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Title: Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Vol 58, No. 357, July 1845
Author: Various
Language: English
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*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Vol 58, No. 357, July 1845" ***

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                         VOL. LVIII.

                      JULY-DECEMBER, 1845.

                *       *       *       *       *



                   37, PATERNOSTER ROW, LONDON.

                 *       *       *       *       *

                       1845. BLACKWOOD'S

                      EDINBURGH MAGAZINE.

              No. CCCLVII. JULY, 1845. Vol. LVIII.


        MARLBOROUGH, NO. I.,                                      1
        PÚSHKIN, THE RUSSIAN POET. NO. II.,                      28
          OF AN ENGLISH OPIUM-EATER, PART II.,                   43
        NORTHERN LIGHTS,                                         56
        HOUSE-HUNTING IN WALES,                                  74
        THE TORQUATO TASSO OF GOETHE,                            87
          A TALE OF WALES,                                       96
          NO. VI.--SUPPLEMENT TO DRYDEN ON CHAUCER,             114

               *       *       *       *       *


   _To whom all Communications (post paid) must be addressed._




                    EDINBURGH MAGAZINE.

        No. CCCLVII.      JULY, 1845.      VOL. LVIII.


No. I.

Alexander the Great said, when he approached the tomb of Achilles, "Oh!
fortunate youth, who had a Homer to be the herald of your fame!" "And
well did he say so," says the Roman historian: "for, unless the _Iliad_
had been written, the same earth which covered his body would have
buried his name." Never was the truth of these words more clearly
evinced than in the case of the Duke of MARLBOROUGH. Consummate as were
the abilities, unbroken the success, immense the services of this great
commander, he can scarcely be said to be known to the vast majority of
his countrymen. They have heard the distant echo of his fame as they
have that of the exploits of Timour, of Bajazet, and of Genghis Khan;
the names of Blenheim and Ramillies, of Malplaquet and Oudenarde, awaken
a transient feeling of exultation in their bosoms; but as to the
particulars of these events, the difficulties with which their general
had to struggle, the objects for which he contended, even the places
where they occurred, they are, for the most part, as ignorant as they
are of similar details in the campaigns of Baber or Aurengzebe. What
they do know, is derived chiefly, if not entirely, from the histories of
their enemies. Marlborough's exploits have made a prodigious impression
on the Continent. The French, who felt the edge of his flaming sword,
and saw the glories of the _Grande Monarque_ torn from the long
triumphant brow of Louis XIV.; the Dutch, who found in his conquering
arm the stay of their sinking republic, and their salvation from slavery
and persecution; the Germans, who saw the flames of the Palatinate
avenged by his resistless power, and the ravages of war rolled back from
the Rhine into the territory of the state which had provoked them; the
Lutherans, who beheld in him the appointed instrument of divine
vengeance, to punish the abominable perfidy and cruelty of the
revocation of the edict of Nantes--have concurred in celebrating his
exploits. The French nurses frightened their children with stories of
"Marlbrook," as the Orientals say, when their horses start, they see the
shadow of Richard Coeur-de-Lion crossing their path. Napoleon hummed
the well-known air, "Marlbrook s'en va à la guerre," when he crossed
the Niemen to commence the Moscow campaign. But in England, the country
which he has made illustrious, the nation he has saved, the land of his
birth, he is comparatively forgotten; and were it not for the popular
pages of Voltaire, and the shadow which a great name throws over the
stream of time in spite of every neglect, he would be virtually unknown
at this moment to nineteen-twentieths of the British people.

It is the fault of the national historians which has occasioned this
singular injustice to one of the greatest of British heroes--certainly
the most consummate, if we except Wellington, of British military
commanders. No man has yet appeared who has done any thing like justice
to the exploits of Marlborough. Smollett, whose unpretending narrative,
compiled for the bookseller, has obtained a passing popularity by being
the only existing sequel to Hume, had none of the qualities necessary to
write a military history, or make the narrative of heroic exploits
interesting. His talents for humour, as all the world knows, were
great--for private adventure, or the delineation of common life in
novels, considerable. But he had none of the higher qualities necessary
to form a great historian; he had neither dramatic nor descriptive
power; he was entirely destitute of philosophic views or power of
general argument. In the delineation of individual character, he is
often happy; his talents as a novelist, and as the narrator of private
events, there appear to advantage. But he was neither a poet nor a
painter, a statesman nor a philosopher. He neither saw whence the stream
of events had come, nor whither it was going. We look in vain in his
pages for the lucid arguments and rhetorical power with which Hume
illustrated, and brought, as it were, under the mind's eye, the general
arguments urged, or rather which might be urged by ability equal to his
own, for and against every great change in British history. As little do
we find the captivating colours with which Robertson has painted the
discovery and wonders of America, or the luminous glance which he has
thrown over the progress of society in the first volume of Charles V.
Gibbon's incomparable powers of classification and description are
wholly awanting. The fire of Napier's military pictures need not be
looked for. What is usually complained of in Smollett, especially by his
young readers, is, that he is so dull--the most fatal of all defects,
and the most inexcusable in an historian. His heart was not in history,
his hand was not trained to it; it is in "Roderick Random" or "Peregrine
Pickle," not the continuation of Hume, that his powers are to be seen.

Lord Mahon has brought to the subject of the history of England from the
treaty of Utrecht to that of Aix-la-Chapelle, talents of a kind much
better adapted for doing justice to Marlborough's campaigns. He has
remarkable power for individual narrative. His account of the gallant
attempt, and subsequent hair-breadth escapes of the Pretender in 1745,
is full of interest, and is justly praised by Sismondi as by far the
best account extant of that romantic adventure. He possesses also a fair
and equitable judgment, much discrimination, evident talent for drawing
characters, and that upright and honourable heart, which is the first
requisite for success in the delineation, as it is for success in the
conduct of events. His industry in examining and collecting authorities
is great; he is a scholar, a statesman, and a gentleman--no small
requisites for the just delineation of noble and generous achievements.
But notwithstanding all this, his work is not the one to rescue
Marlborough's fame from the unworthy obscurity into which, in this
country, it has fallen. He takes up the thread of events where
Marlborough left them: he begins only at the peace of Utrecht. Besides
this, he is not by nature a military historian, and if he had begun at
the Revolution, the case would probably have been the same. Lord Mahon's
attention has been mainly fixed on domestic story; it is in illustrating
parliamentary contests or court intrigues, not military events, that his
powers have been put forth. He has given a clear, judicious, and elegant
narrative of British history, as regards these, so far as it is embraced
by his accomplished pen; but the historian of Marlborough must treat him
as second to none, not even to Louis XIV. or William III. Justice will
never be done to the hero of the English revolution, till his Life is
the subject of a separate work in every schoolboy's hands. We must have
a memoir of him to be the companion of Southey's Life of Nelson, and
Napier's Peninsular War.

Voltaire, in his "Siècle de Louis XIV.," could not avoid giving a sketch
of the exploits of the British hero; and his natural impartiality has
led him, so far as it goes, to give a tolerably fair one. It need hardly
be said, that coming from the pen of such a writer, it is lively,
animated, and distinct. But Voltaire was not a military historian; he
had none of the feelings or associations which constitute one. War, when
he wrote, had been for above half a century, with a few brilliant
exceptions, a losing game to the French. In the War of the Succession
they had lost their ascendancy in continental Europe; in that of the
Seven Years, nearly their whole colonial dominions. The hard-won glories
of Fontenoy, the doubtful success of Laffelt, were a poor compensation
for these disasters. It was the fashion of his day to decry war as the
game of kings, or flowing from the ambition of priests; if superstition
was abolished, and popular virtue let into government, one eternal reign
of peace and justice would commence. With these writers the great object
was, to carry the cabinets of kings by assault, and introduce
philosophers into government through the antechambers of mistresses.
Peter the Great was their hero, Catharine of Russia their divinity, for
they placed philosophers at the head of affairs. It was not to be
supposed that in France, the vanquished country, in such an age justice
should be done to the English conqueror. Yet such were the talents of
Voltaire, especially for making a subject popular, that it is on his
work, such as it is, that the fame of Marlborough mainly rests, even in
his own country.

Marlborough, as might be expected, has not wanted biographers who have
devoted themselves, expressly and exclusively, to transmit his fame and
deeds to posterity. They have for the most part failed, from the faults
most fatal, and yet most common to biographers--undue partiality in
some, dulness and want of genius in others. They began at an early
period after his death, and are distinguished at first by that rancour
on the one side, and exaggeration on the other, by which such
contemporary narratives are generally, and in that age were in a
peculiar manner, distinguished. I. An abridged account of his life,
dedicated to the Duke of Montague, his son-in-law, appeared at Amsterdam
in 12mo; but it is nothing but an anonymous panegyric. II. Not many
years after, a life of Marlborough was published, in three volumes
quarto, by Thomas Ledyard, who had accompanied him in many of his later
travels, and had been the spectator of some of the last of his military
exploits. This is a work of much higher authority, and contains much
valuable information; but it is prolix, long-winded, and diffuse, filled
with immaterial documents, and written throughout in a tone of inflated
panegyric. III. Another life of Marlborough, written with more ability,
appeared at Paris in 1806, in three volumes octavo, by Dutems. The
author had the advantage of all the resources for throwing light on his
history which the archives of France, then at the disposal of Napoleon,
who had a high admiration for the English general, could afford; but it
could hardly be expected that, till national historians of adequate
capacity for the task had appeared, it was to be properly discharged by
foreigners. Yet such is the partiality which an author naturally
contracts for the hero of his biography, that the work of Dutems, though
the author has shown himself by no means blind to his hero's faults, is
perhaps chiefly blameable for being too much of a panegyric. IV. By far
the fullest and most complete history of Marlborough, however, is that
which was published at London in 1818, by Archdeacon Coxe, in five
volumes octavo. This learned author had access to all the official
documents on the subject then known to be in existence, particularly the
Blenheim Papers, and he has made good use of the ample materials placed
at his disposal; but it cannot be said that he has made an interesting,
though he certainly has a valuable, work. It has reached a second
edition, but it is now little heard of: a certain proof, if the
importance of his subject, and value of his materials is taken into
account, that it labours under some insurmountable defects in
composition. Nor is it difficult to see what these defects are. The
venerable Archdeacon, respectable for his industry, his learning, his
researches, had not a ray of genius, and genius is the soul of history.
He gives every thing with equal minuteness, makes no attempt at
digesting or compression, and fills his pages with letters and
state-papers at full length; the certain way, if not connected by
ability, to send them to the bottom.

Dean Swift's history of the four last years of Queen Anne, and his
Apology for the same sovereign, contain much valuable information
concerning Marlborough's life; but it is so mixed up with the gall and
party spirit which formed so essential a part of the Dean of St
Patrick's character, that it cannot be relied on as impartial or
authentic.[2] The life of James II. by Clarke contains a great variety
of valuable and curious details drawn from the Stuart Papers sent to the
Prince Regent on the demise of the Cardinal York; and it would be well
for the reputation of Marlborough, as well as many other eminent men of
the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, if some of them could be
buried in oblivion. But by far the best life of Marlborough, in a
military point of view, is that recently published by Mr Gleig, in his
"Military Commanders of Great Britain,"--a sketch characterized by all
the scientific knowledge, practical acquaintance with war, and brilliant
power of description, by which the other writings of that gifted author
are distinguished. If he would make as good use of the vast collection
of papers which, under the able auspices of Sir George Murray, have now
issued from the press, as he has of the more scanty materials at his
disposal when he wrote his account of Marlborough, he would write _the_
history of that hero, and supersede the wish even for any other.

The fortunate accident is generally known by which the great collection
of papers now in course of publication in London has been brought to
light. That this collection should at length have become known is less
surprising than that it should so long have remained forgotten, and have
eluded the searches of so many persons interested in the subject. It
embraces, as Sir George Murray's lucid preface mentions, a complete
series of the correspondence of the great duke from 1702 to 1712, the
ten years of his most important public services. In addition to the
despatches of the duke himself, the letters, almost equally numerous, of
his private secretary, M. Cardonnell, and a journal written by his
grace's chaplain, Dr Hare, afterwards Bishop of Chichester, are
contained in the eighteen manuscript volumes which were discovered in
the record-room of Hensington, near Woodstock, in October 1842, and are
now given to the public. They are of essential service, especially in
rendering intelligible the details of the correspondence, which would
otherwise in great part be uninteresting, and scarce understood, at
least by the ordinary reader. Some of the most valuable parts of the
work, particularly a full detail of the battle of Blenheim, are drawn
from Dr Hare's journal. In addition to this, the bulletins of most of
the events, issued by government at the time, are to be found in notes
at the proper places; and in the text are occasionally contained short,
but correct and luminous notices, of the preceding or contemporaneous
political and military events which are alluded to, but not described,
in the despatches, and which are necessary to understand many of their
particulars. Nothing, in a word, has been omitted by the accomplished
editor which could illustrate or render intelligible the valuable
collection of materials placed at his disposal; and yet, with all his
pains and ability, it is often very difficult to follow the detail of
events, or understand the matter alluded to in the despatches:--so
great is the lack of information on the eventful War of the Succession
which prevails, from the want of a popular historian to record it, even
among well-informed persons in this country; and so true was the
observation of Alexander the Great, that but for the genius of Homer,
the exploits of Achilles would have been buried under the tumulus which
covered his remains! And what should we have known of Alexander himself
more than of Attila or Genghis Khan, but for the fascinating pages of
Quintus Curtius and Arrian?

To the historian who is to go minutely into the details of Marlborough's
campaigns and negotiations, and to whom accurate and authentic
information is of inestimable importance, it need hardly be said that
these papers are of the utmost value. But, to the general reader, all
such voluminous publications and despatches must, as a matter of
necessity, be comparatively uninteresting. They always contain a great
deal of repetition, in consequence of the necessity under which the
commander lay, of communicating the same event to those with whom he was
in correspondence in many different quarters. Great part of them relate
to details of discipline, furnishing supplies, getting up stores, and
other necessary matters, of little value even to the historian, except
in so far as they illustrate the industry, energy, and difficulties of
the commander. The general reader who plunges into the midst of the
Marlborough despatches in this age, or into those of Wellington in the
next, when contemporary recollection is lost, will find it impossible to
understand the greater part of the matters referred to, and will soon
lay aside the volumes in despair. Such works are highly valuable, but
they are so to the annalist or historian rather than the ordinary
reader. They are the materials of history, not history itself. They bear
the same relation to the works of Livy or Gibbon which the rude blocks
in the quarry do to the temples of St Peter's or the Parthenon. Ordinary
readers are not aware of this when they take up a volume of despatches;
they expect to be as much fascinated by it as they are by the
correspondence of Madame de Sevigné, Cowper, Gibbon, or Arnold. They
will soon find their mistake: the book-sellers will erelong find it in
the sale of such works. The matter-of-fact men in ordinary life, and the
compilers and drudges in literature--that is, nine-tenths of the readers
and writers in the world--are never weary of descanting on the
inestimable importance of authentic documents for history; and without
doubt they are right so far as the collecting of materials goes. There
must be quarriers before there can be architects: the hewers of wood and
drawers of water are the basis of all civilization. But they are not
civilization itself, they are its pioneers. Truth is essential to an
estimable character: but many a man is insupportably dull who never told
a falsehood. The pioneers of Marlborough, however, have now gone before,
and it will be the fault of English genius if the divine artist does not
erelong make the proper use of the materials at length placed in his

John Churchill, afterwards Duke of Marlborough, was born on the 5th July
1650, (new style,) at Ash, in the county of Devon. His father was Sir
Winston Churchill, a gallant cavalier who had drawn his sword in behalf
of Charles I., and had in consequence been deprived of his fortune and
driven into exile by Cromwell. His paternal family was very ancient, and
boasted its descent from the _Courcils_ de Poitou, who came into England
with the Conqueror. His mother was Elizabeth Drake, who claimed a
collateral connexion with the descendants of the illustrious Sir Francis
Drake, the great navigator. Young Churchill received the rudiments of
his education from the parish clergyman in Devonshire, from whom he
imbibed that firm attachment to the Protestant faith by which he was
ever afterwards distinguished, and which determined his conduct in the
most important crisis of his life. He was afterwards placed at the
school of St Paul's; and it was there that he first discovered, on
reading Vegetius, that his bent of mind was decidedly for the military
life. Like many other men destined for future distinction, he made no
great figure as a scholar, a circumstance easily explained, if we
recollect that it is on the knowledge of words that the reputation of a
schoolboy, of things that of a man, is founded. But the despatches now
published demonstrate that, before he attained middle life, he was a
proficient at least in Latin, French, and English composition; for
letters in each, written in a very pure style, are to be found in all
parts of his correspondence.

From early youth, young Churchill was distinguished by the elegance of
his manners and the beauty of his countenance and figure--advantages
which, coupled with the known loyal principles of his father, and the
sufferings he had undergone in the royal cause, procured for him, at the
early age of fifteen, the situation of page in the household of the Duke
of York, afterwards James II. His inclination for arms was then so
decided, that that prince procured for him a commission in one of the
regiments of guards when he was only sixteen years old. His uncommonly
handsome figure then attracted no small share of notice from the
beauties of the court of Charles II., and even awakened a passion in one
of the royal mistresses herself. Impatient to signalize himself,
however, he left their seductions, and embarked as a volunteer in the
expedition against Tangiers in 1766. Thus his first essay in arms was
made in actions against the Moors. Having returned to Great Britain, he
attracted the notice of the Countess of Castlemaine, afterwards Duchess
of Cleveland, then the favorite mistress of Charles II., who had
distinguished him by her regard before he embarked for Africa, and who
made him a present of £5000, with which the young soldier bought an
annuity of £500 a-year, which laid the foundation, says Chesterfield, of
all his subsequent fortunes. Charles, to remove a dangerous rival in her
unsteady affections, gave him a company in the guards, and sent him to
the Continent with the auxiliary force which, in those days of English
humiliation, the cabinet of St James's furnished to Louis XIV. to aid
him in subduing the United Provinces. Thus, by a singular coincidence,
it was under Turenne, Condé, and Vauban that the future conqueror of the
Bourbons first learned the art of scientific warfare. Wellington went
through the same discipline, but in the inverse order: his first
campaigns were made against the French in Flanders, his next against the
bastions of Tippoo and the Mahratta horse in Hindostan.

Churchill had not been long in Flanders, before his talents and
gallantry won for him deserved distinction. The campaign of 1672, which
brought the French armies to the gates of Amsterdam, and placed the
United States within a hair's-breadth of destruction, was to him
fruitful in valuable lessons. He distinguished himself afterwards so
much at the siege of Nimeguen, that Turenne, who constantly called him
by his _sobriquet_ of "the handsome Englishman," predicted that he would
one day be a great man. In the following year he had the good fortune to
save the life of his colonel, the Duke of Monmouth; and distinguished
himself so much at the siege of Maestricht, that Louis XIV. publicly
thanked him at the head of his army, and promised him his powerful
influence with Charles II. for future promotion. He little thought what
a formidable enemy he was then fostering at the court of his obsequious
brother sovereign. The result of Louis XIV.'s intercession was, that
Churchill was made lieutenant-colonel; and he continued to serve with
the English auxiliary force in Flanders, under the French generals, till
1677, when he returned with his regiment to London. Beyond all doubt it
was these five years' service under the great masters of the military
art, who then sustained the power and cast a halo round the crown of
Louis XIV., which rendered Marlborough the consummate commander that,
from the moment he was placed at the head of the Allied armies, he
showed himself to have become. One of the most interesting and
instructive lessons to be learned from biography is the long steps, the
vast amount of previous preparation, the numerous changes, some
prosperous, others adverse, by which the mind of a great man is formed,
and he is prepared for playing the important part he is intended to
perform on the theatre of the world. Providence does nothing in vain,
and when it has selected a particular mind for great achievement, the
events which happen to it all seem to conspire in a mysterious way for
its development. Were any one omitted, some essential quality in the
character of the future hero, statesman, or philosopher would be found
to be awanting.

Here also, as in every other period of history, we may see how
unprincipled ambition overvaults itself, and the measures which seem at
first sight most securely to establish its oppressive reign, are the
unseen means by which an overruling power works out its destruction.
Doubtless the other ministers of Louis XIV. deemed their master's power
secure when this English alliance was concluded; when the English
monarch had become a state pensioner of the court of Versailles; when a
secret treaty had united them by apparently indissoluble bonds; when the
ministers equally and the patriots of England were corrupted by his
bribes; when the dreaded fleets of Britain were to be seen in union with
those of France, to break down the squadrons of an inconsiderable
republic; when the descendants of the conquerors of Cressy, Poitiers,
and Azincour stood side by side with the successors of the vanquished in
those disastrous fields, to achieve the conquest of Flanders and
Holland. Without doubt, so far as human foresight could go, Louvois and
Colbert were right. Nothing could appear so decidedly calculated to fix
the power of Louis XIV. on an immovable foundation. But how vain are the
calculations of the greatest human intellects, when put in opposition to
the overruling will of Omnipotence! It was that very English alliance
which ruined Louis XIV., as the Austrian alliance and marriage, which
seemed to put the keystone in the arch of his greatness, afterwards
ruined Napoleon. By the effect, and one of the most desired effects, of
the English alliance, a strong body of British auxiliaries were sent to
Flanders; the English officers learned the theory and practice of war in
the best of all schools, and under the best of all teachers; that
ignorance of the military art, the result in every age of our insular
situation, and which generally causes the four or five first years of
every war to terminate in disaster, was for the time removed, and that
mighty genius was developed under the eye of Louis XIV., and by the
example of Turenne, which was destined to hurl back to their own
frontiers the tide of Gallic invasion, and close in mourning the reign
of the _Grande Monarque_. "Les hommes agissent," says Bossuet, "mais
Dieu les mène."

Upon Churchill's return to London, the brilliant reputation which had
preceded, and the even augmented personal advantages which accompanied
him, immediately rendered him the idol of beauty and fashion. The ladies
of the palace vied for his homage--the nobles of the land hastened to
cultivate his society. Like Julius Caesar, he was carried away by the
stream, and plunged into the vortex of courtly dissipation with the
ardour which marks an energetic character in the pursuit whether of good
or evil. The elegance of his person and manners, and charms of his
conversation, prevailed so far with Charles II. and the Duke of York,
that soon after, though not yet thirty years of age, he obtained a
regiment. In 1680 he married the celebrated Sarah Jennings, the
favourite lady in attendance on the Princess Anne, second daughter of
the Duke of York, one of the most admired beauties of the court, and
this alliance increased his influence, already great, with that Prince,
and laid the foundation of the future grandeur of his fortunes. Shortly
after his marriage he accompanied the Duke of York to Scotland, in the
course of which they both were nearly shipwrecked on the coast of Fife.
On this occasion the Duke made the greatest efforts to preserve his
favourite's life, and succeeded in doing so, although the danger was
such that many of the Scottish nobles perished under his eye. On his
return to London in 1682, he was presented by his patron to the King,
who made him colonel of the third regiment of guards. When the Duke of
York ascended the throne in 1685, on the demise of his brother,
Churchill kept his place as one of the gentlemen of the bedchamber, and
was raised to the rank of brigadier-general. He was sent by his
sovereign to Paris to notify his accession to Louis XIV., and on his
return he was created a peer by the title of Baron Churchill of
Sandbridge in the county of Hertford--a title which he took from an
estate there which he had acquired in right of his wife. On the revolt
of the Duke of Monmouth, he had an opportunity of showing at once his
military ability, and, by a signal service, his gratitude to his
benefactor. Lord Feversham had the command of the royal forces, and
Churchill was his major-general. The general-in-chief, however, kept so
bad a look-out, that he was on the point of being surprised and cut to
pieces by the rebel forces, who, on this occasion at least, were
conducted with ability. The general and almost all his officers were in
their beds, and sound asleep, when Monmouth, at the head of all his
forces, silently debouched out of his camp, and suddenly fell on the
royal army. The rout would have been complete, and probably James II.
dethroned, had not Churchill, whose vigilant eye nothing escaped,
observed the movement, and hastily collected a handful of men, with whom
he made so vigorous a resistance as gave time for the remainder of the
army to form, and repel this well-conceived enterprise.

Churchill's mind was too sagacious, and his knowledge of the feelings of
the nation too extensive, not to be aware of the perilous nature of the
course upon which James had adventured, in endeavouring to bring about,
if not the absolute re-establishment of the Catholic religion, at least
such a quasi-establishment of it as the people deemed, and probably with
reason, was, with so aspiring a body of ecclesiastics, in effect the
same thing. When he saw the headstrong monarch break through all bounds,
and openly trample on the liberties, while he shocked the religious
feelings, of his people, he wrote to him to point out, in firm but
respectful terms, the danger of his conduct. He declared to Lord Galway,
when James's innovations began, that if he persisted in his design of
overturning the constitution and religion of his country, he would leave
his service. So far his conduct was perfectly unexceptionable. Our first
duty is to our country, our second only to our benefactor. If they are
brought into collision, as they often are during the melancholy
vicissitudes of a civil war, an honourable man, whatever it may cost
him, has but one part to take. He must not abandon his public duty for
his private feelings, but he must never betray official duty. If
Churchill, perceiving the frantic course of his master, had withdrawn
from his service, and then either taken no part in the revolution which
followed, or even appeared in arms against him, the most scrupulous
moralist could have discovered nothing reprehensible in his conduct.
History has in every age applauded the virtue, while it has commiserated
the anguish, of the elder Brutus, who sacrificed his sons to the perhaps
too rigorous laws of his country.

But Churchill did not do this, and thence has arisen an ineffaceable
blot on his memory. He did not relinquish the service of the infatuated
monarch; he retained his office and commands; but he employed the
influence and authority thence derived, to ruin his benefactor. So far
were the representations of Churchill from having inspired any doubts of
his fidelity, that James, when the Prince of Orange landed, confided to
him the command of a corps of five thousand men, destined to oppose his
progress. At the very time that he accepted that command, he had, if we
may believe his panegyrist Ledyard, signed a letter, along with several
other peers, addressed to the Prince of Orange, inviting him to come
over, and had actually concluded with Major-General Kirk, who commanded
at Axminster, a convention, for the seizure of the king and giving him
up to his hostile son-in-law. James was secretly warned that Churchill
was about to betray him, but he refused to believe it of one from whom
he had hitherto experienced such devotion, and was only wakened from his
dream of security by learning that his favourite had gone over with the
five thousand men whom he commanded to the Prince of Orange. Not content
with this, it was Churchill's influence, joined to that of his wife,
which is said to have induced James's own daughter, the Princess Anne,
and Prince George of Denmark, to detach themselves from the cause of the
falling monarch; and drew from that unhappy sovereign the mournful
exclamation, "My God! my very children have forsaken me." In what does
this conduct differ from that of Labedoyere, who, at the head of the
garrison of Grenoble, deserted to Napoleon when sent out to oppose
him?--or Lavalette, who employed his influence, as postmaster under
Louis XVIII., to forward the Imperial conspiracy?--or Marshal Ney, who,
after promising at the court of the Tuileries to bring the ex-emperor
back in an iron cage, no sooner reached the royal camp at Melun, than he
issued a proclamation calling on the troops to desert the Bourbons, and
mount the tricolor cockade? Nay, is not Churchill's conduct, in a moral
point of view, worse than that of Ney; for the latter abandoned the
trust reposed in him by a new master, forced upon an unwilling nation,
to rejoin his old benefactor and companion in arms; but the former
abandoned the trust reposed in him by his old master and benefactor, to
range himself under the banner of a competitor for the throne, to whom
he was bound neither by duty nor obligation. And yet such is often the
inequality of crimes and punishments in this world, that Churchill was
raised to the pinnacle of greatness by the very conduct which consigned
Ney, with justice, so far as his conduct is concerned, to an ignominious

  "Treason ne'er prospers; for when it does,
   None dare call it treason."

History forgets its first and noblest duty when it fails, by its
distribution of praise and blame, to counterbalance, so far as its
verdict can, this inequality, which, for inscrutable but doubtless wise
purposes, Providence has permitted in this transient scene. Charity
forbids us to scrutinize such conduct too severely. It is the deplorable
effect of a successful revolution, even when commenced for the most
necessary purposes, to obliterate the ideas of man on right and wrong,
and leave no other test in the general case for public conduct but
success. It is its first effect to place them in such trying
circumstances that none but the most confirmed and resolute virtue can
pass unscathed through the ordeal. He knew the human heart well, who
commanded us in our daily prayers to supplicate not to be led into
temptation, even before asking for deliverance from evil. Let no man be
sure, however much, on a calm survey, he may condemn the conduct of
Marlborough and Ney, that in similar circumstances he would not have
done the same.

The magnitude of the service rendered by Churchill to the Prince of
Orange, immediately appeared in the commands conferred upon him. Hardly
was he settled at William's headquarters when he was dispatched to
London to assume the command of the Horse Guards; and, while there, he
signed, on the 20th December 1688, the famous Act of Association in
favour of the Prince of Orange. Shortly after, he was named
lieutenant-general of the armies of William, and immediately made a new
organization of the troops, under officers whom he could trust, which
proved of the utmost service to William on the unstable throne on which
he was soon after seated. He was present at most of the long and
momentous debates which took place in the House of Peers on the question
on whom the crown should be conferred, and at first is said to have
inclined to a regency; but with a commendable delicacy he absented
himself on the night of the decisive vote on the vacancy of the throne.
He voted, however, on the 6th of February for the resolution which
settled the crown on William and Mary; and he assisted at their
coronation, under the title of Earl of Marlborough, to which he had
shortly before been elevated by William. England having, on the
accession of the new monarch, joined the continental league against
France, Marlborough received the command of the British auxiliary force
in the Netherlands, and by his courage and ability contributed in a
remarkable manner to the victory of Walcourt. In 1690 he received orders
to return from Flanders in order to assume a command in Ireland, then
agitated by a general insurrection in favour of James; but, actuated by
some remnant of attachment to his old benefactor, he eluded on various
pretences complying with the order, till the battle of the Boyne had
extinguished the hopes of the dethroned monarch, when he came over and
made himself master of Cork and Kinsale. In 1691 he was sent again into
Flanders, in order to act under the immediate orders of William, who was
then, with heroic constancy, contending with the still superior forces
of France; but hardly had he landed there when he was arrested, deprived
of all his commands, and sent to the Tower of London, along with
several of the noblemen of distinction in the British senate.

Upon this part of the history of Marlborough there hangs a veil of
mystery, which all the papers brought to light in more recent times have
not entirely removed. At the time, his disgrace was by many attributed
to some cutting sarcasms in which he had indulged on the predilection of
William for the continental troops, and especially the Dutch; by others,
to intrigues conducted by Lady Marlborough and him, to obtain for the
Princess Anne a larger pension than the king was disposed to allow her.
But neither of these causes are sufficient to explain the fall and
arrest of so eminent a man as Marlborough, and who had rendered such
important services to the newly-established monarch. It would appear
from what has transpired in later times, that a much more serious cause
had produced the rupture between him and William. The charge brought
against him at the time, but which was not prosecuted, as it was found
to rest on false or insufficient evidence, was that of having, along
with Lords Salisbury, Cornbury, the Bishop of Rochester, and Sir Basil
Ferebrace, signed the scheme of an association for the restoration of
James. Sir John Fenwick, who was executed for a treasonable
correspondence with James II. shortly after Marlborough's arrest,
declared in the course of his trial that he was privy to the design, had
received the pardon of the exiled monarch, and had engaged to procure
for him the adhesion of the army. The Papers, published in Coxe, rather
corroborate the view that he was privy to it; and it is supported by
those found at Rome in the possession of Cardinal York.[3] That
Marlborough, disgusted with the partiality of William for his Dutch
troops, and irritated at the open severity of his Government, should
have repented of his abandonment of his former sovereign and benefactor,
is highly probable. But it can scarcely be taken as an apology for one
act of treason, that he meditated the commission of another. It only
shows how perilous, in public as in private life, is any deviation from
the path of integrity, that it impelled such a man into so tortuous and
disreputable a path.

Marlborough, however, was a man whose services were too valuable to the
newly-established dynasty, for him to be permitted to remain long in
disgrace. He was soon liberated, indeed, from the Tower, as no
sufficient evidence of his alleged accession to the conspiracy had been
obtained. Several years elapsed, however, before he emerged from the
privacy into which he prudently retired on his liberation from
confinement. Queen Mary having been carried off by the smallpox on the
17th of January 1696, Marlborough wisely abstained from even taking part
in the debates which followed in Parliament, during which some of the
malcontents dropped hints as to the propriety of conferring the crown on
his immediate patroness, the Princess Anne. This prudent reserve,
together with the absence of any decided proofs at the time of
Marlborough's correspondence with James, seems to have at length
weakened William's resentment, and by degrees he was taken back into
favour. The peace of Ryswick, signed on the 20th of September 1697,
having consolidated the power of that monarch, Marlborough was, on the
19th of June 1698, made preceptor of the young Duke of Gloucester, his
nephew, son of the Princess Anne, and heir-presumptive to the throne;
and this appointment, which at once restored his credit at court, was
accompanied by the gracious expression--"My lord, make my nephew to
resemble yourself, and he will be every thing which I can desire." On
the same day he was re-appointed to his rank as a privy councillor, and
took the oaths and his seat accordingly. So fully had he now regained
the confidence of William, that he was three times named one of the nine
lords justiciars to whom the administration of affairs in Great Britain
was subsequently entrusted, during the temporary absence of William in
Holland; and the War of the Succession having become certain in the year
1700, that monarch, who was preparing to take an active part in it,
appointed Marlborough, on 1st June 1701, his ambassador-extraordinary at
the Hague, and commander-in-chief of the Allied forces in Flanders. This
double appointment in effect invested Marlborough with the entire
direction of affairs civil and military, so far as England was
concerned, on the Continent. William, who was highly indignant at the
recognition of the Chevalier St George as King of England, on the death
of his father James II., in September 1701, was preparing to prosecute
the war with the vigour and perseverance which so eminently
distinguished his character, when he was carried off by the effects of a
fall from his horse, on the 19th March 1702. But that event made no
alteration in the part which England took in the war which was
commencing, and it augmented rather than diminished the influence which
Marlborough had in its direction. The Princess Anne, with whom, both
individually and through Lady Marlborough, he was so intimately
connected, mounted the throne without opposition; and one of her first
acts was to bestow on Marlborough the order of the Garter, confirm him
in his former offices, and appoint him, in addition, her plenipotentiary
at the Hague. War was declared on the 15th May 1702, and Marlborough
immediately went over to the Netherlands to take the command of the
Allied army, sixty thousand strong, then lying before Nimeguen, which
was threatened by a superior force on the part of the French.

It is at this period--time 1702--that the great and memorable, and
withal blameless period of Marlborough's life commenced; the next ten
years were one unbroken series of efforts, victories, and glory. He
arrived in the camp at Nimeguen on the evening of the 2d July, having
been a few weeks before at the Hague; and immediately assumed the
command. Lord Athlone, who had previously enjoyed that situation, at
first laid claim to an equal authority with him; but this ruinous
division, which never is safe, save with men so great as he and Eugene,
and would unquestionably have proved ruinous to the common cause if
shared with Athlone, was prevented by the States-General, who insisted
upon the undivided direction being conferred on Marlborough. Most
fortunately it is precisely at this period that the correspondence now
published commences, which, in the three volumes already published,
presents an unbroken series of his letters to persons of every
description down to May, 1708. They thus embrace the early successes in
Flanders, the cross march into Bavaria and battle of Blenheim, the
expulsion of the French from Germany, the battle of Ramillies, and
taking of Brussels and Antwerp, the mission to the King of Sweden at
Dresden, the battle of Almanza, in Spain, and all the important events
of the first six years of the war. More weighty and momentous materials
for history never were presented to the public; and their importance
will not be properly appreciated, if the previous condition of Europe,
and imminent hazard to the independence of all the adjoining states,
from the unmeasured ambition, and vast power of Louis XIV., is not taken
into consideration.

Accustomed as we are to regard the Bourbons as a fallen and unfortunate
race, the objects rather of commiseration than apprehension, and
Napoleon as the only sovereign who has really threatened our
independence, and all but effected the subjugation of the Continent, we
can scarcely conceive the terror with which a century and a half ago
they, with reason, inspired all Europe, or the narrow escape which the
continental states, at least, then made from being all reduced to the
condition of provinces of France. The forces of that monarchy, at all
times formidable to its neighbours, from the warlike spirit of its
inhabitants, and their rapacious disposition, conspicuous alike in the
earliest and the latest times;[4] its central situation, forming, as it
were, the salient angle of a bastion projecting into the centre of
Germany; and its numerous population--were then, in a peculiar manner,
to be dreaded, from their concentration in the hands of an able and
ambitious monarch, who had succeeded for the first time, for two hundred
years, in healing the divisions and stilling the feuds of its nobles,
and turned their buoyant energy into the channel of foreign conquest.
Immense was the force which, by this able policy, was found to exist in
France, and terrible the danger which it at once brought upon the
neighbouring states. It was rendered the more formidable in the time of
Louis XIV., from the extraordinary concentration of talent which his
discernment or good fortune had collected around his throne, and the
consummate talent, civil and military, with which affairs were directed.
Turenne, Boufflers, and Condé, were his generals; Vauban was his
engineer, Louvois and Torcy were his statesmen. The lustre of the
exploits of these illustrious men, in itself great, was much enhanced by
the still greater blaze of fame which encircled his throne, from the
genius of the literary men who have given such immortal celebrity to his
reign. Corneille and Racine were his tragedians; Molière wrote his
comedies; Bossuet, Fénélon, and Bourdaloue were his theologians;
Massillon his preacher, Boileau his critic; Le Notre laid out his
gardens; Le Brun painted his halls. Greatness had come upon France, as,
in truth, it does to most other states, in all departments at the same
time; and the adjoining nations, alike intimidated by a power which they
could not resist, and dazzled by a glory which they could not emulate,
had come almost to despair of maintaining their independence; and were
sinking into that state of apathy, which is at once the consequence and
the cause of extraordinary reverses.

The influence of these causes had distinctly appeared in the
extraordinary good fortune which had attended the enterprises of Louis,
and the numerous conquests he had made since he had launched into the
career of foreign aggrandizement. Nothing could resist his victorious
arms. At the head of an army of an hundred thousand men, directed by
Turenne, he speedily overran Flanders. Its fortified cities yielded to
the science of Vauban, or the terrors of his name. The boasted barrier
of the Netherlands was passed in a few weeks; hardly any of its
far-famed fortresses made any resistance. The passage of the Rhine was
achieved under the eyes of the monarch with little loss, and
melodramatic effect. One half of Holland was soon overrun, and the
presence of the French army at the gates of Amsterdam seemed to presage
immediate destruction to the United Provinces; and but for the firmness
of their leaders, and a fortunate combination of circumstances,
unquestionably would have done so. The alliance with England, in the
early part of his reign, and the junction of the fleets of Britain and
France to ruin their fleets and blockade their harbours, seemed to
deprive them of their last resource, derived from their energetic
industry. Nor were substantial fruits awanting from these conquests.
Alsace and Franche Comté were overrun, and, with Lorraine, permanently
annexed to the French monarchy; and although, by the peace of Nimeguen,
part of his acquisitions in Flanders was abandoned, enough was retained
by the devouring monarchy to deprive the Dutch of the barrier they had
so ardently desired, and render their situation to the last degree
precarious, in the neighbourhood of so formidable a power. The heroic
William, indeed, had not struggled in vain for the independence of his
country. The distant powers of Europe, at length wakened to a sense of
their danger, had made strenuous efforts to coerce the ambition of
France; the revolution of 1688 had restored England to its natural
place in the van of the contest for continental freedom; and the peace
of Ryswick in 1697 had in some degree seen the trophies of conquests
more equally balanced between the contending parties. But still it was
with difficulty that the alliance kept its ground against Louis--any
untoward event, the defection of any considerable power, would at once,
it was felt, cast the balance in his favour; and all history had
demonstrated how many are the chances against any considerable
confederacy keeping for any length of time together, when the immediate
danger which had stilled their jealousies, and bound together their
separate interests, is in appearance removed. Such was the dubious and
anxious state of Europe, when the death of Charles II. at Madrid, on the
1st November 1700, and the bequest of his vast territories to Philip
Duke of Anjou, second son of the Dauphin, and grandson of Louis XIV.,
threatened at once to place the immense resources of the Castilian
monarchy at the disposal of the ambitious monarch of France, whose
passion for glory had not diminished with his advanced years, and whose
want of moderation was soon evinced by his accepting, after an affected
hesitation, the splendid bequest.

Threatened with so serious a danger, it is not surprising that the
powers of Europe were in the utmost alarm, and erelong took steps to
endeavour to avert it. Such, however, was the terror inspired by the
name of Louis XIV., and the magnitude of the addition made by this
bequest to his power, that the new monarch, in the first instance,
ascended the throne of Spain and the Indies without any opposition. The
Spanish Netherlands, so important both from their intrinsic riches,
their situation as the certain theatre of war, and the numerous
fortified towns with which they were studded, had been early secured for
the young Bourbon prince by the Elector of Bavaria, who was at that time
the governor of those valuable possessions. Sardinia, Naples, Sicily,
the Milanese, and the other Spanish possessions in Italy, speedily
followed the example. The distant colonies of the crown of Castile, in
America and the Indies, sent in their adhesion. The young Prince of
Anjou made his formal entry into Spain in the beginning of 1701, and was
crowned at Madrid under the title of Philip V. The principal continental
powers, with the exception of the Emperor, acknowledged his title to the
throne. The Dutch were in despair: they beheld the power of Louis XIV.
brought to their very gates. Flanders, instead of being the barrier of
Europe against France, had become the outwork of France against Europe.
The flag of Louis XIV. floated on Antwerp, Brussels, and Ghent. Italy,
France, Spain, and Flanders, were united in one close league, and in
fact formed but one dominion. It was the empire of Charlemagne over
again, directed with equal ability, founded on greater power, and backed
by the boundless treasures of the Indies. Spain had threatened the
liberties of Europe in the end of the sixteenth century: France had all
but proved fatal to them in the close of the seventeenth. What hope was
there of being able to make head against them both, united under such a
head as Louis XIV.?

Great as these dangers were, however, they had no effect in daunting the
heroic spirit of William III. In concert with the Emperor, and the
United Provinces, who were too nearly threatened to be backward in
falling into his views, he laboured for the formation of a great
confederacy, which might prevent the union of the crowns of France and
Castile in one family, and prevent, before it was too late, the
consolidation of a power which threatened to be so formidable to the
liberties of Europe. The death of that intrepid monarch in March 1702,
which, had it taken place earlier, might have prevented the formation of
the confederacy, as it was, proved no impediment, but rather the
reverse. His measures had been so well taken, his resolute spirit had
laboured with such effect, that the alliance, offensive and defensive,
between the Emperor, England, and Holland, had been already signed. The
accession of the Princess Anne, without weakening its bonds, added
another power, of no mean importance, to its ranks. Her husband, Prince
George of Denmark, brought the forces of that kingdom to aid the common
cause. Prussia soon after followed the example. On the other hand,
Bavaria, closely connected with the French and Spanish monarchies, both
by jealousy of Austria, and the government of the Netherlands, which its
Elector held, adhered to France. Thus the forces of Europe were mutually
arrayed and divided, much as they afterwards were in the coalition
against Napoleon in 1813. It might already be foreseen, that Flanders,
the Bavarian plains, Spain, and Lombardy, would, as in the great contest
which followed a century after, be the theatre of war. But the forces of
France and Spain possessed this advantage, unknown in former wars, but
immense in a military point of view, that they were in possession of the
whole of the Netherlands, the numerous fortresses of which were alike
valuable as a basis of offensive operations, and as affording asylums
all but impregnable in cases of disaster. The Allied generals, whether
they commenced their operations in Flanders or on the side of Germany,
had to begin on the Rhine, and cut their way through the long barrier of
fortresses with which the genius of Vauban and Cohorn had encircled the
frontiers of the monarchy.

War having been resolved on, the first step was taken by the Emperor,
who laid claim to Milan as a fief of the empire, and supported his
pretensions by moving an army into Italy under the command of Prince
Eugene of Savoy, who afterwards became so celebrated as the brother and
worthy rival of Marlborough in arms. The French and Spaniards assembled
an army in the Milanese to resist his advance; and the Duke of Mantua
having joined the cause, that important city was garrisoned by the
French troops. But Prince Eugene erelong obliged them to fall back from
the banks of the Adige to the line of the Oglio, on which they made a
stand. But though hostilities had thus commenced in Italy, negotiations
were still carried on at the Hague; though unhappily the pretensions of
the French king were found to be of so exorbitant a character, that an
accommodation was impossible. Marlborough's first mission to the
Continent, however, after the accession of Anne, was of a diplomatic
character; and it was by his unwearied efforts, suavity of manner, and
singular talents for negotiation, that the difficulties which attend the
formation of all such extensive confederacies were overcome. And it was
not till war was declared, on 4th May 1702, that he first took the
command as commander-in-chief of the Allied armies.

The first operation of the Allies was an attack on the small fort of
Kaiserworth, on the right bank of the Rhine, which belonged to the
Elector of Cologne, which surrendered on the 15th May. The main French
army, nominally under the direction of the Duke of Burgundy, really of
Marshal Boufflers, entered the Duchy of Cleves in the end of the same
month, and soon became engaged with the Allied forces, which at first,
being inferior in numbers, fell back. Marlborough reached headquarters
when the French lay before Nimeguen; and the Dutch trembled for that
frontier town. Reinforcements, however, rapidly came in from all
quarters to join the Allied army; and Marlborough, finding himself at
the head of a gallant force sixty thousand strong, resolved to commence
offensive operations. His first operation was the siege of Venloo, which
was carried by storm on the 18th September, after various actions in the
course of the siege. "My Lord Cutts," says Marlborough, "commanded at
one of the breaches; and the English grenadiers had the honour of being
the first that entered the fort."[5] Ruremonde was next besieged; and
the Allies, steadily advancing, opened the navigation of the Meuse as
far as Maestricht. Stevenswart was taken on the 1st October; and, on the
6th, Ruremonde surrendered. Liege was the next object of attack; and the
breaches of the citadel were, by the skilful operations of Cohorn, who
commanded the Allied engineers and artillery, declared practicable on
the 23d of the same month. The assault was immediately ordered; and "by
the extraordinary bravery," says Marlborough, "of the officers and
soldiers, the citadel was carried by storm; and, for the honour of her
Majesty's subjects, the English were the first that got upon the
breach."[6] So early in this, as in every other war where ignorance and
infatuation has not led them into the field, did the native-born valour
of the Anglo-Saxon race make itself known! Seven battalions and a half
were made prisoners on this occasion; and so disheartened was the enemy
by the fall of the citadel, that the castle of the Chartreuse, with its
garrison of 1500 men, capitulated a few days afterwards. This last
success gave the Allies the entire command of Liege, and concluded this
short but glorious campaign, in the course of which they had made
themselves masters by main force, in presence of the French army, of
four fortified towns, conquered all Spanish Guelderland, opened the
Meuse as far as Maestricht, carried the strong castles of Liege by
storm, advanced their standards from the Rhine far into Flanders, and
become enabled to take up their winter quarters in the enemy's
territory, amidst its fertile fields.

The campaign being now concluded, and both parties having gone into
winter quarters, Marlborough embarked on the Meuse to return to London,
where his presence was much required to steady the authority and direct
the cabinet of the Queen, who had so recently taken her seat on the
throne. When dropping down the Meuse, in company of the Dutch
commissioners, he was made prisoner by a French partisan, who had made
an incursion into those parts; and owed his escape to the presence of
mind of a servant named Gill, who, unperceived, put into his master's
hands an old passport in the name of General Churchill. The Frenchman,
intent only on plunder, seized all the plate and valuables in the boat,
and made prisoners the small detachment of soldiers who accompanied
them; but, ignorant of the inestimable prize within his grasp, allowed
the remainder of the party, including Marlborough, to proceed on their
way. On this occasion, it may truly be said, the boat carried Caesar and
his fortunes. He arrived in safety at the Hague, where the people, who
regarded him as their guardian angel, and had heard of his narrow
escape, received him with the most enthusiastic acclamations. From
thence, having concerted the plan with the Dutch government for the
ensuing campaign, he crossed over to London, where his reception by the
Queen and nation was of the most gratifying description. Her Majesty
conferred on him the title of Duke of Marlborough and Marquis of
Blandford, and sent a message to the House of Commons, suggesting a
pension to him of £5000 a-year, secured on the revenue of the
post-office; but that House refused to consent to the alienation of so
considerable a part of the public revenue. He was amply compensated,
however, for this disappointment, by the enthusiastic reception he met
with from all classes of the nation, which, long unaccustomed to
military success, at least in any cause in which it could sympathize,
hailed with transports of joy this first revival of triumph in support
of the Protestant faith, and over that power with whom, for centuries,
they had maintained so constant a rivalry.

The campaign of 1703 was not fruitful of great events. Taught, by the
untoward issue of the preceding one, the quality of the general and army
with whom he had to contend, the French general cautiously remained on
the defensive; and so skilfully were the measures of Marshal Boufflers
taken, that all the efforts of Marlborough were unable to force him to a
general action. The war in Flanders was thus limited to one of posts and
sieges; but in that the superiority of the Allied arms was successfully
asserted, Parliament having been prevailed on to consent to an
augmentation of the British contingent. But a treaty having been
concluded with Sweden, and various reinforcements having been received
from the lesser powers, preparations were made for the siege of Bonn, on
the Rhine, a frontier town of Flanders, of great importance from its
commanding the passage of that artery of Germany, and stopping, while in
the enemy's hands, all transit of military stores or provisions for the
use of the armies in Bavaria, or on the Upper Rhine. The batteries
opened with seventy heavy guns and English mortars on the 14th May 1704;
a vigorous sortie with a thousand foot was repulsed, after having at
first gained some success, on the following day, and on the 16th two
breaches having been declared practicable, the garrison surrendered at
discretion. After this success, the army moved against Huys, and it was
taken with its garrison of 900 men on the 23d August. Marlborough and
the English generals, after this success, were decidedly of opinion that
it would be advisable at all hazard to attempt forcing the French lines,
which were strongly fortified between Mehaigne and Leuwe, and a strong
opinion to that effect was transmitted to the Hague on the very day
after the fall of Huys.[7] They alleged with reason, that the Allies
being superior in Flanders, and the French having the upper hand in
Germany and Italy, it was of the utmost importance to follow up the
present tide of success in the only quarter where it flowed in their
favour, and counterbalance disasters elsewhere, by decisive events in
the quarter where it was most material to obtain it. The Dutch
government, however, set on getting a barrier for themselves, could not
be brought to agree to this course, how great soever the advantages
which it promised, and insisted instead, that he should undertake the
siege of Limbourg, which lay open to attack. This was accordingly done;
the trenches were commenced in the middle of September, and the garrison
capitulated on the 27th of the same month: a poor compensation for the
total defeat of the French army, which would in all probability have
ensued if the bolder plan of operation he had so earnestly counselled
had been adopted.[8] This terminated the campaign of 1703, which, though
successful, had led to very different results from what might have been
anticipated if Marlborough's advice had been followed, and an earlier
victory of Ramillies laid open the whole Flemish plains. Having
dispatched eight battalions to reinforce the Prince of Hesse, who had
sustained serious disaster on the Moselle, he had an interview with the
Archduke Charles, whom the Allies had acknowledged as King of Spain, who
presented him with a magnificent sword set with diamonds, and set out
for the Hague, from whence he again returned to London to concert
measures for the ensuing campaign, and stimulate the British government
to the efforts necessary for its successful prosecution.

But while success had thus attended all the operations of the Allies in
Flanders, where the English contingent acted, and Marlborough had the
command, affairs had assumed a very different aspect in Germany and
Italy. The French were there superior alike in the number and quality of
their troops, and, in Germany at least, in the skill with which they
were commanded. Early in June, Marshal Tallard assumed the command of
the French forces in Alsace, passed the Rhine at Strasburg on the 16th
July, took Brissac on the 7th September, and invested Landau on the 16th
October. The Allies, under the Prince of Hesse, attempted to raise the
siege, but were defeated with considerable loss; and, soon after, Landau
surrendered, thus terminating with disaster the campaign on the Upper
Rhine. Still more considerable were the disasters sustained in Bavaria.
Marshal Villars there commanded, and at the head of the French and
Bavarians, defeated General Stirum, who headed the Imperialists, on the
20th September. In December, Marshal Marsin, who had succeeded Villars
in the command, made himself master of the important city of Augsburg,
and in January 1704 the Bavarians got possession of Passau. Meanwhile, a
formidable insurrection had broken out in Hungary, which so distracted
the cabinet of Vienna, that that capital itself seemed to be threatened
by the combined forces of the French and Bavarians after the fall of
Passau. No event of importance took place in Italy during the campaign;
Count Strahremberg, who commanded the Imperial forces, having with great
ability forced the Duke de Vendôme, who was at the head of a superior
body of French troops, to retire. But in Bavaria and on the Danube, it
was evident that the Allies were overmatched; and to the restoration of
the balance in that quarter, the anxious attention of the confederates
was turned during the winter of 1703-4. The dangerous state of the
Emperor and the empire awakened the greatest solicitude at the Hague, as
well as unbounded terror at Vienna, from whence the most urgent
representations were made on the necessity of reinforcements being sent
from Marlborough to their support. But though this was agreed to by
England and Holland, so straitened were the Dutch finances, that they
were wholly unable to form the necessary magazines to enable the Allies
to commence operations. Marlborough, during the whole of January and
February 1704, was indefatigable in his efforts to overcome these
difficulties; and the preparations having at length been completed, it
was agreed by the States, according to a plan of the campaign laid down
by Marlborough, that he himself should proceed into Bavaria with the
great body of the Allied army in Flanders, leaving only an army of
observation there, to restrain any incursion which the French troops
might attempt during his absence.

Marlborough began his march with the great body of his forces on the 8th
May, and crossing the Meuse at Maestricht, proceeded with the utmost
expedition towards the Rhine by Bedbourg and Kirpen, and arrived at Bonn
on the 22d May. Meanwhile, the French were also powerfully reinforcing
their army on the Danube. Early in the same month 26,000 men joined the
Elector of Bavaria, while Villeroi with the army of Flanders was
hastening in the same direction. Marlborough having obtained
intelligence of these great additions to the enemy's forces in the vital
quarter, wrote to the States-General, that unless they promptly sent him
succour, the Emperor would be entirely ruined.[9] Meanwhile, however,
relying chiefly on himself, he redoubled his activity and diligence.
Continuing his march up the Rhine by Coblentz and Cassel, opposite
Mayence, he crossed the Necker near Ladenbourg on the 3d June. From
thence he pursued his march without intermission by Mundelshene, where
he had, on the 10th June, his first interview with Prince Eugene, who
had been called from Italy to co-operate in stemming the torrent of
disaster in Germany. From thence he advanced by Great Heppach to
Langenau, and first came in contact with the enemy on the 2d July, on
the Schullenberg, near Donawert. Marlborough, at the head of the
advanced guard of nine thousand men, there attacked the French and
Bavarians, 12,000 strong, in their intrenched camp, which was extremely
strong, and after a desperate resistance, aided by an opportune attack
by the Prince of Baden, who commanded the Emperor's forces, carried the
intrenchments, with the whole artillery which they mounted, and the loss
of 7000 men and thirteen standards to the vanquished. He was inclined to
venture upon this hazardous attempt by having received intelligence on
the same day from Prince Eugene, that Marshals Villeroi and Tallard, at
the head of fifty battalions, and sixty squadrons of their best troops,
had arrived at Strasburg, and were using the utmost diligence to reach
the Bavarian forces through the defiles of the Black Forest.

This brilliant opening of the German campaign was soon followed by
substantial results. A few days after Rain surrendered, Aicha was
carried by assault; and, following up his career of success, Marlborough
advanced to within a league of Augsburg, under the cannon of which the
Elector of Bavaria was placed with the remnant of his forces, in a
situation too strong to admit of its being forced. He here made several
attempts to detach the Elector, who was now reduced to the greatest
straits, from the French alliance; but that prince, relying on the great
army, forty-five thousand strong, which Marshal Tallard was bringing up
to his support from the Rhine, adhered with honourable fidelity to his
engagements. Upon this, Marlborough took post near Friburg, in such a
situation as to cut him off from all communication with his dominions;
and ravaged the country with his light troops, levying contributions
wherever they went, and burning the villages with savage ferocity as far
as the gates of Munich. Thus was avenged the barbarous desolation of the
Palatinate, thirty years before, by the French army under the orders of
Marshal Turenne. Overcome by the cries of his suffering subjects, the
Elector at length consented to enter into a negotiation, which made some
progress; but the rapid approach of Marshal Tallard with the French army
through the Black Forest, caused him to break it off, and hazard all on
the fortune of war. Unable to induce the Elector, by the barbarities
unhappily, at that time, too frequent on all sides in war, either to
quit his intrenched camp under the cannon of Augsburg, or abandon the
French alliance, the English general undertook the siege of Ingolstadt;
he himself with the main body of the army covering the siege, and Prince
Louis of Baden conducting the operations in the trenches. Upon this, the
Elector of Bavaria broke up from his strong position, and, abandoning
with heroic resolution his own country, marched to Biberbach, where he
effected his junction with Marshal Tallard, who now threatened Prince
Eugene with an immediate attack. No sooner had he received intelligence
of this, than Marlborough, on the 10th of August, sent the Duke of
Wirtemburg with twenty-seven squadrons of horse to reinforce the prince;
and early next morning detached General Churchill with twenty battalions
across the Danube, to be in a situation to support him in case of need.
He himself immediately after followed, and joined the Prince with his
whole army on the 11th. Every thing now presaged decisive events. The
Elector had boldly quitted Bavaria, leaving his whole dominions at the
mercy of the enemy, except the fortified cities of Munich and Augsburg,
and periled his crown upon the issue of war at the French headquarters;
while Marlborough and Eugene had united their forces, with a
determination to give battle in the heart of Germany, in the enemy's
territory, with their communications exposed to the utmost hazard, under
circumstances where defeat could be attended with nothing short of total

The French and Bavarian army consisted of fifty-five thousand men, of
whom nearly forty-five thousand were French troops, the very best which
the monarchy could produce. Marlborough and Eugene had sixty-six
battalions and one hundred and sixty squadrons, which, with the
artillery, might be about fifty thousand combatants. The forces on the
opposite sides were thus nearly equal in point of numerical amount; but
there was a wide difference in their composition. Four-fifths of the
French army were national troops, speaking the same language, animated
by the same feelings, accustomed to the same discipline, and the most of
whom had been accustomed to act together. The Allies, on the other hand,
were a motley assemblage, like Hannibal's at Cannæ, or Wellington's at
Waterloo, composed of the troops of many different nations, speaking
different languages, trained to different discipline, but recently
assembled together, and under the orders of a stranger general, one of
those haughty islanders, little in general inured to war, but whose cold
or supercilious manners had so often caused jealousies to arise in the
best cemented confederacies. English, Prussians, Danes, Wirtemburgers,
Dutch, Hanoverians, and Hessians, were blended in such nearly equal
proportions, that the arms of no one state could be said by its
numerical preponderance to be entitled to the precedence. But the
consummate address, splendid talents, and conciliatory manners of
Marlborough, as well as the brilliant valour which the English auxiliary
force had displayed on many occasions, had won for them the lead, as
they had formerly done when in no greater force among the confederates
under Richard Coeur-de-Lion in the Holy War. It was universally felt
that upon them, as the Tenth Legion of Caesar, or the Old Guard of
Napoleon, the weight of the contest at the decisive moment would fall.
The army was divided into two _corps-d'armée_; the first commanded by
the duke in person, being by far the strongest, destined to bear the
weight of the contest, and carry in front the enemy's position. These
two corps, though co-operating, were at such a distance from each other,
that they were much in the situation of the English and Prussians at
Waterloo, or Napoleon and Ney's corps at Bautzen. The second, under
Prince Eugene, which consisted chiefly of cavalry, was much weaker in
point of numerical amount, and was intended for a subordinate attack, to
distract the enemy's attention from the principal onset in front under
Marlborough.[10] With ordinary officers, or even eminent generals of a
second order, a dangerous rivalry for the supreme command would
unquestionably have arisen, and added to the many seeds of division and
causes of weakness which already existed in so multifarious an array.
But these great men were superior to all such petty jealousies. Each,
conscious of powers to do great things, and proud of fame already
acquired, was willing to yield what was necessary for the common good to
the other. They had no rivalry, save a noble emulation who should do
most for the common cause in which they were jointly engaged. From the
moment of their junction it was agreed that they should take the command
of the whole army day about; and so perfectly did their views on all
points coincide, and so entirely did their noble hearts beat in unison,
that during eight subsequent campaigns that they for the most part acted
together, there was never the slightest division between them, nor any
interruption of the harmony with which the operations of the Allies were

The French position was in places strong, and their disposition for
resistance at each point where they were threatened by attack from the
Allied forces, judicious; but there was a fatal defect in its general
conception. Marshal Tallard was on the right, resting on the Danube,
which secured him from being turned in that quarter, having the village
of BLENHEIM in his front, which was strongly garrisoned by twenty-six
battalions and twelve squadrons, all native French troops. In the centre
was the village of Oberglau, which was occupied by fourteen battalions,
among whom were three Irish corps of celebrated veterans. The
communication between Blenheim and Oberglau was kept up by a screen
consisting of eighty squadrons, in two lines, having two brigades of
foot, consisting of seven battalions, in its centre. The left, opposite
Prince Eugene, was under the orders of Marshal Marsin, and consisted of
twenty-two battalions of infantry and thirty-six squadrons, consisting
for the most part of Bavarians and Marshal Marsin's men, posted in front
of the village of Lutzingen. Thus the French consisted of sixty-nine
battalions and a hundred and thirty-four squadrons, and were posted in a
line strongly supported at each extremity, but weak in the centre, and
with the wings, where the great body of the infantry was placed, at such
a distance from each other, that, if the centre was broken through, each
ran the risk of being enveloped by the enemy, without the other being
able to render them any assistance. This danger as to the troops in
Blenheim, the flower of their army, was much augmented by the
circumstance, that if their centre was forced where it was formed of
cavalry only, and the victors turned sharp round towards Blenheim, the
horse would be driven headlong into the Danube, and the foot in that
village would run the hazard of being surrounded or pushed into that
river, which was not fordable, even for horse, in any part. But though
these circumstances would, to a far-seeing general, have presaged
serious disaster in the event of defeat, yet the position was strong in
itself, and the French generals, long accustomed to victory, had some
excuse for not having taken sufficiently into view the contingencies
likely to occur in the event of defeat. Both the villages at the
extremity of their line had been strengthened, not only with
intrenchments hastily thrown up around them, thickly mounted with heavy
cannon, but with barricades at all their principal entrances, formed of
overturned carts and all the furniture of the houses, which they had
seized upon, as the insurgents did at Paris in 1830, for that purpose.
The army stood upon a hill or gentle eminence, the guns from which
commanded the whole plain by which alone it could be approached; and
this plain was low, and intersected on the right, in front of Blenheim,
by a rivulet which flows down by a gentle descent to the Danube, and in
front of Oberglau by another rivulet, which runs in two branches till
within a few paces of the Danube; into which it also empties itself.
These rivulets had bridges over them at the points where they flowed
through villages; but they were difficult of passage in the other places
for cavalry and artillery, and, with the ditches cut in the swampy
meadows through which they flowed, proved no small impediment to the
advance of the Allied army.

The Duke of Marlborough, before the action began, in person visited each
important battery, in order to ascertain the range of the guns. The
troops under his command were drawn up in four lines; the infantry being
in front, and the cavalry behind, in each line. This arrangement was
adopted in order that the infantry, which would get easiest through the
streams, might form on the other side, and cover the formation of the
cavalry, who might be more impeded. The fire of cannon soon became very
animated on both sides, and the infantry advanced to the edge of the
rivulets with that cheerful air and confident step which is so often the
forerunner of success. On Prince Eugene's side the impediments, however,
proved serious; the beds of the rivulets were so broad, that they
required to be filled up with fascines before they could be passed by
the guns; and when they did get across, they replied without much effect
to the French cannon thundering from the heights, which commanded the
whole field. At half-past twelve, however, these difficulties were, by
great efforts on the part of Prince Eugene and his wing, overcome, and
he sent word to Marlborough that he was ready. The English general
instantly called for his horse; the troops every where stood to their
arms, and the signal was given to advance. The rivulets and marshy
ground in front of Blenheim and Unterglau were passed by the first line
without much difficulty, though under a heavy fire of artillery from the
French batteries; and the firm ground on the slope being reached, the
first line advanced in the finest order to the attack--the cavalry in
front having now defiled to a side, so as to let the English infantry
take the lead. The attack must be given in the words of Dr Hare's

     "Lord Cutts made the first attack upon Blenheim, with the English
     grenadiers. Brigadier-general Rowe led up his brigade, which formed
     the first line, and was sustained in the second by a brigade of
     Hessians. Rowe was within thirty paces of the palisades about
     Blenheim when the enemy gave their first fire, by which a great
     many officers and men fell; but notwithstanding this, that brave
     officer marched direct up to the pales, on which he struck his
     sword before he allowed his men to fire. His orders were to enter
     at the point of the bayonet; but the superiority of the enemy, and
     the strength of their post, rendered this impossible. The first
     line was therefore forced to retire; Rowe was struck down badly
     wounded at the foot of the pales; his lieut.-colonel and major were
     killed in endeavouring to bring him off, and some squadrons of
     French gens-d'armes having charged the brigade while retiring in
     disorder, it was partially broken, and one of the colours of Rowe's
     regiment was taken. The Hessians in the second line upon this
     advanced briskly forward, charged the squadrons, retook the colour,
     and repulsed them. Lord Cutts, however, seeing fresh squadrons
     coming down upon him, sent to request some cavalry should be sent
     to cover his flank. Five British squadrons accordingly were moved
     up, and speedily charged by eight of the enemy; the French gave
     their fire at a little distance, but the English charged sword in
     hand, and put them to the rout. Being overpowered, however, by
     fresh squadrons, and galled by the fire which issued from the
     enclosures of Blenheim, our horse were driven back in their turn,
     and recoiled in disorder.

     "Marlborough, foreseeing that the enemy would pursue this
     advantage, resolved to bring his whole cavalry across the rivulets.
     The operation was begun by the English horse. It proved more
     difficult, however, than was expected, especially to the English
     squadrons; as they had to cross the rivulet where it was divided,
     and the meadows were very soft. However, they surmounted those
     difficulties, and got over; but when they advanced, they were so
     severely galled by the infantry in Blenheim firing upon their
     flank, while the cavalry charged them in front, that they were
     forced to retire, which they did, under cover of Bulow and
     Bothmer's German dragoons, who succeeded them in the passage.
     Marlborough, seeing the enemy resolute to maintain the ground
     occupied by his cavalry, gave orders for the whole remainder of his
     cavalry to pass wherever they could get across. There was very
     great difficulty and danger in defiling over the rivulet in the
     face of an enemy, already formed and supported by several batteries
     of cannon; yet by the brave examples and intrepidity of the
     officers, they were at length got over, and kept their ground on
     the other side. Bulow stretched across, opposite to Oberglau, with
     the Danish and Hanoverian horse; but near that village they were so
     vigorously charged by the French cavalry, that they were driven
     back. Rallying, they were again led to the charge, and again routed
     with great slaughter by the charges of the horse in front, and the
     dreadful fire from the inclosures of Blenheim. Nor did the attack
     on Oberglau to the British right, under Prince Holstein, succeed
     better; no sooner had he passed the rivulet, than the Irish
     veterans, posted there, came pouring down upon them, took the
     prince prisoner, and threw the whole into confusion. Upon this,
     Marlborough galloped to the spot at the head of some squadrons,
     followed by three battalions, which had not yet been engaged. With
     the horse he charged the Irish battalions in flank, and forced them
     back; the foot he posted himself, and having re-established affairs
     at that point, returned rapidly to the left, where he found the
     whole of his corps passed over the streams, and on firm ground on
     the other side. The horse were drawn up in two lines fronting the
     enemy; the foot in two lines behind them; and some guns, under
     Colonel Blood, having been hurried across by means of pontoons,
     were brought to bear upon some battalions of foot which were
     intermingled with the enemy's horse, and made great havoc in their

     "It was now past three, and the Duke, having got his whole men
     ready for the attack, sent to Prince Eugene to know if he was ready
     to support him. But the efforts of that gallant prince had not been
     attended with the same success. In the first onset, indeed, his
     Danish and Prussian infantry had gained considerable success, and
     taken six guns, and the Imperial cavalry had, by a vigorous charge,
     broken the first line of the enemy's horse; but they failed in
     their attack on the second line, and were driven back to their
     original ground; whereupon the Bavarian cavalry, rushing forward,
     enveloped Eugene's foot, who were forced to retire, and with
     difficulty regained their original ground. Half an hour afterwards,
     Prince Eugene made a second attack with his horse; but they were
     again repulsed by the bravery of the Bavarian cavalry, and driven
     for refuge into the wood, in the rear of their original position.
     Nothing daunted by this bad success, the Prince formed his troops
     for a third attack, and himself led his cavalry to the charge; but
     so vigorous was the defence, that they were again repulsed to the
     wood, and the victorious enemy's dragoons with loud cheers charged
     the Prussian foot in flank, and were only repelled by the admirable
     steadiness with which they delivered their fire, and stood their
     ground with fixed bayonets in front.

     "About five the general forward movement was made which determined
     the issue of this great battle, which till then had seemed
     doubtful. The Duke of Marlborough, having ridden along the front,
     gave orders to sound the charge, when all at once our lines of
     horse moved on, sword in hand, to the attack. Those of the enemy
     presented their carbines at some distance and fired; but they had
     no sooner done so than they wheeled about, broke, and fled. The
     gens-d'armes fled towards Hochstedt, which was about two miles in
     the rear; the other squadrons towards the village of Sondersheim,
     which was nearer, and on the bank of the Danube. The Duke ordered
     General Hompesch, with thirty squadrons, to pursue those who fled
     to Hochstedt; while he himself, with Prince Hesse and the whole
     remainder of the cavalry, drove thirty of the enemy's squadrons
     headlong down the banks of the Danube, which, being very steep,
     occasioned the destruction of the greater part. Vast numbers
     endeavoured to save themselves by swimming, and perished miserably.
     Among the prisoners taken here were Marshal Tallard and his suite,
     who surrendered to M. Beinenbourg, aid-de-camp to the Prince of
     Hesse. Marlborough immediately desired him to be accommodated with
     his coach, and sent a pencil note to the duchess[11] to say the
     victory was gained. Others, seeing the fate of their comrades in
     the water, endeavoured to save themselves by defiling to the right,
     along its margin, towards Hochstedt, but they were met and
     intercepted by some English squadrons; upon seeing which they fled
     in utter confusion towards Morselingen, and did not again attempt
     to engage. The victorious horse upon this fell upon several of the
     enemy's battalions, who had nearly reached Hochstedt, and cut them
     to pieces.

     "Meanwhile Prince Eugene, by a fourth attack, succeeded in driving
     the Elector of Bavaria from his position; and the Duke, seeing
     this, sent orders to the squadrons in pursuit, towards Morselingen,
     to wheel about and join him. All this while the troops in Blenheim
     had been incessantly attacked, but it still held out and gave
     employment to the Duke's infantry. The moment the cavalry had
     beaten off that of the enemy, and cleared the field between the two
     villages of them, General Churchill moved both lines of foot upon
     the village of Blenheim, and it was soon surrounded so as to cut
     off all possibility of escape except on the side next the Danube.
     To prevent the possibility of their escape that way, Webb, with the
     Queen's regiment, took possession of a barrier the enemy had
     constructed to cover their retreat, and, having posted his men
     across the street which led to the Danube, several hundreds of the
     enemy, who were attempting to make their escape that way, were made
     prisoners. The other issue to the Danube was occupied in the same
     manner by Prince George's regiment: all who came out that way were
     made prisoners or driven into the Danube. Some endeavoured to break
     out at other places, but General Wood, with Lord John Hay's
     regiment of _grey_ dragoons (Scots Greys) immediately advanced
     towards them, and, cantering up to the top of a rising ground, made
     them believe they had a larger force behind them, and stopped them
     on that side. When Churchill saw the defeat of the enemy's horse
     decided, he sent to request Lord Cutts to attack them in front,
     while he himself attacked them in flank. This was accordingly done;
     the Earl of Orkney and General Ingoldesby entering the village at
     the same time, at two different places, at the head of their
     respective regiments. But so vigorous was the resistance made by
     the enemy, especially at the churchyard, that they were forced to
     retire. The vehement fire, however, of the cannon and howitzers,
     which set fire to several barns and houses, added to the
     circumstance of their commander, M. Clerambault, having fled, and
     their retreat on all sides being cut off, led to their surrendering
     at discretion, to the number of six-and-twenty battalions. Thus
     concluded this great battle, in which the enemy had 5900 more than
     the Allies,[12] and the advantage of a very strong position,
     difficult of attack."[13]

In this battle Marlborough's wing lost 3000 men, and Eugene's the same
number, in all 6000. The French lost 13,000 prisoners, including 1200
officers, almost all taken by Marlborough's wing, besides 34 pieces of
cannon, 26 standards, and 90 colours; Eugene took 13 pieces. The killed
and wounded were 14,000 more. But the total loss of the French and
Bavarians, including those who deserted during their calamitous retreat
through the Black Forest, was not less than 40,000 men,[14] a number
greater than any which they sustained till the still more disastrous day
of Waterloo.

This account of the battle, which is by far the best and most
intelligible which has ever yet been published, makes it quite evident
to what cause the overwhelming magnitude of this defeat to the French
army was owing. The strength of the position consisted solely in the
rivulets and marshy grounds in its front; when they were passed, the
error of Marshal Tallard's disposition of his troops was at once
apparent. The infantry was accumulated in useless numbers in the
villages. Of the twenty-six battalions in Blenheim, twenty were useless,
and could not get into action, while the long line of cavalry from
thence to Oberglau was sustained only by a few battalions of foot,
incapable of making any effective resistance. This was the more
inexcusable, as the French, having sixteen battalions of infantry more
than the Allies, should at no point have shown themselves inferior in
foot soldiers to their opponents. When the curtain of horse which
stretched from Blenheim to Oberglau was broken through and driven off
the field, the 13,000 infantry accumulated in the former of these
villages could not avoid falling into the enemy's hands; for they were
pressed between Marlborough's victorious foot and horse on the one side,
and the unfordable stream of the Danube on the other. But Marlborough,
it is evident, evinced the capacity of a great general in the manner in
which he surmounted these obstacles, and took advantage of these faulty
dispositions; resolutely, in the first instance, overcoming the numerous
impediments which opposed the passage of the rivulets, and then
accumulating his horse and foot for a grand attack on the enemy's
centre, which, besides destroying above half the troops assembled there,
and driving thirty squadrons into the Danube, cut off, and isolated the
powerful body of infantry now uselessly crowded together in Blenheim,
and compelled them to surrender.

Immense were the results of this transcendent victory. The French army,
lately so confident in its numbers and prowess, retreated "or rather
fled," as Marlborough says, through the Black Forest; abandoning the
Elector of Bavaria and all the fortresses on the Danube to their fate.
In the deepest dejection, and the utmost disorder, they reached the
Rhine, scarce twelve thousand strong, on the 25th August, and
immediately began defiling over by the bridge of Strasburg. How
different from the triumphant army, which with drums beating, and
colours flying, had crossed at the same place six weeks before!
Marlborough, having detached part of his force to besiege Ulm, drew near
with the bulk of his army to the Rhine, which he passed near Philipsburg
on the 6th September, and soon after commenced the siege of Landau, on
the French side; Prince Louis with 20,000 men forming the besieging
force, and Eugene and Marlborough with 30,000 the covering army. Ulm
surrendered on the 16th September, with 250 pieces of cannon, and 1200
barrels of powder, which gave the Allies a solid foundation on the
Danube, and effectually crushed the power of the Elector of Bavaria,
who, isolated now in the midst of his enemies, had no alternative but to
abandon his dominions, and seek refuge in Brussels, where he arrived in
the end of September. Meanwhile, as the siege of Landau was found to
require more time than had been anticipated, owing to the extraordinary
difficulties experienced in getting up supplies and forage for the
troops; Marlborough repaired to Hanover and Berlin to stimulate the
Prussian and Hanoverian cabinets to greater exertions in the common
cause, and he succeeded in making arrangements for the addition of 8000
more Prussian troops to their valuable auxiliary force, to be added to
the army of the Imperialists in Italy, which stood much in need of
reinforcement. The Electress of Bavaria, who had been left Regent of
that State in the absence of the Elector in Flanders, had now no
resource left but submission; and a treaty was accordingly concluded in
the beginning of November, by which she agreed to disband all her
troops. Trarbach was taken in the end of December; the Hungarian
insurrection was appeased; Landau capitulated in the beginning of the
same month; a diversion which the enemy attempted on Trêves was defeated
by Marlborough's activity and vigilance, and that city put in a
sufficient posture of defence; and the campaign being now finished, that
accomplished commander returned to the Hague, and London, to receive the
honour due for his past services, and urge their respective cabinets to
the efforts necessary to turn them to good account.

Thus by the operations of one single campaign was Bavaria crushed,
Austria and Germany delivered. Marlborough's cross-march from Flanders
to the Danube, had extricated the Imperialists from a state of the
utmost peril, and elevated them at once to security, victory, and
conquest. The decisive blow struck at Blenheim, resounded through every
part of Europe; it at once destroyed the vast fabric of power which it
had taken Louis XIV., aided by the talents of Turenne, and the genius of
Vauban, so long to construct. Instead of proudly descending the valley
of the Danube, and threatening Vienna, as Napoleon afterwards did in
1805 and 1809, the French were driven in the utmost disorder across the
Rhine. The surrender of Trarbach and Landau gave the Allies a firm
footing on the left bank of that river. The submission of Bavaria
deprived the French of that great outwork, of which they have made such
good use in their German wars, the Hungarian insurrection, deprived of
the hoped-for aid from the armies on the Rhine, was pacified. Prussia
was induced by this great triumph to co-operate in a more efficient
manner in the common cause; the parsimony of the Dutch gave way before
the tumult of success; and the empire, delivered from invasion, was
preparing to carry its victorious arms into the heart of France. Such
results require no comment; they speak for themselves, and deservedly
place Marlborough in the very highest rank of military commanders. The
campaigns of Napoleon exhibit no more decisive or glorious results.

Honours and emoluments of every description were showered on the English
hero for this glorious success. He was created a prince of the Holy
Roman empire,[15] and a tract of land in Germany erected into a
principality in his favour. His reception at the courts of Berlin and
Hanover resembled that of a sovereign prince; the acclamations of the
people, in all the towns through which he passed, rent the air; at the
Hague his influence was such that he was regarded as the real
Stadtholder. More substantial rewards awaited him in his own country.
The munificence of the queen and the gratitude of Parliament conferred
upon him the extensive honour and manor of Woodstock, long a royal
palace, and once the scene of the loves of Henry II. and the fair
Rosamond. By order of the Queen, not only was this noble estate settled
on the duke and his heirs, but the royal comptroller commenced a
magnificent palace for the duke on a scale worthy of his services and
England's gratitude. From this origin the superb palace of Blenheim has
taken its rise; which, although not built in the purest taste, or after
the most approved models, remains, and will long remain, a splendid
monument of a nation's gratitude, and of the genius of Vanbrugh.

Notwithstanding the invaluable services thus rendered by Marlborough,
both to the Emperor of Germany and the Queen of England, he was far from
experiencing from either potentate that liberal support for the future
prosecution of the war, which the inestimable opportunity now placed in
their hands, and the formidable power still at the disposal of the enemy
so loudly required. As usual, the English Parliament were exceedingly
backward in voting supplies either of men or money; nor was the cabinet
of Vienna inclined to be more liberal in its exertions. Though the House
of Commons agreed to give £4,670,000 for the service of the ensuing
year; yet the land forces voted were only 40,000 men, although the
population of Great Britain and Ireland could not be at that period
under ten millions, while France, with about twenty millions, had above
two hundred thousand under arms. It is this excessive and invariable
reluctance of the English Parliament ever to make those efforts at the
commencement of a war, which are necessary to turn to a good account the
inherent bravery of its soldiers and frequent skill of its commanders,
that is the cause of the long duration of our Continental wars, and of
three-fourths of the national debt which now oppresses the empire, and,
in its ultimate results, will endanger its existence. The national
forces are, by the cry for economy and reduction which invariably is
raised in peace, reduced to so low an ebb, that it is only by successive
additions, made in many different years, that it can be raised up to any
thing like the amount requisite for successful operations. Thus disaster
generally occurs in the commencement of every war; or if, by the genius
of any extraordinary commander, as by that of Marlborough, unlooked-for
success is achieved in the outset, the nation is unable to follow it up;
the war languishes for want of the requisite support; the enemy gets
time to recover from his consternation; his danger stimulates him to
greater exertions; and many long years of warfare, deeply checkered with
disaster, and attended with an enormous expense, are required to obviate
the effects of previous undue pacific reduction.

How bitterly Marlborough felt this want of support, on the part of the
cabinets both of London and Vienna, which prevented him from following
up the victory of Blenheim with the decisive operations against France
which he would otherwise have undoubtedly commenced, is proved by
various parts of his correspondence. On the 16th of December 1704, he
wrote to Mr Secretary Harley--"I am sorry to see nothing has been
offered yet, _nor any care taken by Parliament for recruiting the army_.
I mean chiefly the foot. It is of that consequence for an early
campaign, that without it _we may run the hazard of losing, in a great
measure, the fruits of the last_; and therefore, pray leave to recommend
it to you to advise with your friends, if any proper method can be
thought of, that may be laid before the House immediately, without
waiting my arrival."[16] Nor was the cabinet of Vienna, notwithstanding
the imminent danger they had recently run, more active in making the
necessary efforts to repair the losses of the campaign--"You cannot,"
says Marlborough, "say more to us of the _supine negligence of the Court
of Vienna_, with reference to your affairs, _than we are sensible of
every where else_; and certainly if the Duke of Savoy's good conduct and
bravery at Verue had not reduced the French to a very low ebb, the game
must have been over before any help could come to you."[17] It is ever
thus, especially with states such as Great Britain, in which the
democratic element is so powerful as to imprint upon the measures of
government that disregard of the future, and aversion to present efforts
or burdens, which is the invariable characteristic of the bulk of
mankind. If Marlborough had been adequately supported and strengthened
after the decisive blow struck at Blenheim; that is, if the governments
of Vienna and London, with that of the Hague, had by a great and timely
effort doubled his effective force when the French were broken and
disheartened by defeat, he would have marched to Paris in the next
campaign, and dictated peace to the _Grand Monarque_ in his gorgeous
halls of Versailles. It was short-sighted economy which entailed upon
the nations the costs and burdens of the next ten years of the War of
the Succession, as it did the still greater costs and burdens of the
Revolutionary War, after the still more decisive success of the Allies
in the summer of 1793, when the iron frontier of the Netherlands was
entirely broken through, and their advanced posts, without any force to
oppose them, were within an hundred and sixty miles of Paris.

This parsimony of the Allied governments, and their invincible
repugnance to the efforts and sacrifices which could alone bring, and
certainly would have brought, the war to an early and glorious issue, is
the cause of the subsequent conversion of the war into one of blockades
and sieges, and of its being transferred to Flanders, where its progress
was necessarily slow, and cost enormous, from the vast number of
strongholds which required to be reduced at every stage of the Allied
advance. It was said at the time, that in attacking Flanders in that
quarter, Marlborough took the bull by the horns; that France on the side
of the Rhine was far more vulnerable, and that the war was fixed in
Flanders, in order by protracting it to augment the profits of the
generals employed. Subsequent writers, not reflecting on the difference
of the circumstances, have observed the successful issue of the
invasions of France from Switzerland and the Upper Rhine in 1814, and
Flanders and the Lower Rhine in 1815, and concluded that a similar
result would have attended a like bold invasion under Marlborough and
Eugene. There never was a greater mistake. The great object of the war
was to wrest Flanders from France; when the lilied standard floated on
Brussels and Antwerp, the United Provinces were constantly in danger of
being swallowed up, and there was no security for the independence
either of England, Holland, or any of the German States. If Marlborough
and Eugene had had two hundred thousand effective men at their disposal,
as Wellington and Blucher had in 1815, or three hundred thousand, as
Schwartzenberg and Blucher had in 1814, they would doubtless have left
half their force behind them to blockade the fortresses, and with the
other half marched direct to Paris. But as they had never had more than
eighty thousand on their muster-rolls, and could not bring at any time
more than sixty thousand effective men into the field, this bold and
decisive course was impossible. The French army in their front was
rarely inferior to theirs, often superior; and how was it possible in
these circumstances to adventure on the perilous course of pushing on
into the heart of the enemy's territory, leaving the frontier
fortresses, yet unsubdued, in their rear? The disastrous issue of the
Blenheim campaign to the French arms, even when supported by the
friendly arms and all the fortresses of Bavaria, in the preceding year,
had shown what was the danger of such a course. The still more
calamitous issue of the Moscow campaign to the army of Napoleon,
demonstrated that even the greatest military talents, and most enormous
accumulation of military force, affords no security against the
incalculable danger of an undue advance beyond the base of military
operations. The greatest generals of the last age, fruitful beyond all
others in military talent, have acted on those principles, whenever they
had not an overwhelming superiority of forces at their command.
Wellington never invaded Spain till he was master of Ciudad Rodrigo and
Badajos; nor France till he had subdued St Sebastian and Pampeluna. The
first use which Napoleon made of his victories at Montenotte and Dego
was to compel the Court of Turin to surrender all their fortresses in
Piedmont; of the victory of Marengo, to force the Imperialists to
abandon the whole strongholds of Lombardy as far as the Adige. The
possession of the single fortress of Mantua in 1796, enabled the
Austrians to stem the flood of Napoleon's victories, and gain time to
assemble four different armies for the defence of the monarchy. The case
of half a million of men, flushed by victory, and led by able and
experienced leaders assailing a single state, is the exception, not the

Circumstances, therefore, of paramount importance and irresistible
force, compelled Marlborough to fix the war in Flanders, and convert it
into one of sieges and blockades. In entering upon such a system of
hostility, sure, and comparatively free from risk, but slow and
extremely costly, the alliance ran the greatest risk of being
shipwrecked on the numerous discords, jealousies, and separate
interests, which, in almost every instance recorded in history, have
proved fatal to a great confederacy, if it does not obtain decisive
success at the outset, before these seeds of division have had time to
come to maturity. With what admirable skill and incomparable address
Marlborough kept together the unwieldy alliance will hereafter appear.
Never was a man so qualified by nature for such a task. He was courtesy
and grace personified. It was a common saying at the time, that neither
man nor woman could resist him. "Of all the men I ever knew," says no
common man, himself a perfect master of the elegances he so much
admired, "the late Duke of Marlborough possessed the graces in the
highest degree, not to say engrossed them. Indeed he got the most by
them, and contrary to the custom of profound historians, who always
assign deep causes for great events, I ascribe the better half of the
Duke of Marlborough's greatness to those graces. He had no brightness,
nothing shining in his genius. He had most undoubtedly an excellent
plain understanding, and sound judgment. But these qualities alone would
probably have never raised him higher than they found him, which was
page to James the Second's queen. But there the grace protected and
promoted him. His figure was beautiful, but his manner was irresistible,
either by man or woman. It was by this engaging, graceful manner, that
he was enabled, during all his war, to connect the various and jarring
powers of the Grand Alliance, and to carry them on to the main object of
the war, notwithstanding their private and separate views, jealousies,
and wrongheadedness. Whatever court he went to (and he was often obliged
to go to restive and refractory ones) he brought them into his measures.
The pensionary Heinsius, who had governed the United Provinces for forty
years, was absolutely governed by him. He was always cool, and nobody
ever observed the least variation in his countenance; he could refuse
more gracefully than others could grant, and those who went from him the
most dissatisfied as to the substance of their business, were yet
charmed by his manner, and, as it were, comforted by it."[18]


[1] _Letters and Despatches of John Churchill, First Duke of
Marlborough, from 1702 to 1712._ Edited by SIR GEORGE MURRAY, G.C.B.,
Master-General of the Ordnance, &c. 3 vols. London, 1845.

[2] "Marlborough," says Swift, "is as voracious as hell, and as
ambitious as the devil. What he desires above every thing is to be made
commander-in-chief for life, and it is to satisfy his ambition and his
avarice that he has opposed so many intrigues to the efforts made for
the restoration of peace."

[3] "During the interval between the liberation of Marlborough and the
death of Queen Mary, we find him, in conjunction with Godolphin and many
others, maintaining a clandestine intercourse with the exiled family. On
the 2d May 1694, only a few days before he offered his services to King
William, he communicated to James, through Colonel Sackville,
intelligence of an expedition then fitting out, for the purpose of
destroying the fleet in Brest harbour."--COXE'S _Marlborough_, i. 75.
"Marlborough's conduct to the Stuarts," says Lord Mahon, "was a foul
blot on his memory. To the last he persevered in those deplorable
intrigues. In October 1713, he protested to a Jacobite agent he would
rather have his hands cut off than do any thing to prejudice King
James."--MAHON, i. 21-22.

[4] "Galli turpe esse ducunt frumentum manu quaerere; itaque armati
alienos agros demetunt."--CAESAR.

[5] _Despatches_, 21st September 1702.

[6] _Despatches_, 23d October 1702.

[7] Memorial, 24th August 1703.--_Despatches_, i. 165.

[8] Marlborough was much chagrined at being interrupted in his meditated
decisive operations by the States-General, on this occasion. On the 6th
September, he wrote to them:--"Vos Hautes Puissances jugeront bien par
le camp que nous venons de prendre, qu'on n'a pas voulu se résoudre à
tenter les lignes. J'ai été convaincu de plus en plus, depuis l'honneur
que j'ai eu de vous écrire, par les avis que j'ai reçu journellement de
la situation des ennemis, que cette entreprise n'était pas seulement
practicable, mais même qu'on pourrait en espérer tout le succès que je
m'étais proposé: enfin l'occasion en est perdue, et je souhaite de tout
mon coeur qu'elle n'ait aucune fâcheuse suite, et qu'on n'ait pas lieu
de s'en repentir quand il sera trop tard."--MARLBOROUGH _aux Etats
Généraux_; _6 Septembre 1703. Despatches_, i. 173.

[9] "Ce matin j'ai appris par une estafette que les ennemis avaient
joint l'Electeur de Bavière avec 26,000 hommes, et que M. de Villeroi a
passé la Meuse avec la meilleure partie de l'armée des Pays Bas, et
qu'il poussait sa marche en toute diligence vers la Moselle, de sorte
que, sans un prompt sécours, l'empire court risque d'être entièrement
abimé."--MARLBOROUGH, _aux Etats Généraux; Bonn_, _2 Mai 1704_.
_Despatches_, i. 274.

[10] The following was the composition of these two corps, which will
show of what a motley array the Allied army was composed:--

   Left wing, Marlborough.
             Batt.    Squad.
 English,      14       14
 Dutch,        14       22
 Hessians,      7        7
 Hanoverians,  13       25
 Danes,         0       22
               --       --
               48       86

   Right wing, Eugene.
             Batt.    Squad.
 Danes,         7        0
 Prussians,    11       15
 Austrians,     0       24
 Of the Empire, 0       35
               --       --
               18       74

[11] This pencil note is still preserved at Blenheim.

[12] French--Bat. 82. Squad. 146. Allies--Bat. 66. Squad. 160. At 500 to
a battalion, and 150 to a squadron, this gives a superiority of 5900 to
the French.

[13] Marl., _Desp._ i. 402-409.

[14] Cardonnell, Desp. to Lord Harley, 25th Sept. 1704, _Desp._ i. 410.
By intercepted letters it appeared the enemy admitted a loss of 40,000
men before they reached the Rhine. Marlborough to the Duke of
Shrewsbury, 28th Aug. 1704, _Desp._ i. 439.

[15] The holograph letter of the Emperor, announcing this honour, said,
with equal truth and justice--"I am induced to assign to your highness a
place among the princes of the empire, in order that it may universally
appear how much I acknowledge myself and the empire to be indebted to
the Queen of Great Britain, who sent her arms as far as Bavaria at a
time when the affairs of the empire, by the defection of the Bavarians
to the French, most needed that assistance and support:--And to your
Grace, likewise, to whose prudence and courage, together with the
bravery of the forces fighting under your command, the two victories
lately indulged by Providence to the Allies are principally attributed,
not only by the voice of fame, but by the general officers in my army
who had their share in your labour and your glory."--THE EMPEROR LEOPOLD
TO MARLBOROUGH, _28th August 1704_.--_Desp._ i. 538.

[16] Marlborough to Mr Secretary Harley, 16th Dec. 1704.--_Desp._ i.

[17] Marlborough to Mr Hill at Turin, 6th Feb. 1705.--_Desp._ i. 591.

[18] _Lord Chesterfield's Letters_, Lord Mahon's edition, i. 221-222.


No. II.



In offering to the public the following specimens of Púshkin's poetry in
an English dress, the translator considers it part of his duty to make a
few remarks. The number and extent of these observations, he will, of
course, confine within the narrowest limits consistent with his
important duty of making his countrymen acquainted with the style and
character of Russia's greatest poet; a duty which he would certainly
betray, were he to omit to explain the chief points indispensable for
the true understanding, not only of the extracts which he has selected
as a sample of his author's productions, but of the general tone and
character of those productions, viewed as a whole.

The translator wishes it therefore to be distinctly understood that he
by no means intends to offer, in the character of a complete poetical
portrait, the few pieces contained in these pages, but rather as an
attempt, however imperfect, to daguerreotype--by means of the most
faithful translation consistent with ease--_one_ of the various
expressions of Púshkin's literary physiognomy; to represent one phase of
his developement.

That physiognomy is a very flexible and a varying one; Púshkin
(considered only as a _poet_) must be allowed to have attained very high
eminence in various walks of his sublime art; his works are very
numerous, and as diverse in their form as in their spirit; he is
sometimes a romantic, sometimes a legendary, sometimes an epic,
sometimes a satiric, and sometimes a dramatic poet;--in most, if not in
all, of these various lines he has attained the highest eminence as yet
recognised by his countrymen; and, consequently, whatever impression may
be made upon our readers by the present essay at a transfusion of his
works into the English language, will be necessarily a very imperfect
one. In the prosecution of the arduous but not unprofitable enterprise
which the translator set before himself three years ago--viz. the
communication to his countrymen of some true ideas of the scope and
peculiar character of Russian literature--he met with so much
discouragement in the unfavourable predictions of such of his friends as
he consulted with respect to the feasibility of his project, that he may
be excused for some degree of timidity in offering the results of his
labours to an English public. So great, indeed, was that timidity, that
not even the very flattering reception given to his two first attempts
at prose translation, has entirely succeeded in destroying it; and he
prefers, on the present occasion, to run the risk of giving only a
partial and imperfect reflection of Púshkin's intellectual features, to
the danger that might attend a more ambitious and elaborate version of
any of the poet's longer works.

Púshkin is here presented solely in his _lyrical_ character; and, it is
trusted, that, in the selection of the compositions to be
translated--selections made from a very large number of highly
meritorious works--due attention has been paid not only to the intrinsic
beauty and merit of the pieces chosen, but also to the important
consideration which renders indispensable (in cases where we find an
_embarras de richesses_, and where the merit is equal) the adoption of
such specimens as would possess the greatest degree of novelty for an
English reader.

The task of translating all Púshkin's poetry is certainly too dignified
a one, not to excite our ambition; and it is meditated, in the event of
the accompanying versions finding in England a degree of approbation
sufficiently marked to indicate a desire for more specimens, to extend
our present labours so far, as to admit passages of the most remarkable
merit from Púshkin's longer works; and, perhaps, even complete versions
of some of the more celebrated. Should, therefore, the British public
give the _fiat_ of its approbation, we would still further contribute to
its knowledge of the great Russian author, by publishing, for example,
some of the more remarkable _places_ in the poem of "Evgénii Oniégin,"
the charming "Gypsies," scenes and passages from the tragedy of "Bóris
Godunóff," the "Prisoner of the Caucasus," "Mazépa," &c. &c.

With respect to the present or _lyrical_ specimens, we shall take the
liberty to make a few remarks, having reference to the principles which
have governed the translator in the execution of the versions; and we
shall afterwards preface each poem with a few words of notice, such as
may appear to be rendered necessary either by the subject or by the form
of the composition itself.

Of the poetical merit of these translations, considered as English
poems, their writer has no very exalted idea; of their _faithfulness as
versions_, on the contrary, he has so deep a conviction, that he regrets
exceedingly the fact, that the universal ignorance prevailing in England
of the Russian language, will prevent the possibility of that important
merit--strict fidelity--being tested by the British reader. Let the
indulgent, therefore, remember, if we have in any case left an air of
stiffness and constraint but too perceptible in our work, that this
fault is to be considered as a sacrifice of grace at the altar of truth.
It would have been not only possible, but easy, to have spun a
collection of easy rhymes, bearing a general resemblance to the vigorous
and passionate poetry of Púshkin; but this would not have been a
_translation_, and a translation it was our object to produce. Bowring's
_Russian Anthology_ (not to speak of his other volumes of translated
poetry) is a melancholy example of the danger of this attractive but
fatal system; while the names of Cary, of Hay, and of Merivale, will
remain as a bright encouragement to those who have sufficient strength
of mind to prefer the "strait and narrow way" of masterly _translation_,
to the "flowery paths of dalliance" so often trodden by the

In all cases, the metre of the original, the musical movement and
modulation, has, as far as the translator's ear enabled him to judge,
been followed with minute exactness, and at no inconsiderable expense,
in some cases, of time and labour. It would be superfluous, therefore,
to state, that the number of lines in the English version is always the
same as in the original. It has been our study, wherever the differences
in the structure of the two languages would permit, to include the same
thoughts in the same number of lines. There is also a peculiarity of the
Russian language which frequently rendered our task still more arduous;
and the conquest of this difficulty has, we trust, conferred upon us the
right to speak of our triumph without incurring the charge of vanity. We
allude to the great abundance in the Russian of double terminations, and
the consequent recurrence of double rhymes, a peculiarity common also to
the Italian and Spanish versification, and one which certainly
communicates to the versification of those countries a character so
marked and peculiar, that no translator would be justified in neglecting
it. As it would be impossible, without the use of Russian types, to give
our readers an example of this from the writings of Púshkin, and as they
would be unable to pronounce such a quotation even if they saw it, we
will give an illustration of what we mean from the Spanish and the

The first is from the fourth book of the _Galatea_ of Cervantes--

   "Venga á mirar á la pastora mia
     Quien quisiere contar de gente en gente
   Que vió otro sol, que daba luz al dia
     Mas claro, que el que sale del oriente," &c.;

and the second from Chiabrera's sublime _Ode on the Siege of Vienna_--

  "E fino a quanto inulti
  Sian, Signore, i tuoi servi? E fino a quanto
  Dei barbarici insulti
  Orgogliosa n'andrà l'empia baldanza?
  Dov'è, dov'è, gran Dio, l'antico vanto
  Di tua alta possanza?" &c. &c.

In the two passages here quoted, it will be observed that all the lines
end with two syllables, in both of which the rhyme is engaged; and an
English version of the above verses, however faithful in other respects,
which should omit to use the same species of double termination, and
content itself with the monosyllable rhyme, would indubitably lose some
of the harmony of the original. These double rhymes are far from
abundant in our monosyllabic language; but we venture to affirm, that
their conscientious employment would be found so valuable, as to amply
repay the labour and difficulty attending their search.

We trust that our readers will pardon the apparent technicality of these
remarks, for the sake of the consideration which induced us to make
them. In all translation, even in the best, there is so great a loss of
spirit and harmony, that the conscientious labourer in this most
difficult and ungrateful art, should never neglect even the most
trifling precaution that tends to hinder a still further depreciation of
the gold of his original; not to mention the principle, that whatever it
is worth our while to do at all, it is assuredly worth our while to do
as well as we can.

       *       *       *       *       *

The first specimen of Púshkin's lyric productions which we shall present
to our countrymen, "done into English," as Jacob Tonson was wont to
phrase it, "by an eminent hand," is a production considered by the
poet's critics to possess the very highest degree of merit in its
peculiar style. We have mentioned some details respecting the nature and
history of the Imperial Lyceum of Tsarskoë Seló, in which Púshkin was
educated, and we have described the peculiar intensity of feeling with
which all who quitted its walls looked back upon the happy days they had
spent within them, and the singular ardour and permanency of the
friendships contracted beneath its roof. On the anniversary of the
foundation (by the Emperor Alexander) of the institution, it is
customary for all the "old Lyceans" to dine together, in the same way as
the Eton, Harrow, or Rugby men are accustomed to unite once a-year in
honour of their school. On many of these occasions Púshkin contributed
to the due celebration of the event by producing poems of various
lengths, and different degrees of merit; we give here the best of these.
It was written during the poet's residence in the government of Pskoff,
and will be found, we think, a most beautiful and touching embodiment of
such feelings as would be suggested in the mind of one obliged to be
absent from a ceremony of the nature in question. Of the comrades whose
names Púshkin has immortalized in these lines, it is only necessary to
specify that the first, Korsákoff, distinguished among his youthful
comrades for his musical talents, met with an early death in Italy; a
circumstance to which the poet has touchingly alluded. Matiúshkin is now
an admiral of distinction, and is commanding the Russian squadron in the
Black Sea. Of the two whom he mentions as having passed the anniversary
described in this poem (October 19, 1825) in his company, the first was
Pústchin, since dead, and the second the Prince Gortchakóff, whom he met
by accident, travelling in the neighbourhood of his (the poet's)
seclusion. Our readers cannot fail, we think, to be struck with the
beautiful passage consecrated to his friendship with Délvig; and the
only other personal allusion which seems to stand in need of
explanation, is that indicated by the name Wilhelm, towards the end of
the poem. This is the Christian name of his friend Küchelbecher, since
dead, and whose family name was hardly harmonious enough to enter
Púshkin's line, and was therefore omitted on the Horatian
principle--"versu quod dicere nolim." We now hasten to present the

               OCTOBER 19, 1825.

    The woods have doff'd their garb of purply gold;
  The faded fields with silver frost are steaming;
  Through the pale clouds the sun, reluctant gleaming,
  Behind the circling hills his disk hath roll'd.
  Blaze brightly, hearth! my cell is dark and lonely:
  And thou, O Wine, thou friend of Autumn chill,
  Pour through my heart a joyous glow--if only
  One moment's brief forgetfulness of ill!

    Ay, I am very sad; no friend is here
  With whom to pledge a long unlooked-for meeting,
  To press his hand in eagerness of greeting,
  And wish him life and joy for many a year.
  I drink alone; and Fancy's spells awaken--
  With a vain industry--the voice of friends:
  No well-known footstep strikes mine ear forsaken,
  No well-beloved face my heart attends.

    I drink alone; ev'n now, on Neva's shore,
  Haply my name on friendly lips has trembled....
  Round that bright board, say, are ye _all_ assembled?
  Are there no other names ye count no more?
  Has our good custom been betray'd by others?
  Whom hath the cold world lured from ye away?
  Whose voice is silent in the call of brothers?
  Who is not come? Who is not with you? Say!

    _He_ is not come, he of the curled hair,
  He of the eye of fire and sweet-voiced numbers:
  Beneath Italia's myrtle-groves he slumbers;
  He slumbers well, although no friend was there,
  Above the lonely grave where he is sleeping,
  A Russian line to trace with pious hand,
  That some sad wanderer might read it, weeping--
  Some Russian, wandering in a foreign land.

    Art _thou_ too seated in the friendly ring,
  O restless Pilgrim? Haply now thou ridest
  O'er the long tropic-wave; or now abidest
  'Mid seas with ice eternal glimmering!
  Thrice happy voyage!... With a jest thou leapedst
  From the Lyceum's threshold to thy bark,
  Thenceforth thy path aye on the main thou keepedst,
  O child beloved of wave and tempest dark!

    Well hast thou kept, 'neath many a stranger sky,
  The loves, the hopes of Childhood's golden hour:
  And old Lyceum scenes, by memory's power,
  'Mid lonely waves have ris'n before thine eye;
  Thou wav'dst thy hand to us from distant ocean,
  Ever thy faithful heart its treasure bore;
  "A long farewell!" thou criedst, with fond emotion,
  "Unless our fate hath doom'd we meet no more."

    The bond that binds us, friends, is fair and true!
  Destructless as the soul, and as eternal--
  Careless and free, unshakable, fraternal,
  Beneath the Muses' friendly shade it grew.
  We are the same: wherever Fate may guide us,
  Or Fortune lead--wherever we may go,
  The world is aye a foreign land beside us;
  _Our_ fatherland is Tsárkoë Seló!

    From clime to clime, pursued by storm and stress,
  In Destiny's dark nets long time I wrestled,
  Until on Friendship's lap I fluttering nestled,
  And bent my weary head for her caress....
  With wistful prayers, with visionary grieving,
  With all the trustful hope of early years,
  I sought new friends with zeal and new believing;
  But bitter was their greeting to mine ears.

    And even here, in this lone dwelling-place
  Of desert-storm, of cold, and desolation,
  There was prepared for me a consolation:
  Three of ye here, O friends! did I embrace.
  Thou enteredst first the poet's house of sorrow,
  O Pústchin! thanks be with thee, thanks, and praise
  Ev'n exile's bitter day from thee could borrow
  The light and joy of old Lyceum-days.

    Thee too, my Gortchakóff; although thy name
  Was Fortune's spell, though her cold gleam was on thee,
  Yet from thy noble thoughts she never won thee:
  To honour and thy fiends thou'rt still the same.
  Far different paths of life to us were fated,
  Far different roads before our feet were traced,
  In a by-road, but for a moment mated,
  We met by chance, and brotherly embraced.

    When sorrow's flood o'erwhelmd me, like a sea;
  And like an orphan, houseless, poor, unfriended,
  My head beneath the storm I sadly bended,
  Seer of the Aonian maids! I look'd for thee:
  Thou camest--lazy child of inspiration,
  My Délvig; and thy voice awaken'd straight
  In this numb'd heart the glow of consolation;
  And I was comforted, and bless'd my fate.

    Even in infancy within us burn'd
  The light of song--the poet-spell had bound us;
  Even in infancy there flitted round us
  Two Muses, whose sweet glamour soon we learn'd.
  Even then _I_ loved applause--that vain delusion!--
  _Thou_ sang'st but for thy Muse, and for thy heart;
  _I_ squander'd gifts and life with rash profusion,
  _Thou_ cherishedst thy gifts in peace apart.

    The worship of the Muse no care beseems;
  The Beautiful is calm, and high, and holy;
  Youth is a cunning counsellor--of folly!--
  Lulling our sense with vain and empty dreams....
  Upon the past we gaze--the same, yet other--
  And find no trace.--We wake, alas! too late.
  Was it not so with us, Délvig, my brother?--
  My brother in our Muse as in our fate!

    'Tis time, 'tis time! Let us once more be free!
  The world's not worth this torturing resistance!
  Beneath retirement's shade will glide existence--
  Thee, my belated friend--I wait for thee!
  Come! with the flame of an enchanted story
  Tradition's lore shall wake, our hearts to move;
  We'll talk of Caucasus, of war, of glory,
  Of Schiller, and of genius, and of love.

    'Tis time no less for me ... Friends, feast amain!
  Behold, a joyful meeting is before us;
  Think of the poet's prophecy; for o'er us
  A year shall pass, and we shall meet again!
  My vision's covenant shall have fulfilling;
  A year--and I shall be with ye once more!
  Oh, then, what shouts, what hand-grasps warm and thrilling!
  What goblets skyward heaved with merry roar!

    Unto our Union consecrated be
  The first we drain--fill higher yet, and higher!
  Bless it, O Muse, in strains of raptured fire!
  Bless it! All hail, Lyceum! hail to thee!--
  To those who led our youth with care and praises,
  Living and dead! the next we grateful fill;
  Let each, as to his lips the cup he raises,
  The good remember, and forget the ill.

    Feast, then, while we are here, while yet we may:
  Hour after hour, alas! Time thins our numbers;
  One pines afar, one in the coffin slumbers;
  Days fly; Fate looks on us; we fade away;
  Bending insensibly to earth, and chilling,
  We near our starting-place with many a groan....
  Whose lot will be in old age to be filling,
  On this Lyceum-day, his cup _alone_?

    Unhappy friend! Amid a stranger race,
  Like guest intrusive, that superfluous lingers,
  He'll think of us that day, with quivering fingers
  Hiding the tears that wet his wrinkled face....
  O, may he then at least, in mournful gladness,
  Pass with his cup this day for ever dear,
  As even I, in exile and in sadness,
  Yet with a fleeting joy, have pass'd it here!

       *       *       *       *       *

In the following lines, the poet has endeavoured to reproduce the
impressions made upon his mind by the mountain scenery of the Caucasus;
scenery which he had visited with such rapture, and to which his
imagination returned with undiminished delight. It has been our aim to
endeavour, in our translation, to give an echo, however feeble and
imperfect, of the wild and airy freedom of the versification which
distinguishes these spirited stanzas. The picture which they contain,
rough, sketchy, and unfinished, as it may appear, bears every mark of
being a faithful copy from nature--a study taken on the spot; and will
therefore, we trust, be not unacceptable to our readers, as calculated
to give an idea not only of the vigorous and rapid _handling_ of the
poet's pencil, but also of the wild and sublime region--the Switzerland
of Russia--which he has here essayed to portray. Of the two furious and
picturesque torrents which Púshkin has mentioned in this short poem,
Térek is certainly too well known to our geographical readers to need
any description of its course from the snow-covered peak of Dariál to
the Caspian; and the bold comparison in the last stanza will doubtless
be found, though perhaps somewhat exaggerated, not deficient in a kind
of fierce Æschylean energy, perfectly in character with the violent and
thundering course of the torrent itself:--


    Beneath me the peaks of the Caucasus lie,
  My gaze from the snow-bordered cliff I am bending;
  From her sun-lighted eyry the Eagle ascending
  Floats movelessly on in a line with mine eye.
  I see the young torrent's first leap towards the ocean,
  And the cliff-cradled lawine essay its first motion.

    Beneath me the clouds in their silentness go,
  The cataract through them in thunder down-dashing,
  Far beneath them bare peaks in the sunny ray flashing,
  Weak moss and dry shrubs I can mark yet below.
  Dark thickets still lower--green meadows are blooming,
  Where the throstle is singing, and reindeer are roaming.

    Here man, too, has nested his hut, and the flocks
  On the long grassy slopes in their quiet are feeding,
  And down to the valley the shepherd is speeding,
  Where Arágva gleams out from her wood-crested rocks.
  And there in his crags the poor robber is hiding,
  And Térek in anger is wrestling and chiding.

    Like a fierce young Wild Beast, how he bellows and raves,
  Like that Beast from his cage when his prey he espieth;
  'Gainst the bank, like a Wrestler, he struggleth and plyeth,
  And licks at the rock with his ravening waves.
  In vain, thou wild River! dumb cliffs are around thee,
  And sternly and grimly their bondage hath bound thee.

       *       *       *       *       *

To those who measure the value of a poem, less by the pretension and
ambitiousness of its form, than by the completeness of its execution and
the skill with which the leading idea is developed, we think that the
graceful little production which we are now about to present to the
reader, will possess very considerable interest. It is, it is true, no
more important a thing than a mere song; but the naturalness and unity
of the fundamental thought, and the happy employment of what is
undoubtedly one of the most effective artifices at the command of the
lyric writer--we mean repetition--render the following lines worthy of
the universal admiration which they have obtained in the original, and
may not be devoid of charm in the translation:--

                TO * * *

  Yes! I remember well our meeting,
    When first thou dawnedst on my sight,
  Like some fair phantom past me fleeting,
    Some nymph of purity and light.

  By weary agonies surrounded,
    'Mid toil, 'mid mean and noisy care,
  Long in mine ear thy soft voice sounded,
    Long dream'd I of thy features fair.

  Years flew; Fate's blast blew ever stronger,
    Scattering mine early dreams to air,
  And thy soft voice I heard no longer--
    No longer saw thy features fair.

  In exile's silent desolation
    Slowly dragg'd on the days for me--
  Orphan'd of life, of inspiration,
    Of tears, of love, of deity.

  I woke--once more my heart was beating--
    Once more thou dawnedst on my sight,
  Like some fair phantom past me fleeting,
    Some nymph of purity and light.

  My heart has found its consolation--
    All has revived once more for me--
  And vanish'd life, and inspiration,
  And tears, and love, and deity.

       *       *       *       *       *

The versification of the following little poem is founded on a system
which Púshkin seems to have looked upon with peculiar favour, as he has
employed the same metrical arrangement in by far the largest proportion
of his poetical works. So gracefully and so easily, indeed, has he
wielded this metre, and with so flexible, so delicate, and so masterly a
hand, that we could not refrain from attempting to imitate it in our
English version; for we considered that it is impossible to say how much
of the peculiar _character_ of a poet's writings depends upon the
colouring, or rather the _touch_--if we may borrow a phrase from the
vocabulary of the critic in painting--of the metre. Undoubtedly a poet
is the best judge not only of the kind, but of the degree of the effect
which he wishes to produce upon his reader; and there may be, between
the thoughts which he desires to embody, and the peculiar harmonies in
which he may determine to clothe those thoughts, analogies and
sympathies too delicate for our grosser ears; or, at least, if not too
subtle and refined for our ears to perceive, yet far too delicate for us
to define, or exactly to appreciate. Moved by this reasoning, we have
always preferred to follow, as nearly as we could, the exact
versification, and even the most minute varieties of tone and metrical
accentuation. Inattention to this point is undoubtedly the
stumbling-block of translators in general; of the dangerous consequences
of such inattention, it is not necessary to give any elaborate proof.
How much, we may ask, does not the poetry of Dante, for instance, lose,
by being despoiled of that great source of its peculiar effect springing
from the employment of the _terza rima_! It is in vain to say, that it
is enormously difficult to produce the _terza rima_ in English. To
translate the "gran padre Alighier" into English _worthily_, the _terza
rima must_ be employed, whatever be the obstacles presented by the
dissimilarities existing between the Italian and English languages.

                     THE MOB.

              "Procul este, profani!"

           A Poet o'er his glowing lyre
         A wild and careless hand had flung.
         The base, cold crowd, that nought admire,
         Stood round, responseless to his fire,
         With heavy eye and mocking tongue.

           "And why so loudly is he singing?"
         ('Twas thus that idiot mob replied,)
         "His music in our ears is ringing;
         But whither flows that music's tide?
         What doth it teach? His art is madness!
         He moves our soul to joy or sadness.
         A wayward necromantic spell!
         Free as the breeze his music floweth,
         But fruitless, too, as breeze that bloweth,
         What doth it profit, Poet, tell?"

  POET.--Cease, idiot, cease thy loathsome cant!
         Day-labourer, slave of toil and want!
         I hate thy babble vain and hollow.
         Thou art a worm, no child of day:
         Thy god is Profit--thou wouldst weigh
         By pounds the Belvidere Apollo.
         Gain--gain alone to thee is sweet.
         The marble is a god! ... what of it
         Thou count'st a pie-dish far above it--
         A dish wherein to cook thy meat!

  MOB.--But, if thou be'st the Elect of Heaven,
         The gift that God has largely given,
         Thou shouldst then for our good impart,
         To purify thy brother's heart.
         Yes, we are base, and vile, and hateful,
         Cruel, and shameless, and ungrateful--
         Impotent and heartless tools,
         Slaves, and slanderers, and fools.
         Come then, if charity doth sway thee,
         Chase from our hearts the viper-brood;
         However stern, we will obey thee;
         Yes, we will listen, and be good!

  POET.--Begone, begone! What common feeling
         Can e'er exist 'twixt ye and me?
         Go on, your souls in vices steeling;
         The lyre's sweet voice is dumb to ye:
         Go! foul as reek of charnel-slime,
         In every age, in every clime,
         Ye aye have felt, and yet ye feel,
         Scourge, dungeon, halter, axe, and wheel.
         Go, hearts of sin and heads of trifling,
         From your vile streets, so foul and stifling,
         They sweep the dirt--no useless trade!
         But when, their robes with ordure staining,
         Altar and sacrifice disdaining,
         Did e'er your _priests_ ply broom and spade?
         'Twas not for life's base agitation
         That _we_ were born--for gain nor care--
         No--we were born for inspiration,
         For love, for music, and for prayer!

       *       *       *       *       *

The ballad entitled "The Black Shawl" has obtained a degree of
popularity among the author's countrymen, for which the slightness of
the composition renders it in some measure difficult to account. It may,
perhaps, be explained by the circumstance, that the verses are in the
original exceedingly well adapted to be sung--one of the highest merits
of this class of poetry--for all ancient ballads, in every language
throughout the world, were specifically intended to be sung or chanted;
and all modern productions, therefore, written in imitation of these
ancient compositions--the first lispings of the Muse--can only be
successful in proportion as they possess the essential and
characteristic quality of being capable of being sung. Independently of
the highly musical arrangement of the rhythm, which, in the original,
distinguishes "The Black Shawl," the following verses cannot be denied
the merit of relating, in a few rapid and energetic measures, a simple
and striking story of Oriental love, vengeance, and remorse:--

                 THE BLACK SHAWL.

  Like a madman I gaze on a raven-black shawl;
  Remorse, fear, and anguish--this heart knows them all.

  When believing and fond, in the spring-time of youth,
  I loved a Greek maiden with tenderest truth.

  That fair one caress'd me--my life! oh, 'twas bright,
  But it set--that fair day--in a hurricane night.

  One day I had bidden young guests, a gay crew,
  When sudden there knock'd at my gate a vile Jew.

  "With guests thou art feasting," he whisperingly said,
  "And _she_ hath betray'd thee--thy young Grecian maid."

  I cursed him, and gave him good guerdon of gold,
  And call'd me a slave that was trusty and bold.

  "Ho! my charger--my charger!" we mount, we depart,
  And soft pity whisper'd in vain at my heart.

  On the Greek maiden's threshold in frenzy I stood--
  I was faint--and the sun seem'd as darken'd with blood:

  By the maiden's lone window I listen'd, and there
  I beheld an Armenian caressing the fair.

  The light darken'd round me--then flash'd my good blade....
  The minion ne'er finish'd the kiss that betray'd.

  On the corse of the minion in fury I danced,
  Then silent and pale at the maiden I glanced.

  I remember the prayers and the red-bursting stream....
  Thus perish'd the maiden--thus perish'd my dream.

  This raven-black shawl from her dead brow I tore--
  On its fold from my dagger I wiped off the gore.

  The mists of the evening arose, and my slave
  Hurl'd the corses of both in the Danube's dark wave.

  Since then, I kiss never the maid's eyes of light--
  Since then, I know never the soft joys of night.

  Like a madman I gaze on the raven-black shawl;
  Remorse, fear, and anguish--this heart knows them all!

       *       *       *       *       *

The pretty lines which we are now about to offer, are rather remarkable
as being written in the manner of the ancient national songs of Russia,
than for any thing very new in the ideas, or very striking in the
expression. They possess, however--at least in the original--a certain
charm arising from simplicity and grace.

          THE ROSE.

  Where is our rose, friends?
  Tell if ye may!
  Faded the rose, friends,
  The Dawn-child of Day.
  Ah, do not say,
  Such is youth's fleetness!
  Ah, do not say,
  Thus fades life's sweetness!
  No, rather say,
  I mourn thee, rose--farewell!
  Now to the lily-bell
  Flit we away.

       *       *       *       *       *

Among the thousand-and-one compositions, in all languages, founded upon
the sublime theme of the downfall and death of Napoleon, there are, we
think, very few which have surpassed, in weight of thought, in splendour
of diction, and in grandeur of versification, Púshkin's noble lyric upon
this subject. The mighty share which Russia had in overthrowing the
gigantic power of the greatest of modern conquerors, could not fail of
affording to a Russian poet a peculiar source of triumphant yet not too
exulting inspiration; and Púshkin, in that portion of the following ode
in which he is led more particularly to allude to the part played by his
country in the sublime drama, whose catastrophe was the ruin of
Bonaparte's blood-cemented empire, has given undeniable proof of his
possessing that union of magnanimity and patriotism, which is not the
meanest characteristic of elevated genius. While the poet gives full way
to the triumphant feelings so naturally inspired by the exploits of
Russian valour, and by the patient fortitude of Russian policy, he
wisely and nobly abstains on indulging in any of those outbursts of
gratified revenge and national hatred which deform the pages of almost
all--poets, and even historians--who have written on this colossal


  The wondrous destiny is ended,
  The mighty light is quench'd and dead;
  In storm and darkness hath descended
  Napoleon's sun, so bright and dread.
  The captive King hath burst his prison--
  The petted child of Victory;
  And for the Exile hath arisen
  The dawning of Posterity.

  O thou, of whose immortal story
  Earth aye the memory shall keep,
  Now, 'neath the shadow of thy glory
  Rest, rest, amid the lonely deep!
  A grave sublime ... nor nobler ever
  Couldst thou have found ... for o'er thine urn
  The Nations' hate is quench'd for ever,
  And Glory's beacon-ray shall burn.

  There was a time thine eagles tower'd
  Resistless o'er the humbled world;
  There was a time the empires cower'd
  Before the bolt thy hand had hurl'd:
  The standards, thy proud will obeying,
  Flapp'd wrath and woe on every wind--
  A few short years, and thou wert laying
  Thine iron yoke on human kind.

       *       *       *       *       *

  And France, on glories vain and hollow,
  Had fixed her frenzy-glance of flame--
  Forgot sublimer hopes, to follow
  Thee, Conqueror, thee--her dazzling shame!
  Thy legions' swords with blood were drunken--
  All sank before thine echoing tread;
  And Europe fell--for sleep was sunken,
  The sleep of death--upon her head.

       *       *       *       *       *

  Thou mightst have judged us, but thou wouldst not!
  What dimm'd thy reason's piercing light,
  That Russian hearts thou understoodst not,
  From thine heroic spirit's height?
  Moscow's immortal conflagration
  Foreseeing not, thou deem'dst that we
  Would kneel for peace, a conquer'd nation--
  Thou knew'st the Russ ... too late for thee!

  Up, Russia! Queen of hundred battles,
  Remember now thine ancient right!

       *       *       *       *       *

  Blaze, Moscow!--Far shall shine thy light!
  Lo! other times are dawning o'er us:
  Be blotted out, our short disgrace!
  Swell, Russia, swell the battle chorus!
  War! is the watchword of our race!

  Lo! how the baffled leader seizeth,
  With fetter'd hands, his Iron Crown--
  A dread abyss his spirit freezeth!
  Down, down he goes, to ruin down!
  And Europe's armaments are driven,
  Like mist, along the blood-stain'd snow--
  That snow shall melt 'neath summer's heaven,
  With the last footstep of the foe.

  'Twas a wild storm of fear and wonder,
  When Europe woke and burst her chain;
  The accursed race, like scatter'd thunder,
  After the tyrant fled amain.
  And Nemesis a doom hath spoken,
  The Mighty hears that doom with dread:
  The wrongs thou'st done shall now be wroken,
  Tyrant, upon thy guilty head!

  Thou shalt redeem thy usurpation,
  Thy long career of war and crime,
  In exile's eating desolation,
  Beneath a far and stranger clime.
  And oft the midnight sail shall wander
  By that lone isle, thy prison-place,
  And oft a stranger there shall ponder,
  And o'er that stone a pardon trace,

  Where mused the Exile, oft recalling
  The well-known clang of sword and lance,
  The yells, Night's icy ear appalling;
  His own blue sky--the sky of France;
  Where, in his loneliness forgetting
  His broken sword, his ruin'd throne,
  With bitter grief, with vain regretting,
  On his fair Boy he mused alone.

  But shame, and curses without number,
  Upon that reptile head be laid,
  Whose insults now shall vex the slumber
  Of him--that sad discrowned shade!
  No! for his trump the signal sounded,
  Her glorious race when Russia ran;
  His hand, 'mid strife and battle, founded
  Eternal liberty for man!

       *       *       *       *       *

The next specimen for which we have to request the indulgence of our
readers, is a little composition of a very different and much less
ambitious character. The idea is simple enough, and not, we think,
entirely devoid of originality--the primary object of every translator
in the selection of the subjects on which he is to exercise his

               THE STORM.

    See, on yon rock, a maiden's form,
  Far o'er the wave a white robe flashing,
  Around, before the blackening storm,
  On the loud beach the billows dashing;
  Along the waves, now red, now pale,
  The lightning-glare incessant gleameth;
  Whirling and fluttering in the gale,
  The snowy robe incessant streameth;
  Fair is that sea in blackening storm,
  And fair that sky with lightnings riven,
  But fairer far that maiden form,
  Than wave, or flash, or stormy heaven!

       *       *       *       *       *

We now come to one of the most remarkable lyric productions of our
Poet's genius, the "General;" and in order that our readers may be
enabled to understand and appreciate this exquisite little poem, we
shall preface it with a few remarks of an explanatory character; as the
_details_, at least, of the events upon which it is founded may not be
so generally known in England as they are in Russia. Our English
readers, however, are doubtless sufficiently familiar with the history
of the great campaign of the year 1812, which led to the burning of
Moscow, and to the consequent annihilation of the mighty army which
Napoleon led to perish in the snows of Russia, to remember one
remarkable episode connected with that most important campaign. They
remember that one of the Russian armies was placed under the command of
Field-marshal Barclay de Tolly, a general descended from an ancient
Scottish family which had been settled for some generations in Russia,
but who was in every respect to be considered as a native Russian, being
born a subject of the Tsar, and having, during a long life of service in
the Russian army, gradually reached the highest military rank, and
acquired a well-earned and universal reputation as an able strategist
and a brave man. The mode of operations determined on at the beginning
of this most momentous struggle, and persevered in throughout by the
Russians, with a patience and steadiness no less admirable than the
wisdom of the combinations on which they were founded, was a purely
defensive system of tactics. The event amply demonstrated the soundness
of the principles upon which those operations were based; for while
Napoleon was gradually attracted into the interior of the country by
armies which perpetually retired before him without giving him the
opportunity of coming to a general action, the autumn was gradually
passing away, and the flames of Moscow only served to light up, for the
French army, the beginning of their hopeless retreat through a country
now totally laid waste, and covered with the snows of a Russian winter.
This mode of operations, however, was by no means likely to please the
population of Russia, infuriated by the long unaccustomed presence of a
hostile army within their sacred frontier, and worked up by all the
circumstances of the invasion to the highest pitch of patriotic
enthusiasm. Unable to appreciate the value of what must have appeared to
them a timid and pusillanimous policy, they overwhelmed Barclay de Tolly
with violent accusations of cowardice, and even of treachery; rendered
the more plausible to the mind of the ignorant, by the circumstance of
their object being a foreigner--or at least of foreign blood. So violent
ultimately became these accusations, that although the Field-marshal
continued to enjoy the highest confidence and esteem of his sovereign,
it was found expedient to allow him to resign the chief command, in
which he was succeeded by Kutúzoff. Barclay de Tolly, during the greater
part of the campaign, fought as a simple general of division, in which
character (as Púshkin describes) he took part in the great battle of

Barclay must still be considered as one of those distinguished persons
to whose memory justice has never been entirely done; and to do this
justice was Púshkin's generous task in the noble lines which follow
these remarks. No traveller has ever visited the winter palace of St
Petersburg without having been struck with the celebrated "Hall of
Marshals," which forms one of its most imposing features. In this
magnificent room are placed the portraits (chiefly painted by Dawe, an
English artist, who passed the greater part of his life in Russia) of
the Russian generals who figured in that great campaign; and among them
is to be found, of course, the "counterfeit presentment" of Barclay de
Tolly, painted, as the field-marshals are in every case in this gallery
of portraits, at full length. With respect to the versification of this
and several other poems which we have selected, the English reader will
not perhaps at first remark that it is nothing more than the measure
used by old Drayton in the _Polyolbion_, and one in which a great deal
of the earlier English poetry is written. It is very favourite measure
of our Russian poet, who has, however, increased, in some degree, its
difficulty for an English versifier, by introducing a great number of
double terminations. It will be found, indeed, that these double rhymes
are as numerous as the single or monosyllabic ones.

                      THE GENERAL.

  In the Tsar's palace stands a hall right nobly builded;
  Its walls are neither carved, nor velvet-hung, nor gilded,
  Nor here beneath the glass doth pearl or diamond glow;
  But wheresoe'er ye look, around, above, below,
  The quick-eyed Painter's hand, now bold, now softly tender,
  From his free pencil here hath shed a magic splendour.
  Here are no village nymphs, no dewy forest-glades,
  No fauns with giddy cups, no snowy-bosom'd maids,
  No hunting-scene, no dance; but cloaks, and plumes, and sabres,
  And faces sternly still, and dark with hero-labours.
  The Painter's art hath here in glittering crowd portray'd
  The chiefs who Russia's line to victory array'd;
  Chiefs in that great Campaign attired in fadeless glory
  Of the year Twelve, that aye shall live in Russian story.
  Here oft in musing mood my silent footstep strays,
  Before these well-known forms I love to stop and gaze,
  And dream I hear their voice, 'mid battle-thunder ringing.
  Some of them are no more; and some, with faces flinging
  Upon the canvass still Youth's fresh and rosy bloom,
  Are wrinkled now and old, and bending to the tomb
  The laurel-wreathed brow.
                            But chiefly One doth win me
  'Mid the stern throng. With new thoughts swelling in me
  Before that One I stand, and cannot lightly brook
  To take mine eye from him. And still, the more I look,
  The more within my breast is bitterness awaked.

  He's painted at full length. His brow, austere and naked,
  Shines like a fleshless skull, and on it ye may mark
  A mighty weight of woe. Around him--all is dark;
  Behind, a tented field. Tranquil and stern he raises
  His mournful eye, and with contemptuous calmness gazes.
  Be't that the artist here embodied his own thought,
  When on the canvass thus the lineaments he caught,
  Or guided and inspired by some unknown Possession--
  I know not: Dawe has drawn the man with this expression.

  Unhappy chief! Alas, thy cup was full of gall;
  Unto a foreign land thou sacrificedst all.
  The savage mob's dull glance of hate thou calmly balkedst,
  With thy great thoughts alone and silently thou walkedst;
  The people could not brook thy foreign-sounding name,
  Pursued thee with its yell, and piled thy head with shame,
  And by thy very hand though saved from ill and danger,
  Mock'd at thy sacred age--thou hoary-headed stranger!
  And even _he_, whose soul could read thy noble heart,
  To please that idiot mob, blamed thee with cruel art....
  And long with patient faith, defying doubt and terror,
  Thou heldest on unmoved, spite of a people's error;
  And, e'er thy race was run, wert forced at last to yield
  The well-earned laurel-wreath of many a bloody field,
  Fame, power, and deep-thought plans; and with thy sword beside thee
  Within a regiment's ranks, alone, obscure, to hide thee,
  And there, a veteran chief, like some young sentinel,
  When first upon his ear rings the ball's whistling knell,
  Thou rushedst 'mid the fire, a warrior's death desiring--
  In vain!--

       *       *       *       *       *

  O men! O wretched race! O worthy tears and laughter!
  Priests of the moment's god, ne'er thinking of hereafter!
  How oft among ye, men! a mighty one is seen,
  Whom the blind age pursues with insults mad and mean,
  But gazing on whose face, some future generation
  Shall feel, as I do now, regret and admiration!



The Oxford visions, of which some have been given, were but
anticipations necessary to illustrate the glimpse opened of childhood,
(as being its reaction.) In this SECOND part, returning from that
anticipation, I retrace an abstract of my boyish and youthful days so
far as they furnished or exposed the germs of later experiences in
worlds more shadowy.

Upon me, as upon others scattered thinly by tens and twenties over every
thousand years, fell too powerfully and too early the vision of life.
The horror of life mixed itself already in earliest youth with the
heavenly sweetness of life; that grief, which one in a hundred has
sensibility enough to gather from the sad retrospect of life in its
closing stage, for me shed its dews as a prelibation upon the fountains
of life whilst yet sparkling to the morning sun. I saw from afar and
from before what I was to see from behind. Is this the description of an
early youth passed in the shades of gloom? No, but of a youth passed in
the divinest happiness. And if the reader has (which so few have) the
passion, without which there is no reading of the legend and
superscription upon man's brow, if he is not (as most are) deafer than
the grave to every _deep_ note that sighs upwards from the Delphic caves
of human life, he will know that the rapture of life (or any thing which
by approach can merit that name) does not arise, unless as perfect music
arises--music of Mozart or Beethoven--by the confluence of the mighty
and terrific discords with the subtle concords. Not by contrast, or as
reciprocal foils do these elements act, which is the feeble conception
of many, but by union. They are the sexual forces in music: "male and
female created he them;" and these mighty antagonists do not put forth
their hostilities by repulsion, but by deepest attraction.

As "in to-day already walks to-morrow," so in the past experience of a
youthful life may be seen dimly the future. The collisions with alien
interests or hostile views, of a child, boy, or very young man, so
insulated as each of these is sure to be,--those aspects of opposition
which such a person _can_ occupy, are limited by the exceedingly few and
trivial lines of connexion along which he is able to radiate any
essential influence whatever upon the fortunes or happiness of others.
Circumstances may magnify his importance for the moment; but, after all,
any cable which he carries out upon other vessels is easily slipped upon
a feud arising. Far otherwise is the state of relations connecting an
adult or responsible man with the circles around him as life advances.
The network of these relations is a thousand times more intricate, the
jarring of these intricate relations a thousand times more frequent, and
the vibrations a thousand times harsher which these jarrings diffuse.
This truth is felt beforehand misgivingly and in troubled vision, by a
young man who stands upon the threshold of manhood. One earliest
instinct of fear and horror would darken his spirit if it could be
revealed to itself and self-questioned at the moment of birth: a second
instinct of the sane nature would again pollute that tremulous mirror,
if the moment were as punctually marked as physical birth is marked,
which dismisses him finally upon the tides of absolute self-control. A
dark ocean would seem the total expanse of life from the first: but far
darker and more appalling would seem that interior and second chamber of
the ocean which called him away for ever on the direct accountability of
others. Dreadful would be the morning which should say--"Be thou a human
child incarnate;" but more dreadful the morning which should say--"Bear
thou henceforth the sceptre of thy self-dominion through life, and the
passion of life!" Yes, dreadful would be both: but without a basis of
the dreadful there is no perfect rapture. It is a part through the
sorrow of life, growing out of its events, that this basis of awe and
solemn darkness slowly accumulates. _That_ I have illustrated. But, as
life expands, it is more through the _strife_ which besets us, strife
from conflicting opinions, positions, passions, interests, that the
funereal ground settles and deposits itself, which sends upward the dark
lustrous brilliancy through the jewel of life--else revealing a pale and
superficial glitter. Either the human being must suffer and struggle as
the price of a more searching vision, or his gaze must be shallow and
without intellectual revelation.

Through accident it was in part, and, where through no accident but my
own nature, not through features of it at all painful to recollect, that
constantly in early life (that is, from boyish days until eighteen, when
by going to Oxford, practically I became my own master) I was engaged in
duels of fierce continual struggle, with some person or body of persons,
that sought, like the Roman _retiarius_, to throw a net of deadly
coercion or constraint over the undoubted rights of my natural freedom.
The steady rebellion upon my part in one-half, was a mere human reaction
of justifiable indignation; but in the other half it was the struggle of
a conscientious nature--disdaining to feel it as any mere right or
discretional privilege--no, feeling it as the noblest of duties to
resist, though it should be mortally, those that would have enslaved me,
and to retort scorn upon those that would have put my head below their
feet. Too much, even in later life, I have perceived in men that pass
for good men, a disposition to degrade (and if possible to degrade
through self-degradation) those in whom unwillingly they feel any weight
of oppression to themselves, by commanding qualities of intellect or
character. They respect you: they are compelled to do so: and they hate
to do so. Next, therefore, they seek to throw off the sense of this
oppression, and to take vengeance for it, by co-operating with any
unhappy accidents in your life, to inflict a sense of humiliation upon
you, and (if possible) to force you into becoming a consenting party to
that humiliation. Oh, wherefore is it that those who presume to call
themselves the "friends" of this man or that woman, are so often those
above all others, whom in the hour of death that man or woman is most
likely to salute with the valediction--Would God I had never seen your

In citing one or two cases of these early struggles, I have chiefly in
view the effect of these upon my subsequent visions under the reign of
opium. And this indulgent reflection should accompany the mature reader
through all such records of boyish inexperience. A good tempered-man,
who is also acquainted with the world, will easily evade, without
needing any artifice of servile obsequiousness, those quarrels which an
upright simplicity, jealous of its own rights, and unpractised in the
science of worldly address, cannot always evade without some loss of
self-respect. Suavity in this manner may, it is true, be reconciled with
firmness in the matter; but not easily by a young person who wants all
the appropriate resources of knowledge, of adroit and guarded language,
for making his good temper available. Men are protected from insult and
wrong, not merely by their own skill, but also in the absence of any
skill at all, by the general spirit of forbearance to which society has
trained all those whom they are likely to meet. But boys meeting with no
such forbearance or training in other boys, must sometimes be thrown
upon feuds in the ratio of their own firmness, much more than in the
ratio of any natural proneness to quarrel. Such a subject, however, will
be best illustrated by a sketch or two of my own principal feuds.

The first, but merely transient and playful, nor worth noticing at all,
but for its subsequent resurrection under other and awful colouring in
my dreams, grew out of an imaginary slight, as I viewed it, put upon me
by one of my guardians. I had four guardians: and the one of these who
had the most knowledge and talent of the whole, a banker, living about a
hundred miles from my home, had invited me when eleven years old to his
house. His eldest daughter, perhaps a year younger than myself, wore at
that time upon her very lovely face the most angelic expression of
character and temper that I have almost ever seen. Naturally, I fell in
love with her. It seems absurd to say so; and the more so, because two
children more absolutely innocent than we were cannot be imagined,
neither of us having ever been at any school;--but the simple truth is,
that in the most chivalrous sense I was in love with her. And the proof
that I was so showed itself in three separate modes: I kissed her glove
on any rare occasion when I found it lying on a table; secondly, I
looked out for some excuse to be jealous of her; and, thirdly, I did my
very best to get up a quarrel. What I wanted the quarrel for was the
luxury of a reconciliation; a hill cannot be had, you know, without
going to the expense of a valley. And though I hated the very thought of
a moment's difference with so truly gentle a girl, yet how, but through
such a purgatory, could one win the paradise of her returning smiles?
All this, however, came to nothing; and simply because she positively
would _not_ quarrel. And the jealousy fell through, because there was no
decent subject for such a passion, unless it had settled upon an old
music-master whom lunacy itself could not adopt as a rival. The quarrel
meantime, which never prospered with the daughter, silently kindled on
my part towards the father. His offence was this. At dinner, I naturally
placed myself by the side of M., and it gave me great pleasure to touch
her hand at intervals. As M. was my cousin, though twice or even three
times removed, I did not feel taking too great a liberty in this little
act of tenderness. No matter if three thousand times removed, I said, my
cousin is my cousin: nor had I ever very much designed to conceal the
act; or if so, rather on her account than my own. One evening, however,
papa observed my manoeuvre. Did he seem displeased? Not at all: he
even condescended to smile. But the next day he placed M. on the side
opposite to myself. In one respect this was really an improvement;
because it gave me a better view of my cousin's sweet countenance. But
then there was the loss of the hand to be considered, and secondly there
was the affront. It was clear that vengeance must be had. Now there was
but one thing in this world that I could do even decently: but _that_ I
could do admirably. This was writing Latin hexameters. Juvenal, though
it was not very much of him that I had then read, seemed to me a divine
model. The inspiration of wrath spoke through him as through a Hebrew
prophet. The same inspiration spoke now in me. _Facit indignatio
versum_, said Juvenal. And it must be owned that Indignation has never
made such good verses since as she did in that day. But still, even to
me this agile passion proved a Muse of genial inspiration for a couple
of paragraphs: and one line I will mention as worthy to have taken its
place in Juvenal himself. I say this without scruple, having not a
shadow of vanity, nor on the other hand a shadow of false modesty
connected with such boyish accomplishments. The poem opened thus--

  "Te nimis austerum; sacrae qui foedera mensae
  Diruis, insector Satyrae reboante flagello."

But the line, which I insist upon as of Roman strength, was the closing
one of the next sentence. The general effect of the sentiment was--that
my clamorous wrath should make its way even into ears that were past

              "----mea saeva querela
  Auribus insidet ceratis, auribus etsi
  Non audituris hybernâ nocte procellam."

The power, however, which inflated my verse, soon collapsed; having been
soothed from the very first by finding--that except in this one instance
at the dinner-table, which probably had been viewed as an indecorum, no
further restraint of any kind whatever was meditated upon my intercourse
with M. Besides, it was too painful to lock up good verses in one's own
solitary breast. Yet how could I shock the sweet filial heart of my
cousin by a fierce lampoon or _stylites_ against her father, had Latin
even figured amongst her accomplishments? Then it occurred to me that
the verses might be shown to the father. But was there not something
treacherous in gaining a man's approbation under a mask to a satire upon
himself? Or would he have always understood me? For one person a year
after took the _sacrae mensae_ (by which I had meant the sanctities of
hospitality) to mean the sacramental table. And on consideration I began
to suspect, that many people would pronounce myself the party who had
violated the holy ties of hospitality, which are equally binding on
guest as on host. Indolence, which sometimes comes in aid of good
impulses as well as bad, favoured these relenting thoughts; the society
of M. did still more to wean me from further efforts of satire: and,
finally, my Latin poem remained a _torso_. But upon the whole my
guardian had a narrow escape of descending to posterity in a
disadvantageous light, had he rolled down to it through my hexameters.

Here was a case of merely playful feud. But the same talent of Latin
verses soon after connected me with a real feud that harassed my mind
more than would be supposed, and precisely by this agency, viz. that it
arrayed one set of feelings against another. It divided my mind as by
domestic feud against itself. About a year after, returning from the
visit to my guardian's, and when I must have been nearly completing my
twelfth year, I was sent to a great public school. Every man has reason
to rejoice who enjoys so great an advantage. I condemned and _do_
condemn the practice of sometimes sending out into such stormy exposures
those who are as yet too young, too dependent on female gentleness, and
endowed with sensibilities too exquisite. But at nine or ten the
masculine energies of the character are beginning to be developed: or,
if not, no discipline will better aid in their developement than the
bracing intercourse of a great English classical school. Even the
selfish are forced into accommodating themselves to a public standard of
generosity, and the effeminate into conforming to a rule of manliness. I
was myself at two public schools; and I think with gratitude of the
benefit which I reaped from both; as also I think with gratitude of the
upright guardian in whose quiet household I learned Latin so
effectually. But the small private schools which I witnessed for brief
periods, containing thirty to forty boys, were models of ignoble
manners as respected some part of the juniors, and of favouritism
amongst the masters. Nowhere is the sublimity of public justice so
broadly exemplified as in an English school. There is not in the
universe such an areopagus for fair play and abhorrence of all crooked
ways, as an English mob, or one of the English time-honoured public
schools. But my own first introduction to such an establishment was
under peculiar and contradictory circumstances. When my "rating," or
graduation in the school, was to be settled, naturally my altitude (to
speak astronomically) was taken by the proficiency in Greek. But I could
then barely construe books so easy as the Greek Testament and the Iliad.
This was considered quite well enough for my age; but still it caused me
to be placed three steps below the highest rank in the school. Within
one week, however, my talent for Latin verses, which had by this time
gathered strength and expansion, became known. I was honoured as never
was man or boy since Mordecai the Jew. Not properly belonging to the
flock of the head master, but to the leading section of the second, I
was now weekly paraded for distinction at the supreme tribunal of the
school; out of which at first grew nothing but a sunshine of approbation
delightful to my heart, still brooding upon solitude. Within six weeks
this had changed. The approbation indeed continued, and the public
testimony of it. Neither would there, in the ordinary course, have been
any painful reaction from jealousy or fretful resistance to the
soundness of my pretensions; since it was sufficiently known to some of
my schoolfellows, that I, who had no male relatives but military men,
and those in India, could not have benefited by any clandestine aid.
But, unhappily, the head master was at that time dissatisfied with some
points in the progress of his head form; and, as it soon appeared, was
continually throwing in their teeth the brilliancy of my verses at
twelve, by comparison with theirs at seventeen, eighteen, and nineteen.
I had observed him sometimes pointing to myself; and was perplexed at
seeing the gesture followed by gloomy looks, and what French reporters
call "sensation," in these young men, whom naturally I viewed with awe
as my leaders, boys that were called young men, men that were reading
Sophocles--(a name that carried with it the sound of something seraphic
to my ears)--and who never had vouchsafed to waste a word on such a
child as myself. The day was come, however, when all that would be
changed. One of these leaders strode up to me in the public playgrounds,
and delivering a blow on my shoulder, which was not intended to hurt me,
but as a mere formula of introduction, asked me, "What the d--l I meant
by bolting out of the course, and annoying other people in that manner?
Were other people to have no rest for me and my verses, which, after
all, were horribly bad?" There might have been some difficulty in
returning an answer to this address, but none was required. I was
briefly admonished to see that I wrote worse for the future, or
else----At this _aposiopesis_ I looked enquiringly at the speaker, and
he filled up the chasm by saying, that he would "annihilate" me. Could
any person fail to be aghast at such a demand? I was to write worse than
my own standard, which, by his account of my verses, must be difficult;
and I was to write worse than himself, which might be impossible. My
feelings revolted, it may be supposed, against so arrogant a demand,
unless it had been far otherwise expressed; and on the next occasion for
sending up verses, so far from attending to the orders issued, I
double-shotted my guns; double applause descended on myself; but I
remarked with some awe, though not repenting of what I had done, that
double confusion seemed to agitate the ranks of my enemies. Amongst them
loomed out in the distance my "annihilating" friend, who shook his huge
fist at me, but with something like a grim smile about his eyes. He took
an early opportunity of paying his respects to me--saying, "You little
devil, do you call this writing your worst?" "No," I replied; "I call it
writing my best." The annihilator, as it turned out, was really a
good-natured young man; but he soon went off to Cambridge; and with the
rest, or some of them, I continued to wage war for nearly a year. And
yet, for a word spoken with kindness, I would have resigned the
peacock's feather in my cap as the merest of baubles. Undoubtedly,
praise sounded sweet in my ears also. But _that_ was nothing by
comparison with what stood on the other side. I detested distinctions
that were connected with mortification to others. And, even if I could
have got over _that_, the eternal feud fretted and tormented my nature.
Love, that once in childhood had been so mere a necessity to me, _that_
had long been a mere reflected ray from a departed sunset. But peace,
and freedom from strife, if love were no longer possible, (as so rarely
it is in this world,) was the absolute necessity of my heart. To contend
with somebody was still my fate; how to escape the contention I could
not see; and yet for itself, and the deadly passions into which it
forced me, I hated and loathed it more than death. It added to the
distraction and internal feud of my own mind--that I could not
_altogether_ condemn the upper boys. I was made a handle of humiliation
to them. And in the mean time, if I had an advantage in one
accomplishment, which is all a matter of accident, or peculiar taste and
feeling, they, on the other hand, had a great advantage over me in the
more elaborate difficulties of Greek, and of choral Greek poetry. I
could not altogether wonder at their hatred of myself. Yet still, as
they had chosen to adopt this mode of conflict with me, I did not feel
that I had any choice but to resist. The contest was terminated for me
by my removal from the school, in consequence of a very threatening
illness affecting my head; but it lasted nearly a year; and it did not
close before several amongst my public enemies had become my private
friends. They were much older, but they invited me to the houses of
their friends, and showed me a respect which deeply affected me--this
respect having more reference, apparently, to the firmness I had
exhibited than to the splendour of my verses. And, indeed, these had
rather drooped from a natural accident; several persons of my own class
had formed the practice of asking me to write verses for _them_. I could
not refuse. But, as the subjects given out were the same for all of us,
it was not possible to take so many crops off the ground without
starving the quality of all.

Two years and a half from this time, I was again at a public school of
ancient foundation. Now I was myself one of the three who formed the
highest class. Now I myself was familiar with Sophocles, who once had
been so shadowy a name in my ear. But, strange to say, now in my
sixteenth year, I cared nothing at all for the glory of Latin verse. All
the business of school was slight and trivial in my eyes. Costing me not
an effort, it could not engage any part of my attention; that was now
swallowed up altogether by the literature of my native land. I still
reverenced the Grecian drama, as always I must. But else I cared little
then for classical pursuits. A deeper spell had mastered me; and I lived
only in those bowers where deeper passions spoke.

Here, however, it was that began another and more important struggle. I
was drawing near to seventeen, and, in a year after _that_, would arrive
the usual time for going to Oxford. To Oxford my guardians made no
objection; and they readily agreed to make the allowance then
universally regarded as the _minimum_ for an Oxford student, viz. £200
per annum. But they insisted, as a previous condition, that I should
make a positive and definitive choice of a profession. Now I was well
aware that, if I _did_ make such a choice, no law existed, nor could any
obligation be created through deeds or signature, by which I could
finally be compelled into keeping my engagement. But this evasion did
not suit me. Here, again, I felt indignantly that the principle of the
attempt was unjust. The object was certainly to do me service by saving
money, since, if I selected the bar as my profession, it was contended
by some persons, (misinformed, however,) that not Oxford, but a special
pleader's office, would be my proper destination; but I cared not for
arguments of that sort. Oxford I was determined to make my home; and
also to bear my future course utterly untrammeled by promises that I
might repent. Soon came the catastrophe of this struggle. A little
before my seventeenth birthday, I walked off one lovely summer morning
to North Wales--rambled there for months--and, finally, under some
obscure hopes of raising money on my personal security, I went up to
London. Now I was in my eighteenth year; and, during this period it was
that I passed through that trial of severe distress, of which I gave
some account in my former Confessions. Having a motive, however, for
glancing backwards briefly at that period in the present series, I will
do so at this point.

I saw in one journal an insinuation that the incidents in the
_preliminary_ narrative were possibly without foundation. To such an
expression of mere gratuitous malignity, as it happened to be supported
by no one argument except a remark, apparently absurd, but certainly
false, I did not condescend to answer. In reality, the possibility had
never occurred to me that any person of judgment would seriously suspect
me of taking liberties with that part of the work, since, though no one
of the parties concerned but myself stood in so central a position to
the circumstances as to be acquainted with _all_ of them, many were
acquainted with each separate section of the memoir. Relays of witnesses
might have been summoned to mount guard, as it were, upon the accuracy
of each particular in the whole succession of incidents; and some of
these people had an interest, more or less strong, in exposing any
deviation from the strictest _letter_ of the truth, had it been in their
power to do so. It is now twenty-two years since I saw the objection
here alluded to; and, in saying that I did not condescend to notice it,
the reader must not find any reason for taxing me with a blamable
haughtiness. But every man is entitled to be haughty when his veracity
is impeached; and, still more, when it is impeached by a dishonest
objection, or, if not _that_, by an objection which argues a
carelessness of attention almost amounting to dishonesty, in a case
where it was meant to sustain an imputation of falsehood. Let a man read
carelessly if he will, but not where he is meaning to use his reading
for a purpose of wounding another man's honour. Having thus, by
twenty-two years' silence, sufficiently expressed my contempt for the
slander,[19] I now feel myself at liberty to draw it into notice, for
the sake, _inter alia_, of showing in how rash a spirit malignity often
works. In the preliminary account of certain boyish adventures which had
exposed me to suffering of a kind not commonly incident to persons in my
station of life, and leaving behind a temptation to the use of opium
under certain arrears of weakness, I had occasion to notice a
disreputable attorney in London, who showed me some attentions, partly
on my own account as a boy of some expectations, but much more with the
purpose of fastening his professional grappling-hooks upon the young
Earl of A----t, my former companion, and my present correspondent. This
man's house was slightly described, and, with more minuteness, I had
exposed some interesting traits in his household economy. A question,
therefore, naturally arose in several people's curiosity--Where was this
house situated? and the more so because I had pointed a renewed
attention to it by saying, that on that very evening, (viz. the evening
on which that particular page of the Confessions was written,) I had
visited the street, looked up at the windows, and, instead of the gloomy
desolation reigning there when myself and a little girl were the sole
nightly tenants, sleeping in fact (poor freezing creatures that we both
were) on the floor of the attorney's law-chamber, and making a pillow
out of his infernal parchments, I had seen with pleasure the evidences
of comfort, respectability, and domestic animation, in the lights and
stir prevailing through different stories of the house. Upon this the
upright critic told his readers that I had described the house as
standing in Oxford Street, and then appealed to their own knowledge of
that street whether such a house could be _so_ situated. Why not--he
neglected to tell us. The houses at the east end of Oxford Street are
certainly of too small an order to meet my account of the attorney's
house; but why should it be at the east end? Oxford Street is a mile and
a quarter long, and being built continuously on both sides, finds room
for houses of _many_ classes. Meantime it happens that, although the
true house was most obscurely indicated, _any_ house whatever in Oxford
Street was most luminously excluded. In all the immensity of London
there was but one single street that could be challenged by an attentive
reader of the Confessions as peremptorily _not_ the street of the
attorney's house--and _that_ one was Oxford Street; for, in speaking of
my own renewed acquaintance with the outside of this house, I used some
expression implying that, in order to make such a visit of
reconnoissance, I had turned _aside_ from Oxford Street. The matter is a
perfect trifle in itself, but it is no trifle in a question affecting a
writer's accuracy. If in a thing so absolutely impossible to be
forgotten as the true situation of a house painfully memorable to a
man's feelings, from being the scene of boyish distresses the most
exquisite--nights passed in the misery of cold, and hunger preying upon
him both night and day, in a degree which very many would not have
survived,--he, when retracing his schoolboy annals, could have shown
indecision even, far more dreaded inaccuracy, in identifying the house,
not one syllable after _that_, which he could have said on any other
subject, would have won any confidence, or deserved any, from a
judicious reader. I may now mention--the Herod being dead whose
persecutions I had reason to fear--that the house in question stands in
Greek Street on the west, and is the house on that side nearest to
Soho-Square, but without looking into the Square. This it was hardly
safe to mention at the date of the published Confessions. It was my
private opinion, indeed, that there were probably twenty-five chances to
one in favour of my friend the attorney having been by that time hanged.
But then this argued inversely; one chance to twenty-five that my friend
might be _un_hanged, and knocking about the streets of London; in which
case it would have been a perfect god-send to him that here lay an
opening (of _my_ contrivance, not _his_) for requesting the opinion of a
jury on the amount of _solatium_ due to his wounded feelings in an
action on the passage in the Confessions. To have indicated even the
street would have been enough. Because there could surely be but one
such Grecian in Greek Street, or but one that realized the other
conditions of the unknown quantity. There was also a separate danger not
absolutely so laughable as it sounds. Me there was little chance that
the attorney should meet; but my book he might easily have met
(supposing always that the warrant of _Sus. per coll._ had not yet on
_his_ account travelled down to Newgate.) For he was literary; admired
literature; and, as a lawyer, he wrote on some subjects fluently; Might
he not publish _his_ Confessions? Or, which would be worse, a supplement
to mine--printed so as exactly to match? In which case I should have had
the same affliction that Gibbon the historian dreaded so much; viz. that
of seeing a refutation of himself, and his own answer to the refutation,
all bound up in one and the same self-combating volume. Besides, he
would have cross-examined me before the public in Old Bailey style; no
story, the most straightforward that ever was told, could be sure to
stand _that_. And my readers might be left in a state of painful doubt
whether _he_ might not, after all, have been a model of suffering
innocence--I (to say the kindest thing possible) plagued with the
natural treacheries of a schoolboy's memory. In taking leave of this
case and the remembrances connected with it, let me say that, although
really believing in the probability of the attorney's having at least
found his way to Australia, I had no satisfaction in thinking of that
result. I knew my friend to be the very perfection of a scamp. And in
the running account between us, (I mean, in the ordinary sense, as to
money,) the balance could not be in _his_ favour; since I, on receiving
a sum of money, (considerable in the eyes of us both,) had transferred
pretty nearly the whole of it to _him_, for the purpose ostensibly held
out to me (but of course a hoax) of purchasing certain law "stamps;" for
he was then pursuing a diplomatic correspondence with various Jews who
lent money to young heirs, in some trifling proportion on my own
insignificant account, but much more truly on the account of Lord
A----t, my young friend. On the other side, he had given to me simply
the reliques of his breakfast-table, which itself was hardly more than a
relique. But in this he was not to blame. He could not give to me what
he had not for himself, nor sometimes for the poor starving child whom I
now suppose to have been his illegitimate daughter. So desperate was the
running fight, yard-arm to yard-arm, which he maintained with creditors
fierce as famine and hungry as the grave; so deep also was his horror (I
know not for which of the various reasons supposable) against falling
into a prison, that he seldom ventured to sleep twice successively in
the same house. That expense of itself must have pressed heavily in
London, where you pay half-a-crown at least for a bed that would cost
only a shilling in the provinces. In the midst of his knaveries, and
what were even more shocking to my remembrance, his confidential
discoveries in his rambling conversations of knavish _designs_, (not
always pecuniary,) there was a light of wandering misery in his eye at
times, which affected me afterwards at intervals when I recalled it in
the radiant happiness of nineteen, and amidst the solemn tranquillities
of Oxford. That of itself was interesting; the man was worse by far than
he had been meant to be; he had not the mind that reconciles itself to
evil. Besides, he respected scholarship, which appeared by the deference
he generally showed to myself, then about seventeen; he had an interest
in literature; _that_ argues something good; and was pleased at any
time, or even cheerful, when I turned the conversation upon books; nay,
he seemed touched with emotion, when I quoted some sentiment noble and
impassioned from one of the great poets, and would ask me to repeat it.
He would have been a man of memorable energy, and for good purposes, had
it not been for his agony of conflict with pecuniary embarrassments.
These probably had commenced in some fatal compliance with temptation
arising out of funds confided to him by a client. Perhaps he had gained
fifty guineas for a moment of necessity, and had sacrificed for that
trifle _only_ the serenity and the comfort of a life. Feelings of
relenting kindness, it was not in my nature to refuse in such a case;
and I wished to * * * But I never succeeded in tracing his steps through
the wilderness of London until some years back, when I ascertained that
he was dead. Generally speaking, the few people whom I have disliked in
this world were flourishing people of good repute. Whereas the knaves
whom I have known, one and all, and by no means few, I think of with
pleasure and kindness.

Heavens! when I look back to the sufferings which I have witnessed or
heard of even from this one brief London experience, I say if life could
throw open its long suits of chambers to our eyes from some station
_beforehand_, if from some secret stand we could look _by anticipation_
along its vast corridors, and aside into the recesses opening upon them
from either hand, halls of tragedy or chambers of retribution, simply in
that small wing and no more of the great caravanserai which we ourselves
shall haunt, simply in that narrow tract of time and no more where we
ourselves shall range, and confining our gaze to those and no others for
whom personally we shall be interested, what a recoil we should suffer
of horror in our estimate of life! What if those sudden catastrophes, or
those inexpiable afflictions, which _have_ already descended upon the
people within my own knowledge, and almost below my own eyes, all of
them now gone past, and some long past, had been thrown open before me
as a secret exhibition when first I and they stood within the vestibule
of morning hopes; when the calamities themselves had hardly begun to
gather in their elements of possibility, and when some of the parties to
them were as yet no more than infants! The past viewed not _as_ the
past, but by a spectator who steps back ten years deeper into the rear,
in order that he may regard it as a future; the calamity of 1840
contemplated from the station of 1830--the doom that rang the knell of
happiness viewed from a point of time when as yet it was neither feared
nor would even have been intelligible--the name that killed in 1843,
which in 1835 would have struck no vibration upon the heart--the
portrait that on the day of her Majesty's coronation would have been
admired by you with a pure disinterested admiration, but which if seen
to-day would draw forth an involuntary groan--cases such as these are
strangely moving for all who add deep thoughtfulness to deep
sensibility. As the hastiest of improvisations, accept--fair reader,
(for you it is that will chiefly feel such an invocation of the
past)--three or four illustrations from my own experience.

Who is this distinguished-looking young woman with her eyes drooping,
and the shadow of a dreadful shock yet fresh upon every feature? Who is
the elderly lady with her eyes flashing fire? Who is the downcast child
of sixteen? What is that torn paper lying at their feet? Who is the
writer? Whom does the paper concern? Ah! if she, if the central figure
in the group--twenty-two at the moment when she is revealed to
us--could, on her happy birth-day at sweet seventeen, have seen the
image of herself five years onwards, just as _we_ see it now, would she
have prayed for life as for an absolute blessing? or would she not have
prayed to be taken from the evil to come--to be taken away one evening
at least before this day's sun arose? It is true, she still wears a look
of gentle pride, and a relic of that noble smile which belongs to _her_
that suffers an injury which many times over she would have died sooner
than inflict. Womanly pride refuses itself before witnesses to the total
prostration of the blow; but, for all _that_, you may see that she longs
to be left alone, and that her tears will flow without restraint when
she is so. This room is her pretty boudoir, in which, till
to-night--poor thing!--she has been glad and happy. There stands her
miniature conservatory, and there expands her miniature library; as we
circumnavigators of literature are apt (you know) to regard all female
libraries in the light of miniatures. None of these will ever rekindle a
smile on _her_ face; and there, beyond, is her music, which only of all
that she possesses, will now become dearer to her than ever; but not, as
once, to feed a self-mocked pensiveness, or to cheat a half-visionary
sadness. She will be sad indeed. But she is one of those that will
suffer in silence. Nobody will ever detect _her_ failing in any point of
duty, or querulously seeking the support in others which she can find
for herself in this solitary room. Droop she will not in the sight of
men; and, for all beyond, nobody has any concern with _that_ except God.
You shall hear what becomes of her, before we take our departure; but
now let me tell you what has happened. In the main outline I am sure you
guess already without aid of mine, for we leaden-eyed men, in such
cases, see nothing by comparison with you our quick-witted sisters. That
haughty-looking lady with the Roman cast of features, who must once have
been strikingly handsome--an Agrippina, even yet, in a favourable
presentation--is the younger lady's aunt. She, it is rumoured, once
sustained, in her younger days, some injury of that same cruel nature
which has this day assailed her niece, and ever since she has worn an
air of disdain, not altogether unsupported by real dignity, towards men.
This aunt it was that tore the letter which lies upon the floor. It
deserved to be torn; and yet she that had the best right to do so would
_not_ have torn it. That letter was an elaborate attempt on the part of
an accomplished young man to release himself from sacred engagements.
What need was there to argue the case of _such_ engagements? Could it
have been requisite with pure female dignity to plead any thing, or do
more than _look_ an indisposition to fulfil them? The aunt is now moving
towards the door, which I am glad to see; and she is followed by that
pale timid girl of sixteen, a cousin, who feels the case profoundly, but
is too young and shy to offer an intellectual sympathy.

One only person in this world there is, who _could_ to-night have been a
supporting friend to our young sufferer, and _that_ is her dear loving
twin-sister, that for eighteen years read and wrote, thought and sang,
slept and breathed, with the dividing-door open for ever between their
bedrooms, and never once a separation between their hearts; but she is
in a far distant land. Who else is there at her call? Except God,
nobody. Her aunt had somewhat sternly admonished her, though still with
a relenting in her eye as she glanced aside at the expression in her
niece's face, that she must "call pride to her assistance." Ay, true;
but pride, though a strong ally in public, is apt in private to turn as
treacherous as the worst of those against whom she is invoked. How could
it be dreamed by a person of sense, that a brilliant young man of
merits, various and eminent, in spite of his baseness, to whom, for
nearly two years, this young woman had given her whole confiding love,
might be dismissed from a heart like hers on the earliest summons of
pride, simply because she herself had been dismissed from _his_, or
seemed to have been dismissed, on a summons of mercenary calculation?
Look! now that she is relieved from the weight of an unconfidential
presence, she has sat for two hours with her head buried in her hands.
At last she rises to look for something. A thought has struck her; and,
taking a little golden key which hangs by a chain within her bosom, she
searches for something locked up amongst her few jewels. What is it? It
is a Bible exquisitely illuminated, with a letter attached, by some
pretty silken artifice, to the blank leaves at the end. This letter is a
beautiful record, wisely and pathetically composed, of maternal anxiety
still burning strong in death, and yearning, when all objects beside
were fast fading from _her_ eyes, after one parting act of communion
with the twin darlings of her heart. Both were thirteen years old,
within a week or two, as on the night before her death they sat weeping
by the bedside of their mother, and hanging on her lips, now for
farewell whispers, and now for farewell kisses. They both knew that, as
her strength had permitted during the latter month of her life, she had
thrown the last anguish of love in her beseeching heart into a letter of
counsel to themselves. Through this, of which each sister had a copy,
she trusted long to converse with her orphans. And the last promise
which she had entreated on this evening from both, was--that in either
of two contingencies they would review her counsels, and the passages to
which she pointed their attention in the Scriptures; namely, first, in
the event of any calamity, that, for one sister or for both, should
overspread their paths with total darkness; and secondly, in the event
of life flowing in too profound a stream of prosperity, so as to
threaten them with an alienation of interest from all spiritual objects.
She had not concealed that, of these two extreme cases, she would prefer
for her own children the first. And now had that case arrived indeed,
which she in spirit had desired to meet. Nine years ago, just as the
silvery voice of a dial in the dying lady's bedroom was striking nine
upon a summer evening, had the last visual ray streamed from her seeking
eyes upon her orphan twins, after which, throughout the night, she had
slept away into heaven. Now again had come a summer evening memorable
for unhappiness; now again the daughter thought of those dying lights of
love which streamed at sunset from the closing eyes of her mother;
again, and just as she went back in thought to this image, the same
silvery voice of the dial sounded nine o'clock. Again she remembered her
mother's dying request; again her own tear-hallowed promise--and with
her heart in her mother's grave she now rose to fulfil it. Here, then
when this solemn recurrence to a testamentary counsel has ceased to be a
mere office of duty towards the departed, having taken the shape of a
consolation for herself, let us pause.

       *       *       *       *       *

Now, fair companion in this exploring voyage of inquest into hidden
scenes, or forgotten scenes of human life--perhaps it might be
instructive to direct our glasses upon the false perfidious lover. It
might. But do not let us do so. We might like him better, or pity him
more, than either of us would desire. His name and memory have long
since dropped out of every body's thoughts. Of prosperity, and (what is
more important) of internal peace, he is reputed to have had no gleam
from the moment when he betrayed his faith, and in one day threw away
the jewel of good conscience, and "a pearl richer than all his tribe."
But, however that may be, it is certain that, finally, he became a
wreck; and of any _hopeless_ wreck it is painful to talk--much more so,
when through him others also became wrecks.

Shall we, then, after an interval of nearly two years has passed over
the young lady in the boudoir, look in again upon _her_? You hesitate,
fair friend: and I myself hesitate. For in fact she also has become a
wreck; and it would grieve us both to see her altered. At the end of
twenty-one months she retains hardly a vestige of resemblance to the
fine young woman we saw on that unhappy evening with her aunt and
cousin. On consideration, therefore, let us do this. We will direct our
glasses to her room, at a point of time about six weeks further on.
Suppose this time gone; suppose her now dressed for her grave, and
placed in her coffin. The advantage of that is--that, though no change
can restore the ravages of the past, yet (as often is found to happen
with young persons) the expression has revived from her girlish years.
The child-like aspect has revolved, and settled back upon her features.
The wasting away of the flesh is less apparent in the face; and one
might imagine that, in this sweet marble countenance, was seen the very
same upon which, eleven years ago, her mother's darkening eyes had
lingered to the last, until clouds had swallowed up the vision of her
beloved _twins_. Yet, if that were in part a fancy, this at least is no
fancy--that not only much of a child-like truth and simplicity has
reinstated itself in the temple of her now reposing features, but also
that tranquillity and perfect peace, such as are appropriate to
eternity; but which from the _living_ countenance had taken their flight
for ever, on that memorable evening when we looked in upon the
impassioned group--upon the towering and denouncing aunt, the
sympathizing but silent cousin, the poor blighted niece, and the wicked
letter lying in fragments at their feet.

Cloud, that hast revealed to us this young creature and her blighted
hopes, close up again. And now, a few years later, not more than four or
five, give back to us the latest arrears of the changes which thou
concealest within thy draperies. Once more, "open sesame!" and show us a
third generation. Behold a lawn islanded with thickets. How perfect is
the verdure--how rich the blossoming shrubberies that screen with
verdurous walls from the possibility of intrusion, whilst by their own
wandering line of distribution they shape and umbrageously embay, what
one might call lawny saloons and vestibules--sylvan galleries and
closets. Some of these recesses, which unlink themselves as fluently as
snakes, and unexpectedly as the shyest nooks, watery cells, and crypts,
amongst the shores of a forest-lake, being formed by the mere caprices
and ramblings of the luxuriant shrubs, are so small and so quiet, that
one might fancy them meant for _boudoirs_. Here is one that, in a less
fickle climate, would make the loveliest of studies for a writer of
breathings from some solitary heart, or of _suspiria_ from some
impassioned memory! And opening from one angle of this embowered study,
issues a little narrow corridor, that, after almost wheeling back upon
itself, in its playful mazes, finally widens into a little circular
chamber; out of which there is no exit, (except back again by the
entrance,) small or great; so that, adjacent to his study, the writer
would command how sweet a bed-room, permitting him to lie the summer
through, gazing all night long at the burning host of heaven. How
silent _that_ would be at the noon of summer nights, how grave-like in
its quiet! And yet, need there be asked a stillness or a silence more
profound than is felt at this present noon of day? One reason for such
peculiar repose, over and above the tranquil character of the day, and
the distance of the place from high-roads, is the outer zone of woods,
which almost on every quarter invests the shrubberies--swathing them,
(as one may express it,) belting them, and overlooking them, from a
varying distance of two and three furlongs, so as oftentimes to keep the
winds at a distance. But, however caused and supported, the silence of
these fanciful lawns and lawny chambers is oftentimes oppressive in the
depth of summer to people unfamiliar with solitudes, either mountainous
or sylvan; and many would be apt to suppose that the villa, to which
these pretty shrubberies form the chief dependencies, must be
untenanted. But that is not the case. The house is inhabited, and by its
own legal mistress--the proprietress of the whole domain; and not at all
a silent mistress, but as noisy as most little ladies of five years old,
for that is her age. Now, and just as we are speaking, you may hear her
little joyous clamour as she issues from the house. This way she comes,
bounding like a fawn; and soon she rushes into the little recess which I
pointed out as a proper study for any man who should be weaving the deep
harmonies of memorial _suspiria_. But I fancy that she will soon
dispossess it of that character, for her _suspiria_ are not many at this
stage of her life. Now she comes dancing into sight; and you see that,
if she keeps the promise of her infancy, she will be an interesting
creature to the eye in after life. In other respects, also, she is an
engaging child--loving, natural, and wild as any one of her neighbours
for some miles round; viz. leverets, squirrels and ring-doves. But what
will surprise you most is--that, although a child of pure English blood,
she speaks very little English; but more Bengalee than perhaps you will
find it convenient to construe. That is her Ayah, who comes up from
behind at a pace so different from her youthful mistress's. But, if
their paces are different, in other things they agree most cordially;
and dearly they love each other. In reality, the child has passed her
whole life in the arms of this ayah. She remembers nothing elder than
_her_; eldest of things is the ayah in her eyes; and, if the ayah should
insist on her worshipping herself as the goddess Railroadina or
Steamboatina, that made England and the sea and Bengal, it is certain
that the little thing would do so, asking no question but this--whether
kissing would do for worshipping.

Every evening at nine o'clock, as the ayah sits by the little creature
lying awake in bed, the silvery tongue of a dial tolls the hour. Reader,
you know who she is. She is the granddaughter of her that faded away
about sunset in gazing at her twin orphans. Her name is Grace. And she
is the niece of that elder and once happy Grace, who spent so much of
her happiness in this very room, but whom, in her utter desolation, we
saw in the boudoir with the torn letter at her feet. She is the daughter
of that other sister, wife to a military officer, who died abroad.
Little Grace never saw her grandmama, nor her lovely aunt that was her
namesake, nor consciously her mama. She was born six months after the
death of the elder Grace; and her mother saw her only through the mists
of mortal suffering, which carried her off three weeks after the birth
of her daughter.

This view was taken several years ago; and since then the younger Grace
in her turn is under a cloud of affliction. But she is still under
eighteen; and of her there may be hopes. Seeing such things in so short
a space of years, for the grandmother died at thirty-two, we say--Death
we can face: but knowing, as some of us do, what is human life, which of
us is it that without shuddering could (if consciously we were summoned)
face the hour of birth?


[19] Being constantly almost an absentee from London, and very often
from other great cities, so as to command oftentimes no favourable
opportunities for overlooking the great mass of public journals, it is
possible enough that other slanders of the same tenor may have existed.
I speak of what met my own eye, or was accidentally reported to me--but
in fact all of us are exposed to this evil of calumnies lurking
unseen--for no degree of energy, and no excess of disposable time, would
enable any one man to exercise this sort of vigilant police over _all_
journals. Better, therefore, tranquilly to leave all such malice to
confound itself.


     "It was on a bright July morning that I found myself whirled away
     by railroad from Berlin, 'that great ostrich egg in the sand,'
     which the sun of civilization is said to have hatched."

In these words, and with this somewhat far-fetched simile, does a German
tourist, Edward Boas by name, commence his narrative of a recent
pilgrimage to the far north. Undeterred by the disadvantageous accounts
given of those regions by a traveller who had shortly before visited
them, and unseduced by the allurements of more southerly climes, he
boldly sets forth to breast the mountains and brave the blasts of
Scandinavia, and to form his own judgment of the country and its
inhabitants. Almost, however, before putting foot on Scandinavian
ground, Mr Boas, who, as a traveller, is decidedly of the gossiping and
inquisitive class, fills three chapters with all manner of pleasant
chatter about himself, and his feelings, and his fancies, and the
travelling companions he meets with. His liveliness and versatility, and
a certain bantering satirical vein, in which he occasionally indulges,
would have caused us to take his work, had we met with it in an English
translation, for the production of a French rather than a German pen.

Leaving the railway at Angermunde, our traveller continues his journey
by the mail, in which he has two companions; a lady, "with an arm like
ivory," about whom he seems more than half inclined to build up a little
episodical romance, and a young man from the neighbouring town of
Pasewalk, "on whose thick lips," we are informed, "the genius of
stupidity seemed to have established its throne." This youth expressed
his great regret that the good old customs of Germany had become
obsolete, and expatiated on the necessity of striving to restore them.
"Those were fine times," he said, "when nobles made war on their own
account, burned down the villages, and drove the cattle of the peasants
on each other's territory. To themselves personally, however, they did
no harm; and if by chance Ritter Jobst fell into the hands of Ritter
Kurt, the latter would say, 'Ritter Jobst, you are my prisoner on
parole, and must pay me a ransom of five hundred thalers.' And thereupon
they passed their time right joyously together, drinking and hunting the
livelong day. But Ritter Jobst wrote to his seneschal that, by fair
means or foul, he must squeeze the five hundred thalers out of his
subjects, who were in duty bound to pay, to enable their gracious lord
to return home again. Those were the times," concluded the young
Pasewalker, "and of such times should I like to witness the return."

Now, Mr Boas considerably disapproved of these aspirations after the
days of the robber knights, and he accordingly, to avoid hearing any
more of them, took a nap in his corner, which helped him on nearly to

"This city," he says, "has acquired an undeserved renown through
Wallenstein's famous vow, 'to have it, though it were hung from heaven
by chains.' This puts me in mind of the trick of a reviewer who, by
enormous and exaggerated praise, induces us to read the stupid literary
production of some dear friend of his own. We take up the book with
great expectations, and find it--trash. It is easy to see that Stralsund
was founded by a set of dirty fish-dealers. Clumsy, gable-ended houses,
streets narrow and crooked, a wretched pavement--such is the city. A
small road along the shore, encumbered with timber, old casks, filth and
rubbish--such is the quay."

In this uninteresting place, Mr Boas is compelled to pass
eight-and-forty hours, waiting for a steamer. He fills up the time with
a little dissertation on Swedish and Pomeranian dialects, and with a
comical legend about a greedy monk, who bartered his soul to the devil
for a platter of lampreys. By a stratagem of the abbot's, Satan was
outwitted; and, taking himself off in a great rage, he dropped the
lampreys in the lake of Madue, near Stargard, where to this day they
are found in as great perfection as in the lakes of Italy and
Switzerland. This peculiarity, however, might be accounted for otherwise
than by infernal means, for Frederick the Great was equally successful
in introducing the sturgeon of the Wolga into Pomeranian waters, where
it is still to be met with.

A day's sail brings our traveller to the port of Ystad, where he
receives his first impressions of Sweden, which are decidedly
favourable. At sunrise the next morning he goes on board the steamer
Svithiod, bound from Lubeck to Stockholm. At the same time with himself
are shipped three wandering Tyrolese musicians, who are proceeding
northwards to give the Scandinavians a taste of their mountain melodies,
and two or three hundred pigs, all pickled; the pigs, that is to say. He
finds on board a numerous and agreeable society, of which and of the
passage he gives a graphic description.

"The ship's bell rang to summon us to breakfast. There is a certain epic
copiousness about a Swedish _frukost_. On first getting up in the
morning it is customary to take a _Kop caffe med skorpor_, a cup of
coffee and a biscuit, and in something less than two hours later one
sits down to a most abundant meal. This commences with a _sup_, that is
to say, a glass of carraway or aniseed brandy; then come tea, bread and
butter, ham, sausage, cheese and beer; and the whole winds up with a
warm _Kötträtt_, a beefsteak or cutlet."

Truly a solid and savoury repast. Whilst discussing it in the cabin of
the Svithiod, Mr Boas makes acquaintance with his fellow-voyagers.

     "At the top of the table sat our captain, a jovial pleasant man. He
     was very attentive to the passengers, had a prompt and friendly
     answer to every question; in short, he was a Swede all over. Near
     him were placed the families of two clergymen, in whose charge was
     also travelling a young Swedish countess, a charming,
     innocent-looking child, whose large dark eyes seemed destined, at
     no very distant period, to give more than one heartache. Beside
     them was a tall man, plainly dressed, and of military appearance.
     This was Count S----, (Schwerin, probably,) a descendant of that
     friend and lieutenant of Frederick the Great who, on the 6th May
     1757, purchased with his life the victory of Prague. He was
     returning from the hay-harvest on those estates which had belonged
     to his valiant forefather, whose heirs had long been kept out of
     them for lack of certain documents. But Frederick William III.
     said, 'Right is right, though wax and parchment be not there to
     prove it;' and he restored to the family their property, which is
     worth half-a-million.

     "The Count's neighbour was Fru Nyberg, a Swedish poetess, who
     writes under the name of Euphrosyne. In Germany, nobody troubles
     himself about the 'Dikter af Euphrosyne,' but every educated Swede
     knows them and their authoress. The latter may once have been
     handsome, but wrinkles have now crept in where roses formerly
     bloomed. Euphrosyne was born in 1785--authoresses purchase their
     fame dearly enough at the price of having their age put down in
     every lexicon. A black tulle cap with flame-coloured ribands
     covered her head; round her neck she wore a string of large amber
     beads, a gold watch-chain, and a velvet riband from which her
     eyeglass was suspended. She was quiet, and retiring, spoke little,
     and passed the greater portion of the day in the cabin. Fru Nyberg
     was returning from Paris, and had with her a young lady of
     distinguished family, Emily Holmberg by name. This young person
     possesses a splendid musical talent; her compositions are
     remarkable for charming originality, and are so much the more
     prized that the muse of Harmony has hitherto been but niggard of
     her gifts to the sons and daughters of Sweden. There was something
     particularly delicate and fairy-like in the whole appearance of
     this maiden, whose long curls floated round her transparent white
     temples, while her soft dove-like eyes had a sweet and slightly
     melancholy expression.

     "Next to Miss Holmberg, there sat a handsome young man, in a sort
     of loose caftan of green velvet. His name was Baron R----, and he
     was a descendant of the man who cast lots with Ankarström and
     Horn, which of them should kill the King. He had formerly been one
     of the most noted lions and _viveurs_ of Stockholm, but had
     latterly taken to himself a beautiful wife, and had become a more
     settled character; though his exuberant spirits and love of
     enjoyment still remained, and rendered him the gayest and most
     agreeable of travelling companions. Nagel, the celebrated violin
     player, and his lively little wife, were also among the passengers.
     They were returning from America, where he had been exchanging his
     silvery notes against good gold coin. Nagel is a Jew by birth, a
     most accomplished man, speaking seven languages with equal
     elegance, and much esteemed in the musical circles of Stockholm."

A young Swedish woman, named Maria, whose affecting little history Mr
Boas learns and tells us--an Englishman--"a thorough Englishman, who, as
long as he was eating, had no eyes or ears for any thing else," and a
French _commis voyageur_, travelling to get orders for coloured papers,
champagne, and silk goods, completed the list of all those of the party
who were any way worthy of mention. The Frenchman, Monsieur Robineau by
name, had a little ugly face, nearly hidden by an enormous beard, wore a
red cap upon his head, and looked altogether like a bandy-legged brownie
or gnome. The scene at daybreak the next morning is described with some

     "A dull twilight reigned in the cabin, the lamp was burning low and
     threatening to go out, the first glimmer of day was stealing in
     through the windows, and the Englishman had struck a light in order
     to shave himself. From each berth some different description of
     noise was issuing; the Lubecker was snoring loudly, Baron R---- was
     twanging a guitar, Monsieur Robineau singing a barcarole, and every
     body was calling out as loud as he could for something or other.
     Karl, the steward, was rushing up and down the cabin, so confused
     by the fifty different demands addressed to him, that he knew not
     how to comply with any one of them.

     "'Karl, clean my boots!'

     "'Ja, Herr.'

     "'Karl, some warm water and a towel.'

     "'Ja, Herr.'

     "'_Amis, la matinée est belle! Sur le rivage
     assemblez-vouz!_--Karl, the coffee!--_conduis ta barque avec
     prudence! Pêcheur, parle bas!_ ... Karl, the coffee!'

     "'Ja, Herr.'

     "'Karl, my carpet-bag!'

     "'Karl, are you deaf? Did you not hear me ask for warm water?'

     "'Ja, Herr.'

     "'_Jette tes filets en silence! Pêcheur, parle bas!_--Coffee,
     coffee, coffee!--_Le roi des mers ne t'échappera pas!_'

     "'Ja, Herr.'

     "'Karl, look at these boots! You must clean them again.'

     "'No, you must first find my carpet-bag.'

     "'Karl, you good-for-nothing fellow, if you do not bring me the
     water immediately, I will complain to the captain.'

     "'_Pêcheur, parle bas! Conduis ta barque avec prudence!_ ... Karl,
     the coffee, or by my beard I will have you impaled as soon as I am
     Emperor of Turkey!'

     "'Ja Herr! Ja, Herr! Ja, Herr!'"

Aided by the various talents and eccentricities of the passengers, by
the grimaces of the Frenchman, and the songs of the Tyrolese minstrels,
the time passed pleasantly enough; till, on the morning of the third day
after leaving Ystad, the Svithiod was at the entrance of Lake Maeler,
opposite the fortress of Waxholm, which presents more of a picturesque
than of an imposing appearance.

     "It consists of a few loopholed parapets and ramparts, and of a
     strong round tower of grey stone, looking very romantic but not
     very formidable, and nevertheless entirely commanding the narrow
     passage. A sentry, wrapped in his cloak, stood upon the wall and
     hailed us through a speaking-trumpet. At the very moment that the
     captain was about to answer, another steamer came round a bend of
     the channel, meeting the Svithiod point-blank. The sentinel
     impatiently repeated his summons, and for a moment there appeared
     to be some danger of our either running foul of the other boat, or
     getting a shot in our hull from the fort. They do not understand
     joking at Waxholm, as was learned a short time since to his cost by
     the commander of the Russian steamer Ischora, who did not reply
     when summoned. Hastily furnishing the required information to the
     castle, our captain shouted out the needful orders to his crew, and
     we passed on in safety.

     "The steamer which we now met bore the Swedish flag, and was
     conveying the Crown Prince Oscar (the grandson of a lawyer and a
     silk-mercer) and his wife, to Germany. They had left Stockholm in
     the night time, to avoid all public ceremony and formality. A crowd
     of artillerymen now lined the walls of Waxholm to give the usual
     salute, and we could hear the booming of the guns long after we
     were out of sight of ship and fort. In another hour I obtained my
     first view of Stockholm."

Stockholm, the Venice of the North, has been thought by many travellers
to present a more striking _coup-d'oeil_ than any other European
capital, Constantinople excepted. Built upon seven islands, formed by
inlets of the sea and the Maeler Lake, it spreads over a surface very
large in proportion to the number of its houses and inhabitants, and
exhibits a singular mixture of streets, squares, and churches, with
rock, wood, and water. The ground on which it stands is uneven, and in
many places declivitous; the different parts of the city are connected
by bridges, and on every side is seen the fresh green foliage of the
north. The natural canals which intersect Stockholm are of great depth,
and ships of large burden are enabled to penetrate into the very heart
of the town. The general style of building offers little to admire; the
houses being for the most part flat-fronted, monotonous, and graceless,
without any species of architectural decoration to relieve their
inelegant uniformity. It is the position of the city, the air of
lightness given to it by the water, which traverses it in every
direction, and the life and movement of the port, that form its chief
recommendations. In their architectural ideas the Swedes appear to be
entirely utilitarian, disdainful of ornament; and if a house of more
modern and tasteful build, with windows of a handsome size, cornices,
and entablatures, is here and there to be met with, it is almost certain
to have been erected by Germans or some other foreigners. The royal
palace, of which the first stone was laid in the reign of Charles XII.,
is a well-conceived and finely executed work; some of the churches are
also worthy of notice; but most of the public buildings derive their
chief interest, like the squares and market-places, from their
antiquity, or from historical associations connected with them. Few
cities offer richer stores to the lovers of the romance of history
than does the capital of Sweden. One edifice alone, the
Ritterhaus--literally, the House of Knights or Lords--in which the
Swedish nobility were wont to hold their Diets, would furnish
subject-matter for a score of romances. Not a door nor a window, scarce
a stone in the building, but tells of some sanguinary feud, or fierce
insurrection of the populace, in the troublous days of Sweden. From
floor to ceiling of the great hall in which the Diet held its sittings,
hang the coats of arms of Swedish counts, barons, and noblemen. A solemn
gloomy light pervades the apartment, and unites with the grave
black-blue coverings of the seats and balustrades, to convey the idea
that this is no arena for showy shallow orators, but a place in which
stern truth and naked reality have been wont to prevail. The chair of
Gustavus Vasa, of inlaid ivory, and covered with purple velvet, stands
in this room.

Mr Boas, the pages of whose book are thickly strewn with legends and
historical anecdotes, many of them interesting, devotes a chapter to the
Ritterhaus and its annals. One tragical history, connected with that
building, appears worthy of extraction:

     "One of the chief favourites of Gustavus III. was Count Armfelt, a
     young man of illustrious family, and of unusual mental and personal
     accomplishments. At an early age he entered the royal guards, and
     proved, during the war with Russia, that his courage in the field
     fully equalled his more courtierlike merits. He rapidly ascended in
     military grade, and, finally, the king appointed him governor of
     Stockholm, and named him President of the Council of Regency,
     which, in case of his death, was to govern Sweden during the
     minority of the heir to the throne. Shortly after these dignities
     had been conferred upon Armfelt, occurred the famous masquerade and
     the assassination of Gustavus.

     "Upon this event happening, a written will of the king's was
     produced, of more recent date than the appointment of the Count,
     and, according to which, the guardianship of the Prince Royal was
     to devolve upon Duke Karl Sundermanland, the brother of Gustavus.
     This was a weak, sensual, and vindictive prince, of limited
     capacity, and easily led by flattery and deceit. He belonged to a
     secret society, of which Baron Reuterholm was grand-master. A
     couple of mysterious and well-managed apparitions were sufficient
     to terrify the duke, and render him ductile as wax. The most
     implicit submission was required of him, and soon the crafty
     Reuterholm got the royal authority entirely into his own hands.
     There was discontent and murmuring amongst the true friends of the
     royal family, but Reuterholm's spies were ubiquitous, and a
     frowning brow or dissatisfied look was punished as a crime. Amongst
     others, Count Armfelt, who took no pains to conceal his indignation
     at the scandalous proceedings of those in power, was stripped of
     his offices, and ordered to set out immediately as ambassador to

     "This command fell like a thunderbolt upon the head of the Count,
     whom every public and private consideration combined to retain in
     Stockholm. Loath as he was to leave his country an undisputed prey
     to the knaves into whose hands it had fallen, he was perhaps still
     more unwilling to abandon one beloved being to the snares and
     dangers of a sensual and corrupt court.

     "It was on a September evening of the year 1792, and the light of
     the moon fell cold and clear upon the white houses of Stockholm,
     though the streets that intersected their masses were plunged in
     deep shadow, when a man, muffled in a cloak, and evidently desirous
     of avoiding observation, was seen making his way hastily through
     the darkest and least frequented lanes of that city. Stopping at
     last, he knocked thrice against a window-shutter; an adjacent door
     was opened at the signal, and he passed through a corridor into a
     cheerful and well-lighted apartment. Throwing off his cloak, he
     received and returned the affectionate greeting of a beautiful
     woman, who advanced with outstretched hand to meet him. The
     stranger was Count Armfelt--the lady, Miss Rudenskjöld--the most
     charming of the court beauties of the day. The colour left her
     cheek when she perceived the uneasiness of her lover; but when he
     told her of the orders he had received, her head sank upon his
     breast, and her large blue eyes swam in tears. Recovering, however,
     from this momentary depression, she vowed to remain ever true to
     her country and her love. The Count echoed the vow, and a kiss
     sealed the compact. The following morning a ship sailed from
     Stockholm, bearing the new ambassador to Naples.

     "Scarcely had Armfelt departed, when Duke Karl began to persecute
     Miss Rudenskjöld with his addresses. At first he endeavoured, by
     attention and flatteries, to win her favour; but her avoidance of
     his advances and society increased the violence of his passion,
     until at last he spoke his wishes with brutal frankness. With
     maidenly pride and dignity, the lady repelled his suit, and
     severely stigmatized his insolence. Foaming with rage, the duke
     left her presence, and from that moment his love was exchanged for
     a deadly hatred.

     "Baron Reuterholm had witnessed with pleasure the growth of the
     regent's passion for the beautiful Miss Rudenskjöld; for he knew
     that the more pursuits Duke Karl had to occupy and amuse him, the
     more undivided would be his own sway. It was with great
     dissatisfaction, therefore, that he received an account of the
     contemptuous manner in which the proud girl had treated her royal
     admirer. The latter insisted upon revenge, full and complete
     revenge, and Reuterholm promised that he should have it. Miss
     Rudenskjöld's life was so blameless, and her conduct in every
     respect so correct, that it seemed impossible to invent any charge
     against her; but Reuterholm set spies to work, and spies will
     always discover something. They found out that she kept up a
     regular correspondence with Count Armfelt. Their letters were
     opened, and evidence found in them of a plan to declare the young
     prince of age, or at least to abstract Duke Karl from the
     corrupting influence of Reuterholm. The angry feelings entertained
     by the latter personage towards Miss Rudenskjöld were increased
     tenfold by this discovery, and he immediately had her thrown into
     prison. She was brought to trial before a tribunal composed of
     creatures of the baron, and including the Chancellor Sparre, a man
     of unparalleled cunning and baseness, than whom Satan himself could
     have selected no better advocate. During her examination, Fraulein
     von Rudenskjöld was most cruelly treated, and the words of the
     correspondence were distorted, with infamous subtlety, into
     whatever construction best suited her accusers. Sparre twisted his
     physiognomy, which in character partook of that of the dog and the
     serpent, into a thoughtful expression, and regretted that,
     according to the Swedish laws, the offence of which Miss
     Rudenskjöld was found guilty, could not be punished by the lash.
     The pillory, and imprisonment in the Zuchthaus, the place of
     confinement for the most guilty and abandoned of her sex, formed
     the scarce milder sentence pronounced upon the unfortunate victim.

     "It was early on an autumn morning--a thick canopy of grey clouds
     overspread the heavens--and the dismal half-light which prevailed
     in the streets of Stockholm made it difficult to decide whether or
     not the sun had yet risen. A cold wind blew across from Lake
     Maeler, and caused the few persons who had as yet left their houses
     to hasten their steps along the deserted pavement. Suddenly a
     detachment of soldiers arrived upon the square in front of the
     Ritterhaus, and took up their station beside the pillory. The
     officer commanding the party was a slender young man of agreeable
     countenance; but he was pale as death, and his voice trembled as he
     gave the words of command. The prison-gate now opened, and Miss
     Rudenskjöld came forth, escorted by several jailers. Her cheeks
     were whiter than the snow-white dress she wore; her limbs trembled;
     her long hair hung in wild dishevelment over her shoulders, and yet
     was she beautiful--beautiful as a fading rose. They led her up the
     steps of the pillory, and the executioner's hand was already
     stretched out to bind her to the ignominious post, when she cast a
     despairing glance upon the bystanders, as though seeking aid. As
     she did so, a shrill scream of agony burst from her lips. She had
     recognised in the young officer her own dearly-loved brother, who,
     by a devilish refinement of cruelty, had been appointed to command
     the guard that was to attend at her punishment.

     "Strong in her innocence, the delicate and gently-nurtured girl had
     borne up against all her previous sufferings; but this was too
     much. Her senses left her, and she fell fainting to the ground. Her
     brother also swooned away, and never recovered his unclouded
     reason. To his dying day his mind remained gloomy and unsettled.
     The very executioners refused to inflict further indignity on the
     senseless girl, and she was conducted back to her dungeon, where
     she soon recovered all the firmness which she had already displayed
     before her infamous judges.

     "Meanwhile Armfelt was exposed in Italy to the double danger of
     secret assassination, and of a threatened requisition from the
     Swedish government for him to be delivered up. He sought safety in
     flight, and found an asylum in Germany. His estates were
     confiscated, his titles, honours, and nobility declared forfeit,
     and he himself was condemned by default as a traitor to his

Concerning the ultimate fate of this luckless pair of lovers, Mr Boas
deposeth not, but passes on to an account of the disturbances in 1810,
when the Swedish marshal, Count Axel Fersen, suspected by the populace
as cause of the sudden death of the Crown Prince, Charles Augustus, was
attacked, while following the body of the prince through the streets of
Stockholm. He was sitting in full uniform in his carriage, drawn by six
milk-white horses, when he was assailed with showers of stones, from
which he took refuge in a house upon the Ritterhaustmarkt. In spite of
the exertions of General Silversparre, at the head of some dragoons, the
mob broke into the house, and entered the room in which Fersen was. He
folded his hands, and begged for mercy, protesting his innocence. But
his entreaties were in vain. A broad-shouldered fellow, a shopkeeper,
named Lexow, tore off his orders, sword, and cloak, and threw them
through the window to the rioters, who with furious shouts reduced them
to fragments. Silversparre then proposed to take the count to prison,
and have him brought to trial in due form. But, on the way thither, the
crowd struck and ill-treated the old man; and, although numerous troops
were now upon the spot, these remained with shouldered arms, and even
their officers forbade their interference. They appeared to be there to
attend an execution rather than to restore order. The mob dragged the
unfortunate Fersen to the foot of Gustavus Vasa's statue, and there beat
and ill-treated him till he died. It was remarked of the foremost and
most eager of his persecutors, that although dressed as common sailors,
their hands were white and delicate, and linen of fine texture peeped
betrayingly forth from under their coarse outer garments. Doubtless more
than one long-standing hatred was on that day gratified. It was still
borne in mind, that Count Fersen's father had been the chief instrument
in bringing Count Eric Brahe, and several other nobles, to the scaffold,
upon the very spot where, half a century later, his son's blood was
poured out.

The murder of the Count-Marshal was followed by an attack upon the house
of his sister, the Countess Piper; but she had had timely notice, and
escaped by water to Waxholm. Several officers of rank, who strove to
pacify the mob, were abused, and even beaten; until at length a combat
ensued between the troops and the people, and lasted till nightfall,
when an end was put to it by a heavy fall of rain. The number of killed
and wounded on that day could never be ascertained.

These incidents are striking and dramatic--fine stuff for novel writers,
as Mr Boas says--but we will turn to less sanguinary subjects. In a
letter to a female friend, who is designated by the fanciful name of
Eglantine, we have a sketch of the present state of Swedish poetry and
literature. According to the account here given us, Olof von Dalin, who
was born in Holland in 1763, was the first to awaken in the Swedes a
real and correct taste for the _belles lettres_. This he did in great
measure by the establishment of a periodical called the _Argus_. He
improved the style of prose writing, and produced some poetry, which
latter appears, however, to have been generally more remarkable for
sweetness than power. We have not space to follow Mr Boas through his
gallery of Swedish _literati_, but we will extract what he says
concerning three authoresses, whose works, highly popular in their own
country and in Germany, have latterly attracted some attention in
England. These are--Miss Bremer, Madame Flygare-Carlén, and the Baroness
Knorring, the delineators of domestic, rural, and aristocratic life in

     "Frederica Bremer was born in the year 1802. After the death of her
     father, a rich merchant and proprietor of mines, she resided at
     Schonen, and subsequently with a female friend in Norway. She now
     lives with her mother and sister alternately in the Norrlands
     Gatan, at Stockholm, or at their country seat at Arsta. If I were
     to talk to you about Miss Bremer's romances, you would laugh at me,
     for you are doubtless ten times better acquainted with them than I
     am. But you are curious, perhaps, to learn something about her
     appearance, and _that_ I can tell you.

     "You will not expect to hear that Miss Bremer, a maiden lady of
     forty, retains a very large share of youthful bloom; but,
     independently of that, she is really any thing but handsome. Her
     thin wrinkled physiognomy is, however, rendered agreeable by its
     good-humoured expression, and her meagre figure has the benefit of
     a neat and simple style of dress. From the style of her writings, I
     used always to take her to be a governess; and she looks exactly
     like one. She knows that she is not handsome, and on that account
     has always refused to have her portrait taken; the one they sell of
     her in Germany is a counterfeit, the offspring of an artist's
     imagination, stimulated by speculative book-sellers. This summer,
     there was a quizzing paragraph in one of the Swedish papers, saying
     that a painter had been sent direct from America to Rome and
     Stockholm, to take portraits of the Pope and of Miss Bremer.

     "In Sweden, the preference is given to her romance of _Hemmet_,
     (Home,) over all her other works. Any thing like a bold originality
     of invention she is generally admitted to lack, but she is skilled
     in throwing a poetical charm over the quiet narrow circle of
     domestic life. She is almost invariably successful in her female
     characters, but when she attempts to draw those of men, her
     creations are mere caricatures, full of emptiness and
     improbability. Her habit of indulging in a sort of aimless and
     objectless philosophizing vein, _à propos_ of nothing at all, is
     also found highly wearisome. For my part, it has often given me an
     attack of nausea. She labours, however, diligently to improve
     herself; and, when I saw her, she had just been ordering at a
     bookseller's two German works--Bossen's _Translation of Homer_, and
     Creuzer's _Symbolics_.

     "Emily Flygare is about thirty years of age. She is the daughter of
     a country clergyman, and has only to write down her own
     recollections in order to depict village life, with its pains and
     its pleasures. Accordingly, that is her strongest line in
     authorship; and her book, _Kyrkoinvigningen_, (the Church
     Festival,) has been particularly successful. Married in early life
     to an officer, she contracted, after his death, several
     engagements, all of which she broke off, whereby her reputation in
     some degree suffered. At last she gave her hand to Carlén, a very
     middling sort of poet, some years younger than she is; and she now
     styles herself--following the example of Madame Birch-Pfeiffer, and
     other celebrated singers--Flygare-Carlén. She lives very happily at
     Stockholm with her husband, and is at least as good a housewife as
     an authoress, not even thinking it beneath her dignity to
     superintend the kitchen. Her great modesty as to her own merits,
     and the esteem she expresses for her rivals, are much to her
     credit. She is a little restless body, and does not like sitting
     still. Her countenance is rather pleasing than handsome, and its
     charm is heightened by the lively sparkle of her quick dark eyes.

     "The third person of the trio is the Baroness Knorring, a very
     noble lady, who lives far away from Stockholm, and is married to an
     officer. She is between thirty and forty years old, and it is
     affirmed that she would be justified in exclaiming with
     Wallenstein's Thekla--

       'Ich habe gelebt und geliebet.'

     She was described to me as nervous and delicate, which is perhaps
     the right temperament to enable her accurately to depict in her
     romances the strained artificiality and silken softness of
     aristocratic existence. Her style also possesses the needful
     lightness and grace, and she accordingly succeeds admirably in her
     sketches of high life, with all its elegant nullities and
     spiritless pomp. One of her best works is the romance of
     _Cousinerna_, (The Cousins,) which, as well as the other works of
     Knorring, Bremer, and Flygare, has been placed before the German
     public by our diligent translators."

Upon the subjects of Swedish society and conversation, Mr Boas is
pleased to be unusually funny. Like the foreigner who asserted that
Goddam was the root of the English language, he seems prepared to
maintain that two monosyllables constitute the essence of the Swedish
tongue, and that they alone are required to carry on an effective and
agreeable dialogue. "It is not at all difficult," he says, "to keep up a
conversation with a Swede, when you are once acquainted with a certain
mystical formula, whereby all emotions and sentiments are to be
expressed, and by the aid of which you may love and hate, curse and
bless, be good-humoured or satirical, and even witty. The mighty and
all-sufficing words are, '_Ja so!_' (Yes, indeed!) usually pronounced
_Jassoh_. It is wonderful to hear the infinite variety of modulation
which a Swede gives to these two insignificant syllables. Does he hear
some agreeable intelligence, he exclaims, with sparkling eyes and brisk
intonation, 'Ja so!' If bad news are brought to him, he droops his head,
and, after a pause, murmurs mournfully, 'Ja so!' The communication of an
important affair is received with a thoughtful 'Ja so!' a joke elicits a
humorous one; an attempt to banter or deceive him is met by a sarcastic
repetition of the same mysterious words.

     "A romance might be constructed out of these four letters.
     Thus:--Lucy is sitting at her window, when a well-known messenger
     brings her a bouquet. She joyfully exclaims, 'Ja so!' and presses
     the flowers to her lips. A friend comes in; she shows her the
     flowers, and the friend utters an envious 'Ja so!' Soon afterwards
     Lucy's lover hears that she is faithless; he gnashes his teeth, and
     vociferates a furious 'Ja so!' He writes to tell her that he
     despises her, and will never see her again; whereupon she weeps,
     and says to herself, between two tears, 'Ja so!' She manages,
     however, to see him, and convinces him that she has been
     calumniated. He clasps her in his arms, and utters a 'Ja so!'
     expressive of entire conviction. Suddenly his brow becomes clouded,
     and muttering a meditative 'Ja so!' he remembers that a peremptory
     engagement compels him to leave her. He seeks out the man who has
     sought to rob him of his mistress, and reproaches him with his
     perfidy. This rival replies by a cold, scornful 'Ja so!' and a
     meeting is agreed upon. The next day they exchange shots, and I
     fully believe that the man who is killed sighs out with his last
     breath 'Ja so!' His horror-stricken antagonist exclaims 'Ja so!'
     and flies the country; and surgeon, relations, friends, judge, all,
     in short, who hear of the affair, will inevitably cry out, 'Ja so!'
     Grief and joy, doubt and confidence, jest and anger, are all to be
     rendered by those two words."

The province of Dalarna, or Dalecarlia, which lies between Nordland and
the Norwegian frontier, and in which Miss Bremer has laid the scene of
one of her most recent works, is spoken of at some length by Mr Boas,
who considers it to be, in various respects, the most interesting
division of Sweden. Its inhabitants, unable to find means of subsistence
in their own poor and mountainous land, are in the habit of wandering
forth to seek a livelihood in more kindly regions, and Mr Boas likens
them in this respect to the Savoyards. They might, perhaps, be more
aptly compared to the Galicians, who leave their country, not, as many
of the Savoyards do, to become beggars and vagabonds, by the aid of a
marmoset and a grinding organ, but to strive, by the hardest labour and
most rigid economy, to accumulate a sum that will enable them to return
and end their lives in their native village.

     "The dress of the Dalecarlians (_dale carls_, or men of the valley)
     consists of a sort of doublet and leathern apron, to the latter of
     which garments they get so accustomed that they scarcely lay it
     aside even on Sundays. Above that they wear a short overcoat of
     white flannel. Their round hats are decorated with red tufts, and
     their breeches fastened at the knees with red ties and tassels. The
     costume of their wives and daughters, who are called Dalecullen,
     (women of the valley,) is yet more peculiar and outlandish. It is
     composed of a coloured cap, fitting close to the head, of a boddice
     with red laces, a gown, usually striped with red and green, and of
     scarlet stockings. They wear enormous shoes, large, awkward, and
     heavy, made of the very thickest leather, and adorned with the
     eternal red frippery. The soles are an inch thick, with huge heels,
     stuck full of nails, and placed, not where the heel of the foot is,
     but in front, under the toes; and as these remarkable shoes _lift_
     at every step, the heels of the stockings are covered with leather.
     On Sundays, ample white shirt-sleeves, broad cap-ribands, and large
     wreaths of flowers are added to this singular garb, amongst the
     wearers of which pretty faces and laughing blue eyes are by no
     means uncommon.

     "The occupations of these women are of the rudest and most
     laborious description. They may be literally said to earn their
     bread by the sweat of their brow, and their hands are rendered
     callous as horn by the nature of their toil. They act as
     bricklayers' labourers, and carry loads of stones upon their
     shoulders and up ladders. Besides this, it is a monopoly of theirs
     to row a sort of boat, which is impelled by machinery imitating
     that of a steamer, but worked by hand. These are tolerably large
     vessels, having paddle-wheels fitted to them, which are turned from
     within. Each wheel is worked by two young Dalecarlian girls, who
     perform this severe labour with the utmost cheerfulness, while an
     old woman steers. They pass their lives upon the water, plying from
     earliest dawn till late in the night, and conveying passengers, for
     a trifling copper coin, across the broad canals which intersect
     Stockholm in every direction. Cheerful and pious, the bloom of
     health on her cheeks, and the fear of God in her heart, the
     Dalecarlian maiden is contented in her humble calling. On Sunday
     she would sooner lose a customer than miss her attendance at
     church. One sorrowful feeling, and only one, at times saddens her
     heart, and that is the _Heimweh_, the yearning after her native
     valley, when she longs to return to her wild and beautiful country,
     which the high mountains encircle, and the bright stream of the
     Dalelf waters. There she has her father and mother, or perhaps a
     lover, as poor as herself, and she sees no possibility of ever
     earning enough to enable her to return home, and become his wife.

     "It was in this province that I now found myself, and its
     inhabitants pleased me greatly. Nature has made them hardy and
     intelligent, for their life is a perpetual struggle to extract a
     scanty subsistence from the niggard and rocky soil. Unenervated by
     luxury, uncorrupted by the introduction of foreign vices, they have
     been at all periods conspicuous for their love of freedom, for
     their penetration in discovering, and promptness in repelling,
     attacks upon it. Faithful to their lawful sovereign, they yet
     brooked no tyranny; and when invaders entered the land, or bad
     governors oppressed them, they were ever ready to defend their just
     rights with their lives. From the remotest periods, such has been
     the character of this people, which has preserved itself
     unsophisticated, true, and free. It is interesting to trace the
     history of the Dalecarlians. Isolated in a manner from the rest of
     the world amongst their rugged precipices and in their lonely
     valleys, it might be supposed they would know nothing of what
     passed without; yet whenever the moment for action has come, they
     have been found alert and prepared.

     "At the commencement of the fifteenth century, Eric XIII., known
     also as the Pomeranian, ascended the Swedish throne. His own
     disposition was neither bad nor good, but he had too little
     knowledge of the country he was called upon to reign over; and his
     governors and vice-gerents, for the most part foreigners,
     tyrannized unsparingly over the nation. The oppressed people
     stretched out their hands imploringly to the king; but he, who was
     continually requiring fresh supplies of money for the prosecution
     of objectless wars, paid no attention to their complaints. Of all
     his Vögte, or governors, not one was so bad and cruel as Jesse
     Ericson, who dwelt at Westeraes, and ruled over Dalarna. He laid
     enormous imposts on the peasantry, and when they were unable to
     pay, he took every thing from them, to their last horse, and
     harnessed themselves to the plough. Pregnant matrons were compelled
     at his command to draw heavy hay-waggons, women and girls were
     shamefully outraged by him, and persons possessing property
     unjustly condemned, in order that he might take possession of their
     goods. When the peasants came to him to complain, he had them
     driven away with stripes, or else cut off their ears, or hung them
     up in the smoke till they were suffocated.

     "Then the men of Dalarna murmured; they assembled in their valleys,
     and held counsel together. An insurrection was decided upon, and
     Engelbrecht of Falun was chosen to head it, because, although small
     of stature, he had a courageous heart, and knew how to talk or to
     fight, as occasion required. He repaired to Copenhagen, laid the
     just complaints of his countrymen before the king, and pledged his
     head to prove their truth. Eric gave him a letter to the
     counsellors of state, some of whom accompanied him back to Dalarna,
     and convinced themselves that the distress of the province was
     inconceivably great. They exposed this state of things to the king
     in a letter, with which Engelbrecht returned to Copenhagen. But, on
     seeking audience of Eric, the latter cried out angrily, 'You do
     nothing but complain! Go your ways, and appear no more before me.'
     So Engelbrecht departed, but he murmured as he went, 'Yet once more
     will I return.'

     "Although the counsellors themselves urged the king to appoint
     another governor over Dalecarlia, he did not think fit to do so.
     Then, in the year 1434, so soon as the sun had melted the snow, the
     Dalecarlians rose up as one man, marched through the country, and
     Jesse Ericson fled before them into Denmark. They destroyed the
     dwellings of their oppressors, drove away their hirelings and
     retainers, and Engelbrecht advanced, with a thousand picked men, to
     Wadstena, where he found an assembly of bishops and counsellors.
     From these he demanded assistance, but they refused to accord it,
     until Engelbrecht took the bishop of Linköping by the collar, to
     deliver him over to his followers. Thereupon they became more
     tractable, and renounced in writing their allegiance to Eric, on
     the grounds that he had 'made bishops of ignorant ribalds,
     entrusted high offices to unworthy persons, and neglected to punish
     tyrannical governors.' The Dalecarlians advanced as far as Schonen,
     where Engelbrecht concluded a truce, and dismissed them. His army
     had consisted of ten thousand peasants, all burning with anger
     against their oppressors, and without military discipline; yet, to
     his great credit be it said, not a single excess or act of plunder
     had been committed.

     "On hearing of these disturbances, the king repaired in all haste
     to Stockholm, whereupon Engelbrecht again summoned his followers,
     and marched upon the capital, in which Eric entrenched himself with
     various nobles and governors, who had burned down their castles,
     and hastened to join him. Things looked threatening, but
     nevertheless ended peaceably, for Eric was afraid of the Swedes. He
     obtained peace by promising that in future the provinces, with few
     exceptions, should name their own governors, and that Engelbrecht
     should be vögt at Oerebro. As usual, however, he broke his word,
     and, before sailing for Denmark, he appointed as vögt a man who was
     a notorious pirate, a robber of churches, and abuser of women. For
     the third time the peasants revolted. In the winter of 1436 they
     appeared before Stockholm, which they took, the burghers themselves
     helping them to burst open the gates. Engelbrecht seized upon one
     fortress after another, meeting no resistance from King Eric, who
     fled secretly to Pomerania, leaving the war and his kingdom to take
     care of themselves. Several members of the council followed him
     thither, and, after some persuasion, brought him back with them.

     "In the midst of these changes and commotions, Engelbrecht was
     treacherously assassinated by the son of that bishop whom he had
     formerly affronted at Wadstena. With tears and lamentations, the
     boors fetched the body of their brave and faithful leader from the
     little island where his death had occurred, and which to this day
     bears his name. The spot on which the murder was committed is said
     to be accursed, and no grass ever grows there. Subsequently the
     coffin was brought to the church at Oerebro, and so exalted was the
     opinion entertained of Engelbrecht's worth and virtue, that the
     country people asserted that miracles were wrought at his tomb, as
     at the shrine of a saint."

It was nearly a century later that Gustavus Vasa, flying, with a price
upon his head, from the assassins of his father and friends, took refuge
in Dalecarlia. Disguised in peasant's garb, and with an axe in his hand,
he hired himself as a labourer; but was soon recognised, and his
employer feared to retain him in his service. He then appealed to the
Dalecarlians to espouse his cause; but, although they admired and
sympathised with the gallant youth who thus placed his trust in them,
they hesitated to take up arms in his behalf; and, hopeless of their
assistance, he at last turned his steps towards Norway. But scarcely
had he done so, when the incursion of a band of Danish mercenaries sent
to seek him, and the full confirmation of what he had told them
concerning the massacre at Stockholm, roused the Dalecarlians from their
inaction. The tocsin was sounded throughout the provinces, the Danes
were driven away, and the two swiftest runners in the country bound on
their snow-shoes, and set out with the speed of the wind to bring back
the royal fugitive. They overtook him at the foot of the Norwegian
mountains, and soon afterwards he found himself at the head of five
thousand white-coated Dalecarlians.

The Danes were approaching, and one of their bishops asked--"How many
men the province of Dalarna could furnish?"

"At least twenty thousand," was the reply; "for the old men are just as
strong and as brave as the young ones."

"But what do they all live upon?"

"Upon bread and water. They take little account of hunger and thirst,
and when corn is lacking, they make their bread out of tree-bark."

"Nay," said the bishop, "a people who eat tree-bark and drink water, the
devil himself would not vanquish, much less a man."

And neither were they vanquished. Like an avalanche from the mountains,
they fell upon their foes, beat them with clubs, and drove them into the
river. Their progress was one series of triumphs, till they placed
Gustavus Vasa on the throne of Sweden.

The last outbreak of the Dalecarlians was less successful. On the 19th
of June 1743, five thousand of these hardy and determined men appeared
before Stockholm, bringing with them in fetters the governor of their
province, and demanding the punishment of the nobles who had instigated
a war with Russia, and a new election of an heir to the crown. They were
not to be pacified by words; and even the next morning, when the old
King Frederick, surrounded by his general and guards, rode out to
harangue them, all he could obtain was the release of their prisoner. On
the other hand, they seized three pieces of cannon, and dragged them to
the square named after Gustavus Adolphus, where they posted themselves.

     "There were eight thousand men of regular troops in Stockholm, but
     these were not all to be depended upon, and it was necessary to
     bring up some detachments of the guards. A company of Süderländers
     who had been ordered to cross the bridge, went right about face, as
     soon as they came in sight of the Dalecarlians, and did not halt
     till they reached the sluicegate, which had been drawn up, so that
     nobody might pass. It was now proclaimed with beat of drum, that
     those of the Dalecarlians who should not have left the city by five
     o'clock, would be dealt with as rebels and traitors. More than a
     thousand did leave, but the others stood firm. Counsellors and
     generals went to them, and exhorted them to obedience; but they
     cried out that they would make and unmake the king, according to
     their own good right and decree, and that if it was attempted to
     hinder them, the very child in the cradle should meet no mercy at
     their hands. To give greater weight to their words, they fired a
     cannon and a volley of musketry, by which a counsellor was killed.

     "Orders were now given to the soldiers to fire, but they had pity
     on the poor peasants, and only aimed at the houses, shattering the
     glass in hundreds of windows. But the artillerymen were obliged to
     put match to touch-hole, and a murderous fire of canister did
     execution in the masses of the Dalecarlians. Many a white camisole
     was stained with the red heart's-blood of its wearer; fifty men
     fell dead upon the spot, eighty were wounded, and a crowd of others
     sprang into the Norderström, or sought to fly. The regiment of
     body-guards pursued them, and drove the discomfited boors into the
     artillery court. A severe investigation now took place, and these
     thirsters after liberty were punished by imprisonment and running
     the gauntlet. Their leader and five others were beheaded.

     "The Dalecarlians are a tenacious and obstinate people, and their
     character is not likely to change; but God forbid that they should
     again deem it necessary to visit Stockholm. They were doubtless
     just as brave in the year 1743 as in 1521 and 1434; but though
     _they_ had not altered, the times had. Civilization and cartridges
     are powerful checks upon undisciplined courage and an unbridled
     desire of liberty."

Returning from Dalecarlia to Stockholm, Mr Boas takes, not without
regret, his final farewell of that city, and embarks for Gothenburg,
passing through the Gotha canal, that splendid monument of Swedish
industry and perseverance, which connects the Baltic with the North Sea.
He passes the island of Mörkö, on which is Höningsholm Castle, where
Marshal Banner was brought up. A window is pointed out in the third
story of the castle, at which Banner, when a child, was once playing,
when he overbalanced himself and fell out. The ground beneath was hard
and rocky, but nevertheless he got up unhurt, ran into the house, and
related how a gardener had saved him by catching him in his white apron.
Enquiry was immediately made, but, far or near, no gardener was to be
found. By an odd coincidence, Wallenstein, Banner's great opponent, when
a page at Innspruck, also fell out of a high window without receiving
the least injury.

On the first evening of the voyage, the steamer anchors for the night
near Mem, a country-seat belonging to a certain Count Saltza, an
eccentric old nobleman, who traces his descent from the time of Charles
XII., and fancies himself a prophet and ghost-seer. His predictions
relate usually to the royal family or country of Sweden, and are
repeated from mouth to mouth throughout every province of the kingdom.
And here we must retract an assertion we made some pages back, as to the
possibility of our supposing this book to proceed from any other than a
German pen. No one but a German would have thought it necessary or
judicious to intrude his own insipid sentimentalities into a narrative
of this description, and which was meant to be printed. But there is
probably no conceivable subject on which a German could be set to write,
in discussing which he would not manage to drag in, by neck and heels, a
certain amount of sentiment or metaphysics, perhaps of both. Mr Boas, we
are sorry to say, is guilty of this sin against good taste. The steamer
comes to an anchor about ten o'clock, and he goes ashore with Baron
K----, a friend he has picked up on board, to take a stroll in the
Prophet's garden at Mem. There they encounter Mesdemoiselles Ebba and
Ylfwa, lovely and romantic maidens, who sit in a bower of roses under
the shadow of an umbrageous maple-tree, their arms intertwined, their
eyes fixed upon a moonbeam, piping out Swedish melodies, which, to our
two swains, prove seductive as the songs of a Siren. The moonbeam
aforesaid is kind enough to convert into silver all the trees, bushes,
leaves and twigs in the vicinity of the young ladies with the
Thor-and-Odin names; whilst to complete this German vision, a white bird
with a yellow tuft upon its head stands sentry upon a branch beside
them, the said bird being, we presume, a filthy squealing cockatoo,
although Mr Boas, gay deceiver that he is, evidently wishes us to infer
that it was an indigenous volatile of the phoenix tribe. Sentinel
Cockatoo, however, was caught napping, and the garrison of the bower had
to run for it. And now commences a series of hopes and fears, and doubts
and anxieties, and sighings and perplexities, which keep the tender
heart of Boas in a state of agreeable palpitation, through four or five
chapters; at the end of which he steps on board the steam-boat
Christiana, blows in imagination a farewell kiss to Miss Ebba, of whom,
by the bye, he has never obtained more than half a glimpse, and awaking,
as he tells us, from his love-dream, which we should call his nightmare,
sets sail for Copenhagen.

Of the various places visited by Mr Boas during his ramble, few seem to
have pleased him better than Copenhagen, and he becomes quite
enthusiastic when speaking of that city, and of what he saw there. The
pleasure he had in meeting Thorwaldsen is perhaps in part the cause of
his remembering the Danish capital with peculiar favour. He gives
various details concerning that celebrated sculptor, his character and
habits, and commences the chapter, which he styles, "A Fragment of
Italy in the North," with a comparison between Sweden and Denmark, two
countries which, both in trifling and important matters, but especially
in the character of their inhabitants, are far more dissimilar than from
their juxtaposition might have been supposed. Listen to Mr Boas.

     "On meeting an interesting person for the first time, one
     frequently endeavours to trace a resemblance with some previous
     acquaintance or friend. I have a similar propensity when I visit
     interesting cities; but I had difficulty in calling to mind any
     place to which I could liken Copenhagen. Between Sweden and Denmark
     generally, there are more points of difference than of resemblance.
     Sweden is the land of rocks, and Denmark of forest. Oehlenschlägel
     calls the latter country, 'the fresh and grassy,' but he might also
     have added 'the cool and wooded.'

     "The Swedish language is soft and melodious, the Danish sharp and
     accentuated. The former is better suited to lyrical, the latter to
     dramatic poetry.

     "When a Swede laughs, he still looks more serious than a Dane who
     is out of humour. In Sweden, the people are quiet, even when
     indulging in the pleasures they love best; in Denmark there is no
     pleasure without noise. In a political point of view, the
     difference between the two nations is equally marked. Beyond the
     Sound, all demonstrations are made with fierce earnestness; on this
     side of it, satire and wit are the weapons employed. On the one
     hand shells and heavy artillery, on the other, light and brilliant
     rockets. The Swedes have much liberty of the press and very little
     humour; the Danes have a great deal of humour and small liberty of
     the press. As a people, the former are of a choleric and melancholy
     temperament, the latter of a sanguine and phlegmatic one.

     "Whilst the Swedish national hatred is directed against Russia,
     that of Denmark takes England for its object. Finland and the fleet
     are not yet forgotten.

     "The Swede is constantly taking off his hat; the Dane always shakes
     hands. The former is courteous and sly, the latter simple and

     "If Denmark has little similarity with its northern neighbour,
     neither has it any marked point of resemblance with its southern
     one. It always reminds me of the _tongue_ of a balance, vibrating
     between Sweden and Germany, and inclining ever to that side on
     which the greatest weight lies. Thus its literary tendency is
     German, its political one Swedish.

     "The best comparison that can be made of Denmark is with Italy; and
     to me, although I shall probably surprise the reader by saying so,
     Copenhagen appears like a part of Rome transplanted into the north.
     In some degree, perhaps, Thorwaldsen is answerable for this
     impression; for where he works and creates, one is apt to fancy
     oneself surrounded by that warm southern atmosphere in which nature
     and art best flourish. When he returned to Copenhagen, it was a
     festival day for the whole population of the city. A crew of gaily
     dressed sailors rowed him to land, and whilst they were doing so, a
     rainbow suddenly appeared in the heavens. The multitude assembled
     on the shore set up a shout of jubilation, to see that the sky
     itself assumed its brightest tints, to celebrate the return of
     their favourite.

     "I had been told that I should not see Thorwaldsen, because he was
     staying with the Countess Stampe. This lady is about forty years of
     age, and possesses that blooming _embonpoint_ which makes up in
     some women for the loss of youthful freshness. She became
     acquainted with the artist in Italy, and fascinated him to such a
     degree that he made her a present of the whole of his drawings,
     which are of immense artistical value. She excited much ill-will by
     accepting them, but at the same time it must in justice be owned,
     that Thorwaldsen is under great obligations to her. He had hardly
     arrived in Copenhagen, when innumerable invitations to breakfasts,
     dinners, and suppers were poured upon him. Every body wanted to
     have him; and, as he was known to love good living, the most
     sumptuous repasts were prepared for him. The sturdy old man, who
     had never been ill in his life, became pale and sickly, lost his
     taste for work, and was in a fair way to die of an indigestion,
     when the Countess Stampe stepped in to the rescue, carried him off
     to her country-seat, and there fitted him up a studio. His health
     speedily returned, and with it the energy for which he has always
     been remarkable, and he joyfully resumed the chisel and modelling

     "I had scarcely set foot in the streets of Copenhagen, when I saw
     Thorwaldsen coming towards me. I was sure that I was not mistaken,
     for no one who has ever looked upon that fine benevolent
     countenance, that long silver hair, clear, high forehead and gently
     smiling mouth--no one who has ever gazed into those divine blue
     orbs, wherein creative power seems so sweetly to repose, could ever
     forget them again. I went up and spoke to him. He remembered me
     immediately, shook my hand with that captivating joviality of
     manner which is peculiar to him, and invited me into his house. He
     inhabits the Charlottenburg, an old chateau on the Königsneumarkt,
     by crossing the inner court of which one reaches his studio. My
     most delightful moments in Copenhagen were passed there, looking on
     whilst he worked at the statues of deities and heroes--he himself
     more illustrious than them all. There they stand, those lifelike
     and immortal groups, displaying the most wonderful variety of form
     and attitude, and yet, strange to say, Thorwaldsen scarcely ever
     makes use of a model. His most recently commenced works were two
     gigantic allegorical figures, Samson and Aesculapius. The first was
     already completed, and I myself saw the bearded physiognomy of
     Aesculapius growing each day more distinct and perfect beneath the
     cunning hand of the master. The statues represent Strength and

In his house, and as a private individual, Thorwaldsen is as amiable and
estimable as in his studio. In the centre of one of his rooms is a
four-sided sofa, which was embroidered expressly for him by the fair
hands of the Copenhagen ladies. The walls are covered with pictures,
some of them very good, others of a less degree of merit. They were not
all bought on account of their excellence; Thorwaldsen purchased many of
them to assist young artists who were living, poor and in difficulties,
at Rome. Dressed in his blue linen blouse, he explained to his visitor
the subjects of these pictures, without the slightest tinge of vanity in
his manner or words. None of the dignities or honours that have been
showered upon him, have in the slightest degree turned his head.
Affable, cheerful, and even-tempered, he appears to have preserved, to
his present age of sixty, much of the joyous lightheartedness of youth.
With great glee he related to Mr Boas the trick he had played the
architects of the church of Our Lady at Copenhagen.

"Architects are obstinate people," said he, "and one must know how to
manage them. Thank God, that is a knowledge which I possess in a
tolerable degree. When the church of Our Lady was built, the architect
left six niches on either side of the interior, and these were to
contain the twelve apostles. In vain did I represent to them that
statues were meant to be looked at on all sides, and that nobody could
see through a stone wall; I implored, I coaxed them, it was all in vain.
Then thought I to myself, he is best served who serves himself, and
thereupon I made the statues a good half-foot higher than the niches.
You should have seen the length of the architects' faces when they found
this out. But they could not help themselves; the infernal sentry-boxes
were bricked up, and my apostles stand out upon their pedestals, as you
may have seen when you visited the church."

Thorwaldsen is devotedly attached to Copenhagen, and has made a present
to the city of all his works and collections, upon condition that a
fitting locality should be prepared for their reception, and that the
museum should bear his name. The king gave a wing of the Christiansburg
for this purpose, the call for subscriptions was enthusiastically
responded to, and the building is now well advanced. Its style of
architecture is unostentatious, and its rows of large windows will admit
a broad decided light upon the marble groups. Pending its completion,
the majority of the statues and pictures are lodged in the palace.

Mr Boas appears bent upon establishing his parallel between Denmark and
Italy. He traces it in the fondness of the Danes for art, poetry, and
music, in their gay and joyous character, and in their dress. He even
discovers an Italian punchinello figuring in a Danish puppet-show; and
as it was during the month of August that he found himself in Denmark,
the weather was not such as to dispel his illusions.

"It would be erroneous," he says, "to suppose that Danish costumes
weaken or obliterate the idea of a southern region conveyed by this
country. A Bolognese professor would not think of covering his head with
the red cap of a Lazzarone, and Roman marchesas dress themselves, like
Danish countesses, according to the _Journal des Modes_. National
costumes in all countries have taken refuge in villages, and the
peasants in the environs of Copenhagen have no reason to be ashamed of
their garb, which is both showy and picturesque. The men wear round hats
and dark-blue jackets, lined with scarlet and adorned with long
glittering rows of bullet-shaped buttons. The women are very tasteful in
their attire. Their dark-green gowns, with variegated borders, reach
down to their heels, and the shoulder-strap of the closely fitting
boddice is a band of gold lace. The chief pains are bestowed upon the
head-dress, which is various in its fashion, sometimes composed of clear
white stuff, with an embroidered lappet, falling down upon the neck;
sometimes of a cap of many colours, heavily embroidered with gold, and
having broad ribands of a red purple, which flutter over the shoulders.
One meets every where with this original sort of costume; for the
peasant women repair in great numbers to the festivals at the various
towns, and in Copenhagen they are employed as nurses to the children of
the higher classes.

     "During my sojourn in the Danish capital, the weather was so
     obliging as in no way to interfere with my Cisalpine illusions. The
     sky continued a spotless dome of lapis-lazuli, out of which the sun
     beamed like a huge diamond; and if now and then a little cloud
     appeared, it was no bigger than a white dove flitting across the
     blue expanse. The days were hot, a bath in the lukewarm sea
     scarcely cooled me, and at night a soft dreamy sort of vapour
     spread itself over the earth. I only remember one single moment
     when the peculiarities of a northern climate made themselves
     obvious. It was in the evening, and I was returning with my friend
     Holst from the delightful forest-park of Friedrichsberg. The sky
     was one immense blue prairie, across which the moon was solitarily
     wandering, when suddenly the atmosphere became illuminated with a
     bright and fiery light; a large flaming meteor rushed through the
     air, and, bursting with a loud report, divided itself into a
     hundred dazzling balls of fire. These disappeared, and immediately
     afterwards a white mist seemed to rise out of the earth, and the
     stars shone more dimly than before. Over stream and meadow rolled
     the fog, in strange fantastical shapes, floating like a silver
     gauze among the tree-stems and foliage, till it gradually wove
     itself into one close and impervious veil. To such appearances as
     these must legends of elves and fairies owe their origin."

It is something rather new for an author to introduce into his book a
criticism of another work on the same subject. This, Mr Boas, who
appears to be a bold man, tolerably confident in his own capabilities
and acquirements, has done, and in a very amusing, although not
altogether an unobjectionable manner. He must be sanguine, however, if
he expects his readers to place implicit faith in his impartiality.
Under the title of "A Tour in the North," he devotes a long chapter to a
bitter attack on the Countess Hahn-Hahn's book of that name. Here is its

     "A year previously to myself, Ida, Countess Hahn-Hahn, had visited
     Sweden, and the fruit of her journey was, as is infallible with
     that lady, a book. When I arrived at Stockholm, people were just
     reading it, and I found them highly indignant at the nonsense and
     misrepresentations it contains. When a German goes to Sweden he is
     received as a brother, with a warmth and heartiness which should
     make a doubly pleasing impression, if we reflect how important it
     is in our days to preserve a mutual confidence and good-will
     between nations. When meddling persons make the perfidious attempt
     to embitter a friendly people by scoffing and abuse, there should
     be an end to forbearance, and it becomes a duty to strike in with
     soothing words. We must show the Swedes how such scribblings are
     appreciated in Germany, lest they should think we take a pleasure
     in ridiculing what is noble and good."

And thereupon, Mr Boas does "strike in," as he calls it; but however
soothing his words may prove to his ill-used Swedish friends, we have
considerable doubts as to their emollient effect upon the Countess,
supposing always that she condescends to read them. He hits that lady
some very hard knocks, not all of them, perhaps, entirely undeserved;
makes out an excellent case for the Swedes, and proves, much more
satisfactorily to himself than to us, that Madame Hahn-Hahn is of a very
inferior grade of bookmaking tourists.

"In the first place" he says, "I declare that her work on Sweden is no
original, but a dull imitation of Gustavus Nicolai's notorious book,
'Italy, as it really is.' Like that author, the Countess labours
assiduously to collect together all the darkest shades and least
favourable points of the country and people she visits; exaggerates them
when she finds them, and invents them when she does not. For the
beauties of the country she has neither eye nor feeling; she
intentionally avoids speaking of them, and her book is meant, like that
of Nicolai, to operate as a warning, and scare away travellers. The good
lady says this very explicitly. 'Travellers are beginning to turn their
attention a good deal to the north, for the south is becoming
insufficient to gratify that universal rage for rambling, with which I
myself, as a true child of the century, am also infected. But the north
is so little known--I, for my part, only knew it through Dahl's poetical
landscapes--that one feels involuntarily disposed to deck it with the
colours of the south, because the south is beautiful, and the north is
said also to be so. Thus one is apt to set out with a delusion, and I
think it will therefore be an act of kindness to those who may visit
Sweden after me, if I say exactly how I found it.' Uncommonly good,
Gustavus the second. But it would be unfair to Nicolai to assert that
his book is as dull and nonsensical as that of the Countess Hahn-Hahn.
He went to Italy with the idea that it never rained there, and that
oranges grew on the hedges, as sloes do with us. This was childish, and
one could not help laughing at it. But when his imitatress perpetually
laments and complains, because on the Maeler lake, under the 59th degree
of latitude, she does not find the sultry southern climate--it becomes
worse than childish, and one is compelled to pity her. The Countess
chanced to hit upon a cool rainy month for her visit--I am wrong, she
was not a month in Scandinavia altogether--and thereupon she cries out
as if she were drowning, and despises both country and people."

It is easy to understand that there can be little sympathy between the
Countess Hahn-Hahn, an imaginative and somewhat capricious fine lady,
with strong aristocratic and exclusive tendencies, and such a
matter-of-fact person as Mr Boas, who, in spite of his sentimentality,
which is a sort of national infirmity, and although he informs us in one
part of his book that he is a poet, leans much more to the practical and
positive than to the imaginative and dreamy, and we moreover suspect is
a bit of a democrat. Having, however, taken the Countess _en grippe_, as
the French call it, he shows her no mercy, and, it must be owned,
displays some cleverness in hitting off and illustrating the weak points
of her character and writings.

"Hardly," he resumes, "has the female Nicolai reached Stockholm, when
she begins with her insipid comparisons. 'The golden brilliancy of
Naples and the magic spell of Venice are here entirely wanting.' Is it
possible? Only see what striking remarks this witty and travelled dame
does make! In the next page she says:--'Upon this very day, exactly one
year since, I was in Barcelona; but here there is nothing that will bear
comparison with the land of the aloe and the orange. Three years ago I
was on the Lake of Como, in that fairy garden beyond the Alps! Five
years ago in Vienna, amongst the rose-groves of Laxenburg;' &c. Who
cares in what places the Countess has been? Surely it is enough that she
has written long wearisome books about them. Every possible corner of
Italy, Spain, and Switzerland is dragged laboriously in, to furnish
forth comparisons; and soon, no doubt, a similar use will be made of
Egypt, Syria, and Mesopotamia. These comparisons are invariably shown to
be to the disadvantage of Sweden; and although the lady is oftentimes
compelled to confess to the beauty of a Swedish landscape, she never
forgets to qualify the admission, by observing how much more beautiful
such or such a place was. For example, she is standing one night at her
window, looking out on the Maeler lake. 'I wrapped my mantilla
shiveringly around me, stepped back from the window, shut it, and said
with a slight sigh: In Venice the moonlight nights were very different.'
Really this would be hardly credible, did any other than a countess
assure us of it."

     "Every thing in Sweden is disagreeable and adverse to her; roads,
     houses, food, people, and money; rocks, trees, rivers and flowers;
     but especially sun, sky, and air. She talks without ceasing of
     heavy clouds and pouring rains, but even this abundance of water is
     insufficient to mitigate the dryness of her book."

"I am always sorry," says a witty French writer, "when a woman becomes
an author: I would much rather she remained a woman." Does Mr Boas,
perchance, partake this implied opinion, that authorship unsexes; and is
it therefore that he allows himself to deal out such hard measure to the
Countess Ida? Even if we agreed with his criticisms, we should quarrel
with his want of gallantry. But it is tolerably evident that if Madame
Hahn-Hahn, finding herself on the shores of the Baltic, in a July that
might have answered to December in the sunny climes she had so recently
left, allowed her account of Swedes and Sweden to be shaded a little _en
noir_ by her own physical discomforts; it is evident, we say, that on
the other hand, our present author, either more favoured by the season,
or less susceptible of its influence, sins equally in the contrary
extreme, and throws a rosy tint over all that he portrays. Though
equally likely to induce into error, it is the pleasanter fault to those
persons who merely read the tour for amusement, without proposing to
follow in the footsteps of the tourist. Your complaining, grumbling
travellers are bores, whether on paper or in a post-chaise; and, truth
to tell, we have noticed in others of the Countess's books a disposition
to look on the dark side of things. But this is not always the case,
and, when she gets on congenial ground, she shines forth as a writer of
a very high order. Witness her Italian tour, and her book upon Turkey
and Syria, with which latter, English readers have recently been made
acquainted through an admirable translation, by the accomplished author
of _Caleb Stukely_. She has her little conceits, and her little fancies;
rather an overweening pride of caste, and contempt for the plebeian
multitude, and an addiction to filling too many pages of her books with
small personal and egotistical details about herself, and her
sensations, and what dresses she wears, and how thin she is, and so on.
But with all her faults, she is unquestionably a very accomplished and
clever writer. Her criticisms on subjects relating to art, and
especially her original and sparkling remarks on painting and
architecture, although qualified by Mr Boas as twaddle, stamp her at
once as a woman of no common order. She has profound and poetical
conceptions of Beauty, and at times a felicity of expression in
presenting the effects of nature and art upon her own mind, that strikes
and startles by its novelty and power. As a delineator of men and
manners, she is remarkable for shrewdness, subtle perception, and
truthfulness that cannot be mistaken. Should our readers doubt our
statements, or haply Mr Boas turn up his nose at the eulogium, we would
simply refer them and him to the last work that has fallen from her pen,
the Letters from the Orient, and bid them open it at the page which
brings them to a Bedouin encampment--a scene described with the vigour
that belongs to a masculine understanding, and all the fascination which
a feminine mind can bestow.

Still we are free to confess that the Countess has written perhaps
rather too much for the time she has been about it, and thus laid
herself open to an accusation of bookmaking, the prevailing vice of the
present race of authors. The incorrigible and merciless Mr Boas does not
let this pass.

"The question now remains to be asked," says he; "Why did Ida Hahn-Hahn,
upon leaving a country in which she had passed a couple of weeks--a
country of the language of which she confesses herself ignorant, and
with which she was in every respect thoroughly displeased, deem it
incumbent on her forthwith to write a thick book concerning it? The
answer is this: her pretended impulse to authorship is merely feigned,
otherwise she would not have troubled herself any further about such a
wearisome country as Sweden. Through three hundred and fifty pages does
she drag herself, grumbling as she goes; a single day must often fill a
score of pages, for travelling costs money, and the _honorarium_ is not
to be despised. If I thus accuse the Countess of bookmaking, I also feel
that such an accusation should be supported by abundant proof, and such
proof am I ready to give."

Oh fye, Boas! How can you be so ruthless? Besides the impolicy of
exposing the tricks of your trade, all this is very spiteful indeed. You
would almost tempt us, were it worth while, to take up the cudgels in
earnest in defence of the calumniated Countess, and to give you a crack
on the pate, which, as Maga is regularly translated into German for the
benefit and improvement of your countrymen, would entirely finish your
career, whether as poet, tour-writer, or any thing else. But seeing that
your conceits and lucubrations have afforded us one or two good laughs,
and considering, moreover, that you are of the number of those small fry
with which it is almost condescension for us to meddle, we will let you
off, and close this notice of your book, if not with entire approbation,
at least with a moderate meed of praise.


"Change of air! change of air!" Every body was in the same story.
"Medicine is of no use," said the doctor; "a little change of scene will
set all to rights again." I looked in the child's face--she was
certainly very pale. "And how long do you think she should stay away
from home?" "Two or three months will stock her with health for a whole
year." Two or three months!--oh, what a century of time that is, now
that we have railroads all over the world, and steam to the
Pyramids--where in all the wide earth are we to go? So we got maps of
all countries, and took advice from every one we saw. We shall certainly
go among hills, wherever we go; beautiful scenery if we can--but hills
and fresh air at all events. We heard of fine open downs, and an
occasional tempest, in the neighbourhood of Rouen. A steamer goes from
Portsmouth to Havre, and another delightful little river-boat up the
Seine. For a whole day we had determined on a visit to the burial-place
of William the Norman--the death-place of Joan of Arc; we had devised
little tours and detours all over the mysterious land that sent forth
the conquerors of England; but soon there cane "a frost, a nipping
frost,"--are we to be boxed up in an hotel in a French town the whole
time? No, we must go somewhere, where we can get a country-house--a
place on the swelling side of some romantic hill, where we can trot
about all day upon ponies, or ramble through fields and meadows at our
own sweet will. So we gave up all thoughts of Rouen. "I'll tell you
what, sir," said a sympathizing neighbour: "when I came home on my three
years' leave, I left the prettiest thing you ever saw, a perfect
paradise, and a bungalow that was the envy of every man in the
district." "Well?" I said with an enquiring look. "It's among the
Neilgherries; and as for bracing air, there isn't such a place in the
whole world. I merely mention it, you know; it's a little too far off,
perhaps; but if you like it, it is quite at your service, I assure
you." It was very tempting, but three months was scarcely long enough.
So we were at a nonplus. Scotland we thought of; and the Cumberland
lakes; and the Malvern hills; and the Peak of Derbyshire; and where we
might finally have fixed can never be known, for our plans were decided
by the advice of a friend, which was rendered irresistible by being
backed by his own experience. "Go to Wales," he said. "I lived in such a
beautiful place there three or four years ago--in the Vale of
Glasbury--a lovely open space, with hills all round it--admirable
accommodation at the Three Cocks, and the most civil and obliging
landlord that ever offered good entertainment for man and beast." Out
came the maps again; the route was carefully studied; and one day at the
end of May, we found ourselves, eight people in all, viz., four children
and two maids, in a railway coach at Gosport, fizzing up to Basingstoke.
There is such a feeling of life and earnestness about a railway
carriage;--the perpetual shake, and the continual swing, swing, on and
on, without a moment's pause, with the quick, bustling, breathless sort
of tramp of the engine--all these things, and forty others, put me in
such a state of intense activity that I felt as if I kept a shop--or was
a prodigious man upon 'Change--or was flying up to make a fortune--or
had suddenly been called to form an administration--or had become a
member of the prize ring, and was going up to fight white-headed Bob.
However, on this occasion I was not called upon either to overthrow
white-headed Bob of the ring, or long-headed Bob of the administration;
and at Basingstoke we suddenly found ourselves, bag and baggage, wife,
maids, and children, standing in a forlorn and disconsolate manner, at
the door of the station-house; while the train pursued its course, and
had already disappeared like a dream, or rather like a nightmare. There
were at least half-a-dozen little carriages, each with one horse; and
the drivers had, each and all of then, the audacity to offer to convey
us--luggage and all--sixteen miles across, to Reading. Why, there was
not a vehicle there that would have held the two trunks; and as to
conveying us all, it would have taken the united energies of all the
Flies in Basingstoke, with the help of the Industrious Fleas to boot, to
get us to our destination within a week. While in this perplexing
situation, wondering what people could possibly want with such an array
of boxes and bags, a quiet-looking man, who had stood by, chewing the
lash of a driving-whip in a very philosophical manner, said, "Please
sir, I'll take you all." "My good friend, have you seen the whole
party?" "Oh yes, sir, I brought a bigger nor yourn for this here
train--we have a fly on purpose." What a sensible man he must have been
who devised a vehicle so much required by unhappy sires that are ordered
to remove their Lares for change of air! "Bring round the ark," we
cried; and in a minute came two very handsome horses to the door,
drawing a thing that was an aggravated likeness of the old hackney
coaches, with a slight cross of an omnibus in its breed. It held seven
inside with perfect ease, and would have held as many more as might be
required; and it carried all the luggage on the top with an air of as
much ease as if it had only been a bonnet, and it was rather proud than
otherwise of its head-dress. The driving seat was as capacious as the
other parts of the machine, and we had much interesting conversation
with the Jehu--whose epithets, we are sorry to say, as applied to
railroads, were of that class of adjectives called the emphatic. There
is to be a cross line very shortly between Basingstoke and Reading,
uniting the South-Western and Great Western Railways--and then, what is
to become of the tremendous vehicle and its driver? The coach, to be
sure, may be retained as a specimen of Brobdignaggian fly, but my friend
Jehu must appear in the character of Othello, and confess that "his
occupation's gone." Thank heaven! people wear boots, and many of them
like to have them cleaned, so, with the help of Day and Martin, you may
live. "That's the Duke's gate, sir," he said, pointing with his whip to
a plain lodge and entrance on the left hand. "The lodge-keeper was his
top groom at the time Waterloo was--and a very nice place he has." This
was Strathfieldsaye: there were miles and miles of the most beautiful
plantations, all the fences in excellent order, the cottages along the
road clean and comfortable, and every symptom of a good landlord to be
seen as far as the eye could reach.

"If it wasn't for all this here luggage," said Jehu in a confidential
whisper, with a backward jerk of his head towards the moving pyramid
behind us; "we might go through the park. The Duke gives permission to
gentlemen's carriages."

So the poor man deluded himself with the thought, that if it wer'n't for
the bandboxes, we might pass muster as fresh from the hands of Cork and

"That's very kind of the Duke."

"Oh, he's the best of gentlemen--I hears the best of characters of him
from his tenants, and all the poor folks round about." Now here was our
driver--rather ragged than otherwise, and as poor as need be--bearing
evidence to the character of the greatest man in these degenerate days,
on points that are perhaps more important than some that will be dwelt
on by his biographers. The best of characters from his tenants and the
poor;--well, glorious Duke, I shall always think of this when I read
about your victories, and all your great doings in peace and war; and
when people call you the Iron Duke, and the great soldier, and the hero
of Waterloo, I shall think of you as the hero of Strathfieldsaye, and
the best of characters among your tenants and the poor folks round

"Does the Duke often come to Reading?"

"No; very seldom."

"I should have thought he would come by the Great Western, and drive

"He!" exclaimed the driver, giving a cut to the near horse by way of
italicising his observation. "He never comes by none of their rails. He
don't like 'em. He posts every step of the way. He's a reg'lar
gentleman, he is, the Duke."

And in the midst of conversation like this, we got to Reading. Through
some wretched streets we drove, and then through some tolerable ones;
and at last pulled up at the Great Western Hotel, a large handsome
house, very near the Railway station; and in a few minutes were as
comfortably settled as if we had travelled with a couple of outriders,
and had ordered our rooms for a month. The sitting-room had three or
four windows, of which two looked out upon the terminus. At these the
whole party were soon happily stationed, watching the different trains
that came sweeping up and down every few minutes; long luggage trains,
pursuing their heavy way with a business-like solidity worthy of their
great weight and respectability; short dapper trains, that seemed to
take a spurt up the road as if to try their wind and condition; and
occasionally a mysterious engine, squeaking, and hissing, and roaring,
and then, with a succession of curious jumps and pantings, backing
itself half a mile or so down the course, and then spluttering and
dashing out of sight as if madly intent upon suicide, and in search of a
stone wall to run its head upon. As to feeling surprise at the number of
accidents, the only wonder a sensible man can entertain on the subject
is, that there is any thing but accidents from morning to night. And
yet, when you look a little closer into it, every thing seems so
admirably managed, that the chances are thousands to one against any
misfortune occurring. Every engine seems to know its place as accurately
as a cavalry charger; the language also of the signals seems very
intelligible to the iron ears of the Lucifers and Beelzebubs, and the
other evil spirits, who seem on every line to be the active agents of
locomotion. Why can't the directors have more Christianlike names for
their moving power? What connexion is there between a beautiful new
engine, shining in all its finery--the personification of obedient and
beneficent strength--with the "Infernal," or the "Phlegethon," or the
"Styx?" Are they aware what a disagreeable association of ideas is
produced in the students of Lemprière's classical dictionary by the two
last names? or the Charon or Atropos? Let these things be mended, and
let them be called by some more inviting appellations--Nelson, St
Vincent, Rodney, Watt, Arkwright, Stephenson, Milton, Shakspeare,
Scott;--but leave heathen mythology and diabolic geography alone. As
night began to close, the sights and sounds grew more strange and awful.
A great flaming eye made its appearance at a distance; the gradual boom
of its approach grew louder and louder, and its look became redder and
redder; and then we watched it roll off into the darkness again, on the
other side of the station, on its way to Bath--till, tearing up at the
rate of forty miles an hour, came another red-eyed monster, breathing
horrible flame, and seeming to burn its way through the sable livery of
the night with the strength and straightness of a red-hot cannon-ball.
And then we called for candles and went to bed.

The train was to pass on its way to Bristol at half-past eleven, so we
had plenty of time to see the lions of Reading--if there had been any
animals of the kind in the neighbourhood--but after a short detour in
the street, and a glimpse into the country, we found ourselves
irresistibly attracted to the railway. The scene here was the same as on
the previous night, and we were more and more confirmed in our opinion,
that, next to the sea or a navigable river, a railway is the pleasantest
object in a rural view. As to the impostors who extort thousands of
pounds from the unhappy shareholders, on the pretext that the line will
be injurious to their estates, they ought at once to be sent to Brixton
for obtaining money under false pretences. It gives a greatly increased
value to their lands, as may be seen by the superior rents they can
obtain for the farms along the line; and as to the picturesqueness of
the landscape, it is only because the eye is not yet accustomed to it,
nor the mind embued with railway associations, that it is not considered
a finer "object" than the level greenery of a park, or the hedgerows of
a cultivated farm. Painters have already begun to see the grandeur of a
tempestuous sea ridden over by steamers; and before the end of the next
war, some black "queller of the ocean flood," with short funnel and
smoke-blackened sails, will be thought as fit a theme for poetry and
romance, as the Victory or the Shannon.

Knowledge, which we are every where told is now advancing at railway
speed, is still confined within very narrow limits, we are sorry to say,
among railway clerks and other officials. They still seem to measure the
sphere of their studies by distance, and not by time; for instance, not
one of the _employés_ at Reading could give us more information about
Bristol than if it had been three days' journey removed from him. Three
hours conveys us from one to the other--and yet they did not know the
name or situation of a single inn, nor where the boats to Chepstow
sailed from, nor whether there were any boats to Chepstow at all. In
ancient times such ignorance might be excusable, when the towns were
really as distant as London and York now are; but when three hours is
the utmost limit, and every half hour the communication is kept up
between them, it struck us as something unaccountable that Bristol
should be such a complete _terra incognita_ to at least a dozen
smart-looking individuals, who stamp off the tickets, and chuck the
money into a drawer, with an easy negligence very gratifying to the
beholder. Remembering the recommendation of the Royal Western Hotel
given us by a friend, with the whispered information that the turtle was
inimitable, and only three-and-sixpence a basin; we stowed away the
greater portion of the party in a first-class carriage, and betook
ourselves in economical seclusion to a vehicle of the second rank. And a
first-rate vehicle it was--better in the absence of stuffing on that
warm day, than its more aristocratic companion; and in less than three
minutes we were all spinning down the road--a line of human and other
baggage, at least a quarter of a mile in length.

At Swindon we were allowed ten minutes for refreshment. The great
lunching-room is a very splendid apartment--and hungry passengers rushed
in at both doors, and in a moment clustered round the counters, and were
busy in the demolition of pies and sandwiches. Under a noble arch the
counters are placed; the attendants occupying a space between them, so
that one set attend to the gormandizers who enter by one of the doors,
and the rest on the others. It has exactly the effect of a majestic
mirror--and so completely was this my impression, that it was with the
utmost difficulty I persuaded myself that the crowd on the other side of
the arch was not the reflection of the company upon this. Exactly
opposite the place where I stood--in the act of enjoying a glass of
sherry and a biscuit--I discovered what I took of course to be the
counterfeit presentment of myself. What an extraordinary mirror, I
thought!--for I saw a prodigious man, with enormous whiskers, ramming a
large veal pie into his mouth with one hand, and holding in the other a
tumbler of porter. I looked at the glass of sherry, and gave the biscuit
a more vigorous bite--alas! it had none of the flavour of the veal and
porter; so I discovered that the law of optics was unchanged, and that I
had escaped the infliction of so voracious a double-ganger.

The country round Chippenham is as beautiful as can be conceived; all
the fruit-trees were in full blossom, and we swept through long tracts
of the richest and prettiest orchards we ever saw. Hall and farm, and
moated grange, passed in rapid succession; and at last the fair city of
Bath rose like the queen of all the land, and looked down from her
palaces and towers on the fairest champaign that ever queen looked upon
before. Seen from the railway, the upper part of the town seems to rise
up from the very midst of orchards and gardens; terrace above terrace,
but still with a great flush of foliage between; it is a pity it ever
grew into a fashionable watering-place; though, even now, it is not too
late to amend. Like some cynosure of neighbouring eyes, fed from her
gentle youth upon all the sights and sounds of rural life, she is too
beautiful to put on the airs and graces of a belle of the court. Let her
go back to her country ways--her walks in the village lanes--her
scampers across the fields; she will be more really captivating than if
she was redolent of Park Lane, and never missed a drawing-room or
Almack's. But here we are at Bristol, and must leave our exhortations to
Bath to a future opportunity.

It is amazing how rapidly the passengers disperse. By the time our
trunks and boxes were all collected, the station was deserted, the empty
carriages had wheeled themselves away, and we began to have involuntary
reminiscences of Campbell's _Last Man_. Earth's cities had no sound nor
tread--so it was with no slight gratification that we beheld the cad of
an omnibus beckoning us to take our place on the outside of his buss.
The luggage had been swung down in a lump through a hole in the floor,
and by the time we reached the same level, by the periphrasis of a
stair, every thing had been stowed away on the roof, where in a few
moments we joined it; and careered through the streets of Bristol, for
the first time in our lives. "Do you go to any hotel near the quay where
the Chepstow steamers start from?" was our first enquiry; but before the
charioteer had time to remove the tobacco from his cheek, to let forth
the words of song, a gentleman who sat behind us very kindly interfered.
"The York Hotel, sir, is quite near the river, in a nice quiet square,
and the most comfortable house I ever was in. If they can give you
accommodation, you can't be in better quarters." Next to the
praiseworthiness of a good Samaritan, who takes care of the houseless
and the stranger, is the merit of the benevolent individual who tells
you the good Samaritan's address. We made up our minds at once to go on
to the York Hotel.

"For Chepstow, sir?" said the stranger--"a beautiful place, but by no
means equal to Linton in North Devon. Do you go to Chepstow straight?"

"As soon as a boat will take us: we are going into Wales for change of
air, and the sooner we get there the better."

"Change of air!--there isn't such air in England, no, nor anywhere else,
as at Linton. Why don't you come to Linton? You can get there in six

"But Welsh air is the one recommended."

"Nonsense. There's no air in Wales to be compared with Linton. I've
tried them both--so have hundreds of other people--and as for beauty and
scenery, and walks and drives, Linton beats the whole world." All this
was very difficult to resist; but we set our minds firmly on the Three
Cocks and Glasbury vale, and repelled all the temptations of the gem of
the North of Devon. Every hour that took us nearer to our goal, brought
out the likeness we had formed of it in our hearts with greater relief.
A fine secluded farm--of which a few rooms were fitted up as a house of
entertainment--a wild hill rising gradually at its back--a
mountain-stream rattling and foaming in front--all round it, swelling
knolls and heathy mountains. What had Linton to show in opposition to
charms like these? We rejected the advice of our good-natured counsellor
with great regret, more especially as a sojourn in Linton would probably
have enabled us to cultivate his further acquaintance. The York was
found all that he described--clean, quiet, and comfortable. When the
young fry had finished their dinner, away we all set on a voyage of
discovery to Clifton. Up a hill we climbed--which in many neighbourhoods
would be thought a mountain--and passed paragons, and circuses, and
crescents, on left and right, wondering when we were ever to emerge into
the open air. At last we reached the top--a green elevation surrounded
on two sides by streets and villas--crowned with a curious-looking
observatory, and ornamented at one end with a strange building on the
very edge of the cliff; being one of the _termini_ of the suspension
bridge, which got thus far, and no further. Going across the Green, the
sight is the most grand and striking we ever saw. Far down, skirting its
way round cliffs of prodigious height--which, however, except when they
are quarried for building purposes, are covered with the richest
foliage--along their whole descent winds the Avon, at that moment in
full tide, and covered in all its windings with sails of every shape and
hue. The rocks on the opposite side are of a glorious rich red, and
consort most beautifully with the green leaves of the plantations that
soften their rugged precipices, by festooning them to the very brink.
Then there are wild dells running back in the wooded parts of the hill,
and walks seem to be made through them for the convenience of maids who
love the moon--or more probably, and more poetically too, for the
refreshment of the toiling citizens of the smoky town, who wander about
among these sylvan recesses, with their wives and families, and enjoy
the wondrous beauty of the landscape, without having consulted Burke or
Adam Smith on the causes of their delight. As you climb upwards towards
the observatory, you fancy you are attending one of Buckland's
lectures--the whole language you hear is geological and philosophic.
About a dozen men, with little tables before them, are dispersed over
the latter part of the ascent, and keep tempting you with "fossiliferous
specimens of the oolite formation," "tertiary," "silurian," "saurian,"
"stratification," "carboniferous." It was quite wonderful to hear such a
stream of learning, and to see, at the same time, the vigour of these
terrene philosophers in polishing their specimens upon a whetstone, laid
upon their knees. A few shillings put us all in possession of memorials
of Clifton, in the shape of little slabs of different strata, polished
on both sides, and ingeniously moulded to resemble a book. A little
further up, we got besieged by another body of the Clifton Samaritans,
the proprietors of a troop of donkeys, all saddled and bridled in battle
array. Into the hands of a venerable matron, the owner of a vast number
of donkies, and two or three ragged urchins, who acted as the Widdicombs
of the cavalcade, we committed all the younkers for an hour's joy,
between the turnpike and back, and betook ourselves to a seat at the
ledge of the cliff, and "gazed with ever new delight" at the noble
landscape literally at our feet. But the hour quickly passed; the
donkeys resigned their load; and we slid, as safely as could be
expected, down the inclined plane that conducted us to the York. We did
not experiment upon the turtle-soup, as we had been advised to do at the
Royal Western, but some Bristol salmon did as well; and after a long
consultation about boats, and breakfast at an early hour, we found we
had got through our day, and that hitherto the journey had offered
nothing but enjoyment.

The morning lowered; and, heavily in clouds, but luckily without rain,
we effected our embarkation, at eight o'clock, on board the Wye--a
spacious steamer that plies every day, according to the tide, between
Bristol and Chepstow. We were a numerous crew, and had a steady captain,
with a face so weather-beaten that we concluded his navigation had not
been confined to the Severn sea. The first two or three miles of our
course was through the towering cliffs and wooded chasms we had admired
from the Clifton Down. For that part of its career, the Avon is so
beautiful, and glides along with such an evident aim after the
picturesque, that it is difficult to believe it any thing but an
ornamental piece of water, adding a new feature to a splendid landscape;
and yet this meandering stream is the pathway of nations, and only
inferior in the extent of its traffic to the Thames and Mersey. The
shores soon sink into commonplace meadows, and we emerge into the
Severn, which is about five miles wide, from the mouth of the Avon to
that of the Wye. All the way across, new headlands open upon the view;
and, far down the channel, you catch a glimpse of the Flat Holms, and
other little islands; while in front the Welsh hills bound the prospect,
at a considerable distance, and form a noble background to the rich,
wooded plains of Monmouthshire, and the low-lying shore we are
approaching. Suddenly you jut round an enormous rock, and find yourself
in a river of still more sylvan gentleness than the Avon. The other
passengers seemed to have no eyes for the picturesque--perhaps they had
seen the scenery till they were tired of it; and some of them were more
pleasantly engaged than gaping and gazing at rocks and trees. Grouped at
the tiller-chains were four or five people, very happily employed in
looking at each other--a lady and gentleman, in particular, seemed to
find a peculiar pleasure in the occupation; and were instructing each
other in the art and mystery of tying the sailor's knot. Time after time
the cord refused to follow the directions of the girl's fingers--very
white fingers they were too, and a very pretty girl--and, with untiring
assiduity, the teacher renewed his lesson. We ventured a prophecy that
they would soon be engaged in the twisting of a knot that would not be
quite so easy to untie as the sailor's slip that made them so happy.

On we went on the top of the tide, rounding promontories, and gliding
among bosky bowers and wooded dells, till at last our panting conveyer
panted no more, and we lay alongside the pier of Chepstow. The tide at
this place rises to the incredible height of fifty, and sometimes, on
great occasions, of seventy feet; so they have a floating sort of
foot-bridge from the vessel to the shore, that sinks and rises with the
flood, connected with the land by elongating iron chains, and
illustrating the ups and downs of life in a very remarkable manner. I
will not attempt to describe Chepstow on the present occasion, for a
stay in it did not enter into our plan. The Three Cocks grew in interest
the nearer we got to their interesting abode. We determined to hurry
forward to Abergavenny--thence to send a missive of enquiry as to the
accommodations of the hostel--to go on at once, if we could be
received--and (leaving all the lumber, including the maids and the
younger children) to make a series of voyages of discovery, that would
entitle us to become members of the Travellers' Club.

A coach was on the strand ready to start for Monmouth; a whisper and
half-a-crown secured the whole of the inside and two seats out, against
all concurrents; and the Wye, the boat, the knot-tying passengers, were
all left behind, and we began to climb the hill as fast as two
miserable-looking horses could crawl. A leader was added when we had got
a little way up; but as they neglected to furnish our coachman with a
whip long enough to reach beyond his wheeler's ears, our unicorn pursued
the even tenor of his way with very slackened traces, while our friend
sat the picture of indignation, with his short _flagellum_ in his hand,
and implored all the male population who overtook us, to favour him by
kicking the unhappy leader to death. An occasional benevolent Christian
complied with his request to the extent of a dig with a stout boot
under the rib; but every now and then, the furibund jarvey apologised to
us for the slowness of our course by asking--"Won't I serve him out when
I gets a whip!" A whip he at last got, and made up for lost time by
belabouring the lazy culprit in a very scientific manner; and having got
us all into a gallop, he became quite pleasant and communicative. All
the people in Monmouthshire are Welsh, that is very clear; and
Monmouthshire is as Welsh a county as Carnarvon, in spite of the maps of
geographers, and the circuits of the Judges. The very faces of the
people are evidence of their Taffy-hood. We have had no experience yet
if they carry out the peculiar ideas on the rights of property,
attributed to Taffy in the ancient legend, which relates the method that
gentleman took to supply himself with a leg of beef and a marrow bone;
but their voices and names are redolent of leeks, and no Act of
Parliament can ever make them English. You might as well pass an Act of
Parliament to make our friend Joseph Hume's speeches English. And
therefore, throughout the narrative, we shall always consider ourselves
in Wales, till we cross the Severn again. We trotted round the park wall
of a noble estate called Pearcefield, and when we had crowned the
ascent, our Jehu turned round with an air of great exultation, pulling
up his horses at the same time, and said--"There! did you ever see a
sight like that? This is the Double View." He might well be proud--for
such a prospect is not to be equalled, I should think, in the world. The
Wye is close below you, with its rich banks, frowned over by a
magnificent crag, that forms the most conspicuous feature of the
landscape; and in the distance is the river Severn, pursuing its shining
way through the fertile valleys of Glo'stershire, and by some _deceptio
visus_, for which we cannot account, raised apparently to a great height
above the level of its sister stream. It has the appearance of being
conveyed in a vast artificially raised embankment, laughing into scorn
the grandest aqueducts of ancient Rome, and bearing perhaps a greater
resemblance to the lofty-bedded Po in its passage through the plains of
Lombardy. The combination of the two rivers in the same scene, with the
peculiar characteristics of each brought prominently before the eye at
once, make this one of the finest "sights" that can be imagined. The
driver seemed satisfied with the sincerity of our admiration, and, like
a good patriot, evidently considered our encomiums as a personal
compliment to himself. The whole of the drive to Monmouth is through a
succession of noble views, only to be equalled, as far as our travelling
experience extends, by the stage on the Scottish border, between
Longtown and Langholm. But soon after this, the skies, that had gloomed
for a long time, took fairly to pouring out all the cats and dogs they
possessed upon our miserable heads. An umbrella on the top of a coach is
at all times a nuisance and incumbrance, so, in gloomy resignation to a
fate that was unavoidable, we wrapt our mantle round us, and made the
most of a bad bargain. To Monmouth we got at last, and to our great
discomfort found that it was market-day, and that we had to dispute the
possession of a joint of meat with some wet and hungry farmers. We
compromised the matter for a beefsteak, for which we had to wait about
an hour; and having seen that the whole of the garrison was well
supplied, we proceeded to make enquiries as to the best method of
getting on to Abergavenny. Finding that information on a matter so
likely to remove a remunerative party from the inn was not very easy to
be obtained from the denizens thereof, we made our way into the market.
The civility of the natives, when their interests are not concerned, is
extraordinary; and in a moment we were recommended to the Beaufort Arms,
a hotel that would do honour to Edinburgh itself--had ordered a roomy
chaise, and procured the services of a man with a light cart, to follow
us with the heavy luggage. The sky began to clear, the postillion
trotted gaily on, and we left the county town, not much gratified with
our experience of its smoky rooms and tough beefsteaks. We followed the
windings of the Trothy, a stream of a very lively and frisky
disposition, passing a seat of the Duke of Beaufort, who seems
lord-paramount of the county, and at length came in view of the noble
ruins of Ragland Castle. But now we were wiser than we had been at the
early part of the journey, and had bought a very well written
guide-book, by Mr W.H. Thomas, which, at the small outlay of one
shilling, made us as learned on "the Wye, with its associated scenery
and ruins," as if we had lived among them all our days. Inspired by his
animated pages, we descanted with the profoundest erudition, to our
astonished companion on the box, about its machicolated towers, and the
finely proportioned mullions of the hall. "If you ascend the walls of
the castle," we exclaimed in a paroxysm of enthusiasm, as if we were
perched on the very top, "you will see that the castle occupies the
centre of an undulating plain, checkered with white-washed farm-houses,
fields, and noble groves of oak. The tower and village of Rhaglan lie at
a short distance, picturesquely straggling and irregular. To the north,
the bold and diversified forms of the Craig, the Sugar Loaf, Skyrids,
and Blorenge mountains, with the outlines of the Hatterals, perfect the
scene in this direction; whilst the ever-varying and amphitheatrical
boundary of this natural basin, may be traced over the Blaenavons,
Craig-y-garayd, (close to Usk,) the Gaer Vawr, the round Twm Barlwm, the
fir-crowned top of Wentwood forest, Pen-cae-Mawr, the dreary heights of
Newchurch and Devauder; the continuation of the same range past
Llanishen, the white church of which is plainly visible; Trelleck,
Craig-y-Dorth, and the highlands above Troy Park, where they end." We
were going on in the same easy and off-hand manner to describe some
other peculiarities of the landscape, when a sudden lurch of the
carriage brought the book we were furtively pillaging into open view,
and we were forced, with a very bad grace, to confess our obligations to
Mr W.H. Thomas. A very beautiful ruin it is, certainly, and we made a
vow to devote a day to exploring its remains, and judging for ourselves
of the accuracy of the guide-book's description. Even if the road had no
recommendation from the lovely openings it gives at every turn, it would
be a pleasure to travel by it in sunshine, for the hedges along its
whole extent were a complete rampart of the sweetest smelling May. Such
miles of snow-white blossoms we never saw before. It looked like
Titania's bleaching-ground, and as if all the fairies had hung out their
white frocks to dry. And the hawthorn blossoms along the road were
emulated on all the little terraces at the side of it; the apple and
pear trees were in full bloom, and every little cottage rejoiced in its
orchard--so that, with the help of hedges and fruit trees, the whole
earth was in a glow of beauty and perfume--and we prophecy this will be
a famous year for cider and perry. Abergavenny has a very bad approach
from Monmouth, and we dreaded a repetition of the delays and toughnesses
we had just escaped from; how great therefore was our gratification when
we pulled up at the door of the Angel, and were shown into a splendid
room, thirty-five or forty feet long by twenty wide, secured bedrooms as
clean and comfortable as heart could desire, and had every thing we
asked for with the precision of clockwork and the rapidity of steam. The
Three Cocks began to descend from the lofty place they held in our
esteem, and we resolved for one day at least to rest contentedly in such
comfortable quarters, and look about us; so forth we sallied, and in the
course of our pilgrimage speedily arrived at Aberga'ny Castle. Talk of
picturesqueness! this was picturesque enough for poet or painter with a
vengeance--great thick walls all covered over with ivy, crowning a round
knoll at the upper part of the town, and looking over a finer view, we
will venture to say, than that we have just described as seen from
Ragland; and to complete the beauty of it--the comforts of modern
civilization uniting themselves to ancient magnificence--the main walls
have been fitted up by one of the late lords into a pretty
dwelling-house, which is at this moment occupied by one of the surgeons
of the town. This is the true use of an antique ruin--this is replacing
the coat of mail with a rain-proof mackintosh--the steel casque of Brian
de Boisguilbert with the Kilmarnock nightcap of Bailie Nicol Jarvie.
And in this instance the change has been effected with the greatest
skill; the coat of mail and steel casque are still there, but only for
show; the mackintosh and nightcap are the habitual dress: and few
dwellings in our poor eyes are comparable to the one, that outside has
the date of the crusaders, and inside, the conveniences of 1845. The
town has a noble body-guard of hills all round it; and perched high up
on almost inaccessible ledges, are little white-walled cottages, that
made us long for the wings of a bird to fly up and inspect them closer;
no other mode of conveyance would be either speedy or safe, for the
sides of the mountains are nearly perpendicular, and would have put
Douglas's horse to its mettle when he was on a visit to Owen Glendowr.
Dark, gloomy, Tartarean hills they appear, and no wonder; for their
whole interior is composed of iron, and day and night they are
glimmering and smoking with a hundred fires. They have a dreadful,
stern, metallic look about them, and are as different in their
configuration from the chalk hills of Hampshire as _they_ are from
cheese. Some day we shall ascend their dusky sides, and dive into
Pluto's drear domains--the iron-works--a god who, in the present state
of railway speculation, might easily be confounded with Plutus; and with
this and many other good resolutions, we returned to the hospitable care
of our friend Mr Morgan, at the Angel. Next day was Sunday, and very
wet. We slipped across the street and heard a very good sermon in the
morning, in a large handsome church, which was not quite so well filled
as it ought to have been, and were kept close prisoners all day
afterwards by the unrelenting clouds.

But our object was not yet attained, and we resolved to start off with
fresh vigour on our expedition to the Three Cocks. It was only
two-and-twenty miles off; our host, with none of the spirit that, they
say, is always found between two of a trade, spoke in the highest terms
of the Vale of Glasbury, and its clean and comfortable hotel. He also
made enquiry for us as to its present condition, and brought back the
pleasing intelligence that it was not full, and that we should find
plenty of accommodation at once. This did away with the necessity of
writing to the landlord, and in a short time we were once more upon the
road, maids and children inside as usual, and a natty postilion cocking
his white hat and flicking his little whip, in the most bumptious manner
imaginable. Through Crickhowell we went without drawing bridle, and went
almost too fast to observe sufficiently its very beautiful situation;
past noble country-seats, bower and hall, we drove; and at last wound
our solitary way along a cross-road, among some pastoral hills, that
reminded us more of Dumfries-shire than any country we have ever seen.
The road ascended gradually for many miles; and on crowning the
elevation, we caught a very noble extensive view of a rich, flat,
thickly-wooded plain, that bore a great resemblance to the unequalled
neighbourhood of Warwick. Down and down we trotted--hills and heights of
all kinds left behind us--trees, shrubs, hedges, all in the fullest
leaf, lay for miles and miles on every side; and the scenery had about
as much resemblance to our ideal of a Welsh landscape, as ditch water to
champagne. Through this wilderness of sweets, stifling and oppressive
from its very richness, we drove for a long way, looking in vain for the
hilly region where the Three Cocks had taken up their abode. At last we
saw, a little way in front of us, at the side of the road--or rather
with one gable-end projecting into it, a large white house, with a mill
appearing to constitute one of its wings. "The man will surely stop here
to water the horses," was our observation; and so indeed he did--and as
he threw the rein loose over the off horse's neck--there! don't you see
the sign-board on the wall? Alas, alas, this is the Three Cocks! An
admirable fishing quarter it must be, for the river is very near, and
the country rich and beautiful, but not adapted to our particular case,
where mountain air and free exposure are indispensable. But if it had
been ten times less adapted to our purpose we had travelled too far to
give it up.

"Can you take us in for a few weeks?"

The landlord laughed at the idea. "I could not find room for a single
individual, if you gave me a thousand pounds. A party has been with me
for some time, and I can't even say how long they may stay."

And, corroborative of this, we saw at the window our fortunate
extruders, who no doubt congratulated themselves on so many points of
the law being in their favour. Here were we stuck on the Queen's high
road--tired horses, cooped-up children--and the Three Cocks as
unattainable as the Philosopher's stone. The sympathizing landlord
consoled us in our disappointment as well as he could. The postilion
jumped into his saddle again, and we pursued our way to the nearest
place where there was any likelihood of a reception--namely, the Hay, a
village of some size about five miles further on. "Come along, we shall
easily find a nice cottage to-morrow, or get into some farm-house, and
ruralize for a month or two delightfully." Our hopes rose as we looked
forward to a settled home, after our experience of the road for so many
days; and we soared to such a pitch of audacity at last, that we
congratulated ourselves that we had not got in at Glasbury, but were
forced to go forward. The world was all before us where to choose. The
country seemed to improve--that is, to get a little less Dutch in its
level, as we proceeded--and we finally reached the Hay, with the
determination of Barnaby's raven, to bear a good heart at all events,
and take for our motto, in all the ills of life, "Never say die!--never
say die!"

The hotel had been taken by assault, and was occupied in great force by
a troop of dragoons, on their march into Glo'stershire. We therefore did
not come off quite so well as if we had led the forlorn-hope ourselves;
but, after so long a journey, we rejoiced in being admitted at all. Two
or three Welsh girls, who perhaps would have been excellent waiters
under other circumstances, appeared to consider themselves strictly on
military duty, and no other; so we sate for a very long time in solitary
stateliness, wondering when the water would boil, and the tea-things be
brought, and the ham and eggs be ready. And of our wondering there was
likely to be no end, till at last the hungry captain, the lieutenant,
and the cornet, were fairly settled at dinner, and at about eight
o'clock we got tea, but no bread; then came the loaf--and there was no
butter; then the butter--and there was no knife; but at last, all things
arrived, and the little ones were sent off to bed, and we amused
ourselves by listening to the rain on the window panes, and the
whistling of the wind in the long passages; and, with a resolution to be
up in good time to pursue our house-hunting project on the morrow, we
concluded the fifth day of our peregrinations in search of change of

We had a charming prospect from the window, at breakfast. A gutter
tearing its riotous way down the street, supplied by a whole night's
rain, and clouds resting with the most resolute countenances on the
whole face of the land. At the post-office--that universal focus of
information--to which we wended in one of the intervals between the
showers, we were told of admirable lodgings. On going to see them, they
consisted of two little rooms, in a narrow lane. Then we were sent to
another quarter, and found the accommodation still more inadequate; and,
at last, were inconceivably cheered, by hearing of a pretty
cottage--just the thing--only left a short time ago by Captain somebody;
five bed-rooms, two parlours, large garden; if it had been planned by
our own architect, it could not have been better. Off we hurried to the
owner of this bijou. The worthy captain, on giving up his lease, had
sold his furniture; but we were very welcome to it as tenant for a year!

"Are there no furnished houses in this neighbourhood, at all?"

"No--e'es--may be you'll get in at the shippus,"--which, being
Anglicized, is sheep-house; and away we toddled a mile and a half to the
shippus--a nice old farm-house, with some pretensions to squiredom, and
the inhabitants kind and civil as heart could wish.

"Yes, they sometimes let their rooms--to families larger than ours--they
supplied them with every thing--waited on them--_did_ for them--and, as
for the children, there wasn't such a place in the county for nice
fields to play in."

We looked round the room--a good high ceiling, large window. "This is
just the thing--and I am delighted we were told of your house."

"It would have been very delightful, but--but we are full already, and
we expect some of our own family home."

And why didn't you tell us all this before?--we _nearly_ said--and to
this hour, we can't understand why there was such a profuse explanation
of comforts--which _we_ were never destined to partake of.

"But just across the road there is a very nice cottage, where you can
get lodged--and we can supply you with milk, and any thing else you

Oho! there is some hope for us yet; and a few minutes saw us in colloquy
with the old gentleman, the proprietor of the house. With the usual
politeness of the Welsh, he dilated on the pleasure of having agreeable
visitors; and, with the usual Welsh habit of forgetting that people
don't generally travel with beds and blankets, carpets and chairs, and
tables and crockery, on their shoulders, he seemed rather astonished
when the fact of the rooms destined for us being unfurnished was a
considerable drawback. So, in not quite such high spirits as we started,
we returned to the Hay. After a little rest, we again sported our
seven-league boots, and took a solitary ramble across the Wye. A
beautiful rising ground lay in front; and as our main object was to get
up as high as we could, we went on and on, enjoying the increasing
loveliness of the view, and wondering if a country so very charming was
really left entirely destitute of furnished houses, and only enjoyed by
the selfish natives, who had no room for pilgrims from a distance. In a
nest of trees, surrounded on all sides by trimly kept orchards, and
clustering round a venerable church, we came, at a winding of the road,
on one of the most enchanting villages we ever saw. Near the gate of a
modest-looking mansion, we beheld a gentleman in earnest conversation
with a beggar. The beggar was a man of rags and eloquence; the gentleman
was evidently a political economist, and rejected the poor man's
petition "upon principle." A lady, who was at the gentleman's side,
looked at a poor little child the man carried in his arms. "Go to your
own place," said the gentleman; "I never encourage vagrants." But it was
too good-natured a voice to belong to a political economist.

I wish I were as sure of a house as that the poor fellow will get a
shilling, in spite of the new poor-law and Lord Brougham.

The lady, after looking at the child, said something or other to her
companion; and, as we turned away at the corner, we heard the
discourager of vagrants apologizing to himself, and also reading a
severe lecture on the impropriety of alms-giving. "Remember, I
disapprove of it entirely. You are indebted for it to this lady, who
interposed for you." So the poor man got his shilling after all; and we
considered it a favourable omen of success in getting a house.

The next turn brought us to a dwelling which we think it a sort of
sacrilege to call a public-house. The Baskerville Arms, in the village
of Clyroe, is more fit for the home of a painter or a poet than for the
retail of beer, "to be drunk on the premises." There was a row of three
nice clean windows in the front; the house seemed to stand in the midst
of an orchard of endless extent, though in reality it faced the road;
and, with a clear recollection of the line,

  "Oh, that for me some cot like this would smile,"

upon our heart and lips, we tapped at the door, and went into the room
on the right hand. Every thing was in the neatest possible
order--bunches of May in the grate, and bouquets of fresh flowers in two
elegant vases upon the table. What nonsense to call this a public-house!
It puts us much more in mind of Sloperton, Moore's cottage in Wiltshire;
and in a finer neighbourhood than any part of Wiltshire can show.

The landlady came; a fit spirit to rule over such a domain--the
beau-ideal of tidiness and good humour. There were only two bedrooms;
and one parlour was all they could give up.

The raven of Barnaby Rudge had a hard fight of it to maintain his
ground. We very nearly said die! for we had felt a sort of assurance
that this was our haven at last.

The landlady saw our woe.

"There's such a beautiful cottage," she said, "a mile and a half
further on."

"Is it furnished?"

"Well, I don't know. I think somehow it is. Would you like to go and see
it? I don't know but my husband would put enough of furniture into it to
do for you, if you liked it."

It was, at all events, worth the trial. A little girl was sent with us
to act as guide; and along a road we sauntered in supreme delight--so
quiet, so retired, and so rich in leaf and blossom, that it seemed like
a private drive through some highly-cultivated estate; and, finally, we
reached the cottage. It stood on the side of an ascent; it commanded a
noble view of the Herefordshire hills and the valley of the Wye; and
there could be no doubt that it was the identical spot that the doctors
had seen in their dreams, when they described the sort of dwelling we
were to choose. I wish I were a half-pay captain, with a wife and three
children, a taste for gardening, and a poney-carriage. I wish I were a
Benedict in the honeymoon. I wish I were a retired merchant, with a good
sum at the bank, and a predilection for farming pursuits. I wish I were
a landscape painter, with a moderate fortune, realized by English art. I
wish--but there is no use of wishing for any thing about the cottage,
except that Mr Chaloner may furnish it at once, and let us be its tenant
for two or three months.

Mrs Chaloner, on our return to the Baskerville Arms, was gratified at
our estimate of the surpassing beauties of the house. She would send her
husband to us at the Hay the moment he returned; and, in the midst of
"gay dreams, by pleasing fancy bred," we returned to our barrack, and
created universal jubilee by the prospect we unfolded.

In a sort of delirium of good nature, we waited patiently till the
soldiers had had all the attentions of the household again. We had
almost a sense of enjoyment in all the discomforts we experienced. The
doors that would not shut--the waiters that would not come--all things
shone of the brightest rose-colour, seen through the anticipation of ten
or twelve weeks' residence in the paradise we had seen.

Late at night Mr Chaloner was announced. He had heard the whole story
from his worthy half; was in hopes he should be able to meet our wishes,
but must consult his chief. If _he_ agreed, he would see us before ten
next morning--if not, we were to consider that the furniture could not
be put in.

And again we were slightly in the dumps.

At half-past nine next morning we rang the bell, and ordered a carriage
to be at the door at ten. If we hear from Chaloner, we shall drive at
once to the Baskerville Arms; if not, there is no use of house-hunting
in such an inhospitable region any more; let us get back to our friend
at Abergavenny. If there is no house near _it_, let us go back to
Chepstow; if we are disappointed there, let us go home, and tell the
doctor we have changed the air enough.

Ten o'clock.--No Chaloner; but, as usual, also no carriage. Half-past
ten.--No Chaloner. At eleven--the carriage;--and behold, in three hours
more, the smiling face of Mr Morgan--the great long room and clean
apartments of the Angel, and the end of our expectations of house and
home, except in an hotel.

We have no time on the present occasion to tell how fortune smiled upon
us at last. How our landlord exerted himself, not only to make us happy
while under his charge, but to get us into comfortable quarters in a
large commodious house in the neighbourhood. In some future Number we
will relate how jollily we fare in our new abode. How we are waited on
like kings by the kindest host and hostess that ever held a farm; and
how we travel in all directions, leaving the little ones at home, in a
great strong gig, drawn by a horse that hobbles and joggles at a famous
pace, and gives us plenty of good exercise and hearty laughter. All
these things we will describe for the edification of people under
similar circumstances to ourselves. The present lucubration being
intended as a warning not to move from _one_ home till another is
secured; the next will be an example how country quarters are enjoyed,
and a description of how pale cheeks are turned into red ones by living
in the open air.


Any thing approaching to an elaborate criticism of the _Torquato Tasso_
of Goethe we do not, in this place, intend to attempt; our object is
merely to translate some of the more striking and characteristic
passages, and accompany these extracts with such explanatory remarks as
may be necessary to render them quite intelligible.

There is, we cannot help remarking, a peculiar awkwardness in
introducing a veritable poet amongst the personages of a drama. We
cannot dissociate his name from the remembrance of the works he has
written, and the heroes whom he has celebrated. Tasso--is it not another
name for the _Jerusalem Delivered_? and can he be summoned up in our
memory without bringing with him the shades of Godfrey and Tancred? We
expect to hear him singing of these champions of the cross; this was his
life, and we have a difficulty in according to him any other. It is only
after some effort that we separate the man from the poet--that we can
view him standing alone, on the dry earth, unaccompanied by the
creations of his fancy, his imaginative existence suspended, acting and
suffering in the same personal manner as the rest of us. The poet
brought into the ranks of the _dramatis personae!_--the creator of
fictions converted himself into a fictitious personage!--there seems
some strange confusion here. It is as if the magic wand were waved over
the magician himself--a thing not unheard of in the annals of the black
art. But then the second magician should be manifestly more powerful
than the first. The second poet should be capable of overlooking and
controlling the spirit of the first; capable, at all events, of
animating him with an eloquence and a poetry not inferior to his own.

For there is certainly this disadvantage in bringing before us a
well-known and celebrated poet--we expect that he should speak in poetry
of the first order--in such as he might have written himself. It is long
before we can admit him to be neither more nor less poetical than the
other speakers; it is long before we can believe him to talk for any
other purpose than to say beautiful and tender things. Knowing, as we
do, the trick of poets, and what is indeed their office as spokesmen of
humanity, we suspect even when he is relating his own sufferings, and
complaining of his own wrongs, that he is still only making a poem; that
he is still busied first of all with the sweet expression of a feeling
which he is bent on infusing, like an electric fluid, through the hearts
of others. Altogether, he is manifestly a very inconvenient personage
for the dramatist to have to deal with.

These impressions wear off, however, as the poem proceeds--just as, in
real life, familiar intercourse with the greatest of bards teaches us to
forget the author in the companion, and the man of genius in the
agreeable or disagreeable neighbour. In the drama of Goethe, we become
quite reconciled to the new position in which the poet of the Holy
Sepulchre is placed. _Torquato Tasso_ is what in this country would be
called a dramatic poem, in opposition to the tragedy composed for the
stage, or _quasi_ for the stage. The _dramatis personae_ are few, the
conduct of the piece is on the classic model--the model, we mean, of
Racine; the plot is scanty, and keeps very close to history; there is
little action, and much reflection.

The _dramatis personae_ are--

Alphonso, Duke of Ferrara.
Leonora d'Este, sister of the Duke.
Leonora Sanvitale, Countess of Scandiano.
Torquato Tasso.
Antonio Montecatino, Secretary of State.

In Tasso we have portrayed to us the poetic temperament, with some
overcharge in the tendency to distrust and suspicion, which belongs, as
we learn from his biography, to the character of Tasso, and which again
was but the symptom and precursor of that insanity to which he fell a
prey. Both to relieve and develope this poetic character, we have its
opposite (the representative of the practical understanding) in Antonio
Montecatino, the secretary of state, the accomplished man of the world,
the successful diplomatist. It may be well to mention that the speeches
in the play given to Leonora d'Este, with whom Tasso is in love, are
headed _The Princess_; and it is her friend Leonora Sanvitale, Countess
of Scandiano, who speaks under the name of _Leonora_.

                "ACT. I.--SCENE I.

  _A garden in the country palace of Belriguardo, adorned with busts of
  the epic poets. To the right, that of Virgil--to the left, that of

                PRINCESS, LEONORA.

  "_Princess._--My Leonora, first you look at me
  And smile, then at yourself, and smile again.
  What is it? Let your friend partake. You seem
  Very considerate, and much amused.

  "_Leonora._--My Princess, I but smiled to see ourselves
  Decked in these pastoral habiliments.
  We look right happy shepherdesses both,
  And what we do is still pure innocence.
  We weave these wreaths. Mine, gay with many flowers,
  Still swells and blushes underneath my hand;
  Thou, moved with higher thought and greater heart,
  Hast only wove the slender laurel bough.

  "_Princess._--The bough which I, while wreathing thoughts, have
  Soon finds a worthy resting-place. I lay it
  Upon my Virgil's forehead.

      [_Crowns the bust of Virgil._

  "_Leonora._              And I mine,
  My jocund garland, on the noble brow
  Of Master Ludovico.

      [_Crowns the bust of Ariosto._

                         Well may he,
  Whose sportive verse shall never fade, demand
  His tribute of the spring!

  "_Princess._              'Twas amiable
  In the duke, my brother, to conduct us,
  So early in the year, to this retreat.
  Here we possess ourselves, here we may dream
  Uninterrupted hours--dream ourselves back
  Into the golden age which poets sing.
  I love this Belriguardo; I have here
  Pass'd many youthful, many happy days;
  And the fresh green, and this bright sun, recall
  The feelings of those times.

  "_Leonora._              Yes, a new world
  Surrounds us here. How it delights--the shade
  Of leaves for ever green! how it revives--
  The rushing of that brook! with giddy joy
  The young boughs swing them in the morning air;
  And from their beds the little friendly flowers
  Look with the eye of childhood up to us.
  The trustful gardener gives to the broad day
  His winter store of oranges and citrons;
  One wide blue sky rests over all; the snow
  On the horizon, from the distant hills,
  In light dissolving vapour steals away."

The conversation winds gracefully towards poetry and Tasso. We will
answer at once the interesting question, whether the poet has
represented Leonora d'Este, the princess, as being in love with Tasso.
He has; and very delicately has he made her express this sentiment. From
the moment when, doubtless thinking of the living poet, she twined the
laurel wreath which she afterwards deposited on the brow of Virgil, to
the last scene where she leads the unhappy Tasso to a fatal declaration
of his passion, there is a gentle _crescendo_ of what always remains,
however, a very subdued and meditative affection. She loves--but like a
princess; she muses over the danger to herself from suffering such a
sentiment towards one in so different a rank of life to grow upon her;
she never thinks of the danger to _him_, to the hapless Tasso, by her
betrayal of an affection which she is yet resolved to keep within
subjection. To be sure it may be said, that all women have something of
the princess in them at this epoch of their lives. There is a wonderful
selfishness in the heart, while it still asks itself whether it shall
love or not. The sentiment of the princess is very elegantly disguised
in the jesting vein in which she rallies Leonora Sanvitale--

  "_Leonora._--Your mind embraces wider regions; mine
  Lingers content within the little isle,
  And 'midst the laurel grove of poesy.

  "_Princess._--In which fair isle, in which sweet grove, they say,
  The myrtle also flourishes. And though
  There wander many muses there, we choose
  Our friend and playmate not alone from _them_,
  We rather greet the poet there himself,
  Who seems indeed to shun us, seems to fly,
  Seeking we know not what, and he himself
  Perhaps as little knows. 'Tis pretty when,
  In some propitious hour, the enraptured youth
  Looking with better eyes, detects in _us_
  The treasure he had been so far to seek.

  "_Leonora._--The jest is pleasant--touches, but not near.
  I honour each man's merit; and to Tasso
  Am barely just. His eye, that covets nothing,
  Light ranges over all; his ear is fill'd
  With the rich harmony great nature makes;
  What ancient records, what the living scene,
  Disclose, his open bosom takes it all;
  What beams of truth stray scattered o'er this world,
  His mind collects, converges. How his heart
  Has animated the inanimate!
  How oft ennobled what we little prize,
  And shown how poor the treasures of the great!
  In this enchanted circle of his own
  Proceeds the wondrous man; and us he draws
  Within, to follow and participate.
  He seems to near us, yet he stays remote--
  Seems to regard us, and regards instead
  Some spirit that assumes our place the while.

  "_Princess._--Finely and delicately hast thou limn'd
  The poet, moving in his world of thought.
  And yet, methinks, some fair reality
  Has wrought upon him here. Those charming verses
  Found hanging here and there upon our trees,
  Like golden fruit, that to the finer sense
  Breathes of a new Hesperides: think you
  These are not tokens of a genuine love?

         *       *       *       *       *

  And when he gives a name to the fair object
  Of all this praise, he calls it Leonora!

  "_Leonora._--Thy name, as well as mine. I, for my part,
  Should take it ill were he to choose another.
  Here is no question of a narrow love,
  That would engross its solitary prize,
  And guards it jealously from every eye
  That also would admire. When contemplation
  Is deeply busy with thy graver worth,
  My lighter being haply flits across,
  And adds its pleasure to the pensive mood.
  It is not us--forgive me if I say it--
  Not us he loves; but down from all the spheres
  He draws the matter of his strong affection,
  And gives it to the name we bear. And we--
  We seem to love the man, yet love in him
  That only which we highest know to love.

  "_Princess._--You have become an adept in this science,
  And put forth, Leonora, such profundities
  As something more than penetrate the ear,
  yet hardly touch the thought.

  "_Leonora._          --Thou, Plato's scholar!
  Not apprehend what I, a neophyte,
  Venture to prattle of"--

Alphonso enters, and enquires after Tasso. Leonora answers, that she had
seen him at a distance, with his book and tablets, writing and walking,
and adds that, from some hint he had let fall, she gathered that his
great work was near its completion; and, in fact, the princess soon
after descries him coming towards them:--

                        "Slowly he comes,
  Stands still awhile as unresolved, then hastes,
  With quicken'd step, towards us; then again
  Slackens his pace, and pauses."

Tasso enters, and presents his _Jerusalem Delivered_ to his patron, the
Duke of Ferrara. Alphonso, seeing the laurel wreath on the bust of
Virgil, makes a sign to his sister; and the princess, after some
remonstrance on the part of Tasso, transfers it from the statue to the
head of the living poet. As she crowns him, she says--

  "Thou givest me, Tasso, here the rare delight,
  With silent act, to tell thee what I think."

But the poet is no sooner crowned than he entreats that the wreath
should be removed. It weighs on him, it is a burden, a pressure, it
sinks and abashes him. Besides, he feels, as the man of genius must
always feel, that not to wear the crown but to earn it, is the real joy
as well as task of his life. The laurel is indeed for the bust, not for
the living head.

                  "Take it away!
  Oh take, ye gods, this glory from my brow!
  Hide it again in clouds! Bear it aloft
  To heights all unattainable, that still
  My whole of life for this great recompense,
  Be one eternal course."

He obeys, however, the will of the princess, who bids him retain it. We
are now introduced to the antagonist, in every sense of the word, of
Tasso,--Antonio, secretary of state. In addition to the causes of
repugnance springing from their opposite characters, Antonio is jealous
of the favour which the young poet has won at the court of Ferrara, both
with his patron and the ladies. This representative of the practical
understanding speaks with admiration of the court of Rome, and the
ability of the ruling pontiff. He says--

  "No nobler object is there in the world
  Than this--a prince who ably rules his people,
  A people where the proudest heart obeys,
  Where each man thinks he serves himself alone,
  Because what fits him is alone commanded.

Alphonso speaks of the poem which Tasso has just completed, and points
to the crown which he wears. Then follow some of the unkindest words
which a secretary of state could possibly bestow on the occasion.

  "_Antonio._--You solve a riddle for me. Entering here
  I saw to my surprise _two_ crowned.

        [_Looking towards the bust of Ariosto._

  "_Tasso._                         I wish
  Thou could'st as plainly as thou see'st my honours,
  Behold the oppress'd and downcast spirit within.

  "_Antonio_--I have long known that in his recompenses
  Alphonso is immoderate; 'tis thine
  To prove to-day what all who serve the prince
  Have learn'd, or will."

Antonio then launches into an eloquent eulogium upon the _other_ crowned
one--upon Ariosto--which has for its object as well to dash the pride of
the living, as to do homage to the dead. He adds, with a most cruel

  "Who ventures near this man to place himself,
  Even for his boldness may deserve a crown."

The seeds of enmity, it is manifest, are plentifully sown between
Antonio and Tasso. Here ends the 1st Act.

At the commencement of the 2d Act, the princess is endeavouring to heal
the wound that has been inflicted on the just pride of the poet, and she
alludes, in particular, to the eulogy which Antonio had so invidiously
passed upon Ariosto. The answer of Tasso deserves attention. It is
peculiar to the poetic genius to estimate very differently at different
times the value of its own labours. Sometimes do but grant to the poet
his claim to the possession of genius, and his head strikes the stars.
At other times, when contemplating the lives of those men whose actions
he has been content to celebrate in song, he doubts whether he should
not rank himself as the very prince of idlers. He is sometimes tempted
to think that to have given one good stroke with the sword, were worth
all the delicate touches of his pen. This feeling Tasso has finely

  "_Princess._--When Antonio knows what thou hast done
  To honour these our times, then will he place thee
  On the same level, side by side, with him
  He now depicts in so gigantic stature.

  "_Tasso._--Believe me, lady, Ariosto's praise
  Heard from his lips, was likely more to please
  Than wound me. It confirms us, it consoles,
  To hear the man extoll'd whom we have placed
  Before us as a model: we can say
  In secret to ourselves--gain thou a share
  Of his acknowledged merit, and thou gain'st
  As certainly a portion of his fame.
  No--that which to its depths has stirr'd my spirit,
  What still I feel through all my sinking soul,
  It was the picture of that living world,
  Which restless, vast, enormous, yet revolves
  In measured circle round the one great man,
  Fulfils the course which he, the demi-god,
  Dares to prescribe to it. With eager ear
  I listen'd to the experienced man, whose speech
  Gave faithful transcript of a real scene.
  Alas! the more I listen'd, still the more
  I sank within myself: it seem'd my being
  Would vanish like an echo of the hills,
  Resolved to a mere sound--a word--a nothing.

  "_Princess._--Poets and heroes for each other live,
  Poets and heroes seek each other out,
  And envy not each other: this thyself,
  Few minutes past, did vividly portray.
  True, it is glorious to perform the deed
  That merits noble song; yet glorious too
  With noble song the once accomplish'd deed
  Through all the after-world to memorize."

When she continues to urge Tasso to make the friendship of Antonio, and
assures him that the return of the minister has only procured him a
friend the more, he answers:--

  "_Tasso._--I hoped it once, I doubt it now.
  Instructive were to me his intercourse,
  Useful his counsel in a thousand ways:
  This man possesses all in which I fail.
  And yet--though at his birth flock'd every god,
  To hang his cradle with some special gift--
  The graces came not there, they stood aloof:
  And he whom these sweet sisters visit not,
  May possess much, may in bestowing be
  Most bountiful, but never will a friend,
  Or loved disciple, on his bosom rest."

The tendency of this scene is to lull Tasso into the belief that he is
beloved of the princess. Of course he is ardent to obey the latest
injunctions he has received from her, and when Antonio next makes his
appearance, he offers him immediately "his hand and heart." The
secretary of state receives such a sudden offer (as it might be expected
a secretary of state would do) with great coolness; he will wait till he
knows whether he can return the like offer of friendship. He discourses
on the excellence of moderation, and in a somewhat magisterial tone,
little justified by the relative intellectual position of the speakers.
Here, again, we have a true insight into the character of the man of
genius. He is modest--very--till you become too overbearing; he
exaggerates the superiority in practical wisdom of men who have mingled
extensively with the world, and so invites a tone of dictation; and yet
withal he has a sly consciousness, that this same superiority of the man
of the world consists much more in a certain fortunate limitation of
thought than in any peculiar extension. The wisdom of such a man has
passed through the mind of the poet, with this difference, that in his
mind there is much beside this wisdom, much that is higher than this
wisdom; and so it does not maintain a very prominent position, but gets
obscured and neglected.

  "_Tasso._--Thou hast good title to advise, to warn,
  For sage experience, like a long-tried friend,
  Stands at thy side. Yet be assured of this,
  The solitary heart hears every day,
  Hears every hour, a warning; cons and proves,
  And puts in practice secretly that lore
  Which in harsh lessons you would teach as new,
  As something widely out of reach."

Yet, spurred on by the injunction of the princess, he still makes an
attempt to grasp at the friendship of Antonio.

  "_Tasso._--Once more! here is my hand! clasp it in thine!
  Nay, step not back, nor, noble sir, deny me
  The happiness, the greatest of good men,
  To yield me, trustful, to superior worth,
  Without reserve, without a pause or halt.

  "_Antonio._--You come full sail upon me. Plain it is
  You are accustomed to make easy conquests,
  To walk broad paths, to find an open door.
  Thy merit--and thy fortune--I admit,
  But fear we stand asunder wide apart.

  "_Tasso._--In years and in tried worth I still am wanting;
  In zeal and will, I yield to none.

  "_Antonio._                   The will
  Draws the deed after by no magic charm,
  And zeal grows weary where the way is long:
  Who reach the goal, they only wear the crown.
  And yet, crowns are there, or say garlands rather,
  Of many sorts, some gather'd as we go,
  Pluck'd as we sing and saunter.

  "_Tasso._                  But a gift
  Freely bestow'd on this mind, and to that
  As utterly denied--this not each man,
  Stretching his hand, can gather if he will.

  "_Antonio._--Ascribe the gift to fortune--it is well.

         *       *       *       *       *

  The fortunate, with reason good, extol
  The goddess Fortune--give her titles high--
  Call her Minerva--call her what they will--
  Take her blind gifts for just reward, and wear
  Her wind-blown favour as a badge of merit.

  "_Tasso._--No need to speak more plainly. 'Tis enough.
  I see into thy soul--I know thee now,
  And all thy life I know. Oh, that the princess
  Had sounded thee as I! But never waste
  Thy shafts of malice of the eye and tongue
  Against this laurel-wreath that crowns my brow,
  The imperishable garland. 'Tis in vain.
  First be so great as not to envy it,
  Then perhaps thou may'st dispute.

  "_Antonio._                  Thyself art prompt
  To justify my slight esteem of thee.
  The impetuous boy with violence demands
  The confidence and friendship of the man.
  Why, what unmannerly deportment this!

  "_Tasso._--Better what you unmannerly may deem,
  Than what I call ignoble.

  "_Antonio._          There remains
  One hope for thee. Thou still art young enough
  To be corrected by strict discipline.

  "_Tasso._--Not young enough to bow myself to idols
  That courtiers make and worship; old enough
  Defiance with defiance to encounter.

  "_Antonio._--Ay, where the tinkling lute and tinkling speech
  Decide the combat, Tasso is a hero.

  "_Tasso._--I were to blame to boast a sword unknown
  As yet to war, but I can trust to it.

  "_Antonio._--Trust rather to indulgence."

We are in the high way, it is plain, to a duel. Tasso insists upon an
appeal to the sword. The secretary of state contents himself with
objecting the privilege or sanctity of the place, they being within the
precincts of the royal residence. At the height of this debate, Alphonso
enters. Here, again, the minister has a most palpable advantage over the
poet. He insists upon the one point of view in which he has the clear
right, and will not diverge from it; Tasso has challenged him, has done
his utmost to provoke a duel within the walls of the palace; and is,
therefore, amenable to the law. The Duke can do no other than decide
against the poet, whom he dismisses to his apartment with the injunction
that he is there to consider himself, for the present, a prisoner.

In the three subsequent acts, there is still less of action; and we may
as well relate at once what there remains of plot to be told, and then
proceed with our extracts. Through the mediation of the princess and her
friend, this quarrel is in part adjusted, and Tasso is released from
imprisonment. But his spirit is wounded, and he determines to quit the
court of Ferrara. He obtains permission to travel to Rome. At this
juncture he meets with the princess. His impression has been that she
also is alienated from him; her conversation removes and quite reverses
this impression; in a moment of ungovernable tenderness he is about to
embrace her; she repulses him and retires. The duke, who makes his
appearance just at this moment, and who has been a witness to the
conclusion of this interview, orders Tasso into confinement, expressing
at the same time his conviction that the poet has lost his senses. He
is given into the charge of Antonio, and thus ends the drama.

Glancing back over the three last acts, whose action we have summed up
so briefly, we might select many beautiful passages for translation; we
content ourselves with the following.

The princess and Leonora Sanvitale are conversing. There has been
question of the departure of Tasso.

  "_Princess._--Each day was _then_ itself a little life;
  No care was clamorous, and the future slept.
  Me and my happy bark the flowing stream,
  Without an oar, drew with light ripple down.
  Now--in the turmoil of the present hour,
  The future wakes, and fills the startled ear
  With whisper'd terrors.

  "_Leonora._        But the future brings
  New joys, new friendships.

  "_Princess._       Let me keep the old.
  Change may amuse, it scarce can profit us.
  I never thrust, with youthful eagerness,
  A curious hand into the shaken urn
  Of life's great lottery, with hope to find
  Some object for a restless, untried heart.
  I honour'd him, and therefore have I loved;
  It was necessity to love the man
  With whom my being grew into a life
  Such as I had not known, or dream'd before.
  At first, I laid injunctions on myself
  To keep aloof; I yielded, yielded still,
  Still nearer drew--enticed how pleasantly
  To be how hardly punish'd!

  "_Leonora._    If a friend
  Fail with her weak consolatory speech,
  Let the still powers of this beautiful world,
  With silent healing, renovate thy spirit.

  "_Princess._--The world _is_ beautiful! In its wide circuit,
  How much of good is stirring here and there!
  Alas! that it should ever seem removed
  Just one step off! Throughout the whole of life
  Step after step, it leads our sick desire
  E'en to the grave. So rarely do men find
  What yet seem'd destined them--so rarely hold
  What once the hand had fortunately clasp'd;
  What has been giv'n us, rends itself away,
  And what we clutch'd, we let it loose again;
  There is a happiness--we know it not,
  We know it--and we know not how to prize."

Tasso says, when he thought himself happy in the love of Leonora

  "I have often dream'd of this great happiness--
  'Tis here!--and oh, how far beyond the dream!
  A blind man, let him reason upon light,
  And on the charm of colour, how he will,
  If once the new-born day reveal itself,
  It is a new-born sense."

And again on this same felicity,

  "Not on the wide sands of the rushing ocean,
  'Tis in the quiet shell, shut up, conceal'd,
  We find the pearl."

It is in another strain that the poet speaks when Leonora Sanvitale
attempts to persuade him that Antonio entertains in reality no hostility
towards him. In what follows, we see the anger and hatred of a
meditative man. It is a hatred which supports and exhausts itself in
reasoning; which we might predict would never go forth into any act of
enmity. It is a mere sentiment, or rather the mere conception of a
sentiment. For the poet rather thinks of hatred than positively hates.

  "And if I err, I err resolvedly.
  I think of him as of my bitter foe;
  To think him less than this would now distract,
  Discomfort me. It were a sort of folly
  To be with all men reasonable; 'twere
  The abandonment of all distinctive _self_.
  Are all mankind to us so reasonable?
  No, no! Man in his narrow being needs
  Both feelings, love, and hate. Needs he not night
  As well as day? and sleep as well as waking?
  No! I will hold this man for evermore
  As precious object of my deepest hate,
  And nothing shall disturb the joy I have
  In thinking of him daily worse and worse."

                           _Act. 4, Scene 2._

We conclude with a passage in which Tasso speaks of the irresistible
passion he feels for his own art. He has sought permission of the Duke
to retire to Rome, on the plea that he will there, by the assistance of
learned men, better complete his great work, which he regards as still
imperfect. Alphonso grants his request, but advises him rather to
suspend his labour for the present, and partake, for a season, of the
distractions of the world. He would be wise, he tells him, to seek the
restoration of his health.

  "_Tasso._--It should seem so; yet have I health enow
  If only I can labour, and this labour
  Again bestows the only health I know.
  It is not well with me, as thou hast seen,
  In this luxuriant peace. In rest I find
  Rest least of all. I was not framed,
  My spirit was not destined to be borne
  On the soft element of flowing days,
  And so in Time's great ocean lose itself
  Uncheck'd, unbroken.

  "_Alphonso._--All feelings, and all impulses, my Tasso,
  Drive thee for ever back into thyself.
  There lies about us many an abyss
  Which Fate has dug; the deepest yet of all
  Is here, in our own heart, and very strong
  Is the temptation to plunge headlong in.
  I pray thee snatch thyself away in time.
  Divorce thee, for a season, from thyself.
  The man will gain whate'er the poet lose.

  "_Tasso._--One impulse all in vein I should resist,
  Which day and night within my bosom stirs.
  Life is not life if I must cease to think,
  Or, thinking, cease to poetize.
  Forbid the silk-worm any more to spin,
  Because its own life lies upon the thread.
  Still it uncoils the precious golden web,
  And ceases not till, dying, it has closed
  Its own tomb o'er it. May the good God grant
  We, one day, share the fate of that same worm!--
  That we, too, in some valley bright with heaven,
  Surprised with sudden joy, may spread our wing.

         *       *       *       *       *

  I feel--I feel it well--this highest art
  Which should have fed the mind, which to the strong
  Adds strength and ever new vitality,--
  It is destroying me, it hunts me forth,
  Where'er I rove, an exile amongst men."

                           _Act V. Scene 2._




The inhabitants of the white mountain village of K----, in
Cardiganshire, were all retired to rest, it being ten o'clock. No--a
single light twinkled from under eaves of thick and mossy thatch, in one
cottage apart, and neater than the rest, that skirted the steep
_street_, (as the salmon fishers, its chief inhabitants, were pleased to
call it,) being, indeed, the rock, thinly covered with the soil, and
fringed with long grass, but rudely smoothed, where very rugged, by art,
for the transit of a _gamboo_ (cart with small wheels of entire wood) or
sledge. The moonlight slept in unbroken lustre on the houses of one
story, or without any but what the roof slope formed, and several
appearances marked it as a fisher village. A black, oval, pitched
basket, as it appeared, hung against the wall of several of the
cottages, being the _coracle_, or boat for one person, much used on the
larger Welsh rivers, very primitive in form and construction, being
precisely described by Caesar in his account of the ancient Britons.
Dried salmon and other fish also adorned others, pleasingly hinting of
the general honesty and mutual confidence of the humble natives, poor as
they were, for strangers were never thought of; the road, such as it
was, merely mounting up to "the hill" (the lofty desert of sheepwalk) on
one hand, and descending steeply to the river Tivy on the other. A
deadened thunder, rising from some fall and brawling shallow "rapid" of
the river, was the only sound, except the hooting of an owl from some
old ivied building, a ruin apparently, visible on the olive-hued
precipice behind. The russet mass of mountain, bulging, as it were, over
the little range of cots, gave an air of security to their picturesque
white beauty; while silver clouds curled and rolled in masses, grandly
veiling their higher peaks, and sometimes canopied the roofs, many
reddened with wall-flower; the walls also exhibiting streaks of green,
where rains had drenched the vegetating thatch and washed down its tint
of yellow green. Aged trees, green even to the trunks, luxuriant ivy
enveloping them as well as the branches, stretched their huge arms down
the declivity leading to the Tivy, the flashing of whose waters, through
its rich fringe of underwood, caught the eye of any one standing on the
ridge above. A solitary figure, tall and muffled, did stand with his
back in contact with one of these oaks, so as to be hardly
distinguishable from the trunk.

A poet might imagine, looking at a Welsh village by moonlight, thus
embosomed in pastoral mountains, canopied with those silver mists whose
very motion was peace, and lulled by those soft solemn sounds, more
peace-breathing than even silence, that _there_, at least, care never
came; there peace, "if to be found in the world," would be surely found;
and soon that one light moving--that prettier painted door stealthily
opening--would prove that peace confined to the elements only. "Here I
am!" would be groaned to his mind's ear by the ubiquitous, foul fiend,
Care; for thence emerged a female form--_simplex munditiis_--the exact
description of it as to attire--rather tall than otherwise, but its
chief characteristic, a drooping kind of bowed gait, in affecting unison
with a melancholy settled over the pale features, so strongly as to be
visible even by the moon at a very short distance. Brushing away a tear
from each eye, as she held to her breast a little packet of some kind,
as soon as she found (as she imagined) the coast clear, she proceeded,
after fastening her door, toward one of the bowered footpaths leading
to the river. The concealed man looked after her, prepared to follow,
when some belated salmon fisher, his dark coracle, strapped to his back,
nodding over his head, appeared. This lurking personage was nicknamed
"Lewis the Spy" by the country people. He was the agent, newly
appointed, to inspect the condition of a once fine but most neglected
estate, which had recently come into possession of a "Nabob," as they
called him--a gentleman who had left Wales a boy, and was now on his
voyage home to take possession of a dilapidated mansion called Talylynn.
Lewis, his forerunner and plenipotentiary, was the dread and hate of the
alarmed tenants. He had already ejected from his stewardship a good but
rather indolent old man, John Bevan, who had grown old in the service of
the former "squire;" and besides kept watch over the doings on the farms
in an occult and treacherous manner, prowling round their "folds" by
dusk, and often listening to conversations by concealing himself. Such
was the man who now accosted the humble fisherman. Reverentially, as if
to the terrible landlord himself, the peasant bared his head to his
sullen representative.

"Who is that young woman?" he enquired, sternly, though well knowing who
she was.

"Dim Saesneg," answered the man, bowing.

"None of your Dim Saesneg to me, fellow," rejoined Lewis, sternly. "Did
not I hear you swearing in good English at a _Saesyn_ (Englishman or
Saxon) yesterday?"

The Welshman begged pardon in good Saxon, and answered at last--

"Why, then, if it please your honour, her name be Winifred--her other
name be Bevan--_Miss_ Bevan, the school--her father be Mister Bevan of
Llaneol, steward that was to our old squire of the great house, 'the
Hall'--Talylynn Hall--where there's a fine lake. I warrant your honour
has fished there. You Saesonig gentlemen do mostly do nothing but fish
and shoot in our poor country; I beg pardon, but you look _Saesoniadd_,
(Saxonlike,) I was thinking--fine lake, but the trout be not to

"Well," interrupted the other laughing, "your English tongue can wag as
glib as your outlandish one. A sweetheart in the case there, isn't
there? What the devil's she going down to the river for at this time of
night, else?"

"Why, to be sure there be!" the man answered. "_We_ all know that; poor
thing, she had need find some comforter in all her troubles--her father
so poor, and in debt to this strange foreigner, who's on the water
coming home now, and has made proposals for her in marriage, so they do
_say_; but it's like your honour knows more of that than I do--for be
not you Mr Lewis, I beg pardon, Lewis Lewis, esquire?"

"And what do you know of this sweetheart of hers? Is he her _first_,
think ye? _I_ doubt that," rejoined Lewis, not noticing his enquiry----

"_You_ may doubt what your honour pleases, but _we_ don't--no; never man
touched her _hand_ hardly, never one her lips, before--I did have it
from her mother; but as for this one she's found at last, we wish she'd
a better"----

"What's the matter with him, then?"

"Oh, nothing more than that he's poor, sir--poor; and that _we_ don't
know much about the stranger"----

"What '_we_' do you mean, while you talk of 'we'?"

"Lord bless ye, sir, why us all of this bankside, and this side Tivy,
the great family of us, she's just like _our_ little girl to us all; for
don't she have all our young ones to give 'em learning, whether the
Cardigan ladies pay for 'em or don't? And wasn't poor dear old John
Bevan the man who would lend every farmer in the parish a help in money
or any way, only for asking? So it is, you see, she has grown up among
us. This young man, though he may be old for what I know, never seeing
him in my life--you see, sir, we on this side of Tivy are like strangers
to the Cardy men, t'other side--_they_ are _Cardie's_, sure enow, _true_
ones, as the Saxon foreign folk do call us _all_ of this shire. I
wouldn't trust one of 'em t'other side, no further than I could throw
him. I'll tell ye a story"----

"Never mind. What about David?"

"Oh, ho! You know his name, then? Well, and that's all _I_ do--pretty
nigh. He lives with a woman who fostered him after his own mother died
in travail with him, they do say, who has a little house, beyond that
lump of a mountain, above all the others, we see by daylight; he has
been in England, and is a strange one for music. He owes (owns,
possesses,) a beautiful harp--_beautiful_! The Lord knows, some do say,
that's all he owes in the world, so (except) his coracle and the salmon
he takes, and what young people do give him at weddings and biddings,
where he goes to play: and what's that to keep a wife? Poor Davy
_Telynwr_! Yet, by my soul, we all say we'd rather see her his than this
foreigner gentleman's, who has almost broke her heart, they say, by
coming between her and her own dear one."

"He's _not_ come yet," muttered the other, sullenly; adding, sharply and
bitterly, "Mighty good friends you all are, to wish her married to a
beggar, a vagabond harper, rather than to a gentleman."

"Why--to be sure, sir--but vows be vows--love's love--and to tell truth,
sir," (the Welsh blood of the Cardy peasant was now up,) "if any
foreign, half Welsh, half wild Indian, sort of gentleman had sent his
fine letters, asking my sweetheart's friends to turn _me_ off, in my
courting days, and prepare my wench to be his lady, instead of my
wife--I'd have--I'd have"--

"_What_ would you have done?" asked the other, laughing heartily.

"Cursed him to St Elian!" roared the other; then, dropping his voice
into a solemn tone, "put him into his well.[21] _I'd_ have plagued him,
I warrant. But for _my_ part," added the man archly, "I don't believe
there's any _squire_ lover in the case--nor that your honour ever said
there is." The agent here vanished, as if in haste, abruptly, down the
steep path.

During this conversation, Winifred had reached the river. While she
stands expectant, not in happiness, but in tears, it is time to say a
few words of the lover so expected.

David, who was lately become known "on t'other side Tivy," by the name
of _Nosdethiol Telynwr_, that is, "night-walking harper," was an idle
romantic young man, almost grown out of youth, who had long lived away
from Wales, where he had neither relative nor friend but one aged woman
who had been his first nurse, he having been early left an orphan.
Without settled occupation or habits, he was understood almost to depend
for bread on the salmon he caught, and trifling presents received. A
small portable harp, of elegant workmanship, (adorned with "_real_
silver," so _ran the tale_,) was the companion of his moonlight
wanderings. He had a whim of serenading those who had never heard of a
"serenade," but were not the less sensible of a placid pleasure at being
awakened by soft music in some summer sight. The simple mountain
cottagers, whose slumbers he thus broke or soothed, often attributed the
sweet sounds to the kindness of some wandering member of the "Fair
Family," or _Tylwyth Têg_, the fairies. Nor did his figure, if
discovered vanishing between the trees, if some one ventured to peep
out, in a light night, dispel the illusion; for it appears, that the
fairy of old Welsh superstition was not of diminutive stature."[22] That
he was "very learned," had somewhere acquired much knowledge of books,
however little of men, was reported on both sides of the river; and
these few particulars were almost all that was known even to Winifred,
who had so rashly given all her thoughts, all her hopes, all her heart
almost, (reserving only one sacred corner for her beloved parents,) to
this dangerous stranger--for stranger he was still to her in almost all
outer circumstances of life. This was partly owing to the interposition
of that narrow river, however trivial a line of demarcation that must
appear to English people, accustomed to cross even great rivers of
commerce, like the Thames, as they would step over a brook or ditch, by
the frequent aid of bridges and boats. In Wales, bridges are too costly
to be common. When reared, some unlucky high flood often sweeps them
away. Intercourse by ferryboats and fords is liable to long
interruptions. The dwellers of opposite sides frequent different
markets, and belong frequently to different counties. The nature of the
soil also often differs wholly. Hence it happens, that sometimes a
farmer, whose eye rests continually on the little farm and fields of
another, on the opposite "bank," rising from the river running at the
base of his own confronting hill-side, lives on, ignorant almost of the
name, quite of the character, of their tenant, to whom he could almost
make himself heard by a shout--if it happens that neither ford, ferry,
nor bridge, is within short distance.

"The people of t'other side," is an expression implying nearly as much
strangeness, and contented ignorance of these neighbours, and no
neighbours, as the same spoken by the people of Dover or Calais, of
those t'other side the Channel. It was not, therefore, surprising that
poor Winifred (albeit not imprudent, save in this new-sprung passion,)
might have said with the poet, too truly,

  "I know not, I ask not, what guilt's in that heart;
  I but know that I love thee, whatever thou art."

This wild reckless sentiment (though scarcely true to love's nature,
which is above all things curious about all belonging to its object) did
in her case illustrate her feelings. Winifred had lately disclosed to
her dear "unknown" the ruin impending over her father, the result of his
mingled good-nature and indolence, he having permitted the tenants to
run in arrears, and suffer dilapidations, as already said;--the long
neglect, however, of the East Indian landlord being at the root of the
evil, who had been as remiss in his dealings with the steward as the
steward with the tenants. The first appearance of this newly appointed
agent, who announced the early return of his employer to take possession
of the decayed manor-house, was as sudden as ominous of the ruin of old
John Bevan. The hope he held out of the "Nabob" espousing his
long-remembered child, Winifred, and the consequent salvation of her
father, seemed too romantic to be believed. Yet this man proved himself
duly accredited by his principal, and exercised his power already with
severity. The fine old house of Talylynn, a mansion rising close to a
small beautiful lake skirted by an antique park with many deer, was
already almost prepared for the reception of the "squire from abroad."
Meanwhile--what most excited the ill-will of the tenantry--this odious
persecutor of the all-beloved John Bevan had also furbished up a neat
old house adjoining the park gate, as a residence for himself; while
poor Bevan's farm-house of Llaneol was suffered to fall into ruinous
decay--the new steward even neglecting to keep it weather-tight.

Thus decayed, and almost ruinous, it seemed more in harmony with the
fortunes of the ever resigned and patient man. But his less placid dame,
after losing the services of Winifred, had fallen into a peevish sort of
despondency, as the father, missing her society, and its finer species
of consolation, had sunk into a more placid apathy.

David had received the hint of her possible self-devotion to the coming
"squire" with very little philosophy, little temper, and no allowance
for the feelings of an only daughter expecting to see a white-headed,
fond father, dragged from his home to a jail. He had been incensed; he
had wronged her by imputations of sordid motives--of pride, of contempt
for _himself_ as a beggar; and at last broke from her in sullen
resentment, after requiring her to bring all his letters, at their next
interview, which was to be a farewell one. And now she was bringing
every thing she had received from him, in sad obedience to this angry
demand. Nor was all his wrath, his injustice, and his despair, really
unacceptable to her secret heart. She would not have had him patient
under even the prospective possibility of her marrying another.

But his manner at this meeting announced a change in his whole

His very first words, (cold, yet kind, but how altered in tone!) with
his constrained deportment, expressed his acquiescence in her purpose,
whether pride, jealousy, or a juster estimate of her filial virtue, had
induced the stern resolve.

Winifred had never known the full strength of her own passion till now!
The idea of an early eternal end to their ungratified loves, which had
for some time become familiar to her own secret mind, assumed a new and
strange terror for her imagination the moment it ceased to be hers
_alone_. The shock was novel and overpowering, when the separation
seemed acquiesced in by him, thus putting it out of her own power to
hesitate further between devotion to the lover or to the parent. His
reconciled manner, his calm taking her by the hand, even the kiss which
she could not resist, were more painful than his utmost resentment would
have been. Yet there was a sad severity in his look, as his fine
countenance of deep melancholy turned to the bright moon, which a little
comforted her, and indicated that it was pride rather than patience
which led to his affected contentment. _He_ had not a parent to nerve
_his_ heart to the sacrifice.

"I passed _your_ home yesterday," he began sarcastically: "it is a fine
place again, already, that hall of Talylynn, and wants only as fine a

"You wrong me, David _bach_! on my life and soul you do, _dear_ David!"
she replied sobbing. "'Tis a hateful hall--a horrid hall! If it were
only I, your poor lost Winifred, that was to suffer, oh! how much sooner
would I be carried dead into a vault, than alive, and dressed in all the
finest silks of India, into that dreadful house you twit me
with!--unkind, unkind!" And almost fainting, her head sunk upon his
shoulder, and his arm was required to support her.

Instantly she recovered, and stood erect. "But oh, David, there is
another dreadful place, and another dear being besides you, dearest,
that I think of night and day! The horrid castle jail--my dear, dear
father! Oh, if this Lewis speaks truth, and if that strange boy--I only
knew him as a boy, you know--who has power to ruin him, (_will_ surely
ruin him!) will _indeed_ forgive him all he owes; will really become his
son--his son-in-law, instead of his merciless creditor; oh! could I
refuse _my_ part, shocking part though it be? I should not suffer long,
David--I feel I should not."

"And pray, what _kind_ of youth--_boy_ as you are pleased to call
him--was this nabob then?" enquired her lover, apparently startled at
learning the fact of her having had some previous knowledge of his
powerful rival.

"A youth! a mere child, when I last saw him," she answered. "I thought
you had known all about him."

"Nothing more than his name; how came you in his company?"

"His father, living in India, was half-brother to our old squire,
Fitzarthur of Talylynn. His mother dying, his widower father, whose
health was broken up before, came over here, this being his native
country, in hope of recovering it; but died at Talylynn, leaving one
child, that little orphan boy, heir, after his half-uncle's death, to
all this property. You have often heard me tell how like two brothers my
dear father and _our_ old squire were always--though father was only a
steward--how he used to have me at the great house, for a month at a
time, where he had me taught by a lady who lived with him, before I went
to school; and so I used often to see that little boy in black--very
queer and sullen he was thought; but he had no playfellow, except an owl
that he kept tame, I remember, and cried when he buried him in the
garden,--the only time he was ever known to cry, he was so still and
stern. It was _I_ caught him, then acting the sexton by himself, close
by the high box hedge, under a great tree. I remember the spot now, and
remember how angry I made him by laughing."

"And you did wrong to laugh, if it was so serious to him."

"Oh! but I did not know he was crying when I laughed, and _was_ sorry
when I detected it. One thing was, the old gentleman was so jovial, and
loved a good laugher, and was rather too fond of wine, and mostly out
hunting, so that the poor boy had to find his own amusement. He seemed
fond of me, but hated, he said, his uncle, and his hounds, and his ways,
and every thing there but his own owl; so that nobody was sorry when he
was fetched back to India, to be put in the where he was to make the
fortune he has now made, I suppose."

"And your little heart did throb a little, and sink for a day, when this
playfellow was shipped off for life, as you thought, and you _did_
remember his funeral tears over his owl, and"--a quaver of voice and
betrayed earnestness revealed the jealous pang shooting across the heart
of the speaker; but her own was too heavy and deeply anxious to prolong
this desultory talk.

She only added--"Heaven knows how little I thought that poor stranger
boy would ever grow to be what he is to me now."

"_What he is to you?_ Why, what then is he, Winifred?"

"The horror of my thoughts, my dreams, my"----she answered sobbing. "But
why should I say so? Wicked I am to feel him so, if he is _indeed_ to be
the saviour of my dear, dear father!" And she turned away to shed
relieving tears.

"And this little packet contains my letters--_all_, does it?" he asked,
touching the small parcel she had deposited within a cleft of the hollow
river-side tree, by which they stood, the post-office of their happier
days, where, concealed by thick moss gathered from the bole, those
letters had every one been searched for and found--with what a leap of
heart, first felt! how fondly thrust into her bosom, for the leisure
delight of opening at home--and all in vain!

"All but one," she answered tremulously; "I brought then because you
bade me--but you were so angry _then_--let me take them back?" and she
clutched them eagerly. "At least we may wait, David--we don't know yet;
I do suspect that Lewis Lewis--he shuns me as if he was conscious of
some wickedness; he's as horrid to me as his master--the thought of his
master--I do forbode something awful from that man! It was but just
before I heard you brushing among those great low branches, in your
coracle, that I fancied I saw him stealing, as if to watch, or perhaps
waylay you; but I am full of dismal thoughts."

He had not the heart to force his letters, so reluctantly resigned, from
her chilly hand. But he held in his what was calculated to inspire pain
quite as poignant. In the fond admiration of her fancy's first object,
she had vehemently longed for a portrait of that rather singular face--a
long oval, with lofty forehead, already somewhat corrugated by habits of
deep thought, in his lonely night-loving existence; its mixture of
passion, dumb poetry, its constitutional or adventitious profound
melancholy, ever present, till his countenance gradually lighted up,
after her coming and her animating discourse, like some deep gloomy
valley growing light as the sun surmounts a lofty bank, gleaming through
its pines. She had forced him to take a piece of money for procuring
this so desired keepsake, and every time they met, she had fondly hoped
to have the little portrait put into her hand. Now, instead, he
presented the unused money--would she retain the image of a sweetheart
in the home of her stern and lordly husband? Her heart confessed that
she must no longer wish for it--but it sunk within her at the thought,
how soon that innocent would be a guilty wish; and when he surprised her
with the money so suddenly, she involuntarily shuddered, forebore to
close her hand upon it, let it slide from her palm, and murmured only
with her innocent plaintiff voice, "I shall never have your picture
now--_never_!" And then she dejected her eyes to the little parcel of
letters, written, received, kissed, and kept, like something holy, so
long in vain; and all the charming hopeful hours in which each was
found, when some longer absence had given to each a deeper interest, and
higher value--those hours never to return, came shadowing over her mind,
memory, and soul, and a lethargy of despairing grief imposed a
ghost-like semblance of calm on her whole figure, and her face slowly
assumed a deadly paleness, even to the lips, visible even by the moon.
David grew alarmed, relapsed into the full fondness of former hours,
folded the dumb, drooping, and agonized young woman in his arms, to his
bosom! without her betraying consciousness, and yet she was not
fainting; she stood upright, and her eyes, though fixed as if glazed,
still expressed love in their almost shocking fixedness.

The young man grew terrified. "Look up! speak to me! Winifred, _dear_
Winifred, my _own_ Winifred, in spite of all!" he broke forth. "Smile at
me, my dearest, once more, and keep these foolish letters you so value,
keep them _all_." And he thrust them into her passive hand.

Aroused by his words and action, poor Winifred, starting with a gasp,
wildly kissed the little packet, and thanked him by an embrace more
passionate than her prudence or modesty would have permitted, had they
been happy.

"And my portrait--my ugliness in paint, and on ivory too, dearest, you
shall have yet, as you desire it," he added, forcing pleasantry; "only
do not fall into that frightful sort of trance again."

He little knew what deadliness of thoughts, almost of purpose, had
produced that long abstracted fit. The most exemplary prudence (the
result of a sound mind and heart) had characterised this young woman
till now. While yet at home, her bodily activity surprised her parents.
Their means having been long but low, they had little help in their
dairy and small farming concerns. She often surprised her mother with
the sight of the butter already churned, the ewes already milked, or the
cheeses pressed, when she arose. She was abroad in the heavy dews of
morning, when the sun at midsummer rises in what is properly the night,
regarded as the hour of rest--abroad, happy and cheerful, calling the
few cows in the misty meadows. Nor did this habit of early rising
prevent her indulging at night her _one_ unhappy habit--romance-reading;
a pleasure which she enjoyed through the kindness of many ladies of the
town of Cardigan, who afterwards established her in her school at K----.
They supplied her with these dangerous volumes that exalted
passion--love in excess--above all the aims and pursuits of
life: represented her who loves most madly as most worthy of
sympathy; and even, too often, crowned the heroine with the palm of
self-martyrdom--making suicide itself no longer a crime or folly, but
almost a virtue, under certain contingencies.

When poverty increased, the activity of her powerful intellect was
brought into display, as much as her personal activity had been, in
devising resources. She had acquired some skill in drawing, through the
kindness of the neighbouring gentry, and she improved herself so far as
to execute very respectable drawings of the ruins of Kilgerran Castle,
on her own river, and other fine scenes of Wales; and these were sold
for her (or rather for her parents) by others, at fairs and wakes, where
she never appeared herself. When residing at the village, her wheel was
heard in the morning before others were stirring, and at late night,
after every other one was still. Her little light, gleaming in the lofty
village, espied between the hanging trees, was the guiding star of the
belated fisher up the narrow goat's-path which led to the village, who
could always obtain light for his pipe at "_Miss Bevan's_, the school,"
when not a casement had exhibited a taper for hours. But the evil of all
this wear and tear of mind and body was, that it maintained an unnatural
state of excitement in the one, and of weakness (disguised by that fever
of imagination) in the other. Sleep, the preserver of health and
tranquillity of mind, was exchanged for lonely emotions excited by night
reading. She was weeping over the dramatist's fifth act of tragedy, or
the romancist's more morbid appeals to the passions, while nature
demanded rest. Then an accidental meeting with the young harper--he
recovering a book she had dropped into the Tivy out of her hand, from
having fallen asleep through exertion, and restoring it with a grace
quite romance-hero like--produced a new era, and new excitement--that of
the heart. Thenceforth, she became "of imagination all compact," however
her strong sense preserved her purity and virtue. But no more dangerous
lover could be imagined than such a loose hanger-on, rather than member,
of society as David the _Telynwr_--for _his_ nature was _hers_; except,
perhaps, in virtuous resolution, he was a female Winifred. Yet he
possessed a romantic "leaning, at least, to virtue's side."

This was oddly exemplified now, (to return to their present position;)
for as soon as her partial recovery had removed his alarm, he grew cold,
and almost severe in his manner, and broke forth--

"_So_, then, Winifred would willingly pore over the love-letters of a
sweetheart while under a husband's roof! She thinks this beauty enough
for _him_--she would reserve her thoughts, wishes, every thing else, for
his old rival;--every thing but what a ring, and a few words, makes his
right by law, the poor husband is to leave to any old sweetheart that
may come prowling round his gates! That's gross! Is it _not_, Winifred?"

Alas! the heart-broken young woman had been meditating on far other
issue to their brief attachment! On death!--death on her wedding-day, as
the only means of preserving at once her father's liberty and her own
virtue; for her reading had taught her that marriage, where the mind and
heart were so wholly engaged elsewhere, was no better than legalised
prostitution. With a look of dark intensity of meaning, Winifred broke
her lengthened silence, saying hollowly--

"I was not looking so far forward--I was not looking beyond _that_
day--not to that"----_night_, she would have said, but modesty stopped
her speech. "And _you_ can be so calm! so thoughtful! _You_ can be
reasoning about my duties during a life! you can be pleading for _my_
future husband! Oh, I wish I were like you! And yet, I bless God, that
you are not like _me_! I would not have you feel as I do for the world!
No, not even know what I am feeling, thinking, dearest, at this moment."

"No!" David again muttered, more and more severely, "I cannot submit to
have my letters and trifling keepsakes to be tossed about by _him_! It
is weakness to wish it, Winifred Bevan; and worse for me to grant it."

"You shall have them all--all--all!" she exclaimed in passionate agony
composed of tenderness, anguish, anger, recklessness, with a bitterness
of irony keener to her own heart, than to him who roused that terrible
reaction of her nature. "I'll run and fetch them all this very night!
Oh, they'll serve for _your_ new love. You may copy your letters. I'm
sure, if she have a human heart, they'll move it--they'll win it! Strike
my name out, and you may send the very letters. She will not know that
another heart was broken by giving them up! She will not know the stains
are tears of pleasure dropped upon them! And you shall have _that_ too,
if you will--if you must!"

"Which? what? dearest creature, but compose yourself--pray do!" he said,
again alarmed.

"_That_ you sent with the lock of hair--_this_ hair!" she answered
wildly. "But you _will_ leave me the little lock? Oh, there's plenty to
cut for _another_ here!" and she laughed hysterically, frightfully, and
played with his profusion of raven hair; but it was mournful play.
"Leave me--_do_ leave poor Winifred that, David, for the love of God! In
mercy, leave it! I will not ask for the picture again--I will not _wish_
it, if _you_ say I must not; but the hair--the poor bit of hair--he! oh,
misery! he shall never see it! I myself will never cry over it--never
look at it, if you think it wrong--never till I'm dying, David--dying!
There will be no harm then, you know, in looking--in a poor dying
creature's look, who has done with passions, life, love, every thing.
And none--none shall see it but those who lay me out, or they who find
my--oh! we none of us know where we may die, or how! It may be alone,
dearest--_alone_! Oh, the comfort it will be to have a part of very
_you_ to hold--to hold by, like this very hand, in my death-damp one.
Let me have it!" she shrilly implored, in delirious energy. "I want it
to take with me to my death-bed--to my death-pit--my grave, whatever it
may be--to heaven itself--to our place of meeting again, if it were
possible! Oh, that it _were_ possible! and that I might bring back to
you there the kiss--the long kiss--you shall leave on these wretched
lips when we part for ever and for ever here! _Will_ you take it from
me, David, my heart, my soul? No, you will not?"

The crisis of love's parting agony was at its height. Half-conscious of
her own dangerous prostration of soul and mind under its power, she
turned from the dear object, and rested her forehead against the trunk
of their old tree of assignation; and a steady, sadder shower of tears,
relieving her full heart, followed this storm of various and rapid
emotions, sweeping over one weakened mind, like thunderclouds charged
with electric fire, borne on a whirlwind over a whole landscape, in a
few minutes of mingled gloom and glory. For, in the sublime of passion,
whatever be its nature, is there not a terrible joy, a secret glorifying
of the earthy nature, which we may compare to such elemental war--now
hanging all heaven in mourning, and bringing night on noonday, and
presently illuminating that day with a ghastly, momentary light,
brilliant even beyond its own?


Llaneol, the dilapidated farm-house of the expelled steward, old Bevan,
stood beautifully in a wooded glen, watered by a shallow stream, between
a brook and river in size. A pretty greensward, of perpetual vivid hue,
stretched quite up to the threshold--its "fold," or farm-yard, being
small, and situated behind. A wooded mountain rose opposite, topped by a
range of many-tinted cliffs, splintered like thunder-stricken
battlements, and resembling, in their fretted and timeworn fronts, rich
cathedral architecture in ruins. Extensive sheep-walks rose in russet,
lofty barrenness behind, but allowing below breadth for venerable oaks,
and a profusion of underwood, to shelter the white, but no longer
well-thatched, farm-cottage, and screening that umbrageous valley from
the colder wind; while the many sheep, seen, and but just seen, dotting
the lofty barrier, beautified the scene by the pastoral ideas which
their dim-seen white inspired. Only the songs of birds distinguished the
noonday from the night, unless when the flail was heard in the barn,
through the open doors of which, coloured by mosses, the river
glistened, and the green, with its geese, gleamed the more picturesquely
for this rustic perspective.

As Winifred was approaching this tranquil vale--her native vale--after
an absence at the town of Cardigan, where she had been seeking
assistance for her father, with little success, she was startled by the
unusual sound of many voices, and soon saw, aghast, the whole of the
rustic furniture standing about on the pretty green, her infant
play-place; the noisy auctioneer mounted on the well-known old oaken
table; even her mother's wheel was already knocked down and sold, and
her father's own great wicker chair was ready to be put up, while rude
boys were trying its rickety antiquity by a furious rocking.

On no occasion is so much joviality indulged (in Wales) as on that of an
auction "under a distress for rent," (which was the case here)--an
occasion of calamity and ruin to the owner. Even in the event of an
auction caused by a death, where the common course of nature has removed
the possessor from those "goods and chattels" which are now useless to
him, a sale is surely a melancholy spectacle to creatures who use their
minds, and possess feelings befitting a brotherhood of Christians, or
even heathens. To see the inmost recesses of "home, sweet home," thrown
open to all strangers; the most treasured articles (often descended as
heir-looms from ancestors, and therefore possessing an intrinsic value,
quite unsuspected by others, for the owner,) ransacked, tossed from hand
to hand, and at last "knocked down" at a nominal price--even this is a
mournful exhibition. But where the ruthless hand of his brother man has
wrested those valuables from their possessor, instead of inevitable
death's tearing him from them--where that very owner and his family are
present, sadly listening to the ceaseless jokes (thoughtlessly inhuman)
lavished by the auctioneer, and re-echoed by the crowd, over those old
familiar objects--witnessing the happy excitement of rival bidders, and
the universal pleasure over his ruin, like the cry and flocking of
vultures over a battle-field, witnessed by wretches still alive, though
mortally wounded; what can exceed the shocking transgression of human
brotherhood presented by such a scene! A scene of every-day
occurrence--a scene never seeming to excite even one reflection kindred
to these natural, surely, and obvious feelings--yet one terribly
recalling to the pensive observer that axiom, _Homo ad hominem lupus
est!_ Doubtless the fraudulent or utterly reckless debtor is, in the eye
of reason, the first "wolfish" assailant of his brother. But how many of
these familiar tragedies are as truly the result of unforeseen,
unforeseeable contingencies, as diseases or other events, considered the
visitations of God! One, or two, or three, sick and heavy hearts and
wounded minds, in the midst of a hundred happy, light ones, buoyed up by
fierce cupidity and keen bargain-hunting, and exhilarated by drink and
by fun, and all drawn together by the misery of those outcast few.

Poor Bevan had been taken by surprise in this sudden execution, put in
by his treacherous supplanter, Lewis Lewis. But what most excited the
anger of his old attached neighbours, was the fact that many of these
goods were bought by an agent of Lewis, to finish furnishing his own
newly repaired house by the old park wall. Winifred learned that her
parents had removed to a friendly neighbour's, at some distance, but
suspected the worst--his removal to jail.

Not now the weakness of woman prevailed over her presence of mind, as we
have lately seen it do in her interview with a beloved object. She
commanded her agitation, so far as to bid for her father's old chair,
but in vain; for her timid bidding, faltered from behind a crowd, failed
to catch the ear of the jocular auctioneer, (who, in Wales, must always
be somewhat of a mountebank,) and the favourite chair was gone at once,
after the wheel, and the many old familiar chattels which she saw
standing, now the property of strangers.

Events crowded fast on each other, hurrying on that terrible hour in
which a revolting act of self-devotion was to render even this domestic
horror of little injury to her parents. "I will buy 'daddy' a better
chair, or he shall have enough to buy a better, when I am gone," she
murmured to herself. For now the rumour grew rife, that Mr Fitzarthur
had actually landed, was daily expected; and, in confirmation, she
received through a neighbour present, a letter left for her by her
father, stating that he had now actually received, under the Nabob's own
hand, a proposal of marriage, which the generous old man (who well knew
her engagements to another) solemnly charged her to reject, at all
hazards to himself. He further begged her to come quickly to the
temporary place of refuge he and her mother had found under the roof of
a hill cottage, just now tenantless through the death of a relative.
Thither, with heavy heart, Winifred hastened by the first light of

"_The_ hill," an expression much in the mouths of Welsh rural people,
signifies not any particular one, as it would in England, but the whole
desolate regions of the mountain heights; the homeless place of
ever-whistling winds, and low bellowing clouds, mingling with the mist
of the mountain, into one black smoke-like rolling volume--the place of
dismal pools and screaming kites, full of bogs, concealed by a sickly
yellowish herbage in the midst of the russet waste, boundlessly wearying
the eye with its sober monotony of tint. If a pool or lake relieve it by
reflecting the sky, on approach it is found choked all round by high
rushes, and shadowed by low strangely-shaped rocks, tinted by mosses of
dingy hue; the water that glistened pleasantly in the distance, shrinks
now to a mere pond, (the middle space, too deep for bullrushes and other
weeds to take root.) The deep stillness, or the unintermitted hollow
blowing of the wind (according to the weather) are equally mournful.
The rotten soil is cleft and torn into gulleys and small channels, in
which the mahogany-coloured rivulets, springing from the peat morass,
straggle silently with a sluggish motion in harmony with the lifeless
scene. There, if a weedy-roofed hut do appear, (detected by its thin
feeble smoke column) or the shepherd who tenants it should show his
solitary figure in the distance, the only upright object where is not
one tree-trunk, neither the home of man nor man's appearance lessens the
sense of almost savage solitude; the one so lonely, not a smoke-wreath
being visible all round, beside; the other, as he loiters by, watching
some sheep on some distant bank, so shy and wild-looking, and, to
appearance, so melancholy, so forlorn. Meanwhile, as we "plod our weary
way," some dip in the wavy round of olive-hued lumpish mountains, or an
abrupt huge chasm of awful rocks, each side being almost perpendicular,
startles the traveller with a far-down prospect of some sunshiny, rich,
leafy, valley region, at once showing at what a bleak elevation he has
been roaming so long, and tantalizing him with the contrast of that far,
far off, low, luring landscape, rendering more irksome than before the
dead, heathery desert, interminably undulating before, behind, and all
round him.

The little farm whither old Bevan had retired, stood high in such a
desert as this, on the very verge of such a mountain-portal, (a _bwlch_,
pronounced boolch, the Welsh call it,) an antique stone cottage, hanging
like a nest on one of the side banks, dismal itself, but all that under
world of pastoral pleasantness below, in full though dim perspective. A
premature decay is always visible on these kind of wild, weather-beaten
homes, in the torn thatch; the walls tinged with green, and generally
propped to resist the effects of the powerful winds. If white-washed,
which they really are, broad streaks of green are visible, from the
frequent heavy rains, tinged by the mosses and weeds of the roof. The
clouds, attracted by the heights, career on the strong blast, so low and
close, as often to shut up the dingy human nest in a dreary day of its
own, while all below is blue serene.

To this melancholy abode, its few rustic chattels still standing there,
left since the death of its tenant, Winifred toiled up by a steep, wild,
but well-known track, but found not father, mother, or living thing,
except one, so much in unison with the wild melancholy of the scene, as
to exalt it almost to horror. This was a wretched idiot man, dressed in
female attire, perfectly harmless, and kept, as a parish pauper, at an
adjacent farm. He was noted for fidelity to any one who flattered him by
some little commission. This ragged object presented to her the key of
the padlock on the door, with the words "gone, gone, gone!" She entered,
and found, to her surprise, excellent refreshment provided in the
desolate house, evidently but lately deserted. But what riveted her
eyes, was a letter to herself in the handwriting of David, but
tremulously written, announcing his inability to keep an appointment,
(one more!) which they had made, to part for ever--her terrible
distress, it will be remembered, on the last occasion, deterring the
young man from any further trial of her feelings. He further informed
her that Mr Fitzarthur was certainly arrived, and had taken up his
temporary abode at the pretty house by the park, designed by Lewis Lewis
for his own residence. Moreover, she learned that her father and mother
anxiously expected her at that house to which they had removed, but did
not reveal that he had _been removed_ in the care of two bailiffs, and
the house named was but a resting place in his transit to jail.

When the mind is enfeebled by repeated blows, it often happens that some
one, which to others may appear the slightest of all, produces the
greatest effect, its pain being quite disproportioned to its real
importance. Thus it happened, that, amidst all her trials, Winifred felt
the loss of her father's favourite chair as a crowning misery, trivial
as was that loss, when hope itself was lost. She had identified that
very humble chattel with his figure almost her life long. She almost
expected to see the two fair hands (for, truth to tell, the aged steward
had never worked hard) on each side, and the venerable kind face
projected forwards from its deep concave, arched over that white head,
to smile welcome to her even as it stood out on the little green. The
intrusion of boy clowns, one after another, into its seat seemed a
grievous insult to the unhappy owner, though absent. Yet a sad comfort
rose in the thought of her ability to reinstate her father in all his
lost comforts, through this terrible marriage. Then she grew impatient
in her longing to console him by assurance of this, notwithstanding his
generous wish that her hand should go where he knew her heart had
irretrievably been given. But these repeated disappointments in finding
the parents she longed to fold to her bosom, postponing this little
gratification, (the telling him she would repurchase the old family
chair,) now quite overcame the fortitude she had till now exhibited. She
sate down sick at heart--turned with aversion from the refreshment her
fatigue required, and wept bitterly. Superstition, and two mysterious
incidents, even while she remained on the hill, if indeed they were more
than superstition's coinage, helped to depress her. Just before she
reached this forlorn house with the haggard, aged, horrid-looking idiot
prowling round it, with his rags fluttering in the wind, she thought
that the figure of the hated steward and spy moved along a wild path on
the opposite side of that great mountain cleft, traversed by a noisy
torrent almost the depth of the whole hill, near the top of which this
cottage was perched. His being there alone was nothing marvellous, but
an ominous horror seemed, in her mind, to hover round that man, who (as
if conscious of some deadly evil which was through him to overwhelm her
some time) studiously avoided direct intercourse with his victim.

The second incident which might have sprung from the dwelling of her
mind's eye on the absent features of him, who, it seemed, refused to
meet her again, was an apparition, or what she deemed such, of her dear
Night-harper! One of those dense flying clouds, so common even at
moderate elevations when the mists roll down the hills, suddenly
enveloping the lone lofty spot, left but a little area of a few yards
for vision, a dungeon walled with fog, which kept circulating furiously
on the blast like a great smoke, in continuous whirls. And through some
momentary fissure in this white wall, she imagined the pallid and almost
ghastly visage of her forsaken lover appeared intensely looking toward
her, as she stood on the rude threshold, looking out on the temporary
storm that had shut her up. Her vague apprehension of some evil arising
to David, her mind's perpetual object, from the man she believed herself
to have espied just before, was rarely absent from her thought.
Combining the two appearances, she became more and more fancy-fraught,
thus confined, as it were, in an elemental solitude of the mountain and
the cloud, where, for the present, we leave her, to narrate the fate of
her father.

The novel calamity of arrest for debt was borne by the respectable old
man, John Bevan, with a patience and dignity that no study of philosophy
could have inspired. Though somewhat inactive, he felt that, in the
honest discharge of his duty, he stood acquitted in the sight of God,
though not in the eye of the law, of all fault, at least of any one
meriting the terrible punishment of imprisonment. It was near nightfall
when two emissaries of the law appeared, announcing that horses waited
at the neighbouring inn to convey him to jail with the first light of
morning. The poor old dame, his wife, was not to be pacified by the
efforts of the two bailiffs, who executed their commission with the
utmost gentleness, by order, as it appeared, of the Nabob himself,
notwithstanding that the old man's stern self-denying rejection of his
overture for his daughter's hand had determined him to let his agent
proceed to extremities. Soothing as well as he could both her grief and
her rage--for the latter rose unreflectingly against the mere agents in
this grievous infliction--old Bevan smoked his pipe as usual to the end,
and then requested permission to take a little walk only to the church,
which stood a short way from the solitary house where they surprised

"You see I cannot run, for I can hardly walk with these rheumatics, my
friend," he observed; "but I have a fancy to visit the churchyard
to-night, as it will be moonlight, and we shall be pretty busy in the
morning. My dame is gone to bed with the good woman of this cottage, as
I begged her to go; so pray let us walk--you shall see me all the
while by the moon, without coming into the churchyard with me."

Arrived at the low stone stile, he crossed it by the help of the man,
and proceeded alone to the tomb of his old master's grave, surrounded by
a rail, with a yew growing inside, marking the site of the ancient
family vault. The moon now shining clearly, the bailiff saw him kneel
and uncover his head, which shone in its light, in the distance
resembling a scull bleached by the wind. He remained a long time in this
position, and his murmuring voice was partly audible to the man. At last
he returned, thanking him for his patience, and shaking him very
cordially by the hand. So touched was even this rugged lower limb of the
law by this proof of his affectionate remembrance of his old patron,
that he behaved throughout with great courtesy, and even respect. Bevan
and his departed master had lived, as has been said, almost on the
footing of cronies, a certain phlegmatic ease of nature being the
characteristic of both. So proud, indeed, was Bevan of his brotherlike
intercourse with the great man, that he made himself for years almost a
personal _fac-simile_ of him, even to the cut and colour of his coat,
wig, everything; and being a fine specimen of a "noble peasant,"
externally as well as internally, his assumption of the _squire_ in
costume well became his tall figure, mild countenance, (streaked with
the lingering pink of his youthful bloom,) and gentle demeanour. A rigid
observer might have thought, that to this indulgent but indolent master
the poor steward owed his ruin; his habits of "forgiving" his tenants
their rent debts so often, having extended themselves to the former,
further increased by the strange inattention of the new landlord. The
gratitude of Bevan was, however, deserved--for never was a kinder

"It is a thing not to be thought," he said, while returning with the
man, "that I shall ever come back here, to the old church again, alive
or dead; seeing that I am too poor for any one to bring my old bones all
the way from Cardigan, to put them in the same ground with _his_, as I
did dream of in my better days, and too old for a man used to free air
and the hill-sides all his life, to live long in a prison, or indeed out
of one--but we must all die. I assure you, my honest man and kind, you
have done me good, in mind and body, by letting me take leave of his
honour! Well I may call him so, now he is in heaven, whom I did honour
when here, from my very heart of hearts; kind he was to me--a second
father to my child--God bless him! Sure I am, if he were still among us,
how his good heart would melt, how it would _bleed_ for us--for _her_--I
_know_ it would." Here the old man sobbed and kept silence a space, then
proceeded--"You see how weak old age and over-love of this world make a
man, sir. Yet I am content. Next to God, I owe to him whose dear corpse
I have just now been so near, a long and happy life,--thanks, thanks,
thanks! To both, up yonder, I do here render them from my inmost soul;"
and he bared his head again, looking up to the placid moon with a visage
of kindred placidity, and an eye of blue lustre, so brightened by his
emotion as almost to be likened to the heaven in which that moon shone.
"Why should I repine, or fear the walls of a prison, as my passage to
that wide glorious world without wall or bound or end, where I hope to
live free and for ever, in the sight of my Redeemer, and, perhaps, of
him who was Hugh Fitzarthur, Esq., of Tallylynn hall, when here? I hope
I am not irreverent, but in truth, friend, I fear I have almost as
vehemently longed for the presence of him once more, as for that more
awful presence: heaven pardon me if it was wicked! So welcome prison,
welcome death! Half a hundred and nineteen years spent pleasantly on
these green hills, free, and fresh, and hale, I can surely afford a few
weeks or months to a closer place, were it but as in a school for my
poor earthly and ignorant soul, to purify itself, to prepare itself for
that glorious place, to learn to die."

Next morning the old couple, dame Bevan being mounted on a pillion
behind him, proceeded on their melancholy journey. They reached the
house by the park, where it was proposed that an interview should take
place between the old man and the landlord himself, with some view to
arrangement prior to his imprisonment. While they there expect the long
delayed comfort of Winifred's embrace, let us return to that good
daughter, now more eager to fly to that dreaded suitor, to reverse her
father's resolve, to offer herself a victim, than ever she had been to
reach that dearer one who had now cruelly disappointed her in the hope
of one more meeting--that, perhaps, the last she could have innocently

The dreaded day of trial arrived. But we must revert to her sad
meditations, and wild irresolute thoughts, while shut up by the
storm-cloud, and alone, in the mountain house. Doating passion, pain of
heart, terrible suggestions of despair, kept altering her countenance as
she leaned against the mouldering door-post, imprisoned by the black
mists that prevented her safely leaving the hovel. A sudden, dire,
revolution in her religious impressions was wrought, or rather
completed, in that dismal scene. David had more than once wrung her very
soul by dark hints of self-destruction in the event of her ever
forsaking him. He had thus been led into discussions on suicide, and had
even argued for the moral right of man to end his own being under
circumstances. Persuasion hangs on the lips of those we love. What she
would have rejected as impious, from some immoral man, in dispute, sank
deep into her soul, emanating from a heart she loved, through lips that,
to her, seemed formed for eloquence as much as love to make its throne.

Wild and tragical modes of reconciling her two furious, fighting,
irreconcilable wishes--that of saving her father--that of blessing her
lover--began to take terrible form and reality in her mind, as the wind
howled, the ruinous house shook, and its timbers groaned, and the
blackness of the sky, as the storm increased, deepened the lurid hue of
the foul and turbulent fog, (for such the mountain cloud thus in contact
with her eyes appeared.) The world, as it were, already left behind, or
rather below, the elements alone warring round her, her high-wrought
imagination began to regard life and death, and the world itself, as
things no longer appertaining to her, except as a passive instrument
toward one great object, the preservation of her father's freedom, and,
if it _were_ possible, also of her own inviolate person--that person
which she had, indeed, most solemnly vowed to one alone, David the
Telynwr. Not _to_ him--for her innate delicacy rendered such vows
repugnant to her; but alone, by the moon or stars, by the cataract, and
in the lonely lanes and woods, she had vowed herself to one alone--had
dedicated her virgin beauty (in the spirit of those romances she had
fatally devoured) to her "night-harper" with as true devotion as ever
did white vestal, at the end of her noviciate, devote herself alive and
dead to the one God. Instilled by the touching tone, the wild pathos,
the swimming eye of a wayward passionate character, weak, yet bold, of
whom she knew almost nothing, this devoted girl yielded up her better
reason to his rash innovations in morals, his examples of suicidal
heroes, and even _moralists_, among the ancients; and in the wild
height, alone, among the clouds, she almost wrought up her fond
agonizing soul to a terrible part--the accomplishing her father's
preservation, _on her wedding-day_, through the influence she might
naturally expect to obtain in such a season, and that done, make her
peace with God; and, before night--black pools--rock precipices, fearful
as Leucadia's--mortal plants, and even the horrid knife and
halter--floated before her mind's eye without her trembling, even like
terrible, yet kind, ministrants proffering escape--escape from legalised
violation!--escape from _perjury_, to her, the self-doomed Iphigenia!
For her morbid fancy, whispered to by her intense tenderness, conjured
up that dilemma between faith broken to her lover and abandonment of a
dear parent to his fate. Despair suggested that self-destruction itself
might seem venial, even before God, when rushed upon as the only
alternative to perjury--to prostitution; for such her romantic purity
taught her to consider submission to the embrace of any living man
except her heart's own--her affianced--"her beautiful!"--her lost!

Such were the feelings under whose influence our humble heroine pursued
her mountain journey, of a few miles, to the place of meeting with her
parents; and it was probably beneath the roof of the lone cottage in the
cloud that, under the same morbid mood of mind, she penned a letter to
Mr Fitzarthur, which was afterwards discovered, dated at top "My Wedding
Day," containing a passionate appeal on behalf of her father, for a bond
of legal indemnification to be executed before night, as a present which
she had set her heart on giving her father, as a bridal one, _that very
day_. Arrived at the house fitted up for the hated supplanter of her
father, "Lewis the Spy," her heart beat so violently before she could
firm her nerves to ring the bell, that she stood leaning some time
against the wall. This old house was now almost rebuilt, and not without
regard to rural beauty, in harmony with the fine scenery of an antique
park, with its mossy ivied remains of walls and venerable trees
overshadowing it, and was called "The Little Hall of the Park." She
sighed deeply as she glanced at its comfortable aspect, remembering how
long it had formed the secret object of her mother's little ambition
(for the dame had a touch of pride in her composition beyond her
ever-contented mate) to occupy that _little_ hall. It seemed so
appropriate that the lesser squire--the _great_ squire's friend--should
also have _his_ "hall," though a little one!

Indeed, it had been in incipient repair for him, that the old men might
spend their winter evenings together at the real hall, divided but by a
short path, across an angle of the park, without a dreary walk for Bevan
impending over the end of their carouse, with never-wearied
reminiscences of their boyhood--when sudden death stopped all
proceedings, and left poor Bevan alone in the world, as it seemed to
him--"in simplicity a child," and as imbecile in conflict with it as any

She nerved her mind and hand by an effort, and rang the bell--(the
_bell_, there a modern innovation.) No sound but its own distant
deadened one, was heard within; but some dog in the rear barked, and
then howled, as if alarmed at the sudden breach of long prevailing
silence. Again she rang--again the troubled growl and bark, suppressed
by fear of the only living thing, as it seemed, within hearing, alone
responded. The situation was very solitary, the only adjacent house, the
hall, being yet tenantless, and night was gathering fast; for that storm
which had first detained her in the lofty region, (where a darker storm
had gathered round her mind and soul,) had desolated the lower country
all day, flooded the brooks, and delayed her on the road during several

She fancied a sort of suppressed commotion within, as of whisperings and
stealthy steps, and one voice she clearly overheard, but it was not her
father's. Whether it was that of Lewis (who, however, was not yet
residing there) she knew not, never having heard it in her life; he
avoiding, as was stated, direct intercourse with her--disappearing "like
a guilty thing" whenever her figure appeared in distant approach. What
should this mean? Wild fears, even superstitious ones, of some
indefinite ill or horror impending, began to shake her forced fortitude,
as she stood, half-fearing to ring again--again to hear the melancholy
voice of the dog, as of one lost--to wait--listen--and dream
of--David--death--murder--or even worse, till even the giant horror--the
jail!--and the white-headed prisoner, shrank before the present ominous
mystery--ominous of she _knew_ not what, therefore involving every thing
dreadful. Meanwhile, the swinging of the large oak branches in the close
of a squally day, their groaning, and the vast glooms that their foliage
shed all below, the twilight rapidly deepening into confirmed night, all
tended to the inspiration of a wild unearthly melancholy. Suddenly the
door was opened, while she hesitated to ring again, and by a _black_
man! Persons of colour are rarely seen inland, in Wales, and Winifred
had never visited a seaport of any consequence; so that even this was
almost a shock. She quickly, however, guessed that this was a servant of
the "Nabob," brought over with him. The man, learning her name, bade her
enter, adding, that she would see her father _soon_, but that "massa"
was within, settling some affairs with Mr Lewis, and begged to see her.
A sort of grim grin, though joined to a deference that seemed, to her
troubled and broken spirit, and sunken heart, a cruel mockery, relaxed
the man's features, and half shocked, half irritated her. Her spirits,
however, rose with the occasion, demanding all her fortitude and all
her tact; for now she was to make that impression on this terrible
suitor's fancy, through which alone she could work out her father's
salvation. In a few minutes more, she stood in the same apartment with
her David's detested rival! The embers of a large fire, decayed, cast
red twilight, which made it appear already dark without; and there he
stood, at the long room's extreme end, between her and the hearth.

To Winifred, the personal attributes of the man, whom in her awful
resolve she regarded merely as the instrument of that filial good work,
were utterly indifferent; yet she stopped--she shuddered--and trembled
all over, as she caught the mere outline of his figure by the
fire-light. There he was! to her idea, the embodied evil genius of her
family! the sullen apostate from the finer part of love--the victim of
satiety, (as rumour said,) the selfish contemner of women's better
feelings!--indifferent to all but person in his election of a wife;
willing to unite himself with one whose heart and mind were stranger to
him, on bare report of her health and beauty, and some slight
recollections of her childhood! Seeing her stop, and even totter, he
advanced a few steps; but she, with the instinctive recoil and antipathy
of some feeble creature from its natural enemy, retreated at his first
movement--and, shocked by this betrayed repugnance, he again stood
irresolute. Then rushed back upon her heart, with all the horror of
novelty, the renunciation of poor David, now it was on the point of
being sealed for ever. Now father, mother, all beside, was
forgotten--the ghastliness of a terrible struggle within, the stern
horror of confirmed despair, began to disguise her beauty as with a
death-pale mask--the features grew rigid, her heart beat audibly, her
ears rang and tingled, and sight grew dim. She was fainting, falling. Mr
Fitzarthur sprang to support her, but putting his arms too boldly round
her waist, that detested freedom at once startled her into temporary
self-possession, back into life. She gasped, struggled against him, as
if she had rather have fallen than have been supported by _him_; and
turned to him that white face, white even to the lips, imploringly,
where was still depicted her unconquerable aversion. Some astonishment
seemed to rivet that look upon his face, but half-visible by the dusky
light--astonishment no longer painful, when the Nabob, emboldened,
renewed his now permitted clasp, and only uttering "My _dear_! don't you
know me?" in the tenderest tone to which ever manly voice was modulated,
increased his grasp to a passionate embrace, advanced his face--his
mouth to hers, advanced and pressed unresisted--and before her
bewildered eyes closed in that fainting fit which had been but
suspended, stood revealed to them (as proved by one delighted smile,
flashed out of all the settled gloom of that countenance,) as her
heart's own David--no longer the night--wandering poor _Telynwr_, but
David Fitzarthur of Talylynn, Esq.

The story of the eccentric East Indian may be shortly told. From
childhood he was the victim of excessive morbid sensibility, and
constitutional melancholy. The jovial habits of his good-natured Welsh
uncle were repugnant to his nature; and after becoming an orphan, the
solitary boy had no human object on which the deep capacity for
tenderness of his _occult_ nature could be exerted. Thus forced by his
fate into solitariness of habits, and secreted emotions, he was deemed
unsocial, and reproached for what he felt was his misfortune--the being
wholly misunderstood by those his early lot was cast among. Hence his
perverted ardour of affection was misplaced on the lower living
world--dog, cat, or owl, whatever chance made his companions. Returning
to India, where he had known two parents, to meet no longer the
tenderness of even one, the melancholy boy-exile (for Wales he ever
regarded as his country) increased in morbid estrangement from mankind,
as he increased in years; till his maturity nearly realized the
misanthropic unsocial character for which his youth had been unjustly
reproached. Though in the high road to a splendid fortune, he loathed
East Indian society, far beyond all former loathing of fox-hunters and
topers in Wales, whose green mountains now became (conformably to the
nature, "_semper varium et mutabile_," of the melancholic) the very
idols of his romantic regrets and fondest memory. In India were neither
green fields nor green hearts. External nature and human nature appeared
equally to languish under that enfeebling hot death in the atmosphere,
which seemed to wither female beauty in the moment that it ripened. The
pallidness of the European beauties, sickly as the clime, disgusted
him--their venality still more. Female fortune-hunters were far more
intolerable to his delicacy than the coarsest hunter of vermin--fox or
hare--ever had been at his uncle's hall, whom he began to esteem, and
sincerely mourned--when death had removed all of him from his memory but
his kindness, his desire to amuse him, the "sulky boy," his substantial
goodness and warm-heartedness. Knowing that every female in his circle
was well informed of his ample fortune, still accumulating, he fancied
art, deceit, coquetry in every smile and glance, (for suspicion of human
hearts and motives ever besets the melancholic character;) and thus, it
was natural that he should sometimes sigh over the idea of some fresh
mountain beauty, not trained by parents in the art and to the task of
husband-hunting. Even the soft-faced child, just growing into woman, who
had held her pinafore for fruit, in the orchard, whose half-fallen
apple-tree was his almost constant seat, floated across his vacant, yet
restless mind. In truth, when she surprised him in his part of sexton to
his owl, she had evinced rather more sympathy than she had admitted to
his other self, David the wood-wanderer; and though she had indeed
laughed, it was with tears in her eyes, elicited by one she detected in
the shy averted orbs of his. Yet was the sweetness of the little Welsh
girl left behind, for a long time, even when manhood failed to banish
its idea, no more than his statue to Pygmalion, or his watery image to
Narcissus. But having no female society, save those marketable forms
that he distrusted and despised; yet pining, in his romantic refinement,
for _pure_ passion--for reciprocal passion--panting to be loved _for
himself alone_, he kept imagining her developed graces, exaggerating the
conceit of some childish tenderness toward himself, his position and his
nervous infirmity keeping a solitude of soul and heart ever round him,
into which no female form had free and constant admission, but that
aërial one, the little Winifred, of far, far off, green Wales! The
promise of pure beauty, which her childhood gave, his _dream_ fulfilled;
and his imagination seized and cherished the beautiful cloud, painted by
fancy, till it became the goddess of his idolatry, though conscious of
the self-delusion, and retained with that tenacity conceivable, perhaps,
to the morbidly sensitive alone. The habit of yielding to the
importunity of one idea, strengthens itself; every recurrence of it
produces quicker sensibility to the next; deeper and deeper impression
follows, till one form of mania supervenes--that which consists in the
undue mastery and eternal presence of one idea.

Childish and _fugitive_ as it _seemed_, a passion had actually commenced
in his _boy's_ heart, which clung to that of the man, though under the
same light, fragile, and dreamlike form. Poetry might liken it to the
mere frothy foam of the infant cataract, when it gushes out of the
breast of the mountain to the rising sun, which, arrested by an intense
frost, ere it can fall, in the very act of evanishing, there hangs,
still hangs, the mere air-bubbles congealed into crystal vesicles,
defying all the force of the mounted sun to dissipate their delicate
white beauty, evanescent as it _looks_. The chill and the
impenetrability of heart, kept by circumstances within him, such frost
might typify--that pure, fragile-seeming, yet durable passion, that
snow-foam of the waterfall. True it was that this fantastic fancy had
the power to draw him to his Welsh patrimony earlier than worldly
ambition would have warranted. But his after conduct--his actual
overtures were not so wildly romantic, as might appear from the
foregoing narrative; but of this in the sequel.

And where was her father--mother? Why had the law been allowed by this
eccentric lover to violate the humble sanctuary of home, at the desolate
Llaneol? What was become of the wicker chair? Was the hated Lewis to be
maintained in his usurpation of the chair of Bevan's _ancestral_ post of
steward, (for his father had been steward to the father of the squire
deceased?) Above all, was Dame Bevan to see that home of her heart's
hope, the permanent home of the harsh supplanter of her husband?
Passing over the affecting scene of poor Winifred's fainting, which drew
round her father and mother, and others from below, proceed we to answer
those queries and conclude our tale.

When perfectly restored, Winifred, leaning on the arm of her future
husband, accompanied her parents down into the comfortable kitchen,
where, by a huge fire, stood the veritable wicker chair, familiar to her
eyes from infancy, rickety as ever, but surviving its desecration by the
boys at the auction; and looking round, she saw standing the whole solid
old oaken furniture, coffers, dressers, &c., even to the same bright
brazen skillets, pewter dishes, and sundries--the pride of Mistress
Bevan's heart, the splendour of better days. Mr Fitzarthur led the old
man by the hand to his own chair, his wife to another; and then, having
seated himself by their daughter, began, over the fumes of tea and
coffee, (the honours of which pleasant meal, so needful after her
agitation, he solicited Winifred to perform,) to narrate various
matters, which we must condense into a nutshell.

To their surprise and amusement, they now learned that the hated "spy"
who had prowled round their folds and fields so long, would resign to
Mistress Bevan the house in which they sat, and that atonement made,
vanish into thin air--_a vox et preterea nihil!_ being in reality the
Proteus-like, mysterious, handsome, though sallow stranger, and no
stranger, sitting among them!

We said that Mr Fitzarthur's conduct in espousing this long-unseen
mistress of his fancy, was not quite so extraordinary and wild as it
appeared. For coming back grown into maturity, and altered by climate in
complexion and all characteristics, he found himself quite unrecognised,
and conceived the idea of at once reconnoitring his dilapidated estate,
and watching the conduct of his long-remembered Winifred. _Two_
disguises seemed necessary toward these two purposes, and he adopted the
two we have seen, one on the "hither side Tivy," the other on the "far
side Tivy," which his coracle allowed him to cross at pleasure. His
close watch of the blameless girl's whole life confirmed the warm and
romantic wishes of his soul, which her beauty inspired--that beauty as
fully confirming the vision of his love-dream when far and long away.

It was during the alarm of her prolonged fainting, produced by the
surprise of this discovery, and the previous agitations, (whereby,
perhaps, the prudence rather than the affection of the eccentric lover
was impeached,) that her mother, searching her pocket for a bottle of
volatile salts, turned forth the letter lately referred to, melancholy
evidence of the desperate extremity to which two powerful antagonist
passions--love, and filial love--had driven a mind not unfortified by
religion, but beleaguered by despair and all its powers, till resolution
failed, and peril impended over an otherwise almost spotless soul.

As the old man's affections were not wholly weaned from Llaneol, ruinous
as it was, his son-in-law had it restored as a temporary summer
residence for the old people, as well as occasionally for himself and
his beloved bride.

It hardly needs to be told, that the arrest and its executors were but
parts of the delusion, the amount of real infliction being no more than
a ride in a fine morning of some miles. Whether the whole, as involving
some little added trouble of mind to that whose whole weight he was
going so soon to remove, was too severe a penance for the steward's
neglect, may be variously judged by various readers. In the halcyon days
that followed, Winifred never forgot the place on the Tivy bank where
she slept and dropped her book; nor did the happy husband, melancholic
no more, forsake his coracle or his harp utterly, but would often
serenade his lady-love (albeit his wedded love also) on some golden
evening, as she sat among the cowslips and harebells, that enamelled
with floral blue and gold the greensward bank of the Tivy, under the
fine sycamore tree--the "trysting-place" of their romantic assignations.


[20] Harper.

[21] _St Elian._--A saint of Wales. There is a well bearing his name;
one of the many of the holy wells, or _Ffynnonan_, in Wales. A man whom
Mr Pennant had affronted, threatened him with this terrible vengeance.
Pins, or other little offerings, are thrown in, and the curses uttered
over them.

[22] In the "History of the Gwyder Family," it is stated, that some
members of a leading family in the reign of Henry VII., being denounced
as "Llawrnds," murderers, (from _Llawrnd_, red or bloody hand,) and
obliged to fly the country, returned at last, and lived long disguised,
in the woods and caves, being dressed all in green; so that "when they
were espied by the country people, all took them for the "_Tylwyth Têg_,
the fair family," and straight ran away.


No. VI.


From the grand achievements of Glorious John, one experiences a queer
revulsion of the currency in the veins in passing to the small doings of
Messrs Betterton, Ogle, and Co., in 1737 and 1741; and again, to the
still smaller of Mr Lipscomb in 1795, in the way of modernizations of
Chaucer. Who was Mr Betterton, nobody, we presume, now knows; assuredly
he was not Pope, though there is something silly to that effect in
Joseph Warton, which is repeated by Malone. "Mr Harte assured me," saith
Dr Joseph, "that he was convinced by some circumstances which Fenton had
communicated to him, that Pope wrote the characters that make the
introduction (the Prologue) to the Canterbury Tales, published under the
name of Betterton." Betterton is bitter bad; Ogle, "_wersh_ as cauld
parritch without sawte!" Lipscomb is a jewel. In a postscript to his
preface he says, "I have barely time here, the tales being already
almost all printed off, to apologize to the reader for having inserted
my own translation of The Nun's Priest's Tale, instead of that of
Dryden; but the fact is, _I did not know that Dryden's version existed_;
for having undertaken to complete those of the Canterbury Tales which
were wanting in Ogle's collection, and the tale in question _not being
in that collection_, I proceeded to supply it, having never till very
lately, strange as it may seem, _seen the volume of Dryden's Fables in
which it may be found_!!"

It is diverting to hear the worthy who, in 1795, had never seen Dryden's
Fables, offering to the public the first completed collection of the
Canterbury Tales in a modern version, "under the reasonable confidence
that the improved taste in poetry, and the extended cultivation of that,
in common with all the other elegant arts, which so strongly
characterizes the present day, will make the lovers of verse look up to
the old bard, the father of English poetry, with a veneration
proportioned to the improvements they have made in it." It grieves him
to think that the language in which Chaucer wrote "has decayed from
under him." That reason alone, he says, can justify the attempt of
exhibiting him in a modern dress; and he tells us that so faithfully has
he adhered to the great original, that they who have not given their
time to the study of the old language, "must either find a true likeness
of Chaucer exhibited in this version, or they will find it nowhere
else." With great solemnity he says, "Thence I have imposed it on myself
as a duty somewhat sacred to deviate from my original as little as
possible in the sentiment, and have often in the language adopted his
own expressions, the simplicity and effect of which have always forcibly
struck me, _wherever the terms he uses (and that happens not
unfrequently) are intelligible to modern ears_." Yes--Gulielme Lipscomb,
thou wert indeed a jewel.

Happy would he have been to accompany his version of Chaucer with notes.
"But though the version itself has been an agreeable and easy rural
occupation, yet in a remote village, near 250 miles from London, the
very books, _trifling as they may seem_, to which it would be necessary
to refer _to illustrate the manners of the 14th century_, were not to be
procured; and parochial and other engagements would not admit of absence
sufficient to consult them where they are to be found; it is not
therefore for want of deference to the opinions of those who have
recommended a body of notes that they do not accompany these Tales."
Yes--Gulielme, thou wert a jewel.

It is, however, but too manifest from his alleged versions, that not
only did Mr Lipscomb of necessity eschew the perusal of "the books,
trifling as they may seem, to which it would be necessary to refer to
illustrate the manners of the 14th century," but that he continued to
his dying day almost as ignorant of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales as of
Dryden's Fables.

In his preface he tells one very remarkable falsehood. "The Life of
Chaucer, and the Introductory Discourse to the Canterbury Tales, are
taken from the valuable edition of his original works published by Mr
Tyrwhitt." The Introductory Discourse is so taken; but it is plain that
poor, dear, fibbing Willy Lipscomb had not looked into it, for it
contradicts throughout all the statements in the life of Chaucer, which
is not from Tyrwhitt, but clumsily cribbed piecemeal by Willy himself
from that rambling and inaccurate one by a Mr Thomas in Urry's edition.
Lipscomb is lying on our table, and we had intended to quote a few
specimens of him and his predecessor Ogle; but another volume that had
fallen aside a year or two ago, has of itself mysteriously
reappeared--and a few words of it in preference to other "haverers."

Mr Horne, the author of "The False Medium," "Orion," the "Spirit of the
Age," and some other clever brochures in prose and in verse, in the
laboured rather than elaborate introduction to "The Poems of Geoffrey
Chaucer, modernized," (1841,) by Leigh Hunt, Wordsworth, Robert Bell,
Thomas Powell, Elizabeth Barrett, and Zachariah Azed, gives us some
threescore pages on Chaucer's versification; but, though they have an
imposing air at first sight, on inspection they prove stark-naught. He
seems to have a just enough general notion of the principle of the verse
in the Canterbury Tales; but with the many ways of its working--the how,
the why, and the wherefore--he is wholly unacquainted, though he
dogmatizes like a doctor. He soon makes his escape from the real
difficulties with which the subject is beset, and mouths away at immense
length and width about what he calls "the _secret_ of Chaucer's rhythm
in his heroic verse, which has been the baffling subject of so much
discussion among scholars, a trifling increase in the syllables
occasionally introduced for variety, and founded upon the same laws of
contraction by apostrophe, syncope, &c., as those followed by all modern
poets; but employed in a more free and varied manner, all the words
being fully written out, the vowels sounded, and not subjected to the
disruption of inverted commas, as used in after times." This "secret"
was patent to all the world before Mr Horne took pen in hand, and his
eternal blazon of it is too much now for ears of flesh and blood. The
modernized versions, however, are respectably executed--Leigh Hunt's
admirably; and we hope for another volume. But Mr Horne himself must be
more careful in his future modernizations. The very opening of the
Prologue is not happy.

In Chaucer it runs thus:--

  "Whannè that April with his shourès sote
  The droughte of March hath perced to the rote,
  And bathed every veine in swiche licour,
  Of whiche vertue engendered is the flour;
  When Zephyrus eke with his sotè brethe,
  Enspired hath in every holt and hethe
  The tendre croppès, and the yongè sonne
  Hath in the Ram his halfè cours yronne,
  And smalè foulès maken melodie,
  That slepen allè night with open eye,
  So priketh hem nature in hire corages;
  Than longen folk to gon on pilgrimages,
  And palmeres for to seken strangè strondes,
  To servè halwes couthe in sondry londes," &c.

Thus modernized by Mr Home:--

  "When that sweet April showers with downward shoot
  The drought of March have pierc'd unto the root,
  And bathed every vein with liquid power,
  Whose virtue rare engendereth the flower;
  When Zephyrus also with his fragrant breath
  Inspirèd hath in every grove and heath
  The tender shoots of green, and the young sun
  Hath in the Ram one half his journey run,
  And small birds in the trees make melody,
  That sleep and dream all night with open eye;
  So nature stirs all energies and ages
  That folk are bent to go on pilgrimages," &c.

Look back to Chaucer's own lines, and you will see that Mr Horne's
variations are all for the worse. How flat and tame "sweet April
showers," in comparison with "April with his shourès sote." In Chaucer
the month comes boldly on, in his own person--in Mr Horne he is diluted
into his own showers. 'Tis ominous thus to stumble on the threshold.
"Downward shoot" is very bad indeed in itself, and all unlike the
natural strength of Chaucer. "Liquid power" is even worse and more
unlike; and most tautological the "virtue of power." In Chaucer the
virtue is in the "licour." "Rare" is poorly dropped in to fill up.
Chaucer purposely uses "sotè" twice--and the repetition tells. Mr Horne
must needs change it into "fragrant." "In the trees" is not in
Chaucer--for he knew that "smalè foulès" shelter in the "hethe" as well
as in the "holt"--among broom and bracken, and heath and rushes. Chaucer
does not _say_, as Mr Horne does, that the birds _dream_--he leaves you
to think for yourself whether they do so or not, while sleeping with
open eye all night. Such conjectural emendations are injurious to
Chaucer. We presume Mr Horne believes he has authority for applying "so
pricketh hem nature in hire corages" to the folks that "longen to go on
pilgrimages"--and not to the "smalè foulès." Or is it intended for a
happy innovation? To us it seems an unhappy blunder--taking away a fine
touch of nature from Chaucer, and hardening it into horn; while "all
energies and ages" is indeed a free and affected version of "corages."
"For to wander thro'," is a mistranslation of "to seken;" and to "sing
the holy mass," is not the meaning of to "servè halwes couthe," _i.e._
to worship saints known, &c.

Turning over a couple of leaves, we behold a modernization of the
antique with a vengeance--

  "His son, a young squire, with him there I _saw_,
  A lover and a lusty bache_lor_! (aw) (ah!)
  With locks crisp curl'd, as they'd been laid in press,
  Of twenty year of age he was, I guess."

Chaucer never once in all his writings thus rhymes off two consecutive
couplets in one sentence so slovenly, as with "I saw," and "I guess."
But Mr Horne is so enamoured "with the old familiar faces" of pet
cockneyisms, that he must have his will of them. Of the same squire,
Chaucer says--

  "Of his stature he was of _even length_;"

and Mr Horne translates the words into--

  "He was in stature of the common length,"

They mean "well proportioned." Of this young squire, Chaucer saith--

  "So hote he loved, that by nightertale
  He slep no more than doth the nightingale."

We all know how the nightingale employs the night--and here it is
implied that so did the lover. Mr Horne spoils all by an affected
prettiness suggested by a misapplied passage in Milton.

  "His amorous ditties nightly fill'd the vale;
  He slept no more than doth the nightingale."

Chaucer says of the Prioresse--

  "Full well she sang the servicè divine
  Entunèd in hire nose ful swetèly."

Mr Horne must needs say--

  "Entuned in her nose with _accent_ sweet."

The accent, to our ears, is lost in the pious snivel--pardon the
somewhat unclerical word.

Chaucer says of her---

  "Ful semèly after hire meat she raught,"

which Mr Horne improves into---

                    "And for her meat
  Full seemly bent she forward on her seat."

Chaucer says--

  "_And peined hire_ to contrefeten chere
  Of court, and been astatelich of manere,
  And to be holden digne of reverence."

That is, she took pains to imitate the manners of the Court, &c.;
whereas Mr Horne, with inconceivable ignorance of the meaning of words
that occur in Chaucer a hundred times, writes "_it gave her pain_ to
counterfeit the ways of Court," thereby reversing the whole picture.

  "And French she spake full fayre and fetisly,"

he translates "full properly _and neat_!" Dryden rightly calls her "the
mincing Prioress;" Mr Horne wrongly says, "she was evidently one of the
most high-bred and refined ladies of her time."

Chaucer says, of that "manly man," the Monk--

  "Ne that a monk, when he is rekkeless,
  Is like to a fish that is waterless;
  This is to say, a monk out of his cloistre.
  This ilkè text held he not worth an oistre."

Mr Horne here modernizeth thus--

  "Or that a monk beyond his bricks and _mortar_,
  Is like a fish without a drop of _water_,
  That is to say, a monk out of his cloister."

There can be no mortar without water, but the words do not rhyme except
to Cockney ears, though the blame lies at the door of the mouth. "Bricks
and mortar" is an odd and somewhat vulgar version of "rekkeless;" and to
say that a monk "beyond his bricks and mortar" is a monk "out of his
cloister," is not in the manner of Chaucer, or of any body else.

Chaucer says slyly of the Frere, that

  "He hadde ymade ful mony a mariage
  Of yongè women, at his owen coste;"

and Mister Horne brazen-facedly,

  "Full many a marriage had he brought to bear,
  For women young, and _paid the cost with sport_."

O fie, Mister Horne! To hide our blushes, will no maiden for a moment
lend us her fan? We cover our face with our hands.--Of this same Frere,
Mr Horne, in his introduction, when exposing the faults of another
translator, says that "Chaucer shows us the quaint begging rogue playing
his harp among a crowd of admiring auditors, and _turning up his eyes_
with an attempted expression of religious enthusiasm;" but Chaucer does
no such thing, nor was the Frere given to any such practice.

Of the Clerk of Oxenford, Chaucer says, he "loked holwe, and thereto
soberly." Mr Horne needlessly adds "ill-fed." Chaucer says--

  "Ful threadbare was his overest courtepy."

Mr Horne modernizes it into--

  "His uppermost short cloak _was a bare thread_."

Why exaggerate so? Chaucer says--

  "But all that he might of _his frendes hente_
  On bokès and on lerning he it spente."

Mr Horne says--

  "But every farthing that his friends e'er _lent_."

They did not _lend_, they gave outright to the poor scholar.

The Reve's Prologue opens thus in Chaucer--

  "Whan folk han laughed at this nicè cas
  Of Absalom and _hendy_ Nicholas."

Mr Horne says--

  "Of Absalom and _credulous_ Nicholas!"

He manifestly mistakes the sly scholar for the credulous carpenter, whom
on the tenderest point he outwitted! To those who know the nature of the
story, the blunder is extreme.

What is to be thought of such rhymes as these?

  "And for to drink strong wine as red as _blood_,
  Then would he jest, and shout as he were _mad_."

  "Toward the mill, the bay nag in his _hand_,
  The miller sitting by the fire they _found_."

  "And on she went, till she the cradle _found_,
  While through the dark still groping with her _hand_."

These to our ears, are not happy modernizations of Chaucer.

Here come a few more Cockneyisms.

  "Alas! our warden's palfrey it is _gone_.
  Allen at once forgot both meal and _corn_."

  "Allen stole back, and thought ere that it _dawn_,
  I will creep in by John that lieth for_lorn_."

  "For, from the town Arviragus was _gone_,
  But to herself she spoke thus, all _forlorn_."

  "Aurelius, thinking of his substance _gone_,
  Curseth the time that ever he was _born_."

  "An arm-brace wore he that was rich and _broad_,
  And by his side a buckler and a _sword_."

  "Now grant my ship, that some smooth haven _win her_;
  I follow Statius first, and then _Corinna_."

Alas! this worst of all is Elizabeth Barrett's! "Well of English

In Chaucer we have--

  "A SERGEANT OF THE LAWÈ, ware and wise,
  That often hadde yben _at the Parvis_."

Mr Horne gives us--

  "A Sergeant of the Law, wise, wary, _arch_!
  _Who oft had gossip'd long in the church porch._"

The word "arch" is here interpolated to give some colour to the charge
of "gossiping," absurdly asserted of the learned Sergeant. The Parvis
was the place of conference, where suitors met with their counsel and
legal advisers; and Chaucer merely intimates thereby the extent of the
Sergeant's practice. In Chaucer we have--

  "In termès hadde he cas and domès alle
  That fro the time of _King Will._ weren falle."

Who does not see the propriety of the customary contraction, _King
Will._? Mr Horne does not; and substitutes, "since King William's

Of the Frankelein Chaucer says, he was

  "An housholder, and that a gret was he;"

the context plainly showing the meaning to be, "hospitable on a great
scale." Mr Horne ignorantly translates the words,

  "A householder of great extent was he."

In Chaucer we have--

  "His table dormant in his halle alway
  Stood ready covered all the longè day."

The meaning of that is, that any person, or party, might sit down, at
any hour of the day, and help himself to something comfortable, as
indeed is the case now in all country houses worth Visiting--such as
Buchanan Lodge. Mr Horne stupidly exaggerates thus--

  "His table with repletion heavy lay
  Amidst his hall throughout the feast-long day."

In the prologue to the Reve's Tale, the Reve, nettled by the miller, who
had been satirical on his trade, says he will

             "_somdel set his howve_
  For leful is with force force off to showve."

"Howve" is cap--and in the Miller's Prologue we had been told

  "How that a clerk had set the wrightès cappe;"

that is, "made a fool" of him--nay, a cuckold. Mr. Horne,

  "Though my reply _should somewhat fret his nose_."

In Chaucer the Reve's tale begins with

  "At Trumpington, not far from Cantebrigge,
  There goeth a brook, and over that a brigge."

Mr Horne saith somewhat wilfully.

  "At Trumpington, near Cambridge, _if you look_,
  There goeth a bridge, and under that a brook."

Two Cantabs ask leave of their Warden

  "To geve hem leve _but a litel stound_,
  To gon to mill and sen hire corn yground."

_i.e._ "to give them leave for a short time." Mr Horne translates it,
"for a merry round."

In the course of the tale, the miller's wife

 "Came leping inward at a renne."

_i.e._ "Came leaping into the room at a run." Mr Horne translates it--

  "The miller's wife came _laughing inwardly_!"

Chaucer says--

  "This miller hath so _wisly_ bibbed ale."

And Mr Horne, with incredible ignorance of the meaning of that word,

  "The miller hath so _wisely_ bobbed of ale."

So wisely that he was "for-drunken"--and "as a horse he snorteth in his

In Chaucer the description of the miller's daughter ends with this

  "But right faire was _hire here_, I will not lie,"

_i.e._ her hair. Mr Horne translates it "was _she here_."

But there is no end to such blunders.

In Chaucer, as in all our old poets of every degree, there occur, over
and over again, such forms of natural expression as the following,--and
when they do occur, let us have them; but what a feeble modernizer must
he be who keeps adding to the number till he gives his readers the
ear-ache. Not one of the following is in the original:--

  "At Algeziras, in Granada, he,"

  "At many a noble fight of ships was he."

  "For certainly a prelate fair was he."

  "In songs and tales the prize o'er all bore he."

  "And a poor parson of a town was he."

  "Such had he often proved, and loath was he."

  "In youth a good trade practised well had he."

  "Lordship and servitude at once hath he."

  "And die he must as echo did, said he."

  "Madam this is impossible, said he."

  "Save wretched Aurelius none was sad but he."

  "And said thus when this last request heard he."

In like manner, in Chaucer as in all our old poets of every degree,
there occur over and over again such natural forms of expression as "I
wot," "I wis"--and where they do occur let us have them too and be
thankful; but poverty-stricken in the article of rhymes must _be he_,
who is perpetually driven to resort to such expedients as the
following--all of which are Mr Horne's own:--

  "Of fees and robes he many had, I ween."

  "And yet this manciple made them fools, I wot."

  "This Reve upon stallion sat, I wot."

  "Than the poor parson in two months, I wot."

  "For certainly when I was born, I trow."

  "A small stalk in mine eyes he sees, I deem."

  "There were two scholars young and poor, I trow."

  "John lieth still and not far off, I trow."

  "Eastern astrologers and clerks, I wis."

  "This woful heart found some reprieve, I wis."

  "Unto his brother's bed he came, I wis."

  "And now Aurelius ever, as I ween."

  "That she could not sustain herself, I ween."

Mr Horne, in his Introduction, unconscious of his own sins, speaks with
due contempt of the modernizations of Chaucer by Ogle and Lipscomb and
their coadjutors, and of the injury they may have done to the reputation
of the old poet. But whatever injury they may have occasioned, "there
can be doubt," he says, "of the mischief done by Mr Pope's obscene
specimen, _placed at the head_ of his list of 'Imitations of English
Poets.' It is an imitation of those passages which we should only regard
as the rank offal of a great feast in the olden time. The better taste
and feeling of Pope should have imitated the noble _poetry_ of Chaucer.
He avoided this 'for sundry weighty reasons.' But if this so-called
imitation by Pope was 'done in his youth' he should have burnt it in his
age. Its publication at the present day among his elegant works, is a
disgrace to modern times, and to his high reputation." Not so fast and
strong, good Mister Horne. The six-and-twenty octosyllabic lines thus
magisterially denounced by our stern moralist in the middle of the
nineteenth century, have had a place in Pope's works for a hundred
years, and it is too late now to seek to delete them. They were written
by Pope in his fourteenth or fifteenth year, and gross as they are, are
pardonable in a boy of precocious genius, giving way for a laughing hour
to his sense of the grotesque. Joe Warton (not Tom) pompously calls them
"a gross and _dull_ caricature of the Father of English Poetry." And Mr
Bowles says, "he might have added, it is disgusting as it is dull, and
no more like Chaucer than a _Billingsgate_ is like an Oberea." It is
_not_ dull, but exceedingly clever; and Father Geoffrey himself would
have laughed at it--patted Pope on the head--and enjoined him for the
future to be more discreet. Roscoe, like a wise man, regards it without
horror--remarking of it, and the boyish imitation of Spenser, that "why
these sportive and characteristic sketches should be brought to so
severe an ordeal, and pointed out to the reprehension of the reader as
gross and disagreeable, dull and disgusting, it is not easy to
perceive." Old Joe maunders when he says, "he that was unacquainted with
Spenser, and was to form his ideas of the turn and manner of his genius
from this piece, would undoubtedly suppose that he abounded in filthy
images, and excelled in describing the lower scenes of life." Let all
such blockheads suppose what they choose. Pope--says Roscoe--"was well
aware as any one of the superlative beauties and merits of Spenser,
whose works he assiduously studied, both in his early and riper years;
but it was not his intention in these few lines to give a _serious_
imitation of him. All that he attempted was to show how exactly he could
apply the language and manner of Spenser to low and burlesque subjects;
and in this he has completely succeeded. To compare these lines, as Dr
Warton has done, with those more extensive and highly-finished
productions, the _Castle of Indolence_ by Thomson, and the _Minstrel_ by
Beattie, is manifestly unjust"--and stupidly absurd. What Mr Horne means
by saying that Pope "avoided imitating the noble poetry of Chaucer for
sundry weighty reasons," is not apparent at first sight. It means,
however, that Pope _could_ not have done so--that the feat was beyond
his power. The author of the _Messiah_ and the _Eloïse_ wrote tolerable
poetry of his own; and he knew how to appreciate, and to emulate, too,
some of the finest of Chaucer's. Why did Mr Horne not mention his
_Temple of Fame_? A more childish sentence never was written than "its
publication at the present day among his elegant works is a disgrace to
modern times, and to his high reputation." Pope's reputation is above
reproach, enshrined in honour for evermore, and modern times are not so
Miss Mollyish as to sympathize with such sensitive censorship of an
ingeniously versified peccadillo, at which our _avi_ and _proavi_ could
not choose but smile.

But Mr Horne, thinking, that in this case "the child is father of the
man," rates Pope as roundly for what he seems to suppose were the
misdemeanours of his manhood. "Of the highly-finished paraphrase, by Mr
Pope, of the 'Wife of Bath's Prologue,' and 'The Merchant's Tale,'
suffice it to say, that the licentious humour of the original being
divested of its _quaintness and obscurity_ (!) becomes yet more
licentious in proportion to the fine touches of skill with which it is
brought into the light. Spontaneous coarseness is made revolting by
meretricious artifice. Instead of keeping in the distance that which was
objectionable, by such shades in the modernizing as should have answered
to the _hazy appearance_ (!) of the original, it receives a clear
outline, and is brought close to us. An ancient Briton, with his long
rough hair and painted body, laughing and singing half-naked under a
tree, may be coarse, yet innocent of all intention to offend; but if the
imagination (absorbing the anachronism) can conceive him shorn of this
falling hair, his paint washed off, and in this uncovered stated
introduced into a drawing-room full of ladies in rouge and diamonds,
hoops and hair-powder, no one can doubt the injury thus done to the
ancient Briton. This is no unfair illustration of what was done in the
time of Pope," &c.

It may be "no unfair illustration," and certainly is no unludicrous one.
We must all of us allow, that were an ancient Briton, habited, or rather
unhabited, as above, to bounce into a modern drawing-room full of
ladies, whether in rouge and diamonds, hoops and hair-powder, or not,
the effect of such _entrée_ would be prodigious on the fair and
fluttered Volscians. Our imagination, "absorbing the anachronism,"
ensconces us professionally behind a sofa, to witness and to record the
scene. How different in nature Christopher North and R.H. Horne! While
he would be commiserating "the injury thus done to the ancient Briton,"
we should be imploring our savage ancestor to spare the ladies.
"Innocent of all intention to offend" might be Caractacus, but to the
terrified bevy he would seem the king of the Cannibal Islands at least.
What protection against the assault of a savage, almost _in puris
naturalibus_, could be hoped for in their hoops! Yet who knows but that,
on looking round and about, he might himself be frightened out of his
senses? An ancient Briton, with his long rough hair and painted body,
may laugh and sing by himself, half-naked under a tree, and in his own
conceit be a match for any amount of women. But shorn of his falling
hair, and without a streak of paint on his cheeks, verily his heart
might be found to die within him, before furies with faces fiery with
rouge, and heads horrent with pomatum--till instinctively he strove to
roll himself up in the Persian carpet, and there prayed for deliverance
to his tutelary gods.

Our imagination having thus "absorbed the anachronism," let us now leave
Caractacus in the carpet--while our reason has recourse to the
philosophy of criticism. Mr Horne asserts, that in "Mr Pope's"
highly-finished paraphrase of the "Wife of Bath's Prologue," and the
"Merchant's Tale," "the licentious humour of the original is divested of
its quaintness and obscurity, and becomes yet more licentious in
proportion to the fine touches of skill with which it is brought into
the light." Quaintness and _obscurity_!! Why, everything in those tales
is as plain as a pike-staff, and clearer than mud. "The hazy appearance
of the original" indeed! What! of the couple in the Pear-Tree? Mr Horne
spitefully and perversely misrepresents the character of Pope's
translations. They are remarkably free from the vice he charges them
withal--and have been admitted to be so by the most captious critics.
Many of the very strong things in Chaucer, which you may call coarse and
gross if you will, are omitted by Pope, and many softened down; nor is
there a single line in which the spirit is not the spirit of satire. The
folly of senile dotage is throughout exposed as unsparingly, though with
a difference in the imitation, as in the original. Even Joseph Warton
and Bowles, affectedly fastidious over-much as both too often are, and
culpably prompt to find fault, acknowledge that Pope's versions are
blameless. "In the art of telling a story," says Bowles, "Pope is
peculiarly happy; we almost forget the grossness of the subject of this
tale, (the Merchant's,) while we are struck by the uncommon ease and
readiness of the verse, the suitableness of the expression, and the
spirit and happiness of the whole." While Dr Warton, sensibly remarking,
"that the character of a fond old dotard, betrayed into disgrace by an
unsuitable match, is supported in a lively manner," refrains from making
himself ridiculous by mealy-mouthed moralities which on such a subject
every person of sense and honesty must despise. Mr Horne keeps foolishly
carping at Pope, or "Mr Pope," as he sometimes calls him, throughout his
interminable--no, not interminable--his hundred-paged Introduction. He
abominates Pope's Homer, and groans to think how it has corrupted the
English ear by its long domination in our schools. He takes up, with
leathern lungs, the howl of the Lakers, and his imitative bray is louder
than the original, "in linked sweetness long drawn out." Such sonorous
strictures are innocent; but his false charge of licentiousness against
Pope is most reprehensible--and it is insincere. For he has the sense to
see Chaucer's broadest satire in its true light, and its fearless
expositions. Yet from his justification of pictures and all their
colouring in the ancient poet, that might well startle people by no
means timid, he turns with frowning forehead and reproving hand to
corresponding delineations in the modern, that stand less in need of it,
and spits his spite on Pope, which we wipe off that it may not corrode.
"This translation was done at sixteen or seventeen," says Pope in a
note to his January and May--and there is not, among the achievements of
early genius, to be found another such specimen of finished art and of
perfect mastery.

Mr. Horne has ventured to give in his volume the Reve's Tale. "It has
been thought," he says, "that an idea of the extraordinary versatility
of Chaucer's genius could not be adequately conveyed, unless one of his
matter-of-fact comic tales were attempted. The Reve's has accordingly
been selected, as presenting a graphic painting of character, equal to
those contained in the 'Prologue to the Canterbury Tales,' displayed in
action by means of a story, which may be designated _as a broad farce,
ending in a pantomime of absurd reality_. To those who are acquainted
with the original, an apology may not be considered inadmissible for
certain necessary variations and omissions." For our part, we do not
object to this tale, though at the commencement of such a work its
insertion was ill-judged, and will endanger greatly the volume. But we
do object to the hypocritical cant about the licentiousness of Pope's
fine touches, from the person who wrote the above words in italics.
Omissions there must have been--but they sadly shear the tale of its
vigour, and indeed leave it not very intelligible to readers who know
not the original. The variations are most unhappy--miserable indeed; and
by putting the miller's daughter to lie in a closet at the end of a
passage, this moral modernizer has killed Chaucer. In the matchless
original all the night's action goes on in one room--and that not a
large one--miller, miller's wife, miller's daughter, and the two
strenuous Cantabs, are within the same four narrow walls--their beds
nearly touch--the jeopardized cradle has just space to rock in--yet this
self-elected expositor of Chaucer is either so blind as not to see how
essential such allocation of the parties is to the wicked comedy, or
such a blunderer as to believe that he can improve on the greatest
master that ever dared, and with perfect success, to picture, without
our condemnation--so wide is the privilege of genius in sportive
fancy--what, but for the self-rectifying spirit of fiction, would have
been an outrage on nature, and in the number not only of forbidden but
unhallowed things. The passages interpolated by Mr Horne's own pen are
as bad as possible--clownish and anti-Chaucerian to the last degree.

For example, he thus takes upon himself, in the teeth of Chaucer, to
narrate Alein's night adventure--

  "And up he rose, and crept along the floor,
  Into the passage humming with their snore;
  As narrow was it as a drum or tub,
  And like a beetle doth he grope and _grub_,
  Feeling his way, _with darkness in his hands_.
  Till at the passage end he stooping stands."

Chaucer tells us, without circumlocution, why the Miller's Wife for
while had left her husband's side; but Mr Horne is intolerant of the
indelicate, and thus elegantly paraphrases the one original word--

  "The wife her routing ceased soon after that:
  And woke and left her bed; _for she was pained_
  _With nightmare dreams of skies that madly rained._
  _Eastern astrologers and clerks, I wis,
  In time of Apis tell of storms like this_."

Such is modern refinement!

In Chaucer, the blind encounter between the Miller and one of the
Cantabs, who, mistaking him for his comrade, had whispered into his ear
what had happened during the night to his daughter, is thus comically

  "Ye falsè harlot, quod the miller, hast?
  A falsè traitour, falsè clerk, (quod he)
  Thou shalt be deaf by Goddès dignitee,
  Who dorstè be so bold to disparage
  My daughter, that is come of swiche lineage.
  And by the throtè-bolle he caught Alein,
  And he him hente despiteously again,
  And on the nose he smote him with his fist;
  Down ran the bloody streme upon his brest;
  And on the flore with nose and mouth to-broke,
  They walwe, as don two piggès in a poke.
  And up they gon, and down again anon,
  Till that the miller spurned at a stone,
  And down he fell backward upon his wif,
  That wistè nothing of this nicè strif,
  For she was falle aslepe, a litel wight
  with John the clerk," and ...

Here comes Mr Horne in his strength.

  "Thou slanderous ribald! quoth the miller, hast!
  A traitor false, false lying clerk, quoth he,
  Thou shalt be slain by heaven's dignity
  Who rudely dar'st disparage with foul lie
  My daughter, that is come of lineage high!
  And by the throat he Allan grasp'd amain,
  And caught him, yet more furiously again,
  And on his nose he smote him with his fist!
  Down ran the bloody stream upon his breast,
  And on the floor they tumble heel and crown,
  And shake the house, it seem'd all coming down.
  And up they rise, and down again they roll:
  Till that the Miller, stumbling o'er a coal,
  Went plunging headlong like a bull at bait,
  And met his wife, and both fell flat as slate."

Mr Horne cannot read Chaucer. The Miller does not, as he makes him do,
accuse the Cantab of falsely slandering his daughter's virtue. He does
not doubt the truth of the unluckily blabbed secret; false harlot, false
traitor, false clerk, are all words that tell his belief; but Mr Horne,
not understanding "disparage," as it is here used by Chaucer, wholly
mistakes the cause of the father's fury. He does not even know, that it
is the Miller who gets the bloody nose, not the Cantab. "As don two
piggès in a poke," he leaves out, preferring, as more picturesque, "And
on the floor they tumble _heel and crown_!" "And shake the house--it
seemed all coming down," is not in Chaucer, nor could be; but the
crowning stupidity is that of making the Miller meet his wife, and upset
her--she being all the while in bed, and now startled out of sleep by
the weight of her fallen superincumbent husband. And this is modernizing

What, then--after all we have written about him--we ask, can, at this
day, be done with Chaucer? The true answer is--READ HIM. The late
Laureate dared to think that every one might; and in his collection, or
selection, of English poets, down to Habington inclusive, he has given
the prologue, and half a dozen of the finest and most finished tales;
believing that every earnest lover of English poetry would by degrees
acquire courage and strength to devour and digest a moderately-spread
banquet. Without doubt, Southey did well. It was a challenge to poetical
Young England to gird up his loins and fall to his work. If you will
have the fruit, said the Laureate, you must climb the tree. He bowed
some heavily-laden branches down to your eye, to tempt you; but climb
you must, if you will eat. He displayed a generous trust in the growing
desire and capacity of the country for her own time-shrouded poetical
treasures. In the same full volume, he gave the "Faerie Queene" from the
first word to the last.

Let us hope boldly, as Southey hoped. But there are, in the present
world, a host of excellent, sensitive readers, whose natural taste is
perfectly susceptible of Chaucer, if he spoke their language; yet who
have not the courage, or the leisure, or the aptitude, to master his.
They must not be too hastily blamed if they do not readily reconcile
themselves to a garb of thought which disturbs and distracts all their
habitual associations. Consider, the 'ingenious feeling,' the vital
sensibility, with which they apprehend their own English, may place the
insurmountable barrier which opposes their access to the father of our
poetry. What can be done for them?

In the first place, what is it that so much removes the language from
us? It is removed by the words and grammatical forms that we have
lost--by its real antiquity; perhaps more by an accidental semblance of
antiquity--the orthography. That last may seem a small matter; but it is

There are three ways in which literary craftsmen have attempted to fill
up, or bridge over, the gulf of time, and bring the poet of Edward III.
and Richard II. near to modern readers.

Dryden and Pope are the representatives, as they are the masters, of the
first method; for the others who have trodden in their footsteps are
hardly to be named or thought of. Dryden and Pope hold, in their own
school of modernizing, this undoubted distinction, that under their
treatment, that which was poetry remains poetry. Their followers have
written, for the most part, intelligible English, but never poetry. They
have told the story, and not that always; but they have distilled
lethargy on the tongue of the narrator.--This first method the most
boldly departs from the type. It was probably the only way that the
culture of Dryden's and Pope's time admitted of. We have since gradually
returned, more and more, upon our own antiquity, as all the nations of
Europe have upon theirs. Then civilization seemed to herself to escape
forwards out of barbarism. Now she finds herself safe; and she ventures
to seek light for her mature years in the recollections of her own

But now, the altered spirit of the age has produced a new manner of
modernization. The problem has been put thus. To retain of Chaucer
whatever in him is our language, or is most nearly our language--only
making good, always, the measure; and for expression, which time has
left out of our speech, to substitute such as is in use. And several
followers of the muses, as we have seen, have lately tried their hand at
this kind of conversion.

It is hard to judge both the system and the specimens. For if the
specimens be thought to have succeeded, the system may, upon them, be
favourably judged; but if the specimens have failed, the system must not
upon them be unfavourably judged, but must in candour be looked upon as
possibly carrying in itself means and powers that have not yet been
unfolded. But unhappily a difficulty occurs which would not have
occurred with a writer in prose--the law of the verse is imperious. Ten
syllables must be kept, and rhyme must be kept; and in the experiment it
results, generally, that whilst the rehabiting of Chaucer is undertaken
under a necessity which lies wholly in the obscurity of his dialect--the
proposed ground or motive of modernization--far the greater part of the
actual changes are made for the sake of that which beforehand you might
not think of, namely, the Verse. This it is that puts the translators to
the strangest shifts and fetches, and besets the version, in spite of
their best skill, with anti-Chaucerisms as thick as blackberries.

It might, at first sight, seem as if there could be no remorse about
dispersing the atmosphere of antiquity; and you might be disposed to
say--a thought is a thought, a feeling a feeling, a fancy a fancy. Utter
the thought, the feeling, the fancy, with what words you will, provided
that they are native to the matter, and the matter will hold its own
worth. No. There is more in poetry than the definite, separable matter
of a fancy, a feeling, a thought. There is the indefinite, inseparable
spirit, out of which they all arise, which verifies them all, harmonizes
them all, interprets them all. There is the spirit of the poet himself.
But the spirit of the time in which a poet lives, flows through the
spirit of the poet. Therefore, a poet cannot be taken out of his own
time, and rightly and wholly understood. It seems to follow that
thought, feeling, fancy, which he has expressed, cannot be taken out of
his own speech, and his own style, and rightly and wholly understood.
Let us bring this home to Chaucer, and our occasion. The air of
antiquity hangs about him, cleaves to him; therefore he is the venerable
Chaucer. One word, beyond any other, expresses to us the difference
betwixt his age and ours--Simplicity. To read him after his own spirit,
we must be made simple. That temper is called up in us by the simplicity
of his speech and style. Touched by these, and under their power, we
lose our false habituations, and return to nature. But for this singular
power exerted over us, this dominion of an irresistible sympathy, the
hint of antiquity which lies in the language seems requisite. That
summons us to put off our own, and put on another mind. In a half
modernization, there lies the danger that we shall hang suspended
between two minds--between two ages--taken out of one, and not
effectually transported into that other. Might a poet, if it were worth
while, who had imbued himself with antiquity and with Chaucer, depart
more freely from him, and yet more effectually reproduce him? Imitating,
not erasing, the colours of the old time--untying the strict chain that
binds you to the fourteenth century, but impressing on you candour,
clearness, shrewdness, ingenuous susceptibility, simplicity, ANTIQUITY!
A creative translator or imitator--Chaucer born again, a century and a
half later.

Let us see how Wordsworth deals with Chaucer in the first seven stanzas
of the Cuckoo and Nightingale.

  "The god of love, a benedicite!
  How mighty and how gret a lord is he,
  For he can make of lowè hertès highe,
  Of highè lowe, and likè for to dye,
  And hardè hertès he can maken fre.

  "And he can make, within a litel stounde,
  Of sekè folkè, holè, freshe, and sounde,
  Of holè folkè he can maken seke,
  And he can binden and unbinden eke
  That he wol have ybounden or unbounde.

  "To telle his might my wit may not suffice,
  For he can make of wisè folke ful nice,
  For he may don al that he wol devise,
  And lither folkè to destroien vice,
  And proudè hertès he can make agrise.

  "And shortly al that ever he wol he may,
  Ayenès him dare no wight sayè nay:
  For he can glade and grevè whom he liketh:
  And whoso that he wol, he lougheth or siketh,
  And most his might he shedeth ever in May.

  "For every truè gentle hertè fre
  That with him is or thinketh for to be
  Ayenès May shal have now som stering,
  Other to joie or elles to som mourning;
  In no seson so moch as thinketh me.

  "For whan they mayè here the briddès singe,
  And se the flourès and the levès springe,
  That bringeth into hire rememberaunce
  A maner esè, medled with grevaunce,
  And lusty thoughtès fulle of gret longinge.

  "And of that longinge cometh hevinesse,
  And therof groweth oft gret sekenesse,
  Al for lackinge of that that they desire;
  And thus in May ben hertès sette on fire,
  So that they brennen forth in gret distresse."


  "The God of love! Ah, benedicite,
  How mighty and how great a lord is he,
  For he of low hearts can make high, of high
  He can make low and unto death bring nigh,
  And hard hearts he can make them kind and free.

  "Within a little time, as hath been found,
  He can make sick folk whole, and fresh, and sound.
  Them who are whole in body and in mind
  He can make sick, bind can he and unbind
  All that he will have bound, or have unbound.

  "To tell his might my wit may not suffice,
  Foolish men he can make them out of wise;
  For he may do all that he will devise,
  Loose livers he can make abate their vice,
  And proud hearts can make tremble in a trice.

  "In brief, the whole of what he will, he may;
  Against him dare not any wight say nay;
  To humble or afflict whome'er he will,
  To gladden or to grieve, he hath like skill;
  But most his might he sheds on the eve of May.

  "For every true heart, gentle heart and free,
  That with him is, or thinketh so to be,
  Now against May shall have some stirring--whether
  To joy, or be it to some mourning; never
  At other time, methinks, in like degree.

  "For now when they may hear the small birds' song,
  And see the budding leaves the branches throng,
  This unto their rememberance doth bring
  All kinds of pleasure, mix'd with sorrowing,
  And longing of sweet thoughts that ever long.

  "And of that longing heaviness doth come,
  Whence oft great sickness grows of heart and home;
  Sick are they all for lack of their desire;
  And thus in May their hearts are set on fire,
  So that they burn forth in great martyrdom."

Here is the master of the art; and his work, most of all, therefore,
makes us doubt the practicability of the thing undertaken. He works
reverently, lovingly, surely with full apprehension of Chaucer; and yet,
at every word where he leaves Chaucer, the spirit of Chaucer leaves the
verse. You see plainly that his rule is to change the least that can
possibly be changed. Yet the gentle grace, the lingering musical
sweetness, the taking simplicity, of the wise old poet,
vanishes--brushed away like the down from the butterfly's wing, by the
lightest and most timorous touch.

  "For he can make of lowè hertès highe."

There is the soul of the lover's poet, of the poet himself a lover,
poured out and along in one fond verse, gratefully consecrated to the
mystery of love, which he, too, has experienced when he--the shy, the
fearful, the reserved--was yet by the touch of that all-powerful ray

  "Shoots invisible virtue even to the deep,"

enkindled, and to his own surprise made elate to hope and to dare.

But now contract, as Wordsworth does, the dedicated verse into a half
verse, and bring together the two distinct and opposite mysteries under
one enunciation--in short, divide the one verse to two subjects--

  "For he of low hearts can make high--of high
  He can make low;"

and the fact vouched remains the same, the simplicity of the words is
kept, for they are the very words, and yet something is gone--and in
that something every thing! There is no longer the dwelling upon the
words, no longer the dilated utterance of a heart that melts with its
own thoughts, no longer the consecration of the verse to its matter, no
longer the softness, the light, the fragrance, the charm--no longer, in
a word, the old manner. Here is, in short, the philosophical observation
touching love, "the saw of might" still; but the love itself here is
not. A kindly and moved observer speaks, not a lover.

In one of the above-cited stanzas, Urry seems to have misled Wordsworth.
Stanza iv. verse 4, Chaucer says:--

  "And whoso that he wol, he lougheth or siketh."

The sense undoubtedly is, "and whosoever HE"--namely, the God of
Love--"will, HE"--namely, the Lover--"laugheth or sigheth accordingly."
But Urry mistaking the construction--supposed that HE, in both places,
meant the god only. He had, therefore, to find out in "lougheth" and
"siketh," actions predicable of the love-god. The verse accordingly runs
thus with him,

  "And who that he wol, he loweth or siketh."

Now, it is true, that, after all, we do not exactly know how Urry
understood his own reading; for he did not make his own glossary. But
from his glossary, we find that "to lowe" is to praise, to allow, to
approve--furthermore that "siketh" in this place means "maketh sick."
Wordsworth, following as it would appear the lection of Urry, but only
half agreeing to the interpretation of Urry's glossarist, has rendered
the line

  "To humble or afflict whome'er he will."

He has understood in his own way, from an obvious suggestion, "loweth,"
to mean, maketh low, humbleth; whilst "afflict" is a ready turn for
"maketh sick" of the glossary. But here Wordsworth cannot be in the
right. For Chaucer is now busied with magnifying the kingdom of love by
accumulated antitheses--high, low--sick, whole--wise, foolish--the
wicked turns good, the proud shrink and fear--the God, at his pleasure,
gladdens or grieves. The phrase under question must conform to the
manner of the place where it appears. An opposition of meanings is
indispensable. "Humble or afflict," which are both on one side, cannot
be right. "Approveth or maketh sick," are on opposite sides, but will
hardly pick one another out for antagonists. "Laugheth or sigheth," has
the vividness and simplicity of Chaucer, the most exact contrariety
matches them--and the two phenomena cannot be left out of a lover's

Chaucer says of his 'bosom's lord,'

  "And most his might he sheddeth ever in May"--

renowning here, as we saw that he does elsewhere, the whole month, as
love's own segment of the zodiacal circle. The time of the poem itself
is accordingly 'the thridde night of May.' Wordsworth has rendered,

  "But most his might he sheds _on the eve of May._"

Why so? Is the approaching visitation of the power more strongly felt
than the power itself in presence? Chaucer says distinctly the contrary,
and why with a word lose, or obscure, or hazard the appropriation of the
month entire, so conspicuous a tenet in the old poetical mind? And is
Eve here taken strictly--the night before May-day, like the _Pervigilium
Veneris_? Or loosely, on the verge of May, answerably to 'ayenes May'
afterwards? To the former sense, we might be inclined to propose on the
contrary part,

  "But sheds his might most on the morrow of May,"

_i.e._ in prose on May-day morning, consonantly to all the testimonies.

Chaucer says that the coming-on of the love-month produces in the heart
of the lover

  "A maner easè medled with grevaunce."

That is to say, _a kind of_ joy or pleasure, (Fr. _aise_,) mixed with
sadness. He insists, by this expression, upon the strangeness of the
kind, peculiar to the willing sufferers under this unique passion,
"love's pleasing smart." Did Wordsworth, by intention or
misapprehension, leave out this turn of expression, by which, in an age
less forward than ours in sentimental researches, Chaucer drew notice to
the contradictory nature of the internal state which he described? As
if Chaucer had said, "_al_ maner esè," Wordsworth says, "all kinds of
pleasure mixed with sorrowing."

In the next line he adds to the intuitions of his master, one of his own
profound intuitions, if we construe aright--

  "And longing of sweet thoughts that ever long."

That ever long! The sweetest of thoughts are never satisfied with their
own deliciousness. Earthly delight, or heavenly delight upon earth,
penetrating the soul, stirs in it the perception of its native
illimitable capacity for delight. Bliss, which should wholly possess the
blest being, plays traitor to itself, turns into a sort of divine
dissatisfaction, and brings forth from its teeming and infinite bosom a
brood of winged wishes, bright with hues which memory has bestowed, and
restless with innate aspirations. Such is our commentary on the truly
Wordsworthian line, but it is not a line answerable to Chaucer's--

  "And lusty thoughtès full of gret longinge."

Is this hypercriticism? It is the only criticism that can be tolerated
betwixt two such rivals as Chaucer and Wordsworth. The scales that weigh
poetry should turn with a grain of dust, with the weight of a sunbeam,
for they weigh spirit. Or is it saying that Wordsworth has not done his
work as well as it was possible to be done? Rather it is inferring, from
the failure of the work in his hand, that he and his colleagues have
attempted that which was impossible to be done. We will not here hunt
down line by line. We put before the reader the means of comparing verse
with verse. We have, with 'a thoughtful heart of love,' made the
comparison, and feel throughout that the modern will not, cannot, do
justice to the old English. The quick sensibility which thrills through
the antique strain deserts the most cautious version of it. In short, we
fall back upon the old conviction, that verse is a sacred, and song an
inspired thing; that the feeling, the thought, the word, and the musical
breath spring together out of the soul in one creation; that a
translation is a thing not given in _rerum natura_; consequently that
there is nothing else to be done with a great poet saving to leave him
in his glory.

And our friend John Dryden? Oh, he is safe enough; for the new
translators all agree that his are no translations at all of Chaucer,
but original and excellent poems of his own.

A language that is half Chaucer's, and half that of his renderer, is in
great danger to be the language of nobody. But Chaucer's has its own
energy and vivacity which attaches you, and as soon as you have
undergone the due transformation by sympathy, carries you effectually
with it. In the moderate versions that are best done, you miss this
indispensable force of attraction. But Dryden boldly and freely gives
you himself, and along you sweep, or are swept rejoicingly along. "The
grand charge to which his translations are amenable," says Mr Horne,
"is, that he acted upon an erroneous principle." Be it so. Nevertheless,
they are among the glories of our poetical literature. Mr Horne's,
literal as he supposes them to be, are unreadable. He, too, acts on an
erroneous principle; and his execution betrays throughout the unskilful
hand of a presumptuous apprentice. But he has "every respect for the
genius, and for every thing that belongs to the memory, of Dryden;" and
thus magniloquently eulogizes his most splendid achievement:--"The fact
is, Dryden's version of the 'Knight's Tale' would be most appropriately
read by the towering shade of one of Virgil's heroes, walking up and
down a battlement, and waving a long, gleaming spear, to the roll and
sweep of his sonorous numbers."

       *       *       *       *       *

_Edinburgh: Printed by Ballantyne and Hughes, Paul's Work._

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Vol 58, No. 357, July 1845" ***

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