« ForrigeFortsæt »
Let each new temple, nobler than the last,
Till thou at length art free,
O. W. Holmes.
CIV.—BRITISH RULE IN INDL4.
THE unhappy people of India, feeble and effeminate as they are from the softness of their climate, and subdued and broken as they have been by the knavery and strength of civilization, still occasionally start up in all the vigor and intelligence of insulted nature. To be governed at all, they must be governed with a rod of iron; and our empire in the East would, long since, have been lost to Great Britain, if civil skill and military prowess had not united their efforts to support an authority—which Heaven never gave—by means which it never can sanction.
2. Gentlemen, I think I can observe that you are touched with this way of considering the subject, and I can account for it. I have not been considering it through the cold medium of books, but have been speaking of man and his nature, and of human dominion, from what I have seen of them myself among reluctant nations submitting to our authority. I know what they feel, and how such feelings can alone be repressed. I have heard them in my youth from a naked savage, in the indignant character of a prince surrounded by his subjects, addressing the governor of a British colony, holding a bundle of sticks in his hand, as the notes of his unlettered eloquence.
3. "Who is it," said the jealous ruler over the desert, encroached upon by the restless foot of English adventure— "who is it that causes this river to rise in the high mountains, and to empty itself into the ocean? Who is it that causes to blow the loud winds of winter, and that calms them again in summer? Who is it that rears up the shade of those lofty forests, and blasts them with the quick lightning at his pleasure? The same Being who gave to you a country on the other side of the waters, and gave ours to us; and hy this title we will defend it," said the warrior, throwing down his tomahawk upon the ground and raising the war-sound of his nation. These are the feelings of suhjugated man all round the globe; and, depend upon it, nothing but fear will control where it is vain to look for affection.
4. You have a mighty sway in Asia, which cannot be maintained by the finer sympathies of life, or the practice of its charities and affections. What will they do for you when surrounded by two hundred thousand men with artillery, cavalry, and elephants, calling upon you for their dominions, which you have robbed them of?
5. If England, from a lust of ambition and dominion, will insist on maintaining despotic rule over distant and hostile nations, beyond all comparison more numerous and extended than herself, and gives commission to her viceroys to govern them with no other instruction than to preserve them, and to secure permanently their revenues, with what color of consistency or reason can she place herself in the moral chair, and affect to be shocked at the execution of her own orders; adverting to the exact measure of wickedness and injustice necessary to their execution, and complaining only of the excess as the immorality; considering her authority as a dispensation for breaking the commands of God, and the breach of them as only punishable when contrary to the ordinances of man?
6. Such a proceeding, gentlemen, begets serious reflection It would be better, perhaps, for the masters and the servants of all such governments to join in supplication, that the great Author of violated humanity may not confound them together in one common judgment.
CV.—THE HIGH TIDE
(on The Coast Of Lincolnshire, 1571). /'
THE old mayor climbed the belfry tower, The ringers ran by two, by three; "Pull, if ye never pulled before!
Good ringers, pull your best!" quoth he. "Play uppe, play uppe, O Boston bells! Ply all your changes, all your swells,— Play uppe 'The Brides of Enderby!'"
I sat and spun within the doore;
My thread brake off, I raised myne eyes; The level sun, like ruddy ore,
Lay sinking in the barren skies; And dark against day's golden death She moved where Lindis wandereth,— My Sonne's faire wife, Elizabeth.
"Cusha! Cusha! Cusha!" calling
"Cusha! Cusha! Cusha!" calling,
Come uppe, Whitefoot; come uppe, Lightfoot, Quit the stalks of i)arsley hollow,
Hollow, hollow; Come uppe, Jetty, rise and follow,— From the clovers lift your head; Come uppe, Whitefoot; come uppe, Lightfoot;
Come uppe, Jetty, rise and follow,
The steeple towered from out the greene;
I looked without, and lo! my sonne
Came riding downe with might and main; He raised a shout as he drew on, Till all the welkin rang again,— "Elizabeth! Elizabeth!" (A sweeter woman ne'er drew breath Than my Sonne's wife, Elizabeth.)
"The olde sea-wall (he cried) is downe;
The rising tide comes on apace, And boats adrift in yonder towne
Go sailing uppe the market-place." He shook as one that looks on death: "God save you, mother!" straight he saith; "Where is my wife, Elizabeth?"
"Good sonne, where Lindis winds away,
And ere yon bells beganne to play,
He looked across the grassy lea,
With that he cried and beat his breast;
For lo! along the river's bed
And uppe the Lindis raging sped.
So farre, so fast the eygre drave,
Before a shallow, seething wave
The feet had hardly time to flee
Before it brake against the knee,
And all the world was hi the sea.
The noise of bells went sweeping by;
Stream from the church-tower, red and high,A lurid mark and dread to see; And awesome bells they were to me, That in the dark rang "Enderby."
They rang the sailor lads to guide
And I—my sonne was at my side,
And yet he moaned beneath his breath,
"O, come in life, or come in death!
O, lost! my love, Elizabeth!"
* Eygre (a'-gur), an immense tidal wave