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And wish him the like meekness for so staunch
A servant of the church can scarce have bought
His share in the Isle, and paid for it, hard pieces !
You've my successor to condole with, Nuncio !
I shall be safe by then i' the galley, Loïs !

Lojs.
You make as you would tell me you rejoice
To leave your scene of

Prefect.

Trade in the dear Druses ?
Blood and sweat traffic? Spare what yesterday
We had enough of! Drove I in the Isle
A profitable game? Learn wit, my son,
Which you'll need shortly! Did it never breed
Suspicion in you all was not pure profit,
When I, the rapacious . . . and so forth

was bent
On having an associate in my rule?
Why did I yield this Nuncio half the gain,
If not that I might also shift . . . what on him?
Half of the peril, Loys !

Loys.

Peril?
Prefect.

Hark you !

I'd love you if you'd let me—this for reason,
You save my life at price of . . . well, say risk
At least, of yours. I came a long time since
To the Isle : our Hospitallers bade me tame
These savage wizards, and reward myself.

Lois.
The Knights who so repudiate your crime?

Prefect.
Loys, the Knights-we doubtless understand
Each other; as for trusting to reward
From

any

friend beside myself . . . No, no!

With this alcove's delicious memories
Got to be mingled visions of gaunt fathers,
Quick-eyed sons, fugitives from the mine, the oar,
Stealing to catch me : brief, when I began
To quake with fear-(I think I hear the Chapter
Solicited to let me leave, now all
Worth staying for was gained and gone !)— I say
That when for the remainder of my life
All methods of escape seemed lost - just then
Up should a young hot-headed Loys spring,
Talk very long and loud-in fine, compel
The Knights to break their whole arrangement, have me

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Home for pure shame from this safehold of mine
Where but ten thousand Druses seek my life,
To my wild place of banishment, San Gines
By Murcia, where my three fat manors lying,
Purchased by gains here and the Nuncio's gold,
Are all I have to guard me,-that such fortune
Should fall to me I hardly could expect !
Therefore, I say, I'd love you !

Loys.

Can it be? I play into your hands then? Oh, no, no! The Venerable Chapter, the Great Order Sunk o' the sudden into fiends of the pit? But I will back—will yet unveil you !

Prefect.

Me?
To whom ?-perhaps Sir Galeas, who in Chapter
Shook his white head thrice-and some dozen times
My hand this morning shook for value paid ?
To that Italian Saint Sir Cosimo ?-
Indignant at my wringing year by year
A thousand bezants from the coral-divers,
As you recounted ; felt he not aggrieved ?
Well might he- I allowed for his half share
Merely one hundred! To Sir . .

Loys.

See ! you dare
Inculpate the whole Order; yet should I,
A youth, a sole voice, have the power to change
Their evil way had they been firm in it?
Answer me!

Prefect.

Oh, the son of Bretagne's Duke,
And that son's wealth, the father's influence, too,
And the young arm, we'll even say, my Loys,
-The fear of losing or diverting these
Into another channel by gainsaying
A novice too abruptly, could not influence
The Order! You might join, for aught they cared,
Their red-cross rivals of the Temple! Well,
I thank you for my part at all events !
Stay here till they withdraw you! You 'll inhabit
This palace-sleep, perchance, in this alcove;
Good! and now disbelieve me if you can:
This is the first time for long years I enter
Thus (lifts the arras), without feeling just as if I lifted
The lid up of my tomb !

Loys.

They share his crime !
God's punishment will overtake you yet!

Prefect.
Thank you it does not! Pardon this last flash :
I bear a graver visage presently
With the disinterested Nuncio here-
His purchase-money safe at Murcia too!
Let me repeat--for the first time no draught
Coming as from a sepulchre salutes me.
When we next meet this folly may have passed,

We'll hope-Ha, ha ! [Exit through the arras." The whole character of the Prefect, his long life of greedy villany, his heartless sensuality, carried into the very gloating of imbecility, and the wide field of bribery and corruption of which he has been the centre, is all clearly developed in this masterly scene. We cannot conclude without remarking on the profound instinctive sympathy with a tragical position displayed by the poet in the last speech, where the Prefect entering the alcove, where he will presently be murdered,-utters words of ghastly merriment, like the “last flash ” of one who will bear a

graver visage presently," although, strange to say, for “the first time no gust of air as from a sepulchre salutes his entrance !” All this is exactly the half consciousness of an instinctive feeling of approaching fate, mingled with just those delusive circumstances which lull and disperse apprehension, and lure a victim onward to his doom !

We take our leave of this production of Mr. Browning, by observing, that we consider it," as a whole,” to be one of the finest of modern dramatic works, and that with no more than the usual adaptation, it would be a good acting drama. Strange to say, it has never yet received anything in the shape of adequate review, or even notice from the press.

How much remains to be said with reference to the prospects of imaginative literature, and how much illustration our remarks would require, must be very apparent.

All that can be done in the present paper is to point out the signs of the poetical spirit—not of “the time,” but the spirit which is at work as an under-current of time; and which we anticipate will gather accumulating force as it proceeds, and sooner or later produce a great change in the quality and tendency of our literature. Meanwhile, let our readers, both at home and abroad, be assured that whatever they may find to admire, and to recognize as evidences of our position, in the fine extracts quoted from the poets previously discussed, their several works abound with passages of equal excellence.

216

ART. VIII.-1. Copy of the Evidence taken and Report made by

the Assistant Poor Law Commissioners sent to enquire into

the State of the Population of Stockport. 1842. 2. Reports of the Special Assistant Poor Law Commissioners

on the Employment of Women and Children in Agriculture.

1843. 3. Speech of Charles Buller, Esq. M.P., in the House of Com

mons, on Thursday, Aug. 6, 1813, on Systematic Colonization.

Murray, Albemarle Street. UNDER the favour of Divine Providence, the country is steadily though slowly recovering from a crisis of commercial depression of unusual severity, extent, and duration. The evil-great, unexampled, and overwhelming as it has been-may not be un

ded by countervailing, perhaps even by counterbalancing good-should it lead to such a searching investigation into our social and economical condition, as may enable us to trace out the latent causes of distress; and to discover and to apply appropriate means for their removal.

A commercial depression, enduring for years, and extending to all the districts of the country, and to all the departments of industry, could not have resulted from any immediate and temporary cause. Accidental agencies may have aggravated the symptoms of the constitutional complaint. Functional disturbance may have marked the progress of the organic disease. But fatal might be the result, were we to conclude from the abatement of the functional paroxysm, that the vital organs have escaped uninjured, and that there remains no lingering and deeply-seated malady, requiring careful regimen and an alterative

While, however, our most anxious solicitude should be directed to the consideration of permanent causes, we should not be inattentive to those of a more temporary character. We cannot obtain an accurate knowledge of the extent to which the depression which has visited the industrious classes is the necessary result of our economical condition, unless we can ascertain how much of the derangement may be traced to extrinsic circumstances.

Amongst the accidental and exciting causes which have contributed to induce the recent crisis of commercial difficulty, one of the principal has been a succession of deficient harvests. A deficient harvest is a diminution of national wealth to the amount of the deficiency. An increased importation of foreign corn equivalent to the diminution in the home supply, might prevent the price of corn from rising to the consumer, but could not prevent a loss of wealth to the country. Had the seasons im

course.

mediately previous to 1842 been average seasons, the greater part of the foreign corn which we were obliged to alienate a portion of the national wealth to obtain, would have been raised at home, without any expense beyond that which the farmers had already incurred in the cultivation of their fields. In effect, that quantity of corn which is imported, not in the customary course of trade, but in order to make good the deficiency of an unfavourable season, may be regarded as being paid for twice over. In seeking to obtain this portion of the supply, two separate costs of production are advanced. The farmer advances the first cost of production—the labour and capital required to obtain an ordinary supply,—and on his failing to obtain it, the importing merchant advances a second cost of production—the labour and capital expended on the equivalents he exports in order to make good the deficiency. Thus, on the occurrence of an adverse season, the expense incurred by the importing merchant in furnishing that portion of the requisite supply of subsistence, the productive cost of which the farmer had already advanced, is so much dead loss to the country.

It would be a great mistake to suppose, that when a deficient harvest occurs, the extension of foreign trade occasioned by the increased export which purchases the required supply of foreign corn, creates a new demand for goods, causing a reproduction of wealth equivalent to that which the unfavourable season destroys. Had the harvests previous to 1842 not been deficient, the money or the goods which were exported in payment of the supplies required to make good the deficiency, would have been an available fund for the purchase of other articles. We should have had in the country not only a quantity of corn equal to that imported, but also the money or the merchandize with which the imported corn was paid for. A deficient harvest can be considered in no other light than as a destruction of a portion of national wealth equal to that which is exported, in order to make good the deficiency.

In the ordinary transactions of commerce, when countries interchange commodities, there is in each a proportionate demand for the productions of the others. This is not the case in the extraordinary foreign transactions consequent upon a deficient harvest. When the failure of the crop in England requires the importation of foreign corn to the amount of a million sterling, it does not follow that in the foreign market a new and extraordinary demand for British goods to the amount of a million sterling will spring up. The extraordinary importations of corn turn the balance of payments against this country; and our importing merchants are obliged to give a premium for bills to remit to their foreign correspondents. A premium upon foreign

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