صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

and away it happens luckily that they suit the times they live in. Washington is an instance: and yet if ever great man looked like "a tool in the hands of Providence," it was he. He appears to have been always the same man, from first to last, employed or unemployed, known or unknown;-the same steady, dry-looking, determined person, cut and carved like a piece of ebony for the genius of the times to rule with. Before the work was begun, there he was, a sort of born patriarchal staff, governing herds and slaves; and when the work was over, he was found in his old place, with the same carved countenance, and the same stiff inflexibility, governing them still. And his slaves were found with him. This is what a soldier ought to be. Not indeed if the world were to advance by their means, and theirs only; but that is impossible. Washington was only the sword with which Franklin and the spirit of revolution worked out their purposes; and a sword should be nothing but a sword. The moment soldiers come to direct the intellect of their age, they make a sorry business of it. Napoleon himself did. Frederick did. Even Cæsar failed. As to Alfred the Great, he was not so much a general fighting with generals, as a universal genius warring with barbarism and adversity; and it took a load of sorrow to make even him the demigod he was. "Stand upon the ancient ways," says Bacon, "and see what steps may be taken for progression." Look, for the same purpose, (it may be said) upon the rest of the animal creation, and consider the qualities in which they have no share with you. Of the others, you may well doubt the greatness, considered as movers, and not instruments, towards progression. It is among the remainder you must seek for the advancement of your species. An insect can be a provider of the necessaries of life, and he can exercise power, and organize violence. He can be a builder; he can be a soldier; he can be a king. But to all appearance, he is the same as he was ever, and his works perish with him. If insects have such and such an establishment among them, we conceive they will have it always, unless men can alter it for them. If they have no such establishment, they are of themselves incapa

ble of admitting it. It is men only that add and improve. Men only can bequeath their souls for the benefit of posterity, in the shape of arts and books. Men only can philosophize, and reform, and cast off old customs, and take steps for laying the whole globe nearer to the sun of wisdom and happiness: and in proportion as you find them capable of so hoping and so working, you recognize their superiority to the brutes that perish.

ADAM'S FORESIGHT OF THE EVILS OF THE MARRIED SYSTEM, AS NOW PREVAILING.

In our last number, there was a quotation from Milton upon this subject, which though apposite to it in one respect, was not the passage we intended to give. Not having our books with us, and being at a distance from them, we were obliged to trouble a friend to make the extract for us; and he, in his anxiety to hit upon the right one, missed it. If his zeal had been less, he would have found it as easily as the heart in his bosom.

We have since met with a reference to the very passage in one of Mr Hazlitt's Essays, and shall take the opportunity of strengthening our quotation with his own introduction of it.

"How few," says he, " out of the infinite number of those that marry and are given in marriage, wed with those they would prefer to all the world; nay, how far the greater proportion are joined together by mere motives of convenience, accident, recommendation of friends, or indeed not unfrequently by the very fear of the event, by repugnance and a sort of fatal fascination: yet the tie is for life, not to be shaken off but with disgrace or death: a man no longer lives to himself, but is a body (as well as mind) chained to another, in spite of himself—

[ocr errors][merged small]

"So Milton (perhaps from his own experience) makes Adam exclaim in the vehemence of his despair—

'For either

He never shall find out fit mate, but such
As some misfortune brings him or mistake;
Or whom he wishes most shall seldom gain
Through her perverseness, but shall see her gain'd
By a far worse; or if she love, withheld
By parents; or his happiest choice too late
Shall meet, already link'd and wedlock-bound
To a fell adversary, his hate and shame;
Which infinite calamity shall cause

To human life, and household peace confound.""

Table Talk, vol. i, p. 224.

SPECIMENS OF BRITISH POETESSES.

Yet once more, O ye fair ones, and once more
Ye ladies brown, with bright eyes ever dear,

We come to pluck your fancies, sweet and good,
And with pleas'd fingers rude

Borrow your leaves for our Companions here.

Nor having room enough in our last number for a charming domestic ballad attributed to Mr Wordsworth's sister, we were compelled to omit it. Having a little too much in our present, we avail ourselves of the opportunity to lay it before the reader.

66 ADDRESS TO A CHILD DURING A BOISTEROUS

EVENING.

"What way does the wind come? what way does he go?
He rides over the water and over the snow,

Thro' wood and thro' vale; and o'er rocky height

Which the goat cannot climb takes his sounding flight.

He tosses about in every bare tree,

As, if you look up, you plainly may see;
But how he will come, and whither he goes,
There's never a scholar in England knows.

WINTER

"He will suddenly stop in a cunning nook,
And rings a sharp larum ;—but if you should look,
There's nothing to see but a cushion of snow
Round as a pillow, and whiter than milk,
And softer than if it were covered with silk.

"Sometimes he'll hide in the cave of a rock,
Then whistle as shrill as the buzzard cock ;
Yet seek him, and what shall you find in the place?
Nothing but silence and empty space,

Save in a corner, a heap of dry leaves,

That he's left for a bed for beggars or thieves!

"As soon as 'tis daylight, tomorrow with me
You shall go to the orchard, and then you will see
That he has been there, and made a great rout,

And cracked the branches, and strewn them about;
Heaven grant that he spare but that one upright twig
That look'd up at the sky so proud and big
All last summer, as well you know,
Studded with apples, a beautiful show!

"Hark! over the roof he makes a pause,
And growls as if he would fix his claws
Right in the slates, and with a huge rattle
Drive them down, like men in battle :

—But let him range round; he does us no harm,
We build up the fire, we're snug and warm;

Untouch'd by his breath, see the candle shines bright, And burns with a clear and steady light;

Books have we to read,-hush! that half-stifled knell, Methinks 'tis the sound of the eight-o'clock bell.

"Come, now we'll to bed! and when we are there,
He may work his own will, and what shall we care?
He may knock at the door,-we'll not let him in,
May drive at the windows,-we'll laugh at his din ;
Let him seek his own home wherever it be ;
Here's a cozie warm house for Edward and me."

We add the poem we alluded to, on the Sea, by Mrs Hemans. 66 THE TREASURES OF THE DEEP. "What hid'st thou in thy treasure-caves and cells, Thou hollow-sounding and mysterious main ? -Pale glistening pearls, and rainbow-coloured shells, Bright things which gleam unreck'd of, and in vain. -Keep, keep thy riches, melancholy sea!

We ask not such from thee.

"Yet more, the depths have more!-What wealth untold,
Far down, and shining thro' their stillness, lies!
Thou hast the starry gems, the burning gold,

Won from ten thousand royal argosies.

-Sweep o'er thy spoils, thou wild and wrathful main,
Earth claims not these again!

"Yet more, the depths have more! thy waves have roll'd Above the cities of a world gone by!

Sand hath fill'd up the palaces of old,
Sea-weed o'ergrown the halls of revelry,
-Dash o'er them, Ocean! in thy scornful play,
Man yields them to decay!

"Yet more! the billows and the depths have more!
High hearts and brave are gather'd to thy breast!
They hear not now the booming waters roar,
The battle-thunders will not break their rest.
-Keep thy red gold and gems, thou stormy grave—
Give back the true and brave!

"Give back the lost and lovely!-those for whom
The place was kept at board and hearth so long!
The prayer went up thro' midnight's breathless gloom,
And the vain yearning woke midst festal song!
Hold fast thy buried isles, thy towers o'erthrown,
-But all is not thine own!

"To thee the love of woman hath gone down,

Dark flow thy tides o'er manhood's noble head,
O'er youth's bright locks and beauty's flowery crown ;
-Yet must thou hear a voice-Restore the dead!
Earth shall reclaim her precious things from thee,
-Restore the dead, thou sea!"

« السابقةمتابعة »