« PreviousContinue »
breath upon the water, and looked as if the Ternissa."O what a pleasant thing it is place were his own, far and wide, and we to walk in the green light of the vine leaves, were there by his gracious permission. It and to breathe the sweet odour of their inwas only when he rowed among the grass
visible flowers ! and flowers, covered with cups, white and yellow, as though a feast had been prepared
Epicurus—The scent of them is so delicate for his reception, that I perceived he had
that it requires a sigh to inhale it; and this, anything underneath to move with. We
being accompanied and followed by enjoythen heard some low and hoarse voices, and
ment, renders the fragrance so exquisite. presently came out his mate, slender and less
Ternissa, it is this, my sweet friend, that beautiful, arranged her plumage, went down
made you remember the green light of the a little way and returned again, sat motion.
foliage, and think of the invisible flowers as less opposite us, and seemed courting us not
you would of some blessing from heaven." to hurt or disturb him. Agatha said that “Some minds require much belief—some they had their nest there, under the bank: thrive on little. Rather an exuberance of that their voices are not always low and it is feminine and beautiful. It acts difhoarse : that when they are about to die, they ferently on different hearts : it troubles sing delightfully. I was very glad the poor some, it consoles others : in the generous it creatures had many years yet to live, for they is the nurse of tenderness and kindness, of certainly had made no progress in their sing. heroism and self-devotion: in the ungene. ing. But there are birds, perhaps, as we rous, it fosters pride, impatience of contra. are; birds that will learn nothing from those diction and appeal, and, like some waters, they do not like."
what it finds a dry stick or hollow straw, it
leaves a stone." The following are selected from far “ We may write little things well, and acand wide :
cumulate one upon another; but never will any be justly called a poet upless he has
treated a great subject worthily. He may Men, like dogs and cats, fawn upon you be the poet of the lover and of the idler, he while you leave them on the ground: if you may be the poet of green fields or gay so. lift them up, they bite and scratch; and ciety; but whoever is this can be no more. if you shew them their own features in the A throne is not built of bird's nests, nor do a glass, they would fly at your throat and tear thousand reeds make a trumpet. your eyes out. This between ourselves, for we must not indulge in unsavourable views It is time to speak of the Collected of mankind. By doing so, we make bad Edition, which is in two stout volumes, men believe that they are no worse than
closely printed—too closely, either for others, and we teach the good that they are good in vain."
beauty or comfort; but in accor« Thus it is with writers who are to have a
dance with the demand for cheap currency through ages, In the beginning they
literature now destroying all attempts are confounded with most others; soon they at excellence of typography, except in fall into some secondary class ; next, into one rather less obscure and humble ; by de
costly works. First, we have the grees they are liberated from the dross and “Imaginary Conversations," already lumber that hamper them, and, being once published in five volumes 8vo, to above the heads of contemporaries, rise slowly and waveringly, then regularly and
which several new dialogues have been erectly, then rapidly and majestically, till
added : amongst them those which apthe vision strains and akes as it pursues peared in Blackwood. The old diathem in their etherial elevation,”
logues have been revised, and some of “I should entertain a mean opinion of the impertinencies of the foot notes remyself, if all men, or the most part, prais. ed and admired me; it would prove me
moved. We wish all had been reto be somewhat like them. Sad and sor- moved. Above all, we wish some rowful is it, to stand near enough to friend had struck out the passages in people for them to see us wholly ; for them to come up to us, and walk round us leisure.
which his vanity has allowed him to ly and idly, and pat us when they are tired talk like a school-boy of his own and going off. That lesson which a dunce
prowess. E.g. Having written some can learn at a glance, and likes mightily, must contain little, and not good. Unless it
verses in Italian, which he inserts into can be proved that the majority are not a dialogue, he informs the reader that dunces, are not wilful, presumptuous, and pre- they were originally written in Engcipitate, it is folly to care for popularity.”
lish, but that he found it easier to “ We find the countenances of the states- write them better in Italian. Now that men and courtiers who lived in his age, almost without exception, mean and suspi
he should be an accomplished Italian cious. The greatest men look, in their por- scholar is conceivable enough, but that traits, as if they were waiting for a box on he should pretend to write poetry (of the ear, lowering their heads, raising their shoulders, and half closing their eyes, for
all things !) better in Italian than the reception of it.”
English is ridiculous. No man ever
wrote good poetry in a foreign lan
dances by day under the shade of the mul
berries, by night under the lamps of the guage ; whatever mastery he may
arcade; we had music on the shore and on have had over prose.
the water. “ When next I stood before him After the “ Imaginary Conversa
it was afar from these. Torches flamed
through the pine-forests of the tertosa ; priests tions,” we have a reprint of the “ Cita
and monks led the procession; the sound of tion and Examination of William the brook alone filled up the intervals of the Shakspeare for deer stealing," and the dirge; and other plumes than the dancers'
waved round what was Acciaioli.” Pentameron,” a five days' dialogue between Petrarch and Boccaccio. These Exquisitely beautiful also is the are both only very long Imaginary dream of Fiammetta, which Boccaccio Conversations. " Pericles and As- describes. We can extract only this pasia”—his most ambitious, but not portion of it :his most successful work-follows; and "I sprang to embrace her. then, after two or three unimpor
“Do not spill the water! Ah! you have
spilt a part of it.” tant prose essays, we have about two
I then observed in her hand a crystal hundred pages of verses, which we A few drops were sparkling on the could well have spared. He is not de
sides, and running down the rim; a few ficient in some of the requisites of a
were trickling from the vase and from the
hand that held it. poet ; yet his prose is more poetical “I must go down to the brook," said she, than his poems.
" and fill it again as it was filled before.”
" What a moment of agony was this to We remember nothing among his me! Could I be certain how long might be poems so beautiful as the following her absence? She went: I was following: passage
from the Pentameron." she made a sign for me to turn back: I disThe reader will notice the exquisite disobedience, increasing my feebleness and
obeyed her only an instant: get my sense of rhythm of the lines in italics :
confusion, made me lose sight of her. In the
next moment she was again at my side, with Four years ago, you remember, I lost the cup quite full. I stood motionless: I my friend Acciaioli. Early in the summ r feared my breath might shake the water over. of the preceding, his kindness had induced I looked in her face for her commands : and him to invite me again to Naples, and I un. to see it-to see it so calm, so beneficent, so dertook a journey to the place where my beautiful, I was forgetting what I had prayed life had been so happy. There are many for, when she lowered her head, tasted of the who pay, dearly for sunshine early in the cup, and gave it me. I drank, and suddenly season; many, for pleasure in the prime of sprang forth before me many groves, and life. After one day lost in idleness at palaces, and gardens, and their statues and Naples, if intense and incessant thoughts their avenues, and their labyrinths of ala. (however fruitless) may be called so, I pro- ternus and bay, and alcoves of citron, and ceeded by water to Torento, and thence watchful loopholes in the retirements of im.
the mountains to Amalfi. There, penetrable pomegranate. Farther off, just beamidst whatever is most beautiful and most low where the fountain slipt away from its wonderful in scenery, I found the Seni. marble hall and guardian gods, arose, from scalco. His palace, his gardens, his terraces, their beds of moss and drosera and darkest bis woods, abstracted his mind entirely grass, the sisterhood of oleanders, fond of from the solicitudes of state ; and I was tantalizing with their bosomed flowers, and gratified at finding in the absolute ruler of their moist and pouting blossoms, the little a kingdom, the absolute master of his time. shy rivulet, and of covering its face with all Rare felicity, and he enjoyed it the more the colours of the dawn. My dream expanded after the toils of business, and the intrica- and moved forward. I trod again the dust cies of policy. His reception of me of Posilippo, soft as the feathers in the wings most cordial. He showed me his long aven- of sleep : I emerged on Baia. I crossed her ues of oranges and citrons; he helped me to innumerable arches; I loitered in the breezy mount the banks of slippery short herbage, sunshine of her mole; I trusted the faithful wbence we could look down on their dark seclusion of her caverns, the keepers of so
and their broad irregular belts, many secrets ; I reposed on the buoyancy of gemmed with golden fruits and sparkling her tossed sea. Then Naples and ber theatres, flowers. We stood high above them, but not and her churches, and grottoes and dells, above their fragrance, and sometimes we wished and forts and promontories, rushed forward the breeze to bring us it, and sometimes to in confusion, now among soft whispers, now carry part of it away; and the breeze came among sweetest sounds, and subsided, and and went as if obedient to our volition. sank, and disappeared.
memory Another day be conducted me farther from seemed to come fresh from every one; each the palace, and showed me with greater pride bad time enough for its tale, for its pleasure, than I had ever seen in him before, the pale. for its reflection, for its pang. As I mounted green olives, on little smooth plants, the first with silent steps the narrow staircase of the year of their bearing. “I will teach my old palace, how distinctly did I feel against people here,” said be, "to make as de. the palm of my hand the coldness of that licate oil as any of our Tuscans." We
smooth stonework, and the greater of the had feasts among the caverns;
cramps of iron in it.”
He must be dead indeed to the graces wards worked up into an Imaginary and harmonies of our language who Conversation. If you look closely at does not recognise a master hand in the Landor's criticisms, you will find that he foregoing extracts; and there are more never judges of any work; he contents such passages in Landor.
himself with nibbling at some trifling The 66
Imaginary Conversations," detail, upon which he may hang his though deficient in dramatic propriety ostentation and his scorn, He has and characterization, are admirable the true word-catching pedantry of a specimens of conversation. Each dia- commentator; and all the arrogance logue is really a conversation on some which distinguishes the race. Nothing one subject interspersed with numerous can be more provoking than such critidigressions, all happily and spontane- cism when not undertaken for some ously taken up and quitted. But this, specific purpose ; accordingly he exalthough a merit as a work of art, has asperates more than he impresses very great drawbacks in a work pro- the reader by his display. Were it fessing to teach. What is the conse- not, indeed, for the inexhaustible quence? Why, that the dialogues, power of illustration, and the sustained from being discursive, fail to convey beauty of his style, no one would ever any distinct impression; and the have patience to read through a single reader, however pleased, is not in- volume of his works. But such excelstructed.
lencies redeem many faults. Landor, as we said, is a bookish We have done. If we have been
He is remarkably well read. unsparing in our blame, we have not The most cursory view of the subjects been niggard of our praise; both are treated in his “ Imaginary Conversa- indifferent to Landor, who has that tions" would suffice to show this. But contempt of critics, which is always his learning is like his mind, discursive, fostered by ill-suceess; but we would desultory. He does not bring it to fain hope that this examination of a bear on any one point-to effect any contemporary has been rightly interone purpose. He seems to us like a preted by our readers, and that they at man who lived in a magnificent library least have seen nothing in our remarks and read over very carefully multifari- but an unmixed solicitude for literaous books, pencil in hand, and noting ture. Landor is neither a friend not minute points, especially of grammar an enemy; and as critics we have or expression, which notes he after- judged, not as partizans.
WHO IS ANTICHRIST?
The Westminster Confession of a humane, a liberal, and beneficent Faith answers this question by saying, thing. Its essential antagonism to the "The Pope of Romé
truth of God is as intense at this hour is that Antichrist, that Man of Sin, and as it ever was. Its hatred to God's Son of Perdition, that exalteth himself saints, and its desire for their exterin the Church against all that is called mination, is as unmitigated. Its hosGod," and other replies might be given, tility to the progress of science is really did we appeal to other authors on the as unabated, as when Galileo was the subject. Nero, or some other persé- occupant of a dungeon in the Inquisicuting Roman emperor, or the heretics tion. Wherever it has the power, and called Docetæ, would be named by is not abashed or hampered by the one; the Arian heresy would be quoted neighbourhood of Protestantism, or by another; infidelity would be an- necessitated to wear the mask of nounced as Antichrist by a third; Pro- liberality the better to effect its obtestantism, or perhaps Luther, would be jects, Popery is still as malignant and mentioned by Papists or Tractarians; fierce as it was three centuries ago ; and Popery would be indicated by the indeed, if it were not so, it were not great majority of Protestants. But Popery. It boasts to be unchangeable, without professing to derive our opi- as its head is infallible, and in such a nions from any who formally have dis- system, amelioration were tantamount cussed the question, we would attempt to suicide. There is no cure for it, but a reply from the simple consideration solely its ceasing to be, when the Lord of Scripture on the one hand, and of " shall destroy it by the brightness of historical facts upon the other. We his coming." at once and distinctly announce our Such being inherently and essenconviction that the Papacy, with the tially the character of Popery, it bePope of Rome for its head and re- comes the duty of every friend of presentative, is Antichrist ; and we freedom, of religion, and of man, to shall endeavour succinctly to submit unmask its real character. Too long the arguments or illustrations which we have the nations been allowed to rethink render that irrefragably certain. main its unwarned and unrescued vicInfidelity in every manifestation, and tims, duped by its characteristic dePopery in all that is peculiar to it, run ceiveableness. The aggressions which into each other at many points—they it is making in our age, should rouse unite in a clear and unequivocal anti- the Christians of Europe, America, christianism. But whoever will study and the world, to proclaim war against Christ's religion on the one hand, and the Papacy. Love to papists, as well the Pope's on the other, will soon per- as the defence of the truth once deceive that the Papacy concentrates in livered to the saints, calls for such a itself all the hostility to truth which course, and our present purpose is to lies scattered through other systems concentrate the light of Scripture and is by excellence The Antichrist. history on the antichristian system,
Before entering on the discussion, that the rising tide of opposition to it we would premise, that the time has may be swelled as far as our feeble fully come, and something more, when endeavours can promote that result. the whole truth of God concerning the
Who is Antichrist then? Without great apostacy must be faithfully un- hesitation we reply, it is the Papal sysfolded. No more mincing ambiguities, tem, with the Pope as its head, repreas if it were not the mystery of ini. sentative, or exponent. If we confine quity conflicting with the mystery of our remarks merely to the Pope as Antigodliness. No more tampering with christ—if we regard him personally the antichristian system, as if it had and alone as the Man of Sin, the Son lost some part of its virus, and become of Perdition-we no doubt comply with the strict letter of the predictions re- God understood more and more clearly garding him; but then, there have been the nature of the dominant system. times when the Pope was imbecile and They felt its crushing power. They were dotard-either worn out by old age, or exterminated by its hated inquisition, shattered by lawless indulgence. In its crusades, and its countless forms of such cases, the nominal head was a inflicting agony on men who would puppet moved by the managers of the not drink from the cup of its abomisystem; and it is therefore that system, nations; and only as these were deand not the man, that we regard as veloped, or became gradually full blown, Antichrist. It is the succession of did the true Church of the living God men carrying on that plot against God distinctly discover, and boldly proand his truth, of which Satan was the claim that Rome was antichristian, and author, and the Papacy is the embodi- the Pope or the Papacy, Antichrist. ment. There is enough of unity in It may be proper, however, before that marvellous confederacy, though introducing proofs of this, to fix the it has lasted for a thousand years, to sense which we attach to the word Antigive consistency to all that is said christ. It is employed in several places in Scripture regarding “ the Man of in the word of God. In one, (1 John Sin,” or “the Son of Perdition," as 18), we read, “Little children, it if he were but one; and we accor- is the last time ; and as ye have heard dingly regard such phrases as in- that Antichrist cometh, even now there dicating a class connected by official are many antichrists, whereby we succession, or a system carried on by a know that it is the last time.” “Who is race of men banded together by the com- a liar but he that denieth that Jesus mon tie of doing all for Rome and the is the Christ? This is the antichrist Papacy, and, in effect, all against the which denieth the Father and the Word of God, which liveth and abideth Son.” In another, (1 John iv. 3), it for ever in despite of all their machina- is written, “ And every spirit that tions. Were any clearer warrant needed confesseth not that Jesus Christ is for such an interpretation than the rea- come in the flesh is not of God : and son of things, we find it in Daniel ii. this is that spirit of Antichrist, where38, where Nebuchadnezzar, as has been of ye have heard that it should come ; remarked by others, is put for the and even now already is it in the power of Babylon over which he pre- world”—and in another still, (2 John sided—the king for the influence which 7), “ For many deceivers are entered he possessed, or the system of which he into the world, who confess not that was the head.
Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. No doubt, it was long ere this view This is a deceiver and an antichrist.” of the predictions regarding Antichrist Now, with these texts before us, what was adopted. Not till the eleventh or is the meaning which we are to attach twelfth century did men arise bold or to this important word ? admits of free enough, generally to proclaim two significations, and may imply that truth. Some hints before that either one opposed to Christ, or one period might be dropt—some interpre- substituted in the place of Christ. tations given which implied that the Look at the significant expression insystem set up at Rome was the power sulated and alone, and it may be unwhich sought to countervail the work of derstood either as describing one who Christ, and put the lies of men in the was to resist the Saviour's power, and place of the truth of God. Cyril had a doctrine, and cause, or as designating glimpse of the real Antichrist, and one who was to be put for Christ him. others recorded more than shrewd con- self—to usurp his place and authority jectures on the subject; but Christians —to pretend, in short, that he was arrived only by slow degrees at clear what Christ alone could be. Such apconvictions on the point. As the Papacy pears to have been the idea of the Enwas developed from century to century, glish Reformers, who say—(Art. xxii.) in greater malignity, and more remorse- that the peculiar dogmas of Rome are less hostility to the truth, the saints of "fond things vainly invented, and