« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
Poetic expression is the creature of instinct; rhetorical expression the work of calculation. The one is communication; the other adaptation. The one is substantively, the other only relatively valuable. The one, the garb of truth as she stands before her vestals in the sanetuary; the other, the tinsel vesture in which she receives the homage of the crowd.
Now, strictly speaking, verbal language is not necessary to either of these modes of expression. The problem in both cases is the same. A problem not of words, or lines, or verses, or rhythm or rhyme, neither of exordium, propositio, narratio, confirmatio, confutatio, nor peroratio, but of states of mind. Given a state of mind in A, to reproduce it in B. The orator and the poet both solve this problem; though for a very different A and B, and the one consciously, the other not. It is clear that language has no further concern in the matter than as it furthers the solution. In fact, we must never forget that all verbal language is a necessary evil: The faulty tool of a nature so imperfect, that it disables the very instrument it has created. What would a poet give to have been born without a language, and with a thousand-years-life to think one for himself! As it is, the short-lived giant must clothe in our bursting garments, and fight with a weapon from the anvils of Lilliput. Did not the fathers of the loveliest of modern tongues call February“ sproutkale," and poetry, "metercraft ?"
In the acted drama, we have two kinds of language—the verbal and the visible—words and things. The one artificial, partial, complex, and relative; the other natural, universal, immediate, absolute—at once hieratic and demotic, classic and vernacular. The one, addressed to a multitude whose mean is mediocrity, dares seldom rise above the grade of rhetoric; the other, enfranchised from the difficulties of speech, admits and conveys more readily the ideal of expression, and may therefore be poetry. Now, the born dramatic poet is he who instinctively brings into his work the greatest amount of the greatest poetry, and makes the highest use of that highest mode of expression which (within certain limits) the conditions under which he acts allow him: He who uses the most poet and the least orator in the production of a given effect. It would be difficult to meet with a happier example of the foregoing truths, than is afforded by the author of that drama which achieved
so signal a triumph at the Olympic the other day, and of which the title appropriately heads this paper.
This poet's mind is so essentially dramatic, that he might have left out his verses, without destroying his poem. His play is not so much a book, as a picture. His acts are acts, his scenes are scenes. We turn the page, not to read but to see; not for letter-press, but illustrations. Our author's words are little more than indices to his facts; warnings of the speaker's spiritual whereabouts: bells about the neck of character. We hear, indeed, the celeusma of the mariner, but our eyes are on tha anxious face, the struggling limbs, the sinking boat, and the hearing sea. Doubtless there are lovely lines of pure poetry scattered through the book, but the sum of them would hardly make a ballad. They are but the sough of the wind among trees of grandeur and beauty. The poet, because he is a poet, has set out his mind upon the stage, turned his fancies into flesh and blood, and grouped them with a master's hand into a poem high in conception, noble in purpose, beautiful in architecture, and— Oh, fortunate puer !—triumphant in success.
We shall not follow the details of the plot, nor blunt the edge of appetite by anticipatory disclosures. We wished to call the attention of our readers to the real lode of the mine, and shall not magnify a waypost to a map. But we cannot turn from the open volume before us, without one parting glance at that terrible closing scene, into which, with the tactics of Napoleon, the poet pours his masses in overwhelming prodigality. We can do no better justice to what we have said, and to the peculiar features of our author's genius, than simply to catalogue the images that crowd that glowing tableau.
A grey castle, a summer solitude, a forsaken wife, an affianced bride, a dying gift; childhood, the dead, love, hope, forgiveness, blessing, memory, tears, passion, curses;
Philip near, Crownless, perchance, and vanquished;" and over all an atmosphere of sorrow, bright with the sunset of decay, and stirred by wedding-bells. Marching legions, “the hoarse tide of war," victory, a conqueror, wild hope, frenzied fear, the shadow of the grave, the resurrection of love, the despair of passion, united lovers, a re-crowned queen,“ three vanquished realms," a broken heart, a husband widowed, a victor kneeling, warriors grieving, lances vailing, solemn music, and the angel of death, with Marie on his breast, looking impassive upon all. Aheu, Evelyna!
North British Review. November. Edinburgh: W. P. KENNEDY.
The first article in the November number of this able Review, is devoted to a subject that has already been discussed by most of the journals—namely, Carlyle's Latter-day Pamphlets. It is a thoroughly able article, and will well repay a careful perusal. The paper on Leigh Hunt is sadly marred by carelessness, or inexperience in the composition. In some of the pages, the name Hunt occurs in every alternate sentence—a practice which is exceedingly distasteful. Sir David Brewster's article on the British Association appears to us very valuable: first, on account of the accurate history it gives of that noble institution; and, secondly, because of the view that it gives of the efforts that have been put forth from time to time, though not yet crowned with success, in order to provide for science, literature, and art, government patronage, and support. Of its advocacy of the National Institute for this purpose, we have spoken elsewhere in this number of the PALLADIUM. The other articles in the “North British” are diversified and able.
Iona. By the Rev. W. L. ALEXANDER, D.D. London:
Tract Society. One of the monthly series of that Society. It is learned and comprehensive, containing the history and description of the far-famed island, and its religious relics.
THE LAST ENEMY, AND THE SURE DEFENCE. By the Rev. W. LEASK.
London: B. L. Green. Edinburgh: Oliphant & Sons. Mr Leask’s new work is an earnest call on men to prepare for death. He has ere this won laurels both in the field of imagination and reasoning. His poetry and his prose have alike received a favourable verdict from the public. He appears in a new character in the present volume; and it furnishes ample evidence, that in the solemn and difficult work of touching and moving the conscience also, he wields a potent arm. Wealthy Christians, who long for the safety and happiness of the thoughtless and wayward, should circulate this little work by hundreds. Its low price permits of this. And perhaps some may be disposed to follow our advice, when we tell them that the author, in his preface, states that it has been prepared at the suggestion of a gentleman, to be used in this very way. Kitro's Daily BIBLE ILLUSTRATIONS, Vol. III. Edinburgh:
Oliphant & Sons. Of a very different character is this volume of Bible Illustrations. We like it extremely. The author seems to fear lest it may possibly be found by some readers to be less interesting than its predecessors. There will be very few in this predicament. It is quite equal in variety, judicious selection of themes for discussion or illustration, and execution, to either of them; and all who have done themselves the service to procure the former volumes, will understand that this is no small praise.
LECTURES ON NATURAL Philosophy. By the Rev. J. W. M'GAULAY.
Two vols. London: Groombridge & Sons. This is a new, enlarged, and greatly improved edition of " M'Gaulay's Lectures on Natural Philosophy.” The work is very full, admirably arranged, profusely illustrated, and in every respect calculated to facilitate the progress of study in the various departments of Natural Philosophy.
INCE's OUTLINES OF ENGLISH AND French HISTORY AND GENERAL
KNOWLEDGE. London: James Gilbert. These three little volumes are prepared with obvious care, and manifest large acquaintance with the subjects treated of. They are well adapted to the use of schools and private families—the end to which they are destined.
Tue OJIBWAY NATION, AND RECOLLECTIONS OF A FOREST LIFE.
By George Corway. London: C. Gilpin. The first of these volumes contains the traditional history and characteristic sketches of the Ojibway nation; and the second is occupied with an account of the Life and Travels of Mr Copway, chief of the Ojibway nation, but a convert to Christianity, and a Christian minister among his people. Mr C., who is now in England, is a remarkable man-one of whom you wish to know something; and therefore the respected publisher has done well in issuing this work at the present time. Both volumes are extremely interesting. They contain many things quite new to English readers; and they are written in a style unobjectionable to the most fastidious. We strongly recommend,
THE GOOD SOLDIER OF JESUS CHRIST. A Discourse. By tlie Rev.
W. PARLANE. Edinburgh: Oliphant & Sons. This discourse was preached on the centenary of the death of Colonel Gardiner, and is now published to aid the movement to secure a suitable monument to that good man and brave soldier. It contains a comprehensive and well-drawn picture of the Christian character, and a well-arranged summary of the Christian duties,
" No POPERY." THE CRY EXAMINED. By E. SWÀINE. London :
Jackson & Walford. This tract, a proof of which has been kindly forwarded to us by the author, makes its appearance most opportunely. We wish that those who are so loud in their condemnation of the papal aggression-an aggression of which we by no means approve—could be got to read and digest this truthful, energetic, and masterly examination.
PROPOSED MONUMENT TO COLONEL GARDINER. It is surprising that no monument has been erected to the memory of Colonel James Gardiner—that no rough slab even marks the spot where he fell—that no tablet points the visiter to the grave where his bones lie interred. Many have had their names engraven on monumental columns who were not so worthy of the honour, and whose actions neither sprung from such pure and elevated motives, nor resulted in such wide-spread and beneficial consequences. But though no proud column bears his name and tells his deeds—though no cairn marks the sacred spot where he fell in his king's and country's cause, yet it has not been allowed to pass into oblivion, nor have his deeds of daring and benevolence ceased to be remembered. His name is a household word, especially in the northern portion of our island; and his noble heroism, and elevated Christian character, are acknowledged and gloried in by an admiring and grateful people.
It is one hundred and five years since Colonel James Gardiner fell on the field of Prestonpans; and though the honour which he merited has been tardily bestowed, yet we are glad to know that the matter has been taken up in earnest, and that it will not now rest till something, not altogether unworthy of the man, and the interests he represented, shall be effected. From a document just issued by a committee of gentlemen who have been associated together for the purpose of carrying out the object contemplated, we quote the following sentences:-To the readers of his valuable biography by Doddridge, and of the high encomiums passed upon him in the pages of Waverley, as pre-eminently faithful alike in the service of his country and his God, it has justly been matter of sad surprise, that no monumental tribute of any kind has ever yet been paid Colonel Gardiner, and that the instructive lessons of his life and death have nowhere been thus publicly embodied. This feeling of regret being believed to be very general, and the name of Colonel Gardiner being endeared to Scotchmen of every grade and denomination, as well as to many who would be proud to rank him among their illustrious compatriots, a number of gentlemen connected with the district of his wonted residence and lamented death, have associated themselves for the purpose of collecting subscriptions, and taking the necessary steps, towards a suitable though tardy tribute being paid to his memory, by the erection of a monument somewhere on the battlefield;—the particular site and style of the erection to be afterwards determined by a general meeting of subscribers."
The claims of Colonel Gardiner on the gratitude of his countrymen, rest on two grounds:--first, his character as a man; and secondly, his patriotism as a soldier. On the first point, nothing can be added, after the most diligent search, to the beautiful, popular, and widely circulated Life of Gardiner by Dr Doddridge. We give the following able summary, drawn in great part from a little publication noticed above:-He was a person of considerable rank, endowed with superior abilities, and of great courage aud generosity of disposition. The elegance of his person and manners, and the varied accomplishments with which he was adorned, rendered him a favourite in the highest circles of society. Though favoured with a religious education by female relatives, he long despised their counsels; and his depravity seemed to burst forth with greater violence from their attempts to restrain it, so that he fought three duels while he was only a youth--one of them when eight years of age. Although he was not a drunkard, when drunkenness was a still more common vice than at present, he was grossly addicted to other forms of intemperance for a considerable period. But as Christ arrested Saul of Tarsus on his way to Damascus, whither he was proceeding to bring the Christians of that city captive to Jerusalem; so did He on a memorable night, when Colonel Gardiner, having resolved to perpetrate a new crime, was waiting the time of its commission, produce such an impression on his mind of the criminality, vileness, and ingratitude of his sin, that he abandoned his purpose and course of life, and entered on a new course from that hour; and ever afterwards, although he had imagined it impossible to live without such criminal indulgences, he regarded them with the utmost abhorrence. The nature and reality of the spiritual change produced in him that night was attested by the preeminent holiness of his whole future life, amounting to nearly thirty years. He was distinguished by the faith, obedience, patience, courage, activity, zeal, and devotedness of the Christian hero. As he would not tolerate any vice in his presence, he set his face most decidedly against profane swearing, and, with God's blessing, induced many in the military profession, which is peculiarly addicted to that form of impiety, to renounce it altogether. His decision of character was accompanied with the greatest humility and meekness of wisdom. He was a man of the most enlarged charity, being a companion of them that feared God, of every rank and denomination, and most liberal in the distribution of alms, especially to poor Christians. He was most regular in his attendance at church, when in his power; and there he resembled David, pouring out his whole heart in tears of contrition, gratitude, and joy. When excluded from it, he mourned his loss of public ordinances. and attended diligently to private devotion. Such a man bas peculiarly strong claims on the gratitude of Christians of every name; and when this appeal is made to them, to raise to him & monument worthy his character as a man and a Christian, we feel assured that that appeal will meet with a wide and warm response.
On the patriotism of Colonel Gardiner, there rests not the slightest suspicion. He was faithful to his king and country, among the cowardly and the faithless. Every author, Jacobite as well as Whig, who has had cause to refer to the year 1745, has spoken of him in decided language; and though all have not approved of his principles, nor favoured his cause, yet they have honoured his name and applauded his deeds. This is the highest praise which one can receive from their fellow-men in seasons of national discord, and in scenes of rivalry and strife. This praise was Gardineris. It is said that Prince Charles openly expressed his regret that such an excellent man and brave soldier had fallen; and that gentlemen of all parties, Loyalists and Jacobites, did honour to his memory, by, for a season, forgetting their differences, and mingling in the train of sincere mourners, when his remains were deposited in the churchyard of Tranent.
Into the merits of the battle of Prestonpans, we have no intention of entering; but this sketch would perhaps be deemed imperfect, were we not to make some observa. tions on the subject. General Cope had, in the autumn of 1745, marched northward at the head of the king's troops, to put down, in their strongholds, the rising clans, who had declared for King James, at the instigation of his son, Prince Charles Stuart. With the policy of this course, we do not intermeddle; but wise or foolish, instead of accomplishing his object, Cope turned aside towards Aberdeen, and left the whole southern portion of the island unprotected—an easy prey to the Highland clans. Gardiner, meanwhile, was stationed at Stirling with his dragoons. At the approach of the Highlanders, he was ordered to fall back upon Edinburgh; which he did by daily marches, followed close by the rebelarmy. When they had reached Falkirk, he was strongly inclined to give them battle, and, with this view, had sent to Edinburgh for reinforcements. None was granted, and his orders were peremptory, to retreat eastward; and when the dragoons came within sight of Edinburgh, it assumed more the appearance of a rout than an orderly retreat. Contrary to the will of their commander, and altogether without his knowledge, they fled from the neighbourhood of Prestonpans, during the night, to Dunbar. Colonel Gardiner had passed the night in his residence at Bankton, the last time he did so, and found himself next morning minus his bluff dragoons. He could, however, easily discover whither they had Aled, as the road was strewed with swords, pistols, &c., which the fugitives had cast away