Page images

most of those whom I wished to please have sunk into the grave, and success and miscarriage are empty sounds; I therefore dismiss it with frigid tranquillity, having little to fear or hope from censure or from praise.




THE town of Abdera, notwithstanding Democritus lived there, trying all the powers of irony and laughter to reclaim it, was the vilest and most profligate town in all Thrace. What for poisons, conspiracies, and assassinations-libels, pasquinades, and tumults, there was no going there by day —'t was worse by night.

[ocr errors]

Now, when things were at the worst, it came to pass that, the Andromeda of Euripides being represented at Abdera, the whole orchestra was delighted with it; but of all the passages which delighted them, nothing operated more upon their imaginations than the tender strokes of nature which the poet had wrought up in that pathetic speech of Perseus, “O Cupid, prince of gods and men," etc. Every man almost spoke pure iambics the next day, and talked of nothing but Perseus his pathetic address - "0 Cupid, prince of gods and men;" in every street of Abdera, in every house —“O Cupid! Cupid!" in every mouth, like the natural notes of some sweet melody which drops from it, whether it will or no, -nothing but "Cupid! Cupid! prince of gods and men." The fire caught, and the whole city, like the heart of one man, opened itself to Love.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

No pharmacopolist could sell one grain of hellebore; not a single armourer had a heart to forge one instrument of death; Friendship and Virtue met to

gether, and kissed each other in the street; the Golden Age returned, and hung over the town of Abdera; every Abderite took his oaten pipe, and every Abderitish woman left her purple web, and chastely sat her down, and listened to the song.

""T was only in the power," says the fragment, "of the God whose empire extendeth from heaven to earth, and even to the depths of the sea, to have done this."

A Sentimental Journey.


[ocr errors]

A-WELL-A-DAY!- do what we can for him, said Trim, maintaining his point, the poor soul will die-He shall not die, by G-, cried my uncle Toby.

The Accusing Spirit, which flew up to Heaven's chancery with the oath, blushed as he gave it in; and the Recording Angel, as he wrote it down, dropped a tear upon the word, and blotted it out for


Tristram Shandy, VI, viii.




It is now sixteen or seventeen years since I saw the Queen of France, then the Dauphiness, at Versailles; and surely never lighted on this orb, which she hardly seemed to touch, a more delightful vision. I saw her just above the horizon, decorating and cheering the elevated sphere she just began to move in; glittering like the morning star, full of life, and splendour, and joy. Oh! what a revolution! and what a heart must I have to contemplate without emotion that elevation and that fall! Little did I dream when she added titles of veneration to those of enthusiastic, distant, respectful love, that she should ever be obliged to carry the sharp antidote against disgrace concealed in that bosom; little did I dream that I should have lived to see such disasters fallen upon her in a nation of gallant men, in a nation of men of honour and of cavaliers. I thought ten thousand swords must have leaped from their scabbards to avenge even a look that threatened her with insult. But the age of Chivalry is gone. That of sophisters, economists, and calculators has succeeded, and the glory of Europe is extinguished for ever. Never, never more, shall we behold that generous loyalty to rank and sex, that proud submission, that dignified obedience, that subordination of the heart, which kept alive, even in servitude itself, the spirit of an exalted freedom. The unbought grace of life, the cheap defence of nations,

the nurse of manly sentiments and heroic enterprise is gone! It is gone, that sensibility of principle, that chastity of honour, which felt a stain like a wound, which inspired courage whilst it mitigated ferocity, which ennobled whatever it touched, and under which vice itself lost half its evil, by losing all its grossness. Reflections on the Revolution in France.

« PreviousContinue »