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probable that much will be done by the Reformation have been lost, this has not pursuit of these studies to modify quite died yet. Is it yet possible that opinions and suggest new canons of a fuller knowledge of the tendencies of criticism. We have no wish that it the age, and some mighty resurrection should be otherwise. Religious thought from the narrowness of organised partiwas never intended to stagnate. Novelty zanship may change the current of their is not, indeed, a mark of truth ; but sympathies, and make them, even now, obstructiveness in matters of theory is a champions, not of change, but of incertain guide to error. And, therefore, quiry, and research, and development ? towards new phases of sacred speculation It cannot be, while they believe the the attitude of a lover of truth will be, sentiment of Dr. Close, in his Lectures not antagonistic virulence, but judicial on the Evidences, that Revelation was impartiality. He will not be rash to not meant to gratify a

proud investiadopt the guesses of a restless ambition; gation.” Investigation of every possible but he will not shut his eyes to reason- subject is the bounden duty of every able and probable argument. He will educated man, as far as his time and not deem the intellect the sovereign talents allow; and that investigation principle in man; but he will determine, may well be proud which is the result in God's strength, to bring anything to of powers bestowed by the Almighty for the bar of reason. He will not read the the study of His mysteries. If they apostolic precept as though it were refuse to acknowledge this duty; if “Disprove all things;" but he will no they cling to the crystallized system of more be driven from intellectual duty what was once a working and living by fear of consequences, than from moral. spirit, forgetting nothing, learning noHe will give all reverence to those who thing; if they give all the energies of teach the soul : but, loyal to the ends their collective action to attack some to which man's nature points, he will difference of ecclesiastical creed, and all render unto mind the things that are the weight of their social influence to mind's. And so he will strive, without create artificial division in what God, partiality or without hypocrisy, to enter by forming human society, has prothe kingdom of God as a little child ; nounced united ; then all their labours and so act, if he may,

of parish charity, and schemes of world

wide philanthropy, will hardly save That mind and soul, according well,

them from the sentence which awaits May make one music.

all that is transitory, because artificial; Is it possible that Evangelical energy and those who know what once the may ever adopt this attitude? It was party was will see, when they look upon the essence of Protestantism to attack it now, only a fresh instance of the way prejudice: and they are the most zeal- in which zeal is pernicious, when its ous Protestants of the Church. The purpose is an anachronism, and good chief doctrine of the Reformation was men wasted, when the mind is narrowed the right of private judgment; and to tradition, and the sympathies disthough many of the maxims of the

torted to party.

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EVERY poet pleads, and every critic poetic art—such, we mean, as affect laments, the difficulties opposed by an independent concrete existence, inmodern habits of thought, and the stead of merely serving to express the constitution of modern society, to the feelings of the writers as individuals.

subject to the antique or the ideal The contemporaries of the Constable world, the degree of his success does Bourbon can hardly have cared much but serve to measure the remoteness of about Orlando ; and, in Tasso's day, the his exile from contemporary interests Holy Sepulchre, so far from being the and sympathies ; if, on the other hand, goal of a crusade, would not even he endeavours to reflect the life around answer as a pretext for replenishing the him, he can no more escape alloying his Papal coffers. If, then, the universal strain with the transitory and acci- witness of the human heart justified dental than the diver can avoid bringing Mrs. Browning in her "Distrust" of up the oyster with the pearl. This is true ; but it cannot be said that the un

“ The poet who discerns

No character or glory in his times, happy divorce between the real and

And trundles back his soul five hundred years, ideal is the especial disaster of our Past moat and drawbridge, into a castle court," times. Few and brief have been the periods in human history when a vital

the successive laureates of that lucky belief in a mythology capable of supply- house of Este ought to have been poetiing art with the most exalted themes cally dead and buried long ago. The has co-existed with the ability to apply notoriety of the contrary fact suggests it to poetic usages. The reason is evi

that the utilitarian theory of poetry dent--that such a degree of ability im- may perhaps be less sound than specious. plies a degree of culture and intelligence We see (and, if further example be rein presence of which the most pictu- quired, Spenser, Keats, Shelley, and resque legends disappear like

Schiller are at hand) that it is quite

possible for genius to disdain the ground “A withered morn,

of realities and yet exist—though, it may Smote by the fresh beam of the springing be but as a wild, wandering beauty, a East."

"Strange bird of Paradise For two generations only was it pos- That floats through Heaven and cannot light." sible for the Greeks to retain, along with the civilization which permitted The modern impatience of the indirect their tragic poets to exemplify the per- operation of the humanizing and harfection of artistic skill no less than of monizing influences of art—the confunative power, the simple traditional sion of the poet's function with that of belief which gave their dramas a root in the philosopher, the legislator, the rethe national life as well as the national former-have only tended to make sense of beauty. Dante's contempo- writers conceited and readers unjust. raries readily explained the gloom of his Still, however extravagant the form aspect as the effect of his Stygian expe- in which it may sometimes find exriences ; but the Cardinal of Este, two pression, the desire to see poetry brought hundred and fifty years later, would into a more intimate relation with the probably have referred the Divine practical needs of the age is in itself Comedy to the same category as the laudable and legitimate. In proportion Orlando Furioso. In fact, the difficulty to our appreciation of the elevating and of accomplishing the task on which refining character of its influences must modern criticism rather vociferously in- be our unwillingness to contemplate sists, of finding imaginative expression these as necessarily limited in their for the interests, aspirations, and social operation to a small literary class. It peculiarities of our own age, is so far cannot be said that contemporary poets from being any special characteristic of have, as a body, shown any indisposition the age in question that it would be “to grapple with the questions of the hard to point out any writers who have time.” On the contrary, their mistake more unequivocally succumbed to it has rather consisted in the failure to than the great Italian pair of the six- discriminate between those vitally and teenth century, -Ariosto and Tasso. eternally significant and the merely transient and accidental features of the age. nor practical utility his main object, for We live in times exceedingly favourable his instinct assures him that the soul of to the development of the speculative poetry lies elsewhere. As the painter faculty—a period in which it is hardly does not conceive the universe to be all possible to reflect seriously on any im- colour, as the musician has eyes as well portant topic without encountering some as ears, so he himself does not regard problem in urgent need of solution. The poetry as sunlight, steeping the universe answers which for so many centuries in a flood of monotonous radiance, but have more or less contented the inquir- as the intense electric beam, whose ing mind of man are now found to have splendid concentration on some objects been merely provisional; and, while only serves to isolate them from the old questions are being reopened on all surrounding darkness. Consequently, he sides, the gigantic development of phy- will be an eclectic, content with selectsical and political science has suggested ing from the mass of contemporary an infinity of new ones. By virtue of interests those themes alone which its peculiar sensitiveness, the poetic is appear to him susceptible of poetic treateven more likely than the ordinary mind ment ; like a bee, he alights only upon to conceive an intense interest in some flowers. Thus, though Mr. Tennyson is of these problems; and it is the very law one of the most thoughtful of men, famiof its being to reproduce its impressions liar with every branch of ethical and in its creations. Unfortunately, nothing abstract speculation, it is impossible to but an instinctive sense of artistic fitness extract anything like a theory of life will enable it to distinguish the perma- from his writings, simply because such a nent from the accidental features of its theory must necessarily take cognisance fascinating environment. We might of a multitude of details which he has mention two contemporary poets who intuitively perceived to be unpoetical. possess this delicate tact, but doubt if The same might have been said even of the list could be extended.

so eminent a thinker as Goethe, had he Some writers not merely by prefer- never written in prose. ence adopt a metrical formas the But, it may be asked, the reader vehicle of thought, but are before all dependent on the fidelity of the writer's things poets. Their conception of a

intuitions ? Can he not determine for poet is not that of one writing to in- himself when he is or is not reading struct, to refine, to expound a plan of poetry? We might reply that he is life, to accomplish any end whatever himself frequently a participant in "the capable of being expressed with logical vision and the faculty divine," even precision in words; but whose aim, or though “the channels between thought rather call it instinct, is simply to com- and expression may have been obpose poetry. If you ask what this structed.” Perhaps, however, it may poetry is, they cannot tell you; they are be possible to discover a less abrupt only sure that it is an actual entity, as Gradus ad Parnassum. Painting, sculpreal an existence as painting or music. ture, music, are found to agree in the As painting, they would say, is not out- common aim of raising man above himline and colour, so neither is poet's lan- self—of substituting a state of emotion guage and rhythm ; these are simply the for one of tranquillity. If no emotion vesture of the spirit else invisible. As be excited by the sight of a painting or niusic is not an ingenious way of moving a statue, or the hearing of a piece of the passions, but a something which music, then either the spectator or lispossesses

this

among other properties, so tener is naturally insensible to the inthe

power of poetry to exalt or admonish fluence of art, or has temporarily become is indeed an inherent quality, but not so through satiety, pre-occupation, or the essence of poetry itself.” A writer infirmity, or else the merits of the work who has risen to this conception of his itself are merely of a technical character.

even

subject to the antique or the ideal The contemporaries of the Constable world, the degree of his success does Bourbon can hardly have cared much but serve to measure the remoteness of about Orlando ; and, in Tasso's day, the his exile from contemporary interests Holy Sepulchre, so far from being the and sympathies ; if, on the other hand, goal of a crusade, would not he endeavours to reflect the life around answer as a pretext for replenishing the him, he can no more escape alloying his Papal coffers.

Papal coffers. If, then, the universal strain with the transitory and acci- witness of the human heart justified dental than the diver can avoid bringing Mrs. Browning in her “Distrust” of up the oyster with the pearl. This is true ; but it cannot be said that the un

“The poet who discerns

No character or glory in his times, happy divorce between the real and

And trundles back his soul five hundred years, ideal is the especial disaster of our Past moat and drawbridge, into a castle court," times. Few and brief have been the periods in human history when a vital

the successive laureates of that lucky belief in a mythology capable of supply- house of Este ought to have been poetiing art with the most exalted themes cally dead and buried long ago. The has co-existed with the ability to apply notoriety of the contrary fact suggests it to poetic usages. The reason is evi

that the utilitarian theory of poetry dent—that such a degree of ability im- may perhaps be less sound than specious. plies a degree of culture and intelligence We see (and, if further example be rein presence of which the most pictu- quired, Spenser, Keats, Shelley, and resque legends disappear like

Schiller are at hand) that it is quite

possible for genius to disdain the ground “A withered morn,

of realities and yet exist—though, it may Smote by the fresh beam of the springing be but as a wild, wandering beauty, a

East."
For two generations only was it pos-

" Strange bird of Paradise

That floats through Heaven and cannot light." sible for the Greeks to retain, along with the civilization which permitted The modern impatience of the indirect their tragic poets to exemplify the per- operation of the humanizing and harfection of artistic skill no less than of monizing influences of art—the confunative power, the simple traditional sion of the poet's function with that of belief which

gave

their dramas a root in the philosopher, the legislator, the rethe national life as well as the national former—have only tended to make sense of beauty. Dante's contempo

writers conceited and readers unjust. raries readily explained the gloom of his Still, however extravagant the form aspect as the effect of his Stygian expe- in which it may sometimes find exriences ; but the Cardinal of Este, two pression, the desire to see poetry brought hundred and fifty years later, would into a more intimate relation with the probably have referred the Divine

referred the Divine practical needs of the age is in itself Comedy to the same category as the laudable and legitimate. In proportion Orlando Furioso. In fact, the difficulty to our appreciation of the elevating and of accomplishing the task on which refining character of its influences must modern criticism rather vociferously in- be our unwillingness to contemplate sists, of finding imaginative expression these as necessarily limited in their for the interests, aspirations, and social operation to a small literary class. It peculiarities of our own age, is so far cannot be said that contemporary poets from being any special characteristic of have, as a body, shown any indisposition the age in question that it would be “to grapple with the questions of the hard to point out any writers who have time.” On the contrary, their mistake more unequivocally succumbed to it has rather consisted in the failure to than the great Italian pair of the six- discriminate between those vitally and teenth century,-Ariosto and Tasso. eternally significant and the merely transient and accidental features of the age. nor practical utility his main object, for We live in times exceedingly favourable his instinct assures him that the soul of to the development of the speculative poetry lies elsewhere. As the painter faculty—a period in which it is hardly does not conceive the universe to be all possible to reflect seriously on any im. colour, as the musician has eyes as well portant topic without encountering some as ears, so he himself does not regard problem in urgent need of solution. The poetry as sunlight, steeping the universe answers which for so many centuries in a flood of monotonous radiance, but have more or less contented the inquir- as the intense electric beam, whose ing mind of man are now found to have splendid concentration on some objects been merely provisional; and, while only serves to isolate them from the old questions are being reopened on all surrounding darkness. Consequently, he sides, the gigantic development of phy- will be an eclectic, content with selectsical and political science has suggested ing from the mass of contemporary an infinity of new ones. By virtue of interests those themes alone which its peculiar sensitiveness, the poetic is appear to him susceptible of poetic treateven more likely than the ordinary mind ment; like a bee, he alights only upon to conceive an intense interest in some flowers. Thus, though Mr. Tennyson is of these problems; and it is the vory law one of the most thoughtful of men, famiof its being to reproduce its impressions liar with every branch of ethical and in its creations. Unfortunately, nothing abstract speculation, it is impossible to but an instinctive sense of artistic fitness extract anything like a theory of life will enable it to distinguish the perma- from his writings, simply because such a nent from the accidental features of its theory must necessarily take cognisance fascinating environment. We might of a multitude of details which he has mention two contemporary poets who intuitively perceived to be unpoetical. possess this delicate tact, but doubt if The same might have been said even of the list could be extended.

so eminent a thinker as Goethe, had he Some writers not merely by prefer- never written in prose. ence adopt a metrical form as the But, it may be asked, is the reader vehicle of thought, but are before all dependent on the fidelity of the writer's things poets. Their conception of a intuitions ? Can he not determine for poet is not that of one writing to in- himself when he is or is not reading struct, to refine, to expound a plan of poetry? We might reply that he is life, to accomplish any end whatever himself frequently a participant in the capable of being expressed with logical vision and the faculty divine,” even precision in words ; but whose aim, or though "the channels between thought rather call it instinct, is simply to com- and expression may have been obpose poetry. If you ask what this structed.” Perhaps, however, it may poetry is, they cannot tell you; they are be possible to discover a less abrupt only sure that it is an actual entity, as Gradus ad Parnassum. Painting, sculpreal an existence as painting or musie. ture, music, are found to agree in the As painting, they would say, is not out- common aim of raising man above himline and colour, so neither is poet's lan- self-of substituting a state of emotion guage and rhythm ; these are simply the for one of tranquillity. If no emotion vesture of the spirit else invisible. As be excited by the sight of a painting or niusic is not an ingenious way of moving a statue, or the hearing of a piece of the passions, but a something which music, then either the spectator or lispossesses this among other properties, so tener is naturally insensible to the inthe power of poetry to exalt or admonish fluence of art, or has temporarily become is indeed an inherent quality, but not so through satiety, pre-occupation, or the essence of poetry itself. A writer infirmity, or else the merits of the work who has risen to this conception of his itself are merely of a technical character.

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