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*'Gray'd with an iron style--Oh! who shall sever
It is the hour of even-gentlest hour,
That calls the wearied traveller to his rest;
And nature's peacefulness becalms the breast),
Farewell,-farewell—the mountain torrents fall,
Re-echoing deeply round from shore to shore,
The sounds that break this silence—but no more-
ON THE NATIONAL PROPENSITY TO
Your correspondent Impransus has humorously insinuated that the grand rallying point of Englishmen is a dinner ; and in truth, not without reason, for upon reflection we must acknowledge, that on every pretence, however slight, on every occasion, however trivial, our countrymen expect a feast.
Thus cabinet ministers form schemes of economy, and project plans of retrenchment in the junior parts of their offices, while they, the heads, are carousing. Thus on the anniversary of a Dispensary, the friends of the institution love to meet, and drink wine, perhaps not much better than the physic which they themselves give. Thus
Vide Job Ch. 19, v. 24. They were graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock for ever.
commissioners of a road, or guardians of a minor, assemble as it were only to differ; but thinking it wrong to part from each other in ill will, they drown their disputes in a bottle of wine, at the expense either of the public, or the ward. But yet there is really no evil to be dreaded from this propensity; though certainly at some dinners the wit is so appalling, that if I was disposed to speak in heroics, I should boldly assert that it made my blood run cold in
veins. A moderate man can put up with bad wine, or a bad dinner, but bad wit is in its consequences so dreadful, that a tax ought to be laid on every old
pun, conceit, or quibble. Thus at a Dispensary dinner the jokes are so technical, that we almost fancy ourselves patients. To give the reader some idea of my meaning, let us imagine this conversation. Two apothecaries disputed, and the following dialogue passed between them :
A. Sir, your wit is all puns.
B. Sir, your's by use have lost even that effect. An apothecary joking, is like a cat playing with a mouse previous to killing it. But if your muscles obstinately refuse to relax into a smile, the son of Galen gives a grin, as much as to say, “For this I'll be the death of you.” To give the reader some idea of the manners of the people at public dinners, let us record this anecdote. A gentleman helping the soup, said to a man opposite, “Sir, shall I have the pleasure of giving you a little
?" To which the disciple of Chesterfield replied, “No, give a good deal !”
But in private there is the same relish for a good dinner; for when a young heir comes of age, he is expected to give a dinner to all his friends and tenants. The latter class invariably, when requested to pass the wine, help themselves in the middle. On the birth-day of the head of the family, he is required to give a grand feast to all his relations; and, should he lately have succeeded to a large fortune, some general, in the person of an aunt, whom he never before saw, leads on to the attack a battalion of cousins, whom he never before heard of.
Some Cynics, indeed, find fault with the luxury of this age, and books are constantly published, shewing the way to live to an old age, by observing a proper regimen; but the fact is, that those who give us such judicious advice, are themselves the best livers, like captains of militia, who brag most of the hardships of a military life. We have, indeed, heard of a doctor, who said that his constitution was weak, and his system required support, and so prescribed for himself turkey and chine, mild ale, and old port; while, on the other hand, he said that his patient must be lowered, and confined him to water-gruel.
Were I a physician, and accused of being an epicure, I should answer in the words of a Bon Vivant of
my acquaintance :-"Why, truly, I prefer a good to a bad dinner.” This answer suits every purpose, it at once precludes every suspicion of sensuality or affectation, and shews that you neither gormandise like an epicure, nor fast like an anchorite.
* I have taken a poetical licence, in transplanting the old Gothic Superstition of the blood of the victim flowing afresh at the approach of the murderer.
My brave !--my beautiful !-farewell !
My salt tears wash thy ghastly wound-
To lay thee in the cold, cold, ground !
WRITTEN ON A WOODY DELL, AT
Much admired for its romantic situation, and beauties,
Stranger, whosoe'er thou art,
Thou, whom the Muse hath taught to sing,
Thou, whom th' unartificial sight