BOOK IV. THREE LOVE PROBLEMS.
37. CHAPTER XXXVII.
"Thrice happy she that is so well assured
Unto herself and settled so in heart
That neither will for better be allured
Ne fears to worse with any chance to start,
But like a steddy ship doth strongly part
The raging waves and keeps her course aright;
Ne aught for tempest doth from it depart,
Ne aught for fairer weather's false delight.
Such self-assurance need not fear the spight
Of grudging foes; ne favour seek of friends;
But in the stay of her own stedfast might
Neither to one herself nor other bends.
Most happy she that most assured doth rest,
But he most happy who such one loves best."
The doubt hinted by Mr. Vincy whether it were only the general
election or the end of the world that was coming on, now that George
the Fourth was dead, Parliament dissolved, Wellington and Peel
generally depreciated and the new King apologetic, was a feeble
type of the uncertainties in provincial opinion at that time.
With the glow-worm lights of country places, how could men see
which were their own thoughts in the confusion of a Tory Ministry
passing Liberal measures, of Tory nobles and electors being anxious
to return Liberals rather than friends of the recreant Ministers,
and of outcries for remedies which seemed to have a mysteriously remote
bearing on private interest, and were made suspicious by the advocacy
of disagreeable neighbors? Buyers of the Middlemarch newspapers
found themselves in an anomalous position: during the agitation
on the Catholic Question many had given up the "Pioneer"--which had
a motto from Charles James Fox and was in the van of progress--
because it had taken Peel's side about the Papists, and had thus
blotted its Liberalism with a toleration of Jesuitry and Baal;
but they were illsatisfied with the "Trumpet," which--since its
blasts against Rome, and in the general flaccidity of the public
mind (nobody knowing who would support whom)--had become feeble
in its blowing.
It was a time, according to a noticeable article in the "Pioneer,"
when the crying needs of the country might well counteract a reluctance
to public action on the part of men whose minds had from long
experience acquired breadth as well as concentration, decision of
judgment as well as tolerance, dispassionateness as well as energy--
in fact, all those qualities which in the melancholy experience
of mankind have been the least disposed to share lodgings.