Images de page
[ocr errors]

fitting together at the corner of a wood. Keeper, not much liking their looks, though by no means fearing them, was turning another way, when they called after him, and civilly desired him to stay. “ Surely, Sir, says Reynard, you will not disown your relations. My cousin Gaunt and I were jult talking over family matters, and we have both agreed, that we have the honour of reckoning you among our kin. You must know, that according to the best accounts, the wolves and dogs were originally one race. As to my ancestors, the foxes, they were a branch of the fame family, wbo settled fariber northwards, where they became ftinted in their growth, and. adopted the custom of living in holes. The cold has sharpened our noses, but we have all a family likeness, which it is impossible to mistake: and I am sure it is our interest to be good friends with each other.

The Wolf was of the same opinion ; and Keeper, looking narrowly at them, could not belp acknowledging their relationship. As he had a generous heart, be readily entered into friendship with them, and gave bis cousins a cordial invitation to come and see him at his yard. They did not fail to be with him the next day about dusk. Keeper received them kindly : they staid with him till after dark, and then departed with many compliments. The next morning word was brought to the farm, that a goose and three gollins were missing, and that a couple of lambs were found almost devoured in the home field. Keeper was too honest bimself readily to frijpect otbers, therefore he never tbought of his kinsmen on the occasion. Soon after they paid him a second evening vilit, and next day another loís appeared, of a hen and her chickens, and a. fat theep. Keeper now could not belp mistrusting a little, and blamed himself for admitting the strangers. However, be still did not love to think ill of his own relations.

They came a third time: Keeper received them rather coldly. When they took their leaves, he resolved to follow at some distance, and watch their motions. A litter of young pigs happened to be lying under a hay-stack without the yard. The Wolf seized one by the back, and ran off with it. The pig set up a most dismal squeal, and Keeper, running up at the noise, caught bis dear cousin in the fact. He flew at him. and made him relinquil bis prey, though not without much snarling and growling. The Fox, who had been flily prowling about the hen-rooft, now came up, and began to make proteflations of bis own innocence, with beavy reproaches againft the Wolf for thus disgracing the family. " Begone, Scoundrels both ! cried Keeper. I know, šou now too well

. You may be of MY BLOOD, but I am sure you are not of DIY SPIRIT,”

So far Dr. Aikin, in ufum ftudiofe juventutis. The picture is a lively one, but not overcharged, since even in many respects it will bear higher colouring: The Do&or, for instance, might have informed his young friends, įhat once upon a time, the wolves and foxes agreed to form the farm-yard, In consequence of this league, they did attack it; and Keeper's master, hurrying to the assistance of his brave and faithful dog, a&ually bad bis bead 401m of from bis Thoulders. His fon would have shared the same fate, had he not alertly climbed an oak, and hid hịmself among its leaves. All the feryants were put to fight: Keeper himself was obliged to take to his heels, and the hungry banditti were left to pillage the stalls, the fties, the dovehoufe, and the hen-rooft, at their leisure, One night they had the audacity to attack even the parsonage, in hopes of a tythe-pig or two. After they had devoured these, they worried the tythe-lambs about the church-yard till they had made fure of them all. They then entered the Church, tore the





forplice to pieces, broke all the beautiful painted windows, stripped off the brass from the monuments, bit and mutilated them; and having a mortal averfion to the sound of an organ-pipe, compleatly dismantled what, in their language, they were pleased to stile the abominable organs, They even dared to howl and bark in the pulpit itself, in derision of the parfon ; and did every thing they could think of which was filthy and indecent, in order to profane what they called his sleepli-house. The worthy ininister and his family were obliged to fly from the parsonage to save their lives. All his tythes were stolen from him, and swallowed by these ravenous miscreants. It was even many years before it was safe for him to return to his living; and that event would never have happened, had not his young master again got poffeffion of the farm-yard, and by the help of Keeper, and a number of villagers, armed with pikes and guns, forced the wolves and foxes again into the woods.

If after all these shameful ravages, a lock was put on the yard gate to keep out there hungray visitors, with their sharp noses and lank paunchesif the fence was heightened—if pit-falls were dug in proper situations-if all the dogs in the yard were required to wear collars, and every one who would not conform to this wile regulation was ordered to be turned out of it, that there might be a means of diftinguithing for ever the family of Keeper from the family of his hypocritical relations; I say, if all these falutary curbs and restrictions were imposed with so much propriety, with what jultice can they be deemed ARBITRAR Y impediments ? ARBITRARY TESTS and QUALIFICATIONS ? Woe be to poor Keeper, if ever, in the honest compassion of his heart, he relaxes from his rules. He is a kind animal, Mr, Editor, but notwithstanding the piteous lamentations of his disappointed coufins, I am of opinion that he ought to be encouraged not to listen to their petitions and complaints. This is more especially to be advised at the present moment, because suspicions have been entertained of the fidelity of Mrs. Keeper. It is thought that, in one of those visits to the farm-yard, which Dr. Aikin has so pathetically described, the fly Mr. Gaunt committed adultery. True it certainly is, that a litter of puppies soon after made their appearance, which have more of the fimilitude of Gaunt than of Keeper. These spurious bantlings are at length grown up, and it is curious to observe their ađions. They wear the collar, it is true, but their behaviour is not Keeperian. Sometimes they are to be seen bowling extempore to the pigs and chicken, with a fleece thrown ver their shoulders like a surplice. They affect prodigious esteem for all the inhabitants of the yard, and even whil per that Keeper has not half so much regard for them as they have. They insinuate that he gives then bad advice; that he cares for nothing but his bone; that he is grown old and useless, and that no one can lead them in safety but themselves. In thort, they do not scruple to preach, that he is an old dotard, and that it is time for him to be put out of the way.

There wolfish notions they endeavour to propagate more effectually by becoming itinerant. They travel from one farmer's flock to another's, with the most fiaming zeal ; and in their valt eagerness to regenerate them all, forget that the only business which can be called peculiarly their own, is to save the flock of tbeir master. Such being the state of the farm-yard, this is certainly not a time to relax and grant indulgences. On the contrary, there are too many indulgences already granted, and it is time for Keeper to look about him. Let him watch his opportunity, twist off the collars from the necks of those mongril relations, and when they next begin their perambulations, Lock the gate of the yard, and thut them out with wolves and foxes,


To drop the fable and be serious. Since times are arrived in which is centiousness of sentiment is excessive, and in which it is necessary to arm the state with awful powers by the suspension of the Habeas Corpus AX, let our wise Legislature consider, whether it be not necessary to strengthen the Establithed Churcb also, by giving a similar check to the indulgences of the Toleration AA. I do not wish for its suspension, Mr. Editor, but it certainly should be amended : and perhaps it would be judicious were it only a temporary act, renewable from time to time. It is not right that one party thould be compelled to exercise liberality and moderation, while the other is at liberty to act as it pleases. Cessation of good behaviour in an adversary, is always fufficient reason for the refusal of favours. If, therefore, Diflenters scruple not to use that ponderous machine, the press, as a lever to hoist us out of our places, as a petard to blow us up to the moon, I see no reason why we are to sit still with our hands tied, because we once fuffered them to be tied in proof of our pacific difpofition. If Prefbyterians are fệ Hinwise as to be always affaffinating in their journals, the learning, the taste and good character of churchmen, while they support the meanest of their own sect with unbounded adulation; if they strive to undermine our hierarchy, and to recommend republicanism in religion as well as in politics, let the Church be furnished with power to refift and to subdue their malerolent attempts. And if Scotchmen, (I do not affirm, though I strongly suspect, that Dr. Aikin is one) in the hunger of ambition, leave their homes, and come down into the south, for the malicious purpose of joining with the Diflenters of our kingdom, in reviling and fapping the Church and Government, let them be conducted back to thosemoors and mosses which Dr. Anderson found so unproductive; and remember, that they have no right to preach John Knox the propbet, Jobń Major, or John Calvin, on this side of the Tweed. A Frenchman, who thould attempt to propagate bis notions of Chriftianity, or even an Irishman, who should spout off his politics and his faith in this idland, would not fail to be dismissed with some speed from these regions of better sense. Why then is the Scotchman suffered to pester us with his recommendations of tbeft and sacrilege? Shall we rob our Church because he robbed his ? Let us rather remember, that the Church of England is the least worth pillaging of any Church in Christendom, (except the Church of Scotland) and the most worthy of being preserved.

To our young folks, therefore, Mr. Editor, who read Dr. Aikin, let us give the same cautionary advice as we should extend to the works of Priestley, admire the pbilosopber, but beware of his religion and of his politic:.


Profeljor Porson--Gilbert Wakefield.

HE Critical Reviewers having at length finished their learned and hu-


collection of elegant extracts from that admirable performance. Such a confteilation of beauties is to be found in no critical treatise, ancient or modern, of equal dimentions. With your permission, I shall give to my fafciculus the title of LIBERALITY AND CANDOUR. By a Society of Gentlemen.

Crit. Rev. for Nov. 1800. 1. The Professor’sdecisions are always peremptory, but frequently dogma. imel : bis illustrations and observations, in general, are reserved, anorna,



[ocr errors]

P. 245.

[ocr errors]

mental, and concise ; unless when he occasionally expatiates, in a superfluity of

; words to faggellate an antagonift, or banter a fellow-labourer less gifted than himself; he is then sarcastical, indeed illiberal, to an extent which cannot fail to excite astonishment,' &c. P. 242.

• After all, this may be no more than a piece of refined joculariting the Professor, to entrap the uninitiated in the mysteries of his waiticisms. P. 244. 3.

We have ventured on these hesitations at the Profeffor's mandates with fear and trembling. The Profesor himself, and his 'Squire, the critic mili. tant, have inscribed over the critical throne, in characters that flash intimi. dation in the eyes of all who presume to controvert their supremacy,

Oux ayaboy, &c.

Σκηπτρον and, frightful to think and formidable to relate this sceptre is exercised in the style of true classical antiquity on every presumptuous opponent.

Σκηπτρα ταχ αρα συν καθαίμαξω ΚΑΡΑ. 4. • At v. 448; the Professor has excogitated an alteration of a nature sa subtle and recondite, as would alone fuffice to carry down his fame with una' rivalled glory to pofterity. Other editions have, with most lamentable and fatal incorrectness, &c. He sabstitutes, with incomparable acuteness and most edifying restoration, &c. But we wrong the reader, whilf we prevent our learned critic from communicating the discovery in his own words, Mutavi accentum, &c. In the mean time, we are reminded of some lines in Butler,

For he a rope of sand could twist
As tough as learned Sorbonist;
And weave fine cobwebs, fit for skull

That's empty when the moon is full. P. 248. 5. • Possibly the Professor looks for his remedy in those little conjurers, the magic tribe of curve and circle, and inclined plane, which he places above his words; whose prodigious atchievements we have commemorated with due reIpeat at v. 448. [that is, in the preceding paffage.'] P. 249.

Crit. Rev. for Jan. 1801. 6. When the Professor, with artful anticipation, gravely informs his readers that the authority of MSS. is none in this case, he not only exhibits a degree of assurance which is truly unpardonable, but, &c.

7: • The Profeffor's remarks on the doubtful syllables of, &c. and the like, is the disingenuous remark of one who has resolved, at all events, to fupport a preconceived opinion.' P.5.

8. • What a storm is the Profeffor raising in a bucket ! Ibid.

9. 'A misconception of such a clear unembarrassed expression of the poet's meaning were inexcusable even in a boy of tolerable proficiency in school disci. pline.' P. 6.

10. On this point many beauties might be produced from the poets of both languages : but our reward for illustrations would be nothing less than the nick name of bot.headed prattlers from our self-sufficient editors'

P. 3.



• The Profeffor is in general very sparing of his words: but where an unfortunately dull or ridiculously vain brother in criticism can be roasted to advantage, he grudges no fuperfluity of language in letting looje his farcal. tical wit on the fraternity,' P.8.


12 "We


12. "We cannot but confefs our astonishment at fuch contemptible tras; fuch waste of time and paper, without one glimmering of genuine bumour, one ray of useful information. Such a disposition to contemptuous sneering would be dearly purchased of our 'Professor by his studious youth at the price of half his critical accomplishments. Ibid.

13. Quæ insani esset solicitare. Porson. • Thus every man, we fee, who is not fortunate enough to coincide with our learned editor in opinion, is ri. probated as an arrant bedlamite, fit only for Dr. Willis and a strait waistcoat. He denounces them in the words of Horace

interdicto huic omne adímat jus

Prætor, et ad fanos abeat tutela propinquos. But what greater arrogance can be conceived than such unsubstantiated cen. fures, such laconic decisions, without a single example to authorise his dogmatin.' P.9.

Crit. Rev. for Feb. 1801. 14. Instead of

κρείσσων the Harleian MS. has xqsirooy: a variation which our editor, not claffible among the calidiores, but, with a siglit alteration, among the callidiores, the more knowing ones, most disdainfully and sneeringly rejects.' P. 138.

15. No man will confidently affirm, except the Profesor himself, and perhaps one or two of similar pertinacity, the superiority of xgescoor to κεεισσων.P. 139.

16. Hence the fourth fragment of the Phænix must be vindicated from the rash and tasteless alteration of Musgrave, whom, perhaps, the Professor will defend when he arrives at that passage, and show himself warm as well as cunning, by a multitnde of fage remarks and apposite corroborations ; or rather by fome despicable sneer at those who differ from him in opinion.' Ibid.

17. Gentle reader! if thou think the subject worthy of further investigation, thou wilt find the motives to our editor's conduct in the following plain statement of the case. Mr. Wakefield, in his Silva Critica, had approved and recommended some years ago this reading of regslogov, from a col. lation of that felf-fame Harleian MS. and THEREFORE it suited the meyxanToga opon of our Professor to reprobate and decide this elegant variation ; which he has reprobated and decided accordingly for no other reason whatsoever : thus ridiculously exhibiting, we trust, a moit notable fulfilment of a maxim in old Hesiod : η δε κακη βουλη βουλενσαντι κακιστη.

P. 140. 18. This developement of the metaphor appears to us so supremely ridia culous as to deserve no notice, but a retort of that wit,

If wit it may be called where wit is none, which our Professor deals out to others with such lavish jocularity.' P. 144.

Such, Mr. Editor, to use the words of this elegant writer, is the manner, in which “ we Critical Reviewers bandy about these subjects, in our combination garret in Grub-street, over a pot of Whitbread's entire.” Observations like these are worthy of such men, collected in such a place, and be. fuddled with such beverage. To my olfactory nerves, however, they smell moft rankly of a less honourable origin. They favour potently, of nothing attic, but of durance vile, When I read number 17, and the emphatical



« PrécédentContinuer »