« PreviousContinue »
cert. Another, who subscribes himself Modestus, desires me to imitate the example of the Tatler, by animadverting, not on the large, but the small size of the petticoat, which, he
this winter, that there is more of the ankle seen than he can find countenance to look at.
To the first of these Correspondents I must an. swer, that I think the ladies (whose number I am inclined to believe is small), who choose to dress their faces in rouge or carmine, are exempted from all censure; they certainly do it to please themselves, as they know how much it is detested by the men. Or, perhaps, they are of that icy order of females who have made vows of perpetual celibacy, and thus varnish over their beauty, as virtuosi do certain delicate natural productions, which are meant to be looked at, but never to be touched. As to the complaint of Modestus, I can only account for the present shortness of the petticoat, from the attention of the ladies being so much engrossed about their heads, as to leave them no leisure to take care of the other ex. tremity ; as generals, who are anxious to cover one part of their works, are apt to leave an opposite quarter defenceless.
But the most serious complaint I have received, is a letter subscribed Censor, arraigning, with true Juvenalian severity, the conduct of a certain Club, which, in the words of my Correspondent, 'con
tinues, in defiance of decency and good manners, . to insult the public in Large Characters, in the • front of every newspaper in town. This (he adds)
moves my indignation the more, when I consider • that several of its principal members are arrived at
a period of life which should teach decorum, at • least, if it does not extinguish vice.' In answer to this
angry Correspondent, I will tell him the following story : Some years ago, I happen
ed to be in York at the time of the assizes. Dining one day in a tavern with some gentlemen of that city and its neighbourhood, we were violently disturbed by the noise of somebody below, who hooted and halloo'd, smacked his whip, and made his ser, vants sound their French horns ; in short, rehearsed, during the whole time of our dinner, all the glori.
ous tumult of the chase.' Some of the company, after several ineffectual messages by the waiter, bę. gan to be angry, and to think of a very serious remonstrance with the sportsman below. But an elderly person, who sat opposite to me, pacified their resentment : • I know the gentleman who • disturbs you,' said he ; his head-piece was never one of the best ; but now, poor man! I believe we
must let him alone-Since he is past running down • the fox in the field, he must e'en be allowed to hunt him in the parlour.'
N° 85. TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 29, 1780.
Possum oblivisci qui fuerim ? Non sentire qui sim? Quo caream bonore ? Quâ gloriâ ? Quibus liberis ? Quibus fortunis ?
Cic. ad ATT A PERIODICAL publication, such as the MIRROR, is, from its nature, confined chiefly to prose compo. sitions. My illustrious predecessor, the Specta. TOR, has, however, sometimes inserted a little
poem among his other essays; and his example has been imitated by most of his successors. Perhaps it may
be from this cause, that
among the variety of communications I have lately received, many of them consist of poetical compositions. I must observe in general to these Correspondents, that, though the insertion of a poem now and then may not be altogether improper for a work of this kind, yet it is not every poetical composition that is fit for it. A poem may be possessed of very considerable merit, and may be entitled to applause, when published in a poetical collection, though, from its subject, its length, or the manner in which it is written, it
may not be suited to the Mirror. I hope my poetical Correspondents, therefore, will receive this as an apology for their poems not being inserted, and will by no means .consider their exclusion as proceeding from their being thought destitute of merit.
Among the poetical presents I have received, there is, however, one, which seems very well suited to a work of this kind. The gentleman from whom I received it says, he has been informed that it was founded on the following inscription (probably written from real feeling) on the window of an inn, situated in the Highlands of Scotland.
• Of all the ills unhappy mortals know,
On all their weary ways wait Care and Pain, * And Pine and Penury, a meagʻre train,
A wretched Exile to his country send, . Long worn with griefs, and long without a friend.'
This poem contains a description of the situation of a Scotch gentleman who had been obliged to leave his country for rebellion against our present happy government. It points out the fatal consequences of such treasonable attempts, and represents the distress of the person described, in a very interesting and pathetic manner.
THE EXILE. AN ELEGY.
WHERE, 'midst the ruins of a fallen state,
The once-fam'd Tiber rolls his scanty wave, Where half a column now derides the great,
Where half a statue yet records the brave :
With trembling steps an Exile wander'd near,
In Scottish weeds his shrivellid limbs array'd ; His furrow'd cheek was cross'd with many a tear,
And frequent sighs bis wounded soul betray'd.
Oh! wretch ! he cry'd, that like some troubled ghost
Art doom'd to wander round this world of woe, While memory speaks of joy for ever lost,
Of peace! of comfort! thou hast ceas'd to know!
These are the scenes, with fancy'd charms endow'd,
Where happier Britons, casting pearls away, The fools of sound, of empty trifles proud,
Far from the land of bliss and freedom stray.
Wou'd that, for yonder dome, these eyes could sec
The wither'd oak that crowns my native hill! These urns let ruin waste; but give to me
The tuft that trembles o'er its lonely rill.
O sacred haunts! and is the hillock green
That saw our infant-sports beguile the day? Still are our seats of fairy fashion seen?
Or is my little throne of moss away?
Had but Ambition, in this tortur'd breast,
Ne'er sought to rule beyond the humble plain, Where mild Dependence holds the vassal blest,
Where faith and friendship fix the chieftain's reign; Thus had I liv'd the life my fathers led;
Their name, their family had not ceas'd to be ; And thou, Monimia ! on thy earthly bed !
My name, my family, what were these to thee!
Three little moons had seen our growing love,
Since first Monimia join'd her hand to mine; Three little moons had seen us blest above
All that enthusiast hope could e'er divine.
Urg'd by the brave, by fancy'd glory warm’d,
In treason honest, if 'twas treason here ; For rights suppos'd, my native band I arm’d,
And join’d the standard Charles had dar'd to rear.
Fated we fought, my gallant vassals fell,
But sav’d their master in the bloody strife; Their coward master, who cou'd live to tell
He saw them fall, yet tamely suffer'd life.
Let me not think ;-but, ah! the thought will rise,
Still in my whirling brain its horrors dwell, When pale and trembling, with uplifted eyes,
Monimia faintly breath'd-a last farewel!
They come,' she said ; 'Ay, fly these ruthless foes,
. And save a life, in which Monimia lives; • Believe me, Henry, light are all her woes,
• Except what Henry's dreaded purpose gives ! And would'st thou die, and leave me thus forlorn,
• And blast a life the most inhuman spare ? "Oh! live in pity to the babe unbörn
• That stirs within me to assist my prayer!'
What could I do? Contending passions strove,
And press'd my bosom with alternate weight, Unyielding honour, soft persuasive love
I Aed and left her left her to her fate!
Fast came the ruffian band; no melting charma,
That e'er to suffering beauty Nature gave,