Imatges de pàgina

And children by Laothóë the fair.
But if they still in yonder camp survive
I will redeem them with the gold and brass
By noble Altes to his daughter giv'n,
Large store, and still reserved. Or should they both,
Already slain, have journey'd to the shades,
We, then, from whom they sprang have cause to monra
And mourn them long; but shorter shall the grief
of other Trojans prove, if thee, at least,
Achilles slay not. Enter then, my child !
Save young and old, save all of either sex
In Ilium; nor thy future happy years
Resign but to enhance Achilles' fame.
Commis'rate also thy unhappy sire
Ere yet distracted; whom Saturnian Jove
Ordains to perish overwhelm'd with woe
In the extremnity of age; to sce
Sons slaughter'd, daughters captive, torn and stripp'd
The matrimonial chamber, infants dash'd
Against the ground in dire hostility,
And matrons dragg’d by ruthless Grecian. hands.
Me, haply, last of all, shall dogs devour
In my own vestibule, when once the spear
Or faulchion of some Greek hath laid me low.
The very dogs that sat beside my board,
Nly portal-guards, drinking their master's blood

To drunkenness, shall wallow in my courts.
Fair falls the warlike youth in battle slain,
And when all mangled by the spear he lies
llis death becomes him well; he rests secure,
Though dead, froin shame, whatever next befalls.
But when the silver locks and silver beard
Of an old man slain by the sword, from dogs
Receive dishonour, of all ills that wait
On miserable mortals, that is worst,

My Hector! rev'rence this, and pity me.
If ever, drawing forth this breast, thy griefs
Of infancy I sooth’d, oh now, my son !
Acknowledge it, and from within the walls
Repulse this adversary; stand not there

To cope with him, for he is savage-fierce,
And should lie slay thee, neither I, my child,
Who bore thee, nor thy noble spouse shall weep
Upon thy body, but remote from us
Dogs shall devour it in the feet of Greece!

XXXVIII. Mr. Walpole against Mr. Pitt, (the late

Lord Chatham,) reflecting on his youth and theatrical manner.



I was unwilling to interrnpt the course of this de: bate while it was carried on, with calmness and decency, by men who do not suffer the ardour of opposition to cloud their reason, or transport them to such expressions as the dignity of this assembly does not admit. I have hitherto deferred to answer the gentleman who declaimed against the bill, with such fluency of rhetoric, and such vehemence of gesture,—who charged the advocates for the expedients now proposed, with having no regard to any interest but their own, and with making laws only to consume paper, and threatened them with the defec. tion of their adherents, and the loss of their influence, upon this new discovery of their folly, and their igno. rance. Nor, sir, do I now answer him for any other pur. pose than to remind him how little the clamours of rage, and petulancy of invectives, contribute to the purposes for which this assembly is called together y--how little the discovery of truth is promoted, and the security of the nation established by pompous diction, and theatrical emotions. Formidable sounds and furious declamations, confident assertions and lofty periods, may affect the young and unexperienced ; and perhaps the gentleman may have contracted his habits of oratory, by convers. ing more with those of his own age, than with such as have had more opportunities of acquiring knowledge, and more successful methods of communicating their sentiments. If the heat of his temper, sir, would suffer him to attend to those whose ago, and long acquaintance with business, give them an indisputable right to defe. rence and superiority; he would learn, in time, to reason :

rather than declaim, and to prefer justness of argument, and an accurate knowledge of facts, to sounding epi. thets, and splendid superlatives, which may disturb the Imagination for a moment, but leave no lasting impres. sion on the mind.. He will learn, sir, that to accuse and prove are very different, and that reproaches unsup. ported by evidence, affect only the character of him that utters them. Excursions of fancy, and tlights of ora. tory, are indeed pardonable in young men, but in no other; and it would surely contribute more, even to the purpose for which some gentlemen appear to speak, (that of depreciating the conduct of the administration) to prove the inconveniences and injustice of this bill, than barely to assert them, with whatever magnificence of language, or appearance of zeal, honesty, or com. passion.

XXXIX. Mr. Pitt's reply. Sir, the atrocious crime of being a young man, which the honourable gentleman has, with such spirit and de. Pency, charged upon me, I shall neither attempt to pala fiate, nor deny,-but content myself with wishing that I

may be one of those whose follies may cease with their youth, and not of that number who are ignorant in spite of experience. Whether youth can be imputed to any : man as a reproach, I will not, sir, assume the province of determining ;--but surely age may become justly contemptible, if the opportunities which it brings have past away without improvement, and vice appears to prevail, when the passions have subsided. The wretch who, after having seen the consequences of a thousand errors,

continues still to blunder, and whose age has only added obstinacy to stupidity, is surely the object of either abhorrence or contempt, and deserves not that his grey hairs should secure him from insult. Much more, sir, is he to be abhorred, who, as he has advanced in age, has receded from virtue, and becomes more wicked with less temptation ;--who prostitutes himself for money which he cannot enjoy, and spends the remains of: his life in the ruin of his country. But youth, sir, is not my only crime; I have been accused of acting a

theatrical part. A theatrical part may either imply somepeculiarities of gesture, or a dissimulation of my real sentiments, and an adoption of the opinions and language of another man.

In the first sense, sir, the charge is too trifling to be confuted, and deserves only to be mentioned, to be des. pised. I am at liberty, like every other man, to use my own language; and though, perhaps, I may have some ambition to please this gentleman, I shall not lay myself under any restraint, nor very solicitously copy his diction, or his mein, however matured by age, or modelled by experience. If any man shall, by charging me with theatrical behaviour, imply, that I utter any sentiments but my own, I shall treat him as a calumniator, and a villain ;-onor shall any protection - shelter him from the treatment he deserves. I shall, on such an occasion, without scruple, trample upon all those forms with which wealth and dignity intrench themselves,-nor shall any thing but age restrain my resentment;-age, which always brings one privilege, that of being insolent and supercilious without punishment. But with regard, sir, to those whom Thave offended, I am of opinion, that if I had acted a bor. rowed part, I should have avoided their censure: the heat that offended them is the ardour of conviction, and that zeal for the service of my country, which neither hope nor fear shall intiuence me to suppress.

I will not sit unconcerned while my liberty is invaded, nor look in silence upon public robbery. I will exert my endeavours, at whatever hazard, to repel the aggressor, and drag the thief to justice, --whoever may protect them in their vil. lainy-and-whoever may partake of their plunder.


XL Sir Robert Walpole, on a motion that the house

do censure, as a malicious libel, a certain paper which had been previously circulated among the members.


Sir, whether the question be proper or not, it-secms to me unnecessary to debate; because, however it be answered, it cannot be of great importance; the man has already confessed himself the author of the libel,

and may, therefore, be punished, without farther exa. mination.

That he is the real author, sir, I am not indeed convin. ced by his assertion, with whatever confidence it was made; for, so far as his appearance enables me to judge of his education and sphere of life, it is not probable that he should be much versed in political enquiries, or that he should engage in the discussion of questions like this.

There appears, sir, in the paper before us, a more ex. tensive knowledge of facts, a more accurate attention to commerce,-most artful reasoning, and a more elevated style, than it is reasonable to expect from this man, whom, without pretending to determine the limits of his capacity, or the compass of his knowledge, I am, for

my part, inclined to look upon as an agent to some other person of higher station, and greater accomplishments.

It is not uncommon, sir, for gentlemen to exercise their abilities, and employ their pens, upon political questions; and when they have produced any thing, which their complaisance for themselves equally hinders them from owning and suppressing, they are known to procure some person of inferior rank to take upon him in public the character of the author, and to stand the danger of the prosecution, contenting themselves with the applause and adıniration of their select friends, whom they trust with the important secret, and with whom they sit and laugh at the conjectures of the public, and the ignorance of the ministry.

This, sir, is a frequent practice, not only with those who have no other employment, but, as I have sufficient reasons to believe, among some gentlemen who have seats in this house; gentlemen whose abilities and knowledge qualify thein to serve the public in characters much superior to that of lampooners of the government.

XLI. Mr. Pulteney's answer. MR SPEAK ER,

Sir, whether the man who confessed him. self the author of the paper has accused himself of what he did not commit, or has-ingenuously and openly discov.

« AnteriorContinua »