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have confidence in yourself, says Goethe, you know how to live.
Learn to talk, but learn also to listen. Speak your own language free from provincialisms and grammatical errors. It is the lowest grade of
To One in Affliction.
Dear friend! if word of mine could seal
That word I might not dare to speak:
Thy little boy has passed away
From mortal sight and mortal love,
And fittest for celestial things,
Of his baptismal morn had sought
To bleeding hearts but sad relief-
Alone, upon these wintry days,
The fragments of his earnest talk,
And smile upon his features spread, Whose careful hand the birds had fed, And filled the ever-running brook?
Or viewing, from the distant glade,
The dim horizon round his home, With simplest speech and air would come And ask why were the mountains made? Be strong, my friend, these days of doom Are but the threads of darkest hue, That daily enter to renew
The warp of the Eternal Loom.
And when to us it shall be given
In joy to see the other side,
These threads the brightest shall abide
In the fair tapestries of Heaven!
J. R. T.
We sincerely trust that our readers have already made themselves familiar with this highly interesting novel, for we have no intention to dwell at this time upon the plot of the story, the delineation of characters, or the aesthetical peculiarities of the work. In these respects it is certainly open to some slight objections, but it is still more certainly entitled to the warmest commendations for numerous and striking excellencies. Its principal merit, however, consists in its accuracy and verisimilitude as a graphic portraiture of an attractive and important period of history-albeit one which has hitherto met with but little attention and regard. It is principally from this point of view that we design making our present remarks on Antonina; and we hope those who may take the trouble to peruse our remarks, will pardon us for once the enormity of employing a novel as a text for an historical disquisition.
"The Fall of Rome" must always constitute one of the most instructive lessons which the page of history can offer to the student. Its immediate connection with both ancient and modern civilization, as being the bridge which unites them, invests it with a more ready interest than can be expected to attach to almost any other portion of ancient story. The solemn significauce, too, of its teachings, (especially in a period of social convulsion, like that in which our lot is cast.) entitles it to the most careful and diligent regard. The causes and phenomena of the gradual decay and slow decline of the Roman Empire merit the same profound scrutiny aud philosophic appreciation that have been bestowed by Machiavelli and Niebuhr upon the rise of the Republic. Ammianus, Joruandes, and the writers of the Augustan History, miserable as the last undoubtedly are, may be made to us suggestive of present, practical, political wisdom, not less valuable than that which the great Florentine drew from the earlier books of Livy. It was not altogether an empty or arrogant fancy of Zosimus that his history might present the necessary counterpart and complement of the history of Polybius. His mistake lay, not in any misapprehension of the propriety and importance of the task, but in over-estimating his capacity to execute it. Aud yet the fragmentary and unfinished form, in which his work has been transmitted to us, may be the cause of a censure which
might not have been justified if his history had ters evince higher powers and a keener sagacity been complete. Certain it is, that the labour than are exhibited by his more celebrated and contemplated by Zosimus is one which it is the brilliant Treatise on the Spirit of Laws. Gibduty of our age to accomplish as well as the ma- bon confines himself too much to the mere narraterials furnished to our hands may permit; for tive of events, the succession of crimes, casualin the present condition of European society, ties, and wars, and to the squabbles of religious and in the present agitation of our own, there is sects. We profess to be among the warmest and a more urgent necessity to study the course of most enthusiastic admirers of Gibbon's great hisnational decline than to follow the progress of tory; but our admiration is neither blind nor unnational growth. But the phenomena of na- reasoning; and, though we cannot conceive of tional dissolution are exhibited most clearly, and any successful attempt to surpass him in what he on the grandest scale, by the history of Rome has done, nevertheless we think that ample refrom Cæsar to Justinian; and it is therefore in wards, not less interesting and important, await this direction that our eyes must be turned. It the industrious laborer, who may be willing to is on that large and diversified canvass that we devote his energies to the elucidation of those are best able to trace the intimate connection be- views which Gibbon has omitted. Some prostween social progress and social disorganization, pect of the satisfactory execution of this task is between material wealth and popular distress, afforded by Mr. Merivale's recently commenced between national aggrandizement and political work on the Romans under the Empire. The corruption, between the decline of religious faith two volumes already issued serve barely as an and the destruction of all the elements of per- introduction to the subject, as they bring us down manent national vitality. It is there, too, that only to the assassination of Julius Cæsar; but we can best contemplate the headlong and im- from their fulness, and from their sound and commediate tendency to ruin which accompanies the prehensive philosophy, we may augur favorably decay of public and private virtue. A diligent of the further continuation of the History. We examination of these times also conveys the im- are indeed apprehensive that Mr. Merivale, from portant lesson, that the germs of new life are al- that ignorance and neglect of the Roman Law, ways to be discovered among the debris of an- which so strongly characterize the researches of cient organizations; that in the rottenness and English scholars, may deny himself the assistputrescence of effete institutions spring the roots ance of the most valuable materials which those of a new creation; that the destruction of our times present; but we trust that he may not rensystem of civilization does not merely clear the der his work obnoxious to this grave and fatal ground for another, but furnishes the seeds, and objection. We anticipate much from the satisthe necessary conditions for their germination; factory completion of Mr. Merivale's work: for and that we must look in the chambers of the we have trodden in the footsteps of Gibbon, have dead and the dying for the budding sigus of a diligently consulted his authorities, and studied coming resurrection to a higher, au ampler, and the sources from which he drew; and, while it a nobler existence. has confirmed all our previous admiration for his immortal and unrivalled history, it has produced a deepening conviction of the necessity for some fuller and more philosophical treatment of the earlier periods of the Decline, and a daily growing recognition of the fact that the solution or explanation of the social evils, which now infest European society, must be sought by the light to be borrowed from a thorough apprehension of the condition of the Roman Empire under the later Emperors of the West.
These considerations would render it difficult to estimate too highly the value of that light, which the attentive study of this period is calculated to furnish to any extended or profound system of social and political philosophy. Yet it is singular that, notwithstanding these high claims, it has met so rarely with suitable appreciation. Montesquieu and Gibbon, almost alone of modern scholars, seemed to have recognized its importance, for Guizot's retrospective view does not extend sufficiently far: and these great authors have certainly left behind them much more for the accomplishment of others than they have themselves achieved. The gleanings to be gathered after the reapers have passed over the field, promise to be both more valuable and more abundant than the harvest which they have garnered. Montesquieu devotes to this subject only a few into the plains. The views may be more conof the concluding Chapters of his Essay on the fined than they are elsewhere, but the constant Greatness and Decline of Rome; but these Chap-undulations of the surface give a charm and a
But, in addition to the value of this history as a source of philosophical instruction, it has a special aptitude for the purposes of fiction. We believe that the remark was first made by Lady Mary Montague, that the finest landscapes and the loveliest scenery were to be found in those regions where the spurs of the mountains melt
the fairy footsteps of the Muse no less than the wars of the Crusaders or the tales of knightly courtesy and ladye-love.
variety to the prospect, which are equally denied to the dull monotony of a champaign country and to the overpowering sublimity of mountain valleys and plateaux. In this intermediate These firmly entertained convictions ensured region the landscape is ever shifting with each to Antonina on its publication a cordial welcome change of position, the prospects are equally at our hands, wholly independent of its merits as countless and diversified, and the narrow setting a work of pure imagination. Not that we were of each view adds to its picturesqueness the do- by any means insensible to these, or indisposed to mestic tranquillity and grace which appeal most proclaim loudly its excellence as a fiction; but, directly to the affections. Observations of a beyond its claims to our regard on this score, its somewhat similar character might be safely haz advent was most grateful to us as inviting popuarded with respect to the various epochs of his-lar attention, and conciliating popular good-will tory. It is in the transition stages of social change towards a subject, which had been left unfortuthat we must principally look for pictures requi-nately too long in the shade. But the same conring and capable of rewarding artistic treatment. siderations which ensured for it so cordial a reThe events of a fully developed civilization ad- ception on our part, ensured also its subjection dress themselves directly to the reason: they are to a closer and more exacting examination of its hard, practical, uniform: the imagination finds historical value than a romance is ordinarily exlittle room for play in their exhibition or in their pected to undergo. We are happy to say that embellishment. There is a methodical and or it has passed unscathed through this trying ordeal, derly progress; a routine of advancement, admit- and that we can freely point to it as exhibiting ting and suggesting its own explanation, and the best general picture of the times in which proceeding with the perfect regularity of machi- the scene is laid, which has fallen under our cognery. Every thing glitters in the same bright nizance. This accuracy and fulness of delineasunshine, which irradiates all beneath it with the tion is the more remarkable, inasmuch as Mr. same brilliancy and nearly the same hues: there Collins seems, by his own declaration, to have are no obscurities to vivify the fancy, no lights drawn from no other authorities than the history and shades, or mellow hues to kindle the imagi- of Gibbon, and an old and careless translation nation or touch the feelings. The dazzling glare of Zosimus. The valuable aid of Ammianus brings everything immediately before the eyes; Marcellinus, Jornandes, and Cassiodorus is disthe picture is grand, but there is no room for peused with, and the need of such aid is scarcely small details, and even if there were, there is perceptible. The assistance of these authors a strong resemblance, if not actual identity of would have been previously thought by us absothoughts, feelings, habits, usages in a full blown lutely essential; nor should we have deemed it civilization, which is at variance with that diver- prudent to disregard the incidental illustration to sity which art requires. It is in the by-ways of be derived from Procopius, Agathias, Priscus, history, and not on its highways, that imagina- Petronius Arbiter, the writers of the Augustan tion must look for subjects of interest. It is in History, and the Roman Panegyrists. But we the wild dreamy era preceding civilization, or in cannot pay a higher tribute to Mr. Collins's skill the stormy and shifting scenes which character- and sagacity than to say, that, if his neglect of ize its close, that its requirements can be most these writers has perhaps occasioned some omisfully satisfied. It is not when the uniform col- sions which might not otherwise have occurred, oring of a whole nation fills up the canvass that it has occasioned neither discrepance nor waut we must expect to paint a picture of romance of accordance with the pictures which they but we must resort to times when the wild im- present. pulses, the unregulated passions, the unchecked The particular scene of the long drama of the fancies, and the varied feelings of individual life Decline selected by Mr. Collins is judiciously are not machined into monotony by the constant chosen. It concentrates within the limits of a predominance of the same unvarying influences. single picture all that is most attractive or imHence it is, that the strong poetic feeling of bar-portant. It unites to the melancholy interest of baric life has given us the Iliad, the Odyssey, a fading civilization the fresh and vigorous hopes the Arabian Nights, the Ballads of the Ciel, and inspired by the early dawn of a brighter and more the Niebelungenlied; while the incidents of Me-familiar day; and thus, while it tempts our cudiæval times have long been the attractive arena riosity with the quaintness and charms of antiof romance. But not less interesting or rich in quity, it secures that more immediate interest the elements of the ideal are the periods of na- which attaches to the birth of the regime under tional decay. The phenomena which accompa- which we still continue to live. It furnishes amnied the downfall of antiquity and the birth-ple opportunities for striking contrasts between throes of our religion and our civilization, invite the new and the old; and exhibits even under
that contrast the essential affinities which render combatants, who are to occupy the stage. The
opening scene of the story introduces us skilfully and at once to the causes of irritation which precipitated the torrent of barbarians on Rome. The character of Goisvintha may be coarsely sketched it is a vulgar, violent, selfish nature, perhaps not altogether consistent with the pecu liarities of her time and race, but her recent escape with her crippled child from the carnage of Aquileia brings prominently forward the great provocations which tempted the invasion of Alaric, and enlists our sympathies in favor of the barbarians, to whom they might have been denied if their wrongs had not been made more prominent than their savage manners.
them parts of the same great whole, and link in a chain of unbroken continuity the most modern periods with the most remote ages of the past. We have the blending, without confusion, of the dissimilar systems of the ancient and modern world: the co-existence, and yet the contradistinction of different societies and polities. The warring religion of heathendom, heated to a false fervor, and maddened by a factitious rage-the passion of the intellect, the rebellion of the reluctant will-is exhibited side by side with the faith of Christendom, which has already borrowed from her elder and spurious sister the corruptions, the vagaries, and the Protean forms which characterized her feeble old age. The From the time of the Civil Wars which folarrogant confidence, the hopeful recklessness, the lowed the dethronement and death of Nero, the wild fidelity of the fresh and untamed races of principal force of the Roman armies had conthe North are arrayed—a most unequal contest-sisted of the barbarian soldiers who had been against the selfishness, the despondency, the cor- lured to the Roman eagles by the double hope of ruption, the licentiousness, and the utter disor-pay and plunder. With the recognition of their ganization of the degraded people, whose ances- constitutional right to participate in the imperial tors had won and ruled the world. The rude elections, and to appoint a successor to the Empire, simplicity of the Teutonic race is thrown into with or without the occurrence of a vacancy in the high relief by its contrast with the curious and throne, the power, the licence, the rapacity and the highly artistic effeminacy of their Roman victims. luxury of these barbarian troops had increased. The conflicting forms of superstitious delusion With the progress of vice their courage and their which ruled the Goth, the Christian, and the military virtues declined, but the temptations to heathen of the ancient world throw a common military service were just in the same degree atmosphere over all the groups which compose augmented; and it was only when the perils of the picture, and tend to harmonize their different imminent and continued campaigns of desperate hues. warfare became alarming, by the pressure of the The siege of Rome by Alaric constitutes con- fresh and not yet enervated hordes of new barfessedly a crisis in history: it is the turning point riau tribes on all the frontiers of the empire, that of the drama-the shifting of the weights that there was any great difficulty in supplying the sway the balance from the scale of Roman to requisite recruits from the dependent provinces that of Teutonic ascendancy. It is an event of of the Roman dominion. Then the veteran solsolemn significance in itself: it is replete with diery shut themselves up in walled cities, or deincidents of a poetic character; and it has been serted to the enemy, or ran away at the sight of described by the annalists and chroniclers of that the first danger. But the safety, as well as the and the succeeding age with a minuteness which permanence of the empire was threatened by enables us to apprehend the feelings and the po- the constant presence of furious barbarians; who sition of all parties, and which we scarcely meet were pushed forwards on the Roman soil by the again in ancient story until we come to the Fall aggressions of bolder and more furious barbarians of Constantinople, and the tedious precision of behind. The fountains of the great deep were Phranza, Acropilita, and Chalcondyles. This broken up; the uncivilized nations of the whole great event, moreover, forcibly arrests our atten-earth were poured out from their ancient wilds; tion: we dwell upon it; we hang over it; it throws and the current bore them onwards in an irresisour thoughts forward to all the possibilities of tible stream towards the lands of the ancient but the future, to the contemplation of the coming doomed civilization. Under these circumstances, destinies of the victorious barbarians; and it also the empire without force or the means of resistthrows back our reflection to the antecedent ance within herself, but compelled to adopt some causes which have entailed upon the vanquished measures of defence against the increasing dantheir present doom, and brings prominently into ger, unable to trust her protection to the cowardly view the previous phenomena of the decline mercenaries, who were her scourges in peace which at length culminated in the conquest of and her betrayers in war, sought for temporary the Imperial City by the barbarians. security by bribing her assailants, and employing the arms of the first comers to repel the aggressions of the rest. This plan, which had been
The First Book exhibits in strong contrast and in high relief the dissimilar characteristics of the
But the greatness of Stelicho, and the extent of his absolute authority, excited the malignant jealousies of frivolous but greedy courtiers. The weak Honorius hated the great general before whom he trembled like a child, and was easily won over to the side of his adversaries. Stelicho knew the vices of his time, but he had the virtues
first extensively resorted to by Constantine, was 'of Italy, and the tides of exterminating warfare an adequate protection under the great Theodo- poured down upon the eastern empire. sius, and could be dispensed with by the brilliant courage and magnanimity of Julian, but it was fatal when attempted to be carried into effect by weak princes. The tribute which fear paid inspired the disposition to exact a heavier tribute for very uncertain immunities; the Emperors and the Empire were in constant dread of their defenders, yet they could neither quell their of a better age, and his whole career is a refutaoutrages nor refuse their demands. They were tion of the trumpery charge on account of which afraid of their assistance, yet they dared not re-his ruin was prepared. He was accused of treafuse it, and they could not dispense with it, sonable intercourse with the Goths-the soldiers though the sword which had been placed in the of the empire, who had won all his victories, and hands of their barbarian allies struck a deeper fought all the battles by which the Empire was terror into their hearts than it did into the hearts preserved. He was assassinated; and the reof the enemies of the nation. Treachery was sult proved that the one man, who had been the consequence of cowardice and fear; the bar-murdered by the orders of a faithless sovereign barian contingents were at one time petted and and a jealous court, had alone averted by his sincorrupted by inordinate indulgence; at another gle might the destruction which so speedily burst defrauded of their dues by the rapacious officials upon the empire. of the crown, or traiterously assassinated in remote provinces. The connection between the empire and the barbarians was always hollow and uncertain; each party endeavored to cheat and delude the other; and the most horrible crimes were of daily occurrence on either side.
Dread of the Goths had been among the causes which had precipitated the murder of Stelicho, and rather on this account, than from the alleged fear of their avenging his death, the Gothic soldiers were dispersed, circumvented, murdered. It was a part of the treacherous policy which led The Emperor Theodosius on his death, had to the condition in which Göisvintha is first releft Stelicho and Rufinus the guardians of his vealed to us; for the Goths in Aquileia were children and empire. With the latter, we have shamefully massacred soon after the death of nothing to do, except to mention that he first iu- Stelicho. To avenge the assassination of Stelvited Alaric and the Goths to invade the Empire, icho and the murder of his countrymen—or more and himself soon after fell a victim to the supe-probably, to carry into effect the long meditated rior craft and power of his western colleague. designs, which there was no one capable of reStelicho, who was himself a barbarian, though sisting, Alaric marched his motley army, comclosely allied by marriage with the Imperial fam-posed of Goths, Huns, and Alans, over the fronily, thus became the sovereign ruler of the Em-tier, and passing by the gates of Ravenna and pire, though without the title of Emperor. He the imbecile Honorius with the most crushing left the ceremonies and the trappings of royalty to contempt, he marched directly to the Imperial the sons of Theodosius, but exercised all the pow- City, and commenced the memorable siege of ers of the state with absolute control in the name Rome. of his feeble son-in-law Honorius. With equal The Court of Honorius, and the Emperor himcunning and courage he repelled the assaults of self were, indeed, beneath the notice of Alaric, the barbarians-fighting fire with fire, according whatever might have been the motives which to the received policy of the times, but always prompted his incursion. Ravenna was a point rising triumphaut over the numerous difficulties of no importance to any one who was not afraid and desperate disadvantages by which he was to take the field; its sole merit even in the eyes beset. His barbarian allies were afraid of of the Romans was its secure and convenient him; his wonderful capacity for intrigue, his in- position as a City of Refuge. It could have been domitable energy, which was unchilled even by reduced only by a long siege and desperate asthe snows of age, his fortitude and daring, and saults. It was not easily accessible to hostile athis admirable dexterity in the management of his tack, and the sea was open to it to furnish proferocious allies, combined to enable him to pre- vision to the Court, the garrison, and the citizens. serve inviolate the integrity of his dominions. A Any attempt to reduce it must almost necessarily close and intimate connexion was maintained be- have been accompanied with a blockade on the tween himself and the Goths under Alaric, which sea, and for this Alaric was not provided. He was strengthened by the wholesome fear inspired knew the composition of its inhabitants well by the well fought day of Placentia. By his as- enough to know that there would be no peril in sistance invasion was repelled from the froutiers consequence of leaving in his rear the sensual,