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in your country, and sincere catholics, speak the religion of so many forefathers. Catholicism oftener of God than of his son or parent? loses somewhat of its poisonous strong savour by
President. The reason I presume is, that our taking root in a well-pulverized, well-harrowed ancestors the Gauls worshipped one superior soil. As competition levels the price of proviBeing, though, from indifference to the truth in sions, so maintains it the just value of sects. such matters, Cæsar asserts the contrary; and Whatever is vicious in one, is kept under by the that hence, we still talk as monotheists; while concourse of others, and each is emulous to prove other nations, who were formerly polytheists, the superiority of its doctrines by honesty and retain the language of such ; and would perhaps, regularity of life. If ever the English could be although the religion of the country had retained brought to one opinion in politics or religion, no shadow or resemblance of it.*
they would lose the energy of their character and Leopold. No prince ought to be indifferent to the remains of their freedom. In England the religion ; but everyone ought to the forms and Catholics are unexceptionably good members of sects of it, so long as they abstain from pretensions society, although the gentlemen of that persnaof interference with the state. This is an offence sion, I hear, are generally more ignorant than which, at the least, should be punished by their sup- others, partly by the jealous spirit of their church, pression. I am supposed to exercise an arbitrary and partly by an ungenerous exclusion from the power in this country: yet my interference in the universities. They keep a chaplain in their affairs of religion is less extensive than that of houses, but always a man of worth, and not comyour Louis XIV. In his Declaration of 1682, he bining as in Italy a plurality of incongruous says, “Pour l'intérêt de l'Eglise de notre royaume, offices. Here a confessor, in many instances, is de laquelle nous sommes premier et universel pro- tutor to the children, house-steward to the father, tecteur.” According to the former of these words and cavaliere serviente to the mother. He thinks (premier) he takes precedency of the pope in the it would be a mockery of God to call her to conchurch ; and according to the latter (universel) fess, without a decent provision of slight transhe quite excludes him.
gressions; and he cures her indigestions by 3 President. Many of our bishops think other. dram, her qualms of conscience by a sacrament. wise, although the most acute and clear of rea- President. Both morality and learning require soners, and the most eloquent of expositors, the sound of feet running fast behind, to keep Bossuet, was this campaign the champion of them from loitering and flagging. When Calthe king
vinism had made and was making a rapid proLeopold. Of your bishops there are many who gress in France, the Catholic bishops were learned think otherwise ; first because many of them men; indeed so learned, that Joseph Scaliger, think little, and possess no learning; and secondly himself a Calvinist, acknowledged in the latter and mainly, because they have a better chance of part of his life their immense superiority over the being cardinals by adherence to the papacy, cer- rising sect. At present there is only one bishop tain that they can not lose their bishoprics by it. in France capable of reading a chapter in the Surely I have as much power in my monasteries, Greek Testament, which every schoolboy in Engas the popes have in my music-shops.
land, for whatever profession he is intended, must President. That is clear.
do at eleven years of age. I would then recomLeopold. Nevertheless they have forbidden, mend a free commerce both of matter and of under pain of excommunication, to copy the mind. I would let men enter their own churches miserere of Allegrini, which is only to be sung in with the same freedom as their own houses ; and the pope's chapel, and by eunuchs. This is an I would do it without a homily on graciousness order more conformable to the taste of Nero than or favour. For tyranny itself is to me a word less to the office of Christ's vicar.
odious than toleration. President. A countryman of mine, Choron, Leopold. I am placed among certain small difinfringed the edict, and may have his throat cut ficulties. Tuscany is my farm: the main object of for it; the offender being excommunicated. proprietors is their income. I would see my
Leopold. Although I would admit but one sys- cattle fat and my labourers well clothed ; but I tem of laws and one head of them, I would willingly would not permit the cattle to break down my see several religions in my states, knowing that fences, nor the labourer to dilapidate my buildin England and Holland they are checks one ings. I will preserve the Catholic religion, in its upon another. The Quaker inverts his eye and dogmas, forms, discipline, and ceremonies : it is rebukes his graceless son, by observing how in the pommel of a sovran's sword, and the richest dustrious and tractable is the son of some fierce jewel in his regalia : no bull however shall squeeze Presbyterian: the Catholic points to the daughter out blood under me, no faggot sweat out heresy, of a Socinian, and cries shame upon his own, no false key unlock my treasury. The propensity educated as she was in the purity of the faith, in will always exist. The system has been called
imperium in imperio, very unwisely : it was impe* If Du Paty were now living, what would he say about rium super imperio, until it taught kings to profit the report on the project of a law in France against sacri- by its alphabet, its ciphers, and its flagellations killing) and are guided by the jesuits, who would burn you You complain that I have softened my mud: this alive for materialism !
is the season for treading and kneading it: and there are no better means of doing so, none, the remainder, in his own lands, in his own house ? cheaper, none more effectual, than by keeping a No conquered people was ever obliged to surrengang of priests on the platform. America will der such a portion of its wealth, present and reproduce disturbances in Europe by her emancipa- versionary, as in our times hath been expended tion from England. The example will operate in voluntarily, in the purchase of handcuffs and part, not principally. Wherever there is a national fetters for home-consumption. Free nations, for debt, disproportionately less rapid in its extinc- the sake of doing mischief to others, and to punish tion than in its formation, there is a revolutionary the offence of pretending to be like them, have tendency : this will spread where there is none; consented that a certain preparation of grain shall as maladies first engendered in the air are soon be interdicted in their families, that certain herbs communicated by contact to the sound and healthy. shall never be cultivated in their fields and garVarious causes will be attributed to the effect; dens, that they shall never roast certain beans, even the books of philosophers. All the philoso- nor extract certain liquors, and that certain rooms phers in the world would produce a weaker in their houses shall admit no light. Domitian effect in this business than one blind ballad-never did against his enemies what these free singer. Principles are of slower growth than nations have done against themselves. passions: and the hand of Philosophy, holden The sea-tortoise can live without its brains; an out to all, there are few who press cordially. And old discovery! Men can govern without theirs ; who are those ? the disappointed, the contem- an older still! plative, the retired, the timid. Did Cromwell read Leopold. I indeed see no reason why different Plato ? did the grocers of Boston read Locke ? sects in religion should not converse in the streets, The true motives, in political affairs, are often as they are walking to their churches and chapels, improbable. Men who never heard of philosophy with as much good-will and good-humour, as but to sneer at it after dinner, will attribute to it schoolboys of different ages and classes, going up those evils which their own venality and corrup- at the same hour and for the same purpose to tion have engendered; and not from a spirit of their appointed forms and respective teachers. falsehood, but from incompetency of judgment Both parties are going for learning and improveand reflection. What is the stablest in itself is ment: the younger is the wiser : how long shall it not always so in all places : marble is harder and continue so? more durable than timber : but the palaces of President. I can calculate the period to a day. Venice and Amsterdam would have split and sunk It will continue while the clergy is a distinct body; without wooden piles for their foundation. Single while a priest is a prince; while he who says at one government wants those manifold props which are moment, “I am a servant, the servant of servants,” supplied well-seasoned by Catholicism. A king says at another, “ I am a master, the master of indeed may lose his throne by indiscretion or in- masters !" advertency, but the throne itself will never lose So long as society will suffer these impositions, its legs in any Catholic state. Never will a repub- and toil under these tax-gatherers, and starve and lican or a mixed constitution exist seven years, contend and bleed for them, animosity and hatred where the hierarchy of Rome hath recently exerted will deface and desecrate the house of prayer and its potency. Venice and Genoa afford no proofs peace. The interest of the class, and above all of to the contrary : they arose and grew up while the chiefs, requires it : for from the moment when the popes were bishops, and ere mankind had men begin to understand and support one another, witnessed the wonderful spectacle of an inverted they will listen to them no longer, nor endure apotheosis. God forbid that any corrupt nation them. should dream of becoming what America is. If it Leopold. I am influenced little by opinions : possesses one single man of reflection, he will de- they vary the most where they are strongest and monstrate the impracticability of citizenship, loudest: here they breathe softly, and not against where the stronger body of the state, as the clergy me; for I excite the hopes of many by extin. must morally be, receives its impulse and agency guishing those of a few. What I have begun I will from without; and where it claims to itself a juris- continue : but I see clearly where I ought to stop, diction over all, excluding all from any authority and know to a certainty, which few reformers do, over its concerns. This demonstration leads to a where I can. Exempt from intemperance of persentence which policy is necessitated to pronounce, secution as from taint of bigotry, I am disposed and humanity is unable to mitigate.
to see Christianity neither in diamonds nor in President. Theories and speculations always tatters: I would sell her red and white, to procure subvert religious, never political, establishments. her a clean shift and inoffensive stockings. Uneasiness makes men shift their postures. Na- I must persuade both clergy and laity that God tional debts produce the same effects as private understands Italian. Ricci, bishop of Pistoja, is ones ; immorality and a desire of change; the convinced of this truth; but many of his dioceformer universally, the latter almost. A man sans, not disputing his authority, argue that, may well think he pays profusely, who pays a although God indeed may understand it, yet the tenth as an insurance for his property against the saints, to whom they offer up incense and in perils of the sea. Does he reason less justly who whom they have greater confidence, may not ; deems the same sum sufficient for the security of and that being, for the most-part, old men, it might incommode them in the regions of bliss to There are only two things which authorise a man alter pristine habits.
out of office to speak his sentiments freely in the Warmly and heartily do I thank you, M. Du courts of princes; very small stature and very Paty, for your observations : you have treated me small probity. You have abolished this most really as your equal.
ancient institution, in favour of a middle-sized President. I should rather thank your Imperial man, who can reproach himself with no perverHighness for your patience and confidence. If I sion or neglect of justice, in a magistrature of have presented one rarity to the Palazzo Pitti, twenty years. I have been richly remunerated with another.
SOUTHEY AND PORSON.
Porson. Many thanks, Mr. Southey, for this I lived do we find the fact so remarkably exemplivisit in my confinement. I do believe you see me fied as in Byron and Wordsworth. But higher on my last legs; and perhaps you expected it. power produces an intimate consciousness of itself;
Southey. Indeed, Mr. Professor, I expected to and this consciousness is the parent of tranquillity find you unwell, according to report ; but as your and repose. Small poets (observe, I do not call legs have occasionally failed you, both in Cam- Wordsworth and Byron small poets) are as unquiet bridge and in London, the same event may happen as grubs, which in their boneless and bloodless again many times before the last. The cheerful- flaccidity, struggle and wriggle and die, the moness of your countenance encourages me to make ment they tumble out of the nut-shell and its this remark.
comfortable drouth. Shakspeare was assailed on Porson. There is that soft and quiet and every side by rude and beggarly rivals, but he genial humour about you, which raises my spirits never kicked them out of his way. and tranquillises my infirmity. Why (I wonder) Southey. Milton was less tolerant; he shrivelled have we not always been friends?
up the lips of his revilers by the austerity of his Southey. Alas, my good Mr. Professor! how scorn. In our last conversation, I remember, I often have the worthiest men asked the same had to defend against you the weaker of the two question, not indeed of each other, but of their poets you just now cited, before we came to Milton own hearts, when age and sickness have worn and Shakspeare. I am always ready to undertake down their asperities, when rivalships have grown the task. Byron wants no support or setting off, languid, animosities tame, inert, and inexcitable, so many workmen have been employed in the and when they have become aware of approaching construction of his throne, and so many fair hands more nearly the supreme perennial fountain of in the adaptation of his cushion and canopy. But benevolence and truth?
Wordsworth, in his poetry at least, always aimed Porson. Am I listening to the language and to at the sentiments of a poet? I ask the question with Porson. My dear Mr. Southey! there are two this distinction; for I have often found a wide quarters in which you can not expect the will to difference between the sentiments and the lan- taken for the deed: I mean the women and the guage. Generally nothing can be purer or more critics. Your friend inserts parenthesis in parenhumane that what is exhibited in modern poetry; thesis, and adds clause to clause, codicil to codicil, but I may mention to you, who are known to be with all the circumspection, circuition, wariness, exempt from the vice, that the nearest neighbours and strictness, of an indenture. His client has it in the most romantic scenery, where everything hard and fast. But what is an axiom in law is seems peace, repose, and harmony, are captious none in poetry. You can not say in your profession, and carping one at another. When I hear the plus non vitiat ; plus is the worst vitiator and song of the nightingale, I neglect the naturalist ; violator of the Muses and the Graces. and in vain does he remind me that its aliment Be sparing of your animadversions on Byron. is composed of grubs and worms. Let poets be He will always have more partisans and admirers crop-full of jealousy ; let them only sing well; that than any other in your confraternity. He will is enough for me.
always be an especial favourite with the ladies, and Southey. I think you are wrong in your suppo- with all who, like them, have no opportunity of sition, that the poet and the man are usually dis- comparing him with the models of antiquity. He similar.
possesses the soul of poetry, which is energy; but Porson. There is a race of poets; not however he wants that ideal beauty, which is the sublimer the race of Homer and Dante, Milton and Shak. emanation, I will not say of the real, for this is speare; but a race of poets there is, which nature the more real of the two, but of that which is has condemned to a Siamese twinship. Wherever ordinarily subject to the senses. With much the poet is, there also must the man obtrude that is admirable, he has nearly all that is vicious; obliquely his ill-favoured visage. From a drunken a large grasp of small things, without selection and connexion with Vanity this surplus offspring may without cohesion. This likewise is the case with always be expected. In no two poets that ever the other, without the long hand and thestrong fist. Southey. I have heard that you prefer Crabbe Porson. No bad perfume after all. to either.
“ Nought of life left, save a quivering Porson. Crabbe wrote with a twopenny nail,
When his limbs were slightly shivering." and scratched rough truths and rogues' facts on Pray, what does the second line add to the first, mud walls. There is, however, much in his poetry, beside empty words ? and more in his moral character, to admire. Com.
“ Around a slaughter'd army lay." paring the smartnesses of Crabbe with Young's, What follows ? I cannot help thinking that the reverend doctor
“ No more to combat or to bleed." must have wandered in his Night Thoughts rather Verily! Well ; more the pity than the wonder. too near the future vicar's future mother, so According to historians (if you doubt my fidelity striking is the resemblance. But the vicar, if he I will quote them), slaughtered armies have often was fonder of low company, has greatly more been in this condition. nature and sympathy, greatly more vigour and “We sat down and wept by the waters compression. Young moralised at a distance on
Of Babel, and thought of the day,
When our foe, in the hue of his slaughters, some external appearances of the human heart;
Made Salem's high places his prey." Crabbe entered it on all fours, and told the people what an ugly thing it is inside.
A prey " in the hue of his slaughters.” This is Southey. This simple-minded man is totally free very pathetic; but not more so than the thought from malice and animosity.
it suggested to me, which is plainer : Porson. Rightly in the use of these two powers
“ We sat down and wept by the waters
Of Camus, and thought of the day, have you discriminated. Byron is profuse of
When damsels would show their red garters animosity; but I do believe him to be quite without In their hurry to scamper away.” malice. You have lived among men about the Lakes, Let us see what we can find where this other slip who want the vigour necessary for the expansion of of paper divides the pages. animosity; but whose dunghills are warm enough to batch long egg-strings of malice, after a season, Some of us at Cambridge continue to say, “Let
“ Let he who made thee." Southey. It may be so ; but why advert to them? In speaking of vigour, surely you can not mean
him go.” Is this grammatical form grown obso
lete? Pray, let vigour of intellect? An animal that has been held
Some of us are also with lowered nostrils in the Grotto del Cane, much in the habit of pronouncing real as if it recovers his senses when he is thrown into the were a dissyllable, and ideal as if it were a triAgnano ; but there is no such resuscitation for the syllable. All the Scotch deduct a syllable from each writer whose head has been bent over that poetry,
of these words, and Byron's mother was Scotch. which, while it intoxicates the brain, deadens or
What have we here? perverts the energies of the heart. In vain do pure "And spoil'd her goodly lands to gild his waste." waters reflect the heavens to him: his respiration I profess my abhorrence at gilding even a few is on the earth and earthly things : and it is not square leagues of waste. the whispers of wisdom, or the touches of affection,
“Thy fanes, thy temples," it is only the shout of the multitude, that can Where is the difference ? excite him. It soon falls, and he with it.
" Rustic plough." Porson. Do not talk in this manner with the There are more of these than of city ploughs or ladies, young or old; a little profligacy is very court ploughs. endearing to them.
“ Have flung a desolate cloud o'er Venice' lovely walls." Southey. Not to those with whom I am likely What think you of a desolate cloud ? to talk. Porson. Before we continue our discussion on
“O'er Venice' lovely walls ? " the merits of Mr. Wordsworth, and there are many Where poets have omitted, as in this instance, great ones, I must show my inclination to impar- the possessive 8, denoting the genitive case, as we tiality, by adducing a few instances of faultiness are accustomed to call it, they are very censurain Byron. For you must bear in mind that I am ble. Few blemishes in style are greater. But counsel for the crown against your friend, and here, where no letter & precedes it, the fault is the that it is not my business in this place to call worst. In the next line we find witnesses to his good character.
“ Athens' armies." Southey. You leave me no doubt of that. But Further on, he makes Petrarca say that his passion do not speak in generalities when you speak of for Laura was a guilty one. If it was, Petrarca him. Lay your finger on those places in particu- did not think it so, and still less would he have lar which most displease you.
said it. Porson. It would benumb it; nevertheless, I Southey. This arises from his ignorance, that will do as you bid me; and, if ever I am unjust reo in Italian poetry, means not only guilty, but in a single tittle, reprehend me instantly. But cruel and sorrowful. at present, to Byron as I proposed. Give me the Porson. He fancies that Shakspeare's Forest volume. Ay, that is it.
of Arden is the Belgian Forest of the same name, Southey. Methinks it smells of his own favourite differently spelt, Ardennes ; whereas it began near beverage, gin-and-water.
Stratford-upon-Avon, and extended to Red-ditch and the Ridgeway, the boundary of Warwickshire awarding due praise to such critics, of whom the and Worcestershire, having for its centre the little number in our own country is extremely small town Henley, called to this day Henley in Arden. (bishoprics having absorbed and suffocated half the
Southey. You will never find in Wordsworth crew), I must, in defence of those particularly such faults as these.
whom they have criticised too severely, profess my Porson. Perhaps not; but let us see. I am opinion that our poetry, of late years, hath gained apprehensive that we may find graver, and with to the full as much as it hath lost. out the excuse of flightiness or incitation. We Porson. The sea also, of late years, and all will follow him, if you please, where you attempted other years too, has followed the same law. We (as coopers do in their business more successfully) have gained by it empty cockle-shells, dead jellyto draw together the staves of his quarter-cask, by fish, sand, shingle, and voluminous weeds. On putting a little fire of your own chips in it. Yet the other hand, we have lost our exuberant meathey start and stare widely; and even your prac- dow-ground, slowly abraded, stealthily bitten off, tised hand will scarcely bring it into such condi- morsel after morsel; we have lost our fat salttion as to render it a sound or saleable commodity. marshes; we have lost our solid turf, besprinkled You are annoyed, I perceive, at this remark. 1 with close flowers ; we have lost our broad umbrahonour your sensibility. There are, indeed, base geous fences, and their trees and shrubs and souls which genius may illuminate, but cannot foliage of plants innumerably various ; we have elevate.
lost, in short, everything that delighted us with “ Struck with an ear-ache by all stronger laye, its inexhaustible richness, and aroused our admira
They writhe with anguish at another's praise." tion at its irregular and unrepressed luxuriance. Meantime, what exquisite pleasure must you Southey. I would detract and derogate from no have felt, in being the only critic of our age and man; but pardon me if I am more inclined toward country, labouring for the advancement of those him who improves our own literature, than toward who might be thought your rivals! No other him who elucidates any other. ventured to uttera syllable in behalf of your friend's Porson. Our own is best improved by the elucipoetry. While he “wheeled his drony flight,” it dation of others. Among all the bran in the little lay among the thread-papers and patch-work of bins of Mr. Wordsworth's beer-cellar, there is not the sedater housewifes, and was applied by them a legal quart of that stout old English beverage to the younger part of the family, as an antidote with which the good Bishop of Dromore regaled us. against all levity of behaviour. The last time we The buff jerkins we saw in Chevy Chase, please met, you not only defended your fellow-soldier me better than the linsywoolsy which enwraps while he was lying on the ground, trodden and the puffy limbs of our worthy host at Grasmere. wounded and crying out aloud, but you lifted him Southey. Really this, if not random malice, is up on your shoulders in the middle of the fight. ill-directed levity. Already you have acquired Presently we must try our strength again, if you that fame and station to which nobody could persist in opposing him to the dramatists of oppose your progress : why not let him have his? Athens.
Porson. So he shall; this is the mark I aim at. Southey. You mistake me widely in imagining It is a difficult thing to set a weak man right, me to have ranked him with the Greek tragedians, and it is seldom worth the trouble; but it is or any great tragedians whatsoever. I only said infinitely more difficult, when a man is intoxicated that, in one single poem, Sophocles or Euripides by applauses, to persuade him that he is going would probably have succeeded no better. astray. The more tender and coaxing we are,
Porson. This was going far enough. But I the oftener is the elbow jerked into our sides. will not oppose my unbelief to your belief, which There are three classes of sufferers under criti. is at all times the pleasanter. Poets, I find, are cism : the querulous, the acquiescent, and the beginning to hold critics cheap, and are drilling a contemptuous. In the two latter, there is usually company out of their own body. At present, in something of magnanimity; but in the querulous marching they lift up their legs too high, and in we always find the imbecile, the vain, and the firing they shut their eyes.
mean-spirited. I do not hear that you ever have Southey. There is little use in arguing with the condescended to notice any attack on your poeticonceited and inexperienced, who, immersed in cal works, either in note or preface. Meanwhile, the slough of ignorance, cry out, “ There you are your neighbour would allure us into his cottage wrong; there we differ,” &c. Wry necks are by setting his sheep-dog at us; which guardian of always stiff, and hot heads are still worse when the premises runs after and snaps at every pebble they grow cool.
thrown to irritate him. Porson. Let me ask you, who, being both a Southey. Pray, leave these tropes and metapoet and a critic, are likely to be impartial, phors, and acknowledge that Wordsworth has whether we, who restore the noble forms which been scornfully treated. time and barbarism have disfigured, are not more Porson. Those always will be who show one estimable than those artisans who mould in coarse weakness at having been attacked on another. clay, and cover with plashy chalk, their shepherds I admire your suavity of temper, and your conand shepherdesses for Bagnigge-Wells ?
sciousness of worth ; your disdain of obloquy, and Southey. I do not deny nor dispute it; but, your resignation to the destinies of authorship.