Page images

Is Pompey's Pillar really a misnomer?

Had Thebes a hundred gates, as súng by Homer?

Perhaps thou wert a Mason, and forbidden

By oath to tell the mysteries of thy trade,Then say what secret melody was hidden

In Memnon's statue which at sun-rise play'd?
Perhaps thou wert a Priest—if so, my struggles
Are vain, for priestcraft never owns its juggles.

Perchance that very hand, now pinion'd flat,
Has hob-a-nob'd with Pharaoh, glass to glass;
Or dropp'd a halfpenny in Homer's hat,

Or doff'd thine own to let Queen Dido pass;
Or held, by Solomon's own invitation,
A torch at the great Temple's dedication.

I need not ask thee if that hand, when arm'd,
Has any Roman soldier maul'd and knuckled,
For thou wert dead, and buried, and embalm'd,
Ere Romulus and Remus had been suckled :-
Antiquity appears to have begun
Long after thy primeval race was run.


Thou couldst develope, if that wither'd tongue
Might tell us what those sightless orbs have seen,
How the world look'd when it was fresh and young,
And the great deluge still had left it green-
Or was it then so old that History's pages
Contain'd no record of its early ages?

Still silent? incommunicative elf!

Art sworn to secrecy? then keep thy vows But prythee tell us something of thyselfReveal the secrets of thy prison-house :

Since in the world of spirits thou hast slumber'd,

What hast thou seen-what strange adventures number'd?

Since first thy form was in this box extended,

We have, above-ground, seen some strange mutations ;

The Roman empire has begun and ended,

New worlds have risen-we have lost old nations, And countless kings have into dust been humbled, While not a fragment of thy flesh has crumbled.

Didst thou not hear the pother o'er thy head

When the great Persian conqueror, Cambyses,
March'd armies o'er thy tomb with thundering tread,
O'erthrew Osiris, Orus, Apis, Isis,

And shook the Pyramids with fear and wonder,
When the gigantic Memnon fell asunder?

If the tomb's secrets may not be confess'd,
The nature of thy private life unfold :-

A heart has throbb'd beneath that leathern breast,
And tears adown that dusty cheek have roll'd :-
Have children climb'd those knees, and kiss'd that face?
What was thy name and station, age and race?

Statue of flesh-Immortal of the dead!
Imperishable type of evanescence!

Posthumous man, who quitt'st thy narrow bed,
And standest undecay'd within our presence,
Thou wilt hear nothing till the Judgment morning,
When the great Trump shall thrill thee with its warning.

Why should this worthless tegument endure,

If its undying guest be lost for ever?

O let us keep the soul embalm'd and pure

In living virtue, that when both must sever, Although corruption may our frame consume, Th' immortal spirit in the skies may bloom!


Here let us fix our foot, hence take our view,
And learn to try false merit by the true.


YES the English are unquestionably an unsociable people; and I had no sooner discovered the fact, than I proceeded to explore the causes of this antipathy to communicativeness and good fellowship; which, after tracing them through all their ramifications and disguises, I found invariably converging in one little corner of the heart, inscribed with the word-Pride. Bruce was not satisfied when he bestrode the three streams whose union formed the Nile; he would still ascertain which was the highest and most abundant source from which the waters were supplied and in like manner I pursued my researches until I found that the great Pride fountain from which the bitter waters of English reserve pour their petrifying influence, was the pride of Wealth. National pride-pride of birth—of rank-of talent-I had encountered in foreign countries; but this master-folly, which in England swallows up all the rest, appears to be indigenous to the soil, sharing that honour with its congenial products, the crab-apple and the thistle. To a certain extent this feeling may have originated in the absolute necessity for riches, in a country where no man can maintain an establishment, or even move in circles at all elevated above

the mechanical classes, unless he possess an income which upon the Continent would enable him to compete with half the nobility. Without this infallible proof of his gentility, he must subside at once into those profane ranks of the vulgar, which Horace abominated-a degradation to which the perpetually rising tide of prices, during the last war, condemned many an unpensioned old maid and respectable annuitant. It is some comfort to the poor plebeian who cannot afford to be a gentleman, to throw the blame of his exclusion from polished society, and of our expensive modes of living, upon others; but the paltry distinctions, the jealous hauteur, the "meanness that soars, and pride that licks the dust," the envy, hatred, malice, and all uncharitableness, embittering the system of that social intercourse into which he is unable to gain admittance, are the faults of the people themselves, and may well reconcile him to his exemption from their influence. Let king, lords, and commons, retain their respective pales ;— we speak not in any spirit of anarchy or levelling; but we would laugh to scorn those fantastical shades of difference by which the middling classes affect to regulate their intercourse, and which, however disguised, ultimately resolve themselves into that most contemptible of all prides--the pride of purse. Talents, virtue, powers of amusement, congeniality of disposition, all fade away before, the irresistible attraction of a certain stile in establishment; and who can wonder that parties constituted upon this principle are uniformly stiff, stupid, and ceremonious? In

ssemblages of this sort, it sometimes appears to be a received maxim, that talking spoils good society; and its most distinguished members are apt to resemble Baron Grimm's friend, who possessed such a wonderful talent for silence.

There is scarcely a parish in England which is not divided into visiting classes, kept separate with almost as rigid an inviolability as the castes of the Hindoos. The squire, the retired manufacturer or merchant, who inhabits the great mansion, looks around him for all the similar establishments within the limits of a drive or ride, and confines the honour of his acquaintance to those whose merits are attested by an unquestionable quantity of brick and mortar. He visits the house, not its inmates; and his mode of estimating their value is not a whit less preposterous than that of the pedant in Hierocles, who, having a house to sell, used to carry about a brick in his pocket as a specimen. Next comes the class who, without arriving at the dignity of a park or a domain, have been fortunate enough to lay up a store of gout and ill health by keeping their own carriages. They remember the proud exclamation of the Spaniard who fell in crossing his garden-" This comes of walking upon earth,”—and carefully abstain from noticing all such terrestrial animals. They compose friendships as Sir Richard Blackmore did his poems, to the rumbling of their carriage-wheels, and entertain a vague notion of Damon and Pythias, Pylades and Orestes, Æneas and Achates, as gentlemen in easy circumstances, who duly went to call on one another in their

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