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Scottish Peers in the House of Lords who hold a
British title superior to their Scottish title
The following tables present a view of the Irish Peerage as at present existing :
including Having no additional
those with English English Title.
O . . . . Peeress . . . . 1
. . . . 222 Representative Peers without British peerages 247 Representative Peers who since their election }
have obtained British peerages . . 4 J. Peers having seats in the House of Lords as pos
sessors of British peerages, but not being members
of the Representative body . . . . 74
. . . . . . . 101
Irish Peers in the House of Lords holding a superior
, holding an inferior British title :
Without any reference to the titles which offices give, saying nothing for the Army, ihe Navy, the Law, or the Church, the number of herediditary and personal distinctions which are enjoyed as matters of right, amount to something near 3,000, whereas the number of persons enjoying courtesy titles, including widows, must exceed 5,000. . Then, if we include official distinctions, we have at least 2,000 additional, giving a total of the titled classes amounting to not less than 10,000.
Then come those whom some writers style the nobiles minores-the gentlemen entitled to bear arms, respecting whose numbers there exists no authentic information, but who, nevertheless, are looked upon as only a step below the high nobility, and as fully entitled to all the immunities belonging to “ gentle blood.” But the term “ aristocracy" goes lower still, for we have the commercial aristocracy and the manufacturing aristocracy, and Heaven knows how many more.
BY LEIGH HUNT.
Leigh Hunt stands alone amongst the authors of our day. With a heart and genius ever young, because ever filled and overflowing from the natural and the true, he seems, in his person' at least, the remnant of a departed race. The associate and coadjutor of Godwin, Byron, Shelley, Keats, and of a group who have passed into our language as undoubted classics, and are as much a part of the past as Shakspere or Milton. This ancient yet modern character, this intimate connexion with the past by his own productions and associations, and with the present by the still freshness of his writings, gives him an antique juvenility such as we acknowledge in the statue of a youth by a Grecian sculptor; we have the flavour of age, but the freshness of youth.
Perhaps, of all his great contemporaries, he is the most likely thus to survive in personal popularity. It is doubtful, early as they left the world, if their spirits would have proceeded, like Mr. Hunt's, with the spirit of the age. They were men of mighty passions as well as mighty imaginings, and developed rather their own will and intellect than sought to appeal to the sympathies or tastes of their readers. They are gone, but have left
“The bright track of their fiery cars." In the universality of his sympathies, and the delicacy of his taste, perhaps no writer ever surpassed Mr. Hunt. It is not to his political career we would refer; though there, whatever may be the politics of the reader, he must allow he suffered much “ for conscience sake." In a literary career, surely no author has wrought more effect; his writings have created taste where it was most difficult to do so. He went amongst the sordid and the half-informed, and by his gentle expositions, his pleasing and judicious Essays, raised up in them a perception and love of the beautiful. His has been called the Cockney school, and his adornment and elevation of things apparently inconsequential has been derided by men whose minds could only sympathize with the obviously grand and important. But this very Cockneyism, as it has been opprobriously termed, is the very cause of his effecting such important results. For the shopkeeping, trafficking, inhabitants of London, he wrought out the soul of beauty that lay in many of the things before them. He threw a charm on the world of art and industry in which they moved, and awoke their sentiments to the beauties of that pature to which they could reach. If ever man deserved that his fellow citizens should give him a statue, that man is Leigh Hunt. To how many buried in narrow streets, and confined to back parlours, have bis essays and criticisms brought notions of beauty and sources of intellectual enjoyment, that they otherwise would never have dreamt of. Other men may have established new principles, or forced the tide of human passion into national events and mighty deeds,-may have been more ostentatiously employed-or more apparently beneficial to mankind; but none have done more or so much to carry a sense of the beautiful, the graceful and the refined, to all classes,—to teach that great truth, which yet wants disseminating still wider, that much happiness may be had unconnected with the payment of money, and that the intellect and the senses have capacities for the most exquisite enjoyments independent of wealth and rank.
To enforce such truths is indeed to civilize; and those persons who may think there is exaggeration in attributing to Mr. Hunt such wide and beneficial results, it is but necessary for them to consider his literary career. The sound principles of art, and the fine distinctions and descriptions, he has poured forth on all the elegancies and adornments of life and nature in the “ Examiner," the “ Indicator," and numerous other places, have set in motion the intellects of thousands, and stimulated many men of genius to the same task. Taking altogether both what he has effected himself, and been the cause of other men of intellect effecting, he has certainly done more for our age than Addison and Steele did for theirs. To substitute kindly feelings and just notions, in the place of the reverse-to enlarge the heart and to raise the taste of classes-is, indeed, a noble thing: and that this has been done by Mr. Hunt's writings, is incontrovertible. How many youths-how many men condemned to the toil and sordidness of a mean occupation-has the writer of this article personally known, whose souls have been called into action by his essays. Men who otherwise would have grovelled on, mere drudges in the dark mine of Pluto; “ the genial current of whose souls” would have stagnated in the monotony of a sordid employment : but whose tastes have been awakened to an intellectual enjoyment, that, while it developes the man, benefits society by laying the foundation of right sentiments and honourable feeling.
Class-censure is fast being banished from the pages of every sensible writer : and men are not now judged from the occupation they pursue. Every lawyer is not deemed a rogue, nor every shopkeeper a cheat. Undoubtedly the character of a shopkeeper thirty years ago and now is a very different thing. Then, every vulgarity of thought and manner, every pettiness of feeling and trickiness of conduct, was attributed to him; and we believe with great justice, or at least with much fewer exceptions than at present. Now amongst this class may be found men with as honourable sentiments, and as refined notions, as those claiming gentle blood. Their houses and mode of life bespeak it.
They have books and music, and frequently no contemptible appreciation of art.
This is civilization in its best form, and a nation's blessings are due to that man who adds to the pleasures of life without adding to its sensualities. The cultivation of pure taste and the delicate development of the intellect does more than this,-it lessens the sensualities whilst it enlarges the enjoyments of mankind.
The genius of Hunt has done much of this; and Cockney-land, at all events, owes him a great debt, which it might as well pay whilst he is still amongst us. But it is nonsense to talk of cockneyism ; such benefits permeate over a whole society, and affect an empire wherever its population is collected in masses.
The present work is one admirably illustrating Mr. Hunt's genius and sentiments. It shows his universal sympathy with all that is amiable and noble-his taste for the refined-his sense for the beautiful in nature and art; however humble the forms in which they display themselves.
In conjunction with the old writers, Mr. Hunt has a literalness which sometimes approaches the quaint and sometimes the bald. This arises from the same cause in both. They take things as they are, and as they seem fresh and original to them; but they forget that numerous other associations are allied to them, and that consequently very different impressions may be raised in the reader's mind to that felt by the poet. “Good Heavens !" was once a solemn adjuration,-it has now become a mere interjection.
But it is time to introduce the reader to the poem, and no words can do this so well as the author's own, who gives the following account of it :
“ The scene of the old story,--the only known production of a poet named Huon le Roi, (possibly one of the Kings of the Minstrels,' often spoken of at that period,) is laid in the province of Champagne; but as almost all the narrative poems under the title of Lays (of which this is one) are with good reason supposed to have had their source in the Greater or Lesser Britain,-that is to say, either among the Welsh of this island, or their cousins of French Brittany,and as the only other local allusions in the poem itself are to places in England, the author has availed himself of the common property in these effusions claimed for the Anglo-Norman
“ . Begirt with British and Armorick knights,' to indulge himself in a licence universal with the old minstrels, and lay the scene of his version where and when he pleased ; to wit, during the reign of Edward the First, and in Kensington, Hendon, and their neighbourhoods, old names, however new they sound. There is reason to believe, that the woody portions of Kensington, still existing as the Gardens, and in the neighbourhood of Holland House, are part of the ancient forest of Middlesex, which extended from this quarter to the skirts of Hertfordshire: and it is out of regard for these remnants of the old woods, and associations with them still more grateful, that I have placed the scene of my heroine's abode on the site of the existing Palace, and the closing scene of the poem in the hall of the De Veres, Earls of Oxford, who had a mansion at that period in the grounds of the present Holland House, near the part called the Moats.
" The circumstance of the Palfrey's being ridden into this hall in the King's presence, will hardly need vindication to readers the least conversant with old customs; but it may not be considered too trifling to observe, that the horse called a Palfrey was not, as it is generally supposed to have been, a lady's horse only; much less was its employment by the other sex confined to persons of inferior condition, as a careless passage in Dryden would imply; or even, for any thing I can discover, common with them at all. Dryden, in his version of the Knight's Tale from Chaucer, says,
" The smiths and armourers on palfreys ride ;' but Chaucer simply says of these handicraftsmen of the tournament, that they were on horseback; and he assigns the palfreys to the lords.
" To the paleis rode there many a route
Of lordés upon stedés and palfrèis.' “The palfrey indeed was so expressly a trained or managed horse, and therefore a beast of pretension, that Barbazan derives its appellation from the fact ;* and though the old writers generally imply that it was a horse upon a peace establishment, in contradistinction to a war-horse (the steed or destrier), yet I think it probable that it was originally the only horse used in those peaceful imitations of war, the tilt and tournament. It certainly often was used in them, and in battle too; though by degrees it came to be employed chiefly as a saddle-horse or hackney, and ultimately to mean simply a lady's horse, doubtless from training being always identified with its education. The horse ridden by Her Majesty at the present day will be a Palfrey in all the forms; that is to say, of spirit enough perhaps for any service, but at all events of 'gentle breeding,' graceful with its spirit, and trained in the riding-house.”
Of the versification and purport of the poem the author continues thus
“ The style of the little poem thus presented to the reader (the pretensions of which, if he is as choice and reverent in his notions of poetry as I am myself, he will be good enough to look upon as commensurate with the size) has been modelled to a certain extent upon that of the old English romances and ballads; not only on account of the period at which the action takes place, but because the passion and simplicity of the old modes of speech, particularly in these mixed subjects of levity and gravity, allow a writer to give way to the sincerity of his own feelings, without startling the conventionalities of modes that are reigning. The measure of the verse is the same as that of Coleridge's Christabel, four beatings of the time in each, of whatever number of syllables it may consist; and if, without pretending to compete with the profound beauties of that poem, I may borrow a. privilege from advancing years to express a hope that I can do something, after my lighter fasbion, in the cause of pertinent images and unsuperfluous words,-terrible desiderata in these ad libitum rhyming times,—I trust that my occasionally running riot upon a rhyme of my own for several verses together, will not render an impulse in keeping with the subject liable to be confounded with a violation of the laws of conciseness.
“ Thus much in regard to what is, perhaps, altogether a small matter. And yet I cannot conclude this (I fear) long preface to a short story, without recommending to poetical readers, a closer intimacy than has yet been cul
• " Palefroi : cheval instruit au manége, aux exercices ;" and he says it comes from palestra and fractus ; which seems a harsh though it may be the remote etymology. Might not pale (the root of palissade) and frein, a bridle, be nearer ? Palefrenier is a groom.