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“HE HAS COME BACK."
Because of half-way things that hold WITHOUT, the wintry sky is overcast :
Good names, and have a poisoned breath The floods descend - fierce hail and rush Prudence that is but trust in gold, ing rain;
And faith that is but fear of death Whilst ever and anon the raving blast
Amongst thy flowers, the lovely brood, Clutches the casement pane.
Thou sendest some that are not good. Within our darling beats an angrier air
Thou stay'st thy hand from finisbing things, With piteous outstretched arms and tossing
To make thy child love the complete ; Whilst we, bowed low beside his laboring
Full many a flower comes up thy springs,
Unshamed in imperfection sweet ; bed, Pour all our hearts in prayer.
That through good all, and good in part,
Thy work be perfect in the heart. Is this the end? The tired little hands
Because in careless confidence, Fall by his side, the wild eyes close at
So oft we leave the narrow way, last, –
Its borders thorny hedges fence, Breathless he sinks; almost we hear his sands Beyond them marshy deeps affray ; Of being ebbing past.
Lo! farther on, the heavenly road When, oh miraculous ! he wakes once more,
Lies through the gardens of our God. Love glowing in his gaze, the while there slips,
Because thy sheep so often still “Mother, dear mother !” from his trembling
Forsakes the meadow, cool and damp, lips,
To climb the stony, grassless hill, “Dear mother !" o'er and o'er.
Or wallow in the slimy swamp,
Go after him and bring him home.
All pain, all discord, low or loud,
Shall melt like low-spread morning cloud, Back, feebly back o'er the dire flood's de- And heart and brain be free from thrall,
Because thou, God, art all in all. His white wings flutter, only our God knows
Sunday Magazine. how, Bearing aloft the blessed olive bough Of his compassionate peace. Spectator.
A. P. G.
IN THE FIR-WOODS.
Contracted to life's narrowing winter range, THIS WORLD.
Cloistered within the aisles of this sad wood !
From The Nineteenth Century. established. A Roman citizen at the time
of the empire is the first example that oc. Most people will by this time have curs to me, and we may find many others read Mr. Drummond's book, “Natural a Greek, for instance, or an Italian in Law in the Spiritual World.” Some con. those cities which, having been republics, sider that its publication begios a fresh had fallen into the bands of a tyrant. era in the history of theological study, and | The French during the Second Empire that its author has really discovered an showed marked signs of getting into the entirely new way of approaching the sub- same condition. But the French never ject. Even those who doubt whether he do anything like anybody else, and they has succeeded in showing, as he professes have, I hope, succeeded in breaking their to do, that the study of the Christian reli- bonds. Such bonds have very seldom gion is only a higher branch of natural been broken before. In general, tyranny science, have been fascinated by his work. does not come till the citizens have thorIt certainly presents spiritual truths in a oughly degenerated, and when it has once new light; and brings them home in a come it does not pass away, for the simple manner which we have long ceased 10 reason that the citizens are unable to exist expect from either commentary or ser- without it. Perhaps the true reason of
the extraordinary recovery of the French I am not, however, about to review this is that their tyranny was an accidental book. I only wish to call attention to a one, and that the degeneration necessary particular chapter, and to consider it as for it to flourish had not really taken place, an illustration not of religious, but politi- though, as I have said, it was beginoing cal life. I mean the chapter on “Parasit. as a result of the tyranoy. ism." We find there a description of a The connection between Cæsarism and creature which once had eyes and ears the degeneration of the people is one of like other animals, legs that could walk action and reaction. Either may come and swim, and jaws with which it could first, but in most cases it is, I think, the eat, but which, by fixing itself into the latter. History, I think, teaches us this, body of a shell.crab, and acquiring the and it also teaches us that for some rea. habit of drawing all its sustenance, ready son or other this degeneration very often digested, from the creature to which it takes place after the establishment of a has attached itself, gradually loses all its democracy. It is, moreover, to be noted, limbs, all its organs of every description, that when it follows the establishment of and becomes a mere bulb. Mr. Drum- a democracy, it follows it almost immedimond makes use of this image to depict ately. The difficulty, therefore, for de. the character of the indolent, unreasoning mocracy is to obtain a fair start. If it is adherent of a popular preacher; but, my not strangled at its birth, it may be exhead being full of politics when I read it, pected 10 go on living, and the longer it I could not help applying the description lasts the better hope is there of its resistto a large number of those who take part ing its natural enemies, degeneration and in public life, who attend monster meet. the Cæsarism which is its accompani. ings, and who, without ever having ment. thought seriously for themselves, never. There has been much discussion as to theless, by their mere number and the whether there is, or is not, such a thing loudness of their voices, exercise a strong as a science of history. This science, if influence upon the decision of important it exists, is, I admit, very imperfect. questions.
There is no doubt, however, that in cer. But I postpone for the moment any tain respects history has a strong tenallusion to the present day. The little dency to repeat itself; and it is possible animal described by Mr. Drummond is sometimes to form a pretty accurate fore. ad admirable type of the inhabitants of a cast of the future by observing what on civilized nation which formerly enjoyed other occasions has been the result of liberty, but in which despotism has been I circumstances similar to the present.
It is, indeed, from its assistance to us in seem to enter the dominion of an entirely this respect that the study of history de. new law. Perhaps it is that we have not rives its chief use and its chief interest. yet arrived at the point from which our One of the lessons which this study theory started. Perhaps we are going teaches us with the greatest distinctness back to the original process of the forma. is, that different forms of government tion out of chaos of the monarchy with have a tendency to follow one another in which I have assumed the series of dif. a particular order. The rule is, of course, ferent forms of government to begin. subject to many exceptions. A State may There is no time so deeply interesting as be conquered by some other power in the the Middle Ages. We greedily read middle of its career, and cease to have a everything that even for a moment really separate being, or some abnormal action illuminates their tantalizing twilight. But may take place within its own limits. As we feel that we are in an altogether differa rule, however, a monarchy is succeeded ent world from the one around us. In. by an oligarchy; an oligarchy, after a deed our very interest in the Middle Ages
or less prolonged struggle, by a comes in a great measure from their comdemocracy; and a democracy by the do- plete want of connection with the present. minion of an autocrat. I may remark, in We feel far more at home when we read passing, that the chief difference between of Rome and Greece in the days of their the king who begins the series, and the highest civilization, and we have far more despot who ends it, is that the king leans affinity with that period. I do not then more or less upon 'the nobles who are think it wrong to assume that the historic destined in the course of nature to sup. laws which prevailed in those days are plant him, and the despot upon the people more likely to prevail now than those whose power he has appropriated. I have which governed the actions of our barbar. said that there are exceptions to the rule. ous ancestors, all the more as I see the But they are often only so in appearance. civilized States of Italy even during the A king is sometimes overthrown by a de Middle Ages subject to the same historic mocracy; but it is in general only for a laws as ancient Greece and Rome. I will short time, and either he or his heir is then put aside the Middle Ages in the pretty sure to be restored to the throne. inquiry which I am about to prosecute. An oligarchy is sometimes apparently There is a generally recognized landmark subjugated by an autocrat, but it is by the where the Middle Ages are by common autocrat placing himself at the head of consent supposed to end, and modern his. the people under the pretence of liberat. tory to begin. I refer to the time of the ing them, and in most cases the rudiments discovery of America, the Reformation, of an intervening democracy, however im. and the revival of classical learning. I perfect and transitory, may be discovered will take this as my starting-point.
I began this article with reference to Any person who wishes to verify what our own country, and I now return to it. I have stated will find a boundless field Let us consider at what period in the for observation among the Greek cities of history of a nation we have arrived, and antiquity, and, excepting as regards a whether our history up to the present momonarchy, the Italian cities of the Middle ment adapts itself to my theory. Ages. But the most perfect example of Starting from the beginning of the sixthe whole sequence is presented to us by teenth century, we may say, speaking the greatest State that ever existed. It roughly, that we have run the usual may be seen in the history of Rome from course : first through monarchy not only the time of Tarquin to that of Augustus. nominal, but real; then through aristo.
What militates against the theory that cratic government, tempered indeed, both I have laid down is that there is nothing from above and from below, but suffito confirm it in the development of the ciently marked not to remove us from the larger States of Europe during the Middle common type, and latterly further and Ages. In tracing this development we further into democracy, till, if it is not
by a careful eye.
yet altogether our form of government, it may say that during the whole period be. promises to be so in a short time. Such tween the Revolution of 1688 and the first has been our course till now, and every Reform Bill, the government was, on the change that has taken place hitherto ap- whole, in the hands of the upper classes. pears to me to have been inevitable. I It was they who had to be conciliated by will not enter into an argument as to what Williain the Third, and who occasionally is the best form of government. In my thwarted him. It was they who ruled opinion a democracy, if it can only last, under Anne. It was they who were bribed and if law and order can be maintained by Walpole; and in the middle of the under it, has at least as much to recom-century they were led by a few great fammend it as anything else. But whether ilies whose quarrels and coalitions constiwe like it or not is a matter of small im- tute the political history of that epoch. portance. It has come upon us in the Even the monarchical reaction at the end course of nature, and nothing could have of the century may perhaps be considprevented it. Looking back through the ered as an insurrection, under the auspices last three centuries, we see no point where of the king, of the mass of the upper the stream could have been dammed, or classes against these few great families. where any attempt to dam it was other. Let us now consider how the aristocratic wise than productive of evil. On the period came to an end. It was briefly other hand, any effort on the part of our thus. Attention was for a long time dirulers to basten the course of events pro- verted from home maiters by a desperate duced a temporary reaction. If the power and all-absorbing war. Soon after the of the monarch was prematurely put an peace the great families which I have end to in the time of Charles the First, mentioned, who now formed the nucleus the result was after a few years to increase of the Whig party, had the happy instinct for a moment the authority of Charles the to ally themselves with the people. The Second. But when public opinion had people were beginning to demand the definitely decreed that the centre of power free exercise of the rights which they had must be shifted, nothing could have pre always in theory possessed. The impor. vented the change. If the revolution tance of the alliance between the Whigs against James the Second had been de and the people in facilitating the transfer ferred, it would only have been more com- of power, in mitigating class bitterness, plete, and the supreme rule, baving once and in preserving constitutional continuslipped away from the crown, never was ity, cannot be over-estimated. But even and never could have been restored to it. if there had been no Whigs, the transfer
Next followed what I have called the would have taken place. It would have period of aristocratic government. But it come a little later, but it would have been is only we who look back to it who call it attended with greater violence, and we by that name, and only when we speak should by this time have been at least as rather loosely. Because authority was far advanced into democracy as we are. centred in the House of Commons, men The Reform Bill of 1832 may be conimagined at the time that they lived in a sidered, roughly speaking, as the end of free country, and the oligarchy, whom our aristocratic period. Is it to be wished we now look upon as having pulled the that this period had lasted longer? strings, took care to disguise their power There is something fascinating at first by speaking in the name of liberty. sight in the government of an enlightened There was still a great deal of latent oligarchy like the Spartans of old, the strength in the crown, as George the Romans at the time of the second Punic Third discovered when he began to draw war, or the Venetians of the Middle Ages. upon it. In times of excitement the peo- The grand tranquillity of their move. ple could already make their voices pretty ments, and the lofty atmosphere of patri. distinctly heard. But after making these otism and statesmanship which surrounds admissions in favor of the king on the one them, captivate our fancy. We admire band, and of the people on the other, we the spectacle of a certain number of ruling families animated with a high sense of dency. Those who regret these days honor, accustomed to the give and take of have much to say for themselves. On the politics, taught by tradition never to push whole I differ from them, but I will con. party feeling to the serious detriment of tent myself with repeating that the change the country, trained from their earliest which took place could not have been years to the conduct of business, and al- avoided. According to the form of the ways ready to produce a certain number Constitution, from the moment that the of men of more than ordinary cultivation. chief power had been vested in the House The ministers of state chosen by natural of Commons it was vested in the people. selection from among these families, if The authority of the aristocracy depended there is sufficient competition to keep upon a restricted and irregular franchise them in order and to stir them to exertion, and a grossly and ludicrously unfair disare sometimes administrators of a very tribution of seats. This could not long high degree of merit. But there is one be maintained when once it was seriously fatal weakness in an oligarchical govern threatened. The middle class, growing ment. Even supposing that the high daily in wealth and numbers, in energy sense of honor is maintained, that indo- and intelligence, must, under any circumlence and luxury do not creep in among stances, have before long obtained suthe governing class, that the field is wide premacy. They did so in 1832, and in enough to secure the forthcoming of a their turn they have had since to submit sufficient number of able men suppos- to the inevitable, and first to divide, soon ing all this, which is to suppose a great probably to transfer, their power. deal, nothing compensates for the fatal It is not my business to enter into the want of public spirit which this system transition period of the last fifty years. almost as much as a despotism engenders It will no doubt in the future be consid. among the masses. Indeed, the tyranny ered a very interesting part of our conof an individual is, for some reasons, less stitutional history, and will probably fall hateful than the absolute supremacy of a naturally into a chapter by itself between class. I would consider, then, that in a the aristocratic and the democratic periperfect State an oligarchical government ods. We have certainly made progress. has great merits and great disadvantages. Whether up or down, I will leave to be Our oligarchy was far from perfect. There argued by the historians of our two rival was, in the first place, a constant and easy schools, the followers of Macaulay and flow backwards and forwards between the the followers of Carlyle. I have always ruling caste and the masses below, and considered myself one of the former, but the boundaries were very vaguely defined. on one thing only have I ventured to give In the next place we must remember, a decided opinion, which I once more rewhat I have before stated, that the power iterate: no change that has taken place in of the aristocracy was indirect and veiled our Constitution could, I say, have been from the public eye. Both the merits and prevented. But this, it may be said, is the disadvantages of our oligarchy, if we after all only an opinion, and many of my may call it by that name, were less than readers may disagree with me. Everyin Venice or in Sparta. On the one hand body, however, must admit that we cannot the dominant class were less thoroughly now retrace our steps. In politics what trained, less bighly braced for exertion, in is done cannot be undone. Let us look less perfect condition for all the duties of before us instead of behind, but do not let public life. On the other hand they were us look forward too far. Let us, in the less unpopular with those below them, brave and wise spirit of our best and and there was more public spirit among ablest statesmen of all generations, try to the main body of the people. It must be discover and to meet the dangers that are confessed that the history of England immediately in front of us, leaving the far during our aristocratic government was a future to take care of itself, and having glorious one. The chief blot upon it, confidence in the destiny of our race. the disgraceful and disastrous manner in I do not know that I am not rather which we parted from our American colo- breaking this good rule and looking for. nies, may be imputed to the king during ward too far when I allude to some form the temporary revival of monarchical pow. of Cæsarism as one of the dangers that
It may be observed, too, that the may possibly threaten us. But we must patriotism, the integrity, the political in. remember that this is the step which telligence, and the public virtue of the would come next in our history if it coa. class which then governed the country, tinued to follow the ordinary course. I increased with every year of their ascen. am not alone in my apprehensions. They