[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]

my stature

the materials of Paradise Lost, even says that Adam's hair was hyacinthine, during the twenty years he was so Beautiful colours both, but opposite. hotly engaged in polemical and poli- “Milton," says Mr Prendeville," was. tical controversy, and most probably considered very handsome; but his only began to reduce them to order beauty, from the regularity of his some three or four years before he features, their general harmony, and brought the work to such immortal the modesty and composure of his completion.” What does he mean by demeanour and look, was thought to collecting materials during twenty be of the feminine order. Hence he years? He quotes Milton himself im. was called in the University - The mediately after, to prove that he had Lady of Christ Church.'” Why not not selected his subject till he was far say at once that he sketched off his advanced in life. Be it so; what then own picture in his description of Eve ? is the meaning of saying that a poet Adam's shoulders are said to have had been preparing materials, during been broad ; and Mr Prendeville obx the twenty years of the prime of life, serves in a note, that broad shoulders for a poem of which he had not then are always assigned to the ancient chosen the subject? And what is the heroes by the poets. Now Milton's meaning of, “ probably only begun to shoulders were not broad, for he tells reduce them to order ?" Does it mean himself, that he was very thin. Adam is inditing to Deborah the Paradise Lost, said to have been erect and tall; and as we now have it, from materials Milton says of himself, “ prepared before the poet knew whe- certainly is not tall.” These Mr Pren. ther the hero of his poem was to be deville may consider but trifling disAdam or Arthur-its hieroine Eve or crepancies; but they serve to show, Ginevra ? He gives a most unsatis- that though Adam no doubt had a factory reason for believing, that this sort of general resemblance to Milton, reduction to order occupied but three he would have run a greater risk of or four years.

" From one of his being spoken to by Satan for Christoletters to Deodati,” says Mr Prende- pher North. But why had not Adam ville, “ it appears that after he had a beard? Bishop Newton thinks that arranged his plan, his execution in all it was because Raphael and the prins his works was brisk, vigorous, metho- cipal painters, from whose works dical, and untiring,-never losing Milton frequently fetches his ideas,

, sight of his purpose, -never distracted represent him without one. " Ay, by illness, or worldly care.' Why, ay," says Mr Prendeville, « but why the letter he refers to was written in did they?" and then, stretching himearly manhood, and can prove nothing self up to his full height, giving the respecting Milton's habits in advanced collar of his shirt a twitch, and grace. life: besides, Mr Prendeville appears fully stretching out his right arm, lie exnever to have read the letter he quotes claims to his fair hearers, enamoured of from ; for there is not a single syllable their bachelor, “ I think, because Adam, in it about his method or habits of before the fall, and before he became composition,-merely a fine earnest subject to death, was supposed to be sentence or two about his studies. in a state of perpetual youth.” Good! This comes of trusting to “ transla- He was in a state of beardless indotions I think objectionable in point of cence; but alas ! had you seen him style and fidelity." Mr Prendeville the morning after the expulsion, you believes, that in his description of Adam would have sworn he had not shaved is sketched off his own picture.

for a week.

Let any contemporary sumph give “ His fair large front and eyes sublime

vent to a sillyism. respecting a great declared

man, and it is sure to be transmitted Absolute rule; and hyacinthine locks Round from his parted forelock manly

to the latest posterity, from hand to hand along the line of biographers

, hung Clustering, but not beneath his shoulders

occasionally embellished by a touch broad."

of genius, and accredited by the mul

titude as a characteristic truth. We The reasons assigned for this belief can easily understand how Milton, are not very satisfactory. " In his wlien insulted by his adversaries

, youth his hair was auburn." Milton should, in the ardour of manhood,



while chastising their brutal calum- that Dr Paget did not select her to be nies, have written with dignified the poet's wife till 1664, and that the complacency of his own person, on Paradise Lost was seen in its finished which nature had lavished her most state by Ellwood the Quaker in 1665 ? beautiful gifts ; but we can never It is sometimes not easy to underbring ourselves to believe that in stand Mr Prendeville, even when he what may be called his old age, appears to be writing about something (though little above fifty,) John Mile sufficiently simple.

6 We are not,” ton pleased his imagination with a says he, to consider the perhaps obs

“ picture of his own physical endow. jectionable character of the polemic ments, in his description of the sire of and the politician, in our consideration mankind. Most assuredly, at that hour of his work, which ought to be judged he thought not at all of his own out- of as he intended it, as an esas XTILI, ward man.

It was right that Adam as Herodotus says, a legacy to his should be pictured as a being but a country for all future ages. What is little lower than the angels; and we it to the admirers of the Iliad and the can look on him with undiminished Odyssey whether Homer, the mendi, admiration in that celestial colloqny cant singer, was the original author of sublime," sitting by Raphael's side. these admired poems, or only a collecBut though Milton, in the hour of tor of the songs and rhapsodies on the inspiration, forgot that he had a body subject of the Theban and Trojan at all, it is delightful to think of him wars, embellishing these stories, and in vernal adolescence, “ with a fair adding many of his own? We know and soft complexion, and light brown the Æneid to be in a great measure a hair parted over his forehead, and chaste and judicious compilation from floating down his shoulders, almost the Iliad and Odyssey, yet we do not realizing one of those fine creations of the less admire it on that account. spiritual shapes which he has described But this charity is not extended to in the Paradise Lost." So says finely Milton-a far greater name than Robert Bell, who afterwards speaks either. The man is often remembers in the same spirit of Milton's last ed in his great work."

wife, who probably with her own By whom, it may be asked, is the 0 hand closed his eyes.

man often remembered in his great

work? By none now to his dispa" She had golden tresses, and Milton is

ragement. supposed to have designed her portrait in

But were it otherwise,

still the above about Homer is drivel. the picture of Eve, as he is suspected of having drawn himself in Adam ; but much

No man, deserving the name, would of that beautiful delineation must have give up the existence of Homer, derived its charm from his imagination, as

though barked at by a whole pack he was blind when he married her, and

of wolves. All admirers of the Iliad must therefore have formed his outlines and the Odyssey must scoff at Mr from description. But blind men have a

Prendeville for asking what is it to miraculous sense of beauty, which is hardly them such a question about Homer. intelligible to others. They have a thou- A mendicant singer Homer never sand ways of estimating it: their ideal is

And he who believes the Iliad composed of a multitude of exquisite asso- to be but " a collection of songs and ciations, and if they do not produce accu- rhapsodies about the Theban and rate resemblances, they create, at all Trojan wars,” must be an ass fourevents, delightful images that have a 're- teen hands high without his shoes. fined affinity to truth. The tone of voice, What can the above stuff about the the laugh, the footstep, modes of expresa Iliud possibly have to do with the sion, energy or languor of thought and

Paradise Lost, and the personal chautterance, and a multitude of exquisite

racter of Milton? If it could be shown types that escape all other observers, con

that the Paradise Lost were in va vey an eloquent and perfect language to them."

great measure a chaste and judicious

compilation," as the Æneid is said to There is no such writing as that in be from the Iliad and Odyssey, un. James Prendeville; yet we benignantly questionably all people of common ask Mr Bell how Elizabeth Minshull sense would admire it the less on that conld possibly have been painted by account, But this warns us to conMilton in the picture of live, seeing clude with that anonymous wiseacre,

[ocr errors]



a friend of Mr Prendeville's, who it is plain these secondary or tertiary may be safely set down, now that You imitations are not very conformable, Know Who is dead, as the chief on which account they ought to have, blockhead of the age.

as well as a likeness, a due variation, His doctrine is said to be founded that at one and the same time they on that of Aristotle ; but to our eyes may gratify our several dispositions for it appears original. It is as follows:- being pleased with what is imitated, Poetry originating in the pleasure we and with what is new. Fifthly, That take in imitation, it is evident that in these imitations there ought genewhen one good poet imitates another, rally to be observed a medium betwixt we have a double pleasure; the first à literal translation and a distant allus proceeding from a comparison of the sion; as the first destroys the pleasure description with its object; and the we have from what is new, and the second from comparing the one de latter encroaches on that which we scription with the other. From this receive from imitation. Sixthly, That principle the great unknown author a great original poet does not confine of the short anonymous essay draws himself, in an imitation, to the passage some important conclusions : First, he principally takes it from, but ren. that when a poet imitates a descrip. ders it more complete by hints taken tion from another poet, which had from other places of the same author, been imitated from a third, our plea- or from another author. Seventhly, sure is still the greater ; therefore the That the merit of ordinary poets conimitations in Milton are, in this re. sists in the difficulty of imitating, and spect, beyond those of Virgil, because the more literal they are the beta he has imitated some places of Virgil teró The name of the author of this which are imitations of Homer. Se- short anonymous essay must be discondly, That the passages a poet is to covered, and the short anonymous imitate ought to be selected with great essay itself stereotyped, that it may care, and should ever be the best parts never get out of print again. We of the best authors, and always ought devoutly trust that the author, though to be improved in imitation, so that anonymous, is yet alive, and may be vastly less invention and judgment are long spared to us to illuminate his required to make good origi than kind. If he turn out to be dead, no a fine imitation. Thirdly, That such pains nor expense must be grudged to imitations cost the author more pains, ascertain his spot of sepulture, and and give the reader greater pleasure, there, to his immortal memory, must than an original composition. Fourth be erected a transitory granite monu. ly, That in all such secondary imita- ment. no trace can be discovered tions, as they may be called, a con- of his name or his dust, a cenotaph siderable alteration from the original must be erected somewhere in Irehas a very agreeable effect; for we land's capital city, with a suitable have in our nature a principle to be inscription from the pen of Mr Prendelighted with what is new, to which deville.

Edinburgh : Printed by Ballantyne and Hughes, Paul's Work,

[blocks in formation]

We claim attention from the public of our party is clamorously demanded on the state of our relations present by the welfare of the country; and in and to come with China. We pretend this particular case of the Tory preto no private materials upon the sub- tensions finding them sustained by the ject ; but in this respect we stand very extraordinary fact, that even out upon the same footing as the leaders of office they are not out of power, but of our public counsels. All speak do really impress the Conservative mind from the text furnished to them by upon one half of the public measures, Captain Elliot's correspondence, as whilst of the other half a large propublished in the newspapers. So far portion is carried only by their sufferwe stand upon the universal level. But ance, by their forbearance, or by their it is astonishing how much advantage direct co-operation-under such cirone man may gain over another, even cumstances, an honourable party-man where all start from the same basis of will not think himself justified, for any information, simply by these two dif- insulated point of opinion or even of ferences--Ist, by watching the over- practice, to load his party with the sight of his competitors, most of whom reproach of internal discord. Every are apt to seize upon certain features party, bound together by principles of of the case with an entire neglect of public fellowship, and working towards others ; 2dly, by combining his own public objects, is entitled to all the past experience, gathered from books strength which can arise from union, or whatever sources, with the existing or the reputation of union. It is a phenomena of the case, as the best scandal to have it said_“ You are means of deciphering their meaning disunited—you cannot agree amongst or of calculating their remote effects. yourselves ; " and the man who sends

We do not wish to disguise that our abroad dissentient opinions, through views tend to the policy of war-war any powerful organ of the press, is the conducted with exemplary vigour. It willing author of such a scandal. No is better to meet openly from the first gain upon the solitary truth concerned, an impression, (current amongst the can - balance the loss upon the total hasty and undistinguishing,) that in reputation of his party for internal such views there is a lurking opposi- harmony. tion to the opinions of the Conserva- Meantime, as too constantly is the tives. Were that true, we should case in mixed questions, when there is hesitate. It is a batter of great much to distinguish, it is a very great delicacy to differ with one's party ; blunder to suppose the Conservative and it is questionable whether, even party to set their faces against a Chiin extreme cases, it can be right nese war. That party, with Sir Robert to publish such a difference. Once Peel for their leader, have in the satisfied that the general policy House of Commons recorded a strong NO. CCXCVI. VOL. XLVII.

2 z



vote against our recent Chinese poli- must be allowed, that this secondary cy; so far is true ; but not against a action is often the main one, and takes Chinese war. Such a war, unhappily, place in a far larger proportion than is all the more necessary in conse. simply according to the disturbances quence of that late policy; a policy of health. There is a specific effect which provided for nothing, foresaw known to follow the habitual use of nothing, and in the most pacific of its opium, by which it speedily induces a acts laid a foundation and a necessity deadly torpor and disrelish of all exthat hostilities should redress them. ertion, and in most cases long before

There is another mistake current- the health is deranged, and even in a most important mistake; viz. about those constitutions which are by nathe relation which the opium question ture so congenially predisposed to this bears to the total dispute with China. narcotic, as never to be much shaken It is supposed by many persons, that, by its uttermost abuse. if we should grant the Chinese Govern- Thus far, and assuming all for truth ment to have been in the right upon which the Chinese tell us, we have bethe opium affair, it will follow of course fore us the spectacle of a wise and that we condemn the principle of any paternal Government; and it recomwar, or of any hostile demonstrations mends such wisdom powerfully to a against China. Not at all. This moral people like ours, that we seem would be a complete non sequitur. to see it exerting itself unpopularly ; 1. China might be right in her ob- nobly stemming a tide of public haject, and yet wrong --- insufferably tred, and determined to make its citiwrong-in the means by which she zens happy in their own despite. pursued it. In the first of the resolu- Fresh from this contemplation of distions moved on the 2d of May by the interested virtue, how shocked we Company of Edinburgh Merchants, all feel on seeing our own scamps of (Mr Oliphant, chairman,) it is assum- sailors working an immense machinery ed that the opium lost by the British for thwarting so beneficent a Governs was a sacrifice to the more effectual ment! A great conflagration is underexecution of the Chinese laws," which mining all the social virtues in China : is a gross fiction. The opium was the Emperor and Commissioner Lin transferred voluntarily by the British : are working vast fire-engines for on what understanding is one of the throwing water upon the flames; and, points we are going to consider. II. on the other hand, our people are

There is a causa belli quite apart from discharging columns of sulphur for the opium question; a ground of war the avowed purpose of feeding the which is continually growing more combustion. urgent; a ground which would sur- “ Scandalous !" we all exclaim ; vive all disputes about opium, and but, as the loveliest romances are not would have existed had China been always the truest, let us now hear the right in those disputes from beginning other party. Plaintiff has spoken : to end.

Defendant must now have his turn. Yet it is good to pause for a mo. For the defendant then it is urged,ment, and to look at this opium That the Chinese Government, ha. dispute so far as the documents ving long connived at the opium trade, give us any light for discussing it. has now found three purely selfish The apologists of China say, that the reasons against it. Pekin Government has laboured for 1st, As having at length a rival insome time to put down the national terest of its own ; Lin and others are abuse of opium. Why, and under said to have some thousands of acres laid what view of that abuse? As a mode down as poppy-plantations. Now, the of luxury, it is replied, pressing upon English opium, and that of Malwa, as the general health ; and for a second an old concern, is managed much more reason, as pressing seriously upon the cheaply. To exclude the foreign national energies. This last we put growth is essential, therefore, as the down in candour as a separate consi- first step towards a protection to the deration; because, though all unwhole infancy of the home growth. On this some luxuries must be supposed indi- view of the case we would recommend rectly to operate upon the cheerfulness a sliding duty, such as that of our and industry of those who use them, corn-laws, to the Celestial opium. with respect to opium, in particular, it growers,


« VorigeDoorgaan »