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sense is the aphorism true, ' Similia similibus curantur.' We wait for Time to prove whether our endeavours will be appreciated. Time seems to show thus far that the Ritualists are really less Catholic than the rest of the Establishment. They are loud enough, it is true, in calling out about the evils, but have never raised a finger to point out any way of overcoming them. And they repudiate the only possible remedy, simply because it is efficacious, demands some real submission to well. grounded authority, and substitutes order for the anarchy upon which they thrive.
For us to announce our names would be to renounce our scheme as originally conceived ; for it would be to declare open war with Erastianism instead of peaceable opposition.
Mr. Mossman pertinently declares: 'I know of no more sanctity attaching to the Reformation settlement than to any other human settlement.' Never was there a happier exposure of a pernicious fallacy.
Look at the succession of crimes-robberies, adulteries, murders, perjuries, sacri. leges-all of the most utterly barefaced and reckless sort-not to speak of the mischievous and wanton destruction of noble public buildings; and the degradation and pauperisation of the lower classes, which contributed to the success of the Reformation in England-all of them more or less completely ignored by its apologists; and when not ignored, then justified. Look straightly and fairly at these things, and then dare to say that the means which we have proposed to ourselves for obviating the evils wrought by such wicked means are other than just and right.
Look, again, at the way in which our rights as Englishmen, Christians, and Churchmen have been trampled under foot and spit upon by the traitors who are the legitimate successors of those reforming scoundrels. Look how the very fundamental Charter of English liberty is insulted by those who are bent on destroying us: and then say whether we are or are nor asserting our rights and doing our duty.
How about the future of our movement ? Well, if it be repudiated by the English Church as a whole, of course it will fall to the ground. It will be as though it had never been. We cannot originate a schism. If any of our brethren exceed the limits we have strictly defined, either by secession or by schism, he can only do so by completely departing from the plan of our Order, and by breaking pledges solemnly entered into. But even in such a case-which we are far from admitting as probable—then the blame will not rest with us. In the state of anarchy and confusion into which we are plunged we cannot be answerable for what men may do. And it is open to every man, if he can justify it to himself, to obtain Episcopal consecration from any one of several sources, provided he can obtain needful credentials as to moral and intellectual standing. We have good reason for believing that the foundation of our Order has already superseded some such steps. Our own conduct, however, we can answer for, and what we aim at has been frankly avowed. It is to restore the English Church to her original integrity and freedom, before the storms of revolution and the deadness of Erastianism invaded it.
I am, my dear Dr. Lee,
LAWRENCE, Bishop of Caerleon.
A NEW LOVE POET.1
do Consuls and Proconsuls spring:
From my illustrious literary friend X., and from the world of which he is an habitual denizen, I had long been separated by circumstance, when, last summer, the London season brought us once more together. After our first exchange of personal news, we began to discuss the latest novelties in that department of literature whereof he is et præsidium et dulce decus. For X. is one of those rare poets whose inimitable genius belongs to no school; and he is now in the full enjoyment of a long-merited renown. Like many other genuine writers, he is not much indebted to his critics for his fame. It was not they who introduced him to the public. The public has introduced him to them. But, although the introduction was a forced one, they have taken it in good part; and their treatment of his worst work is now as respectful as their reception of his best work was formerly the reverse. X. accepts their penitent acknowledgment of his claims, as Mr. Gladstone's remedial legislation is accepted by the Irish Land League, without gratitude, and without reciprocity of concession. He has rung his own chapel bell; and he justly prides himself on his indifference to the silence or the clamour of the contemporary critical chimes. When, therefore, he told me that he had been reading with interest the Love Sonnets of Proteus, I felt like an amateur naturalist who has an unexpected opportunity of questioning Sir John Lubbock about the characteristics of some species of ant or bee unnoticed by the text-books known to him. For I also had lately been reading these poems with an interest not occasioned by any sensation they had caused amongst the reviews. And, 'Since yours,' I said, 'will be the first authoritative judgment I have yet heard on these Sonnets, pray tell me what you think of them.' 'I think,' replied X., 'that many of them are not sonnets at all. The laws of the sonnet are well defined and established ; and compositions which do not conform to them ought not to be called sonnets. “Well,' said I, a little disconcerted by the unexpectedly obvious character of this remark, for I was thinking more of the contents of the book than the title of it, 'I was wrong to call them sonnets, and so was their writer. But if they are not
1 The Love Sonnets of Proteus. London: C. Kegan Paul, Trench, & Co.
sonnets, what are they? Surely they are poems, and genuine poems?' • Yes,' said X. musingly, they are poems; not echoes or imitations of poetry. Yes, they are genuine, and there is much in them that is noteworthy. The reason,' I resumed, 'why these poems have interested me is, perhaps, that the character of them differs essentially from that of a vast deal of love poetry, some of it popular and some of it famous, which I am often rebuked for not admiring; but which I confess I could never bring myself to read with patience. And for this reason I am not, for my part, disposed to quarrel with any irregularity in the form of them. To me, indeed, it seems that the fatal tendency of lyric poetry in our own age and country is to become more and more an achievement of form and less and less an achievement of feeling. And criticism unconsciously encourages the tendency : for art can be more easily analysed than genius. In the democracy of culture, the sentiments and ideas of many writers accustomed to poetic discipline arrange themselves in metrical lines without the word of command ; but, when drawn out in perfect marching order, they have nowhere to march to, and nothing to fight for. I acknowledge myself a bad reader, and a bad judge, of the purely subjective literature of sentiment. Active occupation of any kind, however dull, indisposes a man to feel much interest in the subjective sensations of another, for it makes him indifferent even to his own subjective sensations. Still, there are some love letters and some love poems which possess for all of us an imperishable charm not merely attributable to the celebrity of their writers. And these poems of Proteus — Yes, interrupted X., 'they are sui generis; and they have wit as well as passion. Wit?' I exclaimed, again rather surprised, that is scarcely the quality I have most noticed in them.' Possibly,' he replied ; ' I speak of wit, in relation to these poems, as the form in which the experience of a man of the world is registered by the imagination of a man of sentiment. Such a form is always terse and suggestive: familiar, yet surprising. The wit of Proteus is like that of Catullus. I have recognised the justice of this observation after more attentive perusal of the poems to which it referred; but I only remarked at the time that it did not completely account for my impression of them. The fault I impute,' said I,
• I 'to the love poetry I have been speaking of is not only that much of it is entirely artificial, but also that its writers often seem to mistake sensations for sentiments, and sensibility for passion. Ago ergo sum I take to be the formula of genuine emotion. It is only as potential action that feeling becomes influential. Passive sensation is not dramatic. It has neither pathos nor dignity; and, to my thinking, no felicity of form can redeem from moral vulgarity the attempt to poeticise it as the exclusive subject of any serious or prolonged appeal to our attention. But a man's sentiments and passions influence others, as well as himself, because they act. If we analysed the charm we find in the best literature of genuine sentiment, I suspect that we should trace it to the fact that sentiment inspires action, and action interests mankind. Society at large has been more actively influenced by the sentiment of Byron and Rousseau than by the reasoning of Bentham and Mill. But the interest with which we read Byron and Rousseau is not merely pathological. What I expect to find in a love poem is a product of active feeling, not an exhibition of passive sensation.' 'No doubt,' said X., the Love
“ Sonnets of Proteus fulfil this condition ; and they have beauties of
l style not affected by their irregularities of form. But I repeat that
I many of them are not sonnets, and he has no right to call them sonnets.'
Here our conversation was interrupted. Some reflections suggested by the recollection of it have prompted the present paper. X. is not a Della Cruscan; and it surprised me to find him so meticulous about the title of a book. For, after all, considering how many old-established titles are now disputed, and how many long unchallenged postulates it is our present fashion to treat as open questions, Proteus might perhaps maintain with popular approval, if he appealed from the authority of the few to the intuitions of the many, that the word sonnet, in the most natural sense of it, implies nothing more than a short song. That excellent old story-teller Giraldi Cintio attributes all the misfortunes of Desdemona to the unlucky derivation of her name from dvodaipova. For which reason he recommends to parents great care in the selection of names for their offspring. But the opinions of the author of the Hecatomithi on this branch of parental duty are peculiar, not to say fantastic. If a child comes into the world legitimately begotten, and adequately provided for, the world, for its part, cares not so much as twopence whether the child's begetters please to name it N. or M. It is only about the names of books that the world is exacting. They are labelled by the title of them as belonging to this or that recognised department of literature. Does the author invent a new label ? What affectation! The greatest writers have been content with the established classifications. Does he adopt an old one? What presumption! This
' long poem is no more an epic than that short one is an idyll; and we must inform our author that fourteen lines of rhyme do not constitute a sonnet. The man who has written something will pro
.' bably learn from his friends, or enemies, what the thing is not. But who shall tell him what it is? If he consults the definitions of the ars poetica, from that moment he is lost. For each similarity between his own work and the works already classified by criticism, he will find a dozen differences. And so many differences, so many defects!
Sad fruit of knowledge, if this be to know,
It is certainly 'not for the purpose of discussing the rules and recipes of sonnet-writing that I propose to make some observations on the Love Sonnets of Proteus. But I am bound to say that the greater number of these sonnets does not appear to me open to the strictures of X. Some of them, no doubt, are so obviously not sonnets at all in the common acceptation of the word, that it would be absurd to suppose the author intended us so to accept them; and, in fact, if we are to speak of it by the card, we must reject altogether the title he has given to his book, for it contains not only love poems that are not sonnets, but also sonnets that are not love poems. Moreover the distinctive sentiment of sonnet construction which marks the form of all these poems is sometimes faintest in the sonnets most regularly constructed.
Every form of Art aims at the production of an effect special to itself; and for this purpose it instinctively employs the methods prescribed to it by its special materials. The sculptor and the painter employ different methods, and follow different rules, because they aim at different effects. But when, in either case, we say of the effect produced that it is sculpturesque or picturesque, we only mean that it is in perfect harmony with the sentiment proper to the form of Art in which the artist has worked ; and we do not think the Venus of Milo unfit to be called a statue merely because the application of a pair of compasses is enough to convince us that her torso is out of drawing.
The authority of the great Italian poets has established the form of the sonnet, and their genius has associated it with our prevalent notions of the form most appropriate to love poetry. But it is astonishing that such notions should so long have prevailed. Perfect as a vehicle for reflection or unemotional sentiment, this form of verse is much too methodical, too artificial in its construction, too restricted in its scope and range of cadence, for the adequate expression of the most wayward and variable of all passions. As a matter of fact, the best sonnets are either bad love poems or not love poems at all; and the best love poems are rarely good sonnets. In the highest departments of Poetry, the place allotted to love is closely circumscribed. In the Epic and the Drama we find this passion subjected to competition with a crowd of other moral forces, such as honour, patriotism, ambition, duty, &c. It is thus compelled to act. Its action varies its utterance; and the interest it inspires is enhanced by the conflict in which it is engaged. But, in Lyric Poetry, love soliloquises; and the monologue becomes monotonous if there is no variation of tonality in the instrument it employs. The fine ästhetic instinct of the old Greeks assigned to the Epic the most massive and majestic of Greek metres ; to the Drama a form of verse more flexible and free ; and to Lyric Poetry a variety of tones and notes almost as numerous and dissimilar as the modulations of the human heart itself. Yet for a prolonged soliloquy by the heart's most restless