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Into the trap,


Ere you can say Jack Robinson, 'tis past,
And when it catches them, it holds them fast.
At first, the happy rogues are quite transported,—
Such billing, cooing, kissing, night and morning,
No thoughts of contradiction or of horning;
But there's a time for all things-the ill-sorted
Chaotic elements soon breed a strife;

And then, 'midst angry words, with much vexation,
They find that wedlock is not transportation,
But close imprisonment for life.

When from the dream of bliss they first awaken,
With vast surprise

They ope their eyes,

And wonder how they could be so mistaken? "You're not at all the woman that I thought you.""Nor you the man so tender and obedient; Would I'd been hang'd before I caught you;

Not an ingredient

Remains of all the thousand charms

Which made me take you to my arms.'

Zounds, what a bore!

I wonder what could make me think you pretty.
And that d-d tongue of your's, that seem'd so witty,
Goes like the clapper of a bell.

Is there no stopping it,
Except by cropping it?"

"Well, if the truth I needs must tell,

I never thought the sole delight

Of wedlock was to lie awake all night

And hear you snore.'

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From such strange dialogues, 'tis clear

That folks, when they 're "in love up to the eyes,”
Think they have drawn a prize;

But soon they find, "my love," "my dear,"
Something far short of a divinity:

Wedded at Whitsuntide,

'Tis a fair chance that long ere Trinity

Both man and bride,

As if of Lethe's stream they drank,

All graces, charms, and virtues clean forgot,
And grown quite discontented with their lot,
Are sure they 've drawn a blank.

But to my tale:-It happen'd, years ago,
In Brussels, where the people are all papists,
Where, when 'tis Lent,

All sorts of flesh they 're order'd to forego,
Living for forty days like Trappists;

And, though a couple may have dad's consent,
Their own, and so forth, yet, till Easter's past,
They cannot get a priest to tie them fast-

It happen'd-just at Shrove-tide, there were plenty
Of lovers-in round numbers, say some twenty-
Who, knowing by delay things oft miscarried,
Were in a mighty hurry to be married.

One couple, much advanced in years,
With mutual bonds and land,

Which Cupid very rarely can withstand,
Had fallen in love, alas! o'er head and ears.
With jewels, mortgages, and ready cash,
Each in the other's heart had made a gash;
And, ere the light,

Left their warm beds, and braved the biting air,
To find a parson, who should ease their care,
Marry their money-bags, and set all right.
Beside them stood another pair;

They, too, were rich, but in a different sort:
The youth with vigour bless'd, the maid was fair,
And to the common stock they brought
Rich blood, rich hopes, rich promises of joys,
Of endless bliss, of lots of girls and boys;
But nothing else to keep their soup-pot boiling,
Save what they hoped to gain by daily toiling.
Your true-blue Protestants are apt to say
That Catholics have left the narrow way,
That all their doings are completely dark :
And, sure, these very early masses
Prove that our preachers are not asses;
For when folks go to church before the lark,
'Tis not surprising

Such early rising

(What between want of sleep and want of light)
Should make them take the left road for the right.
Thus in the present case the thing fell out,
For, 'midst the darkness and the gen'ral rout,
His purblind reverence (who, profane ones think,
Had not slept off his drink)

Coupled the parties-tight as fate;

'But join'd together

The rich old man and maid,

And in another braid.

The youth and the rich old bell-wether: "The course of true love never did run straight!"

Now, 'twas a custom in these "good old times," Soon as love's locksmith had made fast the rivet Which tortures men and wives for all past crimes,— (Readers, 'tis necessary you believe it)

The kinsfolk seized the bride,

And, from her parents' side,

Bore her in triumph to her husband's house.
There, for the first time after "have and hold,"
The bridegroom with her lips made bold;
Then each relation follow'd after,

And with much shouting and much laughter,

They all sat down and made a grand carouse.

Judge, if you can, the wonderment and staring
Which seized the old man, when he found
Himself fast bound

To such a dainty, lovely, luscious fairing!-
Let anchorets say what they please,
Nought damps the passions with such ease,
As, when to one we can oppose another:
Each passion, like the Theban Polynices,
Who cut his Eteocles into slices,

Is a most deadly rival to its brother.
So when our miser saw the prize he'd won,
His av'rice he subdued without much trouble,
For love struck up a fire among the stubble:
(The harvest of his heart had long been over)
And, thinking he should live in clover,
He voted, the exchange was right good fun.
The maiden, for her part, not less astonish'd,
Was for a time a little shy;

But by some after-thoughts admonish'd

Assumed by slow degrees a look more sly.
The house was large, the furniture was rich,
And the corbeille, a splendid glitt❜ring basket
Loaded with lace, with gems in many a casket,
With fine chemises,

Upon her pleased imagination seizes.
What female heart to avaricious itch
Remains insensible and cold?

For woman, whether young or old,
Is dev'lish fond of houses and of pages,
Of handsome clothes and splendid equipages.
I would not swear, too, but there lurk'd within
Some expectation that she might combine
The husband, who so well could lodge and dine,
With him, whom if 'twere wrong to love
The fault was with the powers above,
Since 'twas the Church's error, made it sin.
But be this as it may, the maid, contented,

At last relented.

How with the other pair it fared, I've no intention
(My muse being somewhat wearied) now-to mention.
"Tis said-I scarce believe it-that the lady,
Wanting the same excuse,

Chose to refuse,

Although the youth profess'd himself quite ready.
And so she went to law-instead

Of going, as she should have done to bed.
And thus, a circumstance by no means new,
She lost her husband and her money too,

Now for the moral-morals are the rage

In this our age;

When kings "great moral lessons" love to read
To conquer'd nations;

Who doubtless such divine instructions need
To make them bear their tribulations.
When you take a wife,

O'er the transaction mind you do not sleep,
And, since the voyage lasts for life,

Look ere you leap.



THE political writings of Machiavelli, distinguished for their condensed and spirited style, and for the intimate knowledge of mankind they display, have acquired a still more extended reputation through the contests to which they have given birth, and the vehemence with which the disputants have maintained their respective opinions. In the anatomy of society which Machiavelli has presented to his reader, he has with an undisturbed sang-froid displayed sentiments and principles, which, though familiar perhaps in insulation, had never before been collected into one group. The elevated and the virtuous were shocked at the depravity he developed (a depravity which proceeded from the bad institutions of the age, but which in the then existing state of philosophy passed for innate), and the hypocrites took a prompt and a sensitive alarm at the exposure; since by betraying their means, it threatened an eternal divorce from ends that for a long series of ages had been pursued in unsuspected security. The hostility thus excited was deep, clamorous, and persevering: and this author has been censured, preached and written against by Catholics and Protestants, priests and philosophers, statesmen and moralists, till his name has become a by-word in literature, and is applied to whatever is tortuous in policy and abandoned in principle.*

To this torrent of reprobation and invective were opposed the literary merits of the author, the truth of his details, the caustic severity of his remarks, the justification which practical statesmen have endeavoured to find for their own abuses in his maxims, and, above all, the patriotism of the Florentines, and the honest pride they indulge in the memory of the sagacious historian and zealous servant of the expiring republic. Thus defences and apologies have multiplied with a fecundity proportioned to the virulence of the attack; and public opinion has as yet to decide upon the real character and tendency of the author and his writings. Of the several productions of Machiavelli, his "Prince" has attracted the most sweeping and indiscriminate censure, as a systematized code of irreligion, of impiety, and of tyranny; while on the other hand it has been defended and applauded as an able exposure of the arts of despotism, and as an useful lesson to the defenders of liberty, enabling them to oppose to their oppressors a more regulated and scientific resistance. This last opinion is almost as ancient as the work itself, having been adopted to silence the outcry of Cardinal Pole; and it has even been asserted, though upon inadequate grounds, that "the Prince" was originally presented to Clement the Seventh under the title of "the Tyrant.' The same likewise was

Cardinal Reginald Pole began the attack in his "Apologia ad Carolum V. Cæsarem." Catarino Polito gives Machiavelli a chapter in his treatise "De libris à Cristiano detestandis." Antonio Possevino published several treatises against him from materials supposed to be furnished by Innocent IX. The most remarkable trait in these productions is the ignorance of their author in citing the 2d and 3d books of "the Prince" which consists but of one. Notwithstanding the multiplicity of such attacks, it was not till the year 1559 that Paul the Fourth placed the writings of Machiavelli on the Index; where they now figure, by a curious caprice of fortune, together with the Antimachiavelli of Voltaire and the King of Prussia, the last, I believe, of his opponents.

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the opinion of Bacon, who returns Machiavelli thanks for his candid exposition of the vices and imperfections of statesmen. "Est quod gratias agamus Machiavello et hujusmodi scriptoribus, qui apertè et indissimulanter proferunt quod homines facere soleant, non quod debeant."

Another opinion, entertained by those who did not deem this naked exposure of the truth so meritorious as our Chancellor conceived it, is, that" the Prince" was composed expressly to deceive the Medici (who had recently overturned the liberties of Florence, and subjected Machiavelli himself to the ignominy of the torture), in order to hurry them into acts of ill-advised violence, which, being undertaken to strengthen their newly acquired throne, would the most effectually undermine its foundations.

Lastly, an idea altogether different has been broached, that the tendency of the book was to strengthen the hands of the Medici, and enable them to unite the petty states of Italy into one kingdom, and thus to release that ill-fated country from the misery and disgrace of foreign domination. In support of this notion, the last chapter of the work is cited, which, as it were the moral and envoy of the whole, treats of the deliverance of Italy from the grasp of the barbarians.

In human affairs, the simplest conjectures are ordinarily the most happy; and alembicated systems for explaining conduct, and reconciling contradictions of character, are rarely satisfactory. That the intention of Machiavelli was not to deceive, might have been collected from the abundance of good advice he gives, not only for the government of states, but also for promoting the private interests of the ruler. The great tendency of" the Prince" is to teach the means of consolidating and strengthening a newly acquired authority; and in almost every page he inculcates the necessity of maintaining a domestic army, and of not trusting to those mercenary bands which had betrayed and ruined nearly all the potentates of Italy. * It was most assuredly not for the purposes of deception that he taught the Medici to distrust those whom they had injured, "E chi crede che ne' personaggi grandi i beneficj nuovi facciano dimenticare le ingiurie vecchie, s'inganna +;" or that he advised them to confide rather in the people than the aristoeracy, as being more easy to gain, and less personal in their desires. ‡

Had it been the intention of Machiavelli to betray the Medici into tyrannous and extravagant conduct, in order to provoke a revolutionary reaction, he would not thus have put them on their guard against the most dangerous errors in government, a mercenary army, and a pampered aristocracy: nor can it be maintained that these passages were inserted as blinds to screen more covert attacks on the credulity of the tyrant. The quantity of good advice is far too great for the mere purposes of this necessary duplicity. Fortunately, however, there exists better than internal evidence for solving this problem, in a most valuable and curious letter § from the author himself to Francesco Vittori, in which he distinctly expresses his simplicity of intention towards the Medici, and his desire to obtain employment under them, if in the beginning it were only to "roll stones; for then," he says, if I did

+ Ibid. cap. vii.


*Principe, cap. xii.
Ibid. cap. ix.
§ In the Barbarini MS. first published in the Milan edition of March 1813.

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