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DEMONIAC IDEALS IN POETRY.
Milton's demons, Johnson remarks,
“Sad cure; for who would lose, are too noble ; but they are, never- Though full of pain, this intellectual theless, the most transcendent em
being, bodiments of Satanic nature in poetry.
Those thoughts that wander through They are ruined gods-gods in their
eternity ?" &c., everlasting natures—in their immor- lines wbich breathe a noble aspiration. tal, intellectual power-devils only Many others in the speeches of Milin their hatred of the Supreme ton's angels mark them as belonging Goodness, which is a consequence of to the highest order of imaginative their fall, and in the spirit of eternal conception, and distinguish them revenge by which they are actuated; altogether from the fiends of Dante, all their other attributes-courage, who are existences of blind, devouring undisturbed capacity of thought in hatred, cruelty, and rage. The latter, their surroundments of horror, and, however, though inspired by the baramid unimaginable agonies, fidelity barism of ignorant middle-age fancy, one to the other, &c.-are deitific and are truer to the ideal of Evil. sublime. The demoniac nature ap- Dante's demons and Lucifer empears in the boast of possessing body the middle-aged conception of
th' unconquerable will, and study the spirit and form of evil-intensified of revenge, immortal hate, and cour- by a genius characterized by a powerage never to submit or yield,” they ful, but somewhat narrow imaginafeel " strengthundiminished, and tion. Although he has faithfully eternal being to undergo eternal turned to shape many of the gloomy punishment.
legends of his age, it appears to us
that haď he had any opportunity of “ If then His providence acquainting himself with the contemOut of our evil seek to bring forth good,
porary serf-life of Germany in the Our labours must be to pervert that end; And out of good still to find means of Sabbath was an institution, he might
twelfth century, in which the witches' evil, Which ofttimes may succeed, so as, per
have drawn several pictures of demohaps,
niac nature more fearful and appalling To grieve Him."
than almost any he has introduced
into the Inferno. Nevertheless the And when Beelzebub recommends
21st and 22nd cantos display one of
the most hideous and uncouth, but at “ By sudden onset, either with hell fire the same time ideally true, reflections
To waste his whole creation, or possess of fiend nature in literature. CrossAll as our own and drive as we were
ing the gloomy bridge, which in the driven
fifth region of hell leads to the lake The puny habitants; or if not drive Seduce them to our party, that their God of boiling pitch in which the sinners May prove their foe, and with repenting wallow—the bridge which one of the hand
demons, Malacauda (Evil-tail), says, Abolish His own works."
“Just five hours later yesterday
than now, twelve hundred three score In places the noblest ideas flash and six years ago, was broken across through the speeches of the superior the abyss”-they see legions of black angels, founded on reason, courage,
fiends" armed with hooks, lurking ambition, &c., as in Satan's address. beneath the 'arches, who rush upon Belial's oration is perhaps the finest them, roaring with impetuous rage, of them, and, as a composition, the and one of the Scarmiglion attempts most finished. A sublime inelancholy to strike him until pierced by their pervades it, as in the lines in which captain. Then comes the scene in he regrets the assumed loss of exist- which they exhibit their delight in ence, consequent upon exasperating torturing the damned, and the comthe powers of Deity to effect their bat which takes place between two annihilation :
of them Calcabrina and Alechino, who,
As he pro
on the escape of the sinner Crampolo, is rather like the image of some monsrush together, exhausting their fury trous nightmare than an imaginative on themselves. Both tumbling into conception, true to a high ideal. The the trench, combat with ungovernable best touch in the Lucifer picture is fury, until in the rage of the combat the description of the effect which the their bodies are seen to glow with first sight of the dark, hideous form fire even in the flaming pool. This produces on the mind of the obscene, in which the overmastering server :passions of hatred and destruction,
“I' non mori', e non rimasi vivo." natural to the demons, foiled of its exercise on other objects, turn against sublime in his contempt.
Dante, as we have said, is most themselves, exhibits, despite the grotesqueness of the details, a penetra- ceeds in the invention of horrors he tive conception of fiend nature. De becomes almost always bizarre and spite these and other scenes, however, fiery tombs; the speaking flames in
uncouth--except in the scenes of the scattered throughout the “Inferno, Dante, in the 3rd canto, has exhibited the awful plain, when the fiery snow in a few lines an intensity of concep-giants buried to the waist in the sea
is falling ; in the description of the tion as regards demoniac character and its sufferings, which he did not of ice-one of whom, Nimrod, cries attain in any of those succeeding: lost tongue ; and in the glimpse we
out after Dante, in the accents of a The few lines descriptive of the have of the fiends referred to and torments of the envious reach the acme of the sublime of contempt :
their irresistible, unappeasable, mal
evolent fury and hatred raging to “Questi non hanno speranza di morte : exhaustion. E lor cieca vita è tanto altra sorte.
The genius of Tasso, whose element Che 'nvidiosi son d'ogni altra sorte
was chivalric grandeur and beauty, Fama di loro di mondo esser non lassa :
failed deplorably when it attempted Misericordia e Giustizia gli sdegna.
the sublime, as may be seen by conNon ragiosiam di lor, ma guarda e trasting his grotesque, and, indeed, passa."
ludicrous, description of hell and its
inmates with the inimitable paintings While in the line
and dramatizations of Milton. In his "A Dio spiacenti ed a' nemici sui" conception of Satan and his attending he has painted this last extremity of demons, Tasso is merely a feeble folguilt and despair.
lower of Dante. His fiends are an in-. Dante's “ Lucifer,” of which we congruous collection of bestial monget a glimpse in the 34th canto, is a
sters and hobgoblin forms, taken from monstrous and blockish representa
classical mythology-serpents, hartion of the terrible power-antagonist pies, centaurs, sphynxes, gorgons, pyof the Almighty himself
. He appears thons, chimeras, &c., who are enumelike a mountain rising from the dark, rated with but few touches of descripfrosty plain, whose icy winds are
tion ; the faces are human, the heads created by the movement of his wings wreathed with snakes, and they have (which are compared to those of wind hoofs and tails. The only poetic line mills !) in the poet's usual manner of in this portraiture is that in which he selecting a realistic representative says they have terror and death in
their image, however it may lower the idea eyes of the subject he is treating. Lucifer, “Quant' è neg'i occhi lor terrore e morte." with his three faces, one red, one In his sketch of Pluto, also, he exyellow, and another black, each of hibits an utter want of true imaginawhose mouths are tearing a sinner tion and taste. The description is (and the selection of the parties so made up of the most confused and positioned, Judas, Brutus, &c., is to contradictory images. The King of the last degree incongruous). Dante Terrors is a monstrous form, so huge, and Virgil mounting on his back, we are told, that beside hím Calpe secured by his wings, and his plunge and Atlas would appear as little hills. through the centre of the earth with So far, so well ; but when the poet them, at the other side of which they goes on to describe his horns, tail, emerge into day-all this and more beard, and mouth befouled with black
your Lord ?
blood, le presents us with merely a
O Faustus! leave these frivolous raw head and bloody bone monstrosity.
demands His eyes, indeed, flame with light like
That strike a terror to my fainting
soul.” that of an inauspicious comet: " Come infausta cometa, il guardo splende;"
Again, the reason he gives for inbut they are red, and distil poison, &c. ducing Faust to sell hiin his soul :In a word the Pluto and Pandemonium “Faust. --Stay, Mephistopheles, and tell of Tasso are an olla podrida-a classi
me what good will my soul do cal fable, and middle-age grotesque fancy; and the only good stanza in
Mep.--Enlarge his kingdom,
Faust. Is that the reason why he tempts the entire description is that in which
us thus? he paints the assembling of the infernal
Mep.Solamen miseris socios habuisse powers. In the diction in which he
doloris. paints the sound of the trumpet, the Faust.-Why have you any pain that earthquake, &c., abounding with as
torture others ? pirates, he has done wonders with the Mep.--As great as have the human souls soft Italian : " Chiami gli abitator dell'ombre eterne, To have companions in misery is
Il ranco suon della tartarea tromba, &c.” the motive by which the devils of
The Furies of Æschylus, like many Marlowe are actuated in tempting of his conceptions, have an air of pri- mankind, mordial and awful sublimity. The The above melancholy demoniac sketch of their appearance as they lie sentiment contrasts strongly with the asleep in the temple, around the mur- human in Virgil. derer, Orestes, is at once loathsomeand “Non ignara mali miseris succurrere terrible-aged women, garbed in sable disco.” stoles, "abhorred and execrable,” their Satan in Job appeared as the harsh breath rattling in their throats, tempter. The Mephistopheles of and rheumy gore distilling from their Goethe
is at once a tempter, denier, and closed eyelids, &c. These beings, mocker. He llas wholly lost the subdaughters of Night, embody the an- lime elements of the ruined archtique, savage idea of blood for blood angel, and his dry intellect acts alterjustice-a raging, Tartarian thirst for nately in laying a destructive snare, revenging crime. At first they appear and flashing a withering sneer. Whatas inexorable, demoniac powers, of ever heart he had is ashes-likewise ruthless retribution ; but although his imagination and passions—all save their natures and purposes display a his love of evil. It is Iago in mediæone-idead directness, resembling that val dress, with supernatural power; of the august Fates, they are not im- and, like his, the impulse of Mephiplacable, as appears from the last stopheles toward destruction is purscene of the drama.
poseless. Goethe's Mephistopheles is The Mephistopheles of Marlowe, in the most philosophical conception of his “Tragical History of Doctor Faus- demonaic nature in literature. tus,” though inconsistent as a dramatic The sketch of Satan in Byron's Cain, character, is a highly poetic concep; which is partly copied from the Miltion. His nature, though lost, is still tonic ideal, as regards his character as half human, and an awful melancholy the eternal adversary of God, is, howbroods round his figure. When Faus- ever, chiefly an embodiment of the tus asks him where are the spirits sceptical criticism of Voltaire and the that fell with Lucifer
French infidels. Milton, in his de“Mep.-In hell.
lineation of Satan, terminated at the Faust.-How comes it then that thou art point where, entering into the serpent, out of hell?
he accomplished the fall by flattering Mep.—Why this is hell, nor am I out of it; Eve to taste the apple--of whose core
Think’st thou that I that saw the mankind have since chewed the cud.
face of God, And tasted the eternal joys of bours by logic to render his mind hos
In tempting Cain, Byron’s Lucifer laheaven, Am not tormented with ten thou- tile to the nature of the Supreme sand hells
Deity by all the cut-and-dry arguIn being deprived of everlasting ments comprised in speculations upon bliss ?
the origin of evil ; the result of which is, that he refuses to join Abel in the “But, bringing up the rear of this bright host, sacrifice he is about to offer, and, in An angel of a different aspect waved the quarrel which ensues, kills him.
His wings, like thunder-clouds above The scene in Hades displays little
sume coast, imagination ; and there is but little
Whose barren beach by frequent wrecks
is paved ; poetry in the scenes in which the
His brow was like the deep, when temruined archangel appears, and less in
pest-tossed; the language of the drama generally, Fierce and unfathomable thoughts enwhich is, for the most part, tame graved prose tortured into blank verse. The Eternal wrath on his immortal face; strained, sentimental misanthropy of And where he gazed, a gloom pervaded Byron's personality is as apparent in his Lucifer as in Harold, Lara, The last, which is the best idea in and the other creatiulis of his one- this description, is, it is hardly necesidead genius. In, however, his bur- sary to say, taken from the preparlesque poem,
“The Vision of Judg. ing combat of Death and Satan in ment," there is one stanza which, Paradise Lost”:though in part plagiarized from Mil
“So frowned the mighty combatants, that ton, is finer than any passage in hell
Grew darker at their frown."
WYLDER'S HAN D.
THE BRANDON CONSERVATORY
CAPTAIN LAKE did look in at The souls in that sort of worldly limbo. Lodge in the morning, and remained In which frame of mind he took from an hour in conference with Mr. Jos his coat pocket a copy of Captain Larkin. I suppose everything went Lake's marriage settlement, and read off pleasantly. For although Stanley over again a covenant on the Captain's Lake looked very pale and vicious as part that, with respect to this partihe walked down to the iron gate of cular estate of Five Oaks, he would The Lodge, among the evergreens and do no act, and execute no agreement, bass-mats, the good Attorney's coun- deed, or other instrument whatsotenance shone with a serene and hea- ever, in any wise affecting the same, venly light, so pure and bright, indeed, without the consent in writing of the that I almost wonder his dazzled ser- said Dorcas Brandon; and a second vants, sitting along the wall while he covenant binding him and the trustees read and expounded that morning, of the settlement against executing did not respectfully petition that a any deed, &c., without a similar conveil, after the manner of Moses, might sent; and specially directing, that in be suspended over the seraphic efful- the event of alienating the estate, the gence.
said Dorcas must be made an assentSomehow his T'imes did not interesting party to the deed. him at breakfast; these parliamentary He folded the deed, and replaced it wrangles, commercial speculations, in his pocket with a peaceful smile and foreign disputes, are they not, and closed eyes, murmuringafter all, but melancholy and dreary “I'm much mistaken if the gray records of the merest worldliness; and mare's the better horse in that stud.", are there not moments when they be- He laughed gently, thinking of the come almost insipid ? Jos Larkin Captain's formidable and unscruputossed the paper upon the sofa. French lous nature, exhibitions of which he politics, relations with Russia, com- could not fail to remember. mercial treaties, party combinations, “No, no, Miss Dorkie won't give us how men can so wrap themselves up much trouble.” in these things !
He used to call her “Miss Dorkie,” And he smiled ineffable pity over playfully, to his clerks. It gave him the crumpled newspaper-on the poor consideration, he fancied. And now with this Five Oaks to begin with, taking by return, at foot of which, in £1,400 a-year—a great capability, im- pencil
, he wrote, “ N.B.-Yes. mensely improvable, he would stake This arrangement necessitated his half he's worth on making it more providing himself with a guarantee than £2,000 within five years; and from the Vicar; and so the little acwith other things at his back, an able count as between the Vicar and Jos man like him might before long look Larkin, Solicitor, and the Vicar and as high as she. And visions of the Messrs. Burlington, Smith, and Co., grand jury rose dim and splendid-an Solicitors, grew up and expanded with Heiress, and a seat for the county; a tropical luxuriance. perhaps he and Lake might go in to- About the same time-while Mr. gether, though he'd rather be asso- Jos Larkin, I mean, was thinking ciated with the Hon. James Clutt- over Miss Dorkie's share in the deed, worth, or young Lord Griddlestone with a complacent sort of interest, Lake, you see, wanted weight, and, anticipating a struggle, but sure of notwithstanding his connexions, was, victory-that beautiful young lady it could not be denied, a new man in was walking slowly from flower to the county:
flower, in the splendid conservatory So Wylder, Lake, and Jos Larkin which projects southward from the had each projected for himself, pretty house, and rears itself in glacial arches much the same career; and probably high over the short, sweet, and flowery each saw glimmering in the horizon patterns of the outer garden of Branthe golden round of a coronet. And don. The unspeakable sadness of I suppose other modest men are not wounded pride was on her beautiful always proof against similar flatteries features, and there was a fondness in of imagination.
the gesture with which she laid her Jos Larkin had also the Vicar's fingers on these exotics and stooped business and reversion to attend to. over them, which gave to her solitude The Rev. William Wylder had a letter a sentiment of the pathetic. containing three lines from him at From the high glass doorway, comeight o'clock, to which he sent an an- municating with the drawing-rooms, swer; whereupon the solicitor de- at the far end, among towering ranks spatched a special messenger, one of of rare and gorgeous flowers, over the his clerks, to Dollington, with a letter encaustic tiles, and through this atto the sheriff's deputy, from whom mosphere of perfume, did Captain he received duly a reply, which ne- Stanley Lake, in his shooting coat, cessitated a second letter with a for- glide, smiling toward his beautiful mal undertaking, to which came ano- young wife. ther reply ; whereupon he wrote to She heard the door close, and lookBurlington, Smith, and Co., acquaint- ing half over her shoulder, in a low ing them respectfully, in diplomatic tone indicating surprise, she merely fashion, with the attitude which af- said, fairs had assumed. With this went “Oh !" receiving him with a proud, a private and confidential, non-official, sad look. note to Smith, desiring him to answer “ Yes, Dorkie, I'm here at last. I've stiffly and press for immediate settle- been for some weeks so insufferably ment, and to charge costs fairly, as busy," and he laid his white hand Mr. William Wylder would have lightly over his eyes, as if they and ample funds to liquidate them. Smith the brain within were alike weary. knew what fairly meant, and his en- “How charming this place is the tries went down accordingly. By the temple of Flora, and you the divisame post went up to the same firm nity !" a proposition-an after thought- And he kissed her cheek. sanctioned by a second miniature cor- “I'm now emancipated for, I hope, respondence with his client, now sail- a week or two. I've been so stupid ing before the wind, to guarantee and inattentive. I'm sure, Dorkie, you them against loss consequent against must think me a brute. I've been staying the execution in the sheriff's shut up so in the library, and keephands for a fortnight, which, if they ing such tiresome company-you've agreed to, they were further requested no idea ; but I think you'll say it was to send a draft of the proposed under- time well spent, at least I'm sure VOL. LXIII.—NO. CCCLXXIII.