Page images

journal, or historical notices, presents a series of romantic tales and legends connected with the cities and towns to which the artist's architectural pencil successively transports us. For choosing this road to popularity, Mr. Kennedy, the Editor, assigns the reasons following; which, if they satisfy the public, will have answered their purpose, and justified the plan, whatever we sterner critics might find to say against it, with whom this sort of literary article, this moral alcohol, is contraband.

• Impressed with the belief, that the taste for the wild and wonderful will endure as long as man retains the faculty of imagination, we have selected from the varied walks of literature the fairy track of Romance. On that enchanted path, we purpose rambling from year to year, hoping to lead the adventurous reader through castles of delightful gloom and forests of never-wearying perplexity; over meads of perennial verdure, and battle-fields as fraught with the elements of excitement as the most devout lover of fiction could desire. In this introductory effort, the wish to give all the effect in our power to the graphic designs of Mr. Prout, has induced us to draw upon the resources of natives of the countries that supply the scenes illustrated. From the productions of German, French, Dutch, Italian, and even Danish genius, materials have been taken, and either partially or wholly remodelled ; preserving those characteristics which impart an air of reality to Romantic narrative. A proportion of the tales is entirely original, and was furnished for the work by an accomplished foreigner.'

The mysterious air of this announcement will of course be regarded as in character and in keeping with the contents of a Romantic Cabinet. The tales are eleven in number :- The Fanatic,' a tale of the Netherlands in the sixteenth Century. • The Wax Figure :' Scene, Nuremberg. 'The Cottage of Koswara, a Hungarian legend.' • The Black Gate of Treves, a fragment from a Student's Journal.' Early Impressions, a tale of a Polish Countess.' The Spy, a tale of the Siege of Dresden.' "The Vintner's Daughter, from the Chronicles of the free city of Frankfort on the Maine.' • The Prima Donna, a tale of Music,' in three parts: the scene, Como and Padua. • The Siege of Prague,' an historical anecdote. The Conscript of Turin.' The Rose of Rouen. Extracts would not suit our pages, nor can they be necessary in order to give our readers a correct notion of the publication, which we must pronounce abundantly entertaining, and very cleverly edited. Of Mr. Kennedy's talents as a writer of fictitious narrative, an unequivocal specimen lies before us, in a volume which we may notice hereafter. To make up for dismissing for the present his Romantic Cabinet, (reserving what we have to say of the embellishments,) we shall here introduce the beautiful poetical sketch referred to in our last Number, which appears in “Friendship's Offering."


"And is he gone! It seems as yesterday
Since on the pleasant hills we roamed at play!
Two striplings, like twin ozier-boughs entwined,
Our flexile figures waving to the wind,
We pried into the secrets of the bee,-
Sought the mysterious nest in hedge or tree, -
Scaled the gaunt cliff, or loitered by the brook,
Gleaning strange lore from Nature's wondrous book.
As waxed our boyhood, it rejoiced us more,
To thread the wilds, when Sumıner's reign was o’er;
To haunt the ruins of the feudal hold,
And warm our fancies with achievements bold.
Blest mates of innocence, how oft the moon
Dissolved our dreamy councils all too soon!
How oft our bosoms rose against the wrong
That taxed with waywardness our wanderings long!
How oft for sphere more gentle have we sighed,
Where blameless wishes would not be denied !
• Friend of life's spring! The joys I tasted then,
Passed with the time, nor gladdened me again!
Doomed to the task, the weary oar I ply,
Content to live, nor less content to die.
Nought now reflects my being's better part,
Like the pure waters of thy tranquil heart.
Untaught, hard-handed, shrewd, Lorenzo's sire
Cared little for imagination's fire.
The burley wight who fertilized the clod,
Appeared to him the noblest work of God.
Three sons, the heirs of his colossal frame,
Maintained the credit of a rustic name :
The fourth, my comrade, was a feeble boy,
Destined parental pleasure to alloy.
• A worthy priest there was, who marked the youth,

His soul's high promise and transparent truth;
Hailed with perception just and purpose kind
The early fruitage of his ardent mind;
Read in the boldness of a rude design,
Such genius as made Angelo divine;
And, generous, delighted to foretel
His bright career who had begun so well.
Spite of opposing Fortune's hard control,
The love of beauty filled Lorenzo's soul.
The varied hues of ocean, earth, and sky,
Awoke to rapture his discerning eye.

He viewed creation's wonders, great and small,
And his fine sense exulted in them all:
Yet saw he not, nor ever lived to see,
'Mid affluent Nature's fair variety,
Ought that could equal the transcendent grace
Which glorified his spirit's sacred place,
Which made even woman's noontide lustre dim,
Dazzling, indeed, but disappointing him.

· Within a picture gallery I stood,
Where rival pencils lured the multitude.
'Mong vulgar daubs exposed to shameless glare,
One master painting hung obscurely there.
I gazed, and gazed -receded --paused to see
If on its merits many thought with me.
Apart from the dull throng that sauntered by,
A man regarded it with feverish eye;
And then, as though he observation feared,
Heaved a deep sigh, and instant disappeared.
• It was Lorenzo! Oh! how sadly changed,
From him whose free foot o'er the mountain ranged !
Smote by despondency, perhaps despair,
Clogged was his gait, his visage worn by care.
Better he still had trod his northern heath,
Than bear from softer climes a cypress wreath.

• Down dropped the eyelids of an angry day;

The pall of evening o'er the city lay.
Dabbled with mud, sore pelted with the rain,
I reached a house in a suburban lane.
A creaking stair-case led me to the room,
Where a poor stranger withered in his bloom.
A pallet, easel, brushes, tarnished dress,-
Such furniture as law allows distress,
Some random proofs of mind's neglected power,
Were all that cheered his solitary hour.
I clasped his thin, cold hand; bent o'er the bed,
With tender arm sustained his drooping head,
“ And, dear Lorenzo, and is this thy fate?”

My friend”, he faltered, “ kindness comes too late”.
· He's gone! and now a nation's late remorse
Dwells idly on his melancholy course;
His flight of thought, too lofty for the crowd,
His stainless soul, for patron peers too proud.
Wrecked were his hopes on that barbarian coast,
Where many a goodly vessel has been lost,
Whose few rare pearls, chance-scattered on the shore,

Proclaim the noble freightage that they bore.'

3 G

The Keepsake maintains its aristocratic and exclusive character, by a splendid show of noble, right honourable, and honourable contributors; but the insipidity which usually characterizes the favours of the lords and ladies who condescend to notice the muses, is, in the present volume, happily relieved by a large proportion of effective writing. The first article is a Narrative of an ascent of Mont Blanc in August 1830, by the Hon. E. B. Wilbraham;—unpretending and unaffected, and therefore highly interesting. Among the other attractive articles, we may specify, 'The Dream, a tale by the Author of Frankenstein; Therese,' a tale which, if it had not the name of Sheridan Knowles attached to it, we should have pronounced, without hesitation, to be a translation, the sentiments, the expressions, the every thing being French ;-' the Star of the Pacific, by J. A. St. John; a tale of the olden time by Mrs. C. Gore; the * Fortunes of a Modern Crichton,' an instructive and touching biographical narrative; two tales by a pair of noble brothers, Lord Mulgrave and the Hon. C. Phipps; "the Family of Dam'merel,' by R. Bernal, M.P.;- Baby,' an autobiographical memoir, edited by W. Jerdan, Esq.;-and the New King,' to which it may be sufficient to annex the name of Theodore Hook, as that name is sure to bring up something at once comic and satirical, in the Writer's peculiar line. Baby' is a very cleverly imagined exposition of what would be the miseries of the first stage of existence, if Baby could have that half-understanding of all that is going forward, that would give rise to the disgusts, terrors, and gloomy anticipations here portrayed. We do not, however, at all perceive the wit or propriety of making Baby swear,—more especially before he had heard the voice of his Papa. Amusing as this volume certainly is, and one of the best of the Series, we have no small difficulty in finding matter for convenient extract. Of the poetry, a stanza or two will suffice to illustrate, that, though peers and peeresses may be created, poeta nascitur, and Lady Emmeline Stuart Wortley does not happen to be born to that title. The arrangement of words in the following lines, may be compared to what is called, we believe, Indian tinting; which is not exactly the same thing as sketching from nature. · Here the manguasteens swell, the magnolias bloom,

Chenar-tree, banana, and palm shield earth's flowers ; The musk-deer lie stretch'd 'neath the gum-tree's sweet gloom,

And the paradise-birds wing their way to the bowers.' We have heard young ladies complain of the English language as harsh and ill adapted for musical enunciation,-a fair excuse for the preference of Italian songs. But surely, the soft flow of these lines must be intended to prove, how liquid and musical the language may be rendered. Here is another line, which we should like to hear said or sung by the soft voice of the fair writer :

* And the humming birds' hues shine like stars thro' the shades.' Again, as a specimen of the Lalla Rookh sort of prettiness which sparkles in this poem, take the following: ''Tis the time for sweet thoughts-all seem thinking around !

The stars float on the skies like deep, warm reveries.'
• Bright flow the champaka and pomegranate flowers,

Like stars that have fallen to earth with a blush.'
'Tis a beautiful night! Oh, the sun hath bequeath'd

To the moon, his sultana, all, all but his blaze !
His being - his soul he hath burn'd in and breathed

Thro' the hush of an hour that hath all but his rays.' Oh, one night of beauty, thou’rt worth endless days! Of these specimens it must be owned, that the poetry is worthy of the sentiment; and that the perspicuity of the meaning is equal to the melodiousness of the verse. There are several poems in this volume by the same gifted lady. Inferior in the glitter and perfume of verse, yet somewhat smoother, are Stanzas ’by an Honourable G. Berkeley, of which we transcribe the last.

Alas! the sunshine of the heart displays

No opening bud of promise still to bear,

like the dream of other days,
And ends its summer with a bitter tear.'

A Mr. J. R. Gowen, who ought to be an Honourable or an Exclusive, thus addresses a lady who desired him to send her some verses.

[ocr errors]

Oh, lady fair! in vain you bid me rhyme !

Slow, indistinct, my dull ideas rise,
My halting numbers keep no tuneful time,

Absent your form, unseen your sparkling eyes.' But there are some better things than these wretched specimens of patrician inanity; and we are pleased to find the name of Lord Morpeth affixed to the following really elegant and beautiful stanzas.

Who has not felt, ʼmid azure skies,

At glowing noon, or golden even,
A soft and mellow sadness rise,
And tinge with earth the hues of heaven?

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »