« AnteriorContinuar »
Where the world may ne'er invade,
Courteous Fate ! afford me there
Give me there (since Heaven has shown It was not good to be alone) A partner suited to my mind, Solitary, pleas'd, and kind;
Who, partially, may something see
om all roving thoughts be freed,
Through some engine lift their eyes
me, O indulgent Fate!
The old lady described in the following charming paper of Mackenzie (which was a favorite with Sir Walter Scott), is not of so largeminded an order as Lady Winchilsea, but she has as good a heart; is very touching and pleasant; and her abode suits her admirably. It is the remnant of something that would have been greater in a greater age. We fancy her countenance to have been one that would have reminded us of the charming old face in Drayton:
“ Ev'n in the aged’st face where beauty once did dwell,
The reader, perhaps, hardly requires to be told that Mackenzie, whose writings have been gathered into the British classics, was a Scottish gentleman, bred to the bar, who in his youth wrote the once popular novel called the Man of Feeling, and died not long ago at a reverend age, universally regretted. He was the editor and principal writer of the two periodical works called the Mirror and Lounger, to which several of the reigning Scottish wits contributed. He was not a very original or powerful writer, but he was a very shrewd, elegant, and pleasing one, a happy offset from Addison; and he sometimes showed great pathos. His stories of La Roche and Louisa Venoni are among the most affecting in the world, and free from the somewhat
morbid softness of his novel. We are the happier in being able to do this tardy, though very unnecessary justice to the merits of a good man and a graceful essayist, because in the petulance and presumption of youth we had mistaken our incompetence to judge them for the measure of their pretensions.
HAVE long cultivated a talent very fortunate for a man
of my disposition, that of travelling in my easy chair ; of transporting myself, without stirring from my parlor, to distant places and to absent friends; of drawing scenes in my mind's
eye ; and of peopling them with the groups of fancy, or the society of remembrance. When I have sometimes lately felt the dreariness of the town, deserted by my acquaintance; when I have returned from the coffee-house, where the boxes were unoccupied, and strolled out from my accustomed walk, which even the lame beggar had left, I was fain to shut myself up in my room, order a dish of my best tea (for there is a sort of melancholy which disposes one to make much of one's self), and calling up the
powers of memory and imagination, leave the solitary town for a solitude more interesting, which my younger days enjoyed in the country, which I think, and if I am wrong I do not wish to be undeceived, was the most Elysian spot in the world.
'Twas at an old lady's, a relation and godmother of mine, where a particular incident occasioned my being left during the vacation of two successive seasons. Her house was formed out of the remains of an old Gothic castle, of which one tower was still almost entire; it was tenanted by kindly daws and swallows. Beneath, in a modernized part of the house, resided the mistress of the mansion. The house was skirted by a few majestic elms and beeches, and the stumps of several others showed that once they had been