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Floats double : swan and shadow.
Floats double : swan and shadow."
rather in his ballads and shorter pieces | head was perhaps the noblest and handsomest than in his longer poems.
In fact, we
among English writers of his time. fear that his famous epic, “ Thalaba the I knew him (Wordsworth] only in London, Destroyer," with its wealth of beauty and where he was more than once my guest ; for grandeur of conception, is thought a little among his admirers there were none more
fervent than were we. tedious by most of those who peep at it in Wordsworth — and I cannot think I over-esti
I regard William the present day. Its rhymeless rhythm mate him — as taking rank next to William doubtless is much against it, as well as Shakespeare among British poets of all the the redundancy of its descriptions. His centuries. Walking with him one day “Curse of Kehama," which had the ad. from my house in Sloane Street to Piccadilly, vantage of rhyme, is perhaps his greatest I felt prouder than I should have felt if the poem ; but the world is oblivious of grand king had been leaning on my arm.
It was mythological creations, and Southey to- said of him that he adınired his own poetry day is known most widely by “ The Battle more than any other person could, and that of Blenheim"and other simple pieces, and he was continually quoting himself. I believe as one of the best of our English prose illustrative anecdote.
he had that miniature fault. I may recall an
He was breakfasting writers. Of all the literary men of this with me, in 1831, and the topic of his exquisite century none bears a more un blemished poem on “Yarrow Revisited” in some way reputation; of all home-lovers he was the came up: he complained that Scott had mis. chief and model; and of all family groups, quoted him, and taking from a bookcase one that found under his roof at Greta Hall of the Waverley novels, read from it the paswas the happiest, till death and change sage, broke in upon the charmed circle.
The swan upon St. Mary's Lake His successor in the laureateship was one whose name will ever be associated “Now,” he said, and I shall never forget the with the beautiful Lake country, of which solemn sonorousness of his voice as he re. for years he was as noticeable a feature as peated the lines, “I did not write that; I the inist-crowned hills and the sheeny wa.
wrote, ters. Wordsworth read in nature higi
The swan on still St. Mary's Lake hopes and noble aspirations for man. In contrast to the reckless passion of Byron, most serious subject of complaint.
It was evidently, to Wordsworth's mind, a his poetry gleans lessons from common Tall, somewhat slender, upright, with a sort grass and simple flower and the unspoilt of rude grace, his movements suggestive of children of the dales; while some of the rustic independence tempered by the delicacy sonnets of his early days are as stirring in of high intellect - such was Wordsworth to their patriotism and as lofty in their style outward seeming when I knew him. as those of Milton. Wordsworth belongs
Fifty years ago Thomas Campbell, who to the last century as well as this, but can had produced bis “ Pleasures of Hope never be out of date. When many a noisy | just on the eve of the nineteenth century, reputation of our own day has sunk into was struggling with debt and difficulties, oblivion, and the poets of sensuousness which weighed heavily on his once hopehave returned to their native clay, his ful soul, and pressed' it down below the pure verse shall still charm the ear and level of poetry. In 1842, however, he refresh the spirit.
gave to the world yet one more poem, In Mr. Hall these two Lake-dwelling The Pilgrim of Glencoe," which the un. wearers of the laurel crown find an
grateful world did not receive in as kindly thusiastic admirer.
a spirit as it might have done, considering I knew Southey [he says) only in London, that it owed something to the veteran meeting him more than once at the house of composer of “ Ye Mariners of England," Allan Cunningham. I wish I had known and other classic verse. When Campbell more of him, for in my heart and mind he holds was editing the New Monthly, Mr. Hall a place higher than is held by any great man acted for å time as his "sub,” and his with whom I have been acquainted. To me reflections on the way in which the chief he is the beau idéal of the Man of Letters: a glory to his calling, to whom all succeeding performed his office are very amusing: authors by profession may point back with There has seldom been a worse editor. pride. . . . My remembrance of him is that of His friend and regular contributor, Talfourd, a form, not tall, but stately - a countenance hit off his character in a sentence: Stopping full of power, but also of gentleness; and eyes the press for a week to determine the value of whose keen and penetrating glance had justly a comma, and balancing contending epithets caused them to be likened to the hawk's, but for a fortnight.” . . . He never knew where that on occasion could beam and soften with to find the thing he was in search of. His the kindliest and tenderest emotivn. His study was a mass of confusion; articles ten.
dered, good or bad, were sometimes, after a then had rule in this free England of weary search, found thrust behind a row of ours! The mighty influence which he books on his bookshelf; and he was rarely exercised on his contemporaries by his known to give an immediate answer, yes or no, sweet but never vapid lines, his rounded to any applicant for admission into his maga. but always purposeful verses – by, his zine. In short, though a great man, he was utterly unfit to be an editor. I have nearly the pleas for the climbing boy, for the slave, same to say of Theodore Hook, Lytton Bul- for missions, for progress and liberty of wer, and Tom Hood, who were his successors thought — by his hymns, adopted' by in the editorial chair.
nearly every Protestant denomination
can scarcely be over-estimated. The In considering the claims of such poets town of steel must never forget its quiet of the bygone years as Campbell and but most illustrious citizen. Moore, one may fairly ask, Would such a With his we may join the name of Mrs. poem as
The Pleasures of Hope now Hemans, whose lyrics, if more ambitious bring any young aspirant into the full in style, and sometimes a little high-flown, blaze of popularity and make him a favor are yet for the most part interwoven with ite with the public, and sought after by the very fibres of the popular heart. In the publishers? Would a series of " Irish some respects she might be termed the Melodies now procure any man £ 500 a English Longfellow, though she did not year for seven years? We fear not. In live to carry out her workmanship to the truth we are more exacting than our fa. polished finish and artistic excellence of thers, and the market is overstocked with the American master. Her admirers were precious wares. Probably there are at not simply the select few, but the great least five hundred men in the England of body of her countrymen and women, by our day who are sure they could write whom her shorter, less ambitious efforts, about hope to any extent of smooth hex appealing strongly to home affections, ameters; and there are certainly scores of were cherished as “household words." ladies who fancy not without some rea. It is nearly fifty years since this highly
that they could run off melodies of gifted woman died, all too young, yet no Moore's quality to any amount ordered. way loth to leave a hard and troublous But, if it were so, neither poet nor poetess world. On Sunday, April 26th, 1835, just would thereby attain rank or favor in the three weeks before her death, she dictated public eye : for the age has advanced in her last poem, the “Sabbath Sonnet,” fastidiousness, and requires, to tickle its which is characteristic at once of her ear, something more than the easy-going style of thought and of her devoutness of verse that satisfied a simpler but not more soul: prosaic generation. On the other hand, it
this hour are wend. is questionable whether the restless crowd
ing, of poets of to-day have the patience and Through England's primrose meadow paths, the continuity of thought necessary to the composition of a few hundred couplets on Toward spire and tower, 'mid shadowy elms one subject; and whether, again, their ascending, constant straining after effect would allow Whence the sweet chimes proclaim the hal. them to frame lays so simple, in humor
lowed day! and pathos, language and simile, as the The halls, from old heroic ages grey, Melodies," which, after all, it is more
Pour their fair children forth; and hamlets
low, easy to sneer at than to outdo. But of all the veteran poets who still With whose thick orchard blooms the soft
winds play, graced the stage of life at this period, there Send out their inmates in a happy flow, is none whose memory deserves more to Like a freed vernal stream.
I may not tread be cherished than that of James Mont. With them those pathways, to the feverish bed gomery the Christian poet par excel. Of sickness bound; yet, O my God! I bless lence of this century; the one on whom Thy mercy, that with Sabbath peace hath filled the mantle of the gentle Cowper had fall. My chastened heart, and all its throbbings en, and who enriched our literature with
stilled a thousand happy additions of hymnal and To one deep calm of lowliest thankfulness. other lyrical treasure. All honor to the Among those who added lustre to this brave and modest Moravian printer, who period, the name of Thomas Hood shines in his younger days suffered imprison. forth as a star. The quips and quirks and ment for singing a joyous strain on the puns and happy conceits which stud his fall of the Bastille, but who bore no bit- humorous pieces so thickly, and which terness for that against the powers that have furnished a storehouse for the hard
beset scribes of the melancholy “comics” | the very highest poetesses that England of our times, were not so much a part of has as yet produced. For many years himself as the more serious vein of po- this distinguished couple were spared to etry which he had worked but at intervals, do the best literary work side by side, fit and from which came forth the memorable companions in genius and geniality of
Song of the Shirt," and the still more spirit. sterling “ Bridge of Sighs," which alone In like manner it was the happiness of would suffice to keep his memory green the children's poet and story-teller, the amongst us. Though he was barely good Mary Howitt, to pass a long life of forty-six when he died, few pens have literary work in the society of a nobledone more than his to enforce the true minded husband; he working away at his evangelic lesson of love to all, and of prose, and she at her rhymes and tales, or special kindness to the poor and unfortu- both conjointly at some miscellany of
He was succeeded by his son, Tom prose or verse. All honor to these worthy Hood the younger, a man of excellent collaborateurs, who wrote so much to in parts and almost equal genius to his struct and delight, and whose abilities father, but whose brilliant talents and fine were always enlisted on the side of the physique were quickly consumed in comic pure and the just! William Howitt passed journalistic work and the concomitants of away in 1879, at the ripe age of eightya rapid public life. He died at the early four. Two of his early works The age of forty.
Rural Life of England" and " The Boy's We pass to a later generation of poets, Country Book” - deserve a niche on the among whom one commanding name bears shelves of every true lover of the counsway the bright, pure name of Alfred try. The latter, in its unabridged form, Tennyson, laureate by right as well as by is one of the best boys' books we know royal appointment. His first volume of — that is, for the juniors, unadulterated poems saw the light in 1830, and of itself by public-school life. would not have gained him permanent The stirring times of the French Rev. fame, though it contained the germ of later olution of 1848, and of the Crimean War developments. His performance has been a few years later, gave impulse to much tenfold better than his early promise; and lyrical work, and several young poets as a poet of the finest fancy and choicest burst into song. Amongst these are espe. diction, a religious philosopher of the cially notable Sydney Dobell, Alexander highest stamp, a laureate fitted to com- Smith – both since dead, both full of the inemorate worthily the death of mighty highest promise; the latter early giving warrior or wise prince, or to draw immor- up devotion to the Muse in consequence tai lessons from the loss of a bosom friend, of the bitterly hostile and unfair criticism be holds peerless rank in these later years to which he was subjected by some jeal. of a stirring, advancing century. Long ous brother of the pen — and Gerald may he live, to charm and instruct a lis. Massey, who still lives and writes, though tening nation !
unhappily he gives his old admirers no Standing nearest the throne of the po. more of those sweet love-poems which etic chief is the noteworthy figure of Rob- won bim fame thirty years ago, and one, ert Browning, a quite distinct and origi- or more, of which is to be found in nearly nal genius, whose poetry is full — too every standard selection from our best full for the otiose reader - of an intense poetry. In this younger school are also to dramatic fire and force, piled up with life. be included the names of Professor Ay. like detail and allusion, yet even in its toun, who published his popular“ Lays of shorter pieces, attractive though they are, the Scottish Cavaliers in 1848, Philip osten deinands three or four perusals be. James Bailey, the author of “ Festus," fore the intelligent student can get the George Macdonald, poet, preacher, and clue to the riddle of its purpose. In his novelist, John Westland Marston, the last volume, “ Jocoseria," Mr. Browning dramatist, and Charles Kingsley, whose has made a decided advance in intelligi. fine genius was essentially poetical, and bility, and there can be little doubt of his proved its power in “The Saint's Trag. being one of the few who will live as a edy," and a few beauteous fragments. classic for the coming generation. His Charles Swain, at this and an earlier date, wife, Elizabeth Barrett, was of a different wrote many popular songs; Dr. Charles school. Learned as Lady Jane Grey or Mackay has during a long life enriched Elizabeth Carter, she yet was intensely the land with some of our best national human and modern in her sympathies, and ballads; and a host of others still living has left the impression of being one of have labored in the same field. Into the
poetic merits of Morris and Buchanan Lord Macaulay, successful in most of and Allingham and Swinburne – all men the affairs of this life, with brilliant rep. of mark — we must not stay to enter. utation as orator, statesman, essayist,
In hymn-writing a decided advance has historian, and poet, was especially fortubeen made in our tiine. As our fore. nate in having a model biographer, his fathers held that it was unfair that the nephew, Mr. Trevelyan, now filling with Devil should have all the good tunes, so such. ability the dangerous and glorious it has seemed right to this generation that post of secretary for Ireland, whose life the highest poetic talent should be de- of his uncle is a most readable book. voted to the service and praise of God. To this period belongs also Carlyle Hence it comes to pass that in the hymn. himself, and in it be moves as one of the books of nearly every denomination will chief figures, massive, rugged, mystical. now be found, interspersed with the sound Some of his teaching, in his “ Sartor Reold dogmatic verse of the ancestors, the sartus” and “ Heroes,” was perhaps calbeautiful lyrics of Heber, Milman, Mont. culated to produce good effect on the gomery, Keble, Lyte, Stanley, Elliott, rising men of the day, by rousing them Waring, Havergal, Bunting · Words- to a bolder form of thought and action. worth, Trench, Baker, Bonar, and others Amongst much dross and dust and rub. happily still living; and there is now the bish, the pure gold of energy and hard l'ess excuse for not selecting, at least oc. work rings out here and there with shrill casionally, for the use of the great con effect. “Do the duty which lies nearest gregation, sweet strains of praise and thee,” without waiting for some ideal opprayer, instead of the condensed creeds portunity to present itself — this is one in rhyme with which our fathers were too of the points on which he strongly insists. long content.
Whether it was necessary or desirable To pass to the region of history and to envelop some very simple truths and biography. One bright name fills with its well-known maxims in such a fog and lustre the greater part of the era under cloud of words, and to construct such an review; and though, of late, a narrow outlandish tongue out of the good Encriticism has endeavored to dim its radi- glish of which he had once been a mas. ance, we may safely predict that Macau. ter, is a matter on which we will not prolay's “ History" will outlive the toughest nounce. Possibly he was in this respect of its depreciators. It was in 1848 that wise in his generation, knowing well that the first two volumes of it appeared, and the thick air of mystery clouding his by their marvellous success made a red. axioms would pique the curiosity of the letter day in the publishing trade, rousing multitude of readers, who are inclined, the dingy depths of Paternoster Row to now as ever, to accept “omne ignotum an unwonted excitement. And now, after pro magnifico." The absurdities of his the lapse of five-and-thirty years, the work pantheism and hero-worship need not is still read and re-read, and, spite of a here be dwelt upon. In his histories and few errors, exaggerations, and prejudices, biographies his homage was given rather will hold sway till some historian arises to the men of strong nerves and unscruwith mightier gifts and more charming pulous action than to those of noble aspistyle than this exceptionally qualified man ration and patient performance. He was possessed. Armed at all points with a most at home in describing the attack on perfect knowledge of the period he treats, the Bastille, or illuming here and there furnished with an inexhaustible memory the congenial cloudiness of Cromwell, or
the despair of his imitators and rivals worshipping the selfish autocrat of Prus. he gives a microscopic view of an absorb. sia. ingly interesting portion of English story, The late Earl Stanhope — long known and depicts it with a skill and on a scale as Lord Mahon - takes his place in this that will always keep his work distinct as half-century, in the course of which he an unfinished and incomparable fragment. published many painstaking and consci. It is amusing to find Carlyle sneering at entious works of history and biography, the work, recommending as a passetemps which, if they have not the picturesque "the last volume of Macaulay's History, power of Macaulay, or the grotesque force or any other novel ; " since one is apt to of Carlyle, possess a quiet value of their remember that the sage of Cheyne Row own for the plodding student. For an was himself no mean romancer when he excellent history of France we are inlabored ponderously to convert that pinch- debted to Eyre Evans Crowe; and for a beck professor, Frederick the Great, into popular one of modern Europe to Dr. T. a golden hero.
H. Dyer; whilst Sir George Cornewall
Lewis displayed his acute critical faculty | dore Martin, whose “ Life of the Prince in several historical and linguistic essays; Consort” is a fitting record of a poble and Dr. John Doran – - one of the earliest career; Canon Rawlinson, one of our contributors to the London Quarterly highest authorities on ancient history; discoursed, in his own inimitable fashion, the late Mr. Green, whose “Short History on " Table Traits, Habits, and Men," and of the English People” was regarded as a multitude of quasi-historical subjects, the prelude to still better work, and was lighting up the highways and byeways of accordingly expanded by him into a much olden lise and manners from his unbound. more perfect book; and Mr. Justin Maced store of anecdote and antiquarian lore. Carthy, who, notwithstanding his Home With him we cannot but commemorate Rule proclivities, has given to the world one of the most brilliant essayists of our a very readable “ History of our Own day – Thomas M‘Nicoll, for a time editor Times.” This department of literature of this Review; whose high poetic abil. is continually being enriched by the pubity and exquisite critical taste were lost lication of diaries and autobiographies of to the world by his early death. Another great interest; as a sample of which we delightful author who has gone over to may take the “Diary” of Crabb Robin. “the majority” is Sir Arthur Helps, who son, and the “Greville Memoirs,” both shone not only as historian of the Span- full of amusing gossip about great men ish Conquest in America, but still more and small. in his “Friends in Council,” a book which In the literature of physical and metabrings the lonely reader into lifelike and physical science, we must content ourenduring companionship and converse selves with a bare mention of a few of the with the finest minds of the day.
names that have lent lustre to the last Both as tale-writer and as historian the fifty years. In geology, Sir Roderick chaplain-general to the forces, Mr. Gleig, Murchison, Professor Sedgwick, and Sir has distinguished himself, and thrown Charles Lyell lead the way; all three born light on the military career. Nor must in the last century, and lasting respec. we omit mention of that indefatigable tively to the good literary ages of sevenauthor, Sir Archibald Alison, whose "His- ty-nine, seventy-seven, and seventy-six: tory of Europe" from 1789 to 1852, in no a brave, hard-headed trio, who did 'much less than twenty-eight volumes, while pre- to advance a most interesting study. senting an excellent item of furniture for Michael Faraday, the great chemist, also, the shelves of a roomy library, has at who rose from being a bookbinder's apleast the merit of being a well-arranged prentice to be the renowned discoverer in storehouse of important facts. To Miss electricity and the popular exponent of Strickland also we are indebted for a great science to delighted audiences of princes, number of volumes, evincing much orig. philosophers, and children, at the Royal inal research, and containing, lives of institution, reached the fair age of sevenqueens, princesses, bishops, and bachelor ty-six. Charles Robert Darwin, the mi. kings - the last certainly a most appro- nute explorer into the wonders of animal priate subject for the pen of a learned and vegetable life, the ingenious inventor spinster.
of theories which have given unnecessary Amongst the histo nos and biogra- shocks to the weak in faith, by his nú. phers of the last five-and-twenty years merous works exercised great influence special notice is due to the late John on scientific thought. The venerable Forster, whose lives of Goldsmith, Eliot, name of Professor Owen will always be and Dickens are admirable pieces of lit. associated with the great advance made erary workmanship; to Mr. Froude, who within the last forty years in the fascinat. has treated with much research and fresh. ing science of comparative anatomy; in ness of view the reigns of Henry VIII. which a younger and no less illustrious and Elizabeth ; Mr. Lecky, who las dis: authority is Professor Huxley; while Procoursed on the “Rise of Rationalism” fessor Tyndall discourses enthusiastically, and the early “ History of European Mor. in lectures and books, on the wonderful als;." Mrs. Everett Green, for her " Lives properties of heat, light, dust, etc. From of the Princesses of England,” and other a literary point of view special interest al. valuable works; Mr. Freeman, who has taches to the name of Hugh Miller, who, pictured the Norman Conquest with vigor devoting a great share of his life to geo and ability; Professor David Masson, logical research, possessed a remarkable who devoted twenty-one years to an ex. graphic faculty, which enabled him to inhaustive “ Life of Milton” in conjunction fuse grace and vitality into the driest mass with the history of his times; Sir Theo. of material. His autobiographic frag.