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Sleep no more . eyes, and a somewhat florid complexion Glamis hath murdered sleep: and therefore he had just thrown up his fellowshlp at Cawdor
Oriel, because at that time subscription Shall sleep no more, Macbeth shall sleep no to the Articles of the Church of England more!
was the condition of all these Oxford prehe sheathed, as it were, the mortal an- ferments, and in deference to Carlyle's guish of the assassin's guilt in the fine exhortation to admit no insincerities into imaginative scabbard of the poet's spirit. one's life, Clough, who felt that he did not ual expression. No murderer could have believe in the general teaching of the said that, or put the feeling of the mur- Thirty-nine Articles, thought himself derer sufficiently outside his own mind to bound to throw up a position inconsistent conceive it. The poet who feels too with his liberty of thought and speech. keenly the griefs of other men – - who It was an act of pure conscience, for feels them too much as they feel them - which every one
reverence him. can never find the most adequate imag. But its immediate effect upon Clough's inative expression for them. Just con. mind, character, and imaginaton, was not, ceive a real human being reproaching his I think, wholly fortunate. He had a great mother in rhyme, as Hamlet does for her admiration for Carlyle; but, as I have unfaithfulness to his father,
told you, he used to say of him, with a
touch of bitterness, “Carlyle led us out A bloody deed; almost as bad, good mother, As kill a king, and marry with his brother.
into the wilderness, and left us there."
And for a time, certainly, Clough himself Yet the rhyme adds force and point to the wandered in the wilderness into which imaginative presentation of the reproach, Carlyle had led him - lonely, perplexed, while it would be fatal to the impressive. at odds with the society with which he ness of such a reproach in real life. We lived, tinged with a Carlylian scorn for shall never understand true poetry till the conventional, and yet profoundly conwe have grasped the uses of the various scious of the fitness of the frame in which conventions by which the imaginative convention sets a great deal of our social presentation of emotion is separated from life, desiring to fraternize with those who its natural outpourings. For my part, I denounce the conventional, but not findbelieve that Clough would have been a ing it very easy for convention is often still greater poet than he was — - and he the deposit of centuries of instinctive was a much greater poet than he is ordi. tact and taste, and no one breaks abruptly narily believed to be — if he had been with convention without feeling naked and able to put the life of what he sang more ashamed. He was a little Olympian in at a distance from him than he did - to his manner with strangers and a little empass it on from his heart to his imagina. barrassed by the sympathy of friends, for tion, and there embody it in enduring there appeared to be a great depth of forms. It is to this purpose that the con- pride in Clough. Moreover, he was full ventional element in poetry is so useful. of hot thoughts cased in a deep reserve When Milton wrote of Lycidas, he hardly a dreamer of Utopian dreams, with far realized that it was Edward King of whom too vivid a sense of the strength of our he was writing, or realized it only suffi- actual habits and prepossessions ever to ciently to enable his fancy to play with make a serious attempt at realizing them. his sense of loss. When Matthew Ar. He was a passionate foe of luxury and nold sang of Thyrsis, he half concealed lover of simplicity, though he had a strain from himself that it was Arthur Clough, of self-consciousness that made his own his old familiar friend, on whose deatli at manner somewhat too silent and stately Florence he was musing sadly amidst the for perfect simplicity. Another great meads and backwaters of the infant friend of Clough's and of my own, Walter Thames.
Bagehot, in whom the world lost too early Now Clough wrote, for the most part, a very original as well as a very subtle of what was immediately pressing on his thinker, has incidentally painted Clough's heart, and his poetry is, I think, to some manner so vividly in
one of his essays, extent injured by the very earnestness that I think I cannot do better than read and constancy of his individual anxiety the sentences I refer to. It is in an essay concerning the matters with which be on Henry Crabb Robinson. Speaking of dealt. When I first knew him - a man of Crabb Robinson's inability to remember thirty, with splendid brow, which he names, Bagehot says that in that excelwould crumple, however, into the oddest lent man's conversation Clough always folds and plaits, with shining light blue figured as " that admirable and accoin
plished man - you know whom I mean as Milton invoked her, though he once the one who never says anything." And invokes her in burlesque ; he could never in referring to the delight which Crabb have commemorated Arnold, as Arnold Robinson took in reading poems of commemorated him, as a classical shepWordsworth's at his breakfast parties to herd. Clough was an idealist, but an his friends, Bagehot goes on, " There are idealist always pressing for greater reality some of Wordsworth's poems at which I in life, and be liked neither the fancy never look even now without thinking of dresses of fanciful poetry nor its vague the wonderful and dreary faces which abstractions. Once, I remember, when Clough used to make while Mr. Robinson I praised to him some book with a mysti. was reading them. To Clough, certain of cal turn in it, be spread out his hand and Wordsworth's poems were part of his in- called my attention to the fact that his ner being, aod he suffered at hearing fingers widened, instead of tapering tothem obtruded at meal times, just as a wards the ends, remarking that men High Churchman would suffer at hearing whose fingers taper are disposed to symthe Collects of the Church. Indeed, these bolism and mysticism, but that men with poems were amongst the Collects of fingers like his cannot rest'on anything Clough's Church." And Clough remained but broad and homely fact. At the same to the last a silent, reserved, and some time his nature was deeply religious, in what perplexed man, a too anxious scan- spite of his craving to satisfy equally the ner of his own heart, a contemptuous demands of the intellect and the emotions critic of the comfortable middle class so of the heart. The consequence was, that ciety of his time, and a kind of Don though in pathos and delicacy of feeling Quixote whenever he saw a chance of some few of Clough's lyrics have rarely really serving any human being, whether been surpassed, his whole poetic mind in his own social sphere or not — all the needed a freer and larger medium for its more if in one beneath it - though no one expression than any which had been comknew better the difficulties of rendering monly used in English poetry: Some. such services truly. In one of his Scotch times he used blank verse, as in that most tours he walked two days over the moun- characteristic complaint of his that God tains from a house by the side of Loch appears not to encourage us, in these Ericht to Fort William, and two days modern days, to spend much time in back again, only to get the proper medi- purely devotional attitudes of feeling: cines for a forester's child who was lying
It seems His newer will sick of a fever at the former place, be.
We should not think of Him at all, but turn, yond the reach of medical help. But it And of the world that He has given us make was not often that so strong a man could The best we can — see bis way to serving his fellow-men effectually amidst the perplexities of this a remark to which he returns again and complicaied world; and hence he moved again, with a sort of heavy groan, in his uneasily about, half inclined to reproach correspondence. But blank verse the great spiritual Captain for not sound. not really a medium suited to Clough's ing the advance in a manner more audible genius, which was, if I may say so, a to ears in which so many strange sounds genius for moving buoyantly under a great are ringing. It is obvious, I think, that a weight of superincumbent embarrass. man with his mind constantly concen- ment. I have already quoted from Mr. trated, as Clough's was, on the desire to Bagehot a description of the plaits and make human society more real in its in- furrows in his forehead when he listened derstanding of its duties, and in his con- to those with whom he could not agree, scientious laboriousness to fulfil them, and yet from whom he did not know how could never be a pastoral poet; and in to express his difference. I remember, spite of Clough's love for the simplicities, too, how, when I endeavored, in twilight or rather, perhaps, by reason of it, – for talks with him, to lay any of my youthful pastoral poetry is conventional in its sim- perplexities before him, he, in the kindliplicities, and he was ardent for over-riding ness of his heart and the extreme embar. conventionalities by the help of some rassment of his intellect as to whether he truer insight into nature, — he never was should do more harm than good by his a pastoral poet in any true meaning of the answers, would pick up with the iongs term. There is sometimes a humorous, one little mite of coal after another from sometimes a passionate, directness in his the grate and put it on the fire, as a mere manner, which pastoral poets eschew. physical relief to his perplexed and rather He could never have invoked the Muse | iparticulate feelings towards a junior
of the mazy,
whom he only half understood, and was the impression of an eager, cordial, and very anxious not to lead into the rather embarrassed speech. dreary wilderness in which he himself was Again, it would be difficult to find a wandering. Well, this sense of embar- better rhythm than this for the purpose rassment, this inertia about him, which of Clough's peculiar humor. Take anwas very real and constant, was bound to other instance, in the description of one get some sort of expression in his more of the pupils, the elaborate dresser of the intellectual poetry; and he found in the party, as he comes down prepared to go English hexameter, varied, as he varied the Highland banquet:it, with frequent spondees — i.e., with fre Airlie descended the last, cffulgent as god of quent feet of two protracted syllables,
Olympus; instead of one protracted and two unac Blue, perceptibly blue, was the coat that had cented — just the medium that he desired. white-silk facings, For this metre expresses easily not only Waistcoat blue, coral-buttoned, the white-tie the resisting medium, but the buoyancy finely adjusted, that makes itself felt through the resist- Coral moreover the studs on a shirt as of
crochet of women : ing medium. I know no rhythm so effective as the rhythm of Clough's English When the fourwheel for ten minutes already hexameters for the purpose of expressing He, like a god, came leaving his ample Olym.
had stood at the gateway, at once indomitable buoyancy of feeling
pian chamber. and the inert mass of the resistance which that buoyancy of feeling has to encoun. In a subsequent part of the poem, a ter. I can illustrate what I mean very Scotch damsel, with whom the poet and simply. In the opening of his “Long hero has flirted – but not so as to endanVacation Pastoral" there is a passage ger her peace -is " consoled
by this describing the speech of the Highland gorgeous youth in the mazes of the Scotch chieftain — not a very grammatical speech, reel: but a thoroughly hearty speech, encoun. Is it, О marvel of marvels ! he too in the maze tering difficulties at every word, and at every word boldly overcoming them: Skipping, and tripping, though stately, though Spare me, O great Recollection ! for words to Airlie, with sight of the waistcoat the golden.
languid, with head on one shoulder, the task were unequal,
haired Katie consoling? Spare me, O mistress of Song! nor bid me re- Katie, who simple and comely, and smiling
member minutely All that was said and done o'er the well-mixed What though she wear on that neck a blue
and blushing as ever, tempting toddy ; How were healths proposed and drunk" with Seems in her maidenly freedom to need small
kerchief remembered as Philip's, all the honors,”
consolement of waistcoats ! Glasses and bonnets waving, and three-timesthree thrice over,
Or take this, again, in which one of the Queen, and Prince, and Army, and Landlords party - generally supposed to have been all, and Keepers ;
the same who afterwards became a Tory Bid me not, grammar defying, repeat from chancellor of the exchequer, now, alas!
grammar.defiers Long constructions strange and plusquam- fitting Highland costume:
no more – is described dancing in his illThucydidean, Tell how, as sudden torrent in time of speat in
Him rivalling, Hobbes, briefest-kilted of the mountain
heroes, Hurries six ways at once, and takes at last to Enters, O stoutest, О rashest of creatures, mere the roughest,
fool of a Saxon, Or as the practised rider at Astley's or Fran. Skill-less of philibeg, skill-less of reel, too, coni's
the whirl and the twirl o't: Skilfully, boldly bestrides many steeds at once Him see I frisking, and whisking, and ever at in the gallop,
swifter gyration Crossing from this to that, with one leg here, Under brief curtain revealing broad acres — one yonder,
not of broad.cloth. So, less skilful, but equally bold, and wild as the torrent,
I do not think it would be possible for All through sentences six at a time, unsuspect either rhythm or words to express more ing of syntax,
vividly the absurdity of a bulky Saxon's Hurried the lively good-will and garrulous tale frisks in an unsuitable costume. of Sir Hector.
But this peculiar metre suited Clough It would be hardly possible, I think, to for better reasons than these. I may say convey in any rhythm more effectually that there is no verse like the hexame. ter managed as Homer managed it, nay, ticability of the Carlylian doctrine which managed even as Clough, with his much he desired to urge upon the world in this less liquid medium, managed it, for group. “ Long Vacation Pastoral — The Bothie ing in one impressive picture the rhythmic of Tober-Na-Vuolich," as he called his motion and the stubborn massiveness of first hexameter poem. nature's greatest scenes. If there was a Clough, as I have said, was saturated great buoyancy and a great inertia in his with Carlyle's general principles, and not own heart which this rhythm strangely only saturated by them, but, in some deechoed, so there is a great buoyancy and gree at least, exhausted by their categoria great inertia in the external scenery of cal and rather impossible imperative. the universe, which, by this metre, he But in this poem he had not reached the harmonizes for us, and frames in one mag. stage of exhaustion. He still felt all the nificent whole. Take, for instance, this inspiration of Carlyle's paradoxes, all the grand description of Highland scenery, charm of his peculiar democracy, which and notice at once how the
mighty natural exalts the sacredness of labor, and the forces and great diurnal changes are sacredness of faculty, and the sacredness brought before our eyes in it, and yet with of beauty, and the sacredness of almost them we are made to see the colossal every real human gift and talent you can massiveness of the earth's vast bulk and imagine, except the results of what he walls:
treated as mere circumstance, while it
tramples these last under foot with every But, O Muse, that encompassest Earth like the species of indignity. The hero of the
ambient ether, Swifter than steamer or railway or magical poem begins by preaching, what, indeed, missive electric,
he ends by accepting, that the highest Belting like Ariel the sphere with the star-like feminine fascinations are enhanced, and trail of thy travel,
not diminished, by participation in homely Thou with thy Poet, to mortals mere post- labor. He tells how his heart was struck office second-hand knowledge
for the first time with the sense of the Leaving, wilt seek in the moorland of Rannoch mysterious charm of woman, when he the wandering hero.
saw some damsel in a potato-field, enThere is it, there, or in lofty Lochaber, gaged in potato-uprooting.
where, silent upheaving, Heaving from ocean to sky, and under snow. One day sauntering, "long and listless," as winds of September,
Tennyson has it, Visibly whitening at morn to darken by noon Long and listless strolling, ungainly in hob. in the shining,
badiboyhood, Rise on their mighty foundations the brethren Chanced it my eye fell aside on a capless, huge of Ben-nevis ?
bonnetless maiden, There, or westward away, where roads are un- Bending with three-pronged fork in a garden known to Loch Nevish,
uprooting potatoes. And the great peaks look abroad over Skye to Was it the air? who can say? or herself, or the the westernmost islands?
charm of the labor ? There is it? there? or there? we shall find our But a new thing was in me; and longing deli. wandering hero?
cious possessed me, Here, in Badenoch, here, in Lochaber, anon Longing to take her and lift her, and put her in Lochiel, in
away from her slaving. Knoydart, Moydart, Morrer, Ardgower, and Ardnamurchan,
But soon the youth awakens to the charm Here I see him and here : I see him; anon I of the aristocratic lady, and then he lose him!
preaches that there is no injustice in all Even as cloud passing subtly unseen from the labor and toil of the “dim, common mountain to mountain,
populations,” if only it bear such fruits Leaving the crest of Ben-more to be palpable as the lovely Lady Maria, with whom he
next on Ben-vohrlich, Or like to hawk of the bill which ranges and has been dancing in her father's castle. soars in its hunting,
Finally, he rises to his completest stateSeen and unseen by turns, now here, now in ment of the Carlylian doctrine on this ether eludent,
subject, which appears to be the follow
ing. It is contained in a correspondence That shows how finely Clough's hexame- between the “poet and Radical, Hewson" ter expressed the swift velocities and the -a Carlylese Radical, remember, not a solid strength of nature. But Clough's Radical as most of us understand the word hexameters were also singularly well - and his tutor, on the arrangements of suited to express at once the aggressive. the universe as they are, and as they ness and the almost mock-heroic imprac- l ought to be:
This is a letter written by Philip at Christ. Where does Circumstance end, and Provimas to Adam.
dence, where begins it? There may be beings, perhaps, whose vocation What are we to resist, and what are we to be it is to be idle.
friends with ? Idle, sumptuous even, luxurious, if it must be: If there is battle, 'tis battle by night, I stand Only let each man seek to be that for which in the darkness, nature meant him,
Here in the mêlée of men, Ionian and Dorian If you were meant to plough, Lord Marquis, on both sides, out with you, and do it;
Signal and password known ; which is friend If you were meant to be idle, O beggar, be- and which is foeman? hold, I will feed you.
Is it a friend? I doubt, though he speak with If you were born for a groom, and you seem the voice of a brother, by your dress to believe so,
Still, you are right, I suppose ; you always are, Do it like a man, Sir George, for pay, in a and will be; livery stable;
Though I mistrust the Field-Marshal, I bow to Yes, you may so release that slip of a boy at
the duty of order. the corner,
Yet it is my feeling rather to ask, where is the Fingering books at the window, misdoubting battle? the eighth commandment.
Yes, I could find in my heart to cry, notwithAh, fair Lady Maria, God meant you to live standing my Elspie, and be lovely;
O that the armies indeed were arrayed! O Be so then, and I bless you. But ye, ye spu. joy of the onset ! rious ware, who
Sound, thou Trumpet of God, come forth, Might be plain women, and can be by no pos- Great Cause, to array us, sibility better!
King and leader appear, thy soldiers sorrowYe unhappy statuettes, and miserable trinkets,
ing seek thee. Poor alabaster chimney-piece ornaments under Would that the armies indeed were arrayed, O glass cases,
where is the battle ! Come, in God's name, come down ! the very Neither battle I see, nor arraying, nor King in French clock by you
Israel, Puts you to shame with ticking; the fire-irons Only infinite jumble and mess and dislocation,
Backed by a solemn appeal, “For God's sake You, young girl, who have had such advan.
do not stir, there !” tages, learnt so quickly,
Yet you are right, I suppose ; if
don't Can you not teach ? O yes, and she likes Sun.
attack my conclusion, day school extremely,
Let us get on as we can, and do the thing we Only it's soon in the morning. Away! if to are fit for ; teach be your calling,
Every one for himself, and the common success It's no play, but a business: off! go teach and
for us all, and be paid for it.
Thankful, if not for our own why then for the Lady Sophia's so good to the sick, so firm and
triumph of others, so gentle.
Get along, each as we can, and do the thing Is there a nobler sphere than of hospital nurse
we are meant for. and matron ? Hast thou for cooking a turn, little Lady I think in that passage it will be clear Clarissa? in with them,
enough that Clough's form of Carlyle's In with your fingers ! their beauty it spoils, democracy was not working itself out very but your own it enhances ;
clear, and that we need not wonder at his For it is beautiful only to do the thing we are being reported soon after as saying that
meant for. This was the answer that came from the and left us there. But is it possible to
Carlyle had led us out into the wilderness, Tutor, the grave man, Adam. When the armies are set in array, and the bat conceive a rhythm better adapted for the tle beginning,
express purpose of conveying buoyancy Is it well that the soldier whose post is far to of feeling and hope moving through a the leftward
medium of “infinite jumble and mess and Say, I will go to the right, it is there I shall dislocation – which is Clough's edition do best service?
of Carlyle's gospel — than the rhythm of There is a great Field-Marshal, my friend, who the hexameters of the passage I have just arrays our battalions ;
read you? Let us Providence trust, and abide and work
But the sense of desolation and halfin our stations.
disdainful bewilderment is not at its This was the final retort from the eager, impetuous Philip.
height in the “Long Vacation Pastoral.”. I am sorry to say your Providence puzzles me In 1949, after its publication, Clough went sadly;
to Rome, and was there during the siege Children of Circumstance are we to be ? You of Rome by the French, and its defence answer, On no wise !
by the triumvirate. It was there that he