Page images
PDF
EPUB

and fro, cast many a wistful look, and ever and anon strove to pounce his paw; but all in vain, so sleepless the she-dragon presiding at his board. Gibe bon could not have written a leading article for Maga; witness his Dissertation on Warburton's Dissertation on the Sixth Book of the Æneid, where two pedants—powerful, indeed, but still sumphs—are well met; and as for Smith, the only article he ever did write for the Old Edinburgh Review, would, in a later age, have been worthy of the New,--not the Blue and Yellow which we have always admired, and yet admire,—but the Bailie's Guse, as the enormous Quack was called, which, after waddling and hissing for months, “hot and heavy,” about the pools in the suburbs, finally became farcical as the afterpiece of Simpson and Co.; and, fat as she appeared outwardly, died at last of consumption, or, more correctly speaking, of starvation, a bunch of fetid feathers, the fear of the fuilzie-men, and shocking to all scavengers.

This we do know, that, generally speaking, the most mediocre of our contributors have been authors of quartos. That hint, we hope, will not be lost. Folios are now out of fashion-so in that quarter we have nothing to fear. Crown-octavos are more promising-and your duodecimo is our delight. Within its narrow boards an author must be energetic and conciseand observe that a thin duodecimo-always the best—is about the length of a good leading article. Heaven and earth! how many such are contains ed in Maga! Hundreds ! which, if published separately, would have esta blished a hundred reputations—but which all emanated, perhaps, from one mind, unexhausted as the heavens every night teeming with a succession of new stars, as Mother Earth revolves on her axis, losing and gaining sight of the crescent Moon, or of the nocturnal Queen a perfect circle, where Beauty and Peace dwell together for evermore!

Passing from these our remarks, on clever people and sumphs, in which we have shewn a disposition to spare neither sex nor age, to contributors of true talent or genius,-(both alike rare ;-for it is one of the gross blunders of the Cockneys, that true talent is a common commodity ;-whereas, there is not an ounce of it in all Cockneydom,)-may we, with or without offence, be permitted to say to some of them, that they must not imitate Us, or rather must not attempt to imitate Us--for the short and the long of it is, that we are inimitable. We cheerfully admit, that it is natural to strive to imitate the excellence we admire. In virtue, it is not only natural but right, and indeed to do so, is one of the first injunctions of religion. Let all mankind, therefore, imitate our virtues; but let all mankind beware, as they hope to become contributors here or hereafter, how they imitate our wit and our humour, our fancy and our imagination, our talent and our genius-original and peculiar all-and by the fiat of plastic nature existing nowhere but in that inner shrine--the Sanctum Sanctorum of the soul of Christopher North. Yet think not that we are perfect; all we mean to say is, that we are glorious in our imperfections, and that no other man of woman born shall ever be lord and master of Maga. A truce, therefore, to all Editorial airs—ye best and brightest of our Contributors-for Christopher will bear no brother near the throne on which Maga sits ever-blooming by his side-though on their own seats level with that throne, but some small

space remote, shall sit in state his Principalities and Powers, and do homage to none on earth but their own gracious Sultaun.

We are not afraid to communicate to the whole periodical world, the sea eret of our strength. It consists in every Sampson among us wearing his own hair-and never a wig. If nature has given him a red shock-he scorns to dye it black, or blue, or purple ; if his poll recall to your memory the tune and words of “the flaxen-headed ploughboy who whistled o'er the lea," or hers, “ the lassie wi’ the lint-white locks,” no oil Macassar bedims the lustre of their native yellow; proud is this Apollo of his sunny locks, and that Mars of his sable curls-while yon contributor exults in a head of hair all adrip like that of Neptune when suddenly thrusting up his head from the placid sea. Thus each contributor walks in power-prince of his own province-Christopher North being Regent—and Maga Queen.

Above all our other injunctions Contributors after our own heart! Obey

[ocr errors]

this one,

“LET ALONE THE Noctes AMBROSIANÆ !" What strange delusion is this still reigning on earth, that they are written by mortal pen! True, that Mr Nathan Gurney takes down these “ celestial colloquies divine” in short-hand, which he afterwards extends into the length and number of the arms of Briareus. But though we afterwards string the pearls, they all drop from the Golconda of the Shepherd's inexhaustible fancy, from the Peru of Tickler's teeming imagination, from the “ dark unfathomed caves" of the ocean of the English Opium-Eater’s genius, where “ many a gem of purest ray serene” shines far down below the storms that blacken, and the surfs that whiten the bosom of the billows—from the MIND OF NORTH, which—but here modesty drops the veil over our fine features, and we are mute.

We have often confessed that certain defects inherent in humanity cling to us, and that not even We have yet shewn the world one Number of a perfect Magazine. Yet, we doubt much if the world would know a Number of a perfect Magazine if she saw it. It would require an almost infinite series of those phenomena to convince her of the existence of that phenomenon. We defy a Phenix to make himself an object of popular belief. The difficulty—if not the impossibility—of producing a Number of a perfect Magazine, lies in the width of the range of human nature and human art. To be perfect, it must needs contain twenty folio volumes--the concentrated essence of twenty thousand. There are, we believe, in Great Britain and Ireland, about a hundred monthly and weekly Periodicals-in France and Germany, about a hundred—or two hundred- of which, a perfect Number-still maintaining its own su perior iginality, variety, power, and splendour-would have to skim the cream. Our contributors forget our dimensions, and think us without all bounds. A score at least seem to suppose we are the Gardener's Magazine, and forgetting that we are, though the first of men, neither Adam nor Mr Loudon, overwhelm us with treatises on the culture of fruit-trees-and the innumerable devices contrived by the ingenuity of science for heating hot-houses at the smallest expense of coal and glass. As many more conjecture us to contain within our body corporate our ingenious friends Messrs Ainsworth and Cheek, and inundate the Sanctum with most interesting accounts of gigantic fossil remains, and singular incrustations of sea shells on logs of wood dug out of the most inland mosses, contributions manifestly intended for their excellent Journal of Natural History and Science. There does not seem, in our eyes at least any thing very chemical about Maga, nor much similitude either in name or nature between Christopher North and Mr Brande. Yet six sketches of original crucibles were sent to us yesterday—accompanied by much manuscript for explanatory letter-press, which it was earnestly requested might, by the aid of Lizars, be laid before the chemical world in our next Number. The most of mankind take us for the Family Magazine, and we have now in our possession a gross of articles at the very least, intended apparently for that amiable and ingenious lady, Mrs S. C. Hall.“ Christopher in his Sporting Jacket” has brought us into a fine scrape-especially now that the Annals of Sporting and Fancy Gazette is no more. Maga is believed to be the Sporting Magazine, and our name Nimrod. Now, is not this all very hard and very perplexing? We wish to poach on no Editor's manor; for the game on our own is inexhaustible. What then must be done with all those articles ? We are afraid to burn them, lest we set the city on fire--to fling them into the sea would, if they sank, cause the waters to overflow the land—and if they floated-the navigation between Edinburgh and London would be impeded, and rendered dangerous in the extreme for small craft. We trust that the good sense of mankind will render any farther deprecations unnecessary.

To conclude, and before saying Farewell—let us return our thanks to all who, publicly or privately, give us their advice. No character in this wicked world like your advice-monger. Despised and hated wherever he is known—whendetected in one quarter,and ungratefully driven off the ground, he begins scattering his pearls before swine in another, who beat them all down into the mire with their cloven feet. But we are not swine-like most other Editors--but sheep; and on the pastoral braes nibble up the

“ orient pearl” with which these kind physicians of our souls have for our
behoof strewn the ground. Some senseless sinners have been trying lately
to sow poison-gobs among the génial dews that freshen our repasts on the
mountain brow. But genius has a saving instinct--a sacred sense that shews
her the taint upon the herbage-distinguishes the weed in which death or
sickness lies from the flower of health and life-and obeying it; she
walks by day and lies down by night safe, beneath the all-seeing eye, in the
holy pastures.
It has ever been our pure delight to see all Periodicals prosper.

The powerful we have often bearded in their pride; the feeble we have often aided in their humility, like that gentle knight who is seen pricking o'er the plain in the first line of the Fairy Queen. In homelier phrase, we have sometimes dirtied our shoes by hauling poor wretches out of the mire and mud, when in imminent danger of suffocation. Thankless we knew they would be, but of the vile, humanity is glad to escape the gratitude. In very' rare instances, indeed, have we knocked on the head the worthless with our crutch, even when seen striving to struggle out of the slough of Despond, farther on into the filth of Sin. We have generally suffered them to die the natural death of worms. Some crawling and creeping things have been of late periodically sliming our path-and curling up their knotted worminess as if they would bite. We must, by and by, use the besom.

The silly are often insolent; and asses instinctively bray against Christopher North. The sight of his crutch sets their ears on end—but what would their posteriors say to the knout? But “the lion preys not upon carcasses." O'Bronte, true son of his sire, disdains to crunch a cur. The eagle heeds. not the pecking of the ungrateful and angry little wren, that he soars with on his back up to heaven, blinking at the sun. The elephant, who was teazed by a tailor, merely sent through his trunk a water-spout on the vulgar fraction. The Scotch thistle stings not the dirty paws of the idle urchin, that on tip-toe strives, with feeble fingers, to strip the national flower of its spiky coronal. It leaves the imp's punishment to the nettles. You cannot like the Noctes Ambrosianæ ? How should ye ? The clown prefers beer to Burgundy—and a horn of muddy ale to a long-shanked rummer of the still or sparkling champaign.

Though Sir James Scarlett never reads a newspaper, except when he is going to prosecute the Editor, we read many; and we wish all their Editors Jong life in Heaven's unobstructed air and sunshine. The Press of England (we say nothing now of that of Scotland, for it may be suspected of national partialities and prejudices in our favour, nor of our warm-hearted Irish brethren, generous alike in peace and war) has, on the whole, from the commencement of her career, done justice to Maga. We are naturally independent of each other ; but Fair-Play is a jewel, and Truth a diamond. Party-spirit is not perhaps a pure spirit, but it is strong; and, as this wicked world wags, it works to the general good of the state. Some newspa-. per Editors conscientiously cut us up-and as we cross blades, we respect the skill and valour of such antagonists. Others stand towards us in the attitude of an armed neutrality, at some crises the best preservative of peace. A few paltry poltroons we should scorn to brain with our scabbard. Others again—too numerous to enumerate—numbers without number; numberless-fight in the same cause with Maga, and uplift their banners “ with all their dread emblazonry,” at the sound of the same trumpet.

Those metropolitan powers, Standard, Sun, Post, and Herald, all admit her might;--and her old allies, the Brighton Gazette, the Leeds Intelligencer, the Manchester Courier, the Sheffield Courant, the Cambridge Chronicle, and the York Herald, lead the bold provincial forces, that guard the main body with their formidable wings. If one trembling coward there be who forsook his master-Christopher leaning pensively, and more in sorrow than in anger, on his crutch, mentally exclaims—that neither talent nor genius (honour he must not say, for honour in its essence is incorruptible, and in natural antipathy scorns all alliance with what is base) can protect their possessor from self-degradation, when his necessities, rather than his will perhaps, have consented that they shall league themselves with the relics and dregs of tergiversation and apostasy.-Farewell.

--

1

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

145

Contents.
THE GREAT Moray Floods,
THE REIGNING VICE.

BOOK VII.,

BOOK VIII.,
LETTERS FROM THE PENINSULA. No. V.,
To LITTLE Mary,
THE ORIGIN OF THE FAIRIES. BY THE ETTRICK SHEPHERD,
THE TEAR. BY A MODERN PYTHAGOREAN,
THE VALE OF PINES. BY DELTA,
SUNSET, AFTER RAIN. BY DELTA,
EVENING TRANQUILLITY. BY DELTA,
THE SILENT MEMBER. No. V.

A CATHOLIC SCENE IN THE House of COMMONS,
GRIMALDI—The Duke of WELLINGTON, &c.
SIR JAMES SCARLETT,
HYDROPHOBIA, AND THE LAW OF DIVORCE,

WILLIAM IV. REGENCY_DISSOLUTION OF PARLIAMENT,
THE LAY OF THE DESERT. A POEM,
KANT IN HIS MISCELLANEOUS Essays,
The Wild GARLAND, AND SACRED MELODIES,
The REVENUES OF THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND,

183 191 200 207 209 217 218 219 221

222 224 226 227 231 236 244 268 273

EDINBURGH:

WILLIAM BLACKWOOD, NO. 45, GEORGE STREET, EDINBURGH;

AND T. CADELL, STRAND, LONDON.

To whom Communications (post paid) may be addressed.
SOLD ALSO BY ALL THE BOOKSELLERS OF THE UNITED KINGDOM,

PRINTED BY BALLANTYNE AND CO, EDINBURGH.

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

A General Election.—The Regatta.-Wild-Fowl Shooting.–Passages from the Diary of a late Physician.-On the Supply and Exchangeable Value of Precious Metals.-Stem and Stern.-Ferdinand the Beloved, or Royal Gratitude.-Colman's Random Records. The Iron Shroud.Clark on Climate.- Noctes Ambrosianæ, No. LI. &c.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »