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And sleights of art and feats of strength went round;
These round thy bowers their cheerful influence shed, These were thy charms - But all these charms are fled.
Sweet smiling village, loveliest of the lawn,
Thy sports are fled, and all thy charms withdrawn ;
One only master grasps the whole domain,
The hollow-sounding bittern guards its nest;
Ill fares the land, to hastening ills a prey,
A time there was, ere England's griefs began,
rood of ground maintained its man;
But times are altered; trade's unfeeling train Usurp the land, and dispossess the swain; Along the lawn, where scattered hamlets rose, Unwieldy wealth and cumberous pomp repose: And every want to luxury allied,
And every pang that folly pays to pride.
Those gentle hours that plenty bade to bloom,
These, far departing, seek a kinder shore,
BUT where to find that happiest spot below,
EDMUND BURKE was born in Dublin in 1730 and died in 1797. Unlike his great contemporary, Pitt, he was not a youthful prodigy, but was a warm-hearted boy of apparently average intellectual capacity. Having graduated at Trinity College, Dublin, he went to London and⋅ entered upon the study of law. But the profession did not suit him, and he soon abandoned it, and devoted himself to literary labors. His first considerable work was an essay entitled Vindication of Natural Society. It was a parody on the works of Lord Bolingbroke, who had maintained that natural religion is sufficient for man, and that he does not need a revelation. His second book was one which gave him permanent and honorable fame, - An Inquiry into the Origin of our Ideas on the Sublime and Beautiful. In 1759 Burke returned to Ireland as private secretary to William Gerard Hamilton (known in history as "Single-Speech Hamilton"), Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant. He held his place but a short time, and left it to become Secretary to the Marquis of Rockingham. Soon obtaining a seat in Parliament he began the brilliant political career the particulars of which are familiar to all. He was especially prominent in the debates upon the American War, and displayed a more thorough knowledge of the subject than any of his colleagues. In 1783 a political scheme, of which he was the organizer, having failed, he retired to private life. Burke was not a popular man; he alienated his closest friends by the singularity and obstinacy of his opinions; but remembering that Goldsmith loved him, and that he had befriended George Crabbe in the hour of the latter's extremity, we cannot doubt that he had a kind heart. As a writer Burke stands in the very front rank. We give extracts from one of his speeches on the American War, and from his very celebrated essay, Reflections on the French Revolution.
ON CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA.*
My hold of the Colonies is in the close affection which grows from common names, from kindred blood, from similar privileges, and equal protection. These are ties which, though light as air, are as strong as links of iron. Let the Colonies always keep the idea of their civil rights associated with your government; they will cling and grapple to you; and no force under heaven will be of power to tear them from their allegiance. But let it be once understood, that your government may be one thing and their privileges another; that these two things may exist without any mutual relation the cement is gone; the cohesion is loosened; and everything hastens to decay and dissolution. As long as you have the wisdom to keep the sovereign authority of this country as the sanctuary of liberty, the sacred temple consecrated to our common faith, wherever the chosen race and sons of England worship freedom, they will turn their faces towards you. The more they multiply, the more friends you will have; the
* During the Revolutionary War, Burke was a member of the British Parliament. He opposed the coercive policy of George III., being in favor of conciliation.
more ardently they love liberty, the more perfect will be their obedience. Slavery they can have anywhere. It is a weed that grows in every soil. They may have it from Spain, they may have it from Prussia. But, until you become lost to all feeling of your true interest and your natural dignity, freedom they can have from none but you. This is the commodity of price, of which you have the monopoly. This is the true act of navigation, which binds to you the commerce of the Colonies, and through them secures to you the wealth of the world. Deny them this participation of freedom, and you break that sole bond which originally made, and must still preserve, the unity of the empire. Do not entertain so weak an imagination, as that your registers and your bonds, your affidavits and your sufferances, your cockets and your clearances, are what form the great securities of your commerce. Do not dream that your letters of office, and your instructions, and your suspending clauses, are the things that hold together the great contexture of this mysterious whole. These things do not make your government. Dead instruments, passive tools as they are, it is the spirit of the English communion that gives all their life and efficacy to them. It is the spirit of the English constitution, which, infused through the mighty mass, pervades, feeds, unites, invigorates, vivifies every part of the empire, even down to the minutest member.
Is it not the same virtue which does everything for us here in England? Do you imagine, then, that it is the land tax act which raises your revenue? that it is the annual vote in the committee of supply, which gives you your army? or that it is the mutiny bill, which inspires it with bravery and discipline? No! surely no! It is the love of the people; it is their attachment to their government, from the sense of the deep stake they have in such a glorious institution, which gives you your army and your navy, and infuses into both that liberal obedience, without which your army would be a base rabble, and your navy nothing but rotten timber.
All this, I know well enough, will sound wild and chimerical to the profane herd of those vulgar and mechanical politicians, who have no place among us; a sort of people who think that nothing exists but what is gross and material; and who therefore, far from being qualified to be directors of the great movement of empire, are not fit to turn a wheel in the machine. But to men truly initiated and rightly taught, these ruling and master principles, which, in the
opinion of such men as I have mentioned, have no substantial existence, are in truth everything, and all in all. Magnanimity in politics is not seldom the truest wisdom; and a great empire and little minds go ill together. If we are conscious of our situation, and glow with zeal to fill our places as becomes our station and ourselves, we ought to auspicate our public proceedings on America with the old warning of the Church, Sursum Corda! * We ought to elevate our minds to the greatness of that trust to which the order of Providence has called us. By adverting to the dignity of this high calling, our ancestors have turned a savage wilderness into a glorious empire ; and have made the most extensive, and the only honorable conquests, not by destroying, but by promoting the wealth, the number, the happiness of the human race. Let us get an American revenue as we have got an American empire. English privileges have made it all that it is; English privileges alone will make it all it can be.
THE DECAY OF CHIVALROUS SENTIMENT. †
It is now sixteen or seventeen years since I saw the Queen of France, then the Dauphiness, at Versailles; and surely never lighted on this orb, which she hardly seemed to touch, a more delightful vision. I saw her just above the horizon, decorating and cheering the elevated sphere she just began to move in, glittering like the morning star, full of life aud splendor and joy. O, what a revolution! and what a heart must I have, to contemplate without emotion that elevation and that fall! Little did I dream when she added titles of veneration to those of enthusiastic, distant, respectful love, that she should ever be obliged to carry the sharp antidote against disgrace concealed in that bosom; little did I dream that I should have lived to see such disasters fallen upon her in a nation of gallant men, in a nation of men of honor, and of cavaliers. I thought ten thousand swords must have leaped from their scabbards to avenge even a look that threatened her with insult. But the age of chivalry is gone. That of sophisters, economists, and calculators has succeeded; and the glory of Europe is extinguished forever. Never,
* SURSUM CORDA, Lift up your hearts.
This is justly estimated as one of the finest rhetorical passages in our language. It refers to the execution of Marie Antoinette, wife of Louis XVI., and Queen of France. She was guillotined by the Jacobins in 1793, during the celebrated French Revolution. The remarks about the "age of chivalry" and the "cheap defense of nations" have become famous.