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ination. But in a noble mind, age takes away much more that we ought to wish to lose, than it takes of what we want to keep. It takes away prejudice, and pas sion, and irritable self-consciousness. It takes away that which misleads and perverts the judment and the imagination, much more than it takes away of judging and imagining power, though it may sometimes "leave behind" enough of these disturbing elements to justify self-reproach and regret still. But long experience does undoubtedly, in a mind of high calibre, do an immense clarifying and purifying work, - a work which tends more to the true appreciation of the relative place of human beings in the universe, than any other agency in life. Milton truly says that it may even attain "to something of prophetic strain;" and if it does so, it does so by removing the refracting vapors of prejudice and passion. Moreover, age does not tend to weakness of will. Nothing is more remarkable in those who have made a good use of long experience than the growth of decision with the growth of clearness of vision. It is illusion, after all, which chiefly excuses the feebleness of our wills, and with the disappearance of the excuses, the educated will asserts itself more and more, and never seems to lose in force as other and less essential elements of the mind do lose in force. Young men do great things, quite beyond the power of the aged, by the force of passion, and by the rapidity and vivacity of their influence over others. But in nine cases out of ten, what these men do that is good in its results, they do rather as instruments of a higher power, than because they really discern the end for which they do it. Doubtless there was a great purpose in Alexander's conquest of the East; but it was not Alexander's purpose. Doubtless there was a great purpose in Napoleon's conquest of the West; but it was not Napoleon's purpose. Doubtless there was a great purpose in Clive's conquest of Bengal; but it was not Clive's purpose. As a rule, and excepting, of course, the case of direct inspiration, the great achievements of the young have been the achievements of instruments in the hands of a power which used them without betraying to them its real ends; while the old alone, those who have cleared their minds from illusion and passion, have had some conscious share in the great ends to the achievement of which they have been permitted to contribute. Glory does not dazzle the old as it dazzles the young Ambition does not mislead
Doubtless, the great blot on the respect for age is that age in itself not only does not bring with it these results, but may bring quite opposite results. Age always empties; but it may empty the mind of the wrong things. It may empty the mind of everything but selfish and egotistic passion, instead of emptying it of selfish and egotistic passion. It may make the medium through which everything is seen, one of a more and more disturbing kind. It may drain away all the generous passions, and leave nothing but envy, vindictiveness, and wilfulness behind. It may discharge the memory of all that is elevating, and leave behind all that is degrading. It may take away the excuse of fiery impulses, and yet leave the ignobleness of malicious purpose. Age, doubtless, is a sieve which strains away either the dregs, and leaves behind all that is finest, or strains away the finer elements of experience, and leaves only the dregs; and you can never be sure which of the two processes will take place. Still, of course, the veneration for age is founded wholly on the assumption that the finer elements of experience are retained in the mind, and the grosser ones purged away; and this is the tendency in all cases in which the character is gov. erned by a pure and noble will. In such a character even the memory, which always lets so much drop, as time goes on, appears to drop chiefly what most deserves oblivion, and to hold fast to that which is best adapted to guide, to refine, and to chasten. But it is well to observe that it is not age which constitutes the blessing of experience, but the right kind of experience which constitutes the blessing of age. Sometimes one is tempted to think that before unvenerable age could be purified it would have to be regenerated with the high impulses and passions of youth; for really it is the precipitate of these impulses and passions, under the magnetism of a pure and disinterested will, which makes the experience in which the glory of age consists.
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AFTER THE WRECK.
WHAT of the ocean's roar?
The sea lies smiling in the sun,
To kiss the pebbled shore;
Where are the waves that, mountains high,
How soft the west wind blows!
For all the wreck last night!
Here, by the dawn tide tost,
With anguish for the lost."
Give me thy little hand,
Rise up, dear heart, and let us go
Through some green lane where May flowers blow,
And sweeten all the land;
Of this fair-seeming, treacherous sea,
It smiles beneath the sky,
Ah, love! we suffered wreck; What angry winds and waters dark Blew over and engulfed our bark,
And swept us from her deck! There was no life-boat to put out, No spar to cling to, no frail raft As refuge from our drowning craft, By storm-winds dashed about.
No harbor from the storm, No friendly hands stretched out to lift Our drowning fortunes from the drift, To shelter safe and warm; The world forsook us, love; our cries Died on the wind of sordid strife, And we looked helpless, husband, wife, Into each other's eyes.
Then from despair was born
A fonder love, a deeper trust,
A treasure safe from moth and rust, A scorn of the world's scorn;
I lost my gold in port and mart,
Lean closer, closer, dear,
We bid a truce to fear;
The night of wreck is overpast,
We have no argosies,
No stately ships to come and go,
All The Year Round.
My love dwelt in a Northern land.
The long wash of the waves was seen, And leagues on leagues of yellow sand, And woven forest boughs between.
And through the silver Northern night
They fled like ghosts before the day!
I know not if the forest green
Still girdles round that castle grey; I know not if the boughs between The white deer vanish ere the day; Above my love the grass is green, My heart is colder than the clay! ANDREW LANG.
A SONG OF BATTLE.
LOVE with its sorrows and love with its joys,
There's a time to make love, there's a time to make war;
When love is hopeless, 'tis better by far
From The Contemporary Review.
for the Spectator, as well as literary per sons belonging to what I may term the finikin school, on the other hand, now talk of our equally great poet Byron. How detestable must the north be, if the south be so admirable! But while Tennyson spoke to me in youth, Byron spoke to me in boyhood, and I still love both.
IT is perhaps difficult for men of middle age to estimate Tennyson aright. For we who love poetry were brought up, as it were, at his feet, and he cast the magic of his fascination over our youth. We have gone away, we have travelled in other lands, absorbed in other preoccupations, Whatever may have to be discounted often revolving problems different from from the popularity of Tennyson on acthose concerning which we took counsel count of fashion and a well-known name, with him; and we hear new voices, claim- or on account of his harmony with the ing authority, who aver that our old master (more or less provincial) ideas of the large has been superseded, that he has no mes-majority of Englishmen, his popularity is a sage for a new generation, that his voice fact of real benefit to the public, and highly is no longer a talisman of power. Then creditable to them at the same time. The we return to the country of our early love, establishment of his name in popular favor and what shall our report be? Each one is but very partially accounted for by the must answer for himself; but my report circumstance that, when he won his spurs, will be entirely loyal to those early and he was among younger singers the only dear impressions. I am of those who be- serious champion in the field, since, if I lieve that Tennyson has still a message mistake not, he was at one time a less for the world. Men become impatient "popular" poet than Mr. Robert Montwith hearing Aristides so often called gomery. Vox populi is not always vox just, but is that the fault of Aristides? Dei, but it may be so accidentally, and They are impatient also with a reputation, which necessarily is what all great reputations must so largely be the empty echo of living voices from blank walls. "Now again"-not the people, but certain critics -"call it but a weed." Yet how strange these fashions in poetry are! I will remember Lord Broughton, Byron's friend, expressing to me, when I was a boy, his astonishment that the bust of Tennyson by Woolner should have been thought worthy of a place near that of Lord Byron in Trinity College, Cambridge. "Lord Byron was a great poet; but Mr. Tennyson, though he had written pretty verses," and so on. For one thing, the men of that generation deemed Tennyson terribly obscure. "In Memoriam," it was held, nobody could possibly understand. The poet, being original, had to make his own public. Men nurtured on Scott and Byron could not understand him. Now we hear no more of his obscurity. Moreover, he spoke as the mouthpiece of his own time. Doubts, aspirations, visions unfamiliar to the aging, breathed melodiously through him. Again, how contemptuously do Broad Church psychologists like George Macdonald, and writers
then the people reap benefit from their happy blunder. The great poet who won the laurel before Tennyson has never been "popular" at all, and Tennyson is the only true English poet who has pleased the "public" since Byron, Walter Scott, Tom Moore, and Mrs. Hemans. But he had to conquer their suffrages, for his utterance, whatever he may have owed to Keats, was original, and his substance the outcome of an opulent and profound personality. These were serious obstacles to success, for he neither went " deep" into "the general heart" like Burns, nor appealed to superficial sentiments in easy language like Scott, Moore, and Byron. In his earliest volume indeed there was a preponderance of manner over matter; it was characterized by a certain dainty prettiness of style, that scarcely gave promise of the high spiritual vision and rich complexity of human insight to which he has since attained, though it did manifest a delicate feeling for nature in association with human moods, an extraordinarily subtle sensibility of all senses, and a luscious pictorial power. Not "Endymion" had been more luxuriant. All was steeped in golden languors. There were faults in
plenty, and of course the critics, faithful to the instincts of their kind, were jubilant to nose them. To adapt Coleridge's funny verses, not "the Church of St. Geryon," nor the legendary Rhine, but the "stinks and stenches" of Kölntown do such offalfeeders love to enumerate, and distinguish. But the poet in his verses on "Musty Christopher" gave one of these people a Roland for his Oliver. Stuart Mill, as Mr. Mathews, in his lately published and very instructive lecture on Tennyson, points out, was the one critic in a million who remembered Pope's precept,
Be thou the first true merit to befriend, His praise is lost who waits till all commend. Yet it is only natural that the mediocrities, who for a moment keep the door of Fame, should scrutinize with somewhat jaundiced eye the credentials of new aspirants, since every entry adds fresh bitterness to their own exclusion.
himself rejected twenty-six out of the fiftyeight poems published in his first volume; while some of those even in the second have been altogether rewritten. Such defects are eminently present in the lately republished poem written in youth, “The Lover's Tale," though this too has been altered. As a storehouse of fine imagery, metaphor, and deftly moulded phrase, of blank verse also whose sonorous rhythm must surely be a fabric of adult architecture, the piece can hardly be surpassed; but the tale as tale lingers and lapses, overweighted with the too gorgeous trappings under which it so laboriously moves. And such expression as the following, though not un-Shakespearian, is hardly quarried from the soundest material in Shakespeare-for, after all, Shakespeare was a euphuist now and then :— Why fed we from one fountain? drew one sun? Why were our mothers branches of one stem, if that same nearness Were father to this distance, and that one Vaunt courier to this double, if affection Living slew love, and sympathy hewed out The bosom-sepulchre of sympathy?
But really it is well for us, the poet's elect lovers, to remember that he once had faults, however few he may now retain; for the perverse generation who dance not when the poet pipes to them, nor mourn when he weeps, have turned upon Tenny- the poet has displayed so pre-eminently
son with the cry that he "is all fault who has no fault at all"- they would have us regard him as a kind of Andrea del Sarto, ablameless" artistic "monster," a poet of unimpeachable technical skill, but keeping a certain dead level of moderate merit. It is as well to be reminded that this at all events is false. The dawn of his young art was beautiful; but the artist had all the generous faults of youthful genius - excess, vision confused with gorgeous color and predominant sense, too palpable artifice of diction, indistinctness of articulation in the outline, intricately woven cross-lights flooding the canvas, defect of living interest; while Coleridge said that he began to write poetry without an ear for metre. Neither Adeline, Madeline, nor Eleanore are living portraits, though Eleanore is gorgeously painted. The "Ode to Memory" has isolated images of rare beauty, but it is kaleidoscopic in effect; the fancy is playing with loose foam-wreaths, rather than the imagination "taking things by the heart." But our great poet has gone beyond these. He has
Yet "Mariana" had the virtue, which
since, of concentration. Every subtle touch enhances the effect he intends to deserted woman, whose hope is nearly produce, that of the desolation of the extinguished; nature hammering a fresh nail into her coffin with every innocent aspect or movement. Beautiful too are "Love and Death" and "The Poet's
Mind;" while in "The Poet" we have the oft-quoted line,
Dower'd with the hate of hate, the scorn of
The love of love.
Mr. G Brimley was the first, I believe, to point out the distinctive peculiarity of Lord Tennyson's treatment of landscape. It is treated by him dramatically; that is to say, the details of it are selected so as to be interpretative of the particular mood or emotion he wishes to represent. Thus in the two Marianas, they are painted with the minute distinctness appropriate to the morbid and sickening observation of the lonely woman, whose attention is distracted by no cares, pleasures, or sat