« VorigeDoorgaan »
pursuits, celebrating the glories of dwelt on somewhat to the exclusion steam and cotton to the accompani- of the martial spirit which should ring ment of an oaten pipe—a kind of through the subject like the sound of union of Corydon and Cobden, whose a trumpet. In the “ Lays of the religious creed was, that he got nearer Scottish Cavaliers," and the “ Lays to heaven as the distance by rail was of Ancient Rome," models which the shortened between London and Man- poets of the war would do well to chester.
study, there is far more ardour than War, long shuddered at as chief of philosophy. Small meditative power evils, which has brought desolation is visible in Dibdin ; but when Jack to so many homes, and still fills with thought of the saucy Arethusa, the rending anxiety so many hearts, has flag of that Frenchman upon whom not been without its benefits. At the he was bearing down was as good as sound of the trumpet England is struck. aroused, and knows she has been T he lines which ring the truest dreaming, while the nightmares that among those we have seen are some oppressed her shrink gibbering away. purporting to be written by Corporal Long-forgotten words are on her lips; John Brown, on the battle of the but her voice sounds more natural Alma, whose verses have become now than when her talk was all of popular in a song. Among the many progress and peace; long-dormant good pieces which have appeared in feelings, lending colour to her cheek newspapers, mostly less effusive than and fire to her eye, tell us that she is meditative, was one in blank verse in still the England of history. And, the Illustrated News, called “Looking seeing this, we feel less indignant at Death in the Face," which showed him whose ambition caused the war, remarkable power. Only two of the and forbear to dwell on the idea of the many books of verse on the war have thousands of ghosts dabbled in blood reached our hut-Alma and Other who may well be supposed to fit Poems, by R. C. Trench-and Sonnets avengingly round him as he enters on the War, by Alexander Smith and the dark Monarchy.
the author of Balder. We have read Not in the days of the Crusades them with the accompaniment of the was the warlike spirit more apparent frequent guns which have “lent to than now. Peter the Hermit would the rhyme of the poet the beauty of be far more indulgently listened to by their voice," and, considering their an English audience than Mr Bright. subject, it would be ungracious to Beauties in English ball-rooms tarn review them in other than a kindly impatiently from essenced exquisites, spirit. neglecting the soft nothings whispered The lines to the river Alma, by Mr in their ears, to think of ragged, Trench, are very good, and have a hairy, and not particularly clean fine roll about them. If the translalooking individuals three thousand tion into Greek on the next page miles off, less respectable in appear was made for the benefit of military ance than many mendicants they readers, we must suggest to Mr have thrown a sixpence to Our Trench that the slenderness of a bards, no longer waiting the advent war-kit forbids us to carry lexicons, of the supernatural genius who is to and we must continue to avail ourdetect the elements of poetry in the selves of the vernacular. “Sunday, mechanical discoveries of the age and November the Fifth," is very well in the art of money-making, have done, and the contrast between the become veritable troubadours, and English Sabbath and the long day of find in those decried qualities, forti- desperate battle throws each into tude and valour, the materials of stronger relief. If our efforts on that song. To say the truth, the lays of day have called forth such feelings as these minstrels smack somewhat of the close of the poem intimates, the the age we have been living in--the reward is indeed worth fighting for. native hue of resolution is sicklied “The Unforgotten" is a graceful o'er rather too biliously with the pale tribute to the memory of those who, cast of thought. The philosophy and though they died not with “ the light pathos of the horrors of war are of battle shining on their brows," died none the less for duty and their
“Why did no one teach country. Altogether, Mr Trench is That that fallacious future, smiling fair, the pleasantest excavation we have
Hid watchfires burning on a hostile beach ?” met with for many months past. Why indeed ? unless the teachers
Among the jointly-produced sonnets had money in the Funds, and wanted are some which we don't understand, to sell out before they sunk. Or, and therefore cannot conscientiously another reason may be, that nobody speak of. There are others which we (unless it be Mr Thomas Carlyle) only think we understand, and, there likes to make his appearance in the fore, will also leave unnoticed, for fear character of Cassandra, when he may of going off on a wrong tack. Of the gain so much more credit as a soothrest, there are some we like and some sayer by adapting his prophesies to we don't like. To say the truth, spite the taste of the public. Our own inof the great examples of Petrarch, dividual better judgment was so far Milton, and Wordsworth, we have overpowered by the prevailing curnever learned to like the sonnet, to rent of opinion, that, before the war which ideas generally seem to us to broke out, we had been for some be adapted by a process somewhat time in the habit of secretly attendProcrustean. A sonorous commence- ing meetings of the Peace Society (in ment sometimes leads to a feeble close, plain clothes, of course, as we didn't the thought having been improvi- wish to provoke ill-treatment), and dently expended in the first half- were actually in treaty with a Jew dozen lines, while the remainder for the sale of our sword and epaulets, throng in as impertinently as the intending to set up a small retail shop ragged little boys who close the pro- for ginger-beer at Sydenham. The cession of some great man's funeral; result of that enterprise would proor, again, after beating about the bably have been that we should now bush for thirteen lines, the poet, in be receiving parish relief, while the the fourteenth, planges desperately man who stood next us on the Armyin and starts the game while we are List was revelling in flannels and mufall looking another way. It is as if fetees, sent him by charitable ladies a man had but one carpet-bag for all who looked on us as a mere unintehis occasions, and at one time cram- resting civilian ruined by speculation. med it to overflowing, heels of boots We think the simile of the raw and corners of parcels sticking out on brood of birds thrusting up their each side of the strained lock, and heads, in " The Army Surgeon," is to stitches giving way in all directions; be found in Dante ; and we don't like while, at another, its collapsed re- the sonnets on “The Wounded”-the cesses contain only a false collar and a line in French closing the second is tooth-brush.
burlesque. "Home" embodies, someA line in the prefatory sonnet first what fantastically, an idea full of paarrested our attention, and made us thos. The conclusion is very pretty, feel as giddy as when the clown in a except for the epithet “carrion," pantomime crosses the stage in one which is altogether vile :unbroken string of summersets —
“Then she touches a sweet string " A whirlwind whirled across the whirling Of soft recall, and towards the Eastern hill land."
Smiles all her soul--for him who cannot hear
The raven croaking at his carrion ear." After this we closed our eyes for a minute or two, under the impression The same idea has been forcibly that the centrifugal force had sudden- expressed in a stanza of Tennyson's ly got it all its own way, and we had In Memoriamgone blundering off into space among «O mother ! praying God to save the planets. On recovering our ac Thy sailor-while thy head is bow'd, customed steadiness of brain, we got His heavy-shotted hammock-shroud on as far as “ The Crystal Palace." Drops in his vast and wandering grave." After describing the “hall of glass,” The sonnet to Miss Nightingale is, the very headquarters and house of as the subject requires, altogether representatives of our brief millennium, graceful and good, and winds up with the sonnetteer asks
a beautiful image :
“How must the soldier's tearful heart ex “ Tbe useless sun is in the deep! pand,
Fire on! this hour shall end them, son and Who from a long and obscure dream of painHis foeman's frown imprinted in his brain
A most sanguinary sentiment! - a Wakes to thy healing face and dewy hand! When this great noise bath rollid from off most unchristian sonnetteer! - but the land,
his bark is, we are persuaded, worse When all those fallen Englishmen of ours than his bite, and he would give Have bloomed and faded in Crimean flowers,
quarter. Thy perfect charity unsoiled shall stand. Some pitying student of a nobler age,
“ Fire on the scorching city is a heap! Lingering o'er this year's half-forgotten page,
The bastions reel, the toppling turrets leap!" Shall see its beauty smiling ever there; Surprised to tears, his beating heart he stills,
Hard times for the garrison, who Like one who finds among Athenian hills
would certainly be justified in evacu. A temple, like a lily, white and fair." ating works guilty of such unaccount
able gambols. So, of late, we saw in the great
“ Advance! The boiling waters rage and hospital of Scutari, amidst rows of
rave, sick and wounded, her of the “heal. And the white foam flouts heaven. High, ing face and dewy hand."
higher! See In blustering contrast with the The drowning streets. High, higher! Who quiet grace of the foregoing is “Se
can save ?
The flood -- the flood ! A deluge and a bastopol," which a Yankee would
grave." describe as resembling an “earthquake tipt with thunder and light
If Mr Smith wrote this, we should
say he never wrote anything approachning." It begins with sound and
ing nearer to rant; if it was the other fury
gentleman, we would say to him, in " Blaze gun to gun along the roaring steep! the words of Cedric the Saxon, Ram home, ram home !"
“ Down, Balder, down! I am not (Our poet must have been born under in the humour for foolery." Aries.)
What does the poet mean by in
sinuating in “America” that the “Knee-deep in living mire."
Yankees speak our language? Are Why living?
not the tongues wide asunder as the * Run like cold demons thro' the hell of fire, language of Samuel Johnson and And feed the gulfs of flame!”
Samuel Slick? In "A Statesman" All our most cherished ideas of
the poet demands a pilot to weather
the storm. O for one like the great demons are upset by the epithet. A
Commoner, the effigy on whose tomb printer's devil shivering, in January,
seems still, as Macaulay says, “ with on the inhospitable doorstep of a tardy
eagle face and outstretched hand to author, waiting for copy, while an east wind shrivels him to the marrow,
bid England be of good cheer, and to
hurl defiance at her foes." “ Austrian may in some sort, by a kind of paraphrase, be called a cold demon; but
Alliance," besides being impolitic and
untimely, is bad poetry. “War " we see not the affinity he bears to the
conveys a stern but necessary moral, British soldier in battle. We have
In "Cheer" our departed Duke is always been given to understand that
worthily alluded to, and the lines that the inhabitants of those ultra-tropi
end the sonnet are among the best in cal regions, the gulfs of flame, were
the book, of particularly warm temperaments. We would not enter on our list of
“Before us, to the unseen close, friends the man who conceived the
The future stretches without bound or mark,
And England, fearless, sails across the dark, idea of a cold demon, because he
Leaving a trail of splendour as she goes." would be capable of asking us to breakfast, and giving us cold grill.
"Childless," like “Home," conveys
a toucbing image, and is, like it, a “We have burned sleep And night!”
little injured by fantastic expres
sion. Nevertheless it is very pretty, Most extraordinary combustibles, and pathetic, and true, and would, we never issued to the army as fuel that think, be found by many a bereaved we know of.
“grey pale dame" not unconsoling; but we must not pick any more plums strange tenderness at his hurts. “Hi, out of the pudding by extracting it. Towzer!” and, encouraged by that
Here we will say good-by to Mr parting clap on the back, the faithful Smith and the author of Balder, whom animal shakes his bleeding ears and we expect to see shortly in the Crimea, rushes in. Ultimately, Tiger, utterly as we hear they are among the most prostrated, is carried off to the next diligent officers of the militia in their pump, while the victorious Towzer, study of the manual exercise. We clate with conquest and encouragehope they may distinguish themselves ment, keeps close to the highlows, wagin the war, so as to become in their ging incessantly the stump of his tail. turn the subjects of a sonnet, ode, But this favour vanishes with the last epic, or any kind of poem except an drops of the pot of beer; and, saluted elegy. Meantime, we thank these by a sudden kick on the ribs, he and all other poets who have sought awakes to a sense of his proper posito do honour to the troops, by cele- tion in society in the piping time of brating their achievements and hard - peace, and retires to an obscure corner ships. We wish we could be sure to lick his wounds. The reader will that the regard of the country, now draw the moral. so warm and sincere, for the army, Fortunately, the soldier puts not would long ontlast the first bloom of his trust in prince, poet, nor people, peace. Perbaps the reader has ere- but looks elsewhere for encouragement while been by when a gentleman, in and reward. As it was in the days corduroy breeches and highlows, who of chivalry, so it is now, and ever added to his other accomplishments a shall be. Husband and bachelor taste for dog-fighting, bas called up, value the gazette only because she, with many blandishments, his dog whoever she be, will read his name Towzer, whom he has backed, for å in it; or, he may have neither wife pot of beer, against Tiger. Towzer, nor sweetheart, only bis ideal sculplong babituated to kicks from the tured with infinite pains in that inner highlowe, comes skulking up, and, as studio of his where none can penehis master puts forth his hand to pat trate; or, again, he may cherish such him, slinks out of reach of the suspi- a number of idols (yonr military man cious caress. But there, in front, is being sometimes a little of a Lothario) Tiger, with all his teeth displayed, that individuality is lost in the crowd churning between them a horrid snarl; of cbarms and sweet remembrances; and Towzer, converting his legs into but still the feeling is the same. He four pegs, stilts forward, with every sees not, like bis ally the Turk, bristle borrent on his back. “At amidst the smoke of the battery, the him, good dog!" says he of the high- gates of paradise, with houris beckonlows, and rearing up the combatants ing through ; but he knows that eyes, close in a confused mass of teeth, bright with an intelligence and feeling growls, and chokings. As they stand such as no houri ever possessed, are apart again, breathless, after the looking towards the East, that they first round, Towzer glances askance will beam on his return, if he do through his remaining eye at his return,- and that, if not, they will, in master-the pot of beer bas invested thinking of him, grow dim with tears, him with unusual interest—and the whose source lies in the warmest and gentleman in corduroys looks with tenderest hearts in the world.
THE CAMPAIGNS OF A FRENCH HUSSAR.
The latter campaigns of the greatest enzac has already given us the history conqueror of modern times, although of a French infantry regiment during less successful than his previous ones, the Russian expedition ; Colonel and terminated by his total discom- Combe's narrative is one of personal fiture, yet were scarcely less glorious adventure, extending over several to the gallant and devoted armies that years, but in its course we naturally fought and fell in vain to extend his hear not a little of the exploits of power and sustain his throne. The the dashing regiment of light horsemen who combated under the French chasseurs-à-cheval-in whose ranks he eagles from 1812 to 1814 may justly served during the most active portion feel as proud of the laurels they won of his military career. Published in -although these were unentwined an unpretending form, at one of the with the solid fruits of victory-as military libraries of Paris, his pleasant the participators in the more brilliant and spirited volume did not reach our and profitable campaigns of Auster- hands until more than a year after its litz, Jena, and Wagram. More de- appearance. It has perhaps a stronger cisive victories have been gained, but interest now, owing to the English none where greater valour was dis- and French alliance, and to the war played, than that of Borodino; at in which we are engaged, than it had Lutzen and Bautzen the flower of then, and has probably been read but Germany's youth, stimulated by their by few in England. Married to an sovereign's earnest appeal, and by the English lady, and having many Engimpassioned songs of Körner-fight- lish friends, Colonel Combe nowhere, ing, too, for their hearths and altars, throughout his book, betrays even å and for all that makes life precious spark of that irritable dislike to our were defeated by an army of French country and nation so often found in recruits. If Leipzic was a terrible old Buonapartists, and which might reverse, account must be taken of the be expected in one of those devoted desertion of the Saxons, and of the adherents of the Emperor, whose overwhelming numbers opposed to staunchness to his cause, when all Napoleon's army, which had, for the hope was indeed gone, earned for greater part of its cavalry, conscripts them no better rewards than the nickwhose first drill had been upon the name of the Brigands de la Loire, line of march to Germany. And the persecution, and even death ; whilst campaign of France in 1814 was a it in many instances, as in that of succession of brilliant actions, honour the Colonel, proved a bar to their adable alike to the valour of the troops vancement even under the soi-disant and the genius of the general, although liberal reign of Louis Philippe. it postponed but for a brief space the Colonel Combe dwells upon his boysubmission of the former, and the hood only enough to show that his latter's abdication,
nature was pugnacious, and his voAt a moment when England and cation decidedly military. “I have France are arrayed, for the first time, always been fond of noise," he reside by side against a common foe, marks, with much naïveté, when rethe memoirs of a valiant and adven- lating the warlike games, the mock turous French officer, who passed combats, and rattle of drums, which through the horrors of the Russian cam- in 1807 were the favourite amusepaign, was present in a multitude of ments of French schoolboys. He was well-fought actions, and reached the of too impatient a disposition to grapend of the war with life, but not with ple with the long and severe studies out several wounds, much suffering, which are the necessary preparation and some captivity, can hardly be for admission to the Polytechnic devoid of interest. General de Fer- School, and notwithstanding his mo
1 * Mémoires du Colonel Combe, sur les campagnes de Russie 1812, de Saxe 1813, de France 1814 et 1815. Paris, 1853.