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         Worse mocked the Thrush, "Die! die!
O, could he do it? could he do it? Nay!
Be quick! be quick! Here, here, here!" (went his lay)
         "Take heed! take heed!" then "Why? why?
                 why? why? why?
Seeee now! seeee now!" (he drawled) "Back,
            back, back! R-r-r-run away!"
                   O Thrush, be still,
                   Or at thy will,
         Seek some less sad interpreter than I.


         "Air, air! blue air and white!
Whither I flee, whither, O whither, whither I flee!"
(Thus the Lark hurried, mounting from the lea)
         "Hills, countries, many waters glittering bright,
Whither I see, whither I see! deeper, deeper, deeper,
               Whither I see, see, see!"
                      "Gay Lark," I said,
                     "The song that's bred
         In happy nest may well to Heaven make flight."


         "There's something, something sad,
I half remember—"piped a broken strain.
Well sung, sweet Robin! Robin sung again,
         "Spring's opening cheerily, cheerily! be we glad!"
Which moved, I wist not why, me melancholy mad,
                       Till now, grown meek,
                       With wetted cheek,
         Most comforting and gentle thoughts I had.



You have been quarrelling in England
a good deal lately, with your Diplomatic
Establishment. Let me bottle up the essence
of a conversation I had on this subject with
my excellent friend The Chevalier Stanislaus
d'Aloe (fourth unpaid Dutch attaché at the
Court of the Czar), on the eve of our visit to

To begin then, was the Chevalier's first
observation, the secrecy and hocus-pocus
of diplomacy should be put an end to. A
foreign mission, indeed, rightly understood,
should be, let me respectfully suggest, a
regular school and assembling-place of
enlightened travellers. Let your youth see
something of other countries besides their
museums and picture-galleries. Let them
be brought into contact with the living
spirit of the age they live in, and let older
people judge of passing events for themselves.

True. We do not want, I remarked, in the
nineteenth century, and in Great Britain, a
Minister or a Government to get information
on grave affairs, and to keep it to themselves.
The public wish to know something about it
also, that we may see with our own eyes if a
statesman be right or wrong in what he is
about, in order that we may stop him if he
do mischief. The vital interests of a great
country like ours are not to be committed
blindly to any man or any set of men;
especially when we have daily evidence of the
glaring and laughable incapacity of certain
English ministers at certain despotic, and
therefore difficult, foreign courts. Any man
who is doing what he ought to do has nothing
to fear from publicity. It is only incompetent
diplomatists, who are the natural advocates
of silence.

It is all very well to come to us with a
grave face, and say we, the public, are not
competent to judge of this or that; that we
are the unreasoning multitude, and that such
subjects are above our capacities. This
may be an excellent line of argument for
the Marquis of Fiddlededee and his friend
Lord Loggerhead; but depend upon it, there
is not much in politics worth knowing at all,
that a sensible man may not acquire with
moderate study and observation. Oxenstiern
never said a truer thing than when he let us
into the secret of how little wisdom it takes
to govern the world. All other secrets are
mere moonshine and water when we know

I am very much afraid that a more
completely incapable body of men (taken en masse)
do not exist than our diplomatic servants.
Of course there are some striking and
remarkable exceptions; but perhaps it would
not be going too far to say, that very few of
them could ask for a penny in three
languages, as a beggar at Naples boasted to me
yesterday that he could doand did. As
for the political research of most of the junior
branches of the service, it commences with
1830; part of what has occurred since, they
know or have learned from gossip here and
there: but the past, that great sign-post to
the future, is a mystery to them.

The whole thing is wrong. Promotion is
made altogether a question of favour and
interest. A man of mere ability and zeal in
his calling, has no more chance of advancement
than a sincere and enlightened Christian
clergyman has in the Church; and a coronet
stands for a great deal too much. So many
things combine to spoil the education of a
mere lord, that he must be a very wise man
indeed, if he is not a very foolish one. He
has every possible temptation to take him
away from business to pleasure; so that by
and bye he gets ruined, and then is appointed
to a situation he cannot and will not fill as
it ought to be filled.

This coronet question, however, is a very
delicate and difficult one to deal with when
regarded in reference to English coronets
abroad. Out of certain circles in England,
and those not the best, a Marquis is no more
than a manufacturer, and just stands for what
he is worth, be that what it may. Once cross
the Channel, however, the business changes
altogether, and we must remember that in
dealing with our foreign services, we have to
legislate for both partiesBritish and foreign.
In Germany, in Spain and Italy, and even

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