Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub

And bade me, if I had a friend that loved her,
I should but teach him how to tell my story,
And that would woo her. On this hint I spake.
She loved me for the dangers I had pass’d;
And I loved her, that she did pity them.-
This only is the witchcraft I have used.

CHARACTER OF THE EARL OF CHATHAM.

The Secretary stood alone. Modern degeneracy had not reached him. Original and unaccommodating, the features of his character had the hardihood of antiquity. His august mind overawed majesty; and one of his sovereigns thought royalty so impaired in his presence, that he conspired to remove him, in order to be relieved from his superiority. No state-chicanery, no narrow system of vicious politics, no idle contest for ministerial victories, sunk him to the vulgar level of the great; but overbearing, persuasive, and impracticable, his object was England—his ambition was fame. Without dividing, he destroyed party; without corrupting, he made a venal age unanimous. France sunk beneath him. With one hand he smote the House of Bourbon, and wielded in the other the democracy of England. The sight of his mind was infinite; and his schemes were to affect not England, not the present age only, but Europe and posterity. Wonderful were the means by which these schemes were accomplished, always seasonable, always adequate,—the suggestions of an understanding animated by ardour, and enlightened by prophecy.

The ordinary feelings, which render life amiable and indolent, were unknown to him. No domestic difficulties, no domestic weakness reached him; but, aloof from the sordid occurrences of life, and unsullied by its intercourse, he came occasionally into our system, to counsel, and to decide. A

[ocr errors]

character so exalted, so strenuous, so various, so authoritative, astonished a corrupt age; and the Treasury trembled at the name of Pitt, through all her classes of venality. Corruption imagined, indeed, that she had found defects in this statesman, and talked much of the inconsistency of his glory, and much of the ruin of his victories; but the history of his country, and the calamities of the enemy, refuted her.

Nor were his political abilities his only talents: his eloquence was an era in the senate, peculiar and spontaneous, familiarly expressing gigantic sentiments and instinctive wisdom; not like the torrent of Demosthenes, or the splendid conflagration of Tully, it resembled sometimes the thunder, and sometimes the music of the spheres. He did not, like Murray, conduct the understanding through the painful subtilty of argumentation; nor was he, like Townshend, for ever on the rack of exertion; but rather lightened upon the subject, and reached the point by the flashings of the mind, which, like those of his eye, were felt, but could not be followed.

Upon the whole, there was in this man something that could create, subvert, or reform;-an understanding, a spirit, and an eloquence to summon mankind to society, or to break the bonds of slavery asunder, and to rule the wilderness of free minds with unbounded authority;--something that could establish or overwhelm empires, and strike a blow in the world that should resound through the universe.

ADDRESS TO A MUMMY.

AND thou hast walk'd about (how strange a story?)

In Thebes' streets three thousand years ago,
When the Memnonium was in all its glory,

And time had not begun to overthrow
Those temples, palaces, and piles stupendous,
Of which the very ruins are tremendous.

Speak! for thou long enough hast acted Dummy,

Thou hast a tongue—come, let us hear its tune; Thou’rt standing on thy legs, above ground, Mummy!

Revisiting the glimpses of the moon, Not like thin ghosts or disembodied creatures, But with thy bones and flesh, and limbs and features.

Tell us, for doubtless thou canst recollect,

To whom should we assign the sphinx's fame?
Was Cheops or Cephrenes architect

Of either Pyramid that bears his name?
Is Pompey's pillar really a misnomer?
Had Thebes a hundred gates, as sung by Homer?

Perhaps thou wert a Mason, and forbidden,

By oath, to tell the mysteries of thy trade; Then say, what secret melody was hidden

In Memnon's statue, which at sunrise play'd? Perhaps thou wert a Priest—if so, my struggles Are vain, for priestcraft never owns its juggles.

Perchance that very hand, now pinion'd flat,

Has hob-a-nobb’d with Pharaoh glass to glass;
Or dropp'd a halfpenny in Homer's hat,

Or doff'd thine own to let Queen Dido pass,
Or held, by Solomon's own invitation,
A torch at the great Temple's dedication.

I need not ask thee, if that hand, when arm’d,
Has
any

Roman soldier mauld and knuckled,
For thou wert dead, and buried, and embalm’d,

Ere Romulus and Remus had been suckled
Antiquity appears to have begun
Long after thy primeval race was run.

Since first thy form was in this box extended,

We have, above ground, seen some strange mutations; The Roman empire has begun and ended,

New worlds have risen—we have lost old nations, And countless kings have into dust been humbled, While not a fragment of thy flesh has crumbled.

Didst thou not hear the pother o'er thy head,

When the great Persian conqueror, Cambyses, March'd armies o'er thy tomb with thundering tread,

O’erthrew Osiris, Orus, Apis, Isis,
And shook the Pyramids with fear and wonder,
When the gigantic Memnon fell asunder?

If the tomb's secrets may not be confess’d,

The nature of thy private life unfold:-
A heart has throbb'd beneath that leathern breast,

And tears adown that dusky cheek have rolld;Have children climb'd those knees and kiss'd that face? What was thy name and station, age and race?

Statue of flesh-immortal of the dead!

Imperishable type of evanescence! Posthumous man, who quitt’st thy narrow bed,

And standest undecay'd within our presence, Thou wilt hear nothing till the Judgment-morning, When the great trump shall thrill thee with its warning.

Why should this worthless tegument endure,

If its undying guest be lost for ever?
Oh, let us keep the soul embalm’d and pure

In living virtue, that when both must sever,
Although corruption may our frame consume,
The immortal spirit in the skies may bloom.

PROCRASTINATION.

Be wise to-day; 'tis madness to defer:
Next day, the fatal precedent will plead;
Thus on, till wisdom is push'd out of life.
Procrastination is the thief of time.
Year after year it steals, till all are fled;
And to the mercies of a moment, leaves
The vast concerns of an eternal scene.

Of man's miraculous mistakes, this bears
The palm, “ That all men are about to live”-
For ever on the brink of being born.
All pay themselves the compliment, to think
They, one day, shall not drivel; and their pride,
On this reversion, takes up ready praise,
At least their own,

—their future selves applauds:
How excellent that life they ne'er will lead!
Time, lodged in their own hands, is folly's veil;
That, lodged in fate's, to wisdom they consign;
The thing they can't but purpose, they postpone.
'Tis not in folly not to scorn a fool,
And scarce in human wisdom to do more.
All promise is poor, dilatory man,
And that through every stage! When young,

indeed,
In full content we sometimes nobly rest,
Unanxious for ourselves; and only wish,
As duteous sons, our fathers were more wise!
At thirty, man suspects himself a fool;
Knows it at forty, and reforms his plan;
At fifty, chides his infamous delay,
Pushes his prudent purpose to resolve,
In all the magnanimity of thought:-
Resolves, and re-resolves, then dies the same!

And why? Because he thinks himself immortal! All men think all men mortal, but themselves

« НазадПродовжити »