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thousand tributary rills of anguish, and, in Till it be dense ; tread down the burdened gloom, one wild swollen wave, hurries at last over
Till it be solid black on the doomed towers the precipice. Nevertheless, we do not think And battlements. There let it rest. Now, now! that he has been altogether successful. First,
Is the tiine come ? Merlin, I'm here !
There's a grim waiting in the heavens for somethe play is by far too long. It is nearly as
thing, long as are the events described. Secondly, As if yon cloud (hush, now!) would burst asunthe characters are too numerous. It is a der, Trongate he has set before us, with hundreds Riven by the flaming wedges of the thunder. of common figures moving upon it—not a
No; quiet Edinburgh street, with a few noble 'Tis passing off, heavy and slow, yet off.
Not in vain, men and women pacing quietly along, and The time's not yet—'twill come.
Wold, yet with their steps tuned to the music of
Have I gone round about thee, winding the curse Destiny. Thirdly, the incidents are too thick Close round about thee. and bustling. It is a succession of petty
I walk around thee, Wold, tragedies, rather than a single great one.
A seeming, simple thing; but serried spears Fourthly, there is too much death. It is a Of ranged men, nor walls of brass, with towers bloody bustle. He swims his Trongate in
Of blue-ribbed steel, could better hem thee in
Than does the coil of these blood. All stab, and everybody dies.
naked feet, Al
Going around thee thus, and shutting thee together, it is rather a glorious tumult of
pas Close up with the doom: not a child's innocent sion, warfare, force, and fate, than a great, head stern, collected tragedy. In “ Lear,” every Of all Wold's house—not a mouse could get out." vein and artery points to the bruised and broken heart which is the centre of the convulsed framework. In “Wold,” unity has
We are reluctant to part, after such a evidently been sought for, but not so evi- comparatively curt intercourse with one of the dently attained. The author has indulged few really true, original, and great poets of himself in superfluities of deseription, and our day--one who ranks with Bayly, Tenluxuries of horror, which weaken the torrent
nyson, Browning, and a few others, as a man of the tale, and blunt the axe of the tragedy, of a cultured, yet independent vein-owing to which falls, at last, dull and heavy.
nature much, to popularity little, to clique In proof of the poetical power scattered
or coterie nothing at all. He has “cast his throughout, we quote the following words of bread upon the
waters, and will find it after Afra, the night-raven of the story—a girl, by
many days." This book of his
may the way, who had been injured and orphaned a hermit-stream, only known to those who by the house of Wold :
have the hardihood to break through the
embowering branches and thick brushwood Afra.—Yonder:
which surround its waters, but must by-andLo! the old clouds on Wold; all's sunny else by, as its meek yet strong current flows for
where. Well done, thou bellying blackness ! Leap on it,
ward, shine forth into the light of universal Vengeance, with thy fierce feet ; crush, tread it appreciation.
An advertisement has appeared in the no children, but in his will consigned (says London papers for the heirs of the celebrated the Dumfries Standard) all his property to Paul Jones, He died in Paris in 1792; and his two sisters and their children. The the administrator of his estate in America, widow of one of these sisters' sons now rewhere Paul Jones was Commodore of the sides in America, and there are numerous navy, now calls upon his heirs to transmit descendants of the other sister, many of their claims for adjudication, that they may I whom reside in this district. These are, no participate in a late decision of Congress, doubt, the legal heirs of Paul Jones, and we granting 50,000 dollars to the heirs of Paul understand they have lodged their claims Jones. The Chevalier, as he is called, left accordingly.
From the Britis b Quarterly Review.
T. B. MACAULAY-HISTORY OF ENGLAND.
1. The History of England, from the Accession of James II. By T. B. Mac
Vols. 1 and 2. London, 1848. 2. Essays contributed to the Edinburgh Review. By T. B. MACAULAY. 3 vols.
MACAULAY has a great name in contempo- mind. The clearness of his exposition and rary literature. He has the rare privilege of the charm of his style are unrivalled. But, a popularity which in no respect derogates after all, it is only exposition and style ; it is from his dignity as a serious writer. Capti- not discovery, it is not addition to our knowlvating young ladies, amusing stupid officers edge that we are called upon to admire. in a club-room, setting young critics on the Let us hope that our endeavor to charachopeless task of imitating him, he preserves terize his writings will not be misunderstood. all the while the character of a dignified Our object is critical, not polemical ; we do writer appealing to the most cultivated audi- not wish to depreciate, but to analyze. If ence. He has made his reputation by re
the term rhetorician carries with it some views; and this reputation is as extensive as contemptuous associations, we disclaim them if he had been a popular novelist. Nor have here. We would employ another term, if these reviews owed their celebrity to the another term would as well express our piquancy of politics, or to the fierce partisan- meaning. Our admiration for Macaulay is ship of polemics. Their value is not facti- hearty and unfeigned ; but, because we attious. He has not lampooned the govern- tempt to explain it, let no one sayment; nor has he alarmed the church. His
« C'est médire avec art, torical and biographical essays, treated purely
C'est avec respect enfoncer le poignard.” as matters of literature, have won for him his spurs.
A lark is admired for its own qualities, not It becomes an interesting subject of inquiry for the predatory qualities of an eagle; to say to ascertain by what qualities this success that it cannot sweep the sky with untiring has been achieved, and to assign, if possible, wing, gaze upon the sun, or carry off a lamb the positive value of these writings. If you in its talons, is not to throw a slur on its caexamine closely, you will observe that this pacities. Had Macaulay come before us in brilliant and fascinating writer has in a very the character of a poet or a philosopher, small degree the qualities which usually dis- there would have been contempt in styling tinguish great writers, although he undoubt- him a rhetorician; but, making his appearedly possesses a rare combination of quali- ance as an expositor, there can be no conties. "No one can say that he is endowed tempt in saying that the kind of exposition with a lofty imagination; with remarkable he adopts is the rhetorical kind. humor or wit; with dramatic power; with Let us examine these writings. The first deep thought, or close and pressing logic. thing we remark is the absence of new ideas. He is not a poet, nor a wit, nor a thinker. Not only has he brought no addition to our What is he, then ? A rhetorician. The stock, but he has not even revived old prinrhetoricians do not take the highest rank; ciples fallen into undeserved neglect, and but Macaulay takes the highest rank among which might still serve as guiding lights. In rhetoricians. He has imagination enough, one word, there is nothing in these essays wit enough, and logic enough, to make a which marks out the writer as a teacher. Not rare expositor of other men's thoughts—to a new fact, not a discovery, not even an intipaint striking pictures--to popularize a truth mation of where discoveries are to be made, —and to leave a question clearer in every will you detect in these brilliant pages. He
is an expositor, not a seeker. His learning Macaulay's mind seems constitutionally is vast, incalculable; few men have read so unfit for meditation. Mystery is to him mere much, and fewer remember so well what they darkness. All sense of the infinite is defihave read. But the strength of his memory cient in him. That which is finite, visible, absorbs the vital powers of his brain : it is and palpable he can understand and can oceither the cause or the effect of his want of cupy himself about; that, and that only. original power; the cause, if its activity | Abstract questions, when they do not excite keeps down the activity of other faculties; his scorn, are at the best too remote from the effect, if the indolence of other faculties him to admit of his turning his mind in their admits of its activity being uncontrolled. Ex- direction. His mind is eminently concrete. plain it how you will
, there can be no dispute Things group themselves before it into picas to the fact of his mind being occupied tures, thoughts consolidate themselves into with arranging the materials gleaned from axioms. All that is wavering, indeterminate, books, rather than with furnishing the mate- and refuses to group itself in this distinct rials of which books are made.
way, is to him as if it were not. Beyond the Connected with this is the deficiency of Pillars of Hercules his mental geography speculative power which we have next to no- places chaos : the undiscovered, undiscovetice. There is no trace here of a mind which rable, consequently uninteresting, bourne. has wrestled with doubt--of a mind which This is so remarkable a trait in his mind has striven with eagerness and sincerity to that we were led to examine his earliest efpenetrate the mysterious problems which forts, to see if in them no traces of youthful have from all time pressed themselves upon speculation could be found. His first artithe attention of mankind. We do not blame cles appeared in 1824. Charles Knight eshim for not being a metaphysician, for not tablished a magazine (Knight's Quarterly having published theological speculations, Magazine) to which Mackworth Praed, Mouland added his erroneous system to the errors trie, Barry St. Leger, M. D. Hill, and other of thousands. Every writer is not bound to young and able writers, contributed. Mabe a philosopher ; even a thoughtful writer caulay's contributions were his famous songs is not bound to propose a definite system. of the Huguenots and songs of the civil war, But no man can be a great writer who is not together with prose essays on Mitford's a thinker—who has not in his time profound-Greece, the Athenian Orators, Dante, Pe ly meditated on those problems which are of trarch, and a Conversation between Milton all time. No man speaking to men can ex and Cowley on the Civil War. The subjects, ercise any durable influence over them unless no less than their treatment, are indicative of he has like them doubted, like them strug- the future historical essayist. Not a trace of gled, and like them believed.
the thinker is visible. Just free from college, Do we not all live encompassed by myste- forming his opinions at a time when the great ries which we know we cannot penetrate, and questions would be most likely to vex his which irresistibly call upon us to penetrate mind, at a time when the future statesman them? Do we not acknowledge the pro- and the future merchant are troubled with found words of Göthe, that man is not born misgivings which seldom revisit them in the to solve the mystery of existence; but he turmoil of after-life, we see Macaulay as calm must nevertheless attempt it, in order that he and untroubled—as comfortable in his immumay learn how to keep within the limits of nity from doubt--as if he had already (to the knowable? These struggles leave their use the language of Sartor Resartus) passed traces even on the serenest minds, and are through the everlasting Nay into the everreflected in the clearest style. Where shall lasting Yea. we seek a better instance than Göthe, who cer Macaulay has read the writings of numertainly avoided anything like dogmatic expo- ous philosophers—what has he not read ?sition, but whose slightest writings give inti- but he has never thought them. A more mations of “a soul that speaketh from the signal proof of incapacity for scientific or phieverlasting deeps.” No man who has losophic speculation was never given by so thought, writes without suggesting thought. able a man, than he gave in his brilliant artiThe style of a boy or of a woman who has cle on Bacon. We do not allude to its had little experience of life is not more dis- looseness of reasoning—for all men reason tinct from that of a man whom experience loosely at times; nor to the particular mishas modified, than is the style of ordinary takes--for the most accurate writers fall men from those who have yielded up their into strange errors ;-we allude to the tone souls to patient meditation.
of the whole article, and its radical miscon
ception of the nature and purpose of philoso- | angry.” This is humorously said ; but as phy. To believe him, the ancients troubled an argument against ancient philosophy it is themselves with philosophy out of sheer de- frivolous. He mistakes the nature of civilisire for intellectual amusement: it was a sortzation. Railroads, representative governof mental chess, to stimulate their ingenuity. ments, old port, tender mutton, and MackinHe never for an instant seems to suspect that tosh capes, are excellent things, no doubt, these men had any sense of the mystery and greatly conducive to comfort. But the which encompassed them, and which solicit- thoughts of men are more potent still. ed a solution. He seems to have overlooked Thought rules the world. Thought shapes the terrible questions forced upon man, of: civilization. And is thought only powerful What am I? Whence came 1 ? What do I when it applies itself to use—to practical here? Whither do I go? He does not con- material comforts? Is its potency lost as ceive that these men were obliged to specu soon as it descends into the deepest regions, late—that the very nature of their minds as soon as it aspires to the highest ? No forced these inquiries upon them. He says one has read history who can say so. Alin so many words that the only use of these though the speculations of ancient philosoinquiries was the intelleetual activity which phers may not have solved the problems, they fostered. “We have no doubt that the yet they were the best solutions which the ancient controversies were of use in so far wisdom of that
age afforded. They constituas they served to exercise the faculties of the ted a vital element in the civilization from disputants, for there is no controversy so idle which our own is but a consequence and a that it may not be of use in this way. But development. Even on the low and vulgar when we look for something more—for some ground of utility to which Macaulay brings thing which adds to the comforts or allevi- the question, the utility of ancient philoates the calamities of the human race, we sophy is quite as demonstrable as that of are forced to own ourselves disappointed.” Bacon. A reasonable acquaintance with the What profound misconception of human na- filiation of ideas through various generations ture and of history is betrayed in that one would suffice to show that the very speculasentence! That which alleviates the calami- tions which Macaulay ridicules were necessary ties of the huinan race is, doubtless, a price- preparations for those speculations he adless boon; but the calamities are not solely mires. If Pythagoras, Plato, and Aristotle physical. If man did live by bread alone-- had not lived, Bacon would have been a Pyif his comforts were the sole objects of his thagorean or a Platonist, exerting himself to desire—then indeed railroads, good houses, solve insoluble problems, and might have inwarm clothing, wholesome food, and a sana curred the satire of some conservative Aristary commission, would be the grand objects tophanes for absurd“ air-galloping and quesof human ingenuity. There is, however, a tioning the sun.” suspicion vaguely floating about, that man has a soul. If this be so; if the soul of man
αεροβατώ και περιφρονώ τον ήλιον. . be only worth as much attention as his body; This deficiency of speculative or meditaif the widening of human intelligence be only tive power robs Macaulay's writing of duraas important as the clothing of human feet; ble influence. It is a characteristic we were what shall we think of the following argu- bound to exhibit at length, because it is of ment? He quotes from Seneca the assertion all the most important. Far be it from us that philosophy does not consist in manufac- to affix the epithet shallow to such a man. turing material comforts, but lies deeper than There is no epithet more recklessly thrown such drudgery. “It is not her office to teach about. It is so easy to declare that those men how to use their hands; the object of who have not puddled in our mud are her lessons is to form the soul. We shall be "showy but shallow.” It gives us a cheap told next that the first philosopher was a air of profundity, invests us with judicial shoemaker.” This passage excites Macau gravity and consequence. It lends a sort of lay's risibility, and he remarks: “For our own false lustre to our stupidity, and seems to part, if we are forced to make our choice be transmute our leaden dullness into gold. tween the first shoemaker and the author of How significant, that with us the epithet the three books On Anger,' we pronounce showy' is invariably contemptuous ! It is for the shoemaker. It may be worse to be imagined that a writer's pretensions are forangry than to be wet.
But shoes have kept ever settled if he be called 'showy;' his millions from being wet, and we doubt wheth works must be tinsel or they would not gliter Seneca ever kept anybody from being ter! Does it never occur to the critic that
gold has greater lustre and greater solidity in polemics, yet seldom fighting for great than tinsel ? Does he never ponder on the truths ; captivating by the grace, and dazfact that the showiest writers in our language zling by the gorgeousness, of his diction, have been Bacon, Jeremy Taylor, Milton, and and leaving upon the reader's mind no more Burke ; writers not usually classed among durable impression than that which a splenthe shallowest ?
did spectacle leaves upon the mind of a We demur, therefore, to the epithet shal theatrical audience. Carlyle, rugged, myslow applied to Macaulay, because it is an tical, abrupt, immethodical, unmusical, veheepithet of contempt; and contempt is not ment, scornful, sarcastic, sardonic, and humorthe tone to be adopted towards a writer of ous; rich also in pictures ; inordinately fond his pretensions. On the other hand, we of paradox, but profoundly serious; striving at cannot speak of his mind as deep. The all times to see into the depths of things ; truth appears to us to be this. It is not a disdainful of ordinary rules of composition, meditative, not a creative mind; but it is a disdainful of all elegancies, graces, and shams mind of considerable activity, gifted with of life and of literature ; forever appealing fine faculties. It is a lambent fire perpetu- to the soul of man, and bidding him rememally playing about the surfaces of things, ber that he is in the presence of the Infinite; and beautifully illuminating them. It has sternly recalling those awful facts of life more activity than force; and its activity is, which frivolity endeavors to gloss over ; so to speak, all on the surface. Perhaps we fiercely preaching the imperative nature of shall render our meaning intelligible if we duty and of earnestness; speaking in prophtake the analogy presented by a man of et tones to a heedless generation ; mingling great nervous sensibility but no depth of feel the quaintest imagery and wildest buffoonery ing; the kind of man who will weep over a with the saddest pathos and the dreariest dead ass and neglect his dying mother ; gloom; a sceptic yet a prophet; amidst whose sympathy is easily excited by woes, alternate laughter and alternate tears, alterimaginary and real ; but whose benevolence nate exhortation and alternate contempt, he ends with his tears. Such men are not rare. does not dazzle, he provokes ; he does not The sympathy they express is wrongly stig- captivate, he inspires; and the impression be matized as hypocrisy; the tears they shed leaves upon the mind is various and abiding, are unfeigned ; but they are tears excited by as that left by a tragedy of Shakspeare. a quick sensibility, which goes no deeper As specimens of literature, in the limited than the surface. Their nerves are excita sense of the word, Macaulay's writings are ble, but their selfishness arrests all feeling at immeasurably superior; but if literature be the surface, and contents itself with tears in something more than the amusement of cullieu of acts. What these men are morally, tivated intellects, something more than an Macaulay seems to be intellectually. His intellectual luxury, for the dissipation of sense of beauty is keen, but not deep; his leisure hours, Carlyle's superiority is unmisenthusiasm has no central fire; his convic- takable. Macaulay has delighted thousands. tions want depth, and, as a consequence, his This is no slight thing, and we should be the eloquence, with all its apparent earnestness, last to undervalue it. But he has materially wants force. The surface of his mind is bettered no one. He has deepened no large and active; but its regions below re man's convictions, he has given fresh main untroubled. The consequence is, that strength to no human soul. His influence he has no influence on his age.
He flatters on his generation has been null. Carlyle, the indolence of his readers; he does not though scorned by many for his offenses stimulate their minds. He delights; he against literary taste, and though dreaded does not inspire. In reading him, we do not by others for his reckless treatment of great feel that his soul is speaking from its depths questions, has, nevertheless, produced a visito the depths of ours.
ble influence on the minds of his contempoCompare him with Carlyle. Two more raries; he has given a direction to their opposite men cannot be named in the same thoughts, and has suggested so much thought breath. Macaulay, clear, definite, elegant, that he is rightfully regarded as a teacher. eloquent, methodical; crowding his pages This fact there is no gainsaying. Think with antitheses and illustrations; more so what we may of the influence, be it evil or licitous about the fall of a period than about be it good, it is there. We could name more the accuracy of his assertion ; grouping de- than one distinguished ornament of the tails into a picture; fond of paradox, yet church whose rise has been rendered imposnever probing beneath the surface; expert Isible because of the Carlyle “ taint.” We