ページの画像
PDF
ePub

but, like Lady Macbeth or Madame Roland, | years, to see my daughter a woman: to which they answered. It is done: and then, at that instant, I awoke out of my trance; and Dr. Howlsworth

did there affirm, that that day she died made just fifteen years from that time."-pp. 26-28.

imparted her own fire to her more phlegmatic helpmate,-"chastised him," when neces sary, "with the valour of her tongue," and cheered him on, by the encouragement of her high example, to all the ventures and sacrifices, the triumphs or the martyrdoms, that lay visibly across her daring and lofty course. The Lady Fanshawe, we take it, was of a less passionate temperament; and her book, accordingly, is more like that of an ordinary woman, though living in extraordinary times. She begins, no doubt, with a good deal of love and domestic devotion, and even echoes, from that sanctuary, certain notes of loyalty; but, in very truth, is chiefly occupied, for the best part of her life, with the sage and serious business of some nineteen or twenty accouchemens, which are happily accomplished in different parts of Europe; and seems, at last, to be wholly engrossed in the ceremonial of diplomatic presentations, the description of court dresses, state coaches, liveries, and jewellery, the solemnity of processions, and receptions by sovereign princes,-and the due interchange of presents and compliments with persons of worship and dignity. Fully onethird of her book is taken up with such goodly matter; and nearly as much with the genealogy of her kindred, and a faithful record of their marriages, deaths, and burials. From the remainder, however, some curious things may be gathered; and we shall try to extract what strikes us as most characteristic. We may begin with something that preceded her own recollection. The following singular legend relates to her mother; and is given, it will be observed, on very venerable authority:

"Dr. Howlsworth preached her funeral sermon, in which, upon his own knowledge, he told, before many hundreds of people, this accident following: That my mother, being sick to death of a fever three months after I was born, which was the occasion she gave me suck no longer, her friends and servants thought, to all outward appearance, that she was dead, and so lay almost two days and a night but Dr. Winston, coming to comfort my father, went into my mother's room, and looking earnestly on her face, said she was so handsome, and now looks so lovely, I cannot think she is dead; and suddenly took a lancet out of his pocket, and with it cut the sole of her foot, which bled. Upon this, he immediately caused her to be laid upon the bed again, and to be rubbed, and such means, as she came to life, and opening her eyes, saw two of her kinswomen stand by her, my Lady Knollys and my Lady Russell, both with great wide sleeves, as the fashion then was, and said, Did not you promise me fifteen years, and are you come again already? which they not understanding, persuaded her to keep her spirits quiet in that great weakness wherein she then was; but, some hours after, she desired my father and Dr. Howlsworth might be left alone with her, to whom she said, I will acquaint you, that, during the time of my trance, I was in great quiet, but in a place I could neither distinguish nor describe; but the sense of leaving my girl, who is dearer to me than all my children, remained a trouble upon my spirits. Suddenly I saw two by me, cloathed in long white garments, and methought I fell down with my face in the dust; and they asked me why I was troubled in so great happiness. I replied, Olet me have the same grant given to Hezekiah, that I may live fifteen

This gift of dreaming dreams, or seeing visions, seems, indeed, to have been hereditary in the family; for the following is given on the credit of the fair writer's own experience. When she and her husband went to Ireland, on their way to Portugal, they were honourably entertained by all the distinguished royalists who came in their way. Among others, she has recorded that,

"We went to the Lady Honor O'Brien's, a lady that went for a maid, but few believed it! She was the youngest daughter of the Earl of Thomond. There we staid three nights. The first of which I was surprised by being laid in a chamber, where, about one o'clock, I heard a voice that wakened me. I drew the curtain, and, in the casement of

the window, I saw, by the light of the moon, a woman leaning into the window, through the casement, in white, with red hair, and pale and ghasily complexion. She spoke loud, and in a tone I had never heard, thrice, A horse!' and then, with a sigh more like the wind than breath, she vanished, and, to me, her body looked more like a thick cloud than substance. I was so much frightened, that my hair stood on end, and my night-clothes fell off. I pulled and pinched your father, who never woke during the disorder I was in; but at last was much surprised to see me in this fright, and more so when I related the story and showed him the window opened. Neither of us slept any more that night, but he entertained me with telling me how much more these apparitions were usual in this country than in England! and we concluded the cause to be the great superstition of the Irish, and the want from the power of the devil, which he exercises of that knowing faith, which should defend them among thein very much."

Ingenious and orthodox as this solution of the mystery must be allowed to be, we confess we should have been inclined to prefer that of the fair sleeper having had a fit of nightmare; had it not been for the conclusive testimony of the putative virgin of the house of Thomond, who supplies the following astonishing confirmation; and leads us rather to suspect that the whole might have been a trick, to rid herself the sooner of their scrupulous and decorous company.

shawe, the lady of the house came to see us, "About five o'clock," continues Lady Fansaying she had not been in bed all night, because a cousin O'Brien of hers, whose ancestors had owned that house, had desired her to stay with him in his chamber, and that he died at two o'clock, and she said, 'I wish you to have had no disturbance, for 'tis the custom of the place, that, when any of the family are dying, the shape of a be dead. This woman was many ages ago got woman appears in the window every night till they with child by the owner of this place, who murdered her in his garden, and flung her into the river under the window, but truly I thought not of it when I lodged you here, it being the best room in the house. We made little reply to her speech, but disposed ourselves to be gone suddenly.'

We shall close this chapter, of the supernatural, with the following rather remarkable ghost story, which is calculated, we think, to make a strong impression on the imagination. Our diligent chronicler picked it up, it seems,

on her way through Canterbury in the year | ink, and paper, which was your father's trade, and 1663; and it is thus honourably attested:

by it, I assure you, we lived better than those who were born to 20007. a year, as long as he had his liberty."-pp. 37, 38.

*4

And here I cannot omit relating the ensuing story, confirmed by Sir Thomas Batten, Sir Arnold Breames, the Dean of Canterbury, with many more gentlemen and persons of this town.

There lives not far from Canterbury a gentleman, called Colonel Colepeper, whose mother was widow unto the Lord Strangford: this gentle man had a sister, who lived with him, as the world

"My husband had provided very good lodgings for us, and as soon as he could come home from the council, where he was at my arrival, he with all expressions of joy received me in his arms, and gave me a hundred pieces of gold, saying, I know thou that keeps my heart so well, will keep my fortune, which from this time I will ever put into thy hands as God shall bless me with increase;' and now I thought myself a perfect queen, and my husband so glorious a crown, that I more valued

said, in too much love. She married Mr. Porter. This brother and sister being both atheists and living a life according to their profession, went in a frolick into a vault of their ancestors, where, before they returned, they pulled some of their father's and mother's hairs! Within a very few days after, Mrs. Porter fell sick and died. Her brother kept her body in a coffin set up in his buttery, saying it would not be long before he died, and then they would be both buried together; but from the night after her death, until the time that we were told the story, which was three months, they say that a head, as cold as death, with curled hair like his sister's, did ever lie by him wherever he slept, notwith-myself to be called by his name than born a standing he removed to several places and countries princess; for I knew him very wise and very good, to avoid it; and several persons told us they also and his soul doated on me,-upon which confidence had felt this apparition." I will tell you what happened. My Lady Rivers, a brave woman, and one that had suffered many thousand pounds loss for the king, and whom I had a great reverence for, and she a kindness for me as a kinswoman, in discourse she tacitly commended the knowledge of state affairs; and that some thereof, as my Lady Aubigny, Lady Isabel Thynne, women were very happy in a good understanding and divers others, and yet none was at first more capable than I; that in the night she knew there came a post from Paris from the queen, and that she would be extremely glad to hear what the queen commanded the king in order to his affairs; saying, if I would ask my husband privately, he would tell me what he found in the packet, and I might tell her. I, that was young and innocent, and to that day had never in my mouth What news?' began to think there was more in inquiring into public affairs than I thought of; and that it being a fashionable thing would make me more beloved of my husband, that had been possible, than I was. When my husband returned home from council, after welcoming him, as his custom ever was, he went with his handful of papers into his study for an hour or more; I followed him; he turned hastily, and said, What wouldst thou have, my life?' I told him, I heard the prince had received a packet from the queen, and I guessed it was that in his hand, and I desired to know what was in it; he smilingly replied, My love, I will immediately come to thee; pray thee go, for I am very busy: when he came out of his closet I revived my suit; he kissed me, and talked of other things. At supper I would eat nothing; he as usual sat by me, and drank often to me, which was his custom, and was full of discourse to company that was at table. Going to bed I asked again; and said I could not believe he loved me if he refused to tell me all he knew; but he answered nothing, but stopped my mouth with kisses. So we went to bed; I cried, and he went to sleep! Next morning early, as his custom was, he called to rise, but began to discourse with me first, to which I made no reply; he rose, came on the other side of the bed and kissed me, and drew the curtains softly, and went to court. When he came home to dinner, he presently came to me as was usual, and when I had him by the hand, I said, Thou dost not care to see me troubled;' to which he, taking me in his arms, answered, My dearest soul, nothing upon earth can afflict me like that: But when you asked me of my business, it was wholly out of my power to satisfy thee; for my life and fortune shall be thine, and every thought of my heart in which the trust I am in may not be revealed: But my honour is my own; which I cannot preserve if I communicate the prince's

·

Q

We may now go back a little to the affairs of this world. Deep and devoted attachments are more frequently conceived in circumstances of distress and danger than in any other: and, accordingly, the love and marriage of Sir Richard Fanshawe and his lady befel during their anxious and perilous residence with the court at Oxford, in 1644. The following little sketch of the life they passed there is curious and interesting:

46

My father commanded my sister and myself to come to him to Oxford, where the Court then was; but we, that had till that hour lived in great plenty and great order, found ourselves like fishes out of the water, and the scene so changed, that we knew not at all how to act any part but obedience; for, from as good a house as any gentleman of England had, we came to a baker's house in an obscure street; and from rooms well furnished, to lie in a very bad bed in a garret, to one dish of meat, and that not the best ordered, no money, for we were as poor as Job, nor clothes more than a man or two brought in their cloak bags: we had the perpetual discourse of losing and gaining towns and men: at the windows the sad spectacle of war, sometimes plagues, sometimes sicknesses of other kind, by reason of so many people being packed together, as, I believe, there never was before of that quality; always in want, yet I must needs say, that most bore it with a martyr-like cheerfulness. For my own part, I began to think we should all, like Abraham, live in tents all the days of our lives. The king sent my father a warrant for a baronet, but he returned it with thanks, saying he had too much honour of his knighthood, which his majesty had honoured him with some years before, for the fortune he now possessed."-pp. 35—37.

They were married very privately the year after; and certainly entered upon life with little but their mutual love to cheer and support them; but it seems to have been sufficient.

46

'Both his fortune and my promised portion, which was made 10,000, were both at that time in expectation; and we might truly be called merchant adventurers, for the stock we set up our trading with did not amount to twenty pounds betwixt us; but, however, it was to us as a little piece of armour is against a bullet, which, if it be right placed, though no bigger than a shilling, serves as well as a whole suit of armour; so our stock bought pen,

The next scene presents both of them in so amiable and respectable a light, that we think it but justice to extract it, though rather long, without any abridgment. It is, indeed, one of the most pleasing and interesting passages in the book. They had now gone to Bristol, in 1645.

[ocr errors]

affairs; and, pray thee, with this answer rest satis- | darings of Mrs. Hutchinson, though we canfied.' So great was his reason and goodness, that, not say that the occasion called so clearly for upon consideration, it made my folly appear to me their display. During their voyage to Portuso vile, that from that day until the day of his death, I never thought fit to ask him any business, but what he communicated freely to me, in order to his estate or family."

gal, and—

After the ill success of the royal arms had made it necessary for the Prince to retire beyond seas, Lady Fanshawe and her husband attended him to the Scilly Islands. We give this natural and simple picture of their discomforts on that expedition:—

"The next day, after having been pillaged, and extremely sick and big with child, I was set on shore, almost dead, in the island of Scilly; when we had got to our quarters near the castle, where the prince lay, I went immediately to bed, which was so vile that my footman ever lay in a better, and we had but three in the whole house, which consisted of four rooms, or rather partitions, two low rooms, and two little lofts, with a ladder to go up: in one of these they kept dried fish, which was his trade, and in this my husband's two clerks lay; one there was for my sister, and one for myself, and one amongst the rest of the servants; but when I waked in the morning, I was so cold knew not what to do; but the daylight discovered that my bed was near swimming with the sea, which the owner told us afterwards it never did but at spring tides."

We must not omit her last interview with her unfortunate Sovereign, which took place at Hampton Court, when his star was hastening to its setting! It is the only interview with that unhappy Prince of which she has left any notice; and is, undoubtedly, very touching and amiable.

46

During his stay at Hampton Court, my husband was with him; to whom he was pleased to talk much of his concerns, and gave him three credentials for Spain, with private instructions, and letters for his service: But God, for our sins, disposed his Majesty's affairs otherwise. I went three times to pay my duty to him, both as 1 was the daughter of his servant, and wife of his servant. The last time I ever saw him, when I took my leave, I could not refrain from weeping, When he had saluted me, I prayed to God to preserve his majesty with long life and happy years; he stroked me on the cheek, and said, Child, if God pleaseth it shall be so! both you and I must submit to God's will, and you know in what hands I am in;' then turning to your father, he said, Be sure, Dick, to tell my son all that I have said, and deliver those letters to my wife; pray God bless her! I hope I shall do well;' and taking him in his arms, said, Thou hast ever been an honest man, and I hope God will bless thee, and make thee a happy servant to my son, whom I have charged in my letter to continue his love, and trust to you;' adding, I do promise you, that if ever I am restored to my dignity, I will bountifully reward you for both your service and sufferings.' Thus did we part from that glorious sun, that within a few months after was murdered, to the grief of all Christians that were not forsaken by God."

These are almost sufficient specimens of the work before us; for it would not be fair to extract the whole substance of it. However, we must add the following striking trait of heroism and devoted affection, especially as we have spoken rather too disparagingly of the fair writer's endowment of those qualities. In point of courage and love to her husband it is quite on a level, perhaps with any of the

"When we had just passed the Straits, we saw coming towards us, with full sails, a Turkish galley, well manned, and we believed we should be all carried away slaves, for this man had so laden his ship with goods for Spain, that his guns were usefor brandy, and after he had well drunken, and all less, though the ship carried sixty guns. He called his men, which were near two hundred, he called for arms, and cleared the deck as well as he could,

resolving to fight rather than lose his ship, which

was worth 30,000l. This was sad for us passengers: but my husband bid us be sure to keep in the cabin, and not appear, the women, which would make the Turks think that we were a man-of-war, but if they saw women, they would take us for merchants, and board us. gun and bandoliers, and sword, and, with the rest He went upon the deck, and took a of the ship's company, stood upon deck expecting the arrival of the Turkish man-of-war. This beast, the captain, had locked me up in the cabin; I knocked and called long to no purpose, until at length the cabin-boy came and opened the door. I, all in tears, desired him to be so good as to give me his blue thrum cap he wore, and his tarred coat, which he did, and I gave him half-a-crown, and putting them on, and flinging away my night-clothes, crept up softly and stood upon the deck by my husband's side, as free from sickness and fear as, I confess, from discretion; but it was the effect of that passion which I could never master.

66

But

parley, and so well satisfied with speech and sight By this time the two vessels were engaged in of each other's forces, that the Turks' man-of-war tacked about, and we continued our course. when your father saw it convenient to retreat, looking upon me, he blessed himself, and snatched me up in his arms, saying, 'Good God, that love can make this change!' and though he seemingly chid me, he would laugh at it as often as he remembered that voyage.'

99

What follows is almost as strong a proof of that "love which casteth out fear;" while it is more unexceptionable on the score of prudence. Sir Richard, being in arms for the King at the fatal battle of Worcester, was afterwards taken prisoner, and brought to London; to which place his faithful consort immediately repaired, where, in the midst of her anxieties,

"I met a messenger from him with a letter, which advised me of his condition, and told me he was very civilly used, and said little more, but that I should be in some room at Charing Cross, where he had promise from his keeper that he should rest there in my company at dinner-time; this was meant to him as a great favour. I expected him with impatience, and on the day appointed provided a dinner and room, as ordered, in which I was with my father and some more of our friends, where, about eleven of the clock, we saw hundreds of poor soldiers, both English and Scotch, march all naked on foot, and many with your father, who was very cheerful in appearance; who, after he had spoken and saluted me and his friends there, said, little I have to spare; this is the chance of war; Pray let us not lose time, for I know not how nothing venture, nothing have; so let us sit down and be merry whilst we may; then taking my hand in his, and kissing me, Cease weeping, no other thing upon earth can move me; remember we are all at God's disposal.'

4

66

not constantly to go, when the clock struck four in During the time of his imprisonment, I failed the morning, with a dark lantern in my hand all

alone and on foot, from my lodging in Chancery | coach, the soldiers stood to their arms, and the Lane, at my cousin Young's, to Whitehall, in at the entry that went out of King Street into the bowling-green. There I would go under his window and softly call him; he, after the first time excepted, never failed to put out his head at the first call; thus we talked together, and sometimes I was so wet with the rain, that it went in at my neck and out at my heels. He directed how I should make my addresses, which I did ever to their general, Cromwell, who had a great respect for your father, and would have bought him off to his service, upon any terms.

lieutenant that held the colours displaying them, which is never done to any one but kings, or such as represent their persons: I stood still all the while, then at the lowering of the colours to the ground, they received for them a low courtesy from me, and for himself a bow; then taking coach, with very many persons, both in coaches and on foot, I went to the duke's palace, where I was again received by a guard of his excellency's, with the same ceremony of the king's colours as before. Then I was received by the duke's brother and near a hundred persons of quality. I laid my hand upon the wrist of his excellency's right hand; he putting his cloak thereupon, as the Spanish fashion is, went up the stairs, upon the top of which stood the duchess and her daughter, who received me with great civility, putting me into every door, and all my children, till we came to sit down in her excellency's chamber, where she placed me upon her right hand, upon cushions, as the fashion of this court is, being very rich, and laid upon Persian carpets."

"Being one day to solicit for my husband's liberty for a time, he bid me bring, the next day, a certificate from a physician that he was really ill. Immediately I went to Dr. Batters, that was by chance both physician to Cromwell and to our family, who gave me one very favourable in my husband's behalf. I delivered it at the Council Chamber, at three of the clock that afternoon, as he commanded me, and he himself moved, that seeing they could make no use of his imprisonment, whereby to lighten them in their business, that he might have his liberty upon 40001. bail, to take a course of physic, he being dangerously ill. Many spake against it; but most Sir Henry Vane, who said he would be as instrumental, for ought he knew, to hang them all that sat there, if ever he had opportunity; but if he had liberty for a time, that he might take the engagement before he went out; upon which Cromwell said, 'I never knew that the engagement was a medicine for the scorbutic! They, hearing their general say so, thought it obliged him, and so ordered him his liberty upon

bail."

These are specimens of what we think pest in the work; but, as there may be readers who would take an interest in her description of court ceremonies, or, at least, like to see how she manages them, we shall conclude with a little fragment of such a description.

"This afternoon I went to pay my visit to the Duchess of Albuquerque. When I came to take

The two dukes embraced my husband with great kindness, welcoming him to the place, and the Duke of Medina Celi led me to my coach, an honour that he had never done any but once, when he waited on your queen to help her on the like occasion. The Duke d'Alcala led my eldest daughter, and the younger led my second, and the Gov. ernor of Cadiz, Don Antonio de Pimentel, led the third. Mrs. Kestian carried Betty in her arms."

There is great choice of this sort for those who like it; and not a little of the more solemn and still duller discussion of diplomatic of these, and of the genealogies and obituaetiquette and precedence. But, independent there is enough both of heart, and sense, and ries, which are not altogether without interest, observation, in these memoirs, at once to repay gentle and intelligent readers for the trouble of perusing them, and to stamp a character of amiableness and respectability on the memory of their author.

(November 1825.)

Memoirs of SAMUEL PEPYS, Esq. F.R.S., Secretary to the Admiralty in the Reign of Charles II. and James II., comprising his Diary from 1659 to 1669, deciphered by the Rev. John Smith, A. B., of St. John's College, Cambridge, from the original Shorthand MS. in the Pepysian Library, and a Selection from his Private Correspondence. Edited by RICHARD LORD BRAY BROOKE. 2 vols. 4to. London: 1825.

So we

We have a great indulgence, we confess, for the taste, or curiosity, or whatever it may be called, that gives its value to such publications as this; and are inclined to think the desire of knowing, pretty minutely, the manners and habits of former times,-of understanding, in all their details, the character and ordinary way of life and conversation of our forefathers a very liberal and laudable desire; and by no means to be confounded with that hankering after contemporary slander, with which this age is so miserably infested, and so justly reproached. It is not only curious to see from what beginnings, and by what steps, we have come to be what we are:-like manner, we may trace in the same records But is most important, for the future and the connection of public and private morality, for the present, to ascertain what practices, and the mutual action and reaction of govern

and tastes, and principles, have been com-
monly found associated or disunited: And
as, in uncultivated lands, we can often judge
of their inherent fertility by the quality of the
weeds they spontaneously produce
may learn, by such an inspection of the moral
growths of a country, compared with its sub-
sequent history, what prevailing manners are
indicative of vice or of virtue-what existing
follies foretell approaching wisdom-what
forms of licentiousness give promise of com-
ing purity, and what of deeper degradation-
what uncertain lights, in short, announce the
rising, and what the setting sun! While, in

[ocr errors]

Of all these things History tells us littleand yet they are the most important that she could have been employed in recording. She has been contented, however, for the most part, with detailing merely the broad and apparent results-the great public events and transactions, in which the true working principles of its destiny have their end and consummation; and points only to the wrecks or the triumphs that float down the tide of human affairs, without giving us any light as to those ground currents by which its central masses are governed, and of which those superficial appearances are, in most cases, the necessary though unsuspected effects.

ment and manners;-and discover what indi- | were produced on the society of Athens or vidual corruptions spring from political dis- Sparta by the battles of Marathon or Salamis, honour what domestic profligacy leads to we are indebted not so much to the histories the sacrifice of freedom-and what national of Herodotus, Xenophon, or Thucydides, as virtues are most likely to resist the oppres- to the Deipnosophists of Athenæus-the anecsions, or yield to the seductions of courts. dotes of Plutarch-the introductory and incidental passages of the Platonic dialogues— the details of some of the private orationsand parts of the plays of Plautus and Terence, apparently copied from the Greek comedies. For our personal knowledge of the Romans, again, we do not look to Livy, or Dionysiusor even to Cæsar, Sallust, or Tacitus; but to Horace, Petronius, Juvenal, and the other satirists-to incidental notices in the Orations and Dialogues of Cicero-and above all to his invaluable letters, followed up by those of Pliny,-to intimations in Plutarch, and Seneca, and Lucian-to the books of the Civil law— and the biographies and anecdotes of the Empire, from Suetonius to Procopius. Of the feudal times-the heroic age of modern Europe-we have fortunately more abundant and minute information, both in the Romances of chivalry, which embody all the details of upper life; and in the memoirs and chronicles of such writers as Commines and Froissart, which are filled with so many individual pictures and redundant particularities, as to leave us scarcely any thing more to learn or to wish for, as to the manners and character, the temper and habits, and even the daily life and conversation of the predominating classes of society, who then stood for every thing in those countries: And, even with regard to their serfs and vassals, we are not without most distinct and intelligible lights-both in scattered passages of the works we have already referred to, in various ancient ballads and legends relating to their condition, and in such invaluable records as the humorous and more familiar tales of our immortal Chaucer. For the character and ordinary life of our more immediate ancestry, we may be said to owe our chief knowledge of it to Shakespeare, and the comic dramatists by whom he was succeeded-reinforced and supported by the infinite quantity of obscure and insignificant matter which the industry of his commentators has brought back to light for his elucidation-and which the matchless charm of his popularity has again rendered both interesting and familiar. The manners and habits of still later times are known to us, not by any means by our public histories, but by the writers of farces and comedies, polite essays, libels, and satires-by collections of private letters, like those of Gray, Swift, Arbuthnot, and Lord Orford-by private memoirs or journals, such as those of Mrs. Lucy Hutchinson, Swift's Journal to Stella, and Doddington's Diaryand, in still later times, by the best of our gay and satirical novels-by caricature prints-by the better newspapers and magazines,-and by various minute accounts (in the manner of Boswell's Life of Johnson) of the private life and conversation of distinguished individuals.

Every one feels, we think, how necessary this information is, if we wish to understand what antiquity really was, and what manner of men existed in former generations. How vague and unsatisfactory, without it, are all public annals and records of dynasties and battles of how little interest to private individuals of how little use even to philosophers and statesmen! Before we can apply any example in history, or even comprehend its actual import, we must know something of the character, both of the age and of the persons to which it belongs-and understand a good deal of the temper, tastes, and occupations, both of the actors and the sufferers. Good and evil, in truth, change natures, with a change of those circumstances; and we may be lamenting as the most intolerable of calamities, what was scarcely felt as an infliction, by those on whom it fell. Without this knowledge, therefore, the most striking and important events are mere wonders, to be stared at-altogether barren of instruction and probably leading us astray, even as occasions of sympathy or moral emotion. Those minute details, in short, which History has so often rejected as below her dignity, are indispensable to give life, certainty, or reality to her delineations; and we should have little hesitation in asserting, that no history is really worth any thing, unless it relate to a people and an age of which we have also those humbler and more private memorials. It is not in the grand tragedy, or rather the epic fictions, of History, that we learn the true condition of former ages the real character of past generations, or even the actual effects that were produced on society or individuals at the time, by the great events that are there so solemnly recorded. If we have not some remnants or some infusion of the Comedy of middle life, we neither have any idea of the state and colour of the general existence, nor any just understanding of the transactions about which we are reading.

For what we know of the ancient Greeks for example-for all that enables us to imagine what sort of thing it would have been to have lived among them, or even what effects

The work before us relates to a period of which we have already very considerable memorials. But it is, notwithstanding, of

« 前へ次へ »