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PLEA FOR PILGRIMAGES; SIR WALTER SCOTT'S VISIT
TO THE BLARNEY STONE.
Of the black friar,
For he mutters his prayer
In the midnight air,
INCE the publication of this worthy man's “ Apology for Lent,” which, with some account of his lamented death and well-attended funeral, appeared in our last Number, we have written to his executors-(one of whom is Father Mat. Horrogan, P.P. of the neighbouring village of Blarney; and the other, our elegiac poet, Father Magrath)-in the hope of being able to negotiate for the valuable posthumous essays and fugitive pieces which we doubted not had been left behind in great abundance by the deceased. These two disinterested divines—fit associates and bosom-companions of Prout during his lifetime, and whom, from their joint letters, we should think eminently qualified to pick up the fallen mantle of the departed prophet—have, in the most handsome manner, promised us all the literary and philosophic treatises bequeathed to them by the late incumbent of Watergrasshill; expressing, in the very complimentary note which they have transmitted us, and which our modesty prevents us from inserting, their thanks and that of the whole parish, for our sympathy and condolence on this melancholy bereavement, and intimating at the same time their regret at not being able to send us also, for our private perusal, the collection of the good father's parochial sermons; the whole of which (a most valuable MS.) had been taken off for his own use by the bishop, whom he had made his residuary legatee. These " sermons must be
doubtless good things in their way_a theological Musiya daudawell adapted to swell the episcopal library; but as we confessedly are, and suspect our readers likewise to be, a very improper multitude amongst whom to scatter such pearls, we shall console ourselves for that sacrifice by plunging head and ears into the abundant sources of intellectual refreshment to which we shall soon have access, and from which Frank Creswell, lucky dog! has drawn such a draught of inspiration.
" Sacros ausus recludere fontes !" for assuredly we may defy any one that has perused Prout's vindication of fish-diet (and who, we ask, has not read it con amore, conning it over with secret glee, and forthwith calling out for a red-herring?), not to prefer its simple unsophisticated eloquence to the oration of Tully pro Domo suá, or Barclay's" Apology for Quakers.” After all, it may have been but a sprat to catch a whale, and the whole affair may turn out to be a Popish contrivance; but if so, we have taken the bait ourselves : we have been, like Festus, “almost persuaded," and Prout has wrought in us a sort of culinary conversion. Why should we be ashamed to avow that we have been edified by the good man's blunt and straightforward logic, and drawn from his theories on fish a higher and more moral impression than from the dreamy visions of an “ English Opium-eater,” or any other “ Confessions ” of sensualism and gastronomy. If this “ black friar" has got smuggled in among our contributors, like King Saul among the regular votaries of the sanctuary, it must be admitted that, like the royal intruder, he has caught the tone and chimed in with the general harmony of our political opinions -no Whigling among true Tories, no goose among swans. Argutos inter strepere anser olores.
How we long to get possession of “the Prout Papers!” that chest of learned lumber which haunts our nightly visions! Already, in imagination, it is within our grasp ; our greedy hand hastily its lid
" Unlocks, And all Arcadia breathes from yonder box !" In this prolific age, when the most unlettered dolt can find a mare’s nest in the domain of philosophy, why should
not we also cry, Eugnauey! How much of novelty in his views ! how much embryo discovery must not Prout unfold ! It were indeed a pity to consign the writings of so eminent a scholar to oblivion: nor ought it be said, in scriptural phrase, of him, what is, alas ! applicable to so many other learned divines when they are dead, that "their works have followed them.” Such was the case of that laborious French clergyman, the Abbé Trublet, of whom Voltaire profanely sings :
“ L'Abbé Trublet écrit, le Léthé sur ses rives
Reçoit avec plaisir ses feuilles fugitives !" Which epigram hath a recondite meaning, not obvious to the reader on a first perusal ; and being interpreted into plain English, for the use of the London University, it may run thus :
“ Lardner compiles-kind Lethe on her banks
Receives the doctor's useful page with thanks.” Such may be the fate of Lardner and of Trublet, such the ultimate destiny that awaits their literary labours; but neither men, nor gods, nor our columns (those graceful pil. lars that support the Muses' temple), shall suffer this old priest to remain in the unmerited obscurity from which Frank Cresswell first essayed to draw him. To that barrister we have written, with a request that he would furnish us with further details concerning Prout, and, if possible, a few additional specimens of his colloquial wisdom; reminding him that modern taste has a decided tendency towards illustrious private gossip, and recommending to him, as a sublime model of the dramatico-biographic style, my Lady Blessington's “ Conversations of Lord Byron.” How far he has succeeded in following the ignis fatuus of her ladyship’s lantern, and how many bogs he has got immerged in because of the dangerous hint, which we gave him in an evil hour, the judicious reader will soon find out. Here is the com. munication.
Furnival's Inr, April 14. ACKNOWLEDGING the receipt of your gracious mandate, O Queen of Periodicals! and kissing the top of your ivory sceptre, may I be allowed to
utter devotion to your orders, in the language of Æolus, quondam ruler of the winds :
• Tuus, O REGINA, quid optes
Explorare labor, mihi jussa capessere fas est !" without concealing, at the same time, my wonderment, and that of many other sober individuals, at your patronising the advocacy of doctrines and usages belonging exclusively to another and far less reputable Queen (quean?) whom I shall have sufficiently designated when I mention that she sits upon seven hills !—in stating which singular phenomenon concerning her, I need not add that her fundamental maxims must be totally different from yours. Many orthodox people cannot understand how you could have reconciled it to
your conscience to publish, in its crude state, that Apology for Lent, without adding note or comment in refutation of such dangerous doctrines; and are still more amazed that a Popish parish priest, from the wild Irish hills, could have got among your contributors
“ Claimed kindred there, and have that claim allowed." It will, however, no doubt, give you pleasure to learn, that you have established a lasting popularity among that learned set of men the fishmongers, who are never scaly of their support when deserved; for, by a unanimous vote of the “worshipful company” last meeting-day, the marble bust of Father Prout, crowned with sea-weeds like a Triton, is to be placed in a conspicuous part of their new hall at London Bridge. But as it is the hardest thing imaginable to please all parties, your triumph is rendered incomplete by the grumbling of another not less respectable portion of the community. By your proposal for the non-consumption of butchers' meat, you have given mortal offence to the dealers in horned cattle, and stirred up a nest of hornets in Smithfield. In your perambulations of the metropolis, go not into the bucolic purlieus of that dangerous district; beware of the enemy's camp ; tempt not the ire of men armed witb