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XIX. THE SECURITY OF BRITAIN.
"WHATEVER may be the defects of our constitution we have at least an effective government, and that too composed of men who were born with us and are to die among us. We are at least preserved from the incursions of foreign enemies; the intercommunion of interests precludes a civil war, and the volunteer spirit of the nation equally with its laws, gives to the darkest lanes of our crowded metropolis that quiet and security which the remotest villager at the cataracts of the Nile prays for in vain in his mud hovel !"-Coleridge.
Not yet enslaved, nor wholly vile,
Echo to the bleat of flocks ;-
Hence for many a fearless age
"BRITAIN is great, not merely in the extent, but in the diversity of her population. The land is not all a dock-yard, nor a manufactory, nor a barrack, nor a ploughed field; our national ship does not sweep on by a single sail. With a manufacturing population of three millions, we have a professional population, a naval population, and a most powerful, healthy, and superabundant agricultural population which supplies the drain of all the others. Of this last class the famous commercial republics were wholly destitute, and they therefore fell. England has been an independent and ruling kingdom since the invasion in 1066,-a period already longer than the duration of the Roman empire from Cæsar, and equal to its whole duration from the consulate, the time of its emerging into national importance.”— Monthly Review for 1826.
And plenteous! what though in thy atmosphere
And fragrance of thy summer fruits and flowers,
Thou in the soul of man,-thy better wealth,—
(Composed in the Valley near Dover, in September, 1802.)
"THE Cranmers, Hampdens, and Sidneys,-the counsellors of our Elizabeth, and the friends of our great deliverer, the third William,—— is it in vain that these have been our countrymen? Are we not the heirs of their good deeds? And what are noble deeds but noble truths realized?-As Protestants, as Englishmen, as the inheritors of so ample an estate of might and right, an estate so strongly fenced, so richly planted by the sinewy arms and dauntless hearts of our forefathers, we, of all others, have good cause to trust in the truth, yea, to follow its pillar of fire through the darkness and the desert, even though its light should but suffice to make us certain of its own preEffects will not, indeed, immediately disappear with their causes; but neither can they long continue without them. If by the reception of truth in the spirit of truth we became what we are, only by the retention of it in the same spirit, can we remain what we are. The narrow seas that form our boundaries,-what were they in times of old? The convenient highway for Danish and Norman pirates. What are they now? Still but a span of waters.' Yet they roll at the base of the inisled Ararat, on which the ark of the hope of Europe and of civilization rested!"-Coleridge.
* * *
INLAND, within a hollow vale, I stood;
And saw, while sea was calm and air was clear,
The coast of France-the coast of France how near!
THE GLORY OF GREAT BRITAIN.
Even so doth God protect us if we be
XXII. THE GLORY OF GREAT BRITAIN.
"THE objects of the patriot are, that his countrymen should, as far as circumstances permit, enjoy what the Creator designed for the enjoyment of animals endowed with reason, and of course that they should have it in their power to develope those faculties which were given them to be developed. He would do his best that every one of his countrymen should possess whatever all men may and should possess, and that a sufficient number should be enabled and encouraged to acquire those excellences which, though not necessary or possible for all men, are yet to all men useful and honourable. He knows that patriotism itself is a necessary link in the golden chain of our affections and virtues, and turns away with indignant scorn from the false philosophy or mistaken religion which would persuade him that cosmopolitism is nobler than nationality, the human race a sublimer object of love than a people; and that Plato, Luther, Newton, and their equals, formed themselves neither in the market nor the senate, but in the world, and for all men of all ages. True! But where, and among whom are these giant exceptions produced? In the wide empires of Asia, where millions of human beings acknowledge no other bond but that of a common slavery, and are distinguished on the map but by a name which themselves perhaps never heard, or hearing, abhor? No! in a circle defined by human affections, the first firm sod within which becomes sacred beneath the quickened step of the returning citizen;--here, where the powers and interests of men spread without confusion through a common sphere, like the vibrations propagated in the air by a single voice, distinct, yet coherent, and all uniting to express one thought and the same feeling;-here, where even the common soldier dares to force a passage for his comrades by gathering up the bayonets of the enemy into his own breast, because his country expected every man to do his duty,' and this not after he has been hardened by habit, but as probably in his first battle; not reckless or hopeless, but braving death from a keenest sensibility to those blessings which make life dear, to those qualities which render himself worthy to enjoy them;-here, where the royal crown is loved and worshipped as a glory around the sainted head of freedom;— where the rustic at his plough whistles with equal enthusiasm, God save the king,' and 'Britons never shall be slaves,' or, perhaps, leaves one thistle unweeded in his garden, because it is the symbol of his dear native land;-here, from within this circle defined, as light by shade, or rather as light within light, by its intensity,-here alone, and only within these magic circles, rise up the awful spirits, whose
words are oracles for mankind, whose love embraces all countries, and whose voice sounds through all ages! Here, and here only, may we confidently expect those mighty minds to be reared and ripened, whose names are naturalized in foreign lands, the sure fellow-travellers of civilization, and yet render their own countrymen dearer and more proudly dear to their own country. This is indeed cosmopolitism, at once the nurseling and the nurse of patriotic affection. This, and this alone is genuine philanthropy, which, like the olive tree, sacred to concord and to wisdom, fattens, not exhausts, the soil from which it sprang, and in which it remains rooted. It is feebleness only which cannot be generous without injustice, or just without ceasing to be generous."-Coleridge.
HAPPY Britannia! where the Queen of Arts1
Rich is thy soil, and merciful thy clime;
Full are thy cities with the sons of art;
Bold, firm, and graceful, are thy generous youth,
THE GLORY OF GREAT BRITAIN.
Sincere, plain hearted, hospitable, kind;
Thy sons of glory many! Alfred thine,
A dauntless soul erect, who smiled on death.