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NĖPTUNE, returned from his Ethiopian revels, sees with rage the events which have taken place in Europe. He flies to the cave of Alecto, and drags out the fiend, commanding her to excite universal hostility against Napoleon. The Fury repairs to Lord Castlereagh ; and as, when she visited Turnus, she assumed the form of an old woman, she here appears in the kindred shape of Mr. Vansittart; and in an impassioned address exhorts his lordship to war. His lordship, like Turnus, treats this unwonted monitor with great disrespect, tells him that he is an old doting fool, and advises him to look after the ways and means, and leave questions of peace and war to his betters. The Fury then displays all her terrors. The neat powdered hair bristles up into snakes; the black stockings appear clotted with blood, and brandishing a torch, she announces her name and mission. Lord Castlereagh seized with fury, flies instantly to the parliament, and recommends war with a torrent of eloquent invective. All the members instantly clamour for vengeance, seize their arms which are hanging round the walls of the house, and rush forth to prepare for instant hostilities.
In this book intelligence arrives at London of the flight of the Duchess d'Angouleme, from France. It is stated that this heroine, armed from head to foot, defended Bourdeaux against the adherents of Napoleon, and that she fought hand to hand with Clausel, and beat him down with an enormous stone. Deserted by her followers, she at last, like Turnus, plunged, armed as she was, into the Garonne, and swam to an English ship which lay off the coast. This intelligence yet more inflames the English to war.
A yet bolder flight than any which has been mentioned follows. The Duke of Wellington goes to take leave of the duchess; and a scene passes quite equal to the famous interview of Hector and Andromache, Lord Douro is frightened at his father's feather, but begs for his epaulette.
NEPTUNE, trembling for the event of the war, implores Venuš, who, as the offspring of his element, naturally venerates him, to procure from Vulcan a deadly sword and a pair of unerring pistols for the duke. They are accordingly made, and superbly decorated. The sheath of the sword, like the shield of Achilles, is carved, in exquisitely fine miniature, with scenes from the common life of the period; a dance at Almack’s, a boxing match at the Fives-court, a lord mayor's procession, and a man hanging. All these are fully and elegantly described. The duke thus armed hastens to Brussels.
Tue Duke is received at Brussels by the King of the Netherlands with great magnificence. He is informed of the approach of the armies of all the confederate Kings. The poet, however, with a laudable zeal for the glory of his country, completely passes over the exploits of the Austrians in Italy, and the discussions of the congress. England and France, Wellington and Napoleon, almost exclusively occupy his attention. Several days are spent at Brussels in revelry: The English heroes astonish their allies by exhibiting splendid games, similar to those which draw the flower of the British aristocracy to Newmarket and Moulsey Hurst, and which will be considered by our descendants with as much veneration as the Olympian and Isthmian contests by classical students of the present time.
In the combat of the cestus, Shaw, the life-guardsman, vanquishes the Prince of Orange, and obtains a bull as his prize. In the horse-race, the Duke of Wellington and Lord Uxbridge ride against each other ; the Duke is victorious, and is rewarded with twelve opera-girls. On the last day of the festivities, a splendid dance takes place, at which all the heroes attend.
MARS, seeing the English army thus inactive, hastens to rouse Napoleon, who, conducted by Night and Silence, unexpectedly attacks the Prussians. The slaughter is immense. Napoleon kills
many whose histories and families are happily particularized. He slays Herman, the craniologist, who dwelt by the lindenshadowed Elbe; and measured with his eye the sculls of all who walked through the streets of Berlin. Alas! his own scull is now cleft by the Corsican sword. Four pupils of the University of Jena advance together to encounter the Emperor ; at four blows he destroys them all. Blucher rushes to arrest the devastation; Napoleon strikes him to the ground, and is on the point of killing him, but Gneisenau, Ziethen, Bulow, and all the other heroes of the Prussian army, gather round him, and bear the venerable chief to a distance from the field. The slaughter is continued till night. In the mean time Neptune has despatched Fame to bear the intelligence to the Duke, who is dancing at Brussels. The whole army is put in motion. The Duke of Brunswick's horse speaks to admonish him of his danger ; but in vain.
Picton, the Duke of Brunswick, and the Prince of Orange, engage Ney at Quatre Bras. Ney kills the Duke of Brunswick, and strips him, sending his belt to Napoleon. The English fall back on Waterloo. Jupiter calls a council of the gods, and commands that none shall interfere on either side. Mars and Neptune make very eloquent speeches. The battle of Waterloo commences
. Napoleon kills Picton and Delancey. Ney engages Ponsonby and kills him. The Prince of Orange is wounded by Soult.
Lord Uxbridge flies to check the carnage. He is severely wounded by Napoleon, and only saved by the assistance of Lord Hill. In the mean time the Duke makes a tremendous carnage among the French. He encounters General Duhesne and vanquishes him, but spares his life. He kills Toubert, who kept the gaming-house in the Palais Royal, and Maronet, who loved to spend whole nights in drinking champagne. Clerval, who had been hooted from the stage, and had then become a captain in the Imperial Guard, wished that he had still continued to face the more harmless enmity of the Parisian pit. But Larré, the son of Esculapius, whom his father had instructed in all the secrets of his art, and who was surgeon-general of the French army, embraced the knees of the destroyer, and conjured him not to give death to one whose office it was to give life. The Duke raised him, and bade him live.
But we must hasten to the close. Napoleon rushes to encounter Wellington. Both armies stand in mute amaze. The heroes fire their pistols ; that of Napoleon misses, but that of Wellington, formed by the hand of Vulcan, and primed by the Cyclops, wounds the Emperor in the thigh. He flies, and takes refuge among his troops. The flight becomes promiscuous. The arrival of the Prussians, from a motive of patriotism, the poet completely passes over.
Things are now hastening to the catastrophe. Napoleon flies to London, and, seating himself on the hearth of the Regent, embraces the household gods, and conjures him, by the venerable age of George III., and by the opening perfections of the Princess Charlotte, to spare him. The Prince is inclined to do so; when, looking on his breast, he sees there the belt of the Duke of Brunswick. He instantly draws his sword, and is about to stab the destroyer of his kinsman. Piety and hospitality, however, restrain his hand. He takes a middle" course, and condemns Napoleon to be exposed on a desert island. The King of France re-enters Paris, and the poem concludes. .
OF four-and-twenty windows in the house of Mr. Mule, all but one were glittering in the moonlight ; and, for any thing that could be seen in these twenty-three, every soul about the house might be dead : but, in the twenty-fourth, matters looked different. It was open, and there were symptoms of life; for in the foreground stood a rose-tree in a flower-pot. Secondly, behind the rose of the flower-pot stood another and more lovely roseviz. Miss Fanny Blumauer. This latter rose was about sixteen years old, and just now in high spirits. And for what? For very odd reasons indeed—first, because she heard a certain obstinate old uncle of her's with whom she lived, viz., the aforesaid Mr. Mule, at this moment groaning or moaning in a peculiar way which announced that he was fast asleep; secondly, because she heard a certain old female dragon, a maiden aunt of her's (who had been called in to the aid of Mr. Mule, by way of reliefguard’in watching his young treasure), at high words with some ideal Fanny in her dreams. The amiable employment of her waking hours this good lady was accustomed to pursue in her sleep; and the theme upon which she was now opening, viz., the intense wickedness of the male sex, was at all times too faithful to admit of any abrupt peroration. Upon the whole, therefore, it might be assumed that the dragons of the house-all and somewere profoundly asleep.
But of what consequence was that to Fanny ?- Most inquisitive reader ! it was of the greatest : for she was going to try an experiment. She coughed gently once or twice, and then paused to listen for an echo. Echoes are of various kinds, sorts, and sizes. In particular all readers must remember that courteous Irish echo, in a celebrated treatise on Irish Bulls, which, on being summoned by the words—“How do you, Pat?” would reply—“Pretty well, I thank you.” But this echo was still more accomplished"; it was an echo that could be seen as well as heard; and not only repeated Fanny's cough (as the most churlish echo would have done), but absolutely leaped over a wall in the person of a young cornet, and advanced hastily to the window. If any townsman had met this echo by day-light, he would certainly have called it Mr. Ferdinand Lawler; and even by moonlight it was very clear that this echo wore a handsome hussar uniform.
11.-ILLUMINATION. But now, considering that Mr. Ferdinand Lawler lived at the very next door,—what in heaven induced these young people (unless they fancied themselves Romeo and Juliet) to meet under such difficult circumstances ? Simply this--that Mr. Mule could not be brought to look upon Mr. Lawler with exactly the same eyes as his niece; and, therefore, did not encourage his visits by day. And why so? every body else thought him a most amiable person. True.
But Mr. Mule had taken an early dislike to him; and Mr. Mule was an obstinate man. In fact, this pique against the cornet dated from the day of that young gentleman's birth; for exactly on that day it was that Mr. Ferdinand Lawler opened his long battery of annoyances against the worthy gentleman with his infantine crying; the Lawlers happening to occupy the adjoining house. This offence, however, on the part of Mr. Ferdinand ceased in his seventh year; and even a Mule might have been brought in the course of our generation to overlook it. But, precisely as this nuisance ceased, another nuisance, incident to the frail state of boy, viz., orchard-robbing, commenced ; and, being naturally of an ambitious turn, Mr. Ferdinand did not confine his attacks to orchards, but waged unrelenting war with Mr. Mule's grapes and peaches. Even this, however, might have been palliated by a steady course of contrition and penitence ; for, after all, boys are boys, and grapes are grapes. But the climax of Mr. Ferdinand's atrocities was yet to come: nemo repenti fuit turpissimus ; and it was not until his ninth year that Mr. Ferdinand perpetrated that act, which, as Mr. Mule insisted, left no room for any rational hopes of reformation.—Mr. Mule had a certain Pomeranian dog, called Juba, universally admired for the brilliant whiteness of his coat. In those days people did not talk so much of taste and virtu as at present ; nevertheless Mr. Ferdinand had his private opinions and his favourite theories on such topics. The whiteness of Juba he conceived to be rather the basis of a future excellence, than any actual or existing excellence. As a work of nature, Juba was very well; but he had
yet to receive his last polish from the hand of art. His white coat was, in fact, Mr. Locke's sheet of white paper, a pure carte blanche, on which Mr. Ferdinand felt it his duty to inscribe certain brilliant ideas which he had bought of a house painter. Seducing poor Juba, therefore, by means of a bone, into his own bed-room, he there painted him in oils. In his father's library he had often been shewn fine missals, and early-printed books, in which the initial capitals of chapters, or other divisions, had been purposely omitted by the printer and afterwards supplied by a splendid device in colours-technically called an “illumination;" and such books or MSS. were said to be “illuminated.” Sometimes it happened, as he knew, that the spaces left for the illuminated letter were never filled up. This was universally held to be a defect in a book : why not in a dog? Nature undoubtedly had meant