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As a specimen we will transcribe from the beginning of the Seventh Book or Canto the description of the voyage of the heroine, the lovely and virtuous Kailyal, through the air to the Swerga, or lowest heaven, with her preserver the Glendoveer, or pure spirit, Ereenia:

Then in the ship of heaven Ereenia laid

The waking, wondering maid ;
The ship of heaven, instinct with thought, displayed
Its living sail, and glides along the sky.

On either side, in wavy tide,
The clouds of morn along its path divide ;
The winds who swept in wild career on high
Before its presence check their charmed force ;
The winds that loitering lagged along their course

Around the living bark enamoured play,
Swell underneath the sail, and sing before its way.

That bark, in shape, was like the furrowed shell
Wherein the sea-nymphs to their parent-king,
On festal day, their duteous offerings bring.

Its hue ? - Go watch the last green light
Ere evening yields the western star to night;

Or fix upon the sun thy strenuous sight
Till thou hast reached its orb of chrysolite.
* The sail, from end to end displayed,
Bent, like a rainbow, o'er the maid.

An angel's head, with visual eye,
Through trackless space directs its chosen way;

Nor aid of wing, nor foot, nor fin,
Requires to voyage o'er the obedient sky.
Smooth as the swan when not a breeze at even

Disturbs the surface of the silver stream,
Through air and sunshine sails the ship of heaven

Recumbent there the maiden glides along

On her aërial way,
How swift she feels not, though the swiftest wind

Had flagged in flight behind.
Motionless as a sleeping babe she lay,

And all serene in mind,
Feeling no fear; for that ethereal air
With such new life and joyance filled her heart

Fear could not enter there ;

For sure she deemed her mortal part was o'er,
And she was sailing to the heavenly shore ;
And that angelic form, who moved beside,
Was some good spirit sent to be her guide.

Daughter of earth! therein thou deem'st aright;

And never yet did form more beautiful,
In dreams of night descending from on high,
Bless the religious virgin's gifted sight,

Nor like a vision of delight
Rise on the raptured poet's inward eye.

Of human form divine was he,
The immortal youth of heaven who floated by,
Even such as that divinest form shall be
In those blest stages of our onward race,

When no infirmity,
Low thought, nor base desire, nor wasting care,

Deface the semblance of our heavenly sire.

The wings of eagle or of cherubim

Had seemed unworthy him ;
Angelic power, and dignity and grace
Were in his glorious pennons; from the neck
Down to the ankle reached their swelling web,
Richer than robes of Tyrian dye, that deck

Imperial majesty :
Their colour like the winter's moonless sky,

When all the stars of midnight's canopy
Shine forth ; or like the azure steep at noon,

Reflecting back to heaven a brighter blue.

Such was their tint when closed ; but, when outspread,

The permeating light
Shed through their substance thin a varying hue;

Now bright as when the rose,
Beauteous as fragrant, gives to scent and sight
A like delight ; now like the juice that flows

From Douro's generous vine ;
Or ruby, when with deepest red it glows;
Or as the morning clouds refulgent shine,
When, at forthcoming of the lord of day,

The orient, like a shrine,
Kindles as it receives the rising ray,

And, heralding his way,
Proclaims the presence of the Power divine.

Thus glorious were the wings
Of that celestial spirit, as he went
Disporting through his native element.

Nor there alone
The gorgeous beauties that they gave to view;
Through the broad membrane branched a pliant bone;

Spreading like fibres from their parent stem,
Its veins like interwoven silver shone ;

Or as the chaster hue
Of pearls that grace some Sultan's diadem.
Now with slow stroke and strong behold him smite
The buoyant air, and now, in gentler flight,

On motionless wing expanded, shoot along.

Through air and sunshine sails the ship of heaven;

Far, far beneath them lies

gross and heavy atmosphere of earth;
And with the Swerga gales

The maid of mortal birth
At every breath a new delight inhales.
And now towards its port the Ship of Heaven

Swift as a falling meteor shapes its flight,
Yet gently as the dews of night that gem
And do not bend the hare-bell's slenderest stem.

Daughter of earth, Ereenia cried, alight;
This is thy place of rest, the Swerga this,

Lo, here my bower of bliss !
He furled his azure wings, which round him fold

Graceful as robes of Grecian chief of old.
The happy Kailyal knew not where to gaze;

Her eyes around in joyful wonder roam,
Now turned upon the lovely Glendoveer,

Now on his heavenly home. The affluence of imagery and gorgeousness of language here, and in other similar passages with which the poem abounds, is very imposing; and it is not to be denied that there is much of real descriptive power. Yet the glow that warms and colors the composition is perhaps more that of eloquence than of poetry; or, at least, it is something rather borrowed or caught by imitation,

and applied to the purpose in hand by dint of labor or mere general talent, than coming out of any strong original and peculiar poetic genius. The imagery, with all its copiousness and frequent magnificence and beauty, is still essentially commonplace in spirit and character, however strange in form much of it may seem ; any apparent freshness it has lies for the most part merely in its Orientalism; whenever it is not outlandish, it is trite and tame; so that in this way when it is most natural it is least striking, and whenever it is very striking it is unnatural. Neither has it much real variety; it is chargeable at least with mannerism, if not with monotony; nor does it commonly penetrate through and through the thought, but rather only decorates it on the outside like a dress or lackering. There is, in short, a good deal in this Indian poetry of Southey's that recalls the artificial point and sparkle of that of Darwin, though the glare is less brazen and oppressive, and the execution altogether much more skilful, as well as the spirit far larger and more genial. It is rightly remarked, however, by the author himself in the preface to the last edition which he superintended of his Curse of Kehama, that there is nothing Oriental in the style of the

poem. By the style he here means simply the diction, including the verse.

" I had learned,” he adds, “ the language of poetry from our own great masters and the great poets of antiquity.” What of foreign inspiration, not derived from the common Greek and Latin sources, there was in Southey's poetry, he drew, not, like some of the most remarkable of his contemporaries, from the modern literature of Germany, but from the old ballad and romantic minstrels of Spain.


WALTER Scott, again, was never accounted one of the Lake poets; yet he, as well as Wordsworth and Coleridge, was early a drinker at the fountain of German poetry; his commencing publication was a translation of Bürger's Lenore (1796), and the spirit and manner of his original compositions were, from the first, evidently and powerfully influenced by what had thus awakened his poetical faculty. His robust and manly character of mind, however, and his strong nationalism, with the innate disposition of his

imagination to live in the past rather than in the future, saved him from being seduced into either the puerilities or the extravagances to which other imitators of the German writers among us were thought to have, more or less, given way; and, having soon found in the popular ballad-poetry of his own country all the qualities which had most attracted him in his foreign favorites, with others which had an equal or still greater charm for his heart and fancy, he henceforth gave

himself up almost exclusively to the more congenial inspiration of that native minstrelsy. His poems are all lays and romances of chivalry, but infinitely finer than any that had ever before been written. With all their irregularity and carelessness (qualities which in some sort are characteristic of and essential to this kind of poetry), that element of life in all writing, which comes of the excited feeling and earnest belief of the writer, is never wanting; this animation, fervor, enthusiasm, — call it by what name we will, — exists in greater strength in no poetry than in that of Scott, redeeming a thousand defects, and triumphing over all the reclamations of criticism. It was this, no doubt, more than anything else, which at once took the public admiration by storm. All cultivated and perfect enjoyment of poetry, or of any other of the fine arts, is partly emotional, partly critical ;l the enjoyment and appreciation are only perfect when these two qualities are blended ; but most of the poetry that had been produced among us in modern times had aimed at affording chiefly, if not exclusively, a critical gratification. The Lay of the Last Minstrel (1805) surprised readers of all degrees with a long and elaborate poem, which carried them onward with an excitement of heart as well as of head which many of them had never experienced before in the perusal of poetry.

The narrative form of the poem no doubt did much to produce this effect, giving to it, even without the poetry, the interest and enticement of a novel; but all readers, even the least tinctured with a literary taste, felt also, in a greater or less degree, the charm of the, verse, and the poetic glow with which the work was all alive. Marmion (1808) carried the same feelings to a much higher pitch ; it is undoubtedly Scott's greatest poem, or the one at any rate in which the noblest passages are

1 See, in an article on the State of Criticism in France, in the British and Foreign Review, No. xxxii. (for January, 1814), a speculation on the distinction between these two states of feeling, which will be admitted to be ingenious, novel, and suggestive, even by those readers who do not go with the writer the whole length of his conclusions.

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