We've steer'd at last, and, like Ships long at UPON the mountain-top the purple tints

Sea, Fade into mist; and the rich golden glow

Our Latest-Born sail home to Grace and thee; Of the low-setting sun sinks to a gray

Home-ward they sail, and find the World they Subdued and tender.

left Home the eagle hies,

Of all but thee, yet not of thee bereft; Swift to his eyrie, his broad pinions stretched, Still in thy pointed Wit their Souls explore Bearing him onwards, seeming motionless

Familiar Fields where CONGREVE rul'd before ; The while with rapid wing he c!eaves the air,

Still in thy human Tenderness they feel As ship the waters : now the grousecock crows The honest Voice and beating Heart of On heathered knoll his vesper lullaby

STEELE. To his dear mate.

Long be it so; may Sheaf be laid on Sheaf And from the silver lake,

Ere thy live Garland puts forth its Last Leaf; Cradled in mountain setting, echoing comes,

As in old Prints, long may we see, in Air, With rippling music on the air, the plash

Thy Guardian Angel hover o'er thy Hair; Of dipping oars; and voices deep and low,

Still may the Table, where our Fathers sat Mingled with women's trebles, tuneful break

To eat of Manna, hold its Autocrat ;
The evening silence.

Since surely none of all the Blest can be
Grand indeed it is

Home-sick in Heav'n, as we on Earth, for thee. To be amid these mountain solitudes;

And Oh! whil'st o'er th’embattl'd Crags afar And yet there is a sense of rest and calm, Thy practis'd Eyes gaze down the Gorge of Soothing the spirit - stealing o'er the heart

War, Like the soft notes of an Æolian harp,

Where thro’ the blinding Dust and Heat we Falling like balm upon the troubled soul,

fight And making the most worldly man to feel

Against the Brazen-Helm'd Amalekite,
That there is over earth a higher heaven. At Height of Noon, Oh ! lift up both those

Chambers' Journal.

To urge new Virtue tbro' our fainting Bands,
And when we feel our Sinews nerv'd to strike
Envy and Errour, Shame and Sloth, a-like,
We'll say 'tis well that, while we battle thus,

Our Moses stands on high 'twixt Heav'n and


Your Most Humble, Most Obedient ON HIS SEVENTY-FIFTH BIRTHDAY,


EDMUND Gosse. August 29, 1984.

29, Delamere Terrace, London, W.

Athenæum. SIR, As Age by Age, thro' fell Enchantment

The Heroe of some antient Myth is found,
Wild Rocks about him, at the fierce Sea's

And all his World an Old-Wives' Tale but RESTLESS, mysterious heart of the ocean,

Grandest of lyres ever swept by the wind,
His Garments, cast upon th’inclement Shoar, How does it answer each varied emotion
Such as long since our Grandsires' Grandsires That thrills through the turbulent heart of

mankind. While all his Gestures and his Speech pro- Hast thou not heard it, the song of the sea, claim

When the wide waters lie sunlit and calm ? Him great Revealer of forgotten Fame, True to the might of a changeless decree,

Such, Oh ! Musician, dost thou seem to be It girdles the earth with a jubilant psalm. To us who con th’ Augustan Age by thee, Wave-hidden treasure, it whispers your vanity; Who hearken to thy Verse, to learn thro'it Thunders of God where the rolling clouds How DRYDEN to illustrious ORMOND writ,

form; Or in thy fil'd and polisht Numbers hope Tempest tossed, echoes the cry of humanity, To catch the Secret of the Art of Pore;

Wakened by passions as wild as the storm. Ah! subtil Skili! Ah! Bard of dying fires, Wonderful voice, never still, never tiring, Let us but lose thee, and a Race expires; While to oblivion centuries sweep, As long as thou dost keep this Treasure thine Always the praise of Omnipotence quiring, Great ANNA's Galaxy has Leave to shine. Whose spirit first moved on the face of the

Thou who do'st link us with that elder Day deep ; When either QUEENSBERRY made Court to Not until time hath attained its duration, GAY,

Not till the end of the finite shall be, Thro' all the Thunders of romantick Times, Not until doom overtaketh creation, Thro' Reefs of monstrous Quips and Shoals of May sink into silence the song of the sea. Rhines,

Leisure Hour.


II. *




From The National Review. But he beholds the light, and whence it flows, THE LIBERAL MOVEMENT IN ENGLISH

He sees it in his joy,

The youth who daily farther from the East
Must travel, still is Nature's priest,

And by the vision splendid

Is on his way attended;

At length the man perceives it die away, I would ask the reader who follows And fade into the light of common day. my argument to consider that it rests on two assumptions. The first is, that poetry

And he expresses the regret which so is a sociul art; that the creations of the many experience in a period of materializgreatest poets are not mere isolated con- ing science when they look back upon the ceptions of their individual minds, but are ages of free and simple imagination : the products of influences which are felt

Great God! I'd rather be by all their contemporaries, though the A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn, poet alone has the power of expressing So might I, standing on this pleasant lea, them. “ There must,” says Shelley, “be Have glimpses that would make me less for. a resemblance which does not depend on their own will between all the writers of Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;

Or hear old Triton blow his wreathed horn. any particular age. They cannot escape from subjection to a common infuence It is obvious that a remarkable evolu. which arises out of an infinite combination tion, alike in the imaginative life of the of circumstances belonging to the times individual and in that of society, is de. in which they live, though each is in a scribed or suggested in these lines. Yet degree the author of the very influence by although both assumptions are thus severwhich his being is thus pervaded. Thus ally supported by the authority of two of the tragic poets of the age of Pericles; the the greatest poets of the present century Italian revivers of ancient learning ; those in the face, it is true, of Wordswortli's mighty intellects of our own country that own critical theory), although Plato, in his succeeded the Reformation, the translat. dialogues, insists over and over again on ors of the Bible, Shakespeare, Spenser, the essential antagonism between science the dramatists of the reign of Elizabeth, and imagination, although I was and Lord Bacon; the colder spirits of the careful to disavow all sympathy with interval that succeeded : all resemble each Macaulay's pessimist doctrine that “as other and differ from every other in their civilization advances, poetry necessarily several classes. And this is an influence declines,” the opinions I expressed in the from which neither the meanest scribbler last paper written on the subject in this nor the sublimest genius of any era can review, were assailed in many Radical escape; and which I have not attempted quarters as novel, beretical, perverse, and to escape.” The second assumption is depressing. A very practical proof was that the general spiritual imagination of thus afforded that Conservatives are much society, which is the source of all poetry, more in sympathy, than are Radicals, with is less free in a refined than in a rude age, the scientific doctrine of evolution. It is just as the imagination is far more at lib- natural that it should be so. Life, in the erty in each of us during childhood and Radical view, is simply change; and a youth than after we have acquired the Radical is ready to promote every caprice judgment and experience of mature life. or whim of the numerical inajority of the Wordsworth illustrates this truth by two moment in the belief that the change very beautiful images. One is in the which it effects in the constitution of so. "Ode to Immortality :"

ciety will bring him nearer to some ideal Heaven lies about us in our Infancy!

state existing in his own imagination. Shades of the prison-house begin to clue.

Life, according to the Conservative belief, Upon the growing boy,

on the other hand, is growth, and all real

growth must be continuous. Thus Con. • Living AGB, No. 2095.

servatism, in whatever sphere, consists in


[ocr errors]


preserving and expanding the stream of poetry of the seventeenth century; would traditional national life which has come any plain man hesitate to acknowledge down to us from our fathers. Conserva. that though, in other points besides lantism, in politics, as Burke says, bids us guage, he could detect a certain kinship act upon the maxim, "never wholly or at and sympathy between past and present, once to depart from antiquity." Con- yet that they were divided from each servatism in art and literature, if we are other by a wide gulf of imagination and to believe Sir Joshua Reynolds, lies in sentiment? But fill in the gap with the discovering the principles that inspired eighteenth century, and we feel not only the great masters of early times, and in that, in spite of obvious superficial diver. applying them to our own circumstances. gencies of taste and perception, we and “ It is from a careful study of the works they occupy a common intellectual ground, of the ancients," says he, “that you will but also that, looking back on the fifteenth be enabled to attain to the real simplicity and sixteenth centuries, through the light of pature; they will suggest many obser- of the eighteenth, the nature of many of vations that would probably escape you if the sympathies which we are dimly conyour study were confined to nature alone. scious of sharing with those ages, is exAnd, indeed, I cannot help suspecting plained by modifications of that in this instance the ancients had an effected in the intermediate period. The easier task than the moderns. They had natural inference is that the eighteenth probably little or nothing to unlearn, as century, far from being a time of destruc. their manners were nearly approaching to tion and revolution, was a necessary link this desirable simplicity; while the mod. in a long chain of historic national devel. ern artist, before he can see the truth of opment. things, is obliged to remove a veil with To discuss adequately the Conserva. which the fashion of the times has thought tism of the eighteenth century would be proper to cover her.” Here we have an the work of a volume rather than of a expression of the true doctrine of Con- magazine article. I can but indicate or servative evolution.

suggest what appears to me to be the genIn this sense the eighteenth century, eral “lie ” of the ground, and illustrate which is the subject of the present paper, my view by reference to the opinions of seems to me to have played a highly Con- some of the most representative Englishservative part in the history of English men of the century. For the purposes of religion, politics, art, and literature. To my argument the great point to remember many, no doubt, the statement will sound is that there has been no breach in the paradoxical. The eighteenth century has continuity of our social development. been constantly represented to us in mod. Though our annals are sufficiently stained ern criticism as the pioneer of the great with violence and bloodshed, though we revolution in thought and manners, which have never shrunk from settling with the has been proceeding on the Continent sword differences too radical to be com. since 1789, and which has, of course, exer- posed with the tongue, we have never cut cised an important influence on our own ourselves off, after the manner of France history. But, as far as England is con- at the end of the last century, from the cerned, I think it may be demonstrated sources of our historical life. We have, that the mission of the eighteenth century therefore, as yet experienced no convulwas to provide a safe mode of transition sions arising out of the complete separa. from the manners of medieval to those of tion between Church and State; till re. modern society. Suppose, for a moment, cently there has been no wide-spread that this century was eliminated from our confiscation of property; no one has yet history, and that we were obliged to carry called for a Code Napoleon. If the Refor. back our thought, without halting-place, to mation produced sharp conflicts in consethe ideas and sentiments embodied in Sir quence of the dispute about the headship Philip Sydney's “ Arcadia,” the “Faery of the Church, the life-blood of the pa. Queen,” or the fashionable metaphysical' rochial system continued to circulate

[ocr errors]

almost as quietly as it circulated in the their argument. Look at Butler, they say; days of the “ Canterbury Tales.” A vio- it is plain that he has the depressed air of lent collision between the extreme princi. a beaten man; the low ground on which ples of monarchy and republicanism no he rests his arguments is a proof of what doubt overthrew, for a short period, the we say. Who would believe in a probable constitution in Church and State ; but God? And, of course, it is undeniable society remained unimpaired, and, finding that Butler's whole method of argument itself completely out of harmony with the gives a handle to any one who chooses to order that had been imposed on it, re- reason in this captious and superficial stored the old Constitution in 1660 and manner. Such an opportunity is obvi. defined it in 1688. It can scarcely be ously offered in the following typical doubted that the continuity of tradition passage: has been thus preserved, because the best The evidence of religion then being ad. minds in the nation have enlisted them- mitted real, those who object against it as not selves in the cause of order, and have satisfactory, i.e., as not being what they wish made it the object of their deepest study it, plainly forget that this is the very condition how to reconcile this with the claims of of our being; for satisfaction, in this sense, rational liberty. If, therefore, we can see

does not

to such a creature as man. how Butler, for instance, sought to ad- Only a man, urges the agnostic philoso. vance the cause of Christianity in his age, pher, who is conscious that he has very how Burke interpreted the Constitution, little to say for himself, would resort to a and how Pope developed the traditions of pessimistic argument in defence of such English poetry, we shall have a fairly clear a high matter as revealed religion. But conception of the nature of English Con- those who argue like this show a strange servatism, religious, political, and literary, inability to recognize the relative strength in the eighteenth century. It may be ob of their own and their adversary's posi. jected that it is fantastic to look for a tion. They seem to regard Christianity common principle running through so merely as a speculative system which many different spheres of activity. But must stand or fall on purely intellectual it appears to me that in all of them the grounds. But as a matter of fact the vast same intellectual tendency may be traced power of Christianity is derived from a – namely, an instinctive acknowledgment practical and moral source.

It is in posof the truth that all spiritual, political, and session of men's souls and spirits. Nineartistic development must proceed in teen centuries have established its domin. conformity with an ancestral law, the au-ion over the conscience of the greatest thority of which is not to be questioned, nations of the world. The members of and which must be frankly obeyed by those nations have had their moral ideas every individual who wishes to be com- formed in infancy on the assumption of pletely free.

the truth of Revelation, long before it is To begin with Butler, whose attitude in possible for them to examine the testi. this respect often causes his reasoning to mony by which the authority of Revelabe misunderstood. The modern assail-tion is supported. The opponents of ants of Christianity assume that ever Christianity must therefore undermine since the Renaissance intellectual the conscience of Christendom, before they movement has been going on which has can hope to weaken materially the belief little by little been undermining the cause in the divine authority of revealed reliof revealed religion. The Reformation, gion. The burden of proof lies with them. they argue, took away so much ; the eigh. And of this fact the defenders of Chris. teenth century destroyed so much more; tianity have always shown themselves to the fall of the fortress before the historical be perfectly aware. As they have been, and scientific criticism of modern days is naturally, men of ardent piety and devo. inevitable. Singularly enough they point tion, the real argument that has weighed to the attitude of the great divines of the with them has been the spiritual expeeighteenth century as evidence in favor of Irience of mankind. They see the neces


« VorigeDoorgaan »