is made to subserve modern feeling and purpose. These qualities have made them popular, and if they do not also together make up poetry, it is not easy to say what does. Still, Macaulay cannot be called a poet in the broader sense, for he was but a brief sojourner, a tourist in the realms of song; his native soll and natural habitat was prose.

Very much apart from his fellows, and that owing to a mental loneliness which was to him half a creed, worked Coventry Patmore. A speculator almost fantastic upon spiritual things; a mystic theorist upon life and conduct; proud and soaring, with a touch of the saint in him, and a snap of the eagle, too; manly in talk, and at times almost tyrannous in attitude; such he was, and such he would have claimed to be. His poetry was gentle and refined to a fault, and it spent itself so largely upon the delineation of over-delicate shades of feeling, and within so circumscribed a range of scenery and incident, that it was voted tasteless by the multitude. But he was a poet of a high order. If constricted, he was from the first conscious of his limitations, and when he had exhausted the vein which he set himself to work, he ceased to produce altogether. Then the mental solitude in which he had long elected to live brought about in him something of that sterility which comes of isolation. "The Angel in the House" is full of beauty; so are "Amelia" and "Tamerton Church Tower." In the last two the influence of Coleridge is traceable, whom, when at his best and highest, and that unhappily was but seldom, Patmore was wont to extol. "The Unknown Eros" lacks charm, because it is without that explicability which, after all, is essential to charm. But the character of Jane, Frederick Graham's humble little wife, in the "Angel in the House," forms one of the clearest

and most pathetic studies in modern fiction, prose or verse.

An episode in the literary firmament of the "fifties" was the rising and setting of Alexander Smith. That a young man should have written such a first book, and afterwards nothing half so good, was a bewilderment. Perhaps, however, we do not allow a sufficient analogy between man's mind and material phenomena. A morning dawns blazing with sunlight and the beauties that are born of it; long ere noon there comes an eclipse of mist and gloom, and the day never recovers itself. So it is sometimes with genius; it dawns, flushes, and dies out in dulness. But was Alexander Smith's vein genius after all? A late re-reading of "A Life Drama" begets doubt. Was there more than a great receptiveness? Is not the whole thing a series of echoes crossing and recrossing one another, now of Keats, now of Byron, and now of Tennyson? Was there more than an extreme facility of picking up and imitating methods of fancy, moods of feeling, turns of expression-in fact, the tricks of the poet's trade? Whatever it was, it was well done enough to deceive the very elect, not excepting the last Master left alive from whom the inspiration of imitation came.

As we float down the stream let us not forget to turn our boat into the pleasant backwater whereby dwells the simple, genuine, unambitious, and unobtrusive Barnes. Local he was, even to the dialect which makes him difficult to many and impossible to more; but to the few who overcome he is undeniably precious. After all, Theocritus was provincial in speech and subject, and Wordsworth eminently local; and Barnes had some of the qualities of both those masters. Like them, he saw the poetry in rural poverty, and was not above being the evangelist of rural life, manners, hu

mor, and feeling. He saw with, felt with, jested with, wept with the rustics of Dorsetshire, just as did Theocritus with the peasants of Sicily and Peloponnesus, and Wordsworth—except the jesting-with the "statesmen" and farm-laborers of Cumberland and Westmoreland. He had not, indeed, the genius of the other two; but, all the same, we take leave to doubt whether either of them ever wrote a better little poem than "Woak Hill."

We now come to two poets, William Morris and Rossetti, whom we class together because they both represent that yearning "reculer pour mieux sauter" which started the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood in painting, and such poems as their own in literature. As painters and poets both, they illustrate each phase of the movement. We should be unaffectedly sorry for the person who could tell us after trial that he did not enjoy "The Life and Death of Jason" and "The Earthly Paradise," or the songs and ballads in Morris's first volume. How "The Tune of Seven Towers," "The Eve of Crecy," "The Sailing of the Sword," and a dozen other sweet things hold one's memory! And what a promiseperhaps not quite fulfilled-was there in the fragment called "Sir Peter Harpdon's End." It may be said that all his poems, great and small, are but reproductions, even if they can be trusted to be that, of gone forms of life and feeling, and even of affectations that were superseded by a healthier renascence. It may be that there is too much of what we may dub Botticellism in the composition of Morris, as there was in that of many of those who felt and worked with him. We inay blame him for never having extricated himself from his medievalism, for having "reculé" but never having "sauté." But what he has given us is very beautiful, and, for ourselves, we accept it with gratitude. We acknowl

edge the presence of the pearls, and we decline, because they may not be altogether fit for daily food, to wish that they had been barleycorns. To our thinking the worst charge against Morris is his pessimism, his hate and dread of the inevitable end, and the hopelessness with which he persists in . looking on life as the vestibule of death.

If genius might be said to consist in doing what a man sets himself to do surpassingly well, as well perhaps as it could have been done, then Rossetti had genius of the first order. But if it be truer to say that genius consists in doing with supreme excellence things that are of enduring benefit to mankind, then Rossetti must be relegated to a lower level. We all remember how we were dazzled by "The Blessed Damozel," "Sister Helen," "Troy Town," and the Sonnets. Nor have we forgotten "The White Ship," "Rose Mary," or "The King's Tragedy." For "The House of Life," in spite of its fine handicraft, and its delicate shades of thought and feeling. we have a slighter sense of gratitude. Throughout almost all of Rossetti's work, however, there runs one and the same unpleasant influence, the sense of moral and nervous decadence. We think that this must be confessed. though we are far from admitting the charge to the extent to which it is urged by an eminent foreign critic. Still the canker is there. It is a vice akin to the pernicious theory of Art for Art's sake, which seems to us to be the begetter of things abominable in literature, sculpture, and painting alike. We may all enjoy Rossetti's work from "The Blessed Damozel" down to "Jenny"-alas, we are but mortal and are prone to feast where we should not-but how many really wholesome dishes has he offered us besides "The King's Tragedy"?

Each of the gifted women who wrote

their novels

under the names of George Eliot, and Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell, yielded to the charm which compels so large a troop of sensitive natures. In "Jubal" and "The Spanish Gypsy" George Eliot made two serious attempts to justify a claim to the coveted name of poet. Of "Jubal" nothing need be written. As to "The Spanish Gypsy" one may permit oneself an expression of regret that instead of a story manacled in verse which is seldom more than tolerable, which never soars, and is too often pedestrian, the writer did not use her materials to give us, as she might have done, in her native fashion, a glorious novel in admirable prose. George Eliot, posing as a poet, provides a literary analogue to the Apterix among birds: she has everything but the wings, and cannot fly. As to the verse of the sisters Brontë, it was on its first appearance not unnaturally overvalued. None of us could forget the novels, and but few of us were not aware in some measure of the sadness and dreary romance of the three lives. Sympathy often passes into admiration, and in many a loving heart the two are confused from the first. But after a careful re-perusal, it is impossible to see much more in the collection than might have been achieved by dozens of cleverish daughters of rural clergymen; and, strangely enough, Currer Bell's pieces seem to be the least meritorious.

Both Jean Ingelow and Miss Rossetti have done more interesting and distinctive work. The first named, especially, treats from time to time her delicately chosen and daintily handled subjects with a gentleness and womanly grace that go far to subdue the reader. For instance, overprolonged as it is, "High Tide on the Coast of Lincolnshire" is ી monument of pathos, and instinct with the dreary life of the people of the fens.


If George Meredith were as victorious over us with his verse as he is with his prose, he would be the most triumphant "of our Conquerors." as a poet he falls into one of two pits: he either loses his idiosyncrasy, and becoming clear he is tame, or else, beginning to speak in his own tongue, he is untamable. We bear with him in his prose because what his style partly veils is so splendid. His wit, his wisdom, his plastic power and his own joy in it, all gleam out on us through the interjected photosphere of his perversities. These we forgive to him, and only greet an unusually tough paragraph or chapter with an affectionate oath. But though we can bear that our prose should be somewhat over purée, we must have the turtle of our poetry clear; so we say to him, we hope not ungratefully, "Introduce us to more Egoists, let Richard Feverel undergo fresh ordeals, make Shagpat shave himself afresh, negotiate for us another Marriage however Amazing, but let 'Modern Love' and "The Joys of Earth' alone."

Probably few poets of any age, certainly none among our moderns, have started upon the path of fame with so fair a promise as that which was given by "Atalanta in Calydon." Mr. Swinburne took us by storm. The youth who could present a famous but very difficult old myth with the fearlessness and good faith which illumined his poem, and who was capable of writing the best passages in its choruses, to say nothing of a great deal of the blank verse, fully justified the acclamations which greeted him. If Mr. Swinburne has not developed quite commensurately, it is not because he was chilled, like Keats, by want of welcome. There was no frost in his May. Even the wayward drift and over-frankness in treatment of many pieces among his "Poems and Ballads" were condoned far more handsomely than he should

have hoped. If some of us felt a first fine shade of disappointment creep over us with "Chastelard," which deepened with "Bothwell" and "Mary Stuart," it was not that what was done was not well done-for it was all wondrously well done-but it was that a writer so splendidly endowed should not have cared to treat something nobler, to do something still better worth his doing. Had not the world had already a little too much of the frivolity, intrigue, levity, moral squalor, cruelty, and crime of Mary Stuart and her Court? We grieved that one who might have been among the most picturesque of teachers, as the "Songs before Sunrise" testified, should tend towards subsidence into a raker of dead rose-leaves from the bowers of light ladies, a chronicler of their frailties, and of their sufferings at the hands of paramours whose deeds and natures were even more unsavory than their


Such feelings were not relieved by the appearance of "Tristram and Iseult." It was now too clear that Mr. Swinburne had become by habitual preference a treater of such themes, and that the world must make up its mind to suffer by his choice. One exception we are bound to admit: "Marino Faliero" is a great subject grandly handled. Since those days he has done little more than disport himself with his powers. He has tossed metre about as a Japanese juggler spins plates or keeps sham butterflies upon the wing. He has loved to elaborate an idea through a score of complicated stanzas very much as an over-ingenious musical composer tortures a theme through endless variations. And all these things he does with an exuberance and a faultless dexterity which bewilder and charm us for the moment, but upon which he must pardon us if we reflect with a genuine regret. He has suffered, like most great people, much from epithets. He has been called

cometlike, erratic, meteoric; but these hardly supply a befitting image. He does not strike us as lawless, or out of the way, except in having been very brilliant. He is rather represented, to our thinking, by a star that floats suddenly into the astronomer's ken, shows for a while as of the first magnitude, arousing a wild surmise, a hope, a prophecy, but slowly dies back to a moderate though still considerable splendor, and leaves the disappointed observer saddened as well as silent, like Keats' sailors upon their peak in Darien,

With Mr. Swinburne the roll of the masters is closed. But there are many names, early and late, which deserve record. There is Bishop Heber, whose "Bluebeard" is, with the exception of "The Ingoldsby Legends," the best comic poem ever written by a clergyman. There is Bailey, of whose death at a ripe age we have lately heard, and in whose "Festus" and "The Age" the display of his own literary ambition is perhaps, after all, in spite of their mo mentary acceptance, the chief effect. Fitzgerald, the translator of Omar Khayyam's "Rubáiyát," must not be forgotten, though his original work may have passed out of remembrance. There is, too, the late T. E. Brown, the Manxman, a great scholar and tutor, whom a long generation of Clifton schoolboys remember with affection and reverence, and whom a grateful group of readers still thank for his "Fo'c's'le Yarns," "Manx Witch," and "The Doctor"; genuine pictures, all, of the homely island life and scenery amid which he was born and nurtured. There is Sir Alfred Lyall, whose masculine "Verses written in India," make us wish that there were more of them. There is Professor Courthope, whose "Paradise of Birds" might well have been followed by something simile aut secundum. Sir Lewis Morris has been a voluminous writer, and a careful and

conscientious worker. He is, perhaps, the most fruitful and successful of the Tennysonians. His "Epic of Hades," which introduced him, and his "Gwen," a very charming poem, have won him a title to respectful mention among Victorian poets. Prominent among all such in gentle grace of idyllic work is Mr. Robert Bridges. His shorter poems seem to us far his best. In spite of the superiority of his "Return of Ulysses" to another much-praised poem on the same subject, the verdict upon him must be that he falls back beaten from effort upon a large scale. But if any. body who does not yet know him should wish to try the flavor of his smaller fruits, let him take the first taste of them in the delightful, but unnamed, poem which begins

There is a hill beside the silver Thames.

We shall be surprised if he does not devour the basketful.

Lord De Tabley's half-dozen volumes are, unfortunately for the many, known only to the few. He had not those qualities which provoke general acceptance. One is tempted to associate him with Arnold, though it is not difficult to differentiate the two. De Tabley could not have written "Thyrsis," perhaps, nor "Empedocles on Etna," though neither subject would have been alien to his genius; but Arnold, on the other hand, would have been incapable of "Orestes," and still more certainly so of "Jaël," that strangest and most original of monologues. Seldom has a sequel to a long-accepted myth been so completely justified. We feel that the lonely woman who in a momentary flush of resistless patriotism dared to slay the sleeping Sisera. whom she had for pity entertained, must have repented of her deed; and seldom has there been a nobler study of passion than De Tabley's of the remorse with which he has dowered her.

His volumes are full of fine things, and we could only wish, not so much for his fame's sake, as for that of the general spread of enjoyment, that the number of those qualified to judge of them were larger than it is.

Three men have been conspicuous during the nineteenth century as writers of "sacred" poetry-Cardinal Newman, Father Faber, and Mr. Keble. There would be an obvious risk in an attempt to judge them by what is after all bound to be a secular standard. They are all eminently sectarian. Let those who prefer either of them to George Herbert do so. For ourselves, we are content with the elder poet. Their piety is their enticement, and Herbert's has an element of universality which theirs lacks. Once we recollect catching in Mr. Keble the true lyric ring. It is in the opening stanzas of the lines written for one of the later Sundays after Trinity, and which begin

Red o'er the forest peers the setting


But even these are but a sweet echo, which would hardly have taken shape but for Gray's "Elegy."

A word or two must be said for those whose mission has been to relax the strung bow for us, who have had no lesson to teach beyond the pleasant one that life need not be all labor, and who in teaching this have laughed with us out of working hours. James and Horace Smith were poets. "A Tale of Drury Lane," that epic of the Fire Hose, is as much a poem outside "Marmion" as Pope's "Iliad" is one apart from that of Homer. Aytoun and Theodore Martin created a new Campeador in Don Fernando Gomersalez, and added a startling sequel to the deeds of St. George in the exploit of Mr. Philip Slingsby. Those who have simmered over the neatness and classic smartness of Calverley have owed a like

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