Page images

That death; when he's at Paris, and that blood
Shed here—it may be thus. I would not leave
The war, for reputation's sake, upon

An idle apprehension ; a vain dream."

He, however, obeys the admonition, and on arriving at the
church-yard, where his father's remains are deposited, he sees
Castabella shedding tears over his own monument.
She thus addresses the Deity :

Casta. O thou that knowest me justly Charlemont's,
Though in the forc'd possession of another,
Since from thine own free spirit we receive it,
That our affections cannot be compell’d,
Though our actions may; be not displeas'd, if on
The altar of his tomb, 1 sacrifice
My tears. They are the jewels of my

Dissolved into grief: and fall upon
His blasted spring, as April dew upon

A sweet young blossom shak'd before the time."

The last lines are prettily said-of course the young soldier learns the wrong done to his love. Charlemont's appearance somewhat disconcerts the Atheist: he, however, puts a bold face on the matter, and throws Charlemont into prison for the thousand crowns he had lent him. Castabella solicits the mercy of D’Amville in favour of the prisoner, in terms which would melt any thing that had a heart.

Casta. O father! Mercy is an attribute
As high as justice; an essential part
Of his unbounded goodness, whose divine
Impression, form, and image, man should bear.
And (methinks) man should love to imitate
His mercy; since the only countenance
Of justice, were destruction : if the sweet
And loving favour of his mercy did
Not mediate between it and our weakness.
Dear sir! since by your greatness you
Are nearer heav'n in place, be nearer it
In goodness. Rich men should transcend the poor,
As clouds the earth, rais’d by the comfort of

The sun to water dry and barren grounds."

From prison he is released through the means of Sebastian, the second son of D'Amville. Again foiled, he becomes kind in appearance, but rancorous in purpose, and employs his friend Borachio to shoot Charlemont while in the church-yard. Borachio misses aim, and falls beneath the sword of his intended victim. On the very day of Castabella's marriage, Rousard, it seems, had been struck with sudden infirmity, and D’Amville, whose hopes of posterity are now becoming fainter, persuades Castabella to walk into the church-yard, where he makes an attempt against her chastity, but his design is frustrated by the appearance of Charlemont, who had put on a disguise he accidentally found, and which gave him the semblance of his father's 'ghost.“ Misery makes us acquainted with strange bedfellows." Charlemont and Castabella are found asleep in the church-yard, with each a death's head for a pillow, by D'Amville, who immediately accuses them of the murder of Borachio, and they are sent to prison. D'Amville now retires to rest, but is alarmed in his sleep by the ghost of Montferrers-he wakes, and soliloquizes on his superior wisdom to the simple honest worshipperof“a fantastic providence," and is exulting over the state of his posterity, when the dead body of Sebastian, who had been slain, is brought in, and he immediately afterwards witnesses the death of his other son Rousard.

The boasted reason of the Atheist gives way before these repeated blows, and he appears before the court, which is about to try Charlemont and Castabella, in a state of frenzy. They are both convicted on their own confession (for Castabella is nobly resolved to share the fate of Charlemont), and offer themselves with alacrity to death. D’Amville, in a fantastic mood, determines, that they shall die by no ignobler hand than his own; but as he raises up the axe to cut off the head of Charlemont, he strikes out his own brains-confesses his villainy, and dies. The two lovers are doubtless made happy, and so concludes the Atheist's Tragedy; and, with the following little extracts, so must we conclude. Impudence.

Thou goddess of the palace, mistress of mistresses,
To whom the costly perfum'd people pray,
Strike thou my forehead into dauntless marble,

eyes to steady sapphires. Turn my visage;
And, if I must needs glow, let me blush inward,
That this immodest season may not spy
That scholar in my cheeks, fool bashfulness;
That maid in the old time, whose flush of grace
Would never suffer her to get good cloaths.”


“ Our sorrows are so fluent,

Our eyes

o'erflow our tongues; words spoke in tears
Are like the murmurs of the waters, the sound
Is loudly heard, but cannot be distinguish’d.”


“ Here sounds a music whose melodious touch,
Like angels' voices ravishes the sense.
Behold, thou ignorant astronomer,
Whose wandering speculation seeks among
The planets for men's fortunes ! with amazement
Behold thine error, and be planet-struck.
These are the stars, whose operations make
The fortunes and the destinies of men.
Yond' lesser eyes of heav'n (like subjects rais'd
Into their lofty houses, when their prince
Rides underneath th' ambition of their loves)
Are mounted only to behold the face
Of your more rich imperious eminence,
With unprevented sight. Unmask, fair queen;

(Unpurses the gold.
Vouchsafe their expectations may enjoy
The gracious favour they admire to see.
These are the stars, the ministers of fate;
And man's high wisdom the superior power,
To which their forces are subordinate."

Art. IX.--Anecdotes of the Life of the Right Hon. William

Pitt, Earl of Chatham, and of the principal Events of his time. With his Speeches in Parliament from the year 1756 to the year 1778, in 3 cols. 8vo. London, 1790.

The character of Lord Chatham has been so often (and in many cases so ably) delineated within the last forty years, that some apology may be required for any attempt to throw upon it additional light. Every one knows, that all the political parties who, within that time, have divided the state, though differing in every thing else, have yet been emulous to admire and to quote Lord Chatham : that Burke and Grattan have left to the world sketches of his character, which do equal honour to him and to themselves; and that even the

pen Junius has conspired to praise him. Nor is his name heard


only in the senate, or familiar only to those who are acquainted with history and politics : the rawest schoolboy-quisquis adhuc uno partam colit asse Minervamis taught to recite his speeches: the Walpoles, Winnington, Fox, are annually routed in some baby-senate; and the ghost of Pitt-like that of the unfortunate lover in Boccacio and Dryden-gains a periodical revenge upon those who formerly insulted and opposed him.

We are far indeed from insinuating, that the name of Chatham is one which Englishmen have without reason delighted to honour. On the contrary, we conscientiously and gladly acquiesce in that unanimous verdict, which all writers and all orators, since his death, have agreed to pass upon his fame. And it is only because certain works, which, though very recently published, were yet written in Lord Chatham's life-time, have had an unquestionable tendency to lower that opinion of his patriotism, which has ever since his death been general in this country, that we solicit the attention of our readers to some observations upon so trite a subject. It will be understood, of course, that the works to which we allude, are the posthumous publications of Horace Walpole and Lord Waldegrave.

This is hardly the place to inquire how far the strictures of Horace Walpole would have been deserving of any serious notice, had they not been confirmed, in some material points, by the far more trustworthy account of his noble contemporary. That he has calumniated almost every man whose name he mentions, is more than probable ; that he should have misunderstood the character of Lord Chatham cannot appear strange to those who know any thing of his own. It surely was not for a man like Horace Walpole-a man of petty notions, of narrow views, and of very slender charity, to understand a character like that of the elder Pitt: as well might the ant attempt to judge of the symmetry of the elephant. Still less, however, was it likely, à priori, that if Walpole had, by possibility, understood such a man, he would have praised him. The stern and haughty virtue of Chatham, his austere patriotism, and that lofty decision of character, so regardless of all the forms of etiquette, and so hostile to every thing like political intrigue, were ill calculated to conciliate praise from the meddling, polished, timid, lady-like Walpole. Moreover, when it is considered that the power of the historian's own father was incessantly attacked, and at length overturned, by a parliamentary phalanx of which Mr. Pitt was a most conspicuous member, we shall be able to understand why the memory of that statesman is persecuted by a writer, who seems never to have forgiven an insult upon himself or his family.

If, therefore, the character of Lord Chatham had been attacked by no one more deserving of credit than Horace Walpole, we should have felt it quite unnecessary to say one single word in his vindication. But it must be acknowledged, that the charges which have been brought against him, rest upon authority much higher and stronger. They are adopted by Lord Waldegrave, –a man, whose writings, brief as they are, seem to account most satisfactorily for the respect with which he was treated by all his contemporaries. Of plain but strong sense, of calm and clear judgement, of considerable penetration, and a candour the most remarkable,—we cannot but feel that the censures of such a man are not to be passed over lightly. We believe, however, that his opinion of Lord Chatham was unjust; and we shall trouble our readers with some of the reasons which induce us to think so.

In order to do this, it will be necessary to advert to some of the leading facts of Mr. Pitt's history. He entered parliament in the year 1735, a period at which the power of Sir Robert Walpole was at its highest. At that period, however, the Opposition, which had been long agitated by conflicting interests, and occupied in the pursuit of the most inconsistent views, began to form themselves into that compact and resolute body, which finally accomplished the minister's overthrow. Losing sight for a time of all differences among themselves, they directed their united energies against the power of Walpole; the most rancorous Jacobites, and the sternest of the Whigs—the narrowest bigots in politics, and the most romantic freethinkers—those who ascribed to the crown all power, and those who grudged it any-united against the minister, and vowed his destruction. Their joint efforts were at length successful : and that “greatest, wisest, meanest” of statesmen, was driven from the power, which, by dint of consummate ability and much corruption, he had held for upwards of five-and-twenty years.

And when the minister fell, what became of his opponents? Why, their fall was, if possible, still greater. Within one short month, Pulteney, their leader, from being the idol of the nation, became one of the most insignificant men in the country. Instead of union and confidence among those who had lately acted in so much harmony, nothing was to be seen but dissension and distrust. Mutual and incessant recriminations were heard on all sides; broken promises, forgotten pledges, deserted principles, formed the burden of every man's complaint. The discordant ingredients of which the late opposition had been compounded, became once more individualized ; the black spirits and white, red spirits and grey, resumed their own colours, and fell asunder from the union in which they

« PreviousContinue »