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of ruin and annihilation darted across your mind. The one seemed to dwell among men, to join in their joys, and to live upon their praise ; the other appeared a son of the
desert, who had deigned to visit the human race merely to 5 make them tremble at his strength.
The style, and the eloquence and structure of their orations, were equally different. Canning chose his words for the sweetness of their sound, and arranged his periods for
the melody of their cadence; while, with Brougham, the 10 more hard and unmouthable, the better. Canning arranged
his words like one who could play skilfully upon that sweetest of all instruments, the human voice; Brougham proceeded like a master of every power of reasoning and of
the understanding. Canning marched forward in a straight 15 and clear track; every paragraph was perfect in itself, and
every coruscation of wit and genius was brilliant and delightful; it was all felt, and it was all at once. Brougham twined round and round in a spiral, sweeping the contents
of a vast circumference before him, uniting and pouring 20 them onward to the main point of attack. When he began,
one was astonished at the wideness and obliquity of his course; nor was it possible to comprehend how he was to dispose of the vast and varied materials which he collected
by the way; but as the curve lessened, and the end ap25 peared, it became obvious that all was to be efficient there.
Such were the rival orators who sat glancing hostility and defiance at each other during the early part of the session of 1823 — Brougham as if wishing to overthrow
the secretary by a sweeping accusation of having abandoned 30 all principle for the sake of office, and the secretary ready
to parry the charge and attack in his turn. An opportunity at length offered ; and it is more worthy of being recorded, as being the last terrible and personal attack
previous to that change in the measures of the cabinet, 35 which, though it had been begun from the moment that
Canning, Robinson, and Huskisson came into office, was
not at that time perceived, or at least not admitted and appreciated.
Upon that occasion, the oration of Brougham was at the outset disjointed and ragged, and apparently without aim 5 or application. He careered over the whole annals of the
world, and collected every instance in which genius had degraded itself at the footstool of power, or in which principle had been sacrificed for the vanity or lucre of place ;
but still there was no allusion to Canning, and no connec. 10 tion, that ordinary men could discover, with the business before the house.
When, however, he had collected every material which suited his purpose, — when the mass had become big and
black, — he bound it about and about with the cords of 15 illustration and of argument; when its union was secure,
he swung it round and round with the strength of a giant and the rapidity of a whirlwind, in order that its impetus and effect might be the more tremendous ; and while doing
this, he ever and anon glared his eye, and pointed his 20 finger, to make the aim and the direction sure. Canning
himself was the first that seemed to be aware where and how terrible was to be the collision; and he kept writhing his body in agony, and rolling his eyes in fear, as if anx
ious to find some shelter from the impending bolt. The 25 house soon caught the impression, and every man in it was
glancing his eye fearfully, first towards the orator, and then towards the secretary.
There was — save the voice of Brougham, which growled in that undertone of thunder which is so fearfully audible, 30 and of which no speaker of the day was fully master but
himself — a silence as if the angel of retribution had been opening, in the faces of all parties, the scroll of their private sins. A pen, which one of the secretaries dropped upon the
matting, was heard in the remotest part of the house. The 35 stiffness of Brougham's figure had vanished; his features
seemed concentrated almost to a point; he glanced towards
every part of the house in succession, and sounded the death-knell of the secretary's forbearance and prudence.
With both his clinched hands upon the table, he hurled at him an accusation more dreadful in its gall, and more 5 torturing in its effects, than has ever been hurled at mortal man within the same walls. The result was instantaneous
- was electric: it was as when the thunder-cloud descends upon some giant peak — one flash, one peal ! — the sub
limity vanished, and all that remained was a small patter10 ing of rain. Canning started to his feet, and was able
only to utter the unguarded words, “It is false !” – to which followed a dull chapter of apologies. From that moment, the house became more a scene of real business than of airy display and of angry vituperation.
CXXXVII. — SCENE FROM KING HENRY IV.
SHAKSPEARE. [This dialogue is from the first act of the “ First Part of King Henry IV.” The King, Henry Bolingbroke, now Henry IV., had deposed his predecessor, Richard II., and was reigning in his stead. Thomas Percy, Earl of Worcester, and Henry Percy, Earl of Northumberland, father of Hotspur, had been partisans of the reigning king, and he was under obligations to them. An invad. ing army of the Scots had recently been defeated by Hotspur, and the King demands that the prisoners should be surrendered to him. Sir Edmund Mortimer, brother-in-law of Hotspur, had been taken prisoner by the Welsh chieftain, Owen Glendower, and the King had refused to ransom him because he was the lawful heir to the throne after the death of Richard II. This is according to Shakspeare; but the real heir, according to history, was the nephew of Mortimer, the Earl of March, a young boy whom the King kept confined in Windsor Castle. The dialogue is supposed to take place in the royal palace in London.] [King HENRY IV., HOTSPUR, WORCESTER, AND NORTHUMBERLAND.]
King Henry. Henceforth
We license your departure with your son: -
[Exit King Henry. HOTSPUR. And if the devil come and roar for them, I will not send them: I will after straight, 5 And tell him so ; for I will ease my heart, Although it be with hazard of my head. NORTHUMBERLAND. What! drunk with choler ? stay,
and pause awhile; Here comes your uncle.
Speak of Mortimer!
Want mercy, if I do not join with him.
But I will lift the down-trod Mortimer
your nephew mad. WORCESTER. Who struck this heat up, after I was gone?
Hot. He will, forsooth, have all my prisoners ; 20 And when I urged the ransom once again
Of my wife's brother, then his cheek looked pals,
WOR. I cannot blame him. Was he not proclaimed 25 By Richard that dead is, the next of blood ?
NORTH. He was: I heard the proclamation;
Upon his Irish expedition :
To be deposed, and shortly, murdered.
WOR. And for whose death we in the world's wide mouth Live scandalized and foully spoken of.
But now I will unclasp a secret book,
As full of peril and advent'rous spirit 5 As to o'erwalk a current roaring loud, On the unsteadfast footing of a spear.
Hot. If he fall in, good night! — or sink or swim Send danger from the East unto the West,
So honor cross it from the North to South, 10 And let them grapple. O, the blood more stirs
To rouse a lion than to start a hare )
North. Imagination of some great exploit
Hot. By Heaven! methinks it were an easy leap 15 To pluck bright honor from the pale-faced moon;
Or dive into the bottom of the deep,
So he that doth redeem her thence might wear,
Wor. He apprehends a world of figures here,
Good cousin,t give me audience for a while, 25 And list to me.
Hot. I cry you mercy :
Those same noble Scots,
I'll keep them all, —
No, if a Scot would save his soul, he shall not:
You start away,
* Corrival, same as rival.
t In Shakspeare's time, cousin was an address frequently applied to a reis tive of any kind. Hotspur was Worcester's nephew.