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I. WILLIAM MORBIS'S POEMS. By A. Lang, Longman's Magazine,
Economist, V. WATCHMEN'S SONGS. By Laura Alexandrine Smith,
Illustrated London News,
345 350 352
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“ THE EUROPEAN POWERS."
ADVENIAT REGNUM TUUM. Powers? Hard by the Golden Horn
Thy kingdom come! Yes, bid it come. Those satyr lips, as cold as cruel,
But when Thy kingdom first began
On earth Thy kingdom was a home, Must curl in sly, sardonic scorn! Will nothing serve as kindling fuel
A child, a woman, and a man. To fire the chilly “Christian” heart,
The child was in the midst thereof, Or move from apathetic meekness
0, blessed Jesus, holiest One! The timid thralls of mode and mart?
The centre and the fount of love
Mary and Joseph's little Son.
Wherever on the earth shall be
A child, a woman, and a man,
Wherewith Thy kingdom first began,
Establish there Thy kingdom! Yea, Who waste in mutual reviling
And o'er that trinity of love The black-winged hours, like birds of prey Send down, as in Thy appointed day,
Full gorged with carrion, vulture, raven, The brooding spirit of Thy Dove! Flapping in the full light of day,
KATHARINE TYNAN HINKSON. Fearless of Christian kings turned
Sunday Magazine. craven! What marvel carrion-fowls are bold When full-armed war lords pale and palter,
GARIBALDI'S LAST POEM. Like angry spinsters chide and scold, Friendship, pervading spirit of the blest, But at “the name or action" falter?
Sublimest bounty of the Infinite, Moanwhile the death-heaps swell and
Imperishable as the Alpine height swell.
That stands secure in everlasting rest: Mercy, a pale and piteous pleader, Weeps helpless at the gates of hell,
And what were we, if thou wert unpossest The Christian crowd calls for—a leader
Midst all the adversities that do us spite? Who cometh not! Each lord, each chief, What but thy power can shelter the opIn diplomatic bonds entangled,
prest Scarce dares to stir. No strong belief
And lift this sunken people to the light? Moves any man. The "Powers” have wrangled,
All pass the Styx-love, pride, ambition's Worried, and watched; but none dares cut
dream, The Gordian knot, drawn redder,
And human greatness flies, a fugitive, tighter,
To vanish, cloud-like, in the Lethic stream; But him, with sinister eyes half shut
Thou, emanate from God, alone dost live In scorn, who mocks at crown and mitre.
The life of the immortal and supreme Who'll lead? who'll strike? the peoples
The holy comfort which is thine to give. cry.
Translated by Evelyn Martinengo Cesaresco in Impotent seems appeal or urging;
the Academy. Yet, hid from cold official eye,
Christian humanity seems upsurging,
I have trod the upward and the downWho'll stir? Who'll strike? Scant an
ward slope; swer yet!
I have endured and done in days before; The throned assassin lolls and lowers,
I have longed for all, and bid farewell to Mocking, with Crescent crimson-wet,
hope; Powerless things called “Christian
And I have lived and loved, and closed the Powers."
ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON.
From Longman's Magazine.
tain age, in certain circumstances, an WILLIAM MORRIS'S POEMS.
individual took much pleasure in "The “Enough,” said the pupil of the wise Life and Death of Jason,” the present Imlac, "you have convinced me that no of a college friend, is certainly not to
“The Life and Death of man can be a poet.” The study of criticise Mr. William Morris's poems, in the new Jason.”
There have been three blossoming collected edition, has convinced me that no man, or, at least, no middle-aged times in the English poetry of the nine. man, can be a critic. I read Mr. Mor- teenth century. The first dates from ris's poems (thanks to the knightly Wordsworth, Coleridge, Scott, and, honors conferred the Bard of later, from Shelley, Byron, Keats. By
1822 the blossoming time was over, and Penrhyn, there is now no ambiguity as to “Mr. Morris”), but it is not the book Mr. Murray, of Albemarle Street, soon only that I read. The scroll of my ceased to publish poetry. This "great youth is unfolded. I see the dear place refusal” he had reason to regret, for where first I perused "The Blue the second blossoming time began in Closet;" the old faces of old friends 1830–1833, with young Mr. Tennyson
It broke forth flock around me; old chaff, old laughter, and Mr. Browning. old happiness re-echo and revive. st. again in 1842 and did not practically Andrews, Oxford,
cease till England's greatest laureate mind's eye, with
sang of the “Crossing of the Bar.”
But while Tennyson put out his full Many a place
strength in 1842, and Mr. Browning That's in sad case
rather later, in "Bells and PomegranWhere joy was wonť afore, oh!
ates" (Men and Women), the third as Minstrel Burne sings. These voices, spring came in 1858, with Mr. Morris's faces, landscapes mingle with the "Defence of Guinevere," and flowered music and blur the pictures of the poet till Mr. Swinburne's “Atalanta in who enchanted for us certain hours Calydon" appeared in 1865, followed passed in the paradise of youth. A re- by his poems of 1866. Mr. Rossetti's viewer who finds himself in this case book of 1870 belonged, in date of commay as well frankly confess that he position, mainly to this period. Since can no more criticise Mr. Morris dis- then poetry has not given us more than passionately than he could criticise his a few charming scattered lyrics, of Mr. old self and the friends whom he shall Bridges, Mr. Watson, and one or two never see again, till he meets them others who are of very intermittent in
spiration. A reviewer who, like myBeyond the sphere of time, And sin, and grief's control,
self, was a schoolboy or an under Serene in changeless prime
graduate in the third vernal season of Of body and of soul.
the century's versewho was then in
the age of enthusiasm, appreciation, To write of one's own "adventures imitation—knows well that his judgamong books" may be to provide ment of Mr. Morris must have a strong anecdotage more or less trivial, more personal bias. or less futile, but, at least, it is to write In 1858, when “The Defence of historically. We know how books have Guinevere" came out, Mr. Morris must affected, and do affect, ourselves, our have been but a year or two from his bundle of prejudices and tastes, of old undergraduateship. Everyone has impressions and revived sensations. heard enough about his companions, To judge books dispassionately and im- Mr. Burne Jones, Mr. Rossetti, Canon personally is much more difficult-in- Dixon, and the others of the old Oxdeed, it is practically impossible, for ford and Cambridge Magazine, where Mr. our own tastes and experiences must, Morris's wonderful prose fantasies are more or less, modify our verdicts, do buried. Why should they not be rewhat we will. However, the effort vived, these strangely colored and must be made, for to say that, at a cer- magical dreams? As literature, I pre
fer them vastly above Mr. Morris's A great God's angel standing, with such
dyes, later romances in prose_"The Hollow Land” above “News from Nowhere!” Not known on earth, on his great wings,
and hands, Mr. Morris and his friends were active
Held out two ways, light from the inner in the fresh dawn of a new roman
skies ticism, a mediæval and Catholic revival, with very little Catholicism in it showing him well, and making his comfor the most part. This revival is more
mands “innerly," as the Scotch say, more
Seem to be God's commands, moreover, intimate, “earnest" than the
too, larger and more genial, if more super Holding within his hands the cloths on ficial, restoration by Scott. The pain
wands; ful doubt, the scepticism of the Ages of Faith, the dark hours of that epoch, its And one of these strange choosing cloths fantasy, cruelty, luxury, no less than was blue, its color and passion, inform Mr. Wavy and long, and one cut short and red; Morris's first poems. The fourteenth No man could tell the better of the two. and the early fifteenth century is his “period.” In “The Defence of Guine- After a shivering half-hour you said, vere" he is not under the influence of
“God help! heaven's color, the blue;" and Chaucer, whose narrative
he said, “hell." manner,
Perhaps you then would roll upon your without one grain of his humor, in.
bed, spires "The Life and Death of Jason" and “The Earthly Paradise.” In the
And cry to all good men that loved you early book the rugged style of Mr.
well, Browning has left a mark. There are “Ah Christ! if only I had known, known, cockney rhymes, too, such as "short” known." rhyming to "thought.” But, on the whole, Mr. Morris's early manner was
There was nothing like that before all his own, nor had he ever returned in English poetry; it has the bizarrerie to it. In the first poem, "The Queen's of a new thing in beauty. How far it Apology," is this passage:
is really beautiful how can I tell? How
can I discount the "personal bias"? Listen, suppose your time were come to
Only I know that it is unforgetable. die,
Again (Galahad speaks): And you were quite alone and very weak;
I saw Yea, laid a dying while very mightily
One sitting on the altar as a throne, The wind was ruffling up the narrow Whose face no man could say he did streak
now, Of river through your broad lands run- And, though the bell still rang, he sat ning well:
alone, Suppose a hush should come, then some With raiment half blood-red, half white
one speak: “One of these cloths is heaven, and one Such things made their own special is hell,
ineffaceable impact. Now choose one cloth forever, which Leaving the Arthurian cycle, Mr. they be,
Morris entered on his especially symI will not tell you, you must somehow pathetic period—the gloom and sad tell
sunset glory of the late fourteenth cen“Of your own strength and mightiness; tury, the age of Froissart and wicked, here, see!"
wasteful wars. To Froissart it all Yea, yea, my lord, and you to ope your seemed one magnificent pageant of eyes,
knightly and kingly fortunes; he only At foot of your familiar bed to see
murmurs a "great pity" for the death 1 The new edition is not free from typographic of a knight or the massacre of a town, cal errors: teste noir, and "son" for “gun.” It is rather the pity of it that Mr. Mor
ris sees hearts broken in a corner, as in and out of view. The pictures arise “Sir Peter Harpden's End," or beside distinct, unsummoned, spontaneous, “The Haystack in the Floods." Here like the faces and places which are is a picture like life of what befell a flashed on our eyes between sleeping hundred times. Lady Alice de la and waking. Fantastic too, but with Barde hears of the death of her more of a recognizable human setting, knight:
is “Golden Wings,” which to a slight
Gautier's “Château de Souvenir.”
The apples now grow green and sour On mine, I pray you, and whate'er you Upon the mouldering castle-wall,
Before they ripen there they fall: Still go on talking fast, unless I fall, There are no banners on the tower, Or bid you stop.
The draggled swans most eagerly eat SQUIRE.
The green weeds trailing in the moat; I pray your pardon then, Inside the rotting leaky boat And, looking in your eyes, fair lady, say You see a slain man's stiffen'd feet. I am unhappy that your knight is dead. Take heart, and listen! let me tell you all. These, with “The Sailing of the We were five thousand goodly men-at- Sword,” are my own old favorites. arms,
There was nothing like them before, And scant five hundred had he in that nor will be again, for Mr. Morris after hold;
several years of silence abandoned his His rotten sand-stone walls were wet with early manner. No doubt it was not a rain,
manner to presevert in, but happily, in And fell in lumps wherever a stone hit;
a mood and a moment never to be reYet for three days about the barrier there born or return, Mr. Morris did fill a The deadly glaives were gather’d, laid fresh page in English poetry with across,
these imperishable fantasies. They And push'd and pull’d; the fourth our engines came;
were absolutely neglected by “the readBut still amid the crash of falling walls,
ing public,” but they found a few
Indeed I think of And roar of lombards, rattle of hard bolts, staunch friends. The steady bow-strings flash'd, and still “Guinevere" Fitzgerald did of stream'd out
Tennyson's poems before 1842. But St. George's banner, and the
this, of course, is a purely personal, swords,
probably a purely capricious, estimate. And still they cried, "St. George Gui- Criticism may aver that the influence enne," until
of Mr. Rossetti was strong on Mr. Their walls were flat as Jericho's of old,
Morris before 1858. Perhaps so, but And our rush came, and cut them from
we read Mr. Morris first (as the world the keep.
read the "Lay' before “Christabel"), The astonishing vividness, again, of the and my own preference is for Mr. tragedy told in “Geffray Teste Noire” is Morris. like that of a vision in a magic mirror It was after eight or nine years of or a crystal ball, rather than like a silence that Mr. Morris produced, in picture suggested by printed words. 1866 or 1867, “The Life and Death of “Shameful Death" has the same en- Jason.” Young men who had read chanted kind of presentment. We look "The Defence of Guinevere” hurried through a "magic casement opening on to purchase it, and, of course, found the foam” of the old waves of war. themselves in contact with something Poems of a pure fantasy, unequalled very unlike their old favorite. Mr. out of Coleridge and Poe, are "The Morris had told a classical tale in Wind" and "The Blue Closet.” decasyllabic couplets of the Chaucerian Each only lives in fantasy. Motives, sort, and he regarded the heroic age and facts, and "story" are unimportant from a mediæval point of view; at all