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O spare! and let it still outspread
'O spare my flower! Thou know'st not what
A thousand charms thou notest not
Not Solomon, in all his state,
Was clad like Nature's simplest child;
Spare, then, this humble monument
He made it who makes nought in vain ;
He watches it who watches thee;
Who bade it be.'
The verses are strangely spoiled by an additional stanza, meant for a moral. Surely the moral is evident enough, without eight prosaic lines by way of guide-post. It is bad policy in a poet to be ostentatiously didactic. In these communings with nature, we ought never to overhear the prompter. The feeling is so entirely every thing, that art and wit are in the way, and injure the illusion. Thus it is the fault of all emblematical poems that the purpose in them is too palpable, and the connexion overstrained. The flower which, to be graceful, should seem, at most, to hang towards an imperceptible support, is often more than half hidden by the garden stick to which it is attached, 'Emblems' were once very popular over Europe. But they must always remain, even when dressed up by much more powerful hands than those of our principal English artists, such as Whitney, Withers, and Quarles, essentially coarse expedients.
Few persons are more likely, and certainly none are more entitled, to welcome the approach of evening, than an active parish priest. It must be doubly welcome when it comes ushered in with a train of pleasing fancies, to sweeten and sanctify its
'Sweet evening hour! sweet evening hour!
The infant to its mother's breast.
< Sweet hour! that bids the labourer cease;
And leads them home, and crowns them there
6 'O, season of soft sounds and hues,
Yes, lovely hour! thou art the time
And God receives and answers prayer.
Sweet hour! for heavenly musing made-
The verses on the Alps, and those entitled Aspirations,' are rather of a more aspiring character. We give the latter but Mr Lyte will be mistaking, we think, the impulse of enjoyment for the capacity of execution, if he is of opinion that his strength lies towards flights of imagination, rather than in setting off the shadowy face of things by throwing into it the expression of a moral movement.
'I would not always sail upon a sunny sea:
The mountain wave, the sounding gale, have deeper joys for me.
Let others love to creep along the flowery dell:
Be mine upon the craggy steep, among the storms, to dwell.
The rock, the mist, the foam, the wonderful, the wild
I feel they form my proper home, and claim me for their child.
The whirlwind's rushing wing, the stern volcano's voice,
I love thy solemn roar, thou deep, eternal sea,
Sounding along from shore to shore, the boundless and the free.
I love the flood's hoarse song, the thunder's lordly mirth,
The midnight wind, that walks along the hush'd and trembling earth;
Then, bursting earth's control, my thoughts are all at flood:
My energies expand; my spirit looks abroad;
And, 'midst the terrible and grand, feels nearer to her God.'
A debtor-and-creditor sort of stanza follows, which has no business there, about his being willing to pay the price' for sublime emotions. An evident absence of the cant of composition, and of all study for effect, is a great attraction. Mr Lyte has it. And, while we do not deny that he is quite justified in closing with nature out of doors on her own terms,
'Let others tamely weigh the danger and the pain :
I do not shrink the price to pay, to share the joy and gain,’— we insist, on the other hand, on our own right to a stricter bargain with a human author. We take the liberty, therefore, of saying, that there can be no manner of reason why the pleasure of natural and easy verses should be purchased at the rate of all the carelessness and the inequality which are to be found in this agreeable little volume. The list, made by Martinus Scriblerus in the Art of Sinking,' of the different characters of Wrestler, Attorney, Recruiting Officer, &c., under which the most sublime of all Beings has been represented by Sir Richard Blackmore, ought to have prevented Mr Lyte from adding to them that of Policeman, and speaking of God's infinite Patrol.'
ART. X.-1. First Report by Messrs Villiers and Bowring on the Commercial Relations between France and Great Britain. 1834.
2. Addresse des Negocians de Bordeaux aux Chambres Legislatives. 4to. Bordeaux : 1834.
HE state of the commercial relations between France and England is a subject of the highest interest to both countries; and we gladly embrace the opportunity afforded by the appearance of the documents quoted above, to lay some details with respect to it before the reader.
Considering their proximity, extent, population, and wealth, and the vast variety of natural and artificial productions peculiar to each, there are no two countries so well fitted for carrying on an extensive and mutually beneficial intercourse as Great Britain and France. The aggregate value of the trade between
Great Britain and Ireland is certainly not less than sixteen or eighteen millions a-year. And yet any one who compares the condition of England and Ireland, and of England and France, must be satisfied that, unless it were violently interfered with, the trade between the last two would very far exceed that between the former two. France is nearer to England than Ireland; and she is possessed of a far greater variety of products suitable for our markets. In the articles of wine, silk, and brandy, she has an unquestionable superiority over every other country; and she has an infinite number of minor, though important articles, calculated to form the materials of the most extensive traffic. On the other hand, the coal, the iron, the cottons, and the earthenware of England, might all be imported into France for the half, or less, of what it costs to produce them there; and, besides their importance as articles of general utility, an abundant and cheap supply of coal and iron is a sine qua non to the successful prosecution of manufacturing industry. The sea that separates the two nations ought, therefore, literally to swarm with vessels engaged in the trade between them; bearing to each the products and the arts of the other,-stimulating improvement, and providing for their continued friendship and alliance, by making each dependent on the other for a large share of its conveniences and enjoyments. But in this, as in many other cases, what is differs widely indeed from what ought to be. present state of the intercourse between Great Britain and France illustrates, in the most striking manner, the malignant influence of those anti-social and anti-commercial systems to which, notwithstanding their rottenness, many still cling with blind tenacity. Owing to their unreasonable jealousy of each other, and to the prevalence of erroneous theories as to the sources of national wealth, the commerce between England and France is contracted to less than a tenth part of its natural magnitude; and, such as it is, it is mostly in the hands of the smuggler; and is productive rather of demoralization and crime, than of wealth and improve
It would be to no purpose to enquire minutely which of the two countries has done most to bring about a state of things so destructive of both their interests. The blame is, we believe, pretty equally divided. English writers of the liberal school are prone to censure the policy of Colbert. But though many of his commercial measures evinced a narrow and illiberal spirit, there were several amongst them of a very different character; and, in general, they were less objectionable than those that prevailed nearly at the same period in this country. Indeed, as is observed by Messrs Villiers and Bowring, down to 1786, we
led the way in illiberality. In the reign of William III., Parliament went so far as to declare the trade with France a nuisance! In the next reign, it refused to ratify the commercial negotiation by Harley's ministry. And we continued from 1673 down even to 1831, to proclaim our dislike to French commerce, by laying 33 per cent more duty on the wines of that country than on those of either Portugal or Spain. However much, therefore, we may regret, we need not certainly feel much surprised, at the restrictive policy of the French. But it is to be hoped that France will not be less disinclined to reciprocate our measures, now that they are begun to be founded on principles that must be productive of mutual advantage, and are conceived in a friendly spirit towards her, than when they were bottomed only on the narrowest views of self-aggrandizement, and were animated by a blind jealousy of France and other powers.
It appears from the official accounts, that the declared or real value of the various articles of British produce and manufactures exported from this country, by the legitimate channels, to France in 1832 was only L.674,791, being less than our exports to Turkey, and only between a third and a fourth part of our exports to Italy! There is no account of the declared value of the imports, but it is well known to be at least three times as great as that of the exports. This arises partly from the circumstance, that Italian raw and thrown silk, worth from L.600,000 to L.700,000 a-year, comes to us through France, and consequently appears as an article of export from that country, instead of Italy; and partly, and principally, perhaps, from the greater facility of smuggling on the French frontier. The state of the exchange shows that, generally speaking, the debts and credits of the two countries are about equal; for it is not often that gold and silver go from the one to the other.
Such being the puny dimensions of the trade with France, we hail with the greatest satisfaction every measure that promises to be in any degree instrumental in procuring a repeal or modification of those prohibitions, and oppressive duties, that have reduced it within such unnaturally narrow limits; and we know of none more likely to promote these desirable objects than the appointment of a Commission like that of which Messrs Villiers and Bowring were members. The object of the Commission, as explained in the admirable letter addressed to the British Commissioners by Mr Poulett Thomson, was principally to investigate the precise influence of the restrictions in each country on the importation of articles from the other; and to show in what way, and to what extent, they might be modified, so as to confer the greatest advantage on the public,-taking care, at the same time,