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It is no idle curiosity that gathers up, and dwells upon every particular of that anxious week in the Royal household. The (apparently) sudden access of dangerous symptoms on the Friday; the Queen returning from her drive to find her husband all but hopelessly changed ; the watching through that long Friday night ; the young Princess, thrown“ on her own responsibility,” summoning her brother by telegraph ; his arrival in the dead of night; the sudden gleam of hope that shone out again even on the Saturday morning; the “one more night "—not to be granted—which if the sufferer could pass (so said the physicians) it might prove the turning point of recovery ; then, the long painful hours, when at last all hope was over, and the husband and the father, in the prime of his manhood, lay“ dying fast.” The sailor son far off across the Atlantic—the child left fatherless, away in France. And the One form of whose absence for a single moment the sufferer was impatient, which the dim eyes sought for almost in death—“ He knew the Queen to the last.” These are details which the Queen of England will not have grudged to her subjects' knowledge ; for she knows they have been read with beating hearts and tearful eyes. It was not because these things were the gossip of a Court, that men have cared to read them; but because every particular has come to us as tidings of those we love; because we have pictured to ourselves the scenes in that household with a personal interest—have associated them with our own painful memories or anxious fears. It was because we all felt that something more than Royal state was there—in the “ King's Room.” It was a faithful and loving wife, not only a Queen-a daughter, not a mere Princess—who watched by that deathbed. More than all, because it was his unstained honour and manly virtue that had made that household a pure and happy one—that we so felt it; and for that cause, too, many a stubborn English spirit would have watched there, at the door, or on the threshold, day and night, if he could have brought one ray of comfort to those anxious hearts, or a breath of ease to the sufferer. There were no secrets about that deathbed ; no questionable favourites to exclude or be excluded. He diedas a Prince should die.

ties; its simple and earnest language forms a remarkable contrast to those elaborate and unfortunate productions which are imposed upon the public, “ by authority," on such occasions.

severe one.

At an

Royal though he was by birth, that royalty was of limited extent. His ancestral Principality was not larger than the estates of many English nobles; his own private fortune was but that of a younger brother. Though of the highest rank, according to the European standard of courtesy, his accession to the place of Prince Consort of Great Britain was in reality an immense elevation. It was, no doubt, an advantage in the formation of his character, that the brilliant future was not open to the eyes of the young student of Bonn ; that his excellent natural abilities were subjected to careful training; and that his youth escaped the risk of being clouded by the shadow of greatness to come. Still, the trial was a

ge when, in most of us, judgment is weak and passion strong, he found himself raised to a height of power and influence—if not of recognised authority—which would have been perilous indeed to a lower nature. He bore it well. He had his position to make, which was a harder task than to fill a station to which there belonged an established line of conduct, and recognised responsibility. There were no precedents of Royal Consorts which he might be safe in following. How he chose and kept his course, all England knows and confesses. If there was ever a man to whom the consciousness of well-used power was reward sufficient, without the outward praise and glory, that man was Prince Albert. He reaped many of the jealousies which power entails, and little of the fame which makes power sweet. How much this nation owes him for years of domestic tranquillity-for the growing esteem and affection which, year by year, has gathered round the Crown—for the training which bas given us in the Royal Family such bright promise for the future, can be known but to few. None of us care to know too exactly; none of us care to separate, even in thought, as to their will and their counsels, those Two whom only Death has divided. It is enough to know that the Queen had always by her side one to give her able and faithful counsel—to whom she could look with an entire and trusting affection—who, even had it been possible for him to have had interests apart from hers, was never governed by any selfish thought or ambition. If he had political opinions (and how could he not have them ?) he never obtruded them unfairly, or abused his high influence to any personal or party predilections. If men called him cold, at least he had no court favourites. If he was a foreigner by birth and education, he had as thorough

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an English heart as any prince born within the island. And perhaps in his instance the utterance of the general voice is not merely the feeling which, when the grave closes on the dead, forgets all past failings and remembers only the good; it is rather the self-reproach, common to generous nations as to generous men, that we have lost one whose worth was so familiar, that we were scarcely able to appreciate its full value until he had gone from our sight.

It may seem to us that he has been called to his rest before his work was done. That question lies within the province of a Wisdom higher than ours ; nor will we augur future evil for a nation which knows how to honour a ruler such as him whom we have lost. If we had once a Queen who said she "took the nation for her husband,” we shall not now lack a people to stand in that stead to a widowed Queen. God willing, she shall not want for counsel, in any strait that may come. Again the question will be asked, by high-minded men of all parties, "How is the Queen's government to be carried on?” and it will be answered honestly, laying self and party aside.

Let such a man go to his grave among the kings," with all honours that we can give him. For a King he was, in all but in the name ; and one of England's best. Not one of iron hand and will, the hero of battle-fields and conquered provinces ; but such as our time needed; wise, firm, temperate, pure, and true. When the nation reckons up her real Sovereigns, he will find his place amongst the Rulers of England.

Even whilst these words are written, heralds have proclaimed his style and titles in the gorgeous pageant that fills St George's Chapel. That is the rite which custom has consecrated for the funerals of Princes, and it is well that it should still be observed. Let none call it an empty ceremony, or say that such pomp of woe mocks the cold clay that neither hears nor heeds. But the simple wreaths which affection laid upon his coffin were more honour than many crowns; and deep in a nation's heart and memory-graven in deeper lines, more lasting than on the coffin-plate will live one title that is written there, the last and best—which comes within no herald's cognisance, but which a mourning people whispers through their tears

VICTORIÆ REGINÆ
CONJUGIS PERCARISSIMI.

Dec. 23, 1861.

THE NATION'S PRAYER

LORD God, on bended knee
Three Kingdoms cry to Thee,

God save the Queen !

God of all tenderness,
Lighten her load, and bless,
Deep in her first distress

God save the Queen !

Hold Thou our Lady's hand,
Bid her arise and stand-

God save the Queen !

Grant her Thy comfort, Lord ;
Husband ! Thy arm afford ;
Father! fulfil Thy word

God save the Queen !

Thou hast given gladness long,
Make her in sorrow strong-

God save the Queen !

Dry our dear Lady's tears,
Succour her lonely years
Safe through all woes and fears

God keep the Queen !

Sweet from this sudden gloom
Bring Thou life's perfect bloom-

God save the Queen !

Thou who hast sent the blow,
Wisdom and grace bestow
Out of this cloud of woe-

God save the Queen !

Printed by William Blackwood & Sons, Edinburgh.

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A SERIES OF ESSAYS ON LIFE, LITERATURE, AND MANNERS.

By the Author of "The Caxton Family."

NO. 1.-ON THE INCREASED ATTENTION TO OUTWARD NATURE IN THE

DECLINE OF LIFE.

ONE of the most common, yet, Tusculum the reverse of Cicero's, when considered, one of the most void of books and remote from touching characteristics of receding philosophers, in a dull lone house life, is its finer perception of exter- in a dull flat country. To me no nal nature. You will find men scenery could be less interesting who, in youth and middle age, than that amidst which I met him seemed scarcely to notice the most in his quiet rambles : a trite monostriking features of some unfamil. tony of level downs-neither wood, iar landscape, become minutely ob- nor brook, nor undulating hill-top, servant of the rural scenery around that enlivens solitude with the inthem when the eye has grown dim finite play of shadows. I was then and the step feeble. They will de- at the age when we all fancy ourtect more quickly than the painter selves poets, and this man, who had the delicate variations made by the but slight esteem for poets, was yet lapse of a single day in the tints of the first in whom I found that close autumnal foliage-they will distin- observation of natural objects from guish, amongst the reeds by the which poetry takes the same startriver-side, murmurs that escaped ing-point as science. He would the dreamy ear of the poet. pause by what seemed to me a bar

ren heap of stones, to examine the I was acquainted in my school- wild flower that bad forced its way boy days with an old man, who, through the crevices; he would after a metropolitan career of noisy point with his stick to what seemed and brilliant success, had slipped to me but the empty space, till, away from the London world as looking long and steadily, I too from a vulgar mob, and found a saw the gossamer, sailing slow over VOL. XCI.— NO. DLVI.

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