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Art. V. Italy, a Poem. Part the First. f.cp. 8vo. pp. 164. Price 7s.
THIS volume.contains eighteen sketches,
the following are
, The Descent, Jorasse, Margaret De Tours, The Alps, Como, Bergamo, Italy, Venice, Luigi, St. Mark's Place, The Brides of Venice, Foscari, Arqua, Ginevra, Florence, Don Garzia.
We shall give two entire specimens, leaving them to recom, mend themselves and the volume by the taste, and spirit, and graphical fidelity with which they are executed.
" THE GREAT ST. BERNARD.
• Night was again descending, when my mule,
That all day long had climbed among the clouds,
Stopped, to our mutual joy, at that low door
So near the summit of the Great St. Bernard ;
That door which ever on its hinges moved
To them that knocked, and nightly sends abroad
Ministering spirits. Lying on the watch,
Two dogs of grave demeanour welcomed me;
And a lay-brother of the Hospital,
Who, as we toiled below, had heard by fits
The distant echoes gaining on bis ear,
Came and held fast my stirrup in his hand,
While I alighted.
Long could I have stood,
With a religious awe contemplating
That house, the bighest in the Ancient World,
And placed there for the noblest purposes.
'Twas a rude pile of simplest masonry,
With narrow windows and vast buttresses,
Built to endure the shocks of Time and Chance ;
Yet shewing many a rent, as well it might,
Warred on for ever by the elements,
And in an evil day, nor long ago,
By violent men--when on the mountain-top
The French and Austrian banners met in conflict.
« On the same rock beside it stood the church,
Reft of its cross, not of its sanctity ;
The vesper.bell, for twas the vesper-hour,
Duly proclaiming thro' the wilderness,
“ All ye who hear, wbatever be your work,
Stop for an instarit—move your lips in prayer !"
And, just beneath it in that dreary dale,
If dale it might be called, so near to Heaven,
A little lake, where never fish leaped up,
Lay like a spot of ink amid the snow;
A star, the only one in that small sky,
On its dead surface glimmering. 'Twas a scene
Resembling nothing I had left behind,
As tho' all worldly ties were now dissolved ;-
And, to incline the mind still more to thought,
To thought and sadness, on the eastern shore
Under a beetling cliff stood half in shadow
A lonely chapel destined for the dead,
For such as having wandered from their way,
Had perished miserably. Side by side,
Within they lie, a mournful company,
All in their shrouds, no carth to cover them;
Their features full of life, yet motionless,
In the broad day, nor soon to suffer change,
Tho' the barred windows, barred against the wolf,
Are always open!
* But the Bise blew cold;
And, bidden to a spare but cheerful meal,
I sate among the holy brotherhood
At their long board. The fare indeed was such
As is prescribed on days of abstinence,
But might have pleased a nicer taste than mine,
And thro' the floor came up; an ancient matron
Serving unseen below; while from the roof
(The roof, the floor, the walls of native fir,)
A lamp hung flickering, such as loves to fling
Its partial light on Apostolic heads,
And sheds a grace on all. Theirs Time as yet
Had changed not. Some were almost in the prime;
Nor was a brow o'ercast.' Seen as I saw them,
Ranged round their hearth-stone in a leisure-hour,
They were a simple and a merry race,
Mingling small games of chance with social converse,
And gathering news from all who came that way,
As of some other world. But when the storm
Rose, and the snow rolled on in ocean-billows,
When on his face the experienced traveller fell,
Sheltering his lips and nostrils with his hands,
Then all at once was changed, and sallying forth
Into that blank of nature, they became
Unearthly beings. “ Anselm, higher up
The dog howls loud and long, and now, observe,
Digs with bis feet how eagerly!
Dying or dead, lies buried underneath!
Let us to work! there is no time to lose !
But who descends Mont Velan? 'Tis La Croix.
Away, away! if not, alas, too late,
Homeward he drags an old man and a boy,
Faltering and falling, and but half awakened,
Asking to sleep again.” Such their discourse,' pp. 13-19.
• There is, within three leagues and less of Padua,
(The Paduan student knows it, honours it,)
A lonely tomb-stone in a mountain churchyard;
And I arrived there as the sun declined
Low in the west. The gentle airs, that breathe
Fragrance at eve, were rising, and the birds
Singing their farewel-song-the very song
They sung the night that tomb received a tenant;
When, as alive, clothed in his Canon's habit,
And slowly winding down the narrow path,
He came to rest there. Nobles of the land,
Princes and prelates mingled in his train,
Anxious by any act, while yet they could,
To catch a ray of glory by reflection;
And from that hour have kindred spirits flocked
From distant countries, from the north, the south,
To see where he is laid.
When I descended the impetuous Rhone,
Its vineyards of such great and old renown,
Its castles, each with some romantic tale,
Vanishing fast-the pilot at the stern,
He who had steered so long, standing aloft,
His eyes on the white breakers, and his hands
On what at once served him for oar and rudder,
A huge misshapen plank—the bark itself
Frail and uncouth, launched to return no more,
Such as a shipwrecked man might hope to build,
Urged by the love of home when I descended
Two long, long days, silence, suspense on board,
It was to offer at thy fount, Valclusa,
Entering the arched Cave, to wander where
Petrarch had wandered, in a trance to sit
Where in his peasant-dress he loved to sit,
Musing, reciting-on some rock moss-grown,
Or the fantastic root of some old fig-tree,
That drinks the living waters as they stream
Over their emerald-bed ; and could I now
Neglect to visit Arqua ; where, at last,
When he had done and settled with the world,
When all the illusions of his Youth were fled,
Indulged perhaps too long, cherished too fondly,
He came for the conclusion? Half-way up
He built his house, whence as by stealth he caught,
Among the hills, a glimpse of busy life,
That soothed, not stirred. But knock, and enter in.
This was his chamber. 'Tis as when he left it;
As if he now were busy in his garden.
And this his closet. Here he sate and read.
This was his chair; and in it, unobserved,
Reading or thinking of his absent friends,
He passed away as in a quiet slumber.
Peace to this region ! Peace to those who dwell here !
They know his value-every coming step,
That gathers round the children from their play,
Would tell them if they knew not.-But could aught
Ungentle or ungenerous, spring up
Where he is sleeping; where, and in an age
Of savage warfare and blind bigotry,
He cultured all that could refine, exalt;
Leading to better things ?' pp. 117–21.
Art. VI. Europe, or, a General Survey of the Present Situation of
the Principal Powers; with Conjectures on their Future Prospects.
By a Citizen of the United States. 8vo. pp. 411. London. 1829. 11 F the statesmen who were concerned in getting up the Treaty
of Westpbalia, were to rise from the dead, and to witness, at the present moment, the complete annihilation of the system which it cost them so much trouble and anxiety to construct, they would be strangely at a loss to account for the conduct of their successors. Were the great Earl of Chatham, or Frederick of Prussia, to re-appear on the scenes of their former glory, they would shudder with indignation at the subserviency which has permitted Russia to place herself in an attitude of such appalling menace to the liberties of Europe. The present Writer, whose views seem to be, in general, judicious and impartial, has set the impolicy of this conduct in a strong light; and though there may be somewhat of exaggeration in his
estimate of Muscovite power, yet, there is enough of unquestionable truth to excite the most serious apprehensions. When he affirms that not all Europe combined in opposition will be able to re• sist its progress,' should it assail the independence of other nations, we must be permitted to doubt his infallibility. But when he suggests, that the civilization of the Russian nobility
created a new Macedon in the north of the modern Grecian • commonwealths, and it only wants a Philip to be as fatal to • the liberty of its neighbours as the other,' -he starts a comparison which has so much of the semblance, at least, of truth, as justly to awaken our alarm. Ever since the reign of Peter the Great, the aggrandisement of Russia has been steadily advancing. The command of the Baltic, the Euxine, and the Caspian, the complete subjugation and organization of the Cossacks, the acquisition of Courland, and finally the possession of Finland and Poland, have given her a position of terrible advantage both för attack and defence. We are not yet,
however, so destitute of trust in what we should term Divine Providence, but what modern politicians are accustomed to call the chapter of accidents,' as to ask with the Writer before us,- When Constantinople shall be a Russian port, and • Persia a Russian province, what will become of the British
empire in India, and on the ocean ?
This well-written volume takes a view of the present state of politics in Europe, in reference both to the general system and to the internal arrangements of single states. The Author's sentiments are liberal but moderate. After having gone the whole round of his appointed survey, he finishes, as might have been expected, by claiming for his own federal republic, the ne plus ultra of enlightened government. It is, however, obvious enough, that the experiment has not yet been fairly tried; that the system which may be sufficient for an infant or a rising commonwealth, may fail in its application to a more dense and complicated state of society. The inconveniencies of their scheme of association have never yet pressed upon the American population; and it remains to be seen, whether their institutions are as well suited to the difficulties, as they have been found effectual in the ordinary transactions of general administration.
The internal state of France has varied since this work was written; and much of what might be correct at the date of its completion in Sept. 1821, is now inapplicable to the highhanded ultraism of the French government. We agree, notwithstanding this, with the Writer, in the view which he takes of the auspicious situation of our neighbours, on the whole, though there are many circumstances which might justify less favourable prognostics. He observes, and justly, that France is the arena on which the two great European interests--the liberal and the servile—may be considered as fairly confronted, The sentiment of the nation is evidently with the former; and if there were no other motive for jealousy of the emigrant party, the state of landed possessions would be amply sufficient. Property must change hands,' was the maxim of the Revolution; and its restoration is the very natural but very impolitic petition of the old proprietors. Hence a continual feeling of irritation in the minds of both parties; and hence the antipathy, with which a large and formidable body in the nation regards the men who surround the throne. The French press is no longer in the same state as when this work was composed; but the Author's sentiments respecting the principal writers who influence the public mind, are equally applicable to the present moment. While M. de Cazes was in power, the press was substantially free, and the respectable journals on either side Vol. XVIII. N. S.