« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
[Epic of Women.)
Now over intervening waste
Of lowland drear, and barren wold, I scour, and ne'er assuage my haste,
Inflamed with yearnings manifold ;
Drinking a distant sound that seems
To come around me like a flood; While all the track of moonlight gleams
Before me like a streak of blood ;
And bitter stilling scents are past
A-dying on the night behind,
Against me in the tainted wind.
And lo, afar, the gradual stir,
And rising of the stray wild leaves ; The swaying pine, and shivering fir,
And windy sound that moans and hcaves
In first fits, till with utter throes
The whole wild forest lolls about ; And all the fiercer clamour grows,
And all the moan becomes a shout ;
And mountains near and mountains far
Breathe freely ; and the mingled roar Js as of floods beneath some star
Of storms, when shore cries unto shore.
But soon, from every hidden lair
Beyond the forest tracks, in thick Wild coverts, or in deserts bare,
Behold they come, -renewed and quick
The splendid fearful herds that stray
By midnight, when tempestuous moons Light them to many a shadowy prey,
And earth beneath the thunder swoons.
[From Lays of France.)
Or lest the bird behind ?
O world? or am I blind ?
Or only change this spotWhere she who said, I love thee,
Now says, I love thee not?
The skies seemed true above thee;
The rose true on the tree;
But all proved false to me:
Life, love, or death-or what?
Have said, I love thee not?
I think the sun's kiss will scarce fall
Into one flower's gold cup ; I think the bird will miss me,
And give the summer up: o sweet place, desolate in tall
Wild grass, have you forgot How her lips loved to kiss me,
Now that they kiss me not s
Be false or fair above me;
Come back with any face, Summer! do I care what you do?
jou cannot change one place
The grass, the leaves, the earth, the dew,
The grave I make the spot, Here where she used to love me,
Here where she loves me not.
(From Music and Moonlight.j I made another garden, yea,
For my new love ;
And set the new above.
Why did my heart not haste ? My old love came and walked therein,
And laid the garden waste.
She entered with her weary smile,
Just as of old ;
And shivered at the cold.
Her passing look a blight ;
And turned the red rose whitc.
Her pale robe, clinging to the grass
Seemed like a snake
And a sad trail did make.
And then, just as of yore,
And say fy rewell once more.
DANTE GABRIEL ROSSETTI.
[DANTE GABRIEL ROSSETTI, poet and painter, was born in London, in the year 1828; his father, by birth and education an Italian, being distinguished as a curious commentator upon Dante. He became in early youth a student of painting, in which art, though never a public exhibitor, he grew steadily to fame as an imaginative designer and a colourist of the highest rank. With two years of wedded life (1869–1862) and with some intimate friendships, he passed his days in much seclusion; residing from the year 1863 chiefly at an old and picturesque house in Cheyne Walk, Chelsea. In 1861 he published Translations from the Early Italian Poets; in 1870 Poems; and in 1981 Ballads and Sonnets. After a period of failing health he died at Birchington-on Sea, on Easter Day, 1882. The student of his life and work should consult Recollections of Dante Gabriel Rossetti, by T. Hall Caine; Dante Gabriel Rossetti, a Record and a Study. by William Sharp; and, in the Nineteenth Century, March 1883, The Truth about Rossetti, by Theodore Watts.]
It was characteristic of a poet who had ever something about him of mystic isolation, and will still appeal perhaps, though with a name it may seem now established in English literature, to a special and limited audience, that some of his poems had won a kind of exquisite fame before they were in the full sense published. The Blessed Damozel, although actually printed twice before the year 1870, was eagerly circulated in manuscript; and the volume which it now opens came at last to satisfy a long-standing curiosity as to the poet, whose pictures also had become an object of the same peculiar kind of interest. For those poems were the work of a painter, understood to belong to, and to be indeed the leader, of a new school then rising into note ; and the reader of to-day may observe already, in The Blessed Damozel, written at the age of eighteen, a prefigurement of the chief characteristics of that school, as he will recognise in it also, in proportion as he really knows Rossetti, many of the characteristics which are most markedly personal and his own. Common to that school and to him, and in both alike of primary significance, was the quality of sincerity, already felt as one of the charms of that earliest poem-a perfect sincerity, taking effect in the deliberate use of the most direct and unconventic nal expression, for the con. veyance of a poetic sense which recognised no conventional standard of what poetry was called upon to be. At a time when poetic originality in England might seem to have had its utmost play, here was certainly one new poet more, with a structure and music of verse, a vocabulary, an accent, unmistakeably novel, yet felt to be no mere tricks of manner adopted with a view to forcing attention--an accent which might rather count as the very seal of reality on one man's own proper speech ; as that speech itself was the wholly natural expression of certain wonderful things he really felt and saw. Here was one, who had a matter to present to his readers, to himself at least, in the first ins ce, so valuable, so real and definite, that his primary aim, as regards form or expression in his verse, would be but its exact equivalence to those data within. That he had this gift of transparency in language--the control of a style which did but obediently shift and shape itself to the mental motion, as a welltrained hand can follow on the tracing paper the outline of an original drawing below it, was proved afterwards by a volume of typically perfect translations from the delightful but difficult 'early Italian poets': such transparency being indeed the secret of all genuine style, of all such style as can truly belong to one man and not to another. His own meaning was always personal and even recondite, in a certain sense learned and casuistical, sometimes complex or obscure ; but the term was always, one could see, deliberately chosen from many competitors, as the just transcript of that peculiar phase of soul which he alone knew, precisely as he knew it.
One of the peculiarities of The Blessed Damozel was a definiteness of sensible imagery, which seemed almost grotesque to some, and was strange, above all, in a theme so profoundly visionary. The gold bar of heaven from which she leaned, her hair yellow like ripe corn, are but examples of a general treatment, as naively detailed as the pictures of those early painters contemporary with Dante, who has shown a similar care for minute and definite imagery in his verse; there, too, in the very midst of profoundly mystic vision. Such definition of outline is indeed one among many points ir, which Rossetti resembles the great Italian poet, of whom, led to him at first by family circumstances, he was ever