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THE LION'S HEAD
THERE are many communications sent us from time to time, which our limits prevent us inserting when and where their authors would wish to see them. We have asked leave of our Lion this month to publish a few of these articles under the sign of his head, and he, with a kind of grumbling graciousness, has awarded us his permission accordingly.
The champions of the female sex are rising en masse against X. Y. Z.; SURREY breaks a spear with him a few pages onwards, and our correspondent H. N. T. S. appears quite as ambitious, under a somewhat less, aspiring name, to try his strength with the aforesaid ungallant knight.
To the Editor. SIR,- I am no advocate for the doctrine occasionally advanced, which affirms the original equality of the sexes in intellectual power; on the contrary, I think it as false in fact, as it is dangerous in tendency, yet I cannot help feeling that your gifted correspondent, X. Y. Z. has, in the consciousness of his own sexual and individual superiority, treated the ladies with but little justice, and with still less gallantry. So much is this the case, indeed, that utterly unknown to me as he is, I would almost venture to assert, that his judgment has been warped, or his feelings embittered, by his having been, at some period or other, unfortunately placed in contact with female ignorance, or with female pedantry. The one would tend to produce a belief in the incapacity of women : -the other, to create a wish that that incapacity were universal.
While, however, I am cordially disposed to concede the point of equality between the sexes, I am obliged in candour to admit, that the question has never been fairly tried ; nor, while the occupations of women, both natural and artificial, differ so essentially from those of men, as the welfare of society requires that they should, can we ever do more than "take the high priori road” in our reasonings upon the subject. To very few women have the gates of knowledge been thrown open by other hands than their own; and for none lias been, or could be, obtained an exemption from those peculiar circumstances, moral and physical, which must exercise so powerful an influence in the formation of their literary character; and which, even under the most advantageous system of education, will ever contribute to affix the impress of inferiority upon the exertions of female intellect.
I cannot, however, agree in the inference drawn by your correspondent, that because women have not succeeded in producing works of imagination of the highest class, they are therefore incapable of comprehending and of relishing such works. If X. Y.Z.-the profound political economist, --has ever, in the versatility of his talents, deigned to trifle with the muse, he probably does not entertain the opinion, that his poetry is equal to Lord Byron's ; yet would he not justly question the rectitude of the decision which should, for that reason only, pronounce him incompetent to feel and to estimate the higher bara ? " Where,” he exultingly asks, “ where is Mrs. Shakspeare ?” Does he forget, that in the opinion of all orthodox Englishmen, we might in vain inquire of a neighbouring nation, where is Monsieur Shakspeare?” There is something almost of a trading spirit in the criterion of quantity adopted by X. Y. Z. in judging of the value of female productions. Are there no gems in literature, as well as masses of gold ? Gray never wrote an epic, nor even a poem of any length ; yet are his odes therefore the less invaluable ? Until the appearance of Lallah Rookh, Moore lived in our memories and on our lips, only as the writer of the most beautiful short poems ever composed : to the Grecian bard, whom he has made our own, belonged the
same character in his day : -and Pindar—the masculine, the sublime, the magnificent Pindar-might with dismay behold his claims adjusted by the balance or the yard.
I apprehend that X. Y. Ž. has not rendered adequate (it is certainly reluctant) justice - to the value of Signora Agnesi's contributions to mathematical science; but, with the recollection present of even one successful female adventurer in that region of profound abstraction, how could he proceed to assert, that the abstractions of poetry are utterly inapprehensible” by a woman's mind ? Has Madame de Staël, too, that great redeemer of ber sex, lived and written in vain for X. Y, Z.? Has the power of her spirit never passed thrillingly over his own ? Has the radiance of her surpassing glory never lighted up the secret places of his heart? If he reply in the negative, we must be constrained to admit, that there are some, for whom the charmer charmeth wisely to very little purposc.
I have, however, no design to enter into a defence of the sex, and still less to controvert X. Y. Z.'s general position ; but, differing from him only with regard to some par. ticulars, I must at the same time venture to express my regret, that in his mode of treat.. ing his fair adversaries, he has exhibited less of suavity than of strength. He brandishes the club of mental superiority in the style of an intellectual North American; and woe to the literary squaw, who should presume to await its dire descent. Away, Ladies, to your strong-holds and your hiding-places ;-to your store-closets and your nurseries :there, you may possibly be allowed to compass, in peace and credit, the composition of a lullaby for your children, or “ an excellent new ballad” for your maids. “But beware how you put forth your noses beyond these sanctuaries :--beware,—for the Mohawk is abroad.
H. N. T. S.
Our poets will leave nothing untouched. Even “Sleep, gentle Sleep,”
AN ADDRESS TO SLEEP.
D. L. R-n.
Some doubts have agitated Lion's Head respecting the Essay or Story which Q. somewhat querulously asks after. It may perhaps be inserted in the next Number, but no positive opinion can be given till our Lord Chancellor has made up his mind.
The Reverend Gentleman who has sent us a Letter concerning the Destruction of Lord Byron's Memoirs has much misconceived the true state of the case, if we are rightly informed; but as our information is chiefly derived from the public papers, it may be incorrect. Certain statements, however, have appeared, professing to bear the authority of Mr. Moore, which completely set aside the view taken by our Correspondent. We have good reason to suppose that another version, distinct from any that has yet appeared, may some day be communicated to the public, which will afford us a proper opportunity of speaking our sentiments on the subject.
The family of poor Bloomfield the poet are in great distress, and a subscription has been set on foot for their relief-Among our numerous correspondents we are sure there are many, to whose benevolence this intimation will be a sufficient appeal.
Paul Jefferies,–Amicus,-On the Heart of Lord Byron,-The Minute Gun,- Translation of a Spanish Song,—The Traveller,-are amongst our unsuccessful communications.
LILIAN OF THE VALE. Having partially recovered from beside the desire of returning the a nervous distemper, brought on by a trifle to its owner, I was strongly severe course of academical studies, tinctured with that theory which apI determined to withdraw for the propriates much of our future dessummer months into the country, tiny to such accidental occurrences, where my constitution, naturally and I firmly believed that this pathweak, might be invigorated, and my way and no other would lead me to mind be diverted from preying on the object in search of which I had my body, by the novelty and variety set out; especially as the aforesaid of such amusements as woods, and ribband did not lie near the road I rivers, and mountains, and valleys, was pursuing, but a considerable afford. Both inclination and neces- distance from it on the byepath, sity (for I was not affluent) induced thereby obviously pointing out to me me to seek a place of retirement at the way I should choose. once humble and private, where my The path I speak of sunk down expenditure would be inconsiderable, between two hills, descending much and my actions might escape from below the level of the high road, and that ceremonious restraint, which the at length opening into a green platforms of society impose upon its form which overlooked a still deeper members. I had travelled for some declivity. I shall never forget the time in search of such an abode, but enchanting prospect which offered with little success; when one evening itself to my view, as I stood in the as I was returning, quite chagrined, green recess, formed by the two to the village where I had lain the banks, which rose from the platform, night before, my eyes were attracted and concealed both it and the steepto a narrow sheepwalk, which de- down valley it overhung, from the viated nearly at right angles from the passengers on the high road. I high road, by something which I seemed as if suspended in middle thought resembled an ornament of air, for the purpose of surveying the dress lying in the middle of the path. hollow woodland beneath me to the Upon taking it up, I found it to be a greatest advantage; for the precipi. pale blue ribband, simply folded in tous descent of the mountain, on the form of a star-knot, and held to- whose side I was placed, prevented gether by a silken thread of the same me from seeing that there was any colour. This was some proof at thing under my feet but the surface least, that a habitation was not far of the platform itself. The valley distant, and I immediately deter- was of considerable extent, and termined to attempt discovering it; for, minated either way in a dark glen; JULY, 1824.
it was perfectly verdant, except I suppose, at the suddenness of my where its green mantle was relieved appearance, waited without speaking by the deeper tints of several masses till I had explained myself. Having of foliage with which the lawns were apologized for my intrusion, and reinterspersed, by a few glistening lated the circumstances which occarocks, or by the bright surface of a sioned it, I briefly mentioned the obstream which ran at the bottom, ject in search of which I was traforming innumerable cascades and velling. The matron civilly replied, waterfalls, which
gave uncommon that her cottage, from its smallness, sweetness and purity to the air. At was ill adapted to my purposes, but one end of the valley appeared a that if I was satisfied with such an small cottage scarcely indeed appa- humble residence, if I thought my rent, from the number of trees which health would be improved by the surrounded it, and open only in front situation, I was welcome to a part towards the river, on whose opposite of her house ; that she only regretted side it lay. A few wreaths of thin her inability to provide me with a blue smoke curling above it, showed suitable apartment. it to be inhabited. Here then (said I agreed with the good woman on I), shall my labours at length cease, her own terms, and finding myself if all the wealth I am master of can fatigued by my journey, I soon repurchase a corner in such a paradise. tired to my chamber. It was a small Looking about to see how I should room, neatly but simply furnished ; descend from my present altitude to a little bed lay in one corner, a wothis Eden, a little goat made its ap- man's dressing-stand, and a couple pearance on the edge of the preci- of old-fashioned chairs, with an oaken pice, just where it was met by the table, nearly completed the invenbank forming the side of the recess tory. A few books, chiefly moral and where I stood, and gazing full at me religious, stood upon a shelf near the for some time, disappeared. I ap- window; one of these I opened, and proached the place where it had va- found the word Lilian, written in a nished, and found that the former delicate character, on the title-page. pathway still wound by the foot of Without waiting to make any furthe bank wall, and continued in a ther observations, I went to bed and slanting direction down the side of fell asleep immediately. the precipice, till it ended at the ford When the soul is entranced in which lay across the river, and led slumber, and we are as if divided beup to the cottage door. With some tween life and death, there are sounds difficulty and considerable danger I often heard in such moments, which doubled this promontory, and de- seem to partake of another and a scended cautiously, my four-footed superior world; sounds of that wild guide running on before me, and and visionary description to which, stopping at intervals to see if I fol- waking, we can find no parallel. lowed. Surely (said I), still theo- With such celestial music in my ears rizing as I followed my active con- I awoke in the morning, but the ductor to the bottom, my fate lies sounds seemed to die away as I rethis way; here have I a second re- turned to the consciousness of earthly gulator of my path; there must be existence. While I was regretting something in these governing acci- that my dream was not reality, and dents. I found the river much wider before the echoes of its ideal symand more rapid than I expected; a phony had ceased to vibrate in my large tree, supported at each end on brain, methought I heard the same massive stones, lay across the deep- notes distinctly repeated by a voice, est part of the stream, where there human indeed, but more exquisitely were no rocks to serve as steps. sweet than ever I had heard on earth Over this my nimble vaunt-courier before. The imperfect sensations of trotted, and in a few moments led sleep had given it its spirituality, but me to the threshold of the cottage, waking perception left it all its wildwhich it entered unceremoniously. ness and melody. The words, struck As my figure darkened the door, a apparently by a silver tongue, penematron, who sat within, raised her trated to my brain, while lost in eyes from the book which lay upon breathless transport my vision seemed her knee, and somewhat astonished, to return. Again it sung :
Vale of the Waterfalls !
Lilian, away! Raising myself on one elbow to er in which the matron now sat, catch these delicious sounds, and looking anxiously towards the path looking through the lattice which which led down from the hills. As commanded a view of the ford, and she sat there, I had a good opportuthe opposite side of the valley, I saw nity of observing her appearance. a light female figure glide swiftly It was that of one who had seen betover the sylvan bridge, and with the ter days, who had felt misfortunes speed of wind fly up the pathway keenly but not impatiently; melanwhich I had descended yester-even- choly predominated in her counteing. I arose instantly, and going to nance, but resignation strove hard the window beheld her, accompanied for the superiority; sickness more by the little goat, rapidly ascending than age had robbed her of youth's the precipice. When she had gained graces; but though the rose had faded the platform, she turned towards the on her cheek, the lily still remained sun, which rose on the other side of the in all its former delicacy. Turning vale, and after a few moments, appa- towards my window, her eye caught rently given to contemplation of its mine, and 1 instantly went forth to splendour, disappeared between the salute her. She inquired kindly for banks which formed the verdantrecess. my health, hoped a few days would
Though the morning was not far restore it, and told me that her advanced, I felt too much interested, daughter had gone to pull some herbs by the song I had heard, and the which she thought would be of use form I had seen, to think of returning to me, and would soon return. I to bed. I hastily dressed myself, asked, if it was her daughter whom and taking up one of the books which I had heard that morning singing so lay near me, fixed my eyes on the exquisitely. “Yes (said she), my Liwritten characters which I had ob- lian is more like a bird of the air, served the night before. I know not than a thing of the earth ; in joy she how long I remained in this state of sings of her happiness; in woe she abstraction, when the shadow of the sings away her sadness; when in neigood woman of the house, passing ther, like the birds she sings for very over the book, awakened me from my thoughtlessness.” “ And if I may reverie. In a few minutes she re- judge (said I) by the rapidity with passed my window, and proceeded which she ascended yon precipice,to the other end of the cottage, where she must have their wings too, as well a thick copsewood reaching from it as their song.” The matron smiled. to the river, shut out the view of the “ Lilian (said she) has lived here for mountains behind. A green plat, fourteen years, from infancy to girlfresh and dewy, lay in front of the hood; and these mountains are grown cottage, and sloping down to the so familiar to her, that she might river, mingled its short herbage with tread them blindfold. In truth, sir, the sedgy borders of the channel ; a she is a wild one; when her duty to rustic bench, shadowed by the over. me does not require her presence, hanging copse, formed a kind of bow. she spends her time' wandering