LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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[John Gibson Lockhart]
On the Cockney School No. VII.
Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine  Vol. 12  No. 71  (December 1822)  775-82.
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No. LXXI. DECEMBER, 1822. Vol. XII.


Leigh Hunt is the most irresistible knight-errant erotic now extant. He would be a formidable personage in a night dilly, or the glimmering cabin of a Margate hoy. No milliner’s apprentice, removing with her bandboxes, could long refuse his suit; no wet-nurse, going down to suckle a young Norfolk turkey, could withstand this champion of the liberty of the press. His lovers’ vows would rake the vehicle fore and aft; and soft whispers would, at the end of the first stage, confess the triumph of Apollar with the yellow breeches. He has now put forth a little manual of gay deception, prettily entitled the “Florentine Lovers,” which, lest Mr Hazlitt (the Doer of the Cockneys) should anticipate us in the Edinburgh Review, we shall now shortly notice, for the benefit of youths and virgins. As Mr Jeffrey approved of Leigh’s incestuous story of Rimini, he will of course condemn the fusionless Platonism of this more impotent attempt. Joking apart, we now consider Leigh Hunt the most contemptible little capon of the bantam breed, that ever vainly dropped a wing, or sidled up to a partlet. He can no more crow than a hen; and his gallantry betrays him into the most awkward predicament. Lord Byron (we speak of them all as authors, and figuratively) makes love like Sir Peter; Moore like a tom-tit; and Hunt like the creature aforesaid. The two first are excellent, each in his several department; for tastes arc various; but no one could hold up her face, and declare upon her honour that she preferred the performances of the last. No, no, such manhood will not pass current out of the kingdom of Cockaigne.

The “Florentine Lovers” are named Ippolito de’ Buondelmonte, and Dianora D’Amerigo. Sorely puzzled will the poor Cockneys be to syllable such names. It will take most of them a winter’s evening to commit to memory such outlandish and unconscionable words, along with the usual appendage or appendix of the final R, which will amorously burr within the apple of their throats. Leigh, quite uppish on being in Italy, stops short his story before it is well begun, with this exclamation—

“[How delicious it is to repeat these beautiful Italian names, when they are not merely names! We find ourselves almost unconsciously writing them in a better hand than the rest; not merely for the sake of the printer, but for the pleasure of lingering upon the sound.]”

O Gemini! what is this! what is this! To turn out of a love-tale, to fondle two long lank gauky names! It is as bad as to turn from your mistress’s lips, to ask the price of the ribbands on her cap, or to praise the softness of her fur-tippet, “For the sake of the printer”!!’ Did any created substance ever before interrupt one of its amorous moments, by a reflection on a printing-office? Besides—did the Cockney King so far forget his Royal dignity, as to write “copy” with his own paws? Does his Majesty not employ an amanuensis, like his cousin Dahomey?—But let us hear what sort of younkers these are with their beautiful names. Ippolito, the Hobbletehoy, was about eighteen, “but looked two or three more, on account of a certain gravity and deep regard in the upper part of his face. You might know by his lips that he could love well, and by his eyes, that he could keep the secret.” He was a shrewd young knave, in short, who knew better than to kiss and tell. But is there not something effeminate, Cockneyish, and Sporus-like, in a male writer speaking so of male lips? If Leigh Hunt be indeed an unfortunate woman, disguised in yellow breeches, this slaver about lips may be excusable; but if he really be of the sex assumed, nothing can be more loathsome. We said there was something Platonic, notwithstanding, in the Tale, and here is a precious touch indeed—

“There was a likeness, as sometimes happens, between the two lovers: and perhaps this was no mean help to their passion: for as we find painters often giving their own faces to their heroes, so the more excusable vanity of lovers delights to find that resemblance in one another, which Plato said was only the divorced half of the original human being rushing into communion with the other.”

When Mr Hunt thinks of a Church (for of course he never goes to one on a Sunday,) it is only as of a place constructed for the mutual accommodation of the sexes, when inclined for love.

776 On the Cockney School. No. VII.

“The paintings, the perfumes, the music, the kind crucifix, the mixture of aspiration and earthly ceremony, the draperies, the white vestments of young and old, the boys’ voice, the giant candles, typical of the seraphic ministrants about God’s altar, the meeting of all ages and classes, the echoings of the aisles, the lights and shades of the pillars and vaulted roofs, the very struggle of day-light at the lofty windows, as if earth were at once present and not present,—all have a tendency to confuse the boundaries of this world and the next, and to set the heart floating in that delicious mixture of elevation and humility, which is ready to sympathize with whatever can preserve to it something like its sensations, and save it from the hardness and definite folly of ordinary life. It was in a church that Boccaccio, not merely the voluptuous Boccaccio, who is but half-known by the half-witted, but Boccaccio, the future painter of the Falcon and the Pot of Basil, first saw the beautiful face of his Fiametta. In a church, Petrarch felt the sweet shadow fall on him that darkened his life for twenty years after. And the fond gratitude of the local historian for a tale of true love, has left it on record, that it was in the church of St Giovanni at Florence, and on the great day of Pardon, which falls on the 13th of January, that Ippolito de’ Buondelmonte became enamoured of Dianora d’Amerigo.”

Unluckily for these ripe and ready youngsters, their papas and mammas (like those of Romeo and Juliet before them) cut each other on the streets of Florence, so that a marriage seems scarcely feasible. Ippolito, however, urges his suit strenuously; and lest his vigour should fail of producing the desired and usual effect, he has recourse to the following most ingenious and irresistible stratagem. “We must even record, that on one occasion he contrived to stumble against a dog, and tread his toes, in order that he might ostentatiously help the poor beast out of the way.” If Towler had given him a good snap on the calf of the leg for his pains, he would, we think, have been cheap of the hydrophobia. But it is at church where most he plies his artillery; and Dianora, who is lucky in an accommodating aunt (not a very usual phenomenon in this country, whatever it may be in Italy) ogles to him after his heart’s desire. The old leering aunt thus pleads Ippolito’s cause unsolicited and without a fee, being an honorary member of the Philanthropical Society of Florence.

“‘If he is very handsome, poor boy, how can he help that? Saints have been handsome in their days, aye, and young, or their pictures are not at all like, which is impossible; and I am sure St Dominic himself, in the wax-work, God forgive me! hardly looks sweeter and humbler at the Madonna and Child, than he did at me and you, as we went by.’—‘Dear aunt,’ rejoined Dianora, ‘I did not mean to reproach you, I’m sure; but, sweet aunt, we do not know him, you know——’ ‘Know!’ cried the old lady, ‘I’m sure I know him as well as if he were my own aunt’s son, which might not be impossible, though she is a little younger than myself; and if he were my own, I should not be ashamed.’”

The following description is meant, we suppose, to surpass every thing in Etheridge and Suckling. To us it reads most laughable. There runs through it, too, a small spice of Cockney irreligion, which is meant to season the Cockney voluptuousness. But there is no pith, no marrow. Many a far finer love-scene occurs unnoticed and unrecorded in the pews of Methodistical chapels and during love-feasts. Better a describe one of them, between some serious porter belonging to the Shropshire waggon-office, and the melting widow of a tallow-chandler, than to attempt a Florentine flourish. But here it goes—

“It is our duty to confess, that if the lovers were two of the devoutest of the congregation, which is certain, they were apt also, at intervals, to be the least attentive; and, furthermore, that they would each pretend to look towards places at a little distance from the desired object, in order that they might take in, with the sidelong power of the eye, the presence and look a one another. But for some time Dianora had ceased even to do this; and though Ippolito gazed on her the more stedfastly, and saw that she was paler than before, he began to persuade himself that it was not on his account. At length, a sort of desperation urged him to get nearer to her, if she would not condescend to come near himself; and, on the Sunday in question, scarcely knowing what he did, or how he saw, felt, or breathed, he knelt right down beside her. There was a pillar next him, which luckily kept him somewhat in the shade; and for a moment he leaned his forehead against the cold marble, which revived him. Dianora did not know he was by her. She did not sing: nor did the aunt ask her. She kept one unaltered posture, looking upon her mass-book, and he thought she did this on purpose. Ippolito, who had become weak with his late struggles of mind, felt almost suffocated with his sensations. He was kneeling side by side with her; her
Hunt’s Art of Love.777
idea, her presence, her very drapery, which was all that he dared to feel himself in contact with, the consciousness of kneeling with her in the presence of him whom tender hearts implore for pity on their infirmities, all rendered him intensely sensible of bis situation. By a strong effort, he endeavoured to turn his self-pity into a feeling entirely religious; but when he put his hands together, he felt the tears ready to gush away so irrepressibly, that he did not dare it. At last the aunt, who had in fact looked about for him, recognised him with some surprise, and more pleasure. She had begun to suspect his secret; and though she knew who he was, and that the two families were at variance, yet a great deal of good nature, a sympathy with pleasures of which no woman had tasted more, and some considerable disputes she had lately with another old lady, her kinswoman, on the subject of politics, determined her upon at least giving the two lovers that sort of encouragement, which arises not so much from any decided object we have in view, as from a certain vague sense of benevolence, mixed with a lurking wish to have our own way. Accordingly, the well-meaning old widow-lady, without much consideration, and loud enough for Ippolito to hear, whispered her niece to ‘let the gentleman next her read in her book, as he seemed to have forgotten to bring his own.’ Dianora, without lifting her eyes, and never suspecting who it was, moved her book sideways, with a courteous inclination of the head, for the gentleman to take it. He did so. He held it with her. He could not hinder his hand from shaking; but Dianora’s reflections were so occupied upon one whom she little thought so near her, that she did not perceive it. At length the book tottered so in his hand, that she could not but notice it. She turned to see if the gentleman was ill, and instantly looked back again. She felt that she herself was too weak to look at him, and whispering to her aunt, ‘I am very unwell,’ the ladies rose and made their way out of the church. As soon as she felt the fresh air, she fainted, and was carried home; and it happened, at the same moment, that Ippolito, unable to keep his feelings to himself, leaned upon the marble pillar at which he was kneeling, and groaned aloud.”

Pass we over some days or weeks, for we know not which, and at last Ippolito is about to enjoy an interview with Dianora. The impatience of the young gentleman is very natural and affecting, and we do not know whether or not to envy his feelings, and to wish being in his shoes.

“Every step which Ippolito heard on the stair-case he fancied was hers, till it passed the door, and never did morning appear to him at once so delirious and so tiresome. To be in the same house with her, what joy! But to be in the same house with her, and not to be able to tell her his love directly, and ask her for hers, and fold her into his very soul, what impatience and misery! Two or three times there was a knock of some one to be let in; but it was only the gossip, come to inform him that he must be patient, and that she did not know when Madonna Lucrezia would please to bring Dianora, but most likely after dinner, when the visitors retired to sleep a little. Of all impertinent things, dinner appeared to him the most tiresome and unfit. He wondered how any thinking beings, who might take a cake or a cup of wine by the way, and then proceed to love one another, could sit round a great wooden table, patiently eating of this and that nicety; and, above all, how they could sit still afterwards for a moment, and not do any thing else in preference,—stand on their heads, or toss the dishes out of the window.”

Dianora’s old wicked aunt, who had been a rare one in her youth, no doubt, and Goody or Gossip Veronica, another tender-hearted beldam, sneak off to take a drop of comfort, and leave the inflammable and combustible boy and girl to go off like a brace of squibs.

“After dinner, when the other visitors had separated here and there to sleep, Dianora, accompanied by her aunt and Veronica, found herself, to her great astonishment, in the same room with Ippolito; and a few minutes after their introduction to each other, and after one had looked this way, and the other that, and one taken up a book and laid it down again, and both looked out at the window, and each blushed, and either turned pale, and the gentleman adjusted his collar, and the lady her sleeve, and the elder ladies had whispered one another in a corner, Dianora, less to her astonishment than before, was left in the room with him alone. She made a movement as if to follow them, but Ippolito said something, she knew not what, and she remained. She went to the window, looking very serious and pale, and not daring to glance towards him. He intended instantly to go to her, and wondered what had become of his fierce impatience; but the very delay had now something delicious in it. Oh, the happiness of those moments! Oh, the sweet morning-time of those feelings! the doubt which is not doubt, and the hope which is but the coming of certainty!”

Here Leigh thinks that his female readers may begin to smell a rat, and therefore again stops short his tale, at a very interesting crisis, not as before to sigh over the voluptuous beauty of Octosyllabics, but to argufy the topic of decency or indecency with a female critic, whom he conjures up for the occasion, under the very expressive and
778On the Cockney School. No. VII.
original denomination of “Reader.” This lady is quite of his own kidney, (i. e. a Cockney,) and alluding to Di being left alone with Hippy, says, with a wink of the eye we presume, and her tongue elegantly shoved against the inside of the cheek next to his Cockney Majesty,

Reader. But, sir, in taking these heavenly flights of yours, you have left your two lovers.

Author. Surely, madam, I need not inform you that lovers are fond of being left—at least to themselves.

Reader. But, sir, they are Italians; and I did not think Italian lovers were of this bashful description. I imagined that the moment your two Florentines beheld one another, they would spring into each other’s arms, sending up cries of joy, and—and—

Author. Tumbling over the two old women by the way. It is a very pretty imagination, madam; but Italians partake of all the feelings common to human nature; and modesty is really not confined to the English, even though they are always saying it is.

Reader. But I was not speaking of modesty, sir; I was only alluding to a sort of—what shall I say—a kind of irrepressible energy—that which in the Italian character is called violence.”

This is certainly plain and perspicuous, and deserves a direct answer. But of all round-about-the-bush-and-bed-post replies on record, King Leigh’s is the most incomprehensible circumbendibus. It runs round thus—

Author. I meant nothing personal, madam, believe me, in using the word modesty. You are too charitable, and have too great a regard for my lovers. I was not speaking myself of modesty in any particular sense, but of modesty in general; and all nations, not excepting our beloved and somewhat dictatorial countrymen, have their modesties and immodesties too, from which perhaps their example might instruct one another. With regard to the violence you speak of, and which is energy sometimes, and the weakest of weaknesses at others, according to the character which exhibits it, and the occasion that calls it forth, the Italians, who live in an ardent climate, have undoubtedly shewn more of it than most people; but it is only where their individual character is most irregular, and education and laws at their worst. In general it is nothing but pure self-will, and belongs to the two extremes of the community—the most powerful whose passions have been indulged, and the poorest whose passions have never been instructed. True energy manifests itself, not in violence, but in strength and intensity; and intensity is by its nature discerning, said not to be surpassed in quietness, where quietness is becoming.”

The lady listens with her mouth wide open, no doubt, to some most of this vile slang, and then exclaims,—“You have convinced me, sir—pray, let us proceed!

The plot now begins to thicken; and having had a love-scene in a church, now for one in a lady’s chamber.

“Ippolito went up to Dianora. She was still looking out of the window, her eye fixed upon the blue mountains in the distance, but conscious of nothing outside the room. She had a light green and gold net on her head, which enclosed her luxuriant hair without violence, and seemed as if it took it up that he might admire the white neck underneath. She felt his breath upon it; and beginning to expect that his lips would follow, raised her hands to her head, as if the net required adjusting. This movement, while it disconcerted him, presented her waist in a point of view so impossible not to touch, that, taking it gently in both his hands, he pressed one at the same time upon her heart, and said, ‘It will forgive me, even for doing this.’ He had reason to say so, for he felt it beat against his fingers, as if it leaped. Dianora, blushing and confused, though feeling abundantly happy, made another movement with her hands, as if to remove his own, but he only detained them on either side. ‘Messer Ippolito,’ said Dianora, in a tone as if to remonstrate, though suffering herself to remain a prisoner, ‘I fear you must think me—’ ‘No, no,’ interrupted Ippolito, ‘you can fear nothing that I think, or that I do. It is I that have to fear year lovely and fearful beauty, which has been ever at the side of my sick-bed, and I thought looked angrily upon me—upon me alone of the whole world.’—‘They told me you had been ill,’ said Dianora, in a very gentle tone; ‘and my aunt perhaps knew that I—thought that I—Have you been very ill?’—And, without thinking, she drew her left hand from under his, and placed it upon it. ‘Very,’ answered Ippolito; ‘do not I look so?’—And saying that, he raised his other hand, and venturing to put it round to the left side of her little dimpled chin, turned her face towards him. Dianora did not think he appeared so ill by a good deal, as he did in the church; but there was enough in his face, ill or well, to make her eye-sight swim as she looked at him; and the next moment her head was upon his shoulder, and his lips descended, welcome, upon hers.

“There was a practice in those times, generated, like other involuntary struggles against wrong, by the absurdities in authority, of resorting to marriages, or rather
Hunt’s Art of Love.779
plightings of troth, made in secret, and in the eye of Heaven. It was a custom liable to great abuse, as all secrecies are; but the harm of it, as usual, fell chiefly on the poor, or where the condition of the parties was unequal. Where the families were powerful and on an equality, the hazard of violating the engagement was, for obvious reasons, very great, and seldom encountered; the lovers either foregoing their claims on each other upon better acquaintance, or adhering to their engagement the closer for the same reason, or keeping it at the expense of one or the other’s repentance for fear of the consequences. The troth of Ippolito and Dianora was indeed a troth. They plighted it on their knees, before a picture or the Virgin and Child, in Veronica’s bed-room, and over a mass-book which lay open upon a chair. Ippolito then, for the pleasure of revenging himself of the pangs he suffered when Dianora knelt with him before, took up the mass-book and held it before her, as she had held it before him, and looked her entreatingly in the face; and Dianora took and held it with him as before, trembling as then, but with a perfect pleasure; and Ippolito kissed her twice and thrice out of a sweet revenge.”

Here the odious Cockney again stops short; and finishes his picture, which seems painted by an eunuch, with a parenthesis manifestly written by a fool.

“We find we are in the habit of using a great number of ands on these occasions. We do not affect it, though we are conscious of it. It is partly, we believe, owing to our recollections of the good faith and simplicity in the old romances, and partly to a certain sense of luxury and continuance which these ands help to link together. It is the fault of ‘the accursed critical spirit,’ which is the bane of these times, that we are obliged to be conscious of the matter at all. But we cannot help not having been born six hundred years ago, and are obliged to be base and reviewatory like the rest. To affect not to be conscious of the critical in these times, would itself be a departure from what is natural; but we notice the necessity only to express our hatred of it, and hereby present the critics (ourselves included, as far as we belong to them) with our hearty discommendations.”

You exquisite idiot! was not one episode about printers’ devils sufficient, but you must, sensualist as you are, turn the small, mean, twinkling eyes of your mind away from the sight on which they had just been floating, to enjoy the still more beastly gratification of contemplating your own cockney charms? You deserve, sir, for this parenthesis, to be hung up by the little finger till you are dead! You are indeed a fine creature!—But hark! hark!

Dianora had consented to receive her bridegroom in her own apartment at home, that same night, by means of that other old good-natured go-between, yclept a ladder of ropes.”

It is now all plain sailing; and Ippolito gets a ladder of ropes from his father’s valet-de-sham. Here Leigh speaks quite con amore.

“Ippolito had noticed a ladder of ropes which was used in his father’s house for some domestic purposes. To say the truth, it was an old servant, and had formerly been much in request for the purpose to which it was now about to be turned by the old gentleman himself. He was indeed a person of a truly orthodox description, having been much given to intrigue in his younger days, being consigned over to avarice in his older, and exhibiting great submission to every thing established, always. Accordingly, he was considered as a personage equally respectable for his virtues, as important from his rank and connexions; and if hundreds of ladders could have risen up in judgment against him, they would only have been considered as what are called in England ‘wild oats;’—wild ladders, which it was natural for every gentleman to plant.”

Ippolito, after all, however, turns out a shilly-shally sort of a fellow, and trembles with fear like an aspen-leaf. Two drunk men are fighting near Di’s window, and he is terrified out of his wits at the clashing of their swords.

“A clashing of swords ensued, and to his great relief the drunkard and his companion were driven on. In a minute or two all was silent. Ippolito gave the signal—it was acknowledged; the rope was fixed; and the lover was about to ascend, when he was startled with a strange diminutive face, smiling at him over a light. His next sensation was to smile at the state of his own nerves; for it was but a few minutes before, that he was regretting he could not put out a lantern that stood burning under a little image of the Virgin. He crossed himself, offered up a prayer for the success of his true love, and again proceeded to mount the ladder.”

As bad luck would have it, two gentlemen, probably out upon similar business, give the view-hollo.

“Ippolito descended rapidly, intending to hide his face as much as possible in his hood, and escape by dint of fighting, but his foot slipped in the ropes, and he was at the same instant seized by the strangers. The instinct of a lover, who above all things in the world cared for his mistress’s reputation, supplied our hero with an artifice as quick as lightning. ‘They are all
780On the Cockney School. No. VII.
safe,’ said he, affecting to tremble with a cowardly terror, ‘I have not touched one of them.’ ‘One of what?’ said the others; ‘what are all safe?’ ‘The jewels,’ replied Ippolito; ‘let me go for the love of God, and it shall be my last offence, as it was my first. Besides, I mean to restore them.’ ‘Restore them!’ cried the first spokesman; ‘a pretty jest truly. This must be some gentleman gambler by his fine would-be conscience; and by this light we will see who he is, if it is only for your sake, Filippo, eh?’”

This is truly a most pitiful and wretched incident. Ippolito is tried—condemned—and forthwith led to execution!!! Dianora espies him from her window—shrieks;—rushes out—clasps him—confesses that Ippolito had stolen no jewel whatever of hers; and the whole truth being suddenly as plain as a pike-staff, why, to be sure, he is pardoned, and, instead of being executed, is married, and put to bed. To relieve our minds from all fear about the couple, we are told that his “cheeks, which seemed to have fallen away in one night, appeared to have plumped out again faster; and if he was now pole, instead of high-coloured, the paleness of Dianora had given way to radiant blushes, which made up for it.” So what think you now of the Florentine Lovers?

We have not hesitated to give quotations from this wretched piece of ineffectual immorality, for we wish those worthy persons who may have been disposed to believe, on the misrepresentation of Whigs, Radicals, and Cockneys, that we have been too hard on Leigh Hunt, to form their own judgment of the matter from this one single abortion of his prostituted muse. We accused him of being an immoral, indecent, lascivious, and sensual writer; and for saying so, he and his associates, for friends we must not call them, yelped out the bark of “personality,” being at once Curs and Cockneys. We were said to have attacked Hunt’s private character. That, in the usual sense of the charge, was a lie. But if the wretched man has indeed put his private character, as many have done, into his writings, our words must have cut into the core of his heart. His books alone have we struck, and they spurted forth their “pus and pimples” beneath the dissecting knife, the subject being in a truly dangerous stage of corruption. If his own conscience smote him with crimes or vices unknown to us, and if, in calling out vain curses and imprecations against us, he made dark and dismal confessions of enormities at this hour unintelligible, ought it to be imputed as a fault to his stern and unsparing castigators, that they knew not the measure of the Cockney’s wickedness; and that their plain and unambiguous sentence conveyed to the culprit meanings and intentions which his own sunken soul alone could interpret, feeling the remembrance of his secret iniquities in words that alluded to nothing but hs baseness and profligacy as a public writer?

But perhaps his impertinence is more insupportable than his licentiousness in this sorry Florentine Amour. In the first place, he had no right whoever to go to Italy. A man who knew nothing of Italian literature, except Hoole’s Tasso, (which he confessed in his denial of that charge,) must be impudent indeed to think of Florence. The essence of his sin is in presuming to put his “Cockney feet—Cockney feet that go so complete” upon classic ground. We should not be surprised to hear that the earth yawned beneath him to the depth of half a yard, and gave the outraged worms an opportunity of biting the legs of such an unauthorized, uncredentialed, and unwarranted intruder. If he dares to go to Rome, we shall send over Hogg to assassinate him, who has, we understand, claimed the murder of Begby. “Hogg stabbing Hunt at the Base of Pompey’s Statue,” would make a picture full of gusto.

Secondly, It is gross impertinence in any Cockney to write about—love. Love, correctly speaking, is a tender affair between a lady and a gentleman; whereas, King Leigh and his subjects imagine it to be merely a congress between a male and a female. There is the mistake, and it is a very gross one. In writing about love, such as is made by us and our fair readers—ladies and gentlemen, to wit—considerable delicacy of mind is required, much grace, liveliness, gentleness, and good-breeding; but the Cocknies have none of these things, and write as if their passions were excited by very weak gin-twist, many tumblers of which are necessary to kindle any thing like a flame which, indeed, they are very apt at the same time to extinguish. We have no doubt that Leigh sup-
Hunt’s Art of Love.781
poses he can make love;—not he—any more than he can write grammar. No lady in this land could even comprehend what he wished to have, with his eternal sidling and sliding about, and perking up his mouth, and swaling with his coat-tails. The lady would suspect that he wished to throw her off her guard, and that he was watching an opportunity to pick her pocket. But Leigh forgets that ladies do not now-a-days wear pockets. However, be that as it may, any Cockney who writes about love deserves to be kicked,—that is the short and long of the matter, and there is no occasion to say a single word more on the subject.

Thirdly, What, in the name of Katterfelto, can Byron mean by patronizing a Cockney? A Bear at College was all very well;—but, my lord, think on it,—a Cockney at Pisa!—Fie, my lord! This is by far the greatest outrage you have ever yet committed on manners, and morals, and intellectuals. As to Don Juan and Cain, we pardon you them; but this sin is beyond the reach of our forgiveness,—Cain’s murder of his brother Abel was nothing to it. Cain was no Cockney; and had he seen one, his speculations on the origin of evil would have been still more perplexing. A Cockney is by far the most unaccountable of God’s works;—explain that, and our minds will be at rest for ever.

Fourthly, It is, on the whole, however, satisfactory to see the Cockney in his proper situation—the menial of a lord. This is the man who, for years, kept abusing nobility; and now sneaks fawningly, with hat in hand, to “my dear Byron,” and is quite happy to do any little dirty job imposed on him by the aristocratical pride of the domineering peer. See him in the “Liberal.” Enter—Lord Byron, with a frown and a stride; follows—Leigh Hunt, with a utensil on a salver. His Lordship has a trick of making even clever men look silly. Who could look more so than Mr Rogers, when he was over-persuaded to allow his Jacqueline to be published along with Lara—like a lady’s reticule tied to the tail of the “Desert-born” that carried the naked adulterer across four degrees of latitude? But Rogers is a gentleman and a poet. Here, we see only a scavenger raking in the filth of the common sewers and the stews, for a few gold pieces thrown down by a nobleman in a transient fit of self-willed generosity. In this consists his complicated and perfect degradation—that he is unable to perform the loathsome wickedness which he is willing should be demanded of him by the master of a slave, and is thus impelled into perpetual impotence by the entreaties of a diseased nature, and the orders of the “vultus instantis tyranni.” But that Satan should stoop to associate with an incubus, shews that there is degeneracy in hell.

There is but one word,—of many melancholy and miserable meanings,—and which we should not dare to apply to any of our brethren; but it may be applied, not only innocently, but rightfully, to a Cockney; and all who have read the “Liberal,” and have seen Leigh Hunt there, will say, that that one word only can perfectly describe him,—



“Arbiter, Ausoniæ, Politiane, Lyræ
The kind Cockney Monarch, he bids us farewell,
Taking his place in the Leghorn-bound smack,—
In the smack, in the smack—Ah! will he ne’er come back?
What will become of Webb, Hazlitt, and all the pack?
I’m sure our Star’s gone, and we’re left in a plight.
782 On the Cockney School. No. VII.
There he goes, the first thing, to the Campo hard by,
Treading the street with his corn-troubled toes,—
Troubled toes, troubled toes,—swalingly goes
The kind Cockney King, for he’s pester’d with those,
To find themes for the Article which he must write.
Then he perks up his nose on the country to stare,
And the streams, and the plains, and the skies free from smoke,—
Free from smoke, free from smoke,—what will the Wapping folk
Say when they hear of them? Sure they will think I joke,
And in quizzing am taking my gentle delight.
In addition to this comes a rustical song,
Which makes one to shudder and laugh also,—
And laugh also,—for the stanzas go
Like a big brewer’s horse, all so heavily O!
That jumps with the ginger, and thinks he jumps light.
And besides, upon old Ariosto we’ve seen him,
Grafting his garlands of Ludgate-hill flowers,—
O the Ludgate-hill flowers, they are fit for the bowers
Of apprentice boys and their paid paramours—
Rear’d in window-pots, water’d from teapots each night.
Hey for a preface to print at the head
Of the pamphlet containing these patches and things,—
These patches and things, of the Cockney King’s,
And then brother Johnny the pamphlet out brings,
But if nobody buys us, we’re mortified quite.