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Who follows next? The winged Girl
In balsam breathings through the may
Of many a lonely amber day; When she would wreathe thy locks, and hide
Her blushes in some golden curl. Come, Naiad, draped in woven weeds, And dripping lilies of the stream
Sweet image! o'er thy wat’ry cheek
The sunshine plays in touches meek;
Crowns thy cold forehead with its beam.
There comes a rush of wings, and lo!
A shape mercurial, white as snow,
From close-capp'd brow of wit and craft.
Its red-faced god, with rushes crown'd,
Sits by the windless bank, embrowned With fallen leaves, and seems to lift,
And faintly blow his wreathed horn.
But who is this that seems to pass
What form of beauty, grace, and bloom,
Toward yonder bower of myrtle gloom Comes floating o'er the sun-warm grass,
In soft Olympian majesty ?
Ah, who could miss thy name, though screened
With blossomed mouth, and breath of musk,
And eyes as sweet as summer dusk ; And breast with tremulous azure veined,
Like vase of white convolvulus ?
Oft in yon sunset's banquet space
Feel their immortal pulses throng
With lovesome tumult, when thy song
Looks earthward o'er the splendrous sea.
With sadden'd face, grey as the thaw,
And beard of icicle and snow,
Sails silently on wat'ry wings.
Deject in dreams of lost command,
A group of old Forms, solemn and grand,
The old man drains from the beechen goblet
The juice as it bubbles to light;
And shakes his hairs snow white.
And the spirit that swells within ;
Though scant thy locks and thin.
A beautiful village maid,
In yonder leafy glade :
And Semele's smiling, son,
In that moonlight hour was won.
ON GOLD AND WINE.
WHEN gold, like some deceitful slave,
With feet, wind-winged, flies,
Or toil for new supplies ?
My lute proclaims my joy ;
My scorn of such a toy.
Gives to the wind its care ;
And chant some sweet soft air.
The slave returns with store
Tempts me from song once more.
Avaunt bright tempter !-- quit my bow'r:
My lute, the songs I sing,
Than thou couldst ever bring.
do I know thy poisonous arts
Thy schemes in smilings drest
Nor blight the minstrel's rest.
Love once was tempted by thy spell,
It cankered all his days;
And marred his finest lays.
Who welcome thee with glee;
Are more than wealth to me.
THE SESSION OF 1854-5.
In our opening number for the
present sions of the Act; and not one foreign year, we noticed the abortive first act mercenary has yet joined the army at with which the session of Parliament, the seat of war. The Government as recently brought to a close, was inaus- a body, had, in truth, no definite popiciously begun. It remains now to licy; and we now know that many of sum up the results of the subsequent its individual members were Russian performances, with the same view at heart, and had no other object in which then influenced us, of endea- view but to bring the war in which vouring to extract instruction for the they had themselves involved the future from the blunders or crimes of country to as speedy a close as possithe past. Of the opinions we express- ble, and with as scant an amount of ed in January, respecting the policy of damage to the enemy, either in the late Coalition Government and the strength or reputation, as circumproceedings of Parliament under its stances would permit. The proposiguidance, we have to retract no item. tion to recruit the army with foreigners, The events that have since followed inade in such hot haste after the calaprove that the extraordinary measure mitous triumphs of Inkermann and of convening the Legislature twelve Balaklava, was, perhaps, acceded to days before Christmas originated, as by some of the ministers in stupid rewe then surmised, in a sudden impulse spect for the precedents of the late of fear, produced by the development war; but its necessary and obvious of official ignorance, incapacity, and tendency was to encourage the enemy, presumption, into the enormous peril by informing him that our resources to which the army was exposed in the were exhausted, and to dishearten the Crimea. Time has also shown, that nation by proclaiming an authoritative from the two legislative acts which opinion that it could place no safe rethe fertility of the ministerial mind liance upon its own strength and spiwas then able to put forth, scarcely rit. It is humiliating to be obliged to any results have as yet been derived. confess that little doubt can now reThe isles were frighted from their pro- main that this tendency was perceived priety by the calling of an extraordi- by Mr. Gladstone and his associates, nary session to pass the Militia-volun- and that it was calculated upon as an teering and the Foreign Enlistment efficient means for furthering their deBills, in December, 1854 ; and now, signs. The most important operations in August, 1855, there are two or three of the second part of the session were, regiments of militia serving outside indeed, exposures of the feeble treason the United Kingdom under the provin of those half-measure plotters, and their
coincident removal from the position terprises were not undertaken by those they were unfortunately suffered to who performed them. The Limited occupy too long, to their own indelible Liability Act will, perhaps, bring some disgrace, and to the serious injury of disrepute upon its principle by the the national interests.
clumsiness of the machinery with which The Session of 1854-5 has been de- its working is encumbered; but the scribed as one of debates and incidents principle has been conceded, and the rather than of legislative work; yet the commercial spirit of the country is too actual business done was by no means influential to permit of its remaining either small in amount or unimportant unapplied. The theory that it is beto in character. In the financial depart- ter to allow the small capitalist to emment, an income tax of sixteenpence in ploy his savings in trade than to force the pound, increased duties on spirits him to board, being now admitted, & and tea, an addition of sixteen millions way will, no doubt, be found to open to the funded debt, an issue of seven money-stockings, and to employ unmillions of Exchequer bills and bonds, profitable bank-balances, without exto be added to twenty-three millions posing the owners to the risk of utter previously afloat, loans to Sardinia and ruin in speculations in which they may Turkey (which will be subsidies), to see good reason to make an adventhe amount together of seven millions, ture, although their regular avocations are, doubtless, monuments of Parlia- should prevent them from taking an mentary activity at once impressive active part in their conduct. of the and durable, although their construc- Newspaper Stamp Act, the best we tion occupied little time, and, except can say is, that it will probably be proin one notable instance, they were ductive of no permanent public misbrought to completion without the chief. It has lessened the revenue by slightest difficulty or hindrance. In some two or three hundred thousand all, 129 bills received the Royal assent pounds yearly, and it has not produced since the 12th of December last; and that extension of newspaper circulaof these, 108 were introduced by mi. tion which its advocates promised. nisters, and 21 by private members. The cheap press that started into a The numerical addition to the statutes mushroom existence under its influence thus made is somewhat greater than has even already almost entirely pewas accomplished last year, when alto- rished; and if some inconvenience and gether 123 bills passed into law. With loss have been entailed upon estabthe smallness of the quantity of legis- lished journals, and some useless lalative work done we, in truth, see no bour imposed upon the Post Office by reason to find fault, and its quality the change, some good has been done would, in all probability, not have by the exposure made of the presumpbeen better, had more important sub- tion and ignorance of the Manchester jects been handled in the faltering and demagogues, and, it is to be hoped uncertain spirit of the season. As it also, by the enlightenment as to the exwas, some small legal reforms were tent to which those individuals repreeffected; a weak struggle to prevent sent public opinion, which has been London from being smothered in its afforded to the Government. Stunned own exuviæ was begun by the passing by the bellowing of Messrs. Gibson, of the "Metropolis Local Management Cobden, and Bright, the ministers Act;" the principle of limited liability surrendered the newspaper stamp-duin trading partnerships was established ties, as they supposed, to popular clain a measure so narrowly framed as to mour. On the other hand, in total ignofrustrate its practical application; and rance of the state of public opinion, by the Newspaper Stamp-duties' Act they provoked the Hyde-Park insurthe Herculean task was achieved (ac- rection by shutting their ears to sounds cidentally, it is true) of convincing of popular discontent but too audible a knot of Manchester demagogues of to everyone outside of the circle of their own folly. These, and the par- professional politicians, yet only heard tial repeal of the restrictive Beer Act, there when their violence was so great are the main feats in law-making which as to cause that panic in which the nodistinguish the session ; and they are vel and absurd limitation of the annot of such a character as to induce us cient English right of beer-drinking to regret much that there were not was partially removed with the una more of the kind, or that mightier en- seemly haste of great fear.
Every attempt to make men religious the ricketty condition of the Coalition or moral by penal laws has been, and
ever Government was obvious to every eye ; will be, futile ; and the Beer Act being and the general expectation that the such an attempt, it was manifestly resumption of business on the 23rd of right to desist from an enterprise which January would be the signal for its disnever should have been begun. Yet it ruption, was strengthened in every is impossible to deny that the manner mind by the proof of the hopeless inin which the false step was retraced capacity of its principal members, was injurious to the dignity of Parlia- which each day's report of the sufferment, and damaging to the character ings of the army in the Crimea brought, of representative institutions. The ob- in the interval, to England. It was, noxious statute was virtually abrogated therefore, no more than an expression in a cour pleniere of the mob; it was of the common opinion of the nation merely its formal repeal that was timidly to which Mr. Roebuck gave utterance and reluctantly registered by the Le- on the first night of the second meeting gislature. The precedent of a successful of the House of Commons, when he put invasion of the principles of our mixed upon the books his notice of motion for constitution was thus set, and will,doubt- « a select committee to inquire into less, be hailed with pleasure by the the condition of the army before SebasRed Republicans of the day; while we topol, and into the conduct of those demay imagine the manes of the ultra- partments of the Government whose Democrats of the first American Con- duty it has been to minister to the gress to be soothed by the surrender of wants of that army.” Two days after one of the most ancient aristocratic this step was taken, the House and the forms of the English legislature, by country were surprised by an intima. which the late session was also rendered tion being made by the Secretary of remarkable. There is little intrinsic the Treasury that Lord John Russell importance in the naked fact, that had resigned his office of President of henceforward messages may be carried the Council ; and upon the succeeding between the Houses of Lords and Com. evening Lord John himself stated, in mons by their respective clerks, instead explanation of his retirement, that be of, as of old, by Judges, Masters in found it impossible to join in opposing Chancery, or the Queen's Ancient the proposed inquiry which (he could Sergeant, in the one case, and by Mem- not, he said, deny) was demanded by bers of the Lower House in the other: existing evils, and by the fact that ef. but it is curious and racy of the time, fectual means had not been taken to that the change should bave been made remedy them. His own share in the without opposition, and almost without faults of the past he attempted to remark, from the English to the Ame- lighten by showing that he had remonrican practice, when, some sixty years strated upon the state of affairs with since, the latter was introduced in pre- Lord Aberdeen more than two months ference to the former, only after length before; that he had then demanded ened discussion, and in the face of much that the Duke of Newcastle should be opposition, among the eminent men superseded in his post of Minister of who inaugurated the constitution of the War by Lord Palmerston, as the only great Republic.
man available whose experience and Into an enumeration of the failures of inherent vigour of mind fitted him to the late session it would be bootless to guide the great operations in hand enter, even did our limited time and with authority and success. Lord space permit of our doing so. We John cast out an anchor a-head in the shall, therefore, proceed at once to a shape of a declaration of very bellicose brief consideration of the events that sentiments on his own part, and he exgive its peculiar character to this por. bibited the shortness of his political tion of our constitutional history, and vision by pledging his opinion that, if that have so much deranged the rela- a safe and honourable peace could not tions of parties and public men, as to be rendered possible by Russian conrender it difficult to foresee the nature cessions, Austria would bring her of combinations and arrangements 500,000 men into the field in aid of the that are, nevertherless, to all appear- allies. It was at once apparent to ance, immediately impending. When the whole world, that the ex-President Parliament adjourned for the Christ- of the Council saw the danger that immas recess, on the 23rd of December, pended over his colleagues, and that