Imagens das páginas

"Operando all' artista Ch' ha l'abito dell' arte e man che trema."

"As weak as earnest, and as gravely out

they constantly act as though metaphors came by nature, and so lead up to them as making sure they will be there when Whenever an author represents a busy, wanted, a man knows distinctly whether active person, one much absorbed in the or not he has an illustration to the point; daily work of life, as fertile in similes, he for an example, in more senses than a seems to us to be investing him with orna- moral one, must have some truth in it. It ments and graces which are more properly is beyond man's powers to strike off an his own. It is not easy for any personal appropriate anecdote with no foundation experience to recall cases in point, because, of fact, though this power constitutes the as we have said, so few people are great charm of Mrs. Gamp. Truth may be tamin metaphor; but such as do occur to us pered with to any extent, but a grain of are those of men with habits of observa- it must be there to start with. That is a tion, combined with much leisure-men happy illustration in the Tatler, of the who are far from careful to assign work "modest fellow's" omnivorous appetite for and duty to every hour of the day. Busy place: "He is like the young bachelor people if they use similes at all, which of arts who came to town recommended they often do-use other people's. They to a chaplain's place, but, none being vaeither adopt proverbial metaphor, or slang cant, modestly accepted that of a postilmetaphor, or what we began by taking lion." Excellent also is that of Pope on exception to, second-hand metaphor, which the doting politician: has pleased themselves so well that they clench arguments with it. No simile is a good one that has not at some time been studied with an easy disengaged mind for its own sake, and occupied the observer independently of any use to be made of it. The journalist who likened an officer of the Horse Guards, exposed to the soil and drudgery of camp service and actual war, to a swan on a turnpike-road, had seen and taken in the full idea of the majestic bird thus draggled, disgraced, and out of its element. All power of illustration implies a habit of vigilant observation. No person can compare one thing with another, can find the point in common between things dissimilar, who has not seen both. We say this, not forgetting Milton's stupendous metaphors. He literally, we can not doubt, saw the prodigies his words picture forth; and, being blind, he may have been driven back to the efforts of youthful imagination to shape out and embody ancient fable; embodiments which were the more fresh and ready to his hand because cotemporary nature was shut out, and memory had to do the work of sight. This, at least, may have something to do with his difference from the ordinary system of poets, which is to make us understand great things of which we know little by things with which we are familar.

A good illustration is a much more usual conversational or rhetorical ornament than a good simile. In fact, it is a much less ambitious decoration, though ordinary talkers are not aware of this; for whereas

A sober Lanesborow dancing in the gout." But luck and experience suggested these; whereas metaphor is the purest piece of invention of which the imagination is capable. Luck, in this case, implies of course wit-wit to use the knowledge that intercourse with men gives; but wit will do nothing in illustrations of this sort without experience. Hence the young can never excel in this line; whereas a young genius may be fertile in similes. Indeed, youth is called the time for the greatest redundance of this form of ornament, though, where it is so, we doubt whether the similes will be of the most original class. Young writers illustrate by fancy and fable from what has struck them as beautiful in their reading; or they invest unknown scenes with beauties, real in themselves but not characteristic. Macaulay's happy application of a Hindoo fable to the art of literary puffing, with which he introduced his review of Robert Montgomery, is an example of youthful illustration.

Men naturally recoil from the trite, whether they know the reason of the recoil or not. Simile is delightful to the Western intellect, as showing, amongst other things, the spontaneous flashing character of thought. We make this reservation because we are told that an image never palls on the Oriental mind-that similes older than the gem, the flower blushing unseen, the upas tree, older than the olive-branch itself, are welcome to them as the freshest novelty; but in our

half of the world it is certain that those only honestly like worn-out similitudes who use them, and imagine they impart a new meaning by their use of them. In conversation, the gift of metaphor is not only delightful in itself, as throwing a light and charm on the subject, but as a

performance; and this because we know, better than some people's habits might lead one to suppose, that an apt similenew and poetical, or grotesque and startling-is about the brightest impromptu achievement that the wit of man can strike out.

From the Temple Bar Magazine.



IN Raffet's grimly-conceived picture of "Napoleon's Midnight Review" the shadowy armies of the Corsican hero are marshaled in force on an imaginary Champs de Mars. Once more the veterans of Lodi, Austerlitz, Jena, Leipsic, and Moscow, with the young recruits of the Hundred Days, hear the voice of "le petit Caporal," and swarm in spectral battalions to maneuver and "march past "beneath his commanding eye. The Exile of St. Helena, familiar to us as the lonely emperor gazing out over the vast reach of Atlantic waters in melancholy contemplation of his destiny, and watching sentinel like for the day-star of his hope to arise, beholds once more the resurrection of those whom he has led to victory, and receives the homage and devotion of a multitudinous array. The ghostly columns come on, dense and deep, filling the capacious canvas with their weird forms. Like Milton's hosts they spring up innumerable as the autumn leaves of Vallambrosa, or rather as that mustering of the warring angels, when "all the plain, covered with thick em battled squadrons bright, chariots and flaming arms and fiery steeds, reflecting blaze on blaze," first appeared to the faithful Abdiel on his return to heaven. What a gathering! what a review! what a monument to the incarnation of insatiable conquest! How eloquent a comment on ambition, power, glory, fortune, the vanity and nothingness of human machinations! To him who wielded the bâton and gave the word of command to these martial hordes, they were but as tools and

[blocks in formation]

engines, the instruments of his will. With them he executed his high schemes, and, like an Attila or Tamerlane, scourged the nations who were disobedient. For him war begat war; a Son of Slaughter, he inspired his followers with the love of slaughter, and they, volunteers of fight, fell victims and victimizing in one terrible mêlée, waving the broken saber above. their heads, and shouting with delirious enthusiasm even with their last gasp, "Vive l'Empereur!"

Were it possible, after the manner of Raffet not, however, at a midnight review, but in the open eye of day-to marshal the armed myriads that constitute the living armies of Europe, what a crowding of warriors there would be upon the plain! From every quarter of the Continent the shining cohorts would muster. From the pine-clad crags of the Dovrefield to the black coasts of the Euxine; from the interminable steppes of Muscovy to the laughing plains of Andalusia; from the sober hued rifleman of Great Britain to the gorgeous capoted Albanian, they would throng in thousands, nay, by millions-helmeted, turbaned, shakoed, kepied, hatted, and capped-to meet in this great military camp of the nations, this universal gathering of the clans and races of Europe. "We believe ourselves to be at peace; to be reposing under our vine and fig-tree, with the clouds of war far from their shadow. Thirty years of comparative exemption from hostilities has fed the illusion; the sound of drum and fife was rarely heard, except on parade; and the music most

familiar to English ears was the music of a Doric pipe or an Eolian lyre. We mocked ourselves with the idea that civilization was introducing "moral" elements into the government of the world, and that the sword was to be converted into the plow-share, and the spear into the pruning-hook. Yet never within the annals of history have the nations maintained such stupendous armies, or mankind witnessed such fearful destruction on the battle-field, as at the present day; never has the spirit of war been more systematically fostered, and a military education among the people encouraged, than in this year of grace 1864. The contagion has caught even the solid, stolid, phlegmatic Englishman. Our armies are larger than they have ever been before; our war-expenditure is out of all proportion when we consider that our earnest prayer and wish is to live peaceably with all men; and not content with setting aside a portion of the community to act professionally as our sentinels and guardians, a vast number of our manhood has been kindled with the martial spirit and taken upon itself a share of the national defense, and under the title of citizen-soldiers given one more illustration how little peaceable are the ideas that prevail on every side. We are not blaming this evidence of martial feeling. We bring it forward as a fact, as a sign of the times, as a reason why we should look more closely than we have hitherto done into "military matters."

The armies which were raised by France and England for the invasion of the Crimea, and the forces raised by Russia to repel that invasion, were enormous, even by the side of the vast musterings that took place under the eagles of the First Empire. Again, the colossal hosts that were thrown within a few weeks upon the plain of Magenta and against the heights of Solferino, no less than the lavish carnage that a few hours witnessed on those memorable battlefields, testify to the same fact, and show how numerous and how crowded are the barracks of France, Italy, and Austria. But if we wanted final and convincing proof of the prodigal consumption of a nation's thews and sinews in the camp, we have but to cast a glance across the Atlantic. Every part of the vast continent of North America, from Washington to New-Orleans, from Charleston to the

Mississippi, is studded with divisions and squadrons, which fifty years ago would have been equivalent to a corps d'armée; whilst in what is considered by Yankee exaggeration a "slight engagement," more men are put hors de combat than fell at Ramilies or Waterloo. Could the roll-calls of Secretary Stanton be read by the public, what startling revelations would be made! Admitting, as we must, that the enormous levies, 700,000, 500,000, 300,000, every now and then capriciously ordered by President Lincoln have never been approximately responded to, still the residue presents a tremendous and unprecedented total. The march of General Grant with the Army of the Potomac from Fredericksburg to the Chickahominy has, it is stated, already cost a hundred thousand men; and his summer campaign is not half over. What hecatombs will yet be sacrificed before he returns-should he ever return to the point whence he started!

So little, however, can a government depend upon the martial instincts of the people, upon their innate love of fighting, that in every country in Europe, with two exceptions, and those the freest-Great Britain and Switzerland-this natural repugnance to arms has to be forcibly overcome; in a word, the army is created by conscription. In France, Russia, Austria, and Prussia, the system is carried out with extraordinary rigor; and even under the most favorable auspices is regarded with consternation by the predestinated drawers of the numero noir, or the black ticket, which consigns them for the next decade of their life to the hard fare and abnormal existence of the barracks and the camp.


Let us watch for a moment the career of the forced recruit, first in France, and afterwards in the other principal kingdoms of the Continent. In France, when a lad arrives at the age of twenty-one, he is liable to be drafted into the army. the poor, fate is inexorable; to the wealthy she affords a loop-hole, a chance of escape, in the shape of a substitute. Within four and twenty hours of its birth, every infant is carried by the nurse and its father or some other relation to the Mairie, and there its name and sex are duly entered in a vast volume in the Registry Office. If it be a boy, it is followed about by the police all over the country. Jeannot's parents can not move from one place to

another without giving notice to the commissaire of his migration; and when, after years of this civic persecution, he enters the threshold of manhood, the luckless lad finds himself invited by the Minister of War to present himself at a military bureau. Too well he knows the meaning of that ominous invitation, and with beating heart and heavy step obeys the summons. He knew that it must come; his mother knew that it must come; his sister knew that it must come; Jeannette knew that it must come; yet none the less sorrowfully he goes and they accompany him to the bureau, and none the less tearfully they behold him descending the steps, with the gay colors pinned to his cap in mockery of his misfortune. For a misfortune it is regarded. Few, very few Frenchmen, however valiantly they fight on the field, however loudly they afterwards talk of the glory of arms, rejoice when they first draw the evil scrip which tears them from their homes, from their daily business, from their future career, to run a will-o'-the wisp chase after the problematical marshal's bâton which every French soldier is told he carries in his knapsack. If any thing could reconcile him to this lot, or soften the horrors of this forcible abstraction from his family, it would be the idea of promotion-of comparatively easy promotion, which characterizes the French army; but even this fails to cheer, or to compensate him for the serious check which his prospects in life receive. A cloud has descended thick and dark upon his hopes, upon the delicate little projects of love and matrimony he had formed; and at twenty-one he is compelled to resign himself to a barren, if not vicious, course of life he detests, abandoning designs he had probably cherished from his youth. Such is the social phase of the conscription. Yet 100,000 youths are thus annually torn from their homes; -by an imperial decree of 1857, the number was fixed at this high figure. Previously it was left to the discretion or caprice of the war-minister, who raised it or decreased it according to the supposed exigencies of the times. When hostilities are impending, the number is augmented considerably; as during the Crimean campaign, when the annual conscription rose as high as 140,000. To this great evil there is, however, some mitigation. For example, although the legal term of service extends to seven years, the actual

term is more frequently six, and sometimes less; for, in consideration of good conduct and ability, the now apt and ready soldier is permitted to join the "army of reserve.' Again, it does not always happen that the full complement drawn is required for immediate service; when this is the case, only a portion is drafted into the regular army, the rest being sent to dépôts, where for six months they are drilled and taught the manual and platoon exercises. This last modification, the necessary corollary of a fixed yearly quota, is said to be the fruit of the present Emperor Napoleon's experience and studies in Switzerland. Substitution moreover is, as we have said, allowed in the French army. Up to the year 1855, private agencies existed, where substitutes could be procured for a stipulated sum; since then, however, these agencies have been abolished, and the government has entirely monopolized the business, with the view of creating a Dotation Fund, wherewith to encourage reënlistment when the original term of service has expired. The price of a substitute is fixed annually, and varies considerably; yet it is at any time a large sum for a youth, even of the middle classes, to pay. In 1855, the sum was £112; 1857, £72; and in 1862, £92. To show how poorly voluntary enlistment succeeds in France, and also how the true campaigning spirit is declining, we may record the fact that, whereas in 1853, 8000 presented themselves to the recruiting-sergeant, not more than 2192 displayed their martial zeal in 1862; so little pugnacious is your real Frenchman if left to himself. No army in the world offers greater prizes; and it would not be fair to the military system of France not to state that rapid advancement is open to every soldier, and that no man with superior education ever remains long in the ranks. For the artillery and engineers, special public schools, such as the Polytechnic, St. Cyr, Saumur, etc., have been instituted; and here are produced some of the finest military scholars in the world.

Yet France-forgetting for a moment the pangs of the young recruit torn from his home and with his fresh heart still yearning for the clay hut of Auvergne or the thatched cabane of Normandy-may well be proud of her well-trained disci plined troops; and truly no people enjoy a military spectacle more zealously and

thoroughly than the French, however | put. What country, surveying the area

costly to their pocket it may be. An inspection in the Cour de Carrousel, a review in the Champs de Mars, or a fieldday at Chalons, is to a Parisian-nay, to the stranger within his gates-a magnificent sight; the bright imperial regiments reminding him of the armies of Sennacherib on the day before that night when



Angel of Death spread his wings on the blast,
And breathed in the face of the foe as he



"His cohorts were gleaming in purple and gold,

And the sheen of their spears was like stars on the sea,

When the blue wave rolls nightly on deep


of its territory, is poorer than Russia? yet what a vast and cumbersome army the czar delights to drill! The policy of aggression, inherited from Peter and Catharine, perpetually demands a corresponding force to be kept up in order to insure the execution of that disastrous legacy. The arts of peace have been sacrificed to the ambitious traditions of the imperial dynasty; and the dream of each successive sovereign as he ascends the steps of the throne, is how he shall

reach the blue waters of the Golden Horn and plant the cross of St. Vladimir on the dome of St. Sophia at Istamboul. In the rocky fastnesses of the Caucasus the bones of numberless Muscovite soldiers bleach on the fierce soil, testifying to the imperial lust of power; whilst in the heart of the empire itself ignorance, poverty, and The azure and argent of that splendid national demoralization are the charactercorps the Cents Gardes, the Oriental cos-istic results of this semi-barbarous system tume of the Zouaves and Turcos, the of government. The regular and irregu light build and lighter step of the Chas-lar army of Russia is estimated at upseurs de Vincennes, the grave and defiant tread of the blue coated Grenadiers, the measured yet easy pace of the Chasseurs d'Afrique on their silk-coated horses, the well-appointed Uhlans, and the picturesque Spahis-present a scene no less attractive from its variety than from the conviction that with such men,an imperial commander may be master of whatever position he chooses to take up. A force of 450,000 such men-a number that may speedily and with scarcely an effort be raised to 750,000-backs with tremendous weight the moral influence of an empire; and when wisely and discreetly handled can render the Prometheus which has created it formidable at home and irresistible abroad; absolute among his own subjects, a potent arbiter in the destinies of foreign nations-provided there be no checks. Are there such checks for France? Yes, and for other countries; but unfortunately it is in the equalization of the military strength of each nation; hence the vast, menacing, expensive armies which stand "at attention" throughout the Continent, crippling the energies, and neutralizing the industry, and de vouring the resources of rich and poor monarchies alike.

It is excellent to have all this power, all these resources, this exuberance of vitality and strength; but as a rule, it is an idle and miserable use to which they are

wards of 36,000 officers and 1,100,000 privates. This mighty force surges, like the waters of the ocean, against every frontier, and by perpetually lashing it, eventually disintegrates and acquires a portion of it. How is this multitude of armed men raised? Again the answer is, by compulsion. The conscription is in full force amongst the peasants and artisans; the net of the recruiting-officer is dragged through the populations of the towns and villages, and the prey is caught in the proportion of four or six, and sometimes as much as eight or ten, in every thousand. This difference, too, may be pointed out between the conscription in France and Russia, that whereas in the former country every individual who is of proper age is liable to be drawn, in Russia only the lower classes are the victims-nobles, magistrates, merchants, priests, students, and the members of certain trade-guilds, being, by imperial ukase, exempt from this personal military service. The government, indeed, trouble themselves very little about the levy; the number to be raised is fixed for each district according to the last census, and an order issued to the nobleman or land-owner of each state to furnish the number. They can nominate which of their dependents they please, provided the men are of healthy body and sound of limb, and between the ages of eighteen and forty. So

« AnteriorContinuar »