Εικόνες σελίδας
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση
[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

"At all events," says the author of the Academical Questions, "I trust, whatever may be the fate of my own speculations, that philosophy will regain that estimation which it ought to possess. The free and philosophic spirit of our nation has been the theme of admiration to the world. This was the proud distinction of Englishmen, and the lu minous source of all their glory. Shall we then forget the manly and dignified sentiments of our ancestors, to prate in the language of the mother or the nurse about our good old

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

prejudices? This is not the way to defend the cause of truth. It was not thus that our fathers maintained it in the brilliant periods of our history. Prejudice may be trusted to guard the outworks for a short space of time, while reason slumbers in the citadel; but if the latter sink into a lethargy, the former will quickly erect a standard for herself. Philosophy, wisdom, and liberty support each other: he who will not reason is a bigot; he who cannot, is a fool; and he who dares not, is a slave.' Vol. i. pref. p. 14, 15.

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

From the loud roar of foaming calumny To the small whisper of the as paltry few, And subtler venom of the reptile crew, The Janus glance of whose significant eye, Learning to lie with silence, would seem true, And without utterance, save the shrug or sigh, Deal round to happy fools its speechless obloquy,


But I have lived, and have not lived in vain : My mind may lose its force, my blood its fire, And my frame perish even in conquering pain; But there is that within me which shall tire Torture and Time, and breathe when I expire; Something unearthly, which they deem not of, Like the remember'd tone of a mute lyre, Shall on their soften'd spirits sink, and move In hearts all rocky now the late remorse of love.


The seal is set. - Now welcome, thou dread power! Nameless, yet thus omnipotent, which here Walk'st in the shadow of the midnight hour With a deep awe, yet all distinct from fear: Thy haunts are ever where the dead walls rear Their ivy mantles, and the solemn scene Derives from thee a sense so deep and clear That we become a part of what has been, And grow unto the spot, all-seeing but unseen.


And here the buzz of eager nations ran,
In murmur'd pity, or loud-roar'd applause,
As man was slaughter'd by his fellow man.
And wherefore slaughter'd? wherefore, but because
Such were the bloody Circus' genial laws,
And the imperial pleasure. Wherefore not ?
What matters where we fall to fill the maws

Of worms-on battle-plains or listed spot? Both are but theatres where the chief actors rot.


I see before me the Gladiator lie:

He leans upon his hand - his manly brow Consents to death, but conquers agony, And his droop'd head sinks gradually low— And through his side the last drops, ebbing slow From the red gash, fall heavy, one by one, Like the first of a thunder-shower; and now The arena swims around him he is gone, Ere ceased the inhuman shout which hail'd the wretch

who won.


He heard it, but he heeded not his eyes
Were with his heart, and that was far away; 3
He reck'd not of the life he lost nor prize,
But where his rude hut by the Danube lay,

3 Whether the wonderful statue which suggested this image be a laquearian gladiator, which, in spite of Winkelmann's criticism, has been stoutly maintained; or whether it be a Greek herald, as that great antiquary positively as serted; or whether it is to be thought a Spartan or barba

Either Polifontes, herald of Laius, killed by Edipus; or Cepreas, herald of Euritheus, killed by the Athenians when he endeavoured to drag the Heraclide from the altar of mercy, and in whose honour they instituted annual games, continued to the time of Hadrian; or Anthemocritus, the Athenian herald, killed by the Megarenses, who never recovered the impiety. See Storia delle Arti, &c. tom. ii. pag. 203, 204, 205, 206, 207. lib. ix. cap. ii.

[ocr errors]

There were his young barbarians all at play, There was their Dacian mother-he, their sire, Butcher'd to make a Roman holiday '— All this rush'd with his blood Shall he expire And unavenged? — Arise! ye Goths, and glut your ire!


But here, where Murder breathed her bloody steam; And here, where buzzing nations choked the ways, And roar'd or murmur'd like a mountain stream Dashing or winding as its torrent strays; Here, where the Roman million's blame or praise Was death or life, the playthings of a crowd, 2 My voice sounds much — and fall the stars' faint rays On the arena void-seats crush'd-walls bow'dAnd galleries, where my steps seem echoes strangely loud.

[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]
[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

3 ["I remember very well," says Sir Joshua Reynolds, "my own disappointment when I first visited the Vatican; but on confessing my feelings to a brother student, of whose ingenuousness I had a high opinion, he acknowledged that the works of Raphael had the same effect on him, or rather that they did not produce the effect which he expected. This was a great relief to my mind; and, on inquiring further of other students, I found that those persons only who, from natural imbecility, appeared to be incapable of relishing those divine performances, made pretensions to instantaneous raptures on first beholding them.-My not relishing them as I

[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

was conscious I ought to have done, was one of the most humiliating circumstances that ever happened to me; I found myself in the midst of works executed upon principles with which I was unacquainted: I felt my ignorance, and stood abashed. All the indigested notions of painting which I had brought with me from England, where the art was in the lowest state it had ever been in, were to be totally done away and eradicated from my mind. It was necessary, as it is expressed on a very solemn occasion, that I should become as a little child. Notwithstanding my disappointment, I proceeded to copy some of those excellent works. I viewed them again and again; I even affected to feel their merit and admire them more than I really did. In a short time, a new taste and a new perception began to dawn upon me, and I was convinced that I had originally formed a false opinion of the perfection of the art, and that this great painter was well entitled to the high rank which he holds in the admiration of the world."]

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]


But where is he, the Pilgrim of my song, The being who upheld it through the past? Methinks he cometh late and tarries long. He is no more- these breathings are his last; His wanderings done, his visions ebbing fast, And he himself as nothing:-if he was Aught but a phantasy, and could be class'd With forms which live and suffer- let that pass His shadow fades away into Destruction's mass,



Which gathers shadow, substance, life, and all
That we inherit in its mortal shroud,
And spreads the dim and universal pall
Through which all things grow phantoms; and the
Between us sinks and all which ever glow'd,
Till Glory's self is twilight, and displays
A melancholy halo scarce allow'd

[The death of the Princess Charlotte has been a shock even here (Venice), and must have been an earthquake at home. The fate of this poor girl is melancholy in every respect; dying at twenty or so, in childbed- of a boy too, a

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]


Of sackcloth was thy wedding garment made; Thy bridal's fruit is ashes: in the dust The fair-hair'd Daughter of the Isles is laid, The love of millions! How we did entrust Futurity to her! and, though it must Darken above our bones, yet fondly deem'd Our children should obey her child, and bless'd Her and her hoped-for seed, whose promise seem'd Like stars to shepherds' eyes:-'twas but a meteor beam'd.


Woe unto us, not her; for she sleeps well:
The fickle reek of popular breath, the tongue.
Of hollow counsel, the false oracle,
Which from the birth of monarchy hath rung

present princess and future queen, and just as she began to be happy, and to enjoy herself, and the hopes which she inspired. I feel sorry in every respect."- Byron Letters.]

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »