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No. 1975.- April 29, 1882.
CONTENTS. I. THE STATE TRIALS,
Cornhill Magazine, II. ROBIN. By Mrs. Parr, author of “Adam and Eve." Part VII.,
TIONAL AND PERSONAL MEMORIALS, . Macmillan's Magazine,
Cornhill Magazine, VII. ECONOMIC GEOLOGY OF INDIA,
Nature, VIII. THE FUTURE OF ENGLISH HUMOR,
Spectator, IX. PRECIOUS CORAL,
236 243 248 253 255
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THE POET AND THE CHILDREN.
See! my bridle-rein is tied
Firmly to thy saddle's side.
Where thou goest, I will go,
All the dangerous pathways show." Over his locks of gray,
Then I turned, and there beheld In the old historic mansion
A rider following in the wild. He sat on his last birthday.
Careless of the storm, he moved
Like a traveller tried and proved. With his books and his pleasant pictures
Strange - his steed was like my own; And his household and his kin,
Strange — his face I should have known. While a sound as of myriads singing
“ Brother! ridest thou my way?” From far and near stole in.
Cried I in mine ecstasy. It came from his own fair city,
But my Dæmon made reply: From the prairie's boundless plain,
“Thou shalt converse by-and-by. From the Golden Gate of sunset,
This day's journey thou must make; And the cedarn woods of Maine.
On the morn, another take;
Many more perchance thou hast; And his heart grew warm within him,
But, when lagging on thy last, And his moistening eyes grew dim,
Love shall light the lonely realm, For he knew that his country's children
As a crest upon thy helon; Were singing the songs of him :
And this rider thou shalt see,
As the better part of thee.” The lays of his life's glad morning,
C. McK. The psalms of his evening time, Whose echoes shall float forever
On the winds of every clime.
All their beautiful consolations,
Sent forth like birds of cheer, Came flocking back to his windows,
And sang in the poet's ear.
Grateful, but solemn and tender,
The music rose and fell With a joy akin to sadness
And a greeting like farewell.
No longer mourn for me when I am dead
With a sense of awe he listened
To the voices sweet and young;
Seemed in the songs they sung.
And waiting a little longer
For the wonderful change to come, He heard the summoning angel
Who calls God's children home!
And to him in a holier welcome,
Was the mystical meaning given Of the words of the blessed Master : “Of such is the kingdom of Heaven!”
Wide Awake for May.
Long time a child, and still a child, when
For yet I lived like one not born to die;
taking The vanguard of my age, with all arrears Of duty on my back. Nor child, nor man,
Nor youth, nor sage, I find my head is grey,
A rathe December blights my lagging May;
From The Cornhill Magazine.
speare. The purpose of playing is, as
that excellent authority is constantly It sometimes strikes readers of books brought to us, to show the very age and that literature is, on the whole, a snare body of the time, his form and pressure. and a delusion. Writers, of course, do But, upon that hypothesis, why should we not generally share that impression; and, not see the age itself 'instead of being on the contrary, have said a great many bothered by impossible kings and queens fine things about the charm of conversing and ghosts mixed up in supernatural with the choice minds of all ages, with catastrophes ? If this theory of art be the innuendo, to use the legal phrase, sound, is not the most realistic historian that they themselves modestly demand the only artist? Nay, since every hissome place amongst the aforesaid choice torian is more or less a sophisticator, minds. But at times we are disposed to should we not go back to the materials retort upon our teachers. Are you not, from which histories are made? we observe, exceedingly given to hum- I feel some touch of sympathy for those bug? The youthful student takes the simple-minded readers who avowedly prepoet's ecstasies and agonies in solemn fer the police reports to any other kind of earnest. We who have grown a little literature. There at least they come into wiser cannot forget how complacently contact with solid facts; shocking, it may delighted the poet has been to hit upon a be, to well-regulated minds, but possessnew agony; how he has set it to a pretty ing all the charın of their brutal reality; tune; how he has treasured up his sor- not worked into the carefully doctored rows and despairs to make his literary theories and rose • colored pictures set stock in irade, has taken them to market, forth by the judicious author, whose real and squabbled with publishers and writhed aim is to pose as an amiable and interest. under petty critics, and purred and bridled ing being. It is true that there are cerunder judicious flattery; and we begin to tain objections to such studies. They resent his demand upon our sympathies. generally imply a wrong state of mind in Are not poetry and art a terrible waste of the student. He too often reads, it is to energy in a world where so much energy be feared, with that pleasure in loathsome is already being dissipated ? The great details which seems to spring from a surmusician, according to the well-worn anec- vival of the old cruel instincts capable of dote, hears the people crying for bread in finding pleasure in the sight of torture the street, and the wave of emotion pass- and bloodshed. Certainly one would not, ing through his inind comes out in the even in a passing phrase, suggest that the shape, not of active benevolence, but of indulgence of such a temper can be anysome new and exquisite jangle of sounds. thing but loathsome. But it is not necesIt is all very well. The musician, as is sary to assume this evil propensity in all probable enough, could have done noth- cases; or what must be our judgment of ing better. But there are times when we the many excellent members of society feel that we would rather have the actual who studied day by day the reports of the sounds, the downright utterance of an Tichborne case, for example, and felt that agonized human being, than the far-away there was a real blank in their lives when echo of passion set up in the artistic brain. the newspapers had to fill their columns We prefer the roar of the tempest to the with nothing better than discussions of squeaking of the æolian harp. We tire international relations and social reforms? of the skilfully prepared sentiment, the You might perhaps laugh at such a man pretty fancies, the unreal imaginations, if he asserted that he was conscientiously and long for the harsh, crude, substantial studying human nature. But you might fact, the actual utterance of men strug. give him credit if he replied that he was gling in the dire grasp of unmitigated reading a novel which atoned for any realities. We want to see nature itself, defects of construction by the incomparanot to look at the distorted images pre- ble interest of reality. And the reply sented in the magical mirror of a Shake. I would be more plausible in defence of an
other kind of reading. When literature The charm of the State trials is in the palls upon me I sometimes turn for relief singular fulness and apparent authenticity to the great collection of State trials. of many of the reports of viva voce exThey are nothing, you may say, but the aminations. There are not more links police reports of the past. But it makes between us, for example, and Sir Nichoall the difference that they are of the past. las Throgmorton — whose words I have 1
may be ashamed of myself when I read just quoted — than between us and the some hideous revelation of modern crine, last witness at a contemporary trial. The not to stimulate my ardor as a patriot and very words are given fresh from the speaka reformer, but to add a zest to my com- er's mouth. The volumes of course confortable chair in the club window or attain vast masses of the dismal materials the bar of my favorite public house. But which can be quarried only by the paI can read without such a pang of remorse tience of a Dryasdust. If we open them about Charles I. and the regicides. I can at random we may come upon reading do nothing for them. I cannot turn the which is anything but exhilarating. There tide of battle at Naseby, or rush into the are pages upon pages of constitutional streets with the enthusiastic Venner. eloquence in the Sacheverell case about They make no appeal to me for help, and the blessed Revolution, and the social I have not to barden my heart by resist-compact and the theory of passive resisting, but only for a sympathy which cannot ance, which are as hopelessly unreadable be wasted because it could not be turned as the last Parliamentary debate in the to account. I may indulge in it, for it Times. If we chance upon the great case strengthens the bond between me and my of ship-money, and the arguments for and ancestors. My sense of relationship is against the immortal Hampden, we have stimulated and strengthened as I gaze at to dig through strata of legal antiquathe forms sinking slowly beyond my grasp rianism solid enough to daunt the most down into the abyss of the past, and try intrepid explorer. And, as trials expand in imagination to raise them once more in later times, and the efforts of the to the surface. I do all that I can for British barrister to establish certain imthem in simply acknowledging that they portant rules of evidence become fully form a part of the great process in which reported, we, as innocent laymen, feel I am for the instant on the knife-edge of bound to withdraw from the sacred place. actual existence, and unreal only in the Indeed, one is forced to ask in passing sense in which the last motion of my pen whether any English lawyer, with one exis unreal now. “I was once," says one ception, ever made a speech in court of the earliest performers, “a looker-on which it was possible for any one, not a of the pageant as others be here now, but lawyer, to read in cold blood. Speeches, now, woe is me!
I am a player in that of course, have been made beyond nundoleful tragedy." This “ now” is become ber of admirable efficacy for the persuaour “once,” and we may leave it to the sion of judges and juries; but so far as barmless enthusiasts who play at meta the State trials inform us, one can only physics to explain or to darken the mean-suppose that lawyers regarded eloquence ing of the familiar phrase. Whatever as a deadly sin, perhaps because jurymen time may be — a point, I believe, not bad a kind of dumb instinct which led quite settled — there is always a singular them to associate eloquence with humbug. fascination in any study which makes us The one exception is Erskine, whose vividly conscious of its ceaseless lapse, speeches are true works of art, and perand gives us the sense of rolling back fect models of lucid, logical exposition.. the ever-closing scroll. Historians, espe. The strangely inarticulate utterance of cially of the graphic variety, try to do his brethren reconciles us in a literary that service for us; but we can only get sense to the rule — outrageous in a moral the full enjoyment by studying at first and political point of view — which for hand direct contemporary reports of act. centuries forbade the assistance of counual words and deeds.
sel in the most serious cases. lu the
-older trials, therefore, we assist at a se- 1 view we may certainly prefer the old sys. ries of tragedies, which may shock our tem, for the tragedies generally have a sense of justice, but in their rough-and-worthy ending; and instead of those sudready fashion go at once to the point and den interventions of a benevolent author, show us all the passions of human beings which are meant to save our feelings at fighting in deadly earnest over the issues the end of a modern novel, we are generof life and death. The unities of time ally thrilled by a scene on the scaffold, in and place are strictly observed. In the which it is rare indeed for the actors to good old days the jury, when once empan. play their parts unworthily. elled, had to go on to the end. There The most interesting period of the was no dilatory adjourning from day to State trials is perhaps the last half of day.* As wrestlers who have once taken the seventeenth century, when the art of hold must struggle till one touches earth, reporting seems to have been sufficiently the prisoner had to finish his agony there developed to give a minute verbal record and then. The case might go on by can- - vivid as a photograph — of the actual dle-light, and into the early hours of a scene, and before the interest was diluted second morning, till even the spectators, by floods of legal rhetoric. Pepys himwedged together in the close court, with self does not restore the past more viva pestilential atmosphere, loaded, if they idly than do some of those anonymous had only known it, with the germs of gaol reporters. The records indeed of the fever, were well-nigh exhausted; till the trials give the fullest picture of a social judge confessed himself too faint to sum period, which is too often treated from up, and even to recollect the evidence; some limited point of view. The great till the unfortunate prisoner, browbeaten political movements of the day leave their by the judge and the opposite counsel, mark upon the trials; the last struggle of bewildered by the legal subtleties, often parties was fought out by judges and surprised by unexpected evidence, and juries with whatever partiality in open unable to produce contradictory witnesses court. We may start, if we please, with at the instant, overwhelmed with all the the “ memorable scene in which Charles labor and impossibility of a task to which I. won bis title to martyrdom ; then comes he was totally unaccustomed, could only the gloomy procession of regicides; and stammer out a vague assertion of inno- presently to come we have the martyrs to
Here and there some sturdy the Popish plot, and they are followed by prisoner -- a Throgmorton or a Lilburne the Whig martyr, Russell, and by the
thus brought to bay under every disad. miserable victims who got the worst of vantage, managed to fight his way through, Sedgemoor fight. The Church of Enand to persuade a jury to let him off even gland has its share of interest in the exat their own peril. As time goes on, citing case of the seven bishops; and things get better, and the professions of Nonconformists are represented by Baxfair play have more reality; but it is also ter's sufferings under Jeffreys, and by true that the performance becomes less luckless frequenters of prohibited conexciting In the degenerate eighteenth venticles; and beneath the more stirring century it came to be settled that a minis- events described in different histories, we ter might be turned out of office without have strange glimpses of the domestic losing his head; and it is perhaps only bistories which were being transacted at from an æsthetic point of view that the the time; there are murderers and forgers old practice was better, which provided and housebreakers, who cared little for historians with so many moving stories Whig or Tory; superstition is represented of judicial tyranny. But in that point of by an occasional case of witchcraft. And
we have some curious illustrations of the • In the trial of Horne Tooke in 1794 it was decided manners and customs of the fast young by the judges that an adjourninent might take place in case of " physical necessity,” but the only previous men of the period, the dissolute noblecase of an adjournment cited was that of Canning (in men, the “sons of Belial flown with inso1753).
lence and wine," who disturbed Milton's