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poet rather than a writer of prose treatises ; but the other elements that element of impassioned search for reality, gives his poems their distinctive quality-namely, an air of strenuous mental effort which is almost greater than verse can bear.
*Clough was a philosophic poet in a sense in which no man since Lucretius has been so! This judgment, the judgment of a very competent critic, is at first unpalatable ; one is not used to this matching of the men of our own time, and the men who are not among the most famous, with the giants of antiquity. The comparison however is no mere phrase. “These two men were philosophers, not from the desire of fame, not from the pleasure of intellectual discovery, not because they hoped that philosophy would suggest thoughts that would soothe some private grief of their own, but because it was to them an overpowering interest to have some key to the universe, because all even of their desires were suspected by them until they could find some central desire on which to link the rest ; and love and beauty, and the animation of life, were no pleasure to them, except as testifying to that something beyond of which they were in search. The unlikeriess between the two poets is far more apparent than the likeness ; for Lucretius has found his solution of the puzzle of existence, and Clough has not; the ancient poet believes that he has reached the point at which all contradictions are harmonised, the modern poet is sure that he has done nothing of the kind. But in this they are one, that both are philosophic, are ‘lovers of the knowledge which reveals to them real existence,' are content with nothing less. A reader of Clough's poetry, marked as so much of it is by indecision and manifoldness of view, is startled when he comes upor such passages as these from his American letters,
'I think I must have been getting into a little mysticism lately. It won't do: twice two are four, all the world over, and there's no harm in its being so; 'tisn't the devil's doing that it is; il faut s'y soumettre, and ail right.' And again
• What I mean by mysticism, is letting feelings run on without thinking of the reality of their object, letting them out merely like water. The plain rule in all matters is, not to think what you are thinkiu g alout the question, but to look straight out at the things and let then affect you; otherwise how can you judge at all? look at them at any rate, and judgr while looking.'
" Quarterly Review, April 1869.
This is not the most obvious feature of Clough's mind, but it is the most real; and it explains much in his work that is otherwise difficult to account for. It explains, for example, the scantiness of his production ; as Mrs. Clough says in her memoir of him,'his absolute sincerity of thought, his intense feeling of reality, ren. dered it impossible for him to produce anything superficiai.' When taken together with his sense of the infinite complexity of human life, it explains the play of conflicting thoughts and feelings which is the very essence of Dipsychus, and gives The Bothie its truth and charm. These poems, however, present the struggle between opposing views so strongly, that it is only when looked at from close by that we detect the positive element in them. It is otherwise with those short lyrics, than which nothing can be more perfect in form or stronger and surer in matter, those lyrics Say not the struggle nought availeth, and As ships becalmed at eve, and o stream descending to the sea,—they have the note of certainty without which the poet, whatever else he may have, can have no message for mankind.
There will always be a great charm, especially for Oxford men, in the ‘Long Vacation pastoral’ The Bothie of Tober-na-Vuolich. Humour, pathos, clear character-drawing, real delight in nature and a power of rendering her beauties, above all a sense of life, of 'the joy of event ul living '—it has all these, and over the whole is thrown, through the associations of the hexameter, a halı-burlesque veil of academic illusion that produces the happiest effect. Yet throughout there runs a current of controversy with the world ; the hero ‘Philip Hewson, the poet; Hewson, a radical hot,' an idealist who ends by marrying a peasant girl and emigrating with her to New Zealand—this Philip is a type that is always present to Clough's mind, as much in Dipsychus and Amours de Voyage as in The Bothie. Idealism triumphs in him, indeed, whereas in Dipsychus it is finally defeated by the world-spirit, and in Claude it is checked and baffled by the sheer Hamlet-like weakness of the
But the likeness which the three bear to one another is too strong to be accidental ; it springs from the unity of the poet's thought. Clough was in the true sense of the term a sceptic; and his three heroes, whatever the difference of their destinies, are alike sceptics too.
Clough holds a high and permanent place among our poets, not only because, as Mr. Lowell says, he represents an epoch of thought, but because he represents it in a manner so rare, sa
individual. He is neither singer nor prophet ; but he is a poet in virtue of the depth and sincerity with which he felt certain great emotions, and the absolute veracity with which he expressed them. ‘His mind seems habitually to have been swayed by large, slow, deep-sea currents,' says one of the best of his critics l_currents partly general in their operation on his time, partly special to himself; and his utterances when so swayed are intensely real. But he never was driven by them into a want of sympathy with other natures ; and it was this extraordinary union of sincerity and sympathy, of depth and breadth, that so endeared him to his friends, and that make it difficult even now for the critic of his poetry not to be moved by the 'personal estimate.' We find in his poems all sorts of drawbacks; we find a prevailing indecision that injures their moral effect in most cases ; we find fragmentariness, inequality, looseness of construction, occasional difficulty of rhythm. Yet what of this ? one is tempted to ask. In the presence of that sincerity, that delight in all that is best in the physical and moral world, that humour at once bold and delicate, that moral ardour, often baffled, never extinguished, we feel that the deductions of criticism are unwelcome : we are more thar. content to take Thyrsis as we find him, though
• the music of his rustic flute
Lost it too soon, and learnt a stormy note
Which tasked his pipe too sore, and tired his thioat.'
minster Review, October 1869
QUA CURSUM VENTUS.
As ships, becalmed at eve, that lay
With canvas drooping, side by side,
Are scarce long leagues apart descried ;
And all the darkling hours they plied,
By each was cleaving, side by side :
Of those, whom year by year unchanged,
Astounded, soul from soul estranged?
And onward each rejoicing steered-
Or wist, what first with dawn appeared !
Brave barks! In light, in darkness too,
To that, and your own selves, be true.
Though ne'er, that earliest parting past,
Together lead them home at last.
One purpose hold where'er they fare,-
At last, at last, unite them there!
QUI LABORAT, ORAT.
Whom as our truth, our strength, we see and feel,
Alone aright reveal ! VOL. iv.
Mine inmost soul, before Thee inly brought,
Thy presence owns ineffable, divine ;
My will adoreth Thine.
Speechless remain, or speechless c'en depart;
Can see Thee as Thou art ?
If well-assured 'tis but profanely bold
In thought's abstractest forms to seem to see,
In ways unworthy Thee,
In worldly walks the prayerless heart prepare ; And if in work its life it seem to live,
Shalt make that work be prayer. Nor times shall lack, when while the work it plies,
Unsummoned powers the blinding film shall fart, And scarce by happy tears made dim, the eyes
In recognition start.
The beatific supersensual sight,
Approach Thee morn and night.
THE HIDDEN LOVE.
O let me love my love unto myself alone,