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It would have been as wonderful, as in consistent, as preposterous, if the authors of "Zaïre" and Faliero' had paid due tribute to Shakespeare, as if the authors of the Cenci and "Le Roi s'amuse" had not. Envy is keen of scent, and incompetence may be quick of eye: the impotent malignity of Byron was seldom personally mistaken in the object of its rabid but innocuous attack. Rogers, whom he flattered in public and lampooned in secret, did work perhaps bad enough at its worst to deserve the dishonor of such praises, and certainly good enough at its best to deserve the honor of such insults, as were showered on his name by his honest and high-minded admirer. Campbell, too, wrote much that prevents us from wondering at Byron's professions of reverence for the author of such lucubrations as the, 'Pleasures of Hope;" yet it is inexplicable that the author of two out of the three great lyric poems in the language inspired by love of England should not also have been honored by a stab in the back from the alternate worshipper and reviler of Napoleon hatred of his country in one mood, and envy of his rival in the other, might have been expected to instigate his easily excitable insolence to some characteristic form of outrage. Possibly the sense of Campbell's popularity may have made him cautious: he did not, except in early youth, venture openly to attack any but unpopular figures in the world of letters. These. however, are not the names to be properly set against Byron's; though very decidedly less improper for such comparison than those three which Mr. Arnold has chosen for sacrifice at the shrine of paradox. Of the three which may with somewhat more show of reason be bracketed with the name of Byron, two must be rated above it as representative of qualities which according to Mr. Arnold's favorite canon would advance them to a higher rank in poetry than I should have been disposed to assign either to Crabbe, to Scott, or to Southey. The tragic power of Crabbe is as much above the reach of Byron as his singularly vivid though curiously limited insight into certain shades of character. All the ramping renegades and clattering corsairs that strut and fret
their hour on the boards of a facile and theatrical invention vanish into their natural nothingness if confronted with the homely horror of an indisputable personality such as that of the suspected parricide, alone in his fisher's boat at noon among the salt marshes: it would take many a high-stepping generation of Laras to match the terrible humility of Peter Grimes.* Peter Grimes.* And though, as Mr. Leslie Stephen has observed, the highest note of imagination may be wanting to the noble and forcible verses which reproduce in such distinctness of detail the delirious visions of a mind unhinged by passionate self-indulgence, yet the short-winged and short-winded fancy of Byron never rose near the height of actual and vivid perception attained by the author of Sir Eustace Grey." His dry catalogue of unimpressive horrors in the poem called “Darkness' is as far below the level of Crabbe in his tragic mood as the terrors of Crabbe are below the level of Dante's. If Wordsworth, as Shelley said in his haste, "had as much imagination as a pint-pot, I know not what fractional subdivision of a gill would not be more than adequate to represent the exact measure of Byron's. All his serious poetry put together is hardly worth—or, to say the very least, it can show nothing to be set aside-" that incomparable passage in Crabbe's "Borough, which" (according to Macaulay) "has made many a rough and cynical reader cry like a child ;" and indeed, though I am not myself so rough and cynical as ever to have experienced that particular effect from its perusal, it does seem to me impossible for any man at all capable of being touched through poetry by the emotions of terror and pity to read the
*Two lines put into the dying ruffian's mouth have a might of tragic truth for which if a writer of the order of Byron "would give all the substance of his house, it would utterly be contemned.' Shakespeare could not have bettered, and hardly any one lesser than Shakespeare could have matched, such a stroke of dreadful nature as this (the words being spoken of a dead father by a dying son):
He cried for mercy, which I kindly gave,
The deepest or the highest note ever struck by the hand of Byron would sound after that like a penny whistle after the trumpet of doomsday.
record of that dream in the condemned cell, with its exquisite realistic touches of sea side nature and tender innocent gladness, and not feel himself under the spell of a master tenfold more potent than Byron.
Culture, it should seem, cannot condescend to take any account of such humble claims as those of the simple old provincial clergyman whose homespun habit of obsolete and conventional style is the covering of, a rarer pathos and a riper humor than have often been devoted to the service of mere straightforward accuracy in study from the life which lay nearest to the student. But a writer whom even the culture which finds poetic satisfaction nowhere outside the range of Byron or of Wordsworth cannot pretend wholly to ignore, though it may dismiss as with a passing shrug his claims to be considered as a competitor with these-a writer for whom even Byron would seem to have been capable at times of something like manly respect and honest admiration-never failed to pay tribute alike to the tragic force and to the humorous simplicity of a poet reared under auspices the most opposite to those which had so happily fostered his own genius. Sir Walter Scott was neither a profound nor a pretentious critic-neither a refined nor an eccentric theorist but his judgments have always the now more than ever invaluable qualities of clearness and consistency. To ine, as to Mr. Arnold, his praise of Byron seems singularly ill judged and ridiculously ill-worded: yet it is at least more intelligible than that which would couple him with Wordsworth as a moral force or help toward a lucid and stimulating criticism of life. But in speaking of Crabbe the great northern master was speaking of one more within his own high range of practical sympathy-more allied in temper and in gifts to his own wider and more beneficent genius. And even while that genius was still in the main misdirected into verse, it showed almost as clearly as was later to be shown in prose its vast superiority to Byron's in grasp of human character and in command of noble sympathies. His English was often as slovenly as even Byron's; though never so vile in taste as the worst examples of this latter. On the
other hand, the language of Byron's metrical tales has undeniably far more point and force, far more terseness and pliancy combined, than the diffuse and awkward style of Scott's, full of lazy padding and clumsy makeshifts. But set almost any figure drawn by Scott beside almost any figure of Byron's drawing, and the very dullest eye will hardly fail to see the difference between a barber's dummy and a living man fresh from the hand of Velasquez or of God. Lambro is admirably described and introduced: Bertram Risingham is described in phrase rather conventional than choice, and introduced with: no circumstance of any special originality or distinction: but when Lambro appears in person on the stage of action, he is as utter a nullity as any of his brother or sister puppets: Bertram, however roughly sketched, is a figure alive to the very finger-tips. The difference, of course, has been often enough pointed out before now, and with memorable effect, especially, by a critic on whom Mr. Arnold is never weary of emptying the vials of his Attic scorn: but on this matter I must confess that I would rather be right with Lord Macaulay than wrong with Mr. Arnold. Of men, to judge from his writings, Byron knew nothing of women he knew that it was not difficult to wheedle those who were not unwilling to be wheedled. He also knew that excess of any kind entails a more or less violent and a more or less permanent reaction and here his philosophy of life subsided into tittering or snivelling silence. On all these points Scott is as far ahead of him as Shakespeare is ahead of Scott. A commonplace sermon does not cease to be commonplace because its doctrine is unorthodox, and cynical twaddle is none the less twaddle because of its cynicism. Scott is doubtless, as his French critics used to deplore, deficient in depth and intensity of passion; yet his passion too has more life and reality than Byron's. It is not enough for a writer to protest that his characters are bursting and burning with passion they must do something to second him-to make us feel and see that they are. And this is exactly what no Gulnare or Gulbeyaz of them all can do. The puppet begins to squeak, and we perceive at once the in
competence of the showman; in place of a dramatist we have a scene-painter. It follows that with all his blustering profession of experience and preparation for display Byron, when it comes to the point, proves to be really not a poet of passion at all. There is plenty of rant in his work, there is plenty of wantonness, and there is plenty of wit but Lord Tennyson has put more passion into the six little stanzas of a poein published at the age of twenty-four than could be distilled by compression out of all that Lord Byron ever wrote. In those six short stanzas, without effort, without pretence, without parade-in other words, without any of the component qualities of Byron's serious poetry-there is simple and sufficient expression for the combined and contending passions of womanly pride and rage, physical attraction and spiritual abhorrence, all the outer and inner bitterness and sweetness of hatred and desire, resolution and fruition and revenge. And as surely and as greatly as the author of this poem had almost at his starting distanced and defeated Byron as a painter of feminine passion, had Scott defeated and distanced him long before as painter of masculine action. And for this among other reasons, Scott, with all his many shortcomings in execution, with all his gaps and flaws and deficiencies and defects, must surely always retain the privilege assigned by Thackeray to Goldsmith-high as are doubtless Goldsmith's claims to that privilege--of being "the most beloved of English writers." Two names far higher than his will be more beloved as well as more honored by those who find their deepest delight in the greatest achievements of dramatic and lyric poetry but the lovers of this last will always be fewer, if more ardent, than the lovers of other and humbler, less absolute and essential forms of art; and though dramatic poetry, even at its highest pitch of imagination, appeals to a far wider and more complex audience, yet even Shakespeare, though less than Shelley, demands of the student who would know and love him something more than is common to all simple and healthy natures. But Sir Walter demands nothing of his reader beyond a fair average allowance of kindliness and
manhood: the man must be a very Carlyle who does not love and honor him. His popularity may fluctuate now and then with elder readers so much the worse for them it is sure always to right itself again in a little time but when it wanes among English boys and girls a doomsday will be dawning of which as yet there are most assuredly no signs or presages perceptible. Love of Scott, if a child has not the ill fortune to miss by some mischance the benefit of his generous influence, is certain to outlast all changes of interest and inclination, from the age when he divides a heart of six or seven with the owner's first pony to the age when affectionate gratitude has rooted in the adult heart a hundred names and associations of his engrafting, only less deep and dear than those implanted there by Shakespeare's very self. Almost any fault may well seem pardonable in such a benefactor as this his genius has the privilege of beauty such as Cleopatra's: for vilest things become themselves in him; so that the sternest republicans may bless him when he is most a royalist--yes, even a Georgian royalist-and men of the most scrupulous honor in questions of literary as well as other society may forgivingly overlook even his public association with libellers of private life and character, with conductors of such tainted publications as the Beacon and the Blackguard's Magazine-such "dogs and swine' as excite, in Mr. Browning's poem, the loathing and indignation of the very Ghetto: though then as now the writer and circulator of privately printed attacks on the personal reputation of any honorable man must have been considered by all men of honor as a person of character too degraded to be damaged even by the unanswerable charges of cowardice and lying -a rascal whose back would dishonor the hangman's lash, as his society would disgrace the keeper of a brothel; and though then as now the highest eminence in letters could neither have protected nor redeemed from the stain of an indelible ignominy, the plague-spot of an incurable disgrace, a name polluted by conscious and voluntary association with the name of so infamous a wretch. To such intercourse as this we need not imagine that Scott could
ever have descended: but the weapons of license and scurrility plied by some at least of his associates were so poisonous ly foul and cowardly that the one thing wanting to the perfection of their dishonor was the precaution of an abject and furtive semi-privacy. Something of indignation as well as regret we cannot choose but feel at the recollection that the hand which has bequeathed us such countless and priceless treasures should ever have pressed hands which had penned such villainies as defile the columns of the ruffianly political publications of his day: yet the most intoler
ant of moralists cannot feel toward him as all honest and loyal men must feel toward the writer of such a note as Byron addressed, in attempted self-exculpation, to the Consul-General at Venice in the spring of 1821-toward the coward who deliberately suppressed the evidence which would have proved him a traitor to friendship more dastardly and disloyal than ever selfishness has made of a man perhaps not originally or at all points ungenerous or malignant.-Nineteenth Century. To be concluded.)
OUR CHANCELLOR. SKETCHES FOR A HISTORICAL PICTURE. By Moritz Busch. Translated from the German by William Beatty Kingston, author of "William I., Emperor of Germany," etc. Two volumes in one. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons.
Among the picturesque and remarkable figures of the century probably the consensus of opinion will place Prince Bismarck the great founder and conservator of German unity as one of the chief. From the time when he began his career as a deputy in the. German Reichstag, he began to display those great qualities of audacity, mastery over men, readiness of resource and combination of flexibility and firmness which afterward led to such colossal results. The career of Prince Bismarck is too well known to make it desirable for us to sketch it even in outline. been such a part of the history of the age, he has been such an agent in the changes which have revolutionized the political and international relations of Europe, that it would be an insult to the intelligence of our readers to rehearse the story of his life. What concerns us chiefly now is to get some insight into the hidden machinery of his character by the light of the sketches and studies of Herr Moritz Busch, who seems to have been admitted in an humble way to the confidence of the great Chancellor, much as Samuel Johnson admitted Boswell to his. It goes without saying that the biographer or eulogist, as he may more properly be called, sees no possible flaw in his hero's character. Even those things which in others would be faults are metamorphosed into
virtues by these correlations. Herr Busch says that from 1870 to the present time he has had the best opportunities of studying his subject, and assuredly he reverses the proverb that the hero is no hero to his valet de chambre. In the first chapter he strikes the key-note of his book in thus describing the intellectual characteristics of Bismarck, in much of which, even those who dissent from them in their view
of Bismarck's mission will agree: "One of those mighty historical figures which make their appearance among us now and anon to guide the world into new paths, and to transform floating ideas and aspirations theretofore inanimate into living realities by absolute original procedures of their own. . . . We saw before us a perfectly correct calculation upon distinctly laid down premises, uninfluenced by party dogmas or prejudices; a sober process of addition and subtraction by no means devoid, moreover, of captivating warmth and poetical lustre in the expression of its results and in the actions consequent thereon. consistency which kept in view firmly and sternly. . . . A hand extremely light and steady in the manipulation of persons; the gift of knowing exactly when to act and when to postpone action; an almost unexampled dexterity in luring an antagonist into such a position that he is compelled to put himself in the wrong before the whole world. . . . A prodigious energy of will recoiling at nothing combined with a moderation and fairness. A cool head controlling a warm heart, the maximum of ingenuity and audacity, "Ulysses and Achilles in one," etc., etc.-such are some of the phrases and strokes with which an au
thor describes his hero. That Bismarck is much if not all of this no one will dispute, but it is on the moral side of the portrait, which is painted in no less alluring colors that one looks with doubt. In sketching the German Chancellor's life, Herr Busch always accredits him with the most lofty religious and patriotic motives. Some of the chapter headings give a good notion of the contents of the book as for example, The Chancellor's Profession of Faith and Moral Code of Statesmanship;" "His Religious Views;" "Diplomatic Indiscretions ;" "Bismarck and Austria;" "Bismarck and the French;" "Bismarck and the Press ;" "The Chancellor and State Socialism;" Bismarck as Orator and Humorist;" and Bismarck in Private Life." The author writes in a lively but incisive way and certainly gives a very vivid presentment of his subject, though of course one will feel continually that the portrait is overdrawn, and very much too highly colored, when the matter touches the great subject of political ethics, in which scale the final measure and weight of the statesman must be settled by posterity no matter how brilliant his qualities and achievements.
MY REMINISCENCES. Ry Lord Ronald Gower, F.S.A. In two volumes. Vol. II. Boston: Roberts Brothers.
Lord Ronald Gower, who has given us this bright and agreeable body of reminiscences is the son of the late Duchess of Sutherland, one of the most eminent and famous of England's noblewomen. Connected by family ties with the foremost people of Great Britain (he is the brother-in-law of the Duke of Westminster and of the Duke of Argyle, thereby being uncle of the Marquis of Lorne) though still a young man in the prime of life, it goes without saying that his career has brought him in contact with nearly everybody worth seeing or knowing in Great Britain and on the Continent. Lord Ronald was placed in exceptionally favorable position to enjoy the best side of life, and it is evident that he brought to these facilities of enjoyment a large and varied if not profound mental equipment, fine artistic taste and culture (he is a successful and talented sculptor), a most genial nature, and a singular susceptibility for the bright side of things. Sweetness of temper seems one of his most prominent qualities, and we do not recall a single instance when he has a bitter or cynical word for anybody or anything. Life is couleur de rose and he gives us the benefit of his optimism in a very entertaining way. Charming
glimpses are given us of life among the crême de la crême of the English aristocracy; of life among literary and artistic circles (for Lord Ronald seems to be much more proud of his Bohemian proclivities than of his " blue blood," of which indeed from time to time he speaks rather contemptuously); of experiences in foreign capitals and with foreign celebrities; of travels through all civilized and uncivilized lands. Americans will be specially pleased with his cordial even enthusiastic appreciation of the United States and her institutions. Rarely has an Englishman shown a warmer friendship and liking for his "cousins beyond the sea." The book is full of quotable passages, though written without any pretence even in literary form. Many of the entries are made in the abbreviated form in which they were entered in the diary. But the matter is so far from being desiccated food that it is full of interest, liveliness, and freshness. All bright gossip about celebrated people is interesting, and Lord Ronald Gower gives us just this. It is a work to make a spare hour pass very pleasantly and to attract a large circle of readers. One finishes it with the wish that there were more such sensible and warm-hearted Englishmen as Lord Ronald Gower.
BRAIN EXHAUSTION. WITH some PrelimiNARY CONSIDERATIONS ON CEREBRAL DYNAMICS. By J. Leonard Corning, M.D., formerly-Resident Surgeon to the Hudson River State Hospital for the Insane, Fellow of the N. Y. Academy of Medicine, etc. New York: D. Appleton & Co.
Never before in the history of the race did the world live so fast as now. Railways, telegraphs, telephones, fast ocean steamers, and the almost innumerable appliances of machinery to every purpose of life except the most fundamental functions, find a corresponding acceleration in all the social habits of civilized
The tremendous activity to which the brain is impelled by present conditions, carrying with it a corresponding amount of fret and worry, which wear out the human ant as he rushes to and fro even more than work, offers a very serious problem. The increase of "dementia as a disease is a recognized fact by physicians and other students of vital statistics. The field of physiological research undertaken by the author of the present volume “transcends, as he very justly claims, all others in [પ * importance * the economical questions involved in normal and morbid intellection." He goes on to say: "The demands