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Title: Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 57, No. 354, April 1845
Author: Various
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 57, No. 354, April 1845" ***

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  BLACKWOOD'S EDINBURGH MAGAZINE.

  NO. CCCLIV.   APRIL, 1845.   VOL. LVII.



CONTENTS.


  VIRGIL, TASSO, AND RAPHAEL,                                          401

  PING-KEE'S VIEW OF THE STAGE,                                        415

  THE MIDNIGHT WATCH,                                                  424

  VESTIGES OF THE NATURAL HISTORY OF CREATION,                         448

  MARSTON; OR, THE MEMOIRS OF A STATESMAN. PART XVI.,                  461

  BETHAM'S ETRURIA CELTICA,                                            474

  SUSPIRIA DE PROFUNDIS: BEING A SEQUEL TO THE CONFESSIONS OF AN
  ENGLISH OPIUM-EATER,                                                 489

  NORTH'S SPECIMENS OF THE BRITISH CRITICS. NO. III.--DRYDEN,          503



  EDINBURGH:
  WILLIAM BLACKWOOD AND SONS, 45, GEORGE STREET;
  AND 22, PALL-MALL, LONDON.
  _To whom all Communications (post paid) must be addressed._
  SOLD BY ALL THE BOOKSELLERS IN THE UNITED KINGDOM.

  PRINTED BY BALLANTYNE AND HUGHES, EDINBURGH.



  BLACKWOOD'S EDINBURGH MAGAZINE.

  NO. CCCLIV.   APRIL, 1845.   VOL. LVII.



VIRGIL, TASSO, AND RAPHAEL.


Originality of conception and fidelity of observation in general mark the
efforts of genius in the earlier ages of society; and it is then,
accordingly, that those creative minds appear which stamp their own
impress upon the character of a whole people, and communicate to their
literature, in the most distant periods, a certain train of thought, a
certain class of images, a certain family resemblance. Homer, Phidias, and
Æschylus in ancient times--Dante, Michael Angelo, Ariosto, and Shakspeare
in modern, belong to this exalted class. Each in his own department has
struck out a new range of thought, and created a fresh brood of ideas,
which, on "winged words," have taken their flight to distant regions, and
to the end of the world will never cease to delight and influence mankind.
Subsequent ages may refine their images, expand their sentiments, perhaps
improve their expression; but they add little to the stock of their
conceptions. The very greatness of their predecessors precludes fresh
creations: the furrows of the ancient wheels are so deep that the modern
chariot cannot avoid falling into them. So completely in all persons of
education are the great works of antiquity incorporated with thought, that
they arise involuntarily with every exercise of the faculty of taste, and
insensibly recur to the cultivated mind, with all that it admires, and
loves, and venerates.

But though originality of conception, the creation of imagery, and the
invention of events belong to early ages, delicacy of taste, refinement of
sentiment, perfection of expression, are the growth of a more advanced
period of society. The characters which are delineated by the hand of
Genius in early times, are those bold and original ones in which the
features are distinctly marked, the lines clearly drawn, the peculiarities
strongly brought out. The images which are adopted are those which have
first occurred to the creative mind in forming a world of fancy: the
similes employed, those which convey to the simple and unlettered mind the
clearest or most vivid conception of the idea or event intended to be
illustrated. Valour, pride, resolution, tenderness, patriotism, are the
mental qualities which are there portrayed in imaginary characters, and
called forth by fictitious events: and it is this first and noblest
delineation of mental qualities in an historical gallery which has
rendered the _Iliad_ immortal. The images and similes of Homer are drawn
from a close observation of nature, but they are not very varied in their
range: he paints every incident, every occurrence, every feature, but he
is not much diversified in conception, and surprisingly identical in
expression. His similes of a boar beset by hunters, of a lion prowling
round a fold and repelled by the spear of the shepherd, of a panther
leaping into a herd of cattle, are represented in the same words wherever
he has a close fight of one of his heroes with a multitude of enemies to
recount. So forcibly is the creative mind, in the first instance,
fascinated by the variety and brilliancy of its conceptions, that it
neglects and despises their subordinate details. It is careless of
language, because it is intent on ideas: it is niggardly in language,
because it is prodigal of thought. Homer's expressions or epithets are in
general admirably chosen, and speak at once a graphic eye and an
imaginative mind; but it is extraordinary how often they recur without any
variation. It is the same with Ariosto: he is somewhat more varied in his
expression, but even more identical in his details. Prodigal of invention,
varied in imagination, unbounded in conception, in the incidents and great
features of his story, he has very little diversity in its subordinate
parts. He carries us over the whole earth, through the air, and to the
moon: but giants, castles, knights, and errant damsels occur at every
step, with hardly any alteration. The perpetual jousts of the knights,
charging with the lance and then drawing the sword, are exactly parallel
to the endless throwing of the spear and leaping from the chariot in the
_Iliad_.

No man can read the _Æneid_ without seeing that it has been constructed,
both in its general conception and chief incidents, on the poems of Homer;
and yet so exquisite was the taste, so refined the sentiment, so tender
the heart of VIRGIL, that he has produced upon the world the impression of
a great original author. Dante worshipped him as a species of divinity; he
made him his guide through the infernal regions, to unfold the crimes of
the wicked and the intentions of the Deity in the distribution of future
rewards and punishments. Throughout the middle ages he was regarded as a
sort of necromancer, a mighty magician, to whom the past and the future
are alike known, and whose power even the elements of nature were
constrained to obey. The "Sortes Virgilianæ," so well known, and so long
practised in every country of Europe, arose from this belief. The imagery,
mythology and characters of his epic poem are drawn from the _Iliad_: but
in two particulars he is entirely original, and his genius has opened the
two fountains from which the most prolific streams of beauty in modern
poetry have flowed. He is the father of _descriptive_ and _amatory_
poetry. The passion of love, as we understand it, was unknown to Homer, as
much as was the description of nature as a separate and substantive
object. He has made the whole _Iliad_, indeed, turn upon the wrath of
Achilles for the loss of Briseis; and he has painted, with inimitable
tenderness and pathos, the conjugal attachment of Hector and Andromache;
but he had no conception of love as a passion, mingled with sentiment, and
independent of possession. The wrath of Achilles is the fury of an Eastern
sultan whose harem has been violated: the parting of Hector and Andromache
is the rending asunder of the _domestic_ affections, the farewell from the
family hearth, the breaking up of the home circle. But the love of Dido
for Æneas is the refined passion which is the soul of the romances and of
half the poetry of modern times. It was the creature of the imagination,
the offspring of the soul from its own conceptions, kindled only into life
by an external object. It arose from mental admiration; it was inhaled
more by the ear than the eye; it was warmed at his recital of the sack of
Troy, and his subsequent wanderings over the melancholy main. It had no
resemblance to the seducing voluptuousness of Ovid, any more than the
elegant indecencies of Catullus. It resembled the passion of Desdemona for
Othello.

Homer painted with graphic fidelity and incomparable force, often with
extraordinary beauty, the appearances of nature; but it was as
illustrations, or for the purpose of similitude only, that he did so. It
was on human events that his thoughts were fixed: it was the human heart,
in all its various forms and changes, that he sought to depict. But Virgil
was the high-priest of nature, and he worshipped her with all a poet's
fervour. He identifies himself with rural life, he describes with devout
enthusiasm its joys, its occupations, its hardships: the rocks, the woods,
the streams, awaken his ardent admiration; the animals and insects are the
objects of his tender solicitude. When the Mantuan bard wrote,

          ----"Sæpe exiguus mus
  Sub terram posuit domos atque horrea fecit,"

he was inspired with the same spirit that afterwards animated Burns when
he contemplated the daisy, Cowper when he sympathized with the hare. The
descriptive poetry of modern times has owed much to his exquisite eye and
sensitive heart. Thomson, in his _Seasons_, has expanded the theme in a
kindred spirit, and with prodigal magnificence. Scott and Byron have
brought that branch of the poetic art to the highest perfection, by
blending it with the moral affections, with the picturesque imagery of the
olden time, with the magic of eastern or classical association. But none
of our poets--how great soever their genius, how varied their
materials--have exceeded, if they have equalled, the exquisite beauty of
his descriptions; and the purest taste in observation, as the utmost
beauty of expression, is still to be best attained by studying night and
day the poems of Virgil.

Modern epic poetry arose in a different age, and was moulded by different
circumstances. The mythology of antiquity was at an end, and with it had
perished the gay and varied worship which had so long amused or excited an
imaginative people. The empire of the Cæsars, with its grandeur and its
recollections, had sunk into the dusk; the venerable letters, S. P. Q. R.,
no longer commanded the veneration of mankind. A new faith, enjoining
moral duties, had descended upon the earth: a holier spirit had come to
pervade the breasts of the faithful. An unknown race of fierce barbarians
had broken into the decaying provinces of the Roman empire, and swept away
their government, their laws, their property, and their institutions. But
the Christian faith had proved more powerful than the arms of the legions;
it alone had survived, amidst the general wreck of the civilized world.
Mingling with the ardent feelings and fierce energy of the barbarian
victors, it sat

          ----"a blooming bride
  By valour's arm'd and awful side."

Incorporating itself with the very souls of the conquerors--descending on
their heads with the waters of baptism, never leaving them till the moment
of extreme unction--it moulded between these two extremes their whole
character. A new principle superior to all earthly power was introduced--a
paramount authority established, to which even the arm of victorious
conquest was compelled to submit--ruthless warriors were seen kneeling at
the feet of unarmed pontiffs. The crown of the Cæsars had more than once
been lowered before the cross of the head of the faithful.

From the intensity and universality of these religious emotions, and the
circumstance of the Holy Land being in the hands of the Saracens, with
whom Christendom had maintained so long, and at times so doubtful, a
struggle, a new passion had seized upon the people of modern Europe, to
which no parallel is to be found in the previous or subsequent history of
mankind. The desire to recover the Holy Sepulchre, and re-open it to the
pilgrimages of the faithful, had come to inflame the minds of men with
such vehemence, that nothing approaching to it had ever before occurred in
the world. It had pervaded alike the great and the humble, the learned and
the ignorant, the prince and the peasant. It had torn up whole nations
from Europe, and precipitated them on Asia. It had caused myriads of armed
men to cross the Hellespont. In Asia Minor, on the theatre of the contest
of the Greeks and Trojans, it had brought vast armies into collision, far
outnumbering the hosts led by Hector or Agamemnon. It had brought them
together in a holier cause, and on more elevated motives, than prompted
the Greek confederates to range themselves under the king of men. It had
impelled Richard Coeur-de-Lion and Godfrey of Bouillon from Europe. It
had roused Saladin and Solyman the Magnificent in Asia. Unlike other
popular passions, it had continued through successive generations. It had
survived for centuries, and declined at length less from want of ardour in
the cause, than from failure of the physical and material resources to
maintain at so vast a distance so wasting a struggle, and supply the
multitudes of the faithful whose bones whitened the valley of the Danube
or the sands of Asia.

But religious and devout emotions had not alone become all-powerful from
the blending of the ardour of a spiritual faith with the fierce energy of
northern conquests. The northern nations had brought with them from their
woods two principles unknown to the most civilized nations of antiquity.
Tacitus has recorded, that a tribe in Germany maintained its authority
solely by the justice of its decisions; and that in all the tribes, women
were held in the highest respect, and frequently swayed the public
councils on the most momentous occasions. It is in these two principles,
the love of justice and respect for women, that the foundation was laid
for the _manners of chivalry_, which form the grand characteristic and
most ennobling feature of modern times. New elements were thence infused
into the breast of the warriors, into the heart of women, into the songs
of poetry. Chivalry had arisen with its dreams, its imaginations, its
fantasy; but, at the same time, with its elevation, its disinterestedness,
its magnanimity. The songs of the Troubadours had been heard in southern
Europe; the courts of love had been held in Provence; the exploits of
Charlemagne and Richard had resounded throughout the world. The _chevalier
sans peur et sans reproche_, who dedicated himself to the service of God
and of his lady, was a less natural, but he was a far more elevated being,
than either Achilles or Æneas. Knights-errant, who went about in quest of
adventures, redressing wrongs, succouring damsels, combating giants,
defying sorcerers, delivering captives--faithful amidst every temptation
to their lady-love, true amidst every danger to the Polar-star of
duty--formed the leading characters in a species of romance, which is less
likely, in all probability, to be durable in fame than the _Iliad_ or the
_Æneid_; but which is so, in a great degree, from the circumstance that
the characters it portrays had, from an extraordinary combination of
events, been strung upon a higher key than is likely to be sympathized
with by future generations of man.

Ariosto was the great original mind in this extravagant but yet noble
style of poetry; he was the Homer of this romance of modern Europe. He
possessed the same fruitful invention, the same diversified conception,
the same inexhaustible fancy as the Grecian bard; and in melody and
occasional beauty of versification, he is often his superior. But he will
bear no sort of comparison with Homer in knowledge of character or the
delineation of the human heart. His heroes are almost all cast in one of
two models, and bear one of two images and superscriptions. The Christian
paladins are all gentle, true, devoted, magnanimous, unconquerable; the
Saracen soldans haughty, cruel, perfidious, irascible, but desperately
powerful in combat. No shades of difference and infinite diversity in
character demonstrate, as in the _Iliad_, a profound knowledge and
accurate observation of the human heart. No fierce and irascible Achilles
disturbs the sympathy of the reader with the conquerors; no
self-forgetting, but country-devoted Hector enlists our sympathies on the
side of the vanquished. His imagination, like the winged steed of Astolfo,
flies away with his judgment; it bears him to the uttermost parts of the
earth, to the palace of the syren Alcina, to the halls in the moon, but it
destroys all unity or identity of interest in the poem. The famous siege
of Paris by the Saracens in the time of Charlemagne, which was so often
expected during the middle ages, that it at last came to be believed to
have been real, was the main point of his story; but he diverges from it
so often, in search of adventures with particular knights, that we
wellnigh forget the principal object of the poem, and feel no absorbing
interest in the issue of any particular events, or the exploits of any
particular heroes. He had no great moral to unfold, or single interest to
sustain, in his composition. His object was to amuse, not instruct--to
fascinate, not improve. He is often as beautiful as Virgil in his
descriptions, as lofty as Homer in his conceptions; but he as often equals
Ovid in the questionable character of his adventures, or Catullus in the
seducing warmth of his descriptions. There is no more amusing companion
than the _Orlando Furioso_ for the fireside; but there is none less likely
to produce the heroes whom it is his object to portray.

That which Ariosto wants, TASSO has. The _Jerusalem Delivered_ is, beyond
all question, the epic poem of modern Europe. In it, as in the _Iliad_,
unity of interest and of action is entirely preserved. It is one great
struggle between Europe and Asia which is recorded; it is for the attack
and defence of one city that the forces of Christendom and of Mahometanism
are arrayed. But the object of contention, the moral character of the
struggle, is incomparably higher in the modern than the ancient poem. It
is not "another Helen who has fired another Troy;" it is no confederacy of
valour, thirsting for the spoils of opulence, which is contending for
victory. It is the pilgrim, not the host, whose wrongs have now roused
Europe into action; it is not to ravish beauty from its seducer, but the
holy sepulchre from its profaners, that Christendom has risen in arms. The
characters of the chiefs correspond to the superior sanctity of their
cause, and indicate the mighty step in advance which the human mind, under
the influence of Christianity and civilization, had made since the days of
Homer. In Godfrey of Bouillon we perceive enthusiasm guided by wisdom;
difficulties overcome by resolution, self-subdued by devotion. Rinaldo,
like Achilles, is led astray by beauty and the issue of the war is
prolonged from the want of his resistless arm; but the difference between
his passion for Armida, and the Grecian hero's wrath for the loss of
Briseis, marks the influence of the refined gallantry of modern times. The
exquisite episode of the flight of Erminia, the matchless pathos of the
death of Clorinda, can be compared to nothing either in the _Iliad_ or
_Æneid_; they belong to the age of chivalry, and are the efflorescence of
that strange but lofty aspiration of the human mind. Above all, there is a
moral grandeur in the poem, a continued unity of interest, owing to a
sustained elevation of purpose--a forgetfulness of self in the great cause
of rescuing the holy sepulchre, which throws an air of sanctity around its
beauties, and renders it the worthy epic of Europe in its noblest aspect.

Notwithstanding these inimitable beauties, the _Jerusalem Delivered_ never
has, and never will make the impression on the world which the _Iliad_ has
done. The reason is, that it is not equally drawn from nature; the
characters are taken from romantic conception, not real life. The chiefs
who assemble in council with Godfrey, the knights who strive before
Jerusalem with Tancred, have little resemblance either to the greyhaired
senators who direct human councils, or the youthful warriors who head
actual armies. They are poetical abstractions, not living men. We read
their speeches with interest, we contemplate their actions with
admiration; but it never occurs to us that we have seen such men, or that
the imagination of the poet has conceived any thing resembling the
occurrences of real life. The whole is a fairy dream--charming,
interesting, delightful, but still a dream. It bears the same resemblance
to reality which the brilliant gossamer of a snow-clad forest, glittering
in the morning sun, does to the boughs when clothed with the riches and
varied by the hues of summer. It is the perfection of our conceptions of
chivalry, mingled with the picturesque machinery of antiquity and romantic
imagery of the East, told with the exquisite beauty of European
versification. But it is a poetical conception only, not a delineation of
real life. In Homer, again, the marvellous power of the poet consists in
his deep insight into human character, his perfect knowledge of the human
heart, and his inimitable fidelity of drawing every object, animate or
inanimate. Aristotle said that he excelled all poets that ever appeared in
"[Greek: diagnoia]." Aristotle was right; no one can study the _Iliad_
without feeling the justice of the observation. It is the penetration,
the piercing insight of the Greek bard, which constitute his passport to
immortality. Other poets may equal him in variety of imagination; some may
excel him in melody of versification or beauty of language: none will
probably ever approach him in delineation of character, or clothing
abstract conceptions in the flesh and blood of real life.

Considered with reference to unity of action and identity of interest, the
_Jerusalem Delivered_, equal to the _Iliad_, is much superior to the
_Æneid_. Virgil appears, in his admiration of Homer, to have aimed at
uniting in his poem the beauties both of the _Iliad_ and the _Odyssey_,
and thence in a great measure his failure to rival either. While the first
six books, which contain the wanderings of the Trojan exile and the dismal
recital of the sack of Troy, are an evident imitation of the _Odyssey_,
the last six, containing the strife in Italy, the efforts of the Trojans
to gain a footing on the Ausonian shores, and the concluding single combat
of Turnus and Æneas, are as evidently framed upon the model of the
_Iliad_. But it is impossible in this manner to tack together two separate
poems, and form an homogeneous whole from their junction. Patchwork will
appear in spite of all the genius and taste of Virgil. Epic poetry,
indeed, is not confined within the narrow limits of the Grecian stage; the
poem may embrace a longer period than it requires to read it. But in epic
poetry, as in all the fine arts, one unity is indispensable--the unity of
interest or emotion. Unity of time and place is not to be disregarded to
any great degree without manifest danger. The whole period embraced in the
_Iliad_ is only forty-eight days, and the interest of the piece--that
which elapses from Hector lighting his fires before the Greek
intrenchments till his death in front of the Scæan Gate--is only
thirty-six hours. Tasso has the same unity of time, place, and interest in
his poems: the scene is always around Jerusalem; the time not many weeks;
the main object, the centre of the whole action, the capture of the city.
The charming episodes of Erminia's flight and Armida's island are felt to
be episodes only: they vary the narrative without distracting the
interest. But in Virgil the interest is various and complicated, the scene
continually shifting, the episodes usurp the place of the main story. At
one time we are fascinated by the awful recital of the murder of Priam,
the burning of Troy, and the flight of Æneas: at another, we weep with the
sorrows of Dido at Carthage, and the exquisite pathos of his heart-rending
lamentations: at a third, we are charmed by the descent into the infernal
regions on the shores of Avernus, we sympathize with the patriotic effort
of Turnus and the people of Ausonia to expel the invaders from the Italian
shores. Though Virgil did not intend it, he has twice transferred the
reader's sympathy from the hero of his story: once by his inimitable
description of the mourning and death of Dido from the departure and
perfidy of Æneas, and again, from the burst of patriotic feeling which he
has represented as animating the Etruscan tribes at the violent intrusion
of the Trojan invaders.

Virgil's heroes will bear no sort of comparison with those either of the
_Iliad_ or the _Jerusalem Delivered_. Æneas himself is a vain conceited
man, proud of his piety and his wanderings, and destroying our admiration
for either by the ostentation with which he brings them forward on all
occasions. The well-known line,

  "Sum pius Æneas, famâ super æthere notus,"

occurs too frequently to render it possible to take any interest in such a
self-applauding character. Compare this with the patriotic devotion, the
heroic courage, the domestic tenderness, the oblivion of self in Hector,
in the _Iliad_, and it will at once appear how far deeper the insight into
the human heart was in the Grecian than the Roman poet. One striking
instance will at once illustrate this. When Hector parts from Andromache
at the Scæan Gate, and after he has taken his infant son from his arms, he
prays to Jupiter that he may become so celebrated that the people in
seeing himself pass, may say only--"He far exceeds his father." What
sentiment on the part of a hero himself, and at the moment the bulwark
and sole stay of Troy! But what does Virgil make Æneas say in similar
circumstances?--"Learn, boy, virtue and true labour from ME, fortune from
others."

What a difference between the thought in the two poets, and the interest
which their words excite in the breast of the reader!

What an historical gallery, or rather what a gallery of imaginary
portraits, does the _Iliad_ contain! It is the embodying so many separate
and well-distinguished characters, in different persons, which forms the
grand characteristic--the unequalled supremacy of the poem. Only think of
what they are. Achilles, vehement alike in anger and in grief, wrathful,
impetuous, overbearing, "the most terrible character ever conceived by
man;" yet not insensible at times to the tender emotions, loving his
country, weeping for his father, devoted to his home, but yet determined
to purchase deathless renown by a short life, ere he met the death he knew
awaited him under the walls of Troy. Hector, calm, resolute, patriotic;
sustaining by his single arm the conflict with a host of heroes; retaining
by his single suavity the confederacy of many jealous and discordant
nations; unconquerable in the field; undaunted in council; ever watching
over his country; ever forgetful of himself; overflowing with domestic
affection, yet prodigal of self-sacrifice; singly awaiting before the
Scæan Gate the approach of Achilles, when his celestial armour shone like
the setting sun, and all Troy in terror had sought refuge within the
walls; deaf to the wailing even of Andromache and Priam, at the call of
patriotic duty; and when betrayed by Minerva in the last conflict, and
deprived of his home, yet drawing his sword to do deeds of which men might
speak thereafter! Diomede, unsubdued even amidst the wreck of Grecian
fortunes during the absence of Achilles, alone sustaining the war, when
all around him quailed before the spear of Hector; and resolute to hold
his ground with a few followers, even though the whole of his Grecian
leaders fled in their ships. Agamemnon, proud, imperious, passionate;
doing injustice in anger, yet willing to repair it on reflection; wresting
the blue-eyed maid from Achilles in the first burst of fury, yet publicly
acknowledging his fault in the council of the chiefs; sending embassies,
and offering his own daughter, to obtain a reconciliation with the son of
Peleus. Ulysses, wary alike in council and in action; provident in forming
designs, intrepid in carrying them into execution; sparing of the blood of
his soldiers, but unconquerable in the resolution with which they were
led; ever counselling prudent measures, but ever ruled by invincible
determination. Ajax, singly resisting the onset of the Trojan multitude;
slowly retreating, covered by his broad shield; midway between the two
armies, when all around him fled; striving with desperate resolution for
the body of Patroclus, and covering the retreat of his followers who
dragged along the lifeless hero, when Hector, clad in the shining panoply
he had wrested from the Myrmidonian chief, was thundering in close
pursuit. What has Virgil to exhibit as a set-off to this band of
heroes--"Fortem Gyan, fortemque Cloanthum"--the boyish eagerness of
Ascanius, the savage wrath of Turnus when bereaved of his bride! We seem,
in passing from the _Iliad_ to the _Æneid_, to have fallen, so far as
character goes, from a race of giants to a brood of pigmies.

Modern partiality cannot claim for Tasso the merit of having conceived a
band of heroes whose characters were as strongly marked, or boldly drawn,
as those of the Grecian bard; yet may it justly claim for the Italian poet
the second honours. Tasso did not draw his characters from nature, like
Homer; he lived at a period when the manners of the heroic age had passed
away, and the recollections of it were preserved only in the stanzas of
poetry and the romances of the Troubadours; yet did the force of his
genius, the elevation of his sentiments, the loftiness of his conceptions,
in a great measure supply the defect, and produce a magnificent, and to
this day unequalled, picture of the chivalry of modern Europe. Godfrey of
Bouillon is the model of a Christian hero whose arm has been devoted to
the sacred lance; antiquity did not, and could not, conceive any such
character. Hector is the nearest approach to it; but the patriotism of
the Trojan chief is mingled with his domestic affections; it is for his
father, his wife, his child, his hearth, his country, that he fights. In
Godfrey, all these affections, warm and ennobling as they are, appear to
be obliterated by the perpetual sense of a sacred duty superior to them
all--by the intensity of the pious fervour which had concentrated all
earthly affections. He is the personification of the Church militant,
combating for its Saviour's cause. The profound feelings, the
self-negation, the martyr-like spirit which had been nursed for centuries
amidst the solitude of the cloister, appears in him brought forth into
action, and producing the most intense enthusiasm, yet regulated by the
caution of Ulysses, combined with the foresight of Agamemnon, sustained by
the constancy of Ajax.

Rinaldo, youthful, vehement, impassioned, is the ideal of a hero not yet
weaned from the passions of the world. Vehement, capricious, and
irascible, he disturbs, like Achilles, the council of the chiefs by his
wrath, and is seduced by the beauty of Armida to abandon the cause of the
cross; yet even in her enchanted gardens, and when surrounded by all that
can fascinate the imagination and allure the senses, the sparks of a noble
nature are not extinct in his breast; he is recalled to his duty by the
sight of her warriors; he flies the arms of the syren; he penetrates with
invincible courage the enchanted forest; and when he descends purified
from the stains of the world from the lofty mountain, on whose summit at
sunrise he had dedicated himself to God, he is the worthy and invincible
champion of the cross. Not less bold than his youthful rival, not less
enthusiastic in his affections, Tancredi is the victim of a romantic
passion. But it is no enchantress for whom he pines; it is no seducing
frail one who allures him from the path of duty. Clorinda appears in the
Saracen ranks; her arms combat with heroic power for the cause of Mahomet;
the glance which has fascinated the Christian knight came from beneath the
plumed helmet. Lofty enthusiasm has unstrung his arm--devoted tenderness
has subdued his heart--the passion of love in its purest form has
fascinated his soul; yet even this high-toned sentiment can yield to the
influences of religion; and when Tancredi, after the fatal nocturnal
conflict in which his sword pierced the bosom of his beloved, is visited
by her in his dreams, and assured that she awaits him in Paradise, the
soul of the Crusader is aroused within him, and he sets forth with ardent
zeal to seek danger and death in the breach of Jerusalem. It cannot be
said that these characters are so natural as those of Homer, at least they
are not so similar to what is elsewhere seen in the world; and therefore
they will never make the general impression which the heroes of the Iliad
have done. But they are more refined--they are more exalted; and if less
like what men are, they are perhaps not the less like what they ought to
be.

How is it, then, if Virgil is so inferior to Homer and Tasso in the unity
of action, the concentration of interest, and the delineation of
character, that he has acquired his prodigious reputation among men? How
is it that generation after generation has ratified the opinion of Dante,
who called him his "Divine Master"--of Petrarch, who spent his life in the
study of his works? How is it that his verses are so engraven in our
recollection that they have become, as it were, a second nature to every
cultivated mind, and insensibly recur whenever the beauty of poetry is
felt, or the charms of nature experienced? Rest assured the judgment of so
many ages is right: successive generations and different nations never
concur in praising any author, unless his works, in some respects at
least, have approached perfection. If we cannot discern the beauties, the
conclusion to be drawn is that our taste is defective, rather than that so
many ages and generations have concurred in lavishing their admiration on
an unworthy object. Nor is it difficult to see in what the excellence of
Virgil consists; we cannot read a page of him without perceiving what has
fascinated the world, without concurring in the fascination. It is the
tenderness of his heart, his exquisite pathos, his eye for the beauty of
nature, the unrivalled beauty of his language, which have given him
immortality, and to the end of time render the study of his works the most
perfect means of refining the taste and inspiring a genuine feeling of
poetic beauty.

So melodious is the versification, so delicate the taste, so exquisite the
feeling, so refined the sentiment of Virgil, that it may truly be said
that he will ever remain the model on which the graces of composition in
every future age must be formed. Of him more truly than any human being it
may be said, "Nihil quod tetegit non ornavit." The _Georgics_ demonstrate
that, in the hands of genius, and under the guidance of taste, the most
ordinary occupations of rural life may be treated with delicacy, and
rendered prolific of beauty. The dressing of vines, the subduing of the
clod by the sturdy heifers, the different manures for the soil, the sowing
of seed, the reaping of harvest, the joys of the vintage, the vehemence of
storms, the snows of winter, the heats of summer, the blossoms of spring,
the riches of autumn, become in his hands prolific of description and
prodigal of beauty. Even the dumb animals are the objects of his tender
solicitude. We hear the heifers lowing for their accustomed meal in
winter; we gaze on the sporting of the lambs in spring; we see the
mountain goat suspended from the shaggy rock in summer; we sympathize with
the provident industry of the bees; we even feel we have a friend in the
little underground nest of the field mouse. The opening lines of the
Eclogues, which every schoolboy knows by heart, give an earnest of the
exquisite taste which pervades his writings:--

  "Tityre, tu patulæ, recubans sub tegmine fagi,
  Sylvestrem tenui musam meditaris avena;
  Nos patriæ fines et dulcia linquimus arva.
  Nos patriam fugimus: tu, Tityre, lentus in umbra,
  Formosam resonare doces Amaryllida sylvas."

Virgil, it has been said, was so strongly impressed with the inferiority
of the _Æneid_ to what he conceived epic poetry should be, that he desired
that poem to be thrown into the flames after his death; yet though
deficient in the principal requisites of an epic poem, so far as the
structure of the story and the delineation of the characters are
concerned, what exquisite beauties does it contain--what an assemblage of
lovely images has it brought together--what an irreparable loss would its
destruction have been to all future generations of men! Not all the genius
of subsequent ages could have supplied its place. There are beauties in
the _Æneid_, which neither Thomson in descriptive, nor Racine in dramatic
poetry, have been able to rival.

If Homer excels all subsequent writers in conception of character, vigour
of imagination, and graphic delineation, Virgil is not less unrivalled in
delicacy of sentiment, tenderness of feeling, and beauty of expression.
There are many more striking scenes in the _Iliad_, more animating events,
more awful apparitions; but in the _Æneid_, passages of extraordinary
beauty are much more numerous. What is present to the imagination when we
rise from the former, is the extraordinary series of brilliant or majestic
images which it has presented; what is engraven on the memory when we
conclude the latter, is the charming series of beautiful passages which it
contains. There are many more events to recollect in the Grecian, but more
lines to remember in the Roman poet. To the _Iliad_, subsequent ages have
turned with one accord for images of heroism, traits of nature, grandeur
of character. To the _Æneid_, subsequent times will ever have recourse for
touches of pathos, expressions of tenderness, felicity of language.
Flaxman drew his conception of heroic sculpture from the heroes of the
_Iliad_: Racine borrowed his heart-rending pathetic from the sorrows of
Dido. Homer struck out his conceptions with the bold hand, and in the
gigantic proportions, of Michael Angelo's frescoes; Virgil finished his
pictures with the exquisite grace of Raphael's Madonnas.

Virgil has been generally considered as unrivalled in the pathetic; but
this observation requires to be taken with a certain limitation. No man
ever exceeded Homer in the pathetic, so far as he wished to portray it;
but it was one branch only of that emotion that he cared to paint. It was
the _domestic pathetic_ that he delineated with such power: it was in the
distresses of home life, the rending asunder of home affections, that he
was so great a master. The grief of Andromache on the death of Hector, and
the future fate of his son begging his bread from the cold charity of
strangers--the wailings of Priam and Hecuba, when that noble chief awaited
before the Scæan Gate the approach of Achilles--the passionate
lamentations of the Grecian chief over the dead body of Patroclus--never
were surpassed in any language; they abound with traits of nature, which,
to the end of the world, will fascinate and melt the human heart. The
tender melancholy of Evander for the fate of Pallas, who had perished by
the spear of Turnus, is of the same description, and will bear a
comparison with its touching predecessor. But these are all the sorrows of
domestic life. Virgil and Tasso, in the description of the despair
consequent on the severing of the ties of the passion of love, have opened
a new field, unknown in the previous poetry of antiquity. It is to be
found touched on in the tragedies of Sophocles and Euripides, and but
touched on. The passion they represent under the name of love was not what
we understand by the word, or what constitutes so important an element in
the poetry and romance of modern Europe. It was not the imaginative flame
feeding on hope, nursed by smiles, transcendent in enjoyment, but a
furious mania, resembling rather, and classed with, the ravings of
insanity. Destiny was the grand ruling power in Greek tragedy: the
distress brought out was the striving of man against the iron chain of
fate. Love as a passion, independent of destiny, detached from sense,
feeding on the imagination, living in the presence of the beloved object,
is glanced at in Catullus; but it is in Virgil that we must look for the
perfect delineation of its suffering, a thorough knowledge of its
nature--in Tasso, that it has been wrought up to the highest conceivable
perfection.

But, for all that, we will not have old Homer defrauded of his dues. The
_Iliad_ cannot, for the reasons already mentioned, produce passages to be
placed beside the pathetic tenderness of Dido's love for Æneas, the
romantic chivalry of Tancredi, or Erminia's passion. But in the earlier
and more natural affections, in the delineation of domestic grief, in the
rending asunder the parental or filial ties, who has ever surpassed the
pathetic simplicity of the Grecian bard? Where can we find such
heart-rending words as Priam addresses to Hector, leaning over the towers
of Troy, when his heroic son was calmly awaiting the approach of the
god-like Achilles, resplendent in the panoply of Vulcan, and shielded by
the Ægis of Minerva?

But we know not whether three lines in the _Odyssey_ do not convey a still
more touching picture of grief--so powerful is the wail of untaught
nature. When Proteus informed Menelaus of the murder of Agamemnon, his
grief is thus described--

  "[Greek: Hôs ephat': autar emoige kateklasthê philon êtor
  Klaion d' en psamathoisi kathêmenos; oude ny moi kêr
  Êthel' eti zôein, kai horan phaos hêelioio.]"
                                        _Odyssey_, IV. 538.

"Thus he spoke; my soul was crushed within me; I sat weeping on the sand;
nor had I the heart to wish to live, and behold the light of the sun."
Here is the pathos of nature: "Rachel weeping for her children, and would
not be comforted, because they are not."

One peculiar beauty belongs to the epic poems of antiquity, and especially
Homer, from the combination of heroic sentiments and actions with a
simplicity which will be looked for in vain, and in truth would be
unseemly, in the later ages of society. We hear of princes, kings, and the
daughters of kings, and our imagination immediately clothes them with the
pomp and circumstance of modern royalty. But erelong some little
circumstance, let out as it were accidentally, brings us back at once to
the simplicity and habits of early life. Bellerophon met the daughter of a
king amidst the grassy meads, and a race of heroes sprung from this
occasion; but he met her as he was tending his herds, and she her lambs.
The beauteous daughters of the Trojan chiefs repaired to the hot and cold
springs of the Scamander, near the Scæan Gate, but they went there to wash
their clothes in its limpid fountains. The youngest daughter of Nestor,
with the innocence of a child, though the beauty of womanhood, did, by her
father's desire, to Telemachus the duties of the bath. Many a chief is
described as rich; but generally the riches consist in flocks and herds,
in wrought brass or golden ornaments--not unfrequently in meadows and
garden-stuffs. This beauty could not, from the superior age of the world,
belong to Tasso. His soldans are arrayed in all the pomp of Asiatic
magnificence--his princes appear in the pride of feudal power--his
princesses surrounded with the homage of chivalrous devotion. Virgil has
often the same exquisite traits of nature, the same refreshing return to
the young world, in the _Æneid_: He dwells on those peeps into pastoral
simplicity as Tacitus did on the virtue of the Germans in the corrupted
days of Roman society, when "corrumpere et corrumpi seculum vocatur." We
may conceive the enchantment with which the Romans, when the Capitol was
in all its splendour in the time of Augustus, read his charming
description of its shaggy precipices in the days of Evander.

  "Hinc ad Tarpeiam sedem et Capitolia ducit,
  Aurea nunc, olim sylvestribus horrida dumis.
  Jam tum religio pavidos terrebat agrestes
  Dira loci; jam tum sylvam saxumque tremebant.
  'Hoc nemus, hunc,' inquit, 'frondoso vertice collem,
  Quis deus incertum est, habitat deus: Arcades ipsum
  Credunt se vidisse Jovem, cum sæpe nigrantem
  Ægida concuteret dextrâ nimbosque cieret.'

     *       *       *       *       *

  Talibus inter se dictis, ad tecta subibant
  Pauperis Evandri, passimque armenta videbant
  Romanoque foro, et lautis mugire Carinis."--_Æneid_, viii. 347.

What Homer was to Virgil, and Ariosto to Tasso, that Michael Angelo was to
RAPHAEL. Though both these illustrious men lived in the same age, yet the
former was born nine years before the latter,[1] and he had attained to
eminence while his younger rival was yet toiling in the obscurity of
humble life. It was the sight of the magnificent frescoes of Michael
Angelo that first emancipated Raphael from the stiff and formal, though
beautiful style of his master, Pietro Perugino, and showed him of what his
noble art was susceptible. So great was the genius, so ardent the effort,
of the young aspirant, so rapid the progress of art in those days, when
the genius of modern Europe, locked up during the long frost of the middle
ages, burst forth with the vigour and beauty of a Canadian spring, that he
had brought painting, which he had taken up in a state of infancy in the
studio of Pietro Perugino, to absolute perfection when he died, at the age
of thirty-seven. Seventeen years, in Raphael's hands, sufficed to bring an
art as great and difficult as poetry to absolute perfection! Subsequent
ages, vainly as yet attempting to imitate, can never hope to surpass him.
How vast must have been the genius, how capacious the thought, how intense
the labour, of the man who could thus master and bring to perfection this
difficult art, in a period so short as, to men even of superior parts and
unwearied application, barely to gain the command of the pencil!

Modern painting, as it appears in the works of Michael Angelo, Raphael,
and Titian, is an art as elevated in kind as the highest flights of the
epic or tragic muse, and it has been brought to a perfection to be
paralleled only by the greatest conceptions of Grecian statuary. If
called upon to assign the arts which human genius had, since the beginning
of the world, brought to absolute perfection, no one would hesitate to fix
on Grecian sculpture and Italian painting. Imagination can conceive a more
faultless poem than the _Iliad_, a more dignified series of characters
than those of the _Æneid_, a more interesting epic than _Paradise Lost_;
but it can figure nothing more perfect than the friezes of Phidias, or
more heavenly than the _Holy Families_ of Raphael. It is one of the most
extraordinary and inexplicable facts recorded in the history of the human
mind, that these two sister arts should both have been brought to
perfection near each other, on the shores of the Mediterranean, in the
lifetime of a single generation; for the transition from the marbles of
Ægina to those of the Parthenon, made in the lifetime of Pericles, is as
great as from the paintings of Pietro Perugino to those of Raphael, made
in the lifetime of Leo X.

The sculpture of antiquity aimed chiefly, if not entirely, at the
representation of a _single figure_. Even the procession on the frieze of
the Parthenon is not sculpture--it is a series of isolated horsemen or
figures passing. The group of Niobe and her children is the only attempt
extant at telling a story, or representing emotion by a variety of
figures. Within this limited range, the great sculptors carried the art to
the highest imaginable perfection. The Apollo is the most perfect
representation of manly beauty, the Venus of feminine grace and delicacy.
The Laocoon exhibits the most fearful contortions and agonized expressions
of pain and anguish in suffering humanity; the Fighting Gladiator--the
most inimitable representation of war-like energy at its extreme
tension--the Dying Warrior of the Capitol, of valour sinking beneath the
ebbing stream of blood. The Hercules Farnese is the perfection of physical
strength, the Jupiter Tonans of awful majesty, the Venus Calipyge of
alluring beauty. Thus the expression of _character_ was their great
object; emotion was not overlooked, but it was studied only as it brought
out or illustrated the permanent temper of mind. A collection of ancient
statues is a vast imaginary gallery, in which, as in the heroes of the
_Iliad_, every conceivable gradation of the human mind is exhibited, from
the stern vengeance of Achilles, whom not even the massacre of half the
Grecian host could melt, to the tender heart of Andromache, who wept her
husband's valour, and her sad presentiments for her infant son.

In modern painting, as it appeared in the hands of Raphael and Michael
Angelo, a wider range was attempted: more spiritual and touching objects
had come to engross the human mind. The mere contemplation of abstract
character--its delineation by the graphic representation of the human
form, had ceased to be the principal object of genius. The temple of the
unknown God was no longer to be filled with idols made under image of man.
The gospel had been preached to the poor; the words of mercy and peace had
been heard on the earth. Painting had come to be the auxiliary of
religion; it was in the churches of a spiritual and suffering faith that
its impression was to be produced. Calvary was to be presented to the eye;
the feeling of the centurion. "Truly this man was the Son of God,"
engraven on the heart. It was to the faithful who were penetrated with the
glad words of salvation, that the altar-pieces were addressed; it was the
feeling of the song of Simeon that had gone forth on the earth. It was
those divine feelings which painting, as it arose in modern Europe, was
called to embody in the human form; it was to this heavenly mission that
the genius of Italy was called. And if ever there was a mind fitted to
answer such a call--if ever the spirit of the gospel was breathed into the
human breast, that mind and that breast were those of Raphael.

Michael Angelo was the personification of the genius of Dante. The bold
conceptions, the awful agonies, the enduring suffering which are brought
forth in that immortal poet, had penetrated his kindred spirit, and
realized the _Inferno_ in the representation of the _Last Judgment_. But
it was the Spirit of Christ which had been breathed into the heart of
Raphael. The divine words, "Suffer the little children to come unto me,
and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of heaven," had inspired
his immortal conceptions. It is neither physical beauty nor mental
character, as in the Greek sculpture, which is represented in his
paintings. It is the Divine spirit breathed into the human heart; it is
the incarnation of deity in the human form that formed the object of his
pencil. He has succeeded in the attempt beyond any other human being that
ever existed. If any works of man ever deserved the name of divine, they
are the _Holy Families_ of Raphael.

Superficial writers will ask, what has Raphael to do with Virgil? mere
artists will enquire, how they are to be benefited by the study of Tasso?
Those, again, who have reflected on the means by which the higher stages
in any art are attained, will acknowledge that, at a certain elevation,
their principles are the same.

To move the heart, whether by painting, poetry, or eloquence, requires the
same mind. The means by which the effect is to be produced are not
different. The one works, indeed, with the pencil, the other with the pen;
the one composes in verse, the other in prose--but what then? These are
the means to the end, they are not the end itself. There are many avenues
to the human heart, but the inner doors in them all are to be opened only
by one key, and that key is never denied to the suit of genius.

It is in his lesser pieces that the exquisite taste and divine conceptions
of Raphael are chiefly to be seen. His greater paintings, the
_Transfiguration_, the frescoes in the Vatican, the cartoons, are
invaluable to the artist as studies, and specimens of the utmost power of
drawing and energy of conception; but it is not there that the divine
Raphael appears. In the larger ones his object was to cover space and
display talent; and in the prosecution of these objects he never has been
exceeded; but it is in his groups of two or three figures that his
exquisite conceptions appear. It is there that he has given free scope to
his exquisite conception, intended to represent in the maternal, and
therefore universally felt affection, the divine spirit and parental
tenderness of the gospel. "My son, give me thy heart," was what he always
aimed at. "God is love," the idea which he ever strove to represent, as
embodying the essence of the Christian faith. The Madonna della Seggiola
at Florence, the Assumption of the Virgin at Dresden, the Madonna di
Foligno in the Vatican, the Holy Family at Naples, St John in the Desert
in the Tribune at Florence, the small Holy Family in the Louvre, the large
Holy Family, with the flowers, brought from Fontainbleau, also in the
Louvre, St Mark at Munich, and several of the lesser pieces of Raphael in
the same rich collection in that city, are so many gems of art, embodying
this conception, which to the end of the world, even when preserved only
in the shadowy imitation of engraving, will improve the heart and refine
the mind, as well as fascinate the imagination. It may be doubted if they
ever will be equalled: excelled they can never be.

Whoever will study those inimitable productions, even when standing to
gaze at the engravings from them in a print-shop window, will have no
difficulty in feeling the justice of Cicero's remark, that all the arts
which relate to humanity have a certain common bond, a species of
consanguinity between them. The emotion produced by the highest excellence
in them all is the same. So intense is this emotion, so burning the
delight which it occasions, that it cannot be borne for any length of
time: the mind's eye is averted from it as the eyeball is from the line of
"insufferable brightness," as Gray calls it, which often precedes the
setting of the sun. It is difficult to say in which this burning charm
consists. Like genius or beauty, its presence is felt by all, but can be
described by none. It would seem to be an emanation of Heaven--a chink, as
it were, opened, which lets us feel for a few seconds the ethereal joys of
a superior state of existence. But it is needless to seek to define what,
all who have felt it must acknowledge, passes all understanding.

It is a common saying, even among persons of cultivated taste, that it is
hopeless to attempt to advance any thing new on the beauties of ancient
authors; that every thing that can be said on the subject has already
been exhausted, and that it is in the more recent fields of modern
literature that it is alone possible to avoid repetition. We are decidedly
of opinion that this idea is erroneous, and that its diffusion has done
more than any thing else to degrade criticism to the low station which,
with some honourable exceptions, it has so long held in the world of
letters. But when ancient excellence is contemplated with a generous eye,
even when the mind that sees is but slenderly gifted, who will say that
nothing new will occur? When it meets kindred genius, when it is elevated
by a congenial spirit, what a noble art does criticism become? What has it
proved in the hands of Dryden and Pope, of Wilson and Macaulay? It is in
the contemplation of ancient greatness, and its comparison with the
parallel efforts of modern genius, that the highest flights of these
gifted spirits have been attained, and the native generosity of real
intellectual power most strikingly evinced. Criticism of words will soon
come to an end; the notes of scholiasts and annotators are easily made, as
apothecaries make drugs by pouring from one phial into another. But
criticism of things, of ideas, of characters, of conceptions, can never
come to an end; for every successive age is bringing forth fresh
comparisons to make, and fresh combinations to exhibit. It is the
outpouring of a heart overburdened with admiration which must be
delivered, and will ever discover a new mode of deliverance.

How many subjects of critical comparison in this view, hitherto nearly
untouched upon, has the literature of Europe, and even of this age,
afforded! Æschylus, Shakspeare, and Schiller--Euripides, Alfieri, and
Corneille--Sophocles, Metastasio, and Racine--Pindar, Horace, and
Gray--Ovid, Ariosto, and Wieland--Lucretius, Darwin, and
Campbell--Demosthenes, Cicero, and Burke--Thucydides, Tacitus, and
Gibbon--Thomson, Cowper, and Claude Lorraine: such are a few which suggest
themselves at first sight to every one who reflects on the rich retrospect
of departed genius. It is like looking back to the Alps through the long
and rich vista of Italian landscape; the scene continually varies, the
features are ever new, the impression is constantly fresh, from the
variety of intervening objects, though the glittering pinnacles of the
inaccessible mountains ever shine from afar on the azure vault of heaven.
Human genius is ever furnishing new proofs of departed excellence. Human
magnanimity is ever exhibiting fresh examples of the fidelity of former
descriptions, or the grandeur of former conception. What said Hector,
drawing his sword, when, betrayed by Minerva in his last conflict with
Achilles, he found himself without his lance in presence of his
fully-armed and heaven-shielded antagonist? "Not at least inglorious shall
I perish, but after doing some great thing that men may be spoken of in
ages to come."[2]



PING-KEE'S VIEW OF THE STAGE.


This is not, O Cho-Ling-Kyang! a barbarian land, as in our foolish
childhood we were taught; but, contrariwise, great is the wisdom of the
English, and great their skill. Yea, I will not conceal the fact, that in
some things they are worthy to be imitated by the best and most learned in
the flowery land. Three moons have I resided in London, and devoted
myself, with all the powers of my mind and body, to fulfil the task which
you and the ever-venerated Chang-Feu have laid upon me. Convey to his
benignant ear the words of my respect, and tell him that my brow is ever
on the outer edge of his footstool. As I understand my office--having
pondered over the same ever since the ship left the shore of my beloved
country--it is, to give you a report of the manners and customs of the
inhabitants of this extraordinary land, and smooth the way for the sending
forth of an ambassador from the immaculate emperor to the governor of this
nation. I have completely executed your commission, O excellent
Cho-Ling-Kyang! and this was the manner of the doing thereof. When I
embarked on board of the large ship with the three masts, which had for
name the Walter Scott--after a great general who conquered a province
called Scotland, and was presented with a blue button as a reward for his
magnanimity--I was entirely ignorant of the language spoken by the
mariners, with the exception of the short form of prayer which they
constantly use when speaking of each others' eyes, and a few phrases not
easily translatable into our refined tongue; and I accordingly experienced
great difficulty in making myself understood. Notwithstanding, I soon got
friendly with the captain, and also with the men--who pulled my back hair
whenever I passed them, in the most warm and affectionate manner possible.
I took greatly to study when I had overcome the sea-sickness; and although
I could not master the pronunciation of their words, I soon arrived at a
degree of skill, which enabled me to read their printed books. There was a
large library on board of the ship, and all day long--with the aid of
Morrison's wonderful dictionary--I toiled in the delightful task of making
myself acquainted with the masterpieces of English literature. And this I
considered the best preparation for the duty set before me; for without
books, how could I furnish my mind with a knowledge of the past?--and
without mastering the language, how could I understand the characters and
modes of thought of the men who now are? I therefore studied history; but
their historians write so much, and differ so greatly from each other,
that it was perplexing to know if what they told was true--and I was
utterly confused. But, fortunately, there was in the ship a young person,
who had been sent out by his friends to a merchant's office in Canton; but
had discovered that he was a great poet, and very clever man, and was
going back to tell his father he would not hide his talents any more, but
be a wonder to all men for his genius and abilities; and this young person
was very kind to me. He advised me what to read--which was principally his
own writings; and on my telling him I wished to study history, he said
nobody cared for it now, and that all the history he knew was in
Shakspeare's plays. This Shakspeare was a great writer long ago, who
turned all the histories of his country into dramatic scenes; and they are
acted on grand occasions before the Queen and her court at this very day.
When I enquired of the young person how his countrymen preserved the
memory of events which had happened since the death of the great
Shakspeare, he said there were other people as clever perhaps as
Shakspeare, who embalmed important incidents in immortal verse, but whom a
brutal public did not sufficiently appreciate; and he offered to read to
me a poem of his own called the Napoleonad, giving an account of a great
war that happened some time ago--and which had been published, he said,
week after week, in the Bath and Bristol Literary Purveyor. He read it to
me, and it was very fine; but I did not gain much information. I read
various parts of English history in Shakspeare; but from the specimens he
gives of the kings that reigned long ago in England, I fear they were a
very cruel and barbarous race of men. One of the name of Lear gave up the
kingdom to his three daughters, and two of them treated him very cruelly,
turned him out of doors on a stormy night, put out his followers' eyes,
and behaved very ill indeed. Another was called John--a bad man. Three
Henries--the first two great fighters, and one of them a common highway
robber in conjunction with a fat old gentleman who was a great coward, but
boasted he killed the chief warrior of the enemy--and the other Henry, a
weak old man, who was murdered by another very bad king called Richard.
There was another Henry who sent away his wife--a fat, bloated, villanous
kind of man; and after that no mention is made of any of the English kings
in Shakspeare's history. And when I asked the young person if there had
been any kings since, he said he had never heard of any except George the
Third, grandfather of the present Queen. I demanded of him if all the
plays in England were forced to be histories? and he said, no. And when I
further enquired what they represented, and of what use they were, he said
they were to hold a mirror up to nature, and to be the abstract and brief
chronicle of the time; by which he afterwards explained to me he meant
this--that although tragedies and the loftier portions of the drama
treated generally of great events, yet that, in England, there were many
men of extraordinary talent, who taught great moral lessons by means of
the stage, and, above all things, never overstepped the modesty of nature,
but in every scene gave a vivid and true imitation of the actual events of
life. In short, that the best way of seeing English character was to study
the English stage; for all classes of men were more fully, truly, and
fairly represented there, than even in the House of Commons itself. The
young person, to prove the truth of this, read me a comedy, which he was
going to have acted at Covent-Garden Theatre; and it was very amusing, for
he laughed excessively at every speech. You will easily believe, O
Cho-Ling-Kyang! that I rejoiced greatly at hearing this account of the
stage; and unbounded was my satisfaction in finding among the books in the
library a large collection of English plays, which I studied deeply and
took notes from, for my future guidance in mingling with society. What a
blessing it is for a nation to be in possession of so useful an
institution, where the actual manners of the time are brought exactly
forward, and the people can see the different classes of society with all
their different feelings and peculiarities--their modes of thought--their
faults and weaknesses--their wishes and vices--as vividly produced as if
the performers were in reality the very beings they represent! How it must
instruct the boorish in the gracefulness of polished life--how it must
reprove the bad by the contemplation of honest simplicity--and what an
insight must it give to the foreigners, into all the secrets of the
domestic existence of this great and extraordinary people! O
Cho-Ling-Kyang! when the young person told me this, I said to my
heart--"Be still--beat no more with the pulses of uncertainty--I shall
only buy a perpetual ticket to the pit of the theatre, and write home a
minute account of all I see and hear." On my arrival in London I took down
the names of the theatres, and for three months I have studied character
every night. Yet, though I devoted my nights to the stage, I pored all the
morning over the many volumes I have collected of the printed dramas; and
as they all agree in their descriptions, I think I cannot be deceived, and
that you may safely present the subjoined result of my enquiries to the
very sparkling eyes of the ever-venerated Chang-Feu. There are many ranks
of men in this land, and he of the highest rank is called a lord. When
young, a lord is always rich and gay, and a great admirer of the ladies;
and it is also the case that many ladies are devotedly attached to him,
and make no scruple to confess it to their chambermaids, before they have
been acquainted with him half an hour. When the lord is old, he is a
stiff stupid man, who generally talks politics, and boasts how eloquent he
is in the great national assembly. He is also always very harsh to his
children, till they marry against his will, and then he forgives them, and
prays for their happiness. The title bestowed on the wife, and sometimes
on the daughter of a lord, is lady or ladyship; but this dignity is also
possessed by the wives of a class of men very numerous in this country,
who are called sirs.

The "ladies," almost without exception, are very disagreeable people, and
highly immoral, as they are always in love with some one else besides
their husbands,--and are great gamblers at cards, and very malicious in
their observations on their friends. The "sirs" are divided into two
classes--sometimes they are fat rich old men who have made large fortunes
by trade, and have handsome girls either of their own, or left to their
charge by deceased relations,--and sometimes they are gay fascinating
young men, running away with rich people's daughters, or stupid people's
wives; but luckily they always take names that give fair warning of their
character, so that they are generally foiled in their infamous attempts.
And this is a fine illustration of the openness of the English
disposition. A man here seldom conceals his propensities, but assumes a
name which reveals all his character at once. Sir Brilliant Fashion, and
Sir Bashful Constant, and Sir Harry Lovewit, show at once their respective
peculiarities--as do Colonel Tornado, Tempest, Hurricane, Absolute, Rapid,
and a thousand others that I have met with in my reading. But the thing
which astonished me most of all was, that in this great mercantile nation,
a merchant is very little appreciated unless he is in debt or a cheat; but
the hero of most of the histories, if he is of a mercantile family, is
over head and ears in the books of Jew usurers, and has left the
respectable circle of his equals in rank, and spends his time and
constitution in the gaieties of the lords and ladies. And that this has
long been the case, is proved by old plays and new ones. There is a play
in the oldest-looking of the volumes I possess, called, "How to grow
Rich," which shows the style of manners in this respect forty or fifty
years ago; and I will translate the beginning of it, that you may see a
real picture of English society with your own eyes.

Mr Warford, the nephew of Mr Smalltrade, a banker, is in conversation with
Mr Plainly, the head clerk:--

     "_Plainly._--Nay, do not think me curious or impertinent, Mr Warford.
     I have lived so long with you and your uncle, that I cannot see you
     unhappy without enquiring the cause.

     "_Warford._--My uncle is himself the cause. His weakness and
     credulity will undo us all.

     "_Plainly._--Excuse me, sir; but I'm afraid the young lady now on a
     visit at our banking-house, the charming Lady Henrietta, has she not
     made a very deep impression?

     "_Warford._--To confess the truth she has; and though, from my
     inferior situation in life, I can never aspire to the gaining of her
     affections, she may still have to thank me for saving her from ruin.

     "_Plainly._--From ruin, sir?

     "_Warford._--Ay; she is now on the very brink of it. When her father,
     Lord Orville, went abroad for his health, he gave her a fortune of
     eight thousand pounds, and left her to the care of her uncle, Sir
     Thomas Roundhead. At his country seat Mr Smalltrade met with her,
     and, being banker to her father, he thought it his duty to invite her
     to his house.

     "_Plainly._--And she had no sooner entered it than she became
     acquainted with Sir Charles and Miss Dazzle? I suspect their infamous
     designs.

     "_Warford._--Yes, Plainly, when Miss Dazzle has robbed her of her
     fortune at the gaming-table, Sir Charles is to attempt to deprive her
     of her honour; but if I don't shame and expose them! Oh, think of the
     heartfelt satisfaction in saving such a woman as Lady Henrietta! 'Tis
     true most of her fortune is already lost, and Sir Thomas is so
     offended at her conduct, that, wanting an heir to his estate, he has
     adopted his god-daughter Rosa."

In the next page we are shown the mode in which banking was carried on in
country towns by persons who had the daughters of lords visiting them--who
have gone abroad for their health, and left then such uncountable heaps of
sycee silver.

     "_Smalltrade._--There is nothing like a snug country bank.

     [_Enter a servant._

     "_Servant._--I want change for this draft of Sir Harry Hockley's.

     "_Smalltrade._--Very well, how much is it for?

     "_Servant._--A hundred pounds.

     "_Smalltrade._--What?

     "_Servant._--A hundred pounds.

     "_Smalltrade._--Mercy on me! you've set me all in a tremble. Draw on
     a country bank for a hundred pounds!--why, does your master suppose
     himself drawing on the bank of Amsterdam?

     "_Plainly._--True, sir; and, if you recollect, we had a large run
     upon us yesterday.

     "_Smalltrade._--So we had--a very large run! Sir Thomas Roundhead
     drew in one draft for the enormous sum of twenty-five pounds, and
     here's your master draws for a hundred. Talk of a country bank! the
     Bank of England couldn't stand this.

     "_Servant._--I can't tell, sir; Sir Harry said he had ten times the
     money in your hands.

     "_Smalltrade._--So he has, and what then? Doesn't he place money in
     my hands that it may be safe; and if he is to draw it out in large
     sums, that is, if he is to get it out when he wants it, where would
     be the use of a banker?"

In a succeeding scene, Miss Dazzle meets her brother Sir Charles, and
says,--

     "Welcome from London, brother! I have just left the idol of your
     heart, the charming Henrietta. As usual, the banker's nephew was
     attending her.

     "_Sir Charles._--Ay, ay, it's all pretty plain, but I won't be
     scandalous.

     "_Miss Dazzle._--Well, if she's his to-day she'll be yours to-morrow.
     I have seen Mr Smalltrade; he talks of becoming a partner; and, if
     you play your cards well, Lady Henrietta will be completely in your
     power.

     "_Sir Charles._--Yes, for when I've won all her money I can be
     generous enough to become her protector. Well, sister, we shall ruin
     them all."

It will be seen from this, O Cho-Ling-Kyang! that sirs and their sisters
unite with country bankers in setting up a gaming-house--and that the
method of treating a lord's daughter, is to ruin her first at cards, and
in character afterwards. The picture of private life which I have quoted,
is from the works of one Frederick Reynolds; the play was acted with the
greatest applause, and has passed through a great many editions. So there
can be no doubt of its presenting a true image of the usual course of
events in this great and wonderful nation.

In another volume I find a similar representation. It is called, "The Way
to get Married," and is written by one Thomas Morton. I will translate
some passages for you, and you will see that the English are very
different people in their own country from what they are in their
counting-houses at Hong-Kong.

There was a gentleman of the name of Toby Allspice, a grocer, who was
sheriff of his county, and expected by the death of an old maid, Miss
Sarah Sapless, to succeed to thirty thousand pounds. He has a daughter who
is very anxious to be "stylish," and marry a "lord" or a "sir," if she
can.

To Mr Allspice's town goes a London merchant of the name of Dashall, who
receives a letter on his arrival, and reads it to the whole of the
audience:--

     "_Dashall_, (_reads_).--'Dear Dashall, all's up. Transfer swears if
     you don't settle your beer account in a week, he'll blackboard you.
     Affectionate enquiries are making after you at Lloyd's; and to crown
     all, hops were so lively last market, that there is already a loss of
     thousands on that scheme. Nothing can save you but the ready. Yours,

     "'TIM TICK.

     "'N.B.--Green peas were yesterday sold at Leadenhall market at
     ninepence a-peck, so your bet of three thousand pounds on that event
     is lost.'--So! Lurched every way; stocks, insurance, hops, hazard,
     and green peas, all over the left shoulder; and then, like a flat, I
     must get pigeoned at Faro by ladies of quality, for the swagger of
     saying, 'The Duchess and I were curst jolly last night.' But
     confusion to despair! I'm no flincher. If I can but humbug Allspice
     out of a few thousands, and marry his daughter, I shall cut a gay
     figure, and make a splash yet.

     "_Waiter_, (_without._)--A room for Lady Sorrel.

     "_Dashall._--What the devil brings her here? Old and ugly as she is,
     I'll take decent odds that 'tis an intrigue.

     [_Enter Lady Sorrel._

     "_Lady Sorrel._--Inform my cousin Caustic I'm here. Ah, Dashall! I
     suppose the warm weather has driven you from town?

     "_Dashall._--True, London was certainly too hot for me, but how could
     your ladyship leave the fascination of play?

     "_Lady Sorrel._--Hush! that's not my rural character. I always
     assimilate. The fact is, Dick, I have here a strange, plain-spoken,
     worthy, and wealthy relation; he gives me considerable sums to
     distribute in London to the needy, which I lose in play to people of
     fashion; and you'll allow that is giving them to the needy, and
     fulfilling the worthy donor's intentions.--Ha! ha!

     "_Dashall._--Then you are not here because your favourite, young
     Tangent, is arrived?--Eh?

     "_Lady Sorrel._--What, Dick, have you found out my attachment there?
     Well, I confess it; and if my regard be not, I'll take care my
     revenge shall be, gratified; and 'tis a great consolation that one is
     nearly as sweet as the other."

And when the above-named cousin of Lady Sorrel has a palaver with the same
merchant Dashall, he is instructed in the inner secrets of the commercial
world after the following guise:--

     "_Dashall._--Capital!--an old bugbear--never thought of now. No!
     paper, discount, does it all.

     "_Caustic._--Paper!

     "_Dashall._--Ay. Suppose I owe a tradesman--my tailor, for
     instance--two thousand pounds--

     "_Caustic._--A merchant owe his tailor two thousand pounds!--Mercy on
     me!

     "_Dashall._--I give him my note for double the sum--he discounts
     it--I touch half in the ready--note comes due--double the sum
     again--touch half again--and so on to the tune of fifty thousand
     pounds. If monopolies answer, make all straight; if not; smash into
     the Gazette. Brother merchants say, 'D----d fine fellow; lived in
     style--only traded beyond his capital.' So certificate's signed, ruin
     a hundred or two reptiles of retailers, and so begin the war again.
     That's the way to make a splash--devilish neat, isn't it? How you
     stare! you don't know nothing of life, old boy.

     "_Caustic._--Vulgar scoundrel!

     "_Dashall._--We are the boys in the city. Why, there's Sweetwort the
     brewer--don't you know Sweetwort? Dines an hour later than any duke
     in the kingdom--imports his own turtle--dresses turbot by a stop
     watch--has house-lamb fed on cream, and pigs on pine apples--gave a
     jollification t'other day--stokehole in the brew-house--asked a dozen
     peers--all glad to come--can't live as we do. Who make the splash in
     Hyde Park?--who fill the pit at the opera?--who inhabit the squares
     in the West? Why, the knowing ones from the East to be sure.

     "_Caustic._--Not the wise ones from the East, I'm sure.

     "_Dashall._--Who support the fashionable Faro tables? Oh, how the
     duchesses chuckle and rub their hands, when they see one of us!

     "_Caustic._--Duchesses keep gaming-tables!

     "_Dashall._--To be sure! How the devil should they live?"

Such, O learned Cho-Ling-Kyang! is the real life of those extraordinary
beings who are so steady and plodding to outward appearance. Little would
you suspect that, when one of the merchants of the factory got home, he
would aid duchesses in the setting up of Faro tables, and mix with all the
brilliant and dissolute society of a great city. To us, such thoughts
would seem unnatural, and scarcely would the president of the Hong
consider himself qualified to hold a chopstick in the presence of a yellow
button. And I fear greatly; that in the extremity of your unbelief you
say, Tush, tush--Ping-Kee is deceiving us by inventing foolish deceits! An
English merchant would not make open profession of his bankruptcy; an
English lady of rank would not exult in the number of people she had
ruined by false play at cards; an English gentleman would not concert
plans with his sister for the seduction of a lord's daughter; an English
sheriff would not throw off his grocer's apron to go and receive the
judges, while an English barrister put it on, and sold figs to the
beautiful daughter of a British captain. But consider, O Cho-Ling-Kyang!
that I am a man of veracity from my youth, and that if I make so bold as
to invent, or even to misquote, there may be many beside you who can
convict me at once. And if you persist in your doubts, and say, verily the
writers of those plays give no true account of their countrymen, but write
false things which have no existence in reality, what shall we think of
the countless numbers who go to see those representations, and take no
steps to punish the authors for libels and defamations--but, contrariwise,
applaud and clap their hands, and say "good, good"--would they do this if
the picture had no resemblance? But they hold up the stage as a school of
morals, and a copy of things that are. And another argument, O
Cho-Ling-Kyang! that these dramas are drawn from experience and
observation is, that they do not contradict each other, as they would
assuredly do if they proceeded from any source but reality. No, no--great
sir--believe me, that the scenes I have quoted are excellent descriptions
of the characters introduced, and that their originals are to be met with
every day. Again, perhaps you will say--not so; O Ping-Kee, the writers of
those plays are stupid men--with shaved heads--that have no understanding,
and receive no greater reward than the conjurers who catch balls on their
foreheads, and balance long poles in the market-place! But the case is far
different, as I will prove to you from the preface to one of those works,
written by a lady called Inchbald, who herself wrote many comedies, and
received much money for the same.

"It is well known that the English theatres never flourished as they do at
present, (1807.) When it is enquired, why painting, poetry, and sculpture,
decline in England? want of encouragment is the sure reply; but this reply
cannot be given to the question, why dramatic literature fails? for never
was there such high remuneration conferred upon every person, and every
work belonging to the drama. A new play which, from a reputed wit of
former times, would not with success bring him a hundred pounds, a manager
will now purchase from a reputed blockhead at the price of near a
thousand, and sustain all risk of whether it be condemned or not. Great
must be the attraction of modern plays to repay such speculation. It is a
consolation to the dramatist of the present age, that while his plays are
more attractive than ever those of former writers were, those authors had
their contemporary critics as well as he, though less acute and less
severe indeed than the present race."

I have not time to reduce into celestial money the English sum of a
thousand pounds; but it is great, yea, more than the value in three years
of the longest peacock's feather in Pekin, and the value of a play is not
diminished since then. Not many moons ago, there was a reward offered by
one of the managers, of five hundred gold coins called guineas, to the
person who should send to him the best comedy illustrative of present
manners. O Cho-Ling-Kyang, the power of five hundred guineas in awakening
the poetic powers of mankind! The great majority of the English nation for
a whole year wrote nothing but plays; all the world was a stage, and all
the men and women merely writers; and when the time came, all had broken
down in the attempt, except ninety-six. But through these fourscore and
sixteen dramas, all painting the habits and characteristics of the present
time, the judges appointed by the manager had to read. And they read--and
read; and when they came to a decision, lo! it was in favour of a
lady--one of the cleverest authors, in other styles, that England has ever
seen--bright, polished, witty; and although not in a dramatic form, more
dramatic and lively than any professed play-writer since one called
Sherry, from his fondness for drinking wine. 'Midst the applause of all
the rest of the world, and the hatred and jealousy of her ninety-five
competitors, she was presented with the money; and the manager, on looking
through a hole in the curtain on the first night of the performance, saw
the whole house crowded from the floor to the roof, and thought he had
never so wisely laid out five hundred guineas in his life. "Oho!" said
wise men to each other in the boxes, "we shall see ourselves as we are--no
farcical exaggeration, no vulgar grievances; the woman is an observing
woman, and has mixed in great society; moreover, it is the best play out
of nearly a hundred; let us wait, it will be as good as the _School for
Scandal_." And they stamped loud with their feet. The play was called the
_Day of Dupes_; and wise men in the boxes were not exempt from the general
fate. All were dupes together. For the authoress was a wise woman, and
jingled the five hundred guineas in a purse, and kept all her own clever
observation of life and manners to be used on some other occasion, and
took the same view and no other of English customs and character that
Reynolds, and Morton, and O'Keefe, and Colman, had done before her. So her
heroes and heroines flew about the stage, and talked funny things, and
swore a little, and conversed in a provincial dialect called slang, and
behaved exactly as Dashall, and Miss Dazzle, and Lord Sparkle had behaved
before. Oh! was not this a triumph to the great authors of former days,
and did it not prove that wise men in the boxes are foolish men when
judging of the stage? It did, O Cho-Ling-Kyang! but a greater triumph was
at hand. The manager having read and studied the preface by the female
Inchbald, which I have translated for your instruction, and having given a
small sum--so they consider five hundred guineas in this land of
ingots--to a reputed wit, thought he would gain much silver if he obtained
a drama from a reputed blockhead. And he was right in his calculation; for
he applied to an author who had written farces in five acts, where various
impossible things were done, and persons talked in great jokes invented
long ago by a nobleman of the name of Miller, and behaved like the clown
in a pantomime, without the advantage of being dressed in his
parti-coloured garments; and in a short time this author furnished the
manager with a comedy called _Old Heads and Young Hearts_. Oh! he knew so
much of life, this famous author; he would show what the real state of
society was; and, said I to myself, I will go and judge for myself. I will
see whether the books I have been studying are filled with lies. I will
see how gentlemen speak, and how ladies look and act. Oho! I will put
Reynolds and Morton to the proof. I will put on my European dress. I will
ask the way to the theatre. I will sit in the pit. So shall I be able to
send to Cho-Ling-Kyang, and to the venerated Chang-Feu, an account from my
personal experience of English fashionable life. And so the first person I
saw on the stage was a young gentleman greatly in debt, a studier of the
law, who lives in a building called the Temple, in a room meagrely
furnished, and talks about his intimacy with duchesses, exactly as Dashall
and Tangent had done before. Oh! said I, this is complete proof that the
great Reynolds and great Morton drew from life, and also the great author
of this beautiful play. His name, not the author's name, but the young
gentleman's name, is Littleton Coke, after two sages of the law called
Coke and Littleton; but he makes no money by his profession, and has found
all his great friends desert him when he made application to them for a
loan. Their names are Lord St James and Mister Deuceace. His brother also
writes him a letter, enclosing the blessing of the Reverend Mr Rural, but
no cash. But suddenly comes in Lord Charles Roebuck, the younger son of
the Earl of Pompion, (for in this country all the younger sons of Earls
take the title of "Lord,") and tells Mr Littleton Coke that he is in love
with a lady he lifted out of a carriage that had been upset.

     "_Littleton._--Is that all?

     "_Roebuck._--Forbid it, Venus! No, with incredible trouble I traced
     them. The father, the dragon who guards this Hesperian fruit, is an
     old East Indian colonel, as proud as Lucifer, and as hot as his
     dominions. I hovered round the house for a week.

     "_Littleton._--Successfully?

     "_Roebuck._--I saw her once for a second at the back garden-gate.

     "_Littleton._--To speak to her?

     "_Roebuck._--I hadn't time.

     "_Littleton._--No? Oh!

     "_Roebuck._--No. So I gave her a kiss.

     "_Littleton._--Excellent economy; and her name--

     "_Roebuck._--Is Rocket--her father, an eccentric old bully, turns his
     house into a barrack, mounts guard at the hall door; the poor girl
     can't move without a sentry, and I believe her lady's-maid is an old
     one-eyed corporal of artillery."

From this you will perceive, O Cho-Ling-Kyang! that the English are
different from the Chinese in many respects; but that Colonel Rocket so
far differs from his countrymen as to keep a strict guard over his
daughter. There was a gentleman of the name of Thunder in one of the
volumes I read on board of the ship, who was very like this
Rocket--probably his uncle; and he again was the son or grandson of an old
admiral I read of in a book, called _Trunnion_--all evidently excellent
men, and frequently met with in English society. The Earl of Pompion is
prime minister of England, and of course a very clever man, and he has
determined that his son shall marry his cousin Lady Alice, the widow of
another lord--Lord George Hawthorn. She is called Lady Alice, though her
husband's name was George; for it is usual for a lady to retain her
Christian name in spite of her marriage, although instances, I am told,
are known where a lady--even a duke's daughter--marrying a marquis's son,
takes the Christian name of her husband along with his title, and calls
herself Lady Thomas or Lady William; but the author of this drama, of
course, knows best. Lord Charles Roebuck tries to avoid a marriage with
Lady Alice, and begs Mr Littleton Coke to propose for her himself, which
he of course agrees to do; and in preparation for which he would probably
have found the large sum of twenty pounds he wished to borrow from Lord St
James, very useful. In addition to the hand of the widow, who has a
fortune of £5000 a-year, Lord Charles insures him a seat in Parliament;
and the two friends go out in a great hurry on hearing a knock at the
door, to take up their residence in the house of the Earl of Pompion.

The knock at the door is given by the brother of the young barrister, who
speaks in a language which they told me was the vernacular of a foreign
kingdom called York; he is accompanied by a priest of one of the religions
tolerated in this country, called the Christian, which was once universal,
but has now fallen into disrepute. They come in search of the spendthrift,
and are taken for a money-lender and a bailiff by the young lawyer's
clerk; and this makes a great laugh, it is so natural a mistake.

Lady Alice Hawthorn is a delightful lady. She has invited Colonel Rocket
and his daughter to dine with Lord Pompion, (whom she calls Pompey, after
a great philosopher in ancient Rome,) and who, she says, although he is
her uncle, "talked impudence" to her when he was half tipsy at a ball at a
place called Almacks. She tells the Earl that Colonel Rocket is rich and
powerful; but in this she tells a non-verity--for she looked at me--even
me--where I was sitting in the pit, and said he is "a half-pay colonel,
with less interest than a treasury clerk, but a glorious old fellow; I'll
bet he'll kiss the countess in a week. What fun!" I, even I, Ping-Kee, was
so astonished, that I could say nothing, but sat and blushed very much at
the communication; and still redder did my cheek become when I saw what
followed. For when Lord Charles and the barrister came in, the young lord
recognises Lady Alice's tones. "Blest voice," he says, surely it is--

     "_Lady Alice._--Your cousin Alice; how are you, Charley?--(he
     hesitates)--all right go on, I'm human nature, (he kisses her.)
     What's your friend's name?"

And then Mr Littleton Coke is presented to Lord and Lady Pompion, who
receive him very kindly; for they mistake him for the foreign gentleman
who does not speak English, his brother from the kingdom of York. And Lady
Alice, besides asking her cousin to kiss her, lets the young barrister
make love to her, and kiss her hand before they are acquainted ten
minutes, and altogether gives a very fascinating idea of widows of high
rank. Colonel Rocket always gives his commands in military language, as if
he were at the head of his regiment, and Lord Charles Roebuck frightens
the common people with his haughty looks. There is a very elegant
gentleman, who is called a butler, and comes in to inform Lord Charles
that dinner is on the table; and the second act ends in the following
dignified manner:--

     "_Butler._--Ahem--dinner, my lord"--(a pause--he goes behind their
     causeuse)--"Dinner, my ------" (They start up confused.) Roebuck
     looks sternly at the butler, and they _exeunt_ followed by Butler,
     bowing.

In the next act there is a great deal of kissing and talking, for which I
could see no reason; and people ran out and in, and up and down so much,
that I became rather confused. But the old Bonze is very stupid, and makes
a number of mistakes; and the young barrister is very gay, and treats Lady
Alice as if she was no better than a dancer at a festival; and they all
treat each other in such extraordinary ways, that I could only perceive
that English young ladies and English young gentlemen, if they behaved in
Canton as they do at home, would speedily be consigned to the
lockup-house. But at last I was glad to recognise Lord Charles, disguised
in top-boots and knee-breeches as a groom, and I was very proud of my
cleverness in recognizing him; for his own father speaks to him for a long
time, and never makes the discovery; and shortly after, Mr Littleton Coke
appears, also disguised as a groom, but for what purpose I could not find
out. And there was a long time employed in love-making again, and
quarrelling and mistaking, till at last all things seemed to go right, and
the old Bonze united the hands of the lovers on the stage, and we all
laughed and clapped our hands. Of a truth, O Cho-Ling-Kyang! the persons
who find fault with the drama are foolish. It is not with the drama such
critics should find fault, but with the people who believe in real life in
such a curious manner. No--it will not do to throw the blame of such
representations on the author. He does nothing but paint what he sees. And
therefore you will be wise if you send over to this people an ambassador
who is not of the sect of the moral Con-fu-tse; for as he will have to mix
in the society of Lady Alices and Countesses of Pompions, he might be
shocked and degraded by meeting them, if he had any regard for female
delicacy or manly feeling. It will not require a man of the abilities of
the venerated Chang-Feu to twist round his thumb so very stupid a mortal
as the Earl of Pompion, who is secretary of state; and, therefore, you may
save much silver by engaging a common Button to conduct the negotiations
with the English crown. I could see no one on the stage, or meet with any
one in the books, bearing any resemblance to Pottinger or Davis; and,
therefore, I suppose all the clever men are banished by this curious
people, and all the silly ones kept at home. You will therefore be wise to
make your treaties with the Pompions, who reside in Whitehall, rather than
with the Goughs and Parkers, who are transported to Hong-Kong. In the mean
time I will continue my researches, and I will also make personal
experiments as to the veracity of the stage representations. I will go at
once to one of the great men's houses, and will kiss his wife in a week,
and disguise myself like a postilion, and run away with one of his
daughters. And of the result I will make you aware. Such is the view of
your servant Ping-Kee, who touches the ground you stand on with his
forehead nine times--and one time more.



THE MIDNIGHT WATCH.


CHAPTER I.

      "For the watch to babble and talk,
  Is most tolerable, and not to be endured."

                                _Much Ado about Nothing._

About the period when the civil wars between the Republican and Royalist
parties in England had terminated, after the execution of the unfortunate
Charles I., in the utter defeat of his son at the battle of Worcester, and
the dispersion of all the adherents to the royal cause, a small
castellated mansion, not far from the eastern coast of England, was
garrisoned by a party of the Parliamentary troops.

This mansion, which had belonged to a Royalist family who had fled the
land, having been seized upon and confiscated by the Parliamentary
commissioners employed in sequestrating the property of confirmed enemies
of the commonwealth, had been converted into a sort of fortress or
stronghold, the natural defences and isolated position of which, rendered
it peculiarly adapted as a place of confinement for prisoners of war. Its
situation, at the same time, so near the coast, gave it an additional
advantage as a post of observation, whence measures might be taken for the
interception of such Royalists, who, proscribed as obstinate malignants,
might be led to this part of the country in their attempts to seek the
means of escape.

Flanked on one side by the waters of the river, this isolated house was
cut off on the other three by a broad ditch or moat, being thus entirely
surrounded by water, except at one point the most remote from the river,
where it communicated by a wooden bridge with a causeway, lined by an
avenue of trees, which served as an approach, and traversed at some length
a low level tract of land before it reached the higher and more hilly
country. A similar tract of level, but of a more marshy and swampy
description, stretched along the opposite bank of the river, terminating
at some distance by a line of low well-wooded hills. Not far from the
house, which stood thus alone, like a solitary bittern in a Dutch
landscape, the river widened suddenly into a large expanse of water,
called in this part of England a "broad," which was itself only separated
from the sea by a narrow strip of low sand-banks, and sandy downs or
deanes, as they are there termed, and extended thus along the shore to
some distance, when again assuming the form of a river, it poured its
waters into the German Ocean.

Of the more ancient part of this mansion, which boasted (it was never well
known upon what authority) a Roman origin, only a large circular tower was
left, which was attached somewhat awkwardly, like an ill-adjusted
headpiece, on to the more modern building. Although constructed in the
comparatively peaceful times of Henry VII.'s reign, the more modern house
had been evidently built with some ideas of strength and defence, and in a
demi-castellated form, various smaller additions having been made to it at
subsequent and different periods, without any great observance of order or
style.

Behind the main body of the house thus irregularly constructed, was a
species of small inner-court or garden, enclosed between the old tower and
the walls that connected it with the mansion on one side, and a wing of
the building which extended to the side of the stream on the other; whilst
opposite to the back of the house, which was now wholly unoccupied, and
almost in a ruinous state, a strong and thick parapet skirted the river,
and completed the parallelogram.--Formerly an opening in the centre of
this parapet had evidently conducted by several steps to the water's edge,
in order to facilitate the communications with boats on the river; but it
had now been blocked up by a fresh mass of heavy brickwork and masonry,
as if for the purpose of adding security to the place; and at the time we
write, two culverins, mounted so as to be on a level with the top of the
parapet, contributed to give to the spot the look of a fortified
stronghold. The forms of flower-beds of prim shapes, the former
decorations of the spot, might still be traced here and there in the now
almost level and sandy surface of the coast, giving evidence that some
pains had probably been originally bestowed upon this interior enclosure.
But beyond these faint traces of flower-beds, nothing now remained of its
better days but a few evergreens and other bushes, which, growing close by
the parapet wall, had equally escaped the rude trampling of the unheeding
soldiers, or the wanton devastations of some of the over-zealous of the
day; men who looked upon all adornment of whatever kind, all appearance of
gratification of a refined taste, however innocent, as sinful and
condemnable. A vaulted passage traversed the wing of the building
mentioned as stretching to the water's edge, and formed the usual and more
direct communication between this sort of court and other parts of the
establishment.

Late on a fine autumn afternoon of the year 1652, some little time after
the battle of Worcester, a young man, musket on arm, paced up and down
this inner court as sentinel. His dress, which partook of the military
uniform of the times, without precisely belonging to any particular
regiment, and the finer cloth of some parts of his attire, which was of a
far finer texture than was customary upon the person of a common soldier,
proved that he was one of the many volunteers who had enrolled themselves
among the troops of the Parliamentary army, and probably of gentler birth
than might be generally found employed in such humble military functions.
Loose boots of so great a size towards their upper part, that each might
have been imagined to contain, at least, half a calf-skin, mounted towards
his large hose of plain but good material. A tuck or rapier of some length
was girded round his loins; a corselet, with bandoleer slung around it,
covered the front of his buff-coat; and a morion, destitute of all feather
or ornament, concealed for the greater part his hair, closely clipped in
compliance with the puritanical fashions of the times, the colour of
which, however, might be divined by the fairness of the young mustache
that curled lovingly about his upper lip.

Sometimes, as he paced backwards and forwards upon his lonesome watch, the
eye of the young man rested for a while upon the dull swampy landscape,
the chief beauty of which, at the moment, was a slight haze that hovered
over stream and marsh, and stunted willow and distant hill, tinged with a
golden hue from the slanting rays of the sun; the only living sights and
sounds of which, were busy flights of gnats whirling up and down with
drowsy hum; an occasional frog, that splashed from the opposite shore into
the water with an uneasy croak; and one solitary fisherman, who, after
having drawn up his boat among the rushes on the river's bank, near the
opening upon the "broad," and left his line to float along the lazy
stream, seemed to have lain down in his broad flat-bottomed punt, to sleep
at his ease. Sometimes he paused to scrutinize more earnestly the heavy
pile of the old tower, to guard all egress from which might be supposed,
from his periodical examinations of its walls, to be the peculiar duty of
his post. Sometimes again he gazed listlessly upon the marks of
devastation, where the carved armorial bearings of the family to whom the
mansion had belonged, had been hacked away from the walls of the building,
and other symbols of nobility or religion had been wantonly mutilated or
destroyed; and at such moments, an almost unconscious sigh would escape
him, ill according with the tenets of the party which he evidently served.
But most generally his attention was directed towards a low window in the
first floor of the projecting wing, not very many feet above the level of
the ground, in front of which a small wooden balcony, filled with flowers,
showed that the occupant of the chamber to which it belonged was probably
of the gentler sex, and of an age when such matters are still objects of
tender and careful solicitude. At these times, evidences of impatience,
almost amounting to pettishness, would appear in his uneasy gestures; and
after a scrutiny of some duration, he would again turn away to resume his
pacing, with a look of trouble and annoyance upon his brow. The handsome
features of that fine face, however, were not formed to express grief, nor
that clear bright eye sorrowful thought; yet, such were the circumstances
of the times, that whenever disengaging them from associations connected
with the balconied window, as his reflections reverted to himself and his
own position, his countenance would fall, and his eye cloud over with an
expression of sadness.

Gerald Clynton was of old family and noble birth. His father, Lord
Clynton, had doated upon his wife with the fondest and most exclusive
affection; and the birth of Gerald, his second son, having been the
occasion of her death in childbed, the agonized husband, who was
inconsolable for her loss, had never been able to look upon the child,
and, in its infant years, had banished it altogether from his sight. The
time arrived, however, when it became necessary to remove the little boy
from the sole care of menials, and to commence the rudiments of his
education; and at that period Mr Lyle, the brother of the deceased Lady
Clynton, finding the aversion of the father towards the poor innocent
cause of the mother's death still more strongly rooted by time, and his
whole paternal affections centred and lavished upon his eldest born, had
taken the child to his home, and, being himself childless, had treated,
and as it were adopted, the boy as his own son.

Time crept on. The boy grew into the youth; the youth approached to the
man; but still Lord Clynton evinced no interest in his young son--gave no
demonstration of awakening affection. With time also crept on the angry
and troubled clouds that arose upon the political horizon of the land. The
storm at length burst forth. The fatal struggle commenced between the
unfortunate Charles and his Parliament; and the civil wars broke out. A
stanch Royalist, Lord Clynton joined with enthusiasm the cause of the
monarch; while Mr Lyle, whose tenets were of the Presbyterian persuasion,
and whose political opinions were entirely of that party, found himself
enrolled in the ranks of the Parliamentary army, in which his name and
fortune and his active, but stern, cold courage, gave him much influence.

Entirely deprived of the affections of a father, whom he never remembered
to have seen, and on whom, with the usual levity of boyhood, he seldom or
never bestowed a passing thought, Gerald Clynton, or Gerald Lyle, as he
was constantly called after his uncle--and most people knew not that he
bore any other name--naturally imbibed the opinions and sentiments of his
protector; and, when the civil war was openly declared, followed him to
the camp. The reflection never crossed him, that the unknown author of his
being might be engaged in the ranks of the enemy; that his uncle and his
father might chance to meet face to face upon the battle-field; that
either his real parent, or the parent of his affections, might fall by the
hand of the other. To do justice to the feelings of the youth, no idea of
the kind had ever been suggested to him by his uncle, not a word mentioned
of the political sentiments of his father. Colonel Lyle--for such became
his rank in the Parliamentary army--was a man of firm adherence to his
principles; and although a cold, hard man, in all things but his affection
for his adopted son, too earnest and eager a supporter of the party for
which he battled, to allow such a proselyte to what he considered the just
and upright cause--such a follower in his own footsteps as his nephew--to
escape him on account of any family considerations, which he stigmatized
as "prejudices to be despised and set at nought in so holy a matter."

Enrolled as a volunteer in his uncle's regiment, Gerald had, in some of
the scanty moments of peace and repose snatched between the quickly
following phases of the struggle, found opportunities to cultivate the
acquaintance of an old friend of his uncle's--an officer in the same
regiment--or rather, it ought to be owned without reserve, the
acquaintance of the fair daughter of that friend. In these troubled but
precious moments it was, that Gerald's young heart first awakened to love;
and when, upon the death of his uncle Colonel Lyle, who never recovered
the wounds he had received upon the field of Naseby, old Lazarus Seaman
received the command of the regiment, it was again the bright eyes of
pretty Mistress Mildred that served as a loadstone to attach him to it,
and to attract him to follow the troop which garrisoned the lone mansion
upon the eastern coast of England; for Colonel Lazarus Seaman was the
governor or commander of this impromptu sort of fortress; and Colonel
Lazarus Seaman's daughter, his only and motherless child, quitted her
father's side as little as possible. She it was who was the tenant of the
room appertaining to that balconied window, and those bright and
carefully-tended flowers, to which the eyes of Gerald now so often
strayed, as he paced up and down the dull court, to perform the duties of
sentinel.

Gerald's thoughts, however, as already intimated, were not placid, nor
were they exclusively occupied by the object of his affections. They
dwelt, from time to time, with grief upon his uncle, whose death had
excited in him so many bitter regrets; and those sad recollections, in
their turn, called forth in him other reflections of a new and painful
nature. He recalled to mind how, in his dying moments, the self-elected
father of his youth had summoned him to his side, and talked to him of
that other father whom he had never known; how he had spoken, in broken
accents, and with much remorse, of the possible hatred engendered between
father and son; of his own regrets, now first clearly awakened in him,
that he himself might have been the cause of such a consummation; and how
then, with his last breath, he in vain endeavoured to murmur expressions
of bitter repentance for some cruel wrong done, the nature of which no
longer met the ear of the anxious listener, and was soon left for ever
unexplained in the silence of death. These sad remembrances led to a train
of thought of a most painful and harassing description. His position as a
voluntary supporter of a cause repugnant to the principles of a father,
whom, although unknown to him, it was his duty to honour and obey, and as
affianced to the daughter of a man whose Republican principles were so
decided, appeared to him involved with the most perplexing difficulties.
New and conflicting feelings had arisen in the young man's breast. There
was already within him a bitter struggle between love and duty--between
long inculcated opinions and newly awakened emotions. As the one or the
other feeling predominated, Gerald walked backwards and forwards with
gloomy face, or turned to gaze upon the window, the closed casement of
which seemed then to call forth from him gestures and words of a somewhat
testy impatience.

"She knows that this is my hour for mounting guard, and yet she comes not
to the window. She shows no sign of the least thought or care for me," he
muttered angrily to himself, stamping more firmly and sharply as he
recommenced his pacing, after a pause, in which he had eyed the window
with bent brow and bitten lip. "But she does not love me," he added
bitterly. "She has never loved me. She has never done otherwise than
trifle with my affections--seeking for demonstrations of my love to feed
her vanity, and then flinging them aside with the sick stomach of an
over-pampered child. I am a fool to let myself be thus dragged at her
skirts, in such tinselled leading-strings. No; I will loose myself from
this thraldom. But what if she love another? More than once I have thought
she looked with much complacency upon that young recruit--the new
volunteer--that Maywood, I think they call him. Were it true, 'sdeath! I
would slit his ears for him. God forgive me the oath!" Gerald asked no
forgiveness for the revengeful thought.

He was still continuing his half-muttered soliloquy of jealousy and spite,
when the click of a casement-hasp caught his lover's ear. In a moment,
the angry expression of his brow was cleared away like a mist before the
sun--a bright gleam of satisfaction illumed his countenance, as he looked
eagerly and hastily towards the window of Mistress Mildred's chamber. The
casement opened, and first appeared a fair hand, which, with a long
tapering jug of blue and white Dutch porcelain, was bestrewing water upon
the flowers in the little wooden balcony. Then there stood at the open
window a youthful female form; but the head was bent down so low over the
flowers--the damsel was so absorbed in her gentle occupation--she was of
course so completely unaware of the presence of any person in the court
below who might expect a greeting from her, that it was difficult at first
to distinguish the features. A pure white, pinched, and plaited cap
covered the bended head, but not, however, so entirely, as fully to
contain or hide a profusion of dark brown hair, which perhaps, according
to the fashion of the times, it should have done. Through the flowers,
also, that partially obscured the long low window, might be distinguished
part of a sad-coloured gown, the simplicity of which, in its make, could
not conceal, as perhaps it ought to have done, the rounded outlines of a
full but graceful form; while, at the same time, its dull hue was
charmingly relieved--of course without any intention of coquetry--by a
ruff and gorget of the most glittering purity, and, at the end of the long
sleeves, by two small, delicate, white cuffs, which seemed to be playing a
game of rivalry with the little hands for the palm of fairness.

As Gerald hemmed, and coughed, and shuffled with his feet impatiently, he
imagined, for a moment, that one hasty glance of the eyes which bent over
the flowers was directed into the court, and then averted with the
quickness of lightning, but he was no doubt mistaken; for when the task of
watering the plants was at an end, the head was only raised to watch the
clouds for a very short space of time--sufficient time, however, to show
two dark pencilled eyebrows placed over a pair of bright dark eyes, in
that peculiar arch which gives a look of tormenting _espièglerie_ to the
expression, and in the blooming cheeks, full, but not too full for grace,
two laughter-loving dimples, which imparted to a lovely countenance a
joyous and fascinating character--and then was again withdrawn. The fair
white hand again already rested upon the hasp of the casement, as if to
close it, when Gerald, who had waited with renewed feelings of vexation
the greeting of his lady-love, called in a low, but almost angry tone of
voice, "Mildred!--Mistress Mildred!"

"Master Gerald Lyle, is it you? Who would have thought that you were
there?" said pretty Mistress Mildred, again showing at the window her arch
countenance, the expression of which seemed to be at most wicked variance
with her prim attire.

"Methinks a friendly greeting were not ill bestowed upon an old
acquaintance," muttered the young man in the same tone of testy
impatience.

"Know you not," responded the damsel, with something of the canting whine
adopted at the time, and in a semi-serious tone, to the genuineness of
which her dimples very naughtily gave a direct lie--whatever their
mistress might have intended--"Know you not, that such bowings of the
head, and kissings of the hand, are but vain and worldly symbols and
delusions."

"Trifle not with me, I beseech you, Mildred," said the vexed lover, "for
my heart is sad and my mind is harassed. During the weary hours of my
watch, I have longed for a smile from that sweet face--a glance from those
bright eyes, as my only solace; and yet the hours passed by and you came
not to your window, although I had let you know that it was my duty to
keep this watch; and when you did come, you would have left again without
a single word to me. This was unkind. And now you are there, you bend your
brow upon me with an angry look. What have I done to offend you, Mildred?
You cannot doubt my love, my truth."

"And what is there in my conduct or in my words that can justify Master
Lyle in thus treating me as a trifler?" answered Mildred with a pouting
air, avoiding any direct answer to all his other remarks. "Methinks I have
every right to be offended at so unjust an accusation." But in spite of
the gross offence, Mistress Mildred now seemed to have no thought of
punishing it, by withdrawing from the window.

"I offend you! you know I would give the whole world, were it mine, to
spare you one painful feeling," cried the young man. "It is you who wrong
me, it is you who are unjust, and even now you seek to quarrel with me.
But perhaps you wish to break the troth you have given me--perhaps your
light heart has already offered its affections to another!"

"As you will, sir. Perhaps my light heart, as you are pleased to call it,
would do well to seek some less morose and tetchy guardian," said the
young lady, tossing up her head, and preparing again to close the windows.

But as her eye fell upon the despairing look and gestures of her lover,
the arched eyebrow was unknit, and raised with an expression of comic
vexation; a smile lurked for a moment in the dimples and corners of the
pouting mouth; and then at last broke out into a fit of decided laughter.

After indulging a moment in her mirth, Mildred looked at the young man
fondly and said, "Go to, Gerald! you show not the patient spirit of a
Christian man; and even now your face wears such a frown, as methinks must
have wrinkled the brow of the jealous blackamoor in those wicked
stage-plays, of which my poor mother told me, before my father chid her
for it, and bid her cease to speak of such vanities--fie now! out upon
you! shall I throw you down my little mirror that you may see that face?
Well! I am a naughty froward child. See there! I am sitting on the stool
of penance, and I ask thee pardon."

"Forgive me also," cried Gerald, springing forward, his heart melting
before the arch look of fondness that beamed down upon him. "Forgive me my
pettish impatience with you, Mildred."

"Forgiveness of injuries is ordained unto us as our first of duties,"
rejoined Mildred with another demure look--which was all the wickeder for
its demureness.

"But why came you not before, my Mildred?" said the lover, with a slight
lingering tone of expostulation; "you know not the bitterness of those
countless minutes of anxiety, and doubt, and eager waiting."

"I could not leave my father," replied Mildred more seriously; "although
he knows and approves our attachment; he would have chid me had he been
aware that I come to have speech of you from my window; and as it is, I
have done wrong to come. Besides, he was weary, and bade me read to him,
and I sat by his side, and read to him the Bible, until, in the midst of
an exhortation to watch and pray, I heard a sound that he himself might
have called an uplifting of the horn of Sion, and behold he was snoring in
his chair; and then, in the naughtiness of my heart, I stole from his
presence to come to my room--and--and--tend my flowers," she added with an
arch smile.

"You thought of me then, and came, though late, to see me?" said Gerald
eagerly.

"You? Did I not say my flowers, Master Gerald?" asked Mildred still
laughing.

"Oh! mock me no longer, cruel girl! You know not all I have suffered
during this tedious watch--all the doubts and fears with which my poor
mind has been tortured. Did you know, you would console, not mock me, and
one word would console all. Tell me you love me still."

"One word, you say--what shall it be?" said Mildred, raising her eyebrows
as if to seek the word; and then, looking down upon him kindly, she added,
"Ever."

"And you love none but me? you have no thought for any other?" continued
the lover with an evident spice of jealousy still lurking in his mind.

"What! two words now?" said the laughing girl. "Are all lovers such arrant
beggars? give them a penny and they ask a groat. Well! well! but one
other, and that shall be the last. None"--and as Mildred spoke, she bent
herself over the balcony to smile on Gerald, and rested one tiny hand, of
course unconsciously, on the outer framework.

"Thanks, thanks, my dear, my pretty, my darling Mildred!" exclaimed the
young man, and as he spoke, he sprang, musket on arm, upon a stone bench,
which stood out from the wall immediately under Mistress Mildred's window,
and endeavoured to snatch the white hand that just peeped so invitingly
over the edge of the low wooden balcony.

"Out upon you, Master Sentinel," said the young lady, putting back her
hand. "Is it thus you keep your watch? Another such step and I shall sound
the alarm, and denounce you as a deserter to your post. Look ye! your
prisoner will escape."

Gerald instinctively turned his head to the old tower behind him, as he
stepped down again from the stone bench, with somewhat of that
tail-between-the-legs look, which a spaniel wears when repulsed from his
mistress's lap. But there was no one stirring. He shook his head
reproachfully at the laughing girl.

"Nay! I did but remind you of your duty," said Mildred; "and you know my
father sets much store by the capture of this prisoner, whom he supposes
to be some one of rank and note; a fugitive from the dispersed army of the
malignants; perhaps a friend of the young King of Scots, and, as such,
aware of his retreat."

"I saw him as they brought him hither, after capturing him in an attempt
to gain the coast," replied the young soldier. "He is an old cavalier, of
a stately and goodly presence, although cast down by his ill fortune. But
enough of this. Tell me, Mildred"--But here the ears of the young couple
caught the sound of a distant bell as it came booming over the water of
the broad.

"Hush! It is the curfew from the town," said Mildred. "The watch will now
be changed. Back! back! They will be here directly. I must away."

"Already," cried Gerald with vexation. "But another word, Mildred--but
one--some token of your love until we meet again."

"Impossible!" replied the fair girl. "How can you ask me for a token? It
were very wrong in me to give you such. You ask too much." Then, as she
was about to close the window, she exclaimed again, "This poor rose wants
trimming sadly. Alack! these early frosts destroy all my poor plants;" and
taking up her scissors, which hung from her girdle, she snipped at a
withered leaf. Perhaps Mildred's pretty little hand trembled, for of
course it was an accident--the unfortunate scissors, instead of cutting
the withered leaf; closed upon the very prettiest rose upon the little
tree--that rose happened to hang over the edge of the balcony, and so it
came to pass that it fell at Gerald's feet.

Gerald seized it and pressed it, like all true lovers from time
immemorial, to his lips.

"Thanks! darling girl," he cried.

"Thanks! for what?" rejoined Mistress Mildred, putting on a very
lamentable air. "Now, don't suppose I have done this purposely. My poor
rose! how you crush it and tumble it in your hand. How could I be so
awkward!" and with these words the window was wholly closed.

Gerald still stood with his eyes fixed upon the window, when a noise, as
if a sharp rustling among leaves, startled him. Immediately upon the
alert, he looked cautiously around; but there was no one in the court. He
walked hastily to the parapet wall and bent over it--all was still except
the boat of the fisherman, which he had before observed. It had apparently
been rowed to another part of the river about the mansion, as a better
place for fishing, without having been observed by the inattentive
sentinel, for it was now floating down the stream towards the opening into
the broad. The fisherman again lay motionless at the bottom of the boat.
Suddenly a thought seemed to cross the young soldier's brain, for he
sprang to the bushes still left growing near the parapet wall, and
searched hastily among the leaves. From the ground beneath their thick
shelter he raised a small packet. His musket was already jerked into his
right arm to fire an alarm, in order that the fisherman might be pursued,
as suspected of attempting to establish a communication with the prisoner,
when his eye fell upon the superscription of the packet. He stared for one
moment with surprise; and then his colour changed, and he grew deadly
pale. His eye hurried rapidly to the tower--an exclamation of bitter grief
burst from his lips--and he stood aghast. At this moment the steps of the
soldiers coming to relieve guard resounded along the vaulted passage
communicating between the court and other parts of the mansion. At the
sound the blood rushed back into Gerald's face, until it covered forehead
and temples. He hastily replaced the packet in the hiding-place where he
had discovered it, and stood with musket in arm, and in a state of
ill-repressed agitation, awaiting the corporal and guard.

The young soldier who was now brought to relieve him from his post, was
the same Mark Maywood of whom he had expressed his jealous doubts.

The usual ceremony of relieving guard was gone through; but although the
words of order were few, these few words were communicated by Gerald in a
brief angry tone, and received by the other young soldier with a cold
frowning air. Between the two young men there appeared to exist feelings
of an instinctive repulsion.

As he turned to leave the court, Gerald gave another anxious, eager look
at the old tower, and glanced askance at the leafy hiding-place of the
packet. Another troubled sigh burst from his heart; but whatever thoughts
occupied him before passing under the vaulted passage, he raised his eyes
to the well-known chamber casement, which was close by. He could evidently
perceive Mildred's graceful form partly ensconced behind a hanging to her
window. Was she watching his departure? No. It seemed to him as if her
eyes were turned in the direction of the handsome young recruit--that
detested Maywood. And he? Gerald looked round once more. He felt convinced
that the young sentinel's eyes were fixed upon pretty Mistress Mildred's
window. It was in a high state of agitation--a new fit of raging jealousy
mingling with other painful and harassing emotions, that Gerald followed
the corporal and soldiers from the court.


CHAPTER II.

              "O, 'tis your son!
  I know him not.
  I'll be no father to so vile a son."

                                ROWLEY, (_Woman Never Vexed._)

  "Yet I have comfort, if by any means
  I get a blessing from my father's hands."

                                _Idem._

Gerald sat with a troubled and moody air upon one of the stone benches of
the low hall, which, formerly intended, perhaps, as a sort of waiting-room
for the domestics of the establishment, was now used as the guard-room.
Although his thoughts were not upon the objects around him, he seemed to
be assiduously employed in cleaning and arranging his accoutrements--for
in spite of his birth and the fortune bequeathed to him by his uncle, he
was still left to fulfil the very humblest and most irksome duties of a
military life.

It had been part of the severe Colonel Lyle's system of education to inure
his adopted son to every toil and privation that might give health and
hardihood to mind as well as body; and upon the same principle, when he
had enrolled the boy as a volunteer in his own troop, he had compelled him
to serve as a common soldier. The colonel's strict and somewhat
overwrought sense of justice, as well as his peculiar political opinions,
had led him, moreover, to declare, that whatever the artificial position
of his adopted son in the supposed scale of society, it should be by merit
only that the young volunteer should rise from the ranks through the
various grades of military distinction; and upon his deathbed he had
urged his friend Seaman to pursue the same system, as long as Gerald
should feel disposed to follow under him the career of arms. Although
received, therefore, with certain reservations, upon an equality of
footing into the family of Colonel Seaman, and in some measure looked upon
as the accepted lover and future husband of the colonel's fair daughter,
young Gerald found himself condemned to go through all the inferior duties
and occupations of a common soldier.

Long accustomed, however, by his uncle's strict and unbending system of
training, to hardships little regarded by a roughly-nurtured youth of his
years, he never thought of murmuring against this harsh probation; and if,
now, he pursued his occupation with a troubled brow, it was far other
thoughts that caused that look of doubt and uneasiness.

The vaguest suspicions of his mistress's fickleness were sufficient to
excite the jealous temperament of a youth like Gerald, whose naturally
ardent and passionate disposition, whose hot Clynton blood had been only
subdued, not quenched, by the strict education of his severe, cold uncle
Lyle. But there were thoughts and feelings of a far more momentous and
harassing nature which now assailed him. The packet which he had
discovered among the bushes growing close upon the parapet wall, and which
had evidently been conveyed by stealth within the precincts of the
fortress, had borne the following superscription:--"For the Lord
Clynton--these."

It was Lord Clynton, then--it was his own father, who was a prisoner
within those walls.

Under sad auspices were his filial affections now first awakened. He was
aware of the danger that must attend his unhappy parent should he be
discovered to be, as was probably the case, one of those obstinate
malignants, as they were termed, who, after having made reluctant
submission when the fate of arms proved fatal to Charles I., had again
joined the royalist troops when the standard was raised for the young
prince, and fought in his cause, until the final overthrow at Worcester
forced them into flight from the country. It was in an attempt of this
kind that the prisoner had been taken. Gerald knew how almost certain
would be the old cavalier's condemnation under such circumstances. But
there were evidently hopes of saving him. Communications, it was clear,
had been established with the prisoner by persons outside the walls of the
fortress. It was known probably, that, by permission of the commander, the
prisoner was allowed to take the air for a certain time daily, in the
small court beneath the walls of the tower in which he was confined; and
this opportunity was watched, it would seem, for the conveyance of the
communication into the hand of the prisoner.

The conflicting struggle which had arisen in Gerald's mind, now gave place
to one overpowering feeling. He was determined at all risks, and at
whatever sacrifice to himself, to save his father. The breach of
trust--the dereliction from his honour--the probability of being obliged
to renounce the hand of the girl he loved, if detected in assisting in a
plot to favour the evasion of the old cavalier--all faded away before his
sight, and appeared as naught when compared with the hope of rescuing his
father from his cruel situation. What the nature of the scheme was which
Lord Clynton's friends seemed to be devising, in order to effect his
escape, or how far he could assist in such a project, he was unable to
divine. But the one thought was there, and mastered all--the thought that,
on opening the way of escape before his father, he should be able to say,
"Father, bless thy long-estranged son; it is he who saves thee." The rest
was doubt, confusion, and darkness.

Again and again did he turn over in his mind a thousand projects by which
to aid in the evasion of the prisoner. Again and again did he endeavour to
conjecture what might have been already purposed. All appeared to him to
be impracticable on the one hand, and a mystery on the other. Already the
consciousness of his secret induced him to look upon every one with
suspicious eyes, as an enemy or a spy upon his conduct. But most of all,
with that prejudice which pointed him out his supposed rival as the
object of peculiar hatred, did he look upon Mark Maywood as his enemy in
this matter--that Mark Maywood, whose violent party feelings, and fierce
Republican abhorrence of royalty and the adherents of the fallen royalty
of England, had already manifested themselves in such frequent outbreaks
since his arrival as a fresh recruit in the troop--that Mark Maywood, who,
in case of the evasion of one of the detested cavaliers, would be foremost
to hunt him to the death--that Mark Maywood, who, even now, kept watch
over his father's prison, and might, if he discovered the packet which was
intended for the old man's hand, thwart for ever the only means of the
unfortunate prisoner's escape. And as this thought came across him, Gerald
counted, in an agony of mind, all the possibilities by which the packet
might meet the sentinel's eye. With beating heart he reviewed, in
imagination, every leaf which hid it, every overhanging branch which might
add to its concealment. Bitterly did he reproach himself in his heart,
that he had thrown it back to its hiding-place so hastily and carelessly
upon hearing the approach of the guard. It seemed to him that if the
packet were discovered, it would have been he who had delivered up his
father, who had betrayed the secret on which depended his father's safety.
The thought, however, that the evening was closing in, somewhat consoled
him. Eternally long seemed the time spent in this mute agony of doubt. At
length the hour sounded for the relief of the guard, and Gerald's heart
beat painfully. Now he might learn whether Maywood had made the dreaded
discovery. He placed himself as if by chance in the passage through which
the guard had to pass with the report to the governor, and gazed with
scrutinizing look into the face of the young soldier as he went by, as if
he could read an answer to his dreaded doubts in those dark eyes. Mark
Maywood's face, to which, in spite of its beauty, the closely clipped dark
hair in Roundhead fashion, contrasting with the thick mustache, gave a
harsh and hard look, was stern, frowning, and expressive of that sullen
severity which was usually put on by the enthusiasts of the day. In such a
face Gerald could read nothing to dissipate his doubts, but every thing to
strengthen them. Anxiously did he await the return of the relieved
sentinel to the guard-room. But when Mark Maywood came at last, he
interchanged but a few sentences with the older and sterner of his
comrades, said not a word to Gerald, and, taking a well worn Bible in his
hand, flung himself on a bench, and soon seemed lost in serious devotion.
Once, in truth, Gerald fancied that he raised his eye to scan him, as if
with scorn, and then indeed he first remarked that Maywood twisted between
his fingers a rose. For a moment his aversion to the young soldier as an
enemy to be dreaded for his father's sake, was absorbed in his hatred to
him as a suspected rival. That rose? how had he obtained it? Could Mildred
be so base as to encourage the handsome young enthusiast, who, in spite of
his gloomy character, had evidently, to Gerald's jealous eye, shown
himself feelingly alive to the attraction of pretty Mistress Mildred's
charms? For a moment the feelings of jealousy so completely overpowered
all others, that he started forward to challenge the young man to account
for the possession of that rose. But again the thoughts of his father came
across him. Such a challenge must necessarily involve him in a quarrel--a
quarrel would be followed by an arrest for breach of discipline--a
confinement of some hours, during which, he, who might have aided his
father's escape, might perhaps have left him to perish; and swallowing
with an effort all the bitter feelings that almost choked him--he again
turned away and sought his hard couch.

Sleep he could not; or if he dozed, the conflicting feelings of doubt,
apprehension for his father, and burning jealousy, still flitted through
his mind like a troubled and tormenting nightmare; and the next day Gerald
arose with the earliest dawn, in a state of mind the uneasiness of which
seemed intolerable.

The morning broke--the day advanced--and as no new measures seemed to be
taken with respect to the prisoner, Gerald's mind began by degrees to be
relieved from its trembling apprehensions as to the discovery of the
packet; eagerly did he await the hour of his own guard, which, in the
course of the morning, was announced to him to be at noon, and as usual in
the small inner court. His heart beat with impatience to see whether the
secret communication still remained in its hiding-place, and to
facilitate, if possible, the means of its falling into his father's hands.

At length the hour arrived--Accompanied by the corporal and the other
soldiers of the guard, he was taken to relieve his predecessor on the
post, and after an interchange of the usual formalities, was left alone.
His first impulse was to examine the bush into which, on the previous
evening, had been flung the packet. After looking carefully around him,
and, in spite of the absorbing thought which now occupied his attention,
casting one glance, accompanied by a troubled sigh, upon Mildred's window,
he approached the wall. Before, however, he could put aside the leaves,
several heavy steps resounded through the vaulted passage, and Gerald drew
back from the wall with all the seeming unconcern he could assume.

The persons who entered the court were the commander, Lazarus Seaman
himself, and three soldiers. With a grave salute, and a few words to
Gerald, the colonel gave directions that the heavy gate of the prison
tower should be opened, and motioning to one of the soldiers who
accompanied him to remain behind, he entered the tower with the two
others, and was immediately heard mounting the winding stair leading to
the room above, in which the prisoner was confined.

Again did Gerald's heart beat thick with apprehension. What could be the
purpose of this visit of the governor to his prisoner? Had a report of the
previous evening been the cause of this fresh examination? Did it result
from the discovery of the secret packet? Gerald trembled--a moment's
search among those bushes would convince him of the reality or vanity of
his agonizing fears, and yet he did not dare to stir a step to solve his
doubts. The eye of the other soldier was upon him. He listened with
straining ears to catch the faintest sound that came from the tower, as if
it had been possible for him to hear what passed in the chamber of the
prisoner; striving, at the same time, to master all expression of his
feelings, lest his secret should be read upon his brow by the very anxiety
to conceal it. Useless effort; for the soldier who remained behind paid
little heed to him, and would have been totally unable to comprehend his
motives for uneasiness, had even its expression been visible.

At length the steps of the governor and his party were heard descending
the stairs of the tower. As they emerged into the court, Gerald started
with a fresh burst of uncontrollable agitation. The old cavalier followed
the Roundhead colonel. With a few more words to signify to his prisoner
that the time allotted to him to take the air in that court was but short,
Lazarus Seaman again retired.

The soldier, already mentioned, remained behind as a sort of extra
sentinel, or watch, to prevent all possibility of escape, during the time
the prisoner was permitted to promenade the open space.

Gerald was in the presence of his father!

With what overpowering emotion did he now long to throw himself into those
arms, and be pressed to his father's heart! And yet the utmost caution was
necessary. A word might deprive him of all power to assist the prisoner in
his projected escape. It was with the utmost difficulty that he restrained
his feelings, and watched the noble form of the old cavalier as he paced
slowly and sadly up and down the court.

That, then, was his father!

The dark mourning habit which Lord Clynton wore in imitation of many of
the Royalist party, after the execution of their unfortunate master,
although soiled and torn, gave him an air of dignity in spite of its look
of sadness; and the long grizzled beard, which had evidently remained
untrimmed, having been left probably to grow uncultured as a sign of
sorrow, bestowed upon him an imposing expression, in spite of its
neglected state.

Although cast down and worn out by disappointment and vexation, there was
evidently a feverish and testy impatience in the old man's manner, which
was perhaps a symptom of the family temperament; and Gerald observed that
from time to time he looked sharply at both the sentinels, and then cast a
furtive glance at the clump of bushes near the wall. The packet then was
supposed by the prisoner to be still there; but yet uneasiness and doubt
were visible in his hasty looks. In reflecting upon the position of the
barred window of the prisoner's chamber, Gerald remembered that its tenant
might have witnessed the approach of the supposed fisherman, and divined
his motive, without being able to see what had passed near the bushes
themselves.

The old man was consequently still doubtful as to the safety of the
communication which was to be the key to his escape, and even more anxious
as to the means by which he might reach it. Gerald watched with
palpitating heart, how, in his promenade, the old cavalier approached
nearer and nearer, as if unconsciously, the parapet wall. Had he been
alone, all, he said to himself, would have been well; but there was
another witness to observe the prisoner's actions. Gerald in his turn also
scrutinized the comrade of his watch, and turned over in his mind schemes
to elude his vigilance.

The man employed upon the extra duty of this watch was well known to him
by sight and reputation. He was said to have been originally of Dutch
extraction; and certainly there was much in his heavy features, sleepy
eyes, and phlegmatic temperament, which seemed to attest the truth of such
a supposition--a supposition which was still more borne out by the report
that he owned the euphonious appellation of Gideon Van Guse. This,
however, was but vague hearsay; for, in imitation of the fantastic habit
of some of the fanatics of the time, Gideon had adopted a pious cognomen,
the softness of which he perhaps fancied to accord well with his own
placable and quiet disposition. He went by the name of Godlamb Gideon,
except upon those occasions when some of the more wicked of his comrades
took advantage of certain drowsy and somniferous points in his indolent
character, to bestow upon him the nickname of Go-to-bed Godlamb.

As Gerald cast his scrutinizing look upon him, Master Go-to-bed Godlamb
was standing planted against a wall, in the full warmth of an autumnal
sun, perched upon one leg, according to a habit which he seemed to have
inherited, by a sort of instinct, from the cranes of the country of his
fathers, and which he was generally observed to adopt when in a more than
usually drowsy disposition. His other leg was twisted round its brother,
in somewhat incomprehensible fashion. But in spite of this supposed
indication of drowsiness, Gideon's light eyes stared out from under his
preposterously high steeple hat with unusual wakefulness and rotundity,
and gave to his not very expressive physiognomy the appearance of that of
an owl.

Gerald thanked the good fortune that had sent him, at such a moment, a
comrade of so drowsy and phlegmatic a nature. But it was in vain that he
watched for some further indications of the usual results of Go-to-bed
Godlamb's pious meditations. The eyes _would_ still preserve a most
provoking rotundity; nay, more, they appeared determined, out of the most
obstinate spirit of opposition, to assume at that moment a liveliness they
never had been known to assume before, since they had opened on the light
of day.

The old cavalier still paced the court, but nearer to the bushes than
before. Impatient, also, at the loss of the precious moments as they
hurried by, Gerald approached his comrade.

"You seem weary, friend," he said.

"Yea, verily," answered Godlamb Gideon through his nose. "My soul is weary
with long watching; but if the flesh be weak, the spirit is still strong."

"Give way, comrade, give way," insinuated Gerald; "I will keep watch for
both, and none shall be the wiser."

"Nay, but the labourer is worthy of his hire," snorted Gideon with much
unction. "Odds pittikins, man," he blurted out immediately afterwards, in
another and more natural tone, "would you have me in arrest again for
sleeping on my post? That is to say," continued the Puritan soldier,
casting up his eyes, and again resuming his canting whine, "verily and of
a truth the hand of the scourger has been heavy upon me; the unjust have
prevailed against me; but I will watch, that I fall not again into their
toils."

Gerald turned away with impatient vexation. At that moment the old
cavalier, who had taken advantage of the few words passing between the two
sentinels, to approach the bushes unobserved, was bending down to possess
himself of the packet. As Gerald turned he again drew back, his purpose
unfulfilled.

Standing with his back to the other sentinel, Gerald now made a sign to
the old man, with his finger placed upon his lips, to say not a word, but
to repose his confidence in him. The prisoner started with surprise, and
looked at the young soldier with a mixture of hope and doubt. Before
making any further demonstration, Gerald again turned in his walk, to
assure himself that Gideon observed nothing of this interchange of looks
with the prisoner, and then again turning his back to him, placed his hand
upon his heart with a look of fervour and truth, which would have been
alone sufficient to inspire confidence in the old cavalier, and passing as
near him as he could with prudence, murmured in a low tone, "Trust to me!"
The old man again started; but there was more of pleasurable surprise, and
less of doubt, in his expression. Gerald's heart beat wildly, as his
father's eye beamed upon him for the first time with kindly and grateful
feeling.

The young soldier again looked at his comrade. Gideon's eyes were now
beginning to close, in the excess of his fervour over the pious page.
Walking quietly to the protecting bushes, Gerald bent over the parapet as
if to look into the stream, and plunging his arm at the same time into the
leaves, felt for the packet. After a moment's fear and doubt, he touched
it--he drew it forth. By a movement of his head, he saw the old man
watching him with increasing agitation; but, giving him another look to
re-assure him, Gerald rose from his posture, and was about to conceal the
packet in his bandoleer, when it slipped from his fingers and fell to the
ground. At the noise of the fall, Gideon's eyes again opened, and were
lifted up with owl-like sagacity of expression. Gerald's foot was already
upon the packet. Neither he nor the old cavalier dared to interchange a
look. Gideon's eyes said, as plainly as eyes could speak, that they were
not asleep, and had not _been_ asleep, and never intended to go to
sleep--in fact, were wonderfully wakeful. Aware that he could not remain
motionless upon the spot where he stood, under the full stare of Gideon's
eyes, Gerald let fall his musket, as if by accident, and then kneeling
with his back to his fellow-sentinel, contrived adroitly to raise the
packet at the same time with his musket, and to conceal it upon his
person. The prisoner was following his movements with anxious eagerness.

Possessed of the precious document, Gerald now felt the impossibility of
giving it into his father's hands, as long as the eyes of Godlamb Gideon
were upon them. There appeared to him to be but one practicable manner of
conveying the desired intelligence contained within it to the
prisoner--namely, by examining himself the contents, in such a manner as
not to excite the suspicions of his comrade, and then communicating them
in low and broken sentences to his father.

Placed in such a position as not to be observed by Gideon, he took the
packet from his bosom, and making the movement of breaking the fastening,
looked imploringly at the old cavalier. The old man comprehended the
glance, hesitated for a moment with a look of doubt, and then, clearing
his brow with an expression of resolution, as if there were no other
means, nodded his head stealthily to the young soldier, and moving to one
of the stone benches fixed against the walls of the court, the furthest
removed from the spot where Gideon stood, flung himself down upon it, and
with his face buried between his hands, seemed absorbed in thought.

From one of the capacious pockets of his full hose, Gerald now produced a
book--it was the Bible; for it was the fashion of the times among the
Puritanical party to carry the holy book about the person. With a short
humble prayer that he might not be thought to desecrate the sacred volume
by applying it to a purpose of concealment for his father's sake, he
placed upon its open pages the letter, which formed the only contents of
the packet, after having first torn away and concealed, unobserved, the
envelope, and then resumed his monotonous pacing up and down the court.

Gideon observed his comrade's seeming devotion, and appearing determined
to outrival him in excess of zeal, applied himself more sedulously than
ever to his book.

"Your friends are on the alert--a lugger lies off the coast ready for your
escape," said Gerald in a low tone to the old cavalier, as he passed as
near to him in his walk as discretion would permit.

Such was the sense of the commencement of the communication. The old man
made a gentle inclination of his head, to show that he understood him,
without raising it from between his hands. The young soldier looked at
Gideon; Gideon had shifted his legs, and perched himself in an attitude
bearing a more direct resemblance to that of a reposing crane than ever.
Gerald again cast his eyes upon his open book--

"All is prepared for to-night," he continued to mutter, as he again slowly
passed the seat of the prisoner. "Have the bars of your window been cut by
the file already conveyed to you?"

The old man again bowed his head with an affirmative movement.

As Gerald turned once more, Go-to-bed Godlamb was nodding his head over
his book, as if in very enthusiastic approval of its contents, but
unfortunately with so much energy--that he jerked it up again into an
upright posture--and immediately began staring straight before him with
great vehemence.

Gerald bit his lips with vexation, and continued his walk. His eyes were
seemingly employed upon the page before him--

"A boat will be brought without noise under the walls at twelve this
night," continued the anxious son, repassing his father, where he sat.
"You must descend from your window by your bed-clothes."

Gerald resumed his walk. Gideon was winking and blinking with much
energy--

"The only difficulty is to elude the vigilance of the sentinel who shall
have the _midnight watch_"--muttered Gerald, as he again came back past
the prisoner.

The old man raised his head, and looked at him anxiously.

Gideon was again nodding, but with a lesser degree of enthusiasm, as
Gerald turned himself that way. The young man quickened his step, and was
soon once more by his father's side--

"Every means that lie in _my_ power shall be employed to favour your
escape," whispered Gerald, with much emotion.

The prisoner gave him an enquiring glance, as if to ask his
meaning--Gerald looked round--Godlamb was now snoring, after the fashion
of a well-known farm-yard animal--not the one whose name he bore.

"God grant," continued the young man in much agitation, "that the lot fall
to me to be the sentry on that watch--then all were well!"

"And who are you, young man," said the cavalier, "who thus interest
yourself so warmly in my fate?"

Gerald could no longer command his feelings. He flung himself at the old
man's feet.

"Father!" he exclaimed in smothered accents, "give me thy blessing."

"Your father! I!" cried the old cavalier; "you my son! you Gerald Clynton!
no--no--Gerald Lyle, I should have said. Tell me not so."

"I am your son Gerald--Gerald Clynton--Oh, call me by that name!"
exclaimed the kneeling young man in a choked voice; for the tears were
starting into his eyes.

"Thou art no son of mine. I know thee not! Leave me!" said Lord Clynton,
springing from his seat in bitter anger.

Go-to-bed Godlamb stirred uneasily upon his post. Gerald rose quickly
from his knees, trembling with agitation; for in spite of the violence of
his emotion, he had sufficient presence of mind to look cautiously round
at his sleeping comrade. Gideon's eyes were still closed over his book, in
that profound mystery of devotion which was one of his most remarkable
traits.

"My father!" cried Gerald imploringly to the old man, who now stood
looking towards him with a harsh and stubborn expression of countenance,
although the workings of emotion were faintly perceptible in the
lineaments of his face.

Lord Clynton waved him impatiently away, and turned aside his head.

"Oh, repulse me not, my father!" cried Gerald with imploring looks. "Why
am I still the proscribed son of your affections? What have I done, to be
thus driven from your arms? Am I still--though innocent of all wrong--to
pay so cruel a penalty for my unhappy birth?"

"Allude not to your mother!" exclaimed the old man passionately. "Defile
not her memory even by a thought, base boy! Were she living still, she
also would refuse to acknowledge her degenerate son."

"Great God! what have I done to merit this?" said the unhappy son,
forgetting, in the agitation of his mind, the strict principles of the
Puritanical party, which forbade as sinful this adjuration of the
Deity--"I thought to save you, my father, from your cruel situation--I
thought to aid your flight."

"Say rather," said the excited cavalier, giving way to his hot
unreasonable temper, "to trample on the prisoner--to scoff at him, and
triumph over him--to deliver him up to his enemies. What have I else to
expect from the degenerate rebel to the religion of his fathers, his
country, and his king. Go, boy--go, play the patriot at thy ease--reverse
the tale of the Roman Brutus--and denounce thy father to the block!"

"Unjust! unkind!" said the young man, struggling with his tears, which now
began to give place to feelings of indignation in him also. "But you have
ever been so. You have driven me, an innocent babe, from your affections
and your sight; and when now, first after long years, I beg a father's
blessing--stretch forth my arm to earn a father's thanks--you spurn me
from your feet, and heap unmerited obloquy upon my head."

"Unmerited!" echoed Lord Clynton. "Do you forget your disobedience? or do
the convenient tenets of your hypocritical party permit you to erase the
fifth commandment from the decalogue, and teach you that the honouring of
your father is an idle observance, not to be weighed in the balance
against the cause of the God of Israel and his people--so goes the
phrase--does it not?"

"I understand you not," said Gerald. "In what have I refused to honour my
father? whose face I see for the first time to-day--at least since I have
thought and memory."

"In what?" exclaimed his father, with a bitter laugh, "said I not so?
Honour and dishonour are in your new-fangled vocabulary but vain words,
that you understand no longer. In what? If I, thy father--since to my
shame I must be so--if I have been led by my overwhelming grief for that
angel, who has long been at rest, to treat thee with wrong in thy
childhood, my conscience has no longer a reproach to offer me; for my son
has in return treated me with the bitterest scorn, and refused to come to
those loving arms, which at last opened to receive him. In what? I have
appealed to thee with the strongest appeal of a father's heart to join me
in the true and joint cause of murdered royalty, and I find thee even now
before me, with arms in thy hands, to aid the sacrilegious traitors to
their king--may be to turn them with parricidal arm against thy father."

"Again I understand you not," repeated Gerald, gazing wistfully in his
face. "Oh speak, explain--my father--this is a mystery to me!"

"Not understand me!" echoed Lord Clynton with scorn--"convenient phrase!
convenient memory! You understood not perhaps those letters I addressed
you, those letters in which I implored you to forget the past, and offered
you a loving welcome to my heart. But you could dictate a letter to your
uncle, in which you could upbraid me for my past unkindness, and refuse
to return. You understood not my urgent appeal to you to join the cause of
truth and loyalty, and fight by your father's side. But you could dictate
a second answer, worded with cold contempt, in which you could assert your
rebellious right--degenerate boy!--to follow those principles you dared to
my face to qualify as those of justice and religion."

"Letters!" repeated Gerald, astounded. "An appeal! I know of none--until
my uncle's death I scarcely was aware I had a father to whom I owed a
duty--I never heard that he followed another cause, but that which I was
taught to believe the right."

"No letters! No appeal!" said his father, half in scornful mistrust, half
in doubt.

"None--I protest to you, my father," replied the agitated youth. "Now--but
only now--can I construe rightly the words my uncle uttered on his
deathbed, which spoke of wrong he had done me and you."

"Can I believe all this?" said the passionate old cavalier, now evidently
wavering in his wrath.

"As God lives," said Gerald; "that God whom I perhaps offend, that I thus
call upon his name--that God who has said, 'Swear not at all.'" The old
cavalier shrugged his shoulders at this evidence of the Puritanical
education of his son. "I swear to you, that I know nothing of those
matters."

Lord Clynton was evidently moved, although the rebellious spirit within
still resisted the more affectionate promptings of his heart--

"Father, prove me," cried Gerald imploringly. "Let me live henceforth to
serve you--let me die for you, if needs must be--let me save you from this
prison--let me earn thy blessing--that blessing, which is my dearest
treasure upon earth."

Gerald again bent down at the old man's feet. Lord Clynton still struggled
with his feelings. There was still a contest in his heart between
long-cherished anger, and newly-awakened confidence. Before either could
again speak, the trampling of feet was once more heard along the vaulted
passage. The agitated son rose quickly to his feet, and strove to repress
his emotion. His father gave him one look; and that look he fondly
construed into a look of kindness. In another moment the colonel entered
the court, followed by two soldiers.

Gideon's poised leg fell to the ground; his eyes opened and stared out
wonderfully. That troubled stare told, as if the eyes had had a tongue,
that Go-to-bed Godlamb had been sleeping soundly on his post. Fortunately
for the somnolent soldier, the sharp looks of Lazarus Seaman were not bent
in his direction.

With a formal bow to his prisoner, Colonel Seaman informed him that the
time allotted to him for exercise in the open air was past. With another
formal inclination of the head, the old cavalier bowed to his jailer, and
turned to mount the tower stair. He exchanged not another look with his
son: but as he turned away, Gerald tried to read in his face a milder
feeling.

"I will save him, or will die!" muttered Gerald to himself, as the party
disappeared under the tower gateway. "I will force him to grant me that
blessing he has refused me--I will earn it well;" and he determined in his
mind that, come what might, he would find means to be appointed to the
midnight watch.


CHAPTER III.

                "Trifles light as air
  Are, to the jealous, confirmation strong,
  As proofs of holy writ."

                                _Othello._

              "Honest soldier,
  Who hath relieved you?--
        Bernardo hath my place."

                                _Hamlet._

Left alone upon his post in the inner court, Gerald resolved in his mind
what could best be done for his father. Every thing was already in
preparation for the prisoner's escape, but the success or failure of the
whole enterprise turned solely upon the connivance or opposition of the
sentinel upon duty at the hour when the escape was to be effected. Gerald
did not doubt, however, that should he himself not have the good fortune
to be chosen for the midnight watch, he would not find much difficulty in
persuading the comrade to whom it should fall, to exchange it with him for
a more commodious hour. He felt that there could be none who would not
gladly accept his offer, and thus be left to enjoy their night's rest,
instead of enduring the fatigues of a tedious night watch. Of his own
safety, of the dishonour, the punishment that awaited him for abetting in
the escape of a prisoner of such importance, he thought not a moment. All
such considerations were lost in his hopes of rescuing his father. But
still, in the vague uncertainty that hung over the events of that
important night, in the impatience of his mind to arrive quickly at that
awful hour--that hour which was to decide so much joy or misery for
him--Gerald scarcely knew how to conceal his feverish agitation. He was
aware, however, how necessary it was to avoid betraying any feelings that
might excite the least suspicion; and he determined to appear as cold and
as unconcerned as possible.

There was another also, although at this moment a secondary torment, which
added to his trouble of mind. He was unable to disengage his thoughts
entirely from those feelings of bitter and scorching jealousy, which
various little indications of coquetry, displayed by the evidently
coquettish little Puritan damsel, and certain marks of desire to seek her
presence, and parade under her window, evinced by the hated Maywood, had
planted in his heart--and in a jealous and impatient temperament like
Gerald's, such seed, once sown, quickly grew up with rank luxuriance, and
spread on every side, imbibing sustenance from every element that
approached it, living, in want of better nourishment, upon the very air
itself. Perhaps the sight of Mistress Mildred for a moment at her window,
a passing word, or merely a kind smile, might have poured balm upon the
ulcer of jealousy, soothed the pain and closed the wound--at least for the
time. But during his long watch Gerald looked at that well-known window in
vain. There was not a symptom of the fair girl's presence in her chamber,
and Gerald's fertile imagination--the true imagination of the jealous
lover--suggested to him a thousand doubts and fears of Mildred's truth,
ingeniously invented self-tortures, weapons forged to be turned against
himself--all mere vague conjectures, but assuming in his eyes all the
solidity and reality of truth. If she were not in her chamber, he argued,
where could she be? Perhaps with her father: and her father was dictating
a despatch to that Mark Maywood, who served him sometimes as secretary;
and Mildred was gazing on him with pleasure; and he was raising his eyes
from time to time to hers--or perhaps she was in the other gardens or
alleys about the house, and that Maywood was following her at a distance,
not unobserved; or perhaps she passed close by him, and he muttered words
of admiration or even of love, and she then listened with complacency; or
perhaps the handsome young recruit whispered in her ear to ask her when he
could see her pretty face again; and she smiled on him and said, that when
his watch should be beneath her window she would come. Madness! Gerald
would pursue his vision no further. But although the clouds of the vision
rolled away, they left a dark chilling mist of suspicion upon his mind
that he could not, perhaps did not strive to, shake off.

Relieved from his guard, Gerald returned to the guard-room--his mind in
that agony of suspense and dread respecting his father, the disquietudes
of which his jealous doubts scarcely diverted for a moment, and only
rendered more hard to bear. On his way he again passed the detested
Maywood. As he approached he evidently saw the young soldier crumple in
his hand a paper he was reading, and hide it hastily about him. This was
no fancy, he repeated to himself; this was reality. He had seen the look
of confusion and trouble upon Maywood's face, the haste with which he hid
that paper at his approach. There was no longer any doubt. His hated
rival was in correspondence already with his faithless mistress; and the
contents of that written paper, what could they be, if not an acquiescence
in some demand, a rendezvous granted, a meeting at her window? With rage
in his heart, Gerald again longed to spring upon his rival and tear that
paper from his bosom. But again prudence prevailed over passion. He felt
that the life of his father depended upon his caution--his father--his
father, whom he alone perhaps could save, whose blessing was to be his
recompense. Swearing to tear for ever from his heart the vain, coquettish,
heartless girl upon whom his affections had been so ill disposed--for
thus, in his passion, he qualified his lady-love--he crushed down within
him the violence of his angry feelings, and determined to defer his
revenge, defer it only, until those few hours should be passed, those
hours which should witness his father's escape and ensure his father's
safety--and then die willingly, if such should chance to be his fate, in
securing his vengeance. Strange mixture of noble feelings and base
passions! Where were now the stern, strictly religious principles of his
uncle and instructor? The fierce nature of his hot blood prevailed for the
time over the better culture of his education.

At length the hour arrived when the soldiers were mustered in the outer
court, before the front of the mansion, and the names of those called over
who were appointed to the different watches of the night. How anxiously
and eagerly did Gerald's heart beat as the midnight watch in the
tower-court was named! Was it by a gracious and happy chance upon himself
that the lot would fall? The name was pronounced. It was _not_ his own.
The sentinel appointed to this post, the man upon whom depended the
destiny of his father, was another. But still, in spite of the first pang
of disappointment--for disappointment would arise within him, although the
chances had been so greatly against him--hope again revived in his heart.
The sentinel whose post he coveted, whom he had to seduce into an
exchange, whose watch he was to contrive to take from him as a favour, was
one of the most easy of the whole troop to deal with, the lazy,
phlegmatic, somnolent Godlamb Gideon, he whose very nickname was an augury
and a warrant of success, the wight yclept Go-to-bed Godlamb.

After waiting till the assembled soldiers had dispersed, and a proper time
had elapsed before seeking Gideon, Gerald again returned to the outer
court before the house, where he knew it was the habit of the indolent
soldier to bask and doze upon a certain sheltered bench, in the last rays
of the setting sun, absorbed, he himself would declare, in his devotions.
And there, in truth, he found the man he sought. But, confusion! there was
another by his side, and that other was the man who, among all, he would
have the most avoided. It was Mark Maywood. He stood by the side of
Gideon's reclining form, and was speaking with much earnestness to the
phlegmatic soldier, whose widely-opened eyes seemed to express more
animation than of wont. No time, however, was to be lost. The night was
approaching, and it was necessary to come at once to an arrangement with
the allotted sentinel of the midnight watch.

Overcoming his repugnance, and fully determined to act with caution,
Gerald assumed an air of unconcern, and sauntered to the spot where sat
Godlamb Gideon. After greeting sulkily the handsome young recruit, to whom
Gerald's presence seemed in nowise pleasing, he commenced with affected
indifference his attack upon the heavy soldier.

"You are ever zealous, friend, in the good work," he said.

"Yea, and of a truth these crumbs of comfort have a blessed and pleasant
savour in my nostrils," replied Godlamb Gideon, pressing his book between
his hands, turning up the whites of his eyes, and snuffing through his
nose, as though that member were stuffed up by the pleasant savour of
which he spoke.

"But have a care that your zeal be not overmuch," continued Gerald, "and
that you faint not by the way from the heaviness of your burden. Methinks
your cheek is already pale from exceeding watching and prayer."

"Verily I have fought the good fight, and I have run the good race, and
peradventure the flesh faileth me," snorted the Puritan soldier.

"Your allotted post, then, falls heavy upon you" said Gerald, with an air
of kind concern, "for you have the midnight watch, methinks. Indeed, I
pity you, my good friend. Hear me. I will perform the duties of your part,
and you shall rest this night from your labours; my mind is troubled, and
I heed not the watching through the night. You will rise from your couch
ready for new outpourings of spiritual thought, and refreshed"----

"As a giant refreshed with wine," interrupted Gideon with another snort:
"yea, and so shall it be." Gerald's heart beat at what he considered an
acceptance of his proposal; but Godlamb Gideon continued--"Thou art kind,
and I thank thee no less that I refuse thy offer. Verily it would seem to
be a gracious and an especial vouchsafing in my favour. For, behold,
another hath released me from my task."

"Another!" cried Gerald with a tone of consternation that overcame his
caution.

"Yea, this good youth hath proffered to relieve me of my heavy burden."
Gideon pointed to Mark Maywood.

Gerald started with angry surprise. Maywood bit his lip, and turned his
head aside.

"He has taken thy post!" said Gerald choking with rage.

Gideon nodded his heavy head.

The blood boiled in Gerald's veins and rushed into his cheek. He felt for
a moment nearly suffocated with the violence of his passion. Since the
young recruit had been anxious to obtain Gideon's weary post, there could
be no doubt what was his purpose. There, and in the silence of the night,
he would be able, under Mildred's window, to pour into her ear those words
of love which he dared not openly profess. It was true, then, that Mildred
had bid him try to obtain the post of sentinel in the inner court. That
was their hour of rendezvous. Furious jealousy, joined to rage at losing
that post, on which his father's whole fate depended, contributed to
torture his mind. Not only would his detested rival find a favourable
opportunity of holding converse with that faithless girl, but he would be
there to prevent his father's escape--he, of all others--he, that fierce
and violent Republican, that determined enemy of all adherents to the
royal cause. If the vision of Maywood interchanging soft words with
Mildred at her window tormented the unhappy lover, far more agonizing were
the feelings that represented to him the stern young sentinel raising his
musket upon his shoulder to arrest the escape of the old man--shooting
him, perhaps, in his descent from the tower-window--bringing him bleeding
to the earth. Horror! Convulsed with these accumulated feelings, he stood
for a time speechless, struggling with his passions. When he looked again
upon Maywood's face, that hated individual's eyes were bent on him with a
stern but enquiring glance, and in evident discomposure. This very look
was sufficient to confirm all the young lover's suspicions, and it was
with the greatest difficulty that he could control his passion. He
mastered himself, however, sufficiently to meet the glance of Maywood
without giving vent to his wrath, and, turning to Gideon, he called him
aside.

The indolent soldier evidently rose unwillingly, but he followed Gerald to
a little distance, grumbling something about an "interruption to the
inward outpourings of the spirit."

"Hark ye, Master Gideon," said Gerald, when they had got to some distance
from Mark, "you must not do me wrong in this. I own that my request is not
wholly disinterested. You know that I love our colonel's daughter, that I
am affianced to her. Her chamber looks into that court, and at
midnight"----

"Now, out on thee, Master Lyle," drawled Godlamb, with an hypocritical
upturning of his eyes. "Wouldst thou make my watch a pretext for ungodly
chambering and profane love passages?"

"How now, fellow!" exclaimed the young man in wrath. "What mean you by
this insolence?" and he grasped Gideon's collar with violence. But
immediately afterwards repenting of his excitement, he continued with a
calm tone although still in some irritation, "This is mere fooling,
Gideon. I know you as you are--I know you to be a thorough hypocrite."

"Nay, but of a truth"--exclaimed the pacific Godlamb very sulkily.

"Hear me," interrupted Gerald. "It is not as you think--that Maywood loves
her too. He also would keep the watch at midnight, in the hope to see her
at the window--by chance, man, by chance--no otherwise; but I would hinder
this, and"----

"Nay, but Master Maywood hath my word," again began Gideon.

"Nay, but Master Gideon slept whilom upon his post," continued Gerald,
mimicking him. "And if Master Gideon be reported to his colonel, Master
Gideon will have a week's arrest upon bread and water; but Master Gideon
may do what he listeth."

"For the love of heaven," exclaimed Gideon, forgetting his Puritanical
mask in his alarm; "you would not report me, comrade? S'wounds, you would
not serve a poor fellow so scurvy a trick?"

"Upon one condition, then," replied Gerald. "Retract your word to that
man; give me up your post at midnight; and I will be as silent as the
grave."

"Lord have mercy upon us! Thou art as the cruel taskmasters of the
children of Israel; and thy heart is hardened even as was Pharaoh's,"
whined Godlamb, again resuming his canting tone. "But be it even as thou
wilt."

Gerald triumphed; the midnight watch was his; and with it his father's
safety and his father's blessing.

They returned to the spot where Maywood still stood observing them, Gideon
following in the rear, muttering something about "the hand of the ungodly
being upon him."

"Speak, Gideon," said Gerald as they approached, "and thank your comrade
here for his kindly proffered barter of hours; since it is I who take your
post, you will not need his well-meant and disinterested civilities."

There was something of a sneer on Gerald's lip as he pronounced these
words, which probably augmented the feelings of anger that now evidently
flushed the usually cold face of Maywood and darkened his brow; for the
latter appeared to tremble with suppressed passion as he advanced upon his
rival with the words--

"How now, you, Master what's-your-name? What warrants you to interfere
thus ill advisedly in my concerns? If this man has given up to me, at the
midnight hour, the watch over that offshoot of a rotten and corrupted stem
of tyranny, is it for you to stand between me and my purpose?"

"Your purpose is doubtless of the best, and truest, and worthiest,"
replied Gerald, with another flickering sneer upon his lip. "But this
watch is mine now, by Master Gideon's consent, and these hours of the
night I intend to devote to the watching of those whose security may need
my care."

Mark Maywood bit his lip, and clenched his hands together in a vain effort
to suppress his violent irritation.

"Hoity toity! Here's a coil about an old inveterate Amalekite!" said
Gideon, in a mixture of his natural and assumed phraseology, prudently
withdrawing at the same time to some distance from the angry young men, as
if afraid lest an appeal to himself should involve him in the quarrel.

"Hark ye, sirrah," cried Maywood angrily, "I am not about to resign the
right this man has yielded to me at the caprice of the first foolish
fellow who chooses to cross my path, without making him repent his
uncalled-for interference. What is it to me, this post? but browbeaten by
a bullying boy, I never will be."

"Nor will I yield to a base and treacherous hypocrite like thee, Mark
Maywood," exclaimed his angry antagonist.

The hands of both the young men were instantly upon their rapiers.

"By the mass, what are ye about?" exclaimed Gideon in alarm. "Trifle not
with the carnal weapon! Would ye have us all in arrest before we can look
about us? Forbear, men of wrath!"

But the phlegmatic Gideon kept at a prudent distance.

At these words other considerations appeared suddenly to strike both the
young men. In spite of their passion, both paused irresolute.

Gerald reflected that were he involved in a quarrel he would necessarily
be prevented in any case, whether victorious over his adversary and then
consigned to prison, or himself disabled, from forwarding his father's
escape. His rival appeared actuated also by prudential motives, perhaps by
the conscientious scruples of the party to which he belonged, perhaps by
the thought of Mildred.

"This is truly ruffling and bawling like tavern hunters and drunkards,"
stammered Gerald, as if seeking an excuse for withdrawing from the fray.
"But the time will come, Mark Maywood, when you shall not escape me."

"So be it, comrade," replied the other, again sheathing his half-drawn
rapier. "I know you not; and can but barely divine your cause of enmity.
But I will not fail you at the night-time. Till then let this suffice. The
midnight watch is mine--mine by the first assent of yonder soldier to my
proposal of exchange."

"No! Mine," again urged Gerald, "mine by his retractation of his prior
consent, if such he gave."

"Come hither, comrade," cried Maywood to Gideon, who was suddenly absorbed
once more in his devotions.

"Hear ye, Master Godlamb," said the other. But Go-to-bed Godlamb stirred
not. He shrank from the appeal to himself.

"It is to me your post has been consigned, is it not so?" enquired the
one.

"It is I who take it off your hands--speak," cried Gerald. "Remember,
Gideon," he added with upraised finger.

"Speak, who is it?" said both at once. Gideon shuffled with his feet, and
looked heavier and more embarrassed than ever; but as he caught sight of
the warning finger, he absolutely shut his eyes in utter despair, and
pointing at Gerald, with the words, "Verily, and of a truth, thou art the
man," he hastened away as fast as his indolent nature would permit,
"before he should fall into the toils of the angry Philistines," as he
expressed it.

Gerald could not suppress a look of triumph. Whatever were Mark Maywood's
feelings, he only expressed them by a dark scowl of disappointment, and
then turned away without another word.


CHAPTER IV.

  "'What hour now?'
          'I think it lacks of twelve,'
  'No, it is struck--'
          'Indeed I heard it not.'"

                                _Hamlet._

The night had closed in--that night of so vital importance to his father's
destiny--and Gerald sat alone in a small lower room, his heart beating
high with hope, that he should contribute to his father's rescue.

He was lost in thought, when a firm hand laid on his shoulder roused him
from his abstracted state. He turned his head, and saw, to his surprise,
Mark Maywood by his side. The young man wore a calmer, clearer brow,
although his usual cold, stern, almost determined expression still
pervaded it.

"Comrade," said Maywood with much appearance of frankness in his manner,
"I have spoken roughly without cause; I crave your pardon."

Gerald heard this unexpected address with great astonishment; and, before
he answered, paused in much embarrassment.

"Let us be frank," continued Mark. "Had we been so before, much ill will
and evil blood might have been spared. I have only divined your feelings
from my own. You have not seen the pretty daughter of our colonel with
admiration. Nor have I."

Gerald started with again rising wrath, but his rival interrupted him.

"Bear with me for a while," he continued, "and hear me out. You have been
here long. I am but a new-comer. You have the prior claim. Perhaps she
returns your love. Had I known of this before--and as it is I have but
guessed it, on witnessing your anxiety to hold this watch in the court,
beneath her window--I had withdrawn, as is my duty. And now, comrade, I
return to offer you the sacrifice of my newborn admiration, and at the
same time my friendship."

"What you say seems fair and straightforward, Master Maywood," said
Gerald, overcome by the frank manner of the young soldier, "and I thank
you for this generosity and truth. My suspicions, then, did not deceive
me? You love her, and you sought to see her to-night?"

"I did," said Maywood.

"And she, did she return your love? Did she herself accede to this
meeting?"

Mark shook his head with a faint, doubtful smile, but gave no answer.
Gerald's brow again grew gloomy, and he sank his head between his hands.

"Come! come! no more of this," pursued the other young soldier, with a
cordiality of manner which Gerald had never before witnessed in his dark,
stern aspect. "Let all be forgiven and forgotten. Come, pledge me in this
one cup. These drinkings of toasts, as it is called, these pledgings over
liquor are considered unseemly, and even ungodly by many; I know it well,
but you cannot refuse to drink one cup with me, as earnest of our kindly
feeling for the future."

For the first time Gerald now observed that Maywood bore under his arm a
flagon of ale, and held in his left hand two cups of horn.

"I reject not your kindly feeling," answered Gerald; "but I am not wont to
drink,"--and he repelled the cup which Maywood now filled for him.

"Nay! nay!" said Mark, sitting down by the table on which Gerald leant.
"You wrong me by refusing this first offer of reconciliation. Come,
comrade, this one."

Gerald took the cup of ale unwillingly, and only raised it to his lips.
But Maywood shook his head at him--and Gerald, in compliance with his
newly made friend's request, at last swallowed the contents.

"I am not used to these strong drinks," said Gerald, setting down the horn
with evident distaste. "I like them not; but I have done this to show my
willingness to meet you on friendly ground."

Maywood raised, in turn, his cup, but at the same moment calling to a dog
that had followed him into the room, he said, "Down, Roger, down," and
stooped to repulse it; immediately afterwards he raised the horn, and
seemed to drain the ale to the last drop.

"One more, and then I will not urge you again," said Mark to Gerald,
eyeing him with a sharp, enquiring look.

"No, no, not one," replied the young man with disgust. "Already this
unusual drink has confused my head. I am accustomed to water only--such
was my uncle's mode of educating me. It is strange how my brain turns with
this fermented liquor. I have done wrong to drink it," and Gerald rubbed
his heavy forehead, and strained his eyes. His powers of vision became
more and more confused, and it was with difficulty that he could now see
before him the face of Maywood, which to his intellect, disordered by the
liquor, seemed to wear a strange expression of cunning, and triumphant
contempt. He made an effort, however, to shake off this feeling and raise
his sinking head, but in vain. A sensation of overpowering drowsiness
crept over him more and more. The thought of his watch, however, was still
uppermost in his mind, and he had yet power sufficient to reflect that
there was still some time to midnight, and that a little slumber might
restore him; and giving way to the oppressive sleep which came over him,
he laid his head on the table, and was immediately lost to all sense of
what was passing around him.

At first Gerald's sleep was heavy and complete. How long it remained so,
he had no power to tell. At length, however, it became lighter, and grew
more troubled and confused. Wild dreams began to course each other
through his brain--at first of an undefinable and fantastic nature--then
they assumed a more definite shape. He dreamed of his father--that old,
greyheaded cavalier, with his long white beard--and before him stood
Lazarus Seaman, who accused him of absurd and imaginary crimes. And now
they brought him into that open court--a file of soldiers were drawn
up--their muskets were levelled at that old man's heart--Gerald struggled,
and sought to spring between those deadly instruments and his doomed
father, but his feet clove to the ground--he struggled in vain--the
muskets were discharged, and his father fell weltering in his blood. With
the last struggle of a convulsive nightmare, he started up, uttering a
loud scream. It was but a frightful dream. And yet the noise of those
fearful muskets--that discharge of artillery--still rang in his ears. As
he opened his eyes, all was dark around him--the darkness of deep night.
It was long before he could sufficiently recover his senses to remember
what had passed; and when slowly the events of the day forced themselves
upon his mind, his intellects seemed still confused and troubled. How
strangely real now appeared the impression of that dream! It was with
difficulty he could persuade himself that the firing had been imaginary;
and even now there seemed a strange confusion of noise and voices around
him; but that, surely, was the ringing in his head from the unusual
draught he had taken.

Slowly his whole memory returned to him, and he recalled to himself that
it was necessary for him to be ready to answer for Godlamb Gideon when
that worthy's name was to be called over for the midnight watch. He
staggered up unto his feet, and with difficulty found his way into the
open air. As he gazed, with somewhat troubled brain, on the bright starlit
sky, two or three soldiers hurried past them.

"Hark ye, comrade," he said to one, "how long is it yet to midnight?"

"Midnight! where have you been hiding yourself, comrade?" answered the
man. "Midnight is long since past."

"Long since past!" screamed Gerald with frantic violence. "No! no! it is
impossible--my post was at midnight in the tower court."

"Then you have escaped by wonderful interposition, friend, from the
consequences of your absence; for I was there when the names were called,
and 'present' was answered for the sentinel at the tower court."

"Father of mercy!" cried Gerald in despair. "What, then, has happened?"

"Happened!" echoed the soldier; "why, the prisoner has tried to escape!
But didn't you hear the shots? They brought the old reprobate to the
earth, of a surety."

Gerald uttered a loud groan and fell against the wall of the house; but in
another moment he recovered himself by a desperate effort from a feeling
of sickness and death, and repulsing violently the soldier who had come to
his assistance, he rushed round the mansion with whirling brain and
clenched teeth towards the tower court. His father had been killed--killed
by his own folly. Rage, despair, contrition, self-horror, at having been
so weak as to accept Maywood's proposal to drink that fatal drink which
caused his deadly sleep, all tortured his heart, and drove him almost to
madness. He could not doubt that it was that hated Maywood who had
deceived him, drugged his liquour, cheated him into a sleep, in order to
be present undisturbed at his rendezvous with Mildred; and now it was by
his hand, by the hand of that villain, that his father had fallen.

All was commotion in the fortress. Gerald, as he rushed forward, heard the
noise of voices and boats upon the water--the voice of Lazarus Seaman--now
the men calling to each other. Horror-stricken, overwhelmed with despair,
convulsed with rage, he bounded through the vaulted passage. In the
moonlit court stood now but one figure alone--the sentinel, who was
bending over the parapet, and seemed to be watching with interest the
movement of the boats upon the water. With the rage of a tiger Gerald
sprang upon him, and seized him by the collar with frenzied gripe. It
was, indeed, Maywood--pale, agitated, and excited.

"Villain! traitor! assassin!" screamed Gerald madly, frantic with passion
and despair, "you have betrayed that greyheaded old man; you have murdered
him; but I will have revenge! He was my father, and it is you have killed
him."

"_Your_ father!" exclaimed the young sentinel in a voice choked by
emotion. "He was _mine_, and I have saved him."

Gerald released his hold and staggered back.

For a moment the young men stared at each other in bewildered surprise.
Then all at once the truth flashed across them.

"Brother! brother!" burst simultaneously from their lips. "Gerald!
Everard!" they exclaimed again; and Everard Clynton, flinging himself into
his brother's arms, gave way to his suppressed agitation, and burst into a
flood of tears. At this moment a distant sound of a gun came across the
water; Everard sprang up and grasped his brother's arm.

"Hush!" he said, "three shots from the sea are the signal to me that he
has escaped in safety to the vessel that awaits him."

Another boomed faintly across the broad. A pause of fearful interest
followed, and then another. Once more the brothers fell into each others'
arms.

In a few words Everard Clynton explained to his brother, how, after his
father's capture, he had enlisted in the troop quartered in the fortress,
in order to save him. How he had known from their friends without the
means provided to effect his father's escape; how he, too, had sought,
with desperation, the midnight watch upon which depended his father's
delivery; and, finding himself overcome by his supposed rival, he had
administered to him a sleeping draught in order to secure the post; how
his pretended admiration for Mistress Mildred had been assumed in order to
forward his views and colour his designs, by giving a pretext to his
desire to obtain the post of sentry in the court; how Mildred had never
given him any encouragement, Gerald's unreasonable jealousy having
supplied the rest.

He had assisted his father to escape, and only long after his flight had
given the alarm, and fired upon the water, pretending to call for a sudden
pursuit.

Mark Maywood, however, was tried by a court-martial for negligence upon
duty on the night of the prisoner's escape; but the constantly exhibited
violence of the Republican principles which he had affected, as well as
his zeal and exemplary good conduct since he had joined the troop, saved
him in the colonel's eyes. He was acquitted. Shortly afterwards he
disappeared altogether from the fortress, after an affectionate farewell
to Gerald Clynton, who had the good fortune to receive, in due time, the
assurance of his brother's safe escape to join his father in Flanders.

Not long afterwards, the death of Colonel Lazarus Seaman leaving his
daughter an orphan, Gerald Clynton married pretty little Mistress Mildred,
and, quitting the service, retired to Lyle-Court, the estate bequeathed to
him by his uncle.

There is no doubt that pretty little Mistress Mildred's eyes were given to
be coquettish in spite of themselves; but yet, notwithstanding sundry
little symptoms of jealousy exhibited by Gerald, there is every reason to
believe that he was as absurd and misled in his jealousy after as he was
before his marriage, and that she made him a most excellent wife.

During the more peaceful times of the Protectorate, Gerald received news
from time to time of the welfare of his father and his brother; and, upon
the Restoration, he had the happiness of welcoming them to the English
shores once more.

Although Lord Clynton always preserved a predilection for his elder son,
yet he had somehow found out that Gerald bore an extraordinary resemblance
to his deceased mother, and always treated him with the utmost love. He
never forgot, also, the deep affection Gerald had displayed in his efforts
to save him during that never-to-be-forgotten _Midnight Watch_.



VESTIGES OF THE NATURAL HISTORY OF CREATION.


We should take but a limited view of science if we supposed, that the laws
of nature of which it is cognizant have for their object the continuance
only and preservation of the several parts of the universe; they provide
also for change, improvement, development, progression. By these laws not
only are the same phenomena, the same things, perpetually reproduced, but
new phenomena, new arrangements, new objects are being successively
developed. In short, we are able to perceive, to a certain extent, that
not only the world is preserved and renewed, but grows and is created
according to great general laws, which are indeed no other than the great
ideas of the Divine Mind.

The modern science of geology has more especially led us to extend our
view of science in this direction. The discovery of those mute records of
past changes which lay buried in the earth, has induced us to investigate
with awakened curiosity those changes which are actually taking place
before us in the broad day, and in our own generation; and the result has
been a conviction, that in the activity of nature there was a provision
made, not only for restoration from decay, and a perpetual renewal of the
individuals of each species, but for successive transformations in the
surface of the globe, fitting it for successive forms of vegetable and
animal life. The plant that lives, and sows its seed, and dies, has not
only provided for its own progeny; under many circumstances it prepares
the soil for successors of a superior rank of vegetation--"Pioneers of
vegetation," as Dr Macculloch calls them, "the lichens, and other
analogous plants, seek their place where no others could exist; demanding
no water, requiring no soil, careless alike of cold and heat, of the sun
and of the storm; rootless, leafless, flowerless; clothing the naked rock,
and forming additional soil for their successors." The whole tribe of
corals, whose lives are sufficiently brief and sufficiently simple, are
yet not permitted to die away from the scene, and leave it, as so many of
us do, just as they found it; they build up such a mausoleum of their
bones--(for what used to be considered as the shell of the animal, is now
pronounced to be a sort of bony nucleus or skeleton)--that large islands
are formed, and a corresponding displacement of the sea is occasioned. The
little creatures heave up the ocean on us. The river that to the poet's
eye flows on for ever in the same channel, "giving a kiss," and kisses
only, to every pebble and every sedge "it overtaketh in its pilgrimage,"
is detected to be secretly scraping, abrading, cutting out the earth like
a knife, and washing it away into the sea. On the other hand, the
earthquake and the volcano, which were looked on as paroxysms and agonies
of nature, are transformed in our imagination into the constant ministers
of beneficent change, and of creative purposes; and the momentary violence
they commit, is to be excused on the plea of the great and permanent good
they effect. For it is they who build the hills and the mountains, whence
flow the streams of abundance upon the earth, and which, instead of being
the gigantic, melancholy ruins Bishop Burnet took them to be, are the
palaces and storehouses of nature, which it is given in charge to these
sons of Vulcan to construct and to repair from the ravages which the soft
rains of heaven incessantly commit upon them.

Astronomy, too, notwithstanding the severe discipline she has undergone,
has in these later times resumed all the boldness of her youth, and
brought her stores of science to the construction of the most splendid
cosmogony that ever attracted the faith of the learned. She has girt her
long robe around her, and entered the lists with, and far outstripped,
whatever is boldest in the speculations of the youngest of the sciences.
The nebular hypothesis, though not yet entitled, as we think, to be
considered other than an hypothesis, has assumed a shape and consistency
which forbids an entire rejection of it, which enforces our respect, and
which, at all events, habituates the imagination to regard our planetary
system as having probably been evolved, under the will of Providence, by
the long operation of the established laws of matter.

It is quite a legitimate object of science, therefore, to view the laws of
the physical world--whether they regard its mechanic movement, its
chemistry, or its zoology--in their creative as well as reproductive
functions; and it is the purpose of a work lately published, entitled
"Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation," and which has drawn to
itself considerable attention, to collect and arrange whatever hints or
fragments of knowledge science affords, enabling us to bring the
successive phenomena of creation under the formula of general laws. In
this purpose it is impossible to find a shadow of blame, and the work will
probably answer one good end, that of directing the studies of scientific
men into paths but little or timidly explored. But unfortunately, what the
author has collected as the results of science, are, in some instances,
little else than the wild guess-work of speculation. He has no scruple
whatever in imitating those early geographers, who, disliking the blank
spaces of undiscovered regions, were in the habit in their charts

  "Of placing elephants instead of towns."

Indeed, his book is an assemblage of all that is most venturous and most
fanciful in modern speculation, in which the most conspicuous place is
allotted to a modification of Lamarck's theory on the development of
animal life.

The charge of an atheistic tendency, as it is the heaviest which can be
made against a work, so it is the last which ought to be hazarded without
sufficient cause. In general, owing to the very sacredness of the subject,
we feel disposed, in all suspicious cases, to pass over in silence both
accusation and defence; and if in the present instance we depart, for a
moment, from this line of conduct, it is only to give expression to a
conviction--which we share, we believe, with all who have both the
interest of science and the interest of theology at heart--that the fair
efforts of the scientific enquirer should never be impeded by needless
objections of a theological character. What we mean is this: though a
suspicion may cross the mind, that a writer does not hold the religious
tenets which we should desire to see every where advocated; yet if we are
persuaded, at the same time, that this laxity of faith has no real logical
connexion with the scientific results with which he is occupied, we ought
not to inflict on _them_ any portion of our suspicion or distrust. We
shall always protest against confounding the legitimate attempts of
science with the erroneous principles of certain schools of metaphysics,
which may or may not be connected with them. If there is atheism in the
world, we know whence it comes; we know well it is in a very different
laboratory than that of the chemist that it has been distilled.

The unknown author before us, repeatedly protests against being numbered
amongst atheistic philosophers; on our own part, we are thoroughly
convinced that no formula of physical science could possibly interfere
with a rational belief in the power and wisdom of God; what remains, then,
but to treat his book purely in a scientific point of view?

To reduce to a system the acts of creation, or the development of the
several forms of animal life, no more impeaches the authorship of
creation, than to trace the laws by which the world is upheld and its
phenomena perpetually renewed. The presumption naturally rises in the
mind, that the same Great Being would adopt the same mode of action in
both cases. If, for instance, the nebular hypothesis, to which we have
already alluded, should be received as a scientific account of the
proximate origin of our planetary system, this, as Mr Whewell has shown in
his "Bridgewater Treatise," would serve only to enlighten and elevate our
conception of the power of God. And indeed to a mind accustomed--as is
every educated mind--to regard the operations of Deity as essentially
differing from the limited, sudden, evanescent impulses of a human agent,
it is distressing to be compelled to picture to itself the power of God as
put forth in any other manner than in those slow, mysterious, universal
laws, which have so plainly an eternity to work in; it pains the
imagination to be obliged to assimilate those operations, for a moment, to
the brief energy of a human will, or the manipulations of a human hand.
Does not the language even of a Christian poet, when he speaks of God as
_launching_ from his ample palm the rolling planets into space, in some
measure offend us? Do we not avoid as much as possible all such
similitudes, as being derogatory to our notions of the Supreme?

There are still, indeed, some men of narrow prejudices who look upon every
fresh attempt to reduce the phenomena of nature to general laws, and to
limit those occasions on which it is necessary to conceive of a direct and
separate interposition of divine power, as a fresh encroachment on the
prerogatives of the Deity, or a concealed attack upon his very existence.
And yet these very same men are daily appealing to such laws of the
creation as have already been established, for their great proofs of the
existence and the wisdom of God! Their imagination has remained utterly
untutored by the little knowledge which they have rather learned to repeat
than to apprehend. Whatever words they may utter, of subtle and
high-sounding import, concerning the purely spiritual nature of the Divine
Being, it is, in fact, a _Jupiter Tonans_ clad in human lineaments, and
invested with human passions, that their heart is yearning after. Such
objectors as these can only be beaten back, and chained down, by what some
one has called the brute force of public opinion.

Some little time ago men of this class deemed it irreligious to speak of
the _laws_ of the human mind; it savoured of necessity, of fatalism; they
now applaud a Dr Chalmers when he writes his Bridgewater Treatise, to
illustrate the attributes of God in the laws of the mental as well as the
physical world.

No, there is nothing atheistic, nothing irreligious, in the attempt to
conceive creation, as well as reproduction, carried on by universal laws.
For what is the difference between individual isolated acts, and acts
capable of being expressed in a general formula? This only, that in the
second case the same act is repeated in constant sequence with other acts,
and probably repeated in many places at the same time. The divine work is
only multiplied. If the creation of a world should be proved to be as
orderly and systematic as that of a plant, this may make worlds more
common to the imagination, but it cannot make the power that creates them
less marvellous.

But while we would reprove the narrowness of spirit that finds, in any of
the discoveries of science, a source of disquietude for the interests of
religion, we have here an observation to make of an opposite character,
which we think of some importance, and which we shall again, in reviewing
the theories of our author, have occasion to insist upon. It is
undoubtedly true that there rises in the minds of every person at all
tinctured with science, a presumption that every phenomenon we witness
might be, if our knowledge enabled us, reduced under the expression of
some general law; and that whatever changes are, or have been, produced in
the world, might be traced to the interwoven operations of such laws. But
however prevalent and justifiable such a presumption may be, we hold it no
sound philosophy to give it so complete a preponderance as to debar the
mind from contemplating the possibility of quite other and independent
acts of divine power, the possibility of the abrupt introduction into our
system of new facts, or series of facts, with their appropriate laws. The
author before us, in his anxiety to explain, after a scientific manner,
the introduction of life, and the various species of animals, into the
globe, seems to have thought himself entitled to have recourse to the
wildest hypothesis rather than to the immediate intervention of creative
power; as if it were something altogether unphilosophical to suppose that
there could be such a thing as a quite new development of that plastic
energy. It is not even necessary that we should urge, that if a Creator
exist, it is a most unwarrantable supposition to imagine that all his
creative power has been exhausted. We say, even to an atheistic
philosophy, that it is an unauthorized limitation that would forbid the
mind to contemplate the possibility of the uprise, in time, of entirely
new phenomena. Can any philosopher, of any school whatever, be justified
in saying, that there shall be no new fact introduced into the
universe?--that its laws cannot be added to? Why should he recoil from the
introduction of any thing new? If he is one whose last formula stands
thus, _whatever is, is_--this new fact will also fall, with others, into
his formula. Of this, also, he can say, _whatever is, is_. There is, we
repeat, a strong presumption in favour of a scientific sequence, of an
unbroken order of events; but this presumption is not to authorize any
hypothesis whatever in order to escape from the other alternative, an
immediate intervention of creative power. This, also, is a probability
which philosophy recognises, and in which a rational mind may choose to
rest till science brings to him some definite result.

We are very far from intending to follow the author of the _Vestiges of
the Natural History of the Creation_ through all the sciences along which
his track has led him. We shall limit ourselves to what forms the most
peculiar and startling portion of his work--to his theory of the origin
and development of animal life.

But for the discoveries of geology a certain philosophy might have been
content to say of the animal creation, that it was the law of nature that
life should beget life--that reproduction, like nutrition, to which it has
been assimilated, is a part of the definition of life--and that, as to a
commencement of the various tribes of animals, we are no more bound to
look for this than for the commencement of any other of the phenomena of
nature. From the researches, however, of geology, it is evident that there
was a time when this earth revolved around the sun a barren and untenanted
globe--that there was a time when life did make its first appearance, and
that in different epochs of the world's existence there have flourished
very different species of animals than those which now inhabit it. Here,
at all events, the imagination cannot gain that imperfect repose which it
finds in the contemplation of an eternal series. It is a plain historical
fact, that life had a beginning on this earth, and that from time to time
new forms of life, new species of vegetables and animals, have been
introduced upon the scene. Here are two great facts to be accounted for,
or to be left standing out, unconnected in their origin with that
interlinked series of events which creation elsewhere displays. Life
reproduces life, the plant its seed, the animal its young, each after its
kind, such is the law; but this law itself, when was it promulgated, or
when and how did it come into force and operation?

For ourselves, in the present imperfect condition of our knowledge, we are
satisfied with referring life, in all its countless forms, at once to the
interposing will of the Creator. We listen, however, with curiosity and
attention to any theory which the naturalist or physiologist may have to
propose, so he proceed in the fair road of induction. There is nothing in
the laws of life which forbids, but much, on the contrary, which invites,
to the same pains-taking examination which has been bestowed, with more or
less success, on other phenomena of nature.

But what is the resolution of this problem which the author of the
_Vestiges_ proposes? Assuredly not one which indicates the boldness of
advancing science, but one of those hardy conjectures which are permitted
to arise only in the infancy of a science, and which show how clear the
field is, hitherto, of certain knowledge--how open to the very wantonness
of speculation. Very little has been done towards determining the laws of
life, and therefore the space is still free to those busy dreamers, who
are to science what constructors of Utopias are to history and politics.
His solution is simple enough, and with good reason may it be simple,
since it depends on nothing but the will of its framer. The germ of
life--that primary cell with its granule, in which some physiologists have
detected the first elementary form of life--he finds to be a product of
chemistry. From this germ, cell, or animalcule, or whatever it may be
called, has been developed, in succession, all the various forms of
existence--each form having, at some propitious moment, given birth to
the form just above it, which again has not only propagated itself, but
produced an offspring of a still higher grade in the scale of creation.
Thus the introduction of life, and the various species of animals, is
easily accounted for. "It has pleased Providence to arrange, that one
species should give birth to another, till the second highest gave birth
to man, who is the very highest."--(P. 234.) Under favourable skies, some
remarkable baboon had, we presume, a family of Hottentots, whose facial
angle, we believe, ranks them, with physiologists, next to the brute
creation; these grew, and multiplied, and separated from the tribes of the
_Simiæ_; under a system of improved diet, and perhaps by change of
climate, they became first tawny, and then white, and at last rose into
that Caucasian family of which we here, in England, boast ourselves to be
distinguished members.

Such a solution as this most people will at once regard as utterly
unworthy of serious consideration. This _progressive development_ is
nowhere seen, and contradicts all that we do see; for no progeny, even
amongst hybrids, was ever known to be of a superior order, in the animal
creation, to both its parents. Such a proposed origin of the human race
would be sufficient, with most of us, for its condemnation. "Give us at
least," we exclaim, "a man to begin with--some savage and his squaw--some
Iceland dwarf if you will, wrapt in his nutritious oils--something in the
shape of humanity!" In short, it is a thing to be scoffed away, and
deserving only of a niche in some future _Hudibras_. But although the
theory is thus rash and absurd, and requires only to be stated to be
scouted, the author, in his exposition of it, advances some propositions
which are deserving of attention, and for this reason it is we propose to
give to his arguments a brief examination.

The theory divides itself into two parts--the production of organic life
from the inorganic world; and the progressive development of the several
species from the first simple elementary forms of life.

Spontaneous, or, as our author calls it, aboriginal generation, is a
doctrine neither new, nor without its supporters. But unfortunately for
his purposes, the class of cases of spontaneous generation which appear to
be at all trustworthy, are those in which the animalcule, or other
creatures, have been produced either within living bodies, (entozoa,) or
from the putrefaction of vegetable or animal life, the decay and
dissolution of some previous organization. Here _life_ still produces
_life_, though _like_ does not produce _like_. It is well known that,
amongst some of the lower class of animals, as amongst certain of the
polypi, reproduction is nothing more than a species of growth; a _bud_
sprouts out of the body, which, separating itself, becomes a new animal.
With such an analogy before us, there appears nothing very improbable in
the supposition that _entozoa_, and other descriptions of living
creatures, should be produced from the tissues of the higher animals,
either on a separation of their component parts when they decay, or on a
partial separation when the animal is inflicted with disease. We make no
profession of faith on this subject; we content ourselves with observing,
that this class of cases, where the evidence is strongest, and approaches
nearest to conviction, lends no support whatever to our author's
hypothesis, and provides him with no commencement of vital phenomena. Of
cases where life has been produced by the operation of purely chemical
laws on inorganic matter, there are certainly none which will satisfy a
cautious enquirer.

If Mr Crosse or Mr Weekes produce a species of worm by the agency of
electricity, it is impossible to say that the germ of life was not
previously existing in the fluid through which the electricity passed.
When lime is thrown upon a field, and clover springs up, it is the far
more probable supposition that the seed was there, but owing to ungenial
circumstances had not germinated; for no one who has mentioned this fact
has ventured to say that the experiment would always succeed, and that
lime thrown upon a certain description of soil would in all parts of the
world produce clover. Not to add, that it would be strange indeed if such
an instance were solitary, and that other vegetation should not be
produced by similar means.[3]

Vegetable and animal life, we ought here to mention, are considered by our
author as both derived from the same elementary germ which branches out
into the two great kingdoms of nature; so that it is of equal importance
to him to find a case of spontaneous generation amongst the plants as
amongst the animals. We must, therefore, extend the observation we made on
a certain class of cases amongst animals, to an analagous class of
supposed cases of spontaneous generation amongst vegetables. If that downy
mould, for instance, which the good housewife finds upon her pots of jam,
be considered as a vegetable, and be supposed to have grown without seed,
it would be somewhat analagous to the entozoa amongst animals; it would be
a vegetation produced by the decay of a previous vegetation.

It is only necessary to recall to mind the instances which naturalists
record of the minuteness of the seeds of life, and the manner in which
they may lie for a long time concealed, in order to induce us to presume,
in the majority of examples that are alleged of spontaneous generation,
the previous existence of the seed or the germ. Take the following from Dr
Carpenter's work on _Comparative Physiology_:--"Another very curious
example of fungous vegetation, in a situation where its existence was not
until recently suspected, is presented in the process of fermentation. It
appears from microscopic examination of a mass of yeast, that it consists
of a number of minute disconnected vesicles, which closely resemble those
of the Red Snow, and appear to constitute one of the simplest forms of
vegetation. These, like seeds, nay remain for almost any length of time in
an inactive condition without losing their vitality; but when placed in a
fluid in which any kind of sugary matter is contained, they commence
vegetating actively, provided the temperature is sufficiently high; and
they assist in producing that change in the composition of the fluid which
is known under the name of fermentation."--P. 74. With such instances
before us, the experiments of Messieurs Crosse and Weekes must be
conducted with singular care and judgment, in order to lead to any
satisfactory result.

Let us be allowed to say, that the experiments of those gentlemen excite
in us no horror or alarm. A Frankenstein who produces nothing worse than a
harmless worm, may surely be suffered to go blameless. Let these
electricians pursue their experiments, and make all the worms they can.
They will incur no very grave responsibility for such additions as they
can make to that stream of life which is pouring from every crack and
crevice of the earth. Some persons have a vague idea, that there is
something derogatory to the lowest form of animal life to have its origin
in merely inorganic elements; an idea which results perhaps not so much
from any subtle and elevated conceptions of life, as from an imagination
unawakened to the dignity and the marvel of the inorganic world. What is
motion but a sort of life? a life of activity if not of feeling.
Suppose--what indeed nowhere exists--an inert matter, and let it be
suddenly endowed with motion, so that two particles should fly towards
each other from the utmost bounds of the universe; were not this almost as
strange a property as that which endows an irritable tissue or an organ of
secretion? Is not the world _one_--the creature of one God--dividing
itself, with constant interchange of parts, into the sentient and the
non-sentient, in order, so to speak, to become conscious of itself? Are we
to place a great chasm between the sentient and the non-sentient, so that
it shall be derogation to a poor worm to have no higher genealogy than
the element which is the lightning of heaven, and too much honour to the
subtle chemistry of the earth to be the father of a crawling subject, of
some bag, or sack, or imperceptible globule of animal life? No; we have no
recoil against this generation of an animalcule by the wonderful chemistry
of God; our objection to this doctrine is, that it is not proved.

But, proved or not, our author has still the most difficult part of his
task to accomplish. From his animated globule he has to develop the whole
creation of vegetable and animal life. We shall be contented with watching
its development through one branch, that of the animal kingdom.

The idea of the development of the animal creation from certain primary
rudiments or simple forms of life, is due, we believe, to Lamarck; and
although his peculiar theory has met, and deservedly, with ridicule, we do
not hesitate to say that it is far more plausible, and substantially far
more rational, than that which our author has substituted. Geology reveals
to us a gradual extinction of species, accompanied by a successive
appearance of new species;[4] it reveals to us also that the surface of
the earth has undergone great mutations; that land and sea have frequently
changed places; and that the climate of the several regions of the world,
owing to many causes, has greatly varied. Natural history is replete with
striking accounts of the modifications produced in a race of animals by
the change of climate, diet, and the enforcement of new habits; and
linking all these facts together, it does not appear a very violent
supposition, nor one that departs from the frequent analogies of nature,
to say, that the causes which have brought about the extinction of certain
species may have also operated to the development of new species. The
manifest error of Lamarck was an egregious exaggeration of certain
well-known truths. Because external circumstances may do much in directing
the inherent power of development possessed by a given organization, he
resolved that it should do every thing. The camelopard was to get his long
neck by stretching for his food; and the duck her web-foot by paddling in
the water. But the author before us breaks loose entirely from the region
of facts; or rather he announces to us, on his own responsibility, an
entirely new fact--that it is the law of animal life that each species
should, from time to time, produce a brood of the species next in order of
perfection or complexity of organization. With him, this development is
the result merely of a law of generation which he himself has devised to
meet the emergency.

Amongst the laws of life, the most conspicuous and undoubted is this--that
each species reproduces itself, that like begets like. This law our author
cannot of course gainsay; but he appends to it another overruling law,
that from time to time, at long intervals, the like does not beget the
like, but the different and superior form of organization. In other words,
the old law changes from time to time. Of this novel description of law he
borrows the following illustration of Mr Babbage:--

     Unquestionably, what we ordinarily see of nature is calculated to
     impress a conviction that each species invariably produces its like.
     But I would here call attention to a remarkable illustration of
     natural law, which has been brought forward by Mr Babbage in his
     _Ninth Bridgewater Treatise_. The reader is requested to suppose
     himself seated before the calculating machine and observing it. It is
     moved by a weight, and there is a wheel which revolves through a
     small angle round its axis, at short intervals, presenting to the eye
     successively a series of numbers engraved on its divided
     circumference.

     "Let the figures thus seen, be the series 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, &c. &c., of
     natural numbers, each of which exceeds its immediate antecedent by
     unity.

     "Now, reader," says Mr Babbage, "let me ask you how long you will
     have counted before you are firmly convinced that the engine has been
     so adjusted that it will continue, whilst its motion is maintained,
     to produce the same series of natural numbers. Some minds are so
     constituted, that after passing the first hundred terms they will be
     satisfied that they are acquainted with the law. After seeing five
     hundred terms, few will doubt; and after the fifty thousandth term,
     the propensity to believe that the succeeding term will be fifty
     thousand and one, will be almost irresistible. That term _will_ be
     fifty thousand and one, and the same regular succession will
     continue; the five millionth, and the fifty millionth term will still
     appear in their expected order, and one unbroken chain of natural
     numbers will pass before your eyes from _one_ up to _one hundred
     million_.

     "True to the vast induction which has been made the next succeeding
     term will be one hundred million and one; but the next number
     presented by the rim of the wheel, instead of being, one hundred
     million and two, is one hundred million _ten thousand_ and two. The
     law changes."

The illustration is carried through a page or two more, but we have quoted
all that is essential.

Mr Babbage makes a very useless parade here of his calculating machine. A
common household clock that strikes the hours, would illustrate all that
his machine can possibly illustrate. If the reader seat himself before
that homely piece of mechanism, he will hear it _tick_ for sixty minutes,
when the _law of the machine_ will change, and it will _strike_.

In a scientific point of view it is absurd to talk about the _law of his
machine_. His machine partakes only of the laws of mechanics, which, we
presume, are as constant there as elsewhere. Our only definition of law
is, a sequence that is constant; deny its constancy, and you deny it to be
law; it is a mere contradiction in terms to speak of a law that changes.

If, therefore, our author, guided by this illustration of Mr Babbage's,
proclaims a law of animal life which _changes of itself_ from time to
time, he is departing from the fundamental principle of all science--he
who is so zealous to reduce all phenomenon to the formula of science!
Anxious to escape from an abrupt interposition of creative power, he
introduces a sudden mutability in the laws themselves of nature! If it be
said that he does not (although his words imply it) insist upon a single
law of nature that varies at intervals, but contends for a variable
result, produced by the law of reproduction acting under varied
circumstances, and in co-operation with different laws--then was Mr
Babbage's machine of no use whatever to him, nor did he stand in need of
any peculiar illustration. There is not a class of phenomena which does
not exhibit this variety of result by the diversified co-operation of laws
constant in themselves. The frozen river becomes motionless; it ceases to
flow; yet no one attributes any inconstancy to the laws of heat, or the
laws of hydrostatics.

Quitting these abstractions, in which the writer before has shown himself
no very great adept, let us enquire by what arguments he attempts to
support his peculiar _principles of development_. That on which he appears
chiefly to rely is the fact, that the embryo of one of the higher animals
passes through the foetal stages of the lower animals--the fish, the
reptile, the bird--before it assumes its last definite shape. From this he
would infer, that the germ of life is alike in all, and that it depends
only on peculiarities of gestation whether it shall become a fish, a fowl,
or a mammal. He lays particular stress on the circumstance, that the brain
of the human embryo passes through these several stages.

But, 1. In order to derive any thing like an argument here, surely the
whole human embryo, and not the brain only, ought to undergo these
changes. But not only in man, in the other mammalia to which allusion is
made, it is never the _entire animal_ which passes through these
transformations.

2. If the embryo of one of the mammalia pass through the foetal stages
of the fish and the bird, the embryo fish bears the same transitory
resemblance to the foetal condition of the bird or the mammal. So that
the order here is reversed, and nothing appears proved but that some
deviations of form are in all cases assumed before the final shape is
adopted. And,

3. The physiologists who have made this branch of their science an
especial study, tell us, as the result of their microscopic observations,
that the embryo of the higher animals pursues a different course of
development, _from the very earliest stages_, to that of the lower
animals. It cannot be, therefore, according to the diagram that the author
presents to us, that the same germ which is nourished up to a certain
point to be fish, would, if transferred to other care and a better system
of nutrition, be nourished into a bird or a mammal. If it is to be a
mammal, it must be fashioned accordingly from the very beginning.

We will content ourselves with quoting, as our authority for these
assertions, a passage from Dr Carpenter's work on _Comparative
Physiology_; and we cite this author the more willingly, because he is
certainly not one who is himself disposed to damp the ardour of
speculation, and because the very similarity of some of his views, or
expressions, renders him, at all events, an unexceptionable witness on
this occasion.

     "Allusion has been made to the correspondence which is discernible
     between the transitory forms exhibited by the embryos of the higher
     beings, and the permanent conditions of the lower. When this was
     first observed, it was stated as a general law, that all the higher
     animals, in the progress of their development, pass through a series
     of forms analogous to those encountered in ascending the animal
     scale. But this is not correct, for the _entire animal_ never does
     exhibit such resemblance, except in a few particular cases to which
     allusion has already been made, (the case of the frog, and others,
     who undergo what is commonly called a metamorphosis.) And the
     resemblance, or analogy, which exists between individual organs, has
     no reference to their _forms_, but to their _condition_ or _grade of
     development_. Thus we find the heart of the mammalia, which finally
     possesses four distinct cavities, at first in the condition of a
     prolonged tube, being a dilatation of the principal arterial trunk,
     and resembling the dorsal vessel of the articulated classes;
     subsequently it becomes shortened in relation to the rest of the
     structure, and presents a greater diameter, whilst a division of its
     cavity into two parts--a ventricle and an auricle--is evident, as in
     fishes; a third cavity, like that possessed by reptiles, is next
     formed by the subdivision of the auricle previously existing; and
     lastly, a fourth chamber is produced by the growth of a partition
     across the ventricle; and in perfect harmony with these changes are
     the metamorphoses presented by the system of vessels immediately
     proceeding from the heart. In like manner, the evolution of the brain
     in man is found to present conditions which may be successively
     compared with those of the fish, reptile bird, lower mammalia, and
     higher mammalia; but in no instance is there an exact identity
     between any of these. It is to be remembered, that every animal must
     pass through _some_ change in the progress of its development, from
     its embryonic to its adult condition; and the correspondence is much
     closer between the embryonic fish and the foetal bird, or mammal,
     than between these and the adult fish."--(P. 196.)

And take, also, the following short passage from the preface of the same
work, where the author has been speaking of the latest discoveries of
physiologists on the development of the embryo.

     "Thus, when we ascend the scale of being, in either of the two
     organized kingdoms, we observe the principle of specialisation
     remarkably illustrated in the development of the germ into the
     perfect structure. In the lowest of each kind, the first-formed
     membranous expansion has the same character throughout, and _the
     whole enters into the fully-developed structure_. In higher grades
     the whole remains, but the organs evolved from the centre have
     evidently the most elevated character. _In the highest none but the
     most central portion is persistent_; the remainder forming organs of
     a temporary and subservient nature."

The fact that the animal kingdom exhibits a gradual progression from forms
the most simple to forms the most complex, is, of course, appropriated by
our author as a proof of his theory of successive development. It is well
known, that whilst this scale of being is an idea which occurs to every
observer, the naturalist finds insuperable difficulties in arranging the
several species of animals according to such a scale. To relieve himself
from these, the author has taken under his patronage what, in honour of
its founder, he calls the _Macleay System_, in which the animal kingdom is
"arranged along a series of close affinities, _in a circular form_;" into
which circles we will excuse ourselves from entering. It is a system as
confused as it is fantastic; and our author, who writes in general in a
clear and lucid manner, in vain attempts to present us with an
intelligible exposition of it. Arrange the animal creation how you will,
in a line or in circles, there is one fact open to every observer, that
however fine may be the gradations amongst the lower animals, the
difference between the higher animals is very distinctly marked. It is a
difference which does not at all accord with the hypothesis of our author,
"that the simplest and most primitive type gave birth to the type next
above it, and this again produced the next higher, and so on to the very
highest, the stages of advance being in all cases very small--namely, from
one species only to another; so that the phenomenon has always been of
simple and modest character." Whilst he confines himself to _mollusks_,
and suchlike obscure creatures, the phenomenon he supposes may not be very
startling; but when he ascends to the higher and larger animals, whose
forms and habits are well known to us--when he has to find a father for
the horse, the lion, the rhinoceros, the elephant--his phenomenon, we are
sure, will no longer retain its "simple and modest character."

Naturalists have observed, that there is a striking _uniformity of plan_
even amongst animals of very different habits, and which, perhaps, inhabit
different elements; they have remarked, that this uniformity is adhered to
even when it appears to answer no specific purpose, as when in the fin of
a whale the unbending bone bears the semblance of the jointed hand. This,
too, is pressed into the service of our author's hypothesis. It is a
curious fact. But if we say of it, that it appears to hint the existence
of _some law_, and to tempt the investigation of the physiologist, we
assign to it all the scientific importance that it can possibly deserve.

Some physiologists, we must be permitted to observe, have rather amused
themselves by a display of ingenuity, than profited science by their
discoveries of a _unity of structure_ in animals of the most opposite
description. It is easy to surprise the imagination by pointing out
unexpected resemblances, if all cases of diversity are at the same time
kept out of view. These writers will mention, for instance, that all
quadrupeds have uniformly _seven_ bones in the neck. The giraffe has no
more than the pig. But they refuse to mention at the same time, that in
_birds_ the number varies from nine to twenty-three, and in _reptiles_
from three to eight. Sometimes the merest fancy is indulged. We are told
that in the pulpy substance of a certain mollusk there are lines drawn
presenting a sketch of a vertebrated animal, and it is gravely intimated
that nature seems to have made a rough design of the next work of art she
was about to produce.

When Dr Carpenter tells us, in exemplifying this law of unity of
composition, that "the skull is but an expansion of the three highest
vertebræ, modified to afford space for the development of the contained
brain and of the organs of sense," p. 191--is he much wiser than those
entomologists whom he had been previously criticising for "maintaining
that the wing of an insect is a modification of its leg?" Verily we
suspect that if Martinus Scriblerus had had his attention drawn to this
manner of viewing things, it would have greatly excited his learned
ingenuity; he would probably have begun to apply this scientific method to
a variety of things, and found a unity of composition never before dreamt
of. What should have prevented him from casting a philosophic glance upon
the furniture of his room? With less ingenuity than certain physiologists,
he would easily detect a marvellous unity of plan. He would have probably
taken the table with its four legs, and the disk they support, as his
great type of joinery, and would have traced a modification of this type
in all the articles around him. The chair is manifestly nothing else than
the table, with a development of the hinder legs commonly called the back.
From the chair to the sofa the transition would be ridiculously easy;
indeed the sofa can only be considered as a variety of the chair, produced
by a high state of cultivation. In the footstool, or ottoman, the disk of
the table has become thick and pulpy, while its legs have dwindled into
small globular supports. This exaggeration of the upper portion at the
expense of the lower, is carried a step further in the chest of drawers,
where the small globular supports bear a singular disproportion to the
corpulent figure they sustain. In some varieties even these knob-like legs
are wanting; but precisely in these cases, he would observe, the knobs
invariably re-appear in the shape of handles, which are still a sort of
paw. What is the fire-screen, he would say, but a table with the disk in a
vertical position? What the four-post bedstead but a reduplication of the
original type, a table placed on a table, the upper one being laid open?
If he had had the advantage of reading Mr Dickens, he would have
mentioned, in confirmation of this view, that young Mr Weller, when
sleeping under a table, congratulates himself upon enjoying the luxury of
a four-post bedstead. The coal-scuttle might perhaps present some
difficulties; but if he might be allowed to approach it through the
loo-table, he would doubtless succeed in tracing here also the unity of
composition. In the loo-table the four legs have collapsed into a central
column! The coal-scuttle is only a _loo-table_ with the edges of the disk
curled up--assuming a bonnet-like shape, the result, perhaps, of its long
domesticity. In short, we believe the only insuperable difficulty Martin
would encounter, would be, when, after having completed his survey, he
would run off to the joiner to convince him of the unity of plan on which
he had been so unconsciously working.

It was a bold step of our author's to adduce the geographical distribution
of the several species of animals as a proof of his law of development. To
most minds it would have immediately occurred as an objection. Each region
of the earth has its own peculiar _fauna_, and this difference is not
accountable on any known influence of soil or climate. What can explain
the peculiar fauna of New Holland? If all the varieties of animal life
spring from one and the same germ under the uniform laws of nature, how is
it that in some regions, fitted in every respect for the support of
animal life, no animals whatever of the higher order are found? "New
Zealand, which may be compared in dimensions to Ireland united with
Scotland, which extends over more than 700 miles in latitude, and is in
its many parts 90 miles broad, with varied stations, a fine climate, and
land of all heights, from 14,000 feet downwards, does not possess one
indigenous quadruped, with the exception of a small rat."--_Lyell's
Principles of Geology_, Vol. i. p. 102. Other instances equally striking
might be mentioned. How are we to explain them upon our author's
hypothesis? Are we to make supposition upon supposition, and presume that
the land of New Zealand had not been long enough emerged from the sea to
allow of the ample development of the original germ of life; and that, if
the rat had been left to himself, he would in process of time have peopled
the whole region with dogs, and horses, and oxen, or some other analogous
quadrupeds?

But our readers have perhaps heard sufficient of an hypothesis which is
built only on a series of conjectures, and we ourselves are wearied with a
too easy victory. There are many other topics in the book which would far
better reward discussion than the one we have chosen--as, for instance,
the geological views here put forward, the claims of phrenology, and the
difference between instinct and intelligence; but if disposed to treat
these subjects, we could have found other and more suitable opportunities;
we thought it fit to select that which forms the peculiarity of the
present work.

But absurd as the matter is, we must complete the account which the author
gives of the development of that race in which we are chiefly
interested--man. We have seen, that according to his law of progressive
generation, and as an instance of what he denominates "a modest and simple
phenomenon," man was one day born of the monkey or the ape. But this
discovered law has not only thus happily introduced the human being upon
the earth, it also throws light upon the diversities which exist in the
family of man.

     "The causes of the various external peculiarities of mankind, now
     require some attention. Why, it is asked, are the Africans black, and
     generally marked by ungainly forms? Why the flat features of the
     Chinese, and the comparatively well-formed figures of the Caucasians?
     Why the Mongolians generally yellow, the Americans red, and the
     Canadians white? These questions were complete puzzles to all early
     writers; but physiology has lately thrown a great light upon them. It
     is now shown that the brain, after completing the series of animal
     transformations, passes through the characters in which it appears in
     the Negro, Malay American, and Mongolian nations, and finally becomes
     Caucasian. The face partakes of these alterations. The leading
     characters, in short, of the various races of mankind, are simply
     representations of particular states in the development of the
     highest or Caucasian type. The Negro exhibits permanently the
     imperfect brain, projecting lower jaw,[5] and slender bent limbs of a
     Caucasian child some considerable time before the period of its
     birth. The aboriginal American represents the same child nearer
     birth. The Mongolian is an arrested infant newly born. And so forth."

So that we Caucasians are, at least, the only full grown children: all
others are more or less abortions. Indeed we might be described, in the
language of this theory, as the only animals on the face of the earth who
pass through the full period of gestation. And yet even this honour may be
disputed; perhaps we ourselves are but imperfect developments of that germ
of life which is the progenitor of us all. The author darkly intimates
that we may be supplanted from our high place in this world, that another
and more powerful and sagacious race may be born of us, who may treat us
no better than we have treated the monkeys and other species of the brute
creation. This is the severest blow of all. After having humbled our
pride according to this philosopher's bidding, and taught ourselves to
look upon the ape with due feelings of filial respect--after having
acknowledged some sturdy baboon for our only Adam, and some malicious
monkey for our sweet mother Eve--after having brought ourselves to see in
the lower animals the same mental and moral faculties which we boast of,
and to confess that the same psychology applies to both, with a slight
modification in our theory of the origin of ideas--after having practised
all this condescension, to be threatened with complete dethronement from
our high place in the world!--to be told that we, too, shall have to obey
a master who may govern us as man governs the horse! What a millennium to
look forward to!

     "Is our race but the initial of the grand crowning type? Are there
     yet to be species superior to us in organization, purer in feeling,
     more powerful in device and art, and _who shall take a rule over us_?
     There is in this nothing improbable on other grounds. The present
     race, rude and impulsive as it is, is perhaps the best adapted to the
     present state of things in the world; but the external world goes
     through slow and gradual changes, which may leave it in time a much
     serener field of existence. There may then be occasion for a nobler
     type of humanity, which shall complete the zoological circle on this
     planet, and realize some of the dreams of the purest spirits of the
     present race."--P. 276.

Melancholy prospect for man! When the earth becomes a serener field of
existence, then will a race appear to take rule over him. Might not he
become serener too? Is it thus that are to be solved all our social
problems, all our discussions upon the perfectibility of man, all our
vague but obstinate prophecies of some more rational and happier scheme of
existence? This _homo_ is to survive, it seems, only to make railroads for
the future _angelus_.

On the authorship of this production we have no communication or
conjecture to make. The writer has been successful, as far as we know, in
preserving his incognito; and as the rumours that have reached our ear
have all been again contradicted, we think it wisest to abstain from
circulating any of then. We heard it pleasantly said that the author had
been followed down as far as Lancashire, and that then all further trace
of him had been lost. We think he might be traced further north than
Lancashire. The style in one or two places bears symptoms of a Scottish
origin. Occupied with the wild theory it promulgates, we have not said
much of the literary merits of the work. Nor is there much to say. It is
written in a clear, unpretending style, but somewhat careless and inexact.
The exposition in the first portions of the work, the astronomical and
geological, appeared to us particularly good. The author's knowledge of
science is such as is gleaned by that sort of student who is denominated,
in prefaces, the general reader; he is not, we should apprehend, a
labourer in any one of its departments, but thankfully receives whatever
is brought to his door of the results of science. With this
chance-gathered stock he has ventured to frame, or rather to defend, his
speculations. The sudden success of the work is not, we think, what any
one could have prognosticated. It is a success which its singularity has
gained for it, and which its superficiality will soon again forfeit.

We may mention that this notice was written after a perusal of the first
edition. In the third edition, we observe that some passages have been
slightly modified or omitted; but the hypothesis put forward is
substantially the same.



MARSTON; OR, THE MEMOIRS OF A STATESMAN.

PART XVI.

  "Have I not in my time heard lions roar?
  Have I not heard the sea, puft up with wind,
  Rage like an angry boar chafed with sweat?
  Have I not heard great ordnance in the field,
  And Heaven's artillery thunder in the skies?
  Have I not in the pitched battle heard
  Loud 'larums, neighing steeds, and trumpets clang?"

                                SHAKSPEARE.


The insurrection had broken out; there could now be no scepticism on the
subject. Some hundreds of armed men were already crowding the grounds in
front of the mansion; and from the shouts which rose in every quarter, and
still more from the fires which blazed on every hill round the horizon,
the numbers of the insurgents must have amounted to thousands. It was
evident that we were in a pitfall, and that resistance was only the
protraction of a fate which was now inevitable. The shrieks of the females
and the despondency of the men, who naturally thought that their last hour
was come, were enough to dishearten all resolution. For a few minutes, the
only orders which I could give were to bar the doors and close the
windows. The multitude, new to hostile enterprises, had till now kept at
some distance, warned by their losses in the skirmish with the yeomanry,
and probably expecting the arrival of troops. But the sight of our
precautions, few and feeble as they were, gave them new courage; and
discharges of musketry began to drop their bullets into the midst of our
startled assemblage. It is only justice to the national intrepidity to
say, that every measure which I proposed for defence was unhesitatingly
adopted; and that one of my chief difficulties was to prevent rash
sallies, which must have only terminated in loss of life. The short
interval now allowed to us was employed in barricading the mansion, which
was built almost with the strength of a fortress, and posting every man
who could handle a musket or pistol, at the windows. Still I knew that
this species of defence could not last long; and my only hope for our
lives was, that the firing might bring some of the troops who patrolled
the country to our assistance. But the discharges became closer and
heavier, and still no sound of succour was to be heard. My situation
became more anxious every moment; all looked up to me for their guidance;
and though my garrison were brave and obedient, as became the
high-spirited sons of Ireland, there seemed the strongest probability that
the night would end in a general massacre. Yet there was no
faint-heartedness under the roof; our fire was stoutly kept up whenever
the assailants came within range; and as I hurried from chamber to chamber
to ascertain the condition of our defence and give directions, I found all
firm. Still the terrors of the females--the sight of the first women of
the province flying for refuge to every corner where they might escape the
balls, which now poured into every window; the actual wounds of some,
visible by the blood streaming down their splendid dresses; the
horror-stricken looks of the groups clinging to each other for hopeless
protection; and the actual semblance of death in others fainting on the
sofas and floors, and all this under an incessant roar of musketry--made
me often wish that I could give way to the gallant impatience of my
friends within the mansion, and take the desperate hazard of plunging into
the midst of the multitude.

But a new danger awaited us; a succession of shrieks from one of the upper
apartments caught my ear, and on rushing to the spot, and forcing my way
through a crowd of women half frantic with alarm, I saw some of the
outbuildings, immediately connected with the mansion, wrapped in a sheet
of fire. The insurgents had at last found out the true way to subdue our
resistance; and we obviously had no alternative but to throw ourselves on
their mercy, or die with arms in our hands. Yet, to surrender was perhaps
only to suffer a more protracted death, degraded by shame; and when I
looked round me on the helplessness of the noble and beautiful women
around me, and thought of the agony which must be felt by us on seeing
them thrown into the power of the assassins who were now roaring with
triumph and vengeance, I dismissed all thoughts of submission at once, and
determined to take the chances of resistance while any man among us had
the power to draw a trigger. In rushing through the mansion, to make its
defenders in the front aware of the new misfortune which threatened us, I
happened to pass through the ball-room, where the corpse of its noble and
brave master was. One figure was standing there, with his back to me, and
evidently gazing on the body. All else was solitary. Of all the friends,
guests, and domestics, not one had remained. Loud as were the shouts
outside, and constant as was the crashing of the musketry, I could hear a
groan, which seemed to come from the very heart of that lonely bystander.
I sprang towards him; he turned at the sound of my step, and, to my
surprise, I saw the face of the man whose share in the insurrection I had
so singularly ascertained. I had a loaded musket in my hand, and my first
impulse, in the indignation of the moment, was to discharge its contents
through his heart. But he looked at me with a countenance of such utter
dejection, that I dropped its muzzle to the ground, and demanded "What had
brought him there at such a time?" "This!" he exclaimed, pointing to the
pallid form on the sofa. "To that man I owed every thing. To his
protection, to his generosity, to his nobleness of heart, I owed my
education, my hopes, all my prospects in life. I should have died a
thousand deaths rather than see a hair of his head touched--and now, there
he lies." He sank upon his knees, took the hand of the dead, and wept over
it in agony.

But I had no leisure to wait upon his remorse; the volleys were pouring
in, and the glare of the burning buildings showed me that the flames were
making fearful progress. "This," said I, "is your work. This murder is but
the first-fruits of your treason; probably every life in this house is
destined to butchery within the hour." He sprang on his feet. "No, no," he
cried, "we are not murderers. This is the frenzy of the populace.
Regeneration must not begin by massacre."

The thought suddenly struck me that I might make his fears, or his
compunctions, at the moment available.

"You are at my mercy," said I. "I might justly put you to death at the
instant, as a rebel, in the fact; or I might deliver you up to the law,
when your fate would be inevitable. I can make no compromise. But, if you
would make such atonement to your own conscience as may be found in
undoing a part of the desperate wrong which you have done, go out to those
robbers and murderers who are now thirsting for our blood, and put a stop
to their atrocities if you can; save the lives of those in the house; or,
if you cannot, die in the only attempt which can retrieve your memory."

He looked at me with a lacklustre eye for a moment, and uttered a few wild
words, as if his mind was wandering. I sternly repeated my demand, and at
length he agreed to try his influence with the multitude. I threw open the
door, and sent him out, adding the words--"I shall have my eye upon you.
If I find you swerve, I shall fire at you, in preference to any other man
in the mob. We shall die together." He went forth, and I heard his
recognition by the rebels, in their loud shouts, and their heavier fire
against our feeble defences. But, after a few moments, the shouting and
the fire ceased together. There was a pause; from its strangeness after
the tumult of the last hour, scarcely less startling than the uproar. They
appeared to be deliberating on his proposition. But while we remained in
this suspense, another change came; loud altercations were heard; and the
pause was interrupted by a renewed rush to the assault. We now looked upon
all as hopeless, and expected only to perish in the flames, which were
rolling in broad sheets over the roof of the mansion. There was no symptom
of faint-heartedness among us; but our ammunition was almost exhausted,
and every countenance was pale with despair; another half hour, and our
fate must be decided. In this extremity, with every sense wound up to its
utmost pitch, I thought that I heard the distant trampling of cavalry. It
came nearer still. There was evident confusion among the rebels. At length
a trumpet sounded the charge, and a squadron of horse rushed into the
lawn, sabring and firing among the multitude. The struggle was fierce, but
brief; and before we could unbar the doors, and burst out to take a part
in the _mêlée_, all was done; the rebels had fled, the grounds were
cleared, and the dragoons were gathering their prisoners.

All was now congratulation; and I received thanks from gallant lips, and
from bright eyes, which might have flattered one fonder of flattery. All
imputed their safety to the address with which I had employed the feelings
of the rebel leader. But for the pause produced by his presence, all must
have perished. It had given time for the cavalry to come up; they having
been bewildered in crossing the country, and floundering through the
wretched by-roads which then formed the disgrace of Ireland. Life is a
chapter of accidents; and even their arrival had been a matter of
accident. An aide-de-camp of the viceroy had been sent in search of me
with despatches: the officer in command at the next town had persuaded
him, much against his will, to take as his escort one of the night
patroles of horse; and thus were saved a hundred and fifty lives of the
first personages of the province. By morning the mansion, and all within
it, would probably have been embers.

The aide-de-camp's despatches were sufficiently alarming. The
lord-lieutenant had received from England details of the intended
insurrection. The privy council had been summoned, and the usual commands
issued to keep the troops throughout the country on the alert; but the
information was still so imperfect, the skill of the conspirators was so
adroitly exerted in keeping their secret, and the outcry of the powerful
parliamentary Opposition was so indignant and contemptuous at the remotest
hint of popular disaffection, that the Government was virtually paralysed.

But the question was now decided; the scene which I had just witnessed
unhappily left no room for doubt, and I determined to set off for the
metropolis without delay. I had no sooner expressed my intention, than I
was assailed on all hands with advice, and even with entreaties, to
postpone my journey until the flight of the rebels was fully ascertained,
or at least till daylight gave me a better chance of personal safety. But
every moment now seemed to me more precious than the last; and, breaking
through a circle of the noble and the fair, I threw myself on my horse,
and with the aide-de-camp and a couple of dragoons for my escort, soon
left the whole scene of entreaty and terror, sorrow and triumph, behind.

We rode hard through the night, observing frequent signs of the extended
insurrection, in fires on the mountains, and the gatherings of peasantry
on the roads--sometimes compelled to turn out of our way, by the evidence
of their being armed and in military organization; and at others dashing
through the groups, and taking them by surprise. A few shots fired at
random, or the rage and roar of the crowd as we scattered them right and
left in our gallop, were all that belonged to personal adventure; and when
the dawn showed us from one of the hills round the capital the quiet city
glittering in the first sunshine, all looked so lovely and so tranquil,
that it required the desperate recollections of the night to believe in
the existence of a vast and powerful combination, prepared to cover the
land with burning and blood.

Within a few hours after my arrival, the privy council assembled; my
intelligence was received as it deserved; it decided the wavering, and
gave increased determination to the bold. Still, our sitting was long and
anxious. The peril was now undeniable, but the extent, the object, and
the remedy, were alike obscure. It is not, of course, within my purpose to
reveal the secrets of councils, in which all is transacted under the
deepest bond of confidence; but it may be fairly told, that our
deliberations often completely reversed the proverb, that "In the
multitude of councillors there is safety," if by safety is meant either
promptitude or penetration.

But there was one man among them, who would have distinguished himself in
any council upon earth. He was a lawyer, and holding the highest office of
his profession. But his ambition was still higher than his office, and his
ability was equal to his ambition. Bold by nature, and rendered bolder by
the constant success of his career, he would have been a matchless
minister in a despotic government. Living under the old régime of France,
the laurels of a Richelieu or a Mazarin might have found a formidable
competitor in this man of daring and decision. He wanted but their scale
of action, to have exhibited all their virtues, and perhaps all their
vices.

At the bar, his career had been one of unexampled rapidity. He had
scarcely appeared, when he burst through the crowd, and took the stand to
which all the dignities of the profession seem the natural inheritance. He
had scarcely set his foot on the floor, before he overtopped the bench.
But the courts of justice were too narrow for him. It was in Parliament
that he found the true atmosphere for his loftiness of flight, and
keenness of vision. At that time the study of public speaking had become a
fashion, and the genius of the country, singularly excitable, always
ardent, and always making its noblest efforts under the spell of public
display, exhibited the most brilliant proofs of its title to popularity.
But in the very blaze of those triumphs, the Attorney-general showed that
there were other weapons of public warfare, not less original and not less
triumphant. No orator, and even no rhetorician, he seemed to despise alike
the lustre of imagination and the graces of language. But he substituted a
force, that often obtained the victory over both. Abrupt, bold, and
scornful, his words struck home. He had all the power of plain things. He
brought down no lightning from the heaven of invention, he summoned no
flame from below; but the torch in his hand burned with withering power,
and he wielded it without fear of man. By constitution haughty, his pride
actually gave him power in debate. Men, and those able men too, often
shrank from the conflict with one whose very look seemed to warn them of
their temerity. But to this natural faculty of overthrow he added
remarkable knowledge of public life, high legal repute, and the
incomparable advantage of his early training in a profession which opens
out the recesses of the soul, habitually forces imposture into light, and
cross-examines the villain into reluctant veracity. There never was in
Parliament a more remorseless or more effectual hand, in stripping off the
tinsel of political pretension. His logic was contemptuous, and his
contempt was logical. His blows were all straightforward. He wasted no
time in the flourish of the sword; he struck with the point. Even to the
most powerful of his opponents this assault was formidable. But with the
inferior ranks of Opposition, he threw aside the sword and assumed the
axe. Obviously regarding them as criminals against common sense and
national polity, he treated them as the executioner might treat culprits
already bound to the wheel, measuring the place for his blows with the
professional eye, and crushing limb after limb at his leisure. The
imperfect reports of debating in his day, have deprived parliamentary
recollection of the most memorable of those great displays. But their
evidence is given in the fact, that with the most numerous, powerful, and
able Opposition of Ireland in his front, and the feeblest Ministerial
strength behind him, the Attorney-general governed the parliament until
the hour when its gates were closed for ever--when its substance was
dissipated into thin air, and all but its memories sank into the
returnless grave.

In the House of Lords, as chancellor, he instantly became the virtual
viceroy. It is true, that a succession of opulent and accomplished
noblemen, every two or three years, were transmitted from Whitehall to the
Castle, to pillow themselves upon a splendid sinecure, rehearse an annual
King's speech, exhibit the acknowledged elegance of noble English life,
and, having given the destined number of balls and suppers, await the
warrant of a secretary's letter to terminate their political existence.
But the chancellor was made of "sterner stuff." His material was not
soluble by a blast of ministerial breath. Not even the giant grasp of Pitt
would have dared to pluck the sceptre from his hand. If struck, he might
have answered the blow as the flint answers, by fire. But the premier had
higher reasons for leaving him in the possession of power; he was pure. In
all the uproar of public calumny, no voice was ever heard impeaching his
integrity; with the ten thousand arrows of party flying round him from
every quarter, none ever found a chink in his ministerial mail. He loved
power, as all men do who are worthy of it. He disdained wealth, as all men
do who are fitted to use it. He scorned the popularity of the day, as all
men do who know the essential baseness of its purchase; and aspiring after
a name in the annals of his country, like all men to whom it is due--like
them, he proudly left the debt to be discharged by posterity.

The chancellor was not without his faults. His scorn was too palpable. He
despised too many, and the many too much. His haughtiness converted the
perishable and purchasable malice of party, into the "study of revenge,
immortal hate." When he struck down an opponent in the fair strife of
Parliament, his scorn was like poison in the wound, and the blow was never
forgotten but in the grave. But as a statesman, his chief and
unconquerable misfortune was the narrowness of his scene of action. He was
but the ruler of a province, while his faculties were fitted for the
administration of an empire. His errors were the offspring of his
position. He was the strong man within four walls; by the very length of
his stride striking against them at every step, and bruised by the very
energy of his impulse against his hopeless boundaries.

At length a time of desperate trial arose. The Rebellion of 1798 burst
out. He had foreseen it. But the men of the Castle, lolling on their
couches, would not believe in its possibility. The men of the populace,
stirring up the rabble with the point of the dagger, derided him as a
libeller of the people; and even the Government of England--too anxiously
engaged in watching the movements of the French legions from the heights
of Dover, to have time for a glance at disturbers behind the Irish
Channel--for a time left him to his fate. But he was equal to the
emergency. He had been scoffingly called "the Cassandra of the
aristocracy;" but he had neither the fortunes nor the failures of a
Cassandra; he had not forfeited his virtues for his gift, and his prophecy
was too soon and too terribly realized to be disbelieved. Of such times it
is painful to speak, but of the men by whom such times are met, it is
dishonourable not to speak with homage. Almost abandoned by authority,
assailed almost by a nation, with the ground shaking under his feet, and
the whole frame of Government quivering at every roar of the multitude in
arms, he stood the shock, and finally restored the country. Language like
this has not been the first tribute to the memory of this ardent,
vigorous, and unshrinking statesman. But its chief use, and the noblest
use of all tributes to the tomb of civil heroism, is, to tell others by
what strength of principle, and by what perseverance of purpose, the
rescue of nations is alone to be achieved. In the midst of alarm excited
by the extent of the revolt, of ignorance from the novelty of the crisis,
and of indecision from the dread of responsibility, he stood firm. The
original intrepidity of his nature was even strengthened by the perils of
the time; and with the whole storm of unpopularity roaring round him, he
sternly pursued his course, and combated the surge, until it sank, and the
state vessel neared, if it did not yet enter, the harbour.

It is the natural fate of such men, in such times, to be misunderstood,
and to be maligned. The libel which cast every stone within its reach at
his living name, long continued to heap them on his grave. But all this
has passed away, and the manlier portion of his countrymen now appeal to
the administration of the "Great Chancellor," in proof of the national
capacity for the highest trusts of empire.

Why has not the history of this man, and of his day, been written? Why has
not some generous spirit, impelled alike by a sense of justice and a sense
of patriotism, adopted this argument for the intellectual opulence and
moral energy which may still exist in the Irish mind? Is there no
descendant to claim the performance of a duty, which would reflect a
lustre on himself from the light which his filial piety planted on the
sepulchre? Or why are the recollections of rebels to be taken down from
the gibbet, and embalmed in history, while the name of him who smote the
rebellion is suffered to moulder away?

I am not writing a panegyric. He had his infirmities; his temper was too
excitable, and his measures were too prompt for prudence. But his heart
was sound, and his spirit was made for the guidance of a state in the hour
of its danger. If a feebler mind had then presided in the public councils,
Ireland, within a twelvemonth, would have been a republic; and in every
hour since, would have been agonizing under the daggers of rival factions,
or paying the fearful price of her frenzy in indissoluble chains.

If this were the single act of his life, it was sufficient for fame. It is
enough to inscribe on the mausoleum of any man, that "he rescued his
country from a DEMOCRACY!"

The first news of the revolt which reached England, produced a formidable
effect on the legislature. Even the sagacity of the premier had been
deceived, and his cabinet evidently staggered on the effect of the
surprise. Opposition had been equally startled, and were still more
perplexed in their decision. Dealing for years in all the high-sounding
topics of national wrong and national difficulty, they were astonished at
the first actual realization of popular revenge. The Englishman had heard
of wars as the child hears of spectres--none had seen them, and the
narratives served only to excite the imagination. But the tremendous
novelty of revolt was now at their doors. Whether the Irish revolters
acted in concert with the undying hostility of France, or with the
factions reform of England; the danger in either case assumed a shape of
the most appalling magnitude. Opposition, in the very prospect of power,
shrank from possession; as the stormers of a fortress might start back
when they saw the walls rolling down before them in some sudden convulsion
of nature. They had predicted every casualty which could befall a country,
ruled by a cabinet inexorably closed against themselves. But when their
predictions had changed their character from the fantastic and remote into
the substantial and immediate--when the clouds which they so often
predicted to be advancing over the prosperity of the land, seemed to have
suddenly rushed forward, and condensed and darkened with the full freight
of national havoc; they as suddenly flew to shelter in utter inaction, and
left the minister to meet the storm. Pitt was soon equal to the crisis.
The orders which he dispatched to Ireland were stamped with all the
considerate vigour of his matchless ability. I had sent him all the
information which could be obtained of the progress and purposes of the
revolt, with the suggestions arising from the contingency. His remarks on
my communication were brief, but incomparably clear, direct, and decided.
Their tenor was, that I should distinguish accurately between the deluded
and the deluders--that I should assure the loyal of the unhesitating
support of England--and that, in all instances, I should cultivate the
national loyalty, reward the generous obedience, and sympathize with all
the gallant and generous qualities of a people with whom every thing was
to be done, by taking an interest in their feelings. These principles were
so entirely my own, that I acted upon them with double zeal, and with
complete success. The loyalty of Ireland rapidly exhibited itself in the
most willing sacrifices; all ranks of opinion coincided in the necessity
of bold and instant action; and from day to day, party, absorbed in the
sense of the national exigency, disappeared, and patriotism rose. The
leading men of both sides of the House ranged themselves in the ranks of
the voluntary corps which came forward to assist in the public defence,
and the fine metaphor which had once made the senate thunder with
applause--"The serpent's teeth, sown in the ground, sprang up armed
men,"--was now amply, but more fortunately, realized. The bitternesses and
schisms of public opinion were hidden in the earth, and the harvest was a
brave and spontaneous armament of men prepared to undergo all hazards for
the sake of their country.

"Happy," says the French wit, "the land which has nothing for history."
This happiness has never belonged to Ireland. Her annals are a romance.
But the period of which I speak exhibited her senatorial strength with an
energy, almost compensating for her popular misfortunes. While Parliament
in England languished, parliament in Ireland started into sudden power. It
was aroused by the visible presence of the public peril. Ireland was the
outpost, while England was the camp; there the skirmish was at its height,
while the great English brigade moved up slowly from the rear. The ardour
and activity of the national temperament were exercised in perpetual
conflict, and every conflict produced some new champion.

The actual construction of the senate house stimulated the national
propensity for display. The House of Commons was an immense circular hall,
surmounted with a lofty dome. A gallery supported by columns was formed
round the base of the dome, with seats for seven hundred persons, but on
crowded occasions capable of containing more; the whole highly ornamented,
and constituting a rotunda, uniting grandeur with remarkable architectural
elegance. Thus every member acted in the sight of a large audience,
however thin might be the assemblage below; for the curiosity attached to
the debates was so powerful, that the spacious gallery was generally full.
But the nature of that audience excited the still stronger temptation to
the bold extravagances of the Irish temperament. The chief portion of this
auditory were females, and those the most distinguished of Ireland; women
of wit, beauty, and title, the leaders of fashion, and often the most
vivid and zealous partizans in politics--of all audiences, the most
hazardous to the soberness of public deliberation. As if with the express
purpose of including every element adverse to the calmness of council, the
students of the neighbouring university possessed the privilege of
_entrée_ to the gallery; and there, with the heated imaginations of youth,
and every feeling trained by the theories of Greek and Roman
Republicanism, they sat, night after night, watching the ministerial
movements of a harassed monarchy.

What must be the condition of a minister, rising before such an audience,
to pronounce the grave doctrines of public prudence; to oppose argument to
brilliant declamation; to proclaim regulated obedience, in the midst of
spirits fantastic as the winds; and to lay restraints, essential to the
public peace, on a population proud of their past defiances, and ready to
welcome even civil war? I was not conscious of any natural timidity; nor
have I ever found occasion to distrust my nerve on any great demand; but I
must acknowledge, that when in some of the leading debates of that most
absorbing and most perilous period, I rose to take the initiative, the
sight of the vast audience to whom I raised my eyes, was one of the
severest trials of my philosophy. The members round me excited no alarm;
with them I was prepared to grapple; it was a contest of argument; I had
facts for their facts, answers for their captiousness, and a fearless
tongue for their declamation. But the gallery thus filled was beyond my
reach; its passions and prejudices were inaccessible by any logic of mine;
and I stood before them, less as in the presence of a casual auditory than
of a tribunal, and at that tribunal, less as an advocate than as a culprit
on the point of being arraigned.

Another peculiar evil resulted from the admission of this crowd, and of
its composition. Every casual collision of debate became personal. The
most trivial play of pleasantry was embittered into an insult; the
simplest sting of passing controversy was often to be healed only by a
rencounter in the field. For the whole was acted on a public stage, with
the _élite_ of the nation looking down on the performance. The hundreds
of bright eyes glancing down from the gallery, were critics whose contempt
was not to be resisted; and no public assembly, since the days of the
Polish pospolite, ever settled so many points of debate in the shape of
points of honour.

At length Opposition rallied, and resolved to make a general assault upon
the Administration. Like their English friends, they had been stunned for
a while by the suddenness of the outbreak. But as the Turkish populace, in
a conflagration or the plague, no sooner recover from their first fright
than they discover the cause in the government, and march to demand the
head of the vizier; the popular orators had no sooner found leisure to
look round them, than they marshalled their bands, and demanded the
dismissal of all antagonist authority. _I_ was first to be torn down. _I_
stood in the gate, and while I held the keys, there was no entrance for
expectant ambition. _I_ waved the flag in the breach, and until the banner
was swept away, the storm was ineffectual. Yet this turning the whole
weight of party vindictiveness on my head, gave me a new courage, the
courage of passion, the determination which arises from a sense of injury,
and which magnifies with the magnitude of the trial. In other times, I
might have abandoned the struggle; but, with the eyes of a nation thus
brought upon me, and all the ablest men of the opposite benches making my
overthrow the very prize of their victory, I determined "to stand the
hazard of the die."

The eventful night came at last; for days before, every organ of public
opinion was in the most feverish activity; lampoons, pamphlets, and
letters to the leading journals, the whole machinery of the
paragraph-world was in full work round me; and even the Administration
despaired of my being able to resist the uproar--all but one, and that one
the noblest and the most gifted of them all, my friend the chancellor. I
had sat long past midnight with him on the eve of the coming struggle; and
I received his plaudits for my determination. He talked with all his usual
loftiness, but with more than his usual feeling.

"Within the next twenty-four hours," said he, "your fate will be decided.
But, in public life, the event is not the dishonour; it is the countenance
with which we meet it, that makes all the difference between success and
shame. If you fall, you will fall like a man of character. If you triumph,
your success will be unalloyed by any baseness of purchase." I told him
sincerely, that I saw in the vigour and resolution of his conduct a model
for public men. "However the matter may turn out in the debate," said he,
rising and taking his leave, "there shall be no humiliation in the conduct
of government, even if we should be defeated. Persevere to the last. The
world is all chances, and ten to one of them are in favour of the man who
is resolved not to be frightened out of any thing. Farewell."

Still, the crisis was a trying one, and my occupation during the day was
but little calculated to smooth its anxieties. The intelligence from the
county announced the increased extent of the revolt; and the intercepted
correspondence gave startling proof of an organization altogether superior
to the rude tumults of an angry peasantry. Several sharp encounters had
taken place with the soldiery, and in some of them, the troops, scattered
in small detachments and unprepared, had suffered losses. Insurrectionary
proclamations had been issued, and the revolt was already assuming a
military form; camps were collected on the mountains, and the arming of
the population was become general. My day was occupied in writing hurried
despatches to the magistrates and officers in command of the disturbed
districts; until the moment when the debate was expected to begin. On my
way to the House, every thing round me conspired to give a gloomy
impression to my mind, weary and dark as it was already. Public alarm was
at its height and the city, with the usual exaggerations of undefined
danger, presented the appearance of a place about to be taken by storm.
The streets were crowded with people hurrying in search of news, or
gathered in groups retailing what they had obtained, and evidently filled
with the most formidable conceptions of the public danger. The armed
yeomanry were hurrying to their stations for the night, patrols of
cavalry were moving out to scour the environs, and the carriages of the
gentry from the adjoining counties were driving to the hotels, crowded
with children and domestics; while waggons loaded with the furniture of
families resident in the metropolis, were making their way for security
into the country. All was confusion, hurry, and consternation. The scene
of a great city in alarm is absolutely inconceivable but by those who have
been on the spot. It singularly harassed and exhausted me; and at length,
for the purpose of escaping the whole sight and sensation together, I
turned from the spacious range of streets which led to the House; and made
my way along one of the narrow and obscure lanes which, by a libel on the
national taste, were still suffered to remain in the vicinity of an
edifice worthy of the days of Imperial Rome.

My choice was an unlucky one, for I had scarcely gone a hundred yards,
when I found my passage obstructed by a crowd evidently waiting with some
sinister purpose. A signal was given, and I was called on to answer. I had
no answer to make, but required that I should be suffered to pass on. "A
spy, a spy! down with him!" was the exclamation of a dozen voices. A rush
was made upon me, and notwithstanding my struggle to break through, I was
overwhelmed, grasped by the arms, and hurried into the entrance of a house
in utter darkness. I expected only a dagger in my heart, and from the
muttered tones and words which escaped my captors, not one of whom could I
discern, I seemed evidently about to encounter the fate of the spy which
they deemed me. But, convinced that nothing was to be gained by
submission, I loudly demanded by what right I was seized, declared myself
a member of Parliament, and threatened them with the especial vengeance of
the law, for obstructing me in the performance of my duty.

This announcement evidently had its effect, at least in changing the
subject of their consultation; and, after another whisper, one of their
number stepped up to me, and said that I must follow him. My refusal
brought the group again round me, and I was forced down the stairs, and
through a succession of airless and ruined vaults, until we reached a
massive door. There a signal was given, and was answered from within; but
the door continued closed.

My emotions during all this period were agonizing. I might not have felt
more than others that fear of death which belongs to human nature; but
death, in darkness, without the power of a struggle, or the chance of my
fate being ever accounted for; death by the hands of assassins, and in a
spot of obscure butchery, was doubly appalling. But an hour before, I had
been the first man in the country, and now what was I? an unhappy object
of ruffian thirst of blood, destined to die in a charnel, and be tossed
among the rubbish of ruffian hands, to moulder unknown. Without
condescending to implore, I now strongly attempted to reason with my
captors on the atrocity of offering violence to a stranger, and on the
certainty that they would gain more by giving me my liberty, than they
could possibly do by burying their knives in my bosom. But all was in
vain. They made no reply. One conception alone was wanting to the torture
of the time; and it came. I heard through the depth of the vaults the
sound of a church clock striking "eight." It was the very hour which had
been agreed on for commencing the debate of the night. What must be
thought of my absence? What answer could be made to any enquiry for my
presence? What conceivable escape could my character as a minister have,
from the charge of scandalous neglect, or more scandalous pusillanimity;
from treachery to my friends, or from an utter insensibility to personal
name and official honour in myself? The thought had nearly deprived me of
my senses. The perspiration of mental torment ran down my face. I stamped
the ground, and would have dashed my forehead against the wall, had not
the whole group instantly clung round me. A few moments more of this
wretchedness, and I must have died; but the door at length was cautiously
opened, and I bounded in.

At a long narrow table, on which were a few lights, and several books and
rolls of paper, sat about twenty men, evidently of the lower order, though
one or two exhibited a marked superiority to the rest. A case of pistols
lay on the table, which had probably been brought out on the signal of my
arrival; and in the corners of the room, or rather vault, were several
muskets and other weapons piled against the wall. From the obvious
disturbance of the meeting, I was clearly an unwelcome guest; and, after a
general sweep of the papers off the table, and a whisper which
communicated to the chairman the circumstances of my capture, I was asked
my name, and "why I had intruded on their meeting?" To the latter question
my reply was an indignant demand, "why my liberty had been infringed on?"
To the former, I gave my name and office at full length, and in a tone of
authority. No announcement could have been more startling. The president
actually bounded from his chair; others plucked out knives and pistols;
all looked pallid and thunderstruck. With the first minister of the realm
in this cavern of conspirators, every life of whom was in peril of the
axe; my presence among them was like the dropping of a shell into a powder
magazine.

But the dismay soon passed; their native daring returned, and I saw that
my fate hung once more on the balance. After a brief consultation, and
many a gloomy glance at their prisoner, the president summed up the
opinion of the board. "You must be sensible, sir," said he, addressing me;
"that in times like the present, every man must be prepared to make
sacrifices for his cause. The call of Ireland has summoned us here--that
call is irresistible; and whatever may be our feelings, for you, sir, who
have been brought into this place wholly without our desire, the interests
of a great country, determined to be free, must not be put in competition
with the life of any individual, be his rank what it may." He paused, but
a general murmur of applause showed the full approval of his grim
auditory. "You, sir," he continued, with the solemnity of a judge passing
sentence, "are one great obstacle to the possession of our public rights.
You are a man of talents and courage, and so much the more dangerous to
the patriot cause. You would disdain our folly, if we threw away the
chance which fortune has put into our hands;--you must die. If we were in
your power, the scaffold would be our portion. You are now in ours, and
the question between us is decided." I felt, from his tone, that all
remonstrance was useless; and I scorned to supplicate. "Do as you will," I
indignantly exclaimed. "I make but one request. It is, that no imputation
shall be suffered to rest on my memory; that the manner of my death shall
be made known; and that no man shall ever be suffered to believe that I
died a coward or a traitor." "It shall be done," slowly pronounced the
president. I heard the click of a trigger, and looking up at the sound,
saw one of the sitters at this board of terror, without moving from his
place, deliberately levelling it at my head. I closed my eyes. In the next
instant, I heard a scuffle; the pistol was knocked out of his hand, and a
voice hurriedly exclaimed, "Are you all mad? For what purpose is this
butchery? Whom are you about to murder? Do you want to bring a curse upon
our cause?" All rose in confusion; but the stranger made but one spring to
the spot where I stood, and fixing his eyes on me with astonishment,
loudly repeated my name. As the light fell on him, I recollected at once,
though his hat was deeply drawn over his eyes, and a huge cloak was
wrapped round him, palpably for the purpose of concealment, the rebel
leader whom I had so strangely met before. He turned to the table. "And is
it in this infamous way," he fiercely exclaimed, "that you show your love
of liberty? Is it in blood that you are to dip your charter; is it in
making every man of common sense despise, and every man of humanity abhor
you, that you are to seek for popular good-will? Down with your weapons!
The first man who dares to use them, I declare a traitor to his country!"
His energy made an impression; and giving me his hand, which, even in that
anxious moment, I could perceive to be as cold as stone, he pronounced the
words, "Sir, you are free!" But for this they were not prepared; and some
exclamations rose, in which they seemed to regard him as false to the
cause, and the words--"sold," and "traitor"--were more than once audible.
He flamed out at the charge, and passionately demanded proofs. He then
touched another string. "Now listen to what I have to tell you, and then
call me traitor, if you will. You are in the jaws of ruin. I have but just
discovered that Government has obtained knowledge of your meeting; and
that within five minutes every man of you will be arrested. I flew to save
you; now judge of my honour to the cause. You have only to make your
escape, and thank the chance which has rescued your lives." Still my
safety was not complete. There were furious spirits among them, who talked
of revenge for the blood already shed, and graver spirits who insisted on
my being kept as a hostage. But my protector declaimed so powerfully on
the folly of exacting terms from me under duress; on the wisdom of
appealing to my generosity in case of reverses; and, above all, on the
certainty of their falling into the hands of authority, if they wasted
their time in quarrelling as to my disposal; that he again brought them to
a pause. A loud knocking at the door of one of the distant vaults, and a
sound like the breaking down of the wall, gave a sudden success to his
argument, and the meeting, snatching up their papers and weapons, glided
away as silently as so many shadows.

I naturally attempted to thank my protector, but he put his finger to his
lip and pointed to the quarter from which the police were apparently
forcing their way into the subterranean. This was clearly a time of peril
for himself as well as his associates, and I followed him silently through
the windings of this hideous locale. We shortly reached the open air, and
I cannot describe the solemn and grateful sense with which I saw the sky
above my head, the lights glimmering in the windows, and felt that I was
once more in the land of the living. My conductor led me within sight of
the door of the House of Commons, and, with a slight pressure of the hand,
turned from me, and was lost among the crowd. I rushed in, exhausted,
overpowered, sinking with apprehension of the evil which might have been
done in my absence, and blushing at the shame which probably awaited me.

But I was fortunately disappointed. By some means, which I could never
subsequently ascertain, a rumour of my seizure had reached the House; and
the strongest alarm was excited by the dread of my assassination. The
commencement of the debate was suspended. Opposition, with the dignified
courtesy which distinguished their leaders, even proposed the adjournment
of their motion; the messengers of the House were dispatched in all
directions to bring some tidings of me; and I had afterwards the
satisfaction to find that none imputed my absence to any motive unbecoming
my personal and official honour. Thus, when I entered the House, nervous
with apprehension, I was received with a general cheer; my colleagues
crowded round me with enquiries and congratulations; members crossed from
the opposite benches to express their welcome. The galaxy of the living
and the lovely in the gallery, which the expectation of the great debate
had filled with all the fashionable portion of the capital, chiefly, too,
in full dress, as was the custom of the time, glanced down approvingly on
me; and, when at last I took my seat, I felt myself flattered by being the
centre of one of the most splendid and interesting assemblies in the
world.

The House was at length hushed, and Grattan rose. I cannot revert to the
memory of that extraordinary man, without a mixture of admiration and
melancholy--admiration for his talents, and melancholy for the feeling
that such talents should expire with the time, and be buried in the common
dust of the sepulchre. As a senatorial orator, he was incontestably the
greatest whom I have ever heard. With but little pathos, and with no
pleasantry, I never heard any man so universally, perpetually, and
powerfully, command the attention of the House. Thee was the remarkable
peculiarity in his language, that while the happiest study of others is to
conceal their art, his simplicity had the manner of art. It was keen,
concentrated, and polished, by nature. His element was grandeur; the
plainest conception in his hands, assumed a loftiness and power which
elevated the mind of his hearers, as much as it convinced their reason. As
it was said of Michael Angelo, that every touch of his chisel was life,
and that he struck out features and forms from the marble with the power
of a creator, Grattan's mastery of high conceptions was so innate, that he
invested every topic with a sudden magnitude, which gave the most casual
things a commanding existence to the popular eye. It was thus, that the
grievance of a casual impost, the delinquencies of a police, the artifices
of an election, or the informalities of a measure of finance, became under
his hand historic subjects, immortal themes, splendid features, and
recollections of intellectual triumph. If the Pyramids were built to
contain the dust of nameless kings and sacrificed cattle, his eloquence
erected over materials equally transitory, memorials equally imperishable.

His style has been criticised, and has been called affected and
epigrammatic. But, what is style to the true orator? His triumph is
effect--what is to him its compound? What is it to the man who has the
thunderbolt in his hands, of what various, nay, what earthly--nay, what
vaporous, material it may be formed? Its blaze, its rapidity, and its
penetration, are its essential value; and smiting, piercing, and
consuming, it is the instrument of irresistible power.

But Grattan was an orator by profession, and the only one of his day. The
great English speakers adopted oratory simply as the means of their public
superiority. Pitt's was the oratory of a ruler of empire; with Fox,
oratory was the strong, massive, and yet flexible instrument of a leader
of party. But with Grattan it was a faculty, making a portion of the man,
scarcely connected with external things, and neither curbed nor guided by
the necessities of his political existence. If Grattan had been born among
the backwoodsmen, he would have been an orator, and have been persuasive
among the men of the hatchet and the rifle. Wherever the tongue of man
could have given superiority, or the flow and vigour of conception could
have given pleasure, he would have attained eminence and dispensed
delight. If he had not found an audience, he would have addressed the
torrents and the trees; he would have sent forth his voice to the
inaccessible mountains, and have appealed to the inscrutable stars. It is
admitted, that in the suffering condition of Ireland, he had a prodigious
opportunity; but, among thousands of bold, ardent, and intellectual men,
what is his praise who alone rushes to their front, and seizes the
opportunity? The English rule over the sister country has been charged
sometimes as tyranny, which was a libel; and sometimes as injustice, which
was an error; but it had an unhappy quality which embraced the evils of
both--it was invidious. The only map of Ireland which lay before the
English cabinet of the eighteenth century, was the map of the sixteenth--a
chart spotted with the gore of many battles, not the less bloody that they
were obscure; and disfigured with huge, discoloured spaces of barbarism.
They forgot the lapse of time, and that time had since covered the graves
of the past with a living race, and was filling up the swamps of the
wilderness with the vigour and the passions of a new and glowing people.
They still governed on the guidance of the obsolete map, and continued to
administer a civilized nation with the only sceptre fit for barbarism--the
sword. By a similar misconception, while they declared the islands one
indivisible empire, they governed them on the principle of eternal
separation. No Irishman was ever called across the narrow strait between
the two countries, to take a share in the offices, or enjoy the honors of
England. Irish ambition, thwarted in its own country, might wander for
ever, like Virgil's unburied ghosts, on the banks of the Irish Channel,
without a hope of passing that political Styx. The sole connexion of the
islands was between Whitehall and the Castle--between power and
placemen--between cabinets and viceroys. It never descended to the level
of the nation. It was a slight and scarcely visible communication, a
galvanic wire, significant only at the extremities, instead of a public
language and human association--instead of a bond of heart with heart--an
amalgamation of people with people. Posterity will scarcely believe that
the neglect of unity should have so nearly approached to the study of
separation. Even the coin of the two countries was different in impress
and in value--the privileges of trade were different--the tenure of
property was different--the regulations of the customs (things which
penetrate through all ranks) were different--and a whole army of revenue
officers were embodied to carry on those commercial hostilities. The
shores of the "Sister Islands" presented to each other the view of rival
frontiers, and the passage of a fragment of Irish produce was as
impracticable as if it had been contraband of war.

It was Grattan who first broke down this barrier, and he thus rendered the
mighty service of doubling the strength of the empire; perhaps rendered
the still mightier service of averting its separation and its ruin. As the
nation had grown strong, it had grown sullen; its disgust was ripening
into wrath; and its sense of injury might speedily have sought its relief
in national revenge. And yet it is only justice to acknowledge that this
evil arose simply from negligence on the part of England; that there was
no design of tyranny, none of the capriciousness of superiority, none of
the sultan spirit in the treatment of the rayah. But no minister had yet
started up in English councils capable of the boldness of throwing open
the barrier; none of intellectual stature sufficient to look beyond the
old partition wall of the countries; no example of that statesmanlike
sagacity which discovers in the present the shape of the future, and
pierces the mists, which, to inferior minds, magnify the near into giant
size, while they extinguish the distant altogether. But no man can ever
write the annals of England, without a growing consciousness that
magnanimity has been the instinct of her dominion; that she has been
liberal on principle, and honest by nature; that even in the chillest and
darkest hour of her sovereignity, this influence has existed unimpaired,
and like gravitation on the globe, that it has accompanied and impelled
her, day and night alike, through the whole circuit of her proud and
powerful career.

This was the glorious period of Grattan's public life. His task, by
universal confession, was the noblest that could be enjoined on man, and
he sustained it with powers fitted to its nobleness. On the later portion
of his history I have no desire to touch. The most hazardous temptation of
early eminence is the fondness which it generates for perpetual publicity.
The almost preternatural trial of human fortitude is, to see faction with
its vulgar and easy triumph seizing the fame, which was once to be won
only by the purest and rarest achievements of patriotism. When the banner
which had flamed at the head of the nation on their march to Right, and
which was consigned to the hand of Grattan as its legitimate bearer, was
raised again, in a day threatening the subversion of every throne of
Europe; he exhibited a jealousy of his obscure competitors, unworthy of
his renown. But he did not join in their procession. He was unstained. If
he felt the avarice of ambition, he exhibited no decay of that original
dignity of nature, which, in his political nonage, had made him the leader
of bearded men, and a model to the maturity of his country's virtue.

On this night he spoke with remarkable power, but in a style wholly
distinct from his former appeals to the passions of the House. His
accents, usually sharp and high, were now lingering and low; his fiery
phraseology was solemn and touching, and even his gesture, habitually
wild, distorted, and pantomimical, was subdued and simple. He seemed to
labour under an unavowed impression of the share which the declamatory
zeal of his party had to lay to its charge in the national peril. But I
never saw more expressive evidence of his genius, than on this night of
universal consternation. His language, ominous and sorrowful, had the
force of an oracle, and was listened to like an oracle. No eye or ear
strayed from him for a moment, while he wandered dejectedly among the
leading events of the time, throwing a brief and gloomy light over each in
passing, as if he carried a funeral lamp in his hand, and was straying
among tombs. This was to me a wholly new aspect of his extraordinary
faculties. I had regarded rapidity, brilliancy, and boldness of thought,
as his inseparable attributes; but his speech was now a magnificent elegy.
I had seen him, when he furnished my mind almost with the image of some of
those men of might and mystery, sent to denounce the guilt, and heap coals
of fire on the heads of nations. He now gave me the image of the prophet,
lamenting over the desolation which he had once proclaimed, and
deprecating less the crimes than the calamities of the land of his
nativity. I never was more struck with the richness and variety of his
conceptions, but their sadness was sublime. Again, I desire to guard
against the supposition, that I implicitly did homage to either his
talents or his political views. From the latter, I often and deeply
dissented; in the former I could often perceive the infirmity that belongs
even to the highest natural powers He was no "faultless monster." I am
content to recollect him as a first-rate human being. He had enemies and
may have them still. But all private feelings are hourly more and more
extinguished in the burst of praise, still ascending round the spot where
his dust is laid. Time does ultimate justice to all, and while it crumbles
down the fabricated fame, only clears and separates the solid renown from
the common level of things. The foibles of human character pass away. The
fluctuations of the human features are forgotten in the fixed majesty of
the statue; and the foes of the living man unite in carrying the memorial
of the mighty dead to its place in that temple, where posterity comes to
refresh its spirit, and elevate its nature, with the worship of genius and
virtue.



BETHAM'S ETRURIA CELTICA.


Herodotus has this amusing story of a philological experiment made by the
Egyptian king Psammetichus, who may, not inappropriately, be termed the
James the First of his dynasty:--

     "The Egyptians, before the reign of Psammetichus, considered
     themselves the oldest of mankind; but, after the reign of
     Psammetichus, enquiry having been made as to whether that were the
     case, thenceforth they considered the Phrygians to be their elders,
     themselves being next in seniority. For Psammetichus, finding no
     satisfactory solution to his enquiry on this subject, devised the
     following plan: He took two infant boys, born of humble parents, and
     committed them to the care of a shepherd, to be educated in this
     manner--that he should not permit any one to utter a sound in their
     hearing, but should keep them by themselves in a lonely house,
     admitting only she-goats at stated times to suckle them, and
     rendering them the other requisite services himself. So he did so;
     and Psammetichus directed him, as soon as the infants should cease
     their inarticulate cries, that he should carefully note what word
     they should first utter. And so it was, that, after the lapse of two
     years, both infants, with outstretched hands, running to meet their
     attendant the shepherd, as he entered one day, cried out, 'becco.' Of
     which the shepherd at first made no report, but hearing them
     reiterate the same, as often as he went to visit them, he informed
     his lord, and, by his commands, brought the boys and exhibited them;
     whereupon Psammetichus, as soon as he heard them, enquired 'what
     nation they were who called any thing by the name of _becco_?' to
     which enquiry he learned for answer, that the Phrygians call _bread_
     by that name. So the Egyptians being convinced by that argument,
     conceded the point, that the Phrygians had existed before them. 'All
     which,' says the father of history, 'I learned from the priests of
     Vulcan at Memphis.'"

This story, after exciting the smiles of the learned for about two
thousand years, fell, in an evil hour for the peace of mind of modern
philologers, into the hands of John Goropius Becan, a man of letters at
Antwerp, who, recollecting that _bec_ has a like signification in Dutch,
(_bec_ in that language meaning bread, and _becker_, as in our own, a
baker,) immediately jumped to the conclusion, that Dutch must have been
the language of the Phrygians, and that the Dutch were consequently the
most ancient of mankind. This insane proposition he puts forward as the
sole foundation of his two great folios, entitled, "_Origines Antwerpianæ,
sive Cimmeriorum Beceselana_," printed at Antwerp in 1569, in which he
derives all the nations of antiquity from the Dutch, and makes all the
names of gods, demigods, heroes, and places of the Old World, to have
their only proper and characteristic signification in that language. The
grave precision with which he lays the first and only foundation-stone of
this monstrous superstructure, is sufficiently entertaining. "The
Phrygians spoke the Scythic (_i. e._ the High-Dutch) tongue; and the
Egyptians allowed the Phrygian language to be the primitive one. For when
their king had ascertained that bec was a word of the original language of
mankind, and could not understand it, he was informed that, among the
Phrygians, it signified bread; whereupon he adjudged that language to be
of all others the first in which _bec_ hath that meaning; which _bec_
being, at this day, our word for bread, and _becker_ ("baker") for
bread-maker, it stands, consequently, confessed, on this most ancient
testimony of Psammetichus, that our language is, of all others, the first
and oldest." From so extravagant a commencement, nothing but the most
fantastical results could be expected, and the reader will not be
surprised to find Goropius making Adam and Eve a Dutchman and a
Dutchwoman, as one of the very first corollaries from his fundamental
proposition; the Patriarchs follow; then the Gentile gods, goddesses, and
heroes; the Titans, the Cyclops, the pigmies, griffins, and

  "Gorgons, and hydras, and chimeras dire,"--

nations, tribes, territories, seas, rivers, lakes, mountains, valleys,
cities, and villages--all are drawn into this vast vortex of nonsense, set
agoing originally by the single syllable _bec_, which, after all, if this
story of the priests of Vulcan have any foundation in fact, was, most
probably, nothing more than an imitation of the peculiar cry of the goats
by which the infants had been suckled. Goropius's book was published at a
time when the learned world were in no humour to tolerate such
absurdities; and therefore, although exhibiting a considerable amount of
learning in its own mad way, and a proportionate and characteristic degree
of ingenuity, it called forth one of the severest reproofs that literary
presumption has ever brought down, from the pen of Joseph Scaliger, whose
condemnation was re-echoed by all the literary men of note of the day. It
being part of Goropius's system that the ancient Gauls were Dutch, and the
task of showing all the known words of the old Gaulish language to be
significant in Dutch, being, consequently, incumbent on him as a first
step to his bolder speculations on the unexplained names of men and
places, he had, among others, given some ridiculous Dutch equivalents from
the word _ambactus_, which, as we are informed by Festus, meant a slave or
retainer in the old Gaulish tongue. Scaliger, shortly after, editing
Festus, with annotations, and coming to the word in question, took that
opportunity to administer to Goropius the following castigation--"I am
unable to restrain my laughter," he says, "at what this singularly
audacious and impudent person has written against Turnebus on this word.
But, as all his books exhibit nothing else than a most impudent confidence
in himself, so I reject his opinion on this matter as utterly impertinent
and nonsensical. Never have I read greater absurdities; never have I seen,
neither heard of greater or more audacious temerity, seeking, as he does,
to derive all languages from his own barbarous dialect, so as to make the
Hebrew itself inferior to the Dutch; nay, even reprehending Moses for
taking the names of the patriarchs from his native Hebrew. Unlucky
patriarchs and fathers, that were born Philistines of Palestine, and not
Dutchmen of Antwerp!" Abrahan Mylius, another great scholar, though not of
so extended a reputation as either of the Scaligers, soon after expressed
much the same sentiments. "I am not," he says, "so full of wantonness as
to be able to crack his insufferably absurd jokes with Becan, and give the
palm of antiquity to the language of Flanders in preference to the Hebrew,
making it the parent tongue not only of all other languages, but of the
Hebrew itself." Schrevelius, the lexicographer, gave vent to his contempt
in verse:--

  "Quis tales probet oscitationes!
  Quis has respectat meras chimeras!
  Non Judæus Apella de proseucha,
  Non qui de Solymis venit perustis,
  Aut quisquam de grege Tabatariorum
  Queis phoeni cophinique cura major:
  Cimmerii denique non puto probabunt
  Et si prognatos Japhet putantur
  Gomoroque parente procreati."

Our own Cambden, about the same time commencing his great work on British
Antiquities, began by a protestation against being supposed "insaniam
Becani insanire." Justus Lipsius alone, of all the learned men of the day,
restrained the expression of positive indignation. "We often speak of
Becan and his book about our language," he says, writing to Schottius,
"and have frequent jokes on the subject. He, as you know, would have it
not only to be an elegant and polished tongue, but the primitive one, and
mother of all the rest. But we

  'Stupuimus omnes tentamina tanta
  Conatusque novos.'

And, indeed, many of us laugh heartily. What do I? I love the man himself,
and I admire his quick, keen, and happy wit; happy, indeed, if he would
turn it to some other subject-matter. But these speculations of his, what
credit can we give to them, or what advantage expect from them? Whom shall
I persuade that our language is thus supremely ancient--thus pregnant with
mysterious meanings? That we here, next the Frozen Pole, are the earliest
of mankind? that we alone preserve our language unadulterate and free from
foreign admixture? Such assertions challenge laughter, not opposition."
Goropius did not live to make any reply, dying shortly after in 1572; but
his etymological mantle descended on a worthy successor, in the person of
his countryman Adrien Von Scrieck, lord of Rodorn, who followed up the
subject, on a slightly modified plan, in three-and-twenty books of _Celtic
and Belgic Origins_, published at Ypres A.D. 1614. Scrieck adopted as the
principle of his investigation this position from the _Cratylus_ of Plato.
"All things possess some quality which is the proper reason of their
respective names; and those words which express things as they exist, are
the true names, whereas those that give a contrary meaning are spurious."
Nothing can be truer than this, provided only we knew the existing
characteristics of each object, as the original namers had them in view
when imposing their nomenclature; but when this clue is wanting, no
labyrinth can lead an adventurer into more hopeless error. All articulate
sounds necessarily resemble one another, and there is no name, either of a
place or of a person, in any articulate language, that may not be
constrained to bear some resemblance in sound to some words of any other
given language. These, it is true, will seldom make sense, and never be
truly appropriate; yet, with a little sleight-of-hand, dropping a letter
here and adding one there, substituting a mute for a liquid or a liquid
for a mute, and so forth, the ingenious etymologist will sometimes produce
an equivalent, sounding not unlike the original, and making some sort of
sense not altogether inapplicable to the subject-matter. As, for instance,
if any one, impressed with the conviction that our own language is the
mother tongue of mankind, were to derive Crotona from "Crow-town," he
would produce an equivalent, sounding much the same, and having a meaning
which might possibly have been quite applicable to Crotona, though 'tis
pretty certain that it was not as "a city of kites and crows" that place
originally obtained its designation. So Swift's "All-eggs-under-the-grate"
sounds very nearly identical with the name of the Macedonian conqueror,
though it by no means follows that the son of Philip either was partial to
poached eggs, or named accordingly.

Absurd and ridiculous as these instances may appear, they hardly exceed
the folly of some of Becan's and Scrieck's derivations from the Dutch.
Thus Goropius makes [Greek: Apollôs] _Af-hol-los_, ("off-hole-loose,")
_i. e._ "_ex antro libera_," or "I _loose_ (the rays of light) off, or out
of, the _hole_ or cavern (of darkness!") and thus Scrieck derives Sequana
(the river Seine) from _see gang_, _i. e._ "_via maris_," or the
"_gang_-way to the _sea_!" and Cecrops from _sea-crops_, _i. e._ "_a
marinâ gulâ_," because, we suppose, the Cecropidæ came to Greece with
their _crops_ full, (or empty, as the case might be,) after their _sea_
voyage from Egypt.

The indignation and contempt of the learned world seem to have spent
themselves on Goropius; and Scrieck's preposterous labour appears only to
have excited laughter. The most illustrious writers in every department of
erudition had just ceased to occupy the stage. Scrieck, coming out with
his thousand folios of puerilities among a public familiar with the works
of the two Scaligers, of Cassaubon, Lipsius, Cluver, Cambden, and the
other great lights of learning that shed such a lustre on the latter end
of the sixteenth century, was regarded much as Beau Coates may have been
in latter days, presenting himself in the character of Romeo before
audiences accustomed to the highest histrionic efforts of the Kembles. And
as Coates, not satisfied with convulsing his audience by dying before them
in the regular course of the play, would sometimes die over and over again
for their entertainment; so Scrieck, not content with torturing all the
names of men and places in Chaldea, Phoenicia, Egypt, Greece, Italy,
Spain, and Gaul, into Dutch equivalents, through the three-and-twenty
books of his first impression, followed up his fantasy, in 1615, by an
additional essay, in which whatever was extravagant before, became, if
possible, still more transcendently nonsensical. Perhaps no part of the
entire work is more characteristic of the vanity and blindness of the
writer than his preface to this second part, where he gravely takes his
guide, Goropius, to task for founding so large a work as the _Becceselana_
on so small a foundation as the "_bec_" of Psammetichus, and regrets that
his predecessor did not confine himself to etymons more consistent with
the local and personal characteristics of his several subjects. For his
own part the ground he goes upon is this, that the names of men and places
among the Chaldeans, Egyptians, Greeks, and Latins, as also among the
Scythians, Celts, Etruscans, and Belgæ, (which latter, he says, are all
Celts,) are properly significant in that Scythic tongue which the Belgæ
and Dutch to this day preserve; whence it follows, says he, "as an
argument superior to all exception, that not only the Chaldaic, Egyptian,
Greek, and Latin tongues (he does not mention the Hebrew, which he
concedes to be the language of Paradise) are inferior and posterior to the
tongue now used by the Belgæ and Dutch; but also that the same Belgæ and
Dutchmen are extracted from a more ancient people, and a higher original,
than the said Chaldeans, Egyptians, Greeks, or Romans."

And that this may appear by sufficient proofs, he proceeds to show that
the chief names of men and places in each of these counties are rightly
significant in Dutch, and not in their respective proper languages: as,
for example--

     "ADAM--_Scythicè Ad-ham_, sive _Haid-am_, ens conjunctivum, 'a united
     entity.' The Chaldeans," says he, "interpreted Adam to mean 'red,'
     for what reason I cannot see. It doth not appear a name of sufficient
     dignity for the first and most perfect and absolute of men. 'Tis much
     more to the purpose that he should have got the name of an united
     entity, from the first institution of marriage by his Creator.

     "EVA--_i. e. heve_, significat _prægnans_ vel _elevata_, ab
     _elevatione_ ventris; than which nothing could be said more _in rem_.

     "NOE--_N'hohe_, that is, _altus_, _celsus_; as Noah was at the head
     of time after the deluge. The Chaldeans interpret it _cessatio_,
     _quies_; but Noah," says he, "had neither _rest_ nor _quiet_ during
     the deluge.

     "MOSES--_mos-es_, that is, the 'mud of the waters;' being, when an
     infant, exposed and raised out of the mud and slime of the river
     Nile. The Chaldeans interpret his name 'raised,' simply according to
     the mere circumstance of his being taken up; but the Celtic (_i. e._
     the Dutch) signification denotes the whole fact.

     "DAVID--_D'af-heid_, that is to say, 'lowness,' 'humility.' For David
     was not only of a low stature, but, above all, low and humble in his
     mind, as appears from 1 Kings," &c. &c.

After Teutonising the Hebrew in this manner, he next proceeds to the
Egyptian.

     "AEGYPTOS--_haeg-up-t'hos_, that is 'sylvæ supra altitudines,' 'the
     woody heights above.' (How this is exactly applicable he does not
     inform us.)

     "NILUS--_N'hil-ho_, that is, the 'high descent,' to wit, of waters;
     for the Nile descends from the Mountains of the Moon, which are very
     high.

     "SEBENUTICUM--(a town of the Delta,) _Seben-vuyticum_, that is, 'the
     _seven_-fold _outcome_;' for the Nile is seven-fold, and hath seven
     mouths or outlets.

     "PHAROS--_Phær-ho_, signifying _adnavigatio alti_, or the navigation
     towards the high places; for Pharos is an island with a lofty tower,"
     &c. &c.

Then he takes his course into Greece and Latium, but it would be idle to
follow him through a hundredth part of these vagaries. In not a single
instance does he pay the least attention to what the Greeks and Romans
themselves thought or taught on these subjects, except, indeed, in the
solitary case of the Peloponnesus, which he admits _may_ possibly have had
its name from Pelops, though he thinks it more likely that it expresses
the more appropriate Scythic phrase _Pfel-op-on-es_--"Campus superior ad
aquas," or the _fell_ or plain _up_, _on_, or _above_ the water.

Coming in the course of his peregrinations to Etruria, and being equally
successful in making all the ancient names of men and places there
significant in Dutch, he boldly attempts the interpretation of the
Eugubian tablets. These singular remains of the extinct language of
Etruria, had already exercised the skill of some of the best scholars of
the 16th century, but none of them had succeeded in bending this new bow
of Ulysses. To the insane all things are easy. Scrieck made no more of the
task than did Ulysses--

            "When the wary hero wise,
  His hand now familiar with the bow,
  Poising it and examining--at once;
  As when in harp and song adept, a bard
  Unlabouring strains the chord to a new lyre,
  The twisted entrails of a sheep below
  With fingers nice inserting, and above--
  With such facility Ulysses bent
  His own huge bow, and with his right hand play'd
  The nerve, which in its quick vibration sung
  Clear as a swallow's voice."

With equal confidence Scrieck addresses himself to decipher the tablets of
Gubbio. "That the Dutch was the language of Etruria," he says, "appears
not only from these unquestionably Celtic (_i. e._ Dutch) names of the
most ancient places in Italy, but also by that extraordinary monument of
antiquity, the Etruscan inscription, which, Gruter writes me, was found
some years back at Eugubio (Gubbio) in Etruria, on eight brazen tablets:
the first written in inverted Greek letters, and the rest in Latin
characters." These, upon examination, he pronounces to be clearly Dutch,
and as a specimen adds some sentences of the sixth table,
beginning--SERVERENT: PEMIMUMS: SERVERENT: DEITU: ETAIS EUO: PRIMATER,
&c.; and containing, according to his account, near the end the following
passage: SERBA MARTIA EPUSTOTE SERFIA SERFIR MARTIA TENSA SERFIR SARFER
MARTIA FUTUTO. Of which he gives the following version, premising that the
's' in his copy has an additional stroke, which makes it sound ST. STERVE
MAR TIE EVVERSTOTE STERFTE STERVER MAER TIER DUERSAFT STERTE STERVER MAR
TIER VUT-VUTE; _i. e._ "Let him only die the death who is an extern; let
them only die the death who are externs; let them only die the death who
are outer externs;" being, as he says, a deprecation merely of the evils
of mortality, and a prayer for their infliction on strangers, as Horace
says--

  Hinc bellum lacrymosum, hinc miseram famem
  Pestemque a populo et principe Cæsare, in
  Persas atque Britannos,
  Vestrâ motus aget prece."

Having rendered this and the incantation for the cure of sprains, given in
Cato, "De Re Rustica," into the old Dutch, of which we have had so many
specimens, he closes this summary of his labours with the declaration,
that whoever, after these proofs, will assert that the Etruscan language
was other than the Dutch, cannot be considered otherwise than as _non
compos mentis_.

We had little expectation, when laughing at these vagaries of Scrieck and
Becan, many years ago, that it would yet be our lot to see the same
follies revived in our own time, and among ourselves. But follies are like
fashions, which, having once prevailed in the metropolis, usually run the
round of the provinces. And so this fantastic trick of interpreting the
names of antiquity by modern equivalents, spreading from the schools of
Antwerp and Ypres, still shows itself occasionally in the outskirts of the
republic of letters, and has here lately had a new Avatar, fully as absurd
as any of its prior exhibitions, among those Jupiters Stators of every
exploded folly of the Continent--the English writers on the antiquities of
Ireland.

This new Irish Becceselana is entitled "Etruria-Celtica. Etruscan
Literature and Antiquities investigated, or the language of that ancient
and illustrious people compared and identified with the Iberno-Celtic, and
both shown to be Phoenician, by Sir William Betham, Ulster King-at-Arms,
Vice-President of the Royal Dublin Society, F.S.A., M.R.I.A., &c. &c."[6]
This title exhibits a design in no respect different from that of Goropius
and Scrieck, except in the substitution of the Iberno-Celtic, by the Irish
writer, for the Belgico-Celtic equivalents of the Dutch. If there were
sufficient reason to suppose that the vice-president of the Royal Dublin
Society was acquainted with the Greek and Latin writers who concur in
establishing the non-identity of these nations, we would say that he
exhibits as culpable a contempt for their authority as his Batavian
precursors; but Sir William Betham appears scarcely to have read on the
subject at all; and what was wilful presumption on their part, may be the
innocence of mere want of knowledge on his; for both Scrieck and Becan
were perfectly aware that, in identifying so many nations of antiquity
with their own, they were flying in the face of all authority; but Betham
Hibernicizes all the nations from Taprobana to Thule, apparently
unconscious of any recorded reason against their universal identity.

That the Etruscans spoke Irish, he concludes just as Goropius concluded
that the Phrygians spoke Dutch, from the coincidence of a single word
having, as he alleges, the same sound and meaning in each; and as a single
passage from Herodotus was the sole foundation for the vast inverted
pyramid of nonsense piled up by Goropius on that individual point, (and
kept from toppling over only by sheer force of impudence,) so the single
well-known passage from Suetonius, ascertaining the Etruscan _Aesar_ to be
a designation of the Deity, (_Aesar_ being also, as it is said, Irish for
the same,) gives the only ground on which Betham rests his extravagant
assertion, that the Eugubian inscriptions contain an account of the
discovery of Ireland by the Etruscan navigators, and with a pretended
version of which, through the medium of Irish, as he alleges, he has
filled the whole first volume of his book.

     "In reading in Suetonius the life of Augustus," he says, "I found
     that _Aesar in the Etruscan tongue_ signified _God_. The import in
     Irish being the same, it struck me forcibly that this might not be
     accidental, but that the Etruscan language might be essentially
     Celtic, and therefore capable of interpretation by the Irish. On
     examination, the conjecture proved well-founded. The results of the
     investigation, consequent on the discovery of this clue, will be
     found in the following pages."

It is true the Etruscan _Aesar_ is said to have a like meaning with an
alleged Irish word, coined and spelled by Vallancy _aosfhear_; but it has
also an identical meaning with the Indian _eswara_, and the Egyptian
_osiris_, and the Islandic _aesæ_, which makes _æsar_ in the plural; and
it would be just as reasonable to infer, that therefore the Etruscans
spoke the Hindostanee, or the Coptic, or the Islandic language, as that
they spoke Irish.

All the nations of Christendom give God the name Christ; but he would be
justly deemed insane who would argue, that therefore English is the proper
medium of interpretation for a Russian ukase.

Common sense, without any further learning, might have told Sir William
Betham, that till he stood on some surer ground than the coincidence of a
single word, even supposing that word a genuine one, it would be the
excess of folly to venture on such an application of a modern language;
and further learning (if he had possessed it) would have confirmed the
suggestion of common sense. With a moderate amount of learning, he would
have known that, besides the names of known deities--_Kupra_, _Nyrtia_,
_Mantus_, _Aukelos_, _Camillus_, corresponding to the heathen Juno,
Fortuna, Pluto, Aurora, Mercury--there are also several other Etruscan
words of which we know the meanings, such as _faland_, the heavens;
_andras_, the north wind; _lucumo_, a king; _drouna_, a kingdom or
principality; _damnos_, a horse; _capra_, a goat; _agalletor_, a youth;
_verse_, fire; _ites_, the ides of a month; _hister_, a stage-player;
_subulo_, a trumpeter; _italos_, a bull; _arimoi_, monkeys, _antar_, an
eagle; _arakos_, a lark; _gnis_, a crane; _capys_, a falcon; _gapos_, a
chariot; _burros_, a bowl; _atarin_, a wine-cruet; _nanos_, a wanderer;
_mantissa_, an increase or addition; _turseis_, a space enclosed with
walls; and several others, not one of which bears the remotest resemblance
to any Irish or Celtic word of equivalent meaning.

Further learning, also, would have taught him the hopelessness of
reconciling the Etruscan with any of the languages of Europe known as
spoken languages immediately before the Christian era--Dionysius of
Halicarnassus having expressly declared, that neither in language nor in
customs were the Etruscans of his time similar to any other known nation;
and Dionysius was well acquainted with both Celts and Phoenicians.

Besides, the Phoenician equivalents for most of the Etruscan words in
the list we have just enumerated, are known, and ought to have been known
to any writer undertaking an investigation of either language; and if
known to Sir William Betham, ought at once to have deterred him from this
preposterous attempt. Thus the Phoenician equivalent of aesar is _aloni_
or _alonim_; of kypra, _astarte_; of nyrtia, _god_; of mantus, _much_; of
faland, _samen_; of andras, _carbon_; of lucumo _malaho_; of damnos,
_rackabe_, &c. &c., in none of which, except _samen_, does there appear
the least similarity, either with the Etruscan or the Irish words of like
signification. So also in respect of a number of Gaulish words, the
meanings of which have come down to us, and of which no one pretending
competency to such enquiries ought to be ignorant, but of the existence of
which this vice-president of a leading literary society of Ireland seems
utterly unconscious. But fools will rush in where angels fear to tread,
and Ignoramus walks with confidence where Eruditus fears to take a step.
Reader, do not think that Christopher is too severe! For what but
condemnation and contempt can any rational mind conceive, for a writer so
incapable of dealing with even the rudiments of his subject, and yet so
presumptuous in the temerity of his ignorance, as to declare that "till
_now_ not a scintilla of light has appeared on the subject of Etruscan
antiquities?" We can pardon learned trifling, but when a man wholly
unlearned, on a subject of the greatest interest to the learned world,
presumes to dogmatize in this manner, we strip him in an instant, and have
no mercy in exposing to both learned and simple the nakedness of his
pretensions.

Still facts are facts, and if the fact be, that the tablets of Gubbio are
written in the Irish language, and that Sir William Betham, though as
ignorant of his subject as was the boy who invented the safety-valve of
the steam-engine, has happened in any way, by skill or by chance,
learnedly or unadvisedly, modestly or arrogantly, on the truth, let him,
together with the condemnation, have the credit he deserves, if not as a
Columbus of a new world of letters, at least as a Madoc or a Thorfinn.

The first line of the first table, reading from right to left, he reads
thus: we say _he_, for the very form of some of the letters are still
doubtful:--PUNE: CARNE: SPETURIE: ATUERIE: ABIECATI: NAROCLUM. Is this
Irish? If so, we would expect some six Irish words to be adduced, of
corresponding sound, and having a grammatical dependence and sensible
meaning among themselves. Instead of this, Betham professes to find the
equivalent expressions in _twenty-four_ Irish, or _quasi_-Irish words,
which have neither grammatical relation to one another, nor any coherent
meaning in their united senses--viz. _Pune car na is be tur i e at i i er
i e a bi e ca ta na ra ac lu am_; i. e. "Phoenician to Carne (the turn)
it is night voyage in it likewise in knowledge great in it the being away
how it is the going with water on the ocean." And this he tells us, being
interpreted, signifies, "O Phoenicians, this is a statement of the night
voyage to Carne, (the turn,[7]) and of the manner of going such great
seawise over by the waters of the ocean!"

The only glimmering of any thing like meaning in this string of
unconnected verbiage, appears in the detached phrases "night voyage," "the
being away," and "going with water on the ocean." But the syllable _be_,
which he renders "night," (on what authority Night and Chaos only know,)
is not found in the original; and "being away," depends for its meaning
wholly on the certainty that _e_ means "away" in that collocation of
words, and not "it," as in the phrases immediately preceding; and there is
no suggestion of any reason why it should not here have the same
signification as above, or why it should not mean "of" or "from," in both
of which senses the writer employs it in the subsequent sentences. "Going
with water on the ocean," owes its only pretension to meaning, however
absurd, to "going" and "ocean;" but there is no _am_ for "ocean" in the
original, and the "ra" which he interprets "going" and "moving," is wholly
a coinage of his own brain.

The same may be observed throughout the endless rigmarole of "moon,"
"stars," "steering," "ocean," "night," "day," "knowledge," "science," and
"O Phoenician!" that succeed one another in monotonous repetition for
the next 200 pages. Wherever there appears the least symptom of connected
meaning or applicable language, (admitting the preposterous supposition
that these tables are the records of early voyagers to Ireland,) we
invariably find that either the original is departed from, or that the
alleged equivalents belong to no known language of articulately-speaking
men.

Taking the same liberty of arbitrary division, any one of moderate
ingenuity might turn these inscriptions into a jargon just as readable in
any language of the world. Divide any sentence of any articulate language
into syllables, and apply these alleged Irish words used by Betham as
their equivalents, and you may make it an equally authentic record of a
voyage to Ireland or to the moon, or a recipe for the toothache, or any
thing else you please, with the greatest facility.

Curious reader, tell us, pray, which is the more readable jargon--this,

     "God to knowledge agreeable it is quick and water lonely star indeed
     the to it in day the month this in knowledge with is from the sea
     very solitary being water with the water the voyage always the coast
     steering being throughout moon to knowledge in water God indeed the
     water to danger this the in knowledge with with altogether to night
     the man from current the being water the to cause knowledge steering
     water by Ocean the north."

Or this?

     "Was which security day and night inform Phoenician from night
     means in defence by skill throughout the means being also water means
     voyage from the means as indeed the voyage in it far away people
     water of the sea in gentle inward it is by wisdom day and night in it
     is gentle indeed the sea by science which by night in the will be to
     will be means of the star it far away Phoenician far away steering
     night and day and then to whence is in the ocean night sailing
     happy."

We believe most of our readers will incline to say that the one is about
as insane gibberish as the other; or if they discover a distinction, will
give the palm of a less degree of incoherency to the first. The first is
our own; the second is Betham's--being his literal version of the first
three sentences of the second table, and in no material respect different
from his version of any other three sentences of any of the rest of the
series.[8] The other is our own literal version, on the same principle, of
a sentence of his own, marked in italics in the following extracts, in
which he defends his arbitrary division of the Etruscan text into
monosyllables, though the punctuation of the original plainly divides it
into many-syllabled words.

In defence of this unjustifiable corruption of the original, he alleges
these excuses--

     "In the chapter on language, p. 52, &c., are a few remarks upon the
     division of the words in these inscriptions, in answer to the
     criticism of the learned Committee of the Royal Irish Academy, who
     charged me with 'having made alterations' in the text unwarrantably,
     'especially in the division of the words.' The charge of having made
     any alterations is altogether groundless, I might add unjust,
     uncourteous, and uncalled for. I have not altered a single letter. I
     have added a letter here and there in the Irish, when, by the genius
     and character of that language, it was justifiable, as (when) the
     addition of a word was required to make sense, and when in the
     original the sound did not require it to be expressed; but this is
     fully answered and explained in the chapter alluded to. The 'division
     of the words' requires a few brief observations here.

     "It will be observed that in the first five tables there are
     divisions marked with colons, thus (:); in the sixth and seventh
     tables, and in the Perugian inscription, the divisions are marked
     with a single period (.)

     "In the first few lines of the first table it appears, that, although
     these divisions generally include perfect syllables and words, yet
     the same words are differently divided. In the fifth line, the second
     division contains JUBEBATREBUMPERACNE, and in the fourth division
     PERAKNE stands alone. The first division of this fifth line contains
     SAKRE:--in the next line it is worded thus, UNUERIETUSAKRE; this same
     variation of division pervades all the tables, and indeed almost
     every line of each table; the same may be observed on the Perugian
     inscription. The hypercriticism of the learned committee was
     therefore altogether erroneous, and their observations not borne
     out.[9] These marks are evidently not intended as divisions of words,
     but of sentences, and they are not sufficiently precise even in that
     respect to constitute an accurate guide. The syllabic division,
     however, is governed by rule, is precise, uniform, fixed, and
     consistent, and may therefore be acted on with some degree of
     certainty. Instances occur where three or four consonants follow each
     other, and vowels are altogether omitted; but a little exertion of
     sagacity, after some practice and study, enables us to judge of this
     and supply the omissions."--(Vol. i. p. 369.)

And again, in the passage referred to at p. 53,

     "Whether I was arbitrary and unauthorized in the division of the
     words, will now appear by comparison, as the columns stand in
     juxtaposition, and all are able to judge. _The division is merely
     made into syllables, which, so far from being an unnatural or
     arbitrary division, is the only division which could be reasonably
     and fairly adopted._"

That is to say _Hibernicè_, or rather _Bethamicè_--_The ti fis e on is
mear i lu om a do an do is i la bil se i i ac is o bar bro om be en go_
(we only "add a letter here and there in the Irish, when, by the genius
and character of that language, it is justifiable, as when the addition of
a vowel is required to make sense, and when in the original the sound does
not require it to be explained,") _an en na tur al ur ar bi tre re ti fis
i en is the an lu ti fis si an i i ac co al do be re as a ra be lu an do
fa i ar lu a taob tuait_.

But _are_ these singular-looking syllables Irish? They certainly are
neither sense nor grammar; but we take them all _as_ they appear, with
their alleged meanings in English, from that copious store of
ungrammatical nonsense called Irish, collected in those pretended versions
of the tables of Gubbio; and the reader has already seen what a
characteristic jargon they make when rendered by their English
equivalents.

His fatuity and presumption appear almost incredible. Knowing but a single
Etruscan word, and that a word of two syllables, and finding it, as he
alleges, identical with an Irish word also of two syllables, he concludes
that the Etruscan and Irish languages are the same, and both
_monosyllabic_. Had he known all that men of ordinary learning know upon
the subject, he would have known that of the remaining two or
three-and-thirty ascertained Etruscan words, some are of two--some of
three--some of four syllables--but not one of them all a monosyllable. Yet
thus ignorant even of the commonest rudiments of learning on his subject,
he takes it upon him to talk of men of real learning in the following
strain--

     "That the language of Etruria has hitherto defied the laborious
     investigations of the learned of Italy, is now on all hands admitted.
     Passavi, Gori, and Landsi, have done something to obscure, but little
     if any thing towards its elucidation. Nor have the German
     investigators been more successful. Dr Lepsius has lately given an
     account of the Eugubian tables, and Dr Grotefend a work on the
     rudiments of the Umbrian tongue, and still the subject is as much at
     sea as ever. These profound scholars have made no real impression--no
     light has been elicited--the meaning of a single word has not been
     obtained with any certainty. The solemn, learned, trifling, and
     absurd speculations of Passavi, Gori, and Landsi, and their
     followers, are now treated with deserved contempt. This is an age of
     critical enquiry; commonplace twaddling, inane generalities, and
     magniloquent essays and lectures, even if delivered by professors who
     enjoy the happiness of presiding over Roman colleges, only excite
     derision. Learned savans must now put forth reasonable and
     intelligible postulates, and opinions must be supported by facts, or
     they will only expose themselves to deserved contempt."--(Vol. i. p.
     22.)

Swift himself could not hit the style of the literary quack more
perfectly. "I have considered the gross abuse of astrology in this
kingdom," says Mr Bickerstaff, "and upon debating the matter with myself,
I could not possibly lay the fault upon the art, but upon those gross
impostors who have set up to be the artists. I know several learned men
have contended that the whole is a cheat; and whoever hath not bent his
studies that way, may be excused for thinking so, when he sees in how
wretched a manner that noble art is treated by a few mean illiterate
traders between us and the stars; who import a yearly stock of nonsense,
lies, folly, and impertinence, which they offer to the world as genuine
from the planets, though they descend from no greater height than their
own brains. I intend in a short time to publish a large and rational
defence of this art; and therefore shall say no more in its justification
at present." But here, indeed, the comparison falls; for while Bickerstaff
postpones his proofs for another occasion, Betham proudly displays his
"reasonable and intelligible postulate," in his one fact, that the
dissyllable _Aesar_ is God alike in Etruscan and in Irish. Whence he
concludes that Etruscan and Irish are, therefore, the same language, and
that both consist of words of one syllable each. "The discovery," he says,
(Vol. ii. page 286,) "if 'wonderful' was also accidental, at least the
first clue to it was the solitary fact mentioned in Vol. i. p. 33, of the
passage in Suetonius' life of Augustus, where _Aesar_ is said to mean, in
the Etruscan language, _God_. So small a spark lighted up the large fire."
We are irresistibly reminded of Goropius and his "consequenter fatendum
est antiquissimâ hoc Psammetichi sententiâ."

The translation of the Eugubian tablets, however, is but a part of the
huge mass of absurdity piled up on these two little syllables, _Ae-sar_.
There is a second volume, in which all the topographical extravagances of
Scrieck are played over again, _præconis ad fastidium_, with this
difference, however, that where Scrieck, in his interpretations, gave
genuine Dutch, Betham, in his, gives spurious Irish; for he owns himself,
that "if a sentence be formed of these obsolete monosyllabic words, the
translation in English making good sense, the original, if read to the
best Irish scholar of the day, will appear to him an unknown tongue." He
begins first with Sanconiathan, which he makes the name of the book, not
of the author, _sean cead na than_; i. e. "the old beginning of time,"
when the gods spoke in monosyllabic Irish, and called chaos _cead-os_,
"the first intelligence." And here it must be admitted that the Dutchmen
are outdone: for neither Becan nor Scrieck went above Adam. But Betham is
as much at home on Olympus as either of the Dutchmen was in Paradise; and
with the aid of his monosyllabic glossary, transmutes the celestials into
Teagues and Oonahs as fast as his sybilline syllables can be put together.
Apollo is _ab ol lo_, "the mighty lord of the waters;" (this is hardly as
good as the _off-hole-loose_ of Goropius:) Minerva is _Ma na er ar fad_,
(a terribly long recipe for a name this,) or "the good, the illustrious
guiding wisdom." Hermes is _tur-mees_, "the messenger of the wind."
Hercules is _er cu lais_, "the illustrious hero of light;" but he seems to
be sadly at sea for a derivation for Neptune, whom he is obliged to turn
into a Tyrrhenian catamaran or Irish currow, _Naebh tonn_ "the ship of the
sea." Jupiter (not being an Etruscan, he is not here allowed the _pas_)
_iudh bit er_, "day being great," (which is a very dark saying.) Bacchus,
_bac aois_, "the sustainer of time." Mercury, _meer cu re_, "the swift
champion of the moon"--really this is mere lunacy. Any one might, with
equal plausibility, derive the whole Pantheon from the English, as Apollo,
"aye follow," because day always follows night, and Apollo always followed
pretty girls, Daphne in particular; Mercury, "mirk hurry," because Mercury
hurried the ghosts down through the mirk or murky darkness to the Styx.
Hercules, "he reckless," because Hercules was a great daredevil. Venus,
"vain is," because a pretty woman is too often vain of her good looks.
Juno, "do now," because people were in the habit of making their requests
to her, or, perhaps, because Jupiter used to say so when he wished her to
give him a kiss. Jupiter, "stupider," because it was natural that Juno
should say he was the stupider of the two when they happened to differ;
or, _pace viri tanti_, "you pitier," when poor mortals raised their
sorrowful supplications to him.

Scrieck's foundation for all his extravagant topographical derivations was
the passage from Plato. Doctor Johnson seems to have been the Plato of
these new etymological rambles; but we apprehend that neither the Greek
nor the British philosopher would be much edified by the philological
excursions of the Irish disciple. Nothing can be more perfect in its way
than the dogmatic audacity with which he assigns his derivations; it is in
the true vein of Bickerstaff, and a model to quacks of all classes.

     "Before we commence our examination into the geographical divisions
     of Italy, it is necessary to say something of that portion of the
     world with which the Phoenicians became for the first time
     acquainted after their settlements in Syria, since called _Europe_,
     by an accident as trivial and unlikely to happen as that by which the
     new world in modern times was denominated _America_, that is, by a
     blunder of the Greeks. The fable of the rape of Europa, &c., was a
     mere national allegory, of which the following is the substance. When
     the Phoenician Homeritæ had discovered the Mediterranean, &c.--they
     sent out vessels to explore it, _e_, 'it,' _u_, 'from,' _ro_, 'to
     go,' _ba_, 'was,' _tur_, 'voyage,' _ros_, 'to the promontory;' I. E.
     _it was to go from a voyage to (Italy) the promontory_. This was, as
     usual of the Greeks taking sound for sense, made into a _lady_ and a
     _bull_--_tur ros_ must be the Greek [Greek: tauros], and the Lady
     Europa was to ride the bull to Crete, which was one of the first
     discoveries and settlements. Of the _children or results_, Minos has
     been already explained as _mian_, 'minis,' nos, 'knowledge,' or 'the
     art of mining.' Rhadamanthus means nothing more than that the voyage
     to Crete was the first great result of discoveries on this sea: _ra_,
     'going,' _ad_, 'illustrious,' _am_, 'great sea,' _en_, 'the,' _tus_,
     'first.' So simple is the explanation!--(Vol. ii. p. 244.)

Scrieck had some remains of the modesty of learning, which prevent his
becoming a complete master of this style. The Peloponnesus might perhaps
possibly, he owned, have been derived from Pelops; though 'twas more
likely it should come from _Pfel-op-on_, &c. &c. That admission was
ill-judged: he ought to have denied that Pelops ever existed, and laughed
at the blundering Greeks. But the Irishman is a deacon of his craft, and
settles the point like an adept. "PELOPONNESUS, according to the Greek,
the island of Pelops. But the name was of much greater antiquity than
Greek civilization, and was, like all others, given by the Phoenicians.
Pelops was an imaginary character. The meaning of the word is, _the
promontory of the courteous people_; _bel_, 'mouth,' _aiobh_, 'courteous,'
_a_, 'the', _neas_, 'promontory,' _aos_, 'community, race of
people.'"--(Vol. ii. p. 254.)

When Partridge, the almanack-maker, had overlived the fatal day assigned
for his decease by Bickerstaff, he intimated as much to his friends and
the public, assuring them that he was not only then alive, but had also
been alive on the very 29th March, when the wise astrologer had foretold
he should die.

     "Now," says Bickerstaff in reply, "I will plainly prove him to be
     dead out of his own almanack for this year, and from the very passage
     which he produceth to make us think him alive. He says, _he is not
     only now alive, but was alive upon that very 29th of March which I
     foretold he should die on_; by this he declares his opinion that a
     man may be alive now who was not alive a twelvemonth ago. And,
     indeed, there lies the sophistry of his argument. He dares not assert
     that he was alive ever since that 29th of March, but that he _is now
     alive, and was so on_ that day. I grant the latter, for he did not
     die till night, as appears by the printed account of his death in a
     _letter to a lord_, and whether he since revived I leave the world to
     judge. This, indeed, is perfect cavilling; and I am ashamed to dwell
     any longer upon it."

So if the shade of Pelops will receive our counsel, we advise him to
abstain from vouching any of the family of Tantalus to testify to the
reality of his existence; for he has to deal with a Bickerstaff, by whom
it has been demonstrated that Tantalus is nothing but _tain tal ais_,
"water receding backwards," or an incarnation of those fabulous times when
water was supposed to run uphill, whence it appears that the whole race of
Atreus is a mere series of non-existences. It is true we take this latter
derivation from an extract from another of this judicious discriminator's
labours, in the Transactions of his Academy, where, among other
etymological curiosities, we have that very Irish youth Narcissus, a
beautiful youth, who, seeing his _own_ image reflected in a stream, became
enamoured of it, thinking it the _nymph_ of the water. _Naobh ceas
as_--"the sight of a nymph in the stream." Pythia, "the priestess of
Apollo at Delphos. She _always_ delivered her oracles in hexameter verses,
and with musical intonation--_pitead_, 'music,' from whence the
name."[10]

Sanconiathon, no longer the "old beginning of time," appears here as
_san_, "holy," _con_, "understanding, sense, or wise men," _niod_, "real,"
_tain_, "of the country"--"the sacred writer or wise recorder of the
events of his country." Pygmalion, _big_, "little," _mallein_, "mule," the
_little mule_, or person of a low stature and obstinate disposition. This
is hardly so good as Swift's _pigmy lion_. "Pasiphæ, _ba sabas_, 'the
propensity, fancy, or disposition of a cow;' and, _proh pudor_, Venus,
'herself,' _bhean_, 'the woman,' _aois_, 'of the community'--pronounced
_vanus_, 'the ---- or _woman of the town_!'"

But to come back to the geographical division of the Levant, to which _e u
ro ba tur ros_, which the foolish Greeks construed Europa and the bull,
were only preparatory, we have another luculent example of the Bickerstaff
style in _Gallia Togata_.

     "It is said the country was called _Togata_ by the Romans, because
     they wore the Roman _toga_ or gown. This seems doubtful, for when a
     country became a Roman province, the same reason for the name should
     apply universally. We must therefore seek a more satisfactory
     derivation for that name, to be found in the circumstances of the
     country. Gallia Togata consists of the plain country intersected by
     the Po and its numerous tributaries, and surrounded on the north and
     west by the high ranges of the Alps, on the south by the Apennines,
     and on the east by the Adriatic. It is, perhaps, the best-watered and
     most fertile country in Europe, enjoying a delightful climate. Its
     name, Togata, says all this, _togh_, _it is the chosen land_, or, to
     use an English idiom, _choice land, the most desirable and delightful
     country_; _togh a ta_, literally _the chosen spot or place_. Sound,
     not sense, suggested the Roman derivation."

Of course Gallia _Braccata_ and Gallia _Comata_ had just as little to say
to "long hair," or a "pair of breeches," as Gallia Togata to a Roman gown,
and the application of _gens togata_ to the inhabitants of Italy, as
contradistinguished from the transalpine and other provinces, was
altogether a blunder of the ancients.

     "We have before us again CRETA, the largest of the Greek islands. Its
     name is derived by some from the Curetes, who are said to have been
     its first inhabitants; by others from the nymph Crete, daughter of
     Hesperus; and by others from Creos, a son of Jupiter, and the nymph
     Idoea. These are private conceits. It derives its name from its
     shape and external appearance from the sea; and had such an island
     been discovered in modern times by English navigators, it would have
     been called _the ridge_ island, the precise meaning of its name in
     Celtic _creit a_, "the ridge," putting the article last, in
     conformity to idiom."

     CYTHERA, "one of the Ionian Islands. Like all the other names for
     which the Greeks had no known origin, they derived it from an
     individual called _Cytherus_. It is subject to _heavy showers_, from
     which the name _cith_, showers, _er_, great, _a_, the,--that is, _the
     island of heavy showers_."

     ZACYNTHUS.--"A small island to the south of Cephalonia, (_ce fal ia_;
     _i. e._ the fruitful plains country.) The Greeks say the island was
     named from a companion of Hercules, who, dying from the bite of a
     serpent, was buried there. It was so called, because a strong current
     is there first felt by the mariner coming from the east, _za cing
     thus_, current, strong, first."

We really find some difficulty in believing that it is not Swift's _Essay
on the Antiquity of the English Language_ that we have before us.

     "My present attempt is to assert the antiquity of our English tongue,
     which, as I shall undertake to prove by invincible arguments, hath
     varied very little for these two thousand six hundred and thirty-four
     years past. And my proof shall be drawn from etymology, wherein I
     shall use my matter much better than Skinner, Verstegan, Cambden, and
     many other superficial pretenders have done; for I will put no force
     upon the words, nor desire any more favour than to allow for the
     usual accidents of composition, or the avoiding a _cacophonia_.

     "I will begin with the Grecians, among whom the most ancient are the
     Greek leaders on both sides at the siege of Troy. For it is plain,
     from Homer, that the Trojans spoke Greek, as well as the Grecians. Of
     these latter _Achilles_ was the most valiant. This hero was of a
     restless, unquiet nature, and therefore, as Guy of Warwick was called
     a _Kill-care_, and another terrible man a _Kill-Devil_, so this
     general was called a _Kill-Ease_, or destroyer of ease, and at length
     by corruption _Achilles_.

     "Hector, on the other side, was the bravest among the Trojans. He had
     destroyed so many of the Greeks by _hacking_ and _tearing_ them, that
     his soldiers, when they saw him fighting, would cry out, 'Now the
     enemy will be _hackt_--now he will be _tore_.' At last, by putting
     both words together, the appellation was given to their leader under
     the name of _Hack-tore_, and, for the more commodious sounding,
     _Hector_.

     "The next I shall mention is _Andromache_, the famous wife of Hector.
     Her father was a Scottish gentleman of a noble family still
     subsisting in that ancient kingdom; but being a foreigner in Troy, to
     which city he led some of his countrymen in the defence of Priam, as
     _Dictys Cretensis_ learnedly observes, Hector fell in love with his
     daughter, and the father's name was _Andrew Mackay_. The young lady
     was called by the same name, only a little softened to the Greek
     accent."

And now, and as no Irish antiquary can be well supposed to write a
complete book without giving his own theory of the round towers of that
country, we come to the chapter on these singular structures, in which, of
course, all former enquirers are proved to have been egregiously wrong,
and a new theory established on incontrovertible evidence; viz. that the
round towers were monuments erected over different incarnations of the god
Buddho. As usual, there is the alleged mistake of sound for sense to
account for the reason why their common appellation of _clogteach_, or
"bell house," should not truly express their use.

     "I shall remark upon a _vulgar error_ which has had great currency
     among Irish antiquarians, who have asserted that they were called
     _clogteach_, 'steeples, belfries.' Bells are of comparatively recent
     introduction into Ireland, and _clock_, from which the word has
     evidently been derived, still more modern. The blunder has arisen
     from ignorance of the language. I have a memorandum in an Irish MS.,
     that they were called by the people _leactaidh_, that is, _monuments
     of the dead_, the sound of which has been mistaken by those who but
     imperfectly knew the language. Many writers have been mistaken by
     this."

The memorandum in the Irish MS. looks very like Bickerstaff's _Letter to a
Lord_. We could wager our crutch against the baton of the Ulster king,
that the memorandum is in his own or his scribe's handwriting, and the
language in which it is imagined, a variety of that new dialect in which
Mr Silk Buckingham declares that his Irish friends converse with the
Phoenician aborigines of Mount Atlas. But the proof of the pudding is
the eating of it, and it seems that under one of the towers they have
found Buddho himself, body and bones, which puts the matter beyond
controversy; for if Buddho be buried under the tower, the tower itself
must needs be Buddho's monument. At p. 210, (Vol. ii.,) we have a
representation of the Indian divinity (how comes it that Buddho is not
made an Etruscan?) lying buried in the basement of the tower at a place
called Ardmore. There seems to be no question that a skeleton was got in
the bottom of this tower, and another in another; and the discoverers of
the fact deserve credit for their addition to the slight stock of
knowledge that the Irish antiquarians seem to possess of those which are
perhaps the most singular monuments in their country; but that the bones
are those of a Buddho! really this exceeds our largest estimate of human
fatuity.

But for the communications announcing these discoveries, the two volumes
would be altogether destitute of a single fact, or even useful hint,
bearing on the diversified subjects which their prodigiously ignorant and
audacious author has presumed to handle. How far the fact of these
skeletons being found in such a situation, may affect the rational
investigation of the question, we do not pretend to judge. We would merely
observe, that human interments are found under most ecclesiastical
foundations, and that their occurrence under the "turres ecclesiasticæ" of
Cambrensis, seems at present no more wonderful than their occurrence in
the vaults of an ordinary church.

But we really were surprised, after our long familiarity with "the holy
illustrious guiding one of the sea"--"the mighty lord of the waters"--"the
swift champion of the moon," and the other moonstruck pseudo deities of
the Eugubian tables, to find the chief place and honour in the island of
their own discovery and adoption taken from them, and bestowed on the
Indian Buddho. The "swift champion of the moon" seems to have been
sensible of the affront, and to have made his indignation perceptible in
the suggestion of an argument that can hardly have descended from any but
the lunar sphere; viz. that because the Buddhists of the east raise
monumental dagobas over the relics of their deity, and the Irish round
towers, as is alleged, (by a nameless interpolation in a nameless Irish
MS.,) have been called by a name arguing monumental purposes, that
therefore the Irish towers are dagobas, and any bones that may be found in
or about their foundations are relics of Buddho. The dagobas of Ceylon and
India are buildings of a totally different character from these towers;
they do strongly resemble the pyramidal structures of Yucatan, but bear
not the remotest likeness to any round tower either in Ireland or
elsewhere. Such facts might furnish grounds for arguing an identity
between Buddho and Quaccalcoatle, (and such an identity appears by no
means improbable;) but thence to attempt the deduction of any argument
applicable to the round towers in Ireland or Great Britain, only shows the
illogical constitution of the arguer's mind.

We have given the book and the subject more space than we intended, and
certainly much more than the former, by itself, is worth; but the subject
is one that, whether magnified into an undue importance by having been
repeatedly treated by men of note and learning or not, does, in the
present state of European literature, stand high among the loftiest marks
aimed at by human intellect; and any one singling himself from the crowd
of lookers-on, and addressing himself to hit it, makes himself, for the
moment, the observed of the whole learned world, and by his success or his
failure acquires honour, or brings down reproach upon his country. We
cannot permit British literature to be scandalized by the failure of one
from our ranks who is manifestly inadequate to the task even of handling
his piece, much less of bringing down the popinjay, without condemning the
rashness of the attempt, and exonerating ourselves from any charge of
participating in it.



SUSPIRIA DE PROFUNDIS: BEING A SEQUEL TO THE CONFESSIONS OF AN ENGLISH
OPIUM-EATER.

PART I.--(_Continued from last Number._)


"_But you forgot her,_" says the Cynic; "_you happened one day to forget
this sister of yours?_"--Why not? To cite the beautiful words of
Wallenstein,

                    "What pang
  Is permanent with man? From the highest
  As from the vilest thing of every day
  He learns to wean himself. For the strong hours
  Conquer him."[11]

Yes, _there_ lies the fountain of human oblivions. It is TIME, the great
conqueror, it is the "strong hours" whose batteries storm every passion of
men. For, in the fine expression of Schiller, "_Was verschmerzte nicht der
mensch?_" What sorrow is it in man that will not finally fret itself to
sleep? Conquering, at last, gates of brass, or pyramids of granite, why
should it be a marvel to us, or a triumph to Time, that he is able to
conquer a frail human heart?

However, for this once my Cynic must submit to be told--that he is wrong.
Doubtless, it is presumption in me to suggest that his sneers can ever go
awry, any more than the shafts of Apollo. But still, however impossible
such a thing is, in this one case it happens that they _have_. And when it
happens that they do not, I will tell you, reader, why in my opinion it
is; and you will see that it warrants no exultation in the Cynic.
Repeatedly I have heard a mother reproaching herself, when the birthday
revolved of the little daughter whom so suddenly she had lost, with her
own insensibility that could so soon need a remembrancer of the day. But,
besides, that the majority of people in this world (as being people called
to labour) have no time left for cherishing grief by solitude and
meditation, always it is proper to ask whether the memory of the lost
person were chiefly dependent upon a visual image. No death is usually
half so affecting as the death of a young child from two to five years
old.

But yet for the same reason which makes the grief more exquisite,
generally for such a loss it is likely to be more perishable. Wherever the
image, visually or audibly, of the lost person is more essential to the
life of the grief, there the grief will be more transitory.

Faces begin soon (in Shakspeare's fine expression) to "dislimn:" features
fluctuate: combinations of feature unsettle. Even the expression becomes a
mere idea that you can describe to another, but not an image that you can
reproduce for yourself. Therefore it is that the faces of infants, though
they are divine as flowers in a savanna of Texas, or as the carolling of
birds in a forest, are, like flowers in Texas, and the carolling of birds
in a forest, soon overtaken by the pursuing darkness that swallows up all
things human. All glories of flesh vanish; and this, the glory of
infantine beauty seen in the mirror of the memory, soonest of all. But
when the departed person worked upon yourself by powers that were
intellectual and moral--powers _in_ the flesh, though not _of_ the
flesh--the memorials in your own heart become more steadfast, if less
affecting at the first. Now, in my sister were combined for me both
graces--the graces of childhood, and the graces of expanding thought.
Besides that, as regards merely the _personal_ image, always the smooth
rotundity of baby features must vanish sooner, as being less individual
than the features in a child of eight, touched with a pensive tenderness,
and exalted into a characteristic expression by a premature intellect.

Rarely do things perish from my memory that are worth remembering. Rubbish
dies instantly. Hence it happens that passages in Latin or English poets
which I never could have read but once, (and _that_ thirty years ago,)
often begin to blossom anew when I am lying awake, unable to sleep. I
become a distinguished compositor in the darkness; and, with my aërial
composing-stick, sometimes I "set up" half a page of verses, that would be
found tolerably correct if collated with the volume that I never had in my
hand but once. I mention this in no spirit of boasting. Far from it; for,
on the contrary, amongst my mortifications have been compliments to my
memory, when, in fact, any compliment that I had merited was due to the
higher faculty of an electric aptitude for seizing analogies, and by means
of those aërial pontoons passing over like lightning from one topic to
another. Still it is a fact, that this pertinacious life of memory for
things that simply touch the ear without touching the consciousness, does
in fact beset me. Said but once, said but softly, not marked at all, words
revive before me in darkness and solitude; and they arrange themselves
gradually into sentences, but through an effort sometimes of a distressing
kind, to which I am in a manner forced to become a party. This being so,
it was no great instance of that power--that three separate passages in
the funeral service, all of which but one had escaped my notice at the
time, and even that one as to the part I am going to mention, but all of
which must have struck on my ear, restored themselves perfectly when I was
lying awake in bed; and though struck by their beauty, I was also incensed
by what seemed to be the harsh sentiment expressed in two of these
passages. I will cite all the three in an abbreviated form, both for my
immediate purpose, and for the indirect purpose of giving to those
unacquainted with the English funeral service some specimen of its beauty.

The first passage was this, "Forasmuch as it hath pleased Almighty God, of
his great mercy, to take unto himself the soul of our dear sister here
departed, we therefore commit her body to the ground, earth to earth,
ashes to ashes, dust to dust, in sure and certain hope of the resurrection
to eternal life." * * *

I pause to remark that a sublime effect arises at this point through a
sudden rapturous interpolation from the Apocalypse, which, according to
the rubric, "shall be said or sung;" but always let it be sung, and by the
full choir:--

"I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, from henceforth
blessed are the dead which die in the Lord; even so saith the Spirit; for
they rest from their labours."

The second passage, almost immediately succeeding to this awful burst of
heavenly trumpets, and the one which more particularly offended me, though
otherwise even then, in my seventh year, I could not but be touched by its
beauty, was this:--"Almighty God, with whom do live the spirits of them
that depart hence in the Lord, and with whom the souls of the faithful,
after they are delivered from the burden of the flesh, are in joy and
felicity; WE give thee hearty thanks that it hath pleased thee to deliver
this our sister out of the miseries of this sinful world; beseeching thee,
that it may please thee of thy gracious goodness shortly to accomplish the
number of thine elect, and to hasten thy kingdom." * *

In what world was I living when a man (calling himself a man of God) could
stand up publicly and give God "hearty thanks" that he had taken away my
sister? But, young child, understand--taken her away from the miseries of
this sinful world. Oh yes! I hear what you say; I understand _that_; but
that makes no difference at all. She being gone, this world doubtless (as
you say) is a world of unhappiness. But for me _ubi Cæsar, ibi
Roma_--where my sister was, there was paradise; no matter whether in
heaven above, or on the earth beneath. And he had taken her away, cruel
priest! of his "_great_ mercy?" I did not presume, child though I was, to
think rebelliously against _that_. The reason was not any hypocritical or
canting submission where my heart yielded none, but because already my
deep musing intellect had perceived a mystery and a labyrinth in the
economies of this world. God, I saw, moved not as _we_ moved--walked not
as _we_ walked--thought not as _we_ think. Still I saw no mercy to myself,
a poor frail dependent creature--torn away so suddenly from the prop on
which altogether it depended. Oh yes! perhaps there was; and many years
after I came to suspect it. Nevertheless it was a benignity that pointed
far a-head; such as by a child could not have been perceived, because then
the great arch had not come round; could not have been recognized if it
_had_ come round; could not have been valued if it had even been dimly
recognized.

Finally, as the closing prayer in the whole service stood, this--which I
acknowledged then, and now acknowledge, as equally beautiful and
consolatory; for in this was no harsh peremptory challenge to the
infirmities of human grief as to a thing not meriting notice in a
religious rite. On the contrary, there was a gracious condescension from
the great apostle to grief, as to a passion that he might perhaps himself
have participated.

"Oh, merciful God! the father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the
resurrection and the life, in whom whosoever believeth shall live, though
he die; who also taught us by his holy apostle St Paul not to be sorry, as
men without hope, for them that sleep in _him_; WE meekly beseech thee, O
Father! to raise us from the death of sin unto the life of righteousness;
that, when we shall depart this life, we may rest in _him_ as our hope
is--that this our sister doth."

Ah, _that_ was beautiful; that was heavenly! We might be sorry, we had
leave to be sorry; only not without hope. And we were by hope to rest in
_Him_, as this our sister doth. And howsoever a man may think that he is
without hope, I, that have read the writing upon these great abysses of
grief, and viewed their shadows under the correction of mightier shadows
from deeper abysses since then, abysses of aboriginal fear and eldest
darkness, in which yet I believe that all hope had not absolutely died,
know that he is in a natural error. If, for a moment, I and so many
others, wallowing in the dust of affliction, could yet rise up suddenly
like the dry corpse[12] which stood upright in the glory of life when
touched by the bones of the prophet; if in those vast choral anthems,
heard by my childish ear, the voice of God wrapt itself as in a cloud of
music, saying--"Child, that sorrowest, I command thee to rise up and
ascend for a season into my heaven of heavens"--then it was plain that
despair, that the anguish of darkness, was not _essential_ to such sorrow,
but might come and go even as light comes and goes upon our troubled
earth.

Yes! the light may come and go; grief may wax and wane; grief may sink;
and grief again may rise, as in impassioned minds oftentimes it does, even
to the heaven of heavens; but there is a necessity--that, if too much left
to itself in solitude, finally it will descend into a depth from which
there is no re-ascent; into a disease which seems no disease; into a
languishing which, from its very sweetness, perplexes the mind and is
fancied to be very health. Witchcraft has seized upon you, nympholepsy has
struck you. Now you rave no more. You acquiesce; nay, you are passionately
delighted in your condition. Sweet becomes the grave, because you also
hope immediately to travel thither: luxurious is the separation, because
only perhaps for a few weeks shall it exist for you; and it will then
prove but the brief summer night that had retarded a little, by a
refinement of rapture, the heavenly dawn of reunion. Inevitable sometimes
it is in solitude--that this should happen with minds morbidly meditative;
that, when we stretch out our arms in darkness, vainly striving to draw
back the sweet faces that have vanished, slowly arises a new stratagem of
grief, and we say--"Be it that they no more come back to us, yet what
hinders but we should go to _them_?"

Perilous is that crisis for the young. In its effect perfectly the same as
the ignoble witchcraft of the poor African _Obeah_,[13] this sublimer
witchcraft of grief will, if left to follow its own natural course,
terminate in the same catastrophe of death. Poetry, which neglects no
phenomena that are interesting to the heart of man, has sometimes touched
a little

  "On the sublime attractions of the grave."

But you think that these attractions, existing at times for the adult,
could not exist for the child. Understand that you are wrong. Understand
that these attractions _do_ exist for the child; and perhaps as much more
strongly than they _can_ exist for the adult, by the whole difference
between the concentration of a childish love, and the inevitable
distraction upon multiplied objects of any love that can affect an adult.
There is a German superstition (well-known by a popular translation) of
the Erl-king's Daughter, who fixes her love upon some child, and seeks to
wile him away into her own shadowy kingdom in forests.

  "Who is it that rides through the forest so fast?"

It is a knight, who carries his child before him on the saddle. The
Erl-king's Daughter rides on his right hand, and still whispers
temptations to the infant audible only to _him_.

  "If thou wilt, dear baby, with me go away,
  We will see a fine show, we will play a fine play."

The consent of the baby is essential to her success. And finally she
_does_ succeed. Other charms, other temptations, would have been requisite
for me. My intellect was too advanced for those fascinations. But could
the Erl-king's Daughter have revealed herself to me, and promised to lead
me where my sister was, she might have wiled me by the hand into the
dimmest forests upon earth. Languishing was my condition at that time.
Still I languished for things "which" (a voice from heaven seemed to
answer through my own heart) "_can_not be granted;" and which, when again
I languished, again the voice repeated, "_cannot_ be granted."

       *       *       *       *       *

Well it was for me that, at this crisis, I was summoned to put on the
harness of life, by commencing my classical studies under one of my
guardians, a clergyman of the English Church, and (so far as regarded
Latin) a most accomplished scholar.

At the very commencement of my new studies, there happened an incident
which afflicted me much for a short time, and left behind a gloomy
impression, that suffering and wretchedness were diffused amongst all
creatures that breathe. A person had given me a kitten. There are three
animals which seem, beyond all others, to reflect the beauty of human
infancy in two of its elements--viz. joy, and guileless innocence, though
less in its third element of simplicity, because _that_ requires language
for its full expression: these three animals are the kitten, the lamb, and
the fawn. Other creatures may be as happy, but they do not show it so
much. Great was the love which poor silly I had for this little kitten;
but, as I left home at ten in the morning, and did not return till near
five in the afternoon, I was obliged, with some anxiety, to throw it for
those seven hours upon its own discretion, as infirm a basis for
reasonable hope as could be imagined. I did not wish the kitten, indeed,
at all less foolish than it was, except just when I was leaving home, and
then its exceeding folly gave me a pang. Just about that time, it happened
that we had received, as a present from Leicestershire, a fine young
Newfoundland dog, who was under a cloud of disgrace for crimes of his
youthful blood committed in that county. One day he had taken too great a
liberty with a pretty little cousin of mine, Emma H----, about four years
old. He had, in fact, bitten off her cheek, which, remaining attached by a
shred, was, through the energy of a governess, replaced, and subsequently
healed without a scar. His name being _Turk_, he was immediately
pronounced by the best Greek scholar of that neighbourhood, [Greek:
epônymos] (_i. e._ named significantly, or reporting his nature in his
name.) But as Miss Emma confessed to having been engaged in taking away a
bone from him, on which subject no dog can be taught to understand a joke,
it did not strike our own authorities that he was to be considered in a
state of reprobation; and as our gardens (near to a great town) were, on
account chiefly of melons, constantly robbed, it was held that a moderate
degree of fierceness was rather a favourable trait in his character. My
poor kitten, it was supposed, had been engaged in the same playful
trespass upon Turk's property as my Leicestershire cousin, and Turk laid
her dead on the spot. It is impossible to describe my grief when the case
was made known to me at five o'clock in the evening, by a man's holding
out the little creature dead: she that I had left so full of glorious
life--life which even in a kitten is infinite--was now stretched in
motionless repose. I remember that there was a large coal stack in the
yard. I dropped my Latin books, sat down upon a huge block of coal, and
burst into a passion of tears. The man, struck with my tumultuous grief,
hurried into the house; and from the lower regions deployed instantly the
women of the laundry and the kitchen. No one subject is so absolutely
sacred, and enjoys so _classical_ a sanctity among girls, as 1. Grief; and
2. Love which is unfortunate. All the young women took me up in their arms
and kissed me; and last of all, an elderly who was the cook, not only
kissed me, but wept so audibly, from some suggestion doubtless of grief
personal to herself, that I threw my arms about her neck and kissed _her_
also. It is probable, as I now suppose, some account of my grief for my
sister had reached them. Else I was never allowed to visit _their_ region
of the house. But, however _that_ might be, afterwards it struck me, that
if I had met with so much sympathy, or with any sympathy at all, from the
servant chiefly connected with myself in the desolating grief I had
suffered, possibly I should not have been so profoundly shaken.

But did I in the mean time feel anger towards Turk? Not the least. And the
reason was this:--My guardian, who taught me Latin, was in the habit of
coming over and dining at my mother's table whenever he pleased. On these
occasions he, who like myself pitied _dependant_ animals, went invariably
into the yard of the offices, taking me with him, and unchained the dogs.
There were two--_Grim_, a mastiff, and _Turk_, our young friend. My
guardian was a bold athletic man, and delighted in dogs. He told me, which
also my own heart told me, that these poor dogs languished out their lives
under this confinement. The moment that I and my guardian (_ego et rex
meus_) appeared in sight of the two kennels, it is impossible to express
the joy of the dogs. Turk was usually restless; Grim slept away his life
in surliness. But at the sight of us--of my little insignificant self and
my six-foot guardian--both dogs yelled with delight. We unfastened their
chains with our own hands, they licking our hands; and as to myself,
licking my miserable little face; and at one bound they re-entered upon
their natural heritage of joy. Always we took them through the fields,
where they molested nothing, and closed with giving them a cold bath in
the brook which bounded my father's property. What despair must have
possessed our dogs when they were taken back to their hateful prisons! and
I, for my part, not enduring to see their misery, slunk away when the
rechaining commenced. It was in vain to tell me that all people, who had
property out of doors to protect, chained up dogs in the same way; _this_
only proved the extent of the oppression; for a monstrous oppression it
_did_ seem, that creatures, boiling with life and the desires of life,
should be thus detained in captivity until they were set free by death.
That liberation visited poor _Grim_ and _Turk_ sooner than any of us
expected, for they were both poisoned within the year that followed by a
party of burglars. At the end of that year I was reading the Æneid; and it
struck me, who remembered the howling recusancy of _Turk_, as a peculiarly
fine circumstance, introduced amongst the horrors of Tartarus, that sudden
gleam of powerful animals, full of life and conscious rights, rebelling
against chains:--

               "Iræque leonum
  Vincla recusantum."[14]

Virgil had doubtless picked up that gem in his visits at feeding-time to
the _caveæ_ of the Roman amphitheatre. But the rights of brute creatures
to a merciful forbearance on the part of man, could not enter into the
feeblest conceptions of one belonging to a nation that, (although too
noble to be _wantonly_ cruel,) yet in the same amphitheatre manifested so
little regard even to human rights. Under Christianity, the condition of
the brute has improved, and will improve much more. There is ample room.
For I am sorry to say, that the commonest vice of Christian children, too
often surveyed with careless eyes by mothers, that in their _human_
relations are full of kindness, is cruelty to the inferior creatures
thrown upon their mercy. For my own part, what had formed the groundwork
of my happiness, (since joyous was my nature, though overspread with a
cloud of sadness,) had been from the first a heart overflowing with love.
And I had drunk in too profoundly the spirit of Christianity from our many
nursery readings, not to read also in its divine words the justification
of my own tendencies. That which I desired, was the thing which I ought to
desire; the mercy that I loved was the mercy that God had blessed. From
the sermon on the Mount resounded for ever in my ears--"Blessed are the
merciful!" I needed not to add--"For they shall obtain mercy." By lips so
holy, and when standing in the atmosphere of truths so divine, simply to
have been blessed--_that_ was a sufficient ratification; every truth so
revealed, and so hallowed by position, starts into sudden life, and
becomes to itself its own authentication, needing no proof to convince,
needing no promise to allure.

It may well be supposed, therefore, that, having so early awakened within
me what may be philosophically called the _transcendental_ justice of
Christianity, I blamed not _Turk_ for yielding to the coercion of his
nature. He had killed the object of my love. But, besides that he was
under the constraint of a primary appetite--Turk was himself the victim of
a killing oppression. He was doomed to a fretful existence so long as he
should exist at all. Nothing could reconcile this to my benignity, which
at that time rested upon two pillars--upon the deep, deep heart which God
had given to me at my birth, and upon exquisite health. Up to the age of
two, and almost through that entire space of twenty-four months, I had
suffered from ague; but when _that_ left me, all germs and traces of ill
health fled away for ever--except only such (and those how curable!) as I
inherited from my schoolboy distresses in London, or had created by means
of opium. Even the long ague was not without ministrations of favour to my
prevailing temper; and on the whole, no subject for pity; since naturally
it won for me the sweet caresses of female tenderness both young and old.
I was a little petted; but you see by this time, reader, that I must have
been too much of a philosopher, even in the year one _ab urbe condita_ of
my frail earthly tenement, to abuse such indulgence. It also won for me a
ride on horseback whenever the weather permitted. I was placed on a
pillow, in front of a cankered old man, upon a large white horse, not so
young as _I_ was, but still showing traces of blood. And even the old man,
who was both the oldest and the worst of the three, talked with gentleness
to myself, reserving his surliness--for all the rest of the world.

These things pressed with a gracious power of incubation upon my
predispositions; and in my overflowing love I did things fitted to make
the reader laugh, and sometimes fitted to bring myself into perplexity.
One instance from a thousand may illustrate the combination of both
effects. At four years old, I had repeatedly seen the housemaid raising
her long broom and pursuing (generally destroying) a vagrant spider. The
holiness of all life, in my eyes, forced me to devise plots for saving the
poor doomed wretch; and thinking intercession likely to prove useless, my
policy was--to draw off the housemaid on pretence of showing her a
picture, until the spider, already _en route_, should have had time to
escape. Very soon, however, the shrewd housemaid, marking the coincidence
of these picture exhibitions with the agonies of fugitive spiders,
detected my stratagem; so that, if the reader will pardon an expression
borrowed from the street, henceforwards the picture was "no go." However,
as she approved of my motive, she told me of the many murders that the
spider had committed, and next (which was worse) of the many that he
certainly _would_ commit if reprieved. This staggered me. I could have
gladly forgiven the past; but it _did_ seem a false mercy to spare one
spider in order to scatter death amongst fifty flies. I thought timidly
for a moment, of suggesting that people sometimes repented, and that _he_
might repent; but I checked myself, on considering that I had never read
any account, and that she might laugh at the idea, of a penitent spider.
To desist was a necessity in these circumstances. But the difficulty which
the housemaid had suggested, did not depart; it troubled my musing mind to
perceive, that the welfare of one creature might stand upon the ruin of
another: and the case of the spider remained thenceforwards even more
perplexing to my understanding than it was painful to my heart.

The reader is likely to differ from me upon the question, moved by
recurring to such experiences of childhood, whether much value attaches to
the perceptions and intellectual glimpses of a child. Children, like men,
range through a gamut that is infinite, of temperaments and characters,
ascending from the very dust below our feet to highest heaven. I have seen
children that were sensual, brutal, devilish. But, thanks be to the _vis
medicatrix_ of human nature, and to the goodness of God, these are as rare
exhibitions as all other monsters. People thought, when seeing such odious
travesties and burlesques upon lovely human infancy, that perhaps the
little wretches might be _kilcrops_.[15] Yet, possibly, (it has since
occurred to me,) even these children of the fiend, as they seemed, might
have one chord in their horrible natures that answered to the call of some
sublime purpose. There is a mimic instance of this kind, often found
amongst ourselves in natures that are not really "horrible," but which
_seem_ such to persons viewing them from a station not sufficiently
central:--Always there are mischievous boys in a neighbourhood, boys who
tie canisters to the tails of cats belonging to ladies--a thing which
_greatly_ I disapprove; and who rob orchards--a thing which _slightly_ I
disapprove; and behold! the next day, on meeting the injured ladies, they
say to me, "Oh, my dear friend, never pretend to argue for him! This boy,
we shall all see, will come to be hanged." Well, _that_ seems a
disagreeable prospect for all parties; so I change the subject; and lo!
five years later, there is an English frigate fighting with a frigate of
heavier metal, (no matter of what nation.) The noble captain has
manoeuvred, as only _his_ countrymen can manoeuvre; he has delivered
his broadsides, as only the proud islanders can deliver them. Suddenly he
sees the opening for a _coup-de-main_; through his speaking-trumpet he
shouts--"_Where are my boarders?_" And instantly rise upon the deck, with
the gaiety of boyhood, in white shirt sleeves bound with black ribands,
fifty men, the _élite_ of the crew; and behold! at the very head of them,
cutlass in hand, is our friend the tyer of canisters to the tails of
ladies' cats--a thing which _greatly_ I disapprove, and also the robber of
orchards--a thing which _slightly_ I disapprove. But here is a man that
will not suffer you either greatly or slightly to disapprove him. Fire
celestial burns in his eye; his nation, his glorious nation, is in his
mind; himself he regards no more than the life of a cat, or the ruin of a
canister. On the deck of the enemy he throws himself with rapture, and if
_he_ is amongst the killed, if he for an object so gloriously unselfish
lays down with joy his life and glittering youth, mark this--that,
perhaps, he will not be the least in heaven.

But coming back to the case of childhood, I maintain steadfastly--that,
into all the _elementary_ feelings of man, children look with more
searching gaze than adults. My opinion is, that where circumstances
favour, where the heart is deep, where humility and tenderness exist in
strength, where the situation is favourable as to solitude and as to
genial feelings, children have a specific power of contemplating the
truth, which departs as they enter the world. It is clear to me, that
children, upon elementary paths which require no knowledge of the world to
unravel, tread more firmly than men; have a more pathetic sense of the
beauty which lies in justice; and, according to the immortal ode of our
great laureate, [ode "On the Intimations of Immortality in Childhood,"] a
far closer communion with God. I, if you observe, do not much intermeddle
with religion, properly so called. My path lies on the interspace between
religion and philosophy, that connects them both. Yet here for once I
shall trespass on grounds not properly mine, and desire you to observe in
St Matthew, chap. xxi., and v. 15, _who_ were those that, crying in the
temple, made the first public recognition of Christianity. Then, if you
say, "Oh, but children echo what they hear, and are no independent
authorities!" I must request you to extend your reading into v. 16, where
you will find that the testimony of these children, as bearing an
_original_ value, was ratified by the highest testimony; and the
recognition of these children did itself receive a heavenly recognition.
And this could _not_ have been, unless there were children in Jerusalem
who saw into truth with a far sharper eye than Sanhedrims and Rabbis.

It is impossible, with respect to any memorable grief, that it can be
adequately exhibited so as to indicate the enormity of the convulsion
which really it caused, without viewing it under a variety of aspects--a
thing which is here almost necessary for the effect of proportion to what
follows: 1st, for instance, in its immediate pressure, so stunning and
confounding; 2dly, in its oscillations, as in its earlier agitations,
frantic with tumults, that borrow the wings of the winds; or in its
diseased impulses of sick languishing desire, through which sorrow
transforms itself to a sunny angel, that beckons us to a sweet repose.
These phases of revolving affection I have already sketched. And I shall
also sketch a third, _i. e._ where the affliction, seemingly hushing
itself to sleep, suddenly soars upwards again upon combining with
_another_ mode of sorrow; viz. anxiety without definite limits, and the
trouble of a reproaching conscience. As sometimes,[16] upon the English
lakes, waterfowl that have careered in the air until the eye is wearied
with the eternal wheelings of their inimitable flight--Grecian
simplicities of motion, amidst a labyrinthine infinity of curves that
would baffle the geometry of Apollonius--seek the water at last, as if
with some settled purpose (you imagine) of reposing. Ah, how little have
you understood the omnipotence of that life which they inherit! _They_
want no rest; they laugh at resting; all is "make believe," as when an
infant hides its laughing face behind its mother's shawl. For a moment it
is still. Is it meaning to rest? Will its impatient heart endure to lurk
there for long? Ask rather if a cataract will stop from fatigue. Will a
sunbeam sleep on its travels? Or the Atlantic rest from its labours? As
little can the infant, as little can the waterfowl of the lakes, suspend
their play, except as a variety of play, or rest unless when nature
compels them. Suddenly starts off the infant, suddenly ascend the birds,
to new evolutions as incalculable as the caprices of a kaleidoscope; and
the glory of their motions, from the mixed immortalities of beauty and
inexhaustible variety, becomes at least pathetic to survey. So also, and
with such life of variation, do the _primary_ convulsions of nature--such,
perhaps, as only _primary_[17] formations in the human system can
experience--come round again and again by reverberating shocks.

The new intercourse with my guardian, and the changes of scene which
naturally it led to, were of use in weaning my mind from the mere disease
which threatened it in case I had been left any longer to my total
solitude. But out of these changes grew an incident which restored my
grief, though in a more troubled shape, and now for the first time
associated with something, like remorse and deadly anxiety. I can safely
say that this was my earliest trespass, and perhaps a venial one--all
things considered. Nobody ever discovered it; and but for my own frankness
it would not be know to this day. But _that_ I could not know; and for
years, that is from seven or earlier up to ten, such was my simplicity,
that I lived in constant terror. This, though it revived my grief, did me
probably great service; because it was no longer a state of languishing
desire tending to torpor, but of feverish irritation and gnawing care that
kept alive the activity of my understanding. The case was this:--It
happened that I had now, and commencing with my first introduction to
Latin studies, a large weekly allowance of pocket-money, too large for my
age, but safely entrusted to myself, who never spent or desired to spend
one fraction of it upon any thing but books. But all proved too little for
my colossal schemes. Had the Vatican, the Bodleian, and the _Bibliothéque
du Roi_ been all emptied into one collection for my private gratification,
little progress would have been made towards content in this particular
craving. Very soon I had run ahead of my allowance, and was about three
guineas deep in debt. There I paused; for deep anxiety now began to
oppress me as to the course in which this mysterious (and indeed guilty)
current of debt would finally flow. For the present it was frozen up; but
I had some reason for thinking that Christmas thawed all debts whatsoever,
and set them in motion towards innumerable pockets. Now _my_ debt would be
thawed with all the rest; and in what direction would it flow? There was
no river that would carry it off to sea; to somebody's pocket it would
beyond a doubt make its way; and who _was_ that somebody? This question
haunted me for ever. Christmas had come, Christmas had gone, and I heard
nothing of the three guineas. But I was not easier for _that_. Far rather
I _would_ have heard of it; for this indefinite approach of a loitering
catastrophe gnawed and fretted my feelings. No Grecian audience ever
waited with more shuddering horror for the anagnorisis[18] of the
OEdipus, than I for the explosion of my debt. Had I been less ignorant,
I should have proposed to mortgage my weekly allowance for the debt, or to
form a sinking fund for redeeming it; for the _weekly_ sum was nearly five
per cent on the entire debt. But I had a mysterious awe of ever alluding
to it. This arose from my want of some confidential friend; whilst my
grief pointed continually to the remembrance--that _so_ it had not always
been. But was not the bookseller to blame in suffering a child scarcely
seven years old to contract such a debt? Not in the least. He was both a
rich man, who could not possibly care for my trifling custom, and
notoriously an honourable man. Indeed the money which I myself spent every
week in books, would reasonably have caused him to presume that so small a
sum as three guineas might well be authorized by my family. He stood,
however, on plainer ground. For my guardian, who was very indolent, (as
people chose to call it,) that is, like his little melancholy ward, spent
all his time in reading, often enough would send me to the bookseller's
with a written order for books. This was to prevent my forgetting. But
when he found that such a thing as "forgetting" in the case of a book, was
wholly out of the question for me, the trouble of writing was dismissed.
And thus I had become factor-general on the part of my guardian, both for
_his_ books, and for such as were wanted on my own account in the natural
course of my education. My private "little account" had therefore in fact
flowed homewards at Christmas, not (as I anticipated) in the shape of an
independent current, but as a little tributary rill that was lost in the
waters of some more important river. This I now know, but could not then
have known with any certainty. So far, however, the affair would gradually
have sunk out of my anxieties as time wore on. But there was another item
in the case, which, from the excess of my ignorance, preyed upon my
spirits far more keenly; and this, keeping itself alive, kept also the
other incident alive. With respect to the debt, I was not so ignorant as
to think it of much danger by the mere amount: my own allowance furnished
a scale for preventing _that_ mistake: it was the principle, the having
presumed to contract debts on my own account, that I feared to have
exposed. But this other case was a ground for anxiety even as regarded the
amount; not really; but under the jesting representation made to me, which
I (as ever before and after) swallowed in perfect faith. Amongst the books
which I had bought, all English, was a history of Great Britain,
commencing of course with Brutus and a thousand years of impossibilities;
these fables being generously thrown in as a little gratuitous _extra_ to
the mass of truths which were to follow. This was to be completed in sixty
or eighty parts, I believe. But there was another work left more
indefinite as to its ultimate extent, and which from its nature seemed to
imply a far wider range. It was a general history of navigation, supported
by a vast body of voyages. Now, when I considered with myself what a huge
thing the sea was, and that so many thousands of captains, commodores,
admirals, were eternally running up and down it, and scoring lines upon
its face so rankly, that in some of the main "streets" and "squares" (as
one might call them) their tracks would blend into one undistinguishable
blot,--I began to fear that such a work tended to infinity. What was
little England to the universal sea? And yet _that_ went perhaps to
fourscore parts. Not enduring the uncertainty that now besieged my
tranquillity, I resolved to know the worst; and on a day ever memorable to
me I went down to the bookseller's. He was a mild elderly man, and to
myself had always shown a kind indulgent manner. Partly perhaps he had
been struck by my extreme gravity; and partly, during the many
conversations I had with him, on occasion of my guardian's orders for
books, with my laughable simplicity. But there was another reason which
had early won for me his paternal regard. For the first three or four
months I had found Latin something of a drudgery; and the incident which
for ever knocked away the "shores," at that time preventing my launch upon
the general bosom of Latin literature, was this:--One day the bookseller
took down a Beza's _Latin Testament_; and, opening it, asked me to
translate for him the chapter which he pointed to. I was struck by
perceiving that it was the great chapter of St Paul on the grave and
resurrection. I had never seen a Latin version: yet from the simplicity of
the scriptural style in _any_ translation, (though Beza's is far from
good) I could not well have failed in construing. But as it happened to be
this particular chapter, which in English I had read again and again with
so passionate a sense of its grandeur, I read it off with a fluency and
effect like some great opera-singer uttering a rapturous _bravura_. My
kind old friend expressed himself gratified, making me a present of the
book as a mark of his approbation. And it is remarkable, that from this
moment, when the deep memory of the English words had forced me into
seeing the precise correspondence of the two concurrent streams--Latin and
English--never again did any difficulty arise to check the velocity of my
progress in this particular language. At less than eleven years of age,
when as yet I was a very indifferent Grecian, I had become a brilliant
master of Latinity, as my Alcaics and Choriambics remain to testify: and
the whole occasion of a change so memorable to a boy, was this casual
summons to translate a composition with which my heart was filled. Ever
after this he showed me a caressing kindness, and so condescendingly, that
generally he would leave any people for a moment with whom he was engaged,
to come and speak to me. On this fatal day, however, for such it proved to
me, he could not do this. He saw me, indeed, and nodded, but could not
leave a party of elderly strangers. This accident threw me unavoidably
upon one of his young people. Now this was a market-day; and there was a
press of country people present, whom I did not wish to hear my question.
Never did human creature, with his heart palpitating at Delphi for the
solution of some killing mystery, stand before the priestess of the
oracle, with lips that moved more sadly than mine, when now advancing to a
smiling young man at a desk. His answer was to decide, though I could not
exactly know _that_, whether for the next two years I was to have an hour
of peace. He was a handsome, good-natured young man, but full of fun and
frolic; and I dare say was amused with what must have seemed to _him_ the
absurd anxiety of my features. I described the work to him, and he
understood me at once: how many volumes did he think it would extend to?
There was a whimsical expression perhaps of drollery about his eyes, but
which unhappily, under my preconceptions, I translated into scorn, as he
replied,--"How may volumes? Oh! really I can't say, maybe a matter of
15,000, be the same more or less." "_More?_" I said in horror, altogether
neglecting the contingency of "less." "Why," he said, "we can't settle
these things to a nicety. But, considering the subject," [ay, _that_ was
the very thing which I myself considered,] "I should say, there might be
some trifle over, as suppose 400 or 500 volumes, be the same more or
less." What, then, here there might be supplements to supplements--the
work might positively _never_ end. On one pretence or another, if an
author or publisher might add 500 volumes, he might add another round
15,000. Indeed it strikes one even now, that by the time all the
one-legged commodores and yellow admirals of that generation had exhausted
their long yarns, another generation would have grown another crop of the
same gallant spinners. I asked no more, but slunk out of the shop, and
never again entered it with cheerfulness, or propounded any frank
questions as heretofore. For I was now seriously afraid of pointing
attention to myself as one that, by having purchased some numbers, and
obtained others on credit, had silently contracted an engagement to take
all the rest, though they should stretch to the crack of doom. Certainly
I had never heard of a work that extended to 15,000 volumes; but still
there was no natural impossibility that it should; and, if in any case, in
none so reasonably as one upon the inexhaustible sea. Besides, any slight
mistake as to the letter of the number, could not affect the horror of the
final prospect. I saw by the imprint, and I heard, that this work emanated
from London, a vast centre of mystery to me, and the more so, as a thing
unseen at any time by my eyes, and nearly 200 miles distant. I felt the
fatal truth, that here was a ghostly cobweb radiating into all the
provinces from the mighty metropolis. I secretly had trodden upon the
outer circumference, had damaged or deranged the fine threads and
links,--concealment or reparation there could be none. Slowly perhaps, but
surely, the vibration would travel back to London. The ancient spider that
sat there at the centre, would rush along the network through all
longitudes and latitudes, until he found the responsible caitiff, author
of so much mischief. Even, with less ignorance than mine, there _was_
something to appal a child's imagination in the vast systematic machinery
by which any elaborate work could disperse itself, could levy money, could
put questions and get answers--all in profound silence, nay, even in
darkness--searching every nook of every town, and of every hamlet in so
populous a kingdom. I had some dim terrors, also, connected with the
Stationers' Company. I had often observed them in popular works
threatening unknown men with unknown chastisements, for offences equally
unknown; nay, to myself, absolutely inconceivable. Could _I_ be the
mysterious criminal so long pointed out, as it were, in prophecy? I
figured the stationers, doubtless all powerful men, pulling at one rope,
and my unhappy self hanging at the other end. But an image, which seems
now even more ludicrous than the rest, at that time was the one most
connected with the revival of my grief. It occurred to my subtlety, that
the Stationers' Company, or any other company, could not possibly demand
the money until they had delivered the volumes. And, as no man could say
that I had ever positively refused to receive them, they would have no
pretence for not accomplishing this delivery in a civil manner. Unless I
should turn out to be no customer at all, at present it was clear that I
had a right to be considered a most excellent customer; one, in fact, who
had given an order for fifteen thousand volumes. Then rose up before me
this great opera-house "scena" of the delivery. There would be a ring at
the front door. A waggoner in the front, with a bland voice, would ask for
"a young gentleman who had given an order to _their_ house." Looking out,
I should perceive a procession of carts and waggons, all advancing in
measured movements; each in turn would present its rear, deliver its cargo
of volumes, by shooting them, like a load of coals, on the lawn, and wheel
off to the rear, by way of clearing the road for its successors. Then the
impossibility of even asking the servants to cover with sheets, or
counterpanes, or tablecloths, such a mountainous, such a "star-y-pointing"
record of my past offences lying in so conspicuous a situation! Men would
not know my guilt merely, they would see it. But the reason why this form
of the consequences, so much more than any other, stuck by my imagination
was, that it connected itself with one of the Arabian nights which had
particularly interested myself and my sister. It was that tale, where a
young porter, having his ropes about his person, had stumbled into the
special "preserve" of some old magician. He finds a beautiful lady
imprisoned, to whom (and not without prospects of success) he recommends
himself as a suitor, more in harmony with her own years than a withered
magician. At this crisis the magician returns. The young man bolts, and
for that day successfully; but unluckily he leaves his ropes behind. Next
morning he hears the magician, too honest by half, enquiring at the front
door, with much expression of condolence, for the unfortunate young man
who had lost his ropes in his own zenana. Upon this story I used to amuse
my sister, by ventriloquizing to the magician from the lips of the
trembling young man--"Oh, Mr Magician, these ropes cannot be mine! They
are far too good; and one wouldn't like, you know, to rob some other poor
young man. If you please, Mr Magician, I never had money enough to buy so
beautiful a set of ropes." But argument is thrown away upon a magician,
and off he sets on his travels with the young porter--not forgetting to
take the ropes along with him.

Here now was the case, that had once seemed so impressive to me in a mere
fiction from a far-distant age and land, literally reproduced in myself.
For what did it matter whether a magician dunned one with old ropes for
his engines of torture, or Stationers' Hall with 15,000 volumes, (in the
rear of which there might also be ropes?) Should _I_ have ventriloquized,
would my sister have laughed, had either of us but guessed the possibility
that I myself, and within one twelve months, and, alas! standing alone in
the world as regarded _confidential_ counsel, should repeat within my own
inner experience the shadowy panic of the young Bagdat intruder upon the
privacy of magicians? It appeared, then, that I had been reading a legend
concerning myself in the _Arabian Nights_. I had been contemplated in
types a thousand years before on the banks of the Tigris. It was horror
and grief that prompted that thought.

Oh, heavens! that the misery of a child should by possibility become the
laughter of adults!--that even I, the sufferer, should be capable of
amusing myself, as if it had been a jest, with what for three years had
constituted the secret affliction of my life, and its eternal
trepidation--like the ticking of a death-watch to patients lying awake in
the plague. I durst ask no counsel; there was no one to ask. Possibly my
sister could lave given me none in a case which neither of us should have
understood, and where to seek for information from others, would have been
at once to betray the whole reason for seeking it. But, if no advice, she
would have given me her pity, and the expression of her endless love; and,
with the relief of sympathy, that heals for a season all distresses, she
would have given me that exquisite luxury--the knowledge that, having
parted with my secret, yet also I had _not_ parted with it, since it was
in the power only of one that could much less betray me than I could
betray myself. At this time, that is about the year when I suffered most,
I was reading Cæsar. Oh, laurelled scholar--sun-bright intellect--"foremost
man of all this world"--how often did I make out of thy immortal volume a
pillow to support my wearied brow, as at evening, on my homeward road, I
used to turn into some silent field, where I might give way unobserved to
the reveries which besieged me! I wondered, and found no end of wondering,
at the revolution that one short year had made in my happiness. I wondered
that such billows _could_ overtake me! At the beginning of that year how
radiantly happy! At the end how insupportably alone!

      "Into what depth thou see'st,
  From what height fallen."

For ever I searched the abysses with some wandering thoughts
unintelligible to myself. For ever I dallied with some obscure notion, how
my sister's love might be made in some dim way available for delivering me
from misery; or else how the misery I had suffered and was suffering might
be made, in some way equally dim, the ransom for winning back her love.

       *       *       *       *       *

Here pause, reader! Imagine yourself seated in some cloud-scaling swing,
oscillating under the impulse of lunatic hands; for the strength of lunacy
may belong to human dreams, the fearful caprice of lunacy, and the malice
of lunacy, whilst the _victim_ of those dreams may be all the more
certainly removed from lunacy; even as a bridge gathers cohesion and
strength from the increasing resistance into which it is forced by
increasing pressure. Seated in such a swing, fast as you reach the lowest
point of depression, may you rely on racing up to a starry altitude of
corresponding ascent. Ups and downs you will see, heights and depths, in
our fiery course together, such as will sometimes tempt you to look shyly
and suspiciously at me, your guide, and the ruler of the oscillations.
Here, at the point where I have called a halt, the reader has reached the
lowest depth in my nursery afflictions. From that point, according to the
principles of _art_ which govern the movement of these Confessions, I had
meant to launch him upwards through the whole arch of ascending visions
which seemed requisite to balance the sweep downwards, so recently
described in his course. But accidents of the press have made it
impossible to accomplish this purpose in the present month's journal.
There is reason to regret that the advantages of position, which were
essential to the full effect of passages planned for equipoise and mutual
resistance, have thus been lost. Meantime, upon the principle of the
mariner who rigs a _jury_-mast in default of his regular spars, I find my
resource in a sort of "jury" peroration--not sufficient in the way of a
balance by its _proportions_, but sufficient to indicate the _quality_ of
the balance which I had contemplated. He who has _really_ read the
preceding parts of these present Confessions, will be aware that a
stricter scrutiny of the past, such as was natural after the whole economy
of the dreaming faculty had been convulsed beyond all precedents on
record, led me to the conviction that not one agency, but two agencies,
had co-operated to the tremendous result. The nursery experience had been
the ally and the natural co-efficient of the opium. For that reason it was
that the nursery experience has been narrated. Logically, it bears the
very same relation to the convulsions of the dreaming faculty as the
opium. The idealizing tendency existed in the dream-theatre of my
childhood; but the preternatural strength of its action and colouring was
first developed after the confluence of the _two_ causes. The reader must
suppose me at Oxford: twelve years and a half are gone by; I am in the
glory of youthful happiness; but I have now first tampered with opium; and
now first the agitations of my childhood reopened in strength, now first
they swept in upon the brain with power and the grandeur of recovered
life, under the separate and the concurring inspirations of opium.

Once again, after twelve years' interval, the nursery of my childhood
expanded before me--my sister was moaning in bed--I was beginning to be
restless with fears not intelligible to myself. Once again the nurse, but
now dilated to colossal proportions, stood as upon some Grecian stage with
her uplifted hand, and like the superb Medea standing alone with her
children in the nursery at Corinth,[19] smote me senseless to the ground.
Again, I was in the chamber with my sister's corpse--again the pomps of
life rose up in silence, the glory of summer, the frost of death. Dream
formed itself mysteriously within dream; within these Oxford dreams
remoulded itself continually the trance in my sister's chamber,--the blue
heavens, the everlasting vault, the soaring billows, the throne steeped in
the thought (but not the sight) of "Him that sate thereon;" the flight,
the pursuit, the irrecoverable steps of my return to earth. Once more the
funeral procession gathered; the priest in his white surplice stood
waiting with a book in his hand by the side of an open grave, the
sacristan with his shovel; the coffin sank; the _dust to dust_ descended.
Again I was in the church on a heavenly Sunday morning. The golden
sunlight of God slept amongst the heads of his apostles, his martyrs, his
saints; the fragment from the litany--the fragment from the clouds--awoke
again the lawny beds that went up to scale the heavens--awoke again the
shadowy arms that moved downwards to meet them. Once again, arose the
swell of the anthem--the burst of the Hallelujah chorus--the storm--the
trampling movement of the choral passion--the agitation of my own
trembling sympathy--the tumult of the choir--the wrath of the organ. Once
more I, that wallowed, became he that rose up to the clouds. And now in
Oxford, all was bound up into unity; the first state and the last were
melted into each other as in some sunny glorifying haze. For high above my
own station, hovered a gleaming host of heavenly beings, surrounding the
pillows of the dying children. And such beings sympathize equally with
sorrow that grovels and with sorrow that soars. Such beings pity alike the
children that are languishing in death, and the children that live only to
languish in tears.



NORTH'S SPECIMENS OF THE BRITISH CRITICS.

NO. III.

DRYDEN.


Sir Walter Scott's admirable Life of Dryden concludes with this
passage:--"I have thus detailed the life, and offered some remarks on the
literary character, of JOHN DRYDEN; who, educated in a pedantic taste and
a fanatical religion, was destined, if not to give laws to the stage of
England, at least to defend its liberties; to improve burlesque into
satire; to free translation from the fetters of verbal metaphrase, and
exclude from it the license of paraphrase; to teach posterity the powerful
and varied poetical harmony of which their language was capable; to give
an example of the lyric ode of unapproached excellence; and to leave a
name SECOND ONLY TO THOSE OF MILTON AND OF SHAKSPEARE." Two names we miss,
and muse where the immortal author of Waverley would have placed them; not
surely below Dryden's--those of CHAUCER and SPENSER.

Let those Four names form a constellation--and the star Dryden, large and
bright though it be, must not be looked for in the same region of the
heavens. First in the second order of English poets--let glorious John
keep the place assigned him by the greatest of Scotsmen. We desire not
that he shall vacate the throne. But between the first order and the
second, let that be remembered which seems here to have been forgotten,
that immeasurable spaces intervene. "Second only to Shakspeare and
Milton," implies near approach to them of another greatness inferior but
in degree, and Dryden is thus lifted up in our imagination into the sphere
of the Creators. On such mention of Milton, let us converse about him for
a short half hour, and then venture to descend on Dryden, not with
precipitation, but as in a balloon.

To an Englishman recollecting the poetical glories of his country, the
Seventeenth Century often appears as the mother of one great name--MILTON.
Original and mighty poets express, at its highest, the mind of their time
as it is localized on their own soil. With Elizabeth the splendour of the
feudal and chivalrous ages for England finally sets. A world expires, and
erelong a new world rises. The Wars which signalize the new period,
contrast deeply with those which heretofore tore the land. Those were the
factions of high lineages. Now, thought seizes the weapons of earthly
warfare. The rights vesting in an English subject by the statutes of the
country--the rights vesting in man, as the subject of civil government, by
the laws of God and nature, are scanned by awakened reason, and put arms
into men's hands. The highest of all the interests of the human
being--higher than all others, as eternity excels time--Religion--is
equally debated. The Protestant church is beleaguered by hostile
sects--the Reformation subjected to the demand for a more searching and
effective reform. Creed, worship, ecclesiastical discipline and
government, all come into debate. A thraldom of opinion--a bondage of
authority, that held for many centuries the nation bound together in no
powerless union, is, upon the sudden, broken up. Men will know why they
obey and why they believe; and human laws and divine truths are searched,
as far as the wit of man is capable, to the roots. It is the spirit of the
new time that has broken forth, and begins ambitiously, and riotously, to
try its powers, but nobly, magnanimously, and heroically too. MILTON owned
and showed himself a son of the time. Gifted with powers eminently fitted
for severe investigation--apt for learning, and learned beyond most
men--of a temper adverse and rebellious to an assumed and ungrounded
control--large-hearted and large-minded to comprehend the diverse
interests of men--personally fearless--devout in the highest and boldest
sense of the word; namely, as acknowledging no supreme law but from
heaven, and as confiding in the immediate communication of divine
assistance to the faithful servants of heaven--possessing, moreover, in
amplest measure, that peculiar endowment of sovereign poets which enables
them to stand up as the teachers of a lofty and tender wisdom, as moral
prophets to the species, the clear faculty of profound self-inspection--he
was prepared to share in the intellectual strife and change of that day,
even had some interposing, pacific angel charmed away from the bosom of
the land all other warfare and revolution--and to shine in that age's
work, even had the muse never smiled upon his cradled forehead, never laid
the magical murmurs of song on his chosen lips. He was a politician, a
theologian of his age--amidst the demolition of established things, the
clang of arms, and the streaming of blood, whether in the field or upon
the scaffold, a thinker and a writer.

There are times that naturally produce real, others that naturally produce
imitative poetry. Tranquil, stagnating times, produce the imitative; times
that rouse in man self-consciousnesses, produce the real. All great poetry
has a moral foundation. It is imagination building upon the great, deep,
universal, eternal human will. Therefore profound sympathy with man, and
profound intelligence of man, aided by, or growing out of, that profound
sympathy, is vital to the true poet. But in stagnating times both sympathy
with man sleeps, and the disclosure of man sleeps. Troubled times bring
out humanity--show its terrible depths--also its might and grandeur--both
ways its truth. A great poet seems to require his birth in an age when
there are about him great self-revelations of man, for his vaticination.
Moreover, his own particular being is more deeply and strongly stirred and
shown to him in such a time. But the moral tempest may be too violent for
poetry--as the Civil War of the Roses appeared to blast it and all
letters--that of the Parliament contrariwise. The intellect of Milton, in
the _Paradise Lost_, shows that it had seen "the giant-world enraged."

Happily for the literary fame of his country--for the solid exaltation in
these latter ages of the sublime art which he cultivated--for the lovers
of poetry who by inheritance or by acquisition speak the masculine and
expressive language which he still ennobled--for the serene fame of the
august poet himself--the political repose which a new change (the
restoration of detruded and exiled royalty to its ancestral throne) spread
over the land, by shutting up the public hopes of the civil and
ecclesiastical republican in despair, and by crushing his faction in the
dust, gave him back, in the visionary blindness of undecaying age, to "the
still air of delightful studies," in order that, in seclusion from all
"barbarous dissonance," he might achieve the work destined to him from the
beginning--not less than the greatest ever achieved by man.

Educated by such a strife to power--and not more sublimely gifted than
strenuously exercised--Milton had constantly carried in his soul the
twofold consciousness of the highest destination. He knew himself born a
great poet; and the names of great poets sounding through all time, rang
in his ears. What Homer was to his people and to his language, he would be
to his; and this was the lower vocation--glorious as earthly things may be
glorious--and self-respecting while he thought of his own head as of one
that shall be laurel-bound; yet magnanimous and public-spirited, while he
trusted to shed upon his language and upon his country the beams of his
own fame. This, we say, was his lower vocation, taken among thoughts and
feelings high but merely human. But a higher one accompanied it. The sense
of a sanctity native to the human soul, and indestructible--the assiduous
hallowing of himself, and of all his powers, by religious offices that
seek nothing lower than communion with the fountain-head of all holiness
and of all good. And Milton, labouring "in the eye of his great
taskmaster"--trained by all recluse and silent studies--trained by the
turmoil raging around him of the times, and by his own share in the
general contention--according to the self-dedication of his mind trained
within the temple--he, stricken with darkness, and amidst the gloom of
extinguished earthly hopes, assumed the singing robes of the poet.

The purpose of the Paradise Lost is wholly religious. He strikes the
loudest, and, at the same time, the sweetest-toned harp of the Muse with
the hand of a Christian theologian. He girds up all the highest powers of
the human mind to wrestling with the most arduous question with which the
human faculties can engage--the all-involving question--How is the world
governed? Do we live under chance, or fate, or Providence? Is there a God?
And is he holy, loving, wise, and just? He will

         "Assert eternal providence,
  And justify the ways of God to man."

The justifying answer he reads in the Scriptures. Man fell, tempted from
without by another, but by the act of his own free-will, and by his own
choice. Thus, according to the theology of Milton, is the divine Rule of
the universe completely justified in the sin into which man has fallen--in
the punishment which has fallen upon man. The Justice of God is cleared.
And his Love? That shines out, when man has perversely fallen, by the
Covenant of Mercy, by finding out for him a Redeemer. And thus the two
events in the history of mankind, which the Scriptures present as
infinitely surpassing all others in importance, which are cardinal to the
destinies of the human race, upon which all our woe, and, in the highest
sense, all our weal are hung, become the subject of the work--the Fall of
man consoled by the promise and undertaking of his Redemption.

The narrative of the Fall, delivered with an awful and a pathetic
simplicity to us in a few words in the first chapter of Genesis, becomes
accordingly the groundwork of the Poem; and these few words, with a few
more scattered through the Scriptures, and barely hinting Celestial
transactions, the War and Fall of the Angels, are by a genius, as daringly
as powerfully creative, expanded into the mighty dimensions of an Epic.
That unspeakable hope, foreshown to Adam as to be accomplished in distant
generations, pouring an exhilarating beam upon the darkness of man's
self-wrought destruction, which saves the catastrophe of the poem from
utter despair, and which tranquillizes the sadness, has to be interwoven
in the poet's narrative of the Fall. How stupendous the art that has
disposed and ordered the immensity!--comprehended the complexity of the
subject into a clearly harmonized, musically proportionate Whole!

Unless the Paradise Lost had risen from the soul of Milton as a
hymn--unless he had begun to sing as a worshipper with his hands uplifted
before the altar of incense, the choice of the subject would have been
more than bold--it would have been the daring of presumption--an act of
impiety. For he will put in dialogue God the Father and God the
Son--disclosing their supreme counsels. He has prayed to the Third Person
of the Godhead for light and succour. If this were a fetch of human wit,
it was in the austere zealot and puritan a mockery. To a devout Roman
Catholic poet, we could forgive every thing. For nursed among legends and
visual representations of the invisible--panoplied in a childlike imposed
faith from the access of impiety--his paternoster and his ave-marie more
familiar to his lips than his bread, almost so as their breath--the most
audacious representations may come to him vividly and naturally, without a
scruple and without a thought. But Milton, the purged, the chastened, a
spiritual iconoclast, drinking his faith by his own thirst on the waters
of Zion, a champion whose weapons from the armoury of God "are given him
tempered"--he to holy things cannot lay other than an awful hand. We know
that he believed himself under a peculiar guidance. Surely, he had had
visions of glory which, when he designed the poem that would include
scenes in heaven, offered themselves again almost like very revelations.
If we hesitate in believing this of him, it is because we conceive in him
a stern intellectual pride and strength, which could not easily kneel to
adore. But there we should greatly err. For he recognized in himself--

     "Self-knowing, and from thence
  Magnanimous to correspond with heaven"--

that capacity of song which nothing but sacred Epos could satisfy.
Diodati asks him--"_Quid studes?_" and he answers--"_Mehercle,
immortalitatem!_" This might persuade us that he finally chose the Fall of
Man as he at first had chosen King Arthur. But not so. When Arthur dropped
away from his purposes, naturally displaced by the after-choice, the will
toward an Epic underwent an answerable revolution. The first subject was
called by the "longing after immortality." But another longing, or the
longing after another immortality, carried the will and the man to the
second. The learning and the learned art of the _Paradise Lost_, concur in
inclining us to look upon Milton as an artist rather than a worshipper. On
closer consideration of its spirit, we cannot think of his putting his
hand to such a work without the inwardly felt conviction that _God was
with him in it_.

And, what is the feeling with which a youthful mind first regards the
_Paradise Lost_? A holy awe--something as if it were a second Bible. So,
too, have felt towards it our great poets. Elwood, the Quaker, has told
us, but we cannot believe him, that _he_ suggested to Milton the _Paradise
Regained_! Hardly credible that, being the natural sequel and complement
of the _Paradise Lost_, it should not have occurred to Milton. Pray, did
the Quaker _suggest the treatment_? To conceive that man was virtually
redeemed when Jesus had avouched, by proof, his perfect obedience, was a
view, we think, proper to spring in a religious mind. It is remarkable,
however, certainly, that the Atoning Sacrifice, which in the _Paradise
Lost_ is brought into the front of the Divine rule and of the poem, in the
_Paradise Regained_ hardly appears--if at all. In both you see the holy
awe with which Milton shuns describing the scenes of the Passion. Between
Adam and Michael, on that "top of speculation" the Visions end at the
Deluge. The Crucifixion falls amongst the recorded events, and is told
with few and sparing words. You _must_ think that the removal of the dread
Crucifixion from the action of the _Paradise Regained_ recommended that
action to the poet--contradicting Warburton, who blames him, as a poet,
for not having chosen the more stupendous action. Milton thus obtained
further a perfect Greek simplicity of plan. The Crucifixion has always
seemed profaned when any modern poet has dared to describe it.

The _Samson Agonistes_ was, you know, Milton's last work. How suitable,
above all other subjects, to the Hebrew soul within him! Their common
blindness--the simplicity of character that is proper to a strong
man--"the plain heroic magnitude of mind"--the absolute dependence on God,
that is to say, trustful dependence brought out by blindness--the
submission under the visiting hand of heaven provoked by Samson's own
disobedience--God's especial selection of him _as his own_, a dedicated
Nazarite--his call to be a national deliverer--All these combined to
affect his devout imagination; while one might almost think, that in the
youthful Milton the same fancy had delighted in the prowess and exploits
of Samson which rejoiced in the heroes of chivalrous fable.

What are Dryden's works to these? How shall we compare Poet with Poet--Man
with Man?

Let us then turn to the other clauses in Sir Walter's eulogium, and we
shall be able to go along with him in much--not all--of what he affirms of
his darling Dryden. He was verily A GREAT TRANSLATOR. But before speaking
of his performances, or of his principles, in that Fine Art, Translation,
let us say a few words on its range and power.

It is indeed most desirable to have the gift of tongues, though the
"myriad-minded" man had but that of his own. There are people who can
parley all the European languages, even like so many natives, and read you
off-hand any strange-looking page, be it even MS., you can submit to their
eyes. Yet, we believe, they always most feelingly understand the "old
familiar faces" of the words they got by heart in lisping them, and that
became a part of their being, not by process of study, but by that seeming
inspiration, through which childhood is ever joyfully acquiring
multifarious lore in the spirit of love. In waking and sleeping dreams we
speak our mother tongue. In it we make love--in it we say our prayers.
Had he lived till he was fourscore, John Leyden, in the dotage of genius,
would have maundered by the banks of the Ganges in the Doric that charmed
his ears among the murmurs of the Teviot. Heaven bless the man who
invented Translation! Heaven bless Translators all--especially those who
give us in English all thoughts, rich and rare, that took life in foreign
attire, and continue to charm human hearts, and souls, and minds, in a
change of light that shows them sometimes even more beautiful than when
first they had a place among airy creatures!

But methinks we hear some wiseacre, who is no wizard, exclaim:--"Oh! to be
enjoyed, it must be read in the original!" What! the Bible? You have no
Hebrew, and little Greek, but surely you sometimes dip into the Old and
into the New Testament.

To treat the question more argumentatively, let Prose Composition be
divided into History, Philosophy, Oratory. In History, Translation--say
into English--is easiest, and in all cases practicable. The information
transferred is the chief thing asked, even if Style be lost--with some
writers a small, with others no doubt a considerable, with a few a great
loss. But the facts, that is, the events, and all the characters too, can
be turned over, although one finer historical fact--the spirit of the
country and time, as breathing in the very Style of the artist, may, yet
need not, evaporate. The Translator, however, should be himself an
historian or antiquary, and should confine himself--as, indeed, if left to
himself he will do--to the nation in whose fate he happens to have had
awakened in him--by influences hard to tell, and perhaps to himself
unknown--the perpetual interest of a sympathy that endears to him, above
all others, that especial region, and the ages that like shadows have
passed over it.

In Philosophy, the Translator's task is harder, and it is higher; but its
accomplishment is open to the zealous lover of truth. The whole philosophy
must be thoroughly possessed by him, or meanings will be lost from, or
imposed on, the author--cases fatal both. Besides, of all writers, a
philosopher most collects extensive and penetrating theories into chosen
words. No dictionary--the soul only of the philosopher interprets these
words. In the new language, you must have great power and mastery to seize
equivalents if there; if not, to create them, or to extricate yourself
with circumlocutions that do not bewilder or mislead--precise and
exquisite. Have we, in our language, many, any such Translations? Not
Taylor's or Sydenham's Plato--not Gillies's Aristotle. Coleridge is
dead--but De Quincey is alive.

In Oratory, the Style is all in all. It is the _ipsissimus homo_. He who
"wielded at will that fierce democratic," does not appear unless the
thunder growl and the lightning dazzle. From what hand shall it fulmine
over England as over Greece? Yet the matter, the facts, the order, the
logic, are all easily enough to be transferred--not the passion and the
splendour, except by an orator, and even hardly by him; but Brougham has
grappled manfully with Demosthenes, though he hath somewhat diminished the
power of the Crown.

But in Poetry. Ay, there the difficulties grow--there all are
collected--and one equal to all, or nearly so, is added--VERSE! Of all
writers, the poet is the most exquisite in his words. His creations
revolve in them--live in them--breathe and burn. Shakspeare expresses
this--"the poet's _pen_ turns them to shape." Ariel, and Lear, and Hamlet,
are not except in the very words--their very own words. For the poet, of
all men, feels most susceptibly, sensitively, perceptively, acutely,
accurately, clearly, tenderly, kindly--the contact of his mind with yours;
and the words are the _medium of contact_! Yet, most of the ILIAD may be
transferred--for it is a history. The manners are easily depicted in a
Translation--so is the wonderful thinking that remains to us therein from
that remote lost world--and makes the substratum of the poem. In short,
that old world which Homer preserves, can be shown in a Translation, but
_not Homer himself_. The simplicity, and sweetness, and majesty, and the
musical soul and art, require Greek, and old Greek. A translation into
Attic Greek by Sophocles, would not be Homer. Into modern English? Alas,
and alack-a-day! An English translator might better undertake Euripides
than Sophocles, and Sophocles than Æschylus. Æschylus, Pindar,
Homer--these are the three terrors of Translation. Why? They are doubly so
remote! Distant so far, and distant so high! We should not, ourselves,
much care for undertaking Apollonius Rhodius, and Callimachus, although
the Alexandrian schoolmaster abounds in the poetical riches of the Greek
tongue, and the Cyrenaic hymnist has an unattainable spirit of grace and
elastic step. Yet we could, with a safe conscience, try; because if less
glory be attempted by the translator, less can be lost for his original.
Whereas, if we let down Homer, Pindar, Æschylus, we are lowering the
heights of the human spirit--_crimen læsoe majestatis_. In poetry the
absolutely creative power of the human spirit--that immense endowment and
privilege of the human being--is at its height. Many view this endowment
and privilege with scepticism--renouncing their own glory--denying
themselves. Therefore, it is always important, in civilized times, that
the majesty and might of poetry be sustained--surrounded by a body-guard
of opinion. In rude times it can take good care of itself. Then the king
walks among the people safe in their faith and love. Now you tremble to
diminish the reverence of that creation. But courage! All cannot read
Greek, and they are, as fellow men of Homer, entitled to as much of him as
they can get. Chapman, Pope, Cowper, Sotheby, all taken together, impress
an Englishman (Scotsman included) who is no Grecian, with a belief in
greatness. And then for the perpetual feeding of his faith he has his own
Chaucer, Spenser, Shakspeare, Milton.

Translation, you see then, O gracious perusers! has divers motives. One is
ambitious. It is to help in giving the poet his due fame, and that is a
motive honourably sprung, since it comes of the belief that the poet
belongs to the species at large; and that accordingly his praise has not
had its full reverberation, until it has rebounded from all hearts. Of the
same impulse, but dealing justice in another direction, is the wish that
the less learned shall not, from that accident, forfeit their share of the
common patrimony; and that surely is among the best of all reasons. A
peculiar sort of zeal is to cultivate the vernacular literature by
transplanting the great works of other more happily cultivated languages,
as we naturalize fair and useful exotics. This is an early thought, and
goes off as the country advances. Probably the different reasons of
Translation would affect, even materially, the characters of Translation;
or at least, if they coexist, the predominance of one over the other
moving causes. The different purposes will even give different orders of
Translators. To undertake to aid in diffusing the version of Homer to the
ends of the West, would ask an Englishman tolerably confident in his own
powers. It breathed in the fiery spirit of George Chapman, who having
rolled out the Iliad in our stateliest numbers, the Odyssey in more
moderate strain, and finally dispatched the Homeric _Minora_, begins his
own Epilogue of three consecutive labours, with

  "The work that I WAS BORN TO DO IS DONE!"

A little reflection will suggest to many a wishing Translator, that HE is
in danger of rather doing injustice to the celebrity of an admired
original. Incapables! refrain, desist, be dumb.

The use of Translations to the literature that has received them has been
questioned. The native genius and energies of a country may, it has been
feared, be oppressed by the importation of wealth and luxuries. The
Hygeian maxim to remain poor for the sake of health and strength, is hard
to act upon. In another sense, we might rather look upon the introduced
strangers as dangerous rivals, who rouse us to woo with better devotion,
and so are useful. Besides, it looks like a timid policy to refuse to know
what our fellows have done. Milton was not subdued, but inflamed, by
conversing with _all_ the great originals. Burns did not the less
Dorically tune his reed, because Pope had sounded in his ear echoes of the
Scamandrian trumpet-blast. The truer and more encouraging doctrine rather
seems to be, that if the land has in its mould the right nurture of
genius, genius will strike its roots, and lift its flowers. In the mean
time, it is to be considered, against such a policy of jealous protection,
that _not_ the influence on the vernacular literature is the first
legitimate claim, but the gain of enlightenment for the human mind, intent
upon enlarging itself by bringing under ken _every where_ that which
itself has been, and that which itself has done _every where_.

The great distinction which we have observed in these remarks on
Translation, between compositions in Prose and Verse, seems here to demand
from us some remarks. A question of the very highest importance in
literature arises--can the Fictitious which the poet relates in Verse be
as well related in Prose? The voice of all ages, countries, languages,
answers--NO! The literature of every civilized nation presents this
phenomenon--a division broad and deep, running through it, and marked by
that distinction in the musical structure of discourse, which we
habitually designate by the names, Prose and Verse. The distinction, as we
all know, is as decided in the substance itself of the composition, as it
is in the musical putting together of the words. Homer, Pindar, Alcæus,
Æschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Aristophanes, or Lucretius, Virgil,
Horace, Ovid, upon the one side; and upon the other, Herodotus and
Thucydides, Demosthenes, Plato, and the Stagyrite--or under another still
fortunate sky, Livy, Cæsar, Tacitus, Cicero and Seneca--here bare names of
the poets on the one side, of the writers of prose on the other, express
alike to our soberest judgment, and to our most awakened enthusiasm,
nothing less than two distinct _Worlds of Thinking_.

How so commanding, so permeating, so vivifying, and so transfusing a power
should reside in a fact of human speech, seemingly so slight and slender
as that ruled and mechanical adjustment of a few syllables which we call a
verse, is perhaps not explicable by our philosophy; but of the power
itself, the uniform history of mankind leaves us no liberty to doubt. Yet
may we understand something of this wonderful agency; and conceive how the
new and strange wealth of music brought out from words, of which the
speaker in verse finds himself the privileged master, may lift up, as on
wings, his courage to think and utter. We may suppose that the sweet and
melting, or the solemn, the prolonged, the proud swell, or flow, or fall
of his own numbers, may surprise his own ear, and seize his own soul with
unexpected emotions; and that off his guard and unawares, and, as grave
ancient writers have said, in a sort of sacred madness, he may be hurried
into inventions of greatness, of wonder, and beauty, which would have
remained for ever locked up and forbidden to the colder and more reserved
temper, which seems fittingly to accompany prose, the accustomed language
of Reason. Versification is Measure, and it is Harmony. If you hear the
measure you listen expectantly, and there is a recurring pleasure in the
fulfilment of that expectation. But the pleasure thus afforded would soon
be exhausted, did not the power of Harmony tell. That is a musical
pleasure which cannot be exhausted. Here, then, is a reason why the
natural music of speech shall be elaborated to its height in verse. You
assume that the mind of the orator, the historian, the philosopher, is
given up wholly to the truth of his matter. Therefore in him the palpable
study of harmonious periods (as in Isocrates) impairs your confidence in
his earnestness and sincerity. Not so, we venture to say, in the case of
the poet. In his composition the very law of the verse instals the sound
in a sort of mysterious sovereignty over the sense. He hurries or he
protracts--he swells notes as of an organ, he attenuates them as of a
flute. He seeks in the sound of words their power--and their power is
great--to paint notions and things--to imitate the twanging of a bow, the
hissing of an arrow, the roaring of the winds, the weltering of the waves.
His verse laughs with merriment, and wails with sorrow; and that, which
would in a grave writer of prose be frivolous, be sonorous trifles, crowns
his muse with praise. Consequences follow, deeply penetrating into the
substance of the whole composition, which is thus delivered up, in a
manner unknown to prose, to the wonder-working power of a delighted
inspiration.

We know if any one begins to recite a passage of Milton, that we expect to
hear a charm of sound which we never for a moment dream of hearing in
prose--a new and a more beautiful speech. For having made one mode of
speech more musical than another, we have placed it more immediately under
the dominion of the faculty by which we are cognizant of beauty.
Accordingly we feel, and know, and universally admit, although Eloquence
is musical, that Poetry far excels Eloquence in its alliance with the
beautiful. Music is beauty, addressing itself to the sense of hearing, and
therefore the beautiful is showered upon poetry, and therein everlastingly
enshrined. Verse, then, is a language seized upon by the soul gratifying
itself in the indulgence of its own emotions, under a law of beauty. Thus
we have seen a power introduced into human discourse, by a cause that
hardly promised such wonderful effects. A modulation of sounds, a musical
rising, and falling, and flowing, fitted for expressing a fervour, a
boldness, an enthusiasm in the thinking, suddenly transforms the whole
character of composition, creates or infuses a new spirit of thought. A
kind of literature is produced, of a peculiar, and that the highest
order--Poetry. We have seen this take many beautiful, august, and imposing
forms--the majesty of the Epopeia--the pathetic energy of the Tragic
Drama--the rapturous exaltation and prodigal splendour of the Lyrical Ode.
The names of the species recal the names of the great works belonging to
each, and of the great masters whose memory the works have made immortal.
Those masters of the divine art thus breathing delight, are numbered among
the loftiest and most powerful spirits. Nations, illustrious in peace and
war, heroic in character and action, founders of stable and flourishing
republics and empires, have set on the front of their renown the fame of
having produced this or that other glorious poem. What wonder, since the
poet, in forms given by imagination, embodies the profoundest, the
loftiest, the tenderest, the innermost acts and movements of that soul
which lives in every human bosom? What wonder if each of us loves the
poet, when in his work, as in a celestial mirror, each of us beholds
_himself_ naturally and truly pictured, and yet ennobled? What wonder if
the nation, proud of itself, of its position, and of its memories, exalts
its own darling son of song, who may have fixed, in a precious throng of
imperishable words, the peculiar spirit of thinking, of loving, of daring,
which has made the nation what it has been, is, and hopes long to be? What
wonder if humankind, when mighty ages have departed, and languages once
cultivated in their beauty, have ceased from being spoken, should bring
across lands and seas crowns of undying laurels to cast at the feet of
some awful poet who cannot die? In whose true, capacious, and prophetic
mind, the coming civilization of his own people was long beforehand
anticipated and predisposed? And in whose antique verse we, the offspring
of other ages, and tongues, and races, drink still the freshly-flowing and
ever-living waters of original and unexhausted humanity?

Oh! how shall such strains as these, in which each single word and
syllable has in itself a spell, more potent by its position, survive, in
undiminished force and beauty, the art that would fain spirit them away
out of one language, which they have breathed all life long, into another
which they have to learn to love? Lived there ever such a magician? Never.

There is reason for sadness in the above little paragraph. But after due
rumination, let us forget it, and proceed. Hear Dryden prosing away upon
paraphrase, and metaphrase, and imitation, in his very best style.

     "All translation, I suppose, may be reduced to these three
     heads--First, that of metaphrase, or turning an author, word by word,
     and line by line, from one language into another. Thus, or near this
     manner, was Horace his _Art of Poetry_ translated by Ben Jonson. The
     second way is that of paraphrase, or translation with latitude, where
     the author is kept in view by the translator, so as never to be lost,
     but his words are not so strictly followed as his sense; and that,
     too, is admitted to be amplified, but not altered. Such is Mr
     Waller's translation of Virgil's fourth Æneid. The third way is that
     of imitation, where the translator (if now he has not lost that name)
     assumes the liberty, not only to vary from the words and sense, but
     to forsake them both as he sees occasion, and taking only some
     general hints from the original, to run divisions on the ground-work
     as he pleases. Such is Mr Cowley's practice in turning two odes of
     Pindar, and one of Horace, into English.

     "Concerning the first of these methods, our master, Horace, has given
     us this caution--

         'Nec verbum verbo curabis reddere, fidus Interpres'------

         'Nor word for word too faithfully translate,'

     as the Earl of Roscommon has excellently rendered it. 'Too faithfully
     is, indeed, pedantically.' It is a faith like that which proceeds
     from superstition, blind and zealous. Take it in the expression of
     Sir John Denham to Sir Richard Fanshaw, on his version of the _Pastor
     Fido_--

         'That servile path thou nobly dost decline,
         Of tracing word by word, and line by line:
         A new and nobler way thou dost pursue,
         To make translations, and translators too;
         They but preserve the ashes, thou the flame,
         True to his sense, but truer to his fame.'

     "It is almost impossible to translate verbally, and well, at the same
     time; for the Latin (a most severe and compendious language) often
     expresses that in one word, which either the barbarity or the
     narrowness of modern tongues cannot supply in more. It is frequent,
     also, that the conceit is couched in some expression which will be
     lost in English--

         'Aque iidem venti vela fidemque ferent.'

     What poet of our nation is so happy as to express this thought
     literally in English, and to strike wit, or almost sense, out of it?

     "In short, the verbal copier is encumbered with so many difficulties
     at once, that he can never disentangle himself from them all. He is
     to consider, at the same time, the thought of his author, and his
     words, and to find out the counterpart to each in another language;
     and besides this, he is to confine himself to the compass of numbers,
     and the slavery of rhyme. It is much like dancing on ropes with
     fettered legs; a man may shun a fall by using caution, but the
     gracefulness of motion is not to be expected; and when we have said
     the best of it, it is but a foolish task, for no sober man would put
     himself into a danger for the applause of escaping without breaking
     his neck. We see Ben Jonson could not avoid obscurity in his literal
     translation of Horace, attempted in the same compass of lines; nay,
     Horace himself could scarce have done it to a Greek poet,

         'Brevis esse laboro, obscurus fio:'

     either perspicuity or gracefulness will frequently be wanting. Horace
     has, indeed, avoided both these rocks in his translation of the three
     first lines of Homer's _Odyssey_, which he has contracted into two:--

         'Dic mihi, musa, virum, captæ post tempora Trojæ
         Qui mores hominum multorum vidit, et urbes.

         'Muse, speak the man, who, since the siege of Troy,
         So many towns, such change of manners saw.'

     But then the sufferings of Ulysses, which are a considerable part of
     that sentence, are omitted--

               [Greek: Hos mala polla
         Plachthê.]

     The consideration of these difficulties, in a servile, literal
     translation, not long since made two of our famous wits, Sir John
     Denham and Mr Cowley, to contrive another way of turning authors into
     our tongue, called, by the latter of them, imitation. As they were
     friends, I suppose they communicated their thoughts on this subject
     to each other; and, therefore, their reasons for it are little
     different, though the practice of one is much more moderate. I take
     imitation of an author, in their sense, to be an endeavour of a later
     poet to write like one who has written before him on the same
     subject; that is, not to translate his words, or to be confined to
     his sense, but only to set him as a pattern, and to write as he
     supposes that author would have done, had he lived in our age and in
     our country. Yet I dare not say that either of them have carried this
     libertine way of rendering authors (as Mr Cowley calls it) so far as
     my definition reaches, for, in the Pindaric Odes, the customs and
     ceremonies of ancient Greece are still preserved. But I know not what
     mischief may arise hereafter from the example of such an innovation,
     when writers of unequal parts to him shall imitate so bold an
     undertaking. To add and to diminish what we please, in the way avowed
     by him, ought only to be granted to Mr Cowley, and that, too, only
     in his translation of Pindar; because he alone was able to make him
     amends, by giving him better of his own, whenever he refused his
     author's thoughts. Pindar is generally known to be a dark writer, to
     want connexion, (I mean as to our understanding,) to soar out of
     sight, and to leave his reader at a gaze. So wild and ungovernable a
     poet cannot be translated literally; his genius is too strong to bear
     a chain, and, Samson-like, he shakes it off. A genius so elevated and
     unconfixed as Mr Cowley's was but necessary to make Pindar speak
     English, and that was to be performed by no other way than imitation.
     But if Virgil, or Ovid, or any regular intelligible authors, be thus
     used, it is no longer to be called their work, when neither the
     thoughts nor words are drawn from the original; but instead of them
     there is something new produced, which is almost the creation of
     another hand. By this way, it is true, somewhat that is excellent may
     be invented, perhaps more excellent than the first design; though
     Virgil must be still excepted, when that perhaps takes place. Yet he
     who is inquisitive to know an author's thoughts, will be disappointed
     in his expectation; and it is not always that a man will be contented
     to have a present made him when he expects the payment of a debt. To
     state it fairly; imitation of an author is the most advantageous way
     for a translator to show himself, but the greatest wrong which can be
     done to the memory and reputation of the dead. Sir John Denham (who
     advised more liberty than he took himself) gives his reason for his
     innovation in his admirable preface before the translation of the
     second Æneid. 'Poetry is of so subtle a spirit, that in pouring out
     of one language into another, it will all evaporate; and, if a new
     spirit be not added in the _transfusion_, there will remain nothing
     but a _caput mortuum_.' I confess this argument holds good against a
     literal translation; but who defends it? Imitation and verbal version
     are, in my opinion, the two extremes which ought to be avoided; and
     therefore, when I have proposed the mean betwixt them, it will be
     seen how far this argument will reach.

     "No man is capable of translating poetry, who, besides a genius to
     that art, is not a master both of his author's language and of his
     own; nor must we understand the language only of the poet, but his
     particular turn of thoughts and expression, which are the characters
     that distinguish, and, as it were, individuate him from all other
     writers. When we are come thus far it is time to look into ourselves,
     to conform our genius to his, to give his thought either the same
     turn, if our tongue will bear it, or, if not, to vary but the dress,
     not to alter or destroy the substance. The like care must be taken of
     the more outward ornaments--the words. When they appear (which is but
     seldom) literally graceful, it were an injury to the author that they
     should be changed. But, since every language is so full of its own
     proprieties, that what is beautiful in one is often barbarous, nay,
     sometimes nonsense, in another, it would be unreasonable to limit a
     translator to the narrow compass of his author's words; it is enough
     if he choose out some expression which does not vitiate the sense. I
     suppose he may stretch his chain to such a latitude, but, by
     innovation of thoughts, methinks he breaks it. By this means the
     spirit of an author may be transfused, and yet not lost; and thus it
     is plain that the reason alleged by Sir John Denham has no further
     force than the expression; for thought, if it be translated truly,
     cannot be lost in another language; but the words that convey it to
     our apprehension (which are the image and ornament of that thought)
     may be so ill chosen, as to make it appear in an unhandsome dress,
     and rob it of its native lustre. There is, therefore, a liberty to be
     allowed for the expression; neither is it necessary that words and
     lines should be confined to the measure of the original. The sense of
     an author, generally speaking, is to be sacred and inviolable. If the
     fancy of Ovid be luxuriant it is his character to be so; and if I
     retrench it he is no longer Ovid. It will be replied, that he
     receives advantage by this lopping of his superfluous branches, but I
     rejoin that a translator has no such right. When a painter copies
     from the life, I suppose he has no privilege to alter features and
     lineaments, under pretence that his picture will look better: perhaps
     the face which he has drawn would be more exact if the eyes and nose
     were altered; but it is his business to make it resemble the
     original. In two cases only there may a seeming difficulty arise;
     that is, if the thought be notoriously trivial or dishonest; but the
     same answer will serve for both, that then they ought not to be
     translated--

                                 'Et qua
         Desperes tractata nitescere posse, relinquas.'

     "Thus I have ventured to give my opinion on this subject against the
     authority of two great men, but, I hope, without offence to either of
     their memories; for I both loved them living, and reverence them now
     they are dead. But if, after what I have urged, it be thought by
     better judges that the praise of a translation consists in adding new
     beauties to the piece, thereby to recompense the loss which it
     sustains by change of language, I shall be willing to be taught
     better, and recant. In the meantime, it seems to me that the true
     reason why we have so few versions which are tolerable, is not from
     the too close pursuing of the author's sense, but because that there
     are so few who have all the talents which are requisite for
     translation, and that there is so little praise, and so small
     encouragement, for so considerable a part of learning."

We could write a useful commentary on each paragraph of that lively
dissertation. The positions laid down are not, in all their extent,
tenable; and Dryden himself, in other places, advocates principles of
Translation altogether different from these, and violates them in his
practice by a thousand beauties as well as faults. We confine ourselves to
one or two remarks.

Dryden, in assigning the qualifications of a poetical Translator, seems to
speak with due caution--"He must have a genius to the art." How much,
then, of the powers are asked in him which go to making the original poet?
Not the great creative genius. In order effectively to translating the
Song of Achilles, he need not have been able to invent the character of
Achilles, or to delineate it, if he found it, as Homer might largely,
invented in tradition to his hands. But he must be the adequate critic of
the Song full and whole. He must feel the Achilles whom Homer has given
him, through chilling blood, and thrilling nerve, and almost through
shivering, shuddering bone. Neither need he be, inverse and word possibly,
the creator for thoughts of his own. That Homer is. He is not called upon
to be, in his own strength, an audacious, impetuous, majestic, and
magnanimous thinker. It is enough if he have the sensibility, the
simplicity, the sincerity, the sympathy, and the intellectual capacity, to
become all this, on the strength of another. But if he could not create
the thoughts, neither could he, upon his own behalf, create the verbal and
metrical expression of the thoughts; for in these last is the inspiration
that brings into the light of existence both words and music. Yet nothing
seems to hinder, but that if endowed for perfectly accepting and
appropriating the thoughts, he may then become in secondary place
inspired, and a creator for the "new utterance." In all our observation of
the various constitutions bestowed, in different men, upon the common
human mind, nothing appears to forbid that an exquisite and mastering
faculty of language, such as shall place the wealth of a mother-tongue at
command, and an exquisite ear and talent for melodious and significant
numbers, may be lodged in a spirit that is not gifted with original
invention. Much rather, the recognition of the compensating and separable
way in which faculties are dealt, would lead us to look from time to time,
for children of the Muse gifted for supereminent Translators. Do we not
see engravers, not themselves exalted and accomplished masters, who yet
absorb into their transcript the soul of the master? Dryden's phrase,
"_have a genius_," seems to express this qualified gifting--the
enthusiasm, and the narrower creative faculty excellently given, and kept
alive and active by cultivation and exercise.

Hoole's _Orlando Furioso_, and _Jerusalem Delivered_, are among the
world's duller achievements in the art of Translation. They have obtained
some favour of public opinion by the interest which will break through
them, and which they in their unambitious way singularly attest--the
interest of the matter. What is the native deficiency which extinguishes
in them every glimmer of the original Style? The clerk at the India-House,
or some other house, had not, in the moulding of heart or brain, any touch
of the romantic. And Ariosto and Tasso are the two poets of Romance. Take
a translator of no higher intellectual endowment than Mr Hoole--perform
some unknown adjuration to the goddess Nature, which shall move her to
infuse into him the species of sensibility which grounds the two poems,
and which we have said that we desiderate in the bold Accountant,--read
the poems through with him, taking care that he understands them--as far
as a matter of the sort may be seen to, teach him, which is all fair, a
trick or two of our English verse to relieve the terrible couplet
monotony--run an eye over the MS. on its way to the printer, and he shall
have enriched the literature of his country with, if not two rightly
representative, yet too justifiable Translations.

Dryden's defence of the manner in which Pindar has been made to speak
English by Cowley, cannot be sustained. A translator must give the meaning
of his author so as that they who are scholars in the vernacular only--for
to the unread and uncultivated he does not address himself--may be as
nearly as possible so impressed and affected as scholars in the original
tongue are by the author; or, soaring a little more ambitiously, as nearly
as may be as they were affected to whom the original work was native. To
Anglicize Pindar is not the adventure. It is to Hellenize an English
reader. Homer is not dyed in Grecism as Pindar is. The profound,
universal, overpowering humanity of Homer makes him of the soil
everywhere. The boundaries of nations, and of races, fade out and vanish.
He and we are of the family--of the brotherhood--Man. That is all that we
feel and know. The manners are a little gone by. That is all the
difference. We read an ancestral chronicle, rather than the diary of
to-day. But Pindar is all Greek--Greek to the backbone. There the stately
and splendid mythology stands in its own power--not allied to us by
infused human blood--but estranged from us in a dazling, divine glory. The
great theological poet of Greece, the hymnist of her deities, remembers,
in celebrating athlete and charioteer, his grave and superior function. To
hear Pindar in English, you must open your wings, and away to the field of
Elis, or the Isthmian strand. Under the canopying smoke of London or
Edinburgh, even amongst the beautiful fields of England or Scotland, there
is nothing to be made of him. You must be a Greek among Greeks.

Therefore, in the Translator, no condescension to our ignorance at least.
And no ignoble dread of our ignorant prejudices. The difficult connexion
of the thoughts which Dryden duly allows to the foreign and ancient poet,
a commentary might clear, where it does as much for the reader of the
Greek; or sometimes, possibly, a word interpolated might help. But the
difficulty of translating Pindar is quite distinct from his obscurity. For
it is his light. It is the super-terrestrial splendour of the lyrical
phraseology which satisfied the Greek imagination, lifted into transport
by the ardour, joy, and triumph, of those Panhellenic Games. It is the
simple, yet dignified strength of the short, pithy, sage Sentences. It is
the rendering of the now bold and abrupt, now enchained sequences of
expressive sound, in those measures which we hardly yet know how to scan.
It is not the track but the wing of the Theban eagle that is the
desperation.

It is always delightful to hear Dryden speaking of Cowley. He was indeed a
man made to be loved. But to students in the divine art, his poetry will
for ever remain the great puzzle. His "Pindarque Odes, written in
imitation of the style and manner of the Odes of Pindar," are unique.
Cowley was a scholar. In Latin verse he is one of the greatest among the
modern masters; and he had much Greek. There can be no doubt that he could
construe Pindar--none that he could have understood him--had he tried to
do so. "If a man should undertake to translate Pindar word for word, it
would be thought that one madman had translated another." Instead,
therefore, of translating him word for word, "the ingenious Cowley" set
about imitating his style and manner, and that he thought might best be
effected by changing his measures, and discarding almost all his words,
except the proper names, to which he added many others of person or place,
illustrious at the time, or in tradition. Events and exploits brought
vividly back by Pindar to the memory of listeners, to whom a word
sufficed, are descanted on by Cowley in explanatory strains, often
unintelligible to all living men. The two opening lies of his first
Imitation characterize his muse.

  "Queen of all harmonious things,
  Dancing words, and speaking things."

The words do dance indeed; and "Cowley's Medley" combines the Polka and
the Gallopade.

Yet throughout these Two Odes (the Second Olympic and the First Nemæan)
may be detected flowing the poetry of Pindar. Compare Cowley with
him--book in hand--and ever and anon you behold Pindar. Cowley all along
had him in his mind--but Cowley's mind played him queer tricks--his heart
never; yet had he a soul capable of taking flight with the Theban eagle.
There are many fine lines, sentimental and descriptive, in these
extraordinary performances. There is sometimes "a golden ferment" on the
page, which, for the moment, pleases more than the cold correctness of
Carey. For example--THE ISLE OF THE BLEST.

  "Far other lot befalls the good;
  A life from trouble free;
  Nor with laborious hands
  To vex the stubborn lands,
  Nor beat the billowy sea
  For a scanty livelihood.
  But with the honour'd of the gods,
  Who love the faithful, their abodes;
  By day or night the sun quits not their sphere,
  Living a dateless age without a tear.
  The others urge meanwhile,
  Loathsome to light their endless toil.
  But whoso thrice on either side
  With firm endurance have been tried,
  Keeping the soul exempted still
  Through every change from taint of ill,
  To the tower of Saturn they
  Travel Jove's eternal way.
  On that blest Isle's enchanted ground,
  Airs from ocean breathe around;
  Burn the bright immortal flowers,
  Some on beds, and some on bowers,
  From the branches hanging high;
  Some fed by waters where they lie;
  Of whose blossoms these do braid
  Armlets, and crowns their brows to shade.
  Such bliss is their's, assured by just decree
  Of Rhadamanth, who doth the judgment share
  With father Saturn, spouse of Rhea, she
  Who hath o'er all in heav'n the highest chair.
  With them are Peleus, Cadmus number'd,
  And he, whom as in trance he slumber'd,
  His mother Thetis wafted there,
  Softening the heart of Jove with prayer,
  Her own Achilles, that o'erthrew
  Hector, gigantic column of old Troy,
  And valiant Cycnus slew,
  And Morning's Æthiop boy."

                                CAREY.

  "Whilst in the lands of unexhausted light
  O'er which the godlike sun's unwearied light,
  Ne'er winks in clouds, nor sleeps in night,
  An endless spring of age the good enjoy,
  Where neither want does pinch, nor plenty cloy.
    There neither earth nor sea they plow,
    Nor ought to labour owe
  For food, that whilst it nourishes does decay,
  And in the lamp of life consumes away.
  Thrice had these men through mortal bodies past,
  Did thrice the tryal undergo,
  Till all their little dross was purged at last,
  The furnace had no more to do.
  There in rich Saturn's peaceful state
  Were they for sacred treasures placed--
  The Muse-discovered world of Islands Fortunate.

  Soft-footed winds with tuneful voyces there
    Dance through the perfumed air.
  There silver rivers through enamell'd meadows glide,
    And golden trees enrich their side.
  Th' illustrious leaves no dropping autumn fear,
    And jewels for their fruit they bear,
    Which by the blest are gathered
  For bracelets to the arm, and garlands to the head.
    Here all the heroes and their poets live,
    Wise Radamanthus did the sentence give,
      Who for his justice was thought fit
  With sovereign Saturn on the bench to sit.
    Peleus here, and Cadmus reign.
  Here great Achilles, wrathful now no more,
    Since his blest mother (who before
    Had try'd it on his body in vain)
  Dipt now his soul in Stygian lake,
  Which did from thence a divine hardness take,
  That does from passion and from vice invulnerable make."

Carey's commencement is dull--his close is good--but the whole will never,
on this earth, be gotten by heart. Cowley's conceits are cruel in Pindar's
case--yet, in spite of them, there is a strange sublimity in the
strain--at the end moral grandeur. Reginald Heber and Abraham
Moore--especially Reginald--excel Carey; but Pindar in English is reserved
for another age.

Dryden dashed at every poet--Theocritus, Lucretius, Persius, Horace,
Juvenal, Ovid, Virgil, Homer--each in his turn unhesitatingly doth he take
into his translating hands. In his Essay on Satire, he compares with one
another the three Roman Satirists; but though he draws their characters
with his usual force and freedom of touch, they are not finely
distinctive--if coloured _con amore_, yet without due consideration. In
the Preface to the Second Miscellany, he says of Horace's Satires, that
they "are incomparably beyond Juvenal's, if to laugh and rally is to be
preferred to raillery and declaiming." In his Essay, he says, "In my
particular opinion, Juvenal is the more delightful writer." And
again--"Juvenal is of a more vigorous and masculine wit; he gives me as
much pleasure as I can bear; he fully satisfies my expectation; he treats
his subject home; his spleen is raised, and he raises mine. I have the
pleasure of concernment in all he says; he drives his reader along with
him. * * * His thoughts are sharper; his indignation against vice more
vehement; his spirit has more of the commonwealth genius; he treats
tyranny and all the vices attending it, as they deserve, with the utmost
rigour; and consequently a noble soul is better pleased with a zealous
vindicator of Roman liberty, than with _a temporizing poet, a
well-manner'd court-slave, and a man who is often afraid of laughing in
the right place, who is ever decent because he is naturally servile_." Is
this Quintus Horatius Flaccus!

In Dryden and Juvenal are met peer and peer. Indignant scorn and moral
disgust instigated the nervous hand of Juvenal, moulded to wield the
scourge of satire. He is an orator in verse, speaking with power and
command, skilled in the strength of the Roman speech, and practised in the
weapons of rhetoric. But he is nevertheless a poet. Seized with
impressions, you see his sail caught with driving gusts, if his eye be on
the card. He snatches images right and left on his impetuous way, and
flings them forth suddenly and vividly, so that they always tell. Perhaps
he is more apt at binding a weighty thought in fewer words than his
Translator, who felt himself as this disadvantage when he expressively
portrayed the Latin as "a severe and compendious language." The Roman
satirist has more care of himself; he maintains a prouder step; and the
justifying incentive to this kind of poetry, hate with disdain of the
vices and miseries to be lashed, more possesses his bosom. And what a wild
insurrection of crimes and vices! What a challenge to hate and disdain in
the minds in which the tradition of the antique virtues, the old _mores_,
those edifiers of the sublime Republic, had yet life! Rome under Nero and
Domitian! Pedants have presumed to question the sincerity of his
indignation, and have more than hinted that his power of picturing those
enormous profligacies was inspired by the pleasure of a depraved
imagination. Never was there falser charge. The times and the topics were
not for delicate handling,--they were to be looked at boldly in the
face,--and if spoken of at all, at full, and with unmistakable words.

There is no gloating in his eyes when fixed in fire on guilt. Antipathy
and abhorrence load with more revolting colours the hideous visage, from
which, but for that moral purpose, they would recoil. But what, it may be
asked, is the worth and use of a satire that drags out vices from their
hiding-holes to flay them in sunshine? They had no hiding-holes. They
affronted the daylight. But the question must be answered more
comprehensively. The things told _are_--the corruption of our own spirit
has engendered them--and every great city, in one age or another, is a
Rome. Consult Cowper. To know such things is one bitter and offending
lesson in the knowledge of our nature. For the pure and simple such
records are not written. It is a galling disclosure, a frightful warning
for the anomalous race of the proud-impure. Gifford finely said of this
greatest of satirists, that, "disregarding the claims of a vain urbanity,
and fixing all his soul on the eternal distinctions of moral good and
evil, he laboured with a magnificence of language peculiar to himself to
set forth the loveliness of virtue, and the deformity and horror of vice,
in full and perfect display." The loveliness of virtue! Ay, in many a
picture of the innocence and simplicity of the olden time--unelaborate but
truthful--ever and anon presented for a few moments to show how happy
humanity is in its goodness, and how its wickedness is degradation and
misery. And there are many prolonged lofty strains sounding the praise of
victorious virtue. They are for all time--and they, too, that magnify and
glorify the spirit of liberty, then exiled from the city it had built, and
never more to have dominion there, but regnant now in nations that know
how to prize the genius it still continued to inspire when public virtue
was dead.

Yet Dryden has not been altogether successful with Juvenal. In many places
he is most slovenly--in many elaborately coarse beyond the coarseness
ready-made to his hand--in some of the great passages, he leaves out what
he feared to equal, and, in the face of all the principles in his own
creed on Translation, he often paraphrases with all possible effrontery,
and lets himself loose to what is called imitation, till the original
evanishes, to return, however, on a sudden, apparition-like, and with a
voice of power, giving assurance of the real Juvenal.

His criticism on Lucretius is characteristic of them both. See how rashly,
we had almost said foolishly, he rates the Epicurean for his belief in the
mortality of the soul. Were there no better reason afforded by the light
of nature, for a belief in its immortality than what Dryden throws out,
human nature would not so earnestly have embraced, and so profoundly felt,
and so clearly seen, the truth of the Christian dispensation.

     "If he was not of the best age of Roman poetry, he was at least of
     that which preceded it; and he himself refined it to that degree of
     perfection, both in the language and the thoughts, that he left an
     easy task to Virgil; who as he succeeded him in time, so he copied
     his excellences; for the method of the Georgics is plainly derived
     from him. Lucretius had chosen a subject naturally crabbed; he,
     therefore, adorned it with poetical descriptions, and precepts of
     morality, in the beginning and ending of his books, which you see
     Virgil has imitated with great success in those four books, which, in
     my opinion, are more perfect in their kind than even his divine
     Æneid. The turn of his verses he has likewise followed in those
     places where Lucretius has most laboured, and some of his very lines
     he has transplanted into his own works, without much variation. If I
     am not mistaken, the distinguishing character of Lucretius, (I mean
     of his soul and genius,) is a certain kind of noble pride, and
     positive assertion of his opinions. He is every where confident of
     his own reason, and assuming an absolute command, not only over his
     vulgar reader, but even his patron Memmius. For he is always bidding
     him attend, as if he had the rod over him; and using a magisterial
     authority while he instructs him. From his time to ours, I know none
     so like him as our poet and philosopher of Malmesbury. This is that
     perpetual dictatorship which is exercised by Lucretius, who, though
     often in the wrong, yet seems to deal _bona fide_ with his reader and
     tells him nothing but what he thinks; in which plain sincerity, I
     believe, he differs from our Hobbes, who could not but be convinced,
     or at least doubt of some eternal truths, which he has opposed. But
     for Lucretius, he seems to disdain all manner of replies, and is so
     confident of his cause, that he is beforehand with his antagonists;
     urging for them whatever he imagined they could say, and leaving
     them, as he supposes, without an objection for the future; all this
     too, with so much scorn and indignation, as if he were assured of the
     triumph before he entered into the lists. From this sublime and
     daring genius of his, it must of necessity come to pass, that his
     thoughts must be masculine, full of argumentation, and that
     sufficiently warm. From the same fiery temper proceeds the loftiness
     of his expressions, and the perpetual torrent of his verse, where the
     barrenness of his subject does not too much constrain the quickness
     of his fancy. For there is no doubt to be made, but that he could
     have been every where as poetical as he is in his descriptions, and
     in the moral part of his philosophy, if he had not aimed more to
     instruct, in his system of nature, than to delight. But he was bent
     on making Memmius a materialist, and teaching him to defy an
     invisible power; in short, he was so much an atheist, that he forgot
     sometimes to be a poet. These are the considerations which I had of
     that author, before I attempted to translate some parts of him. And,
     accordingly, I laid by my natural diffidence and scepticism for a
     while, to take up that dogmatical way of his, which, as I said, is so
     much his character as to make him that individual poet. As for his
     opinions concerning the mortality of the soul, they are so absurd,
     that I cannot if I would, believe them. I think a future state
     demonstrable even by natural arguments; at least, to take away
     rewards and punishments, is only a pleasing prospect to a man who
     resolves before hand not to live morally. But, on the other side, the
     thought of being nothing after death is a burden insupportable to a
     virtuous man, even though a heathen. We naturally aim at happiness,
     and cannot bear to have it confined to the shortness of our present
     being; especially when we consider that virtue is generally unhappy
     in this world, and vice fortunate; so that it is hope of futurity
     alone, that makes this life tolerable in expectation of a better. Who
     would not commit all the excesses to which he is prompted by his
     natural inclinations, if he may do them with security while he is
     alive, and be incapable of punishment after he is dead? If he be
     cunning and secret enough to avoid the laws, there is no band of
     morality to restrain him; for fame and reputation are weak ties; many
     men have not the least sense of them. Powerful men are only awed by
     them, as they conduce to their interest, and that not always, when a
     passion is predominant; and no man will be contained within the
     bounds of duty when he may safely transgress them. These are my
     thoughts abstractedly, and without entering into the notions of our
     Christian faith, which is the proper business of divines.

     "But there are other arguments in this poem (which I have turned into
     English) not belonging to the mortality of the soul, which are strong
     enough to a reasonable man, to make him less in love with life, and
     consequently in less apprehension of death. Such are the natural
     satiety proceeding from a perpetual enjoyment of the same things; the
     inconveniences of old age, which make him incapable of corporeal
     pleasures, the decay of understanding and memory, which render him
     contemptible, and useless to others. These, and many other reasons,
     so pathetically urged, so beautifully expressed, so adorned with
     examples, and so admirably raised by the _prosopopeia_ of nature, who
     is brought in speaking to her children with so much authority and
     vigour, deserve the pains I have taken with them, which, I hope, have
     not been unsuccessful or unworthy of my author; at least, I must take
     the liberty to own, that I was pleased with my own endeavours, which
     but rarely happens to me; and that I am not dissatisfied upon the
     review of any thing I have done in this author."

Lucretius is a poet of a sublimer order than Dryden. Yet have they
psychical affinities. The rush of poetical composition characterizes
both--a ready pomp and splendour--more prodigality than economy--bold
felicity rather than finish, though neither is that wanting--mastery of
language and measure--touches from the natural world, that fall in more as
a colouring of style, than the utterances of a heart imbued with a deep
love of nature. Indeed, if the genial belongs to the physiognomy of
Dryden's writing, the cordial is hardly a constituent in the character of
either poet, although at need both can find eloquent expression even for
the pathetic. In both, if in different measure, a sceptical vein is
inherent; but in Lucretius this arms itself in logic, and he appears in
his cosmogony as a philosophical atheist. In Dryden it might seem rather a
humour leaned to, because on that side lies the pleasure of mockery and
scoffing. Lucretius pleads his philosophy like a man who is incredulous in
earnest. But you can seldom say what it is that Dryden embraces with
seriousness, unless it be, in his better and happier undertakings, his
own part in executing the work. The subject-matter might seem almost
always rather accidentally brought to him, than affectionately sought by
him; once out of his hands, it is dismissed from his heart; he often seems
utterly to have forgotten opinions and persons in whom, not long before,
he had taken the liveliest interest--careless of inconsistencies even in
the same essay, assuredly one of the most self-contradicting of mortals.
No man, some say, has a right to question another's religious faith, but
all men have a right to judge of the professed principles on which it has
been adopted, when those principles have been triumphantly propounded to
the public in controversial treatises of elaborate verse. To reason
powerfully not only in verse but rhyme, is no common achievement, and such
fame is justly Dryden's; but how would the same reasoning have looked in
prose? His controversy with Stillingfleet shows--but so so. Does Lucretius
write from a strong heart and a seduced understanding? Or, is it now to be
quoted as a blameable unbelief that ridded itself of the Greek and Roman
Heaven and Hell? There is one great and essential difference on the side
of the Epicurean. An original poet, he seems to speak from a sweeping
contemplation of the universe. We grudge that the boundless exuberance of
painting should go to decorate the argumentation of an unfruitful system
of doctrine. We want the sympathy with the purpose of the poet, that
should for us harmonize the poem. He often strikes singularly high tones.
Witness, among many other great passages, his argument on death, and his
thunderstorm. And had the description of the heifer bemoaning and seeking
her lost calf been Virgil's, we should have thought it had sprung from the
heart of rural simplicity and love. Dryden and Lucretius agree in the
negligent indifference which they show, when mere argumentation is in
hand, to smoothness and ornament, and also in the wonderful facility with
which they compel logical forms to obey the measure. There they are indeed
truly great.

Lucretius's magnificent opening has invited Dryden to put forth his
happiest strength. The profuse eloquence and beauty of the original is
rendered. The passage, which may compete with any piece of translation in
the language, is, with Dryden, a fragment:--

  "Delight of human kind, and gods above,
  Parent of Rome, propitious Queen of Love;
  Whose vital power, air, earth, and sea supplies,
  And breeds whate'er is born beneath the rolling skies;
  For every kind, by thy prolific might,
  Springs, and beholds the regions of the light.
  Thee, goddess, thee the clouds and tempests fear,
  And at thy pleasing presence disappear;
  For thee the land in fragrant flowers is drest;
  For thee the ocean smiles, and smooths her wavy breast,
  And heaven itself with more serene and purer light is blest.
  For when the rising spring adorns the mead,
  And a new scene of nature stands display'd,
  When teeming buds, and cheerful greens appear,
  And western gales unlock the lazy year;
  The joyous birds thy welcome first express,
  Whose native songs thy genial fire confess;
  Then savage beasts bound o'er their slighted food,
  Struck with thy darts, and tempt the raging flood.
  All nature is thy gift; earth, air, and sea;
  Of all that breathes; the various progeny,
  Stung with delight, is goaded on by thee.
  O'er barren mountains, o'er the flowery plain,
  The leafy forest, and the liquid main,
  Extends thy uncontroll'd and boundless reign;
  Through all the living regions dost thou move,
  And scatter'st, where thou goest, the kindly seeds of love.
  Since, then, the race of every living thing
  Obeys thy power; since nothing new can spring
  Without thy warmth, without thy influence bear,
  Or beautiful or lovesome can appear;
  Be thou my aid, my tuneful song inspire,
  And kindle with thy own productive fire;
  While all thy province, Nature, I survey,
  And sing to Memmius an immortal lay
  Of heaven and earth, and every where thy wondrous power display:
  To Memmius, under thy sweet influence born,
  Whom thou with all thy gifts and graces dost adorn;
  The rather then assist my muse and me,
  Infusing verses worthy him and thee.
  Meantime on land and sea let barbarous discord cease,
  And lull the listening world in universal peace.
  To thee mankind their soft repose must owe,
  For thou alone that blessing canst bestow;
  Because the brutal business of the war
  Is managed by thy dreadful servant's care;
  Who oft retires from fighting fields, to prove
  The pleasing pains of thy eternal love;
  And panting on thy breast, supinely lies,
  While with thy heavenly form he feeds his eyes.
  When, wishing all, he nothing can deny,
  Thy charms in that auspicious moment try;
  With winning eloquence our peace implore,
  And quiet to the weary world restore."

Excellent English! and excellently representative of the Latin!

Dryden sometimes estranges his language from vulgar use by a Latinism;
(he, himself, insists upon this, as a deliberate act of enriching our poor
and barbarous tongue;) and in his highest writings, even where he has good
matter that will sustain itself at due poetical height, here and there he
has touches of an ornamental, imitative, and false poetical diction. But
that is not his own style--not the style which he uses where he is fully
himself. This is pure English, simple, masculine; turned into poetry by a
true life of expression, and by the inhering melody of the numbers. That
Lucretian Exordium he must have written in one of his happiest
veins--under the sting of the poetical oestrum. It is an instance where
he was called to his task by desire.

In his greatest undertaking--his Translation of Virgil--he often had to
write when the fervour was low and slack. The task was to be driven on;
and it was luck if the best places of his author fell to the uncertain
hour of his own inspiration. So possibly we may understand why sometimes,
when his original seems to challenge a full exertion of power, he comes
short of himself. The weariness of the long labour must often apologise
for languor, where the claims of the matter are less importunate. But it
is not easy--when culling for comparison some of the majestic or softer
strains into which Virgil has thrown his full soul, which he has wrought
with his most loving and exquisite skill--wholly to shut the door of
belief against the uncharitable suggestion,--that the Translator less
livelily apprehended, than you yourself do, some Virgilian charm, which
lay away from his own manner of thinking, and feeling, and of poetical
art.

The story, so marvellous and pathetic, of the Thracian harper-king, and
his bride stung by the serpent, is from of old the own tale of lovers and
poets. The heart of the Lover dares the terrific and unimaginable road;
and the voice and hand of the Minstrel subdue all impossibilities. Virgil
was fortunate in a link, which gave to his Italian Man of the Fields an
interest in the antique, strange, and touching Hellenic tradition; and he
has improved his opportunity worthily of his theme, of his work, and of
himself. The dexterous episode of Aristæus, visited with a plague in his
bee-hives, for his fault in the death of Eurydice, ends, and by ending
consummates, the poem which took life in the soul of the Mincian
ploughboy, and to which the chief artist of Augustan Rome was content in
bequeathing the perpetual trust of his fame. Impassioned, profound
tenderness,--the creating high and pure spirit of beauty--the outwardly
watchful and sensitive eye and ear--with tones at will fetched by
listening imagination from the great deep of the wonderful, the solemn,
the sublime,--these, and crowning these, that sweet, and subtle, and rare
mastery, which avails, through translucent words, to reveal quick or slow
motions and varying hues of the now visible mind--which on the stream of
articulate sounds rolls along, self-evolving, and changing as the passion
changes, a power of music,--these all are surprisingly contained within
the SEVENTY-FIVE VERSES which unfold the anger of Orpheus, now a forlorn
and yet powerful ghost, and of the Nymphs, once her companions, for the
twice-lost Eurydice.

It is a hard but a fair trial to set the Translator against the best of
his author. It is to be presumed that Dryden, matched against the best of
Virgil, has done his best. We have not room for the whole diamond, but
shall display one or two of the brightest facets. Who has forgotten that
shrinking of the awed and tender imagination, which shuns the actual
telling that Eurydice died? Which announces her as doomed to
die--_Moritura!_ then says merely that she did not see in the deep grass
the huge water-snake before her feet guarding the river-bank along which
she fled! and then turns to pour on the ear the clamorous wail of her
companions.

  "Illa quidem, dum te fugeret per flumina præceps,
  Immanem ante pedes hydrum _moritura_ puella
  Servantem ripas altâ non vidit in herbâ."

At this first losing of Eurydice, the impetuous, wild wail of the
Nymph-sisterhood may, in the verse of the Mantuan, be heard with one
burst, swelling and ringing over how many hills, champaigns, and rivers!

  At chorus æqualis Dryadum clamore supremos
  Implerunt montes; flerunt Rhodopeiæ arces,
  Altaque Pangaea, ac Rhesi Mavortia tellus,
  Atque Getæ, atque Hebrus, et Actias Orithyia.

That the vivid emphasis of a stormy sorrow--given to a picture of sound in
the foregoing verses, by that distinctiveness of the multitudinous
repetition--declines in the melodious four English representatives to a
greatly more generalized expression, must, one may think, be ascribed to
Dryden's despair of reconciling in his own rougher tongue the geography
and the music. Nevertheless, the version is evidently and successfully
studied, to mourn and complain.

  But all her fellow nymphs the mountains tear
  With loud lament, and break the yielding air:
  The realms of Mars remurmur all around,
  And echoes to the Athenian shores resound.

It is good, but hardly reaches the purpose of the original clamour, so
passionate, dirge-like, unearthly, and supernatural--at once telling the
death--as they say that in some countries the king's death is never told
in words, but with a clangour of shrieks only from the palace-top, which
is echoed by voices to voices on to the borders of his kingdom--at once,
we say, supplying this point of the relation, and impressing upon you the
superhuman character of the mourners, who are able not only to deplore,
but likewise mysteriously and mightily to avenge.

The next three lines are also, as might be presumed, at the height, for
they describe the paragon of lovers and harpers harping his affliction of
love--

  Ipse cavâ solans ægrum testudine amorem,
  Te dulcis conjux, te solo in litore secum,
  Te veniente die, te decedente, canebat!

Musical, dolorous iteration, iteration! Musical, woe-begone iteration,
iteration! What have we in English?

  "The unhappy husband, husband now no more,
  Did, on his tuneful harp, his loss deplore,
  And sought his mournful mind with music to restore.
  On thee, dear wife, in desarts all alone,
  He call'd, sigh'd, sang; his griefs with day begun,
  Nor were they finish'd with the setting sun."

Studied verses undoubtedly--musical, and mournful, and iterative. The two
triplets of rhyme have unquestionably this meaning; and the bold choice of
the homely-affectionate, "_dear wife_," to render the more ornate "_dulcis
conjux_," is of a sincere simplicity, and as good English as may be. We
see here a poetical method of equivalents--for "on _thee_ he _call'd,
sigh'd, sang_," is intended to render the urgency and incessancy of _Te,
Te, Te, Te!_ But the singular and purely Virgilian artifice of
construction in the second and third line, is abandoned without hope of
imitation.

Orpheus goes down into hell.

  "Tænarias etiam fauces, alta ostia Ditis,
  Et caligantem nigrâ formidine lucum
  Ingressus, Manesque adiit, Regemque tremendum,
  Nesciaque humanis precibus mansuescere corda."

  "Even to the dark dominions of the night
  He took his way, thro' forests void of light,
  And dared amidst the trembling ghosts to sing,
  And stood before the inexorable king."

They are good verses, and might satisfy an English reader who knew not the
original: albeit they do not attain--how should they?--to the sullen
weight of dark dread that loads the Latin Hexameters. Look at
that--REGEMQUE TREMENDUM! And then, still, the insisting upon something
more! To what nameless Powers do they belong--those unassigned hearts,
that are without the experience and intelligence of complying with human
prayers?

The infatuation--_dementia_--which, on the verge of the rejoined light,
turns back too soon the head of Orpheus towards her who follows him, is by
Virgil said to be

  "Ignoscenda quidem, scirent si ignoscere Manes!"

A verse awful by the measure which it preserves between the human of the
first half--_ignoscenda quidem_--and the infernal of the second
half--_scirent si ignoscere Manes_. It places before us, in comparison,
the Flexible, which lives in sunshine upon the earth--and the Inflexible,
which reigns in the gloom of Erebus underneath it.

What does Dryden? He takes down the still, severe majesty of Virgil by too
much of the Flexible--by a double dose of humanity.

  "A fault _which easy pardon might receive,
  Were lovers judges_, or could Hell forgive."

It is remarkable that he has himself quoted the line of Virgil with great
praise, as one that approaches, within measure, to an Ovidian "turn." He
has himself overstepped the measure, and made it quite Ovidian.

The four verses which describe the fault of Orpheus, and the perception of
it in hell, are unsurpassed:--

  "Restitit; Eurydicenque suam jam luce sub ipsâ,
  Immemor, heu! victusque animi respexit. Ibi omnis
  Effusus labor: atque immitis rupta tyranni
  Foedera: terque fragor stagnis auditus Avernis."

Only note the growing pathos from the beloved name to the naming of the
dread act. EURYDICEN--_suam_--_jam luce sub ipsâ_--_immemor_--_heu!_--
_victusque animi_--RESPEXIT. Five links! Look, too, what a long way on in
the verse that sin of backward-looking has brought you. There shall hardly
be found another verse in Virgil which has a pause of that magnitude at
that advance, in the measure. It is a great stretching on of the thought
against the law of music, which usually controls you to place the logical
in coincidence with the musical--stop; but here you are urged on into the
very midst, and beyond the midst, of the last dactyl--a musical sleight
which must needs heighten that feeling, impressed by the grammatical
structure, of a voluntary delay,--of unwillingness to utter the word
fraught with inevitable death--that mortal RESPEXIT! After this, there is
here no poured out toil--no clashing and rending--No! here is the deep
note of victory--the proclamation sounding out from the abyss that the
prize which was carried off is regained. Thrice down--down--as low as the
pools of Avernus breaks out a peal--

  "Terque fragor stagnis auditus Avernis."

This is the master with whom--and this the language, and this the measure
with which--our translator competes--"_imparibus armis_."

  "For, near the confines of ethereal light,
  And longing for the glimmering of a sight,
  The unwary lover cast his eyes behind,
  Forgetful of the law, nor master of his mind.
  Straight all his hopes exhaled in empty smoke,
  And his long toils were forfeit for a look.
  Three flashes of blue lightning gave the sign
  Of covenants broke, three peals of thunder join."

The falling off--the failure at the end is deplorable indeed; yet Dryden
recovers himself, and much of what follows is very fine.

The outline of the Iliad interests man's everyday heart. A wife carried
off--the retaliation--an invasion or siege--a fair captive withheld from
ransom--a displeased God sending a plague--a high prince wronged,
offended, sullenly withdrawn to his tent--war prosperous and adverse--a
dear friend lost and wailed--a general by his death reconciled--that death
avenged--a dead son redeemed by his father, and mourned by his people,--To
receive all this sufferance into the heart's depths, wants no specific
association--no grounding historical knowledge. By virtue of those
anthropical elements--which are, by a change of accidents, one to him and
you, Homer, who happens to be a Greek, makes you one, and a Trojan too, or
rather you are with him in the human regions, and that fact sufficeth for
all your soul's desires. But, though no critic, and unversed in the laws
of Epos, which by the way are only discoverable in the poem which he
created in obedience to them, and that were first revealed to him from
heaven by its inspiring genius--nevertheless, you are affected throughout
all your being by those laws, and but by them could not have been made
"greater than you know," by the Iliad. For the main action, or Achilleid,
though you may not know it, has four great steps. From Achilles' wrong by
Agamemnon to the death of Patroclus, is a movement of one tenor. From the
death of Patroclus to the death of Hector, is an entirely new movement,
though causally bound in the closest manner to that antecedent. The Games
and Funeral of Patroclus is an independent action. The Restoration of
Hector's body is a dependent, and necessarily springing action, having a
certain subsistency within itself. To the whole the seat of moving power
is the bosom of Achilles. All the parts have perfect inter-obligation. Cut
away any one, and there would be not a perilous gash, but a detruncation
fatal to the living frame. There is vital integrity from the beginning to
the end. Nowhere can you stop till the great poet stops. Then you obtain
rest--not glad rest; for say not that the Iliad ends happily. The spirit
of war sits on the sepulchral mound of Hector expecting its prey, and the
topmost towers of Ilion, in the gloom of doom, lower with the ruining that
shall soon hide Mount Ida in a night of dust.

Forbid it, ye muses all! that we should whisper a word in dispraise of
Maro. But for what it is, not for what it is not, we love the Æneid. The
wafting over sea from an Asiatic to an Italian soil, and the setting there
of the acorn, which by the decree of the Destinies shall, in distant ages,
grow up into Rome, and the overshadowing Roman Empire--this majestic theme
appeals to the reason, and to the reason taught in the history of the
world. It is a deliberate, not an impassioning interest. And how
dominionless over our sympathy has the glowing and tender-hearted Virgil,
perhaps unavoidably, made the Hero, who impersonates his rational
interest! How unlike is this Æneas to that Achilles, round whose young
head, sacred to glory, Homer has gathered, as about one magnetic centre,
his tearful, fiery, turbulent, majestic, and magnanimous humanities!

Confess we must, reluctantly, that Æneas chills the Æneid. It was not that
Virgil had embraced a design greater than his poetical strength. But it
was in more than one respect unfortunately, unpoetically, conditioned.
That political foundation itself is to be made good by aggressive arms;
and by tearing a betrothed and enamoured beautiful bride from the youthful
and stately chivalrous prince, her lover, slain in fight against the
invaders; whilst the poor girl is to be made over to a widower, of whose
gallantry the most that we know is his ill-care of his wife, and his
running away from his mistress.

And thus, alas! it cannot be denied, the design of the _Æneis_ is carried
through without our great natural sympathies, as respects its end--against
them as respects its means. An insuperable difficulty! Did Virgil mistake,
then, in taking the subject? One hardly dares say so. The national
tradition offers to the national Epic poet the national Epic transaction;
and he accepts the offer. In doing so he allies by his theme his own to
the Homeric Epos. With all this, however, we do feel that fiery, and
all-powerful, and all-comprehensive genius projects the outline of the
_Iliad_ upon the canvass; whilst in this poetical history of the Trojan
plantation in Italy, we can ascribe to the general disposition and
invention hardly more than a prudent and skilful intelligence. But the
poetical soul, the creative fire then enters to possess the remainder of
the task. Was, after all, a pitched battle not exactly the thing in the
world the most kindly to the feelings and the best meted to the
understanding of the poet, commissioned to renown with verse the people
who fought more, and more successful, pitched battles than any other in
the world?

Were Virgil to write now, and you had to allot him his theme, what would
it be? A romance of knight-errantry? You would allot him none. You would
leave him free to the suggestions of his own delicious spirit. But he
thought himself bound to the Latin Epos. To speak in true critical
severity, the _Æneis_ has no Hero. It has a HEROINE. And who, pray, is
SHE? The seven-hilled Queen of the World. Like another Cybele, with her
turreted diadem, and gods for her children, in her arms and in her lap.
Herself heaven-descended--IMPERIAL ROME.

The two prophetical episodes--the Muster of the pre-existing ghosts before
the eyes of the great human ancestor, Anchises, in his Elysium--and those
anticipatory narrative Embossings of the Vulcanian shield, become in this
view integral and principal portions of the poem. That reviewing beside
that Elysian river, of the souls that are to animate Roman breasts, and to
figure in Roman chronicles, gave opportunity to Virgil of one Prophecy
that mingled mourning with triumph, and triumph with mourning. Victorious
over the Punic--victorious over the Gallic foe--carrying to the temple the
arms which he, a leader, stripped from a leader--the third consecrator of
such spoils--goes Marcellus. But who is He that moves at the side of the
hero? A youth, distinguished by his beauty and by his lustrous arms. The
Souls throng, with officious tumult, about him--and how much he resembles
his great companion! But on his destined brow sits no triumphal
lustre--mists and night cling about his head. Who is it? Æneas
enquires--and Anchises would fain withhold the reply. It is the descendant
of that elder Marcellus; and promises, were fatal decrees mutable, to
renew the prowess and praises of his famed progenitor. Fatal decrees might
not change, and the nephew of Augustus, the destined successor of his
reign, and the hopes of the Romans--OBIIT. You have often wept over
Virgil's verses--here are Dryden's:--

  "Æneas here beheld, of form divine,
  A godlike youth in glittering armour shine,
  With great Marcellus keeping equal pace;
  But gloomy were his eyes, dejected was his face.
  He saw, and wond'ring, ask'd his airy guide,
  What and of whence was he, who press'd the hero's side?
  'His son, or one of his illustrious name
  How like the former, and almost the same!
  Observe the crowds that compass him around;
  All gaze, and all admire, and raise shouting sound:
  But hov'ring mists around his brows are spread,
  And night, with sable shades, involve his head.'
  'Seek not to know (the ghost replied with tears)
  The sorrows of thy sons in future years.
  This youth (the blissful vision of a day)
  Shall just be shown on earth, then snatch'd away.
  The gods too high had raised the Roman state,
  Were but their gifts as permanent as great.
  What groans of men shall fill the Martian field!
  How fierce a blaze his flaming pile shall yield!
  What funeral pomp shall floating Tyber see,
  When, rising from his bed, he views the sad solemnity!
  No youth shall equal hopes of glory give,
  No youth afford so great a cause to grieve.
  The Trojan honour, and the Roman boast,
  Admired when living, and adored when lost!
  Mirror of ancient faith in early youth!
  Undaunted worth, inviolable truth!
  No foe, unpunish'd, in the fighting-field
  Shall dare thee, foot to foot, with sword and shield.
  Much less in arms oppose thy matchless force,
  When thy sharp spurs shall urge thy foaming horse.
  Ah! couldst thou break through Fate's severe decree,
  A new Marcellus shall arise in thee!
  Full canisters of fragrant lilies bring,
  Mix'd with the purple roses of the spring;
  Let me with funeral flowers his body strow;
  This gift which parents to their children owe,
  This unavailing gift, at least, I may bestow!'"

Here is an excellent flow. The sorrow and the pride and the public love
which are the life of the original, are all taken to heart by the
translator, who succeeds in imparting to you the most touching of poetical
eulogies. You find, as usually every where, that the vigorous purpose of
the original is maintained, and well rendered, but that certain Virgilian
fascinations, which--whether they bewitch your heart or your fancy or our
ear, you do not know--are hardly given you back. Thus it might be very
hard to say what you have found that you cannot forget again, in such a
verse as that which introduces to your eye the subject of the more
effusive praise.

  "Atque hic Æneas, una namque ire videbat
  Egregium formâ juvenem, et fulgentibus armis."

Yet you do not again forget that second line.

Dryden's rendering is equivalent for the meaning, and unblameable.

  "Æneas here beheld of _form divine,
  A godlike youth in glittering armour shine_."

The phrase is even heightened; but it does not loiter, like that other, in
your memory. The very heightening has injured the image--the shadow that
shone brighter in simple words.

The shadow then thrown across--

  "Sed _frons_ læta parum"--

is well given, with a variation, by--

  "But gloomy were his _eyes_."

The lightlessness is feelingly placed where the chief light should be.

The unequalled

  "Ostendent terris hunc tantum Fata,"

so fully signifying the magnitude of the gift offered and withdrawn--so
sadly the brief promise, and all so concisely, meets with a soft and
bright rendering in

  "The _blissful vision_ of a day."

But Dryden's "shown _on_ earth," less positively affirms the loss fallen
upon the earth, than the Latin "shall show to the nations."

The praise involving the recollection of the manners which were--

  "Heu pietas! heu prisca fides! invictaque bello
  Dextera!"

is given with admirable fervour.

  "Mirror of ancient faith, in early youth
  Undaunted worth! inviolable truth!"

As for _those three words_ that smote, as the tradition goes, the heart of
the too deeply concerned auditress, the bereaved mother herself, to
swooning--

  "_Tu Marcellus eris!_"--

they are no doubt, in their overwhelming simplicity, untransferable to our
uncouth idiom; and our ears may thank Dryden for the skill with which, by
a "New Marcellus," and an otherwise explanatory paraphrase, he has kept
the Virgilian music. Meantime the passionate vehemence of the breaking
away from that prophecy of intolerable grief--the call for the bestrewment
of flowers--

  "Manibus date lilia plenis," &c.--

_must_ be weakened, if the moment of the transition is to fall, as we see
it in Dryden, at the interval between verse and verse, and not, as we have
just seen it with Virgil, at the juncture within the verse of hemistich
with hemistich.

  "Tu Marcellus eris.--Manibus date lilia plenis," &c.

There is a pause in that line, during which the mother, had she not
swooned, might have calmed her heart!

It is usual to discover that Virgil wants originality--that he transcribes
his battles from Homer. In truth, it was not easy, with fights of the
Homeric ages, to do otherwise. However, Virgil has done otherwise, if any
one will be at the pains to look.

For instance, an incident, not in the battles by the Xanthus, is the
following:--

A powerful Tuscan warrior, infuriated by the ill fighting of his men,
distinguishes himself by an extraordinary feat. Clasping round the body,
and so unhorsing a lighter antagonist, he rides off with him; snaps the
javelin, which his captive still grasps, near the head, and with its point
probes and aims for a vulnerable place. The unfortunate Latine, as he lies
across the horse's neck, struggles, and will baffle the deathly blow.
Landseer could suggest no more vivid comparison, than one which leaps into
your own imagination--a snake soused upon by an eagle.

  "So stoops the yellow eagle from on high,
  And bears a speckled serpent through the sky,
  Fastening his crooked talons on the prey:
  The prisoner hisses through the liquid way;
  Resists the royal hawk, and though oppresst,
  She fights in columns and erects her crest:
  Turn'd to her foe, she stiffens every scale,
  And shoots her forky tongue, and whisks her threat'ning tail.
  Against the victor all defence is weak;
  The imperial bird still plies her with his beak,
  He tears her bowels, and her heart he gores,
  Then clasps his pinions and securely soars."

A glorious paraphrase!

This is an incident more like a knight of Ariosto's, the terrible Sarazin
Rhodomont, or Orlando himself, than Homer's, who did not, indeed, combat
on horseback.

But speaking of the moderns, we will venture to say, that if Virgil has
copied, he is also an original who has been copied. And we will ask, who
is the prototype of the ladies, turned knights, who flourish in favour
with our poets of romance?--with Ariosto, with Tasso, with our own
Spenser? Who but the heroic virgin ally of the Rutulian prince--who but
CAMILLA?

We name her, however, neither for her own sake, nor for Virgil's, but for
Dryden's, who seems also to have taken her into favour, and to have
written, with a peculiar spirit and feeling, the parts of the poem which
represent her in action.

She leads her Amazons into Italian fields, warring against the fate-driven
fugitives of overthrown Troy. Whence were her Amazon followers? Whence is
She? Her history her divine patroness, Diana, relates. Her father, the
strong-limbed, rude-souled Metabus, a wild and intractable Volscian king,
fled from the face and from the pursuit of his people. He bore, in his
arms, one dear treasure; a companion of his flight; yet an infant--this
daughter. He flies. The Amasenus, in flood, bars his way. More doubtful
for his charge than for himself, hastily, with love-prompted art, he
swathes the babe in stripped bark--binds her to the shaft of his huge
oaken spear--dedicates her with a prayer to the virgin goddess of woods,
and of the woodland chase--hurls, from a gigantic hand, the weapon across
the tempestuous flood--and, ere his pursuers have reached him, plunges in,
breasts the waters, and, saving and saved, swims across. In the forest
depths, amongst imbosoming hills, the rugged sire fosters the vowed
follower of Diana. The nursling of the wild grows up a bold and skilled
huntress; and now that war storms in the land, she, with her huntress
companions, joins the war. Some unexplained reconciliation, or perhaps
restoration, has taken effect; for, along with her armed maidens, she
leads the troops of the Volscians. In the field she fights like a virago;
but her entrance thither was against the desire of the goddess, for it
dooms her to die. Her eager following of a gorgeously armed warrior
exposes her to a treacherous aim, and she falls. The provident goddess had
put her own bow, and an arrow from her own quiver, into the hands of a
nymph chosen to execute the vengeance of the impending death, and that
arrow flies to its mark.

  "Nor, after that, in towns which walls enclose,
  Would trust his hunted life amidst his foes;
  But, rough, in open air he chose to lie;
  Earth was his couch, his covering was the sky.
  On hills unshorn, or in a desert den,
  He shunn'd the dire society of men.
  A shepherd's solitary life he led;
  His daughter with the milk of mares he fed.
  The dugs of bears, and every savage beast,
  He drew, and through her lips the liquor press'd.
  The little amazon could scarcely go,
  He loads her with a quiver and a bow;
  And, that she might her staggering steps command,
  He with a slender javelin fills her hand.
  Her flowing hair no golden fillet bound;
  Nor swept her trailing robe the dusty ground.
  Instead of these, a tiger's hide o'erspread
  Her back and shoulders, fasten'd to her head.
  The flying dart she first attempts to fling,
  And round her tender temples toss'd the sling;
  Then as her strength with years increased, began       }
  To pierce aloft in air the soaring swan,               }
  And from the clouds to fetch the heron and the crane.  }
  The Tuscan matrons with each other vied,
  To bless their rival sons with such a bride;
  But she disdains their love, to share with me
  The sylvan shades, and vow'd virginity.
  And oh! I wish, contented with my cares
  Of savage spoils, she had not sought the wars.
  Then had she been of my celestial train,
  And shunn'd the fate that dooms her to be slain.
  But since, opposing heaven's decree, she goes
  To find her death among forbidden foes,
  Haste with these arms, and take thy steepy flight,
  Where, with the gods adverse, the Latins fight.
  This bow to thee, this quiver, I bequeath,
  This chosen arrow, to avenge her death:
  By whate'er hand Camilla shall be slain,
  Or of the Trojan or Italian train,
  Let him not pass unpunish'd from the plain.
  Then, in a hollow cloud, myself will aid
  To bear the breathless body of my maid:
  Unspoil'd shall be her arms, and unprofaned
  Her holy limbs with any human hand,
  And in a marble tomb laid in her native land."

What is Virgil's in this fair and romantically cast fiction? What hints
did the traditionary fable give him? You are not concerned to make an
enquiry which you have no means of satisfying. You must hold Camilla to be
as much Virgil's as any thing is Homer's in the Iliad. The painting
throughout is to the life, and perfectly graceful. The subject was one
likely to attach the imagination of a modern poet, and you feel all along,
that pleasure inspirits the happy translation of Dryden.

The Destruction of Troy, the Love of Dido, the Descent into Hell, entire
Cantos of the poem, take deep and lasting possession of every reader; and,
like the first and second books of the Paradise Lost, too much seduce
admiration from the remainder of the work. You pick out from the whole
Italian war, Lausus, Pallas, Nisus, and Euryalus, and think that you have
done with Virgil.

We beg to propose a literary experiment. Homer has left us two poems--a
War, and a Wandering. Virgil has bequeathed us one, representing those
two, and that proportionally; although in the Latin the Odyssey comes
first, and the Iliad follows. For the first six Æneids relate the
wandering; whilst the latter six display the war. Let us, therefore,
fairly cut the great outrolling, unfolding picture in two, and have two
poems, distinct, although closely allied; twins, moulded in one womb,
nourished from the same blood. We dare to predict that the poem of "Æneas
in Italy," now considered with its own independent interests, and after
its own art and management, will duly compete with its rival, "Æneas
Fugitive."

How the whole movement, and march, and original conduct of the Italian war
will come out! The peaceful entertainment of the Trojans by Latinus, moved
with old and new prophecies, and his ready offer of his daughter, Lavinia,
to Æneas in marriage--the adverse interposition of Juno--her summoning of
Alecto from hell--the glad Fury's fine discharge of her part--her
maddening of the Queen Amata, who loves Turnus, hates the strangers, and
catches in her own madness all the Latian mothers--the INFURIATING of the
young, gallant, ardent, defrauded, princely lover himself--a splendid
scene, where the hot warrior's jeers of the fiend in her beldam disguise,
sting her Tartarean heart as if it had been a woman's, and for the very
wrath she reveals her terrible self--then that exquisite incident, won
from the new matter of the poet, from the PASTORAL manners with which he
is historically obliged to deal in Italy--the Fury's third and last
feat--her drawing-on of Ascanius's hounds to hunt the beautiful favourite
stag, which the daughter of the King's chief herdsman petted--and, thence,
a quarrel, a skirmish, slaughter begun, and the whole population of the
plains aroused. And so with bacchanal women, with Rutulians, and with his
own rude liegemen in tumult, the old King overborne--shutting himself up
in his palace; and war inflamed in Hesperia, to the full heart's-wish of
Jove's imperial wife, who has nothing left her to do more than, descending
again from the sky, to push open with her own hands the brazen-gated
temple of Janus.

All this is very poetical--is very different from the _Iliad_, and is
perfectly measured to the scale of a war, moved, not by confederated
Greece for the overthrow of an Asiatic empire, but by the tribes of the
coast for beating back the crews of a few straggling ships from planting a
colony, who have nothing on their side but their valour, their fame, and
their fates.

Analyze this war; make out for yourself, distinctly, the story, of which
in a poem one always too easily loses the sequence, delight and emotion
making one less observant; then understand the poetical workings out, in
their places and after their bearings; and you will satisfy yourself, that
although the cleaving of heads, and the transpiercing of trunks, and the
hewing off of limbs, are processes that must always keep up a certain
general resemblance to themselves, you have not a campaign imitated from
the Iliad; but an original one--proper to person and place.


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



Footnotes:

[1] Raphael was born in 1483, Michael Angelo in 1474.

[2]

  [Greek: "Mê man aspoudei ge kai akleiôs apoloimên
          Alla mega rhexas ti kai essomenoisi pythesthai."]

                                        _Iliad_, XXII. 304.

[3] We were about to make some remarks on the alleged production of
_animated globules in albumen by electricity_; but we find that, in a note
to the third edition, the author virtually relinquishes this ground. We
had made enquiries amongst scientific men; but no such experiment had been
received or accredited amongst them.

[4] "In tracing the series of fossiliferous formations, from the most
ancient to the more modern, the first deposits in which we meet with
assemblages of organic remains having a near analogy to the _Fauna_ of
certain parts of the globe in our own time, are those commonly called
tertiary. Even in the Eocene, or oldest subdivision of these tertiary
formations, some few of the testacea belong to existing species, although
almost all of them, and apparently all the associated vertebrata, are now
extinct. These Eocene strata are succeeded by a great number of modern
deposits, which depart gradually in the character of their fossils from
the Eocene type, and approach more and more to that of the living
creation. In the present state of science, it is chiefly by the aid of
shells that we are enabled to arrive at the results; for, of all classes,
the testacea are the most generally diffused in a fossil state, and may be
called the medals principally employed by nature in recording the
chronology of past events. In the Miocene deposits, which succeed next to
the Eocene, we begin to find a considerable number, although still a
minority, of recent species intermixed with some fossils common to the
preceding epoch. We then arrive at the Pliocene strata, in which species
now contemporary with man begin to preponderate, and in the newest of
which nine-tenths of the fossils agree with species still inhabiting the
neighbouring sea.

"In thus passing from the older to the newer members of the tertiary
system, we meet with many chasms; but none which separate entirely, and by
a broad line of demarcation, one state of the organic world from another.
There are no signs of an abrupt termination of one _Fauna_ and _Flora_,
and the starting into life of new and wholly distinct forms. Although we
are far from being able to demonstrate geologically an insensible
transition from the Eocene to the recent _Fauna_, yet we may affirm that
the more we enlarge and perfect our survey of Europe, the more nearly do
we approximate to such a continuous series, and the more gradually are we
conducted from times when many of the genera and nearly all the species
were extinct, to those in which scarcely a single species flourished which
we do not know to exist at present."--LYELL'S _Principles of Geology_.
Vol. i. p. 283.

[5] This lower jaw is described in another part of the work as showing in
the human embryo the last trace of the monkey.

[6] Printed at Dublin for Philip Dixon Hardy & Sons, 1842.

[7] A place in Ireland?

[8] We subjoin the original Etruscan text as read by our author, with its
alleged Irish equivalents.

BUCUCUM : IUBIU : PUNE : UBEF : FURFATH : TREF : BITLUF : TURUF : | MARTE
: THURIE : FETU : PUPLEEPER : TUTAS : HUBINAS : TUTAPER : ICUBINA : |
BATUBA : FERINE : FETU : PUNI : FETU : ARBIC : USTENTU : CUTEP : PES-
NIMU.

_Bu co com iudh be in Pune u be fa for fath tre fa be at lu fa tur u fa |
mer ta tur i e fad u prob lu bar to ta is i iudh be i na is to ta bar i co
be i na | ba do ba fa ain e fad u Puni fad u ar be iudh us tan do co taib
be sni mo._

[9] It appears that the Royal Irish Academy had refused to publish these
speculations in its Transactions. We are surprised they should have
admitted some others of the same stamp, to which reference is made further
on.

[10] "Now, as Serapio was about to have added something of the same
nature, the stranger, taking the words out of his mouth--I am wonderfully
pleased, said he, to hear discourses upon such subjects as these; but am
constrained to claim your first promise, to tell the reason wherefore now
the Pythian prophetess no longer delivers her oracles in poetic numbers
and measures. Upon which Theo interposing--It cannot be denied, said he,
but that there have been great changes and innovations in reference to
poetry and the sciences, yet it is as certain that from all antiquity
oracles have been delivered in prose. For we find in Thucydides that the
Lacedæmonians, desirous to know the issue of the war then entered into
against the Athenians, were answered in prose." * * * "And so of Dinomenes
the Sicilian, Procles, tyrant of Epidaurus and Timarchus; and, which is
more, the oracular answers, according to which Lycurgus conferred the form
of the Lacedæmonian commonwealth, were also so given."--_Plutarch. Moral._

[11] _Death of Wallenstein_, Act v. Scene 1, (Coleridge's Translation,)
relating to his remembrances of the younger Piccolomini.

[12] "_Like the dry corpse which stood upright._"--See the _Second_ Book
of Kings, chap. xiii. v. 20 and 21. Thirty years ago this impressive
incident was made the subject of a large altar-piece by Mr Alston, an
interesting American artist, then resident in London.

[13] "_African Obeah._"--Thirty-years ago it would not have been necessary
to say one word of the Obi or Obeah magic; because at that time several
distinguished writers (Miss Edgeworth, for instance, in her Belinda) had
made use of this superstition in fictions, and because the remarkable
history of Three-finger'd Jack, a story brought upon the stage, had made
the superstition notorious as a fact. Now, however, so long after the case
has probably passed out of the public mind, it may be proper to
mention--that when an Obeah man, _i. e._, a professor of this dark
collusion with human fears and human credulity, had once woven his
dreadful net of ghostly terrors, and had thrown it over his selected
victim, vainly did that victim flutter, struggle, languish in the meshes;
unless the spells were reversed, he generally perished; and without a
wound except from his own too domineering fancy.

[14] What follows, I think, (for book I have none of any kind where this
paper is proceeding,) viz. _et serâ sub nocte rudentum_, is probably a
mistake of Virgil's; the lions did not roar because night was approaching,
but because night brought with it their principal meal, and consequently
the impatience of hunger.

[15] "_Kilcrops._"--See, amongst Southey's early poems, one upon this
superstition. Southey argues _contra_; but for my part, I should have been
more disposed to hold a brief on the other side.

[16] In this place I derive my feeling partly from a lovely sketch of the
appearance, in verse, by Mr Wordsworth; partly from my own experience of
the case; and, not having the poems here, I know not how to proportion my
acknowledgments.

[17] "And so, then," the Cynic objects, "you rank your own mind (and you
tell us so frankly) amongst the primary formations?" As I love to annoy
him, it would give me pleasure to reply--"Perhaps I do." But as I never
answer more questions than are necessary, I confine myself to saying, that
this is not a necessary construction of the words. Some minds stand nearer
to the type of the original nature in man, are truer than others to the
great magnet in our dark planet. Minds that are impassioned on a more
colossal scale than ordinary, deeper in their vibrations, and more
extensive in the scale of their vibrations--whether, in other parts of
their intellectual system, they had or had not a corresponding
compass--will tremble to greater depths from a fearful convulsion, and
will come round by a longer curve of undulations.

[18] _i. e._ (As on account of English readers is added,) the recognition
of his true identity, which in one moment, and by a horrid flash of
revelation, connects him with acts incestuous, murderous, parricidal, in
the past, and with a mysterious fatality of woe lurking in the future.

[19] Euripides.



Transcriber's Notes:

Passages in italics are indicated by _italics_.

The original text includes Greek characters. For this text version these
letters have been replaced with transliterations.

The following misprints have been corrected:
  "inexorbably" corrected to "inexorably" (page 466)
  "daugher" corrected to "daughter" (page 489)
  "expresssion" corrected to "expression" (page 492)

Other than the corrections listed above, printer's inconsistencies in
spelling and hyphenation usage have been retained.





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