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work but may my mare break her knees again, if she isn't a pattern for countegses. I'm sure of it: if the women were resolutely to take the matter in hand, they might put an end to war all over the world. And they ought to do it: 'twould be the prettiest feather in the prettiest cap they could wear—that feather they might sport to their honour and glory. But I contend that it's women's own work—what they call her “mission " if properly understood. Let me explain.
Here's a baby born. A little, helpless, crying thing that's made a love of from the first minute and bringing, who shall say, what a heap of love with it? Well, the pretty little animal is carefully swaddled, and powdered, and all sorts of care taken of it—the thing becoming in a very little time such a treasure, that the Bank of England wouldn't be taken for it. And this thing—that there's been such fear and such hope about, and such a lot of love with its first tooth, and its measles, and its running alone and its teaching it to kneel upon mother's lap and say the Belief and the Lord's Prayer,—this blessed thing has only been begotten, and born, and nursed, and taught, to be cut in two with a broadsword, or blown to pieces with capnon shot. Is it Christian-like is it even sensible-to beget children to do and suffer such devils' work ? Depend upon it, if women knew their true dignity, as it's called they wouldn't suffer it. No: they'd think better of what they were meant for, and wouldn't bear children for bayonets and bullets. Some of these days, Ebenezer, they may think of these things ; but at present, a woman will run after gunpowder, just as puss will run after valerian.
But let me come back for I've wandered a long way-to the siege of Numskull, just to let you see the beauties of war. Well, the mayor, and his wife and daughters, are all embracing one another in the bed-room, when bang comes another shell, and blows away Maria and Louisa (young pretty things, that never did harm to anybody) into the next world. Bang-bang-fall the shells ! Crash goes the house, and the mayor and his wife, and three daughters, scramble down stairs, and hide in the cellar!
Now, Mr. Mayor was a great man for war, and all its glory. Yes! when full of his best port, he would give his favourite toast-"A speedy war and soon!" And wherefore? The purple-faced old ass knew nothing of war but its outside finery. The regimental band, the fifes and drums, made him feel as strong as Samson-but then he'd never had bomb-shells drop
through his house, and his helpless children slaughtered under his eyes. How very differently does he now-squatted low, like a toadstool in his cellar—think of war! How does he groan, and shake, and in his misery tear his grey hair,-as he hears the hell of war roaring about him—and listens to the yells and shouts of men, like devils escaped from the burning pit, to work destruction ! And now-bang-bang—his house is burst open-half the regiment of the Pennsylvanian rifles flock in-Pillage, Pillage is the cry—they tear from room to room—they descend into the cellar—they stave in pipes and hogsheads--they seize the mayor's three daughters—and (could he ever have thought it ?) now is he grateful that Maria and Louisa, in sudden death, met a better fate. Well, the poor mayor makes a rush at one of the heroes, when his brains are knocked out by the butt-end of a musket, and the “ glory” continues.
But I know your answer to this. You say, “we never suffered all this. The rascally enemy can't come to Numskull to do this wickedness—we are safe !” Why, you stony-hearted ruffian
-forgive me, for a minute, Ebenezer—is the atrocity any the less because you don't suffer it—is it a bit better because you send out men to do all this and endure none of the horror yourself? But so it is, Ebenezer ; you, and such noodles as you, roar about the glory of war, because you've only seen a review-have only looked upon the fine glossy skin of the tiger, and have never felt its teeth and claws. True it is, you've paid taxes : and certainly, it is thought bad enough to bleed at the pocket ; but, after all, 'tis not quite so bad as to bleed yourself, or see your wife or children bleeding on the bayonet. Purse-strings are delicate ; but, somehow or the other, heart-strings carry it.
And therefore, Ebenezer, let me hear no more of your cock-adoodle-do-ing about the splendour of war, and the grandeur of the militia. If you want to punish your fellow-creatures, arn't you a grocer and a general dealer, and can't you be satisfied ?
There's short-weight, adulteration, passing-off bad money,fifty ways for you to delight the devil with ; but don't treat him to the morsel of all that he best loves-war-wicked, stupid war ! And with this, I am,
Your best friend,
Ballad ROMANCES. By R. H. HORNE, Author of " Orion," « Cosmo de
Medici,” &c. Fcp. 8vo. London: Charles Ollier. The title of this collection is more closely appropriate than at first glance might appear. " Rallad Romances !”—so they are exactly, having all the intense interest of prose, with all the exquisite grace and brilliancy of poetry. If they become not popular, then is our faith gone in the human heart and the human imagination. It is the office of genius to disarm criticism, and to excite rapture ; and so it is impossible for any set measure to be taken of true poetry. It pleases, it enchants, as the operations of nature, as the sun warms and the flowers blow. We may certainly, after the pleasurable emotion has subsided, examine more minutely, and gather more exactly the causes of our delight. But to predetermine what genius should do, or after its creation to test it by another creation, is a wrong as well as an absurdity. We indulge in this Polonius-like dissertation, because we so frequently find one thing tested by another; and have no doubt we shall see and hear the same method applied to these poems. They are not like Byron, nor Tennyson, nor Southey, nor Browning : they are themselves, and in themselves are beautiful and true-true in passion, true in relation, and true in sound. The Poet's heart has felt the human emotion here portrayed, the Poet's eye has gathered all the true images here so felicitously described ; and the Poet's ear has caught the musical utterance manifested in the rhythm. It is in the latter quality or power we place the most reliance for testing the true poet, mechanical though it has always been esteemed, and often decried as something contrary to sense. If the rhythm is fine and sonorous, gentle and melodious, according to the sense and passion, then may we be sure it is the genuine offspring of a poet, Rhythm (we mean not a set measured line nor ready rhyme) is never but with the true poet, fluent, and in its fluency most potent, rising and falling with its subject ; now warming itself into a torrent of passion, and then spreading itself into a lake, reflecting every image. There may be certain established formula of verse that can be spun off by the thousand by those who have caught the knack; but every genuine poet has a rhythm of his own, born of his own spirit, breathing his own words, measuring his own music. The thoughts, the images, the passion, he may be conscious of, but scarcely of his rhythm; that is the vehicle provided by nature for the embodiment of these celestial things. If this therefore betoken no consciousness, no art, nor reasoning, no manufacturing. then we may be certain that the utterer has the faculty divine-has that universal nature, that fine translucent spirit that appreciates, and can develop all forms and processes with which it is connected. We do not say that a poet is always poetical : we do not say that in Mr. Horne's verses this power or quality is always to be found ; (in what poem is it?) but he has it to great perfection and in great abundance. His heart and mind are full of his subject; his understanding is irradiated by his imagination, and he pours forth his verse full measured and spiritedly, as a bird warbles out its unconscious song. He is a poet-one of the few sent to delight and relieve this laborious age, and as such should be perused with love and reverence.
There are other elements of popularity in these charming poems besides their poetical power; they all shadow out or even more positively relate a story of passion and interest, and as “Romances," unballaded would interest and excite. The Noble Heart, as a mere prose story, would delight, as would that wonderful outburst of passion (sustained with a force as far as we recollect unequalled in our literature) of Delora. The nature of our notices preclude any justification by a more minute exposition, or by quotation, of our high estimate of this volume; but we are ready to run the risk of reproach from any who purchase it at our earnest recommendation.
OLIVER CROMWELL'S LETTERS AND SPEECHES : with ELUCIDATIONS. By . Thomas CARLYLE. In Two Volumes. Demy 8vo. London : Chapman
Even in the superficial, “ dry-as-dust" (to use a Carlylism,) books of English History of the Great Rebellion, there are no details of him who was the great axis of events. Every reader of Hume, Lingard, Macintosh, and all the still more plodding matter-of-fact collectors, must have been disappointed or surprised to find how, immediately after the execution of Charles Stuart, the histories dwindle to the shortest span. On the melodrama of that event the historians seem to have exhausted their powers of narration; and the black and mournful pageant having been paraded with pictorial effect, the curtain falls on the royal story. An apparently trifling entre-act then fills up twelve years of most important history, wherein lie shrouded many half-resolved problems of human nature and social principles. The lamentable want of a narrative of these important times was perceived by a man who had many qualifications to supply the want, and Godwin's History of the Commonwealth was published. In many respects it is a noble work, written with energy and knowledge, though disfigured with the partialities, not to say prejudices, of the author. Equally disgusted with the ignorance as the fatal fluency of their style, he opposed himself in every way to the regular historians. His phraseology seemed to
be studiously rugged, and he here shadowed forth a new style which has given a little more vigour to our mode of expression. Still we had but a dim shadowing of the great spirit of the time; of abuse and eulogy, of facts and events, sufficient, and more than sufficient, but of the real presence of the age there was no portrayal. Elucidations of this great one, therefore, by so earnest and so capable an intellect as Mr. Carlyle's, is a great blessing. He always deals with the essential. His genuine and vigorous spirit has no sympathy with the superficial and the non-essential. He regards everything in its sequence. Things without important consequence have no attractions for him. He perceives their insignificance for eliciting knowledge, and he withers them with his scorn. A great historian must occasionally be a great satirist, and this Mr. Carlyle proves himself. His scorn of falsifiers and triflers seems equal : whether it is judicious to be always exercising this power of exposing and degrading “the dry-as-dust” school may be doubted. We have an example in Michelet and Thierry, and perhaps in other foreign writers, that a narration of historical events may be given with the utmost force and truth without referring everlastingly to the shortcomings of other writers. It is, however, to be remembered that Mr. Carlyle has to remove an immense quantity of rubbish, that has been accumulated in order to misrepresent and malign the great man whose course of thoughts and deeds he aims to portray, so as to convey some just notion of them.
Mr. Carlyle is to us a delightful writer,-one whom we peruse without consciousness that we are studying, so completely does he occupy and fill the attention. Those who have at all made history or biography their study must soon have felt how fragmentary they necessarily are. What mere occasional glimpses-what mere waifs and strays-what mere droppings of time, escaped from the great wallet of oblivion,such narrations consist of. Yet the regular historians make up a narrative that presents an unbroken sequence, and we roll from one end of the Roman period to the other, and from the landing of the -Saxons to yesterday, as if it were all as coherent as a police report. It is too much the case also with individual biography. Certain events and occurrences, esteemed from being facts, are laid hold of, and the interstices, the very portions probably containing the processes of character and conduct most interesting and important, are bridged over with a phrase, as if the gulf thus passed was of no importance. Such writing has become a drug. It affords but little nutriment, and men thus stuffed with words, after consuming libraries, have passed away as ignorant as at starting, and far more so than if they had exercised their own observation on the living world around them.
There have happily sprung up in France, and amongst ourselves, writers who have felt the inefficiency of this mode, and Mr. Carlyle, in England, has laid the foundation for a new school of historical composition. The originator of a new style seldom is enabled to perfect it, and there are many excrescences and imperfections in this new school