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knowledge was empirical. The inner scope not merely superficialy described, - a thing of man's faculties had escaped them. In too common among the attempts of modern man, for example, the faculty of Observa- dramatists, but evoked and exhibited tion does not act separately, but in subor- with the hand of power. It is this reality dination to that interior wisdom which alone which makes one character wholly different teaches him how to observe ; – they, on the from another, even when they have most other hand, frequently delineate it as though in common. How unlike, for instance, is the observing eye were that of a dog, not the statesmanlike wisdom of Claren bald that of a man. The faculty of Reflection, from that of Wulfstan, which is metaphysisimilarly, as they delineate it, works apart cal, or that of Father John, which is moral! from that mens melior which alone sustains How different is the grave and resolute it with the true food of reason, and inspires courage of Artevelde from that of Van its nobler aims. In the absence of spiritual den Bosch, which is animal, or that of Gilinsight, society as delineated by them was bert Matthew, which is sullen pride, or that often a thing gregarious rather than buman. of Orleans, which is chivalrous, or that of Imagination emptied her urns to bathe and the Hermit, which is spiritual zeal ! irradiate the wastes of the senses ; the Un- To return to some of our earlier remarks: derstanding directed those actions the root the speciality of Mr. Taylor's genius apof which was in the appetites; but the in- pears to us to consist in its uniting the most spirit of the spectator starved amid masculine strength of our early drama with abundance, for the same hand which pam- the richer variety, the thoughtfulness, and pered the body had “sent leanness into the the purer sentiment of our later poetry. soul.” That these early dramatists were Others among our modern poets have carmen of great intellects and great energies ried farther, some one, some another merit cannot be denied. They possessed all gifts, of that poetry. His characteristic consists in had they but known how to use them bis being a connecting link between the two aright; and their genius could have failed periods. It would be curious to compare the in no attempt, had it cared to subject itself'to different modes in which the poets of different the true and the good. But the imagination periods have gone through their poetic eduwhich works for the senses loses its spiritual cation. In our own time it has been the heritage, and sells its birthright for a mess fashion to say that Nature is the only true of pottage.
instructress, and that the mountains and Their offences were those of their age, forests are the colleges in which her sons for they did not rise superior to it. Our must graduate. Our earlier dramatists genage has offences of a different kind, and erally began with the universities, and then our literature reflects them. Their offen- precipitated themselves upon the society of ces would not be tolerated in our day; but, the metropolis, as exhibited at the theatres, while acknowledging the moral improve- where they often combined a great deal of ment evinced by modern literature, we have undigested learning with not a little of deyet almost always to lament an inferiority, bauchery. In such a career there was on the part of our recent poets, as regards more to develop the intelligence than to intellectual keenness and energy. That in- discipline that part of our being in which Seriority of itself has disqualified them for the intellect and the moral sense blend ; the higher drama. Ben Jonson said of a that part of it from which the most permayoung competitor, “My son Cartwright nent poetry proceeds. We can imagine writes all like a man.' Among our modern that, at least for some departments of poedramatic aspirants some have written like try, the training of professional, public, or women, and some like philosophers, but few official life, may be as auspicious as either
Mr. Taylor is an exception. of the other modes. It occupies the mind His genius is characterized by robust with persons at once and with things, and strength, and the drama is plainly its na- thus disciplines at the same time the facultive region. We know of nothing in our ties of observation and reflection. For draearlier dramatists more manly and vigorous matic poetry, which at heart is ever a serithan many passages in his writings, such as, ous thing, we suspect it to be, in its place, to refer to the plays not included in our the best school; and it has the advantage criticism, the last scene in Edwin the Fair, also of being a safe, in proportion as it is or that in which the dying Van den Bosch an arduous one. Imagination cannot be addresses the downcast Burghers after his created even by mountains and forests; defeat. His characters are real characters. and where it exists, its products will be In ideality they seem to us sometimes defi- great and healthy in proportion to the vigor cient, but never in reality; and they are of the whole moral being to which it is
wedded; for high poetry is the offspring, Upon my head, and looking up I saw not of the imagination only, but of the The fingers which had scatter'd them half whole moral being.
Forgetful, and the forward-leading face The relation in which Mr. Taylor stands More serious than it ought to be, so young
Incently fix'd and glowing, but methought to our other modern poets must be very And midmost in a show." - Vol. iii. p. 212. imperfectly understood without an acquaintance with his minor poems, in which his Not less graphic is a very different porresemblance to them is chiefly to be found. trait, that of William :With the exception of the exquisite lyrics scattered through their plays, the minor
“ His eye was cold and cruel, yet at times poems of our early dramatists are less It flash'd with merriment; his bearing bold, known than they deserve to be. As might And, save when he had purposes in hand, have been expected, they are for the most Reckless of those around him, insomuch part narrative. In Mr. Taylor's, the medi- He scarce would seem to know that they tative vein predominates. He has given us were there. fewer than we could wish for; but these
Yet was he not devoid of courtly arts, have a character of selectness, as if they
And when he wish'd to win, or if it chanced
Some humour of amenity came o'er him, had been drawn from a larger store. The
He could be bland, attractive, frankly gay, longest is called the Eve of the Conquest.
Insidiously soft; but aye beneath The night before the battle of Hastings,
Was fire which, whether by cold ashes Harold sends to a neighbouring convent screen'd, for his daughter Edith ; and, while the army Or lambent flames that lick'd whom at a slumbers around them, relates to her the word chief incidents in his life, commanding her They might devour, was unextinguish'd to record them, and thus vindicate his
still.” – Vol. iii. p. 214. fame :
The record of Harold's early life conclud“ The Many, for whose dear behoof I lose ed, the terrible battle and fatal overthrow The suffrage of the Few, are slow to praise are described. The
ends thus :
“ In Waltham Abbey on St. Agnes' Eve
A stately corpse lay strech'd upon a bier. My memory, were it spotless as the robes That wrapp'd the Angels in the Sepulchre,
The arms were cross'd upon the breast; the
face, Should see corruption.”
Uncover'd, by the taper's trembling light
Show'd dimly the pale majesty severe The theme is one of warlike labours and
Of him whom death, and not the Norman of political wiles; but with these a brighter Duke, thread is interwoven. The following is the Had conquer'd ; him the noblest and the description of the Duke of Normandy's
last daughter, whose affections had fastened Of Saxon Kings; save one the noblest he; themselves upon Harold while he was so
The last of all. [ard by the bier were seen journing, half as guest, and half as captive,
Two women, weeping side by side, whose at her father's court:
Clasp'd each the other. Edith was the one.
With Edith Adeliza wept and pray'd.” — "Of these the first
Vol. iii. p. 220. In station and most eminently fair, Was Adeliza, daughter of the Duke. A woman child she was ; but womanhood Eloquence in poetry is a quality as rare By gradual afflux on her childhood gain'd,
as that counterfeit of manly eloquence, And like a tide that up a river steals
rhetoric, once was common among us.
If And reaches to a lilied bank, began
we associate the latter with Pope and his To lift up life beneath her. As a child imitators, including much of what Lord She still was simple, rather shall I say Bryon wrote in the heroic couplet, to the More simple than a child, as being lost former must be conceded a place among the In deeper admirations and desires.
merits of Dryden. Among our more recent The roseate richness of her childish bloom Remain’d, but by inconstancies and change
poets a splendid specimen of poetic eloReferr'd itself to sources passion-swept.
quence will be found in Southey's “Ode Such had I seen her as I pass'd the gates
written during the Negotiations for Peace Of Rouen, in procession, on the day
with Buonaparte in 1814.” This quality is I landed, when a shower of roses fell
among the characteristics of Mr. Taylor's
poetry. As an illustration of it, the ode | charters and statutes, and a strong preferentitled Heroism in the Shade may be cited. ence expressed for the former : We can but make room for the last stanza:
"From pride plebeian and from pride high
born, “ What makes a hero? - Not success, not From pride of knowledge no less vain an fame,
weak, Inebriate merchants and the loud acclaim From overstrain'd activities that seek Of glutted avarice, - caps toss'd up in Ends worthiest of indifference or scorn, the air,
From pride of intellect that exalts its horn Or pen of journalist with flourish fair, In contumely above the wise and meek, Bells peal’d, stars, ribands, and a titular Exulting in coarse cruelties of the pen, name,
From pride of drudging souls to Mammon
Where shall we flee and when ?”
Where pride is the poet affirms that freeRefresh the soul or set the heart at ease.
dom cannot be, except in name:
# For Independence walks Derived through pain well suffer'd, to the With staid Humility aye hand in hand, height
Whilst Pride in tremor stalks.” Of rank heroic, 'tis to bear unmoved, Not toil, not risk, not rage of sea or wind, Two Ways of Life is a dramatic scene, in Not the brute fury of barbarians blind, which the descriptive and the m'ditative vein But worse, – ingratitude and poisonous are blended with the personal; and the com
darts Launch'd by the country he had served life monastic are discussed — with as much
parative merits of the life domestic and the and loved : This with a free unelouded spirit pure,
impartiality as can be expected from two This in the strength of silence to endure,
lovers. A dignity to noble deeds i nparts
Ernesto is a love poem replete with powBeyond the gauds and trappings of re- er and pathos. It has no events, but the
two characters it describes are finely disThis is the hero's compliment and crown; criminated :This miss'd, one struggle had been wanting
still, One glorious triumph of the heroic will,
Thoughtfully by the side Ernesto sate One self-approval in his heart of hearts."
Of her whom, in his earlier youth, with heart -- Vol. iii. p. 254. Dearer for danger, he had rashly loved,
Then first exulting in a dangerous hope,
That was a season when the uptravell’d spirit, The predominant characteristic, however, Not way.worn nor way-wearied, nor with soil of Mr. Taylor's minor poems is a certain Nor stain upon it, lions in its path meditative pathos. They have something Saw none, — or seeing, with triumphant trust in them of Wordsworth; but the thoughts Perverse to find provocatives in warnings are less discursive and less philosophical; And in disturbance taking deep delight. something also of Southey, but the texture By sea or land he then saw rise the storm is finer and firmer. In the conciseness of With a gay courage, and through broken lights, their diction lies chiefly the difference be- Tempestuously exalted, for awhile tween them and such of our modern poetry His heart ran mountains high, or to the roar as they most resemble. In some pieces, as Of shatter'd forests sang superior songs in Lago Varese, descriptive poetry is blend. With kindling, and what might have seem'd to ed with personal interest ; the lovely scene some, there described seems to be impersonated in Auspicious energy; - by land and sea the youthful “ native of the clime," who Ilis many-colour'd hopes — his lading rich
He was way-foundered — trampled in the dust forms the centre of the picture, and mit- of precious pictures, bright imaginations, igates its pensiveness, though she cannot re- In absolute shipwreck to the winds and waves move it. "The Lago Lugano, written in a Suddenly rendered.” stanza wholly original, is likewise a descriptive poem; but it gradually rises into a How does the lady of his love look on the strain of statesmanlike thought, in wbich the wreck ? "moral liberty " of light and humble hearts is contrasted with the civil liberty” of of this she saw not all — she saw but little -
That which she could not choose but see she Accordant to a voice which charm'd no less,
That who but saw him once remember'd long,
Have hoarded the impression in their heart
The ode with which the volume ends is His life was private ; safely led, aloof very fine; but there is another piece which From the loud world, — which yet he under
stood we regard as, on the whole, the most characteristic of Mr. Taylor's minor poems. Few Largely and wisely, as no worldling could. poems are at once so true to Nature, and to Against false glitter, from beneath the roof that art which Nature owns. The metre is of privacy, as from a cave, survey'd a rare one — that of Lycidas; and the long With steadfast eye its flickering light and shade, interwoven periods, with their rhymes re- And gently judged for evil and for good. curring at wide intervals, like the chime of But whilst he mix'd not for his own behoof funeral-bells far off, are in harmony with In public strife, his spirit glow'd with zeal, the elegiac strain :
Not shorn of action, for the public weal,
For truth and justice as its warp and woof, In remembrance of the Hon. Edward Er- For freedom as its signature and seal.
His life thus sacred from the world, discharged nest Villiers.
From vain ambition and inordinate care,
Lifted, and by humility enlarged,
In latter years he walk'd not singly there;
For one was with him, ready at all hours Unceasing pain, by patience temper’d, threw
His griefs, his joys, his inmost thoughts to share, A shade of sweet austerity. But seen
Who buoyantly his burthens help'd to bear,
And deck'd his altars daily with fresh flowers.
But farther may we pass not; for the ground
Is holier than the Muse herself may tread;
Nor would I it should echo to a sound
Less solemn than the service for the dead.
Mine is inferior matter, — my own loss,
The loss of dear delights for ever fled,
Of wisdom, counsel, solace, that across
Life's dreariest tracts a tender radiance shed. And flowers and spangles of the dewy lawn.
Friend of my youth! though younger yet my
How much by thy unerring insight clear
How like a charm thy life to me supplied
How like a disenchantment was thy death!”
From Good Words.
these reasons, (in fact, all the “Reformers THE STORY OF JOHN HUSS. before the Reformation,” as they have been
well called, are entitled to some of that BY HENRY ROGERS,
praise,) but for a more special reason. In
all likelihood, Huss was not simply the preAuthor of “ The Eclipse of Faith.”
cursor of Luther, but literally paid down, The story of John Huss, the
in his martyrdom, the ransom of his life. Bohe
great mian Reformer, has been often told, and is which to the eternal shame of Emperor,
That violation of the imperial safe-conduct sufficiently familiar to the student of eccle, Pope, Cardinals, and the whole Council of siastical history. But it may be doubted whether it has been so well known to ordi- Constance, involved the death of Huss, was nary readers, either as it deserves to be, or the like crime in the case of Luther at
the very thing which probably prevented as that of Luther unquestionably is. This Worms. Vehemently was Charles V. urgis partly to be ascribed to the remoteness of ed to imitate the conduct of Sigismund, the age in which he lived, - it is now just and violate, for the sake of the Church, the 450 years since his martyrdom; partly to safe-conduct granted to Luther; strongly was the character of the reformation he aimed he plied by the same casuistry, namely, that at, and which did not touch the great doc- " no faith was to be kept with heretics; trinal abuses, the correction of which, after but Charles replied that he had no wish all, was an essential preliminary to any
radical reformation, such, in a word, as the in allusion to the story of Sigismund's
to blush like his predecessor Sigismund,” Church required, and Luther, achieved ; having manifested so much weakness, when partly to the fact that the heroic effort he Huss alluded to the subject of his safe-conmade was not successful, and that his mem- duct, at the Council of Constance. The ory has been clouded by the subsequent excesses of his followers ; lastly, and above all scandal of that iniquitous transaction of the perhaps, to the circumstance that the more Worms, and hence he safely quitted that
previous century was Luther's ægis at illustrious name of Luther has eclipsed that of his great predecessor, – in the blaze of place which he had entered with such
dauntless courage in defiance of so many whose fame this bright morning star of the Reformation has almost faded from our eyes. saviour of Luther
omens of evil. Thus was Huss probably the For these reasons it may be well to say a little respecting the principal incidents of
Dipped in his fellow's blood his life and the more striking traits of his
The living bird went free. character, in a periodical, which must have many thousands of readers who have not paid much, or, perhaps, any attention to
The courage of Luther indeed was as great the claims of the great Bohemian to the as though he too had died a martyr. Durgrateful homage and everlasting remem- he went with such inflexible obstinacy
ing his whole progress to Worms, whither brance of mankind. Nor can any who love and revere
against all the remonstrances of his friends the name of Luther forget that it was prob- is evident that he contemplated the too great
and the muttered threats of his enemies, it ably due to Huss that Luther was able to do so much; nay, that he lived to do anything likelihood of sharing the fate of Huss. The We may say this, not merely because Huss genius and maxims of ecclesiastical policy was a pioneer in the same great work; that tion at least as strong; and the inheritors
were unchanged ; the terrors of Reformahe shaped many of the stones, and hewed much of the timber, of that Temple he was not
of the persecuting principles of Constance permitted to build ; that he made an impres- have died if Charles V. had not been afraid
equally unscrupulous. He would assuredly sion on the outworks of the fortress which it was reserved for Luther to storm; not merely
of “ blushing."
And as Huss deserves the veneration of because Luther derived some lights, and still greater stimulus, at an early period of posterity, scarcely more for what he did in his career, from the history and writings of the cause of Reformation, than for the spell Huss, as is seen clearly in his letters, and in the allusions he made to him at the Leip- astonishment was incredible. I could not compre
what'doctrines that arch-heretic had propagated. My sic Disputation ; * not merely, I say, for hend why they burned so great a man, who explain.
ed the Scriptures with so much skill and gravity. * " When I studied at Erfurdt,” says Luther, in the But as his name was held in such abhorrence that i edition of the letters of Huss (1537), “I found in the imagined the sky would fall and the sun be darklibrary of the convent, a book entitled The Ser ened if I made honourable mention of him, I shut mons of John Huss. I had a great curiosity to know the book with no little indignation."