صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

(I say young, begging to be understood

By looks, not years; and should be very sorry To state, they were not older than St. Peter, But merely that they seem'd a little sweeter).


The cherubs and the saints bow'd down before
Tha arch-angelic hierarch, the first
Of essences angelical, who wore

The aspect of a god; but this ne'er nursed
Pride in his heavenly bosom, in whose core

No thought, save for his Maker's service, durst
Intrude, however glorified and high;
He knew him but the viceroy of the sky.


He and the sombre silent Spirit met

They knew each other both for good and ill; Such was their power, that neither could forget His former friend and future foe; but still There was a high, immortal, proud regret

In either's eye, as if 't were less their will Than destiny to make the eternal years [spheres. Their date of war, and their "champ clos




But here they were in neutral space: we know From Job, that Satan hath the power to pay A heavenly visit thrice a year or so;

And that "the sons of God," like those of clay, Must keep him company; and we might show

From the same book, in how polite a way The dialogue is held between the Powers Of Good and Evil-but 't would take up hours,

XXXIV. And this is not a theologic tract,

To prove with Hebrew and with Arabic, If Job be allegory or a fact,

But a true narrative; and thus I pick From out the whole but such and such an act, As sets aside the slightest thought of trick. 'Tis every tittle true, beyond suspicion, And accurate as any other vision.


The spirits were in neutral space, before

The gate of heaven; like eastern thresholds is The place where Death's grand cause is argued o'er, And souls despatch'd to that world or to this; And therefore Michael and the other wore

A civil aspect: though they did not kiss, Yet still between his Darkness and his Brightness There pass'd a mutual glance of great politeness. XXXVI.

The Archangel bow'd, not like a modern beau,
But with a graceful oriental bend,
Pressing one radiant arm just where below

The heart in good men is supposed to tend. He turn'd as to an equal, not too low,

But kindly; Satan met his ancient friend With more hauteur, as might an old Castilian Poor noble meet a mushroom rich civilian.

XXXVII. He merely bent his diabolic brow

An instant; and then raising it, he stood

1."No saint in the course of his religious warfare was more sensible of the unhappy failure of pious resolves than Dr. Johnson: he said one day, talking to an acquaintance on

In act to assert his right or wrong, and show

Cause why King George by no means could or should Make out a case to be exempt from woe

Eternal, more than other kings, endued With better sense and hearts, whom history mentions, Who long have "paved hell with their good intentions." 1

XXXVIII. Michael began: "What wouldst thou with this man, Now dead, and brought before the Lord? What ill Hath he wrought since his mortal race began,

That thou canst claim him? Speak! and do thy will, If it be just: if in this earthly span

He hath been greatly failing to fulfil
His duties as a king and mortal, say,
And he is thine; if not, let him have way."


"Michael!" replied the Prince of Air, " even here, Before the Gate of him thou servest, must

I claim my subject: and will make appear

That as he was my worshipper in dust, So shall he be in spirit, although dear

To thee and thine, because nor wine nor lust Were of his weaknesses; yet on the throne He reign'd o'er millions to serve me alone.

XL. "Look to our earth, or rather mine; it was,

Once, more thy master's: but I triumph not In this poor planet's conquest; nor, alas ! Need he thou servest envy me my lot: With all the myriads of bright worlds which pass In worship round him, he may have forgot Yon weak creation of such paltry things:

I think few worth damnation save their kings, —


"And these but as a kind of quit-rent, to

Assert my right as lord; and even had I such an inclination, 't were (as you

Well know) superfluous; they are grown so bad, That hell has nothing better left to do

Than leave them to themselves: so much more mad And evil by their own internal curse, Heaven cannot make them better, nor I worse.

XLII. "Look to the earth, I said, and say again:

When this old, blind, mad, helpless, weak, poor


Began in youth's first bloom and flush to reign,

The world and he both wore a different form, And much of earth and all the watery plain

Of ocean call'd him king: through many a storm His isles had floated on the abyss of time; For the rough virtues chose them for their clime.


"He came to his sceptre young; he leaves it old: Look to the state in which he found his realm, And left it; and his annals too behold,

How to a minion first he gave the helm ; How grew upon his heart a thirst for gold,

The beggar's vice, which can but overwhelm The meanest hearts; and for the rest, but glance Thine eye along America and France.

this subject, Sir, hell is paved with good intentions.'". Boswell, vol. v. p. 305. ed. 1835.]


""T is true, he was a tool from first to last

(I have the workmen safe); but as a tool So let him be consumed. From out the past

Of ages, since mankind have known the rule Of monarchs-from the bloody rolls amass'd

Of sin and slaughter-from the Cæsars' school, Take the worst pupil; and produce a reign [slain. More drench'd with gore, more cumber'd with the XLV.

"He ever warr'd with freedom and the free: Nations as men, home subjects, foreign focs, So that they utter'd the word Liberty !'


Found George the Third their first opponent. History was ever stain'd as his will be

With national and individual woes?

I grant his household abstinence; I grant
His neutral virtues, which most monarchs want;

[blocks in formation]

1 [George III.'s determination against the Catholic claims.]

2 [

"From the opposite region, Heavy and sulphurous clouds rol'd on, and completed the circle. There with the Spirits Accurst, in congenial darkness enveloped Were the Souls of the Wicked, who, wilful in guilt and error, Chose the service of sin, and now were abiding its wages. Change of place to them brought no reprieval froin anguish; They in their evil thoughts and desires of impotent malice, Envy, and hate, and blasphemous rage, and remorse unavailing, Carried a hell within, which all outer affliction,

So it abstracted the sense, might be deem'd a remission of torment.

Than see this royal Bedlam bigot range

The azure fields of heaven, of that be sure! "
"Saint!" replied Satan, "you do well to avenge
The wrongs he made your satellites endure; 1
And if to this exchange you should be given,
I'll try to coax our Cerberus up to heaven."


Here Michael interposed: "Good saint! and devil! Pray, not so fast; you both outrun discretion. Saint Peter! you were wont to be more civil:

Satan! excuse this warmth of his expression, And condescension to the vulgar's level:

Even saints sometimes forget themselves in session. Have you got more to say?"—" No. "—"If you please, I'll trouble you to call your witnesses."

[blocks in formation]

And if they ran a race, they would not win it
'Gainst Satan's couriers bound for their own clime.
The sun takes up some years for every ray
To reach its goal-the devil not half a day.


Upon the verge of space, about the size

Of half-a-crown, a little speck appear'd (I've seen a something like it in the skies In the Egean, ere a squall); it near'd, And, growing bigger, took another guise;

Like an aerial ship it tack'd, and steer'd, Or was steer'd (I am doubtful of the grammar Of the last phrase, which makes the stanza stam



But take your choice); and then it grew a cloud;
And so it was a cloud of witnesses. 1
But such a cloud! No land e'er saw a crowd

Of locusts numerous as the heavens saw these ; They shadow'd with their myriads space; their loud And varied cries were like those of wild geese (If nations may be liken'd to a goose), And realised the phrase of " hell broke loose."


Here crash'd a sturdy oath of stout John Bull, Who damn'd away his eyes as heretofore : There Paddy brogued "By Jasus!"-"What's your wull ?" [swore The temperate Scot exclaim'd: the French ghost In certain terms I sha'n't translate in full,

As the first coachman will; and 'midst the war, The voice of Jonathan was heard to express, "Our president is going to war, I guess."

LX. Besides there were the Spaniard, Dutch, and Dane; In short, an universal shoal of shades, From Otaheite's isle to Salisbury Plain,

Of all climes and professions, years and trades, Ready to swear against the good king's reign,

Bitter as clubs in cards are against spades: All summon'd by this grand " subpoena," to Try if kings mayn't be damn'd like me or you.

LXI. When Michael saw this host, he first grew palc, As angels can; next, like Italian twilight,

1 ["On the cerulean floor by that dread circle surrounded,

Stood the soul of the King alone. In front was the Presence
Vel'd with excess of light; and behind was the blackness of darkness;
When the trumpet was blown, and the Angel made proclamation -
Lo, where the King appears! Come forward, ye who arraign him!
Forth from the lurid cloud a Demon came at the summons.

It was the Spirit by whom his righteous reign had been troubled;
Likest in form uncouth to the hideous Idols whom India
(Long by guilty neglect to hellish delusions abandon'd,)
Worships with horrible rites of self-destruction and torture.
Many-headed and monstrous the Fiend; with numberless faces,
Numberless bestial cars erect to all rumours, and restless,

And with numberless mouths which were fill'd with lies as with arrows.
Clamours arose as he came, a confusion of turbulent voices,
Maledictions, and blatant tongues, and viperous hisses;
And in the hubbub of senseless sounds the watchwords of faction,-
Freedom, Invaded Rights, Corruption, and War, and Oppression -
Loudly enounced were heard." - SOUTHEY.]

* [In reference to this part of Mr. Southey's poem, the Eclectic Reviewer, we believe the late Rev. Robert Hall, said - Mr. Southey's Vision of Judgment is unquestionably a profane poem. The assertion will stagger those only who do not consider what is the import of the word. Profineness is the irreverent use of sacred names and things. A burlesque of things sacred, whether intentional or not, is profaneness. To apply the linguage of Scripture in a ludicrous connection is to profane it. The mummery of prayer on the stage, though in a serious pay, is a gross profanation of sacred things. And all acts which come under the taking of God's naine in vain are acts of profaneness. According to this definition of the word, the Laureate's Vision of Judgment' is a poem grossly and unpardonably profane. Mr. Southey's intention was, we are well persuaded, very far

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]

2 [

"But when he stood in the Presence, Then was the Fiend dismay'd, though with impudence clothed as a gar


And the lying tongues were mute, and the lips, which had scatter'd
Accusation and slander, were still. No time for evasion
This, in the Presence he stood: no place for flight; for dissembling
No possibility there. From the souls on the edge of the darkness,
To he produced, prime movers and agents of mischief, and bade them
Show themselves faithful now to the cause for which they had labour'd.
Wretched and guilty souls, where now their audacity? Where now
Are the insolent tongues so ready of old at rejoinder >
Where the lofty pretences of public virtue and freedom?
Where the gibe, and the jeer, and the threat, the envemon'd invective,
Calumny, fa sehood, fraud, and the whole ammunition of malice?
Wretched and guilty souls, they stood in the face of their Sovereign,
Conscious and self-condemn'd; confronted with him they had injured,
At the Judgment-seat * they stood."-SOUTHEY.]

from being irreligious; and, indeed, the profaneness of the poem partly arises from the ludicrous effect produced by the bad taste and imbecility of the performance, for which his intentions are clearly not answerable. Whatever liberties a poet may claim to take, in representations partly allegorical, with the invisible realities of the world to come, the gnis fatuus of political zeal has, in this instance, carned Mr. Southey far be yond any assignable bounds of poetical license. It would have been enough to celebrate the apothesis of the monarch; but, when he proceeds to travestie the final judgment, and to convert the awful tribunal of Heaven into a drawing-room levee, where he, the Poet Laureate, takes upon humself to play the part of a lord in waiting, presenting one Georgian worthy after another to kiss hands on promotion, what should be grave is, indeed, turned to farce."]

Dress'd in a fashion now forgotten quite; 1

For all the fashions of the flesh stick long By people in the next world; where unite

All the costumes since Adam's, right or wrong, From Eve's fig-leaf down to the petticoat, Almost as scanty, of days less remote.


The spirit look'd around upon the crowds

Assembled, and exclaim'd, " My friends of all The spheres, we shall catch cold amongst these clouds;

So let's to business: why this general call? If those are freeholders I see in shrouds,

And 't is for an election that they bawl, Behold a candidate with unturn'd coat! Saint Peter, may I count upon your vote?"


"Sir," replied Michael," you mistake; these things Are of a former life, and what we do Above is more august; to judge of kings

Is the tribunal met: so now you know." "Then I presume those gentlemen with wings,"

Said Wilkes," are cherubs; and that soul below Looks much like George the Third, but to my mind A good deal older-Bless me! is he blind?"


"He is what you behold him, and his doom
Depends upon his deeds," the Angel said.
"If you have aught to arraign in him, the tomb
Gives license to the humblest beggar's head
To lift itself against the loftiest."-"Some,"

Said Wilkes, "don't wait to see them laid in lead,
For such a liberty-and I, for one,
Have told them what I thought beneath the sun."


"Above the sun repeat, then, what thou hast

To urge against him," said the Archangel. "Why,"
Replied the spirit, "since old scores are past,
Must I turn evidence? In faith, not I.
Besides, I beat him hollow at the last,

With all his Lords and Commons: in the sky
I don't like ripping up old stories, since
His conduct was but natural in a prince.

LXXI. "Foolish, no doubt, and wicked, to oppress

A poor unlucky devil without a shilling; But then I blame the man himself much less

Than Bute and Grafton, and shall be unwilling

flim by the cast of his eye oblique, I knew as the firebrand
Whom the unthinking populace held for their idol and hero,
Lord of Misrule in his day. But how was that countenance alter'd
Where emotion of fear or of shame had never been witness'd;
That invincible forehead abash'd; and those eyes wherein malice
Once had been wont to shine with wit and hilarity temper'd,
Into how deep a gloom their mournful expression had set,ied!
Little availed it now that not from a purpose malignant,
Not with evil intent, he had chosen the service of evil,
But of his own desires the slave, with profligate impulse,
Solely by selfishness moved, and reckless of aught that might follow
Could he plead in only excuse a confession of baseness?
Could he hide the extitit of his guilt; or hope to atone for
Faction excited at home, when all old feuds were abated,
Insurrection abroad, and the train of woes that had follow'd!
Discontent and disloyalty, like the teeth of the dragon,

He had sown on the winds; they had ripen'd beyond the Atlantic'; *
Thence in natural birth, sedition, revolt, revolution,
France had received the seeds, and reap'd the harvest of horrors;
Where-where should the plague be stay'd? Oh, most to be pitied
They of all souls in bale, who see no term to the evil
They by their gult have raised, no end to their inner upbraidings!
Him I could not choose but know," &c.- SOUTHEY.]

["Our new world has generally the credit of having first lighted the torch which was to illuminate, and soon set in a blaze, the finest part of Europe; yet I think the first flint was struck, and the first spark clicited, by tlie patriot Jolin Wilkes, a few years before. In a time of profound

[blocks in formation]

3 ["Who might the other be, his comrade in guilt and in suffering,
Brought to the proof like hun, and shrinking like him from the trial?
Nameless the Libeller lived, and shot his arrows in darkness;
Undetected he pass'il to the grave, and, leaving behind him
Noxious works on earth, and the pest of en evil example,
Went to the world beyond, where no offences are hidden.
Mask'd had he been in his life, and now a visor of iron,
Rivetted round his head, had abolish'd his features for ever.
Speechless the slanderer stood, and turn'd his face from the Monarch,
Iron-bound as it was,... so insupportably dreadful

Soon or late to conscious guilt is the eye of the injured."-SOUTHEY.]

peace, the restless spirit of men, deprived of other objects of public curiosity, seized with avidity on those questions which were then agitated with so much violence in England, touching the rights of the people and of the government, and the nature of power. The end of the political drama was in favour of what was called, and in some respects was, the liberty of the people. Encouraged by the success of this great comedian, the curtain was no sooner dropped on the scene of Europe, than new actors hastened to raise it again in America, and to give the world a new play, infinitely more interesting and more brilliant than the first."-M. SiOND.]

[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

2 ["I don't know what to think. Why should Junius be dead? If suddenly apoplexed, would he rest in his grave without sending his ubwe, to shout in the ears of posterity, Junius was X. Y. Z., Esq. buried in the parish of ** ** · Repair his monument, ye churchwardens ! Print a new edition of his Letters, ye booksellers! Impossible, - the man must be alive, and will never die without the disclosure. I like him; he was a good hater."- Byron Diary, Nov. 23. 1813. Sir Philip Francis died in Dec. 1818.]

[The mystery of "l'homme au masque de fer," the everlasting puzzle of the last century, has at length, in general opinion, been cleared up, by a French work published in 1825, and which formed the basis of an entertaining one in English by Lord Dover. See Quarterly Review, vol. xxxiv. p. 19.]

[That the work entitled "The identity of Junius with a distinguished Living Character established" proves Sir Philip Francis to be Junius, we will not athrm; but this we can safely assert; that it accumulates such a mass of circumstantial evidence as renders it extremely difficult to believe he is not, and that, if so many coincidences shall be found to have misled us in this case, our faith in all conclusions drawn from proofs of a similar kind may henceforth be shaken. — MACKINTOSH.]

[The well-known motto of Junius is, "Stat nominis umbra."]

6 ["Caitiffs, are ye dumb cried the multifaced Demon in anger;

Think ye then by shame to shorten the term of your penance ?
Back to your peñal dens! - And with horrible grasp gigantic

[blocks in formation]


Seizing the guilty pair, he swung them aloft, and in vengeance
Hurid them all abroad, far into the sulphurous darkness.
Sons of Faction, be warn'd! And ye, ye Slanderers! learn ye
Justice, and bear in mind that after death there is judgment.
Whirling, away they flew! Nor long himself did he tarry,
Ere from the ground where he stood, caught up by a vehement whirl-
He too was hurried away: and the blast with lightning and thunder
Vollying aright and aleft amid the accumulate blackness,
Scatter'd its inmates accurst, and beyond the limits of ether
Drove the hircine host obscene; they howling and groaning

Fell precipitate down to their dolorous place of endurance."-SOUTHY.]

7 [

"The roll of the thunder

Ceased, and all sounds were hush'd, till again from the gate adamantine
Was the voice of the Angel heard through the silence of Heaven.
Ho! he exclaim'd, King George of England standeth in judgment !
Hell hath been dumb in his presence. Ye who on earth arraign'd him,
Come ye before him now, and here accuse or absolve him

From the Souls of the Blessed, Some were there then who advanced; and more from the skirts of the meeting,

Spirits who had not yet accomplish'd their purification,
Yet being cleansed from pride, from faction and error deliver'd,
Purged of the him wherewith the eye of the mind is clouded,
They, in their better state, saw all things clear..

One alone remain'd, when the rest had retired to their station.
Silently he had stood, and still unmoved and in silence,
With a steady mien, regarded the face of the Monarch.
Thoughtful awhile he gazed:-

Here then at the Gate of Heaven we are met!' said the Spirit; King of Eng and! albeit in life opposed to each other, Here we meet at last. Not unprepared for the meeting Ween I; for we had both outlived all enmity, rendering Each to each that justice which each from each had withholden. In the course of events, to thee I seem'd as a Rebel, Thou a Tyrant to me; so strongly doth circumstance rule men During evil days, when right and wrong are confounded!* Washington!' said the Monarch, well hast thou spoken, and truly. Just to thyself and to me. On them is the guilt of the contest Who, for wicked ends, with foul arts of faction and falsehood, Kindled and fed the flame: but verily they have their guerdon. Thou and I are free from offence.' —

When that Spirit withdrew, the Monarch around the assembly Look'd, but none else came forth," &c.- Ibid.]

« السابقةمتابعة »