Page images

been no mean help to a due extension of this light; but the two giants, Mechanical and Intellectual Power, will be the securers of it. The great wheels have been discovered, material and moral, by which the globe is moved, beyond all other, principles of motion; and they who endeavour to guide it, and do not catch the handles of them properly, will be thrown off, like Phaetons out of the sun. In such attempts it may be “glorious é'en to fail,” especially in the eyesof the readers of old school-books; but it is more glorious to ride in tranquil victory through the sky, dispensing daylight and abundance, and enjoying the praise and gratitude of the readers of the new. ! Ovid shall vindicate the one ; and he shall do it finely. Bacon, and the sage of Weimar, shall hail the other; and the world shall bless them.

There are many signs of the times, that rejoice us when we contemplate the result of these debates on the Corporation and Test Acts.

The first is, that the House of Commons agree, very generally, in lamenting the amendments of the bill in the House of Lords, and wish it had been still more liberał. By this we may judge of the great mass of liberal opinion in thạt House, on matters connected with religion; and how it has been secretly inereasing of late years.

. . . . . .,4,' In the next place, the House of Lords did nevertheless agree to the bill, as so amended; and by this we may guess, at the increase of liberal opinion in that House; which cannot be expected to make such progress in philosophy as the other. Its titles alone naturally hamper it with sophistications, and make it jealous of the growth of benefits in which privileges are lessened, and nothing is taken for granted. The bill does it great honour. ' . .,

Thirdly, “ the true faith of a Christian," though it is a phrase apparently diminishing the bounds of the declaration, does not in reality do so ; and yet by the introduction of the word "true,' shows at the same time what an extensiveness of interpretation may be given to the words « faith of a Christian, in the opinion of the Noble Lords. They doubt whether the faith of a Christian may notreasonably be considered as something very wide of the * mark of a great many specific Christian faiths, and therefore they add the very sensitive and useless word “ true;" as if anybody who believes his faith to be the Christian faith, does not believe it to be the true faith; or would haggle at declaring either, if he could declare one. True, as our friend of the Oriental Mission says, is only what a man trows, or trusteth, in consequence of knowledge; that is to say, what he believes to be true, and the right way of regarding anything: so that when a man says, that his faith is the true Christian faith, he only says he trusts that it is so;- that it is so, according to his trowing, or capacity of belief and knowledge. Now, the very nicety of this phrase will do the very thing which the Noble Lords appear not to have in their contemplation. It suggests an extreme latitude of interpretation. It is .not only the ordinary dissenter who will be ready to declare it.

The “ free-thinking Christian," one of a numerous and growing body, will be most happy to do so; and the “ Christianist” (to use another term lately come up) who goes farther than he, and looks upon the great Author of Christianity in the same light, though with greater reverence, as a Platonist regarded Plato, will think it most especially becoming his notion of the faith ; for, argues he, the only faith which it is possible for a Christian to trow, is the practical part, which is therefore the true faith ; and this he thinks is the only part of it which his divine master cared for, because all the remainder, at the very best, is but a means; and in arguing this point, he will quote his text if required, which is the famous one of St James, the most Christian of the apostles ; who says, that “ true religion and undefiled before God, is to visit the sick and the fatherless and to keep ourself unspotted from the world.” That is to say, exclaims the Christianist, “ the true faith of a Christian” consists in doing good and not being worldlyminded ; and so saying, he takes the oath with delight. . . .

Lastly, we are glad to see the Bishops have been so liberal. Of such men (if we must have official persons between ourselves and heaven) we trust the hierarchy will be always composed. We now see the value of having a bench of Bishops more well-bred than puritanical; more accommodating than zealous; more benevolent and good-natured, than mortified and exacting. We hail them, as having exhibited in this instance more of the “ true faith of a:

Christian" than any of their opponents, certainly than any of the violent among them; and it will be to their immortal honour, and not to their shame, if any future improvement receive the sanction of their voices in the same wise and truly Christian spirit. We were strolling the other day with a friend from village to village on the borders of Middlesex, admiring those beautiful old churches, seated upon tranquil meadows, and having church-yards by them, in which it seemed but a step out of the cottage windows into another bed near one's home and one's family; and we thought how well, under any change of opinion, provided the true faith of Christian benevolence were kept up, those preachers of peace in the House of Lords would look in the pulpits of those other houses, inculcating the great ends of religion amidst the kind and happy. faces of the village family. Some of the greatest innovators (so thought) are the least, if all were known. They would get rid of evil or ignorance; but not a single good would they lose, if possible; no, nor a form of it, if the foolish evil could be cast out. Give us a village with its old trees and its old church; let the clergyman come down the avenue, if he will, drest in his old habiliments, for the children to pluck as he goes, and get a smile of him; let us hear the glorious church organ, opening the portals of space and time, and mingling with the winds of another world; and only let there be no such things as all leisure with some, and all poverty with others, and not a hair of the sacred head of antiquity should be touched. We would but give it the benefit of our experience, and of what it first helped us to learn; would but deliver it from what itself lamented in the old system of things; and enable it to recognize the real spirit of its own belief and its own liberated knowledge, walking forth beautifully in the new.


We have long owed a notice to the Specimens of British Poetesses, edited by the Rey. Alexander Dyce, and published by Mr Rodd of

Newport street: but the truth is, they pleased us so much, we wish the Editor had pleased us more; we mean, had taken more pains to render the volume complete, and what it ought to be. He seems an impartial man, duly alive to the amenities of his office; but the company of so many ladies appears to have been too much for him. He is so charmed to hear them speak, that he says little or nothing himself; and is 80 willing to think the best of what they say, that he does not always put down the best things they have said, but the poorest. The selections, for instance, from Anne Killigrew, might have been a great deal better. Mr Dyce says of Mrs Sheridan (mother of the dramatist) that “ her Sidney Biddulph was once a popular novel, and her romance Nourjahad still finds readers.” So does Sidney Biddulph.* Speaking of Mrs Brooke, he says, that with the exception of her “ sweet and simple afterpiece Rosina” (which, by the way, is well said) “ her various other works, novels included, are forgotten.” This is a mistake. Her Lady Julia Mandevillé, for example, is well known, and collected among the popular novels. Mrs Inchbald has put it in her collection. Of Mrs Greville, who wrote the Prayer for Indifference, 'some account might surely be found. We have met with one somewhere. Mr Dyce has been idle; which is a thing the ladies will not tolerate, even in a good listener. However, there is a pleasing spirit in what little he has done; and we think that all ladies who can afford it, and all their admirers who would see honour done them, are bound to hasten and buy up the first edition of this work, in order that their friend may give us a better. We should think that no intelligent woman, who prides herself on having a graceful set of books, and can afford to add this to the number, ought in honour to be without it. It is the only selection of the kind that has appeared for many years; is of course completer than any former one; and contains some beautiful flowers, brought from various quarters, field, park-ground, and cottage. We proceed to behave like proper critical rakes, and rifle the sweetest of the sweet.

* It was after reading this novel that Johnson said to the authoress,“ he did not know whether she had a right to make her readers suffer so much."

Some verses attributed to poor Anne Boleyn are very touching, especially the second and last verses, and the burden; but our attention is drawn by the stately. bluntness of Queen Elizabeth, who writes in the same bigh style that she acted, and seems ready to knock us on the head if we do not admire ;--- which luckily we do. The conclusion of her verses on Mary Queen of Scots (whom Mr Dyce has well designated as “ that lovely, unfortunate, but surely not guiltless woman') are very characteristic. "

" No foreign banish'd wight

Shall anchor in this port;
Our réalm it brooks no stranger's torce;

· Let them elsewhere resort.
Our rusty sword with rest ..

Shall first his edge employ,
And poll their tops that seek

Such change, and gape for joy." A politician thoughtlessly gaping for joy, and having his head shaved offlike a turnip by the sword of the Maiden Queen, presents an example considerably to be eschewed. Hear however the same woman in love.

“ I grieve, and dare not shew my discontent;

I love, and yet am forc'd to seem to hate;
I do, yet dare not say I ever meant ;

I seem stark mute, yet inwardly do prate :
I am, and not; I freeze, and yet am burn'd,
Since from myself my other self I turn'd.

« My care is like my shadow in the sun,

Follows me flying, flies when I pursue it;
Stands and lies by me, does what I have done ;

This too familiar care does make me rue it :
No means I find to rid him from my breast,

Till by the end of things it be supprest.
“ Some gentler passions slide into my mind,

For I am soft and made of melting snow;
Or be more cruel, Love, and so be kind,

Let me or float or sink, be high or low:
Or let me live with some more sweet content,
Or die, and so forget what love e'er meant.”

Signed, " Finis, Eliza. Regina, upon Moun ...'s depar.

ture,” Ashmol. Mus. MSS. 6969. (781) p. 142.“

Moun..... is probably Blount Lord “ Mountjoy," of whose

« PreviousContinue »