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Thee, nature fashioned like the belted bee,
live Sunned in the gladness that thou camest to
Mr. Bennett's poems, beside the de fect of diffuseness, have others that may not be 'so obvious to the general reader. He too often seems to sing, not from the direct inspiration of his theme, but from the treatment of the same subject by other writers. This is apparent in many of the poems. “ The Dressmaker's Thrush,” is but a weak paraphrase of Hood's ghastly s Song of the Shirt,” the very keynote being the same in both. In his lines - To the Skylark,” he not only has the temerity to recall to mind Shel. ley's immortal - Ode,” but absolutely to adopt, without acknowledgment, some of its most striking figures. Thus, for Shelley's “Scorner of the ground," we have ir Spurner of the earth's annoy,” and for his “Singing still dost soar, and soaring ever singest,” the refrain of every verse of Mr. Bennett, « Soar and sing." In “An Autumn Conceit in Greenwich Park," Keats is laid under contribution. What is
Or this well-deserved tribute to Leigh Hunt, marred though it be by ungraceful elisions :
"SONNET TO LEIGH HUNT. ‘Spring flowers—spring flowers'-all April's
in the cry; Not the dim April of the dull grey street, But she of showers and sunbursts whom we
meet On dewy field-paths, ere the daisy's dry, And breezy hill-sides when the morning's Spring flowers, spring flowers '—the very Spring flowers,
sweet With violets and the airs that stay the feet, The showery fragrance of the sweet-briar nigh; Yet all and more than in that cry is found, Rises before us with thy pleasant name, LEIGH HUNT; with the dear gladness of the
sound, Into my close room all the country came; Deep lanes and meadow-streams rose with
the word, Aud through the hush of woods, the cuckoo's
call I heard."-p. 156.
“Sad sobber through September,
Perchance thou dost remember The bursting of the rustling leaf in April's
but a different reading or echo of Keats'
“In a drear-nighted December,
Too happy, happy tree; Thy branches ne'er remember
Their green felicity,” &c.
Mr. Bennett is fond of the refrain or burden line, but is singularly unfortu. nate in the selection. Who on earth could read a number of Stanzas each concluding with
When Mr. Bennett speaks for himself he speaks well, and perhaps best of all in the sonnet form. To poets of his discursive nature, it is all the bettter
"To be bound, Within the sonnet's scanty plot of ground,"
Here is one to the memory of Adonais :
“ Wan brightener of the fading year,
Chrysanthemum,” &c.—p. 115,
without laughing? On the whole, the two little poems we are about quoting please us better than anything else in the volume; and next to these some of the graceful little “ Epitaphs for Infants."
" SONNET TO KEATS. "O NIGHTINGALE, thou wert for golden
Junes, Not for the gusts of March! Oh, not for
strife With wind and tempest was thy summer
life, Mate of the sultry grasshopper, whose tunes Of ecstacy leap faint up steaming noons, Keen in their gladness as the shrilling fife; With smiles not sighs thy days should have
been rife With quiet, calm as sleep's 'neath harvest
" THE SEASONS. A BLUE-EYED child that sits amid the noon, O'erhung with a laburnum's drooping
sprays; Singing her little songs, while softly round Along the grass the chequered sunshine
“ A happy mother with her fair-faced girls, In whose sweet spring again her youth she
sees, With shout, and dance, and laugh, and bound,
and song, Stripping an autumn orchard's laden trees.
“ An aged woman in a wintry room ; Frost on the pane—without, the whirling
snow; Reading old letters of her far off youth, of pleasures past and griefs of long
The lime is a favourite tree of Mr. Bennett's, as it deserves to be. He has several poems to its praise. One of them in this metre, the last line being kept up all through as a refrain:
“ The Children of Nature: a Poem," is a small, but interesting publication ; unpretending and modest in its external appearance, and pub. Jished anonymously. It is a modern Idyl, with much of the pastoral beauty of older specimens, but baving allu. sions to philosophical and religious questions specially appertaining to the passing century. In both respects it reminds us occasionally of “ Rosalind and Helen ;” a resemblance which seems more than accidental, from the names of two of the characters, “Rosina" and “Helen” being almost identically the same; while the frank avowals of Ernest sound very like the free sentiments of “ Lionel” in Shelley's poem. The scene is laid principally in the county of Wicklow, and some very pleasing, if not accurate, descriptions of its romantic scenery are given, which contrast well with the author's reminiscences of Switzerland and Germany. In the following lines several scenes, well known to many of our readers, are introduced ; but the pronunciation given to the name of the most famous locality men. tioned, not being “racy of the soil," betrays the secret, that the author is not a genuine native.
" Pleasant is its sight to me,
Pleasant will it ever be;
We do not know how it is, but we never can read this poem without humming it to the air of « The Rakes of Mallow," a combination rather injurious to its serious effect. The following is fortunately not so suggestive. With it we shall take leave of Mr. Bennett, hoping and certain of meet. ing him soon again.
"AN AUTUMN SONG.
"Lime-golden lime! Bright burst thy greenness forth to April's
tearful wooing, Thronged of the booming bee in verdurous
summer's prime; Ah, sere and shrivelling now the miry way 'tis strewing :
" See how yon yellow moonbeams play
On Douce's summits worn and grey,
" Lime-golden lime! What though thy parting leaves, the wailing
winds are calling! What though to sereness all hath changed
thy vernal prime! Why should we mourn that fast thy golden splendour's falling :
Without stopping to object to the adjective « ghastlier," which is quite inappropriate to the place, what, we venture to ask, would King O'Toole or St. Kevin say to this modern mispro. nunciation of the name of their city of the Seven Churches. It would, we
• The Children of Nature: a Poem. Edinburgh: T. Constable, Printer to her Majesty. 1851.
Morton.—The mists are rising thick and fast,
One must have very long ears, indeed, to hear all those different sounds from the summit of the Sugar Loaf Mountain.
Some of the most pleasing passages are those descriptive of plants, of which the author shows the good taste of being exceedingly fond. The effect is somewhat marred by the rather ostentatious display of botanical knowledge, of which, perhaps, the most flagrant instance is that where Helen,
describing the scenery of the Tyrol, speaks of the “resin flowing pines.”— p. 39. Heaven preserve us from so exact a young lady Here is a cluster of blossoms and flowers for our garland. The lines are descriptive of a garden:—
“When woodbine, twined with passion-
We think it very likely we shall meet with the author of “The Children of Nature" in some more matured and elaborate performance. Will he permit us to suggest, in all kindliness, the omission from his future writings of a false rhyme, which, in the present poem, becomes absolutel ludicrous from its repetition. It is the rhyming of such words as “day,” “may,” say,” &c., with words terminating simply with the letter y, preceded by a consonant. Such as “poesy,” “ novelty,” &c., which must be pronounced “poesay,” “noveltay," &c., if they are meant to rhyme. An
occasional word or two of this kind is
of course allowable; but with our author it seems done by design. We have marked more than thirty instances of it, and, as we said, it produces a fatally ludicrous effect. As the benevolent intention of the author of our next poem, “The Ocean Monarch,” must have been long since carried out, we do not fear that we shall greatly diminish “the proceeds of the sale" by two quotations, one of which he intends for “prose,” and the other for “verse.” We greatly fear the “frail barque” to which he alludes in his preface met with a speedier shipwreck than even the ill-fated vessel of which he writes. Fortunately, the cargo was not very valuable, and no ballast even was thus wantonly
“In the deep bosom of the ocean (monarch) buried."
* The Ocean Monarch ; a poetic narrative, with an original account, in prose, of the loss of this ill-fated vesses. The proceeds of the sale will be devoted to the benefit of the surviving sufferers. By James Henry Legg. Liverpool : Deighton and Laughton. London: Smith, Elder, and Co.
“Prose run mad” would be a digni. fied appellation for this. It is the very drivelling idiotcy of scribbling.
“Buds and Leaves"* is the name of a little emanation from “ the Manchester School” of poets. It is a modest but correct title, as it candidly lays no claim to those productions of the poetical tree which are alone valuablenamely, blossoms and fruit. As with most books of this class, it contains passages which are provokingly quizzi. ble, as this one, for instance, addressed to an “old watch :”—
“This is my first venture," says Mr. Legg (although the first step' would be more in keeping with his name); “like a frail barque which is newly launched, alone I leave the shores of Retirement that have sheltered me, and, abroad on the waters that have no path, I sail to the deep ocean of -- public opinion! [We thought Mr. Legg saw his inevitable destiny, and was about making a candid confession, but we are disappointed.]
“My boldness had not so far tempted me," continues Mr. Legg, touchingly, "had I not found a guide. My pilot is the hand of charity; my haven the good feeling of the world; the wind that may impel this to success or doom it to de. struction, are the kindly welcome or the bitter censure, with the as fatal calm of neglect, and my freight is consigned to those who have been the sufferers by the dreadful visitation which I have made the subject of my narrative.
• Tbus, then, on the broad stream I glide-away to the unknown and unfa. thomable depths of that ocean I steer. Asking for a welcome, thus I pass, and to the judgment of the growing world commit my offering and my shallop's fate."
What a mistake Mr. Legg has made! The above extract he has the modesty to print as mere prose, while to the following all the honours of verse are given. But charity, we know, is proverbially blind :"Now turn we to the beings who have known And felt this tenderness. Some I have said Remained in the Affonso, others were Received on board the steamer - Prince of
Wales," Before unnamed, though in the work of love And of humanity she bore her part Right nobly with her crew: these she bears
now With her upon her route-the yacht we called The " Ocean Queen,” before whose owner's
hand, And all on board her had saved many an one, Having arrived so early on the spot, Now bears her freight back to the port again With the Affonso. Gallantly they sail, Each one containing many a noble heart Swelling with pride (that we might well for
give), While the poor sufferers they bear are fed And cloth'd with all spare garments, every
thing That kindest hands could tend and warm
hearts give On board them both were yielded unto them."
" SONG OF THE WYE. "They'll ne'er surpass thee, never,
Our own enchanting Wye,
And beauty please the eye,
Not e'en the worshipped Rhine,
More beautiful than thine.
“They'll ne'er surpass thee, never,
Our own enchanting Wye, Though thousand streams are glittering
Beneath the glittering sky. What is the blue Garonne to thee,
Or yet the Alp-born Rhone ? Thy blended grace and witchery
Are thine, and thine alone.
" They'll ne'er surpass thee, never,
Whilst thou shalt take thy way By Coldwell's rocky battlements,
And Tintern's ruin grey;
Their shadows proudly cast,
Defiance to the blast."-p. 97.
- Imagination," t as the subject of a didactic and descriptive poem, seems to have been pretty well exhausted by Akenside. The astonishing discoveries of modern science, the mastery which man has already gained over some of the most powerful and subtle agencies
• “ Buds and Leaves.” By Joseph Anthony, jan. Manchester : Burge and Perrin. 1851.
† Imagination; an original Poem. By Spero. London: David Bogae.
of Nature, since the appearance of “The Pleasures of the o where truth has literally become stranger than fiction, present almost insuperable difficulties to an adequate treatment of this theme. Poetry, to obtain any successful results at present, must imitate the direction of material science; and as that has abandoned ballooning, and the clouds, for geology and the electric wire, so must the former abandon its “airy nothings,” and send the electric current of its inspiration through the hidden recesses of the human heart. Our present author is, at any rate, inadequate to the task ; and even in the humble flight that he essays, his wing too often fails him. His sentiments are generous; his versification tolerably correct ; but his fatal facility of sinking destroys even what little these two qualities, unassisted by something higher, might achieve. For instance, speaking of liberty, he says:—
“From heart to heart her sacred spirit flies From eye to eye, till despotism dies. When Brutus rose he levell'd Tarquin's race; The strong-nerv'd Tell removed his land's disgrace; Our Hampden gain'd the cause for which he fell– Stern Cromwell rose upon a monarch's knell.” p. 41.
Our author, we suppose, would insist that this description of Cromwell's rise was not only poetry, but sound sense. The poem is dedicated to Charles Dickens, who, it appears, read it in manuscript.
“ University Prize Poems” should find their appropriate immortality in the UNIversity MAGAZINE. As we read the title-page, we felt our heart beginning to expand at the gratifying fact of adding another native national bard to the list of illustrious Irishmen. We were also not a little proud that the same alma mater which had given birth to Thomas Browne the younger, had now produced Frank Browne the elder (we should hope). It was only when we read the last page of the volume we discovered our mistake. Mr. Browne, after returning his thanks “to the Senior and Junior Fellows," for heir
kindness and impartiality to the author during his examination, addresses his fellow-townsmen, of whom we innocently believed ourselves one, in the following terms:—
“And to you, my fellow-townsmen, who have so often rallied round the rustic harp of a young minstrel; you who have so often breathed the voice of praise in my ear, what can I say? When the heart is full, the lips, sometimes, refuse to speak ; but you will find its feelings expressed in a little song, entitled “The hearts that beat behind me.’ May prosperity in every way attend the town of Nottingham (!) from its greatest manufacturer to the humblest minstrel that may tune his harp to its praise, is my best and farewell wish.”
After this crushing of our patriotic hopes, we really cannot be over indulgent to our author. We shall only say of his “Prize Poems,” that were they the best that were ever written, the praise would not be very great, and his “Prize Poems" are not the best, notwithstanding that he informs us, in his preface, that “their subjects were chosen by great men,” so that Bishop Heber's 2.É. ” may still be regarded as the first of the class. If our poet, ere his departure for India, feels disposed to “get savage” with us for our verdict, we cannot help it. We shall address him, in the concluding lines of his own “Rajah of Sarawak,” which will serve for a valediction as well as quotation :
“Farewell, young savage, we can feel
Our present garland has now almost approached that size and completeness that we had pre-arranged, in our wisdom, it should reach and attain. We have, however, reserved a small space for the introduction of a few wild Indian plants, whose names and peculiarities we take some pride in being the first to make publicly known at this side of the Atlantic ferry. Let not the reader start aghast at the formidable appearance those names make on paper. We can assure him that, like Sir Edward Bulwer Lytton's play, they are “not so bad as they seem.” The volume which contains those choice treasures,
* “University Prize Poems." By Frank Browne, author of " Lyra Rudis," and other Poems. Dublin: Edward J. Milliken, 15, College-green.