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“ That fiend which since our race begun “ Has haunted us from sire to son. “ In bridal pomp her neck was bound “ With pearls in many a goodly round. • Then woke the fiend's resistless charm, “With strength from hell he nerved my arm “ To tear those glistening rows away, “ And I was spell-bound to obey. • She shriek'd-I struck—with blow on blow, “Urged by the fiend, I laid her low. ". The demon pointed to the stream. " I bore her, dragg’d her there; one scream, “ Unheard by all but me, she gave, “ And sunk, and sleeps beneath the wave. “ Father, for many a lingering year “ That ceaseless scream has thrill'd my ear ; " The tumult of the bustling camp, “ The charging squadrons' hurrying tramp, • The batteries' roar, the trumpet's knell, “ The volley and the exploding shell — " I heard them not, that dreadful call “ Still piercing through, above them all.-“ Father, beyond the Mill there stands,
« Blasted and sear'd like me, “ Made branchless by the lightning's brands,
“A solitary tree. “ 'Twas by the forked lightning's glare, “ I dug my place of treasure there “ To hold those precious pearls, the whole “ Vast price for which I gave my soul, “ Witness and wages of the deed « For which this forfeit life must bleed. “ My days are numbered : well I know “ I soon must die the rabble's show; “ But if a thousand years were flown « Before the scaffold claim'd its own, 6. The fearful night but now gone by 6 Could never fade from memory's eye ; “ Their long oblivion could not hide “ The horrors of that ghastly ride. 6" She rose, she sprung : look, father, here,
“ See how the fingers of the dead • The flesh of living man can sear.
He slowly raised his languid head,
Let those remain who will,
121-128. Assuredly no one can read such a tale as this, without perceiving that Lord Levison Gower possesses talents which fit him for a much more noble career in poetry, than that of a translator. We are not his lordship’s flatterers. Indeed why should we be ? He needs not such to assist a fame, that must make its own brilliant way, if it be but done justice to by him upon whose exertions it is solely dependent.
Art. IX.--Travels in Russia, and a Residence at St. Petersburgh and
Odessa, in the years 1827-1829: Intended to give some account of Russia as it is, and not as it is represented to be, &c. &c. By Edward
Morton, M.B., &c. &c. &c. London: Longman and Co. 1830. . Dr. Morton is one of those very inconvenient persons in society who are determined on all occasions, great or small, to have an opinion of their own; and the worst of it is, that this resolution they will very often carry into effect, without any great regard to the justice of the said opinion. Many a well-tempered man would be astonished to be told that Dr. Granville's “St. Petersburgh ” was the cause of Dr. Morton's Travels in Russia,' but such is the fact. The former gentleman went on his travels with a fair proportion of that forbearance for difference of habits and manners, which men of education and experience usually acquire; and, consequently, he saw something worth applauding in Russia. He also made allowances for the condition of a country merely in the puberty of its civilization ; he endured her imperfections, and praised her improvements, not as the refinements of an old country, but as meritorious for her opportunities. The reader must now be reminded that Dr. Granville resided in Russia, as the medical attendant of Count Vorontzof. In this office he was succeeded by Dr. Morton. Now, remembering the latter gentleman's distinctive propensity in particular, and coupling it with that general principle of mutual repulsion which pervades the members of the faculty, we cannot expect that Dr. Morton would endure for a moment any thing that was either said or done by Dr. Granville. We are not told what a revolution the new Doctor made in the household of the Russian Count; but there can be no doubt that the medical treatment of the latter was a complete antithesis to that of the former. If Dr. Morton, however, was as zealous in overturning the curative system of his predecessor as he has been industrious in contradicting his observations as a traveller, we have only tremulously to express a desperate hope, that the family of Count Vorontzof have completely escaped the perils of the process.
That Dr. Morton started in the St. Petersburgh packet for his destination with a most resolute dislike of Russia and its inhabitants, is evinced unequivocally in his book. Good, easy man, he imagined
that Russia was too simple to imitate the practices of her
betters, and he complains of the strictness of her custom-house officers. The Doctor is highly delighted at the recollection of a rebuff which he gave to one of these intruders.
When the packet anchored off Cronstadt, it was boarded by these officers, when the baggage of the passengers was deposited in their cabins respectively, and the doors sealed. The Doctor applied to one of these persons for liberty to take out his razors and some linen. The officer refused, humourously observing, that “Doctors wear their shirts for twelve days.” “To this,” says the offended physician, “ feeling nettled at his impudence, I replied, very probably in Russia, but not in England.”
I Here was a national hit: the answer was interpreted for the Russian, and gave him, no doubt, a due sense of the vast intelligence and wit of him who uttered the expression. How could the Doctor judge favourably of St. Petersburgh? With his beard unshaven, bis linen unaltered, and his person, we presume, thereby exceedingly prejudiced, it would be strange indeed if our traveller could have a heart to be pleased with any thing. But he does condescend to admit, that the houses are handsome. This admission is only the presage to a heavy denunciation, for the lower parts of the best houses are let to filthy publicans, the rooms are destitute of carpets, the furniture is rude, and lamps of japanned or painted and gilt tin only are suspended from the ceilings. Then the public buildings are not to be compared to those of London: the Post Office of St. Petersburgh is nothing to that of St. Martin's-le-Grand, and there is no such edifice any where in Russia as Westminster Abbey! Indeed! What amazing penetration to discover this. The Doctor sums up his observations on the city, with the following observations:
In Russia, as I have before observed, every thing is made for outward appearance and for show: the government, as well as private individuals, are all influenced by this principle, and it may be found every where and in every thing, if the observer will only take the trouble to trace it. Thus we see large houses with little in them : fifty employés having scarcely the means of existence, with little to do, instead of half that number well paid and well occupied : finally, crosses, ribands, and stars, instead of liberal pay or pensions; and magnificent promises never fulfilled ;--the shadow for the reality :-Such, such is Russia.'--pp. 26, 27.
The Doctor next applied himself to the study of the Russian people, and with what success his examination was likely to be attended, even under the most favourable circumstances, may be inferred from the sort of notions with which he undertook the task.
As to the difficulty of deciding upon the virtues and vices of fifty millions of inhabitants, that is not by any means so Herculean a labour as may at first sight appear, but may soon be effected, and with considerable accuracy. We have only to consider of what parts the population in question is composed, and then to ascertain the ruling propensities of these parts respectively, and we shall form a correct idea of the whole.'
The Doctor's way of ascertaining the ruling propensities' of a people, is certainly very conformable to his own description, that is to say, it is very capable of being soon effected.' A traveller (we quote his own words) may obtain a very good idea of the lower class as he passes along the road; (!) and from the conduct which he meets with at the post houses,' &c., and he will find some exquisite specimens of varieties among the second (class) at the custom-houses and other public establishments, with which he is compelled to transaat business.” Most devoutly do we pray that such a doctrine as this will never be known abroad, for should a Russian come amongst us and take his observations on the Doctor's principle, what a pretty figure we should make in a description. God forbid, that the honest peasantry of this country should ever be confounded with the prowling poachers that are to be met with
along our roads," and no Englishman could avoid shuddering at the thought of allowing the harpies of the custom-house, and the insolent Jacks that fill the lowest places in our public offices, to be taken as specimens of our merchants, shopkeepers, and artizans. The mind must be curiously constituted indeed, that proposes such a test for investigating the character of a people. In God's name, what would become of our faculty, if Dr. Morton was to be offered as a fair representative of our physicians ? The Doctor, however, is worthy of the doctrine, as the doctrine is worthy of the Doctor. His practice, we mean as an observer, is in excellent keeping with his principle. His first appearance in public, that we hear of, is at a masquerade at court. This was an abominable business, because it was violating New Year's Day. The Doctor next attended the ceremony of blessing the waters of the Neva, but he soon got tired of the shew; and being too distant to inspect the actual ceremony, the Doctor philosophically declines to avail himself of foreign assistance, having no wish,' he observes, 'to repeat particular details of the frivolous and superstitious formalities which the professional votaries of the Greek church are so fond of displaying to their ignorant and slavish disciples.' Thus, then, we have got rid of the public buildings, the whole population, the principal customs, and the religion of Russia, which is doing very well for the first fifty pages. As a conclusive proof of the animus by which the Doctor was chiefly influenced during his residence in Russia, we think his decision as to the cause why Constantine surrendered the crown to bis younger brother, deserves to be considered. Does he impute philosophic indifference to the self-denying heir to the imperial throne?' No such thing; the sagacious Doctor is not so charitable. Whatever motive is least creditable to Constantine, and most injurious to the character of the people who are ready to obey him, that motive our ingenious Doctor prefers to all others. He says,
• The most probable conclusion seems to be that Constantine, who must have well remembered all the dreadful particulars attendant upon the
murder of his father, the unfortunate Paul, feared to assume the imperial dignity under the impression that he should experience a similar fate.
Any man, fond of the curious and eccentric, who reads this precious work, will be soon convinced how much more probable it is that Dr. Morton should be the fool in his explanation, than that Constantine should be the fool in his conduct. The character of the Russian imperial family, forbids us from being surprised at any act of noble self-denial which one of its members may perform; nor is it by any means an equivocal criterion of the true magnanimity of a given action, that it should stand as a mystery for the everlasting confusion of a certain order of minds.
The Doctor met with only one handsome Russian woman during his residence in the Muscovite empire. The other ladies of his acquaintance who possessed any pretensions to beauty, were of foreign extraction. Every eye, it is said, makes a beauty. If the converse of this obtains, we can easily understand why Dr. Morton saw only ugliness in Russia. The imagination is really the tyrant of the senses; it degrades them into the agents of its worst ex
Once a man wishes to hear and see in a particular way, the ear and
eye become forthwith his most humble servants. The very stoves of the Russian capital excite the Doctor's ire; they do not afford an equal heat throughout the room; they prevent the air in the apartments where they are employed from being renewed ; in short, they are totally dissimilar to the origin of artificial heat in this country during the winter months, and therefore they are unnatural, and to be abominated.
Hitherto our comical Doctor was stationary. We have now to survey
him as a locomotive animal. We do not think that land travelling, any more than a sea voyage, improves his temper. There were state regulations in Russia to secure travellers from delay and imposition, but every one of these orders were instantly repealed the moment Dr. Morton started on his way. Every single functionary who was in the remotest manner connected with the means of carrying his Doctorship on his route, became all of a sudden a conspirator against his person and his purse; and, numerous as are his remonstrances, he seems to be a most forbearing complainant, considering the multitude of his grievances. The postmasters are infamous, and the Russian system of posting is infamous.
• When I travelled,' says the Doctor, with Count Vorontzof, I admit, that, for obvious reasons, we met with no delay, or any improper conduct from the postmasters or the secretaries; but when I journied alone, I was fleeced, cheated, abused, and laughed at.' Laughed at--to be sure he was-quis temperet a risis in such a
We are neither postmasters nor secretaries at all, much less postmasters or secretaries of Russia, and yet we do now and again luxuriate in--we give our honour-a perfectly unpremedi