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statesmen and authors equally contributed. He continued to discharge his duties as editor until within two years of his death, which took place on the 31st of December 1826. Gifford claimed for himself
A fixed contempt of wrong. He was high-spirited, courageous and sincere. In most of his wri tings, however, there was a strong tinge of personal ascerbity, and even virulence. He was a good hater, and as he was opposed to all political visionaries and reformers, he had seldom time to cool. His siterary criticism, also, where no such prejudices could interfere, was frequently disfigured by the same severity of style or temper; and whoever, dead or living, had ventured to say aught against Ben Jonson, or write what he deemed wrong comments on his favourite dramatists, were assailed with a vehemence that was ludicrously disproportioned to the offence.
His attacks on Hazlitt, Lamb, Hunt, and others, in the ‘Quarterly Review,' have no pretensions to fair or candid criticism. His object was to crush such authors as were opposed to the government of the day, or who departed from his canons of literary propriety and good taste. Even the best of his criticisms, though acute and spirited, want candour and comprehensiveness of design. As a politician, he looked with distrust and suspicion on the growing importance of America, and kept alive among the English aristocracy a feeling of dislike or hostility towards that country, which was as unwise as it was ungenerous. His best service to literature was his edition of Ben Jonson, in which he successfully vindicated that great English classic from the unjust aspersions of his countrymen. His satirical poetry is pungent, and often happy in expression, but without rising into moral grandeur or pathos. His small but sinewy intellect, as some one has said, was well employed in bruising the butterflies of the Deila Cruscan Muse. Some of his short copies of versés possess a quict, plaintive melancholy and tenderness; but his fame must rest en his influence and talents as a critic and annotator, or more properly, on the story of his life and early struggles--honourable to himscif, and ultimately to his country--which will be read and remembered when his other writings are forgotten.
The Grave of Anna. I wish I was where Anna lies,
But who, when I am turned to clay, For I am sick of lingering here:
Shall duly to her grave repair, And every hour affection cries,
And pluck the ragged moss away, [there? Go and partake her humble bier.
And weeds that have no business I wish I could! For when she died, And who with pious hand shall bring I lost my all; and life has proved
The flowers she cherished, snow-drops Since that sad hour a dreary void;
And violets that unheeded spring, [coid, A waste unlovely and unloved.
To scatter o'er her hallowed mould ?
And who, while mem vry loves to dwell
Upon her name for ever dear,
And pour the bitter, bítter tear ?
And can thy soft persuasive look,
Thy voice that might with music vie, Thy air that every gazer took,
Thy matchless eloquence of eye;
I did it, and would fate allow,
Thy spirits frolicsome as good, Should visit still, should still deplore
Thy courage by no ills dismayed, But health and strength have left me now, Thy patience by no wrongs subdued,
And I, alas! can weep no more. A. Thy gay good-humour, can they fade?
Take then, sweet maid! this simple strain, Perhaps but sorrow dims my eye;
Cold turf which I no more must view, Thy grave must then undecked remain, Dear name which I no more must sigh,
And all thy memory fade with mine. A long, a last, a sad adieu ! The above affecting elegiac stanzas were written by Gifford on a faithful attendant who died in his service. He erected a tombstone to her memory in the burying-ground of Grosvenor Chapel, South Audley Street, with the following inscription and epitaph :
Here lies the body of Ann Davies, (for more than twenty years) servant to WilLiam Gifford. She died February 6th, 1815, in the forty-third year of her age, of a tedions and painful malady, which she bore with exemplary patience and resignation. Her deeply afflicted inaster erected this stone to her memory, as a painful testimony of her uncommon worth and of his perpetual gratitude, respect, and affection for her long and meritorious services:
Though here unknown, dear Ann, thy ashes rest,
FIRST OF MAY, Though clouds obscured the morning How pleasant, from that dome-crowned hour.
hill, And keen and eager blew the blast,
To view the varied scene below, And drizzling fell the cheerless shower, Woods, ships, and spires,and, lovelier still,
As, doubtful, to the skiff we passed : The circling Thames' majestic flow !
Ali soon, propitious to our prayer,
Gave promise of a brighter day; The clouds dispersed in purer air,
The blasts in zephyrs died away.
How sweet, as indolently laid,
We overhung that long-drawn dale,
That glanced upon the shifting sail!
So have we, love, a day enjoyed,
And dread no thorn beneath the rose.
And when the shadow's rapid growth
Proclaimed the noontide hour expired, And, though unwearied, nothing loath,'
We to our simple meal retired ;
The sportive wile, the blameless jest,
The careless mind's spontaneous flow, Gave to that simple meal a zest
Which richer tables may not know.
And oh! how like a fairy dream
To gaze in silence on the tide,
Slept on the glassy surface wide!
The babe that on the mother's breast
Has toved and wantoned for a while, And sinking in unconscious rest,
Looks up to catch a parting smile;
And many a thought of fancy bred,
Wild, soothing, tender, undefined, Played lightly round the heart, and shed
Delicious languor o'er the mind.
Feels less assured than thou, dear maid, So hours like moments winged their When, ere thy ruby lips could part
flight, As close to mine thy cheek was laid
Till now the boatman on the shore, Thine eyes had opened all thy heart. Impatient of the waning light,
Recalled us by the dashing oar. Then, then I marked the chastened joy
That lightly o'er thy features stole, Well, Anna, many days like this From vows repaid-my sweet employ
I cannot, must not hope to share ; From truth, from innocence of soul: For I have found an hour of bliss
Still followed by an age of care. While every word dropt on my ear
So soft-and yet it seemed to thrill Yet oft when memory intervenesSo sweet that 'twas a heaven to hear,
But you, dear maid, be happy still, And e'en thy pause had music still. Nor e'er regret, midst fairer scenes,
The day we passed on Greenwich Hill.
THE ANTI-JACOBIN POETRY. We have alluded to the 'Anti-Jacobin' weekly paper, of which Mr. Gifford was editor. In this publication, various copies of verses were inserted, chiefly of a satirical nature. The poetry, like the prose, of the 'Anti-Jacobin' was designed to ridicule and discountenance the doctrines of the French Revolution; and as party-spirit ran high, those effusions were marked occasionally by fierce personality and declamatory violence. Others, however, written in travesty, or contempt of the bad taste and affectation of some of the works of the day, contained well-directed and witty satire, aimed by no common hand, and pointed with irresistible keenness. Among those who mixed in this loyal warfare was Mr. J. H. FRERE (noticed in a subsequent section), and GEORGE CANNING (1770-1827), whose fame as an orator and statesman fills so large a space in the modern history of Britain.. Canning was then young and ardent, full of hope and ambition. Without family distinction or influence, he relied on his talents for future advancement; and from interest, no less than feeling and principle, he exerted them in support of the existing admin. istration. Previous to this, he had distinguished himself at Eton School for his classical acquirements and literary talents. To a periodical work, the Microcosm,' he contributed several clever essays. Entering parliament in 1793, he was, in 1796, appointed under-secretary of state, and it was at the close of the following year that the 'Anti-Jacobin' was commenced, Gifford being editor. The contributions of Mr. Canning consist of parodies on Southey and Darwin, the greater part of The Rovers'--a burlesque on the senti.. mental German drama--and New Morality,' a spirited and caustic
satire, directed against French principles, and their supporters in England. In this poem of 'New Morality'occur four lines often quoted:
Give me the avowed, the erect, the manly foe;
As party effusions, these pieces were highly popular and effective ; and that they are still read with pleasure on account of their wit and humour, and also perhaps on account of their slashing and ferocious style, is instanced by the fact, that the ‘Poetry of the Anti-Jacobin,' collected and published in a separate form, has attained to a sixth edition. The genius of Canning found afterwards a more appropriate field in parliament. As a statesman, `just alike to freedom and the throne,' though somewhat prone to intrigue, and as an orator, eloquent, witty, and of consummate taste, his reputation is established. He had, however, a strong bias in favour of elegant literature, and would have become no mean poet and author, had he not embarked so early on public life, and been so incessantly occupied with its cares and duties. From a speech delivered at Plymouth in 1823, we extract a short passage containing a fine simile :
Ships of the Line in Port. The resources created by peace are means of war. In cherishing those resources, we but accumulate those means. Our present repose is no more a proof of inability to act, than the state of inertness and inactivity in which I have seen those mighty masses that float in the waters above your town, is a proof they are devoid of strength and incapable of being fitted out for action. You well know, gentlemen, how soon one of those stupendous masses, now reposing on their shadows in perfect stillness--how soon upon any call of patriotism, or of necessity, it would assume the likeness of an animated thing, instinct with life and motion-how soon it would ruffle, as it were, its swelling plumage-how quickly it would put forth all its beauty and its bravery, collect its scattered elements of strength, and awaken its dormant thunder. Such as is one of these magnificent machines when springing from inaction into a display of its might-Such is England herself: while apparently passive and motionless, she silently concentrates the power to be put forth on an adequate occasion. But God forbid that that occasion should arise. After a war sustained for nearly a quarter of a century-sometimes single-handed, and with all Europe arranged at times against her or at her side, England needs a period of tranquillity, and may enjoy it without fear of misconstruction.
The Friend of Humanity and the Knife-grinder. In this piece, Canning ridicules the youthful Jacobin effusions of Southey, in which, he says, it was sedulously inculcated that there was a natural and eternal warfare between the poor and the rich. The Sapphic rhymes of Southey afforded a
for ludicrous parody, and Canning quotes the following stanza, lest he should be suspected of painting from fancy, and not from life:
Cold was the night-wind : drifting fast the snows fell;
Weary and way-sore.'
FRIEND OF HUMANITY.
So have your breeches!
Scissors to grind 0!'
. Or the attorney ?
All in a lawsuit?
Torn in a scuffle.
Stocks for a vagrant.
With politics, sir.
Spiritless outcast! [Kicks the Knife-grinder, overturns his wheel, and exit in a transport of republican
enthusiasm and universal philanthropy.]
Song by Rogero in The Rovers.'
This dungeon that I'm rotting in,
9niversity of Gott
niversity of Gottingen. [Weeps and pulls out a blue kerchief, with which he wipes his eyes; gazing tenderly
at it, he proceeds.]
Which ouce my love sat knotting in