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poem, he says, still speaking of his
And the firefly's green light
My homestead so bright." And in the ode - To a Firefly," p. 32, written in the same measure as Shelley's “Ode to a Skylark,” we have the following:“ Shell of ancient Tara, (?).
Tamed Aladdin's gas
Glowworm in the grass,
surpass." We think Shelley's personal representative should take an action against Mr. Breen, for unlawfully using that poet's meter in his manufacture of illustrations from gas. In “ The Earthquake," p. 22, we have this new and striking image:" As bearded with brimstone, the pent thun
ders roll, And boils the broad caldron from centre
to pole." We can now understand what the poets mean by “the barbed" lightning. In "A last Dirge for Erin" his phraseology becomes more Irish than the Irish itself:" Erin! thy summer is flown;
Shed its delight:
Nature despite." “ The Iron Age" is a poem in praise of that useful metal; and everything, even to the “Iron Duke," that really or metaphorically bears on the subject is introduced. We can only give two uses to which it is put:
" With clash and din around they spin
The Diamond's edge they near, And over the steep, down into the deep,
They plunge, and disappear."
And so with this catastrophe we shall take our leave of the “ Diamond Rock."
We must cull a few scattered flowers before we present to our readers two perfect gems, of “ purest ray serene." In a poem called “ The Island Ilome,” dedicated especially to the honour of St. Lucia, of which our poet is the historian, he describes it as being thus comfortably situated :
** My loved tropic land
Pillowed round on volcano, By horricane fanned.'
Or this, with which the reader must be content:“ Hark! the booming at our back!
Slavery's bloodhound's on our track;
Badge of victory."
The two poems with which we shall conclude our notice of this unique volume, must be given in their entirety. No analysis, however dexterous_no criticism, however acute, could do them justice. The first is principally remarkable for the astonishing effect which so simple an artifice as mere alliteration can produce. “ Apt alliteration's artful aid” was never more effectively used :
“I've tarried with Dives, the miser,
And smiled in his daughter's train !
Who would her hand obtain
Sin, sorrow, and shock : (!)
The bride of my native rock. " I've stood in the peasant's cottage :
The heart-drop hung in his eye
His children heaved a sigh
Guilt, gallows, and gore :
On the far Atlantic shore !" Notwithstanding the strong desire for repose expressed by our Transatlantic bard in the last two lines, we cannot, in justice to him and ourselves, allow him to rest for a little while longer. In those days of “Papal Aggression,” and collegiate inquiry, when in the twinkling of an eye our Protestant University may become a “ College of Cardinals," or revert to its ancient monastic condition, it is just as well that we should have a clear idea of at least one of the possible religious orders that may take up their pleasant abode in College-green. Here, without note or comment, is our author's account of
" THE MONKS OF LATRAPPE. “ The Monks, the Monks of Latrappe !
Penitent, patient, discreet,
Yonder they come in their winding sheet
Loud tolls the lone nocturnal bell,
And straight from each cell
They move along, as by magic spell,
" THE INDIAN VOYAGER. " I've wanderd in distant regions,
The homes of the fair and free
Of wealth and poverty ;
Groans, galleys, and glee :
In the wilds of my native sea.
“I've traversed the fields of the stranger,
By river, road and rail;
Alas! e'en those who quail
Train, tunnel, and track,
Bounce, boiler, and break. Oh! bear me back to my mountain hack
And my boat on the glassy lake. " I've dwelt in the city of wonders,
The haunt of the worldly-wise ;
Their sullen, clouded skies
Cold, catarrh, and cramp.
Illumin'd by nature's lamp.
Long sacred to lyre and lute;
But now, unpaid, all mute Hangs the harp of a Byron or Barrett (!) Hate, hunger, and hire!
Drudge, drivel, and drone ! Oh! let me fire my rustic lyre
In the flash of the torrid zone!
“ The Monks, the Monks of Latrappe,
Marshall'd in double file,
Stand waiting adown the sacred aisle, To catch the chorister's slap :
Hark, how the heart-bolt, shot upright, Breaks forth in a thunder-clap:
And a column of light
Hush'd now the choral peal
Silent and slow from their orisons steal, Like ghosts without sinew, or sap,
Lured by the roseate blush of dawn,
O'er forest and lawn,
“The Monks, the Monks of Latrappel
“The Monks, the Monks of Latrappe!
Now prostrate on earth's cold lap
And yet with nought of mishap:
“The Monks, the Monks of Latrappe!
Around the frugal board,
And then their girdles unstrap ;
Of meat, or fish, not a scrap,
In the marrowless Monks of Latrappe!
“The Monks, the Monksof Latrappe!
With hair-shirts their limbs to wrap.
A third of the Warder's tap;
The martyrised Monks of Latrappe 1"
We do not know a more appropriate way of taking leave of our present author and introducing the next, than by quoting the invocation with which Mr. Breen concludes his volume. Whether the last line contains a pun, a prophecy, or a panegyric on the illustrious individual addressed, we leave to the intelligence of the reader, confessing our own extreme uncertainty on the subject.
“Friend of the free, the bright, the brave,
Bard, Statesman, Orator, and Sage :
Happy were the days in Lamartine's life when the poem (a translation of which is now under notice)" was written. Happy were those days of love and dreams of liberty and glory, ere reality came with its rude, material shock to destroy the beautiful creation of enthusiasm and imagination.
Happy is the unhappiness of a young poet, that vague feeling of indefinite yearnings after beauty and truth, that magnificent epoch of gorgeous dreamings never to be realised; that fantastic mausoleum, built by the genius of the lamp for the reception of imaginary sorrows as yet unborn, and which, in most cases, advancing life and healthier feelings convert into a smiling homestead of living joys. As in eastern cemeteries, houseless and benighted men find shelter and security in the tombs from which their young imaginations would have recoiled with horror, so is it that in the decline of life we reenter gladly those “antres vast,” which a fantastic and unfounded melancholy had once invested with such gloom, and which now appear to be the brightest memories of our existence. How sunny and cheerful must be the recollection of that time to Lamartine, when “chewing the cud of sweet and bitter fancy,” he paid the homage of his imitation to Byron. When, with love and faith, with rank and wealth, with youth and hope, his every thought
“Was of the Muse, and of the poet's fame, How fair it flourisheth and fadeth not.”
How different his present experiences, when, after being the virtual sovereign of France for three of the most extraordinary months the world has ever seen, when the peace of Europe hung upon his lips, and his words of inspiration and power falling on the charmed ears of the
* The last Canto of Harold's Pilgrimage, from the French of Lamartine, rendered into English by the Author of “The Poetry of Earth," and other pieces,
Dublin: P. Dixon Hardy and Sons.
" With admiration earth's almost replete ;"
and the mixing up of different tenses of verbs in the same stanza, when the time of action is the same, occur too frequently. The following verses will, however, give a fair and favourable idea of our translator's manner. They are descriptive of Harold's residence near
“There summer's gentle breath is softly felt, Where hill 'neath hill descends from
heights sublime, The north wind blows from realms where
snows ne'er melt, Revelling in fragrance of a sunny clime, Until embalmed with odours in their
prime, A mansion here is seen where cypress trees As types of sadness and of deathless
time, Are mute and motionless as if no breeze Would dare upon those dark prophetic ones
fierce democracy of Paris, realized the fabled miracles of Orpheus, he is compelled to extricate himself from difficulties brought on, we believe, by public services, by the hasty and imperfect production of unworthy novelettes.
6. The last canto of Childe Harold's Pilgrimage” adds but little to the adventures of that celebrated wanderer. He can, however, roam no more, as his last speech and dying declaration are chronicled by M. Lamartine. If Byron were living, we suppose he would have been as angry with the French continuator, as Cervantes was with Avellaneda, but though destitute of novelty in its construction, and deficient in adventures, except a few which are too romantic even for "a romaunt," and which might have been better omitted, the poem is full of noble images, expressed with the exquisite felicity of modern French versification, where the frozen antitheses of Boileau melt into the murmuring water-drops of balanced but sweetly modulated melody.
The translator has acquitted himself of his task very creditably, and has contended with difficulties of no common order. The Spenserian stanza being unknown to French poetry, the origi. nal is composed of stanzas of unequal length, all consisting of the ordinary couplets of French heroic verse. The translator, we doubt wisely, preferred that his poem should resemble, in metre and external form, the English poem of Byron, rather than the French ori. ginal. Thus he has often to pause, when there is no corresponding cessation in the ideas, and to wind up every stanza with a “ needless Alexandrine," which is often necessarily weak, from his having no strong figure or thought in that place on which
“ To build the lofty rhyme." He is, however, often poetical and melodious, and brings out his author's meaning clearly and with effect. There are, however, defects of rythm and language which we can hardly attribute altogether to carelessness. Frequently the flow of the ten-syllable metre is interrupted by a glaringly defective line, sometimes consisting only of eight feet, and sometimes reaching to twelve; while inelegant elisions such as“How oft thy claim's dishonoured mid the strife;"
steadily upon us in our every action. This feeling is not brought home to the hearts of the characters in the drama, through the agency of that internal monitor which lies in the depths of every one's breast, and which will speak if we but give it time and opportunity to make itself heard. With striking originality this is effected in some of the scenes between Lelio and the Angel, by what may be called an external conscience. When the vague feelings which but too often “come, like sha. dows, so depart," instead of passing thus unproductively over the heart, take bodily shape before the eye, and thus really move and influence the possessor, who then becomes a spectator.
article. Exotics they unquestionably are, but still possessed of a hardy and vigorous constitution, which enables them to strike their roots deep and firm in the not ungenial soil of English poetry. They, however, perpetually remind one-and not unpleasingly—of the great German original from whose prolific seed they have grown. That parent tree, a wonderful tree of good and evil, like unto that which grew in the midst of Paradise, which the creative hand of Goethe planted in the midst of the smiling garden of modern poetry. Of its tempting fruits, the most inquiring and the most philosophical spirits have been the foremost to taste. The false promise of the ancient tempter, that those who would eat of that fruit would not die, seems to be fulfilled by the modern Mephistophiles, if we are to judge of that fact by the increasing vitality and probable immor tality of the author of Festus, the greatest English devourer of the forbidden fruit of Faust that has yet appeared. Another promise, that of becoming like unto gods, seems also to have attained its fulfilment. To the poets of this school nothing is hidden, nothing is unknown; they dart through space with the rapidity of a comet, are present at the accouchment of Chaos, see the infant worlds wrapped in “the trailing garments of the night” as in swaddlingclothes, and handed over to Time, the wet-nurse of creation. They look on while the spirit of development or change closes up the lids of some decrepid old planet, whose euthanasia they sing, or stand trembling before the Angel of Destruction, who, like Saturn, devours the baby worlds as they are born. Of this school of poets the latest, the most healthy, and the most comprehensible, is Mr. Scott, the author of * Lelio," a poem full to overflowing of the tenderest teaching, possessing much grace and power, and favourably distinguished from many of its class by a pure morality and an enlightened but undoubting Christianity.
The object of the poem seems to be to show what misery and sin may be avoided or atoned for, and what virtue and happiness attained, by the constant conviction and recollection that the ever-waking eye of God himself is fixed
“Some years since,” says Mr. Scott, in his preface, “I amused myself with contemplating the probable result in the case of a man about to commit what he felt to be a crime, were he suddenly to behold the animated eye-ball, as it were, of the Phidian Jupiter fixed on him, and flashing with divine indignation. He could scarcely move, I thought, toward the commission of the meditated act, under the influence of that forbidding gaze.
“ The question then naturally arose, whether there may not already exist something analogous to that fabled glance for all who would not willingly exclude it from their vision—something which, unlike the beaming of a material eye, would not, as long as it was duly regarded, grow familiar from sameness or weak by repetition."
Perhaps the best illustration of this idea, and certainly the most effective scene in this dramatic poem is the one we are about to quote. It must be premised that Lelio is invisible, being carried about through space for the purposes of instruction, by an Angel. The machinery of this portion of the poem differs slightly, if at all, from that used in “Queen Mab,” “Cain,” “Festus," and their imitations. LEONE is the representative of that too common class of men whom thoughtlessness and passion carry to the commission of crimes, bitterly, though unavailingly, to be repented of ever after. He is well contrasted by Lelio with another of the characters in the poem, Ridolfo, whose colder and duller nature
* Lelio, a Vision of Reality ; Hervor and other Poems. By Patrick Scott. London : Chapman and Hall. 1850.