« ZurückWeiter »
But on the question of retrench- curtailing every unnecessary expendiment, it seems to be overlooked, that ture. But still we must bear in mind, the call for reform necessarily arises that the quantity of the circulating from those out of office. The machines medium would be in consequence reof official routine cannot detect the duced, and that labour, already too effects of their own movements, and cheap, would become still more so in it is a factious misrepresentation to the market-that thegood which would say, because ministers hesitate and result from any reduction of the taxes, pause, to consider what may be the to those particular classes who have result of that revulsion which any fixed incomes, would be balanced by proposed change may produce upon as much evil to those who depend on the general system, that they are, the interchanges of the circulating therefore, averse to improvement. This medium. The satisfaction, therefore, obloquy, however, they share in com- to be obtained from retrenchment on mon with all the possessors of public the part of government, and of a stricto trusts, What, for example, can be er fiscal administration in towns and more ungrateful than the manner in corporate bodies, together with a rewhich it is heaped upon the magis- ' turn to greater temperance in domes tratés of towns, whose time and talents tic economy, will not consist in posare gratuitously given to the public sessing greater means of enjoyment, service, and who, of all men, have the but in that moral pleasure which is strongest motives to be found clear derived from the contemplation of inin their office and trust, at the expiry tegrity and rectitude in public trusts. of their temporary authority. But This, however, is not the result that the spirit of the age is against all in the reformers in general look for. They stituted power, and it is only to be thirst for more luxury, and consider appeased by a sedulous endeavour on the expences of public institutions as the part of those in authority to anti- so much substracted from their means cipate complaints. This spirit has of procuring enjoyment-forgetting arisen out of our embarrassments, and that profits are derived from prodigait can never be effectually laid but by lity, and that labour, to be lucrative, a resolution as universal as the cir- must be in request. cumstances which have called it forth.
It may perhaps be said, that this The nation is pining under the dif- view of the subject is calculated to be ficulties which have resulted from the construed into a defence of existing profusion of the war, and seeks alle- abuses ; inasmuch as it would imply, viation to individual suffering, in an that no effectual remedy can be applied abridgment of the expence of the to our privations. No doubt it may public establishments. It seems, how- be so construed; public abuses have ever, to be forgotten, that every man always been private advantages ; but discharged from the public service is it does not therefore follow, that they a new member added to the number are not great evils, although I do conof the needy, and that every diminu- tend, that the removal of all the abution of salary substracts so much from ses in the administration of the counthe expenditure among the tradesmen try, cannot have the effect of restoring where the placeman is located, while the affluence which flowed in upon the the amount of the reduction scarcely kingdom during the late war. In produces any palpable effect in the truth, the utmost that can be said of public treasury. It may, therefore, I the call for retrenchment is, that it is suspect, be almost said that the reduc. founded in an abhorrence of an untions of the national establishments warrantable dissipation of the pubhave a tendency to engender dissatis- lic wealth, and that, with the reflectfaction; and indeed, if they are not ing portion of the people, it is not exmet by a determination on the part of pected that any perceptible advantage the people to return to their old fru., will be experienced in private life, gality, there can be no effectual cure from all the reductions in the power applied to the disease with which the of any administration to propose, in state is afflicted.
present state of the world, and the It is astonishing to think of the ef- order of things in this country. fects that may be produced, of the al Before concluding, it was my intenleviation that might be extended to tion to have said something to those many families, were the corporations who seem to expect manna and quails of towns to act upon a principle of from what is called a Reform in Par
* liament, but the subject will furnish fact the government in every part of
materials for another letter ; not that the country is so obviously, by the reI think it likely any thing I have to duction of the military, demonstrating
say can be found either new or inte- its confidence in the good sense and lietot resting, but only because it bears upon loyalty of the people. the topic which first induced me to ad
HENRY LASCELLES. dhe dress you--namely, the absurdity of" d encouraging a spirit of alarm, while in 3d October, 1821
A Dramatic Tale.
Scene on the Bunks of a River Time, Evening.
This is the bank op which my childhood slept,
And this the silver stream, whose gentle tones
Lull'd those unhaunted slumbers. This the Willow
That now (as then) doth hang his loving arms
Around his pale-faced bride, the gentle stream
There stands the proud old Elm, with parent care
Shading the infant blossoms of the gay
And delicate Laburnum. On the air
Comes the soft perfume of the Violet--where
Art thou, sweet blue-ey'd flower !--cover'd quite
By the mad Bind-weed that doth clasp thy breast,
In hope to steal thy sweetness ?-Scented Broom
Yields here his richness-sun-dyed Marigolds,
And the blue Hare-bell, flowers, which in my youth
I weaved in crowns to deck the maiden's brow,
My young eye thought the fairest-In the air
I hear the Black-cap* chaunting his sweet tale,
Mocking the Nightingale, who, grieving thus
To be outdone, steals into covert shades,
And sings alone by night !-Thou silver Moon,
How dost thou soften this delicious scene !
And with thy gentle, tender glance, art wooing
The proud Narcissus, who doth turn his head
From thy soft smile, to gaze upon the stream
And watch it weeping !-Days of boyhood, here
I do retrace ye with a transport new
To this toil-harden'd frame. I have return'd
From scenes of war and plunder, with a purse
Stored with this world's loved treasure Other lands
My foot hath traversed, and mine eye survey'd,
But none so sweet as this--If they were fairer
I saw it not, for my soul's eye was fix'd
On the dear bank, where my gay childhood play'd,
And her who sat beside me. Now I am
Upon that very bank, and she is still,
Still sitting there, and constant, lovelier too,
Than when, some ten years since, I roam'd away,
And left my youthful love to weep the parting.
Cecily. Now, Wanderer, I shall chide thee! wherefore thus
Steal from my side to court the Moon, and say
* The black-capMocking the nightingale. In Norfolk, the blackbird, from the sweetness of his song, is called the mocknightingale.
Thy flatteries to the flowers! I should be
Jealous, but that I know thy favourite Rose
Is in her childhood yet, and not deserving
Of thy enraptured love !--but thou art grown
So clerkly and so grave, thou dost despise
Companionship with Cecily.
I love for thy dear sake—for they all sing
The same sweet song of thee-thou art their queen,
And they do worship thee, and win my love
By such true, graceful homage.
Where hast thou
Learned all this gallantry ?-not in the camp
Of haughty Margaret, nor in the court
Of heaven-wearying Harry! hadst thou been
A soldier of the gay young king, who wins
A city with a kiss, I had not wonder'd.
Walter. Nay, then it is my turn for jealous fit.
What knows my Cecily of England's King,
Whose favours are so valued ? When, dear maid,
Didst thou behold young Edward ?
When he came
To tax the duty of our city, York,
Our maidens went to meet him at the gates,
And strew'd the way unto the castle's halls
With garlands, and with flowers-he did pay
Our citizens with oaths-the maids with kisses,
All that he thought most worthy-when it came
Unto my turn to touch his laughing lips,
One of his lords, upon a pointed spear,
Thrust straight between us a pale griesly head
Still streaming blood--a venerable
Tranquil-but the white locks were clotted. I
Drew back, and shriek'd—but Edward laugh’d, and bade:
Them wash the soiled face, and trim the beard,
And send it to his lady! then he turn'd
Gaily to kiss my redder lip, he said
But found that red lip pale !
The savage !
He is our master now I thought at first
He was a lovely youth; but from my thought
The trace, went of his features, and I saw
Nought but the gory head--the old gray Man!
That rises oft, and when I try to call
The image of the monarch, it still comes
Between my face and his. But this is sad.
Come, tell me of thy journies, and the sights,
Thou must perforce have seen. They tell us here
The Saracen doth kill his prisoners,
Unless they turn to Mahound, and become
Liegemen unto the fiend ! and then they are
Endow'd with wond'rous powers, and fly in air,
And walk on water, and excharige their shapes
With animals and birds !
Is knightly to the captive; but when last
I was in Grenada, (before the Queen
Recall'd all wand'rers from Castilian wars,
To try their valour on the fatal field
Of Tewksbury,) most wond'rous things I saw
Achiev'd by one, an old Toledan he,
By magic's fearful power. He did use
To mock the Moorish squadrons, with a sight
Of armies ready to engage, and threw
Before their path a bridge of yielding air,
To tempt their passage ; and when they would risk
Over the phantom path, it stood until
Its shadowý sides were crowded-then it sunk,
And with it sunk the Saracens -and so
The unbelievers died !
And strange I-but didst thou see with thine own eyes
These wonders, gentle Walter ? did he ere
Shew spirits to thy senses ?
Sooth he did
And I, (as thou makest question,) truly saw
The Moorish knights fall, horse and man, into
The fiercely foaming river! but that man !
He was the king of wonders. Oftentimes
In my lone mood I wander'd to his haunts;-
A deep, dark wood it was, and in a cave
Embosom'd in the shade of ancient trees
The stern magician dwelt. There as I stood,
Listening the heavy groans of the swung boughs,
And far off roarings of the coming storm,
I have thought other voices mingled there,
More hollow and more awful. It may be
The gloom did cheat my senses, but I thought
I have seen forms within that dreary wood,
That were unfit for gayer dwelling-place-
Strange things, that swept before me like a sheet
Of dazzling snow, driven by the Winter's blast
Then suddenly they grew more form’d, and then
I saw wild eyes that flash'd, and lips that grinn'd
- And gibber'd with uncouthly utterings.
I met no danger ; but once, as I stay'd
Beyond my time, until the maiden Moon
Had modestly retired, that the fiends
Might do their orgies unmolested by
The brightness of her brow, the Master came,
And saw me lingering there! he sternly chid
My idle wanderings-bade me, as I loved
My own life's safety, not to seek his bowers.
Cecily. If thou lovest spirits, and hast not a fear
To seek them in their haunts, in happy time
Art thou return'd unto thy parent roof.
Thou know'st this is the fourth month of the
year, The childish April, who, ʼmid tears and smiles, Hath pass’d full four-and-twenty days of age ; But ere he die, and yield his grassy throne To his young sister, lily-sceptred May, One of his days we yearly celebrate. This is St Mark, and this—this is the night; Now then, if any in the porch shall watch Of the old church, alone at midnight hour, They will, within the church-yard stalking, sce The shades of those who 'neath its surface lie, Mingling in wildest dance with forms of those Who living yet, but ere the year expire, Shall join the shadowy group for ever, and Sleep in the grave with them!
Walter. Ah, I will watch
To-night! I will be there. Dear Cecily,
Of this instruct me further. I do love
This high mysterious feeling !-let us go
Long hours it is since rung the Curfew bell
I pray thee, let me go!
This quest, I trust, dear Walter-But I will
Not mar thy wishes-Come.
(Exeunt.) Scene, the Churchyard-Walter sitting in the Porch.
Walter. How beautiful is Night when vested thus ! With what a soft solemnity she glides Onward unto her death !.And when she dies, What will the hours bring !_0, they will come Laughing
and jocund Mirth, with his gay train Will join them, ushering in my
The crowned day of the poor Wanderer's life-
The day that shall behold the Wanderer bless'd,
And gathering to his bosom the one flower
His boyish hand had cherish'd—I am happy,
And yet I weep!--but this is luxury,
My heart is full, too full, and would relieve
By tears, its agony of happiness
I love this hour !—the spirits are abroad,
Sporting upon the air, or on the waves
Dancing fantastic measures-riding on,
With antic tricks, the clouds, which when we see
Distorted to strange shapes of foul and fair,
As monsters, demons, rocks or palaces,
Or armed men, or angels with bright wings,
We may assure our wits they are the spirits
Appearing to our eyes in those quaint forms.-
But I am here to meet more awful shades
The spectres of the gone!- the human race;
But now no longer human-and the shapes
Of the death-summoned ; but living now,
Though yet condemned to the silent grave,
Before the year depart !-Ah! am I wise
To seek this fearful knowledge !-What if I,
Among the shades, behold the face of one
My heart hath fondly loved ! Sweet Mary! thou
Avert that evil !--but, O Lady
Wilt thou accept my prayer !' I have thrown off,
For this wild gest, the image of thy Son,
Which from my childhood round my neck I woré,
And from my bosom rent the amulet,
The Agnus Dei, which my mother's hand
Bound on my breast, and bade it guard her son
From storm and tempest, and which still hath been,
Till now, my loved companion.- Well, I have
Companions here will tell me graver tales.
Here are the records of a hundred lives
The busy history of many years
The proclamation of bold active deeds
Summ'd up in the “hic jacet," and the hope
“Requiescunt in pace”- And although
In life the cause was various, as the hues
Of summer and of spring, and many tongues
Rung the different tale, now 'tis the same,
And one phrase serves for all !-But, hark! what sound
Like distant music swells upon the wind,
And sweeps around the porch !-A mist hath risen