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which may be properly termed national, it is the sin of Sabbath breaking. I do not know what idea a foreigner would form of Christian England, if he took a survey of our towns and villages on a Sabbath day: he would be led to look upon our bible societies, our missionary societies, as no more than sunbeams glancing from a plain of ice. Let not the splendour of our good deeds, the heavenly halo which sheds its glory, round us, blind us to the moral plague, which, lurking beneath, is preying upon the very vitals of society. Pass on from town to town, and from village to village; visit the churches, the chapels also, and see what proportion their united congregations bear to the population that swarms around them: visit the dwellings of the people, ask if family altars are common among them, and how many of their inhabitants are really on the Lord's side? sum up the account, and the glory of England is laid in the dust.'
Well does this amiable and right-minded writer remind those in high places who regard the sabbath with habitual contempt, that rank and fortune are dependent upon social order, in other words, upon the submission of the people to certain regulations, the observance of which is founded upon, and sanctioned by the sacred authority of that religion they so madly despise : for, let religion once lose its hold on the minds of the people, and hereditary power and pride will be swept away and mingle in the wreck of better things.' Well has he said this to the great; and well and eloquently too does he say— * The waters are agitated, and public opinion, like a river that has burst beyond its banks, threatens to overturn all that is within its reach; and what is beyond its reach? The most durable works of man are unable to resist it: the torrent is rolling onward, and its waters are now heaving and splashing against a fabric that has withstood the storms of centuries,-a fabric that now trembles to its very foundation beneath the mighty pressure. Let the clergy not despise the signs of the times: the searching waters will also try the solidity of their structure, and what is not based upon the rock the uplifted billows will batter down.'
The clergy have not despised those signs. Whoever can call to mind the state of the church and of the universities thirty or forty years ago, must know, that in no other class has there been so great and undeniable an improvement. Were they but favoured by external circumstances as much as they are obstructed by them, the good that might be effected through their influence would be great indeed. For it is only by their zealous and persevering endeavours that that reformation can be hoped for, without which all other reforms (real or putative) will only mock the expectations that they excite. By them it is that men must be induced (as indeed from the pulpit we have heard them properly exhorted)
to‘réform the rotten boroughis of their own hearts ;' to inquire into the guilds and corporations of their own vices; to lessen the tyranny and the vexations in their own establishments and families; to petition—not the legislature to change the constitution of their country—but their God to regenerate their own corrupted nature.
But much as they are doing and can do, too much is expected from them, especially when the laws whereby they ought to be aided are operating against them. In vain may we desire to see a sober and a moral people when the legislature, by a single act, doubles the haunts of drunkeriness and the temptations to it. In vain may we hope to become once more a religious nation, while those who openly, and in defiance of human laws, break the sabbath, outnumber, and in some places even disturb, those by whom it is kept holy. In vain may the people be exhorted from the desk and the pulpit to fear God and honour the king and those who are in authority under him, while the press inculcates its weekly and daily lessons of insubordination and impiety, sowing the seeds of all vices and of all crimes. Here indeed some in dignation must be awakened that, when a ready and sure remedy exists, the evil should nevertheless be permitted—and all but licensed-all but encouraged—to proceed unchecked. But it is even more painful, and more fearful, to know, that in vain must the faithful pastor admonish the labouring classes to do their duty in that state of life to which it hath pleased God to call them, while they find themselves in that state helplessly, hopelessly, and miserably poor. This Journal will bear us witness that, for more than twenty years, we have insisted upon this topic, and proclaimed that, unless the condition of the poor be improved, both morally and physically, (and till it be physically improved, it is in vain to look for moral improvement,) nothing can save this nation from a more tremendous subversion than history has yet recorded as a warning to mankind !
But this we will venture to assert fearlessly, that whatever may be reserved for us in this age of experimental policy, --through whatever 'variety of untried changes it may be destined that we should pass, the clergy of the Church of England will do their duty. That church as it had its confessors, and its noble army of martyrs' in the days of popish and of puritanical persecution, so has it never been without men who, in their humble spheres, discharged their duty faithfully towards God and man; and never at any time has it been better provided than at this present. The age of Oberlin and Neff was that of Henry Martyn and of Reginald Heber—(living names it were unfit to mention here, readily
as they would else occur,) and many a heart is at this hour deriving strength from these examples. Let the legislature, we entreat, aid them with such wholesome enactments as the reports of its committees afford us reason to expect, and as those who have the welfare of their country and of their fellow-creatures earnestly at heart pray for. Let it restore to us the enjoyment of a Christian Sabbath ;-(no one will suppose that, in saying this, we ask for a puritanical one, with which heaven forbid that this nation should ever again be afflicted, and thereby prepared for licentiousness and impiety ;)— let it provide a law for punishing cruelty towards animals, a crime which, notwithstanding the horror that the excess to which it is at this time carried excites in every heart of common feeling, is, because of the defects of the law, committed with entire impunity.* Let it diminish the inducements to drunkenness; instead of multiplying them as it has done. Let it look into the state of slavery at home as well as abroad—the slavery, of children in our factories; and as it claims for the black slaves a portion of time for their own use, so let it claim for these part at least of one week-day for the purposes of instruction, that the Sunday may be to these poor creatures not a school-day—but, what the laws of God designed it to be-a day of recreation and rest. Let it pursue its inquiries into the condition of the poor, and take speedily what measures are possible for bettering it in all respects. Let this be done ; and our Neffs and Oberlins (for such will rise among us) will enter, with the strength of hope as well as of zeal, upon their labours of love.
Art. IV.-Poems by Alfred Tennyson. pp. 163. London.
. 12mo. 1833. THIS
THIS is, as some of his marginal notes intimate, Mr. Tennyson's
second appearance. By some strange chance we have never seen his first publication, which, if it at all resembles its younge brother, must be by this time so popular that any notice of it on our part would seem idle and presumptuous; but we gladly seize this opportunity of repairing an unintentional neglect, and of introducing to the admiration of our more sequestered readers a new prodigy of genius--another and a brighter star of that galaxy or milky way of poetry of wbich the lamented Keats was the harbinger;
* We saw, some months ago, two or three numbers of a little monthly magazine entirely devoted to this most painfully interesting subject; and we hope it has not been discontinued. Lord Porchester, from the zeal with which he has taken up the cause of humanity towards animals, and Lord Ashley, from his readiness supply Mr. Sadler's place as the advocate of the factory children, are reaping more of real honour aud thankfulness than will ever in this country fall to the share whether of noble or ignoble demagogues.
VOL. XLIX. NO. XCVII.
and let us take this occasion to sing our palinode on the subject of
Endymion. We certainly did not* discover in that poem the same degree of merit that its more clear-sighted and prophetic admirers did. We did not foresee the unbounded popularity which has carried it through we know not how many editions ; which has placed it on every table ; and, what is still more unequivocal, familiarized it in every mouth. All this splendour of fame, however, though we had not the sagacity to anticipate, we have the candour to acknowledge; and we request that the publisher of the new and beautiful edition of Keats's works now in the press,
with graphic illustrations by Calcott and Turner, will do us the favour and the justice to notice our conversion in his prolegomena.
Warned by our former mishap, wiser by experience, and imroved, as we hope, in taste, we have to offer Mr. Tennyson our tribute of unmingled approbation, and it is very agreeable to us, as well as to our readers, that our present task will be little more than the selection, for their delight, of a few specimens of Mr. Tennyson's singular genius, and the venturing to point out, now and then, the peculiar brilliancy of some of the gems that irradiate his poetical crown.
A prefatory sonnet opens to the reader the aspirations of the young author, in which, after the manner of sundry poets, ancient and modern, he expresses his own peculiar character, by wishing himself to be something that he is not. The amorous Catullus aspired to be a sparrow; the tuneful and convivial Anacreon (for we totally reject the supposition that attributes the Eιθε λύρη καλη gevoljny to Alcæus) wished to be a lyre and a great drinking cup; a crowd of more modern sentimentalists have desired to approach their mistresses as flowers, tunicks, sandals, birds, breezes, and butterflies ;-all poor conceits of narrow-minded poetasters ! Mr. Tennyson (though he, too, would, as far as his true love is concerned, not unwillingly be an earring,''a girdle,' and 'a necklace, p. 45) in the more serious and solemn exordium of his works ambitions a bolder metamorphosis—he wishes to be a river !
• Mine be the strength of spirit fierce and free,
Like some broad river rushing down alone 'rivers that travel in company are too common for his taste
With the self-same impulse wherewith he was thrown'a beautiful and harmonious line
From his loud fount upon the echoing lea:
Which, with increasing might, doth forward flee'Every word of this line is valuable—the natural progress of human * See Quarterly Review, vol. xix. p. 204.
ambition is here strongly characterized-two lines ago he would have been satisfied with the self-same impulse—but now he must have increasing might; and indeed he would require all his might to accomplish his object of fleeing forward, that is, going backwards and forwards at the same time. Perhaps he uses the word flee for flow; which latter he could not well employ in this place, it being, as we shall see, essentially necessary to rhyme to Mexico towards the end of the sonnet—as an equivalent to flow he has, therefore, with great taste and ingenuity, hit on the combination of forward flee
doth forward flee
Keeps his blue waters fresh for many a mile.' A noble wish, beautifully expressed, that he may not be confounded with the deluge of ordinary poets, but, anidst their discoloured and briny ocean, still preserve his own bright tints and sweet savor. He may be at ease on this point~he never can be mistaken for any one else. We have but too late become acquainted with him, yet we assure ourselves that if a thousand anonymous specimens were presented to us, we should unerringly distinguish his by the total absence of any particle of salt. But again, his thoughts take another turn, and he reverts to the insatiability of human ambition :- we have seen him just now content to be a river, but as he flees forward, his desires expand into sublimity, and he wishes to become the great Gulfstream of the Atlantic.
• Mine be the power which ever to its sway
Will win the wise at oncem
• Will win the wise at once; and by degrees
The lavish growths of southern Mexico!'-p. 1.
,' a friend, we presume, containing his wishes as to what his friend should do for him when he (the poet) shall be deadnot, as we shall see, that he quite thinks that such a poet can die outright. • Shake hands, my friend, across the brink
Of that deep grave to which I go.
So far-far down, but I shall know