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the banner of a conqueror not only flock the ravens of carnage, but the birds of song. The harp follows the sword, and would prolong the echo of its triumphs. Yet, of all the bards of Waterloo, Byron only succeeded. And this because he did not visit for the purpose of singing it at all—and because the sad glories of warfare are best described by a sad-hearted man: it is but fit that blood should be mirrored in bile—the mad field be imaged by the unhappy heart.
The most interesting thing connected with Southey's journey to Waterloo, is not the poem it produced (which, as a whole
, was not so valuable as one sheaf of the harvest which that “red rain so abundantly produced), but the view a passage in it gives us of his domestic happiness and his love to his family, which was amply repaid. The passage is that describing his return home. We can only quote the first two stanzas :
• Oh, joyful hour, when to our longing home
The long-expected wheels at length drew nigh!
And hope's impatience quickened every eye.
My boy stood, shouting there his father's name,
And there, a younger group, his sisters came-
While tears of joy were seen in elder eyes.'
This dear shouting boy' was not long to be Southey's. Beloved of his father, Herbert was, also, according to the fine pagan fiction, envied of the gods. He died at ten years
of age, and his death seems to have given his father the first of a series of shocks, which at last levelled him to the dust. But, for the present, he stood the blow in a manly and Christian spirit
. He shook, but it was like Skiddaw in an earthquake, to regain instantly his equilibrium. His personal piety, too, from that
hour deepened, softened, came down from the high perch of his intellect to nestle in his heart. He complains, that 'formerly he was too happy-his affections were fastened by too many roots to this world—this precarious life was too dear to him. All this was now changed, and changed for ever.
for the first time, 'ceased to be a boy.'
Misfortunes are gregarious. The loss of his son was followed to Southey by a multitude of disagreeable circumstances. After the rain of Waterloo the clouds returned. Political discontent came to a height. A revolutionary panic invaded even the solitudes of the lakes. Southey became more and more immersed in the wretched political discussions of that uneasy, unhappy time. He became the hack politician of the Quarterly,' and was even called to London and consulted by Ministers. Meanwhile, his enemies were not idle. An edition of Wat Tyler was published to insult him—William Smith, a man famous in his day, but now a
Noteless blot on a remembered name,' assailed him in Parliament; and the rejoinder, by its very keenness, showed how deeply the iron had entered into his soul.' He evidently considered himself a marked man in case of a revolution; and saw the red chalk of the wood-cutter, as if it had been blood.' His youthful friends, Dusantoy and Herbert Knowles, had followed Kirke White to the grave; but still the long sting of his impulse—that lance of lightning which ran through his whole history-remained the same. He continued his extensive correspondence, wrote on at his reviews, and, besides other works, commenced and concluded a life of Wesley, which at once contained a vast mass of curious information, and sought a politic object—that of reconciling the Wesleyans to poor old Mother Church, then shaking in a desperate palsy. Two situations, also, during those years, he declined—the one, that of writing the leading article for the Times,' at a salary of £2,000 a year; and the other, the office of librarian to the Advocates Library, Edinburgh-an office which David Hume had held. He was wise in his declinature—feeling the force of the line of Wordsworth,
Shine, poet, in thy place, and be content.' In the same period, he nearly completed his elaborate work on the Brazils; took a tour, carefully journalized, to Switzerland (where he noticed and kindly marked down Shelley’s mad postfix'Atheos' to his name at the album of Mont Auvert—an act no more praiseworthy than had he recorded some new oath he had heard from some passport-provoked Briton on his travels); gave
some sound advice to Ebenezer Elliott and Allan Cunningham, who had both consulted him anent their poetry (without very clearly seeing, or surely prognosticating, the genius and fame of either); had another son born to him; took a delightful trip through Scotland, in the bright and beautiful autumn of 1819; commenced his · Tale of Paraguay ;' and is left, at the close of this volume, projecting another journey to London.
We close this rapid analysis of the fourth volume of Southey’s life, by a few brief and solid inferences which we mean to state, not to illustrate. First, it is pleasing to find a life so consistent as his-evolving like a piece of music, secure as a mathematical theorem, punctual as a planet. Secondly, it is sorrowful to think that such a life no more has propagated itself than the Skiddaw near which it was passed. It stands alone, with not even the transient shadow which a stedfast mountain casts. Southey’s life may be lived by some literary men, but they are, we fear, few; and the motives and purposes of those who do pass it are seldom Southey's. Or, shall we rather say, that Southey's life was characteristically a lake, not a river: like a lake-pure, still, and solitary; not like a river-checquered, bustling, progressive, and communicative. Thirdly, the true ideal of the literary life is that of a combination of the elements of purity and progress-a river-lake winding through the grossnesses and miseries of the world, and yet reflecting the image of the heavens, in unsullied clearness, from its bosom-brilliant as light or fire, and as fire and light incontaminate. This life has hardly, in the present age, been lived; but lived it must be, ere literature reach her apotheosis, and be made ready, as the bride, to be wedded to the Religion of the Lamb.' We need now a 'virtue that is merciful;' a holiness that has been tested by trial, not by flight; a faith that would not kill, but kiss unbelief into subjection; a Christian theory of the universe, too, that would not absolutely repel, but rather attract, imperfect and inferior systems, like minor satellites, around its mild, yet imperious orb; and neither dogmatic argument, nor intellectual power, can effect this object, without the additional evangel of a liberal, honest, yet earnest and determined, life—if, indeed, all human efforts, however praiseworthy, are not doomed to be superseded by a higher and final avatar, which 'eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the mind of man to conceive.'
We close by remarking of this volume that, while the intermediate chain of narrative is pleasing, it is somewhat slightbetraying little depth or power of writing on the part of the biographer; and that the correspondence, which plentifully supplements the narration, while exceedingly agreeable as a
record of events, and as a specimen of clean and clear English, contains little that is original, striking, or to which, unlike Burns's, Cowper's, and Byron's correspondence, we ever desire to recur. Still, the book, as a whole, is worthy of attentive and universal perusal; and we expect the succeeding volumes to increase in what may be probably a melancholy interest—for, to use Lockhart's words at the end of the fifth volume of the Life of Scott,' the muffled drum is now approaching.'
Art. V.—The Literature of the Kymry; being a Critical Essay on
the History of the Language and Literature of Wales, during the Twelfth and two succeeding Centuries. By Thomas Stephens.
Prize Essay. Longman and Co. 1849. Pp. 512. Nearly six hundred years have elapsed since English strength finally triumphed over Welsh bravery. Various and alternate had been the struggles, victories, and triumphs, of the two nations. King Arthur, Rhys ap Tewdwr, and Owain Gwynedd, are names distinguished in the annals of this warfare. Conquest often beamed on the Welsh shield, and lighted up the ranks of the sons of Cambria ; until, in an evil hour, on the plains of Brecknock, the sovereignty of Wales was for ever laid low, and the last of her princes slain in the hour of retirement and solitude. Thus was fulfilled the prophecy of her son, Taliesyn,
Ei Ner a folant, ei hiaith a gadwant, ei tir a gollant ond gwyllt Walia’—Their God they'll adore, their language they'll keep, their country they'll lose except wild Wales.
It is a trite remark, that Wales has produced no individual distinguished in the first ranks of literature, science, or art. She is thus said to be exceptional to the other three portions of the kingdom. England has produced her Shakspere, Hooker, Bacon, Milton, Hobbes, Butler, Newton, Locke, and Paley ; Scotland, her Maclaurin, Adam Smith, Stewart, Brown, Burns, Campbell, Scott, Jeffrey, and Chalmers ; Ireland, her Spencer, Boyle, Burke, Moore, Curran, and Grattan ; while Wales liés undistinguished in any one of the walks which the foregoing names illustrate. The observation, we fear, is too well founded in the main, while there are circumstances in the history and condition of the Welsh which mitigate, if they do not altogether remove, the aspersion involved in the truism.
The first of these circumstances, is the numerical smallness of the people. The Welsh nation, even in the reigns of King Arthur, Owain Gwynedd, or Hywel Dda, although occupying territorially a larger space than they have within the last century, were thinly scattered over the country they inhabited. In those times, it is probable, from the best accounts, that the Welsh population never exceeded 2,000,000. Their number according to the last census was 911,321.
Other causes being equal, the probability of the rise of distinguished men among a small nation or people is less strong than in a great one. This probability is not in proportion to the numerical power of the two nations, but decreases, and more forcibly, as the one is less than the other. In other words, the relative probability of the rise of distinguished men in a small and in a great nation, is not in the ratio of their numerical strength. The moral and political causes existing in a great nation produce different results than can be accounted for by the mere fact of its numerical superiority. In this, as in many other instances, moral and political causes differ in the quantum of productive power, from those which are merely numerical, mathematical, or physical.
The political circumstances which are favourable to the growth and development of great attainments appear to be three-1, the existence of general intelligence in the community ; 2, of academic institutions; and, 3, of wealth. The first, or the existence of general intelligence in the community, is favourable to mental progress, from the advanced level which the candidates for distinction start from ; and by reason of the greater sympathy, encouragement, and reward, rendered to the successful competitors by such a society. The existence of academic institutions is necessary for the nurture and development of the talent and genius of the nation ; while none of these advantages can exist, in any high degree, without the possession of wealth.
The three circumstances alluded to can only exist in a nation somewhat considerable. They are the concomitants and attributes of its greatness; while a small nation is, by the import of the terms, not possessed of them. Wales is in the latter condition. Whatever she may have possessed, or possesses, of the advantages alluded to, she has only in miniature. She never attained to national greatness.
The second circumstance which may be mentioned as detrimental to the mental and social progress of the Welsh, is the prevalence of their language. The great majority of the people of Scotland have, for the last century, adopted the English language. So have the Irish. But not so the Welsh: fulfilling the prophecy alluded to—although they have long lost their country, or, at least, independent rule over it---they retain their language