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CHAP. XXVII.

RHYMES OF IDLENESS. “ I HAVE great delight,” said Egeria one evening as she was communing with the Bachelor on the literary accomplishments of several great, characters, 6 in reading those little poetical sketches in which some of the most eminent statesmen have occasionally unbended. I do not speak of statesmen who had a decided bias for authorship, and who have published books, but of such as, in some few moments of gayety and enjoyment, have drawn their fingers playfully over the strings of the lyre, and brought forth tunes and melodies that make one regret they had not more cultivated the art. The great Earl of Chatham has, in two or three instances, imitated Horace with much taste and freedom; but I think the following little piece by Sir William Blackstone, the celebrated judge and expounder of the principles of English law, is not inferior to some of the happiest effusions of the regular-bred poets. It is not certainly of a very high order of poetry, but the verses are imbued with elegance, and the sentiments breathe the feelings of an amiable heart.”

THE LAWYER'S FAREWELL TO HIS MUSE.
As by some tyrant's stern command,
A wretch forsakes his native land,
In foreign climes condemn’d to roam,
An endless exile from his home,
Pensive he treads the destined way,

Till on some neighbouring mountain's brow
He stops, and turns his eyes below,
There, melting at the well-known view,
Drops a last tear, and bids adieu :-
So I, from thee thus doom'd to part,
Gay Queen of Fancy and of Art,
Reluctant move with doubtful mind,
Oft stop, and often look behind.

“ Companion of my tender age,
Serenely gay and sweetly sage,
How blithesome were we wont to rove
By verdant hill or shady grove,
Where fervent bees, with humming voice,
Around the honied oak rejoice,
And aged elms, with awful bend,
In long cathedral walks extend:
Lull’d by the lapse of gliding floods,
Cheer'd by the warbling of the woods,
How blest my days, my thoughts how free,
In sweet society with thee !
Then all was joyous, all was young,
And years unheeded rolld along.

“But now the pleasing dream is o'er, These scenes must charm me now no more. Lost to the fields, and torn from you, Farewell, a long-a last adieu ! Me wrangling courts and stubborn law To smoke, and crowds, and cities draw. There selfish faction rules the day, And pride and avarice throng the way; Diseases taint the murky air, And midnight conflagrations glare ; Loose revelry and riot bold In frighted streets their orgies hold;

Or where in silence all is drown'd,
Fell murder walks his nightly round.
No room for peace-no room for you
Adieu, celestial Nymph! adieu.

“ Shakspeare, no more thy sylvan son,
Nor all the art of Addison,
Pope's heaven-strung lyre, nor Waller's ease,
Nor Milton's mighty self must please.
Instead of these, a formal band.
With furs and coifs around me stand,
With sounds uncouth and accents dry
That grate the soul of harmony.
Each pedant sage unlocks his store
Of mystic, dark, discordant lore,
And points with tottering hand the ways
That lead me to the thorny maze.

“ There, in a winding close retreat,
Is Justice doom'd to fix her seat;
There, fenced by bulwarks of the law,
She keeps the wondering world in awe ;
And there, from vulgar sight retired,
Like Eastern queens, is more admired.
O let me pierce the secret shade,
Where dwells the venerable maid,
There humbly mark, with reverend awe,
The guardian of Britannia's law;
Unfold with joy her sacred page,
The united boast of many an age;
Where mix’d, yet uniform, appears
The wisdom of a thousand years;
In that pure spring the bottom view,
Clear, deep, and regularly true;
And other doctrine thence imbibe,
Than lurk within the sordid tribe ;

Observe how parts with parts unite
In one harmonious rule of right;
See countless wheels distinctly tend,
By various laws to one great end,
While mighty Alfred's piercing soul-
Pervades and regulates the whole.

“ Then, welcome business-welcome strife, Welcome the cares—the thorns of life, The visage wan—the poreblind sight, The toil by day—the lamp at night, The tedious forms—the solemn prate, The pert dispute—the dull debate, The drowsy bench-the babbling hall : For thee, fair Justice, welcome all. Thus let my noon of life be past ; Yet let my setting sun at last, Find out the still, the rural cell, Where sage Retirement loves to dwell. There let me taste the homefelt bliss Of innocence and inward peace; Untainted by the guilty bribe Uncursed amid the harpy tribeNo orphan's cry to wound my ear, My honour and my conscience clear. Thus I calmly meet my end, Thus to the grave in peace descend !"

CHAP. XXVIII.

LIBERTY OF THE PRESS.

66 The last thirty years of the reign of GEORGE THE THIRD will be remembered as one of the most remarkable epochs in the moral history of the world. Among other memorable things, it will hereafter be celebrated for the extraordinary elevation which the oratory both of the bar and the senate attained. It will require other events and circumstances equally stupendous with those of the past, to call forth again the energies of eloquence to the same degree of effect and splendour. But perhaps no single occurrence in all those mighty and manifold exertions is more interesting than the trial in the Court of King's Bench of Mr Peltier, for a libel on Buonaparte. It was considered as the first attempt of that magnificent adventurer to overthrow the liberty of the British press; and it was instituted at a time when many gathering and darkening circumstances indicated that a war was coming on in which the very existence of the British state would be put to the most imminent peril, by all the efforts that prodigious power and boundless profligacy could exert,-in every shape that force and fraud, either combined or separate, can employ. But although the speech of Sir James Mackintosh on that occasion is one of the most splendid compositions of the time, it has not obtained that durable popularity of which so noble an effort

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