Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

of Lucrecia Borgia,'. Belisario,'and La Cenerentola;' and without taking upon ourselves to reiterate in detail the commendations which have been justly awarded to these per formances, we cannot forego the pleasure of joining our note of praise with those of our contemporaries, in behalf of BORGHESE, Pico, PEROZZI, TOMASI, SANQUIRICO, and AnTOGNINI, who have labored with so much ardor and success in their several rôles. We shall not soon forget the artistical style and admirable acting of BORGHESE, nor the rich contralto voice and earnest, natural manner of Pico; nor from the triumphs of these fine artistes can we separate the recollection of the gentlemen above-named, whose personations contributed in so marked a degree to the popularity of the operas in which they appeared. The scenery, costumes, etc., were in all respects perfect. We may hope yet to see the Italian troupe permanently supported among us, if we may judge from the large and fashionable audiences which graced the theatre on every evening when we visited it.

[ocr errors]

Gossip with READERS AND CORRESPONDENTS. — We have entered once more, dear reader, upon a new year. Time's gate, which swings outward into eternity, has closed upon another twelve-month. Such a season is one of sorrowful retrospection to many; of hope and gladness we trust to more. We would say nothing to awaken anew the painful remembrances of the first, nor to dim the bright anticipations of the second. Yet, as we enter upon our Twenty-fifth Volume, it will be pardoned, if we venture to offer a little advice to readers who have known us so long and so intimately. Let us beg leave, therefore, to ask each and all of them, in the terms of our excellent friend and correspondent, the accomplished • Charcoal-Sketcher,' whether they do not now remember that it has often struck them, in moments of calmness and reflection, after disappointments, perhaps, or in grief; in those minutes when the flush of enjoyment had faded to a sombre hue; that there were changes in their characters and dispositions, which might be made to advantage? · It would have been resented, if another had said as much ; for you then thought and still think, it may be mistakenly, that these defects are only apparent in full to their owner. Still, the amelioration was resolved upon. At first, it was to begin ‘now.' Then came cares and pleasures; a little postponement was granted; and the work lies in the dusty corners of your determination, quite unfinished. Is a more fitting time to take it up likely to present itself than the present? Somebody has promised — like Sir Giles OVERREACH, we name no parties' – has promised very distinctly to himself (and there is no one with whom it would be more to his advantage to keep good faith) that the New-Year shall find him in many respects a new man.' Do you know such a person, a friend, a brother, a lover or a husband, who has done this, in the view of evil habit, of indolence, of ill-temper, of any of the thousand temptations and faults which beset the human family? Strengthen his will; give encouragement to his weakness. He may chance to need it. It may not be too much to assume, that perfect as we are, there is no lack of certain pestilential imps who find places in our train, and are ever on the alert for mischief; saucy companions, of whom we would gladly be rid, but that they take us by surprise, and await not the chastisements of our regret; little petulances, which at times prompt us to wound those who love us best ; small discontents, which seek expression in embittered words; unrecognized envies, which lacerate the heart and disturb repose, leading to uncharitable thoughts and unkindly judgments ; petty jealousies, have we not, rendering us unreasonable, querulous, and ill at ease ? Such restless spirits swarm the air, causing endless complications of annoyance. Let them, at the dawn of the year, be summoned to your footstool to meet discharge ; and above all things, let us impress it upon your minds to scan their faces closely. They are adroit at a disguise, and often elude the most careful watch; so that we know them not save in their effects, and by the sorrows they are apt to leave behind. If such be our policy, as the substratum of our merriment, and the under-current to our mirth, and if we can find nerve enough to accomplish but a part of what is deemed desirable; if each NewVOL. XXV.

11

[ocr errors]

Year could find us so much wiser, and therefore happier – for wisdom is but happiness, after all — than any of its predecessors, we should better brook the loss of brittle youth,' and meet the onward tide of time with buoyant hearts and an unshrinking hope; satisfied with the present, and with no fears for the future.' Follow out these suggestions, kind reader and friend, and you will scarcely fail of enjoying, what we invoke for you in all sincerity of heart, a Happy New Year. BRYANT is remarkable for the 'word-pictures,' as the Germans term it, which he strews so profusely through his poetical writings; often, by the use of a single vernacular expression, bringing before the reader the most distinct and delightful images. LONGFELLOW possesses a kindred power. One hardly knows, sometimes, how his effects,' in artist-phrase, are produced; but a nice study of his language will generally reveal their source. Observe the picturesqueness, the variety, the reality of scene, condensed in these few stanzas : • WHEN descends on the Atlantic

"From the tumbling surf, that buries
The gigantic

The Orkneyan Skerries,
Storm-wind of the Equinox,

Answering the hoarse Hebrides;
Landward in his wrath he scourges

And from wrecks of ships, and drifting
The toiling surges,

Spars, uplifting
Laden with sea-weed from the rocks.

On the desolate, rainy seas.

‘From Bermuda's Reefs, from edges

of sunken ledges,
In some far-off, bright Azore,
From Bahama, and the dashing,

Silver-flashing
Surges of San Salvador.

• Ever drifting, drifting, drifting

On the shifting
Currents of the restless main;
Till in sheltered caves, and reaches

Of sandy beaches,
All have found repose again.'

[ocr errors]

Do you remark, reader, the wide grasp, the life, action, visible motion, that pervade these lines? They compose a succession of marine views' as palpable to sight as the colorings of the pencil. . Mr. GEORGE JONES, formerly well known in the United States, (not well known exactly!) as an indifferent player, and a still more indifferent theatrical manager, has lately favored the London public with a volume containing • Tecumseh, an Israel. Indian Tragedy ;' · Life and History of General HARRISON;' and his famous Stratford

Oration in Honor of WILLIAM SHAKSPEARE, the Celebrated Dramatist.' Punch, in a most sententious, ironical, and amusing critique, has done the business' for Mr. JONES' dull and ridiculous book. The first time we ever saw Mr: JONES, he introduced himself to our acquaintance on board a Staten-Island steamer; and in some ten minutes thereafter, he was reading to us, on the breezy deck, in a very audible voice, letters from his titled friends in England;' and we regret to state, that such was the violence of the wind, that it snatched from his hand an opened letter of 'My Lord DUDLEY STUART,' and wafted it upon the white foam in our wake; where it lay, the focus of Mr. Jones' • longing eyes,' until at last it vanished in the distance. We were therefore quite prepared to learn that 'Jones is troubled with an itching palm for titled people,' and that in his late work,' he is continually telling the reader of the hospitality' awarded to him by kings, dukes, and lords. One would think he was taken in' wherever he showed himself.' Mr. Jones has quoted in his preface an account. From the Times newspaper of his having dined with the King of Prussia, when at Berlin. To which Punch replies: 'We remember the paragraph well; the quackery was headed · From a Correspondent,' which Mr. Jones has omitted.' Who the correspondent' was, may be easily guessed. JONES says that America claims him, “and his honors accordingly,' but that this is done only in our usual boasting spirit; the truth being that he is English by birth. America yields the honor! No one claims Mr. Jones on this side of the Atlantic; not even his deserted wife. There are various claims' against him we believe; but they are of a nature which, from the 'cute profession of his paternal ancestor.down east,' he will understand at once, and perhaps be as little desirous of having them “pressed as the one which, with instinctive reciprocity, he labors to repel. The man is a most transparent pretender, who has reduced humbug. eousness to a science. SOME of our metropolitan readers have asked us, with an ex

[ocr errors]

6

a

pression of incredulity, whether the · Memorial of the Ancient Shu' was a legitimate production of a veritable Celestial. Certainly; and its translation was made and forwarded to London by Mr. GUTZLAFF, precisely as was stated in our last number. Let us follow the narrative a little farther:

"The Ancient Shu did not bear himself in idleness. He called out the militia, fitted out a number of fire-ships, and ordered our brave mariners, each of them to swim off in leathern habits, and aided by bladders filled with air, attack the barbarians' vessels. The great eventful day dawned; our troops penetrated into Ningpo, but were mowed down by hundreds, under the balls of the red rebels. We could not get these miscreants to wait for our attack; our best soldiers marched away, and whole regiments followed the example. They had, alas! no opportunity to make use of their daggers; otherwise not one of the theives would have remained alive. Our fire-ships too, exploded in the air without doing any damage to the enemy: we could no ways account for this misfortune. Another battle was afterwards fought near Tsekt, where the flower of our soldiery, who had been brought all the way from the Turkistan borders, completely routed the barbarians, according to the official reports. But the army then marched back to their old quarters at Pikkuan. This was the great victory obtained by YUKING, who refused from that time to take the field again, seeing that his fame was now established and consummated. Soon afterwards we drove the barbarians out of Ningpo, but we would not render them quite desperate, and therefore allowed them to leave a post at the entrance of the Hya river, near Tshinhai. Nevertheless, the vagabonds, instead of keeping quiet at Tshushan, as was their duty, marched direct on Tshopu, which they captured. ILIPU was now despatched to this point, and Old SHu with him, for the purpose of counselling them to a peaceful course. We found The barbarians in no sort of mood to retreat, which made ILIPU's wrath to kindle exceedingly, It was much to be deplored that Illit was no longer to be seen; for as to Pock (POTTINGER), the new man, nothing was to be done with him. The barbarians ventured on proceeding to Shangai, where some splendid fortifications had been erected, which were nearly eighi lis in circuit, and were commanded by General Nicu, (or Ox,) the governor, in person. He had ordered that his men should on no account whatever quit their posts, and that they should set all the barbarian ships on fire. But we were astounded both at the recklessness of the scoundrels, and the clouds of balls that descended; in spite of enormus guns, they effected a landing, carried off all the brass guns and destroyed the iron ones. This, however, did not content them; the English made their way to T'shiankiangfu on the Yangtsekiang, with intent to make themselves masters of the Great Canal, and see whether this would not compel the Emperor to make peace. The great monarch now lost all his courage: so he sent his relative, KLYING, who was passing his time with ILIPU, at Hangtshen in Tshekiang, with a commission to bring matters to a friendly issue with the barbarians. In the meanwhile, these insatiable fellows moved on at a swift pace to Nanking, where every requisite step was adopted as rapidly as it was practicable to get rid of them; the end being, that they extorted six millions of dollars on the spot.'

This result changes the character of the remainder of Shu's memorial: 'I became acquainted at Nanking with some of the barbarians, who afforded me such an insight into the real state of things in the other quarters of the globe, that my opinions and views underwent a very considerable revolution.' He goes on to admit, that “although the wisdom of the Celestial Empire is of a very exalted character,' yet the inhabitants of the flower-bespangled land' were wanting in right notions of the state of foreign countries. They had looked upon the proffered concessions of the “red English thieves' with contempt. It pleased the great lords of the land to kindle the Emperor's wrath against them to a pitch of frenzy; indeed the monarch's mother herself urged her son vehemently to exterminate them.' It never came into their minds that cannon or any other powder-missiles were needful;' they thought their walls alone were invincible; and they left the cost entirely out of the calculation. But, through the rapacity of the mandarins, and the actual preparations, thirty millions of taels were soon drained from the empire. "The militia-men were embodied, and a large bounty was paid them; but as soon as they smelt danger, to a man the wretches took to their heels, so that we got absolutely nothing at all from their services. The regiments which had been brought from a distance, dissolved into air after they had lost the battle; so all that had been expended upon them disappeared with them. The construction of the fortresses was no small item in the expenditure : alas! no sooner did the barbarians get them into their clutches than they blew them straight into the air; and our cannon shared no better fate, for they were either destroyed or carried off; our powder was hurled into the sea, or turned to account in annihilating the labors of years and months.' Mean time the internal condition of the flowery land was any thing but auspi. cious : 'On either bank of the Yangtse hosts of freebooters held themselves in readiness to fall upon every inhabitant who had property to lose. All the trading which supplied millions of our subjects with bread was utterly paralysed, and our starving mariners resorted by thousands to robbery on the high sea, so as to render the whole coast unfit for navi.

[ocr errors]

6

[ocr errors]

3

gation. Every branch of industry stagnated in the provinces along the coast, and being the most flourishing of all, general misery spread to the farthest borders of the West, from which the internal parts of the empire receive their chief supplies. The Great Canal, which plentifully supplied the court with the very necessaries of life, and kept its coffers replenished, was in the hands of the barbarians. But ihe worst of all wes, that the people who looked on and beheld the unhappy turn which matters took, began to regard the mandarins with scorn, and made friendly advances to our adversary. There was not one point where the delegates of the Son of Heaven met with support.' The final treaty with the outside barbarians' soon followed : “Awful was the blow our national dignity had here to endure! I must candidly confess, that when the treaty was signed, and the roar of cannon proclaimed the event, it cut my heart to the quick like a sharp-edged razor. We had ceased to give law to the rest of mankind! We had recognized full freedom of intercourse: from this moment, we bade farewell to any total ban of foreigners for ever.' Old Shu counselled peace at an early day; and the inclination of the enemy to that end conciliated the good-will of the kind-hearted Celestial: “Their deportment was exceedingly amiable and they had great modesty of tongue; their soldiers were quite unlike the warriors among ourselves, for they were very nicely clad; but what was most extraordinary, they, every man of them, carried arms on their shoulders. The lustre of gold resplended over the offi. cers' uniforms, but there was no distinction of colors in the buttons they wore on their head-trappings; neither were the bravest and best among them adorned with peacock's feathers: and herein at least, it must be admitted, they have a lesson to read out of our own books.' The sacrifices of the Chinese to their deities seem to have been a decided failure. Most of the Celestials, one would think, would scarcely fail to arrive at the conclusions expressed in the close of the annexed paragraph, as easy as 'Old Sho:''

* At the outset of the war, all our generals offered up sacrifices to the gods of war, and their ensigns; ITKING, the terror-spreading commander, officiated in his own person, in order to make a sacrifice of the captured Englishmen to the ensigns; and struck off several heads with his own hands. LIN got up a host of processions for the purpose of propitiating the gods in our favor: and the Son of Heaven petitioned the Dalu Lama at Lhussa, to murmur up a series of prayers, so as to secure him victory; he proceeded repeatedly to the temple in person, and besought the in-dwellers to ordain days of fasting and penitence, for the purpose of bringing the heroes of ancient time to his aid. YuKIEN, it is reported, forgot himself so far as to curse the God of the Christians; and soon afterwards fell a victim to his inhuman fury, dying under general maledictions. Whenever the English legions entered our towns, the soldiers made it a favorite sport to break our gods in pieces; these, however, never came to their own defence! Now, had they been really possessed of any inherent might, surely they would have avenged themselves for the ignominy perpetrated upon them!'

Shu thus chants the praises of his mighty land,' and evidently with justice: “We are a great nation. Look at the millions upon millions that swarm within our borders like ants; slavery is known only by name among us; every laborer is a free man, and we owe obedience to no man living but the Emperor. Our existence numbers thousands of years.' He confesses however the great ignorance of geography that prevails in China: We are complete strangers to the western parts of Asia ; all we have learned of Africa is, that it is the land of black men; and we have latterly been made aware that there is another part of the world altogether, called 'the New World.' We could not have believed this, had not the ships which bear a flowery flag, and come from one of its continents, been in the habit of visiting our coast, and brought over heaps of dollars from this new country. This must, I think, be the land of gold and silver, which is so often mentioned in our histories, and takes away settlers from us, not one individual of whom has ever found his way back again. The practice began two thousand years ago.' Shu looks, we think, with the eye of a seer upon the ultimate results of the war with China, and the establishment of foreign dominion there. He thinks many of the Celestials may hereafter settle on the western shores of our own ‘Gold and Silver Land,' or on the great island called NewHolland, on the map which his barbarian acquaintance gave him;' and 'what great effects will there not flow therefrom?

When we have disencumbered ourselves of the religion to which we are now subject, and breathe freer in the atmosphere and light of sound doctrines, will not China exercise an overwhelming influ

[ocr errors]

ence over the whole race of mankind ? SHU is a man ancient in years, and will not see this new day dawn on his country, but he may yet be reserved for witnessing many and great events. He has quite forgotten himself in thus pouring forth what has now been stirring within his breast for months past. Did he dare to speak such things to his brethren in office, it is almost certain that his days would at once be brought to a close, as a traitor to his native land. Yet he is not the only man in China who holds these opinions; those of his nation, who have a heart that beats high for the well-being of their fellow subjects, hold them in common with old Sho, and can never return to their former errors and prejudices.'

6

6

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

There is something almost affecting in the following; coming as it does from a “man of mark' (an old land-mark') among a people whose 'Great Emperor' only a comparatively short time ago ordered certain missionaries to go on board their ships, put up their big sails, and sail away at once over the top of the ocean, instead of staying round Canton, with lingering hopes, trying to make the people of the Middle Empire believe in the doctrines of their chief, J. Christ:'

“What wrestling with old prejudices, what fierce struggling with himself has not Old Shu had to pass through, before he arrived at all these conclusions? But the more he dwells upon the subject under all its aspects, the more is he satisfied with their justness. A book has been given him to read, and he has read it through ; it is entitled “The New Testament ;' it is full of the most sacred treasures, and shows how a world, lost in sin, has been reconciled to God, the Emperor Supreme, by JESUS CHRIst, his son; but the strangers of the West are better informed on this topic than Old Shu. I beseech my friend, the reader of this treatise, to forgive its imperfectnesses. I have not set down a thousandth part of the emotions which agitate me. My mind is cast down beyond measure, exceedingly; but so soon as it is relieved from its burthen, I will sit down and write more entertaining matter; and the foreigner shall have the advantage of it. Our highly refined language, which is beyond the reach of most men to acquire, is, alas? a sad hindrance to our better acquaintance with one another, Fare thee well, indulgent reader; and store up Old Shu in the sanctuary of thy remembrance!

There was a line in the Chinese character, at the end of the Ancient's memorial,' of which the following is a literal translation: Shu, the faithful servant, formerly holding an appointment in the first Court of Justice, lays this submissively before the Great Man of the Government, whom he prays to welcome it in a friendly spirit. He bows himself over and over again.' • If you will take a bank-note, reader, and while you are folding it up according to direction, peruse the following lines, you will arrive at their meaning, with no little admiration for the writer's cleverness :

a

а

'I WILL tell you a plan for gaining wealth,

Better than banking, trading or leases;
Take a bank-note and fold it up,

And then you will find your wealth in-creases.

* This wonderful plan, without danger or loss,

Keeps your cash in your hands, and with nothing to trouble it,
And every time that you fold it across,

'T is plain as the light of the day that you double it.'

[ocr errors]

Of all nuisances on the face of the globéd airth,' perhaps there is none that quite comes up to that of the professed public wrangler on religious topics. By this term, we mean the man who makes a business of going around the country and challenging every minister of eminence to a public discussion on some mooted point of theology, and sometimes even on the nature, designs, and attributes of Deity. Not many divines of standing have escaped a challenge from some one or other of these religious lazaroni; but few, if any, to their honor be it written, have ever bestowed any notice on such challenges. Once in a while, however, some one of these over-zealous champions of a cause that needs not their aid, meets with a brother wrangler of a different faith, who is not unwilling to meet him in a public discussion, at a shilling a head. But such occasions almost invariably end in quarrels and personal abuse; and then the two combatants not unfrequently exhibit the effect of their own religious faith on their own tempers and practice in such wise as to call up the blush of shame on the countenance of the true Christian, confirm the old infidel in his unbelief, and make ten new scorners, while their labors convert not a solitary sinner from the error of his ways. The presumption of many of these itinerant disputants, is

a

« AnteriorContinuar »