Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, No. 327 by Various

Part 5 out of 6

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 0.6 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

miraculous productions of Providence, the little German sovereigns, live
on etiquette, never abate an atom of their opportunities of convincing
inferior mortals that they are of a super-eminent breed; and, in part,
seem to have strangely forgotten that salutary lesson which Napoleon and
his captains taught them, in the days when a republican brigadier, or an
imperial aid-de-camp, though the son of a tailor, treated their "Serene
Highnesses" and "High Mightinesses" with as little ceremony as the
thoroughly beaten deserved from the conquerors. In the present instance,
the little king did _not_ choose to receive the gallant soldier, whom,
in days of difficulty, he had been rejoiced to find at his side; and the
ground assigned was, that the monarch received none but in uniform; the
Marquis having mentioned, that he must appear in plain clothes, in
consequence of dispatching his uniform to Munich, doubtless under the
idea of attending the court there in his proper rank of a
general officer.

The Marquis was angry, and the fragment of his reply which we give, was
probably as unpalatable a missive as the little king had received since
the days of Napoleon.

"My intention was, to express my respect for his majesty, in taking this
opportunity to pay my court to him, in the interesting recollection of
the kindly feelings which he deigned to exhibit to me and my _brother_
at Vienna, when Prince Royal of Bavaria.

"I had flattered myself, that as the companion-in-arms of the excellent
Marshal Wrede in the campaigns of 1814 and 1815, his majesty would have
granted this much of remembrance to an individual, without regard to
uniform; or, at least, would have done me the honour of a private
audience. I find, however, that I have been mistaken, and I have now
only to offer my apologies to his majesty.

"The flattering reception which I have enjoyed in other courts, and the
idea that this was connected with the name and services of the
individual, and not dependent on the uniform, was the cause of my
indiscretion. As my profound respect for his majesty was the sole
feeling which led me towards Munich, I shall not _delay a moment_ in
quitting his majesty's territory."

If his majesty had been aware that this Parthian arrow would have been
shot at him, he would have been well advised in relaxing his etiquette.

In the vicinity where this trifling transaction occurred, is the
_locale_ of an undertaking which will probably outlast all the little
diadems of all the little kings. This is the canal by which it is
proposed to unite the Rhine, the Mayne, and the Danube; in other words,
to make the longest water communication in the world, through the heart
of Europe; by which the Englishman embarking at London-bridge, may
arrive at Constantinople in a travelling palace, with all the
comforts--nay, all the luxuries of life, round him; his books, pictures,
furniture, music, and society; and all this, while sweeping through some
of the most magnificent scenery of the earth, safe from surge or storm,
sheltered from winter's cold and summer's sun, rushing along at the rate
of a couple of hundred miles a-day, until he finds himself in the
Bosphorus, with all the glories of the City of the Sultans glittering
before him.

This is the finest speculation that was ever born of this generation of
wonders, steam; and if once realized, must be a most prolific source of
good to mankind. But the Germans are an intolerably tardy race in every
thing, but the use of the tongue. They harangue, and mystify, and
magnify, but they will not act; and this incomparable design, which, in
England, would join the whole power of the nation in one unanimous
effort, languishes among the philosophists and prognosticators of
Germany, finds no favour in the eyes of its formal courts, and threatens
to be lost in the smoke of a tobacco-saturated and slumber-loving

But the chief monument of Bavaria is the Val Halla, a modern temple
designed to receive memorials of all the great names of Germany. The
idea is kingly, and so is the temple; but it is built on the model of
the Parthenon--evidently a formidable blunder in a land whose history,
habits, and genius, are of the north. A Gothic temple or palace would
have been a much more suitable, and therefore a finer conception. The
combination of the palatial, the cathedral, and the fortress style,
would have given scope to superb invention, if invention was to be found
in the land; and in such an edifice, for such a purpose, Germany would
have found a truer point of union, than it will ever find in the absurd
attempt to mix opposing faiths, or in the nonsense of a rebel Gazette,
and clamorous Gazetteers.

Still the Bavarian monarch deserves the credit of an unrivalled zeal to
decorate his country. He is a great builder, he has filled Munich with
fine edifices, and called in the aid of talents from every part of
Europe, to stir up the flame, if it is to be found among his
drowsy nation.

The Val Halla is on a pinnacle of rising ground, about a hundred yards
from the Danube, from whose bank the ascent is by a stupendous marble
staircase, to the grand portico. The columns are of the finest white
stone, and the interior is completely lined with German marbles. Busts
of the distinguished warriors, poets, statesmen, and scholars, are to be
placed in niches round the walls, but _not_ till they are dead. A
curious arrangement is adopted with respect to the living: Persons of
any public note may send their busts, while living, to the Val Halla,
where they are deposited in a certain chamber, a kind of marble
purgatory or limbo. When they die, a jury is to sit upon them, and if
they are fortunate enough to have a verdict in their favour, they take
their place amongst these marble immortals. As the process does not
occur until the parties are beyond the reach of human disappointment,
they cannot feel the worse in case of failure; but the vanity which
tempts a man thus to declare himself deserving of perpetual renown, by
the act of sending his bust as a candidate, is perfectly _foreign_, and
must be continually ridiculous.

The temple has been inaugurated or consecrated by the king in person,
within the last month. He has made a speech, and dedicated it to German
fame for ever. He certainly has had the merit of doing what ought to
have been long since done in every kingdom of Europe; what a slight
retrenchment in every royal expenditure would have enabled every
sovereign to set on foot; and what could be done most magnificently,
would be most deserved, and ought to be done without delay, in England.

At Ratisbon, the steam navigation on the Danube begins, taking
passengers and carriages to Linz, where the Austrian steam navigation
commences, completing the course down the mighty river. The former
land-journey from Ratisbon to Vienna generally occupied six days. By the
steam-boat, it is now accomplished in forty-eight hours, a prodigious
saving of space and time. The Bavarian boats are smaller than those on
the Rhine, owing to the shallows on the upper part of the river, but
they are well managed and comfortable. The steamer is, in fact, a
floating hotel, where every thing is provided on board, and the general
arrangements are exact and convenient. The scenery in this portion of
the river is highly exciting.--"The Rhine, with its hanging woods and
multitudinous inhabited castles, affords a more cultivated picture; but
in the steep and craggy mountains of the Danube, in its wild outlines
and dilapidated castles, the imagination embraces a bolder range. At one
time the river is confined within its narrowest limits, and proceeds
through a defile of considerable altitude, with overhanging rocks
menacing destruction. At another it offers an open, wild archipelago of
islands. The mountains have disappeared, and a long plain bounds on each
side of the river its barren banks."

The steam-boats stop at Neudorf, a German mile from Vienna. On his
arrival, the Marquis found the servants and carriages of Prince
Esterhazy waiting for him, and quarters provided at the Swan Hotel,
until one of the prince's palaces could be prepared for his reception.
The importance of getting private quarters on arriving at Vienna is
great, the inns being all indifferent and noisy. They have another
disqualification not less important--they seem to be intolerably dear.
The Marquis's accommodations, though on a _third_ story of the Swan,
cost him eight pounds sterling a-day. This he justly characterizes as
extravagant, and says he was glad to remove on the third day, there
being an additional annoyance, in a club of the young nobles at the
Swan, which prevented a moment's quiet. The _cuisine_, however, was
particularly good, and the house, though a formidable affair for a
family, is represented as desirable for a "bachelor"--we presume, a
rich one.

Vienna has had her share in the general improvement of the Continent.
She has become commercial, and her streets exhibit shops with gilding,
plate-glass, and showy sign-boards, in place of the very old, very
barbarous, and very squalid, displays of the last century. War is a
rough teacher, but it is evidently the only one for the Continent. The
foreigner is as bigoted to his original dinginess and discomfort, as the
Turk to the Koran. Nothing but fear or force ever changes him. The
French invasions were desperate things, but they swept away a prodigious
quantity of the cobwebs which grow over the heads of nations who will
not use the broom for themselves. Feudalities and follies a thousand
years old were trampled down by the foot of the conscript; and the only
glimpses of common-sense which have visited three-fourths of Europe in
our day, were let in through chinks made by the French bayonet. The
French were the grand improvers of every thing, though only for their
own objects. They made high roads for their own troops, and left them to
the Germans; they cleared the cities of streets loaded with nuisances of
all kinds, and taught the natives to live without the constant dread of
pestilence; they compelled, for example the Portuguese to wash their
clothes, and the Spaniards to wash their hands. They proved to the
German that his ponderous fortifications only brought bombardments on
his cities, and thus induced him to throw down his crumbling walls, fill
up his muddy ditches, turn his barren glacis into a public walk, and
open his wretched streets to the light and air of heaven. Thus Hamburgh,
and a hundred other towns, have put on a new face, and almost begun a
new existence. Thus Vienna is now thrown open to its suburbs, and its
suburbs are spread into the country.

The first days were given up to dinner at the British ambassador's,
(Lord Beauvale's,) at the Prussian ambassador's, and at Prince
Metternich's. Lord Beauvale's was "nearly private He lived on a second
floor, in a fine house, of which, however, the lower part was understood
to be still unfurnished. His lordship sees but few people, and seldom
gives any grand receptions, his indifferent health being the reason for
living privately." However, on this point the Marquis has his own
conceptions, which he gives with a plainness perfectly characteristic,
and very well worth being remembered.

"I think," says he, "that an ambassador of England, at an imperial
court, with _eleven thousand pounds_ per annum! should _not_ live as a
private gentleman, nor consult solely his own ease, unmindful of the
sovereign he represents. A habit has stolen in among them of adopting a
spare _menage_, to augment _private fortune when recalled_! This is
wrong. And when France and Russia, and even Prussia, entertain
constantly and very handsomely; our embassies and legations, generally
speaking, are niggardly and shut up."

However the Lord Beauvale and his class may relish this honesty of
opinion, we are satisfied that the British public will perfectly agree
with the Marquis. A man who receives L. 11,000 a-year to show hospitality
and exhibit state, ought to do both. But there is another and a much
more important point for the nation to consider. Why should eleven
thousand pounds a-year be given to any ambassador at Vienna, or at any
other court of the earth? Cannot his actual diplomatic functions be
amply served for a tenth of the money? Or what is the actual result, but
to furnish, in nine instances out of ten, a splendid sinecure to some
man of powerful interest, without any, or but slight, reference to his
faculties? Or is there any necessity for endowing an embassy with an
enormous income of this order, to provide dinners, and balls, and a
central spot for the crowd of loungers who visit their residences; or to
do actual mischief by alluring those idlers to remain absentees from
their own country? We see no possible reason why the whole ambassadorial
establishment might not be cut down to salaries of fifteen hundred
a-year. Thus, men of business would be employed, instead of the
relatives of our cabinets; dinner-giving would not be an essential of
diplomacy; the ambassador's house would not be a centre for all the
ramblers and triflers who preferred a silly and lavish life abroad to
doing their duty at home; and a sum of much more than a hundred thousand
pounds a-year would be saved to the country. Jonathan acts the only
rational part on the subject. He gives his ambassador a sum on which a
private gentleman can live, and no more. He has not the slightest sense
of giving superb feasts, furnishing huge palaces, supplying all the
rambling Jonathans with balls and suppers, or astonishing John Bull by
the tinsel of his appointments. Yet he is at least as well served as
others. His man is a man of business; his embassy is no showy sinecure;
his ambassador is no showy sinecurist. The office is an understood step
to distinction at home; and the man who exhibits ability here, is sure
of eminence on his return. We have not found that the American diplomacy
is consigned to mean hands, or inefficient, or despised in any country.

The relative value of money, too, makes the folly still more
extravagant. In Vienna, L. 11,000 a-year is equal to twice the sum in
England. We thus virtually pay L. 22,000 a-year for Austrian diplomacy.
In France about the same proportion exists. But in Spain, the dollar
goes as far as the pound in England. There L. 10,000 sterling would be
equivalent to L. 40,000 here. How long is this waste to go on? We
remember a strong and true _exposé_, made by Sir James Graham, on the
subject, a few years ago; and we are convinced that, if he were to take
up the topic again, he would render the country a service of remarkable
value; and, moreover, that if he does not, it will be taken up by more
strenuous, but more dangerous hands. The whole system is one of lavish

The Russian ambassador's dinner "was of a different description.
Perfection in _cuisine_, wine, and attendance. Sumptuousness in liveries
and lights; the company, about thirty, the _élite_ of Vienna."

But the most interesting of those banquets, from the character of the
distinguished giver, was Prince Meternich's. The prince was residing at
his "Garten," (villa) two miles out of town. He had enlarged his house
of late years, and it now consisted of three, one for his children,
another for his own residence, and a third for his guests. This last was
"really a fairy edifice, so contrived with reflecting mirrors, as to
give the idea of being transparent." It was ornamented with rare
malachite, prophyry, jasper, and other vases, presents from the
sovereigns of Europe, besides statues, and copies of the most celebrated
works of Italy.

The Marquis had not seen this eminent person since 1823, and time had
played its part with his countenance; the smile was more languid, the
eye less illumined, the person more slight than formerly, the hair of a
more silvery hue, the features of his expressive face more distinctly
marked; the erect posture was still maintained, but the gait had become
more solemn; and when he rose from his chair, he had no longer his
wonted elasticity.

But this inevitable change of the exterior seems to have no effect on
the "inner man." "In the Prince's conversation I found the same talent,
the unrivalled _esprit_. The fluency and elocution, so entirely his own,
were as graceful, and the memory was as perfect, as at any
former period."

This memorable man is fond of matrimony; his present wife, a daughter of
Count Zichy Ferraris, being his third. A son of the second marriage is
his heir, and he has by his present princess two boys and a girl. The
Princess seems to have alarmed her guest by her vivacity; for he
describes her in the awful language with which the world speaks of a
confirmed _blue_:--"Though not so handsome as her predecessor, she
combines a _very spirited_ expression of countenance, with a clever
conversation, a versatility of genius, and a wit rather satirical than
humorous, which makes her _somewhat formidable_ to her acquaintance." We
dare say that she is a very showy tigress.

The Marquis found Vienna less gay than it was on his former visit. It is
true that he then saw it in the height of the Congress, flushed with
conquest, glittering with all kinds of festivity; and not an individual
in bad spirits in Europe, but Napoleon himself. Yet in later times the
court has changed; "the Emperor keeps singularly aloof from society; the
splendid court-days are no more; the families are withdrawing into
coteries; the beauties of former years have lost much of their
brilliancy, and a new generation equal to them has not yet appeared."

This is certainly not the language of a young marquis; but it is
probably not far from the estimate which every admirer of the sex makes,
_after_ a five-and-twenty years' absence. But he gallantly defends them
against the sneer of the cleverest of her sex, Lady Wortley Montagu, a
hundred years ago; her verdict being, "That their costume disfigured the
natural ugliness with which Heaven had been pleased to endow them." He
contends, however, that speaking within the last twenty (he probably
means _five-and-twenty_) years, "Vienna has produced some of the
handsomest women in the world: and in frequenting the public walks, the
Prater, and places of amusement, you meet as many bewitching
countenances, especially as to eyes, hair, and _tournure_, as in any
other capital whatever."

We think the Marquis fortunate; for we must acknowledge, that in our
occasional rambles on the Continent, we _never_ saw beauty in a German
visage. The rotundity of the countenance, the coarse colours, the
stunted nose, and the thick lip, which constitute the general mould of
the native physiognomy, are to us the very antipodes of beauty. Dress,
diamonds, rouge, and lively manners, may go far, and the ball-room may
help the deception; but we strongly suspect that where beauty casually
appears in society, we must look for its existence only among foreigners
to Teutchland. The general state of intercourse, even among the highest
circles, is dull. There are few houses of rank where strangers are
received; the animation of former times is gone. The ambassadors live
retired. The monarch's state of health makes him averse to society.
Prince Metternich's house is the only one constantly open; "but while he
remains at his Garten, to trudge there for a couple of hours' general
conversation, is not very alluring." Still, for a family which can go so
far to look for cheap playhouses and cheap living, Vienna is a
convenient capital.

But Austria has one quality, which shows her common sense in a striking
point of view. She abhors change. She has not a radical in her whole
dominions, except in jail--the only place fit for him. The agitations
and vexations of other governments stop at the Austrian frontier. The
people have not made the grand discovery, that universal suffrage is
meat and drink, and annual parliaments lodging and clothing. They
labour, and live by their labour; yet they have as much dancing as the
French, and better music. They are probably the richest and most
comfortable population of Europe at this hour. Their country has risen
to be the protector of Southern Europe; and they are making admirable
highways, laying down railroads, and building steam-boats, ten times as
fast as the French, with all their regicide plots, and a revolution
threatened once-a-month by the calendar of patriotism. "Like the great
Danube, which rolls through the centre of her dominions, the course of
her ministry and its tributary branches continue, without any deviation
from its accustomed channel." The comparison is a good one, and what can
be more fortunate than such tranquillity?

The two leading ministers, the government in effect, are Metternich and
Kollowrath; the former the Foreign Minister, the latter the Minister of
the Interior. They are understood to be of different principles; the
latter leaning to the "Movement," or, more probably, allowing himself to
be thought to do so, for the sake of popularity. But Metternich is the
true head. A Conservative from the beginning, sagacious enough to see
through the dupery of the pretended friends of the human race, and firm
enough to crush their hypocrisy--Metternich is one of those statesmen,
of whom men of sense never could have had two opinions--a mind which
stamped itself from the beginning as a leader, compelled by
circumstances often to yield, but never suffering even the most
desperate circumstances to make it despair. He saw where the strength of
Europe lay, from the commencement of the Revolutionary war; and, guided
by the example of Pitt, he laboured for a general European alliance.
When he failed there, he husbanded the strength of Austria for the day
of struggle, which he knew would come; and when it came, his genius
raised his country at once from a defeated dependency of France, into
the arbiter of Europe. While this great man lives, he ought to be
supreme in the affairs of his country. But in case of his death, General
Fiquelmont, the late ambassador to Russia, has been regarded as his
probable successor. He is a man of ability and experience, and his
appointment to the court of St Petersburg was probably intended to
complete that experience, in the quarter to which Austria, by her new
relations, and especially by her new navigation of the Danube, must look
with the most vigilant anxiety.

The Austrian army is kept up in very fine condition; but nearly all the
officers distinguished in the war are dead, and its present leaders have
to acquire a name. It is only to be hoped that they will never have the
opportunity. The regimental officers are generally from a higher class
than those of the other German armies.

After remaining for a fortnight at Vienna, the Marquis paid a visit to
his friend Prince Esterhazy.

This nobleman, long known and much-esteemed in England, is equally well
known to be a kind of monarch in Hungary. Whatever novelist shall write
the "Troubles of rank and riches," should take the prince for his hero.
He has eight or nine princely mansions scattered over the empire, and in
each of them it is expected, by his subjects of the soil, that his
highness should reside.

The Marquis made a round of the principal of those mansions. The first
visit was to a castle in the neighbourhood of Vienna, which the prince
has modernized into a magnificent villa. Here all is constructed to the
taste of a statesman only eager to escape the tumult of the capital, and
pining to refresh himself with cooling shades and crystal streams. All
is verdure, trout streams, leafy walks, water blue as the sky above it,
and the most profound privacy and seclusion.

After a "most exquisite entertainment" here, the Marquis and his family
set out early next morning to visit Falkenstein. Every castle in this
part of the world is historical, and derives its honours from a Turkish
siege. Falkenstein, crowning the summit of a mountain of granite, up
which no carriage can be dragged but by the stout Hungarian horses
trained to the work, has been handsomely bruised by the Turkish balls in
its day; but it is now converted into a superb mansion; very grand, and
still more curious than grand; for it is full of relics of the olden
time, portraits of the old warriors of Hungary, armour and arms, and all
the other odd and pompous things which turn an age of barbarism into an
age of romance. The prince and princess are hailed and received at the
castle as king and queen. A guard of soldiers of the family, which the
Esterhazy have the sovereign right to maintain, form the garrison of
this palatial fortress, and it has a whole establishment of salaried
officials within. The next expedition was to two more of those
mansions--Esterhazy, built by one of the richest princes of the house,
and Eisenstadt. The former resembles the imperial palace at Schonbrun,
but smaller. The prince is fitting it up gorgeously in the Louis XIV.th
style. Here he has his principal studs for breeding horses; but
Eisenstadt outshone all the chateaus of this superb possessor. The
splendours here were regal: Two hundred chambers for guests--a saloon
capable of dining a thousand people--a battalion of the "Esterhazy
Guard" at the principal entrances; all paid from the estate. To this all
the ornamental part was proportioned--conservatory and greenhouses on
the most unrivalled scale--three or four hundred orange-trees alone,
throwing the Duke of Northumberland's gardens into eclipse, and
stimulating his Grace of Devonshire even to add new greens and glories
to Chatsworth.

On his return to Vienna, the Marquis was honoured with a private
interview by the emperor--a remarkable distinction, as the ambassador
was informed "that the emperor was too well acquainted with the
Marquis's services to require any presentation, and desired that he
might come alone." He was received with great politeness and
condescension. Next day he had an interview with Prince Metternich, who,
with graceful familiarity, took him over his house in Vienna, to show
him its improvements since the days of Congress. He remarks it as a
strange point in the character of this celebrated statesman, how
minutely he sometimes interests himself in mere trifles, especially
where art and mechanism are concerned. He had seen him one evening
remain for half an hour studiously examining the construction of a
musical clock. The Prince then showed his _cabinet de travail_, which he
had retained unchanged. "Here," said he, "is a spot which is exactly as
it was the last day you saw it." Its identity had been rigidly
preserved, down to the placing of its paper and pencils. All was in the
same order. The Prince evidently, and justly, looked on those days as
the glory of his life.

We regret that the conversation of so eminent a person could not be more
largely given; for Metternich is less a statesman than statemanship
itself. But one remark was at once singularly philosophical and
practical. In evident allusion to the miserable tergiversations of our
Whig policy a couple of years since, he said, "that throughout life, he
had always acted on the plan of adopting the _best determination on all
important subjects_. That to this point of view he had steadfastly
adhered; and that, in the indescribable workings of time and
circumstances, it had _always happened to him_ that matters were
brought round to the very spot, from which, owing to the folly of
misguided notions or inexperienced men, they had for a time taken their
departure." This was in 1840, when the Whigs ruled us; it must be an
admirable maxim for honest men, but it must be perpetually thwarting the
oblique. To form a view on principle, and to adhere to it under all
difficulties, is the palpable way to attain great ultimate success; but
the paltry and the selfish, the hollow and the intriguing, have neither
power nor will to look beyond the moment; they are not steering the
vessel to a harbour; they have no other object than to keep possession
of the ship as long as they can, and let her roll wherever the gale may
carry her.

After all, one grows weary of every thing that is to be had for the mere
act of wishing. Difficulty is essential to enjoyment. High life is as
likely to tire on one's hands as any other. The Marquis, giving all the
praise of manners and agreeability to Vienna, sums up all in one
prodigious yawn. "The _same_ evenings at Metternich's, the _same_
lounges for making purchases and visits on a morning, the _same_
idleness and fatigue at night, the searching and arid climate, and the
clouds of execrable fine dust"--all conspiring to tell the great of the
earth that they can escape _ennui_ no more than the little.

On leaving Vienna, he wrote a note of farewell to the Prince, who
returned an answer, of remarkable elegance--a mixture of the pathetic
and the playful. His note says that he has no chance of going to see any
body, for he is like a coral fixed to a rock--both must move together.
He touches lightly on their share in the great war, "which is now
becoming a part of those times which history itself names heroic;" and
concludes by recommending him on his journey to the care of an officer
of rank, on a mission to Turkey--"Car il sçait le Turc, aussi bien que
nous deux ne le sçavons pas." With this Voltairism he finishes, and
gives his "Dieu protège."

We now come to the Austrian steam passage. This is the boldest effort
which Austria has ever made, and its effects will be felt through every
generation of her mighty empire. The honour of originating this great
design is due to Count Etienne Zecheny, a Hungarian nobleman,
distinguished for every quality which can make a man a benefactor to his
country. The plan of this steam-navigation is now about ten years old.
The Marquis justly observes, that nothing more patriotic was ever
projected; and it is mainly owing to this high-spirited nobleman that
the great advantage is now enjoyed of performing, in ten or twelve days,
the journey to the capital of Turkey, which some years ago could be
achieved only by riding the whole way, and occupying, by couriers, two
or three weeks. The chief direction of the company is at Vienna. It had,
at the time of the tour, eighteen boats, varying from sixty to one
hundred horse-power, and twenty-four more were to be added within the
year. Some of these were to be of iron.

But the poverty of all foreign countries is a formidable obstacle to the
progress of magnificent speculations like those. The shares have
continued low, the company has had financial difficulties to encounter,
and the popular purse is tardy. However, the prospect is improving, the
profits have increased; and the Austrian archdukes and many of the great
nobles having lately taken shares, the steam-boats will probably become
as favourite as they are necessary. But all this takes time; and as by
degrees the "disagreeables" of the voyage down the Danube will be
changed into agreeables, we shall allude no more to the noble
traveller's voyage, than to say, that on the 4th of November, a day of
more than autumnal beauty, his steamer anchored in the Bosphorus.

Here we were prepared for a burst of description. But the present
describer is a matter-of-fact personage; and though he makes no attempt
at poetic fame, has the faculty of telling what he saw, with very
sufficient distinctness. "I never experienced more disappointment," is
his phrase, "than in my first view of the Ottoman capital. I was bold
enough at once to come to the conclusion, that what I had heard or read
was overcharged. The most eminent of the describers, I think, could
never have been on the spot." Such is the plain language of the last

"The entrance of the Tagus, the Bay of Naples, the splendid approach to
the grand quays of St Petersburg, the Kremlin, and view of Moscow, all
struck me as far preferable to the scene at the entrance of the

He admits, that in the advance to the city up this famous channel, there
are many pretty views, that there is a line of handsome residences in
some parts, and that the whole has a good deal the look of a "drop-scene
in a theatre;" still he thinks it poor in comparison of its
descriptions, the outline low, feeble, and rugged, and that the less it
is examined, probably the more it may be admired. Even the famous
capital fares not much better. "In point of fine architectural features,
monuments of art, and magnificent structures, (excepting only the great
Mosques,) the chisel of the mason, the marble, the granite,
Constantinople is more destitute than any other great capital. But then,
you are told that these objects are not in the style and taste of the
people. Be it so; but then do not let the minds of those who cannot see
for themselves be led away by high-wrought and fallacious descriptions
of things which do not exist." The maxim is a valuable one, and we hope
that the rebuke will save the reading public from a heap of those
"picturesque" labours, which really much more resemble the heaviest
brush of the scene-painter, than the truth of nature.

But if art has done little, nature has done wonders for Constantinople.
The site contains some of the noblest elements of beauty and grandeur;
mountain, plain, forest, waters; its position is obviously the key of
Europe and Asia Minor--even of more, it is the point at which the north
and south meet; by the Bosphorus it commands the communication of the
Black Sea, and with it, of all the boundless region, once Scythia, and
now Russia and Tartary; by the Dardanelles, it has the most immediate
command over the Mediterranean, the most important sea in the world.
Russia, doubtless, may be the paramount power of the Black Sea; the
European nations may divide the power of the Mediterranean; but
Constantinople, once under the authority of a monarch, or a government,
adequate to its natural faculties, would be more directly the sovereign
of both seas, than Russia, with its state machinery in St Petersburg, a
thousand miles off, or France a thousand miles, or England more nearly
two thousand miles. This dominion will never be exercised by the
ignorant, profligate, and unprincipled Turk; but if an independent
Christian power should be established there, in that spot lie the
materials of empire. In the fullest sense, Constantinople, uniting all
the high-roads between east and west, north and south, is the centre of
the living world. We are by no means to be reckoned among the theorists
who calculate day by day on the fall of Turkey. In ancient times the
fall of guilty empires was sudden, and connected with marked evidences
of guilt. But those events were so nearly connected with the fortunes of
the Jewish people, that the suddenness of the catastrophe was essential
to the lesson. The same necessity exists no longer, the Chosen People
are now beyond the lesson, and nations undergo suffering, and approach
dissolution, by laws not unlike those of the decadence of the human
frame; the disease makes progress, but the evidence scarcely strikes the
eye, and the seat of the distemper is almost beyond human investigation.
The jealousy of the European powers, too, protects the Turk. But he must
go down--Mahometanism is already decaying. Stamboul, its headquarters,
will not survive its fall; and a future generation will inevitably see
Constantinople the seat of a Christian empire, and that empire, not
improbably, only the forerunner of an empire of Palestine.

The general view of Constantinople is superb. A bridge has been thrown
across the "Golden Horn," connecting its shores; and from this the city,
or rather the four cities, spread out in lengthened stateliness before
the eye. From this point are seen, to the most striking advantage, the
two mountainous elevations on which Constantinople and Pera are built,
and other heights surrounding. A communication subsists across the
"Golden Horn," not only by water and the bridge, but also by the road,
which by the land is a distance of five or six miles. Viewing
Constantinople as a whole, it strikes one as larger by far than Paris or
London, but they are both larger. The reason of the deception being,
that here the eye embraces a larger space.

The Turks never improve anything. The distinction between them and the
Europeans is, that the latter think of conveniences, the former only of
luxuries. The Turks, for example, build handsome pavilions, plant showy
gardens, and erect marble fountains to cool them in marble halls. But
they never mend a high-road--they never even make one. Now and then a
bridge is forced on them by the necessity of having one, or being
drowned; but they never repair that bridge, nor sweep away the
accumulated abomination of their streets, nor do any thing that it is
possible to leave undone.

Pera is the quarter in which all the Christians even of the highest rank
live; the intercourse between it and Constantinople is, of course,
perpetual, yet perhaps a stone has not been smoothed in the road since
the siege of the city. From Pera were the most harassing trips down
rugged declivities on horseback, besides the awkwardness of the
passage in boats.

One extraordinary circumstance strikes the stranger, that but one sex
seems to exist. The dress of the women gives no idea of the female form,
and the whole population seems to be male.

The masses of people are dense, and among them the utmost silence in
general prevails. About seven or eight at night the streets are cleared,
and their only tenants are whole hosts of growling, hideous dogs; or a
few Turks gliding about with paper lanterns; these, too, being the only
lights in the streets, if streets they are to be called, which are only
narrow passes, through which the vehicles can scarcely move.

The dogs are curious animals. It is probable that civilization does as
much injury to the lower tribes of creation, as it does good to man. If
it polishes our faculties, it enfeebles their instincts. The Turkish
dog, living nearly as he would have done in the wilderness, exhibits the
same sagacity, amounting to something of government. For instance, the
Turkish dogs divide the capital into quarters, and each set has its own;
if an adventurous or an ambitious dog enters the quarters of his
neighbours, the whole pack in possession set upon him at once, and he is
expelled by hue and cry. They also know how to conduct themselves
according to times and seasons. In the daytime, they ramble about, and
suffer themselves to be kicked with impunity; but at night the case is
different: they are the majority--they know their strength, and insist
on their privileges. They howl and growl then at their own discretion,
fly at the accidental stranger with open mouth, attack him singly,
charge him _en masse_, and nothing but a stout bludgeon, wielded by a
strong arm, can save the passenger from feeling that he is in the
kingdom of his four-footed masters.

The Marquis arrived during the Ramazan, when no Turk eats, drinks, or
even smokes, from sunrise to sunset. Thus the Turk is a harder faster
than the papist. The moment the sun goes down, the Turk rushes to his
meal and his pipe, "not eating but devouring, not inhaling but wallowing
in smoke." At the Bajazet colonnade, where the principal Turks rush to
enjoy the night, the lighted coffee-houses, the varieties of costume,
the eager crowd, and the illumination of myriads of paper lanterns, make
a scene that revives the memory of Oriental tales.

Every thing in Turkey is unlike any thing in Europe. In the bazar,
instead of the rapid sale and dismissal in our places of traffic, the
Turkish dealer, in any case of value, invites his applicant into his
shop, makes him sit down, gives him a pipe, smokes him into
familiarity--hands him a cup of coffee, and drinks him into confidence;
in short, treats him as if they were a pair of ambassadors appointed to
dine and bribe each other--converses with, and cheats him.

But the Marquis regards the bazars as contemptible places, says that
they are not to be compared with similar establishments at Petersburg or
Moscow, and recommends whatever purchases are made, to be made at one's
own quarters, "where you escape being jostled, harangued, smoked, and
poisoned with insufferable smells."

One of the curious features of the sojourn at Constantinople, is the
presentation to the Ministers and the Sultan. Redschid Pasha appointed
to see the Marquis at three o'clock, _à la Turque_--which, as those
Orientals always count from the sunset, means eight o'clock in
the evening.

He was led in a kind of procession to the Minister, received in the
customary manner, and had the customary conversation on Constantinople,
England, the war, &c. Then, a dozen slaves entered, and universal
smoking began. "When the cabinet was so full of smoke that one could
hardly see," the attendants returned, and carried away the pipes. Then
came a dropping fire of conversation, then coffee; then sherbet, which
the guest pronounced good, and "thought the most agreeable part of the
ceremonial." The Minister spoke French fluently, and, after an hour's
visit, the ceremony ended--the pasha politely attending his visiter
through the rooms. The next visit was to Achmet Pasha, who had been in
England at the time of the Coronation--had been ambassador at Vienna for
some years--spoke French fluently--was a great friend of Prince and
Princess Metternich, and, besides all this, had married one of the
Sultan's sisters. The last honour was said to be due to his immense
wealth. It seems that the "course of true love" does not run more
smoothly in Turkey than elsewhere--for the young lady was stated to be
in love with the commander-in-chief, an older man, but possessing more
character. Achmet was now Minister of Commerce, and in high favour. He
kept his young wife at his country house, and she had not been seen
since her marriage. When asked permission for ladies to visit her, he
always deferred it "till next spring, when," said he, "she will be
civilized." The third nocturnal interview was more picturesque--it was
with the young Sultana's flame, the Seraskier, (commander-in-chief.) His
residence is at the Porte, where he has one of the splendid palaces.

"You enter an immense court, with his stables on one side and his harem
on the other. A regiment of guards was drawn up at the entrance, and two
companies were stationed at the lower court. The staircase was filled
with soldiers, slaves, and attendants of different nations. I saw
Greeks, Armenians, Sclavonians, Georgians, all in their native costume;
and dark as were the corridors and entrance, by the flashes of my
flambeaux through the mist, the scene struck me as much more grand and
imposing than the others. The Seraskier is a robust, soldier-like man,
with a fierce look and beard, and an agreeable smile." The Minister was
peculiarly polite, and showed him through the rooms and the war
department, exhibiting, amongst the rest, his military council, composed
of twenty-four officers, sitting at that moment. They were of all ranks,
and chosen, as it was said, without any reference as to qualification,
but simply by favour. The Turks still act as oddly as ever. A friend of
the Marquis told him, that he had lately applied to the Seraskier to
promote a young Turkish officer. A few days after, the officer came to
thank him, and said, that though the Seraskier had not given him the
command of a regiment, he had given him "the command of a ship." The
true wonder is, that the Turks have either ships or regiments. But there
is a fine quantity of patronage in this department--the number of clerks
alone being reckoned at between seven and eight hundred.

The opinions of the Marquis on Mediterranean politics are worth
regarding, because he has had much political experience in the highest
ranks of foreign life--because from that experience he is enabled to
give the opinions of many men of high name and living influence, and
because he is an honest man, speaking sincerely, and speaking
intelligibly. He regards the preservation of Turkey as the first
principle of all English diplomacy in the east of Europe, and considers
our successive attempts to make a Greek kingdom, and our sufferance of
an Egyptian dynasty, as sins against the common peace of the world.
Thus, within a few years, Greece has been taken away; Egypt has not
merely been taken away, but rendered dangerous to the Porte; the great
Danubian provinces, Moldavia and Wallachia, have been taken away, and
thus Russia has been brought to the banks of the Danube. Servia, a vast
and powerful province, has followed, and is now more Russian than
Turkish; and while those limbs have been torn from the great trunk, and
that trunk is still bleeding from the wounds of the late war, it is
forced to more exhausting efforts, the less power it retains. But, with
respect to Russia, he does not look upon her force and her ambition with
the alarm generally entertained of that encroaching and immense power.
He even thinks that, even if she possessed Constantinople, she could not
long retain it. As all this is future, and of course conjectural, we
may legitimately express our doubts of any authority on the subject.
That Russia does not think with the Marquis is evident, for all her real
movements for the last fifty years have been but preliminaries to the
seizure of Turkey. Her exhibitions in all other quarters have been mere
disguises. She at one time displays a large fleet in the Baltic, or at
another sends an army across Tartary; but she never attempts any thing
with either, except the excitement of alarm. But it is in the direction
of Turkey that all the solid advances are made. There she always
finishes her hostility by making some solid acquisition. She is now
carrying on a wasteful war in the Caucasus; its difficulty has probably
surprised herself, but she still carries it on; and let the loss of life
and the expenditure of money be what they will, she will think them well
encountered if they end in giving her the full possession of the
northern road into Asia Minor. Russia, in possession of Constantinople,
would have the power of inflicting dreadful injuries on Europe. If she
possessed a responsible government, her ambition might be restrained by
public opinion; or the necessity of appealing to the national
representatives for money--of all checks on war the most powerful, and
in fact the grand operative check, at this moment, on the most restless
of European governments, France. But with her whole power, her revenues,
and her military means completely at the disposal of a single mind, her
movements, for either good or evil, are wholly dependent on the caprice,
the ambition, or the absurdity of the individual on the throne. The idea
that Russia would weaken her power by the possession of Constantinople,
seems to us utterly incapable of proof. She has been able to maintain
her power at once on the Black Sea, seven hundred miles from her
capital; on the Danube, at nearly the same distance, and on the Vistula,
pressing on the Prussian frontier. In Constantinople she would have the
most magnificent fortress in the world, the command of the head of the
Mediterranean, Syria, and inevitably Egypt. By the Dardanelles, she
would be wholly inaccessible; for no fleet could pass, if the batteries
on shore were well manned. The Black Sea would be simply her wet-dock,
in which she might build ships while there was oak or iron in the north,
and build them in complete security from all disturbance; for all the
fleets of Europe could not reach them through the Bosphorus, even if
they had forced the Dardanelles--that must be the operation of an army
in the field. On the north, Russia is almost wholly invulnerable. The
Czar might retreat until his pursuers perished of fatigue and hunger.
The unquestionable result of the whole is, that Russia is the real
terror of Europe. France is dangerous, and madly prone to hostilities;
but France is open on every side, and experience shows that she never
can resist the combined power of England and Germany. It is strong
evidence of our position, that she has never _ultimately_ triumphed in
any war against England; and the experience of the last war, which
showed her, with all the advantages of her great military chief, her
whole population thrown into the current of war, and her banner followed
by vassal kings, only the more consummately overthrown, should be a
lesson to her for all ages. But Russia has never been effectually
checked since the reign of Peter the Great, when she first began to
move. Even disastrous wars have only hastened her advance; keen intrigue
has assisted military violence, and when we see even the destruction of
Moscow followed by the final subjugation of Poland, we may estimate the
sudden and fearful superiority which she would be enabled to assume,
with her foot standing on Constantinople, and her arm stretching at will
over Europe and Asia. Against this tremendous result there are but two
checks, the preservation of the Osmanli government by the jealousy of
the European states, and the establishment of a Greek empire at
Constantinople: the former, the only expedient which can be adopted for
the moment, but in its nature temporary, imperfect, and liable to
intrigue: the latter, natural, secure, and lasting. It is to this event
that all the rational hopes of European politicians should be finally
directed. Yet, while the Turk retains possession we must adhere to him;
for treaties must be rigidly observed, and no policy is safe that is not
strictly honest. But if the dynasty should fail, or any of those
unexpected changes occur which leave great questions open, the formation
of a Greek empire ought to be contemplated as the true, and the only,
mode of effectually rescuing Europe from the most formidable struggle
that she has ever seen. But the first measure, even of temporary
defence, ought to be the fortification of Constantinople. It is computed
that the expense would not exceed a million and a half sterling.

The Marquis, by a fortunate chance for a looker-on, happened to be in
the Turkish capital at the time when the populace were all exulting at
the capture of Acre. It was admitted that the British squadron had done
more in rapidity of action, and in effect of firing, than it was
supposed possible for ships to accomplish, and all was popular
admiration and ministerial gratitude. In addition to the lighting of the
mosques for the Ramazan, Pera and Constantinople were lighted up, and
the whole scene was brilliant. Constant salvoes were fired from the
ships and batteries during the day, and at night, of course, all was
splendour on the seven hills of the great city.

On the "Seraskier's Square," two of the Egyptian regiments taken at
Beyrout defiled before the commander-in-chief. The Turkish bands in
garrison moved at their head. The prisoners marched in file; and, having
but just landed from their prison-ships, looked wretchedly. Having a red
woollen bonnet, white jackets, and large white trowsers, they looked
like an assemblage of "cricketers." The men were universally young,
slight made, and active, with sallow cheeks, many nearly yellow, orange,
and even black; still, if well fed and clothed, they would make by no
means bad light troops. The Turks armed and clothed then forthwith, and
scattered them among their regiments; a proceeding which shows that even
the Turk is sharing the general improvement of mankind. Once he would
have thrown them all into the Bosphorus.

From this professional display, the Marquis adjourned to the "Grand
Promenade," where the sultanas see the world, unseen themselves, in
their carriages. "Though," as he writes, "I never had an opportunity of
_verifying_ any thing like Miss Pardoe's anecdote of the 'sentries being
ordered to face about when presenting arms,' rather than be permitted to
gaze on the _tempting_ and _forbidden_ fruit; but, on the contrary,
witnessed soldiers escorting all the sultanas' carriages: it is
nevertheless true, that a gruff attendant attacked and found fault with
me for daring to raise my eyes to a beautiful Turkish woman, whom it was
quite impossible I could admire beyond her forehead and two large black
eyes, eyebrows, and lashes, which glanced from under her yashmack." But
the Marquis has no mercy on the performances of poor Miss Pardoe.

The sultana-mother was a personage of high importance at this time, from
her supposed influence over her son. Her equipage was somewhat
European--a chariot, with hammer-cloth, (apparently lately received from
Long-Acre.) The coachman drove four large bay horses, with a plurality
of reins. There were attendants, running Turks, and guards before to
clear the way. Two open barouches, ornamented after the manner of the
country, followed, and the rear of the sultanas' procession was closed
by arebas (or covered and gilded vans) full of women and slaves.

But the most characteristic display of all is the "Cabinet." "On the
side of this drive is a long colonnade of shops; and, at the bottom of
it, a _barber's_, in which all the ministers of the divan and the pasha
assemble! They sit on cushions in grand conclave and conference; and,
while affecting to discuss the affairs of the state, the direction of
their eyes, and their signs to the recumbent houris in the carriages,
show their thoughts to be directed to other objects."

What should we think of the chancellor, the premier, and the three
secretaries of state, sitting in council at a fruiterer's in Regent
Street, and nodding to the ladies as they pass? But this is not all. The
sultan, in his kiosk, sits at one end of the drive, inspecting the whole
panorama. Still, it is not yet complete; at the lower end of the
colonnade there is a woman-market, where each slave, attended by a
duenna, passes and parades, casting her languishing eyes through the
files of lounging officers and merchants, who crowd this part of the
promenade. All this is essentially Turkish, and probably without any
thing like it in the world besides.

The beauty of the Turkish women is still a matter of dispute. When
beauty is an object of unlimited purchase, its frequency will be
probably found a safe admission. But Turkish women occasionally unveil,
and it is then generally discovered that the veil is one of their
principal charms. They have even been described as merely good-humoured
looking "fatties"--a sufficiently humble panegyric. Lord Londonderry
gives it as his opinion, that they are "not generally handsome, but all
well-built and well-grown, strong, and apparently healthy. Their eyes
and eyebrows are invariably fine and expressive; and their hair is,
beyond measure, superior to that of other nations. The thickness of its
braidings and plaits, and the masses that are occasionally to be seen,
leave no doubt of this."

Long and luxuriant tresses belong to all the southern nations of Europe,
and seem to be the results of heat of climate; and there are few facts
in physiology more singular than the sudden check given to this
luxuriance on the confines of Negroland. There, with all predisposing
causes for its growth, it is coarse, curled, and never attains to length
or fineness of any kind. The Georgians and Circassians were once the
boast of the harem; but the war and the predominance of the Russian
power in the Caucasus, have much restricted this detestable national
traffic--a circumstance said to be much to the regret of both parents
and daughters; the former losing the price, and the latter losing the
preferment, to which the young beauties looked forward as to a certain
fortune. But later experience has told the world, that the charms of
those Armidas were desperately exaggerated by Turkish romance and
European credulity; that the general style of Circassian features,
though fair, is Tartarish, and that the Georgian is frequently coarse
and of the deepest brown, though with larger eyes than the Circassian,
which are small, and like those of the Chinese. The accounts written by
ladies visiting the harems are to be taken with the allowance due to
showy dress, jewels, cosmetics, and the general effect of a prepared
exhibition, scarcely less than theatrical. It is scarcely possible that
either the human face or form can long preserve symmetry of any kind in
a life almost wholly destitute of exercise, in the confined air of their
prison, and in the full indulgence of their meals. Activity, animation,
and grace--the great constituents of all true beauty--must soon perish
in the harem.

The Marquis (an excellent judge of a horse) did not much admire the
steeds of the pashas. On a visit to the Seraskier's stables, the head
groom brought out fourteen, with light Tartars on them to show their
points. Their stables were miserable. The horses were without stalls or
litter, in a dark, ill-paved barn. They were heavily covered with rugs.
Three or four were very fine Arabs; but the rest were of Turkish blood,
with large heads, lopped ears, and thick necks, of indifferent action,
and by no means desirable in any shape.

The interview with the Sultan was the last, and was interesting and
characteristic. The Marquis had naturally expected to find him in the
midst of pomp. Instead of all this, on entering a common French carpeted
room, he perceived, on an ordinary little French sofa, the sovereign
crosslegged, and alone; two small sofas, half-a-dozen chairs, and
several wax-lights, were all the ornaments of this very plain saloon.
But the Sultan was diamonded all over, and fully made amends for the
plainness of his reception-room. As to his person, Abdul-Mehjid is a
tall sallow youth of nineteen or twenty, with a long visage, but
possessing fine eyes and eyebrows, so that, when his face is lighted up,
it is agreeable and spiritual.

We must now close our sketch of those diversified and pleasant volumes.
We regret to hear that their distinguished and active author has lately
met with a severe accident in following the sports of his country; but
we are gratified with the hope of his recovery, and the hope, too, of
seeing him undertake more excursions, and narrate them with equal
interest, truth, and animation.

* * * * *



[12] The tale that follows is founded upon an incident that
occurred some little time before the American War, to Colonel
Campbell of Glenlyon, whose grandfather, the Laird of Glenlyon,
was the officer in King William's service who commanded at the
slaughter of the Macdonalds of Glencoe. The anecdote is told in
Colonel David Stewart's valuable history of the Highland
Regiments. Edin 1822.

The fair calm eve on wood and wold
Shone down with softest ray,
Beneath the sycamore's red leaf
The mavis trill'd her lay,
Murmur'd the Tweed afar, as if
Complaining for the day.

And evening's light, and wild-bird's song,
And Tweed's complaining tune;
And far-off hills, whose restless pines
Were beckoning up the moon--
Beheld and heard, shed silence through
A lofty dim saloon.

The fruits of mellow autumn glow'd
Upon the ebon board;
The blood that grape of Burgundy
In other days had pour'd,
Gleam'd from its crystal vase--but all
Untasted stood the hoard.

Two guests alone sat listlessly
That lavish board beside;
The one a fair-haired stripling, tall,
Blithe-brow'd and eager-ey'd,
Caressing still two hounds in leash,
That by his chair abide.

Right opposite, in musing mood,
A stalwart man was placed,
With veteran aspect, like a tower
By war, not time, defaced,
Whose shatter'd walls exhibit Power
Contending still with Waste.

And as the ivy's sudden veil
Will round the fortress spring,
Some grief unfading o'er that brow
Its shadow seemed to fling,
And made that stalwart man's whole air
A sad and solemn thing.

And so they sat, both Youth and Years,
An hour without a word--
The pines that beckon'd up the moon
Their arms no longer stirr'd,
And through the open windows wide
The Tweed alone was heard.

The elder's mood gave way at last,
Perhaps some sudden whine
Of the lithe quest-hounds startled him,
Or timepiece striking nine;
"Fill for thyself, forgotten Boy,"
He said, "and pass the wine."

"A churlish host I ween am I
To thee, who, day by day,
Thus comest to cheer my solitude
With converse frank and gay,
Or tempt me with thy dogs to course
The moorlands far away.

"But still the fit returns"--he paused,
Then with a sigh resumed,
"Remember'st thou how once beneath,
Yon chestnut, when it bloom'd,
Thou ask'd'st me why I wore the air
Of spirit disentomb'd;

"And why, apart from man, I chose
This mansion grim and hoary,
Nor in my ancient lineage seem'd,
Nor ancient name, to glory?
I shunn'd thy questions then--now list,
And thou shalt hear the story--

"With a brief preface, and thro' life
Believe its warning true--
That they who (save in righteous cause)
Their hands with blood imbrue--
Man's sacred blood--avenging heaven
Will long in wrath pursue.

"A curse has fallen upon my race;
The Law once given in fire,
While Sinai trembled to its base,
That curse inflicted dire,

"My fathers strong, of iron hand,
Had hearts as iron hard,
That never love nor pity's touch,
From ruthless deeds bebarr'd.
And well they held their Highland glen,
Whatever factions warr'd.

"When Stuart's great but godless race
Dissolved like thinnest snow
Before bright Freedom's face, my clan,
The Campbells, served their foe.
--Boy--'twas my grandsire" (soft he said)
"Commanded at Glencoe."

The stripling shrank, nor quite suppress'd
His startled bosom's groan;
Forward and back the casements huge
By sudden gust were blown,
And at the sound one dreaming hound
Awaken'd with a moan.

"_Glencoe_--ay, well the word may stir,
The stoutest heart with fear,
Or burn with monstrous shame the face
Of man from year to year,
As long as Scotland's girdling rocks
The roar of seas shall hear.

"Enough--Glenlyon redly earn'd
The curse he won that night,
When rising from the social hearth
He gave the word to smite,
And all was shriek and helplessness,
And massacre and flight.

"And such a flight!--O, outraged Heaven,
How could'st thou, since, have smiled?
A fathom deep the frozen snow
Lay horrid on the wild,
Where fled to perish youth and age,
And wife and feeble child.

"My couch is soft--yet dreams will still
Convert that couch to snow,
And in my slumbers shot and shout
Are ringing from Glencoe."
That stalwart man arose and paced
The chamber to and fro,
While to his brow the sweat-drop sprung
Like one in mortal throe.

* * * * *

"Glenlyon died, be sure, as die
All desperate men of blood,
And from my sire (his son) our lands
Departed sod by sod,
Till the sole wealth bequeathed me was
A mother fearing God.

"She rear'd me in that holy fear,
In stainless honour's love,
And from the past she warned me,
Whate'er my fate should prove,
To shrink from bloodshed as a sin.
All human sins above.

"I kept the precept;--by the sword
Compell'd to win me bread,
A soldier's life of storm and strife
For forty years I led,
Yet ne'er by this reluctant arm
Has friend or foeman bled.

"But still I felt Glencoe's dark curse
My head suspended o'er,
--Look, this reluctant hand, for all,
Is red with human gore!"
Again that white-lipp'd man arose
And strode the echoing floor.

* * * * *

"A prosperous course through life was mine
On rampart, field, and wave,
Though more my warrior skill than deeds,
Command and fortune gave.
Years roll'd away, and I prepared
To drop the weary glaive.

"'Twas when beyond th' Atlantic foam,
To check encroaching France,
Our war spread wide, and, on his tide,
In many a martial glance,
St Lawrence saw grey Albyn's plumes
And Highland pennons dance.

"E'en while I waited for the Chief,
By whom relieved at last,
Heart-young, though time-worn, I was free
To hail my country's blast--
That on a sentry, absent found,
The doom of death was pass'd.

"POOR RONALD BLAIR! a fleeter foot
Ne'er track'd through Morvern moss
The wind-hoof'd deer; nor swimmer's arm
More wide the surge could toss
Than his, for whom dishonour's hand
Now dug the griesly fosse.

"Suspicion of those hunter tribes,
Along whose giant screen
Of shadowy woods our host encamp'd,
The early cause had been
Of rule, that none of Indian race
Should come our lines within.

"The law was kept, yet, far away,
Amid the forests' glade,
The fair-hair'd warriors of the North
Woo'd many a dusky maid,
Who charm'd, perhaps, not less because
In Nature's garb array'd.

"And warm and bright as southern night,
When all is stars and dew,
Was that dark girl, who, to the banks,
Where lay her light canoe,
Lured Ronald's footsteps, day by day,
What time the sun withdrew.

"Far down the stream she dwelt, 'twould seem,
Yet stream nor breeze could bar
Her little boat, that to a nook,
Dark with the pine-tree's spar,
Each evening Ronald saw shoot up
As constant as a star.

"Alone she came--she went alone:--
She came with fondest freight
Of maize and milky fruits and furs
Her lover's eyes to greet;
She went--ah, 'twas her bosom then,
Not bark, that bore the weight!

"How fast flew time to hearts like theirs!
The ruddy summer died,
And Arctic frosts must soon enchain
St. Lawrence' mighty tide;
But yet awhile the little boat
Came up the river-side.

"One night while from their northern lair
With intermittent swell,
The keen winds grumbled loud and long,
To Ronald's turn it fell
Close to the shore to keep the lines,
A lonely sentinel.

"'Twas now the hour was wont to bring
His Indian maid; and hark!
As constant as a star it comes,
That small love-laden bark,
It anchors in the cove below--
She calls him through the dark.

"He dared not answer, dared not stir,
Where Discipline had bound him;
Nor was there need--led by her heart
The joyous girl has found him;
She understands it not, nor cares,
Her raptured arms are round him.

"He kiss'd her face--he breathed low
Those brook-like, murmuring words
That, without meaning, speak out all
The heart's impassion'd chords,
The truest language human lip
To human lip affords.

"He pointed towards the distant camp,
Her clasping arms undid,
And show'd that till the morrow's sun
Their meeting was forbid;
She went--her eyes in tears--he call'd,
And kiss'd them from the lid.

"She went--he heard her far below
Unmoor her little boat;
He caught the oars' first dip that sent
It from the bank afloat;
Next moment, down the tempest swept
With an all-deafening throat.

"Loud roar'd the storm, but louder still
The river roar'd and rose,
Tumbling its angry billows, white
And huge as Alpine snows;
Yet clear through all, one piercing cry
His heart with terror froze.

"She shrieks, and calls upon the name
She learn'd to love him by;
The waves have swamp'd her little boat--
She sinks before his eye!
And he must keep his dangerous post,
And leave her there to die!

"One moment's dreadful strife--Love wins;
He plunges in the water;
The moon is out, his strokes are stout,
The swimmer's arm has caught her,
And back he bears, with gasping heart,
The Forest's matchless daughter!

"'Twas but a chance!--her life is gain'd,
And his is gone--for, lo!
The picquet round has come, and found,
Left open to the foe,
The dangerous post that Ronald kept
So short a time ago.

"They met him bearing her--he scorn'd
To palter or to plead:
Arrested--bound--ere beat of drum,
The Judgment-court decreed
That Ronald Blair should with his life
Pay forfeit for his deed.

"He knew it well--that deed involved
Such mischief to the host,
While prowling spy and open foe
Watch'd every jealous post,
That, of a soldier's crimes, it call'd
For punishment the most.

"On me, as senior in command,
The charge I might not shun
Devolved, to see the doom of death
Upon the culprit done.
The place--a league from camp; the hour--
The morrow's evening sun.

"Meanwhile some touches of the tale
That reach'd the distant tent
Of Him who led the war in Chief,
Won justice to relent.
That night, in private, a REPRIEVE
Unto my care was sent,

"With secret orders to pursue
The sentence to the last,
And when the prisoner's prayer was o'er,
And the death-fillet past,
_But not till then_, to read to him
That Pardon for the past.

"The morrow came; the evening sun
Was sinking red and cold,
When Ronald Blair, a league from camp
We led, erect and bold,
To die the soldier's death, while low
The funeral drum was roll'd.

"With arms reversed, our plaided ranks
The distance due retire,
The fatal musqueteers advance
The signal to require:
'_Till I produce this kerchief blue,
Be sure withhold your fire_.'

"His eyes are bound--the prayer is said--
He kneels upon his bier;
So dread a silence sank on all,
You might have heard a tear
Drop to the earth. My heart beat quick
With happiness and fear,

"To feel conceal'd within my vest
A parting soul's relief!
I kept my hand on that REPRIEVE
Another moment brief;
Then drew it forth, but with it drew,
O God! the handkerchief.

"He fell!--and whether He or I
Had died I hardly knew--
But when the gusty forest breeze
Aside the death-smoke blew,
I heard those bearing off the dead,
Proclaim that there were _two_.

"They said that as the volley ceased,
A low sob call'd them where
They found an Indian maiden dead,
Clasping in death's despair
One feather from a Highland plume
And one bright lock of hair.

"I've long forgot what follow'd, save
That standing by his bier,
I shouted out the words some fiend
Was whispering in my ear--
'My race is run--_the curse of Heaven
And of Glencoe is here_!'[13]

"From that dark hour all hope to me,
All _human_ hope was gone;
I shrank from life a branded man--
I sought my land alone,
And of a stranger's purchased halls
I joy'd to make my own.

"Thou'st known me long as Campbell--now
Thou know'st the Campbell's story,
And why, apart from man, I chose
This mansion grim and hoary,
Nor in my ancient lineage seem'd,
Nor ancient name, to glory.

"Though drear my lot, yet, noble boy,
Not always I repine;
Come, wipe those watery drops away
That in thine eyelids shine;
Fill for thyself," the old man said,
"Once more, and pass the wine."

[13] Such was his exclamation, as repeated in the History
before referred to. Colonel Campbell always imputed the
unfortunate occurrence that clouded the evening of his life to
the share his ancestor had in the disastrous affair of Glencoe.

* * * * *



Now glory to our Councillors, that true and trusty band--
And glory to each gallant heart that loathes its fatherland;
And glory evermore to those who the battle first began,
For the cause of just fraternity, and the equal rights of man.

Ye citizens of Mary-le-bone! 'twas yours to point the way
How freemen best might mock the laws which none but slaves obey;
How classic fanes should rise to mark the honour that we owe
To all who hated Church and King, and planned their overthrow.

O fresh and bright shone reason's light through superstition's gloom,
When one and all ye heard the call of honest Joseph Hume;
When listening to his flowing words, than honey-dew more sweet,
Ye sate, dissolved in holy tears, at that Gamaliel's feet!

How touchingly he spoke of those now gather'd to their rest,
By knaves and laws upbraided, but by righteous patriots bless'd;
How brightly gleamed his eagle eye, as he poured his ancient grudge
On that foul throng that wrought them wrong--on Jury and on Judge!

Well may ye boast among the host of patriots tried and true,
That to your bold humanity the foremost place is due;
Yet others follow fast behind, though ye have led the van,
In the cause of just fraternity, and the equal rights of man!

Dun-Edin's civic Councillors come closely in your wake,
They, too, can feel for injured truth, and blush for Scotland's sake;
Well have they wiped the stain away, affix'd in former years
Upon the citizens of France, and on their bold compeers.

Let women moan and maunder against the glorious time,
When France arose in all her might, when loyalty was crime;
When prison shambles stream'd with blood, and red the gutters ran,
In the cause of just fraternity, and the equal rights of man!

When piled within the crazy boats, chain'd closely to the beam,
By hundreds the aristocrats sank in the sullen stream;
When age and sex were no respite, and merrily and keen,
From morning until night, rush'd down the clanking guillotine.

'Tis ours to render homage, where homage most is due--
Now glory be to DANTON, and to his valiant crew--
And glory to those mighty shades, who never stoop'd to spare,
The virtuous regicides of France, and the hero, ROBESPIERRE.

But greater glory still to those, who strove within our land,
To hoist the cap of liberty, and bare the British brand,
To drag our ancient Parliament from its place of honour down,
To ride rough-shod upon the Lords, and spit upon the Crown.

What though the bigots of the bench declared their treason vile--
What though they languish'd slowly in the felon's distant isle--
Shall we, the children of Reform, withhold our just applause
From those who loved the people and, of course, despised the laws?

We'll rear a stately monument--we'll build it fair and high,
And on the porch this graven verse shall greet the passers-by--

'Twill be a proud memorial, when we have pass'd away,
Of old Dun-Edin's loyalty, and the Civic Council's sway;
And it shall stand while earth is green and skies are summer blue,
Eternal as the sleep of those who fell at Peterloo!

Were I a chosen Councillor--a tetrarch of the town,
I'd drag from off their pedestals these Tory statues down;
I'd make a universal sweep of all that serves to show
How vilely the aristocrats have used us long ago.

The column rear'd to victory in that detested war,
When the Tricolor went down before our flag at Trafalgar,
The column that hath taught our sons to mutter Nelson's name,
I'd level straightway with the dust, and with it sink our shame.

Yes! in that place a classic fane should stand where Nelson's stood,
With new baptismal cognizance from famous THISTLEWOOD;
His bust should in the centre shine, and round it, placed on guard,
The effigies of HATFIELD, INGS, and of the good DESPARD.

There's Pitt, the Lar of Frederick Street--O shame to us and ours!
Was it not he whose policy struck back the Gallic powers?
Was it not he whose iron hand so ruthlessly kept down
The tide of bold democracy, and saved the British crown?

I'd fetch him from his lofty perch; I'd dash him on the stones;
I'd serve the lifeless bronze the same as I'd have served his bones;
And on the empty stance I would in radiant metal show,
A bolder and a braver man--the patriot PAPINEAU.

Down, down, I say, with George the Fourth!--for him there's no delay;
Let all askance direct their glance, for virtue's sake, we pray;
So says our new Pygmalion, the purist of the town,
'Twere shame that he compelled should be, in passing, to look down.

Let's find another statue of the brave old English breed,
A worthy of an earlier age--a champion good at need;
No cause were then to seem ashamed, though slaves might feel afraid,
When emancipated bondsmen bow'd to the image of JACK CADE.

There's room enough where Royal Charles sits stiffly in the Square,
To rear a double effigy--Why not of BURKE and HARE?
Though not in freedom's cause they died, remember'd let it be,
That science has its martyrdom, as well as liberty.

A monument to Walter Scott!--A monument forsooth!
What has that bigot done for us, for freedom, or for truth?
He always back'd the Cavalier against the Puritan,
And sneer'd at just fraternity, and the equal rights of man.

What good to us have ever done his Legends of Montrose,
Of Douglas and of dark Dundee, the fellest of our foes?
What care we for the Border chiefs, or for the Stuart line,
Or the thraldom of the people in "the days of auld langsyne?"

Men dream'd not of equality in days so darkly wild,
Nor was the peasant's bantling _then_ mate for the baron's child;
But we've learn'd another lesson since the golden age drew near,
And working men may keep the wall, and jostle prince and peer.

Ye fools! take down your monument--or rear it, if ye will,
But choose another effigy that lofty niche to fill.
None better, say ye? Pause awhile, and I will tell you one,
Who never bent the servile knee at altar or at throne.

No fond illusions dull'd _his_ eye, no tales of wither'd eld;
No childish faith was _his_ to trust aught save what he beheld;
No sovereignty would he allow save Reason's rightful reign;
No laws save those of Nature's code--and such was THOMAS PAINE.

Place him within your Gothic arch, the only fit compeer
Of those whose martyr monument the Council seek to rear;
Since traitors to the laws of man may boldly look abroad,
Towards the image of their friend who broke the laws of God.

Since anarchy must have its meed, let's leave no statue here,
That might from other lips than ours provoke a cynic sneer:
If temples must be built to crime, we'll worship there alone,
Nor leave a mark of loyalty or honour in the stone.

Then glory to our Councillors, that true and trusty band--
And glory to each gallant heart that loathes its fatherland;
And glory evermore to those who the battle first began,
For the cause of just fraternity, and the equal rights of man!

* * * * *



The heart of an Englishman must ever swell with pride as he contemplates
his country's greatness. He looks around him, and his eye every where
meets with the signs of increasing opulence and prosperity, while his
ear is filled with the busy hum of an industrious, and, despite the idle
babblings of the ignorant, and the empty declamation of interested,
selfish, and disappointed men, a contented population, happy in the
enjoyment of comfort, beyond that of the labouring classes of most other
countries. He visits her marts, her harbours, and her ports--men of all
nations are met together there--fleets of rich argosies are ever
arriving and departing--and myriads of steamers flit to and fro, happily
now engaged in promoting the arts of peace, but ready at a moment's
notice to become the defenders of his country's shores, and, as recent
events have shown the world, able also to carry war and devastation
along the coasts of her enemies, even to the uttermost parts of the
earth. He explores the seats of her manufactures; there he beholds vast
edifices teeming with crowds of work-people, occupied in supplying the
wants of mankind. In short, wherever he bends his steps, all are
usefully employed--industry, enterprise, and perseverance, are found
throughout the land. He also feels it no vain boast to be a denizen of
that small isle, whose inhabitants, by their own proper energy, have
extended their dominion over a territory on which the sun never sets--
peopled by upwards of two hundred million souls--consisting of colonies,
nations, and people, differing from each other in form of person,
complexion, habits, manners, and in language--elements apparently the
most discordant and heterogeneous, yet firmly knit and bound into one
vast glorious empire, which, successfully resisting the rudest shocks,
often assaulted, ever victorious, and, thanks to the bravery of her
warriors, and the wisdom of those who now guide her councils, having
defeated alike the open attacks and the secret machinations of her
enemies, at this moment constitutes the most powerful state of ancient
or modern times--abounding in wealth, and rejoicing in freedom, beyond
all other nations of the earth.

He glories also in the intellectual pre-eminence of his country. Her
victories by sea and land attest the genius of her captains; her
institutions bear witness to the sagacity of her lawgivers and her
statesmen. Her railroads, docks, canals, and other public works, bear
the marks of superior intelligence acting for the general good. His
countrymen were the first to press steam into the active service of
mankind. By the genius of Watt and his successors, a power, before
destructive and uncontrollable, has been rendered the mighty agent of
man's will, the supplier of his wants, and the minister of his
convenience. Through their inventions, steam has become, as it were, the
breath, the life, of a noble animal of man's creation, untiring in its
ceaseless labours, irresistible in its tremendous strength; and, when
its maker chooses to endow it with powers of motion, fleeter also than
the wind, but of imposing might and majesty as it pursues its headlong
course; and yet, withal, checked by a single touch, yielding a perfect
obedience to the hand of its ruler, and submissive to the slightest
intimation of his will. In the walks of science, literature, and
philosophy, he finds equal reason to be proud of his country. Splendid
discoveries in every branch of science meet him as he enquires, and but
a few years have passed away since the death of one--Sir Humphry
Davy--of whom it is scarce too much to say, that he revolutionized a
great science by his discoveries, or that, by the power of his single
intellect, he dived deeper into the hidden mysteries of the material
world than all preceding generations had been able to penetrate. In
short, an Englishman finds his country possessed of warriors, statesmen,
philosophers, historians, poets, and authors, in every branch of
literature, who are the admiration of the whole civilized world. In all
these, England stands proudly pre-eminent, the first, the very first,
among the nations. It is much to be able to feel this, but an Englishman
would fain feel even more than this; his noble ambition is to see his
country first in every thing; he would have her pre-eminent alike in the
fine arts and those pursuits which distinguish the recreations and
amusements of a refined and polished people, as in the more useful
arts of life.

But here the pleasing portion of the picture ceases--

"Ogni medaglia ha il suo rovescio,"

every medal has its obverse, says the Italian proverb; and the
comparatively low rank which his country occupies in this new field of
view, is a melancholy contemplation for an Englishman. He finds that, in
general, things are judged of only by the measure of their practical
utility, and that the beautiful and the useful are usually deemed to be
incompatible; thereby affording, however reluctantly we may admit it, at
least some justification of Napoleon's celebrated and bitter reproach,
that we are a nation of shopkeepers. It would seem, in truth, that we do
not possess that quick perception of the beautiful which is enjoyed by
the more excitable and imaginative sons of the south. In painting, we
believe we possess a school second to none of modern art. But, beautiful
as their works may be, can we place our Reynolds, Lawrence, Hogarth, and
Gainsborough in competition with Raphael, Correggio, Rubens, or Claude?
In sculpture also, can Westmacott, or even Chantrey--we speak with
reverence of the illustrious dead--be compared with Michael Angelo or
Giovanni de Bologna? When pressed on these topics, the candid Englishman
must, with a sigh, confess his country's inferiority. Architecture also,
with few exceptions, has long been our reproach. We judge of the degree
of civilization and refinement to which ancient Greece and Rome
attained, by the beauty and elegance of their mutilated remains. We find
their temples, even in ruins, beautiful beyond the day-dream of our
modern architects; some of them, till bold and sacrilegious hands
despoiled them, adorned with sculptures which, surviving the destruction
of the people who raised them, the wanton rage of barbarous enemies, and
the inroads of the elements for near two thousand years, sill remain, in
their decay, the wonder and admiration of the world, the models of
modern sculptors, and the greatest treasure of art a nation can possess.

In the lapse of ages, perhaps, England, in her turn, may be deserted,
her mines exhausted, her edifies ruined, her existence as a nation
terminated. The site of her vast metropolis may once more become an
undulating verdant plain, intersected by a tidal river; and, perhaps,
nothing may remain outwardly to show the curious traveller where the
ancient city stood. The pristine abode of man upon the earth, may again
be thickly peopled, and civilization may have rolled back to the south,
its ancient source. Then may history or tradition vaguely tell of
powerful nations who once flourished in the north; their very existence
doubted, perhaps, by all, and by many disbelieved. Some day, perchance,
one whom accident or curiosity may have brought to the shores of ancient
Britain, may wend his weary way along the bank of the noblest river of
the land. On a mound a little higher than the rest, something on which
the hand of man had evidently been employed may attract his attention,
and stimulate him to search among the tangled weeds and brushwood which
grow around. The discovery of a marble fragment may, perhaps, eventually
lead to the uncovering of one of those statues which now grace the
interior of our St Paul's, on the site of which the stranger had
unconsciously been exploring. Or, suppose the traveller to have bent his
steps in a north-easterly direction, towards the foot of that gentle
slope which terminates at the base of the heights of Highgate and of
Hampstead. Suppose him, by some strange chance, to stumble upon that
incomparable specimen of modern sculpture which stands on high at
King's-Cross, lifted up, in order, we presume, to enable the good
citizens duly to feast their eyes upon its manifold perfections, as they
daily hie them to and fro between their western or suburban retreats and
the purlieus of King Street or Cheapside. What estimate would the
stranger form of the taste or skill of those who placed on its pedestal
the statue we have first supposed him to have found? It avails not to
disguise the truth. What that truth may be, we leave to the intelligence
of the reader to divine. But what would be the effect of the other
discovery we have imagined? The traveller would turn away, convinced
that history or tradition gave false accounts of the power and genius of
the ancient inhabitants of the land on which he trod, that their glory
was a dream, their civilization a delusion, their proficiency in the
arts a fable. For the honour of our country, let us hope that the figure
of which we speak may not be suffered much longer to disgrace a leading
thoroughfare of our metropolis. It has already stood some eight or ten
years, a melancholy monument of English taste and English art in the
nineteenth century.

For the attainment of excellence in the higher branches of art, as has
been well observed by an intelligent foreigner, M. Passavant, it is
requisite that a people should possess deep poetic feeling, and that art
should not be considered among them as a thing of separate nature, but
that it should interweave itself with the ties of social life, and be
employed in adding beauty to its nearest, dearest interests. Now, the
English, he continues, are more disposed to an active than to a
contemplative life. They possess, it must be owned, a character of much
earnestness and energy; yet, from the earliest times, their attention
has been more directed to the cultivation of the mechanical arts and the
sciences appertaining to them than to those nobler branches of art which
flourish spontaneously in a more contemplative nation. This
characteristic disposition, and the physical activity necessarily
connected with it, have been by some ascribed to the influence of our
climate, to our moist and heavy atmosphere, and clouded skies, to
counteract the influence of which, and to preserve a counterbalancing
buoyancy of mind and body, an active habit of life is requisite. But
this hypothesis is untenable; for Flanders, with a similar climate, and
flourishing likewise by means of its native industry, affords sufficient
proof how little these circumstances are prejudicial to the cultivation
of the fine arts. Perhaps a better reason may be found in the wide
difference which is observable between the national habits of our
countrymen and those of the people among whom the arts have been
cultivated with the greatest success. In those countries where the
beautiful was felt, where the arts were objects of national importance,
where a people assembled to award the palm between rival sculptors; and
also, in comparatively modern times, when a reigning monarch did not
disdain to pick up a painter's pencil, and a whole city mourned an
artist's death, and paid honours to his remains; all the rank, wealth,
genius, talent, taste, and intelligence of the people were concentrated
in one grand focus. Among the states of ancient Greece and modern Italy,
the city was in fact the nation; and at Athens, Rome, Venice, and
Florence, was collected all of genius, taste, and talent, the people as
a body possessed. The mental qualities were thereby rendered more acute,
and the tastes and manners of the people more refined and cultivated, by
constant intercourse and communication with each other. This refinenent
was shared by all classes, and the lower taking pattern from the higher,
the whole mass was learned. In England, the very reverse of this takes
place. Here, for the most part, those alone frequent our towns, whose
doom it is to labour for their bread, they have no leisure from the
engrossing pursuits of wealth; business, like a jealous mistress, leaves
them no time for other objects. In spite of various disadvantages of
soil and climate, the taste for rural pursuits seems part and parcel of
our nature, and that species of the genus _homo_, the country gentleman,
seems peculiar to our island. Till within a few years, the great
majority of this class, whose abundant wealth and leisure might seem to
constitute them the peculiar patrons of the arts, seldom or never
frequented even the metropolis, but for generations remained fixed and
immovable in the place of their forefathers, rooted to the soil as one
of their old oaks. "His guns, dogs, and horses, were the things the
squire held most dear." Hunting, shooting, and other sports, formed not
only the amusements of his leisure hours, but the business of his life.
His intercourse with the world confined to a narrow circle of
acquaintance, all of the same tastes and pursuits with himself, he could
learn or know no others. Generous pursuits, hospitable, liberal, and
open hearted, hating alike poachers and dissenters, possessed of many
virtues, avoiding many a crime, discharging the duties, as well as
exercising the rights of property; exemplary in all the relations of
life, a good father, a tender husband, a kind master, an indulgent
landlord, a blessing to himself and those around him, he lived and died
the _Squire Western_ of his day, without that refinement and cultivation
of the tastes and mental powers which the more polished inhabitants of
the metropolis insensibly contract. Sure there were many to whom this
does not apply, many who combined the "gifts" of both a town and country
life. But, nevertheless such was the great bulk of that class, among
whom, had London been England, as even in our own time Paris is or was
France, the beautiful would not probably have been so much neglected.

So occupied have the great mass of our countrymen been in the pursuit of
wealth, that all that did not directly contribute to this end has been
uniformly rejected as useless. A familiar example of the truth of this
observation may be seen in the numerous factories and other buildings
erected for commercial purposes, in the manufacturing districts of
Lancashire and Yorkshire. In buildings of this class, all embellishment
and ornament, however simple, which good taste, had it been consulted,
might have suggested, to relieve the wearying straightness of outline,
or the plain dull flatness of these large ponderous masses of brick and
mortar, have been neglected, or rejected, probably as not increasing its
productive powers, and therefore unworthy of consideration. Such has
been the general principle. But this neglect has at length recoiled upon
the heads of its promoters. As long as the world was content to take our
manufactures as we chose to make them--when, no other nation having
entered the lists with us, we were without competitors, and absolute
masters of the commerce of the world, this make-all save-all principle
was undoubtedly the most effective. But now, when our manufacturers meet
with the keenest competition in every market; when a suicidal export of
machinery enables the foreigner immediately to benefit by every
mechanical discovery, or improvement in machinery, that is made by our
engineers, the case is wholly altered, and the English manufacturer
finds out the grievous mistake that he has made. Beauty of design has at
length become of paramount importance, and the beautiful, so long
neglected, is now avenged. The public taste has advanced too fast. Since
the introduction of foreign goods, such as silks and other ornamental
fabrics, the inferiority of our native designs for these materials has
become manifest to all. We are credibly informed, that there now exists
a regular organized system, viz. supply of French designs to our
manufacturers; that from these designs all their ideas are borrowed and
all their patterns taken, and that, in fact, scarcely a single pattern
of purely home invention is worked in a season. The manufacturers are,
however, now roused from their lethargy, and great efforts are made to
remedy the evil. Schools of design are established, and copyright of
design has just been conferred by act of parliament. In some of our
commercial towns, large rooms or galleries are opened to the mechanic,
where he may study the beautiful and ideal from casts and models of the
antique. Pictures also are occasionally exhibited for his instruction.
These are indeed great and praiseworthy efforts, in which
utilitarianism has assumed a new character, and found a new field of
action. These novel institutions, not organized and supported from a
pure abstract love of the arts ostensibly promoted by them, but from
dire necessity created by successful competition in the more elegant
branches of manufacture, in which the exercise of taste and fancy is
required, may eventually produce great general results; years, however,
must necessarily elapse before their benefits can be felt.

We have hitherto purposely abstained from any allusion to music and
musical taste, for the purpose of showing, that music is not the only
fruit of civilization which has not as yet arrived at maturity among
us; and also for the purpose of ascertaining, whether there might not be
some general causes in operation, which affect, in an equal degree,
every branch of the more intellectual refinements of civilized life. In
this case, the low standard of musical taste and science which will
hereafter become the subject of more particular observation, cannot be
attributed solely to causes which relate exclusively to music, but must
be considered as one amongst other results of general principles. If
there be any truth in the foregoing speculations, they apply more
particularly to music, and musical taste and science, than to the fine
arts, to which we have hitherto confined our observations. Music is
peculiarly a social pursuit. It can be cultivated only among the haunts
of men. The taste deteriorates, and the mental standard of excellence
which each possesses, is lowered when really good music is seldom or
never heard. By "the million," it can be heard only while mixing with
the world at large; the performer can acquire his mastery over the
instrument, at the cost of much time and labour, and he can maintain
this mastery, and the purity of his style, only where he can compare
himself with others of acknowledged excellence. This can be done only
where men congregate in large and populous cities, where the want of
amusement is best supplied; the recluse or the solitary man can be
no musician.

It may seem anomalous at first sight, and we can well conceive it to be
objected to our argument, that it is impossible, that while
architecture, sculpture, painting, and music, should have been
comparatively neglected, that literature, in all its branches, should be
so highly esteemed among us. Milton, and more especially Shakspeare,
have never lost one tittle of their value; nay, even at this moment,
there are three rival editions of Shakspeare's works in the course of
publication. Many volumes of poetry put in their claim to immortality
every year. Novel after novel appears each to elbow its predecessor out
of the public mind, and be in its turn forgotten. It is easy to imagine,
that to many it may appear a paradox in the history of the human race,
that a people should exist, endowed by nature with a high degree of
poetic feeling, having, as Mr Hallam observes, produced more eminent
original poets than any other nation can boast, and attaching a high
value to literary talent of every description, but, nevertheless, whose
attainments in the fine arts during a thousand years of national
existence, should never have passed mediocrity. This apparent
inconsistency, however, lies only on the surface. The language of true
poetry is understood by all; it strikes home: however rude the thoughts,
however uncultivated the understanding, the heart can feel; and it is to
the heart the poet speaks; and even in the rudest ages of mankind his
power was acknowledged. Voltaire has remarked, that "amusement is one of
the wants of man".

Novels are taken up to amuse the vacant hour--in this consists their
use. They are read without effort--the mind lies fallow as they are
perused, and no study is required, no cultivation of any taste is
necessary, to place this amusement within reach. With music and the fine
arts, this is not so. The taste for these pursuits requires cultivation;
and in order to estimate and appreciate them correctly, the judgment
must be formed by a process of education, far different from that which
enables all who read to value our poets and authors in the various
departments of literature.

On examining the records of mankind, it will be found that this has been
the ordinary succession of events in the history of civilization; and
that poetry and oratory, the more independent efforts of the human mind,
appear in the earlier stages of society, and that by them man is first
distinguished as an intellectual and rational creature.

Of Egyptian literature, we know nothing. The destruction of the library
of the Ptolemies may be the principal cause of our ignorance. The
gigantic remains of this people, and the manner in which they worked in
a stone which no modern tool will touch, show that among them the useful
arts were considerably advanced. We have, however, abundant evidence of
the small degree of proficiency in the fine arts. Their sculptors are
characterized by Flaxman as "mere beginners," or "laborious mechanics;"
their works as "lifeless forms, menial vehicles of an idea." When
Egyptian art ended, then Grecian art began. It appears, however, to have
made but little progress down to the time of Homer; and Dædalus and his
disciple Eudæus are, we believe, the only artists of that early period
whose fame has survived. These sculptors worked in wood, and by their
proficiency we may form a pretty accurate idea of the state of art in
Greece when Homer wrote. The works of Dædalus are described by Pausanias
as rude and uncomely in aspect. In his Grecian tour, Pausanias twice
makes mention of a statue of Hercules by Dædalus, from which
circumstance it would appear to have been held in high estimation. On
this statue Flaxman observes--"In the British Museum, as well as in
other collections in Europe, are several small bronzes of a naked
Hercules, whose right arm, holding a club, is raised to strike; whilst
the left is extended, bearing a lion's skin as a shield. From the style
of extreme antiquity in these statues--from the rude attempt at bold
action, which was the peculiarity of Dædalus--the general adoption of
this action in the early ages--the traits of savage nature in the face
and figure, expressed with little knowledge, but strong feeling--by the
narrow loins, turgid muscles of the breast, thighs, and calves of the
legs, will all find reason to believe they are copied from the
above-mentioned statue." Greece, it must be owned, possessed musicians
long anterior to Homer: Chiron the Centaur, regarded by the ancients as
one of the inventors of medicine, botany, and chirurgery, who, when
eighty-eight years of age, formed the constellations for the use of the
Argonauts; Linus, the preceptor of Hercules, who added a string to the
lyre, and is said to be the inventor of rhythm and melody; Orpheus, who
also extended the scale of the lyre, and was the inventor and propagator
of many arts and doctrines among the Greeks; and Musæus, the priest of
Ceres, are all remembered as musicians, as well as poets, historians,
and philosophers; characters which, in those days, were all combined in
the same individuals. The ancients, indeed, appear to have used the term
music in a much more extended sense than has been attached to it in
modern times, and to have applied it to all the arts and sciences. But
even if the ancient meaning of the term were identical with its modern
signification, there may be good reason to suppose that their fame as
musicians would principally survive. The memory of these first
preceptors of mankind was long preserved as the general benefactors of
their species. But while the other arts they taught advanced, it does
not appear that music made any progress. Thus, they came chiefly to be
remembered for that talent in which posterity had produced no equals. As
poets they were once celebrated; but, eclipsed by the glory and
splendour of the great historian of Troy, their poetical productions
were forgotten; whilst, as musicians, unrivalled through many centuries,
their skill was long remembered as the most excellent the world had
ever known. The arts of sculpture and painting appear to have remained
even more stationary than music. For, while about the middle or latter
end of the seventh century, B.C., the names of Archilochus and Terpander
adorn the page of musical history, followed by many others, including
Alcæus, Sappho, and Simonides, down to Pindar and his rival Corinna, the
former of whom, according to the chronology of Dr Blair, died in 435
B.C. aged 86, it is evident, says Flaxman, "that sculpture was 800
years, from Dædalus to the time immediately preceding Phidias, in
attaining a tolerable resemblance of the human form." It appears,
therefore, that the greatest epic poem ever written had been read,
appreciated, and admired, for nearly five centuries before the arts
arrived at perfection. Then, indeed, there burst a flood of glory over
ancient Greece, and names never to be forgotten were borne upon the
tide. Contemporary with Pindar and Corinna were Phidias, Alcamenes, and
many other sculptors, together with poets, philosophers, warriors, and
statesmen; men whose names will rise superior to the lapse of time, and
whose fame, like the rocky barriers of the ocean, on which the elements
in vain expend their fury, will be of equal duration with the
world itself.

Ancient Rome was indebted to others for all of the liberal arts and
sciences she possessed. In the earlier periods of her existence, and
before Greece had become known in Rome, Etruria was the instructress of
her sons. When Greece had been subdued, and rendered a tributary
province of the all-conquering city, her polished people, nevertheless,
exercised an intellectual sovereignty over their masters. In the streets
of Athens a singular spectacle was exhibited; _there_ might be seen the
conqueror learning of the vanquished; Romans, of exalted rank and
unbounded power, had become the disciples of Grecian philosophers.
Nevertheless, when Rome possessed orators and poets, each of whom
has raised

"Monumentum ære perennius,"

in that the golden age of her existence, it does not appear, says Dr
Burney, that "except Vitruvius, the Romans had one architect, sculptor,
painter, or musician; those who have been celebrated in the arts of Rome
having been Asiatics or European Greeks, who came to exercise such arts
among the Latins, as the Latins had not among themselves. This custom
was continued under the successors of Augustus; and those Romans who
were prevented, by more important concerns, from going into Greece,
combined, in a manner, to bring Greece to Rome, by receiving into their
service the most able professors of Greece and Asia in all the arts."
Vitruvius, in the chapter on music inserted in his treatise on
architecture, complains that "the science of music, in itself obscure,
is particularly so to such as understand not the Greek language." This
observation shows the low state of music at Rome at that time; indeed
Vitruvius is said to be the first who has treated of music in the
Latin tongue.

Modern Europe also furnishes another illustration and example of the
truth of our proposition. When the mists of ignorance and superstition
which had for centuries enveloped the world, had begun to clear away,
and when Europe first attempted to throw off the errors of the Dark
Ages, the arts were dead, and the only music known was that cultivated
by the monks and clergy, as necessary to their profession, and the songs
of the Troubadours. "The fame of the Troubadours," remarks Mr Hallam,
"depends less on their positive excellence than on the darkness of
preceding ages, the temporary sensation they excited, and their
permanent influence on the state of European poetry." The intrinsic
merit of the music of this period may be collected from the following
observation of Dr Burney:--"However barbarous and wretched the melody
and harmony of the secular songs of this period may have been, they were
in both respects superior to the music of the church." The Troubadours
flourished from the middle of the twelfth century till the latter end of
the fourteenth century, when their dissolute and licentious habits
caused them to be universally banished and proscribed. During the
barbarism of these times, not only had the arts themselves been lost,
but even the principles on which they rest had been forgotten. Italy,
indeed, possessed many ancient marbles, but they seemed to have lost
their value; and it was not till the thirteenth century that any attempt
to imitate these remains of antiquity was made. Nicola Pisano, about the
year 1231, taking for his model an ancient sarcophagus at Pisa, which
contained the remains of Beatrice, mother of the Countess Matilda,
sculptured an urn--a feat in those days so extraordinary, as to have
conferred upon him the title of Nicolas of the Urn. This artist, in the
words of Lanzi, "was the first to see and follow light." He was,
however, more ambitious than successful, and was followed by his sons
and others, in whose hands the art seems to have no very rapid progress.
The art of painting, in which there were no models in existence, was
later in manifesting any improvement. It was not till after the year
1250 that, according to Vasari, some Greek painters were invited to
Florence by the rulers of the city, for the express purpose of restoring
the art to Florence, where it was rather wholly lost than degenerated.
Cimabue, the reviver of painting, received instruction from the Greeks.
He died in 1300. Fierce as the age in which he lived, says Lanzi, his
Madonnas were without beauty, and his angels, even in the same picture,

Book of the day: