« iepriekšējāTurpināt »
these mere counters of exchange, let us rise to the higher level of the question as one involving not merely the material prosperity but the good neighbourship of two nations whose concerns and interests lie alongside of and interlace each other from the Gulf of St. Lawrence to the Pacific Ocean; and let us remember that the future of the Dominion even more than that of the United States is dependent upon a fair adjustment, because it is the weaker body of the two, and any disturbing element more nearly touches its heart. This question of commercial relations is vital to the equanimity of the two nations because every man along the long line who is concerned with trade or industry (and that is in these countries nearly everybody) is touched by it. Its settlement upon a fair and permanent basis would of course make easier the much needed establishment upon a permanent basis of our own system of government, for, with perfect freedom of trade, the people on either side could afford to look complacently and with interest upon the efforts and progress of their neighbours in the direction of self-government, and hope may be entertained of new progress in this so difficult science, where so much remains to be perfected, and in which the example and experience of England and of the United States, confessedly imperfect in their attainments, shew us something to be avoided as well as much to be imitated.
The kindly suggestions that have occasionally been made to us of late years by British statesmen, pointing to the entire control of our own affairs, have, we think, foreshadowed the necessity of home treatment of our relations with our nearest neighbours, and have been intended to prove the readiness of the Imperial Government to assist us to get on our legs, and to conduct the negotiation for ourselves, and, in short, to lift us from the pupilage of colonists to the ambition of patriots, to a national life every throb of whose pulse we shall feel,
and feel to be our own-whose life flows with us and within us.
It is for the men of Ontario, who read and reflect, to take the lead in this development of national life, and to prove in response to the suggestions of British statesmen, and in assertion of their own manhood and worth, that they possess capacities for self-government and social improvement. The annual meeting of the Dominion Board of Trade took place at Ottawa, as intimated above Very little, however, occurred at the meeting to affect the situation or to change our view of it. The course of debate on the question of conference with the National Board of Trade with a view to further consideration of, and forwarding, the object proposed by that Board-"freedom of trade with the Dominion"-has not proved our commercial men to be in the more forward condition to be expected of pupils of the British school of trade. The apparent approval of the meeting of such sentiments as that "it was the determination of Canada to live separate and work out its own destiny" was hardly redeemed by the added qualification "living on friendly terms with the United States," when the subject directly in question was simply that of commercial relations; and the statement of another speaker that the repeal of the Reciprocity Treaty had been of great advantage "to the Canadians, because it had made them rely on themselves to open up roads to the seaports in the east, and push on to the west through what would be the finest part of Canada," seems, if true, in fact as to such development, which we think is open to question, much like affirming the advantage of losing an eye or an ear in order to stimulate the cultivation of the remaining organs. The several quotations of astounding figures, results of experience of individuals or as a collective quantity to the nation shew how such statements may mislead if adopted as proof of the separate growth of our trade, when they actually result in great measure
from the trade drawn from the grain fields of the Western States in spite of separation in a measure, and go to prove only the superiority of our great water-way as the highway of the continent. The "Zollverein" appeared to be a bête noire, deeply charged, as many thought, with a venom of disloyalty, and chiefly dangerous as pointing to "annexation." We continue to think, on the other hand, that allaying this spirit of trade would rid us of the chief disturbing element; and in this age when reason is claiming and establishing, as a necessity of truth and progress, the right to discuss every form and shade of opinion in the wide fields of religion and philosophy, we maintain that our national virtue is in no danger from the free discussion of so simple a subject. Notwithstanding, however, the ban upon "Zollver
ein" it is satisfactory to notice that the Board decided to go on with the conference.
To conclude: It is evident that we are but in the infancy of progress in the way indicated by the general name of "freedom of trade," opening as it does to our future a community of interest and feeling wide as the world. It is the leading step, as the intercourse of trade is always foremost, in drawing men and nations together, to stimu late enquiry, to elicit what is good, and reject what is defective, in every department of knowledge. Now that the subject is opened, there cannot long remain a doubt of the advantages to accrue from the widest opening of the highway between ourselves and our neighbour who possesses a language, laws, religion and habits as well as industrial pursuits similar to our own.
BY W. BIRCH CANAVAN.
ET older nations proudly praise the emblems of their fame,
That sounding down thro' ages long have won immortal name;
Old Erin's Shamrock, England's Rose, and Scotia's Thistle green,
But there's another Emblem yet, dearer to us than all,
It breathes no tale of ancient feuds, betrays no barren soil,
But welcomes to our grand old woods the sons of honest toil ;
Gives equal rights and equal laws to all whoe'er they be,
Our Emblem chief, the Maple Leaf, of Canada the Free.
Then while we prize, with children's love, the Shamrock and the Rose,
The Thistle and the Fleur de Lys, forget not that there grows,
Upon our broad and fertile soil, a noble forest tree,
With graceful leaf, the Emblem chief, of Canada the Free. TORONTO.
THE POETRY OF MATTHEW ARNOLD.
BY WILLIAM D. LE SUEUR, B.A.
R. Arnold is more widely known, and probably attracts more interest, as a critic than as a poet; and yet, I confess, for my own part, to feeling more indebted to him for his poetry than his criticism. In the former, I cannot help thinking, he is more original than in the latter. As a critic he continually reminds us of Ste. Beuve, to whose school he may not unfairly be said to belong. As a poet he does not very distinctly remind us of any one, with the exception of the ancient Greek poets, whom it is no diminishing of any one's originality to imitate. It says something for the strength and independence of Mr. Arnold's poetic genius that he should have escaped, as com pletely as he has done, the influence-so irresistible to many contemporary writers—of Tennyson. Mr. Arnold's first publication in verse appeared, if I mistake not, in 1849, the year which gave "In Memoriam " to the world. Tennyson at that time was the rising star in the world of poetry, to whom nearly all younger writers were paying the homage of more or less conscious imitation. only models, however, which Mr. Arnold appears to have set before him were, as I have already hinted, those to whom the world has been doing reverence for two thousand years, and whose immortal productions no lapse of time can rob of their charm.
The "New Poems" published by Mr. Amold some five or six years ago have taken an altogether higher rank in general estimation than his earlier productions. The latter indeed have for some years past been but little seen or heard of; the "New Poems," on the contrary, have been received with a degree of favour which almost amounts to "popularity." Popular, in a wide sense of the word, Mr. Arnold never can be, at least,
as a poet. His thoughts are too remote from those of every-day life, and of the average of readers, to excite a wide enthusiasm, or even to be very generally intelligible.. Moreover, the form in which he has chosen to cast a considerable portion of his poetry repels those readers—and they are manywho resent the employment by a writer of any garb they do not recognize at once as modern, national and familiar. A writer with whom they cannot at once feel perfectly at home they turn from with an angry impatience. He may give them vigorous thoughts and beautiful images, but all is of no avail to win their favour if his accent is either archaic or foreign. People of this kind Mr. Arnold is sure to offend. His admirers will be, on the one hand, those who find the forms he has chosen appropriate. and pleasing; and, on the other, those whose intellectual sympathy with him is so strong that the presence of certain elements they do not quite understand is no bar to their enjoyment of the substance of what he has written.
In thinking of Mr. Arnold I have often been reminded of a well-known passage in Horace's Art of Poetry :
"Natura fieret laudabile carmen, an arte,
The careful elaboration which has been bestowed upon his poems is evident at a glance; but not less evident to the careful and appreciative reader are the signs of delicate poetic sensibility, liveliness of fancy and warmth of moral emotion; and here we have the substantial basis of Mr. Arnold's poetical talent, the dives vena, without which
the studium would have been of little avail. Whatever may be said of the defects of English University training, its stimulating effect upon the mind can scarcely be denied. There is not very much of what is called "useful knowledge" in Homer, nor much exact science in Plato; but the man who has familiarized himself with these authors so as not only to understand their language but to think their thoughts and see the world as they saw it two or three thousand years ago, will, at least, have a mind prepared to grapple with most intellectual problems and, better still, open to the light from whatever quarter it may come. We see in Mr. Arnold a true son of Oxford; he reminds us of that venerable seat of learning both in what he is and in what he is not. But then not only were the genial and refining influences of Oxford thrown around his youth, but he was educated under the eye of one of the most sagacious and best furnished minds of England, that is to say his own father's, a man who, as an educator, won a reputation which has almost lessened by comparison his fame. as a scholar, historian and divine. To have had for father such a man as Dr. Thomas Arnold of Rugby, was indeed an inestimable advantage; we naturally look for traces of the father's influence and a perpetuation of his qualities in the son, nor do we, in my opinion, look in vain. The sterling honesty, openness of heart and amiability of temper, as well as the firmness and sagacity of judgment which characterized the Head Master of Rugby and Professor of Modern History at Oxford, are honourably conspicuous in the poet and critic of to-day. To these are added a delicacy of taste peculiarly his own, together with a certain intellectual alertness, a faculty for seizing upon the best points of view, which, serviceable as it is to him in every way, is, in relation to criticism especially, a point of the very highest importance.
It is time, however, that I should illustrate these remarks by examples; and, in order to exhibit first what may be regarded
"Yet here is peace forever new !
When I, who watch them, am away, Still all things in this glade go through The changes of their quiet day.
"Then to their happy rest they pass
"Calm soul of all things! make it mine
"The will to neither strive nor cry,
There are two or three things to be remarked about this poem. It affords evidence of a genuine love of nature on the part of the writer, a true delight in its beauty, its music and all its enlarging and tranquillizing influences but it does not suggest that acute sensibility to the forms and harmonies of outward things which we discern in those great authors with whom nature is not a study only but a passion. The description is well and adequately rendered, but there are none of those exquisite touches which Wordsworth for example would almost certainly have thrown into a similar piece. Mr. Amold makes no pretension to be a Wordsworth; his muse is thoroughly honest, and never affects what it does not feel, nor aims at what it cannot accomplish. It is not given to every man to penetrate the deepest secrets of nature, to seize her happiest combinations, to transfuse into words all the glory of her most golden moments; but still the great Mother never fails to reward sincere love and sympathy in whatever degree; and he who opens heart and eyes to take in what he can of her charm, carries away with him some token or other of his acceptance. He receives a message, a dispensation, and becomes, in his own measure, an interpreter of nature to others. And so it is in the present case; the impression we derive, through Mr. Arnold's verse, of the sylvan scene in which it was composed, is clear and vivid ; we feel the freshness of the breeze; we hear the rustling of the leaves overhead; we see the waving of the grass. When we read the line
"Deep in her unknown day's employ-"
we find ourselves wondering, as in the woods we often have wondered, what the busy bird is doing in all her ceaseless flittings to and fro. It is further to be remarked that Mr.
Arnold's verse produces its effect, which, to say the least, is a pleasing and satisfying one, by means of the most natural and everyday language. We encounter in his poems no laboriously formed compound epithets and none of that word-daubing by which some writers seek to make sound do the work of sense. He appears to have acted consciously or unconsciously, on the principle laid down by Ste. Beuve in writing to the young poet Baudelaire: "Ne craignez pas d'être trop commun; vous aurez toujours assez de votre finesse d'expression de quoi vous distinguer." Finesse d'expression is not only a mark of originality but may be said to be its measure; for before a man can express anything he must have been impressed by something, and his impressions will be true, vivid, clear, original just in proportion as his mind has preserved its originality, or, in other words, has cultivated the art of coming into direct contact with things, and seeing them as they are.
The peaceful beauty of his leafy recess leads the poet to think by contrast of the "impious uproar" of that "huge world" from which he has escaped so short a distThis new train of thought, coming across the tranquil current of his former meditations, for the moment disquiets and troubles him. For a moment only, for the reflection almost immediately occurs that, as, in the very heart of the city, there is a spot in which calm and quiet perpetually reign, so should there be in the heart of every man an inward peace which the turmoil of active life should be powerless to destroy. The idea is not a new one by any means; it was very familiar to the ancient Greek and Roman philosophers and poets, and has been very beautifully expressed by more than one of them. Nowhere, however, has it been embodied in more striking or beautiful language than in a passage in the "Thoughts of the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius." It is quite worth our while to read and ponder what the im