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with Queen Caroline's reception from Dover to London—" nothing like it had been witnessed since the restoration of Charles II.”
When a parallel does not occur to the historian's mind, he has recourse to some such trite formula as, “It is impossible to describe ;" “ words would fail to depict,” &c. Thus: “No words can convey an idea of the impression which the death of the Duke de Berri produced in France." “ No words can convey an idea of the transports into which the Royalists were thrown by the auspicious event” of the birth of the Duke of Bordeaux. “ No words can convey an adequate idea of the general transports which prevailed through the British Islands at the withdrawal of the bill” of pains and penalties against Queen Caroline (1820). “No words can adequately describe the universal enthusiasm which her arrival excited among the great bulk of the people.” “No words can convey an idea of the extent to which the system of pillage" extends in Russia. When Ferdinand VII. declared in favour of freedom in 1814, “no words can describe the universal transport with which this decree was received.”
A masterstroke of Alisonian criticism seems to be a certain formula, of which the following are slightly varied expressions :—“ Inferior to Napoleon in genius, and greatly so in vigour and condensation of expression, Genetal Joinini is much his superior in impartiality and solidity of judgment.” “Unequal to Jomini in military science or political thought, General Mathieu Dumas is greatly his superior in picturesque power and graphic effect.” Mr. Huskisson "had neither the persevering energy of Mr. Pitt, nor the ardent soul of Mr. Fox, nor the playful eloquence of Mr. Canning; but in thorough mastery of one great branch of government he was superior to them all.” M. Guizot, though“ less terse in his style than Montesquieu, less discursive than Robertson, is more just and philosophic than either." Joanna Baillie—“ less stately and pompous than Corneille, less vehement and impassioned than Schiller, her dramas bear a certain affinity to both.” Dr. Thomas Brown“ had all the acuteness and analytical turn of Hume or Hutchinson, and all the ardour and tenderness of Goethe and Schiller :"-"inferior in learning to Stewart, Brown was more original,” &c. Francis Horner " less eloquent and discursive than Brougham, less aërial and elegant than Jeffrey, he was a much deeper thinker than either.” “Less distinguished in public life” than Warren Hastings, “his antagonist, Sir Philip Francis, has left a reputation hardly less enduring.” Canning, again, " less philosophical than Burke, less instructive than Pitt, less impassioned than Fox, was more attractive than any of them." If M. de Villèle “ did not carry away his audience by noble sentiments and eloquent language, like Chateaubriand; nor charm them by felicitous imagery and brilliant ideas, like Canning ; he succeeded in the end in not less forcibly commanding their attention, and often more durably directed their determinations." Mr. Grattan “was not so luminous in his exposition of facts as Pitt, nor so vehement in his declamation as Fox; but in burning thoughts, generous feelings, and glowing language, he was sometimes superior to either." The Grand-Duke Constantine “rivalled Richard Caur-de-Lion in his valour in the field, but he surpassed him also in the vehemence with which he ruled the cabinet, and in acts of tyranny,” &c. The Czar
Nicholas “is neither led away by the thirst for sudden mechanical improvement, like Peter, nor the praises of philosophers, like Catherine, nor the visions of inexperienced philanthropy, like Alexander. . . Like Wellington, Cæsar, and many other of the greatest men recorded in history, his expression has become more intellectual as he advanced in years. . . He is an Alexander the Great in resolution, but not in mag. nanimity.”
Observe, again, Sir Archibald's eagle eye for “extraordinary coincidences.” If any man can get up a case of the kind, it is he. Carefully he records the fact, that, “ by a singular coincidence," the last action in the continental war of 1814 took place on the Hill of Mars, where, fifteen hundred years before, St. Denis suffered martyrdom, who first introduced Christianity into Northern Gaul.” On the 31st December, 406, says Gibbon, the Vandal army crossed the probably frozen Rhine, and the barriers between the savage and civilised nations of the earth were levelled to the ground:-“ On that day fourteen hundred and seven years,” says Alison, by an “extraordinary coincidence," the allied armies “at the same place crossed the same river.” “It is a very curious coincidence that the battle of Waterloo was fought just four hundred years after that of Azincour; the former took place on 18th June, 1815; the latter on Oct. 25, 1415.” It is a very extraordinary dittor that Wellington's English soldiers at Vittoria fought on the same ground as their fathers had done, five hundred years before, to establish Peter the Cruel on the throne of Spain. - Were the coincidences and parallels thus suggested, duly brought together, they would form a notable pendant to Plutarch's craze in the same line-for the fine old Baotian dearly loved to collect coincidences and parallels, and dwell, e.g., on the great fact that “there were two eminent persons of the name of Attis, the one a Syrian, the other an Arcadian, who both were killed by a boar;" and “two Actæons, both torn to pieces, one by his lovers, the other by his dogs ;” and “two Scipios, of whom the one conquered Carthage, the other destroyed it;" and three captures of Troy, in all of which horseflesh was more or less concerned the first capture being by Hercules, “ on account of Laomedon's horses; the second by Agamemnon, by means of the wooden horse ; the third by Charidemus, a horse happening to stand in the way, and hindering the Trojans from shutting the gates so quickly as they should have done." Let it be accounted venial in Alison cum Plutarcho errare; for so to err is human, though so to forgive may not be divine.
Once more. Every one must admire the historian's careful insertion of such restrictive clauses as the following, in his judgment of celebrated men. “Yet, with all these great and lofty qualities, Chateaubriand was far from being a perfect character." The Emperor Nicholas is “exemplary in all the relations of private life, a faithful husband, an affectionate father. ... Yet he is not a perfect character.” Nor is it easy to do justice to the dignified gravity with which he enunciates some such profound proposition as, that “the march of revolution is not always on flowers,” and that “the Vox Populi is not always, at the moment, the Vox Dei.”
And so we might go on for some time to come ; but then, que voulez
vous ? Sir Archibald can show cause for smiling disdainfully at snappish strictures once in a way, when he can point to the number of his editions, which approach the teens, and to the hosts of his readers, whose tale who can tell ? He can afford to be indulgent, or indifferent, to here-andthere a yelping cur : “let dogs delight to bark and bite, for 'tis their nature to” -(as saith, in not quite divine diction, the Divine Song of Dr. Watts): and naturally he will impute to an ill-conditioned incompetency any disposition to overhaul his weak points, and will set down the culprit as some straggler in the rear-guard of those criticasters, mere dyspeptic detractors, who
Veulent voir des défauts à tout ce qu'on écrit,
Et pensent que louer n'est pas d'un bel esprit. If our peroration be too pert, be our proem accepted in mitigation of damages.
• CAN YOU SO SOON FORGET ME?
BY J. E. CARPENTER.
Can you so soon forget me,
Now I am far away,
And mingle with the gay ?
Could they thy love dispel,
To think you never loved me
'Twere better far, and yet
How soon you can forget!
Still play the traitor's part,
That spring not from the heart;
For false you still may be!
The memory of thee.
Now lives but in thy smile,-
That lurks beneath its wile ;
Could mar so fair a shrine ;
May happiness be thine!
“ DOING OUR VESUVIUS.” “Have you done your Vesuvius ?” is a question as common at Naples as “Have you been to the Opera ?" in London. For some days after my arrival, viâ Marseilles, in an invalid's haste into warm weather, I could plead weakness as an excuse for not having achieved this inevitable feat; but in a surprisingly short time, sunny skies and salubrious air rendered the excuse inadmissible--the “sick-list” became a palpable sham-so that at length our party was made for "next day," and for “ next,” and “next” again ; “to-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow," might have crept on to the “last syllable of our recorded time” at Naples ; for Guiseppe, our laquais de place, ever placed an embargo on the expedition, by turning his weather-eye to Vesuvius, and assuring us that it was useless to ascend until he gave the signal, for that it was often “cattivo tempo” on the mountain, and that he knew it and its weather-signals well—"Nessun com' io, signor."
We submitted for some days to this despotism, having the satisfaction of repeating daily, just about the hour when we might have been making meteorological experiments on the summit, “ What a lovely day this would have been for Vesuvius!" At last, as commonly happens when the reins of authority are too tightly drawn, we burst through them all. One morning, at about six o'clock, I opened my window, and seeing the bright sun and intensely blue sky of an Italian fine day, I girded myself for conflict, and when Guiseppe came with shaving-water (I never gave in to the moustache mania, in which the English disfigure their honest, clean-shaven, Saxon faces, abroad) about half an hour afterwards, the following colloquy ensued :
“ Ecco, Guiseppe, buono giorno.”
“ Si, signor! ma Vesuvie offuscata ancora.” (Vesuvius has still its nightcap on.)
“ Niente-niente-sera tempo chiaro," I stoutly rejoined.
I could not argue the matter much further—my Italian was wearing very thin—but I must have looked rebellion and decision, for at length, with one of those indescribable pantomimes in which these people throw head, shoulders, hands, body, all into one shrug, Guiseppe yielded, with “ Signor e maestro !” meaning thereby, “You are an obstinate, bullheaded Inglese! but--have it all your own way.” So the carriage was ordered, and at about ten o'clock a party of four—my daughters, myself, and an agreeable military friend-started for Resina, where you leave the once lava-ruined, often lava-threatened town, built upon the grave of another buried deep, deep below, to explore the tumulum overhead, which will one day again spread a fresh winding-sheet of scoriæ and ashes over both. The ascent of Vesuvius could not commence from a more appropriate point.
Although it would be ungrateful to our own good fortune in the whole expedition to wish any one arrangement altered, yet, for the benefit of others, I record an advice, that, when “ladies are in the case," or, to speak truth, gentlemen “fat and scant o' breath” like myself, it is more advisable to take a carriage and three ("en milor" four !) by the new road to the Hermitage, rather than a carriage and pair to Resina, and thence ponies by the terraced short cut, striking direct upwards through the vine region of Vesuvius to the same point. The terrace ascent is more in character for a mountain adventure, but the carriageroad infinitely more unromantically comfortable, for visitors can now whirl up to the Hermitage as to the door of a post-house on any public highway, instead of climbing over cinders and lava, as we did, on the backs of diminutive ponies. Did I say diminutive ponies? I recal the disparaging word, for, of the sagacity, strength, and endurance of those extraordinary animals, I cannot speak too largely. They were all good ; but of mine own-old, grizzly, and shaggy as he was- I must make mention in terms of special affectionate remembrance. Imagine a man in jockey phrase "sixteen stun”) mounted in an antiquated capacious military saddle, peaked before and behind, upon an animal four and a half feet high (I measured him with my walking-stick); further, conceive of this creature as walking away with one, up terraces of smooth stone, over wrinkles of indurated and contorted lava, among beds of rugged cinders, and round rocky corners, which I can but compare to the short turns from one flight of stairs to another—and all this done without “ start," “stumble,” or “mistake” of any kind. Once or twice, in pure shame at burdening such an animal in places of special ruggedness or difficulty, I dismounted and led him, for which act of mercy I got mercilessly laughed at by the guides, who all assured me that he would carry me in perfect safety ;—and he did so. We were all equally well mounted. Nathless! I abide by my opinion, that, taking into account the severe labour of the ascent of the cone, it is better to leave your carriage at the Hermitage, and on your return roll rapidly down to Naples, rather than ride the best of all possible ponies five miles down hill in the darkness, after a day of fatigue.
The Hermit who in former days kept vigil on the sterile skirt of Vesuvius, in the cell of “Il Salvatore," has long since retreated before the hordes of adventure-hunters who now throng the mountain. If the occupant of the Hermitage were a genuine Eremite, long before he quitted the field his pious soul must have been sore vexed by the continued and growing intrusions upon his “ ancient solitary reign,” as day after day tired and rollicking tourists, roaring for “ Lachryma Christi”— guides squabbling for piastres—and last, and worst of all, beggars (poaching dogs !) rattling their chins* for gain, disturbed his contemplations ;-all these interruptions must have left the poor man much the same kind of quiet as his pasteboard confrère of the cowl enjoys at Vauxhall : and when lady tourists began to find their way to the mountain, and came in mincing and touching tones to solicit leave to bare their pretty little feet, and to change their torn boots and stockings in the cell of the Solitary, we may imagine the horror of the venerable man as first finding utterance in an adaptation of St. Senan's cruel song:
* The pantomime of Neapolitan beggary is curious. They run by your carriage, holding up the forefinger, and calling at intervals, “ Mori di fume !"-a plea which their laughing eye and round bronzed cheek shows to be a lie on the face of it. Then they strike their chins, making their jaws rattle like castanets, to show, I suppose, that their masticating organs are ready, though their meat be not so. The Neapolitan beggar cannot be repulsed effectually by any form of refusal except turning the back of your hand to him; when this is done, he goes away at once.