FRIEND OF THE PEOPLE.
FEBRUARY 14, 1852.
POEMS BY ALFRED TENNYSON.
7th Edition. Moxon.
WE commence our review of the Laureate's Poetry with
a notice of the critique upon Tennyson, in the last No. of the Critic,
signed "Apollodorus," which, to the initiated, meaneth Apollo George
Gilfillan, that mighty-worded Bard of Bombast. He commences with a
series of comparisons about Byron and Schiller, and Goethe and Tennyson.
Tennyson, he asserts to be like Goethe, an "imperfect whole." Now it
appears to us, that if one thing more than another can be particularly
averred of Tennyson, and his subtle genius, it is that it is a brilliant
perfect PART. In poetry, he is not "a whole,"
his range is limited; in the grand chorus, he is but a part; in the
universe, he is but a world; but in that range he is a great poet, and one
of "earth's immortal few." In his part he is perfect, and his world
is a world of wondrous beauty and enchantment. Whatever Tennyson
does is perfected beyond any poetry of this century. Wordsworth has
left heaps of weeds and idle tares, amid the generous harvest of his
verse. Byron and Shelley have each written hundreds of lines which,
had they lived, they would have destroyed as "bosh;" but we challenge any
one to prove the same charge against this edition of Tennyson's Poems.
The Critic next asks, what he has done? We answer, that he is
the author of at least twenty poems, each of which is as much the work of
a great poet, and a born singer, as "Paradise Lost," "The Revolt of
Islam," or "Christibel." The measure of a Poem's divinity lies not
in its length. We believe it demands as great a poet to write an
immortal song, such as Auld Langsyne, or Auld Robin Gray, as would suffice
to write an Epic Poem. Tennyson is a subjective poet; that is a
teacher by thoughts, rather than by things; a revealer of the inner,
rather than a describer of the outer: and as such, where is his peer?
He is an Idyllic poet, and where are the Idilliums of your Bions and
Moschus's that shall for a moment compare with his charming "Miller's
Daughter?" He has produced some of the sweetest Lyrics written this
century; and, above all poetry of our epoch, they possess the requisite
quality of songfulness, by which they sing of themselves. In proof
of this, we have but to mention the "May Queen," "New Year's Eve," and the
Songs in the "Princess"—all of which over-brim with beauty, exquisite
tenderness, and the very naiveté of genius. Tennyson is the most
suggestive poet we know of. His epithets are intuitions, and his
thoughts possess a marvellous creative power. Ask of the young
rising poets of the day! Is it not proverbial that they are all
Tennysonian? Let George Gilfillan question the poetry of Alexander
Smith, whom he lately championed in the Eclectic Review and the
Critic as a "New Poet," and a new star among the orbs of song.
Next to Carlyle, we should say Tennyson is the most irresistible in
compelling imitation. The young mind of the age follows him, as our
Dramatists since the Elizabethean era, have followed Shakespeare: and many
of those who decry him are indebted to him most. And no marvel that
he should possess this power; for who among the dead or the living, can so
reveal the poetic spirit to itself as Tennyson? What has he done?
He has written the "Lady of Shalott," one of the deepest spiritual
utterances of the time. The "Palace of Art," the "Talking Oak,"
"Locksley Hall," the "Vision of Sin," the "Princess" and "In Memoriam," a
work which some think the Poem of this century. These alone would
entitle him to place his feet upon the mount of Immortality.
But has he done aught like Festus?" urges the Critic.
We rejoice to say, No; for though that Poem contains some of the fittest
poetry in the English language, as a work of art it is an unlicked cub,
such as another generation, with a purer taste, wont bear.
"Or has he perpetrated any such terrific originality as 'Death's Jest
Book?' " Thank God, No! And no sin to him that he has not
turned his divine faculty into a disease, as poor Bedoes did—with his
mental morbidity and ghastly taste for cutting and carving dead bodies.
Heaven preserve us from such "terrific originality!"
After long floundering about, it comes out that our Critic
has been writing down Tennyson to exalt a friend of his, Thomas Aird,
whose inspiration would seem to be lightning from below, rather than light
from above, judging from the two principal productions mentioned by his
admirer:—to wit, the "Demoniac,'' and the "Devil's Dream," from which he
quotes a line or two about the sky of Hell being like a red bewildered
map, all scribbled over with crossed lightnings, which is certainly very
graphic, and also very geographic. But enough of this; you cannot
add a cubit to the stature of any man, nor take from any man by such
comparisons, though we may say that setting Thomas Aird by the side of
Alfred Tennyson, is somewhat like placing a bramble-bush beside the Cedar
of Lebanon. Having done with Apollo George Gilfillan, we proceed.
Tennyson is not universal-natured, nor myriad-minded; he is not a
Shakspeare—not a Milton; he is a distinct individuality. The creator
of a new era in poetry, and our greatest living singer. We have said
that he is essentially a lyric poet. But he has also dramatic power,
though scarcely representative. This is most evident in the "St.
Simeon Stylites," that graphic delineation of the dark spirit of
fanaticism, which delights in cursing self rather than in blessing others;
and in torturing the flesh that the spirit may aspire. Sublimer
still is the "Vision of Sin," in which Tennyson has struck one of the
deepest chords of his lyre, and shown what a lofty sense he has of the
Poet's mission. He does not look upon poetry as a mere glittering
foil, to be flashed at fence upon gala-days; but as a sharp and
double-edged sword, tempered to bear the brunt of fiery onset in the
battle of life, and to be wielded by a stalwart arm, nerved by a true
heart and a brave purpose, to pierce to the heart of Crime, Wrong, and
Evil throughout the world. Tennyson is likewise a great Democratic
Poet—in his treatment of things lowly, and his frequent utterance of stern
frequent utterances of stern and wholesome Democratic truths. He is
a Poet of passion; and surely Byron's fiery verse never ran with the lava
of intense feeling more mightily than "Love and Duty,'' and "Locksley
Hall;" which latter, in its blasting scorn for the rotten lies and gilded
hypocrisies of our social anarchy, for the brave resolve it inspires, and
the noble lesson it inculcates, stamps Tennyson as a great teacher of his
age. The "Princess" we look upon as one of the noblest songs of
Progress the age has heard; it dares to take up one of our great social
questions, and to champion the Rights of Woman. With Tennyson's
Poems we are in a garden of such radiant and fragrant flowers, all heavy
with balm and steeped in the dews of Paradise, we scarce know where to
choose and cull. Suppose we begin with the good old legend of
Coventry, "Godiva," the noble woman who rode naked through the city on
horseback to save the poor from the bitter burden of her husband's taxes.
It is still lovingly cherished by the people, and who has not heard of
"Peeping Tom of Coventry!"
Not only we, the latest seed of Time,
New men, that ill the flying of a wheel
Cry down the past; not only we that prate
Of rights and wrongs, have loved the people well,
And loathed to see them over-taxed; but she
Did more, and underwent, and overcame,
The woman of a thousand summers back.
Godiva, wife of that grim earl, who ruled
In Coventry: for when he laid a tax
Upon his town, and all the mothers brought
Their children clamouring, "If we pay, we starve!"
She sought her lord, and found him, where he strode
About the hall, among his dogs alone,
His beard a foot before him, and his hair
A yard behind. She told him of their tears,
And prayed him "If they pay this tax, they starve."
Whereat he stared, replying, half amazed,
"You would not let your little finger ache
For such as these." "But I would die," she said.
He laugh'd and swore by Peter and by Paul:
Then fillip'd at the diamond in her ear;
"O ay, ay, ay, you talk! "Alas," she said,
"But prove me what it is I would not do."
And from a heart, as rough as Esau's hand,
He answered, "Ride you naked thro' the town,
And I repeal it;" and nodding as in scorn,
He parted, with great strides among his dogs.
So left alone, the passions of her mind
As winds from all the compass shift and blow,
Made war upon each other for an hour,
Till pity won. She sent a herald forth,
And bade him cry, with sound of trumpet, all
The hard condition; but that she would loose
The people: therefore, as they loved her well,
From then till noon no foot should pace the street.
No eve look down; she passing; but that all
Should keep within, door shut, and window barr'd.
Then fled she to her inmost bower, and there
Unclasp'd the wedded eagles of her belt,
The grim Earl's gift; but even at a breath
She linger'd, looking like a summer moon
Half dipt in cloud: anon she shook her head,
And shower'd the rippled ringlets to her knee
Unclad herself in haste; adown the stair
Stole on; and, like a creeping sunbeam, slid
From pillar unto pillar, until she reach'd
The gateway; there, she found her palfrey trapt
In purple, blazon'd with armorial gold.
Then rode she forth, clad on with chastity;
The deep air listen'd round her as she rode,
And all the low wind hardly breath'd for fear.
The little wide-mouth'd heads upon the spout,
Had cunning eyes to see; the barking cur
Made her cheek flame; her palfrey's footfall shot,
Light horror thro' her pulses: the blind walls
Were full of chinks and holes; and overhead
Fantastic gables, crowding, stared; but she
Not less thro' all bore up, till last, she saw
The white-flower'd elder-thicket from the field,
Gleam thro' the Gothic archways in the wall.
Then she rode back, clothed on with chastity:
And one low churl, compact of thankless earth,
The fatal by word of all years to come,
Boring a little augur-hole in fear,
Peep'd—but his eyes, before they had their will,
Were shrivell'd into darkness in his head,
And dropt before him. So the powers who wait
On noble deeds, cancell'd a sense misused;
And she, that knew not, pass'd, and all at once,
With twelve great shocks of sound, the shameless noon,
Was clash'd and hammer'd from a hundred towers,
One after one; but even then sihe gain'd
Her bower; whence reissuing, robed and crown'd,
To meet her lord, she took the tax away,
And built herself an everlasting name.
(TO BE CONTINUED.)
FRIEND OF THE PEOPLE.
MARCH 6, 1852.
"LOCKSLEY HALL" is a tale of
thwarted true love, told in passionate soliloquy. The fine gold of
poetry boils up in it, as from the red-hot crucible of martyrdom, pure and
priceless. We purpose running through it, and extracting, as space
may permit. The Lover, while out with his comrades, finds himself
once more near "Locksley Hall," and dear and bitter reminiscences crowd
upon the memory of the olden love, and days that are no more.
"Many a night from yonder ivied casement, ere I went
Did I look on great Orion sloping slowly to the west.
Many a night I saw the Pleiads rising through the
Glitter like a swarm of fire-flies tangled in a silver braid.
Here about the beach I wandered, nourishing a youth
With the fairy tales of science, and the long result of
When I dipt into the future, far as human eye could
Saw the vision of the world, and all the wonder that
In the Spring a fuller crimson comes upon the Robin's
In the spring the wanton lapwing gets himself another
In the Spring a livelier iris changes on the burnish'd
In the Spring a young man's fancy lightly turns to
thoughts of love.
Then her cheek was pale and thinner than should be
for one so young,
And her eyes on all my motions, with a mute observance
And I said, 'My cousin Amy, speak, and speak the
truth to me,
Trust me, cousin, all the current of my being sets to
On her palid cheek and forehead came a colour and a
As I have seen the rosy red, flushing in the northern
And she turned—her bosom shaken with a sudden storm
All the spirit deeply dawning in the dark of hazel
Saying, 'I have hid my feelings, fearing they should do
Saying, 'Dost thou love me, cousin!' Weeping, 'I have
loved thee long.'
Is it not a sweet confession? Now mark the graceful and
joyous lilt of the next four lines.
Love took up the glass of Time, and turned it in his
Every moment, lightly shaken, ran itself in golden
Love took up the harp of Life, and smote on all the
chords with might,
Smote the chord, of self that trembling, pass'd in music
out of sight.
How exquisite and perfect that simile? If you smite the
harp-string, it passes into a winged sound, you can no longer see it.
So when Love smites the chord of Self in the harp of Life, all selfishness
passes away in music and trembling joy.
But stronger remembrances throng up, and the lover bewails
her deceit, and bursts out in bitter scathing scorn, for the man who has
Falser than all fancy fathoms, falser than all songs have
Puppet to a father's threat, and servile to a shrewish
Is it well to wish thee happy? having known me to
On a range of lower feelings, and a narrower heart than
Yet it shall be: thou shalt lower to his level day by day,
As the husband is, the wife is: thou art mated with a
And the grossness of his nature will have weight to drag
He will hold thee, -when his passion shall have spent its
Something better than his dog, a little dearer than his
What is this? his eyes are heavy, think not they are
glazed with wine,
Go to him, it is thy duty—kiss him—take his hand in thine,
It may be my lord is weary, that his brain is over wrought;
Soothe him with thy finer fancies, touch him with thy
He will answer to the purpose, easy things to under-
Better thou wert dead before we, though I slew thee with
Better thou and I were lying, hidden from the heart's
Rolled in one another's arms, and silent in a last embrace.
Cursed be the social wants that sin against the strength
Cursed be the social lies that warp us from the living truth!
Cursed be the sickly forms that err from honest Nature's rule!
Cursed be the gold that gilds the straighten'd forehead of
Can I think of her as dead, and love her for the love
No! she never loved me truly: love is love for evermore.
Comfort! comfort scorn'd of devils! this is truth the
That a sorrow's crown of sorrow is remembering happier
Drug thy memories lest thou learn it, lest thy heart be
put to proof,
In the dead unhappy midnight when the rain is on the
How powerfully the following reminds us of Byron:—
O! I see thee old and formal, fitted to thy petty part,
With a little hoard of maxims preaching down a daughter's
'They were dangerous guides the feelings, she herself
was not exempt,—
Tritely, she herself had suffered'—perish in thy self-
But now shall HE overlive it? he must
mix himself with action, or die slowly in despair, the beautiful puppet of
his early worship has made shipwreck of his hopes, but he has strength
enough left to swim for shore, 'tis not such natures as his that die of a
broken heart, and wherever deep, divine Love hath brooded and nestled, it
hath dropt healing from its wings when it fled. Though this arrow on
which he staked so much, hath missed its mark, his quiver of life is not
yet empty. But what shall he turn to, every door is barred with
gold, and opens but to golden keys, all the markets of the world overflow,
and ever gate is thronged with suiters, he has but an "angry fancy," he
had been content to fight and fall in battle.
"But the jingling of the guinea helps the hurt that
And the nations do but murmur snarling at each
What shall he do but return to his earlier faith in progress,
the divinity of the young?
"Men my brothers, men the workers, ever reading
That which they have done but earnest of the things
that they shall do.
Till the war-drum throb no longer, and the battle-flags
In the Parliament of men, the Federation of the world.
Not in vain the distance beacons: forward! forward let
Let the great world spin for ever down the ringing
groves of change.
Through the shadow of the globe we sweep into the
Better fifty years of Europe than a cycle to Cathay.
O! I see the crescent promise of my spirit hath not set,
Ancient founts of inspiration well through all my
And so it ends hopefully and cheerfully, dealing a deadly
blow to Werterism, and all such sickly sentimentality. It is brave
and healthful. It was the right thing at the right time, and like
new wine, it burst the old bottles which our Lovepoets have been corking
up for the last century. We have not interpolated with our own
observations, seeing that the object we have in view, is not so much
criticism, as to get as much of Tennyson's poetry in as possible.
Another object we have is to cull that kind of poetry which may be easily
appreciated. "In Memoriam," "The Two Voices," and his deeper
utterances may follow at some future time. Therefore we extract the
sweet little favourite of ours:—
"Sweet Emma Moreland of yonder town
Met me walking on yonder way
'And have you lost your heart?' she said,
'Are you married yet, Edward Gray?'
Sweet Emmy Moreland spoke to me:
Bitterly weeping, I turned away,
'Sweet Emma Moreland, love no more
Can touch the heart of Edward Gray.'
Ellen Adair she loved me well,
Against her father's and mother's will,
To-day I sat for an hour and wept
By Ellen's grave on the windy hill.
Shy she was, and I thought her cold;
Thought her cold and tied o'er the sea
Filled I was with folly and spite,
When Ellen Adair was dying for me.
Cruel, cruel, the words I said!
Cruelly came they back to-day:
'You're too slight and fickle,' I said,
'To trouble the heart of Edward Gray.'
Then I put my face in the grass,
Whispered, 'Listen to my despair,
I repent me of all I did,
Speak a little, Ellen Adair.'
Then I took a pencil and wrote
On the mossy stone as I lay,
'Here lies the body of Ellen Adair,
And here the heart of Edward Gray!'
Love may come, and love may go,
And fly like a bird from tree to tree:
But I will love no more, no more,
Till Ellen Adair comes back to me.
Bitterly wept I over the stone,
Bitterly weeping I turned away:
There lies the body of Ellen Adair,
And there the heart of Edward Gray."
With another specimen of the Laureat's poetry we must, for
the time being, content ourselves, and, for the present conclude.
Genius is essentially Democratic in its instincts, and Tennyson we have
said, is a great democratic poet. Here is a song, though not put
into rhyme, full of our faith in the Future; and those ideas of "Liberty"
and "Brotherhood" written in every line of it.
THE GOLDEN YEAR.
"We sleep and wake, and sleep, but all things move,
The sun flies forward to his brother sun;
The dark earth follows wheel'd in her ellipse;
And human things returning on themselves,
Move onward, leading up the GOLDEN YEAR.
Ah, though the times, when some new thought can bud,
Are but a poet's seasons when they flower,
Yet seas that daily gain upon the shore,
Have ebb and flow conditioning their march,
And slow and sure comes up the GOLDEN YEAR.
When wealth no more shall rest in mounded heaps,
But smit with frëer light shall slowly melt,
In many streams to fatten lower lands,
And light shall spread, and man be liker man
Through all the seasons of the GOLDEN YEAR.
Fly happy, happy, sails, and bear the Press;
Fly happy with the mission of the Cross;
Knit land to land, and blowing havenward
With silks, and fruits, and spices, clear of toll,
Enrich the markets of the GOLDEN YEAR.
But we grow old, ah! when shall all men's good
Be each man's rule, and universal Peace
Lie like a shaft of light across the land;
And like a lane of beams across the sea,
Through all the circles of the GOLDEN YEAR?"
FRIEND OF THE PEOPLE.
FEBRUARY 21, 1852.
MEMOIRS OF MARGARET FULLER OSSOLI.
By R. W. EMERSON, and W. H. CHANNING. Three Vols.
THESE are among the most beautiful biographic books
we ever read, beautiful as "Carlyle's Life of Sterling." They are
America's noblest contributions to this class of Literature.
Margaret Fuller appears to have been one of those gallant spirits, who
start in the race with the loftiest hopes and aspirations, eager to
suffer, daring to do, and mighty to overcome; they loom upon us with their
large expectancy, and radiant with the morning-glory of youth that clings
about them, like the early Gods looming upon us through the dawn-light of
Time; but somehow they never reach the goal. The flower of their
glorious promise dies out, but the fruit does not follow. The
wondrous impressions of their powers and capabilities produced upon their
immediate circle of lovers and worshippers, does not orb out to stamp
itself upon the world. Such was John Sterling; hence his public
reputation bears no comparison to that estimate of his genius entertained
by his friends and admirers. They speak as seers standing on the
summit of their admiration, and their report to us, seems exaggerated.
The impression produced by John Sterling in his own sphere,
and that of the celebrated Jewess, Rahel Levin of Berlin, are akin to that
of Margaret Fuller. She was a great talker, her speech was eloquent
as that of Coleridge, and her auditors would listen for hours in rapt
entrancement to her inspired utterance, powerful, passionate and full of
Margaret Fuller was born at Cambridge Port, Massachusetts, in
1810. Her father was a lawyer and politician, a man of great energy,
and rare determination of character. He became early aware of his
little daughter's remarkable capacity, and educated her more as a boy than
a girl. He crammed her with learning early and late, in season and
out of season. By this mistaken course of mental discipline,
Margaret's health was impaired for life; she became nervous, and a
sleep-walker, also assuming and pedantic; the natural result of such an
education. Even during her childhood she asserted her superiority,
and said to herself "I will be a queen," and she was obeyed by her
contemporaries, who bent to her with the upmost personal devotion.
She eagerly devoured all kinds of knowledge—abstruse and philosophical,
poetry and science; read Madame de Staël, Epictetus, Milton, Racine, Berni,
Locke, just when she had left school. It is noticeable, that as a
phenomenon rare in the history of female genius, Margaret Fuller never
isolated herself from her own sex, she did not clutch at manhood, and
endeavour to unsex herself, which has been done by many of the
"strong-minded," masculine feminities, a course as fatal to the true
development and graceful growth of Womanhood, as it is hurtful to the
beauty and nature of the spreading lush-green yew-tree, to rob it of its
branched glories, and torture it into the miserable effigy of a peacock.
Even while she published herself as foremost among the emancipated
sisterhood, she was always careful of her dress and appearance, and by no
mean disposed to waive her rights to deferential treatment as a woman.
Margaret Fuller was early attached to German
Transcendentalism, and become a great lover of German Literature, sat in
judgment on Göethe, Schiller, Jean Paul, Belline and Gunderode.
She was a passionate student of music, and rhapsodised about
Beethoven; she also did her utmost to enter into the study of the
Painter's Art. In short, our heroine appears to have always acted up
to the principle announced among her confessions, when she says, "Very
early I knew that the only object in life was to grow." Such are
a few of the characteristics of this singular girl, and remarkable woman;
though her singularities did not interrupt her duties. On the sudden
death of her father, she acted a worthy and noble part in the family,
proving herself wise in counsel, brave in support, and great in
self-sacrifice. She went out and taught as a means of support to the
family, and thus postponed the undivided attention to authorship, which
would have enabled her to do justice to her large intellect and poetical
aspirations. In this hallowed home, the great woman shines out with
greater glory than world-wide fame could throw around her. There is
nothing glorifies human nature as much as the beautiful, heroic spirit of
self-sacrifice. There is no poetry like that of playing a noble part
in the nooks and bye-ways of the world; no glory like that which gilds the
martyr-lives wrought out in supreme silence as solitude, unchronicled and
Margaret Fuller formed a close and very deep friendship with
Miss Martineau, while that lady was in America. She translated "Eckermann's
Conversation with Goethe," which made her reputation as a translator.
She spent a few years in Boston, talking, teaching writing, and assisting
her family; and in 1844 removed to New York to assist Mr. Horace Greeley
with the New York Tribune. She afterwards went to France, and
in Paris her first desire was to see that large hearted, large-brained
woman—Madame Dudevant, best known as "George Sand." We extract
Margaret's description of this great genius, this noble lady, who has
lived down more malignity and hatred than any person of the time. We
get a charming glimpse of her at home.
"I went to see her at her house, Place
d'Orleans. I found it a handsome modern residence. She had not
answered my letter, written about a week before, and I felt a little
anxious lest she should not receive me: for she is too much the mark of
impertinent curiosity, as well as too busy, to be easily accessible to
strangers. * * * The servant who admitted me was in the picturesque
costume of a peasant, and, as Madame Sand afterward told me, her
god-daughter, whom she had brought from her province. She announced
me as, 'Madame Saleze,' and returned into the ante-room to tell me,
'Madame says she does not know you.' I began to think I was
doomed to the rebuff, among the crowd who deserve it. However, to
make assurance sure, I said, 'Ask if she has not received a letter from
me.' As I spoke, Madame S. opened the door, and stood looking at me
an instant. Our eyes met. I never shall forget her look at
that moment. The doorway made a frame for her figure; she is large,
but well-formed. She was dressed in a robe of dark violet silk, with
a black mantle on her shoulders, her beautiful hair dressed with the
greatest taste, her whole appearance and attitude, in its simple and
lady-like dignity, presented an almost ludicrous contrast to the vulgar
caricature idea of George Sand. Her face is a very little like the
portraits, but much finer; the upper part of the forehead and eyes are
beautiful, the lower, strong and masculine, expressive of a hardy
temperament and strong passions, but not in the least coarse; the
complexion olive, and the air of the whole head Spanish (as, indeed, she
was born at Madrid, and is only on one side of French blood). All
these details I saw at a glance; but what fixed my attention was the
expression of goodness, nobleness, and power that pervaded the
whole,—the truly human heart and nature that shone in the eyes. As
our eyes met, she said, 'C'est vous,' and held out her hand.
I took it, and went into her little study: we sat down a moment, then I
said, 'Il me fait de bien de vous voir,' * * * . She looked
away, and said, 'Ah! vous m'avez écrit une lettre charmante.'
This was all the preliminary of our talk, which then went on as if we had
always known one another. She told me, before I went away, that she
was going that very day to write to me; that when the servant announced me
she did not recognise the name, but after a minute it struck her that it
might be la dame Américaine, as the foreigners very commonly call
me, for they find my name hard to remember. She was very much
pressed for time, as she was then preparing copy for the printer, and
having just returned, there were many applications to see her, but she
wanted me to stay then, saying, 'It is better to throw things aside, and
seize the present moment.' I stayed a good part of the day, and was
very glad afterwards, for I did not see her again uninterrupted.
Another day I was there, and saw her in her circle. Her daughter and
another lady were present, and a number of gentlemen. Her position
there was of an intellectual woman and good friend,—the same as my own in
the circle of my acquaintance as distinguished from my intimates.* * * Her
way of talking is just like her writing—lively, picturesque, with an
undertone of deep feeling, and the same happiness in striking the nail on
the head every now and then with a blow. * * * I forgot to mention, that,
while talking, she does smoke all the time her little cigarette.
This is now a common practice among ladies abroad, but I believe
originated with her."
Beautiful! is it not? And what a charming air of
self-complacency that little allusion to herself has. Margaret next
visited London, and we extract her visit to Carlyle's. We imagine
the "French, witty, and flippant sort of man," to be our friend G. H.
Lewes, who must have been laying himself out as Patroclus, playing Nestor
and Agamemnon to amuse the modern Achilles in his camp; if so, Margaret
evidently skimmed the brilliant surface of him, and did not gauge the
depths and under-currents.
"Of the people I saw in London, you will
wish me to speak first of the Carlyles. Mr. C. came to see me at
once, and appointed an evening to be passed at their house. That
first time I was delighted with him. He was in a very sweet
humour,—full of wit and pathos, without being overbearing and oppressive.
I was quite carried away with the rich flow of his discourse; and the
hearty, noble earnestness of his personal being brought back the charm
which once was upon his writing, before I wearied of it. I admired
his Scotch, his way of singing his great full sentence, so that each one
was like the stanza of a narrative ballad. He let me talk now and
then, enough to free my lungs and change my position, so that I did not
get tired. That evening, he talked of the present state of things in
England, giving light, witty sketches of the men of the day, fanatics and
others, and some sweet, homely stories he told of things he had known of
the Scotch peasantry. Of you he spoke with hearty kindness; and he
told with beautiful feeling, a story of some poor farmer, or artisan, in
the country, who on Sundays lays aside the cark and care of that dirty
English world, and sits reading the Essays, and looking upon the sea.
I left him that night, intending to go out very often to their house.
I assure you there never was anything so witty as Carlyle's description of
— —. It was enough to kill one with laughing. I, on my Side,
contributed a story to his fund of anecdote on this subject, and it was
fully appreciated. Carlyle is worth a thousand of you for that; he
is not ashamed to laugh, when he is amused, but goes on in a cordial human
fashion. The second time, Mr. C. had a dinner-party, at which was a
witty, French, flippant sort of man, author of a History of Philosophy,
and now writing a Life of Göethe, a task for which he must be as unfit as
irreligion and sparkling shallowness can make him. But he told
stories admirably, and was allowed sometimes to interrupt Carlyle a little
of which one was glad, for that night he was more in his acrid mood; and,
though much more brilliant than on the former evening, grew wearisome to
me, who disclaimed and rejected almost everything he said. For a
couple of hours he was talking about poetry, and the whole harangue was
one eloquent proclamation of the defects in his own mind. Tennyson
wrote in verse because the schoolmaster had taught him that it was great
to do so, and has thus, unfortunately, been turned from the true path for
a man. Burns had, in like manner, been turned from his vocation.
Shakspeare had not had the good sense to see that it would have been
better to write straight on in prose;—and such nonsense, which though
amusing enough at first, he ran to death after a while. The most
amusing part is always when he comes back to some refrain, as in the
French Revolution of the sea-green. In this instance, it was
Petrarch and Laura, the last word pronounced with his ineffable
sarcasm of drawl. Although he said this over fifty times, I could
not ever help laughing when Laura would come. Carlyle running his
chin out, when he spoke it, and his eyes glancing till they looked like
the eyes and beak of a bird of prey. Poor Laura! Lucky for her
that her poet had already got her safely canonized beyond the leach of
this Teufelsdrockh vulture. The worst of hearing Carlyle is that you
cannot interrupt him. I understand the habit and power of haranguing
have increased very much upon him, so that you are a perfect prisoner when
he has once got hold of you. To interrupt him is a physical
impossibility. If you get a chance to remonstrate for a moment, he
raises his voice and bears you down."
Margaret next went to Italy, as though, as she remarks, she
had known the completion of her destiny awaited her there, and to Italy
she went from France. We shall not have space in this notice to tell
the story of her singular and secret marriage with the Count Ossoli, not
speak of the proud part she played in the Roman Revolution, and of the
tearful catastrophe which closed the voyage home. All is so graphic
and picturesque that we must return to this biography, notwithstanding our
repugnance to these words—
MEMOIRES OF MARGARET FULLER OSSOLI.
By R. W. Emerson and W. H. Charming. 3. vols. Bentley,
(Concluded from No. 3.)
FROM her childhood upwards; Margaret Fuller had
always imagined she was destined for some brilliant career, and that
she would achieve something great, though there sometimes came a
presentiment that it might be thwarted by some untoward fate. She
felt that she had not found her place in the world's market, as the
following passage from her journal will testify:—
"A noble career is yet before me, if I can be unimpeded by
cares. I have given almost all my young energies to personal
relations; but, at present I feel inclined to impel the general stream of
thought. Let my nearest friends also wish that I should now take a
share in more public life."
She was not at all contented with what she had written, a
sure sign of intellectual advancement, and regrets that she has not the
patience necessary for artistic details, remarking, that there never was a
great artist who did not love to chip his marble. Her works written
at this time, were, a pleasant "Summer among the Lakes," the clear and
melodious book, called "Women in the Nineteenth Century", which has been
reprinted in this country in Slater's Shilling Library; also "Papers on
Literature and Art" (collected from the New York Tribune, and other
American Journals), which evince polished ,taste, subtle insight, critical
acumen and a noble appreciation of the beautiful. Long before she
undertook her journey to Europe to feast her soul on the literary society
and art for which she pined and yearned, this cry had burst from her
intense heart, and was registered among her other aspirations.
"With the intellectual I always have, always shall,
overcome; but that is not the half of the work. The life! the life!
Oh, my God! shall the life never be sweet?"
But the pilgrim to European shrines of art and beauty found
English domestic intercourse all too strained and fettered, and affected,
while that of France was too insincere for such a nature as hers; and so
she went to sweet and sunny Italy, the Garden of Eden that still lives.
Italy, the land of glorious song and noble recollections! whose skies are
ever blue, and whose face is ever beautiful. At Rome the romance of
her life-began. On the evening of "Holy Thursday," 1847, she went to
hear vespers at St. Peter's. She proposed to her companions that
some place in the church should be designated, when, after the service,
they should meet. When at length she saw the crowd was dispersing,
she returned to the place assigned, but could not find her party.
She walked about for some time perplexed. Presently a young man of
gentlemanly address, came up to her, and begged, if she were seeking any
one, that he might be permitted to assist her; and together they continued
the search throughout the church. At last it became evident, beyond
doubt, that her party could no longer be there; and as it was quite late,
they went out into the piazza to find a carriage in which she might go
home; they could not find one, and Margaret was compelled to walk, with
her stranger friend, the long distance between the Vatican and the Corso.
At this time she had little command of the language for conversational
purposes, and their words were few, though enough to create in each other
a desire for further acquaintance. At her door they parted, and
Margaret, finding her friends at home, related the adventure. This
chance meeting at vespers in St. Peter's prepared the way for many
interviews, and before Margaret's departure for Venice, Milan, and Como,
Ossoli first offered her his hand, and was refused.
On this meeting Margaret remarks:—"It was singular, fateful
I may say. Very soon he offered me his hand through life, but never
dreamed I should take it. I loved him, and felt very unhappy to
leave him, but the connexion seemed so every way unfit. I did not
hesitate a moment. He however thought I should return to him, as I
did." She loved Italy, and when her American friends began to turn
homewards, she thought of Rome, broke away from them, and returned alone
to the Eternal city. When in London, she had made the acquaintance
of Mazzini, adopted his hopes, aspirations, and plans, for the freedom of
beloved Italy, and accepted confidences and commissions from him to
friends in Rome. At an early stage of her acquaintance with the
Marquis Ossoli,* she discovered in him evidences of the true
liberal faith, which only needed that the seed should be nursed, to bring
forth a glorious flower and this flower sprang up speedily in its lusty
beauty from the warm, brooding, influence of love; and they not only
exchanged the vows of the tender passion, but the sterner vows of
patriotism passed between them, and kindled mutual support.
Love, with such sympathies, seems to have satisfied the
hungry heart of this passionate pilgrim; though Ossili, as described by
her, does not seem to have been endowed with the qualities calculated to
have won the man-minded Margaret, save his sweetness of disposition, and
singleness of purpose; but love will perplex and put to rout all
calculation. He had offered his hand a second time and they were
married in December, 1847; it was a secret marriage, as if it had been
known, Ossoli would have been a beggared, banished, man. The
brothers of Ossoli inherited some property in common with him, and they
were all-powerful with the Pope, and the Cardinals; and, in Rome, marriage
with a Protestant would have been quite sufficient to have caused the
confiscation of his share of the property; so they were married, and kept
their secret. Their child was born, and still they held on; as
Margaret said, they were patient waiters for the restored law of the land.
The crisis in Rome ripening swiftly, Margaret felt that she would at any
cost to herself, gladly secure for her husband and child a condition above
want; and although it was a severe trial, she bravely resolved to wait,
and hope, and keep her secret, rather than leave Rome, where, they were
In the autumn of 1848, the cloud that had been long gathering
over Rome, at length burst. We extract the following from one of
Margaret's letter's of the 16th of November;—
"The house looks out on the piazza
Barberini, and I see both that palace and the Pope's. The scene
to-day has been one of terrible interest. The poor, weak Pope has
fallen more and more under the dominion of the cardinals, till at last all
truth was hidden from his eyes. He had suffered the minister, Rossi,
to go on, tightening the reins, and, because the people preserved a sullen
silence, he thought they would bear it. Yesterday, the Chamber of
Deputies, illegally prorogued, was opened anew. Rossi, after two or
three most unpopular measures, had the imprudence to call the troops of
the line to defend him, instead of the National Guard. On the 14th,
the Pope had invested him with the privileges of a Roman citizen: (he had
renounced his country when an exile, and returned to it as ambassador of
Louis Philippe.) This position he enjoyed but one day.
Yesterday, as he descended from his carriage, to enter the Chamber, the
crowd howled and hissed; then pushed him, and, as he turned his head in
consequence, a sure hand stabbed him in the back. He said no word,
but died almost instantly in the arms of a cardinal. The act was of
undoubtedly the result of the combination of many, from the dexterity with
which it was accomplished, and the silence which ensued. Those who
had not abetted beforehand seemed entirely to approve when done. The
troops of the line, on whom he had relied, remained at their posts, and
looked coolly on. In the evening, they walked the streets with the
people, singing, 'Happy the hand which rids the world of a tyrant!'
Had Rossi lived to enter the Chamber, he would have seen the most terrible
and imposing mark of denunciation known in the history of nations,—the
whole house, without a single exception, seated on the benches of
opposition. The news of his death was received by the deputies with
the same cold silence as by the people. For me, I never thought to
have heard of a violent death with satisfaction, but this act affected me
as one of terrible justice. To-day, all the troops and the people
united, and went to the Quirinial to demand a change of measures.
They found the Swiss Guard drawn out and the Pope dared not show himself.
They attempted to force the door of his palace, to enter his presence, and
the guard fired. I saw a man borne by, wounded. The drum beat
to call out the National Guard. The carriage of Prince Barberini has
returned with its frightened inmates and liveried retinue, and they have
suddenly barred up the court-yard gate. Antonia, seeing it,
observes, 'Thank Heaven, we are poor; we have nothing to fear!"
The events which followed are sketched in Margaret Fuller's
journals and letters. On the 9th of March, 1849, we find her
"Mazzini entered by night, on foot, to
avoid demonstrations, no doubt, and enjoy the quiet of his own thoughts at
so great a moment. The people went under his windows the next night,
and called him out to speak; but I did not know about it. Last night
I heard a ring, then somebody speak my name; the voice struck upon me at
once. He looks more divine than ever, after all his new, strange
sufferings. He asked after all of you. He stayed two hours;
and we talked, though rapidly, of everything. He hopes to come
often, but the crisis is tremendous, and all will come on him; since, if
any one can save Italy from her foes, inward and outward, it will be he.
But he is very doubtful whether this is possible; the foes are too many,
too strong, too subtle."
During the infamous siege of Rome, Margaret Fuller was a
nurse in the hospital, and a lender among those noble ladies who left
their mansions and their luxuries, to stanch the bleeding wounds of the
wounded, and close the eyes of the dying. Here she laboured
heroically, all the while torn to pieces by contending emotions, being
separated from her baby which had been removed for safety, and intensely
anxious for her husband, who was fighting on the side of the Republicans;
"I cannot tell you what I endured in
leaving Rome; abandoning the wounded soldiers; knowing that that there is
no provision made for them, when they rise from the beds where they have
been thrown by a noble courage, where they have suffered with a noble
patience. Some of the poorer men, who rise bereft even of the right
arm,—one having lost both the right arm and the right leg,—I could have
provided for with a small sum. Could I have sold my hair, or blood
from my arm, I would have done it. Had any of the rich Americans
remained in Rome, they would have given it to me: they helped nobly at
first, in the service of the hospitals, when there was for less need; but
they had all gone. * * * You say you are glad I have had this great
opportunity for carrying out my principles. Would it were so!
I found myself inferior in courage and fortitude to the occasion. I
knew not how to bear the havoc and anguish incident to the struggle for
And now we come to the last notice of this proud struggle—so
damnably and cruelly crushed. We extract the following graphic
description of the hero Mazzini;—
"I did not see Mazzini, the last two weeks of the republic. When the
French entered, he walked about the streets to see how the people bore
and then went to the house of a friend. In the upper chamber of a poor
house, with his life-long friends—the Modenas—I found him: Modena, who
abandoned not only what other men held dear,—home, fortune, peace,—but
also endured, without the power of using the prime of his great artist
ten-years' exile in a foreign land: his wife every way worthy of him—such
a woman as I am not. Mazzini had suffered millions more than I could;—he
borne his fearful responsibility; he had let his dearest friends perish;
he had passed all these nights without sleep; in two short months he had
all the vital juices seemed exhausted; his eyes were all blood-shot; his
skin orange; flesh he had none; his hair was mixed with white; his hand
to the touch, but he had never flinched, never quailed; had protested in
the last hour against surrender; sweet and calm, but full of a more fiery
than ever: in him I revered the hero, and owned myself not of that mould. You say truly, I shall come home humbler. God grant it may be entirely
In future, while more than ever deeply penetrated with principles, and the
need of the martyr spirit to sustain them, I will ever own that there are
and that I am one of the least."
The struggle was over, Rome was no home for the them, and at length
Margaret turned to America, they would go there where her husband would welcomed,
and she might earn a decent competence by her pen. They set sail for
America from Leghorn in a merchant ship, the ill-fated Elizabeth. Not
presentiments and fearful omens. "Beware of the sea," had been a
singular prophecy given to Ossoli when a boy, by a fortune-teller, and
this was the first ship on which he had ever set foot. On the voyage
everything went amiss, the captain sickened and died, her child Angelino
was seized with small-pox, but recovered. At last the coast of
America was reached. On the very eve of the passengers landing, a
heavy gale arose, the Elizabeth struck on Fire-fly Island. We have
not the space nor the heart to pass in review all the harrowing details of
the last night and morning, ere the ship went to pieces; we limit our
extract to the following:—
"One scream, one only, was heard from Margaret's
state-room; and Sumner and Mrs. Hasty, meeting in the cabin, clasped
hands, with these few but touching words: 'We must die.'—'Let us die
calmly then.'—'I hope so, Mrs. Hasty.' It was in the grey dusk, and
amid the awful tumult, that the companions in misfortune met. The
side of the cabin to the leeward had already settled under water; and
furniture, trunks, and fragments of the skylight were floating to and fro;
while the inclined position of the floor made it difficult to stand; and
every sea as it broke over the bulwarks, splashed in through the open
roof. The windward cabin walls, however, still yielded partial
shelter, and against it, seated side by side; half leaning backwards, with
feet braced upon the long table, they awaited what next should come.
At first, Nino, alarmed at the uproar, the darkness, and the rushing
water, while shivering with the wet, cried passionately; but soon his
mother, wrapping him in such garments as were at hand, and holding him to
her bosom, sang him to sleep. Celeste too was in an agony of terror,
till Ossoli, with soothing words and a long and fervent prayer, restored
her to self-control and trust. Then calmly they rested, side by
side, exchanging kindly partings and sending messages to friends, if any
should survive to be their bearer. But the end was swiftly
approaching, and the steward, whom Nino was so much beloved, had just
taken the little fellow in his arms, with the pledge that he would save
him or die, when a sea struck the forecastle, and foremast fell; carrying
with it the deck and all upon it. The steward and Angelino were
washed upon the beach, both dead, though warm, some twenty minutes after.
The cook and carpenter were thrown far upon the foremast, and saved
themselves by swimming. Celeste and Ossoli caught for a moment by
the rigging, but the next wave swallowed them up. Margaret sank at
once. When last seen she had been seated at the foot of the
foremast, still clad in her white night-dress, with her hair fallen loose
upon her shoulders. It was over,—that twelve hours' communion, face
to face with Death! It was over! and the prayer was granted, 'that
Ossoli, Angelino, and I may go together, and that the anguish may be
Thus ended the career of the passionate pilgrim, Margaret
Fuller. Her whole life was, passed in fever and storm; her large
heart ever yearned for the beautiful and the true, and what a sad end!
It would seem, as she has remarked, that it had been written by destiny,
that the fame for which she had so passionately thirsted, should be denied
her in death, as in her life-time, for with her was lost in the wreck, the
manuscript of a history of the recent revolution; on which she had
expended much time and labour, and staked her fame. The blessings of
all patriots be upon the name of Margaret Fuller, for the noble part she
played in Rome.
* In the first notice he is called "Count" by mistake.
FRIEND OF THE PEOPLE.
FEBRUARY 21, 1852.
A VOICE FROM THE WORKSHOP; OR,
THOUGHTS IN RHYME.
By JOSEPH WOOD,
Stonemason. London; B. L. Green, Paternoster Row.
THE extent to which our friends of the Working
Classes perpetrate poetry (?) is really something alarming. It would
seem a Working Man's peculiar fatality, that should he take up the pen he
considers it incumbent upon him to struggle after rhyme. This would
not be so bad as a matter of private exercise, if our friends would not so
pertinaciously parade in print; but that seems inevitable. We
ourselves plead guilty to having been one of the rhyming culprits in early
life, and of rushing into publication before our beard, and God forgive us
that same, for we never shall forgive ourselves. The only
consolation we have whenever the circumstance starts up in memory like
Banquo's ghost, is to think, that if ever we should be driven to commit a
murder more fatal than the poetical one, and one that is punishable by the
laws of the land, we shall have the melancholy satisfaction of adducing
printed evidence of our insanity. WILLIAM HOWITT
has told us that, when he edited the People's Journal, they had as
much 'Working Men's verse,' as would make a pile from table to ceiling.
These perpetrators seem utterly to ignore or to forget, the requisite
qualities for a poet. And here we would remind them, that a poet
must be born; that is he must he born with the germs of certain
faculties, which education of various kinds will develop into what we call
genius; a quality indefinable, although it always defines itself. A
man to become a poet should have a warm and nervous temperament, he should
be an intense man, large in heart and brain, his feelings and passions
must be swift and electrical. He should have large ideality, the
source of creative power, he should have the finest perceptive powers; and
that hallowing worship of beauty—that inward light, which can stamp the
divine impress of its own beauty. He must also possess what
we call Taste and Judgment, or the other attributes will merely make him a
glorified madman. But above all he must have that vehement passion
for melody, by which he lives a kind of rhythmical life; which buoys his
very footsteps into measured tune, and his speech into song, and makes all
discords to him unutterable pain. There never was an inspired singer
without these faculties and attributes; and the Poet, has only been so, in
the proportion he has possessed them. But turn a man loose into any
part of the world in possession of these glorious gifts, and he will
inevitably be a poet, even though he should never jingle two rhymes
together. Such a man is compelled to sing as natural as the birds
warble, the roses bloom, and the waters flash and roll. Where the
two or three have succeeded, what thousands of failures have there not
been! Many still persist in thinking that to pick up an idea, which
has probably floated about the world for ages, and toss it up and down,
picking up another and another as the juggler does his balls, until they
sometimes manage half a dozen, up and down, and round and
The time that is fruitlessly spent in this rhyming
sleight-of-hand, is truly lamentable. For the sake of our humanity,
ye Rhymesters! consider these, things! If you are Poets, if you have
the power to send the throb of hope through the universal heart of the
great human brotherhood, if you have the ear always hungering for melody,
and the eye always alive and sympathetic with beauty, if you have the
magic to unlock the sources of human smiles and tears, if you have
suffered all our sorrows, loved all our loves—then sing, for the world
hath need of ye, and the People wait for ye, and all men will rejoice at
your advent! If not, then speak what you have to utter, in plain,
honest, Saxon prose, which is the more immediate medium of communication,
and more commonly effective between man and man.
We have been led to make these remarks from glancing at the
volume named at the head of this notice. Mr. Wood may be a good
stonemason, but is certainly no poet. We trust he will appreciate
our forbearance in abstaining from quotation; and that he, and others
disposed to rush into print, will reflect on the above observations.
FRIEND OF THE PEOPLE.
APRIL 3, 1852.
MEMOIR OF FELICITÉ LAMENNAIS.
WE have great and true poets in prose as well as in rythm and rhyme,
witness the writings of David, Carlyle, Emerson, Mazzini, Geo. Sand, &c.,
among these prose-poets Lamennais takes the highest rank. His writings are
essentially poetry, tho' he never jingles rhymes; they are full of great
of the Poet's heart, welling over with tenderness and love; kindling again
into fieriest enthusiasm as he pours forth his glorious utterances with
of the old Hebrew Bards. Lamennais is a grand type of the martyr, and in
him is humanity raised to the heroic level of the mighty hearts of olden
time. He is
devoted as a saint to his religion, and his whole life has been one long
thought—one ceaseless effort to win his great ideal. In these days of
heartless, godless natures, it is a good and blessèd thing to have the
picture of such a man held up to us for our admiration and imitation. When corruption
has well nigh gnawed in twain, the links that bind us to God, in the chain
of existencies,—when our eleventh commandment, which supersedes the other
ten, is "every one for himself, and devil take the hindmost," when we are
all isolated by artificial barriers, and wrapt up in our blind egotism, it
is a good thing
to see a man who lives a life of pious simplicity and purity, who lets not
his faith die within him, but with a dauntless courage and a never-tiring
on to his belief in the earthly redemption of Humanity, and the People's
great and happy Future! It is good to see a man whose heart bleeds for the
sufferings of others, wailing over the sorrows of the poor, and opening
his generous nature to them, like a land flowing with milk and honey, to
to their innumerable woes and sorrows. In the presence of such a man, we
stand as on the Mount of Transfiguration, and as the glory of a nobler
falls upon us, we feel like the Apostles of old, that "it is good to be
Lamennais is one of the greatest acquisitions to the Democratic Camp, in
modern times, because he has come forth from the ranks of Despotism, an
illustrious convert to our faith. He was once Lamennais, the ultramontane
Catholic, and trenchant Absolutist. He is now the great champion of
Republicanism and what we should call Christian Socialism, whose "Words
of a Believer" are a gospel in the households of all Europe; this change
been accomplished by a series of struggles and internal revolutions. He
is, indeed, Revolution personified. Whatever convictions have been
his mind, and new ones wrought out, he has ever had the sincerity and
honesty to avow it, and the bravery to abide by the consequences. How very
have this heroic courage! What masses of sneaking slaves there are now
bending down to the worshipped Lie, acknowledging the established Sham,
countenancing the solemn Hypocrisy—who know right well they are rotten
Lies, and that their creeds and systems have no healthful, spontaneous
them; that their life is only as the ghastly grinning of the galvanised
corpse, but they dare not say so—they, having abdicated their Humanity,
are no longer
men. But though they can mask before men in the World's Carnival, they
cannot mask them from themselves! There is a laughing, mocking devil
that cries out Sham and Trickster from the heart's every
hiding-place; while every cloud of the mind bursts into thunder and
lightning for witness to
the terrible truth. But haply for the World the Priest Lamennais had the
necessary courage to cast the dust of Error from his feet, come forth, and
his sublime conversion in words that have shaken the world.
In the painful and tedious march of Humanity from the Egypt of Slavery to
the Canaan of the Future, he is now in the vanguard; we may call him an
out-rider. With his eves fixed on the luminous goal he hurries on
impetuously and indefatigably. System after system has fallen beneath him
he gallops on, nor slackens spur or pace; and what matter, though the
dead steed remain behind, so that the rider attain the journey's end?
Felicité Lamennais was born at Saint-Malo, in Brittany, in the year 1782,
in the same street as Chateaubriand. When very young he lost his mother,
his father being altogether absorbed in business, he was abandoned to
himself from his earliest age, and grew up almost without direction or
The child was taught to read by an old housekeeper, who stood to him in
the place of a mother. He soon manifested a remarkable desire to attain
knowledge, which he ever after retained. His elder brother gave him his
first instructions in Latin; but the wilful scholar soon growing tired of
undertook to finish his education alone; by poring over the Dictionary. In
this he succeeded so well that at twelve he read Plutarch and Livy. About
he was confided to the care of an old uncle; who lived in the country. The
good man, not knowing how to manage him, shut him up for whole days in
library. This library was stocked with many of the works which at that
time issued from the French Press. It was divided into two
labelled "Safe Books," the other was called "Hell," as it contained the
works of Rousseau, Voltaire, Diderot, and other dangerous philosophers. The
mutinous scholar soon became so fondly attached to the library, that what
was intended for a prison became a palace of pleasure. Being especially
warned against the books contained in "Hell," he read them with all the
more avidity, and eagerly devoured Rousseau, and Malebranche at an age
most children are amused with top and ball. This strange miscellany of
reading produced no pernicious result, this flux of antagonist systems,
contradictory theories, served to strengthen his mind, which grew apace,
and developed an instinctive pre-disposition to religious fervour and
common with the young spirits of his time, he shared the general
inquietude, and the stormy feelings that agitated the social, political,
and religious world,
but his mind by nature had a strong religious bias, and he shrunk from
revolution then, with fear and trembling. We all know that the greatest
among the breakers that beat upon the shore, and he was fearful of their
sound and turmoil, and dare not cut his little bark from its moorings; so
anchor in the church. He sought repose in the arms of Faith. He had some
beautiful idea of an universal church, but meanwhile threw himself into
embrace of the Church of Rome! But, how shall the true and ever-developing
man find rest there, or anywhere? There is no rest. Existence means
endless growth, ceaseless development. It is, no doubt, a pleasant dream
enough for lazy, lotus-eating lubbers, like the Poet Gray, whose heaven
consisted of a lounge on the sofa, with a novel to read, but for a man of
large heart, and lofty aspirations, such rest is utter stagnation, and
the human heart. And Lamennais with his noble nature, and its daily and
hourly revelations was not destined to remain amid the whore-mongering
that defile the "Spouse of Christ." He entered the Church at the age of
twenty-two. In vain did his father try to dissuade him from the
Priesthood, and imbue
him with a desire for commercial pursuits—his vocation was fixed.
He entered the College of Saint-Malo in the year 1807; and about this
time he published his first work—it was a translation of a little work of
Louis de Blois,
called the "Spiritual Guide." In the year following he published his
first original work, entitled "Reflections on the State of the Church in
France." This book
contained the first war-cry uttered by Lamennais against religious
indifference, and is distinguished by great vigour of thought. The
Imperial Police took
offence at some bold ideas on the renovation of the Clergy in France, and
the work was seized. In 1811, Lamennais took the tonsure and entered the
little seminary of Saint-Malo. Here, in concert with his brother John, who
was the superior at the seminary, he wrote "The Doctrine of the Church as
the Institution of Bishops." After the publication of this work Lamennais
went to Paris, in the beginning of 1814. The imperial star was on the
wane. Shut up
in a wretched garret of the Rue St. Jacques, the unknown Priest seemed to
divine that the sphere of action for him was about to widen; he prepared
receive the Bourbons with a shout of welcome, and to hurl his anathema at
the fallen Emperor; but the Hundred Days suddenly came round, and he was
compelled to fly for safety. He came to London, where he attempted to
support himself by teaching, and suffered the severest privations. Being
furnished with a letter of recommendation to Lady Jerningham, sister of Lord
Stafford, the future tribune went humbly to solicit the situation as tutor
to her children. The noble lady scanned him and his thread-bare
clothes; and then refused his request point-blank, for the judicious
reason that he would
suit her, he looked such, a fool. As this may be the only mention made of
her ladyship in the future, let her have the full benefit of the
to the page of History, like a poor, buzzing cock chafer! Thus rejected,
it was fortunate for the poor priest that he found a home in the house of
Carou of Rennes, who kept a boarding school in the neighbourhood of
London. Napoleon was a second time expelled from France, and Lamennais
In 1816, at the age of thirty-four, he went to Rennes to be ordained
Priest, and returned to the Feuillantines to finish the first volume of
his Essay on
Religious Indifference. This was his first deed which commanded the
attention of the World. With the step of a giant, and at one bound, be
leapt the abyss
between obscurity and glory. Europe was moved; his book was like a clap of
Thunder, and the Vatican trembled with joy. His bold style, beautiful
and impetuous energy carried all minds and hearts by storm. In this book
he stood forth as the champion of the church, and challenged Infidelity to
combat. France was then in a kind of spiritual death, and Lamennais
had the ambition of inspiring it with faith, and arousing it from its
indifference. Armed with a nervous style and invincible logic, he broke
through the arguments of unbelief, and with audacious daring laboured to
the truths of philosophy and religion. He afterwards published another two
volumes, in which he displayed wonderful erudition, gathered texts from
all tongues, passed in review all ages, all nations, and all places, and
collecting , the scattered traditions of every fragment of humanity, he
formed thereof a
colossal mass of human tradition. This great task finished, in 1824 the
Catholic priest repaired to Rome to lay his work at the feet of the Holy
found an ardent admirer and supporter in Pope Leo XII. The Pontiff offered
him the cardinal's hat; but Lamennais refused the dignity, and made rise
credit no further than to procure the nomination, as nuncio to France, of
the Cardinal Lambruschini, who afterwards became one of his bitterest
Lamennais now speedily arrived at the first phase of the revelation we
have spoken of. The Government of the Restoration, which he had laboured
into office, disappointed all his dreams, and blasted all his darling
hopes; he was disgusted, and his soul soon burst into open revolt against
state of things. His work, entitled "Religion considered in its Connexion
with Civil Order and Policy," was his first declaration of war. On account
book he was brought before the correctional police, and condemned to a
fine of thirty-six francs. He was defended by M. Berryer; and it was on
occasion that he uttered his famous saying,—"I shall show them what a
In 1829, he published his "Progress of Revolution and War against the
Church," and when the Revolution of July broke out he hailed it as the
universal republic; but not content with dreaming, he set to work, and
attempted the realization of his dreams. He surrounded himself with a band
disciples, young, ardent, and devoted. The Abbé Gerbet brought his pen,
the Abbé Lacordaire his eloquence, M. de Montalembert his influence, and
together they undertook the work of social regeneration. "The Future" was
started as a Journal which should unite the catholic with the liberal
writers spoke out bravely to the Papacy, "Your power is departing, and
faith with it. Do you wish to save them? Unite them both to humanity, such
eighteen centuries of Christianity have made it. Nothing is stationary in
the world. You have reigned over kings—those kings have enslaved you. Separate
yourselves from kings—offer the hand of fellowship to nations; they will
sustain you with their robust arms, and, what is better, their love. Abandon the ruins
of your ancient grandeur—thrust them away as unworthy of you.
Lamennais now proclaimed his sympathy for the suffering and oppressed
peoples of all lands. He proposed a union of nations for the progress or
preached liberty for Poland, and the emancipation of the Italian states
from the despotism of Austria. The people heard such language from a
priest for the
first time, with great delight and approval. He became very popular with
the working-men, who began to think that such priests as he might be the
destined to cross the Jordan at the head of the suffering people. On the
other hand, the dignitaries of the church began to fulminate against this
in cassock, and strenuously solicited from the Holy See a bull of censure. At Rome there was great perplexity to know how to shut the mouth of the
impetuous priest. To put an end to uncertainty, Lamennais announced that
he had suspended his journal, and would go to Rome to solicit sanction or
censure. He at length received a letter from the Pope condemning in the
most positive manner the doctrines of "The Future." Lamennais for the time
submitted, and giving up the journal, retired from the arena for a moment. But this was only to gather strength for the future combat. Subdued in
appearance, he did but withdraw to prepare his terrible war-cry which
rang through all Europe. "The Words of a Believer" appeared in May, 1834. It burst
like a bomb-shell on the camp of Papacy and Despotism, and its explosion
was answered with a mighty shout of enthusiasm and anathemas, fierce
enmities and passionate admirations immediately rushed to battle around
it. A letter from the Pope reproved and condemned it, while the
party opened its arms to the illustrious deserter from the church, and
proclaimed him courageous and great—the only priest in Europe. Other
followed, which rendered his name hallowed and beloved by the people. In
his last book, "Modern Slavery," he shows that the labourer of the present
day is more fettered, more tortured, and more miserable than the ancient slave;
or the serf of the middle ages. The priest-democrat Lamennais has in him
something of the character of the warlike prelate of the middle ages, who
at the battle of Bouvines rejected all arms but a club, because his
him to shed blood, and who in the thickest of the fight blessed with one
hand the numerous enemies he had knocked down with the other. There is a
continual struggle betwixt his heart and head, but the head is victorious.
Lamennais has abandoned the Catholic dogma of pontificial authority, but
is still a Christian. He declares that "Christianity, buried at present
material wrapper that covers it like a winding-sheet, will reappear in
the splendour of its life, which is perpetually young, while the world
shall form one
grand city, which shall salute Christ as its supreme and final
In politics he is perhaps the most advanced among modern reformers: he
claims for the people direct sovereignty, with absolute equality for
with a republican form of government. He exclaims to the people, "Arise! Count your oppressors! You are a thousand to one—the government belongs
you." His last political production was a veritable appeal to arms. This
book entailed on the author a year's imprisonment. This was a remarkable
the prosecutor employed no other arms than the written doctrines of
Lamennais himself, when he was the champion of absolutism.
This was especially galling, and he returned from this trial quite crushed
and broken down. He declared that he knew no punishment equal to that of a
exposed to the public gaze, torn in pieces by the weapons of his own
forging, and overwhelmed by the weight of his own arguments.
Such is our rapid sketch of this great man, one of the noblest natures,
and greatest intelligences of the present age. He still labours on in the
the people, through the medium of the press—he was editor of the
"Workshop," and in conjunction with Madame George Sand, who is one of his
enthusiastic disciples, he conducted the "Independent Review." He is
certainly one of the hardest workers in the cause of human progress. His
read by rich and poor throughout France, and are well known both in the
Old World and the New.
A friend of mine, who has seen Lamennais in his place in the assembly,
remarks, that you would not recognize one of the most powerful agitators
time, whose every word stirs the heart of the people like a trumpet, in
that little meek old man; his body is frail, his face emaciated, and
suffering has there
deeply written its work of years. He has the look of a man whose eyes have
been continually looking within, and if he raises them it is with a
glance, which instantly cowers back upon itself; his brow and head are
beautifully formed, and gives ample proof that "whatsoever is done in the
written upon the housetops." Beneath this unassuming exterior dwells a
spirit of the true heroic mould. He has now cast in his lot with the
people, and as
their teacher and champion, let us give him a right welcome greeting in
the hearts and homes of English working men.
FRIEND OF THE PEOPLE.
APRIL 24, 1852.
MEMOIR OF ROUGET DE LISLE.
"Author of the Marseillaise."
and again, a man may achieve immortality by one successful effort; but
such instances are few and far between. Wolfe is a case in point.
The "Burial of Sir John Moore," will live for ever, while most of its
author's other works have already passed into oblivion. But the most
illustrious instance is in the case of the Marseillaise Hymn. No
other work of De Lisle's is known. It stands alone in its
imperishable glory. The Poet is essentially the agent of Change, the
vice-regent of Revolution; and, whether it be the Warrior, the Statesman,
or the Priest, who strikes the hour of Revolution, be sure the Poet moves
the wheels behind. But never was this mission so grandly manifested
as in the instance of the Marseillaise. There is far more poetry and
electrical fire in the music than in the words. The words are the
expression of the French nation's thought of that time, but the
music is the beating of its heart, and all its unuttered and
unutterable feelings. Louis Phillippe knew this, when, at a
banquet given at the Tuilleries, his minister Guizot, asked him to sing
the Marseillaise, the old Mephistophiles complied, but he sang the words
to some other music. There was no response, no enthusiasm; it fell
dead—and the cunning old king, with a chuckle of exultation, said, "That
was the way to take the sting out of it, there was no danger in the words,
it was the music which contained the meaning." And the old knave was
right. That wonderful music! Never was a strain so calculated
to pierce and inspire the mass of Men! Never was a strain so
powerful to stir the wild beast of force in the blood, and arouse all
animal energies to arms. The martial swing, and soaring of those
notes, is all-conquering as the upward march of an irresistible and
all-consuming Fire! Listen to Carlyle, speaking of this magnificent
Song of Freedom, in his powerful picturesque way. The Marseillais,
fédérés were the first to sing it en masse, on their route from
Marseilles to Paris, and from them it derived its name. He is
speaking of this march,—"These Marseillais remain inarticulate,
undistinguishable in feature, a black-browed mass, full of grim fire, who
wend there in the hot sultry weather, very singular to contemplate.
They have flung down their crafts and industrial tools, girded themselves
with the weapons of war, and set out on their journey of six hundred miles
to strike down the tyrant. They have left their sunny Phœcian city
and sea-haven, with its bustle and its bloom, and wend onward amid the
infinitude of doubt and dim peril, they NOT
doubtful. Fate and feudal Europe having decided, come girdling in
from without: they having also decided to march within. Dusty of
face, with frugal refreshment, they plod onwards, unweariable, not to be
turned aside. Such march will become famous. The Thought
which works voiceless in this black-browed mass, an inspired Tyrtœaus,
Col. Rouget de Lisle, whom the earth still holds, has translated, into
grim melody and rhythm, into his hymn or march of the Marseillais:
luckiest composition ever promulgated. The sound of which will make
the blood tingle in men's veins, and whole armies and assemblages of men
will sing it with eyes weeping and burning, and with hearts defiant of
Death, Despot, and Devil." Ay, we believe it to be so engraven on
the French heart, that were it possible for a Column of Frenchmen to
girdle the World, they would march to the time of the Marseillaise without
ever getting out of step.
The sound of the Marseillaise is more dreaded in the camp of
Tyranny, than a thousand parks of artillery, it makes the Tyrants tremble
even in their triumphant car. It is the Soul of Revolution rendered
to us Rhythmically. There is no first-rate English translation, the
following is a literal rendering, but no literal translation could give us
THE Marseillaise, because of the peculiarities of
the two languages, it could only be done by rendering the ideas according
to the English language and mode of thought.
IN ENGLISH PROSE.
Arise children of our mother-land!
The day of glory is come:
The bloody standard of tyranny is raised against us,
Do ye not hear the noise of those ferocious soldiers?
They come to slaughter your sons and comrades, in
your very arms.
To arms, citizens! form your battalions,
Let us march! and let the impure blood of our
Moisten the furrows of our fields.
What means this horde of slaves,
Of traitors and conspiring kings?
For whom have these infamous plots
And fetters been so long prepared?
Frenchmen! for us: ah! what an outrage,
What fury should it not excite,
It is you to whom they meditate
Restoring the olden slavery!
What! shall the cohorts of the stranger
Make the laws for our hearths?
What! shall their hireling battalions
Harass our own proud warriors?
Great God! shall our heads bow down
To a yoke prepared by the hands of slaves?
Shall the vilest of despots become
The masters of our destinies?
Tremble tyrants! tremble traitors!
Tremble ye, abhorred by all;
Your parricidal projects shall at length
Receive their just reward.
All are soldiers to combat YOU!
And as our youthful heroes fall,
New ones shall spring from the very earth,
To maintain the fight against you!
Frenchmen! give or withhold your blows
With generous magnanimity!
Spare the misled victims,
Who, with regret, take arms against you.
But those sanguinary despots,
But the accomplices of Bouille,—
All the tigers without pity
Who would tear the bosom of their mother,
O sacred love of the mother-land
Conduct, sustain our brave avengers;
Liberty, cherished Liberty!
Combat on the side of thy defenders:
Under our colours let Victory
Hasten at thy noble call;
And may the dying enemy see
Thy triumph and our glory.
Verse sung by Children.
We shall enter on our career,
When our elders exist no more,
We shall find their dust and the trace of their
Far less desirous of surviving them,
Than of partaking their graves;
We shall have the sublime pride,
Of avenging or of following them.
"These words," says Lamartine, "were sung in notes
alternately flat and sharp, which seemed to come from the breast with
sullen mutterings of national anger, and then with the joy of victory.
They had something as solemn as death, but as serene as the undying
confidence of patriotism. It seemed a recovered echo of Thermopylæ—it
was heroism sung. There was heard the regular footfall of thousands
of men walking together to defend the frontiers over the resounding soil
of their country, the plaintive notes of women, the wailing of children,
the neighing of horses, the hissing of flames as they devoured palaces and
huts; then gloomy strokes of vengeance, striking again and again with the
hatchet, and immolating the enemies of the people, and the profaners of
the soil. The notes of this air rustled like a flag dipped in gore,
still reeking in the battle-plain. It made one tremble—but it was
the shudder of intrepidity which passed over the heart, and gave an
impulse—redoubled strength—veiled death. It was the "fire-water" of
the Revolution which instilled into the senses and the soul of the people
the intoxication of battle. There are times when all people find
thus gushing into their national mind accents which no man hath written
down, and which all the world feels. All the senses desire to
present their tribute to patriotism, and eventually to encourage each
other. The foot advances—gesture animates—the voice intoxicates the
ear—the ear shakes the heart. The whole heart is inspired like an
instrument of enthusiasm. Art becomes divine; dancing, heroic;
music, martial; poetry, popular. The hymn which was at that moment
in all mouths will never perish. It is not profaned on common
occasions. Like those sacred banners suspended from the roofs of
holy edifices, and which are only allowed to leave them on certain days,
we keep the national song as an extreme arm for the great necessities of
the country. Ours was illustrated by circumstances, whence issued a
peculiar character, which made it at the same time more solemn and more
sinister: glory and crime, victory and death, seemed intertwined in its
chorus. It was the song of patriotism, but it was also the
imprecation of rage. It conducted our soldiers to the frontier, but
it also accompanied our victims to the scaffold. The same blade
defends the heart of the country in the hand of the soldier, and
sacrifices victims in the hands of the executioner."
The best account of De Lisle and the origin of the
Marseillaise Hymn is by M. De Lamartine, in his Girondists. From
which we extract its history.
"There was, then, a young officer of artillery in garrison at
Strasbourg, named Rouget de Lisle. He was born at Lons-le-Saunier,
in the Jura, that country of reverie and energy, as mountainous
countries always are. This young man loved war like a soldier—the
revolution like a thinker. He charmed with his verses and music the
slow dull garrison life. Much in request for his twofold talent as
musician and poet, he visited the house of Dietrick, an Alsatian patriot (maire
of Strasbourg), on intimate terms. Dietriek's wife and young
daughters shared in his patriotic feelings, for the revolution was
advancing towards the frontiers, just as the affections of the body always
commence at the extremities. They were very partial to the young
officer, and inspired his heart, his poetry, and his music. They
executed the first of his ideas, hardly developed, confidants of the
earliest flights of his genius. It was in the winter of 1792, and
there was a scarcity in Strasbourg. The house of Derrick was poor,
and the table humble; but there was always a welcome for Rouget de Lisle.
This young officer was there from morning to night, like a son or brother
of the family. One day, when there was only some coarse bread and
slices or have on the table, Dietrick, looking with calm sadness at De
Lisle, said to him, "Plenty is not seen at our feasts; but what matter if
enthusiasm is not wanting at our civic fetes; and courage in our soldiers'
hearts. I have still a bottle of wine left in my cellar. Bring
it," he added, addressing one of his daughters, "and we will drink to
liberty and our country. Strasbourg is shortly to have a patriotic
ceremony, and De Lisle must be inspired by these last drops to produce one
of those hymns which convey to the soul of the people the enthusiasm that
suggested it." The young girls applauded, fetched the wine, filled
the glasses of their old father and the young officer until the wine was
exhausted. It was midnight, and very cold. De lisle was a
dreamer; his heart was moved, his head heated. The cold seized on
him, and he went staggering home to his lonely chamber, endeavouring by
degrees, to find inspiration in the palpitations of his citizen heart; and
on his small clavichord, now composing the air before the words, and now
the words before the air, combined them so intimately in his mind, that he
could never tell which was first produced, the air or the words, so
impossible did he find it to separate the poetry from the music, and the
feeling from the impression, he sung everything—wrote nothing.
Overcome by this divine inspiration, his head fell sleeping
on his instrument; and he did not awake until daylight. The song of
the over night returned to his memory with difficulty, like the
recollections of a dream. He wrote it down, and then ran to Dietrick.
He found him in his garden. His wife and daughters had not yet
risen. Dietrick aroused them, called together some friends as fond
as himself of music, and capable of executing De Lisle's composition.
Dietrick's eldest daughter accompanied them, Rouget sang. At the
first verse all countenances turned pale, at the second tears flowed, at
the last enthusiasm burst forth the hymn of the country was found.
Alas! it was also destined to be the hymn of terror. The unfortunate
Dietrick went a few months afterwards to the scaffold to the sound of the
notes produced at his own fireside, from the heart of his friend and the
voices of his daughters.
The new song, executed some days afterwards at Strasbourg,
flew from city to city, in every public orchestra. Marseilles
adopted it to be sung at the opening and the close of the sittings, of its
clubs. The Marseillais spread it all over France, by singing it
everywhere on their way. Whence the name of Marseillaise. De
Lisle's old mother, a royalist and religious, alarmed at the effect of her
son's voice, wrote to him: "What is this revolutionary hymn, sung by bands
of brigands, who are traversing France, and with which our name is
mingled?" De Lisle himself, proscribed as a royalist, heard it and
shuddered, as it sounded on his ears, whilst escaping by some of the wild
passes of the Alps. "What do they call that hymn?" he inquired of
his guide. "The Marseillaise," replied the peasant. It was
thus he learnt the name of his own work. The arm turned against the
hand that forged it. The revolution, insane, no longer recognised
its own voice."
Three times in history has this sublime hymn been the prelude
of Revolution, and yet again will it ring out its thunder-music, and never
had the world greater need of it than now! The people have played a
rare part in history since their aspirations first found fitting utterance
in its trumpet-tones, and what a part they have yet to play, in working
out their redemption, and in fulfilling their own proud destiny!
France has been bound hand and foot, and banded over helpless to the
infernal league of Jesuits and Despots. Even now they meditate the
blow, which, if struck successfully, would extinguish the last spark of
Freedom, and drive Progress back for a century. But we will never
despair for France, we will never sing defeat for France. She has
still a noble army of Working-men, such as in '48 said, "We will give
six months of misery to consolidate the Republic;" who, when the whole
of Paris was in their hands, and their heartless oppressors lay at their
feet, kept guard over that property which their labour had created for
others, and not for themselves, and who hung up at the nearest lamp-post
the only thief known to commit pillage; and who, in their sublime
generosity, said, "With so much hope for the future, we can afford to
forgive the sufferings and the slavery of the past." Glorious, but
Yet with such sons as these, we will not despair of France.
She is the leader and the martyr of nations, ever ready, like the patriot
of old, to fling herself on the weapons of Despotism, so that others may
pass on to freedom through the gap which her devoted body has made.
Martyrdom and Victory are twins,—it is her Martyrdom to-day, but Victory
comes to-morrow. Yet once more shall the world thrill to the voice
of her Marseillaise, and the nations gather themselves together for the
battle of Freedom and Right. And this time is not far distant, the
trumpet of the time gives no uncertain sound; and let the coward, the
hypocrite, and the mammonite slink from the contest, the true of heart
will ever leap up at the sound of coming battle. The giant of
Revolution is not dead, and we tell the Tyrants they have but caught one
brief glimpse across the barricades of St. Antoine, in the flash of
musketry, and the cannon's red glare, of the power which shall destroy
them in the future.
The spaces between revolutions grow shorter each time; from
1783 to 1830, was 47 years; from 1830, to 1848 but 18 years; the next will
be shorter still, and then—
Old England, cease the mummer's part, wake Starveling,
Serf, and Slave,
Rouse in the majesty of wrong, great kindred of the brave;
Speak, and the world shall answer, with her voices
And men, like gods, shall grapple with the giant wrongs
Now mothers of the people, give your babes heroic milk;
Sires, soul your sons to daring deeds, no more soft words
Great spirits of the mighty dead, take shape, and walk
Their glory smites our upward look, we seem no longer
They tell us how they broke their bonds, and whisper "so
One sharp, stern struggle, and the slaves of centuries are
The people's heart, with pulse like cannon, panteth for the
And brothers, gallant brothers, we'll be with you in that
FRIEND OF THE PEOPLE.
APRIL 24, 1852.
MAZZINI AND THE FRENCH REFUGEES.
WE have ever been among the foremost of Mazzini's
admirers. We have looked up to him as a master in Israel; and
himself, and his holy cause of Italy's redemption have no more earnest
sympathisers than in us. As the man of thought and action combined,
we look upon him as second to none. When he was here an exile,
previous to the revolutions of '48 and '49, we treasured up his noble
aspirations for freedom, and gathered up his glorious words with loving
hands. And how we fought for Rome, through all that proud and
desperate struggle! We could not lift the strong arm in her cause,
but we fought at heart, and with tongue and pen, and all our sympathies
did battle for her. We watched the Italians, once more worthy of
their olden name and fame, battling on from glory unto glory, in the
divine glow of their deathless enthusiasm, with beating hearts, and
brightening eyes, and we yearned in agony over the fall. After so
many noble heads had been struck off, as they bent them at Freedom's
shrine—after so much brave blood had been spilled on the Altar of the
Fatherland to be baffled and defeated thus! Oh, but if we could have
worked our will, a noble nation would not have been murdered thus, without
a helping hand stretched forth to save! Not one Frenchman, or
Austrian, should have entered Rome, but, over the devoted corpses of
Englishmen, fallen side by side with Italians. Through all that
glorious struggle we watched the man, Mazzini, and our faith in him was
amply rewarded. We watched his patient toil, his heroic endurance of
suffering, how calmly and grandly he dilated, to fill the emergencies of
the terrible crisis, and when the Romans no longer stood at bay—and the
Republic sat no longer in the capital of the Cæsars, when the torch of
Liberty—kindled in Rome—was extinguished in the waters of the Seine, and
Mazzini was once more a wanderer and an exile, how our hearts leaped up to
welcome him to the shores of old England once again! He came to us
from the red field of his fight, beaten for awhile, baffled in his noblest
aspirations, and defeated in his loftiest hopes, and we hailed him as the
foremost man in all Europe, and greeted him as such! He came to us
simply as a patriot; without the prestige of rank, wealth or state, and we
welcomed him as a Conqueror, and enthroned him in our warmest hearts.
We honoured and loved him, for his toil and suffering and martyrdom, in
the cause of Italy. We honoured him and loved him, for his noble
simplicity of soul, his self-sacrifice, his sublime faith in the heart and
energies of his people, which seemed to exalt them into a race of heroes,
inspired with the prescience of Victory. Therefore, it cannot be
supposed that we are at enmity with Mazzini, in raising our protest
against some portions of his last circular. We listened with pain to
much that he enunciated at the first Conversazione of the Friends of
Italy; but we held our peace, as that did not appear to us the place to
pick a quarrel in. We wondered what purpose his denunciations of
some imaginary Communism, conjured up expressly for the occasion, were
intended to serve, unless as a bait to the timid, time-serving slaves of
the till. It seemed marvellously like pandering; and we thought that
it had been quite enough for Mazzini to have repudiated Socialism as
applied to Italy, without making an indiscriminate attack upon the creed
of many a thousand in England, as well as the "neighbouring country."
We do not imagine Socialism to be applicable to Italy, as we believe it
will be the outcome and result of a far higher state of society than at
present exists in that country, but, surely that is no reason it should be
denounced in England and France. For a crushing answer to what M.
Mazzini advanced on that occasion, we have but to refer the reader to the
eloquent defence of M. Louis Blanc, in the Leader, transferred, in
part, to our columns. At the present moment, we have a few words to
say to Mazzini, on the circular above-mentioned. It is natural, most
natural, that he should feel bitter toward France which so deeply wounded
his heart, and so fatally destroyed his hopes and work of many years, but
the French Socialists are not to be held accountable for this; the
vengeance should not be wreaked on them! In the Provisional
Government they were in a minority by seven;—in June, their forces were
literally cut in pieces.
The rebuke of M. Mazzini administered to the Egotists, and
chiefs of systems, for their isolation, and cliqueishness, is richly
merited by most of them, each of whom must be the great "I AM,"
or like Achilles, skulking in his tent, they won't fight. But the
rebuke does not come gracefully from Mazinni, especially at such a time.
It must come from the French nation itself, to be of avail.
Moreover, it provokes retort, and thus dissention is sown, old friendships
are broken up into bitter and sorrowful feuds, the attacked party becomes
in turn the aggressor, as in the reply of the Refugees, which needed
not that to complete it, as it is perfectly appalling in its smiting
power. We read it, stunned, like one listening for the first time to
the thunder-crashes of a park of artillery.
Mazzini has evidently misunderstood the Socialists, and seems
determined to perpetuate the blunder. They have not "done all the
evil possible to the best of causes." Nor does it appear to us that
they err in propounding a Social system of reorganization, and of
attempting to work it out with the means within their immediate reach!
Nor do they lack that "action" which Mazzini defies; on the contrary, they
are essentially THE party of action. If the
"Republic" be sufficient for M. Mazzini and for Italy, it is not for us;
the Republic may mean the tyranny of Venetian Oligarchy, or American
Moneyocracy, or Brummagem Bonaparte's Ruffianocracy! Truly, as the
Refugees reply, the word "Republic" is enough for General Cavaignac, for
example—who massacred the people in June, 1848. Meanwhile, we would
express our earnest hope that we may see no more such deplorable
exhibition of antagonistic feelings among the chiefs of European
Democracy. It is terribly fatal just now. It is playing into
the hands, and rejoicing the heart of despotism. Let them take
warning of us! Look at our broken ranks, our party feuds, our
bickering leaders, and our consequent impotency! Woe! woe! to the
disunited! In vain have the countless hosts of martyrs and the
"unnamed demigods" fallen in battle—in vain are the brave hearts that beat
so high for freedom and right, and the heroic arms that were lifted to do
such deeds for liberty and mankind, now mouldering in the dust! The
peoples are, disunited! France lies bound and bleeding to death,
beneath the knife of the assassin, her noblest sons butchered.
France, swerved from the lofty purpose that beat in her heart and brow,
and nerved her arm in forty-eight! One by one, have our starry hopes
of her gone down, and we look for them in vain amid the gloom of Freedom's
firmament! AND THE PEOPLES ARE
DISUNITED! The inquisition plies its hundred tortures in
Rome, there is no more room in her prisons, though according to the
devil-hearted prefect of police, THERE is plenty in
the cemeteries! Where the Lombard, and the Roman, and the
Piedmontese, performed such prodigies of valour, and Mazzini— the Rienzi
of our time!—bade fair to reinstate Italy in all her olden glory, the
Priests and Cardinals reign rampantly. Berlin, Milan, and Hungary
wear the gyves and fetters as of old; with no token of life but a groan!—And
the peoples are disunited! And what hope is there of unity among
them, while their leaders, representatives, and champions, are divided
among themselves? Dear, God! how much more of martyrdom, suffering,
and uselessly expended bravery, will be necessary to ripen the people for
freedom, and to teach them they cannot conquer their mutual oppressors but
by pre-concerted, spontaneous, co-operative action? and that the day of
their triumphant sovereignty will be that great day of the future, when
they shall march together against their oppressors and their organized
forces, in one grand, universal organization, of all for each, and each