Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

intended for a sum of money, if they could for destruction, regardless of the lives of have got off with impunity! How few are others, and more than indifferent to his there who would have put themselves in own, presents a picture of the strange in. Guy Faux's situation to save the universe! fatuation of the human understanding, but Yet in the latter case we affect to be thrown not of the depravity of the human will, into greater consternation than at the most without an equal. There were thousands unredeemed acts of villainy, as if the abso. of pious Papists privy to and ready to aplute disinterestedness of the motive doubled plaud the deed when done :-there was no the horror of the deed! The cowardice and one but our old fifth-of-November friend, selfishness of mankind are in fact shocked who still futters in rags and straw on the at the consequences to themselves (if such occasion, that had the courage to attempt examples are held up for imitation), and it. In him stern duty and unshaken faith they make a fearful outcry against the vio prevailed over natural frailty. lation of every principle of morality, lest they too should be called on for any such

It is impossible, upon Catholic tremendous sacrifices--lest they in their turn principles, not to admit the force of should have to go on the forlorn hope of this reasoning; we can only not help extra-official duty. Charity begins at smiling (with the writer) at the simhome, is a maxim that prevails as well in plicity of the gulled editor, swallow. the courts of conscience as in those of pru. ing the dregs of Loyola for the very dence. We would be thought to shudder quintessence of sublimated reason in at the consequences of crime to others, while England at the commencement of the we tremble for them to ourselves. We talk nineteenth century. We will just, as of the dark and cowardly assassin ; and this is well, when an individual shrinks

a contrast, show what we Protestants from the face of an enemy, and purchases (who are a party concerned) thought his own safety by striking a blow in the upon the same subject, at a period dark : but how the charge of cowardly can

rather nearer to the heroic project in be applied to the public assassin, who, in question. the very act of destroying another, lays The Gunpowder Treason was the down his life as the pledge and forfeit of subject which called forth the earliest his sincerity and boldness, I am at a loss to specimen which is left us of the puldevise. There may be barbarous prejudice, pit eloquence of Jeremy Taylor. rooted hatred, unprincipled treachery, in When he preached the Sermon on such an act ; but he who resolves to take that anniversary, which is printed at all the danger and odium upon himself, the end of the folio edition of his Sercan no more be branded with cowardice, mons, he was a young man just comthan Regulus devoting himself for his country, or Codrus leaping into the fiery gulf. mencing his ministry, under the A wily Father Inquisitor, coolly and with auspices of Archbishop Laud. From plenary authority condemning hundreds of the learning, and maturest oratory, helpless, unoffending victims, to the flames which it manifests, one should rather or to the horrors of a living tomb, while he have conjectured it to have proceeded himself would not suffer a hair of his head from the same person after he was to be hurt, is to me a character without any ripened by time into a Bishop and qualifying trait in it. Again ; the Spanish Father of the Church.-"And, really, conqueror and hero, the favourite of his these Romano-barbari could never monarch, who enticed thirty thousand poor pretend to any precedent for an act Mexicans into a large open building, under promise of strict faith and cordial good.

so barbarous as theirs. Adramelech, will, and then set fire to it, making sport of indeed, killed a king, but he spared the cries and agonies of these deluded crea- the people; Haman would have tures, is an instance of uniting the most killed the people, but spared the king ; hardened cruelty with the most heartless but that both king and people, princes selfishness. His plea was keeping no faith and judges, branch and rush and with heretics: this was Guy Faux's too; root, should die at once (as if Calibut I am sure at least that the latter kept gula's wish were actuated, and all faith with himeelf: he was in earnest in England upon one head), was nerer his professions. Ilis was not gay, wanton, known till now, that all the malice unfeeling depravity; he did not murder in

of the world met in this as in a sport; it was serious work that he had taken in hand. To see this arch-bigot, matins of St. Bartholomew, known

centre. The Sicilian even-song, the this heart-whole traitor, this pale miner in the infernal regions, skulking in his retreat for the pitiless and damned massawith his cloak and dark lanthorn, moving cres, were but sárve oxías óvap, the cautiously about among his barrels of gun- dream of the shadow of smoke, if powder loaded with death, but not yet ripe compared with this great fire. In

tam occupato sæculo fabulas vulgares kings, devouring their dead ruins like nequitia non invenit. This was a busy sepulchral dogs, these are but miage; Herostratus must have invent- nutes, in respect of the ruin prepared ed a more sublimed malice than the for the living temples :burning of one temple, or not have

Stragem sed istam non tulit been so much as spoke of since the Christus cadentum Principum discovery of the powder treason. Impune, ne forsan sui But I must make more haste, I shall Patris periret fabrica. not else climb the sublimity of this Ergo quæ poterit lingua retexere impiety. Nero was sometimes the Laudes, Christe, tuas, qui domitum struis populare odium, was popularly hated, Infidum populum cum Duce perfido !” and deserved it too, for he slew his In such straims of eloquent indigmaster, and his wife, and all his fa- nation did Jeremy Taylor's young mily, once or twice over, opened oratory inveigh against that stupenhis mother's womb,—fired the city, dous attempt, which he truly says laughed at it, slandered the Chris- had no parallel in ancient or modern tians for it; but yet all these were times. "A century and a half of Eubut principia malorum, the very first ropean crimes has elapsed since he rudiments of evil. Add, then, to made the assertion, and his position these, Herod'smaster-piece at Ramah, remains in its strength. He wrote as it was deciphered by the tears near the time in which the nefarious and sad threnes of the matrons in project had like to have been coman universał mourning for the loss pleted. Men's minds still were shudof their pretty infants; yet this of dering from the recentness of the Herod will prove but an infant escape. It must have been within wickedness, and that of Nero the evil his memory, or have been sounded but of one city. I would willingly in his ears so young by his parents, have found out an example, but see that he would seem, in his maturer I cannot ; should I put into the scale years, to have remembered it. No the extract of all the old tyrants fa- wonder then that he describes it in mous in antique stories,

words that burn. But to us, to Bistonii stabulum regis, Busiridis aras, whom the tradition has come slowly Antiphatæ mensas, et Taurica regna down, and has had time to cool, the Thoantis ;

story of Guido Vaux sounds rather should I take for true story the like a tale, a fable, and an invention, highest cruelty as it was fancied by than true history. It supposes such the most hieroglyphical Egyptian, gigantic audacity of daring, combined this alone would weigh them down, with such more than infantile stupias if the Alps were put in scale dity in the motive,- such a combinaagainst the dust of a balance. For tion of the fiend and the monkey, had this accursed treason prospered, that credulity is almost swallowed up we should have had the whole king- in contemplating the singularity of dom mourn for the inestimable loss of the attempt. It has accordingly, in its chiefest glory, its life, its present some degree, shared the fate of ficjoy, and all its very hopes for the fu- tion. It is familiarized to us in a ture. For such was their destined kind of serio-ludicrous way, like the malice, that they would not only story of Guy of Warwick, or Valentine have inflicted so cruel a blow, but and Orson. The way which we take to have made it incurable, by cutting perpetuate the memory of this delioff our supplies of joy, the whole verance is well adapted to keep up this succession of the Line Royal. Not fabular notion. Boys go about the only the vine itself, but all the gem- streets annually with a beggarly scare mula, and the tender olive branches, crow dressed up, which is to be burnt; should either have been bent to their indeed, at night, with holy zeal ; but, intentions, and made to grow crooked, meantime, they beg a penny poor or else been broken.

Guy; this periodical petition, which “And now, after such a sublimity we have heard from our infancy, of malice, I will not instance in the combined with the dress and appearsacrilegious ruin of the neighbouring ance of the effigy, so well calculated temples, which needs must have pe- to move compassion,--has the effect rished in the flame,-nor in the dis- of quite removing from our fancy the turbing the ashes of our intombed horrid. circumstances of the story

for

which is thus commemorated; and the edge of that horror which the in poor Guy vainly should we try to naked historical mention of Guido's recognize any of the features of that conspiracy could not have failed of tremendous madman in iniquity, exciting. Guido Vaux, with his horrid crew of Now that so many years are past accomplices, that sought to emulate since that abominable machination earthquakes and bursting volcanoes was happily frustrated, it will not, in their more than mortal mischief. I hope, be considered a profane sport

Indeed, the whole ceremony of ing with the subject, if we take no burning Guy Faux, or the Pope, as very serious survey of the consehe is indifferently called, is a sort of quences that would have flowed from Treason Travestie, and admirably this plot if it had had a successful adapted to lower our feelings upon issue. The first thing that strikes us, this memorable subject. The prin- in a selfish point of view, is the maters of the little duodecimo Prayer terial change which it must have Book, printed by T. Baskett,* in produced in the course of the nobility. 1749, which has the effigy of his All the ancient peerage being extinsacred Majesty George II. piously guished, as it was intended, at one prefixed, have illustrated the ser- blow, the Red-Book must have been vice (a very fine one in itself) which closed for ever, or a new race of is appointed for the Anniversary of peers must have been created to supthis Day, with a print, which it is not ply the deficiency; as the first part very easy to describe, but the con- of this dilemma is a deal too shocktents appear to be these : -The scene ing to think of, what a fund of mouthis a room, I conjecture, in the king's watering reflections does this give palace. Two persons,—one of whom rise to in the breast of us plebeians I take to be James himself, from his of A. N. 1823. Why you or I, wearing his hat while the other stands reader, might have been Duke of bareheaded,—are intently surveying - or Earl of

-: I particua sort of speculum, or magic mirror, larize no titles, to avoid the least which stands upon a pedestal in the suspicion of intention to usurp the midst of the room, in which a little dignities of the two noblemen whom figure of Guy Faux with his dark have in my eye:--but a feeling lantern approaching the door of the more dignified than envy sometimes Parliament House is made discerni- excites a sigh, when I think how the ble by the light proceeding from a posterity of Guido's Legion of Hogreat eye which shines in from the nour (among whom you or I might topmost corner of the apartment, have been) might have rolled down by which eye the pious artist no “ dulcified,” as Burke expresses it, doubt meant to designate Providencé. “ by an exposure to the influence of On the other side of the mirror, is a heaven in a long flow of generations, figure doing something, which puz- from the hard, acidulous, metallic zled me when a child, and continues tincture of the spring.”t. What new to puzzle me

The best I can orders of merit, think you, this Enmake of it is, that it is a conspirator glish Napoleon would have chosen? busy laying the train,—but then, Knights of the Barrel, or Lords of why is he represented in the king's the Tub, Grand Almoners of the chamber?-Conjecture upon so fan- Cellar, or Ministers of Explosion. tastical a design is vain, and I only We should have given the Train notice the print as being one of the couchant, and the Fire rampant in our earliest graphic representations which arms; we should have quartered the woke my childhood into wonder, and dozen white matches in our coats ;doubtless combined with the mum- the Shallows would have been nomery before-mentioned, to take off thing to us.

now.

* The same, I presume, upon whom the clergyman in the song of the Vicar and Moses, not without judgment, passes this memorable censure

Here, Moses, the King :

"Tis a scandalous thing

That this Baskett should print for the Crown. + Letter to a Noble Lord.

Turning away from these mortify- chair,-the wig of him that sat in it ing reflections, let us contemplate its taking its place near Berenice's curls. effects upon the other house, for they St. Peter, at Heaven's wicket,—no, were all to have gone together,- not St. Peter,--St. Stephen, with King, Lords, Commons

open arms, receives his ownTo assist our imagination, let us While Fancy beholds these celestake leave to suppose, and we do tial appropriations, Reason, no less it in the harmless wantonness of pleased, discerns the mighty benefit fancy,—to suppose that the tremend- which so complete a renovation must ous explosion had taken place in our produce below. Let the most dedays;--we better know what a House termined foe to corruption, the most of Commons is in our days, and can thorough-paced redresser of abuses, better estimate our loss ;-letus try to conceive a more absolute puimagine, then, to ourselves, the United rification of the House than this was Members sitting in full conclave calculated to produce;-why, Pride's above-Faux just ready with his Purge was nothing to it;-the whole train and matches below; in his borough-mongering system would hand a “reed tipt with fire” — he have been got rid of, fairly exploded; applies the fatal engine

—with it, the senseless distinctions To assist our notions still further, of party must have disappeared ; let us suppose some lucky dog of a faction must have vanished; correporter, who had escaped by mira- ruption have expired in air. From cle apon some plank of St. Stephen's Hundred, Tything, and Wapentake, benches, and came plump upon the some new Alfred would have conroof of the adjacent Abbey, from vened, in all its purity, the primitive whence descending, at some neigh- Wittenagemot,-fixed upon a basis bouring coffee-house, first wiping his of property or population, permaclothes and calling for a glass of nent as the poleslemonade, he sits down and reports From this dream of universal reswhat he had heard and seen (quorum titution, Reason and Fancy with difpars magna fuit) for the Morning ficulty awake to view the real state Post or the Courier,- we can scarce- of things. But, blessed be Heaven, ly imagine him describing the event St. Stephen's walls are yet standing, in any other words but some such as all her seats firmly secured; nay, these :

some have doubted (since the SepA Motion was put and carried, tennial Act) whether gunpowder itThat this House do adjourn: That self, or any thing short of a Comthe Speaker do quit the Chair. The mittee above stairs, would be able to House Rose amid clamours for Or- shake any one member from his der.”

seat ;-that great and final improveIn some such way the event mightment to the Abbey, which is all that most technically have been conveyed seems wanting,--the removing Westto the public. But a poetical mind, minster-hall and its appendages, and not content with this dry method of letting in the view of the Thames,narration, cannot help pursuing the must not be expected in our days. effects of this tremendous blowing Dismissing, therefore, all such speup, this adjournment in the air sine culations as mere tales of a tub, it die. It sees the benches mount,--the is the duty of every honest EnglishChair first, and then the benches, man to endeavour, by means less. and first the Treasury Bench, hur- wholesale than Guido's, to amelioried up in this nitrous explosion; rate, without extinguishing, Parliathe Members, as it were, pairing ments; to hold the lantern to the off; Whigs and Tories taking their dark places of corruption ; to apply friendly apotheosis together, (as they the match to the rotten parts of the did their sandwiches below in Bel- system only; and to wrap himself lamy's room). Fancy, in her flight, up, not in the muffling mantle of keeps pace with the aspiring legisla- conspiracy, but in the warm, honest tors, she sees the awful seat of order cloak of integrity and patriotic inmounting till it becomes finally fixed tention. a constellation, next to Cassiopeia's

ELIA.

[ocr errors]

THE CLOUDS ; A DREAM. It was in the evening of the fifth and a gown curiously inlaid with all of December, 1821, when, not being those hues, in which our British anable to relish a glass either of the cestors used to deck themselves: national drug yclept old port, or even articles of dress, none of which sepaof my housekeeper's home-made, rately would be thought good enough which, as I sometimes tell my friends, for any other occasion, but which I think nearly equal to the best vieux being combined, all together make so bourgogne in the Palais Royal, I showy an appearance that I somesent for a small portion of my neigh- times think the tradespeople may bour 's entire. The afternoon suppose it is of no consequence what was unusually gloomy. Before me price they put on their goods to so lay a Number of the London Maga- fine a lady. My error was not of zine, open at that part of it in which long continuance, for she accosted Mr. Howard's nomenclature of the me in the words of Dante, clouds is explained. I was trying

I am not she, whether I could assign to their pro- Not she whom thou believest. per class a black army of vapours

Behold in me her whom old Hesiod that was stretching itself slowly over calls θαύμαντος θυγάτηρ, or as Edthe north. The attempt was to no

mund Spenser's Muse in her slip-slop purpose, and I began musing on the way has it, “ The daughter of Thaudifference between arrangeinent and

mantes fair.” In a word, I am the method, as is laid down in those wind-footed Iris. But what is all excellent papers in the third volume this stuff before thee about cirri and of Mr: Coleridge's Friend, when, cumuli, and strati? Have not you stretching out my right arm over the English made yourselves fools enough Magazine and laying my head upon already in the eyes of all Europe it, I fell fast asleep. Immediately I about the weather, but you must set appeared to myself to be transported, just as I was sitting with my table yourselves gravely to nickname every and all that was on it, into the steam- fashion? Is it not sufficient to have

day in the year after this uncouth engine of my neighbour's brewery; these black shadows intercepting sun, The warmth was such as I should soon have found inconvenient enough, heads nine parts in ten out of the

moon, and stars; lowering over your but that the valve opening, I rose up year, and for one whole month (Nogently, enveloped in a dense smoke. vember I think they call it) tempting The motion and its accompaniment put me in mind of those lines in you to hang, drown, shoot, or poison Milton:

yourselves merely to be out of the

sight of them; but that, when they At last his sail-broad vans are fairly departed, you must raise He spreads for flight, and in a surging up their ghosts again, and exhibit

smoke Uplifted spurns the grounds; thence many

every one of them standing like Ho

mer's Hercules at the gates of hell, a league, As in a cloudy chair, ascending rides

ερεμνή νοκτί έoικώς with his bow ready Audacious.

bent against you, or like him whom

your own poet has thought to make when the last word reminding me of yet more formidable by saying that the malevolent being who is there he was not only “black as night,” spoken of, and beginning, I know not but “fierce as ten furies, terrible as why, to raise uncomfortable thoughts, hell ?" If thou hast a mind to make I was agreeably relieved by the sight something out of these dark visitaof a comely female approaching me. tions, sit not poring over that vile She was dressed in a surprising va- nomenclature, but see what such riety of colours ; and, as I fancied, pencils as these have made of them. had much the appearance of Mrs. So saying, with one brush of her

when at an early hour of the wings she swept down before me cermorning she issues forth to market tain volumes, the leaves of which in an old bonnet bedizened with opening of themselves disclosed to me fresh ribbons, a parti-coloured shawl, the following passages :

« ZurückWeiter »