Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

Cains" was the yacht which brought over King William in 1688. Tradition states that when selected for that enterprise she was "an old ship," but a “lucky and fast sailer.” With the success of her noble freigbt, her fame rose proportionably. She became one of the appendages of the Court, and for many years was the pleasure yacht of Queen Anne. This we may safely term the meridian of her glory. On the death of her royal mistress she was doomed to experience the vicissitude inherent in all sublunary objects. By order of George I. she ceased to form part of the royal establishment. Still she weathered it bravely under the protection of one of the lords of Court. On his disgrace, change and chance again assailed her; and at length, after manifold degradations, she settled down-1 burn with shame while I record it-into a common collier; and was employed in the coal-trade between Newcastle and the metropolis! In this lost and deplorable condition many weary years and heavy seas rolled over her ; till, at length, having up to the last hour of existence maintained her original character of " a lucky ship and a fast sailer,” she struck on a reef of rocks, near Tynemouth Bar, on the morning of February 17, 1827. Though considerably damaged, it was not deemed, at the time, impossible to get her off; and a neighbouring clergyman in particular was extremely anxious that her preservation should be attempted, and if possible secured, by transforming her into an episcopal floating chapel. His wishes, however, were not seconded. The Antiquarian Society at Newcastle were applied to, but the state of their funds precluded their negotiating for her purchase. And thus, through the supineness of some, and the indifference of others, the opportunity of preserving the oldest ship in the navy, perhaps in the world -- a ship which had been constantly at sea for a space at least of one hundred and thirty-nine years, and very probably one hundred and sixty* -a ship with which so many and such stirring associations were connected, and which might fairly have been considered an object of national interest-was lost utterly and irretrievably.

For two or more days she lay stranded on the rocks-beating about at the mercy of the elements; and to one mind at least, seemed to present a melancholy emblem of fallen greatness.

What hopes were bound up in that vessel! With what an enterprise—how righteous in its design, and how magnificent in its results, was she franght! How many beating hearts felt their all was involved in her safety! What numerous, and what ardent supplications were offered up for her success! How many were anxiously, eagerly, hourly, on the look-out, for tidings of her arrival! And there, after so lengthened and useful a career, she lay fallen-prostrate-deserted -plundered!

In this abject, but nevertheless interesting and picturesque situation, a drawing was made of her, from which I have reason to believe an engraving will be taken. From the frequent repairs she had undergone, but little of the original vessel remained. That little, however, was very fine. It was oak, richly and profusely carved, approaching in colour, from age and exposure, to ebony. There was literally a scramble among the populace to obtain fragments-John Bull, though ever boasting of his Protestantism, is as eager as any Catholic for relics which were sold at exorbitant prices. Considerable portions were sent over to Ireland, and were eagerly bought up by members of the different Orange Clubs, and manufactured into snuff-boxes. Among others, Sir Harcourt Lees feeds his Protestant nose from a tabatière formed out of the sinews of her, whom I loved when living, and mourned when fallen-Betsy Cains.

* Assuming she bad been one and twenty years at sea when she sailed with King William imao improbable or improvident supposition, as she is stated to have been tben an “old ship."

Yes; the dispersion of the limbs of my darling I must ever deplore as a barbarous and unnatural proceeding. What was there no man of taste- no aspirant to virtu - no kindred and congenial spirit to interfere in her behalf, whose very vitals must have been redolent of Orange principles? “I thought that ten thousand swords would have leaped from their scabbards” to have saved from ruthless demolition the aged deposit of Protestant principles. Where was the Duke of Cumberland? Where was the Earl of Eldon ? Was there no one to represent the case to Government? No one to bring the matter under the eye of the first gentleman, the keenest connoisseur, and the most munificent patron of the arts, in England? He, I am sure, would have been anxious to preserve—would have been well pleased to secure from wreck and spoliation, a vessel intimately connected with the destinies of his family-a vessel which bore to England those principles which have seated him upon the throne of these realms.

To have carried a king to empire--to have been a leading agent in bringing about one of the most mighty, yet bloodless revolutions, the world ever witnessed-to have been privy to the address and intrepidity of Zuylestein, the burning ardour and devoted earnestness of Bentinckto have been subsequently the favourite of a queen-to have witnessed those interminable struggles for political pre-eminence, those intemperate ebullitions of party spirit, those manifestations of irreconcilable jealousy between Oxford and Bolingbroke, which not even the presence of Anne could restrain, and “which hastened her end"* to have been privy to the rapacity of the Duke of Marlborough, the domineering deportment and imperious insolence of the Duchess—to have witnessed the servility and obsequiousness of the insinuating and softly speaking Mrs. Masham--to have echoed the eloquence of Bolingbroke, caught the whispered plots of Harley--to have sunk down into a collier—and at length to be torn almost piecemeal by a mob:-“To what base usés may we come, Horatio !"

7. 6. p.

SKETCHES OF PARISIAN SOCIETY, POLITICS, & LITERATURE.

Paris, June 10, 1829. The principal literary event of the last month has been the success of M. Cassimir Delavigne's tragedy of Marino Faliero. It is an imitation of Lord Byron's play, but the French poet has spoiled the beautiful character of Angiolina, the wife of the old Doge. He makes her guilty, and the first scene of the tragedy exhibits her venting reproaches on her lover Fernando, the Doge's nephew. But though this fault iust incur censure, yet it cannot be denied thai M. Delavigne has turned it to good account. The very best scene in the piay is that of Angiolina's confession to her husband. It resembles the powerfully moving scene in Kotzebue's “Stranger."

* Smollet.

We have in Paris a privileged theatre called Les Français, to which Napoleon assigned a grani of 4000l. per annum, which allowance the king increased to 80001. This munificence proved the ruin of the Theatre Français, to which M. Delavigne has just given a death-blow in the following manner. He offered his new tragedy to the Theatre Français, and a contention immediately ensued between two or three wretched actors, each of whom claimed the right of personating the Doge. Their utter incompetency to fill the character would to a certainty have condemned the piece. M. Delavigne accordingly withdrew his tragedy, and presented it to the Theatre of the Porte St. Martin, where it has been performed with extraordinary success.

In spite of the merit which Marino Faliero unquestionably possesses, the author has failed in giving a correct delineation of the delicate shades of human passion. M. Delavigne's versification, however, is no less brilliant than that of the “ Henriade' and the heroic tragedies of Voltaire. This is a sort of literary merit which is always duly appreciated in France. The piece, too, is interspersed with political allusions exceedingly hostile to the aristocracy, a circumstance which has insured to it a degree of success for which it would not otherwise be easy to account.

The golden age of dramatic literature is at an end in France. Instead of faithfully pourtraying the workings of the human heart, the grand aim of our authors is to write easy and flowing verses. I must, however, make an exception in favour of M. Scribe, whose talent is not unknown in England.

He has recently brought out a piece, the subject of which is founded on the American Revolution in 1775. It is entitled La Bohemienne, and the principal -character is a gipsy girl, who falls in love with a young officer whom she and her uncle are employed to watch and betray. Mademoiselle Leontine Fay represents this character with a degree of talent which promises to raise her to a level with our 6rst French actresses. There is one scene in the piece in which the uncle is watching the movements of the officer, for the purpose of sacrificing him. The gipsy-girl is present; but here the author has given her nothing to say. However, the fine pantomimic action of Mademoiselle Leontine Fay, aided by the expression of her beautiful dark eyes, is more eloquent than any language she could utter. This scene, in which probably the author never thought of producing any effect, has become the most attractive in the whole piece. Mademoiselle Fay has but one fault, which is a want of Auency in her articulation ; but the exquisite feeling and talent with which nature has endowed her, compensate in a great degree for the defect. This young actress established her reputation by her excellent acting in one of M. Scribe's little dramas, entitled Le Marriage d'Inclination.

Among our new publications, the most attractive have been Memoires. Those of Madame Dubarry, and a femme de qualité, are highly interesting and amusing; but both are eclipsed by the “ Memoires of the Duke de St. Simon." The Duke, who died in 1753, presents a complete picture of the reign of Louis XIV., and the regency of the celebrated Duke of Orleans. Fragments of these Memoires have already been published, by the Marquis de St. Simon. The manuscript copy of the complete work, which comprises sixteen octavo volumes, is in the hand-writing of the Duke, and may be seen at the publisher's; but this proof of its authenticity is scarcely necessary, for it would have been no easy task to counterfeit the energetic, though inaccurate, style of the Duke. The appearance of this work has not a little alarmed several of our noble families, whose founders were, it would appear, any thing but noble about the year 1660, when they assumed illustrious names, to which they were in no way entitled. The "Memoires de St. Simon,” if translated into English, will require some explanatory notes, most of which may be collected from M. de Montmerqué's edition of “ Madame de Sevigné's Letters," and in “ Michaud's Biography.”

A new Journal, entitled “La Revue de Paris,” has lately published some interesting anecdotes of Robespierre the younger, the brother of the too celebrated hero of that name. They are from the pen of Charles Nodier, a

writer of considerable talent, and a successful imitator of Sterne's style. The “ Revue de Paris" has also published a little tale entitled “Matteo Falcone," which has been more read and adınired than any similar production that has appeared for a considerable time,

The story is said to be founded on facts which occurred in Corsica about the year 1810. A brigand, who is pursued among the mountains of the island by a party of French gendarmes, seeks refuge in the habitation of Matteo Falcone. The latter is from home, but his son, a boy of twelve years of age, after some hesitation, receives the fugitive, who has been wounded by his pursuers, and conceals him in a hav-stack near the house. The gendarmes, guided by the drops of blood which mark the track of the wounded robber, enter Falcone's cottage in search of him. The commander of the gendarmes interrogates the boy, from whom he is at first unable to gain any information, but by the gift of a watch he at length tempts him to disclose the secret. He points to the hay-stack in which the robber is concealed. Falcone returns home before the departure of the gendarines and their prisoner. The robber informs him of his son's treachery, and Falcone, having desired the boy to prepare for death, shoots him. It is impossible in this brief description to convey an adequate idea of the interest with which this little story is worked up. It is the production of M. Merinée, the popular author of the “ Theatre de Clara Gazul.”

THE LIBERTINE'S CONFESSION.
In imitation of the Writers of the Sirteenth Century.

I'm sad and sore afraid,

That, fickle and forsworn,
I've sported life away,

And now ain left forlorn.
Poor fool! I dreamt the years

Of youth would never fly,
And pleasure's brimming bowl

Methought could ne'er run dry.
That woman's bounteous love

Should e'er wax cold for me!
It seem'd that she must first

A woman cease to be.
Her fondest smiles I thought

My rights by charter were;
Her sighs, her tears, forsooth,--

Whilst I-was free as air.
I've knelt at many a shrine,

Of wit and beauty too;
I've lisp'd light vows to all,

And sworn that all were true.
My pastime was to gain

Their young and grateful love,
Then break the heart I won,

And straight to others rove.
Ah! wild wit, now at last

Thy vagrancies are o'er;
The ear and gazing eye

That you enthrall'd before,
No longer hear or see ;

Whilst those you now would woo,
The time-worn truant slight,

Nor dream of love with you.

SCHOOL BOY RECOLLECTIONS OF THE JESUITS. The colleges of the Jesuits have lately attracted a good deal of attention, and the Legislature has been strongly called upon to seal up in this country those fountains of Catholicism. In the recent Act of Par. liament, a clause has been introduced, which, although nugatory for the purposes of practical effect, shows that the Government has found it necessary to make some offering to the prejudices wbich continue to exist against the disciples of Ignatius. No Jesuit can, for the future, enter these realms. It is pretty obvious that it will not be very easy to convict a man of this newly-created offence; for what evidence can be produced to establish the fact that a man is a Jesuit? That of the superior who administers the vow, or of the individual who takes it. The proviso is therefore destitute of all validity-the knife is too blunt to cut the throat of the victim. The Society of Jesus will not be deterred by any legislative expedients from prosecuting their labours; and as far as I can form a judgment, from the experience of some years amongst them, those labours will not in the least degree interfere with the beneficial results of Catholic Emancipation. I have known the chief members of that obnoxious body from a very early period, and to me, a friend of liberty both civil and religious, they appear to be wholly innoxious. I do not, however, sit down to enter into any elaborate vindication of them, nor to write an essay upon the principle of their institution; it is my purpose in this article to detail what I saw and observed during my residence at two of their schools, and to give a sketch of the incidents of my boyhood, rather than to indite a treatise upon the tendencies and character of a body of men whose opinions have, I believe, been misrepresented, and whose importance has been of late greatly exaggerated.

As if it were but yesterday, though 'tis now many years ago, (eheu fugaces !) I recollect the beautiful evening when I left my home, upon the banks of the river Suir, and sailed from the harbour of Waterford for Bristol, on my way to school. It is scarcely germane to the matter, yet I cannot help reverting to a scene, which has inpressed itself deeply in my recollection, and to which I oftentimes, in those visions of the memory to which I suppose every body is more or less subject, find it a pleasure, though a melancholy one, to return. There are few rivers more picturesque than the Suir, (which Spenser honoured with a panegyric,) in its passage from Waterford to the sea. It is broad and ample, capable of floating vessels of any tonnage, and is encompassed upon both sides with lofty ridges of rich verdure, on which magnificent mansions, encompassed with deep groves of trees, give evidence of the rapid increase of opulence and of civilization in that part of Ireland. How often have I stood upon its banks, when the bells in the city, the smoke of which was turned into a cloud of gold by a Claude Lorrain sun-set, tolled (to use the expression of Dante, and not of Gray,) the death of the departing day! How often have I fixed my gaze upon the glittering expanse of the full and overflowing water, crowded with ships, whose white sails were filled with just wind enough to carry them on to the sea; by the slowness of their equable and majestic movement, giving leave to the eye to contemplate at its leisure their tall and stately beauty, and to watch them long in their progress amidst the calm through Aug. 1829.- VOL. XXVI. NO, CIV.

H

« ElőzőTovább »