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A Song from Garibaldi.
tance aright, and went on, with an earnestness very unusual with him : for once it was honest and true. 'Pray trust me. The moment I cease to value that souvenir as it deserves, on my honour I will return it.'
He was fated to triumph all through that day. When" Cecil was alone she put something away with a very unnecessary carefulness; for surely nothing can be more valueless than a glove that has lost its mate.
A SONG FROM GARIBALDI. N bivouac under a clump of chesnuts, in view of Lake Como, on the
evening of 25th May, "Corporal Redmond O‘Driscol, of the Cork Contingent to the Chasseurs des Alpes, broke forth in praise of similar scenery at home. He was overheard by the General, whose knowledge of the rarious languages in use among his Alpine hunters is conspicuous. Willing that the main body of his troops should enjoy the profound sense of the Irishman's melody, he took up the strain at its conclusion and made it Italian and his own.
* This lady in Garibaldi's idea impersonates Austria, as he alludes to Chariemagne and the Kaiser. Subsequently he sketches the condition of certain parts of Italy as 'a cave where no daylight enters.' By the strange cats who keep wrangling, gatti stran, his meaning is that of Petrarch,
Che fanno qui tante peregrine spade. + Allu: s meditated capture of Brescia.
1859.] Thoughts on Modern English Literature.
97 Quel si distingue
A clever spouter Con usar ling'le
He'll sure turn out, or
• To be let alone.'
Don't hope to hinder him, Mia umil cetra
Or to bewilder him;
Sure he's a pilgrim
From the Blarney stone !
THOUGHTS ON MODERN ENGLISH LITERATURE.
If WE a .
In fiction they had not Scott, or books are deficient in this Bulwer, or Dickens, or Thackeray ; nineteenth century, certainly it is but perhaps they would not have not in quantity. There is a ple- exchanged Goldsmith, or Fielding, thora of books. They are to us as or Smollett, or Sterne for either of the jungle is to our Indian soldiers. them; and they liad Richardson, We struggle through life waist. whose fame, great as it is, has never deep in them. We gasp, we faint been half so great as he deserved. under the accumulated treasures of There is not, in my opinion, a tale intellect that are pressed upon us in any language at all worthy to with a fatal liberality: To be sure be put on the same shelf with this is a fault on the right side. Clarissa Harlowe. The consumHow our ancestors in the last mate art with which the characters century managed to exist, it is not are grouped, and the simple and easy for us to conceive. For in masterly grandeur of their separate those days books——taking the term treatment, so that each is perfect in the popular sense-were few not only absolutely but relatively, indeed. Ponderous dictionaries, tells of true and unrivalled genius ; scientific books, scholastic books and for the heroine-perhaps even there were in plenty. But books Shakspeare never drew one more such as one could read-new books exquisite. From Ada's self
- three-volume books, magazines, travels, charming' fashionable no.
To her that did but yesterday suspire,
There was not such a gracious creature vels, green and yellow monthlies' --where were they? A hundred and fifty years ago was born in grace, purity, refinement, gentlethe sprightly soul of Dick Steele ness, patience, truth, and lovethe great periodical' idea, and the love so intense that it survived all result was the Tatler and Spec- sense of personal outrage and illtator, and the rest of that respec- treatment, yet so pure that for a table and laudable tribe. But only vicious nature, once proved to be fancy a public compelled to slake such, it could not endure a day;its thirst for light literature in the a modesty so majestic in its stain. polished dulness and prim plea- less lustre that vice, the coarsest, santries of Addison and Steele, and foulest, and most brutal, felt in her to swallow diurnal doses of morality presence strange emotions first of disguised in little histories about wonder and then of shame, yet a Florinda and her lap-dog or Chloë girlish vivacity and playfulness so and her fan. We, who luxuriate indomitable as even to show itseif in a copious stream of journals and at times, fitfully radiant, amidst the hebdomadals, monthlies and quar- gloomy and sorrowful depths of terlies, think with a shudder of the that long and bitter trial ;
;-a heart desolate and beniglited state of our so rich in human affection that it forefathers, our only consolation would have made earth a paradise being that they did not know for the infatuated sensualist who their own misery. But if they might have won but would not were worse off than ourselves as win it, yet so full of the love of to quantity, I am not at all sure God that it bore without a murmur that they were so as to quality. the blighting of a life thus formed
and fitted for all earthly joy, and is a copious if not generous, a welcomed, with a smile so heavenly various if not altogether wholesome, that it turned a remorseless sinner diet. Most abundant of all, there into a zealons penitent and saint, is the novel and the pseudo-novel. her ghastly bridegroom, Death:- To the latter class belong our serial all these were Clarissa's; and where, stories, among writers of which the on paper, shall we look upon her most notablearel1r. Dickens and Mr. like again! What are our novel Thackeray. These
are not, properly heroines in this nineteenth century ? speaking, novels, for they are not Amy Robsart, Flora MacIvor, Lucy constructed on the principles of that Ashton, Diana Vernon — you that art, wholly unknown to the ancients, on your first appearance so capti- which may be called the narrative. rated the world—we summon you dramatic, and for perfection in which to pass before us that we may genius of much the same order and pronounce in our calmer moments degree is required as for the drama deliberate judgment on you all. itself. Nicholas Nickleby and PenWell, you are sweet creatures ; but dennis are not to be called norels, are you genuine women? Does any any more than are Tristram Shandy one of you possess a fair specimen and the Sentimental Journey. It of that miraculous complication- is indeed simply as a humorist that a woman's heart? Are you not Mr. Dickens has taken and will rather the romantic creations of a keep his place among the remark. brain impregnated with the spirit able writers
able writers of the age. If he had of an age when woman was wor- written only the Pickwick Papers shipped, but not understood? And this would be evident enough. is it not rather in the Rotten-Row They were a series of sketches of sense that you are charming?' middle and lower-class life and Then there was Mr. James, the manners perfectly admirable in their most wonderful grinder of three- way, and written with a freshness volume novels, on the Scott prin. and keenness of observation abso. ciple, that the world has erer seen lutely marvellous; but it was an
- not wholly unreadable, though observation not of character and they always begin with a tall motive, but of the mere externals of knight and a short one, and end humanity-appearance, manner, and with the triumph of virtue over mode of self-expression. From the vice. Of Mr. James's heroines one beginning to the end there is not can say nothing, simply because one of the characters which is real. there is nothing to say.
Their Every one of them is a caricature, business is to be persecuted by not of a human being, but of the vicious knights, and rescued by superficial peculiarities of one. There virtuous ones; and this they cer. is no more reality in Pickwick him. tainly manage to perform tolerably self than there is in Monsieur well. But both for Scott and his Jabot. Both are the offspring of satellite James there is this to be the same intellectual faculty; both said, that they are not novel-writers, are exquisitely ridiculous, but
, but romance-writers; and that in a neither is the result of any parromance we do not look for any deep ticular knowledge of human nature. knowledge of human nature, but only It is to a sense of mere humour, and or chietly for picturesque description that not of the highest class, that and exciting incident. And inas- we owe both these creations. Com. much as poetry is an infinitely pare Pickwick and Falstaff. We higher thing than romance, so I laugh at Falstaff as we do at Pick. believe that it is on his poetry (the wick for that which is personally most Homeric since Homer), and ridiculous in him, but we laugh not on his romances, that Sir Wal- much more at his moral weaknesses ter's title to immortality will mainly and follies. In Pickwick it is the rest.
tights and gaiters ; in Falstaff it is But Clarissa has led me from my the man. For Dickens bas humour subject, which is not our heroines only, Shakspeare had both humour but our books—the literature with and wit; Shakspeare had creative wbich the public has been fed since genius, Dickens has only an extraorcirculating libraries flourished. It dinarily-developed minetic faculty.
99 It is unquestionable, too, that the again; there are papers in it evilater works of Dickens have by no dently bearing the mark of the means realized the espectations editor and well worthy of his raised by his first flights. It may palmiest days. be said indeed that every succeed. The humour of Mr. Thackeray is of ing series of .green monthlies' bas a far finer and more subtle and at the stood a step lower than its prede. same time of a less joyous and gecessor, till at last they have died nial order, than that of Mr. Dickens. out from mere exhaustion of popu- The essential difference between larity. This is no doubt partly them is, that one is a humorist owing to the loss of the freshness only, the other a humorist and and keen edge which are peculiar satirist combined.
The weapon to maiden authorship; but also, I which Mr. Dickens employs to excite believe, it is in a great degree the risibility is little more than what is result of what Coleridge called commonly called 'fun,' and implies ‘ultra-crepidation.'. Having suc- none but the most superficial knowceeded with Pickwick, Mr. Dickens ledge of the motives of human resolved on attempting elaborate action; the chief implement used stories with mysterious plots, tragic by Mr. Thackeray is the exposure dénouemens, and all the rest of it. of the littlenesses, meannesses, and The consequence was that the stories vulgarities of his fellow-creatures. failed both as regular tales and as The most successful of Mr. Dickens's humorous sketches of real life. humorous characters are rarely Their pathos is apt to be tawdry persons for whom we feel anything sentiment, their passion torn to rags, like animosity or contempt. Most and their interest wound up to the of them, however ridiculous, are, so requisite pitch at the end by the far as they have any characters at coarse artifice of a savage murder. all, rather amiable than otherwise. On the other hand, each character, But with Thackeray we laugh and having to perform his part in a despise or hate at the same time. complicated narratire, is cramped Dickens will sketch you a Bath and straitened into a more or less footman utterly ridiculous in his artificial aspect, and loses the free pompous mimicry of high life, but and life-like appearance in which so as that your laughter, if slightly the unfettered Pickwickians each tinged with contempt, is in the main and all of them rejoice. The power good-natured enough. Thackeray of comic delineation in such cha- will take a London functionary of racters as Squeers, Sairey Gamp, the same order and anatomize him Mantalini, Pecksniff, and the rest, with a merciless delight, giving page is no doubt extraordinary ; but the after page and chapter after chapter interest even in these is damped by to the exposure of all the vulgarity, the painful elaboration and total all the spite, the envy, the pride want of skill with which the story and servility, the selfishness and is constructed; and many of the meanness which are apt to be found characters are unnatural-odd with- in the worst specimens of the out being amusing, and grotesque at the same time 'rendering' (as rather than ridiculous. If Mr. the painters say) with a forty preDickens had stood manfully to his Raphaelite power all that is most trade, which is the caricaturing of ridiculous in the form of expression real life and manners, and avoided and style of spelling characteristic all tragical and hysterical writing, of it, till we wonder how in one life every new work which he produced there can have been time and opwould have added to his fame. The portunity for acquiring knowledge success of the murder in Oliver Twist so perfect in its kind. There can may probably have operated to be no doubt which of these two divert him from the true line of his faculties is the highest, and which business; but there are thousands in the long run will be most who can describe a murder so as to lucrative. Mankind likes amusetbrill your very soul with horror, ment, but it has a positive passion for one who can construct a 'plot' for satire. If you make your chafor a novel or a play. In Household racters lifelike, and at the same time Words Mr. Dickens is himself utterly contemptible and ridiculous,