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reflected in a wall of mirrors, which image his every step, and, “now in glimmer, and now in gloom,” trace out his history ere he be dead, and leave very little for posterity to add or to take away. The great man, on the other hand, while seldom quite overlooked or ignored, is as seldom during his life-time fully recognised : a shade of doubt hangs around his form, like mist around a half-scen Alp; his motions are all tracked, indeed, but tracked in terror and in suspicion; his character, when drawn, is drawn in chiaro-scuro; his faults are chronicled more fully than his virtues; the general sigh which arises at the tidings of his death is as much that of relief as of sorrow; and not till the dangerous and infinite seeming man bas been committed safely to the grave, does the world awake to feel that it has hid one of its richest treasures in the field of death. Nor should we entirely for this blame the world. For too often we believe that high genius is a mystery, and a terror even to itself; that it communicates with the demoniac mines of sulphur, as well as with the divine sources; and that only God's grace can determine to which of these it is to be permanently connected ; and that only the stern alembic of death can settle the question to which it has on the whole turned, whether it has really been the radiant angel, or the disguised fiend.
We might illustrate our first remark by a number of examples. But our recent readings supply us with one more than sufficiently appropriate to our purpose. We have risen from reathing for the first time Prior's “Life of Burke," and, for the teath or twentieth time, Macaulay's " Essays," collected from the “Edinburgh Review.” And as we rise we are forced to exclaim, " Behold a great man, fairly though faintly paintel by another, and a half-great man, unintentionally but most faithfully and fully sketched by himself.” Macaulay has eloquently panegyrised Burke, and accurately discriminated him from inferior contemporary minds. But he seems to have no idea of the great gulf fixed between Burke's nature and genius and his own. IIe always speaks as if he and the object of his panegyric were cognate and kindred minds. Nay, some of his indiscriminate admirers have gone the length of equalling or preferring him to the giant of the Anti-Gallican Crusade Let us, for their sakes, as well as his, proceed to point out the essential differences between the two.
Burke, then, was a natural, Macaulay is an artificial, man. Burke was as original as one of the sources of the Nile; Macaulay is a tank or reservoir, brimful of waters which have come from other fountains. Burke's imagination was the strong wing of his strong intellect, and to think and to soar were in general with him the same; Macaulay's fancy is no more native to him than was the wing of the stripling cherub assumed by Satan, the hero of the “ Paradise Lost," although, like it, it is of many "a colored plume sprinkled with gold."
Macaulay's intellect is clear, vigorous, and logical ; but Burke's was inventive and synthetic. Burke seems always repressing his boundless knowledge; Macaulay is ostentatious in the display of his. Of Macaulay's train of thought you can always predict the end from the beginning; Burke's is unexpected and changeful. Macaulay's principal powers are two —enormous memory and pictorial power; Burke's are also two-subtle, grasping, interpenetrating intellect and imagination. Burke is the man of genius; Macaulay the elaborate artist. Burke is the creature of impulses and intuitions-impetuous, fervid, often imprudent, and violent; Macaulay never commits himself, even by a comma, and seems, if he has impulses, to have dipped them in snow, and, if he has intuitions, to have weighed them in scales before they are produced to his readers. Burke has turned away from philosophic speculation to practical matters—from choice, not necessity; Macaulay from necessity, not choice it is an element too rare for his wing. Burke, as he says of Reynolds, descends upon all subjects from above; Macaulay labors up to his loftier themes from below. Burke's digressions are those of uncontrollable power, wantoning in its strength; Macaulay's are those of deliberate purpose and elaborate effort, to relieve and make his byways increase the interest of his highways. Burke's most memorable things are strong simple sentences of wisdom or epithets, each carrying a question on its point, or burning coals from his flaming genius; Macaulay's are chiefly happy illustrations, or verbal antitheses, or clever alliterations.Macaulay often seems, and we believe is, sincere, but he is never in earnest; Burke, on all higher questions, becomes a “ burning one"-earnest to the brink of frenzy. Macaulay is a utilitarian of a rather low type; Burke is, at least, the bust
of an idealist. We defy any one to tell whether Macaulay be a Christian or no; Burke's High Churchism is the lofty buskin in which his fancy loves to tread the neighborhood of the altar, while before it his heart kneels in lowly reverence. Macaulay's writings often cloy the mind of his reader—you are full to repletion; from Burke's you rise unsatisfied, as from a crumb of ambrosia, or a sip of nectar. Macaulay's literary enthusiasm has now a far and formal air-it seems an old cloak of college days worn threadbare; Burke's has about it a fresh and glorious gloss—it is the ever-renewed skin of his spirit. Macaulay lies snugly and sweetly in the pinfold of a party; Burke is ever and anon bursting it to fragments. Macaulay's moral indignation is too labored and antithetical to be very profound: Burke's makes his heart palpitate, his hand clench, and his face kindle like that of Moses as he came down the Mount. Burke is the prophet; Macaulay the grown and well-furnished schoolboy. Burke, during his life-time, was traduced, misrepresented, or neglected, as no British man of his order ever was before or since; Macaulay has been the spoiled child of a too early and a too easy success. As they have reaped they have sown. Macaulay has written brilliant, popular, and useful works, possessing every quality except original genius, profound insight, or the highest species of his torical truth; Burke, working in an unthankful parliamentary field, has yet dropped from his overflowing hand little living germs of political, moral, literary, pictorial, and philosophic wisdom, which are striking root downwards, and bearing fruit upwards throughout the civilized world. Macaulay's works hitherto consist of several octavo volumes; but “Liberated America," " India set free from Tyrants," and "Infidel France Repelled,” are the three atlas folios which we owe to the pen and the tongue of Edmund Burke.
We had other points of contrast, which we forbear to press. Indeed, we feel ashamed at continuing so long a contrast between two persons so unlike. But Macaulay's unwise friends have compelled us to renew the old, and apparently superfluous work, of showing the superiority of an original to an imitator-of a sublime genius, informed from on high, to a cultured and consummate artist, galvanized from below—of one wearing a mantle which seemed dropped from some Fiery
Chariot of the Past, to one of the earth, earthy'-of one whose flights of genius and wisdom might almost entitle him to the name of the Second Plato, to one who would be proud, we suspect, to bear that of the Second Bacon, even although the meanness were added to the majesty, and the immortal degradation to the everlasting praise of the ambiguous and alloverrated name of the Chancellor of England.
We propose now, first, briefly to characterize, and in a general way, some of Macaulay's Essays; and, secondly, to bend special attention on the longest and most elaborate of them all, that on “ Lord Bacon."
There are in every author's works what may be called representative parts or papers—papers or books which indicate the leading qualities in his mind, or the leading stages in his intellectual development. Thus, in the case before us, we have “ Milton” representing Macaulay the young and ardent Scholar, “ Byron” and “Johnson” representing him as the full-grown Litterateur, " Warren Hastings," and a host more, representing him as the budding Historian, and “Lord Bacon" as the Thinker.
We have, first, “ Milton," still, in our judgment, the sircerest, if not the most faultless of his papers. It is the work of a premature and impassioned school-boy, with the glow of the first perusal of the “Paradise Lost" extant on his cheek, and with the boy's dream of liberty still beating in his heart. Mr. Macaulay says, that the paper contains “ scarcely a paragraph of which his mature judgment approves." We may add, that there are many paragraphs in it which he now neither could nor durst write." Men,” says James Hogg, in the “ Noctes," “ often, as they get auld, fancy themsel's wiser, whereas, in fac', they are only stoopider." It is not every one who, like Robert Burns, with his early volume of poems, sees at a glance that the “ first bairn o his brain is also the best." Artistically, Macaulay's “Milton” is not his best; but it is the opening of his vein-he throws forth in it a mass of pure ore, which he has since chiefly been employed in beating thin, or mixing with baser metals. Tbus we find him, in many of his subsequent papers, cutting and clipping at his splendid picture of the Puritans—a picture which we deem true to the life of these illustrious men, as well as to the first sincere and
burning convictions of Macaulay's young soul. He was not, as Sir Daniel Sanford somewhere insinuates, "a dishonest panegyrist of the Puritans." Brought up in a religious atmosphere, its influence still floated around him, as he wrote of those who “ looked down with contempt on the rich and the eloquent, on nobles and on priests—for they esteemed themselves rich in a more precious treasure, and eloquent in a more sublime language—nobles by the right of an earlier creation, and priests by the imposition of a mightier hand.” But, since, the giddy effects of success and the chilling influences of the world have combined to damp and lower his lofty tone, and he seems more than once inclined to give up the Puritans as a ragged regiment, and to say, “I'll not march with them through Coventry—that's flat." The associate of Lord Palmerston could not latterly retain much sympathy for Harry Vane. The confrere of Wbately could scarcely now be honest in praising John Brown. When he wrote “Milton," he was a worshipper dividing his adoration between three objectsPoetry, Liberty, and Protestantism—and all three seemed robed in virgin loveliness. All have undergone a disenchantment-Poetry no longer walks the clouds, but the earth; Liberty is no more the mountain-nymph," but the highly accomplished daughter of a whig nobleman dwelling in Grosvenor Square; and Protestantism (see his review of “Ranke”) instead of being the true child of the Primitive Age, and the destined heir of the Earth, is a candidate with nearly the same chances of final success, as the “Woman sitting on the scarlet-colored Beast, and with the names of Blasphemy written on her forehead."
Indeed, we advise any one who wishes to compute the extent and the rapidity of the cooling process which has passed over Macaulay's mind, to compare his papers on “Milton" and on “Ranke.” In the one, he speaks with just indignation of the vices of Popery, “complete subjection of reason to authority, a weak preference of form to substance, a childish passion for mummeries, an idolatrous veneration for the priestly character, and, above all, a merciless intolerance.” In his review of Von Ranke, on the other hand, how tenderly does he treat the Jesuits, some of whom he classes beside the Reformers ; how coolly he traces the progress of the Catholic re-actions;