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MORRIS. 1834-1896. William Morris is the greatest narrative poet we have had since Chaucer, whose disciple he is, and whom in his simplicity and antique manner he greatly resembles. His principal works are The Life and Death of Jason and The Earthly Paradise. He was at the head of the firm of “Morris & Co.,” which devoted itself to the improvement of household decoration and furniture, in the manufacture of stained glass, tapestries, etc., after artistic designs. He also established the Kelmscott Press for the printing of fine editions of books with type specially designed for the purpose. He died in 1896.
EXTRACT. (Description of Pygmalion's meeting with the statue with which he had fallen in love, after Venus had made it a living woman.)
Yet while he stood and knew not what to do,
The Earthly Paradise.
MATTHEW ARNOLD. 1822-1888. Matthew Arnold, the celebrated son of a celebrated father, Thomas Arnold, head master of Rugby, holds a high place among the poets, though most of his writings were in prose. Saturated with ancient and modern learning, he appeals chiefly to the cultivated class of readers, but some of his poems, such as The Strayed Reveller and Faded Leaves, are simple and beautiful. Among his finest poems are The Scholar Gipsy, Thyrsis, an elegy on his poet-friend Arthur Hugh Clough, one of the finest since Shelley's Adonais, Balder Deud, Sohrab and Rustum, Philomela, Urania, and the series entitled Switzerland, addressed to a certain Marguerite. What he calls “the eternal note of sadness runs through all his poems as a sort of undertone. His prose works are chiefly essays, and in originality of thought,
clear analysis, and excellence of style they surpass those of any contemporary writer. The principal of these are Essays in Criticism, two series, Culture and Anarchy, Literature and Dogma, God and the Bible, and Discourses in America, lectures delivered during a visit to this country. Mr. Arnold was inspector of schools in England, and Professor of Poetry in Oxford University. He died in 1888.
As the chiefs rule, my son, the people are.
Come to the window; sweet is the night air !
OTHER POETS OF THIS AGE.
Rev. F. W. FABER (1815-1863), distinguished equally in poetry and prose; author of Cherwell Water-Lily, Styrian Lake, Sir Lancelot, etc., poems; and of All for Jesus, Growth in Holiness, Ethel's Book,and other prose
works. Mrs. C. E. S. NORTON (1808–1877), granddaughter of R. B. Sheridan, author of The Undying One, The Child of the Islands, Aunt Carry's Ballads, Stuart of Dunleith (a romance), and many other works.
ADELAIDE A. PROCTER, the “golden-tressed Adelaide” (1825-1864), daughter of B. W. Procter, author of One by One, Words, A New Mother, and many other exquisite poems.
COVENTRY PATMORE (1823-1896), author of the Angel in the House, etc.
FREDERICK LOCKER-LAMPSON, formerly Locker (1821-1895), a most artistic writer of society verse-London Lyrics, Lyra Elegantiarum, etc.
CHARLES MACKAY, LL. D. (1814–1889), author of Voices from the Crowd, Town Lyrics, and other poems; also many prose works.
“Owen MEREDITH,” Robert, Earl of Lytton (1831-1891), son of the great lovelist, author of Lucille, and Fables in Verse.
ROBERT BUCHANAN (1841.. ), anthor of Idyls and Legends of Inverburn, London Poems, etc.
SYDNEY DOBELL (1824-1874), author of How's the Boy, The Milkmaid': Song, Home Wounded, Tommy's Dead, etc. A young poet of striking and original genius.
ARTHUR Hugh Clough (1819-61), poet, author of Amours de Voyage, etc.
AMERICAN CONTEMPORARIES. Bryant, Longfellow, Whittier, Lowell, Holmes, Taylor, Stedman, Aldrich, Alice Cary, etc., etc.
II. PROSE WRITERS OF THE VICTORIAN AGE,
MACAULAY. 1800-1859. Thomas Babington Macaulay, the most brilliant critical and historical writer of the Victorian age, was born in 1800. He graduated at Cambridge, where he distinguished himself in scholarship and literature, and afterwards studied law. He was many years a member of Parliament, filled several important positions under the government, was raised to the peerage in 1857, as Baron Macaulay, and died in 1859. Every position he filled with honor and ability, but his chief distinction was achieved by his writings, the principal of which are his Lays of Ancient Rome, Essays, and History of England. His ballads, Horatius at the Bridge, The Battle of Ivry, etc., are full of life and vigor; his essays are the most magnificent productions of their kind in the whole range of English literature; and his History of England is the most popular history that ever was written. The aggregate sale of the third and fourth volumes of the latter, in the first four weeks after their publication, was over 150,000 copies !
Macaulay is the finest rhetorician, both as to diction and styie, of all English writers. His language is pure, and his sentences clear, harmonious, and strong, and so varied, as to length and structure, as to give the utmost ease and pleasure to the reader. Indeed it may be questioned whether in some cases he is not too oratorical ; whether he does not sometimes forget the force of his words, and overstate a fact for the sake of a sonorous period or a fine antithesis. After making every deduction, however, we may safely pronounce him one of the greatest of English prose writers,
There is only one cure for the evils which newly acquire} freedom produces, and that cure is freedom !
Essay on Milton.
Then out spake brave Horatius, the captain of the gate:
Horatius : Lays of Ancient Rome.
GROTE. 1794-1871. George Grote, born in 1794, was a banker and man of affairs, and lacked the advantages of a university training; and yet he made himself a master of everything pertaining to ancient Greece, its history, thought, philosophy, art, and culture, and wrote the most complete and comprehensive work in the English language on that most wonderful nation of antiquity. He sat for some years as a Liberal member of Parliament, and the knowledge thus obtained of parties and factions was a valuable training for his work in portraying the political life of Greece. The first volume of his great History of Greece came out in 1846, and it was completed in 12 vols.,* ten years later. He afterwards published Plato and Other Companions of Socrates, and left unfinished at his death, in 1876, a work on Aristotle. It is worthy of note that another great history of Greece was being written at the same time as Grote's, by Connop Thirlwall, Bishop of St. Davids, neither author being aware that the other was engaged on the work.
* There is a cheaper edition of Grote's History published in this country, In 4 volumes,
FROUDE. 1818–1894. Among historians the most brilliant and popular since Macaulay was James Anthony Froude, who wrote a History of England from the Fall of Wolsey to the Death of Elizabeth, in 12 vol
The first volume came out in 1856 and the last in 1874. Besides this great work he published a series of essays entitled Short Studies of Great Subjects, The English in Ireland, Life of Carlyle, Julius Cæsar, and various other works. His style is most fascinating and brilliant, but he is accused of writing too much as a partisan.
Mr. Froude was born in 1818, was educated at Oxford, was chosen a fellow of Exeter College, and took a deacon's orders in the Church of England, but did not assume clerical duties. He died in 1894.
EXTRACT. The moral law is written on the tablets of eternity. For every false word or unrighteous deed, for cruelty and oppression, for lust or vanity, the price has to be paid at last.
Science of History (in Short Studies).
DICKENS. 1812–1870. Charles Dickens, one of the greatest novelists of all time, was born in 1812. When of proper age he began to study law, but abandoned it, and became a reporter for a London newspaper. While thus employed he began writing “Sketches of Life and Character,” which were afterwards collected as Sketches by Box. They were well received, and thus encouraged he went on producing novel after novel, winning fortune and fame, until 1870, when he died.
It was Dickens's mission to portray the lives of the poor and lowly; to delineate their wrongs and wretchedness; to show that purity, goodness, and true nobility may dwell in the hovel as well as in the palace, and thus to preach humanity to man. For this his genius was admirably fitted; and it is impossible to estimate the amount of good his writings have done, the number of tears they have wiped away, the amount of innocent and healthy amuse. men: they have given.