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has falsified the prediction of Gray. Writing of him and of. Warton, who both had lately died, Gray passes this judgment upon them, • They both deserve to live some years, but will not.' Half of this prophecy has come true ; and Warton cannot be said to have lasted to our time; but Collins has now won a position so assured that instead of the 'some years' which were all that Gray would have allotted to him, we may confidently affirm that he will live as long as any love for English poetry survives.
P. 181, No. cl.—This and the following poem are of the court, courtly. At the same time a truly poetical treatment may raise vers de Société such as these are, into a higher sphere than their own; and if I do not mistake, it has done so here; and may justly claim for these poems that they be drawn from the absolute oblivion into which they have fallen. Ambrose Philips, it is true, has a niche in
Johnson's Poets ; but so much which is stupid, and so much which is worse than stupid, finds its place there, that for a minor poet, for all except those mighty ones to whom admission or exclusion would be a matter of absolute indifference, who are strong enough to burst any cerements, that collection is rather a mausoleum of the dead than a temple of the living. These poems with two or three others of like kind---a singularly beautiful one is quoted in Palgrave's Golden Treasury-earned for Philips the title of Namby Pamby, so little were his contemporaries able to appreciate even the partial return to nature which they display. For a clever travesty of his style by Isaac Hawkins Browne, beginning,
* Little tube of mighty power,
Charmer of an idle hour,' see Campbell's Specimens, vol. v. p. 361.
P. 186, No. cliii.—This admirable poem has this in common with another of scarcely inferior merit,
And ye shall walk in silk attire,' that they both first appeared as broad-sheets sold in the streets of Edinburgh ; and, justly popular as they both from the first have been, no one has ever cared to challenge either of them as his own. This, however, though not claimed by Mickle, nor included by him in an edition of his poems published by himself, was after his death claimed for him, and Allan Cunningham thinks the claim to be fairly made out. It mainly rests on the fact that a copy of the poem with alterations marking the text as in process of formation was found among his papers and in his handwriting. Without inspection of the document, it is impossible to say what value as evidence it possesses. Certainly everything else which we know of Mickle's is rather evidence against his authorship of this exquisite domestic lyric than for it. Still I have not felt myself at liberty to disturb the ascription of it to him.
P. 189, No. clv.---The immense superiority of this poem over every other in the little volume of Hamilton of Bangour's poems, which was published at Edinburgh in 1760, some six years after his death, is not easy to account for. This poem has its faults ; that it is a modern seeking to write in an ancient manner is sometimes too evident; but it is a tragic story tragically told, the situation boldly conceived, and the treatment marked by strength and passion throughout. Nothing else in the volume contains a trace of passion or of power, or is of the slightest value whatever. The fact that the poet has here come within the circle of the inspirations of Yarrow cannot of itself be accepted as sufficient to explain a fact which is certainly a curious one. It is plain from more than one citation or allusion that Wordsworth, in his Yarrow Unvisited and Yarrow Visited, had this poem quite as much in his eye as the earlier ballads whose scene is laid on the banks of the same stream.
P. 199, No. clx.-I cannot refuse myself the pleasure of quoting Mr. Palgrave's beautiful criticism of this sonnet, in its own kind of a beauty so peerless :- The Editor knows no sonnet more remarkable than this which records Cowper's gratitude to the Lady whose affectionate care for many years gave what sweetness he could enjoy to a life radically wretched. Petrarch's sonnets have a more ethereal grace and a more perfect finish, Shakespeare's more passion, Milton's stand supreme in stateliness, Wordsworth's in depth and delicacy. But Cowper's unites with an exquisiteness in the turn of thought which the ancients would have called irony, an intensity of pathetic tenderness peculiar to his loving and ingenuous nature.'
P. 201, No. clxii. —Gray, who esteemed Tickell a poor shortwinded imitator of Addison,' qualifies his contempt so far that he adds, ‘His ballad, however, of Colin and Lucy I always thought the prettiesť in the world.' After some hesitation I have not thought it pretty enough for a place in this volume. It is otherwise with the poem for which I have found room. Johnson's censure of poems, whether praise or blame, carries no great weight with it; and when he says of this one, nor is a more sublime or more elegant funeral poem to be found in the whole compass of English literature,' the praise is extravagant. Still it has real merits, and sounds like the genuine utterance of a true regret for one who had been the poet's effectual patron and friend,
P. 204, No. clxiii.—There have been many guesses who the Unfortunate Lady'commemorated in these pathetic, but thoroughly pagan, lines may have been ; but the mystery which wraps her story has never been dispersed. With the ten first lines before us nothing
can be idler than to deny that she was one who had laid violent hands on her own life.
P. 207, No. clxiv.—Robert Levet lived above lwenty years under Johnson's roof, a dependant and humble friend, and when under it he died in 1782, Johnson commemorated his genuine worth in these admirable lines. He is mentioned several times in Boswell's Life.
P. 209, No. clxvi. - This is the last original piece which Cowper, wrote ; and, as Southey has truly observed, all circumstances considered, one of the most affecting that ever was composed.' The incident on which it rests is related in Anson's Voyage round the World, fifth edition, p. 79.
P. 212, No. clxviii.—This noblest elegy has a point of contact with an illustrious event in English history. As the boats were advancing in silence to that night-assault upon the lines of Quebec which should give Canada to the English crown, Wolfe repeated these lines in a low voice to the other officers in his boat, adding at the close of the recitation, Now, gentlemen, I would rather be the author of that poem than take Quebec.' For himself within a few hours that line was to find its fulfilment,
* The paths of glory lead but to the grave.' We owe to Lord Stanhope (History of England from the Peace of Utrecht, c. 35) this interesting anecdote. — 1. 45–72 : Gray, who had read almost everything, may have here had in his eye a remarkable passage in Philo, De Sobriet. $ 9. Having spoken of the many who were inwardly equipped with the highest gifts and faculties, he goes on : το δε κάλλος των εν ταις διανοίαις αγαλμάτων ουκ ίσχυσαν επιδείξασθαι διά πενίαν η άδοξίαν, ή νόσον σώματος, και τας άλλας κήρας, όσαι τον ανθρώπινον περιπολούσι βίον. And then he goes on, exactly as Gray does, to point out how these outward hindrances have circumscribed not merely the virtues of some but the crimes of others : πάλιν τοίνυν κατά τα εναντία μυρίους έστιν ιδείν ανάνδρους, ακολάστους, άφρονας, αδίκους, ασεβείς εν ταις διανοίαις υπάρχοντας, το δε κακίας εκάστης αισχος αδυνατούντας επιδείκνυσθαι δι' άκαιρίαν τών εις το αμαρτάνειν καιρών.
. P. 216, No. clxix.- I have not included hymns in this collection, save only in rare instances when a high poetical treatment of their theme has given them a value quite independent of that which they derive from adequately fulfilling the special objects for which they were composed. It is thus with this noble poem, which, though not eminently adapted for liturgic use, is yet to my mind quite the noblest among Charles Wesley's hymns. It need hardly be said that the key to it, so far as a key can be found from without and not from within, lies in the study of Gen. xxxii. 24-32.—1. 59: The
It is very
attempt to break down in English the distinction between the perfect and the past participle, and because they are identical in some instances to regard them as identical in all, has happily been defeated, at least for the present ; but it has left its mark on much of the poetry of the seventeenth and eighteenth century, and Wesley, who here writes ‘strove for "striven,' and 1. 68,5 rose for risen, only does what Shakespeare and Milton have done before him.
P. 241, No. cxci.—Campbell's Lord Ullin's Daughter is a poem of considerable merit, but a comparison of it with this of Shelley (the motive of the two compositions is identical) at once reveals the distinction between a poet of first-rate eminence, of 'imagination all compact,' and one of the second order. Both poems are narrative ; but the imagination in one has fused and absorbed the whole action of the story into itself in a way which is not so much as attempted in the other.
P. 256, No. ccviii.—In Beattie's Life and Letters of Campbell, vol. ii. p. 42, we have the original sketch of this poem. instructive, revealing as it does how one chief secret of success in poetry may be the daring to omit. As it is there sketched out, extending as it does to twenty stanzas of six lines each, that is to more than twice its present length, many of these stanzas being but of secondary merit, it would have passed as a spirited ballad, and would have presently been forgotten, instead of taking as it has now done its place among the noblest lyrics, the trumpet-notes in the language. But indeed this willingness to sacrifice parts to the interests of the whole is a condition without which no great poem, least of all a great lyric poem, which is absolutely dependent for its effects on rapidity of movement, can be written ; and those who would fain escape the inevitable doom of oblivion which awaits almost all verse will do well to keep ever in remembrance how immeasurably more in poetry the half will sometimes be than the whole. P. 265, No. ccxiv.-
There is a mistake here, into which it is curious that one who had watched so closely as Scott had done the struggle with Republican and Imperial France should have fallen. It was not Marengo (1800) but Austerlitz (1805) which did so much to kill Pitt, and with which is connected the anecdote of his last days here referred to, and thus related by Lord Stanhope : •On leaving his carriage, as he passed along the passage to his bedroom [at Putney, which he never left], he observed a map of Europe which had been drawn down from the wall ; upon which he turned to his niece, and mournfully said, “Roll up that map; it will not be wanted these ten years."
(Life of Pitt, vol. iv. p. 369.) P. 266, No. ccxv.–After the battle of Novara, which had virtually decided the conflict for a time, but before peace was signed between Austria and Piedmont, the inhabitants of Brescia rose against their Austrian garrison, March 21, 1849. They were crushed after a gallant struggle, but one which had been hopeless from the first.
P. 277, No. ccxix.—This poem is full of allusions to the tragical issues of Shelley's first rash and ill-considered marriageissues which must have filled him ever after with very deep selfreproach. Far too slight as the expression of this is here—indeed it is hardly here at all—we know from other sources that the retrospect was one which went far to darken his whole after life, This serious fault has not hindered me from quoting these lines, in many respects of an exquisite tenderness and beauty, and possessing that deep interest which autobiography must always possess. One stanza has been omitted.
P. 291, No. ccxxiv.—These lines, written in Greece, and only three months before his death, are the last which Byron wrote, and, in their earlier stanzas at least, about the truest. In many of his smaller poems of passion, and in Childe Harold itself, there is a falsetto which strikes painfully on the ear of the mind. But it is quite otherwise with these deeply pathetic lines, in which the spoiled child of this world passes judgment on that whole life of self-pleasing which he had laid out for himself, and declares what had been the mournful end of it all.
P. 315, No. ccxlvii. – This, if I mistake not, is the only poem by Herbert Knowles which survives. It appeared first in The Quarterly Review, vol. ii. p. 396, with this account of the writer : *His life had been eventful and unfortunate, till his extraordinary merits were discovered by persons capable of appreciating and willing and able to assist him. He was then placed under a kind and able instructor, and arrangements had been made for supporting him at the University ; but he had not enjoyed that prospect many weeks before it pleased God to remove him to a better world. The reader will remember that they are the verses of a schoolboy, who had not long been taken from one of the lowest stations of life, and he will then judge what might have been expected from one who was capable of writing with such strength and originality upon the tritest of all subjects.' It was Southey, I believe, who wrote thus, in whose estimate of these verses I entirely concur; as it was he who was prepared to befriend the youthful poet, if he had not passed so soon beyond the reach and need of human help.
P. 326, No. cclvii.-It is not a little remarkable that one to whom English was an acquired language, who can have had little or no experience in the mechanism of English verse, should yet have left