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Ere on my bed my limbs I lay,
And shume and airror over all!
Which all confused I could not know, they will
Isting ga jon tinh sudden'd änderung’d ilie coming day:
So iwo nights passed: the night's dismay
Cercome with sufferings strange and wild, 23 ore lire I wept as I had been a child's
i[ And finving thus by tears subduedin !! ,zainte portaitasit My anguish to a milder mood,
Sneb punishments, I said, were due 51 To'natures deepliest staind with sin:
For aye entempesting anew
in to see
And whom I love, I love indeed. This is the dream of a poet, and does not end with the question of a philosopher. We do not pretend to determine why we should have any pains at all. It is enough for us in our attempt to diminish them, that there are more pleasant than painful excitements in the world, and that many pains are the causes of pleasure. But what if these
pains are for the same end? What if all this heaping and war of agonies were owing to the author's having taken too little exercise, or eaten a heavier supper than ordinary. But then the proportion ! What proportion, it may be asked, is there between the sin of neglected exercise and such infernal visitations as these? We
answer,--the proportion, not of the particular offence, but of the general consequences. We have before observed, but it cannot be repeated too often, that nature, charitable as any poet or philosopher can be upon the subject of merit and demerit, &c. seems to insist, beyond any thing else, upon our taking care of the mould in which she has cast us; or in other words, of that ground-work of all comfort, that box which contains the jewel of existence, our health. On turning to the preceding poem in the book, entitled Kubla Khan, we perceive that in his introduction to that pleasanter vision, the author speaks of the present one as the dream of pain and ase. Kubla Khan, which was medis tated under the effects of opium, he calls" a psychological curiosity;" It is so ; but it is also and still more a somatological or bodily one; for body will effect these things upon the mind, when the mind can do no such thing upon itself.'5
and therefore the shortest, most useful, and most philosopliical way of proceeding, is to treat the phænomenon in the manner most serviceable to the health and comfort of both. We sabjoin the conclusion of Kobla Khan, as beginning with an exquisite piece of music, and ending with a most poetical phantasm :
A damsel with a dulcimer si
In a vision once I saw ;
Singing of Mount Abora.
Could I revive within me
Her symphony and song,
That with inasic tond and toig
If horrible and fantastic dreams are the most perplexing, there are pathetic ones perhaps still more saddening. A friend dreaming of the loss of his friend, or a lover of that of his mistress, or a kjusman of that of a dear relation, is steeped in the bitterness of death. To wake and find it not true,--what a delicious sensation is that! On the other hand, to dream of a friend, or a beloved relative restored to us--to live over again the hours of childhood at the knee of a beloved mother, to be on the eve of marrying an affectionate mistress, with a thousand other joys snatched back out of the grave, and too painful to dwell upongwhat a dreary rush of sensation comes like a shadow upon us when we wake. How true, and divested of all that is called conceit in poetry, is that termination of Milton's sonnet on dreaining of his deceased wife,
But O, as to embrace me slie inclined,
I waked; she fled; and day brought back my night. We wonder that so good and cordial a critic as Warton should think this a mere conceit on his blindness. An allusion to his blindness may or may not be involved in it; but the sense of returning shadow on the mind, is quite true to nature on such occasions, and prust have been experienced by every one who has lost a person dear to him. There is a beautiful sonnet by Camoens on a similar occasion; a small canzone by Sanazzaro, which ends with saying, that although he waked and missed his lady's hand in his, he still tried to cheat himself by keeping his eyes shut; and three divine dreams of Laura by Petrarch, Sonnet 34, Vol. 2. Son. 79. Ib. and the canzone beginning
Quando il soave mio fido conforto. Bat we must be cautious how we even think of the poets on this most poetical subject, or we shall write three articles instead of one. As it is, we have not left ourselves room for some very agreeable dreams, which we meant to have taken between these our gallant and imaginative sheets. They must be interrupted, as they are too apt to be, like the young lady's in the Adventures of a Lap Dog, who blushing divinely, had just uttered the words, “My Lord, I am wholly your's,” when she was awaked by the jumping up of that of. ficious little puppy.
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There he arriving round about doth flie,
No. LV.-WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 25th, 1820.
THE MARRIAGE OF BELPHEGOR*.
As Pluto was taking his rounds one day in the infernal regions, to see that all was right and miserable, he thought he observed a parcel of fellows, in a particularly hot corner, giggling and making merry. Upon looking more narrowly, his astonishment was confirmed: the rogues had discovered his presence, and changed the expression of their countenances to a most doleful and hypocritical sorrow.
Pluto sent for his chief overseers. 6 Gentlemen” said he, here is a very extraordinary case," and related what he had seen.
The overseers looked at each other in confusion, for in fact they had noticed some such phenomenon themselves, but had scarcely dared to think of it. They did not know what comfort might happen, if enjoyment was - to be found even in Tartarus.
As the case however was not to be compromised, it was agreed, after much consultation, to examine the offenders apart. The examination took place after the ordinary forms of law; but nothing appeared to account for their behaviour. They protested, upon oath, that they had no secret about them for escaping pain. They were put to various torments described Dante, and gave proofs of what they
* This is “the renowned tale of Belfagor," as Mr. Dunlop justly calls it. It came originally from a Latin Manuscript, and has been told by Giovanni Brevio an Italian novelist, by the famous Machiavelli, by Straparola, La Fontaine, and the old English dramatists. It is repeated here, with the usual differences practised on these occasions. We thought of introducing it with Ariosto’s preface to a superfluous story in the Orlando;
Donne, e voi che le donne avete io pregio,
For God's sake, take no notice of this story: But a moment's reflection told us, that our fair readers need not be hurt with a satire, which in order to see fair play between the two sexes, we have traced to its proper causes in both. We expect, on the contrary, that amiable woinen of all classes, and really good wives in particular, will shew a just partiality for it: and in this hope we bid them farewell till next week, when we mean to give a story unequivocally to their honour.
said: only the familiars observed, that in the midst of all their sufferings, there certainly was an irrepressible something about the mouth, which looked like self-congratulation.
A chief councillor was now directed to compare the examinations, and see if by narrow inspection he could make any thing out of them. He did so, for the space of three days and nights, and reported that he could discover nothing. The prisoners had offended on earth like other men,-loved a good deal too much, doubted the triple nature of Diana, thought hell unfair, &c. &c. : “but” said the lawyer, find nothing which at all explains the enormity in question, unless it is (and here he put on the facetious smile, usual on such occasions) unless it is, my lords, that they have all been married."
The court laughed at this sally; but one of Minos's under-clerks begged leave, with great deference to offer himself to their lordships' attention, having a few words to say which nothing but the urgency of the question could have compelled him to intrude upon their consideration. He said that the learned gentlemen had laughed, and that learned gentlemes might laugh; but that, with great submission, it I was no laughing matter. The learned gentleman modestly supposed that he had uttered nothing but a common-ptace joke; and he would concede (if he might use the expression) to that learned gentleman's modesty, that the joke was common-place; nay, emphatically so.
But, "continued he, “ let me ask your lordships, with all becoming humility, how such a very ungallant and unconjugal jest came to be common-place; and whether in the discovery of that secret, we might not discover the more important secret now before us."
This address made a considerable sensation. The counsel, who had e inspected the examinations, was the only one on whom it seemed to make no impression. He rejected with a dignified impatience the compliments paid to his modesty, and yet was proceeding to throw out
some other sarcasms in a style equally conscending, when Minos, who . had fallen into a study, said he had a proposition to make, which would settle the matter beyond all doubt or equivocation. It was this, that some ingenious devil should be selected and sent on earth, with vinjunctions to enter into the state of matrimony, and in due time come back and report the consequences. Rhadamanthus suggested, that the task should be assigned to one of the criminals, both on account of his previous knowledge, and as the best punishment that could be awarded. to his offence. But the suggestion was over-ruled. The criminal, it was argued, however loth he might be to undergo the return to his wife, would not dare, even under all the circuṁstances, to affect a disinclination, conscious that the rest of the offenders would insist upon his becoming a sacrifice to the general welfare, and that he had the certainty of coming back to his old quarters. To keep such offenders upon earth always was impossible, or humanity must change its nature, and Pluto would lose subjects, Besides, marriage might be altered, and so make a heaven, upon earth, and then the very damned rould become blest; which was a thing too profane to be thought of.
Unfortunately, a new dilemma now occurred; for the story having got about, no devil was found hardy enough to undertake the adven.