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Fifth Sories, Volamo LXXIX.
No. 2507. - July 16, 1892.
CONTENTS. I. CONCERNING LEIGH Hunt,
156 165 176 182
POETRY A WINTER NIGHT'S DREAM,
130 | Cupid's Visit, “THE FORESTERS: ROBIN HOOD AND RUSTICUS EXPECTAT, MAID MARIAN,"
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A WINTER NIGHT'S DREAM.
FORESTERS: ROBIN HOOD AND
MAID MARIAN." “During the greatest extension of this ice sheet in the last glacial epoch, in fact, all England, except a CLEAR as of old the great voice rings to-day, small south-western corner (about Torquay and Bourne- While Sherwood's oak-leaves twine with Ald mouth), was completely covered by one enormous mass of glaciers, as is still the case with almost the whole of
worth's bay, Greenland." (Grant Allen in “ Falling in Love, and The voice of him, the master and the sire other Essays.")
Of one whole age and legion of the lyre, “My realm," so rang a strange voice in my Who sang his morning song when Coleridge dream,
still “Shall now be far extended as of old, Uttered dark oracles from Highgate Hill, In those glad days when I was young, and And with new-launched argosies of rhyme drove
Gilds and makes brave this sombreing tide of The feverish sun before me to the South!”
time. I looked, and lol a withered form and wan, Sceptred and crown'd, was throned upon a Far be the hour when lesser brows shall wear height
The laurel glorious from that wintry hair A gleaming iceberg 'neath the Polar Star. When he, the lord of this melodious day, No living thing made answer, but the winds In Charon's shallop must be rowed away, Roused into moaning at the frozen cry. And hear, scarce heeding, 'mid the plash of
oar, Again he spake: “I have no care for life
The ave atque vale from the shore !
and weeps; To me more grateful seem wide wastes of To hin all nations' bards their secret told,
Could her divine confederacy refuse; Where all is dumb; or, if there must be sound, Faultless for him the lyre of life was strung,
Yet ieft him true to this our island-hold; I find my music in the hurtling hail, And winds that wail their anguish in the dark; And notes of death fell deathless from his Or in the ocean's thunder, when his waves,
Himself the Merlin of his magic strain, Baffled, still beat upon the crystal floor
He bade old glories break in bloom again ; I spread for leagues about me as I move.
And so exempted from oblivion's doom, “To-night that island, fairest of the flood, Through him these days shall fadeless break Which once was mine, I go to claim again.
in bloom. There foolish folk are sleeping in their beds,
WILLIAM WATSON. Who never more shall wake to see the sun. The old will shiver when they feel me pass, The young, unconscious, smiling, sleep in
death. No mercy, none, need man expect from me
RUSTICUS EXPECTAT. All, all shall perish in a single night!
So life, you say, must be a blank, The voice was silent or I heard no more, In this old house with crumbling eaves, The terror of the vision made me start;
Set on an idle river's bank,
And girt about with leaves.
Slowly the spirit moves, in truth,
Where whoso lingers falls.
Yet, though we slumber on our lawn,
Full recompense the high gods give, And by me on the right,
All the peculiar pomp of dawn,
That is so fugitive:
And birds that serenade the streams,
And secrets whispered in the grass,
And winds that waken from their dreams, Of glistening feathers, half in view, A broken heart: he held them up
To tell them as they pass. Within the silver-lighted cup That I might mark each one; then pressed These are our books: therein we find His little cheek against my chest,
Lore that your city bustles by; And fell to singing in such wise
The lesson of a quiet mind,
E. K. CHAMBERS.
From The Cornhill Magazine. briefly alluded to here. In two of the lead. CONCERNING LEIGH HUNT.
ing papers of the day had appeared some · WRITE me as one who loves his fellow articles loaded with the most fulsome and men," are the words upon the stone under extravagant eulogies on the prince regent, which lie the remaios of Leigh Huot. which awakened in Hunt a glow of honest They were written by himself, and when indignation, and induced him to express the monument was erected to his memory in plain language his contempt for such in 1869, at Kensal Green, they were chosen toadyism in the pages of the Examiner, a by those who had known and loved him newspaper which he started and edited as the most appropriate to be inscribed jointly with his brother. The follies and over his grave.
vices of the regent were at that time a If it is true that "love begets love" it matter of common talk, but to make fearwas presumably the poet's gentle, kindly less and open allusion to them in a public nature that inspired men of all sorts and journal was audacious. His own defeace conditions with a friendly feeling towards for what he wrote is contained in the fol. bim. With his personality has passed lowing words : “Flattery in any shape is away, save in the miods of a very small unworthy a man and a gentleman; but remnant, the memory of its power. That political flattery is almost a request to be that power was remarkable is undoubted. made slaves. If we would have the great Letters are now lying before the present to be what they ought, we must find some writer addressed to him from Shelley, means or other to speak of them as they Keats, Browning, Carlyle, Charles Lamb, are.” Thackeray, Dickens, and many others, An extract from the offending article is containing such warm expressions of affec- here given, which, in its turn, supplies us tion and esteem that one can hardly avoid with a very fair idea of the nature of the regarding with a feeling akin to envy the sentiments so fearlessly attacked by Leigh favored individual into whose lap such Hunt. treasures were poured.
“What person," wrote the critic, “unA curious mixture of qualities appears acquainted with the true state of the case, to have existed in his nature. To a simple, would imagine, on reading these astound. childlike faith in human nature, and a ing eulogies, that this .Glory of the Peo.' strong, enduring love of humanity without ple' was the subject of millions of shrugs respect to creed, politics, or opinions, was and reproaches !-- that this • Protector of united a hearty and healthy detestation of the Arts 'had named a wretched foreigner many of its common weaknesses. He his historical painter, in disparagement or possessed a singular facility for adapting in ignorance of the merits of his own himself to the tone of mind of the compan- countrymen ! that this Mæcenas of the ion of the moment, throwing himself with Age' patronized not a single deserving equal ease into the gaiety or gravity of writer ! - that this • Breather of Elohis friend's mood, but always detecting quence' could not say a few deceot exand disapproving on the instant the slight- tempore words, if we are to judge, at least, est expression of anything that savored of by what he said to his regiment on its want of charity or kindly feeling towards embarkation for Portugal ! that this others.
*Conqueror of Hearts' was the disapHis stern, unyielding aversion to pre pointer of hopes ! - that this · Exciter of tence or sham resulted for him, as the Desire' (bravo! Messieurs of the Post? world knows, in two years' imprisonment this · Adonis in loveliness,' was a corpuand the payment of a fine of 500l., an epi- lent man of fifty!-- in short, this delightsode to which he refers afterwards in ful, blissful, wise, pleasurable, honorable, simple words : " Much as it injured me, I virtuous, true, and immortal prince, was a cannot wish I had evaded it, for I believe violator of his word, a libertine over head that it has done good.”
and ears in disgrace, a despiser of domesThe circumstances, which may not be tic ties, the companion of gamblers and fresh in the minds of all readers, may be demireps, a man who has just closed balf
a century without one single claim on the Another to his wife breathes the same gratitude of his country, or the respect of spirit of food affection: posterity!”
“Surrey Jail: May, 1813. The times have indeed changed since “ MY DEAREST LOVE, You may well flattery of so gross and outrageous a na. imagine how your letter of yesterday reture as drew forth this reproof could with lieved me, and what additional pleasure I impunity be poured forth as incense to received from the one of to-day. Your the great, and be suffered to pass unno- sorrow at having sent the former one de. ticed and unchallenged by a multitude lights while it pains me; but I knew you whose ears were, unfortunately, too well would feel as you do, and long to fold you attuned to such revolting displays of in my arms to comfort you in return. I sycophancy.
am glad Thornton bears his bathing so Leigh Hunt's manly and spirited attack well. I am afraid that I did indeed omit “ did good " in more senses than one. He to ask about his riding, but by the next was undoubtedly the pioneer of a better post I hope to be able to send you the and more wholesome state of things. Men result of another application to Dr. Gooch, known to him by name only, as well as whom I have not yet seen. Pray take care tried and true friends, rallied round him, of yourself, for if I only fancy you are spoke up boldly in his defence, and not in getting these fits of illness upon you, with his defence only, but in hearty admiration your head tumbling about the hard back of his fearless outspokenness. And here of the chair and my arm not near to supappears the bright side of his prison ex. port it, I shall long to dash myself through periences; they resulted in the formation the walls of my prison, though pretty well of many valued and lifelong intimacies used to them by this time. between himself and those who were en- “I am rather better myself this afterabled to throw aside convention and range noon, though I have a good deal of fever themselves on his side.
hanging about me, with a strange, full sen. But there was also to be endured the sation in my head that seems as if it arose heaviness of a first separation from his from deafness, though I hear as well as wife and little children, and Leigh Hunt ever ; it is, I believe, the remains of rheuwas the man of all others to feel this matism, and I should not care a pin for all keenly and bitterly. This little letter to the bodily pain I feel if my spirits were his boy, which I find in my collection, not affected at the same time. But still, shows us, I think, another side of his I am more capable of being amused than character when compared with the sting- I was formerly; a little continuation of ing Examiner diatribe which brought so fine weather brings me about surprisingly, much trouble on his head.
and by the time these strange vicissitudes “Surrey Jail : May 17, 1813.
of sky have gone past, and you and the "MY DEAR, GOOD LITTLE THORNTON, summer come back again, I hope to be - I am quite glad to hear of your getting myself once more. so much better. Try not to cry when you Thornton for his marbles. But you made
“Kiss my dear boys for me, and thank go into the warm bath ; for it would not be a 'horrid warm bath'if you knew ali me another present of the value of which
I have been sleepthe good it did you – it would be a nice, you were not aware. comfortable warm bath. Your dear papa ing with a piece of Aannel about my neck likes a warm bath very much. I am much for some nights, after having my throat obliged to you for the marbles ; mama
rubbed with hartshorn oil and laudanum, will give you a kiss from me for them, and and last night I substituted the wadding, you must give a kiss to mama for papa. ble. I need not say with what additional
which was smoother and more comforta. Your little sunflower grows very nicely, and has got six leaves, four of them large comfort I laid my cheek upon it, coming
from you." ones. “ Your affectionate papa,
But the loss of liberty and freedom be* LEIGH HUNT." gan to tell upon his health. He had every
opportunity for writing, and doubtless gave | possible to disregard its voice. Steps himself up too exclusively to his one re- were taken for the relaxation of many of source, which was also to be pursued with the prison regulations hitherto relentlessly all the more earnestness on account of the enforced ; and finally, as the result of a pecessity for providing for those dear — letter written by Leigh Hunt to the govthough, alas ! pot near — to him. The ernor of the prison, and which was probconstant strain of brain work, without the ably perused (as it was intended to be) by recreation and exercise necessary to for- other eyes than his, a very decided imtify his frame to support it, could not fail provement for the better in their condition to shake his rather fragile constitution. set in. The author's wife and children The following extract from a diary kept were allowed to live with him, in consider. by him at this period is worth quoting: - ation of the delicate state of his health and
“Poetry,” he writes, “is trying work if the palpitations of his heart to which he your heart and spirits are in it, particularly was occasionally subject; and his urgent with a weak body. The concentration of request that his friends, hitherto rigorously your faculties, and the necessity and am- excluded, should be permitted to have bition you feel to extract all the essential access to him during the daytime was at heat of your thoughts, seem to make up length acceded to. that powerful and exhausting effect called An era of brighter days now began. An inspiration. The ability to sustain this, extra room or two was to be had (for payas well as all other exercises of the spirit, ment) in the prison, and the small preparawill evidently depend in some measure tions for the reception of his dear ones are upon the state of your frame ; so that from time to time referred to in the family Dryden does not appear to have been alto- letters. A gay wall paper was provided gether so fantastical in dieting himself (of roses climbing over a trellis !-- one for a task of verse ; nor Milton, and can imagine some of our latter-day æsothers, in thinking their faculties stronger thetes fainting with horror at that which at particular periods; though the former, afforded so much pleasure); some bookperhaps, might have rendered his caution shelves were put up and filled with familiar unnecessary by undeviating temperance, guests; and when loving hands busied and the latter have referred to the sunshine themselves with putting finishing touches of summer, or the indoor snugness of to the whole, the gloomy quarters seemed frosty weather, what they chose to attrib-exchanged for something like a substitute ute to a lofty influence.”
for the home for which the prisoner had But while suffering keenly from the been pining. There was a tiny yard, too, restrictions to which his genial nature outside this room, which was also consid. rendered him peculiarly susceptible, his ered his -- "a vegetable and flower garcourage and the faith in his convictions den,” he calls it, in compliment to a fine appear to have remained unshaken. He scarlet-runner he had planted, which did was put to the test. An intimation was its best to enliven the little domain by conveyed to him, and also to his brother flinging its bright red blossoms over the John, who was undergoing imprisonment wall of lattice-work that divided it from elsewhere, that if they were willing to ab- the neighboring yard. Here,” he says, stain in future from any comments on the “ 1 shut my eyes in my armchair, and sayings and doings of his Royal Highness, affect to think myself hundreds of miles the government would take measures to away." spare them both the fine and the impris- Leigh Hunt's eldest daughter was born onment. These overtures were promptly in prison. “Never shall I forget my declined. Without mutual consultation sensations when she came into the world the brothers emphatically refused to give ... a thousand recollections rise within any promises on the subject whatsoever. me such as I cannot trust myself to dwell
So strong was the public feeling excited upon,” are the words in which he after. by the severe measures taken against John wards alludes to her advent. Some have and Leigh Hunt that it became almost im. I talked of the "improvidence” of Leigh