« VorigeDoorgaan »
idiotic form of amusement has never been | European history; there is the fact of the devised. It is called “Planchette.” Why wonderful military superiority of the Swiss, so called, nobody knows or cares. This than which there is nothing more significant game – it is sometimes used by spiritual- in the history of war; the central figure of ists, who think they get revelations through Charles is never so heroic, and there is a it; but it is chiefly resorted to for amuse- tragical pathos, not easily to be matched, ment - is played in this way. You secure about the end, when the body of the a heart-shaped piece of wood a quarter of bravest soldier in Europe was found in a an inch thick. On the broad end are to be frozen ditch, “stripped naked, lorribly screwed two pantograph wheels — that is, mangled, the check eaten away by wolves wheels which will revolve freely in cvery or famished dogs." And Mr. Kirk, as direction. Through a bole in the narrower those who have read his former volumes end or point of the heart, a lead-pencil is will readily believe, is quite equal to his thrust point downwards. The wheels and task. His style is, we think, somewhat the pencil support the heart-shaped wood as wanting in taste, but it certainly is not a stool is supported on three legs. Now wanting in graphic power. In ornamental for the amusement. Sit down at a table, description, in that, for instance, with which two of you. Stand Planchette between you be opens this volume, he is not particularly on a sheet of paper. Place your hands happy; but when, so to speak, there is busilightly on the instrument, as you sit oppo- ness to be done, he is all that can be wished. site one another; do not press or push, or He can make his readers understand and, make any intentional movement with your what is more, retain a distinct impression hands. Sit and wait. And what will hap- of a battle, and that is no very common pen? Why, if the players are of a highly- achievement. Less skilful perhaps in denervous organisation, they will by involun- scribing character than incident, he is yet tary muscular action cause the pencil to sufficiently successful. He always aims at produce scratches on the paper having the impartiality, and often attains it. He sbares semblance of words. Enthusiasts say that with other bistorians of the day the merit real words are produced; but enthusiasts of a laborious industry which their predwill say anything. And if after a long ecessors in the last generation had not even wearisome sitting a word should be hatched, the opportunity of exercising. It is not what of it? Where is the satisfaction ? casy, to estimate the amount of labour Surely, on the strength of Planchette, the which is implied by the modest announcemost drivelling of all devices for wasting ment prefixed to this volume that “much time in the name of amusement, we English of the material has been gathered from manmay fairly consider ourselves distanced, and uscript sources.” ought gracefully to yield the palm to the We have hinted that Mr. Kirk sometimes Americans, as experts in that dreariest of fails in impartiality. This is the almost unihuman occupations - playing at pleasure. versal defect of biographers, and it does WILLIAM SAWYER. something to counterbalance the unques
tionable artistic advantages of the form of
history which Mr. Kirk has chosen to adopt. From The Spectator.
It almost passes human power to resist the
temptation to make the subject of a biog. MR. KIRK'S CHARLES THE BOLD. Vol. III.* raphy into a hero, to shape his proportions
MR. KIRK paints on a larger canvas as to an ideal perfection, to intensify the lights be approaches the conclusion of his work. and to diminish the depths of the shadows, This third and last volume of his history to blacken or to dwarf into foils of his embraces little more than two years, from brightness or greatness the other figures of the late autumn of 1474 to the 12th of Jan- the scene. Against this temptation Mr. uary, 1477, when, six days after his last Kirk does not stand altogether firm. He battle, Charles was buried in front of the had a most legitimate work to do for the high altar of the Church of St. George in subject of his history, who had qualities as Nancy. We do not think that Mr. Kirk a soldier and a statesman and a nobleness takes too large a space for the story which of personal character that had never before he has to tell. The last act in the drama is had justice done to them. But he goes beindeed crowded with action of singular in- yond this to plead his cause, not disinterest; there are sieges and battles to be genuously indeed, yet with a certain spirit related which hold no secondary place in
of advocacy. The general effect of this • History of Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy: man defending himself against unscrupulous
volume is to give a picture of an beroic By John Foster Kirk. Vol. III. London: John Murray. 1868.
enemies. Nor is this absolutely unfaithful
to the truth. Charles was in a way heroic; ceedings.” At the same time, we doubt he was certainly defending himself; bis en- whether Mr. Kirk makes proper allowance emies, French and Swiss, were sufficiently for the circumstances of the Swiss people. unscrupulous. But this impression ought, Switzerland did but follow the law which in justice, to be modified by a survey of has ruled every poor country, more fertile his whole history. It was not, surely, of men than of wealth. Arcadia was the without some reason that by common con- Switzerland of Greece, and its mercenaries sent his neighbours and contemporaries fought indifferently for Greek or barbarian. called him “ the Disturber." He had, as Scotland has played the same part in modMr. Kirk never seeks to conceal, schemes ern Europe. The Swiss fought for pay, of conquest.
These had been from his because the trade in blood was the chief earliest days the ruling passion of his life, trade of those days. That trade has been and the catastrophe of his end was their spoilt by the more gigantic inercenary sysresult. It may well be true, as our author tem of standing armies; but the same thinks, “ That the great rivalries and strug- necessity still. exists, and has still to be gles of the sixteenth and seventeenth cen- met. The overcrowded valleys of the Alps turies could never have raged so fiercely still send forth armies, not of fighters, but and so widely if there had stood between of valets, waiters, and traders. the two parties, instead of a crowd of The last period of Charles's history natminor wranglers, all feeding the flame, a urally divides itself into two parts. The third of equal greatness, holding the bal- year 1475 was not, on the whole, unfavourance, interested in quenching the strife”; able to his cause. In the early summer he but the question is whether it was the part had inflicted two heavy blows on the Emof a Duke of Burgundy to assume this po- peror's forces. Then came the grand disition. Doubtless this was his ambition, version on which his best hopes were built. the ambition to rise from the position of a An English army, numbering_24,000 men, great feudatory to that of a great sover- and better equipped than English army eign; a man of supreme genius might have had ever been before, landed at Calais. accomplished it even with the means that Had Edward IV. had anything of the spirit were at his command, but it was his lot to of the last monarch of his name, it is imcome into collision with powers that were possible to say how the course of history too strong for him : with a consummate might have been changed. But he had master of statecraft in Louis XI., and in never been a man of commanding ability, the Swiss Confederacy with a military force and now he was nothing better than a wornby which his skill and valour were baffled, out and enervated profligate. After little just as the dense solidity of the Theban more than two months the army returned infantry baffled the Athenian ambition at to England, after an expedition than which Delium and at Syracuse.
there is certainly nothing more inglorious The course of modern history is to de- in English history. But though this restroy at least as many characters as it re- source had failed him, Charles, at the close stores. Thus Mr. Froude sacrificed a of the year, was not in an unfavourable whole hecatomb of victims, the chivalrous position. He was master of Lorraine, and Surrey at their head, for the sake of his Lorraine, the link between his Burgundian hero "Henry. And so whatever Charles and his Flemish provinces, was, as Mr. gains by Mr. Kirk's statement the Swiss Kirk observes, " the natural keystone of lose. They are no longer patriot soldiers, the arch on which he desired to build.” defending against an unscrupulous aggres- But 1476 was a year of unmixed disaster. sor the independence of their mountain Three great armies, which he had collected home; but inercenaries in the pay of the with indefatigable energy, were shattered French King, and the most ruthless and at Grandson, Morat, and Nancy succesunscrupulous of their kind, without any sively against the wall of the Swiss inredeeming quality but a most splendid fantry. The story of his fall is one of surcourage and tenacity: It seems impos- passing interest, and Mr. Kirk tells it very sible to resist the evidence which Mr. Kirk well. Though extracts hardly do justice to adduces upon this point. Not private his merits, we will venture on a passage men only, but the States themselves, were which gives us the last scene of all : bought. Nor did they even attempt to
“ Charles saw himself stripped of both his deceive themselves as to the real character wings, assailed at once on both his flanks. He of the transaction. We read that “the has his choice between & rapid flight and a Council of Berne repealed the regulation speedy death. Well, then death! As he under which the statute against bribes was fastened his helmet, the golden lion in the crest read yearly at the opening of their pro- I became detached and fell to the ground. He
forbad it to be replaced. Hoc est signum Dei! It is a sign from God,' he said. From God? Ah! yes, he knew now the hand that was laid upon him. Leading his troops he plunged into the midst of his foes, now closing in on every side. Among enemies and friends the recollection of his surpassing valour in that hour of perdition, after the last gleam of hope had vanished, was long preserved. Old men of Franche Comté were accustomed to tell how their fathers, tenants and followers of the Sire de Citey, had seen the Duke, his face streaming with blood, charging and recharging like a lion,' even in the thick of the combat, bringing help where the need was greatest. In Lorraine the same tradition existed. · Had all his men,' says a chronicler of that province, fought with a like ardour, our army must infallibly have been repulsed.' But no; so engaged, so overmatched, what courage could have availed? The foot stood long and manfully,' is the testi- questionably a vulgarism. But these are mony of a hostile eye-witness. But the final trifling faults, which a little care will corstruggle, though obstinate, was short. Brokenrect in what Mr. Kirk may do hereafter. and dispersed, the men had no resource but We shall be glad to know that a writer flight. Some went eastward in the direction of who has so many of the historian's gifts is Essey, such as gained the river crossing where at work. the ice bore, and breaking it behind them. The greater number kept to the west of Nancy, to gain the road to Condé and Luxembourg. Charles, with the handful that still remained around him, followed in the same direction. The mass, both of fugitives and pursuers, was already far ahead. There was no choice now. Flight, combat, death- it was all one. Closing up, the little band of nobles, last relic of chivalry, charged into the centre of a body of foot. A halberdier swung his weapon, and brought it down on the head of Charles He reeled in the saddle. Citey flung his arms round him and steadied him, receiving while so engaged a thrust from a spear through the parted joints of his corslet. Pressing on, still fighting, still hemmed in, they dropped one by one. Charles's page, a Roman of the ancient family of Colonna, rode a little behind, a gilt helmet hanging from his saddle-bow. He kept his eye upon his master -saw him surrounded, saw him at the edge of a ditch, saw his horse stumble, the rider
"They stoop and examine. The nails, never pared, are longer than any other man's.' Two teeth are gone - through a fall years ago. There are other marks - a fistula in the groin, in the neck a scar left by the sword-thrust received at Monthéry. The men turn pale, the woman shrieks and throws herself upon the body! My Lord of Burgundy! my Lord of Burgundy!' Yes, this is he-the Great Duke,' the destroyer of Liége, the terror of France.'"
It is not because we wish to detract from
the merits of a valuable book, that we point out some blemishes in the style. Mr. Kirk is sometimes too grand, as when, for instance, he apostrophizes the Alps or his dramatis persona; and sometimes he is almost vulgar. Thus the expression "cornered" used of a man in difficulties is un
This was on Sunday, January the 6th. For the next twenty-four hours his fate remained unknown, but on the evening of Monday, Colonna guided to the spot a party among whom were some "surest to recognize the form-Matthew, the Portuguese physician, a valet-de-chambre, and a laundress' who had prepared the baths of the fallen prince." They come to the ditch. Many bodies lie on the edge at the bottom lies another body- short, but thick-set and well-membered." It is in
a worse plight than the rest, is frightfully mangled.
From The London Review. DR. NEWMAN'S SERMONS.
SERMONS are generally accounted dull reading, but the short discourses which are reprinted under the above heading must be excepted from the category of common homílies. The charm of a transparent style, and the graces of a kind of logic consistent at least with its own principles, give to all that Dr. Newman writes an interest over and above that which many persons might be inclined to attach to his subjects. Pulpit eloquence is, as a rule, undistinguished by either originality or elegance. Clergymen excuse themselves for being dull by saying that they must first be orthodox, and give as an apology for slipshod language, that grave matters of doe trine should not be presented with any of the foppishness of literary composition. Dr. Newman does not follow this fashion. To him the Spiritual Life is something so intensely real and true, that he never cares to wrap his views about it either in texts or platitudes. He is ready to stand by his opinions, but he never recognises the alternative of falling by them. He speaks to worldlings with a certain and assured voice,
and tells them of God's ordinances as distinctly as if he were instructing them in the truths of chemistry. This manner is, in a
Parochial and Plain Sermons. By John Henry
Newman, B.D., formerly Vicar of St. Mary's, Ox
literary aspect, sound art. The great work | petitions based upon their conception of a of Thomas a Kempis owes its attractiveness Being of whom they have the meanest and to a similar cause. If Dr. Newman ever most insulting comprehension. Dr. Newdescends from his high level to appeal to man justly indeed complains of “ the fascepticism, for example, it is with a proud miliarity with which many persons address and firm consciousness of possessing an ad- our Lord in prayer, applying epithets to vantage by faith, to which, if scepticism is Him, and adopting a strain of language indifferent, so much the worse for it. He which does not bescem creatures, not to say never either bans or blesses. He displays sinners.". Again, he finds fault with “ the a singular analytical power in dealing with introduction in speaking or writing of serimotives of action, which, considering the ous and solemn words for the sake of effect, retired nature of his career, evinces a great to round or to give dignity to a sentence." intuitive perception of character. We be- At first sight this latter correction might lieve Thackeray once said of him that were seem hypercritical, and would seem to sughe not a great monk he would have been a gest an instruction in holy fear so perfect great satirist. It is easy to see from what that the student might think it best to be source Thackeray could have derived the dumb altogether; but Dr. Newman evidentpotion. Throughout all Dr. Newman's ly refers to those ministers of words rather writings, and in the sermons now before us, than of the Gospel, who make angels as delivered at the commencement of his well as old women weep with their unctuous preaching, there is an utter absence of com- pronunciation of Mesopotamia. . Cowper monplace sensibility or enthusiasm, Com- has drawn a picture of these gentlemen bined with this speciality, we find a most which might stand as typical of half a dozen uncompromising candour in detailing the Pimlico and Belgravian favourites of the weaknesses and feelings of creatures, and present tiine. a tone, or rather an under-current of some- The absence of an active fear is to be atthing akin to mockery when contrasting the tributed to an imperfect realization of God's things of earth with those of heaven. In presence. We should, writes Dr. Newman, fact, to his mind, man should simply be a possess this fear if we saw llim. We should worshipping animal, with every faculty, im- not speak to Him familiarly, peremptorily, pulse, and sentiment trained that he should or in unreal words, or address him in unpray at once with submission and vigour. seemly postures. Neither, it may be addHe has no right to waste his emotions upon ed, should we sing hymns to a harmonium art; those emotions were given as sugges- accompaniment led off by squalling charity tive powers for active virtues; he should boys, or be seen putting coins into a bag fear nothing but God, he should love handed round to pay for wax-candles, and nothing but God, he should hope for incense from Rimmel's. Men “ certainly nothing but the beatific vision. All this is lack in their religion at present an external put before us, not with the wearisome itera- restraint arising from the consciousness of tion of the town or country parson indige- God's presence, but their outward devotion nous to the Church, but with a scholarly is not less a devotion that, if the iniracle of neatness and emphasis which we seldom a Visible Presence were repeated, it might meet with in modern books.
be extinguished by a supreme dread. The In a sermon upon “Reverence, a Belief Israelites who heard Him thunder from Siin God's Presence,” Dr. Newman treats the nai, and manifest Himself in their journey subject of religious fear in a manner which through the Wilderness, were as reckless might be of service to a good many clergy- and as wrong-headed (stiffnecked) a peomen. It has often struck us that there are ple as ever lived. Dr. Newman shows a few professed infidels, or “ materialists,” as kind of impatience with ordinary people for they are ignorantly called, who are as im- not sharing his own intense consciousness pious as church-going people. The former, of God's presence in the world; but he at least, when alluding to the Deity, do not sbould not forget that this consciousness is forget the tremendous interests in which He partly an intellectual gift - to him a gift at is involved and concerned ; the latt ap- least — which he owes in no small degree proach Him with a shocking familiarity to a poetical instinct and fancy which is as which it is difficult to describe without be- uncommon as the accomplishment of writing irreverent by an illustration. The no- ing and inventing such a poem as “Gerontions of God prevalent amongst the poor, tius.” and amongst many of the rich, would be
God hath made man upright, but they have ludicrous if they were not horrible. And sought out many inventions. On this text yet the persons who entertain them go on Dr. Newman preaches, perhaps, the most their knees from day to day, sending up characteristic sermon in the volume. He
THE CHANCES IN SPAIN.
starts off with offering the condition of Adam | correspondents hitherto despatched to Madas an excuse for asceticism. a hermit, whether he would or no." True; "Adam was rid are, without an exception, total failures, but does not this very circumstance that to the progress of events and the move-men who conceal profound ignorance as God made him such, point out to us what is ments of opinion under long descriptions of our true happiness, if we were given it, trumpery street displays. which we are not? Adam, to be sure, was know how umbrellas looked when SalusWho wants to a hermit; but then we learn it was not good tiano Olozaga entered Madrid, or what was for him to be alone, and Eve, a hermitess, the order of the procession which received came on the scene. Adam, taken by him- him? What is wanted is an account, as self, cannot be accepted as Dr. Newman accurate as may be, of the movement of insists, 66 as in type what our perfection is." opinion in Spain, of the political forces at We are not taught that Adam retired from work, of the ideas supported by the princiEve to pray by himself, which is the custom pal leaders, of the men, or committees, or of hermits. Dr. Newman follows up his institutions really exercising the ad interim line of speculation by enumerating the va- power, -points upon which the corresrious recluses who have kept apart from pondents are either ignorant or so reserved their fellow-creatures, but we think in his as to be useless. Why, for example, are first instance at least he has not given us a the elections to be so long delayed? What notable precedent. Children also resemble hope have the leaders of controlling those Adam, writes Dr. Newman. Adam was elections? How far will the Cortes be an fenced off from the world, fenced off even independent body? To whom is it likely from himself; we, in like manner, are to render obedience, and why? These are fenced off from our childhood's recollections the points on which information is required, and feelings. This view is not at all above and the correspondents leave them all to criticism (for instance there was no world repeat hackneyed trash about the gentlein the real sense, in the sense as we under- manly loafers of Madrid, their ways and stand the word, outside Paradise), but it is their poverty, their love for garlic and their not respectful enough to the author of these eagerness for official employ. For once discourses to judge them too nearly with a Reuter is more useful than the correspondsectarian microscope. With all their beau-ents, for his telegrams do at least record ties and attractions they are sermons, and official acts without bewildering verbiage, as such must be allowed a great deal of in- and it is possible to collect from them some dependent reach and scope, untrammelled faint idea of the progress of affairs. Reasonby those argumentative checks which are ing from that basis, we should say that the fittingly imposed upon writers and speakers readiness of the people to acquiesce in a who treat mundane and material subjects. week, that time is telling on the Republican Republic had greatly increased during the side and not on the side of constitutionalism, and that the chiefs of the movement perceive this clearly and are hesitating. It is true that Olozaga, believed in Spain to be her ablest civilian, has pronounced in favour of monarchy; but he does not proclaim, he only proposes, this solution; while Prim, who was much more decided, now explains that he will respect the national verdict, whatever that may be. Whether the Chiefs are themselves convinced of the advantages inherent in monarchy, or are yielding, as many believe, to foreign influence, the absence of a presentable candidate is a terrible embarrassment to them, an embarrassment to control, may prove fatal to their plans. which, unless the Cortes is very amenable Monarchy needs a monarch, and the Directory has no monarch to offer except some unknown person on whom Parliament may decide, who may then refuse the crown, and who, if he accepts, is only to educate the people till they are qualified to manage a Republic. A monarch of that kind is not
Some one reviewing Dr. Newman's poems, we believe in the Pall Mall Gazette, applied to them Goethe's title of the history of a beautiful soul. We might use the same words in speaking of this volume. The noble sincerity of the preacher, and his classical reserve of diction, the poise and justness of the few ornaments with which he decorates his discussions, and, above all, their touching and profound faith, must win the admiration and respect of every one who reads them.
From The Spectator, 24 Oct.
Ir is difficult for average Englishmen even to form an opinion on the course of events in Spain. Their previous knowledge of the country, never very extensive, is felt to be useless in presence of a national revolt against priests and Bourbons, and they receive none of the aid on which they have been accustomed to rely. The special