BETA

ST. STEPHEN’S.

PART THIRD.

While States yet flourish, from the soil unseen1
Mounts up the sap which gives the leaf its green2
Mounts and descends through each expanding shoot,3
And knits the soaring summit to the root.4
Thus, till the life-spring of a race expires,5
The land brings forth the great men it requires ;6
Duly as Nature, with returning springs,7
Renews the crowns of her own forest kings.8
And Pitt and War are past ; a gentler time ;9
Peace on the world, and Canning in his prime.10
Beautiful shape, if lesser than the men11
Who overshadowed his young growth—what then ?12
Those tall old giants now were out of place13
Politer days need elegance and grace :14
Of lesser stature, but of comelier form,15
He rides no whirlwind, he directs no storm ;16
But storms and whirlwinds are not in the air ;17
Consult the glass—Slight Changes, Showery, Fair !18
The throne and Altar safe from Paine and Clootz ;19
In times so civil, giants would be brutes.20
Though then, the Many were, in fact, the Few ;21
Some ‘liberal doctrines’ are discussed, ’ tis true22
Commercial Freedom,—not at once too much,23
But that which Huskisson receives as such ;24
Emancipation,—not as yet in reach,25
But still a glorious question—for a speech ;26
Reform in Parliament,—a coarse affront27
To common sense—the rubbish of a Hunt :28
Over such themes, all telling, urgent none,29
Skimm’d with rare wit Etona’s brilliant son.30
Mark well his time, or else the man you wrong31
To times of danger earnest men belong :32
Is the sea boisterous—must the storm be braved ?33
All hands to work, the vessel shall be saved :34
Are waves becalmed—spreads tamely safe the way ?35
The captain treats the sailors to a play.36
Burke spoke for abstracts in the good and fit,37
Fox for all humankind, for England Pitt ;38
None of those causes much required defence39
When Canning culled his flowers of eloquence ;40
Each of the three had self-esteem and pride41
Canning had these, and vanity beside ;42
And (though no mind less false or insincere)43
Schemed for the gaze, and plotted for the cheer.44
Thus while beneath a weakness which, we own,45
The noblest natures have as largely known,46
Courage and honour dwelt immovable,47
His charming genius missed the master-spell48
A vague distrust pursued his glittering way,49
And feared self-seeking in that self-display.50
Ev’n in his speeches, at this distance read,51
Much finely thought seems superfinely said ;52
Something theatric, which the admirer damps,53
Smells—of the lamp ? no, scholar ; of the lamps !54
Read him not, ’ tis unfair ; behold him rise ;55
And hear him speak ! —the House all ears and eyes ;56
His one sole rival—Brougham—has just sate down,57
Closing a speech that might have won the crown,58
If English Members took their oaths by Styx,59
And the Whig front bench were the Athenian Pnyx.60
Canning is up ! the beautiful bright face !61
The front of power, the attitude of grace !62
Now every gesture in decorous rest,63
Now sweeps the action, now dilates the crest ;64
And the voice, clear as a fife’s warlike thrill,65
Rings through the lines, half dulcet and half shrill.66
Fair was his nature, judged by its own laws ;67
Say it coquets to win the gaze it draws68
Views every strife in which its lance it wields69
More as gay lists than solemn battle-fields70
Sports in bright pastime with its own high powers,71
And tricks out serious laurel with slight flowers : —72
Granted, yet still, when candidly surveyed,73
The jouster’s art is not the huckster’s trade ;74
And love of praise is not the lust of gain ;75
And at the worst, repeat it, he was vain.76
But what rich life—what energy and glow !77
Cordial to friend, and chivalrous to foe !78
Concede all foibles harshness would reprove ;79
And what choice attributes remain to love !80
See him the Arthur of his dazzling ring81
Wit’s various knighthood round its poet-king ;82
Each from the chief, whose genius types a race,83
Catching some likeness in reflected grace.84
Ward, with coy genius critically fine,85
Afraid to warm, yet studying rules to shine,86
Neat in an eloquence of words well placed87
A trim town-garden, in the best trim taste.88
Grant, linking powers the readiest and most rare,89
With one wise preference for an easy chair ;90
Deliberate Huskisson, with front austere91
Lit into sunshine by the laugh of Frere ;92
Accomplished Wellesley, equally at home93
In Ind or Hellas, Westminster or Rome,94
Vigorous in action, elegant in speech,95
Scholar and statesman, Lælius-like in each ;96
Supreme in that which Cicero calls ‘ The Urbane ; *97
Graceful as Canning, and perhaps as vain.98
In stalwart contrast, large of heart and frame,99
Destined for power, in youth more bent on fame,100
Sincere, yet deeming half the world a sham,101
Mark the rude handsome manliness of Lamb !102

* Cic., Brutus, 46.
None then foresaw his rise ; ev’n now but few103
Guess right the man so many thought they knew ;104
Gossip accords him attributes like these105
A sage good-humour based on love of ease,106
A mind that most things undisturb’dly weighed,107
Nor deemed their metal worth the clink it made.108
Such was the man, in part, to outward show ;109
Another man lay coiled from sight below110
As mystics tell us that this fleshly form111
Enfolds a subtler which escapes the worm,112
And is the true one which the Maker’s breath113
Quickened from dust, and privileged from death.114
His was a restless, anxious intellect ;115
Eager for truth, and pining to detect ;116
Each ray of light that mind can cast on soul,117
Chequering its course, or shining from its goal,118
Each metaphysic doubt—each doctrine dim119
Plato or Pusey—had delight for him.120
His mirth, though genial, came by fits and starts121
The man was mournful in his heart of hearts.122
Oft would he sit or wander forth alone ;123
Sad—why ? I know not ; was it ever known ?124
Tears came with ease to those ingenuous eyes125
A verse, if noble, bade them nobly rise.126
Hear him discourse, you’d think he’d scarcely felt ;127
No heart more facile to arouse or melt ;128
High as a knight’s in some Castilian lay,129
And tender as a sailor’s in a play.130
Thus was the Being with his human life131
At variance—noiseless, for he veiled the strife ;132
The Being serious, gentle, shy, sincere,133
The life St. Stephen’s, and a court’s career ;134
Trained first in salons gay with roué wits,135
And light with morals the reverse of Pitt’s.136
As England’s chief, let others judge his claim,137
And strike just balance between praise and blame ;138
I from the Minister draw forth the man,139
Such as I saw before his power began,140
And glancing o’er the noblest of our time,141
Who won the heights it wears out life to climb,142
On that steep table-land which, viewed afar,143
Appears so proud a neighbour of the star,144
And, reach’d, presents dead levels in its rise145
More dimm’d than valleys are by vapoury skies,146
I mark not one concealing from mankind147
A larger nature or a lovelier mind,148
Or leaving safer from his own gay laugh149
That faith in good which is the soul’s best half.150
There, formed to please, young Temple we behold151
Young for the man who never will be old152
Most grac’d disciple in that school of thought153
And style which Canning rather led than taught ;154
The Eclectic School of thought, which flirts with many,155
Too worldly-wise to wed itself to any ;156
Free as it lists to differ or agree157
With Locke or Leibnitzs the case may be ;158
Its change no sect can inconsistent call ;159
It shares with each enough to club with all.160
The style—that lifts the subject into play,161
Now firmly grasps it, and now jerks away :162
When some keen argument would foil reply,163
The fencer swerves, and lets the thrust go by164
Cries with a smile, “ But empty air you pierce,”165
Turns the quick wrist, and presto ! —pinks in tierce.166
To school and style—to all he takes from art167
Temple adds natural charm ; he has a heart ;168
He lets you mark its swell, and hear its beat ;169
From yours it takes, to yours returns the heat ;170
Without a mask it looks forth from his face,171
Gives to each mode a vivifying grace ;172
Bluster seems spirit, and a trivial jest173
The cordial burst of sunshine in the breast.174
Worthy of love, in him is never viewed175
The statesman’s vulgarest vice, ingratitude :176
Whate’er the means by which he seeks his end,177
He ne’er to Fortune sacrificed a friend.178
Behind this light group, scholarlike, yet gay,179
Stands thy pale shade, mysterious Castlereagh !180
Note that harmonious tragic mask of face,181
Rigid in marble stillness ; not a trace182
In that close lip, so bland, and yet so cold183
In that smooth brow, so narrow, yet so bold,184
Of fancy, passion, or the play of mind ;185
But Fate has pass’d there, and has left behind186
The imperial look of one who rules mankind.187
They much, in truth, misjudge him, who explain188
His graceless language by a witless brain.189
So firm his purpose, so resolved his will,190
It almost seemed a craft to speak so ill191
As if, like Cromwell, flashing towards his end192
Through cloudy verbiage none could comprehend.193
Subtle and keen as some old Florentine,194
And as relentless in disguised design,195
But courteous with his Erin’s native ease,196
And strengthening sway by culturing arts that please ;197
Stately in quiet high-bred self-esteem,198
Fair as the Lovelace of a lady’s dream,199
Fearless in look, in thought, in word, and deed200
These gifts may fail to profit States ! —Agreed ;201
But when men have them, States they always lead,202
And much in him, as Time shall melt away203
The mists which dim all names too near our day,204
Shall stand forth large ; far ends in Pitt’s deep thought,205
By him, if rudely, were securely wrought ;206
And though, trained early in too harsh a school,207
He guessed not how the needful bonds of rule208
Become the safer when the cautious hand,209
As grows a people, lets its swathes expand,210
He served, confirmed, enlarged his country’s sway ;211
Ireland forgives him not—Three Kingdoms may.212
There is an eloquence which aims at talk213
A muse, though wingèd, that prefers to walk ;214
Its easy graces so content the eye,215
You’d fear to lose it if it sought to fly ;216
Light and yet vigorous, fearless yet well-bred,217
As once it moved in Tierney’s airy tread.218
Carelessly, as a wit about the town219
Chats at your table some huge proser down,220
He lounged into debate, just touch’d a foe,—221
Laughter and cheers ’ —A touch, sir ? what a blow !222
Declaiming never ; with a placid smile223
He bids you wonder why you are so vile ;224
One hand politely pointing out your crime,225
The other—in his pocket all the time.226
Many since then affect that easy way227
The Conversational’s the vogue to-day ;228
But ease, the surest sign of strength in men,229
Is to the oration hard as to the pen.230
That talk which art as eloquence admits231
Must be the talk of thinkers and of wits232
A living stream, which breaks from golden mines,233
And by its overflow reveals their signs,234
And not the wish-wash that, from five to eight,235
Lags in small Lethès, through the dead debate.236
Who rises now, with an audacious grace ?237
What tall pre-Adam of our trousered race,238
Breech’d and top-booted,—the revered costume239
Which Gilray gave our grandsires in their bloom ?240
And hark ! he speaks ; you cheer him, yet you find241
His dress is less old-fashioned than his mind.242
Fine, nervous, sturdy, free-born British—rant ;243
Well, pass the word, some fustian, but not cant.244
No new sham-bitters froth that heady scorn,245
But hot old amber brewed by Parson Horne,246
Sincere if wayward, thoroughbred if bold,247
Survey the well-born demagogue of old ;248
Too rich to bribe, and much too proud for power,249
And as to fear—a fico for the Tower !250
In youth more popular than Fox ; in age251
When Burdett spoke, few actors more the rage.252
None gifted more to please the eye and ear,253
The form so comely and the voice so clear.254
Pitt’s surly squires resigned their port, and ran255
To hear the dangerous but large-acred man ;256
And trimmers shrank into yet smaller space,257
Awed by such scorn of tyranny and place.258
Some speak above their knowledge, some below ;259
What Burdett knew (not much), he let you know ;260
His speech ran over each Æolian chord,261
So vaguely pleasing that it never bored.262
Nor was it rude ; whatever fear it woke263
In breasts patrician, a patrician spoke ;264
And if no lettered stores it could display,265
Still over letters it would pause and play,266
Surprise an elegance, conceive a trope,267
And pose logicians with a line from Pope.268
Or young or old, no patriot more alone269
Whigs claim him not, and Radicals disown.270
Ye modern liberal Benthamitic crew,271
Nought had that Gracchus in top-boots with you !272
Talk not to him of moral revolutions,273
Of normal schools, mechanics’ institutions ;274
The heads of valiant freemen should be thick275
Your puny scholar scarce can stand a brick.276
Talk not of means against intimidation,277
And secret votes to womanise the nation ;278
Freemen are those who, every threat defying,279
Fight to the poll while cabbage-stalks are flying.280
With what amaze the stout old rebel saw281
His Irish rival break, yet shirk, the law,282
All patriot rules portentously reverse,283
Turn Freedom’s cap into Fortunio’s purse !284
Bid Mike and Paddy, much bewildered, know285
Who would be free, themselves must strike the blow : ”286
Your pence to-day, your liberties next year,287
Erin-go bragh ! —I thank you for that cheer ; ”288
The bargain struck ; if aught remains to strike,289
The blow descends on Paddy and on Mike ;290
Ev’n thus a chess-king, castled in his nook,291
Plays out his pawns and skulks behind a rook.292
The Briton saw, and felt his hour was come ;293
His stout heart quail’d, his manly voice was dumb ;294
And as old Cleon, in the Athenian play,295
Snubbed by the sausage-vender, skulks away,296
Sir Francis left the Demus he had led,297
And Whigs installed the sausage-man instead.298
Peace to his memory ! grant him rash and vain,299
’Twas the heart’s blood that rose to clog the brain ;300
No trading demagogue, in him we scan301
That pith of nations, the bold natural man,302
Whose will may vibrate as the pulses throb,303
Now scare a monarch, now despise a mob ;304
Dauntless alike to prop the State or shock,305
To fire the Capitol or leap the Rock.306
But not to Erin’s coarser chief deny,307
Large if his faults, Time’s large apology ;308
Child of a land that ne’er had known repose,309
Our rights and blessings, Ireland’s wrongs and woes ;310
Hate, at St. Omer’s into caution drill’d,311
In Dublin law-courts subtilised and skill’d ;312
Hate in the man, whatever else appear313
Fickle or false, was steadfast and sincere.314
But with that hate a nobler passion dwelt315
To hate the Saxon was to love the Celt.316
Had that fierce railer sprung from English sires,317
His creed a Protestant’s, his birth a squire’s,318
No blander Pollio whom our Bar affords,319
Had graced the woolsack and cajoled ‘ my Lords.’320
Pass by his faults, his art be here allowed,321
Mighty as Chatham, give him but a crowd ;322
Hear him in senates, second-rate at best,323
Clear in a statement, happy in a jest ;324
Sought he to shine, then certain to displease ;325
Tawdry yet coarse-grained, tinsel upon frieze :326
His Titan strength must touch what gave it birth ;327
Hear him to mobs, and on his mother earth !328
Once to my sight the giant thus was given,329
Wall’d by wide air, and roof’d by boundless heaven ;330
Beneath his feet the human ocean lay,331
And wave on wave flowed into space away.332
Methought no clarion could have sent its sound333
Even to the centre of the hosts around ;334
And as I thought rose the sonorous swell,335
As from some church-tower swings the silvery bell.336
Aloft and clear, from airy tide to tide,337
It glided, easy as a bird may glide ;338
To the last verge of that vast audience sent,339
It played with each wild passion as it went ;340
Now stirred the uproar, now the murmur still’d,341
And sobs or laughter answered as it will’d.342
Then did I know what spells of infinite choice,343
To rouse or lull, has the sweet human voice ;344
Then did I seem to seize the sudden clue345
To the grand troublous Life Antique—to view346
Under the rock-stand of Demosthenes,347
Mutable Athens heave her noisy seas.348
Eno’ of Cleons ; in his later day,349
Instead of Pericles, accept a Grey.350
O’er the strong manhood of his hardy sense351
Flowed in loose pomp a regal eloquence :352
Methinks I see him yet, the stately man,353
With form erect, and front Olympian ;354
With the full sweep of the imperial hand,355
That seem’d to stretch a sceptre o’er the land ;356
And the deep quiet of those lustrous eyes,357
Which lightened, Jove-like, but from tranquil skies,358
Some stint large forces to a single theme359
Touch the one jet, and upward leaps the stream ;360
Turn off the tap-cock, and the stream is gone,361
And where the fountain sparkled stands a stone.362
Alas ! what springs of ancient inspiration363
Dried in the ink that sign’d Emancipation !364
There, in that Askalon of old debate,365
What generous ardour and what pious hate !366
There each great leader found his amplest field ;367
There each crude novice learn’d his arms to wield ;368
There from the Muse young Russell lured away,369
First dared the dragons he has lived to slay ;370
There Copley’s pennon streamed against the gale ;371
There Brougham, great Talus, plied his iron flail ;372
There lightened Horner’s sword, soon sheathed for ever ;373
There Peel, decorous with his Median quiver,374
Though to wound either side humanely loth,375
Shot each in turn, and put an end to both.376
But one there was, to whom with joint consent377
All yield the crown in that high argument :378
Mark where he sits ; gay flutterers round the Bar,379
Gathering like moths attracted by the star ;380
In vain the ballet and the ball invite,381
Ev’n beaux look serious—Plunkett speaks to-night.382
Mark where he sits, his calm brow downward bent,383
Listening, revolving, passive, yet intent.384
Revile his cause, his lips vouchsafe no sneer ;385
Defend it—still from him there comes no cheer386
No sign without of what he feels or thinks,387
Within, slow fires are hardening iron links.388
Now one glance round, now upward turns the brow,389
Hush’d every breath ; he rises—mark him now !390
No grace in feature, no command in height,391
Yet his whole presence fills and awes the sight ;392
Wherefore ? you ask ; I can but guide your guess393
Man has no majesty like earnestness :394
His that rare warmth—collected central heat395
As if he strives to check the heart’s loud beat ;396
Tame strong conviction and indignant zeal,397
And leave you free to think as he must feel.398
Tones slow, not loud, but deep-drawn from the breast,399
Action unstudied, and at times supprest ;400
But as he neared some reasoning’s massive close,401
Strained o’er his bending head, his strong arms rose,402
And sudden fell, as if from falsehood torn,403
Some grey old keystone, and hurl’d down with scorn.404
His diction that which most exalts debate,405
Terse and yet smooth, not florid, yet ornate ;406
Prepared enough ; long-meditated fact,407
By words at will, made sinuous and compact ;408
With gems the Genius of the Lamp must win,409
Not scatter’d loose, but welded firmly in,410
So that each ornament the most display’d411
Deck’d not the sheath, but harden’d more the blade ;412
Your eye scarce caught the dazzle of the show,413
Ere shield and cuirass crash beneath the blow.414
Far different he, who, in a later day,415
Shot o’er those floors a sportive meteor ray,416
The glittering wisp of that morass Repeal,417
Delighting all, convincing no one, Shiel, 418
The Kean of orators ; with equal art419
He cons a whisper and prepares a start420
What fire, what freshness ! —why suspend the praise ?421
Does he believe one syllable he says ?422
Perhaps ! who knows ? —it is the old debate ;423
Do actors feel the rage they simulate ?424
Some do, some not ; Siddons was cool enough425
To pause from murder for a pinch of snuff ;426
Macready’s Tell shoots just above his son,427
And his hand trembles when the play is done ;428
But both, however moved by what they act,429
Alike are honest when they come to fact ;430
And so was Shiel ; or feign’d or felt his rage,431
Yo heart more genuine beat—when off the stage.432
Fancy is ever popular—all like433
The sheeted flame which shines, but does not strike ;434
And Shiel had these fine merits above all,435
Point without sting, and satire without gall ;436
A courteous irony so free from scoff,437
The grateful victim felt himself let off.438
Where worst O’Connell, there was Shiel the best439
He understood the audience he addrest ;440
Declaimed, not bullied ; rallied, not abused,441
His angriest word a Hotspur had excused.442
St. Stephen takes not from St. Giles his art,443
But is a true good gentleman at heart.444
Some speakers are, who, wanting warmth or skill,445
Speak, as mere speakers (hush, a secret ! ), ill ;446
Yet gain a station that we all revere,447
Proud to possess them, tho’ not pleased to hear.448
All wealth is rank—all wealth of every kind ;449
And these men are the millionaires of mind.450
Mid such, precedence Mackintosh may claim ;451
His style was lecture, erudite and tame ;452
Polemics theorised in so dry a shape,453
His kindest listeners gulped them with a gape ;454
While, in strange contrast to the frigid sense,455
The toiling gesture’s random vehemence.456
The chilly audience eyed the swinging arm,457
And envying sigh’d, “ Himself he can keep warm.”458
But for the few who heard the lecture close,459
No richer glebes have e’er emerged from snows ;460
Each own’d his duty its reward had won,461
And felt relieved to think that duty done.462
Not thus Macaulay ; in that gorgeous mind463
Colour and warmth the genial light combined ;464
Learning but glowed into his large discourse,465
To heat its mass and vivify its force.466
The effects he studied by the words were made,467
More than the art with which the words were said,468
Perhaps so great an orator was ne’er469
So little of an actor ; half the care470
Giv’n to the speaking which he gave the speech471
Had raised his height beyond all living reach ;472
Ev’n as it was, a master’s power he proved473
In the three tests—he taught, he charm’d, he moved.474
Few compass one ; whate’er their faults may be,475
Great orators alone achieve the three.476
Best in his youth, when strength grew doubly strong,477
As the swift passion whirl’d its blaze along ;478
In riper years his blow less sharply fell,479
Looser the muscle, tho’ as round its swell ;480
The dithyramb sobered to didactic flow,481
And words as full of light, had less of glow.482
Take then his best ; and first the speaker view,483
The bold broad front paled to the scholar’s hue,484
And eye abstracted in its still, clear blue.485
Firm on the floor he sets his solid stand,486
Rare is his gesture, scarcely moves a hand ;487
Full and deep-mouth’d, as from a cave profound,488
Comes his strong utterance with one burst of sound,489
Save where it splits into a strange wild key,490
Like hissing winds that struggle to be free.491
And at the close, the emotions, too represt492
By the curb’d action, o’erfatigue the breast,493
And the voice breaks upon the captive ear,494
And by its failure, proves the rage sincere.495
His style not essay, if you once admit496
Speech as sense spoken, essay as sense writ ; *497

* However carefully prepared, Lord Macaulay’s parliamentary speeches were
composed as orations, not as essays. Indeed, many years ago, before he went to
India, he observed to the auther of the lines which render so inadequate a tribute
to his honoured name, that he himself never committed to writing words intended
to be spoken—upon the principle, that, in the process of writing, the turn of dic-
tion, and even the mode of argument, might lose the vivacity essential to effective
oration, and, in fact, fall into essay. His wonderful powers of memory enabled
him to compose, correct, and retain, word by word, the whole of a speech, how-
ever long, without the aid of the pen. The author does not know whether Lord
Macaulay continued, at a later period, to hold a theory on oratorical composition
contradicted by the practical success with which orators still more skilful, such
as Lord Brougham and Mr. Canning, contrived to make the parts of their speeches
which had been written with great care, not only dovetail into other parts
delivered extempore, but appear bursts of sudden inspiration.
It was certainly, however, the brilliant art with which his speeches were com-
posed upon oratorical principles, both as to arrangement of argument and liveli-
ness phraseology, that gave them that prodigious effect which they (at least the
earlier ones) produced upon a mixed audience, and entitles this eminent personage
to the fame of a very considerable orator. I may be pardoned for insisting upon
this, since, in the various obituary notices of Lord Macaulay, there has appeared
to me a disposition to depreciate his success as an orator, while doing the amplest
justice to his merits as a writer. He was certainly not a debater, nor did he ever
attempt to be so ; but in the higher art of sustained, elaborate oration, no man in
our age has made a more vivid effect upon an audience. His whole turn of mind
and of style was indeed eminently oratorical ; and it might be much more correctly
said of him, that his essays were orations, than that his orations were essays. His
chief merits in written compositions, are those of a man who has a large and mis-
cellaneous audience constantly in his thought. The orator must never bore ; he
must never be obscure ; he must never seem hesitating in his assertions ; he must
not be minutely refining, nor metaphysically subtle, in his philosophical deduc-
tions ; —all the knowledge he thinks fit to press into his service he must seek to
render clear to the commonest understanding ; all his imagination must be em-
ployed, not in creating new worlds of thought, but in bringing thoughts the most
generally admitted as sound into brilliant light. The rapid style of short sen-
tences, in bold links of sense, a quick succession of pictures, in strong outline and
vivid colour—these students in general would probably admit to be the elements
of oratorical composition, according to classic precepts and models ; and in these
will be found the most striking beauties of Lord Macaulay as a writer. Were this
the place or the moment, it might not be difficult to show that the marked preva-
Not essay—rather, argued declamation,498
Prepared, ’ tis true, but always as oration.499
A royal Eloquence, that paid in, in state,500
A ceremonious visit to debate.501
As unlike Burke as mind could be to mind,502
He took one view—the broadest sense could find503
Never forsook it from the first to last,504
And on that venture all his treasure cast.505
Just as each scene throughout a drama’s plan506
Unfolds the purpose which the first began,507
His speaking dramatised one strong plain thought,508
To fuller light by each link’d sentence brought,509
A home-truth deck’d—where, led but by the star,510
Burke, sailing on, discovered truths afar.511
He triumph’d thus where learning fails the most,512
Perplexed no college, but harangued a host513
Minds the most commonplace rejoiced to view514
How much of knowledge went to things they knew.515
From ground most near their own trite household walls,516
His Lamp’s kind Genius raised its magic halls.517
Thus much in proof of his least-granted claim,518
What rests is read ! —who reads will guard his fame.519
If in his writing far more than his speech520
His zeal mislead us where his lore should teach,521
Few can take part in England’s stormy life,522
Nor bound their scope to what may serve their strife :523
Nay, even the calmest schoolman rears his torch524
So that its shadow dims the adverse porch.525
Measured by those himself admits as tall,526
Or lifts on stilts if others deem them small,527
The favour’d priesthood of that famous sect,528
Which, leading many, keep themselves select529
And in their porphyry chamber, I admit,530
Have rear’d their own blood-royalty of wit ; —531
Compared, in short, with Whigs, his chosen race,532
Where amongst them shall we assign his place ?533
In that rare gift—few gifts more rare in men534
The twofold eloquence of voice and pen,535

lence of these dazzling and effective qualities almost necessitates the sacrifice of
other merits which are foreign to the oratorical school of composition, but which
have their proper place in critical essay and judicial history. But this inquiry is
scarcely for our generation. The conquests of so great a genius must receive the
sanction of time, before the national jealousy will permit a close survey of their
boundaries.
Brougham as a speaker has more strength and sweep,536
Burke as a writer is more grave and deep ;537
But Brougham, as writer, less his strength has proved ;538
And Burke, as speaker, less his audience moved.539
Nor Burke nor Brougham to Whigs we wholly cede,540
For Brougham has stray’d from, Burke renounced their creed ;541
But this bright partisan was all their own,542
His pomp of laurel in their soil was grown ;543
To guard their strongholds he directs his toils,544
And to their tombs he dedicates his spoils.545
This given to party,—what to England, say,546
Left to endure, when parties fade away ? —547
To her young sons the model of a life,548
Mild in its calm, majestic in its strife ;549
To her rich language blocks of purest ore,550
To her grand blazon one proud quartering more !551
Happy the man revered for plain good sense,552
Perhaps the sole unenvied excellence !553
Dulness his wisdom, wit his worth shall own,554
The first ne’er puzzled, nor the last outshone ;555
Thus to his shore floats every vagrant waif,556
And if but well born England calls him “ safe.”557
So Whig or Tory, each with pride installs558
Archons in Ponsonbys and Percevals559
Leaders not brisk eno’ to be unsteady,560
Nor yet so slow but what they can be ready :561
Such plain good sense, no sense could be more plain,562
Seem’d crown’d in person during Althorpe’s reign563
A reign as sovereign both o’er dunce and wit,564
As Genius gave in right divine to Pitt.565
But then that sense, if plain, was wondrous good566
Precious the grain, tho’ common seem’d the wood.567
And, too, that sense by Fancy so undeckt,568
Took a strange grace from our own charm’d respect.569
For the mild image of benignant worth ;570
Honour as true as ever said to Earth,571
Confide ; ’ inbred urbanity as mild572
As e’er disarm’d the foe on which it smil’d,573
Soothing all strife, yet yielding no belief574
These were the jewels in his crown of Chief.575
Long may such gifts o’er verbal arts prevail,576
For in their failing England’s self shall fail.577
A different woof, but still of English stuff,578
As plain, as honest, mueh more hard and rough,579
In Bentinck, dignified a style uncouth,580
Made pride seem spirit, and rude language truth.581
All have their dross ; —thro’ his there largely ran582
The genuine metal of an earnest man ;583
One of those natures in which none suspect584
The latent heat of heart and intellect,585
Till in the atmosphere of common ire586
At wrongs in common flashes out their fire,587
The mass—expanding as the flames escape,588
Takes from mere warmth new character, new shape.589
Thus by no selfish anger roused to strife,590
The whole Man rose transform’d from his old life ;591
The lounging member seldom in his place,592
And then, with thoughts remote upon a race,593
Stung into sympathy with others, blends594
His life with theirs, and ease for even ends.595
Each task by which industrious toil supplies596
What culture lacks or native bent denies,597
Conscience itself imposes ; —in his creed,598
Who shuns one labour is unfit to lead.599
Thus, victim of his own remorseless zeal,600
Life, overwound, snapt sudden at the wheel,601
And the same grief which England gives the brave602
Slain at their post, did homage to his grave.603
To me there’s something bordering on the great604
In him who labours—not for self : —the State,605
In its caprice, may give him no reward ;606
Perhaps he bores, and is not born a lord.607
The House may cough—his voice no coughs can drown ;608
Reports cut short—no Press can cut him down.609
Still he toils on,—for what ?  To be of use,610
To prune a tax, or weed up an abuse.611
Each hour for rest, for home, for health to grudge.612
Unpaid, a servant, and unthank’d, a drudge ;613
And his work done, sink fameless in the tomb :614
Such men have worth—nine such might make a Hume ?615
Tho’ Bar and Senate are so near akin,616
Our Senate’s ear great Lawyers seldom win.617
In truth, St. Stephen grudges every knight618
The spurs he earns in other fields of fight.619
Erskine ? —too femininely vain of fame ;620
Wetherell ? —too rabid ; Scarlett ? —much too tame.621
In fine, a law yer’s copiousness is such,622
Each has a something for the House too much.623
Exceptions are ; rough Dunning split the ear,624
Wedg’d in his logic, and tore forth a cheer.625
Bland Murray ruled their Lordships with a sway626
Scarce less than Lyrdhurst’s lofty sense to-day,627
Hush’d were the benches when, with careless ease,628
With accents matchless for melodious keys,629
With words the choicest, that seem’d strung by chance,630
Cockburn’s frank mind reveal’d its large expanse.631
Still Whiteside’s genius charms both foes and friends,632
So headlong force with sparkling fancy blends ;633
As torrents flash the more their rush descends.634
Still when Cairns rises, tho’ at dawn of day,635
The sleepers wake, and feel rejoiced to stay,636
As his clear reasonings in light strength arise637
Like Doric shafts admitting lucent skies.638
But these are living, and their statues wait639
Yet for the pedestal. Walhalla’s gate640
Opes only for the Dead ! —What hand unknown641
Shall carve for Brougham’s vast image the grand throne ?642
Back to our bounds !
—Who heard and can forget
643
Mellifluous Follett ?  Yet I hear him—yet,644
Plaintive and softly deep, his tones enthral645
Reason and heart ; in later days, of all646
The Master of Persuasion. Sterner arms647
He wielded not ; his weapons were like charms.648
Nor wit, nor passion, nor embellish’d phrase,649
Nor jests that stab, nor fancies that amaze ;650
But ere three words were spoken, to your soul651
The irresistible enchanter stole.652
One sovereign gift was his—he ruled by it ;653
’Twas that which gave autocracy to Pitt654
A quick electric sympathy which ran655
Thro’ the whole audience forth from the whole man ;656
He seem’d in all to place an equal trust,657
Justice his aim,—what Englishman not just ?658
The ennobling spirit in himself appeal’d659
To that true nobleness which, oft conceal’d,660
Still in our Senate represents our race,661
And is the guardian genius of the place.662
Few, who at ease their Members’ speeches read,663
Guess the hard life of members who succeed ;664
Pass by the waste of youthful golden days,665
And the dread failure of the first essays666
Grant that the earlier steeps and sloughs are past,667
And Fame’s broad highway stretches smooth at last ;668
Grant the success, and now behold the pains :669
Eleven to three—Committee upon Drains !670
From three to five—self-commune and a chop ;671
From five to dawn, a bill to pass or stop ;672
Which, stopt or pass’d, leaves England much the same.673
Alas for genius staked in such a game !674
When as ‘ the guerdon’ in the grasp appears,675
Comes the blind Fury with the abhorred shears.”676
Farewell, fine humorist, finer reasoner still,677
Lively as Luttrell, logical as Mill,678
Lamented Buller ; just as each new hour679
Knit thy stray forces into steadfast power,680
Death shut thy progress from admiring eyes,681
And gave thy soul’s completion to the skies ;682
More richly gifted, tho’ to him denied683
Ev’n thine imperfect honours, Winthrop* died ;684
Died—scarce a promise of his youth redeem’d685
And never youth more bright in promise seem’d.686
Granta beheld him with such loving eyes687
Lift the light lance that struck at every prize ;688
What the last news ?—the medal Praed has won ;689
What the last joke ?—Praed’s epigram or pun ;690
And every week that club-room, famous then,†691
Where striplings settled questions spoilt by men,692
When grand Macaulay sate triumphant down,693
Heard Praed’s reply, and long’d to halve the crown.694
Yet in St. Stephen’s this bright creature fail’d695
Yes, but o’er failure had he not prevail’d,696
If his that scope in time which victory needs ?697
Fame is a race, he who runs on succeeds.698
True in all contests—in the Senate’s most ;699
There but small way till half a life is lost :700
Long years a name the Public scarcely knows,701
From roots occult unnoticed grows and grows,702

* Winthrop Praed.
† The Union Debating Society of Cambridge.
Till inch by inch it widens into space,703
Towers o’er the grove and suns itself—in Place.704
But ’ tis not only youth that dies too soon,705
An eve may close regretted more than noon ;706
And England felt what light of temperate day707
Faded from earth when Pret had pass’d away.708
Soft,” cries a friend, “ o’er smould’ring fires you go ;709
Describe the Orator ; the Statesman—no ;710
Suppress his deeds—enlarge on his discourse ! ”711
A centaur, friend, is man as well as horse ;712
And paint a horse as ably as you can,713
It is no centaur, if you-add not man.714
In Peel (and thus his main success was won)715
Statesman and Orator were blent in one ;716
His genius, firm in each ascent it tries,717
Like Virgil’s verse, walks highest, but not flies.”*718
Powers strong by nature, and by culture skill’d,719
In few more various, were in none so drill’d ;720
Voice rare in volume and sonorous force,721
Words free of flow as rivers in their course ;722
Manner, form, feature, such as well befit723
The Hall whose elders yet remember’d Pitt ;724
Scholastic lore, and taste refined and pure,—725
With half these gifts much smaller men secure726
The fame that crowns the Orator ; —take Shiel !727
Less than the Orator and more was Peel728
Perhaps his fault was want of self-escape ;729
His cautious mind seem’d consciously to drape730
Its formal toga round its decent shape ;731
Yet in such fault, if fault it be, there lay732
The subtle secret of his wondrous sway ;733
Men view’d his temperance as the proof of health,734
And want of show seem’d modesty in wealth.735
Nor think his speech was merely prudent sense736
It had its own artistic eloquence ;737
Vigorous when brief, majestic when verbose,738
In statement ample, and in answer close ;739
But so the speech was with the speaker blent,740
That his own fame was its best ornament.741
Turn to the Statesman, and in him behold742
The man at once most timid and most bold ;743
At each new thought he paused, and feared, and trembled,744
And while he doubted, to himself dissembled.745

* Cowley.
But when conviction was from doubt evolved,746
It fill’d, it ruled him, and he stood resolved,747
Prepared for ills the bravest dread to see,748
As is the Turk for what the fates decree ;749
And both their courage and its causes sum750
In the same formula— “ The hour is come.”751
The taunt which stings the honour to the core ;752
The look which says, “ False friend, we trust no more ; ”753
The pangs of chiefs who ’ mid their foes’ applause754
Resign their standards and renounce their cause755
In ills like these, more bitter than the grave,756
Show me a fatalist more calmly brave !757
Grandeur or vileness this ? —the test is plain ;758
Condemn the apostate ? —first make clear the gain.759
The convert canonise ? —first prove the loss,760
And show the martyr bowed beneath the cross.761
The test fails here—each loss was re-supplied,762
In every shift he went with wind and tide ;763
The same slow change the nation’s mind had known,764
And praised his wisdom to exalt its own.765
But gain he could not orin power or fame766
That risk’d sincerely, this resign’d for blame ;767
And in that nature, so reserved and still,768
No stern self-glory cheer’d the joyless will.769
The blame that reach’d him was no random thrust770
From those who launch’d, his reason felt it just :771
And the same conscience that had finely weighed772
Each straw that turn’d the balance it obey’d,773
Excused the shaft to which it lent the string,774
And in excusing doubly felt the sting.775
Is there no medium ? and for one who seems,776
Wide tho’ his space, so far from both extremes ?777
Must we an image so familiar paint,778
Horn’d as a fiend, or halo’d as a saint ?779
Responsibility ! that heaviest word780
In all our language ! the imperious lord781
Of Duty, and to him who rules a State,782
Strong in proportion as its slave is great ;783
Responsibility—accept that clue,784
And all the maze of motive clears to view.785
Take some firm patriot who can boast with truth786
He ne’er has changed a dogma since his youth,787
Make him First Minister, and bid him then788
Deal—with dead doctrines ? —No, with living men !789
Let Bright responsible for England be,790
And straight in Bright a Chatham we should see,791
Improving rifles, lecturing at reviews,792
And levying taxes for reforms—in screws.793
Make Spooner (no man is more free from guile)794
The anxious viceroy of the Emerald Isle ;795
Would Spooner be a renegade from truth796
If his first words were “ money for Maynooth ? ”797
On no man living as on Peel bestow’d798
This solemn burthen, none more felt the load ;799
He had not party’s, he had England’s trust800
When firm, she called him cautious ; yielding, just.801
England has ever in her secret heart802
Most favour’d chiefs, who somewhat stand apart803
From those they lead : let brethren love each other,804
But if too much, they may neglect their mother.805
Pitt in his prime was not a party man,806
And Peel seem’d born to end as Pitt began.807
The more his reasonings, in their watchful range,808
Seem’d guarding outlets for prudential change,809
The more scared followers groan’d, “ Can we confide ? ”810
The more the Public hail’d the common guide.811
It liked his wealth—the wealthy want not place ;812
It liked his birth—trade has its pride of race ;813
It liked his sober yet imposing mien ;814
It liked his life, in which no flaw was seen ;815
And thus to his, as a judicial mind,816
The general cause the general trust consign’d ;817
From the vex’d Bar Opinion snatch’d its chief,818
Wrench’d from his hands each client’s partial brief,819
And raised the counsel of a special plea820
Into the judge, whose voice was a decree.821
And, in return, his conscience more and more822
Revised each cause it had sustained before,823
Till all old questions merged afresh in one,824
Should, for the good of England, this be done ?825
If so, of all men I must do it ! —why ?826
Because none else could so succeed as I ! ”827
To me, who seek to analyse, not judge,828
Exempt alike from favour and from grudge829
To me, so clearly, when with care defined,830
Stands forth excused his conscience-weighted mind,831
That where I doubt his course, I dare not blame ;832
I too am English, and my share I claim833
Of our joint heirloom in his English name.834
But were the followers wrong if their belief835
Clung to the cause deserted by its chief ?836
If loud their wrath, can honesty condemn ?837
Candour, absolving him, excuses them ;838
And if—but peace to the old feuds ! —the life839
Of hate should be coeval with its strife ;840
In foreign fields our lavish blood is shed ;841
War ends, and vengeance sleeps beside the dead ;842
Are we more generous to barbaric foes843
Than to our brethren ? —does the conflict close,844
And the wrath rest, when England is the field,845
And the dispute—the two sides of her shield ?846
Fast by the hour a veilèd Future stands ;847
Distrust has loosed the girdle of the lands ;848
Pale, but prepared, the Isle’s lone spirit sees849
The waves that whiten, tho’ yet mute the breeze,850
And shapes her trident to her anchor : —Call851
Her sons around, and let the tempest fall !852
Were he still living in whose name we find853
Pretexts to sever, how had he combined ?854
How the vague fears that flit thro’ common air855
Would sink confiding in his watchful care !856
How the witch Discord, muttering o’er his grave,857
Would fly before his standard ! —All most brave858
In his mix’d nature seem’d to life to start859
When England’s honour roused his English heart,860
And all most cautious in his English sense,861
When England’s safety needed sage defence.862
Earth holds him not ! what will his shade placate ?863
Hark, it replies, “ the sacrifice of Hate.”864
Unite, unite, all ye whose interests lie865
In wider lists than ‘ Printed Votes’ supply866
Than the small issues of the glorious night,867
When Noes to left outnumber Ayes to right,868
And State departments see a change—of face,869
And Noodle sits in what was Doodle’s place.870
Still in the Senate, whatsoe’er we lack,871
It is not genius ; —call old giants back,872
And men now living might as tall appear,873
Judg’d by our sons, not us—we stand too near.874
These I name not—their race is yet to run,875
Huzza’d or hooted : —my calm task is done.876
Ne’er of the living can the living judge877
Too blind the affection, or too fresh the grudge ?878
My aim was not the libel of the hour,879
To snarl at Genius or beslaver Power.880
To live is to contest : no angry breath881
From this fierce world should pass the gates of Death.882
True that our tenets may our judgments guide,883
The calmest history has its partial side ;884
But still such preference robs not him of trust885
Whose main design is clearly to be just.886
As schools have form’d them, artists mix their hues,887
But Art is truth whatever school it choose.888
I turn’d one day in musing from the page,* 889
Where in long order pass from age to age890
The shades of Rome’s great Orators ; their claims891
On time there only archived ; ev’n their names892
To us but far-off sounds : yet charms it not893
To learn what voices Rome too soon forgot ?894
And the thought sprung from which this verse has flow’d,895
On our own Dead be the same dues bestowed.896
The author’s monument his book ; his stone897
The sculptor’s. But the orator whose tone898
Raised up wall’d cities like Amphion’s lute,899
Stay’d the strong current, struck the wild winds mute,900
Like bland Calliope’s melodious son,901
Leaves no memorial when his race is run.902
As on the sands his mind impress’d a day,903
As by the tides wash’d with the next away ;904
The words themselves, you cry, are not effaced,905
By faithful Hansard talbotyped or traced,906
But what the words themselves without the sound ?907
The reader yawns, the list’ner was spell-bound.908
You close the book, you question those who heard,909
Straight your eye kindles, and your pulse is stirr’d.910

* Cicero, De Claribus Oratoribus (Brutus).
Describe the spokesman ! —one brief outline teaches911
More than ten volumes of Collected Speeches.912
Be mine to save from what traditions glean,913
Or age remembers, or ourselves have seen ;914
The scatter’d relics care can yet collect,915
And fix such shadows as these rhymes reflect ;916
Types of the elements whose glorious strife917
Form’d this free England, and still guards her life.918