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Professor. “A Comet heaven against us sends,
The shock, they say, won't leave us whole;
The compass too forsakes the pole;
Few found that banquet aught but rough-
'Tis old enough this world!
Thy nights confusing with thy days,
Tumbling and turning round always.
Go, dash and splinter on the sun-
Thou’rt old enough, O world!
Puppy, sot, pompous sobriquet,
King-lacqueys, subjects lacqueys yet,
The future, tires it not the sight?
Thou’rt old enough, O world !
(Man with small pain his chains can brighten!)
Gases the gloom of night enlighten-,
The heavens will hatch the egg, we trust!
'Tis old enough, this world
When my heart bathed in joy and love;
Thy orb where God set light above !"
Beauties my grey hairs now rebuff!
'Tis old enough, this world!
Egrappé. That is Beranger de veritable, but there be notting of vine in dat song.
Professor. But that is the first translation of it I have seen. Besides, we may forget the wine a moment for such a song. One would not be like the College of Physicians in Warwick Lane, for ever condemned to the same business.
Professor. Why it is still a slaughter-house. The butchers' company liave succeeded the doctors'.
Egrappé. C'est vrai—your vit again, M. Professor.
Professor. True, Doctor, I will not sin again ; but I am a sort of amphisbæna. I march two ways. But, Doctor, fix your dinner with wine of the ancients; you shall have nothing of this interloping character then. There we will have red mullet, sturgeon with asparagus, goose livers, wild boar, roasted robin red-breasts or larks, wine of Falern, Massic, or Alban growth. We will talk of Italy and the boracho, of the fumurium, of Baia, Capua, the fruits of the Campagna, and good things of the time of the Cæsars. We will give judgment on your Surretine and Thasian wine.
Doctor. Agreed, I will imitate them from the poets, and convince you of the truth of the ancient writers ;—I will vindicate the glory of the past ages ;-Egypt, Assyria, Persia, Greece, Rome, were the Alpha an Omega of Empire in all things.
Professor. Let it be when the wind blows North ; that was the time anciently chosen to taste wines, I believe.
Doctor. It was!
Professor. Don't give us Thasian pure, Doctor, but rather so than with twenty-four parts of water. Don't mix and drug it for the modern stomach's sake though. Helen, in the Odyssey, drugged the wine for the feast.
Doctor. Decide when you taste. I will construct a fumarium tomorrow.
Egrappé. And von vomitorium, I do hope, Doctor.
Professor. What shall we do for Murrhine cups, out of which wine was anciently taken? The moderns know not of what they were made.
Doctor. Bristol stone or Derbyshire spar.
Professor. Gold or amber would answer as well. Don't forget anything, or we shall realize the proverb of “ baskets after the vintage.”
Doctor. I will take care it shall not be “ mustard after the meat.”
Egrappé. Vel, now we have two Sancho Panzas—we shall see vat de best of vine of all time vill do; we shall see vat de Doctare is by it: “ajo y vino puro y luego veres quon es cada uno.” “ Garlick and wine show what a man is !” as Le Sage vould say. Bad men only drink vater, which is prove by de deluge !
Professor. Very fair, Monsieur ! Dean, where are the oinographical proverbs of which you spoke to me?
Dean. I only said I had noted two or three in my pocket-book during some years' experience. I will read them another time—the hour is late. Professor. Do so.
THE COMMONERS OF ENGLAND.
BY C. R. DODD, ESQ. Constitutional lawyers carefully establish a distinction between the Lords spiritual and temporal on the one hand, and the Commons on the other. They say that the “Commoners of England” are the “ people of England;" but in popular, familiar, and every day phraseology, we are accustomed to speak of a certain portion of the Commons, as “Commoners." The Speaker of the Lower House is said to be " the first Commoner in England.” Pitt the elder was known as the “ great Commoner" of his age, and so continued till he was transferred to what Lord Chesterfield, in one of his unmerited sarcasms, called an “ Hospital for Incurables, the House of Lords.” Mr. Coke, of Norfolk, was long regarded as amongst the most dignified and wealthy of the Commoners; and Mr. Byng, of Middlesex, is likewise a favourable specimen of the class. Whatever technical definitions lawyers may devise, the word Commoners is popularly understood to signify the more eminent portion of those who are eligible to be members of the Commons House ;-men who possess titles by courtesy, baronets, knights, heads of untitled families, - these latter being by far the most numerous. The whole, however, consist of eight or nine thousand individuals. By those who belong to the order, or desire to Aatter its members, they are described as the pride of England, the flower of British society, the guardians of all our institutions in Church and State, the great stay and bulwark of our social system ; while in other quarters we are told that their priocipal occupations consist in persecuting poachers, grinding the poor, drinking claret, shooting partridges, improving the breed of cattle or the production of turnips, extending their influence at elections, or playing the part of Justice Shallow at Quarter Sessions. It need hardly be observed, that though both pictures are gross exaggerations, there are many men gullible enough to believe in either, according as previously formed sentiments may bias their judgments. It is, however, undisputed that the Commoners of England form a highly important portion of British society, and that they are marked by many characteristics which distinguish them from ihe high nobility on the one hand, and from the ordinary middle class on the other. Viewed collectively, we find in the representative branch of the legislature, a greater number of them assembled, than in any other body of men throughout the empire, and it is therefore intended to confine the present notice to the Commons House of Parliament.
A distinguished leader of that which in former reigns we were accustomed to call “ His Majesty's opposition," was in the habit of reminding the House of Commons that they truly carried on the business of the government. He would exclaim, “ Talk not to me of the Sovereign. This boy commands his mother--his mother rules Themistocles—Themistocles governs Greece. The opinion of the House of Commons guides, controls, and directs the conduct of Ministers
the Ministers manage the King—the King governs England - England, both on land and on sea, is the dominant power of the world. She is mistress of half Asia, of some of the fairest portions of Africa, America, Australia, and Europe. We, the House of Commons, rule these territories in the King's name, but the power of the Ministry is a shadow- the substance is in us. Not only can the Government do nothing without our consent, but there are some things which they must not do except at our suggestion,-and these comprise the most important of all the functions which the Crown is supposed to exercise. Political economists say that the word wealth is only another name for a command over the labour of others. It is thought that England could subsidize half Europe ; she could therefore rule the destinies of the civilized world : the House of Commons holds her purse strings; we therefore exercise a larger authority, a wider sway, a more absolute power than any individual sovereign ever wielded. Where is the grand monarque who could extract—as we did during the Regencyfrom an almost exhausted people, an annual taxation of between seventy and eighty millions sterling? What despotism under heaven could saddle a country with a permanent debt of eight hundred millions ? Nothing but a House of Commons. There never was such a depository of power, such a storehouse of gigantic resources, such an accumulated fund of energies, all but omnipotent; and I tell you that we, the 'great unpaid' portion of this House, exercise as much of that power, as the stipendaries of the Treasury bench. They may think themselves kings, but we are viceroys over them.' Sir, they could not appoint an exciseman against the wish of the county members. They call themselves His Majesty's servants, forsooth; they know well that they are our servants, and that everybody is, for we dictate the pension list; and as Curran has said, that includes every name of note; and rewards every species of service, from the distinguished merits of a Hawke or a Rodney, down to those of the lady who humbleth herself that she may be exalted.* We, the House of Commons, determine salaries; we control pensions; we keep amongst ourselves the disposal of patronage ; we resolve who shall be the ins, and who the outs. Domestic trade, manufactures, taxation, agriculture, the wages of labour, the profits of stock, the income of capital, war and peace, ships, colonies and commerce, are all at our mercy. We have been and shall be victorious,' over the proudest thrones of the habitable globe ; our arms have triumpled far beyond the remotest of Alexander's conquests;—what is it that a House of Commons cannot do ?”
Verily, nothing but that which is physically impossible. The rise, progress, and present condition of an assembly, the most extraordinary that ever existed, is, to say the least of it, a subject of curious specu. lation ; for there is a great deal to distinguish it, not only from all other public assemblies, but from all other modes of government.
At the commencement of the present year, the Commons House of Parliament seemed to consist of only two parties, and in that instance the seeming accorded with the reality ; but already symptoms begin to develope themselves, which leave little doubt on the minds of
* This language was held in the reign of George IV,
experienced Parliamentarians, that two or three breaches are at hand. This tendency to subdivision, though stronger within the last ten years than formerly, is no fruit of the Reform Act. There have always been two great parties; but there has generally been a third, and sometimes a fourth and fifth section of the House. Thus, in the reign of George II. we read of juntos acting together in Parliament, who were said to exercise “ a power behind the Throne greater than the Throne itself ;” and this language became more loudly and more frequently repeated in the reign of his grandson and successor. Then a set of gentlemen appeared in the House who were called “ the King's friends," as contra-distinguished from the King's ministers, and they occasionally constituted a compact body, capable of throwing their weight into either scale, according as it suited their royal master's interest, or their own, to give ascendancy to His Majesty's government, or His Majesty's opposition ; for, of course, the maxim “ divide and govern," was as well understood in those days as in any other. We had, at the same period, a set of extreme Liberals who generally acted in unison. If they existed twenty years ago, they would have been called Radicals; and in the present day, Chartists: those were the members who stood up for John Wilkes, and patronized Parson Horne.
A different sort of minor party in the House, was that which owned for its leader the celebrated William Wilberforce. With the motives which called that party into existence, with the principles which gave them cohesion, consistency, and weight, we have at present nothing to do; it is, however, quite certain, that during their existence, they possessed considerable political influence, and decided many an important debate. Five and twenty years ago the question used to be, not how the Whigs and Tories intended to vote-that was always well known-but “ How will the saints go ?" So far as the House of Commons was concerned, they certainly decided the all-engrossing question of the Bill of Pains and Penalties against Queen Caroline, and on a variety of other occasions their votes shook or sustained the Ministry. Contemporaneously with them arose the Radical and the Free-trade parties, affording another proof that there is something else in Parliament besides the two sections of aristocratic families, who used to be called “ Whig" and " Tory;" who were in the habit of agreeing to coalesce, or agreeing to differ ;-agreeing that one should stay in, or another stay out, or vice versá, according as principles of liberalism or absolutism predominated in the breast of that worthy personage, John Bull. The party which arose next after the Radicals was “ the tail.” Every body knows that this designation comprised some thirty or forty Irish members, who were elected under the influence, or through the recommendation, of a right honourable and learned gentleman, at present Lord Mayor of Dublin, and knight of the shire for the county of Cork. This class of members of course did not form themselves into any thing like a disciplined corps until the second Parliament after the passing of the Roman Catholic Relief Bill; but from that time till the breaking up of the last Melbourne Ministry, they are well known to have exercised no inconsiderable influence.
The members who present petitions from Chartists, who have acted