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of my disappointment, when instead of the qualities I have mentioned as raising him so far above his cotemporaries, I found little in his Tales of a Traveller, but the style, to admire. Here is scarcely a gleam of his playful and Addisonian wit; nothing of his vivid delineation of character. But this is not the worst. The Tales of a Traveller are a number of short stories comprised in two volumes of about the same size as his former works. Not one of these stories is of the reflective character. In not one of them does the author indulge that fine strain of sentiment and moral feeling which makes his Sketch Book such a family-treasure, -even for the space of an ordinary paragraph. Some of the tales are, to be sure, of a serious nature; serious as any one of those hundred thousand frightful little stories of ghosts and Italian banditti that appal the midnight milliner,-and just as worthy of any other reader's admiration. Except in beauty and grace of language they are not a whit superior to an equal number of pages torn from the innumerable garbage-novels which Paternoster pours upon us every publishing week. It is curious enough too, that the author in his preface actually makes a boast of the "sound morality" inculcated by each of his stories; not by some of them, observe, but by each of them. Now I beg leave to put the question to Mr. Irving,-Where is the "sound moral" of the following stories, viz. The Great Unknown, The Hunting Dinner, The Adventure of my Uncle, The Adventure of my Aunt, The Bold Dragoon, The German Student, The Mysterious Picture, The Mysterious Stranger, i. e. all the stories of Part I, except the last? Is there one of the stories in Part III which contains more "sound morality" than banditti stories generally do? The impression left on my mind by Mr. Irving's fascinating description of these heroic ruffians is rather in favour of robbing. I don't know but that if I possessed a good villanous set of features, and the tact of dressing myself point device in the "rich and picturesque jackets and breeches" of these Italian cut-throats, I should be tempted into the romance of taking purses amongst the Abruzzi mountains, were it for nothing but to pick

up some of that "sound morality" which Mr. Irving says is to be found there. But to be serious: it will be very evident to all who read these volumes, that in the two Parts I have specified (i.e. half the book), the morality is either evil or exceptionable.

I have reason to believe that Mr. Irving received a very liberal sum from his publisher for this work; and if this be really the case I am sorry for it. Should I be asked wherefore? I answer; that (not to speak of fame) it is much to be feared his own interest, as well as that of the public, will eventually suffer by it. Irving will now perhaps begin to "write against time" as others do, and destroy his own credit with his readers, as others have done. Being myself a man of no superfluous wealth, I shall certainly reflect maturely before I give four-and-twenty shillings for his next work, whatever it may be. And how does the interest of the public suffer? Why in this manner: the author, as I may say, defrauds us of the deeper riches of his mind, putting us off with the dross which lies nearest the surface, can be more easily gotten together, and more readily delivered over to the task-master, his publisher. The Tales of a Traveller seem to tell one more tale than the author would wish to make public,-viz: that Geoffrey Crayon knows something of "The Art of Bookmaking" beyond the mere theory. They bear unequivocal marks of having been composed for Mr. Murray, and not for the public. Whilst reading them, I was perpetually haunted by a singular vision; I fancied that I saw the author at his writing-desk, armed with a goose-quill and other implements of literary husbandry, whilst the aforesaid eminent bibliopolist stood at his elbow, jingling a purse of sovereigns, from which a couple descended into the author's pouch according as he finished every page of foolscap. Hasty composition is written in palpable yet invisible letters on the face of the whole work. The subjects chosen are most of them common-place; and the manner of treating them is not very original. There is in these volumes, as I have said, nothing of that sweet and solemn reflection, no traces of that fine rich vein of melancholy meditation, which

threw such an air of interest over his first and best work, which infused such a portion of moral health into the public constitution.* Yes, there

sibility of a disciple of Della Crusca, and an officer of British dragoons is made to speak in the following style, so very characteristic of that order is one passage of this nature, and it of gentlemen: "Oh! if it's ghosts is the best in the whole work. It is you want, honey," cried an Irish the description of a wild and reckless captain of dragoons, "if it's ghosts youth who returns, after many wan- you want, you shall have a whole derings, to visit the grave of the only regiment of them. And since these being he had loved on earth, his mo- gentlemen have given the adventures ther. Geoffrey Crayon wrote this of their uncles and aunts, faith and passage. We may perceive, also, I'll even give you a chapter out of traces of the other end of his pencil my own family-history." To be sure in the humorous Dutch stories which this officer had the ill-luck to have form Part IV of his collection. The pun been born in the same country with has some truth in it which asserts that Burke, Sheridan, and Grattan; he Mr. Irving is at home whenever he was, it must be confessed-an Irishgets among his native scenes and fel- man; and it is past doubt that Irishlow countrymen. Though even in this men in general can never wholly diPart the touches of humour are fewer vest themselves of a certain melliand less powerful than of old; faint fluous elongation of tone called the flashes of that merriment which were brogue, nor perhaps of a greater wont to set his readers in a roar. breadth of pronunciation than our Rip Van Winkle and Sleepy Hollow English nicety of ear can digest; are stories beyond the inspiration of but although my experience has lain Albemarle-street. Of the remaining pretty largely amongst gentlemen of Tales in these volumes, the author that nation, I must in justice say of Bracebridge-hall may have written that I never yet met with one whose some, and any other "gentleman idiom in any degree approached the of the press" (only borrowing Mr. plebeian model here brought before Irving's easiness and grace of lan- us. Mr. Irving, judging probably guage) might have written the rest. from the "rascal few whom crime, One or two Americanisms, and a ge- or vagabondism, has driven to his neral dearth of those peculiar beau- country, that common refugium peccaties in thought and expression which torum, conceives it necessary to make overspread his former works, indicate an Irish gentleman express himself the same negligence and haste which like an Irish American; or perhaps I have remarked as comparatively he has taken Foigard and Macmorris distinguishing these volumes. At for his beau-ideal. To me, who have least I had rather impute these faults kept better company than Mr. Irving to those causes than to a mind worn probably met with in Hiberno-Ameout, or a genius broken down. The rica, his delineation of an Irish genauthor may possibly have written tleman, as we must presume every this work at the feet of Fame, not dragoon-officer to be, appears offenunder the eye of Mammon; but if so sively unnatural. Being moreover -Farewell! his occupation's gone! put forth as a general characteristic Geoffrey Crayon was Mr. Irving, but description (which, with Mr. Irving's Mr. Irving is not Geoffrey Crayon. seal to it, must necessarily have its influence on foreign opinion), the gentry of that nation cannot but consider it as an insult and an injustice which the ignorance that dictated it can alone excuse.

As to delineation of character, I could scarcely persuade myself that he who drew the admirable portrait of Master Simon could err so lamentably as our author has, in attempting to depict several miniatures in the present volumes. A "worthy fox-hunting old baronet" tells a most romantic love-tale, with all the sen

In the L'Envoy to the Sketch Book Mr. Irving speaks of the "contrariety of excellent counsel" which had being given him by his critics. "One

It is ungenerous I acknowledge, but I cannot help wishing that the author of the Sketch Book had remained a little longer under the pressure of that misfortune (whatever it may have been) which seemed to have dictated those pathetic and deeplyaffecting little stories, that form the principal charm of his maiden work.

kindly advised him to avoid the ludicrous, another to shun the pathetic." If the turn of an author's genius is to be determined from the line of writing which he seems most to indulge, humour is certainly the reigning quality of Mr. Irving's mind. BracebridgeHall, much and the best part of the Tales of a Traveller, are written in the humorous vein. On the other hand, if the turn of genius is to be estimated by the felicity of execution, we should perhaps say that our author's forte was the pathetic. But in truth, the fine melancholy shade which was thrown over the Sketch Book seems to have been only the effect of sorrow's passing cloud,—

and to have past with it. Could not Mr. Irving manage to be humorous and pathetic at the same time, and give us another Sketch Book? He would thus please both parties, instead of neither.

To conclude: it is an usual complaint with the authors of one popular work that their succeeding efforts are ungraciously received by the public; but the inferiority of the Tales of a Traveller to Mr. Irving's preceding works is so palpable, that I am sure he himself must acknowledge the sentence that condemns it as unworthy of his talents to be just. I am, &c. &c.



The Old English Jesters.

No. IX.


OR CHANGE printed at Oxford," appended to Lyford's "Plain Man's Senses exercised to discern both good and evil," London, 1655, in quarto; we find The Banquet of Jests, new and old, in 12.



1634. Duodecimo, containing 234 pages, besides 14 of preliminary matter, and 12 more of contents

or index.

This is another and later edition of the curious little volume recorded in our last number, (p. 285.) and we are again tempted to introduce it to the notice of our readers in a very short article, because the additions are so numerous as to make it almost a distinct publication from its predecessor, and some of the jests are not unworthy of revival.

The first edition consists of 195 articles, the fourth of 261; out of which number 91 are altogether new, 26 of them being substitutions for the same number originally given in the copies of 1630, but subsequently withdrawn.

There was probably an edition between the sixth of 1640 and that of 1660 mentioned by Granger; for in "A catalogue of some books printed for Richard Royston, at the Angel in Ivie-lane, London, and some formerly

Since our last, we are also indebted to a friend for looking through the registers of the Stationers' company; and from his information, we learn that the first book entered in Royston's name was January 26, 1628 (1629) An Elegie upon the Fate of the most hopefull young Prince Henry, eldest Sonne to his Matie of Bohemia, so that it would appear he commenced business nearly a year and a half preceding the appearance of our jest book, and when he was about the age of 28. The jests were entered May 10, 1630. In 1633 he had a partnership with Allot (the editor of England's Parnassus, and the publisher of the second Shakspeare) and others in Withers' Emblems, in folio, a book which must have required no small capital from the number and beauty of the engravings.

We promised to be brief, and will keep our word by concluding with a few of the witticisms added to the present edition, although we do not presume to say with the original printer:

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Of one for favour made a Master of Art. ⚫ (91.)

Two gentlemen meeting, saith one to the other, Would you believe that such a man, being late at Oxford, had the courtesie done him to be made master of art? to whom the other answered; O yes; without question.

Of a Divine. (102.)

A divine in his sermon praying for the Lords spirituall and temporall, desired heartily in his prayer thus; that the Lords spirituall might be made lesse temporall, and the Lords temporall more spirituall.

An Office in Reversion. (182.) A great man in this kingdome being of a temperate and spare dyet, and using to take much physick, had the reversion of another man's office, who was exceeding fat and corpulent, and loved to drink deepe and to feed high, to whom being invited to dinner and finding his stomack sickly and weake, forbore to eate at all; which the other observing, Sir, saith he, you take too much of the apothecarie's physick, and too little of the kitchin's; and I feare though you are my executor for my place, yet I may outlive you. The other taking up a pure Venice glasse that then stood before him, made him this answer: I question that, Sir, for this brittle glasse which you see, being well and carefully kept, may last as long as your great brasse kettle.

Of a moderate Drinker. - (234.) A gentleman of a very temperate dyet sitting at table where there was great plenty of wine, drunke very sparingly; which observed by another, who then sate over against him; Sir, saith he, if none in the world would drinke more than you, wine would bee cheape: to whom he replyed, "Nay rather, if all men did drinke as I doe, it would make wine very deare, for I

drinke as much as I can."

An Epitaph upon a Scolding Woman.

Wee lived one and twenty yeare

Like man and wife together;
I could no longer have her heere,
Shee's gone, I know not whether.
If I could guesse, I doe professe
(I speake it not to flatter)

Of all the women in the world,
I never would come at her.
Her body is bestowed well,

A handsome grave doth hide her, And sure her soule is not in hell,

The fiend could not abide her. I think shee mounted upon hie,

For in the last great thunder Mee thougt I heard her voyce on hie Rending the clouds in sunder.

of a Woman that was Beaten by her Husband. (260.)

A country fellow had an idle housewife that did use to sit slothfull at home, and settle her selfe about nothing that belonged to any housewifery, but suffered all things to goe (as the old proverbe is) at sixe and labour, and finding her to sit lazing by the seven. Upon a time comming from his fire he tooke a holly wand, and began to cudgell her soundly; at which she cryed out aloud, and sayd, Alas! husband, what doe you meane? you see I doe nothing, I doe nothing. I, marry wife, saith hee, I know that very well, and that is the reason for which I beat thee.

We have before said, that Archee, who is held forth as the editor of the

latter editions of this volume, had in all probability nothing to do with the publication. In the edition of 1640, is one jest which does not appear in the preceding copies, and which is the only passage throughout the volume that has any allusion to him.

Arche over-reached. (p. 44.)

Our patron Arche the king's iester having before fool'd many, was at last well met withall: for comming to a nobleman to give him good morrow upon new yeare's day, he received a very gracious reward from him: twenty good pieces of gold in his hand. But the covetous foole expecting (it seemes) a greater, shooke them in his fist, and said they were too light. The nobleman tooke it ill from him, but dissembling his anger he said, I prethee Arche, let mee see them againe, for amongst them there is one peece I would be loath to part with. Arche supposing hee would have added more unto them, delivered them backe to my lord, who putting 'em up in his pocket, said well, "I once gave money into a foole's hand, who had not the wit to keepe it."

This extract is curious, as it corroborates the accounts given in some of the writers of that day, of the profusion and extravagance of the new year's gifts, and it will easily account for the wealth said to be amassed by Armstrong whilst he

held the situation of royal fool. To prove that he saved money, and laid it out in the purchase of landed property, we have met with a contemporary authority in an uncommonly rare tract printed in duodecimo 1636, and entitled, The fatall Nuptiall, or Mourn full Marriage. This is a metrical

account of a lamentable accident that occurred in the preceding year, on Windermere Water, when fortyseven persons (among them a young married couple with their friends and relations going to keep the wedding) were drowned. The anonymous poet (a very bad one by the way) meaning to enforce the uncertainty of life and the liability of all ranks to a similar disaster, introduces Archee, who was probably well known in the neighbourhood of the accident.

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Now am I happier than a king!

My goblet flows with wine,

And round my couch the gay girls sing,

And all their love is mine!

My brow is bound with ivy pale,

And tendrils of that tree

The best that grows on hill or dale,—

At least the best to me!

My bower is wreathed of myrtle green,
The lily, and the rose,

Whose red bud blushes to be seen

'Mid lilies fair as those!

Thus am I happier than a king!

My goblet flows with wine,

And round my couch the gay girls sing,
And all their love is mine!

And Myra laughs, and Daphne smiles,
And Galatea tries

To win me with her witching wiles,

And gentle Thyrza sighs!

Thus am I happier than a king!

My goblet flows with wine,

And round my couch the gay girls sing,
And all their love is mine!

Then fill my bowl, and bind my hair
With fresher wine and flowers:
To-morrow may belong to Care,—
To-day! to-day is ours!

Now am I happier than a king!
My goblet flows with wine,
And round my couch the gay girls sing,
And all their love is mine!

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