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"I see two beingsMy friend Leone, and—may God uphold me! It is the same it is the same—'tis she, The maiden that I saw in heavenly vision, Now clothed in radiant earth, what does she
here? Mercy of Heaven! what does she here with
him? Thou too_dost thou not see them ? then
The love I feel ; 'tis not self-satiate,
not hear, Were mutter'd o'er our union—dear, dear Ilya !
"LELIO. Look! how that better spirit droops the
shelter Of his refulgent wings in sad submission ; The other angel's haughty lips are listed Into a smile which victory wins from scorn.
" LELIO. Protect her, save her, dash him into nothing With instant thunder!
" LEOXE. Turn, turn my Ilya; in the faithful clasp Of these fond arms thou'lt find a magic
circle, Where joy alone can force an entrance-Ilya!
Thou didst wish to view Things such as these, and now—thou hast thy wish.
" LELIO. Look! look! behind them rise two mighty
shapes, Like those of angels; both are beautiful! The face of one beams as the evening star, Magnificently mild ; the other's brow Is like a thunder-cloud when torn by lightning.
“ANGEL. Thy friend-he cannot see thee--hark! he speaks.
"LEONE. Dear Ilya ! how I blame these leaden lips That lack such glowing utterance as befits The man who dares love thee-oh! hopeless
task, An angel's beauty asks an angel's tongue, Thou dost not love me, Ilya ?
" ANGEL. Back, Lelio, thy mission is not here!
“ LELIO. But see, but see, that heavenly guardian
turns His parting step-Oh! go not, go not! row, The demon-angel spreads his pinions o'er The panting maid ; his fearful countenance Breathes into hers! All-seeing God! how
chang'd The freshness of that beauty- she is fallen; Fall'n from the height of her commanding
charms To slave for a low passion! o'er her cheek Creeps the pollution of consenting thought ; The vestal shrine of her deep eye is lit With an unholy longing. Hell hath painted Each feature in hot colours! Pitiless spirit, Why didst thou bring me here? I did not
Nay, Leone, But I like not thy love: whene'er thy
This hideous sight-so pure-so beautifulFoul, foul-Oh! God that I might die, might die !
“LEONE. Come, Ilya come, love calls, can we be deaf Unto that wise enchantment ? see his lips Pout with the promis'd pleasure! come,
Oh! let me not Faint ere I fill my gaze! Before me springs, Expanding visibly the fresh growth of beauty; An exhalation of divinity Clings to her like an atmosphere, each limb Seems moulded by the Deity anew, While the blue veins swell proudly, as if
crying, It were a damning shame on him who tried To soil that glorious temple! 'Tis a shrine Where saints might worship !
" ANGEL. She was formed from dust.
Is waste of joy when time intensifies
vesture, And change the dulness of thy rustic fellows For braver spirits, who have open eyes For such as thee; and for thy mother's cottage
"LELIO. See! the returning step of that bright angel; Oh! aid her, aid her, in the name of Him Who made creation, on
My mother's cottage ! Who spake of that? Methought amid the
whirl Of passion sounding in my ears, there came A voice which spake about my mother's
cottage; And then, the hand of some mysterious
power Stamped it in ice upon this burning heart! 'Tis small and humble, but the air around it Is very pure! Am I awake ?
Dust! ay, a most brilliant dust, of which
thee, All angel as thou art, thou hast not seen, In Heaven's own courts, a thing more
beautiful Than that I gaze on; mind and matter there Are so consummately fused by the Great
Artist Into a strange and most divine communion ! Life were too short to look; I do, I do Look on the master-effort of a God, The point at which Omnipotence arriv'd, And stopp'd when it made woman! She is
gone, Moving along in stately beauty, like The chariot of a king; and yet not gone ; Space seems made up of mirrors, multiplying Her magic presence, as if view less spirits Cloth'd their immortal essence in the form She wore, as next to Heaven's; whose
musical lips Draw the rich air she breath'd, and then ex
hale it In one enchanting measure-listen! listen !"
Lo, how A moon-like radiance from that angel's
wings Silvers upon the face of the rapt maiden The hues that burnt there blushfully-and
thou— Back, back, thou thing of evil!
It is real! Real-yet how strangely in this beating
breast, There stirs an unreality of life, That lifts me from myself and whispers,
Think, Who is it lives, forgotten pot forgetting, Within that lowly dwelling? What will she, Who hath so often felt for thee, feel when She misses her on whom her aged eyes Fell, as their daily treasure, her too, fled From the dear fold of those expecting arms, To this dark pleasure. 'Tis enough-I thank
thee, Merciful Heaven, and thee, Leone, too, For that one word-Oh! say it but again, And I could bless thee- ha! defy thee, too! Away! thou canst not touch me. Heaven's
high hand Is o'er me, on me—thine, Leone, thine, Falls from me nerveless, as did his who laid
as did his who laid
A “ Song of the Angels” follows, which is a long and elaborate ode in praise of woman, which, however interesting from its subject and mode of treatment, we must omit. A song which runs to the length of six or seven mortal pages would be rather formidable, even though proceeding from the lips of an angel. The enthusiastic admiration expressed by Lelio for Ilya prepares the reader for their future union. Their next meeting (at which the poem abruptly terminates) is after her final extrication from the unworthy suit of Leone, who himself is converted to repentance and virtue by beholding the wreck of Nina, one whom he had seduced by the same arts and flatteries that were, fortunately, unsuccessful in the case of
On God's own prophet, thus-
Ilya. RIDolfo also meets with his deserts, in an effective but rather melodramatic scene. Of course, in a fantastic drama like this, probability can be outraged with impunity; but it does tax our indulgence to the utmost to listen to such unlikely language as this, addressed by a rude wooer to a countrywoman in an Alpine valley:—
“Nay, fair one, fly not, for thou canst not be
'Tis vain, I tell thee—then, Apollo-like, But more successful than the god—I chase Thy fruitless flight!"—p. 66.
This may be “the art of love,” but, if so, it certainly must be Ovid's and not Nature's. Passing over defects of this kind, which, probably, the author did not consider incumbent on him to attend to or omit, we have many passages to praise for their felicity or power. There are a number of single lines or sentences which please one for their sententious clearness or novelty, of which the following may serve as examples:—
Love. “The child of madness, and the sire of pain.” p. 3. A striking figure:–
“Horrible animation, like a corpse,
Awakening in its grave.” p. 17.
FLOWERs. “Sprinklingharmonious incense on the scene.” p. 22.
Shelley, in the “Sensitive Plant,” has nearly the same idea:—
“And hyacinths purple, and white, and blue,
health ANd DeATH. “The limits of red health, and pale-brow'd death.” p. 19.
. In the notes to this poem, Mr. Scott introduces two translations from the
Persian, . his friend, George Maxwell Batten, which, we regret, we have not space to introduce. They are both very beautiful, and make us join with Mr. Scott in lamenting the premature death of one who had evidently such taste and capacity for the illustration and translation of oriental poetry. We regret that the author of “Lelio" has thought proper to publish “HERvo.R,” the second poem in his volume. Jokes which have neither wit nor originality to recommend them, about “Chisholm Anstey's Speeches,” and Joseph Hume's head, and illustrations drawn from the Duke of York's column in Regent-street, and the “Jack Robinson” of schoolboys (vide p. 104), seem very much out of place after the dignity, elevation, and pathos of “LElio.” If Mr. Scott had sent us “HERvor” in MS. we, perhaps, might have relished it as an unpretending squib; but, why publish it? You are capable of better things, Mr. Scott, so “no more of that, an’ thou lovest us.” “Poems, Legendary and Historical,” form the next group in our Summer garland. They are remarkable, at least, for the sort of literary partnership to which they owe their birth— an arrangement which is less common and much less successful in our time than in “the brave days of old,” when Beaumont and Fletcher, those “two noble kinsmen” (by the consanguity of kindred genius), merely carried to a greater and more successful issue a practice common among their cotemporaries, and which the greatest of them all did not think it beneath him to adopt. It is wonderful to think how these old but glorious poets—we mean the entire constellation of dramatists, from the morning-star of Marlow, flashing and glittering in the unoccupied sky, a portent and a prophecy, to the mild vesper light with which it faded away with Shirley—it is a wonder, we say, what a uniformit of richness and vigour characterised all those writers. With the exception of one great luminary, in whose supreme effulgence they were for a time entirely lost, and by whose light they are now only descried by many—with that ex
* “Poems, Legendary and Historical." By Edward A. Freeman, M.A., late Fellow, and the Rev. George W. Cox, S.C.L., Scholar of Trinity College, Oxford.
London: Longman and Co.
ception, it would be difficult, supposing many of their plays to have been pub. lished anonymously, to assign them to their proper authors. How separate Dekkar from Webster, Peele from Greene, Marlow from Chapman? How, in the plays which several of these writers wrote conjointly, give each his peculiar share? Even with Shakspeare himself this difficulty has been felt. Critics have fought, as only rival critics can fight, as to what portions of " Pericles," « Titus Andronicus," and " The Two Noble Kinsmen," were written by the great master, and what by an inferior hand. It is not easy satisfactorily to account for the decadence of this practice, once so rich in glorious and immortal results. Perhaps it was owing to the want of mere personal vanity or literary lion ism that characterised these old giants; or, perhaps, they looked on dramatic authorship as a mere profession, and troubled their heads no more about getting credit for their separate contri. butions to whatever work was required in the market, than Messrs. Barnwell and Cresswell, or Adolphus and Ellis, do for their distinct shares in their useful reports. But, whatever the cause, the gentlemen of the long robe are the only persons who successfully and profitably keep alive this friendly coalition abandoned by the gentlemen of the sock and buskin-the tragic drama of the law superseding the legitimate drama of the stage.
With the modern poets, the joint production of any elaborate work has been seldom attempted. In shorter poems, and humorous squibs, more instances occur. Southey and Coleridge united their rythmical forces to effect " The Fall of Robespierre," and more successfully, to extend “The Devil's Walk," while James and Horace Smith will go down together to posterity with their rejected addresses," addresses which posterity will not reject. As it is with kindred genius, so is it with kindred dulness or mediocrity. Sternhold and Hopkins may be the representatives of the one class, Messrs. Freeman and Cox of the other. Their large and elegant volume, so well printed, so correctly written, so instructive as a graceful commentary on the classical and historical works which seem to have suggested the materials of their ballads, in the same way that Lockhart or Macaulay seem to have supplied the
former, is a positive embarrassment to us. As skilfully versified narratives, founded on picturesque or striking incident, Grecian, Hispano-Moorish, or Saxon history, they will be welcome to the more cultivated class of students in those several departments ; but as BALLADS, we fear it will be a long time before they stir the heart of any Sir Philip Sidney of our time, “as with the sound of a trumpet.” What recalled to our mind the ancient dramatic partnerships, was the level uniformity, and somewhat prosaic similarity, to which both the writers have reached. The poems of each certainly require the initial letters that are appended to their contributions, without which it would be impossible for those who feel an interest in the subject, to be satisfied of their identity. The reason seems to be that neither of the gentleman are poets, in any high sense of the term; they are men of learning and taste, with a talent for correct and harmonious, if somewhat monotonous versification, acquirements and faculties sufficient to ensure enjoyment, obtain respect, but not to win immortality.
It is difficult to find any passage suf
It is difficult to find any na ficiently brief or striking for quotation; but in justice to our authors, we must give one. Perhaps the commencement of the following Saxon ballad is as good a choice as we could make; it is by Mr. Freeman:
"WALTHEOF AT YORK. “Good news, good news for England,
The promised help is nigh ;
The Danish raven fly.
A goodly host and brave,
The horses of the wave.
Like a forest on the sea,
That while the tale I tell,
Hath landed safe and well.
Earl Waltheof, haste amain,
With all their warrior train.
To battle for the right,
To follow him to fight.
Oor men are flocking to the strand,
From hamlet and from tower, And England's voice is raised on high,
To greet the northman's power. Haste to the shore, King Edgar,
And send thy bodes amain, To bid the faithful men of York
Await thy royal train.
And round the castle wall,
To rend the stranger's thrall.
And trembles every hour,
Around his leaguered tower.
To battle follow thee; March straight upon the city,
And Northumberland is free. The Bastard still in Winchester
A little space may reign, But York hath owned her lawful lord,
Of the old and kingly strain," &c., &c.
tual repetitions- those ever-recurring praises of the common sights and sounds of nature, things which, to ordinary minds, are seen without wonder, and felt without enjoyment, but which are beautifully-enfolded mysteries and never-dying ravishment to the poet's senses. The poet praises, because he loves ; and if he have “ the faculty divine," he sings, because he would make other hearts feel the beauty that so delights his own. We speak of Mr. Bennett's poetical nature, not of his poetical works. As there are poets
"Who have never pepned Their inspiration
This is open and advised speaking, beyond all question, which, it historically true, ought certainly to bave attracted the notice of the Norman attorneygeneral of that day. When we state, however, that there are about five hundred lines following those we have quoted, it may account for that emi. nent functionary not having filed a criminal information.
“Poems, by W. C. Bennett,'* are entitled to a very honourable place in our cluster of wild flowers ; indeed if this were not a monster bouquet (to suit the prevailing diseased taste for monsters of all sorts, there being monster exhibitions, monster houses, of glass as well as otherwise, monster balloons, monster telescopes, monster mi. croscopes, and last of all, monster table-cloths), this book would supply a sufficient quantity of these « earliest offerings of the spring." The return of that beautiful season, so full of present delight and future hope, that time when
so there are poets who have penned their semi-inspirations too frequently, and of this latter class is Mr. Bennett. His poetry is the reverse of Tennyson's line
" You cannot see the grass for flowers "as the latter are choked and hid be. neath the rank vegetation of verbiage that surrounds them. Diffuseness is the curse of modern literature; bad enough when met in the awful shape of a three-volumed novel, or a tale in twenty monthly parts; but even far worse, in what should be the concentrated essence of thought, feeling, and harmony-a lyric. In our modern songs the “ linked sweetness" is, alas! too long drawn out.” Instead of the rich, valuable, imperishable ore of an earlier day, we have the gossamer, attenuated gold leaf, which shines for a moment and is seen no more. Hear what a true critic says of a true lyrist, Walter Savage Landor of Percy Bysshe Shelley. “I would rather,” he says, “ have written his
"• Music, when soft voices die,' than all Beaumont and Fletcher ever wrote, together with all their cotempo. raries, excepting Shakspeare.”+ This may be exaggeration, but the poem referred to contains just eight lines ! Into how many would most of our liv. ing versifiers have diluted them? Into what innumerable, small, pretentious, shining trinkets would they have broken up this poetical Kooh-i-noor, this unrivalled mountain of light?
"After the slumber of the year,
The woodland violets re-appear,"
is its perpetually recurring theme and inspiration. That a genuinely poetic nature and temperament break out in these utterances, must be freely granted to Mr. Bennett. No affectation would lead a writer to those perpe.
• Poems. By W. C. Bennett, London : Chapman and Hall,
† The works of Walter Savage Landor, vol. ii. p. 157. VOL. XXXVIII.-NO, CCXXIII.