Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

Labeo is whipt, and laughs me in the face;
Why? for I smite and hide the galled place.
Gird but the Cynic's helmet on his head,
Cares he for Talus or his flail of lead.

BISHOP HALL.

There is always a succession of Labeos. A satirist must be a man of the world: familiar with the motives and the passions of men; for the anatomy of sin requires not only an untrembling, but a practised hand.

London is a fine specimen of rhetoric in rhyme. Walpole, however, differs from me: yet I am certainly not prejudiced in the writer's favour. The occasional brutality of his invective, the abruptness of his manner, and the want of all refinement in his poetical tastes, are not recommendations to me.

I happened one day to be walking through the city with a friend, when we beheld a large uncouth figure rolling before us, in whom I at once recognised the cumbrous person of Johnson; and touching my companion on the arm, I said, perhaps loud enough to be heard, Look! look! Bonstetten! the Great Bear! There goes Ursa Major. After all, Sir Henry Wotton's maxim is the best:- The winds are tale-bearers.

MASON.

Indignation is an admirable Muse. How hap

pily Juvenal's character of Lucilius applies to bimself:

Ense velut stricto quoties Lucilius ardens
Infremuit, rubet auditor, cui frigida mens est

Criminibus, tacita sudant præcordia culpa. Juvenal's prose declamations——the preparatory exercises of his poetical genius—are a loss to literature. He had the nerve, the rapidity, the condensation of a great orator—a Latin Demosthenes. How little is to be gleaned of his history; unlike the lively friend of Mæcenas, who has left us an autobiography in his works * !

GRAY.

The incidental allusions to the writer's feelings and family are delightful features in a true poem ; they even interest you in an inferior work. Statius, as you know, is ridiculed by Juvenal for his love of public readings; but you feel inclined to pardon his vanity for that touching allusion to the presence of his father, and his joy at the success and popularity of his son :

Qualis eras, Latios quoties ego carmine patres
Mulcerem, felixque tui spectator adesses
Muneris: heu quali confusus gaudia fletu
Vota, piosque metus inter, lætumque pudorem!
Quum tuus ille dies, qua non mihi gloria major.

Sylv. v. 215. * Horace.

The longing eye cast about the room, to discover his friend, Crispinus, among the audience, is hardly less interesting. Statius had a sweet voice and an elegant manner-qualities that fall to the lot of

few poets.

THE DESTRUCTIVES IN 1643.

HENRY MORE AND JOSEPH BEAUMONT. ,

Even such the contrast that, where'er we move,
To the mind's eye Religion doth present;
Now with her own deep quietness content;
Then like the mountain, thundering from above,
Against the ancient Pine-trees of the grove,
And the Land's humblest comforts. Now her mood
Recalls the transformation of the flood,
Whose rage the gentle skies in vain reprove,
Earth cannot check. O terrible excess
Of headstrong will! Can this be Piety?
No—some fierce Maniac hath usurped her name;
And scourges England struggling to be free;
Her peace destroyed! her hopes a wilderness !
Her blessings cursed-her glory turned to shame!

Troubles of Charles the First*.

The Destructives in 1643 were only more mischievous than the Destructives of 1836, because they possessed a wider influence, and a more carefully organized plan of sedition. The Monster had a Head as well as a Tail. In adjusting the balance of the comparison, the larger share of sincerity and independent honesty is due to the revolutionists of 43. Their patriotism, however painfully misdirected, was not altogether a fiction ; the

* Wordsworth's Ecclesiastical Sketches.

political features of the Confederacy, though swollen with evil passions, and burning with the intoxication of ambitious intemperance, were redeemed and humanized by traces of gentler expression. Agitation was not reduced into a profession; even Ireland did not array her Mendicants in purple. Amid all the ferocity of invective, all the malignity of hatred, all the intolerance of legislation, indications of better and wiser feelings were to be discovered. I speak now of the more eminent leaders of the Party. The Destructives of 1643 found an advocate in-Milton; the Destructives of 1836 in -Roebuck!

Into that afflicting portion of our history it is unnecessary to return. Its annals are a household story, in the men

memory
of

The storm had long been gathering; the lightning tarried only for a conductor. It found one in Cromwell, a man whose character has defied the acutest observers, and in whom hypocrisy wears the aspect of truth. His connexion with Cambridge is not the least singular passage of his biography. He was entered of Sidney, according to a memorandum in the College Register, on the 23rd of April, 1616; and some memorials of him yet remain.

His bust, executed by Bernini, from a plastercast taken after death, is in the Master's Lodge, having been brought from Italy by Professor

every one.

« ForrigeFortsæt »