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ady was deep; it was complicated, in the essential good, as well as of all the accicauses and in the symptoms. Through- dental evil annexed to them. Change is out it was full of contra-indicants. On novelty; and whether it is to operate one hand, government, daily growing more any one of the effects of reformation at all, invidious from an apparent increase of the or whether it may not contradict the very means of strength, was every day growing principle upon which reformation is demore contemptible by real weakness. sired, cannot be certainly known beforeNor was this dissolution confined to hand. Reform is not a change in the government commonly so called.
substance, or in the primary modification, tended to Parliament, which was losing of the object, but a direct application of a not a little in its dignity and estimation, remedy to the grievance complained of. by an opinion of its not acting on worthy So far as that is removed, all is sure. motives. On the other hand, the desires stops there; and, if it fails, the substance of the people (partly natural and partly which underwent the operation, at the infused into them by art) appeared in so very worst, is but where it was. wild and inconsiderate a manner, with All this, in effect, I think, but am not regard to the economical object (for I set sure, I have said elsewhere. It cannot at aside for a moment the dreadful tampering this time be too often repeated, — line with the body of the constitution itself), upon line, precept upon precept, – until that, if their petitions had literally been it comes into the currency of a proverb: complied with the state would have been to innovate is not to reform. The French convulsed, and a gate would have been revolutionists complained of everything; opened through which all property might they refused to reform anything; and they be sacked and ravaged. Nothing could left nothing, no, nothing at all unchanged. have saved the public from the mischiefs The consequences are before us, not in of the false reform but its absurdity, which remote history; not in future prognostiwould soon have brought itself, and with cation; they are about us; they are it all real reform, into discredit. This upon us. They shake the public security; would have left a rankling wound in the they manace private enjoyment. They hearts of the people, who would know they dwarf the growth of the young; they had failed in the accomplishment of their break the quiet of the old. If we travel,
, wishes, but who, like the rest of mankind they stop our way. They infest us in in all ages, would impute the blame to any- town; they pursue us to the country. thing rather than to their own proceedings. Our business is interrupted; our repose But there were then persons in the world is troubled; our pleasures are saddened; who nourished complaint, and would have our very studies are poisoned and perbeen thoroughly disappointed if the people verted, and knowledge is rendered worse were ever satisfied. I was not of that than ignorance, by the enormous evils of humor. I wished that they should be this dreadful innovation. The revolution satisfied. It was my aim to give to the harpies of France, sprung from Night and people the substance of what I knew they Hell, or from that chaotic Anarchy which desired, and what I thought was right, generates equivocally “all monstrous, all whether they desired it or not, before it prodigious things,” cuckoo-like, adulterhad been modified for them into sense- ously lay their eggs, and brood over, and less petitions. I knew that there is a hatch them in the nest of every neighbourmanifest marked distinction, which ill ing state. These obscene harpies, who men with ill designs, or weak men inca- deck themselves in I know not what pable of any design, will constantly be divine attributes, but who in reality are confounding, -- that is, a marked dis- foul and ravenous birds of prey (both tinction between change and reformation. mothers and daughters), flutter over our The former alters the substance of the heads, and souse down upon our tables, objects themselves, and gets rid of all their and leave nothing unrent, unrifled, un
ravaged, or unpolluted with the slime of To their estimate I leave the matter. I their filthy offal.
was not, like his Grace of Bedford, swadDoes his Grace think that they who died, and rocked, and dandled into a advised the Crown to make my retreat legislator; “Nitor in adversum” is the easy, considered me only as an economist? motto of a man like me. I possessed not That, well understood, however, is a good one of the qualities, nor cultivated one of deal. If I had not deemed it of some the arts, that recommend men to the value, I should not have made political favor and protection of the great. I was economy an object of my humble studies, not made for a minion or a tool. As little from my very early youth to near the end did I follow the trade of winning the hearts, of my service in Parliament, even before by imposing on the understandings, of the (at least to any knowledge of mine) it had people. At every step of my progress in employed the thoughts of speculative men life (for in every step was I traversed and in other parts of Europe. At that time it opposed), and at every turnpike I met, I was still in its infancy in England, where, was obliged to show my passport, and in the last century, it had its origin. again and again to prove my sole title to Great and learned men thought my studies the honour of being useful to my country,
not wholly thrown away, and by a proof that I was not wholly undeigned to communicate with me now acquainted with its laws and the whole and then on some particulars of their im- system of its interests both abroad and at mortal works. Something of these studies home. Otherwise no rank, no toleration may appear incidentally in some of the even, for me. I had no arts but manly earliest things I published. The House arts. On them I have stood, and, please has been witness to their effect, and has God, in spite of the Duke of Bedford and profited of them, more or less, for above the Earl of Lauderdale, to the last gasp eight-and-twenty years.
will I stand.
THE GEORGIAN POETS
The English poets from 1740 to the end of the century are the forerunners of the great romanticists of the early nineteenth century, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Shelley, and Keats. The wits of Queen Anne had succeeded for the time being in silencing romantic utterance, but the spirit of romance is unquenchable, and no sooner had the Augustans reduced poetry to the cold correctness of satire and philosophic speculation in heroic verse than sensitive spirits began instinctively to recoil from it and to search, though timidly, for the picturesque, the fanciful, the mysterious, and the free. Johnson's Lives of the English Poets (1785) was in effect a futile protest against this growing wave of romance, but not even the authority of so autocratic a Dictator could crush it.
If these Georgian poets seem rather tame, if their verse strikes us as pensive and listless, they are at least interesting historically, prophetic as they are of the poetry which was to follow. Singularly enough, they were all men who lacked physical vitality, and this anæmia is responsible for the flatness and paleness of their pastelle poetry. None of them had the physique to support genius. Thomson (1700-1748), the first of the tribe, was the victim of constitutional languor, fat and sleepy; Gray (1716-1771), who in his university days at least had the spirit to revolt against the deadness of the curriculum and to characterize the university as "that pretty collection of desolate animals," described himself at thirty as "lazy and listless, and old, and vexed, and perplexed"; at Oxford Collins (1721-1759) was “distinguished for genius and indolence,” spent the major part of his life with insanity hanging over him and finally became hopelessly its victim, filling the cloisters of Chichester Cathedral with his shrieks; Cowper's (17311800) delicate nervous system was permanently injured by the bullyings of a schoolboy and he was only reclaimed at intervals from insanity by the kind offices of friends; Thomas Chatterton (1752-1770), the most astounding youthful literary genius that the world has known, too feverish and frail to fight it out with hunger and neglect, took arsenic at the age of seventeen; and Edward Young (1683-1765) only came into his own with his melancholy Night Thoughts, written after he was sixty.
It is not surprising, then, that geniune passion is lacking in the poetry of this period, and that feeling hardly gets beyond pensiveness and melancholy, and that the return to nature stops short at picturesqueness of landscape and does not cleave through to the animating and revealing spirit of nature itself. Young, composing at night with a candle stuck in a skull, is a fairly good epitome of this school.
Yet they were, indeed, a frail group of pioneers, poorly enough equipped; yet they opened something of a trail for the ardent spirits who were to follow.
My pen amongst the rest I took, TO A CHILD OF QUALITY FIVE
Lest those bright eyes that cannot read YEARS OLD
Should dart their kindling fires, and look
The power they have to be obeyed. THE AUTHOR FORTY LORDS, knights, and squires, the numerous, band
Nor quality nor reputation That wear the fair Miss Mary's fetters, Forbid me yet my flame to tell ; Were summoned, by her high command, Dear five years old befriends my passion, To show their passions by their letters. And I may write till she can spell.
smile I see,
For while she makes her silk-worms beds The Muses, still with freedom found,
Shall to thy happy coast repair;
And manly hearts to guard the fair!
Rule, Britannia, etc.
for a most virtuous dame, And I for an unhappy poet.
ON THE RECEIPT OF MY Then, too, alas! when she shall tear
Oh, that those lips had language! Life And we shall still continue friends;
With me but roughly since I heard thee For, as our different ages move,
last. 'Tis so ordained (would fate but mend it!) Those lips are thine thy own sweet That I shall be past making love When she begins to comprehend it. The same that oft in childhood solaced
Voice only fails, else how distinct they say, JAMES THOMSON
Grieve not, my child, chase all thy fears RULE, BRITANNIA
The meek intelligence of those dear eyes When Britain first, at Heaven's command,
(Blessed be the art that can immortalize, Arose from out the azure main,
The art that baffles Time's tyrannic claim This was the charter of the land,
To quench it) here shines on me still the And guardian angels sang this strain : Rule, Britannia, rule the waves !
Faithful remembrancer of one so dear, Britons never will be slaves !
O welcome guest, though unexpected here ! The nations not so blest as thee,
Who bidst me honour with an artless song, Must in their turns to tyrants fall,
Affectionate, a mother lost so long, Whilst thou shalt flourish great and free,
I will obey, not willingly alone, The dread and envy of them all.
But gladly, as the precept were her own : Rule, Britannia, etc.
And, while that face renews my filial grief,
Fancy shall weave a charm for my relief, Still more majestic shalt thou rise,
Shall steep me in Elysian reverie, More dreadful from each foreign stroke
A momentary dream that thou art she. As the loud blast that tears the skies,
My mother! when I learnt that thou Serves but to root thy native oak.
wast dead Rule, Britannia, etc.
Say, wast thou conscious of the tears I
shed ? Thee haughty tyrants ne'er shall tame;
Hovered thy spirit o'er thy sorrowing son, All their attempts to bend thee down Will but arouse thy generous flame,
Wretch even then, life's journey just beBut work their woe and thy renown. Rule, Britannia, etc.
Perhaps thou gavest me, though unfelt, a
kiss : To thee belongs the rural reign;
Perhaps a tear, if souls can weep in bliss Thy cities shall with commerce shine; Ah, that maternal smile! It answers All thine shall be the subject main,
Yes. And every shore it circles thine.
I heard the bell tolled on thy burial day, Rule, Britannia, etc.
I saw the hearse that bore thee slow away,
And turning from my nursery window, drew Ne'er roughened by those cataracts and A long, long sigh, and wept a last adieu !
brakes But was it such ? — It was. Where thou That humour interposed too often makes;
All this still legible in memory's page, Adieus and farewells are a sound unknown. And still to be so to my lastest age, May. I but meet thee on that peaceful Adds joy to duty, makes me glad to pay shore,
Such honours to thee as my numbers may; The parting word shall pass my lips no Perhaps a frail memorial, but sincere, more!
Not scorned in heaven, though little Thy maidens, grieved themselves at my
noticed here. concern,
Could Time, his flight reversed, restore Oft gave me promise of thy quick return.
the hours, What ardently I wished I long believed, When, playing with thy vesture's tissued And, disappointed still, was still deceived.
flowers, By expectation every day beguilded, The violet, the pink, and jassamine, Dupe of to-morrow even from a child. I pricked them into paper with a pin Thus many a sad to-morrow came and went, a
(And thou wast happier than myself the Till, all my stock of infant sorrow spent,
while, I learned at last submission to my lot; Wouldst softly speak, and stroke my head But, though I less deplored thee, ne'er for
Could those few pleasant days again apWhere once we dwelt our name is heard
pear, no more,
Might one wish bring them, would I wish Children not thine had trod my nursery
them here? floor;
I would not trust my heart the dear deAnd where the gardener Robin, day by light day,
Seems so to be desired, perhaps I might. Drew me to school along the public way,
what here we call our life is such, Delighted with my bauble coach, and So little to be loved, and thou so much, wrapped
That I should ill requite thee to constrain In scarlet mantle warm, and velvet capped, Thy unbound spirit into bonds again. ,
. 'Tis now become a history little known, Thou, as a gallant bark from Albion's That once we called the pastoral house our
(The storms all weathered and the ocean Short-lived possession! but the record crossed) fair
Shoots into port at some well-havened isle, That memory keeps, of all thy kindness Where spices breathe, and brighter seasons there,
smile, Still outlives many a storm that has ef- There sits quiescent on the floods that faced
show A thousand other themes less deeply traced. Her beauteous form reflected clear below, Thy nightly visits to my chamber made, While airs impregnated with incense play That thou mightst know me safe and Around her, fanning light her streamers warmly laid;
gay; Thy morning bounties ere I left my home, So thou, with sails how swift! hast reached The biscuit, or confectionary plum ;
the shore, The fragrant waters on my cheeks bestowed Where tempests never beat nor billows By thy own hand, till fresh they shone and
And thy loved consort on the dangerous All this, and more endearing still than all,
tide That constant flow of love, that knew no Of life long since has anchored by thy fall,