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where, almost the only emperor the people recall. He must have had force and genius, as well as brilliancy and magnificence, for the survival. And he
died so young!
"I was more shocked than I can express by poor G's startling fate. It haunted and preyed on me for many days and nights.
"I am now steering homeward; this stupendous treachery of 's recalls my political fervor. I long again to be in public life. I thought the old illusions were dispelled; and the career of a politician is neither elevating nor happy.
E. B. L."
"Lyons, April 10th, 1846.
"I expect to arrive in England the last week in April. I am much struck with Lyons; there are few cities in Italy to compare with it in effect of size, opulence, and progress.
Life is more active in the
"But Italy has improved since I was there last. streets, civilization reflowing to its old channels. Of all Italy, however, the improvement is most visible in Sardinia. There the foundations of a great state are being surely and firmly laid. The king himself approaches to a great man, and, though priest-ridden, is certainly an admirable governor and monarch. I venture to predict that Sardinia will become the leading nation of Italy, and eventually rise to a first-rate power in Europe. It is the only state in Italy with new blood in its veins. It has youth-not old age, attempting to struggle back into vigor in Medea's caldron.
"I have been indolently employing myself, partly on a version of a Greek play, partly on a novel, anxious to keep my mind distracted from the political field, which is closed to me; for, without violent opinions on the subject, I have great misgivings as to the effect of Peel's measures on the real happiness and safety of England, and regard the question as one in which political economy-mere mercantile loss and gain-has least to do. High social considerations are bound up in it; no one yet has said what I want said on the matter. Nevertheless, I was much delighted with D'Israeli's very able and, indeed, remarkable speech. I am so pleased to see his progress in the House, which I alone predicted the night of his first failure. I suppose Lord George Bentinck is leading the agriculturists; I can not well judge from Galignani with what success.
"This letter has remained unfinished till to-day, the 13th, when I conclude it at Joigny. More and more struck with the improvement of France, as I pass through the country slowly. It is a great nation indeed; and, to my mind, the most disagreeable part of the population, and the part least im proved, is at Paris. E. B. L."
"Knebworth, December 24th, 1846.
"I am extremely grateful, my dearest friend, for your kind letter, so evidently meant to encourage me amid the storm which howls around my little
boat.* And, indeed, it is quite a patch of blue sky, serene and cheering through the very angry atmosphere which greets me elsewhere. I view it as an omen, and sure I am, at least, that the blue sky will endure long after the last blast has howled itself away.
"Perhaps, in some respects, it is fortunate that I have had so little favor shown to me, or rather so much hostility, in my career. If I had once been greeted with the general kindness and indulgent smiles that have, for instance, rewarded — I should have been fearful of a contrast in the future, and, satisfied at so much sunshine, gathered in my harvests and broken up my plow. But all this vituperation goads me on. Who can keep quiet
when the tarantula bites him?
"I write this from a prison, for we are snowed up all round; and, to my mind, the country is dull enough in the winter without this addition to its sombre repose. But I shall stay as long as I can, for this is the time when
the poor want us most.
E. B. L."
"I can not disguise from you that I have strong objections in writing for an Annual, of which a principal is, that, in writing for one, I am immediately entangled by others, who, less kind than you, conceive a refusal unto them, when not given to all, is a special and deadly offense.
"Another objection is, that, unless you edit a work of that nature, you have all sorts of grievous remonstrances from your publishers or friends, assuring you that you cheapen your name, and Lord knows what! And, therefore, knowing that you greatly exaggerate the value of my assistance, I could have wished to be a reader of your Book of Beauty' rather than a contributor. But the moment you seriously ask me to aid you, and gravely convince yourself that I can be of service, all objection vanishes. I owe to you a constant, a generous, a forbearing kindness, which nothing can repay, but which it delights me to prove that I can at least remember; and consequently you will enroll me at once among your ministering genii of the lamp.
"You gave me my choice of verse or prose; I should prefer the first; but consider well whether it would be of equal service to you. That is my sole object, and whichever the most conduces to it will be to me the most agreeable means. You can therefore consider, and let me know, and, lastly, pray give me all the time you can spare.
name my reward. Book of Beauty?' number it among
"To prove to you that I am a mercenary ally, let me Will you give me one of the engravings of yourself in the It does not do you justice, it is true, but I should like to those mementoes which we keep by us as symbols at once of reality and the ideal. Alas! all inspiration dies except that of beauty.
* The allusion here is to the poem of the "New Timon."
E. B. L."
"Craven Cottage, Fulham. [No date.]
"It was most kind in you to think of my misfortune,* and to offer to my ark so charming a resting-place. I heard with sincere gratitude of this morning. The Thames has been pleased to retire to his own bed to-day, and has therefore left me less in fear from an invasion of mine. Though fond of philosophy, I can not say that I am much pleased with these last 'Diversions of Pearly.' However, I have escaped better than I could have anticipated, and as I am informed the Thames never did such a thing before in the memory of this generation, I have the comfort of believing that an inundation is like the measles and small-pox-a visitation, once happily over, to be classed among those memories of the past which are only revived in the persons of At present I am making an embankment that I think will our posterity. baffle the river gods in any ulterior malicious designs upon their unfortunate neighbor.
Like the escaping mariner of old, I hope soon to render my homage to a shrine where abide the tutelary powers whom we call the 'Graces' in prosperity, and by the fairer name of the 'Charities' in distress.
E. B. L."
"January 25th, 1849.
"I am very much obliged to you, my dearest friend, for your kind and gracious reception of 'King Arthur.' It contains so much of my more spiritual self, that it is more than the mere author's vanity-it is the human being's self-love that is gratified by your praise. It is to a hard, practical, prosaic world that the fairy king returns after his long sojourn on the oblivious lake, and if he may yet find some pale reflection of his former reign, it will take long years before the incredulous will own that he is no impostor.
"ONE OF THE CROWD."
E. B. L."
AN EPISTLE FROM PARIS TO THE COUNTESS OF BLESSINGTON, JAN. 1, 1836.
Can the soft magic all forsake the earth.
Though on the willow hang his silent lute,
Though song's wild passion lies subdued and mute,
And feels the poet which his life belies.
* An inundation of the Thames.
Here, where the wheels of wild contenders roll,
I hear the uproar and survey the ground,
Affect the sage, and would be wise in rhyme.
What change, since first my boyhood's careless glance
Roved her gay haunts, has dimmed the smile of France?
The minor morals of the wish to please?
These, the fair magic of the mien, no more
Deck the fierce natures which they masked of yore.
Enter yon shop, whose wares arrest your eye,
The smileless trader bullies you to buy:
At cafés scarce the blunt, bluff garçons stir;
All are now equal, you're no longer-sir!
While, if through streams of mud, miscall'd a street,
You wend your way, what swaggering shapes you meet!
Sweep hordes of dandies bearded like the pard;
The change displeases! let it not amaze;
On the scared ear of earth for this alone
Crash'd the great ruins of the Bourbon throne.
*The rudeness in manner which characterized the Parisians at the date referred to in the text was too ungenial to the natural character of the population to last long; it was consistent only with the mock freedom which for a time deluded the French people under the reign of Louis Philippe.
All France herself one standing army made,
All! nay, deny not some substantial gain;
Sick of these tricks of state, which seem to dim
And furl the sail which bore them through the storm-
Invent some monster-some unheard-of crime,
Yet these the race-these sucklings of romance,
That sneer at all that gave her fame to France,
* It is the grossest injustice to call Louis Philippe a tyrant. He is the representative of the fears of the bourgeoisie! By their favor he rose, by their interests he governs, and by their indifference he may yet fall.