ornamental twistings in the carved wood. But the spot was hallowed by the virtues of its heroic mistress, who saved, by her presence of mind, the life of the future deliverer of her country. The following are the circumstances alluded to ; and most of them were communi. cated to me under the very roof.
“Gustavus having, by an evil accident, been discovered in the mines, and after being nearly betrayed by a Swedish nobleman, bent his course towards this house, then inhabited by a gentleman of the name of Pearson (or Peterson), whom he had known in the armies of the late administrator. Here he hoped, from the obligations he had formerly laid on the officer, that he should at least find a safe retreat. Pearson received him with every mark of friendship; nay, treated him with that respect and submission which noble minds are proud to pay to the truly great, when robbed of their external honours. He seemed more afflicted by the misfortunes of Gustavus than that prince was himself; and exclaimed with such vehemence against the Danes, that,