« PreviousContinue »
have done so, excepting Shak-
He shall elude the ambush. But what if he were to fall into it? Antinous is fierce and strong-but hand to hand, Telemachus would hew him down, cleaving the head of the beautiful Scorner. Antinous takes with him twenty men-and Telemachus has twenty; but are they armed? Most likely-but if not, they can use their oars. Telemachus has two spears in his hand-as Flaxman shews him landing on the Pylian shore and he was not his father's son if he left behind him his sword. "Follow me-my lads-our cry is Ulysses;" and leading the boarders, in three minutes he would have taken the Ambuscade. Not so willed Jove and the blue-eyed daughter of Jove.
Encircling him around."
People always sleep sound for some hours the night before they are hanged-dreaming either not at all --or of a reprieve-or of themselves on the scaffold asking for water. Penelope was doomed to die-of grief for Telemachus. The sorrow of twenty years may be a profound, but it is a still sorrow, One's life may not unpainfully float down it as on a gloomy but not roaring riverand there are gleams of beauty on its banks. So felt Penelope, sorrow
for Ulysses. But all at once she missed" my son-my son." She then knew w what is anguish; yether body-her senses-not her spirit -not herself-slept. Minerva saw her-the childless widow-for so Penelope was in her mind-soulheart-and sent a comforter.
In her upper room lies the mourning er. Food or wine she will have none—her waking-dreams are of murder. To what does Homer liken her? To a lion wounded by the hunters? No. But he likens her thoughts to the thoughts of a lion wounded by the hunters and other man that ever lived would 97% 902 100 we got plen
There then did the blue-eyed Minerva devise another plan;
To weep, nor to be sorrowful,-since about to return is
Your son for to the gods he is sinless."
Her then answered the discreet Penelope,
And now again hath my beloved son gone in a hollow ship,
A child, neither acquainted with labours, nor commerce.
On his account I the more lament, than on his (the father's) :
Most sweetly slumbering in the gates of dreams!
"Why, sister, comest thou hither? by no means formerly indeed
(My) brave (lord) whose glory was wide throughout Hellas, and the midst
Should he among the people among whom he hath gone, or on the sea:
For many enraged foes plot against him,
Longing to slay him, before he come to his father-land."
Her the pale shade answering addressed:
"Be-of-good-cheer, and not at all fear too much in thy mind:
Men would choose to go alone with (them)—for powerful (is she) (Namely) Pallas Minerva: thee she pities in thy lamentations: And me hath she sent forward to tell thee so.'
Her addressed the discreet Penelope :
"If thou art indeed a goddess, and hast heard the voice of a goddess, If so, come, tell to me with respect to that hapless one,
If any where he live, and look on the light of the sun,
Or if he be dea
and in the dwellings of Ades."
Her the pale shade answering addressed:
"With respect to him I will not answer thee directly
Whether he be alive, or dead: for it is a bad thing to answer the things that may-be-borne-away-by-the-wind.
(The shade), thus having spoken through the lock of the door, withdrew Into a breath of wind: but from sleep roused-herself-up
The daughter of Icarius, and her heart was delighted
That a manifest dream had come upon her in the hours of midnight.
Is this an IDEA of the First Four Books of the Odyssey? And would you wish them all away? If you would, then it would surely be by gently disengaging then from the Twenty, and giving them an asylum in some secret and sacred cell in your heart. But what to you would be the Twenty, were these four buried in dust! They would be much; for a deep human interest overflows one and all, among the wonderful and wild that seem to belong but to imagination's sphere. You would sympathize with Ulysses longing for rugged Ithaca even in Ogygia's enchanted isle; for home-sickness is the malady of a noble heart, and conjugal affection its most endearing virtue. But on the first sight you now have of Ulysses weeping to the waves, you know, better far than he does, a thousand reasons in nature for his tears. The Muse has told you far more than Minerva told him-and all your love and admiration of his Penelope and his Telemachus-insensibly changed into a profound pity-are poured on the majestic mourner's head. Your heart burns within you to think that he will return to that home, to redress, to vindicate, to avenge, and to enjoy.
Joy tempers his grief-till it smiles -as sunshine will seek out and not suffer a flower to be sad in mists and storms. And how pure those courts of kings! The manners there how virtuous in their simplicity-the morning air how bright-and the evening air how still-in religious service duly done to the Gods! The whole life we see-the whole life of which we hear-heroic; and Poetry shedding over it, generally, a gentle lustre-sometimes, as in the narration of the adventures of Menelaus by himself, a gloomy light that seems strangely to darken and illumine a hardly human world.
You have been made to feel that Penelope is worthy of the love of Ulysses-and you long for the REALIZATION OF HER DREAM.
ALL history is but a romance unless it act as an example. The mise. ries of the fathers are for the warning of the children; and the ruin of the man or the nation which will take no lesson from experience will only be more sudden, fatal, and returnless, than that which has already given the disregarded moral of the grave. Is there no appeal to the wisdom of England, in the evidence that the French monarchy perished solely by party? In a time of profound peace, in a general flourishing of every resource and every class of the kingdom, with a remarkable absence of public burdens, with no financial difficulties but those which the opulence of the nation could have thrown off, as dewdrops from the lion's mane, with an unbroken military and naval force,-with a population exceeding in activity, dexterity, and general acquirement, all others in Europe, scarcely excepting even our own; France, possessing every material of foreign and domestic power, the chief monarchy of the Continent, fell into sudden ruin. As if the ground had been hollowed under her throne, the throne went down at the instant, and disappeared from the eyes of Europe. As if some sudden decree of Heaven had commissioned the sword against all that retained the impress of birth, honour, and learning in the land, all was cut away even with the surface. It is remarkable that all the great habitual agencies of public destruction were kept aloof. Pestilence, famine, and war, were chained up; the ruin was left to be wrought by party, and from whatever source the commission came, whether from the wrath of Providence, or the malignity of the enemy alike of Heaven and man, it was found fully equal to do the work of them all. The leading principle of this party was selfishness, and the leading pretext a zeal for the populace. The system consisted of nothing but a reversal of all the maxims of human experience, for the purpose of a reversal of the whole order of human society. Its chiefs, personally contemptuous of morals,
avowed themselves the champions of rights. Abasing all the privileges belonging to centuries of public service, of opulence, and high hereditary recollections, they exalted meanness, poverty, and ignorance; exclaiming against the luxury, feebleness, and prodigality of the first ranks of the state, they pampered the vices, the indolence, and the rapine of the multitude; offering an ostentatious homage to the law, they stimulated the people to its open violation; proclaiming themselves the heralds of new triumph of peace, they covered the way to its temple with corpses. It is cheering to the sacred sense of justice to know that this labour had its reward; that the hypocrites felt the heaviest vengeance of their own delusions; that, after years employed in laying the mine under the monarchy of France, the moment in which they applied the match was the moment of their own extinction; that the blast which tore up the foundations of society, shattered themselves into dust and ashes, and left of their ambition but an ignominious and abhorred name.
Hypocrisy is of all vices the most hateful to man; because it combines the malice of guilt with the meanness of deception. Of all vices it is the most dangerous; because its whole machinery is constructed on treachery through the means of confidence, on compounding virtue with vice, on making the noblest qualities of our nature minister to the most profligate purposes of our ruin. It erects a false light where it declares a beacon, and destroys by the very instrument blazoned as a security. The French Revolution was the supreme work of hypocrisy. All its leaders were low and licentious slaves, of the basest propensities nurtured by the most criminal habits. We can detect in them nothing, to this hour, that belongs even to the higher failings of our nature,-not even a generous self-delusion, not even a wandering enthusiasm for the good of man, not even the erroneous ardour which might have rashly tasted of the tree of knowledge, and thought
lessly incurred death; they had nothing of the common mixture of honest intention and frail performance. They were the tempter, not the tempted; they were stern, subtle, and vindictive destroyers, for the sake of selfish possession, and selfish revenge. The Revolutionary faction were not glowing zealots, whose political wisdom was obscured by the blaze of their own imaginations. Zealots undoubtedly they were, but it was by a frenzy of power and possession which incapacitated them from seeing the ruin into which they were plunging themselves. They saw clearly the ruin into which they were plunging their fellow-men. There they were cool calculators. Two hundred thousand heads must fall, said Marat, before France will be fit to acknowledge the Jacobin club as its sovereigns; and the calculation was carried into effect, with the most unswerving adherence to the great Jacobin law of massacre. As the Revolution advanced, its doctrines grew more undisguised; the rapidity of its speed swept back its robe, and shewed the naked dagger hung to its bosom. Every additional step in the furious chase in which it hunted down the hope and the honour of France, cast away some remnant of that specious covering in which it had performed its early mockeries of public virtue; until, at last, it held on its career, the open despiser of all attempts at the palliation of its gigantic iniquity-the assertor of the right to tyrannize, of finance by universal plunder, and of public regeneration by the sword and the scaffold.
measures are decided before they are debated. It is beyond doubt, that under the terrors of the lamppost and the bayonet, and of the torch to their houses, your legislature are obliged to adopt all the crude and despotic measures suggested by clubs composed of a monstrous medley of all conditions, tongues, and nations. Among those are to be found persons, in comparison with whom Catiline would be thought scrupulous, and Cethegus a man of moderation. Nor is it in those clubs alone that the public measures are deformed into monsters. They undergo a previous distortion in academies, intended as so many seminaries for those clubs, which are set up in all places of public resort. In those meetings of all sorts, every counsel, in proportion as it is daring and violent and perfidious, is taken for the mark of superior genius. Humanity and compassion are ridiculed as the fruits of superstition and ignorance. Tenderness to individuals is considered as treason to the constitution. Liberty is to be always estimated perfect in proportion as property is rendered insecure. Amid assassination, massacre, and confiscation, perpetrated or meditated, they are forming plans for the good order of future society. Embracing in their arms the carcasses of the basest criminals, and promoting their relations on the title of their offences, they drive hundreds of virtuous persons to the same end, by forcing them to subsist by beggary or by crime."
Burke saw this aspect of the faction even before it had altogether flung away its disguise. While among us, all the enthusiasts of political change at any price, were ready to throw themselves at its feet, and all the strugglers for place were proclaiming it a present deity, he saw the native ferocity and malice of the Jacobin, and denounced the common conspirator against all laws human and divine. In your legislature," said he to France, "a majority, sometimes real, sometimes pretended, compels a captive King to issue, as royal edicts, the polluted nonsense of their licentious and giddy coffeehouses. It is notorious, that all their
The farce of deliberation was still carried on by the National Assembly, but it had become the notorious tool of the mob. Like all representative bodies which assume a power beyond right, the National Assembly, in attempting to make the throne its vassal, had called in a third estate, which made itself a slave. The ferocious auxiliary instantly domineered over its perfidious summoner; and from that hour the representative body of France was the representative of nothing but the brute will of the populace. The consequence has followed the crime in every land; and the ambition that begins by conspiracy, has always been scourged by its own instruments. "The Assembly," says Burke,
"acts before the multitude the farce of deliberation with as little decency as liberty. They act like the comedians of a fair before a riotous audience. They act amid the tumultuous cries of a mixed mob of ferocious men and of women lost to shame; who, according to their insolent fancies, direct, control, applaud, explode them, and sometimes mix and take their seats among them-domineering over them with a strange mixture of servile petulance and presumptuous authority. As they have inverted all things, the gallery is in place of the house. This Assembly, which overthrows Kings and kingdoms, has not even the physiognomy of a legislative body nec color imperii, nec frons ulla senatûs.' They have a power given to them, like that of the evil principle, to subvert and destroy, but none to construct, except such machines as may be fit ted for further subversion and further destruction." trip y i}+
The philosophers of France, the Baillys, Lavoisiers, and Buffons, have been charged with the crimes of the Revolution. That they were guilty to the full extent of their power, was unquestionable that they sedulously unhinged the national respect for religion that they gave the sanction of their names to attacks on morals and that some of the leading individuals of French science exhibited in their habits the profligacy of their principles, are facts which sink their memory in a grave of eternal shame. But the true work of overthrow claims other hands. We must not be unjust to the superior claims of homicide. The feeble speculators of the closet must be content with having pointed out the road to ruin. It was the race of bitter and ambitious barristers the obscure pleaders in the obscure courts the reptile family of litigiousness, that poured into the path, and corrupted the hopes of liberty. In France, the higher employments of the law alone conferred public distinction. All ranks beneath were alike crowded and contemptible. Fifty thousand village attorneys, meagre sinecurists, small dependents upon petty offices, and pertinacious holders of petty distinctions, were an unequalled machinery for the uses of faction. The lawyers of
the parliaments were the great depositaries of discontent. The genius of the Gascon, hot, ostentatious, and self-sufficient, gave the precedence in clamour to the South; and the Girondists amply asserted their right to take the lead where the prize was to be public confusion, and the contest was to be a competitorship of every weakness and every crime of human nature. That faction, composed almost wholly of the lawyers of the South, rapidly perished. It realized power only to the point of national undoing, and having given the world the lesson of utter incompetency, died, to shew that the passions may from time to time perform the work of the virtues-that the popular axe may be the instrument of a moral, of which the populace never dreamed
and that the blood of the man of blood may be exacted as scrupulously by the blind ferocity of vice, as by the clearsighted wrath of divine retribution. The fate of those traitors is the triumph of human feeling. We may turn away with mere scorn from the sufferings of the savage rabble who trampled down each other in the general rush to the royal spoil, but we cannot withdraw our eyes from the delight of seeing perfidy forced to feel that there is justice on the earth. We almost rejoice to see the deepening terrors of that specious villany which betrayed with a kisswe leave the common murderers to be crushed undistinguished by the high hand of retribution; but we instinctively love to follow every pang of Judas-to see the whole course of penalty, the bitter disappointment, the helpless remorse, the cureless despair, until the hour when he anticipates the law of human abhorrence, and falls headlong. We have no such speculation in the graves of the Dantons and Heberts, and their associate revellers in slaughter. We see their ravages as we should those of a troop of tigers; and when they are destroyed, think neither more nor less of their destruction than of that of a troop of tigers. But the smiling and bowing betrayers, the orators of humanity, the solemn devotees of principle, the pompous Vergniauds, and immaculate Rolands, the pure priests of the Constitutional Altar, where they led their unhappy King only to stab him, in the act of clinging to