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backward to promote a policy, from which they can expect no good result for themselves, or to defend the throne of a king whom the natives of the Duchies of Cleve, lülich, Berg, of Westfalia, and of Posen, consider almost as much a foreigner as the King of France. The intrigue, which, according to documents published by Louis Blanc,* was being hatched between the Emperor of Russia and the King of France, Charles X., may appear improbable in our days; but it is not impossible. The Courts of Petersburg and Paris had almost agreed on a plan of dividing Prussia in the manner in which Poland had been divided. Russia was to have the Polish and France the Rhenish provinces of Prussia, while Austria was to come in for Silesia. A project of this kind would find the King of Prussia perfectly helpless. It is a great question whether the Landwehr of those provinces would risk their lives and property in the cause of a king, who has not realised one of the hopes that were founded upon his accession to the throne. They would remember the old fable of the donkey and its master. But even if they would fight, they would have formidable odds against them, from their being unaccustomed to real, matter-of-fact, war. A peace of thirty-three years' duration has left Prussia but a few veteran officers who have actually seen a field of battle. Even they have half forgotten what they then did learn. The wars of 1813 to 1815—the wars of liberation, as they were called at the time, were never great favourites with the kings of Prussia. A pledge was then given, which has since been violated. The old warriors of Leipsig and Waterloo, the men who fought under Gneisenau and Blücher, have been left to starve on miserable pensions. But few of them remain, and those few are not fit for war. Almost all other nations of Europe have regiments and armies that have braved the dangers, and know the vicissitudes of battles. England had her Chinese and Indian wars; France had Algiers, and Russia the Balkan and the Caucasus. Prussia alone has an army that has seen no fire, that has had none but prepared bivouacs ; an army, whose knowledge of dangers is confined to the casualties of a parade, and whose skill has only been tested by grand reviews. Her soldiers are men of peace; her veterans have grown hectic over the desks of village courts, or their limbs have got cramped by the hard seat of a diligence. On a fine summer's afternoon in 1843, I was a passenger in the diligence between Elberfeld and Hückeswagen. As the carriage was slowly proceeding up the mountain, at whose foot the town of Elberfeld is situated, I heard the report of small cannon from the valley below.
* Louis Blanc: Histoire de Dix Ans, Vol. 1.
- What does this mean?”
“ They are firing cannon," said the guard, who was sitting by my side ; "it is the anniversary of the battle of Waterloo ; the more fools they!”
He was a fine old man, with snow-white hair. He had a deep scar on his forehead ; one of his arms was lame. He wore three orders on his rough blue coat..
“ You have been in the wars, conducteur ?”
“ I have. I fought from 1807 till 1814. I was of the King's own Hussars; a fine regiment, sir! I have four wounds on my body; the last was a ball, which broke my arm.” “But you are a bad Prussian, conducteur. You say
the patriots down there, are fools !”
“ Damn Prussia, sir! But no! I will not curse my country ! May God pardon those who make an old man curse on the very day he received his last wound! But they are fools, sir, with their firing. What has the battle of Waterloo done for them? What has it done for us, who have fought in that long and cruel war? Here I am, a broken cripple; here I am in my carriage, going my stages, summer and winter, day and night; week-days and Sundays. There is no rest, no sleep, hardly any bread to eat ! Could they not spare some gold from the spoils of Napoleon, to feed the invalids who rescued the Prussian Crown by their blood and their limbs ? Fools ! fools ! are they who rejoice on this day!"
The old man's face was as pale as death, and his thin body trembled with the violence of his passion. He was right; there was no food, no rest, no sleep for him ! I have often thought of that Prussian veteran, Poor old man, he is now at rest!
REVELATIONS OF THE BEAUTIFUL. By E. H. BURRINGTON.
THE MILLENIUM. By OMICRON.
PRESENT CENTURY, WITH SPECIMENS OF THEIR POETRY. By ALFRED
Dixon Toovey. Fcp. 8vo. Kent and Richards. The title-page of this book suggests more, much more copiously than it realizes. Specimens of the British Poets of the Nineteenth Century, measured by the standard of Mr. Toovey, or even the popular feeling, would require a much larger volume than the present to indicate their merits, or even their demerits. Mr. Toovey seems to have some misgivings of this nature himself, and murmurs something about its being
very far below the standard prescribed by some reviewer; and he has evidently rushed in to fill a void, still existing as he thinks in the already over-laden shelves of every library; and fearful of being forestalled, has hastily thrown together such names and extracts as have most readily suggested themselves. His sins of omission are more reprehensible than his sins of commission ; for those who might object to Atherstone, Cottle, Drury, Still, and others, being included, would yet only suffer a negative evil, as they could pass over the pages so misapplied : whilst those lamenting the omitted would suffer a positive wrong. When we find no mention made of Horne, Heraud, Moultrie, Bailey, Browning, Mrs. Browning, Clare, Elliott, Milman, Motherwell, and many others, who have developed the true “faculty,” if not the
energy” divine, it is useless saying any more of the book. It contains but the crumbs of a bread-basket that has never been properly filled. We cannot actually fling the book into the waste basket, because it contains fragments of a glorious feast ; scraps from books, which however imperfectly represented, are still suggestive, and have a restorative effect on the fancy. But it is a great injustice both to those who are included and those who are excluded. The former are merely introduced like a dried leaf brought as a specimen of a noble tree ; a simile, by the way, to avoid a simile, in use--the serviceable, but hackneyed one, of the brick from the house. The descriptions appended to these fragments, (which it would take a miracle to expand into right ideas of the original poems, or their makers,) are not without a certain logical correctness of appreciation-though a man should pause twice ere he even utters once, that aught that Wordsworth, or Emerson, or Tennyson writes is merely childish or absurd. The selector is, moreover, too unqualified in his decisions, and too unreasoning in his judgments. We must, however, at once dismiss the book as short-coming and abortive ; although we are not sorry to have it, as we are not sorry to have a few flowers presented to us,
although we cannot consent to take them in lieu of a whole garden of Eden.
We have selected the book for notice as enabling us to say something on the Poetry of the age ourselves, and as the means of introducing some slight notices of the innumerable poetical publications, that come up like the daisies in the meadows, across which there are no footpaths, and which are ruthlessly cropped by the lazy cattle, unseen by all else.
Poetry, like your pearl, must, we fear, be considered a disease. It is certainly too frequently fatal to its possessor, and only indirectly advantageous to the world. Like all spiritual operations, it never operates directly. In so far it assimilates to mercy, and like the gentle rain from heaven, penetrates into the earth, is buried, and rises in the shape of beauteous actions, as flowers, in the minds of those it has penetrated. Prose and Poetry are two grand distinctions that all recognise (except Moliére's “Bourgeois Gentilhomme”), and are as marked as land and water : : yet have philosophers and critics never been able to scientifically define their essential difference, or their essential similarity. Our less inquiring ancestors took metre as the substantial difference, and verse established the claim to poetry. But no one, at the present day at least, is satisfied with this mere outward distinction; we all know we have a great deal of verse that is not poetry, and some unmeasured prose
that is poetry. We have, ourselves, from boyhood, through youthhood, and far along manhood, been seeking for a full and apprehensive definition of poetry, that might be applied, Ithuriel-like, to the vast flow of verse that yearly gushes forth, but have not found it. In our early days, the great reviews, the mighty " Edinburgh" and the fierce “ Quarterly," dealt frequently in the subject; and many were the definitions we copied into our common-place book. The test was continually shifting. Energy of thought and feeling ; fervour of fancy; glow of imagination ; harmony of numbers ; profundity of thought, and innumerable other epithets were alternately produced, but our faith in the great northern swaggerer was ultimately destroyed, for it declared with much fury and bluster, that Scott was, and Wordsworth was not a poet. This judgment was ultimately reversed, but still no real feeling for poetry was ever manifested in the review. A poet, however, vindicated himself and his fellow-songsters, and other definitions of poetry have been obliged to be sought for. Men, more competent to analyse it arose ; and the poets themselves began to test their own art. Wordsworth, in the preface to the second edition of his lyrical ballads ; Campbell, in his lectures at the Royal Institution ; Bowles, in his controversy with Byron about Pope; and Southey in the “Quarterly," all threw separate but powerful lights on the essential nature of poetry. But above all other dissertations are those of Coleridge (the greatest genius of our age), in his noble lectures, which were never seen by him in print, and which we have only from the recollection of intelligent friends. “ You might as well ask me what my dreams as what my lectures were,” says the author of them. He at once strikes the right key, and says, “Poetry is not the proper antithesis to prose, but to science ;” and the following gives much insight to the essential requisites of poetry. “ Milton says incidentally, poetry must be simple, sensuous, passionate.
Had these three words only been properly understood by, and present in the minds of, general readers, not only almost a library of false poetry would have been either precluded or still-born, but, what is of more consequence, works truly excellent and capable of enlarging the understanding, warming and purifying the heart, and placing in the centre of the whole being the germs of noble and manlike actions, would have been the common diet of the intellect instead. For the first condition, simplicity,-while, on the one hand, it distinguishes poetry from the arduous processes of science, labouring towards an end not yet arrived at, and supposes a smooth and finished road, on which the reader is to walk onward easily, with streams murmuring by his side, and trees and flowers and human dwellings to make his journey as delightful as the object of it is desirable, instead of having to toil with the pioneers and painfully make the road on which others are to