Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

to say he has been able somewhat to aid in their generous aspirations; and they seek to cast a frail garland on the graves of such illustrious men, and so recently removed, as Delta and Wilson. Should the charges of shortness and slightness be urged against some of these essays, he can only point, on the other hand, to the papers on “Napoleon,” “Macaulay," “Burke," " Bulwer,” “Henry Rogers,” “Prometheus," “ Shakspeare,” and two or three others, as not certainly exposed to the latter of these accusations -if to either.

4th, The careful reader will notice in this new volume, a striking diversity from its companion Galleries in one important particular-he means, a certain change of in his spirit, tone, and language toward the celebrated men who at present lead the armies of Modern Scepticism. This change has repeatedly been charged against him, and ascribed to motives of a personal and unworthy kind. Such motives he distinctly and strongly disclaims. With these men he was never intimate ; their opinions he never held ; of their present estimate of, or feelings toward himself he cares and knows nothing ; but he is willing to grant that the longer he has read their works, and watched the tendency of their opinions, the more profoundly has he been impressed with a sense of the hopelessness of obtaining any more light or good from such sources, and of the extremely pernicious influences which they, wittingly or not, have exerted, and are still exerting, upon the mind of this country. Those who will take the trouble of reading his papers on “ Carlyle's Sterling” and “Emerson” will understand what he means. He has not, in the new edition of his preceding works, suppressed his former expressions of admiration for these men-let them stand—because they were sincere at the time because they may serve hereafter as landmarks in his own progress—because they never commend the sentiments, but only laud too much the spirit, the intentions, and perhaps the genius of these writers--and because the very energy and earnestness of these laudations will prove, that nothing but a very strong cause, and a very profound conviction, could have made him recoil from them ! To absolute consistency he does not pretend ; to honesty—to progress-—and to fidelity in his words to his thoughts, he does, and ever did. This will, and must

account, too, for his altered tone in reference to the literary merits of some writers whom he had sketched before. His mind no more than his pen has stood still during the last eight years. He commends, in fine, this new volume, as he has done his former ones, to the Public, feeling persuaded, that, as a “true thing,” the Public will welcome it ; and confident that he will find in this, as in all his former experience, that, let cliques or coteries say or do what they please—

“The great Soul of the world is just.”

A file of French Revolutionists.

N0. 1.-MIRABEAU.

ONE is sometimes tempted to suppose that our earth hangs between two centres, to which she is alternately attracted, like those planets which are said to be suspended between the double stars, and that she now nears a blue and mild, and now a blood-red and fiery sun. There are beautiful days and seasons which stoop down upon us like doves from heaven, and give us exquisite but short-lived pleasure, in which our world appears a "pensive, but a happy place,”—the sky, the dome of a temple; Eden recalled, and the Millennium anticipated : we are then within the attraction of our milder Star. There are other days and seasons, the darkness of which is lighted up by the foam of general frenzy, like the lurid illumination lent by the spray to the tossed midnight ocean—when there is a crying, not for wine, but for blood, in the streets—when the mirth of the land is darkened, and when all hearts, not filled with madness, fail for fear. Such are our revolutionary eras when our Red Sun is vertical over us, shedding disastrous day, and portending premature and preternatural night.

The value of revolutions lies more in the men they discover, than in the measures they produce. For a superior being, how grand and interesting the attitude of standing, like John, on the sand of the sea-shore, and seeing the beasts, horned or crowned, fierce or tame, which arise from the waves which revolution has churned into fury, to watch them while yet fresh and dripping from the water, and to follow the footprints of their progress! From the vantage-ground of after-time, the

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »