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of nature's own make, with more than the usual portion of the ancient Adam stirring within him; and he says, “I do well to be angry.” The mere sight of tyranny, bigotry, meanness, prompts his smiting invective. His poetry could hardly have been written by a man who was not physically strong. You can hear the ring of his anvil, and see the sparks fly off from his furnace, as you read his verse. He stoutly wrestles with the difficulties of utterance, and expresses himself by main force. His muscles seem made of iron. He has no fear and little mercy; and not only obeys the hot impulses of his sensibility, but takes a grim pleasure in piling fuel on the flame. He points the artillery of the devil against the devil's own legions. His element is a moral diabolism, compounded of wrath and conscience. When an abuse of government eats into his soul, he feels like Samson in the temple of the Philistines. There is a wonderful energy in many of his vituperative Corn Law Lyrics. In those poems in which the price of bread does not intrude, we see the nature of the man in a more orderly development; poems, which Mr. Griswold correctly describes as giving “simple, earnest, and true echoes of the affections,” and as breathing the spirit of “a kind of primitive life, unperverted, unhackneyed, and fresh as the dews on his own hawthorn.” The spirit of his other style may be partially seen in the following passionate “Corn Law Hymn.”
O say not thou to ruin's flood,
“No ; wake not thou the giant
Who drinks hot blood for wine;
And shouts unto the east and west
Till the slow to move rush all at once,
While he raves over waves
That need no whirlwind then ;
Though slow to move, moved all at once,
Through Elliott's poems the vast mass of English wretchedness and misery has found eloquent and piercing utterance. He speaks what thousands feel. Never was there a more terrible offering of hatred made by the squalor of a nation to its splendor — by the faminewasted to the feast-fattened.
When THOMAS BABINGTON MACAULAY appeared as a poet, it might have been expected that his muse would have been roughly treated by contemporary reviewers. As a critic, he had scattered numberless sarcasms, which could have appeared to their objects only in the light of gratuitous insults. No reviewer ever excelled him in adding to the torture of grave condemnation a sharper epigrammatic sting. The quick sagacity with which he detected faults was equalled only by his independence in lashing them—an independence which, always free from the impulses of fear, was sometimes superior to those of benevolence. His scorn had been launched at many authors, whose connection with influential jour
nals gave them the means of anonymous retort. Yet we have seen no critiques of his Roman lays bearing the signs of malice or revenge. A few parodies and buffooneries, of the most harmless nature, were all that he had to bear.
The merits of Macaulay's poetry are similar to his prose, except that his verse is characterized by more imagination. The same living energy animates both. He is a man of the most extensive acquirements, possessing the power of representing his knowledge in magnificent pictures. He has a quick sympathy with whatever addresses the passions and the fancy, and a truly masculine mind. His style alternates between copiousness and condensation, and the transitions are contrived with consummate skill. The most brilliant and rapid of all contemporary writers, his poetry is an array of strong thoughts and glittering fancies bounding along on a rushing stream of feeling. It has almost the appearance of splendid impromptu composition. The “Lay” of “Wirginia” contains some exquisite delineations of the affections, full of natural pathos and a certain serene beauty, somewhat different from Macaulay's usual martial tone. From Mr. Griswold's volume we select a piece, which has never been included in the editions of his writings. It shows not only a most minute knowledge of history, but an insight into the very spirit of the time to which it refers. The verse has a dashing, reckless, godless march, entirely in character with the feeling expressed. Prince Rupert's fiery dragoons would have sung it con amore.
“THE CAVALIER'S MARCH TO LONDON.
“To horse ! to horse ! brave cavaliers 1
Strike, strike your tents' snatch up your spears!
The imperial harlot, doomed a prey
Sends up the voice of her dismay
“The Strand resounds with maidens' shrieks,
The 'Change with merchants' sighs,
And blushes stand on brazen cheeks,
And, pale with fasting and with fright,
Hath summoned forth to prayer and fight
“And soon shall London's sentries hear
The thunder of our drum,
And London's dames, in wilder fear,
Fling the fascines;–tear up the spikes;
Down, down with all their train-band pikes,
“Quarter?— Foul fall your whining noise,
Ye recreant spawn of fraud 1
No quarter! Think on Strafford, boys.
What ho! The craven slaves retire.
No quarter | Charge. — No quarter | Fire.
“Where next? In sooth, there lacks no witch,
Brave lads, to tell us where,
Sure London's sons be passing rich,
And let that dastard be the theme
Who quails for sermon, cuff, or scream,
“Their lean divines, of solemn brow,
Sworn foes to throne and steeple,
From an unwonted pulpit now
Till the tired hangman, in despair,
And vainly pinch, and scrape and tear,
“We'll hang, above his own Guildhall,
The city's grave Recorder,
And on the den of thieves we'll fall,
In vain the lank-haired gang shall try .
In vain shall Lenthall trembling cry
“Of bench and woolsack, tub and chair,
We'll build a glorious pyre,
And tons of rebel parchment there
With them shall perish, cheek by jowl,
The colonel's canting muster-roll,
“We'll tread a measure round the blaze
Where England's pest expires,
And lead along the dance's maze
Then smiles in every face shall shine,
Bring forth, bring forth the oldest wine,
“And as with nod and laugh ye sip
The goblet's rich carnation,
Whose bursting bubbles seem to tip
Drink to those names, – those glorious names, –
Drink, in a draught as deep as Thames,
Our church and king forever!”