Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

*XXXIX.
“That night, that awful night, was wearing fast,
And eastward oft the watchers' eyes were bent,
In search of morning that should be their last;
Reeling, inebriate, the drunkard went,
With songs obscene and blasphemous, that rent
The sullen calm around; with reptile crawl
The sly adulterer, incontinent,

Crept from his neighbour's bed, ere night's dark pall Withdrew, nor deem'd that One above beheld it all.

'XL.
Some linger'd still around the midnight bowl,
Averse to part; and ever and anon
The watch-dog's hollow bark, or stifled growl,
Betray'd the stranger as he hastened on,
Belated, to his home. There, haply, shone
From some abode afar a feeble ray,
Where worn, and mortal pale, and woe-begone,

The once adored form of beauty lay,
Wasting the heavy hours in sighs for that dread day.

'XLI.
"Amidst distracting visions of the night,
Some shrank appall’d beneath a cloud of woes,
Indefinite and dark, whose deadly blight
Fell withering all around; with horrid throes
Convulsed, some grappled overwhelming foes ;
Some stricken fell and powerless in their gore;
Some lay, unruffled still, in calm repose,

Dreaming of years,-long years of bliss in store: Alas! that vision done,- the dream of life is o'er.

'XLII. · Noiseless and unperceived, as moments fly, Along the east a mellow twilight crept, The harbinger of dawn; throned in the sky The stars of night, that watch'd while nature slept, Wax'd sickly, faint, and dim, as though they wept Some sad catastrophe; upborne aloft The guardian angels, who had faithful kept

Till now their dangerous post, in hope forlorn, Left Sodom to its fate on that disastrous morn.

XLIII. * And now, by two celestial strangers led, Last to abandon that devoted ground, Lot and his family, with hasty tread, Forsook the place where ruin lurk'd around,.. .

Of all within, he only righteous found.
Thus their deliverers spake in accents kind:-
“ Flee for your lives, escape the doom profound;

“ Stay not in all the plain, nor look behind;
“ Nor pause, till on the hills a shelter ye shall find.”

'XLIV.
· With benisons the angel guides took leave
Of pious Lot, on high commission bent;
And bore a mournful brow, as 't were the eve
Of some disaster vast and imminent:
Swift to unloose the howling blasts they went;
To roll the thunders from their dread abode ;
To pour the lightning storm with brimstone blent;

To smite the city with destruction's rod;
And hurl upon their heads the thunderbolts of God.

'XLV.
«« Look not behind,” resounding in their ears,

The trembling fugitives pursued their flight;
But she, the partner of Lot's hopes and fears,
Presumptuous, turn'd to gaze upon the bright
And burning storm of wrath ; when lo! a blight
Sudden as lightning burst upon her head,
And statue-like she stood, a fearful sight!

The breath and hue of life for ever fled;
The apostate's monument, a beacon from the dead !

"XLVI.
Oh poor apostate! threaten'd oft and long,
By tokens, providence, and conscience, deign
To hear for once a poet's simple song:
Shall heaven thy pride and stubbornness arraign?
Shall earth account them as her foulest stain ?
For vengeance still shall hell's dark caverns cry?
And yet heaven, earth, and hell appeal in vain ?

Seas disappear; mountains as shadows fly;
Rocks melt before the Lord ;-Why wilt thou perish? Why?'

Passing over the intermediate stanzas, which, with considerable pathos, describe the catastrophe, we must make room for the following:

'xxix.
• Noiseless and undisturb'd that night had pass'd

O’er Abraham's angel-shelter'd tenement;
No ruthless hail, nor death-commission'd blast
Awoke the dwellers in that peaceful tent;
And if the thunder reach’d, its ire was spent,

Or seem'd a murmur lulling to repose;
No shrill portentous shrieks the still air rent,

No sight, no sound; no sign of wrath arose,
No warning voice to tell of Sodom's dying throes.

'xxx.
· With anxious step, in melancholy haste,
Abraham ascended to a neighbouring height;
The plain was now a blank and silent waste;
All signs of life destroy'd from left to right;
Fair Sodom wither’d by unnatural blight;
Gomorrah rased by that resistless flood;
Admah and dark Zeboim sunk in night;

Whose awful sentence justice wrote in blood,
Aud curst, for ever curst, the spot where once they stood.

XXXI.
• The dwellings of the multitude were gone;
Consumed to ashes were the stately domes
His friendly heart once lov’d to gaze upon ;
How solitary frown'd the desert homes
Of perish'd thousands, now become their tombs !
Herdmen and herds had shared a common fate,
And far around as sicken'd vision roams,

One reeking sepulchre, all life of late,
Pronounced the wrath of God, extreme and ultimate.

"XXXII.
O’er what a host the eternal veil is drawn!
What various matter sleeps entombed there!
What hopes cut off from being in their dawn !
What phantom fears are vanish'd into air !
What sinful joys exchanged for endless care !
What sorrows lost in deeper, deadlier woes!
What loves reveald but to the tempest's glare,

Then quench'd for ever! what tormenting throes
Of strong tumultuous passion, those dark wastes enclose !

(XXXIII.
• What proud imaginations overthrown !
What hell-conceived deeds of villany
Cut short in action, ere completely blown!
What acts of cruelty no eye might see,
Arraign'd and punish'd there by Heaven's decree !
What base desires to fulness satisfied !
What exquisite despair and misery!

What impious blasphemies, that once defied
The Thunderer in his power,—those gloomy ashes hide !

Xxxiv. • The vainly warn’d perish at length unwarn'd!

Thus fell the guilty cities of the plain;

The morn with beams of orient light adorn'd
The temples and abodes of the profane;
But lo! one shower of Heaven's avenging rain,
And idols, with their retinue of slaves,
Were smoking ruins ere it dawn'd again :

And now, with dismal moan, the Dead Sea waves

Have restless ages roll'd above those scoffers' graves.' . With great propriety a transition is made from this scene of awful desolation, the monument of the Divine judgements, to the predicted end of the world; and with this the poem concludes.

From these extracts it will be seen, that the title of the poem is inappropriate; and there is too much the appearance that the Poet did not know what he was going about, when he commenced his task. As he proceeded, he seems both to have warmed and to have gathered strength; but he has not had the courage to blot. His first three cantos might have been advantageously compressed into one. These are, however, defects of judgement only, such as might be expected in a young writer. The poem itself discovers real genius and much genuine feeling as well as piety. Composed, as it has been, 'at intervals, during the bustle . and anxiety of business, or amid the languor and depression of

a sick chamber', it does the greatest credit to the Author's talents and energy of mind; and we cordially recommend it to our readers, as a volume of genuine merit, which fully sustains its modest pretensions, and is entitled to the patronage of the public.

Art. IV.-1. Illustrations of Political Economy. By Harriet Mar

tineau. Nos. VI. VII. and VIII. (Weal and Woe in Garveloch.

A Manchester Strike. Cousin Marshall.) 18mo. 1832. 2. Observations on the Law of Population ; being an Attempt to trace

its Effects from the conflicting Theories of Malthus and Sadler. By the Author of “Reflections on the present State of British

India.” 8vo. pp. 79. London, 1832. 3. Sufferings of Factory Children. Substance of the Speech of

Michael Thomas Sadler, Esq. in the House of Commons, March 16, 1832, on moving the second Reading of the Bill to regulate the Labour of Children and young Persons in the Mills and Factories of the United Kingdom. Published by the Society for the Improvement of the Condition of Factory Children. 8vo. pp. 26.

London, 1832. M ISS Martineau's Tales are far more lively and entertaining

than any thing can be, that a reviewer may find occasion to say about them; and most of her readers will be ready to think her Illustrations better than a thousand arguments. But the gifted Author herself would disdain to be complimented upon

her fertility of imagination, and her dexterity in managing to put her principles into dramatic action, at the expense of her more solid qualifications for the office she has assumed, of professor of Political Economy. We offer no apology, therefore, for proceeding at once to examine and discuss the doctrines propounded in the Parts before us.

In Part VI., we are introduced to the supposed origin of all political evil, - Increase of Population ; and our female Malthus thus sums up the principles ' illustrated in the Weal and Woe of Garveloch. ... The increase of population is necessarily limited by the increase of the means of subsistence.

Since successive portions of capital yield a less and less return, and the human species produce at a constantly accelerated rate, there is a perpetual tendency in population to press upon the means of subsistence.

5. The ultimate checks by which population is kept down to the level of the means of subsistence are vice and misery.

Since the ends of life are virtue and happiness, these checks ought to be superseded by the milder methods which exist within man's reach.

• These evils may be delayed by promoting the increase of capital, and superseded by restraining the increase of population.

Towards the one object, a part of society may do a little ; towards the other, all may do much. .. By rendering property secure, expenditure frugal, and production easy, society may promote the growth of capital.

By bringing no more children into the world than there is a subsistence provided for, society may preserve itself from the miseries of want. In other words, the timely use of the mild preventive check may avert the sorrows of any positive check.

• The preventive check becomes more, and the positive checks less powerful, as society advances. .The positive checks, having performed their office in stimulating the human faculties and originating social institutions, must be wholly superseded by the preventive check, before society can attain its ultimate aim—the greatest happiness of the greatest number.

The advocates of the Malthusian doctrine constantly complain, that either it is not understood, or it is misrepresented. Here, however, it stands forward in plain language that can hardly be mistaken, displayed in all its native ugliness. Let us take the propositions seriatim.

I. “The increase of population is necessarily limited by the ' means of subsistence. What are the means of subsistence? In one country, they consist of the ability to hunt, to fish, or to rear herds ; in another, of the food which the soil can be made to yield ; in a third, of trade and the employment of labour by the capitalist. In the rude state of nomadic nations, population is VOL. VIII.-N.S.

PP

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »