Page images

ment, was brought in and laid before nelius Webb, a poet not to be sneezed me by my lassie. I took it up in pre- at,ference to all the rest, and read it with Them chaps there, I would gladly bet a gusto, as a certain pimpled lecturer dollar, would say,—not that he knows the Don't take their drink together, by Apollo. meaning of the word, but because it This, however, is a bagatelle scarcemakes the ignorant, his principal read- ly worth noticing ; but I confess I was ers, imagine that he understands Ita- seriously vexed at finding an article, lian. It amused me not a little, though p. 30, &c. in your book, written by a many of the stories are old--venerable Cockney, on the subject of poor CaPierce, with the rust of ancient maga- vanagh, the great Irish fives-player. zines upon them and many more, Is it not enough, I exclaimed, that simply cuts from those authentic re- these Cockneys write about politics, gisters of events the newspapers. Yet war, law, poetry, drama, without knowit is a pleasant little book. It revived ing a pinsworth about them, with the me to read of hunting, fishing, shoot- most brazen andindomitable assurance? ing, coursing, racing, and the other Are they not satisfied with befoulvarieties of sporting, which I was once ing by their slaver, or intolerable conable to enjoy. I never was as great a ceit, every thing venerable or amiable sportsman as Nimrodor Colonel Thorn- in the country? Are we not pestered ton, and yet I have ridden in as close enough with them elsewhere, without after the hounds as either of them; having them flung in our faces, while and I still reflect with pleasure on comfortably reading a book of sporting hearing old, no matter who, for I anecdotes? You certainly are a very cannot trust myself to write his name, proper man in your line, Pierce, but as my eyes are dim from merely think- you cannot have as much experience ing of ion hearing a gay-hearted of men and books as I, or you never old squire exclaim, when I hunted in would have polluted your work by any Yorkshire some thirty years ago, “By of the impertinent drivellings of this goles, that there gaffer” (meaning me) fellow, no more than you would have Troides rum! Raddle me, if he be’ant put a handful of bay-salt into your aʼmost as foin a broidel-hond as Yal- punch-bowl, the very idea of which low Dick, the huntsman ; and may- thrills my soul with horror. I deterhap, if he takes to it koindly, he may mined to write to you at once about be as great a man a' together.” A pro- it, 'and though scarcely able to hold phecy accomplished rather in a differ- my pen, you see I am putting my deent manner from what the vaticinator termination into practice. intended. I was a fair shot, and a to The calm assurance of this article lerable courser. I remember one day- altogether astonishes me. Here's a felbut I see that I am beginning to prate low who talks of playing fives! The about myself.

Garrulity concerning force of impudence could no farther go. past events is one of the prime charac- Why, man, he never played a game at teristics of old age, as you will find it in his life. His ideas could never soar mentioned a dozen times in the notes so high: he could as soon fly to the of Clarke's Homer, if you are up to 'lunar sphere, like Daniel O'Rourke or reading it. When I began, I did not Astolpho. He has not the spirit to intend to say a word about myself, engage in any game, which would rebeing desirous to call your attention to quire more pluck than is possessed by a far different subject, to which I shall a well-trained shrimp, or a city haberimmediately advert, after remarking dasher. The little blood he ever had en passant that stories of thieves, pick- in his veins, has been washed away by pockets, blacklegs, &c. ought not to eternal dilutions of tea, by everlastbe mixed up with anecdotes of sport- ing decoctions of congo. His hands, ing and sporting men. Bill Habbers- lord love them, are too pretty for any field and Duke Hamilton, the Prince thing, but to wield his pen for the of Wales, Major Baggs, and Tom Crib, purpose of writing, venomous tirades do not agree well together. Non bene against his King and country, or lackconveniunt, nec in unâ sede morantur, adaisiacal, water-gruel sonnets on the as Ovid very properly remarks on the peterpastoral ruralities of the Serpenoccasion, in a verse which has been tine or Fleetditch. And yet he has thus ingeniously translated by Mr Cor- the unparalleled audacity to pretend

he feels an interest in the honest, Ball-playing, or, in hisown elegant lansoul-stirring, thirst-begetting British guage, game of fives !-0! Shame, where is

Striking a ball your blush ? Any where, says Shame,

Against a wall, except on the lemon-coloured physi- exhilarates a man's spirits, raises no ognomy of a Cockney.

blush but the healthy glow of manly I repeat, Pierce, that he does not exercise, and excites no ideas but those even know how many aces there are in of good humour and innocence, while the game, and as you understand bet- Rimini is enough to throw a man into ting more clearly than ratiocination, I the horrors; and I leave it to his own bet you Blackwood's Magazine to the conscience to answer what blush it calls dirty work of Hazlit, which is some up, and what ideas it is calculated to thing more than Lombard-street to a excite. After this comes on some more china orange, that he knows no more stuff in praise of fives, which I skip; the use of a hand-ball than he does of a for it is manifest that he is extolling hand-grenade. The notion of his going what he knows nothing about, just as to a fives-court is in fact ridiculous: he lauds the Italian poets sometimes. To my ideas, at least, (if I may defile We also have a panegyric upon Cavamyself by a vile Cockney phrase), it is nagh, and it must lacerate every soul more worthy of laughter than the most of sensibility, to see that fine fellow of pathetic of Keates's sonnets, and more an Irishman undergoing the praise of a than that a man cannot well say. Just Cockney. I am informed by a letter think of a poor feckless animal like from a friend in Ireland, that his sure this, crammed full of the vile vapours viving family are quite indignant at of tea, bread and butter, filthy politics, this atrocious libel, and are determined and Cockney poetry, standing up to to do something on the occasion. His play a game, that requires activity of poor mother, who is not a woman of body, dexterity of hand, and quickness literary habits, as she is rather unacof eye: Or figure to yourself such a quainted with the alphabet, on having creature, summoning up resolution to the matter explained to her, a task of call for a quart of porter to wash down some difficulty, said with much indigthe dust, and endeavouring to put the nation," Arragh, is that the sort of honest extract of malt into his perk, spalpeen who is going a keening after ed-up muzzle, a depot for such small poor Shane ? Ohone !--hone! If he mixtures as hyson or toast-water. was alive the day, its a fine kicking he Why, Pierce, he would faint at the would give that bullaboo, for speaksight of the jolly, laughing, cauliflower ing that fashion about him after he was head of that magnanimous liquor.

dead !” and I am sure you must symIshall proceed, my dear Egan, to exa- pathize with this hapless Hibernian mine this article a little, and shew you matron. the utter coxcombry and insolence of But to return to our author. He this unfortunate scribbler. Let us be soon finds it imposssible to go on with gin with the beginning. His third sen- panegyric, and from mere inability, falls tence is this,-“ It may be said that to the trade he is best used to, that of there are things of more importance abusing those who are immeasureably thanstrikinga ballagainst a wall—there above him. Here is a specimen. are things, indeed, that makemorenoise, vanagh's blows were not undecided and and do as little good, such as making ineffectual, lumbering like Mr Wordswar and peace, making speeches and worth’s epic poetry, nor wavering like answering them,making verses and blot- Mr Coleridge's lyric prose, nor short of ting them, making money and throwing the mark like Mr Brougham's speeches, it away.” Is it not evident to you, that nor void of it like Mr Canning's wit, this is a dirty species of slang, my dear nor foul like the Quarterly, nor let Pierce, quite different from the bang up balls like the Edinburgh Review.As language of the fancy, of which you are Wordsworth and Coleridge do not frethegreat lexicographer ? You see from quent the Daffy Club, you may not it at once, that the fellow who could have heard that they are two of the write this puppy sentence never had a greatest men in the litérary 'worldheart to play fives. On it, I shall only such fellows, in short, as Tom Crib or remark, that he is much mistaken if Jack Randal in their own way,and Hazball-playing does not do more good litt's criticizing them, is just as prime than writing such poems as Rimini. gammon as if the Brumagem youth

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

was to strip against the champion, or ture, and on this, as Hamlet says. Alderman Waithman to try a turn up Why, Cavanagh, though a smart felwith Sutton. And it is no bad joke low indeed, was in no one lineament that this mudlark of Cockaigne

takes it of gentlemanly or manly appearance, into his head that he patronizes Words- or, to use his Lordship's own pet worth every now and then, and yet you phrase, in no fundamental feature, to see him here talking of his epic

poetry, be compared to Lord Castlereagh ; though I assure you, Pierce, the man but to put this being who prates of never wrote an epic in his life. And his looks in competition with him, then Mr Canning's wit! O tempora, would be as bad as comparing a baO mores! I thank you to look at the boon to the Apollo Belvidere. He ass who puts himself up as the judge suspects Mr Croker of having given of wit, and the wit of such a man as him some sharp dressings, and thinks Canning. He spits at the Quarterly he has made a grand hit in return, by for the same reason that a thievish sol- cracking that excellentjoke on his hangdier never can give a good word to the ing eye-brows. The thing is a lie, but Provost Marshal; he has tasted his that, no doubt, in his opinion, enhanthong, and still feels his back so sore ced the wit. Poor jackass ! As for Mr from the castigation, that he cannot Murray's down looks, I fear there is even think of hispunisher without win- some foundation for the charge, but I cing. As for bully Brougham and the could cure him in a month. All he has Edinburgh, though I am not exactly to do is to take to reading us with might in the habit of twisting my bunch of and main ; let him peruse us with unfive with theirs, yet I should be a very sated eyes; let him deyour us with unfair fellow indeed, if I did not admit unwearied jaws; let him swallow us that the worthy hero of the "well down with immeasurable throat; and foughten field," and little Frank are if that will not clear his countenance, much too decent out-and-outers to be put jollification and delight into his carped at by such a sneaking coster- face, and lift his eyes from the perumonger as this knight of the white sal of the base earth, there is no truth feather.

in man. I am anxious he should do Again, he brings in how “politi- this, for he is really one of the best and cians wonder to see the balance of Eu- most honourable fellows in the world, rope suspended in Lord Castlereagh's though no astronomer. Let him reface, and admire the trophies of the flect seriously on my advice, if he British navy under Mr Croker's hang- should hear it, taking warning by the ing brow. "Now Cavanagh was as words of old Merrythought: “I have good a looking man as the noble lord, seen,” says that worthy elder," a man and a much better than the Right come by my door, with a serious face, in Honourable Secretary. He had a clear, a black cloak, without a hat-band, caropen countenance, and did not look rying his head as if he looked for pins in sideways or down, like Mr Murray the the street; I have looked out of the winbookseller.” Now, for God's sake, did dow half a year after, and have spied you ever hear such impertinence ?-Is that man's head upon London Bridge," he thinking of his own principles, or which would be a sad end for Mr Murof Mr Leigh Hunt, with his coming- ray, and would spread woe and consterup mouth, and his "showery sinile,” nation among the bright literary lumiand his “clipsome waist," and his naries of Albemarle Street. But serious“nose lightsomely brought down from ly, Pierce, I leave it to you if this ruffian a forehead of clear-spirited thought,” personality be not altogether abominaand his washerwoman air, and his ble; more particularlyif youreflect, that whole phisiognomy redolent of con- the gang of which this Cockney is the ceit;-has this animal, I say, whose prime swell, are the most sore, touchy, appearance puts you in mind of the thin-skinned abortions conceivable. Serpentine, and the Indicator, the Ex- Were any of my friends, Adam Oeh, aminer, and Heigh-ho-nonny, little lenschlaeger, the great Danish dramaJohnny, and other vile slops, has he tist, for instance, to drop a word about the consummate assurance to talk of Hazlitt's face being as thick studdedwith people's looks! Compare him with pimples as a tumblerof soda water is with Lord Castlereagh! Look upon this pic- air-bubbles, or to hint that John Keates

* See the close of Mr Denman's speech on St Caroline.

was a smart hand at a glyster, you have ligion ; nor am I particularly given to no notion what a lamentable squeaking fasting, but I do not forget that it was would be sent forth from all the tiny one of the practices of the primitive ratholes where these animals burrow. church-for which, to be sure, this They abuse and libel the most digni- heartless buffoon does not care a farfied characters in the empire; the thing. That he should vent a pointKing, the clergy, the nobles, the men less sarcasm on Mr Peel and the Speakillustrious in war, policy, or literature er, is only natural—they are gentle-and think they have a carte blanche men, and of course honoured by his for so doing ; but they themselves— hostility, and accordingly I shall say poor devils that they are-must for- nothing of that. sooth be sacred characters, like the old I really am tired of exposing this Roman tribunes-not to be touched. piece of blackguardism, which yet is It is lezè majestè of Cockaigne to laugh only six pages long, and after quoting at the ridiculous persons, or the ridi one more passage, shall aing it from culous minds of any of its inhabi me in disgust.“ Powell is at present tants; but in their brutal doggrel or the keeper of Fives Court, and we caricatures, they may picture our King might have recommended to him for as a beast, or our bishops as pimple- a motto over his door, “Who enters nosed debauchees, or, as in articles here forgets himself, his country, and like this, may upbraid Mr Croker with his friends.' And the best of it is, hanging eye-brows, and Mr Murray that by the calculation of the odds, with downcast looks. Is not this none of the three are worth rememgross and stupid assurance ? Mr Mur- bering.” True it is, indeed, that this ray is an upright and honourable heartless scribbler has forgotten his man, of sound principles in church country. Take up any of his trash, no and state that I shall say of him, matter of what date, and you will though he and I are a little cool at find abundant proofs of his utter Antipresent and on account of those very English spirit. Not a ruffian, great or principles, he is attacked with sneering small, can lift his head, or raise his personality. What the principles or tongue or pen against England, or Engcharacters of the Cockney authors are, lish interests, at home or abroad, but I need not say; but if any one happen is sure of being eulogized by him; not. to think they are not entirely exempt a scoundrel can join in a cry of revolufrom ridicule, the whole flock bristle tion, robbery, and murder, in any quarup their feathers at once, put them- ter of the globe, without being extolled selves into the most comic attitudes of as a patriot, or canonized as a martyr. turkey-cock defiance, and begin gob- You will find Buonaparte, and his huffbling with indefatigable bill. Of this, cap marshals, held forth as invincible, Pierce, you have most probably never evenin the middleofrunaway defeat and heard, as these dunghill birds are not ruin; you will find our national heroes much known beyond their own roosts, vilified, and our victories, from Trafalexcept by such people as myself, gar to Waterloo, depreciated and slanwho now and then condescend to cast dered. There every un-English sentian eye on the poultry, just to pluck ment is carefully treasured up; radicalone or other of them, to make a feast ism is recommended, assassination panefor the honest people of the realm ;, gyrized. I wonder not, therefore, at his but I assure you it is the fact, and saying he does not think it worth while what is your candid opinion of such to remember his country; but Iutterly conduct ?

disbelieve him when he informsus that · Let me take another sample of this it is among the honest recreations of precious article. “ As Mr Peel made it the Fives Court that he has lost his a qualification of the present Speaker, memory. I know that he never mixed Mr Manners Sutton, that he was an in any such manly sports; and I know excellent moral character, so Jack Ca- also, that country is always forgotten vanagh was a zealous Catholic, and by those who have the misfortune of could not be prevailed on to eat meat wallowing in the sloughs of his muchon Friday, the day on which he died.” be-praised Jacobinism. Whether he I am not a Roman Catholic, yet I can- has any friends or not, I cannot say ; not feel any thing but contempt for a but if the rule noscitur a socio, (which man, who could thus sneer at one of being interpreted, Pierce, signifies, the most solemn ordinances of that re- Tell me with whom thou goest, and I

will thee how thou doest,) be a good not the matter at heart; púns and poone, they must be little worth remem- litics always rising up to spoil the bering indeed. Washerwomen, I sus- sporting effect. Compare the best of pect, are his chief associates ; but I am his slang things, with Odoherty's painclined to think he has no friends, or pers on Boxiana in Blackwood, and they would hardly suffer him to make you will see our infinite superiority. such an ass of himself as he does, when Long may the Fancy keep free from he goes about speaking of Homer with the contamination of the Cockneys ! out knowing a letter of Greek.

Long may they be ready to chaunt such I believe I need not say any more on elegant stanzas as your own : the subject. I flatter myself I have

'Twas on the plains of Waterloo, slaughtered the Cockney with ease and affluence. I have kicked the turnspit

Old England proved her valour true,

Where Shaw, he nine Frenchmen slew, out of the ring, and he will not be able


there did see ! to shew his face there for six months at least. I have shewn his appalling Long may they have a hand to spare assurance in pretending that he knows to level a plebeian, who would underany thing about Fives playing-his value that immortal victory, and the unequalled audacity in attempting to glorious general who floored, not by panegyrize it—his want of feeling to- good luck, as Tom Moore sings, but wards poor Cavanagh-hisinsolent per- by British talent, and British bravery, sonality towards respectable persons the first swell of France, the prime one, and his total heartlessness throughout. who milled, not us indeed, for that What can a man do more? You may never was in his breeches, but almost ask, Pierce, why I have thought it all the game men of the Continent. Inworth my while to write so long a let- deed, the late behaviour of the Cockter about so contemptible a fellow; to ney rabble, instigated by such pestilent which I answer, first, because I wish scribblers as Hone, Wooler, Wager-ofyou well, and am desirous that you battle Thelwall, and others of that riffshould thrust this garbage out of your raff brotherhood, to the Duke, would book without delay. Believe me, it is be enough to make a fair man for ever a disgrace to any decent man's book, as forswear Radicalism. What would I have sufficiently shewn already. And, Tom Crib say to a parcel of scoundrels, secondly, it would give me inexpressi- who mustered together to assail one ble grief, were the Cockney crew to be man, and he, too, one of the greatest at all read by the Fancy. The pugilists glories of England? Would not he of Britain are part and parcel of her call them a gang of base poltroons ; fame, and must, of necessity, be loyal and look upon any fellow who would --they must be downright Tories, like have the villainy to praise their conmyself. Every brave and honest man duct with ineffable contempt? I swear in the kingdom should, in fact, be a he would. This one trait of their chaTory; and unless I deceive myself, racter, will enable you, Pierce, to apthe valiant heroes of the ring are, to á preciate this fellow's ability for writing man, ready to throw a crossbuttock in sporting articles. It shews that he does honour of Church and State. Rich- not even understand fair play. mond, a great authority, I know, is I must apologize, dear Egan, for jocose on the clergy at times; but it sticking you for treble postage; but is only in jest, for his principles, as you I cannot get a frank, as all our Scots can testify, Pierce, are sound, firm as Members of both Houses, are attendAilsa's rock. We must allow for his ing their duty in Parliament, where I Transatlantic education, and for his hope they will exert themselves to having been born under the auspices keep the Whigs out of power. What of a divine, which may make him think immense mouths that half-starved he has a right to take a little liberty gang are opening for the loaves and with the cloth. No Whigs are pugia fishes ! Read the last article of the lists ; they have not the heart to shake last Edinburgh Review, on Parliaa fist, or even to write a good boxing mentary Reform, and you will see article. Tom Moore, a mighty clever with half an eye, that the poor devil little fellow, is the only one who tries who wrote it (entre nous Peter Moore) it; but though some of his hits are is absolutely ravenous. Good heaamusing enough, you see that he has vens! just think what a knife and

« PreviousContinue »