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drawings of objects of natural history, as likeness, which to the filial and parental exhibited in the solar microscope. heart must become a precious possession.
If the solar pencil fails in its delineations These observations, which apply princiof female beauty, or of the human counte- pally to the Talbotype, were at one time nance when lighted up with joy and glad- especially applicable to the Daguerreotype ness, or beaming with the expression of portraits, when the sitter sat long, and feeling or intelligence, it yet furnishes to when a pallid whiteness characterized all its the domestic circle one of its most valued productions. The improvement of the art, acquisitions. The flattering representa- however, in the shortness of the sitting, in tions of the portrait-painter, which delight the tone of light and shadow, and the prous for awhile, lose year after year their like- cess of coloring the picture, has been so ness to the living original, till time has ob- great that the Daguerreotype portraits literated the last fading trace of the resem- have all the beauty of the finest miniatures, blance. The actual view of the time-worn and are at least faithful if not flatterreality overbears the recollection of early ing representations of female beauty.* beauty, and the work of the painter, though The Talbotype will, we doubt not, make it be a valuable production of art, has lost the same start towards perfection; and its domestic charm. In the faithful picture when a fine grained paper shall be made, by the sun, on the contrary, time adds but and a more sensitive process discovered, we to the resemblance. The hue of its cheek' shall have Talbotype portraits the size of never grows pale. Its unerring outline life, embodying the intellectual expression changes neither with age nor with grief, and as well as the physical form of the human the grave and sombre, and perchance un- countenance.f gainly, picture grows even into a flattering
In selecting Mrs. Hemans as our first spe-, more? Secondly, because the premise is cimen of Female Authors, we did so avow- granted—that woman has not-does the edly, because she seemed to us the most conclusion follow, that woman cannot exfeminine writer of the day. We now select cogitate an argument as great as the “ PrinMrs. Browning for the opposite reason, that cipia,” or build up a rhyme as lofty as the she is, or at least is said by many to be,
“Paradise Lost?” Would it not have the most masculine of our female writers. been as wise for one who knew Milton only
To settle the respective spheres and cali- as the Milton of “Lycidas” and “ Arbres of the male and the female mind is cades,” to have contended that he was one of the most difficult of philosophical incapable of a great epic poem? And is problems. To argue, merely, that because there nothing in Madame De Stael, in the mind of woman has never hitherto pro- Rahel the Germaness, in Mary Somerville, duced a “ Paradise Lost,” or a “Principia,” it is therefore for ever incapable of * As examples of the perfection of Engravings producing similar masterpieces, seems to us from Daguerreotype portraits, we may mention
those of the Duke of Wellington and Dr. Chalmers, unfair, for various reasons. In the first
from Daguerreotypes executed by M. Claudet. place, how many ages elapsed e'er the male
† Our scientific readers will find a very interestmind realized such prodigies of intellectual ing section on the literature of the chemical rays, achievement? And do not they still stand Litterratur der chemischen lichtstrahlen, by Dr. Karunparalleled and almost unapproached ? sten in the Fortschritt der Physik im Jahre 1845 :
Dargestellt von der physikalischen Gesellschaft zu Ber. And were it not as reasonable to assert that lin
Redigirt von Dr. G. KARSTEN, pp. 226–298. man as that woman can renew them no Berlin, 1897.
and even in Mary Wollstonecraft, to sug- peculiar weakness, are all but female. And gest the idea of heights, fronting the very whatever may be said of the effects of culpeaks of the Principia and the Paradise, to ture, in deadening the genius of man, we which woman may yet attain? Thirdly, are mistaken if it has not always had the has not woman understood and appreciated contrary effect upon that of woman (where the greatest works of genius as fully as man? do we find a female Bloomfield or Burns ?) Then may she in time equal them; for what so that, on entering on the far more highly is true appreciation but the sowing of a civilized periods which are manifestly apgerm in the mind, which shall ultimately proaching, she will but be breathing the bear similar fruit ? There is nothing, says atmosphere calculated to nourish and inviGodwin, which the human mind can con- gorate, instead of weakening and chilling ceive, which it cannot execute ; we may her mental life. · Our admirable friend, add, there is nothing the human mind can Mr. De Quincey, has, we think, conceded understand which it cannot equal. Fourth- even more than we require, in granting ly, let us never forget that woman, as to (see his paper on Joan of Arc) that woman intellectual progress, is in a state of in- can die more nobly than man. For whether fancy. Changed as by malignant magic, is the writing or the doing of a great tranow into an article of furniture, and now gedy the higher achievement ? Poor the into the toy of pleasure, she is only as yet attitude even of Shakspeare, penning the undergoing a better transmigration, and fire-syllables of Macbeth, to that of Joan of “timidly expanding into life.”
Arc, entering into the flames as into her Almost all that is valuable in Female wedding suit. What comparison between Authorship has been produced within the the face inflamed of a Mirabeau or a Challast half-century, that is, since the female mers, as they thundered ; and the blush on was generally recognised to be an intel- the cheek of Charlotte Corday, still extant, lectual creature ; and if she has, in such a as her head was presented to the people ? short period, so progressed, what demi- And who shall name the depicter of the Mahometan shall venture to set bounds to death of Beatrice Cenci; with Madame her future advancement? Even though we Roland, whose conduct on the scaffold should grant that woman, more from her might make one in “ love with death ?” If bodily constitution than her mental, is in- to die nobly demand the highest concentraferior to man, and that man, having got, tion of the moral, intellectual, and even shall probably keep, his start of centuries, artistic powers—and if woman has par erwe see nothing to prevent woman overtak- cellence exemplified such a concentration, ing, and outstripping with ease, his present there follows a conclusion to which we furthest point of intellectual progress. We should be irresistibly led, were it not that do not look on such productions as Lear,” we question the minor proposition in the and the “ Prometheus Vinctus,” with the argument—we hold that man has often as despair wherewith the boy who has leaped fully as woman risen to the dignity of death, up in vain to seize, regards ever after the and met him, not as a vassal, but as a moon and the stars ; they are, after all, the superior. masonry of men, and not the architecture of.. To say that Mrs. Browning has more of the gods; and if man may surpass, why the man than any female writer of the may
not woman, taken out of his side," period, may appear rather an equivocal his gentle alias, equal them?
compliment; and its truth even may be Of woman, we may say, at least, that questioned. We may, however, be perthere are already provinces where her power mitted to say, that she has more of the is incontested and supreme. And in pro-heroine than her compeers. Hers is a high portion as civilization advances, and as the heroic nature, which adopts for the motto darker and fiercer passions which constitute at once of its life and its poetry, “ Perfect the fera natura subside, in the lull of that through suffering.” Shelley says :milder day, the voice of woman will become
"Most wretched men more audible, exert a wider magic, and be
Are cradled into poetry by wrong: as the voice of spring to the opening year. They learn in suffering what they teach in song." We stay not to prove that the sex of genius is feminine, and that those poets who are But wrong is not always the stern schoolmost profoundly impressing our young Bri- mistress of song. There are sufferings tish minds, are those who, in tenderness springing from other sources—from intense and sensibility-in peculiar power, and in sensibility-from bodily ailment—from the
loss of cherished objects, which also find in hot complained of neglect nor of injury at poetry their natural vent. And we do all. But she has acknowledged herself inthink that such poetry, if not so powerful, spired by the genius of suffering. And this is infinitely more pleasing and more in- seems to have exerted divers influences upon structive than that which is inspired by real her poetry. It has, in the first place, taught or imaginary grievance. The turbid tor- her to rear for herself a spot of transcenrent is not the proper mirror for reflecting dental retreat, a city of refuge in the clouds. the face of nature ; and none but the moody Scared away from her own heart, she has and the discontented will seek to see in it soared upwards, and found a rest elsewhere. an aggravated and distorted edition of their To those flights of idealism in which she own gloomy brows. The poetry of wrong indulges, to those distant and daring themes is not the best and most permanent. It was which she selects, she is urged less, we not wrong alone that excited, though it think, through native tendency of mind, unquestionably directed, the course of than to fill the vast vacuity of a sick and Dante's and Milton's vein. The poetry of craving spirit. This is not peculiar to her. Shakspeare's wrong is condensed in his son. It may be called, indeed, the Retreat of the nets—the poetry of his forbearance and for- Ten Thousand; though strong and daring giveness, of his gratitude and his happiness, must be those that can successfully accomis in his dramas. The poetry of Pope's plish it. Only the steps of sorrow—we had wrong (a scratch from a thorn hedge !) is almost said only the steps of despair-can in his "
Dunciad,” not in his “Rape of climb such dizzy heights. The healthy and the Lock.” The poetry of Wordsworth's the happy mind selects subjects of a healthy wrong is in his “Prefaces,” not in his and a happy sort, and which lie within the “ Excursion.” The poetry of Byron's sphere of every-day life and every day wrong is in those deep curses which some thought. But for minds which have been times disturb the harmony of his poems; wrung and riven, there is a similar attracand that of Shelley's in the maniacal scream tion in gloomy themes, as that which leads which occasionally interrupts the pæans of them to the side of dark rivers, to the heart his song. But all these had probably been of deep forests, or into the centre of waste as great, or greater poets, had no wrong glens. Step forth, ye giant children of befallen them, or had it taught them ano- Sorrow and Genius, that we may tell your ther lesson, than either peevishly to pro- names, and compute your multitudes. claim, or furiously to resent it.
First, there is the proud thundershod Mrs. Browning has suffered, so far as we Æschylean family, all conceived in the are aware, no wrong from the age. She “ eclipse” of that most powerful of Grecian might, indeed, for some time have spoken spirits. Then follows the vast skeleton of of neglect. But people of genius should " De Rerum natura,” the massive product now learn the truth, that neglect is not of the grief of Lucretius wrong; or if it be, it is a wrong in which
“Who cast his plummet down the broad they often set the example. Neglecting Deep universe, and said, No God; the tastes of the majority, the majority Finding no bottom, he denied avenges itself by neglecting them. Stand- • Divinely the divine, and died, ing and singing in a congregation of the
Chief poet upon Tiber side."
Mrs. BROWNING, deaf, they are senseless enough to complain that they are not heard. Or should they There stalk forward, next in the procession, address the multitude, and should the mul- the kings, priests, popes, prelates, and the titude not listen, it never strikes them that yet guiltier and mightier shapes of Dante's the fault is their own ; they ought to have Hell. Next, the Satan of Milton advances, compelled attention. Orpheus was listened champing the curb, and regarding even to: the thunder is : even the gentlest spring Prometheus as no mate for his proud and shower commands its audience. If neglect lonely misery. Then comes, cowering and means wilful winking at claims which are shivering on, the timid Castaway of Cowper. felt, it is indeed a wrong; but a wrong He is followed by Byron's heroes, a haughty seldom if ever committed, and which com- yet melancholy troop, with conscious madplaint will not cure-if it means, merely, ness animating their gestures and glarignorance of claims which have never been ing in their eyes. The Anciente Marepresented or enforced, where and whose is nere succeeds, now fearfully reverting his the criminality ?
looks, and now fixing his glittering eye To do Mrs. Browning justice, she has forward on a peopled and terrible vacancy.
And, lastly, a frail shadowy and shifting the dainties of the heavens—where celestial shape, looking now like Laon, now like plants grew under the same sun with terLionel, and like Prometheus, proclaims that restrial blossoms, and where the cadences Alastor himself is here, the Benjamin in of seraphic music filled up the pauses in the this family of tears.
voice of God. Far different, indeed, is “ Whither shall I wander," seems Mrs. Mrs. Browning's from Dryden's disgusting Browning to have said to herself, "to-day inroad into Eden-as different, almost, as to escape from my own sad thoughts, and the advent of Raphael from the encroachto lose, to noble purpose, the sense of my ment of Satan. But the poem professed to own identity? I will go eastward to Eden, stand in the lustre of the fiery sword, and where perfection and happiness once dwelt. this should have burnt up some of its con; I will pass, secure in virtue, the far flashing ceits, and silenced some of its meaner minsword of the cherubim ; I will knock at the strelsies. And all such attempts we regard door and enter. I will lie down in the for- precisely as we do the beauties of the Aposaken garden; I will pillow my head where crypha, when compared to the beauties of the Milton pillowed his, on the grass cool with Bible. They are as certainly beauties, but the shadow of the Tree of Life ; and I will beauties of an inferior order-they are flowdream a vision of my own, of what this ers, but not the roses which grew along the place once was, and of what it was to leave banks of the Four Rivers, or caught in it for the wilderness.” And she has passed their crimson cups the first sad drops wept the waving sword, and she has entered the at committing of the mortal sin.” awful garden, and she has dreamed a dream,
" One blossom of Eden outblooms them all." and she has, awaking, told it as a “Drama of Exile.” It were vain to deny that the Having accepted from Mrs. Browning's dream is one full of genius—that it is en- own hand sadness, or at least seriousness, tirely original; and that it never once, as the key to her nature and genius, let us except by antithesis, suggests a thought of continue to apply it in our future remarks. Milton's more massive and palpable vision. This at once impels her to, and fits her for, Her paradise is not a garden, it is a flush the high position she has assumed, utteron a summer evening sky. Her Adam is ing the “ Cry of the Human.” And whom not the fair large-fronted man; with all would the human race prefer as their earthly manlike qualities meeting unconsciously in advocate, to a high-souled and gifted wohis full clear nature—he is a German meta- man? What voice but the female voice physician. Her Eve is herself, an amiable could so softly and strongly, so eloquently and gifted blue-stocking, not the mere and meltingly, interpret to the ear of him meek motherly woman, with what Aird whose name is Love, the deep woes and beautifully calls the “ broad, ripe, serene, deeper wants of poor humanity's afflicted and gracious composure of love about her." will, struggling in vain with ruthless desHer spirits are neither cherubim nor sera- tiny ?” Some may quarrel with the title, phim-neither knowing nor burning ones—“The Human," as an affectation; but, in they are fairies, not, however, of the Puck the first place, if it be, it is a very small or Ariel species, but of a new metaphysical one, and a small affectation can never furbreed; they do not ride on, but split hairs; nish matter for a great quarrel. Secondly, they do not dance, but reason ; or if they we are not disposed to make a man, and dance, it is on the point of a needle, in still less a woman, an offender for a word; cycles and epicycles of mystic and mazy and thirdly, we fancy we can discern a good motion. There is much beauty and power reason for her use of the term. What is it in passages of the poem, and a sweet inar- that is crying aloud through her voice to ticulate infinite melody, like the fabled cry Heaven? It is not the feral or fiendish of mandrakes in the lyrics. Still we do not element in human nature ? That has found see the taste of turning the sweet open an organ in Byron-an echo in his bellowgarden of. Eden into a maze—we do not ing verse. It is the human element in man approve of the daring precedent of trying -bruised, bleeding, all but dead under the conclusions with Milton on his own high pressure of evil circumstances, under the field of victory-and we are, we must say, ten thousand tyrannies, mistakes, and dejealous of all encroachments upon that fair lusions of the world, that has here ceased Paradise which has so long painted itself any longer to be silent, and is speaking in
pon our imaginations—where all the luxu- a sister's voice to Time and to Eternityries of earth mingled in the feast with all to Earth and Heaven. The poem may
truly be called a prayer for the times, and I was St. Simonianism? What else is Young no collect in the English liturgy surpasses Englandism? And what else are the it in truth and tenderness, though some hopes built by many now upon certain permay think its tone daring to the brink of fected schemes of education, which, freely blasphemy, and piercing almost to anguish translated, just mean the farther sharpen
Gracefully from this proud and giddying, and furnishing of knaves and fools; pinnacle, where she had stood as the con- and now upon a “ Coming Man,” who is scious and commissioned representative of to supply every deficiency, reconcile every the human race, she descends to the door of contradiction, and right every wrong. Yes, the factory, and pleads for the children in- he will come mounted on the red-roan closed in that crowded and busy hell. The horse of sweet Ella's vision ! "cry of the factory children” moves you, Shadowed by the same uniform seriousbecause it is no poem at all-it is just a ness are the only two poems of hers which long sob, veiled and stifled as it ascends we shall further at present mention-we through the hoarse voices of the poor beings mean her.“ Vision of Poets,” and her themselves. Since we read it we “Geraldine's Courtship.” The aim of the scarcely pass a factory without seeming to first is to present, in short compass, and hear this psalm issuing from the machinery, almost in single lines, the characteristics of as if it were protesting against its own the greater poets of past and present times. abused powers. But, to use the language of This undertaking involved in it very cona writer quoted a little before, " The Fairy siderable difficulties. For, in the first Queen is dead, shrouded in a yard of cotton place, most great poets possess more than stuff made by the spinning-jenny, and by one distinguishing peculiarity. To select a that other piece of new improved machinery, single differential point is always hazardous, the souls and bodies of British children, for and often deceptive. 2dly, After you have which death alone holds the patent." From selected the prominent characteristic of Mrs. Browning, perhaps the most imagina- your author, it is no easy task to express it tive and intellectual of British females, down in a word, or in a line. To compress thus to a pale-faced, thick-voieed, degraded, an Iliad in a nutshell, to imprison a Giant hardly human, factory girl, what a long and genie in an iron pot, is more a feat of precipitous descent! But though hardly, magic than an act of criticism. 3dly, It is she is human ; and availing herself of the especially difficult to express the differentia small, trembling, but eternally indestructi- of a writer in a manner at once easy, and ble link of connexion implied in a common natural, and picturesque, and poetical. In nature, our authoress can identify herself the very terms of such an attempt as Mrs. with the cause, and incarnate her genius in Browning makes, it is implied that she not the person of the poor perishing child. only defines, but describes the particular How unspeakably more affecting is a plead- writer. But to curdle up a character into ing in behalf of a particular portion of the one noble word, to describe Shakspeare, race, than in behalf of the entire family! for instance, in such compass, what sunMrs. Browning might have uttered a hun- syllable shall suffice; or must we renew dred “ cries of the human,” and proved her- Byron's wish ? self only a sentimental artist, and awakened
“ Could I unbosom and embody now little save an echo dying away in distant That which is most within me; could I wreak elfin laughter; but the cry of a factory My thought upon expression ! child, coming through a woman's, has
And that one word were Lightning, I would speak; to a nation's heart of hearts.
But as it is I live and die unheard, Although occupied thus with the sterner With a most voiceless thought, sheathing it as a wants and sorrows of society, she is not sword.” devoid of interest in its minor miseries and
Accordingly, this styte of portraiture disappointments. She can sit down beside (shall we call it, as generally pursued, the little Ella (the miniature of Alnaschar) | thumb-nail style ?) has seldom been proand watch the history of her day-dream secuted with much success. Ebenezer beside the swan's nest among the reeds, Elliot has a copy of verses after this fashion, and see in her disappointment a type of not quite worthy of him. What, for exhuman hopes in general, even when tower ample, does the following line tell us of ing and radiant as summer clouds. Ella's
Shelley ? dream among the reeds! What else was Godwin's Political Justice ? What else " Ill-fated Shelley, vainly great and brave."