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[Thomas BABINGTON MACAULAY was born at Rothley Temple, Leicester shire, Oct. 25, 1800, and died at Holly Lodge, Campden Hill, Dec. 28, 1859 His Lays of Ancient Rome were published in 1843 ; other ballads and poems were written from time to time, his earliest published piece, an Epilaph on Henry Mariyį, being dated 1812.)
'You are very right in admiring Macaulay,' wrote Miss Elizabeth Barrett to Mr. Horne in 1843 ; "he has a noble, clear, metallic note in his soul, and makes us ready by it for battle. I very much admire Mr. Macaulay, and could scarcely read his ballads and keep lying down. They seemed to draw me up to my feet as the mesmeric powers are said to do. This testimony from so competent a judge as Mrs. Browning is all the more valuable because, great as is still the popularity of the Lays with the mass of those who read poetry, the higher critical authorities have pronounced against them, and are even teaching us to wonder whether they can be called poetry at all. They find in the Lays the same faults which mar the author's prose~commonplaceness of ideas, cheapness of sentiment and imagery, made to prevail by dint of the writer's irresistible command of a new rhetorical force ; in a word, eloquent Philistinism. Against this too exclusive judgment it is well to set Miss Barrett's frank recognition of the power, the spirit, the vividness of historical imagination that informs all Macaulay's writing. One of her epithets, which she uses honoris causa, we may accept as fairly characterising the evil element in his mindthe epithet metallic. His ballads have the clear resonance of the trumpet : they have its hardness too.
The Lays are in everybody's hands : and they do not lend themselves easily to selection. We have preferred to print the less known Naseby, written in 1824; and the pathetic Epitaph on a Jacobite—a work of the author's maturity.
'Letters of Elizabeth Barrett Browning, vol. I. p. 166.
THE BATTLE OF NASEBY.
(By Obadiah Bind-their-kings-in-chains-and-their-nobles-with
links-of-iron, Sergeant in Ireton's Regiment.)
Oh! wherefore come ye forth, in triumph from the North,
With your hands, and your feet, and your raiment all red ? And wherefore doth your rout send forth a joyous shout ?
And whence be the grapes of the wine-press which ye tread? Oh evil was the root, and bitter was the fruit,
And crimson was the juice of the vintage that we trod ; For we trampled on the throng of the haughty and the strong,
Who sate in the high places, and slew the saints of God. It was about the noon of a glorious day of June,
That we saw their banners dance, and their cuirasses shine, And the Man of Blood was there, with his long essenced hair,
And Astley, and Sir Marmaduke, and Rupert of the Rhine. Like a servant of the Lord, with his Bible and his sword,
The General rode along us to form us to the fight, When a murmuring sound broke out, and swelled into a shout
Among the godless horsemen upon the tyrant's right.
The cry of battle rises along their charging line !
For Charles King of England, and Rupert of the Rhine ! The furious German comes, with his clarions and his drums,
His bravoes of Alsatia, and pages of Whitehall ; They are bursting on our flanks. Grasp your pikes, close your
ranks ; For Rupert never comes but to conquer or to fall. They are here! They rush on! We are broken ! We are gone 1
Our left is borne before them like stubble on the blast. O Lord, put forth thy might! O Lord, defend the right !
Stand back to back, in God's name, and fight it to the last.
Stout Skippon hath a wound; the centre hath given ground: Hark! hark !-What means the trampling of horsemen on our
rear ? Whose banner do I see, boys ? 'Tis he, thank God, 'tis he, boys.
Bear up another minute : brave Oliver is here.
Their heads all stooping low, their points all in a row,
Like a whirlwind on the trees, like a deluge on the dykes, Our cuirassiers have burst on the ranks of the Accurst,
And at a shock have scattered the forest of his pikes.
Fast, fast, the gallants ride, in some sase nook to hide
Their coward heads, predestined to rot on Temple Bar : And he-he turns, he fies :shame on those cruel eyes
That bore to look on torture, and dare not look on war !
Ho! comrades, scour the plain ; and, ere ye strip the slain,
First give another stab to make your search secure, Then shake from sleeves and pockets their broad-pieces and
lockets, The tokens of the wanton, the plunder of the poor.
Fools ! your doublets shone with gold, and your hearts were gay
and bold, When you kissed your lily hands to your lemans to-day ; And to-morrow shall the fox, from her chambers in the rocks,
Lead forth her tawny cubs to howl above the prey.
Where be your tongues that late mocked at heaven and hell
and fate, And the fingers that once were so busy with your blades, Your perfumed satin clothes, your catches and your oaths, Your stage-plays and you sonnets, your diamonds and your
Down, down, for ever down with the mitre and the crown,
With the Belial of the Court, and the Mammon of the Pope There is woe in Oxford Halls : there is wail in Durham's Stalls .
The Jesuit smites his bosom : the Bishop rends his cope.
And She of the seven hills shall mourn her children's ills,
And tremble when she thinks on the edge of England's sword; And the Kings of earth in fear shall shudder when they hear What the hand of God hath wrought for the Houses and the
EPITAPH ON A JACOBITE.
To my true king I offered free from stain
WINTHROP MACKWORTH PRAED,
[WINTHROP MACKWORTH PRAED was born in London on the 26th of July, 1802. He was educated at Eton, and Trinity College, Cambridge. He died on the 15th of July, 1839. His verses, contributed chiefly to periodicals such as the Etonian and Knight's Quarterly Magazine, were not collected in this country until 1864, when they were published in two volumes, with a memoir by the Rev. Derwent Coleridge.]
'In a collection of short pieces,'-says Mr. Matthew Arnold in his preface to Wordsworth's selected poems, the impression made by one piece requires to be continued and sustained by the piece following.' The verses of Praed are in some sort an illustration of the justice of this remark. Had he himself prepared his book for the press he would doubtless have cancelled a good many poems which his representatives, naturally enough, hesitated to omit. But even the over-affluent character of his legacy to posterity has not much impaired his popularity, or influenced the critical estimate of his work. As a writer of 'societyverse' in its exacter sense, Praed is justly acknowledged to be supreme. We say “exacter sense,' because it has of late become the fashion to apply this vague term in the vaguest possible way, so as indeed to include almost all verse but the highest and the lowest. This is manifestly a mistake. “Society.verse,' as Praed understood it, and as we understand it in Praed, treats almost exclusively of the votum, timor, ira, voluptas (and especially the voluptas) of that charmed circle of uncertain limits known conventionally as 'good society,—those latter-day Athenians, who, in town and country, spend their time in telling or hearing some new thing, and whose graver and deeper impulses are subordinated to a code of artificial manners. Of these Praed is the laureate-elect ; and the narrow world in which they move is the 'main haunt and region of his song. Now and again, it may be, he appears to quit it ; but never in reality; and even when he seems to do so, like Landor's shell remote from the sea, he still ‘remembers its august abodes.'