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in every respect, which has such a fondness for this particular illustration of Tarquin and the Sibyl, that a collation from its

And in the last week of the same year we read of the desire of all Italian statesmen to throw on the shoulders of the papal government the failure of a renewed attempt at reconciliation. “When for the last time the pope has deliberately rejected the Sibyl's overtures, it will be early enough for the Sibyl to increase her demands." (xxii. 780.)

Early in 1867, "America being again the theme, the Sibyl figures four times in a single column. “ The Sibyl has once again served to illustrate the consequences of obstinacy," as the conditions of reunion had been aggravated even more rapidly than the price of the famous prophetic books. The American Sibyl is not a mysterious and irresponsible personage, wholly unconcerned in the sale of the sacred volumes, but the governing body of a divided republic, which urgently demands reunion.” “Sooner or later the Sibyl will be anxious to find a customer for her wares.” “The Sibyl and the purchaser might as well have adjusted their bargain without a preliminary quarrel." (xxiii. 325.) Some weeks later again, “The Sibyl's latest offer is accordingly accepted, because it is understood that it may perhaps not be the last." (xxiii. 516.)

Anon the application is to parliament and the gas companies. “There is little satisfaction in proving that the Sibyl is oppressive or tyrannical, when she is absolutely mistress of the terms of the bargain.” America recurs : “A Sibylline policy of increased penalties inflicted on contumacious opponents in geometric progression is utterly unworthy of statesmen”;-the Reconstruction Acts being professedly expressions of resentment for the refusal of the Southern states to accept more moderate terms. Next the Abyssinian expedition suggests the reflection that rescued consuls are expensive articles; “and, as the months wane, their price will go on mounting like that of the Sibylline books." (xxiv. pp. 275,624, 723.)

In the autumn of 1868, American politics being again under consideration, we read : “ The Sibylline practice of aggravating demands when moderate concessions are refused, is better suited to belligerents negotiating a peace than to legislators providing for the permanent reconciliation of domestic differences." (xxvi. 349.)

In the February of 1869, the Alabama treaty occasions a remark on its being perhaps unfortunate that Earl Russell declined Mr. Adams's proposal of an arbitration, which might at the time have been arranged on equitable terms; “but a great nation cannot afford to acquiesce in the Sibylline mode of treatment." And in June occurs this reference to the attitude assumed by the House of Lords in respect of the Irish Church : “If the peers are too proud to care for their own safety, they ought, for the sake of their clients, the Irish clergy, to consider that the Minister [Mr. Gladstone) whose overtures they reject, has something of the temperament of Tarquin's Sibyl." (xxvii. pp. 197, 759.)

From disestablishment to game laws. If the game-owning and game-killing interests stolidly oppose themselves to the compromises which the more far sighted of their number would accept, the course of legislation may repeat the old story of the Sibylline books, and the terms forced on them finally may amount to a general proscription of the game, and a consequent confiscation of the shooting rents.” And from game laws we turn

columns of a few instances out of very many may interest the reader. But this must be done in a footnote, rather long drawn out; and meanwhile, in these upper regions, (whence the reader has no occasion to descend, if without taste for the milder curiosities of literature and parallel passage making.). leave shall be taken of the subject in the lines of Dr. Young :

“ As worldly schemes resemble Sibyl's leaves,

The good man's days to Sibyl's books compare;
(In ancient story read, thou know'st the tale ;)
In price still rising, as in number less,
Inestimable quite his final hour.”

to the three-volume system sacred to novels; the reviewer observing that just as he never had been able to discover why a modern novel must not fall below that mystical number, so had he seldom read any one of those works without equally wondering why it should not have been extended to three times three volumes. “ The Sibyl, we know, kept burning her volumes in sets till she had reduced her nine to three; the modern authoress would willingly reverse the operation, and as easily extend her three to nine.” (xxviii. pp. 217, 677.)

Of late the leading journal” has occasionally indicated a similar fondness for the same servant-of-all-work illustration. But from this quarter our citations must not exceed the dual number. Discussing the irritation provoked in Germany by the alleged supply to the French (1870) of fire arms from England, the Times remarked how much wiser it woulá have been at the outset of the war to make this traffic illegal, than to incur the risk and cost of another feud like that which the exploits of the Alabama bequeathed to us. “It is too late now to remedy the mischief that has been done, but we may learn at least to provide against a future mistake of the same sort. When the Sibyl's books are proffered to us for the third time, we can hardly be foolish enough to decline the bargain.” (Times, Dec. 19, 1870.)

Again, in commenting on the pope's refusal to come to terms with Italy. the same journal supposes the Italians to say that if what they have to give him is not enough, he may “go farther and fare worse.” If his faith is in his elder daughters beyond the Alps, by all means let him make trial of a French Goneril or of a German Regan's tender mercies, and he will have reason to regret that he ever disowned his Italian Cordelia. -" The Sibyl. line books may dwindle in number and yet not abate in price." (March 9, 1871.)


HEBREWS xii. 17. C OMING home faint from the field, Esau, that cunning

hunter and man of the woods, preferred to his birthright a meal of Jacob's bread and pottage of lentiles. Behold, he was ahungered ; felt even at the point to die of hunger : what profit should that birthright do to him? Let it go. And it went. Thus Esau despised his birthright.

Time passes; and we see the red hunter, even Edom, plying his aged father with savoury meat, that Isaac may eat of his son's venison, and bless his elder born, before he die. But the blessing is forestalled. The subtle purchaser of the birthright is the fraudulent possessor of the blessing. In vain, for all too late, is Esau's great and exceeding bitter cry, “ Bless me, even me also, O my father.” The blessing is gone, like the birthright. For one morsel of meat was the birthright bartered. And he who stigmatises the barterer as a “profane person" tells us that we know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected : for he found no place of repentance-TÓTOV petavolas; by some of the best commentators referred to Isaac, who could not be induced to alter his decision, though the disinherited suppliant sought it carefully with tears.

A morsel of meat was worth more than the birthright, till the birthright was gone. Gone, the valuation of it was declared with streaming eyes and an exceeding bitter cry, with as it were groanings that could not be uttered,-a flood of unavailing tears, shed all the more because shed in vain. And such is the way of the world. Telle est la vie.

.... For so it falls out,

That what we have we prize not to the worth,
Whiles we enjoy it; but being lacked and lost,
Why then we rack the value; then we find
The virtue, that possession would not show us

Whiles it was ours.”
So moralises Shakspeare's Sicilian Friar. So his Cæsar

to the dour slippers his Antonyrih

(Augustus), “ And the ebbed man, ne'er loved, till ne'er worth love, comes deared, by being lacked ;”—just as his Antony, a scene or two earlier, déclares of “our slippery people," that their "love is never linked to the deserver, till his deserts are past.” Virtutem incolumem odimus, sublatam ex oculis quærimus—a quest like Esau's. We men, says Plautus, know our blessings, only when we have lost the possession of them:

“ Tum denique homines nostra intelligimus bona

Cum quæ in potestate habuimus, ea amisimus." Life and liberty, while safe, observes Mr. Charles Reade, are little thought of; for why? they are matters of course. Endangered, they are rated at their real value. They are “like sunshine, whose beauty men notice not at noon when it is greatest, but towards evening, when it lies in flakes of topaz under shady elms. Yet it is feebler then; but gloom lies beside it, and contrast reveals its fire." Young's simile is somewhat worn, but wears well :

Like birds, whose beauties languish, half concealed

Till, mounted on the wing, their glossy plumes
Expanded, shine with azure, green, and gold;

How blessings brighten as they take their flight!” Thomas Hood has his rendering of what is virtually the same thought :

“ Farewell! I did not know thy worth,

But thou art gone, and now 't is prized :
So angels walked unknown on earth,

But when they flew were recognised.”

1 So Mr. Coventry Patmore's lines as from a dead wife, bidding her husband take no blame because he could not feel the same towards her living as when dead :

" A starving man must needs think bread

So sweet! and, only at their rise
And setting, blessings, to the eyes

Like the sun's course, grow visible.”
For, as he puts it in another place, “love requires the focal space of recol-
lection or of hope, ere it can measure its own scope.”—The Angel in the
House, part ii., book ii., $S 5, 8.

So again has Mr. Robert Browning, in Paracelsus :

“ 'T is only when they spring to heaven that angels

Reveal themselves to you; they sit all day
Beside you, and lie down at night by you,
Who care not for their presence, muse or sleep;

And all at once they leave you, and you know them.” So with the novelist's Audley Egerton, when that careworn statesman discovers, "with a sad wonder,” what he has lost. His own positive and earthly nature attains for the first time, and for its own punishment, the comprehension 1 of that loftier and more ethereal visitant from the heavens, who “had once looked with a seraph's smile through the prison bars of his iron life”; all from which, when it was his own, he had turned half weary and impatient, now that the world has lost them evermore, he interprets aright. Even Antony can say of Fulvia, “She 's good, being gone: the hand could pluck her back, that shoved her on.” Bonum magis carendo quam fruendo sentitur. Well has it been called sad to see, with death between, the good we have passed and have not seen. The good,

“Once gazed upon with heedless mood,

Now fills with tears the famished eye,
And turns all else to vanity.

Too soon, too soon comes death to show
We love more deeply than we know.”

1 Wonderful is the intelligence with which we can perceive the value of anything we have lost, observes another of the craft. The collector of household treasures is cited, who in his daily walks may see in a shop window a little bit of china, a picture, an apostle spoon, a quaint old volume, which he intends to bargain for one day when he shall have leisure; so he passes it a hundred times, indifferent as to its merits, half uncertain whether it is worth buying. But he discovers some day that it is gone; and then in a moment the doubtful shepherdess becomes the rarest old china, the dirty looking bit of landscape an undeniable Crome, the battered silver spoon an unquestionable antique, the quaintly bound book a choice Elzevir. • The thing is lost; and we regret it for all that it might have been, as well as for all that it was, and there are no bounds to the extravagance we would commit to regain the chance of possessing it.” This is but the subjunctive or potential mood of what is simply but largely indicative in Scott's sufficiently commonplace couplet:

Those who such simple joys have known
Are taught to prize them when they ’re gone."

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