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the whole volume, is the exquisite adaptation of the sound and rythm of the verse to the sentiment which it expresses,—an adaptation frequently apparent in Mr. Tennyson's former poetry, and some admirable instances of which were qnoted in a former volume of this journal.* How distinctly, for instance, is the voice of many waters vocal in these verses:
And so, again, how apt the movement is, when Enid hears
“The sound of many a heavily-gallopping hoof.”
So in “Vivien," when the wileful witch was
" dazzled by the livid-Aickering fork,
* and ever overhead
Almost perfect, in its way, and illustrative of the same beauty of rythm and sound is the description of the hermit's cave in the third Idyl:
“A hermit, who had prayed, labored and prayed,
How vivid is the description of the tournament at Camelot:
* New Englander, Vol. VII, p. 212-3.
* The trumpets blew; and then did either side,
They that assailed, and they that held the ligts,
The hard earth shake, and a low thunder of arms." In "Guinevere," perhaps the measure is more perfectly managed than in any of the other Idyls, but we cannot do more than merely call attention to such passages as this :
“ A murmuring whisper through the nunnery ran,
Then on a sudden a cry, 'the King.' She sat
Stiff-stricken, listening ;" or this, in which the slow, incessant lapse of weary time is represented :
" The days will grow to weeks, the weeks to months,
The months will add themselves and make the years,
But we must not multiply quotations. The extracts we have given are enough to show the exquisite care and labor with which the verse has been perfected.
We wonld be glad to call attention to the wonderful picturesqueness of some of the scenes and incidents; to the peculiar beauty of the images drawn from the sea-shore and the ocean,-images which show how carefully the Laureate has studied nature, in his sea-side home on the Isle of Wight; to the startling vividness with which his dreams are told,-such dreams as Epid's, when she thought herself a dull and faded creature
" Among her burnished sisters of the pool,”— or snch as Guinevere's, who
We can scarcely forbear, also, to show some specimens of the very quiet and subtle, but exqisitely pleasant humor which, now and then, flashes ont upon the surface of the poems,-such as sparkles in the sudden anger of Geraint, when all the town seemed mad about “the sparrow-hawk," — or such as manifests itself in the description of the same knight's conduct when he ate the “mowers' victual” up and left them "laboring dinnerless.” More willingly we shall refrain from searching through the pages which are filled with so much truth and beauty, to find some petty imperfections or some trifling faults. Some such, there doubtless are, but it shall be the privilege of other critics to exhibit them. We are content to love the beauty of the poems and to admire their power. We are grateful for the trnth they teach,—for all the
pictures of the true and false, the beautiful and hateful, the · good and bad, which they contain. And we rejoice to look
continually, as they do, beyond the present, and away from this unstable world,-away from wars and tournaments, from witcheries and jealousies, from pride and passion, and from every sin and sorrow,-far away
"To where beyond these voices there is peace !"
ARTICLE II.-AMERICAN LEGISLATION.*
LEGISLATION is a comprehensive and practical subject. It has to do with the character and the general welfare of the great political community, and is, therefore, it is believed, worthy of the special attention of educated men. No class in society is too high or too low, too cultivated or too rude, to be beyond its reach ; none so isolated or independent, as to be exempt from its influence and power. It creates and it exhibits the character of a community. It forms the habits of society, advances or retards the material interests of all its members, nor is it without its control over public morals, as well as intellectnal improvement. There are few subjects with which it may not deal, and fewer still upon which it does not leave its impress. Nor does its consideration regard only the past. Legislation is not a finished work. Long as human govern. ment may last, it will continue to affect human happiness, and to associate itself with physical, moral, and intellectual development.
Legislation is itself a science, sadly unstudied, it is true, but still a practical science, behind no other in its capabilities to promote human happiness. If antiquity can make it venerable, it is old as the human race; if names can give it respectability, it has commanded the attention of the ablest minds in all civilized nations, and if variety can make it interesting, it is multiform as are the creations of human fancy. In a land where law has done so much for the promotion of mental cultivation, it is but a fitting return that educated men should contribute the results of their study to legal improvement.
But the legislation which it is our present design to consider, is of comparatively modern origin. It is only within a few hundred years that the written law of any nation has emanated
* The substance of this Article was delivered as an Oration before the Phi Beta Kappa Society of Yale College, at its last Anniversary, July 27th, 1859.
from those whose action it was designed to control. In the earlier history of the world, the right to make laws, with very rare exceptions, was vested in the same person whose duty it was to execute them, or in a select class, above the common ranks of the people. The republics of Greece had, it is true, something like popular legislation, but those republics were bnt cities. The districts governed by them were appendages rather than constituents of the state. The power was in the citizens of the town, and even that was little more than a right to accept or refuse ordinances proposed for their adoption. Such, also, was the Roman constitution at the only periods of its history when the legislative can be said to have been severed from the executive power. The “plebiscita” were propositions of the executive ratified by a popular assembly,an assembly convened in the Campus Martius, in no sense representing the cities and provinces over which its action was to have the authority of law.
Even to this day, in most countries, the executive is the sole legislator. His decrees constitute the only written law of his subjects. The theory of such a government is, of course, a theory of force, or of divine right. It does not assume the consent of the governed. Such legislation, however, is not without its advantages. Being the work of a single mind, it might be expected that it would manifest greater unity of purpose and freedom from whatever is complicated and experimental. What might thus be expected, we apprehend, finds its realization in the history of those nations where the statute laws have been made by the person who has in charge their execution. But it might also be inferred that such laws would not be well adapted to the social convenience and common necessities of the people, and the inference is undoubtedly found to be in accordance with observation and experience. Making all due allowance for the common propensity to magnify that which is our own, it can hardly be denied that that people are best governed who make their own laws, under suitable restraints against licentiousness; that they enjoy higher facilities for general social development, and better protection to all their personal and relative rights, while, at the