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THE LION'S HEAD.
We are not often in the habit of eulogizing our own work,—but we cannot neglect the opportunity which the following explanatory note gives us of calling the attention of our readers to the deep, eloquent, and masterly paper which stands first in our present Number. Such Confessions, so powerfully uttered, cannot fail to do more than interest the reader. We give the following chronological explanation in the author's own words, and at his request,
NOTICE TO THE READER :- -The incidents recorded in the Preliminary Confessions already published, lie within a period of which the earlier extreme is now rather more, and the latter extreme less, than nineteen years ago : consequently, in a popular way of computing dates, many of the incidents might be indifferently referred to a distance of eighteen or of nineteen years; and, as the notes and memoranda for this narrative were drawn up originally about last Christmas, it seemed most natural in all cases to prefer the former date. In the hurry of composing the narrative, though some months had then elapsed, this date was every where retained : and, in many cases, perhaps, it leads to no error, or to none of importance. But in one instance, viz. where the author speaks of his own birthday, this adoption of one uniform date has led to a positive inaccuracy of an entire year : for, during the very time of compesition, the nineteenth year from the earlier term of the whole period revolved to its close. It is, therefore, judged proper to mention, that the period of that narrative lies between the early part of July, 1802, and the beginning or middle of March, 1803.
We are still prevented from giving the 2d Number of the Lives of the l'oets, owing to the absence of the author, who is at present on the Contirent. We have every reason to expect his return in time to enable us to continue this interesting Series in our next Number, or in the one immediately succeeding. In the meanwhile, we are enabled to promise a Second Letter from Mr. Edward Herbert, on Greenwich Hospital, with the prospect of others (addressed to the Family of the Powells) descriptive of Scenes in London, which our readers may feel interested in witnessing. Mr. Herbert appears to be a country gentleman of considerable curiosity, and his London Researches have led him into strange places, and have made him familiar with strange customs.
The Letters of T. T. T. and The Theban touch the Heart of Lion's Head. The feeling, temperate, and sensible spirit in which they are written, speaks eloquently for the minds of the writers, and we almost grieve at the severity which marked our rejection of their offers. They will, we are sure, properly estimate our present respect for their gentlemanly and intelligent acknowledgments of the justice of our rebukes.
The two little Poems found amongst the papers of a deceased young Lady, could never have been intended by the Authoress for publication. They are very pretty portfolio reading ; but printing would destroy them.
-No. Sounet to Autumn.--Have not we seen that line before, Mr. Puff?”The other Sonnet on the Anvil may as well not be hammered into shape. Venus has two dimples.
The writer of “ the following Lines" (which do not follow) has sent us his “ second thoughts," which rather too closely resemble the first thoughts of some other Author. The verses that “are lighter” are sadly heavy. We should conceive from this specimen, that the Author had more power over tears than smiles. He might make a water-man; he is no lighter-man.
We are compelled to announce to E. R. that the Storm” is blown over. The Broken Heart should certainly have a place in our pages, if we thought it would give pleasure either to the writer or to the public, but we are quite sure that its appearance in print would make more broken hearts than one.
We do not see any vast objection to the Sonnet of J. J. W.; it is as innocent as Sonnets generally are. But we have a word or two to say to this writer, on the subject of his “ Russian Flower Girl, a simple Tale.” Can the Author be serious in his wish that we should print it? A more painful and immoral rhapsody we never remember to have encountered from the most bewildered brain of the most bewildered novelist. J.J. W. will do well to write decently, if he cannot write ably.
The Stanzas of H. D. are very promising, if the Author be really young. But if he has reached twenty, we recommend him to cut the rhymes from his sonnets, and make essays of them.
The Streamlet is beautifully written. We were tempted to exclaim with Sir Roger de Coverley, “ What a remarkably handsome hand!” By the bye, Mr. Carstairs appears to have been drilling our contributors of late ; the soul of Tomkins is abroad!
We are grieved to reject the last lays of a Poet, who chaunts his own elegy. If he is really a swan “ singing as he dies," he
Will not want beneath his head
A downy pillow. Let him
Put his head under his wing.
Lion's Head cannot see its way through L. Li's “ lines called Night.” Were the Lion to put, as the writer requests, his “ correcting hand” to them, L. L. would soon be induced to cry
“paws off!.” Was G. asleep during the performance at the Haymarket which
he affects to criticise ? If not, we think he might as well have been so. The ability and the justice of his criticism are about upon a par.
We must also inform him that we breed our own critics.
There is another G. who addresses us, (for a very facetious reason,)." Dear Sir.” Had all the lines been equal to the first one of his “ Familiar Epistle," we should have been happy to avail ourselves of his contribution.
We are compelled to decline “ One brief Remembrance of the Youthful Bard."
The papers from L-, and from Fitzroy Square, my Uncle John, &c. are received, and under consideration. The Life, by a Dublin Corresponde ent, is printed, for insertion.
We have received many other communications from Correspondents bespeaking or requiring our special lenity. We spare them accordingly, and thank them for their good Intentions.
BEING AN EXTRACT FROM THE LIFE OF A SCHOLAR.
PART II. So then, Oxford-street, stony- were met with a fortitude more conhearted step-mother! thou that list- firmed, with the resources of a maenest to the sighs of orphans, and turer intellect, and with alleviations drinkest the tears of children, at from sympathising affection - how length I was dismissed from thee: deep and tender! the time was come at last that I Thus, however, with whatsoever no more should pace in anguish thy alleviations, years, that were far anever-ending terraces; no more should sunder were bound together by subdream, and wake in captivity to the tle links of suffering derived from a pangs of hunger. Successors, too many, common root. And herein I notice to myself and Ann, have, doubtless, an instance of the short-sightedness of since then, trodden in our footsteps human desires, that oftentimes on -inheritors of our calamities : other moonlight nights, during my first orphans than Ann have sighed: tears mournful abode in London, my conhave been shed by other children: solation was (if such it could be and thou, Oxford-street, hast since, thought) to gaze from Oxford-street doubtless, echoed to the groans of up every avenue in succession which innumerable hearts. For myself, pierces through the heart of Marylehowever, the storm which I had bone to the fields and the woods ; outlived seemed to have been the for that, said I, travelling with my pledge of a long fair-weather; the eyes up the long vistas which lay premature sufferings which I had part in light and part in shade, that paid down, to have been accepted as is the road to the North, and therea ransom for many years to come, fore to
and if I had the as a price of long immunity from wings of a dove, that way I would sorrow: and if again I walked in fly for comfort.” Thus I said, and London, a solitary and contempla- thus I wished, in my blindness; yet, tive man (as oftentimes I did), I even in that very northern region it walked for the most part in serenity was, even in that very valley, nay, in and peace of mind. And, although that very house to which my erroit is true that the calamities of my neous wishes pointed, that this sea noviciate in London had struck root cond birth of my sufferings began; so deeply in my bodily constitution and that they again threatened to bethat afterwards they shot up and siege the citadel of life and hope. flourished afresh, and grew into a There it was, that for years I was noxious umbrage that has oversha- persecuted by visions as ugly, and as dowed and darkened my latter years, ghastly phantoms as ever haunted yet these second assaults of suffering the couch of an Orestes : and in Vol. IV.
this unhappier than he, that sleep, But these troubles are past: and
which comes to all as a respite thou wilt read these records of a pe- and a restoration, and to him espe- riod so dolorous to us both as the
cially, as a blessed * balm for his legend of some hideous dream that wounded heart and his haunted brain, can return no more. Meantime, I visited me as my bitterest scourge. am again in London: and again I Thus blind was I in my desires; yet, pace the terraces of Oxford-street by if a veil interposes between the dim- night: and oftentimes, when I am sightedness of man and his future oppressed by anxieties that demand calamities, the same veil hides from all my philosophy and the comfort of him their alleviations; and a grief thy presence to support, and yet rewhich had not been feared is met by member that I am separated from consolations which had not been thee by three hundred miles, and hoped. I, therefore, who participated, the length of three dreary months, as it were, in the troubles of Orestes I look up the streets that run north(excepting only in his agitated con- wards from Oxford-street, upon science), participated no less in all moonlight nights, and recollect my his supports: my Eumenides, like youthful ejaculation of anguish ;his, were at my bed-feet, and stared and remembering that thou art sitin upon me through the curtains: ting alone in that same valley, and but, watching by my pillow, or de- mistress of that very house to which frauding herself of sleep to bear me my heart turned in its blindness ninecompany through the heavy watches teen years ago, I think that, though of the night, sate my Electra : forblind indeed, and scattered to the thou, beloved M., dear companion winds of late, the promptings of my of my later years, thou wast my heart may yet have had reference to Electra ! and neither in nobility of a remoter time, and may be justified mind nor in long-suffering affection, if read in another meaning :--and, if wouldst permit that a Grecian sister I could allow myself to descend ashould excel an English wife. For gain to the impotent wishes of childthou thoughtst not much to stoop to hood, I should again say to myself, as humble offices of kindness, and to I look to the north, “ Oh, that I had servilet ministrations of tenderest the wings of a dove” and with how affection;-to wipe away for years the just a confidence in thy good and unwholesome dews upon the fore- gracious nature might I add the other head, or to refresh the lips when half of my early ejaculation—" And parched and baked with fever; nor, that way I would tly for comfort.” even when thy own peaceful slumbers had by long sympathy become It is so long since I first took infected with the spectacle of my opium, that if it had been a trifling dread contest with phantoms and incident in my life, I might have shadowy enemies that oftentimes forgotten its date: but cardinal bade me « sleep no more !”-not events are not to be forgotten; and even then, didst thou utter a com- from circumstances connected with plaint or any murmur, nor withdraw it, I remember that it must be referthy angelic smiles, nor shrink from red to the autumn of 1804. During thy service of love more than Electra that season I was in London, having did of old. For she too, though she come thither for the first time since was a Grecian woman, and the my entrance at college. And my daughter of the king of men, yet introduction to opium arose in the wept sometimes, and hid her faces following way. From an early age I in her robe.
had been accustomed to wash my
THE PLEASURES OF OPIUM.
* Φιλον υπνο θελγητρον επικερον νοσε. + 580 882 EUR. Eurip. Orest.
+ αναξάνδρων 'Αγαμεμνων. & όμμα θεισ’ εισω σεπλων. The scholar will know that throughout this passage I refer to the early scenes of the Orestes; one of the most beautiful exhibitions of the domestic affections which even the dramas of Euripides can furnish. To the English reader, it may be necessary to say, that the situation at the opening of the drama is that of a brother attended only by his sister during the demoniacal possession of a suffering conscience (or, in the mythology of the play, haunted by the furies), and in circumstances of immediate danger from enemies, and of desertion or cold regard from nominal friends.
head in cold water at least once a ed to be real copper halfpence, taken day: being suddenly seized with out of a real wooden drawer. Nevertooth-ache, I attributed it to some re- theless, in spite of such indications laxation caused by an accidental in- of humanity, he has ever since existtermission of that practice ; jumped ed in my mind as the beatific vision out of bed; plunged my head into a of an immortal druggist, sent down bason of cold water; and with hair to earth on a special mission to mythus wetted went to sleep. The next self. And it confirms me in this way morning, as I need hardly say, I of considering him, that, when I next awoke with excruciating rheumatic came up to London, I sought him pains of the head and face, from near the stately Pantheon, and found which I had hardly any respite for him not: and thus to me, who knew. about twenty days. On the twenty- not his name (if indeed he had one) first day, I think it was, and on a Sun- he seemed rather to have vanished day, that I went out into the streets; from Oxford-street than to have rather to run away, if possible, froin removed in any bodily fashion. The my torments, than with any distinct reader may choose to think of him as, purpose. By accident I met a col- possibly, no more than a sublunary lege acquaintance who recommended druggist: it may be so: but my faith opium. Opium ! dread agent of un- is better: I believe him to have imaginable pleasure and pain! I had evanesced,* or evaporated. So una heard of it as I had of manna or of willingly would I connect any mortal Ambrosia, but no further: how un- remembrances with that hour, and meaning a sound was it at that time! place, and creature, that first brought what solemn chords does it now me acquainted with the celestial strike upon my heart! what heart- drug. quaking vibrations of sad and happy. Arrived at my lodgings, it may remembrances! Reverting for a mo- be supposed that I lost not a moment ment to these, I feel a mystic import- in taking the quantity prescribed. I ance attached to the minutest cir- was necessarily ignorant of the whole cumstances connected with the place · art and mystery of opium-taking: and the time, and the man (if man and, what I took, I took under every he was) that first laid open to me disadvantage. But I took it:-and the Paradise of Opium-eaters. It in an hour, oh! Heavens! what a: was a Sunday afternoon, wet and revulsion ! what an upheaving, from cheerless: and a duller spectacle this its lowest depths, of the inner spirit ! earth of ours has not to show than a what an apocalypse of the world rainy Sunday in London. My road within me! That my pains had vahomewards' lay through Oxford- nished, was now a trifle in my eyes: street ; and near “ the stately Pan- this negative effect was swallowed theon," (as Mr. Wordsworth has up in the immensity of those positive obligingly called it) I saw a drug- effects which had opened before me gist's shop. The druggist-uncon- -- in the abyss of divine enjoyment scious minister of celestial pleasures! thus suddenly revealed. Here was
-as if in sympathy with the rainy a panacea-a pupuaxoy unterbes for all Sunday, looked dull and stupid, just human woes: here was the secret of as any mortal druggist might be happiness, about which philosophers expected to look on a Sunday: aud, had disputed for so many ages, at when I asked for the tincture of once discovered: happiness might opium, he gave it to me as any other now be bought for a penny, and car-' man might do: and furthermore,out of ried in the waistcoat pocket: portmy shilling, returned me what seem- able ecstacies might be had corked
Evanesced :—this way of going off the stage of life appears to have been well known in the 17th century, but at that time to have been considered a peculiar privilege of blood-royal, and by no means to be allowed to druggists. For about the year 1686, a poet of rather ominous name (and who, by the bye, did ample justice to his name), viz. Mr. Flat-man, in speaking of the death of Charles II. expresses his surprise that any prince should commit so absurd an act as dying; be cause, says he,
Kings should disdain to die, and only disappear. They should abscond, that is, into the other world.