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THE SON. 1
O why is your hate of me so deep,
I grieve so that I may not sleep
Although this body's strong to bear,
I droop and falter round your chair;
Why is the look refused me quite,
That on my brother dwells like light?
At evening when the room is dim
Your shining eyes roam after him.
When I come near your lip is set,
With something you can ne'er forget. What's vile in him, you think it strong; What's good in me, you make it wrong.
O when my heart, the labor done,
Is homing toward the setting sun; Out of the glory and the gold
I enter, and your face is cold.
When you were near to death, you, said, Father!
"See that he comes not near my bed!" I stood on the dark stair alone,
And swayed about to hear you moan.
Will something ever 'tween us stand, Father?
Too deep for me to understand? Even in the womb you hated me, When I was dumb and might not see.
When first I blinked at this great light,
Your hate of me was blinding bright;
When first I shivered to be born.
Didst thou thy gift deny.
And as unfailing-so without excess
Yielding, regardless of the seasons' stress,
Thus as an infant, boldly, with stretch'd hand,
Thy runlet would I prove, Incredulous, and slow to understand
That aught so quiet did move!
So, like some world-renouncing hermit old, To alms and temperance vow'd, Unchanging thou one equal course dost hold,
Nor base, nor over-proud.
Green slopes surround, and tangled bushes gird,
Thy moss-grown chamber small; Above, the tall trees in the winds are stirr'd,
And God is over all. Academy,
IN THE HILLS.
His hoar breath stings with rime the skater's face.
Mirrored in jet, beneath his hissing feet, The stars swarm past, and radiate, as they fleet,
The immemorial cold of cosmic space...
From The Fortnightly Review.
THE MARQUIS DI RUDINI AND ITALIAN
The intrigues are many and various which surround the Marquis di Rudini, and which endeavor to make the man who ruled the tempest in March succumb to a storm in a saucer in midsummer. The whole entanglement of the recent crisis has been full of backstairs jobberies and of bedchamber plots. It is well known that Rudini has the aristocrat's impatience of ennui and of vexatious opposition, and that he will neither brook slights nor stoop to duplicity; and all these characteristics offer continual opportunities to his very unscrupulous enemies. It may safely be asserted that the country would be much better served if it were possible for him to rule alone. The Cabinet is but a
source of weakness to his administration; and he is hampered by the exigencies of a court in fief to Germany and secretly favorable to the guerrafondisti. Parliamentary government has always this drawback, that a minister who, left to himself, would rule easily and well, is embarrassed by colleagues unequal to him and by the prejudices of the throne.
No sovereign nominally constitutional has ever interfered more continuously than the present king of Italy. In trifles and in great things this interference is perpetual. When General Pelloux answered Rudint's summons to come to Rome the other day, he was met at the station by a message from the king to go first to the Quirinal. In his maintenance of the Triplice the king is in dogged opposition to the whole tendencies of the country, as he is in his refusal to make peace with Menelik, a refusal which keeps nearly two thousand soldiers suffering in captivity and hunPeace might have been made
after Abu-Alagi, after Makalle, after Abou-Carima. One man alone has prevented it: Umberto. With a sovereign of this obstinacy it is extremely difficult for a minister of the loyalty of Rudini to take his own course; he is at every step hampered, harassed, clogged, forced to withdraw to-day what he said yesterday, and conscious that to-morrow there may lie before him the painful dilemma of offending his sovereign or failing his country. Umberto has been served by a statesman who made unfortunately never him understand that a constitutional king should have no wishes, no opinions, no actions of his own. his father in exceptional times used Because his individual influence unsparingly, he is unfortunately persuaded that to so use it at all times is a privilege of the throne.
But Victor Emmanuel galloping over the Lombard plains under a storm of bullets, shouting “Avanti ragazzi!" was in a very different position to demand obedience to that which is occupied by Umberto, sitting at a writing table in a room of the Quirinale, and with a stroke of his pen ordering battalions to go and die in Africa. It is through him that Ricotti's scheme of army reform has foundered; it is through him that the African budget is not to be reduced; it is through him that the leaden weight of the Triplice still drags on Italian national life; it is through him that the elections are not to take place; and it is through him, as I have said above, that six months have elapsed since the defeat of Abou-Carima without any peace being made which would restore such as still live of the Italian captives to their country; and the number of the survivors. shrinks, alas! with through typhoid, sunstroke, hunger,. every day, suicide. But for him Rudint would have made that peace and withdrawn from Massowah and Kassala, six months ago; and the prisoners would
have been by this in their homes. articles, one on the war-budget and The interregnum which has followed the other on Visconti-Venosta, the on defeat has been, and is, neither only fault being that "he who is irpeace nor war, and it is much to be responsible and intangible" was in feared that the king hopes, by the aid them criticised. It is clear that such of England, to reopen hostilities in press persecution as this is absolutely the autumn. There is little doubt incompatible with liberty of the most that there is some secret pact between elementary kind. Until it is placed him and the emperor of Germany, out of the power of prefects and pubfrom which Austria is excluded; and lic prosecutors to annoy and injure it may well be that German aid is the press thus, it is idle to say that promised in it to hold down the Ital- the Italian government is other than ian populace should they rise during a despotism. It is a cruel irony to talk a second African campaign. of a free Italy when such despotism, modelled on the worst forms of Austrian and German tyrannies, is the daily rule of life. It is not necessary to say to any English reader that a press absolutely unshackled is the first condition of a liberal national life. Until this fact is recognized by the Italian government nothing can be done to liberate national life. It is worse than useless to multiply universities and professors, whilst any educated writer who speaks to the public as he conceives it his duty to speak, is hauled off to tribunal and prison in company with the swindler, the malefactor and the assassin. The press may be as corrupt as it chooses with impunity; it must not be outspoken. The unfortunate phrase of inciting to class hatred (lotta della classe) is unhappily often used by Rudinì as it was used by Crispi, and is as elastic as it is indefinite. There is no expression of liberal opinion, no utterance of a decree for a healthier state of society which cannot be attacked under this clause, and under it condemned as an offence.
Those who most honor Rudini most desired that on his accession to power he should have been the minister of the nation, and not the minister of the palace.1 But to become this he must have been in distinct and direct conflict with the throne. He must have brought in measures without any deference to the displeasure they caused in high places. He must have been ready for that revision of the constitution without which no good will ever be effected. Unhappily his views do not allow him to do this. He lets the old systems, the old tyrannies, the old formulæ remain, because the monarch desires that they should do so. He thinks of the Quirinale instead of the country. He is afraid of the alliance of the Estrema Sinistra; he has served him loyally, but he dares not trust to it lest it should lead him into conflict with the king, as most certainly it would do.
The absurd press laws continue, out of date and intolerable though they are. The other day the Corriere di Napoli, a moderate and monarchical journal, was sequestered for criticising the king's action in politics, the copies being rudely snatched from the hands of readers in the street, in the galleries, in the hotels. The Italia del Popolo was sequestered recently for two perfectly legitimate
1 By an odd coincidence on the same day that I wrote this sentence Imbriani said the same thing, in somewhat ruder terms, in the Chambers.
There is no genuine liberty in the country. Any public meeting can be prohibited at the caprice of a prefect, however harmless be its object. Any public expressions of opinions can be treated as treason and dealt with as a crime. Any opposition to the police renders a citizen, however much he
* An innocent lecture on the Evolution of Property was thus prohibited the other day.
may be in the right, liable to immediate arrest. The other day, when the beloved and respected Barbato, who was one of the most conspicuous victims of Crispi, came to Rome, and a few of his admirers assembled to greet him, there was an array of armed force and a squealing of trumpets as though the whole of Rome were endangered by his presence. This petty despotism is most mischievous and irritating. It is Crispinism of the worst and silliest kind. When Rudinì came into office, his first act was to liberate de Felice and two other political prisoners, and it was natural to hope that this line of action would be continued by him, and the monstrous cruelties of the Domicilio Coatto be ended. But this hope has been disappointed; and there is probably no one more chagrined at this than Rudinì himself. For though of conservative creeds, he is a man of generous, humane, and liberal mind, and it is deeply to be regretted that what he considers loyalty restrains him from giving rein to his wider views. Unhappily the present rimpasto of his Cabinet has associated him with men of the Destra and bigoted reactionists; and from the Destra no good thing can ever come. Time alone can prove whether the resuscitation of Visconti-Venosta was a wise step; but the retention of Costa is much to be regretted, and the appointment of Prinetti is monstrous. The post of minister of public works is a most important one in an artistic sense, and to give it to a person of the training and temper of this Milanese tradesman, is an affront to the nation.
Nothing can be worse in every kind of way than the administration of public works in Italy; and as if one minister were not enough to disfigure and despoil the country, the minister of public works is assisted by the minister for education and the minister for agriculture! Between these
three, and the municipalities, every species of vandalism is perpetrated, and it is most difficult to fit the blame of any special act on the right offender, so successfully do they all abet and cover each other, and SO ardently do they labor in alliance with the municipalities to destroy all that is beautiful, desirable, and timehonored. It is these men who have forced upon Rudinì such a measure as the enormous grant of public money for the new University of Naples, a measure, in the present state of the country, utterly unwarranted. There is already far too much academic training, creating what Guglielmo Ferrero (himself a most brilliant scholar) calls the "intellectual proletariate;" multitudes of youths trained to nothing except mental exercises, and looking forward to be maintained by the State. It is a strange moment in which to waste millions on a new college, when tens of thousands of able-bodied men are forced to emigrate because the country which bore them cannot give them a crust, and when battalions of mutilated and invalided conscripts are returning home to drag out a miserable existence at the cost of poor relatives who have scarcely a rag to their backs!
Rudint is most essentially a highbred gentleman; and this high breeding, this chivalry, this delicacy, this magnanimity of temper and of action have made him too scornful of, and too generous to, ignoble foes. His aristocratic dislike to uproar, and scandal has made him fail to set his heel on the snake of Crispinism. His clear interest was to let the impeachment of Crispi go on to its end: he prevented it and he will probably learn too late the cost of a too generous error. A too loyal deference to a sovereign's wishes made him step back insteau of forward at the critical moment; and such moments do not often return.
When he came into power the nation
expected, under his administration, the fatal lesson is taught to the poputwo great measures, the impeach- lace that whoever is protected in alto ment of Crispi and the condem- may commit any crime with impunity. nation of Baratieri. It has been disap- The weight of corruption, of successpointed of both. The moral effect on ful corruption, all around him is a the populace is extremely bad. The mass of putrefaction too heavy for the finest opportunity was offered for populano to lift. He shrugs his shoulshowing to the nation that justice ders and lets it fester on, though he was equal for all; but the occasion knows well that he and his are dying was lost. Baratieri was not even de- by inches of its pestilent emanations. graded and consigned to a fortress, In March last there passed over puband Crispi was not even called on to lic feeling in Italy a wave of emotion resign his seat and his orders. "Fine which was kindred to that of the times for rogues!" says the artisan, French people after Sedan; the naas he eats his noonday crust, and the tional temper was for the moment at peasant as he plods after his oxen in white heat; had there been a Garithe furrow. baldi or a Cola di Rienzi who would have known how to seize the moment and to use it, great things might have been done. But the hour did not beget the man, and the occasion passed. To the finer temper and bolder impulse which no one utilized there has succeeded a weary, contemptuous, hopeless kind of inertia, a cynical derision which is, in itself, a paralysis of action. It finds vent, indeed, in jeering and scathing satires such as are never wanting in the land of Pasquin. But the indignation ends in the pasquinade; the gall of the satirist's ink dries up and the wrath evaporates. After Abou-Carima the soul of the people was, as I say, at a white heat; but the hand which could have struck the divine sparks from it was in the tomb or was unborn.
The populace which, in its own rude unaided way, nearly always gropes rightly towards the truth, knows that the throne stands between the offenders and their just punishment, and shields them whilst just men are sacrificed. The spectacle of Baratieri retaining his grade, his pay, his seat in the Chamber, and his right to a pension, is as demoralizing to the military world as the spectacle of Francesco Crispi continuing to be received at court, to wear his collar of the S.S. Annunziata, to dun the State for liquidation of his pension, and to daily occupy six policemen in the care of his person, is to the civil portion of the
The moral conscience of the Italian populace is not a sensitive one: it accepts with ease, and often with effrontery, considerable turpitude, and is too often prone to applaud as ingenuity or dexterity what is merely dishonest and disgraceful. It is, therefore, beyond measure to be regretted that when, for once, all its moral sentiments were justly aroused to disgust at the immorality of a ministry, and the unworthiness of a general, its righteous wrath has in both instances been balked, and its demand for justice been denied.
Civil law is turned into a burlesque, military law into a pantomime, and
There was no one to turn the moment to account, and it passed unused. The people unled-have now dropped back into their unwilling acquiescence, their discontented silence. How long they will remain in them none can tell.
There is in Italy, as in most European countries, a strong current of revolutionary impulse, and in Italy, more than in any other country, it is justified by history. The women, moreover, are in Italy frequently more eager for revolt than the men, instead of being, as in most other