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The Philosophy Op Poetry. Poetics: An Ju...
in the common way : it should be penned and printed like Thaldba . Here is the opening of that poem , written after no such arabesque fashion as Southey supposed , but according to plain sense : — ' How beautiful is night ! A dewy freshness fills the silent air ; No mist obscures , nor cloud , nor speck , nor stain Breaks the serene of heaven ; In full-orbed glory , yonder moon divine Rolls through the dark blue depths ; Beneath her steady ray The desert circle spreads , Like the round ocean girdled with the sky . How beautiful is night !' This much-admired passage has the true melody of blank verse , and it may be so written , without any very deadly sin to trouble our consciences : —
' How beautiful is night ! A dewy fresh-Ness fills the silent air ; no mist obscures , Nor cloud , nor speck , nor stain breaks the serene Of heaven ; in full-orbed glory yonder moon Divine—rolls through the dark blue depths ; beneath Her steady ray the desert circle spreads , Like the round ocean girdled with the sky . How beautiful is night !' But what is hereby gained ? There is often as little pause between two words which-are written in different lines as between the two syllables of fresh-ness ; and those who are content that the idea of a line should thus be made a sham , need no longer quarrel with ' the water gru-El at or absent from the TJNiversity of Gottingen . '
66 The Leader. [Saturday, • —
66 THE LEADER . [ Saturday , —
Spencer's Tour Through France And Italy....
SPENCER'S TOUR THROUGH FRANCE AND ITALY . A Tour of Inquiry through France and Italy . Illustrating their Present Social , Political , and Religious Condition . By Edmund Spencer , Esq ., Author of " Travels in Circassia / ' & c . 2 vols . Hurst and 231 ackett Me . Spencer ' s previous books were devoted to topics in themselves so interesting and unhackneyed , that his qualifications , as a writer , were lost sight of , in the novelty and pleasantness of his subjects . We meet him now on different ground ; and he does not appear to the same advantage . A very ordinary man will arrest the eye , if he appear in the picturesque costume of an Oriental ; but he loses his interest for us the moment he puts on broad-cloth . Mr . Spencer is not a remarkable writer ; not a
profound thinker ; not an artist ; not even a statician : he cannot , therefore , place France and Italy before us in a novel and more appreciable form ; he cannot give us new views on these countries ; he does not even amass all the detailed information necessary for the thorough understanding of each separate section of these wide-branching topics ; — in a word , his work does not give its raison d'etre . It might never have been written ; but , since it has been written , we are bound to say that it forms an agreeable and not unsuggestive amusement for a leisure evening or two . Mr . Spencer is an old traveller , and writes like a very pleasant gentleman . All that he has to say we listen to , as to the conversation of one travelling in the same railway carriage , and entitled to a hearing . Nothing strikes us as new , but much of it as sensible .
The Tour' of Inquiry is a rather ambitious title for the record of an ordinary tour , interspersed with a more than ordinary amount of religious and political " remark . " Mr . Spencer lias a strong feeling against the Catholics , and this runs through the work , giving it unity . It strikes us , however , that ho and most other zealous Protestants , prove more than is " safe , " in proving the amount of " imposture" which Catholicism fosters . Tho very arguments used against Catholic miracles may be turned , with greater force against those of which we have such " irresistible historical evidence . " Let us quote Mr . Spencer ' s account of Itose Tamisier : — " It appears that Rose Tamisier , the heroine of our tale , had . been educated gratuitously in a convent of nuns at Salon , Uouehes-du-lMione , where eventually she became an inmate , and made herself remarkable by the frequent visits she asserted
hIic was in the habit of receiving from certain saints and angels , above all from the Virgin Mary . At length , impressed with the belief that to her was confided the divine mission of restoring religion to its original purity in infidel France , she left the convent , and . sought a retreat in her native village , Saignon , where she mado her first debut on the stage ; as a . miracle-worker , says her biographer , the Abbe Andre , by causing the growth of u miraculous cabbage ! sufficiently large to feed the hungry villagers for several successive weeks , and that during a season of such universal drought that every other species of vegetation languished or died . Jn tho meantime she refused every species of nourishment , but consecrated wafers , which angels wore in the habit of purloining from the sacred I ' yx of tho Church , wherewith to feed tho favourite of Heaven ! and to compensate tho good old cure of the Commune , the Abbe Ssibon , for their loss , she mended his clothes with thread ami buttons rained from heaven . Hut whether tho villagers clamoured for more Kubstantial food than cabbage , or tho cure demanded a new sendauc for tho loss of bin consecrated wafers , certain it is that one fine summer ' s evening she \ vi \ H borne
aloft by angels , and deposited in the- romantic village ! of St . Saturinn ! " Up to this time the believers in the holy mission of our village saint , chiefly comprised tho simple vine-dresser , the ; mountain shepherd , and it may bo their equally simple cure "; but tho odour of her sanctity , and the fame of her miraculous powers increased so rapidly , and spread so extensively , that she quickly acquired a Kuropen . li celebrity . She had already performed many surprising miracles , and by the intensity of her devotion caused the representation of a cross , ii heart , si chalice , a spear , and ' sometimes tho image of the Virgin and Child to appear ou various parts of her body , at first in mint linen , and afterwards so developed hh to exude blood ! thereby exciting the amazement and pious admiration of every beholder . Hut Him now worked in the little church of Saint Snturnin the crowning miracle , by causing a picture of Christ descending from the cross to emit real blood , and that in presence of l , lu > parish priest , and a numerous congregation , assembled to witness tho . extraordinary event . This took place for the first time on tlio 10 th of November , 1 H 50 .
" Tim scientific men of I'Yanco , after despatching several members ol their body to ascertain tho existence of these singular upj > earances on the body of the Saint ol St . Saturnin , ciuno to tho conclusion that intouHO devotion , "whero tho wind is
absorbed in one subject , might from known causes , without the intervention of any supernatural agency , produce similar appearances ; which they termed stygmates sanglant ! But when the statement reached them of blood oozing through the wounds painted on a picture , and at the command of a mere mortal , they confessed science could not afford a satisfactory explanation of the phenomenon . . " The affair of the bleeding Christ now assumed an aspect of sufficient importance to attract the attention of the Government ; when M . Grave , the sousprefet of the department , M . Guillibert , juge destruction , M . Jacques , ^ substitut du procureur de la Republique , and other civil and military officers , were despatched to investigate the correctness of their representations . Even Monsignor , the Archbishop of Avignon , was summoned , with the higher clergy of his diocese , to behold and verify the miracle in proprice persona . _ of the miraclethese
" On the day appointed by the saint for the performance , great civil and ecclesiastical dignitaries , arrayed in the costume and insignia of office , attended her invitation , together with thousands of the curious ^ and devout from every part of the romantic Provence ; and , to prove that no design was entertained of imposing on the credulity of mankind , the painting , at the command of his grace the Archbishop , was removed from its place over the high altar , when , lo ! to the astonishment of the awe-struck multitude , the back , which might have contained some machinery for carrying on the imposture , disclosed a numerous colony of spiders , who seemed to have remained there for centuries . Still the blood continued to ooze from the picture of the crucified Christ as fast as his Grace and the Prefet wiped it away with their cambric handkerchiefs from the hands , feet , and side of the figure . And what a value did these acquire ! They were immediately cut into shreds , and transmitted to the faithful in every part of France .
" The public authorities and the clergy were satisfied , the spectators were satisfied , and the Archbishop preached an eloquent sermon suitable to so great an occasion ; and , in order that everything should be done systematically and in duo fosm , the Prefet and all the other high dignitaries affixed their names and seals of office to a public document attesting , the truth of this most mysterious phenomenon , which was forthwith despatched to Paris , and by means of the public press circulated throughout every country in Christendom . " ' Ah ! it was an imposing spectacle , ever memorable in the annals of France / exclaimed the Abbe M . Grand , the cure of Saint Saturnin , as he pointed out to us , in the little church , the miraculous painting hanging over the high altar . ' There knelt the blessed saint herself at the foot of the painting , with the crucifix in her uplifted hands , imploring Heaven to continue the miracle , and by this merciful interposition proclaim to the whole Christian world the severe sufferings of tho-Saviour , on witnessing the growing infidelity of mankind /
" The fervency with which he expressed himself might be received b y the most prejudiced observer , as sufficient evidence to dispel all-doubt as to the sincerity of his belief in the divine mission of his protegee . " ' Immediately behind the saint , ' continued the Abbe , ' knelt bis grace tho Archbishop of Avignon , with several other dignitaries of the Church , attired in their sacred robes , and surrounded by a host of civil and military officers in their brilliant uniforms ; while thousands who could not gain admittance were to be seen kneeling on the ground outside the church and every avenue leading to it , all absorbed in prayer , and so still , that each word pronounced in the silvery tones of the saint electrified the heart of the hearer . ' " Hose Tamisier was now at the very height of her fame , her miraculous powers acknowledged by the highest authorities of the land , and her mission adduced b y the press , and the lectures of the clergy , as a convincing proof of the divine favour of Heaven towards France , in selecting a poor simple-minded peasant as its instrument to call the people to repentance .
" As might be supposed , the fame of the miracle-working saint spread rapidly from city to city , from country to country , till a pilgrimage to St . Saturnin became the fashion of the day . While the sale of tin medals bearing her effigy increased a thousandfold , she derived yet more substantial benefit from the jewelled crosses and images of the Virgin set in diamonds presented to her by her numerous friends . Still her enemies , the sceptics , would not yield their faith to the wondcrj and many a painting on canvas might now be seen in the hands of those , who having some slight knowledge of chemistry were indefatigable in their endeavours to ascertain whether it might not be possible to perform a similar miracle , and thus have tho honour of unmasking the impostor . Hut , alas ! the blood of no living thing , either on the earth , in the air , the water , or under the earth , could bo made to flow through the canvas in the same manner as the fluid oozed from the miraculous picture , and which when analyzed at the command of tho authorities , was pronounced to bo most assuredly the blood of some living creature , but of a purer nature than any known on our sublunary planet .
" The scientific world was puzzled . Any expert mechanician could operate tho miracle of a winking or weeping Madonna , any professor of chemistry could liquify blood equally to tho satisfaction of his audience , as the adroit priest at Naples dissolves that of St . Gennarius ! Here , on the contrary , there was no juggling trick ; the eye could not detect , even with the aid of the most powerful microscope , the smallest puncture in the front or back of the picture , through which it was possible for the blood to distil , and it only appeared utter the most devout prayer and agonized sufferings of the . saint--si simple ! peasant , who could not ho supposed to be acquainted with the difficult science of chemistry .
" The intellectual man could not explain the mystery , and felt confident he had to contend with the inventive brain of sonic juggler , altogether his superior in cunning ; and that lvosc Tamisier was his instrument ; but how to defect tho imposture was the question . On the other hand , the devout Romanist contended that such a miracle ought not to be denned improbable . Were not the instruments originally selected by Divine favour for the propagation of Christianity , taken from among the very lowest ranks of society P And nowlh . it infidelity had dilfused itself so widely over the hind , and thai , the ungodly had even lifted their huniln against the vicegerent of JJeaveii , driving l , i ,, i ford , to be a wanderer among men , might not this be regarded as a , r , i n from Heaven to remind the nations of their ingratitude , and mil them ( o repentance , by making a poor illi ! crate woman tho instrument , who had no other recommendation than her piety . "
Novv , we bog I , 10 reader to compare Mmh inin . cle with any one of the in . mclcH (» l Mm Old or JNew I eHt . unent , mid Hee if—an far hh " evidoi . cn " Kocs— -iL ( Ioch not Hland upon n , far more authentic burnt ) . The " teHtiinony" is wvvn'hy men and women of our mvn | , jl u < , . dignitaries ol UnireJi and htato " examine ; into it , and al , teH | , its truth by nitfiiintf a document declaratory thereoi ; oven " inJideJa , " whatever they may think ol
Leader (1850-1860), Jan. 15, 1853, page 18, in the Nineteenth-Century Serials Edition (2008; 2018) ncse.ac.uk/periodicals/l/issues/cld_15011853/page/18/