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Virgil made it; and it is not without or magician; his single words and difficulty that we can put ourselves phrases, his pathetic half-lines, giving back in the pre-Virgilian period, the utterance, as the voice of Nature herpre- Virgilian habit of mind. Surprise self, to that pain and weariness, yet has often been expressed that by the hope of better things, which is the expublication of the Eclogues Virgil perience of her children in every time.” should at once have obtained a success The greatest Greek literature has a of entbusiasm which has hardly a perfection of form which has never parallel in literature. Ten short pieces, been equalled; but that perfection is full of confused learning and of halting so consummate, and attained by means allegory; where the scenery is an im so simple, that it almost conceals itself, possible combination of Mantua, of becoming dark with excess of brightSicily, of Arcadia ; where the manners
The words seem to have fallen of country and court are mixed up in into their place inevitably: there is hopeless confusion; where line after no trace of labour: it is as though line is translated, and sometimes what they saw or felt put itself into positively mis-translated, from Theocri- language by instinct and without tus; how should these poems have effort. Beside Homer or Sophocles at produced so extraordinary an effect? their highest, even Milton, even Virgil But the more we study them, the more sounds heavy and artificial. that "magical inner sweetness comes us : the more clearly we see that
"Επεί πέπρακται παν το του θεού καλώς,
χωρώμεν. . this was indeed a new thing in the world. Between the Idyls and the so Sophocles says, and the terrible Eclogues a change has taken place simplicity, the superhuman serenity comparable to the change in the twi of the words awes us into silence. light of a summer night between With Dante again, as with Pindar, evening and morning : insensibly we who stands alone among the Greeks, have left one world, and entered style is a passion. He flings himself upon another. The outlines are the upon style with a vehemence that same, even to those of the light clouds makes everything go down before it : in the sky; but over all the face of his language is raised as it were to a Nature there bas come a new spirit. white heat, and burns where it touches. All the wide and undefinable meaning But Virgil is the perfect artist, dealing included in the word romance suddenly considerately with a difficult matter, breaks upon us. Atque utinam ex vobis melting a reluctant language in the unus, vestrique fuissem! the cry of sevenfold furnace of an intense imaginathe whole world, the sadness and tion, forging and tempering, retemperbeauty of life, bas at last in words like ing and reforging, till the last trace of these found perfect expression. It is imperfection disappears. The finished this note of infinite tenderness, the work carries the result of all the same which later in the Georgics told labour, but it is transformed into of the lover's madness, "to be forgiven beauty. In Milton alone is there surely, if Death knew forgiveness,” the another instance of such superb consame which later in the Æneid spoke of tinuity of workmanship, such ardour “the tears of things," that made Virgil of genius fusing immense masses of from the first a new interpreter of life, intractable material and sustaining ita voice of one who knows all that may self, by sheer force of style, at a height be known of sorrow and of hope. which is above danger, secure in its "Perhaps this is the reason,” to quote own strength. But the tenderness Cardinal Newman's words, for in one and sweetness of Virgil, come colui sentence he has summed up the deepest che piange e dice, is all his own. And Virgilian criticism, “of the medieval to us it has come charged with the opinion about Virgil, as if a prophet added sweetness of thousand
memories : the wreck of the ancient became a poet again, but still Prince world, the slow reconstruction of the of poets, still with something of diMiddle Ages, the vast movement of vine attributes. For us, who inherit later times. The fanatical self-re from all these ages, he is the gathered proaches of Saint Augustine hardly sum of what to all these ages he has conceal the stirring of heart with been. But it is as a voice of Nature which he looks back to the clinging that he now appeals to us most ; as a enchantment of the Æneid ; and we voice of one who in his strength and may fancy that as he lay dying in sweetness is not too steadfastly felicitHippo, the clamour of the siege and ous to have sympathy with human the cries of Genseric and his Vandals weakness and pain. Through the mingled in his mind with the old imperial roll of his rhythm there rises unforgotten romance of his boyhood, a note of all but intolerable pathos ; the siege and sack of Troy, equus and in the most golden flow of his ligneus plenus armatis, et Trojce incen. verse he still brings us near him by a dium, atque ipsius umbra Creusc.1 The faint accent of trouble. This is why earliest dawn of new light
he beyond all other poets is the ComEngland found Bede, in his northern forter; and in the darkest times, when monastery, making timid attempts to the turmoil within or around us, conropy the music
of the Eclugues. fusa sonus urbis et illætabile murmur, Throughout the Middle Ages Virgil seems too great to sustain, we may was a beneficent wizard, a romance still hear him saying, as Dante heard writer and a sorcerer, his name recur him in the solemn splendour of dawn ring strangely among all the greatest on the Mountain of Purgatory : "My names of history or fable. To the son, here may be agony, but not death; scholarship of the Renaissance he remember, remember!”
On a wild March morning, gray with visible. The habitation of long banks of lowering cloud, we came ancient race of petty squires, justices over a bare ridge with hardly a tree of the peace, fresh-faced gentlemen, in sight--the very hedgerows had been such as we see in old sporting-picsucceeded by stone walls. Long weary tures, hunting three days a week over fields of poor, thin land rose and fell the long, low hills, and imbibing good in low, even slopes to the horizon on port with plenty of fine local talk,either hand. The very road itself like Ulysses in Ithaca, lords of a small seemed to become poorer and thinner domain. Is it only this distance from as it dipped sharply over the bill, and us, the consciousness that they are gone pointed at the white, dusty-looking and will never come again to perplex walls and gray roofs of a little hud us with their ways and deafen us with dling town. The only mark of interest their noise, that inspires a kindly at that distance was a broad Perpen- feeling for those roystering Georgian dicular church, with a stout, grave squires ? The thought of them seems spire lying out to the right; the town to bring a momentary sense of relief or village climbing on the left nearly from the self-consciousness of modern to the top of the hill, and descending days. We ourselves, lingering here to the prosperous brimming stream opposite to the old comfortable house, that moved silently down the centre are but an uneasy contrast to the ole of the valley.
squire whom one can fancy standing It did not look as if it would yield on those steps to sniff the wind, and many memories to take away, that who would have cordially despised little town. It looked not so much from the bottom of his heart one remote from the world as limping who could idle there thinking gentle behind it, like fashion-plates of the thoughts, such as, God help him, he Exhibition year: it did not seem, from never troubled with, about a the top of the hill, old enough to be race with whom he had so little in quaint, or retired enough to be simple common. minded.
Then, as the houses grow thicker, it As the road began to pass between becomes more and more evident that houses—low and mean enough, some we are in an old-world town. Among times even deserted—came our first the walls crop up quaint hood-mouldsurprise ; a magnificent Jacobean man ings and corbels, old archways filled sion (or early Georgian), three stories with wrinkled oaken doors, curious high, with a huge flight of steps up to grotesque heads of kings and devils the door, heavy frowning cornices and extruded from mouldering eaves; till massive balustrades. So important we turn the corner and find ourselves indeed was it, with its three windows in a broad street, or rather marketon each side of the door and its faint place, half a mile in length, suggesting suggestion of oaken panelling within, immemorial horse-fairs and crowded that a prolonged scrutiny became with all manner of quaint, incongrunecessary. Behind it, in among the ous houses, some, like the aforesaid houses and up along the hill, lay a Georgian mansion, retiring a little tall walled garden with cedars and behind excellent ironwork. We note cypresses peeping over in sombre curi too some peaked Gothic gables, and osity, and a quaint pavilion just not a few Elizabethan bow-windows
notably those of the old inn opposite, intellectual treat he went quietly mullioned and diamond-paned. Then home to breakfast ! we loiter into a decayed coaching inn, And this is Burford, with its under a broad, square archway, through ancient corporate privileges identical which many a four-in-hand, Highflyer with Oxford, with its Council and or Swallow, must have rattled merrily Burgesses : a town that has fallen as enough—now, alas! nothing but a completely out of date as its antique depot of the Cyclist's Touring Club. custom of carrying a dragon round
Mine host is lounging under the the town on midsummer-ere to comarchway, inclined to grumble genially memorate some immemorial Saxon at the general decay of valuable in- slaughter, when a banner with a gold stitutions, and the lamentable want of dragon was among the spoils. progress so characteristic of the age. The quietest spot on one of the He tells us that he has held the house circle of hills is still called Battle for many years and paid no rent at Edge, and is occupied by a little farm ; all-yet he would be glad if we would and yet it is not so long ago since take it off his hands on the same bones and coins were ploughed up; terms! “No one comes to Burford and a confused mass of rusted metal now,” he says. “Maybe you passed a and rotten ash-staves that was perbig house in the town on the Oxford haps a trophy-heap of spears. Since road ?" “ We did indeed." " That then wholesale slaughter has kept lets for twenty-five pounds a year very much out of sight there. Death stabling for eight horses !”
has made his visits here as elsewhere; We are served in a big, high room,
but he has made them respectably, adorned with stuffed foxes and hawks, with the Doctor and the Parson, the by an ancient wench with frizzled hair hatband and the gray headstone. in curl-papers. She, the host tells us, As we stroll down the village the can remember the good old days when sun comes out and lights up the irreBurford had a race-meeting, which gular house fronts with a genial beam. His Majesty George the Third did Halfway down, a little side street of them the honour to attend, and can low, quaint houses gives a view of a remember seeing the King stand in great entrance.gate and a stone wall. the street with his hat off to the loyal On the top of one gate-post a lion still crowd, with his protruding, heavy ramps, and the ironwork still hangs lidded
and face the colour of new on its hinges; but the other post is blotting-paper. That was when in down, dislodged by some biting frost. sanity had washed the mischief out of The poor lion lies unregarded, dismemhim, and he was able to confine him bered : seven or eight yards, too, of self to his healthy domestic life, like wall are down, and so ancient is the the stiff, bonest country gentleman breach that there is a regular right of that he was. Poor old king! he way into the little park beyond. never discovered that principle ex
“What is that?” we say.
“ The old tended beyond the limits of private Manor, sir.” That must certainly be life: public conscience was
visited; and so we too pass in through known possibility to him. He strolled the breach and stand below the elms about Burford that day and admired and sycamores through which the the town, somewhat in the style of the grass grown drive winds up. memorable scene at Gloucester, when Shades of the romantic, what he went down before breakfast to see house !-a gabled manor with tall the bridge, followed by a gaping oriels, all overgrown with ivy. Over throng Well, my lads, so this is the door is the great Warwick shield Gloucester new bridge ?” said he. supported by the two bears with
• Yes, your Majesty.” “Why, then, ragged staves. In some of the winlet's have a huzzay!” after which dows the diamond-panes still linger :
through others you can see into de ing more to do with either of them. serted rooms, where the paper still Young Cary, passionately faithful to hangs in
shreds upon the wall : his father, had never meant to be unthrough others you see only the sky. dutiful; but he was firm about his The old house is settling to its doom: marriage. To show his dutifulness, there is an ugly crack across its face, however, and to give his father the and the corner gable is at a sinister opportunity of chastening him if he slope. To the right goes a low ter wished, he offered to give up the two raced walk, finishing in a chapel, estates, and actually had a deed of built in that wonderful mixture of gift prepared, which the angry father Renaissance and Gothic, almost flam indignantly refused. boyant, of which Saint Mary's portico After this Falkland settled at Great at Oxford with its twisted pillars is Tew to his life of scholastic leisure, an instance. Fragments of stained
attracted by the proximity of Oxford. glass hang in the clumsy tracery of We do not hear of his living at Burthe window, and a great snake-like ford, though he was no doubt often branch of ivy thrusts out of the rose there, as it is within easy riding diswindow at the eastern end. The roof tance of Tew. But it was at Tew bows and gapes with many a rent: that his court of intellect was beld, the floor is covered with beds of where
friend of the host might rotting leaves: behind it stretch old arrive and order his room and dinner, orchard-closes and walled gardens, might come and go unknown to any where neither fruit nor flowers grow, Falkland was a figure that poliup to a little dense wood. The whole ticians cannot afford to forget. He place is a silent vision of ancient de was not particularly clear-headedcaying splendour. In truth this old what politicians are ?—but he carried house has had strange vicissitudes. into his business an utter unselfishBuilt, as the armorial lintel shows, by ness, a wholesome fire, and an inthe old earls of Warwick, it came by tensity of feeling for principle which purchase into the possession of the already seem characteristic of Lord Chief Justice Tanfield in the older world. time of Queen Elizabeth. Tanfield's From Falkland's heirs the estate at daughter and heiress married the first Burford passed to a man of very Lord Falkland ; but the old judge, different type-William Lenthali, a man of irascible temper, disapprov- Master of the Rolls, Chancellor of ing of the match, passed over both the Duchy of Lancaster, and Speaker his daughter and son-in-law in his of a House of Commons quite as enthuwill, and left the place together with siastic as, and probably more irritating an estate at Great Tew near Oxford even than that body at the present to his grandson, the famous Lord time. Why he was chosen it is hard Falkland.
to say. He was not very wise or popuWhen young Lucius Cary, as he lar, being
lar, being a timid and cautious poliwas then called, made a match with tician with no particular views of his the sister of his idealised friend Sir
The only remarkable thing Charles Morrison, his father, Lord about him indeed seems to have been Falkland, who had destined him to his talent for amassing money, and some higher and wealthier connection, his anxiety to conceal the fact; thus first endeavoured to reason him out this very estate was obtained under of his folly; and then in obstinate an assumed name. His later life, we soldierly fashion gave him to under are told, was spent in arranging his stand that as he could not punish him huge revenues,
and whatever he in any more material way (seeing that touched turned to gold. he had already succeeded to his grand chased Burford of Falkland's heirs father's estates), he would have noth for seven thousand pounds, and found