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His grandeur he deriv'd from Heaven alone,
For he was great ere fortune made him so: And wars, like mists that rise against the sun,
Made him but greater seem, not greater grow. No borrowed bays his temples did adorn,
But to our crown he did fresh jewels bring; Nor was his virtue poison'd soon as born
With the too early thoughts of being king.
And set as seamarks for bimself to shun;
By acts their age too late would wish undone.
We owe that blessing not to him but Heaven, Which to fair acts unsought rewards did join,
Rewards that less to him than us were given. Swift and resistless through the land he pass’d,
Like that bold Greek who did the East subdue; And made to battles such heroic haste,
As if on wings of victory he flew.
And treach'rous Scotland, to no interest true,
Her land to civilize as to subdue.
Nor was he like those stars which only shine
When to pale mariners they storms portend;
Did love and majesty together blend.
Made France and Spain ambitious of his love; Each knew that side must conquer he would own,
And for him fiercely as for empire strove.
When absent, yet we conquer'd in his right:
For though some meaner artists' skill were shown In mingling colours or in placing light,
Yet still the fair designment was his own. From this high spring our foreign conquests flow,
Which yet more glorious triumphs do portend; Since their commencement to his arms they owe,
If streams as high as fountains may ascend.
He made us freemen of the Continent,
Whom Nature did like captives treat before;
And taught him first in Belgian walks to roar.
His name a great example stands, to show
NATIONAL CHARACTERISTICS OF THE ENGLISH.
The English nation cannot be weighed, and measured, and ticketed, and classified by a narrow understanding and cold heart. We, too, have a positive philosophy; and its fundamental maxim is, that it is wise for men and nations to mind their own business, to do their own duty, and to leave their results to God. By adhering to this, we have attained some results which may not be unworthy of the attention even of a positive philosopher. Children are born to-day who will live to hear the English language spoken over half the world, by hundreds of millions of men descended from English blood; and their remote posterity will not see the day when the territories so peopled will be over-crowded. When we look at home, we see only one European country in which freedom of speech and writing exists at all, or in which government is not carried on by mere brute force. The oldest man living there has never heard a cannon fired in anger within its bounds. It has discussed, prepared, and actually carried into operation, within the last thirty years, reforms which have succeeded in no other European country, though they have been attempted in almost all, and have been extinguished in almost all, amidst bloodshed, and treachery, and heart-burnings unutterable.-Saturday Review.
The wealth of the source is seen in the plenitude of English nature. What variety of power and talent; what facility and plenteousness of knighthood, lordship, ladyship, royalty, loyalty; what a proud chivalry is indicated in the Peerage through eight hundred years! What dignity resting on that reality and stoutness! What courage in war, what sinew in labour, what cunning workmen, what inventors and engineers, what seamen and pilots, what clerks and scholars! No one man and no few men can represent them. It is a people of myriad personalities. Their many-headedness is owing to the advantageous position of the middle class, who are always the source of letters and science; hence the vast plenty of their æsthetic productions. As they are many-headed, so they are many-nationed: their colonization annexes archipelagoes and continents, and their speech seems destined to be the universal language of men. I have noted the reserve of power in the English temperament. In the island, they never let out all the length of the reins, there is no abandonment of ecstasy of will or intellect, like that of the Arabs in the time of Mahomet, or like that which intoxicated France in 1789. But who would see the uncoiling of that tremendous spring,—the explosion of their well-husbanded forces;-must follow the swarms which, pouring now for two hundred years from the British islands, have sailed, and rode, and traded, and planted, through all climates, mainly following the belt of empire—the temperate zone-carrying the Saxon seed, with its instinct for liberty and law, for arts and for thought (acquiring under some skies à more electric energy than the native air allows), to the conquest of a globe. Their colonial policy-obeying the necessities of a vast empire-has become liberal. “Canada and Australia have become contented with substantial independence. They are expiating the wrongs of India by benefits; first, in works for the irrigation of the peninsula, and in roads and telegraphs; and secondly, in the instruction of the people, to qualify them for self-government, when the British power shall be finally called home.
Still the feudal system survives in the great inequality of property and privilege, in the limited franchise, in the social barriers which confine patronage and promotion to a caste, and still more in the submissive ideas pervading the people. An Englishman shows little consideration for those below him in the social scale, as he looks for little from those above him. But the feudal system can be seen with less pain on large historical grounds. It was pleaded in mitigation of the rotten borough, that it worked well, and that substantial justice was done. Fox, Burke, Pitt, Erskine, Wilberforce, Sheridan, Romilly, and other men like them, were by this means sent to Parliament, when their return by large constituencies would have been doubtful. So now we say, that the right measures of England are the men it has bred; that it has yielded more able men in five hundred years than any other nation : and, though we must not play at providence, and balance the chances of producing ten great men against the comfort of ten thousand common men-yet retrospectively we may strike the balance, and prefer one Alfred, one Shakspeare, one Milton, one Sidney, one Raleigh, one Wellington, to a million of foolish'democrats. England, then, is the land of patriots, martyrs, sages and bards; and if the ocean out of which it emerged should wash it away, it will be remembered as an island famous for immortal laws—for those announcements of original right which make the stone tables of liberty.-EMERSON.
AN ENGLISHMAN'S PRIVILEGES. In England, a man may look around him, and say, with truth and exultation, “I am lodged in a house that affords me conveniences and comforts, which even a king could not command some centuries ago. There are ships crossing the seas in every direction, to bring what is useful to me from all parts of the earth. In China, men are gathering the tea-leaf for me; in America, they are plant
ing cotton for me; in the West India Islands, they are preparing my sugar and my coffee ; in Italy, they are feeding silk-worms for me; in Saxony, they are shearing sheep, to make me clothing; at home, powerful steam-engines are spinning and weaving for me, and making cutlery for me, and pumping the mines, that minerals useful to me may be procured. My patrimony was small, yet I have post-coaches running day and night, on all the roads, to carry my correspondence;* I have roads, and canals, and bridges, to bear the coal for my winter fire; nay, I have protecting fleets and armies around my happy country, to secure my enjoyments and repose. Then I have editors and printers, who daily send me an account of what is going on throughout the world, amongst all these people who serve me; and, in a corner of my house, I have books! – the miracle of all my possessions, more wonderful than the wishing cap of the Arabian Pales; for they transport me instantly, not only to all places, but to all times. By my books, I can conjure up before me, to vivid existence, all the great and good men of old; and, for my own private satisfaction, I can make them act over again the most renowned of all their exploits. In a word, from the equator to the pole, and from the beginning of time until now, by my books, I can be where I please.”
This picture is not overcharged, and might be much extended; such being the miracle of God's goodness and providence, that each individual of the civilized millions that cover the earth, may have nearly the same enjoyments, as if he were the single lord of all.
It is not to be thought of that the flood
* Written before the institution of Railroads.