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And braved their thirst with as enduring lip
How small their theatre without a throne !" The remainder of this canto is chiefly occupied with sketches of the island scenery, and reflections arising out of the situations of the "halfsavage and the whole.” The following grand piece of invective is finely characteristic of the noble writer's style, both of thought, feeling, and expression.
“ Had Cæsar known but Cleopatra's kiss,
Rome had been free-the world had not been his.
These bugbears—as their terrors show too well." We must counteract the effect of the above not very soothing passage, by the delightful one which follows it, and which is no less characteristic of the author's other style.
Rapt in the fond forgetfulness of life,
The cloud-compelling harbinger of Love." Towards the end of the second canto we are introduced to another personage, whose appearance and character contrast somewhat strangely,
* The Consul Nero.
but yet very naturally, and with great spirit, with the two above described. This is a thorough-bred Wapping jack tar, with a pipe and an oath constantly in his mouth, who comes to announce that a strange sail is in sight, and that Christian (whom we now hear of on the island for the first time) has “piped all hands”-anticipating the nature of its errand. The remainder of the poem is occupied in alluding to the general battle which takes place between the mutineers and those who have come in pursuit of them, and in describing the events which follow on the result of that battle ; which events are fatal to all the mutineers, with the exception of Torquil-who is saved by his mistress plunging with him into the ocean, and taking him, by a submarine entrance, into a rocky cave, which she has previously prepared for his reception. Here they remain till the strange shipbelieving them to be drowned-leaves the island ; and we are left to suppose that they live happy for the time to come.
This is the whole substance of the story--if story that can be called, which is, in fact, little more than a collection of sketches-pieces of pure execution-scarcely at all bound together by any plot, and scarcely needing it.
The description of the remnant who escape from the first general skirmish, and take temporary shelter among the rocks and crags, is excellent. We have space but for one or two short portions of it. The following shews us the leader of the desperate band:
“ Stern, and aloof a little from the rest,
Stood Christian, with his arms across his chest.
Beneath his heel, his form seem'd turn'd to Aint." It will be observed, in perusing this part of the poem, that the manner in which Ben Bunting, the jolly jack tar, is occasionally introduced, (always with his pipe in his mouth) not only gives a fine contrast to the grouping of the pictures (for this part is a series of pictures) but it communicates an extraordinary reality and naturalness to the effect.
The death of the last three desperadoes—particularly that of Christian-is finely given. So is the following preparatory passage to it, which seems to place them before us in a kind of monumental gloom and stillness, as if they were already changed into their own funeral effigies.
“ They landed on a wild but narrow scene,
Where few but Nature's footsteps yet had been ;
But ah! how different ! 'tis the cause makes all,
Dark as a sullen cloud before the sun." Christian's death is drawn with a vigorous and spirited hand, but somewhat rude and careless withal :
“ Christian died last-twice wounded; and once more
Mercy was offer'd when they saw his gore.
Then plunged—" The poem closes by the return of the lovers from their temporary sanctuary, and the triumphant reception of them by the kind and happy islanders; and the tale of blood and crime ends without leaving that painful impression on the reader which most of this author's serious narrative poems have hitherto done. The following is the concluding passage, which produces an effect similar to that of looking at some of the pictures in Captain Cook's voyages.
“ Again their own shore rises on the view,
No more polluted with a hostile hue ;
The women throng'd, embracing and embraced
THE BOURSE AT PARIS-ENGLAND AND FRANCE.--BUYING
Plant. Tut, tut, here is a mannerly forbearance;
The truth appears so naked on my side,
That any purblind eye may find it out.
So clear, so shining, and so evident,
That it will glimmer through a blind man's eye. Henry V Ith. ENTERING lately the temporary enclosure that runs round the new Exchange at Paris, I stood before the noble front on which the words “ Tribunal de Commerce" have lately been inscribed, deeply penetrated with the simple, I had almost said sublime, grandeur of the building, musing on the past time when the Parthenon was not less fresh and perfect, and throwing my thoughts forward into the future, when the majestic and stupendous temple before me (for such, indeed, it seems) should be ruinous and dilapidated as that which is now mouldering away upon the Athenian Acropolis, when a brown-visaged keen-eyed Parisian, of that shabby genteel class which abounds in this capital, having a ragged hat, long surtout, and the ribbon of the Legion d'Honneur in his button-hole, walked up to me with an easy courtesy, took off his superannuated hat, presented his snuff-box, and on the strength of this unceremonious introduction exclaimed—“Eh bien ! Monsieur, vous conviendrez qu'il n'y a rien de si magnifique à Londres.” Now, as I saw that this unexpected acquaintance meant to compliment his own sagacity by bis instant discovery that I was an Englishman, and his nationality by vaunting the superiority of his building, I retorted in the usual way, that is to say, by exhibiting the same feeling in myself which I condemned in him ; so I replied, with something like a sneer—“O yes, it must be confessed that Paris has a fine Exchange and no trade: we have nothing at London but the wealth and the commerce.” So far from being hurt at this division, my colloquist received it as a compliment, made me a smiling bow, and exclaimed complacently, “ Oui, c'est ça !” and, as I really felt somewhat ashamed of my speech, I determined to listen to him patiently in the future remarks with which he threatened to favour me. " It is not altogether Corinthian, nor yet Ionic, "continued he, looking up at the capitals of the pillars, and then, with a conclusive nod of his head, he pronounced in fact it is in the
best French style." This reminded me of the worthy Friar who, being asked, after having
vaunted the architecture of his monastery, in what order it was built, replied—“In the order of St. Dominic:" but I seemed to assent to the position of my informant, who proceeded to declare that the ancient statuary and painting assembled in the Louvre in the time of the Emperor was the finest collection that the world had ever witnessed, and did more honour than all his victories to the name of that (here he looked round, and observing that no one was near, concluded)
-to the name of that truly great man. “And yet," I observed,“ though you retained all these masterpieces of art for so many years, not the smallest traces of their influence are perceptible in the modern French school either of sculpture or painting.'
That may very well be, for, though they were invaluable as specimens of what antiquity could do, you will certainly admit" (this is the invariable phrase of a Frenchman when he is making a monstrous assertion) “ that we already possessed, among our own artists, modern works of an infinitely superior standard ;” and then he twanged through his nose a long list of the illustrious obscure among his compatriots ; recapitulated a catalogue of sprawling, theatrical, operatical figures, which, in his estimation, eclipsed the Venus, Apollo, and Laocoon ; and triumphantly referred to David's pictures in the Luxembourg as the ne plus ultra of the art. O! said I to myself, if this man is to be taken as a sample of his nation, I see clearly enough why their spirit has never been imbued with one single emanation from the fountains of ancient light; enveloped in a cloud of national vanity through which nothing can penetrate, they talk perpetually of the fine age of Louis the Fourteenth; and though their whole literature and art be but a succession of imitations from the models of that period, each balder and more vapid than the last, they imagine that they are advancing upon all the world, when in fact they are even receding from themselves. Instead of crossing and invigorating the race by an admission from any classical or foreign stock, they have been breeding in and in, as the farmers say, and the consequences are the same in the world of Art as in that of Nature,-exhaustion, deterioration, and decay.
Mistaking my silence for acquiescence, my loquacious friend continued, with a nod of still greater satisfaction—" In fact, you 'must admit that all the recent discoveries, whether useful or ornamental, all that contributes to the instruction, health, comfort, or civilization of mankind, has originated in France." This was somewhat too swingeing a mouthful to be gulped down. “ We too,” said I,“ may claim some little merit of this sort in the last few years; and though I cannot, thus suddenly, recollect a tithe of the benefits we have conferred upon the world, I do remember that, during a war of unexampled extent and severity, we translated the Scriptures, at an immense expense, into almost all the languages of the earth, distributing annually many millions of copies (some thousands of which were bestowed upon France herself), as the most effectual means of promoting human happiness and civilization." Hereupon my auditor arched up his eye-brows until his forehead became thickly engraved with consecutive wrinkles, raised the corners of his nose in bitter scorn, gave a loud tap upon his snuff-box, and delivered himself of a most contemptuous “ Bah!"