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from it, and indestructible without the ruin at the same time of everything else. There is not only the absence of art, but a spirit antagonistic to that of art. Yet this wildness and turbulence may, after all, have been only an affluence of true power too great to be soon or easily brought under regulation, the rankness of a tropic vegetation, coming of too rich a soil and too much light and heat. Certainly to no one of his contemporaries had been given more of passionate intensity of conception (the life of poetry) than to Keats. Whatever he thought or felt came to him in vision, and wrapped and thrilled him. Whatever he wrote burns and blazes. And his most wanton extravagances had for the most part a soul of good in them. His very affectations were mostly prompted by excess of love and reverence. In his admiration and worship of our Elizabethan poetry he was not satisfied without mimicking the obsolete syllabication of the language which he found there enshrined, and, as he conceived, consecrated. Even the most remarkable of all the peculiarities of his manner altogether, we should think, without a parallel in our literature, to which he surrenders himself in writing to the guidance of the mere wave of sound upon which he happens to have got afloat, often, one would almost say, making ostentation of his acquiescence and passiveness — is a fault only in its excess, and such a fault, moreover, as only a true poet could run into. Sound is of the very essence of song; and the music must always in so far guide the movement of the verse, as truly as it does that of the dance. It only is not the all in all. If the musical form be the mother of the verse, the sense to be expressed is the father. Yet Keats, by what he has thus produced in blind obedience to the tune that had taken possession of him, — allowing the course of the composition to be directed simply by the rhyme sometimes for whole pages, – has shown the same sensibility to the musical element in poetry, and even something of the same power of moulding language to his will, which we find in all our greatest poets

in Spenser especially, whose poetry is ever as rich with the charm of music as with that of picture, and who makes us feel in so many a victorious stanza that there is nothing his wonder-working mastery over words cannot make them do for him. Keats's Endymion was published in 1817; his Lamia, Isabella, Eve of St. Agnes, and the

1 "If any one,” Leigh Hunt has said, “could unite the vigor of Dryden with the ready and easy variety of pause in the works of the late Mr. Crabbe and the

remarkable fragment, Hyperion, together in 1820, a few months before his death. The latter, volume also contained several shorter pieces, one of which, of great beauty, the Ode to a Nightingale, may serve as a companion to Shelley's Skylark :

My heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains

My sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk,
Or emptied some dull opiate to the drains

One minute past, and Lethe-ward had sunk:
'Tis not through envy of thy happy lot,

But being too happy in thine happiness, –
That thou, light-winged Dryad of the trees,

In some melodious plot
Of beechen green, and shadows numberless,
Singest of summer in full-throated ease.

O for a draught of vintage that hath been

Cooled a long age in the deep-delved earth,
Tasting of Flora and the country green,

Dance, and Provençal song, and sun-burnt mirth!
O for a beaker full of the warm South,

Full of the true, the blissful Hippocrene,
With beaded bubbles winking at the brim,

And purple-stained mouth;
That I might drink, and leave the world unseen,
And with thee fade away into the forest dim :

Fade far away, dissolve, and quite forget

What thou among the leaves hast never known,
The weariness, the fever, and the fret

Here, where men sit and hear each other groan;
Where palsy shakes a few, sad, last grey hairs ;

Where youth grows pale, and spectre-thin, and dies ;
Where but to think is to be full of sorrow

And leaden-eyed despairs ;
Where beauty cannot keep her lustrous eyes,
Or new love pine at them beyond to-morrow.

Away! away! for I will fly to thee,

Not charioted by Bacchus and his pards, lovely poetic consciousness in the Lamia of Keats, in which the lines seem to take pleasure in the progress of their own beauty, like sea-nymphs luxuriating through the water, he would be a perfect master of rhyming heroic verse.”

VOL. II.

67

But on the viewless wings of Poesy,

Though the dull brain perplexes and retards !
Already with thee! Tender is the night,

And haply the Queen-moon is on her throne,
Clustered around by all her starry fays;

But here there is no light
Save what from heaven is with the breezes blown
Through verdurous glooms and winding mossy ways.

I cannot see what flowers are at my feet,

Nor what soft incense hangs upon the boughs,
But in embalmed darkness guess each sweet

Wherewith the seasonable month endows
The grass, the thicket, and the fruit-tree wild;

White hawthorn, and the pastoral eglantine ;
Fast-fading violets, covered up in leaves ;

And mid-day's eldest child,
The coming musk-rose, full of dewy wine,
The murmurous haunt of flies on summer eves.

Darkling I listen, and, for many a time,

I have been half in love with easeful Death,
Called him soft names in many a mused rhyme,

To take into the air my quiet breath;
Now more than ever seems it rich to die,

To seize upon the midnight with no pain,
While thou art pouring forth thy soul abroad

In such an ecstasy!
Still would'st thou sing, and I have ears in vain
To thy high requiem become a sod.

Thou wast not born for death, immortal Bird !

No hungry generations tread thee down;
The voice I hear this passing night was heard

In ancient days by emperor and clown;
Perhaps the self-same song hath found a path

Through the sad heart of Ruth, when, sick for home

She stood in tears amid the alien corn ; i Shelley had probably this line in his ear, when in the Preface to his Adonais, which is an elegy on Keats, he wrote - describing the romantic and lonely cemetery of the Protestants” at Rome, where his friend was buried — “The cemetery is an open space among the ruins, covered in winter with violets and daisies. It might make one in love with death, to think that one should be buried in so sweet a place.

The same that oft-times hath
Charmed magic casements, opening on the foam
Of perilous seas, in faery lands forlorn.

Forlorn ! the very word is like a bell

To toll me back from thee to my soul's self!
Adieu ! the fancy cannot cheat so well

As she is famed to do, deceiving elf.
Adieu ! adieu ! thy plaintive anthem fades

Past the near meadows, over the still stream,
Up the hill-side ; and now ’tis buried deep

In the next valley-glades :
Was it a vision, or a waking dream?
Fled is that music:— do I wake or sleep?

HUNT.

THESE last names can hardly be mentioned without suggesting another that of one who has only the other day been taken from us. Leigh Hunt, the friend of Shelley and Keats, had attracted the attention of the world by much that he had done, both in verse and prose, long before the appearance of either. His Story of Rimini, published in 1816, being, as it was, indisputably the finest inspiration of Italian song that had yet been heard in our modern English literature, had given him a place of his own as distinct as that of any other poetical writer of the day. Whatever may be thought of some peculiarities in his manner of writing, nobody will now be found to dispute either the originality of his genius, or his claim to the title of a true poet. Into whatever he has written he has put a living soul; and much of what he has produced is brilliant either with wit and humor, or with tenderness and beauty. In some of the best of his pieces too there is scarcely to be found a trace of anything illegitimate or doubtful in the matter of diction or versification. Where, for example, can we have more unexceptionable English than in the following noble version of the Eastern Tale ?

There came a man, making his hasty moan,
Before the Sultan Mahmoud on his throne,

And crying out “My sorrow is my right,
And I will see the Sultan, and to-night.”
“Sorrow,” said Mahmoud, “is a reverend thing;
I recognise its right, as ķing with king;
Speak on.”

“ A fiend has got into my house,”
Exclaimed the staring man, “ and tortures us ;
One of thine officers — he comes, the abhorred,
And takes possession of my house, my board,
My bed :— I have two daughters and a wife,
And the wild villain comes, and makes me mad with life.”
"Is he there now ? ” said Mahmoud :— “No; he left
The house when I did, of my wits bereft ;
And laughed me down the street, because I vowed
I'd bring the prince himself to lay him in his shroud.
I’m mad with want — I'm mad with misery,
And, oh thou Sultan Mahmoud, God cries out for thee!”

The Sultan comforted the man, and said,
“ Go home, and I will send thee wine and bread”
(For he was poor), “and other comforts.

Go:
And, should the wretch return, let Sultan Mahmoud know.”

In three days' time, with haggard eyes and beard,
And shaken voice, the suitor re-appeared,
And said, “ He's come.” — Mahmoud said not a word,
But rose and took four slaves, each with a sword,
And went with the vexed man. They reach the place,
And hear a voice, and see a female face,
That to the window fluttered in affright:
“ Go in," said Mahmoud, “ and put out the light;
But tell the females first to leave the room ;
And, when the drunkard follows them, we come.”

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The man went in. There was a cry, and hark !
A table falls, the window is struck dark :
Forth rush the breathless women; and behind
With curses comes the fiend in desperate mind.
In vain : the sabres soon cut short the strife,
And chop the shrieking wretch, and drink his bloody life.

“ Now light the light,” the Sultan cried aloud. 'Twas done ; he took it in his hand, and bowed Over the corpse, and looked upon the face;

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