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As it is impossible for us to quote any of the longer and more elaborate poems
of Cowper, we would cite as a specimen of his muse, and more particularly of his religious muse, his translation, or rather adaptation, of one of the ardent phrased poems of the mystic quietist Madame de la Mothe Guion. It may be denominated a Midnight Hymn, and although it is but a very inadequate specimen of the poetry of Cowper, yet it may be interesting to compare it with the hymns on a similar subject of Ken, Lyte, and Keble. While the piety of all was alike earnest and sincere, the individuality of character and the peculiarity of religious sentiment of each of these several sacred poets, are clearly to be traced in the beautiful and yet different manner in which the same subject is treated respectively by each of these gifted men.
“ Season of my purest pleasure,
Season of observing eyes, When in larger freer measure
I can commune with the skies, While beneath thy shade extended
Weary man forgets his woes, I my daily trouble ended,
Find in watching my repose. Silence all around prevailing,
Nature hushed in slumber sweet, No rude noise mine ears assailing,
Now my God and I can meet. Universal nature slumbers,
And my soul partakes the calm, Breathes her ardour out in passion,
Plaintive song or lofty psalm. Now my passion pure and holy,
Shines and burns without restraint, Which the day's fatigue and folly
Cause to languish, dim and faint; Charming hours of relaxation !
How I dread the ascending sun ! Surely, idle conversation
Is an evil matched by none.
I have ears for none but love.
Hearing my absurd replies :
Nor the knowledge of the wise.
Simple souls and unpolluted
By conversing with the great,
To their dignity and state.
Are but talents misapplied;
Nothing human choose beside.
Checks my tongue, or I should say,
I am glad of parting day:
Whispers soft within my breast; • Choice befits not thy condition,
Acquiescence suits thee best.'
Night affords me I resign,
Wisdom infinite, of mine.
Quarrelling with thy decrees;
'Tis her folly and disease. Night with its sublime enjoyments,
Now no longer will I choose;
Irksome as they seem, refuse.
Neither time nor place impedes,
Our unhappiness proceeds."
VERNAL WREATHED, BRIGHT EASTER-TIDE.
“They came and held Him by the Feet, and worshipped Him."-S. Matt. xxviii. 9.
VERNAL wreathed, bright Easter-tide,
0 Thou Who dwell'st where time is not,
C. A. M. W.
THE TURKISH PRISONERS.
BY AN ENGLISH MEMBER OF THE RED CROSS SOCIETY.
“If this weather had come but a week earlier, the Russians must have abandoned the Siege of Plevna,” said Osman Pasha when he arrived a prisoner of war at Fratesti in a fierce north-east wind and heavy snow. The investment of that obstinate fortress was indeed
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becoming a most weary and flesh-mortifying process. All kinds of fuel had long been scarce, and none could pass the Turkish batteries which commanded the Danube at Widdin. Tents were soaked through or blown away, and the Russian soldiers scooped holes in the wet ground and roofed them with straw and skins, sitting when off duty crouched up in these cramped, smoky, ill-ventilated abodes. Even the Emperor at Gorny Studen and Bogot was lodged in only a lath and mortar Bulgarian cottage such as an English gardener would despise, and his brother, the Commander-in-Chief, in a felt tent. The supply of provisions was becoming most uncertain, owing to continued snow and rain making the soft boggy roads almost impassable, and to a storm which destroyed both bridges on the Danube, while the rain had spoiled tons and tons of accumulated stores, and the railway from Shumla to Rustchuk and the sea ports and mouth of the Danube were held by the Turks. For two days before Plevna was evacuated the Russian army was without bread, while telegrams from an English paper said to be well informed in Turkish news, reported that the beleaguered city was provisioned till February and the garrison furnished with warm clothing. This was indeed disheartening. There had been some talk of iron huts for the Russian army which had been ordered in England, but now we heard that they would not be permitted to leave the Thames, as they came under the head of munitions of war, (although many shiploads of shot and shell had arrived during the war from England for Turkey,) and for the same reason the Hungarian Government thought fit to confiscate a quantity of iron rails destined to complete the railways through Bulgaria. Low fever which had prostrated the Russian army during the summer still made its presence felt, and the want of shelter or accommodation for the sick added to the general depression, which reached its climax when the news arrived that the Turks under Suleiman Pasha had attacked the army of the Lom under the Czarewitz and driven it from Elena, that more than 1000 Russians had been placed hors de combat, and that the rest hard pressed along the whole line of their outposts, were trying to protect Biela and Tirnova, which once lost would have placed us at Plevna and Bogot between two Turkish armies, and no forts or means of retreat.
On December 9 reinforcements and all available ambulances and medical stores were sent off with great haste to Biela, and we expected no more fighting for some time at Plevna, when the next day we
received the startling intelligence that Osman Pasha, doubtless knowing of Suleiman's victory and the Russian discomfiture through the Mussulman spies, who with inconceivable carelessness were allowed to pass as they pleased across the Russian lines, had broken out of Plevna, which covered twelve miles with its fortifications, and was already some distance on the road to Widdin, when he was stopped by the Astrakhan and two other regiments, and a desperate battle was going on. Many fell on both sides, and in the meantime the rest of the Russian army occupied Plevna, so that when Osman Pasha tried to retreat into the town, finding it impossible to break the Russian line, he was surrounded, and compelled to surrender with about 15,000 men.
Just outside Plevna, but within the Turkish lines, there was a horrible spectacle. All the Russians, numbering many hundreds if not thousands, who had fallen in the assaults on the place during July and September lay stripped and unburied, many of them, I was told by one who had examined them more nearly, bearing evidence of shocking mutilation, and nearly all deprived of their upper and lower jaws. The odour arising from these decaying corpses was enough to produce a pestilence in Plevna, and such was indeed the fact, yet the Turks would not bury them, and the first thing the Russians did on the morning of the 11th was to give them the last sepulchral rites. All the Russians who could be spared were at once sent to reinforce General Gourko on his way to Sofia, and those who had been fighting hard were allowed to rest. A few were set to bury the freshly fallen dead near the river Vid and bring in the wounded, who sorely needed the doctors and ambulances sent the day before to Biela.
We little thought of the many Turkish sick and wounded who utterly neglected by their own countrymen lay rotting in the hospitals in Plevna, where virulent smallpox and typhus fever had broken out, for we had not heard the shocking report of their condition which had appeared in the English papers weeks before, when Osman Pasha had refused the services of the Stafford House surgeons who had waited upon him, and sent them back to Sofia; so that the accumulated sick and wounded of another two months, in the most foul untended state, had increased the mass of suffering to an extent little short of the charnel house at Vilna in 1812, during Napoleon's retreat from Moscow, or of Sevastopol in 1855, when 30,000 men, women, and children had been hit in three days' bombardment.
It seemed almost a retribution that the time should have been ex
pended in burying the Russian victims of Turkish barbarity, which might have saved the lives of many wounded Turks.
At noon on Dec. 11, the Emperor Alexander drove into Plevna. Always pale and melancholy looking, he had grown very thin and white-headed since the campaign began, and the Turkish wounded who were then being carried in from the Vid, presented a ghastly spectacle as his carriage passed. His eyes filled with tears, but he shook hands with Osman Pasha, and gave him back his sword. We had heard that two Circassians had brought the news to Constantinople a week before, that Osman Pasha was well provided for the winter, and this was published at Constantinople and duly telegraphed to the Russian headquarters from England; but the Turkish officers say the only messages really sent were to request leave to capitulate if there was no hope of relief, and this was always refused.
The Turkish officers and Osman's guard looked well fed, but all were very dirty, and the rank and file, particularly the irregulars, were half-starved. The Russian commander had adopted the plan of giving the soldiers money to buy their own provisions from the Bulgarian and Jewish dealers who followed the camp,
government stores had fallen short, and they now gave the Turkish officers money to buy food for their men; but these Turks spent.it on spirits for themselves, and said that their men could not eat black bread as the Russians do; and had no fuel to cook meat, so that a raw meat ration was useless.
On the 12th we began a regular inspection of the hospitals, and then discovered the horrible and famishing condition that the patients were in ; the Turkish doctors being really only hired, that Turkey might look like a civilised nation, for they were of not the slightest use, either as surgeons or nurses ; wounds healing or not according to nature, but with no assistance from art. The corrupt dead and the living, crying for water and aid, were lying across each other; and when the Turkish prisoners and Bulgarian Mussulmans in the town were set to bury their own comrades, it was with difficulty that they could be prevented from carrying out the dying as well, to save future trouble.
When this revolting work was accomplished, and the hospitals were rather more fitting receptacles for hụman beings, the polluted state of the town and the scarcity of provisions made it desirable to transport the prisoners as soon as possible to Roumania. The bridge being broken up at Nikopolis made a long march necessary to cross the