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Fifth Series, 3
No. 1507. - April 26, 1873.
S From Beginning, ? Vol. CXVII.
“The Last Days of Pompeii,” “My Novel,”
“The Caxtons, etc., etc. Part V.; . : Blackwood's Magazine, . III. A “NAVVY” BALL,. . . . . . Chambers' Journal, . IV. THE PRESCOTTS OF PAMPHILLON. By the
author of “ Dorothy Fox.” Part II., . . Good Words, . . V. ON THE HEREDITARY TRANSMISSION OF AC
QUIRED PSYCHICAL HABITS. By Dr. W. B.
Carpenter. Second Paper, . . . . Contemporary Review, VI. A PETRIFIED FOREST IN THE LIBYAN DESERT, Nature, . . i VIL ST. CHRYSOSTOM, . . . . . . Spectator, . . . VIIL THE JOURNAL OF Louis XVI., . . Pall Mall Gazette, .
POETRY. AT THEBES, . .
194 | TO A RAIN-DROP, . . BRAMBLEBERRIES, . . . . . 194
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AH! lose we not these golden months
Of life upon the wondrous river – The cloudless lull bestowed this once, · Rarest of gifts of the All-giver.
Through twice twain thousand years sublime
Past yon vast forms - on – on it floweth, Welling from out the abyss of time,
And realms which yet no wanderer knoweth.
Yet hoping still that something done
O living pathway, passing through
The land of Tombs in light and glory! O sky that never changes hue
Dark splendour - like Egyptian story!
O hills that bounding yonder East,
So many dawns have sadly greeted, And ye, mid evening's rosy feast,
Age after age all-dimly seated!
But chiefly ye - eternal stones
Still holding high your sculptured pages, Columns sublime, and mighty thrones,
Whence sadly gaze the vanished ages
Your gift bestow! O'er fringing palm,
And sands of yonder arid ocean, • From out the tomb of Time send calm
To still our little hour's emotion.
TO A RAIN-DROP.
Wed by the wind.
So shall the star-depths of the Past
Turn all our tumult to sweet sorrow,
Peace from the dust of Empires borrow.
R. J. T. M.
How many hues of beauty charm thy face!
And dear to sighti
O fairy creature! whither hast thou come?
Was the Atlantic once thy stormy home?
Or didst thou through the mild Pacific roam
'Mong coral isles, Thou movest on to thy goal.
And thence ascend to the ethereal dome
With saintly smiles?
On rising suns and setting suns attended ?
Or hast thou shone in bars of beauty splendid I KNOW not if it may be mine
I'the Rainbow's robe? To add a song, a verse, a line,
Or hast thou in a misty chariot wended To that fair treasure-house of wit,
Around our globe? That more than cedarn cabinet, Where men preserve their precious things, Free wealth, surpassing every king's. Alas! thou answerest not, thou brilliant mute; I only know, I felt and wrote
| Thou shinest on in silence absolute; According to the day and hour,
The wanderings of thy restless silver foot According to my little power;
Thou canst not tell; If souls unborn shall take some note, And soon thou shalt resume thy pilgrim's route, Or none at all, 'tis their affair;
Nor sigh farewell! I cannot guess, and will not care.
From The Quarterly Review. there are traces on it of the whitewash or CHAUCER AND SHAKESPEARE.* (the paint with which the eighteenth cenIt is now about a century since the tury thought it well to “touch up" anstudy of Chaucer began to revive. Be cestral images ; but yet it is not easy to tween the time of Verstegan and Tyr overstate the importance or the merit of whitt — the “ Restitution of Decayed In- the service he performed. From the pubtelligences " was published in 1605, Tyr- lication of his volumes may be dated the whitt's memorable work in 1775— he had, renewal of the critical and the appreciaby slow degrees, fallen nearly altogether tive study of the greatest literary producout of the general knowledge of men. tions of the English Middle Ages. The He, whom Spenser called “the well of impulse they gave has been perpetually English undefiled," was vulgarly accused strengthened and multiplied by various of having poisoned and corrupted the tendencies and movements, both of a springs of his native tongue. He whom general and a particular character. At that same Spenser — the sweetest melo- the present time a Chaucer Society has dist of our literature - looked up to as been formed, and under the zealous leadhis verse-master and exemplar, was stig- ership of Mr. Furnivall, its founder and matized as a very metrical cripple and organizer and almost sole worker, is doidiot. And what little acquaintance there ing excellent service * in bringing within was maintained with him was due to ver-common reach the original texts of the sions of certain of his poems made by great poet. Of various other ways in the facile pens of Dryden, and of Pope; which in the course of this century, and so completely had he fallen on what were especially in our own generation, some for him “evil days” and “evil tongues.” popular, as well as scholarly, familiarity To Tyrwhitt belongs the honour of first with one of our greatest minds has been reinstating the old poet on the pedestal encouraged and promoted, it is not our from which he had been so rudely de- purpose now to speak. Let it suffice to posed so long a time. Proper considera- say that Chaucer has never been known tion being made for the age in which that since his own day more intelligently and admirable scholar lived, his edition of more admiringly than he seems likely to Chaucer's “ Canterbury Tales” must be be during the last quarter of this ninepronounced a wonder of erudition and ofteenth century. faithful labour. Certainly the figure of It is certain that this Chaucerian reChaucer which he presented to the eyes vival is not the result of any mere antiof his time is not a quite genuine thing ; quarianism, but of a genuine poetic vital
ity. There can be no better testimony to * Chaucer Society's Publications for 1868–72. Lon
the true greatness of the old poet than that First Series: Texts. – 1. The Prologue and First half a thousand years after the age in Sixteen Tales of the Canterbury Tales from the six |
which he wrote he is held in higher estibest inedited Manuscripts, namely, the Ellesmere, Hengurt, 154; Cambridge, Gg. 4, 27; Corpus (Ox
mation than ever ; that, whatever interford), Petworth and Lansdowne, 851; both in par- | missions of his popularity there may allel columns and scparate octavos, with colored facsimiles of the Tellers of all the Tales, from the Ellesmere MS.
for, as they knew little of, the great Ro2. A Parallel Text Edition of the first four Minor mantic School to which he belonged, and Poems of Chaucer from all the existing unprinted that were wholly incapable of under
that were wholly incapable of underMSS., together with the French original of his A B C, and the hitherto unpublished first cast of his standing the very language in which he Prologue to the Legends of Good Women, &c. expressed and transcribed his genius, he SECOND SERIES: Illustrations. - 1. Mr. A. 7. Ellis, this day spegles with increasing force and
this day speaks with increasing force and Early English Pronunciation, with special reference to Shakspere and Chaucer.
power. Through all the obsoleteness of 2 Essays on Chaucer. By Professor Ebert, &c. his language, and all the lets and impedi3. Mr. Furnivall on the Right Order of the Canter- I ments to a full enjoyment of his melody
bury Tales, and the Stages of the Pilgrimage. 4. Mr. Furnivall's "try to set Chaucer's Works in caused by our ignorance of fourteenth
their right order of time." 3 Originals and Analogues of Chaucer's Canterbury 1 * So far as its funds, which, we are sorry to say, are Teles.
by no means flourishing, allow it.
century English, through all the conven! But although the form which was to tional and social differences which sepa- receive such splendid usage from Shakerate his time from ours, we yet recognize speare, and to prove the very amplest and a profoundly human soul with a marvel-fittest and noblest body for the highest lous power of speech. We are discover- dramatic spirit, was not yet ready for ing that he is not only a great poet, but wear in the culminating epoch of the one of our greatest. It is not too much Middle Ages, yet that dramatic energy to say that the better acquaintance with which blazed out so brilliantly at a later Chaucer's transcendent merits is gradu-period was already at work and insisting ally establishing the conviction that not on some representation. It worked with one among all poets deserves so well as vehemence in Chaucer. He is pre-emihe the second place.
nently the dramatic genius, not only of Chaucer and Shakespeare have much mediæval England, but of mediæval Eu. in common. However diverse the form rope. The great Italians of the bright of their greatest works, yet in spirit there dawn of modern literature were not of is a remarkable likeness and sympathy. the dramatic order. Much as Chaucer Their geniuses differ rather in degree undoubtedly owed to them, they furnished than in kind. Chaucer is in many re- him with no sort of dramatic precedent spects a lesser Shakespeare.
or example. He is the first in time of Chaucer lived generations before the modern dramatical spirits; and one must dramatic form was ripe for the use of ge-travel far back into the ancient times benius. In his day it had scarcely yet ad-fore one meets with anybody worthy of vanced beyond the rude dialogue and comparison with him. Certainly if, as grotesque portraiture of the Miracle- has been remarked, it was in Dante that play.* In fact at that time that rare Nature showed that the higher imaginagrowth, which two centuries later was totion had not perished altogether with put forth such exquisite imperishable | Virgil, it was in Chaucer that she showed flowers, had hardly yet emerged from its that dramatic power had not breathed its native earth; it was yet only embryonic. I last with Plautus and Terence. Chaucer stands in relation to the supreme In respect of means of expression Dramatic Age in a correspondent po- Chaucer was placed in a much more unsition to that held by Scott. Chaucer provided and destitute position than was lived in the morning twilight of it, Scott Shakespeare. We have already seen that in the evening. There can be little doubt neither Tragedy nor Comedy,* in the that both would have added to its lustre strict sense of those terms, was known in - that England would have boasted one his day; whereas nothing can be wronger more, and Scotland at least one great than to make Shakespeare say, as Drydramatist - had they been born later and den makes him say,earlier respectively; but Chaucer could I found not, but created first the stage. not even descry it in the future, so far off the stage was already not only in exist. was it, and it was Scott's fortune to look en
ne to 100K ence, but occupied by wits of no contemptback upon it in the swiftly receding dis
ible rank, when Shakespeare appeared in tance.
Town. Shakespeare had in Marlowe a Absalon of the “Milleres Tale':
dramatic master. The pupil presently Sometime to shew his lightnesse and maistrie outshone the master ; but of the influ
He plaieth Herode on a skaffold hie. In the Elizabethan age this part of Herod had become a * See the prologue to “Monkes Tale":proverb of rant; so that Hamlet uses the name as the
Tragedis is to seyn a certyn storie, very superlative of noise (act iii. scene 2). The Miller
As olde bookes maken us memorie himself cries out “in Pilate's voice.” The wife of Bath,
Of him that stood in greet prosperite with Clerk Jankin and her gossip dame Ales, goes to
And is y-fallen out of heigh degre “Playes of Miracles." Shakespeare laughs at the
Into miserie, and endith wrecchedly;
And thay ben versifyed comunly rough amateurs of the old stage in the by-play of the
Of six feet, which men clepe exametron. “Midsummer Night's Dream." In Chaucer's age per
In prose been eek endited many oon; haps Bottom would have been regarded as a very Ros.
In metre eek, in mony a sondry wise. cius, and that interlude of Pyramnus and Thisbe might As to the term Comedy, observe, for instance, Dante's bave diawn genuine tears down mediæval cheeks. use of it.