Abbildungen der Seite
[ocr errors]

mood are arrested and recorded in the We know not whether Mr. Patmore, very act of passing into their opposites; who has finely said in “The Angel in the contending billows of his breast are the House” that shown by sudden flashes, as he himself

“ Love in tears too noble is picturesquely says of the waves of an

For pity, save of Love in smiles,” actual storm“Standing about in stony heaps.”

has since so far modified his opinions as

to intentionally represent an unfortunate At one moment he exclaims

as the legitimate object of envy instead “Blest is her place ! blissful is she !

of compassion to a successful lover. We And I, departing, seem to be

remember, indeed, Vaughan in one place Like the strange waif that comes to run

expressing himself as if his being less A few days flaming near the sun, And carries back through boundless night

hapless" necessarily implied that he Its lessening memory of light.

was less "great" than his rival ; and

assuredly the enthusiasm of possession But the next

falls short of the fervour with which “What! and, when some short months are c'er,

Be not much other than before ?
Decline the high harmonious sphere

“Nursing the image of unfelt caresses In which I'm held but while she's dear?

Till dim imagination just possesses

The half-created shadow,"
In unrespective peace forget
Those eyes for which mine own are wet
With that delicious fruitful dew

celebrates the object of his affection and Which, check'd, will never flow anew ? despair. He dreams thatFor daily life's dull senseless mood

“Lo! Slay the sharp nerves of gratitude And sweet allegiance, which I owe

As moisture sweet my seeing blurs Whether she cares for me or no ?

To hear my name so linked with hers, Nay, mother, I, forewarned, prefer

A mirror joins, by guilty chance, To want for all in wanting her.

Either's averted, watchful glance ! For all? Love's best is not bereft

Or with me in the ball-room's blaze

Her brilliant mildness'thrids the maze; Ever from him to whom is left The trust that God will not deceive

Our thoughts are lovely, and each word His creature, fashion'd to believe

Is music in the music heard, The prophecies of pure desire.

And all things seem but parts to be Not loss, nor death, my love shall tire.

In one persistent harmony, A mystery does my heart foretell;

By which I'm made divinely bold; Nor do I press the oracle

The secret, which she knows, is told; For explanations. Leave me alone,

And, laughing with a lofty bliss And let in me love's will be done."

Of innocent accord, we kiss;

About her neck my pleasure weeps ;
What that will was is known to all Against my lip the silk vein leaps.
readers of the “ Angel in the House.”
The final overthrow of such hope as

Or else some wasteful malady
Graham had ventured to entertain, is

Devours her shape and dims her eye;

No charms are left, where all were rife, expressed in perhaps the finest simile

Except her voice, which is her life, Mr. Patmore has yet made. His rival Wherewith she, in her foolish fear, Vaughan enters while he is sitting with Says trembling, 'Do you love me, dear?' Honoria :

And I reply, “Ah, sweet, I vow

I never loved but half till now.' “And, as the image of the moon

She turns her face to the wall at this, Breaks up within some still lagoon

And says, 'Go, love, 'tis too much bliss.' That feels the soft wind suddenly,

And then a sudden pulse is sent Or tide fresh flowing from the sea,

About the sounding firmament And turns to giddy flames that go

In smitings as of silver bars ; Over the water to and fro,

The bright disorder of the stars Thus, when he took her hand to-night,

Is solved by music, far and near, Her lovely gravity of light

Through infinite distinctions clear Was scattered into many smiles

Their two-fold voice's deeper tone And flattering weakness. Hope beguiles Thunders the Name which all things own, No more my heart, dear mother; He

And each ecstatic treble dwells

普 *





And we, sublimed to song and fire,

Is guerdon up to the degree Take order in the wheeling quire,

Of that alone true loyalty Till from the throbbing sphere I start,

Which, sacrificing, is not nice Waked by the beating of my heart."

About the terms of sacrifice,

But offers all, with smiles that say, All his visions, however, are far from 'Twere nothing if 'twere not for aye !” resembling this

O si sic omnia! In that case, indeed, “When I lay me down at even

“Faithful for Ever" would be no illus"Tis Hades lit with neighbouring Heaven. tration of our doctrine that poetry parts There comes a smile acutely sweet Out of the picturing dark; I meet

with its essential characteristics in proThe ancient frankness of her gaze,

portion as it undertakes to teach otherwise That simple, bold, and living blaze

than indirectly, or concerns itself with of great goodwill and innocence

the mutable superficies of contemporary And perfect joy proceeding thence, Ah ! made for Earth's delight, yet such

life. So far, however, though Frederick The mid-sea air's too gross to touch.

Graham is a very substantial personality At thought of wbich, the soul in me -a thoroughly imaginable man-his exIs as the bird that bites a bee,

pressions of feeling have been as purely And darts abroad on frantic wing Tasting the honey and the sting;

lyrical and subjective as the lamenAnd, moaning where all round me sleep tations of Clymene or Enone. He Amidst the moaning of the deep,

has, as before remarked, had to learn I start at midnight from my bed,

the same lesson of self-renunciation as And have no right to strike him dead."

the anonymous hero of "Love and Duty," Nor any wish, before long. Vaughan

with this very important difference, that and his bride visit Graham's ship, and

the latter has but succumbed to external the effect of his observation is to compel

circumstances as independent of the will the latter to resign "the ultimate hope I

of his beloved as of his own; he has rested on:''

yielded nothing to any rival ; what he has

acquired is after all more precious than “The hope that in the heavens high

what he has been compelled to forgo. At last it should appear that I

Mr. Tennyson, therefore, is not asking Loved most, and so, by claim divine, Should have her, in the heavens, for mine,

too much when he would have us conAccording to such nuptial sort

template the "streaming eye” as finally As may subsist in the holy court,

dried, the broken heart” as eventually Where, if there are all kinds of joys

bound up; we not merely acquiesce in To exhaust the multitude of choice In many mansions, then there are

the propriety, but have faith in the perLoves personal and particular,

manence, of the conclusion at which his Conspicuous in the glorious sky

hero arrives. The infinitely greater Of universal charity

severity of Graham's trial perhaps justiAs Hesper in the sunrise."

fies Mr. Patmore in considering that, had Whence,

the mood of our last extract been repre“Standing beneath the sky's pure cope

sented as permanent, had the curtain Unburdened even by a hope,"

fallen then and there upon his hero's

folded arms of humility and upward he is able to feel

gaze of ineffable aspiration, our torpid “That I have known her, that she moves

imaginations would have seen nothing Somewhere all-graceful; that she loves,

but a stage-effect, and expected, could And is beloved, and that she's so

we pierce behind the scenes, to find Most happy; and to heaven will go, Graham rather prostrate beneath, than Where I may meet with her (yet this I count but adventitious bliss),

"Growing, like Atlas, stronger from his load.” And that the full, celestial weal Of all shall sensitively feel

At all events, he has not chosen to task The partnership and work of each, And thus my love and labour reach

our faith so heavily. In the second Her region, there the more to bless

section of the next canto we find HoHer last, consummate happiness,

noria's lover-married! Yes, and to a

very unattractive personage. Of course, he has a thousand good reasons for maintaining that he has committed no treason against love; that his bride is at worst but as one of Voltaire's oignons, qui n'étaient pas des dieux tout-a-fait, mais qui leur ressemblaient beaucoup:

As to the ether is the air Is her good to Honoria's fair; One place is full of both, yet each Lies quite beyond the other's reach And recognition. Star and star, Rays crossing, closer rivals are.' Mr. Patmore is now fully in his element, with a triple moral problem before him. He has to make his hero's paradox good, to show the effect on Jane (the unattractive wife) of being thus caught up into a sphere so much above her, and to determine the proper relation of Honoria to her married lover. This involves the necessity of a copious and minute delineation of manners and customs, since (to name but one aspect of the problem) it is impossible to depict Frederick and Jane's mutual relation and interaction without entering fully into the details of their domestic life. Behold us, then, alike from the didactic and the descriptive point of view, fairly committed to a course of what, we say, is substantially prose; not that the writing is not, for the most part, very clever, but this is not the question ; not that we are not continually encountering passages of the most exquisite poetry, but these are not the rule. We are content to stake the whole theory of this paper on a single issue, —“ Is or is not the first book of Faithful for Ever' incomparably the best of the three ? " It would be a cheap triumph to produce some of the passages (excellent as these are in their way) in which Mr. Patmore furls the poet's wing on the essayist's perch; but these separate bricks could at best bear witness to the material, not to the style of the building.

In conclusion, it will be but just to produce the results at which Mr. Patmore appears to have arrived, embodied in two of the most charming passages of

As regards the relation which Honoria ultimately assumes to

Graham, contemplated from her point of view, we learn nothing; and, indeed, the problem suggests questions of such infinite delicacy that we cannot wonder at Mr. Patmore's reticence.

As we are only concerned with her here in so far as she concerns Frederick, we could well have dispensed with numerous trivial details relative to her husband and children, which vexatiously conflict with the unity of impression already disturbed by the change of venue in Book II. In fact, the way in which she is trotted out for the admiration of one personage after another is almost comical. That Frederick himself should never tire of praising her is as natural as that we should never tire of listening to passages like this: “I kiss'd the kind, warm neck that slept, And from her side, this morning, stepp'd To bathe my brain from drowsy night In the sharp air and golden light. The dew, like frost, was on the pane. The year begins, though fair, to wane. There is a fragrance in its breath Which is not of the flowers, but death, And green above the ground appear The lilies of another year. I wandered forth, and took my path Among the bloomless aftermath; And heard the steadfast robin sing, As if his own warm heart were spring, And watch'd him feed where, on the yew, Hung sugar'd drops of crimson dew; And then return'd by walls of peach And pear-trees bending to my reach, And rose-beds with the roses gone, To bright-laid breakfast. Mrs. Vaughan Was there, none with her. I confess I love her rather more than less ! But she alone was loved of old ; Now love is twain, nay, manifold; For, somehow, he whose daily life Adjusts itself to one true wife Grows to a nuptial, near degree With all that's fair and womanly. Therefore, as more than friends, we meet Without constraint, without regret; The wedded yoke that each had donn'd Seeming a sanction, not a bond.”

We have undertaken to question the propriety of Mr. Patmore's attempting the solution of moral problems in verse at all, not the logic of the solution itself. Yet we cannot refrain from remarking, that the conclusion expressed in the above most exquisite passage appears to us an unfair deduction from the pre

his poem.

mises. On the other hand, the picture Were those that foil'd with loftier grace of Jane's development from original

The homely kindness of her face.

'Twas here she sat and work'd, and there immaturity, rather than absolute defect,

She comb'd and kiss'd the children's hair; to perfect sweetness and ripeness of Or, with one baby at her breast, character, is as natural as it is capti Another taught, or hush'd to rest. vating. We are indeed reminded ai Praise does the heart no more refuse

To the divinity of use. every stroke how much better it would

Her humblest good is hence most bigh. have become the pages of a work like in the heavens of fond memory; “The Mill on the Floss," where copious And love says Amen to the word, ness and minute precision of detail are

A prudent wife is from the Lord. rather to be cultivated than avoided.

Her worst gown's kept ('tis now the best,

As that in which she oftenest dress'd), Had the writer attempted to rival Miss For memory's sake more precious grown Evans's exactness, he might have filled Than she herself was for her own. two volumes with this single theme; as

Poor wife ! foolish it seemed to fly

To sobs instead of dignity, it is, he is at once too particular for

When she was hurt. Now, more than all, poetry and too superficial for fiction. Heart-rending and angelical Yet, as the stalk is forgotten in the That ignorance of what to do, flower, we acknowledge a justification

Bewilder'd still by wrong from you.

(For what man ever yet had grace of much prose in the lovely poetry that

Not to abuse his power and place ?) comes to crown it at last.

No magic of her voice or smile “Too soon, too soon, comes death to show Rais'd in a trice a fairy isle; We love more deeply than we know !

But fondness for her underwent The rain, that fell upon the height

An unregarded increment, Too gently to be called delight,

Like that which lifts through centuries Within the dark vale reappears

The coral reef within the seas, As a wild cataract of tears;

Till lo ! the land where was the wave.
And love in life should strive to see

Alas ! 'tis everywhere her grave."
Sometimes what love in death would be.
She's cold. Put to the coffin-lid.

To deny the character of poetry to What distance for another did,

tenderness and truth like this, would be That death has done for her!

to rob the Muses of their fairest proHow great her smallest virtue seems,

vince-to treat Parnassus as Catherine How small her greatest fault ! Ill dreams and her confederates treated Poland.



To-day, beneath the foeman's frown,

He stands in Elgin's place,
Ambassador from Britain's crown,

And type of all her race.

“Some Seiks, and a private of the Buffs, having remained behind with the grog-carts, fell into the hands of tbe Chinese. On the next morning, they were brought before the authorities, and commanded to perform the kotou. The Seiks obeyed; but Moyse, the English soldier, declaring that he would not prostrate himself before any Chinaman alive, was immediately knocked upon the head, and his body thrown on a dung-hill."--See China Correspondent of the " Times.” Last night, among his fellow roughs,

He jested, quaffed, and swore; A drunken private of the Buffs,

Who never looked before.

Poor, reckless, rude, low-born, untaught,

Bewildered, and alone,
A heart, with English instinct fraught,

He yet can call his own.
Ay, tear his body limb from limb,

Bring cord, or axe, or flame :
He only knows, that not throagh him

Shall England come to shame.

Far Kentish'hop-fields round him seem'd, And thus, with eyes that would not Like dreams, to come and go ;

shrink, Bright leagues of cherry blossom gleam'd, With knee to man unbent, One sheet of living snow ;

Unfaltering on its dreadful brink,
The smoke, above his father's door,

To his red grave he went.
In grey soft eddyings hung :
Must he then watch it rise no more,

Vain, mightiest fleets, of iron framed ; Doom'd by himself, so young?

Vain, those all-shattering guns ;

Unless proud England keep, untamed, Yes, honour calls !-with strength like

The strong heart of her sons. steel

So, let his name through Europe He put the vision by.

Let dusky Indians whine and kneel; A man of mean estate,
An English lad must die.

Who died, as firm as Sparta's king,
The Buffs, or West Kent Regiment.

Because his soul was great.




Since the day when to man was given than the exploded secret was worth. dominion over the fish of the sea, and Now, amongst all classes, it is expounded over the, fowls of the air, and over the with still unabated interest; the comcattle, and over all the earth, there is petitors whom success called up have no record of any new attempts on his dropped out of sight; Government has part to turn his sovereignty to use. adopted the system for the Army; and Immemorially our beasts of burden the Humane Society has rewarded its have been of the same races as they are discoverer with a medal. There must. now, and equally unchanged have been be something remarkable in the man our methods of subduing them to our that wins such a success; but there service. In these last days comes to 118, must be also something remarkable in from the farthest prairies of the Western the nation that grants it, and perhaps world, one who tells us that the error of still more in the times that permit it. our methods is the cause of the narrow- In no land but ours, indeed, could ness of our reign. He shows us that such a result have followed. Elsewhere strength must always yield to skill, and Mr. Rarey has amused, and been rethat ferocity will always disappear before warded by praises, but here alone has gentleness. He shows us that violence he drawn the popular sympathy. We is but feebleness, and that kindness are, in truth, above all nations, a horsealone is irresistible. He shows us that loving nation. To us, riding seems intellect can create intelligence; and nature; with us, men, women, and that animals willingly learn of man children are alike infected with the whatever man rightly addresses to their passion. Those who cannot ride delight understanding. To all this we have to watch those who do ride ; our chief listened with no deaf ears. Never has national amusements are connected with discoverer met with more rapid recogni- the use of horses; and the most dignified tion than this unknown American of our Houses of Parliament thinks a farmer. His first exhibitions were wit- discussion of the weights that racenessed and applauded by royalty; the horses should carry no waste of its time. highest in the land eagerly bought, as Nor let us in our gravity deem this an expensive secret, the knowledge of turn of the national taste a thing wholly his process; when by accident its prin- insignificant and immaterial. In the ciples became published, scarce a murmur world's history it has happened too often was heard that more had been given to be wholly an accidental coincidence,

« ZurückWeiter »