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I wanted warmth and colour which I found
In Lancelot.' It is to be feared that many readers have felt like Guinevere ; and (we speak from actual observation) when dame or damsel was seen deep in “ The Idylls,' a peep over the shoulder too frequently betrayed the fact that it was - Vivien’ on whom the absorbing interest was fixed—the lissome, wanton “Vivien,' who exerts all her pretty tricks and cajoleries to make a fool of old Merlin, and learn his charm of woven paces and of waving hands :
66 O Merlin, do you love me?” and again,
Had left in ashes.' On her offering to swear that she would never use the charm against himself, he suggests—
•You might perhaps
And all because you dream they babble of you.'
Not one of all the drove should touch me: swine!”' On his challenging her for proof, she retails an amount of current scandal, touching the knights and their ladye loves, confirmatory of Byron's theory that they were no better than they should be, and leading to the conclusion that the blameless King's Court had points in common with that of Charles II. :
"And Vivien answer'd frowning wrathfully.
Whose kinsman left him watcher o'er his wife
Those twelve sweet moons confused his fatherhood." '
What say ye then to sweet Sir Sagramore,
To crop his own sweet rose before the hour?”
• What say ye then to fair Sir Percivale
And by the cold Hic Jacets of the dead ! Well chosen topics for a maid-of-honour's mouth! She crowns all by the affair of Lancelot with the Queen, which sets Merlin meditating :—
* But Vivien deeming Merlin overborne
By instance, recommenced, and let her tongue
Not even Lancelot brave, nor Galahad clean.'
· Then crying, I have made his glory mine,
Behind her, and the forest echo'd “fool.”' Taken all in all, it strikes us that this poem is quite as objectionable as · Don Juan,' and that Vivien's conversation is not more edifying than Julia's letter, whilst in point of feminine delicacy she is decidedly inferior to Haidee.
There is a once popular novel, entitled · Ellen Wareham,' by Mrs. Sullivan, in which a woman, believing her first husband (forced on her by her parents) to have died abroad, marries the
man of her heart, has a family by him, and is living happily, when the first husband unexpectedly presents himself to insist upon his conjugal rights. There is a more remarkable novel, entitled 'André,' by Georges Sand, in which the hero, finding that his young wife, to whom he is devotedly attached, would rather be the wife of a friend, quietly starts for Switzerland and tumbles into a glacier in a way to exclude all suspicion of his having committed suicide to set her free. Mr. Tennyson's Enoch Arden' is a husband of an intermediate quality between these two. On finding, on his return after a ten years' absence, that his wife has committed bigamy, he neither interferes with her domestic arrangements, nor sets her free till he dies a natural death ; when, by way of consolation, she receives a deathbed message to tell her what he has suffered through her fault. His story is made the vehicle for fifty pages of blank verse. There is a fine passage (p. 32) on the island in which Enoch passes a Robinson Crusoe kind of life; there are touches of pathos and bits of poetical description interspersed; but these do not occur often enough to animate the whole, nor to smother the intrinsic doubt whether a story, which could be better told in prose, is to take rank as a standard poem on the strength of that mani pulation and inversion of language which are now held to constitute blank verse.
We pass over Maude,' The Holy Grail,' &c., &c., as we have passed over Mazeppa,' 'Cain,' Marino Faliero,' "Sardanapalus,' • Werner,' and the whole of Byron's minor poems, which would make the reputation of half-a-dozen minor poets of our time, and to spare. We call attention to salient points, to grand features. Strike, but hear; pronounce, but read. Let any real lover of fine poetry, who does not freshly remember them, read once again the Third and Fourth Cantos of 'Childe Harold,' and then say in what class or category the author is to be placed. It is in the ordinary course of things that the popular taste should veer about: that reputation should follow reputation as star chases star across the sky; and a name with innate buoyancy, if accidentally submerged, may commonly be trusted to rise unaided to the surface and float on with the rest. But it will rise the sooner, if relieved from any adventitious weight; and the weight of prejudice by which Byron's is kept down, has grown with foreign critics into a set topic of national reproach. Goethe pointedly contrasted the dirt and rubbish flung at the noble poet with the glory he had reflected on his country, "boundless in its splendour and incalculable in its consequences. ·Having now,' concludes Herr Elze, 'traced the literary and political influence of Byron from the southern
extremity extremity of the earth to its north-eastern boundary, we come back to his native land, where his influence has hitherto been least, where moral and religious illiberality still stands in the way of an unprejudiced estimation. He thinks that this 'blinding bigotry' cannot go further without producing a reaction, and he discerns, or fancies he discerns, a turning-point. There is at all events a standing-point, froin which the lever which will restore the balance may be worked. There is a compact body of sound, ripe, critical opinion in this country that has never wavered, and on its sure, if slow, expansion we confidently rely.
ART. III.-1. Report of the Commissioners of Inland Revenue on
the Duties under their Management, for the Years 1856 to 1869 inclusive, with some retrospective History and complete Tables of Accounts of the Duties from their first Imposition. Vols. I. and II. Presented to both Houses of Parliament by command of Her
Majesty. 1870. 2. The Liquor Trades. A Report to M. T. Bass, Esq., M.P., on
the Capital Invested and the number of Persons employed therein.
By Professor Leone Levi, F.S.A., F.S.S. London, 1871. 3. Intoxicating Liquors (Licensing) Bill. 1871. TN the year 1869 nearly nineteen millions sterling* were raised
1 by duties on spirits, on malt, and on that class of licences which has to do with the sale of exciseable liquors. This sum is a contribution to the public exchequer equal to nine shillings in the pound of the whole inland revenue of the country.
So enormous an amount, raised by indefinitely small driblets from every pint of beer and glass of spirits consumed, is necessarily connected with vast money interests. Maltsters, brewers, distillers, rectifiers, publicans, to say nothing of landowners and farmers and of the various ramifications of the corn trade, are all affected by this vast system of taxation-some looking upon it as an injury, some as an advantage.
Many have been the battles fought over this great field of finance. Malt Tax, Beer Duties, Hop Duties, Brewing Licences, Spirit Duties have one or other of them been from time to time attacked, defended, modified, abolished, or reimposed. Perhaps, however, no direct attack on these duties and imposts has caused so much excitement and roused so much angry feeling as the indirect attacks of which some of them were the objects in the last session of Parliament; for there can be no doubt that Mr. Bruce's Licensing Bill was an attack on the funds of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and if that bill had passed into law Mr. Lowe would have had to light his lucifer match and look about him for some means of supplying a deficit caused by his colleague's enactment.
* 18,992,7971., out of 42,907,0501., gross Inland Revenue. The year ends in March.
It may, then, be worth while to enquire what are the interests involved in the production and consumption of fermented liquors, to sketch very briefly the processes of manufacture, and to consider, not in a partisan spirit, Mr. Bruce's plan for regulating the trade. With reference to this last division of our subject, we propose to make a few suggestions of a practical nature.
In the year 1870 there were about 2,600,000 acres of land under barley in the United Kingdom, which, if taken together, would form a block about one-sixth larger than the two counties of Norfolk and Suffolk.* Taking the average yield at 32 bushels per acre, the total produce amounts to 83,000,000 bushels, or more than 10,000,000 quarters. In the same year, nearly 50,000,000 bushels of barley must have been converted into malt; and, although some portion was imported, we shall not be far wrong if we assume that one half, and of course far the more valuable half, of the home barley crop was used for brewing, besides what was converted into spirits by the distillers, which will amount to some 4,000,000 bushels more.f
These figures are sufficient to show that a very large proportion of the occupiers of land are interested, as growers of barley, in those manufactures which give to barley its exceptional value. I But if Malting, Brewing, and Distilling are subjects of interest to the farmer, far more are they so to the numerous classes actually engaged in those pursuits or deriving employment from the trades therewith connected. In a Report prepared at the instance of Mr. Bass, M.P., who is, we believe, the largest brewer in the world, Professor Leone Levi has entered very fully into the questions of the capital invested and of the number of persons employed in what are generally termed the Liquor trades. From some of his conclusions we differ; but there can be no doubt of the general accuracy of his statements, and we think that in some particulars these statements are below the truth. Statistics, even having reference to liquids, are too apt to be dry; but as the whole question has of late excited much interest, we trust that
* Statistical Abstract for the United Kingdom, No. 18,' and · Agricultural Returns of Great Britain,' presented to Parliament, 1870. ut • Inland Revenue Report,' vol. ii. p. 11.
We omit from consideration the additional fact that some 60,000 acres of hops are grown in England, the total produce of which goes to the manufacture of beer.