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tention to the later productions in a different vein.
Longfellow was steeped in the German influence in his early days. He translated quite as much from the French, Italian, and Spanish; but the tone of his first poems recalls the dreamy atmosphere, the quaint fancy and the melodic movement of German lyrics. There is a German translation of his poems, following them, line by line, in such perfect cadence
that it might be thought the original, and Longfellow's only the translation.
But this manner gradually disappeared. It appears to me that in the later poemssuch as the sonnets upon Venice and Milton already quoted-there is far more power, more imagination, and more art than in those which first brought him fame.
“Let the lifeless body rest!
He is gone, who was its guest;
An inn, nor tarry until eve.
In what planet, in what star,
Shines the light upon thy face ! "In what gardens of delight
Rest thy weary feet to-night!
Was a garland on thy hearse;
In Deukalion's life, thine own.
Bloomg the perfect flower at last. “Friend! but yesterday the bells
Rang for thee their loud farewells;
Lying dead beyond the sea ;
The peace of God in all thy looks ! " If, as Lowell says, a sonnet should “burst with a wave-like up-gathering at the end," this upon Milton is certainly a magnificent specimen. The steady rise to the climax is a striking piece of art :"I pace the sounding sea - beach and behold
How the voluminous billows roll and run,
Upheaving and subsiding, while the sun
All its loose-flowing garments into one,
Plunges upon the shore ; and floods the dun
The mighty undulations of thy song,
O sightless bard, England's Mæonides!
Uplifted, a ninth wave, superb and strong,
*THE POET AND HIS SONGS. “ As the birds come in the Spring,
We know not from where ; As the stars come at evening
From depths of the air ; “ As the rain comes from the cloud,
And the brook from the ground; As suddenly, low or loud,
Out of silence a sound;
The fruit to the tree;
And the tide to the sea;
O'er the ocean's verge ;
The foam to the surge;
All hitherward blown From the misty realm, that belongs
To the vast Unknown.
He sings; and their fame
And the pride of a name.
And haunt him by night, And he listens, and needs must obey,
When the Angel says: 'Write!'"
Here is a vision of Venice, airy and entrancing as a sea-dream, delicate with vanishing effects like Turner's :
“White swan of cities, slumbering in thy nest
So wonderfully built among the reeds
Of the lagoon, that fences thee and feeds, As sayeth thy old historian and thy guest! White water-lily, cradled and caressed
By ocean streams, and from the silt and weeds
Lifting thy golden filaments and seeds, Thy sun-illumined spires, thy crown and crest: White phantom city, whose untrodden streets
Are rivers, and whose pavements are the shifting
Shadows of palaces and strips of sky;
Seen in mirage, or towers of cloud uplifting
"Daybreak" may be familiar, but it will bear re-reading; there is a thought and a picture in each couplet.
A wind came up out of the sea, And said, 'O mists, make room for me.' “It hailed the ships, and cried, 'Sail on,
Ye mariners, the night is gone.' “And hurried landward far away,
Crying, 'Awake! it is the day.” " It said unto the forest, ‘Shout!
Hang all your leafy banners out!' “It touched the wood-bird's folded wing,
And said, 'O bird, awake and sing.'
The reader will not expect quotations from the early and well-known poems; every one knows them by heart—their sentiment and melody-and it is better to give our at
"And o'er the farms, o Chanticleer,
individualised-real men, known and recogYour clarion blow: the day is near.
nised as additions to the gallery of fiction. “It whispered to the fields of corn,
His was a globular mind, seen in an almost ‘Bow down, and hail the coming morn.
unvarying aspect, but his themes were infi"It shouted through the belfry tower, * Awake, O bell! proclaim the hour.'
nitely varied, and he employed successfully
nearly all the rhythmic forms of which the “It crossed the churchyard with a sigh, And said, 'Not yet! in quiet lie.'"
language is capable, excepting blank verse.
Some critics have laid stress upon his want Longfellow only asked fifty dollars-ten of spiritual insight and of dramatic power; pounds-for a poem in the early Atlantic they say he did not create, but found and days;
and I remember that when he brought adorned; that he was never witty, and sel" Ďaybreak” with another poem he would dom humorous ; that his points were not take payment but for one, because, he said, far to seek, and that his moral applications “Daybreak” was such a trifle. In later years he received much larger prices. For tations are obvious his merits are equally so.
were apt to be superfluous. But if his limi«The Hanging of the Crane,” it is said, he His poems cover a wide field of human inreceived three thousand dollars—six hundred
terest, and are upon a general high level of pounds.
excellence; his sense of the beautiful was One of the most impressive poems of delicate and true ; his learning enriched withLongfellow's prime was that upon the death out cumbering his verse; above all, he has of the Duke of Wellington, entitled, The Warden of the Cinque Ports." No one will with a power given to few men that have
touched the feelings common to mankind venture to rate Longfellow with Tennyson lived. Borrowing a word from politics, he in power or achievement, but this poem has the largest constituency of any poet of may well bear comparison with that of the the century; and it has not been necessary Laureate on the same theme. Two stanzas to form co-operative societies to interpret especially dwell in memory :
and enjoy him. “ Him shall no sunshine from the fields of azure,
It may be questioned whether profundity No drum-beat from the wall,
may not be pushed too far. If a poem reNo morning gun from the black fort's embrature,
quires as much study as the calculus it is no Awaken with its call!
longer a poem, except for a limited circle. "Meanwhile, without, the surly cannon waited, We are agreed that mathematics may become The sun rose bright o'erhead;
more and more abstruse, until its professors Nothing in Nature's aspect intimated
leave all but their swift-footed pupils behind ; That a great man was dead."
but poetry is for the culture and pleasure of I never knew of Longfellow's making ex- a fair average of educated readers. When it cursions to the Adirondacks or Moosehead attempts to be more sententious than Pope, Lake, as Emerson and Lowell did. The more full of recondite allusions than Milton, descriptions of scenery in “ Evangeline more soaring than Shakespeare, one may are exquisite, yet he told one of my family fairly object when asked to admire. that he had never set foot in Nova Scotia. When we think of the ever-increasing milIn “Hiawatha” we feel that his sense of lions who read English, and of the universal what is characteristic of the places of action delight felt in the poems of the home affecis adequate, although his delineations are tions, and of the ever-recurring incidents of quite general. It was the human interest our mortal life, and when we think of our with which he was chiefly concerned. The poet's manly, christian character, and the two poems just mentioned are assuredly his cheerfulness with which he faced the great best, and it would not have helped either of problems of death and immortality, must we them if the poets of the Sierras had gone not consider that the world is brighter and over the regions with him; and both Bret better for his having lived in it ? Harte and Joaquin Miller could have in- The conspicuous thing in Longfellow was structed him in picturesque topography. The the serene loveliness of his nature. What a landscapes of Corôt are delicious for their true homage was that paid by Emerson as sentiment, although sometimes we cannot our poet lay in his coffin! Emerson had lost tell whether his trees are oaks or beeches. his memory, except of ideas and feelings, and
In like manner he was somewhat conven- was nearing his own end. After looking at tional as a portrayer of character; he knew the placid face of the dead, he said, “ That mankind, but the persons of his dramas, was a beautiful soul. I am sorry I cannot though in many ways interesting, are seldom remember his name.”
THE BATTLE OF THE BIRDS.
By HAMILTON AÏDÉ.
British Birils once arose, A
As to where they should praise the Almighty; The reverend faction of Rooks were the foes
Of the Swallows, whose tenets were--flighty.
No matter the soil or the tree,
To the Lord of the land and the sea !”
Opposition to drown, or o'erwhelm, “For worship, in one place alone must all sit,
’Neath the high Gothic arch of the elm. The Cardinal, Parrot, or such foreign bird,
'Neath the palm's rounded dome he may perch; But we,
who are quite set apart from the herd, Should abjure pagan forms for a church. That impudent Wren has selected a larch,
Whose boughs form a cupola quite ; We must carry down twigs from our elm's Gothic arch,
To make it an orthodox site."
The Geese cackled round as of old;
The Gulls swallowed all they were told.
To the dreariest doctrine. The Dove
That none heard her message of love.
Rained down her noies o'er the crowd ;
Small voice that was heard from the cloud. "I am nighest to Heaven, and up here, my friends,
Your squabbles appear very small;
Is blest by the Maker of all.
Ye Ptarmigans, cry o'er the moor!
Robins, pipe round the homes of the poor !
And a plumage diverse as our birth,
Should be hallowed alone upon earth.
Let the Rook have his lancet-shaped aisle and groined roof,
His dome of rich foliage the Wren;
To the turbulent Children of Men.”
“A LIFE on the ocean wave.”. Of course Possibly, however, the romance and poetry Have not the poets sung its wild delights ? week or two on board a North Sea trawler Were not the books which in boyhood's days in the winter season.
Snow and ice may be entranced us, tales of its wonders ? We may capital fun on land, when the rapid motion be the worst of sailors, may feel miserable of the sleigh, the merry tinkle of the bells, indeed half a mile from shore, yet none the the joyous freedom of the expert skater lend less do we own the charm of a sea story. ) life and go to the scene. But pent up on the
narrow deck of a tiny vessel the case is dif- his tiny smack, cut off from home influence ferent. Hardly room to move, certainly and home privilege, without opportunities none for a smart walk to warm the blood, such as land-dwellers enjoy, scarcely knowing the keen north-easter tingling our ears, and what is passing in the big world beyond the the fierce, relentless ice-cold billows swishing horizon; what wonder if the North Sea over the low bulwarks, surging over the trawlers become, as too many of them have deck, and well-nigh taking us off our feet; become, rude and boisterous in manner, unthese are scarcely enjoyable phases of sea conventional and careless in dress and speech, life. The romance seems somehow to have reckless and heedless in the highest of all fled, leaving but the undeniable misery and interests ! discomfort. Yet this is only an ordinary
now, however, introduce my winter's experience with the hardy fishermen readers to the North Sea trawlers, as I saw who win from the North Sea the fish supply them when, by the courtesy of the Founder of England.
and director of the “Mission to Deep Sea The North Sea is that which lies between Fishermen," I have visited the fleets, and the coasts of the British Isles and Holland, spent a week or two with them. Denmark, and Norway. From the time of Embarking at Yarmouth in the Edward the “Vikings" it has often borne many a Auriol, a fine smack of a hundred tons, built proud fleet designed to carry desolation and expressly for Mission service, I found myself death to neighbouring shores. Now, how- in the thick of a fisherman's farewell. "The ever, its waters are studded by numerous quays were thronged by wives, mothers, fleets engaged in more peaceful and benefi- sisters, and sweethearts, who well understood cent pursuits.
the real good done by such vessels amongst The configuration of the sea-bottom just their husbands, sons, brothers and lovers in suits the habits of vast multitudes of the the fleets. finny tribes. Beneath the surface the ground “Why,"exclaimed one enthusiastic woman, rises in the form of a series of ridges, gene- as she hugged a sturdy little future fisherrally termed the Dogger Bank, though there man, “it be a reg'lar treat to 'ave Bill a are a whole chain of banks, each with its comin' home now. He be a new man, that distinctive name. These slopes are the great he be and no mistake." harvest field of the North Sea, from which When a feeling of this kind is general, the are trawled endless quantities of sole, plaice, natural result is abundant good wishes for turbot, cod, and haddock.
our trip. The captain of the tug Cruiser, In bygone days, when the demand was engaged to tow us down the river, seemed small and trawlers few, the fish were sought fully to share the popular view, and peron the sides of the bank nearest land, and mitted a large number of well-wishers to the fishing smack_having filled up ran home board his boat in order to escort us to the with her catch. But in these go-ahead days “Roads,” and cheer us on our way. It was more comprehensive and economic measures a genuinely spontaneous expression of fisherhave been adopted. Fleets have been formed folks' gratitude for the past, and hopefulness by various enterprising firms; the smacks for the future. Soon we were out of the composing a fleet work and sail together, river and entering Yarmouth Roads, tow under the guidance of an “admiral,” and ropes were cast off, the steamer put about, a send home their fish by swift steam car- cheer rang from her deck, and amid the riers specially constructed for the trade. waving of pocket handkerchiefs the vessels
This system has, moreover, effected a re-parted, the white flutter of these signals of volution in the fisherman's life and habits. friendship gleaming afar from the returning Instead of being home for a few days every steamer's deck. week or so, he is now a constant wanderer We have about two hundred miles to run on the restless billows, incessantly plying his to find the “Red-White" fleet, to which we vocation farther and farther from land and are commissioned, so while the vessel is speedloved ones.
Every eight or nine weeks his ing onward let us have a look round her. That smack is compelled to run home for refitting, ponderous spar lashed to her bulwarks, and but, with this exception, he is at his post looking like a spare mast, is the trawl beam. from the day he first ships as "cook," until To each end is attached a heavy D-shaped premature old age incapacitates him from iron head, and fastened along the beam is a further service, or until, as too frequently huge net. Dropped to the bottom the net is happens, he falls a victim to the wintry held slightly open by the trawl heads, and blasts of the wild North Sea. Shut up in being towed after the smack sweeps up every