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      At the head of the poets of this period stands Alexander Pope, who became the founder of a school which has had followers down to our own time. Pope was the poet of society, of art, and polish. His life was spent in London and in the country, chiefly between Binfield, in Windsor Forest, and Twickenham; and his poetry partakes very much of the qualities of that sceneryrich, cultivated, and beautiful, but having no claims to the wild or the sublime. He is opposed to poets like Milton and Shakespeare as pastures and town gardens are opposed to seas, forests, and mountains. In style he is polished to the highest degree, piquant, and musical; but, instead of being profound and creative, he is sensible, satiric, and didactic. He failed in "the vision and the faculty divine," but he possessed fancy, a moderate amount of passion, and a clear and penetrating intellect. He loved nature, but it was such only as he knewthe home-scenes of Berkshire and the southern counties, the trained and polished beauties in his gardens, the winding walks and grottoes at Twickenham. Mountains he had never seen, and there are none in his poetry. He was born in the year of the Revolution, and died in 1744, aged fifty-six; and, considering that he suffered from a feeble constitution and defective health, he was a remarkably industrious man. His pastorals appeared in Tonson's "Miscellany" when he was only twenty-one years old. Before this he had translated the first book of the "Thebais," and Ovid's "Epistle from Sappho to Phaon;" paraphrased Chaucer's "January and May," and the prologue to "The Wife of Bath's Tale." In two years after his "Pastorals" appeared his "Essay on Criticism" (1711). "The Messiah" and "The Rape of the Lock" were published in 1712the year in which the "Spectator" died. "The Rape of the Lock" celebrated the mighty event of the clipping of a lock of hair from the head of Miss Belle Fermor by Lord Petre.[151] This act, adorned with a great machinery of sylphs and gnomes, a specimen of elegant trifling, enchanted the age, which would have less appreciated grander things, and placed Pope on the pinnacle of fame. In 1713 he published "Windsor Forest," a subject for a pleasant but not a great poem, yet characteristic of Pope's genius, which delighted in the level and ornate rather than the splendid and the wild. In 1715 appeared the first four books of his translation of Homer's "Iliad," which was not completed till 1720. This still continues the most popular translation of the great heroic poet of Greece; for although it is rather a paraphrase of this colossal yet simple poem, and therefore not estimated highly by Greek scholars who can go to the original, it has that beauty and harmony of style which render it to the English reader an ever-fascinating work. In 1717 appeared his "Epistle from Eloisa to Abelard," a poem displaying more passion than any other of Pope's writings, but too sensuous, and the subject itself far from well chosen. Next succeeded his "Odyssey" of Homer, in conjunction with Fenton and Broome, and in 1728 the first three books of "The Dunciad," in which he took a sweeping vengeance on the critics and poetasters of the time, who had assailed him fiercely on all sides, with John Dennis at their head. The vigour with which Pope wielded the satiric lash excited the wonder of the public, which had seen no such trenchant production hitherto in the language, and filled the whole host of flayed and scalded dunces with howls of wrath and agony. Pope was not sparing of foul language in his branding of others, and they were still more obscene and scurrilous in their retorts. It is questionable whether they or Pope felt the most torture; for, so far from silencing them, they continued to kick, sting, and pelt him with dirt so long as he lived. So late as 1742 he published a fourth book of the satire, to give yet one more murderous blow to the blackguard crew. Besides this satire, he modernised an edition of Donne's Satires, and produced his "Essay on Man," his "Epistle on Taste," his "Moral Essays," and other poems, down to 1740. His "Essay on Man," "Moral Essays," etc., display shrewd sense, and a keen perception of the characteristics of human nature and of the world; yet they do not let us into any before unknown depths of life or morals, but, on the contrary, are, in many particulars, unsound. In fact, these productions belong by no means to poetry, of which they exhibit no quality, and might just as well have been given in prose. On the whole, Pope is a poet whose character is that of cleverness, strong intellect, carefully-elaborative art, much malice, and little warmth or breadth of genuine imagination. He reflects the times in which he lived, which were corrupt, critical, but not original, and he had no conception of the heavens of poetry and soul into which Milton and Shakespeare soared before him, and Keats, Shelley, Coleridge, Wordsworth and Tennyson in our time have wandered at large.


      A quarrel took place between Massena and Ney on the subject of attacking the British and Portuguese who invested Almeida, where was a French garrison, and Ney threw up his command, and retired to Salamanca. Massena was daily expecting the junction of Soult, who had taken Badajoz; but Wellington did not give time for this junction. He attacked Massena at Sabugal on the 3rd of April, and defeated him with heavy loss. Massena then continued his retreat for the frontier of Spain, and crossed the Agueda into that country on the 6th. Wellington then placed his army in cantonments between the Coa and the Agueda, and made more rigorous the blockade of Almeida.The Spanish junta sent an officer to Lisbon to consult with General Caraffa, the commander of the Spanish auxiliaries, on the best means of withdrawing the troops from that city. Caraffa, who was an Italian, did not seem to fall into the proposal; but this was of less consequence, for his men took the liberty of deserting, first in small numbers and secretly, but soon by a whole regiment at a time, and openly. Junot sent out six hundred men to stop them; but they attacked, killed, and wounded nearly half the detachment, and pursued their march. General Bellesta, who commanded the Spanish troops at Oporto, seized the French general, Quesnel, who had but a small number of men, and marched away for Corunna, carrying Quesnel and his few soldiers prisoners with him. No sooner were the Spaniards gone, however, than the cowardly governor of Oporto put down the rising and declared for the French. But the fire of revolt was flying too fast all over the kingdom for this to succeed. In a few days the people rose again, seized on the arsenal, and armed themselves. They were encouraged by the monks, who rang their bells to call the people out, and by the bishops, who blessed the banners, and offered up public prayers for the enfranchisement of the country in the cathedrals. There was a similarly successful outbreak at Braganza. From one end of the country to the other the rising was complete and enthusiastic. Deputies were dispatched to England to solicit assistance and arms. For a time Junot managed to keep down the population of Lisbon by collecting troops into it, seizing, altogether, four thousand five hundred of the Spaniards, and making them prisoners. Alarmed, however, at his position, and fearing to move any of his forces from the capital, he ordered Loison, who lay at the fortress of Almeida, on the frontiers, to march to Oporto, and suppress the revolt; but General Silviera, a Portuguese nobleman, put himself at the head of the armed population, and successfully defended Oporto. At Beja, Leiria, Evora, and other places, the French managed to put down the insurgents, but not without much bloodshed and severe military executions. But the hour of retribution was fast approaching. Spanish as well as Portuguese deputies appeared in London soliciting aid. They did not ask for men; for, in the pride of their temporary success, they imagined themselves amply able to drive out the French; but they asked for arms, clothes, and ammunition; and they prayed that an army might be sent to Portugal, which would act as a powerful diversion in their favour.

      But the King of France did not share in the feeling of Choiseul. He wrote to the King of Spain about this time, "My Minister wishes for war, but I do not!" In fact, changes had taken place in the Court of France which were about to precipitate Choiseul from his long-enjoyed favour. Madame de Pompadour was dead, and the king had become deeply enamoured of Madame du Barry. Choiseul was impolitic enough to despise her influence, and treated her with undisguised hauteur. He soon felt the consequence in an order from the king to resign his office and retire[203] to his estate at Chanteloupe, in Touraine. The shock to the insolent Minister, who had so long ruled absolutely in the French Court, was the more unlooked for, because he thought himself now all the more safe from having secured the marriage of the king's heir, his eldest grandson, with the Austrian archduchess, Marie Antoinette. Choiseul was succeeded by the triumvirate d'Aiguillon, as Foreign Minister; Terray, as Minister of Finance; and Maupeou, as Minister of Jurisprudence; but all subject to the supreme influence of Madame du Barry. Louis XV. thenceforth became a cipher.On the 27th of November, only two days after the receipt of the news of the surrender of Lord Cornwallis, Parliament met. The king adverted to the unhappy event, but still declared that he should be betraying his trust, as sovereign of a free people, if he did not refuse to give up the contest; that he still trusted in Divine Providence, and he called for fresh, animated, and united exertions. He turned with more satisfaction to the successes in the East Indies, and the safe arrival of our principal mercantile fleets. In the Lords, the Earl of Shelburne attacked the Address, supported by the Duke of Richmond and the Lords Camden and Rockingham; but the most tempestuous burst of indignant eloquence from the Opposition took place in the Commons. Fox asserted that he had listened to the Address with horror and amazement. He declared himself confounded at the hardihood of Ministers, after such a consummation of their imbecile management, who dared to look the House of Commons in the face. He would not say that they were paid by France, for it was not possible for him to prove the fact; but, if they were not, he avowed that they deserved to be, for they had served the French monarch more faithfully and successfully than ever Ministers served a master. He especially singled out Lord Sandwich for reprobation, as the author of the wretched condition of our fleets, which were inferior in number of ships and their appointments to those of the enemy all over the globe. He called on the House to insist on the total and immediate change of Ministers, and urged the adoption of measures which should, if possible, repair the incalculable injuries they had inflicted on the nation. The Ministers, however, had strength enough to carry the Address by two hundred and eighteen votes against one hundred and twenty-nine; but the debate was resumed on the Address being reported, and then William Pitt delivered a most scathing speech, declaring that so far from our being warranted in pressing this ruinous war, he was satisfied that, if he went from one end of the Treasury bench to the other, such was the condition of the Ministry, he should find that there was not one man who could trust his neighbour; and the truth of this was becoming strikingly evident. Dundas, the Lord Advocate, hitherto one of the staunchest supporters of Lord North, spoke now as in astonishment at the language of the Ministers, declaring that some of them in Council clearly did not give their honest opinions. There were other like symptoms of defection; the sensitive placemen saw that the end of the North Administration was at hand. Lord North, perceiving the ground failing beneath him, lowered his tone, and, on Sir James Lowther, seconded by Mr. Powys, proposing a resolution that the war against America had been an utter failure, he explained that he did not advocate, in future, a continental warfare there, a marching of troops through the provinces, from north to south, but only the retention of ports on the coast, for the protection of our fleets in those seas, and the repulse of the French and Spaniards. Parliament was adjourned on the 20th of December till the 21st of January, and thus closed the year 1781.

      He struck his pony with the fringed end of the horse-hair lariat that hung around his pommel, and cantered on in the direction of the post. The pony had been found among the foot-hills, without any[Pg 218] trouble. That, at any rate, had been a stroke of luck. He had led it into the fort just at the end of guard-mounting, and had met a party of riders going out.


      Cairness called to four of his scouts as he ran. They joined him, and he told them to help him search. In half an hour they found her, cowering in a cranny of rocks and manzanita. He dismissed the Indians, and then spoke to her. "Now you sit on that stone there and listen to me," he said, and taking her by the shoulder put her down and stood over her.

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      The agitation which the queen underwent on the night of the 27th, when she dismissed Oxford after a long and fierce altercation, produced a marked change in her health. The Council was only terminated, having sat to consider who should be admitted into the new Ministry, by the queen falling into a swoon. Being got to bed, she passed the night, not in sleep, but in weeping. The next day another Council was held, but was again broken up by the illness of the queen, and was prorogued to the 29th of July. To Dr. Arbuthnot, her physician, Anne declared that the disputes of her Ministers had killed her; that she should never survive it. Lady Masham, struck by the queen's heavy and silent manner, apprehended the worst. Bolingbroke and his Jacobite colleagues were thunderstruck by this sudden crisis. They assembled in council at Kensington, in a room not far from that of the dying queen, but they were so stupefied by the blow that they could do nothing. On the other hand, the Whigs had been quite alert. Stanhope had made preparations to seize the Tower; to secure the persons of the Ministers and the leading Jacobites, if necessary, on the demise of the queen; to obtain possession of the outports, and proclaim the king. A proof of this concert was immediately given by the Dukes of Argyll and Somerset, who belonged to the Privy Council, but, of course, had not been summoned, suddenly entering the Council chamber, stating that, hearing of the queen's critical position, they had hastened, though not summoned, to offer their assistance. No sooner had they said this, than the Duke of Shrewsbury rose and thanked them for their courtesy. The Whig dukes immediately demanded that the queen's physicians should be called and examined as to her probable continuance. The physicians in general were of opinion that her Majesty might linger some time; but Dr. Mead declared that she could not live many days, perhaps not many hours; from the apoplectic symptoms she might be gone in one. Argyll and Somerset thereupon declared it absolutely necessary that the post of Lord Treasurer should be filled up, as it was requisite that, at such a moment, there should be a recognised Prime Minister, and proposed that the Duke of Shrewsbury should be nominated to that office. Bolingbroke felt that his power and his plans were at an end, and sat like one in a dream. The members of the Council then proceeded to the queen's apartment, and Bolingbroke followed them, as it were, mechanically. The queen was sensible enough to be made aware of their errand, and expressed her approval of it. Shrewsbury, however, with that singular hesitation which always characterised him, refused to take the White Staff, except from her Majesty's own hand. It was, therefore, handed to her, and she extended it towards Shrewsbury, saying, "For God's sake, use it for the good of my people!" Shrewsbury was already Chamberlain, and he presented the staff of that office in resignation of it; but the queen bade him retain both; and thus he was at once Lord Treasurer, Lord Chamberlain, and Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland.Kirby was without fear, but he was also without redress. He turned from them, his face contracted with the pain of his impotence, and walked back to the house. "I could order them off the ranch to-night," he told his wife, as he dropped on a chair, and taking up the hearth brush made a feint of sweeping two or three cinders from the floor; "but it's ten to one they wouldn't go and it would weaken my authoritynot that I have any, to be sureand besides," he flung down the brush desperately and turned to her, "I didn't want to tell you before, but there is a pretty straight rumor that Victorio's band, or a part of it, is in these hills. We may need the men at any time." Neither spoke of the two who should have been back hours ago. The night closed slowly down.

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