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other gentlemen that it was time for them “Nobody is going to fight a duel, if
“Come along, Gaunt.” important matter for two at least of the Lady Markham detained Sir Thomas speakers; but this was how they talked with a look as he rose to accompany them. of it, biding, perhaps, the anxiety within. She gave Captain Gaunt her hand, and a Them Markham turned to the other group. gracious, almost anxious smile." Mark.
“ Have you got all the feathers and the ham is noted for bad hours," she said. furbelows ready?" he said, “Do you " You are not very strong, and you must think there will be any of you visible not let him beguile you into his evil ways." through them, little Fan?"
She rose too, and took Sir Thomas by the “Don't frighten the child, Markham. arm as the young man went away. “Did She will do very well. She can be as you hear what he said? Do you think it steady as a little rock, and in that case it was only billiards he meant? My heart doesn't matter that she is not tall." quakes for that poor boy and the poor
Oh, tall, - as if that were necessary! people he belongs to. Don't you think You are not tall yourself, our mother; you could go after them and see what they but you are a very majestic person when are about? you are in your war-paint.”
“ I will do anything you please. But “ There's the queen berself, for that what good could I do?" said Sir Thomas. matter," said Sir Thomas. " See her in "Markham would not put up with any in. a procession, and she might be six feet. terference from me; nor the other young I feel a mouse before her.” He had held fellow either, for that matter." once some post about the court, and had “But if you were there, if they saw you a right to speak.
about, it would restrain them; oh, you "Let us hope Fap will look majestic have always been such a true friend.' if too. You should, to carry off the effect I you were but there." shall produce. In ordinary life,” said “ There! Where ?" There came be. Markham," I don't flatter myself that I fore the practical mind of Sir Thomas a am an Adonis; but you should see me vision of himself at his sober age dragged screwed up into a uniform. No, I'm not into he knew not what nocturnal haunts, in the army, Fan. What is my uniform, like an elderly spectre, jeered at by the mother, to please her? A deputy lieu- pleasure-makers. " I will do anything to tenant, or something of that sort. I hope please you,” he said helplessly. . But you are a great deal the wiser, Fan." what can I do? It would be of no use.
People always look well in uniform," You know yourself that interference never said Frances, looking at bim somewhat does any good.” doubtfully, on which Markham broke Frances stood by aghast, listening to forth into his chuckle. “Wait till you this conversation. What did it mean? see me, iny little dear. Wait till the little Of what was her mother afraid? Presboys see me on the line of route. They ently, Lady Markham took her seat again are the true tests of personal attraction. with a return to her usual smiling calm. Are you coming, Gaunt? Do you feel. You are right, and I am wrong," she inclined to give those sellows their re. said. “Of course, we can do nothing. venge?"
Perhaps, as you say, there is no real rea. Markham had spoken rather low, and son for anxiety.” (Frances observed, howat some distance from his mother; but ever, that Sir Thomas had not said this.) the word caught her quick ear.
“It is because the boy is not well off, and Revenge? What do you mean by bis people are not well off — old soldiers, revenge? Who is going to be revenged ? with their pensions and their savings. she cried.
That is what makes me fear."
“Oh, if that is the case, you need have | as what are known in religion by the the less alarm. Where there's not much Dames of the Methodist and Traciarian to lose, the risks are lessened," Sir movements, and in politics by the names Thomas said calmly.
of the Liberal and Radical movements. When he too was gone, Frances crept However much Wordsworth and Shelley close to her mother. She knelt down be and Keats may differ from each other in side the chair on which Lady Markham their individual characteristics, no one, I sat, grave and pale, with agitation in her imagine, who considers the subject will face. Mother," she whispered, taking deny that in many important respects they ber hand and pressing her cheek against were moved by common external impulses, it, “ Markham is so kind – he never would and united by a common spirit of antago. do poor George any harm."
nism to their immediate predecessors. “Oh, my dear,” cried Lady Markham, In the next place, it is scarcely more “how can you tell ? Markham is not a open to dispute that this movement was a man to be read off like a book. He is party movement. The present age is
wbich does not hinder him quick enough to recognize the fact that from being cruel too. He means no harm, criticisms such as that in the Edinburgh perhaps; but when the harm is done, what Review on Coleridge's “Christabel,” or does it matter whether he meant it or not? that in the Quarterly on Keats's “En. And as for the risks eing lessened be. dymion," were founded on purely party cause your friend is poor, that only means principles, that the critics, starting as that he is despatched all the sooner. ibey did from certain axioms of their own Markham is like a man with a fever; he as to the requisites of poetry, were quite has his fits of play, aod one of them is on inseosible to the essential beauties of the him now."
poems they were considering; but it is “Do you mean - gambling ?” said not sufficiently remembered that WordsFrances, growing pale too. She did not worth and Coleridge were no less dogmatic know very well what gambling was, but and no less narrow in their depreciation it was ruin, she had always heard.
of such a poet as Gray, or that the per“Don't let us talk of it,” said Lady ception of Keats was dead to the merits Markham. “We can do no good; and to of the famous writer whom he ridiculously distress ourselves for what we cannot pre- speaks of as “one Boileau," and whom vent, is the worst policy in the world, with equal absurdity he regarded as the everybody says. You had better go to progenitor of the English poets of the bed,' dear child; I have some letters to eighteenth century. Besides, it is easy write."
enough to separate the critics of the first thirty years of the present century into two groups, one containing such men as Gifford, Sir Walter Scott, George Ellis, Campbell, Jeffrey, and Macaulay, all of
whom (though two of them certainly speak THE LIBERAL MOVEMENT IN ENGLISH with very little gratitude of those from
whom they had learned the most) had CONCLUSION.
evidently formed their taste on eighteenth
century literature; the other including THE PROSPECTS OF POETRY.
writers like Wordsworth, Coleridge, An attempt bas been made in the fore. Keats, Leigh Hunt, and others who were going papers to ascertain by an historical bitterly opposed to the eighteenth century inquiry the origin of the movement de and all its works. scribed in the above title. Now that I am Once more.
Whereas sixty years ago on the point of arriving at a conclusion, I the critical principles of the eighteenth may be permitted to dwell for a moment century were still in the ascendant, and on the meaning of that title - since its the apostles of the new departure were propriety has been more than once ques. suffering martyrdom or struggling with a tioned - to justify the critical method that hostile public opinion, the balance of taste I have pursued, and to recapitulate the has so entirely shifted that the writers general course of my argument.
whom our grandfathers regarded with the And, in the first place, I think I need greatest esteem are now spoken of at most not waste many words in proving that with tolerance and often with contemplo during the present century there has been Thus Mr. Swinburne, wishing to disparz movement - whatever we choose to call age Byron in comparison with Shelley, it - jo literature, as distinct and definite classes the former with Pope, and is so
From The National Review,
kind as to allow both to be “poets after a sessiog the exclusive hall-mark of “high fashion," while Mr. Arnold goes still far- beauty, worth, and power.” He makes ther, and loftily decides : Though Dry, not the slightest attempt to explain why den and Pope may write in verse, though the two writers whom he allows to be they may in a certain sense be masters of "classics of our prose” should in ninethe art of versification, Dryden and Pope tenths of their best-known work have are not classics of our poetry, they are chosen to express themselves in a metriclassics of our prose.”
cal form. Now considering that nearly two hun. So long as Mr. Arnold restricted him. dred years have passed since the birth of self to judgments on writers who, what Pope, and that, from his death up to the ever may be their exact position in our present time, he and Dryden have unani- literature, are allowed to be classics of mously been accounted “classics of our some kind, his paradoxes might only have poetry,” we have a right to expect that excited amusement. But he has deter. Mr. Arnold should support his paradoxi- mined to apply his test to poets whose cal judgment with corresponding strength merits have from the very first been the of demonstration. And at first sight it subject of fierce controversy; and hapappears as if he were ready to satisfy our pening to decide that Shelley is not to be requirements. His reasoning is deduced reckoned among our poetical" classics," from axioms and postulates almost Eu. he has naturally aroused the wrath of Mr. clidean in their absoluteness. The poetry Swinburne. Mr. Swinburne tells him of Dryden and Pope, he says, lacks that roundly that his moral canons are good
high seriousness” which is the mark of for nothing, and then makes as if he were the true poetical classic, and which is to about to establish an impregnable position be found in a number of isolated passages of his own by reasoning and argument. from the poets selected by him as exam. He declines, he says, to discuss a question ples of the classical style. But when we of poetical taste with any man who will ask him further to define this “high seri- not grant the assumption that "the two ousness," he declines to do anything of primary and essential qualities of poetry the kind.
are imagination and harmony.” Many of The characters [says he] of a high quality of us would be very glad to concede thus poetry are what is expressed there. They are
much; but, oddly enough, when this new far better recognized by being felt in the verse critical method comes to be tested by of the master, by being perused in the verse of application, the standard of "imagination the master, than in the prose of the critic. and harmony" is found to be of just as Nevertheless, if we are urgently pressed to give much practical use as the standard of some critical account of them, we may safely, "high poetic seriousness” – that is to perhaps, venture on laying down, not, indeed, say, for controversial purposes it is of no how and why the characters arise, but where
use at all. and in what they arise. They are in the matter and substance of the poetry, and they are The test of the highest poetry (we are in. in its manner and style. Both of them, the formed) is that it eludes all tests. Poetry in substance and the matter on the one hand, the which there is no element at once perceptible style and manner on the other, have a mark, and indefinable by any reader or hearer of any an accent of high beauty, worth, and power, poetic instinct .. is not poetry - above all, But if we are asked to define this mark and it is not lyric poetry — of the first water. accent in the abstract, our answer must be : No, for we should thereby be darkening the And then Mr. Swinburne quotes two lines question, not clearing it. The mark and ac- from Wordsworth, which, as I have said, cent are as given by the substance and matter removed from their context, are absoof that poetry, by the style and manner of that lutely devoid of meaning, and declares in poetry, and of all other poetry which is akin
his own mapper: to it in quality.
“ If not another word of
the poem was left in which these two lines It must, I should think, be apparent to occur, those two lines would suffice to every reader that, after delivering himself show the hand of a poet differing not in of the disparaging judgmeot that two of degree but in kind from the tribe of Bythe greatest metrical writers in our lan. ron." No doubt; but differing also from guage are “not classics of our poetry," the tribe of Homer, Virgil, and Milton, Mr. Arnold has chosen to maintain his whose most sublime passages can readily thesis simply by proving that they do not be analyzed into their elements, though write in the same mapper as other poets the life and genius that inspires them is, of a totally different order, whose style of course, beyond the reach of analysis. commends itself to his perception as pos. All that Mr. Swinburne proves by his
argument is that the poetry of Byron is genius of great poets as something orig. of a different kind from the poetry of inal and per se, yet any one who considers Wordsworth and Shelley, and that he the matter will see that all genuine poetry himself infinitely prefers the poetry of the springs out of the imagination of the peotwo latter.
ple. If it be, as it is, the function of the Neither Mr. Arnold nor Mr. Swinburne poet to show “ the very age and body of justifies the absolute test of poetry which the time his form and pressure,” he must, they respectively propose. Their princi. in order to do this, first receive into his ples of high poetic seriousness," and of own mind the influences that are operat"imagination and harmony," do not carry ing on his age and time. These he re. them a single step in advance of their produces in an ideal form, and hence own perceptions : stat pro ratione volun- poetry is as much the reflection of the tas. Must we, then, give up all hopes of growth of the national mind and conarriving at a general agreement about the science, as history is the record of national nature of poetry and the merits of indi. life and action. Spenser shows a clear vidual poets, and be content to acquiesce perception of this truth when he says :in the anarchical maxim, De gustibus non est disputandum? I think not. Poetry, For deeds do die, however nobly done, as I have already said — and I believe
And thoughts of men do as themselves de. that for controversial purposes it is the But wise words, taught in numbers for to run,
cay ; only working definition that can be found
Recorded by the Muses, live for aye. - is the art of producing pleasure for the imagination by means of metrical lan. To understand, therefore, the genius of guage. The test of poetry, therefore, is classical poets, their relations to each the extent and quality of the pleasure it other, as well as to the whole course of produces — a relative standard of judg. their nation's literature, and the causes ment, no doubt. The man who can, by that made them write in metre in the way his metrical writing, produce pleasure in they did, we ought to be historically acthe mind of any reader is pro tanto a poet. quainted with the general laws that seem But since we are all constituted more or everywhere to determine the progress of less after the same fashion, metrical writ. popular imagination. ing, if it is worth anything, must be capa: In the paper with which I opened this ble of exciting general pleasure, and series I examined the assertion of Ma. pleasure in the minds of good judges. If caulay that “as civilization advances poit can do this it is presumably good poetry almost necessarily declines." The etry. But, again, since contemporary proposition is contradicted, as I showed, judgment is liable to be distracted and by universal experience, since the great. confused by transitory currents of feeling, est poems of the world, the “ Æneid,” it is impossible to decide certainly whether the “ Divine Comedy, “ Paradise Lost," metrical writing has in it the qualities that the plays of the Greek dramatists and of please permanently and generally until it Shakespeare, were all produced in the has been tested by time. When it has maturity of national life, while even the secured the approval of generations of "Tiad” and the “ Odyssey” argue a high good judges, then we may be sure that degree of refinement in the surroundings the writer, whatever be the kind of pleas- of the poet. The fact is indisputable, and ure which his verse excites, is a classic the explanation of it is simple. Early poet. Nor is it open to any critic, how. society lacks the power of expression. ever distinguished, to challenge the posi- Language is then wanting in precise and tion which these poets have acquired, philosophical terms, as well as in rhyth. because his opinion can weigh nothing mical harmony, and these no less tban the against the verdict of time and common mental qualities which they imply, judg.
All that he can do usefully is to ment, design, the power of selection and observe and record the methods which rejection, in a word, all that is involved in the poet, whatever his kind, has employed, the word “taste," are essential to the and to apply these as a test to the con. composition of a really great poem. temporary metrical writers who attempt But in so far as what Macaulay is think. composition of an analogous order. ing of is poetical conception, I hold that
But if there be one element in all clas. his opinion is entirely right. The early sical poetry which is relative simply to ages of a nation's life are the ages of bethe sense of the individual, there is an- lief, and belief is the parent of poetry. It other which is relative solely to the sense is then when primitive and warlike habits of the nation. We are apt to think of tbe prevail; when there are few facilities for
communication and comparison of ideas; through the earlier and greater period of before men have begun to observe and our literature, the period between Chaucer inquire into the nature of things, - that and Milton, we see these two apparently the unconscious life and liberty of imag- conflicting elements harmoniously fused ination are largest and fullest. Monarch and bleoded in the work of the poets, of all it surveys, it employs its incompara- though, as our literature develops, each ble myth-makiog powers in investing the element appears mixed there in very difvarious appearances of nature with an ferent proportions. atmosphere of marvel and mystery. As Let me dwell on this point with a little society becomes more orderly and refined, more detail. Take the poetry of Chaucer, it is recognized that many of the phenom. for instance. With him romance, in our ena hitherto ascribed to supernatural agen- sense of the word, is reality. He writes cies are the effects of uniform causes; from within a system or order of society and wherever this scientific observation which has long ceased to exist, and he extends there is so much territory con- reflects all the ideas and sentiments proper quered from the unconscious creative im to that system with complete alaiveté and agination. Poets of genius at the same good faith. In “The Parson's Tale," for time arise who, perceiving the extraor instance, he speaks like a good Catholicin dinary wealth of material created for them approval of auricular confession ; “The by the unconscious imagination of their Flower aod the Leaf” is full of the mys. fathers, utilize this for the purposes of tical morality of the age; while of the their own sublime inventions. It cannot thirty Canterbury pilgrims themselves, the be denied, for example, that all the great names of at least two-thirds express some poems I enumerated in the last paragraph ecclesiastical relation which has no longer have their roots in national belief. But any meaning for English society. And the subject matter of imagination, already yet the mystical atmosphere in which he encroached upon by science, is thus largely breathed has had no power to obscure the appropriated by the poets themselves, so clear imagination of the poet. The figures that for the purposes of creation, the oppor. and characters of his imperishable piltunities of the late poet being much dimin. grimage stand out before us with as much ished, his genius is naturally turned distinctness as if five hundred years had towards the ethical, didactic, and satiric not intervened. In this power of looking orders of metrical composition - all of through social fashions and institutions at which have their origin in the religious in- nature, as she really is, we see the first stincts of the people; and in this sphere traces in our literature of the genius of he strives to compensate for the lower the Renaissance. range of his thought by the polish and In Spenser all this is changed ; the roperfection of his language. It would ap- mantic in his work predominates over the pear, then, that, if Macaulay's proposi- real. The feudal systein is no longer part tion be amended so as to assert that as and parcel of the national life; it has civilization advances the matter for poeti- become an allegory, a philosophical ideal cal creation diminishes, while the powers to be aimed at by every gentleman who of poetical expression are multiplied, we desires to cultivate inward perfection. shall have a correct description of an in- Throughout the allegory pagan myths lie variable phenomenon in the history of the oddly jumbled with mediaval dogmas, and art.
legendary forms are employed to cloak Applying this general law to the course political allusioos; yet all is somehow of English literature, it seems to me we blended so as to seem natural and harmomay arrive at some very definite conclu- nious in the fairy land of Spenser's fancy. sions. Throughout its history the genius In spite of the Protestantism of the poet of our poetry exhibits itself in two aspects. and the nation, we feel, as we read the Viewed in one light, it is seen to be mys- splendid description of the procession of tical, picturesque, romantic; in the other, the Seven Deadly Sins in the House of it appears real, positive, natural. The Pride, how deeply Catholic theology had sources of English poetry are, on the one colored the English imagination, and can hand, the Catholic Church and the feudal readily understand that, though much of system, those" Gothic and monkish foun- the sense of the allegory is lost to the dations," as Burke calls them in his vivid modern world, the koightly virtues of manner, of our national life; and on the Prince Arthur possessed a real signifiother the spirit of the Renaissance which cance for men like Sidney, Raleigh, and has done so much to modify the form Essex. of the literary superstructure. Moreover, When we come to Shakespeare we