BETA

ST. STEPHEN’S.

Part Second.

Ere France the last dread century closed in blood,1
Gay were the portents that foretold the flood ;2
Light storm-birds gladden’d in the fatal breeze,3
And sportive meteors toy’d with deathful seas.4
As each new surge o’er some old landmark broke,5
Wit smil’d, and took the deluge as a joke.*6
Vices were virtues from restraint releast,7
Proofs of the man’s redemption from the priest ;8
Schools and saloons arranged one charming creed,9
For ethics, Faublas, and for faith, Candide.10
As servants who patrician place resign,11
If his mean lordship miss a score of wine,12
Or if my lady blame the zeal that fills13
With joints unstinted gaps in weekly bills,14
To serve some rake who scorns to overlook15
A scullion’s morals or a steward’s book ;16
So men, restrain’d the Christian code within17
From the fair perquisites of pleasant sin,18
Look’d for a master much too grand for all19
Such paltry spyings in the servants’ hall,—20

* It is not here intended to describe the impression made upon profound thinkers,
or upon pure and earnest philanthropists, by the warning signs that preceded the
great French Revolution ; the lines in the text refer to the joyous levity with which
those on the surface of society regarded the prognostics of the coming earthquake.
The gay temper in which airy wits and young nobles introduced the grim spirit of
the age as a pleasant fashion of the drawing-room, is well hit off by Count de Ségur
in his Memoires ou Souvenirs : —
Pour nous, jeune noblesse Française, sans regret pour le passé, sans inquiétude
pour l’avenir, nous marchions gaiement sur un tapis de fleurs qui nous cachait un
abîme. Rians frondeurs des modes anciennes, de l’orgueil féodal de nos péres, et
de leurs graves etiquettes, tout ce qui était antique nous paraissait gênant et ridi-
cule. La gravité des anciennes doctrines nous pesait, le philosophie riànte de
Voltaire nous entrainait en nous amusant. . . . . La liberté, quelque fût
son langage, nous plaisait par son courage ; l’égalité par sa commodité !  On trouve
du plaisir à descendre tant qu’on croit pouvoir remonter dès qu’on le veut : et sans
prévoyance nous gôutions tout à la fois les avantages du patriciat, et les douceurs
d’une philosophie plebéienne. . . . . On applaudissait à la cour les maximes
républicaines de Brutus ; enfin on parlait d’independence dans les camps, de demo-
cratie chez les nobles, de philosophie dans les bals, de morale dans les boudoirs.
”—
Memoires ou Souvenirs de M. le Comte de Segur, de l’Academie Française, pair de
France
, vol. i. pp. 26, 42, 152.
Found out a thorough gentleman of Rome,21
And felt with Brutus perfectly at home.22
Slight work, though noisy, to parade him out,23
Crowd at bis heels, and cheer him with a shout ;24
Freedom and Brutus—Freedom for your lives ! ”—25
That done, they took their supper and your wives !26
France sets the fashion to all States polite ;27
England grew frisky in her own despite ;28
Hampdens and Lovelaces got drunk together,29
And the red cap display’d the Prince’s feather.30
Gay time and strange, when George the Fourth was young,31
By Gilray painted, and by Hanbury sung ;32
When peers, six-bottled, talked as Marat wrote,33
And Devon’s kiss seduced a blacksmith’s vote,—34
Paine and Petronius equally in vogue,35
Don Juan in the role of demagogue.36
At home thus reared, in foreign parts improved,37
A strong young genius gambled, drank, and loved ;38
From each rank marsh increased its native glow,39
Till Fox blazed forth as England’s Mirabeau.40
Concede the likeness, qualified, ’ tis true,41
As differing climes diversify the hue ;42
Each had these merits,—massive breadth of sense,43
The popular might of headlong vehemence ;44
The brawn and muscle both of frame and mind,45
Which shoulder down the mob of humankind :46
More had the Frank to dazzle and amaze,47
More grand the image, more superb the phrase ;48
Thoughts more condensed in diction so complete,49
They pass as proverbs nations still repeat.50
Read what remains of Fox,—where find through all51
One perfect sentence after-times recall ?52
Tush ! —weigh no sentence ! what pervades the whole ?53
Circumfluent radiance from one central soul.54
Light in the Frank each prismal tint defines,55
Against the cloud the gorgeous rainbow shines ;56
Light in the Englishman like sunshine flows,57
Nor limns to sight the hues it still bestows.58
Grant that mere intellect enthrals you more59
In the vast Frank ; we grant it, and abhor.60
Body and soul alike what stains pollute !61
In brain, the god—in what remains, the brute.62
The Titan type of all that curst his time,63
The French Enceladon of force and crime ;64
But in the Briton, if large faults you scan,65
Larger than all the glorious heart of man.66
His that warm genius which preserves the child67
No vizar’d falsehood in his friendship smiled68
No malice darkened in his candid frown69
His worst offences those of half the town ;70
While his free virtues are so genial made,71
That love, not envy, follows as their shade ;72
Softens each merit to familiar view,73
And like the shadow proves the substance true.”74
Men live who tell us what no books can teach,75
How spoke the speaker—what his style of speech.76
Our Fox’s voice roll’d no melodious stream77
It rose in splutter, and went off in scream.78
Yet could it vary, in appropriate place,79
From the sharp alto to the rumbling bass.80
Such sudden changes when you’d least expect,81
Secured to dissonance a stage effect,82
Striking you most when into talk-like ease83
Slid the wild gamut down the cracking keys.84
The action ? what Quintilian would have shock’d ;85
The huge fist thundered, and the huge frame rock’d,86
As clattering down, immensu ore, went87
Splinters and crags of crashing argument.88
Not for neat reasonings, subtle and refined,89
Paused the strong logic of that rushing mind ;90
It tore from out the popular side of Truth91
Fragments the larger because left uncouth92
Hands, if less strong, more patient than his own,93
Perfect the statue, his heaved forth the stone,94
And in the rock, his daring chisel broke,95
Hewed the bold outlines with a hasty stroke.96
But on this force, with its disdain of rule,97
No safe good sense would like to found a school ;98
And (drop the image) he who leads mankind,99
Must seek to soothe and not to shock the mind.100
The chief whose anger all the angry cheer,101
Thins his own ranks—the temperate disappear ;102
They shake their heads, and in a sober fright103
Groan, “ What a passion he was in to-night !104
Men in a passion must be in the wrong ;105
And, heavens ! how dangerous when they’re made so strong ! ”106
Thus is it strange, with all his genius, zeal,107
Such head to argue, and such heart to feel,108
That the great Whig, amidst immense applause109
Scared off his clients, and bawl’d down his cause,—110
Undid Reform by lauding revolution,111
Till cobblers cried, “ God save the Constitution ! ”112
Met by deserters in his own approaches113
He fled ; his followers fill’d three hackney-coaches !114
Leave we the orator, but track the Man.115
May clothes with blooms the orchard at St. Anne ;116
Under the blossoms, stirr’d by the meek wind,117
See that large form so quietly reclined ;118
Those black brows bent o’er Learning’s calmest tome,119
That smile whose peace floods, as with sunlight, home !120
There see him taste, far from life’s reek and din,121
Toil without strife, and pleasure without sin ;122
Glow o’er some golden song, or pause perplext123
By some dry scholiast or some doubtful text ;124
Charm kindred ears with Attic lore and wit,125
And rapt to Pindus, leave mankind to Pitt.126
Beautiful picture, sweet with moral truth,127
Thus how in age does genius win back youth !128
To boyhood’s happy tasks revert its eyes,129
And con the book that, made its earliest prize ;130
While, howsoe’er august its fame achieved,131
That charms us least which most itself deceived ;132
The fiery contests, the triumphant goals,133
The unfamiliar tests of troubled souls.134
What charms us most in great men is to see135
Their greatness doff’d, the men as we may be136
Fox in the Senate—toil beyond our scope !137
Fox at St. Anné’s—such leisure all may hope !138
From desk, from till, the week-day wear of mind,139
Each may relax his weary limbs, reclined140
Wherever blooms the bough or plays the wind,141
Blest as the great reprieved from public gaze,142
In grassy nooks remote, on Sabbath-days.*143
All that contrasted, foil’d, and undermined144
His rival chief, the younger Pitt combined.145
Proud self-esteem, decorous and austere,146
Strict self-control, not Zeno’s more severe ;147

* ———— “ In remoto gramine per dies
Festos ——” Horat., lib. ii, od. 111.
Like some old Chaldee, from his Pharos high,148
O’er human errors scarcely stooped his eye ;149
Still on that eye shone unobserved no star,150
And still that Pharos guided fleets afar.151
From earliest youth, as one ordained to lead152
The solemn priesthood of an elder creed,153
Instructed duly, kept from all apart,154
No schoolboy glee relaxed his lonely heart ;155
No ribald playground mock’d his serious air ;156
Could limbs so sacred learn to “ hunt the hare ? ”157
Could hands reserved to minister the law,158
Speed the light ball, or knuckle down to taw ?159
From birth to death, through pomp, ambition, strife,160
Serenely strenuous pass’d that stately life.161
Why marvel that the beardless hierarch sprung162
At once to power ? —the hierarch ne’er was young,163
And ne’er was old, but, dying in his prime,164
Stands forth completed while vouchsafed to time.165
With those he led Pitt is not to be classed ;166
His was no blind subservience to the Past.167
Not Fox himself loved English freedom more ;168
True to her hearth, if careful of her door.169
Who at the rouge-et-noir of Clootz and Paine170
Would risk the loss, or much desire the gain ?171
Freedom, that sovereign capital of Man,172
In thrifty savings with our sires began ;173
When times are clear and credit safe, look out,174
Seek sound investments ; for increase ? —no doubt.175
But dread the man, his own last farthing spent,176
Who cries, “ Lend all ; I promise cent per cent.”177
Unto the Ruler, as to Jove of old178
Necessity is Time ; his hands may hold179
The thunder or the balance, still the power180
That masters ev’n the Immortal is the Hour.181
Men praise or blame in Pitt the iron will.182
Well, steel, though supple, is of iron still.183
Thus will in Pitt could bend to ward the stroke ;184
It was by bending that it never broke.185
The time explains each dazzling contradiction ;186
His wise reform, his policy restriction ;187
His game for Peace so wary to the last ;188
His warlike vigour when the die was cast.189
As veers the wind, so shifts the pilot’s art ;190
Who saves the ship, may well re-set the chart.191
The lone proud man ! for him no graces smiled,192
No love the pause from jaded toil beguiled ;193
No twilight tryst exchanged the youthful vow ;194
No tender lip kiss’d trouble from that brow !195
His sole Egeria (O supreme caprice ! )196
A crack’d, uncanny, warwitch of a Niece,197
Who, at his death, found Syrian sands alone198
Replace the lost grand desert she had known.199
For rule in wastes by previous empire fit,200
Had she not ruled a lonelier world in Pitt ?201
Yet all strong natures have affections strong,202
Barr’d the free vents which to man’s life belong ;203
Still springs well up, concentre sudden force,204
And glad the waves of which they swell the course.205
These are the minds that serve some abstract creed206
The Church, Ignatius ; Fame, the Royal Swede ;207
More hot the ideal, human Jove unknown,208
As chaste Pygmalion hugg’d to life a stone.209
Pitt’s human passion, his ideal dream,210
His soul’s twin Arcady and Academe,211
Was England ! —Not more rooted to the deep212
The stubborn isle round which the tempests sweep213
Than he to England ; call him, if you will,214
Too fond of power—’twas power for England still.215
Through this he ruled ; he spoke, and this was shown ;216
The Laws, the Land, the Altar, and the Throne,217
Mere words with others, were to him the all218
Left Man to prize and strive for since the Fall.219
If read the orations, and forgot the age,220
Words that breathed fire are ashes on the page.221
Oh to have heard them in the breathless hall,222
When Europe paled before the maddening Gaul ;223
When marts resounded with the trumpet’s blare,224
Fleets on the deep and banners in the air ;225
What time the dire Religion, stripp’d of God,226
Shook tower and temple to the dust she trod,227
And left the ruins dark beneath the frown228
Of Him whose bolt she mimick’d and drew down !229
Then did the purpose (lost in calmer days)230
Inspire with patriot life the purple phrase,231
And under that stiff toga of the dead232
Was heard the ringing of the Roman tread.233
The very faults that later critics find234
Were merits then—the unbesitating mind,235
The self-reliance, lofty and severe,236
That grand monotony—a soul sincere,237
That scorn of fancy, that firm grasp of fact,238
That dread to theorise in the hour to act,239
Seem’d formed to brave the elemental shock,240
And type to England her own Ocean rock.241
The form, tbe voice, the bearing of the man242
Became the Bayard, firm against the van243
Of lances, standing on the perilous arch,244
And singly staying armies in their march.245
We see him still, the front with labour paled ;246
The eyes that rarely glowed, but never quailed,247
Within disease, without the host of foes ;248
What grand contempt sustains that calm repose !249
Gives the dread sneer that withered Erskine down250
And leaves the brow scarce ruffled by its frown.251
We hear the elaborate swell of that full strain252
Linking long periods in completest chain ;253
Staying the sense, from sentence sentence grows,254
Till the last word comes clinching up the close.255
To that Virgilian epic all unfit256
Pindaric rage or Archilochian wit ;257
Nor needs it either ! ne’er that style can pall,258
Strength and majestic grace suffice for all.259
Full, through the banks to weeds as flowers unknown,260
That stately sameness lapses largely on.261
Poor in whate’er thy Cleons, France, possest,262
The powers they failed in were with him the best.263
Heaven unto each the opposing mission gave264
They to destroy were mighty, he to save.265
If freedom now her gradual reign extends,266
And bounds to bloodless gains her loftiest ends267
If peerless, yet, our Commonwealth sublime268
Sees its calm image in the glass of Time,269
On which the angry States that grasp’d at more,270
Dawn, and then, breath-like, vanish as before ;271
Honour to him, as to the saving star !272
He was, and therefore we are what we are.273
Mark next the man whom genius form’d to share274
Pitt’s lofty toils, and to his reign be heir :275
With will as resolute, with heart as brave,276
Temper more bland, and tongue more gently grave,277
Tuned to a music as divinely sweet278
As is the voice of Mercy : thus complete279
In all the gifts that charm, instruct, and guide,280
Apart from place lived Wilberforce, and died.281
Wherefore ?  He served a cause for which the hour282
Was yet unripe. Fore-knowledge is not power.283
Rare are such souls ; least rare in England. They284
Form the vast viaducts of Truth ; their way285
Sweeps high o’er trodden thoroughfares ; they knit286
Hill-top with hill-top ; Hopes delay’d commit287
To them the conduct of each patient cause288
By which advance the races. Them, applause289
Spurs not, nor scorn deters ; their faith concedes290
No pliant compromise with courtlier creeds ;291
They cannot sit in councils that ignore292
Or palter with their mission ; all their lore293
Illumes one end for which strives all their will ;294
Before their age they march invincible.295
Oft in their lives by prosperous worldlings styl’d296
Enthusiasts witless, or fanatics wild,297
Each hour they live, their sober, serious strength298
Works through Opinion its slow change ; at length299
Yesterday’s vain dream is to-day’s clear fact ;300
Fed from unnumbered rills, the cataract301
Splits the obstructive rock, and bursts to day,302
And rainbows form their colours from its spray.303
Ask you a contrast ? —see it in Dundas,304
Timing the hour as truly as its glass.305
Office was made for him, and he for it ;306
He felt that truth, and glued his soul to Pitt,307
No shrewder minister e’er served a throne,308
Or joined his country’s interest with his own.309
With more superb a dignity of mien,310
More patriot show, and much more private spleen,311
More stately care for what the world may say,312
But just as keen for titles, place, and pay,313
In arm’d neutrality the Grenvilles stand,314
And name the terms on which they’ll save the land.315
All men are brethren, bound to help each other316
Gods ! how each Grenville help’d his Grenville brother.317
Who comes as one who through the starlit vine318
Follow’d young Liber up the heights divine,319
Inebriate not as earth’s inglorious clay,320
But drunk with wine as sun-flowers with the day ;321
Imbibing light till light itself imbues322
The golden leaves which glitter through the dews ?323
Room, room ! high place, O Sheridan, for thee !324
Though yet below the thrones of the great Three ;325
On the same dais, and crown’d with richer gems326
Than sunbeams kiss on their proud diadems.327
If eloquence can find its surest test328
In the degree to which it thrill the breast,329
And not the enduring thought, which after calm330
Retains, then thine the sceptre and the palm :331
For never Fancy shot more gorgeous ray,332
Nor left air duller when it died away.333
He did not rule opinion, shape a creed,334
Control a council, or a nation lead :335
These make the power that sage and statesman claim,336
But to the orator applause is fame.337
Viewed at his best, while yet the nerves were strung,338
While silvery yet the clear keen accents rung ;339
While yet erect and lithe the sprightly form,340
And the eye lightened o’er the words of storm,341
What time, before Humanity arraigned,342
(Guilty of empires, though to England gained),343
Stood the grand Verres of the Hast ; —not then344
Had Tully’s self more fired the souls of men.345
Before that lengthen’d train and rapid flight346
Of splendour dwindled Fox’s dise of light,347
And Burke’s was paled ; as when the irregular348
Comet shoots flaming over the fixed star.349
Seen then, heard then, what could Ambition hope350
Or States bestow, that seem’d beyond his scope ?351
He whose wild youth had courted Scandal’s frown,352
Deserved her anger, and then laugh’d it down ;353
He whose gay forces seemed, if not too light,354
Too laxly disciplined for serious fight ;355
He who had known the failure, felt the sneer,356
Smit burning brows in muttering, “ It is here ; ”—357
He now one hour the acknowledged lord of all,358
Hears Pitt adjourn the agitated hall,359
That brain may cool, and heart forget to swell,360
And dawn relax the enchanter’s midnight spell.361
Out upon Time ! the years roll on, and lo !362
The broken wand, the fallen Prospero !363
O shreds and rays of that once gorgeous soul !364
O priceless pearl dissolv’d amidst the bowl !365
Hide—hide the vision ; let our awe forbear366
To note the trembling limbs, the glassy stare,—367
To count the sparks which, through the gathering shade368
Start from charr’d embers, gleam on wrecks and fade,—369
To hear of bailiffs wrangling round the bed ; —370
Hush, and uncover ! —Homage to the dead !371
Turn, where below the gangway (as between372
Tory and Whig) was Norfolk’s athlete seen.373
In him the ideal of a class we scan,374
Fair England’s lettered hardy gentleman.375
Easy, yet earnest ; high-bred, yet sincere ;376
To mob and monarch friendly, without fear ;377
Teres, rotundus—whether we admire,378
The fine Greek scholar, the frank English squire ;379
Now capping verse with Johnson in Bolt Court,380
Now lauding bull-baits as a British sport.381
Still pleasing both the rugged and refin’d,382
The first by manhood, and the last by mind,383
Such Windham was ; —and where his merits halt,384
Manhood or mind seems gainer by the fault.385
Does some rude prejudice the smile provoke ?386
How the gnarl’d fibres grace the sturdy oak !387
Or is the reasoning over-subtly wrought ?388
How the fine sword-play tests the sinewy thought !389
Ev’n his high tones, a chord too sharp and keen,390
Became the gesture quick and resolute mien,391
As if in earnest to outclear their way,392
And force on foes what truth had right to say.393
Had he been born a soldier, he had fill’d394
A mighty part—no strategist more skill’d,395
No warier reason, and no bolder breast ;396
Add knighthood’s stainless honour to the rest.397
Ev’n in his death as manly as in life,398
He fix’d the moment for the surgeon’s knife ;399
Each wheel of State in cautious order set,400
Lest clerks might miss what nations would regret ;401
Wrote to his friends with bold accustom’d hand,402
Arguing the problems that perplex’d the land ;403
Struck the account that earth to heaven should bear,404
His last soft thought—the heart he loved to spare ;405
And, to life’s partner life’s dread risk unknown,406
He closed the door from which there came no groan.407
So, like a warrior full of hardy life,408
Smit by the bolt as victory ends the strife,409
Each task completed, and each duty done,410
He pass’d, in all his vigour, from the sun.411
Pause for awhile, and let the House adjourn412
Breathe calmer air ; —But whither shall we turn ?413
To club or tavern as the whim prevails414
Nay, see Sir Joshua ; come with him to Thrale’s.415
There, mark yon man, large-brow’d with thoughtful frown,416
Arguing with Johnson : —Well, sir, argued down ? —417
No, Boswell’s glorious savage butted fall,418
Yet our vast boa foils his mighty bull ;419
Now glides away in glittering volumes roll’d,420
Now coils around in unrelenting fold.421
Which shall prevail ? —the boldest wight would fear422
Now to adjudge—as then to interfere.423
’Twixt Burke and Johnson Jove himself is mute,424
Lest earth should rise to share in the dispute.425
May we untrembling in the Elysian shore,426
Hear them yet arguing better than before :427
And as they glide down some ambrosial walk,428
May blabbing phantoms Boswellise their talk !429
Welcome associate forms where’er we turn,430
Fill, Streatham’s Hebé, the Johnsonian urn !431
Mercurial Garrick, hover to and fro,432
Wing’d with light wit, and ever on tiptoe ;433
Laid now aside the rod which souls obey,434
When to the shadow-world it frees the way ;435
Yet ev’n with mortals mindfal of thine art,436
Light’st thou on earth, it is in Sosia’s part.437
Apollo once, the deeds of Jove to tell,438
Crack’d a dull tortoise, and then string’d its shell ;439
So vibrate, Boswell, with divide afflatus,440
In Jovis dapibus testudo gratus ;441
Vow’d to Bolt Court, thine hollows feel its god,442
Echo each thunder, shake with every nod.443
What gaudy clown invites, yet shrinks from note,444
Like Marlow blushing in Sir Fopling’s coat ?445
Boswell stalks by him with contemptuous strut,446
Garrick smiles joyful to behold a butt ;447
Reynolds, half doubtful if worth while to hear,448
Fidgets his trumpet as he bends his ear ;449
But freed from Burke, and willing to unbend,450
There rolls great Johnson, and salutes a friend,451
From teasing wit, and (worse) the blockhead’s jest,452
Shields the shy victim with his butly breast.453
So huge Alcides, on his club reclin’d,454
And tired of fighting monsters for mankind,455
Smooths awful brows, from solemn toil beguil’d,456
And rocks in fostering arms a dreaming child.—457
Child, thou, sweet bard of Auburn—Child ! what then ?458
A child inspired, and worth a world of men.459
Scorn, if ye will, that wish the eye to gain ;460
Childhood, too loving, ever yet was vain.461
Disdain that gall-less, yet resentful sigh,462
When the world passed its gentlest minstrel by.463
If that was envy, envy ne’er before464
So much the look of wronged affection wore ;465
And ne’er did bee such golden honey bring466
To ruder hands—yet, writhing, leave no sting.467
Immortal conclave, Learning, Genius, Wit,468
And all by stars that moved in concord lit469
Who could believe ye lived, and wrote, and thought470
For that same age the schools of Diderot taught ?471
That Gospel truths spoke loud from Johnson’s chair,472
While the world’s altars reel’d beneath Voltaire ?473
That Rousseau polish’d for the maids of Gaul,474
The virtuous page designed to vitiate all,475
While Goldsmith’s Vicar tells his harmless tale,476
Smiles at the hearthstone, and converts the jail.477
From that pure fount in England’s Academe,478
By fane and forum in expanding stream,479
Went Burke’s elaborate genius, strong and free,480
As are all rivers that enlarge the sea,481
But swerving slant with light-retaining waves,482
Where rills rush on, and dribble into caves.483
From first (judged right) consistent to the close,484
Could Johnson’s friend abet the Saviour’s foes ? —485
Could Thought’s high priest the Halle’s wild rabble cheer,486
Or speed the cause that spawn’d a Robespiere ?487
No, true to Freedom when usurpers came488
To blind her eyes, and govern in her name,489
He wrote this truth, a guide to every time490
They sentence freedom who unfetter crime.”491
I grant that Burke not always rightly viewed492
The earthquake heave of that wrong multitude ; —493
Too much amidst the present ills to see494
Causes long laid—results ordained to be ;495
But poets color all that they regard,496
And among statesmen Burke stands forth the bard ;497
By his own genius both obscured and fired,498
At times inebriate, and at times inspired ;499
Has Truth ten sides, he must invent the eleventh,500
And quit the earth to gain a heaven—the seventh !501
Is it for that—(no speeches read so well)—502
That when Burke spoke he was the dinner-bell ? ”503
Friend, if some actor murder Hamlet’s part,504
No line supplies the histrio’s want of art505
Nay, the more beauty in the words prevail,506
The more it chafes you if the utterance fail,507
Shakespeare, ill-acted, do you run to hear ?508
And Burke, ill-spoken, would you stay to cheer ?509
But what the faults that could admirers chill,510
And thin the benches plain Dandas could fill ? —511
Partly in matter—too intent to teach512
Too filed as essay, not to flag as speech ;513
Too slight a fellowship with those around,514
Words too ornate, and reasonings too profound ; —515
All this a Chatham might have brought in vogue !516
Yes—but then Chatham did not speak in brogue !517
A voice that made the brogue yet more displease,518
A loud monotony of tuneless keys ;519
A form, if strong, to well-bred gazers coarse,520
And that fatiguing fervour—waste of force :521
Join these in Burke, and add his wisdom lack’d522
What most St. Stephen’s needs and values—tact.523
Still when some cause with earth’s large interests fraught,524
Needed fit champion, grace gave way to thought525
Cumbrous in tilts where carpet-knights succeed,526
By well-poised lance and deftly-tutor’d steed ;527
Meet but for conflict in some amplest field,528
That sweep of falchion, and that breadth of shield.529
Thus, spite of faults his audience least excused,530
Unmoved by praise, yet writhing when abused,531
Tho’ stern, yet sensitive ; tho’ haughty, kind ;532
Proof to all storm, yet feeling every wind,533
Onward he pass’d, till at the farthest goal,534
Freed, as from matter, conquering stood the soul.535
And oh ! what sap must thro’ that genius ran536
What hold on earth, what yearning towards the sun,537
Which, met by granite, upward cleaves its way,538
And high o’er forests bathes its crest in day !539
Loud as a scandal on the ears of town,540
And just as brief, the orator’s renown !541
Year after year debaters blaze and fade542
Scarce mark’d the dial ere departs the shade ;543
Words die so soon when fit but to be said,544
Words only live when worthy to be read.545
Already Fox is silent to our age,546
Barke quits the rostrum to illame the page.547
He did not waste his treasure as he went,548
But hoarded wealth to pile his monument.549
Now voice and manner can offend no more,550
And pure from dross shines out the golden ore551
Down to oblivion sinks each rude defect,552
And soars, anneal’d, the eternal intellect.553
Thus is a torrent, if we stand too near,554
Rough to the sight, and jarring to the ear ;555
But heard afar, when dubious of the way,556
In paths perplex’d, where forests dim the day,557
Mellow’d from every discord, o’er the ground,558
As from an unseen spirit, comes the sound559
That sound the step unconsciously obeys,560
And, lured to light by music, threads the maze.561