Lapas attēli

the world, and men in general are far enough tion is the impatience of an over-sensitive removed from the heroic type ; but it may spiritual nature; Mr. Arnold's impatience well be questioned whether the levelling of is intellectual, or mainly so; but the two exbitter accusations against the mass of one's press themselves with a wonderful similarity fellow creatures tends either to the removal of accent. Dr. Newman did not catch his of evils or the exaltation of human nature. tone from Mr. Arnold-that is certain ; did Do not lines like the following contain a Mr. Arnold catch his from Dr. Newman ? real libel upon the world as it is ?

The enquiry might be an interesting one, but we cannot enter upon it here; it


suf" Even in a palace life may be lived well,

fice at present to remark, that the refineSo spake the imperial sage, purest of men,

ment of thought and phrase which we are Marcus Aurelius. But the stilling den Of common-life where, crowded up pell-mell,

so often called upon to admire in Mr.

Arnold, is a very distinguishing characteristic "Our freedom for a little bread we sell,

of the earlier writer. And drudge beneath some foolish master's ken, To some persons it may seem that the qualWho rates us if we peer outside our pen,

ities in which Mr. Arnold excels are matters, Matched with a palace, is not this a hell ? "

chiefly, of style; but, as the French most To be sure the sonnet winds up with the truly say, the style is the man; and when the

style reaches a certain point of excellence, poble sentiment that

there is always something expressed which "The aids to noble life are all within"

is well worth our attention. Doubtless there

are qualities, and important ones, in which and its moral, therefore, is that we should Mr. Arnold is deficient; but in connection triumph over circumstances, and not let with that refinement of thought and phrase, them triumph over us; but is there not, I l of which I spoke a moment ago, we recogask, an altogether inexcusable bitterness in nize in him quick poetic sensibilities, and a the above description of “common life?" fancy lively, delicate and pure. Breadth of

very fact that men can set before them- imagination he has not; he sees life under selves a high ideal, in comparison with but few aspects, and the thoughts which it which the acts and tempers of every-day suggests to him present consequently but life seem mean or trivial, is a conclusive little variety. Here is a poem which disand most encouraging sign of the progress plays all his characteristic excellences in a reof the race; and Mr. Arnold, in his happier markable degree :moments, could not fail to regard it in that light. If any man belongs essentially to

“ Dover BEACH. the present age—an age, let its maligners

“ The sea is calm to-night, say what they will, of light, of liberty, of The tide is full, the moon lies fair free enquiry and of ever-widening sympa- Upon the Straits ; on the French coast the light thies—it is Mr. Arnold; and yet, at times, Gleams, and is gone; the cliffs of England stand he seems to talk the language of one la

Glimmering and vast out in the tranquil bay.

Come to the windows, sweet is the night air ! menting a lost age and a lost faith. One or

Only from the long line of spray, two pieces that he has written might almost

Where the ebb meets the moon-blanched sand, take their place beside Dr. Newman's beau- Listen !--you hear the grating roar tiful but most unjust lines beginning- Of pebbles which the waves suck back, and fling

At their return, up the high strand, " Now is the autumn of the Tree of Life.” Begin and cease and then again begin,

With tremulous cadence slow, and bring Dr. Newman's impatience with his genera- The eternal note of sadness in.



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“Sophocles long ago

nature as some of our great poets have Heard it on the Ægean, and it brought

been ; but that he has a very quick and true Into his mind the turbid ebb and flow Of human misery; we

eye for general effects, every page of his Find also in the sound a thought,

writing indicates. With a few touches, deliHearing it by this distant, northern sea,

cate but firm, he will sketch a landscape or The sea of faith

a scene, and make it at once visible to every Was once, too, at the full, and round earth's imagination. The opening of the above shore

poem, I think, illustrates this; but the longer Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furled ; But now I only hear

poem, entitled “A Southern Night," which Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar,

he has devoted to the memory of a younger Retreating to the breath

brother, who died at Gibraltar on his way Of the night-wind, down the vast edges drear home from India, illustrates it still better. And naked shingles of the world.

All the descriptive touches there, are broad Ah, love, let us be true

and general but they are effective; they To one another !—for the world which seems give a distinct impression of “a southem To lie before us like a land of dreams,

night”- moonlight on the Mediterranean. So various, so beautiful, so new, Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,

This poem, however, is, in other respects, Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain ;

well worth our dwelling upon a few moments. And here we are as on a darkling plain,

It exhibits, I think, a deeper tenderness of Swept with confused alarms of struggle and feeling than anything else Mr. Arnold has flight,

written; and the whole flow of the verse is Where ignorant armies clash by night.”

surpassingly musical and expressive. To There are lines in this poem of extreme pluck out a few verses by way of illustration beauty, and the effect of the whole is, in is to risk doing them and the whole poem the truest sense of the word, poetical. We an injustice, but I cannot forbear quoting may protest again against the estimate of the the following :world as a place which

“ The murmur of this Midland deep “Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,

Is heard to-night around thy grave, Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain,"

There where Gibraltar's cannoned steep

O'erfrowns the wave. but the melancholy and the pathos here are genuine, and have a subduing effect upon “For there with bodily anguish keen, the mind of the reader. It may be re

With Indian heats at last fordone, marked in this place, that there are lines in

With public toil and private teen,

Thou sank’st, alone. Mr. Arnold which once heard can scarcely be forgotten, so singularly dues their very “Slow to a stop at morning gray, sound carry the sense they express into the

I see the smoke-crowned vessel come; mind. Who that has ever listened to the Slow round her paddles dies away moan of the sea “retreating," as the poet The seething foam. says, “to the breath of the night wind,”

“ A boat is lowered from her side ; can fail to feel the wonderful expressive

Ah gently place him on the beach! ness, through their sound alone, of the

That spirit-if all have not yet diedwords,

A breath might quench.

“ Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar”_?

I have said that Mr. Arnold is not so close a student or so passionate a lover of

“ Is this the eye, the footstep fast,

The micn of youth we used to see, Poor, gallant boy ?-for such thou wast,

Still art to me.

“The limbs their wonted tasks refuse,

“ The scenery around Athens,” says HerThe eyes are glazed, thou can’st not speak

mann Hettner in his interesting book entiAnd whiter than thy white bournous,

tled Athens and the Peloponnese, "presents That wasted cheek !

a harmonious ensemble of the most distinct "Enough! The boat with quiet shock, forms; it must necessarily have produced Unto its haven coming nigh,

in the Athenians a clear and precise mode Touches, and on Gibraltar's rock

of thinking, and a keen sense for the well-deLands thee to die."

fined and complete. Even to the most I do not know whether others will rate sceptical mind, it must become evident at these verses as highly as I do, but it seems last in what an intimate relation the Greek to me that in delicacy and felicity of phrase, temple, Roman architecture and the grand in melody of versification and in their suf- fulness of the forms of the Italian painters fused pathos they reach a very high standard stand to the broad and calm forms of the indeed of excellence.

Greek and Italian mountain ; and how, on

2 Like a true Greek, as he is, Mr. Arnold is the other hand, the Gothic dome, and the a great lover of distinct outlines and of whimsical, obstinate, faithfulness to nature that, without which distinct outlines are im- in the works of the old German masters, depossible-light. Form with him is of the scending almost to portrait, corresponds in very first importance, and it is the form of a similar manner to the capricious zig-zag so his verse which produces the strongest, as it frequently characterizing German mountain certainly produces the first, effect on the scenery. The heights which enclose the mind of the reader. In speaking here of valley of Athens are not so near as to emform, I am not thinking of any imitation by barrass the eye of the spectator, nor are the poet of antique models ; that, strictly they so distant as to melt into indistinctspeaking, is a matter of garb, rather than of ness.” form. By the latter term I here understand In this passage lie nearly all the elements the idea which scientific men have in view for a criticism of Mr. Arnold.

Not quite when they speak of type. Every poem at all, however ; for let an author imbibe as the moment of its conception in the poet's deeply as he may of the spirit of a past mind must assume some form; and the poet time, he cannot escape wholly from his age: is sometimes more distinctly conscious of its impress is on him, and he must bring it the form than of the content, while some- somewhere to the light. If Mr. Arnold times the reverse is the case. Mr. Arnold, were wholly Greek, of what interest would I should say, realises the form first and he be to us? He could be but the echo of works out his thoughts afterwards ; and his that original inspiration the direct products readers, in like manner, in their interpreta- of which are yet in our hands. But if, tion and enjoyment of his work, take in a with that breadth and calmness of manner general impression first, derived mainly from which distinguished the great minds of its form, and then proceed to note the ma- Greek antiquity, he can present to us the terial or tissue of the composition. The living ideas and issues of to-day, then inbest of his poems take shape before the deed is there food for the mind, as well as mind with not less clearness than the hills of for the æsthetic sense, in his writings. In Hellas against their background of blue his prose works, as is well known, he has sky; indeed, in the character of their out- dealt with some of the most vital questions line and all their general features, they re- of the present time; but in his poetry, too, mind us strongly of descriptions we have though he does not and cannot discuss such read of Grecian landscapes.

questions formally, he never quite loses



sight of them. They are there to give

Beacons of hope ye appear ! weight and concentration to his thought,

Langour is not in your heart,

Weakness is not in your word, when they do not directly guide its utter

Weariness not on your brow.

Ye alight in our van ; at your voice,
The two best poems probably in Mr. Panic, despair, flee away.
Arnold's volume are “Rugby Chapel" and Ye move through the ranks, recall
“Heine's Grave.” The former is a noble and

The stragglers, refresh the outwom,

Praise, re-inspire the brave, feeling tribute to the memory of his father

Order, courage return. and contains many passages which stamp

Eyes rekindling, and prayers themselves very powerfully-I was going to Follow your steps as ye go. say indelibly-on the memory. It is im- Ye fill up the gaps in our files, possible to point, in either poem, to a single

Strengthen the wavering line,

'Stablish, continue our march, superfluous line or phrase; and yet this

On to the bound of the waste, rigid economy of language does not inter

On to the City of God." fere in the least with the free flow of the verse or the fervid expression of feeling. These are noble accents. We have here After describing his father as one of those neither intellectual subtlety, nor wealth of whose mission it is, while pursuing arduous metaphor, but we have, I make bold to say, careers of their own, to lend a helping hand the poetry of moral emotion, clothed in a to all in need of assistance, and to fight form which could not have been better choswith zeal and courage the general battles of en. humanity, he adds in a strain of real emo- “ Heine's Grave " contains more variety tion:

than “Rugby Chapel," and is altogether a

There is room, of course, “ And through thee, I believe

from the nature of the subject, for a wider In the noble and great who are gone ; Pure souls honoured and blest

sweep of fancy than the pensive meditations By former ages, who else

connected with Rugby Chapel were adapted Such, so soulless, so poor,

to call into play. The poet is struck in the Is the race of men whom I see

first place by

the contrast between the Seemed but a dream of the heart,

brightness and peace of the spot (the cemeSeemed but a cry of desire.

tery of Montmartre) where Heine had at Yes! I believe that there lived Others like thee in the past,

length found rest, and the gloom and pain Not like the men of the crowd

which had shrouded his latter years :
Who all round me to-day
Bluster or cringe, and make life

“ Half blind, palsied, in pain,
Hideous, and arid, and vile ;

Hither to come, from the streets'
But souls tempered with fire,

Uproar, surely not loth
Fervent, heroic, and good,

Wast thou, Heine !to lie
Helpers and friends of mankind.”

Quiet! to ask for closed

Shutters and darkened room, Then, comparing humanity to a host toil

And cool drinks, and an eased

Posture, and opium, no more ! ing painfully through the wilderness towards

Hither to come and to sleep a land of promise and of rest, he thus con

Under the wings of Renown.” cludes :

Then, one by one, the contradictions and “ Then in such hour of need

contrasts of Heine's character and career are Of your fainting, dispirited race, Ye, like angels appear,

brought to the poet's mind, and are all in Radiant with ardour divine.

turn admirably treated. I shall quote but

richer poem.

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one passage,—the very striking lines in which Of“Empedocles or Etna," a poem in its

the poet touches upon Heine's well-known way, of very great merit and interest, I have aversion to England :

no space left to speak. From one point of

view, it may almost be regarded as a poetical “I chide thee not, that thy sharp

rendering of the Positive Philosophy: there Upbraidings often assailed England, my country; for we,

are verses in it which breathe the Positivist Fearful and sad, for her sons,

spirit in its purest and most essential form. Long since deep in our hearts,

“There is in that man,” says the French Echo the blame of her foes.

historian De Tocqueville of Plato, We too sigh that she flags;

"tinual aspiration towards spiritual and lofty We too say that she now,

And Scarce comprehending the voice

“things which stirs and elevates me. Of her greatest golden-mouthed sons “that, I am inclined upon the whole to think, Of a former age any more,

s is the secret of the glorious progress Stupidly travels the round

“he has had through the centuries. For Of mechanic business, and lets

“after all, and in every age, men like to be Slow die out of her life

" talked to about their souls even though, Glory, and genius, and joy! So thou arraign’st her, her foe,

“for their own part, they may take little So we arraign her, her sons.

"thought except for their bodies.” It is

only doing Mr. Arnold justice to say that he “Yes, we arraign her! but she,

also merits this praise. Whatever faults or The weary Titan ! with deaf

deficiencies we may discover in him it is beEars, and labour-dimmed eyes, Regarding neither to right

yond dispute that his influence as a writer, Nor left, goes passively by,

whether in prose or verse, tends constantly Staggering on to her goal ;

to the refining of our taste, and the Bearing on shoulders immense,

ennobling of our moral sense. This alone Atlantean the load,

constitutes him one of the best teachers Well nigh not to be borne, Of the too-vast orb of her fate.”

of our age, and an honour to the English nation.

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