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of wit or fancy; tells a story capitally: mimics an actor or an acquaintance to admiration ; laughs with great glee and good humour at his own and other people's jokes : understands the point of an equivoque or an observation immediately; has a taste for, and knowledge of, books, of music, of medals; manages an argument adroitly; is genteel and gallant, and has a set of byephrases and quaint allusions always at hand to produce a laugh.” Shelley has described Leigh Hunt in a poetical epistle.

You will see H-t; one of those happy souls

Which are the salt of the earth, and without whom
This world would smell like what it is-a tomb;
Who is, what others seem ;-his room no doubt
Is still adorned by many a cast from Shout,
With graceful flowers tastefully placed about;
And coronals of bay from ribbands hung,
And brighter wreaths in neat disorder flung.”

Keats has also done due honor to Leigh Hunt's refined yet frank and social conversation.

He who elegantly chats and talks,
The wronged Libertaswho has told

you

stories
Of laurel chaplets and Apollo's glories,
Of troops chivalrous marching through a city,
And tearful ladies made for love and pity.”

Wordsworth is said to be an eloquent and instructive talker, especially on poetical subjects. He is not however fond of mere gossip, as may be gathered from the following very curious sonnet.

"I am not one who much or oft delight

To season my fireside with personal talk
Of friends, who live within an easy walk,
Of neighbours, daily, weekly in my sight :
And for my chance acquaintance, Ladies bright,
Sons, mothers, maidens withering on the stalk,
These all wear out of me, like forms, with chalk
Painted on rich men's floors, for one feast night.

Better than such discourse doth silence long,
Long, barren silence square with my desire :
To sit without emotion, hope or aim,
In the loved presence of my cottage fire,
And listen to the fapping of the flame,

Or kettle whispering its faint under-song." It is said of Charles Lamb, in the Plain Speaker, that he is "the most delightful, the most provoking, the most witty and sensible of men. He always makes the best pun and the best remark in the course of the evening. His serious conversation, like his serious writing, is his best. No one ever stammered out such fine, piquant, deep, eloquent things in half a dozen half sentences as he does.” Horne Tooke was a master of the intellectual foils, so were Dr. Parr and Professor Porson. Sir Walter Scott was narrative and entertaining, but I suspect he did not shine in wit or argument.

Thomas Campbell's conversation is that of a scholar, a poet and a warm-hearted man. He is one of the few,” says Leigh Hunt, “with whom I could at any time walk a dozen miles through the snow to spend an afternoon.” Rogers, according to the testimony of Lord Byron, is silent and severe ; but when he does talk, he talks well, and on all subjects of taste, his delicacy of expression is pure as his poetry. Moore's conversation is also as brilliant as his verses. Byron's was unequal, but occasionally spirited and delightful. It would be easy to extend this list of authors who have excelled in colloquial intercourse, and it would be equally easy to adduce a number of striking exceptions*. But this article is already too long, and I must

*

“Mr. Hume’s writings were so superior to his conversation, that I frequently said he understood nothing till he had written upon it.”-Horace Walpole.

it is ge

If I am obliged to speak I infallibly talk nonsense. What is still worse, instead of learning to be silent, when I have absolutely nothing to

say, nerally at such times that I have a violent inclination for talking; and endeavouring to pay my debt of conversation as speedily as possible, I hastily gabble a number of words without ideas, happy when they only chance to mean nothing: thus endeavouring to conquer or hide my incapacity, I rarely fail to show it.”— Rousseau's Confessions.

1

content myself with adding, that the best proof of the general superiority of the conversation of authors is the fact already alluded to, that it would in most instances bear to be recorded in a book, which is not the case with the conversation of other men, who, though they may seem to talk with considerable brilliancy, would very rarely have occasion to congratulate themselves on the appearance of their Table Talk in a printed form.

SONNET.

THERE are no mortal limits to the sway
That God hath given the spirit, of this frame
The tenant, not the prisoner. Nought can tame
Her sovereign will. She mocks at human clay,
The dim weak wall that seemeth like a stay ;-
So the fair moon that envious night would shame,'
And shroud hér form divine, out-bursts like flame
From smouldering fires, and brightens on her way!
The forehead pale, despite its ivory bound,
As glass is fragile, and the eye as clear,
When the roused soul awakes. The scenes around
Her worldly path-hills, vales, and woods,--appear
Her realm no more. She soars from earth's low ground,
And seeks, on viewless wings, a holier sphere.

LINES TO A LADY SINGING.

A voice divine is echoing in my heart-
The tears are in mine eyes ;-oh! never, never
Did holier tones from worldly cares dissever
The dreamer's soul! I feel myself depart
From life's dim land. Enchantress as thou art,
Oh! that thy magic spells could last for ever !
But bliss eternal owns no mortal giver :-
The
song

hath ceased !-I wake with sudden start, Like one half-sleeping on a murmuring river, When the bark strikes the shore :-the trance is broken !

Hark!-sweeter sounds than aught e'er sung or spoken
By human lips before, (a seraph's strain,)
Like floral fragrance from a breeze-stirred bower,
Float on the ravished atmosphere again!
Oh exquisite excess! Oh! tones too sweet
For mortal ear with tranquil nerve to meet ;
The sense is almost troubled with your power.
Yet cease not-cease not—rain upon my heart,
Ye showers of song, and drown each thought in bliss
As wild and wanton as the first sweet kiss
Wakes in the lover's brain !

As glad birds dart
Through earth's dull mist, and cleaving sunnier air,
Send down their liquid notes from fields of light,
So thou, fair Minstrel, seem'st from regions bright
To breathe celestial hymns ! Thy music rare
Like matin songs that cheer departing night,

While charmed Aurora stealeth o'er the height
Of orient hills, would chase the hideous gloom
Of desolate hearts wild-struggling with despair,
And frightened Hope recal!

More sweet than bloom
Of vernal bowers to desert-wearied eyes,
And sweeter than the sudden sound of streams
That sun-parched wanderers hear with glad surprise,
Is thy melodious magic to the breast
That Care hath haunted with her cloud-like dreams,
Or passion stirred to madness. Peace and rest
Attend thy voice, thus potent as a word
From sacred lips when earthly hopes decline ;
Or as those visionary notes divine
Rapt Mirza on the hills of Bagdat heard !

THE VOICE OF LOVE.

Oh! if there is a magic charm, amid this desert drear,
The long, dull, weary way to cheat- our darkest dreams to cheer,
It is the tender voice of Love, that echoes o'er the mind
Like music on a twilight lake, or bells upon the wind !

Oh! dread would be the rugged road, and sad the wanderer's heart,
Should that celestial harmony from life's dim sphere depart !
Oh! how, for that far distant land, would sigh the lonely breast,
• Where the wicked cease from troubling, and the weary are at rest!'

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