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political quiet, who, of all evils, are most fearful of innovation ; fear nothing from this wide diversity of constitutional tenets; these legislators are not jacobins, they are not of a different mind. The three heroes having equally laboured in the delivery of their country, each one most reasonably designs to make himself the master of it;---such being the civic garland commonly in view, and often snatched from the people by their deliverers. Darius is rather a plain, ambitious man, and frankly proposes the government of the One; which he means, somehow or other, shall devolve upon himself. Both his friends desire and intend to appropriate the same dignity to themselves; but opine that more modest and philanthropic measures are preferable in their enlightened times. What cannot be compassed by a plausible exterior? Megabyzus assumes the patrician cloak, and Orcanes the plebeian cap. Their constitutional debate is conducted with great spirit. Let us hear them speak a little for themselves. Darius begins by strongly profess-, ing his disinterested intentions; but repeats, what he has often said before, that Persia, both from its extent and the length of the late dynasty,
“ Tale e tanto è di Persia il regno omai
Ch'è un mero sogno il credere di dargli
Di leggi, qual fu Ciro.” “ Such and so large is now the kingdom of Persia, that it is a mere dream of fancy to suppose that we can give it any other government than that of the One ; at once the giver, interpreter, and executor of the laws, as was our Cyrus.” Darius, however, pays Orcanes the masterpiece of courtesies by tendering his suffrage that he might become the One. Hearing the One mentioned, Orcanes takes fire with democratic wrath. “ What is it which you dare to propose ?” he replies. “ Did you not hear me thunder forth yesterday, to the best of my lungs, my implacable hatred of absolute power?"
• Omai sol può la Persia goveruarsi
Con egua legge ed infrangibil, data
Ch'esser mertano un popolo." “ Persia shall now be ruled only by equal and irrefragable laws, entrusted, with popular and collective forms, to the custody of all Persians, who now well deserve to become a free people.”—“ Stark nonsense!" exclaims Megabyzus : " when all men rule, if they do it even by rotation, none will obey; nor can there be any sovereigns, if there are not a far greater number of subjects. In short, he who is the champion of democracy flatters himself that he shall obtain all that he desires from anarchy.” And then, after many similar satrapian invectives, he concludes, as all genuine satraps ever did and will do, that the state is to be governed
“ Con quell'alta felice tempra, Che scalurir le leggi ed eseguirle
Fa dal senno di Pochi e scelti.” " in that dignified and happy medium, which derives both the law and its execution from the wisdom of a chosen few." Here he is interrupted by Orcanes with the stale question: "Chosen! and by whom?":
Why, by themselves,” reply the friends, in concert: thus disentangling themselves at once from their electorial perplexities. Megabyzus adds, that the few whom they selected must of course be the seven Satraps. For from seven men, every one of whom was, in the highest degree, qualified to fill a throne by himself, saving that they were too modest to aspire to such distinction, must needs arise a government seven times as good as that of the One. Orcanes, however, is not sa tisfied with this summing up of aristocratic deserts. “ Pshaw," he cries, were dominion confined to seven, or even more persons, these exalted patricians, through mutual envy and hatred, would each vie with the other in contriving the downfall of his rivals, for which the state must pay the penalty ; and so many factions and public calamities would come to pass, that the hapless people would look back to the reign of Cambyses as a positive blessing, when compared with that of your more worthy few. So that
“ Ne scampi il Ciel da sì ricca misura,
In cui tra tanti Re d'intenzione
E tutti il suon per nuocere." “ May Heaven defend us from such an abundance of kings; for, amongst so many as are intended, none is ever to be found for virtuous deeds, and the whole of them for mischief.” The answer of Darius is, perhaps, the best excuse ever pleaded for despotism. Even the friends of liberty, who are acquainted with the world, cannot help feeling to their hearts its melancholy truth. In this comedy, though expressly levelled against monarchy, there are to be found many occasional attacks upon the government of the people. But Alfieri shews no farther lenity towards absolute power than will suffice to demonstrate the fatal necessity of re-establishing such a bulwark against the vices of mankind whenever the torrent of disordered times have swept it away; and the only objection which he advances to the substitution of a popular government is in the disqualifications contracted from a long servitude. Both of which arguments are of a republican cast. By pleading for absolute monarchy only the vices of the subject, our poet scandalizes it by the defence itself; by opposing to a new democracy nothing but the corruption of the intended people-king, he praises it
objection." Darius answers, that whatever Orcanes upbraids the chosen few with,
“ Calza ed assai meglio
Sticks are good enough, and far too good for the drunken alehouse kings, with whom you wish, or pretend you wish, to bless the state, and from whom, at last, whether you will or not, starts up the Oneperadventure, something dirtier than the One I propose. Hear me, believe me, experience hitherto and the tutelary genius of Persia have taught us that a single king is the least of unavoidable evils. Do not be deceived by the hopes of a blessing which is the dream of honest men and the nostrum of knaves. Mankind are, for the most part, rogues, and the more who have a share in the government, the worse it will be.—You must employ the whip and the purse, and then do what you please at your leisure.” Darius continues his entreaties that Orcanes will receive the whip and the purse from his friends rather than from the rabble, who, if they were suffered to bestow them, would arrogate to themselves the right of resuming them. Orcanes still declinesthe offer is too great to be believed. Megabyzus, however, grows jealous, and declares that if he ever should agree to the proposal of the One, that One should not be Orcanes. Right !” exclaims the other; “ I am not base enough to accept of it." The debate becomes warm, when Darius, who conducts his ambition with better temper, proposes that the question shall be referred altogether to Sobria, a philosophic Satrap, if ever a Satrap deserved the epithet. His two friends, rather than afford an opportunity for some brisker candidate to step between them and the prize whilst they are debating upon it, (for a vacant throne admits of no delay) agree to the proposal, and depart. The wisdom and patience of Darius are now put to a harder test than they underwent even in the discussion of the new government. His groom, all in tears, brings him the intelligence that his beloved Chesballeno, the noble yellow steed, is in imminent danger of dying of the cholic. Darius is quite beside himself at the danger of his brave animal, and hurries off from the state council to the stable consultation, followed by the groom, whose wondrous dream is now beginning to be fulfilled.
MADRIGAL TO APOLLO.
In early youth, by passion led astray,
LONDON AND THE COUNTRY. “ 0, bear me to the paths of fair Pall Mall !
Clean are its pavements, grateful is its smell.”—GAY. “ The happiness of London is not to be conceived but by those who have been
What affectation and ignorance do they not display who affect to despise London! for it is only affectation that can lead any to assert the superiority of the country. London is too mighty an object to be sincerely contemned, and the abuse lavished upon it is therefore nothing more than mere cant. The country is very well in its way; and they who prefer to do so, may “ babble about green fields" as much as they list. Let them keep their cattle and dank pastures to themselves ; let them exclusively move in the obscurity, uniformity, and insipidity of their rotatory existences; let them resign the exhibitions, pleasures, and decorations that give to life a more exalted character ; let them prefer an isolated to a social state of being ;- but let them not affect to despise that for which they have no sh. “ Is not this fine?” said Johnson to Boswell, in Greenwich Park. “Yes," replied the parasite, knowing what reply was expected, — " yes; but not equal to Fleet Street.”“ You are right, Sir," said Johnson; and he was right. In London all that can contribute to comfort and elegance, all that can embellish life and heighten the pleasure of existence, is to be found in greater perfection than in the country. He who has known London a little time, and then leaves it to reside in the country, feels that he makes a great sacrifice. Filthy streets and a murky atmosphere, long rows of dingy houses, and clamorous cries heard there upon every side, are to be classed among those drawbacks which occur in every state and situation in life. But the intellectual advantages of London are incomparable; it affords a union of a higher order of mind than can be found elsewhere. The middling shopkeeper of London is far superior to the foxhunting country squire in intelligence, though the squire is considered in society a grade above the shopkeeper in rank. Go into the little country town or village and mark the narrowness of feeling, the scandal, and backbiting that exists there. Were it not for the gentry that reside part of the year in London, and carry back and diffuse around their country residences some little of the manners and polish of London, added to the newspapers from thence (for country newspapers have neither novelty, life, nor independence, with a few exceptions, and are mere copyists) that excite and keep up a spirit of inquiry, besides giving information, the inhabitants of the country would be all downright boors to the Londoners. From London has flowed in a continued stream over the kingdom, all its refinement and information; it is from thence that the farthest corners of the land have been fertilized at later or remoter periods, and by London is the current still kept up.
There is a fashion lately come in of praising the country at the expense of London, and comparing meadows, hedgerows, corn-fields, and blue skies, with brick walls, a foggy atmosphere, and sooty streets; as if London had nothing more to display in the arena of dispute on this subject. The advocates of the country bring all their strength into the field—and what is that all but a few things pleasing to the eye?-while London has a vast reserve to bring forward, and in modern warfare the
VOL. V. NO. XXI.
reserve is the hope of the battle. Art, science, literature, fashion_all the stores of intellect—all that is truly noble and great, concentrate in London. It is a vast storehouse for the mind, perpetually increasing its contents, and delivering them to the multitude. In the country the mind degenerates; its knowledge of what is moving on the great stage of life gets more and more confined, and it rapidly diminishes its stock of ideas : while in London the entire of human life, in all its shifting variety of forms and inexhaustible combinations, is united in one focus.
“How great the mystery! let others sing
The circling year, and promise of the spring,
But men called forth in fellowship with men.” What is a country life but a mere repetition of the same things—a very round-about-the “ labitur et labetur in omne volubilis ærum?" If man be placed upon the earth to perform high duties, he cannot fulfil them by gazing upon luxuriant foliage, or bending over the reflection of his own image in a trout-stream. He must live in a congregation of his species, watch their pursuits, mingle in their amusements, listen to their complaints, and even indulge in their vanities.
The advocates for a country life contend strongly for the superior moral excellence of country people. This, however, is not a tenable position; there is a greater aggregate of virtue in London than in an equal population in the country. Besides, country people are more shy in their vices, and are apt to conceal those which a Londoner would commit at least without such hypocrisy. In the country, men are often virtuous from feeling no temptation to be otherwise; while in London, the man of virtue, surrounded by snares, yet invulnerable to temptation, exhibits the moral character in much higher perfection. The morality of the countryman often arises out of blind custom, or the fear of detection in evil; while that of the Londoner must originate more in principle. It is true that among great associations of men the greatest extremes will always be found ; but there is a sort of liberality even in the vices of London, which those of the country do not exhibit:--the profligacy of the country is also coarser than that of the town, and it is equally abandoned.
As to the simplicity, rural love, unsophisticated manners, and primitive innocence of country life, if they exist beyond the gilded halo that encircles the poet's dream, or beyond the visionary field of romance, they are not to be found among Norfolk ploughmen or Yorkshire farmers. Let the careful observer attend the quarter-sessions and the assizes in the country; let him put on a waggoner's frock, and, mingling at a wake, witness the loathsome vulgarity of a rustic debauch ; let him inquire of the parish officers the number of illegitimate children it is their lot to dispose of in a year, and his idea of the optimism in morality of the inhabitants of the country will dwindle into nothing. It is really painful to dissipate one's early notions of rural perfectionof the virtues of shepherds and shepherdesses, and the innocent loves