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Italian nobleman, the Marchese Pallavicini. The painful nature of the chief subject is relieved by some very interesting remarks on the wretched taste of the modern Italians in scenery and domestic architecture.
The tenth conversation is a sort of war-scene, written with great spirit, pathos, and dramatic effect. It springs out of the death of a young English officer in Egypt, and offers a fine tribute to the character of Kleber, at the expense of the rest of his countrymen, for whom Mr. Landor never loses an occasion of expressing his ineffable contempt.
The eleventh conversation, between Bishop Burnet and Humphrey Hardcastle, will succeed in puzzling most of its readers, before they discover its exact object and tendency; and we are not among those who can very clearly explain it to them. What seems pretty certain however is, that the concluding portion shadows forth under another name the author's notion of Lord Byron as a poet and a man: so at least we gather from a note, in which the author expresses his contrition at having painted the picture. He need not have been uneasy, provided he had not written the note in question. There are several of these allegorical representations of real and living persons scattered up and down throughout the work : but, such is our simplicity in these matters, the passages in question would have been merely unintelligible to us, had we not heard it whispered that, like the beef-eater in “The Critic,” they represent “ statesmen in disguise.”
The twelfth conversation is between the celebrated Peter Leopold, Grand Duke of Tuscany, and the President du Paty, who visited Italy during Leopold's government, and whose acquaintance was sought by him. It is, perhaps, upon the whole, the very finest of all these conversations, both as regards the reader and the writer ; for it must be confessed that, after all, the noblest, because the most useful office a man can perform towards his fellow man, and the rarest that men do perform, is to search out, to disseminate, and to enforce wise and just views on the nature and effects of those laws and institutions by which societies are constituted, and in virtue (or in vice) of which we “live and move and have our (moral) being.” This dialogue, which is of great length, is engaged chiefly in discussing various important points of law and of religion, as connected with the government of a state; and we really think it but poor praise to say of it, that we know not where else to turn, among the writings of our own day, for so much pure and true political wisdom, set forth in such clear, concise, and appropriate language. Mr. Landor himself will probably, before the date of these remarks, have discovered (if indeed he ever doubted it) that it is of little consequence his work not having yet found its way to the parlours and drawing-rooms of the million ; since this dialogue alone will show him that it has evidently penetrated to the secret closets of the twenty who lead (or drive) that million, who have not dared quite to disregard it.
The thirteenth conversation, between Demosthenes and Eubulides, is a very excellent one. Its chief subjects are oratory and style ; but it contains also many fine remarks and illustrations on other matters; and also two or three bitter, but we cannot think very successful attacks upon some celebrated moderns, after a fashion that may be best illustrated by a paragraph. Professing to speak of the projects of despotism that were contemplated in his day, Demosthenes says,
“ What an eulogy on the human understanding ! to assert that it is dangerous to choose a succession of administrators from the wisest of mankind, and advisable to derive it from the weakest! There have been free Greeks within our memory, who would have entered into an holy alliance with the most iniquitous and most in. solent of usurpers, Alexander of Pheræ, a territory in which Thebe, who murdered her husband, is praised above all others of both sexes. O Juno! may such marriages be frequent in such countries !”
The fourteenth conversation consists of a mock interview between Bonaparte and the President of the Senate who comes to deliver him an address. It seems introduced merely for the purpose of hanging a note upon it, which is intended to be an estimate of the late Emperor of the French, but will by most be looked upon as a tirade against him.
The fifteenth conversation is between the Abbé Delille and Mr. Landor, and is almost wholly critical. As might be expected, the Englishman has much the best of it. 'Indeed, the half-pastoral, half-Parisian Abbé is pretty nearly demolished by the attacks of his friend on all his hitherto immaculate models. The air of ineffable superiority which the unknown Englishman assumes over the idol of the Parisian salons, and the equally ineffable air of simplicity with which the latter, as in duty bound, bears it, are very amusing ; and they are no less characteristic of each of the parties. This conversation, which in all probability actually took place (or something very like it), must have sent the good Abbé home in a most amiable state of mystification as to the pretensions of all the French poets extant,--himself alone excepted, whom Mr. Landor, of course, does not meddle with.
The sixteenth conversation is between the late Emperor Alexander and Capo d'Istria. It is a very clever and acute expose of the views and policy of the European Courts respectively, in relation (chiefly) to the Greek question. It will, however, strike the reader of this dialogue that the author has “ 'oer-informed” one at least of the speakers—as indeed he himself has suggested, in a very characteristic note, in which he candidly complains of his inability to write down to many of his speakers.
The seventeenth conversation is a very short, but very beautiful and interesting one, between Kosciusko and Poniatowski.
The eighteenth and last conversation in this volume, is between Middleton and Magliabechi, and touches on various points of religious faith, but chiefly on the duty and efficacy of prayer, which Middleton is known to have doubted, or rather disbelieved. We do not find any thing positively to except against in this dialogue; and there is also some very acute reasoning in it, on the part of Middleton ; and two or three most edifying stories from the worthy Italian. But, nevertheless, it is one of about five or six in the whole three volumes, that we could without much intreaty have been induced to spare.
We find that our limits put it out of the question for us to give even a glance at the contents of the second volume.
We now turn (too late, we fear) to the new volume which is scarcely yet in the hands of the public. We shall wave every thing in the shape of formal criticism on it; partly as being in a great measure anticipated by what we have already said, but chiefly that we may give all the rest of our space to an extract or two: not that these can be made to prove or illustrate more than portions of what we have said of this excellent work; for, such is the variety of its contents, no one dialogue that we could give would do more than speak for itself. The book, to be appreciated, must be read.
As an example of what may be looked upon as the political portions of this work,
we may refer to the dedication of this third volume, which is addressed “ To Bolivar the Liberator.” The reader will find it written in a strain of pure, fervid, and fearless eloquence, of which he has hitherto met with few specimens in the day in which he lives--a day than which none ever stood in greater need of such eloquence. We will now give (as much on account of its brevity as its beauty) a dialogue illustrative of what may be called the dramatic portion of these volumes :=
TIBERIUS AND VIPSANIA. “ Tiberius. Vipsania, my Vipsania, whither art thou walking ? Vipsania. Whom do I see ? my Tiberius?
Tiberius. Ah! no no no! but thou seest the father of the little Drusus. him to thy heart the more closely for this meeting, and give him....
Vipsania. Tiberius, the altars, the gods, the destinies, are between us.. take it from this hand of thine, and thus shall he receive it.
* “ Vipsania, the daughter of Agrippa, was divorced from Tiberius by Augustus and Livia, in order that he might marry Julia, and hold the empire by inheritance. He retained such an affection for her, and showed it so intensely when he once met her afterwards, that every precaution was taken lest the meeting should recur."
Tiberius. Raise up thy face, my beloved! I must not shed tears. Augustus ! Livia! ye shall not extort them from me. Vipsania, I may kiss thy head.... for I have saved it. Thou sayest nothing. I have wronged thee ; ay ?
Vipsania. Ambition does not see the earth she treads on ; the rock and the herb. age are of one substance to her.
Let me excuse you to my heart, O Tiberius : it has many wants ; this is the first and greatest.
Tiberius. My ambition, I swear by the immortal Gods, placed not the bar of severance between us. A stronger hand, the hand that composes Rome and sways the world.... Vipsania... overawed Tiberius. I know it; Augustus willed and commanded it.
Tiberius. And overawed Tiberius! Power bent, Death terrified, a Nero! What is our race, that any should look down on us and spurn us ! Augustus, my benefactor, I have wronged thee! Livia, my mother, this one cruel deed was thine! To reign forsooth is a lovely thing! Owomanly appetite! Who would have been before me? tho' the palace of Cesar cracked and split with emperors, while I was sitting in idleness on a cliff of Rhodes, eyeing the sun, as he swings his golden censer athwart the heavens, or spanning his image, as it overstrides the sea. I have it before me ; and though it seems falling on me, I can smile at it; just as I did from my little favourite skiff, painted round with the marriage of Thetis, when the sailors drew their long shaggy hair across their eyes, many a stadium away from it, to look thereon, and to mitigate the effulgence from the brightest effigy of the brightest God.
These too were happy days : days of happiness like this I could recall and look back upon with unaching brow.
O land of Greece! Tiberius blesses thee, bidding thee rejoice and fourish.
Vipsania. Tiberius! is it to me that you were speaking ? I would not inter. rupt you ; but I thought I heard my name, as you walked away and looked up toward the East. So silent !
Tiberius. Who dared to call thee ? thou wert mine before the Gods.. do they deny it? Was it my fault....
Vipsania. Since we are separated, and for ever, O Tiberius, do not let us think on the cause of it : do not let either of us believe that the other was to blame : so shall separation be less painful.
Tiberius. O mother! and did I not tell thee what she was, patient in injury, proud in innocence, serene in grief !
Vipsania. Did you say that too ? but I think it was so: I had felt little. One wave has washed away a thousand impressions of smaller from my memory. Could Livia, could your mother, could she who was so kind to me..
Tiberius. The wife of Cesar did it.. but hear me now, hear me.. be calm as I am. No weaknesses are such as those of a mother, who loves her only son immo. derately, and none are so easily worked upon from without. Who knows what im. pulses she received ? She is very kind; but she regards me only ; and that which at her bidding is to encompass and adorn me. All the weak look after power, protectress of weakness. Thou art a woman, O Vipsania ! is there nothing in thee to excuse my mother.. so good she ever was, so loving to me!
Vipsania. I quite forgive her; be tranquil, o Tiberius !
Tiberius. Never can I know peace.. never can I pardon.. any one. Threaten me with thy exile, thy separation, thy seclusion! remind me that another climate might endanger thy health!.. There death met me and turned me round. Threaten me to take our son from us ! our one boy ! our helpless little one! him whom we made cry because we kissed him both together . . rememberest thou ? or dost thou not bear? turning thus away from me!
Vipsania. I hear; I hear ; 0 cease, my sweet Tiberius ! stamp not upon that stone.. my heart lies under it.
Tiberius. Ay, there again death, and more than death, stood before me. O she maddened me, my mother did, she maddened me . . she threw me to where I am, at one breath. The Gods cannot replace me where I was, nor atone to me, nor console me, nor restore my senses. To whom can I fly? to whom can I open my heart ? to whom speak plainly? There was upon the earth a man I could converse with, and fear nothing: there was a woman too I could love, and fear nothing. What a soldier, what a Roman, was thy father, O my young bride! How could those who never saw him have discoursed so rightly upon virtue !
Vipsania. These words cool my breast, like pressing his urn against it. He was brave: shall Tiberius want courage ?
Tiberius. My enemies scorn me. I am a garland dropt from a triumphal car, and taken up and looked on for the place I occupied . . and swung away and laughed at. Senators ! laugh, laugh . . Your merits may be yet rewarded : . be of good cheer! Counsel me, in your wisdom, what services I can render you, conscript fathers !
Vipsania. This seems mockery: Tiberius did not smile so, once.
Tiberius. And it was not because she was beautiful, as they thought her, and virtuous, as I know she is, but because the flowers on the altar were to be tied together by my heart-string. On this they congratulated me. Their day will come. Their sons and daughters are what I would wish them to be; worthy to succeed them, and ready too. I would not make them love me, as they must do, for it: but this will pass away.
Vipsania. Where is that quietude, that resignation, that sanctity, that heart of true tenderness ? Tiberius. Where is my
love? Vipsania. Cry not thus aloud, Tiberius! there is an echo in this place. Sol. diers and slaves may burst in upon us.
Tiberius. And see my tears ? There is no echo, Vipsania; why alarm and shake me so? We are too high here for the echoes : the city is all below us : methinks it trembles and totters : would it did ! from the marble quays of the Tiber to this rock. There is a strange buz and murmur in my brain ; but I should listen so intensely, I should hear the rattle of its roofs, and shout with joy.
Vipsania. Calm, O my life ! calm this horrible transport.
Tiberius. Spake I so loud ? Did I indeed then send my voice after a lost sound, to bring it back ; and thou fanciedst it an echo? Wilt not thou laugh with me, as thou wert wont to do, at such an error ? What was I saying to thee, my tender love, when I commanded ... I know not whom ... to stand back on pain of death ? Why starest thou on me in such agony? Have I hurt thy fingers, child ? I loose them : now let me look! Thou turnest thine eyes away from me. Oh ! oh! I hear my crime! Immortal Gods ! I cursed then audibly, and before the sun, my mother!"
We could have wished to give one whole conversation of those which are assigned to some of the great names of antiquity, but the best of these are rather long, and we have already passed our limits. We should have been glad, had our limits permitted, to have presented some specimens of these noble compositions, particularly the second conversation, between Demosthenes and Eubulides, which relates chiefly to the news, which is supposed to have just reached them, of the death of Philip.
In concluding our most imperfect and inadequate notice of these volumes, we must be allowed to generalize our opinion of them as a whole by stating, that, together with oversights and errors, both of matter and of style, and a few (we should perhaps say, not a few) extravagancies both of sentiment and opinion, (resulting, in almost every instance, from a vehemence of temper, acting upon what will by many be looked upon as an almost fanatical love of political liberty, and a consequent hatred of those things and persons who hourly bring what remains of it into peril,) we conceive this work to include a geater proportion of profound and original thinking, of moral and political wisdom, of elegant scholarship, of acute criticism, and of eloquent, poetical, and just expositions and enforcements of all these, than is to be found within the same number of consecutive pages in any other work of the day
SKETCHES OF THE IRISH
The last Clonmel Assizes. 'The delineation of the leading members of the Irish Bar is not the only object of these sketches. It is my purpose to describe the striking scenes, and to record the remarkable incidents which fall within my own forensic observation. That these incidents and scenes should take place in our courts of justice, affords a sufficient justification for making the “ Sketches of the Irish Bar” the medium of their narration. I might also suggest, that the character of the Bar itself is more or less influenced by the nature of the business in which it is engaged. The mind of any man who habitually attends the assizes of Clonmel carries deep, and not perhaps the most useful, impressions away from it. How often have I reproached myself with having joined in the boisterous merriment which either the jests of counsel, or the droll perjuries of the witnesses, have produced during the trial of a capital offence! How often have I seen the bench, the jury, the bar, and the galleries of an Irish court of justice, in a roar of tumultuous laughter, while I beheld in the dock the wild and haggard face of a wretch who,
placed on the verge of eternity, seemed to be surveying the gulf on the brink of which he stood, and presented, in his ghastly aspect and motionless demeanour, a reproof of the spirit of hilarity with which he was to be sent before his God! It is not that there is any kind of cruelty intermixed with this tendency to mirth ; but that the perpetual recurrence of incidents of the most awful character divests them of the power of producing effect, and that they
“ Whose fall of hair
As life were in't," acquire such a familiarity with direness, that they become not only insensible to the dreadful nature of the spectacles which are presented, but scarcely conscious of them. But it is not merely because the Bar itself is under the ope on of the incidents which furnish the materials of their professional occupation that I have selected the last assizes of Clonmel as the subject of this article. The extensive circulation of this periodical work affords the opportunity of putting the English public in possession of many illustrative facts; and in narrating the events which attended the murder of Daniel Mara, and the trial of his assassins, I propose to myself the useful end of fixing the general attention upon a state of things, which ought to lead all wise and good men to the consideration of the only effectual means by which the evils which result from the moral condition of the country may be remedied.
In the month of April 1827, a gentleman of the name of Chadwick was murdered in the open day, at a place called Rath Cannon, in the immediate vicinity of the old Abbey of Holycross. Mr. Chadwick was the member of an influential family, and was employed as land agent in collecting their rents. The person who fills this office in England is called “a steward;" but in Ireland it is designated by the more honourable name of a land agency. The discharge of the duties of this situation must be always more or less obnoxious. In times of public distress, the landlord, who is himself urged by his own creditors, urges his agent on, and the latter inflicts upon the tenants the necessities of his employer. I have heard that Mr. Chadwick was not peculiarly rigorous in the exaction of rent, but he was singularly injudicious in his demeanour towards the lower orders. He believed that they detested him ; and possessing personal courage, bade them defiance. He was not a man of a bad heart; but was despotic and contumelious in his manners to those whose hatred he returned with contempt. It is said that he used to stand amongst a body of the peasantry, and, observing that his corpulency was on the increase, was accustomed to exclaim, “ I think I am fattening upon your curses !” In answer to these
July. --VOL. XXIII, NO. XCI.