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am happier than most of them, and not in banquets and festivals ; youths and less well employed.”

damsels, richly clad in velvets, silks, and To a spirit like his, firmly trustful in gold, with jewels, danced in the public the good which can be wrested from ap squares ; roses, violets, and lilies were parent evil, the companionship of Dante strewn about; and day and night the air must have given peculiar consolation was filled with song and the throbbing and support. “Looked at outwardly,” of lutes and viols. Then amid these James Russell Lowell wrote in his fa luxurious delights - which added an enmous essay, “the life of Dante seems tangled undergrowth of flowerage to the to have been an utter and disastrous selva selvaggia of political and moral failure. What its inward satisfactions evil the smouldering rancors of the must have been, we, with the Paradiso Cerchi and Donati broke into flame as, open before us, can form some faint by the unfortunate mediation of the conception." It was from Sorrow's

priors, the firebrands from Pistoia were self that Dante learned “how a cast into Florence. The importation of becomes eternal ; " looking through the the Bianchi and Neri (factions opposed shadows, his nerve of vision acquired like the forces of day and night, which clear insight of the realities within and destructive criticism — who knows? beyond the things of the world ; in his

may some time wish to reduce to the writings are found sympathy and com terms of a sun-myth) involved Florence fort for later scholars in the university of in strife, and sent Dante, with many human experience, even for those who, others, into exile. Finally, Charles of like the translator of the Letters, die Valois, invoked by the citizens and welunaware that to them has been awarded comed with olive-branches and the music a prize.

of trumpets, held his brief misrule to the The work of Mr. Latham includes the ruin of Florence, that well might have eleven Epistles of Dante according to suggested to Dante his flaming city of Signor Fraticelli's edition, — few indeed Dis, inhabited by furies and demons. out of the vast number which must have The comment upon the letter of conbeen written ; while even of these cer dolence addressed to the Counts of Rotain critics would diminish the accred mena begins with a rapid analysis of ited number. The translation by Mr. the qualities which went to the making Latham is scholarly and finished, in an of the virtù of the Italian nobles in the idiom which well represents the dignity Middle Ages, their tremendous illimitaof Dante's thought, moving somewhat ble vitality and individual force; then it heavily in its antique Roman armor of proceeds to a summary of previously exlanguage. The comment upon the let istent criticism, with a discussion as to ter to Niccolò da Prato, Cardinal of the identity of the subject of the letter Ostia, is an intelligible and well synthe with the Alessandro da Romena spoken sized account of the strife of the Bian of in the thirtieth canto of the Inferno. chi and Neri, closing with the cardinal's The third epistle of Dante was writsojourn in Florence and the excommu ten to Moroello Malaspina, one of the nication of the city. It is written in four contemporaries of that name among a sober, historic manner. The author the great family of the Evil Thorn, seems to have wished to obtain his effect which divided itself into the Flowering by clear outlines and just proportions, Thorn and the Dry, and blazoned upon not caring to charge his palette with the a golden ground the distinctive devices brilliant contrasts of the colors of those of bloom and of sere stem. There is times. In the jubilee year of 1300 all cause for controversy as to the individItaly was at peace. Florence reveled ual addressed, and also for marvel that

Dante should have confided an episode I was enamored, after my first love, was of love to one of those men of war. the most beautiful and most virtuous (By the way, it will have been only by daughter of the Emperor of the Unia momentary betrayal on the part of the verse, to whom Pythagoras gives the pen that Mr. Latham, in this comment, name of Philosophy." (Convito ii. 16.) writes of Dante's being prompted to Viewed, then, by the light of the entire finish the Convito.) We cannot but testimony of the second book of the read between the lines of the Malaspina Convito, the letters addressed to Moroletter a mystic announcement of some ello Malaspina and to Cino da Pistoia inspired meeting with Philosophy, - a are recognized as appropriate to the rewoman indeed well suited “to the prin- cipient and worthy of the writer. ciples, character, and fortunes ” of Dante If Mr. Latham had been permitted in unmerited exile, — some blinding vi- the strength and time to complete his sion of Paradise. Also that which, as work, he would have grouped together he bids observe, he leaves unexpressed under one comment the three letters rein the letter to Cino da Pistoia confirms garding Henry VII. and his sojourn in us in the belief that the canzone and Italy. In connection with the epistle to epistle to the Malaspina were intended the Italian cardinals are narrated, in a sopra senso.

strong historic manner, the election of The letter to Cino was in answer to Clement V., the removal of the Aposthe question " whether the soul can tolic See to Avignon, and the election of pass from passion to passion.” It was, John XXII. The noble and pathetic the commentator Witte opines, accom letter to the Florentine Friend would, panied by the canzone which forms the according to Mr. Latham's design, have theme of the second book of the Con- been illustrated by an appendix in which vito, “ Voi che intendendo il terzo ciel would have been collected and annotated movete," and was meant as an indi- the various decrees against Dante. The cation to Cino of the affections immu comment upon the letter to Can Grande table because set upon immortal things. that precious guide to the understandIn this canzone Dante relates to the ing of the form and the manifold intent Thrones of the third heaven (Convito of the Commedia — is in some respects ii. 6) the pangs of transition, the rend- the most mature and characteristic poring of the chrysalis from which his sad tion of Mr. Latham's work. It is adhuman love emerged winged. Contin- mirable as a biographical study of the ual comparison is suggested with the great Lombard family, and very sensicanzone of the Malaspina letter. tive in the verbal appreciations by which

he reaches his conclusions in regard to “ Then came a thought that put the first to flight,

the hospitality received by Dante at the And swayed my being with such lordly court of Alboino and Can Grande della power

Scala. That my heart trembled and my face was

By the friendly and generous care of changed ! Well in those eyes of hers

Professor C. E. Norton and Professor Should stand that love that killeth such G. R. Carpenter, of the Dante Society,

the volume is provided with a prefatory (Miss Kate Hillard's translation.) memorial of Mr. Latham, and with an Of this new passion Dante declares, “I appendix concerning the authenticity of say and affirm that the lady of whom the Letters of Dante.

as I."

RECENT POETRY.

The season does not bring us, as it which is the only instance of the twofortunately did last year, any poetry by line epigram in this volume, is too much those who have won a great place in like a fragment of verse to have a poetliterature, but a few volumes of verse ical value. Mr. Gilder often uses the from younger writers maintain the prac- quatrain, however, and this, it seems to tice of the art and assure us of its vi us, is too brief for an habitual form. It tality, though it must be acknowledged is a unit of thought or feeling in too that, like most minor poetry, these books simple a sense ; for in general the unity have rather a literary than an inspired which is most sought for by art is a excellence. One among them, how- unity of related parts ; and for this reaever, leads the rest by so wide an inter son single-thought poems do not find a val that it should hardly be classed with form fit for them until the lyric or the them. It has rare qualities of style, sonnet is reached, with an accompanifeeling, and thought. Mr. Gilder has ment of feeling in the one sufficiently published several volumes hitherto, but prolonged to be changeful and allow of the body of his verse is still small in development, and in the other that foreamount, and possibly it seems less be cast and echo of the thought which parcause of the limitation of the short swal- ticularly characterize the sonnet. Mr. low-flight which he imposes on himself. Gilder gives us few sonnets, but he comTwo Worlds and Other Poems, as he pensates for the omission with several entitles the present work, begins with a lyrics, in which a single idea or mood double quatrain, and the small scale of is expressed with ease, with flow and design thus indicated is adhered to in grace, and at times with a perfection the volume as a whole. The poetry of that leaves as little to be desired as the single thoughts has been cultivated by work of Herrick, who is presumably the him with much success, and he has used model that those who use this mode of the form of expression which belongs to verse would equal. The following lyric, it with a fine control of its capabilities for example, has in completeness that of point and contrast, and with a refine- quality which for lack of more definite ment and polish that are of the best. phrase is called felicity : — Single-thought poems, however, in the

“Ah, Time, go not so soon, form of the epigram and the quatrain I would not thus be used, and would forego are rather the byplay of the poet's mind that boon; than its serious work, and they seldom

Turn back, swift Time, and let permit of sufficient elaboration to be

Me many a year forget ;

Let her be strange once more, - an unfamemorable. If they are read consecu

miliar tune, tively, the effect is too much that of a An unimagined flower, string of proverbs without the saving Not known till that mute, wondrous hour

When first we met!" grace which the proverb derives from being “ the wisdom of many" as well as Other instances of this lyrical power, “ the wit of one.” In uttering maxims which seems to us the most distinctive poetry approaches very near to prose. trait shown in the present volume, could “Sow thou sorrow and thou shalt reap it; be given; in them Mr. Gilder carries to

Sow thou joy and thou shalt keep it," the most poetical expression that taste 1 Two Worlds and Other Poems. By Rich for single-thought poetry which is one ARD WATSON GILDER. The Century Co. 1891. of his marked literary preferences.

A second trait which has been lead- himself to mere pictorialness. Wordsing in his work is sympathy with art worth pointed out the right way, though a disposition to see with a painter's eyes he did it without any thought of critiand to interpret in words what others cism, in that stanza of which the latter have put into plastic form or color. part is so often quoted, — This is characteristic of much verse be “Ah! then, if mine had been the Painter's sides his own, and allies him with the ar

hand,

To express what then I saw; and add the tistic school in poetry of which Rossetti

gleam, is the most conspicuous example. The The light that never was, on sea or land, influence of this group upon Mr. Gil The consecration, and the Poet's dream," der's work has been noticeable always, where the contrasted arts of painting and though in the present collection it is and poetry are discriminated in a way less marked, traces of it remain. The which has its lesson for all those who are union, peculiarly shown in this school, tempted to paint in verse. between definite pictorial form and Mr. Gilder, however, discloses in this vague mystic suggestion, expressed by volume something more than the lyrical Rossetti in both the arts of which he and sonneteering impulse and the arwas a master, is illustrated by Mr. Gil- tistic prepossession with which his readder's sonnet, Love, Art, and Time, on a ers have been familiar from the first. picture by Low:

Several of the poems not only attempt “Sweet Grecian girl, who on the sun-bright

a sustained flight, but they deal with wall

the broadest hurnan interests in a reflecTracest the outline of thy lover's shade, tive vein. Before directing attention to While on the dial near Time's hand is laid

these, the memorial poems upon heroes With silent motion, fearest thou, then, all ? How that one day the light shall cease to fall

of the war should be mentioned, in which On him who is thy light; how lost, dis

fervid patriotism finds pure expression. mayed,

It is proper, too, to single out the lyric By Time, and Time’s pale comrade Death, The Star in the City, which has a unique

betrayed, Thou shalt breathe on beneath the all-shad- quality in its lines descriptive of the city owing pall!

at nightfall, and in its identification of Love, Art, and Time, these are the triple the poet in the throng: in fact, there is powers

a touch of feeling in this little poem That rule the world, and shall for many a

which, we think, is quite new and in

dividual in our city verse. Love that beseecheth Art to conquer Time!

Doubtless Bright is the picture, but, О fading flowers!

it is out of life in the city that the more O youth that passes, love that bringeth sor thoughtful poems of this volume have

sprung; those which express the philBright is the picture, sad the poet's rhyme.” anthropic spirit, or, as we should prefer This element is not so great, however, to say, the spirit of humanity, — that as we have been led to expect from Mr. principle of brotherhood with men in Gilder, and it is rather in purely de- the strife of life, which shows no sign scriptive passages that the artistic taste of weakening power in its hold on the shows itself; in such a poem as Moon- poetic mind. Of these, The White light, or “I care not if the skies are Tsar's People, The Prisoner's Thought, white,” which have the color effect of and The Passing of Christ are most poetchings. In each of these examples a table, though the same strain is heard truer method is followed than is usual

more or less audibly in several of the with the poetic sketches of light and verses where it is not the main tone. Its shadow, - - the method which bids the most personal expression is in the poem poet end with his own art, and not confine called Credo, at the end :

morrow;

row

sun

or

“Pure soul and tenderest of all that came Gray Cone. The narrative poems in
Into this world of sorrow, hear my prayer: this collection have much energy, the
Lead me, yea, lead me deeper into life, –
This suffering human life wherein thou liv'st

phrase is often strong and full, and the And breathest still, and hold'st thy way divine.

sonnets have in their number some of 'Tis here, O pitying Christ, where thee I seek, quite remarkable vigor of thought and Here where the strife is fiercest; where the handling, among which may be men

tioned that addressed to Lowell on his Beats down upon the highway thronged with

seventieth birthday and that entitled men, And in the raging mart. Oh, deeper lead

The Immortal Word. Several of the My soul into the living world of souls longer poems are familiar to our readers Where thou dost move."

through these pages, and the best of Throughout this section of the poems them have been warmly praised. Next there is more directness, strength, and to those which resemble the ballad in immediacy of relation with life itself form The Arrow-Maker seems to us than in other parts ; the literary quality, most individual. The following sonnet which is felt more or less in the lighter is perhaps as fresh as anything in the verse, here disappears, and the writer volume : expresses himself individually, without

“He loved her; having felt his love begin obligation to others, whether more With that first look, – as lover oft avers. less remote ; and consequently there is He made pale flowers his pleading ministers, an obvious sincerity to his tones which Impressed sweet music, drew the spring

time in becomes very winning, owing to the

To serve his suit; but when he could not sense of personality that they convey. win, The verse, certainly, is not better than Forgot her face and those gray eyes of hers; that of the love lyrics, or the sonnets,

And at her name his pulse no longer stirs,

And life goes on as though she had not or the quatrains ; but these poems have a

been. freshness and natural power which make them peculiarly welcome. Nevertheless

She never loved him ; but she loved Love so, they make only a part of a much-varied So reverenced Love, that all her being shook

At his demand whose entrance she denied. collection, in which passion and reflec

Her thoughts of him such tender color took tion, nature and man, the country and

As western skies that keep the afterglow; city, have each a share; the presence of The words he spoke were with her till she the poetic temperament is felt on every died.” page, and in point of expression Mr. Gil Miss Cone's volume, however, is not der's art is refined and polished in a characterized by the womanly sentiment very high degree, and often strikes out which so strongly colors this sonnet, form of a perfect kind. One thing only though here and there are poems which need be added : it is that these poems, show the hand and intuition of a woman, as is usual in such cases, gain greatly by and have in particular a certain tenderbeing collected and set one with another ness of expression that in a man's work in a certain order. A considerable part would be felt as a fault of taste. In of the whole has never been published general her expression has less of sentibefore.

ment and grace than of action and emOf other volumes, none call for such phasis. The Ride to the Lady has a attention as is due to Mr. Gilder's. The motive which is strong, and it is worked most notable, certainly, is The Ride to out wholly on the thought of the dying the Lady and Other Poems,' by Helen man's journey, and for that reason it is 1 The Ride to the Lady and Other Poems.

not free from a certain ghastliness; the By HELEN GRAY CONE. Boston and New other leading poem, The Story of the York : Houghton, Mifflin & Co. 1891. Orient, gains much from the humanita

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