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THE LAMENT FOR THURTELL.
A loud Lament is heard in town-a voice of sad complaining-
The doves and rooks who meet at Brooks', sob loudly, fast, and faster,
Lord Byron, gentleman is he, who writes for good Don Juan,
As to crow o'er cut-throat Whitbread Sam, or cut-throat Sam Romilly.
He was a Whig-a true, true Whig-all property he hated
"What aileth thee, Xarifa, what makes thine eyes look down?
The Zegri lady rose not, nor laid her cushion down,
"Why rise ye not, Xarifa, nor lay your cushion down?
Hear, hear the trumpet how it swells, and how the people cry.—
"At Zara's gate stops Zara's mate; in him shall I discover
day world. It is evident that the volumes are written by one who, in the strength and prime of manhood, has not yet lost the animation and lightheartedness of youth. There is nothing young in the opinions, the reflections, the views of human life, when the writer addresses himself se riously and solemnly to the stronger and permanent principles of action in our nature, but there is much that is delightfully juvenile-puerile, if you will-in the by-play, the under-plot, the inferior incidents, and the depict ing of the various auxiliary characters, and the gravest and most formal personage that ever wore gown or wig, at bar, in pulpit, or in bench, must surely relax the sternness of his physiognomy at many of the ludicrous details of occurrences in stage-coaches, college-rows, gaudeamuses, and snug parties of well-educated wine-bibbers, and erudite devourers of the fat of the land, that permeate the book almost from beginning to end, and alternate most effectively with matters of very serious import, namely, with the sorrows of fatherly affection, the desolation of blasted hope, the agonies of repentant dissipation and prodigality, the clea ving curse of folly, the agonies and transports of baffled or requited love, and all the host of undistinguishable passions that often storm the soul of youth, and crowd into a few years as much delight and as much despair as is afterwards enjoyed or suffered between twenty and the tomb.
Now, it is pretty obvious, that in a book written on such principles, and by such an author, various faults of considerable magnitude, and of no unfrequent recurrence, will be found. For, in the first place, it is not always possible to escape in good time from the extreme levity, and the joyful absurdities of reckless boyhood or youth; and in indulging, con amore, in such strains of description, a writer, with a keen sense of the frolicsome, the ludicrous, and the piquant, must be in perpetual danger of offending, either by the untimely introduction of such mirthful topics, or by their undue prolongation, or by "a certain spice" of them remaining behind, even after a serious, solemn, or affecting appeal has been made to the better and higher
THIS book was originally announced to the public, if we mistake not, under the title of " The Youth of Reginald Dalton ;" and we wish that title had been preserved, for it properly expresses the real aim and object of the work. The author, whoever he may be, is a man of a singularly powerful and original mind, widely versed in literature and book-knowledge, and keenly observant of human nature, as displayed on the stage of the world. There is a force and vigour in his style of thinking and writing, not excelled by any man of this age; and often, too, an elegance, a gracefulness, and a beauty, that come charmingly in among his more forceful delineations, and shew that he could, if he would, be equally effective in the touching and pathetic. He pours out all his thoughts, feelings, observations, remarks, fancies, whims, caprices, follies, sarcasins, and jocularities, with the same easy, we had almost said careless, spirit of lavish profusion. He seldom remains long on one key, but he strikes it strongly, till the corresponding chord in the heart vibrates to its centre. He rarely seems anxious to work up any effect, but seizes the main interest of the feeling or incident which he is dealing with; and having brought it out boldly, he proceeds forthwith on his career, and hurries forwards with a free, and sometimes impatient consciousness of strength, among new scenes, new emotions, and new characters. Accordingly, he is never wearisome nor languid; never exhausts a passion either in himself, the agents in his history, or his readers, but, by a constant succession of various feelings springing out of each other, keeps the scene busy, and the imagination on the alert, infusing life, spirit, bustle, and vivacity throughout the work during its whole progress, and almost always becoming, when he ceases to be impressive and impassioned, excessively amu sing and entertaining, and when he leaves the deeper feelings of our nature, almost always glancing over the surface of life with a truly engaging spirit of youthful elasticity, and a beaming freshness of youthful enjoy ment that inspires cheerful sympathy, and makes one in love with the every
Reginald Dalton. By the Author of Valerius and Adam Blair. 3 vols. W. Blackwood, Edinburgh, and T. Cadell, London. 1824.
feelings. This, we think, frequently epithets, and modes of expression, that happens throughout these volumes. border upon the coarse and vulgarThe current of deeper emotion is too grate upon the ear at least, if not
upon often checked or diverted ; and al- the mind, and occasionally impair, in though the book may not, on that ac- some measure, the beauty of his most count, be a less true pieture of human overwhelming or exquisite descriplife, nevertheless we expect human tions. Perhaps something of this is life, in all its varieties, to be some unavoidable in a style so natural, bold, thing different, in a work of imagina- and flowing; but the tendency to it tion, from what it is in reality. This may at least be controlled ; and if we author occasionally destroys his most are offended by such maculæ in his complete and powerful illusions, as if next work, we shall present him with he did so, either on purpose to startle a list of those in the present, some of and perplex, or because he himself which he will be surprised at and really felt less at the time, than the correct, while probably he will suffer readers, over whom his genius prevail- others to remain, that they may fured, and were moreindifferent than they nish matter for philological criticism ever could be to the beings of his own to the “influential” writers in the New creation.
Monthly, and other periodical lights But farther-the humour-the wit of our southern hemisphere. -the fun and frolic—the grotesque The purpose of this original and and the ludicrous—are sometimes not powerful writer, is to paint a bold only out of place, but not very good portrait of the youth of a well-born, in themselves, or if very good, yet well-educated Englishman. He is not not of a kind precisely which one to place him in any very conspicuous is in the habit of meeting with in or commanding situation, to bring handsomely printed works in three over, and around him, the pride, chick volumes. Ever and anon our pomp, and circumstance of glorious author waxeth facetious on other au- war, to envelope him in the light of thors alive and merry like himself, genius, or to endow him with the deals out little biting and pinching power and privilege of exalted rank, quips modest, right and left, apparent but to shew him, as a youth of good ly without malice or meditation, but in birth, fair prospects, excellent talents, meregaieté ducæur. When he is in such strong feelings, and then to let him moods, whatever comes uppermost, take his choice for good or for evil out it goes, so that more than once we among the causes for ever at work to thought we were reading this Maga- shape out our destiny. Perhaps there zine, and that Reginald Dalton was rarely ever existed one individual, of no other than Christopher North, in any strong powers of thinking and the gown of an under-graduate. Pere feeling, the history of whose youth haps the names of about twenty living would not, in many respects, be expersons of eminence occur in a work tremely interesting. Independent of which is one of mere fiction, and it is the workings of heart and spirit, and impossible to tell how strange is the the formation and fluctuation of chaeffect of these flesh-and-blood gentle racter, it would probably exhibit not men dining or drinking, or sitting on a few impressive and interesting, percoach-boxes, or being introduced to haps striking and remarkable inciReginald Dalton and his fellow-phan- dents, either in itself, or intimately toms. Instead of throwing an air of connected with it, or with the fates and reality, and truth, and good faith over fortunes of other families. Accordthe narrative, it breaks the spell mostingly, Reginald Dalton is represented teazingly, and more than once we have as the son of a country rector, and laid down our volume with a “ says a we are first made acquainted with him, frown to a smile," rather angry at being while yet living under the loving tuibammed and trotted by this capricious, tion of his father, a widower, whose wayward, and incurable quizzer. heart was wholly bound up in Regi
To be done, for the present, with nald, his only son. During half of our enumeration of faults, we must the first volume, we become so far take the liberty of hinting to this au- acquainted with this retired ecelethor, that, in the midst of his power- siastic, and his concerns, as to feel no ful, eloquent, and idiomatic English, ordinary interest both in him and Rehe, too often, lets slip words, plırases, ginald. We learn that an ample and
old hereditary estate, Grypherwast- as to conceal that he had looked into the Hall, will probably, (if there is no foul book. play, of the likelihood of which, how- “ It was not that Reginald felt any ever, there are some hints thrown consciousness of having done wrong in out) become the rightful possession opening this packet--that he laboured of our young hero. And we must under any guilty shame that he was say, that although of late years, pro
anxious to escape from the detection of perty in lands or gold has become meanness. Had twenty letters, addressed somewhat too frequently the founda
to his father, been lying before him with tion of the interest and incidents of their seals broken, he was entirely incafictitious compositions, yet, in this pable of looking into one of them. He instance, many extremely interesting had had, at the moment when he opened feelings are collected round it, and the packet, no more notion, intention, or we are made very early in the story truding upon secrecy, than he should
suspicion of violating confidence, or into hope, desire, and pray, that our friends, the Daltons, may one day get lume from the shelves of his father's li
have had in taking down any given vopossession of Grypherwast, and its brary. His feeling simply was, that he spacious and well-cultivated farms of hastily indeed, and almost involuntarily, rich wheat land. Reginald is un
but still by his own act, put himself in doubtedly a fine youth, from the little possession of a certain piece of knowwe see of him ; and Mr Dalton's ap- ledge, which, for whatever reason, his pa
; pearance, manner, conversation, pur
rent had deemed it proper to withhold suits, and character, are revealed to from him. To erase the impression that us by the touches of a master's hand. had been made on his mind, on his meThere is something earnestly, calmly, mory, was impossible ; but to save his and yet deeply affecting in the elegant father the pain of knowing that any such and still seclusion of the life of the me- impression had been made there, appearlancholy scholar and gentleman, over ed to be quite possible; and so, without whom hangs the shadow of solicitude taking time to balance remoter conseand fear for an only son just about quences or contingencies, Reginald folto leave him for the first time, and lowed, as I have said, the first motion of over whose future prospects a dark- a mind, the powers of which had hitherness seems to hang, which yet may pos- to acknowledged the almost undivided sibly be dispelled.' An air of pensive sway of paternal influence, and from no elegance breathes over the beautiful
motive but one of filial tenderness for vicarage of Llanwell, and, without ef- his father's feelings, he endeavoured, as fort of any kind, the author has suc
well as he could, to restore to the packet ceeded in making most pathetic and its original appearance. affecting the yearning affection of the
“ Having done so, he awaited his enpious and widowed father, and the
trance quietly, with a book in his hand. reverential love of his yet unstained
Dinner was served up shortly afterwards, and innocent son.
and they quitted the library together, We cannot but give one extract notice of the packet.
without Mr Dalton's having taken any from this part of the history. Reginald had, by clandestinely reading a
“ Soon after the repast was concluded, forbidden book, come to the know- heard him re-enter the library by himself
he rose from the table, and Reginald ledge of his being in the line of heir- Perhaps half an hour might have elapsed, dom to Grypherwast,—and his plea- when he rung his bell, and the boy heard sure in knowing this is dashed by the him say to the servant who obeyed the conviction that he had disobliged his
summons, · Go to Master Reginald, and father's commands.
tell him I want to speak with him.'“ Reginald had read this last para- There was something in the manner of graph, I take it, a dozen times over- his saying these words that struck Regithen ruminated on its contents and then nald at the moment as unusual ; but the returned to it again with yet undiminished man delivered his message with a smiling interest; and the book was, in short, still face, and he persuaded himself, ere he lying open before him, when he heard rose to attend his father, that this must the sound of his father's approach. The have been merely the work of his own Vicar seemed to be trotting at a pretty imagination. brisk pace; and, without taking time to “ When he entered the library, howreflect, the boy obeyed his first impulse, ever, he perceived, at one glance, that which was to tie up the parcel again, so there was heaviness on his father's brow.
'Reginald,' he said, in a low tone of voice, 'I fear you have been guilty of deceit— you have been trying to deceive your father, my boy-Is it not so?'
"Reginald could not bear the seriousness of his looks, and threw his eyes upon the table before him; he saw the packet lying open there, and then again meeting Mr Dalton's eye, felt himself to be blushing intensely.
"You need not speak, Reginald,' he proceeded, I see how it is. Look, sir, there was a letter in this packet when you opened it, and you dropt it on the floor as you were fastening it again. It is not your opening the packet that I complain of, but when you tied these cords again, you were telling a lie to your father-Yes, Reginald, you have told a lie this day. I would fain hope it is the first you ever told-I pray God it may be the last! What was your motive?'
"Poor Reginald stood trembling before him-alas! for the misery of deceit ! Conscious though he was that he had meant no wrong-conscious though he was that had he loved his father less tenderly, had he revered him less awfully, he should have escaped this rebuke at least his tongue was tied, and he could not muster courage enough even to attempt vindicating himself by the truth.
"Involuntarily he fell upon his knee, but Mr Dalton instantly bade him rise again.
"Nay, nay, Reginald, kneel not to me. You humble yourself here, not for the sin, but the detection. Retire to your chamber, my boy, and kneel there to HIM who witnessed your offence at the moment it was committed.' He waved his hand as he said so, and Reginald Dalton for the first time quitted his father's presence with a bleeding heart.
"By this time the evening was somewhat advanced; but there was still enough of day-light remaining to make him feel his bed-chamber an unnatural place for being in. He sat down and wept like a child by the open window, gazing inertly now and then through his tears upon the beautiful scenery, which had heretofore ever appeared in unison with a serene and happy spirit. With how different eyes did he now contemplate every wellknown feature of the smiling landscape! How dull, dead, oppressive, was the calm of sunset-how melancholy the slow and inaudible waving of the big green boughs -how intolerable the wide steady splendour of the lake and western sky!
"I hope there is no one, who, from the strength and sturdiness of his manhood, can cast back an unmoved eye upVOL. XV.
on the softness, the delicacy, the open sensitiveness of a young and virgin heart -who can think without regret of those happy days, when the moral heaven was so uniformly clear, that the least passing vapour was sufficient to invest it with the terrors of gloom-of the pure open bosom that could be shaken to the centre by one grave glance from the eye of affection-of the blessed tears that sprung unbidden, that flowed unscalding, more sweet than bitter-the kindly pang that thrilled and left no scar-the humble gentle sorrow, that was not Penitence-only because it needed not Sin to go before it.
"Reginald did not creep into his bed until the long weary twilight had given place to a beautiful star-light night. By that time his spirits had been effectually exhausted, so that slumber soon took possession of him.
"But he had not slept long ere he was awakened, suddenly, but gently, by a soft trembling kiss on his forehead; he opened his eyes, and saw Mr Dalton standing near his bed-side in his dressing-gown. The star-light, that shewed the outline of the figure, came from behind, so that the boy could not see his father's face, and he lay quite quiet on his pillow.
"In a little while Mr Dalton turned away-but ere he did so, the boy heard distinctly, amidst the midnight silence, a whiper of God bless my child!—Reginald felt that his father had not been able to sleep without blessing him-he felt the reconciling influence fall upon his spirit like a dew from heaven, and he sunk again lightly and softly into his repose."
There are a few other such touching passages as this in the first two hundred pages of the first volume, but sprightliness is their prevailing character. We are introduced to several of the personages, male and female, who are afterwards to figure in the history. But we never could write an abstract of anything, nor, if we could, would it of this book is not in the story, but now benefit our readers, for the merit in the sentiments, the situations, the descriptions, and the characters.
At page 187, Reginald Dalton leaves Lancashire for Oxford, in the Admiral Nelson coach, which is for a few stages driven by his friend Frederick Chisney, a dashing Christchurch-man, who afterwards plays a conspicuous part in this short eventful history. The journey to Oxford, including a good upset, is given somewhat at too great length, but with infinite spirit; and we are made acquainted with another 0