« PreviousContinue »
In a financial, as in fact in all legislative as-llies in the combination of the Diet with one of pects, it must de jure be considered as the legiti- the great powers. At present it seems to lean mate successor and heir to the defunct Federal towards Prussia, which in its admirable adminisDiet. Like this it has hitherto been supported by trative genius and its powerful, efficient and wellthe voluntary contributions of the several govern- officered army would appear to offer a strong ments, and of late, it is said, by Prussia alone. guarantee that, with its king as Emperor of GerShould this power follow the example of Aus- many, the Central Power might once more betria and withdraw, the Diet would be left with- come, what it must be to be successful, a power out supplies to pay its members or carry out its full of life and energy, well supported by real
But if the Parliament is weak in pe- strength, and above all by the will of the people. cuniary resources, it is weaker yet in character. Acting as it does only provisionally and supported, nominally, at least, by an army consisting of the contingents of the different States, com- Description of the Burial-Place at Sidon. manded by their officers and paid by them, it is entirely dependent on the good will of these gov
• The greater part of the thickly.peopled cemetery was ernments. Thus left without any visible evidence in gloom-a gloom which the Orient als love. They do not
like to come to the tombs in the glare of day ; early morning of real strength, and gradually losing its moral hold and evening are their favorite times, especially the latter." on the mind of the nation, unacknowledged by
“ Go forth at morn! foreign powers and altogether in a most equivocal position, it is opposed by both of the main
Ere yet upon the soletrn stillness come
The distant echoes of the city's hum, parties in Germany. Republicans and Monarch
In the gray dawn, ists consider it an inconvenient impediment in the
While yet the lingering mist-wreaths hang around, way of a thorough revolution or a restoration of Go forth, and bow thyself on holy ground !" the old order of things. The Réactionnaires es
“And go at evepecially are but too well aware that the people
Our sadness loveth not the day's broad light, prefer a strong, energetic government of almost But, whep aronnd us gather shades of night any name to an inactive, insufficient Diet, and
Our homes we leave, ask for peace and order above all things. Every And wander forth where, 'mid the flowers are laid
In their lone-resting-place the holy dead." attempt made by the opposite party has but strengthened this feeling; the tremendous power
« We have lain down of the loyal armies has repeatedly been felt, The best-belovéd in earth's cold embrace, whilst the Anarchists have been convicted if not They have passed hence, and left us but the trace of cowardice, at least of incapacity; the state of
Of footsteps gone
From homes where they of late in beauty sate, siege is praised as the state of order and law,
But grown all cheerless now, and desolate.” and with a little wise management and judicious compliance-as in the last Prussian constitution,
Calmly they sleep ; octroyée as it is—it may well be expected, that
But we call vainly now; no answering voice the first red flag, planted on a barricade, will see
Waking glad echoes, bids the heart rejoice,
And we but weep the last day of German Liberty.
And watch, until we too, like them may rest For the German Diet is the representative of Unknown, unloving, in oblivion blest.” German Liberty; if the Parliament falls, little is
Oh, human love! to be hoped for the cause of freedom. In Aus
A holy, yet a searsul thing thou art, tria and Prussia the government triumphs over
That all unchanged, abiding in the heart, the people, and foreign powers will be slow, if
Canst faithful prove, not unable, to assist their unfortunate neighbor. And watch uncheered, untranquillized by Faith Strange changes have taken place during the Weeping, yel hopeless in the place of death! latter months of the past year. France is under
A loftier trust a Napoleon; Italy left without any leader; Swit
Is ours; we may not make the tomb zerland condemned to inactivity; Hungary beset A place of nought but deepened shade and gloom, by formidable armies on all her frontiers; Den
But where our dust mark preparing for a second war, and Russia
Sleeps with its ou n, the fresh spring flowers that ware
Whisper of life, unsaddened by the grave. ready with a nation in arms. Austria is in the hands of a youth, himself guided by the Arch
We walk in light duchess Sophia, the actual chief of the house of Which showeth to our steps the better way, Austria, and through her sister, the queen of
That leadeth onward unto perfect day ;
It shineth bright, Prussia, almost of Prussia also. Little then is
That radiance, from angel wings erst shed left of Germany to act by itself, and the only hope
Where, in the garden, slept and rose the Dead ! of at last ending the provisional state of affairs Boston, Mass.
MATILDA F. Dass.
| number of his immediate triumphs, rather than SWIFT
by the duration of his fame. He wrote always
for a special purpose, and this accomplished, gave BY H. T. TUCKERMAN.
himself no farther trouble. His mind was essen
tially practical, his aims invariably definite. Few The obstacle which has interfered with a just English writers have labored to such good purappreciation of Swift, by British writers, has pose, if we deem the realization of individual been political opinion. Hence the two extremes desire—the impinging of one's way of thinking of laudation and censure manifested in Scott's upon others, as the test of ability. Whether to partial biography and Jeffrey's caustic review. gratify a caprice, to punish an enemy, to convert It is, indeed, to be regretted by all lovers of lit- an antagonist, or to change the face of public aferature, in its broad and artistic relations, when fairs, Swift wrote with a tact, a force and a cleara great writer becomes a violent partisan. The ness that almost ensured a satisfactory issue. interest of his works is thus rendered temporary He selected the best weapon and used it with and their spirit narrowed. Instead of comprehen- rare judgment. He did not seem to consider sive views fitted to charm the thinker of a dis- writing as an ideal, but a practical art. It was tant generation, they too often yield but clever his unfailing resource. If we would appreciate instances of special-pleading, and are intended his efficiency as an author,—without reckoning for a day and not for all time. Although a great the influence of his pen when in the service of part of Swift's writings belongs to this class, the the English ministry, at which time it is acknowfact that they have survived and are still read ledged that he long controlled the political views with zest, is the best proof of his originality. of the nation ;-let us remember the fact that What strikes us, at once, in his literary career, is one of his pamphlets caused the erection of fifty its remarkable efficiency. It is common to regard new churches in London ; that the predictions the man of letters and the man of action as of Isaac Bickerstaff” besides exciting the activiwholly distinct, but in Swift we have an exam-ty of the Inquisition of Portugal, gave the priple of their identity. The results of his pen mary impulse to periodical literature and origiwere actual, tangible and impressive. He wrote nated the British essayists; that the pretended seldom for display, occasionally for amusement, confession of Elliston actually checked streetbut, in general, to produce a decided end, in robbery for years; that he made the fortune of which he seldom failed. His life is a complete Barber the printer, afterwards Lord Mayor, and refutation of the utilitarian sneer at the vanity of that the Drapier's letters were the first and may authorship. Here we have a man of no estate yet be recorded as the most effectual blow ever and obscure birth, by the mere force of his dic- struck for Ireland. With such fruits the pention and the energy of his thought, exercising an craft of Swift abounded. His life is a wonderinfluence upon those possessed of executive pow- ful contrast to that of the meditative of the leter to such a degree as to control and direct it. tered race. Conflict apparently was his delight. We see him espouse a cause in his study and Authorship was a single-handed fight. He was are assured of its triumph; we hear his repartee a kind of intellectual gladiator, and only in the at a political dinner silence a concerted opposi- excitement of a war of opinion, or a skirmish of tion; we follow the paragraph which he has in- wit, appears to have been able to render himself dited for a journal, as it circulates through a king- oblivious of a morbid physique and corroding dom, and diverts into a new channel the whole passions. He long enjoyed a wide mental dictide of public opinion. Pamphlets were his am- tatorship, such as Boswell's idol aspired to, but munition. With these he carried on argumenta- only attained in a particular circle. His entertive and satirical war, and waged battles for a prise of mind has been rarely equalled. He was party or a whim. A sarcasm, or an epigram a bold opinionative adventurer; formidable in often enabled him to attain his social objects ; grave discussions and ingenious in trifling. No and he inflamed the popular heart with appeals curious speculations, no aspiring visions, no exdistributed by the ballad-mongers. Thus his sin- quisitely elaborated fancies adorn his page ; but gle will was continually achieving its ends, and his pungent sense, keen wit, adroit argument and thought moulding opinion. Like the renowned vigorous judgment often lead us to respect where man-at-arms of the middle ages, his services and we can neither admire or love. Swift's power allegiance were eagerly sought by those in pow- lay in his grasp of the actual. He had a clear, er, and his pen was to him what the sword was but not an exalted vision. He looked more freto the brave and skilful of an earlier day-the quently to the strata beneath than the stars above instrument at once of fortune, vengeance and him; and was more anxious for a good foothold glory.
on the material present than a clear glimpse into Hence his success is to be estimated by the the eternal future. He dealt mainly with the
positive, the attainable—the facts and interests | tiation into comprehensive speculations while of life and man—and the motives and tenden- secretary to Sir William Temple, his knowledge cies of the hour. He was a kind of inspired of the world, and his keen perception of merits Cobbet, and wrote very much on the principles and defects both in character and in theories, upon which Stuart painted. Refinement, deli-justify the inference that he belonged to the clearcacy-all that we intend by the term ideal-sighted and right-feeling class indicated by the seemed alien to his nature. He possessed emi-fluent historian, who occupy the frontier ground, nently the genius of common sense. His insight and, therefore, are not to be condemned as insinwas that of affairs. Of the able men of his day, cere for alternate skirmishes on both sides. Canhe was best armed and equipped for the useful dor will not fail often to discern essential princiin literature. He threw the light of genuine in- ples in the views he advocated however contratelligence on many of the questions of the time, dictory; and Jeffrey's inference that in the Draand addressed the universal mind in a way read- pier's Letters, his object was “not to do good to ily understood. Hence both his usefulness and Ireland, but to vex the English ministry,” is quite popularity. To a like cause we attribute that in- gratuitous. In this, as in most cases, he doubtless difference to his literary reputation which has acted from blended motives ; for throughout his been noticed as a peculiarity. He had not the life, he seems to have taken a peculiar delight in imagination to cherish the highest view of the exercising benevolence morosely, and giving art he cultivated. Its value to him was compar- way to malevolence urbanely,-enjoying the zest atively material. The objects he sought render- of retaliation and the consciousness of doing ed the means employed secondary. He exerci- good at the same time. Thus we believe his sed authorship as an attorney pleads—with learn- sympathy with Lord Oxford was as real as his ing, logic, ingenuity and eloquence, but when the pleasure at the success of his new allies, and case was gained, the plea was forgotten. The therefore it was not inconsistent to prefer to cheer principles which endear literature, as such, are the sad journey of the one to uniting in the tritruth and taste, the former recognizing the sub- umph of the other. It is not unusual to find bitstance, the latter the form. Swift was so much terness and charity in the same heart. Generoccupied with the advocacy of particular ideas ous people are not infrequently vindictive-esand the achievement of temporary projects, that pecially through offended pride. Swist was bruhe scarcely dreamed of embodying his talents in tal in his satirical persecution of Tighe, Bettesa production of well-considered elegance and worth and others who were so unfortunate as to lasting grace. Carelessness is stamped on all cross his path; yet, on this account, we should his works. Their harmony is incomplete. If not, in the least, question the genuine kindness he verges on sentiment, it is soon profaned by which led him to write stories to increase the levity; the brightness of his intelligence is ob-half-pay of a worthy old Captain, give the copyscured by vulgarity; and the subtlety of his judg- right of a popular ballad to a deserving widow, ment blunted by the coarseness of his expres- yield so cordially his first benefice to a poor clersions.
gyman, loan money statedly to the indigent, and To great mental activity Swift united a singu- found, by will, a lunatic asylum in Dublin, lar force of purpose. He was both acute and which yet bears witness to his philanthropy. In relentless, and hence admirably fitted to excel as fact, to nomenclate character as we do plants and a partisan writer. Much has been said of his in- minerals, is absurd, and especially in a case like consistency in this vocation, but when all the cir- Swift, who exhibited unusual contradictions. He cumstances are weighed, it does not appear so who uttered a withering sarcasm with the cruelty glaring. He was confessedly a moderate Whig, of an inquisitor, used to pray with meek devoand carried the same temper to the other stand- tion; the misanthrope who read his coming fate ard. Macaulay, in his recent history-after tra- in the withered top of a lofty elm, went through cing the real origin of the two great English the elaborate joke of waiting on his own servants parties to the Long Parliament, justly declares at supper; and the greatest of libellers was made that the country could spare neither, and that unhappy, for days, by a cold look from Temple. their mutual action gave birth to and confirmed He was disgraced at college for frolics which he the happily-balanced principles of constitutional long afterwards declared, instead of originating government. He also recognizes a similar dis-in exuberant youthful spirits, were entered into tinction in the very nature of society-with ref- purely from the recklessness of thwarted desires. erence to art, literature and manners as well as in his dogmatism and morbid irritability Swift in politics. Such is the opinion of all liberal resembled Dr. Johnson ; in his rough kindliness, and enlightened men. Doubtless Swift embark- Abernethy. His economy appears to have origed in the career of a political essayist, in part, inated in a keen sense of early privation and a from motives of self-interest; but his early ini- somewhat uncommon appreciation for a man of letters,—of pecuniary responsibility. His mel-mind that dallied so boldly with this most awful ancholy and fits of temper grew out of disease visitation to which humanity is subject, was desand bafiled hopes. Patronage galled his proud tined to become its prey. The metaphors of and sensitive nature, and yet it was his life-long Swift remind us occasionally of Crabbe. They doom,-first from relatives, then from govern- are of the humblest kind ; yet often significant, ment. The prejudice excited in Queen Anne's for instance, “ Wisdom is a hen, whose cackmind by the Archbishop of York on account of ling we must value and consider, because it is atthe alleged infidelity in the “Tale of a Tub,” is tended with an egg; but then, lastly, it is a nut, supposed to be the reason of the " long delays” which, unless you choose with judgment, may he endured, and the final inadequate appoint- cost you a tooth, and pay you with nothing but a ment of Dean of St. Patrick—a title which, how- worm." ever undesirable in his own estimation, soon be- Satire has its office in literature and in the afcame famous enough to satisfy ordinary ambi- fairs of the world, but it is one so liable to abuse tion. This “honorable exile," as he calls it, and so infrequently in alliance with perfect juswas attended by an unprecedented local consid- tice, that its exercise is seldom desirable. Where eration after Swift proved himself a successful appeals to the reason and feelings prove insuffichampion of Ireland; and the oblation her cient, ridicule sometimes the only available people, at his death, after three years of insanity means left. No one doubts that the keen edge had separated him from the associations of life, of criticism has lopped away excrescences and has never been surpassed for regretful sentiment caused the sap in the tree of knowledge to evolve and zealous honors.
in fruits and blossoms. Goldeni's comedies visiSwift's most celebrated papers are of an alle bly reformed Venetian practices. Again and gorical kind, and though interspersed with judi- again, in France the social tone has been modicious remarks and clever hits, to a reader whose fied by polished satirical attacks. In England, taste has been formed on later models, cannot the first essayists gracefully laughed away many fail to be tedious. Thus “ The Tale of a Tub” indigenous follies and the brilliant reviewers of a is an elaborate satire upon popery, ingenious and later day have shamed into deserved obscurity often correct, yet quite unintelligible without the the pretensions of lettered mediocrity. In poetnotes, and spun out to a wearisome degree; the ry, in fashion, in art, and even in personal charsame may be said of the “ Battle of the Books" acter, we see the most wonderful improvements and the “Essay on Polite Conversation.” The brought about by a discriminating use of this Dialogues of the latter are an exaggerated take- weapon. It is a reformer that penetrates where off of the strained wit that prevailed in the au- gentler ministrants find no admittance ; and even thor's day, and parts of them are quite as amusing in social intercourse its delicate and kindly inas a good comedy. We have many specimens troduction has a wholesome effect-restraining of this allegorical and indirect way of enforcing presumption, exciting the apathetic, and giving a truth, or illustrating a moral, to which Swift re- point and spirit to conversation. Let this be sorted, such as Telemachus, Rasselas and Sartor conceded to satire divorced from malignity; but Resartus, which unite invention with far more in the hands of the selfish or arbitrary, there is earnestness and beauty. Indeed the vulgarity no more dangerous facility or remorseful gift. of Swift is sometimes unendurable. He seems Not for a moment can we hesitate in choosing to delight in low metaphors and gross allusions. between the gentleness which is power and the His coarseness is gratuitous and his smut delib- power whose only attribnte is cruelty. Hazlit erate. He repudiates Pope's axiom, that “want has admirably defined wit as the “eloquence of decency is want of sense,” for the two are of indifference.” There is a certain want of constantly mingled in his writings. Irony and heart in those who possess it as a prevailing paradox he developes with a prolonged relish. trait
. It is not surprising that Swift endorsed A very characteristic instance of both is afforded the maxims of Rochefoucault. The process by in his defence of madness, founded on the idea which the satirist vanquishes even error, is an inthat—" he that can with Epicurus, content his durating one. He must often, as a preparatory ideas with the films and images that fly upon his step, hush the pleadings of humanity. He wounds senses from the superficies of things ; such a man, it may be to cure, but how seldom is it done truly wise, creams off nature, leaving the sour “ more in sorrow than in anger;" and how conand the dregs for philosophy and reason to lap stantly does it breed animosity! We cannot lose up. This is the sublime and refined point of fe- sight of the great fact that writing is a deliberate licity, called the possession of being well-de-act. The cutting word spoken in an ebullition ceived; the serene, peaceful state of being a fool of temper and the fatal blow struck on the insamong knaves." The acuteness exhibited in this tant of provocation, are far more defensible than chapter is affecting when we remember that the the carefully penned lampoon or the stab of the
assassin's dagger. We envy not the midnight|takes infinite pains to repel the idea of love as a reveries of the man whose pen is habitually em- weakness, extols the lasting happiness of genuployed as an instrument of intellectual revenge; ine friendship, and describes his intercourse with and the meanest threat we ever imagined, was the youngest of his victims as merely paternal. that of an unprincipled man of genius in his quarrel with an honest farmer,—that he would “write
His conduct might have made him styled
A father and ihe nymph his child, him down.” The dark side of Swift's career,
Such innocent delight he took as a writer, is its malign aspect. We speak not
To see the virgin mind-her book. of the keenness of his onsets in honest controversy, when he manfully battled for his party, One would suppose, however, from the annexfor the church of England, or for suffering Ire- ed passage, that he would have grown sooner land; sarcasms may be heaped upon theories, weary of this charming study. acts of public assemblies and projects of government, without involving the peace of any hu- In a dull strean, which moving slow,
You hardly see the current flow; man being; but the personal satire of Swift is
If a small breeze obstruct the course, often not only merciless, but wholly unjustifiable.
It wbirls about sor want of force, His persecution of Steele who had once been
And in its narrow circle gathers his friend, is an instance. The truth is, there Nothing but chaff, and straw, and feathers, are points of honor taken for granted by chival- The current of a female mind ric natures in all conflicts,--and one is that it is
Siops thus and turns with every wind; unfair to attack an open enemy with a weapon
Thus whirling round together draws
Fools, fops and rakes for chaff and straws. he cannot sway, and of which his antagonist is Hence we conclude no woman's parts
Swift repeatedly made satirical war Are won by virtue, wit and parts upon men utterly incapable of any retaliation Nor are the men of sense to blame except that of the duello, from which the Dean's
For breasts iucapable of flame. sacred office protected him. His hardihood, in this respect, is evinced by tion of intellectual men to gifted women-3
There is something very beautiful in the relahis cherished resentments. He detested Trinity College all his life, because it was the scene of process of mutual development—the history of his youthful punishment; he coutinued to bate but the order of nature seems to have been re
which, in many instances, it is delightful to trace; those of his kindred who had displeased him as versed in the case before us. The desire to be a boy; and he never forgave Queen Caroline for loved existed chiefly on the part of those to whom not sending the medals she had promised him
he seems to have given his society, while his erwbile princess. He could use facts, the knowledge of which he gained in friendship, to the in- pressed feelings towards them were objective jury of his adversary after a change of feeling death of Stella, he speaks of her as “that person
It is true in allusion to the
and independent. occurred. It is no wonder that one of his vic- for whose sake only life was worth preserving ;" tims attempted to cut off his ears. In the inten
and sity of his scorn he reminds the American reader
yet he never recognized, while enjoying the of John Randolph. Literature he seemed to re
amplest opportunity, the sympathies he constant
ly evoked. It is true that Vanessa ingenuously gard as an arena rather than a resource. It was
avows how much her nature is indebted for its his vantage-ground, whereon he made himself
growth and expansion to his influence, but he amends for the churlishness of fortune. It was
never inspired her with that confidence which to him an armory, not a bower; he sought its
alone renders the affections a source of true hapthorns to head arrows of revenge, not its roses to
piness. weave garlands for the banquet; its asperities rather than its amenities were his delight. In a Still listening to his luneful tongue word, Swift carried the passions which men of The truths which angels might have sung, action develope in deeds into his intellectual life.
Divine imprest their genile sway, Tasso used his pen to celebrate a holy crusade
And sweetly stole my soul away,
My guide, instructor, lover, friend, or the charms of his love, and met his enemies
Dear names, in one idea blend. like a brave gentleman with his sword; Swift too often desecrated the sacred office of the one to Perhaps a latent conviction of the uvenviable the butchery of the other.
reputation of a satirist induced him to disavow Even when thwarted by the indifference or in- malevolence, and defend the kind of writing to capacity of woman, his annoyance vented itself which he was addicted. “There is very little in satire. It is curious that while few intellec- satire,” he says, “which has not something in it tual men ever took more pains to develope the untouched before, but the materials of panegyrie, sex, no one more affected to despise them. He being very few in number, have long since been