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And he who stood the doomed beside,
An earnest of the victim's fate,
The kindlings of Eternal Hate
Against the crime of Law, which gave
His brother to that fearful grave,
And Faith's white blossoms never wave
Beneath the dark veil which divides
And Nature's solemn secret hides, The man of prayer can only draw New reasons for his bloody Law; New faith in staying Murder's hand By murder at that Law's command; New reverence for the Gallows-rope, As human nature's latest hope; Last relic of the good old time, When Power found license for its crime, And held a writhing world in check By that fell cord about its neck ; Siified Sedition's rising shout, Choked the young breath of Freedom out, And timely checked the words which sprung From Heresy's forbidden tongue; While in its noose of terror bound, The Church its cherished union found, Conforming, on the Moslem plan, The motley-colored mind of man, Not by the Koran and the Sword, But by the Bible and the Cord !
Oh, Thou! at whose rebuke the grave
The burden of Thy holy faith
The fiends of his revenge, were sent
From Thy pure Gospel's element
Who in that name the Gallows rears,
With sacrifice of blood and tears ?
On the blind eyes which know Thee not;
Melt in upon his darkened thought.
The power which in Forbearance lies,
Is better than old sacrifice!
The Parsee sees his holy hill
The low, pale fire is quivering still;
The heart of man retaineth yet
And half-quenched stars that never set,
And early beauty, linger there,
Faint breathings of its morning air.
Hath Heaven inscribed “ DESPAIR !"
My brother man, Beware!
God's angel cries, FORBEAR!
Among the Tartars, the Caspian is known as Akdingis, i. e. White Sea. Baku, on its Persian side, is remarkable for its perpetual fire, scarcely discoverable under the pitchy clouds of smoke from the bitumen which feeds it. It is the natural firealtar of the old Persian worship.
In our last, we discoursed about “Royal fine; but such critics sit in the gallery, Authurs." We propose now to descend not in the pit of the theatre of criticism. from the steps of the Throne, and pur. They compose the body of the
great sue our literary search within the pre- vulgar, who would have called Blackcincts of the Court.
more a great poet, because he wrote There is an aristocracy of letters of heroical rhymes in the epic mould, and two kinds: that of “the lords of human not because they were truly such; and kind," and that which derives its who think West a great painter, bestrongest claims to respect from the cause he attempted the historical style. accidents of noble birth and honorable Critics of this stamp have seen the lineage. Authors are noble from ge- poet's eye in Byron's countenance, benius, or from family: by the birthright cause he was a noble lord. of natural gifts, or the claims of descent and hereditary title. It is of a mixed
“ Let but a lord once own the happy lines, aristocracy, however, that we intend to
How the wit brightens, ad the style attempt a description in the present
POPE. paper, an aristocracy in which pride of birth is gracefully blended with the pobler pride of intellect, in which title And they call Dickens low, because he is an elegant ornament to the possessor does not condescend 10 write novels of of genius: an aristocracy in which the fashionable life, but prefers truth to nobleman is also a great man, who nature in an humbler walk. further rather dignifies his conventional To counteract an extravagant deprerank by his genius, than is ennobled ciation of writers, merely because they by it.
bear a title, though without the least A general, and, in most case, a justi- intention to elevate any one purely for fiable feeling of prejudice exists against that reason, we have collected together authors who come out froin the ranks the names of several of the most emiof the nobility: they are thought, and nent, both for rank and genius. In for the most part justly, to rely too literature, we regard titles as drawmuch on their personal pretensions to backs rather than among the desirables accomplishmenis, apart from their lite- of life; for the author is too apt to be rary character, to wealth, and to station. merged in the fine gentleman, and to They are not considered amenable to look down upon those of his craft who criticism, it being in their power, if their pursue it for a livelihood. Still, a writo literary claims are disallowed, to fall er of the first class may be titled or back upon
their social standing, a point not, as it happens, and essentially d'appui, and rest secure within the without the smallest grain of difference. Bastile of a name.” A mere writer, True greatness is independent of stars however great his powers, cannot take and ribbons, the playihings of childrefuge in a similar way. He must hood; though there are positions in repose wholly on his individual merits. public life, as places of commanding Aut Cæsar aut nullus. He is to be importance, which, according to the tried in a literary court, and by his common notion, are dignified by titles fellow-commoners alone. He cannot of honor. Bacon is still, for instance, appeal to the literary) House of Lords. the Secretary of Nature, though Lord
There are, to be sure, silly people Chancellor and Baron Verulam (a title -yea, even among ourselves, and espe- conveying a certain amplitude of discially among the “first circles” of our tinction); so, too, of the British Tacitus, commercial cities--who think every- Lord Clarendon, and the English Dething from a man who can write Sir, mosthenes, Lord Chatham. Law lords, or Right Honorable, before his name, ministers of state, cabinet councillors, must be correspondingly grand and and senators, appear to be appropriately
distinguished by peculiar epithets of English aristocracy, (to confine ourrespect.
selves to but one literature and one In Walpole's catalogue, there are country), we encounter great philosomany names that do not deserve to be phers, great historians, accomplished recorded for their literary claims; yet writers of verse rather than true poets, some have been omitted who have with a single modern exception, fine been unhandsomely treated, and since prose writers in ihe miscellaneous dehis time there are others to be added. partment, and men of elegant scholarYet it is the only catalogue of the kind. ship and exact research. To leave cavilling, and commence our Previous to the age of Elizabeth (to task, we may remark the peculiar lines mention only a few of the first names in which a noble author would be most that occur to us), there are Lord Ber. likely to succeed. Knowledge of court ners, the prose translator of Froissart, life, the epigrammatic court-wit
, the and Baron Vaux, one of the prime fahistory of parties, the secret councils vorites of Sir Egerton Brydges; the of cabinets, the private characters of iwin-bards Surrey and Wyatt, accommonarchs, appear with the truest effect plished knights, gallant lovers and polite and least partiality, in the correspond. gentlemen ; Sackville, the author of the ence and memoirs of the courtly and first English drama. Then, the great noble. This is especially to be noted More, the noble patriot and philosopher in the case of disappointed suitors. and man; the father of English prose, When the most interested man has lost the first native historian, the great all hope, and nothing remains, he may statesman and generous friend. The then be suspected of telling a large age of Elizabeth could boast (with the share, and where malice or private exception of Shakspeare and Spenser pique does not intervene, the whole of and ihe great old dramatists, far above the truth. Swift, in his early addresses their coniemporaries) a galaxy of noble to the Earl of Oxford, employed the authors, inferior only to them, Bacon, language of a sycophant, and flattered Sidney, Raleigh, Herbert, Fulke, Grehim grossly: after the defeat of his ville. In the next period occur the objects, he wrote in a very different names of Sir Thomas Browne and Sir strain ; and his later account of the Kenelm Digby and Lady Fanshawe, Earl has been confirmed by history. not to pass by without mention the ecWe might transcribe a nuinber of in- centric Duchess of Newcastle, so elostances beside, but it would be useless. quently eulogized by Lamb, and the The point is clear, and needs no further Countess of Winchelsea, whose verse confirmation.
has extorted the admiration of WordsWhere but from the pen of one living worth. After the Restoration, and until in courts, could we read an experience the reign of Anne, the majestic and (gained there) like that displayed in incorruptible Clarendon, the easy and the piquant maxims of Rochefoucault? amiable Temple, the four court wits What scene of life could furnish mate- and poets, all earls, the contemporaries rial for such pictures as those we meet of Dryden, Rochester and Halifax, and in the French memoirs ? Where else Dorset and Roscommon: the two Buckshould we look for the subtle cunning inghams, Villiers and Sheffield, Den. of a Cecil, the gallant bearing of a Sida ham and Davenant and Suckling. ney, the sparkling wit of a Rochester, Through all these periods, the great or ihe exterior graces of a Chesterfield ? old divines extend, most of whom were And there are authors, proud of their Bishops and Archbishops, Usher and calling; classics, too, who have lived Taylor, and a host beside. During the pewithin the magic circle, and breathed riod of Anne's reign, Bolingbroke and ihe the arbitrary atmosphere of a court; later Shaftesbury, Bishops Atterbury, men, who, when we mention their Burnet and Butler, and Archbishop Tilnames, we are very apt to prefer the lotson. Coming down to this nineteenth prefix to them, and whose works are century, the great names are few-Byestimated without any reference to ron and Scoit, and perhaps Bulwer. Debrett's Peerage, or the records of the In the second rank of wonderfully clever Herald's College. In the gallery of the men, but not geniuses, we might inTemple of Fame, on the walls of which clude the critics Jeffrey and Brougham; hang the counterfeit presentments of in the class of respectable writers of an distinguished authors born among the earlier date, the Scotch notabilities,
Lords Kames, Stair, Hailes and Wood- Dorset wrote a gay song or two, and houselee, with Blackstone and Sir Wil- Halifax a few copies of verse, as short liam Jones, and Bishop Percy, and poetical attempts were then called, among contemporaries the accurate and which could be ranked under no defiindustrious historian, Mahon; Lord nite head. The Rehearsal is the great Holland, the liberal patron; the irri- and only triumph of the dramatic muse table Brydges, and Gower, the transla- in the ranks of the nobility, and that is ter of Faust. Writers of novels and at best an amusing satirical burlesque, books of travels are not unfrequent about equal to Sheridan's Critic. enamong the nobility, but they are only ham is the most elevated of all his writers for the season. Even Lord conternporary wits, in point of style. Lennox has lately written a novel. We know little of Davenant: but SuckWriters of vers de société like Spencer ling is truly delicious. All of these may not be rare, yet we suspect we writers were brief writers, and limited have forgotten no writer of mark. their attempts to a satire, an epigram,
The ablest of the nobility, in gene- a ballad, or a song. They are sparkral, turn to politics as a relief to a modeling brilliants, but, taken collectively, of life, the abundance and superfluities they do not form a gem of dazzling of which take away almost every im- splendor. pulse to active exertion of any kind. Of In history, there are the names of ihis class, we find many great lawyers More, Bacon, Herbert, Raleigh, Clarenwith no pretensions to authorship. And don, Burnet and Bolingbroke, names 10 of these how many brilliant names last; still, only Clarendon will be genehave sunk after a temporary brilliancy. rally read, save by a few antiquarian Who hears anything now of the great scholars. More's fragment is the oriSomers, the dare-devil wit and orator ginal chronicle of the Reign, full of immortalized by Pope, Wharton? What picturesqueness, yet a fragment of an do we know of Harley or Pelham ? early reign, and one, 100, which ShakThe famous lawyers from Fortescue speare has done more towards popularto Sir William Follett are little more izing the memory of than any historithan bare names. After all, compared cal writer. Bacon's History of Henry with the vastly larger and selecter list III. was a party history, but written of men of genius of obscure birth, or with an ability so great a man could at best of merely respectable parentage, not help displaying. Herbert's Henry the nobility can show but a scanty col- VIII. we have not read, but if it be lection.
comparable to his Life, (the first autoIn the different departments of lite- biography in English), it must be worth rature, what have they done? Though reading. Raleigh's work is only a nowe repeat the names above mentioned, ble introduction to a noble conception. we hope to add a word or two of criti. Clarendon and Burnet furnish a storecism. In English literature, Byron's is house of character to every class of writthe first name among noble poets, as ers, novelists, political critics, review. far above his fellow bards as he is him- ers and historians. Bolingbroke is self inferior to the master poets of the merely a showy writer on, not of human race. Admitting his force, en history: ergy, and occasional beauty; with his In philosophy, Bacon is and always music, pathos and satirical humor, yet must be, very prominent. To the end how much lower than Milton, in his of time, his prudential wisdom, rich loftiest flights! No one could compare fancy and compact eloquence, must rehim to Spenser or Chaucer, and to pa. main fresh. Even the reader who rallel him with Shakspeare would be knows nothing of the Advancement or little short of profanation. The re- the Organon, will resort 10 the essays maining noble poets are little more than as a fountain of wisdom next to Eccle. clever writers of verse, even Sidney was siasticus or the words of the Preacher. most poetic in his prose Defence of Po- Shaftesbury, we agree entirely with esy; his predecessors, Wyattand Surrey, Grey, in thinking to have been vasily wrote amorous sonnets, and by no overrated. At present he is almost means rich, in that emasculated form wholly forgotten. Next to Bolingbroke, of poetry:
Charles II.'s wits were it appears to us, no writer of eminence lively and neat: Rochester, has keen was ever rated so extravagantly high sens., and Roscommon dull discretion. as this English imitator of Plato and