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Newport. I must not forget Mr. Bancroft, Mr, Marsh, and England to-day, and is certainly familiar enough in Mr. Boker, all now, or until recently, engaged in the dip- Dibdin's sailor songs; that “ . bimeby” is intended to lomatic service. I have already casually mentioned Mr. represent “ by and by," and that " aree" stands for area." Jobo Bigelow, and I might add the name, well known I do not know what nation the glossary writer can himself now to so many Londoners, of Mr. Stillman, lately Ameri- belong to, who supposes that an English reader needs the can Consul in Crete. All these gentlemen, and many information that “all my eye” is “an ejaculation of incremore, whom I could name, are precisely among the number dulity,” that “chockful means “brimful” – Mrs. Gamp whom any intelligent American would pick out as repre- would probably require to be told that “brimful” meant senting the intellectual culture of his country; and they are “ chockful” – that to “ blurt out " is to “speak bluntly," politicians far more properly so called 'than half the and that to be “ done brown" is to be victimized or hummembers of our House of Commons, for probably, at least, bugged. I have taken all these illustrations of superfluous half of our representatives have been returned to Parlia- instruction from the very first page of the glossary, and I ment by this or that interest, of family, land, railway, bave been discouraged from going any farther by perceivtrade, or other influence, quite independent of political ing that on the next page the glossary explains for the benservices, or even political predilections. In this sense, efit of its English readers a recondite allusion of Hosea therefore, Mr. Lowell may be fairly said to have begun his Biglow's to “ Day and Martin " by mentioning that these career as a politician, and a very earnest one. I confess are the names of “the eminent London blacking-merthat I do not greatly admire the graver poems which he chants." I feared to go any farther lest I should find an contributed to the anti-slavery struggle
as poems, that is account of the Three Tailors of Tooley Street, or have to to say:
“ The Present Crisis," written in December, 1845, learn from a glossary of the New England dialect that is said to have produced a profound sensation through all “ roast beef” is a dish frequently served in England the the Northern States. Under the circumstances one can old. But it is certain that there are allusions and expreswell believe it. But as we read the strong imperious lines sions in almost every page of the Biglow Papers which no that with such fervor called upon America to decide for ordinary English reader could be expected to understand. good or evil, for or against slavery we find great elo- I do not mean merely the satirical personal allusions, quence but little poetry in them. Mr. Lowell, however, although these are numerous enough to form a serious soon found a way to give expression to some of the very stumbling-block to most admirers. When the gallant rarest qualities of his genius in his rhymed leading articles Birdofredum Sawin is prevented by a sentinel from stragagainst slavery, its politics, and its politicians. He turned gling out of camp in Mexico, he indignantly replies, his indignation into humor. Pascal might have preached many a noble sermon against the Jesuits, which would
“You ain't agoin' to eat us. seem cold enough to the long posterity that delights in the
Caleb hain't no monopoly to court the seenoritas." satire of the “ Provincial Letters.” Voltaire's finest con
It would probably puzzle even some American readers now tributions to the “ Encyclopédie ” would never have kept to explain the allusion to a distiguished living diplomatist, bis memory green like “ Zadig ” and “ Candide.” Not
once a brigadier-general, which is contained in the remonmany readers, probably even in America, are greatly in
strance. But even apart from personal allusions, how many terested now in Lowell's Anti-Slavery Poems of the graver class. But the “ Biglow Papers,” by far the greatest
Englishmen can be supposed to know what “hoorawin in
ole Funnel” means ? “Ole Funnel" is Faneuil Hall, the humorous and satirical poem (we may view the whole
famous place of public meeting in Boston, named after the collection as one humorous epic), struck in their day a
merchant who presented it to the city ; the “cradle of tremendous blow as a political weapon, and have been
liberty," as it is called, because so many of the great meetever since admired with increasing admiration as a literary
ings of citizens were held there at the time of the Declamasterpiece. They are indeed the Provincial Letters of
ration of Independence, and the cradle of liberty in anthe controversy that ended in the extinction of slavery.
other sense also, because it was there that Theodore Parker The “Biglow Papers " it is not necessary to criticise, even
and Charles Sumner and Garrison and Wendell Phillips if this paper were meant for an elaborate literary criticism,
so often declaimed against Southern slavery. Difficulties which it is not, being much rather a string of remarks like this bristle for the English reader upon every page and about the author himself than about his works. But in
almost in every line. Yet in spite of all these difficulties any case a writer might now be held as fairly exempt from the “ Biglow Papers,” when once they got a hearing here at the necessity of analyzing the merits of the “ Biglow
all, forced themselves into the minds and hearts of EngPapers,” as from pointing out the humors of Sam Weller,
lish readers. Mr. Bright and other speakers quoted from or expounding the satirical purpose of the “ Tale of a them in the House of Commons, and made the shrewd and Tub." Hosea Biglow took the English mind wonderfully,
homespun wit of Hosea Biglow familiar soon to all ears. when we remember how many of the names and allusions,
We all learned how“ a merciful providence” had fashioned and even of the historical events to which he refers, are
some people “holler, o'purpose that we might our prindarksome mysteries to the ordinary British reader. The
ciples swaller.”. We were reminded that liberty's “ broad features of the conflict between slavery and freedom
kind o' thing that don't agree with niggers,” and that were, of course, intelligible to everybody, and challenged
certain politicians could show that we must not be too at once sympathetic attention. But how many persons,
in pedantic in our adherence to the principles of the New an ordinary English drawing-room, or lecture-room, know Testament, for “they did n't know everything down anything about the history of the Mexican War in which
Judee.” Sometimes people were a little alarmed at the the spirited “ Birdofredum Sawin,” at first so readily and
seeming irreverence of Hosea's way of putting a thing, as hopefully engaged, or have any clear idea what way their
in his famous declaration that sympathies ought to go? How many youths who at the
“Ef you take a sword and dror it, Oxford and Cambridge Middle-class Examinations compete
An' go stick a seller thru, for distinctions could give any intelligible account of John
Guv'ment ain't to answer for it, C. Calhoun and what he did, and why the author of the
God 'll send the bill to you." “ Biglow Papers ” does not seem exactly to have approved of his career ?
Or his assurance that The very names of places must often have been a puzzle. The English edition of the “ Biglow
“God hez sed so plump an' fairly ; Papers" with which I am acquainted is provided with
It's ez long ez it is broad, a copious glossary at the back, and has explanatory notes
An' you've got to git up airly
Ef you want to take in God.” on every page. The glossary sometimes seems to trouble itself about giving instruction which is surely rather But people very quickly saw the genuine reverence of superfluous. Even a very unimaginative and literal reader meaning under the seeming irreverence of expression. might guess that “airth,” means “carth,” that “argify Scriptural allusions in the New England States are fremeant to argue; “argufy," I fancy, is common enough in quently handled in a rough and odd way even by preachers
of the most serious mind. The Rev. Homer Wilbur, the Very clever, too, is the brief description of
Poe, with his raven, like Barnaby Rudge, serves that “ He who readeth the hearts of men will not
Three fifths of him genius, and two fifths sheer fudge !” account any dialect unseemly which conveys a sound and Of course Lowell did not propose to acknowledge the pious sentiment.” “Saint Ambrose affirnis,” pursues the authorship of the satire by leaving himself out of the game; worthy divine, " that veritas a quocunque (why not then and I do not know how criticism could deal more justly with quomodocunque ?) dicatur a Spiritu Sancio est.” Digest also his own defects than he has done himself when he says this of Baxter : “ The plainest words are the most profits that able oratory in the weightiest matters.” Lowell bimself has said that when the “ Biglow Papers
“The top of the hill he will ne'er come nigh reaching, first made their fame, his graver poems were almost unread
Till he learns the distinction 'twixt singing and preaching;
His lyre has some chords that would ring pretty well, in his own country. Their success here and there has indeed
But he'd rather by half make a drum of the shell ! ” overshadowed everything else he has written in whatever style. Much less known, for example, in England, and Years went on, however, and the political crisis inteneven in America, is the “Fable for Critics,” the audacious sified, and at last the war came, and Hosea Biglow rattled little satire which Lowell threw before the public in 1848. his drum this time around the ears of Old England; and The “ Fable for Critics " is a sort of attack all round upon then, when slavery passed away in the battle-smoke, Mr. the poets, scholars, and essayists whom America was just Lowell subsided into the quiet scholar and poet we have then delighting to honor. Perhaps it is not quite fair to known of later days. He had meanwhile been an assiduous call it an attack, for in many instances the authors de- literary worker : had been one of the editors of the North ecribed receive the most liberal and genuine praise ; and
American Review and a constant writer for the Atlantic in no instance is there a tinge of bitterness or ill-nature. Monthly, and had succeeded his friend Longfellow as ProIt is more, perhaps, in the spirit of Goldsmith's series of fessor of Modern Languages and Belles Lettres in Harvard poetical epitaphs upon his friends than anything else one University. Lowell is one of the few, one of the last of can think of. It analyzes with racy irreverence every per- the genuine critics — the men with whom criticism is a son and reputation. In the preface, which, though printed culture and an art. I know no reading more delightful as prose, is itself in rhyme, “the excellent public is hereby than his volume of essays called “ Among my Books," or assured that the sale of my book is already secured.” that rather fantastically entitled “My Study Windows." Here is the reason. "Now I find by a pretty exact calcula- | I remember being particularly charmed with a little essay tion, there are something like ten thousand bards in the of Lowell's which appeared in the Atlantic Monthly, and Dation of that special variety whom the Review and Mag- was quaintly named “ On a Certain Condescension in Forazine critics call lofty and true, and about thirty thousand eigners." There is a light sub-acid flavor in this little (this tribe is increasing) of the kinds who are termed full essay which makes it none the less good reading even for of promise and pleasing." Of course each poet, the author Englishmen. Those who have seen Lowell and other assumes, will take a copy or two to see himself spoken of, Americans, as distinguished and as gifted, blandly patronand his neighbours and rivals abused; and if any names ized by third-class members of our British Parliament, are found to be omitted, it is promised that each new edi. | during their six weeks' tour in the United States, will enjoy tion shall contain one name left out of former issues. The all the more the quiet humor of this paper. wbole thing is a satire upon the manner in which American It would be superfluous to say that Lowell has for more critics at that time hoisted up to lofty pedestals, here, there, than twenty years been – perhaps not always to his own and everywhere, each “poor singer of an idle day.” The satisfaction one of the celebrities of Boston and its poem is a very stream of droll conceits, fantastic puns, and neighborhood. Truly Boston is a place in which a reputabrilliant satirical touches. Among numberless keen say- tion is worth having. The community is not too large to ings which since than have been ascribed to all manner of know its celebrities. A good thing said by a man echoes persons, and represented as arising out of every variety of all round his spbere of existence; the men of letters all conditions, take the following:
know each other, and are friends: the whole school of
poets, philosophers, and bumorists dine together frequently “ If he boasted, 't was simply that he was self-made, at one table; the “ Saturday Club” gathers them all at its A position which I, for one, never gainsaid,
pleasant board. Boston seems to me to be a good deal My respect for my Maker supposing a skill
like what Edinburgh must have been in its best days of In his works, which our hero would answer but ill."
literature. In London, and even to some extent in New
York, people have to live in cliques and coleries. This is The poem is a purée of genius, animal spirits, drollery, humor, and genuine critical power. Some of the literary would be friendly if they could.
so even where they belong to the same profession, and
There are only local portraits are admirable. That of Theodore Parker is true
acquaintanceships and fellowships in a metropolis like ours. and very high art. Every one may read, even now, with interest the sketches of Emerson, Whittier, Bryant,
No fervor of friendship could conquer our distances; it the latter a little unjust, though not ill-natured, - and
is morally impossible that Kensington and Belsize Park
could have frequent and familiar intercourse. But Boston Cooper, and the wonderful picture in little of Hawthorne. But there are not many Englishmen who would appreciate it is still of charmingly convenient dimensions. Literary
is of delightful smallness; even if we take in Cambridge, the vivacious sketch of John Neal, of Maine, or “ Harry Franco" (Mr. Charles Briggs, of New York, an author
men can really know each other there, and bave sympathies and journalist, who once wrote under that nom de plume), about the very aspect of the place. Its literary people,
and friendships. There is something peculiarly friendly or even Halleck, Brownson, and Dana. Perhaps the
and indeed its people generally, are said to be rather sharpest touches are bestowed upon “ Miranda,” an conceited on the subject of their city and its dignity. authoress who seems to have had a terrible effect upon
The journals of other cities are never weary of making Lowell's nerves, and in whom it is to be presumed we must jokes about the Bostonian's faith in the theory that the recognize the late Margaret Fuller:
world takes its time from Boston. It is commonly averred “Miranda meanwhile has succeeded in driving
throughout many States of the Union that a Massachusetts Up into a corner, in spite of their striving,
man regards the Frog-pondon Boston Common as the A small flock of territied victims, and there
noblest expanse of water in existence. “And now, Mr. — With an I-turn-the-crank-of-the-universe air,
said a chief of Boston letters to an author from New York, And a tone which, at least to my fancy, appears
who had just made a great literary success,
now, when Not so much to be entering as boxing your ears, are you coming to live in Boston ?”. The assumption was, Is unfolding a tale – of herself I surmise –
of course, that as soon as a man had done anything to For 't is dotted as thick as a peacock with I's.”
give him a genuine reputation, he must think himself entitled to live in Boston, and must take steps for settling | could have but little sympathy with some of the rather there forthwith. A good many of the jokes about Boston aggressive and enterprising forms in which new ideas have exclusiveness and conceit come, as the Boston people do lately manifested themselves now and then in the United not fail to remark, from places which have no literature States. I have no doubt that be thought the process of and no culture. The stranger finds Boston a genial, hos- pouring the new wine into the old bottles had been carried pitable, and thoroughly delightful place. I fear the time on with rather too liberal and reckless a hand in the sudis not far distant when its supremacy in letters and scholar- | den elevation of the negro population to full citizenship ship will have become a tradition. As London swallows everywhere over the States; and he must have found up all the independent literary life of Edinburgh and some of the Woman's Rights “ developments ” rather tryDublin and makes it her own, so New York is doing with ing occasionally. Perhaps he thinks America has had Boston. The literature goes where the money is, in the lately more sentiment of all kinds than was quite good for long run. A New York publisher has already, I believe, her. Certainly his conversation on political and social bought up the monthly magazine I which for so many years subjects seems of a much shrewder and less enthusiastic was Boston's special pride, and which would have done kind than one might have expected who remembered the credit to any city in the world. But while the present early apostrophes to Lamartine and Kossuth, and the fergeneration of Boston celebrities endures, no New York can vor, hardly veiled even in sarcasm, of the “ “Biglow eclipse or even pretend to rival her fame. New York has Papers.” Without suggesting any comparison between two not Emerson and Longfellow, and Lowell and Wendell men and two careers so unlike, I cannot help thinking Holmes, and Wendell Phillips and Edwin Whipple. that Mr. Lowell holds now, with regard to the politics Agassiz and Charles Sumner have too lately passed away of the United States, something like the views which Mr. not to leave the prestige of their memory still shining over Bright is understood to entertain with regard to those Boston.
of England. Each is content with a great good done, The working lifetime of Mr. Lowell has been passed but sees that it cost trouble and sacrifice to do it, and among Boston people. I have said that be succeeded is not anxious that any new enterprises should soon be Longfellow as Professor of Modern Languages and Belles undertaken. People who have lately conversed with Mr. Lettres at Harvard University, and Harvard is at Cam- Bright, and had only known him before through newsbridge, a pretty village so near to Boston that it might, papers, are always telling us how surprised they were to with a little allowance for exaggeration, be said to lie under find him so conservative in his opinions. I can easily the sheltering shadow of the monument on Bunker IIill. understand that the same thing might be said of Mr. Mr. Lowell's home is but a stone's-throw from that of Mr. Lowell. Longfellow. I am not going to describe the homes of But whatever this person or that may think of the parAmerican gentlemen who have been kind enough to open
ticular views he happens to express, I, for myself, very their doors to me; but I may say that a quiet student and
much doubt whether Mr. Lowell is ever more brilliant and thoughtful poet could hardly have a more genial retreat delightful than he shows himself in conversation. He is than either of these can enjoy. Mr. Lowell has indeed not, by any means, what people would have called some been absent from his home for nearly two years. On the years ago a great talker; he never keeps all the talk to marriage of his only daughter he put in execution a long- himself, or pours forth long and flowing sentences, or cherished design of revisiting Europe and spending some showers down the sparkling spray of witticisms over an time among its old books and its Art collections — the treas- admiring and watchful company. He is not in the least ures that no energy, wealth, or ambition can confer upon like a Coleridge or Macaulay ; nor does he rush along in the newer world. He is a man of secluded habits; friendly unbroken monologues like his countryman, the late Mr. to genuine warmth with those whom he knows, but shun-Seward; nor has he the overpowering conversational ning the crowd wherever he can. His life in Europe has energy of another countryman of his, the late Mr. Charles therefore been that of a retiring student. When in Paris Sumner. The charm of Mr. Lowell's conversation is, that he lived on the south side principally, away from the it is conversation and not soliloquy, or sermon, or the glitter and noise of the American and English quarter; elaborate display of the professional wit. Mr. Lowell at home and happy among old libraries, and delighted, as talks, in fact, alter the fashion of ordinary people, except Charles Sumner used to be, in bunting out quaint and rare that he always talks well; that when most others of us editions among those fascinating bookstalls that line the say commonplace things, he says something brilliant, or quays. Even when at home among his own people, Low deep, or thoughtful, or sometimes poetic, or not uncomell's life has been one of a certain kind of seclusion; I do monly paradoxical. He suggests, perhaps, some new and not mean seclusion in the sense of isolation or retirement, odd way of looking at an old subject; he extracts some for no one could have mingled more freely with bis friends; humorous conceit from a very familiar thought or fact; he but he was not easily to be drawn into general society of draws at will upon the rich resource of a scholarship the any kind, and wherever there was a crowd, it would be most varied and liberal. Few Englishmen are so well safe not to look for him. I have not heard of his attend acquainted, I should think, with English literature at its ing public meetings or delighting in the delivery of speeches best periods, and he appears to have a not less thorough anywhere; and although he is an accomplished and suc- acquaintance with the literature of Greece and Rome, of cessful lecturer among a community where lecturing is France and Germany, of Italy and Spain. Nothing is one of the indispensable things of existence, he has sel- more perilous than any effort to reproduce in cold blood dom been persuaded to appear on the public platform. some bright thoughts suggested in passing conversation; A Boston friend wrote to me three years ago or there
and I alınost fear to do Mr. Lowell an injustice by atabouts, while Lowell was still in his home : Longfellow tempting to describe the impression produced on me by and Holmes I see often, but Lowell does not come out of this or that phrase or suggestion of his. Two or three Cambridge this season much. He can't leave the birds points, however, I feel tempted to recall. He talked once long enough for a stay in town."
of collisions at sea, suggested by some recent casualty, In conversation with Mr. Lowell people are sometimes
and he mentioned how much he had been struck by a passurprised to find that the re is not more of the Radical in sage he had read in the evidence of a man saved from such his political views. He never could have been a fanatic, a calamity. The man stated that the vessel in which he but I cannot help thinking that a certain Conservative ten- sailed ran right into another vessel, literally cutting her dency, so bard to keep out from advancing years, is already in two; and all he could tell of the passengers in the deand prematurely showing itself in Mr. Lowell's views of life. stroyed ship was, that he became conscious of seeing a His country has had to pass through so many terrible or- person who was lying in bis berth reading a newspaper deals in his time, that perhaps he is more anxious that for by the light of a lamp, and this person looked up startled a while she should rest and be thankful than do anything for a moment, and no more was seen of ship or passengers. else. A man with such a mind and temperament as his Mr. Lowell made, in a few words, and without any appear
1 Here Mr. McCarthy falls into an error. - ED. EVERY SATURDAY. ance of either painting or moralizing, a wonderful picture
BY ANNIE BEALE.
of this little incident, of the quiet reader suddenly startled his works, proved his title to be placed in the higher rank. from his paper, and meeting in the gleam of light the pale, The distinction of which we have all lately been reading horrified face of bis innocent destroyer, and then gone for- between poetry and eloquence — that the latter is heard ever into the darkness. Another time he told us of some while the former is overheard — must apply, I presume, wine of marvellous price, of which be had drunk one glass, to lyric poetry only. It could not well apply to Homer for the sake, as he put it, of swallowing so much liquid or to Dante, to say nothing of the dramatic poets. One wealth; and the number of quaint conceits which he can hardly imagine the “Iliad ” poured forth as a mere caused to come up like bubbles on the surface of that cry to the wandering stars, or the story of Francesca called precious glass, the variety of ways in which he illustrated aloud to solitude. But as lyric poems some of Lowell's the possible value of the draught, might have either de- seem to me fairly to answer the terms of the definition lighted an epicurean or a teetotaller according as one they are overheard; they come straight from spirit and chose to look at it, or according as he supposed Mr. Low- sense, sent directly forth into the air, because the poet ell to be in jest or earnest. His love of paradoxes made a must give them out, and with no thought of audience. I visitor from England once say that he felt reminded, while have heard Americans compare Lowell with Wordsworth. listening to him, of some of Mr. Lowe's more remarkable In the “Fable for Critics” Lowell himself has rather speeches. Oddly enough, Mr. Lowell mentioned the fact sharply complained of admiring countrymen calling some that he once crossed the Atlantic with Mr. Lowe, and New World singer the “ American Wordsworth,” and found the conversation of the latter peculiarly interesting adds, that and congenial. Speaking of English poets, Mr. Lowell
" Wordsworth observed of one of them, that he "started with a finer Is worth near as much as your whole tuneful herd's worth.” outfit” than any other, but that his stock got so crowded up; he became less able to use it to any purpose the longer that there is room for a very genuine poet a good many
I shall not make the comparison, being well convinced he went on. Of a certain tendency in the modern poetry degrees below Wordsworth. But there is this much reof England, be quietly observed, “I don't believe true semblance between Wordsworth and Lowell - that in art ever goes about patting the passions on the back.” Mr. Lowell, it will probably occur to the reader, is more
both alike thought and not passion is the habitual source of a literary man than most of our living English poets, and
of inspiration. If one may make any comparison of names,
however, I should say that Lowell seems to me not a more of a poet than most of our literary men.
He is more
lower Wordsworth but a higher Matthew Arnold — a fully rounded, one might say, than most of his English peers robuster Matthew Arnold, with genius. and rivals. I have said hardly anything of Mr. Lowell's later poems, although some of these, I think, make a truer claim for him to the title of poet than the more impulsive and ambitious efforts of his younger days. But, as I have A MODERN REBECCA: A WELSH SKETCH. observed before, this sketch does not pretend to be a criticism, and I shall only say that I think in “The Cathe.dral ” and “ Under the Willows” are some of the finest poetic passages their author has written. It is true that ACCIDENTS or offences originate half of our institutions. they are sometimes over-weighted with thought, and that One need breeds another, and too many needs breed disthe ray of pure poetry struggles here and there through content. Thus carriages and carts demanded roads, roads cloud-masses of meditation; but the ray is there, and it brought turnpike-gates and their tolls, and the tolls induced makes the cloud-masses beautiful. It is true, too, that the riots. We crave smooth government, yet grumble at the great variety of Mr. Lowell's reading expresses itself some- taxes; and farmers rejoiced in level roads, but murmured times in allusions, and even in phrases, which to many at the gates. In truth, they were sufficiently numerous, readers come in like citations from a foreign tongue, and and the poor lime and coal carriers were therefore heavily must give to certain passages the appearance of something taxed. So were cattle-drovers, pig-drivers, and marketers pedantic, or at least too purely professorial. These are generally. Pence, sixpences, and shillings were doled out but occasional defects; the poet is often as simple in at the pikes with ever-increasing reluctance, and underlanguage as he is true in thought. I do not know of breath mutterings rumbled through the land. anything more entirely pathetic than the verses entitled, The Welsh are naturally a peace-loving, patriotic people “ After the Burial,” in which the familiar conventionali- enough ; but we all know how hard it is to bear a constant ties are firmly and sadly repelled :
inroad into our pockets, especially when they are empty. “ In the breaking gulfs of sorrow,
They found it intolerable to be pulled up every three or When the helpless feet stretch out,
four miles for money they did not possess ; so they reAnd find in the deeps of darkness
belled. No footing so solid as doubt,
The Welsh being a religious people, the malcontents
searched the Bible for a text to represent their grievances, “Then better one spar of Memory, One broken plank of the Past,
and found a prophecy written on purpose for them, about That our human heart may cling to,
three thousand six hundred and ninety years before, in the Though hopeless of shore at last.
60th verse of the 24th chapter of Genesis. It was concern
ing Rebekah, and was as follows: " Let thy seed possess “ To the spirit its splendid conjectures ;
the gate of those which hate them.” As Cambrian philolTo the flesh its sweet despair ;
ogists bad asserted that Welsh was the language spoken in Its tears o'er the thin, worn locket,
Paradise, it was not diflicult to trace the origin of a people With its anguish of deathless hair !
using that ancient tongue to Rebekah; and the time had
arrived for the fulfilment of the prophecy by her somewhat “ Console, if you will; I can bear it;
So the quiet hills and valleys of our peaceful districts
were suddenly aroused by loud knocking at the turnpike
gates, and what were afterwards termed “the Rebecca In this country, I know, many well-qualified critics still Riots” began by the demolition of one or more of these hold that Mr. Lowell is only a poet in the limited sense obnoxious barriers. Toll-takers were aroused at dead of which allows the title to George Eliot and Dr. Newman; night by an army of black-faced demons, who summoned the author, that is, of fine thoughts put into verse. I shall them to surrender on pain of torture, and who set to work not enter into the question a vague and barren one, I to back or burn posts and planks. The terrified gatethink — as to the possibility of defining the exact differ- keepers fled, and the assailants had the field to themselves. ence between a great poetic thinker and a poet. I shall In the morning there was no trace of the demons, but all only record my own belief that Mr. Lowell has, in many of the country-side was aroused, and everybody went to see
the mischief. Some thought it a good joke to frighten the after the van. They were suddenly arrested by the sound sleepy magistrates; others that it was a conspiracy of the disaffected. Meanwhile the sleepy magistrates woke up to They all felt intuitively that it was Rebecca running for a sense of responsibility and danger, and talked much, as her life from the specials, who had reached the gate in magistrates will. One advised one thing, one another, and time to defend it. 'They stood to take breath, and one nothing was done.
whispered, in the inspiration of latent military genius, that Tretavon and its neighborhood shared the fate of the they should form a rank across the road, hold firm, and South Wales districts generally, and will serve as an ex- present staves. This was done, and the clattering steps ample. They had imagined themselves safe, and were drew nearer. much surprised to learn, on awaking one morning, that On came the rioters, and the resolute specials had not Llanfach gate had been destroyed during the night. This time to say • In the Queen's name !" when their rank and was a tiresome little toll in a poor, mountainous part, set as file was broken in the dark. They belabored right and a kind of trap for such mean-spirited creatures as would left with their clubs, and were belabored in return. "Surtake by-roads to avoid the big gate of Llanmawr. What render! in the Queen's name, rioters!” The words was to be done? The magistrates trembled in their shoes, struggled out at last, and the lieutenant's voice was loudest. for they knew that if they dared to be decided, worse He had collared a special who recognized its commanding would follow. Still, it does not do for men high in author- tones. “Let me alone, man! I'm Thomas Evans, Gwael ity to show fear, whatever they may feel, so they made a odymaes," cried the collared. “Then why the commotion, and the whole town grew excited. It was ru- attack me!” rejoined the lieutenant, oblivious for once of mored that other gates would be demolished the following his resolve never to use naughty words. “I thought you night, and nobody could tell where the mischief would end. were Rebecca.” “Halt - hold! I verily believe we're So the valorous magistrates and townspeople resolved that all friends!” shouted the lieutenant. there should be a speedy enrolment of special constables. And so they were. The vanguard had reached the gate In those days Trefavon had no police force, and Mr. Super- indicated, and found it still the insuperable barrier that it intendent Pryse had not been appointed to keep the re- was intended to be. There was no Rebecca. They fractory in check by his mien and club.
knocked up the terrified gate-keeper, who put his head out There was a running to and fro in the land, much fun, of the window and cried for quarter. Finding they were some anxiety, and a great display of courage.
We all friends, he told them he had ventured to go to bed because know how our valiant Ritlemen have turned out to drills, a man had been there who had assured him that the rioters sham-fights, inspections, loss of time, and personal expense, were attacking Tygwyn gate. The lieutenant instantly for the defence, real or imaginary, of their dearly-beloved led his van towards Tygwyn, and so doing fell in with his country: so did the specials, as they were called. Professionals, tradesmen, mechanics, - some of whom, it was whis- “ You've cracked my skull!” cried one; “ And broken pered, favored Rebecca, — started out as one man, and were my ribs !” another; “ Confound those clubs ! ” a third ; declared constables for the nonce. They would defend their “ And Rebecca !” a fourth. homes and gates against all invaders, and armed with blud- There was a short cut to Tygwyn up a by-road that geons they made a formidable array. A wag said they wanted crossed what was called the “Little Mountain." The lieubut hoofs to be an army of Centaurs. Indeed, jests burst tenant, who had once seen service, cried “Come on!” over their heads like crackers. Some of them had been in But many of the specials had had enough for one night, the army, others were in the militia, and therefore under- and said they should return and get the doctor to examine stood the tactics of war. These constituted themselves their bruises. They did so, while the more courageous leaders, and there was one who especially distinguished scaled the bill. They were lighted to its summit by a himself,
This was Lieutenant Pryse, afterwards the watch-fire where Rebecca had apparently been but was not. dreaded and respected superintendent of police. There They fancied they heard shouting and laughter somewhere, were only two cowards in the district, and these were the but the mocking demons were invisible. doctor and lawyer : they positively refused to be enrolled, It was morning when they reached Tygwyn, and the sun the one on the plea that he could not fight and dress was rising over a scene tranquil and beautiful as Eden. A wounds at the same time; the other, as being clerk to the small gate-house lay at the foot of a mountain road, nestled magistrates, declared that it was as much as he could do to amongst trees, and untroubled by this visionary Rebecca. take care of bis masters. Thus, Dr. Jones and Jenkins the Beneath a one-arched bridge close by ran a babbling, noisy lawyer chuckled and made their jokes over their rubber at little river, that fretted restlessly over large, moss-adorned home, with their excellent helpmates, while the specials stones, and tumbled over a rock as a water-tall, into a bed of went forth in the dead of night as their defenders.
rock, hard as poverty. The spray sparkled like brilliants Solemnly and silently this valorous troop left their in the dawn-gleams, the dew on herb and flower kindled trembling households, to patrol, not “the deck,” but the into radiance, the mists melted from mountain and meadow roads and lanes around the threatened fortresses.
and vanished in ghostly white folds into dim distance ; It was afterwards understood that the wily Rebecca had while the grand and glorious sun rose slowly over the knew anything of her talent for organization, so the specials. The lieutenant paused to admire, for he was a lover of were easily imposed upon. While zealously keeping their nature in all her moods, times, and seasons. His friends, eyes and ears open at one point of the compass, scarcely tired and cross, paused' to grumble. Nothing had been daring to breathe lest the expected enemy should find them done, and there was nothing to do, but to waken up anout and so escape, a breathless spy came to give informa- other trembling toll-keeper, and learn that some messenger tion that the rioters were actually pulling down a gate at unknown had preceded them with the news that Rebecca another point, two miles off. Thankful for a diversion, was at Llanfach. This was the place from whence they the specials took to furious running. This was the more started, and they had scoured the country and worn out admirable as many of them were stout, comfortable citizens, streagth and shoe-leather in vain. They returned crestunused to that particular kind of exercise. It was no joke fallen to Trefavon, and were greeted by many jests and for men who had not, as yet, learnt the double-quick step much laughter, for Rebecca had not sallied out that night. in which our volunteers are now such adepts, to run two By degrees matters grew more serious, and suspected miles; and one cannot be surprised if some of them were persons were arrested. The justices were either not nuleft behind in the race. Remember, also, that it was dark, inerous or not courageous enough for the occasion, and a that Wales is a hilly country, and that they had great-coats new batch of magistrates was made. It was a fine time for on their backs and clubs in their bands.
men ambitious of forensic honors, and many had to thank It often happens that the rear guard has the best of it, Rebecca for a seat on the Bench which they would never and so it was on this occasion. Pulling, panting, swear- have occupied without her. Laughter increased with them, ing at Rebecca, they toiled on a mile and a half, struggling and wonderful stories circulated of honorable gentlemen