The Project Gutenberg EBook of Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Vol 58, No.
357, July 1845, by Various

This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with
almost no restrictions whatsoever.  You may copy it, give it away or
re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included
with this eBook or online at

Title: Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Vol 58, No. 357, July 1845

Author: Various

Release Date: March 15, 2009 [EBook #28336]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1


Produced by Brendan OConnor, Patricia Bennett, Jonathan
Ingram and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at (This file was produced from images
generously made available by The Internet Library of Early

Transcriber's Note

A Table of contents has been generated for HTML version.












To whom all Communications (post paid) must be addressed.
sold by all the booksellers in the united kingdom.

printed by ballantine and hughes, edinburgh.
[Pg 1]


No. I.

Alexander the Great said, when he approached the tomb of Achilles, "Oh! fortunate youth, who had a Homer to be the herald of your fame!" "And well did he say so," says the Roman historian: "for, unless the Iliad had been written, the same earth which covered his body would have buried his name." Never was the truth of these words more clearly evinced than in the case of the Duke of Marlborough. Consummate as were the abilities, unbroken the success, immense the services of this great commander, he can scarcely be said to be known to the vast majority of his countrymen. They have heard the distant echo of his fame as they have that of the exploits of Timour, of Bajazet, and of Genghis Khan; the names of Blenheim and Ramillies, of Malplaquet and Oudenarde, awaken a transient feeling of exultation in their bosoms; but as to the particulars of these events, the difficulties with which their general had to struggle, the objects for which he contended, even the places where they occurred, they are, for the most part, as ignorant as they are of similar details in the campaigns of Baber or Aurengzebe. What they do know, is derived chiefly, if not entirely, from the histories of their enemies. Marlborough's exploits have made a prodigious impression on the Continent. The French, who felt the edge of his flaming sword, and saw the glories of the Grande Monarque torn from the long triumphant brow of Louis XIV.; the Dutch, who found in his conquering arm the stay of their sinking republic, and their salvation from slavery and persecution; the Germans, who saw the flames of the Palatinate avenged by his resistless power, and the ravages of war rolled back from the Rhine into the territory of the state which had provoked them; the Lutherans, who beheld in him the appointed instrument of divine vengeance, to punish the abominable perfidy and cruelty of the revocation of the edict of Nantes—have concurred in celebrating his exploits. The French nurses frightened their children with stories of "Marlbrook," as the Orientals say, when their horses start, they see the shadow of Richard Cœur-de-Lion crossing their path. Napoleon hummed the well-known air, "Marlbrook s'en va à la guerre," [Pg 2] when he crossed the Niemen to commence the Moscow campaign. But in England, the country which he has made illustrious, the nation he has saved, the land of his birth, he is comparatively forgotten; and were it not for the popular pages of Voltaire, and the shadow which a great name throws over the stream of time in spite of every neglect, he would bevirtually unknown at this moment to nineteen-twentieths of the British people.

It is the fault of the national historians which has occasioned this singular injustice to one of the greatest of British heroes—certainly the most consummate, if we except Wellington, of British military commanders. No man has yet appeared who has done any thing like justice to the exploits of Marlborough. Smollett, whose unpretending narrative, compiled for the bookseller, has obtained a passing popularity by being the only existing sequel to Hume, had none of the qualities necessary to write a military history, or make the narrative of heroic exploits interesting. His talents for humour, as all the world knows, were great—for private adventure, or the delineation of common life in novels, considerable. But he had none of the higher qualities necessary to form a great historian; he had neither dramatic nor descriptive power; he was entirely destitute of philosophic views or power of general argument. In the delineation of individual character, he is often happy; his talents as a novelist, and as the narrator of private events, there appear to advantage. But he was neither a poet nor a painter, a statesman nor a philosopher. He neither saw whence the stream of events had come, nor whither it was going. We look in vain in his pages for the lucid arguments and rhetorical power with which Hume illustrated, and brought, as it were, under the mind's eye, the general arguments urged, or rather which might be urged by ability equal to his own, for and against every great change in British history. As little do we find the captivating colours with which Robertson has painted the discovery and wonders of America, or the luminous glance which he has thrown over the progress of society in the first volume of Charles V. Gibbon's incomparable powers of classification and description are wholly awanting. The fire of Napier's military pictures need not be looked for. What is usually complained of in Smollett, especially by his young readers, is, that he is so dull—the most fatal of all defects, and the most inexcusable in an historian. His heart was not in history, his hand was not trained to it; it is in "Roderick Random" or "Peregrine Pickle," not the continuation of Hume, that his powers are to be seen.

Lord Mahon has brought to the subject of the history of England from the treaty of Utrecht to that of Aix-la-Chapelle, talents of a kind much better adapted for doing justice to Marlborough's campaigns. He has remarkable power for individual narrative. His account of the gallant attempt, and subsequent hair-breadth escapes of the Pretender in 1745, is full of interest, and is justly praised by Sismondi as by far the best account extant of that romantic adventure. He possesses also a fair and equitable judgment, much discrimination, evident talent for drawing characters, and that upright and honourable heart, which is the first requisite for success in the delineation, as it is for success in the conduct of events. His industry in examining and collecting authorities is great; he is a scholar, a statesman, and a gentleman—no small requisites for the just delineation of noble and generous achievements. But notwithstanding all this, his work is not the one to rescue Marlborough's fame from the unworthy obscurity into which, in this country, it has fallen. He takes up the thread of events where Marlborough left them: he begins only at the peace of Utrecht. Besides this, he is not by nature a military historian, and if he had begun at the Revolution, the case would probably have been the same. Lord Mahon's attention has been mainly fixed on domestic story; it is in illustrating parliamentary contests or court intrigues, not military events, that his powers have been put forth. He has given a clear, judicious, and elegant narrative of British history, as regards these, so far as it is embraced by his accomplished pen; but the historian of Marlborough must treat him [Pg 3] as second to none, not even to Louis XIV. or William III. Justice will never be done to the hero of the English revolution, till his Life is the subject of a separate work in every schoolboy's hands. We must have a memoir of him to be the companion of Southey's Life of Nelson, and Napier's Peninsular War.

Voltaire, in his "Siècle de Louis XIV.," could not avoid giving a sketch of the exploits of the British hero; and his natural impartiality has led him, so far as it goes, to give a tolerably fair one. It need hardly be said, that coming from the pen of such a writer, it is lively, animated, and distinct. But Voltaire was not a military historian; he had none of the feelings or associations which constitute one. War, when he wrote, had been for above half a century, with a few brilliant exceptions, a losing game to the French. In the War of the Succession they had lost their ascendancy in continental Europe; in that of the Seven Years, nearly their whole colonial dominions. The hard-won glories of Fontenoy, the doubtful success of Laffelt, were a poor compensation for these disasters. It was the fashion of his day to decry war as the game of kings, or flowing from the ambition of priests; if superstition was abolished, and popular virtue let into government, one eternal reign of peace and justice would commence. With these writers the great object was, to carry the cabinets of kings by assault, and introduce philosophers into government through the antechambers of mistresses. Peter the Great was their hero, Catharine of Russia their divinity, for they placed philosophers at the head of affairs. It was not to be supposed that in France, the vanquished country, in such an age justice should be done to the English conqueror. Yet such were the talents of Voltaire, especially for making a subject popular, that it is on his work, such as it is, that the fame of Marlborough mainly rests, even in his own country.

Marlborough, as might be expected, has not wanted biographers who have devoted themselves, expressly and exclusively, to transmit his fame and deeds to posterity. They have for the most part failed, from the faults most fatal, and yet most common to biographers—undue partiality in some, dulness and want of genius in others. They began at an early period after his death, and are distinguished at first by that rancour on the one side, and exaggeration on the other, by which such contemporary narratives are generally, and in that age were in a peculiar manner, distinguished. I. An abridged account of his life, dedicated to the Duke of Montague, his son-in-law, appeared at Amsterdam in 12mo; but it is nothing but an anonymous panegyric. II. Not many years after, a life of Marlborough was published, in three volumes quarto, by Thomas Ledyard, who had accompanied him in many of his later travels, and had been the spectator of some of the last of his military exploits. This is a work of much higher authority, and contains much valuable information; but it is prolix, long-winded, and diffuse, filled with immaterial documents, and written throughout in a tone of inflated panegyric. III. Another life of Marlborough, written with more ability, appeared at Paris in 1806, in three volumes octavo, by Dutems. The author had the advantage of all the resources for throwing light on his history which the archives of France, then at the disposal of Napoleon, who had a high admiration for the English general, could afford; but it could hardly be expected that, till national historians of adequate capacity for the task had appeared, it was to be properly discharged by foreigners. Yet such is the partiality which an author naturally contracts for the hero of his biography, that the work of Dutems, though the author has shown himself by no means blind to his hero's faults, is perhaps chiefly blameable for being too much of a panegyric. IV. By far the fullest and most complete history of Marlborough, however, is that which was published at London in 1818, by Archdeacon Coxe, in five volumes octavo. This learned author had access to all the official documents on the subject then known to be in existence, particularly the Blenheim Papers, and he has made good use of the ample materials placed at his disposal; but it cannot be said that he has made an interesting, though he certainly has a valuable, work. It has reached a second [Pg 4] edition, but it is now little heard of: a certain proof, if the importance of his subject, and value of his materials is taken into account, that it labours under some insurmountable defects in composition. Nor is it difficult to see what these defects are. The venerable Archdeacon, respectable for his industry, his learning, his researches, had not a ray of genius, and genius is the soul of history. He gives every thing with equal minuteness, makes no attempt at digesting or compression, and fills his pages with letters and state-papers at full length; the certain way, if not connected by ability, to send them to the bottom.

Dean Swift's history of the four last years of Queen Anne, and his Apology for the same sovereign, contain much valuable information concerning Marlborough's life; but it is so mixed up with the gall and party spirit which formed so essential a part of the Dean of St Patrick's character, that it cannot be relied on as impartial or authentic.[2] The life of James II. by Clarke contains a great variety of valuable and curious details drawn from the Stuart Papers sent to the Prince Regent on the demise of the Cardinal York; and it would be well for the reputation of Marlborough, as well as many other eminent men of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, if some of them could be buried in oblivion. But by far the best life of Marlborough, in a military point of view, is that recently published by Mr Gleig, in his "Military Commanders of Great Britain,"—a sketch characterized by all the scientific knowledge, practical acquaintance with war, and brilliant power of description, by which the other writings of that gifted author are distinguished. If he would make as good use of the vast collection of papers which, under the able auspices of Sir George Murray, have now issued from the press, as he has of the more scanty materials at his disposal when he wrote his account of Marlborough, he would write the history of that hero, and supersede the wish even for any other.

The fortunate accident is generally known by which the great collection of papers now in course of publication in London has been brought to light. That this collection should at length have become known is less surprising than that it should so long have remained forgotten, and have eluded the searches of so many persons interested in the subject. It embraces, as Sir George Murray's lucid preface mentions, a complete series of the correspondence of the great duke from 1702 to 1712, the ten years of his most important public services. In addition to the despatches of the duke himself, the letters, almost equally numerous, of his private secretary, M. Cardonnell, and a journal written by his grace's chaplain, Dr Hare, afterwards Bishop of Chichester, are contained in the eighteen manuscript volumes which were discovered in the record-room of Hensington, near Woodstock, in October 1842, and are now given to the public. They are of essential service, especially in rendering intelligible the details of the correspondence, which would otherwise in great part be uninteresting, and scarce understood, at least by the ordinary reader. Some of the most valuable parts of the work, particularly a full detail of the battle of Blenheim, are drawn from Dr Hare's journal. In addition to this, the bulletins of most of the events, issued by government at the time, are to be found in notes at the proper places; and in the text are occasionally contained short, but correct and luminous notices, of the preceding or contemporaneous political and military events which are alluded to, but not described, in the despatches, and which are necessary to understand many of their particulars. Nothing, in a word, has been omitted by the accomplished editor which could illustrate or render intelligible the valuable collection of materials placed at his disposal; and yet, with all his pains and ability, it is often very difficult to follow the detail of events, or understand the matter alluded to in the [Pg 5] despatches:—so great is the lack of information on the eventful War of the Succession which prevails, from the want of a popular historian to record it, even among well-informed persons in this country; and so true was the observation of Alexander the Great, that but for the genius of Homer, the exploits of Achilles would have been buried under the tumulus which covered his remains! And what should we have known of Alexander himself more than of Attila or Genghis Khan, but for the fascinating pages of Quintus Curtius and Arrian?

To the historian who is to go minutely into the details of Marlborough's campaigns and negotiations, and to whom accurate and authentic information is of inestimable importance, it need hardly be said that these papers are of the utmost value. But, to the general reader, all such voluminous publications and despatches must, as a matter of necessity, be comparatively uninteresting. They always contain a great deal of repetition, in consequence of the necessity under which the commander lay, of communicating the same event to those with whom he was in correspondence in many different quarters. Great part of them relate to details of discipline, furnishing supplies, getting up stores, and other necessary matters, of little value even to the historian, except in so far as they illustrate the industry, energy, and difficulties of the commander. The general reader who plunges into the midst of the Marlborough despatches in this age, or into those of Wellington in the next, when contemporary recollection is lost, will find it impossible to understand the greater part of the matters referred to, and will soon lay aside the volumes in despair. Such works are highly valuable, but they are so to the annalist or historian rather than the ordinary reader. They are the materials of history, not history itself. They bear the same relation to the works of Livy or Gibbon which the rude blocks in the quarry do to the temples of St Peter's or the Parthenon. Ordinary readers are not aware of this when they take up a volume of despatches; they expect to be as much fascinated by it as they are by the correspondence of Madame de Sevigné, Cowper, Gibbon, or Arnold. They will soon find their mistake: the book-sellers will erelong find it in the sale of such works. The matter-of-fact men in ordinary life, and the compilers and drudges in literature—that is, nine-tenths of the readers and writers in the world—are never weary of descanting on the inestimable importance of authentic documents for history; and without doubt they are right so far as the collecting of materials goes. There must be quarriers before there can be architects: the hewers of wood and drawers of water are the basis of all civilization. But they are not civilization itself, they are its pioneers. Truth is essential to an estimable character: but many a man is insupportably dull who never told a falsehood. The pioneers of Marlborough, however, have now gone before, and it will be the fault of English genius if the divine artist does not erelong make the proper use of the materials at length placed in his hands.

John Churchill, afterwards Duke of Marlborough, was born on the 5th July 1650, (new style,) at Ash, in the county of Devon. His father was Sir Winston Churchill, a gallant cavalier who had drawn his sword in behalf of Charles I., and had in consequence been deprived of his fortune and driven into exile by Cromwell. His paternal family was very ancient, and boasted its descent from the Courcils de Poitou, who came into England with the Conqueror. His mother was Elizabeth Drake, who claimed a collateral connexion with the descendants of the illustrious Sir Francis Drake, the great navigator. Young Churchill received the rudiments of his education from the parish clergyman in Devonshire, from whom he imbibed that firm attachment to the Protestant faith by which he was ever afterwards distinguished, and which determined his conduct in the most important crisis of his life. He was afterwards placed at the school of St Paul's; and it was there that he first discovered, on reading Vegetius, that his bent of mind was decidedly for the military life. Like many other men destined for future distinction, he made no great figure as a scholar, a circumstance easily explained, if we recollect that it is on the knowledge of words that the reputation of a schoolboy, [Pg 6] of things that of a man, is founded. But the despatches now published demonstrate that, before he attained middle life, he was a proficient at least in Latin, French, and English composition; for letters in each, written in a very pure style, are to be found in all parts of his correspondence.

From early youth, young Churchill was distinguished by the elegance of his manners and the beauty of his countenance and figure—advantages which, coupled with the known loyal principles of his father, and the sufferings he had undergone in the royal cause, procured for him, at the early age of fifteen, the situation of page in the household of the Duke of York, afterwards James II. His inclination for arms was then so decided, that that prince procured for him a commission in one of the regiments of guards when he was only sixteen years old. His uncommonly handsome figure then attracted no small share of notice from the beauties of the court of Charles II., and even awakened a passion in one of the royal mistresses herself. Impatient to signalize himself, however, he left their seductions, and embarked as a volunteer in the expedition against Tangiers in 1766. Thus his first essay in arms was made in actions against the Moors. Having returned to Great Britain, he attracted the notice of the Countess of Castlemaine, afterwards Duchess of Cleveland, then the favorite mistress of Charles II., who had distinguished him by her regard before he embarked for Africa, and who made him a present of £5000, with which the young soldier bought an annuity of £500 a-year, which laid the foundation, says Chesterfield, of all his subsequent fortunes. Charles, to remove a dangerous rival in her unsteady affections, gave him a company in the guards, and sent him to the Continent with the auxiliary force which, in those days of English humiliation, the cabinet of St James's furnished to Louis XIV. to aid him in subduing the United Provinces. Thus, by a singular coincidence, it was under Turenne, Condé, and Vauban that the future conqueror of the Bourbons first learned the art of scientific warfare. Wellington went through the same discipline, but in the inverse order: his first campaigns were made against the French in Flanders, his next against the bastions of Tippoo and the Mahratta horse in Hindostan.

Churchill had not been long in Flanders, before his talents and gallantry won for him deserved distinction. The campaign of 1672, which brought the French armies to the gates of Amsterdam, and placed the United States within a hair's-breadth of destruction, was to him fruitful in valuable lessons. He distinguished himself afterwards so much at the siege of Nimeguen, that Turenne, who constantly called him by his sobriquet of "the handsome Englishman," predicted that he would one day be a great man. In the following year he had the good fortune to save the life of his colonel, the Duke of Monmouth; and distinguished himself so much at the siege of Maestricht, that Louis XIV. publicly thanked him at the head of his army, and promised him his powerful influence with Charles II. for future promotion. He little thought what a formidable enemy he was then fostering at the court of his obsequious brother sovereign. The result of Louis XIV.'s intercession was, that Churchill was made lieutenant-colonel; and he continued to serve with the English auxiliary force in Flanders, under the French generals, till 1677, when he returned with his regiment to London. Beyond all doubt it was these five years' service under the great masters of the military art, who then sustained the power and cast a halo round the crown of Louis XIV., which rendered Marlborough the consummate commander that, from the moment he was placed at the head of the Allied armies, he showed himself to have become. One of the most interesting and instructive lessons to be learned from biography is the long steps, the vast amount of previous preparation, the numerous changes, some prosperous, others adverse, by which the mind of a great man is formed, and he is prepared for playing the important part he is intended to perform on the theatre of the world. Providence does nothing in vain, and when it has selected a particular mind for great achievement, the events which happen to it all seem to conspire in a mysterious way for its development. Were any one omitted, some essential quality in the [Pg 7] character of the future hero, statesman, or philosopher would be found to be awanting.

Here also, as in every other period of history, we may see how unprincipled ambition overvaults itself, and the measures which seem at first sight most securely to establish its oppressive reign, are the unseen means by which an overruling power works out its destruction. Doubtless the other ministers of Louis XIV. deemed their master's power secure when this English alliance was concluded; when the English monarch had become a state pensioner of the court of Versailles; when a secret treaty had united them by apparently indissoluble bonds; when the ministers equally and the patriots of England were corrupted by his bribes; when the dreaded fleets of Britain were to be seen in union with those of France, to break down the squadrons of an inconsiderable republic; when the descendants of the conquerors of Cressy, Poitiers, and Azincour stood side by side with the successors of the vanquished in those disastrous fields, to achieve the conquest of Flanders and Holland. Without doubt, so far as human foresight could go, Louvois and Colbert were right. Nothing could appear so decidedly calculated to fix the power of Louis XIV. on an immovable foundation. But how vain are the calculations of the greatest human intellects, when put in opposition to the overruling will of Omnipotence! It was that very English alliance which ruined Louis XIV., as the Austrian alliance and marriage, which seemed to put the keystone in the arch of his greatness, afterwards ruined Napoleon. By the effect, and one of the most desired effects, of the English alliance, a strong body of British auxiliaries were sent to Flanders; the English officers learned the theory and practice of war in the best of all schools, and under the best of all teachers; that ignorance of the military art, the result in every age of our insular situation, and which generally causes the four or five first years of every war to terminate in disaster, was for the time removed, and that mighty genius was developed under the eye of Louis XIV., and by the example of Turenne, which was destined to hurl back to their own frontiers the tide of Gallic invasion, and close in mourning the reign of the Grande Monarque. "Les hommes agissent," says Bossuet, "mais Dieu les mène."

Upon Churchill's return to London, the brilliant reputation which had preceded, and the even augmented personal advantages which accompanied him, immediately rendered him the idol of beauty and fashion. The ladies of the palace vied for his homage—the nobles of the land hastened to cultivate his society. Like Julius Cæsar, he was carried away by the stream, and plunged into the vortex of courtly dissipation with the ardour which marks an energetic character in the pursuit whether of good or evil. The elegance of his person and manners, and charms of his conversation, prevailed so far with Charles II. and the Duke of York, that soon after, though not yet thirty years of age, he obtained a regiment. In 1680 he married the celebrated Sarah Jennings, the favourite lady in attendance on the Princess Anne, second daughter of the Duke of York, one of the most admired beauties of the court, and this alliance increased his influence, already great, with that Prince, and laid the foundation of the future grandeur of his fortunes. Shortly after his marriage he accompanied the Duke of York to Scotland, in the course of which they both were nearly shipwrecked on the coast of Fife. On this occasion the Duke made the greatest efforts to preserve his favourite's life, and succeeded in doing so, although the danger was such that many of the Scottish nobles perished under his eye. On his return to London in 1682, he was presented by his patron to the King, who made him colonel of the third regiment of guards. When the Duke of York ascended the throne in 1685, on the demise of his brother, Churchill kept his place as one of the gentlemen of the bedchamber, and was raised to the rank of brigadier-general. He was sent by his sovereign to Paris to notify his accession to Louis XIV., and on his return he was created a peer by the title of Baron Churchill of Sandbridge in the county of Hertford—a title which he took from an estate there which he had acquired in right of his wife. On the revolt of the Duke of Monmouth, [Pg 8] he had an opportunity of showing at once his military ability, and, by a signal service, his gratitude to his benefactor. Lord Feversham had the command of the royal forces, and Churchill was his major-general. The general-in-chief, however, kept so bad a look-out, that he was on the point of being surprised and cut to pieces by the rebel forces, who, on this occasion at least, were conducted with ability. The general and almost all his officers were in their beds, and sound asleep, when Monmouth, at the head of all his forces, silently debouched out of his camp, and suddenly fell on the royal army. The rout would have been complete, and probably James II. dethroned, had not Churchill, whose vigilant eye nothing escaped, observed the movement, and hastily collected a handful of men, with whom he made so vigorous a resistance as gave time for the remainder of the army to form, and repel this well-conceived enterprise.

Churchill's mind was too sagacious, and his knowledge of the feelings of the nation too extensive, not to be aware of the perilous nature of the course upon which James had adventured, in endeavouring to bring about, if not the absolute re-establishment of the Catholic religion, at least such a quasi-establishment of it as the people deemed, and probably with reason, was, with so aspiring a body of ecclesiastics, in effect the same thing. When he saw the headstrong monarch break through all bounds, and openly trample on the liberties, while he shocked the religious feelings, of his people, he wrote to him to point out, in firm but respectful terms, the danger of his conduct. He declared to Lord Galway, when James's innovations began, that if he persisted in his design of overturning the constitution and religion of his country, he would leave his service. So far his conduct was perfectly unexceptionable. Our first duty is to our country, our second only to our benefactor. If they are brought into collision, as they often are during the melancholy vicissitudes of a civil war, an honourable man, whatever it may cost him, has but one part to take. He must not abandon his public duty for his private feelings, but he must never betray official duty. If Churchill, perceiving the frantic course of his master, had withdrawn from his service, and then either taken no part in the revolution which followed, or even appeared in arms against him, the most scrupulous moralist could have discovered nothing reprehensible in his conduct. History has in every age applauded the virtue, while it has commiserated the anguish, of the elder Brutus, who sacrificed his sons to the perhaps too rigorous laws of his country.

But Churchill did not do this, and thence has arisen an ineffaceable blot on his memory. He did not relinquish the service of the infatuated monarch; he retained his office and commands; but he employed the influence and authority thence derived, to ruin his benefactor. So far were the representations of Churchill from having inspired any doubts of his fidelity, that James, when the Prince of Orange landed, confided to him the command of a corps of five thousand men, destined to oppose his progress. At the very time that he accepted that command, he had, if we may believe his panegyrist Ledyard, signed a letter, along with several other peers, addressed to the Prince of Orange, inviting him to come over, and had actually concluded with Major-General Kirk, who commanded at Axminster, a convention, for the seizure of the king and giving him up to his hostile son-in-law. James was secretly warned that Churchill was about to betray him, but he refused to believe it of one from whom he had hitherto experienced such devotion, and was only wakened from his dream of security by learning that his favourite had gone over with the five thousand men whom he commanded to the Prince of Orange. Not content with this, it was Churchill's influence, joined to that of his wife, which is said to have induced James's own daughter, the Princess Anne, and Prince George of Denmark, to detach themselves from the cause of the falling monarch; and drew from that unhappy sovereign the mournful exclamation, "My God! my very children have forsaken me." In what does this conduct differ from that of Labedoyere, who, at the head of the garrison of Grenoble, deserted to Napoleon when sent out to oppose him?— [Pg 9] or Lavalette, who employed his influence, as postmaster under Louis XVIII., to forward the Imperial conspiracy?—or Marshal Ney, who, after promising at the court of the Tuileries to bring the ex-emperor back in an iron cage, no sooner reached the royal camp at Melun, than he issued a proclamation calling on the troops to desert the Bourbons, and mount the tricolor cockade? Nay, is not Churchill's conduct, in a moral point of view, worse than that of Ney; for the latter abandoned the trust reposed in him by a new master, forced upon an unwilling nation, to rejoin his old benefactor and companion in arms; but the former abandoned the trust reposed in him by his old master and benefactor, to range himself under the banner of a competitor for the throne, to whom he was bound neither by duty nor obligation. And yet such is often the inequality of crimes and punishments in this world, that Churchill was raised to the pinnacle of greatness by the very conduct which consigned Ney, with justice, so far as his conduct is concerned, to an ignominious death.

"Treason ne'er prospers; for when it does, None dare call it treason."

History forgets its first and noblest duty when it fails, by its distribution of praise and blame, to counterbalance, so far as its verdict can, this inequality, which, for inscrutable but doubtless wise purposes, Providence has permitted in this transient scene. Charity forbids us to scrutinize such conduct too severely. It is the deplorable effect of a successful revolution, even when commenced for the most necessary purposes, to obliterate the ideas of man on right and wrong, and leave no other test in the general case for public conduct but success. It is its first effect to place them in such trying circumstances that none but the most confirmed and resolute virtue can pass unscathed through the ordeal. He knew the human heart well, who commanded us in our daily prayers to supplicate not to be led into temptation, even before asking for deliverance from evil. Let no man be sure, however much, on a calm survey, he may condemn the conduct of Marlborough and Ney, that in similar circumstances he would not have done the same.

The magnitude of the service rendered by Churchill to the Prince of Orange, immediately appeared in the commands conferred upon him. Hardly was he settled at William's headquarters when he was dispatched to London to assume the command of the Horse Guards; and, while there, he signed, on the 20th December 1688, the famous Act of Association in favour of the Prince of Orange. Shortly after, he was named lieutenant-general of the armies of William, and immediately made a new organization of the troops, under officers whom he could trust, which proved of the utmost service to William on the unstable throne on which he was soon after seated. He was present at most of the long and momentous debates which took place in the House of Peers on the question on whom the crown should be conferred, and at first is said to have inclined to a regency; but with a commendable delicacy he absented himself on the night of the decisive vote on the vacancy of the throne. He voted, however, on the 6th of February for the resolution which settled the crown on William and Mary; and he assisted at their coronation, under the title of Earl of Marlborough, to which he had shortly before been elevated by William. England having, on the accession of the new monarch, joined the continental league against France, Marlborough received the command of the British auxiliary force in the Netherlands, and by his courage and ability contributed in a remarkable manner to the victory of Walcourt. In 1690 he received orders to return from Flanders in order to assume a command in Ireland, then agitated by a general insurrection in favour of James; but, actuated by some remnant of attachment to his old benefactor, he eluded on various pretences complying with the order, till the battle of the Boyne had extinguished the hopes of the dethroned monarch, when he came over and made himself master of Cork and Kinsale. In 1691 he was sent again into Flanders, in order to act under the immediate orders of William, who was then, with heroic constancy, contending with the still superior forces of France; but hardly had he landed there when he was arrested, deprived of all [Pg 10] his commands, and sent to the Tower of London, along with several of the noblemen of distinction in the British senate.

Upon this part of the history of Marlborough there hangs a veil of mystery, which all the papers brought to light in more recent times have not entirely removed. At the time, his disgrace was by many attributed to some cutting sarcasms in which he had indulged on the predilection of William for the continental troops, and especially the Dutch; by others, to intrigues conducted by Lady Marlborough and him, to obtain for the Princess Anne a larger pension than the king was disposed to allow her. But neither of these causes are sufficient to explain the fall and arrest of so eminent a man as Marlborough, and who had rendered such important services to the newly-established monarch. It would appear from what has transpired in later times, that a much more serious cause had produced the rupture between him and William. The charge brought against him at the time, but which was not prosecuted, as it was found to rest on false or insufficient evidence, was that of having, along with Lords Salisbury, Cornbury, the Bishop of Rochester, and Sir Basil Ferebrace, signed the scheme of an association for the restoration of James. Sir John Fenwick, who was executed for a treasonable correspondence with James II. shortly after Marlborough's arrest, declared in the course of his trial that he was privy to the design, had received the pardon of the exiled monarch, and had engaged to procure for him the adhesion of the army. The Papers, published in Coxe, rather corroborate the view that he was privy to it; and it is supported by those found at Rome in the possession of Cardinal York.[3] That Marlborough, disgusted with the partiality of William for his Dutch troops, and irritated at the open severity of his Government, should have repented of his abandonment of his former sovereign and benefactor, is highly probable. But it can scarcely be taken as an apology for one act of treason, that he meditated the commission of another. It only shows how perilous, in public as in private life, is any deviation from the path of integrity, that it impelled such a man into so tortuous and disreputable a path.

Marlborough, however, was a man whose services were too valuable to the newly-established dynasty, for him to be permitted to remain long in disgrace. He was soon liberated, indeed, from the Tower, as no sufficient evidence of his alleged accession to the conspiracy had been obtained. Several years elapsed, however, before he emerged from the privacy into which he prudently retired on his liberation from confinement. Queen Mary having been carried off by the smallpox on the 17th of January 1696, Marlborough wisely abstained from even taking part in the debates which followed in Parliament, during which some of the malcontents dropped hints as to the propriety of conferring the crown on his immediate patroness, the Princess Anne. This prudent reserve, together with the absence of any decided proofs at the time of Marlborough's correspondence with James, seems to have at length weakened William's resentment, and by degrees he was taken back into favour. The peace of Ryswick, signed on the 20th of September 1697, having consolidated the power of that monarch, Marlborough was, on the 19th of June 1698, made preceptor of the young Duke of Gloucester, his nephew, [Pg 11] son of the Princess Anne, and heir-presumptive to the throne; and this appointment, which at once restored his credit at court, was accompanied by the gracious expression—"My lord, make my nephew to resemble yourself, and he will be every thing which I can desire." On the same day he was re-appointed to his rank as a privy councillor, and took the oaths and his seat accordingly. So fully had he now regained the confidence of William, that he was three times named one of the nine lords justiciars to whom the administration of affairs in Great Britain was subsequently entrusted, during the temporary absence of William in Holland; and the War of the Succession having become certain in the year 1700, that monarch, who was preparing to take an active part in it, appointed Marlborough, on 1st June 1701, his ambassador-extraordinary at the Hague, and commander-in-chief of the Allied forces in Flanders. This double appointment in effect invested Marlborough with the entire direction of affairs civil and military, so far as England was concerned, on the Continent. William, who was highly indignant at the recognition of the Chevalier St George as King of England, on the death of his father James II., in September 1701, was preparing to prosecute the war with the vigour and perseverance which so eminently distinguished his character, when he was carried off by the effects of a fall from his horse, on the 19th March 1702. But that event made no alteration in the part which England took in the war which was commencing, and it augmented rather than diminished the influence which Marlborough had in its direction. The Princess Anne, with whom, both individually and through Lady Marlborough, he was so intimately connected, mounted the throne without opposition; and one of her first acts was to bestow on Marlborough the order of the Garter, confirm him in his former offices, and appoint him, in addition, her plenipotentiary at the Hague. War was declared on the 15th May 1702, and Marlborough immediately went over to the Netherlands to take the command of the Allied army, sixty thousand strong, then lying before Nimeguen, which was threatened by a superior force on the part of the French.

It is at this period—time 1702—that the great and memorable, and withal blameless period of Marlborough's life commenced; the next ten years were one unbroken series of efforts, victories, and glory. He arrived in the camp at Nimeguen on the evening of the 2d July, having been a few weeks before at the Hague; and immediately assumed the command. Lord Athlone, who had previously enjoyed that situation, at first laid claim to an equal authority with him; but this ruinous division, which never is safe, save with men so great as he and Eugene, and would unquestionably have proved ruinous to the common cause if shared with Athlone, was prevented by the States-General, who insisted upon the undivided direction being conferred on Marlborough. Most fortunately it is precisely at this period that the correspondence now published commences, which, in the three volumes already published, presents an unbroken series of his letters to persons of every description down to May, 1708. They thus embrace the early successes in Flanders, the cross march into Bavaria and battle of Blenheim, the expulsion of the French from Germany, the battle of Ramillies, and taking of Brussels and Antwerp, the mission to the King of Sweden at Dresden, the battle of Almanza, in Spain, and all the important events of the first six years of the war. More weighty and momentous materials for history never were presented to the public; and their importance will not be properly appreciated, if the previous condition of Europe, and imminent hazard to the independence of all the adjoining states, from the unmeasured ambition, and vast power of Louis XIV., is not taken into consideration.

Accustomed as we are to regard the Bourbons as a fallen and unfortunate race, the objects rather of commiseration than apprehension, and Napoleon as the only sovereign who has really threatened our independence, and all but effected the subjugation of the Continent, we can scarcely conceive the terror with which a century and a half ago they, with reason, inspired all Europe, or the narrow escape which the continental states, at least, then made from [Pg 12] being all reduced to the condition of provinces of France. The forces of that monarchy, at all times formidable to its neighbours, from the warlike spirit of its inhabitants, and their rapacious disposition, conspicuous alike in the earliest and the latest times;[4] its central situation, forming, as it were, the salient angle of a bastion projecting into the centre of Germany; and its numerous population—were then, in a peculiar manner, to be dreaded, from their concentration in the hands of an able and ambitious monarch, who had succeeded for the first time, for two hundred years, in healing the divisions and stilling the feuds of its nobles, and turned their buoyant energy into the channel of foreign conquest. Immense was the force which, by this able policy, was found to exist in France, and terrible the danger which it at once brought upon the neighbouring states. It was rendered the more formidable in the time of Louis XIV., from the extraordinary concentration of talent which his discernment or good fortune had collected around his throne, and the consummate talent, civil and military, with which affairs were directed. Turenne, Boufflers, and Condé, were his generals; Vauban was his engineer, Louvois and Torcy were his statesmen. The lustre of the exploits of these illustrious men, in itself great, was much enhanced by the still greater blaze of fame which encircled his throne, from the genius of the literary men who have given such immortal celebrity to his reign. Corneille and Racine were his tragedians; Molière wrote his comedies; Bossuet, Fénélon, and Bourdaloue were his theologians; Massillon his preacher, Boileau his critic; Le Notre laid out his gardens; Le Brun painted his halls. Greatness had come upon France, as, in truth, it does to most other states, in all departments at the same time; and the adjoining nations, alike intimidated by a power which they could not resist, and dazzled by a glory which they could not emulate, had come almost to despair of maintaining their independence; and were sinking into that state of apathy, which is at once the consequence and the cause of extraordinary reverses.

The influence of these causes had distinctly appeared in the extraordinary good fortune which had attended the enterprises of Louis, and the numerous conquests he had made since he had launched into the career of foreign aggrandizement. Nothing could resist his victorious arms. At the head of an army of an hundred thousand men, directed by Turenne, he speedily overran Flanders. Its fortified cities yielded to the science of Vauban, or the terrors of his name. The boasted barrier of the Netherlands was passed in a few weeks; hardly any of its far-famed fortresses made any resistance. The passage of the Rhine was achieved under the eyes of the monarch with little loss, and melodramatic effect. One half of Holland was soon overrun, and the presence of the French army at the gates of Amsterdam seemed to presage immediate destruction to the United Provinces; and but for the firmness of their leaders, and a fortunate combination of circumstances, unquestionably would have done so. The alliance with England, in the early part of his reign, and the junction of the fleets of Britain and France to ruin their fleets and blockade their harbours, seemed to deprive them of their last resource, derived from their energetic industry. Nor were substantial fruits awanting from these conquests. Alsace and Franche Comté were overrun, and, with Lorraine, permanently annexed to the French monarchy; and although, by the peace of Nimeguen, part of his acquisitions in Flanders was abandoned, enough was retained by the devouring monarchy to deprive the Dutch of the barrier they had so ardently desired, and render their situation to the last degree precarious, in the neighbourhood of so formidable a power. The heroic William, indeed, had not struggled in vain for the independence of his country. The distant powers of Europe, at length wakened to a sense of their danger, had made strenuous efforts to coerce the ambition of France; the revolution of 1688 had restored England to its natural [Pg 13] place in the van of the contest for continental freedom; and the peace of Ryswick in 1697 had in some degree seen the trophies of conquests more equally balanced between the contending parties. But still it was with difficulty that the alliance kept its ground against Louis—any untoward event, the defection of any considerable power, would at once, it was felt, cast the balance in his favour; and all history had demonstrated how many are the chances against any considerable confederacy keeping for any length of time together, when the immediate danger which had stilled their jealousies, and bound together their separate interests, is in appearance removed. Such was the dubious and anxious state of Europe, when the death of Charles II. at Madrid, on the 1st November 1700, and the bequest of his vast territories to Philip Duke of Anjou, second son of the Dauphin, and grandson of Louis XIV., threatened at once to place the immense resources of the Castilian monarchy at the disposal of the ambitious monarch of France, whose passion for glory had not diminished with his advanced years, and whose want of moderation was soon evinced by his accepting, after an affected hesitation, the splendid bequest.

Threatened with so serious a danger, it is not surprising that the powers of Europe were in the utmost alarm, and erelong took steps to endeavour to avert it. Such, however, was the terror inspired by the name of Louis XIV., and the magnitude of the addition made by this bequest to his power, that the new monarch, in the first instance, ascended the throne of Spain and the Indies without any opposition. The Spanish Netherlands, so important both from their intrinsic riches, their situation as the certain theatre of war, and the numerous fortified towns with which they were studded, had been early secured for the young Bourbon prince by the Elector of Bavaria, who was at that time the governor of those valuable possessions. Sardinia, Naples, Sicily, the Milanese, and the other Spanish possessions in Italy, speedily followed the example. The distant colonies of the crown of Castile, in America and the Indies, sent in their adhesion. The young Prince of Anjou made his formal entry into Spain in the beginning of 1701, and was crowned at Madrid under the title of Philip V. The principal continental powers, with the exception of the Emperor, acknowledged his title to the throne. The Dutch were in despair: they beheld the power of Louis XIV. brought to their very gates. Flanders, instead of being the barrier of Europe against France, had become the outwork of France against Europe. The flag of Louis XIV. floated on Antwerp, Brussels, and Ghent. Italy, France, Spain, and Flanders, were united in one close league, and in fact formed but one dominion. It was the empire of Charlemagne over again, directed with equal ability, founded on greater power, and backed by the boundless treasures of the Indies. Spain had threatened the liberties of Europe in the end of the sixteenth century: France had all but proved fatal to them in the close of the seventeenth. What hope was there of being able to make head against them both, united under such a head as Louis XIV.?

Great as these dangers were, however, they had no effect in daunting the heroic spirit of William III. In concert with the Emperor, and the United Provinces, who were too nearly threatened to be backward in falling into his views, he laboured for the formation of a great confederacy, which might prevent the union of the crowns of France and Castile in one family, and prevent, before it was too late, the consolidation of a power which threatened to be so formidable to the liberties of Europe. The death of that intrepid monarch in March 1702, which, had it taken place earlier, might have prevented the formation of the confederacy, as it was, proved no impediment, but rather the reverse. His measures had been so well taken, his resolute spirit had laboured with such effect, that the alliance, offensive and defensive, between the Emperor, England, and Holland, had been already signed. The accession of the Princess Anne, without weakening its bonds, added another power, of no mean importance, to its ranks. Her husband, Prince George of Denmark, brought the forces of that kingdom to aid the common cause. Prussia soon after followed the example. On the other hand, Bavaria, closely connected [Pg 14] with the French and Spanish monarchies, both by jealousy of Austria, and the government of the Netherlands, which its Elector held, adhered to France. Thus the forces of Europe were mutually arrayed and divided, much as they afterwards were in the coalition against Napoleon in 1813. It might already be foreseen, that Flanders, the Bavarian plains, Spain, and Lombardy, would, as in the great contest which followed a century after, be the theatre of war. But the forces of France and Spain possessed this advantage, unknown in former wars, but immense in a military point of view, that they were in possession of the whole of the Netherlands, the numerous fortresses of which were alike valuable as a basis of offensive operations, and as affording asylums all but impregnable in cases of disaster. The Allied generals, whether they commenced their operations in Flanders or on the side of Germany, had to begin on the Rhine, and cut their way through the long barrier of fortresses with which the genius of Vauban and Cohorn had encircled the frontiers of the monarchy.

War having been resolved on, the first step was taken by the Emperor, who laid claim to Milan as a fief of the empire, and supported his pretensions by moving an army into Italy under the command of Prince Eugene of Savoy, who afterwards became so celebrated as the brother and worthy rival of Marlborough in arms. The French and Spaniards assembled an army in the Milanese to resist his advance; and the Duke of Mantua having joined the cause, that important city was garrisoned by the French troops. But Prince Eugene erelong obliged them to fall back from the banks of the Adige to the line of the Oglio, on which they made a stand. But though hostilities had thus commenced in Italy, negotiations were still carried on at the Hague; though unhappily the pretensions of the French king were found to be of so exorbitant a character, that an accommodation was impossible. Marlborough's first mission to the Continent, however, after the accession of Anne, was of a diplomatic character; and it was by his unwearied efforts, suavity of manner, and singular talents for negotiation, that the difficulties which attend the formation of all such extensive confederacies were overcome. And it was not till war was declared, on 4th May 1702, that he first took the command as commander-in-chief of the Allied armies.

The first operation of the Allies was an attack on the small fort of Kaiserworth, on the right bank of the Rhine, which belonged to the Elector of Cologne, which surrendered on the 15th May. The main French army, nominally under the direction of the Duke of Burgundy, really of Marshal Boufflers, entered the Duchy of Cleves in the end of the same month, and soon became engaged with the Allied forces, which at first, being inferior in numbers, fell back. Marlborough reached headquarters when the French lay before Nimeguen; and the Dutch trembled for that frontier town. Reinforcements, however, rapidly came in from all quarters to join the Allied army; and Marlborough, finding himself at the head of a gallant force sixty thousand strong, resolved to commence offensive operations. His first operation was the siege of Venloo, which was carried by storm on the 18th September, after various actions in the course of the siege. "My Lord Cutts," says Marlborough, "commanded at one of the breaches; and the English grenadiers had the honour of being the first that entered the fort."[5] Ruremonde was next besieged; and the Allies, steadily advancing, opened the navigation of the Meuse as far as Maestricht. Stevenswart was taken on the 1st October; and, on the 6th, Ruremonde surrendered. Liege was the next object of attack; and the breaches of the citadel were, by the skilful operations of Cohorn, who commanded the Allied engineers and artillery, declared practicable on the 23d of the same month. The assault was immediately ordered; and "by the extraordinary bravery," says Marlborough, "of the officers and soldiers, the citadel was carried by storm; and, for the honour of her Majesty's subjects, the English were the first that got upon the breach."[6] [Pg 15] So early in this, as in every other war where ignorance and infatuation has not led them into the field, did the native-born valour of the Anglo-Saxon race make itself known! Seven battalions and a half were made prisoners on this occasion; and so disheartened was the enemy by the fall of the citadel, that the castle of the Chartreuse, with its garrison of 1500 men, capitulated a few days afterwards. This last success gave the Allies the entire command of Liege, and concluded this short but glorious campaign, in the course of which they had made themselves masters by main force, in presence of the French army, of four fortified towns, conquered all Spanish Guelderland, opened the Meuse as far as Maestricht, carried the strong castles of Liege by storm, advanced their standards from the Rhine far into Flanders, and become enabled to take up their winter quarters in the enemy's territory, amidst its fertile fields.

The campaign being now concluded, and both parties having gone into winter quarters, Marlborough embarked on the Meuse to return to London, where his presence was much required to steady the authority and direct the cabinet of the Queen, who had so recently taken her seat on the throne. When dropping down the Meuse, in company of the Dutch commissioners, he was made prisoner by a French partisan, who had made an incursion into those parts; and owed his escape to the presence of mind of a servant named Gill, who, unperceived, put into his master's hands an old passport in the name of General Churchill. The Frenchman, intent only on plunder, seized all the plate and valuables in the boat, and made prisoners the small detachment of soldiers who accompanied them; but, ignorant of the inestimable prize within his grasp, allowed the remainder of the party, including Marlborough, to proceed on their way. On this occasion, it may truly be said, the boat carried Cæsar and his fortunes. He arrived in safety at the Hague, where the people, who regarded him as their guardian angel, and had heard of his narrow escape, received him with the most enthusiastic acclamations. From thence, having concerted the plan with the Dutch government for the ensuing campaign, he crossed over to London, where his reception by the Queen and nation was of the most gratifying description. Her Majesty conferred on him the title of Duke of Marlborough and Marquis of Blandford, and sent a message to the House of Commons, suggesting a pension to him of £5000 a-year, secured on the revenue of the post-office; but that House refused to consent to the alienation of so considerable a part of the public revenue. He was amply compensated, however, for this disappointment, by the enthusiastic reception he met with from all classes of the nation, which, long unaccustomed to military success, at least in any cause in which it could sympathize, hailed with transports of joy this first revival of triumph in support of the Protestant faith, and over that power with whom, for centuries, they had maintained so constant a rivalry.

The campaign of 1703 was not fruitful of great events. Taught, by the untoward issue of the preceding one, the quality of the general and army with whom he had to contend, the French general cautiously remained on the defensive; and so skilfully were the measures of Marshal Boufflers taken, that all the efforts of Marlborough were unable to force him to a general action. The war in Flanders was thus limited to one of posts and sieges; but in that the superiority of the Allied arms was successfully asserted, Parliament having been prevailed on to consent to an augmentation of the British contingent. But a treaty having been concluded with Sweden, and various reinforcements having been received from the lesser powers, preparations were made for the siege of Bonn, on the Rhine, a frontier town of Flanders, of great importance from its commanding the passage of that artery of Germany, and stopping, while in the enemy's hands, all transit of military stores or provisions for the use of the armies in Bavaria, or on the Upper Rhine. The batteries opened with seventy heavy guns and English mortars on the 14th May 1704; a vigorous sortie with a thousand foot was repulsed, after having at first gained some success, on the following day, and on the 16th two breaches having been declared practicable, the garrison surrendered at discretion. [Pg 16] After this success, the army moved against Huys, and it was taken with its garrison of 900 men on the 23d August. Marlborough and the English generals, after this success, were decidedly of opinion that it would be advisable at all hazard to attempt forcing the French lines, which were strongly fortified between Mehaigne and Leuwe, and a strong opinion to that effect was transmitted to the Hague on the very day after the fall of Huys.[7] They alleged with reason, that the Allies being superior in Flanders, and the French having the upper hand in Germany and Italy, it was of the utmost importance to follow up the present tide of success in the only quarter where it flowed in their favour, and counterbalance disasters elsewhere, by decisive events in the quarter where it was most material to obtain it. The Dutch government, however, set on getting a barrier for themselves, could not be brought to agree to this course, how great soever the advantages which it promised, and insisted instead, that he should undertake the siege of Limbourg, which lay open to attack. This was accordingly done; the trenches were commenced in the middle of September, and the garrison capitulated on the 27th of the same month: a poor compensation for the total defeat of the French army, which would in all probability have ensued if the bolder plan of operation he had so earnestly counselled had been adopted.[8] This terminated the campaign of 1703, which, though successful, had led to very different results from what might have been anticipated if Marlborough's advice had been followed, and an earlier victory of Ramillies laid open the whole Flemish plains. Having dispatched eight battalions to reinforce the Prince of Hesse, who had sustained serious disaster on the Moselle, he had an interview with the Archduke Charles, whom the Allies had acknowledged as King of Spain, who presented him with a magnificent sword set with diamonds, and set out for the Hague, from whence he again returned to London to concert measures for the ensuing campaign, and stimulate the British government to the efforts necessary for its successful prosecution.

But while success had thus attended all the operations of the Allies in Flanders, where the English contingent acted, and Marlborough had the command, affairs had assumed a very different aspect in Germany and Italy. The French were there superior alike in the number and quality of their troops, and, in Germany at least, in the skill with which they were commanded. Early in June, Marshal Tallard assumed the command of the French forces in Alsace, passed the Rhine at Strasburg on the 16th July, took Brissac on the 7th September, and invested Landau on the 16th October. The Allies, under the Prince of Hesse, attempted to raise the siege, but were defeated with considerable loss; and, soon after, Landau surrendered, thus terminating with disaster the campaign on the Upper Rhine. Still more considerable were the disasters sustained in Bavaria. Marshal Villars there commanded, and at the head of the French and Bavarians, defeated General Stirum, who headed the Imperialists, on the 20th September. In December, Marshal Marsin, who had succeeded Villars in the command, made himself master of the important city of Augsburg, and in January 1704 the Bavarians got possession of Passau. Meanwhile, a formidable insurrection had broken out in Hungary, [Pg 17] which so distracted the cabinet of Vienna, that that capital itself seemed to be threatened by the combined forces of the French and Bavarians after the fall of Passau. No event of importance took place in Italy during the campaign; Count Strahremberg, who commanded the Imperial forces, having with great ability forced the Duke de Vendôme, who was at the head of a superior body of French troops, to retire. But in Bavaria and on the Danube, it was evident that the Allies were overmatched; and to the restoration of the balance in that quarter, the anxious attention of the confederates was turned during the winter of 1703-4. The dangerous state of the Emperor and the empire awakened the greatest solicitude at the Hague, as well as unbounded terror at Vienna, from whence the most urgent representations were made on the necessity of reinforcements being sent from Marlborough to their support. But though this was agreed to by England and Holland, so straitened were the Dutch finances, that they were wholly unable to form the necessary magazines to enable the Allies to commence operations. Marlborough, during the whole of January and February 1704, was indefatigable in his efforts to overcome these difficulties; and the preparations having at length been completed, it was agreed by the States, according to a plan of the campaign laid down by Marlborough, that he himself should proceed into Bavaria with the great body of the Allied army in Flanders, leaving only an army of observation there, to restrain any incursion which the French troops might attempt during his absence.

Marlborough began his march with the great body of his forces on the 8th May, and crossing the Meuse at Maestricht, proceeded with the utmost expedition towards the Rhine by Bedbourg and Kirpen, and arrived at Bonn on the 22d May. Meanwhile, the French were also powerfully reinforcing their army on the Danube. Early in the same month 26,000 men joined the Elector of Bavaria, while Villeroi with the army of Flanders was hastening in the same direction. Marlborough having obtained intelligence of these great additions to the enemy's forces in the vital quarter, wrote to the States-General, that unless they promptly sent him succour, the Emperor would be entirely ruined.[9] Meanwhile, however, relying chiefly on himself, he redoubled his activity and diligence. Continuing his march up the Rhine by Coblentz and Cassel, opposite Mayence, he crossed the Necker near Ladenbourg on the 3d June. From thence he pursued his march without intermission by Mundelshene, where he had, on the 10th June, his first interview with Prince Eugene, who had been called from Italy to co-operate in stemming the torrent of disaster in Germany. From thence he advanced by Great Heppach to Langenau, and first came in contact with the enemy on the 2d July, on the Schullenberg, near Donawert. Marlborough, at the head of the advanced guard of nine thousand men, there attacked the French and Bavarians, 12,000 strong, in their intrenched camp, which was extremely strong, and after a desperate resistance, aided by an opportune attack by the Prince of Baden, who commanded the Emperor's forces, carried the intrenchments, with the whole artillery which they mounted, and the loss of 7000 men and thirteen standards to the vanquished. He was inclined to venture upon this hazardous attempt by having received intelligence on the same day from Prince Eugene, that Marshals Villeroi and Tallard, at the head of fifty battalions, and sixty squadrons of their best troops, had arrived at Strasburg, and were using the utmost diligence to reach the Bavarian forces through the defiles of the Black Forest.

This brilliant opening of the German campaign was soon followed by substantial results. A few days after [Pg 18] Rain surrendered, Aicha was carried by assault; and, following up his career of success, Marlborough advanced to within a league of Augsburg, under the cannon of which the Elector of Bavaria was placed with the remnant of his forces, in a situation too strong to admit of its being forced. He here made several attempts to detach the Elector, who was now reduced to the greatest straits, from the French alliance; but that prince, relying on the great army, forty-five thousand strong, which Marshal Tallard was bringing up to his support from the Rhine, adhered with honourable fidelity to his engagements. Upon this, Marlborough took post near Friburg, in such a situation as to cut him off from all communication with his dominions; and ravaged the country with his light troops, levying contributions wherever they went, and burning the villages with savage ferocity as far as the gates of Munich. Thus was avenged the barbarous desolation of the Palatinate, thirty years before, by the French army under the orders of Marshal Turenne. Overcome by the cries of his suffering subjects, the Elector at length consented to enter into a negotiation, which made some progress; but the rapid approach of Marshal Tallard with the French army through the Black Forest, caused him to break it off, and hazard all on the fortune of war. Unable to induce the Elector, by the barbarities unhappily, at that time, too frequent on all sides in war, either to quit his intrenched camp under the cannon of Augsburg, or abandon the French alliance, the English general undertook the siege of Ingolstadt; he himself with the main body of the army covering the siege, and Prince Louis of Baden conducting the operations in the trenches. Upon this, the Elector of Bavaria broke up from his strong position, and, abandoning with heroic resolution his own country, marched to Biberbach, where he effected his junction with Marshal Tallard, who now threatened Prince Eugene with an immediate attack. No sooner had he received intelligence of this, than Marlborough, on the 10th of August, sent the Duke of Wirtemburg with twenty-seven squadrons of horse to reinforce the prince; and early next morning detached General Churchill with twenty battalions across the Danube, to be in a situation to support him in case of need. He himself immediately after followed, and joined the Prince with his whole army on the 11th. Every thing now presaged decisive events. The Elector had boldly quitted Bavaria, leaving his whole dominions at the mercy of the enemy, except the fortified cities of Munich and Augsburg, and periled his crown upon the issue of war at the French headquarters; while Marlborough and Eugene had united their forces, with a determination to give battle in the heart of Germany, in the enemy's territory, with their communications exposed to the utmost hazard, under circumstances where defeat could be attended with nothing short of total ruin.

The French and Bavarian army consisted of fifty-five thousand men, of whom nearly forty-five thousand were French troops, the very best which the monarchy could produce. Marlborough and Eugene had sixty-six battalions and one hundred and sixty squadrons, which, with the artillery, might be about fifty thousand combatants. The forces on the opposite sides were thus nearly equal in point of numerical amount; but there was a wide difference in their composition. Four-fifths of the French army were national troops, speaking the same language, animated by the same feelings, accustomed to the same discipline, and the most of whom had been accustomed to act together. The Allies, on the other hand, were a motley assemblage, like Hannibal's at Cannæ, or Wellington's at Waterloo, composed of the troops of many different nations, speaking different languages, trained to different discipline, but recently assembled together, and under the orders of a stranger general, one of those haughty islanders, little in general inured to war, but whose cold or supercilious manners had so often caused jealousies to arise in the best cemented confederacies. English, Prussians, Danes, Wirtemburgers, Dutch, Hanoverians, and Hessians, were blended in such nearly equal proportions, that the arms of no one state could be said by its numerical preponderance to be entitled to the precedence. But the consummate [Pg 19] address, splendid talents, and conciliatory manners of Marlborough, as well as the brilliant valour which the English auxiliary force had displayed on many occasions, had won for them the lead, as they had formerly done when in no greater force among the confederates under Richard Cœur-de-Lion in the Holy War. It was universally felt that upon them, as the Tenth Legion of Cæsar, or the Old Guard of Napoleon, the weight of the contest at the decisive moment would fall. The army was divided into two corps-d'armée; the first commanded by the duke in person, being by far the strongest, destined to bear the weight of the contest, and carry in front the enemy's position. These two corps, though co-operating, were at such a distance from each other, that they were much in the situation of the English and Prussians at Waterloo, or Napoleon and Ney's corps at Bautzen. The second, under Prince Eugene, which consisted chiefly of cavalry, was much weaker in point of numerical amount, and was intended for a subordinate attack, to distract the enemy's attention from the principal onset in front under Marlborough.[10] With ordinary officers, or even eminent generals of a second order, a dangerous rivalry for the supreme command would unquestionably have arisen, and added to the many seeds of division and causes of weakness which already existed in so multifarious an array. But these great men were superior to all such petty jealousies. Each, conscious of powers to do great things, and proud of fame already acquired, was willing to yield what was necessary for the common good to the other. They had no rivalry, save a noble emulation who should do most for the common cause in which they were jointly engaged. From the moment of their junction it was agreed that they should take the command of the whole army day about; and so perfectly did their views on all points coincide, and so entirely did their noble hearts beat in unison, that during eight subsequent campaigns that they for the most part acted together, there was never the slightest division between them, nor any interruption of the harmony with which the operations of the Allies were conducted.

The French position was in places strong, and their disposition for resistance at each point where they were threatened by attack from the Allied forces, judicious; but there was a fatal defect in its general conception. Marshal Tallard was on the right, resting on the Danube, which secured him from being turned in that quarter, having the village of Blenheim in his front, which was strongly garrisoned by twenty-six battalions and twelve squadrons, all native French troops. In the centre was the village of Oberglau, which was occupied by fourteen battalions, among whom were three Irish corps of celebrated veterans. The communication between Blenheim and Oberglau was kept up by a screen consisting of eighty squadrons, in two lines, having two brigades of foot, consisting of seven battalions, in its centre. The left, opposite Prince Eugene, was under the orders of Marshal Marsin, and consisted of twenty-two battalions of infantry and thirty-six squadrons, consisting for the most part of Bavarians and Marshal Marsin's men, posted in front of the village of Lutzingen. Thus the French consisted of sixty-nine battalions and a hundred and thirty-four squadrons, and were posted in a line strongly supported at each [Pg 20] extremity, but weak in the centre, and with the wings, where the great body of the infantry was placed, at such a distance from each other, that, if the centre was broken through, each ran the risk of being enveloped by the enemy, without the other being able to render them any assistance. This danger as to the troops in Blenheim, the flower of their army, was much augmented by the circumstance, that if their centre was forced where it was formed of cavalry only, and the victors turned sharp round towards Blenheim, the horse would be driven headlong into the Danube, and the foot in that village would run the hazard of being surrounded or pushed into that river, which was not fordable, even for horse, in any part. But though these circumstances would, to a far-seeing general, have presaged serious disaster in the event of defeat, yet the position was strong in itself, and the French generals, long accustomed to victory, had some excuse for not having taken sufficiently into view the contingencies likely to occur in the event of defeat. Both the villages at the extremity of their line had been strengthened, not only with intrenchments hastily thrown up around them, thickly mounted with heavy cannon, but with barricades at all their principal entrances, formed of overturned carts and all the furniture of the houses, which they had seized upon, as the insurgents did at Paris in 1830, for that purpose. The army stood upon a hill or gentle eminence, the guns from which commanded the whole plain by which alone it could be approached; and this plain was low, and intersected on the right, in front of Blenheim, by a rivulet which flows down by a gentle descent to the Danube, and in front of Oberglau by another rivulet, which runs in two branches till within a few paces of the Danube; into which it also empties itself. These rivulets had bridges over them at the points where they flowed through villages; but they were difficult of passage in the other places for cavalry and artillery, and, with the ditches cut in the swampy meadows through which they flowed, proved no small impediment to the advance of the Allied army.

The Duke of Marlborough, before the action began, in person visited each important battery, in order to ascertain the range of the guns. The troops under his command were drawn up in four lines; the infantry being in front, and the cavalry behind, in each line. This arrangement was adopted in order that the infantry, which would get easiest through the streams, might form on the other side, and cover the formation of the cavalry, who might be more impeded. The fire of cannon soon became very animated on both sides, and the infantry advanced to the edge of the rivulets with that cheerful air and confident step which is so often the forerunner of success. On Prince Eugene's side the impediments, however, proved serious; the beds of the rivulets were so broad, that they required to be filled up with fascines before they could be passed by the guns; and when they did get across, they replied without much effect to the French cannon thundering from the heights, which commanded the whole field. At half-past twelve, however, these difficulties were, by great efforts on the part of Prince Eugene and his wing, overcome, and he sent word to Marlborough that he was ready. The English general instantly called for his horse; the troops every where stood to their arms, and the signal was given to advance. The rivulets and marshy ground in front of Blenheim and Unterglau were passed by the first line without much difficulty, though under a heavy fire of artillery from the French batteries; and the firm ground on the slope being reached, the first line advanced in the finest order to the attack—the cavalry in front having now defiled to a side, so as to let the English infantry take the lead. The attack must be given in the words of Dr Hare's Journal.

"Lord Cutts made the first attack upon Blenheim, with the English grenadiers. Brigadier-general Rowe led up his brigade, which formed the first line, and was sustained in the second by a brigade of Hessians. Rowe was within thirty paces of the palisades about Blenheim when the enemy gave their first fire, by which a great many officers and men fell; but notwithstanding this, that brave officer marched direct up to the pales, on which he struck his [Pg 21] sword before he allowed his men to fire. His orders were to enter at the point of the bayonet; but the superiority of the enemy, and the strength of their post, rendered this impossible. The first line was therefore forced to retire; Rowe was struck down badly wounded at the foot of the pales; his lieut.-colonel and major were killed in endeavouring to bring him off, and some squadrons of French gens-d'armes having charged the brigade while retiring in disorder, it was partially broken, and one of the colours of Rowe's regiment was taken. The Hessians in the second line upon this advanced briskly forward, charged the squadrons, retook the colour, and repulsed them. Lord Cutts, however, seeing fresh squadrons coming down upon him, sent to request some cavalry should be sent to cover his flank. Five British squadrons accordingly were moved up, and speedily charged by eight of the enemy; the French gave their fire at a little distance, but the English charged sword in hand, and put them to the rout. Being overpowered, however, by fresh squadrons, and galled by the fire which issued from the enclosures of Blenheim, our horse were driven back in their turn, and recoiled in disorder.
"Marlborough, foreseeing that the enemy would pursue this advantage, resolved to bring his whole cavalry across the rivulets. The operation was begun by the English horse. It proved more difficult, however, than was expected, especially to the English squadrons; as they had to cross the rivulet where it was divided, and the meadows were very soft. However, they surmounted those difficulties, and got over; but when they advanced, they were so severely galled by the infantry in Blenheim firing upon their flank, while the cavalry charged them in front, that they were forced to retire, which they did, under cover of Bulow and Bothmer's German dragoons, who succeeded them in the passage. Marlborough, seeing the enemy resolute to maintain the ground occupied by his cavalry, gave orders for the whole remainder of his cavalry to pass wherever they could get across. There was very great difficulty and danger in defiling over the rivulet in the face of an enemy, already formed and supported by several batteries of cannon; yet by the brave examples and intrepidity of the officers, they were at length got over, and kept their ground on the other side. Bulow stretched across, opposite to Oberglau, with the Danish and Hanoverian horse; but near that village they were so vigorously charged by the French cavalry, that they were driven back. Rallying, they were again led to the charge, and again routed with great slaughter by the charges of the horse in front, and the dreadful fire from the inclosures of Blenheim. Nor did the attack on Oberglau to the British right, under Prince Holstein, succeed better; no sooner had he passed the rivulet, than the Irish veterans, posted there, came pouring down upon them, took the prince prisoner, and threw the whole into confusion. Upon this, Marlborough galloped to the spot at the head of some squadrons, followed by three battalions, which had not yet been engaged. With the horse he charged the Irish battalions in flank, and forced them back; the foot he posted himself, and having re-established affairs at that point, returned rapidly to the left, where he found the whole of his corps passed over the streams, and on firm ground on the other side. The horse were drawn up in two lines fronting the enemy; the foot in two lines behind them; and some guns, under Colonel Blood, having been hurried across by means of pontoons, were brought to bear upon some battalions of foot which were intermingled with the enemy's horse, and made great havoc in their ranks.

"It was now past three, and the Duke, having got his whole men ready for the attack, sent to Prince Eugene to know if he was ready to support him. But the efforts of that gallant prince had not been attended with the same success. In the first onset, indeed, his Danish and Prussian infantry had gained considerable success, and taken six guns, and the Imperial cavalry had, by a vigorous charge, broken the first line of the enemy's horse; but they failed in their attack on the second line, and were driven back to their original ground; whereupon the Bavarian cavalry, rushing forward, enveloped Eugene's foot, who were forced to retire, and with difficulty regained their original ground. Half an hour afterwards, Prince Eugene made a second attack with his horse; but they were again repulsed by the bravery of the Bavarian cavalry, and driven for refuge into the wood, in the rear of their original position. Nothing daunted by this bad success, the Prince formed his troops for a third attack, and himself led his cavalry to the charge; but so vigorous was the defence, that they were again repulsed to the wood, and the victorious [Pg 22] enemy's dragoons with loud cheers charged the Prussian foot in flank, and were only repelled by the admirable steadiness with which they delivered their fire, and stood their ground with fixed bayonets in front.

"About five the general forward movement was made which determined the issue of this great battle, which till then had seemed doubtful. The Duke of Marlborough, having ridden along the front, gave orders to sound the charge, when all at once our lines of horse moved on, sword in hand, to the attack. Those of the enemy presented their carbines at some distance and fired; but they had no sooner done so than they wheeled about, broke, and fled. The gens-d'armes fled towards Hochstedt, which was about two miles in the rear; the other squadrons towards the village of Sondersheim, which was nearer, and on the bank of the Danube. The Duke ordered General Hompesch, with thirty squadrons, to pursue those who fled to Hochstedt; while he himself, with Prince Hesse and the whole remainder of the cavalry, drove thirty of the enemy's squadrons headlong down the banks of the Danube, which, being very steep, occasioned the destruction of the greater part. Vast numbers endeavoured to save themselves by swimming, and perished miserably. Among the prisoners taken here were Marshal Tallard and his suite, who surrendered to M. Beinenbourg, aid-de-camp to the Prince of Hesse. Marlborough immediately desired him to be accommodated with his coach, and sent a pencil note to the duchess[11] to say the victory was gained. Others, seeing the fate of their comrades in the water, endeavoured to save themselves by defiling to the right, along its margin, towards Hochstedt, but they were met and intercepted by some English squadrons; upon seeing which they fled in utter confusion towards Morselingen, and did not again attempt to engage. The victorious horse upon this fell upon several of the enemy's battalions, who had nearly reached Hochstedt, and cut them to pieces.

"Meanwhile Prince Eugene, by a fourth attack, succeeded in driving the Elector of Bavaria from his position; and the Duke, seeing this, sent orders to the squadrons in pursuit, towards Morselingen, to wheel about and join him. All this while the troops in Blenheim had been incessantly attacked, but it still held out and gave employment to the Duke's infantry. The moment the cavalry had beaten off that of the enemy, and cleared the field between the two villages of them, General Churchill moved both lines of foot upon the village of Blenheim, and it was soon surrounded so as to cut off all possibility of escape except on the side next the Danube. To prevent the possibility of their escape that way, Webb, with the Queen's regiment, took possession of a barrier the enemy had constructed to cover their retreat, and, having posted his men across the street which led to the Danube, several hundreds of the enemy, who were attempting to make their escape that way, were made prisoners. The other issue to the Danube was occupied in the same manner by Prince George's regiment: all who came out that way were made prisoners or driven into the Danube. Some endeavoured to break out at other places, but General Wood, with Lord John Hay's regiment of grey dragoons (Scots Greys) immediately advanced towards them, and, cantering up to the top of a rising ground, made them believe they had a larger force behind them, and stopped them on that side. When Churchill saw the defeat of the enemy's horse decided, he sent to request Lord Cutts to attack them in front, while he himself attacked them in flank. This was accordingly done; the Earl of Orkney and General Ingoldesby entering the village at the same time, at two different places, at the head of their respective regiments. But so vigorous was the resistance made by the enemy, especially at the churchyard, that they were forced to retire. The vehement fire, however, of the cannon and howitzers, which set fire to several barns and houses, added to the circumstance of their commander, M. Clerambault, having fled, and their retreat on all sides being cut off, led to their surrendering at discretion, to the number of six-and-twenty battalions. Thus concluded this great battle, in which the enemy had 5900 more than the Allies,[12] and the advantage of a very strong position, difficult of attack."[13]

[Pg 23]

In this battle Marlborough's wing lost 3000 men, and Eugene's the same number, in all 6000. The French lost 13,000 prisoners, including 1200 officers, almost all taken by Marlborough's wing, besides 34 pieces of cannon, 26 standards, and 90 colours; Eugene took 13 pieces. The killed and wounded were 14,000 more. But the total loss of the French and Bavarians, including those who deserted during their calamitous retreat through the Black Forest, was not less than 40,000 men,[14] a number greater than any which they sustained till the still more disastrous day of Waterloo.

This account of the battle, which is by far the best and most intelligible which has ever yet been published, makes it quite evident to what cause the overwhelming magnitude of this defeat to the French army was owing. The strength of the position consisted solely in the rivulets and marshy grounds in its front; when they were passed, the error of Marshal Tallard's disposition of his troops was at once apparent. The infantry was accumulated in useless numbers in the villages. Of the twenty-six battalions in Blenheim, twenty were useless, and could not get into action, while the long line of cavalry from thence to Oberglau was sustained only by a few battalions of foot, incapable of making any effective resistance. This was the more inexcusable, as the French, having sixteen battalions of infantry more than the Allies, should at no point have shown themselves inferior in foot soldiers to their opponents. When the curtain of horse which stretched from Blenheim to Oberglau was broken through and driven off the field, the 13,000 infantry accumulated in the former of these villages could not avoid falling into the enemy's hands; for they were pressed between Marlborough's victorious foot and horse on the one side, and the unfordable stream of the Danube on the other. But Marlborough, it is evident, evinced the capacity of a great general in the manner in which he surmounted these obstacles, and took advantage of these faulty dispositions; resolutely, in the first instance, overcoming the numerous impediments which opposed the passage of the rivulets, and then accumulating his horse and foot for a grand attack on the enemy's centre, which, besides destroying above half the troops assembled there, and driving thirty squadrons into the Danube, cut off, and isolated the powerful body of infantry now uselessly crowded together in Blenheim, and compelled them to surrender.

Immense were the results of this transcendent victory. The French army, lately so confident in its numbers and prowess, retreated "or rather fled," as Marlborough says, through the Black Forest; abandoning the Elector of Bavaria and all the fortresses on the Danube to their fate. In the deepest dejection, and the utmost disorder, they reached the Rhine, scarce twelve thousand strong, on the 25th August, and immediately began defiling over by the bridge of Strasburg. How different from the triumphant army, which with drums beating, and colours flying, had crossed at the same place six weeks before! Marlborough, having detached part of his force to besiege Ulm, drew near with the bulk of his army to the Rhine, which he passed near Philipsburg on the 6th September, and soon after commenced the siege of Landau, on the French side; Prince Louis with 20,000 men forming the besieging force, and Eugene and Marlborough with 30,000 the covering army. Ulm surrendered on the 16th September, with 250 pieces of cannon, and 1200 barrels of powder, which gave the Allies a solid foundation on the Danube, and effectually crushed the power of the Elector of Bavaria, who, isolated now in the midst of his enemies, had no alternative but to abandon his dominions, and seek refuge in Brussels, where he arrived in the end of September. Meanwhile, as the siege of Landau was found to require more time than had been anticipated, owing to the extraordinary [Pg 24] difficulties experienced in getting up supplies and forage for the troops; Marlborough repaired to Hanover and Berlin to stimulate the Prussian and Hanoverian cabinets to greater exertions in the common cause, and he succeeded in making arrangements for the addition of 8000 more Prussian troops to their valuable auxiliary force, to be added to the army of the Imperialists in Italy, which stood much in need of reinforcement. The Electress of Bavaria, who had been left Regent of that State in the absence of the Elector in Flanders, had now no resource left but submission; and a treaty was accordingly concluded in the beginning of November, by which she agreed to disband all her troops. Trarbach was taken in the end of December; the Hungarian insurrection was appeased; Landau capitulated in the beginning of the same month; a diversion which the enemy attempted on Trêves was defeated by Marlborough's activity and vigilance, and that city put in a sufficient posture of defence; and the campaign being now finished, that accomplished commander returned to the Hague, and London, to receive the honour due for his past services, and urge their respective cabinets to the efforts necessary to turn them to good account.

Thus by the operations of one single campaign was Bavaria crushed, Austria and Germany delivered. Marlborough's cross-march from Flanders to the Danube, had extricated the Imperialists from a state of the utmost peril, and elevated them at once to security, victory, and conquest. The decisive blow struck at Blenheim, resounded through every part of Europe; it at once destroyed the vast fabric of power which it had taken Louis XIV., aided by the talents of Turenne, and the genius of Vauban, so long to construct. Instead of proudly descending the valley of the Danube, and threatening Vienna, as Napoleon afterwards did in 1805 and 1809, the French were driven in the utmost disorder across the Rhine. The surrender of Trarbach and Landau gave the Allies a firm footing on the left bank of that river. The submission of Bavaria deprived the French of that great outwork, of which they have made such good use in their German wars, the Hungarian insurrection, deprived of the hoped-for aid from the armies on the Rhine, was pacified. Prussia was induced by this great triumph to co-operate in a more efficient manner in the common cause; the parsimony of the Dutch gave way before the tumult of success; and the empire, delivered from invasion, was preparing to carry its victorious arms into the heart of France. Such results require no comment; they speak for themselves, and deservedly place Marlborough in the very highest rank of military commanders. The campaigns of Napoleon exhibit no more decisive or glorious results.

Honours and emoluments of every description were showered on the English hero for this glorious success. He was created a prince of the Holy Roman empire,[15] and a tract of land in Germany erected into a principality in his favour. His reception at the courts of Berlin and Hanover resembled that of a sovereign prince; the acclamations of the people, in all the towns through which he passed, rent the air; at the Hague his influence was such that he was regarded as the real Stadtholder. More substantial rewards awaited him in his own country. The munificence of the queen and the gratitude of Parliament conferred upon him the extensive honour and manor of Woodstock, long a royal palace, and once the scene of the loves of Henry II. and the fair [Pg 25] Rosamond. By order of the Queen, not only was this noble estate settled on the duke and his heirs, but the royal comptroller commenced a magnificent palace for the duke on a scale worthy of his services and England's gratitude. From this origin the superb palace of Blenheim has taken its rise; which, although not built in the purest taste, or after the most approved models, remains, and will long remain, a splendid monument of a nation's gratitude, and of the genius of Vanbrugh.

Notwithstanding the invaluable services thus rendered by Marlborough, both to the Emperor of Germany and the Queen of England, he was far from experiencing from either potentate that liberal support for the future prosecution of the war, which the inestimable opportunity now placed in their hands, and the formidable power still at the disposal of the enemy so loudly required. As usual, the English Parliament were exceedingly backward in voting supplies either of men or money; nor was the cabinet of Vienna inclined to be more liberal in its exertions. Though the House of Commons agreed to give £4,670,000 for the service of the ensuing year; yet the land forces voted were only 40,000 men, although the population of Great Britain and Ireland could not be at that period under ten millions, while France, with about twenty millions, had above two hundred thousand under arms. It is this excessive and invariable reluctance of the English Parliament ever to make those efforts at the commencement of a war, which are necessary to turn to a good account the inherent bravery of its soldiers and frequent skill of its commanders, that is the cause of the long duration of our Continental wars, and of three-fourths of the national debt which now oppresses the empire, and, in its ultimate results, will endanger its existence. The national forces are, by the cry for economy and reduction which invariably is raised in peace, reduced to so low an ebb, that it is only by successive additions, made in many different years, that it can be raised up to any thing like the amount requisite for successful operations. Thus disaster generally occurs in the commencement of every war; or if, by the genius of any extraordinary commander, as by that of Marlborough, unlooked-for success is achieved in the outset, the nation is unable to follow it up; the war languishes for want of the requisite support; the enemy gets time to recover from his consternation; his danger stimulates him to greater exertions; and many long years of warfare, deeply checkered with disaster, and attended with an enormous expense, are required to obviate the effects of previous undue pacific reduction.

How bitterly Marlborough felt this want of support, on the part of the cabinets both of London and Vienna, which prevented him from following up the victory of Blenheim with the decisive operations against France which he would otherwise have undoubtedly commenced, is proved by various parts of his correspondence. On the 16th of December 1704, he wrote to Mr Secretary Harley—"I am sorry to see nothing has been offered yet, nor any care taken by Parliament for recruiting the army. I mean chiefly the foot. It is of that consequence for an early campaign, that without it we may run the hazard of losing, in a great measure, the fruits of the last; and therefore, pray leave to recommend it to you to advise with your friends, if any proper method can be thought of, that may be laid before the House immediately, without waiting my arrival."[16] Nor was the cabinet of Vienna, notwithstanding the imminent danger they had recently run, more active in making the necessary efforts to repair the losses of the campaign—"You cannot," says Marlborough, "say more to us of the supine negligence of the Court of Vienna, with reference to your affairs, than we are sensible of every where else; and certainly if the Duke of Savoy's good conduct and bravery at Verue had not reduced the French to a very low ebb, the game must have been over before any help could come to you."[17] It is ever thus, especially with states such as Great Britain, [Pg 26] in which the democratic element is so powerful as to imprint upon the measures of government that disregard of the future, and aversion to present efforts or burdens, which is the invariable characteristic of the bulk of mankind. If Marlborough had been adequately supported and strengthened after the decisive blow struck at Blenheim; that is, if the governments of Vienna and London, with that of the Hague, had by a great and timely effort doubled his effective force when the French were broken and disheartened by defeat, he would have marched to Paris in the next campaign, and dictated peace to the Grand Monarque in his gorgeous halls of Versailles. It was short-sighted economy which entailed upon the nations the costs and burdens of the next ten years of the War of the Succession, as it did the still greater costs and burdens of the Revolutionary War, after the still more decisive success of the Allies in the summer of 1793, when the iron frontier of the Netherlands was entirely broken through, and their advanced posts, without any force to oppose them, were within an hundred and sixty miles of Paris.

This parsimony of the Allied governments, and their invincible repugnance to the efforts and sacrifices which could alone bring, and certainly would have brought, the war to an early and glorious issue, is the cause of the subsequent conversion of the war into one of blockades and sieges, and of its being transferred to Flanders, where its progress was necessarily slow, and cost enormous, from the vast number of strongholds which required to be reduced at every stage of the Allied advance. It was said at the time, that in attacking Flanders in that quarter, Marlborough took the bull by the horns; that France on the side of the Rhine was far more vulnerable, and that the war was fixed in Flanders, in order by protracting it to augment the profits of the generals employed. Subsequent writers, not reflecting on the difference of the circumstances, have observed the successful issue of the invasions of France from Switzerland and the Upper Rhine in 1814, and Flanders and the Lower Rhine in 1815, and concluded that a similar result would have attended a like bold invasion under Marlborough and Eugene. There never was a greater mistake. The great object of the war was to wrest Flanders from France; when the lilied standard floated on Brussels and Antwerp, the United Provinces were constantly in danger of being swallowed up, and there was no security for the independence either of England, Holland, or any of the German States. If Marlborough and Eugene had had two hundred thousand effective men at their disposal, as Wellington and Blucher had in 1815, or three hundred thousand, as Schwartzenberg and Blucher had in 1814, they would doubtless have left half their force behind them to blockade the fortresses, and with the other half marched direct to Paris. But as they had never had more than eighty thousand on their muster-rolls, and could not bring at any time more than sixty thousand effective men into the field, this bold and decisive course was impossible. The French army in their front was rarely inferior to theirs, often superior; and how was it possible in these circumstances to adventure on the perilous course of pushing on into the heart of the enemy's territory, leaving the frontier fortresses, yet unsubdued, in their rear? The disastrous issue of the Blenheim campaign to the French arms, even when supported by the friendly arms and all the fortresses of Bavaria, in the preceding year, had shown what was the danger of such a course. The still more calamitous issue of the Moscow campaign to the army of Napoleon, demonstrated that even the greatest military talents, and most enormous accumulation of military force, affords no security against the incalculable danger of an undue advance beyond the base of military operations. The greatest generals of the last age, fruitful beyond all others in military talent, have acted on those principles, whenever they had not an overwhelming superiority of forces at their command. Wellington never invaded Spain till he was master of Ciudad Rodrigo and Badajos; nor France till he had subdued St Sebastian and Pampeluna. The first use which Napoleon made of his victories at Montenotte and Dego was to compel the Court of Turin to surrender [Pg 27] all their fortresses in Piedmont; of the victory of Marengo, to force the Imperialists to abandon the whole strongholds of Lombardy as far as the Adige. The possession of the single fortress of Mantua in 1796, enabled the Austrians to stem the flood of Napoleon's victories, and gain time to assemble four different armies for the defence of the monarchy. The case of half a million of men, flushed by victory, and led by able and experienced leaders assailing a single state, is the exception, not the rule.

Circumstances, therefore, of paramount importance and irresistible force, compelled Marlborough to fix the war in Flanders, and convert it into one of sieges and blockades. In entering upon such a system of hostility, sure, and comparatively free from risk, but slow and extremely costly, the alliance ran the greatest risk of being shipwrecked on the numerous discords, jealousies, and separate interests, which, in almost every instance recorded in history, have proved fatal to a great confederacy, if it does not obtain decisive success at the outset, before these seeds of division have had time to come to maturity. With what admirable skill and incomparable address Marlborough kept together the unwieldy alliance will hereafter appear. Never was a man so qualified by nature for such a task. He was courtesy and grace personified. It was a common saying at the time, that neither man nor woman could resist him. "Of all the men I ever knew," says no common man, himself a perfect master of the elegances he so much admired, "the late Duke of Marlborough possessed the graces in the highest degree, not to say engrossed them. Indeed he got the most by them, and contrary to the custom of profound historians, who always assign deep causes for great events, I ascribe the better half of the Duke of Marlborough's greatness to those graces. He had no brightness, nothing shining in his genius. He had most undoubtedly an excellent plain understanding, and sound judgment. But these qualities alone would probably have never raised him higher than they found him, which was page to James the Second's queen. But there the grace protected and promoted him. His figure was beautiful, but his manner was irresistible, either by man or woman. It was by this engaging, graceful manner, that he was enabled, during all his war, to connect the various and jarring powers of the Grand Alliance, and to carry them on to the main object of the war, notwithstanding their private and separate views, jealousies, and wrongheadedness. Whatever court he went to (and he was often obliged to go to restive and refractory ones) he brought them into his measures. The pensionary Heinsius, who had governed the United Provinces for forty years, was absolutely governed by him. He was always cool, and nobody ever observed the least variation in his countenance; he could refuse more gracefully than others could grant, and those who went from him the most dissatisfied as to the substance of their business, were yet charmed by his manner, and, as it were, comforted by it."[18]


[1] Letters and Despatches of John Churchill, First Duke of Marlborough, from 1702 to 1712. Edited by Sir George Murray, G.C.B., Master-General of the Ordnance, &c. 3 vols. London, 1845.

[2] "Marlborough," says Swift, "is as voracious as hell, and as ambitious as the devil. What he desires above every thing is to be made commander-in-chief for life, and it is to satisfy his ambition and his avarice that he has opposed so many intrigues to the efforts made for the restoration of peace."

[3] "During the interval between the liberation of Marlborough and the death of Queen Mary, we find him, in conjunction with Godolphin and many others, maintaining a clandestine intercourse with the exiled family. On the 2d May 1694, only a few days before he offered his services to King William, he communicated to James, through Colonel Sackville, intelligence of an expedition then fitting out, for the purpose of destroying the fleet in Brest harbour."—Coxe's Marlborough, i. 75. "Marlborough's conduct to the Stuarts," says Lord Mahon, "was a foul blot on his memory. To the last he persevered in those deplorable intrigues. In October 1713, he protested to a Jacobite agent he would rather have his hands cut off than do any thing to prejudice King James."—Mahon, i. 21-22.

[4] "Galli turpe esse ducunt frumentum manu quærere; itaque armati alienos agros demetunt."—Cæsar.

[5] Despatches, 21st September 1702.

[6] Despatches, 23d October 1702.

[7] Memorial, 24th August 1703.—Despatches, i. 165.

[8] Marlborough was much chagrined at being interrupted in his meditated decisive operations by the States-General, on this occasion. On the 6th September, he wrote to them:—"Vos Hautes Puissances jugeront bien par le camp que nous venons de prendre, qu'on n'a pas voulu se résoudre à tenter les lignes. J'ai été convaincu de plus en plus, depuis l'honneur que j'ai eu de vous écrire, par les avis que j'ai reçu journellement de la situation des ennemis, que cette entreprise n'était pas seulement practicable, mais même qu'on pourrait en espérer tout le succès que je m'étais proposé: enfin l'occasion en est perdue, et je souhaite de tout mon cœur qu'elle n'ait aucune fâcheuse suite, et qu'on n'ait pas lieu de s'en repentir quand il sera trop tard."—Marlborough aux Etats Généraux; 6 Septembre 1703. Despatches, i. 173.

[9] "Ce matin j'ai appris par une estafette que les ennemis avaient joint l'Electeur de Bavière avec 26,000 hommes, et que M. de Villeroi a passé la Meuse avec la meilleure partie de l'armée des Pays Bas, et qu'il poussait sa marche en toute diligence vers la Moselle, de sorte que, sans un prompt sécours, l'empire court risque d'être entièrement abimé."—Marlborough, aux Etats Généraux; Bonn, 2 Mai 1704. Despatches, i. 274.

[10] The following was the composition of these two corps, which will show of what a motley array the Allied army was composed:—

Left wing, Marlborough.
  Batt. Squad.
English, 14 14
Dutch, 14 22
Hessians, 7 7
Hanoverians, 13 25
Danes, 0 22
  48 86
Right wing, Eugene.
  Batt. Squad.
Danes, 7 0
Prussians, 11 15
Austrians, 0 24
Of the Empire, 0 35
  18 74

[11] This pencil note is still preserved at Blenheim.

[12] French—Bat. 82. Squad. 146. Allies—Bat. 66. Squad. 160. At 500 to a battalion, and 150 to a squadron, this gives a superiority of 5900 to the French.

[13] Marl., Desp. i. 402-409.

[14] Cardonnell, Desp. to Lord Harley, 25th Sept. 1704, Desp. i. 410. By intercepted letters it appeared the enemy admitted a loss of 40,000 men before they reached the Rhine. Marlborough to the Duke of Shrewsbury, 28th Aug. 1704, Desp. i. 439.

[15] The holograph letter of the Emperor, announcing this honour, said, with equal truth and justice—"I am induced to assign to your highness a place among the princes of the empire, in order that it may universally appear how much I acknowledge myself and the empire to be indebted to the Queen of Great Britain, who sent her arms as far as Bavaria at a time when the affairs of the empire, by the defection of the Bavarians to the French, most needed that assistance and support:—And to your Grace, likewise, to whose prudence and courage, together with the bravery of the forces fighting under your command, the two victories lately indulged by Providence to the Allies are principally attributed, not only by the voice of fame, but by the general officers in my army who had their share in your labour and your glory."—The Emperor Leopold to Marlborough, 28th August 1704.—Desp. i. 538.

[16] Marlborough to Mr Secretary Harley, 16th Dec. 1704.—Desp. i. 556.

[17] Marlborough to Mr Hill at Turin, 6th Feb. 1705.—Desp. i. 591.

[18] Lord Chesterfield's Letters, Lord Mahon's edition, i. 221-222.

[Pg 28]


No. II.

Specimens of his Lyrics.

Translated From The Original Russian, By Thomas B. Shaw, B.A. Of Cambridge, Adjunct Professor Of English Literature In The Imperial Alexander Lyceum, Translator Of "The Heretic,"&c. &c.

In offering to the public the following specimens of Púshkin's poetry in an English dress, the translator considers it part of his duty to make a few remarks. The number and extent of these observations, he will, of course, confine within the narrowest limits consistent with his important duty of making his countrymen acquainted with the style and character of Russia's greatest poet; a duty which he would certainly betray, were he to omit to explain the chief points indispensable for the true understanding, not only of the extracts which he has selected as a sample of his author's productions, but of the general tone and character of those productions, viewed as a whole.

The translator wishes it therefore to be distinctly understood that he by no means intends to offer, in the character of a complete poetical portrait, the few pieces contained in these pages, but rather as an attempt, however imperfect, to daguerreotype—by means of the most faithful translation consistent with ease—one of the various expressions of Púshkin's literary physiognomy; to represent one phase of his developement.

That physiognomy is a very flexible and a varying one; Púshkin (considered only as a poet) must be allowed to have attained very high eminence in various walks of his sublime art; his works are very numerous, and as diverse in their form as in their spirit; he is sometimes a romantic, sometimes a legendary, sometimes an epic, sometimes a satiric, and sometimes a dramatic poet;—in most, if not in all, of these various lines he has attained the highest eminence as yet recognised by his countrymen; and, consequently, whatever impression may be made upon our readers by the present essay at a transfusion of his works into the English language, will be necessarily a very imperfect one. In the prosecution of the arduous but not unprofitable enterprise which the translator set before himself three years ago—viz. the communication to his countrymen of some true ideas of the scope and peculiar character of Russian literature—he met with so much discouragement in the unfavourable predictions of such of his friends as he consulted with respect to the feasibility of his project, that he may be excused for some degree of timidity in offering the results of his labours to an English public. So great, indeed, was that timidity, that not even the very flattering reception given to his two first attempts at prose translation, has entirely succeeded in destroying it; and he prefers, on the present occasion, to run the risk of giving only a partial and imperfect reflection of Púshkin's intellectual features, to the danger that might attend a more ambitious and elaborate version of any of the poet's longer works.

Púshkin is here presented solely in his lyrical character; and, it is trusted, that, in the selection of the compositions to be translated—selections made from a very large number of highly meritorious works—due attention has been paid not only to the intrinsic beauty and merit of the pieces chosen, but also to the important consideration which renders indispensable (in cases where we find an embarras de richesses, and where the merit is equal) the adoption of such specimens as would possess the greatest degree of novelty for an English reader.

The task of translating all Púshkin's poetry is certainly too dignified a one, not to excite our ambition; and it is meditated, in the event of the [Pg 29] accompanying versions finding in England a degree of approbation sufficiently marked to indicate a desire for more specimens, to extend our present labours so far, as to admit passages of the most remarkable merit from Púshkin's longer works; and, perhaps, even complete versions of some of the more celebrated. Should, therefore, the British public give the fiat of its approbation, we would still further contribute to its knowledge of the great Russian author, by publishing, for example, some of the more remarkable places in the poem of "Evgénii Oniégin," the charming "Gypsies," scenes and passages from the tragedy of "Bóris Godunóff," the "Prisoner of the Caucasus," "Mazépa," &c. &c.

With respect to the present or lyrical specimens, we shall take the liberty to make a few remarks, having reference to the principles which have governed the translator in the execution of the versions; and we shall afterwards preface each poem with a few words of notice, such as may appear to be rendered necessary either by the subject or by the form of the composition itself.

Of the poetical merit of these translations, considered as English poems, their writer has no very exalted idea; of their faithfulness as versions, on the contrary, he has so deep a conviction, that he regrets exceedingly the fact, that the universal ignorance prevailing in England of the Russian language, will prevent the possibility of that important merit—strict fidelity—being tested by the British reader. Let the indulgent, therefore, remember, if we have in any case left an air of stiffness and constraint but too perceptible in our work, that this fault is to be considered as a sacrifice of grace at the altar of truth. It would have been not only possible, but easy, to have spun a collection of easy rhymes, bearing a general resemblance to the vigorous and passionate poetry of Púshkin; but this would not have been a translation, and a translation it was our object to produce. Bowring's Russian Anthology (not to speak of his other volumes of translated poetry) is a melancholy example of the danger of this attractive but fatal system; while the names of Cary, of Hay, and of Merivale, will remain as a bright encouragement to those who have sufficient strength of mind to prefer the "strait and narrow way" of masterly translation, to the "flowery paths of dalliance" so often trodden by the paraphraser.

In all cases, the metre of the original, the musical movement and modulation, has, as far as the translator's ear enabled him to judge, been followed with minute exactness, and at no inconsiderable expense, in some cases, of time and labour. It would be superfluous, therefore, to state, that the number of lines in the English version is always the same as in the original. It has been our study, wherever the differences in the structure of the two languages would permit, to include the same thoughts in the same number of lines. There is also a peculiarity of the Russian language which frequently rendered our task still more arduous; and the conquest of this difficulty has, we trust, conferred upon us the right to speak of our triumph without incurring the charge of vanity. We allude to the great abundance in the Russian of double terminations, and the consequent recurrence of double rhymes, a peculiarity common also to the Italian and Spanish versification, and one which certainly communicates to the versification of those countries a character so marked and peculiar, that no translator would be justified in neglecting it. As it would be impossible, without the use of Russian types, to give our readers an example of this from the writings of Púshkin, and as they would be unable to pronounce such a quotation even if they saw it, we will give an illustration of what we mean from the Spanish and the Italian.

The first is from the fourth book of the Galatea of Cervantes—

"Venga á mirar á la pastora mia
Quien quisiere contar de gente en gente
Que vió otro sol, que daba luz al dia
Mas claro, que el que sale del oriente," &c.;
[Pg 30]

and the second from Chiabrera's sublime Ode on the Siege of Vienna

"E fino a quanto inulti
Sian, Signore, i tuoi servi? E fino a quanto
Dei barbarici insulti
Orgogliosa n'andrà l'empia baldanza?
Dov'è, dov'è, gran Dio, l'antico vanto
Di tua alta possanza?" &c. &c.

In the two passages here quoted, it will be observed that all the lines end with two syllables, in both of which the rhyme is engaged; and an English version of the above verses, however faithful in other respects, which should omit to use the same species of double termination, and content itself with the monosyllable rhyme, would indubitably lose some of the harmony of the original. These double rhymes are far from abundant in our monosyllabic language; but we venture to affirm, that their conscientious employment would be found so valuable, as to amply repay the labour and difficulty attending their search.

We trust that our readers will pardon the apparent technicality of these remarks, for the sake of the consideration which induced us to make them. In all translation, even in the best, there is so great a loss of spirit and harmony, that the conscientious labourer in this most difficult and ungrateful art, should never neglect even the most trifling precaution that tends to hinder a still further depreciation of the gold of his original; not to mention the principle, that whatever it is worth our while to do at all, it is assuredly worth our while to do as well as we can.

The first specimen of Púshkin's lyric productions which we shall present to our countrymen, "done into English," as Jacob Tonson was wont to phrase it, "by an eminent hand," is a production considered by the poet's critics to possess the very highest degree of merit in its peculiar style. We have mentioned some details respecting the nature and history of the Imperial Lyceum of Tsarskoë Seló, in which Púshkin was educated, and we have described the peculiar intensity of feeling with which all who quitted its walls looked back upon the happy days they had spent within them, and the singular ardour and permanency of the friendships contracted beneath its roof. On the anniversary of the foundation (by the Emperor Alexander) of the institution, it is customary for all the "old Lyceans" to dine together, in the same way as the Eton, Harrow, or Rugby men are accustomed to unite once a-year in honour of their school. On many of these occasions Púshkin contributed to the due celebration of the event by producing poems of various lengths, and different degrees of merit; we give here the best of these. It was written during the poet's residence in the government of Pskoff, and will be found, we think, a most beautiful and touching embodiment of such feelings as would be suggested in the mind of one obliged to be absent from a ceremony of the nature in question. Of the comrades whose names Púshkin has immortalized in these lines, it is only necessary to specify that the first, Korsákoff, distinguished among his youthful comrades for his musical talents, met with an early death in Italy; a circumstance to which the poet has touchingly alluded. Matiúshkin is now an admiral of distinction, and is commanding the Russian squadron in the Black Sea. Of the two whom he mentions as having passed the anniversary described in this poem (October 19, 1825) in his company, the first was Pústchin, since dead, and the second the Prince Gortchakóff, whom he met by accident, travelling in the neighbourhood of his (the poet's) seclusion. Our readers cannot fail, we think, to be struck with the beautiful passage consecrated to his friendship with Délvig; and the only other personal allusion which seems to stand in need of explanation, is that indicated [Pg 31] by the name Wilhelm, towards the end of the poem. This is the Christian name of his friend Küchelbecher, since dead, and whose family name was hardly harmonious enough to enter Púshkin's line, and was therefore omitted on the Horatian principle—"versu quod dicere nolim." We now hasten to present the lines.

October 19, 1825.

The woods have doff'd their garb of purply gold;
The faded fields with silver frost are steaming;
Through the pale clouds the sun, reluctant gleaming,
Behind the circling hills his disk hath roll'd.
Blaze brightly, hearth! my cell is dark and lonely:
And thou, O Wine, thou friend of Autumn chill,
Pour through my heart a joyous glow—if only
One moment's brief forgetfulness of ill!
Ay, I am very sad; no friend is here
With whom to pledge a long unlooked-for meeting,
To press his hand in eagerness of greeting,
And wish him life and joy for many a year.
I drink alone; and Fancy's spells awaken—
With a vain industry—the voice of friends:
No well-known footstep strikes mine ear forsaken,
No well-beloved face my heart attends.
I drink alone; ev'n now, on Neva's shore,
Haply my name on friendly lips has trembled....
Round that bright board, say, are ye all assembled?
Are there no other names ye count no more?
Has our good custom been betray'd by others?
Whom hath the cold world lured from ye away?
Whose voice is silent in the call of brothers?
Who is not come? Who is not with you? Say!
He is not come, he of the curled hair,
He of the eye of fire and sweet-voiced numbers:
Beneath Italia's myrtle-groves he slumbers;
He slumbers well, although no friend was there,
Above the lonely grave where he is sleeping,
A Russian line to trace with pious hand,
That some sad wanderer might read it, weeping—
Some Russian, wandering in a foreign land.
Art thou too seated in the friendly ring,
O restless Pilgrim? Haply now thou ridest
O'er the long tropic-wave; or now abidest
'Mid seas with ice eternal glimmering!
Thrice happy voyage!... With a jest thou leapedst
From the Lyceum's threshold to thy bark,
Thenceforth thy path aye on the main thou keepedst,
O child beloved of wave and tempest dark!
Well hast thou kept, 'neath many a stranger sky,
The loves, the hopes of Childhood's golden hour:
And old Lyceum scenes, by memory's power,
'Mid lonely waves have ris'n before thine eye;
Thou wav'dst thy hand to us from distant ocean,
Ever thy faithful heart its treasure bore;
[Pg 32] "A long farewell!" thou criedst, with fond emotion,
"Unless our fate hath doom'd we meet no more."
The bond that binds us, friends, is fair and true!
Destructless as the soul, and as eternal—
Careless and free, unshakable, fraternal,
Beneath the Muses' friendly shade it grew.
We are the same: wherever Fate may guide us,
Or Fortune lead—wherever we may go,
The world is aye a foreign land beside us;
Our fatherland is Tsárkoë Seló!
From clime to clime, pursued by storm and stress,
In Destiny's dark nets long time I wrestled,
Until on Friendship's lap I fluttering nestled,
And bent my weary head for her caress....
With wistful prayers, with visionary grieving,
With all the trustful hope of early years,
I sought new friends with zeal and new believing;
But bitter was their greeting to mine ears.
And even here, in this lone dwelling-place
Of desert-storm, of cold, and desolation,
There was prepared for me a consolation:
Three of ye here, O friends! did I embrace.
Thou enteredst first the poet's house of sorrow,
O Pústchin! thanks be with thee, thanks, and praise
Ev'n exile's bitter day from thee could borrow
The light and joy of old Lyceum-days.
Thee too, my Gortchakóff; although thy name
Was Fortune's spell, though her cold gleam was on thee,
Yet from thy noble thoughts she never won thee:
To honour and thy fiends thou'rt still the same.
Far different paths of life to us were fated,
Far different roads before our feet were traced,
In a by-road, but for a moment mated,
We met by chance, and brotherly embraced.
When sorrow's flood o'erwhelmd me, like a sea;
And like an orphan, houseless, poor, unfriended,
My head beneath the storm I sadly bended,
Seer of the Aonian maids! I look'd for thee:
Thou camest—lazy child of inspiration,
My Délvig; and thy voice awaken'd straight
In this numb'd heart the glow of consolation;
And I was comforted, and bless'd my fate.
Even in infancy within us burn'd
The light of song—the poet-spell had bound us;
Even in infancy there flitted round us
Two Muses, whose sweet glamour soon we learn'd.
Even then I loved applause—that vain delusion!—
Thou sang'st but for thy Muse, and for thy heart;
I squander'd gifts and life with rash profusion,
Thou cherishedst thy gifts in peace apart.
The worship of the Muse no care beseems;
The Beautiful is calm, and high, and holy;
[Pg 33] Youth is a cunning counsellor—of folly!—
Lulling our sense with vain and empty dreams....
Upon the past we gaze—the same, yet other—
And find no trace.—We wake, alas! too late.
Was it not so with us, Délvig, my brother?—
My brother in our Muse as in our fate!
'Tis time, 'tis time! Let us once more be free!
The world's not worth this torturing resistance!
Beneath retirement's shade will glide existence—
Thee, my belated friend—I wait for thee!
Come! with the flame of an enchanted story
Tradition's lore shall wake, our hearts to move;
We'll talk of Caucasus, of war, of glory,
Of Schiller, and of genius, and of love.
'Tis time no less for me ... Friends, feast amain!
Behold, a joyful meeting is before us;
Think of the poet's prophecy; for o'er us
A year shall pass, and we shall meet again!
My vision's covenant shall have fulfilling;
A year—and I shall be with ye once more!
Oh, then, what shouts, what hand-grasps warm and thrilling!
What goblets skyward heaved with merry roar!
Unto our Union consecrated be
The first we drain—fill higher yet, and higher!
Bless it, O Muse, in strains of raptured fire!
Bless it! All hail, Lyceum! hail to thee!—
To those who led our youth with care and praises,
Living and dead! the next we grateful fill;
Let each, as to his lips the cup he raises,
The good remember, and forget the ill.
Feast, then, while we are here, while yet we may:
Hour after hour, alas! Time thins our numbers;
One pines afar, one in the coffin slumbers;
Days fly; Fate looks on us; we fade away;
Bending insensibly to earth, and chilling,
We near our starting-place with many a groan....
Whose lot will be in old age to be filling,
On this Lyceum-day, his cup alone?
Unhappy friend! Amid a stranger race,
Like guest intrusive, that superfluous lingers,
He'll think of us that day, with quivering fingers
Hiding the tears that wet his wrinkled face....
O, may he then at least, in mournful gladness,
Pass with his cup this day for ever dear,
As even I, in exile and in sadness,
Yet with a fleeting joy, have pass'd it here!

In the following lines, the poet has endeavoured to reproduce the impressions made upon his mind by the mountain scenery of the Caucasus; scenery which he had visited with such rapture, and to which his imagination returned with undiminished delight. It has been our aim to endeavour, in our translation, to give an echo, however feeble and imperfect, of the wild and airy [Pg 34] freedom of the versification which distinguishes these spirited stanzas. The picture which they contain, rough, sketchy, and unfinished, as it may appear, bears every mark of being a faithful copy from nature—a study taken on the spot; and will therefore, we trust, be not unacceptable to our readers, as calculated to give an idea not only of the vigorous and rapid handling of the poet's pencil, but also of the wild and sublime region—the Switzerland of Russia—which he has here essayed to portray. Of the two furious and picturesque torrents which Púshkin has mentioned in this short poem, Térek is certainly too well known to our geographical readers to need any description of its course from the snow-covered peak of Dariál to the Caspian; and the bold comparison in the last stanza will doubtless be found, though perhaps somewhat exaggerated, not deficient in a kind of fierce Æschylean energy, perfectly in character with the violent and thundering course of the torrent itself:—


Beneath me the peaks of the Caucasus lie,
My gaze from the snow-bordered cliff I am bending;
From her sun-lighted eyry the Eagle ascending
Floats movelessly on in a line with mine eye.
I see the young torrent's first leap towards the ocean,
And the cliff-cradled lawine essay its first motion.
Beneath me the clouds in their silentness go,
The cataract through them in thunder down-dashing,
Far beneath them bare peaks in the sunny ray flashing,
Weak moss and dry shrubs I can mark yet below.
Dark thickets still lower—green meadows are blooming,
Where the throstle is singing, and reindeer are roaming.
Here man, too, has nested his hut, and the flocks
On the long grassy slopes in their quiet are feeding,
And down to the valley the shepherd is speeding,
Where Arágva gleams out from her wood-crested rocks.
And there in his crags the poor robber is hiding,
And Térek in anger is wrestling and chiding.
Like a fierce young Wild Beast, how he bellows and raves,
Like that Beast from his cage when his prey he espieth;
'Gainst the bank, like a Wrestler, he struggleth and plyeth,
And licks at the rock with his ravening waves.
In vain, thou wild River! dumb cliffs are around thee,
And sternly and grimly their bondage hath bound thee.

To those who measure the value of a poem, less by the pretension and ambitiousness of its form, than by the completeness of its execution and the skill with which the leading idea is developed, we think that the graceful little production which we are now about to present to the reader, will possess very considerable interest. It is, it is true, no more important a thing than a mere song; but the naturalness and unity of the fundamental thought, and the happy employment of what is undoubtedly one of the most effective artifices at the command of the lyric writer—we mean repetition—render the following lines worthy of the universal admiration which they have obtained in the original, and may not be devoid of charm in the translation:—

[Pg 35]
To * * *

Yes! I remember well our meeting,
When first thou dawnedst on my sight,
Like some fair phantom past me fleeting,
Some nymph of purity and light.
By weary agonies surrounded,
'Mid toil, 'mid mean and noisy care,
Long in mine ear thy soft voice sounded,
Long dream'd I of thy features fair.
Years flew; Fate's blast blew ever stronger,
Scattering mine early dreams to air,
And thy soft voice I heard no longer—
No longer saw thy features fair.
In exile's silent desolation
Slowly dragg'd on the days for me—
Orphan'd of life, of inspiration,
Of tears, of love, of deity.
I woke—once more my heart was beating—
Once more thou dawnedst on my sight,
Like some fair phantom past me fleeting,
Some nymph of purity and light.
My heart has found its consolation—
All has revived once more for me—
And vanish'd life, and inspiration,
And tears, and love, and deity.

The versification of the following little poem is founded on a system which Púshkin seems to have looked upon with peculiar favour, as he has employed the same metrical arrangement in by far the largest proportion of his poetical works. So gracefully and so easily, indeed, has he wielded this metre, and with so flexible, so delicate, and so masterly a hand, that we could not refrain from attempting to imitate it in our English version; for we considered that it is impossible to say how much of the peculiar character of a poet's writings depends upon the colouring, or rather the touch—if we may borrow a phrase from the vocabulary of the critic in painting—of the metre. Undoubtedly a poet is the best judge not only of the kind, but of the degree of the effect which he wishes to produce upon his reader; and there may be, between the thoughts which he desires to embody, and the peculiar harmonies in which he may determine to clothe those thoughts, analogies and sympathies too delicate for our grosser ears; or, at least, if not too subtle and refined for our ears to perceive, yet far too delicate for us to define, or exactly to appreciate. Moved by this reasoning, we have always preferred to follow, as nearly as we could, the exact versification, and even the most minute varieties of tone and metrical accentuation. Inattention to this point is undoubtedly the stumbling-block of translators in general; of the dangerous consequences of such inattention, it is not necessary to give any elaborate proof. How much, we may ask, does not the poetry of Dante, for instance, lose, by being despoiled of that great source of its peculiar effect springing from the employment of the [Pg 36] terza rima! It is in vain to say, that it is enormously difficult to produce the terza rima in English. To translate the "gran padre Alighier" into English worthily, the terza rima must be employed, whatever be the obstacles presented by the dissimilarities existing between the Italian and English languages.

The Mob.

"Procul este, profani!"

A Poet o'er his glowing lyre
A wild and careless hand had flung.
The base, cold crowd, that nought admire,
Stood round, responseless to his fire,
With heavy eye and mocking tongue.
"And why so loudly is he singing?"
('Twas thus that idiot mob replied,)
"His music in our ears is ringing;
But whither flows that music's tide?
What doth it teach? His art is madness!
He moves our soul to joy or sadness.
A wayward necromantic spell!
Free as the breeze his music floweth,
But fruitless, too, as breeze that bloweth,
What doth it profit, Poet, tell?"
Poet.—Cease, idiot, cease thy loathsome cant!
Day-labourer, slave of toil and want!
I hate thy babble vain and hollow.
Thou art a worm, no child of day:
Thy god is Profit—thou wouldst weigh
By pounds the Belvidere Apollo.
Gain—gain alone to thee is sweet.
The marble is a god! ... what of it
Thou count'st a pie-dish far above it—
A dish wherein to cook thy meat!
Mob.—But, if thou be'st the Elect of Heaven,
The gift that God has largely given,
Thou shouldst then for our good impart,
To purify thy brother's heart.
Yes, we are base, and vile, and hateful,
Cruel, and shameless, and ungrateful—
Impotent and heartless tools,
Slaves, and slanderers, and fools.
Come then, if charity doth sway thee,
Chase from our hearts the viper-brood;
However stern, we will obey thee;
Yes, we will listen, and be good!
Poet.—Begone, begone! What common feeling
Can e'er exist 'twixt ye and me?
Go on, your souls in vices steeling;
The lyre's sweet voice is dumb to ye:
Go! foul as reek of charnel-slime,
In every age, in every clime,
Ye aye have felt, and yet ye feel,
Scourge, dungeon, halter, axe, and wheel.
Go, hearts of sin and heads of trifling,
From your vile streets, so foul and stifling,
They sweep the dirt—no useless trade!
But when, their robes with ordure staining,
Altar and sacrifice disdaining,
[Pg 37] Did e'er your priests ply broom and spade?
'Twas not for life's base agitation
That we were born—for gain nor care—
No—we were born for inspiration,
For love, for music, and for prayer!

The ballad entitled "The Black Shawl" has obtained a degree of popularity among the author's countrymen, for which the slightness of the composition renders it in some measure difficult to account. It may, perhaps, be explained by the circumstance, that the verses are in the original exceedingly well adapted to be sung—one of the highest merits of this class of poetry—for all ancient ballads, in every language throughout the world, were specifically intended to be sung or chanted; and all modern productions, therefore, written in imitation of these ancient compositions—the first lispings of the Muse—can only be successful in proportion as they possess the essential and characteristic quality of being capable of being sung. Independently of the highly musical arrangement of the rhythm, which, in the original, distinguishes "The Black Shawl," the following verses cannot be denied the merit of relating, in a few rapid and energetic measures, a simple and striking story of Oriental love, vengeance, and remorse:—

The Black Shawl.

Like a madman I gaze on a raven-black shawl;
Remorse, fear, and anguish—this heart knows them all.
When believing and fond, in the spring-time of youth,
I loved a Greek maiden with tenderest truth.
That fair one caress'd me—my life! oh, 'twas bright,
But it set—that fair day—in a hurricane night.
One day I had bidden young guests, a gay crew,
When sudden there knock'd at my gate a vile Jew.
"With guests thou art feasting," he whisperingly said,
"And she hath betray'd thee—thy young Grecian maid."
I cursed him, and gave him good guerdon of gold,
And call'd me a slave that was trusty and bold.
"Ho! my charger—my charger!" we mount, we depart,
And soft pity whisper'd in vain at my heart.
On the Greek maiden's threshold in frenzy I stood—
I was faint—and the sun seem'd as darken'd with blood:
By the maiden's lone window I listen'd, and there
I beheld an Armenian caressing the fair.
The light darken'd round me—then flash'd my good blade....
The minion ne'er finish'd the kiss that betray'd.
On the corse of the minion in fury I danced,
Then silent and pale at the maiden I glanced.
I remember the prayers and the red-bursting stream....
Thus perish'd the maiden—thus perish'd my dream.
[Pg 38]
This raven-black shawl from her dead brow I tore—
On its fold from my dagger I wiped off the gore.
The mists of the evening arose, and my slave
Hurl'd the corses of both in the Danube's dark wave.
Since then, I kiss never the maid's eyes of light—
Since then, I know never the soft joys of night.
Like a madman I gaze on the raven-black shawl;
Remorse, fear, and anguish—this heart knows them all!

The pretty lines which we are now about to offer, are rather remarkable as being written in the manner of the ancient national songs of Russia, than for any thing very new in the ideas, or very striking in the expression. They possess, however—at least in the original—a certain charm arising from simplicity and grace.

The Rose.
Where is our rose, friends?
Tell if ye may!
Faded the rose, friends,
The Dawn-child of Day.
Ah, do not say,
Such is youth's fleetness!
Ah, do not say,
Thus fades life's sweetness!
No, rather say,
I mourn thee, rose—farewell!
Now to the lily-bell
Flit we away.

Among the thousand-and-one compositions, in all languages, founded upon the sublime theme of the downfall and death of Napoleon, there are, we think, very few which have surpassed, in weight of thought, in splendour of diction, and in grandeur of versification, Púshkin's noble lyric upon this subject. The mighty share which Russia had in overthrowing the gigantic power of the greatest of modern conquerors, could not fail of affording to a Russian poet a peculiar source of triumphant yet not too exulting inspiration; and Púshkin, in that portion of the following ode in which he is led more particularly to allude to the part played by his country in the sublime drama, whose catastrophe was the ruin of Bonaparte's blood-cemented empire, has given undeniable proof of his possessing that union of magnanimity and patriotism, which is not the meanest characteristic of elevated genius. While the poet gives full way to the triumphant feelings so naturally inspired by the exploits of Russian valour, and by the patient fortitude of Russian policy, he wisely and nobly abstains on indulging in any of those outbursts of gratified revenge and national hatred which deform the pages of almost all—poets, and even historians—who have written on this colossal subject.

[Pg 39]

The wondrous destiny is ended,
The mighty light is quench'd and dead;
In storm and darkness hath descended
Napoleon's sun, so bright and dread.
The captive King hath burst his prison—
The petted child of Victory;
And for the Exile hath arisen
The dawning of Posterity.
O thou, of whose immortal story
Earth aye the memory shall keep,
Now, 'neath the shadow of thy glory
Rest, rest, amid the lonely deep!
A grave sublime ... nor nobler ever
Couldst thou have found ... for o'er thine urn
The Nations' hate is quench'd for ever,
And Glory's beacon-ray shall burn.
There was a time thine eagles tower'd
Resistless o'er the humbled world;
There was a time the empires cower'd
Before the bolt thy hand had hurl'd:
The standards, thy proud will obeying,
Flapp'd wrath and woe on every wind—
A few short years, and thou wert laying
Thine iron yoke on human kind.

And France, on glories vain and hollow,
Had fixed her frenzy-glance of flame—
Forgot sublimer hopes, to follow
Thee, Conqueror, thee—her dazzling shame!
Thy legions' swords with blood were drunken—
All sank before thine echoing tread;
And Europe fell—for sleep was sunken,
The sleep of death—upon her head.

Thou mightst have judged us, but thou wouldst not!
What dimm'd thy reason's piercing light,
That Russian hearts thou understoodst not,
From thine heroic spirit's height?
Moscow's immortal conflagration
Foreseeing not, thou deem'dst that we
Would kneel for peace, a conquer'd nation—
Thou knew'st the Russ ... too late for thee!
Up, Russia! Queen of hundred battles,
Remember now thine ancient right!

Blaze, Moscow!—Far shall shine thy light!
Lo! other times are dawning o'er us:
Be blotted out, our short disgrace!
Swell, Russia, swell the battle chorus!
War! is the watchword of our race!
[Pg 40]
Lo! how the baffled leader seizeth,
With fetter'd hands, his Iron Crown—
A dread abyss his spirit freezeth!
Down, down he goes, to ruin down!
And Europe's armaments are driven,
Like mist, along the blood-stain'd snow—
That snow shall melt 'neath summer's heaven,
With the last footstep of the foe.
'Twas a wild storm of fear and wonder,
When Europe woke and burst her chain;
The accursed race, like scatter'd thunder,
After the tyrant fled amain.
And Nemesis a doom hath spoken,
The Mighty hears that doom with dread:
The wrongs thou'st done shall now be wroken,
Tyrant, upon thy guilty head!
Thou shalt redeem thy usurpation,
Thy long career of war and crime,
In exile's eating desolation,
Beneath a far and stranger clime.
And oft the midnight sail shall wander
By that lone isle, thy prison-place,
And oft a stranger there shall ponder,
And o'er that stone a pardon trace,
Where mused the Exile, oft recalling
The well-known clang of sword and lance,
The yells, Night's icy ear appalling;
His own blue sky—the sky of France;
Where, in his loneliness forgetting
His broken sword, his ruin'd throne,
With bitter grief, with vain regretting,
On his fair Boy he mused alone.
But shame, and curses without number,
Upon that reptile head be laid,
Whose insults now shall vex the slumber
Of him—that sad discrowned shade!
No! for his trump the signal sounded,
Her glorious race when Russia ran;
His hand, 'mid strife and battle, founded
Eternal liberty for man!

The next specimen for which we have to request the indulgence of our readers, is a little composition of a very different and much less ambitious character. The idea is simple enough, and not, we think, entirely devoid of originality—the primary object of every translator in the selection of the subjects on which he is to exercise his dexterity.

The Storm.
See, on yon rock, a maiden's form,
Far o'er the wave a white robe flashing,
Around, before the blackening storm,
On the loud beach the billows dashing;
[Pg 41] Along the waves, now red, now pale,
The lightning-glare incessant gleameth;
Whirling and fluttering in the gale,
The snowy robe incessant streameth;
Fair is that sea in blackening storm,
And fair that sky with lightnings riven,
But fairer far that maiden form,
Than wave, or flash, or stormy heaven!

We now come to one of the most remarkable lyric productions of our Poet's genius, the "General;" and in order that our readers may be enabled to understand and appreciate this exquisite little poem, we shall preface it with a few remarks of an explanatory character; as the details, at least, of the events upon which it is founded may not be so generally known in England as they are in Russia. Our English readers, however, are doubtless sufficiently familiar with the history of the great campaign of the year 1812, which led to the burning of Moscow, and to the consequent annihilation of the mighty army which Napoleon led to perish in the snows of Russia, to remember one remarkable episode connected with that most important campaign. They remember that one of the Russian armies was placed under the command of Field-marshal Barclay de Tolly, a general descended from an ancient Scottish family which had been settled for some generations in Russia, but who was in every respect to be considered as a native Russian, being born a subject of the Tsar, and having, during a long life of service in the Russian army, gradually reached the highest military rank, and acquired a well-earned and universal reputation as an able strategist and a brave man. The mode of operations determined on at the beginning of this most momentous struggle, and persevered in throughout by the Russians, with a patience and steadiness no less admirable than the wisdom of the combinations on which they were founded, was a purely defensive system of tactics. The event amply demonstrated the soundness of the principles upon which those operations were based; for while Napoleon was gradually attracted into the interior of the country by armies which perpetually retired before him without giving him the opportunity of coming to a general action, the autumn was gradually passing away, and the flames of Moscow only served to light up, for the French army, the beginning of their hopeless retreat through a country now totally laid waste, and covered with the snows of a Russian winter. This mode of operations, however, was by no means likely to please the population of Russia, infuriated by the long unaccustomed presence of a hostile army within their sacred frontier, and worked up by all the circumstances of the invasion to the highest pitch of patriotic enthusiasm. Unable to appreciate the value of what must have appeared to them a timid and pusillanimous policy, they overwhelmed Barclay de Tolly with violent accusations of cowardice, and even of treachery; rendered the more plausible to the mind of the ignorant, by the circumstance of their object being a foreigner—or at least of foreign blood. So violent ultimately became these accusations, that although the Field-marshal continued to enjoy the highest confidence and esteem of his sovereign, it was found expedient to allow him to resign the chief command, in which he was succeeded by Kutúzoff. Barclay de Tolly, during the greater part of the campaign, fought as a simple general of division, in which character (as Púshkin describes) he took part in the great battle of Borodíno.

Barclay must still be considered as one of those distinguished persons to whose memory justice has never been entirely done; and to do this justice was Púshkin's generous task in the noble lines which follow these remarks. No traveller has ever visited the winter palace of St Petersburg without [Pg 42] having been struck with the celebrated "Hall of Marshals," which forms one of its most imposing features. In this magnificent room are placed the portraits (chiefly painted by Dawe, an English artist, who passed the greater part of his life in Russia) of the Russian generals who figured in that great campaign; and among them is to be found, of course, the "counterfeit presentment" of Barclay de Tolly, painted, as the field-marshals are in every case in this gallery of portraits, at full length. With respect to the versification of this and several other poems which we have selected, the English reader will not perhaps at first remark that it is nothing more than the measure used by old Drayton in the Polyolbion, and one in which a great deal of the earlier English poetry is written. It is very favourite measure of our Russian poet, who has, however, increased, in some degree, its difficulty for an English versifier, by introducing a great number of double terminations. It will be found, indeed, that these double rhymes are as numerous as the single or monosyllabic ones.

The General.
In the Tsar's palace stands a hall right nobly builded;
Its walls are neither carved, nor velvet-hung, nor gilded,
Nor here beneath the glass doth pearl or diamond glow;
But wheresoe'er ye look, around, above, below,
The quick-eyed Painter's hand, now bold, now softly tender,
From his free pencil here hath shed a magic splendour.
Here are no village nymphs, no dewy forest-glades,
No fauns with giddy cups, no snowy-bosom'd maids,
No hunting-scene, no dance; but cloaks, and plumes, and sabres,
And faces sternly still, and dark with hero-labours.
The Painter's art hath here in glittering crowd portray'd
The chiefs who Russia's line to victory array'd;
Chiefs in that great Campaign attired in fadeless glory
Of the year Twelve, that aye shall live in Russian story.
Here oft in musing mood my silent footstep strays,
Before these well-known forms I love to stop and gaze,
And dream I hear their voice, 'mid battle-thunder ringing.
Some of them are no more; and some, with faces flinging
Upon the canvass still Youth's fresh and rosy bloom,
Are wrinkled now and old, and bending to the tomb
The laurel-wreathed brow.
But chiefly One doth win me
'Mid the stern throng. With new thoughts swelling in me
Before that One I stand, and cannot lightly brook
To take mine eye from him. And still, the more I look,
The more within my breast is bitterness awaked.
He's painted at full length. His brow, austere and naked,
Shines like a fleshless skull, and on it ye may mark
A mighty weight of woe. Around him—all is dark;
Behind, a tented field. Tranquil and stern he raises
His mournful eye, and with contemptuous calmness gazes.
Be't that the artist here embodied his own thought,
When on the canvass thus the lineaments he caught,
Or guided and inspired by some unknown Possession—
I know not: Dawe has drawn the man with this expression.
Unhappy chief! Alas, thy cup was full of gall;
Unto a foreign land thou sacrificedst all.
The savage mob's dull glance of hate thou calmly balkedst,
With thy great thoughts alone and silently thou walkedst;
[Pg 43] The people could not brook thy foreign-sounding name,
Pursued thee with its yell, and piled thy head with shame,
And by thy very hand though saved from ill and danger,
Mock'd at thy sacred age—thou hoary-headed stranger!
And even he, whose soul could read thy noble heart,
To please that idiot mob, blamed thee with cruel art....
And long with patient faith, defying doubt and terror,
Thou heldest on unmoved, spite of a people's error;
And, e'er thy race was run, wert forced at last to yield
The well-earned laurel-wreath of many a bloody field,
Fame, power, and deep-thought plans; and with thy sword beside thee
Within a regiment's ranks, alone, obscure, to hide thee,
And there, a veteran chief, like some young sentinel,
When first upon his ear rings the ball's whistling knell,
Thou rushedst 'mid the fire, a warrior's death desiring—
In vain!—

O men! O wretched race! O worthy tears and laughter!
Priests of the moment's god, ne'er thinking of hereafter!
How oft among ye, men! a mighty one is seen,
Whom the blind age pursues with insults mad and mean,
But gazing on whose face, some future generation
Shall feel, as I do now, regret and admiration!



The Oxford visions, of which some have been given, were but anticipations necessary to illustrate the glimpse opened of childhood, (as being its reaction.) In this Second part, returning from that anticipation, I retrace an abstract of my boyish and youthful days so far as they furnished or exposed the germs of later experiences in worlds more shadowy.

Upon me, as upon others scattered thinly by tens and twenties over every thousand years, fell too powerfully and too early the vision of life. The horror of life mixed itself already in earliest youth with the heavenly sweetness of life; that grief, which one in a hundred has sensibility enough to gather from the sad retrospect of life in its closing stage, for me shed its dews as a prelibation upon the fountains of life whilst yet sparkling to the morning sun. I saw from afar and from before what I was to see from behind. Is this the description of an early youth passed in the shades of gloom? No, but of a youth passed in the divinest happiness. And if the reader has (which so few have) the passion, without which there is no reading of the legend and superscription upon man's brow, if he is not (as most are) deafer than the grave to every deep note that sighs upwards from the Delphic caves of human life, he will know that the rapture of life (or any thing which by approach can merit that name) does not arise, unless as perfect music arises—music of Mozart or Beethoven—by the confluence of the mighty and terrific discords with the subtle concords. Not by contrast, or as reciprocal foils do these elements act, which is the feeble conception of many, but by union. They are the sexual forces in music: "male and female created he them;" and these mighty antagonists do not put forth their hostilities by repulsion, but by deepest attraction.

As "in to-day already walks to-morrow," [Pg 44] so in the past experience of a youthful life may be seen dimly the future. The collisions with alien interests or hostile views, of a child, boy, or very young man, so insulated as each of these is sure to be,—those aspects of opposition which such a person can occupy, are limited by the exceedingly few and trivial lines of connexion along which he is able to radiate any essential influence whatever upon the fortunes or happiness of others. Circumstances may magnify his importance for the moment; but, after all, any cable which he carries out upon other vessels is easily slipped upon a feud arising. Far otherwise is the state of relations connecting an adult or responsible man with the circles around him as life advances. The network of these relations is a thousand times more intricate, the jarring of these intricate relations a thousand times more frequent, and the vibrations a thousand times harsher which these jarrings diffuse. This truth is felt beforehand misgivingly and in troubled vision, by a young man who stands upon the threshold of manhood. One earliest instinct of fear and horror would darken his spirit if it could be revealed to itself and self-questioned at the moment of birth: a second instinct of the sane nature would again pollute that tremulous mirror, if the moment were as punctually marked as physical birth is marked, which dismisses him finally upon the tides of absolute self-control. A dark ocean would seem the total expanse of life from the first: but far darker and more appalling would seem that interior and second chamber of the ocean which called him away for ever on the direct accountability of others. Dreadful would be the morning which should say—"Be thou a human child incarnate;" but more dreadful the morning which should say—"Bear thou henceforth the sceptre of thy self-dominion through life, and the passion of life!" Yes, dreadful would be both: but without a basis of the dreadful there is no perfect rapture. It is a part through the sorrow of life, growing out of its events, that this basis of awe and solemn darkness slowly accumulates. That I have illustrated. But, as life expands, it is more through the strife which besets us, strife from conflicting opinions, positions, passions, interests, that the funereal ground settles and deposits itself, which sends upward the dark lustrous brilliancy through the jewel of life—else revealing a pale and superficial glitter. Either the human being must suffer and struggle as the price of a more searching vision, or his gaze must be shallow and without intellectual revelation.

Through accident it was in part, and, where through no accident but my own nature, not through features of it at all painful to recollect, that constantly in early life (that is, from boyish days until eighteen, when by going to Oxford, practically I became my own master) I was engaged in duels of fierce continual struggle, with some person or body of persons, that sought, like the Roman retiarius, to throw a net of deadly coercion or constraint over the undoubted rights of my natural freedom. The steady rebellion upon my part in one-half, was a mere human reaction of justifiable indignation; but in the other half it was the struggle of a conscientious nature—disdaining to feel it as any mere right or discretional privilege—no, feeling it as the noblest of duties to resist, though it should be mortally, those that would have enslaved me, and to retort scorn upon those that would have put my head below their feet. Too much, even in later life, I have perceived in men that pass for good men, a disposition to degrade (and if possible to degrade through self-degradation) those in whom unwillingly they feel any weight of oppression to themselves, by commanding qualities of intellect or character. They respect you: they are compelled to do so: and they hate to do so. Next, therefore, they seek to throw off the sense of this oppression, and to take vengeance for it, by co-operating with any unhappy accidents in your life, to inflict a sense of humiliation upon you, and (if possible) to force you into becoming a consenting party to that humiliation. Oh, wherefore is it that those who presume to call themselves the "friends" of this man or that woman, are so often those above all others, whom [Pg 45] in the hour of death that man or woman is most likely to salute with the valediction—Would God I had never seen your face?

In citing one or two cases of these early struggles, I have chiefly in view the effect of these upon my subsequent visions under the reign of opium. And this indulgent reflection should accompany the mature reader through all such records of boyish inexperience. A good tempered-man, who is also acquainted with the world, will easily evade, without needing any artifice of servile obsequiousness, those quarrels which an upright simplicity, jealous of its own rights, and unpractised in the science of worldly address, cannot always evade without some loss of self-respect. Suavity in this manner may, it is true, be reconciled with firmness in the matter; but not easily by a young person who wants all the appropriate resources of knowledge, of adroit and guarded language, for making his good temper available. Men are protected from insult and wrong, not merely by their own skill, but also in the absence of any skill at all, by the general spirit of forbearance to which society has trained all those whom they are likely to meet. But boys meeting with no such forbearance or training in other boys, must sometimes be thrown upon feuds in the ratio of their own firmness, much more than in the ratio of any natural proneness to quarrel. Such a subject, however, will be best illustrated by a sketch or two of my own principal feuds.

The first, but merely transient and playful, nor worth noticing at all, but for its subsequent resurrection under other and awful colouring in my dreams, grew out of an imaginary slight, as I viewed it, put upon me by one of my guardians. I had four guardians: and the one of these who had the most knowledge and talent of the whole, a banker, living about a hundred miles from my home, had invited me when eleven years old to his house. His eldest daughter, perhaps a year younger than myself, wore at that time upon her very lovely face the most angelic expression of character and temper that I have almost ever seen. Naturally, I fell in love with her. It seems absurd to say so; and the more so, because two children more absolutely innocent than we were cannot be imagined, neither of us having ever been at any school;—but the simple truth is, that in the most chivalrous sense I was in love with her. And the proof that I was so showed itself in three separate modes: I kissed her glove on any rare occasion when I found it lying on a table; secondly, I looked out for some excuse to be jealous of her; and, thirdly, I did my very best to get up a quarrel. What I wanted the quarrel for was the luxury of a reconciliation; a hill cannot be had, you know, without going to the expense of a valley. And though I hated the very thought of a moment's difference with so truly gentle a girl, yet how, but through such a purgatory, could one win the paradise of her returning smiles? All this, however, came to nothing; and simply because she positively would not quarrel. And the jealousy fell through, because there was no decent subject for such a passion, unless it had settled upon an old music-master whom lunacy itself could not adopt as a rival. The quarrel meantime, which never prospered with the daughter, silently kindled on my part towards the father. His offence was this. At dinner, I naturally placed myself by the side of M., and it gave me great pleasure to touch her hand at intervals. As M. was my cousin, though twice or even three times removed, I did not feel taking too great a liberty in this little act of tenderness. No matter if three thousand times removed, I said, my cousin is my cousin: nor had I ever very much designed to conceal the act; or if so, rather on her account than my own. One evening, however, papa observed my manœuvre. Did he seem displeased? Not at all: he even condescended to smile. But the next day he placed M. on the side opposite to myself. In one respect this was really an improvement; because it gave me a better view of my cousin's sweet countenance. But then there was the loss of the hand to be considered, and secondly there was the affront. It was clear that vengeance must be had. Now there was but one thing in this world that I could do even [Pg 46] decently: but that I could do admirably. This was writing Latin hexameters. Juvenal, though it was not very much of him that I had then read, seemed to me a divine model. The inspiration of wrath spoke through him as through a Hebrew prophet. The same inspiration spoke now in me. Facit indignatio versum, said Juvenal. And it must be owned that Indignation has never made such good verses since as she did in that day. But still, even to me this agile passion proved a Muse of genial inspiration for a couple of paragraphs: and one line I will mention as worthy to have taken its place in Juvenal himself. I say this without scruple, having not a shadow of vanity, nor on the other hand a shadow of false modesty connected with such boyish accomplishments. The poem opened thus—

"Te nimis austerum; sacræ qui fœdera mensæ
Diruis, insector Satyræ reboante flagello."

But the line, which I insist upon as of Roman strength, was the closing one of the next sentence. The general effect of the sentiment was—that my clamorous wrath should make its way even into ears that were past hearing:

"——mea sæva querela
Auribus insidet ceratis, auribus etsi
Non audituris hybernâ nocte procellam."

The power, however, which inflated my verse, soon collapsed; having been soothed from the very first by finding—that except in this one instance at the dinner-table, which probably had been viewed as an indecorum, no further restraint of any kind whatever was meditated upon my intercourse with M. Besides, it was too painful to lock up good verses in one's own solitary breast. Yet how could I shock the sweet filial heart of my cousin by a fierce lampoon or stylites against her father, had Latin even figured amongst her accomplishments? Then it occurred to me that the verses might be shown to the father. But was there not something treacherous in gaining a man's approbation under a mask to a satire upon himself? Or would he have always understood me? For one person a year after took the sacræ mensæ (by which I had meant the sanctities of hospitality) to mean the sacramental table. And on consideration I began to suspect, that many people would pronounce myself the party who had violated the holy ties of hospitality, which are equally binding on guest as on host. Indolence, which sometimes comes in aid of good impulses as well as bad, favoured these relenting thoughts; the society of M. did still more to wean me from further efforts of satire: and, finally, my Latin poem remained a torso. But upon the whole my guardian had a narrow escape of descending to posterity in a disadvantageous light, had he rolled down to it through my hexameters.

Here was a case of merely playful feud. But the same talent of Latin verses soon after connected me with a real feud that harassed my mind more than would be supposed, and precisely by this agency, viz. that it arrayed one set of feelings against another. It divided my mind as by domestic feud against itself. About a year after, returning from the visit to my guardian's, and when I must have been nearly completing my twelfth year, I was sent to a great public school. Every man has reason to rejoice who enjoys so great an advantage. I condemned and do condemn the practice of sometimes sending out into such stormy exposures those who are as yet too young, too dependent on female gentleness, and endowed with sensibilities too exquisite. But at nine or ten the masculine energies of the character are beginning to be developed: or, if not, no discipline will better aid in their developement than the bracing intercourse of a great English classical school. Even the selfish are forced into accommodating themselves to a public standard of generosity, and the effeminate into conforming to a rule of manliness. I was myself at two public schools; and I think with gratitude of the benefit which I reaped from both; as also I think with gratitude of the upright guardian in whose quiet household I learned Latin so effectually. But the small private schools which I witnessed for brief periods, containing [Pg 47] thirty to forty boys, were models of ignoble manners as respected some part of the juniors, and of favouritism amongst the masters. Nowhere is the sublimity of public justice so broadly exemplified as in an English school. There is not in the universe such an areopagus for fair play and abhorrence of all crooked ways, as an English mob, or one of the English time-honoured public schools. But my own first introduction to such an establishment was under peculiar and contradictory circumstances. When my "rating," or graduation in the school, was to be settled, naturally my altitude (to speak astronomically) was taken by the proficiency in Greek. But I could then barely construe books so easy as the Greek Testament and the Iliad. This was considered quite well enough for my age; but still it caused me to be placed three steps below the highest rank in the school. Within one week, however, my talent for Latin verses, which had by this time gathered strength and expansion, became known. I was honoured as never was man or boy since Mordecai the Jew. Not properly belonging to the flock of the head master, but to the leading section of the second, I was now weekly paraded for distinction at the supreme tribunal of the school; out of which at first grew nothing but a sunshine of approbation delightful to my heart, still brooding upon solitude. Within six weeks this had changed. The approbation indeed continued, and the public testimony of it. Neither would there, in the ordinary course, have been any painful reaction from jealousy or fretful resistance to the soundness of my pretensions; since it was sufficiently known to some of my schoolfellows, that I, who had no male relatives but military men, and those in India, could not have benefited by any clandestine aid. But, unhappily, the head master was at that time dissatisfied with some points in the progress of his head form; and, as it soon appeared, was continually throwing in their teeth the brilliancy of my verses at twelve, by comparison with theirs at seventeen, eighteen, and nineteen. I had observed him sometimes pointing to myself; and was perplexed at seeing the gesture followed by gloomy looks, and what French reporters call "sensation," in these young men, whom naturally I viewed with awe as my leaders, boys that were called young men, men that were reading Sophocles—(a name that carried with it the sound of something seraphic to my ears)—and who never had vouchsafed to waste a word on such a child as myself. The day was come, however, when all that would be changed. One of these leaders strode up to me in the public playgrounds, and delivering a blow on my shoulder, which was not intended to hurt me, but as a mere formula of introduction, asked me, "What the d—l I meant by bolting out of the course, and annoying other people in that manner? Were other people to have no rest for me and my verses, which, after all, were horribly bad?" There might have been some difficulty in returning an answer to this address, but none was required. I was briefly admonished to see that I wrote worse for the future, or else——At this aposiopesis I looked enquiringly at the speaker, and he filled up the chasm by saying, that he would "annihilate" me. Could any person fail to be aghast at such a demand? I was to write worse than my own standard, which, by his account of my verses, must be difficult; and I was to write worse than himself, which might be impossible. My feelings revolted, it may be supposed, against so arrogant a demand, unless it had been far otherwise expressed; and on the next occasion for sending up verses, so far from attending to the orders issued, I double-shotted my guns; double applause descended on myself; but I remarked with some awe, though not repenting of what I had done, that double confusion seemed to agitate the ranks of my enemies. Amongst them loomed out in the distance my "annihilating" friend, who shook his huge fist at me, but with something like a grim smile about his eyes. He took an early opportunity of paying his respects to me—saying, "You little devil, do you call this writing your worst?" "No," I replied; "I call it writing my best." The annihilator, as it turned out, was really a good-natured young man; but he soon went off to Cambridge; and with [Pg 48] the rest, or some of them, I continued to wage war for nearly a year. And yet, for a word spoken with kindness, I would have resigned the peacock's feather in my cap as the merest of baubles. Undoubtedly, praise sounded sweet in my ears also. But that was nothing by comparison with what stood on the other side. I detested distinctions that were connected with mortification to others. And, even if I could have got over that, the eternal feud fretted and tormented my nature. Love, that once in childhood had been so mere a necessity to me, that had long been a mere reflected ray from a departed sunset. But peace, and freedom from strife, if love were no longer possible, (as so rarely it is in this world,) was the absolute necessity of my heart. To contend with somebody was still my fate; how to escape the contention I could not see; and yet for itself, and the deadly passions into which it forced me, I hated and loathed it more than death. It added to the distraction and internal feud of my own mind—that I could not altogether condemn the upper boys. I was made a handle of humiliation to them. And in the mean time, if I had an advantage in one accomplishment, which is all a matter of accident, or peculiar taste and feeling, they, on the other hand, had a great advantage over me in the more elaborate difficulties of Greek, and of choral Greek poetry. I could not altogether wonder at their hatred of myself. Yet still, as they had chosen to adopt this mode of conflict with me, I did not feel that I had any choice but to resist. The contest was terminated for me by my removal from the school, in consequence of a very threatening illness affecting my head; but it lasted nearly a year; and it did not close before several amongst my public enemies had become my private friends. They were much older, but they invited me to the houses of their friends, and showed me a respect which deeply affected me—this respect having more reference, apparently, to the firmness I had exhibited than to the splendour of my verses. And, indeed, these had rather drooped from a natural accident; several persons of my own class had formed the practice of asking me to write verses for them. I could not refuse. But, as the subjects given out were the same for all of us, it was not possible to take so many crops off the ground without starving the quality of all.

Two years and a half from this time, I was again at a public school of ancient foundation. Now I was myself one of the three who formed the highest class. Now I myself was familiar with Sophocles, who once had been so shadowy a name in my ear. But, strange to say, now in my sixteenth year, I cared nothing at all for the glory of Latin verse. All the business of school was slight and trivial in my eyes. Costing me not an effort, it could not engage any part of my attention; that was now swallowed up altogether by the literature of my native land. I still reverenced the Grecian drama, as always I must. But else I cared little then for classical pursuits. A deeper spell had mastered me; and I lived only in those bowers where deeper passions spoke.

Here, however, it was that began another and more important struggle. I was drawing near to seventeen, and, in a year after that, would arrive the usual time for going to Oxford. To Oxford my guardians made no objection; and they readily agreed to make the allowance then universally regarded as the minimum for an Oxford student, viz. £200 per annum. But they insisted, as a previous condition, that I should make a positive and definitive choice of a profession. Now I was well aware that, if I did make such a choice, no law existed, nor could any obligation be created through deeds or signature, by which I could finally be compelled into keeping my engagement. But this evasion did not suit me. Here, again, I felt indignantly that the principle of the attempt was unjust. The object was certainly to do me service by saving money, since, if I selected the bar as my profession, it was contended by some persons, (misinformed, however,) that not Oxford, but a special pleader's office, would be my proper destination; but I cared not for arguments of that sort. Oxford I was determined to make my home; and also to bear my future course utterly untrammeled by promises that I might repent. Soon came [Pg 49] the catastrophe of this struggle. A little before my seventeenth birthday, I walked off one lovely summer morning to North Wales—rambled there for months—and, finally, under some obscure hopes of raising money on my personal security, I went up to London. Now I was in my eighteenth year; and, during this period it was that I passed through that trial of severe distress, of which I gave some account in my former Confessions. Having a motive, however, for glancing backwards briefly at that period in the present series, I will do so at this point.

I saw in one journal an insinuation that the incidents in the preliminary narrative were possibly without foundation. To such an expression of mere gratuitous malignity, as it happened to be supported by no one argument except a remark, apparently absurd, but certainly false, I did not condescend to answer. In reality, the possibility had never occurred to me that any person of judgment would seriously suspect me of taking liberties with that part of the work, since, though no one of the parties concerned but myself stood in so central a position to the circumstances as to be acquainted with all of them, many were acquainted with each separate section of the memoir. Relays of witnesses might have been summoned to mount guard, as it were, upon the accuracy of each particular in the whole succession of incidents; and some of these people had an interest, more or less strong, in exposing any deviation from the strictest letter of the truth, had it been in their power to do so. It is now twenty-two years since I saw the objection here alluded to; and, in saying that I did not condescend to notice it, the reader must not find any reason for taxing me with a blamable haughtiness. But every man is entitled to be haughty when his veracity is impeached; and, still more, when it is impeached by a dishonest objection, or, if not that, by an objection which argues a carelessness of attention almost amounting to dishonesty, in a case where it was meant to sustain an imputation of falsehood. Let a man read carelessly if he will, but not where he is meaning to use his reading for a purpose of wounding another man's honour. Having thus, by twenty-two years' silence, sufficiently expressed my contempt for the slander,[19] I now feel myself at liberty to draw it into notice, for the sake, inter alia, of showing in how rash a spirit malignity often works. In the preliminary account of certain boyish adventures which had exposed me to suffering of a kind not commonly incident to persons in my station of life, and leaving behind a temptation to the use of opium under certain arrears of weakness, I had occasion to notice a disreputable attorney in London, who showed me some attentions, partly on my own account as a boy of some expectations, but much more with the purpose of fastening his professional grappling-hooks upon the young Earl of A——t, my former companion, and my present correspondent. This man's house was slightly described, and, with more minuteness, I had exposed some interesting traits in his household economy. A question, therefore, naturally arose in several people's curiosity—Where was this house situated? and the more so because I had pointed a renewed attention to it by saying, that on that very evening, (viz. the evening on which that particular page of the Confessions was written,) I had visited the street, looked up at the windows, and, instead of the gloomy desolation reigning there when myself and a little girl were the sole nightly tenants, sleeping in fact [Pg 50] (poor freezing creatures that we both were) on the floor of the attorney's law-chamber, and making a pillow out of his infernal parchments, I had seen with pleasure the evidences of comfort, respectability, and domestic animation, in the lights and stir prevailing through different stories of the house. Upon this the upright critic told his readers that I had described the house as standing in Oxford Street, and then appealed to their own knowledge of that street whether such a house could be so situated. Why not—he neglected to tell us. The houses at the east end of Oxford Street are certainly of too small an order to meet my account of the attorney's house; but why should it be at the east end? Oxford Street is a mile and a quarter long, and being built continuously on both sides, finds room for houses of many classes. Meantime it happens that, although the true house was most obscurely indicated, any house whatever in Oxford Street was most luminously excluded. In all the immensity of London there was but one single street that could be challenged by an attentive reader of the Confessions as peremptorily not the street of the attorney's house—and that one was Oxford Street; for, in speaking of my own renewed acquaintance with the outside of this house, I used some expression implying that, in order to make such a visit of reconnoissance, I had turned aside from Oxford Street. The matter is a perfect trifle in itself, but it is no trifle in a question affecting a writer's accuracy. If in a thing so absolutely impossible to be forgotten as the true situation of a house painfully memorable to a man's feelings, from being the scene of boyish distresses the most exquisite—nights passed in the misery of cold, and hunger preying upon him both night and day, in a degree which very many would not have survived,—he, when retracing his schoolboy annals, could have shown indecision even, far more dreaded inaccuracy, in identifying the house, not one syllable after that, which he could have said on any other subject, would have won any confidence, or deserved any, from a judicious reader. I may now mention—the Herod being dead whose persecutions I had reason to fear—that the house in question stands in Greek Street on the west, and is the house on that side nearest to Soho-Square, but without looking into the Square. This it was hardly safe to mention at the date of the published Confessions. It was my private opinion, indeed, that there were probably twenty-five chances to one in favour of my friend the attorney having been by that time hanged. But then this argued inversely; one chance to twenty-five that my friend might be unhanged, and knocking about the streets of London; in which case it would have been a perfect god-send to him that here lay an opening (of my contrivance, not his) for requesting the opinion of a jury on the amount of solatium due to his wounded feelings in an action on the passage in the Confessions. To have indicated even the street would have been enough. Because there could surely be but one such Grecian in Greek Street, or but one that realized the other conditions of the unknown quantity. There was also a separate danger not absolutely so laughable as it sounds. Me there was little chance that the attorney should meet; but my book he might easily have met (supposing always that the warrant of Sus. per coll. had not yet on his account travelled down to Newgate.) For he was literary; admired literature; and, as a lawyer, he wrote on some subjects fluently; Might he not publish his Confessions? Or, which would be worse, a supplement to mine—printed so as exactly to match? In which case I should have had the same affliction that Gibbon the historian dreaded so much; viz. that of seeing a refutation of himself, and his own answer to the refutation, all bound up in one and the same self-combating volume. Besides, he would have cross-examined me before the public in Old Bailey style; no story, the most straightforward that ever was told, could be sure to stand that. And my readers might be left in a state of painful doubt whether he might not, after all, have been a model of suffering innocence—I (to say the kindest thing possible) plagued with the natural treacheries of a schoolboy's memory. In taking leave of this case and the remembrances connected with it, let me say that, although really believing in the probability [Pg 51] of the attorney's having at least found his way to Australia, I had no satisfaction in thinking of that result. I knew my friend to be the very perfection of a scamp. And in the running account between us, (I mean, in the ordinary sense, as to money,) the balance could not be in his favour; since I, on receiving a sum of money, (considerable in the eyes of us both,) had transferred pretty nearly the whole of it to him, for the purpose ostensibly held out to me (but of course a hoax) of purchasing certain law "stamps;" for he was then pursuing a diplomatic correspondence with various Jews who lent money to young heirs, in some trifling proportion on my own insignificant account, but much more truly on the account of Lord A——t, my young friend. On the other side, he had given to me simply the reliques of his breakfast-table, which itself was hardly more than a relique. But in this he was not to blame. He could not give to me what he had not for himself, nor sometimes for the poor starving child whom I now suppose to have been his illegitimate daughter. So desperate was the running fight, yard-arm to yard-arm, which he maintained with creditors fierce as famine and hungry as the grave; so deep also was his horror (I know not for which of the various reasons supposable) against falling into a prison, that he seldom ventured to sleep twice successively in the same house. That expense of itself must have pressed heavily in London, where you pay half-a-crown at least for a bed that would cost only a shilling in the provinces. In the midst of his knaveries, and what were even more shocking to my remembrance, his confidential discoveries in his rambling conversations of knavish designs, (not always pecuniary,) there was a light of wandering misery in his eye at times, which affected me afterwards at intervals when I recalled it in the radiant happiness of nineteen, and amidst the solemn tranquillities of Oxford. That of itself was interesting; the man was worse by far than he had been meant to be; he had not the mind that reconciles itself to evil. Besides, he respected scholarship, which appeared by the deference he generally showed to myself, then about seventeen; he had an interest in literature; that argues something good; and was pleased at any time, or even cheerful, when I turned the conversation upon books; nay, he seemed touched with emotion, when I quoted some sentiment noble and impassioned from one of the great poets, and would ask me to repeat it. He would have been a man of memorable energy, and for good purposes, had it not been for his agony of conflict with pecuniary embarrassments. These probably had commenced in some fatal compliance with temptation arising out of funds confided to him by a client. Perhaps he had gained fifty guineas for a moment of necessity, and had sacrificed for that trifle only the serenity and the comfort of a life. Feelings of relenting kindness, it was not in my nature to refuse in such a case; and I wished to * * * But I never succeeded in tracing his steps through the wilderness of London until some years back, when I ascertained that he was dead. Generally speaking, the few people whom I have disliked in this world were flourishing people of good repute. Whereas the knaves whom I have known, one and all, and by no means few, I think of with pleasure and kindness.

Heavens! when I look back to the sufferings which I have witnessed or heard of even from this one brief London experience, I say if life could throw open its long suits of chambers to our eyes from some station beforehand, if from some secret stand we could look by anticipation along its vast corridors, and aside into the recesses opening upon them from either hand, halls of tragedy or chambers of retribution, simply in that small wing and no more of the great caravanserai which we ourselves shall haunt, simply in that narrow tract of time and no more where we ourselves shall range, and confining our gaze to those and no others for whom personally we shall be interested, what a recoil we should suffer of horror in our estimate of life! What if those sudden catastrophes, or those inexpiable afflictions, which have already descended upon the people within my [Pg 52] own knowledge, and almost below my own eyes, all of them now gone past, and some long past, had been thrown open before me as a secret exhibition when first I and they stood within the vestibule of morning hopes; when the calamities themselves had hardly begun to gather in their elements of possibility, and when some of the parties to them were as yet no more than infants! The past viewed not as the past, but by a spectator who steps back ten years deeper into the rear, in order that he may regard it as a future; the calamity of 1840 contemplated from the station of 1830—the doom that rang the knell of happiness viewed from a point of time when as yet it was neither feared nor would even have been intelligible—the name that killed in 1843, which in 1835 would have struck no vibration upon the heart—the portrait that on the day of her Majesty's coronation would have been admired by you with a pure disinterested admiration, but which if seen to-day would draw forth an involuntary groan—cases such as these are strangely moving for all who add deep thoughtfulness to deep sensibility. As the hastiest of improvisations, accept—fair reader, (for you it is that will chiefly feel such an invocation of the past)—three or four illustrations from my own experience.

Who is this distinguished-looking young woman with her eyes drooping, and the shadow of a dreadful shock yet fresh upon every feature? Who is the elderly lady with her eyes flashing fire? Who is the downcast child of sixteen? What is that torn paper lying at their feet? Who is the writer? Whom does the paper concern? Ah! if she, if the central figure in the group—twenty-two at the moment when she is revealed to us—could, on her happy birth-day at sweet seventeen, have seen the image of herself five years onwards, just as we see it now, would she have prayed for life as for an absolute blessing? or would she not have prayed to be taken from the evil to come—to be taken away one evening at least before this day's sun arose? It is true, she still wears a look of gentle pride, and a relic of that noble smile which belongs to her that suffers an injury which many times over she would have died sooner than inflict. Womanly pride refuses itself before witnesses to the total prostration of the blow; but, for all that, you may see that she longs to be left alone, and that her tears will flow without restraint when she is so. This room is her pretty boudoir, in which, till to-night—poor thing!—she has been glad and happy. There stands her miniature conservatory, and there expands her miniature library; as we circumnavigators of literature are apt (you know) to regard all female libraries in the light of miniatures. None of these will ever rekindle a smile on her face; and there, beyond, is her music, which only of all that she possesses, will now become dearer to her than ever; but not, as once, to feed a self-mocked pensiveness, or to cheat a half-visionary sadness. She will be sad indeed. But she is one of those that will suffer in silence. Nobody will ever detect her failing in any point of duty, or querulously seeking the support in others which she can find for herself in this solitary room. Droop she will not in the sight of men; and, for all beyond, nobody has any concern with that except God. You shall hear what becomes of her, before we take our departure; but now let me tell you what has happened. In the main outline I am sure you guess already without aid of mine, for we leaden-eyed men, in such cases, see nothing by comparison with you our quick-witted sisters. That haughty-looking lady with the Roman cast of features, who must once have been strikingly handsome—an Agrippina, even yet, in a favourable presentation—is the younger lady's aunt. She, it is rumoured, once sustained, in her younger days, some injury of that same cruel nature which has this day assailed her niece, and ever since she has worn an air of disdain, not altogether unsupported by real dignity, towards men. This aunt it was that tore the letter which lies upon the floor. It deserved to be torn; and yet she that had the best right to do so would not have torn it. That letter was an elaborate attempt on the part of an accomplished young man to release himself from sacred engagements. What need [Pg 53] was there to argue the case of such engagements? Could it have been requisite with pure female dignity to plead any thing, or do more than look an indisposition to fulfil them? The aunt is now moving towards the door, which I am glad to see; and she is followed by that pale timid girl of sixteen, a cousin, who feels the case profoundly, but is too young and shy to offer an intellectual sympathy.

One only person in this world there is, who could to-night have been a supporting friend to our young sufferer, and that is her dear loving twin-sister, that for eighteen years read and wrote, thought and sang, slept and breathed, with the dividing-door open for ever between their bedrooms, and never once a separation between their hearts; but she is in a far distant land. Who else is there at her call? Except God, nobody. Her aunt had somewhat sternly admonished her, though still with a relenting in her eye as she glanced aside at the expression in her niece's face, that she must "call pride to her assistance." Ay, true; but pride, though a strong ally in public, is apt in private to turn as treacherous as the worst of those against whom she is invoked. How could it be dreamed by a person of sense, that a brilliant young man of merits, various and eminent, in spite of his baseness, to whom, for nearly two years, this young woman had given her whole confiding love, might be dismissed from a heart like hers on the earliest summons of pride, simply because she herself had been dismissed from his, or seemed to have been dismissed, on a summons of mercenary calculation? Look! now that she is relieved from the weight of an unconfidential presence, she has sat for two hours with her head buried in her hands. At last she rises to look for something. A thought has struck her; and, taking a little golden key which hangs by a chain within her bosom, she searches for something locked up amongst her few jewels. What is it? It is a Bible exquisitely illuminated, with a letter attached, by some pretty silken artifice, to the blank leaves at the end. This letter is a beautiful record, wisely and pathetically composed, of maternal anxiety still burning strong in death, and yearning, when all objects beside were fast fading from her eyes, after one parting act of communion with the twin darlings of her heart. Both were thirteen years old, within a week or two, as on the night before her death they sat weeping by the bedside of their mother, and hanging on her lips, now for farewell whispers, and now for farewell kisses. They both knew that, as her strength had permitted during the latter month of her life, she had thrown the last anguish of love in her beseeching heart into a letter of counsel to themselves. Through this, of which each sister had a copy, she trusted long to converse with her orphans. And the last promise which she had entreated on this evening from both, was—that in either of two contingencies they would review her counsels, and the passages to which she pointed their attention in the Scriptures; namely, first, in the event of any calamity, that, for one sister or for both, should overspread their paths with total darkness; and secondly, in the event of life flowing in too profound a stream of prosperity, so as to threaten them with an alienation of interest from all spiritual objects. She had not concealed that, of these two extreme cases, she would prefer for her own children the first. And now had that case arrived indeed, which she in spirit had desired to meet. Nine years ago, just as the silvery voice of a dial in the dying lady's bedroom was striking nine upon a summer evening, had the last visual ray streamed from her seeking eyes upon her orphan twins, after which, throughout the night, she had slept away into heaven. Now again had come a summer evening memorable for unhappiness; now again the daughter thought of those dying lights of love which streamed at sunset from the closing eyes of her mother; again, and just as she went back in thought to this image, the same silvery voice of the dial sounded nine o'clock. Again she remembered her mother's dying request; again her own tear-hallowed promise—and with her heart in her mother's grave she now rose to fulfil it. Here, then when this solemn recurrence to a testamentary counsel has ceased to be a [Pg 54] mere office of duty towards the departed, having taken the shape of a consolation for herself, let us pause.

Now, fair companion in this exploring voyage of inquest into hidden scenes, or forgotten scenes of human life—perhaps it might be instructive to direct our glasses upon the false perfidious lover. It might. But do not let us do so. We might like him better, or pity him more, than either of us would desire. His name and memory have long since dropped out of every body's thoughts. Of prosperity, and (what is more important) of internal peace, he is reputed to have had no gleam from the moment when he betrayed his faith, and in one day threw away the jewel of good conscience, and "a pearl richer than all his tribe." But, however that may be, it is certain that, finally, he became a wreck; and of any hopeless wreck it is painful to talk—much more so, when through him others also became wrecks.

Shall we, then, after an interval of nearly two years has passed over the young lady in the boudoir, look in again upon her? You hesitate, fair friend: and I myself hesitate. For in fact she also has become a wreck; and it would grieve us both to see her altered. At the end of twenty-one months she retains hardly a vestige of resemblance to the fine young woman we saw on that unhappy evening with her aunt and cousin. On consideration, therefore, let us do this. We will direct our glasses to her room, at a point of time about six weeks further on. Suppose this time gone; suppose her now dressed for her grave, and placed in her coffin. The advantage of that is—that, though no change can restore the ravages of the past, yet (as often is found to happen with young persons) the expression has revived from her girlish years. The child-like aspect has revolved, and settled back upon her features. The wasting away of the flesh is less apparent in the face; and one might imagine that, in this sweet marble countenance, was seen the very same upon which, eleven years ago, her mother's darkening eyes had lingered to the last, until clouds had swallowed up the vision of her beloved twins. Yet, if that were in part a fancy, this at least is no fancy—that not only much of a child-like truth and simplicity has reinstated itself in the temple of her now reposing features, but also that tranquillity and perfect peace, such as are appropriate to eternity; but which from the living countenance had taken their flight for ever, on that memorable evening when we looked in upon the impassioned group—upon the towering and denouncing aunt, the sympathizing but silent cousin, the poor blighted niece, and the wicked letter lying in fragments at their feet.

Cloud, that hast revealed to us this young creature and her blighted hopes, close up again. And now, a few years later, not more than four or five, give back to us the latest arrears of the changes which thou concealest within thy draperies. Once more, "open sesame!" and show us a third generation. Behold a lawn islanded with thickets. How perfect is the verdure—how rich the blossoming shrubberies that screen with verdurous walls from the possibility of intrusion, whilst by their own wandering line of distribution they shape and umbrageously embay, what one might call lawny saloons and vestibules—sylvan galleries and closets. Some of these recesses, which unlink themselves as fluently as snakes, and unexpectedly as the shyest nooks, watery cells, and crypts, amongst the shores of a forest-lake, being formed by the mere caprices and ramblings of the luxuriant shrubs, are so small and so quiet, that one might fancy them meant for boudoirs. Here is one that, in a less fickle climate, would make the loveliest of studies for a writer of breathings from some solitary heart, or of suspiria from some impassioned memory! And opening from one angle of this embowered study, issues a little narrow corridor, that, after almost wheeling back upon itself, in its playful mazes, finally widens into a little circular chamber; out of which there is no exit, (except back again by the entrance,) small or great; so that, adjacent to his study, the writer would command how sweet a bed-room, permitting him to lie the summer through, gazing all night long at the burning [Pg 55] host of heaven. How silent that would be at the noon of summer nights, how grave-like in its quiet! And yet, need there be asked a stillness or a silence more profound than is felt at this present noon of day? One reason for such peculiar repose, over and above the tranquil character of the day, and the distance of the place from high-roads, is the outer zone of woods, which almost on every quarter invests the shrubberies—swathing them, (as one may express it,) belting them, and overlooking them, from a varying distance of two and three furlongs, so as oftentimes to keep the winds at a distance. But, however caused and supported, the silence of these fanciful lawns and lawny chambers is oftentimes oppressive in the depth of summer to people unfamiliar with solitudes, either mountainous or sylvan; and many would be apt to suppose that the villa, to which these pretty shrubberies form the chief dependencies, must be untenanted. But that is not the case. The house is inhabited, and by its own legal mistress—the proprietress of the whole domain; and not at all a silent mistress, but as noisy as most little ladies of five years old, for that is her age. Now, and just as we are speaking, you may hear her little joyous clamour as she issues from the house. This way she comes, bounding like a fawn; and soon she rushes into the little recess which I pointed out as a proper study for any man who should be weaving the deep harmonies of memorial suspiria. But I fancy that she will soon dispossess it of that character, for her suspiria are not many at this stage of her life. Now she comes dancing into sight; and you see that, if she keeps the promise of her infancy, she will be an interesting creature to the eye in after life. In other respects, also, she is an engaging child—loving, natural, and wild as any one of her neighbours for some miles round; viz. leverets, squirrels and ring-doves. But what will surprise you most is—that, although a child of pure English blood, she speaks very little English; but more Bengalee than perhaps you will find it convenient to construe. That is her Ayah, who comes up from behind at a pace so different from her youthful mistress's. But, if their paces are different, in other things they agree most cordially; and dearly they love each other. In reality, the child has passed her whole life in the arms of this ayah. She remembers nothing elder than her; eldest of things is the ayah in her eyes; and, if the ayah should insist on her worshipping herself as the goddess Railroadina or Steamboatina, that made England and the sea and Bengal, it is certain that the little thing would do so, asking no question but this—whether kissing would do for worshipping.

Every evening at nine o'clock, as the ayah sits by the little creature lying awake in bed, the silvery tongue of a dial tolls the hour. Reader, you know who she is. She is the granddaughter of her that faded away about sunset in gazing at her twin orphans. Her name is Grace. And she is the niece of that elder and once happy Grace, who spent so much of her happiness in this very room, but whom, in her utter desolation, we saw in the boudoir with the torn letter at her feet. She is the daughter of that other sister, wife to a military officer, who died abroad. Little Grace never saw her grandmama, nor her lovely aunt that was her namesake, nor consciously her mama. She was born six months after the death of the elder Grace; and her mother saw her only through the mists of mortal suffering, which carried her off three weeks after the birth of her daughter.

This view was taken several years ago; and since then the younger Grace in her turn is under a cloud of affliction. But she is still under eighteen; and of her there may be hopes. Seeing such things in so short a space of years, for the grandmother died at thirty-two, we say—Death we can face: but knowing, as some of us do, what is human life, which of us is it that without shuddering could (if consciously we were summoned) face the hour of birth?


[19] Being constantly almost an absentee from London, and very often from other great cities, so as to command oftentimes no favourable opportunities for overlooking the great mass of public journals, it is possible enough that other slanders of the same tenor may have existed. I speak of what met my own eye, or was accidentally reported to me—but in fact all of us are exposed to this evil of calumnies lurking unseen—for no degree of energy, and no excess of disposable time, would enable any one man to exercise this sort of vigilant police over all journals. Better, therefore, tranquilly to leave all such malice to confound itself.

[Pg 56]


"It was on a bright July morning that I found myself whirled away by railroad from Berlin, 'that great ostrich egg in the sand,' which the sun of civilization is said to have hatched."

In these words, and with this somewhat far-fetched simile, does a German tourist, Edward Boas by name, commence his narrative of a recent pilgrimage to the far north. Undeterred by the disadvantageous accounts given of those regions by a traveller who had shortly before visited them, and unseduced by the allurements of more southerly climes, he boldly sets forth to breast the mountains and brave the blasts of Scandinavia, and to form his own judgment of the country and its inhabitants. Almost, however, before putting foot on Scandinavian ground, Mr Boas, who, as a traveller, is decidedly of the gossiping and inquisitive class, fills three chapters with all manner of pleasant chatter about himself, and his feelings, and his fancies, and the travelling companions he meets with. His liveliness and versatility, and a certain bantering satirical vein, in which he occasionally indulges, would have caused us to take his work, had we met with it in an English translation, for the production of a French rather than a German pen.

Leaving the railway at Angermunde, our traveller continues his journey by the mail, in which he has two companions; a lady, "with an arm like ivory," about whom he seems more than half inclined to build up a little episodical romance, and a young man from the neighbouring town of Pasewalk, "on whose thick lips," we are informed, "the genius of stupidity seemed to have established its throne." This youth expressed his great regret that the good old customs of Germany had become obsolete, and expatiated on the necessity of striving to restore them. "Those were fine times," he said, "when nobles made war on their own account, burned down the villages, and drove the cattle of the peasants on each other's territory. To themselves personally, however, they did no harm; and if by chance Ritter Jobst fell into the hands of Ritter Kurt, the latter would say, 'Ritter Jobst, you are my prisoner on parole, and must pay me a ransom of five hundred thalers.' And thereupon they passed their time right joyously together, drinking and hunting the livelong day. But Ritter Jobst wrote to his seneschal that, by fair means or foul, he must squeeze the five hundred thalers out of his subjects, who were in duty bound to pay, to enable their gracious lord to return home again. Those were the times," concluded the young Pasewalker, "and of such times should I like to witness the return."

Now, Mr Boas considerably disapproved of these aspirations after the days of the robber knights, and he accordingly, to avoid hearing any more of them, took a nap in his corner, which helped him on nearly to Stralsund.

"This city," he says, "has acquired an undeserved renown through Wallenstein's famous vow, 'to have it, though it were hung from heaven by chains.' This puts me in mind of the trick of a reviewer who, by enormous and exaggerated praise, induces us to read the stupid literary production of some dear friend of his own. We take up the book with great expectations, and find it—trash. It is easy to see that Stralsund was founded by a set of dirty fish-dealers. Clumsy, gable-ended houses, streets narrow and crooked, a wretched pavement—such is the city. A small road along the shore, encumbered with timber, old casks, filth and rubbish—such is the quay."

In this uninteresting place, Mr Boas is compelled to pass eight-and-forty hours, waiting for a steamer. He fills up the time with a little dissertation on Swedish and Pomeranian dialects, and with a comical legend about a greedy monk, who bartered his soul to the devil for a platter of lampreys. By a stratagem of the abbot's, Satan was outwitted; and, taking himself off in a great rage, he dropped the lampreys in the lake of [Pg 57] Madue, near Stargard, where to this day they are found in as great perfection as in the lakes of Italy and Switzerland. This peculiarity, however, might be accounted for otherwise than by infernal means, for Frederick the Great was equally successful in introducing the sturgeon of the Wolga into Pomeranian waters, where it is still to be met with.

A day's sail brings our traveller to the port of Ystad, where he receives his first impressions of Sweden, which are decidedly favourable. At sunrise the next morning he goes on board the steamer Svithiod, bound from Lubeck to Stockholm. At the same time with himself are shipped three wandering Tyrolese musicians, who are proceeding northwards to give the Scandinavians a taste of their mountain melodies, and two or three hundred pigs, all pickled; the pigs, that is to say. He finds on board a numerous and agreeable society, of which and of the passage he gives a graphic description.

"The ship's bell rang to summon us to breakfast. There is a certain epic copiousness about a Swedish frukost. On first getting up in the morning it is customary to take a Kop caffe med skorpor, a cup of coffee and a biscuit, and in something less than two hours later one sits down to a most abundant meal. This commences with a sup, that is to say, a glass of carraway or aniseed brandy; then come tea, bread and butter, ham, sausage, cheese and beer; and the whole winds up with a warm Kötträtt, a beefsteak or cutlet."

Truly a solid and savoury repast. Whilst discussing it in the cabin of the Svithiod, Mr Boas makes acquaintance with his fellow-voyagers.

"At the top of the table sat our captain, a jovial pleasant man. He was very attentive to the passengers, had a prompt and friendly answer to every question; in short, he was a Swede all over. Near him were placed the families of two clergymen, in whose charge was also travelling a young Swedish countess, a charming, innocent-looking child, whose large dark eyes seemed destined, at no very distant period, to give more than one heartache. Beside them was a tall man, plainly dressed, and of military appearance. This was Count S——, (Schwerin, probably,) a descendant of that friend and lieutenant of Frederick the Great who, on the 6th May 1757, purchased with his life the victory of Prague. He was returning from the hay-harvest on those estates which had belonged to his valiant forefather, whose heirs had long been kept out of them for lack of certain documents. But Frederick William III. said, 'Right is right, though wax and parchment be not there to prove it;' and he restored to the family their property, which is worth half-a-million.

"The Count's neighbour was Fru Nyberg, a Swedish poetess, who writes under the name of Euphrosyne. In Germany, nobody troubles himself about the 'Dikter af Euphrosyne,' but every educated Swede knows them and their authoress. The latter may once have been handsome, but wrinkles have now crept in where roses formerly bloomed. Euphrosyne was born in 1785—authoresses purchase their fame dearly enough at the price of having their age put down in every lexicon. A black tulle cap with flame-coloured ribands covered her head; round her neck she wore a string of large amber beads, a gold watch-chain, and a velvet riband from which her eyeglass was suspended. She was quiet, and retiring, spoke little, and passed the greater portion of the day in the cabin. Fru Nyberg was returning from Paris, and had with her a young lady of distinguished family, Emily Holmberg by name. This young person possesses a splendid musical talent; her compositions are remarkable for charming originality, and are so much the more prized that the muse of Harmony has hitherto been but niggard of her gifts to the sons and daughters of Sweden. There was something particularly delicate and fairy-like in the whole appearance of this maiden, whose long curls floated round her transparent white temples, while her soft dove-like eyes had a sweet and slightly melancholy expression.

"Next to Miss Holmberg, there sat a handsome young man, in a sort of loose caftan of green velvet. His name was Baron R——, and he was a [Pg 58] descendant of the man who cast lots with Ankarström and Horn, which of them should kill the King. He had formerly been one of the most noted lions and viveurs of Stockholm, but had latterly taken to himself a beautiful wife, and had become a more settled character; though his exuberant spirits and love of enjoyment still remained, and rendered him the gayest and most agreeable of travelling companions. Nagel, the celebrated violin player, and his lively little wife, were also among the passengers. They were returning from America, where he had been exchanging his silvery notes against good gold coin. Nagel is a Jew by birth, a most accomplished man, speaking seven languages with equal elegance, and much esteemed in the musical circles of Stockholm."

A young Swedish woman, named Maria, whose affecting little history Mr Boas learns and tells us—an Englishman—"a thorough Englishman, who, as long as he was eating, had no eyes or ears for any thing else," and a French commis voyageur, travelling to get orders for coloured papers, champagne, and silk goods, completed the list of all those of the party who were any way worthy of mention. The Frenchman, Monsieur Robineau by name, had a little ugly face, nearly hidden by an enormous beard, wore a red cap upon his head, and looked altogether like a bandy-legged brownie or gnome. The scene at daybreak the next morning is described with some humour.

"A dull twilight reigned in the cabin, the lamp was burning low and threatening to go out, the first glimmer of day was stealing in through the windows, and the Englishman had struck a light in order to shave himself. From each berth some different description of noise was issuing; the Lubecker was snoring loudly, Baron R—— was twanging a guitar, Monsieur Robineau singing a barcarole, and every body was calling out as loud as he could for something or other. Karl, the steward, was rushing up and down the cabin, so confused by the fifty different demands addressed to him, that he knew not how to comply with any one of them.

"'Karl, clean my boots!'

"'Ja, Herr.'

"'Karl, some warm water and a towel.'

"'Ja, Herr.'

"'Amis, la matinée est belle! Sur le rivage assemblez-vouz!—Karl, the coffee!—conduis ta barque avec prudence! Pêcheur, parle bas! ... Karl, the coffee!'

"'Ja, Herr.'

"'Karl, my carpet-bag!'

"'Karl, are you deaf? Did you not hear me ask for warm water?'

"'Ja, Herr.'

"'Jette tes filets en silence! Pêcheur, parle bas!—Coffee, coffee, coffee!—Le roi des mers ne t'échappera pas!'

"'Ja, Herr.'

"'Karl, look at these boots! You must clean them again.'

"'No, you must first find my carpet-bag.'

"'Karl, you good-for-nothing fellow, if you do not bring me the
water immediately, I will complain to the captain.'

"'Pêcheur, parle bas! Conduis ta barque avec prudence! ... Karl,
the coffee, or by my beard I will have you impaled as soon as I am
Emperor of Turkey!'

"'Ja Herr! Ja, Herr! Ja, Herr!'"

Aided by the various talents and eccentricities of the passengers, by the grimaces of the Frenchman, and the songs of the Tyrolese minstrels, the time passed pleasantly enough; till, on the morning of the third day after leaving Ystad, the Svithiod was at the entrance of Lake Maeler, opposite the fortress of Waxholm, which presents more of a picturesque than of an imposing appearance.

"It consists of a few loopholed parapets and ramparts, and of a strong round tower of grey stone, looking very romantic but not very formidable, and nevertheless entirely commanding the narrow passage. A sentry, wrapped in his cloak, stood upon the wall and hailed us through a speaking-trumpet. At the very moment that the captain was about to answer, another steamer came round a bend of the channel, meeting the Svithiod point-blank. The sentinel impatiently repeated his summons, [Pg 59] and for a moment there appeared to be some danger of our either running foul of the other boat, or getting a shot in our hull from the fort. They do not understand joking at Waxholm, as was learned a short time since to his cost by the commander of the Russian steamer Ischora, who did not reply when summoned. Hastily furnishing the required information to the castle, our captain shouted out the needful orders to his crew, and we passed on in safety.

"The steamer which we now met bore the Swedish flag, and was conveying the Crown Prince Oscar (the grandson of a lawyer and a silk-mercer) and his wife, to Germany. They had left Stockholm in the night time, to avoid all public ceremony and formality. A crowd of artillerymen now lined the walls of Waxholm to give the usual salute, and we could hear the booming of the guns long after we were out of sight of ship and fort. In another hour I obtained my first view of Stockholm."

Stockholm, the Venice of the North, has been thought by many travellers to present a more striking coup-d'œil than any other European capital, Constantinople excepted. Built upon seven islands, formed by inlets of the sea and the Maeler Lake, it spreads over a surface very large in proportion to the number of its houses and inhabitants, and exhibits a singular mixture of streets, squares, and churches, with rock, wood, and water. The ground on which it stands is uneven, and in many places declivitous; the different parts of the city are connected by bridges, and on every side is seen the fresh green foliage of the north. The natural canals which intersect Stockholm are of great depth, and ships of large burden are enabled to penetrate into the very heart of the town. The general style of building offers little to admire; the houses being for the most part flat-fronted, monotonous, and graceless, without any species of architectural decoration to relieve their inelegant uniformity. It is the position of the city, the air of lightness given to it by the water, which traverses it in every direction, and the life and movement of the port, that form its chief recommendations. In their architectural ideas the Swedes appear to be entirely utilitarian, disdainful of ornament; and if a house of more modern and tasteful build, with windows of a handsome size, cornices, and entablatures, is here and there to be met with, it is almost certain to have been erected by Germans or some other foreigners. The royal palace, of which the first stone was laid in the reign of Charles XII., is a well-conceived and finely executed work; some of the churches are also worthy of notice; but most of the public buildings derive their chief interest, like the squares and market-places, from their antiquity, or from historical associations connected with them. Few cities offer richer stores to the lovers of the romance of history than does the capital of Sweden. One edifice alone, the Ritterhaus—literally, the House of Knights or Lords—in which the Swedish nobility were wont to hold their Diets, would furnish subject-matter for a score of romances. Not a door nor a window, scarce a stone in the building, but tells of some sanguinary feud, or fierce insurrection of the populace, in the troublous days of Sweden. From floor to ceiling of the great hall in which the Diet held its sittings, hang the coats of arms of Swedish counts, barons, and noblemen. A solemn gloomy light pervades the apartment, and unites with the grave black-blue coverings of the seats and balustrades, to convey the idea that this is no arena for showy shallow orators, but a place in which stern truth and naked reality have been wont to prevail. The chair of Gustavus Vasa, of inlaid ivory, and covered with purple velvet, stands in this room.

Mr Boas, the pages of whose book are thickly strewn with legends and historical anecdotes, many of them interesting, devotes a chapter to the Ritterhaus and its annals. One tragical history, connected with that building, appears worthy of extraction:

"One of the chief favourites of Gustavus III. was Count Armfelt, a young man of illustrious family, and of unusual mental and personal accomplishments. At an early age he entered the royal guards, and proved, [Pg 60] during the war with Russia, that his courage in the field fully equalled his more courtierlike merits. He rapidly ascended in military grade, and, finally, the king appointed him governor of Stockholm, and named him President of the Council of Regency, which, in case of his death, was to govern Sweden during the minority of the heir to the throne. Shortly after these dignities had been conferred upon Armfelt, occurred the famous masquerade and the assassination of Gustavus.

"Upon this event happening, a written will of the king's was produced, of more recent date than the appointment of the Count, and, according to which, the guardianship of the Prince Royal was to devolve upon Duke Karl Sundermanland, the brother of Gustavus. This was a weak, sensual, and vindictive prince, of limited capacity, and easily led by flattery and deceit. He belonged to a secret society, of which Baron Reuterholm was grand-master. A couple of mysterious and well-managed apparitions were sufficient to terrify the duke, and render him ductile as wax. The most implicit submission was required of him, and soon the crafty Reuterholm got the royal authority entirely into his own hands. There was discontent and murmuring amongst the true friends of the royal family, but Reuterholm's spies were ubiquitous, and a frowning brow or dissatisfied look was punished as a crime. Amongst others, Count Armfelt, who took no pains to conceal his indignation at the scandalous proceedings of those in power, was stripped of his offices, and ordered to set out immediately as ambassador to Naples.

"This command fell like a thunderbolt upon the head of the Count, whom every public and private consideration combined to retain in Stockholm. Loath as he was to leave his country an undisputed prey to the knaves into whose hands it had fallen, he was perhaps still more unwilling to abandon one beloved being to the snares and dangers of a sensual and corrupt court.

"It was on a September evening of the year 1792, and the light of the moon fell cold and clear upon the white houses of Stockholm, though the streets that intersected their masses were plunged in deep shadow, when a man, muffled in a cloak, and evidently desirous of avoiding observation, was seen making his way hastily through the darkest and least frequented lanes of that city. Stopping at last, he knocked thrice against a window-shutter; an adjacent door was opened at the signal, and he passed through a corridor into a cheerful and well-lighted apartment. Throwing off his cloak, he received and returned the affectionate greeting of a beautiful woman, who advanced with outstretched hand to meet him. The stranger was Count Armfelt—the lady, Miss Rudenskjöld—the most charming of the court beauties of the day. The colour left her cheek when she perceived the uneasiness of her lover; but when he told her of the orders he had received, her head sank upon his breast, and her large blue eyes swam in tears. Recovering, however, from this momentary depression, she vowed to remain ever true to her country and her love. The Count echoed the vow, and a kiss sealed the compact. The following morning a ship sailed from Stockholm, bearing the new ambassador to Naples.

"Scarcely had Armfelt departed, when Duke Karl began to persecute Miss Rudenskjöld with his addresses. At first he endeavoured, by attention and flatteries, to win her favour; but her avoidance of his advances and society increased the violence of his passion, until at last he spoke his wishes with brutal frankness. With maidenly pride and dignity, the lady repelled his suit, and severely stigmatized his insolence. Foaming with rage, the duke left her presence, and from that moment his love was exchanged for a deadly hatred.

"Baron Reuterholm had witnessed with pleasure the growth of the regent's passion for the beautiful Miss Rudenskjöld; for he knew that the more pursuits Duke Karl had to occupy and amuse him, the more undivided would be his own sway. It was with great dissatisfaction, therefore, that he received an account of the contemptuous manner in which the proud girl had treated her royal admirer. The latter insisted upon revenge, full and complete revenge, and Reuterholm promised that he should [Pg 61] have it. Miss Rudenskjöld's life was so blameless, and her conduct in every respect so correct, that it seemed impossible to invent any charge against her; but Reuterholm set spies to work, and spies will always discover something. They found out that she kept up a regular correspondence with Count Armfelt. Their letters were opened, and evidence found in them of a plan to declare the young prince of age, or at least to abstract Duke Karl from the corrupting influence of Reuterholm. The angry feelings entertained by the latter personage towards Miss Rudenskjöld were increased tenfold by this discovery, and he immediately had her thrown into prison. She was brought to trial before a tribunal composed of creatures of the baron, and including the Chancellor Sparre, a man of unparalleled cunning and baseness, than whom Satan himself could have selected no better advocate. During her examination, Fraulein von Rudenskjöld was most cruelly treated, and the words of the correspondence were distorted, with infamous subtlety, into whatever construction best suited her accusers. Sparre twisted his physiognomy, which in character partook of that of the dog and the serpent, into a thoughtful expression, and regretted that, according to the Swedish laws, the offence of which Miss Rudenskjöld was found guilty, could not be punished by the lash. The pillory, and imprisonment in the Zuchthaus, the place of confinement for the most guilty and abandoned of her sex, formed the scarce milder sentence pronounced upon the unfortunate victim.

"It was early on an autumn morning—a thick canopy of grey clouds overspread the heavens—and the dismal half-light which prevailed in the streets of Stockholm made it difficult to decide whether or not the sun had yet risen. A cold wind blew across from Lake Maeler, and caused the few persons who had as yet left their houses to hasten their steps along the deserted pavement. Suddenly a detachment of soldiers arrived upon the square in front of the Ritterhaus, and took up their station beside the pillory. The officer commanding the party was a slender young man of agreeable countenance; but he was pale as death, and his voice trembled as he gave the words of command. The prison-gate now opened, and Miss Rudenskjöld came forth, escorted by several jailers. Her cheeks were whiter than the snow-white dress she wore; her limbs trembled; her long hair hung in wild dishevelment over her shoulders, and yet was she beautiful—beautiful as a fading rose. They led her up the steps of the pillory, and the executioner's hand was already stretched out to bind her to the ignominious post, when she cast a despairing glance upon the bystanders, as though seeking aid. As she did so, a shrill scream of agony burst from her lips. She had recognised in the young officer her own dearly-loved brother, who, by a devilish refinement of cruelty, had been appointed to command the guard that was to attend at her punishment.

"Strong in her innocence, the delicate and gently-nurtured girl had borne up against all her previous sufferings; but this was too much. Her senses left her, and she fell fainting to the ground. Her brother also swooned away, and never recovered his unclouded reason. To his dying day his mind remained gloomy and unsettled. The very executioners refused to inflict further indignity on the senseless girl, and she was conducted back to her dungeon, where she soon recovered all the firmness which she had already displayed before her infamous judges.

"Meanwhile Armfelt was exposed in Italy to the double danger of secret assassination, and of a threatened requisition from the Swedish government for him to be delivered up. He sought safety in flight, and found an asylum in Germany. His estates were confiscated, his titles, honours, and nobility declared forfeit, and he himself was condemned by default as a traitor to his country."

Concerning the ultimate fate of this luckless pair of lovers, Mr Boas deposeth not, but passes on to an account of the disturbances in 1810, when the Swedish marshal, Count Axel Fersen, suspected by the populace as cause of the sudden death of the Crown Prince, Charles Augustus, was attacked, while following the body of the prince through the streets of Stockholm. [Pg 62] He was sitting in full uniform in his carriage, drawn by six milk-white horses, when he was assailed with showers of stones, from which he took refuge in a house upon the Ritterhaustmarkt. In spite of the exertions of General Silversparre, at the head of some dragoons, the mob broke into the house, and entered the room in which Fersen was. He folded his hands, and begged for mercy, protesting his innocence. But his entreaties were in vain. A broad-shouldered fellow, a shopkeeper, named Lexow, tore off his orders, sword, and cloak, and threw them through the window to the rioters, who with furious shouts reduced them to fragments. Silversparre then proposed to take the count to prison, and have him brought to trial in due form. But, on the way thither, the crowd struck and ill-treated the old man; and, although numerous troops were now upon the spot, these remained with shouldered arms, and even their officers forbade their interference. They appeared to be there to attend an execution rather than to restore order. The mob dragged the unfortunate Fersen to the foot of Gustavus Vasa's statue, and there beat and ill-treated him till he died. It was remarked of the foremost and most eager of his persecutors, that although dressed as common sailors, their hands were white and delicate, and linen of fine texture peeped betrayingly forth from under their coarse outer garments. Doubtless more than one long-standing hatred was on that day gratified. It was still borne in mind, that Count Fersen's father had been the chief instrument in bringing Count Eric Brahe, and several other nobles, to the scaffold, upon the very spot where, half a century later, his son's blood was poured out.

The murder of the Count-Marshal was followed by an attack upon the house of his sister, the Countess Piper; but she had had timely notice, and escaped by water to Waxholm. Several officers of rank, who strove to pacify the mob, were abused, and even beaten; until at length a combat ensued between the troops and the people, and lasted till nightfall, when an end was put to it by a heavy fall of rain. The number of killed and wounded on that day could never be ascertained.

These incidents are striking and dramatic—fine stuff for novel writers, as Mr Boas says—but we will turn to less sanguinary subjects. In a letter to a female friend, who is designated by the fanciful name of Eglantine, we have a sketch of the present state of Swedish poetry and literature. According to the account here given us, Olof von Dalin, who was born in Holland in 1763, was the first to awaken in the Swedes a real and correct taste for the belles lettres. This he did in great measure by the establishment of a periodical called the Argus. He improved the style of prose writing, and produced some poetry, which latter appears, however, to have been generally more remarkable for sweetness than power. We have not space to follow Mr Boas through his gallery of Swedish literati, but we will extract what he says concerning three authoresses, whose works, highly popular in their own country and in Germany, have latterly attracted some attention in England. These are—Miss Bremer, Madame Flygare-Carlén, and the Baroness Knorring, the delineators of domestic, rural, and aristocratic life in Sweden.

"Frederica Bremer was born in the year 1802. After the death of her father, a rich merchant and proprietor of mines, she resided at Schonen, and subsequently with a female friend in Norway. She now lives with her mother and sister alternately in the Norrlands Gatan, at Stockholm, or at their country seat at Arsta. If I were to talk to you about Miss Bremer's romances, you would laugh at me, for you are doubtless ten times better acquainted with them than I am. But you are curious, perhaps, to learn something about her appearance, and that I can tell you.

"You will not expect to hear that Miss Bremer, a maiden lady of forty, retains a very large share of youthful bloom; but, independently of that, she is really any thing but handsome. Her thin wrinkled physiognomy is, however, rendered agreeable by its good-humoured expression, and her meagre figure has the benefit of a neat and simple style of dress. From the style of her writings, I used always to take [Pg 63] her to be a governess; and she looks exactly like one. She knows that she is not handsome, and on that account has always refused to have her portrait taken; the one they sell of her in Germany is a counterfeit, the offspring of an artist's imagination, stimulated by speculative book-sellers. This summer, there was a quizzing paragraph in one of the Swedish papers, saying that a painter had been sent direct from America to Rome and Stockholm, to take portraits of the Pope and of Miss Bremer.

"In Sweden, the preference is given to her romance of Hemmet, (Home,) over all her other works. Any thing like a bold originality of invention she is generally admitted to lack, but she is skilled in throwing a poetical charm over the quiet narrow circle of domestic life. She is almost invariably successful in her female characters, but when she attempts to draw those of men, her creations are mere caricatures, full of emptiness and improbability. Her habit of indulging in a sort of aimless and objectless philosophizing vein, à propos of nothing at all, is also found highly wearisome. For my part, it has often given me an attack of nausea. She labours, however, diligently to improve herself; and, when I saw her, she had just been ordering at a bookseller's two German works—Bossen's Translation of Homer, and Creuzer's Symbolics.

"Emily Flygare is about thirty years of age. She is the daughter of a country clergyman, and has only to write down her own recollections in order to depict village life, with its pains and its pleasures. Accordingly, that is her strongest line in authorship; and her book, Kyrkoinvigningen, (the Church Festival,) has been particularly successful. Married in early life to an officer, she contracted, after his death, several engagements, all of which she broke off, whereby her reputation in some degree suffered. At last she gave her hand to Carlén, a very middling sort of poet, some years younger than she is; and she now styles herself—following the example of Madame Birch-Pfeiffer, and other celebrated singers—Flygare-Carlén. She lives very happily at Stockholm with her husband, and is at least as good a housewife as an authoress, not even thinking it beneath her dignity to superintend the kitchen. Her great modesty as to her own merits, and the esteem she expresses for her rivals, are much to her credit. She is a little restless body, and does not like sitting still. Her countenance is rather pleasing than handsome, and its charm is heightened by the lively sparkle of her quick dark eyes.

"The third person of the trio is the Baroness Knorring, a very noble lady, who lives far away from Stockholm, and is married to an officer. She is between thirty and forty years old, and it is affirmed that she would be justified in exclaiming with Wallenstein's Thekla—

'Ich habe gelebt und geliebet.'

She was described to me as nervous and delicate, which is perhaps the right temperament to enable her accurately to depict in her romances the strained artificiality and silken softness of aristocratic existence. Her style also possesses the needful lightness and grace, and she accordingly succeeds admirably in her sketches of high life, with all its elegant nullities and spiritless pomp. One of her best works is the romance of Cousinerna, (The Cousins,) which, as well as the other works of Knorring, Bremer, and Flygare, has been placed before the German public by our diligent translators."

Upon the subjects of Swedish society and conversation, Mr Boas is pleased to be unusually funny. Like the foreigner who asserted that Goddam was the root of the English language, he seems prepared to maintain that two monosyllables constitute the essence of the Swedish tongue, and that they alone are required to carry on an effective and agreeable dialogue. "It is not at all difficult," he says, "to keep up a conversation with a Swede, when you are once acquainted with a certain mystical formula, whereby all emotions and sentiments are to be expressed, and by the aid of which you may love and hate, curse and bless, be good-humoured or satirical, and even witty. The mighty and all-sufficing words are, 'Ja so!' (Yes, indeed!) usually [Pg 64] pronounced Jassoh. It is wonderful to hear the infinite variety of modulation which a Swede gives to these two insignificant syllables. Does he hear some agreeable intelligence, he exclaims, with sparkling eyes and brisk intonation, 'Ja so!' If bad news are brought to him, he droops his head, and, after a pause, murmurs mournfully, 'Ja so!' The communication of an important affair is received with a thoughtful 'Ja so!' a joke elicits a humorous one; an attempt to banter or deceive him is met by a sarcastic repetition of the same mysterious words.

"A romance might be constructed out of these four letters. Thus:—Lucy is sitting at her window, when a well-known messenger brings her a bouquet. She joyfully exclaims, 'Ja so!' and presses the flowers to her lips. A friend comes in; she shows her the flowers, and the friend utters an envious 'Ja so!' Soon afterwards Lucy's lover hears that she is faithless; he gnashes his teeth, and vociferates a furious 'Ja so!' He writes to tell her that he despises her, and will never see her again; whereupon she weeps, and says to herself, between two tears, 'Ja so!' She manages, however, to see him, and convinces him that she has been calumniated. He clasps her in his arms, and utters a 'Ja so!' expressive of entire conviction. Suddenly his brow becomes clouded, and muttering a meditative 'Ja so!' he remembers that a peremptory engagement compels him to leave her. He seeks out the man who has sought to rob him of his mistress, and reproaches him with his perfidy. This rival replies by a cold, scornful 'Ja so!' and a meeting is agreed upon. The next day they exchange shots, and I fully believe that the man who is killed sighs out with his last breath 'Ja so!' His horror-stricken antagonist exclaims 'Ja so!' and flies the country; and surgeon, relations, friends, judge, all, in short, who hear of the affair, will inevitably cry out, 'Ja so!' Grief and joy, doubt and confidence, jest and anger, are all to be rendered by those two words."

The province of Dalarna, or Dalecarlia, which lies between Nordland and the Norwegian frontier, and in which Miss Bremer has laid the scene of one of her most recent works, is spoken of at some length by Mr Boas, who considers it to be, in various respects, the most interesting division of Sweden. Its inhabitants, unable to find means of subsistence in their own poor and mountainous land, are in the habit of wandering forth to seek a livelihood in more kindly regions, and Mr Boas likens them in this respect to the Savoyards. They might, perhaps, be more aptly compared to the Galicians, who leave their country, not, as many of the Savoyards do, to become beggars and vagabonds, by the aid of a marmoset and a grinding organ, but to strive, by the hardest labour and most rigid economy, to accumulate a sum that will enable them to return and end their lives in their native village.

"The dress of the Dalecarlians (dale carls, or men of the valley) consists of a sort of doublet and leathern apron, to the latter of which garments they get so accustomed that they scarcely lay it aside even on Sundays. Above that they wear a short overcoat of white flannel. Their round hats are decorated with red tufts, and their breeches fastened at the knees with red ties and tassels. The costume of their wives and daughters, who are called Dalecullen, (women of the valley,) is yet more peculiar and outlandish. It is composed of a coloured cap, fitting close to the head, of a boddice with red laces, a gown, usually striped with red and green, and of scarlet stockings. They wear enormous shoes, large, awkward, and heavy, made of the very thickest leather, and adorned with the eternal red frippery. The soles are an inch thick, with huge heels, stuck full of nails, and placed, not where the heel of the foot is, but in front, under the toes; and as these remarkable shoes lift at every step, the heels of the stockings are covered with leather. On Sundays, ample white shirt-sleeves, broad cap-ribands, and large wreaths of flowers are added to this singular garb, amongst the wearers of which pretty faces and laughing blue eyes are by no means uncommon.

"The occupations of these women are of the rudest and most laborious description. They may be literally [Pg 65] said to earn their bread by the sweat of their brow, and their hands are rendered callous as horn by the nature of their toil. They act as bricklayers' labourers, and carry loads of stones upon their shoulders and up ladders. Besides this, it is a monopoly of theirs to row a sort of boat, which is impelled by machinery imitating that of a steamer, but worked by hand. These are tolerably large vessels, having paddle-wheels fitted to them, which are turned from within. Each wheel is worked by two young Dalecarlian girls, who perform this severe labour with the utmost cheerfulness, while an old woman steers. They pass their lives upon the water, plying from earliest dawn till late in the night, and conveying passengers, for a trifling copper coin, across the broad canals which intersect Stockholm in every direction. Cheerful and pious, the bloom of health on her cheeks, and the fear of God in her heart, the Dalecarlian maiden is contented in her humble calling. On Sunday she would sooner lose a customer than miss her attendance at church. One sorrowful feeling, and only one, at times saddens her heart, and that is the Heimweh, the yearning after her native valley, when she longs to return to her wild and beautiful country, which the high mountains encircle, and the bright stream of the Dalelf waters. There she has her father and mother, or perhaps a lover, as poor as herself, and she sees no possibility of ever earning enough to enable her to return home, and become his wife.

"It was in this province that I now found myself, and its inhabitants pleased me greatly. Nature has made them hardy and intelligent, for their life is a perpetual struggle to extract a scanty subsistence from the niggard and rocky soil. Unenervated by luxury, uncorrupted by the introduction of foreign vices, they have been at all periods conspicuous for their love of freedom, for their penetration in discovering, and promptness in repelling, attacks upon it. Faithful to their lawful sovereign, they yet brooked no tyranny; and when invaders entered the land, or bad governors oppressed them, they were ever ready to defend their just rights with their lives. From the remotest periods, such has been the character of this people, which has preserved itself unsophisticated, true, and free. It is interesting to trace the history of the Dalecarlians. Isolated in a manner from the rest of the world amongst their rugged precipices and in their lonely valleys, it might be supposed they would know nothing of what passed without; yet whenever the moment for action has come, they have been found alert and prepared.

"At the commencement of the fifteenth century, Eric XIII., known also as the Pomeranian, ascended the Swedish throne. His own disposition was neither bad nor good, but he had too little knowledge of the country he was called upon to reign over; and his governors and vice-gerents, for the most part foreigners, tyrannized unsparingly over the nation. The oppressed people stretched out their hands imploringly to the king; but he, who was continually requiring fresh supplies of money for the prosecution of objectless wars, paid no attention to their complaints. Of all his Vögte, or governors, not one was so bad and cruel as Jesse Ericson, who dwelt at Westeraes, and ruled over Dalarna. He laid enormous imposts on the peasantry, and when they were unable to pay, he took every thing from them, to their last horse, and harnessed themselves to the plough. Pregnant matrons were compelled at his command to draw heavy hay-waggons, women and girls were shamefully outraged by him, and persons possessing property unjustly condemned, in order that he might take possession of their goods. When the peasants came to him to complain, he had them driven away with stripes, or else cut off their ears, or hung them up in the smoke till they were suffocated.

"Then the men of Dalarna murmured; they assembled in their valleys, and held counsel together. An insurrection was decided upon, and Engelbrecht of Falun was chosen to head it, because, although small of stature, he had a courageous heart, and knew how to talk or to fight, as occasion required. He repaired to Copenhagen, laid the just complaints of his countrymen before the king, [Pg 66] and pledged his head to prove their truth. Eric gave him a letter to the counsellors of state, some of whom accompanied him back to Dalarna, and convinced themselves that the distress of the province was inconceivably great. They exposed this state of things to the king in a letter, with which Engelbrecht returned to Copenhagen. But, on seeking audience of Eric, the latter cried out angrily, 'You do nothing but complain! Go your ways, and appear no more before me.' So Engelbrecht departed, but he murmured as he went, 'Yet once more will I return.'

"Although the counsellors themselves urged the king to appoint another governor over Dalecarlia, he did not think fit to do so. Then, in the year 1434, so soon as the sun had melted the snow, the Dalecarlians rose up as one man, marched through the country, and Jesse Ericson fled before them into Denmark. They destroyed the dwellings of their oppressors, drove away their hirelings and retainers, and Engelbrecht advanced, with a thousand picked men, to Wadstena, where he found an assembly of bishops and counsellors. From these he demanded assistance, but they refused to accord it, until Engelbrecht took the bishop of Linköping by the collar, to deliver him over to his followers. Thereupon they became more tractable, and renounced in writing their allegiance to Eric, on the grounds that he had 'made bishops of ignorant ribalds, entrusted high offices to unworthy persons, and neglected to punish tyrannical governors.' The Dalecarlians advanced as far as Schonen, where Engelbrecht concluded a truce, and dismissed them. His army had consisted of ten thousand peasants, all burning with anger against their oppressors, and without military discipline; yet, to his great credit be it said, not a single excess or act of plunder had been committed.

"On hearing of these disturbances, the king repaired in all haste to Stockholm, whereupon Engelbrecht again summoned his followers, and marched upon the capital, in which Eric entrenched himself with various nobles and governors, who had burned down their castles, and hastened to join him. Things looked threatening, but nevertheless ended peaceably, for Eric was afraid of the Swedes. He obtained peace by promising that in future the provinces, with few exceptions, should name their own governors, and that Engelbrecht should be vögt at Oerebro. As usual, however, he broke his word, and, before sailing for Denmark, he appointed as vögt a man who was a notorious pirate, a robber of churches, and abuser of women. For the third time the peasants revolted. In the winter of 1436 they appeared before Stockholm, which they took, the burghers themselves helping them to burst open the gates. Engelbrecht seized upon one fortress after another, meeting no resistance from King Eric, who fled secretly to Pomerania, leaving the war and his kingdom to take care of themselves. Several members of the council followed him thither, and, after some persuasion, brought him back with them.

"In the midst of these changes and commotions, Engelbrecht was treacherously assassinated by the son of that bishop whom he had formerly affronted at Wadstena. With tears and lamentations, the boors fetched the body of their brave and faithful leader from the little island where his death had occurred, and which to this day bears his name. The spot on which the murder was committed is said to be accursed, and no grass ever grows there. Subsequently the coffin was brought to the church at Oerebro, and so exalted was the opinion entertained of Engelbrecht's worth and virtue, that the country people asserted that miracles were wrought at his tomb, as at the shrine of a saint."

It was nearly a century later that Gustavus Vasa, flying, with a price upon his head, from the assassins of his father and friends, took refuge in Dalecarlia. Disguised in peasant's garb, and with an axe in his hand, he hired himself as a labourer; but was soon recognised, and his employer feared to retain him in his service. He then appealed to the Dalecarlians to espouse his cause; but, although they admired and sympathised with the gallant youth who thus placed his trust in them, they hesitated to take up arms in his behalf; and, hopeless of their assistance, he at last turned [Pg 67] his steps towards Norway. But scarcely had he done so, when the incursion of a band of Danish mercenaries sent to seek him, and the full confirmation of what he had told them concerning the massacre at Stockholm, roused the Dalecarlians from their inaction. The tocsin was sounded throughout the provinces, the Danes were driven away, and the two swiftest runners in the country bound on their snow-shoes, and set out with the speed of the wind to bring back the royal fugitive. They overtook him at the foot of the Norwegian mountains, and soon afterwards he found himself at the head of five thousand white-coated Dalecarlians.

The Danes were approaching, and one of their bishops asked—"How many men the province of Dalarna could furnish?"

"At least twenty thousand," was the reply; "for the old men are just as strong and as brave as the young ones."

"But what do they all live upon?"

"Upon bread and water. They take little account of hunger and thirst, and when corn is lacking, they make their bread out of tree-bark."

"Nay," said the bishop, "a people who eat tree-bark and drink water, the devil himself would not vanquish, much less a man."

And neither were they vanquished. Like an avalanche from the mountains, they fell upon their foes, beat them with clubs, and drove them into the river. Their progress was one series of triumphs, till they placed Gustavus Vasa on the throne of Sweden.

The last outbreak of the Dalecarlians was less successful. On the 19th of June 1743, five thousand of these hardy and determined men appeared before Stockholm, bringing with them in fetters the governor of their province, and demanding the punishment of the nobles who had instigated a war with Russia, and a new election of an heir to the crown. They were not to be pacified by words; and even the next morning, when the old King Frederick, surrounded by his general and guards, rode out to harangue them, all he could obtain was the release of their prisoner. On the other hand, they seized three pieces of cannon, and dragged them to the square named after Gustavus Adolphus, where they posted themselves.

"There were eight thousand men of regular troops in Stockholm, but these were not all to be depended upon, and it was necessary to bring up some detachments of the guards. A company of Süderländers who had been ordered to cross the bridge, went right about face, as soon as they came in sight of the Dalecarlians, and did not halt till they reached the sluicegate, which had been drawn up, so that nobody might pass. It was now proclaimed with beat of drum, that those of the Dalecarlians who should not have left the city by five o'clock, would be dealt with as rebels and traitors. More than a thousand did leave, but the others stood firm. Counsellors and generals went to them, and exhorted them to obedience; but they cried out that they would make and unmake the king, according to their own good right and decree, and that if it was attempted to hinder them, the very child in the cradle should meet no mercy at their hands. To give greater weight to their words, they fired a cannon and a volley of musketry, by which a counsellor was killed.

"Orders were now given to the soldiers to fire, but they had pity on the poor peasants, and only aimed at the houses, shattering the glass in hundreds of windows. But the artillerymen were obliged to put match to touch-hole, and a murderous fire of canister did execution in the masses of the Dalecarlians. Many a white camisole was stained with the red heart's-blood of its wearer; fifty men fell dead upon the spot, eighty were wounded, and a crowd of others sprang into the Norderström, or sought to fly. The regiment of body-guards pursued them, and drove the discomfited boors into the artillery court. A severe investigation now took place, and these thirsters after liberty were punished by imprisonment and running the gauntlet. Their leader and five others were beheaded.

"The Dalecarlians are a tenacious and obstinate people, and their character is not likely to change; but God forbid that they should again [Pg 68] deem it necessary to visit Stockholm. They were doubtless just as brave in the year 1743 as in 1521 and 1434; but though they had not altered, the times had. Civilization and cartridges are powerful checks upon undisciplined courage and an unbridled desire of liberty."

Returning from Dalecarlia to Stockholm, Mr Boas takes, not without regret, his final farewell of that city, and embarks for Gothenburg, passing through the Gotha canal, that splendid monument of Swedish industry and perseverance, which connects the Baltic with the North Sea. He passes the island of Mörkö, on which is Höningsholm Castle, where Marshal Banner was brought up. A window is pointed out in the third story of the castle, at which Banner, when a child, was once playing, when he overbalanced himself and fell out. The ground beneath was hard and rocky, but nevertheless he got up unhurt, ran into the house, and related how a gardener had saved him by catching him in his white apron. Enquiry was immediately made, but, far or near, no gardener was to be found. By an odd coincidence, Wallenstein, Banner's great opponent, when a page at Innspruck, also fell out of a high window without receiving the least injury.

On the first evening of the voyage, the steamer anchors for the night near Mem, a country-seat belonging to a certain Count Saltza, an eccentric old nobleman, who traces his descent from the time of Charles XII., and fancies himself a prophet and ghost-seer. His predictions relate usually to the royal family or country of Sweden, and are repeated from mouth to mouth throughout every province of the kingdom. And here we must retract an assertion we made some pages back, as to the possibility of our supposing this book to proceed from any other than a German pen. No one but a German would have thought it necessary or judicious to intrude his own insipid sentimentalities into a narrative of this description, and which was meant to be printed. But there is probably no conceivable subject on which a German could be set to write, in discussing which he would not manage to drag in, by neck and heels, a certain amount of sentiment or metaphysics, perhaps of both. Mr Boas, we are sorry to say, is guilty of this sin against good taste. The steamer comes to an anchor about ten o'clock, and he goes ashore with Baron K——, a friend he has picked up on board, to take a stroll in the Prophet's garden at Mem. There they encounter Mesdemoiselles Ebba and Ylfwa, lovely and romantic maidens, who sit in a bower of roses under the shadow of an umbrageous maple-tree, their arms intertwined, their eyes fixed upon a moonbeam, piping out Swedish melodies, which, to our two swains, prove seductive as the songs of a Siren. The moonbeam aforesaid is kind enough to convert into silver all the trees, bushes, leaves and twigs in the vicinity of the young ladies with the Thor-and-Odin names; whilst to complete this German vision, a white bird with a yellow tuft upon its head stands sentry upon a branch beside them, the said bird being, we presume, a filthy squealing cockatoo, although Mr Boas, gay deceiver that he is, evidently wishes us to infer that it was an indigenous volatile of the phœnix tribe. Sentinel Cockatoo, however, was caught napping, and the garrison of the bower had to run for it. And now commences a series of hopes and fears, and doubts and anxieties, and sighings and perplexities, which keep the tender heart of Boas in a state of agreeable palpitation, through four or five chapters; at the end of which he steps on board the steam-boat Christiana, blows in imagination a farewell kiss to Miss Ebba, of whom, by the bye, he has never obtained more than half a glimpse, and awaking, as he tells us, from his love-dream, which we should call his nightmare, sets sail for Copenhagen.

Of the various places visited by Mr Boas during his ramble, few seem to have pleased him better than Copenhagen, and he becomes quite enthusiastic when speaking of that city, and of what he saw there. The pleasure he had in meeting Thorwaldsen is perhaps in part the cause of his remembering the Danish capital with peculiar favour. He gives various details concerning that celebrated sculptor, his character and [Pg 69] habits, and commences the chapter, which he styles, "A Fragment of Italy in the North," with a comparison between Sweden and Denmark, two countries which, both in trifling and important matters, but especially in the character of their inhabitants, are far more dissimilar than from their juxtaposition might have been supposed. Listen to Mr Boas.

"On meeting an interesting person for the first time, one frequently endeavours to trace a resemblance with some previous acquaintance or friend. I have a similar propensity when I visit interesting cities; but I had difficulty in calling to mind any place to which I could liken Copenhagen. Between Sweden and Denmark generally, there are more points of difference than of resemblance. Sweden is the land of rocks, and Denmark of forest. Oehlenschlägel calls the latter country, 'the fresh and grassy,' but he might also have added 'the cool and wooded.'

"The Swedish language is soft and melodious, the Danish sharp and accentuated. The former is better suited to lyrical, the latter to dramatic poetry.

"When a Swede laughs, he still looks more serious than a Dane who is out of humour. In Sweden, the people are quiet, even when indulging in the pleasures they love best; in Denmark there is no pleasure without noise. In a political point of view, the difference between the two nations is equally marked. Beyond the Sound, all demonstrations are made with fierce earnestness; on this side of it, satire and wit are the weapons employed. On the one hand shells and heavy artillery, on the other, light and brilliant rockets. The Swedes have much liberty of the press and very little humour; the Danes have a great deal of humour and small liberty of the press. As a people, the former are of a choleric and melancholy temperament, the latter of a sanguine and phlegmatic one.

"Whilst the Swedish national hatred is directed against Russia, that of Denmark takes England for its object. Finland and the fleet are not yet forgotten.

"The Swede is constantly taking off his hat; the Dane always shakes hands. The former is courteous and sly, the latter simple and honest.

"If Denmark has little similarity with its northern neighbour, neither has it any marked point of resemblance with its southern one. It always reminds me of the tongue of a balance, vibrating between Sweden and Germany, and inclining ever to that side on which the greatest weight lies. Thus its literary tendency is German, its political one Swedish.

"The best comparison that can be made of Denmark is with Italy; and to me, although I shall probably surprise the reader by saying so, Copenhagen appears like a part of Rome transplanted into the north. In some degree, perhaps, Thorwaldsen is answerable for this impression; for where he works and creates, one is apt to fancy oneself surrounded by that warm southern atmosphere in which nature and art best flourish. When he returned to Copenhagen, it was a festival day for the whole population of the city. A crew of gaily dressed sailors rowed him to land, and whilst they were doing so, a rainbow suddenly appeared in the heavens. The multitude assembled on the shore set up a shout of jubilation, to see that the sky itself assumed its brightest tints, to celebrate the return of their favourite.

"I had been told that I should not see Thorwaldsen, because he was staying with the Countess Stampe. This lady is about forty years of age, and possesses that blooming embonpoint which makes up in some women for the loss of youthful freshness. She became acquainted with the artist in Italy, and fascinated him to such a degree that he made her a present of the whole of his drawings, which are of immense artistical value. She excited much ill-will by accepting them, but at the same time it must in justice be owned, that Thorwaldsen is under great obligations to her. He had hardly arrived in Copenhagen, when innumerable invitations to breakfasts, dinners, and suppers were poured upon him. Every body wanted to have him; and, as he was known to love good living, the most sumptuous repasts were prepared for him. The sturdy old man, who had never been [Pg 70] ill in his life, became pale and sickly, lost his taste for work, and was in a fair way to die of an indigestion, when the Countess Stampe stepped in to the rescue, carried him off to her country-seat, and there fitted him up a studio. His health speedily returned, and with it the energy for which he has always been remarkable, and he joyfully resumed the chisel and modelling stick.

"I had scarcely set foot in the streets of Copenhagen, when I saw Thorwaldsen coming towards me. I was sure that I was not mistaken, for no one who has ever looked upon that fine benevolent countenance, that long silver hair, clear, high forehead and gently smiling mouth—no one who has ever gazed into those divine blue orbs, wherein creative power seems so sweetly to repose, could ever forget them again. I went up and spoke to him. He remembered me immediately, shook my hand with that captivating joviality of manner which is peculiar to him, and invited me into his house. He inhabits the Charlottenburg, an old chateau on the Königsneumarkt, by crossing the inner court of which one reaches his studio. My most delightful moments in Copenhagen were passed there, looking on whilst he worked at the statues of deities and heroes—he himself more illustrious than them all. There they stand, those lifelike and immortal groups, displaying the most wonderful variety of form and attitude, and yet, strange to say, Thorwaldsen scarcely ever makes use of a model. His most recently commenced works were two gigantic allegorical figures, Samson and Æsculapius. The first was already completed, and I myself saw the bearded physiognomy of Æsculapius growing each day more distinct and perfect beneath the cunning hand of the master. The statues represent Strength and Health."

In his house, and as a private individual, Thorwaldsen is as amiable and estimable as in his studio. In the centre of one of his rooms is a four-sided sofa, which was embroidered expressly for him by the fair hands of the Copenhagen ladies. The walls are covered with pictures, some of them very good, others of a less degree of merit. They were not all bought on account of their excellence; Thorwaldsen purchased many of them to assist young artists who were living, poor and in difficulties, at Rome. Dressed in his blue linen blouse, he explained to his visitor the subjects of these pictures, without the slightest tinge of vanity in his manner or words. None of the dignities or honours that have been showered upon him, have in the slightest degree turned his head. Affable, cheerful, and even-tempered, he appears to have preserved, to his present age of sixty, much of the joyous lightheartedness of youth. With great glee he related to Mr Boas the trick he had played the architects of the church of Our Lady at Copenhagen.

"Architects are obstinate people," said he, "and one must know how to manage them. Thank God, that is a knowledge which I possess in a tolerable degree. When the church of Our Lady was built, the architect left six niches on either side of the interior, and these were to contain the twelve apostles. In vain did I represent to them that statues were meant to be looked at on all sides, and that nobody could see through a stone wall; I implored, I coaxed them, it was all in vain. Then thought I to myself, he is best served who serves himself, and thereupon I made the statues a good half-foot higher than the niches. You should have seen the length of the architects' faces when they found this out. But they could not help themselves; the infernal sentry-boxes were bricked up, and my apostles stand out upon their pedestals, as you may have seen when you visited the church."

Thorwaldsen is devotedly attached to Copenhagen, and has made a present to the city of all his works and collections, upon condition that a fitting locality should be prepared for their reception, and that the museum should bear his name. The king gave a wing of the Christiansburg for this purpose, the call for subscriptions was enthusiastically responded to, and the building is now well advanced. Its style of architecture is unostentatious, and its rows of large windows will admit a broad decided light upon the marble groups. Pending its completion, the majority of the statues and pictures are lodged in the palace.

Mr Boas appears bent upon establishing his parallel between Denmark and [Pg 71] Italy. He traces it in the fondness of the Danes for art, poetry, and music, in their gay and joyous character, and in their dress. He even discovers an Italian punchinello figuring in a Danish puppet-show; and as it was during the month of August that he found himself in Denmark, the weather was not such as to dispel his illusions.

"It would be erroneous," he says, "to suppose that Danish costumes weaken or obliterate the idea of a southern region conveyed by this country. A Bolognese professor would not think of covering his head with the red cap of a Lazzarone, and Roman marchesas dress themselves, like Danish countesses, according to the Journal des Modes. National costumes in all countries have taken refuge in villages, and the peasants in the environs of Copenhagen have no reason to be ashamed of their garb, which is both showy and picturesque. The men wear round hats and dark-blue jackets, lined with scarlet and adorned with long glittering rows of bullet-shaped buttons. The women are very tasteful in their attire. Their dark-green gowns, with variegated borders, reach down to their heels, and the shoulder-strap of the closely fitting boddice is a band of gold lace. The chief pains are bestowed upon the head-dress, which is various in its fashion, sometimes composed of clear white stuff, with an embroidered lappet, falling down upon the neck; sometimes of a cap of many colours, heavily embroidered with gold, and having broad ribands of a red purple, which flutter over the shoulders. One meets every where with this original sort of costume; for the peasant women repair in great numbers to the festivals at the various towns, and in Copenhagen they are employed as nurses to the children of the higher classes.

"During my sojourn in the Danish capital, the weather was so obliging as in no way to interfere with my Cisalpine illusions. The sky continued a spotless dome of lapis-lazuli, out of which the sun beamed like a huge diamond; and if now and then a little cloud appeared, it was no bigger than a white dove flitting across the blue expanse. The days were hot, a bath in the lukewarm sea scarcely cooled me, and at night a soft dreamy sort of vapour spread itself over the earth. I only remember one single moment when the peculiarities of a northern climate made themselves obvious. It was in the evening, and I was returning with my friend Holst from the delightful forest-park of Friedrichsberg. The sky was one immense blue prairie, across which the moon was solitarily wandering, when suddenly the atmosphere became illuminated with a bright and fiery light; a large flaming meteor rushed through the air, and, bursting with a loud report, divided itself into a hundred dazzling balls of fire. These disappeared, and immediately afterwards a white mist seemed to rise out of the earth, and the stars shone more dimly than before. Over stream and meadow rolled the fog, in strange fantastical shapes, floating like a silver gauze among the tree-stems and foliage, till it gradually wove itself into one close and impervious veil. To such appearances as these must legends of elves and fairies owe their origin."

It is something rather new for an author to introduce into his book a criticism of another work on the same subject. This, Mr Boas, who appears to be a bold man, tolerably confident in his own capabilities and acquirements, has done, and in a very amusing, although not altogether an unobjectionable manner. He must be sanguine, however, if he expects his readers to place implicit faith in his impartiality. Under the title of "A Tour in the North," he devotes a long chapter to a bitter attack on the Countess Hahn-Hahn's book of that name. Here is its commencement:—

"A year previously to myself, Ida, Countess Hahn-Hahn, had visited Sweden, and the fruit of her journey was, as is infallible with that lady, a book. When I arrived at Stockholm, people were just reading it, and I found them highly indignant at the nonsense and misrepresentations it contains. When a German goes to Sweden he is received as a brother, with a warmth and heartiness which should make a doubly pleasing impression, if we reflect how important it is in our days to preserve a mutual confidence and good-will between nations. When meddling persons make [Pg 72] the perfidious attempt to embitter a friendly people by scoffing and abuse, there should be an end to forbearance, and it becomes a duty to strike in with soothing words. We must show the Swedes how such scribblings are appreciated in Germany, lest they should think we take a pleasure in ridiculing what is noble and good."

And thereupon, Mr Boas does "strike in," as he calls it; but however soothing his words may prove to his ill-used Swedish friends, we have considerable doubts as to their emollient effect upon the Countess, supposing always that she condescends to read them. He hits that lady some very hard knocks, not all of them, perhaps, entirely undeserved; makes out an excellent case for the Swedes, and proves, much more satisfactorily to himself than to us, that Madame Hahn-Hahn is of a very inferior grade of bookmaking tourists.

"In the first place" he says, "I declare that her work on Sweden is no original, but a dull imitation of Gustavus Nicolai's notorious book, 'Italy, as it really is.' Like that author, the Countess labours assiduously to collect together all the darkest shades and least favourable points of the country and people she visits; exaggerates them when she finds them, and invents them when she does not. For the beauties of the country she has neither eye nor feeling; she intentionally avoids speaking of them, and her book is meant, like that of Nicolai, to operate as a warning, and scare away travellers. The good lady says this very explicitly. 'Travellers are beginning to turn their attention a good deal to the north, for the south is becoming insufficient to gratify that universal rage for rambling, with which I myself, as a true child of the century, am also infected. But the north is so little known—I, for my part, only knew it through Dahl's poetical landscapes—that one feels involuntarily disposed to deck it with the colours of the south, because the south is beautiful, and the north is said also to be so. Thus one is apt to set out with a delusion, and I think it will therefore be an act of kindness to those who may visit Sweden after me, if I say exactly how I found it.' Uncommonly good, Gustavus the second. But it would be unfair to Nicolai to assert that his book is as dull and nonsensical as that of the Countess Hahn-Hahn. He went to Italy with the idea that it never rained there, and that oranges grew on the hedges, as sloes do with us. This was childish, and one could not help laughing at it. But when his imitatress perpetually laments and complains, because on the Maeler lake, under the 59th degree of latitude, she does not find the sultry southern climate—it becomes worse than childish, and one is compelled to pity her. The Countess chanced to hit upon a cool rainy month for her visit—I am wrong, she was not a month in Scandinavia altogether—and thereupon she cries out as if she were drowning, and despises both country and people."

It is easy to understand that there can be little sympathy between the Countess Hahn-Hahn, an imaginative and somewhat capricious fine lady, with strong aristocratic and exclusive tendencies, and such a matter-of-fact person as Mr Boas, who, in spite of his sentimentality, which is a sort of national infirmity, and although he informs us in one part of his book that he is a poet, leans much more to the practical and positive than to the imaginative and dreamy, and we moreover suspect is a bit of a democrat. Having, however, taken the Countess en grippe, as the French call it, he shows her no mercy, and, it must be owned, displays some cleverness in hitting off and illustrating the weak points of her character and writings.

"Hardly," he resumes, "has the female Nicolai reached Stockholm, when she begins with her insipid comparisons. 'The golden brilliancy of Naples and the magic spell of Venice are here entirely wanting.' Is it possible? Only see what striking remarks this witty and travelled dame does make! In the next page she says:—'Upon this very day, exactly one year since, I was in Barcelona; but here there is nothing that will bear comparison with the land of the aloe and the orange. Three years ago I was on the Lake of Como, in that fairy garden beyond the Alps! Five years ago in Vienna, amongst the rose-groves of Laxenburg;' &c. [Pg 73] Who cares in what places the Countess has been? Surely it is enough that she has written long wearisome books about them. Every possible corner of Italy, Spain, and Switzerland is dragged laboriously in, to furnish forth comparisons; and soon, no doubt, a similar use will be made of Egypt, Syria, and Mesopotamia. These comparisons are invariably shown to be to the disadvantage of Sweden; and although the lady is oftentimes compelled to confess to the beauty of a Swedish landscape, she never forgets to qualify the admission, by observing how much more beautiful such or such a place was. For example, she is standing one night at her window, looking out on the Maeler lake. 'I wrapped my mantilla shiveringly around me, stepped back from the window, shut it, and said with a slight sigh: In Venice the moonlight nights were very different.' Really this would be hardly credible, did any other than a countess assure us of it."

"Every thing in Sweden is disagreeable and adverse to her; roads, houses, food, people, and money; rocks, trees, rivers and flowers; but especially sun, sky, and air. She talks without ceasing of heavy clouds and pouring rains, but even this abundance of water is insufficient to mitigate the dryness of her book."

"I am always sorry," says a witty French writer, "when a woman becomes an author: I would much rather she remained a woman." Does Mr Boas, perchance, partake this implied opinion, that authorship unsexes; and is it therefore that he allows himself to deal out such hard measure to the Countess Ida? Even if we agreed with his criticisms, we should quarrel with his want of gallantry. But it is tolerably evident that if Madame Hahn-Hahn, finding herself on the shores of the Baltic, in a July that might have answered to December in the sunny climes she had so recently left, allowed her account of Swedes and Sweden to be shaded a little en noir by her own physical discomforts; it is evident, we say, that on the other hand, our present author, either more favoured by the season, or less susceptible of its influence, sins equally in the contrary extreme, and throws a rosy tint over all that he portrays. Though equally likely to induce into error, it is the pleasanter fault to those persons who merely read the tour for amusement, without proposing to follow in the footsteps of the tourist. Your complaining, grumbling travellers are bores, whether on paper or in a post-chaise; and, truth to tell, we have noticed in others of the Countess's books a disposition to look on the dark side of things. But this is not always the case, and, when she gets on congenial ground, she shines forth as a writer of a very high order. Witness her Italian tour, and her book upon Turkey and Syria, with which latter, English readers have recently been made acquainted through an admirable translation, by the accomplished author of Caleb Stukely. She has her little conceits, and her little fancies; rather an overweening pride of caste, and contempt for the plebeian multitude, and an addiction to filling too many pages of her books with small personal and egotistical details about herself, and her sensations, and what dresses she wears, and how thin she is, and so on. But with all her faults, she is unquestionably a very accomplished and clever writer. Her criticisms on subjects relating to art, and especially her original and sparkling remarks on painting and architecture, although qualified by Mr Boas as twaddle, stamp her at once as a woman of no common order. She has profound and poetical conceptions of Beauty, and at times a felicity of expression in presenting the effects of nature and art upon her own mind, that strikes and startles by its novelty and power. As a delineator of men and manners, she is remarkable for shrewdness, subtle perception, and truthfulness that cannot be mistaken. Should our readers doubt our statements, or haply Mr Boas turn up his nose at the eulogium, we would simply refer them and him to the last work that has fallen from her pen, the Letters from the Orient, and bid them open it at the page which brings them to a Bedouin encampment—a scene described with the vigour that belongs to a masculine understanding, and all the fascination which a feminine mind can bestow.

Still we are free to confess that the Countess has written perhaps rather [Pg 74] too much for the time she has been about it, and thus laid herself open to an accusation of bookmaking, the prevailing vice of the present race of authors. The incorrigible and merciless Mr Boas does not let this pass.

"The question now remains to be asked," says he; "Why did Ida Hahn-Hahn, upon leaving a country in which she had passed a couple of weeks—a country of the language of which she confesses herself ignorant, and with which she was in every respect thoroughly displeased, deem it incumbent on her forthwith to write a thick book concerning it? The answer is this: her pretended impulse to authorship is merely feigned, otherwise she would not have troubled herself any further about such a wearisome country as Sweden. Through three hundred and fifty pages does she drag herself, grumbling as she goes; a single day must often fill a score of pages, for travelling costs money, and the honorarium is not to be despised. If I thus accuse the Countess of bookmaking, I also feel that such an accusation should be supported by abundant proof, and such proof am I ready to give."

Oh fye, Boas! How can you be so ruthless? Besides the impolicy of exposing the tricks of your trade, all this is very spiteful indeed. You would almost tempt us, were it worth while, to take up the cudgels in earnest in defence of the calumniated Countess, and to give you a crack on the pate, which, as Maga is regularly translated into German for the benefit and improvement of your countrymen, would entirely finish your career, whether as poet, tour-writer, or any thing else. But seeing that your conceits and lucubrations have afforded us one or two good laughs, and considering, moreover, that you are of the number of those small fry with which it is almost condescension for us to meddle, we will let you off, and close this notice of your book, if not with entire approbation, at least with a moderate meed of praise.


"Change of air! change of air!" Every body was in the same story. "Medicine is of no use," said the doctor; "a little change of scene will set all to rights again." I looked in the child's face—she was certainly very pale. "And how long do you think she should stay away from home?" "Two or three months will stock her with health for a whole year." Two or three months!—oh, what a century of time that is, now that we have railroads all over the world, and steam to the Pyramids—where in all the wide earth are we to go? So we got maps of all countries, and took advice from every one we saw. We shall certainly go among hills, wherever we go; beautiful scenery if we can—but hills and fresh air at all events. We heard of fine open downs, and an occasional tempest, in the neighbourhood of Rouen. A steamer goes from Portsmouth to Havre, and another delightful little river-boat up the Seine. For a whole day we had determined on a visit to the burial-place of William the Norman—the death-place of Joan of Arc; we had devised little tours and detours all over the mysterious land that sent forth the conquerors of England; but soon there cane "a frost, a nipping frost,"—are we to be boxed up in an hotel in a French town the whole time? No, we must go somewhere, where we can get a country-house—a place on the swelling side of some romantic hill, where we can trot about all day upon ponies, or ramble through fields and meadows at our own sweet will. So we gave up all thoughts of Rouen. "I'll tell you what, sir," said a sympathizing neighbour: "when I came home on my three years' leave, I left the prettiest thing you ever saw, a perfect paradise, and a bungalow that was the envy of every man in the district." "Well?" I said with an enquiring look. "It's among the Neilgherries; and as for bracing air, there isn't such a place in the whole world. I merely mention it, you know; it's a little too far off, perhaps; but if [Pg 75] you like it, it is quite at your service, I assure you." It was very tempting, but three months was scarcely long enough. So we were at a nonplus. Scotland we thought of; and the Cumberland lakes; and the Malvern hills; and the Peak of Derbyshire; and where we might finally have fixed can never be known, for our plans were decided by the advice of a friend, which was rendered irresistible by being backed by his own experience. "Go to Wales," he said. "I lived in such a beautiful place there three or four years ago—in the Vale of Glasbury—a lovely open space, with hills all round it—admirable accommodation at the Three Cocks, and the most civil and obliging landlord that ever offered good entertainment for man and beast." Out came the maps again; the route was carefully studied; and one day at the end of May, we found ourselves, eight people in all, viz., four children and two maids, in a railway coach at Gosport, fizzing up to Basingstoke. There is such a feeling of life and earnestness about a railway carriage;—the perpetual shake, and the continual swing, swing, on and on, without a moment's pause, with the quick, bustling, breathless sort of tramp of the engine—all these things, and forty others, put me in such a state of intense activity that I felt as if I kept a shop—or was a prodigious man upon 'Change—or was flying up to make a fortune—or had suddenly been called to form an administration—or had become a member of the prize ring, and was going up to fight white-headed Bob. However, on this occasion I was not called upon either to overthrow white-headed Bob of the ring, or long-headed Bob of the administration; and at Basingstoke we suddenly found ourselves, bag and baggage, wife, maids, and children, standing in a forlorn and disconsolate manner, at the door of the station-house; while the train pursued its course, and had already disappeared like a dream, or rather like a nightmare. There were at least half-a-dozen little carriages, each with one horse; and the drivers had, each and all of then, the audacity to offer to convey us—luggage and all—sixteen miles across, to Reading. Why, there was not a vehicle there that would have held the two trunks; and as to conveying us all, it would have taken the united energies of all the Flies in Basingstoke, with the help of the Industrious Fleas to boot, to get us to our destination within a week. While in this perplexing situation, wondering what people could possibly want with such an array of boxes and bags, a quiet-looking man, who had stood by, chewing the lash of a driving-whip in a very philosophical manner, said, "Please sir, I'll take you all." "My good friend, have you seen the whole party?" "Oh yes, sir, I brought a bigger nor yourn for this here train—we have a fly on purpose." What a sensible man he must have been who devised a vehicle so much required by unhappy sires that are ordered to remove their Lares for change of air! "Bring round the ark," we cried; and in a minute came two very handsome horses to the door, drawing a thing that was an aggravated likeness of the old hackney coaches, with a slight cross of an omnibus in its breed. It held seven inside with perfect ease, and would have held as many more as might be required; and it carried all the luggage on the top with an air of as much ease as if it had only been a bonnet, and it was rather proud than otherwise of its head-dress. The driving seat was as capacious as the other parts of the machine, and we had much interesting conversation with the Jehu—whose epithets, we are sorry to say, as applied to railroads, were of that class of adjectives called the emphatic. There is to be a cross line very shortly between Basingstoke and Reading, uniting the South-Western and Great Western Railways—and then, what is to become of the tremendous vehicle and its driver? The coach, to be sure, may be retained as a specimen of Brobdignaggian fly, but my friend Jehu must appear in the character of Othello, and confess that "his occupation's gone." Thank heaven! people wear boots, and many of them like to have them cleaned, so, with the help of Day and Martin, you may live. "That's the Duke's gate, sir," he said, pointing with his whip to a plain lodge and entrance on the left hand. "The lodge-keeper was his top groom at [Pg 76] the time Waterloo was—and a very nice place he has." This was Strathfieldsaye: there were miles and miles of the most beautiful plantations, all the fences in excellent order, the cottages along the road clean and comfortable, and every symptom of a good landlord to be seen as far as the eye could reach.

"If it wasn't for all this here luggage," said Jehu in a confidential whisper, with a backward jerk of his head towards the moving pyramid behind us; "we might go through the park. The Duke gives permission to gentlemen's carriages."

So the poor man deluded himself with the thought, that if it wer'n't for the bandboxes, we might pass muster as fresh from the hands of Cork and Spain.

"That's very kind of the Duke."

"Oh, he's the best of gentlemen—I hears the best of characters of him from his tenants, and all the poor folks round about." Now here was our driver—rather ragged than otherwise, and as poor as need be—bearing evidence to the character of the greatest man in these degenerate days, on points that are perhaps more important than some that will be dwelt on by his biographers. The best of characters from his tenants and the poor;—well, glorious Duke, I shall always think of this when I read about your victories, and all your great doings in peace and war; and when people call you the Iron Duke, and the great soldier, and the hero of Waterloo, I shall think of you as the hero of Strathfieldsaye, and the best of characters among your tenants and the poor folks round about.

"Does the Duke often come to Reading?"

"No; very seldom."

"I should have thought he would come by the Great Western, and drive across."

"He!" exclaimed the driver, giving a cut to the near horse by way of italicising his observation. "He never comes by none of their rails. He don't like 'em. He posts every step of the way. He's a reg'lar gentleman, he is, the Duke."

And in the midst of conversation like this, we got to Reading. Through some wretched streets we drove, and then through some tolerable ones; and at last pulled up at the Great Western Hotel, a large handsome house, very near the Railway station; and in a few minutes were as comfortably settled as if we had travelled with a couple of outriders, and had ordered our rooms for a month. The sitting-room had three or four windows, of which two looked out upon the terminus. At these the whole party were soon happily stationed, watching the different trains that came sweeping up and down every few minutes; long luggage trains, pursuing their heavy way with a business-like solidity worthy of their great weight and respectability; short dapper trains, that seemed to take a spurt up the road as if to try their wind and condition; and occasionally a mysterious engine, squeaking, and hissing, and roaring, and then, with a succession of curious jumps and pantings, backing itself half a mile or so down the course, and then spluttering and dashing out of sight as if madly intent upon suicide, and in search of a stone wall to run its head upon. As to feeling surprise at the number of accidents, the only wonder a sensible man can entertain on the subject is, that there is any thing but accidents from morning to night. And yet, when you look a little closer into it, every thing seems so admirably managed, that the chances are thousands to one against any misfortune occurring. Every engine seems to know its place as accurately as a cavalry charger; the language also of the signals seems very intelligible to the iron ears of the Lucifers and Beelzebubs, and the other evil spirits, who seem on every line to be the active agents of locomotion. Why can't the directors have more Christianlike names for their moving power? What connexion is there between a beautiful new engine, shining in all its finery—the personification of obedient and beneficent strength—with the "Infernal," or the "Phlegethon," or the "Styx?" Are they aware what a disagreeable association of ideas is produced in the students of Lemprière's classical dictionary by the two last names? or the Charon or Atropos? Let these things be mended, and let them be called by some [Pg 77] more inviting appellations—Nelson, St Vincent, Rodney, Watt, Arkwright, Stephenson, Milton, Shakspeare, Scott;—but leave heathen mythology and diabolic geography alone. As night began to close, the sights and sounds grew more strange and awful. A great flaming eye made its appearance at a distance; the gradual boom of its approach grew louder and louder, and its look became redder and redder; and then we watched it roll off into the darkness again, on the other side of the station, on its way to Bath—till, tearing up at the rate of forty miles an hour, came another red-eyed monster, breathing horrible flame, and seeming to burn its way through the sable livery of the night with the strength and straightness of a red-hot cannon-ball. And then we called for candles and went to bed.

The train was to pass on its way to Bristol at half-past eleven, so we had plenty of time to see the lions of Reading—if there had been any animals of the kind in the neighbourhood—but after a short detour in the street, and a glimpse into the country, we found ourselves irresistibly attracted to the railway. The scene here was the same as on the previous night, and we were more and more confirmed in our opinion, that, next to the sea or a navigable river, a railway is the pleasantest object in a rural view. As to the impostors who extort thousands of pounds from the unhappy shareholders, on the pretext that the line will be injurious to their estates, they ought at once to be sent to Brixton for obtaining money under false pretences. It gives a greatly increased value to their lands, as may be seen by the superior rents they can obtain for the farms along the line; and as to the picturesqueness of the landscape, it is only because the eye is not yet accustomed to it, nor the mind embued with railway associations, that it is not considered a finer "object" than the level greenery of a park, or the hedgerows of a cultivated farm. Painters have already begun to see the grandeur of a tempestuous sea ridden over by steamers; and before the end of the next war, some black "queller of the ocean flood," with short funnel and smoke-blackened sails, will be thought as fit a theme for poetry and romance, as the Victory or the Shannon.

Knowledge, which we are every where told is now advancing at railway speed, is still confined within very narrow limits, we are sorry to say, among railway clerks and other officials. They still seem to measure the sphere of their studies by distance, and not by time; for instance, not one of the employés at Reading could give us more information about Bristol than if it had been three days' journey removed from him. Three hours conveys us from one to the other—and yet they did not know the name or situation of a single inn, nor where the boats to Chepstow sailed from, nor whether there were any boats to Chepstow at all. In ancient times such ignorance might be excusable, when the towns were really as distant as London and York now are; but when three hours is the utmost limit, and every half hour the communication is kept up between them, it struck us as something unaccountable that Bristol should be such a complete terra incognita to at least a dozen smart-looking individuals, who stamp off the tickets, and chuck the money into a drawer, with an easy negligence very gratifying to the beholder. Remembering the recommendation of the Royal Western Hotel given us by a friend, with the whispered information that the turtle was inimitable, and only three-and-sixpence a basin; we stowed away the greater portion of the party in a first-class carriage, and betook ourselves in economical seclusion to a vehicle of the second rank. And a first-rate vehicle it was—better in the absence of stuffing on that warm day, than its more aristocratic companion; and in less than three minutes we were all spinning down the road—a line of human and other baggage, at least a quarter of a mile in length.

At Swindon we were allowed ten minutes for refreshment. The great lunching-room is a very splendid apartment—and hungry passengers rushed in at both doors, and in a moment clustered round the counters, and were busy in the demolition of pies and sandwiches. Under a noble arch the counters are placed; the [Pg 78] attendants occupying a space between them, so that one set attend to the gormandizers who enter by one of the doors, and the rest on the others. It has exactly the effect of a majestic mirror—and so completely was this my impression, that it was with the utmost difficulty I persuaded myself that the crowd on the other side of the arch was not the reflection of the company upon this. Exactly opposite the place where I stood—in the act of enjoying a glass of sherry and a biscuit—I discovered what I took of course to be the counterfeit presentment of myself. What an extraordinary mirror, I thought!—for I saw a prodigious man, with enormous whiskers, ramming a large veal pie into his mouth with one hand, and holding in the other a tumbler of porter. I looked at the glass of sherry, and gave the biscuit a more vigorous bite—alas! it had none of the flavour of the veal and porter; so I discovered that the law of optics was unchanged, and that I had escaped the infliction of so voracious a double-ganger.

The country round Chippenham is as beautiful as can be conceived; all the fruit-trees were in full blossom, and we swept through long tracts of the richest and prettiest orchards we ever saw. Hall and farm, and moated grange, passed in rapid succession; and at last the fair city of Bath rose like the queen of all the land, and looked down from her palaces and towers on the fairest champaign that ever queen looked upon before. Seen from the railway, the upper part of the town seems to rise up from the very midst of orchards and gardens; terrace above terrace, but still with a great flush of foliage between; it is a pity it ever grew into a fashionable watering-place; though, even now, it is not too late to amend. Like some cynosure of neighbouring eyes, fed from her gentle youth upon all the sights and sounds of rural life, she is too beautiful to put on the airs and graces of a belle of the court. Let her go back to her country ways—her walks in the village lanes—her scampers across the fields; she will be more really captivating than if she was redolent of Park Lane, and never missed a drawing-room or Almack's. But here we are at Bristol, and must leave our exhortations to Bath to a future opportunity.

It is amazing how rapidly the passengers disperse. By the time our trunks and boxes were all collected, the station was deserted, the empty carriages had wheeled themselves away, and we began to have involuntary reminiscences of Campbell's Last Man. Earth's cities had no sound nor tread—so it was with no slight gratification that we beheld the cad of an omnibus beckoning us to take our place on the outside of his buss. The luggage had been swung down in a lump through a hole in the floor, and by the time we reached the same level, by the periphrasis of a stair, every thing had been stowed away on the roof, where in a few moments we joined it; and careered through the streets of Bristol, for the first time in our lives. "Do you go to any hotel near the quay where the Chepstow steamers start from?" was our first enquiry; but before the charioteer had time to remove the tobacco from his cheek, to let forth the words of song, a gentleman who sat behind us very kindly interfered. "The York Hotel, sir, is quite near the river, in a nice quiet square, and the most comfortable house I ever was in. If they can give you accommodation, you can't be in better quarters." Next to the praiseworthiness of a good Samaritan, who takes care of the houseless and the stranger, is the merit of the benevolent individual who tells you the good Samaritan's address. We made up our minds at once to go on to the York Hotel.

"For Chepstow, sir?" said the stranger—"a beautiful place, but by no means equal to Linton in North Devon. Do you go to Chepstow straight?"

"As soon as a boat will take us: we are going into Wales for change of air, and the sooner we get there the better."

"Change of air!—there isn't such air in England, no, nor anywhere else, as at Linton. Why don't you come to Linton? You can get there in six hours."

"But Welsh air is the one recommended."

"Nonsense. There's no air in Wales to be compared with Linton. [Pg 79] I've tried them both—so have hundreds of other people—and as for beauty and scenery, and walks and drives, Linton beats the whole world." All this was very difficult to resist; but we set our minds firmly on the Three Cocks and Glasbury vale, and repelled all the temptations of the gem of the North of Devon. Every hour that took us nearer to our goal, brought out the likeness we had formed of it in our hearts with greater relief. A fine secluded farm—of which a few rooms were fitted up as a house of entertainment—a wild hill rising gradually at its back—a mountain-stream rattling and foaming in front—all round it, swelling knolls and heathy mountains. What had Linton to show in opposition to charms like these? We rejected the advice of our good-natured counsellor with great regret, more especially as a sojourn in Linton would probably have enabled us to cultivate his further acquaintance. The York was found all that he described—clean, quiet, and comfortable. When the young fry had finished their dinner, away we all set on a voyage of discovery to Clifton. Up a hill we climbed—which in many neighbourhoods would be thought a mountain—and passed paragons, and circuses, and crescents, on left and right, wondering when we were ever to emerge into the open air. At last we reached the top—a green elevation surrounded on two sides by streets and villas—crowned with a curious-looking observatory, and ornamented at one end with a strange building on the very edge of the cliff; being one of the termini of the suspension bridge, which got thus far, and no further. Going across the Green, the sight is the most grand and striking we ever saw. Far down, skirting its way round cliffs of prodigious height—which, however, except when they are quarried for building purposes, are covered with the richest foliage—along their whole descent winds the Avon, at that moment in full tide, and covered in all its windings with sails of every shape and hue. The rocks on the opposite side are of a glorious rich red, and consort most beautifully with the green leaves of the plantations that soften their rugged precipices, by festooning them to the very brink. Then there are wild dells running back in the wooded parts of the hill, and walks seem to be made through them for the convenience of maids who love the moon—or more probably, and more poetically too, for the refreshment of the toiling citizens of the smoky town, who wander about among these sylvan recesses, with their wives and families, and enjoy the wondrous beauty of the landscape, without having consulted Burke or Adam Smith on the causes of their delight. As you climb upwards towards the observatory, you fancy you are attending one of Buckland's lectures—the whole language you hear is geological and philosophic. About a dozen men, with little tables before them, are dispersed over the latter part of the ascent, and keep tempting you with "fossiliferous specimens of the oolite formation," "tertiary," "silurian," "saurian," "stratification," "carboniferous." It was quite wonderful to hear such a stream of learning, and to see, at the same time, the vigour of these terrene philosophers in polishing their specimens upon a whetstone, laid upon their knees. A few shillings put us all in possession of memorials of Clifton, in the shape of little slabs of different strata, polished on both sides, and ingeniously moulded to resemble a book. A little further up, we got besieged by another body of the Clifton Samaritans, the proprietors of a troop of donkeys, all saddled and bridled in battle array. Into the hands of a venerable matron, the owner of a vast number of donkies, and two or three ragged urchins, who acted as the Widdicombs of the cavalcade, we committed all the younkers for an hour's joy, between the turnpike and back, and betook ourselves to a seat at the ledge of the cliff, and "gazed with ever new delight" at the noble landscape literally at our feet. But the hour quickly passed; the donkeys resigned their load; and we slid, as safely as could be expected, down the inclined plane that conducted us to the York. We did not experiment upon the turtle-soup, as we had been advised to do at the Royal Western, but some Bristol salmon did as well; and after a long consultation about boats, and breakfast at an early hour, we found we had got through [Pg 80] our day, and that hitherto the journey had offered nothing but enjoyment.

The morning lowered; and, heavily in clouds, but luckily without rain, we effected our embarkation, at eight o'clock, on board the Wye—a spacious steamer that plies every day, according to the tide, between Bristol and Chepstow. We were a numerous crew, and had a steady captain, with a face so weather-beaten that we concluded his navigation had not been confined to the Severn sea. The first two or three miles of our course was through the towering cliffs and wooded chasms we had admired from the Clifton Down. For that part of its career, the Avon is so beautiful, and glides along with such an evident aim after the picturesque, that it is difficult to believe it any thing but an ornamental piece of water, adding a new feature to a splendid landscape; and yet this meandering stream is the pathway of nations, and only inferior in the extent of its traffic to the Thames and Mersey. The shores soon sink into commonplace meadows, and we emerge into the Severn, which is about five miles wide, from the mouth of the Avon to that of the Wye. All the way across, new headlands open upon the view; and, far down the channel, you catch a glimpse of the Flat Holms, and other little islands; while in front the Welsh hills bound the prospect, at a considerable distance, and form a noble background to the rich, wooded plains of Monmouthshire, and the low-lying shore we are approaching. Suddenly you jut round an enormous rock, and find yourself in a river of still more sylvan gentleness than the Avon. The other passengers seemed to have no eyes for the picturesque—perhaps they had seen the scenery till they were tired of it; and some of them were more pleasantly engaged than gaping and gazing at rocks and trees. Grouped at the tiller-chains were four or five people, very happily employed in looking at each other—a lady and gentleman, in particular, seemed to find a peculiar pleasure in the occupation; and were instructing each other in the art and mystery of tying the sailor's knot. Time after time the cord refused to follow the directions of the girl's fingers—very white fingers they were too, and a very pretty girl—and, with untiring assiduity, the teacher renewed his lesson. We ventured a prophecy that they would soon be engaged in the twisting of a knot that would not be quite so easy to untie as the sailor's slip that made them so happy.

On we went on the top of the tide, rounding promontories, and gliding among bosky bowers and wooded dells, till at last our panting conveyer panted no more, and we lay alongside the pier of Chepstow. The tide at this place rises to the incredible height of fifty, and sometimes, on great occasions, of seventy feet; so they have a floating sort of foot-bridge from the vessel to the shore, that sinks and rises with the flood, connected with the land by elongating iron chains, and illustrating the ups and downs of life in a very remarkable manner. I will not attempt to describe Chepstow on the present occasion, for a stay in it did not enter into our plan. The Three Cocks grew in interest the nearer we got to their interesting abode. We determined to hurry forward to Abergavenny—thence to send a missive of enquiry as to the accommodations of the hostel—to go on at once, if we could be received—and (leaving all the lumber, including the maids and the younger children) to make a series of voyages of discovery, that would entitle us to become members of the Travellers' Club.

A coach was on the strand ready to start for Monmouth; a whisper and half-a-crown secured the whole of the inside and two seats out, against all concurrents; and the Wye, the boat, the knot-tying passengers, were all left behind, and we began to climb the hill as fast as two miserable-looking horses could crawl. A leader was added when we had got a little way up; but as they neglected to furnish our coachman with a whip long enough to reach beyond his wheeler's ears, our unicorn pursued the even tenor of his way with very slackened traces, while our friend sat the picture of indignation, with his short flagellum in his hand, and implored all the male population who overtook us, to favour him by kicking the unhappy leader to death. An occasional benevolent Christian complied with his request to the extent of a dig with a [Pg 81] stout boot under the rib; but every now and then, the furibund jarvey apologised to us for the slowness of our course by asking—"Won't I serve him out when I gets a whip!" A whip he at last got, and made up for lost time by belabouring the lazy culprit in a very scientific manner; and having got us all into a gallop, he became quite pleasant and communicative. All the people in Monmouthshire are Welsh, that is very clear; and Monmouthshire is as Welsh a county as Carnarvon, in spite of the maps of geographers, and the circuits of the Judges. The very faces of the people are evidence of their Taffy-hood. We have had no experience yet if they carry out the peculiar ideas on the rights of property, attributed to Taffy in the ancient legend, which relates the method that gentleman took to supply himself with a leg of beef and a marrow bone; but their voices and names are redolent of leeks, and no Act of Parliament can ever make them English. You might as well pass an Act of Parliament to make our friend Joseph Hume's speeches English. And therefore, throughout the narrative, we shall always consider ourselves in Wales, till we cross the Severn again. We trotted round the park wall of a noble estate called Pearcefield, and when we had crowned the ascent, our Jehu turned round with an air of great exultation, pulling up his horses at the same time, and said—"There! did you ever see a sight like that? This is the Double View." He might well be proud—for such a prospect is not to be equalled, I should think, in the world. The Wye is close below you, with its rich banks, frowned over by a magnificent crag, that forms the most conspicuous feature of the landscape; and in the distance is the river Severn, pursuing its shining way through the fertile valleys of Glo'stershire, and by some deceptio visus, for which we cannot account, raised apparently to a great height above the level of its sister stream. It has the appearance of being conveyed in a vast artificially raised embankment, laughing into scorn the grandest aqueducts of ancient Rome, and bearing perhaps a greater resemblance to the lofty-bedded Po in its passage through the plains of Lombardy. The combination of the two rivers in the same scene, with the peculiar characteristics of each brought prominently before the eye at once, make this one of the finest "sights" that can be imagined. The driver seemed satisfied with the sincerity of our admiration, and, like a good patriot, evidently considered our encomiums as a personal compliment to himself. The whole of the drive to Monmouth is through a succession of noble views, only to be equalled, as far as our travelling experience extends, by the stage on the Scottish border, between Longtown and Langholm. But soon after this, the skies, that had gloomed for a long time, took fairly to pouring out all the cats and dogs they possessed upon our miserable heads. An umbrella on the top of a coach is at all times a nuisance and incumbrance, so, in gloomy resignation to a fate that was unavoidable, we wrapt our mantle round us, and made the most of a bad bargain. To Monmouth we got at last, and to our great discomfort found that it was market-day, and that we had to dispute the possession of a joint of meat with some wet and hungry farmers. We compromised the matter for a beefsteak, for which we had to wait about an hour; and having seen that the whole of the garrison was well supplied, we proceeded to make enquiries as to the best method of getting on to Abergavenny. Finding that information on a matter so likely to remove a remunerative party from the inn was not very easy to be obtained from the denizens thereof, we made our way into the market. The civility of the natives, when their interests are not concerned, is extraordinary; and in a moment we were recommended to the Beaufort Arms, a hotel that would do honour to Edinburgh itself—had ordered a roomy chaise, and procured the services of a man with a light cart, to follow us with the heavy luggage. The sky began to clear, the postillion trotted gaily on, and we left the county town, not much gratified with our experience of its smoky rooms and tough beefsteaks. We followed the windings of the Trothy, a stream of a very lively and frisky disposition, [Pg 82] passing a seat of the Duke of Beaufort, who seems lord-paramount of the county, and at length came in view of the noble ruins of Ragland Castle. But now we were wiser than we had been at the early part of the journey, and had bought a very well written guide-book, by Mr W.H. Thomas, which, at the small outlay of one shilling, made us as learned on "the Wye, with its associated scenery and ruins," as if we had lived among them all our days. Inspired by his animated pages, we descanted with the profoundest erudition, to our astonished companion on the box, about its machicolated towers, and the finely proportioned mullions of the hall. "If you ascend the walls of the castle," we exclaimed in a paroxysm of enthusiasm, as if we were perched on the very top, "you will see that the castle occupies the centre of an undulating plain, checkered with white-washed farm-houses, fields, and noble groves of oak. The tower and village of Rhaglan lie at a short distance, picturesquely straggling and irregular. To the north, the bold and diversified forms of the Craig, the Sugar Loaf, Skyrids, and Blorenge mountains, with the outlines of the Hatterals, perfect the scene in this direction; whilst the ever-varying and amphitheatrical boundary of this natural basin, may be traced over the Blaenavons, Craig-y-garayd, (close to Usk,) the Gaer Vawr, the round Twm Barlwm, the fir-crowned top of Wentwood forest, Pen-cae-Mawr, the dreary heights of Newchurch and Devauder; the continuation of the same range past Llanishen, the white church of which is plainly visible; Trelleck, Craig-y-Dorth, and the highlands above Troy Park, where they end." We were going on in the same easy and off-hand manner to describe some other peculiarities of the landscape, when a sudden lurch of the carriage brought the book we were furtively pillaging into open view, and we were forced, with a very bad grace, to confess our obligations to Mr W.H. Thomas. A very beautiful ruin it is, certainly, and we made a vow to devote a day to exploring its remains, and judging for ourselves of the accuracy of the guide-book's description. Even if the road had no recommendation from the lovely openings it gives at every turn, it would be a pleasure to travel by it in sunshine, for the hedges along its whole extent were a complete rampart of the sweetest smelling May. Such miles of snow-white blossoms we never saw before. It looked like Titania's bleaching-ground, and as if all the fairies had hung out their white frocks to dry. And the hawthorn blossoms along the road were emulated on all the little terraces at the side of it; the apple and pear trees were in full bloom, and every little cottage rejoiced in its orchard—so that, with the help of hedges and fruit trees, the whole earth was in a glow of beauty and perfume—and we prophecy this will be a famous year for cider and perry. Abergavenny has a very bad approach from Monmouth, and we dreaded a repetition of the delays and toughnesses we had just escaped from; how great therefore was our gratification when we pulled up at the door of the Angel, and were shown into a splendid room, thirty-five or forty feet long by twenty wide, secured bedrooms as clean and comfortable as heart could desire, and had every thing we asked for with the precision of clockwork and the rapidity of steam. The Three Cocks began to descend from the lofty place they held in our esteem, and we resolved for one day at least to rest contentedly in such comfortable quarters, and look about us; so forth we sallied, and in the course of our pilgrimage speedily arrived at Aberga'ny Castle. Talk of picturesqueness! this was picturesque enough for poet or painter with a vengeance—great thick walls all covered over with ivy, crowning a round knoll at the upper part of the town, and looking over a finer view, we will venture to say, than that we have just described as seen from Ragland; and to complete the beauty of it—the comforts of modern civilization uniting themselves to ancient magnificence—the main walls have been fitted up by one of the late lords into a pretty dwelling-house, which is at this moment occupied by one of the surgeons of the town. This is the true use of an antique ruin—this is replacing the coat of mail with a rain-proof mackintosh—the steel casque of Brian de Boisguilbert with the Kilmarnock nightcap [Pg 83] of Bailie Nicol Jarvie. And in this instance the change has been effected with the greatest skill; the coat of mail and steel casque are still there, but only for show; the mackintosh and nightcap are the habitual dress: and few dwellings in our poor eyes are comparable to the one, that outside has the date of the crusaders, and inside, the conveniences of 1845. The town has a noble body-guard of hills all round it; and perched high up on almost inaccessible ledges, are little white-walled cottages, that made us long for the wings of a bird to fly up and inspect them closer; no other mode of conveyance would be either speedy or safe, for the sides of the mountains are nearly perpendicular, and would have put Douglas's horse to its mettle when he was on a visit to Owen Glendowr. Dark, gloomy, Tartarean hills they appear, and no wonder; for their whole interior is composed of iron, and day and night they are glimmering and smoking with a hundred fires. They have a dreadful, stern, metallic look about them, and are as different in their configuration from the chalk hills of Hampshire as they are from cheese. Some day we shall ascend their dusky sides, and dive into Pluto's drear domains—the iron-works—a god who, in the present state of railway speculation, might easily be confounded with Plutus; and with this and many other good resolutions, we returned to the hospitable care of our friend Mr Morgan, at the Angel. Next day was Sunday, and very wet. We slipped across the street and heard a very good sermon in the morning, in a large handsome church, which was not quite so well filled as it ought to have been, and were kept close prisoners all day afterwards by the unrelenting clouds.

But our object was not yet attained, and we resolved to start off with fresh vigour on our expedition to the Three Cocks. It was only two-and-twenty miles off; our host, with none of the spirit that, they say, is always found between two of a trade, spoke in the highest terms of the Vale of Glasbury, and its clean and comfortable hotel. He also made enquiry for us as to its present condition, and brought back the pleasing intelligence that it was not full, and that we should find plenty of accommodation at once. This did away with the necessity of writing to the landlord, and in a short time we were once more upon the road, maids and children inside as usual, and a natty postilion cocking his white hat and flicking his little whip, in the most bumptious manner imaginable. Through Crickhowell we went without drawing bridle, and went almost too fast to observe sufficiently its very beautiful situation; past noble country-seats, bower and hall, we drove; and at last wound our solitary way along a cross-road, among some pastoral hills, that reminded us more of Dumfries-shire than any country we have ever seen. The road ascended gradually for many miles; and on crowning the elevation, we caught a very noble extensive view of a rich, flat, thickly-wooded plain, that bore a great resemblance to the unequalled neighbourhood of Warwick. Down and down we trotted—hills and heights of all kinds left behind us—trees, shrubs, hedges, all in the fullest leaf, lay for miles and miles on every side; and the scenery had about as much resemblance to our ideal of a Welsh landscape, as ditch water to champagne. Through this wilderness of sweets, stifling and oppressive from its very richness, we drove for a long way, looking in vain for the hilly region where the Three Cocks had taken up their abode. At last we saw, a little way in front of us, at the side of the road—or rather with one gable-end projecting into it, a large white house, with a mill appearing to constitute one of its wings. "The man will surely stop here to water the horses," was our observation; and so indeed he did—and as he threw the rein loose over the off horse's neck—there! don't you see the sign-board on the wall? Alas, alas, this is the Three Cocks! An admirable fishing quarter it must be, for the river is very near, and the country rich and beautiful, but not adapted to our particular case, where mountain air and free exposure are indispensable. But if it had been ten times less adapted to our purpose we had travelled too far to give it up.

"Can you take us in for a few weeks?"

The landlord laughed at the idea. "I could not find room for a single [Pg 84] individual, if you gave me a thousand pounds. A party has been with me for some time, and I can't even say how long they may stay."

And, corroborative of this, we saw at the window our fortunate extruders, who no doubt congratulated themselves on so many points of the law being in their favour. Here were we stuck on the Queen's high road—tired horses, cooped-up children—and the Three Cocks as unattainable as the Philosopher's stone. The sympathizing landlord consoled us in our disappointment as well as he could. The postilion jumped into his saddle again, and we pursued our way to the nearest place where there was any likelihood of a reception—namely, the Hay, a village of some size about five miles further on. "Come along, we shall easily find a nice cottage to-morrow, or get into some farm-house, and ruralize for a month or two delightfully." Our hopes rose as we looked forward to a settled home, after our experience of the road for so many days; and we soared to such a pitch of audacity at last, that we congratulated ourselves that we had not got in at Glasbury, but were forced to go forward. The world was all before us where to choose. The country seemed to improve—that is, to get a little less Dutch in its level, as we proceeded—and we finally reached the Hay, with the determination of Barnaby's raven, to bear a good heart at all events, and take for our motto, in all the ills of life, "Never say die!—never say die!"

The hotel had been taken by assault, and was occupied in great force by a troop of dragoons, on their march into Glo'stershire. We therefore did not come off quite so well as if we had led the forlorn-hope ourselves; but, after so long a journey, we rejoiced in being admitted at all. Two or three Welsh girls, who perhaps would have been excellent waiters under other circumstances, appeared to consider themselves strictly on military duty, and no other; so we sate for a very long time in solitary stateliness, wondering when the water would boil, and the tea-things be brought, and the ham and eggs be ready. And of our wondering there was likely to be no end, till at last the hungry captain, the lieutenant, and the cornet, were fairly settled at dinner, and at about eight o'clock we got tea, but no bread; then came the loaf—and there was no butter; then the butter—and there was no knife; but at last, all things arrived, and the little ones were sent off to bed, and we amused ourselves by listening to the rain on the window panes, and the whistling of the wind in the long passages; and, with a resolution to be up in good time to pursue our house-hunting project on the morrow, we concluded the fifth day of our peregrinations in search of change of air.

We had a charming prospect from the window, at breakfast. A gutter tearing its riotous way down the street, supplied by a whole night's rain, and clouds resting with the most resolute countenances on the whole face of the land. At the post-office—that universal focus of information—to which we wended in one of the intervals between the showers, we were told of admirable lodgings. On going to see them, they consisted of two little rooms, in a narrow lane. Then we were sent to another quarter, and found the accommodation still more inadequate; and, at last, were inconceivably cheered, by hearing of a pretty cottage—just the thing—only left a short time ago by Captain somebody; five bed-rooms, two parlours, large garden; if it had been planned by our own architect, it could not have been better. Off we hurried to the owner of this bijou. The worthy captain, on giving up his lease, had sold his furniture; but we were very welcome to it as tenant for a year!

"Are there no furnished houses in this neighbourhood, at all?"

"No—e'es—may be you'll get in at the shippus,"—which, being Anglicized, is sheep-house; and away we toddled a mile and a half to the shippus—a nice old farm-house, with some pretensions to squiredom, and the inhabitants kind and civil as heart could wish.

"Yes, they sometimes let their rooms—to families larger than ours—they supplied them with every thing—waited on them—did for them—and, as for the children, there wasn't such a place in the county for nice fields to play in."

We looked round the room—a good [Pg 85] high ceiling, large window. "This is just the thing—and I am delighted we were told of your house."

"It would have been very delightful, but—but we are full already, and we expect some of our own family home."

And why didn't you tell us all this before?—we nearly said—and to this hour, we can't understand why there was such a profuse explanation of comforts—which we were never destined to partake of.

"But just across the road there is a very nice cottage, where you can get lodged—and we can supply you with milk, and any thing else you want."

Oho! there is some hope for us yet; and a few minutes saw us in colloquy with the old gentleman, the proprietor of the house. With the usual politeness of the Welsh, he dilated on the pleasure of having agreeable visitors; and, with the usual Welsh habit of forgetting that people don't generally travel with beds and blankets, carpets and chairs, and tables and crockery, on their shoulders, he seemed rather astonished when the fact of the rooms destined for us being unfurnished was a considerable drawback. So, in not quite such high spirits as we started, we returned to the Hay. After a little rest, we again sported our seven-league boots, and took a solitary ramble across the Wye. A beautiful rising ground lay in front; and as our main object was to get up as high as we could, we went on and on, enjoying the increasing loveliness of the view, and wondering if a country so very charming was really left entirely destitute of furnished houses, and only enjoyed by the selfish natives, who had no room for pilgrims from a distance. In a nest of trees, surrounded on all sides by trimly kept orchards, and clustering round a venerable church, we came, at a winding of the road, on one of the most enchanting villages we ever saw. Near the gate of a modest-looking mansion, we beheld a gentleman in earnest conversation with a beggar. The beggar was a man of rags and eloquence; the gentleman was evidently a political economist, and rejected the poor man's petition "upon principle." A lady, who was at the gentleman's side, looked at a poor little child the man carried in his arms. "Go to your own place," said the gentleman; "I never encourage vagrants." But it was too good-natured a voice to belong to a political economist.

I wish I were as sure of a house as that the poor fellow will get a shilling, in spite of the new poor-law and Lord Brougham.

The lady, after looking at the child, said something or other to her companion; and, as we turned away at the corner, we heard the discourager of vagrants apologizing to himself, and also reading a severe lecture on the impropriety of alms-giving. "Remember, I disapprove of it entirely. You are indebted for it to this lady, who interposed for you." So the poor man got his shilling after all; and we considered it a favourable omen of success in getting a house.

The next turn brought us to a dwelling which we think it a sort of sacrilege to call a public-house. The Baskerville Arms, in the village of Clyroe, is more fit for the home of a painter or a poet than for the retail of beer, "to be drunk on the premises." There was a row of three nice clean windows in the front; the house seemed to stand in the midst of an orchard of endless extent, though in reality it faced the road; and, with a clear recollection of the line,

"Oh, that for me some cot like this would smile,"

upon our heart and lips, we tapped at the door, and went into the room on the right hand. Every thing was in the neatest possible order—bunches of May in the grate, and bouquets of fresh flowers in two elegant vases upon the table. What nonsense to call this a public-house! It puts us much more in mind of Sloperton, Moore's cottage in Wiltshire; and in a finer neighbourhood than any part of Wiltshire can show.

The landlady came; a fit spirit to rule over such a domain—the beau-ideal of tidiness and good humour. There were only two bedrooms; and one parlour was all they could give up.

The raven of Barnaby Rudge had a hard fight of it to maintain his ground. We very nearly said die! for we had felt a sort of assurance that this was our haven at last.

The landlady saw our woe.

"There's such a beautiful cottage," [Pg 86] she said, "a mile and a half further on."

"Is it furnished?"

"Well, I don't know. I think somehow it is. Would you like to go and see it? I don't know but my husband would put enough of furniture into it to do for you, if you liked it."

It was, at all events, worth the trial. A little girl was sent with us to act as guide; and along a road we sauntered in supreme delight—so quiet, so retired, and so rich in leaf and blossom, that it seemed like a private drive through some highly-cultivated estate; and, finally, we reached the cottage. It stood on the side of an ascent; it commanded a noble view of the Herefordshire hills and the valley of the Wye; and there could be no doubt that it was the identical spot that the doctors had seen in their dreams, when they described the sort of dwelling we were to choose. I wish I were a half-pay captain, with a wife and three children, a taste for gardening, and a poney-carriage. I wish I were a Benedict in the honeymoon. I wish I were a retired merchant, with a good sum at the bank, and a predilection for farming pursuits. I wish I were a landscape painter, with a moderate fortune, realized by English art. I wish—but there is no use of wishing for any thing about the cottage, except that Mr Chaloner may furnish it at once, and let us be its tenant for two or three months.

Mrs Chaloner, on our return to the Baskerville Arms, was gratified at our estimate of the surpassing beauties of the house. She would send her husband to us at the Hay the moment he returned; and, in the midst of "gay dreams, by pleasing fancy bred," we returned to our barrack, and created universal jubilee by the prospect we unfolded.

In a sort of delirium of good nature, we waited patiently till the soldiers had had all the attentions of the household again. We had almost a sense of enjoyment in all the discomforts we experienced. The doors that would not shut—the waiters that would not come—all things shone of the brightest rose-colour, seen through the anticipation of ten or twelve weeks' residence in the paradise we had seen.

Late at night Mr Chaloner was announced. He had heard the whole story from his worthy half; was in hopes he should be able to meet our wishes, but must consult his chief. If he agreed, he would see us before ten next morning—if not, we were to consider that the furniture could not be put in.

And again we were slightly in the dumps.

At half-past nine next morning we rang the bell, and ordered a carriage to be at the door at ten. If we hear from Chaloner, we shall drive at once to the Baskerville Arms; if not, there is no use of house-hunting in such an inhospitable region any more; let us get back to our friend at Abergavenny. If there is no house near it, let us go back to Chepstow; if we are disappointed there, let us go home, and tell the doctor we have changed the air enough.

Ten o'clock.—No Chaloner; but, as usual, also no carriage. Half-past ten.—No Chaloner. At eleven—the carriage;—and behold, in three hours more, the smiling face of Mr Morgan—the great long room and clean apartments of the Angel, and the end of our expectations of house and home, except in an hotel.

We have no time on the present occasion to tell how fortune smiled upon us at last. How our landlord exerted himself, not only to make us happy while under his charge, but to get us into comfortable quarters in a large commodious house in the neighbourhood. In some future Number we will relate how jollily we fare in our new abode. How we are waited on like kings by the kindest host and hostess that ever held a farm; and how we travel in all directions, leaving the little ones at home, in a great strong gig, drawn by a horse that hobbles and joggles at a famous pace, and gives us plenty of good exercise and hearty laughter. All these things we will describe for the edification of people under similar circumstances to ourselves. The present lucubration being intended as a warning not to move from one home till another is secured; the next will be an example how country quarters are enjoyed, and a description of how pale cheeks are turned into red ones by living in the open air.

[Pg 87]


Any thing approaching to an elaborate criticism of the Torquato Tasso of Goethe we do not, in this place, intend to attempt; our object is merely to translate some of the more striking and characteristic passages, and accompany these extracts with such explanatory remarks as may be necessary to render them quite intelligible.

There is, we cannot help remarking, a peculiar awkwardness in introducing a veritable poet amongst the personages of a drama. We cannot dissociate his name from the remembrance of the works he has written, and the heroes whom he has celebrated. Tasso—is it not another name for the Jerusalem Delivered? and can he be summoned up in our memory without bringing with him the shades of Godfrey and Tancred? We expect to hear him singing of these champions of the cross; this was his life, and we have a difficulty in according to him any other. It is only after some effort that we separate the man from the poet—that we can view him standing alone, on the dry earth, unaccompanied by the creations of his fancy, his imaginative existence suspended, acting and suffering in the same personal manner as the rest of us. The poet brought into the ranks of the dramatis personæ!—the creator of fictions converted himself into a fictitious personage!—there seems some strange confusion here. It is as if the magic wand were waved over the magician himself—a thing not unheard of in the annals of the black art. But then the second magician should be manifestly more powerful than the first. The second poet should be capable of overlooking and controlling the spirit of the first; capable, at all events, of animating him with an eloquence and a poetry not inferior to his own.

For there is certainly this disadvantage in bringing before us a well-known and celebrated poet—we expect that he should speak in poetry of the first order—in such as he might have written himself. It is long before we can admit him to be neither more nor less poetical than the other speakers; it is long before we can believe him to talk for any other purpose than to say beautiful and tender things. Knowing, as we do, the trick of poets, and what is indeed their office as spokesmen of humanity, we suspect even when he is relating his own sufferings, and complaining of his own wrongs, that he is still only making a poem; that he is still busied first of all with the sweet expression of a feeling which he is bent on infusing, like an electric fluid, through the hearts of others. Altogether, he is manifestly a very inconvenient personage for the dramatist to have to deal with.

These impressions wear off, however, as the poem proceeds—just as, in real life, familiar intercourse with the greatest of bards teaches us to forget the author in the companion, and the man of genius in the agreeable or disagreeable neighbour. In the drama of Goethe, we become quite reconciled to the new position in which the poet of the Holy Sepulchre is placed. Torquato Tasso is what in this country would be called a dramatic poem, in opposition to the tragedy composed for the stage, or quasi for the stage. The dramatis personæ are few, the conduct of the piece is on the classic model—the model, we mean, of Racine; the plot is scanty, and keeps very close to history; there is little action, and much reflection.

The dramatis personæ are—

Alphonso, Duke of Ferrara.
Leonora d'Este, sister of the Duke.
Leonora Sanvitale, Countess of Scandiano.
Torquato Tasso.
Antonio Montecatino, Secretary of State.

In Tasso we have portrayed to us the poetic temperament, with some overcharge in the tendency to distrust and suspicion, which belongs, as we learn from his biography, to the character of Tasso, and which again was but the symptom and precursor of that insanity to which he fell a prey. Both to relieve and develope this poetic character, we have its opposite (the representative of the practical understanding) in Antonio Montecatino, the secretary of state, the accomplished man of the world, the [Pg 88] successful diplomatist. It may be well to mention that the speeches in the play given to Leonora d'Este, with whom Tasso is in love, are headed The Princess; and it is her friend Leonora Sanvitale, Countess of Scandiano, who speaks under the name of Leonora.

"Act. I.—Scene I.

A garden in the country palace of Belriguardo, adorned with busts of the epic poets.
To the right, that of Virgil—to the left, that of Ariosto.

Princess, Leonora.

"Princess.—My Leonora, first you look at me
And smile, then at yourself, and smile again.
What is it? Let your friend partake. You seem
Very considerate, and much amused.

"Leonora.—My Princess, I but smiled to see ourselves
Decked in these pastoral habiliments.
We look right happy shepherdesses both,
And what we do is still pure innocence.
We weave these wreaths. Mine, gay with many flowers,
Still swells and blushes underneath my hand;
Thou, moved with higher thought and greater heart,
Hast only wove the slender laurel bough.

"Princess.—The bough which I, while wreathing thoughts, have
Soon finds a worthy resting-place. I lay it
Upon my Virgil's forehead.

[Crowns the bust of Virgil.
"Leonora.              And I mine,
My jocund garland, on the noble brow
Of Master Ludovico.
[Crowns the bust of Ariosto.
Well may he,
Whose sportive verse shall never fade, demand
His tribute of the spring!

"Princess.              'Twas amiable
In the duke, my brother, to conduct us,
So early in the year, to this retreat.
Here we possess ourselves, here we may dream
Uninterrupted hours—dream ourselves back
Into the golden age which poets sing.
I love this Belriguardo; I have here
Pass'd many youthful, many happy days;
And the fresh green, and this bright sun, recall
The feelings of those times.

"Leonora.              Yes, a new world
Surrounds us here. How it delights—the shade
Of leaves for ever green! how it revives—
The rushing of that brook! with giddy joy
The young boughs swing them in the morning air;
And from their beds the little friendly flowers
Look with the eye of childhood up to us.
The trustful gardener gives to the broad day
His winter store of oranges and citrons;
One wide blue sky rests over all; the snow
On the horizon, from the distant hills,
In light dissolving vapour steals away."

The conversation winds gracefully towards poetry and Tasso. We will answer at once the interesting question, whether the poet has represented Leonora d'Este, the princess, as being in love with Tasso. He has; and very delicately has he made her express this sentiment. From the moment when, doubtless thinking of the living poet, she twined the laurel wreath which she afterwards deposited on the brow of Virgil, to the last scene where she leads the unhappy Tasso to a fatal declaration of his [Pg 89] passion, there is a gentle crescendo of what always remains, however, a very subdued and meditative affection. She loves—but like a princess; she muses over the danger to herself from suffering such a sentiment towards one in so different a rank of life to grow upon her; she never thinks of the danger to him, to the hapless Tasso, by her betrayal of an affection which she is yet resolved to keep within subjection. To be sure it may be said, that all women have something of the princess in them at this epoch of their lives. There is a wonderful selfishness in the heart, while it still asks itself whether it shall love or not. The sentiment of the princess is very elegantly disguised in the jesting vein in which she rallies Leonora Sanvitale—

"Leonora.—Your mind embraces wider regions; mine
Lingers content within the little isle,
And 'midst the laurel grove of poesy.

"Princess.—In which fair isle, in which sweet grove, they say,
The myrtle also flourishes. And though
There wander many muses there, we choose
Our friend and playmate not alone from them,
We rather greet the poet there himself,
Who seems indeed to shun us, seems to fly,
Seeking we know not what, and he himself
Perhaps as little knows. 'Tis pretty when,
In some propitious hour, the enraptured youth
Looking with better eyes, detects in us
The treasure he had been so far to seek.

"Leonora.—The jest is pleasant—touches, but not near.
I honour each man's merit; and to Tasso
Am barely just. His eye, that covets nothing,
Light ranges over all; his ear is fill'd
With the rich harmony great nature makes;
What ancient records, what the living scene,
Disclose, his open bosom takes it all;
What beams of truth stray scattered o'er this world,
His mind collects, converges. How his heart
Has animated the inanimate!
How oft ennobled what we little prize,
And shown how poor the treasures of the great!
In this enchanted circle of his own
Proceeds the wondrous man; and us he draws
Within, to follow and participate.
He seems to near us, yet he stays remote—
Seems to regard us, and regards instead
Some spirit that assumes our place the while.

"Princess.—Finely and delicately hast thou limn'd
The poet, moving in his world of thought.
And yet, methinks, some fair reality
Has wrought upon him here. Those charming verses
Found hanging here and there upon our trees,
Like golden fruit, that to the finer sense
Breathes of a new Hesperides: think you
These are not tokens of a genuine love?

And when he gives a name to the fair object
Of all this praise, he calls it Leonora!

"Leonora.—Thy name, as well as mine. I, for my part,
Should take it ill were he to choose another.
Here is no question of a narrow love,
That would engross its solitary prize,
And guards it jealously from every eye
That also would admire. When contemplation
Is deeply busy with thy graver worth,
My lighter being haply flits across,
[Pg 90] And adds its pleasure to the pensive mood.
It is not us—forgive me if I say it—
Not us he loves; but down from all the spheres
He draws the matter of his strong affection,
And gives it to the name we bear. And we—
We seem to love the man, yet love in him
That only which we highest know to love.

"Princess.—You have become an adept in this science,
And put forth, Leonora, such profundities
As something more than penetrate the ear,
yet hardly touch the thought.

"Leonora.          —Thou, Plato's scholar!
Not apprehend what I, a neophyte,
Venture to prattle of"—

Alphonso enters, and enquires after Tasso. Leonora answers, that she had seen him at a distance, with his book and tablets, writing and walking, and adds that, from some hint he had let fall, she gathered that his great work was near its completion; and, in fact, the princess soon after descries him coming towards them:—

"Slowly he comes,
Stands still awhile as unresolved, then hastes,
With quicken'd step, towards us; then again
Slackens his pace, and pauses."

Tasso enters, and presents his Jerusalem Delivered to his patron, the Duke of Ferrara. Alphonso, seeing the laurel wreath on the bust of Virgil, makes a sign to his sister; and the princess, after some remonstrance on the part of Tasso, transfers it from the statue to the head of the living poet. As she crowns him, she says—

"Thou givest me, Tasso, here the rare delight,
With silent act, to tell thee what I think."

But the poet is no sooner crowned than he entreats that the wreath should be removed. It weighs on him, it is a burden, a pressure, it sinks and abashes him. Besides, he feels, as the man of genius must always feel, that not to wear the crown but to earn it, is the real joy as well as task of his life. The laurel is indeed for the bust, not for the living head.

"Take it away!
Oh take, ye gods, this glory from my brow!
Hide it again in clouds! Bear it aloft
To heights all unattainable, that still
My whole of life for this great recompense,
Be one eternal course."

He obeys, however, the will of the princess, who bids him retain it. We are now introduced to the antagonist, in every sense of the word, of Tasso,—Antonio, secretary of state. In addition to the causes of repugnance springing from their opposite characters, Antonio is jealous of the favour which the young poet has won at the court of Ferrara, both with his patron and the ladies. This representative of the practical understanding speaks with admiration of the court of Rome, and the ability of the ruling pontiff. He says—

"No nobler object is there in the world
Than this—a prince who ably rules his people,
A people where the proudest heart obeys,
Where each man thinks he serves himself alone,
Because what fits him is alone commanded.

Alphonso speaks of the poem which Tasso has just completed, and points to the crown which he wears. Then follow some of the unkindest words which a secretary of state could possibly bestow on the occasion.

[Pg 91] "Antonio.—You solve a riddle for me. Entering here
I saw to my surprise two crowned.
[Looking towards the bust of Ariosto.

"Tasso.                        I wish
Thou could'st as plainly as thou see'st my honours,
Behold the oppress'd and downcast spirit within.

"Antonio—I have long known that in his recompenses
Alphonso is immoderate; 'tis thine
To prove to-day what all who serve the prince
Have learn'd, or will."

Antonio then launches into an eloquent eulogium upon the other crowned one—upon Ariosto—which has for its object as well to dash the pride of the living, as to do homage to the dead. He adds, with a most cruel ambiguity,

"Who ventures near this man to place himself,
Even for his boldness may deserve a crown."

The seeds of enmity, it is manifest, are plentifully sown between Antonio and Tasso. Here ends the 1st Act.

At the commencement of the 2d Act, the princess is endeavouring to heal the wound that has been inflicted on the just pride of the poet, and she alludes, in particular, to the eulogy which Antonio had so invidiously passed upon Ariosto. The answer of Tasso deserves attention. It is peculiar to the poetic genius to estimate very differently at different times the value of its own labours. Sometimes do but grant to the poet his claim to the possession of genius, and his head strikes the stars. At other times, when contemplating the lives of those men whose actions he has been content to celebrate in song, he doubts whether he should not rank himself as the very prince of idlers. He is sometimes tempted to think that to have given one good stroke with the sword, were worth all the delicate touches of his pen. This feeling Tasso has finely expressed.

"Princess.—When Antonio knows what thou hast done
To honour these our times, then will he place thee
On the same level, side by side, with him
He now depicts in so gigantic stature.

"Tasso.—Believe me, lady, Ariosto's praise
Heard from his lips, was likely more to please
Than wound me. It confirms us, it consoles,
To hear the man extoll'd whom we have placed
Before us as a model: we can say
In secret to ourselves—gain thou a share
Of his acknowledged merit, and thou gain'st
As certainly a portion of his fame.
No—that which to its depths has stirr'd my spirit,
What still I feel through all my sinking soul,
It was the picture of that living world,
Which restless, vast, enormous, yet revolves
In measured circle round the one great man,
Fulfils the course which he, the demi-god,
Dares to prescribe to it. With eager ear
I listen'd to the experienced man, whose speech
Gave faithful transcript of a real scene.
Alas! the more I listen'd, still the more
I sank within myself: it seem'd my being
Would vanish like an echo of the hills,
Resolved to a mere sound—a word—a nothing.

"Princess.—Poets and heroes for each other live,
Poets and heroes seek each other out,
And envy not each other: this thyself,
Few minutes past, did vividly portray.
True, it is glorious to perform the deed
That merits noble song; yet glorious too
With noble song the once accomplish'd deed
Through all the after-world to memorize."

[Pg 92]

When she continues to urge Tasso to make the friendship of Antonio, and assures him that the return of the minister has only procured him a friend the more, he answers:—

"Tasso.—I hoped it once, I doubt it now.
Instructive were to me his intercourse,
Useful his counsel in a thousand ways:
This man possesses all in which I fail.
And yet—though at his birth flock'd every god,
To hang his cradle with some special gift—
The graces came not there, they stood aloof:
And he whom these sweet sisters visit not,
May possess much, may in bestowing be
Most bountiful, but never will a friend,
Or loved disciple, on his bosom rest."

The tendency of this scene is to lull Tasso into the belief that he is beloved of the princess. Of course he is ardent to obey the latest injunctions he has received from her, and when Antonio next makes his appearance, he offers him immediately "his hand and heart." The secretary of state receives such a sudden offer (as it might be expected a secretary of state would do) with great coolness; he will wait till he knows whether he can return the like offer of friendship. He discourses on the excellence of moderation, and in a somewhat magisterial tone, little justified by the relative intellectual position of the speakers. Here, again, we have a true insight into the character of the man of genius. He is modest—very—till you become too overbearing; he exaggerates the superiority in practical wisdom of men who have mingled extensively with the world, and so invites a tone of dictation; and yet withal he has a sly consciousness, that this same superiority of the man of the world consists much more in a certain fortunate limitation of thought than in any peculiar extension. The wisdom of such a man has passed through the mind of the poet, with this difference, that in his mind there is much beside this wisdom, much that is higher than this wisdom; and so it does not maintain a very prominent position, but gets obscured and neglected.

"Tasso.—Thou hast good title to advise, to warn,
For sage experience, like a long-tried friend,
Stands at thy side. Yet be assured of this,
The solitary heart hears every day,
Hears every hour, a warning; cons and proves,
And puts in practice secretly that lore
Which in harsh lessons you would teach as new,
As something widely out of reach."

Yet, spurred on by the injunction of the princess, he still makes an attempt to grasp at the friendship of Antonio.

"Tasso.—Once more! here is my hand! clasp it in thine!
Nay, step not back, nor, noble sir, deny me
The happiness, the greatest of good men,
To yield me, trustful, to superior worth,
Without reserve, without a pause or halt.

"Antonio.—You come full sail upon me. Plain it is
You are accustomed to make easy conquests,
To walk broad paths, to find an open door.
Thy merit—and thy fortune—I admit,
But fear we stand asunder wide apart.

"Tasso.—In years and in tried worth I still am wanting;
In zeal and will, I yield to none.

"Antonio.                  The will
Draws the deed after by no magic charm,
And zeal grows weary where the way is long:
Who reach the goal, they only wear the crown.
And yet, crowns are there, or say garlands rather,
Of many sorts, some gather'd as we go,
[Pg 93] Pluck'd as we sing and saunter.

"Tasso.                  But a gift
Freely bestow'd on this mind, and to that
As utterly denied—this not each man,
Stretching his hand, can gather if he will.

"Antonio.—Ascribe the gift to fortune—it is well.

The fortunate, with reason good, extol
The goddess Fortune—give her titles high—
Call her Minerva—call her what they will—
Take her blind gifts for just reward, and wear
Her wind-blown favour as a badge of merit.

"Tasso.—No need to speak more plainly. 'Tis enough.
I see into thy soul—I know thee now,
And all thy life I know. Oh, that the princess
Had sounded thee as I! But never waste
Thy shafts of malice of the eye and tongue
Against this laurel-wreath that crowns my brow,
The imperishable garland. 'Tis in vain.
First be so great as not to envy it,
Then perhaps thou may'st dispute.

"Antonio.                  Thyself art prompt
To justify my slight esteem of thee.
The impetuous boy with violence demands
The confidence and friendship of the man.
Why, what unmannerly deportment this!

"Tasso.—Better what you unmannerly may deem,
Than what I call ignoble.

"Antonio.          There remains
One hope for thee. Thou still art young enough
To be corrected by strict discipline.

"Tasso.—Not young enough to bow myself to idols
That courtiers make and worship; old enough
Defiance with defiance to encounter.

"Antonio.—Ay, where the tinkling lute and tinkling speech
Decide the combat, Tasso is a hero.

"Tasso.—I were to blame to boast a sword unknown
As yet to war, but I can trust to it.

"Antonio.—Trust rather to indulgence."

We are in the high way, it is plain, to a duel. Tasso insists upon an appeal to the sword. The secretary of state contents himself with objecting the privilege or sanctity of the place, they being within the precincts of the royal residence. At the height of this debate, Alphonso enters. Here, again, the minister has a most palpable advantage over the poet. He insists upon the one point of view in which he has the clear right, and will not diverge from it; Tasso has challenged him, has done his utmost to provoke a duel within the walls of the palace; and is, therefore, amenable to the law. The Duke can do no other than decide against the poet, whom he dismisses to his apartment with the injunction that he is there to consider himself, for the present, a prisoner.

In the three subsequent acts, there is still less of action; and we may as well relate at once what there remains of plot to be told, and then proceed with our extracts. Through the mediation of the princess and her friend, this quarrel is in part adjusted, and Tasso is released from imprisonment. But his spirit is wounded, and he determines to quit the court of Ferrara. He obtains permission to travel to Rome. At this juncture he meets with the princess. His impression has been that she also is alienated from him; her conversation removes and quite reverses this impression; in a moment of ungovernable tenderness he is about to embrace her; she repulses him and retires. The duke, who makes his appearance just at this moment, and who has been a witness to the conclusion of this interview, orders Tasso into confinement, expressing at the same time his conviction [Pg 94] that the poet has lost his senses. He is given into the charge of Antonio, and thus ends the drama.

Glancing back over the three last acts, whose action we have summed up so briefly, we might select many beautiful passages for translation; we content ourselves with the following.

The princess and Leonora Sanvitale are conversing. There has been question of the departure of Tasso.

"Princess.—Each day was then itself a little life;
No care was clamorous, and the future slept.
Me and my happy bark the flowing stream,
Without an oar, drew with light ripple down.
Now—in the turmoil of the present hour,
The future wakes, and fills the startled ear
With whisper'd terrors.

"Leonora.        But the future brings
New joys, new friendships.

"Princess.      Let me keep the old.
Change may amuse, it scarce can profit us.
I never thrust, with youthful eagerness,
A curious hand into the shaken urn
Of life's great lottery, with hope to find
Some object for a restless, untried heart.
I honour'd him, and therefore have I loved;
It was necessity to love the man
With whom my being grew into a life
Such as I had not known, or dream'd before.
At first, I laid injunctions on myself
To keep aloof; I yielded, yielded still,
Still nearer drew—enticed how pleasantly
To be how hardly punish'd!

"Leonora.    If a friend
Fail with her weak consolatory speech,
Let the still powers of this beautiful world,
With silent healing, renovate thy spirit.

"Princess.—The world is beautiful! In its wide circuit,
How much of good is stirring here and there!
Alas! that it should ever seem removed
Just one step off! Throughout the whole of life
Step after step, it leads our sick desire
E'en to the grave. So rarely do men find
What yet seem'd destined them—so rarely hold
What once the hand had fortunately clasp'd;
What has been giv'n us, rends itself away,
And what we clutch'd, we let it loose again;
There is a happiness—we know it not,
We know it—and we know not how to prize."

Tasso says, when he thought himself happy in the love of Leonora d'Este—

"I have often dream'd of this great happiness—
'Tis here!—and oh, how far beyond the dream!
A blind man, let him reason upon light,
And on the charm of colour, how he will,
If once the new-born day reveal itself,
It is a new-born sense."

And again on this same felicity,

"Not on the wide sands of the rushing ocean,
'Tis in the quiet shell, shut up, conceal'd,
We find the pearl."

It is in another strain that the poet speaks when Leonora Sanvitale attempts to persuade him that Antonio entertains in reality no hostility towards him. In what follows, we see the anger and hatred of a meditative man. It is a hatred which supports and exhausts itself in reasoning; which we might predict would never go forth into any act of enmity. It is [Pg 95] a mere sentiment, or rather the mere conception of a sentiment. For the poet rather thinks of hatred than positively hates.

"And if I err, I err resolvedly.
I think of him as of my bitter foe;
To think him less than this would now distract,
Discomfort me. It were a sort of folly
To be with all men reasonable; 'twere
The abandonment of all distinctive self.
Are all mankind to us so reasonable?
No, no! Man in his narrow being needs
Both feelings, love, and hate. Needs he not night
As well as day? and sleep as well as waking?
No! I will hold this man for evermore
As precious object of my deepest hate,
And nothing shall disturb the joy I have
In thinking of him daily worse and worse."
Act. 4, Scene 2.

We conclude with a passage in which Tasso speaks of the irresistible passion he feels for his own art. He has sought permission of the Duke to retire to Rome, on the plea that he will there, by the assistance of learned men, better complete his great work, which he regards as still imperfect. Alphonso grants his request, but advises him rather to suspend his labour for the present, and partake, for a season, of the distractions of the world. He would be wise, he tells him, to seek the restoration of his health.

"Tasso.—It should seem so; yet have I health enow
If only I can labour, and this labour
Again bestows the only health I know.
It is not well with me, as thou hast seen,
In this luxuriant peace. In rest I find
Rest least of all. I was not framed,
My spirit was not destined to be borne
On the soft element of flowing days,
And so in Time's great ocean lose itself
Uncheck'd, unbroken.

"Alphonso.—All feelings, and all impulses, my Tasso,
Drive thee for ever back into thyself.
There lies about us many an abyss
Which Fate has dug; the deepest yet of all
Is here, in our own heart, and very strong
Is the temptation to plunge headlong in.
I pray thee snatch thyself away in time.
Divorce thee, for a season, from thyself.
The man will gain whate'er the poet lose.

"Tasso.—One impulse all in vein I should resist,
Which day and night within my bosom stirs.
Life is not life if I must cease to think,
Or, thinking, cease to poetize.
Forbid the silk-worm any more to spin,
Because its own life lies upon the thread.
Still it uncoils the precious golden web,
And ceases not till, dying, it has closed
Its own tomb o'er it. May the good God grant
We, one day, share the fate of that same worm!—
That we, too, in some valley bright with heaven,
Surprised with sudden joy, may spread our wing.

I feel—I feel it well—this highest art
Which should have fed the mind, which to the strong
Adds strength and ever new vitality,—
It is destroying me, it hunts me forth,
Where'er I rove, an exile amongst men."
Act V. Scene 2.

[Pg 96]



The inhabitants of the white mountain village of K——, in Cardiganshire, were all retired to rest, it being ten o'clock. No—a single light twinkled from under eaves of thick and mossy thatch, in one cottage apart, and neater than the rest, that skirted the steep street, (as the salmon fishers, its chief inhabitants, were pleased to call it,) being, indeed, the rock, thinly covered with the soil, and fringed with long grass, but rudely smoothed, where very rugged, by art, for the transit of a gamboo (cart with small wheels of entire wood) or sledge. The moonlight slept in unbroken lustre on the houses of one story, or without any but what the roof slope formed, and several appearances marked it as a fisher village. A black, oval, pitched basket, as it appeared, hung against the wall of several of the cottages, being the coracle, or boat for one person, much used on the larger Welsh rivers, very primitive in form and construction, being precisely described by Cæsar in his account of the ancient Britons. Dried salmon and other fish also adorned others, pleasingly hinting of the general honesty and mutual confidence of the humble natives, poor as they were, for strangers were never thought of; the road, such as it was, merely mounting up to "the hill" (the lofty desert of sheepwalk) on one hand, and descending steeply to the river Tivy on the other. A deadened thunder, rising from some fall and brawling shallow "rapid" of the river, was the only sound, except the hooting of an owl from some old ivied building, a ruin apparently, visible on the olive-hued precipice behind. The russet mass of mountain, bulging, as it were, over the little range of cots, gave an air of security to their picturesque white beauty; while silver clouds curled and rolled in masses, grandly veiling their higher peaks, and sometimes canopied the roofs, many reddened with wall-flower; the walls also exhibiting streaks of green, where rains had drenched the vegetating thatch and washed down its tint of yellow green. Aged trees, green even to the trunks, luxuriant ivy enveloping them as well as the branches, stretched their huge arms down the declivity leading to the Tivy, the flashing of whose waters, through its rich fringe of underwood, caught the eye of any one standing on the ridge above. A solitary figure, tall and muffled, did stand with his back in contact with one of these oaks, so as to be hardly distinguishable from the trunk.

A poet might imagine, looking at a Welsh village by moonlight, thus embosomed in pastoral mountains, canopied with those silver mists whose very motion was peace, and lulled by those soft solemn sounds, more peace-breathing than even silence, that there, at least, care never came; there peace, "if to be found in the world," would be surely found; and soon that one light moving—that prettier painted door stealthily opening—would prove that peace confined to the elements only. "Here I am!" would be groaned to his mind's ear by the ubiquitous, foul fiend, Care; for thence emerged a female form—simplex munditiis—the exact description of it as to attire—rather tall than otherwise, but its chief characteristic, a drooping kind of bowed gait, in affecting unison with a melancholy settled over the pale features, so strongly as to be visible even by the moon at a very short distance. Brushing away a tear from each eye, as she held to her breast a little packet of some kind, as soon as she found (as she imagined) the coast clear, she proceeded, after fastening her door, toward one of the bowered footpaths [Pg 97] leading to the river. The concealed man looked after her, prepared to follow, when some belated salmon fisher, his dark coracle, strapped to his back, nodding over his head, appeared. This lurking personage was nicknamed "Lewis the Spy" by the country people. He was the agent, newly appointed, to inspect the condition of a once fine but most neglected estate, which had recently come into possession of a "Nabob," as they called him—a gentleman who had left Wales a boy, and was now on his voyage home to take possession of a dilapidated mansion called Talylynn. Lewis, his forerunner and plenipotentiary, was the dread and hate of the alarmed tenants. He had already ejected from his stewardship a good but rather indolent old man, John Bevan, who had grown old in the service of the former "squire;" and besides kept watch over the doings on the farms in an occult and treacherous manner, prowling round their "folds" by dusk, and often listening to conversations by concealing himself. Such was the man who now accosted the humble fisherman. Reverentially, as if to the terrible landlord himself, the peasant bared his head to his sullen representative.

"Who is that young woman?" he enquired, sternly, though well knowing who she was.

"Dim Saesneg," answered the man, bowing.

"None of your Dim Saesneg to me, fellow," rejoined Lewis, sternly. "Did not I hear you swearing in good English at a Saesyn (Englishman or Saxon) yesterday?"

The Welshman begged pardon in good Saxon, and answered at last—

"Why, then, if it please your honour, her name be Winifred—her other name be Bevan—Miss Bevan, the school—her father be Mister Bevan of Llaneol, steward that was to our old squire of the great house, 'the Hall'—Talylynn Hall—where there's a fine lake. I warrant your honour has fished there. You Saesonig gentlemen do mostly do nothing but fish and shoot in our poor country; I beg pardon, but you look Saesoniadd, (Saxonlike,) I was thinking—fine lake, but the trout be not to compare"——

"Well," interrupted the other laughing, "your English tongue can wag as glib as your outlandish one. A sweetheart in the case there, isn't there? What the devil's she going down to the river for at this time of night, else?"

"Why, to be sure there be!" the man answered. "We all know that; poor thing, she had need find some comforter in all her troubles—her father so poor, and in debt to this strange foreigner, who's on the water coming home now, and has made proposals for her in marriage, so they do say; but it's like your honour knows more of that than I do—for be not you Mr Lewis, I beg pardon, Lewis Lewis, esquire?"

"And what do you know of this sweetheart of hers? Is he her first, think ye? I doubt that," rejoined Lewis, not noticing his enquiry——

"You may doubt what your honour pleases, but we don't—no; never man touched her hand hardly, never one her lips, before—I did have it from her mother; but as for this one she's found at last, we wish she'd a better"——

"What's the matter with him, then?"

"Oh, nothing more than that he's poor, sir—poor; and that we don't know much about the stranger"——

"What 'we' do you mean, while you talk of 'we'?"

"Lord bless ye, sir, why us all of this bankside, and this side Tivy, the great family of us, she's just like our little girl to us all; for don't she have all our young ones to give 'em learning, whether the Cardigan ladies pay for 'em or don't? And wasn't poor dear old John Bevan the man who would lend every farmer in the parish a help in money or any way, only for asking? So it is, you see, she has grown up among us. This young man, though he may be old for what I know, never seeing him in my life—you see, sir, we on this side of Tivy are like strangers to the Cardy men, t'other side—they are Cardie's, sure enow, true ones, as the Saxon foreign folk do call us all of this shire. I wouldn't trust one of 'em t'other side, no further than I could throw him. I'll tell ye a story"——

[Pg 98]

"Never mind. What about David?"

"Oh, ho! You know his name, then? Well, and that's all I do—pretty nigh. He lives with a woman who fostered him after his own mother died in travail with him, they do say, who has a little house, beyond that lump of a mountain, above all the others, we see by daylight; he has been in England, and is a strange one for music. He owes (owns, possesses,) a beautiful harp—beautiful! The Lord knows, some do say, that's all he owes in the world, so (except) his coracle and the salmon he takes, and what young people do give him at weddings and biddings, where he goes to play: and what's that to keep a wife? Poor Davy Telynwr! Yet, by my soul, we all say we'd rather see her his than this foreigner gentleman's, who has almost broke her heart, they say, by coming between her and her own dear one."

"He's not come yet," muttered the other, sullenly; adding, sharply and bitterly, "Mighty good friends you all are, to wish her married to a beggar, a vagabond harper, rather than to a gentleman."

"Why—to be sure, sir—but vows be vows—love's love—and to tell truth, sir," (the Welsh blood of the Cardy peasant was now up,) "if any foreign, half Welsh, half wild Indian, sort of gentleman had sent his fine letters, asking my sweetheart's friends to turn me off, in my courting days, and prepare my wench to be his lady, instead of my wife—I'd have—I'd have"—

"What would you have done?" asked the other, laughing heartily.

"Cursed him to St Elian!" roared the other; then, dropping his voice into a solemn tone, "put him into his well.[21] I'd have plagued him, I warrant. But for my part," added the man archly, "I don't believe there's any squire lover in the case—nor that your honour ever said there is." The agent here vanished, as if in haste, abruptly, down the steep path.

During this conversation, Winifred had reached the river. While she stands expectant, not in happiness, but in tears, it is time to say a few words of the lover so expected.

David, who was lately become known "on t'other side Tivy," by the name of Nosdethiol Telynwr, that is, "night-walking harper," was an idle romantic young man, almost grown out of youth, who had long lived away from Wales, where he had neither relative nor friend but one aged woman who had been his first nurse, he having been early left an orphan. Without settled occupation or habits, he was understood almost to depend for bread on the salmon he caught, and trifling presents received. A small portable harp, of elegant workmanship, (adorned with "real silver," so ran the tale,) was the companion of his moonlight wanderings. He had a whim of serenading those who had never heard of a "serenade," but were not the less sensible of a placid pleasure at being awakened by soft music in some summer sight. The simple mountain cottagers, whose slumbers he thus broke or soothed, often attributed the sweet sounds to the kindness of some wandering member of the "Fair Family," or Tylwyth Têg, the fairies. Nor did his figure, if discovered vanishing between the trees, if some one ventured to peep out, in a light night, dispel the illusion; for it appears, that the fairy of old Welsh superstition was not of diminutive stature."[22] That he was "very learned," had somewhere acquired much knowledge of books, [Pg 99] however little of men, was reported on both sides of the river; and these few particulars were almost all that was known even to Winifred, who had so rashly given all her thoughts, all her hopes, all her heart almost, (reserving only one sacred corner for her beloved parents,) to this dangerous stranger—for stranger he was still to her in almost all outer circumstances of life. This was partly owing to the interposition of that narrow river, however trivial a line of demarcation that must appear to English people, accustomed to cross even great rivers of commerce, like the Thames, as they would step over a brook or ditch, by the frequent aid of bridges and boats. In Wales, bridges are too costly to be common. When reared, some unlucky high flood often sweeps them away. Intercourse by ferryboats and fords is liable to long interruptions. The dwellers of opposite sides frequent different markets, and belong frequently to different counties. The nature of the soil also often differs wholly. Hence it happens, that sometimes a farmer, whose eye rests continually on the little farm and fields of another, on the opposite "bank," rising from the river running at the base of his own confronting hill-side, lives on, ignorant almost of the name, quite of the character, of their tenant, to whom he could almost make himself heard by a shout—if it happens that neither ford, ferry, nor bridge, is within short distance.

"The people of t'other side," is an expression implying nearly as much strangeness, and contented ignorance of these neighbours, and no neighbours, as the same spoken by the people of Dover or Calais, of those t'other side the Channel. It was not, therefore, surprising that poor Winifred (albeit not imprudent, save in this new-sprung passion,) might have said with the poet, too truly,

"I know not, I ask not, what guilt's in that heart; I but know that I love thee, whatever thou art."

This wild reckless sentiment (though scarcely true to love's nature, which is above all things curious about all belonging to its object) did in her case illustrate her feelings. Winifred had lately disclosed to her dear "unknown" the ruin impending over her father, the result of his mingled good-nature and indolence, he having permitted the tenants to run in arrears, and suffer dilapidations, as already said;—the long neglect, however, of the East Indian landlord being at the root of the evil, who had been as remiss in his dealings with the steward as the steward with the tenants. The first appearance of this newly appointed agent, who announced the early return of his employer to take possession of the decayed manor-house, was as sudden as ominous of the ruin of old John Bevan. The hope he held out of the "Nabob" espousing his long-remembered child, Winifred, and the consequent salvation of her father, seemed too romantic to be believed. Yet this man proved himself duly accredited by his principal, and exercised his power already with severity. The fine old house of Talylynn, a mansion rising close to a small beautiful lake skirted by an antique park with many deer, was already almost prepared for the reception of the "squire from abroad." Meanwhile—what most excited the ill-will of the tenantry—this odious persecutor of the all-beloved John Bevan had also furbished up a neat old house adjoining the park gate, as a residence for himself; while poor Bevan's farm-house of Llaneol was suffered to fall into ruinous decay—the new steward even neglecting to keep it weather-tight.

Thus decayed, and almost ruinous, it seemed more in harmony with the fortunes of the ever resigned and patient man. But his less placid dame, after losing the services of Winifred, had fallen into a peevish sort of despondency, as the father, missing her society, and its finer species of consolation, had sunk into a more placid apathy.

David had received the hint of her possible self-devotion to the coming "squire" with very little philosophy, little temper, and no allowance for the feelings of an only daughter expecting to see a white-headed, fond father, dragged from his home to a jail. He had been incensed; he had wronged her by imputations of sordid motives—of pride, of contempt for himself as a [Pg 100] beggar; and at last broke from her in sullen resentment, after requiring her to bring all his letters, at their next interview, which was to be a farewell one. And now she was bringing every thing she had received from him, in sad obedience to this angry demand. Nor was all his wrath, his injustice, and his despair, really unacceptable to her secret heart. She would not have had him patient under even the prospective possibility of her marrying another.

But his manner at this meeting announced a change in his whole sentiments.

His very first words, (cold, yet kind, but how altered in tone!) with his constrained deportment, expressed his acquiescence in her purpose, whether pride, jealousy, or a juster estimate of her filial virtue, had induced the stern resolve.

Winifred had never known the full strength of her own passion till now! The idea of an early eternal end to their ungratified loves, which had for some time become familiar to her own secret mind, assumed a new and strange terror for her imagination the moment it ceased to be hers alone. The shock was novel and overpowering, when the separation seemed acquiesced in by him, thus putting it out of her own power to hesitate further between devotion to the lover or to the parent. His reconciled manner, his calm taking her by the hand, even the kiss which she could not resist, were more painful than his utmost resentment would have been. Yet there was a sad severity in his look, as his fine countenance of deep melancholy turned to the bright moon, which a little comforted her, and indicated that it was pride rather than patience which led to his affected contentment. He had not a parent to nerve his heart to the sacrifice.

"I passed your home yesterday," he began sarcastically: "it is a fine place again, already, that hall of Talylynn, and wants only as fine a mistress."

"You wrong me, David bach! on my life and soul you do, dear David!" she replied sobbing. "'Tis a hateful hall—a horrid hall! If it were only I, your poor lost Winifred, that was to suffer, oh! how much sooner would I be carried dead into a vault, than alive, and dressed in all the finest silks of India, into that dreadful house you twit me with!—unkind, unkind!" And almost fainting, her head sunk upon his shoulder, and his arm was required to support her.

Instantly she recovered, and stood erect. "But oh, David, there is another dreadful place, and another dear being besides you, dearest, that I think of night and day! The horrid castle jail—my dear, dear father! Oh, if this Lewis speaks truth, and if that strange boy—I only knew him as a boy, you know—who has power to ruin him, (will surely ruin him!) will indeed forgive him all he owes; will really become his son—his son-in-law, instead of his merciless creditor; oh! could I refuse my part, shocking part though it be? I should not suffer long, David—I feel I should not."

"And pray, what kind of youth—boy as you are pleased to call him—was this nabob then?" enquired her lover, apparently startled at learning the fact of her having had some previous knowledge of his powerful rival.

"A youth! a mere child, when I last saw him," she answered. "I thought you had known all about him."

"Nothing more than his name; how came you in his company?"

"His father, living in India, was half-brother to our old squire, Fitzarthur of Talylynn. His mother dying, his widower father, whose health was broken up before, came over here, this being his native country, in hope of recovering it; but died at Talylynn, leaving one child, that little orphan boy, heir, after his half-uncle's death, to all this property. You have often heard me tell how like two brothers my dear father and our old squire were always—though father was only a steward—how he used to have me at the great house, for a month at a time, where he had me taught by a lady who lived with him, before I went to school; and so I used often to see that little boy in black—very queer and sullen he was thought; but he had no playfellow, except an owl that he kept tame, I remember, and cried when he buried [Pg 101] him in the garden,—the only time he was ever known to cry, he was so still and stern. It was I caught him, then acting the sexton by himself, close by the high box hedge, under a great tree. I remember the spot now, and remember how angry I made him by laughing."

"And you did wrong to laugh, if it was so serious to him."

"Oh! but I did not know he was crying when I laughed, and was sorry when I detected it. One thing was, the old gentleman was so jovial, and loved a good laugher, and was rather too fond of wine, and mostly out hunting, so that the poor boy had to find his own amusement. He seemed fond of me, but hated, he said, his uncle, and his hounds, and his ways, and every thing there but his own owl; so that nobody was sorry when he was fetched back to India, to be put in the where he was to make the fortune he has now made, I suppose."

"And your little heart did throb a little, and sink for a day, when this playfellow was shipped off for life, as you thought, and you did remember his funeral tears over his owl, and"—a quaver of voice and betrayed earnestness revealed the jealous pang shooting across the heart of the speaker; but her own was too heavy and deeply anxious to prolong this desultory talk.

She only added—"Heaven knows how little I thought that poor stranger boy would ever grow to be what he is to me now."

"What he is to you? Why, what then is he, Winifred?"

"The horror of my thoughts, my dreams, my"——she answered sobbing. "But why should I say so? Wicked I am to feel him so, if he is indeed to be the saviour of my dear, dear father!" And she turned away to shed relieving tears.

"And this little packet contains my letters—all, does it?" he asked, touching the small parcel she had deposited within a cleft of the hollow river-side tree, by which they stood, the post-office of their happier days, where, concealed by thick moss gathered from the bole, those letters had every one been searched for and found—with what a leap of heart, first felt! how fondly thrust into her bosom, for the leisure delight of opening at home—and all in vain!

"All but one," she answered tremulously; "I brought then because you bade me—but you were so angry then—let me take them back?" and she clutched them eagerly. "At least we may wait, David—we don't know yet; I do suspect that Lewis Lewis—he shuns me as if he was conscious of some wickedness; he's as horrid to me as his master—the thought of his master—I do forbode something awful from that man! It was but just before I heard you brushing among those great low branches, in your coracle, that I fancied I saw him stealing, as if to watch, or perhaps waylay you; but I am full of dismal thoughts."

He had not the heart to force his letters, so reluctantly resigned, from her chilly hand. But he held in his what was calculated to inspire pain quite as poignant. In the fond admiration of her fancy's first object, she had vehemently longed for a portrait of that rather singular face—a long oval, with lofty forehead, already somewhat corrugated by habits of deep thought, in his lonely night-loving existence; its mixture of passion, dumb poetry, its constitutional or adventitious profound melancholy, ever present, till his countenance gradually lighted up, after her coming and her animating discourse, like some deep gloomy valley growing light as the sun surmounts a lofty bank, gleaming through its pines. She had forced him to take a piece of money for procuring this so desired keepsake, and every time they met, she had fondly hoped to have the little portrait put into her hand. Now, instead, he presented the unused money—would she retain the image of a sweetheart in the home of her stern and lordly husband? Her heart confessed that she must no longer wish for it—but it sunk within her at the thought, how soon that innocent would be a guilty wish; and when he surprised her with the money so suddenly, she involuntarily shuddered, forebore to close her hand upon it, let it slide from her palm, and murmured only with her innocent plaintiff voice, "I shall never have your picture now—never!" And [Pg 102] then she dejected her eyes to the little parcel of letters, written, received, kissed, and kept, like something holy, so long in vain; and all the charming hopeful hours in which each was found, when some longer absence had given to each a deeper interest, and higher value—those hours never to return, came shadowing over her mind, memory, and soul, and a lethargy of despairing grief imposed a ghost-like semblance of calm on her whole figure, and her face slowly assumed a deadly paleness, even to the lips, visible even by the moon. David grew alarmed, relapsed into the full fondness of former hours, folded the dumb, drooping, and agonized young woman in his arms, to his bosom! without her betraying consciousness, and yet she was not fainting; she stood upright, and her eyes, though fixed as if glazed, still expressed love in their almost shocking fixedness.

The young man grew terrified. "Look up! speak to me! Winifred, dear Winifred, my own Winifred, in spite of all!" he broke forth. "Smile at me, my dearest, once more, and keep these foolish letters you so value, keep them all." And he thrust them into her passive hand.

Aroused by his words and action, poor Winifred, starting with a gasp, wildly kissed the little packet, and thanked him by an embrace more passionate than her prudence or modesty would have permitted, had they been happy.

"And my portrait—my ugliness in paint, and on ivory too, dearest, you shall have yet, as you desire it," he added, forcing pleasantry; "only do not fall into that frightful sort of trance again."

He little knew what deadliness of thoughts, almost of purpose, had produced that long abstracted fit. The most exemplary prudence (the result of a sound mind and heart) had characterised this young woman till now. While yet at home, her bodily activity surprised her parents. Their means having been long but low, they had little help in their dairy and small farming concerns. She often surprised her mother with the sight of the butter already churned, the ewes already milked, or the cheeses pressed, when she arose. She was abroad in the heavy dews of morning, when the sun at midsummer rises in what is properly the night, regarded as the hour of rest—abroad, happy and cheerful, calling the few cows in the misty meadows. Nor did this habit of early rising prevent her indulging at night her one unhappy habit—romance-reading; a pleasure which she enjoyed through the kindness of many ladies of the town of Cardigan, who afterwards established her in her school at K——. They supplied her with these dangerous volumes that exalted passion—love in excess—above all the aims and pursuits of life: represented her who loves most madly as most worthy of sympathy; and even, too often, crowned the heroine with the palm of self-martyrdom—making suicide itself no longer a crime or folly, but almost a virtue, under certain contingencies.

When poverty increased, the activity of her powerful intellect was brought into display, as much as her personal activity had been, in devising resources. She had acquired some skill in drawing, through the kindness of the neighbouring gentry, and she improved herself so far as to execute very respectable drawings of the ruins of Kilgerran Castle, on her own river, and other fine scenes of Wales; and these were sold for her (or rather for her parents) by others, at fairs and wakes, where she never appeared herself. When residing at the village, her wheel was heard in the morning before others were stirring, and at late night, after every other one was still. Her little light, gleaming in the lofty village, espied between the hanging trees, was the guiding star of the belated fisher up the narrow goat's-path which led to the village, who could always obtain light for his pipe at "Miss Bevan's, the school," when not a casement had exhibited a taper for hours. But the evil of all this wear and tear of mind and body was, that it maintained an unnatural state of excitement in the one, and of weakness (disguised by that fever of imagination) in the other. Sleep, the preserver of health and tranquillity of mind, was exchanged for lonely emotions excited by night reading. She was weeping over the dramatist's fifth act of tragedy, or the romancist's [Pg 103] more morbid appeals to the passions, while nature demanded rest. Then an accidental meeting with the young harper—he recovering a book she had dropped into the Tivy out of her hand, from having fallen asleep through exertion, and restoring it with a grace quite romance-hero like—produced a new era, and new excitement—that of the heart. Thenceforth, she became "of imagination all compact," however her strong sense preserved her purity and virtue. But no more dangerous lover could be imagined than such a loose hanger-on, rather than member, of society as David the Telynwr—for his nature was hers; except, perhaps, in virtuous resolution, he was a female Winifred. Yet he possessed a romantic "leaning, at least, to virtue's side."

This was oddly exemplified now, (to return to their present position;) for as soon as her partial recovery had removed his alarm, he grew cold, and almost severe in his manner, and broke forth—

"So, then, Winifred would willingly pore over the love-letters of a sweetheart while under a husband's roof! She thinks this beauty enough for him—she would reserve her thoughts, wishes, every thing else, for his old rival;—every thing but what a ring, and a few words, makes his right by law, the poor husband is to leave to any old sweetheart that may come prowling round his gates! That's gross! Is it not, Winifred?"

Alas! the heart-broken young woman had been meditating on far other issue to their brief attachment! On death!—death on her wedding-day, as the only means of preserving at once her father's liberty and her own virtue; for her reading had taught her that marriage, where the mind and heart were so wholly engaged elsewhere, was no better than legalised prostitution. With a look of dark intensity of meaning, Winifred broke her lengthened silence, saying hollowly—

"I was not looking so far forward—I was not looking beyond that day—not to that"——night, she would have said, but modesty stopped her speech. "And you can be so calm! so thoughtful! You can be reasoning about my duties during a life! you can be pleading for my future husband! Oh, I wish I were like you! And yet, I bless God, that you are not like me! I would not have you feel as I do for the world! No, not even know what I am feeling, thinking, dearest, at this moment."

"No!" David again muttered, more and more severely, "I cannot submit to have my letters and trifling keepsakes to be tossed about by him! It is weakness to wish it, Winifred Bevan; and worse for me to grant it."

"You shall have them all—all—all!" she exclaimed in passionate agony composed of tenderness, anguish, anger, recklessness, with a bitterness of irony keener to her own heart, than to him who roused that terrible reaction of her nature. "I'll run and fetch them all this very night! Oh, they'll serve for your new love. You may copy your letters. I'm sure, if she have a human heart, they'll move it—they'll win it! Strike my name out, and you may send the very letters. She will not know that another heart was broken by giving them up! She will not know the stains are tears of pleasure dropped upon them! And you shall have that too, if you will—if you must!"

"Which? what? dearest creature, but compose yourself—pray do!" he said, again alarmed.

"That you sent with the lock of hair—this hair!" she answered wildly. "But you will leave me the little lock? Oh, there's plenty to cut for another here!" and she laughed hysterically, frightfully, and played with his profusion of raven hair; but it was mournful play. "Leave me—do leave poor Winifred that, David, for the love of God! In mercy, leave it! I will not ask for the picture again—I will not wish it, if you say I must not; but the hair—the poor bit of hair—he! oh, misery! he shall never see it! I myself will never cry over it—never look at it, if you think it wrong—never till I'm dying, David—dying! There will be no harm then, you know, in looking—in a poor dying creature's look, who has done with passions, life, love, every thing. And none—none shall see it but those who lay me out, or they who find my—oh! we none of us know where we may die, or how! It may be alone, dearest—alone! Oh, [Pg 104] the comfort it will be to have a part of very you to hold—to hold by, like this very hand, in my death-damp one. Let me have it!" she shrilly implored, in delirious energy. "I want it to take with me to my death-bed—to my death-pit—my grave, whatever it may be—to heaven itself—to our place of meeting again, if it were possible! Oh, that it were possible! and that I might bring back to you there the kiss—the long kiss—you shall leave on these wretched lips when we part for ever and for ever here! Will you take it from me, David, my heart, my soul? No, you will not?"

The crisis of love's parting agony was at its height. Half-conscious of her own dangerous prostration of soul and mind under its power, she turned from the dear object, and rested her forehead against the trunk of their old tree of assignation; and a steady, sadder shower of tears, relieving her full heart, followed this storm of various and rapid emotions, sweeping over one weakened mind, like thunderclouds charged with electric fire, borne on a whirlwind over a whole landscape, in a few minutes of mingled gloom and glory. For, in the sublime of passion, whatever be its nature, is there not a terrible joy, a secret glorifying of the earthy nature, which we may compare to such elemental war—now hanging all heaven in mourning, and bringing night on noonday, and presently illuminating that day with a ghastly, momentary light, brilliant even beyond its own?


Llaneol, the dilapidated farm-house of the expelled steward, old Bevan, stood beautifully in a wooded glen, watered by a shallow stream, between a brook and river in size. A pretty greensward, of perpetual vivid hue, stretched quite up to the threshold—its "fold," or farm-yard, being small, and situated behind. A wooded mountain rose opposite, topped by a range of many-tinted cliffs, splintered like thunder-stricken battlements, and resembling, in their fretted and timeworn fronts, rich cathedral architecture in ruins. Extensive sheep-walks rose in russet, lofty barrenness behind, but allowing below breadth for venerable oaks, and a profusion of underwood, to shelter the white, but no longer well-thatched, farm-cottage, and screening that umbrageous valley from the colder wind; while the many sheep, seen, and but just seen, dotting the lofty barrier, beautified the scene by the pastoral ideas which their dim-seen white inspired. Only the songs of birds distinguished the noonday from the night, unless when the flail was heard in the barn, through the open doors of which, coloured by mosses, the river glistened, and the green, with its geese, gleamed the more picturesquely for this rustic perspective.

As Winifred was approaching this tranquil vale—her native vale—after an absence at the town of Cardigan, where she had been seeking assistance for her father, with little success, she was startled by the unusual sound of many voices, and soon saw, aghast, the whole of the rustic furniture standing about on the pretty green, her infant play-place; the noisy auctioneer mounted on the well-known old oaken table; even her mother's wheel was already knocked down and sold, and her father's own great wicker chair was ready to be put up, while rude boys were trying its rickety antiquity by a furious rocking.

On no occasion is so much joviality indulged (in Wales) as on that of an auction "under a distress for rent," (which was the case here)—an occasion of calamity and ruin to the owner. Even in the event of an auction caused by a death, where the common course of nature has removed the possessor from those "goods and chattels" which are now useless to him, a sale is surely a melancholy spectacle to creatures who use their minds, and possess feelings befitting a brotherhood of Christians, or even heathens. To see the inmost recesses of "home, sweet home," thrown open to all strangers; the most treasured articles (often descended as heir-looms from ancestors, and therefore possessing an intrinsic value, quite unsuspected by others, for the owner,) ransacked, tossed from hand to hand, and at last "knocked down" at a nominal price—[Pg 105]even this is a mournful exhibition. But where the ruthless hand of his brother man has wrested those valuables from their possessor, instead of inevitable death's tearing him from them—where that very owner and his family are present, sadly listening to the ceaseless jokes (thoughtlessly inhuman) lavished by the auctioneer, and re-echoed by the crowd, over those old familiar objects—witnessing the happy excitement of rival bidders, and the universal pleasure over his ruin, like the cry and flocking of vultures over a battle-field, witnessed by wretches still alive, though mortally wounded; what can exceed the shocking transgression of human brotherhood presented by such a scene! A scene of every-day occurrence—a scene never seeming to excite even one reflection kindred to these natural, surely, and obvious feelings—yet one terribly recalling to the pensive observer that axiom, Homo ad hominem lupus est! Doubtless the fraudulent or utterly reckless debtor is, in the eye of reason, the first "wolfish" assailant of his brother. But how many of these familiar tragedies are as truly the result of unforeseen, unforeseeable contingencies, as diseases or other events, considered the visitations of God! One, or two, or three, sick and heavy hearts and wounded minds, in the midst of a hundred happy, light ones, buoyed up by fierce cupidity and keen bargain-hunting, and exhilarated by drink and by fun, and all drawn together by the misery of those outcast few.

Poor Bevan had been taken by surprise in this sudden execution, put in by his treacherous supplanter, Lewis Lewis. But what most excited the anger of his old attached neighbours, was the fact that many of these goods were bought by an agent of Lewis, to finish furnishing his own newly repaired house by the old park wall. Winifred learned that her parents had removed to a friendly neighbour's, at some distance, but suspected the worst—his removal to jail.

Not now the weakness of woman prevailed over her presence of mind, as we have lately seen it do in her interview with a beloved object. She commanded her agitation, so far as to bid for her father's old chair, but in vain; for her timid bidding, faltered from behind a crowd, failed to catch the ear of the jocular auctioneer, (who, in Wales, must always be somewhat of a mountebank,) and the favourite chair was gone at once, after the wheel, and the many old familiar chattels which she saw standing, now the property of strangers.

Events crowded fast on each other, hurrying on that terrible hour in which a revolting act of self-devotion was to render even this domestic horror of little injury to her parents. "I will buy 'daddy' a better chair, or he shall have enough to buy a better, when I am gone," she murmured to herself. For now the rumour grew rife, that Mr Fitzarthur had actually landed, was daily expected; and, in confirmation, she received through a neighbour present, a letter left for her by her father, stating that he had now actually received, under the Nabob's own hand, a proposal of marriage, which the generous old man (who well knew her engagements to another) solemnly charged her to reject, at all hazards to himself. He further begged her to come quickly to the temporary place of refuge he and her mother had found under the roof of a hill cottage, just now tenantless through the death of a relative. Thither, with heavy heart, Winifred hastened by the first light of morning.

"The hill," an expression much in the mouths of Welsh rural people, signifies not any particular one, as it would in England, but the whole desolate regions of the mountain heights; the homeless place of ever-whistling winds, and low bellowing clouds, mingling with the mist of the mountain, into one black smoke-like rolling volume—the place of dismal pools and screaming kites, full of bogs, concealed by a sickly yellowish herbage in the midst of the russet waste, boundlessly wearying the eye with its sober monotony of tint. If a pool or lake relieve it by reflecting the sky, on approach it is found choked all round by high rushes, and shadowed by low strangely-shaped rocks, tinted by mosses of dingy hue; the water that glistened pleasantly in the distance, shrinks now to a mere pond, (the middle space, too deep for bullrushes and other weeds to take root.) The deep stillness, or the unintermitted hollow blowing of the wind (according to the weather) are equally mournful. [Pg 106] The rotten soil is cleft and torn into gulleys and small channels, in which the mahogany-coloured rivulets, springing from the peat morass, straggle silently with a sluggish motion in harmony with the lifeless scene. There, if a weedy-roofed hut do appear, (detected by its thin feeble smoke column) or the shepherd who tenants it should show his solitary figure in the distance, the only upright object where is not one tree-trunk, neither the home of man nor man's appearance lessens the sense of almost savage solitude; the one so lonely, not a smoke-wreath being visible all round, beside; the other, as he loiters by, watching some sheep on some distant bank, so shy and wild-looking, and, to appearance, so melancholy, so forlorn. Meanwhile, as we "plod our weary way," some dip in the wavy round of olive-hued lumpish mountains, or an abrupt huge chasm of awful rocks, each side being almost perpendicular, startles the traveller with a far-down prospect of some sunshiny, rich, leafy, valley region, at once showing at what a bleak elevation he has been roaming so long, and tantalizing him with the contrast of that far, far off, low, luring landscape, rendering more irksome than before the dead, heathery desert, interminably undulating before, behind, and all round him.

The little farm whither old Bevan had retired, stood high in such a desert as this, on the very verge of such a mountain-portal, (a bwlch, pronounced boolch, the Welsh call it,) an antique stone cottage, hanging like a nest on one of the side banks, dismal itself, but all that under world of pastoral pleasantness below, in full though dim perspective. A premature decay is always visible on these kind of wild, weather-beaten homes, in the torn thatch; the walls tinged with green, and generally propped to resist the effects of the powerful winds. If white-washed, which they really are, broad streaks of green are visible, from the frequent heavy rains, tinged by the mosses and weeds of the roof. The clouds, attracted by the heights, career on the strong blast, so low and close, as often to shut up the dingy human nest in a dreary day of its own, while all below is blue serene.

To this melancholy abode, its few rustic chattels still standing there, left since the death of its tenant, Winifred toiled up by a steep, wild, but well-known track, but found not father, mother, or living thing, except one, so much in unison with the wild melancholy of the scene, as to exalt it almost to horror. This was a wretched idiot man, dressed in female attire, perfectly harmless, and kept, as a parish pauper, at an adjacent farm. He was noted for fidelity to any one who flattered him by some little commission. This ragged object presented to her the key of the padlock on the door, with the words "gone, gone, gone!" She entered, and found, to her surprise, excellent refreshment provided in the desolate house, evidently but lately deserted. But what riveted her eyes, was a letter to herself in the handwriting of David, but tremulously written, announcing his inability to keep an appointment, (one more!) which they had made, to part for ever—her terrible distress, it will be remembered, on the last occasion, deterring the young man from any further trial of her feelings. He further informed her that Mr Fitzarthur was certainly arrived, and had taken up his temporary abode at the pretty house by the park, designed by Lewis Lewis for his own residence. Moreover, she learned that her father and mother anxiously expected her at that house to which they had removed, but did not reveal that he had been removed in the care of two bailiffs, and the house named was but a resting place in his transit to jail.

When the mind is enfeebled by repeated blows, it often happens that some one, which to others may appear the slightest of all, produces the greatest effect, its pain being quite disproportioned to its real importance. Thus it happened, that, amidst all her trials, Winifred felt the loss of her father's favourite chair as a crowning misery, trivial as was that loss, when hope itself was lost. She had identified that very humble chattel with his figure almost her life long. She almost expected to see the two fair hands (for, truth to tell, the aged steward had never worked hard) on each side, and the venerable kind face projected forwards from its deep concave, arched over that white head, to smile welcome to her even as it stood out [Pg 107] on the little green. The intrusion of boy clowns, one after another, into its seat seemed a grievous insult to the unhappy owner, though absent. Yet a sad comfort rose in the thought of her ability to reinstate her father in all his lost comforts, through this terrible marriage. Then she grew impatient in her longing to console him by assurance of this, notwithstanding his generous wish that her hand should go where he knew her heart had irretrievably been given. But these repeated disappointments in finding the parents she longed to fold to her bosom, postponing this little gratification, (the telling him she would repurchase the old family chair,) now quite overcame the fortitude she had till now exhibited. She sate down sick at heart—turned with aversion from the refreshment her fatigue required, and wept bitterly. Superstition, and two mysterious incidents, even while she remained on the hill, if indeed they were more than superstition's coinage, helped to depress her. Just before she reached this forlorn house with the haggard, aged, horrid-looking idiot prowling round it, with his rags fluttering in the wind, she thought that the figure of the hated steward and spy moved along a wild path on the opposite side of that great mountain cleft, traversed by a noisy torrent almost the depth of the whole hill, near the top of which this cottage was perched. His being there alone was nothing marvellous, but an ominous horror seemed, in her mind, to hover round that man, who (as if conscious of some deadly evil which was through him to overwhelm her some time) studiously avoided direct intercourse with his victim.

The second incident which might have sprung from the dwelling of her mind's eye on the absent features of him, who, it seemed, refused to meet her again, was an apparition, or what she deemed such, of her dear Night-harper! One of those dense flying clouds, so common even at moderate elevations when the mists roll down the hills, suddenly enveloping the lone lofty spot, left but a little area of a few yards for vision, a dungeon walled with fog, which kept circulating furiously on the blast like a great smoke, in continuous whirls. And through some momentary fissure in this white wall, she imagined the pallid and almost ghastly visage of her forsaken lover appeared intensely looking toward her, as she stood on the rude threshold, looking out on the temporary storm that had shut her up. Her vague apprehension of some evil arising to David, her mind's perpetual object, from the man she believed herself to have espied just before, was rarely absent from her thought. Combining the two appearances, she became more and more fancy-fraught, thus confined, as it were, in an elemental solitude of the mountain and the cloud, where, for the present, we leave her, to narrate the fate of her father.

The novel calamity of arrest for debt was borne by the respectable old man, John Bevan, with a patience and dignity that no study of philosophy could have inspired. Though somewhat inactive, he felt that, in the honest discharge of his duty, he stood acquitted in the sight of God, though not in the eye of the law, of all fault, at least of any one meriting the terrible punishment of imprisonment. It was near nightfall when two emissaries of the law appeared, announcing that horses waited at the neighbouring inn to convey him to jail with the first light of morning. The poor old dame, his wife, was not to be pacified by the efforts of the two bailiffs, who executed their commission with the utmost gentleness, by order, as it appeared, of the Nabob himself, notwithstanding that the old man's stern self-denying rejection of his overture for his daughter's hand had determined him to let his agent proceed to extremities. Soothing as well as he could both her grief and her rage—for the latter rose unreflectingly against the mere agents in this grievous infliction—old Bevan smoked his pipe as usual to the end, and then requested permission to take a little walk only to the church, which stood a short way from the solitary house where they surprised him.

"You see I cannot run, for I can hardly walk with these rheumatics, my friend," he observed; "but I have a fancy to visit the churchyard to-night, as it will be moonlight, and we shall be pretty busy in the morning. My dame is gone to bed with the good woman of this cottage, as I begged her to go; so pray let us walk—[Pg 108]you shall see me all the while by the moon, without coming into the churchyard with me."

Arrived at the low stone stile, he crossed it by the help of the man, and proceeded alone to the tomb of his old master's grave, surrounded by a rail, with a yew growing inside, marking the site of the ancient family vault. The moon now shining clearly, the bailiff saw him kneel and uncover his head, which shone in its light, in the distance resembling a scull bleached by the wind. He remained a long time in this position, and his murmuring voice was partly audible to the man. At last he returned, thanking him for his patience, and shaking him very cordially by the hand. So touched was even this rugged lower limb of the law by this proof of his affectionate remembrance of his old patron, that he behaved throughout with great courtesy, and even respect. Bevan and his departed master had lived, as has been said, almost on the footing of cronies, a certain phlegmatic ease of nature being the characteristic of both. So proud, indeed, was Bevan of his brotherlike intercourse with the great man, that he made himself for years almost a personal fac-simile of him, even to the cut and colour of his coat, wig, everything; and being a fine specimen of a "noble peasant," externally as well as internally, his assumption of the squire in costume well became his tall figure, mild countenance, (streaked with the lingering pink of his youthful bloom,) and gentle demeanour. A rigid observer might have thought, that to this indulgent but indolent master the poor steward owed his ruin; his habits of "forgiving" his tenants their rent debts so often, having extended themselves to the former, further increased by the strange inattention of the new landlord. The gratitude of Bevan was, however, deserved—for never was a kinder master.

"It is a thing not to be thought," he said, while returning with the man, "that I shall ever come back here, to the old church again, alive or dead; seeing that I am too poor for any one to bring my old bones all the way from Cardigan, to put them in the same ground with his, as I did dream of in my better days, and too old for a man used to free air and the hill-sides all his life, to live long in a prison, or indeed out of one—but we must all die. I assure you, my honest man and kind, you have done me good, in mind and body, by letting me take leave of his honour! Well I may call him so, now he is in heaven, whom I did honour when here, from my very heart of hearts; kind he was to me—a second father to my child—God bless him! Sure I am, if he were still among us, how his good heart would melt, how it would bleed for us—for her—I know it would." Here the old man sobbed and kept silence a space, then proceeded—"You see how weak old age and over-love of this world make a man, sir. Yet I am content. Next to God, I owe to him whose dear corpse I have just now been so near, a long and happy life,—thanks, thanks, thanks! To both, up yonder, I do here render them from my inmost soul;" and he bared his head again, looking up to the placid moon with a visage of kindred placidity, and an eye of blue lustre, so brightened by his emotion as almost to be likened to the heaven in which that moon shone. "Why should I repine, or fear the walls of a prison, as my passage to that wide glorious world without wall or bound or end, where I hope to live free and for ever, in the sight of my Redeemer, and, perhaps, of him who was Hugh Fitzarthur, Esq., of Tallylynn hall, when here? I hope I am not irreverent, but in truth, friend, I fear I have almost as vehemently longed for the presence of him once more, as for that more awful presence: heaven pardon me if it was wicked! So welcome prison, welcome death! Half a hundred and nineteen years spent pleasantly on these green hills, free, and fresh, and hale, I can surely afford a few weeks or months to a closer place, were it but as in a school for my poor earthly and ignorant soul, to purify itself, to prepare itself for that glorious place, to learn to die."

Next morning the old couple, dame Bevan being mounted on a pillion behind him, proceeded on their melancholy journey. They reached the house by the park, where it was proposed that an interview should take place between the old man and the landlord himself, with some view to arrangement prior to his imprisonment. [Pg 109] While they there expect the long delayed comfort of Winifred's embrace, let us return to that good daughter, now more eager to fly to that dreaded suitor, to reverse her father's resolve, to offer herself a victim, than ever she had been to reach that dearer one who had now cruelly disappointed her in the hope of one more meeting—that, perhaps, the last she could have innocently allowed!

The dreaded day of trial arrived. But we must revert to her sad meditations, and wild irresolute thoughts, while shut up by the storm-cloud, and alone, in the mountain house. Doating passion, pain of heart, terrible suggestions of despair, kept altering her countenance as she leaned against the mouldering door-post, imprisoned by the black mists that prevented her safely leaving the hovel. A sudden, dire, revolution in her religious impressions was wrought, or rather completed, in that dismal scene. David had more than once wrung her very soul by dark hints of self-destruction in the event of her ever forsaking him. He had thus been led into discussions on suicide, and had even argued for the moral right of man to end his own being under circumstances. Persuasion hangs on the lips of those we love. What she would have rejected as impious, from some immoral man, in dispute, sank deep into her soul, emanating from a heart she loved, through lips that, to her, seemed formed for eloquence as much as love to make its throne.

Wild and tragical modes of reconciling her two furious, fighting, irreconcilable wishes—that of saving her father—that of blessing her lover—began to take terrible form and reality in her mind, as the wind howled, the ruinous house shook, and its timbers groaned, and the blackness of the sky, as the storm increased, deepened the lurid hue of the foul and turbulent fog, (for such the mountain cloud thus in contact with her eyes appeared.) The world, as it were, already left behind, or rather below, the elements alone warring round her, her high-wrought imagination began to regard life and death, and the world itself, as things no longer appertaining to her, except as a passive instrument toward one great object, the preservation of her father's freedom, and, if it were possible, also of her own inviolate person—that person which she had, indeed, most solemnly vowed to one alone, David the Telynwr. Not to him—for her innate delicacy rendered such vows repugnant to her; but alone, by the moon or stars, by the cataract, and in the lonely lanes and woods, she had vowed herself to one alone—had dedicated her virgin beauty (in the spirit of those romances she had fatally devoured) to her "night-harper" with as true devotion as ever did white vestal, at the end of her noviciate, devote herself alive and dead to the one God. Instilled by the touching tone, the wild pathos, the swimming eye of a wayward passionate character, weak, yet bold, of whom she knew almost nothing, this devoted girl yielded up her better reason to his rash innovations in morals, his examples of suicidal heroes, and even moralists, among the ancients; and in the wild height, alone, among the clouds, she almost wrought up her fond agonizing soul to a terrible part—the accomplishing her father's preservation, on her wedding-day, through the influence she might naturally expect to obtain in such a season, and that done, make her peace with God; and, before night—black pools—rock precipices, fearful as Leucadia's—mortal plants, and even the horrid knife and halter—floated before her mind's eye without her trembling, even like terrible, yet kind, ministrants proffering escape—escape from legalised violation!—escape from perjury, to her, the self-doomed Iphigenia! For her morbid fancy, whispered to by her intense tenderness, conjured up that dilemma between faith broken to her lover and abandonment of a dear parent to his fate. Despair suggested that self-destruction itself might seem venial, even before God, when rushed upon as the only alternative to perjury—to prostitution; for such her romantic purity taught her to consider submission to the embrace of any living man except her heart's own—her affianced—"her beautiful!"—her lost!

Such were the feelings under whose influence our humble heroine pursued her mountain journey, of a few miles, to the place of meeting with her parents; and it was probably beneath the roof of the lone cottage in the [Pg 110] cloud that, under the same morbid mood of mind, she penned a letter to Mr Fitzarthur, which was afterwards discovered, dated at top "My Wedding Day," containing a passionate appeal on behalf of her father, for a bond of legal indemnification to be executed before night, as a present which she had set her heart on giving her father, as a bridal one, that very day. Arrived at the house fitted up for the hated supplanter of her father, "Lewis the Spy," her heart beat so violently before she could firm her nerves to ring the bell, that she stood leaning some time against the wall. This old house was now almost rebuilt, and not without regard to rural beauty, in harmony with the fine scenery of an antique park, with its mossy ivied remains of walls and venerable trees overshadowing it, and was called "The Little Hall of the Park." She sighed deeply as she glanced at its comfortable aspect, remembering how long it had formed the secret object of her mother's little ambition (for the dame had a touch of pride in her composition beyond her ever-contented mate) to occupy that little hall. It seemed so appropriate that the lesser squire—the great squire's friend—should also have his "hall," though a little one!

Indeed, it had been in incipient repair for him, that the old men might spend their winter evenings together at the real hall, divided but by a short path, across an angle of the park, without a dreary walk for Bevan impending over the end of their carouse, with never-wearied reminiscences of their boyhood—when sudden death stopped all proceedings, and left poor Bevan alone in the world, as it seemed to him—"in simplicity a child," and as imbecile in conflict with it as any child.

She nerved her mind and hand by an effort, and rang the bell—(the bell, there a modern innovation.) No sound but its own distant deadened one, was heard within; but some dog in the rear barked, and then howled, as if alarmed at the sudden breach of long prevailing silence. Again she rang—again the troubled growl and bark, suppressed by fear of the only living thing, as it seemed, within hearing, alone responded. The situation was very solitary, the only adjacent house, the hall, being yet tenantless, and night was gathering fast; for that storm which had first detained her in the lofty region, (where a darker storm had gathered round her mind and soul,) had desolated the lower country all day, flooded the brooks, and delayed her on the road during several hours.

She fancied a sort of suppressed commotion within, as of whisperings and stealthy steps, and one voice she clearly overheard, but it was not her father's. Whether it was that of Lewis (who, however, was not yet residing there) she knew not, never having heard it in her life; he avoiding, as was stated, direct intercourse with her—disappearing "like a guilty thing" whenever her figure appeared in distant approach. What should this mean? Wild fears, even superstitious ones, of some indefinite ill or horror impending, began to shake her forced fortitude, as she stood, half-fearing to ring again—again to hear the melancholy voice of the dog, as of one lost—to wait—listen—and dream of—David—death—murder—or even worse, till even the giant horror—the jail!—and the white-headed prisoner, shrank before the present ominous mystery—ominous of she knew not what, therefore involving every thing dreadful. Meanwhile, the swinging of the large oak branches in the close of a squally day, their groaning, and the vast glooms that their foliage shed all below, the twilight rapidly deepening into confirmed night, all tended to the inspiration of a wild unearthly melancholy. Suddenly the door was opened, while she hesitated to ring again, and by a black man! Persons of colour are rarely seen inland, in Wales, and Winifred had never visited a seaport of any consequence; so that even this was almost a shock. She quickly, however, guessed that this was a servant of the "Nabob," brought over with him. The man, learning her name, bade her enter, adding, that she would see her father soon, but that "massa" was within, settling some affairs with Mr Lewis, and begged to see her. A sort of grim grin, though joined to a deference that seemed, to her troubled and broken spirit, and sunken heart, a cruel mockery, relaxed the man's features, and half shocked, half irritated her. Her spirits, however, rose with the occasion, [Pg 111] demanding all her fortitude and all her tact; for now she was to make that impression on this terrible suitor's fancy, through which alone she could work out her father's salvation. In a few minutes more, she stood in the same apartment with her David's detested rival! The embers of a large fire, decayed, cast red twilight, which made it appear already dark without; and there he stood, at the long room's extreme end, between her and the hearth.

To Winifred, the personal attributes of the man, whom in her awful resolve she regarded merely as the instrument of that filial good work, were utterly indifferent; yet she stopped—she shuddered—and trembled all over, as she caught the mere outline of his figure by the fire-light. There he was! to her idea, the embodied evil genius of her family! the sullen apostate from the finer part of love—the victim of satiety, (as rumour said,) the selfish contemner of women's better feelings!—indifferent to all but person in his election of a wife; willing to unite himself with one whose heart and mind were stranger to him, on bare report of her health and beauty, and some slight recollections of her childhood! Seeing her stop, and even totter, he advanced a few steps; but she, with the instinctive recoil and antipathy of some feeble creature from its natural enemy, retreated at his first movement—and, shocked by this betrayed repugnance, he again stood irresolute. Then rushed back upon her heart, with all the horror of novelty, the renunciation of poor David, now it was on the point of being sealed for ever. Now father, mother, all beside, was forgotten—the ghastliness of a terrible struggle within, the stern horror of confirmed despair, began to disguise her beauty as with a death-pale mask—the features grew rigid, her heart beat audibly, her ears rang and tingled, and sight grew dim. She was fainting, falling. Mr Fitzarthur sprang to support her, but putting his arms too boldly round her waist, that detested freedom at once startled her into temporary self-possession, back into life. She gasped, struggled against him, as if she had rather have fallen than have been supported by him; and turned to him that white face, white even to the lips, imploringly, where was still depicted her unconquerable aversion. Some astonishment seemed to rivet that look upon his face, but half-visible by the dusky light—astonishment no longer painful, when the Nabob, emboldened, renewed his now permitted clasp, and only uttering "My dear! don't you know me?" in the tenderest tone to which ever manly voice was modulated, increased his grasp to a passionate embrace, advanced his face—his mouth to hers, advanced and pressed unresisted—and before her bewildered eyes closed in that fainting fit which had been but suspended, stood revealed to them (as proved by one delighted smile, flashed out of all the settled gloom of that countenance,) as her heart's own David—no longer the night—wandering poor Telynwr, but David Fitzarthur of Talylynn, Esq.

The story of the eccentric East Indian may be shortly told. From childhood he was the victim of excessive morbid sensibility, and constitutional melancholy. The jovial habits of his good-natured Welsh uncle were repugnant to his nature; and after becoming an orphan, the solitary boy had no human object on which the deep capacity for tenderness of his occult nature could be exerted. Thus forced by his fate into solitariness of habits, and secreted emotions, he was deemed unsocial, and reproached for what he felt was his misfortune—the being wholly misunderstood by those his early lot was cast among. Hence his perverted ardour of affection was misplaced on the lower living world—dog, cat, or owl, whatever chance made his companions. Returning to India, where he had known two parents, to meet no longer the tenderness of even one, the melancholy boy-exile (for Wales he ever regarded as his country) increased in morbid estrangement from mankind, as he increased in years; till his maturity nearly realized the misanthropic unsocial character for which his youth had been unjustly reproached. Though in the high road to a splendid fortune, he loathed East Indian society, far beyond all former loathing of fox-hunters and topers in Wales, whose green mountains now became (conformably to the nature, "semper varium et mutabile," of the melancholic) the very idols of his romantic regrets and [Pg 112] fondest memory. In India were neither green fields nor green hearts. External nature and human nature appeared equally to languish under that enfeebling hot death in the atmosphere, which seemed to wither female beauty in the moment that it ripened. The pallidness of the European beauties, sickly as the clime, disgusted him—their venality still more. Female fortune-hunters were far more intolerable to his delicacy than the coarsest hunter of vermin—fox or hare—ever had been at his uncle's hall, whom he began to esteem, and sincerely mourned—when death had removed all of him from his memory but his kindness, his desire to amuse him, the "sulky boy," his substantial goodness and warm-heartedness. Knowing that every female in his circle was well informed of his ample fortune, still accumulating, he fancied art, deceit, coquetry in every smile and glance, (for suspicion of human hearts and motives ever besets the melancholic character;) and thus, it was natural that he should sometimes sigh over the idea of some fresh mountain beauty, not trained by parents in the art and to the task of husband-hunting. Even the soft-faced child, just growing into woman, who had held her pinafore for fruit, in the orchard, whose half-fallen apple-tree was his almost constant seat, floated across his vacant, yet restless mind. In truth, when she surprised him in his part of sexton to his owl, she had evinced rather more sympathy than she had admitted to his other self, David the wood-wanderer; and though she had indeed laughed, it was with tears in her eyes, elicited by one she detected in the shy averted orbs of his. Yet was the sweetness of the little Welsh girl left behind, for a long time, even when manhood failed to banish its idea, no more than his statue to Pygmalion, or his watery image to Narcissus. But having no female society, save those marketable forms that he distrusted and despised; yet pining, in his romantic refinement, for pure passion—for reciprocal passion—panting to be loved for himself alone, he kept imagining her developed graces, exaggerating the conceit of some childish tenderness toward himself, his position and his nervous infirmity keeping a solitude of soul and heart ever round him, into which no female form had free and constant admission, but that aërial one, the little Winifred, of far, far off, green Wales! The promise of pure beauty, which her childhood gave, his dream fulfilled; and his imagination seized and cherished the beautiful cloud, painted by fancy, till it became the goddess of his idolatry, though conscious of the self-delusion, and retained with that tenacity conceivable, perhaps, to the morbidly sensitive alone. The habit of yielding to the importunity of one idea, strengthens itself; every recurrence of it produces quicker sensibility to the next; deeper and deeper impression follows, till one form of mania supervenes—that which consists in the undue mastery and eternal presence of one idea.

Childish and fugitive as it seemed, a passion had actually commenced in his boy's heart, which clung to that of the man, though under the same light, fragile, and dreamlike form. Poetry might liken it to the mere frothy foam of the infant cataract, when it gushes out of the breast of the mountain to the rising sun, which, arrested by an intense frost, ere it can fall, in the very act of evanishing, there hangs, still hangs, the mere air-bubbles congealed into crystal vesicles, defying all the force of the mounted sun to dissipate their delicate white beauty, evanescent as it looks. The chill and the impenetrability of heart, kept by circumstances within him, such frost might typify—that pure, fragile-seeming, yet durable passion, that snow-foam of the waterfall. True it was that this fantastic fancy had the power to draw him to his Welsh patrimony earlier than worldly ambition would have warranted. But his after conduct—his actual overtures were not so wildly romantic, as might appear from the foregoing narrative; but of this in the sequel.

And where was her father—mother? Why had the law been allowed by this eccentric lover to violate the humble sanctuary of home, at the desolate Llaneol? What was become of the wicker chair? Was the hated Lewis to be maintained in his usurpation of the chair of Bevan's ancestral post of steward, (for his father had been steward to the father of the squire deceased?) Above all, was Dame Bevan to see that home of her heart's hope, the permanent home [Pg 113] of the harsh supplanter of her husband? Passing over the affecting scene of poor Winifred's fainting, which drew round her father and mother, and others from below, proceed we to answer those queries and conclude our tale.

When perfectly restored, Winifred, leaning on the arm of her future husband, accompanied her parents down into the comfortable kitchen, where, by a huge fire, stood the veritable wicker chair, familiar to her eyes from infancy, rickety as ever, but surviving its desecration by the boys at the auction; and looking round, she saw standing the whole solid old oaken furniture, coffers, dressers, &c., even to the same bright brazen skillets, pewter dishes, and sundries—the pride of Mistress Bevan's heart, the splendour of better days. Mr Fitzarthur led the old man by the hand to his own chair, his wife to another; and then, having seated himself by their daughter, began, over the fumes of tea and coffee, (the honours of which pleasant meal, so needful after her agitation, he solicited Winifred to perform,) to narrate various matters, which we must condense into a nutshell.

To their surprise and amusement, they now learned that the hated "spy" who had prowled round their folds and fields so long, would resign to Mistress Bevan the house in which they sat, and that atonement made, vanish into thin air—a vox et preterea nihil! being in reality the Proteus-like, mysterious, handsome, though sallow stranger, and no stranger, sitting among them!

We said that Mr Fitzarthur's conduct in espousing this long-unseen mistress of his fancy, was not quite so extraordinary and wild as it appeared. For coming back grown into maturity, and altered by climate in complexion and all characteristics, he found himself quite unrecognised, and conceived the idea of at once reconnoitring his dilapidated estate, and watching the conduct of his long-remembered Winifred. Two disguises seemed necessary toward these two purposes, and he adopted the two we have seen, one on the "hither side Tivy," the other on the "far side Tivy," which his coracle allowed him to cross at pleasure. His close watch of the blameless girl's whole life confirmed the warm and romantic wishes of his soul, which her beauty inspired—that beauty as fully confirming the vision of his love-dream when far and long away.

It was during the alarm of her prolonged fainting, produced by the surprise of this discovery, and the previous agitations, (whereby, perhaps, the prudence rather than the affection of the eccentric lover was impeached,) that her mother, searching her pocket for a bottle of volatile salts, turned forth the letter lately referred to, melancholy evidence of the desperate extremity to which two powerful antagonist passions—love, and filial love—had driven a mind not unfortified by religion, but beleaguered by despair and all its powers, till resolution failed, and peril impended over an otherwise almost spotless soul.

As the old man's affections were not wholly weaned from Llaneol, ruinous as it was, his son-in-law had it restored as a temporary summer residence for the old people, as well as occasionally for himself and his beloved bride.

It hardly needs to be told, that the arrest and its executors were but parts of the delusion, the amount of real infliction being no more than a ride in a fine morning of some miles. Whether the whole, as involving some little added trouble of mind to that whose whole weight he was going so soon to remove, was too severe a penance for the steward's neglect, may be variously judged by various readers. In the halcyon days that followed, Winifred never forgot the place on the Tivy bank where she slept and dropped her book; nor did the happy husband, melancholic no more, forsake his coracle or his harp utterly, but would often serenade his lady-love (albeit his wedded love also) on some golden evening, as she sat among the cowslips and harebells, that enamelled with floral blue and gold the greensward bank of the Tivy, under the fine sycamore tree—the "trysting-place" of their romantic assignations.


[20] Harper.

[21] St Elian.—A saint of Wales. There is a well bearing his name; one of the many of the holy wells, or Ffynnonan, in Wales. A man whom Mr Pennant had affronted, threatened him with this terrible vengeance. Pins, or other little offerings, are thrown in, and the curses uttered over them.

[22] In the "History of the Gwyder Family," it is stated, that some members of a leading family in the reign of Henry VII., being denounced as "Llawrnds," murderers, (from Llawrnd, red or bloody hand,) and obliged to fly the country, returned at last, and lived long disguised, in the woods and caves, being dressed all in green; so that "when they were espied by the country people, all took them for the "Tylwyth Têg, the fair family," and straight ran away.

[Pg 114]




From the grand achievements of Glorious John, one experiences a queer revulsion of the currency in the veins in passing to the small doings of Messrs Betterton, Ogle, and Co., in 1737 and 1741; and again, to the still smaller of Mr Lipscomb in 1795, in the way of modernizations of Chaucer. Who was Mr Betterton, nobody, we presume, now knows; assuredly he was not Pope, though there is something silly to that effect in Joseph Warton, which is repeated by Malone. "Mr Harte assured me," saith Dr Joseph, "that he was convinced by some circumstances which Fenton had communicated to him, that Pope wrote the characters that make the introduction (the Prologue) to the Canterbury Tales, published under the name of Betterton." Betterton is bitter bad; Ogle, "wersh as cauld parritch without sawte!" Lipscomb is a jewel. In a postscript to his preface he says, "I have barely time here, the tales being already almost all printed off, to apologize to the reader for having inserted my own translation of The Nun's Priest's Tale, instead of that of Dryden; but the fact is, I did not know that Dryden's version existed; for having undertaken to complete those of the Canterbury Tales which were wanting in Ogle's collection, and the tale in question not being in that collection, I proceeded to supply it, having never till very lately, strange as it may seem, seen the volume of Dryden's Fables in which it may be found!!"

It is diverting to hear the worthy who, in 1795, had never seen Dryden's Fables, offering to the public the first completed collection of the Canterbury Tales in a modern version, "under the reasonable confidence that the improved taste in poetry, and the extended cultivation of that, in common with all the other elegant arts, which so strongly characterizes the present day, will make the lovers of verse look up to the old bard, the father of English poetry, with a veneration proportioned to the improvements they have made in it." It grieves him to think that the language in which Chaucer wrote "has decayed from under him." That reason alone, he says, can justify the attempt of exhibiting him in a modern dress; and he tells us that so faithfully has he adhered to the great original, that they who have not given their time to the study of the old language, "must either find a true likeness of Chaucer exhibited in this version, or they will find it nowhere else." With great solemnity he says, "Thence I have imposed it on myself as a duty somewhat sacred to deviate from my original as little as possible in the sentiment, and have often in the language adopted his own expressions, the simplicity and effect of which have always forcibly struck me, wherever the terms he uses (and that happens not unfrequently) are intelligible to modern ears." Yes—Gulielme Lipscomb, thou wert indeed a jewel.

Happy would he have been to accompany his version of Chaucer with notes. "But though the version itself has been an agreeable and easy rural occupation, yet in a remote village, near 250 miles from London, the very books, trifling as they may seem, to which it would be necessary to refer to illustrate [Pg 115] the manners of the 14th century, were not to be procured; and parochial and other engagements would not admit of absence sufficient to consult them where they are to be found; it is not therefore for want of deference to the opinions of those who have recommended a body of notes that they do not accompany these Tales." Yes—Gulielme, thou wert a jewel.

It is, however, but too manifest from his alleged versions, that not only did Mr Lipscomb of necessity eschew the perusal of "the books, trifling as they may seem, to which it would be necessary to refer to illustrate the manners of the 14th century," but that he continued to his dying day almost as ignorant of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales as of Dryden's Fables.

In his preface he tells one very remarkable falsehood. "The Life of Chaucer, and the Introductory Discourse to the Canterbury Tales, are taken from the valuable edition of his original works published by Mr Tyrwhitt." The Introductory Discourse is so taken; but it is plain that poor, dear, fibbing Willy Lipscomb had not looked into it, for it contradicts throughout all the statements in the life of Chaucer, which is not from Tyrwhitt, but clumsily cribbed piecemeal by Willy himself from that rambling and inaccurate one by a Mr Thomas in Urry's edition. Lipscomb is lying on our table, and we had intended to quote a few specimens of him and his predecessor Ogle; but another volume that had fallen aside a year or two ago, has of itself mysteriously reappeared—and a few words of it in preference to other "haverers."

Mr Horne, the author of "The False Medium," "Orion," the "Spirit of the Age," and some other clever brochures in prose and in verse, in the laboured rather than elaborate introduction to "The Poems of Geoffrey Chaucer, modernized," (1841,) by Leigh Hunt, Wordsworth, Robert Bell, Thomas Powell, Elizabeth Barrett, and Zachariah Azed, gives us some threescore pages on Chaucer's versification; but, though they have an imposing air at first sight, on inspection they prove stark-naught. He seems to have a just enough general notion of the principle of the verse in the Canterbury Tales; but with the many ways of its working—the how, the why, and the wherefore—he is wholly unacquainted, though he dogmatizes like a doctor. He soon makes his escape from the real difficulties with which the subject is beset, and mouths away at immense length and width about what he calls "the secret of Chaucer's rhythm in his heroic verse, which has been the baffling subject of so much discussion among scholars, a trifling increase in the syllables occasionally introduced for variety, and founded upon the same laws of contraction by apostrophe, syncope, &c., as those followed by all modern poets; but employed in a more free and varied manner, all the words being fully written out, the vowels sounded, and not subjected to the disruption of inverted commas, as used in after times." This "secret" was patent to all the world before Mr Horne took pen in hand, and his eternal blazon of it is too much now for ears of flesh and blood. The modernized versions, however, are respectably executed—Leigh Hunt's admirably; and we hope for another volume. But Mr Horne himself must be more careful in his future modernizations. The very opening of the Prologue is not happy.

In Chaucer it runs thus:—

"Whannè that April with his shourès sote The droughte of March hath perced to the rote, And bathed every veine in swiche licour, Of whiche vertue engendered is the flour; [Pg 116] When Zephyrus eke with his sotè brethe, Enspired hath in every holt and hethe The tendre croppès, and the yongè sonne Hath in the Ram his halfè cours yronne, And smalè foulès maken melodie, That slepen allè night with open eye, So priketh hem nature in hire corages; Than longen folk to gon on pilgrimages, And palmeres for to seken strangè strondes, To servè halwes couthe in sondry londes," &c.

Thus modernized by Mr Home:—

"When that sweet April showers with downward shoot The drought of March have pierc'd unto the root, And bathed every vein with liquid power, Whose virtue rare engendereth the flower; When Zephyrus also with his fragrant breath Inspirèd hath in every grove and heath The tender shoots of green, and the young sun Hath in the Ram one half his journey run, And small birds in the trees make melody, That sleep and dream all night with open eye; So nature stirs all energies and ages That folk are bent to go on pilgrimages," &c.

Look back to Chaucer's own lines, and you will see that Mr Horne's variations are all for the worse. How flat and tame "sweet April showers," in comparison with "April with his shourès sote." In Chaucer the month comes boldly on, in his own person—in Mr Horne he is diluted into his own showers. 'Tis ominous thus to stumble on the threshold. "Downward shoot" is very bad indeed in itself, and all unlike the natural strength of Chaucer. "Liquid power" is even worse and more unlike; and most tautological the "virtue of power." In Chaucer the virtue is in the "licour." "Rare" is poorly dropped in to fill up. Chaucer purposely uses "sotè" twice—and the repetition tells. Mr Horne must needs change it into "fragrant." "In the trees" is not in Chaucer—for he knew that "smalè foulès" shelter in the "hethe" as well as in the "holt"—among broom and bracken, and heath and rushes. Chaucer does not say, as Mr Horne does, that the birds dream—he leaves you to think for yourself whether they do so or not, while sleeping with open eye all night. Such conjectural emendations are injurious to Chaucer. We presume Mr Horne believes he has authority for applying "so pricketh hem nature in hire corages" to the folks that "longen to go on pilgrimages"—and not to the "smalè foulès." Or is it intended for a happy innovation? To us it seems an unhappy blunder—taking away a fine touch of nature from Chaucer, and hardening it into horn; while "all energies and ages" is indeed a free and affected version of "corages." "For to wander thro'," is a mistranslation of "to seken;" and to "sing the holy mass," is not the meaning of to "servè halwes couthe," i.e. to worship saints known, &c.

Turning over a couple of leaves, we behold a modernization of the antique with a vengeance—

"His son, a young squire, with him there I saw, A lover and a lusty bachelor! (aw) (ah!) With locks crisp curl'd, as they'd been laid in press, Of twenty year of age he was, I guess."

Chaucer never once in all his writings thus rhymes off two consecutive couplets in one sentence so slovenly, as with "I saw," and "I guess." But Mr Horne is so enamoured "with the old familiar faces" of pet cockneyisms, that he must have his will of them. Of the same squire, Chaucer says—

"Of his stature he was of even length;"

and Mr Horne translates the words into—

"He was in stature of the common length,"

They mean "well proportioned." Of this young squire, Chaucer saith—

"So hote he loved, that by nightertale He slep no more than doth the nightingale."

We all know how the nightingale employs the night—and here it is implied that so did the lover. Mr Horne spoils all by an affected prettiness suggested by a misapplied passage in Milton.

"His amorous ditties nightly fill'd the vale; He slept no more than doth the nightingale."

Chaucer says of the Prioresse—

"Full well she sang the servicè divine Entunèd in hire nose ful swetèly."

Mr Horne must needs say—

"Entuned in her nose with accent sweet."

The accent, to our ears, is lost in the pious snivel—pardon the somewhat unclerical word.

Chaucer says of her—-

"Ful semèly after hire meat she raught,"

which Mr Horne improves into—-

"And for her meat Full seemly bent she forward on her seat."

Chaucer says—

[Pg 117]
"And peined hire to contrefeten chere Of court, and been astatelich of manere, And to be holden digne of reverence."

That is, she took pains to imitate the manners of the Court, &c.; whereas Mr Horne, with inconceivable ignorance of the meaning of words that occur in Chaucer a hundred times, writes "it gave her pain to counterfeit the ways of Court," thereby reversing the whole picture.

"And French she spake full fayre and fetisly,"

he translates "full properly and neat!" Dryden rightly calls her "the mincing Prioress;" Mr Horne wrongly says, "she was evidently one of the most high-bred and refined ladies of her time."

Chaucer says, of that "manly man," the Monk—

"Ne that a monk, when he is rekkeless, Is like to a fish that is waterless; This is to say, a monk out of his cloistre. This ilkè text held he not worth an oistre."

Mr Horne here modernizeth thus—

"Or that a monk beyond his bricks and mortar, Is like a fish without a drop of water, That is to say, a monk out of his cloister."

There can be no mortar without water, but the words do not rhyme except to Cockney ears, though the blame lies at the door of the mouth. "Bricks and mortar" is an odd and somewhat vulgar version of "rekkeless;" and to say that a monk "beyond his bricks and mortar" is a monk "out of his cloister," is not in the manner of Chaucer, or of any body else.

Chaucer says slyly of the Frere, that

"He hadde ymade ful mony a mariage Of yongè women, at his owen coste;"

and Mister Horne brazen-facedly,

"Full many a marriage had he brought to bear, For women young, and paid the cost with sport."

O fie, Mister Horne! To hide our blushes, will no maiden for a moment lend us her fan? We cover our face with our hands.—Of this same Frere, Mr Horne, in his introduction, when exposing the faults of another translator, says that "Chaucer shows us the quaint begging rogue playing his harp among a crowd of admiring auditors, and turning up his eyes with an attempted expression of religious enthusiasm;" but Chaucer does no such thing, nor was the Frere given to any such practice.

Of the Clerk of Oxenford, Chaucer says, he "loked holwe, and thereto soberly." Mr Horne needlessly adds "ill-fed." Chaucer says—

"Ful threadbare was his overest courtepy."

Mr Horne modernizes it into—

"His uppermost short cloak was a bare thread."

Why exaggerate so? Chaucer says—

"But all that he might of his frendes hente On bokès and on lerning he it spente."

Mr Horne says—

"But every farthing that his friends e'er lent."

They did not lend, they gave outright to the poor scholar.

The Reve's Prologue opens thus in Chaucer—

"Whan folk han laughed at this nicè cas Of Absalom and hendy Nicholas."

Mr Horne says—

"Of Absalom and credulous Nicholas!"

He manifestly mistakes the sly scholar for the credulous carpenter, whom on the tenderest point he outwitted! To those who know the nature of the story, the blunder is extreme.

What is to be thought of such rhymes as these?

"And for to drink strong wine as red as blood, Then would he jest, and shout as he were mad."
"Toward the mill, the bay nag in his hand, The miller sitting by the fire they found."
"And on she went, till she the cradle found, While through the dark still groping with her hand."
[Pg 118]

These to our ears, are not happy modernizations of Chaucer.

Here come a few more Cockneyisms.

"Alas! our warden's palfrey it is gone. Allen at once forgot both meal and corn."
"Allen stole back, and thought ere that it dawn, I will creep in by John that lieth forlorn."
"For, from the town Arviragus was gone, But to herself she spoke thus, all forlorn."
"Aurelius, thinking of his substance gone, Curseth the time that ever he was born."
"An arm-brace wore he that was rich and broad, And by his side a buckler and a sword."
"Now grant my ship, that some smooth haven win her; I follow Statius first, and then Corinna."

Alas! this worst of all is Elizabeth Barrett's! "Well of English undefiled!"

In Chaucer we have—

"A Sergeant of the Lawè, ware and wise, That often hadde yben at the Parvis."

Mr Horne gives us—

"A Sergeant of the Law, wise, wary, arch! Who oft had gossip'd long in the church porch."

The word "arch" is here interpolated to give some colour to the charge of "gossiping," absurdly asserted of the learned Sergeant. The Parvis was the place of conference, where suitors met with their counsel and legal advisers; and Chaucer merely intimates thereby the extent of the Sergeant's practice. In Chaucer we have—

"In termès hadde he cas and domès alle That fro the time of King Will. weren falle."

Who does not see the propriety of the customary contraction, King Will.? Mr Horne does not; and substitutes, "since King William's reign."

Of the Frankelein Chaucer says, he was

"An housholder, and that a gret was he;"

the context plainly showing the meaning to be, "hospitable on a great scale." Mr Horne ignorantly translates the words,

"A householder of great extent was he."

In Chaucer we have—

"His table dormant in his halle alway Stood ready covered all the longè day."

The meaning of that is, that any person, or party, might sit down, at any hour of the day, and help himself to something comfortable, as indeed is the case now in all country houses worth Visiting—such as Buchanan Lodge. Mr Horne stupidly exaggerates thus—

"His table with repletion heavy lay Amidst his hall throughout the feast-long day."

In the prologue to the Reve's Tale, the Reve, nettled by the miller, who had been satirical on his trade, says he will

"somdel set his howve For leful is with force force off to showve."

"Howve" is cap—and in the Miller's Prologue we had been told

"How that a clerk had set the wrightès cappe;"

that is, "made a fool" of him—nay, a cuckold. Mr. Horne,

"Though my reply should somewhat fret his nose."

In Chaucer the Reve's tale begins with

"At Trumpington, not far from Cantebrigge, There goeth a brook, and over that a brigge."

Mr Horne saith somewhat wilfully.

"At Trumpington, near Cambridge, if you look, There goeth a bridge, and under that a brook."

Two Cantabs ask leave of their Warden

"To geve hem leve but a litel stound, To gon to mill and sen hire corn yground."

i.e. "to give them leave for a short time." Mr Horne translates it, "for a merry round."

[Pg 119]

In the course of the tale, the miller's wife

"Came leping inward at a renne."

i.e. "Came leaping into the room at a run." Mr Horne translates it—

"The miller's wife came laughing inwardly!"

Chaucer says—

"This miller hath so wisly bibbed ale."

And Mr Horne, with incredible ignorance of the meaning of that word, says—

"The miller hath so wisely bobbed of ale."

So wisely that he was "for-drunken"—and "as a horse he snorteth in his sleep."

In Chaucer the description of the miller's daughter ends with this line—

"But right faire was hire here, I will not lie,"

i.e. her hair. Mr Horne translates it "was she here."

But there is no end to such blunders.

In Chaucer, as in all our old poets of every degree, there occur, over and over again, such forms of natural expression as the following,—and when they do occur, let us have them; but what a feeble modernizer must he be who keeps adding to the number till he gives his readers the ear-ache. Not one of the following is in the original:—

"At Algeziras, in Granada, he,"
"At many a noble fight of ships was he."
"For certainly a prelate fair was he."
"In songs and tales the prize o'er all bore he."
"And a poor parson of a town was he."
"Such had he often proved, and loath was he."
"In youth a good trade practised well had he."
"Lordship and servitude at once hath he."
"And die he must as echo did, said he."
"Madam this is impossible, said he."
"Save wretched Aurelius none was sad but he."
"And said thus when this last request heard he."

In like manner, in Chaucer as in all our old poets of every degree, there occur over and over again such natural forms of expression as "I wot," "I wis"—and where they do occur let us have them too and be thankful; but poverty-stricken in the article of rhymes must be he, who is perpetually driven to resort to such expedients as the following—all of which are Mr Horne's own:—

"Of fees and robes he many had, I ween."
"And yet this manciple made them fools, I wot."
"This Reve upon stallion sat, I wot."
"Than the poor parson in two months, I wot."
"For certainly when I was born, I trow."
"A small stalk in mine eyes he sees, I deem."
"There were two scholars young and poor, I trow."
"John lieth still and not far off, I trow."
"Eastern astrologers and clerks, I wis."
"This woful heart found some reprieve, I wis."
"Unto his brother's bed he came, I wis."
"And now Aurelius ever, as I ween."
"That she could not sustain herself, I ween."

Mr Horne, in his Introduction, unconscious of his own sins, speaks with due contempt of the modernizations of Chaucer by Ogle and Lipscomb and their coadjutors, and of the injury they may have done to the reputation of the old poet. But whatever injury they may have occasioned, "there can be doubt," he says, "of the mischief done by Mr Pope's obscene specimen, placed at the head of his list of 'Imitations of English Poets.' It is an imitation of those passages which we should only regard as the rank offal of a great feast in the olden time. The better taste and feeling of Pope should have imitated the noble poetry of Chaucer. He avoided this 'for sundry weighty reasons.' But if this so-called imitation by Pope was 'done in his youth' he should have burnt it in his age. Its publication at the present day among his elegant works, is a disgrace to modern times, and to his high reputation." Not so fast and strong, good Mister Horne. The six-and-twenty octosyllabic lines thus magisterially denounced by our stern moralist in the middle of the nineteenth century, have had a place in Pope's works for a hundred years, and it is too late now to seek to delete them. They were written by Pope in his fourteenth or fifteenth year, and gross [Pg 120] as they are, are pardonable in a boy of precocious genius, giving way for a laughing hour to his sense of the grotesque. Joe Warton (not Tom) pompously calls them "a gross and dull caricature of the Father of English Poetry." And Mr Bowles says, "he might have added, it is disgusting as it is dull, and no more like Chaucer than a Billingsgate is like an Oberea." It is not dull, but exceedingly clever; and Father Geoffrey himself would have laughed at it—patted Pope on the head—and enjoined him for the future to be more discreet. Roscoe, like a wise man, regards it without horror—remarking of it, and the boyish imitation of Spenser, that "why these sportive and characteristic sketches should be brought to so severe an ordeal, and pointed out to the reprehension of the reader as gross and disagreeable, dull and disgusting, it is not easy to perceive." Old Joe maunders when he says, "he that was unacquainted with Spenser, and was to form his ideas of the turn and manner of his genius from this piece, would undoubtedly suppose that he abounded in filthy images, and excelled in describing the lower scenes of life." Let all such blockheads suppose what they choose. Pope—says Roscoe—"was well aware as any one of the superlative beauties and merits of Spenser, whose works he assiduously studied, both in his early and riper years; but it was not his intention in these few lines to give a serious imitation of him. All that he attempted was to show how exactly he could apply the language and manner of Spenser to low and burlesque subjects; and in this he has completely succeeded. To compare these lines, as Dr Warton has done, with those more extensive and highly-finished productions, the Castle of Indolence by Thomson, and the Minstrel by Beattie, is manifestly unjust"—and stupidly absurd. What Mr Horne means by saying that Pope "avoided imitating the noble poetry of Chaucer for sundry weighty reasons," is not apparent at first sight. It means, however, that Pope could not have done so—that the feat was beyond his power. The author of the Messiah and the Eloïse wrote tolerable poetry of his own; and he knew how to appreciate, and to emulate, too, some of the finest of Chaucer's. Why did Mr Horne not mention his Temple of Fame? A more childish sentence never was written than "its publication at the present day among his elegant works is a disgrace to modern times, and to his high reputation." Pope's reputation is above reproach, enshrined in honour for evermore, and modern times are not so Miss Mollyish as to sympathize with such sensitive censorship of an ingeniously versified peccadillo, at which our avi and proavi could not choose but smile.

But Mr Horne, thinking, that in this case "the child is father of the man," rates Pope as roundly for what he seems to suppose were the misdemeanours of his manhood. "Of the highly-finished paraphrase, by Mr Pope, of the 'Wife of Bath's Prologue,' and 'The Merchant's Tale,' suffice it to say, that the licentious humour of the original being divested of its quaintness and obscurity (!) becomes yet more licentious in proportion to the fine touches of skill with which it is brought into the light. Spontaneous coarseness is made revolting by meretricious artifice. Instead of keeping in the distance that which was objectionable, by such shades in the modernizing as should have answered to the hazy appearance (!) of the original, it receives a clear outline, and is brought close to us. An ancient Briton, with his long rough hair and painted body, laughing and singing half-naked under a tree, may be coarse, yet innocent of all intention to offend; but if the imagination (absorbing the anachronism) can conceive him shorn of this falling hair, his paint washed off, and in this uncovered stated introduced into a drawing-room full of ladies in rouge and diamonds, hoops [Pg 121] and hair-powder, no one can doubt the injury thus done to the ancient Briton. This is no unfair illustration of what was done in the time of Pope," &c.

It may be "no unfair illustration," and certainly is no unludicrous one. We must all of us allow, that were an ancient Briton, habited, or rather unhabited, as above, to bounce into a modern drawing-room full of ladies, whether in rouge and diamonds, hoops and hair-powder, or not, the effect of such entrée would be prodigious on the fair and fluttered Volscians. Our imagination, "absorbing the anachronism," ensconces us professionally behind a sofa, to witness and to record the scene. How different in nature Christopher North and R.H. Horne! While he would be commiserating "the injury thus done to the ancient Briton," we should be imploring our savage ancestor to spare the ladies. "Innocent of all intention to offend" might be Caractacus, but to the terrified bevy he would seem the king of the Cannibal Islands at least. What protection against the assault of a savage, almost in puris naturalibus, could be hoped for in their hoops! Yet who knows but that, on looking round and about, he might himself be frightened out of his senses? An ancient Briton, with his long rough hair and painted body, may laugh and sing by himself, half-naked under a tree, and in his own conceit be a match for any amount of women. But shorn of his falling hair, and without a streak of paint on his cheeks, verily his heart might be found to die within him, before furies with faces fiery with rouge, and heads horrent with pomatum—till instinctively he strove to roll himself up in the Persian carpet, and there prayed for deliverance to his tutelary gods.

Our imagination having thus "absorbed the anachronism," let us now leave Caractacus in the carpet—while our reason has recourse to the philosophy of criticism. Mr Horne asserts, that in "Mr Pope's" highly-finished paraphrase of the "Wife of Bath's Prologue," and the "Merchant's Tale," "the licentious humour of the original is divested of its quaintness and obscurity, and becomes yet more licentious in proportion to the fine touches of skill with which it is brought into the light." Quaintness and obscurity!! Why, everything in those tales is as plain as a pike-staff, and clearer than mud. "The hazy appearance of the original" indeed! What! of the couple in the Pear-Tree? Mr Horne spitefully and perversely misrepresents the character of Pope's translations. They are remarkably free from the vice he charges them withal—and have been admitted to be so by the most captious critics. Many of the very strong things in Chaucer, which you may call coarse and gross if you will, are omitted by Pope, and many softened down; nor is there a single line in which the spirit is not the spirit of satire. The folly of senile dotage is throughout exposed as unsparingly, though with a difference in the imitation, as in the original. Even Joseph Warton and Bowles, affectedly fastidious over-much as both too often are, and culpably prompt to find fault, acknowledge that Pope's versions are blameless. "In the art of telling a story," says Bowles, "Pope is peculiarly happy; we almost forget the grossness of the subject of this tale, (the Merchant's,) while we are struck by the uncommon ease and readiness of the verse, the suitableness of the expression, and the spirit and happiness of the whole." While Dr Warton, sensibly remarking, "that the character of a fond old dotard, betrayed into disgrace by an unsuitable match, is supported in a lively manner," refrains from making himself ridiculous by mealy-mouthed moralities which on such a subject every person of sense and honesty must despise. Mr Horne keeps foolishly carping at Pope, or "Mr Pope," as he sometimes calls him, throughout his interminable—no, not interminable—his hundred-paged Introduction. He abominates Pope's Homer, and groans to think how it has corrupted the English ear by its long domination in our schools. He takes up, with leathern lungs, the howl of the Lakers, and his imitative bray is louder than the original, "in linked sweetness long drawn out." Such sonorous strictures are innocent; but his false charge of licentiousness against Pope is most reprehensible—and it is insincere. For he has the sense to see Chaucer's broadest satire in its true light, and its fearless expositions. Yet from his justification of pictures and all their colouring in the ancient poet, that might well startle people by no means timid, he turns with frowning forehead and reproving hand to corresponding delineations in the modern, that stand less in need of it, and spits his spite on Pope, which we wipe off that it may not corrode. "This translation was done at sixteen [Pg 122] or seventeen," says Pope in a note to his January and May—and there is not, among the achievements of early genius, to be found another such specimen of finished art and of perfect mastery.

Mr. Horne has ventured to give in his volume the Reve's Tale. "It has been thought," he says, "that an idea of the extraordinary versatility of Chaucer's genius could not be adequately conveyed, unless one of his matter-of-fact comic tales were attempted. The Reve's has accordingly been selected, as presenting a graphic painting of character, equal to those contained in the 'Prologue to the Canterbury Tales,' displayed in action by means of a story, which may be designated as a broad farce, ending in a pantomime of absurd reality. To those who are acquainted with the original, an apology may not be considered inadmissible for certain necessary variations and omissions." For our part, we do not object to this tale, though at the commencement of such a work its insertion was ill-judged, and will endanger greatly the volume. But we do object to the hypocritical cant about the licentiousness of Pope's fine touches, from the person who wrote the above words in italics. Omissions there must have been—but they sadly shear the tale of its vigour, and indeed leave it not very intelligible to readers who know not the original. The variations are most unhappy—miserable indeed; and by putting the miller's daughter to lie in a closet at the end of a passage, this moral modernizer has killed Chaucer. In the matchless original all the night's action goes on in one room—and that not a large one—miller, miller's wife, miller's daughter, and the two strenuous Cantabs, are within the same four narrow walls—their beds nearly touch—the jeopardized cradle has just space to rock in—yet this self-elected expositor of Chaucer is either so blind as not to see how essential such allocation of the parties is to the wicked comedy, or such a blunderer as to believe that he can improve on the greatest master that ever dared, and with perfect success, to picture, without our condemnation—so wide is the privilege of genius in sportive fancy—what, but for the self-rectifying spirit of fiction, would have been an outrage on nature, and in the number not only of forbidden but unhallowed things. The passages interpolated by Mr Horne's own pen are as bad as possible—clownish and anti-Chaucerian to the last degree.

For example, he thus takes upon himself, in the teeth of Chaucer, to narrate Alein's night adventure—

"And up he rose, and crept along the floor, Into the passage humming with their snore; As narrow was it as a drum or tub, And like a beetle doth he grope and grub, Feeling his way, with darkness in his hands. Till at the passage end he stooping stands."

Chaucer tells us, without circumlocution, why the Miller's Wife for while had left her husband's side; but Mr Horne is intolerant of the indelicate, and thus elegantly paraphrases the one original word—

"The wife her routing ceased soon after that: And woke and left her bed; for she was pained With nightmare dreams of skies that madly rained. Eastern astrologers and clerks, I wis, In time of Apis tell of storms like this."

Such is modern refinement!

In Chaucer, the blind encounter between the Miller and one of the Cantabs, who, mistaking him for his comrade, had whispered into his ear what had happened during the night to his daughter, is thus comically described—

"Ye falsè harlot, quod the miller, hast? A falsè traitour, falsè clerk, (quod he) Thou shalt be deaf by Goddès dignitee, Who dorstè be so bold to disparage My daughter, that is come of swiche lineage. And by the throtè-bolle he caught Alein, And he him hente despiteously again, And on the nose he smote him with his fist; Down ran the bloody streme upon his brest; And on the flore with nose and mouth to-broke, They walwe, as don two piggès in a poke. [Pg 123] And up they gon, and down again anon, Till that the miller spurned at a stone, And down he fell backward upon his wif, That wistè nothing of this nicè strif, For she was falle aslepe, a litel wight with John the clerk," and ...

Here comes Mr Horne in his strength.

"Thou slanderous ribald! quoth the miller, hast! A traitor false, false lying clerk, quoth he, Thou shalt be slain by heaven's dignity Who rudely dar'st disparage with foul lie My daughter, that is come of lineage high! And by the throat he Allan grasp'd amain, And caught him, yet more furiously again, And on his nose he smote him with his fist! Down ran the bloody stream upon his breast, And on the floor they tumble heel and crown, And shake the house, it seem'd all coming down. And up they rise, and down again they roll: Till that the Miller, stumbling o'er a coal, Went plunging headlong like a bull at bait, And met his wife, and both fell flat as slate."

Mr Horne cannot read Chaucer. The Miller does not, as he makes him do, accuse the Cantab of falsely slandering his daughter's virtue. He does not doubt the truth of the unluckily blabbed secret; false harlot, false traitor, false clerk, are all words that tell his belief; but Mr Horne, not understanding "disparage," as it is here used by Chaucer, wholly mistakes the cause of the father's fury. He does not even know, that it is the Miller who gets the bloody nose, not the Cantab. "As don two piggès in a poke," he leaves out, preferring, as more picturesque, "And on the floor they tumble heel and crown!" "And shake the house—it seemed all coming down," is not in Chaucer, nor could be; but the crowning stupidity is that of making the Miller meet his wife, and upset her—she being all the while in bed, and now startled out of sleep by the weight of her fallen superincumbent husband. And this is modernizing Chaucer!

What, then—after all we have written about him—we ask, can, at this day, be done with Chaucer? The true answer is—read him. The late Laureate dared to think that every one might; and in his collection, or selection, of English poets, down to Habington inclusive, he has given the prologue, and half a dozen of the finest and most finished tales; believing that every earnest lover of English poetry would by degrees acquire courage and strength to devour and digest a moderately-spread banquet. Without doubt, Southey did well. It was a challenge to poetical Young England to gird up his loins and fall to his work. If you will have the fruit, said the Laureate, you must climb the tree. He bowed some heavily-laden branches down to your eye, to tempt you; but climb you must, if you will eat. He displayed a generous trust in the growing desire and capacity of the country for her own time-shrouded poetical treasures. In the same full volume, he gave the "Faerie Queene" from the first word to the last.

Let us hope boldly, as Southey hoped. But there are, in the present world, a host of excellent, sensitive readers, whose natural taste is perfectly susceptible of Chaucer, if he spoke their language; yet who have not the courage, or the leisure, or the aptitude, to master his. They must not be too hastily blamed if they do not readily reconcile themselves to a garb of thought which disturbs and distracts all their habitual associations. Consider, the 'ingenious feeling,' the vital sensibility, with which they apprehend their own English, may place the insurmountable barrier which opposes their access to the father of our poetry. What can be done for them?

In the first place, what is it that so much removes the language from us? It is removed by the words and grammatical forms that we have lost—by its real antiquity; perhaps more by an accidental semblance of antiquity—the orthography. That last may seem a small matter; but it is not.

There are three ways in which literary craftsmen have attempted to fill up, or bridge over, the gulf of time, [Pg 124] and bring the poet of Edward III. and Richard II. near to modern readers.

Dryden and Pope are the representatives, as they are the masters, of the first method; for the others who have trodden in their footsteps are hardly to be named or thought of. Dryden and Pope hold, in their own school of modernizing, this undoubted distinction, that under their treatment, that which was poetry remains poetry. Their followers have written, for the most part, intelligible English, but never poetry. They have told the story, and not that always; but they have distilled lethargy on the tongue of the narrator.—This first method the most boldly departs from the type. It was probably the only way that the culture of Dryden's and Pope's time admitted of. We have since gradually returned, more and more, upon our own antiquity, as all the nations of Europe have upon theirs. Then civilization seemed to herself to escape forwards out of barbarism. Now she finds herself safe; and she ventures to seek light for her mature years in the recollections of her own childhood.

But now, the altered spirit of the age has produced a new manner of modernization. The problem has been put thus. To retain of Chaucer whatever in him is our language, or is most nearly our language—only making good, always, the measure; and for expression, which time has left out of our speech, to substitute such as is in use. And several followers of the muses, as we have seen, have lately tried their hand at this kind of conversion.

It is hard to judge both the system and the specimens. For if the specimens be thought to have succeeded, the system may, upon them, be favourably judged; but if the specimens have failed, the system must not upon them be unfavourably judged, but must in candour be looked upon as possibly carrying in itself means and powers that have not yet been unfolded. But unhappily a difficulty occurs which would not have occurred with a writer in prose—the law of the verse is imperious. Ten syllables must be kept, and rhyme must be kept; and in the experiment it results, generally, that whilst the rehabiting of Chaucer is undertaken under a necessity which lies wholly in the obscurity of his dialect—the proposed ground or motive of modernization—far the greater part of the actual changes are made for the sake of that which beforehand you might not think of, namely, the Verse. This it is that puts the translators to the strangest shifts and fetches, and besets the version, in spite of their best skill, with anti-Chaucerisms as thick as blackberries.

It might, at first sight, seem as if there could be no remorse about dispersing the atmosphere of antiquity; and you might be disposed to say—a thought is a thought, a feeling a feeling, a fancy a fancy. Utter the thought, the feeling, the fancy, with what words you will, provided that they are native to the matter, and the matter will hold its own worth. No. There is more in poetry than the definite, separable matter of a fancy, a feeling, a thought. There is the indefinite, inseparable spirit, out of which they all arise, which verifies them all, harmonizes them all, interprets them all. There is the spirit of the poet himself. But the spirit of the time in which a poet lives, flows through the spirit of the poet. Therefore, a poet cannot be taken out of his own time, and rightly and wholly understood. It seems to follow that thought, feeling, fancy, which he has expressed, cannot be taken out of his own speech, and his own style, and rightly and wholly understood. Let us bring this home to Chaucer, and our occasion. The air of antiquity hangs about him, cleaves to him; therefore he is the venerable Chaucer. One word, beyond any other, expresses to us the difference betwixt his age and ours—Simplicity. To read him after his own spirit, we must be made simple. That temper is called up in us by the simplicity of his speech and style. Touched by these, and under their power, we lose our false habituations, and return to nature. But for this singular power exerted over us, this dominion of an irresistible sympathy, the hint of antiquity which lies in the language seems requisite. That summons us to put off our own, and put on another mind. In a half modernization, there lies the [Pg 125] danger that we shall hang suspended between two minds—between two ages—taken out of one, and not effectually transported into that other. Might a poet, if it were worth while, who had imbued himself with antiquity and with Chaucer, depart more freely from him, and yet more effectually reproduce him? Imitating, not erasing, the colours of the old time—untying the strict chain that binds you to the fourteenth century, but impressing on you candour, clearness, shrewdness, ingenuous susceptibility, simplicity, Antiquity! A creative translator or imitator—Chaucer born again, a century and a half later.

Let us see how Wordsworth deals with Chaucer in the first seven stanzas of the Cuckoo and Nightingale.

"The god of love, a benedicite! How mighty and how gret a lord is he, For he can make of lowè hertès highe, Of highè lowe, and likè for to dye, And hardè hertès he can maken fre.
"And he can make, within a litel stounde, Of sekè folkè, holè, freshe, and sounde, Of holè folkè he can maken seke, And he can binden and unbinden eke That he wol have ybounden or unbounde.
"To telle his might my wit may not suffice, For he can make of wisè folke ful nice, For he may don al that he wol devise, And lither folkè to destroien vice, And proudè hertès he can make agrise.
"And shortly al that ever he wol he may, Ayenès him dare no wight sayè nay: For he can glade and grevè whom he liketh: And whoso that he wol, he lougheth or siketh, And most his might he shedeth ever in May.
"For every truè gentle hertè fre That with him is or thinketh for to be Ayenès May shal have now som stering, Other to joie or elles to som mourning; Other to joie or elles to som mourning; In no seson so moch as thinketh me.
"For whan they mayè here the briddès singe, And se the flourès and the levès springe, That bringeth into hire rememberaunce A maner esè, medled with grevaunce, And lusty thoughtès fulle of gret longinge.
"And of that longinge cometh hevinesse, And therof groweth oft gret sekenesse, Al for lackinge of that that they desire; And thus in May ben hertès sette on fire, So that they brennen forth in gret distresse."
"The God of love! Ah, benedicite, How mighty and how great a lord is he, For he of low hearts can make high, of high He can make low and unto death bring nigh, And hard hearts he can make them kind and free.
[Pg 126] "Within a little time, as hath been found, He can make sick folk whole, and fresh, and sound. Them who are whole in body and in mind He can make sick, bind can he and unbind All that he will have bound, or have unbound.
"To tell his might my wit may not suffice, Foolish men he can make them out of wise; For he may do all that he will devise, Loose livers he can make abate their vice, And proud hearts can make tremble in a trice.
"In brief, the whole of what he will, he may; Against him dare not any wight say nay; To humble or afflict whome'er he will, To gladden or to grieve, he hath like skill; But most his might he sheds on the eve of May.
"For every true heart, gentle heart and free, That with him is, or thinketh so to be, Now against May shall have some stirring—whether To joy, or be it to some mourning; never At other time, methinks, in like degree.
"For now when they may hear the small birds' song, And see the budding leaves the branches throng, This unto their rememberance doth bring All kinds of pleasure, mix'd with sorrowing, And longing of sweet thoughts that ever long.
"And of that longing heaviness doth come, Whence oft great sickness grows of heart and home; Sick are they all for lack of their desire; And thus in May their hearts are set on fire, So that they burn forth in great martyrdom."

Here is the master of the art; and his work, most of all, therefore, makes us doubt the practicability of the thing undertaken. He works reverently, lovingly, surely with full apprehension of Chaucer; and yet, at every word where he leaves Chaucer, the spirit of Chaucer leaves the verse. You see plainly that his rule is to change the least that can possibly be changed. Yet the gentle grace, the lingering musical sweetness, the taking simplicity, of the wise old poet, vanishes—brushed away like the down from the butterfly's wing, by the lightest and most timorous touch.

"For he can make of lowè hertès highe."

There is the soul of the lover's poet, of the poet himself a lover, poured out and along in one fond verse, gratefully consecrated to the mystery of love, which he, too, has experienced when he—the shy, the fearful, the reserved—was yet by the touch of that all-powerful ray which

"Shoots invisible virtue even to the deep,"

enkindled, and to his own surprise made elate to hope and to dare.

But now contract, as Wordsworth does, the dedicated verse into a half verse, and bring together the two distinct and opposite mysteries under one enunciation—in short, divide the one verse to two subjects—

"For he of low hearts can make high—of high He can make low;"

and the fact vouched remains the same, the simplicity of the words is kept, for they are the very words, and yet something is gone—and in that something every thing! There is no longer the dwelling upon the words, no longer the dilated utterance of a heart that melts with its own thoughts, no longer the [Pg 127] consecration of the verse to its matter, no longer the softness, the light, the fragrance, the charm—no longer, in a word, the old manner. Here is, in short, the philosophical observation touching love, "the saw of might" still; but the love itself here is not. A kindly and moved observer speaks, not a lover.

In one of the above-cited stanzas, Urry seems to have misled Wordsworth. Stanza iv. verse 4, Chaucer says:—

"And whoso that he wol, he lougheth or siketh."

The sense undoubtedly is, "and whosoever he"—namely, the God of Love—"will, he"—namely, the Lover—"laugheth or sigheth accordingly." But Urry mistaking the construction—supposed that he, in both places, meant the god only. He had, therefore, to find out in "lougheth" and "siketh," actions predicable of the love-god. The verse accordingly runs thus with him,

"And who that he wol, he loweth or siketh."

Now, it is true, that, after all, we do not exactly know how Urry understood his own reading; for he did not make his own glossary. But from his glossary, we find that "to lowe" is to praise, to allow, to approve—furthermore that "siketh" in this place means "maketh sick." Wordsworth, following as it would appear the lection of Urry, but only half agreeing to the interpretation of Urry's glossarist, has rendered the line

"To humble or afflict whome'er he will."

He has understood in his own way, from an obvious suggestion, "loweth," to mean, maketh low, humbleth; whilst "afflict" is a ready turn for "maketh sick" of the glossary. But here Wordsworth cannot be in the right. For Chaucer is now busied with magnifying the kingdom of love by accumulated antitheses—high, low—sick, whole—wise, foolish—the wicked turns good, the proud shrink and fear—the God, at his pleasure, gladdens or grieves. The phrase under question must conform to the manner of the place where it appears. An opposition of meanings is indispensable. "Humble or afflict," which are both on one side, cannot be right. "Approveth or maketh sick," are on opposite sides, but will hardly pick one another out for antagonists. "Laugheth or sigheth," has the vividness and simplicity of Chaucer, the most exact contrariety matches them—and the two phenomena cannot be left out of a lover's enumeration.

Chaucer says of his 'bosom's lord,'

"And most his might he sheddeth ever in May"—

renowning here, as we saw that he does elsewhere, the whole month, as love's own segment of the zodiacal circle. The time of the poem itself is accordingly 'the thridde night of May.' Wordsworth has rendered,

"But most his might he sheds on the eve of May."

Why so? Is the approaching visitation of the power more strongly felt than the power itself in presence? Chaucer says distinctly the contrary, and why with a word lose, or obscure, or hazard the appropriation of the month entire, so conspicuous a tenet in the old poetical mind? And is Eve here taken strictly—the night before May-day, like the Pervigilium Veneris? Or loosely, on the verge of May, answerably to 'ayenes May' afterwards? To the former sense, we might be inclined to propose on the contrary part,

"But sheds his might most on the morrow of May,"

i.e. in prose on May-day morning, consonantly to all the testimonies.

Chaucer says that the coming-on of the love-month produces in the heart of the lover

"A maner easè medled with grevaunce."

That is to say, a kind of joy or pleasure, (Fr. aise,) mixed with sadness. He insists, by this expression, upon the strangeness of the kind, peculiar to the willing sufferers under this unique passion, "love's pleasing smart." Did Wordsworth, by intention or misapprehension, leave out this turn of expression, by which, in an age less forward than ours in sentimental researches, Chaucer drew notice to the contradictory nature of the internal state which he described? [Pg 128] As if Chaucer had said, "al maner esè," Wordsworth says, "all kinds of pleasure mixed with sorrowing."

In the next line he adds to the intuitions of his master, one of his own profound intuitions, if we construe aright—

"And longing of sweet thoughts that ever long."

That ever long! The sweetest of thoughts are never satisfied with their own deliciousness. Earthly delight, or heavenly delight upon earth, penetrating the soul, stirs in it the perception of its native illimitable capacity for delight. Bliss, which should wholly possess the blest being, plays traitor to itself, turns into a sort of divine dissatisfaction, and brings forth from its teeming and infinite bosom a brood of winged wishes, bright with hues which memory has bestowed, and restless with innate aspirations. Such is our commentary on the truly Wordsworthian line, but it is not a line answerable to Chaucer's—

"And lusty thoughtès full of gret longinge."

Is this hypercriticism? It is the only criticism that can be tolerated betwixt two such rivals as Chaucer and Wordsworth. The scales that weigh poetry should turn with a grain of dust, with the weight of a sunbeam, for they weigh spirit. Or is it saying that Wordsworth has not done his work as well as it was possible to be done? Rather it is inferring, from the failure of the work in his hand, that he and his colleagues have attempted that which was impossible to be done. We will not here hunt down line by line. We put before the reader the means of comparing verse with verse. We have, with 'a thoughtful heart of love,' made the comparison, and feel throughout that the modern will not, cannot, do justice to the old English. The quick sensibility which thrills through the antique strain deserts the most cautious version of it. In short, we fall back upon the old conviction, that verse is a sacred, and song an inspired thing; that the feeling, the thought, the word, and the musical breath spring together out of the soul in one creation; that a translation is a thing not given in rerum natura; consequently that there is nothing else to be done with a great poet saving to leave him in his glory.

And our friend John Dryden? Oh, he is safe enough; for the new translators all agree that his are no translations at all of Chaucer, but original and excellent poems of his own.

A language that is half Chaucer's, and half that of his renderer, is in great danger to be the language of nobody. But Chaucer's has its own energy and vivacity which attaches you, and as soon as you have undergone the due transformation by sympathy, carries you effectually with it. In the moderate versions that are best done, you miss this indispensable force of attraction. But Dryden boldly and freely gives you himself, and along you sweep, or are swept rejoicingly along. "The grand charge to which his translations are amenable," says Mr Horne, "is, that he acted upon an erroneous principle." Be it so. Nevertheless, they are among the glories of our poetical literature. Mr Horne's, literal as he supposes them to be, are unreadable. He, too, acts on an erroneous principle; and his execution betrays throughout the unskilful hand of a presumptuous apprentice. But he has "every respect for the genius, and for every thing that belongs to the memory, of Dryden;" and thus magniloquently eulogizes his most splendid achievement:—"The fact is, Dryden's version of the 'Knight's Tale' would be most appropriately read by the towering shade of one of Virgil's heroes, walking up and down a battlement, and waving a long, gleaming spear, to the roll and sweep of his sonorous numbers."

Edinburgh: Printed by Ballantyne and Hughes, Paul's Work.

End of the Project Gutenberg EBook of Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Vol
58, No. 357, July 1845, by Various


***** This file should be named 28336-h.htm or *****
This and all associated files of various formats will be found in:

Produced by Brendan OConnor, Patricia Bennett, Jonathan
Ingram and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at (This file was produced from images
generously made available by The Internet Library of Early

Updated editions will replace the previous one--the old editions
will be renamed.

Creating the works from public domain print editions means that no
one owns a United States copyright in these works, so the Foundation
(and you!) can copy and distribute it in the United States without
permission and without paying copyright royalties.  Special rules,
set forth in the General Terms of Use part of this license, apply to
copying and distributing Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works to
protect the PROJECT GUTENBERG-tm concept and trademark.  Project
Gutenberg is a registered trademark, and may not be used if you
charge for the eBooks, unless you receive specific permission.  If you
do not charge anything for copies of this eBook, complying with the
rules is very easy.  You may use this eBook for nearly any purpose
such as creation of derivative works, reports, performances and
research.  They may be modified and printed and given away--you may do
practically ANYTHING with public domain eBooks.  Redistribution is
subject to the trademark license, especially commercial



To protect the Project Gutenberg-tm mission of promoting the free
distribution of electronic works, by using or distributing this work
(or any other work associated in any way with the phrase "Project
Gutenberg"), you agree to comply with all the terms of the Full Project
Gutenberg-tm License (available with this file or online at

Section 1.  General Terms of Use and Redistributing Project Gutenberg-tm
electronic works

1.A.  By reading or using any part of this Project Gutenberg-tm
electronic work, you indicate that you have read, understand, agree to
and accept all the terms of this license and intellectual property
(trademark/copyright) agreement.  If you do not agree to abide by all
the terms of this agreement, you must cease using and return or destroy
all copies of Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works in your possession.
If you paid a fee for obtaining a copy of or access to a Project
Gutenberg-tm electronic work and you do not agree to be bound by the
terms of this agreement, you may obtain a refund from the person or
entity to whom you paid the fee as set forth in paragraph 1.E.8.

1.B.  "Project Gutenberg" is a registered trademark.  It may only be
used on or associated in any way with an electronic work by people who
agree to be bound by the terms of this agreement.  There are a few
things that you can do with most Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works
even without complying with the full terms of this agreement.  See
paragraph 1.C below.  There are a lot of things you can do with Project
Gutenberg-tm electronic works if you follow the terms of this agreement
and help preserve free future access to Project Gutenberg-tm electronic
works.  See paragraph 1.E below.

1.C.  The Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation ("the Foundation"
or PGLAF), owns a compilation copyright in the collection of Project
Gutenberg-tm electronic works.  Nearly all the individual works in the
collection are in the public domain in the United States.  If an
individual work is in the public domain in the United States and you are
located in the United States, we do not claim a right to prevent you from
copying, distributing, performing, displaying or creating derivative
works based on the work as long as all references to Project Gutenberg
are removed.  Of course, we hope that you will support the Project
Gutenberg-tm mission of promoting free access to electronic works by
freely sharing Project Gutenberg-tm works in compliance with the terms of
this agreement for keeping the Project Gutenberg-tm name associated with
the work.  You can easily comply with the terms of this agreement by
keeping this work in the same format with its attached full Project
Gutenberg-tm License when you share it without charge with others.

1.D.  The copyright laws of the place where you are located also govern
what you can do with this work.  Copyright laws in most countries are in
a constant state of change.  If you are outside the United States, check
the laws of your country in addition to the terms of this agreement
before downloading, copying, displaying, performing, distributing or
creating derivative works based on this work or any other Project
Gutenberg-tm work.  The Foundation makes no representations concerning
the copyright status of any work in any country outside the United

1.E.  Unless you have removed all references to Project Gutenberg:

1.E.1.  The following sentence, with active links to, or other immediate
access to, the full Project Gutenberg-tm License must appear prominently
whenever any copy of a Project Gutenberg-tm work (any work on which the
phrase "Project Gutenberg" appears, or with which the phrase "Project
Gutenberg" is associated) is accessed, displayed, performed, viewed,
copied or distributed:

This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with
almost no restrictions whatsoever.  You may copy it, give it away or
re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included
with this eBook or online at

1.E.2.  If an individual Project Gutenberg-tm electronic work is derived
from the public domain (does not contain a notice indicating that it is
posted with permission of the copyright holder), the work can be copied
and distributed to anyone in the United States without paying any fees
or charges.  If you are redistributing or providing access to a work
with the phrase "Project Gutenberg" associated with or appearing on the
work, you must comply either with the requirements of paragraphs 1.E.1
through 1.E.7 or obtain permission for the use of the work and the
Project Gutenberg-tm trademark as set forth in paragraphs 1.E.8 or

1.E.3.  If an individual Project Gutenberg-tm electronic work is posted
with the permission of the copyright holder, your use and distribution
must comply with both paragraphs 1.E.1 through 1.E.7 and any additional
terms imposed by the copyright holder.  Additional terms will be linked
to the Project Gutenberg-tm License for all works posted with the
permission of the copyright holder found at the beginning of this work.

1.E.4.  Do not unlink or detach or remove the full Project Gutenberg-tm
License terms from this work, or any files containing a part of this
work or any other work associated with Project Gutenberg-tm.

1.E.5.  Do not copy, display, perform, distribute or redistribute this
electronic work, or any part of this electronic work, without
prominently displaying the sentence set forth in paragraph 1.E.1 with
active links or immediate access to the full terms of the Project
Gutenberg-tm License.

1.E.6.  You may convert to and distribute this work in any binary,
compressed, marked up, nonproprietary or proprietary form, including any
word processing or hypertext form.  However, if you provide access to or
distribute copies of a Project Gutenberg-tm work in a format other than
"Plain Vanilla ASCII" or other format used in the official version
posted on the official Project Gutenberg-tm web site (,
you must, at no additional cost, fee or expense to the user, provide a
copy, a means of exporting a copy, or a means of obtaining a copy upon
request, of the work in its original "Plain Vanilla ASCII" or other
form.  Any alternate format must include the full Project Gutenberg-tm
License as specified in paragraph 1.E.1.

1.E.7.  Do not charge a fee for access to, viewing, displaying,
performing, copying or distributing any Project Gutenberg-tm works
unless you comply with paragraph 1.E.8 or 1.E.9.

1.E.8.  You may charge a reasonable fee for copies of or providing
access to or distributing Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works provided

- You pay a royalty fee of 20% of the gross profits you derive from
     the use of Project Gutenberg-tm works calculated using the method
     you already use to calculate your applicable taxes.  The fee is
     owed to the owner of the Project Gutenberg-tm trademark, but he
     has agreed to donate royalties under this paragraph to the
     Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation.  Royalty payments
     must be paid within 60 days following each date on which you
     prepare (or are legally required to prepare) your periodic tax
     returns.  Royalty payments should be clearly marked as such and
     sent to the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation at the
     address specified in Section 4, "Information about donations to
     the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation."

- You provide a full refund of any money paid by a user who notifies
     you in writing (or by e-mail) within 30 days of receipt that s/he
     does not agree to the terms of the full Project Gutenberg-tm
     License.  You must require such a user to return or
     destroy all copies of the works possessed in a physical medium
     and discontinue all use of and all access to other copies of
     Project Gutenberg-tm works.

- You provide, in accordance with paragraph 1.F.3, a full refund of any
     money paid for a work or a replacement copy, if a defect in the
     electronic work is discovered and reported to you within 90 days
     of receipt of the work.

- You comply with all other terms of this agreement for free
     distribution of Project Gutenberg-tm works.

1.E.9.  If you wish to charge a fee or distribute a Project Gutenberg-tm
electronic work or group of works on different terms than are set
forth in this agreement, you must obtain permission in writing from
both the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation and Michael
Hart, the owner of the Project Gutenberg-tm trademark.  Contact the
Foundation as set forth in Section 3 below.


1.F.1.  Project Gutenberg volunteers and employees expend considerable
effort to identify, do copyright research on, transcribe and proofread
public domain works in creating the Project Gutenberg-tm
collection.  Despite these efforts, Project Gutenberg-tm electronic
works, and the medium on which they may be stored, may contain
"Defects," such as, but not limited to, incomplete, inaccurate or
corrupt data, transcription errors, a copyright or other intellectual
property infringement, a defective or damaged disk or other medium, a
computer virus, or computer codes that damage or cannot be read by
your equipment.

of Replacement or Refund" described in paragraph 1.F.3, the Project
Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation, the owner of the Project
Gutenberg-tm trademark, and any other party distributing a Project
Gutenberg-tm electronic work under this agreement, disclaim all
liability to you for damages, costs and expenses, including legal

defect in this electronic work within 90 days of receiving it, you can
receive a refund of the money (if any) you paid for it by sending a
written explanation to the person you received the work from.  If you
received the work on a physical medium, you must return the medium with
your written explanation.  The person or entity that provided you with
the defective work may elect to provide a replacement copy in lieu of a
refund.  If you received the work electronically, the person or entity
providing it to you may choose to give you a second opportunity to
receive the work electronically in lieu of a refund.  If the second copy
is also defective, you may demand a refund in writing without further
opportunities to fix the problem.

1.F.4.  Except for the limited right of replacement or refund set forth
in paragraph 1.F.3, this work is provided to you 'AS-IS' WITH NO OTHER

1.F.5.  Some states do not allow disclaimers of certain implied
warranties or the exclusion or limitation of certain types of damages.
If any disclaimer or limitation set forth in this agreement violates the
law of the state applicable to this agreement, the agreement shall be
interpreted to make the maximum disclaimer or limitation permitted by
the applicable state law.  The invalidity or unenforceability of any
provision of this agreement shall not void the remaining provisions.

1.F.6.  INDEMNITY - You agree to indemnify and hold the Foundation, the
trademark owner, any agent or employee of the Foundation, anyone
providing copies of Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works in accordance
with this agreement, and any volunteers associated with the production,
promotion and distribution of Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works,
harmless from all liability, costs and expenses, including legal fees,
that arise directly or indirectly from any of the following which you do
or cause to occur: (a) distribution of this or any Project Gutenberg-tm
work, (b) alteration, modification, or additions or deletions to any
Project Gutenberg-tm work, and (c) any Defect you cause.

Section  2.  Information about the Mission of Project Gutenberg-tm

Project Gutenberg-tm is synonymous with the free distribution of
electronic works in formats readable by the widest variety of computers
including obsolete, old, middle-aged and new computers.  It exists
because of the efforts of hundreds of volunteers and donations from
people in all walks of life.

Volunteers and financial support to provide volunteers with the
assistance they need are critical to reaching Project Gutenberg-tm's
goals and ensuring that the Project Gutenberg-tm collection will
remain freely available for generations to come.  In 2001, the Project
Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation was created to provide a secure
and permanent future for Project Gutenberg-tm and future generations.
To learn more about the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation
and how your efforts and donations can help, see Sections 3 and 4
and the Foundation web page at

Section 3.  Information about the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive

The Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation is a non profit
501(c)(3) educational corporation organized under the laws of the
state of Mississippi and granted tax exempt status by the Internal
Revenue Service.  The Foundation's EIN or federal tax identification
number is 64-6221541.  Its 501(c)(3) letter is posted at  Contributions to the Project Gutenberg
Literary Archive Foundation are tax deductible to the full extent
permitted by U.S. federal laws and your state's laws.

The Foundation's principal office is located at 4557 Melan Dr. S.
Fairbanks, AK, 99712., but its volunteers and employees are scattered
throughout numerous locations.  Its business office is located at
809 North 1500 West, Salt Lake City, UT 84116, (801) 596-1887, email  Email contact links and up to date contact
information can be found at the Foundation's web site and official
page at

For additional contact information:
     Dr. Gregory B. Newby
     Chief Executive and Director

Section 4.  Information about Donations to the Project Gutenberg
Literary Archive Foundation

Project Gutenberg-tm depends upon and cannot survive without wide
spread public support and donations to carry out its mission of
increasing the number of public domain and licensed works that can be
freely distributed in machine readable form accessible by the widest
array of equipment including outdated equipment.  Many small donations
($1 to $5,000) are particularly important to maintaining tax exempt
status with the IRS.

The Foundation is committed to complying with the laws regulating
charities and charitable donations in all 50 states of the United
States.  Compliance requirements are not uniform and it takes a
considerable effort, much paperwork and many fees to meet and keep up
with these requirements.  We do not solicit donations in locations
where we have not received written confirmation of compliance.  To
SEND DONATIONS or determine the status of compliance for any
particular state visit

While we cannot and do not solicit contributions from states where we
have not met the solicitation requirements, we know of no prohibition
against accepting unsolicited donations from donors in such states who
approach us with offers to donate.

International donations are gratefully accepted, but we cannot make
any statements concerning tax treatment of donations received from
outside the United States.  U.S. laws alone swamp our small staff.

Please check the Project Gutenberg Web pages for current donation
methods and addresses.  Donations are accepted in a number of other
ways including including checks, online payments and credit card
donations.  To donate, please visit:

Section 5.  General Information About Project Gutenberg-tm electronic

Professor Michael S. Hart was the originator of the Project Gutenberg-tm
concept of a library of electronic works that could be freely shared
with anyone.  For thirty years, he produced and distributed Project
Gutenberg-tm eBooks with only a loose network of volunteer support.

Project Gutenberg-tm eBooks are often created from several printed
editions, all of which are confirmed as Public Domain in the U.S.
unless a copyright notice is included.  Thus, we do not necessarily
keep eBooks in compliance with any particular paper edition.

Most people start at our Web site which has the main PG search facility:

This Web site includes information about Project Gutenberg-tm,
including how to make donations to the Project Gutenberg Literary
Archive Foundation, how to help produce our new eBooks, and how to
subscribe to our email newsletter to hear about new eBooks.