Page images
PDF
EPUB

to have these grievances laid before his Majesty. When the King com. manicated the substance of the peti. tions to the House, it made no hesita. tion in pronouncing them scandalous, false, and groundless. It must be considered, indeed-though scarcely warranting the use of such epithets--that in whatever manner the trustees acted they were sure, from the nature of their office, to incur the weight of popular odium, which would naturally vent itself in petitions to the King, as his feelings on the subject were tolerably well known, and might be expected to obtain for the petitioners a favourable hearing. Parliament, on the other hand, seemed afterwards to relax a little from its first severity It not only received petitions for relief, but in some instances granted the prayer of them. The greatest griev. ance of all seems to have been less clamorously complained of at the time. The whole of the rents of the forfeited estates were expended in maintaining the commission for the two years dur. ing which it sat.

Meanwhile, the reign of Lords Justices, which had continued since Lord Capel's death, had been terminated in 1701 by the arrival in Dublin of the Earl of Rochester as Lord Lieutebant.

Laurence Hyde, Earl of Rochester, stands high amongst the statesmen and courtiers of his age. Carefully educated by his father, the historian of the civil wars, and afforded every advantage which the talents and position of that eminent man could offer him, he had acquired, along with the accomplish. ments of a finished scholar, that consummate address which early initiation in the life of courts is supposed alone qualified to impart. The power of self-command was one of the lessons most successfully mastered by him. He was seldom known to lose this con. trolling influence over himself, until later years and habits of command re-exposed an original heat of temper, long glossed over by the varnish of state expediency. In Charles the Second's reign he had risen through the gradations of official distinction until he shared the administration of

the kingdom with but two colleagues, Sunderland and Godolphin; and though his known partiality for his brotherin-law, the Duke of York, had caused the Commons of England to glance sugpiciously at him at the time of the introduction of the Bill of Exclusion, Charles himself never lost his confidence in him. One of the latest acts of that monarch's life was nominating him Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, an office which Rochester was only prevented from assuming by the death of the King, whose brother and successor placed the staff of Treasurer for the second time in his hand.

The firmness of Rochester under James has been praised even by his political adversaries. Strenuously opposed to the appointment of Tyrconnell as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, he was exposed to the more painful difficulty of resisting the King's repeated efforts to induce him to abjure the reformed faith. * His more pliant brother, Clarendon, yielded, and was ruined. In withstanding this tempta. tion, nobody has ever accused Rochester of having been actuated by a longsighted policy. The immediate con. sequence was, that he was compelled to resign his post as Lord Treasurer ; though James, who felt ashamed of the result of a controversial encounter between Rochester and his own chaplains, afterwards trusted him with a confidential mission to Holland.t

At the Revolution, although Rochester concurred in several acts during the interregnum, and finally acquiesced in the new settlement, William felt that his sympathies must necessarily have lain with the deposed monarch; and, measuring the individual by the gene. ral standard of human nature, long refused to admit him to his counsels. I As for Mary, who saw with no other eyes than those of her husband, it needed all the well-meaning officiousness of Burnet to establish one guilty of the crime of being the friend and brotherin-law of her father in his daughter's favour. The use Rochester made of his access to the royal confidence was such as became one thus related to both parties. Having sought and obtained his brother Clarendon's pardon, he set his whole energies to work to effect a reconciliation between the Queen and her sister, the Princess Anne. In this he unfortunately fail. ed-unfortunately for himself as well as for the royal sisters ; for while he gained nothing in Mary's estimation by the attempt, it brought upon him, on the side of Anne, the rage of the haughty and jealous favourite, Lady Marlborough, whose influence he had observed and disapproved at an early period, and who, with a woman's quick instinct seeing his estimate of her, became thenceforward his most im. placable enemy. Of Francisco Rodriguez Lobo, one of the sweetest and most admired of Por. tuguese poets, excepting Camoens, scarcely any biographical record remains. His talents were conspicuous and appreciated, but his life was sin gularly uneventful, retired, and obscure. He was born at Leiria, * in Estramadura of Portugal, a bishop's see, and formerly a residence of the Portuguese monarchs. The exact date of his birth is unknown, but it was about the middle of the sixteenth century. His father and mother, An. drè Lazaro Lobo, and Donna Joanna Brito Gaviao, were wealthy, and of ho. nourable lineage, and gave their son the best education that his native country afforded. Rodriguez Lobo applied assiduously to his collegiate studies, and eminently distinguished himself by his industry, learning, and abilities. He is said to have possessed an un. usual degree of erudition, and to have been skilled in political economy, and in moral philosophy. From his ad. vantages of birth, fortune, education, and intellectual powers, it was expected by his friends that he would easily obtain, and honourably fill, some impor. tant office at the court of Lisbon ; but he felt the strongest repugnance to public life, for which he considered himself wholly unsuited by tempera. ment and disposition. He loved study, case, quiet, and independence; and to indulge these predilections he with. drew to a pleasant retreat on the banks of the Tagus, at a small distance from Santarem, where he devoted himself wholly: to the service of literature, and where he passed an existence, monotonous indeed, without ambition, without adventure, but blest with afiluence and tranquil enjoyment.

* Lady Theresa Lewis's "Clarendon Gallery," Descrip. Cat., Tit. “ Rochester.”

† Biogr. Britann., Tit. Hyde. | He was not admitted of the Privy Council till the end of the year 1691.

Thus Rochester, perhaps because he committed the worse than crime—the mistake-of being honest, found him self at last excluded from the confidence of every one of his royal connexions. William, after Mary's death, continued to look coldly on him, until, as we are told by Burnet,* Harley, afterwards Earl of Oxford, at last removed these jealousies of his. It was through his means that Rochester was once more appointed Lord Lieu. tenant of Ireland; though even this appointment William had taken steps to revoke some weeks before his death, and would assuredly bave done so, had those entrusted with his orders been in as great a hurry to execute them as if no change was impending. f William bad no personal regard for Rochester. He used frequently to say that the year in which that nobleman directed his counsels was the most un easy of his life.

In Singer's collection are to be found the few private documents which throw any light upon Rochester's government of Ireland. They afford a melancholy explanation of the causes wbich make the period of Irish history under review a blank. Consist ing, as they do, of various letters to and from Rochester and the Lords Justices, and from Mr. Vernon to the Lord Lieutenant during his short stay in Ireland (the latter being of a confidential nature), they do not contain one single allusion to the condition of that country, its capabilities, advantages, wants, or resources. In the commu

nications made by the Lords Justices to him as Lord Lieutenant, when he was in London, and consequently through that channel alone able to know how matters stood in his govern. ment, the two topics dwelt on, to the exclusion of all others, are-the embarkation of troops for foreign service from the Irish ports, and the meddling of the Presbyterians in marriages. It is painful thus to see how little the concerns of the bulk of the people entered into the minds of its ruler-or rather, how utterly they were overlooked. Lord Rochester's government, like that of too many of his successors, was of Ireland, but for England. He was but the conduit through which the heart of that subjugated country was to be drained into the system of Britain, by a fatal process which exhausted the one without enriching the other.

On the 12th of April, 1701, the Lords Justices' letter announces the death of Lord Chief Justice Hely, on circuit, which had just been communicated to them by Mr. Justice Cox, the other judge of assize on the same cir. cuit. Cox had, at the same time, ap. plied for the vacant place; and the Lords Justices state that Baron Donelan had likewise made application to the same effect. They recommend Cox, as senior in standing to Donelan. It appears that their recommendation was attended to, for on the 12th of May they mention the receipt of Rochester's commands, that a patent should be made out in Cox's favour. Harris says that much interest was made with the King for Coxş.

The reduction of the coin was a topic that partially engaged the Lords Justices' attention about this time. They recommended that the standard of the foreign coin then in circulation in Ireland should be reduced to the value it bore in the year 1695," as his Majesty desired.”

Soon after this, Rochester visited Dublin; but so urgent were his party for his presence in London, that in three months leave was obtained for him to attend Parliament in England. He accordingly quitted Ireland in December, 1701, and never returned.

* History of His Own Time. Vol. ij., p. 291. + Burnet, ii. 313; Smollet, 9, 410. I Singer, 404. $ Singer, 361.

[ocr errors]

LEAVES FROM THE PORTUGUESE OLIVE.NO. VI.

RODRIGUEZ LOBO.

At this period Portugal was under a cloud - the crown had fallen from her head, and the sceptre from her band. She was a vassal to the sove.

reigns of Castile, a subjection odious to the majority of the nation, who al. ways disliked foreigners, but especially bated the Castilians. King Sebastian, with the flower of Lusitanian chivalry and nobility, had fallen in Africa, in the fatal battle of Alcazer-quiver. Cardinal Don Henry, the feeble old man who had succeeded his brave but unfortunate grandnephew, had soon died, and after a struggle, Philip II. of Spain had become the stern and tyrannic master of Portugal. Philip III. ruled in the time of Rodriguez Lobo. The court at Lisbon was no longer & royal but a viceregal court, where foreign influence was paramount. That circumstance might lead us to infer that Lobo's dislike to public life arose from his patriotism—that he would not serve the Aliens. But such inference is contradicted by the fact, that among his writings we find a collection of poems in the romance style, called is Jornadas," or Journeys, adulations addressed to Philip III., on the visit paid by his Catholic Majesty to his kingdom of Portugal, and the pomp and triumph with which he was received by the illustrious city of Lisbon; a perfectly voluntary act of homage, and rendered, not in his vernacular, but in the Spanish tongue. Lobo had not the spirit of patriotism that filled the breaking heart of Camoens, when, on the fall of the Portuguese monarchy, he exclaimed, “Let me die amid the ruins of my country !" Nor had he the nationality of Ferreira, t who condemned the inclination of his countrymen to make Latin and Spanish the medium of their muse, and stigmatised it as an unfilial insult to the literature of their mother country.

Whatever was the motive of Rodri. guez Lobo's flattery of the dominant power, it was not ambition, for his heart was wedded to his happy retreat beside the Tagus, a river whose scenery

* It is thirty miles south of Coimbra, and sixty miles north of Lisbon.

† See " Leaves from the Portuguese Olive,"_No. V., DUBLIN UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE, No. CCLXIV., December, 1854.

he passionately loved, and which he has repeatedly celebrated, as Camoens celebrated the Mondego, and Diego Bernardes the Lima. From his be loved retirement he sent forth his writings, which, especially his lyrics, were warmly received both by the general readers and the critics. His versi. fication, in his native language, has a softness, a musical flow, of which it is not possible to convey a just idea in our harsher northern tongue. He was peculiarly a pastoral poet, being imbued with the spirit of a country life. In his bucolics, his fellow-coun. trymen thought they heard the voices of the rustics, the songs of the birds, and the murmurs of the streams, and beheld the beauty of the landscapes. There is a reality of feeling, tenderness, and delicacy in his effusions, which contain many graceful plays of fancy ; even too frequent repetitions of some particular word, instead of offending as tautology, have an air of simplicity and earnestness that is very pleasing. It must be owned that he is often too prolix, and consequently tedious, and that he occasionally betrays a tinge of pedantry ; but he is infinitely superior, in correctness of taste, to his brother poets. Even then, 80 soon after the time of Camoens, Portuguese poetry had begun to incur the censure of mannerism, affectation, and tediousness. And still worse, Thomas Noronha, a versifier of flat jests, degraded the muse by that kind of buffoonery which scruples not to desecrate, " for fun,” the most deep, serious, and sacred feelings, events, and sentiments. It engenders a perverted spirit of levity, fatal alike to good taste and good feeling. Occasional playful touches relieve the page, even as lights relieve shade in a painting; but "funny writing” is essentially different - the coarse grimaces of buffoonery bear no resemblance to that which they pretend to imitate, the sparkling smile of refined wit, and the genial laugh of well-bred humour. Noronha's awkward burlesques attained considerable popularity (we must remember that Portugal was no longer free, a circumstance that has always an injurious effect on the genius of a nation), but his success did not seduce the pen of Rodriguez Lobo

from the tender and the earnest; and his pastorals took such hold on the hearts and imaginations of his countrymen, that he has had a host of imi. tators, none of whom, however, have surpassed him.

The best of his pastoral lyrics are to be found in bis rural romance (ro. mance in the prose, not the poetic acceptation of the word), called “ Prie mavera," The Spring. But the prose story, if story it can be called, is but the groundwork for the numerous poems which are spread over it, like gems thickly embroidered on a gar. ment of indifferent fabric. "Prima. vera," which has scarcely any plot or incident, being little more than a series of dialogues between shepherds and shepherdesses, is divided into sections, each named after a river in Portugal. It opens with a song describing the progress of a spring day from dawn to night.

CANCION.
Now day is born, beautiful day,

Prince of the genial spring!
He comes, proclaim'd by voices gay

Of loving birds that sing Suspended in their airy bowers, 'Mid branches fragrant with unnumber'd

flowers.

[blocks in formation]

* A small river of Estramadura, which falls into the sea a little to the north of Aviera.

[blocks in formation]

The gentle rustics in “ Primavera” frequently propose to each other ques. tions of a somewhat metaphysical nature, to which poetic replies are given according to the different opinions of the speakers, or rather singers. Thus, to the question_" Which is the most perfect love, that which does, or that which does not, cherish hope?”-a shepherd and shepherdess return an. swers of opposite sentiments--the former as the advocate, the latter as the antagonist of hopeful love :

THE REPLY OF THE SHEPHERD ARDENIO. None loves who does not wish full fain :

None wishes who no hope will cherish : The heart may love, wish, hope, in vain; For ever seek, and ne'er obtain

But fond aspirings cannot perish.

These replies are characteristic of the sexes : the answer of the man bears the impress of man's pride ; it indicates a consciousness of merit, and a desire of advantage. He feels that something is due to him in return for the compliment of his love, and he would not be without the hope of reward. The female expresses a much higher opinion of the nature of love, which, to be perfect, should be wholly disinterested, self-denying, patient, and loyal. It is generally ad. mitted that examples of pure self-devotion and long endurance, are more common among women than among men-the strongest love in the weaker sex.

Amongst other questions proposed in “ Primavera," it is asked, " What connexion is there between love and jealousy ?" which elicits three different answers :-One affirms Jealousy to be the son of Love; another declares them to be brothers : a third shepherd,

What if no tree its aid supplies

To raise the Ivy upwards springing ? On earth the plant supinely lies ; It lacketh strength alone to rise;

It climbeth not, save closely clinging.

And, haply, thus should Hope deny

To Love ber firm sustaining power, On its own root must Love rely; And shall it live? or shall it die

Cnblest by fruit, uncrown'd by flower

« PreviousContinue »