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Title: Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 58, No. 359, September 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 58, No. 359, September 1845" ***

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  BLACKWOOD'S EDINBURGH MAGAZINE.

  NO. CCCLIX.   SEPTEMBER, 1845.   VOL. LVIII.



CONTENTS.


  ENGLISH LANDSCAPE--CONSTABLE,                                     257

  MAHMOOD THE GHAZNAVIDE. By B. SIMMONS,                            266

  MARSTON; OR, THE MEMOIRS OF A STATESMAN. PART XIX.,               272

  WATERTON'S SECOND SERIES OF ESSAYS,                               289

  WARREN'S LAW STUDIES,                                             300

  MARGARET OF VALOIS,                                               312

  THE BARON VON STEIN,                                              328

  THE HISTORICAL ROMANCE,                                           341

  A FEW WORDS FOR BETTINA,                                          357

  NORTH'S SPECIMENS OF THE BRITISH CRITICS. NO. VIII.--SUPPLEMENT
  TO MAC-FLECNOE AND THE DUNCIAD,                                   366



  EDINBURGH:
  WILLIAM BLACKWOOD AND SONS, 45, GEORGE STREET;
  AND 37, PATERNOSTER ROW, 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. CCCLIX.   SEPTEMBER, 1845.   Vol. LVIII.



ENGLISH LANDSCAPE--CONSTABLE.[1]


The appearance of the second edition of Leslie's _Life of Constable_
invites attention to this truly English and original artist. We have read
this volume with much interest. It is a graceful homage paid by a great
living painter to the memory of one who is no more: a kindly, and, as we
believe, an honest testimony to the moral and professional worth of one
whose works stand out with a striking and distinct character in the
English school of landscape-painting, and which, we are confident, will
retain the place which they have slowly gained in public estimation, as
long as a feeling of pictorial truth, in its more elevated sense, and as
distinct from a mere literal imitation of details, shall continue to
endure. Mr Leslie has accomplished his task with skill as well as good
sense; for, keeping the labours of the editor entirely in the background,
he has made Constable his own biographer--the work consisting almost
entirely of extracts from his notes, journals, and correspondence, linked
together by the slenderest thread of narrative. Story indeed, it may be
said, there was none to tell; for, among the proverbially uneventful lives
of artists, that of Constable was perhaps the least eventful. His
birth--his adoption of painting as a profession (for he was originally
destined _pulverem collegisse_ in the drier duties of a miller)--his
marriage, after a long attachment, on which parents had looked frowningly,
but which the lovers, by patient endurance and confidence in each other,
brought to a successful issue--his death, just when he had begun to feel
that the truth and originality of his style were becoming better
appreciated both abroad and at home; these, with the hopes, and fears, and
anxieties for a rising family, which diversify the married life with
alternate joys and sorrows, form, in truth, the only incidents in his
history. The incidents of a painter's life, in fact, are the foundation of
his character, the gradual development to his own mind of the principles
of his art; and with Constable's thoughts and opinions, his habits of
study, the growth of his style--if that term can be applied to the manner
of one whose great anxiety it was to have no distinguishable _style_
whatever--with his manly, frank, affectionate, and somewhat hasty
disposition, with his strong self-reliance, and, as we may sometimes
think, his overweening self-esteem--his strength of mind and his
weaknesses--this volume makes us familiarly acquainted.

Constable was born in 1776, at East Bergholt in Sussex. His father was in
comfortable circumstances, as may be gathered from the fact, that the
artist (one of six children) ultimately inherited £4000 as his share of
the succession. He was thus entirely exempted from the _res angusta_ with
which artists have so often to labour; although, with the characteristic
improvidence of his profession, we still find that he had enough to do to
make both ends meet. Born delicate, he grew up a strong and healthy boy,
and was intended by his father, who had succeeded by purchase or
inheritance to sundry wind and water mills, for a miller. Nay, for about a
year, Constable actually performed that duty at one of his father's mills,
and, it is said, faithfully and assiduously. Yet he contrived to turn even
this episode in his life to some advantage. He treasured up a multitude of
mental studies of clouds and skies, which, to the wind-miller, are always
objects of peculiar interest, and acquired that familiarity with mills and
their adjuncts which justified his brother's observation--"When I look at
a mill painted by John, I see that it will _go round_, which is not always
the case with those by other artists."

Even before his short trial of a miller's life, his love of drawing and
painting had shown itself; but, receiving little countenance from his
father, he had established a little sanctuary of his own in a workshop of
a neighbouring plumber and glazier, John Dunthorne, a man of some
intelligence, and himself an indefatigable artist on an humble scale. His
mother, who seems from the first to have had something like a prophetic
anticipation of his future eminence, procured him an introduction to Sir
George Beaumont, who frequently visited his mother, the dowager Lady
Beaumont, then residing at Dedham. The sight of a beautiful Claude--"The
Hagar"--which Sir George generally carried with him when he travelled, and
of some water-colour drawings by Girtin, which Sir George advised him to
study as examples of truth and breadth, seem to have determined his
wavering resolution to become a painter; and the combined influence of
Claude and Girtin may, indeed, be traced more or less during the whole
course of his practice. His father appeared at last to have given a
reluctant consent, and the mill was abandoned for the painting-room, or
rather for the study of nature in the open air, among the forest glades
and by the still streams of Suffolk.

Suffolk, certainly, might not appear at first sight to be the place which
one would choose for the education of a great painter. Mountains it has
none; to the sublimity arising from lake or precipice, or the desolate
expanse of moor and fell, it has no pretension; from the spots where
Constable chiefly studied, even the prospect of old ocean was shut out;
the country presented, as he himself describes it, only gentle
declivities, luxuriant meadow flats, sprinkled with flocks and herds,
quiet but clear streams, villages, farms, woodlands--

  "The slow canal, the yellow-blossom'd vale,
  The willow-tufted bank and gliding sail."

What influence scenery of a higher class might have had on Constable's
mind, it is not easy to decide; as it was, the narrow circuit of a few
miles round Bergholt, within which the materials of his pictures are
chiefly found, became for him the epitome of English nature; and he
associated the very ideal of beauty with those quiet nooks and scenes of
tranquillity and amenity, where he had first exercised his pencil, and
amidst which in after life he loved to linger.

And in truth, to a creative mind--for "it is the soul that sees," and
renders back its vision--how much of beauty, picturesque variety, nay,
under certain aspects and conditions of the atmosphere, how much of
grandeur existed within this narrow circle! A friend of ours has
maintained an ingenious thesis, that there is no such thing as a bad day
in nature; though whether, after the aspect of the present summer, he
retains his opinion, we think may be questioned. Constable certainly held
a similar theory with regard to beauty in landscape. "Madam," said he to a
lady who had denounced some object as ugly--"there is nothing ugly. I
never saw an ugly thing in my life; for let the form of an object be what
it may, light, shade, and perspective will always make it beautiful."
This, indeed, was the talisman with which he worked; _light and
shade_--the magic of _chiaro-scuro_ applied to the simple elements of
form which the rich pastures and woods of Suffolk afforded, and a power
of exhibiting the varied influences and character of the skies, which, if
it has been equalled by Turner, Calcott, and Fielding, has certainly never
been surpassed by any British landscape-painter.

Let us glance at some of those pictures of tranquil English nature which
Constable's landscapes afford;--not professing to follow the details of
any particular picture, but embodying from recollection a few of their
leading features, as exhibited under those lights or atmospheric effects,
which he generally selected as in harmony with the sentiment of his
scenes.

We are standing, for instance, on a broken foreground, across which the
brier, the dog-rose, and the white bindweed have clasped themselves in
fantastic tendrils. The white hemlock shoots up rankly by the hedge, and
the tall bulrush and water-lily mark the course of the little stream which
is sliding noiselessly past among the grass. It is early morning, as we
see by the long oblique shadows. Yet industry is already at work. The
wheel of that weather-stained and lichen-covered mill--call it Flatford if
you will--is in motion, and the dripping water, glancing in the morning
sun, descends from the cogs in a shower of diamonds. The stream that
supplies the mill is crossed further down by a rustic bridge, as
picturesque as it is inconvenient. Beyond, and towards the centre, a long
wooded lane stretches out towards the horizon, close and overarching at
top, but with the sunbeams straggling in between the trunks, and
checkering the cool road with a network of light and shadow. About midway,
a small spring, trickling from a bank, has been collected in a rude stone
trough, for the refreshment of panting horse and wayworn traveller; beside
which two market wains--the one on its way to the neighbouring town, the
other returning from it--have stopped. The horses are watering; the
waggoners gossiping over the news, or smoking together the calumet of
peace; while a group of urchins, in whom the embryo ostler or future
strapper are easily detected, are looking on with that interest in all
that concerns horseflesh which distinguishes the rising members of an
agricultural population. Beyond the lane are gentle hills, "rounded about
by the low wavering sky"--some smoke indicating the market-town, and the
spire of the village church leading the eye out of the picture, and
crowning the cheerful serenity of the landscape.

The day advances, and the scene is changed. In the foreground we have a
building-yard by the river. Boats and barges are seen in their rise,
progress, decline, and fall;--some completed, some exhibiting merely their
skeletons upon the stocks; some blistering in the sun beside the broken
pier; some, which have seen better days, now entirely out of commission,
and falling to pieces among the mud;--placed in all attitudes, and
projecting broad and picturesque shadows along the ground. But these
shadows are soft and transparent, not dark and cutting; for the sultry
haze which rises steaming from all around, makes the summer sunshine
veiled and dim. All nature is in a state of indolence. The lazy Stour
sleeps beneath his fringes of elm and willow: a deep-laden barge comes
leisurely along, as if anxious not to disturb his slumbers: the horse has
plainly enough to do to make out his four miles an hour; and there is a
dog on deck who seems nervous about hydrophobia. The man at the bow,
depressing his head and elevating the lower part of his person to an
American angle of elevation, has thrown his sturdy limbs across yon
well-stuffed sacks of wheat, on their way to Flatford mill. Mercy on us!
what can that fellow in the stern be about, pretending to steer? Just as
we suspected--fast asleep, with his hand on the helm.

Another change--from the building-yard to the corn-field. The wind has
risen as the day advanced, and driven off to the west the veil of vapour
which had concealed the sun. The clouds ride high in heaven; and we see by
their roll and motion that there is a refreshing air astir;--and there is
need of it in this field of golden grain, framed, as it were, in the solid
green of those groves, and over which the gray tower of Dedham church
(which somehow or other finds its way into all these combinations of
scenery) rises straight and motionless against the rounded forms of the
ever-shifting sky. All here speaks of bustle and cheerful activity, peace
and plenty. It is impossible to look at the scene, and think for a moment
of the repeal of the corn-laws. Behind the stalwart band of reapers lie
the heaps of sheaves that have already fallen beneath their sickle; the
tall grain, swept by the wind, waves firm before them like a hostile rank
yet unbroken; while the _lord_, as he is called in Suffolk, or leading man
among the reapers and mowers, stands in advance of the rest, as if urging
a final charge. In truth, there has been rather a lull among the workmen;
for, breezy as the day is, still it is hot--the dinner-hour is nigh, and
there is a visible anxiety evinced for the arrival of the commissariat. At
last it is seen in the offing: the reapers, "sagacious of their quarry
from afar," gather new vigour from the sight; and yonder tall fellow--an
Irishman, we are positive even at this distance--seizing his sickle like
one inspired, is actually working double tides.

But stay, we have got into wilder quarters, and here has been a storm. Ay,
we thought the clouds, after such a sultry morning, were not rolling
themselves into those ominous grey volumes for nothing. Broken ground lies
before us in front, seemingly part of an old gravel-pit, down which winds
a break-neck path, lost at yonder turning. Beneath us, a level flat, where
the sullen verdure of the vegetation betrays the marshy, reedy, sterile
character of the soil. Pools of water, here and there set amidst the
swampy green, reflect the dark and watery clouds that are scudding above
them. The lavender, the water-lily, the mallow, the fern, the fox-glove,
luxuriate here; abundant food for botany, but not exactly in the place one
would choose for botanizing--particularly, as is the case this moment,
within an hour of sundown. Beyond the flat, the traces of a range of low
hills, their outline at present lost in rain. Overhead, a spongy sky,
darkening into a lurid gloom to the right; for there the laden
thunder-clouds are about to discharge their freight; and right underneath,
in the middle distance, an unhappy windmill, which has shortened sail
during the preparatory blast, stands glimmering like a ghost through the
gloom, obviously on the eve of the deluge. What may be the probable fate
of the miller and his men in this conjuncture, humanity, of course,
declines to contemplate; but, turning towards the left, sees the sun
struggling through the opening eyelids of the clouds, the leaden hue of
the sky on the right breaking off into a lustrous haze, and a rainbow
growing into form and colour, which, as it spans the dripping landscape
from east to west, gives token of a goodly day to-morrow.

These are but a few of the combinations which even this limited range of
scenery evidently presented to the eye and fancy of a man like Constable;
nor is it wonderful, after all, that to such materials, unpretending as
they seem, an artist embued with a genuine love of nature should have
succeeded in imparting a peculiar charm, and a never-ending freshness and
variety. Amidst scenes of the sane tranquil cast did Hobbima and Waterlo
find the subjects of those soothing pictures, the spell of which is
acknowledged equally by the profound student of art and the simple admirer
of nature. Scenes not materially different in their character did Ruysdael
envelope in grandeur, depicting, as Constable expresses it in one of his
lectures, "those solemn days peculiar to his country, and to ours, when,
without storm, large rolling clouds scarcely permit a ray of sunlight to
break the shades of the forest." And amidst the selfsame scenes--the same
forest-lanes, and brooks, and woods, and waters--with the same happy
accompaniments of rustic incidents, occupations, or amusements--did
Constable's predecessor, Gainsborough, find his academy.

Very early in Constable's career, he adopted the principle which regulated
through life the character of his painting. "There is room enough," he
writes, after considering the Exhibition of 1802--"_There is room enough
for a natural painter_. The great vice of the present day is bravura--an
attempt to do something beyond the truth. Fashion always had, and always
will have, its day; but truth in all things only will last, and can only
have just claims on posterity." Here, indeed, he felt, and justly, that
there was an opening for him in the school of English landscape.
Gainsborough, who had first communicated truth and life to the treatment
of the genuine scenery of England, was no more. It is true, the grosser
absurdities of the Smiths of Chichester, and the other compounders of
landscapes _secundum artem_, with which we are familiar in the engravings
of Woollet, in whose performances a kind of pictorial millennium appears
to be realized; where the English cottage stands side by side with the
Italian villa, and Norfolk bumpkins are seen making love to Arcadian
shepherdesses knitting beneath the pillars of a Doric temple--these
noxious grafts of a conventional taste upon the healthy stem of our native
landscape-painting had disappeared. But still, the influence of this
conventional taste in a great measure remained--shown in the established
belief that _subject_ made the picture, and necessitating, as was
supposed, the exclusive adoption of certain established modes of
composition, colouring, and treatment, from which the hardy
experimentalist who should first attempt to deviate was sure, for a time
at least, to encounter opposition; or, what was more probable, entire
neglect.

"In art," says Constable, writing in 1829, "there are two modes by which
men aim at distinction. In the one, by a careful application to what
others have accomplished, the artist imitates their works, or selects and
combines their various beauties; in the other, he seeks excellence at its
primitive source, nature. In the first, he forms a style upon the study of
pictures, and produces either imitation or eclectic art; in the second, by
a close observation of nature, he discovers qualities existing in her
which have never been portrayed before, and thus forms a style which is
original. The results of the one mode, as they repeat that with which the
eye is already familiar, are soon recognised and estimated; while the
advances of the artist on a new path must necessarily be slow--for a few
are able to judge of that _which deviates from the usual course, or are
qualified to appreciate original studies_." In this passage is contained,
both the principle of Constable's painting, and the history of its
results: for, strange as it may seem, so little do general observers look
at nature with an observing and pictorial eye--so much are their ideas of
what it contains received at second-hand, by reflection from
pictures--that the forms under which artists have combined to represent
her (forms representing, it may be, a portion of the truth, but certainly
not the whole truth) have, in the great majority of cases, superseded the
stamp and authority of nature; and truth itself, where it did not steal in
under a conventional garb, has been refused admittance by more than one
committee of taste. "What a sad thing," Constable writes to Leslie, "that
this lovely art is so wrested to its own destruction! Used only to blind
our eyes, and to prevent us from seeing the sun shine, the fields bloom,
the trees blossom, the foliage rustle; while old black rubbed-out and
dirty canvasses take the place of God's own works!"

With his mind made up as to the course to be adopted, Constable betook
himself to the study of nature on the spot. Careful _drawing_ was his
first object, as the substance to which the embodiment of colour and
chiaroscuro was to be applied, and without which, though there might be
effect, there could be no truth. His studies of trees and foreground are
said to have been eminently beautiful. These, however, he loved to exhibit
in their vernal, rather than their autumnal character. "I never did admire
the autumnal tints, even in nature--so little of a painter am I in the eye
of common connoisseurship. I love the exhilarating freshness of spring."
Buildings he did not court, but rather avoided--though in later life he
grappled successfully even with architectural detail, as in his pictures
of Salisbury Cathedral;[2] but, in general, he dealt with it sparingly.
Shipping and coast-scenes he considered "more fit for execution than for
sentiment." What he luxuriated in was the study of atmospheric effects,
and the principles of light and shadow as applied to his sylvan and
pastoral landscapes. "I hold the genuine pastoral feeling of landscapes,"
said he, writing in 1829 to his friend Archdeacon Fisher, "to be very
rare, and difficult of attainment. It is by far the most lovely department
of painting, as well as of poetry." "Painting," he says in another letter,
"is with me but another word for feeling, and I associate my careless
boyhood with all that lies on the banks of the Stour. These scenes made me
a painter, and I am grateful." "Whatever may be thought of my art, it is
my own; and I would rather possess a freehold, though but a cottage, than
live in a palace belonging to another."

Thus feeling intensely the charm of nature--and confident that by the
vivid representation of pastoral English landscape, he could enable it to
exercise upon other minds something of the same spell which it produced on
his own--his whole efforts, as he says himself, were directed to forget
pictures, and to catch if possible the precise aspect which the scenery
which he endeavours to portray presented at the moment of study. And here
particularly it is, that the genius of Constable is visible. A man of less
reach of mind, beginning, as he did, with this minute attention to the
vocabulary of detail, would probably have ended there. We should have had
a set of pictures perfectly painted in parts, but forming no consistent
whole. All general effect would have been sacrificed to the impression to
be produced by particulars. The very love of nature often leads to this
error--as in the once-popular Glover, and many others. But no one had a
fuller sense than Constable, that by this means pictures never can be
created; that literal imitation of the details of nature is a delusion;
because not only is the medium we use entirely inadequate, but paint as we
may, with the most microscopic minuteness of detail, the thousand little
touches and reflexes of light and shade, which soften and harmonize all
things in nature, are essentially evanescent, and incapable of being
transferred to canvass. He felt that a certain _substitute_ for nature,
awakening a corresponding impression upon the mind, was all that he could
be afforded by painting--that the spirit and not the letter of her
handwriting was to be imitated. The object of painting, as he himself
expressed it, "was to realize, but not to feign: to remind, but not to
deceive."

Hence, while he perfectly succeeded in catching the spirit of the spot--so
much so, that Mr Leslie, visiting the scenes of his pictures for the first
time after his death, declares, "that he was absolutely startled by the
resemblance"--he yet exercised over the whole that creative, at least
compounding art, which arrayed the objects in the forms most harmonious to
the eye, and grouped the details into a whole, telling in the most
effective manner the story, or conveying the impression it was intended to
create. The composition of a picture, he used to say, "was like a sum in
arithmetic--take away, or add the smallest item, and the whole was certain
to be wrong."

As a consequence, we think, of this conviction, that nature is not to be
_literally imitated_ in her colours or forms, but that some compromise is
to be found, by which, though on a lower key, a similar impression is to
be made on the eye, and through that on the mind, is the general
abstinence from positive colour, which distinguishes Constable's
paintings. It was not that he adopted the conventional orange and brown of
the continental school, or shrank from endeavouring to carry the full
impression of the dewy verdure of English landscape. For these subterfuges
in art he had an abundant contempt. "Don't you find it very difficult to
determine," said Sir George Beaumont, (who, with all his fine feelings of
art, certainly looked at nature through a Claude Lorraine medium,) "where
to place _your brown tree_?" "Not in the least," was Constable's answer,
"for I never put such a thing into a picture." On another occasion, when
Sir George was recommending the colour of an old Cremona fiddle as a good
prevailing tone for every thing, Constable answered the observation by
depositing an old Cremona on the green lawn in front of the house at
Cole-Orton. But what we mean is this--that to produce the effect which
green or red produces in nature, it does not follow that green or red are
to be used in art, and that the impression of these colours will often be
better brought out by tints in which but a very small portion of either is
to be found.

Mr Leslie has remarked this peculiarity in several of Constable's
pictures. Speaking of Constable's _Boat-building_, he observes--"In the
midst of a meadow at Flatford, a barge is seen on the stocks, while, just
beyond it, the river Stour glitters in the still sunshine of a hot
summer's day. This picture is a proof, that in landscape, what painters
call warm colours are not necessary to produce a warm effect. It has,
indeed, no positive colour, and there is much of gray and green in it; but
such is its atmospheric truth, that the tremulous vibration of the heated
air near the ground seems visible." Again, with regard to a small view
from Hampstead heath. "The sky is of the blue of an English summer day,
with large but not threatening clouds of a silvery whiteness. The distance
is of a deep blue, and the near trees and grass of the freshest green; for
Constable could never consent to patch up the verdure of nature to obtain
warmth. These tints are balanced by a very little warm colour on a road
and gravel-pit in the foreground, a single house in the middle distance,
and the scarlet jacket of a labourer. Yet I know no picture in which the
mid-day heat of summer is so admirably expressed; and were not the eye
refreshed by the shade thrown over a great part of the foreground by some
young trees that border the road, and the cool blue of water near it, one
would wish in looking at it for a parasol, as Fuseli wished for an
umbrella when standing before one of Constable's showers."

It was probably the manner of Constable's execution, as much as any thing
else, which for a time interposed a serious obstacle to his success;
particularly with artists or persons accustomed to attend to the executive
detail of painting. "My pictures will never be popular," he said, "for
they have no handling; but I do not see _handling_ in nature." His aim, in
fact, though we must admit it was not always successful, was to exhibit
art, but not artifice--to efface all traces of the mere mode of
execution--to conceal the handwriting of the painter, and to imitate those
mysterious processes by which nature produces her effects, where all is
shadowy, glimmering, indefinable, yet pregnant with suggestion. In Turner
more than any other modern artist--for in this respect we think he far
excelled Constable--is this alchymy of art carried to perfection. Look
closely at his pictures, and a few patches, dashes, and streaks only are
visible, which seem a mere chaos of colour; but retire to the proper
distance, what magnificent visions grow into shape; how the long avenue
lengthens out for miles; how the sun-clad city brightens on the
mountain--the stream descends _from_ the eye--the distance spreads out
into infinity!--all these apparently unmeaning spots or accidents of
colour, in which it is difficult to detect the work of the hand or pencil
at all, being, in fact, mysterious but speaking hieroglyphics, based on
profound combinations of colour and light and shadow, and full of the
finest harmonies to all who can look at nature with the eye of
imagination.

Constable, a we have said, was not always successful in this, the most
hazardous of all attempts in painting. If the touches of pure white, which
he seemed to scatter on his trees as if from a half-dry brush, sometimes
assisted the dewy effect which he loved to produce, they very often, from
the absence of that power of _just calculation_ which Turner seems so
unerringly to possess, produced a spotty effect, as if the trees had been
here and there powdered with snow. Very frequently he exchanged the pencil
for the palette knife, in the use of which he was very dexterous, but
which, Mr Leslie admits, he occasionally carried to a blamable excess,
loading his pictures with a _relievo_ of colour, and provoking the remark,
that if he had not attained breadth, he had at least secured thickness.

On the whole, Constable, though now and then missing his
object--sometimes, it would seem, as in his skies, from overlabouring his
effect, and trying too studiously to arrest and embody fleeting
effects--was eminently successful in the result at which he aimed--that of
conveying vividly, and almost irresistibly, the sentiment and delineative
character of the scene. We have already quoted Fuseli's well-known remark,
when standing before one of his showery pictures. "I feel the wind blowing
on my face," was honest Jack Banister's remark, (no bad judge by the by,)
while contemplating another of his breezy scenes, with the rolling clouds
broken up by means of sunshine, and the bending trees turning out their
lighter lining to the gale. "Come here," was the remark of a French
painter, in the exhibition of the Louvre in 1824; "look at this picture by
an Englishman--_it is steeped in dew_." "We never ask," said Mr Purton,
"whether his figures be well or ill placed; _there they are, and unless
they choose to move on, there they must remain_." This truth and
artlessness, and natural action or repose of his figures, only equalled in
the English landscape by those of Gainsborough and Collins, he probably
owed, in some measure, to an observation of an early acquaintance--
Antiquity Smith, as he was nicknamed by his brother artists, who, at the
commencement of his studies, had given him this judicious advice:--"Do not
set about _inventing_ figures for a landscape _taken_ from nature; for you
cannot remain an hour on any spot, however solitary, without the appearance
of some living thing, that will, in all probability, accord better with the
scene and time of day than will any invention of your own."

With Constable's strong natural tastes, and his long-considered views of
landscape--at least that landscape for which he felt a vocation--it may be
doubted whether he would have gained any thing by an acquaintance with
continental scenery, leading, as it generally does, to the adoption of a
certain fixed mode of treatment, or even by a more familiar intercourse
with the grander features of our own country. He seems to have felt that
his originality was, in some degree, connected with the _intimacy_ of his
acquaintance with that domestic nature, the study of which he chiefly
cultivated, and which was matured by constant repetition and comparison of
impressions. A circuit of a few miles, in fact, bounds his bosky bourne
from side to side; a circuit of a few hundred yards embraces the subject
of nearly half his favourite studies. "The Dutch," he says in one of his
journals, "were _stay-at-home_ people; _hence_ the source of their
originality."

"In the education of an artist," says Mr Leslie with great good sense, "it
is scarcely possible to foresee what circumstances will prove advantageous
or the reverse; it is on looking back only that we can judge of these
things. Travelling is now the order of the day--and it may sometimes prove
beneficial; but to Constable's art, there can be little doubt that the
confinement of his studies with the narrowest bounds in which, perhaps,
the studies of an artist ever were confined, was in the highest degree
favourable; for a knowledge of atmospheric effects will be best attained
by _a constant study_ of the same objects, under every change of seasons
and of the times of day. His ambition, it will be borne in mind, was not
to paint many things imperfectly, but to paint a few well."

A motto, in truth, worthy of any of the seven sages--applicable to many
things besides painting--and which can scarcely be applied in vain to any.
_Not many things imperfectly, but a few well!_

       *       *       *       *       *

With these imperfect remarks on the general character of Constable's
pictures, we pass at once to a few extracts from the correspondence,
which, as we have already said, makes up the substance of the present
volume. Among the letters, by much the most striking and amusing are those
of Constable's early and steady friend, Archdeacon Fisher--an admirable
judge of art, and himself a very respectable artist. His excellent
sense--his kindness--his generosity--which laboured to make its object
forget the boon, or at least the benefactor; his strong attachment to his
order, yet with a clear perception of the drawbacks inherent in the
English hierarchical system; the caustic and somewhat cynical turn of his
remarks on contemporary art--communicate great spirit, liveliness, and
interest to his letters. In many things he resembles Paley, of whom he
seems to have been a warm admirer. He had a thorough appreciation of the
excellences of Constable, both moral and professional; but he had a keen
eye also to the occasional weaknesses, want of method, and inattention to
trifles, which now and then disfigured them. "Pray," he enquires on one
occasion, "how many dinners a-week does your wife get you to eat at a
regular hour and like a Christian?" "Where real business is to be done,"
said he, speaking of and to Constable, on another occasion, "you are the
most energetic and punctual of men. In smaller matters--such as putting on
your breeches--you are apt to lose time in deciding which leg shall go in
first."

Such an adviser and critic was of the utmost use to Constable; for he
never failed to convey to him his candid impressions and advice--and they
were generally just, though not always followed. Being of opinion that
Constable was repeating too often the same effects, he writes: "I hope you
will diversify your subject this year as to time of day. Thomson, you
know, wrote not four summers, but four seasons. People get tired of mutton
at top, mutton at bottom, and mutton at the side, though of the best
flavour and size." This was touching a sore point, and Constable replies:
"I am planning a large picture, and I regard all you say; but I do not
enter into that notion of varying one's plans to keep the public in
good-humour. Change of weather and effect will always afford variety. What
if Vander Velde had quitted his sea-pieces, or Ruysdael his waterfalls, or
Hobbima his native woods? The world would have lost so many features in
art. I know that you wish for no material alteration; but I have to combat
from high quarters--even from Lawrence--the plausible argument, that
_subject_ makes the picture. Perhaps you think an evening effect might do;
perhaps it might start me some new admirers, but I should lose many old
ones. I imagine myself driving a nail: I have driven it some way, and, by
persevering, I may drive it home; by quitting it to attack others, though
I may amuse myself, I do not advance beyond the first, while that
particular nail stands still. No one who can do any one thing well, will
be able to do any other different thing equally well; and this is true
even of Shakspeare, the greatest master of variety." Constable was in a
condition, in fact, to quote the Archdeacon against himself; for in 1827
Fisher had written: "I must repeat to you an opinion I have long held,
that no man had ever more than one conception. Milton emptied his mind in
the first part of _Paradise Lost_. All the rest is transcript of self. The
_Odyssey_ is a repetition of the _Iliad_. When you have seen one Claude,
you have seen all. I can think of no exception but Shakspeare; he is
always varied, never mannered."

Here is a graphic sketch by Constable of one who had known better days,
and whom it is probable those conversant with art about that time may
recognise. We shall not fill up the asterisks. "A poor wretched man called
to see me this morning. He had a petition to the Royal Academy for
charitable assistance--it was * * *. His appearance was distress itself,
and it was awful to behold to what ill conduct may bring us; yet calamity
has impressed even on this man an air of dignity: he looked like Leslie's
Don Quixote. When I knew him at the Bishop's he wore powder, had a soft
subdued voice, and always a smile, which caused him to show some decayed
teeth; and he carried a gold-headed cane with tassels. Now, how changed!
His neck long, with a large head, thin face, nose long, mouth wide, eyes
dark and sunken, eyebrows lifted, hair abundant, straight, erect, and very
greasy, his body much emaciated and shrunk away from his dismal black
clothes, and his left arm in a sling from a fall, by which he broke the
left clavicle. I shall try the Artists' Fund for him. I cannot efface the
image of this ghostly man from my mind."

Here are two clerical sketches as a _pendant_, by Fisher:--"I write this
sitting in commission upon a dispute between a clergyman and his
parishioners, and compose while the parties argue. There is a brother
parson arguing his own case, with powder, white forehead, and a very red
face, like a copper vessel newly tinned. He is mixing up in a tremulous
note, with an eager bloodshot eye, accusations, apologies, statements,
reservations, and appeals, till his voice sounds on my ear as I write like
a distant waterfall."

"* * * and * * * have been together on the visitation for three weeks.
They have neither broken bread nor spoken together, nor, I believe, seen
one another. What a mistake our Oxford and Cambridge apostolic
missionaries fell into when they made Christianity a stern haughty thing!
Think of St Paul with a full-blown wig, deep shovel-hat, apron, round
belly, double chin, deep cough, stern eye, rough voice, and imperious
manner, drinking port-wine, and laying down the law as to the best way of
escaping the observation of the Curates' Residence Act!" The Archdeacon
himself was not without a little vanity, however, on the subject of his
sermons, and once received a quiet hit from Constable on the subject.
Having preached an old sermon once, (which he was not aware that Constable
had heard before,) he asked him how he liked it. "Very much indeed,
Fisher," replied Constable; "_I always did like that sermon._"

Like most men of original mind, Constable had a very just and manly taste
in other matters besides painting. He read but few poets, but he read
these with understanding and hearty enjoyment. To arouse his attention, it
was necessary that they should be original and vigorous. For the mere
artistic skill or cultivated taste displayed by some of the popular poets
of the day, he had no sympathy. Of Milman, for instance, he writes: "It is
singular that I happened to speak of Milman. No doubt he is learned, _but
it as not fair to encumber literature_. The world is full enough of what
has been already done; and as in the art there is plenty of fine painting,
but very few good pictures, so in poetry there is plenty of fine writing,
and I am told his is such, and, as you say, gorgeous, _but it can be
compared. Shakspeare cannot, nor Burns, nor Claude, nor Ruysdael; and it
has taken me twenty years to find this out._" It was on this principle
that he classed together Dutch and Italian art--Claude and Ostade, Titian
and Ruysdael. For, different as their modes of execution were, they
fulfilled his prime condition of having furnished the world with something
self-consistent, independent, and original. "Every truly original
picture," he would say, "is a separate study, and governed by laws of its
own; so that what is right in one would be often literally wrong if
transferred to another."

It may be anticipated that Constable, who had no half opinions on any
subject, would know his own worth, and rate himself at his due value. To
his friend Fisher he does not hesitate to praise his own pictures with a
_naïveté_ that is amusing, but which was in harmony with his general
severity and dislike of affectation. He would not even affect a false
modesty, but spoke of his own performances as he would have done of those
of others. "My Lock," he says in one of his letters, "is now on the easel:
it is silvery, windy, and delicious--all health, and the absence of any
thing stagnant, and is wonderfully got together. The print will be very
fine." "My new picture of Salisbury," he writes in another, "is very
beautiful; but when I thus speak of my pictures, remember it is _to you_,
and only in comparison with myself." Mr Leslie mentions that he had
retained these and similar effusions contrary to the advice of one with
whose opinion on other points he generally coincided. He has guessed
rightly; for, without such revelations, we should be but imperfectly
acquainted with the man. He adds with truth, "The utterance of a man's
real feelings is more interesting, though it may have less of dignity than
belongs to a uniform silence on the subject of self; while the vanity is
often no greater in the one case than in the other."

Of his tender, domestic, affectionate disposition, almost every letter in
this volume exhibits proofs. We cannot better illustrate this than by
quoting some passages from his letters to his wife while on a visit to Sir
George Beaumont at Cole-Orton: while these letters exhibit one of the most
delightful pictures of the country life of an accomplished gentleman, an
excellent artist, and a kind patron. It is true, that between Sir George
and Constable not a few differences in point of taste existed; the
baronet was rather an ingenious eclectic than an original painter; his
natural belief was, that beyond the pale of Claude and Wilson, an artist's
salvation was at least doubtful; but he was too accomplished, too
keen-sighted an observer not to be shaken in his theories by the sight of
high and original art, and too liberal not to admit at last--as Toby did
in the case of the fly--that the world was wide enough for both.

     "_To_ MRS CONSTABLE.

     "_November 2d._--The weather has been bad; but I do not at all regret
     being confined to this house. The mail did not arrive yesterday till
     many hours after the time, owing to some trees being blown down, and
     the waters out. * * * I am now going to breakfast before the
     Narcissus of Claude. How enchanting and lovely it is! far, very far,
     surpassing any other landscape I ever beheld. Write to me. Kiss and
     love my darlings. I hope my stay will not exceed this week."

In one of his letters from Cole-Orton to his wife, Constables says:--

     "Sir George rises at seven, walks in the garden before breakfast, and
     rides out about two--fair or foul. We have had breakfast at half-past
     eight; but to-day we began at the winter hour--nine. We do not quit
     the breakfast-table directly, but chat a little about the pictures in
     the room. We then go to the painting-room, and Sir George most
     manfully sets to work, and I by his side. At two, the horses are
     brought to the door. I have had an opportunity of seeing the ruins of
     Ashby, the mountain stream and rocks (such Everdingens!) at
     Grace-Dieu, and an old convent there--Lord Ferrers'--a grand but
     melancholy spot. At dinner we do not sit long; Lady Beaumont reads
     the newspaper (the _Herald_) to us; and then to the drawing-room to
     tea; and after that comes a great treat. I am furnished with some
     portfolios, full of beautiful drawings or prints, and Sir George
     reads a play in a manner the most delightful. On Saturday evening it
     was, 'As You Like It;' and I never heard the 'seven ages' so
     admirably read before. Last evening, Sunday, he read a sermon, and a
     good deal of Wordsworth's 'Excursion.' Some of the landscape
     descriptions in it are very beautiful. About nine, the servant comes
     in with a little fruit and a decanter of water; and at eleven we go
     to bed. I always find a fire in my room, and make out about an hour
     longer, as I have every thing there--writing-desk, &c.--and I grudge
     a moment's unnecessary sleep in this place. You would laugh to see my
     bed-room, I have dragged so many things into it--books, portfolios,
     prints, canvasses, pictures, &c."

     "_November 9._--How glad I was, my dear love, to receive your last
     kind letter, giving a good account of yourself and our dear babies. *
     * * Nothing shall, I hope, prevent my seeing you this week; indeed I
     am quite nervous about my absence, and shall soon begin to feel
     alarmed about the Exhibition. * * * I do not wonder at your being
     jealous of Claude. If any thing could come between our love, it is
     him. I am fast advancing a beautiful little copy of his study from
     nature of a little grove scene. If you, my dearest love, will be so
     good as to make yourself happy without me for this week, it will, I
     hope, be long before we part again. But, believe me, I shall be the
     better for this visit as long as I live. Sir George is never angry,
     or pettish, or peevish, and though he loves painting so much, it does
     not harass him. You will like me a great deal better than you did.
     To-morrow Southey is coming with his wife and daughter. I know you
     would be sorry if I were not to stay and meet him, he is such a
     friend of Gooch's; but the Claudes, the Claudes, are all, all, I can
     think of here. * * * The weather is so bad that I can scarcely see
     out of the window, but Friday was lovely. I shall hardly be able to
     make you a sketch of the house, but I shall bring you much, though in
     little compass, to show you. * * * Thursday was Sir George's
     birth-day. Sixty-nine, and married almost half a century. The
     servants had a ball, and I was lulled to sleep by a fiddle."

     "_November 18._--My dearest love, * * * I was very glad to hear a
     very nice account of you and my dear babies. * * * I shall finish my
     little Claude on Thursday; and then I shall have something to do to
     some of Sir George's pictures, that will take a day or two more, and
     then home. * * * I sent you a hasty shabby line by Southey, but all
     that morning I had been engaged on a little sketch in Miss Southey's
     album of this house, which pleased all parties here very much. Sir
     George is loath to part with me. He would have me pass Christmas with
     him, and has named a small commission which he wished me to execute
     here; but I have declined it, as I am desirous to return. Sir George
     is very kind, and I have no doubt meant this little picture to pay my
     expenses. I have worked so hard in the house, that I never went out
     of the door last week, so that I am getting quite nervous. But I am
     sure my visit here will be ultimately of the greatest advantage to
     me, and I could not be better employed to the advantage of all of us,
     by its making me so much more of an artist. * * * The breakfast bell
     rings. I now hasten to finish, as the boy waits. I really think
     seeing the habits of this house will be of service to me as long as I
     live. Every thing so punctual. Sir George never looks into his
     painting-room on a Sunday, nor trusts himself with a portfolio. Never
     is impatient. Always rides or walks for an hour or two, at two
     o'clock; so will I with you, if it is only into the square. I amuse
     myself, every evening, making sketches from Sir George's drawings
     about Dedham, &c. I could not _carry_ all his sketch-books. * * * I
     wish I had not cut myself out so much to do here; but I was greedy
     with the Claudes."

In his next letter to his wife, Constable deplores the facility with which
he allowed his time to be consumed by loungers in his painting-room--an
evil his good-nature to the last entailed on him. Mrs Constable in one of
her letters had said:--"Mr **** was here nearly an hour on Saturday,
reading the paper and talking to himself. I hope you will not admit him so
often. Mr ****, another lounger, has been here once or twice."

     "_Cole-Orton Hall, November. 21st._--My dearest love, I am as
     heartsick as ever you can be at my long absence from you, and all our
     dear darlings, but which is now fast drawing to a close. In fact, my
     greediness for pictures made me cut out for myself much more work
     than I ought to have undertaken at this time. One of the Claudes
     would have been all that I wanted, but I could not get at that first,
     and I had been here a fortnight before I began it. To-day it will be
     done, with perhaps a little touch on Saturday morning. I have then an
     old picture to fill up some holes in. But I fear I shall not be able
     to get away on Saturday, though I hope nothing shall prevent me on
     Monday. I can hardly believe I have not seen you, or my Isabel, or my
     Charley, for five weeks. Yesterday there was another very high wind
     and such a splendid evening as I never before beheld at this time of
     the year Was it so with you? But in London nothing is to be seen,
     worth seeing, in the NATURAL way.

     "I certainly will not allow of such serious interruptions as I used
     to do from people who devour my time, brains and every thing else.
     Sir George says it is quite serious and alarming. Let me have a
     letter on Sunday, my last day here, as I want to be made comfortable
     on my journey, which will be long and tiresome, and I shall be very
     nervous as I get near home; therefore, pray let me have a good
     account of you all. I believe some great folks are coming here in
     December, which Sir George dreads, as they so much interfere with his
     painting habits; for no artist can be fonder of the art."

     "_November 25th._--My very dearest love, I hope nothing will prevent
     my leaving this place to-morrow afternoon and that I shall have you
     in my arms on Thursday morning, and my babies; Oh, dear! how glad I
     shall be. I feel that I have been AT SCHOOL, and can only hope that
     my long absence from you may ultimately be to my great and lasting
     improvement as an artist, and indeed in every thing. If you have any
     friends staying with you, I beg you will dismiss them before my
     arrival."

We have already said we have no intention of going through the meagre
incidents in the life of Constable. He was elected an Academician in 1829
after the death of his wife, which took place the year before. Much as he
was pleased at the attainment of the honour, he could not help saying, "It
has been delayed till I am solitary and cannot impart it." He could not
add with Johnson, "until I am _known_ and do not _want it_;" for probably
no painter of equal genius was at that time less generally known in his
own country. Two days before, he writes, "I have just received a
commission to paint a _mermaid_ for a _sign to an inn_ in Warwickshire!
This is encouraging, and affords no small solace after my previous
labours on landscape for twenty years."

His death took place in 1837.

     "On Thursday the 30th of March, I met him at a general assembly of
     the Academy; the night, though very cold, was fine, he walked a great
     part of the way home with me. The most trifling occurrences of that
     evening remain on my memory. As we proceeded along Oxford Street, he
     heard a child cry on the opposite side of the way: the griefs of
     childhood never failed to arrest his attention, and he crossed over
     to a little beggar girl who had hurt her knee; he gave her a shilling
     and some kind words, which, by stopping her tears, showed that the
     hurt was not very serious, and we continued our walk. Some pecuniary
     losses he had lately met with had disturbed him, but more because
     they involved him with persons disposed to take advantage of his good
     feelings, than from their amount. He spoke of these with some degree
     of irritation, but turned to more agreeable subjects, and we parted
     at the west end of Oxford Street, laughing. I never saw him again
     alive.

     "The whole of the next day he was busily engaged finishing his
     picture of Arundel Mill and Castle. One or two of his friends who
     called on him saw that he was not well, but they attributed this to
     confinement and anxiety with his picture, which was to go in a few
     days to the Exhibition. In the evening he walked out for a short time
     on a charitable errand connected with the Artists' Benevolent Fund.
     He returned about nine o'clock, ate a hearty supper, and, feeling
     chilly, had his bed warmed--a luxury he rarely indulged in. It was
     his custom to read in bed; between ten and eleven he had read himself
     to sleep, and his candle, as usual, was removed by a servant. Soon
     after this, his eldest son, who had been at the theatre, returned
     home, and, while preparing for bed in the next room, his father awoke
     in great pain, and called to him. So little was Constable alarmed,
     however, that he at first refused to send for medical assistance. He
     took some rhubarb and magnesia, which produced sickness, and he drank
     copiously of warm water, which occasioned vomiting, but the pain
     increasing, he desired that Mr Michele, his near neighbour, should be
     sent for, who very soon attended. In the mean time Constable had
     fainted, his son supposing he had fallen asleep. Mr Michele instantly
     ordered some brandy to be brought; the bed-room of the patient was at
     the top of the house, the servant had to run down-stairs for it, and
     before it could be procured life was extinct; and within half an hour
     of the first attack of pain.

     "A _post-mortem_ investigation was made by Professor Partridge, in
     the presence of Mr George Young and Mr Michele, but, strange to say,
     the extreme pain Constable had suffered could only be traced to
     indigestion, no indications of disease were any where discovered,
     sufficient, in the opinion of those gentlemen, to have produced at
     that time a fatal result. Mr Michele, in a letter to me, describing
     all he had witnessed, says, 'It is barely possible that the prompt
     application of a stimulant might have sustained the vital principle,
     and induced reaction in the functions necessary to the maintenance of
     life.'

     "Constable's eldest son was prevented from attending the funeral by
     an illness brought on by the painful excitement he had suffered; but
     the two brothers of the deceased, and a few of his most intimate
     friends, followed the body to Hampstead,[3] where some of the
     gentlemen residing there, who had known Constable, voluntarily joined
     the procession in the churchyard. The vault which contained the
     remains of his wife was opened, he was laid by her side, and the
     inscription which he had placed on the tablet over it,

         'Eheu! quam tenui e filo pendet
         _Quidquid in vitâ maxime arridet!_'

     might will be applied to the loss his family and friends had now
     sustained. The funeral service was read by one of those friends, the
     Rev. T. J. Judkin, whose tears fell fast on the book as he stood by
     the tomb."



MAHMOOD THE GHAZAVIDE.[4]

BY B. SIMMONS.


I.

  Hail to the morn that reigneth
    Where KAFF,[5] since time began
  Allah's eternal sentinel,
    Keeps watch upon the Sun;
  And through the realms of heaven,
    From his cold dwelling-place,
  Beholds the bright Archangel
    For ever face to face!
  KAFF smiles--the loosen'd morning
    On Asia is unfurl'd!
  Sind[6] flashes free, and rolls a sea
    Of amber down the world!
  Lo! how the purple thickets
    And arbours of Cashmere
  Beneath the kindling lustre
    A rosier radiance wear!
  Hail to the mighty Morning
    That, odorously cool,
  Comes down the nutmeg-gardens
    And plum-groves of Cabool!
  Cold 'mid the dawn, o'er GHAZNA,
    The rivall'd moon retires;
  As on the city spread below,
  Far through the sky's transparent glow,
  A hundred gold-roof'd temples throw
    Their crescents' sparkling fires.


II.

  The Imam's cry in Ghazna
    Has died upon the air,
  And day's great life begins to throng
    Each stately street and square.
  The loose-robed turban'd merchants--
    The fur-clad mountaineers--
  The chiefs' brocaded elephants--
    The Kurdmans' group of spears--
  Grave men beneath the awning
    Of every gay bazar
  Ranging their costly merchandise,
    Shawl, gem, and glittering jar--
  The outworn files arriving
    Of some vast Caravan,
  With dusky men and camels tall,
    Before the crowded khan;--
  All that fills kingly cities
    With traffic, wealth, and din,
  Resounds, imperial Ghazna,
    This morn thy walls within.


III.

  All praise to the First Sultan,
    MAHMOOD THE GHAZNAVIDE!
  His fame be like the firmament,
    As moveless and as wide!
  MAHMOOD, who saw before him
    Pagoda'd Bramah fall--
  Twelve times he swept the orient earth
    From Bagdad to Bengal;
  Twelve times amid their Steppes of ice
    He smote each Golden Horde[7]--
  Round the South's sultry isles twelve times
    His ships resistless pour'd;
  MAHMOOD--his tomb in Ghazna
    For many an age shall show
  The mighty mace with which he laid
    DU'S hideous idol low.
  True soldier of the Prophet!
    From Somnauth's gorgeous shrine
  He tore the gates of sandal-wood,
    The carven gates divine;
  He hung them vow'd, in Ghazna,
    To Allah's blest renown--
  Trophies of endless sway they tower,
  For unto earth's remotest hour
  What boastful man may hope the power
    Again to take them down?


IV.

  All praise to the First Sultan,
    Mahmood the Ghaznavide!
  His wars are o'er, but not the more
    His sovereign cares subside:
  From morn to noontide daily
    In his superb Divan
  He sits dispensing justice
    Alike to man and man.
  What though earth heaves beneath him
    With ingot, gem, and urn,
  Though in his halls a thousand thrones
    Of vanquish'd monarchs burn;
  Though at his footstool ever
    Four hundred princes stay;
  Though in his jasper vestibules
    Four hundred bloodhounds bay--
  Each prince's sabre hafted
    With the carbuncle's gem,
  Each bloodhound's collar fashion'd
    From a rajah's diadem?--
  Though none may live beholding
    The anger of his brow,
  Yet his justice ever shineth
    To the lofty and the low;
  O'er his many-nation'd empire
    Shines his justice far and wide--
  All praise to the First Sultan,
    Mahmood the Ghaznavide!


V.

  The morn to noon is melting
    On Ghazna's golden domes;
  From the Divan the suppliant crowd,
  The poor, the potent, and the proud,
  Who sought its grace with faces bow'd,
    Have parted for their homes.
  Already Sultan Mahmood
    Has risen from his throne,
  When at the Hall's far portal
    Stands a Stranger all alone,--
  A man in humble vesture,
    But with a haughty eye;
  And he calls aloud, with the steadfast voice
    Of one prepared to die--
  "Sultan! the Wrong'd and Trampled
    Lacks time to worship thee,
  Stand forth, and answer to my charge,
    Son of Sebactagi!
  Stand forth!"----
                  The brief amazement
    Which shook that hall has fled--
  Next moment fifty falchions
    Flash round the madman's head,
  And fifty slaves are waiting
    Their sovereign's glance to slay;
  But dread Mahmood, with hand upraised,
    Has waved their swords away.
  Once more stands free the Stranger,
    Once more resounds his call--
  "Ho! forth, Mahmood! and hear me,
    Then slay me in thy hall.
  From Oxus to the Ocean
    Thy standards are unfurl'd
  Thy treasury-bolts are bursting
    With the plunder of the world--
  The maids of soft Hindostan,
    The vines by Yemen's Sea,
  But bloom to nurse the passions
    Of thy savage soldiery.
  Yet not for them sufficeth
    The Captive or the Vine,
  If in thy peaceful subjects' homes
    They cannot play the swine.
  Since on my native Ghazna
    Thy smile of favour fell,
  How its blood, and toil, and treasure
    Have been thine, thou knowest well!
  Its Fiercest swell thine armies,
    Its Fairest serve thy throne,
  But in return hast thou not sworn
    Our _hearths_ should be our own?
  That each man's private dwelling,
    And each man's spouse and child,
  Should from thy mightiest Satrap
    Be safe and undefiled?
  Just Allah!--hear how Mahmood
    His kingly oath maintains!--
  Amid the suburbs far away
  I deemed secure my dwelling lay,
  Yet now two nights my lone Serai
    A villain's step profanes.
  My bride is cursed with beauty,
    He comes at midnight hour,
  A giant form for rapine made,
  In harness of thy guards array'd,
  And, with main dint of blow and blade,
    He drives me from her bow'r,
  And bars and holds my dwelling
    Until the dawning gray--
  Then, ere the light his face can smite,
    The felon slinks away.
  Such is the household safety
    We owe to thine and thee:--
  Thou'st heard me first, do now thy worst,
    Son of Sebactagi!"


VI.

  What tongue may tell the terror
    That thrill'd that chamber wide,
  While thus the Dust beneath his feet
    Reviled the Ghaznavide!
  The listeners' breath suspended,
    They wait but for a word,
  To sweep away the worm that frets
    The pathway of their Lord.
  But Mahmood makes no signal;
    Surprise at first subdued,
  Then shame and anger seem'd by turns
    To root him where he stood.
  But as the tale proceeded,
    Some deadlier passion's hue,
  Now flushing dark, now fading wan,
    Across his forehead flew.
  And when those daring accents
    Had died upon his ear,
  He sat him down in reverie
    Upon the musnud near,
  And in his robe he shrouded
    For a space his dreadful brow;
  Then strongly, sternly, rose and spoke
    To the Stranger far below--
  "At once, depart!--in silence:--
    And at the moment when
  The Spoiler seeks thy dwelling next,
    Be with Us here again."


VII.

  Three days the domes of Ghazna
    Have gilded Autumn's sky--
  Three moonless nights of Autumn
    Have slowly glided by.
  And now the fourth deep midnight
    Is black upon the town,
  When from the palace-portals, led
  By that grim Stranger at their head,
  A troop, all silent as the dead,
  With spears, and torches flashing red,
    Wind towards the suburbs down.
  On foot they march, and midmost
    Mahmood the Ghaznavide
  Is marching there, his kingly air
    _Alone_ not laid aside.
  In his fez no ruby blazeth,
    No diamonds clasp his vest;
  But a light as red is in his eye,
    As restless in his breast.
  And none who last beheld him
    In his superb Divan
  Would deem three days could cause his cheek
    To look so sunk and wan.
  The gates are pass'd in silence,
    They march with noiseless stride,
  'Till before a lampless dwelling
    Stopp'd their grim and sullen guide.
  In a little grove of cypress,
    From the city-walls remote,
  It darkling stood:--He faced Mahmood,
    And pointed to the spot.
  The Sultan paused one moment
    To ease his kaftan's band,
  That on his breast too tightly prest,
    Then motion'd with his hand:--

  "My mace!--put out the torches--
    Watch well that none may flee:
  Now, force the door, and shut me in,
    And leave the rest to me."
  He spoke, 'twas done; the wicket
    Swung wide--then closed again:
  Within stand Mahmood, night, and Lust--
    Without, his watching men.
  Their watch was short--a struggle--
    A sullen sound--a groan--
  A breathless interval--and forth
    The Sultan comes alone.
  None through the pitchy darkness
    Might look upon his face,
  But they _felt_ the storm that shook him
    As he lean'd upon that mace.
  Back from his brow the turboosh
    He push'd--then calmly said,
  "Re-light the torches, enter there,
    And bring me forth the dead."
  They light the torches, enter,
    And bring him forth the dead--
  A man of stalwart breadth and bone,
    A war-cloak round him spread.
  Full on the face the torches
    Flash out----a sudden cry
  (And those who heard it ne'er will lose
    Its echo till they die,)
  A sudden cry escapeth
    Mahmood's unguarded lips,
  A cry as of a suffering soul
    Redeemed from Hell's eclipse.
  "Oh, Allah! gracious Allah!
    Thy servant badly won
  This blessing to a father's heart,
    'Tis not--'tis NOT my son!
  Fly!--tell my joy in Ghazna;--
    Before the night is done
  Let lighted shrine and blazing street
    Proclaim 'tis not my son!
  'Tis not Massoud, the wayward,
    Who thus the Law defied,
  Yet I deem'd that none but my only son
    Dared set my oath aside:
  Though my frame grew faint from fasting,
    Though my soul with grief grew wild,
  Upon this spot I would have wrought
    stern justice on my child.
  I wrought the deed in darkness,
    For fear a single ray
  Should light his face, and from this heart
    Plead the Poor Man's cause away.
  Great Allah sees uprightly
    I strive my course to run,
  And thus rewards his servant----
    _This dead_ is not my son!"


VIII

  Thus, through his reign of glory,
    Shone his JUSTICE far and wide;
  All praise to the First Sultan,
    MAHMOOD THE GHAZNAVIDE



MARSTON; OR, THE MEMOIRS OF A STATESMAN.

PART XIX.

  "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.


Change is the master-spirit of Europe, as permanency is of Asia. The
contrast is in the nature of things. However the caprice, the genius, or
the necessities, of the sitter on the throne may attempt to impress
permanency on the habits of the West, or mutability on those of the East,
his success must be but partial. In Europe we have a perpetual movement of
minds, a moral ocean, to which tides and currents are an operation of
nature. But the Caspian or the Euxine is not more defined by its limits of
rock and mountain, or more inexorably separated from the general influx of
the waters which roll round the world, than the Asiatic mind is from
following the free course, and sharing the bold and stormy innovations, of
Europe.

But the most rapid and total change within human memory, was the one which
was now before my eye. I felt as some of the old alchymists might feel in
their laboratories, with all their crucibles heating, all their alembics
boiling, all their strange materials in full effervescence; and their eyes
fixed in doubt, and perhaps in awe, on the powerful and hazardous products
about to result from combinations untried before, and amalgams which might
shatter the roof above their heads, or extinguish their existence by a
blast of poison.

I had left Paris Democracy. I found it a Despotism. I had left it a
melancholy prey to the multitude; a startling scene of alternate fury and
dejection; of cries for revenge, and supplications for bread; of the
tyranny of the mob, and the misery of the nation. I now found it the most
striking contrast to that scene of despair;--Paris the headquarters of a
military government; the Tuileries the palace of a conqueror; every sound
martial; the eye dazzled every where by the spoils of the German and
Italian sovereignties; the nation flushed with victory. Still, the public
aspect exhibited peculiarities which interested me the more, that they
could never have appeared in older times, and probably will never return.
In the midst of military splendour there was a wild, haggard, and unhappy
character stamped on all things. The streets of the capital had not yet
felt the influence of that imperial taste which was to render it an
imperial city. I saw the same shattered suburbs, the same deep, narrow,
and winding streets, the same dismal lanes; in which I had witnessed so
often the gatherings of the armed multitude, and which seemed made for
popular commotion. Mingled with those wild wrecks and gloomy places of
refuge, rather than dwellings, I saw, with their ancient ornaments, and
even with their armorial bearings and gilded shields and spears not yet
entirely defaced, the palaces of the noblesse and blood-royal of France,
the remnants of those ten centuries of monarchy which had been powerful
enough to reduce the bold tribes of the Franks to a civilized slavery, and
glittering enough to make them in love with their chains. If I could have
imagined, in the nineteenth century, a camp of banditti on its most showy
scale--a government of Condottieri with its most famous captain at its
head--every where a compilation of arms and spoils, the rude habits of the
robber combined with the pomp of military triumph--I should have said that
the realization was before me.

The Palais Royal was still the chief scene of all Parisian vitality. But
the mob orators were to be found there no more. The walks and cafés were
now crowed with bold figures, epauleted and embroidered, laughing and
talking with the easy air of men who felt themselves masters, and who
evidently regarded every thing round them as the furnishing of a camp. The
land had now undergone its third stage of that great spell by which
nations are urged and roused at the will of a few. The crosier was the
first wand of the magician, then came the sceptre--we were now under the
spell of the sword. I was delighted at this transformation of France, from
the horrid form of popular domination to the showy supremacy of
soldiership. It still had its evils. But the guillotine had disappeared.
Savage hearts and sanguinary hands no longer made the laws, and executed
them. Instead of the groans and execrations, the cries of rage and
clamours of despair, which once echoed through all the streets, I now
heard only popular songs and dances, and saw all the genuine evidences of
that rejoicing with which the multitude had thrown off the most deadly of
all tyrannies--its own.

The foreigner shapes every thing into the picturesque, and all his
picturesque now was military. Every regiment which passed through Paris on
its way from the frontier was reviewed, in front of the palace, by the
First Consul; and those reviews formed the finest of all military
spectacles, for each had a character and a history of its own.--The
regiment which had stormed the bridge of Lodi; the regiment which had
headed the assault on the _tête-du-pont_ at Mantua; the regiment which had
led the march at the passage of the St Bernard; the regiment which had
formed the advance of Dessaix at Marengo--all had their separate
distinctions, and were received with glowing speeches and appropriate
honours by the chief of the state. The popular vanity was flattered by a
perpetual pageant, and that pageant wholly different from the tinsel
displays of the monarchy: no representation of legends, trivial in their
origin, and ridiculous in their memory; but the revival of transactions in
which every man of France felt almost a personal interest, which were the
true sources of the new system of nations, and whose living actors were
seen passing, hour after hour, before the national eye. All was vivid
reality, where all had been false glitter in the days of the Bourbons, and
all sullenness and fear in the days of the Democracy. The reality might
still be rough and stern, but it was substantial, and not without its
share of the superb; it had the sharpness and weight, and it had also the
shining, of the sabre. But this was not all; nothing could be more subtly
consecutive than the whole progress of the head of the government. In a
more superstitious age, it might have been almost believed that some
wizard had stood by his cradle, and sung his destiny; or that, like the
greatest creation of the greatest of dramatists, he had been met in some
mountain pass, or on some lonely heath, and had heard the weird sisters
predicting his charmed supremacy. At this period he was palpably training
the republic to the sight of a dictatorship. The return of the troops
through Paris had already accustomed the populace to the sight of military
power.

The movement of vast masses of men by a word, the simplicity of the great
military machine, its direct obedience to the master-hand, and its
tremendous strength--all were a continued lesson to the popular mind. I
looked on the progress of this lesson with infinite interest; for I
thought that I as about to see a new principle of government disclosed on
the broadest scale--Republicanism in its most majestic aspect, giving a
new development of the art of ruling men, and exhibiting a shape of
domination loftier and more energetic than the world had ever yet seen.
Still, I was aware of the national weaknesses. I was not without a strong
suspicion of the hazard of human advance when entrusted to the caprice of
any being in the form of man, and, above all, to a man who had won his way
to power by arms. Yet, I thought that society had here reached a point of
division; a ridge, from which the streams of power naturally took
different directions; that the struggles of the democracy were but like
the bursting of those monsoons which mark the distinction of seasons in
the East; or the ruggedness of those regions of rock and precipice, of
roaring torrent and sunless valley, through which the Alpine traveller
must toil, before he can bask in the luxuriance of the Italian plain.
Attached as I am in the highest degree to the principle of monarchy, and
regarding it as the safest anchorage of the state, still, how was I to
know that moral nature might not have her reserves of power, as well as
physical; that the science of government itself might not have its
undetected secrets, as well as the caverns of the earth; that the
quiverings and convulsions of society at this moment, obviously alike
beyond calculation and control, might not be only evidences of the same
vast agencies at work, whose counterparts, in depths below the human eye,
shake and rend the soil? Those were the days of speculation, and I
indulged in them like the rest of the world. Every man stood, as the
islander of the South Sea may stand on his shore, contemplating the
conflict of fire and water, while the furnaces of the centre are forcing
up the island in clouds of vapour and gusts of whirlwind. All was strange,
undefined, and startling. One thing alone seemed certain; that the past
_régime_ was gone, never to return; that a great barrier had suddenly been
dropped between the two sovereignties; that the living generation stood on
the dividing pinnacle between the languid vices of the past system and the
daring, perhaps guilty, energies of the system to come. Behind man lay the
long level of wasted national faculties, emasculating superstitions, the
graceful feebleness of a sensual nobility, and the superb follies of a
haughty and yet helpless throne. Before him rose a realm of boundless
extent, but requiring frames of vigour, and feelings undismayed by
difficulty, to traverse and subdue;--a horizon of hills and clouds, where
the gale blew fresh and the tempest rolled; where novel difficulties must
be met at every step, but still where, if we trod at all, we must ascend
at every step, where every clearing of the horizon must give us a new and
more comprehensive prospect, and where every struggle with the rudeness of
the soil, or the roughness of the elements, must enhance the vigour of the
nerve that encountered them.

Those were dreams; yet I had not then made due allowance for the nature of
the foreign mind. I was yet to learn its absence of all sober thought; its
ready temptation by every trivially of the hour; its demand of extravagant
excitement to rouse it into action, and its utter apathy where its
passions were not bribed. I had imagined a national sovereignty,
righteous, calm, and resolute, trained by the precepts of a Milton and a
Locke; I found only an Italian despotism, trained by the romance of
Rousseau and the scepticism of Voltaire.

Every day in the capital now had its celebration, and all exhibited the
taste and talent of the First Consul; but one characteristic fête at
length woke me to the true design of this extraordinary man--the
inauguration of the Legion of Honour. It was the first step to the throne,
and a step of incompatible daring and dexterity; it was the virtual
restoration of an aristocracy, in the presence of a people who had raved
with the rage of frenzy against all titles, who had torn down the
coats-of-arms from the gates of the noblesse, and shattered and dug up
even the marbles of their sepulchres. A new military caste--a noblesse of
the sword--was now to be established. Republicanism had been already
"pushed from its stool," but this was the chain which was to keep it fixed
to the ground.

The ceremonial was held in the Hotel des Invalides; and all the civil pomp
of the consulate was combined with all the military display. The giving of
the crosses of honour called forth in succession the names of all those
gallant soldiers whose exploits had rung through Europe, in the campaigns
of the Alps and the Rhine. Nothing could be more in the spirit of a fine
historic picture, or in the semblance of a fine drama. The first men of
the French councils and armies stood, surrounded by the monuments of their
ancestors in the national glory--the statues of the Condés and Turennes,
whose memory formed so large a portion of the popular pride, and whose
achievements so solid a record in the history of French triumph. To those
high sources of sentiment, all that could be added by stately decoration
and religious solemnity was given; and in the chorus of sweet voices, the
sounds of martial harmony, the acclamations of the countless multitudes
within and without, and the thunder of cannon, was completed the most
magnificent, and yet the most ominous, of all ceremonials. It was not
difficult to see, that this day was the consecration of France to absolute
power, and of all her faculties to conquest. Like the Roman herald, she
had put on, in the temple, the robe of defiance to all nations. She was to
be from this day of devotement the nation of war. It was less visible, but
not less true, that upon the field of Marengo perished the Democracy, but
in that temple was sacrificed the Republic. The throne was still only in
vision; but its outline was clear, and that outline was colossal.

In my intercourse with the men of the new _régime_ I had associated
chiefly with the military. Their ideas were less narrowed by the circle of
Paris, their language was frank and free, and their knowledge was more
direct and extensive on the topic which I most desired to comprehend, the
state of their foreign conquests. I soon had reason to congratulate myself
on my choice. One of these, a colonel of dragoons, who had served with
Moreau, and whose partialities at least did not lean to the rival hero,
came hurriedly to me at an early hour one morning, to "take his leave."
But why, and where? "He was ordered to join his regiment immediately, and
march for the coast of the Channel." "To invade us?" I asked laughingly.
"Not exactly yet, perhaps; but it may come to that in good time. I grieve
to tell you," added my gallant friend, with more of gravity than I thought
he could possibly have thrown into his good-humoured features, "that we
are to have war. The matter is perfectly determined in the Tuileries; and
at the levee to-day there will probably be a scene. In the mean time, take
my information as certain, and be prepared for your return to England
without twenty-four hours' delay." He took his departure.

I attended the levee on that memorable day, and saw the _scene_. The Place
du Carrousel was unusually crowded with troops, which the First Consul was
passing in review. The whole population seemed to have conjectured the
event of the day; for I had never seen them in such numbers, or with such
an evident look of general anxiety. The Tuileries were filled with
officers of state, with leading military men, and members of the Senate
and Tribunat; the whole body of the foreign ambassadors were present; and
yet the entire assemblage was kept waiting until the First Consul had
inspected even the firelocks of his guard, and the shoes in their
knapsacks. The diplomatists, as they saw from the high casements of the
palace this tardy operation going on, exchanged glaces with each other at
its contemptuous trifling. Some of the _militaires_ exhibited the
impatience of men accustomed to prompt measures; the civilians smiled and
shrugged their shoulders; but all felt that there was a purpose in the
delay.

At length, the drums beat for the close of the review; the First Consul
galloped up to the porch of the palace, flung himself from his charger,
sprang up the staircase, and without stopping for etiquette, rushed into
the _salle_, followed by cloud of aides-de-camp and chamberlains. The
Circle of Presentations was formed, and he walked hastily round it, saying
few rapid words to each. I observed for the first time an aide-de-camp
moving on the outside of the circle, step for step, and with his eye
steadily marking the gesture of each individual to whom the First Consul
spoke in his circuit. This was a new precaution, and indicative of the
time. Till then he had run all risks, and might have been the victim of
any daring hand. The very countenance of the First Consul was historic; it
was as characteristic as his career. It exhibited the most unusual
contrast of severity and softness; nothing sterner than the gathering of
his brow, nothing more flattering than his smile. On this occasion we had
them both in perfection. To the general diplomatic circle his lip wore
the smile. But when he reached the spot where the British ambassador
stood, we had the storm at once. With his darkest frown, and with every
feature in agitation, he suddenly burst out into a tirade against
England--reproaching her with contempt of treaties; with an absolute
desire for war; with a perpetual passion for embroiling Europe; with
forming armaments in the midst of peace; and with challenging France to an
encounter which must provoke universal hostilities. The English ambassador
listened in silence, but with the air of a high-spirited man, who would
concede nothing to menace; and with the countenance of an intelligent one,
who could have easily answered declamation by argument. But for this
answer there was no time. The First Consul, having delivered his diatribe,
suddenly sprang round, darted through the crowd, rushed through a portal,
and was lost to the view. That scene was decisive. I saw that war was
inevitable. I took my friend's advice, ordered post-horses, and within the
twenty-four hours I saw with infinite delight the cliffs of Dover shining
in the dawn.

I am not writing a history. I am merely throwing together events separated
by great chasms, in the course of a life. My life was all incident;
sometimes connected with public transactions of the first magnitude,
sometimes wholly personal; and thus I hasten on to the close of a public
career which has ended, and of an existence diversified by cloud and
sunshine, but on the whole happy.

The war began; it was unavoidable. The objects of our great adversary have
been since stripped of their disguise. His system, at the time, was to
lull England by peace, until he had amassed a force which would crush her
at the outbreak of a war. A few years would have concentrated his
strength, and brought the battle to our own shores. But there are higher
impulses acting on the world than human ambition; the great machine is not
altogether guided by man. England had the cause of nations in her charge;
her principles were truth, honour, and justice. She had retained the
reverence of her forefathers for the Sanctuary; and the same guidance
which had in the beginning taught her wisdom, ultimately crowned her with
victory. I lived through a period of the most overwhelming vicissitudes of
nations, and of the great disturber himself, who had caused those
vicissitudes. I saw Napoleon at the head of 500,000 men on the Niemen; I
saw him reduced to 50,000 on the plains of Champagne; I saw him reduced to
a brigade at Fontainebleau; I saw him a burlesque of empire at Elba; and I
saw him an exile on board a British ship, departing from Europe to
obscurity and his grave. These things may well reconcile inferior talents
to the changes of fortune. But they should also teach nations, that the
love of conquest is national ruin; and that there is a power which avenges
the innocent blood. No country on earth requires that high moral more than
France; and no country on earth has more bitterly suffered for its
perversion. Napoleon was embodied France; the concentrated spirit of her
wild ambition, of her furious love of conquest, of her reckless scorn of
the sufferings and rights of mankind. Nobler principles have followed,
under a wiser rule. But if France draws the sword again in the ambition of
Napoleon, she will exhibit to the world only the fate of Napoleon. It will
be her last war.

On my arrival in England, I found the public mind clouded with almost
universal dejection. Pitt was visibly dying. He still held the nominal
reins of government for some period; but the blow had been struck, and his
sole honour now was to be, that, like the Spartan of old, he died on the
field, and with his buckler on his arm. There are secrets in the
distribution of human destinies, which have always perplexed mankind; and
one of those is, why so many of the most powerful minds have been cut off
in the midst of their career, extinguished at the moment when their fine
faculties were hourly more essential to the welfare of science, of
government, and of the general progress of society.

I may well comprehend that feeling, for it was my own. I saw Pitt laid in
the grave; I looked down into the narrow bed where slept all that was
mortal of the man who virtually wielded the whole supremacy of Europe.
Yet how little can man estimate the future! Napoleon was in his glory,
when Pitt was in his shroud. Yet how infinitely more honoured, and thus
more happy, was the fate of him by whose sepulchre all that was noble and
memorable in the living generation stood in reverence and sorrow, than the
last hour of the prisoner of St Helena! Both were emblems of their
nations. The Englishman, manly, pure, and bold, of unshaken firmness, of
proud reliance on the resources of his own nature, and of lofty
perseverence through good and through evil fortune. The foreigner,
dazzling and daring, of singular intellectual vividness, and of a thirst
of power which disdained to be slaked but at sources above the ambition of
all the past warriors and statesmen of Europe. He was the first who
dreamed of fabricating anew the old Roman sceptre, and establishing an
empire of the world. His game was for a prodigious stake, and for a while
he played it with prodigious fortune. He found the moral atmosphere filled
with the floating elements of revolution; he collected the republican
electricity, and discharged it on the cusps and pinnacles of the European
thrones with terrible effect. But, from the moment when he had dissipated
that charm, he lost the secret of his irresistible strength. As the head
of the great republic, making opinion his precursor, calling on the old
wrongs of nations to level his way, and marshaling the new-born hopes, the
ancient injuries, and the ardent imaginations of the continental kingdoms
to fight his battles; the world lay before him, with all its barriers
ready to fall at the first tread of his horse's hoof. As an Emperor, he
forged his own chain.

Napoleon, the chieftain of republicanism, might have revolutionized
Europe; Napoleon, the monarch, narrowed his supremacy to the sweep of his
sword. Like a necromancer weary of his art, he scattered the whole
treasury of his magnificent illusions into "thin air;" flung away his
creative wand for a sceptre; and buried the book of his magic "ten
thousand fathom deep," to replace it only by the obsolete statutes of
courts, and the weak etiquette of governments in decay. Fortunate for
mankind that he committed this irrecoverable error, and was content to be
the lord of France, instead of being the sovereign of opinion; for his
nature was despotic, and his power must have finally shaped and massed
itself into a stupendous tyranny. Still, he might have long influenced the
fates, and long excited the awe and wonder, of Europe. We, too, might have
worshipped his Star, and have forgotten the danger of the flaming
phenomenon, in the rapidity and eccentricity of its course, as we saw it
eclipsing the old luminaries in succession; until it touched our orbit,
and visited us in conflagration.

It was said that Pitt died of a broken heart, in despair of the prospects
of England. The defeat of Austerlitz was pronounced his death-blow. What
thoughts may cluster round the sleepless pillow, who shall tell? But no
man knew England better; none had a bolder faith in her perseverance and
principle; none had more broadly laid the foundations of victory in
national honour. I shall never be driven into the belief that William Pitt
despaired of his country.

He died in the vigour of his genius, in the proudest struggle of the
empire, in the midst of the deepest trial which for a thousand years had
demanded all the faculties of England. Yet, what man within human
recollection had lived so long, if we are to reckon life not by the
calendar but by triumphs? What minister of England, what minister of
Europe, but himself, was the head of his government for three-and-twenty
years? What man had attained so high an European rank? What mind had
influenced so large an extent of European interests? What name was so
instinctively pronounced by every nation, as the first among mankind? To
have earned distinctions like these, was to have obtained all that time
could give. Not half a century in years, Pitt's true age was patriarchal.

I was now but a spectator. My connexion with public life was broken off.
Every name with which I had been associated was swept away; and I stood
like a man flung from ship-wreck upon a shore, where every face which he
met was that of a stranger. I was still in Parliament, but I felt a
loathing for public exertions. From habit, I had almost identified office
with the memorable men whom I had seen governing so long; and the new
faces, the new declamation, and the new principles, which the ministerial
change brought before me nightly, startled my feelings even less as new
than as incongruous. I admitted the ability, the occasional intelligence,
and perhaps even the patriotism of the cabinet; but in those reveries,
(the natural refuge from a long debate,) memory so often peopled the
Treasury Bench with the forms of Pitt and his distinguished coadjutors,
and so completely filled my ear with his sonorous periods and high-toned
principles, that when I was roused to the reality, I felt as those who
have seen some great performer in one of Shakspeare's characters, until no
excellence of his successor can embody the conception once more.

I retired from the tumult of London, and returned to tastes which I had
never wholly forgotten; taking a small residence within a few miles of
this centre of the living world, and devoting my leisure to the enjoyments
of that life, which, in the purest days of man, was given to him as the
happiest, "to dress the garden, and keep it." Clotilde in all her tastes
joined with mine, or rather led them, with the instinctive elegance of a
female mind, accomplished in every grace of education. We read, wrote,
walked, talked, and pruned our rose-trees and gathered our carnations and
violets, together. She had already given me those pledges, which, while
they increase the anxiety, also increase the affection, of wedded life.
The education of our children was a new source of interest. They were
handsome and healthy. Their little sports, the growth of their young
perceptions, and the freshness of their ideas, renewed to us both all the
delights of society without their exhaustion; and when, after returning
from a day spent in the noise and bustle of London, I reached my rustic
gate, heard the cheerful voices of the little population which rushed down
the flowery avenue to cling upon my neck; and stood at the door of my
cottage, with my arm round the waist of my beautiful and fond wife,
breathing the evening fragrance of a thousand blooms, and enjoying the
cool air, and the purple glories of the sky--I often wondered why men
should seek for happiness in any other scene; and felt gratitude, not the
less sincere for its being calm and solemn, to the Giver of a lot so
nearly approaching to human fulness of joy.

But the world rolls on, let who will slumber among its roses. The
political world was awoke by a thunder-clap. Fox died. He was just six
months a minister! Such is ambition, such is the world. He died, like
Pitt, in the zenith of his powers, with his judgment improved and his
passions mitigated, with the noblest prospects of public utility before
his eyes, and the majestic responsibilities of a British minister assuming
their natural rank in his capacious mind. The times, too, were darkening;
and another "lodestar" was thus stricken from the national hemisphere, at
the moment when the nation most wanted guidance. The lights which remained
were many; but they were vague, feeble, and scattered. The "leader of the
starry host" was gone.

I cannot trust myself to speak of this distinguished man; for I was no
Foxite. I regarded his policy in opposition as the pleadings of a powerful
advocate, with a vast retaining fee, a most comprehensive cause, and a
most generous and confiding client. Popularity, popular claims, and the
people, were all three made for him beyond all other men; and no advocate
ever pleaded with more indefatigable zeal, or more resolute determination.
But, raised to a higher position, higher qualities were demanded. Whether
they might not have existed in his nature, waiting for the development of
time, is the question. But time was not given. His task had hitherto been
easy. It was simply to stand as a spectator on the shore, criticising the
manoeuvres of a stately vessel struggling with the gale. The helm was at
last put into his hand; and it was then that he felt the difference
between _terra firma_ and the wild and restless element which he was now
to control. But he had scarcely set his foot on the deck, when he, too,
was swept away. On such brevity of trial, it is impossible to judge. Time
might have matured his vigour, while it expanded his views: matchless as
the leader of a party, he might then have been elevated into the
acknowledged leader of a people. The singular daring, ardent
sensitiveness, and popular ambition, which made him dangerous in a private
station, might then have found their nobler employment, and been purified
in the broad and lofty region of ministerial duty. He might have enlarged
the partizan into the patriot, and, instead of being the great leader of a
populace, have been ennobled into the great guide of an empire.

But the world never stands still. On the day when I returned from
moralising on the vanity of life over the grave of Fox, I received a
letter, a trumpet-call to the _mêlée_, from Mordecai. It was enthusiastic,
but its enthusiasm had now taken a bolder direction. "In abandoning
England," he told me, "he had abandoned all minor and personal
speculations, and was now dealing with the affairs of kingdoms." This
letter gave only fragments of his views; but it was easy to see that he
contemplated larger results than he ventured to trust to paper.

"You must come and see me here," said he, "for it is only here that you
_can_ see me as I ever desired to be seen; or in fact, as nature made me.
In your busy metropolis, I was only one of the millions who were content
to make a sort of a reptile existence, creeping on the ground, and living
on the chances of the day. Here I have thrown off my caterpillar life and
am on the wing--a human dragon-fly, if you will, darting at a thousand
different objects, enjoying the broad sunshine, and speeding through the
wide air. My invincible attachment to my nation here finds its natural
object; for the sons of Abraham are here a _people_. I am a patriarch,
with my flocks and herds, my shepherds and clansmen, the sons of my tribe
coming to do me honour, and my heart swelling and glowing with the
prospects of national regeneration. I have around me a province to which
one of your English counties would be but a sheepfold; a multitude of bold
spirits, to whom your populace would be triflers; a new nation, elated by
their approaching deliverance, solemnly indignant at their past
oppression, and determined to shake the land to its centre, or to recover
their freedom.

"You will speak of this as the vision of an old man--come to us, and you
will see it a splendid reality. But observe, that _I_ expect no miracle. I
leave visions to fanatics; and while I acknowledge the Power of Powers,
which rides in clouds, and moves the world by means unknown to human
weakness, I look also to the human means which have their place in pushing
on the wheels of the great system. The army which has broken down the
strength of the Continent--the force which, like a whirlwind, has torn
such tremendous chasms through the old domains of European power, and has
torn up so many of the forest monarchs by the root--the French legions,
the greatest instrument of human change since the Gothic invasions, are
now marching direct on Poland.

"I have seen the man who is at the head of that army--the most
extraordinary being whom Europe has seen for a thousand years--the crowned
basilisk of France. I own, that we must beware of his fangs, of the blast
of his nostrils, and the flash of his eye. He is a terrible production of
nature: but he is on our side, and, even if he should be finally trampled,
he will have first done our work. I have had an interview with Napoleon!
it was long and animated. He spoke to me as to the chief man of my nation,
and I answered him in the spirit of the chief man. He pronounced, that the
general change, essential to the true government of Europe, was incapable
of being effected without the aid of our people. He spoke contemptuously
of the impolicy by which we had been deprived of our privileges, and
declared his determination to place us on a height from which we might
move the world. But it was obvious to me, that under those lofty
declarations there was a burning ambition; that if we were to move the
world, it was for him; and that, even then, we were not to move it for the
monarch of France, but for the individual. I saw, that _he_ was then the
dreamer. Yet his dream was the extravagance of genius. In those hopeless
graspings and wild aspirations, I saw ultimate defeat; but I saw also the
nerve and muscle of a gigantic mind. In his pantings after immeasurable
power and imperishable dominion, he utterly forgot the barrier which time
throws before the proudest step of human genius; and that within a few
years his head must grow grey, his blood cold, the sword be returned to
its sheath, and even the sceptre fall from his withering hand. Still, in
our conference, we both spoke the same language of scorn for human
obstacles, of contempt for the narrowness of human views, and of our
resolution to effect objects which, in many an after age, should fix the
eye of the world. But _he_ spoke of immortal things; relying on mortal
conjecture and mortal power. I spoke of them on surer grounds. I felt them
to be the consummation of promises which nothing can abolish; to be the
offspring of power which nothing can resist. The foundation of his
structures was policy, the foundation of mine was prophecy. And when his
shall be scattered as the chaff of the threshing-floor, and be light as
the dust of the balance; mine shall be deep as the centre, high as the
heavens, and dazzling as the sun in his glory."

In another portion of his letter, he adverted to the means by which this
great operation was to be effected.

"I have been for three days on the Vistula, gazing at the march of the
'Grand Army.' It well deserves the name. It is the mightiest mass of power
ever combined under one head; half a million of men. The armies of Persia
were gatherings of clowns compared to this incomparable display of
soldiership; the armies of Alaric and Attila were hordes of savages in
comparison; the armies of ancient Rome alone approached it in point of
discipline, but the most powerful Roman army never reached a fifth of its
number. I see at this moment before me the conquerors of the Continent,
the brigades which have swept Italy, the bayonets and cannon which have
broken down Austria, and extinguished Prussia.--The eagles are now on the
wing for a mightier prey."

This prediction was like the prayers of the Homeric heroes--

  "One half the gods dispersed in empty air."

Poland was not to be liberated; the crisis was superb, but the weapon was
not equal to the blow. It was the first instance in which the French
Emperor was found inferior to his fortune. With incomparable force of
intellect, Napoleon wanted grandeur of mind. It has become the custom of
later years to deny him even superiority of intellect; but the man who, in
a contest open to all, goes before all--who converts a republic, with all
its ardour, haughtiness, and passion, into a monarchy at once as rigid and
as magnificent as an Oriental despotism--who, in a country of warriors,
makes himself the leading warrior--who, among the circle within circle of
the subtlest political intrigues, baffles all intrigues, converts them
into the material of his own ascendency, and makes the subtlest and the
boldest spirits his instruments and slaves--has given sufficient evidence
of the superiority of his talents. The conqueror who beat down in
succession all the great military names of Europe, must have been a
soldier; the negotiator who vanquished all existing diplomacy, and the
statesman who remodelled the laws, curbed the fiery temper, and reduced to
discipline the fierce insubordination of a people, whose first victory had
crushed the state, and heaped the ruins of the throne on the sepulchre of
their king--must have been a negotiator and a statesman of the first rank.
Or, if those were not the achievements of intellect, by what were they
done? If they were done without it, of what value is intellect? Napoleon
had then only found the still superior secret of success; and we deny his
intellect, simply to give him attributes higher than belong to human
nature.--No man before him dreamed of such success, no man in his day
rivalled it, no man since his day has attempted its renewal. "But he was
fortunate!" What can be more childish than to attempt the solution of the
problem by fortune? Fortune is a phantom. Circumstances may arise beyond
the conception of man; but where the feebler mind yields to
circumstances, the stronger one shapes, controls, and guides them.

This man was sent for a great purpose of justice, and he was gifted with
the faculties for its execution. An act of imperial guilt had been
committed, of which Europe was to be purged by penalty alone. The fall of
Poland was to be made a moral to the governments of the earth; and
Napoleon was to be the fiery brand that was to imprint the sentence upon
the foreheads of the great criminals. It is in contemplations like these,
that the Spirit of history ministers to the wisdom of mankind. Whatever
may be the retribution for individuals beyond the grave, justice on
nations must be done in this world; and _here_ it will be done.

The partition of Poland was the most comprehensive and audacious crime of
the modern world. It was a deliberate insult, at once to the laws of
nations and to the majesty of the great Disposer of nations. And never
fell vengeance more immediate, more distinct, or more characteristic. The
capital of Austria twice entered over the bodies of its gallant soldiery;
Russia ravaged and Moscow burnt; the Prussian army extinguished by the
massacre of Jena, and Prussia in a day fettered for years--were the
summary and solemn retribution of Heaven. But, when the penalty was paid,
the fate of the executioner instantly followed. Guilt had punished guilt,
and justice was to be alike done upon all. Napoleon and his empire
vanished, as the powder vanishes that explodes the mine. The ground was
broken up; the structures of royalty on its surface were deeply fractured;
the havoc was complete; but the fiery deposit which had effected the havoc
was itself scattered into air.

His re-establishment of Poland would have been an act of grandeur. It
would have established a new character for the whole Revolution. It would
have shown that the new spirit which had gone forth summoning the world to
regeneration, was itself regeneration; that it was not a tempter, but a
restorer; that all conquest was not selfish, and all protestation not
meant to deceive. If Napoleon had given Poland a diadem, and placed it on
the brow of Kosciusko, he would, in that act, have placed on his own brow
a diadem which no chance of the field could have plucked away; an
imperishable and dazzling answer to all the calumnies of his age, and all
the doubts of posterity. He might even have built, in the restoration of
the fallen kingdom, a citadel for his own security in all the casualties
of empire; but, in all events, he would have fixed in the political heaven
a star which, to the last recollection of mankind, would have thrown light
on his sepulchre, and borne his name.

The fall of the Foxite ministry opened the way to a new cabinet, and I
resumed my office. But we marched in over ruins. In the short period of
their power, Europe had been shattered. England had stood aloof and
escaped the shock; but to stand aloof then was her crime--her sympathy
might have saved the tottering system. Now, all was gone. When we looked
over the whole level of the Continent, we saw but two thrones--France and
Russia; all the rest were crushed. They stood, but their structure was
shattered, stripped of its adornments, and ready to crumble down at the
first blow. England was without an ally. We had begun the war with Europe
in our line of battle; we now stood alone. Yet, the spirit of the nation
was never bolder than in this hour, when a storm of hostility seemed to be
gathering round us from every quarter of the world. Still, there were
voices of ill omen among our leading men. It was said, that France and
Russia had resolved to divide the world between them--to monopolize the
East and the West; to extinguish all the minor sovereignties; to abolish
all the constitutions; to turn the world into two vast menageries, in
which the lesser monarchies should be shown, as caged lions, for the pomp
of the two lords-paramount of the globe. I heard this language from
philosophers, from orators, even from statesmen; but I turned to the
people, and I found the spirit of their forefathers unshaken in them
still--the bold defiance of the foreigner, the lofty national scorn of his
gasconading, the desire to grapple more closely with his utmost strength,
and the willingness, nay, the passionate desire, to rest the cause of
Europe on their championship alone. I never heard among the multitude a
sound of that despair which had become the habitual language of
Opposition. They had answered the call to arms with national ardour. The
land was filled with voluntary levies, and the constant cry of the people
was--conflict with the enemy, any where, at any time, or upon any terms.
More fully versed in their national history than any other European
people, they remembered, that in every war with France, for a thousand
years, England had finished with victory; that she had never suffered any
one decisive defeat in the war, that where the forces of the two nations
could come fairly into contact, their troops had always been successful;
and that from the moment when France ventured to contest the empire of the
seas, all the battles of England were triumphs, until the enemy was swept
from the ocean.

The new cabinet formed its plans on the national confidence, and executed
them with statesmanlike decision. The struggle on the Continent was at an
end; but they resolved to gird it with a chain of fire. Every port was
shut up by English guns; every shore was watched by English eyes. Outside
this chain, the world was our own. The ocean was free; every sea was
traversed by our commerce with as much security as in the most profound
peace. The contrast with the Continent was of the most striking order.
There all was the dungeon--one vast scene of suffering and outcry; of
coercion and sorrow; the conscription, the confiscation, the licensed
plunder, the bitter and perpetual insult. The hearts of men died within
them, and they crept silently to their obscure graves. Wounds, poverty,
and ferocious tyranny, the heart-gnawing pangs of shame, and the thousand
thorns which national and conscious degradation strews on the pillow of
men crushed by the insolence of a soldiery, wore away the human race;
provinces were unpeopled, and a generation were laid prematurely in the
grave.

The recollections of the living world will long point to this period as
the most menacing portion of all history. The ancient tyrannies were bold,
presumptuous, and remorseless monopolies of power; but their pressure
scarcely descended to the multitude. It crushed the senator, the
patrician, and the man of opulence; as the tempest smites the turrets of
the palace, or shatters the pinnacles of the mountain range. But the
despotism of France searched the humblest condition of man. It tyrannized
over the cottage, as fiercely as it had swept over the thrones. The German
or Italian peasant saw his son torn away, to perish in some distant
region, of which he knew no more than that it was the grave of the
thousands and tens of thousands of his fellow shepherds and vintagers. The
despotism of France less resembled the domination of man, from which, with
all its vigilance, there is some hope of escape, than the subtlety of a
demon, which has an evil and a sting for every heart, and by which nothing
can be forgotten, and nothing will be spared. In the whole immense circle
of French dominion, no man could lay his head down to rest, with a
security that he might not be roused at midnight, to be flung into a
captivity from which he was never to return. No man could look upon his
property, the earnings of his manhood, the resource for his age, or the
provision for his children, without the knowledge that it was at the mercy
of the plunderer; no man could look upon the birth of his child, without
the bitter consciousness that another victim was preparing for the general
sacrifice; nor could see the ripening form or intellect of those who were
given to him by Providence for the comfort and companionship of his
advancing years, without a conviction that they would be swept away from
him. He felt that he would be left unsheltered and alone; and that those
in whom his life was wrapt, and whom he would have gladly given his life
to save, were destined to perish by some German or Russian bayonet, and
make their last bed among the swamps of the Danube or the snows of Poland.

I am not now speaking from the natural abhorrence of the Briton for
tyranny alone. The proofs are before the eye of mankind. Within little
more than half the first year of the Polish campaign, three conscriptions,
of eighty thousand youths each, were demanded from France alone. Two
hundred and forty thousand living beings were torn from their parents,
and sent to perish in the field, the hospital, and on the march through
deserts where winter reigns in boundless supremacy!

Let the man of England rejoice that those terrible inflictions cannot be
laid on him, and be grateful to the freedom which protects the most
favoured nation of mankind. Arbitrary arrest and the conscription are the
two heads of the serpent--either would embitter the existence of the most
prosperous state of society; they both at this hour gnaw the vitals of the
continental states; they alienate the allegiance, and chill the
affections; even where they are mitigated by the character of the
sovereigns, they still remain the especial evils which the noblest
patriotism should apply all its efforts to extinguish, and the removal of
which it would be the most illustrious boon of princes to confer upon
their people.

But the ramparts of that empire of slavery and suffering were to be shaken
at last. The breach was to be made and stormed by England; Europe was to
be summoned to achieve its own deliverance; and England was to move at the
head of the proudest armament that ever marched to conquest for the
liberties of mankind.

She began by a thunder-clap. The peace with Russia had laid the Czar at
the mercy of France. Napoleon had intrigued to make him a confederate in
the league against mankind. But the generous nature of the Russian monarch
shrank from the conspiracy, and the secret articles of the treaty of
Tilsit were divulged to the British cabinet. I shall not now say from what
authority they came; but the confidence was spontaneous, and the effect
decisive. Those Articles contained the outline of a plan for combining all
the fleets of subject Europe, and pouring the final vengeance of war on
our shores. The right wing of that tremendous armament was to be formed of
the Danish and Russian fleets. This confederacy must be broken up, or we
must see a hundred and eighty ships of the line, freighted with a French
and Russian army, at the mouth of the Thames. There was not a moment to be
lost, if we were to act at all; for a French force was already within a
march of the Great Belt, to garrison Denmark. The question was debated in
council, in all its bearings. All were fully aware of the hypocritical
clamour which would be raised by the men who were lending themselves to
every atrocity of France. We were not less prepared for the furious
declamation of that professor of universal justice and protector of the
rights of neutral nations--the French Emperor. But the necessity was
irresistible; the act was one of self-defence; and it was executed
accordingly, and with instant and incomparable vigour. A fleet and army
were dispatched to the Baltic. An assault of three days gave the Danish
fleet into our hands. The confederacy was broken up by the British
batteries; and the armament returned, with twenty sail of the enemy's
line, as trophies of the best planned and boldest expedition of the war.

Napoleon raged; but it was at finding that England could show a
promptitude like his own, sanctioned by a better cause. Denmark complained
pathetically of the infringement of peace, before she had "completed her
preparations for war;" but every man of political understanding, even in
Denmark, rejoiced at her being disburdened of a fleet, whose subsistence
impoverished her revenues, and whose employment could only have involved
her in fatal hostilities with Britain. Russia was loudest in her
indignation, but a smile was mingled with her frown. Her statesmen were
secretly rejoiced to be relieved from all share in the fearful enterprise
of an encounter with the fleets of England, and her Emperor was not less
rejoiced to find, that she had still the sagacity and the courage which
could as little be baffled as subdued, and to which the powers of the
North themselves might look for refuge in the next struggle of diadems.

This was but the dawning of the day; the sun was soon to rise. Yet, public
life has its difficulties in proportion to its height. As Walpole said,
that no man knows the human heart but a minister; so no man knows the real
difficulties of office, but the man of office. Lures to his passions,
temptations to his integrity, and alarms to his fears, are perpetually
acting on his sense of honour. To make a false step is the most natural
thing in the world under all those impulses; and one false step ruins him.
The rumour reached me that there were dissensions in the cabinet; and,
though all was smooth to the eye, I had soon sufficient proof that the
intelligence was true. A prominent member of the administration was the
object of the intrigue. He was an intelligent, high-spirited, and
straightforward man, open in language, if the language was not of the most
classic order; and bold in his conceptions, if those conceptions were not
formed on the most accomplished knowledge. He had attained his high
position, partly by public services, but still more by connexion. It was
impossible to refuse respect to his general powers, but it was equally
impossible to deny the intellectual superiority of his competitor. The
contrast which they presented in the House was decisive of their talents
for debate. While the one spoke his mind with the uncultured expressions
of the moment; the other never addressed the House but with the polished
and pointed diction of the orator. He was the most accomplished of
debaters.--Always prepared, always pungent, often powerful. Distinguished
in early life by scholarship, he had brought all the finer spirit of his
studies into the business of public life. He was the delight of the House;
and the boundless applause which followed his eloquence, and paid an
involuntary tribute to his mastery of public affairs, not unnaturally
stimulated his ambition to possess that leading official rank to which he
seemed called by the right of nature. The rivalry at length became open
and declared; it had been felt too deeply to die away among the casual
impressions of public life; it had been suppressed too long to be forgiven
on either side; and the crisis was evidently approaching in which it was
necessary to take a part with either of those gifted men.

I seldom spent more anxious hours in the course of an anxious life, than
during the period of this deliberation. I felt all the fascinations of the
man of genius. On the other hand, I respected all the solid and manly
qualities of his opponent. In a personal view, the issue of the contest
was likely to produce evil to my own views. I was still a dependent upon
fortune. I had new ties and interests, which made official income more
important to me day by day. In the fall of the administration I must
follow the general fate.--In making my decision with the unsuccessful
candidate for power, I must go down along with him; and the claims of the
competitors were so equally balanced, and both were so distinguished, that
it was beyond all conjecture to calculate the result. I, too, was not
without many a temptation to perplex my judgment. The rivalry had at
length become public, and the friends of each were active in securing
opinions among the holders of office. The whole was a lottery, but with my
political existence dependent on my escaping a blank. In this dilemma I
consulted my oracle, Clotilde. Her quick intelligence decided for me at
once. "You must resign," said she. "You value both; you cannot side with
either without offending their feelings, or, what I more regard,
distressing your own. Both are men of intelligence and honour, and they
will understand your motives and respect them. To retain office is
impossible."

"But, Clotilde, how can I bear the thought of reducing you and my infants
to the discomforts of a narrow income, and the obscurity of a life of
retirement?"

"A thousand times better, than you could endure the thought of retaining
office against your judgment, or taking a part against a friend. Follow
the impressions of your own generous nature, and you will be dearer than
ever to Clotilde--even though it condemned us all to the deepest
obscurity." Tears gushed into her eyes as she spoke the words; and in her
heart she was evidently less of the heroine than in her language: the
children had come playing round her feet at the moment; and the family
picture of the reverse in our fortunes, filled with this cluster of young
faces, unconscious of the chance which lay before them, was too severe a
trial for a mother's feelings. Her tears flowed abundantly, and the
beating of her heart showed the anguish of her sacrifice. But she still
persisted in her determination. As I took leave of her to go down to the
House, her last words, as she pressed my hand, were--"Resign, and leave
the rest to fortune."

A motion on the subject of the rival claims had been appointed for the
evening; and the premier was to open the debate. The House was crowded at
an early hour; and as my services were required in the discussion, I
postponed the communication of my resolve, until the division should
announce that my labours were at an end. But the hour passed away in
routine business. Still, the premier did not appear. The anxiety grew
excessive. At length whispers ran round the benches, of a rencounter
between the two distinguished individuals; and, like all rumours of this
nature, the results were pronounced to be of the most alarming kind. The
consternation was gradually mitigated by the announcement that one of the
combatants remained unhurt, but that the other had received a mortal
wound. The House was speedily deserted; and all rushed out to ascertain
the truth of this melancholy intelligence. Yet, nothing was to be gathered
among the numberless reports of the night, and I returned home harassed
almost into fever. The morning quieted the general alarm. The wound was
dangerous, but not mortal; and both combatants had sent in their
resignation. It was accepted by royalty, and before another night fell; I
was sent for by the premier, and offered one of the vacant offices.

Such are the chances of public life. The lottery had been drawn, and mine
was a prize. With what feelings I returned on that night to my fireside;
with what welcome I was received by my gentle, yet heroic, wife; or with
what eyes I glanced upon my infants, as they came to ask the paternal kiss
and blessing before they parted for their pillows, I leave to those who
know the rejoicing of the heart, to conceive.

Those events had shaken the ministry, as dissensions always have done; and
it still cost us many a severe struggle to resist the force of Opposition
combined with the clamours of the country. England and France now
presented a spectacle unexampled in the annals of hostilities, engaged in
a war which seemed interminable--both determined to conquer or perish;
both impelled by the most daring courage; yet neither able to inflict the
slightest blow upon the other, with but fifteen miles between. France was
nearer to Russia, nay, was nearer to the remotest extremity of Asia, than
to England. In the midst of the fiercest war, both preserved the attitude
of the most profound peace. The lion and the tiger, couching on the
opposite sides of some impassable ravine, each watching the fiery eyes and
naked fangs of the other, would have been the natural emblems of this
hopeless thirst of encounter between the two most powerful and exasperated
nations of the earth.

It is no superstition to trace those events to a higher source than man.
The conclusion of this vast conflict was already written, in a record
above the short-sighted vision and infirm memory of our nature. In all the
earlier guilt of Europe, France has been the allotted punisher of the
Continent; and England the allotted punisher of France. I make no
presumptuous attempt to explain the reason; but the process is
incontestable. When private profligacy combines with some atrocious act of
public vice to make the crimes of the Continent intolerable, France is
sent forth to carry fire and sword to its boundaries, to crush its armies
in the field, to sack its cities, and to decimate its population. Then
comes the penalty of the punisher. The crimes of France demand purgation.
The strength of England is summoned to this stern duty, and France is
scourged; her military pride is broken; her power is paralysed, peace
follows, and Europe rests for a generation. The process has been so often
renewed, and has been completed with such irresistible regularity, that
the principle is a law. The period for this consummation was now come once
more.

I was sitting in my library one evening, when a stranger was introduced,
who had brought a letter from the officer commanding our squadron on the
Spanish coast. He was a man of noble presence, of stately stature, and
with a countenance exhibiting all the vivid expression of the South. He
was a Spanish nobleman from the Asturias, and deputed by the authorities
to demand succours in the national rising against the common enemy,
Napoleon. I was instinctively struck by the measureless value of
resistance in a country which opened to us the whole flank of France; but
the intelligence was so wholly unexpected, so entirely beyond calculation,
and at the same time so pregnant with the highest results to England, that
I was long incredulous. I was prepared to doubt the involuntary
exaggeration of men who had every thing at stake; the feverish tone of
minds embarked in the most formidable of all struggles; and even the
passion of the southern in every event and object, of force sufficient to
arouse him into action. But the Asturian was firm in his assurances, clear
and consistent in his views, and there was even a candour in his
confession of the unprepared state of his country, which added largely to
my confidence. Our dialogue was, I believe, unprecedented for the
plainness of its enquiries and replies. It was perfectly Lacedæmonian.

"What regular force can Spain bring into the field?"

"None."

"What force has Napoleon in Spain at this moment?"

"At least two hundred and fifty thousand men, and those in the highest
state of equipment and discipline."

"And yet you venture to resist?"

"We have resisted, we shall resist, and we shall beat them."

"In what state are your fortresses?"

"One half of them in the hands of the French, and the other half, without
garrisons, provisions, or even guns; still, we shall beat them."

"Are not the French troops in possession of all the provinces?"

"Yes."

"Are they not in fact masters of the country?"

"No."

"How am I to reconcile those statements?"

"The French are masters by day; the Spaniards are masters by night."

"But you have none of the elements of national government. You have lost
your king."

"So much the better."

"Your princes, nobles, and court."

"So much the better."

"Even your prime minister and whole administration are in the hands of the
enemy."

"Best of all!" said the respondent, with a frown like a thunder-cloud.

"What resource, then, have you?"

"The people!" exclaimed the Spaniard, in a tone of superb defiance.

"Still--powerful as a united people are--before you can call upon a
British government to embark in such a contest, it must be shown that the
people are capable of acting together; that they are not separated by the
jealousies which proverbially divide your country."

"Señor Inglese," said the Don, with a Cervantic curl of the lip, "I see,
that Spain has not been neglected among the studies of your high station.
But Spain is _not_ to be studied in books. She is not to be sketched, like
a fragment of a Moorish castle, and carried off in a portfolio. Europe
knows nothing of her. You must pass the Pyrenees to conceive her
existence. She lives on principles totally distinct from those of all
other nations; and France will shortly find, that she never made a greater
mistake than when she thought, that even the southern slope of the
Pyrenees was like the northern."

"But," said I, "the disunion of your provinces, the extinction of your
army, and the capture of your executive government, must leave the country
naked to invasion. The contest may be gallant, but the hazard must be
formidable. To sustain a war against the disciplined troops of France, and
the daring determination of its ruler, would require a new age of
miracle." The Spaniard bit his lip, and was silent. "At all events, your
proposals do honour to the spirit of your country, and I shall not be the
man to throw obstacles in your way. Draw up a memoir; state your means,
your objects and your intentions, distinctly; and I shall lay it before
the government without delay."

"Señor Inglese, it shall be done. In that memoir, I shall simply say that
Spain has six ranges of mountains, all impregnable, and that the Spanish
people are resolved to defend them; that the country is one vast natural
fortress; that the Spanish soldier can sleep on the sand, can live on the
simplest food, and the smallest quantity of that food; that he can march
fifty miles a-day; that he is of the same blood as the conquerors of the
Moors, and with the soldiers of Charles V.; and that he requires only
discipline and leaders to equal the glory of his forefathers." His fine
features glanced with manly exultation.

"Still, before I can bring your case before the country, we must be
enabled to have an answer for the objections of the legislature. Your
provinces are scarcely less hostile to each other than they are to the
enemy. What plan can unite them in one system of defence? and, without
that union, how can resistance be effectual?"

"Spain stands alone," was the reply. "Her manners, her feelings, and her
people, have no examples in Europe. Her war will have as little similarity
to the wars of its governments. It will be a war, not of armies, but of
the shepherd, of the artificer, the muleteer, the contrabandist--a war of
all classes the peasant, the priest, the noble, nay, the beggar on the
highway. But this was the war of her ancestors, the war of the Asturias,
which cleared the country of the Moors, and will clear it of the French.
All Spain a mass of hostility, a living tide of unquenchable hatred and
consuming fire--the French battalions, pouring over the Pyrenees, will be
like battalions poured into the ocean. They will be engulfed; they will
never return. Our provinces are divided, but they have one invincible
bond--abhorrence of the French. Even their division is not infirmity, but
strength. They know so little of each other that even the conquest of one
half of Spain would be scarcely felt by the rest. This will be a supreme
advantage in the species of war which we contemplate--a war of desultory
but perpetual assaults, of hostilities that cease neither night nor day,
of campaigns that know no distinction between summer and winter--a war in
which no pitched battles will be fought, but in which every wall will be a
rampart, every hollow of the hills a camp, every mountain a citadel, every
roadside, and swamp, and rivulet, the place of an ambuscade. We shall have
no battalions and brigades, we require no tactics; our sole science will
be, to kill the enemy wherever he can be reached by bullet or knife, until
we make Spain the tomb of invasion, and her very name an omen, and a ruin
to the tyrant on the French throne."

The councils of England in the crisis were worthy of her ancient name. It
was resolved to forget the long injuries of which Spain had been the
instrument, during her passive submission to the arrogance of her ally and
master. The Bourbons were now gone; the nation was disencumbered of that
government of chamberlains, maids of honour, and duennas. It was to be no
longer stifled in the perfumed atmosphere of court boudoirs, or to be
chilled in the damps of the cloister. Its natural and noble proportions
were to be left unfettered and undisguised by the formal fashions of past
centuries of grave frivolity and decorous degradation. The giant was to
rise refreshed. The Samson was to resume his primal purpose; he was no
longer to sleep in the lap of his Delilah; the national fame was before
him, and, breaking his manacles at one bold effort, he was thenceforth to
stand, as nature had moulded him, powerful and prominent among mankind.

These were dreams, but they were high-toned and healthy dreams--the
anticipations of a great country accustomed to the possession of freedom,
and expecting to plant national regeneration wherever it set foot upon the
soil. The cause of Spain was universally adopted by the people and was
welcomed by Parliament with acclamation; the appointment of a minister to
represent the cabinet in Spain was decided on, and this distinguished
commission was pressed upon my personal sense of duty by the sovereign. My
official rank placed me above ambassadorships, but a service of this order
had a superior purpose. It was a mission of the country, not of the
minister. I was to be the instrument of an imperial declaration of
good-will, interest, and alliance to a whole people.

In another week, the frigate which conveyed me was flying before the
breeze, along the iron-bound shore of Galicia; the brightest and most
burning of skies was over my head, the most billowy of seas was dashing
and foaming round me, and my eye was in continual admiration of the noble
mountain barriers which, in a thousand shapes, guard the western coast of
Spain from the ocean. At length the bay of Corunna opened before us; our
anchor dropped, and I made my first step on the most picturesque shore,
and among the most original people, of Europe. My destination was Madrid;
but it was essential that I should ascertain all the facts in my power
from the various provincial governments as I passed along; and I thus
obtained a more ample knowledge of the people than could have fallen to
the lot of the ordinary traveller. I consulted with their juntas, I was
present at their festivals, I rode with their hidalgos, and I marched with
their troops. One of the peculiarities which, as an Englishman, has always
interested me in foreign travel is, that it brings us back to a period
different from the existing age at home. All descending from a common
stock, every nation of Europe has made a certain advance; but the advance
has been of different degrees. Five hundred years ago, they were all
nearly alike. In the Netherlands, I continually felt myself carried back
to the days of the Protectorate; I saw nearly the same costume, the same
formality of address, and the same habits of domestic life. In Germany, I
went back a century further, and saw the English primitive style of
existence, the same stiff architecture, the same mingling of stateliness
and simplicity, not forgetting the same homage to the "divine right of
kings." In Spain, I found myself in the thirteenth century, and but for
the language, the heat, and the brown visages around me, could have
imagined myself in England, in the days when "barons bold" still exercised
the rights of feudalism, when gallant archers killed the king's deer
without the king's permission, and when the priest was the lawgiver of the
land.

Day by day, I saw the pilgrim making his weary way from shrine to shrine;
the landowner caracoling his handsome horse over wild heaths and half-made
highways--that horse caparisoned with as many fantastic trappings as the
charger of chivalry, and both horse and rider forming no feeble
representation of the knight bound on adventure. I saw the monastery of
our old times, exhibiting all its ancient solidity, sternness, and pomp;
with its hundred brethren; its crowd of sallow, silent domestics; its
solemn service; and even with its beggars crowding and quarreling for
their daily dole at its gate. The face of the country seemed to have been
unchanged since the first invasion of the Visigoths:--immense commons,
grown barren from the absence of all cultivation; vast, dreary
sheep-walks; villages, few, rude, and thinly peopled; the absence of all
enclosures, and a general look of loneliness, which, however, I could have
scarcely imagined in England at any period since the Heptarchy. Yet, those
wild wastes were often interspersed with delicious spots; where, after
toiling half the day over a desert wild as Arabia, the traveller suddenly
stood on the brink of some sweet and secluded valley, where the eye rested
on almost tropical luxuriance--all the shrubs and blossoms which require
so much shelter in our rougher climate, flourishing in the open air;
hedges of myrtle and jessamine; huge olives, and primeval vines,
spreading, in all the prodigality of nature, over the rocks; parasite
plants clothing the oaks and elms with drapery of all colours, floating in
every breath of wind; and, most delicious of all, in the fiery centre of
Spain, streams, cool as ice and clear as crystal, gushing and glancing
away through the depths of the valley; sometimes glittering in the sun,
then plunging into shade, then winding along, seen by starts, like silver
snakes, until they were lost under sheets of copse and foliage, unpruned
by the hand of man, and which seemed penetrable only by the bird or the
hare.



WATERTON'S SECOND SERIES OF ESSAYS.[8]


At the conclusion of the autobiography prefixed to his former series of
Essays, published some years since, Mr Waterton announced that he then
"put away the pen not to be used again except in self-defence." That this
resolution has been departed from, from whatever motive, will be matter
for congratulation to most, if not all, of the readers of the "Wanderings"
and "Essays;" and the volume before us derives an additional interest from
its being an unsolicited donation to the widow of his deceased friend, Mr
Loudon, the well-known naturalist. Methinks the author would not have done
amiss in continuing, both to this and the former series of essays, the
peculiarly appropriate title under which his first lucubrations were given
to the world: since veritable _Wanderings_ they are over every imaginable
variety of subject and climate, from caymans in the Essequibo to the blood
of St Januarius at Naples; schemes for the banishment of _Hanoverian_ rats
(Mr W. never allows this voracious intruder a British denizenship) in
Yorkshire, and for averting the projected banishment of the rooks in
Scotland. Among the amusing _omniun gatherum_ intermingled with the
valuable ornithological information in the present volume, we find
dissertations on the gigantic raspberries, now, alas! no more produced in
the ruined garden of Walton Hall--on the evils of tight shoes, tight
lacing, and stiff cravats--on the natural history of that extinct-by-law
variety of the human species called the chimney sweeper--and last, not
least, on that of the author himself, in the continuation of his unique
autobiography; and we rejoice to find him, though now close upon his grand
climacteric, still able to climb a tree by the aid of toes which have
never been cramped by tight shoes, with all the vigour, if not all the
agility, of his lusty youth, breathing hostility against no living
creature except Mr Swainson and Sir Robert Peel--the little love he
already bore to the latter for framing the oath of abjuration for
Catholics[9] not being greatly augmented by the imposition of the
income-tax--and still maintaining in Walton Park an inviolable asylum for
crows, hawks, owls, and all the generally proscribed tribes of the
feathered race.

The continuation of the autobiography is taken up from the publication of
the first volume of essays in 1837, and consists chiefly of the narrative
of adventures by land and perils by sea, in an expedition with his family,
by the route of Holland and the Rhine, to the sunny shores of Italy. But
the intervening period was not without incidents worthy of record. By a
judicious system of pavement joined with Roman cement, and drains secured
at the mouths by iron grates, "Charles Waterton, in the year of grace
1839, effectually cleared the premises at Walton Hall of every Hanoverian
rat, young and old ... and if I were to offer L.20 sterling money for the
capture of a single individual, in or about any part of the premises, not
one could be procured." Not long after this memorable achievement, a case
of hydrophobia in Nottingham promised to afford him an opportunity of
trying the virtues of the famous _Wourali_ poison, as a cure for this
dreadful and hitherto unconquerable malady. The difficulties and dangers
encountered in the search for this potent narcotic through the wilds of
Guiana, and the subsequent experiments on the ass _Wouralia_, which, after
being apparently deprived of life by its influence, was revived by the
inflation of the lungs with a blowpipe, and lived twenty-four years in
clover at Walton, are familiar to the readers of the _Wanderings_--but its
presumed efficacy in cases of hydrophobia was not destined to be tested in
the present instance, as the patient had expired before Mr W.'s arrival.
Its powers were, however, exhibited in the presence of a scientific
assemblage:--one of two asses operated upon, though restored at the time,
died on the third day, the other was perfectly recovered by the process of
artificial respiration, and "every person present seemed convinced that
the virulence of the Wourali poison was completely under the command of
the operator ... and that it can be safely applied to a human being
labouring under hydrophobia!" Now this inference, with all due deference
to Mr Waterton, appears to partake not a little of the _non sequitur_; and
unless the _modus operandi_ by which relief is to be obtained during the
suspension of vitality thus produced is more clearly explained, we doubt
whether many applications will be made for "the scientific assistance of
Mr Gibson of the General Hospital at Nottingham, to give the sufferer a
chance of saving his life by the supposed, though yet untried, efficacy of
the Wourali poison, which, worst come to the worst, would, by its sedative
qualities, render death calm and composed, and free from pain." Satisfied,
however, with the somewhat equivocal result of this experiment, Mr
Waterton resumed his preparations for departure, and having "called up the
gamekeeper, and made him promise, as he valued his place, that he would
protect all hawks, crows, herons, jays, and magpies," sailed from Hull for
Rotterdam with his two sisters-in-law and his only son, a boy eleven years
of age.

Mr Waterton's Catholic sympathies for the Belgian revolt, "for real
liberty in religious matters," and his lamentations over the magnificent
churches in Holland, stripped of their pictures and ornaments on the
change of religion, do not prevent his feeling very favourably disposed
towards the Dutch and their country, "the uniformity of which, and the
even tenor of their tempers, appear as if one had been made for the
other." The protection extended to the stork, which builds without fear in
the heart of their towns, gives them an additional claim on his good-will;
and "would but our country gentlemen put a stop to the indiscriminate
slaughter of birds by their ruthless gamekeepers, we should not have to
visit Holland to see the true habits of the stork, nor roam through
Germany to enjoy the soaring of the kite--a bird once very common in this
part of Yorkshire, but now a total stranger to it." The progressive
extinction of so many of the larger species of birds once indigenous to
England before the progress of drainage and clearing; has long been a
subject of regret not only to the naturalist but the sportsman. Of the
stately bustard, once the ornament of all our downs, scarce a solitary
straggler now remains--the crane, as well as the stork, which once
abounded in the fen districts, has totally disappeared; and though the
success which has attended the attempts to re-introduce the capercailzie
in Scotland has restored to us one of our lost species, it is much to be
feared that unless Mr Waterton's example, in converting his park into a
sanctuary, be followed by other country gentlemen of ornithological
tastes, the raven, the crow, and the larger species of hawks, in whose
preservation no one is interested, and which are already becoming _raræ
aves_, in the agricultural districts, will eventually disappear from the
British Fauna.

The great influx of English into Belgium, while scarce any are to be found
in Holland, is attributed, probably with reason, to the national love of
sight-seeing, which finds gratification in the ceremonies and decorations
of the Belgian churches--"up and down which crowds of English are for ever
sauntering.... 'How have you got over your time to-day?' I said one
afternoon to an acquaintance, who, like Mr Noddy's eldest son in Sterne,
was travelling through Europe at a prodigious speed, and had very little
spare time on his hands. He said he had knocked off thirteen churches that
morning!" The headquarters of the English residents appear to be at
Bruges, and Mr Waterton highly approves of the selection:--"Did my habits
allow me to prefer streets to woods and green fields, I could retire to
Bruges, and there end my days." But after visiting the convent of English
nuns, where some of the ladies of Mr Waterton's family had received their
education, and the portrait of "that regal profligate, Charles II." (Mr
Waterton's love of truth here gets the better of his ancestral
predilections for the house of Stuart) in the hall of the ancient society
of archers, of which he was a member during his exile, the travellers
continued their route by Ghent and along the valley of the Meuse, "which,
on a fine warm day in July, appears as rich and beautiful as any valley
can well be on this side of ancient Paradise," to Aix-la-Chapelle. At this
famous Prussian watering-place Mr Waterton found much to move his bile,
not only in the sight of ladies risking their fortunes at the public
gaming-tables authorised and protected by government, but in the folly of
the valetudinarians, who perversely counteract the beneficial effects of
the waters by "resorting to the _salle-à-manger_, and there partaking of
all the luxuries from the cornucopia of Epicurus, Bacchus, and Ceres." He
derived some consolation, however, from the contemplation of the
magnificent and varied prospect from the wooded heights of the Louisberg
above the town; and the sight, on his last visit, of a pair of ravens
circling over his head in aërial revolutions, and then winging their way
towards the forest of Ardennes, awakened recollections of home, and "of
the rascally cobbler who desecrated the Sunday morning by robbing the last
raven's nest in this vicinity." At Freyburg they encountered a phenomenon,
in the shape of a poetical German waiter--and a poet, too, in the English
language, though he had never been in England, nor much among English; but
the waiter's effusions, the subject of which was the cathedral of
Freyburg, were never destined to reach England, but now lie, with the rest
of Mr Waterton's travelling goods and chattels, in the wreck of the
Pollux, at the bottom of the Mediterranean sea.

The passage of the Alps disappointed our traveller's hopes of finding
among their heights some of the rarer European birds:--"the earth appeared
one huge barren waste, and the heavens produced not a single inhabitant of
air." On descending the southern side of the mountains, they at length
received ocular demonstration of their being really in Italy, by observing
matronly-looking woman engaged in certain offices touching the long black
hair of her daughter, which showed that combs were still as scarce as when
Horace stigmatized the "incomptum caput" of Canidia; and the necessity of
lavender water, to pass with any thing like comfort through the town and
villages which looked so enchanting at a distance in the midst of their
olive groves and cypresses, is feelingly commented upon. But before
entering Rome, we must give Mr Waterton's own account of an exploit which
made some noise at the time of its performance, and the motives at least
of which appear to have been mis-stated. On a former visit, he had gained
great renown by climbing, in company with Captain Alexander of the royal
navy, to the summit of the cross surmounting the ball of St Peter's, and
leaving his gloves on the point of the conductor! and as a pendant to this
notable achievement, it was announced about this time, in most of the
English papers, that in a fervour of religious enthusiasm, on approaching
the Eternal City, he had walked barefoot as a pilgrim the last twenty
miles, and thus so severely lacerated his feet as to be incapable for some
time of moving. "Would that my motives had been as pure as represented!
The sanctity of the churches, the remains of holy martyrs which enrich
them, the relics of canonized saints placed in such profusion throughout
them, might well induce a Catholic traveller to adopt this easy and simple
mode of showing his religious feeling. But, unfortunately, the idea never
entered my mind at the time; I had no other motives than those of easy
walking and self-enjoyment." The enjoyment to be derived from walking
without shoes or stockings over a rough pavement, in sharp frost, proved
as problematical in practice as it would be to most persons in theory; and
Mr Waterton found to his cost, that the fifteen years which had elapsed
since he went barefoot with impunity in the forests of Guiana, had
materially impaired his soles' power of endurance. After sustaining a
severe injury in his right foot, of which the intensity of the cold
prevented his being sensible at the instant, he was glad to resume his
_chaussure_, and was laid up on the sofa for two months after his arrival.
"It was this unfortunate adventure which gave rise to the story of my
walking barefooted into Rome, and which gained me a reputation by no means
merited on my part."

Notwithstanding this mishap, and the many things offensive to English
feelings in the manifold impurities of Roman streets and kitchens, Mr
Waterton speaks with much satisfaction of his sojourn for several months
in "Rome, immortal Rome, replete with every thing that can instruct and
please." Though his former visits had in great degree satiated him with
galleries and palaces, he still found great attractions in the studio of
the Roman Landseer, Vallati,[10] the famous painter of wild-boars; but his
great point of attraction seems to have been the bird-market near the
Pantheon--the extent of traffic in which may be judged from the statement,
that during the spring and autumn passage of the quails, which are taken
in nets of prodigious extent on the shores of the Mediterranean, 17,000 of
these birds have passed the Roman custom-house in one day. The catalogue
of birds exposed for sale as articles of food comprehends nearly all the
species found in Italy: not even robin-redbreast is sacred from the
omnivorous maw of the Italian gourmand, and a hundred at a time may be
seen lying on a stall. "The birdmen outwardly had the appearance of
banditti, but it as all outside, and nothing more: they were good men
notwithstanding their uncouth looks, and good Christians too, for I could
see them waiting at the door of the Jesuits' church by half-past four on a
winter's morning, to be ready for the first mass." By ingratiating himself
with this rough-seeming fraternity, Mr Waterton succeeded in obtaining
specimens of many rare birds, which fortunately escaped the wreck of the
Pollux, by having been previously forwarded to Leghorn. Among these
scattered ornithological notices, we find some interesting remarks on the
true designation of the "sparrow sitting alone upon the house-top," to
which the Royal Psalmist likened himself in his penitence and vigils. It
is obvious that the description could not apply to our common house
sparrow, the habits of which are certainly the reverse of solitary or
pensive; and Mr Waterton is undoubtedly correct in referring it to the
Blue or Solitary Thrush--a bird not found in this country, but common in
Spain, Italy, and the south of France, and still more so in the
Levant--the _Petrocincla cyanea_ of scientific naturalists, and the
_Passera solitaria_ of the Italians. "It is a real thrush in size, in
shape, in habits, and in song--and is indeed a solitary bird, for it never
associates with any other, and only with its own mate in breeding
time--and even then it is often seen quite alone upon the house-top, where
it warbles in sweet and plaintive strains, and continues its song as it
moves in easy flight from roof to roof. The traveller may often see it on
the remains of the Temple of Peace, but much more frequently on the
stupendous ruins of the Baths of Caracalla, and always on the Colosseum:
and, in fine, on the tops of most of the churches, monasteries, and
convents, within and without the walls of the Eternal City. It being an
assiduous frequenter of the habitations of man, I cannot have a doubt that
it was the same bird which King David saw on the house-top before him, and
to which he listened as it poured forth its sweet and plaintive song."

The ceremonies of St Anthony's Day, when the beasts of burden, decked in
many-coloured trappings, are brought to receive the priestly benediction,
are described with much unction, and defended with Mr Waterton's usual
zeal for the ordinances of his church, and with considerable tact, against
the ridicule often thrown upon them by "thoughtless and censorious
travellers." "I recalled to my mind the incessant and horrible curses
which our village urchins vent against their horses on the Barnsley canal,
which passes close by my porters' lodges"--and truly the most rigid of
Protestants could scarcely deny, in this case, the advantage, for the
well-doing of both man and beast, which the usages of Rome have over those
of Yorkshire. But the approach of the malaria season at length compelled
them to leave Rome for Naples; and on the journey Mr Waterton's
ornithological tastes were gratified to the utmost. "I saw more birds than
I had seen on the whole of the journey from England; and after having seen
the ram of Apulia, I no longer considered Homer's story of Ulysses with
the sheep of Polyphemus as so very much out of the way." But a still more
imposing spectacle than the festival of St Anthony awaited them at Naples:
this was the liquefaction of the blood of St Januarius, on September 19,
to witness which was the principal object of their visit. We shall leave
Mr Waterton to speak for himself. "At the termination of high mass, the
phial containing the blood was carried by one of the canons into the body
of the cathedral, that every person might have an opportunity of
inspecting the blood, and kissing the phial, should he feel inclined.
There were two phials--a large one, containing the blood as it had flowed
from the wounds of the martyr at its execution; and a smaller one,
containing his blood mixed with sand, just as it had been taken from the
ground on which it had fallen. These two phials were enclosed in a very
strong and beautifully ornamented case of silver and glass. I kissed this
case, and had a most satisfactory opportunity of seeing the blood in its
solid state,... and the canon who held it turned it over and over many
times to prove to us that the blood was not liquid.... At one o'clock
P.M., no symptoms whatever of a change had occurred. A vast number of
people had already left the cathedral, so that I found the temperature
considerably lowered. Precisely at a quarter before two, the blood
suddenly and entirely liquefied. The canon who held the case passed close
by me, and afforded me a most favourable opportunity of accompanying him
close up to the high altar, where I kissed the phial, and joined my humble
prayers to those of the multitude.... Nothing in the whole course of my
life has struck me so forcibly as this occurrence;... and I here state,
in the most unqualified manner, my firm conviction, that the liquefaction
of the blood of St Januarius is miraculous, beyond the shadow of a doubt.
Were I to conceal this my conviction from the public eye, I should
question the soundness of both my head and my heart, and charge my pen
with arrant cowardice."

After a short excursion to Sicily, in which Mr Waterton had occasion to
surmise that the ancient furies of Scylla and Charybdis had quitted their
old quarters to take up their abode in the passport-offices, and regretted
his inability to avail himself of the opportunities which the island
afforded, for observing the spring and autumn passage of the migratory
birds, they paid a farewell visit to the tomb of Virgil, and left "that
laughing, noisy, merry city of Naples on a fine and sunny morning, to
enjoy for eight or nine months more the soothing quiet of the Roman
capital." At length, on the 16th June 1841, the party left Rome, and
sailed the next day from Civita Vecchia, on board the Pollux steamer, for
Leghorn; but their good fortune at length deserted them. "Cervantes has
told us that there is nothing certain in this life--'no hay cosa segura en
esta vida.'" It was soon evident to Mr Waterton, as an old traveller, that
there was a great want of nautical discipline on board the Pollux, and of
this they soon had fatal proof. In the midst of the night the vessel came
in collision with the Mongibello, a steamer of larger size, steering on
the opposite course, which stove her in amidships, and she sunk in a
quarter of an hour. The captains and mates of both vessels were asleep
below, but from the calmness of the sea, and the exertions of the Prince
of Canino (Charles Bonaparte,) who was fortunately a passenger on board
the Mongibello, and took the helm from the steersman when he was on the
point of sheering off from the wreck, all the crew and passengers of the
Pollux, except one man, were got safe on board the former vessel. All
their property was lost, and, on their being landed the next day at
Leghorn, an attempt was made by the authorities to detain the vessel, and
all on board, for twenty days in quarantine, on the ground of the Pollux's
bill of health having been lost in the foundered vessel! But Prince Canino
again came to the rescue, and they eventually returned in the Mongibello
to Civita Vecchia, and thence to Rome, where, as a climax to their
misfortunes, Mr Waterton was for some time laid up by an attack of fever.
It was not till the 20th of July that he finally set out with his party
for England, having in the mean time made a singular addition to his
suite, which is treated of at length in one of the Essays.

Among the various strange birds which find a place in the Roman bill of
fare, is a pretty little owl yclept the Civetta, (called by British
ornithologists, from its diminutive size, the _passerina_, or sparrow
owl,) which abounds throughout Italy, where it figures in more varied
capacities than is consistent with the usually reserved habits of its
race. "You may see it plucked and ready trussed for the spit, on the same
stall at which hawks, crows, jackdaws, jays, magpies, hedgehogs, frogs,
snails, and buzzards, are offered for sale to the passing conoscenti"--a
catalogue of dainties which bears but a small proportion to a more
extended _carte raisonnée_ elsewhere given by Mr Waterton, who verily
believes that "scarcely any thing which has had life in it comes amiss to
the Italians in the way of food, except the Hanoverian rat." It is used by
sportsmen (as we find from Savi's _Ornitologia Toscana_) as a decoy for
small birds, which it attracts within gunshot by its singular gestures
when placed on the top of a pole; and it "is much prized by the gardener,
for its uncommon ability in destroying insects, snails, slugs, and
reptiles. There is scarcely an outhouse in the vineyards and gardens which
is not tenanted by the Civetta, and it is often brought up tame from the
nest." It has hitherto been known in England only as a rare and accidental
visitor; and Mr Waterton, actuated by a patriotic desire to secure for his
countrymen the benefit of its services--"not, by the way, in the kitchen,
but in the kitchen-garden"--provided himself with a dozen as _compagnons
de voyage_, on quitting Rome. At Genoa, an inclination was manifested by
the custom-house officers to claim duty on this novel article of
export--and a precedent might have been drawn from the case of the eagles
which were sent from Killarney to Colonel Montagu, before the duties
between England and Ireland were abolished, and detained at Bristol on the
plea that there was a duty on all singing-birds! The Genoese _doganieri_,
however, on Mr Waterton's assurance that the owls were not for the
purposes of traffic, and were, moreover, the native produce of _la
bellissima Italia_, (with the sly addition, that he "had reason to believe
they are common in Genoa, so that they can well be spared,") graciously
allowed them to pass duty-free; but at Basle an unexpected obstacle arose.
Mr Waterton's letter of credit had been lost in the Pollux; and in spite
of letters of recommendation from the Prince of Canino, and the Italian
Rothschild, Torlonia, "M. Passavant the banker, a wormwood-looking
money-monger, refused to advance a single _sous_," even on the deposit of
a valuable watch; and Mr Waterton, with his owls and his family, would
have stuck fast at Basle, but for the arrival of Mr W. Brougham, (brother
of Lord Brougham,) who furnished him with a supply; and the whole party
reached Aix-la-Chapelle safe and sound. But here Mr Waterton thought
proper, by way of cleansing his _protegés_ from the soils of their long
journey, to give them, as well as himself, the benefit of a warm
bath!--"an act of rashness" (as he himself terms it) which caused the
death of five of the number from cold the same night. Two others perished
afterwards from casualties, and the remaining five arrived safe at Walton
Hall. "On the 10th of May 1842, there being abundance of slugs, snails,
and beetles on the ground, at seven o'clock in the evening, the weather
being serene and warm, I opened the door of the cage, and the five owls
stepped out to try their fortunes in this wicked world. As they retired
into the adjacent thicket, I bade then be of good heart; and although the
whole world was now open to them, I said if they would stop in my park I
would be glad of their company, and would always be a friend and
benefactor to them." How the little strangers have sped--whether they have
increased and multiplied in the hospitable shades of Walton Hall, to
gratify their entomological tastes for the benefit of neighbouring
kitchen-gardens, or strayed from this asylum, and fallen victims as _raræ
aves_ to some ruthless bird-stuffer, we hope to be informed in the "more
last words" which we yet hope for on the pen of Mr Waterton.

  "Of all the brave birds that e'er I did see,
  The owl is the fairest in her degree,"

quoth an old ditty; and we must ourselves confess to a peculiar _penchant_
for an "owl in an ivy bush," partly from personal sympathy for its
shortsightedness, and not less for the aspect of solemn wisdom which
gained for it of yore a place on the crest of Minerva's helmet, and has
made it, in the regions of the East, the counsellor of kings and princes.
Who has not heard of the reproof thus conveyed, through the medium of a
vizier skilled in the mystic language of birds, to the devastating
ambition of Sultan Mahmood of Ghazni? The gates of whose tomb, (it may be
remarked _par parenthèse_,) the _savans_ have now decided never to have
been at Somnat at all--a piece of useful knowledge cheaply acquired, no
doubt, at the expense of a war which has secured the owls of that country,
for some years to come, against any scarcity of ruined villages wherewith
to endow their daughters. We regret, therefore, to find that Mr Waterton,
to whom we owe the introduction of the Civetta in England, and who, in the
first series of his Essays, has eloquently vindicated the character of the
barn-owl against the aspersions alike of the poets of the Augustan age and
the old women of the present day, still denies the accomplishment of
hooting to the Yorkshire barn-owls, and persists in considering it
restricted to the single individual shot by Sir William Jardine. "We know
full well that most extraordinary examples of splendid talent do from time
to time make their appearance on the world's wide stage--and may we not
suppose that the barn-owl which Sir William shot in the absolute act of
hooting, may have been a gifted bird of superior parts and knowledge,
endowed, perhaps, from its early days with the faculty of hooting, or else
taught it by its neighbour the tawny owl? I beg to remark, that though I
unhesitatingly grant the faculty of hooting to this one particular
individual owl, still I flatly refuse to believe that hooting is common to
barn-owls in general." The same denial is repeated in the present volume;
but Sir William's owl is no longer alone in his glory, as the possession
of a similar talent, to at least a limited extent, has been ascribed in
the pages of the _Zoologist_ to the Oxford owls. As Mr Waterton's accuracy
as an observer cannot be questioned, we can only infer that the advantages
of education enjoyed by the owls of Alma Mater and the Modern Athens,
enables them to attain a degree of vocal proficiency beyond the reach of
their rustic brethren in Yorkshire--and we hope ere long to hear of Mr
Waterton's having added a feathered professor of languages, from one or
other of these seats of learning, to the colony of barn-owls established
in the ruin of the old gateway at Walton.

Mr Waterton has never been famous for showing too much mercy to his
opponents in controversy--and, on the present occasion, the vials of his
wrath are poured forth without stint, though certainly not without strong
provocation, on the head of Mr Swainson, well known some years since as a
writer on natural history, and as one of the principal advocates of the
_Quinary System_[11]--a sort of zoological _transcendentalism_ (to borrow
a phrase from Kant and his disciples) then fashionable, according to which
all the genera and species of animals, known or hereafter to be
discovered, were held bound spontaneously to arrange themselves in
circular groups of _five_, neither more nor less, in obedience to some
intuitive principle of nature, of which the details were not yet very
clearly made out. It would appear that Mr Swainson, who is characterised
as a "morbid and presumptuous man," had been at variance--on personal as
well as scientific grounds--with Mr Waterton, from whom he received a
castigation for his ornithological heresies, in a letter published in
1837; but his retaliation was delayed for two years, when, in an account
of the cayman, published in Lardner's _Cabinet Cyclopædia_, he describes
it as "on land a slow-paced, and even timid animal; so that an active boy,
armed with a small hatchet, might easily dispatch one. There is no great
prowess, therefore, required to ride on the back of a poor cayman after it
has been secured, or perhaps wounded; and a modern writer might well have
spared the recital of his feats in this way upon the cayman of Guiana, had
he not been influenced in this, and numberless other instances, by the
greatest possible love of the marvellous, and a constant propensity to
dress truth in the garb of fiction;" and subsequently speaks of the cayman
as "so timid that, had we been disposed to perform such ridiculous feats,
our compassion for the poor animals would have prevented us." Mr Waterton
had no opportunity of replying to these offensive imputations at the time
they were published, being then absent in Italy, while Mr Swainson was on
the point of finally quitting England in order to become a settler in New
Zealand. But though thus separated by the entire diameter of the globe,
"steam will soon convey to him a copy of this," says Mr Waterton--and
verily he has demolished the unlucky Swainson without ruth or mercy.
Whether this "wholesale dealer in unsound zoology," as Mr Waterton calls
him, ever can have seen a cayman, except at a safe distance, appears
somewhat dubious; and his story of this reptile hiding its prey in a hole
till semi-putrid, though it would convey a high idea of the respect
entertained by his brother caymans for the rights of property, must be
incredible to any one who has ever inspected the jaws of the animals which
(as Mr Waterton observes) "are completely formed for snatch and swallow."
We fear, moreover, that the character which general experience has
assigned to these huge reptiles, whether called crocodiles, caymans, or
alligators, is much more in accordance with the anecdote related by
Governor Ynciarte of a man carried off into the river by one of these
monsters from the alameda, or public walk, of Angostura, than with
Swainson's description of a timid creature, liable to be knocked on the
head by an idle boy with a hatchet, the defenceless state of which excited
his compassion. If, therefore, Mr Swainson does not come forward, either
to substantiate these novel statements, or to retract them, the scientific
world is likely to come to the conclusion drawn by Mr Waterton, that,
"when he wrote his account of this reptile, he was either totally
unacquainted with its habits and economy, or that he wilfully perverted
them, in order to be revenged on me" for the letter above mentioned.

From the circumstances under which the present volume was put forth, one
or two letters are included which do not appear to have been originally
intended for publication--and these are not the least characteristic parts
of the work--as that to Mr Hog of Newliston in advocacy of the persecuted
Scotch rooks, and one to Mr Loudon himself on the methods of clearing a
garden from vermin, in which there is much practical sense. It is not good
for weasels or hedgehogs, any more than for man, to be alone in this
world. "You say 'you will send to a gardener in the country for a weasel.'
You must send for two, male and female. A bachelor weasel, or a spinster
weasel, would not tarry four-and-twenty hours in your garden. Either of
them would go a sweet-hearting, and not return. You remark that your
'hedgehogs soon disappeared.' No doubt, unless confined by a wall.... A
garden, well fenced by a wall high enough to keep dogs out, is a capital
place for hedgehogs. But there ought always to be two, man and wife....
The windhover (or kestrel) hawk is excellent for killing beetles, and also
for consuming slugs and snails; cats dare not attack him, wherefore he is
very fit for a garden." We have not heard whether any effect has been
produced by Mr Waterton's remonstrances against the edict of extermination
fulminated against his sable friends the rooks--but we fear that farmers
in all countries are much on a par with those Delaware colonists and Isle
of Bourbon planters, whose fate he adduces as a warning. Having destroyed
their grakles, on a similar charge to that on which sentence has now been
passed on the rooks, they lost their whole crops by insects, and were
compelled not only to re-introduce the grakles, but to protect them by
law. We trust that the Scotch farmers will not be obliged, by a similar
calamity, to avail themselves of Mr Waterton's obliging offer to send
them, in case of such necessity, a fresh supply of these "useful and
interesting birds."

Mr Waterton never loses an opportunity of showing his contempt for the
modern systems of ornithology, which, by their complicated nomenclature,
eternally changed by every new sciolist, have almost succeeded in
converting that fascinating science into an unintelligible jargon of hard
names. "As I am not a convert to the necessity or advantages of giving to
many of our British birds these new and jaw-breaking names, I will content
myself with the old nomenclature, so well-known to every village lad
throughout the country.... The ancients called the wren _troglodytas_; but
it is now honoured with the high-sounding name of _Anorthura_, alleging
for a reason, that the ancients were quite mistaken in their supposition
that this bird was an inhabitant of caves, as it is never to be seen
within them. Methinks that the ancients were quite right, and that our
modern masters in ornithology are quite wrong. If we only for a moment
reflect that the nest of the wren is spherical, and is of itself, as it
were, a little cave, we can easily imagine that the ancients, on seeing
the bird going in and out of this artificial cave, considered the word
_troglodytas_ an appropriate appellation."

Among the various feathered visitants attracted by the city of refuge
provided for them at Walton, were a flock of twenty-four wild-geese, of
the large and beautiful species called the Canada or Cravat goose, (from
the conspicuous white patch on its black neck,) which unexpectedly
appeared on the lake one winter, and took up their permanent abode there,
occasionally making excursions to the other waters in the neighbourhood.
"In the breeding season, two or three pairs will remain here. The rest
take themselves off, and are seen no more till the return of autumn, when
they reappear without any addition to the flock or diminution of it. This
is much to be wondered at; and I would fain hazard a conjecture that the
young may possibly be captured in the place where they have been hatched,
and the pinioned to prevent escape. But, after all, this is mere
speculation. We know nothing of the habits of our birds of passage when
they are absent from us; and we cannot account how it comes to pass that
the birds just mentioned invariably return to this country without any
perceptible increase of numbers; or, if the original birds die or are
destroyed, why it is that the successors arrive here in the same numbers
as their predecessors." This remark has before been made in the case of
swallows and other migratory birds, the numbers of which returning each
spring, in localities where they can be accurately observed and counted,
has always been found to be he same as that which arrived the preceding
year, though the flock which departed southward in autumn had been swollen
by the young broods accompanying their parents. Thus Gilbert White
ascertained that at Selborne the number of swifts was invariably eleven
pair; and, as in some instances when old birds have been caught and
marked, they have been found to return during several succeeding years,
this fact would seem to justify the inference that the young birds, after
quitting the country of their birth, do not, for at least a year or two,
join in the annual migration of their species.

By waylaying the stay-at-home geese at the time when the moult of the
wing-quills disabled them for flight, Mr Waterton succeeded in securing
and pinioning six of them, thus preventing their future departure. They
subsequently received an accession to their party in two Bernacle ganders,
which Mr Waterton had brought over from Rotterdam, and the partners of
which had died soon after their arrival, perhaps from the act of pinioning
them; though Mr Waterton seems more inclined to attribute their untimely
end to the stupidity of a Hull custom-house officer, who sent the hamper
containing them jolting in a truck without springs over the rough pavement
to the custom-house, only to be peremptorily sent back, as not liable to
duty, by another of the same genus. "The two ganders, bereft of their
connubial comforters, seemed to take their misfortunes sorely to heart for
some time, till at last they began to make advances for permission to
enter into the company of the Canadian geese. These good birds did not
hesitate to receive them; and from that time these two very distinct
species of geese (one being only half the size of the other) have become
inseparable companions." The confederacy of these distant relations led,
however, to some unexpected results, which are related by Mr Waterton with
inimitable quaintness. On returning from Italy in the autumn of 1841, he
was informed by the keeper that a left-handed marriage had been struck up
between one of the little ganders and a pinioned Canadian goose, the
produce of which had been five addle eggs. "Had he told me that the
income-tax is a blessing, and the national debt an honour to the country,
I could more readily have believed him, than that a Canada goose had been
fool enough to unite herself to a Bernacle gander. Nevertheless, the man
persisted in what he affirmed; and I told the story to others, and nobody
believed me." The breeding-season of 1842 proved, however, the truth of
the story; but the oddly-matched couple were again disappointed in their
hopes of a family--the eggs all proving addle. The third year saw the
persevering pair again engaged in incubation: "and nothing could exceed
the assiduity with which the little Bernacle stood guard, often on one
leg, over his bulky partner. If any body approached the place, his
cackling was incessant; he would run at him with the fury of a
turkey-cock; he would jump up at his knees, and not desist in his
aggressions till the intruder had retired. There was something so
remarkably disproportionate betwixt this goose and gander, that I gave to
this the name of Mopsus, and to that the name of Nisa:[12] ... the whole
affair appeared to me one of ridicule and bad taste; and I was quite
prepared for a termination similar to that of the two preceding years,
when behold! to my utter astonishment, out came two young ones, the
remainder of the five eggs being addle. The vociferous gesticulations and
strutting of little Mopsus were beyond endurance when he first caught
sight of his long-looked-for progeny. He screamed aloud, whilst Nisa
helped him to attack me with their united wings and hissings, as I
approached the nest in order to convey the little ones to the water ...
and this loving couple, apparently so ill-assorted and disproportionate,
have brought up the progeny with great care and success. The hybrids are
elegantly shaped, but are not so large as the mother nor so small as the
father; their plumage partaking in colour with that of both parents.... I
certainly acted rashly, notwithstanding appearances, in holding this
faithful couple up to the ridicule of visitors who accompanied me to the
spot. I have had a salutary lesson, and shall be more guarded for the
future in giving an opinion. My speculation that a progeny could not be
produced from the union of a Bernacle gander with a Canada goose has
utterly failed. I stand convinced by a hybrid, reprimanded by a gander,
and instructed by a goose."

The melody ascribed to the dying swan has long been well known to exist
only in the graceful mythology of the ancients; but as few opportunities
occur of witnessing the bird's last moments, some interest attaches to Mr
Waterton's personal observations on this point, which we can ourselves
corroborate, having not long since been present at the death of a pet
swan, which, like Mr Waterton's favourite, had been fed principally by
hand; and, instead of seeking to conceal itself at the approach of death,
quitted the water, and lay down to die on the lawn before its owner's
door. "He then left the water for good and all, and sat down on the margin
of the pond. He soon became too weak to support his long neck in an
upright position. He nodded, and then tried to recover himself; and then
nodded again, and again held up his head: till at last, quite enfeebled
and worn out, his head fell gently on the grass, his wings became expanded
a trifle or so, and he died while I was looking on.... Although I gave no
credence to the extravagant notion which antiquity had entertained of
melody from the mouth of the dying swan, still I felt anxious to hear some
plaintive sound or other, some soft inflection of the voice, which might
tend to justify that notion in a small degree. But I was disappointed....
He never even uttered his wonted cry, nor so much as a sound, to indicate
what he felt within."

Mr Waterton repeats in the present volume the determination which he had
expressed in his former Essays, not to appear again before the public as
an author:--"It is time to say farewell, and to bid adieu to natural
history, as far as the press is concerned." But we still hope that he may
again be induced, on returning from Italy, whither we believe he has once
more bent his steps, by some other cause than the death of a valued
friend, to depart from this resolution. As he himself remarks with truth,
in the preface to his first series of Essays, "we can never expect to have
a complete history of birds, until he who undertakes the task of writing
it shall have studied his subject in the field of nature,"--and how little
this has been attended to even in the ornithology of our own country, is
sufficiently shown by the errors which, till of late, disfigured all the
received works on this subject, and have been copied with implicit faith
from one _soi-disant_ naturalist by another. Since that kindred spirit
Gilbert White, the first English naturalist who studied the habits of
living birds in the open air, instead of describing the colours of the
plumage of stuffed specimens in cabinets, we have had no one who has
investigated the economy of animals, and particularly of that most
beautiful class of the animal kingdom, the birds, so thoroughly _con
amore_ as Mr Waterton, in this and his preceding publications--identifying
himself (it may almost be said) with their _feelings_ and idiosyncrasies,
and vindicating them from the aspersions thrown upon them in the writings
of closet-naturalists, with the indignant zeal of a champion whose heart
and soul is in the cause of injured innocence. Those who saw the sloth
exhibited last summer in the Regent's Park Zoological Gardens, when at
large and suspended by its huge claws to the _under_ side of a branch of a
tree, must have recognised the minute accuracy of Mr Waterton's account,
in the _Wanderings_, of the habits of this animal, so much impugned at
the time, because diametrically opposed to the statements of zoologists
who had either never seen it alive, or seen it only when placed on a flat
surface, a position which it never assumes in its natural state, and which
its conformation renders one of extreme pain and constraint. Much
animadversion has also been lavished by writers of the same class on Mr
Waterton's sketches of British ornithology, as the facilities for
observation procured by the security afforded to his _protegés_, and the
unusual degree to which they have been consequently familiarised, have
enabled him to overthrow many long-established errors--a thankless task at
best, and which in some instances has not been rendered more palatable to
those whose blunders were thus exposed, by the unsparing shafts of his
raillery. But against all these antagonists Mr Waterton is very well able
to defend himself, as the unlucky Mr Swainson and some others of his
assailants know to their cost; and wishing him the full fruition for many
long years of the bodily activity which enables him still to scale the
highest tree in Walton Park to inspect a crow's nest, and not less of that
irresistible _naïveté_ and _bonhommie_ which give such enjoyable zest to
all his writings, we bid him for the present farewell--and if, in sooth,
we are ne'er again to meet the Lord of Walton Hall in print, we scarce
"shall look upon his like again!"



WARREN'S LAW STUDIES.[13]


The readers of _Blackwood_ who, month after month, followed with
increasing interest the adventures of Titmouse, and the adversity and
restoration of the Aubrey family, will excuse us if we apparently diverge
from our usual literary course to track the author of "Ten Thousand
a-Year" in a work which he has given to the legal profession, or rather to
those who meditate entering upon that profession, or who have just set
their foot upon the threshold.

Mr Warren's "Introduction to Law Studies" has already received the
approbation of the public, testified by the sale of an unusually large
edition. This has prompted the author to fresh endeavours to render it
worthy of the peculiar place it fills, and of his own name; and he now,
"after ten years of additional experience, (eight of them at the bar,)"
publishes a second edition, "remodelled, rewritten, and greatly
enlarged"--indeed so considerably altered and amplified as to be, in
reality, a new work under the old title.

"In the present work," says the preface, "is incorporated one which the
author has for some years meditated offering to the public, viz. an
elementary and popular outline of the leading doctrines and practice of
each of the three great departments of the law, civil, criminal, and
ecclesiastical." The work, therefore, now consists of three distinct
parts. 1. A general survey of the legal profession--a description of the
nature of its several departments, of the various studies, labours, modes
of life, of the conveyancer, the special pleader, the common-law and
equity barrister, in order to guide the choice of a young man, who
probably has hitherto a very confused notion of what, and how many
different things, may be implied in the vague expression of "going to the
bar." 2. A concise and elementary view of the several branches of the law
which fall to the especial study of these several departments of the
profession, as equity, the ecclesiastical and common law; and, 3. the
recommendation of a course of study, pointing out the best books on each
subject, and adding many useful hints to the young student on the
discipline of his mind, and the acquirement of general knowledge.

To us it seems that such a work must be of very great utility, and that
Mr Warren has given the most complete "beginning book" that was ever put
into the hands of a young person seeking, or entering, a profession. It is
not a publication which, as far as we know, replaces or competes with any
other, but fills up a vacancy, and supplies a want which must have often
been painfully felt. How can a young man, ambitious of entering the bar,
know the nature of that profession into which he is so anxious to enlist
himself? He goes into a court of justice, and sees men in their grotesque
but imposing costume haranguing the judge and the jury, and without
further thought he resolves that he too will be an orator and haranguer.
Or what is more frequently the case, he reads the published speeches of an
Erskine or a Curran, accompanied with memoirs of the men, and accounts of
their forensic triumphs, and he burns to achieve the like actions, and to
wield the same "resistless eloquence." But who is to tell him the nature
of that territory, and by what manner of journey it is to be traversed,
which lies between him and the gowned orator he is desirous of emulating?
He sees the great actor on the stage, or hears of the intoxicating
applause which he wins; but who is to conduct him behind the scenes, show
him the apprenticeship he has to pass through, the hazards of failure, the
impatience and tedium of unemployed energies--"the sad seclusion of
unfrequented chambers, or the sadder seclusion of crowded courts?"[14] How
invaluable, at such a time, would be some kind good-natured friend, who
had passed through the rough experience, who had sufficient remembrance of
his own early mistakes and difficulties to comprehend all his
bewilderment, and sufficient tolerance to endure being questioned on
matters which to him have grown too trite and familiar to seem to need
explanation. In Mr Warren's book he will meet with exactly the information
he wants; he will find a chart of the profession unrolled before him; he
may quietly test his own abilities, or his own courage, to adopt any of
the several departments as they are submitted to his inspection. He will
obtain all that he could gather from that kind good-natured friend at the
bar, whom he has been longing for, and would so willingly seize by the
button--nay, far more than he could gather from any one man who had not
made the subject one of especial attention, and taken pains himself to
collect information from various quarters. Besides, how infinitely
agreeable is it, whilst yet a resolution is unripe, whilst yet it is the
secret of our bosom, to be able to get our doubts solved, and our
questions answered, from the silent pages of a book; to be spared the
penance of exposing half-formed designs to the jocular scrutiny of our
friends--to be permitted to consult without necessarily making a
confidant--to be able to dismiss our thought, if it is destined to be
dismissed, without betraying how dear a guest it has been.

The more youthful and less instructed of its readers will find every
portion of this work useful to them; especially they will have reason to
thank; the author for that facile introduction he has offered them to the
study of the law itself. Never has been such a gently inclined plane set
up, for weak and unsteady feet, against the hill of legal knowledge. The
talent which Mr Warren has for familiar and elementary exposition is
something quite peculiar. Nor will they fail to profit by his many
practical hints for the discipline of the mind, and his advice as to their
general reading. The student more advanced in years and in thought, and
who entertains the project of entering the profession at a time when his
mind has approached towards maturity, will perceive, and will have the
candour to reflect, that much of the work was not written for _him_. But,
on the other hand, he is the very person who will especially value it for
that description of practical, familiar, but most necessary information,
which it is rare to get from books at all--which to him it is peculiarly
disagreeable to be compelled to extract piece-meal from chance
conversation with men but half furnished with it, and perhaps impatient
of the interrogatories put to them. What are the distinctions between the
several species of the lawyer? What sort of an animal is, in reality, the
conveyancer, or the special pleader, or the equity draftsman--what are its
habits, where its haunts--how is it bred, how nourished--what process is
he himself to go through, before he can be recognised as belonging to the
class--how best may he set to work, and with least loss of time?--these
are matters which he is very curious to know, and to him nothing is more
welcome than to find them all explained in the printed page--to find them
where he is accustomed to look for every thing, amongst his old friends
the books.

Surprise has often been expressed at the fact, that there is no publicly
appointed method of legal tuition, no lectures delivered on which it is
compulsory to attend, not even any examination to be finally undergone
before admittance to the bar. A little acquaintance, however, with the
nature of legal studies, will soon dissipate this astonishment. There is
but one way in which the law _can_ be mastered; severe, steady, solitary
reading, accompanied by the privilege of watching the real practice of the
jurist in the chambers of the conveyancer or the special pleader. To one
bent on the professional study of the law; lectures would be mere waste of
time. To the idler they may bear the appearance, and bring some of the
profit, of study; to the conscientious and resolved student, they would be
an idleness and a dissipation. Where a subject admits of being
oratorically treated, good lectures are extremely valuable; for oratory
has its office in tuition, stimulates to reflection, and stirs generous
sentiments, and we wish the oratory of the professor's chair were more
cultivated amongst us than it is. Nor need we say that where the subject
admits or requires the illustration of scientific experiments, lectures
are almost indispensable. But in the tangled study of the law, where one
must go backwards and forwards, as in a rope-walk, and twist one's own
cable out of many threads--of what use can the lecturer possibly be? To
teach us law in a fluent discourse, what is it but to have us feed--as the
humming-birds are said to do--upon the wing? But even humming-birds feed
in no such fashion; they sit down to their supper of rose-water. Much more
must a lawyer have his table--his desk--fast before him; and spreading out
his various fare, which needs a deal of mastication, feed alternately, and
slowly and solemnly, on the several dishes which with ostrich stomach he
has to digest.

As to the absence of all examination previous to an admission to the bar,
the fact, that not only in our own inns of court, but in all similar
institutions, such examinations have been allowed to dwindle into some
empty and puerile form, sufficiently demonstrates their inutility. If an
examination were appointed, it would be no test of the efficiency of the
advocate; no sufficient guarantee to the ingenuous client who should
wander into Westminster Hall in search of a lawyer. Not to add that the
learned gentleman may have had ample time to forget all his legal
knowledge in the interval between his call to the bar and the opening of
his first brief. A license, indeed, is given to practise as an advocate,
without any other qualification than that of respectability of character,
and the payment of certain fees; but the case of no client is confided to
the young orator, unless those who have the greatest interest in his
competency are satisfied that he can be safely relied on. Men suffer their
_health_ to be trifled with by ignorant quacks and ridiculous
pretenders--not their money. We need no Sir James Graham's bill in the
profession of the law. Besides, it is not the good opinion of an
uninformed public which the barrister has to seek or to depend upon. A
lawyer, he is judged by lawyers. It is in the estimation of attorneys and
solicitors that he must rise--not that of respectable ladies and nervous
baronets. They stand between him and that unlearned public to which the
physician, on the contrary, at once appeals.

The very circumstance, however, that there is no such public course of
instruction marked out, and no prospective examination to be prepared
for--that all is to be gained from that silent array of books which fill
the long shelves of a legal library or from those chambers of the
practitioner which, to those who look at them from without, seem as dark
with mystery as they are with dust and smoke--this, we repeat, renders
such a guide-book as that which Mr Warren has presented to the public,
almost indispensable. In forming a critical estimation of his labours on
this publication, it would be extremely unfair to forget, for a moment,
the peculiar nature of the work. He is writing for the young. It is an
elementary treatise. It is a book peculiarly practical; the very opposite
of whatever is theoretical or speculative. If the style is somewhat more
diffuse than we should on all occasions approve, we are far from regarding
this as a defect _here_. The work, amongst other advantages, presents
really a storehouse of that useful phraseology in which a public speaker
should abound, that phraseology which lies between the familiarity of
business and the pomp of oratory. And if, as we may perhaps be tempted
again to remark, there is something too much of laudation of that
profession and of that system of jurisprudence to which he is introducing
the young aspirant, this too is a bias to which, in the present work, it
would be ungracious to raise an objection. An elementary teacher should
not chill and discourage his pupils by criticisms of a cold and censorious
character; he should rather exercise his penetration in drawing into light
concealed excellences. In this Mr Warren follows the example of the first
of all commentators, the most successful of all teachers--Blackstone; who
continues to be the most popular of all expounders of the law, even though
the system that he expounds has almost deserted him. It seems that the law
can be made obsolete, but not the commentary. With a pupil it is a thing
understood and agreed upon that he is to learn the system as it now
exists; to engage him to do this it were bad policy to decry that system,
and expose its faults with a merciless analysis. When the student has
mastered it as a lesson, he may then overlook and criticise it with what
severity he thinks fit. We will quote a passage which will illustrate at
once the lively manner of our writer, and also this happy Blackstonian
tendency--the habit of animadverting very gravely on those errors of the
law which have been reformed, and remaining still "a little blind" to
those which are yet untouched.

     "Down to the year 1832, the system of common law pleading and
     practice supplied the student, during the greater period of his
     pupilage, with little else than the most degrading and unprofitable
     drudgery. It presented to his despairing eyes a mass of vile
     verbiage--a tortuous complexity of detail, which defied the efforts
     of any but the most creeping ingenuity and industry. There was really
     every thing to discourage and disgust a liberal and enlightened mind,
     however well inured to labour by the invigorating discipline of logic
     and mathematics. The deep and clear waters--so to speak--of legal
     principle, there always were, and will be, for _they_ are immutable
     and eternal; but you had to buffet your way to them through "many a
     mile of foaming filth," that harassed, exhausted and choked the
     unhappy swimmer long before he could get sight of the offing. Few
     beside those who had had the equivocal advantage of being early
     familiarised with such gibberish as "special general
     imparlance"--"special testatum capias"--"special original"--"testatum
     pone"--"protestando"--"colour"--"_de bene esse_," &c. &c. &c. could
     obtain a glimmering of daily practice, without a serious waste of
     time and depreciation of the mental faculties. Let the thousands who,
     under the old system, almost at once adopted and abandoned legal
     studies, attest the truth of this remark. There was, in short, every
     thing to discourage a gentleman from entering, to obstruct him in
     prosecuting, the legal profession. Recently, however, a great change
     has been effected. There has been a real reform--a practical,
     searching, comprehensive reform of the common law; a shaking down of
     innumerable dead leaves and rotten branches; a cutting away of all
     the shoots of prurient vegetation, which served but to disfigure the
     tree, and to conceal and injure its fruit. Now you may see, in the
     common law, a tree noble in its height and figure, sinewy in its
     branches, green in its foliage, and goodly in its fruit. May it be
     permitted, however, to express an humble hope, that the gardener will
     know _when to lay aside_ his knife!"--(P. 20.)

And yet Warren has a knife, too, of his own which he would willingly
employ upon some part of this noble tree--either its old or its new
branches. It is impossible for even the most indulgent commentator not to
perceive that there are in our system of pleading many technicalities,
which, so far from being necessary to the administration of justice, have
no other operation than to retard, to complicate, to defeat the
administration of justice. At p. 738--a very prudent and respectful
distance from the quotation we have just made--we find the following
admission:--

     "Such is a faint sketch of the existing system of special pleading,
     upon the reform and remodelling of which has been bestowed, during
     the last fifteen years, the anxious and profound consideration of
     some of the ablest and most experienced legal intellects which were
     ever addressed to such an undertaking, or concerned in the practice
     or administration of the law. Their alterations were bold and
     extensive, and perhaps may be said to have been, to the same extent,
     successful. The principal objects proposed to be effected by the late
     changes were enumerated in an early part of this work, where also was
     given a general account of all the late changes effected in the
     department of Common Law pleading and practice. To this we now refer
     the reader; and also to the Appendix (No. IV.), where will be found,
     _in extenso_, the Rules of Court by which these great alterations
     were effected. While the principal objects of the framers of them
     have been accomplished, by effecting a great saving of expense in the
     length of the pleadings, and their incidents; by securing an
     economical and satisfactory trial at Nisi Prius, through the precise
     and specific nature of the issues required to be presented to the
     jury, and the effectual expedients resorted to, for the purpose of
     saving an unnecessary expenditure in obtaining evidence: it cannot be
     denied that the excessive stringency of the rules which restrict a
     plaintiff to a single count in respect of a single cause of action,
     and a defendant to a single plea in support of a single ground of
     defence, too frequently operates most injuriously, so as to secure
     the defeat of justice. _It is continually a matter of serious
     difficulty, to refer a particular combination of facts to their
     appropriate legal category; and if the wrong one should be selected,
     substantial justice is sacrificed before arbitrary legal
     technicality._ It would be easy to illustrate the truth of these
     remarks by reference to cases of daily occurrence. The rule in
     question must either be relaxed, or its injurious effects neutralized
     by greatly enlarged powers of amendment conferred upon the judge at
     Nisi Prius. With all these defects, however, it cannot be denied that
     the recent changes in the law of pleading, evidence, and practice,
     with reference to the interests of suitors, have justified the most
     sanguine anticipations of those who set in motion the machinery which
     effected those changes; and with reference to students and
     practitioners, have tended to exact a far greater amount of
     diligence, learning, and acuteness, than for a long series of years
     has been deemed requisite."

Mr Warren's illustrations, whether imaginary, or drawn from experience and
observation, are always, as might be expected, graphic and amusing. It is
thus that he exemplifies a very useful precept, which he gives to the
young student for the bar:--

     "He must _very early familiarise himself with the correct meaning of
     at least the leading technical terms of Logic_--which are of frequent
     use in the courts--not for petty pedantry or display, but from their
     real advantage--from, indeed, the necessity of the case. Instances of
     the vexatious consequences of ignorance in these matters will not
     unfrequently fall under the notice of a watchful observer. Some two
     or three years ago, a counsel, manifestly not having enjoyed a _very_
     superior education, was engaged in arguing a case, _in banco_, at
     Westminster--before four very able judges, one of them being a man
     remarkable for his logical acuteness and dexterity. 'No, no--_that_
     won't do,' said he, suddenly interposing--'put the converse of the
     proposition, Mr ----: try it _that_ way.' The judge paused: the
     counsel too paused, while a slight expression of uneasiness flitted
     over his features. He expected the _judge_ to 'put the converse' for
     him; but the judge did not. '_Put the converse_ of the proposition,
     Mr ----, and see if _that_ will hold'--repeated the judge with some
     surprise, and a little peremptoriness in his tone. But it was
     unpleasantly obvious that Mr ---- _could_ not 'put the converse' of
     the proposition--nor understand what as meant. Some better informed
     brother barrister whispered to him the converse of the
     proposition--but it was useless: Mr ---- faltered--repeated a word or
     two, as if mechanically--'_Well!_' said the judge, kindly suspecting
     the true state of the case, 'go on with your argument, Mr ----!' It
     may appear strange that so glaring a case should occur at the
     bar--but, nevertheless, such a case _did_ occur, and such cases have
     occurred, and are likely to occur again, as long as persons of
     inferior education come, intrepid in ignorance, to the bar."

We think, however, that Mr Warren is a little too hard upon the
unfortunate orator, who was not aware of the meaning of the "converse of
the proposition," and that the judge might as well have "put it" himself.
A man may be a very good reasoner who has not learned "to name his tools,"
which is all that is taught by the logic of Aristotle.

How evidently is the following invested with all the vivid colouring of
actual observation:--

     "It can hardly be necessary, after all that has been said upon the
     subject of special pleading, both in this chapter and in preceding
     parts of the work, to warn the youth who rashly rushes to the bar
     without a competent knowledge of pleading, of the folly of which he
     is guilty, and the danger to which he is exposing himself. To a young
     counsel ignorant of pleading, a brief will be little else than a sort
     of Chinese puzzle. He must either give up in despair all attempts at
     mastering its contents, or hurry in ridiculous agitation from friend
     to friend, making vain efforts to 'cram' himself for some occasion of
     solitary display, afforded him by the zealous indiscretion of a
     friendly solicitor. Feverish with anxiety, wretched under the
     apprehension of public failure, and the consciousness of
     incompetence, after trembling in court lest he should be called upon
     to show himself, he returns to chambers, to curse his folly--to make,
     when too late, exertions to retrieve his false position, or abandon
     it for ever, with all the cloud-picturings of a vain and puerile
     ambition."

There is a general reluctance to believe in the union of literary talents
and business-like qualities of mind. They are thought incompatible. A
lover of literature is held to have little chance of success. A prejudice
so general must have some foundation; but the incompatibility, in whatever
degree it exists, lies, we are persuaded, not in the several mental
qualities--not in the intellectual apparatus fitted for the two careers of
literature and a profession--but in the different dispositions, in the
diversity of tastes, which the two pursuits engender. The literary man
fails in no faculty that profession calls for, but he may contract a
strong repugnance for the species of activity it demands.

In literature thought is indulged and solicited for its own sake; it
excites or it amuses; it may be invested with the deepest and most
stirring interests of religion and philosophy, or it may be the very
rainbow of the mind, having no life but only in and for its beauty. In
professional vocations the intellectual effort is subordinated to a
definite and fixed purpose; it is the purpose, not the thought, which must
continually animate our exertions; and the purpose binds down the current
of thought rigidly to its own service. Literature is the luxury of the
spirit, the free aristocratic life of intellectual pleasure; profession is
the useful but fettered existence of the sons of toil. In the one, the
spirit revels as a mountain stream that leaps in the face of heaven from
crag to crag; in the other, it is the same stream, lower down, confined in
narrow channel, and half-buried by the ponderous wheel-work of that
ever-clacking mill which it has to turn.

What wonder, then, that the literary man should have certain disgusts to
overcome when he is called on to forsake his own free and variable life,
for a mode of existence where thought is no longer her own mistress, but,
with constant repetition, must take service in the mechanism of society?
And he does often recalcitrate. But when, owing to some overruling motive
of ambition or necessity, this distaste is overcome, it is an immense
advantage which the possessor of literary talents has over the ordinary
practitioner of any profession. In that of the law it has been especially
remarked, that those who have been most eminently successful have
confessed to the repugnance they had, in the first instance, to conquer;
and such examples of eminent success have, for the most part, consisted of
men who had betrayed a decided talent and aptitude for literature.

The writer whom we have before us is a striking instance of literary
tastes being irresistibly borne down by the craving after active life,
and, perhaps, a strong impulse of ambition. The present work is sufficient
to testify that, however vivid his imagination, his patience is still
greater. We know him to be one of those who abhor rest, who court fatigue,
to whom the utmost drudgery becomes welcome when invested with the
interest of an immediate practical purpose. To one of such a stamp,
literature could only prove a sort of apprenticeship to cultivate and
develope his mind, not to determine his career. And so it has been. It was
in vain that nature placed the pencil in his hand; she could not win him
to the repose of the artist; his spirit was already pledged to a life of
action, of toil, of hope, of enterprise. All along he has chosen the path
of forensic ambition, nor, when most exerting his fancy, has he ever
swerved from the goal. May success await him in his laborious course! May
he be landed high and dry upon the envied eminences of social life!
But--by Jupiter!--if nature had given _us_ the pencil of the artist, we
would not have let go our hold, though the seals of office were ten times
as large and ten times as brilliant as they are, and were dangled before
us within arm's-reach. You might have lifted us softly and gently, and
placed us as with a mother's arms, even upon the broad woolsack, we would
not have dropped that pencil. No; we would have said to the boisterous
prosperities of life--Here is that which will make station indifferent; if
to food and raiment men must needs add the charms of variety, here is that
which will gild even obscurity with an assured and tranquil pride!

As we have intimated, we do not feel disposed to blame our author that he
speaks often of his "glorious," his "noble" profession. The golden hue of
sunrise is rightly cast upon the pinnacles and towers of that city the
traveller is toiling to reach. What narrow and squalid streets, what blind
alleys, what there is of filth and ruin in the great capital of
intelligence, he may find out afterwards for himself. There was a time
when we, too, were younger than we are, and saw the proud city at the same
advantageous distance, when, dazzled by the view of its more conspicuous
ornaments, we might have been tempted to make the same exclamations, and
to use the same flattering phraseology. At that time, if any one had
thrown a shadow of moral blame on the very principle and universal
practice of the profession of advocacy, we should have indignantly
repelled the accusation, we should have rushed to its defence, perhaps we
even did attempt to throw our little shield before its huge and very
vulnerable body. But now--when some years have rolled over our heads, and
we have learned to think more calmly, if not more wisely--when we have
caught a glimpse of the men who fill high places, and stood near enough to
discover that they were of earth's common mould--when the actual din of
forensic oratory, deafening and monotonous, has rung in our ears, and we
have sat and watched the solemn juggle, and the stale hypocrisy with which
that legal strife called a trial is conducted--now, if any teacher of
ethics should denounce the demoralizing principle of advocacy--the
principle we mean of contending for any client, or any cause, that craves
fee in hand--we should no longer be eager to thrust ourselves between him
and the object of his indignation; we should let his wrath take its
course; we should listen with patience, with neutrality, perhaps with
secret satisfaction at his attack. What, after all, is to be said in
answer to the reproach which every simple-minded man must make--not
against this or that member of the profession, because an individual is
always considered blameless who only adopts the customs of his
country--but against the whole profession, the principle and theory of its
action, this arguing for A or B, for Yes or No, as they first come,
without the least regard for justice or for truth?

It is well known what Paley has said in its defence. "There are
falsehoods," he writes in his chapter on Lies, "which are not lies, that
is, which are not criminal; as, 1. when no one is deceived--which is the
case in parables, fables, novels, jests, tales to create mirth, ludicrous
embellishments of a story, where the declared design of the speaker is not
to inform but to divert; compliments in the subscription of a letter, a
servant's denying his master, a prisoner pleading not guilty, _and an
advocate asserting the justice, or his belief of the justice, of his
client's cause_. In such instances no confidence is destroyed, because
none was reposed; no promise to speak the truth is violated, because none
was given or understood to be given."

Ay, but the advocate _does_ strive to be believed--does labour to deceive.
His very object is to gain credit for his assertion, whether contrary or
not to his sense of truth. He stands there, it is true, in the character
of advocate, subject to whatever suspicion you may attach to that
character; but all his ability is employed to overcome that suspicion, and
compel you to credit him. "Confidence is not reposed;" not readily it may
be; he labours, therefore, the more assiduously to win it. How can he
avail himself of the plea here offered for him? How can he place himself
in the sane category with the portly merchant who signs himself "your
humble servant," and would indeed be strangely surprised if you took him
at his word? Or with the obedient valet who denies his master with the
customary, "not at home?" No man uses language with a more evident desire
to obtain our conviction than the advocate.

There is another so-called _theory_ of advocacy, which we will state in
the words of Bishop Warburton. In his _Divine Legation_, vol. i. p. 397,
he says, speaking of Cicero--"As an orator, he was an advocate for his
client, or, more properly, _personated him_. Here, then, without question,
he was to feign and dissimulate his own opinions, and speak those of his
client. And though some of those who call themselves casuists, have held
it unlawful for an advocate to defend what he thinks an ill cause, yet I
apprehend it to be the natural right of every member of society, whether
accusing or accused, to speak freely and fully for himself. And if, either
by a legal or natural incapacity, this cannot be done _in person_, to have
a _proxy_ provided or allowed by the state to do for him what he cannot or
may not do for himself. I apprehend that all states have done it, and that
every advocate is such a proxy."

This explanation goes far. Of a certainty, every man has a right to
approach a court of justice with such plea, or such demand, as the law
gives him. For his ultimate aims, for his moral purposes in so doing, he
alone is responsible. We do not desire the barrister so to prejudge the
cause of the litigant as to decide whether or not he ought, as a moral
man, to carry it into a court of justice. Let his plea, or his demand, be
laid before the tribunal of his country, and as he cannot, in the
complicated state of our jurisprudence, do this for himself, it is right
and equitable that there should be professional men whose function it is
to do this for him. But it follows not that the professional man is to
pledge his own personal convictions in every case he undertakes. _Let him
speak in the name of his client_, let him limit himself to the office of
interpreter, where his own convictions do not allow him to be the zealous
advocate. The state ought to give to every man free access to a court of
justice, and to all the armoury of the law; how he uses the weapons he
finds there, he must account to God and his own conscience, and the moral
judgment of society; but the state is not to give to every rogue the
benefit of the apparent convictions in his favour, of a learned and
honorable gentleman. If the barrister speaks, and is understood to speak,
as from his client, and not from his own conviction, the indiscriminate
advocacy of causes which the administration of justice requires, is
reconcilable with the manifest claims of morality. But not otherwise. To
lend out the zeal of truth to varnish every cause, is what no system of
jurisprudence demands, and what no system of ethics can tolerate. Yet this
is what is done.

If a conveyancer is instructed to draw a will which appears to him
unjust, he must feel some pain in so doing; but it is not a pain of
conscience, for it is not his office to compel people to make equitable
wills. It is an office which, at the distance he stands from the parties,
and with his limited knowledge of their character and mutual
relationships, he could not possibly undertake; he would be a mere
disturber of the peace of society if he attempted to regulate the morality
of all the conveyances and testaments that he drew. It would indeed be a
doctrine destructive of all order, and of the very machinery of society,
that would, as a general rule, impose upon men of profession, or of trade,
the responsibilities which lie, in the first instance, upon the
consciences of their clients. A man could not sell a piece of whipcord
from his shop, without having an assurance from the customer that he was
not buying it to strangle his wife withal. The conveyancer, therefore,
quietly pursues his instructions, and draws the will. In the like manner,
if a barrister is instructed to plead the statute of limitations to a
debt, it is no concern of his if the client is not acting in a
conscientious manner in taking advantage of the statute. The law gives him
this plea, and it is not for the jurist to debar him the use of it. He
presents it, therefore, to the court. But if, not content with pleading
the statute of limitations for a client who employs the law to escape from
a moral obligation, he labours to convince the jury that, in availing
himself of this plea, his client is acting in a very honourable, or at
least in no blamable manner; if, by an artful colouring of the facts, or
by insinuations against other parties, he contrives to lead the culprit in
triumph through the court, then we say that a baseness is committed by the
advocate, for which there is no excuse, in the constitution of courts of
justice, nor in the subtleties of casuistry.

Those who have expatiated on the duty of the barrister to _do all_ for his
client, be that client whom he may, have generally taken care to place
before us the cases of political prosecution, where the advocate appears
to act a brave and generous part in opposing the government and the legal
officers of the crown. By dexterously keeping the small cases in view
while they were enlarging on the broad principle of indiscriminate
advocacy, they have often contrived to give to this principle itself an
air of generosity; as if the barrister were performing a noble
self-sacrifice, were devoting himself in a quite heroic manner, by giving
himself, head and heart, voice and intelligence, to the first distressed
applicant for his aid. It is only by referring to the political nature of
the occasion on which it was delivered, that we can account for the
following splendid exaggeration of Lord Brougham's upon this subject:--

"An advocate, by the sacred duty which he owes his client, knows, in the
discharge of that office, but one person in the world, that client and
none other. To save that client by all expedient means--to protect that
client at all hazards and costs to all others, and among others to
himself--is the highest and most unquestioned of his duties; and he must
not regard the alarm, the suffering, the torment, the destruction, which
he may bring upon any other. Nay, separating even the duties of a patriot
from those of an advocate, and casting them, if need be, to the wind, he
must go on, reckless of the consequences, if his fate it should unhappily
be to involve his country in confusion for his client's protection."

This piece of eloquent absurdity was delivered on the trial of Queen
Caroline, and the speaker was playing the advocate at the time he
delivered it. But Lord Brougham would not surely speak or write in the
same strain upon other and more ordinary occasions--if, for instance, the
client, for whom the country was to be involved in confusion, was a
railway company![15]

Every man has something to be said for him in the way of defence or
palliation; we have no objection to every man having his advocate in
Westminster Hall; but we are persuaded that public opinion is far too
indulgent to this "glorious and noble" profession, when it permits its
members, speaking as from their own conviction, to sport with truth to any
extent that may be serviceable to their clients. A more temperate zeal,
which should not overstep what the interest of justice demands, would
indeed be less munificently rewarded; but, in every other respect, it
would be a clear gain both to the cause of public morality and the
administration of the laws.

But that which, perhaps, more frequently calls up a feeling of pain and
humiliation in the barrister, is that for which he is not at all
responsible; namely, the nature of those _legal_ weapons the employment of
which his client has a right to demand of him. The rules of _pleading_ and
of _evidence_ have been lately much simplified and improved, and they
will, year after year, be still further improved; but they still furnish
the willing or the unwilling advocate with abundant obstructions to the
fair investigation of truth. Speaking of pleading, Mr Warren has very
truly said, in a passage we have already quoted--"It is continually a
matter of serious difficulty to refer a particular combination of facts to
their appropriate legal category; and, if the wrong one should be
selected, substantial justice is sacrificed before arbitrary legal
technicality." A glance at these "legal categories" will fully bear out
the statement which our author has here so temperately made. Let us open
the justly lauded book of Mr Stephen, "On the Principles of Pleading"--a
work which every man, lawyer or not, who receives a gratification from
clear and logical statements, may take pleasure in perusing. We extract
the following account of _personal actions_:--

"Of personal actions, the most common are the following--Debt, covenant,
detinue, trespass, trespass on the case, replevin.

"The action of _debt_ lies where a party claims the recovery of a debt,
_i. e._ a liquidated or certain sum of money alleged to be due to him.

"The action of _covenant_ lies where a party claims damages for a breach
of covenant, _i. e. of a promise under seal_.

"The action of _detinue_ lies where the party claims the specific recovery
of goods and chattels, or deeds and writings detained from him.

"The action of _trespass_ lies where a party claims damages for a trespass
against him. A trespass is an injury _committed with violence_."

Having described these, the author comes to one which requires to have its
history told before it can be rendered intelligible. This is still not
unfrequently the case in our law; instead of a definition founded on the
nature of things, and growing out of the science itself of jurisprudence,
we are presented with a narrative to tell us how the matter came about.

"The action of _trespass on the case_ lies where a party sues for damages
for any wrong or cause of complaint to which covenant or trespass will not
apply. This action originated in the power given by the statute of
Westminster 2, to the clerks of the chancery to frame new writs _in
consimili casu_ with writs already known.... Such being the nature of the
action, it comprises, of course, many different species. There are two,
however, of more frequent use than any other species of trespass on the
case, or, perhaps than any other form of action whatever. These are
Assumpsit and Trover.

"The action of _assumpsit_ lies where a party claims damages for breach of
simple contract, _i. e. a promise not under seal_."

The action of _trover_ differs from _detinue_ inasmuch as the party claims
_damages_, not the recovery of the identical goods and chattels. With the
action of _replevin_ we will not trouble our readers, to whom we ought,
perhaps, to apologise for entering thus far into legal technicalities.

But now, reflect a moment on this classification. A promise under seal
must assuredly require a different proof from a promise not under seal;
but what end is answered by calling one an action of _covenant_ and the
other an action of _assumpsit_? Or what good result can arise from
limiting the definition of _debt_ to the claim of a sum certain? Who sees
not what a snare may be here laid for the feet of unwary suitors? The
names of _trover_, _detinue_, _trespass_, give no information to the
defendant; the substantial cause of action is stated in the declaration,
and these names are mere useless additions. Yet the right name must be
chosen, or it is fatal to the suit. If _trespass_ be adopted instead of
_trespass on the case_, the error is fatal; and yet mark how lucid, how
intelligible, how satisfactory is the classification designated by these
terms of art.

Trespass is the proper form of action when the injury has been committed
_with violence_ This looks sufficiently distinct. But then the violence
may be either _actual_ or _implied_; and the law will imply violence
wherever the injury is _direct_, and the property injured of a _tangible_
nature. In the most stealthy, peaceable entrance upon another man's land,
the law implies violence. What, therefore, may or may not be said, in the
usual phrase, to be done _vi et armis_, remains to be known, by no means
from the nature of the facts themselves, but from arbitrary decisions of
courts. To make out a class of actions as those committed with violence,
and then to imply violence where in reality there is none, is first to
make and then unmake the distinction. And yet, as some distinction is, for
the embarrassment of suitors, to be retained, this implication of violence
is restricted to cases where the injury is _direct_ and not
_consequential_; and what shall be denominated a direct and what a
consequential injury, is again a matter of no small difficulty. Moreover,
in order to sustain trespass, the property injured must be of a
_corporeal_ nature. It would be a sad solecism in the eye of the law to
allow a man to bring trespass on account of his _tithes_--this being,
according to definition, an _incorporeal_ property, and from its nature,
therefore, not subject to violence.

This barbarous nomenclature of actions might be swept away at once with
considerable advantage. If the plaintiff "complaining" of the defendant,
proceeded at once to a brief statement of his cause of action, this would
answer all the purposes of pleading. It was said by the commissioners in
the third report on the common law, that an abolition of these
distinctions would entail "much uncertainty on the right of action." With
utmost deference to the commissioners, this is a very strange assertion.
These categories are known only to the lawyers; and surely a student of
the law cannot be at a loss to distinguish the substantial ground of
action from a mere formulary of pleading. A layman may often imagine he
has a right of action where he has none. Did the commissioners mean
gravely to assert that these categories, of which he knows nothing--or
whether he knows them or not--could enlighten him as to the redress he is
entitled to in a court of justice?

It is, however, in the inexhaustible armoury of quibble and objection
which the law of _evidence_ supplies him with that the generous advocate
must feel the greatest amount of embarrassment and repugnance. It is his
office to stand at the door of testimony, and thrust back every witness,
and reject every document, he can, upon pleas which, whatever their
original ground or design, he very well knows do not impeach the real
value of the evidence rejected. But into this topic we must not enter. It
is not our present object to write upon the reform of the laws. The
subject would lead us much too far.

One general remark only we will venture to make. Neither in nor out of the
profession must men yet be impatient with the frequent changes that our
laws undergo. Though, in common with our author, we estimate highly a
settled state of things, and have to deprecate the rashness of some too
hasty legislators, we cannot yet "lay aside the knife." They are very
inconvenient these partial changes, but there is no other mode of
proceeding. Whilst we are living in the very city which we have to
improve, and in great part to rebuild, what else can we do but pull down
here and there a street at a time, and reconstruct it on a better plan? It
is miserable work this pulling down. One is blinded by dust--one loses
one's way; all seems ruin and confusion. But the new street rises--the
rubbish is removed--the dust is laid; one finds one's way again, and finds
it twice as short as before. It is only by successive changes of this kind
that the great city of our jurisprudence can be adapted to the wants of
its multiplied and changed inhabitants.

We ought perhaps to mention, that Mr Warren has been discreetly silent on
some of the topics to which we have ventured to allude. He has very wisely
avoided all questions of casuistry; and we trust that, in our glances on
the moral position of the bar, we shall not be thought to have manifested
any want of respect for a learned body, the members of which, in their
individual character, stand as high in our estimation as those of any body
whatever, and which, as a whole, presents a greater array of talent than
in any other denomination of men could be met with. We revert once more to
Mr Warren's very useful, able, and praiseworthy publication to wish him
success, not only in this undertaking, which may be already said to be
crowned with success, but in the still greater and more laborious
enterprise which he has on foot, and which this specimen of his legal
authorship shows him fully competent to achieve.



MARGARET OF VALOIS.


On the eighteenth day of August 1572, a great festival was held in the
palace of the Louvre. It was to celebrate the nuptials of Henry of Navarre
and Margaret of Valois.

This alliance between the chief of the Protestant party in France, and the
sister of Charles IX. and daughter of Catharine of Medicis, perplexed, and
in some degree alarmed, the Catholics, whilst it filled the Huguenots with
joy and exultation. The king had declared that he knew and made no
difference between Romanist and Calvinist--that all were alike his
subjects, and equally beloved by him. He caressed the throng of Huguenot
nobles and gentlemen whom the marriage had attracted to the court, was
affectionate to his new brother-in-law, friendly with the prince of Condé,
almost respectful to the venerable Admiral de Coligny, to whom he proposed
to confide the command of an army in a projected war with Spain. The
chiefs of the Catholic party were not behind-hand in following the example
set them by Charles. Catharine of Medicis was all smiles and affability;
the Duke of Anjou, afterwards Henry III., received graciously the
compliments paid him by the Huguenots themselves on his successes at
Jarnac and Moncontour, battles which he had won before he was eighteen
years old; Henry of Guise, whose reputation as a leader already, at the
age of two-and-twenty, almost equalled that of his great father, was
courteous and friendly to those whose deadly foe he had so lately been.
The Duke of Mayenne and the Admiral, the Guise and the Condé, were seen
riding, conversing, and making parties of pleasure together. It was the
lion lying down with the lamb.

On the twenty-second of August, four days after the marriage, in which the
Huguenots saw a guarantee of the peaceful exercise of their religion, the
Admiral de Coligny was passing through the street of St Germain
l'Auxerrois, when he was shot at and wounded by a captain of _petardiers_,
one Maurevel, who went by the name of _Le Tueur du Roi_, literally, the
King's Killer. At midnight on the twenty-fourth of August, the tocsin
sounded, and the massacre of St Bartholomew began.

It is at this stirring period of French history, abounding in horrors and
bloodshed, and in plots and intrigues, both political and amorous, that M.
Alexandre Dumas commences one of his most recently published romances.
Beginning with the marriage of Henry and Margaret, he narrates, in his
spirited and attractive style, various episodes, real and imaginary, of
the great massacre, from the first fury of which, Henry himself, doomed to
death by the remorseless Catherine of Medicis, was only saved by his own
caution, by the indecision of Charles IX., and the energy of Margaret of
Valois. The marriage between the King of France's sister and the King of
Navarre, was merely one of _convenance_, agreed to by Henry for the sake
of his fellow Protestants, and used by Catherine and Charles as a lure to
bring "those of the religion," as they were called, to Paris, there to be
slaughtered unsuspecting, and defenceless. Margaret, then scarcely twenty
years of age, had already made herself talked of by her intrigues; Henry,
who was a few months younger, but who, even at that early period of his
life, possessed a large share of the shrewdness and prudence for which his
countrymen, the Béarnese, have at all times been noted, was, at the very
time of his marriage, deeply in love with the Baroness de Sauve, one of
Catharine de Medicis' ladies, by whom he was in his turn beloved. But
although little affection existed between the royal pair, the strong links
of interest and ambition bound them together; and no sooner were they
married than they entered into a treaty of political alliance, to which,
for some time, both steadily and truly adhered.

On the night of the St Bartholomew, a Huguenot gentleman, the Count Lerac
de la Mole, who has arrived that day at Paris with important letters for
the King of Navarre, seeks refuge in the apartments of the latter from the
assassins who pursue and have already wounded him. Unacquainted, however,
with the Louvre, he mistakes the door, and enters the apartment of the
Queen of Navarre, who, seized with pity, and struck also by the youth and
elegance of the fugitive, gives him shelter, and herself dresses his
wounds, employing in his behalf the surgical skill which she has acquired
from the celebrated Ambrose Paré, whose pupil she had been. One of the
most furious of La Mole's pursuers is a Piedmontese gentleman, Count
Hannibal de Coconnas, who has also arrived that day in the capital, and
put up at the same hotel as La Mole. When the latter is rescued by
Margaret, Coconnas wanders through Paris, killing all the Huguenots he can
find--such, at least, as will defend themselves. In a lonely part of the
town he is overpowered by numbers, and is rescued from imminent peril by
the Duke of Guise's sister-in-law, the Duchess of Nevers, that
golden-haired, emerald-eyed dame, of whom Ronsard sang--

  "La Duchesse de Nevers
      Aux yeux verts,
  Qui sous leur paupière blonde,
  Lancent sur nous plus d'éclairs
  Que ne font vingt Jupiters
      Dans les airs
  Lorsque la tempête gronde."

To cut the story short, La Mole falls violently in love with Margaret,
Coconnas does the same with the duchess; and these four personages play
important parts in the ensuing narrative, which extends over a space of
nearly two years, and into which the author, according to his custom,
introduces a vast array of characters, for the most part historical, all
spiritedly drawn and well sustained. M. Dumas may, in various respects, be
held up as an example to our history spoilers, self-styled writers of
historical romance, on this side the Channel. One does not find him
profaning public edifices by causing all sorts of absurdities to pass, and
of twaddle to be spoken, within their precincts; neither does he make his
kings and beggars, high-born dames and private soldiers, use the very same
language, all equally tame, colourless, and devoid of character. The
spirited and varied dialogue in which his romances abound, illustrates and
brings out the qualities and characteristics of his actors, and is not
used for the sole purpose of making a chapter out of what would be better
told in a page. In many instances, indeed, it would be difficult for him
to tell his story, by the barest narrative, in fewer words than he does by
pithy and pointed dialogue.

As the sole means of placing his life in comparative safety, Henry abjures
the Protestant faith, and remains in a sort of honourable captivity at the
court of France, suspected by Charles and detested by Catharine, to whom
Réné the Florentine, her astrologer and poisoner, has predicted that the
now powerless prince of Navarre shall one day reign over France. Some days
have passed, the massacres have nearly ceased, and the body of Admiral de
Coligny, discovered amongst a heap of slain, has been suspended to the
gibbet at Montfaucon. Charles IX., always greedy of spectacles of blood,
proposes to pay a visit to the corpse of his dead enemy, whom had called
his father, and affectionately embraced, upon their last meeting previous
to the attempted assassination of the admiral by Maurevel, an attempt
instigated by Charles himself. We will give the account of this visit in
the words of M. Dumas.

It was two in the afternoon, when a long train of cavaliers and ladies,
glittering with gold and jewels, appeared in the Rue St Denis, displaying
itself in the sun between the sombre lines of houses, like some huge
reptile with sparkling scales. Nothing that exists at the present day can
give an adequate idea of the splendour of this spectacle. The rich silken
costumes, of the most brilliant colours, which were in vogue during the
reign of Francis I., had not yet been replaced by the dark and graceless
attire that became the fashion in Henry III.'s time. The costume of the
reign of Charles IX. was perhaps less rich, but more elegant than that of
the preceding epoch.

In the rear, and on either side of this magnificent procession, came the
pages, esquires, gentlemen of low degree, dogs and horses, giving the
royal train the appearance of a small army. The cavalcade was followed by
a vast number of the populace.

That morning, in presence of Catharine and the Duke of Guise, and of Henry
of Navarre, Charles the Ninth had spoken, as if it were quite a natural
thing, of going to visit the gibbet at Montfaucon, or, in other words, the
mutilated body of the admiral, which was suspended from it. Henry's first
impulse had been to make an excuse for not joining the party. Catharine
was looking out for this, and at the very first word that he uttered
expressive of his repugnance, she exchanged a glance and a smile with the
Duke of Guise. Henry, whom nothing escaped, caught both smile and glance,
underwent them, and hastened to correct his blunder.

"After all," said he, "why should I not go? I am a Catholic, and owe as
much to my new religion." Then addressing himself to the king:--"Your
majesty may reckon upon me," said he; "I shall always be happy to
accompany you wherever you go."

In the whole procession, no one attracted so much curiosity and attention
as this king without a kingdom, this Huguenot who had become Catholic. His
long and strongly marked features, his somewhat common _tournure_, his
familiarity with his inferiors--a familiarity which was to be attributed
to the habits of his youth, and which he carried almost too far for a
king--caused him to be at once recognised by the spectators, some of whom
called out to him--"To mass, Henriot, to mass!"

To which Henry replied.

"I was there yesterday, I have been there to-day, I shall go again
to-morrow. _Ventre-saint-gris!_ I think that is enough."

As for Margaret, she was on horseback--so beautiful, so fresh and elegant,
that there was a perfect chorus of admiration around her, some few notes
of which, however, were addressed to her companion and intimate friend,
the Duchess of Nevers, who had just joined her, and whose snow-white
steed, as if proud of its lovely burden, tossed its head, and neighed
exultingly.

"Well, duchess," said the Queen of Navarre, "have you anything new to tell
me?"

"Nothing, madam, I believe," replied Henriette. Then, in a lower tone, she
added--"And the Huguenot, what is become of him?"

"He is in safety," replied Margaret. "And your Piedmontese hero? Where is
he?"

"He insisted upon being one of the party, and is riding M. de Nevers'
charger, a horse as big as an elephant. He is a superb cavalier. I allowed
him to come, because I thought that your Huguenot protégé would be still
confined to his room, and that consequently there could be no risk of
their meeting."

"_Ma foi!_" replied Margaret, smiling, "if he were here, I do not think
there would be much danger of a single combat. The Huguenot is very
handsome, but nothing else--a dove, and not an eagle; he may coo, but he
will not bite. After all," added she, with a slight elevation of her
shoulders, "we perhaps take him for a Huguenot, whilst he is only a
Brahmin, and his religion may forbid his shedding blood. But see there,
duchess--there is one of your gentlemen, who will assuredly be ridden
over."

"Ah! it is my hero," cried the duchess; "look, look!"

It was Coconnas, who had left his place in the procession in order to get
nearer to the Duchess of Nevers; but, at the very moment that he was
crossing the sort of boulevard separating the street of St Denis from the
faubourg of the same name, a cavalier belonging to the suite of the Duke
of Alençon, who had just come up, was run away with by his horse; and,
being unable immediately to check the animal, came full tilt against
Coconnas. The Piedmontese reeled in his saddle, and his hat fell off. He
caught it in his hand, and turned furiously upon the person by whom he had
been so rudely, although accidentally, assailed.

"Good heavens!" said Margaret, in a whisper to her friend, "it is Monsieur
de la Mole!"

"That pale, handsome young man?" cried the duchess.

"Yes; he who so nearly upset your Piedmontese."

"Oh!" exclaimed the duchess, "something terrible will happen! They
recognise each other."

They had done so. Coconnas dropped the bridle of his horse in surprise at
meeting with his former acquaintance, whom he fully believed he had
killed, or at any rate disabled for a long time to come. As to La Mole,
when he recognised Coconnas, a flush of anger overspread his pallid
countenance. For a few seconds, the two men remained gazing at each other
with looks which made Margaret and the duchess tremble. Then La Mole,
glancing around him, and understanding, doubtless, that the place was not
a fit one for an explanation, spurred his horse, and rejoined the Duke of
Alençon. Coconnas remained for a moment stationary, twisting his mustache
till he brought the corner of it nearly into his eye, and then moved
onwards.

"Ha!" exclaimed Margaret, with mingled scorn and vexation; "I was not
mistaken then. Oh, this time it is too bad!" And she bit her lips in
anger.

"He is very handsome," said the duchess, in a tone of commiseration.

Just at this moment the Duke of Alençon took his place behind the king and
the queen-mother; so that his gentlemen, in order to follow him, had to
pass Margaret and the Duchess of Nevers. As La Mole went by, he removed
his hat, bowed low to the queen, and remained bareheaded, waiting till her
majesty should honour him with a look. But Margaret turned her head
proudly away. La Mole doubtless understood the scornful expression of her
features; his pale face became livid, and he grasped his horse's mane as
if to save himself from falling.

"Look at him, cruel that you are," said Henriette to the Queen; "he is
going to faint."

"Good," said Margaret, with a smile of immense contempt. "Have you no
salts to offer him?"

Madame de Nevers was mistaken. La Mole recovered himself, and took his
place behind the Duke of Alençon.

The royal party continued to advance, and presently came in sight of the
gallows at Montfaucon. The King and Catharine of Medicis were followed by
the Dukes of Anjou and Alençon, the King of Navarre, the Duke of Guise,
and their gentlemen; then came Margaret, the Duchess of Nevers, and the
ladies, composing what was called the Queen's flying squadron; finally,
the pages, esquires, lackeys, and the people--in all, ten thousand souls.
The guards, who marched in front, placed themselves in a large circle
round the enclosure in which stood the gibbet; and on their approach, the
ravens that had perched upon the instrument of death flew away with hoarse
and dismal croakings. To the principal gallows was hanging a shapeless
mass, a blackened corpse, covered with mud and coagulated blood. It was
suspended by the feet, for the head was wanting. In place of the latter,
the ingenuity of the people had substituted a bundle of straw, with a mask
fixed upon it; and in the mouth of the mask some scoffer, acquainted with
the admiral's habits, had placed a toothpick.

It was a sad and strange sight to behold all these elegant cavaliers and
beautiful women passing, like one of the processions which Goya has
painted, under the blackened skeletons and tall grim gibbets. The greater
the mirth of the visitors, the more striking was the contrast with the
mournful silence and cold insensibility of the corpses which were its
object. Many of the party supported with difficulty this horrible
spectacle; and Henry of Navarre especially, in spite of his powers of
dissimulation and habitual command over himself, was at last unable to
bear it longer. He took, as a pretext, the stench emitted by these human
remains; and approaching Charles, who, with Catharine of Medicis, had
paused before the body of the admiral--

"Sire," said he, "does not your Majesty find that the smell of this poor
corpse is too noxious to be longer endured?"

"Ha! think you so, Harry?" cried Charles, whose eyes were sparkling with a
ferocious joy.

"Yes, sire."

"Then I am not of your opinion. _The body of a dead enemy always smells
well._"

"By my faith! sire," said Monsieur de Tavannes, "your Majesty should have
invited Pierre Ronsard to accompany us on this little visit to the
admiral; he would have made an impromptu epitaph on old Gaspard."

"That will I make," said Charles. And after a moments reflection, "Listen,
gentlemen," said he--

  "Ci-gît, mais c'est mal entendu,
  Pour lui le mot est trop honnête,
  Ici l'amiral est pendu,
  Par les pieds, à faute de tête."

"Bravo! bravo!" cried the Catholic gentlemen with one voice, whilst the
converted Huguenots there present maintained a gloomy silence. As to
Henry, he was talking to Margaret and the Duchess of Nevers, and pretended
not to hear.

"Come, sir," said Catharine, who, in spite of the perfumes with which she
was covered, began to have enough of this tainted atmosphere--"Come, sir,"
said she to the king, "the best of friends must part. Let us bid adieu to
the admiral, and return to Paris."

And bowing her head ironically to the corpse by way of a farewell, she
turned her horse and regained the road, whilst her suite filed past the
body of Coligny. The crowd followed the cavalcade, and ten minutes after
the king's departure, no one remained near the mutilated body of the
admiral.

When we say no one, we make a mistake. A gentleman, mounted on a black
horse, and who, probably, during the stay of the king, had been unable to
contemplate the disfigured corpse sufficiently at his ease, lingered
behind, and was amusing himself by examining, in all their details, the
chains, irons, stone pillars, in short, the whole paraphernalia of the
gibbet, which, no doubt, appeared to him, who had been but a few days at
Paris, and was not aware of the perfection to which all things are brought
in the metropolis, a paragon of hideous ingenuity. This person was our
friend Coconnas. A woman's quick eye had in vain sought him through the
ranks of the cavalcade. Monsieur de Coconnas remained in admiration before
the masterpiece of Enguerrand de Marigny.

But the woman in question was not the only person who sought Coconnas. A
cavalier, remarkable for his white satin doublet, and the elegance of his
plume, after looking before him, and on either side, had at last looked
back and perceived the tall form of the Piedmontese, and the gigantic
profile of his horse, sharply defined against the evening sky, now
reddened by the last rays of the setting sun. Then the gentleman in the
white satin doublet left the road which the cavalcade was following,
struck into a side path, and describing a curve, returned towards the
gibbet. He had scarcely done this, when the Duchess of Nevers approached
the Queen of Navarre, and said--

"We were mistaken, Margaret, for the Piedmontese has remained behind, and
Monsieur de la Mole has followed him."

"_Mordi!_" cried Margaret laughing, "is it so? I confess that I shall not
be sorry to have to alter my opinion."

She then looked round, and saw La Mole returning towards the gallows.

It was now the turn of the two princesses to quit the cavalcade. The
moment was favourable for so doing, for they were just crossing a road
bordered by high hedges, by following which they would get to within
thirty paces of the gibbet. Madame de Nevers said a word to the captain of
her guards, Margaret made a sign to Gillonne, her tirewoman and confidant;
and these four persons took the cross road, and hastened to place
themselves in ambuscade behind some bushes near the spot they were
desirous of observing. There they dismounted, and the captain held the
horses, whilst the three ladies found a pleasant seat upon the close fresh
turf, with which the place was overgrown. An opening in the bushes enabled
them to observe the smallest details of what was passing.

La Mole had completed his circuit, and, walking up behind Coconnas, he
stretched out his hand and touched him on the shoulder. The Piedmontese
turned his head.

"Oh!" said he, "it was no dream then. You are still alive?"

"Yes, sir," replied La Mole, "I am still alive. It is not your fault, but
such is the case."

"_Mordieu!_ I recognise you perfectly," said Coconnas, "in spite of your
pale cheeks. You were redder than that the last time I saw you."

"And I recognise you also," said La Mole, "in spite of that yellow cut
across your face. You were paler than you are now when I gave it to you."

Coconnas bit his lips, but continued in the same ironical tone.

"It is curious, is it not, Monsieur de la Mole, particularly for a
Huguenot, to see the admiral hung up to that iron hook?"

"Count," said La Mole with a bow, "I am no longer a Huguenot, I have the
honour to be a Catholic."

"Bah!" cried Coconnas, bursting into a laugh, "You are converted? How very
sly of you!"

"Sir," replied La Mole, with the same serious politeness, "I made a vow to
become a Catholic if I escaped the massacre."

"It was a very prudent vow," returned the Piedmontese, "and I congratulate
you on it; is it the only one you made?"

"No, sir, I made one other," replied La Mole, patting his horse with his
usual deliberate grace.

"And it was----" enquired Coconnas.

"To hang you up yonder, to that little hook which seems to be waiting for
you, just below Monsieur de Coligny."

"What!" cried Coconnas, "all alive, just as I am?"

"No, sir; after passing my sword through your body."

Coconnas became purple, and his grey eye flashed fire.

"Really," said he, with a sneer; "to yonder rail? You are not quite tall
enough for that, my little gentleman."

"Then I will get upon your horse," replied La Mole. "Ah! you think, my
dear M. Hannibal de Coconnas, that you may assassinate people with
impunity under the loyal and honourable pretext of being a hundred to one.
Not so. A day comes when every man finds his man, and for you that day is
come now. I am almost tempted to break your ugly head with a pistol shot;
but pshaw! I should perhaps miss you, for my hand still shakes with the
wounds you so treacherously gave me.

"My ugly head!" roared Coconnas, throwing himself off his horse. "On foot!
Monsieur le Compte--out with your blade!" And he drew his sword.

"I think your Huguenot called him ugly," whispered the Duchess of Nevers
to Margaret. "Do you find him so?"

"He is charming," cried Margaret laughing, "and Monsieur de la Mole's
anger renders him unjust. But hush! let us observe them."

La Mole got off his horse with as much deliberation as Coconnas had shown
haste, drew his sword, and put himself on guard.

"Ah!" cried he, as he extended his arm.

"Oh!" exclaimed Coconnas, as he stretched out his.

Both, it will be remembered, were wounded in the shoulder, and a sudden
movement still caused them acute suffering. A stifled laugh was audible
from behind the trees. The princesses had been unable to restrain it when
they saw the two champions rubbing their shoulders and grimacing with
pain. The laughed reached the ears of La Mole and Coconnas, who had been
hitherto unaware of the presence of witnesses, but who now, on looking
round, perceived the ladies. La Mole again put himself on guard, steady as
an automaton, and Coconnas, as their swords crossed, uttered an energetic
_Mordieu!_

"_Ah ça!_" exclaimed Margaret, "they are in earnest, and will kill one
another if we do not prevent it. This is going too far. Stop, gentlemen, I
entreat you."

"Let them go on," said Henriette, who, having already seen Coconnas make
head successfully against three antagonists at once, trusted that he would
have at least as easy a bargain of La Mole.

At the first clash of the steel, the combatants became silent. They were
neither of them confident in their strength, and, at each pass or parry,
their imperfectly healed wounds caused them sharp pain. Nevertheless, with
fixed and ardent eye, his lips slightly parted, his teeth firmly-set, La
Mole advanced with short steady steps upon his adversary; who, perceiving
that he had to do with a master of fence, retreated--gradually, it is
true, but still retreated. In this manner they reached the edge of the
moat, or dry ditch, on the other side of which the spectators had
stationed themselves. There, as if he had only retired with the view of
getting nearer to the duchess, Coconnas stopped, and made a rapid thrust.
At the same instant a sanguine spot, which grew each second larger,
appeared upon the white satin of La Mole's doublet.

"Courage!" cried the Duchess of Nevers.

"Poor La Mole!" exclaimed Margaret, with a cry of sorrow.

La Mole heard the exclamation, threw one expressive glance to the queen,
and making a skilful feint, followed it up by a pass of lightning
swiftness. This time both the women shrieked. The point of La Mole's
rapier had appeared, crimson with blood, behind the back of Coconnas.

Neither of the combatants fell; they remained on their feet, staring at
each other, each of them feeling that at the first movement he made he
should lose his balance. At last the Piedmontese, more dangerously wounded
than his antagonist, and feeling that his strength was ebbing away with
his blood, threw himself forward upon La Mole, and seized hill with one
arm, whilst with the other hand he felt for his dagger. La Mole mustered
all his remaining strength, raised his hand, and struck Coconnas on the
forehead with his sword-hilt. Coconnas fell, but in falling he dragged his
adversary after him, and both rolled into the ditch. Then Margaret and the
Duchess of Nevers, seeing that although, apparently dying, they still
sought to finish each other, sprang forward, preceded by the captain of
the guards. But before they reached the wounded men, the eyes of the
latter closed, their grasp was loosened, and, letting fall their weapons,
they stretched themselves out stiff and convulsed. A pool of blood had
already formed itself around them.

"Oh! brave, brave La Mole!" exclaimed Margaret, unable to repress her
admiration. "How can I forgive myself for having suspected you?" And her
eyes filled with tears.

"Alas! alas!" cried the duchess, sobbing violently. "Say, madam, did you
ever see such intrepid champions?"

"_Tudieu!_--What hard knocks!" exclaimed the captain, trying to stanch the
blood that flowed from the wounds. "Hola! you who are coming, come more
quickly."

A man, seated on the front of a sort of cart painted of a red colour, was
seen slowly approaching.

"Hola!" repeated the captain, "will you come, then, when you are called?
Do you not see that these gentlemen are in want of assistance?"

The man in the cart, whose appearance was in the highest degree coarse and
repulsive, stopped his horse, got down, and stepped over the two bodies.

"These are pretty wounds," said he, "but I make better ones."

"Who, then, are you?" said Margaret, experiencing, in spite of herself, a
vague and unconquerable sensation of terror.

"Madam," replied the man, bowing to the ground, "I an Maître Caboche,
executioner of the city of Paris; and I am come to suspend to this gibbet
some companions for the admiral."

"And I am the Queen of Navarre; throw out your dead bodies, place our
horses' clothes in your cart, and bring these two gentlemen carefully to
the Louvre."

La Mole recovers from his wounds before Coconnas is out of danger. The
latter is, in great measure, restored to health through the care and
attention which his late antagonist generously lavishes on him; they
become intimate friends, and Coconnas is appointed to the household of the
Duke of Alençon, to which La Mole already belongs. The duke, out of
opposition to his brothers, the king and the Duke of Anjou, has a leaning
towards the Huguenot party. De Mouy, a Protestant leader, whose father has
been assassinated by Maurevel, comes in disguise to the Louvre, to
communicate with Henry of Navarre, in the sincerity of whose conversion
the Huguenots do not believe. Henry, however, who knows that the walls of
the Louvre have ears, refuses to listen to De Mouy, and declares himself
Catholic to the backbone; and De Mouy, despairing and indignant, leaves
the king's apartment. The Duke of Alençon, who has overheard their
conference, as Henry suspected, stops the Huguenot emissary, and shows a
disposition to put himself at the head of that party and become King of
Navarre. There is a great deal of intrigue and manoeuvring, very
skilfully managed by Henry, who makes D'Alençon believe that he has no
wish to become any thing more than a simple country-gentleman, and that he
is willing to aid him in his ambitious designs. He proposes that they
should watch for an opportunity of leaving Paris and repairing to Navarre.
Before the negotiations between the two princes are completed, however,
the Duke of Anjou has been elected King of Poland, and has had his
election ratified by the Pope; and D'Alençon then begins to think that it
would be advisable to remain at Paris on the chance of himself becoming
King of France. Charles IX. is delicate and sickly, subject to tremendous
outbursts of passion which leave him weak and exhausted; his life is not
likely to be a long one. Should he die, and even if the Poles should allow
their new king to return to France, D'Alençon would have time, he thinks,
before the arrival of the latter, to seize upon the vacant throne. Even
the reversion of the crown of Poland would perhaps be preferable to the
possession of that of Navarre. Whilst ruminating these plans, one of the
king's frequent hunting parties takes place in the forest of Bondy, and is
attended by all the royal family except the Duke of Anjou, then absent at
the siege of La Rochelle. At this hunting party the following striking
incidents occur.

The _piqueur_ who had told the king that the boar was still in the
enclosure, had spoken the truth. Hardly was the bloodhound put upon the
scent, when he plunged into a thicket, and drove the animal, an enormous
one of its kind, from its retreat in a cluster of thorn-bushes. The boar
made straight across the road, at about fifty paces from the king. The
leashes of a score of dogs were immediately slipped, and the eager hounds
rushed headlong in pursuit.

The chase was Charles's strongest passion. Scarcely had the boar crossed
the road, when he spurred after him, sounding the view upon his horn, and
followed by the Duke of Alençon, and by Henry of Navarre. All the other
chasseurs followed.

The royal forests, at the period referred to, were not, as at present,
extensive parks intersected by carriage roads. Kings had not yet had the
happy idea of becoming timber-merchants, and of dividing their woods into
_tailles_ and _futaies_. The trees, planted, not by scientific foresters
but by the hand of God, who let the seed fall where the wind chose to bear
it, were not arranged in quincunxes, but sprang up without order, and as
they now do in the virgin forests of America. Consequently a forest at
that period was a place in which boars and stags, wolves and robbers, were
to be found in abundance.

The wood of Bondy was surrounded by a circular road, like the tire of a
wheel and crossed by a dozen paths which might be called the spokes. To
complete the comparison, the axle, was represented by _carrefour_, or open
space, in the centre of the wood, whence all these paths diverged, and
whither any of the sportsmen who might be thrown out were in the habit of
repairing, till some sight or sound of the chase enabled them to rejoin
it.

At the end of a quarter of an hour, it happened, as it usually did at
these hunts, that insurmountable obstacles had opposed themselves to the
progress of the hunters, the baying of the hounds had become inaudible in
the distance, and the king himself had returned to the _carrefour_,
swearing and cursing according to his custom.

"Well, D'Alençon! Well, Henriot!" cried he--"here you are, _mordieu!_ as
calm and quiet as nuns following their abbess. That is not hunting. You,
D'Alençon--you look as if you had just come out of a band-box; and you are
so perfumed, that if you got between the boar and my dogs, you would make
them lose the scent. And you, Henriot--where is your boar-spear? Where
your arquebuss?"

"Sire," replied Henry, "an arquebuss would be useless to me. I know that
your majesty likes to shoot the boar himself when it is brought to bay. As
to the spear, I handle it very clumsily. We are not used to it in our
mountains, where we hunt the bear with nothing but a dagger."

"By the _mordieu_, Henry, when you return to your Pyrenees you shall send
me a cart-load of bears. It must be noble sport to contend with an animal
that can stifle you with a hug. But hark! I hear the dogs! No, I was
mistaken."

The king put his horn to his mouth and sounded fanfare. Several horns
replied to him. Suddenly a _piqueur_ appeared, sounding a different call.

"The view! the view!" cried the king; and he galloped off, followed by the
other sportsmen.

The _piqueur_ was not mistaken. As the king advanced he heard the baying
of the pack, which was now composed of more than sixty dogs, fresh relays
having been slipped at different places near which the boar had passed. At
last Charles caught a second glimpse of the animal, and, profiting by the
height of the adjacent trees, which enabled him to ride beneath their
branches, he turned into the wood, sounding his horn with all his
strength. The princes followed him for some time, but the king had so
vigorous a horse, and, carried away by his eagerness, he dashed over such
steep and broken ground, and through such dense thickets, that first the
ladies, then the Duke of Guise and his gentlemen, and at last the two
princes, were forced to abandon him. All the hunters therefore, with the
exception of Charles and a few _piqueurs_, found themselves reassembled at
the _carrefour_. D'Alençon and Henry were standing near each other in a
long alley. At about a hundred paces from them the Duke of Guise had
halted, with his retinue of twenty or thirty gentlemen, who were armed, it
might have been thought, rather for the battle-field than the
hunting-ground. The ladies were in the _carrefour_ itself.

"Would it not seem," said the Duke of Alençon to Henry, glancing at the
Duke of Guise with the corner of his eye, "that yonder man with his
steel-clad escort is the true king? He does not even vouchsafe a glance to
us poor princes."

"Why should he treat us better than our own relations do?" replied Henry.
"Are we not, you and I, prisoners at the court of France, hostages for our
party?"

The Duke Francis started, and looked at Henry as if to provoke a further
explanation; but Henry had gone further than was his wont, and he remained
silent.

"What do you mean, Henry?" enquired the duke, evidently vexed that his
brother-in-law, by his taciturnity, compelled him to put the question.

"I mean, brother," answered Henry, "that those armed men who seem so
careful not to lose sight of us, have quite the appearance of guards
charged to prevent us from escaping."

"Escaping! Why? How?" cried D'Alençon, with a well-feigned air of surprise
and simplicity.

"You have a magnificent jennet there, Francis," said Henry, following up
the subject, whilst appearing to change the conversation. "I am sure he
would get over seven leagues in an hour, and twenty from now till noon. It
is a fine day for a ride. Look at that cross-road--how level and pleasant
it is! Are you not tempted, Francis? For my part, my spurs are burning my
heels."

Francis made no answer. He turned red and pale alternately, and appeared
to be straining his hearing to catch some sound of the chase.

"The news from Poland have produced their effect," said Henry to himself,
"and my good brother-in-law has a plan of his own. He would like to see me
escape, but I shall not go alone."

He had scarcely made the reflection, when several of the recently
converted Huguenots, who within the last two or three months had returned
to the court and the Romish church, came up at a canter, and saluted the
two princes with a most engaging smile. The Duke of Alençon, already urged
on by Henry's overtures, had but to utter a word or make a sign, and it
was evident that his flight would be favoured by the thirty or forty
cavaliers who had collected around him, as if to oppose themselves to the
followers of the Duke of Guise. But that word he did not utter. He turned
away his head, and, putting his horn to his mouth, sounded the rally.

Nevertheless the new-comers, as if they thought that D'Alençon's
hesitation was occasioned by the vicinity of the Guisards, had gradually
placed themselves between the latter and the two princes, arraying
themselves in _échelon_ with a sort of strategic skill, which implied a
habit of military manoeuvres. Guise and his followers would have had to
ride over them to get at the Duke of Alençon and the King of Navarre;
whilst, on the other side, a long and unobstructed road lay open before
the brothers-in-law.

Suddenly, between the trees, at ten paces from the King of Navarre, there
appeared another horseman, whom the princes had not yet seen. Henry was
trying to guess who this person was, when the gentleman raised his hat and
disclosed the features of the Viscount of Turenne, one of the chiefs of
the Protestant party, and who was supposed to be then in Poitou. The
viscount even risked a sign, which meant to say--"Are you coming?" But
Henry, after consulting the inexpressive countenance and dull eyes of the
Duke of Alençon, turned his head two or three times upon his shoulders, as
if something in the collar of his doublet inconvenienced him. It as a
reply in the negative. The viscount understood it, gave his horse the
spur, and disappeared amongst the trees. At the same moment the pack was
heard approaching; then, at the end of the alley, the boar was seen to
pass, followed at a short distance by the dogs, whilst after them came
Charles IX., like some demon-huntsman bareheaded, his horn at his mouth,
sounding as though he would burst his lungs. Three or four _piqueurs_
followed him.

"The king!" cried D'Alençon, riding off to join in the chase. Henry,
encouraged by the presence of his partizans, signed to them to remain, and
approached the ladies.

"Well," said Margaret, advancing to meet him.

"Well madam," said Henry, "we are hunting the boar."

"Is that all?"

"Yes, the wind has changed since yesterday morning. I think I predicted
that such would be the case."

"These changes of wind are bad for hunting--are they not, sir?" enquired
Margaret.

"Yes," replied her husband, "they sometimes overturn previous
arrangements, and the plan has to be remade."

At this moment the baying of the pack was again heard near the
_carrefour_. The noise and tumult rapidly approaching, warned the hunters
to be on the alert. All heads were raised, every ear as strained, when
suddenly the boar burst out of the wood, and, instead of plunging into the
opposite thicket made straight for the _carrefour_. Close to the animal's
heels were thirty or forty of the strongest amongst the dogs, and at less
than twenty paces behind these came Charles himself, without cap or cloak,
his clothes torn by the thorns, his face and hands covered with blood.
Only one or two _piqueurs_ kept up with him. Alternately sounding his horn
and shouting encouragement to the dogs, the king pressed onwards, every
thing but the chase forgotten. If his horse had failed him at that moment,
he would have exclaimed, like Richard III., "My kingdom for a horse!" But
the horse appeared as eager as his rider. His feet scarce touched the
ground, and he seemed to snort fire from his blood-red nostrils. Boar,
dogs, and king dashed by like a whirlwind.

"Hallali! hallali!" cried the king as he passed. And again he applied his
horn to his bleeding lips. A short distance behind him came the Duke of
Alençon and two more _piqueurs_. The horses of the others were blown or
distanced.

Every body now joined in the pursuit, for it was evident that the boar
would soon turn to bay. Accordingly, at the end of ten minutes, the beast
left the path and entered the wood; but on reaching a neighbouring glade,
he turned his tail to a rock and made head against the dogs. The most
interesting moment of the hunt had arrived. The animal was evidently
prepared to make a desperate defence. The dogs, fierce and foaming after
their three hours' chase, precipitated themselves upon him with a fury
which was redoubled by the shouts and oaths of the king. The hunters
arranged themselves in a circle, Charles a little in front, having behind
him the Duke of Alençon, who carried an arquebuss, and Henry of Navarre,
who was armed only with a _couteau-de-chasse_. The duke unslung his
arquebuss and lit the match; Henry loosened his hunting-knife in the
scabbard. As to the Duke of Guise, who affected to despise field-sports,
he kept himself a little apart with his gentlemen; and on the other side
another little group was formed by the ladies. All eyes were fixed in
anxious expectation upon the boar.

A little apart stood a _piqueur_, exerting all his strength to resist the
efforts of two enormous dogs, who awaited, covered with their coats of
mail, howling savagely, and struggling as though they would break their
chains, the moment when they should be let loose upon the boar. The latter
did wonders. Attacked at one time by forty dogs, that covered him like a
living wave or many-coloured carpet, and strove on all sides to tear his
wrinkled and bristling hide, he, at each blow of his formidable tusk,
tossed one of his assailants ten feet into the air. The dogs fell to the
ground ripped up, and threw themselves, with their bowels hanging out of
their wounds, once more into the _mélée_; whilst Charles, with hair on
end, inflamed eyes, and distended nostrils, bent forward over the neck of
his foaming steed and sounded a furious _hallali_. In less than ten
minutes twenty dogs were disabled.

"The mastiffs!" cried Charles; "the mastiffs!"

At the word, the _piqueur_ slipped the leashes, and the two dogs dashed
into the midst of the carnage, upsetting the smaller hounds, and with
their iron-coated sides forcing their way to the boar, whom they seized
each by an ear. The animal, feeling himself _coiffé_, as it is termed,
gnashed his teeth with pain and fury.

"Bravo, Duredent! Bravo, Risquetout!" vociferated Charles. "Courage, my
dogs! a spear! a spear!"

"Will you have my arquebuss?" said the Duke of Alençon.

"No," cried the king. "No--one does not feel the ball go in; there is no
pleasure in that. One feels the spear. A spear! a spear!"

A boar-spear made of wood hardened in the fire and tipped with iron, was
handed to the king. "Be cautious, brother!" exclaimed Margaret.

"_Sus, sus_, sire!" cried the Duchess of Nevers. "Do not miss him, sire. A
good thrust to the brute!"

"You may depend on that, duchess," replied Charles. And levelling his
spear, he charged the boar, who, being held down by the two dogs, could
not avoid the blow. Nevertheless, at the sight of the glittering point of
the weapon, the animal made a movement on one side, and the spear, instead
of piercing his breast, grazed his shoulder, and struck against the rock
in his rear.

"_Mille noms d'un diable!_" cried the king, "I have missed him. A spear!
a spear!" And backing his horse, like a knight in the lists, he pitched
away his weapon, of which the point had turned against the rock. A
_piqueur_ advanced to give him another. But at the same moment, as if he
had foreseen the fate that awaited him, and was determined to avoid it at
any cost, the boar, by a violent effort, wrenched his torn ears from the
jaws of the dogs, and with bloodshot eyes, bristling and hideous, his
respiration sounding like the bellows of a forge, and his teeth chattering
and grinding against each other, he lowered his head and made a rush at
the king's horse. Charles was too experienced a sportsman not to have
anticipated this attack, and he turned his horse quickly aside. But he had
pressed too hard upon the bit; the horse reared violently, and, either
terrified at the boar or compelled by the pull on the bridle, fell
backwards. The spectators uttered a terrible cry. The king's thigh was
under the horse.

"Slack your rein!" cried Henry, "slack your rein!"

The king relinquished his hold on the bridle, seized the saddle with his
left hand, and with his right tried to draw his hunting-knife; but the
blade, pressed upon by the weight of his body, would not leave its sheath.

"The boar! the boar!" cried Charles. "Help, D'Alençon! help!"

Nevertheless the horse, left to himself, and as if he had understood his
rider's peril, made an effort, and had already got up on three legs, when
Henry saw the Duke Francis grow deadly pale, bring his arquebuss to his
shoulder, and fire. The ball, instead of striking the boar, now but at two
paces from the king, broke the front leg of the horse, who again fell with
his nose upon the earth. At the same moment Charles's boot was torn by the
tusk of the boar.

"Oh!" murmured D'Alençon between his pallid lips, "I think that the Duke
of Anjou is King of France, and that I am King of Poland!"

It seemed indeed probable. The snout of the boar was rummaging Charles's
thigh, when the latter felt somebody seize and raise his arm--a keen
bright blade flashed before his eyes, and buried itself to the hilt in the
shoulder of the brute; whilst a gauntleted hand put aside the dangerous
tusks which were already disappearing under the King's garments. Charles,
who had taken advantage of the horse's movement to disengage his leg, rose
slowly to his feet, and, seeing himself covered with blood, became as pale
as a corpse.

"Sire," said Henry, who, still on his knees, held down the boar, which he
had stabbed to the heart--"Sire, there is no harm done. I put aside the
tusk, and your Majesty is unhurt." Then, getting up, he let go his hold of
the hunting-knife, and the boar fell, the blood flowing from his mouth
even more plentifully than from the wound.

Charles, surrounded by the alarmed throng, and assailed by cries of terror
that might well have bewildered the calmest courage, was for a moment on
the point of falling senseless near the dying animal. But he recovered
himself, and turning towards the King of Navarre, pressed his hand with a
look in which was visible the first gleam of kindly feeling that he had
shown during his twenty-four years of existence.

"Thanks, Henriot," said he.

"My poor brother!" cried D'Alençon, approaching the king.

"Ah! you are there, D'Alençon?" cried Charles. "Well, you famous marksman,
what is become of your bullet?"

"It must have flattened upon the hide of the boar," said the duke.

"_Eh! mon Dieu!_" cried Henry with a surprise that was admirably acted;
"see there, Francis--your ball has broken the leg of his Majesty's horse!"

"What!" said the king; "is that true?"

"It is possible," said the duke, in great confusion; "my hand trembled so
violently."

"The fact is, that for an expert marksman you have made a singular shot,
Francis," said Charles frowning. "For the second time, thanks, Henriot.
Gentlemen," continued the king, "we will return to Paris; I have had
enough for to-day."

Margaret came up to congratulate Henry.

"_Ma foi!_ yes, Margot," said Charles, "you may congratulate him, and very
sincerely too, for without him the King of France would now be Henry the
Third."

"Alas! madam," said the Béarnais, "the Duke of Anjou, already my enemy,
will hate me tenfold for this morning's work. But it cannot be helped. One
does what one can, as M. d'Alençon will tell you."

And stooping, he drew his hunting-knife from the carcass of the boar, and
plunged it thrice into the ground, to cleanse it from the blood.

Before leaving the Louvre, on the morning of the boar-hunt, Charles has
been prevailed upon by Catharine of Medicis, who, in consequence of the
prediction already referred to, has vowed Henry's destruction, to sign a
warrant for the King of Navarre's arrest and imprisonment in the Bastile.
In this warrant she inserts the words, "dead or alive," and entrusts its
execution to the assassin Maurevel, intimating to him that Henry's death
will be more agreeable to her than his capture. Charles, however, learns
that his mother has had an interview with Maurevel, guesses the fate
reserved for Henry, and, as the least troublesome way of rescuing the man
who had that day saved his life, he makes his brother-in-law accompany him
to sup and pass the night out of the Louvre. Henry does not dare to
refuse, although he is expecting a nocturnal visit from De Mouy in his
apartment, and the two kings leave the palace together. Here is what
passes after their departure.

It wanted two hours of midnight, and the most profound silence reigned in
the Louvre. Margaret and the Duchess of Nevers had betaken themselves to
their rendezvous in the Rue Tizon; Coconnas and La Mole had followed them;
the Duke of Alençon remained in his apartment in vague and anxious
expectation of the events which the queen-mother had predicted to him;
finally, Catharine herself had retired to rest, and Madame de Sauve,
seated at her bedside, was reading to her certain Italian tales, at which
the good queen laughed heartily. For a long time, Catharine had not been
in so complacent a humour. After making an excellent supper with her
ladies, after holding a consultation with her physician, and making up the
account of her day's expenditure, she had ordered prayers for the success
of an enterprise, highly important, she said, to the happiness of her
children. It was one of Catharine's Florentine habits to have prayers and
masses said for the success of projects, the nature of which was known but
to God and to herself.

Whilst Madame de Sauve is reading, a terrible cry and a pistol-shot are
heard, followed by the noise of a struggle from the direction of the King
of Navarre's apartment. All are greatly alarmed, except Catharine, who
affects not to have heard the sounds, and forbids enquiry as to their
cause, attributing them to some brawling guardsmen. At last the
disturbance appears to have ceased.

"It is over," said Catharine.--"Captain," she continued, addressing herself
to Monsieur de Nancey, "if there has been scandal in the palace, you will
not fail to-morrow to have it severely punished. Go on reading, Carlotta."

And Catharine fell back upon her pillows. Only those nearest to her
observed that large drops of perspiration were trickling down her face.

Madame de Sauve obeyed the formal order she had received, but with her
eyes and voice only. Her imagination represented to her some terrible
danger suspended over the head of him she loved. After a short struggle
between emotion and etiquette, the former prevailed; her voice died away,
the book fell from her hands, and she fainted. Just then a violent noise
was heard; a heavy hurried step shook the corridor; two pistol-shots
caused the windows to rattle in their frames, and Catharine, astonished at
this prolonged struggle, sprang from her couch, pale, and with dilated
eyeballs. The captain of the guard was hastening to the door, when she
seized his arm.

"Let no one leave the room," she cried; "I will go myself to see what is
occurring."

What was occurring, or rather what had occurred, was this: De Mouy had
received, that morning, from Henry's page, Orthon, the key of the King of
Navarre's apartment. In the hollow of the key was a small roll of paper,
which he drew out with a pin. It contained the password to be used that
night at the Louvre. Orthon had, moreover, delivered a verbal invitation
from Henry to De Mouy, to visit him at the Louvre that night at ten
o'clock.

At half-past nine, De Mouy donned a cuirass, of which the strength had
been more than once tested; over this he buttoned a silken doublet,
buckled on his sword, stuck his pistols in his belt, and covered the whole
with the counterpart of La Mole's famous crimson mantle. Thanks to this
well-known garment, and to the password with which he was provided, he
passed the guards undiscovered, and went straight to Henry's apartment,
imitating as usual, and as well as he could, La Mole's manner of walking.
In the antechamber he found Orthon waiting for him.

"Sire de Mouy," said the lad, "the king is out, but he begs of you to
wait, and, if agreeable, to throw yourself upon his bed till his return."

De Mouy entered without asking any further explanation, and by way of
passing the time, took a pen and ink, and began marking the different
stages from Paris to Pau upon a map of France that hung against the wall.
This he had completed, however, in a quarter of an hour; and after walking
two or three times round the room, and gaping twice as often, he took
advantage of Henry's permission, and stretched himself upon the large bed,
surrounded with dark hangings, which stood at the further end of the
apartment. He placed his pistols and a lamp upon a table near at hand,
laid his naked sword beside him, and certain not to be surprised, since
Orthon was keeping watch in the antechamber, he sank into a heavy slumber,
and was soon snoring in a manner worthy of the King of Navarre himself.

It was then that six men, with naked swords in their hands, and daggers in
their girdles, stealthily entered the corridor upon which the door of
Henry's apartment opened. A seventh man walked in front of the party,
having, besides his sword, and a dagger as broad and as strong as a
hunting-knife, a brace of pistols suspended to his belt by silver hooks.
This man was Maurevel. On reaching Henry's door, he paused, introduced
into the lock the key which he had received from the queen-mother, and,
leaving two men at the outer door, entered the antechamber with the four
others. "Ah, ha!" said he, as the loud breathing of the sleeper reached
his ears from the inner room, "he is there."

Just then Orthon, thinking it was his master who was coming in, went to
meet him, and found himself face to face with five armed men. At the sight
of that sinister countenance, of that Maurevel, whom men called _Tueur du
Roi_, the faithful lad stepped back, and placed himself before the second
door.

"In the king's name," said Maurevel, "where is your master?"

"My master?"

"Yes, the King of Navarre."

"The King of Navarre is not here," replied Orthon, still in front of the
door.

"'Tis a lie," replied Maurevel. "Come! out of the way!"

The Béarnese are a headstrong race; Orthon growled in reply to this
summons, like one of the dogs of his own mountains.

"You shall not go in," said he sturdily. "The king is absent." And he held
the door to.

Maurevel made a sign; the four men seized the lad, pulled him away from
the door-jambs to which he clung, and as he opened his mouth to cry out,
Maurevel placed his hand over it. Orthon bit him furiously; the assassin
snatched away his hand with a suppressed cry, and struck the boy on the
head with his sword-hilt. Orthon staggered.

"Alarm! alarm! alarm!" cried he, as he fell senseless to the ground.

The assassins passed over his body; two remained at the second door, and
the remaining two entered the bed-chamber, led on by Maurevel. By the
light of the lamp still burning upon the table, they distinguished the
bed, of which the curtains were closed.

"Oh, ho!" said the lieutenant of the little band, "he has left off
snoring, it seems."

"_Allons, sus!_" cried Maurevel.

At the sound of his voice, a hoarse cry, resembling rather the roar of a
lion than any human accents, issued from behind the curtains, which the
next instant were torn asunder. A man armed with a cuirass, and his head
covered with one of those _salades_, or head-pieces, that come down to the
eyes, appeared seated upon the bed, a pistol in either hand, and his drawn
sword upon his knees. No sooner did Maurevel perceive this figure, and
recognise the features of De Mouy, than he became frightfully pale, his
hair bristled up, his mouth filled with foam, and he made a step
backwards, as though terrified by some horrible and unexpected apparition.
At the same moment the armed figure rose from its seat and made a step
forwards, so that the assailed seemed to be pursuing, and the assailant to
fly.

"Ah! villain," exclaimed De Mouy, in the hollow tones of suppressed fury,
"do on come to kill me as you killed my father?"

The two men who had accompanied Maurevel into the chamber alone heard
these terrible words; but as they were spoken, De Mouy's pistol had been
brought to a level with Maurevel's head. Maurevel threw himself on his
knees at the very moment that De Mouy pulled the trigger. The bullet
passed over him, and one of the guards who stood behind, and who had been
uncovered by his movement, received it in his heart. At the same instant
Maurevel fired, but the ball rebounded from De Mouy's cuirass. Then De
Mouy, with one blow of his heavy sword, split the skull of the other
soldier, and, turning upon Maurevel, attacked him furiously. The combat
was terrible but short. At the fourth pass Maurevel felt the cold steel in
his throat; he uttered a stifled cry, fell backwards, and, in falling,
overturned the lamp. Immediately De Mouy, profiting by the darkness, and
vigorous and active as one of Homer's heroes, rushed into the outer room,
cut down one of the guards, pushed aside the other, and, passing like a
thunderbolt between the two men stationed at the door of the antechamber,
received their fire without injury. He had still got a loaded pistol,
besides the sword which he so well knew how to handle. For one second he
hesitated whether he should take refuge in Monsieur d'Alençon's apartment,
the door of which, he thought, was just then opened, or whether he should
endeavour to leave the Louvre. Deciding upon the latter course, he sprang
down the stairs, ten steps at a time, reached the wicket, uttered the
password, and darted out.

"Go up-stairs," he shouted as he passed the guardhouse; "they are slaying
there for the king's account."

And before he could be pursued, he had disappeared in the Rue du Coq,
without having received a scratch.

It was at this moment of time that Catharine had said to De
Nancey--"Remain here; I will go myself to see what is occurring."

"But, madam," replied the captain, "the danger to which your Majesty might
be exposed compels me to follow."

"Remain here, sir," said Catharine, in a more imperative tone than before.
"A higher power than that of the sword watches over the safety of kings."

The captain obeyed. Catharine took a lamp, thrust her naked feet into
velvet slippers, entered the corridor, which was still full of smoke, and
advanced, cold and unmoved, towards the apartment of the King of Navarre.
All was again dead silence. Catharine reached the outer door of Henry's
rooms, and passed into the antechamber, where Orthon was lying, still
insensible.

"Ah, ha!" said she, "here is the page to begin with; a little further we
shall doubtless find the master." And she passed through the second room.

Then her foot struck against a corpse: it was that of the soldier whose
skull had been split. He was quite dead. Three paces further she found the
lieutenant: a ball in his breast, and the death-rattle in his throat.
Finally, near the bed, lay a man bleeding profusely from a double wound
that had gone completely through his throat. He was making violent but
ineffectual efforts to raise himself from the ground. This was Maurevel.

Catharine's blood ran cold; she saw the bed empty; she looked round the
room, and sought in vain amongst the three bodies that lay weltering upon
the floor, that of him whom she would fain have seen there. Maurevel
recognised her; his eyes became horribly dilated, and he held out his arms
with a gesture of despair.

"Well," said she, in a low voice "where is he? What has become of him?
Wretch! have you let him escape?"

Maurevel endeavored to articulate; but an unintelligible hissing, which
issued from his wound, was the only sound he could give forth; a reddish
froth fringed his lips, and he shook his head in sign of impotence and
suffering.

"But speak, then!" cried Catharine; "speak, if it be only to say one
word."

Maurevel pointed to his wound and again uttered some inarticulate sounds,
made an effort which ended in a hoarse rattle, and swooned away. Catharine
then looked around her: she was surrounded by the dead and the dying;
blood was flowing in streams over the floor, and a gloomy silence
prevailed in the apartment. She spoke once more to Maurevel, but he could
not hear her voice; this time he remained not only silent, but motionless.
Whilst stooping over him, Catharine perceived the corner of a paper
protruding from the breast of his doublet: it was the order to arrest
Henry. The queen-mother seized it and hid it in her bosom. Then, in
despair at the failure of her murderous project, she called the captain of
her guard, ordered the dead men to be removed, and that Maurevel, who
still lived, should be conveyed to his house. She moreover particularly
commanded that the king should not be disturbed.

"Oh!" murmured she, as she reentered her apartment, her head bowed upon
her breast, "he has again escaped me! Surely the hand of God protects this
man. He will reign! he will reign!"

Then, as she opened the door of her bedroom, she passed her hand over her
forehead, and composed her features into a smile.

"What was the matter, madam?" enquired all her ladies, with the exception
of Madame de Sauve, who was too anxious and agitated to ask questions.

"Nothing," replied Catharine; "a great deal of noise and nothing else."

"Oh!" suddenly exclaimed Madame de Sauve, pointing to the ground with her
finger, "each one of your Majesty's footsteps leaves a trace of blood upon
the carpet!"

Thrice foiled in her designs upon Henry's life, the queen-mother does not
yet give in. Henry, whom the king has reproached with his ignorance of
falconry, has asked the Duke of Alençon to procure him a book on that
subject. Catharine hears of this request, and gives D'Alençon a book of
the kind required--a rare and valuable work, but of which the edges of the
leaves are stuck together, apparently from age, in reality by poison. The
idea is old, but its application is novel and very effective. The
queen-mother convinces D'Alençon that Henry is playing him false, and the
duke places the fatal book in the King of Navarre's room during his
absence, being afraid to give it into his hands. He then re-enters his
apartment, hears Henry, as he thinks, return to his, and passes half an
hour in the agonies of suspense and terror. To escape from himself and his
reflections, he goes to visit his brother Charles. We have only space for
a very short extract, showing the frightful and unexpected result of
Catharine's atrocious scheme.

Charles was seated at a table in a large carved arm-chair: his back was
turned to the door by which Francis had entered, and he appeared absorbed
in some very interesting occupation. The duke approached on tiptoe;
Charles was reading.

"_Pardieu!_" exclaimed the king on a sudden, "this is an admirable book. I
have heard speak of it, but I knew not that a copy existed in France."

D'Alençon made another step in advance.

"Curse the leaves!" cried the king, putting his thumb to his lips, and
pressing it on the page he had just read, in order to detach it from the
one he was about to read; "one would think they had been stuck together on
purpose, in order to conceal from men's eyes the wonders they contain."

D'Alençon made a bound forwards. The book Charles was reading was the one
he had left in Henry's room. A cry of horror escaped him.

"Ha! is it you, D'Alençon?" said Charles; "come here and look; at the most
admirable treatise on falconry that was ever produced by the pen of man."

D'Alençon's first impulse was to snatch the book from his brother's hands;
but an infernal thought paralysed the movement--a frightful smile passed
over his pallid lips; he drew his hand across his eyes as if something
dazzled him. Then gradually recovering himself--

"Sire," said he to the king, "how can this book have come into your
Majesty's hands?"

"In the most simple manner possible. I went up just now to Henriot's room,
to see if he was ready to go a-hawking. He was not there, but in his stead
I found this treasure, which I brought down with me to read at my ease."

And the king put his thumb to his lips and turned another page.

"Sire," stammered D'Alençon, who felt a horrible anguish come over him,
"Sire, I came to tell you----"

"Let me finish this chapter, Francis," interrupted Charles. "You shall
tell me whatever you like afterwards. I have read fifty pages already, or
devoured them, I should rather say."

"He has tasted the poison twenty-five times!" thought Francis. "My brother
is a dead man."

He wiped, with his trembling hand, the chill dew that stood upon his brow,
and waited, as the king had commanded, till the chapter was finished.

The end of Charles IX. is well known. A dreadful complaint, a sweat of
blood, which many historians attribute to poison, and which the Huguenots
maintained to be a punishment inflicted on him by Heaven for the massacre
of their brethren, rendered the latter months of his life a period of
horrible torture. At his death, Henry, having every thing to dread from
the animosity of Catharine, and from that of the Duke of Anjou, Charles's
successor, fled from Paris, and took refuge in his kingdom of Navarre.



THE BARON VON STEIN.[16]

"It is to the great abilities, enlightened patriotism, and enduring
constancy of the BARON STEIN that Prussia is indebted for the measures
which laid the foundation for the resurrection of the monarchy."--ALISON.


"Baron Stein," says Bourrienne, "has been too little known;"--and
unquestionably, considering what he was to Prussia, and through Prussia to
Europe, at the most important crisis of recent history, he is too little
known still. Why is this? Plainly, in the first place, because he had the
misfortune to be a German statesman, and not a French one;--these French
do make such a noise in the world, partly with real cannons, partly with
artificial volcanoes and puerile pyrotechny of all kinds, that a man
cannot live and have ears without hearing about them. Celebrity is,
indeed, a very cheap affair, according to the French fashion; restlessness
and recklessness are the main elements of it. Only keep spurting and
spitting about obstreperously, and the most stiff ears must at length be
converted. As to real character and substantial worth, that must not give
you a moment's concern. Is not Catiline to this day as _famous_ a man as
Cicero? and is not the celebrity of Bonaparte, who was (_pace tanti
nominis_) nothing better than a bold and brilliant blackguard, equal to
that of the Apostle Paul, who was a saint? Yes, verily; and M. Thiers, and
the hot war-spirits in France, know it very well: but as for your great,
meditative, unobtrusive, honest, truthful, and laborious German--your
devoted Scharnhorst, for instance, who fell at Lutzen--the great world
hears not of such a man, unless by accident, though his life be a living
epitome of the gospel. But there are other Germans, too, as fiery, and
hot, and volcanic as any Frenchman, of whom, however, Europe hears but
little in proportion to their worth; their reputation suffers partly by
the virtue, partly by the vice, of the people to whom they belong; for the
people in general are not a noise-making people--this is the virtue--and
the German government--this is the vice--are timid and eschew publicity.
The Baron von Stein was one of these hot, glowing, impetuous, volcanic
Germans--a political Luther, as he has most justly been called; but he had
the misfortune to belong to a people who never dreamed of conquering any
thing except transcendental ideas in the region of the moon, and beyond
it; and he served a good, pious, "decent" master, the late Frederick
William III., who, when he was merry, (like a good Christian,) was more
inclined to sing psalms than to crack cannons, and prayed heaven every
morning that he might die a good man, rather than live a great king. Then,
in addition to this, comes the great and authoritative extinguisher of all
German political reputation, the CENSORSHIP--a "_monstrum horrendum
ingens_," and "_cui lumen ademptum_" truly; for it will neither see
itself, nor allow others having eyes to see for it. An honest and thorough
life of Baron Stein is, in fact, in the present slavish state of the
Prussian political press, an impossibility; for the sturdy old Freiherr
was a declared enemy of the whole race of red-tapists, and other officials
of the quill, who, since the peace, have maintained a practical monopoly
of public business in Prussia, and who, in fact, keep the monarch's
conscience, and tie his hands, much more effectually than chancellor or
parliament does in Great Britain. It is only therefore, in the way of
scattered notices, drawn from various sources, that a knowledge of such a
German statesman as Stein can be obtained; and these sources also, from
the same evil influence of the censorship, are necessarily very imperfect;
the men who knew Stein, and were in possession of correspondence and other
papers that might illustrate his life, are all _marked_ men; to the
government of the bureaucracy _suspected_ men--men who had, many of them,
like the Baron himself, been, immediately after the peace, subjected to
the most odious kinds of moral, and sometimes corporeal, persecution.
Their publications, of course, were watched with peculiar jealousy by the
Argus-eyed censorship; and we may always be sure that what they do tell us
is only the half of what they might have told us, had they dared to speak
out. Under these circumstances, the English reader will perhaps be obliged
to us for taking the trouble to sketch out a short outline of the life and
temper of Baron Stein from such scanty materials as time and chance have
thrown in our way; and he will, at the same time, pardon the great
deficiencies that must necessarily exist in the execution of such a
work.[17]

Henry Frederick Charles, _of_ and _at_ Stein, (_vom_ and _zum_ Stein!) was
born in the year 1757, of an old and noble family at Nassau on the Lahn.
His father belonged to that higher class of nobility, according to the old
German constitution, who held immediately of the Empire, (Reichs:
unmittelbare und Landbarfreie,)--a descent which had perhaps a not
unimportant effect in influencing the position which Stein afterwards
assumed; for while the Baron always acted in the spirit rather of the
middle classes than of the princes and their courts, and indeed often
indulged in the strongest expressions of contempt for the whole body of
princes in Germany, he never forgot his own character as a free and
independent baron of the German empire, and was, notwithstanding the
popular character of his great measures, in his tone of mind as much
aristocratic as democratic. Intended by his father to take office under
the Imperial government, he was sent first to Göttingen to study public
law and history, and then to Wetzlar, the seat of the Imperial chamber;
but the name of the Empire in those days had already lost its power over
the minds of ambitious youth. Frederick the Great was the guiding star of
the time; and, as if prophetic of the death-blow that awaited the
crumbling old edifice from the hand of Napoleon in 1806, Stein, so early
as 1780, entered the Prussian service as director of the mines
(_Bergrath_) at Wetter, in Westphalia. In 1784 we find him ambassador at
Aschaffenburg. He was then made president of all the Westphalian chambers,
and in active connexion with this province we find him remaining till
1804, when, on occasion of the death of Struensee, one of the Prussian
ministers, he was called to Berlin, and made minister of finance and of
trade and commerce by Frederick William III. In this capacity he remained
till the opening of the year 1807, when, as the _Conversations Lexikon_
asserts, being at Königsberg with the king, after the battle of Jena, "on
account of some differences with the cabinet" he resigned his situation,
and retired to his estates in Nassau. We notice this retirement and the
alleged cause of it particularly, because, as will appear in the sequel,
Stein, with all his talent, seems to have been a man of a peculiar temper,
and not so easily to be managed on many occasions as he was both willing
and able to manage others. However, whatever the cause of the resignation
might be, Frederick William had sense enough to see that these were not
times when Prussia could want the services of any man of real talent and
energy; and accordingly, (some say on the recommendation of Napoleon,) so
early as the harvest of that same year, he called the baron back and made
him prime-minister. Here was a situation worthy of a great man; Prussia,
after the battle of Jena, overthrown, prostrate, and bleeding beneath the
iron tramp of insolent France. How to convert this Prussia into the
Prussia that in a few years afterwards was destined to be a chief
instrument employed by Providence in the overthrow of the general European
tyrant--here was a problem!--one worthy of the worthiest man that the
kingdom of the Great Frederick could find; and most worthily did the Baron
von Stein execute the mission. The reforms which he boldly planned, and no
less boldly executed, in that critical year 1808, followed out as they
were by his able successor, Count Hardenberg, are sufficient to place him
in the very first rank of modern statesmen. He actually changed a nation
of serfs, by a single bloodless blow, into a free people; he did that for
Prussia, morally and socially, which Frederick the Great had done only
geographically; he caused it to rank side by side with the more civilized
and advanced, as opposed to the semi-barbarous (Russia) and stationary or
retrograde (Austria and Spain) powers of Europe. To detail at large the
important social changes thus effected in a single year by this most
energetic man, would lead us too far from our biographical purpose here,
and prevent us from making such a free use as we should desire of the
correspondence published by Von Gagern and Hormayr. We shall therefore
content ourselves with a short quotation from Mr Alison's sixth volume;
and may refer the reader, at the same time, to the more detailed and yet
succinct statement of the same matter given by Mr Russell--_Tour in
Germany_, vol. ii. p. 116.

     "So clearly were his ideas formed, and so decided his conviction as
     to the only means which remained of reinstating the public affairs,
     that he commenced at once a vigorous, but yet cautious system of
     amelioration; and, only four days after his appointment as Minister
     of the Interior, a royal decree appeared, which introduced a salutary
     reform into the constitution.

     "By this ordinance, the peasants and burghers obtained the right,
     hitherto confined to the nobles, of acquiring and holding landed
     property, while they in their turn were permitted, without losing
     caste, to engage in the pursuits of commerce and industry.
     Landholders were allowed, under reservation of the rights of their
     creditors, to separate their estates into distinct parcels, and
     alienate them to different persons. Every species of slavery, whether
     contracted by birth, marriage, or agreement, was prohibited
     subsequent to the 11th November 1810; and every servitude, _corvée_,
     or obligation of service or rent, other than those founded on the
     rights of property or express agreement, was for ever abolished. By a
     second ordinance, published six weeks afterwards, certain important
     franchises were conferred on municipalities. By this wise decree,
     which is in many respects the Magna Charta of the Prussian burghs, it
     was provided that the burghers should enjoy councillors of their own
     election, for regulating all local and municipal concerns: that a
     third of the number should go out by rotation, and be renewed by an
     election every year; that the council thus chosen should assemble
     twice a-year to deliberate on the public affairs; that two
     burgomasters should be at the head of the magistracy, one of whom
     should be chosen by the king from a list of three presented, and the
     other by the councillors; and that the police of the burgh should be
     administered by a syndic appointed for twelve years, and who should
     also have a seat in the municipal council. The administration of the
     _Haute Police_, or that connected with the state, was reserved to
     Government. By a third ordinance, an equally important alteration was
     made in favour of the numerous class of debtors, whom the public
     calamities had disabled from performing their engagements, by
     prohibiting all demand for the capital sums till the 24th June 1810,
     providing at the same time for the punctual payment of the interest,
     under pain of losing the benefit of the ordinance. Thus at the very
     moment that France, during the intoxication consequent on the
     triumphs of Jena and Friedland, was losing the last remnant of the
     free institutions which had been called into existence during the
     fervour and crimes of the Revolution, Prussia, amidst the humiliation
     of unprecedented disasters, and when groaning under the weight of
     foreign chains, was silently relaxing the fetters of the feudal
     system, and laying the foundation, in a cautious and guiltless
     reformation of experienced grievances, for the future erection of
     those really free institutions which can never be established on any
     other bases than those of justice, order, and religion."

But Stein was too fierce and fiery a spirit, not merely too ardent, but
too open and reckless a "French-hater," to remain long as prime-minister
of Prussia under such a suspicious and jealous-eyed master-general of
continental police as Napoleon. An intercepted letter revealed Stein's
sentiments to the French; and by order of Napoleon, Hardenberg, a man of a
more smooth and polite exterior, (though as true a _German_ at heart,) was
nominated in his place. The reforming baron, after felling a few gigantic
trees, was obliged to surrender the work of perfect clearing of the social
forest to a not unworthy successor, himself retiring, or (to speak more
properly) being banished to Prague. There he lay in a convenient central
position, like a lion nursing his wrath, ready to start off in any
direction--back to Prussia, south to Vienna, north to Petersburg, or
wherever any thing substantial, by word or deed, was likely to be done
against the man whom his soul hated with an intensity of moral indignation
truly grand, even out-Bluchering Blucher. Stein indeed hated Napoleon, not
for one good reason only, but for four: first, as he was a Frenchman,
vainglorious and false; second, as he was a conqueror; third, as he was a
tyrant and an oppressor; fourth, as he was a godless man and a heathen. In
Prague, therefore, Stein remained, in company with Justus Eumer, the
banished Elector of Hesse-Cassel, Karl von Nostez, and many French
emigrants, as it were in a secret-burning focus, and hidden metropolis of
anti-Gallican spirit,[18] for a few years, waiting not patiently, but, in
his fashion, with extreme impatience, for the coming of the great day of
political retribution, in which he believed as firmly as in God, and in
the last judgment. German writers speak with patriotic enthusiasm of the
"_noctes cænæque deûm_"--"_diegöttlichen Abende_," which, with Pozzo di
Borgo and other choice spirits, Stein spent in this important period, when
events no less unexpected than great were knocking at the door. It must
have been a god-like treat, indeed, in these terrible times, when a man in
Germany could hardly draw his breath for fear of Davoust, to have seen
launched from the dark, fiery, Saracenic eyes of Deutschland's political
Luther, those "thundering fulgurations"[19] of indignant German hate,
which were soon to be followed by a tempest of more indignant
cannon-balls; but few and feeble, amid the barrenness of German political
literature, are the voices from those prophetic times that have been
wafted to British ears. The following short notices from Varnhagen von
Ense are all that we have been able to recover.

     "Stein lived at Prague in a very retired manner; for though on
     familiar terms with the most noble families, by ancient family
     connexions, and by social position, he made great demands on those
     whom he admitted to his intimacy. German truth and honour, scientific
     culture, decision and firmness of character, and, if possible, talent
     and wit, were qualities not easily found combined; but such a
     combination he required to secure his friendship and respect. He was
     often forced, indeed, to content himself with some one of these
     qualities separately; and for myself, my principal recommendation to
     his notice consisted, I suppose, in my having travelled a good deal
     in Germany, in my having been at Paris and seen Napoleon, and, more
     than all, in my having fought against the tyrant. When introduced to
     him first, I was at once struck by something abrupt in his manner; it
     seemed to me he was a person who in every thing he did or said,
     asserted his own superiority to the mass of mankind, and was
     accustomed to work in all things without respect for time, place, or
     person. There was at the same time an unconstrained simplicity about
     him, and an utter want of pride and pretence in his manner. In
     conversation on public affairs, and matters of social economy, he was
     most animated and most instructive; once started on a subject of this
     kind, he was carried along irresistibly by his own enthusiasm; and
     any ignorance displayed, or doubt expressed, by those with whom he
     agreed, only served as a spur to set his ideas more on the gallop.
     And he would go with the most admirable patience into long details of
     fact, in order to bring round his adversary to his opinion. I was
     struck particularly by the decidedly polemical character of his
     remarks: ever and anon he drew this or the other Prussian statesman
     into the argument, and in criticising severely their conduct, seemed
     not seldom to give as much ease to his own heart as instruction to
     me. His whole manner was such as in the Opposition side of a British
     Parliament might have produced the most extraordinary effects. In his
     extreme fits of eloquent indignation, a sort of convulsive tremor
     would seize his whole voice and movements; he would shut his eyes,
     and could scarcely bring out his words with the due articulation. But
     immediately thereafter he would become calm again; and with what a
     breadth and penetration of glance did he then look through his
     adversary, reading every secret objection on his countenance, and
     preparing a new and more terrible onset to carry the citadel of his
     doubts by storm! To converse with him was indeed to carry on a
     continued battle; for it pleased him, even when the person with whom
     he conversed for the moment agreed with him, to consider him as an
     adversary, and to argue with him as in all points a decided opponent
     of his views: always, however, without any ill-will or the least
     personal feeling. This sort of animated irritation gave a peculiar
     charm to Stein's conversation; the Emperor Alexander, in particular,
     was quite charmed with the roughness and bluntness of his manner;
     for, except by a slight admixture of humour, Stein never attempted to
     tame the rudeness of his address, even in the presence of the most
     august personages.

     "In literature, his taste was decidedly anti-speculative, although
     rather practical. Scharnhorst and Gneisenau were the men of his
     heart; he had a high opinion of Niebuhr, both as a historian and as a
     practical statesman: Heeren he praised and recommended as the rough
     and practical: Fichte gained his good opinion by his patriotic
     addresses to the German people; but for philosophy in general he had
     no taste: Schleiermacher's philosophical religion was too subtle for
     him, and, in respect of orthodoxy, more than suspicious; and the most
     famous recent German speculators he declared plainly MAD. But of all
     the writers of the time, his sympathies drew him most strongly
     towards Arndt. When the second part of this writer's _Spirit of the
     Age_ appeared, I found him continually (on the eve of the Russian
     expedition) in a state of the most violent irritation and excitement.
     He would seize the sheets as they were lying beside him, and read out
     the most violent passages to me, always with increasing vehemence.
     But seldom could he finish a whole page continuously, so strongly did
     the fit of mingled indignation and exultation seize him, so necessary
     was it for him to give vent to his own boiling feelings by irregular
     interjections. 'Since Burke,' said he 'no such genuine political
     eloquence has appeared, no truth that so cuts its way to the heart!'
     He then recommended Arndt's style to my imitation.' In this way you
     may attempt something--facts!--facts!--and not speculative phrases!
     Do you understand me, Herr Metaphysics?'

     "It is worthy of remark how intimately Stein's impetuousness and
     violence of disposition were connected with his bodily organization.
     He asked me once what was the number of my pulses; and, on hearing my
     answer, held out his hand to me, and with a smile requested that I
     would count his. There were about a hundred in the minute. This
     number, he assured me, was the common rate of his pulse when in
     perfect health: and it seemed to me that he looked on this gallop of
     his blood as a sort of charter from nature, entitling him to be more
     passionate and violent, without offence, than other men."

This is a most characteristic passage, and introduces us into the inner
nature of the man more than a whole chapter of dissertation. Verily, a
Luther in every line!--a fitful, impulsive, and tempestuous--a glowing
and a volcanic spirit--a most decided, despotic, and iron-willed German--a
man altogether worthy to hate Napoleon with a perfect hatred, as Luther
did the Pope, and to march to Paris as the true heart's brother of that
hot old septuagenarian hussar, Marshal Blücher. One thing we have omitted
in the above extract for the sake of brevity, and yet we must allude to it
with a passing word. During the three ears of his residence at Prague,
Stein employed himself assiduously in the study of the French Revolution,
following it minutely through all its phases, through the columns of the
_Moniteur_. His opinion, therefore, on this subject, is well worth
registering; and we give the following two sentences on the subject, not
from Varnhagen, but from Von Gagern's correspondence, (8th June 1825.)--

     "Mounier wrote on '_Des Causes qui ont empéché les Français d'être
     Libres_.' To me they seem very simple. Inconsiderate minsters, who
     called together an assembly of 700 Frenchmen, without having arranged
     the form of their deliberations, the organization of the persons who
     were to deliberate, or their respective rights. Then shallow,
     inexperienced, vain talkers, Lameth, Lafayette, and Barrère, &c.,
     often abused for the worst purposes by persons of the most abandoned
     character, formed the first Assembly--murderers and robbers were
     dominant in the second."

But we must proceed in our history of Stein's outward fates. When
Napoleon, in the culminating point of his vainglorious exultation, had
assembled the monarchs of Germany around him at Dresden in the summer of
1812, Stein was still at Prague, and not without apprehensions for his
personal safety. Napoleon had laid violent hands on, and butchered many
less dangerous enemies in Germany--witness Palm the bookseller, and honest
Andrew Hofer; and a German like Stein at the ear of Alexander in the year
of 1812, was equal to an army of 60,000 men. However, by a lucky
negligence of the French spies, the baron escaped to Russia, whither he
had been invited by the emperor, and was in Petersburg during that
eventful winter; a much more dangerous enemy to the French invaders than
the cautious Kutusoff at Moscow. Here he was immediately followed by a no
less fiery French-hater--the man whom we have seen him compare with Burke,
and who was henceforward to act as his secretary--Ernest Maurice ARNDT,
the author of the well-known national song "Marshal Blücher," and of some
admirable historical sketches. From his "Reminiscences" we extract the
following few but marked lines of portraiture:--

     "I arrive at Petersburg on the 26th of August, and proceeded
     immediately to the minister. On entering, I was immediately struck by
     his likeness to my old philosophical friend Fichte. The same figure,
     short, broad, and compact--the same forehead, only broader, and more
     sloping backward--the same small sparkling eyes, the same powerful
     now--the words racy, clear, decided, and going, like arrows from the
     bow, directly to the mark. And I soon also found the same inexorable
     moral sternness of character, only with the difference that always
     must exist in the whole manner of being between a practical statesman
     and a speculative philosopher. In Stein's face there were two
     distinct worlds, different and contrary. In the upper part dwelt the
     bright and serene gods, with an almost uninterrupted sway. His
     magnificent broad forehead, his keen and yet kindly eyes, his
     powerful nose, proclaimed conjoined depth and command. A strange
     contrast to this was offered in the lower part of the face: The mouth
     was too small and delicate for the upper region; the chin also was
     weak. Here common mortals had their haunts--here anger and passion
     sported terribly--here those sudden fits of impetuousness would rage,
     which, however, (thank God,) only required to be firmly met, that
     they might be soothed. Strange, truly, was it to behold the lower
     part of his face quivering with excitement--the little mobile mouth,
     with fearful celerity, brimming with indignant indignation--and yet,
     at the same time, the upper region remaining a sunny Olympus, and
     even his lightning eyes flashing no fear: one part of his face
     freeing the beholder from the terror inspired by the other. On other
     occasions, when no violent excitement moved him, every feature, every
     gesture, and every word of this noble man breathed honesty, courage,
     and piety. He was a man that brought from his mother's womb the
     instinct and the necessity to command. He was a born prince and king.
     He was one of those who must be first, or he could do nothing. His
     whole character was so peculiar and so powerful, that he could not
     adapt himself to other people, much less subordinate. Many noble men
     have been able to do this, but Stein decidedly could not."

These notices from Arndt and Varnhagen will, we hope, serve to bring the
reader into some personal familiarity with the man; in what follows, the
patriot and the statesman will demand our exclusive attention. The
correspondence with Count Münster, published by Baron Hormayr it the
second volume of the _Lebensbilder_, commences with a letter dated 6th
October 1811, when Stein was still in Prague. From it we shall make a
short extract, putting in a strong light the state of public feeling in
Germany produced by the insulting despotism of Napoleon, and which was the
main cause that ultimately led to his overthrow.

     "Every thing here is based on mere force and oppression of every
     kind. Napoleon's endeavour is not, like that of Augustus Cæsar, to
     bewitch the world into the belief that a universal monarchy is the
     best thing for Europe; but, on the contrary, he seems anxious to
     seize every occasion, by haughty demeanour, rude despotic forms, and
     needless irritation of every noble feeling, to make the weight of the
     tyranny which he has superinduced as intolerable as possible. This
     conduct has a most beneficial effect, for it keeps alive in the
     breasts of men a constant indignation--a striving to break the bonds
     that confine them. Had his despotism been more mild, Germany might
     have slept the sleep of death.

     "But the spirit of indignation thus awakened, acts not only against
     the foreign tyrant, but against the native princes, in whom the
     German people now see either dastardly poltroons, who, intent only on
     their own preservation, and deaf to every feeling of honour and duty,
     seek safety in their heels; or titled slaves and bailiffs, who, with
     the substance and the life-blood of their subjects, purchase a few
     years' lease of a beggarly existence. From this arises a general wish
     for a constitution based on unity, energy, and nationality; and any
     great man who should be able to give, or rather to restore us such a
     nationality and such a constitution, would be sure of a hearty
     welcome from the great mass of the people. Nor is there any thing in
     the character of those who now fill the petty thrones of Germany,
     calculated to react against this feeling of dissatisfaction; on the
     contrary, every sort of extra vileness, weakness, and low sneaking
     selfishness prevails."

The contempt here expressed for the German princes was (as we have said)
very characteristic of Stein--an old, free baron of the Empire; and the
important matter of German _unity_ and _nationality_ here touched on is
more decidedly brought forward in the following extract from a letter to
the same person, dated Petersburg, December 1, 1812:--

     "I am sorry that your Excellency should see only a Prussian in me,
     while, at the same time, you reveal yourself to me in the character
     of a Hanoverian. I have only one fatherland, and that is Germany; and
     as, according to the ancient constitution, I belonged only to my
     _whole_ country, and not to any particular part of it, so my heart is
     given still to the German fatherland, and not to this or that
     province. In this moment of important development, the dynasties are
     in fact quite indifferent to me; I view them only as instruments. My
     wish is, that Germany should become great and strong, and regain its
     ancient integrity, independence, and nationality; and that it should
     attain and firmly maintain this position, between France on the one
     hand and Austria on the other, is as much the interest of Europe in
     general as of this particular part of it; and it seems to me equally
     plain, that this great European object cannot possibly be attained by
     means of the present rotten and crumbling old machinery. This were to
     erect the system of an artificial military boundary on the ruins of
     the old baronial castles, and the walls and towns of fortified
     cities, and to throw aside altogether the ideas of Vauban, Cohorn,
     and Montalembert.

     "My confession of faith in this matter is contained in one
     word--UNITY. And if my plan does not please you, take another: Put
     Austria in the place of Prussia, and make it lord of Germany--if this
     be practicable--only don't bring back the old Montagues and Capulets,
     and the halls of the old barons. If the bloody contest which Germany
     has already stood for twenty years, and is now called upon to undergo
     again, be to end in a FARCE, ('_mit einem possenspiel endigen_,') I
     for one shall prefer to have nothing to do with the matter, and will
     take myself back into private life with all possible speed and
     comfort."

In this letter we see applied to the political constitution of Germany, as
it was to be arranged at the peace, all that comprehensive grandeur of
idea, combined with decision and despotism (it would be false to use a
milder word) of execution, which had, in the single year 1808, done such
wonders in reconstructing the social fabric in Prussia. But it was one
thing to deal despotically with the internal government of one
state--especially after a battle of Jena!--and another thing to apply the
same over-riding principle to the complex relations of many states. It was
one thing to say to the debased aristocracy of Prussia, Thou shalt admit
the poor into the participation of thy privileges; the serf shall be a
free man, and the merchant shall shake hands with the noble: quite a
different thing to say to the King of Bavaria, in the spring of 1813,
after the peace, Thou shalt be swallowed up in Austria; and to the Elector
of Hesse-Cassel, Thou, who didst in 1807 flee _from_ Jerome, shalt in 1813
flee _to_ Frederick William III., who, like mighty Brahma, (in the Hindoo
history,) shall absorb thee quite into his Prussian godhead. The eager and
impetuous old Freiherr, with his racing pulse, had manifestly been
anticipating a few centuries, and attempting to dictate to necessity here.
He wished a good thing, perhaps, and a great thing; but a thing that, in
the circumstances, could not possibly be. Hear how sensibly the calm,
cool, and moderate Hanoverian, Graf Münster, argues the matter. 'Tis plain
that our brave Luther is getting too violent, and will require a
Melancthon and an Erasmus to keep him in order.

     "London, 4th January 1813.

     "With regard to the future arrangements of the German states, you
     yourself say, we should invite the expelled princes to join our
     cause; and we cannot do this surely, if we intend, after the risk is
     over, to throw them overboard: or is it likely that they will resign
     of their own accord, and offer their thrones to either of the two
     masters of whom we may give them the option? The peace of Westphalia
     you call an abortion. Be it so; but it was better any how than a
     thirty years' war; and I see nothing more likely than such war to
     arise from any project to _conquer_ Germany, and to make a violent
     subjugation of Bavaria, Saxony, Hessia, Baden, Brunswick, &c. In the
     most of these lands, the princes themselves will have the chief voice
     in determining what side their subjects shall take in the approaching
     struggle. I do not speak particularly of the Confederation of the
     Rhine, or of the state of things introduced in 1802; but from the
     days of Monbod and Hernam until now, Germany has always been divided,
     except, indeed, for one short period, during which the country
     suffered much misery. It is plain enough, I grant, that the
     constitution of Germany was not the work of an enlightened national
     will--did not proceed from any clear consideration of the best
     interests of the country--but _what constitution in the world is
     there that has not been the work, in a great measure, of accidental
     circumstances_? Since Solon and Lycurgus, only the Constituent
     National Assembly in France, and the stupid Cortes in Spain, have
     dreamed of such a thing as constitution-making, and the work of both
     has been blown, as we see, to the four winds. 'Tis true England is
     trying something of the same kind just now in the Sicilies; but God
     preserve us from such a mistaken course! Your criticism on our
     constitution is, indeed, altogether too severe; from the principles
     of the Teutonic constitution, all public liberty in Europe originally
     sprang. The contest in which we are engaged will certainly not end in
     a '_farce_;' but why you should go back into private life, preferring
     to be rather the grave-digger than the physician of our present
     political state, I really cannot conceive. Let us rather endeavour
     after what is practically attainable, than grasp at splendid
     theoretical possibilities. You are fond of English authorities; let
     me, therefore, remind you of him who said--_the practice of a
     constitution is frequently very different from its theory_. There is
     much that I like in Arndt's book, and its author I highly esteem; but
     the way of amelioration (_Verbesserung_) which I propose to follow,
     seems to present some prospect of success, where your _revolutionary_
     projects bring with them a risk of losing all.

     "You say that the _dynasties_ are a matter of indifference to you. To
     me they are not. There lives in them a spirit which one can trace
     through ages. Read only what Müller in his _Fürstenbund_ says of the
     Guelphs. 'Need I mention the fame of the Guelphs, whose spirit of
     unbending independence has made their name a watchword for liberty?'
     Even England has never been so free as under the three Georges, and
     the fourth George brings the same sentiments with him to the throne.
     Compare with this your slavish Prussian system! I respect Frederick
     the Great, but he caused the ruin of Germany by his aggrandizement,
     and the ruin, let me add, of his own state too, by creating a body
     that only his great soul could animate, and which, after his death,
     lay helpless. When I showed the Prince Regent your remarks on the
     dynasties, he exclaimed--If Stein is quite indifferent to them, why
     does he not name us (Hanover) instead of PRUSSIA? I feel inclined to
     put the same question. Let us be content if we can do the best with
     the materials given us for our own age. ('_Lassen sie uns doch auch
     für unsere eigene Lebenszeit sorgen._') Why think particularly of the
     King of Prussia, a man whom, with the same breath that you exalt him,
     you put under three subjects,[20] and take at the same time his army
     into your own hands, to keep him from doing harm? I pray your
     Excellency to observe, that while my proposal leaves us free hands
     for any possible future improvement, your two plans will offend all
     parties: your first plan, to make Austria swallow up Germany, will
     offend all Europe, and Germany to boot; your second plan, to divide
     Germany between Austria and Prussia, will excite the opposition not
     only of Russia, England, and Sweden, but of all those North Germans
     who are not prepared to receive as a _boon, the Prussian system with
     cell its machinery of boards and councils, of auscultants and
     assessors, and its hereditary incapacity to understand that old maxim
     of political philosophy_--GOVERNA MEGLIO CHI MEN GOVERNA--He governs
     best who governs least.

     "Neither am I at all prepared to agree with what you say on the
     subject of the German courts. I have lived long in great courts, and
     I know not a few small ones; and I can honestly say, that the state
     of morals among the peasants in country villages has always appeared
     to me more corrupt than in the highest circles of polite and
     cultivated society; and I can find little difference in principle
     between the case of one man intriguing in high circles for _grandes
     entrées_, and that of another setting a similar machinery to work to
     obtain the presidency in any church meeting of a small parish, or a
     union of parishes; between one who, to attain a selfish object,
     flatters a prince, and another who flatters the prefect of a
     department. If a difference is to be made, the higher object which
     excites the higher passions seems rather entitled to a preference.

     "Again, I do not see why we should put altogether out of view, how
     much science, civilization, and wealth, have gained by the
     multiplication of central points, where all these things may be
     cherished, and whence, as from so many life-giving fountains, they
     may be beneficently dispensed. What country is there that can compete
     with Germany in respect of scientific culture?--and have the courts
     of so many princes not contributed to this result? And in ancient
     Greece was it not a similar state of things, that, as one great
     element at least, produced a similar result? But I will not attempt
     to discuss this subject in all its bearings. Enough, if you will
     believe me, that in the arrangement of the future political state of
     Germany, I do not look for a mere FARCE; while, at the same time, I
     feel obliged to protest decidedly, in present circumstances at least,
     against your project of uniting Germany under one or two masters."

There are many admirable points in the above letter; and after pondering
it well, no intelligent reader will doubt for a moment that the schemes of
Stein with regard to German _unity_, were not only impracticable in their
main scope, but, in some respects, of very questionable propriety. It
were necessary, however, to have had the experience of a Prussian, and the
heart of a Stein, in the year 1813, if one would fully understand how
imperatively these practical impossibilities must have presented
themselves to the earliest and patriotic minds of those days. Convinced
that the cool Hanoverian is right, we still feel inclined to sympathise
with the hot Prussian, who is in the wrong. "_Malo cum Plutone errare._"
Stein followed Alexander into Germany, witnessed the battles of Lutzen and
Bautzen, disheartening as they were, like all true Germans, undismayed:
and on the 23d August 1813, shortly after the resumption of hostilities,
we find him a second time in Prague, and writing most characteristically
as follows:--

     "The spirit of the people here is by no means what it was in 1809;
     and for this plain reason, that the government does nothing, and will
     do nothing, to rouse it. At that time (1809) the STADIONS held the
     helm, and they used every means to waken the nobler feelings of human
     nature, and they attained their object. Now, at the head of affairs,
     we have a cold, scheming, shallow, calculating man, who is afraid of
     nothing so much as an energetic measure--loves nothing more than a
     goal at the nearest possible distance from his nose--and is always
     ready to help himself out of a scrape with any miserable patchwork
     that may serve for the nonce. Hence the marriage introduced by a
     divorce, the foolish hope of a partial peace, the childish congress,
     the wretched ultimatum, and so forth."

And on the 14th September, after the war was fairly broken out again, we
find the following remarks occasioned by the untoward battle of Dresden:--

     "The latest events have taught us what to think of our new allies,
     and their commander, (Schwartzenberg.) We have gained an increase in
     _mass_, not in _insight_, nobility of sentiment, or vigour; we now
     understand what the fruits are of the new system pursued in Austria
     since 1810. From 1806 to 1809, the two Stadions gave all their energy
     to the great work of elevating the spirit of the nation, and at the
     same time strengthening and fully equipping the army; and they
     succeeded in both points; the nation was animated by the most devoted
     enthusiasm, the army fought with true valour. Since the peace of
     Vienna, on the other hand, the new ministry has been concerned only
     to purchase a beggarly peace, to disorganize the army, to cripple the
     public spirit, and to solve the great problem of European
     regeneration by the miserable arts of diplomacy. This also has
     succeeded. The nation has become lukewarm, and the army fight with no
     very remarkable display of soldiership. * * * The man who
     calculates, but without depth, may be a very good book-keeper, but is
     no mathematician.

     "The result, as we have hitherto seen, is, that we have fought EVERY
     WHERE with distinguished success, except where _the grand army_ was
     present, that between Russia and Austria no very friendly feelings
     prevail, ('_eine grosse Abneigung herrscht_,') made worse, of course,
     by the well-known lukewarmness of the latter power. Over and above
     all this, Metternich aims at a preponderant influence such as neither
     his talents, his character, nor the military position of the Austrian
     empire entitles him to. The Emperor Alexander sees all this clearly,
     and will very probably undertake the command of his own and the
     Prussian army in person; and the movement of masses thus animated,
     will then communicate itself to the inert Austrians.

     "It is of the utmost importance that some conclusion should be come
     to about the settlement of Germany. From * * * expect no
     comprehensive views; he seeks for nothing but the shortest and most
     comfortable road, and will content himself with respectable vamping
     in any shape. The history of the negotiations proves this; and had it
     not been for the MADNESS OF NAPOLEON, we should unquestionably have
     had for the third, fourth, and fifth time, a ruinous and wretched
     peace."

The person so severely handled in two places of these letters where he is
not named, is plainly enough Prince Metternich; a statesman who, whatever
may be his abilities, and whatever may have been his merits--and merits in
the management of German affairs--from the peace of Vienna in 1809, to
that of Paris in 1815, (and it were out of place to attempt discussing
these points here,) was plainly in every respect the _antipodes_ of Stein;
and a man whom the hot Prussian baron could no more form a just judgment
of, than Martin Luther could of Erasmus. Diplomatists and mere
politicians, even the best of them, are seldom--to say the least of
it--the most noble specimens of human nature: there are bad and good
amongst them of course; but Stein, in his despotic sweeping style, was
fond of classing them all together, as in one of his letters to Gagern;
where, after expressing his confident reliance on "Providence, and the
hand of a loving Father who guides all," he adds, but "from the sly crafty
animals called politicians--(the original is English)--from these
_homunciones_ I expect nothing."

The official position which Stein occupied during the eventful year 1813,
was that of Supreme Director of the Interim Central Board of
Administration (_Central Verwaltung_) of the conquered provinces of
Germany, till arrangements should be made for their final disposal in a
general congress. When that congress came to do its work, of course he had
nothing more to do; and it will be pretty evident to the reader, from the
temper and opinions of the man, as above exhibited, that he was in nowise
calculated to work efficiently with such men as Metternich, Talleyrand,
and Lord Castlereagh, at Vienna. The very composition of the congress,
made up of every possible complex and contending interest, rendered from
the beginning the realization of Stein's patriotic views, with regard to
German unity, impossible. In such congregations of working and
counter-working diplomatists, not the triumph of any great principle, but
the compromise of a number of petty claims, is generally the result; but
compromise and patchwork of every kind were, to a man of Stein's temper,
only another name for the DEVIL. The congress of Vienna, so far as Germany
was concerned, ended, according to his views, in a "FARCE;" for not only
were the other German states, great and small, left entire, but SAXONY
also--Napoleon's centre and base in the late war--was preserved, only a
half (instead of the whole) of it being cut off for the great German
object of forming "a strong Prussia." And with regard to this point, we
must confess we feel, in some respects, inclined to agree with the
Prussian baron. If Saxony was to be made an exception to the general rule,
it would have been better, for many reasons, to have handed it over
undivided to the great Northern power. If neither one strong German
empire, nor an equally-poised federal system, was any longer possible, a
strong Prussia was certainly a thing imperatively called for. But
congresses are congresses; and we must even content ourselves with the
most convenient adjustment of contending claims that was found practicable
at the time; and if the result seems unsatisfactory, we may turn away our
eyes from it; occupy ourselves with the best business that offers itself,
and let God work. So at least Stein did. He kept his word to Count Münster
most faithfully; and, after the decisive thunders of Leipsig and Waterloo,
having done his part to bring the great European tragedy to a worthy
catastrophe, he retired from witnessing the "farce," with all convenient
speed, into private life, and was heard of no more in court or cabinet in
Berlin, from that day till his death. In the spring of 1816, we find him,
in his own ancestral castle in Nassau, addressing a fiend as
follows:--"Yes, dear friend, we have won much; but much also should have
been otherwise. God governs the world, and abandons no German; and if we
remain true and German, (_treu und Deutsch_,) we shall take up the matter
some other day with the French again, and settle the account more
satisfactorily. For myself, I long to depart; _this world is, once for
all, so constituted, that a man cannot walk on the straight path, and yet
ought not to walk on the crooked_. 'Tis even so; circumstances and
relations drive and force men. They act, and think they are the doers; but
it is God that decides." This most characteristic passage expresses only
Stein's feeling, that the French had been allowed to escape so cheaply, by
the generosity of the Allies, at the peace of Paris; but he had much more
substantial grievances to vex him nearer home; and, next to the feeble
machinery of the diet at Frankfort, that which hurt him most was the
political reaction at Berlin that commenced immediately after the peace,
and threatened to undo that great social work which he had so boldly begun
in 1808. However much a Prussian in his political sympathies, Stein was
essentially an Englishman in his principles; the tendency of all his
measures, as they were introduced by himself, or followed out by
Hardenberg, was to temper the military and bureaucratic despotism of
Frederick the Great by a wise admixture of popular influence; he wished a
"constitution" after the English model, as much as circumstances might
permit, not in form merely but in deed; he was not afraid of free
discussion among a well-educated people like the Germans, and was too
noble-minded to imitate, in Berlin or Maine, the spy-system on which
Napoleon had based his immoral monarchy of physical force at Paris. It was
not to be expected, however, that in a country hitherto governed solely by
the Court and by the Bureau, these English views of Stein should not have
met with sturdy opposition; in fact it was mainly by help of the battle of
Jena, that he was enabled to do what he did for creating a Prussian PEOPLE
in 1808. Now that terrible shock had passed; and the host of defeated
bureaucratists and court minions, after the battle for the liberation of
the fatherland had been fought by others, now began to crown into their
old places, and to occupy the ears of a king more honest to promise what
was right than strong to do it. Accordingly, instead of "freedom of the
press" and "constitution" in Prussia, we have heard no sound, since the
year 1815, but that of prohibited books, imaginary conspiracies of
beer-inspired Burschen, deposed professors, and banished old Luther; and
every thing, in short, except what the pious old Frederick William III.
promised, or was made to appear to promise, with such gracious, popular,
and constitutional phrases at Vienna, in the year 1815. Whether the
military and bureaucratic despotism of Germany may not, after all, be a
better system of government on the whole than our strange system of local
and corporate influence of all sorts, of fermenting acids and alkalis,
here is a question which some persons of a speculative disposition may
consider open enough; but that the supreme power having once pledged
itself to give a people a free constitution and freedom of the press,
should act with honour, and do what was promised, seems, (if there be any
such thing as public morals at all,) under any form of government, nothing
more than what common policy as well as propriety would dictate. Those who
bear the rule in Germany, however, have, for the last thirty years, done
every thing that they possibly could do to make the royal word a public
mockery, and a shame; one cannot review the well-known despotic
proceedings of the German diet, first in 1829, and afterwards in 1832,
without subscribing a most full assent to the sentence of the Baron von
Stein, when he says, in reference to those very matters--"the falsehood
that prevails in our age is deserving of the most serious reprehension."
And again, "Our German government sink more and more daily in public
estimation by their timidity and perfidy." With regard to the whole
system, indeed, of Prussian government, the system of doing every thing by
official men, and nothing by voluntary movement of the people, and apart
from this special matter of the "_constitution_," Stein was accustomed to
use the strongest language of reprobation; witness the following letter to
Von Gagern, dated 24th August 1821. Coppenberg was a favourite seat of the
Baron in Westphalia.

     "In the lonely woody Coppenberg, I live so remote from the world and
     its doings, that nothing can disturb me in the enjoyment of nature
     and a country life, except bad weather, which happily has left us a
     few days ago, and is not likely soon to return. In Westphalia here,
     my friends are more concerned about the new tax, and the new edict
     about the peasants, (which satisfies no party,) than about the
     schemes of Metternich on the banks of the Danube, and the great
     events in Greece. For myself, I can say nothing more about public
     affairs, than that, while I have little confidence in the present
     leaders, I have an unbounded trust in Providence; and that, necessary
     as a CONSTITUTION _is to Prussia, and beneficial as it would be if
     fairly worked, I expect nothing from any machinery which will
     necessarily be opposed by the persons who have possession of the
     king's ear, and the court influence generally_: and I see plainly
     that we are still, as we have hitherto been, to be governed by
     salaried persons, equipped with mere book-learning, without any
     substantial interest in the country, without property, by mere
     bureaucratists--a system which will last so long as it can
     last--'_Das geht so lange es geht!_' These four words contain the
     soul of our and suchlike spiritless (_geistlos_) government
     machines:--in the first place salaried--and this implies a tendency
     to maintain and to multiply the number of salaried officials; then
     _book-learned_--that is, living in the world of the dead letter, and
     not in the actual world; _without interest_--for these men stand in
     no connexion with any class of the citizens, which are the mass of
     the state; they are a peculiar caste, these men of the quill, ("_die
     Schreiberkaste_;") lastly, _without property_--this implies that they
     stand unmoved by all changes that affect property, in sunshine or in
     rain, with taxes high or low, with old chartered rights maintained or
     destroyed, with independent peasants or a rabble of mere journeymen,
     with a dependence of the peasants on the proprietors, or of all on
     the Jews and the bankers--'tis all one to the bureaucracy. They draw
     their salary from the public purse, and write--write--write
     on--secretly--silently--invisibly with shut
     doors--unknown--unnoticed--unnamed--and bring up their children after
     them, to be what their fathers were--very serviceable
     writing-machines.

     "Our machinery--the old military machinery--I saw fall on the 14th
     October 1806; possibly the machinery of the desk and the quill and
     the red tape has a 14th of October already doomed for it in Heaven."

These are serious words; and though Stein was one of those intense and
strongly accentuating minds that never could state a truth without
overstating it, (as Martin Luther also was continually doing,) they are
not wise who would treat the hard blows from the cudgel of such a man as
if they were puffs and whiffs of angry smoke from some wrathful Heine, or
other furious poetical politician in Paris. Stein was the most practical
of men; he had lived all his life amid the details of practice; and, like
all practical men, in the midst of his violence knew how to preserve
certain sobriety and moderation, without which no such thing as governing
is possible. There is nothing, in our opinion, that any King of Prussia
could do better than seriously to ponder the passage we have just quoted,
and also the few short sentences that follow:--

     Nassau, Sept. 29, 1819.

     "I expect nothing satisfactory and substantial from the assembling
     together, and the deliberations, of mediocre and superficial men.

     "The most important thing that could be done for the preservation of
     the public peace in Germany, were to _put an end to the reign of
     arbitrary power, and, in the place of it, to commence a system of
     constitutional law; in the place of the bureaucratists and the
     democratic pamphleteers--of whom the former oppress the people by
     much and bad governing, and the other excite and confound it--to
     place the influence and the activity of the proprietors of the
     soil_."

With these memorable words we are willing that the character of Stein, as
an English statesman in Prussia, should grave itself deep in the hearts
both of Englishmen and Prussians. We have only to add that, in his latter
years, Stein occupied himself in organizing a society at Frankfort for
publishing the original documents of German history, which are best known
to the English historical student in connexion with the name of Perz; and
that he took an active share in the business of the provincial states of
Westphalia. He was also (since 1827) member of the council of state in
Berlin; but this dignity, conferred at so late a period, seems merely to
have been intended as a sort of unavoidable compliment to a person of his
rank and standing. It certainly did not imply that his well-known English
principles were intended to assume any greater prominency in the conduct
of Prussian and German affairs than they had enjoyed since the peace.

Baron Stein died on the 29th June 1831, in his castle of Coppenberg in
Westphalia.



THE HISTORICAL ROMANCE.


We are constantly told that invention is worn out; that every thing is
exhausted, that all the intellectual treasures of modern Europe have been
dug up; and that we must look to a new era of the world, and a different
quarter of the globe, for new ideas or fresh views of thought. It must be
confessed, that if we look to some parts of our literature, there seems
too good reason for supposing that this desponding opinion is well
founded. Every thing, in some departments, does seem worked out. Poetry
appears for the time wellnigh extinguished. We have some charming ballads
from Tennyson; some touching lines from Miss Barret; but where are the
successors of Scott and Byron, of Campbell and Southey? Romance, in some
branches, has evidently exhausted itself. For ten years we had novels of
fashionable life, till the manners and sayings of lordlings and right
honourables had become familiar to all the haberdashers' apprentices and
milliners' girls in London. That vein being worked out, literature has run
into the opposite channel. Action and reaction is the law, not less of the
intellectual than the physical world. Inventive genius has sought out, in
the lower walks of life, those subjects of novel study and fresh
description which could no longer be found in the higher. So far has this
propensity gone, so violent has been the oscillation of the pendulum in
this direction, that novelists have descended to the very lowest stages of
society in the search of the new or the exciting. Not only have the
manners, the selfishness, and vulgarity of the middle ranks been painted
with admirable fidelity, and drawn with inimitable skill, but the habits
and slang of the very lowest portrayed with prurient minuteness, and
interest sought to be awakened in the votaries of fashion or the Sybarites
of pleasure by the delineation of the language and ideas of the most
infamous wretches who ever disgraced society by their vices, or endangered
it by their crimes.

"Whatever," says Dr Johnson, "makes the PAST or the FUTURE predominate
over the present, exalts us in the scale of thinking beings." The words
are familiar till they have become trite; but words are often repeated
when the sense is far off. It is in the general oblivion of the thought of
the philosopher, while his words were in every mouth, that the cause of
the want of originality in modern works of imagination is to be found. If
to the "Past" and the "Future," enumerated by Johnson, we add the
"DISTANT," we shall have an effectual antidote, and the only one which is
effectual against the sameness of present ideas, or the limited circle of
present observation. The tendency to _localize_ is the propensity which
degrades literature, as it is the chief bane and destroyer of individual
character. It is the opposite effect of engendering a tendency to expand,
which constitutes the chief value of travelling in the formation of
character. If the thought and conversation of individuals are limited to
the little circle in which they live, or the objects by which they are
immediately surrounded, we all know what they speedily become. It is in
the extension of the interest to a wider circle, in the admission of
objects of general concern and lasting importance into the sphere of
habitual thought, that the only preservative against this fatal tendency
is to be found. It is the power of doing this which forms the chief charm
of the highest society in every country, and renders it in truth every
where the same. A man of the world will find himself equally at home, and
conversation flow at once with equal ease, in the higher saloons of London
or Paris, of Rome or Vienna, of Warsaw or St Petersburg. But he will find
it scarcely possible to keep up conversation for a quarter of an hour in
the _bourgeois_ circle of any of these capitals. It is the same with
literature; and especially that wide and important branch of literature
which, aiming at the exciting of interest, or delineating of manners,
should in an especial manner be guarded against the degradation consequent
on a narrow restriction of its subjects to matters only of local concern.

The prodigious success and widespread popularity which have attended some
of the most able novels of this new school of romance in late years, as
well as the great ability which their composition evinces, must not blind
our eyes to the degrading tendency of such compositions upon the national
literature. Immediate circulation, great profit to the bookseller, a
dazzling reputation to the author, are by no means to be relied on as the
heralds of lasting fame. In cases innumerable, they have proved the
reverse. Still less are they to be considered as proofs that the writer,
be his abilities what they may, has worthily performed his mission, or
elevated himself to the exalted level of which his art is susceptible. The
most pernicious romances and poems that ever appeared have often been
ushered into the world by the most unbounded immediate applause; witness
the _Nouvelle Heloïse_ of Rousseau, and _Pucelle_ of Voltaire. It was just
their dangerous and seductive qualities which gave them their success.
Rousseau knew this well. He addressed himself with skill and perfect
knowledge of the age to its passions and vices:--"J'ai vu les moeurs de
mon temps, et j'ai publié ces lettres," were the first words of his
_Nouvelle Heloïse_. In the school we have mentioned, there is nothing
immoral or improper; but is there any thing elevating or improving? The
true test of real excellence is not immediate success but durable fame; it
is to be found not in the popularity of circulating shops, or reading
clubs, but in the shelves of the library, or the delight of the fireside.
When a work suddenly attains great immediate celebrity in a particular
circle or country, it is generally, though not always, an indication that
it is not destined to enjoy any lasting reputation. The reason is, that it
is addressed to local feelings, temporary passions, and particular
desires; and it rises to eminence from interesting or gratifying them. But
that is not the way permanently to attract mankind. Nothing can do so but
what is addressed to the universal feeling of our nature, and has
penetrated to the inmost chords, which are common to all ages and
countries. The touching them alone can secure durable fame.

Where now are all the novels portraying fashionable life with which the
shops of publishers teemed, and the shelves of circulating libraries
groaned, not ten years ago? Buried in the vault of all the Capulets. Where
will the novels portraying manners in the lowest walks of life be ten
years hence? He is a bold man who says they will be found in one
well-selected library. We do not dispute the vast ability of some of these
productions. We are well aware of the fidelity with which they have
painted the manners of the middle class, previously little touched on in
novels; we fully admit the pathos and power of occasional passages, the
wit and humour of many others, the graphic delineation of English
character which they all contain. But, admitting all this, the question
is--have these productions come up to the true standard of novel-writing?
Are they fitted to elevate and purify the minds of their readers? Will the
persons who peruse, and are amused, perhaps fascinated, by them, become
more noble, more exalted, more spiritual beings, than they were before? Do
not these novels, able and amusing as they are, bear the same relation to
the lofty romances of which our literature can boast, that the Boors of
Ostade, or the Village Wakes of Teniers, do to the Madonnas of Guido, or
the Holy Families of Raphael? These pictures were and are exceedingly
popular in Flanders and Holland, where their graphic truth could be
appreciated; but are they ever regarded as models of the really beautiful
in painting? We leave it to the most ardent admirers of the Jack Sheppard
school to answer these questions.

The doctrine now so prevalent is essentially erroneous, that the manners
of the middle or lowest class are the fit object of the novelist, because
they are natural. Many things are natural which yet are not fit to be
exposed, and by the customs of all civilized nations are studiously
concealed from the view. Voltaire's well-known answer to a similar remark
when made in regard to Shakspeare, indicates, though in a coarse way, the
true reply to such observations. If every thing that is natural, and we
see around us, is the fit object of imitation, and perpetuating in
literature, it can no longer be called one of the _Fine_ Arts. It is
degraded to a mere copying of nature in her coarsest and most disgusting,
equally as her noblest and most elevating, aspects. We protest against the
doctrine, that the lofty art of romance is to be lowered to the
delineating the manners of cheesemongers and grocers, of crop-head charity
boys, and smart haberdashers' and milliners' apprentices of doubtful
reputation. If we wish to see the manners of such classes, we have only to
get into a railway or steamboat; the sight of them at breakfast or dinner
will probably be enough for any person accustomed to the habits of good
society. Still more solemnly do we enter our protest against the slang of
thieves or prostitutes, the flash words of receivers of stolen goods and
criminal officers, the haunts of murderers and burglars, being the proper
subject for the amusement or edification of the other classes of society.
It might as well be said that the refuse of the common-sewers should be
raked up and mixed with the garbage of the streets to form our daily food.
That such things exist is certain; we have only to walk the streets at
night, and we shall soon have ample evidence of their reality. But are
they the proper object of the novel-writer's pencil? That is the question;
and it is painful to think that in an age boasting its intelligence, and
glorying in the extent of its information, such a question should be
deemed susceptible of answer in any but one way.

These two extremes of novel-writing--the Almack and Jack Sheppard
schools--deviate equally from the standard of real excellence. The one is
too exclusively devoted to the description of high, the other of low life.
The one portrays a style of manners as artificial and peculiar as that of
the paladins and troubadours of chivalry; the other exhibits to our view
the lowest and most degraded stages of society, and by the force of humour
or the tenderness of pathos interests us too often in the haunts of vice
or the pursuits of infamy. It is easy to see that the one school was
produced by the reaction of the human mind against the other; genius,
tired of the eternal flirtations of guardsmen and right honourables,
sought for unsophisticated nature in the humour of low or the sorrows of
humble life. But low and humble life are sophisticated just as much as
elevated and fashionable; and, if we are driven to a selection, we would
prefer the artificial manners of the great to the natural effusions of the
vulgar. We would rather, as the child said to the ogress, be eat up by the
gentleman. But true novel-writing should be devoted to neither the one nor
the other. It should aim at the representation of what Sir Joshua Reynolds
called "general or common nature"--that is, nature by its general
features, which are common to all ages and countries, not its
peculiarities in a particular circle or society. It is by success in
delineating that, and _by it alone_, that lasting fame is to be acquired.
Without doubt every age and race of men have their separate dress end
costume, and the mind has its externals as well as the body, which the
artist of genius will study with sedulous care, and imitate with
scrupulous fidelity. But the soul is not in the dress; and so it will be
found in the delineation of mind as in the representation of the figure.

All these extravagances in the noble art of romance originate in one
cause. They come of not making "the past and the _distant_ predominate
over the present." It is like sketching every day from nature in the same
scenery or country: the artist, if he has the pencil of Claude Lorraine or
Salvator Rosa, will, in the end, find that if the _objects_ of his study
are endless, their _character_ has a certain family resemblance; and that,
if he is not repeating the same study, he is reproducing, under different
forms, the same ideas. But let him extend his observation to a wider
sphere: let him study the sublimity of mountain or the sweetness of
pastoral scenery, let him traverse the Alps and the Apennines, the
Pyrenees or the Caucasus; let him inhale the spirit of antiquity amidst
the ruins of the Capitol, or the genius of Greece on the rocks of the
Acropolis; let him become embued with modern beauty on the shores of
Naples, or the combined charms of Europe and Asia amidst the intricacies
of the Bosphorus--and what a world of true images, objects, and beauties
is at once let into his mind! It is the same with romance. It is by
generalizing ideas, by means of extended observation, that variety is to
be communicated to conception, and freshness to incident; that the
particular is to be taken from character, and the general impressed upon
mind. But the novelist has this immense advantage over the painter--not
only the present but the past lie open to his study. The boundless events
of history present themselves to his choice: he can not only roam at will
over the present surface of the globe, with all its variety of character,
event, and incident, but penetrate backwards into the unsearchable depths
of time. When will fresh subjects for description be wanting with such a
field to the hand of genius? Never to the end of the world: for years as
they revolve, nations as they rise and fall, events as they thicken around
mankind, but add to the riches of the vast storehouse from which it is to
select its subjects, or cull its materials.

Look at Shakspeare--with what felicity has he selected on this
inexhaustible reserve, to vary his incidents, to invigorate his ideas, to
give raciness to his characters! He has not even confined himself to
English story, rich as it is in moving or terrible events, and strikingly
as its moving phantasmagoria come forth from his magic hand. The
tragedies, the comedies, the events, the ideas, of the most distant ages
of the world, of the most opposite states of society, of the most
discordant characters of mankind, seem depicted with equal felicity. He is
neither thoroughly chivalrous like Tasso and Ariosto, nor thoroughly
Grecian like Sophocles and Euripides, nor thoroughly French like Corneille
and Racine. He has neither portrayed exclusively the manners of Arthur and
the Round Table, nor of the courts of the Henrys or the Plantagenets. He
is as varied as the boundless variety of nature. Profoundly embued at one
time with the lofty spirit of Roman patriotism, he is not less deeply
penetrated at another with the tenderness of Italian love. If Julius Cesar
contains the finest picture that ever was drawn of the ideas of the
citizens of the ancient world, Juliet is the most perfect delineation of
the refined passions of the modern. The bursting heart, uncontrollable
grief, but yet generous spirit of the Moor--the dark ambition and
blood-stained career of the Scot, come as fresh from his pencil as the
dreamy contemplation of the Prince of Denmark, or the fascinating creation
of the Forest of Ardennes. It is hard to say whether he is greatest in
painting the racked grief of Lear, the homely sense of Falstaff, or the
aërial vision of Miranda. Here is the historical drama; here is the varied
picture of the human heart; and if the world is not prolific of
Shakspeares, he at least has afforded decisive evidence of the vastness of
the field thus opened to its genius.

The HISTORICAL ROMANCE should take its place beside the plays of
Shakspeare. It does not aim at representation on the stage; it has not the
powers of the actor, the deception of scenery, the magic of theatrical
effect, nor the charms of music, to heighten its impression. But in
exchange it has one incalculable advantage, which in the end is adequate
to overbalance them all: it brings delight to the fireside. Seated in our
arm-chairs, with the wintry winds howling around us, with our feet at a
blazing fire, we are transported by the wand of the novelist to the most
remote ages and distant counties of the earth. The lofty spirit and
generous passions of chivalry; the stern resolves and heroic resolution of
ancient patriotism; the graceful profligacy and studied gallantry of the
court of Louis XIV.; the deep Machiavelism of Italian perfidy; the blunt
simplicity of German virtue; the freeborn fearlessness of English valour;
the lofty soul and poetic imagery of the North American savage; the
dauntless intrepidity of his Castilian conqueror; the heart-stirring
pathos of Eastern story; the savage ferocity of Scythian conquest--may be
alternately presented to our view. We roam at will, not only over space
but time; and if the writer is worthy of his high vocation, he can so warm
the imagination by the interest of event, the delineation of character,
the force of passion, or the charm of the pathetic, that the strongest
impression of reality is conveyed to the reader's mind. Add to this the
material appliances which are at his disposal; and which, though far
inferior to mental power in rousing interest or awakening sympathy, have
yet great effect in giving life to the picture, and transporting the
imagination to the scenes or the ages which are intended to be portrayed.
The scenery of all the different parts of the world, under every possible
variety of light, colour, and circumstance; the manners, habits, and
customs of all nations, and all ages and all grades of society; the
dresses, arms, houses, and strongholds of men in all stages of their
progress, from the huntsmen of Nimrod to the Old Guard of Napoleon; the
ideas of men in different classes and ranks of life in all ages--form so
many additions to his pictures, which, if skilfully managed, must give
them infinite variety and interest. There is no end, there never can be
any end, to the combinations of genius with such materials at its
disposal. If men, since this noble art has been created, ever run into
repetition, it will be from want of originality in conception, not variety
in subject.

The prodigious addition which the happy idea of the historical romance has
made to the stores of elevated literature, and through it to the happiness
and improvement of the human race, will not be properly appreciated,
unless the novels most in vogue before the immortal creations of Scott
appeared are considered. If we take up even the most celebrated of them,
and in which the most unequivocal marks of genius are to be discerned, it
seems hardly possible to conceive how their authors could have acquired
the reputation which they so long enjoyed. They are distinguished by a
mawkish sensibility, a perpetual sentimentality, as different from the
bursts of genuine passion as their laboured descriptions of imaginary
scenes are from the graphic sketches which, in later times, have at once
brought reality before the mind's eye. The novels of Charlotte Smith, Miss
Radcliffe, and Miss Burney belong to this school; they are now wellnigh
unreadable. Even works of higher reputation and unquestionable genius in
that age, the _Nouvelle Heloïse_ of Rousseau, and _Sir Charles Grandison_
of Richardson, now form a heavy task even for the most ardent lover of
romance. Why is it that works so popular in their day, and abounding with
so many traits of real genius, should so soon have palled upon the world?
Simply because they were not founded upon a broad and general view of
human nature; because they were drawn, not from real life in the
innumerable phases which it presents to the observer, but imaginary life
as it was conceived in the mind of the composer; because they were
confined to one circle and class of society, and having exhausted all the
natural ideas which it could present, its authors were driven, in the
search of variety, to the invention of artificial and often ridiculous
ones.

Sir Walter Scott, as all the world knows, was the inventor of the
historical romance. As if to demonstrate how ill founded was the opinion,
that all things were worked out, and that originality no longer was
accessible for the rest of time, Providence, by the means of that great
mind, bestowed a new art, as it were, upon mankind--at the very time when
literature to all appearance was effete, and invention, for above a
century, had run in the cramped and worn-out channels of imitation. Gibbon
was lamenting that the subjects of history were exhausted, and that modern
story would never present the moving incidents of ancient story, on the
verge of the French Revolution and the European war--of the Reign of
Terror and the Moscow retreat. Such was the reply of Time to the complaint
that political incident was worn out. Not less decisive was the answer
which the genius of the Scottish bard afforded to the opinion, that the
treasures of original thought were exhausted, and that nothing now
remained for the sons of men. In the midst of that delusion he wrote
_Waverley_; and the effect was like the sun bursting through the clouds.
After a space, shorter than is usually required for a work of original
conception to make its way in society, the effect began to appear. Like
the invention of gunpowder or steam, it in the end worked a change in the
moral world. Envy was silenced; criticism was abashed; detraction ceased
to decry--malignity to deride. The hearts of men were taken as it were by
storm. A new vein of boundless extent and surpassing richness was opened
as it were under our feet. Men marvelled that it had been so long of being
found out. And the first discoverer worked it with such rapidity and
success, that for long no one attempted to disturb him in the turning
forth of its wealth.

It is curious, now that this great revolution in romance-writing has taken
place, and is felt and acknowledged by all the world, to reflect on the
causes, apparently accidental, by which it was brought about, and the
trivial circumstances which might have turned aside, perhaps for ever, the
creative mind of Scott from this its appropriate sphere of original
action. The first chapters of _Waverley_, as we learn from Lockhart's
Life, were written in 1808; but the work was laid aside in an unfinished
form, and was almost forgotten by its author. It would probably have
remained there overlooked and incomplete to the day of his death, had not
the extraordinary popularity of Lord Byron's _Childe Harold_ and
subsequent pieces, joined to some symptoms of waning public favour in the
reception of his own later pieces, particularly _Rokeby_ and the _Lord of
the Isles_, awakened in his mind, as he himself has told us, a latent
suspicion that he had better retire from the field of poetry before his
youthful competitor, and betake himself to another career, in which
hitherto no rival had appeared. Under the influence of this feeling of
distrust in his poetical powers, the all but forgotten manuscript of
_Waverley_ was drawn forth from its obscurity, the novel was finished, and
given to the world in July 1814. From that moment the historical romance
was born for mankind. One of the most delightful and instructive species
of composition was created; which unites the learning of the historian
with the fancy of the poet; which discards from human annals their years
of tedium, and brings prominently forward their eras of interest; which
teaches morality by example, and conveys information by giving pleasure;
and which, combining the charms of imagination with the treasures of
research, founds the ideal upon its only solid and durable basis--the
real.

The historical romance enjoys many advantages for the creation of
interest, and even the conveying of information, over history. It can
combine, in a short space, the exciting incidents which are spread over
numerous volumes; and, by throwing entirely into the background the
uninteresting details of human events, concentrate the light of
imagination on such as are really calculated to produce an impression.
Immense is the facility which this gives for the creation of interest, and
the addition of life, to the picture. What oppresses the historian is the
prodigious number of details with which he is encumbered. As his main
object is to convey a trustworthy narrative of real events, none of them
can, with due regard to the credit of the narrative, be omitted. If they
are so, it is ten to one that the author finds reason to repent his
superficial survey before he has concluded his work; and if he is
fortunate enough to escape such stings of self-reproach, he is quite
certain that the blot will be marked by some kind friend, or candid
critic, who will represent the thing omitted, how trifling soever, as the
most important incident in the whole work, and the neglect of which is
wholly fatal to its credit as a book of authority. Every traveller knows
how invariably this is the case with any object which may have been
accidentally omitted to be seen in any province or city; and that the only
way to avoid the eternal self-reproaches consequent on having it
constantly represented by others as the most interesting object to be
seen, is--at all hazards of time, fatigue, or expense--to see every thing.
But the historical novelist is fettered by no such necessity--he is
constrained to encumber his pages with no inconsiderable details.
Selecting for the objects of his piece the most striking characters and
moving incidents of the period he has chosen, he can throw full light upon
them, and paint the details with that minuteness of finishing which is
essential to conjuring up a vivid image in the reader's mind. He can give
the truth of history without its monotony--the interest of romance without
its unreality.

It was the power they enjoyed of abstracting in this manner from
surrounding and uninteresting details, which constituted the principal
charm of ancient history. The _Cyropædia_ and _Anabasis_ of Xenophon are
nothing but historical romances. Livy's pictured page--Sallust's
inimitable sketches--Tacitus's finished paintings, over their chief
fascination to the simplicity of their subjects. Ancient history, being
confined to the exploits of a single hero or monarch, or the rise of a
particular city, could afford to be graphic, detailed, and consequently
interesting. That was comparatively an easy task when the events of one,
or at most two, states on the shores of the Mediterranean alone required
to be portrayed. But such a limitation of subject is impossible in modern
history, when the transactions of Europe, Asia, Africa and America require
to be detailed to render the thread of events complete. Even biography is
scarcely intelligible without such a narrative of the surrounding nations
and incidents as makes it run into the complexity and consequent dulness
of history. But the author of historical romance is entirely relieved from
this necessity, and consequently he can present the principal events and
characters of his world in far more brilliant colours to his readers than
is possible for the historian. Certainly with some the results of his more
attractive influence will be doubted; but, be that as it may, it is the
Henry V. or Richard III. of Shakspeare that occur to every mind when these
English monarchs are thought of, not the picture of them presented, able
as it is, by Hume or Turner. If we hear of Richard Coeur-de-Lion, we
immediately conjure up the inimitable picture of the crusading hero in
_Ivanhoe_ or the _Talisman_. Elizabeth of England is admirably portrayed
in the pages of Hume, but the Elizabeth of _Kenilworth_ is the one which
is engraven on every mind; and when the romantic tale and heroic death of
Mary of Scotland are thought of, it is less the masterly picture of
Robertson, or the touching narrative of Tytler, that recurs to the
recollection, than the imprisoned princess of the _Abbot_, or the immortal
Last Sacrament of Schiller.

Considered in its highest aspect, no art ever was attempted by man more
elevated and ennobling than the historical romance. It may be doubted
whether it is inferior even to the lofty flights of the epic, or the
heart-rending pathos of the dramatic muse. Certain it is that it is more
popular, and embraces a much wider circle of readers, than either the
_Iliad_ or the _Paradise Lost_. Homer and Tasso never, in an equal time,
had nearly so many readers as Scott. The reason is, that an interesting
story told in prose, can be more generally understood, and is appreciated
by a much wider circle, than when couched in the lofty strains and
comparative obscurity of verse. It is impossible to over-estimate the
influence, for good or for evil, which this fascinating art may exercise
upon future ages. It literally has the moulding of the human mind in its
hands;--"Give me," said Fletcher of Saltoun, "the making of ballads, and I
will give you the making of laws." Historical romances are the ballads of
a civilized and enlightened age. More even than their rude predecessors of
the mountains and the forest, they form those feelings in youth by which
the character of the future man is to be determined. It is not going too
far to say, that the romances of Sir Walter Scott have gone far to
neutralise the dangers of the Reform Bill. Certain it is that they have
materially assisted in extinguishing, at least in the educated classes of
society, that prejudice against the feudal manners, and those devout
aspirations on the blessings of democratic institutions, which were
universal among the learned over Europe in the close of the eighteenth
century. Like all other great and original minds, so far from being swept
away by the errors of his age, he rose up in direct opposition to them.
Singly he set himself to breast the flood which was overflowing the world.
Thence the reaction in favour of the institutions of the olden time in
church and state, which became general in the next generation, and is now
so strongly manifesting itself, as well in the religious contests as the
lighter literature of the present day.

"Some authors," says Madame de Staël, "have lowered the romance in
mingling with it the revolting pictures of vice; and while the first
advantage of fiction is to assemble around man all that can serve as a
lesson or a model, it has been thought that a temporary object might be
gained by representing the obscure scenes of corrupted life, as if they
could ever leave the heart which repels them as pure as that to which they
were unknown. But a romance, such as one can conceive, such as we have
some models of, is one of the noblest productions of the human mind, one
of the most influential on the hearts of individuals, and which is best
fitted in the end to form the morals of nations."[21] It is in this spirit
that romance should be written--it is in this spirit that it has been
written by some of the masters of the art who have already appeared,
during the brief period which has elapsed since its creation. And if, in
hands more impure, it has sometimes been applied to less elevated
purposes; if the turbid waters of human corruption have mingled with the
stream, and the annals of the past have been searched, not to display its
magnanimity, but to portray its seductions; we must console ourselves by
the reflection, that such is the inevitable lot of humanity, that genius
cannot open a noble career which depravity will not enter, nor invent an
engine for the exaltation of the human mind, which vice will not pervert
to its degradation.

As the historical romance has been of such recent introduction in this
country and the world, it is not surprising that its principles should as
yet be not finally understood. It may be doubted whether its great master
and his followers themselves have been fully aware of the causes to which
their own success has been owing. Like travellers who have entered an
unknown but varied and interesting country, they have plunged fearlessly
on, threading forests, dashing through streams, traversing plains,
crossing mountains, and in the breathless haste of the journey, and the
animation of spirit with which it was attended, they have become, in a
great degree, insensible to the causes which produced the charm which
surrounded their footsteps. Yet, like every other art, the historical
romance has its principles; and it is by the right comprehending and
skilful application of these principles, that its highest triumphs are to
be gained. They are the same as those which have long been unfolded by the
great masters of composition in relation to poetry and the drama; they are
to be found applied by Sir Joshua Reynolds to the sister art of painting.
Yet are they not attended to by the great mass of readers, and even by
authors themselves, if we may judge by the frequent failures which are
exhibited, little understood or frequently neglected.

The first requisite of the historical romance is a subject which shall be
_elevated and yet interesting_. It must be elevated, or the work will
derogate from its noblest object, that of rousing the sympathetic
passions, and awakening the generous feelings; it must be interesting, or
these effects will be produced in a very limited degree. Readers of
romance look for excitement; they desire to be interested, and unless they
are so, the author's productions will very soon be neglected. This is
universally known, and felt alike by readers and writers; but yet there is
a strange misapprehension prevalent among many authors, even of
distinguished talent, in regard to the methods by which this interest is
to be awakened. It is frequently said, that the public are insatiable for
novelty; that all home subjects are worn out; and thence it is concluded,
that whatever is new must possess the greatest chance of becoming popular.
In the desire to discover such novelty, every part of the world has been
ransacked. Stories from Persia and the East have been plentifully brought
forward; the prairies and savages of North America have furnished the
subjects of more than one interesting romance; Russia, Poland, Italy,
Spain, as well as France, Germany, Sweden, and the United States, have
been eagerly ransacked to satisfy the craving of a generation seeking
after something new. The total failure of many of these novels, the
dubious success of many others, though written with unquestionable talent,
may convince us, that this principle of looking only for novelty may be
carried too far, and that it is within certain limits only that the
appetite for variety can successfully be indulged. And what these limits
are, may be readily learned by attending to what experience has taught in
the sister arts.

It has been said, and said truly, that "eloquence to be popular must be in
advance of the audience, _and but a little in advance_." The experience of
all ages has taught, that the drama is never successful unless it appeals
to feelings which find a responsive echo in the general mind, and awakens
associations of general interest in the breast of the audience. It is the
same with the historical romance. It may and should deviate a little from
the circle of interesting association generally felt; but it should be
_but a little_. The heart of the readers of novels, as well as the
spectators of tragedies, is at home. The images, the emotions, the loves,
the hatreds, the hopes, the fears, the names, the places familiar to our
youth, are those which awaken the strongest emotions of sympathy in later
years. Novelty is frequently felt as agreeable; but it is so chiefly when
it recalls again in other climes, or in the events of other ages, the
feelings and passions of our own. We like occasionally to leave home; but
when we do so, there is nothing so delightful as to be recalled to it by
the touching of any of those secret chords which bind man to the place of
his nativity, or the scene of his dearest associations. The novels which
are to be durably popular in any country must be founded, not indeed
necessarily on incidents of its own story, but on the ideas with which it
is familiar, and on incidents cousin-german at least to those of its own
national existence. The institutions of chivalry, the feudal system, have
created, as it were, in this respect one great family of the European
nations, which renders, at least to the educated classes, the manners,
emotions, and passions of the higher ranks an object of universal
interest. We can sympathise as warmly with the paladins of Ariosto, or the
knights of Tasso, as ever could the troubadours of Provence or the nobles
of Italy. But if this lofty circle which forms the manners of chivalry is
once passed, we descend to inferior grades of society. The novelist of
every country will find, that what he portrays will not permanently or
generally interest a wider circle than that of its own inhabitants. We can
take no interest in the boyards of Russia or the boors of Poland; but
little in the agas and kuzilbashes of Eastern story. Novelty, as in the
_Arabian Nights_, may attract in youth for a single publication; but fairy
or Eastern tales will never form the intellectual bread of life. The
universal admiration with which _Don Quixote_ and the Waverley novels are
regarded over the whole world, must not blind us to the extreme difficulty
of making the manners of the middle or lower ranks, if brought forward as
the main machinery of a romance, durably interesting to any but those to
whom they are familiar. Even Scott and Cervantes owe great part of their
success to the skill with which they have combined the noble manners and
exalted ideas, engendered in the European heart by the institutions of
chivalry, and as widely spread as its spirit, with the graphic picture of
the manners in the different countries where the scene of their romances
was laid. And it is not every man who can draw the bow of Ulysses.

_Ivanhoe_, the _Abbot_, and _Old Mortality_, may be considered as the
perfection of historical romances, so far as subject goes. They all relate
to events of national history, well known to all persons possessing any
information in England and Scotland, and deeply connected with the most
interesting associations to those of cultivated minds. The undaunted
courage and jovial manners of the Lion-hearted hero; the cruel oppression
of Norman rule; the bold spirit of Saxon independence; the deep sorrows
and ever-doubtful character of the heroic Queen of Scots; the fearful
collision of Puritan zeal with Cavalier loyalty, from which issued the
Great Rebellion--are engraven on every heart in the British islands. They
formed the most appropriate subjects, therefore, for the foundation or
substratum of novels to be permanently interesting to the Anglo-Saxon
race, with the addition of such imaginary characters or incidents as might
illustrate still further the manners and ideas of the times. Nor are such
subjects of universal and national interest by any means yet exhausted. On
the contrary, many of the most admirable of these have never yet been
touched on. The cruel conquest of Wales by Edward I.; the heroic struggles
of Wallace against the same monarch; the glorious establishment of
Scottish independence by Robert Bruce; the savage ferocity and
heart-rending tragedies of the wars of the Roses; the martyr-like death of
Charles I.; the heart-stirring conquests of Edward III. and the Black
Prince; the heartless gallantry of the age of Charles II.; the noble
efforts of the Highlanders in 1715 and 1745 for their hereditary
sovereign, form a few of the periods of British history, either not at
all, or as yet imperfectly, illustrated by historical romance. Nor is the
stock terminated; on the contrary, it is growing, and hourly on the
increase. The time has already come when the heroism of La Vendée, the
tragedies of the Revolution, form the appropriate subject of French
imaginative genius; and the period is not far distant when Wellington and
the paladins of the late war, transported from this earthly scene by the
changes of mortality, will take lasting and immortal place in the fields
of romance.

The success of many of the novels of recent times, in the conception of
which most genius has been evinced, and in the composition most labour
bestowed, has been endangered, if not destroyed, by inattention to this
principle in the choice of a subject. There is great talent, much
learning, and vigorous conception, in the _Last Days of Pompeii_ by
Bulwer; and the catastrophe with which it concludes is drawn with his very
highest powers; but still it is felt by every class of readers to be
uninteresting. We have no acquaintance or association with Roman manners;
we know little of their habits; scarce any thing of their conversation in
private: they stand forth to us in history in a sort of shadowy grandeur,
totally distinct from the interest of novelist composition. No amount of
learning or talent can make the dialogues of Titus and Lucius, of Gallius
and Vespasia, interesting to a modern reader. On the other hand, the _Last
of the Barons_ is an admirably chosen historical subject, worked out with
even more than the author's usual power and effect; and but for a defect
in composition, to be hereafter noticed, it would be one of the most
popular of all his productions. Great talent and uncommon powers of
description have been displayed in Oriental novels; but they have not
attained any lasting reputation--not from any fault on the part of the
writers, but the want of sympathy in the great majority of readers with
the subject of their compositions. Strange to say, we feel nothing foreign
in James's _Attila_. So deeply were we impregnated with barbarian
blood--so strongly have Scythian customs and ideas descended to our
times--that the wooden palace of the chief of the Huns, surrounded with
its streets of carts, and myriads of flocks and herds, in the centre of
Hungary, is felt as nothing alien. On the other hand, some of Sir Walter's
later productions have failed, notwithstanding great ability in the
execution, from undue strangeness in the subject. _Anne of Geierstein_,
and the Indian story in the _Chronicles of the Canongate_, belong to this
class; and even if _Robert of Paris_ had not been written during the decay
of the author's mental powers, it would probably have failed, from the
impossibility of communicating any of the interest of a novel to a story
of the Lower Empire.

In this respect there is an important distinction between the drama and
the historical romance, which writers in the latter style would do well to
keep in view. Tragedy being limited in general to a very short period,
during which events of the most heart-rending kind are accumulated
together, in order as strongly as possible to awaken the sympathy, or move
the hearts of the spectators, it is comparatively of little importance
where the scene is laid. Where the bones and muscles of the mind are laid
bare by deep affliction, mankind in all ages and countries are the same.
The love of Juliet, the jealousy of Othello, are felt with equal force in
all parts of the world. We can sympathize as strongly with the protracted
woes of Andromache, or the generous self-immolation of Antigone, as the
Athenian audience who wept at the eloquence of Euripides or the power of
Sophocles: we feel the death of Wallenstein to be as sublime as the
Germans who are transported by the verses of Schiller; and they weep at
the heroism of Mary Stuart, with as heartfelt emotion as the people of
Scotland to whom her name is a household word. But it is otherwise with
romance. It is occasionally, and at considerable intervals only, that
these terrible or pathetic scenes are represented in its pages, which
sweep away all peculiarities of nation, age, or race, and exhibit only the
naked human heart: nineteen-twentieths of its pages are taken up with
ordinary occurrences, one-half of its interest is derived from the
delineation of manners, or the developing of character in dialogue, which
exhibits none of the vehement passions; and the interest of the reader is
kept up chiefly by the fidelity of the drawing, the spirit of the
conversation, or the accuracy and brilliancy of the descriptions. If these
prove uninteresting from their being too remote from ordinary observation
or association, the work will fail, with whatever talent or power its
principal and tragic scenes may be executed.

In proposing as the grand requisite to the historical romance, that the
subject should be of an _elevating and ennobling kind_, we by no means
intend to assert that the author is always to be on stilts, that he is
never to descend to the description of low or even vulgar life, or that
humour and characteristic description are to be excluded from his
composition. We are well aware of the value of contrast in bringing out
effect; we know that the mind of the reader requires repose, even from the
most exalted emotions; we have felt the weariness of being satiated with
beauty, in the galleries of the Vatican or the valleys of Switzerland.
Brilliants require setting, and bright light can be brought out only by
proportional depth or breadth of shadow. If the novelist tries to keep up
exalted sentiments or pathetic scenes too often, he will fall into the
mistake of the painter who throws an equal light on all parts of his
picture. Probably the rule which Sir Joshua Reynolds says he found by
observation had been invariably observed by Titian--viz., to have
one-fourth only of his picture in very bright light, one-fourth in deep
shadow, and the remaining half in middle tint, may be equally applicable
to the compositions of the novelist. But admitting all this--admitting
further, that novels which deviate from the elevated standard may often
attain a great temporary popularity, the greater, probably, owing to that
very deviation--it is not the less true that the main object of the art is
to awaken generous and elevated feelings; and that in no other way than by
attention to this object, is durable fame to be obtained.

The celebrity arising from skill in the painting of low or vulgar manners,
from power in the description of desperate or abandoned characters, how
great soever it may be for a time, never fails to pass away with the lapse
of time. Voltaire's romances, once so popular, are now nearly as much dead
stock in the bookseller's hands; and the whole tribe of the licentious
novelists of France, prior to the Revolution, are now read only by the
licentious youth of Paris, and a few prurient sensualists in other
countries. It will be the same with Victor Hugo, Janin, and George Sand,
in the next generation and in other countries. All their genius, learning,
and interest, will not be able to save them from the withering effect of
their accumulated horrors, shocking indecencies, and demoralizing
tendency.

Again, in the composition of the historical romance, the story should be
_sufficiently simple_, and a certain degree of unity preserved in the
interest and emotion which are to be awakened. It is not meant to be
asserted by this, that the novelist is to be confined strictly to unities
like the Greek drama, or that the same variety, within certain limits, is
not to be presented in the pages of romance, which we see every day around
us in real life. All that is meant to be advanced is, that this variety
must be confined within certain limits, if the interest of the piece is to
be properly kept up; and that it should be an especial object with the
novelist to avoid that complication and intricacy of incidents which forms
so formidable, though unavoidable, an addition to the difficulties of an
historian. It is the more singular that romance writers should have
fallen into this mistake, that it is the very difficulty which stands
most in the way of the interest of history, and which it is the peculiar
advantage of their art to be able in a great measure to avoid. Yet it is
the error which is most general in writers of the greatest ability in this
department of literature, and which has marred or ruined the effect of
some of their happiest conceptions. It has arisen, doubtless, from romance
writers having observed the extreme multiplicity of incidents and events
in real life, and in the complicated maze of historical narrative; and
thence imagined that it was by portraying a similar combination that
romance was to be assimilated to truthful annals, and the ideal founded on
the solid basis of the real. They forget that it is this very complication
which renders history in general so uninviting, and acceptable (compared
with romance) to so limited a circle of readers; and that the annals of
actual events then only approach to the interest of fiction, when their
surpassing magnitude, or the importance of the characters involved in
them, justifies the historian in suspending for a time the thread of
inconsiderable and uninteresting incidents, and throwing a broad and
bright light, similar to that of imagination, on the few which have been
attended with great and lasting effects.

The great father of historical romance rarely falls into this mistake. The
story, at least in most of his earlier and most popular
pieces--_Waverley_, the _Antiquary_, the _Bride of Lammermoor_, _Old
Mortality_, the _Abbot_, _Ivanhoe_, _Kenilworth_, _Quentin Durward_, and
_Rob Roy_--is extremely simple; the incidents few and well chosen; the
interest of an _homogeneous_ kind, and uniformly sustained; the inferior
characters and incidents kept in their due subordination to the principal
ones. The subordinate characters of these admirable works, their still
life, descriptions, and minor incidents, are grouped as it were around the
main events of the story, and brought forward in such a way as to give
variety while they do not detract from unity. It is impossible to conceive
more perfect models of the historical romance, both in point of subject,
conception, and execution, than _Ivanhoe_ and the _Abbot_. In both, the
subject is national and generally interesting--in both, the historical
characters brought forward are popular, and connected with early
associations--in both, the period chosen is one in which great national
questions were at stake, and the conversations and characters afforded the
means of bringing them prominently before the mind of the reader--in both,
the incidents of the piece are few and simple; and the lesser plots or
characters which they contain, serve only to amuse the mind and give
variety to the composition, without interfering with the unity of its
general effect. How few and simple are the events in the _Bride of
Lammermoor_! The tragedies of Sophocles do not exhibit a more perfect
example of the preservation of the unity of emotion. Yet how interesting
is the whole story--how completely does it carry along every class of
readers--how well does every incident of moment prepare the mind for the
dreadful catastrophe in which it terminates! How few are the incidents in
the _Abbot_--how scanty the materials on which the story is built! A page
riding from a castle in Dumfries-shire to Edinburgh, his introduction to
the Regent Murray, and adventures during a few days in Holyrood, his
attendance on the imprisoned Queen in Lochleven Castle, her escape from
thence, and final overthrow at Langside--form the whole incidents out of
which the web of that delightful romance has been woven. Its charm
consists in a great degree in the simplicity itself, in the small number
of historic incidents it records, the interest of those incidents in
themselves, and the room thereby afforded for working up all the details,
and the minor plot of the piece, the loves of the page and Catharine, in
perfect harmony with the main event, and without disturbing their
development.

It were to be wished that later writers had followed the example thus set
by the father of historical romance in the selection of their subject, and
the construction of their plot. But, so far from doing so, they have in
general run into the opposite extreme, and overlaid their story with such
a mass of historical facts and details as has not only destroyed the unity
of interest, but has in many cases rendered the story itself scarcely
intelligible. Take two of the most popular romances of two justly
celebrated living novelists, Sir E. L. Bulwer and Mr James--_The Last of
the Barons_, and _Philip Augustus_. The period of history, leading
characters, and subject of both, are admirably chosen; and the greatest
talent has been displayed in both, in the conception of the characters,
and the portrait of the ideas and manners of the times which both present.
But the grand defect of both, and which chills to a great degree the
interest they otherwise would excite, is the crowding of historic
incident, and complication of the story. Bulwer's novel is so crowded with
rebellions, revolutions, and dethronements, that even the learned reader,
who has some previous acquaintance with that involved period of English
history, has great difficulty in following the story. Ample materials
exist for two or three interesting historical novels in its crowded
incidents. _Philip Augustus_ labours equally plainly under the same
defect. There is a triple plot going forward through nearly the whole
piece; the story of the King and Queen, with the Papal interdict; that of
Prince Arthur Plantagenet and his cruel uncle, John of England; and that
of De Coucy and Isadore of the Mount. No human ability is adequate to
carrying three separate stories abreast in this manner, and awakening the
interest of the reader in each. The human mind is incapable of taking in,
at the same time, deep emotion of more than one kind. What should we say
if Shakspeare had presented us with a tragedy in which were brought
forward scenes or acts about the ambition of Macbeth, the loves of Romeo
and Juliet, and the jealousy of Othello? Assuredly, they would have
mutually strangled each other. This is just what happens in these
otherwise admirable novels; the complication of the events, and the
variety of interests sought to be awakened, prevent any one from taking a
strong hold of the mind. Rely upon it, there is more truth in the
principle of the Greek unities than we moderns are willing to admit. The
prodigious overpowering effect of their tragedies is mainly owing to the
unity of emotion which is kept up. It bears the same relation to the
involved story of modern romance, which the single interest of the
_Jerusalem Delivered_ or _Iliad_ does to the endless and complicated
adventures of Ariosto's knights, or the sacred simplicity of the Holy
Families of Raphael to the crowded canvass of Tintoretto or Bassano.

Perhaps the most perfect novel that exists in the world, with reference to
the invaluable quality of unity of emotion, as well as the admirable
disquisitions on subjects of taste and reflection which it contains, is
Madame de Staël's _Corinne._ Considered as a story, indeed, it has many
and glaring defects; the journey of Lord Nevil and Corinne to Naples from
Rome, is repugnant to all our ideas of female decorum; and the miserable
sufferings and prostration of the heroine in the third volume, during her
visit to Scotland, is carried to such a length as to leave a painful
impression on every reader's mind. But abstracting these glaring errors,
the conception and execution of the work are as perfect as possible. The
peculiar interest meant to be excited, the particular passion sought to be
portrayed, is early brought forward, and the whole story is the progress
and final lamentable result of its indulgences. It is not the sudden
passion of Juliet for Romeo, the peculiar growth of the Italian clime,
which is portrayed, but the refined attachment of northern Europe, which
is taken in more by the ear than the eye, and springs from the sympathy of
minds who have many tastes and feelings in common. Nothing detracts from,
nothing disturbs, this one and single emotion. The numerous disquisitions
on the fine arts, the drama, antiquities, poetry, history, and manners,
which the novel contains--its profound reflections on the human heart, the
enchanting descriptions of nature, and the monuments of Italy which it
presents--not only do not interfere with the main interest, but they all
conspire to promote it. They are the means by which it is seen the mutual
passion was developed in the breasts of the principal characters; they
furnish its natural history, by exhibiting the many points of sympathy
which existed between minds of such an elevated caste, and which neither
had previously found appreciated in an equal degree by any one in the
other sex. It is in the skill with which this is brought out, and the
numerous disquisitions on criticism, taste, and literature with which it
abounds, rendered subservient to the main interest of the whole, that the
principal charm of this beautiful work is to be found.

Another principle which seems to regulate the historical romance, as it
does every other work which relates to man, is, that its principal
interest must be sought in human passion and feeling. It appears to be the
more necessary to insist on this canon, that the inferior appliances of
the art--the description of manners, scenery, dresses, buildings,
processions, pomps, ceremonies, and customs--has opened so wide a field
for digression, that, by many writers as well as readers, they have come
to be supposed to form its principal object. This mistake is in an
especial manner conspicuous in the writings of Ainsworth, whose talents
for description, and the drawing of the horrible, have led him to make his
novels often little more than pictorial phantasmagoria. It is to be seen,
also, in a great degree in James; who although capable, as many of his
works, especially _Mary of Burgundy_, _Attila_, and the _Smugglers_,
demonstrate, of the most powerful delineation of passion, and the finest
traits of the pathetic--is yet so enamoured of description, and so
conscious of his powers in that respect, that he in general overlays his
writings with painting to the eye, instead of using that more powerful
language which speaks to the heart. It is no doubt a curious thing, and
gives life to the piece, to see a faithful and graphic description of a
knight on horseback, with his companion, and their respective squires,
skirting a wood, mounted on powerful steeds, on a clear September morning.
The painting of his helm and hauberk, his dancing plume and glancing mail,
his harnessed steed and powerful lance, interests once or even twice; but
it is dangerous to try the experiment of such descriptions too often. They
rapidly pall by repetition, and at length become tedious or ridiculous. It
is in the delineation of the human heart that the inexhaustible vein of
the novelist is to be found; it is in its emotion, desires, and passions,
ever-varying in externals, ever the same in the interior, that scope is
afforded for the endless conceptions of human genius. Descriptions of
still life--pictures of scenery, manners, buildings, and dresses--are the
body, as it were, of romance; they are not its soul. They are the material
parts of the landscape; its rocks, mountains, and trees; they are not the
divine ray of the sun which illuminates the brilliant parts of the
picture, and gives its peculiar character to the whole. The skilful artist
will never despise them; on the contrary, he will exert himself to the
utmost in their skilful delineation, and make frequent use of them, taking
care to introduce as much variety as possible in their representations.
But he will regard them as an inferior part only of his art; as speaking
to the eye, not the heart; as the body of romance, not its soul; and as
valuable chiefly as giving character or life to the period described, and
repose to the mind in the intervals of the scenes of mental interest or
pathos, on which his principal efforts are to be concentrated.
Descriptions of external things often strike us as extremely brilliant,
and give great pleasure in reading; but with a few exceptions, where a
_moral_ interest has been thrown into the picture of nature, they do not
leave any profound or lasting impression on the mind. It is human grandeur
or magnanimity, the throb of grief, the thrill of the pathetic, which is
imprinted in indelible characters on the memory. Many of the admirable
descriptions of still life in _Waverley_ fade from the recollection, and
strike us as new every time we read them; but no one ever forgot the last
words of Fergus, when passing on the hurdle under the Scotch gate at
Carlisle, "God save King _James_!" None of the splendid descriptions in
the choruses of Æschylus produce the terrible impression on the mind which
Sophocles has done by that inimitable trait, when, in the close of
_Antigone_, he makes Eurydice, upon hearing of the suicide of her son
Hæmon on the body of his betrothed, leave the stage _in silence_, to
follow him by a violent death to the shades below.

The last rule which it seems material for the historical novelist to
observe, is that characteristic or national manners, especially in middle
or low life, should, wherever it is possible, be drawn from real life. The
manners of the highest class over all Europe are the same. If a novelist
paints well-bred person in one capital, his picture may, with a few slight
variations, stand for the same sphere of society in any other. But in
middle, and still more in low life, the diversity in different countries
is very great, and such as never can be reached by mere reading, or study
of the works of others. And yet, amidst all this diversity, so much is
human nature at bottom every where the same, that the most inexperienced
reader can distinguish, even in the delineation of manners to which he is
an entire stranger, those which are drawn from life, from those which are
taken from the sketches or ideas of others. Few in this country have
visited the Sierra Morena, and none certainly have seen it in the days of
Cervantes, yet we have no difficulty in at once perceiving that Sancho
Panza, and the peasants and muleteers in _Don Quixote_, are faithfully
drawn from real life. Few of the innumerable readers of Sir Walter have
had personal means of judging of the fidelity of his pictures of the
manners and ideas of the Scotch peasants in his earlier novels; but yet
there is no one in any country who does not at once see that they have
been drawn from nature, and contain the most faithful picture of it. It is
the fidelity of this picture which gives the Scotch novels their great
charm. It is the same with Fielding: his leading characters in low life
are evidently drawn from nature, and thence his long-continued popularity.
When Sir Walter comes to paint the manners of the middle classes or
peasants in England, from plays, farces, and the descriptions of others,
as in _Kenilworth_, _Woodstock_, _Peveril of the Peak_, and the _Fortunes
of Nigel_, he is infinitely inferior, and, in truth, often insupportably
dull. His dialogue is a jargon mixed up of scraps and expressions from old
plays or quaint tracts, such as no man on earth ever did speak, and which
it is only surprising a man of his sagacity should have supposed they ever
could. The same defect is more signally conspicuous in the dialogue of
several of the historical romances of James.

It is the accurate and faithful picture of national character from real
life, joined to the poetical interest of his Indian warriors, and his
incomparable powers of natural description, which has given Cooper his
great and well-deserved reputation. In many of the essential qualities of
a novelist, he is singularly defective. His story is often confused, and
awkwardly put together. Unity of interest is seldom thought of. He has no
conception of the refined manners and chivalrous feelings of European
society: though he has of late years seen much of it in many countries, he
has never been able to become familiar with its ideas, or imbibe its
spirit. His heroes, among the white men at least, are never any thing
above American skippers, or English subalterns or post-captains: his
heroines have in general the insipidity which is, we hope unjustly,
ascribed, with great personal charms, to the fair sex on the other side of
the Atlantic. But in the forest or on the wave, he is superb. His _Last of
the Mohicans_ and _Prairie_ are noble productions, to be matched with any
in the world for the delineation of lofty and elevated character--the more
interesting that they belong to a race, like the heroic age, now wellnigh
extinct. He paints the adventures, the life, the ideas, the passions, the
combined pride and indolence, valour and craft, heroism and meanness of
the red men, with the hand of a master. Equally admirable is his
delineation of the white man of the frontier of civilization--Hawkeye or
Leather-stocking, with his various other denominations--who is the
precursor, as it were, of European invasion, who plunges into the forest
far ahead of his more tardy followers, and leads the roaming life of the
Indian, but with the advantage of the arms, the arts, and the perseverance
of the Anglo-Saxon. But he is strictly a national writer. It is in the
delineation of Transatlantic character, scenes of the forest, or naval
adventures, that his great powers are shown; when he comes to paint the
manners, or lay the seat of his conceptions in Europe, he at once falls
to mediocrity, and sometimes becomes ridiculous.

Manzoni is an author of the highest excellence, whose celebrity has been
derived from the same faithful delineation from real life of national
manners. He has written but one novel, the _Promessi Sposi_; though
various other works, some religious, some historical, have proceeded from
his pen. But that one novel has given him a European reputation. It is
wholly different in composition and character from any other historical
romance in existence: it has no affinity either with Scott or Cooper,
Bulwer or James. The scene, laid in 1628, at the foot of the mountains
which shut in the Lake of Como, transports us back two centuries in point
of time, and to the south of the Alps in point of scene. As might be
expected, the ideas, characters, and incidents of such a romance differ
widely from those of northern climes and Protestant realms. That is one of
its great charms. We are transported, as it were, into a new world; and
yet a world so closely connected with our own, by the manners and ideas of
chivalry, our once common Catholic faith, and the associations which every
person of education has with Italian scenes and images, that we feel, in
traversing it, the pleasure of novelty without the _ennui_ of a strange
land. No translation could give an idea of the peculiar beauties and
excellences of the original. As might be expected, the feudal baron and
the Catholic church enter largely into the composition of the story. The
lustful passions, savage violence, and unbridled license of the former,
strong in his men-at-arms, castle battlements, and retainers; the
disinterested benevolence, charitable institutions, and paternal
beneficence of the latter, resting on the affections and experienced
benefits of mankind, are admirably depicted. His descriptions of the
plague, famine, and popular revolt at Milan, are masterpieces which never
were excelled. The saintlike character of Cardinal Borromeo, strong in the
sway of religion, justice, and charity, in the midst of the vehemence of
worldly passion and violence with which he is surrounded, is peculiarly
striking. It is fitted, like Guizot's _Lectures on History_, to illustrate
the incalculable advantage which arose, in an age of general rapine and
unsettled government, from the sway, the disinterestedness, and even the
superstitions, of religion.

But the greatest merit of the work is to be found in the admirable
delineation of the manners, ideas, hopes and fears, joys and sorrows, of
humble life with which it abounds. The hero of the piece is a silk-weaver
named Renzo, near Lecco, on the Lake of Como; the heroine Lucia, his
betrothed, the daughter of a poor widow in the same village; and the story
is founded on the stratagems and wiles of an unbridled baron in the
vicinity, whose passions had been excited by Lucia's beauty, first to
prevent her marriage, then to obtain possession of her person. In the
conception of such a piece is to be seen decisive evidence of the vast
change in human affairs, since the days when Tasso and Ariosto poured
forth to an admiring age, in the same country, the loves of high-born
damsels, the combats of knights, the manners, the pride, and the
exclusiveness of chivalry. In its execution, Manzoni is singularly
felicitous. He is minute without being tedious, graphic but not vulgar,
characteristic and yet never offensive. His pictures of human life, though
placed two centuries back, are evidently drawn from nature in these times:
the peasants whom he introduces are those of the plains of Lombardy at
this time; but though he paints them with the fidelity of an artist, it is
yet with the feelings of a gentleman. His details are innumerable--his
finishing is minute; but it is the minute finishing of Albert Durer or
Leonardo da Vinci, not of Teniers or Ostade. In this respect he offers a
striking contrast to the modern romance writers of France--Victor Hugo,
Janin, Madame Dudevant, and Sue--by whom vice and licentiousness are
exhibited with vast power, but more than their native undisguised
colours.--But this wide and interesting subject must be reserved for a
future occasion.



A FEW WORDS FOR BETTINA.


There seems a very general belief among sensible people that we have had
enough of the Germans. What with barons, and princes, and geheimraths, and
consistorialraths, and poets, and philosophers, burying their profundity
in tobacco smoke, and other "reek" more impervious still, we certainly
have had enough in book and essay, for the last few years, of the German
Man. And, latterly, the German women have come in for their share. If the
men have been puffed and praised till their very names are ridiculous and
offensive, it is not so with the gracious and high-born ladies. All the
old dowagers that flourish a goose-quill make a simultaneous assault on
the unfortunate "frau," or "fraulein;" pedantic old bachelors are
horrified at the wildness of some of the female Godwin's observations, and
fall to, in the general _mélée_, tugging and tearing at the miserable
damsel till not a shred is left to cover her; and starched old maids, who
have been wondering for twenty years if Woman can etherealize society,
rejoice to see the punishment of such a presuming minx, and encourage the
performers with all their might. The attack may be very spirited, and the
culprit properly trounced in most cases--so we are contented to leave the
fantastic and philosophic heroines--so bepraised by their countrymen--to
the tender mercies of our Amazons at home; but we couch the lance, in
Maga's lists, on behalf of one whose name is known very widely, but whose
character is little understood, and constitute ourselves champion _à
l'outrance_ of Bettina Brentano. Yes, we are in love--over head and
ears--with Bettina Brentano. But we must guard ourselves a little in
making this confession. It is towards the nice, clever, black-eyed,
light-figured little houri of that name, in the pleasant years 1807-8-9,
and 10, that we own the soft impeachment, or rather make proud profession
of our feelings. With regard to the present bearer of the denomination,
who has gone, in despite of our affection, and married a man of the name
of Arnini, we confess we are utterly indifferent to her; and shall
maintain till our dying day, that the authoress of the _Letters to Goethe_
died in the early part of the year 1811, universally lamented, and giving
promise of a mind, when matured and steadied, such as no petticoated
genius--not De Staël herself--has equalled. Such letters, so full of wild
fancies, poetical descriptions, and burning declarations, were never
written by man to woman, or woman to man, before or since. They could not
be written by woman to man--they were written by a _child_ to Goethe. And
this is the key to the wonders of the correspondence. Don't let people
talk nonsense about the improprieties of her behaviour--and shake their
foolish heads, and lift their puritanic eyes up to heaven: her conduct, we
grant them, would have been very improper in _them_; but in Bettina
Brentano it was beautiful, graceful, and as free from impropriety as the
morning and evening walks of Paul and Virginia. Perhaps we may condescend
on some of the particulars dwelt on in the accusation--but perhaps we may
not--for the people who see errors and grossnesses in the language or
behaviour of Bettina, blush "celestial rosy red" at the Apollo and the
Venus. Let them get trousers and petticoats for the god and goddess, and
leave poor Bettina alone.

There lived in Frankfort, in the summer of 1807, a little girl of fourteen
or fifteen years of age, very small in stature, and so light and dancing
in her movements that she might have passed for an attendant of Queen
Titania; but in her deep black eyes there was a sort of light that the
fairies have not yet arrived at--and her voice was musical--and her lips
were rosy; and every where she was known as the cleverest little girl that
ever was seen, either in fairyland or Frankfort, or any where else. She
was of a sweet, affectionate, trusting nature, and entered with a romantic
tenderness into an alliance with a wild, half-insane enthusiast, several
years older than herself--the sister Günderode, a canoness of a convent
on the Rhine. The lay-sister talked and reasoned herself into the
persuasion that she would be happier out of the world than in it; so,
instead of marrying the surgeon or other respectable inhabitant of the
free city, and having a large family to provide for, which would have put
more sensible thoughts into her head, she stabbed herself one fine day on
the bank of the river--and Bettina had no longer a friend.

But there dwelt in the same town a majestic woman--strong-minded,
tender-hearted--and with talent enough to compensate for the stupidity of
all the other old women (male and female) in Frankfort; and her name was
Madame Goethe, and she was seventy-five years old, and lived in an old
house by herself. Bettina went to her, with her head sunk in grief, and
her heart yearning for somebody to make a friend of, and sat down on a
stool at the old lady's feet, and said, "I have lost my Günderode, will
you be my friend in her stead?" And the old lady was delighted, and kissed
her; and Bettina sat at her feet, day after day, from that time forth; and
they were the two tenderest friends in Germany. And a pleasant thing it
would be to have been a mouse in the wall to hear such conversation as was
carried on by the two.

Now, in the year 1749, there was born a boy in Frankfort,--a poet, great
in soul--the maker of his country's literature--no other than the
illustrious Goethe--a son worthy of such a mother as Bettina's friend; and
while all Germany and France--the whole civilized world in short--were
almost worshipping his matured, perhaps his decaying genius, the noble
mother was loud and eloquent in her description of him as a boy--as a
youth--as a poet of twenty years old; and the little girl of fifteen sat
and listened, till there arose in her heart--or rather in her brain, for
it was a stirring of the intellect more than the affections--a feeling of
intense admiration, softened under the mother's teaching into something
that she herself fancied was love; for which audacious fancy the sagacious
old woman gave her some raps over the knuckles--(we are not sure that they
were altogether figurative either, but good substantial raps)--enough to
make the fingers tingle in a very disagreeable manner indeed. But in spite
of raps, whether figurative or not, she went on feeding her fancy with all
these glowing accounts; and for a while we have no doubt that she never
gave the almanac a thought--nor the baptismal register--nor the fact,
known to all arithmeticians, that a person born in 1749 was fifty-eight
years old in 1807. Fifty-eight years old, with long white hair. But
Bettina had never seen him. She only knew him in his works as a poet, and
as a man--or rather as a boy--in the beautiful recollections of his
mother. "You don't ask after Wolfgang," says that sensible old matron in
one of her letters; "I've always said to you--wait a while till some one
else comes, you'll not trouble your _head_ about _him_ any more." But in
the mean time she did trouble her _head_ about him to an intolerable
extent; and great was her rejoicing when her brother-in-law offered to
take her as companion to his wife, in a journey he was forced to make to
Berlin, and afterwards to Weimar. The country was at that time the seat of
war; camps and positions of many different armies had to be passed
through; and as a protection to the ladies they were dressed in men's
clothes. Bettina sat on the box the whole time--passed as a little tiger
at the inns where they slept--making herself generally useful, harnessing
and unharnessing the horses--sleeping all night outside, though the
weather was piercingly cold; and finally, after a week of hard travelling,
arrived at the city of the sages--the literary capital of Germany. Her
first care here was to change her dress, and find out her relation
Wieland--from him she got a note to Goethe, and, armed with that,
presented herself at his house. This is her account of the meeting in her
letter to his mother:--

"The door opened, and there he stood, solemn and still, and looked
steadily at me. I stretched my hands to him, I believe--but soon I was
unconscious of every thing. Goethe catched me to his breast.--'Poor child,
have I frightened you?' These were the first words that made their way to
my heart. He led me into his room, and placed me on a sofa opposite him.
We were both silent--at last he said, 'You have read in the newspapers
that we have lately met with a severe loss, in the death of the Duchess
Amelie.' 'Ah! I said, 'I never read the newspapers.' 'Indeed! I thought
you took an interest in all that goes on at Weimar.' 'No, no, I take no
interest in any thing at Weimar but you; and I have not patience enough to
toil through a newspaper.' 'You are an affectionate little girl.' A long
pause--I, banished all the while to the horrid sofa, and very fidgety of
course. You know how impossible it is for me to sit there and do the
pretty behaved. Ah, mother, can a person change his nature all at once? I
said plump--'Here, on this sofa, I can't stay,' and sprang up. 'Make
yourself comfortable, by all means,' said he. So I flew to him, and put my
arms round his neck. He took me on his knee, and pressed me to his heart.
All was still. I had not slept for such a time. I had sighed to see him
for years. I fell asleep with my head on his breast; and, when I awoke, it
was to a new existence;--and that is all at this present writing."

Bettina, we repeat, was fifteen--Goethe was fifty-eight; and this
narrative was sent to his mother. We will only add, that Voltaire affected
an interesting blush when he thought on the improprieties of the Book of
Ruth. So, hold up your head, our bright-eyed, beautiful Bettina, and cheer
the heart of the old man eloquent with your affection; and tell him over
and over, in your own wild and captivating manner, that you love him, and
worship him, and think of him always, and sing his ballads, and read his
books--and nobody in their senses will think a bit the worse of you for
it--not even your worthy husband, who was five or six and twenty years old
when you married him; and, very likely, was nearly as enthusiastic about
Wolfgang as yourself. And as to kissing and jumping on people's knees, and
hugging close to the heart, these seem equivalent, among the Germans of
all ranks and ages, to a good hearty shake of the hand among our more
sedately behaved population; and though we think that, under ordinary
circumstances, our national customs in those respects are preferable, we
are not prepared to say that we should be sorry for the introduction of a
little Germanism in our own case, if we were a great poet at the age of
fifty-eight, and were acquainted with a lively, happy, charming little
genius like Bettina, of fifteen. And that she was all that we have called
her--and more--we will now proceed to show, by giving a few translations
from her letters; and, if we can find an opportunity of introducing a
story or two by the mother, we will not let it pass.--And here let us make
a remark, savouring, perhaps, of national vanity--of which failing we have
heard our countrymen not unfrequently accused. Our remark is this, that
the Frau Rath, as Goethe's mother is called, has many characteristics
about her which we have been in the habit of considering Scotch. If we
reduced her reported conversations to our native Doric, they would read
exactly like the best parts of Scott and Galt--a great deal of shrewdness,
mixed with a wild sort of humour, sarcastic and descriptive; but in her,
perhaps, elevated by an occasional burst of poetry into something higher
than is met with in the _Ayrshire Legatees_, or even in _Cyril Thornton_.
In saying this, we allude, of course, to none of the tedious "havers"
contained in the book dedicated to the King of Prussia, or at least to the
anti-biblical parts of them--the old Frau Rath being about the worst
commentator it has ever been our fortune to meet.

But let us go back to Bettina. "Morris Bethman tells me," says the Frau
Rath, in a letter to her pet, "that the De Staël is going to call on me.
She has been in Weimar. I wish you were here, for I must get up my French
as well as I can." And the jealousy of the fiery Bettina bursts out at the
very thought of any one being at Weimar and visiting Goethe but herself.

"I have not heard from your son since the 13th of August, and here is the
end of September. De Staël has made his time pass quickly, and driven me
out of his head. A celebrated woman is a curiosity. Nobody else can
compete with her. She is like brandy, which the poor grain it is made from
can never be compared to. For brandy smacks on the tongue and gets into
the heard, and so does a celebrated woman. But the simple wheat is better
far to me;--the sower sows it in the loosened soil, and the bounteous sun
and fruitful showers draw it from the earth again, and it makes green the
whole field, and bears golden ears, and at last gives rise to a happy
harvest-home. I would rather be a simple wheat-grain than a celebrated
woman; and rather, far rather, that he should break me for his daily bread
than that I should get into his head like a dram. And now I will tell you
that I supped last night with De Staël in Maintz. No woman would sit next
her at table, so I sat down beside her myself. It was uncomfortable
enough; for the gentlemen stood round the table, and crowded behind our
chairs, to speak to her and see her close. They bent over me. I
said--'_Vos adorateurs me suffoquent_.' She laughed. She told me that
Goethe had spoken to her of me. I would fain have sat and listened, for I
should like to hear what it was he said. And yet I was wrong; for I would
rather he did not speak of me to any one--and I don't believe he did--she
perhaps only said so. At last so many came to speak to her, and pressed
upon me so much, that I couldn't bear it any longer. I said to her--'_Vos
lauriers me pèsent trop sur les épaules_;' and I stood up, and pushed my
way through the crowd. Sismondi, her companion, came to me and kissed my
hand, and told me I was very clever, and said it to the rest, and they
repeated it twenty times over, as if I had been a prince whose sayings are
always thought so wise though ever so commonplace.

"After that I listened to what she said about Goethe. She said she
expected to find him a second Werther, but she was disappointed--neither
his manners nor appearance were like it, and she was very sorry that he
fell short of him so entirely. Frau Rath, I was in a rage at this, (that
was of no use you will say,) and I turned to Schlegel, and said to him in
German, 'Madame de Staël has made a double mistake--first in her
expectation, and then in her judgment. We Germans expect that Goethe can
shake twenty heroes from his sleeve to astonish the French--but in our
judgment he himself is a hero of a very different sort.' Schlegel is very
wrong not to have informed her better on this. She threw a laurel leaf
that she had been playing with on the ground. I stamped on it, and pushed
it out of the way with my foot, and went off. That was my interview with
the celebrated woman."

But the De Staël is made the heroine of another letter, in which Bettina
give Goethe an account of her presentation to his mother. The ceremony
took place in the apartments of Morris Bethman.

"Your mother--whether out of irony or pride--had decked herself
wonderfully out--but with German fancy, not in French taste; and I must
tell you that, when I saw her with three feathers on her head, swaying
from side to side--red, white, and blue--the French national
colours--which rose from a field of sun-flowers--my heart beat high with
pleasure and expectation. She was rouged with the greatest skill; her
great black eyes fired a thundering volley; about her neck hung the
well-known ornament of the Queen of Prussia; lace of a fine ancestral look
and great beauty--a real family treasure--covered her bosom. And there she
stood, with white _glacée_ gloves;--in one hand an ornamented fan, with
which she set the air in motion; with the other, which was bare, and all
be-ringed with sparkling jewels, she every now and then took a pinch from
the snuff-box with your miniature on the lid--the one with long locks,
powdered, and with the head leant down as if in thought. A number of
dignified old dowagers formed a semicircle in the bedroom of Morris
Bethman; and the assemblage, on a deep-red carpet--a white field in the
middle, on which was worked a leopard--looked very grand and imposing.
Along the walls were ranged tall Indian plants, and the room was dimly
lighted with glass-lamps. Opposite the semicircle stood the bed, on an
estrade raised two steps, also covered with a deep-red carpet, with
candelabra at each side.

"At last came the long-expected visitor through a suite of illuminated
rooms, accompanied Benjamin Constant. She was dressed like Corinne;--a
turban of aurora and orange-coloured silk--a gown of the same, with an
orange tunic, very high in the waist, so that her heart had very little
room. Her black eyebrows and eyelashes shone, and so did her lips also,
with a mystic red. The gloves were turned down, and only covered the hand,
in which she carried, as usual, the myrtle twig. As the room where she was
waited for was much lower than the others, she had four steps to descend.
Unluckily she lifted up her gown from the front instead of from behind,
which gave a severe blow to the solemnity of her reception; for it
appeared for a moment worse even than merely funny, when this
extraordinary figure, dressed in strictly Oriental fashion, broke loose
upon the staid and virtuous _élite_ of Frankfort society. Your mother gave
me a courageous look when they were introduced. I had taken my stand at a
distance to watch the scene. I observed De Staël's surprise at the
wonderful adornment of your mother, and at her manner, which was full of
dignity. She spread out her gown with her left hand, giving the salute
with her right which sported the fan; and, while she bowed her head
repeatedly with great condescension, she said in a loud voice, that
sounded distinctly through the room--'_Je suis la mère de Goethe._'--'_Ah,
je suis charmée!_' said the authoress; and then there was a solemn
silence. Then followed the presentation of her distinguished companions,
who were all anxious also to be introduced to Goethe's mother. She
answered all their polite speeches with a new-year's wish in French, which
she muttered between her teeth, with a multitude of stately curtsies. In
short the audience was now begun, and must have given them a fine idea of
our German _grandezza_. Your mother beckoned me to her side to interpret
between them; the conversation was all about you--about your childhood.
The portrait on the snuff-box was examined. It was painted in Leipsic
before the great illness you had; but even then you were very thin. It was
easy to see all your present greatness in those childish features, and
particularly the author of _Werther_. De Staël spoke of your letter, and
said she would like to see how you write to your mother, and your mother
promised to show her; but, thought I, she shall never get any of your
letters from _me_, for I don't like her. Every time your name was
mentioned by those ill-shaped lips, a secret rage came upon me. She told
me you called her 'Amie' in your letters. Ah! she must have seen how
surprised I was to hear it; yes--and she told me more--but my patience
failed. How _can_ you be friendly to such an ugly face? Ah! there may be
seen how vain you are!--or is it possible she can have been telling a
story?"

With this charitable resolution of her doubts, Bettina leaves off her
description of the meeting between De Staël and "la mère de Goethe." We
think the affected jealousy of the little creature very amusing; and,
moreover, we consider that all her words and actions in relation to
Goethe, were in keeping with an imaginary character she had determined to
assume. I shall be in love with him, and he shall be in love with me; and
as he is a poet, I will be very poetical in my passion; as he writes
tragedies, I will be dramatic; as he is "a student of the human mind," I
will puzzle him with the wisdom of sixty, united to the playfulness of ten
or twelve,--the flames of Sappho to the childishness of my real age and
disposition. And so indeed she did. The old philosopher of Weimar did not
know what to make of her. He keeps writing to her that he cannot decide
whether she is most "wunderbar" or "wunderlich"--wonderful or odd. And
round about his puzzled head she buzzes; now a fire-fly, nearly singeing
his elevated eyebrows--now a hornet, inserting a sharp little sting in his
nose--now a butterfly, lighting with beautiful wings on the nosegay in his
breast; but at all times bright, brilliant, and enchanting. So, no wonder
the astonished and gratified egotist called out for more; "more"--"more
letters, dear Bettina," "write to me as often as you can." And to show her
that her letters were useful to him, he not unfrequently sent her back
long passages of her own epistles, turned into rhyme--and very good
rhymes they are, and make a very respectable appearance among his
collected poems. And a true philosopher old Goethe was (of the Sir Joseph
Banks' school of philosophy as illustrated by Peter Pindar.) Instead of
admiring the lovely wings and airy evolutions of the butterfly that rested
so happily on his bouquet--he determined to examine it more minutely, and
put it into his dried collection. So he laid coarse hands upon
it--transfixed it with a brass pin, and listened to its humming as long as
it had strength to hum; and finally transferred it to a book as an
extraordinary specimen of a new species--for which astonishing discovery,
he was bespattered with undeserved praises by the whole press of Germany.
At this time, he was writing his _Wahlverwandtshafter_, or Electric
Affinities; and as it introduced a young girl filled with the same wild
passion for another woman's husband that Bettina affected to feel for him,
letter by letter was sedulously studied, to give a new touch, either of
tenderness or originality, to his contemptible Miss Ottilie. But we have
already in this Magazine expressed our opinion of that performance, and of
the great Goethe in general; so that we shall not return to the subject on
the present occasion. Pleasanter it is to follow the fairy-footed Bettina
in her scramblings over rock and fell, her wadings through rivers, and
sleepings on the dizzy verge of old castle walls that look down a hundred
fathoms of sheer descent into the Rhine. And pleasanter still, to hear her
give utterance to sentiments--unknown to the pusillanimous, unpatriotic
heart of the author of _Werther_--of sympathy with the noble Tyrolese in
their struggles for freedom, and her generous regard for them when they
were subdued.

Nothing, perhaps, is more astonishing in these letters--considering the
date of them, 1809-10--than the utter silence maintained on the state of
public affairs. The French are mentioned once or twice--but generally in
praise--Napoleon as often; but not a word to show that there was any
stirring in the German mind on the subject of their country or
independence. There they went on, smoking and drinking beer, writing
treatises on the Greek article, or poems on Oriental subjects, in the same
prosy, dull, dreamy fashion as ever, with the cannon of Jena sounding in
their ears, and the blood of Hofer fresh upon the ground. Well done, then,
beautiful, merry, deep-souled, tender-hearted Bettina! From her windows at
Munich, she saw the smoke of the burning villages in the Tyrol; and her
constant wish is for men's clothes and a sword, to go and join the
patriots, and have a dash at the stupid, dunderheaded Bavarians. But our
clever little friend is not alone in her good feelings. Count Stadion, a
dignitary of the church, and Austrian ambassador, is her sworn ally; and
few things are more beautiful than the descriptions of the reverend
diplomatist and the fiery-eyed little Bettina being united by their
sympathy in what was then a fallen and hopeless cause. But there was still
another sympathiser, and the discovery of his feelings we will let Bettina
herself describe:--

Next day was Good-Friday. Stadion took me with him to read me mass. I told
him, with many blushes, the great longing I had to join the Tyrolese.
Stadion told me to depend on _him_; he would take a knapsack on his back
and go into the Tyrol, and do all I wanted to do instead of me. This was
the last mass that he could read to me, for his departure in a few days
was settled. Ah me! it fell heavy on my heart that I was to lose so dear a
friend. After mass, I went into the choir, threw on a surplice, and joined
in Winter's Lament. In the mean time, the Crown-prince and his brother
came in--the crucifix lay on the ground--both the brothers kissed it, and
afterwards embraced. They had had a quarrel till that day about a court
tutor, whom the Crown-prince had thought ill of, and dismissed from his
brother's service. They were reconciled in the way I have said, in the old
church, and it was a delightful thing to see it. Bopp, an old music-master
of the Crown-prince, who also gave me some lessons, accompanied me home.
He showed me a sonnet composed by the Crown-prince that morning. It speaks
well for his 'inner soul,' that he feels this inclination to poetry in
interesting circumstances. Nature assuredly asserts her rights in him, and
he will surely not let the Tyrolese be hardly dealt with. Yes, I have
great trust in him. Old Bopp told me many things that raised my opinion of
him to the highest pitch. On the third holiday, he carried me to the
English garden to hear the Crown-prince's address to the assembled troops,
with whom he was going, to serve his first campaign. I could hear nothing
distinctly, but what I did hear, I did not at all like; he spoke of their
bravery, their perseverance, and loyalty, and that he, with their
assistance, would bring back the Tyrolese to obedience, and that he
considered his own honour conjoined to theirs, &c. &c. As I went home,
this worried me very much. I saw that the Crown-prince, in the hands of
his generals, would do all that his heart rebelled against. I thought, as
I returned from the show, that no man in the world ever speaks truth to
one in power, but rather that there are always flatterers to approve of
all he does; and the worse his conduct, the greater their fear that he may
doubt of their approbation. They have never the good of mankind in their
eye, but only the favour of their master. So I determined to take a bold
step, to satisfy my own feelings--and I hope you will excuse me if you
think I did wrong.

"After expressing to the Crown-prince my love, and respect for his genius,
I confessed to him my sentiments towards the Tyrolese, who were gaining
such a heroic crown--my confidence that he would show mildness and
forbearance, where his people were now giving way only to cruelty and
revenge--I asked him if the title 'Duke of the Tyrol' had not a nobler
sound than the names of the four kings who had united their power to
exterminate those heroes? And, however it turned out, I hoped he would
acquire from his conduct even the title of 'The Humane.'

"This was the contents of a letter that filled four pages. After writing
it in the most furious excitement, I sealed it very calmly, and gave it
into the music-master's hands, telling him--'This is something about the
Tyrolese that may be very useful to the Crown-prince.'

"How glad a man is to make himself of importance! Old Bopp nearly tumbled
down-stairs it his hurry to give such an interesting letter to the Prince;
and I, with my usual light-headedness, forgot all about it. I went to
Winter to sing hymns--to Tieck--to Jacobi--nowhere could I find any body to
agree with me; every where there seemed nothing but fear; and if they had
known what I had done, they would have forbidden me their houses. I looked
bitterly on them all, and thought--Be you Bavarian and French--I and the
Crown-prince are German and Tyrolese. Or he gets me put in prison--and
then I am at once free and independent; and if I ever get out again, I
will go over to the Tyrolese, and meet the Crown-prince on the field, and
force from him what he now refuses to my entreaty.

"The old music-master came back, pale and trembling.

"'What was there in the paper you gave me for the Crown-prince?' he said.
'It may ruin me for life. The Crown-prince looked excited as he read
it--ay, angry; and when he saw me there, he ordered me off without one
gracious word.'

"I could not help laughing. The music-master grew more and more anxious,
and I more and more delighted. I rejoiced already in my imprisonment; and
I thought how I could carry on my philosophic speculations in my solitude.
Once only I saw the Crown-prince at the theatre. He gave me a friendly
nod. Very good. For eight days I had not seen Stadion; but, on the 10th of
April, I got certain information that he had gone off by night. I was very
sorry to think I had seen him for the last time; and it struck me, with
strange significance, that he read his last mass on Good-Friday. At last
my long repressed and dissembled feelings burst forth in tears. It is in
solitude one knows his own wishes and his helplessness. I found no place
of repose for my struggling heart; and, tired with weeping, I at length
fell asleep. Have you ever fallen asleep worn out with weeping? But men
do not weep. You have never wept so that the sobs shook your breast even
in your sleep? Sobbing in my dreams, I heard my name. It was dark. By the
faint glimmer of the street lamps, I perceive a man near me, in a foreign
military uniform, sabre, sabretash--dark hair. I should have thought it
was Black Fred, (Stadion's name among his intimates.)

"No--it is no mistake; it is indeed Black Fred, come to take his leave.

"'My carriage is at the door--I am going--as a soldier--to the Austrian
army; and with regard to your Tyrolese friends, you shall have nothing to
reproach me with, or you never see me more; for I give you my word of
honour I will not consent to their being betrayed. I have this moment been
with the Crown-prince. He drank with me the health of the Tyrolese, and a
'_pereat_' to Napoleon. He took me by the hand, and said--'Remember that,
in the year nine, in April, during the Tyrolese rebellion, the
Crown-prince of Bavaria opposes Napoleon.' And so saying, he clanged his
glass on mine so, that he broke the foot of it off.'

"I said to Stadion--'Now then I am all alone, and have no friend left.'

"He smiled, and said--'You write to Goethe. Write him from me that the
Catholic priest will gather laurels on the Tyrolese battle-field.'

"I said--'I shall not soon hear a mass again.'

"'And I shall not soon read one,' he answered.

"He then took up his weapons, and reached me his hand to say good-by. I am
sure I shall never see him again.

"Scarcely was he gone, when a knock came to the door, and old Bopp came
in. It was still dark in the room, but I knew by his voice he was in
good-humour. He held out a broken glass to me; with great solemnity, and
said--'The Crown-prince sends you this, and bids me tell you that he drank
the health of those you take under your protection out of it; and here he
sends you his cockade, as a pledge of honour that he will keep his word to
you, and prevent all cruelty and injustice.'"

The fate of Hofer comes unfortunately to our memory to mar the
pleasantness of this little dramatic incident; but the whole story gives a
favourable impression of the Crown-prince, who is now the poetical Louis
of Bavaria--the dullest and stupidest of whose works (we may observe in a
parenthesis) makes a poor figure in its Greek dress, and had better be
retranslated as quickly as possible into its original Teutsch.

It is curious to see the sort of society that Bettina moves
in--crown-princes, and prince-bishops, and ambassadors-extraordinary--and
all treating her with the greatest regard. There must have been something
very taking in the bright black eyes and rosy lips of the correspondent of
Goethe, and friend, apparently, of all the German magnificoes; for she
uses them with very little ceremony, and holds her head as high among them
as if she knew there was more in it than was contained under all their
crowns and mitres. But it was not with the magnates of the land alone that
she was on such terms. The literary potentates were equally pleased with
her attention. If a rising artist wants encouragement, he applies to
Bettina. Sculptors, painters, musicians, all lay their claims before her;
and we find her constantly using her influence on their behalf with the
literary dictator of Weimar. If a scholar or philosopher is sick, she sits
at his bedside; and in the midst of all the playfulness, wildness,
eccentricity, (and perhaps affectation,) we meet with in the letters, we
see enough of right spirit and good heart to counterbalance them all; and
such a malicious little minx! and such a despiser of prudery, and
contemner of humbug in all its branches! It is delightful to reflect on
the torment she must have been to all the silly stiff-backed old maids
within reach of tongue and eye. And therefore--and for many reasons
besides--we maintain that Bettina, from fifteen to seventeen, is an
exquisite creature, fiery and impassioned as Juliet, and witty as Beatrix.
We will also maintain till our dying day, that neither her Romeo nor
Benedict was near sixty years old.

The information given by the Frau Rath about her son has already been
incorporated in the thousand and one memoirs and recollections supplied by
the love and admiration of his friends;--we will therefore not follow
Bettina in her record of his boyish days, as gathered from his mother and
reported to himself, further than to remark, that vanity seems from the
very first to have been his prevailing characteristic--even to so low a
pitch as the "sumptuousness of apparel." Think of a little snob in the
Lawnmarket--son of a baillie--dressing himself two or three times
a-day--once plainly--once half-and-half--and finally in hat and
feather--silks and satins--a caricature of a courtier of Louis XIV.; and
all this at the age of eight or nine!

We have said that our love for Bettina only extends to the three years of
her life from 1807 to 1810. At that period it dies a natural death. She
assumed at fourteen the feelings of a love-inspired, heart-devoted
"character"--as fictitious, we are persuaded, as any created by dramatist
or poet; and it was pleasant to see with what art and eloquence she acted
up to it. It seemed a wonderful effort of histrionic skill, and superior,
in an infinite degree, to the mere representation on the stage of an
Ophelia or Miranda. But when years passed on, and she still continued the
same "character," she strikes us with the same feelings that would be
excited by some actress who should grow so enamoured of her favourite
part, as to go on Opheliaizing or Desdemonaing off the stage--singing
snatches of unchristian ballads, with the hair dishevelled, during prayers
in church; or perpetually smothering herself with pillows on the
drawing-room sofa. It is as if General Tom Thumb were to grow to a decent
size, and still go on imitating Napoleon, and insisting on people paying a
shilling to see his smallness. Bettina should have stopped before she grew
womanly; for though we have not the least suspicion of her having had any
meaning in what she did--further than to show her cleverness--still, the
attitudes that are graceful and becoming in a children's dance, take a
very different expression in an Indian _nautch_. And therefore we return
to our belief at the commencement of this paper, that the "child" of
Goethe's correspondence died, and was buried in a garden of roses, in the
year 1810--_De mortuis nil nisi bonum_.



NORTH'S SPECIMENS OF THE BRITISH CRITICS.

No. VIII.

SUPPLEMENT TO MACFLECNOE AND THE DUNCIAD.


Well, then, we have once more--to wit a month ago--wheeled round and
encountered face to face our two great masters, with whom we at first set
out--John Dryden and Alexander Pope. We found them under a peculiar
character, that of Avengers--to be imaged by the Pythean quelling with his
divine and igneous arrows the Python, foul mud-engendered monster,
burthening the earth and loathed by the light of heaven.

Dryden and Pope! Father and son--master and scholar--founder and improver.
Who can make up his election, which of the two he prefers?--the free
composition of Dryden that streams on and on, full of vigour and
splendour, of reason and wit, as if verse were a mother tongue to him, or
some special gift of the universal Mother--or the perfected art of Pope?
Your choice changes as your own humour or the weathercock turns. If jolly
Boreas, the son of the clear sky, as Homer calls him, career scattering
the clouds, and stirring up life over all the face of the waters, grown
riotous with exuberant power, you are a Drydenite. But if brightness and
stillness fall together upon wood and valley, upon hill and lake, then the
spirit of beauty possesses you, and you lean your ear towards Pope. For
the spirit of beauty reigns in his musical style; and if he sting and
kill, it is with an air and a grace that quite win and charm the
lookers-on; and a sweetness persuades them that he is more concerned about
embalming his victims to a perennial pulchritude after death, than intent
upon ravishing from them the breath of a short-lived existence.

Dryden is all power--and he knows it. He soars at ease--he sails at
ease--he swoops at ease--and he trusses at ease. In his own verse, not
another approaches him for energy brought from familiar uses of
expression. Witness the hazardous but inimitable--

  "To file and polish God Almighty's fool,"

and a hundred others. Shakespeare and Milton are now and then (_in
blanks_, as Tweedie used to say) all-surpassing by such a happiness. But
Dryden alone moves unfettered in the fettering couplet--alone of those who
have submitted to the fetters. For those who write distichs, running them
into one another, head over heels, till you do not know where to look
after the rhyme--these do not wear their fetters and with an all-mastering
grace dance to the chime, but they break them and caper about, the
fragments clanking dismally and strangely about their heels. Turn from the
clumsy clowns to glorious John:--sinewy, flexible, well-knit, agile,
stately-stepping, gracefully-bending, stern, stalwarth--or sitting his
horse, "erect and fair," in career, and carrying his steel-headed lance of
true stuff, level and steady to its aim, and impetuous as a thunderbolt.
His strokes are like the shots of that tremendous ordnance--

          "chain'd thunderbolts and hail
  Of iron globes----
  That whom they hit none on their feet might stand,
  Though standing else as rocks."

But we are forgetting ourselves. We must not run into elongated criticism,
however excellent, in a SUPPLEMENT--and therefore gladden you all with a
specimen--without note or comment--from the second part of _Absalom and
Achitophel_.

    "Doeg, though without knowing how or why,
  Made still a blundering kind of melody;
  Spurr'd boldly on, and dash'd through thick and thin,
  Through sense and nonsense, never out nor in;
  Free from all meaning, whether good or bad,
  And in one word, heroically mad:
  He was too warm on picking-work to dwell,          }
  But fagoted his notions as they fell,              }
  And if they rhymed and rattled, all was well.      }
  Spiteful he is not, though he wrote a satyr,
  For still there goes some thinking to ill nature:
  He needs no more than birds and beasts to think,
  All his occasions are to eat and drink.
  If he call rogue and rascal from a garret,
  He means you no more mischief than a parrot:
  The words for friend and foe alike were made,
  To fetter them in verse is all his trade.
  For almonds he'll cry whore to his own mother:
  And call young Absalom king David's brother.
  Let him be gallows-free by my consent,
  And nothing suffer since he nothing meant;
  Hanging supposes human soul and reason,
  This animal's below committing treason:
  Shall he be hang'd who never could rebel?
  That's a preferment for Achitophel.
  Railing in other men may be a crime,
  But ought to pass for mere instinct in him:
  Instinct he follows and no further knows,
  For to write verse with him is to transprose.
  'Twere pity treason at his door to lay,
  Who makes heaven's gate a lock to its own key:
  Let him rail on, let his invective Muse
  Have four and twenty letters to abuse,
  Which, if he jumbles to one line of sense,
  Indict him of a capital offence,
  In fire-works give him leave to vent his spight,
  Those are the only serpents he can write;
  The height of his ambition is, we know,
  But to be master of a puppet-show,
  On that one stage his works may yet appear,
  And a month's harvest keeps him all the year.

    "Now stop your noses, readers, all and some,    }
  For here's a tun of midnight-work to come,        }
  Og from a treason-tavern rowling home,            }
  Round as a globe, and liquor'd every chink,
  Goodly and great he sails behind his link;
  With all this bulk there's nothing lost in Og,
  For every inch that is not fool is rogue:
  A monstrous mass of foul corrupted matter,
  As all the devils had spew'd to make the batter,
  When wine has given him courage to blaspheme,
  He curses God, but God before curst him;
  And, if man could have reason, none has more,
  That made his paunch so rich, and him so poor.
  With wealth he was not trusted, for heaven knew
  What 'twas of old to pamper up a Jew;
  To what would he on quail and pheasant swell,
  That ev'n on tripe and carrion could rebel?
  But though heaven made him poor, with reverence speaking,
  He never was a poet of God's making;
  The midwife laid her hand on his thick skull,
  With this prophetic blessing--Be thou dull:
  Drink, swear, and roar, forbear no lewd delight
  Fit for thy bulk, do any thing but write:
  Thou art of lasting make, like thoughtless men,
  A strong nativity--but for the pen!
  Eat opium, mimic arsenic in thy drink,
  Still thou mayst live, avoiding pen and ink.
  I see, I see, 'tis counsel given in vain,
  For treason botcht in rhyme will be thy bane:
  Rhyme is the rock on which thou art to wreck,
  'Tis fatal to thy fame and to thy neck:
  Why should thy metre good King David blast?
  A psalm of his will surely be thy last.
  Dar'st thou presume in verse to meet thy foes,
  Thou whom the penny pamphlet foil'd in prose?
  Doeg, whom God for mankind's mirth has made,
  O'er-tops thy talent in thy very trade;
  Doeg to thee, thy paintings are so coarse,
  A poet is, though he's the poet's horse.
  A double noose thou on thy neck dost pull
  For writing treason, and for writing dull;
  To die for faction is a common evil,
  But to be hang'd for nonsense is the devil:
  Had thou the glories of thy king exprest,
  Thy praises had been satyr at the best;
  But thou in clumsy verse, unlickt, unpointed,
  Hast shamefully defy'd the Lord's anointed:
  I will not rake the dunghill for thy crimes,
  For who would read thy life that reads thy rhymes?
  But of King David's foes be this the doom,
  May all be like the young man Absalom!
  And for my foes, may this their blessing be,
  To talk like Doeg, and to write like thee!"

This is the _ne plus ultra_ of personal satire. Yet there are passages of
comparable excellence in the _Dunciad_. Aha! what have we here? A
contemptuous attack on Pope by--a Yankee-Cockney! What a cross! JOHN
RUSSELL LOWELL from Massachusets thus magpie-like chattereth at the
Nightingale.

     "_Philip._--You talk about the golden age of Queen Anne. It was a
     French pinchbeck age.

     "_John._--Stay, not so fast. I like the writers of that period, for
     the transparency of their style, and their freedom from affection. If
     I may trust my understanding of your meaning, our modern versifiers
     have only made the simple discovery, that an appearance of antiquity
     is the cheapest passport to respect. But the cheapest which we
     purchase with subservience is too dear. You yourself have no such
     prejudice against the Augustan age of English literature. I have
     caught you more than once with the _Tatler_ in your hand, and have
     heard you praising Dryden's prefaces.

     "_Philip._--You and I have very different notions of what poetry is,
     and of what its object should be. You may claim for Pope the merit of
     an envious eye, which could turn the least scratch upon the character
     of a friend into a fester, of a nimble and adroit fancy, and of an
     ear so niggardly that it could afford but one invariable cæsura to
     his verse; but, when you call him poet, you insult the buried majesty
     of all earth's noblest and choicest spirits. Nature should lead the
     true poet by the hand, and he has far better things to do than to
     busy himself in counting the warts upon it, as Pope did. A cup of
     water from Hippocrene, tasting, as it must, of innocent pastoral
     sights and sounds, of the bleat of lambs, of the shadows of leaves
     and flowers that have leaned over it, of the rosy hands of children
     whose privilege it ever is to paddle in it, of the low words of
     lovers who have walked by its side in the moonlight, of the tears of
     the poor Hagars of the world who have drunk from it, would choke a
     satirist. His thoughts of the country must have a savour of Jack
     Ketch, and see no beauty but in a hemp field. Poetry is something to
     make us wiser and better, by continually revealing those types of
     beauty and truth which God has set in all men's souls; not by picking
     out the petty faults of our neighbours to make a mock of. Shall that
     divine instinct, which has in all ages concerned itself only with
     what is holiest and fairest in life and nature, degrade itself to go
     about seeking for the scabs and ulcers of the putridest spirits, to
     grin over with a derision more hideous even than the pitiful quarry
     it has moused at? Asmodeus's gift, of unroofing the dwellings of his
     neighbours at will, would be the rarest outfit for a satirist, but it
     would be of no worth to a poet. To the satirist the mere outward
     motives of life are enough. Vanity, pride, avarice--these, and the
     other external vices, are the strings of his unmusical lyre. But the
     poet need only unroof his own heart. All that makes happiness or
     misery under every roof of the wide world, whether of palace or
     hovel, is working also in that narrow yet boundless sphere. On that
     little stage the great drama of life is acted daily. There the
     creation, the tempting, and the fall, may be seen anew. In that
     withdrawing closet, solitude whispers her secrets, and death uncovers
     his face. There sorrow takes up her abode, to make ready a pillow and
     a resting-place for the weary head of love, whom the world casts out.
     To the poet nothing is mean, but every thing on earth is a fitting
     altar to the supreme beauty.

     "But I am wandering. As for the poets of Queen Anne's reign, it is
     enough to prove what a kennel standard of poetry was then
     established, that Swift's smutchy verses are not even yet excluded
     from the collections. What disgusting stuff, too, in Prior and
     Parnell! Yet Swift, perhaps, as the best writer of English whom that
     period produced. Witness his prose. Pope treated the English language
     as the image-man has served the bust of Shakspeare yonder. To rid it
     of some external soils, he has rubbed it down till there is no
     muscular expression left. It looks very much as his own 'mockery king
     of snow' must have done after it had begun to melt. Pope is for ever
     mixing water with the good old mother's milk of our tongue. You
     cannot get a straightforward speech out of him. A great deal of his
     poetry is so incased in verbiage, that it puts me in mind of those
     important-looking packages which boys are fond of sending to their
     friends. We unfold envelope after envelope, and at last find a couple
     of cherry-stones. But in Pope we miss the laugh which in the other
     case follows the culmination of the joke. He makes Homer lisp like
     the friar in Chaucer and Ajax and Belinda talk exactly alike.

     "_John._--Well, we are not discussing the merits of Pope, but of the
     archaisms which have been introduced into modern poetry. What you say
     of the Bible has some force in it. The forms of speech used in our
     version of it will always impress the mind, even if applied to an
     entirely different subject. What else can you bring forward?

     "_Philip._--Only the fact, that, by going back to the more natural
     style of the Elizabethan writers, our verse has gained in harmony as
     well as strength. No matter whether Pope is describing the cane of a
     fop, or the speech of a demigod, the pause must always fall on the
     same syllable, and the sense be chopped off by the same rhyme.
     Achilles cannot gallop his horses round the walls of Troy, with
     Hector dragging behind his chariot, except he keep time to the
     immitigable seesaw of the couplet."

Master Lowell gives tongue with a plagiarism from Southey. In his _Life of
Cowper_ that great writer somewhat rashly says, "The age of Pope was the
golden age of poets--but it was the pinchbeck age of poetry." What is
pardonable in Southey is knoutable in his ape. Think of one American
Cantab playfully rating and complimenting another on having caught him
more than once with the _Tatler_ in his hand, and with having heard him
praising Dryden's prefaces! What liberality--nay, what universality of
taste! Absolutely able, in the reaches of his transatlantic soul, to
relish Dryden's prefaces! But in his appeal from Philip drunk to Philip
sober, Philip cannot, crop-sick, but nauseate the thought of Pope being a
poet.

The whole dialogue--somewhat of the longest--_tedious_ exceedingly--is
polluted with similar impudencies. "The strong point in Pope's displays of
sentiment, is in the graceful management of a cambric handkerchief. You do
not believe a word that Heloïse says, and feel all the while that she is
squeezing out her tears as if from a half-dry sponge." Such is the effect
of too copious draughts from that Hippocrene which alternately discharges
cock-tail and mint-julep. John, however, does not go the whole hog with
Philip. He erects his ears to their full length, and brays thus--"_I do
not think that you do Pope justice!_" and then does Pope justice as
follows: "_His translation of Homer is as bad as it can be, I admit!_" I
ADMIT! "But surely you cannot deny the merit of lively and ingenious
fancy to his 'Rape of the Lock;' nor of knowledge of life, and a certain
polished classicalness, to his epistles and satires. His portraits are
like those of Copley, of fine gentlemen and ladies, whose silks and satins
are the best part of them." But poor, cautious, timid, trimming,
turn-about John cannot so conciliate bully Philip, who squabashes at once
both poet and critic.

     "_Philip._--I cannot allow the parallel. In Copley's best pictures,
     the drapery, though you may almost hear it rustle, is wholly a
     subordinate matter. Witness some of those in our College-hall here at
     Cambridge--that of Madam Boylston especially. I remember being once
     much struck with the remark of a friend, who convinced me of the
     fact, that Copley avoided the painting of wigs whenever he could,
     thus getting a step nearer nature. Pope would have made them a
     prominent object. I grant what you say about the 'Rape of the Lock,'
     but this does not prove that Pope was a poet. If you wish an instance
     of a _poet's_ fancy, look into the 'Midsummer Night's Dream.' I can
     allow that Pope has written what is entertaining, but surely not
     poetical. Show me a line that makes you love God and your neighbour
     better, that inclines you to meekness, charity, and forbearance, and
     I will show you a hundred that make it easier for you to be the
     odious reverse of all these. In many a Pagan poet there is more
     Christianity. No poet could write a 'Dunciad,' or even read it. You
     have persuaded yourself into thinking Pope a poet, as, in looking for
     a long time at a stick which we believe to be an animal of some kind,
     we fancy that it is stirring. His letters are amusing, but do not
     increase one's respect for him. When you speak of his being
     classical, I am sure that you jest."

The waves of the Atlantic have wafted acorns dropped from the British oak
to the Western shores, and a wide and strong grove is growing up there. We
feel our kindred with the fellow-beings of our tongue, and rejoice with a
natural and keen interest in every thing true, great, and good that is
produced within the States. Powers are moving there, that may, that do,
want much tempering; but of which, when tempered, we augur high things.
One such tempering is reverence of the past, and Pope is one of the great
names which England tenders to young America. We augur ill, and are uneasy
for our cousins or nephews, when we see them giving themselves airs, and
knowing better than their betters. What are we to think, when instead of
the fresh vigour which should rise on the soil of the self-governed, we
find repetition, for the worse, of the feeblest criticisms which have
disgraced some of our own weaklings? This presumptuous youngling talks
technically, and does not know what he is talking about. Pope has _not_
but one invariable cæsura to his verse. He has an ordinary range of four
places for his cæsura, and the variety and music which he manages to give
his verse under that scheme, dictated by a sensitive ear, is truly
wonderful. That Pope is only a satirist, and can find nothing in humanity
but its faults, infirmities, and disgraces to feed upon with delight, is a
shameful falsehood. He is as generous in praise as he is galling in
sarcasm; and the voice of Christian Europe has pronounced him a moral and
religious poet. It is rather strange to see the stickler for the beauty
and exaltation of poetry, diligent in purifying and ennobling the taste of
his countrymen, by raking in the dirt for disgusting and loathsome images,
to express his slanderous character of a writer, eminent among the best
for purity and refinement. We take leave of Mr Lowell with remarking, that
his affected and hyperbolical praises heaped on the old English dramatists
are as nauseous as any ignorant exaggeration can be, bombastically
protruded on us at second-hand, from an article in an old number of the
_Retrospective Review_, from which most of the little he knows is taken,
and in the taking, turned into most monstrous nonsense.

Friends of our soul! Permit us, now, in this our Supplement, to suggest to
your recollection, that Satire is public or private. Public satire is, or
would he, authoritative, robed, magisterial censure. Private satire is
private warfare--the worst plague of the state, and the overthrow of all
right law. It is worse. For when baron besieges baron, there is high
spirit roused, and high deeds are achieved. But private malice in verse is
as if the gossiping dames of a tea-table were armed with daggers instead
of words, to kill reputations--the School for Scandal turned into a
tragedy. We are groaning now over the inferior versifiers. To the Poets,
to the mighty ones, we forgave every thing, a month ago. We say then,
again, that although duly appointed to this Chair of Justice in which we
sit, and having our eyes bandaged like the Goddess whose statue is in the
corner of the hall, yet our hands are open, and we are willing--as in all
well-governed kingdoms judges have been willing--to take bribes. But we
let it be known, we must be bribed high. Juvenal, Persius, Horace, Dryden,
and Pope have soothed the itching of our palms to our heart's content; and
each has gained his cause in or impartial court. Nay, we are very much
afraid, that if that gall-fed, parricidal ruffian, Archilochus, who
twisted his verses into a halter for noosing up his wife's father--a
melancholy event to which the old gentleman, it is said, lent a
helping-hand--were more to us than a tradition, we should be in danger of
finding in the poignancy of his iambics a sauce too much to our relish.
_Avec cette sauce_--cried the French gastronome, by the ecstasy of his
palate bewitched out of his moral discretion--_Avec cette sauce on
mangerait son père!_

But leaving these imaginative heights, and walking along the level ground
of daily life, common sense, and sane criticism, we go on to assert that
private satire, lower than the highest, is intolerable. The grandeur of
moral indignation in Juvenal, never is altogether without a secret inkling
of disquietude at the bottom of the breast. It may be the Muse's
legitimate and imposed office to smite the offending city; but it is never
her joyous task. The judge never gladly puts on the black cap. The reality
oppresses us--we are sore and sick in the very breath of the contagion,
even if we escape untainted by it. The power of poetry possesses us for
the time, and we must submit. Perhaps it is right, if the Muse be a great
_magistra vitæ_, that she should present life under all its aspects, and
school us in all its disciplines; and the direct, real, official censure
of manners may be a necessary part of her calling. But how differently
does the indirect censure affect us! Shakspeare creating Iago, censures
wily, treacherous, envious, malignant, cold-blooded villany, where and
whensoever to be found. He does not fix the brand upon the forehead of a
time, or of a profession, or of a man, or of a woman; but of a devil who
is incarnate in every time, who exercises every profession, is an innate,
is the householder rather, now in the steeled breast of a man, and now in
woman's softest bosom. This ubiquitous possibility of the Mark's
occurring--the ignorance of the archer where his gifted arrow will
strike--ennobles, aggrandizes his person and his work. It does not weaken
the service which the poet is called upon to render to humanity, by
showing himself the foe of her foes. And we, the spectators of the
drama--what is that strangely balanced and harmonized conflict of
emotions, by means of which we at once loathe and endure the poisonous
confidant of the Moor? From the depths of the heart abhorring the odious,
execrable man, whilst our fancy hovers, fascinated, about the marvellous
creation! Yet we do not call Shakspeare here a Satirist. The distinction
is broad. The Satirist is, in the most confined, or in the most
comprehensive sense--PERSONAL.

And now we doubt not, readers beloved, that while you have been enjoying
these our reflections on Satire, you may likewise have been dimly
foreseeing the purposed end towards which our drift is setting in, as on a
strong tide. We have been dealing with first-raters. In them the power of
the poetry reconciles us to the matter--mitigates the repugnancy otherwise
ready to wait, in a well-constituted mind, upon a series of thoughts and
images which studiously persevere in venting the passions of hate and
scorn. The curse of the Muse on all middling poets--and upon Parnassus one
is tempted to ascribe to the middle zone of the mountain, all those who do
not cluster about one of the summits--the common curse seems to fall with
tenfold violence upon the middling Satirist. The great poet has authority,
magistery, masterdom, seated in his high spirit; and when he chooses to
put forth his power, we bow before him, or stoop our heads from the
descending bolt. But if one not thus privileged leap uncalled into the
awful throne, to hurl self-dictated judgments, this arrogant usurpation of
supremacy; justly offends and revolts us. For he who censures the age, or
any notable division of contemporary society, in verse, does in fact
arrogate to himself an unappealable superiority. He speaks, or affects to
speak, muse-inspired, as a prophet, oracularly. He does not enquire, he
thunders. Now, the thunder of a scold is any thing but agreeable--and we
exclaim--

  "Demens! qui nimbos et non imitabile fulmen
  Ære et cornipedum cursu simulârat equorum."

Poets are the givers of renown. Their word is fame. But fame is good and
ill; and therefore they speak Eulogy and Satire. They are the tongues of
the world. The music of verse makes way for Lear's words to all our
hearts. It makes way for the Satirist's to the heart, where they are to be
mortal. If mankind justly moved condemn, the Poet will find voice for that
condemnation. Wo be to those who by goading provoke him, who is the organ
of the universal voice, to visit his own wrong, to wreak his own vengeance
on their heads! The wrong, the wrath is private; but the voice retains its
universality, and they are withered as if by the blast of the general hate
or scorn--

  "He was not for an age, but for all time,"

said one poet of another. There are two ways of belonging to one's age.
You are born of it--you die with it. Johnson disclaims for Shakspeare the
co-etaneousness by birth and by death. He is the son of all time; and the
inheritor of all time. His mind is the mind of ages deceased, and of ages
unborn; and his writings remain to each succeeding generation, as fresh as
if it had witnessed their springing into existence. They take no date.

Something of this is common to all essential poetry--

  "Vivuntque commissi calores
  Æoliæ fidibus puellæ."

The loves of Sappho _live_. They have not passed away. They _are_
immortally. Therefore the Poet, as we said, is the giver of fame. His
praise--his scorn--lives for ever.

All who are worthy to read Us know how well the rude primeval people
comprehended the worth of the poet. The song rang to the borders of the
land or of the name, and that was glory or ignominy alive in every heart.
Honour given by the poet was then a substantial possession; to be
disgraced by his biting vituperation was like the infliction of a legal
punishment. The whole condition of things--men's minds and their outward
relations--corresponded to that which seems now to us an extraordinary
procedure--that of constituting the poet, in virtue of that name, a state
functionary, holding office, rank, and power. Now, the poet is but a
self-constituted Censor. He holds office from the Muse only; or upon
occasion from the mighty mother, Dulness. The Laureateship is the only
office in the State of Poetry that is in the Queen's gift; and that,
thanks to her benignity and the good sense of the nineteenth century, has
become a sinecure conferred on an Emeritus.

  "Hollo! my fancy, whether dost thou roam?"

Nay, she is not roaming at all--for we have been all along steering in the
wind's eye right to a given point. We come now to say a few words of
CHARLES CHURCHILL.

Of him it was said by one greater far, that he "blazed the meteor of a
season." For four years--during life--his popularity--in London and the
suburbs--was prodigious; for forty--and that is a long time after
death--he was a choice classic in the libraries of aging or aged men of
wit upon town; and now, that nearly a century has elapsed since he "from
his horrid hair shook pestilence and war" o'er slaves and Scotsmen, tools
and tyrants, peers, poetasters, priests, pimps, and players, his name is
still something more than a mere dissyllable, and seems the shadow of the
sound that Mother Dulness was wont to whisper in her children's ears when
fretting wakefully on her neglected breasts. The Satirist, of all poets,
calls the enquiry of the world upon himself. The Censor of manners should
in his own be irreproachable. The satirist of a nation should feel that in
that respect in which he censures he is whole and sound; that in assailing
others he stands upon a rock; that his arrows cannot by a light shifting
of the wind return to his own bosom. It was not so with Churchill. But he
had his virtues--and he died young.

  "Life to _the last enjoy'd_!! here Churchill lies."

It is not of his life but his writings we purpose to speak. It is not to
be thought that his reputation at the time, and among some high critics
since, could be groundless. There is an air of power in his way of
attacking any and every subject. He goes to work without embarrassment,
with spirit and ease, and is presently in his matter, or in some matter,
rarely inane. It is a part, and a high part of genius, to design; but he
was destitute of invention. The self-dubbed champion of liberty and
letters, he labours ostentatiously and energetically in that vocation; and
in the midst of tumultuous applause, ringing round a career of almost
uninterrupted success, he seldom or never seems aware that the duties he
had engaged himself to perform--to his country and his kind--were far
beyond his endowments--above his conception. His knowledge either of books
or men was narrow and superficial. In no sense had he ever been a student.
His best thoughts are all essentially common-place; but, in uttering them,
there is almost always a determined plainness of words, a free step in
verse, a certain boldness and skill in evading the trammel of the rhyme,
deserving high praise; while often, as if spurning the style which yet
does not desert him, he wears it clinging about him with a sort of
disregarded grace.

The Rosciad--The Apology--Night--The Prophecy of Famine--An Epistle to
William Hogarth--The Duellist--Gotham--The Author--The Conference--The
Ghost--The Candidate--The Farewell--The Times--The Journey--Fragment of a
Dedication--such is the list of _Works_, whereof all England rung from
side to side--during the few noisy years he vapoured--as in the form of
shilling or half-crown pamphlets they frighted the Town from its
propriety, and gave monthly or quarterly assurance to a great people that
they possessed a great living Poet, worthy of being numbered with their
mightiest dead.

He began with the Play-house.

The theatre! Satire belongs to the day, and the theatre belongs to the
day. They seem well met. The spirit of both is the same--intense
popularity. Actors are human beings placed in an extraordinary relation to
other human beings: public characters; but brought the nearer to us by
being so--the good ones intimate with our bosoms, dear as friends. Their
persons, features, look, gait, gesture, familiar to our thoughts, vividly
engraven. They address themselves to every one of us personally, in tones
that thrill and chill, or that convulse us with merriment--and all for
pleasure! They ask our sympathy, but they task it not. No burthen of
distress that they may lay upon us do we desire to rid off our hearts. We
only call for more, more! They stir up the soul within us, as nothing else
in which, personally, we are quite unconcerned, does. Therefore the praise
or sarcasm that visits them, comes home to the privacy of our own
feelings. Besides, they belong to the service of the Muse; and so the
other servant of the Muse, the Satirist, as the superintendent of the
household, may reasonably reprehend or commend them. Further, they offer
themselves to favour and to disfavour, to praise, to dispraise; to the
applauding hands or to the exploding hisses of the public. There is, then
an attraction of fame-bestowing verse towards the stage. And yet does it
not seem a pity that the unfortunate bad actors should "bide the pelting
of _this_ pitiless storm," over and above that of others they are liable
to be assailed with? What great-minded Satirist could step down a
play-bill from the first rank of performers to the second and the
third--hunting out miserable mediocrities--dragging away the culprits of
the stage to flagellation and the pillory? Say then, at once, that the
Satirist is not great-minded, and his motives are not pure desires for the
general benefit. He is by the gift of nature witty, and rather
ill-natured. He very much enjoys his own wit, and he hopes that you have
fun enough in you to enjoy his jests, and so he breaks them. THE ROSCIAD
is, we believe, by far the best of Churchill's performances; very clever,
indeed, and characteristic; at the head of all theatrical criticism in
verse; yet an achievement, in spite of the talent and ingenuity it
displays, not now perusable without an accompanying feeling akin to
contempt.

"GOTHAM" is an irregular, poetical whim, of which it is easier to describe
the procedure than to assign the reasonable purpose. Gotham itself is a
country unknown to our geographers, which Churchill has discovered, and of
which, in right of that discovery, he assumes the sovereignty under his
own undisguised name, King Churchill. After spiritedly arraigning the
exercise in the real world of that right by which he rules in his
imaginary kingdom--a right which establishes the civilised in the lands of
the enslaved or expatriated uncivilised, he spends the rest of his first
canto in summoning all creatures, rational and irrational, to join the
happy Gothamites in the universal choral celebration of his mounting the
throne. The second canto, for some two hundred verses, insists upon the
necessity of marrying Sense with Art, to produce good writing, and
Learning with Humanity, to produce useful writing; and then turns off
bitterly to characterise the reigns in succession of the Stuarts, by way
of warning to his Gothamites against the temptation to admit a vagrant
Stuart for their king. The third canto delivers the rules by which he,
King Churchill, who purposes being the father of his people, designs to
govern his own reign. That is all. What and where is Gotham? What is the
meaning of this royalty with which the poet invests himself? What is the
drift, scope, and unity of the poem? Gotham is not, and is, England. It is
not England, for he tells us in the poem that he is born in England, and
that he is not born in Gotham; besides which, he expressly distinguishes
the two countries by admonishing the Gothamites to search "England's fair
records," for the sake of imbibing a due hatred for the House of Stuart.
It is England, for it is an island which "Freedom's pile, by ancient
wisdom raised, adorns," making it great and glorious, feared abroad and
happy at home, secure from force or fraud. Moreover, her merchants are
princes. The conclusion is, that Gotham is England herself, poetically
disidentified by a very thin and transparent disguise. The sovereignty of
King Churchill, if it mean any thing capable of being said in prose, may
shadow the influence and authority which a single mind, assuming to itself
an inborn call to ascendancy, wishes and hopes to possess over the
intelligence of its own compatriot nation; and this may be conjectured in
a writer who principally dedicates himself to the championship of
political principles. The rules, in the Third Book, for the conduct of a
prince, afford the opportunity of describing the idea of a patriot king,
of censuring that which is actually done adversely to these rules; and, at
the same time, they acquire something of a peculiar meaning, if they are
to be construed as a scheme of right political thinking--the intelligence
of the general welfare which is obligatory upon the political ruler being
equally so upon the political teacher. If this kind of deliberate,
allegorical design may be mercifully supposed, the wild self-imagination,
and apparently downright nonsense of the First Book, may pretend a
palliation of its glaring vanity and absurdity; since the blissful reign
of King Churchill over Gotham, which is extolled very much like the "Jovis
incrementum," in Virgil's Fourth Eclogue, thus comes to mean, when
translated into the language of men, the reign in England of the opinions
for which Churchill battles in rhyme. Or, this may be too much attribution
of plan to a caprice that meant little or nothing. The first book was
published by itself, and may have aimed at something to which the author
found that he could not give shape and consistency. Yet Cowper declares
Gotham to be a noble and beautiful poem.

THE AUTHOR might almost seem intended for a sequel to MacFlecnoe and the
Dunciad. Not that it assumes, like them, a fanciful vehicle for the
satire, but it undertakes the lashing of peccant authors, and recognises
DULNESS as an enthroned power to whose empire the writer is hostile; and
where he adverts to his own early life, and clerical destination, he
mentions her as the patroness upon whom his friends had relied for his
future church preferment.

  "But now, when Dulness rears aloft her throne,
  When lordly vassals her wide empire own;
  When Wit, seduced by Envy, starts aside,
  And basely leagues with Ignorance and Pride, &c.

     *       *       *       *       *

  Bred to the church, and for the gown decreed,
  Ere it was known that I should learn to read;
  Though that was nothing for my friends, who knew
  What mighty Dulness of itself could do,
  Never design'd me for a working priest,
  But hoped I should have been a dean at least," &c.

The writers more formally and regularly attacked, are Smollett, Murphy,
Shebbeare, Guthrie, and one Kidgell, who contrived to earn shame, in
exposing to shame the printed but unpublished obscenity and blasphemy of
Wilkes. Johnson gets a good word as a state-pensioner, Francis, the
translator of Horace, for dulness apparently, and Mason, and even Gray,
are signalized, _en passant_, as artificial rhymesters! The general tenor
of the poem complains that in these days true learning, genius, and the
honesty of authorship are of no account; whilst the political profligacy
of the pen ensures favour and pay. The first hundred lines forcibly
express the inspiring indignation proper to the subject, and some of them
are still occasionally quoted; but how inferior all to corresponding
strains in Dryden and Pope! They were poets indeed--he was not a poet. He
has not fancy or imagination--they had both--they were consummate masters
in their art: he was but a bold bungler after all. In proof, take the best
passage in THE AUTHOR.

  "Is this--O death to think!--is this the land
  Where merit and reward went hand in hand?
  Where heroes, parent-like, the poet view'd,
  By whom they saw their glorious deeds renew'd?
  Where poets, true to honour, tuned their lays,
  And by their patrons sanctified their praise?
  Is this the land where, on our Spenser's tongue,
  Enamour'd of his voice, Description hung?
  Where Jonson rigid Gravity beguiled,
  While Reason through her critic fences smiled?
  Where Nature listening stood whilst Shakspeare play'd,
  And wonder'd at the work herself had made?
  Is this the land where, mindful of her charge,
  And office high, fair Freedom walk'd at large?
  Where, finding in our laws a sure defence,
  She mock'd at all restraints, but those of sense?
  Where, Health and Honour trooping by her side,
  She spreads her sacred empire far and wide;
  Pointed the way, Affliction to beguile,
  And bade the face of Sorrow wear a smile--
  Bade those who dare obey the generous call
  Enjoy her blessings, which God meant for all?
  Is this the land where, in some tyrant's reign,
  When a weak, wicked, ministerial train,
  The tools of power, the slaves of interest, plann'd
  Their country's ruin, and with bribes unmann'd
  Those wretches, who ordain'd in Freedom's cause,
  Gave up our liberties, and sold our laws;
  When Power was taught by Meanness where to go,
  Nor dared to love the virtue of a foe;
  When, like a lep'rous plague, from the foul head
  To the foul heart her sores Corruption spread,
  Her iron arm when stern Oppression rear'd,
  And Virtue, from her broad base shaken, fear'd
  The scourge of Vice; when, impotent and vain,
  Poor Freedom bow'd the neck to Slavery's chain?
  Is this the land, where, in those worst of times,
  The hardy poet raised his honest rhymes
  To dread rebuke, and bade Controlment speak
  In guilty blushes on the villain's cheek;
  Bade Power turn pale, kept mighty rogues in awe,
  And made hem fear the Muse, who fear'd not law?
    "How do I laugh, when men of narrow souls,
  Whom folly guides, and prejudice controls;
  Who, one dull drowsy track of business trod,
  Worship their Mammon, and neglect their God;
  Who, breathing by one musty set of rules,
  Dote from their birth, and are by system fools;
  Who, form'd to dulness from their very youth,
  Lies of the day prefer to Gospel-truth;
  Pick up their little knowledge from Reviews,
  And lay out all their stock of faith in news;
  How do I laugh, when creatures form'd like these,
  Whom Reason scorns, and I should blush to please,
  Rail at all liberal arts, deem verse a crime,
  And hold not truth as truth, if told in rhyme?"

These are commendable verses, but they are not the verses of a true poet.
For instance, when he will praise the greatest poets--

  "Is this the land, where, on our Spenser's _tongue_,
  Enamour'd of his _voice_, Description hung"--

the intention is good, and there is some love in the singling out of the
name; but Description is almost the lowest, not the highest praise of
Spenser. The language too is mean and trite, not that of one who is
"_inflammatus amore_" of the sacred poet whom he praises. How differently
does Lucretius praise Epicurus! The words blaze as he names him. How
differently does Pope or Gray praise Dryden! Even in Churchill's few words
there is the awkward and heavy tautology--tongue and voice. It is more
like the tribute of duty than sensibility. The well-known distich on
Shakspeare is rather good--it utters with a vigorous turn the general
sentiment, the nation's wonder of its own idol. But compare Gray, who also
brings Nature and Shakspeare together; or see him speaking of Dryden or
Milton, and you see how a poet speaks of a poet--thrilled with
recollections--reflecting, not merely commemorating, the power. Indeed, we
design to have a few (perhaps twenty) articles entitled Poets on Poets--in
which we shall collect chronologically the praises of the brotherhood by
the brotherhood. In the mean time we do believe that the one main thing
which you miss in Churchill is the true poetical touch and temper of the
spirit. He is, as far as he succeeds, a sort of inferior Junius in
verse--sinewy, keen--with a good, ready use of strong, plain English; but
he has no rapture. His fire is volcanic, not solar. Yet no light praise it
is, that he rejects frivolous ornament, and trusts to the strength of the
thought, and of the good or ill within. But besides the disparity--which
is great--of strength, of intellectual rank--this draws an insuperable
difference in kind between him and Pope or Dryden, that they are
essentially poets. The gift of song is on their lips. If they turn
Satirists, they bring the power to another than its wonted and native
vocation. But Churchill obtains the power only in satirizing. As Iago
says--

  "For I am nothing if not critical."

Is this merely a repetition of Juvenal's "_facit indignatio versus_,"
rendered in prose, "Indignation makes _me_ a poet," who am not a poet by
nature? In the first place, Juvenal prodigiously transcends Churchill in
intellectual strength; and in the second, Juvenal has far more of
essential poetry, although hidden in just vituperation, and in the imposed
worldliness of his matter. But we must pull up.

The so-called "EPISTLE TO HOGARTH" is, after the wont of Churchill, a
shapeless, undigested performance. It is nothing in the likeness of an
epistle; but for three hundred lines a wandering, lumbering rhapsody,
addressed to nobody, which, after abusing right and left, suddenly turns
to Hogarth, whom it introduces by summoning him to stand forth at the bar
in the Court of Conscience, an exemplar of iniquities worse than could
have been believed of humanity, were he not there to sustain the
character, and authenticate the rightful delineation. Thenceforwards
obstreperously railing on, overwhelming the great painter with exaggerated
reproaches for envy that persecuted all worth, for untired self-laudation,
for painting his unfortunate _Sigismunda_; and oh! shame of song! for the
advancing infirmities of old age. The merits of Hogarth, as master of
comic painting, are acknowledged in lines that have been often quoted, and
are of very moderate merit--not worth a rush. "The description of his age
and infirmities," as Garrick said at the time, "is too shocking and
barbarous." It nauseates the soul; and unmasks in the Satirist the
rancorous and malignant hostility which assumes the disguise of a
righteous indignation.

    "Hogarth! stand forth.--Nay, hang not thus aloof--
  Now, Candor! now thou shalt receive such proof,
  Such damning proof, that henceforth thou shalt fear
  To tax my wrath, and own my conduct clear--
  Hogarth! stand forth--I dare thee to be try'd
  In that great court where Conscience must preside;
  At that most solemn bar hold up thy hand;
  Think before whom, on what account, you stand--
  Speak, but consider well--from first to last
  Review thy life, weigh ev'ry action past--
  Nay, you shall have no reason to complain--
  Take longer time, and view them o'er again--
  Canst thou remember from thy earliest youth,
  And, as thy God must judge thee, speak the truth;
  A single instance where, self laid aside,
  And justice taking place of fear and pride,
  Thou with an equal eye did'st genius view,
  And give to merit what was merit's due?
  Genius and merit are a sure offence,
  And thy soul sickens at the name of sense.
  Is any one so foolish to succeed?
  On Envy's altar he is doom'd to bleed;
  Hogarth, a guilty pleasure in his eyes,
  The place of executioner supplies:
  See how he glotes, enjoys the sacred feast,
  And proves himself by cruelty a priest.
    "Whilst the weak artist, to thy whims a slave,
  Would bury all those pow'rs which Nature gave;
  Would suffer black concealment to obscure
  Those rays thy jealousy could not endure;
  To feed thy vanity would rust unknown,
  And to secure thy credit blast his own,
  In Hogarth he was sure to find a friend
  He could not fear, and therefore might commend:
  But when his Spirit, rous'd by honest shame,
  Shook off that lethargy, and soar'd to fame;
  When, with the pride of man, resolv'd and strong,
  He scorn'd those fears which did his honour wrong,
  And, on himself determin'd to rely,
  Brought forth his labours to the public eye,
  No friend in thee could such a rebel know;
  He had desert, and Hogarth was his foe.
    "Souls of a tim'rous cast, of petty name
  In Envy's court, not yet quite dead to shame,
  May some remorse, some qualms of conscience feel,
  And suffer honour to abate their zeal;
  But the man truly and completely great
  Allows no rule of action but his hate;
  Thro' ev'ry bar he bravely breaks his way,
  Passion his principle, and parts his prey.
  Mediums in vice and virtue speak a mind
  Within the pale of temperance confin'd;
  The daring spirit scorns her narrow schemes,
  And, good or bad, is always in extremes.
    "Man's practice duly weigh'd, thro' ev'ry age
  On the same plan hath Envy form'd her rage,
  'Gainst those whom fortune hath our rivals made,
  In way of science and in way of trade:
  Stung with mean jealousy she arms her spite,
  First works, then views their ruin with delight.
  Our Hogarth here a grand improver shines,
  And nobly on the gen'ral plan refines:
  He like himself o'erleaps the servile bound;
  Worth is his mark, wherever worth is found;
  Should painters only his vast wrath suffice?
  Genius in ev'ry walk is lawful prize:
  'Tis a gross insult to his o'ergrown state;
  His love to merit is to feel his hate.
    "When Wilkes, our countryman, our common friend,
  Arose, his king, his country, to defend;
  When tools of pow'r he bar'd to public view,
  And from their holes the sneaking cowards drew;
  When Rancour found it far beyond her reach
  To soil his honour and his truth impeach;
  What could induce thee, at a time and place
  Where manly foes had blush'd to show their face,
  To make that effort which must damn thy name,
  And sink thee deep, deep, in thy grave with shame?
  Did virtue move thee? No; 'twas pride, rank pride,
  And if thou had'st not done it thou had'st dy'd.
  Malice, (who, disappointed of her end,
  Whether to work the bane of foe or friend,
  Preys on herself, and driven to the stake,
  Gives virtue that revenge she scorns to take,)
  Had kill'd thee, tott'ring on life's utmost verge,
  Had Wilkes and Liberty escap'd thy scourge.
    "When that Great Charter, which our fathers brought;
  With their best blood, was into question bought,
  When, big with ruin, o'er each English head
  Vile slav'ry hung suspended by a thread;
  When Liberty, all trembling and aghast,
  Fear'd for the future, knowing what was past;
  When ev'ry breast was chill'd with deep despair,
  Till reason pointed out that Pratt was there;
  Lurking most ruffian-like behind a screen,
  So plac'd all things to see, himself unseen,
  Virtue, with due contempt, saw Hogarth stand,
  The murd'rous pencil in his palsied hand.
  What was the cause of Liberty to him,
  Or what was Honour? let them sink or swim,
  So he may gratify without control
  The mean resentment of his selfish soul;
  Let freedom perish, if, to freedom true,
  In the same ruin Wilkes may perish too.
    "With all the symptoms of assur'd decay,
  With age and sickness pinch'd and worn away,
  Pale qiuv'ring lips, lank cheeks, and falt'ring tongue,
  The spirits out of tune, the nerves unstrung,
  The body shrivell'd up, thy dim eyes sunk
  Within their sockets deep, thy weak hams shrunk,
  The body's weight unable to sustain,
  The stream of life scarce trembling, thro' the vein,
  More than half-kill'd by honest truths, which fell
  Thro' thy own fault from men who wish'd thee well,
  Canst thou, ev'n thus, thy thoughts to vengeance give,
  And, dead to all things else, to malice live?
  Hence, Dotard! to thy closet; shut thee in;
  By deep repentance wash away thy sin;
  From haunts of men to shame and sorrow fly,
  And, on the verge of death, learn how to die."

What was Hogarth's unpardonable sin? Nature had lodged the unlovely soul
of Jack Wilkes in an unlovely and ludicrous person, which the wicked and
inimitable pencil of Hogarth had made a little unlovelier perhaps, and a
little more ludicrous. Horace Walpole spoke in his usual clear-cutting
style of Mr Charles Pylades and Mr John Orestes. They liked one another,
and ran the scent, strong as a trail of rancid fish-guts, of the same
pleasures--but let not such hunting in couples profane the name of
friendship.

    "For me, who warm and zealous for my friend,
  In spite of railing thousands, will commend,
  And, no less warm and zealous 'gainst my foes,
  Spite of commending thousands, will oppose--
  I dare thy worst, with scorn behold thy rage;
  But with an eye of pity view thy age--
  Thy feeble age! in which, as in a glass,
  We see how men to dissolution pass.
  Thou wretched being! whom, on reason's plan,
  So chang'd, so lost, I cannot call a man--
  What could persuade thee at this time of life,
  To launch afresh into the sea of strife!
  Better for thee, scarce crawling on the earth,
  Almost as much a child as at thy birth;
  To have resign'd in peace thy parting breath,
  And sunk unnotic'd in the arms of death.
  Why would thy gray, gray hairs resentment brave,
  Thus to go down with sorrow to the grave?
  Now, by my soul! it makes me blush to know
  My spirit could descend to such a foe:
  Whatever cause the vengeance might provoke;
  It seems rank cowardice to give the stroke.
    "Sure 'tis a curse which angry Fates impose
  To mortify man's arrogance, that those
  Who're fashion'd of some better sort of clay
  Much sooner than the common herd decay.
  What bitter pangs must humble Genius feel
  In their last hours, to view a Swift and Steele!
  How must ill-boding horrors fill her breast,
  When she beholds men mark'd above the rest
  For qualities most dear, plung'd from that height,
  And sunk, deep sunk, in second childhood's night!
  Are men, indeed, such things? and are the best
  More subject to this evil than the rest;
  To drivel out whole years of idiot breath,
  And sit the monuments of living Death!
  O! galling circumstance to human pride!
  Abasing thought! but not to be deny'd.
  With curious art the brain, too finely wrought,
  Preys on herself, and is destroy'd by thought.
  Constant attention wears the active mind,
  Blots out her pow'rs, and leaves a blank behind,
  But let not youth, to insolence ally'd,
  In heat of blood, in full career of pride,
  Possess'd of genius, with unhallow'd rage
  Mock the infirmities of rev'rend age:
  The greatest genius to this fate may bow;
  Reynolds in time may be like Hogarth now."

One makes allowance, in reading, for the inflamed temper of the times, for
a judgment disturbed with personal anger, and for the self-consciousness
which, hardly separable from talent, stirs and sustains its energies.
But--Churchill demolishing Hogarth! It is startling--rather
melancholy--and very amusing. One compares fame with fame--the transitory
and the imperishable. The wave, lashed into fury, that comes on,
mountain-swollen, all rage, and froth, and thunder, to dash itself into
spray against some Atlas of the Deep--some huge brother of Time, whose
cheeks the wings of the centuries caress, and of whose hand storms that
distract heaven and earth are but toys.

Of the "PROPHECY OF FAMINE," Wilkes, before its publication, said he "was
sure it would take, as it was at once personal, poetical, and political."
And take it did--going off in thousands, and tens of thousands. The Whig
coteries, of course, cried it up to the skies; and the established
authorities declared that Pope must now hide his diminished head. Such
nonsense Churchill swallowed; for he had tried to take it into his head
that Pope was a fool to him, and in his cups was wont to vent a wish that
little Alec were alive, that he might break his heart. That was the
delusion of delirium. Inflated with vanity as he was, he must, when sober,
have known well he could not with his cudgel, readily though he flourished
it, have lived for five minutes before that Master of the rapier.

Scotsmen as we are to the spine, it is possible that we may be
incapacitated by the strength of our backbone for perceiving the mighty
merit of this astonishing satire. Steeped to the lips in national
prejudices in favour of Scotland, (not against England--heaven forbid!)
imbibed with the first gulp of Glenlivet that more than three quarters of
a century ago went gurgling down our filial throats--inured to hunger from
our tenderest years--"in life's morning march when our spirits were
young," ignorant of shoes, though haply not inexpert of sulphur--to us,
thus born and thus bred, it may not be given to behold with our outward
eyes, and feel with our inward hearts, the full glory of "The Prophecy of
Famine." Boswell, with an uneasy smirk, rather than a ghastly grin, said,
"It is indeed falsely applied to Scotland, but may on that account be
allowed a greater share of invention." Johnson in his heart loved
Scotland, as all his jeers show; and perhaps on that account was, like
ourselves, no fair judge of Churchill's genius. "I called the fellow a
blockhead at first--and I call him a blockhead still," comprehended all
his performances in one general contempt. In later times, Jeffrey has
dismissed him with little ceremony to find his place at the Third Table.
Campbell, who, though a Whig, cared nothing about Churchill, acknowledges
having been amused by the laughable extravagance of the "Prophecy." And
Lord Mahon says, "that it may yet be read with all the admiration which
the most vigorous powers of verse and the most lively touches of wit can
earn in the cause of slander and falsehood."

Suppose, rough-and-ready Readers, that you judge for yourselves. You have
not a copy of Churchill--so passing over the first part of the poem--about
three hundred lines--as dull as ditchwater in the season of powheads--let
us give you the cream, or marrow, or pith of the famous "Prophecy of
Famine," before which Scotia, "our auld respectit mither," bowed down and
fell, and was thought by some to have given up the ghost, or at least
"tined her dam."

    "Two boys, whose birth, beyond all question, springs
  From great and glorious tho' forgotten kings,
  Shepherds of Scottish lineage, born and bred
  On the same bleak and barren mountain's head;
  By niggard Nature doom'd on the same rocks
  To spin out life, and starve themselves and flocks;
  Fresh as the morning which, enrob'd in mist,
  The mountain's top with usual dulness kiss'd,
  Jockey and Sawney, to their labours rose;
  Soon clad I ween where Nature needs no clothes,
  Where, from their youth inur'd to winter-skies,
  Dress and her vain refinements they despise.
    "Jockey, whose manly high-bon'd cheeks to crown,
  With freckles spotted flam'd the golden down,
  With meikle art could on the bagpipes play,
  Ev'n from the rising to the setting day:
  Sawney as long without remorse could bawl
  Home's madrigals, and ditties from Fingal:
  Oft at his strains, all natural tho' rude,
  The Highland lass forgot her want of food;
  And, whilst she scratch'd her lover into rest,
  Sunk pleas'd, tho' hungry, on her Sawney's breast.
    "Far as the eye could reach no tree was seen,
  Earth, clad in russet, scorn'd the lively green:
  The plague of locusts they secure defy,
  For in three hours a grasshopper must die:
  No living thing, whate'er its food, feasts there,
  But the chameleon, who can feast on air.
  No birds, except as birds of passage, flew;
  No bee was known to hum, no dove to coo:
  No streams, as amber smooth, as amber clear,
  Were seen to glide, or heard to warble here:
  Rebellion's spring, which thro' the country ran,
  Furnish'd with bitter draughts the steady clan:
  No flow'rs embalm'd the air but one White Rose,
  Which on the tenth of June by instinct blows,
  By instinct blows at morn, and when the shades
  Of drizzly eve prevail, by instinct fades.
    "One, and but one, poor solitary cave,
  Too sparing of her favours, Nature gave;
  That one alone (hard tax on Scottish pride!)
  Shelter at once for man and beast supply'd.
  Their snares without entangling briers spread,
  And thistles, arm'd against the invader's head,
  Stood in close ranks, all entrance to oppose,
  Thistles! now held more precious than the Rose.
  All creatures which, on Nature's earliest plan,
  Were form'd to loathe and to be loath'd by man,
  Which ow'd their birth to nastiness and spite,
  Deadly to touch, and hateful to the sight;
  Creatures, which, when admitted in the ark,
  Their saviour shunn'd, and rankled in the dark,
  Found place within. Marking her noisome road
  With poison's trail, here crawl'd the bloated toad;
  There webs were spread of more than common size,
  And half-starv'd spiders prey'd on half-starv'd flies;
  In quest of food, efts strove in vain to crawl;
  Slugs, pinch'd with hunger, smear'd the slimy wall:
  The cave around with hissing serpents rung;
  On the damp roof unhealthy vapour hung;
  And Famine, by her children always known,
  As proud as poor, here fix'd her native throne.
    "Here, for the sullen sky as overcast,
  And summer shrunk beneath a wintry blast,
  A native blast, which, arm'd with hail and rain,
  Beat unrelenting on the naked swain,
  The boys for shelter made: behind the sheep,
  Of which those shepherds ev'ry day take keep,
  Sickly crept on, and, with complainings rude,
  On Nature seem'd to call and bleat for food.
    "_Jockey._ Sith to this cave by tempest we're confin'd,
  And within ken our flocks, under the wind,
  Safe from the pelting of this per'lous storm,
  Are laid among yon' thistles, dry and warm,
  What, Sawney! if by shepherds' art we try
  To mock the rigour of this cruel sky?
  What if we tune some merry roundelay?
  Well dost thou sing, nor ill doth Jockey play.
    "_Sawney._ Ah Jockey, ill advisest thou, I wis,
  To think of songs at such a time as this;
  Sooner shall herbage crown these barren rocks,
  Sooner shall fleeces clothe these ragged flocks,
  Sooner shall want seize shepherds of the south,
  And we forget to live from hand to mouth,
  Than Sawney, out of season, shall impart
  Tho songs of gladness with an aching heart.
    "_Jockey._ Still have I known thee for a silly swain;
  Of things past help what boots it to complain?
  Nothing but mirth can conquer Fortune's spite;
  No sky is heavy if the heart be light:
  Patience is sorrow's salve: what can't be cur'd,
  So Donald right areeds, must be endur'd.
    "_Sawney._ Full silly swain, I wot, is Jockey now;
  How didst thou bear thy Maggy's falsehood? how,
  When with a foreign loon she stole away,
  Didst thou forswear thy pipe and shepherd's lay?
  Where was thy boasted wisdom then, when I
  Apply'd those proverbs which you now apply?
    "_Jockey._ O she was bonny! all the Highlands round
  Was there a rival to my Maggy found?
  More precious (tho' that precious is to all)
  Than the rare med'cine which we Brimstone call,
  Or that choice plant, so grateful to the nose,
  Which in I-know-not-what-far country grows,
  Was Maggy unto me: dear do I rue
  A lass so fair should ever prove untrue.
    "_Sawney._ Whether with pipe or song to charm the ear,
  Thro' all the land did Jamie find a peer?
  Curs'd be that year by ev'ry honest Scot,
  And in the shepherds' kalendar forgot,
  That fatal year, when Jamie, hapless swain!
  In evil hour forsook the peaceful plain:
  Jamie, when our young laird discreetly fled,
  Was seiz'd, and hang'd till he was dead, dead, dead.
    "_Jockey._ Full sorely may we all lament that day,
  For all were losers in the deadly fray;
  Five brothers had I on the Scottish plains,
  Well dost thou know were none more hopeful swains;
  Five brothers there I lost, in manhood's pride,
  Two in the field, and three on gibbets dy'd:
  Ah! silly swains! to follow war's alarms;
  Ah! what hath shepherd's life to do with arms?
    "_Sawney._ Mention it not--There saw I strangers clad
  In all the honours of our ravish'd Plaid;
  Saw the Ferrara, too, our nation's pride,
  Unwilling grace the awkward victor's side.
  There fell our choicest youth, and from that day
  Mote never Sawney tune the merry lay;
  Bless'd those which fell! curs'd those which still survive!
  To mourn Fifteen renew'd in Forty-five."

As our memory of our personal experiences about the period in Scottish
history at which the above scene is laid is extremely obscure, we cannot
take upon ourselves to speak authoritatively of the fidelity of the
picture. But Churchill, we grieve to say it, was a regular--a thorough
Cockney. The instant a Cockney opens his mouth, or puts pen to paper about
Scotland, he stands confessed. Here Charles's attempt at the Scottish
dialect betrays the taint. Not a single one of the words he chucklingly
puts into the lips of Jockey and Sawney as characteristically
Scoto-Arcadian, was ever heard or seen by the breechless swains of that
pastoral realm. Never does an alien look so silly to the natives, be they
who they may, as when instructing them in their own language, or mimicking
the niceties and delicacies of its dialects. They pardonably think him
little better than a fool; nor does he mend the matter much by telling
them that he is satirical and a wit.

Considerable latitude in the article of language must be allowed to the
poet, who presents to us engaged in dialogue two natives of a country
where clothes and victuals are nearly unknown. "Rude must they be in
speech--and little graced with the set phrase of peace." Churchill was
bound to have conceived for them an utterance natural to their condition,
as Shakspeare did for Caliban. But over and above the Cockneyisms
committed by him, he makes them twaddle like middle-aged men in
middle-sized towns, who had passed all their nights in blankets, and all
their days in breeches, with as liberal an allowance of food as parish
paupers.

  "To mock the rigour of this cruel sky,"
  "In all the honours of our ravish'd plaid"--
  "Unwilling grace the awkward victor's side,"

have here no dramatic propriety we opine--and show the slobberer.

The Satirist betrays the same poverty of invention in the sentiments as in
the language of the Swains. They illustrate no concealed character--they
reveal no latent truth.

  "Rebellion's spring, which through the country ran,
  Furnished with bitter draughts _the steady clan_;"

and yet the swains are averse from war, and exclaim--

  "Ah! silly swains! to follow war's alarms;
  Ah! what hath shepherd's life to do with arms?"

And, at the same time, they talk of--

  "the Ferrara, too, our nation's pride."

The dialogue is throughout absolutely stupid. You are not made by it
either to hate or despise the Swains, nor are you led to laugh at them;
but lay down the satire for minute or two, peevishly suspecting that you
have been reading arrant nonsense.

You take up the trash again; and, being a Scotsman, you are perhaps not
altogether quite so well pleased to find that it suddenly waxes into
something very like poetry. The description of the cave had made you
wince--why, you knew not; for nothing the least like it ever existed in
Scotland, or out of it; and your high cheekbones had tingled. The
reprobate can write, you are forced to confess, while Christopher North
holds up to your confusion the picture of Famine.

    "Thus plain'd the boys, when from her throne of turf
  With boils emboss'd, and overgrown with scurf,
  Vile humours, which, in life's corrupted well,
  Mix'd at the birth, not abstinence could quell,
  Pale Famine rear'd the head; her eager eyes,
  Where hunger ev'n to madness seem'd to rise,
  Speaking aloud her throes and pangs of heart,
  Strain'd to get loose, and from their orbs to start.
  Her hollow cheeks were each a deep sunk cell,
  Where wretchedness and horror lov'd to dwell:
  With double rows of useless teeth supply'd,
  Her mouth from ear to ear extended wide,
  Which when for want of food her entrails pin'd
  She op'd, and, cursing, swallow'd nought but wind:
  All shrivell'd was her skin; and here and there,
  Making their way by force, her bones lay bare:
  Such filthy sight to hide from human view
  O'er her foul limbs a tatter'd plaid she threw.
    "'Cease,' cry'd the goddess, 'cease, despairing swains!
  And from a parent hear what Jove ordains.
    "'Pent in this barren corner of the isle,
  Where partial Fortune never deign'd to smile,
  Like Nature's bastards, reaping for our share
  What was rejected by the lawful heir;
  Unknown amongst the nations of the earth,
  Or only known to raise contempt and mirth;
  Long free, because the race of Roman braves
  Thought it not worth their while to make us slaves,
  Then into bondage by that nation brought
  Whose ruin we for ages vainly sought,
  Whom still with unslak'd hate we view, and still,
  The pow'r of mischief lost, retain the will;
  Consider'd as the refuse of mankind,
  A mass till the last moment left behind,
  Which frugal Nature doubted, as it lay,
  Whether to stamp with life or throw away;
  Which, form'd in haste, was planted in this nook,
  But never enter'd in Creation's book,
  Branded as traitors, who, for love of gold,
  Would sell their God, as once their king they sold;
  Long have we borne this mighty weight of ill,
  These vile injurious taunts, and bear them still;
  But times of happier note are now at hand,
  And the full promise of a better land:
  There, like the sons of Isr'el, having trode
  For the fix'd term of years ordain'd by God,
  A barren desert, we shall seize rich plains,
  Where milk with honey flows, and plenty reigns:
  With some few natives join'd, some pliant few,
  Who worship int'rest, and our track pursue;
  There shall we, tho' the wretched people grieve,
  Ravage at large, nor ask the owners' leave.
    "'For us the earth shall bring forth her increase;
  For us the flocks shall wear a golden fleece;
  Fat beeves shall yield us dainties not our own,
  And the grape bleed a nectar yet unknown:
  For our advantage shall their harvests grow,
  And Scotsmen reap what they disdain'd to sow:
  For us the sun shall climb the eastern hill;
  For us the rain shall fall, the dew distil:
  When to our wishes Nature cannot rise,
  Art shall be task'd to grant us fresh supplies;
  His brawny arm shall drudging Labour strain,
  And for our pleasure suffer daily pain:
  Trade shall for us exert her utmost pow'rs,
  Hers all the toil, and all the profit ours:
  For us the oak shall from his native steep
  Descend, and fearless travel thro' the deep;
  The sail of commerce, for our use unfurl'd,
  Shall waft the treasures of each distant world;
  For us sublimer heights shall science reach;
  For us their statesmen plot, their churchmen preach:
  Their noblest limbs of counsel we'll disjoint,
  And, mocking, new ones of our own appoint:
  Devouring War, imprison'd in the north,
  Shall at our call in horrid pomp break forth;
  And when, his chariot wheels with thunder hung,
  Fell Discord braying with her brazen tongue,
  Death in the van, with Anger, Hate, and Fear,
  And Desolation stalking in the rear,
  Revenge, by Justice guided, in his train,
  He drives inpet'ous o'er the trembling plain,
  Shall at our bidding quit his lawful prey,
  And to meek, gentle, gen'rous Peace give way.
    "'Think not, my sons! that this so bless'd estate
  Stands at a distance on the roll of Fate;
  Already big with hopes of future sway,
  Ev'n from this cave I scent my destin'd prey.
  Think not that this dominion o'er a race,
  Whose former deeds shall Time's last annals grace,
  In the rough face of peril must be sought,
  And with the lives of thousands dearly bought:
  No--fool'd by cunning, by that happy art
  Which laughs to scorn the blund'ring hero's heart,
  Into the snare shall our kind neighbours fall,
  With open eyes, and fondly give us all."

Alongside of any one of the masterpieces of Dryden or Pope, this, perhaps
the most vigorous thing of Churchill's, is seen to be a daub. Yet Cockney
connoisseurs still think it a fine picture. When fresh from the easel, it
was thus praised by a metropolitan critic:--

  "You'll own the great Churchill possesses, I hope,
  More fancy than Cowley, more numbers than Pope;
  More strength, too, than Dryden--for, think on what's past,
  He has not only rivall'd, but beat them at last."

A hearty national prejudice is no bad foundation for a Poem. It implies
one great requisite of success--a secure large sympathy. This "trusted
home" animates the poet; and a reception, answering to the confidence,
awaits the work. Moreover, ungrounded or exaggerated as these
depreciations and antipathies are likely to be, they usually spring out of
some deep-laid element in the character of those who entertain them, and
have thus the vital warmth and strength that feed poetry, and an original
truth of nature mixed up amongst fallacies of opinion. Caricatured
representation is the proper vehicle. For Censure is then half disarmed,
when to her exception, "This is not so," the reply lies upon the face of
the performance, "Neither is it offered for true." The hyperbole of the
phrase covers the distortion of the thinking. If we are to find fault with
Churchill's "Prophecy of Famine," it must be upon some other ground than
the injustice or cruelty of the attack upon poor Scotland, or the hardness
of the hits delivered, it may be, by a fist gloved in iron.

Who grudges the attack? Not Sawney himself, if it is made in masterly
style. A magnanimous combatant, who has the true enthusiasm of the fight,
admires the skill of the stroke that threatens him with defeat or death.
Spite, malice, aversion, enmity, are not ingratiating demonstrations. Far
from it. Ill-will is naturally met with ill-will. But besides that which
is unavoidably self-regarding in such a relation of parties, room is open
for views of a more general feature, of a more generous complexion. John
Bull scowls at Sawney, and makes mouths at his oatmeal diet, with lips to
which the memory of his own roast-beef cleaves. The last-mentioned dish is
not altogether unknown north of the Tweed. But John Bull knows not the
unimaginable fact, or knew it not, for the barrier is now widely broken
down. Sawney has humour enough to be amused by the writhing apprehension
of dry and lean fare which deforms the well-fed and jocund face of the
bacon-bolter.

There is in the description and Amabæan lament of the two gaunt and
shivering young Arcadians, and in the cave of the tutelary Goddess,
Famine, the intention at least of the picturesque and poetical. The fault
is, that the thing has no bringing out or completeness. It is
incomposite--as a plan, unintelligible. Are the _dramatis personæ_,
Sawney, Jockey, and the Goddess, with Sawney's love, the whole population
of Scotland? Do the two lads, and their sheep, and Famine, occupy the same
sole cave which is all the houses in Scotland? Is it a comprehensive
Allegory under the guise of a pastoral Idyl? A ground is laid; and it is
easy to conceive that a Hogarth in verse, with his stored eye, and that
hand mimic and creative, which, by some unmistaken touch of nature, sets
upon capricious extravagance the known seal of truth, might have finished
a picture which experience itself would have half-believed in spite of its
conviction, that never had there been such an hungered race. But such a
Hogarth in verse was not Churchill. Upon the ground laid, a Satire might
have been made out by such a genius, exaggerated, witty,
poetical--pleasing even to the posterity of the victims. But instead of
crowded ideas, here are but three or four. This writing does, in fact, not
express the national prejudices of South Britain against North Britain. It
expresses the zeal of party and of a partizan. One can hardly conceive
such an ignorance of Scotland in England, as that a man of ability wishing
to traduce and ridicule the country, should sit down contented under such
a paucity of mischievous information. He writes under one simple
rule--negation. To deny food, to deny clothes, to deny houses, to deny
sunshine, grass, _rivers_ even, requires no mental effort of any kind, and
is the part of a dunce and an ignoramus. For any thing positive, the
Scotch are proud, have high cheekbones, and love brimstone and rebellion.
That is the amount of the picture. Famine consoles the two hungry lads who
mourn over the Fifteen and the Forty-five, with prophesying the invasion
and conquest of England by the Bute Administration--a glorious hope, a
national redress, and a private filling of empty purses and stomachs.
Churchill was himself poverty-stricken in mind, during the composition of
this blunder, to a degree that never befell any true poet.

An Englishman of this day must be puzzled to bring back the time when
Scotland was so completely a _terra incognita_ to her sister, as that this
rude and unlearned caricature could pass. Indeed, he hardly understands
the hate--he to whom prose and verse, from one great hand, and poetry
profusedly scattered like flowers all over the soil from another, have
made hallowed the land of romance, and of dreams more beautiful than
romance, and for whom the words, "Caledonia, stern and wild," mean any
thing but repulsion. But one must remember, that poetry was at the time at
a low ebb, almost stagnant in England, and that any thing that looked like
an image was aprodigy. If Gray and Collins now and then struck the lyre,
they stood apart from the prevailing prosaic and common-place tone of the
times. An Englishman of to-day knows the name of Home by one of the most
popular tragedies on his stage, if not one of the most vigorous, yet
amongst modern dramas, one of the most affecting; and he wonders when that
name is introduced by Churchill for the purpose of aggravating the
contempt of Scotland, represented as a region Boeotian in wit, quite as
much as by its atmosphere. He understands by what attraction Collins
addressed to Home his "Ode on the Superstitions of the Highlands."
Political hatred, the dislike, the indignation, which may have been widely
enough diffused through the nation, at the interloping of Scotchmen in the
high places of power and emolument--this was the sentiment in the national
bosom which gave a meaning to the poem, and found it a reception. Such a
sentiment is not scrupulous or critical--it is passionate merely--and asks
not the happinesses of humour, wit, fancy, of the graphical and the
characteristic. It asks bitter animosity, and vile vituperation, and is
satisfied.

The individuality of a nation is curiously made up. The country which they
inhabit makes a part of it, the most easily understood. Their manners,
customs, and institutions make another part of it, much of which is
outward, picturesque, and easily seen. Their history, that which they have
done, and that which they have endured, makes a part. And lastly, that
which runs through all, rises out of all, animates all, their proper
personality, their intellectual and moral character, makes a part--and now
you have the whole. We demand of the writer who will, in earnest, paint
the people, that he shall know all these things extensively, variously,
profoundly. And of the Satirist, who will hold up the nation to dislike
and to laughter, that he too shall show he knows them, their defects and
their deformities, their crimes and their customs, their sins and their
sorrows, their sufferings and their absurdities, their monstrosities and
their misfortunes, God's curse or of their own consciences, that may have
stricken their country and their condition, and starved the paupers in
body and in soul. Such chastisement might be terrible, and not undeserved.
But to inflict it, was far beyond the power of poor Charles Churchill.

  "Waft me, some Muse, to Tweed's enchanting stream,
  Where all the little Loves and Graces dream:
  _Where, slowly winding, the dull waters creep,_
  _And seem themselves to own the power of sleep;_
  _Where on the surface lead, like feathers, swims;_
  There let me bathe my yet unhallow'd limbs,
  As once a Syrian bathed in Jordan's flood;
  Wash off my native stains, correct that blood
  Which mutinies at call of English pride,
  And, deaf to prudence, rolls a patriot tide."

Ay, much the better would he have been of a dip in the Tweed. He was a
big, burly fellow; but, though no great swimmer, he would have found it
buoyant after a debauch. His native stains, washed off, would, alas! have
sadly discoloured the Angler's Delight. Worse than a hundred
Sheep-washings. But at one gleam of the showery bow, the waters would have
resumed their lustre. He was the last man in the world who ought to have
abused brimstone; for his soul had the Itch. A wallow in the sweet
mould--the pure mire of Cardronna Mains--on a dropping day, would have
been of service to his body, bloated with foul blood. Smeared with that
sanative soil, he might have been born again--no more a leper.

"I remember well," says Dr Kippis, "that he dressed his younger son [the
son of his wife--not of the mistress for whom he abandoned her] in a
Scottish plaid, like a little Highlander, and carried him every where in
that garb. The boy being asked by a gentleman with whom I was in company,
why he was clothed in such a manner, answered _with great
vivacity_,--'Sir, my father hates the Scotch, and does it to plague
them.'" For a father to dress up his son in the garb of a people, despised
and detested with perpetual scunner, seems an odd demonstration either of
party spite or of paternal fondness--about as sensible as, on the
anniversary of his birth-day, in compliment to his mother, to have dressed
him up like a monkey.

The Patriot Satirist! The question inevitably obtrudes itself--what is the
pointing of destiny, which singles out Churchill for the indignant
protector, in verse, of England's freedom and welfare? What calls his hand
into the van of battle, with the strong lance of justice laid in rest, to
tilt against the ill-defended breast of poor, proud, hungry, jacobinical,
place-loving, coin-attached and coin-attaching, muse-left,
gibbet-favoured, tartan-clad, sulphur-scented, and thistle-growing
Scotland? The hero of liberty, the self-offered martyr for the rights and
the wrongs of a great people, should carry on his front, one might
suppose, some evidence of the over-mastering spirit which, like a
necessity, finds him out, and throws him, as if a lot-drawn champion,
alone into the jaws and jeopardy of the war. It should be one, of whom, if
you knew him yet obscure, you might divine and say, "This is _his_
hour--_his_ is the mind that consecrates its possessor to a consecrated
cause, that discriminates, essentially as the spirits of light as divided
from the spirits of darkness, the lover of his country from the factious
partizan, and from the seditious demagogue." There should be a private
life and character that but repeat themselves in the public ones, on a
bolder and gigantic scale. Else how ready does the apprehension rise, that
the professed hostility to unjust men in power is no more than the
reluctance of an ill-disciplined spirit, under the offence and constraint
of institutions which set superiors over his head, and gall him by
bridling an unruly will;--whilst the clamorous zeal for the general good
is purely the choice of the staking gamester between red and black, and
the preference of the million-headed patron to the cheapener with a few
heads or with one. The two known traits, which largely comprehend the
private life of Churchill, do not prepossess one in his favour. He left
his profession, the church; and he exchanged his wife, after many years'
cohabitation, for a mistress; two paramount desecrations unhappily met.
And the trumpet-call to the war-field of patriotism sings but
uncheeringly, when the blast is winded by the breath of Wilkes.

When the shame of England burns in the heart of Cowper, you must believe
him; for through that heart rolled the best of England's blood. But
Churchill! Faugh!


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



Footnotes:

[1] _Memoirs of the Life of John Constable, Esq., R.A._ Composed chiefly
of his Letters. By C. R. LESLIE, R.A. Second Edition. Longmans.

[2] Even there we see that he viewed the matter as a task, and piqued
himself only on having succeeded in a _tour-de-force_. Writing to
Archdeacon Fisher, he says--"It was the most difficult subject in
landscape I ever had on my easel. I have not flinched at the windows,
buttresses, &c.; but I have still kept to my grand organ, colour, and have
as usual made my escape in the evanescence of chiaroscuro."--(P. 109.)

[3] "I cannot but recall here a passage in a letter to Mr Fisher, written
by Constable nearly ten years before his death, in which, after speaking
of having removed his family to Hampstead, he says, 'I could gladly
exclaim, here let me take my everlasting rest!'"

[4] One of the greatest and most memorable of the Turkish princes was
Mahmood the Ghaznavide, who reigned in the eastern provinces of Persia,
A.D. 997-1028. His father, Sebactagi, arose from the condition of a slave
to the command of the city and province of Ghazna. In the fall of the
dynasty of the Sammanides, the fortune of Mahmood was confirmed. For him
the title of _sultan_ (signifying _lord_ and _master_) was first invented,
and his kingdom was enlarged from Transoxiana to the neighbourhood of
Ispahan, from the shores of the Caspian to the mouth of the Indus. The
prowess and magnificence of Mahmood, his twelve expeditions into
Hindostan, and the holy wars he waged against the idol-worship of that
country, in one of which he destroyed an image of peculiar sanctity at Diu
or Du in Guzerat, and carried off the gates of Somnauth, (so recently,
once more, become a trophy of triumph and defeat,) the vast treasures
amassed in his campaigns, and the extent and greatness of the Ghaznavide
empire, have always been favourite subjects with Eastern historians. The
instance of his justice recorded in the verses, is given by Gibbon, from
whose history this note is chiefly taken.

Ghazna, from being the emporium of India, and the metropolis of a vast
dominion, had almost shrunk from the eye of the geographer, until, under
the modified appellation of Ghizni, it again emerged into importance in
our Affghan war. A curious crowd of associations is suggested by the fact,
that the town which gave its name to a dynasty that shook the successors
of Mahomet on their thrones, now confers the dignity of Baron on a native
of one of the obscurest villages in Ireland--Lord Keane of Ghizni, _and_
of Cappoquin in the county of Waterford.

[5] Kaff of late years is considered to have been more a creation of
Eastern mythology, than a genuine incontestable mountain. Its position is
supposed to be at the highest point of the great Hindoo-Kosh range. Such
was its astonishing altitude, that, says D'Herbelot, "vous trouvez souvent
dans leurs anciens livres, pour exprimer le lever du soleil, cette façon
de parler, _aussitôt que cet astre parût sur la cime du Mont Cáf, le monde
fut éclairé de sa lumière_: de même pour comprendre toute l'etendue de la
terre et de l'eau, ils disent _Depuis Cáf à Cáf_--c'est à dire, d'une de
ses extremités à l'autre."

[6] The name of Sind, Attok, or Indus, is applied indifferently to the
mighty stream that forms the western boundary of Hindostan.

[7] The tribes of savage warriors inhabiting the Kipchak, or table-land of
Tartary, have been distinguished by the name of the Golden Hordes. There
is a magnificent lyric on their Battle-charge, by Dr Croly, in the
_Friendship's Offering_ for 1834.

[8] _Essays on Natural History, chiefly Ornithology._ By CHARLES WATERTON,
Esq., author of "Wanderings in South America." Second Series; with a
continuation of the Autobiography of the Author.

[9] "'I do hereby disclaim, disavow, and solemnly abjure any intention to
subvert the present Church Establishment within this realm,' &c. In
framing that abominable oath, I don't believe that Sir Robert Peel cared
one fig's-end whether the soul of a Catholic went up, after death, to the
King of Brightness or descended to the King of Brimstone. His only aim
seems to have been to secure to the Church by law established the full
possession of the loaves and fishes."--_Essays_, 1st series, p. 19.

[10] A long-protracted lawsuit between this artist and Prince Giustiniani
has since attracted much public notice. On cleaning a painting apparently
of little value, which he had purchased at a sale of the refuse of the
prince's gallery, Signor Vallati detected traces of a superior production
beneath that painted over it, on removing which, the long-lost duplicate
of Correggio's Reading Magdalen was brought to light. A claim was now set
up by Prince Giustiniani for the restitution of the picture, or payment of
its full value:--but the cause, after being carried from one tribunal to
another, was at last decided in favour of the right of Vallati to his
prize.

[11] A close analogy, according to this system, existed between pigs and
humming-birds--each representing the _gliriform_ type in their respective
circles, and resembling each other in their small eyes and suctorial
propensities!--See SWAINSON'S _Classification of Birds in_ LARDNER'S
_Cabinet Cyclopædia_, i. 43.

[12]

  "Mopso Nisa datur. Quid non speremus amantes?
  Jungentur jam gryphes equis."

                                    VIRGIL, _Eclog._ viii. 26.

[13] _A Popular and Practical Introduction to Law Studies_, &c. &c. By
SAMUEL WARREN, Esq., F.R.S., of the Inner Temple, Barrister-at-Law.

[14] P. 71.

[15] The following extract from a memoir of Lord Wynford, written
evidently by a lawyer, manifests, in rather an amusing manner, the _esprit
de corps_ of the profession, and shows how the excitement of the contest
between the advocates effaces the dull interest of what are called the
merits of the case. Note how combative, how military, is the style:--"He
(Lord Wynford) was a dangerous, because he was a most watchful and
enterprising adversary. You could not any more sleep in his neighbourhood
than could the Duke while Massena was near, though he might, in the
neighbourhood of others, enjoy some repose. But if you never could be sure
of his not making some venturous move himself, and were thus kept on the
watch, so also you could not venture upon moves in the hope of his eyes
being closed. It may almost safely be pronounced that he never failed to
see or to profit by the slip of his adversary; to say that he never,
seldom, made slips himself, would be very wide of the truth. In fact, he
was not always a safe leader. Circumspect enough to see when his
antagonist failed, he took a very narrow, or very one-sided, view of his
own risks. Bold to rashness, hasty in his resolutions, quick in all his
thoughts and all his movements, he was often in dangers wholly needless to
be encountered; and though he would occasionally, by desperate courses,
escape beyond all calculation from risks, both inevitable and of his own
seeking, he could not be called a successful advocate."--_Article on_ LORD
WYNFORD, _No. III., Law Review._

[16] Correspondence between Count MÜNSTER and the Baron VON STEIN, in vol.
ii. of the _Lebensbilder aus dem Befreiungskriege_, Jena: 1841.

Letters of Baron STEIN to Baron GAGERN, in Von Gagern's _Antheil an der
Politik_, vol. iv. Stuttgart and Tübingen: 1833.

[17] Besides the correspondence of Münster and Gagern, which refer only to
the latter part of Stein's life, from 1811 to his death, we have only a
notice in the _Conversations Lexikon_, and a short biographical sketch by
Arndt, (the Baron's secretary,) appended to his _Erinnerungen_, (Leipsig,
1840,) to guide us in the early part of Stein's career. There are some
notices in the body of _Arndt's Reminiscences_, in Varnhagen's Memoirs,
and in some others, none of which, however, go further back than the year
1811.

[18] _In Prag halten sich die stärksten Mächte und Autriche zum Hassen
gegen Napoleon Zugammengehäuft._--VARNHAGEN VON ENSE, iii. 195, first
edition.

[19] "_Donnerschwangere Fulgurationer._"--HORMAYR, in the _Lebensbilder_,
i. 63.

[20] SCHARNHORST, Count DOHNA, and President VON SCHOEN, mentioned by
Stein in a previous letter not translated.

[21] _Essai sur les Fictions._





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