to sleep, leaving you to snatcha waking sense of disenthralment, and to commune with a thousand airy visitants that come to play with innocent thoughts. Then for imagination's sake, not for superstition's, are recalled the stories of the Secret World and the midnight pranks of Fairyism. The fancy roams out of doors after rustics led astray by the jack-o'-lantern, or minute laughings heard upon the wind, or the night-spirit on his horse that comes flouncing through the air on his way to a surfeited citizen, or the tiny morris-dance that springs up in the watery glimpses of the moon;-or keeping at home, it finds a spirit in every roomy peeping at it as it opens the door, while a cry is heard from up stairs announcing the azure marks inflicted by

The nips of fairies upon maids' white hips, or hearing a snoring from below, it tiptoes down into the kitchen and beholds where

-Lies him down the lubber fiend,
And stretch'd out all the chimney's length,
Basks at the fire his hairy strength.

Presently the whole band of fairies, ancient and modern,—the dæmons, sylphs, gnomes, sprites, elves, peries, genii, and above all the fairies of the fireside, the salamanders, lob-lye-by-the-fires, lars, lemures, and larvæ, come flitting between the fancy's eye and the dying coals, some with their weapons and lights, others with

grave stedfastness on book or dish, others of the softer kind with their arch looks and their conscious pretence of attitude, while a minute music tinkles in the ear, and Oberon gives his gentle order :

Through this house in glimmering light

By the dead and drowsy fire,
Every elf and fairy sprite

Hop as light as bird from briar;
And this diuty, after me,

Sing, and dance it trippingly. Anon, the whole is vanished, and the dreamer turning his eye down aside, almost looks for a laughing sprite, gazing at him from a tiny chair and mimicking his face and attitude.--Idle fancies these, and incomprehensible to minds clogged with everyday earthliness, but not useless, either as an exercise of the invention, or even as adding consciousness to the

and destiny of the soul. They will occupy us too, and steal us away from ourselves, when other recollections fail us or grow painful,when friends are found selfish, or better friends can but commi. serate, or when the world has nothing in it to compare with what We have missed out of it. They may even lead us to higher and more solemn meditation, till we work up our way beyond the clinging and heavy atmosphere of this earthly sojourn, and look abroad upon the light that knows neither blemish nor bound, while our ears are saluted at that egress by the harmony of the skies, and our eyes behold the lost and congenial spirits that we have loved, hastening to welcome us with their sparkling eyes and their curls that are ripe with sunshine.



But earth recalls us again;--the last flame is out;-the fading embers tinkle with a gaping dreariness; and the chill reminds us where we should be. Another gaze on the hearth that has so cheered


and the last, lingering action is to wind up the watch for the next day.-Upon how many anxieties shall the finger of that brief chronicler strike--and upon how many comforts too! -To-morrow our fire shall be trimmed anew; and so, gentle Reader, good night:-may the weariness I have caused you, make sleep the pleasanter!

[ocr errors]

Let no lamenting cryes, nor dolefull tears,
Be heard all night within, nor yet without ;
Ne let false whispers, breeding hidden fears,
Break gentle sleep with misconceived doubt.
Let no deluding dreams, nor dreadful sights,
Make sudden, sad affrights,
Ne let hob-goblins, names whose sence we see not,
Fray us with things that be not ;
But let still silence true night-watches keep,
That sacred Peace may in assurance reigne,
And timely Sleep, since it is time to sleep,
May pour his limbs forth on your pleasant plaine.

Spenser's Epithalamiona

ART. XXI.- Athens and England.

'Εγώ δε λέξω δεινά μεν, δίκαια δε.

και νυν διαβαλεί Κλέων, ότι,
ξένων παρόντος, την πόλιν κακώς λέγω.”


ου γάς

Truths I will utter, sharp as truths may be :
No mischief-making Cleon now, at least,
Shall storm and swear I'm libelling the State.

To learn caution from the events of former ages, and to grow wise from the calamitous experience of other nations, ought to be the first object and the noblest distinction of a thinking people. It is not only the cheapest, but the easiest and most obvious



[ocr errors]

method of acquiring wisdom; and that man has perused the page of history with very little profit, who has not learned to pity the despicable squabbles of interest and ambition,to despise the false Justre of blood-dealing heroes, and to deprecate from his own country the miseries which war has inflicted on other nations ;-above all, who has not studied to retrace these miseries to their original source, and to root out their first cause by the removal of corruption, moral and political.

If an Englishman were now to take into his hand the volume of universal history, and search through it for a precedent for the present deplorable situation of his country, he could not, perhaps, fix upon a part more completely in point than that critical period of the history of Athens, when Philip of Macedon was plotting its destruction, together with that of the rest of Greece. This period was about the 108th Olympiad. Athens had sunk into a state of paralytic enfeeblement, from which the encroaching ambition of the Macedonian was not sufficient to rouse her: her citizens were more intent on the pleasures of the theatre, than alive to the honour and danger of their country; and it was only the wiser few among them, who kept their eyes open to approaching hazard, who saw the necessity of a political reform, and dared to lift up their voice amidst the insensate selfishness of their countrymen for the remnant of honour that was left. At the head of this party was Demosthenes,-a man, whose political character is not free from objections, but whose eloquence dazzles us with such a blaze of lightning as prevents us from nicely examining his failings ;-who, with at least the courage of a patriot, dared to utter to an assembly of men nominally free, such truths as freemen ought to utter and to hear. He spoke to the people of Athens, who, however degenerate from the glory of their ancestors, were at least not packed together by bribery and cor. ruption; but were assembled to hear the words of honest truth from the lips of the noblest orators that ever spoke to freemen.

The distinguishing trait of the eloquence of Demosthenes was sublimity. Eloquence allows a wider scope for the play of a sublime imagination, than any other art except Poetry itself; or, in other words, it is more poetical in its nature than any other species of writing. The speeches of Demosthenes everywhere abound with “ thoughts that breathe and words that burn :" he possessed a fervid strength of sentiment and language admirably


** There was a party at this time in Athens, who entirely gave up the interests of the State in despair of preventing that ruin which was impending, and checking that degeneracy whiclo prevailed :-of this party Plecion was the leader, Perhaps, there exists such a pariy now in England ; and if Sir Philip Francis be designated as the head of it, it will be go ill come pliment to bim to bave his oame coupled with that of Phocion,


calculated to rouse the dormant patriotism of his hearers,—to inspire them with a warlike enthusiasm, and influence them with an eagerness to fire the impious wreath on Philip's brow.” It was this excellency which arrested the attention and stimulated the exertions of his countrymen : it is this which has elevated him above the standard of his Grecian competitors, and which has given him the chief advantage over his great Roman rival, Cicero. Longinus's character of him is as remarkable for truth as it is for the masterly beauty with which it is drawn :

« Θάττον άν τις κεραυνούς φερομένοις αντανοίξαι τα όμματα δύναιτο, ή αντοφθαλμήσαι τους επαλλήλους εκείνου πάθεσιν.

De Sublim. § 34. “ For a man might sooner await the thunderbolts of heaven with his eyes wide open, than sustain the reverberated impassiopment of Demosthenes,”

His Philippics are so full of fire, that no man with a mind the least poetical can read them without ecstacy ; and I hope no man with a soul at all English, can read them without being reminded of the errors and misfortunes of his own country, and without an. ardent wish for the success of that great cause of Political Reform, for which Demosthenes laboured so strenuously in his country and his generation.

Let us turn, then, and hear from the mouth of Demosthenes a few such truths as the liberty of the British Press will now-a-days scarcely allow us to utter ourselves. The follies of Athens come before us “ in a tangible shape,” as the facetious Mr. Canning calls it; and though I am not so sanguine as to think with Lord Cochrane, that the first Olynthiac of Demosthenes prescribes all that is necessary to be done in the present disastrous war,-yet if sober Englishmen will but read of the sufferings of other na. tions, and, as they read, mark and learn, there is yet some hope that the fruits of well-timed and deliberate reflection may be the purification of our Constitution, wisdom in our councils, and success in our enterprizes.

«« Ει δέ τις υμών, ώ άνδρες Αθηναίοι, δυσπολέμητον οίεται τον Φίλιππος είναι, σκοπών τό τε πλήθος της νύν υπαρχούσης αυτώ δυνάμεως, και το τα χωρία πάντα απολωλέναι τη πόλει ορθώς μέν οίεται.”

Κατα Φιλιπ. Α. γ'. " If any one of you, Athenmads, considering the multitude of resources which Philip possesses, and the quantity of places which have been lost bry the Republic, shall conclude that he is somewhat difficult to be con.

que he will not be mistaken.” That there is some little difficulty in conquering Napoleon, is a point, I believe, now pretty generally agreed on by all parties ; FF 2


and the considerations upon which it is grounded, whether taken with reference to his accumulating power, or to our own accu. lating losses, are equally formidable. To his unvarying success in his military undertakings, to his suecessive subjugation of Holland, Italy, Switzerland, Austria, Prussia, (and why not add Russia and Spain ?) we have nothing to oppose but petty and unsuccessful attempts to subsidize the Continent;-but the in cumbrance of a few useless Islands; the capture and subsequent relinquishment of a hospital, called Walcheren : in short, rò tad xwgia névtu á modünévzo.-- And happy would it be, if this were the extent of our loss! Happy, if we had not squandered many thou$ands of British lives in these paltry achievements l_Such being the case, why, w despondingly enquire, is not an end put to the desolations of war? And the answer is obvious,--because Corruption, the great nurse of War and Misery, will not suffer it.

« Τέθνηκε Φίλιππος : ου, μα Δί', αλλ’ ασθενεί. Τί δ' υμιν διαφέρει; και γάρ άν ούτός τι πάθη, ταχέως υμείς έτερον Φίλιππον ποιήσετε, άνπες ούτω προσέχητε τοις πράγμασι τον νούν" ουδε γαρ ούτος παρά την αυτου ρώμην τοσούτον επηυξηται, όσον παρά την υμετέραν αμέλειαν.και έ.

« Is Philip dead? No indeed, but he is sick :—and what dnes that profit you !--If any accident were to befall him, you would quickly beget yourself another Philip, while your affairs are thus managed; for the man has not grown to this height so much by his own strength as by your inattention."

This sentence is as severe a satire on Englishmen as could have been dictated by the spirit of prophecy. The only consolation we appear to take refuge in amidst all the victories of our advere sary is, to hunt after groundless reports of his illness or his death; and hence, while he is silently pursuing his path of conquest, we represent him as dying; and he is absolutely dead at Vienna, when he is employed in negociating the articles of his marriage. And if he were dead, the natural reflection is, to ruir drapéges ; would this single occurrence shake off the lethargy which has hitherto paralysed our energies? Would it invigorate our Constitution, and remove the damned and damning spot of corruption which disfigures it? Would it not rather, by apparently diminishing the necessity of exertion, sink us into a more torpid indifference, and render us an easier prey to some future Napoleon? For doubtJess, as the Athenian orator told his countrymen, our indolence would soon raise up another Bonaparte, another enemy, who, like him, would conquer our indolence by activity, our folly by prudence, and our gold by iron.-Such are the probable advan. tages to be derived from the political system of those who would sit waiting till something may “ turn up," like an old rusty


« ElőzőTovább »