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What griefs and shames awaken,
Beneath that childish spell !
By kindred - known too well.
Medusas throng'd its gloom; My friends were visions only, —
Like thine, they found a tomb. Want, discord, sickness, sorrow,
And sleepless, hated toil, Whence couldst thou comfort borrow
'Neath such a serpent coil ?
To richest shrine had flown,
A Lady of thine own.
That radiant presence stood,
Thine ardent passions woo'd,
Ethereal bliss supplied,
Seem'd ever at thy side.
Had pure as pity been ; In all thy labours sharing,
Fresh patience with her came, And hopes of useful daring
O'erpaid by virtuous fame. Did mystery endear her ?
Faith gazed afar-apart: At last it ventured nearer,
To find that all was art. But in thy bosom haunted
Had lived those graces high, Thou saw'st her disenchanted,
A hard, cold, painted lie.
The idol long adored,
Truth crush'd, and love deplored.
Though that fond trust was flown, Awhile to life endear'd thee,
The best of those is gone.
Thy heart's vain cry must bem
ON THE LITERATURE OF THE MONTH.
The Colonel. " Excursions in the Mountains of Ronda and Granada," by Captain R. Scott.-All works on Spain have a strong attraction : they fasten on the imagination. The stupendous scenery of the Alps may startle or delight the eye, the exquisite luxuriance of the Italian shores and valleys may captivate the sense of beauty, but there is a sentiment connected with Spain, both landscape and people, wholly different from that of all others, and wholly superior; rich, touching, and elevating. Degraded and unhappy as Spain now is, she is still, par
excellence, the country of romance.
The Rector. The existence of the sentiment is unquestionable, and its source lies in the Moorish history of the people. The Spaniard, in the days of the Roman Conquest, was merely a clever barbarian, bold and subtle, qualities which belong to all half-savages; fighting desperately when he must fight, escaping dexterously when he could escape, proud of the war which gave him adventure and plunder, and fond of the indolence which success procured; with fine materials for personal and national distinction, but suffering them all to be forgotten under the general savageness of a life alternating from fierce hostility to gross selfindulgence. The Roman discipline at length made him a capital soldier, but it could do little more; and the Gothic invasion, after putting to flight all the arts with all the luxuries of Spain, threw him back to the point at which he had stood seven hundred years
before. The Barrister. Nothing in the philosophy of history is more curious than the influences which nations, from time to time, have been employed to exert upon each other. From the Arabs modern Europe learned her chief arts of luxury, her science, her finest architecture, an important part of her military discipline, some of her most touching music, much of her poetry, and all her chivalry.
The Colonel. The Peninsular War, by the sudden animation which it excited among the people, its adventurous nature, and its extraordinary success, seemed to have been intended as a distinct summons to the national energies; but the occasion was lost, Spain relapsed into her old superstitions, and since that hour she has been sinking from decay to decay. The whole vast country north of the Ebro is now torn by civil war; and even the South, which had been hitherto almost undisturbed, exhibits all the evidences of that gradual and silent ruin which is even more ominous than the devastation of war, The great arsenals of Cadiz, Vigo, and Barcelona, are in ruins. “ Let the traveller,” says Captain Scott,“ notice the crumbling state of all the public buildings throughout the kingdom, even to the actual residences of the monarch: let him observe the commerce of the country destroyed, its manufactures ruined, 'its army disorganised, and its treasury penniless; and, while he
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learns what Spain has been, he will see to what a lamentable state she is reduced.” He then examines generally the causes of her decay, which, among other reasons, he largely attributes to the bigotry of the priest, which kept the population in ignorance, and to the rule of a weak and bigoted race of sovereigns.
The Barrister. The pre-eminent source of Spanish decay has undoubtedly been the superstition of her church. An enlightened church will necessarily make an enlightened people. An enlightened people will as necessarily make an enlightened Government; for they will not tolerate a bad, a bigoted, or a tyrannical one. An enlightened Government will as necessarily study the opulence and freedom of the nation. In Spain it would have long since abolished all those restrictions of trade, private monopolies, and provincial impediments, which make every province a separate and almost a hostile kingdom. It would have made the course of justice at once free and pure, it would have taught manliness to the higher orders, by giving them objects worthy of a manly ambition, and to the lower ranks, by giving them security and independence. It would have substituted elevation of character for pride, patriotism for antiquated prejudice, and a consciousness of national power for an attachment to national absurdity. Those will be the works of regenerated Spain, and those will begin on the day when she abjures the religion of Rome, and returns to the religion of the Scriptures.
The Colonel. Captain Scott discusses the often-debated question of the value of Gibraltar. The school of the Economists, and all the other philosophical rabble, have long since decided, in their own blue and yellow pamphlets, that it was not worth the pay of the garrison; but the optics of those men can see nothing in the world but pounds shillings and pence. In Gibraltar, they can comprehend nothing but its powder and shot, the cost of its rations, and the expenditure of brick and mortar on its lines. Feelings of a more English order would have told them of the renown which the possession of such a fortress at the extremity of Europe gives to England throughout the world; of its importance as holding the keys of the Mediterranean; of its use, as the great magazine in which our fleets in that Mediterranean may be revictualled and refitted; and, finally, of its perhaps still higher use, as a glorious monument, on which no foreigner can look without recognising the triumphs of England--and of which no Englishman can hear the name without remembering the deeds of his forefathers. Captain Scott's volumes are, on the whole, animated, able, and interesting. They are well printed, and contain some engravings illustrative of the noble scenery of the south of Spain.
The Barrister. “ The Life, Letters, and Journals of Lord Byron.”This solid and handsome volume of more than 700 pages, contains all that is known, or ever can be known, of Lord Byron. By condensing Moore's two quartos into this single octavo, the work is rendered accessible to the generality of readers; and, as the biographer expresses himself, presents altogether as wide a canvass of animated and often unconscious portraiture, as even the communicative spirit of genius has seldom if ever bestowed on the world.
The Rector. One of Byron's prominent absurdities was his habit of speaking contemptuously of England; a habit, however, which was reduced to practice only in the single amusing piece of vengeance, of prohibiting his illegitimate daughter, Allegra, from marrying an Englishman. It did not, however, prevent him from drawing his income regularly from England, nor from publishing with great assiduity when abroad, and cultivating with constant diligence, his English reputation. His biographer observes, that, with a view to this, his chief correspondence was addressed to his publisher, at whose house many of the fashionable littérateurs occasionally met; to whom his opinions were thus communicated. This was all perfectly allowable, and the effect was exactly what he had intended. His feelings, his objects, his fantasies, and his irritations, were constantly propagated among a race of busy loungers and graceful idlers, who carried them through the coteries of the day, and thus kept the London world alive to the recollection of the noble exile.
The Barrister. The prose as well as verse has now been so long before the world as to preclude remark. But this volume contains a curious letter from Lady Byron, defending the memory of her mother from the common charge that the “ separation” was suggested by her parents. This she entirely denies, and the chief points of her statement are:
I left London for Kirkby Mallory, the residence of my father and mother, on the 15th of January, 1816. Lord Byron had signified to me, in writing, bis absolute desire that I should leave London on the earliest day that I could conveniently fix. It was not safe for me to undertake the fatigue of a journey earlier than the 15th. Previously to my departure, it had been strongly impressed on my mind that Lord Byron was under the intluence of insanity. This opinion was derived in a great measure from the communications made to me by his nearest relatives and personal attendants, who had more opportunities than myself of observing him, during the latter part of my stay in town ; it was even represented to me that he was in danger of destroying himself.” On this view of the case, Lady Byron says that she consulted Dr. Baillie, who thought that her absence might be advisable as an experiment, but recommended that her letters to his lordship should be upon light and pleasing topics. In this strain, accordingly, was written the letter which has been since mentioned as a proof that they parted on good terms.
The Rector. The causes of the final separation long excited all the industry of the discoverers of family secrets, but those causes seem to have been consigned to oblivion with the authorship of Junius. Lady Byron evidently regarded them as of a most painful and offensive nature, depositing her statement finally in the confidence of Dr. Lushington, whom she declares to have fully agreed with her in their absolute incompatibility with any reconciliation, present or future, during life. Her ladyship says that the first act of her parents was to write with all kindness to Lord Byron inviting him to their house. She then proceeds
“The accounts given me after I left London by the persons in constant intercourse with Lord Byron added to those doubts which had before transiently occurred to my mind as to the reality of the alleged disease, and the reports of his medical attendants were far from establishing anything like lunacy. Under this uncertainty I deemed it right to communicate to my parents that, if I were to consider Lord Byron's past conduct as that of a person of sound mind, nothing could induce me to return to him. It therefore appeared expedient both to them and myself to consult the ablest advisers.”
Lady Noel then went to town furnished with a case, in which, however, Lady Byron says that she had reasons for reserving a part from the knowledge even of her father and mother. An amicable separation was proposed. Lord Byron at first rejected this proposal, but, when it was distinctly notified to him that, if he persisted in his refusal, recourse must be had to legal measures, he agreed to sign a deed of separation.
The Barrister. Dr. Lushington's letter, on his being subsequently applied to for his statement of this part of the transaction, is an equally curious and mysterious feature of the case :
“My dear Lady Byron- I can rely upon the accuracy of my memory for the following statement :- I was originally consulted by Lady Noel on your behalf while you were in the country. The circumstances detailed by her were such as justified a separation; but they were not of that aggravated description as to render such a measure indispensable. On Lady Noel's representation, I deemed a reconciliation with Lord Byron practicable, and felt most sincerely a wish to aid in effecting it.
When you came to town in about a fortnight after, I was for the first time informed by you of facts utterly unknown, I have no doubt, to Sir Ralph and Lady Noel. On receiving this additional information my opinion was entirely changed ; I considered a reconciliation impossible. I declared my opinion, and added that, if such an idea could be entertained, I could not, profession · ally or otherwise, take any part towards effecting it.
“S, LUSHINGTON. “ Jan. 30, 1830."
The Doctor. “ The Forget Me Not,” edited by Frederick Shoberl.This is the oldest of the family of Annuals, and, notwithstanding the variety of forms which this species of publication has taken, from the costly folio down to the pocket-book," The Forget Me Not” still holds its rank. The principal fault in this class of publications is, that they employ their chief expenditure upon the engravings, which finally reduce them to little more than mere books of prints, finished with a haste which precludes excellence, and selected from subjects less conspicuous for their beauty than for their novelty. “ The Forget Me Not” wisely steers the intermediate course. Attending very closely to the decorations of his volume, the editor pays not less marked attention to the value of his contributions. Collecting its literature from sources of acknowledged taste, he is never deficient in elegance, and often exhibits specimens of high ability. His present volume for 1839 is a beautiful and valuable tribute, not less to the skill of the British artist, than to the spirit and interest of British authorship. No work of its kind can have higher claims to popularity.