Imatges de pàgina
PDF
EPUB

in ledgers and journals, and forms an item in the annual account ; in short, to think that his death is looked upon as a matter of business and a source of profit, shocks the feelings, and reproaches us with the cupidity of our species, which renders even our own corruption subservient to its purposes, and makes the scarce cold corpse an article of merchandise.” The “ Pilgrim" proceeds to reflect on Death and the solemnity of its effigies, and to contrast the sacred solitude of the old churchyard with its modern substitute--the busy, showy, noisy, worldly promenade, denominated the cemetery. “Out upon the hypocrisy," he exclaims, “which professes, that the effect of throwing open the cemetery as a public lounge is to suggest reflections on mortality to the minds of its visitors." Far from it. But it is our own opinion, that the display and ostentation of the fashionable burial-grounds are incentives to vanity; nay, we will add, to crime. One of the splendid cemeteries on the continent was, a short time since, visited by felons, who succeeded in the violation of stripping the handsomest tombs of their treasure and ornaments. Had there been no vain propitiation of the public eye, by the exhibition of gaudy trappings, in these glass-house mausolea of Carlsruhe, there would have been no inducement to sacrilege.

Having written thus far on the subject of cemeteries, a judicious friend reminds us of the good they have effected, admitting at the same time their evils. He asks us to view the now loathsome condition of

of the metropolitan church-yards; the newly-made grave opened for the accommodation of a new tenant ere its former contents have undergone decomposition; the spectacle of the partially-decayed bodies of the deceased unavoidably brought to light; the abominable effluvia and poisonous malaria escaping from the charnels and crowded sepulchres of the dead; the constant exhibition of piles of human bones, skulls to which is still attached the human hair, scaring the superstitious or too fond relative with the means of identifying the bones of a much-loved wife or child. The picture is, though melo-dramatic, true enough, and we conceive offers a forcible apology for the appropriation of newly consecrated ground, particularly if we reflect on the consequences of pestilence in a crowded city. Undertakings of such magnitude as public cemeteries can probably only be effected by the means of joint capital, and capitalists thus employed, though they may commit evil in the usual course of speculation, certainly do not desecrate the sacred tomb itself. It is conclusive that such a company has some morality in its constitution, and no doubt hundreds of the contributors to the cemetery establishments have been actuated by the warmest Christian feeling and the purest dictates of virtue. Again, our thoughtful friend has not objected to the proposition, that the concomitants of the cemetery, the funeral pageantry, &c., are open to animadversion on the plea of ostentation. He thinks that the conveyances for the dead and the living mourners are, while solemn, decent and economically planned, and he would have us take notice of the whilome jobbing of undertakers, a system not adopted by the officers of the cemetery. Indisputably, the

many

1

charges upon the burial of the dead upon the older conventionality, were exorbitant in the extreme; the materials of the funeral trappings are commonly charged double their original cost; a respectable pall cannot be hired even under a charge of five guineas in some parts of England; the services of funeral assistants are too highly paid, and “ last, not least," the Government duty upon the hearse and coaches, and the clerical fees, form a terrible tax to the person of moderate means.

We only allude to the Gas Companies to acknowledge the good they have done, in a utilitarian sense, and to proscribe them morally on account of their cupidity; indeed, as regards the Gas Companies, we may justly complain, also, of their arrogance. If the public supply of gas emanated from parochial sources, large profits might accrue which could be applied to various municipal purposes, and especially those that are educational. Were this proposition to be adopted, employment could be afforded in London to every member of the burthensome poor.

Of the host of Joint-Stock Companies which have existed, and which now do exist, there is none so formidable and so destructive to the very frame-work of society as the Railway Associations. These gigantic schemes, the result of a joining of hands between two great sciences, that of the counting-house and that of the foundry, have had so sudden an effect upon society, that a panic, an unavoidable panic, must ensue. Who can dispute the alarming evils of the railway ? Set aside the utilitarian principle, what a bold-faced, careering, demon of national disorganisation is the locomotive power! The gain of the few, as respects the operations of railway science, is the loss of the many; thousands are by steam-engine and tram-work, in these days, driven away, prostrated, expatriated, utterly ruined. Humanising customs, loved and revered from antiquity, and associations, are broken up or hidden in the all-pervading clouds of steam and smoke, whilst new habits, new associations arise, which all take to with discomfort. Towns renowned for traffic and social enjoyment, the gradual growth of ages, now show upon their foreheads the mark of Cain, and are desolate and gloomy; a miserable ci-devant post-boy hangs round the door of the neglected hotel, a sad memento of Jehu's saturnalia ; his companion-figure is a wo-begone, solitary waiter, in rusty black, standing transfixed, with a towel in his hand, looking, in ensemble,as frigid as if frozen to the spot.

The consequences of a sudden separation of those ties which previously united all classes of the community, are evident. That "anguis in herba," the Anaconda of many folds, the sinuous railroad, trails over all the land, has coiled about the sinews of the country, and succeeded in strangling every thing living and inanimate, that appeared inimical to its progress. The railroad has, we say, sown the seeds of distraction throughout the kingdom ; reckless of consequences, this powerful engine of capital is brought to bear upon the defenceless and feeble, regardless of the families it has pauperised; of the local interests it has destroyed ; of the revenue it has so sensibly diminished. Property in such a town, the proceeds of a life's labour, saved through every hardship, is suddenly torn

cone.

And every

from the possessor, and carried away in the train of the new Phønix of science; but the purse-proud shareholder thinks only of the value of his scrip, and evinces utter apathy for the misery he is causing to his brother man. The Joint-Stock proprietor, however, is yet to be seen kneeling upon his hassock in the sacred edifice, blind to his wilful hypocrisy ! He cannot justly console himself with the fallacy, that there is compensation in store for the spoliation he has helped to accomplish, in the advantages which are expected to arise out of a daring but hazardous experiment. We do not, as dispassionate observers, perceive whence the weal is to

The railroad monopoly is certainly effecting extraordinary changes, which surprise and startle, but are not productive of human happiness. Humility is laughed to scorn by the monopolisers ; Charity is neglected; the brightest tenets of the Christian faith are trifled with, in the absorbing excitement of acquiring riches by steam. effort of the capitalist helps to drain the fast sinking funds of provincial trade. Although the expenses of railroad transit and labour form an enormous item, yet the new employment open is confined but to a class ; and the advantage is but slightly participated in by the legion of disinherited, whose case we have taken up. Locomotive power is a meteor that we gaze at with wonder, but also with fear; for like the elemental phenomenon, it is the indication of storm and trouble.

The advocate who talks thus wildly, of new towns to spring up in lieu of the old ones annihilated, of the virtue and humanity of sparing animal distress, is not a philanthropist, but a weak and selfish casuist ; and if he dwell on national aggrandisement as a consequence of steam, he theorises at this juncture of Railway progress with a delusive chart and a false compass.

We must not allow to escape from our animadversion, one bare-faced profanity permitted in Railway traffic, almost unexampled in the history of commerce ; viz., the unrestricted desecration of the Sabbath permitted on every line issuing from the metropolis. Heavy passenger and luggage trains run systematically on the sacred day set apart by the consent of all Christians, for peaceful, quiet, and devotional purposes.

The practice is most reprehensible; an intolerable exponent of commercial turpitude. The reflection, however, reminds us that Government has shewn its disapprobation of this and other Railway evils already. Parliamentary Committees are now, we believe, engaged in examining evidence on the details of Railway management generally, and Parliament will doubtless, in the course of the current session, entertain measures of a corrective and amelioraring nature. As opposed to every description of Railway abuse, we may add, too, that as respects Joint-Stock Associations generally, Sir Robert Peel purposes introducing a Government measure with the express object of protecting public interests; we trust the Minister's design aims at something beyond mercantile utility, beyond the mere framing of a statute, as occurred so lately as the session of 1842, for the adjustment of internal quarrels between Joint-Stock Companies, by amending the law relative to legal proceedings arising out of their affairs. Whilst on the subject of Joint-Stock management, it is not too late to beg the attention of the legislature to the last deceptive novelty in this illegitimate field of commerce. The Building Companies, are, in idea, an importation from Paris ; they are, in rapid operation, and formation in this country, notwithstanding the warning voice of the political economist has thrice addressed the public ear. Newspapers and pamphlets have joined their arguments to convince the public of the usurious proceedings, the delusive reports, and false balance sheets published by the Building Societies.

And now, reflective reader, to yourself must we leave the task of perfecting, according to your peculiar opinions and judgment, the sketch we are about bringing to a close. Doubtless our essay is sufficiently faulty, and in some points opposed to the notions of others; but let it be recollected that we are not laying down the law, but only drawing a case for opinion, as the lawyers have it. Probably, the greatest opposition our observations are open to, will be levelled at the railroad strictures ; albeit, we are the avowed advocates of science; admiring, abstractedly, the perfection of locomotive machines, the practical wisdom of the engineer, displayed in every anticipated movement of his connecting rods, valves, and pistons; still we unsparingly deprecate their application to the incalculable injury of the community. To the argument of the predestinarian, “whatever is, is right,” we have but one answer. Reverse the proposition. Life is a scene of contention ; we are not to deem that everything is right, but that we are constantly required to put forth our strength against hourly.opposing obstacles.

When we are made aware of the existence of wide-spread national distress, and can trace the cause to its fountain-head, we are not to be juggled out of our reasoning faculty by the interested logician, who would make black white, and cajole us after the manner of the ancient oracle, by the stratagem of a feigned voice of prophecy.

HELLENICS;
* μελεγλώσσων αοιδών άνθεα ;" *
TRANSLATED BY JOHN HOWDEN, B.A.

I.
SIMONIDES ON ANACREON.
Ούτος 'Ανακρείοντα τον άφθιτον είνεκα Μουσών

Υμνοπόλον. λ.
HERE, in șis native Teos, see the tomb
Of him, Ionia's pride, the Minstrel whom
The Muse so dearly loved- Anacreon ;

Fam'd for the lay, on which enraptur'd hung
The Graces and the Loves-whose melting tone

Was bliss ecstatic to the fair and young!
For one thing only--yea, for one alone.

* “Flowers of the honey-tongued Bards."-BACCHYLIDES.

The Minstrel sorely grieves in Acheron-
Not that for him by Lethe's silent stream
The sun no longer shineth, but for those
Whom he hath left he weeps-fair as the beam
Of morn, Megista; graceful as the rose
The Thracian Smerde-there alone he weeps !
Yet, mindful of the honied song, nor sleeps
His lyre, nor cease his magic strains to flow,
Despite of death, among the wand'ring shades below!

II.

MELEAGER'S GARLAND: HELIODORA.

Πλέξω λευκοϊον, πλέξω δ' απαλούς ομου μύρτας

Ναρκισσον" κ. τ. λ.
A garland I will wreathe thee, love, a garland for thy hair,
Where the violet-white shall interweave with the myrtle fresh and fair-
Where the violet-white and the myrtle-leaf full deftly shall entwine
With the laugbing lily, emblems meet of that pure heart of thine;
Where, too, the soft narcissus, and the yellow crocus sweet,
With the hyacinth, of purple hue, shall interwoven meet-
Where the rose shall not forgotten be, the flower of love so fair,
And all to be a garland for my Heliodora's hair!
Yes! having 'twined my garland, as a coronal I'll set
It on my lov'd one's snowy brow, and shining locks of jet,
That many-hued and-perfum’d such lustre it may shed,
One glory-flowers and locks may seem around her sunny head !!

III.
RUFINUS' GARLAND: RHODOCLE,

Πέμπω σοι, Ροδοκλεια, τoδε στέφος, ανθεσι καλας. 2.T.A.
I send to thee, my Rhodocle, a diadem of flowers,
Cull'd by myself from spring-beds, the fairest of the bowers ;
The lily, see, is there my love, the anemone moist with dew-
The rose-cup and the daffodil-the violet tipt with blue ;
But when thou putt'st it on, my soul, ah ! then to mem'ry call,
How both the flow'rs and thou-are doom'd to blossom, fade and fall!

IV.
LOVE SONG, BY JULIAN.*

Στεφος πλεκων ποθ' εύρος

'Εν τοις ξόδοις Ερωτα" κ. τ. λ.
It chanc'd me once, as I entwin'd

A garland for my true love's hair,
Cupid among the flowers to find ;

I seized him by the winglets there,
And plunging him into the cup,

Imbib’d the urchin in my wine-
But ever since I drank him up,

He titillates this heart of mine!

* Not the APOSTATE, as some writers have supposed ; but rather he who was Prefect

of Egypt.

NO. XII.

3 A

« AnteriorContinua »