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tion, and with just so much greater power and effect as Shakspeare's poetry was above common prose. Wordsworth's rule, however, did not stop at the wording of dialogues. He maintained that the colloquial language of rustics was the most philosophical and enduring which the Dictionary affords, and the fittest for verse of every description. Any one who mixes with the common people can decide for himself whether their conversation is wont to exhibit more propriety of language than the sayings of a Johnson or the speeches of a Burke. If it were really the case, it would follow that literary cultivation is an evil, and that we ought to learn English of our ploughboys, and not of our Shakspeares and Miltons. But there can be no risk in asserting that the vocabulary of rustics is rude and meagre, and their discourse negligent, diffuse, and weak. The vulgarisms, which are the most racy, vigorous, and characteristic part of their speech, Wordsworth admitted must be dropped, and either he must have substituted equivalent expressions, when the language ceases to be that of the poor, or he must have put up with a stock of words which, after all these deductions, would have been scarcely more copious than that of a South Sea savage. When his finest verse is brought to the test of his principle, they agree no better than light and darkness. Here is his way of describing the effects of the pealing organ in King's College Chapel, with its 'selfpoised roof, scooped into ten thousand cells:
'But from the arms of silence-list! O list!
The music bursteth into second life;
The notes luxuriate, every stone is kissed
This is to write like a splendid poet, but it is not to write as rustics talk.
A second canon laid down by Wordsworth was, that poetic diction is, or ought to be, in all respects the same with the language of prose; and as prose has a wide range and numbers among its triumphs such luxuriant eloquence as that of Jeremy Taylor, the principle, if just, would be no less available for the advocates of ornamented verse than for the defence of the homely style of the Lyrical Ballads. But the proposition is certainly too broadly stated, and, though the argument holds good for the adversary, because the phraseology which is not too rich for prose can never be considered too tawdry for poetry, yet it will not warrant the conclusions of Wordsworth that poetry should never rise above prose, or disdain to descend to its lowest level. The great mass of the English tongue is common ground, but there are images which would sound affected out of poetry, and, still
more frequently, there are combinations of words which would appear mean in verse. Wordsworth's works, notwithstanding his horror of poetic phraseology, present examples in the first kind as well as the second.
would be a fantastic mode of saying, in any description of prose, that the coolness of evening restored the activity suspended by the sultriness of the day-and we question whether the person exists who honestly believes that the stanza which follows is sufficiently dignified for what is, in design at least, a sentimental poem :
'And Susan's growing worse and worse,
If she must go, or she must stay!
Such was the nature of the innovation for which Wordsworth struggled. In the species of diction where he had no precursor he is never likely to have any successor, and the compositions of his that promise to live exhibit a style of which the antiquity is the best security that it will never grow obsolete. No generation has been so prolific in distinguished poets as his own, and, dissenting from the prediction that posterity will allot him the highest place in the brotherhood, we yet cannot question that he will keep the sufficiently eminent station which the world has long since assigned him amidst that illustrious group.
ART. IX.-The Financial Statements of the Right Honourable Benjamin Disraeli, M.P., delivered in the House of Commons on Friday, 3rd December, 1852. Piper & Co.
HIS Number of our Journal was nearly due before the late Chancellor of the Exchequer produced his Financial Statement.' However therefore we might dissent from a very large proportion of the views therein indicated as to a variety of subjects, we at once perceived that it would be impossible for us to go immediately into the general detail of our objections without an inconvenient delay of our publication: and we might the more readily submit to what we felt to be beyond our choice, as the more properly financial topics were discussed with
ability both in the long debate that followed the ministerial exposition and simultaneously by the most influential of the daily newspapers. It so happens, however, that neither speakers in the House nor writers out of doors enlarged on one particular class of subjects-and that in our own opinion the most important-which the 'Statement' had embraced; and under these circumstances, it seemed to us that we could not, without an absolute dereliction of our own recorded principles, and a neglect of what we consider the best interests of the country, allow it to be supposed even for a moment that we acquiesced in either the propositions or the reasoning of Mr. Disraeli as to several points of our Maritime administration and policy. Accordingly, we hastened to prepare a review of that portion of his speech, on the chance of its being published in time to suggest some modification, or at least a reconsideration, of matters which we thought had been dealt with too hastily, and on very imperfect information. With that view, the greater part of the following pages was already in type before the fall of the Government. The more striking political consequences of the wholesale defeat of the Budget have, indeed, thrown into the background all its details, and will have deprived our criticisms of any immediate interest they might otherwise have had; but they do not, as it appears to us, and as we hope our readers will think, render less necessary some protest against its being hereafter assumed that the ex-Chancellor of the Exchequer was on those subjects expressing the matured and deliberate sentiments of the Conservative party. On the contrary, we believe that his statements were heard by the majority of the independent members of that party in the House of Commons with as much surprise and dissent as we, and every Conservative out of doors that we have happened to meet, felt at reading them. We therefore adhere to our original design, with the addition only of a very few general observations on the new crisis in public affairs which the Budget has, if not produced, at least accelerated.
If any of our readers might have forgotten, the Peelite journalists have, since the Cabinet catastrophe, taken pains enough to refresh their memories as to the earnestness with which, in the closing article of our September number, we deprecated the premature, and, as we thought, unnecessary and impolitic experiment, of a budget before Christmas. With a flourishing exchequer, an actual surplus, and the prospect of a still better one at the close of the financial year, we did not conceive it at all probable that the graver and more experienced members of the late Cabinet would sanction so great a departure, not only from parliamentary
parliamentary precedent and the common sense of the case, but from the obvious policy of the circumstances in which that cabinet was peculiarly placed.
We were prepared, we then said, to see the motley Opposition endeavouring to concoct some vague insult to the Government on which all their discordant sections could have united; and we were equally prepared for seeing that any such factious combination would give the Ministers a great advantage, and would probably have turned the scale in their favour; and with this view-which we are still convinced was the true one-we took the liberty of expressing what we believe was the general wish and hope of the Conservative party, that the Ministers would not volunteer to play the game of their adversaries, and spontaneously, not merely afford, but create, an occasion in which the latter might fairly, and with no disapprobation of the country at large, combine to resist. The result has unfortunately proved that our judgment was correct and our fears prophetic. Of all questions, a budget was the most perilous for such an experiment, and, above all, a budget involving a great variety of antagonist interests, on each of which the stanchest member of the Conservative party might naturally have special views of his own, and would probably have to consult those of a local constituency. It has, we believe, seldom if ever happened that a budget has been passed in its original integrity. In adjusting its details, we always expect objections, alterations, and compromises,-it is the nature of the case, and it is for that reason that they are discussed in committee. It is therefore that a budget (unless where it rests altogether on some great principle-the income-tax, for instance, or the corn-laws) is as unsatisfactory a form for testing the feelings of either the House or the country as can be imagined. This budget had not even the excuse of opening any such new principle as called for so special an appeal to Parliament. It was in substance, after all, as common-place a budget as ever was propounded. The speech by which it was introduced was indeed sufficiently original; of the budget itself, however, the three main features were no more than halving two existing taxes, doubling another, and extending a fourth-a mere shuffling of the same cards; but this very simple process was executed with such a curiosa infelicitas, that it combined all the opponents of the Ministry, while not one of their supporters could, or, at least, did, venture to adopt it as a whole.*
On a full reconsideration of the whole case, we willingly
* The two most powerful supporters of the Government, Sir Edward Bulwer and Mr. Cayley, would, in fact, have annihilated the budget, by the repeal of the whole
acknowledge our entire belief that the Government adopted this. unusual and unlucky course in a sincere though mistaken spirit of courage and good faith. They were anxious to ascertain their position, and were induced, for motives no doubt honourable and, in their own judgment, weighty, to adopt a vote on the budget as one of confidence. It is impossible to dispute the propriety of the object, but we still must regret that a clearer, a more appropriate, and even earlier occasion was not taken for that, no doubt, necessary trial of strength-for instance, by meeting Mr. Villiers's motion with the old parliamentary test of the previous question. That would have brought the question to its real issuea vote of confidence in the good intentions of the Government; and on that question we have little doubt they would have had, as they deserved, a majority; but, if they had not had such a majority on that simple question, how could they hope for one on the more complicated and antagonistic details of a budget, concerning which their own supporters might be expected to feel such a variety of doubts and scruples? The tampering with Mr. Villiers's motion was considered by the House and the Country as a confession of weakness-the bringing forward the budget at so unusual a period of the session was a still more direct one. The battle, thus injudiciously provoked, was fought, and especially by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, with distinguished gallantry and, on some detached points, with admirable skill; but, on the whole, the ground was ill chosen-the moment inopportune, and the upshot-what we ventured three months ago to forebode.
It is not with a view of claiming for ourselves any peculiar sagacity-God knows, it needed little to foresee the result-that we make these observations; but a regard to the true and permanent interests of the Conservative party, or at least of that section of it with whose countenance we have been so long honoured, obliges us to lay before our readers what we conceive to be the TRUTH of the case-not a merely retrospective, reproachful, and barren truth-but one calculated-intended at least-to serve as a beacon to guide us hereafter to a safer and more permanent anchorage. Honesty is the best policy, but next to it is Courage-without which, as Johnson wisely said, there is no security for honesty or any other virtue, moral or political.
. In that spirit of sincerity, then, we are bound to say that, if we regretted the untimely introduction of the Budget, we still more strongly dissent from many of the principles of the speech by which it was introduced. No one, of whatever political creed, can now affect to doubt or disparage the many high parliamentary qualities of Mr, Disraeli. His resolute spirit has been conspicuously