BLTC Press Titles

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The Secret Doctrine, Volume I Cosmogenesis

H. P. Blavatsky

The Characters of Theophrastus


The Pictorial Key to the Tarot

Arthur Edward Waite

Darby O'Gill and the Little People

Hermenie Templeton Kavanagh

Garibaldi's defence of the Roman republic

by George Macaulay Trevelyan


Upon the forehead of the age to come;
These, these will give the world another heart,

And other pulses. Hear ye not the hum
Of mighty workings ?—

Listen awhile, ye nations, and be dumb.—Ktats (1817).

In these words one who never lived to see it prophesied the new world. It was two years after Waterloo, a time of disillusion and of fainting by the way, when Europe, bled white by the man who was to have been her saviour, was again prisoner to kings whom she no longer reverenced. But, in fact, as Keats' instinct told him truly, the fields were ready for sowing, and the sowers were there unseen. The long unyielding sod had been broken up by the Revolutionary ploughshare, and now that the all too efficient ploughman was at last under lock and key, 'great spirits' already 'on earth' were 'sojourning,' each destined to cast seed of his own into the tumbled soil. If we think whom the young generation contained undistinguished in its ranks when Keats published these lines in 1817, we shall see that he was speaking more truly than even he, in his poet's ardour and optimism, could have dared to hope. In England alone, where Shelley's genius was on tip-toe for its flight, there were at that moment, unknown to the world, and unknown to themselves, Darwin, Carlyle, Mill, Newman, Gladstone, Macaulay, Cobden, Dickens, Tennyson and Browning. The work of all these men taken together was to give our English world 'another heart and other pulses.'

Nor would it be hard to draw up such a list for Continental Europe, headed by Heine, Victor Hugo and Wagner. But the strangest, if not the richest, handful of fate's hidden treasures was ripening beneath the Italian sky. In the year that Keats wrote there might have been seen in the harbour of Nice (then the Italian city of Nizza) a sailor's boy of ten years old, playing amid the cordage of his father's vessel—by name Giuseppe Garibaldi. A hundred miles further along the Riviera, in a doctor's house, in one of those narrow, picturesque alleys that crowd the hillside above the busy port of Genoa, was another boy of twelve, Giuseppe Mazzini. These two Josephs, whom neither birth nor favour had placed above their brethren, were destined to place themselves among the great Four who liberated Italy. And it was these two sons of the people who were to make that liberation worthy of the Muse, raising the story of Italian freedom to a pinnacle of history far above common nationalist struggles, which after a few centuries are forgotten by all save students. The sailor's and the doctor's sons made the history of Italy's Resurrection a part of the imperishable and international poetry of the European races. And, as regards their effect upon their own time, if they did not actually create, at least they ennobled and intensified, the liberal forces which it was given to one wiser and more cunning to wield. For there was already in the world, in 1817, another boy, a nobleman's son, by name Camillo Cavour. The fourth of the great liberators, the man whom these three were between them to make King of Italy, was not yet born.

So Keats prophesied, and shortly after died in Rome. And still, over the plains and mountain roads of Italy, the Austrians in their white coats and shakos moved unceasingly, on their fruitless, mechanical task of repression; stared at with a vague but growing antipathy by the common people, with horror by Shelley, and with disgust by Byron;1

1 Byron to John Murray, Ravenna, February 16, 1821. 'As or news, the Barbarians are marching on Naples, and if they lose a single battle, all Italy will be up, . . . Letters opened I—to be sure they are, and that's the reason why I


while the other army of invaders, the English * milords,' swelling with the pride of Waterloo, each with his carriage, family, footman and 'Quarterly Review' complete, looked with an indifferent contempt on Austrians and Italians, priests and patriots, and with hostile inquisitiveness at the rebel poets of their own race and caste. In such a world, Mazzini, Garibaldi, and Cavour grew up, each among his fellows.

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