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That have few words to shape them; even as streams
Embosomed in the earth, refresh its plains;
While the broad river, open to the sun,

And mirror of his light, can do no more!

Hear how Edith addresses him when battling with the world, and the bitterness of reality, fill his soul :

"Gerald will you despair? Though to achieve

A seeming greatness, you have vainly striven,

Yet to be great, is nobler: I believe

The Poet's fount of thought not chiefly given

That passing groups should praise its crystal stream;
But his own human heart to fertilize-

A source of fruitful goodness-not a dream
Of transient beauty for admiring eyes.

:

"It may be both, I grant: for e'en the sight
Of what is fair hath a refining spell;
But if 'tis shunned of men, its own delight
Should in itself be found in many a dell
Where trees o'ershade, and only zephyrs stray,
Bloom flowers of sweetest breath and loveliest hue
Unpraised-scarce pilgrims know that leafy way-
Only the stars their screen gaze kindly through.

"While sympathy the heart that else might break,
Can solace, or while hands the toil can share
Of the o'erburthened; while the lip can speak
Of truths eternal, and the region where
The evil no more trouble, and at rest

Are all the weary; while these tasks divine
Invite, what poetry may be expressed,
Although the poet never write a line!

"In him whom children love, whose serious talk
The village elders prize at evening's close;

In whose companionship a wonted walk

Rich with new meanings and fresh aspects grows,
Whose gracious influence ever intercedes

With man for man-the beautiful is real ;

His loveliest fancies shrine themselves in deeds,

And in his heart is guested his Ideal."

Here followeth a vindication of poetry, happily felt and forcibly put :

*Gerald. Fiction! Poetry

Lives but by truth. Truth is its heart. Bards write

The life of soul-the only life. Each line

Breathes life or nothing. Fiction! Who narrates

The stature of a man, his gait, his dress,
The colour of his hair, what meats he loved,
Where he abode, what haunts he frequented,
His place and time of birth, his age at death,
And how much crape and cambric mourned his end—
Writes a biography! But who records

The yearnings of the heart; its joys, and pangs,
Its alternating apathy, and hope;

Its stores of memory which the richer grow
The longer they are hived; its faith that stands
Upon the grave, and counts it as a beach

Whence souls embark for home; its prayers for man:
Its trust in Heaven, despite of man-writes fiction!
Get a new lexicon.

THE

MONTHLY REVIEW.

FEBRUARY, 1843.

ART. I.-The Military Operations at Cabul which ended in the Retreat and Destruction of the British Army, January, 1842. With a Journal of Imprisonment in Afghanistan. By Lieutenant VINCENT EYRE. Murray.

LIEUT. EYRE, of the Bengal Artillery, late Deputy Commissary of Ordnance at Cabul, and whose name is honourably recorded in Lady Sale's celebrated letter, was not only on active service in Cabul at the first outbreak of the 2nd November 1841, which led to the death of Burnes and others, but was a prominent actor in the dreadful occurrences of the period. In fact he continued in the cantonments, taking a prominent share in all the events, till the retreat was commenced on the 5th of January, 1842, accompanying the disorganized army and disastrous route until the ladies and their husbands were delivered up to Mahomed Akber, as the only chance for the preservation of their lives. He was wounded in the first of the unhappy attempt on Beymaroo, one of the lamentable affairs in the ill-fated operations, rendering him incapable of service; when, following his wife, he underwent the captivity, incarceration, and various forced journeys of the other prisoners, till the advance of General Pollock and their own determined minds effected an escape to Cabul on the 21st of September.

The volume before ùs contains the earliest authentic account that has reached this country of the deplorable series of disasters, and we may add disgrace, of the operations in Affghanistan; being in the form of a journal, from the first outbreak in Cabul, and closing with the seven days' retreat, from the 6th to the 13th of January,when the destruction of upwards of seventeen thousand of our fellowcreatures was completed; viz., five thousand fighting men and twelve thousand camp-followers; the horrors appearing to have exceeded even what were at first regarded by cool minds in England as exaggerated reports. Can it much aggravate the reader's feelings to learn that the pecuniary value of the magazine abandoned at Cabul is estimated by Lieut. Eyre at nearly a million sterling? Besides the VOL. I. (1843) No. II.

N

entire journal, with remarks upon the events as they occurred, sent piecemeal to a military friend in India as opportunity offered, and thence transmitted to the author's kinsfolk at home, there is a narrative of his imprisonment from January till June; after which period, there are only some occasional fragments, together with a letter announcing the writer's safe arrival at Cabul.

A more painful account, and yet one of more absorbing interest, it is impossible to name, than that which Lieut. Eyre has given in the present volume. In itself, and without relation to the extraordinary contemporary excitement which our military operations in Affghanistan have created, the book has a superior character, not merely as a narrative of events that must always be deserving of marked attention in a historical sense, but as a literary performance. It is written in a manly, unaffected, and dignified style, eminently becoming the pen of a soldier, and remarkably well adapted to the subjects handled. Indeed, Lieut. Eyre had a most important duty to perform, and he has executed his task manifestly with a due appreciation of its magnitude, seriousness, and delicacy. The facts he had to unfold were such as never before stained the military, and perhaps not the political and diplomatic character of Englishmen; exhibiting and bringing home to the conviction of individuals the gravest charges; involving ignorance, incapacity, apathy, and infatuation, such as never were cast on the national name. We are taking it for granted that the narrative and the comments are as fair and unbiassed as can be expected from any man. The author was an eye-witness or fully informed of all he describes. He was a distinguished actor in the events recorded; nor could any person be supposed to feel a deeper responsibility than that which he knew would attach to his report and to his professional judgment. In fact, he pledges himself without equivocation of any sort, to the accuracy of his details, and may be said to stake his military and personal capacity on the propriety of his direct and his implied censures. these notes," he says, "I have been careful to state only what I know to be undeniable facts. I have set down nothing on mere hearsay evidence, nor anything which cannot be attested by living witnesses, or by existing documentary evidence. In treating of matters which occurred under my own personal observation, it has been difficult to avoid altogether the occasional expression of my own individual opinion; but I hope it will be found that I have made no observation bearing hard on men or measures, that are either uncalled-for or will not stand the test of future investigation."

In

We should say that internal evidence bears out what Lieut. Eyre has advanced in behalf of his competency and impartiality; for, independent of the straightforward manner of the diary already mentioned, there is throughout not merely a fulness of information, but a distinctness of narration and a natural order of arrangement that

are proofs of honesty of purpose and exemplary painstaking. Nothing else could have sustained the dignity and interest of a book which discloses such an array of painful and disgraceful facts, and which hurry rather than carry the reader forward with the sort of panting that attends the performance of a skilfully constructed and deep tragedy. Besides, one meets in these pages with so many traits of character, notices of conduct, and instances of individual exploits, that it is impossible not to feel that essential truth as well as dramatic effect distinguishes the work.

The painful but most arresting narrative may be regarded as dealing with two classes of subjects; the one consisting of comments on the nature, tendency, and conduct of the military operations, together with the policy which dictated them; the other presenting incidents and features in detail.

With regard to the policy and conduct of the operations in question, and making every necessary allowance for the individual feelings and judgment of the writer, it must be confessed that never did a story so deeply compromise the principal authorities and officers who had a share in it. Indeed it would be painful for any one, after reading the book, to find himself called on to utter his sentiments publicly on the subject, and difficult in that case to deal in other than heated terms of abuse as well as of censure. To the mere reviewer, therefore, it is a relief to have Lieut. Eyre's facts and conclusions ready at hand for citation; for in the candour and explicitness with which the whole is delivered the severest and justest sentence will be discovered.

Still, after a perusal of the volume, certain gross errors and neglects, together with almost incredible ignorance and inertness, will leave a strong distressing impression of a more general kind on the reader's judgment; while another list of a more particular sort will take hold of his attention, sometimes however not without extenuations and touching circumstances. We shall not on this occasion recur to the impolicy of crossing the Indus or seeking to go beyond that river for a boundary to our Indian empire. But it cannot escape the notice of him who accompanies the Lieutenant in his narrative, that after having taken this false step, and posterior to the brief superficial triumph of Sir John Keane, there seems to have been little authoritative care bestowed so as to become acquainted with the natural spirit of the Affghans; while as regards the unmistakable dislike manifested by them of foreign interference, no sensible and prudential measures of protection were adopted. Nay, the instances of folly and the symptoms of weakness on the part of the British, were too numerous and glaring to escape the eye of the fierce barbarians; so that the result was to tempt the mass as a compact enemy,—our people, on the other hand, bearing themselves as if there had not been a single foe in the territory, that had been temporarily conquered.

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