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Co-herald ! wake, oh wake, and utter praise !
5. And you, ye five wild torrents fiercely glad !
6. Ye ice-falls ! ye that from the mountain's brow
Adown enormous ravines slope amain-
7. Ye living flowers that skirt the eternal frost !
Ye wild goats sporting round the eagle's nest !
8. Once more, hoar mount! with thy sky-pointing peak,
Oft from whose feet the avalanche, unheard,
III.-PASSAGE FROM CHRISTABEL.
Alas! they had been friends in youth;
CHARACTERIZATION BY DE QUINCEY. 1. Without attempting any elaborate analysis of Lamb's merits, which would be no easy task, one word or two may be said generally about the position he is entitled to hold in our litera
ture, and, comparatively, in European literature. In the literature of every nation, we are naturally disposed to place in the highest rank those who have produced some great and colossal work-a Paradise Lost, a Hamlet, a Novum Organum—which presupposes an effort of intellect, a comprehensive grasp, and a sustaining power, for its original conception, corresponding in grandeur to that effort, different in kind, which must preside in its execution.
2. But after this highest class, in which the power to conceive and the power to execute are upon the same scale of grandeur, there comes a second, in which brilliant powers of execution, applied to conceptions of a very inferior range, are allowed to establish a classical rank. Every literature possesses, besides its great national gallery, a cabinet of minor pieces, not less perfect in their polish, possibly more so. In reality, the characteristic of this class is elaborate perfection: the point of inferiority is not in the finishing, but in the compass and power of the original creation, which (however exquisite in its class), moves within a smaller sphere. To this class belong, for example, The Rape of the Lock, that finished jewel of English literature ; The Dunciad (a still more exquisite gem); The Vicar of Wakejicid (in its earliest part); in German, the Luise of Voss; in French-what? Above all others, the fables of La Fontaine. He is the pet and darling, as it were, of the French literature.
3. Now, I affirm that Charles Lamb occupies a corresponding station in his own literature. I am not speaking it will be observed) of kinds, but of degrees, in literary merit; and Lamb I hold to be, as with respect to English literature, that which La Fontaine is with respect to French. For though there may be little resemblance otherwise, in this they agree, that both were wayward and eccentric humorists; both confined their efforts to short flights ; and both, according to the standards of their sey. eral countries, were occasionally, and in a lower key, poets.
DISSERTATION ON ROAST PIG. [INTRODUCTION.—The subjoined piece is one of the Essays of Elia, under which pseudonym Lamb contributed to the London Magazine this charming series of papers. Says Sir T. N. Talfourd: “They are carefully elaborated ; yet never were works written in a higher defiance to the conventional pomp of style. A sly hit, a happy pun, a humorous combination, lets the light into the intricacies of the subject, and supplies the place of ponderous sentences.'']
1. Mankind, says a Chinese manuscript, which my friend M. was obliging enough to read and explain to me, for the first seventy thousand ages ate their meat raw, clawing or biting it from the living animal, just as they do in Abyssinia to this day. This period is not obscurely hinted at by their great Confucius in the s second chapter of his Mundane Mutations, where he designates a kind of golden age by the term Cho-fang, literally the cooks' holiday. The manuscript goes on to say that the art of roasting, or rather broiling (which I take to be the elder brother), was accidentally discovered in the manner following.
2. The swine-herd Ho-ti, having gone out into the woods one morning, as his manner was, to collect mast* for his hogs, left his cottage in the care of his eldest son, Bo-bo, a great lubberly boy, who, being fond of playing with fire, as younkers * of his age commonly are, let some sparks escape into a bundle of straw, 15 which kindling quickly, spread the conflagration over every part of their poor mansion, till it was reduced to ashes. Together with the cottage (a sorry antediluvian makeshift of a building, you may think it), what was of much more importance, a fine litter of new-farrowed pigs, no less than nine in number, perished. ac
LITERARY ANALYSIS.—To what class of compositions does this piece belong? Ans. To the Essay.- What are the chief characteristics of the piece? Ans. They are raciness and humor,
1-10. Mankind ... following. By what means does Lamb give an appearance of truthfulness to the narrative?
2, 3. seventy thousand ages. The claims of the Chinese to a vast antiquity give point to this remarkable number.
9. the elder brother. What is the figure of speech? (See Def. 20.)
11-17. The swine-herd... ashes. What kind of sentence, grammatically and rhetorically?
14. younkers. Etymology?