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Into the trap,
Ere you can say Jack Robinson, 'tis past,
And then, 'midst angry words, with much vexation,
When from the dream of bliss they first awaken,
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.
Is there no stopping 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.'
From such strange dialogues, 'tis clear
That folks, when they 're "in love up to the eyes,”
But soon they find, "my love," "my dear,"
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,
But to my tale:-It happen'd, years ago,
All sorts of flesh they 're order'd to forego,
And, though a couple may have dad's consent,
It happen'd-just at Shrove-tide, there were plenty
One couple, much advanced in years,
Which Cupid very rarely can withstand,
Left their warm beds, and braved the biting air,
They, too, were rich, but in a different sort:
Such early rising
(What between want of sleep and want of light)
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.
And with much shouting and much laughter,
They all sat down and made a grand carouse.
Judge, if you can, the wonderment and staring
To such a dainty, lovely, luscious fairing!-
Is a most deadly rival to its brother.
But by some after-thoughts admonish'd
Assumed by slow degrees a look more sly.
Upon her pleased imagination seizes.
For woman, whether young or old,
At last relented.
How with the other pair it fared, I've no intention
Chose to refuse,
Although the youth profess'd himself quite ready.
Of going, as she should have done to bed.
Now for the moral-morals are the rage
In this our age;
When kings "great moral lessons" love to read
Who doubtless such divine instructions need
O'er the transaction mind you do not sleep,
Look ere you leap.
ON THE POLITICAL WRITINGS OF MACHIAVELLI.
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.
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.