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"Added to all these domestic cares, I was village parson, village doctor, village comforter, village magistrate, and Edinburgh Reviewer; so you see I had not much time left on my hands to regret London.”
ment, from imperious superstition. What health is to the animal, Liberalism is to the polity. It is a principle of fermenting enjoyment, running over all the nerves, inspiring the frame, happy in its mind, easy in its place, glad to behold the sun. All this Syd- It is impossible not to be reminded of and ney Smith, as it were, personified. The bi- to compare this with the life of Sir Walter ography just published of him will be very Scott. There is the same strong sense, the serviceable to his fame. He has been re- same glowing, natural pleasure, the same garded too much as a fashionable jester, and power of dealing with men, the same power metropolitan wit of society. We have now of diffusing common happiness. Both enjoyed for the first time a description of him as he as much in a day, as an ordinary man in a was,-equally at home in the crude world month. The term "animal spirits " peculiarly of Yorkshire, and amid the quintessential re-expresses this bold enjoyment; it seems to come finements of Mayfair. It is impossible to be- from a principle intermediate between the lieve that he did not give the epithet to his mind and the body; to be hardly intellectual parish it is now called Forton le Clay. It enough for the soul, and yet too permeating was a "mute inglorious" Sydney of the dis- and aspiring for crude matter. Of course trict, that invented the name, if it is really there is an immense imaginative world in older than the century. It is a heavy parish Scott's existence to which Sydney Smith had no of obtuse soil, inhabited by stiff-clayed York- claim. But they met upon the present world; shiremen. There was nobody in the parish they enjoyed the spirit of life;" they loved to speak to, only peasants, farmers, and such the world, and the world them;" they did not like (what the clergy call parishioners par pain themselves with immaterial speculation excellence), and an old clerk who thought-roast beef was an admitted fact. A cerevery one who came from London a fool, tain, even excessive, practical caution which "but you I do zee, Mr. Smith, be no fool." This was the sort of life.
"I turned schoolmaster, to educate my son, as I could not afford to send him to school. Mrs. Sydney turned schoolmistress, to educate my girls, as I could not afford a governess. I turned farmer, as I could not let my land. A man-servant was too expensive; so I caught up a little garden-girl, made like a milestone, christened her Bunch, put a napkin in her hand, and made her my butler. The girls taught her to read, Mrs. Sydney to wait, and I undertook her morals; Bunch became the best butler in the county.
is ascribed to the Englishman, Scott would have been the better for. Yet his biography would have been the worse. There is nothing in the life before us comparable in interest to the tragic, gradual cracking of the great mind; the overtasking of the great capital, and the ensuing failure; the spectacle of heaving genius breaking in the contact with misfortune. The anticipation of this pain increases the pleasure of the read er; the commencing threads of coming calamity shade the woof of pleasure; the proximity of suffering softens the usos, the terrible, fatiguing energy of enjoyment.
"I had little furniture, so I bought a cartA great deal of excellent research has been load of deals; took a carpenter (who came to spent on the difference between "humor," me for parish relief, called Jack Robinson) with and wit," into which metaphysical proba face like a full-moon, into my service; estab-lem" our limits," of course, forbid us to enlished him in a barn, and said, Jack, furnish my house.' You see the result. ter. There is, however, between them, the "At last it was suggested that a carriage was distinction of dry sticks and green sticks; much wanted in the establishment; after dili- there is in humor a living energy, a diffused gent search I discovered in the back settlements potency, a noble sap; it grows upon the of a York coach-maker, an ancient green char- character of the humorist. Wit is part of iot, supposed to have been the earliest invention the machinery of the intellect; as Madame of the kind. I brought it home in triumph to de Stael says, " La gaieté de l'esprit est facile my admiring family. Being somewhat dilapi- à tous les hommes de l'esprit." We wonder dated, the village tailor lined it, the village Mr. Babbage does not invent a punning-enblacksmith repaired it; nay (but for Mrs. Syd- gine; it is just as possible as a calculating ney's earnest entreaties), we believe the village one. Sydney Smith's mirth was essentially painter would have exercised his genius upon humorous; it clings to the character of the the exterior; it escaped this danger, however,
and the result was wonderful. Each year added man; as with the sayings of Dr. Johnson, to its charms: it grew younger and younger; a there is a species of personality attaching to new wheel, a new spring; I christened it the it; the word is more graphic because Sydney Immortal; it was known all over the neighbor-Smith-that man being the man that he hood; the village boys cheered it, and the vil-was-said it, than it would have been if lage dogs barked at it; but Faber meæ fortu- said by any one else. In a desponding mona' was my motto, and we had no false shame.ment, he said he was none the better for the
jests which he made, any more than a bottle for the wine which passed through it: this is a true description of many a wit, but he was very unjust in attributing it to himself.
heart; but his mind, his brain had a frightful capacity for secret pain; his sharpness was the sharpness of disease; his power, the sore acumen of morbid wretchedness. It is impossible to fancy a parallel more proper to show the excellence, the unspeakable superiority, of a buoyant and bounding writer.
Sydney Smith is often compared to Swift; but this only shows with how little thought our common criticism is written. The two men have really nothing in common, except that they were both high in the church, At the same time, it is impossible to give and both wrote amusing letters about Ireland. to Sydney Smith the highest rank, even as a And a critic, whom one would have fancied humorist. Almost all his humor has referto have an opposite prejudice, has lately pre-ence to the incongruity of special means to ferred the Drapier's letters to "Peter Plym- special ends. The notion of Plymley is want ley. Of course, to the great constructive of conformity between the notions of "my and elaborative power displayed in Swift's longer works, Sydney Smith has no pretension; he could not have written "Gulliver's Travels;" but so far as the two series of Irish letters goes, it seems to us plain that he has the advantage. Plymley's letters are true; the treatment may be incomplete- the Catholic religion may have latent dangers and insidious attractions which are not there mentioned but the main principle is sound; the common sense of religious toleration is hardly susceptible of better explanation. Drapier's letters, on the contrary, are essentially absurd; they are a clever appeal to ridiculous prejudices. Who cares now for a disputation on the evils to be apprehended a ' hundred years ago from adulterated halfpence, especially when we know that the halfpence were not adulterated, and that if they had been, those evils would never have arisen? Any one, too, who wishes to make a collection of currency crotchets, will find those letters worth his attention. No doubt there is a clever affectation of common sense in these, as in all of Swift's political writings, and the style has an air of business; yet, on the other hand, there are no passages which any one would now care to quote for their manner and their matter; and there are many in "Plymley" that will be constantly cited, so long as existing controversies are at all remembered. The whole genius of the two writers is emphatically opposed. Sydney Smith's is the ideal of popular, buoyant, riotous fun; it cries and laughs with boisterous mirth; it rolls hither and thither like a mob, with elastic and commonplace joy. Swift was a detective in a dean's wig; he watched the mob; his whole wit is a kind of dexterous indication of popular frailties; he hated the crowd; he was a spy on beaming smiles, and a common informer against genial enjoyment. His whole essence was a soreness against mortality; show him innocent mirth, he would say, How absurd! He was painfully wretched, no doubt, in himself: perhaps, as they say, he had no
* See the last number of the Edinburgh Review.
brother Abraham," and the means of which he makes use; of the quiet clergyman, who was always told he was a bit of a goose, advocating conversion by muskets, and stopping Bonaparte by Peruvian bark. The notion of the letters to Archdeacon Singleton is, a bench of bishops, placid, and pleasantly destroying the church. It is the same with most of his writings. Even when there is nothing absolutely practical in the idea, the subject is from the scenery of practice, from concrete entities, near institutions, superficial facts. You might quote a hundred instances. This is one: "A gentleman, in speaking of a nobleman's wife of great rank and fortune, lamented very much that she had no children. A medical gentleman who was present observed, that to have no children was a great misfortune, but he had often observed it was hereditary in families." This is what we mean by saying his mirth lies in the superficial relations of phenomena (some will say we are pompous, like the medical man); in the relation of one external fact to another external fact; of one detail of common life to another detail of common life. But this is not the highest topic of humor. Taken as a whole, the universe is absurd. There seems an unalterable contradiction between the human mind and its employments. How can a soul be a merchant? What relation to an immortal being have the price of linseed, the fall of butter, the tare on tallow, or the brokerage on hemp? Can an undying creature debit "petty expenses," and charge for "carriage paid?" "All the world's a stage; "the satchel, and the shining morning face"-the "strange oaths; "-"the bubble reputation"—the "Eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws and modern instances."
Can these things be real? Surely they are acting. What relation have they to the truth as we see it in theory? What connexion with our certain hopes, our deep desires, our craving and infinite thought?" In respect of itself, it is a good life; but in respect it is a shepherd's life, it is nought." The soul
ties its shoe; the mind washes its hands in a innumerable persons (may we not say the basin. All is incongruous.
Shallow. Certain, 'tis certain; very sure, very sure; death, as the Psalmist saith, is certain to all; all shall die. How a good yoke of
bullocks at Stamford fair?
Silence. Truly, cousin, I was not there.
Shallow. Dead. See! See! He drew a good bow, and dead. He shot a fine shoot. John of Gaunt loved him well, and betted much money on his head. - Dead! He would have clapped i' the clout at fourscore, and carried you a forehandshaft, a fourteen and fourteen and-a-half, that it would have done a man's heart good to see. How a score of ewes now?
Silence. Thereafter as they be; a score of ewes may be worth ten pounds.
Shallow. And is old Double dead!.
It is because Sydney Smith had so little of this Shakspearean humor, that there is a glare in his pages, and that in the midst of his best writing, we sigh for the soothing superiority of quieter writers.
majority of mankind?) who have a belief in God and immortality, have, nevertheless, scarcely any consciousness of the peculiar doctrines of the Gospel. They seem to live aloof from them in the world of business or of pleasure, the common life of all men,' not without a sense of right, and a rule of truth and honesty, yet insensible" to much which we need not name. "They have never in their whole lives experienced the love of God, the sense of sin, or the need of forgiveness. Often they are remarkable for the purity of their morals; many of them have strong and disinterested attachments and quick human sympathies; sometimes a stoical feeling of uprightness, or a peculiar sensitiveness to dishonor. It would be a mis
take to say that they are without religion. They join in its public acts; they are offended at profaneness or impiety; they are thankful for the blessings of life, and do not rebel against its misfortunes. Such men meet us at every step. They are those whom we know and associate with; honest in their dealings, respectable in their lives, decent in Sydney Smith was not only the wit of the their conversation. The Scripture speaks first Edinburgh, but likewise the divine. He to us of two classes, represented by the was, to use his own expression, the only church and the world, the wheat and the clergyman who in those days" turned out tares, the sheep and the goats, the friends to fight the battles of the Whigs. In some and enemies of God. We cannot say in sort this was not so important. A curious which of these two divisions we should find abstinence from religious topics characterizes a place for them." They believe always the original Review. There is a wonderful a kind of "natural religion." Now these omission of this most natural topic of specu- are what we may call, in the language of lation in the lives of Horner and Jeffrey. In the past, Liberals. Those who can rememtruth, it would seem, that living in the in- ber, or who will re-read, our delineation of cessant din of an essentially Calvinistic coun- the Whig character, may observe its contry, the best course for thoughtful and seri- formity. There is the same purity and delous men was to be silent, at least they icacy, the same tranquil sense; an equal instinctively thought so. They felt no invol- want of imagination, of impulsive enthusiuntary call to be theological teachers them-asm, of shrinking fear. You need not speak selves, and as refined and gentle men neces- like the above writer of "peculiar docsarily recoiled from the coarse admonition trines," the phenomenon is no speciality of around them. Even in the present milder a particular creed. Glance over the whole time, few cultivated persons willingly think of history, as the classical world stood beon the special dogmas of distinct theology. They do not deny them, but they live apart from them they do not disbelieve them, but they are silent when they are stated. They do not deny the existence of Kamschatka, but they have no call to busy themselves with Kamschatka; they abstain from peculiar tenets. Nor in truth is this, though much aggravated by existing facts, a mere accident of the present times. There are some people to whom such a course of conduct is always natural: there are certain persons who do not, as it would seem cannot, feel all that others feel; who have, so to say, no ear for much of religion; who are in some sort out of its reach. "It is impossible," says a late divine of the Church of England, "not to observe that
side the Jewish; as Horace beside St. Paul; like the heavy ark and the buoyant waves, so are men in contrast with one another. You cannot imagine a classical Isaiah; you cannot fancy a Whig St. Dominic; there is no such thing as a Liberal Augustine. The deep sea of mysticism lies opposed to some natures; in some moods it is a sublime wonder; in others an "impious ocean," - they will never put forth on it at any time.
All this is intelligible, and in a manner beautiful as a character; but it is not equally excellent as a creed. A certain class of Liberal divines have endeavored to petrify Into a theory a flowing and placid disposi tion. In some respects Sydney Smith is one of these; his sermons are the least excellent
of his writings; of course they are sensible ble men connected at its origin with the Edand well-intentioned, but they have the de-inburgh Review. And that exception is a fect of his school. With misdirected energy, man of too fitful, defective, and strange these divines have labored after a plain re- greatness to be spoken of now. Henry ligion; they have forgotten that a quiet and Brougham must be left to after-times. Indefinite mind is confined to a placid and defi- deed, he would have marred the unity of our nite world; that religion has its essence in article. He was connected with the Whigs, awe, its charm in infinity, its sanction in but he never was one. His impulsive ardor dread; that its dominion is an inexplicable is the opposite of their coolness; his irregudominion; that mystery is its power. There lar, discursive intellect contrasts with their is a reluctance in all such writers; they quiet and perfecting mind. Of those of whom creep away from the unintelligible parts of we have spoken, let us say, that if none of the subject; they always seem to have some- them attained to the highest rank of abstract thing behind; not to like to bring out what intellect; if the disposition of none of them they know to be at hand. They are in their was ardent or glowing enough to hurry them nature apologists; and, as George the Third forward to the extreme point of daring greatsaid, "I did not know the Bible needed an ness; if only one can be said to have a lastapology." As well might the thunder being place in real literature, it is clear that ashamed to roll, as religion hesitate to be they vanquished a slavish cohort; that they too awful for mankind. The invective of Lucretius is truer than the placid patronage of the divine. Let us admire Liberals in life, but let us keep no terms with Paleyans in speculation.
And so we must draw to a conclusion. We have in some sort given a description of, with one great exception, the most remarka
upheld the name of freemen in a time of bondsmen; that they applied themselves to that which was real, and accomplished much which was very difficult; that the very critics who question their inimitable excellence will yet admire their just and scarcely imitable example.
HIGGLEDY PIGGLEDY. -I can offer an amusing illustration of the use of this term in the sense of tantum quantum, as indicated by the Latin quotation of T. B. M. The party I well knew, and the occurrence I well remember, though it was long years ago. An old farmer in Staffordshire sent for a lawyer to make his will. Upon the legal gentleman inquiring for some preliminary instructions how the property was to be distrib-| uted, the old man replied that he meant to leave it higgledy piggledy. The lawyer observed that he did not understand what he meant, and begged him to explain, which elicited this ungracious rejoinder: "If you dunna know what higgledy piggledy means, you bayn't fit to be a lawyer." Now, the honest farmer intended, as he proceeded to explain, that his property should be equally divided among his children; which shows the use of the term in the very sense of tantum quantum. Notes and Queries.
then we come to a time when the club took ex-
"What things have we seen
Ben Jonson had another club, of which he ap-
From The Independent.
THE WIND IN THE PINE.
O WAILING Wind! what words are thine,
Thou shouldst not breathe so sad a lay
That meekly stands through shine and shower,
While deep within the leafy wood
That maketh glad the solitude
O! I have seen thee shut the Rose
By holy shrine at set of sun,
That, sloping southward to the sun,
Its radiant blossoms one by one,
But now those joyous tones are fled,
Some maiden's fond and faithful lover?
Or, where the misty northern seas
Will deem it is the soul of him
Within some cavern greenly dim! Or, sadder far than this, than all, O! hast thou seen the living death Of one to whom a funeral pall, A pang to steal the lingering breath, A green and quiet burial sod, Apart from men, alone with God, Would be a joy, a welcome bed, For love and hope alike were fled? And, blending sorrow's tone with thine, Hast stolen to this answering pine?
O, wailing Wind! thy mournful sighs
The stars are looking forth in heaven, And all the air is hushed and still,
Save when a mountain bird has given Its rushing pinions to the blue And silent depths it wanders through Up to its nest beneath the shade
Some cliff's o'erhanging brow has made;
That lies so tranquilly below.
Their wings above their breasts of gold,
Droop round the door to welcome me.
But often when the skies are clear
And thou shalt give me back thine own,
New Hampshire, Sept., 1855.