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Showers soft and steaming,
| pass, the north-easter should be more parHot and breathless air.
ticularly under divine guidance, we conTired of listless dreaming,
fess we do not understand ; except, indeed, Through the lazy day :
that the poet is thereby assisted to a fitJovial wind of winter
ting rhyme and a forcible finish. We Turn us out to play! Sweep the golden reed-beds ;
notice what is obviously a very subordinCrisp the lazy dyke;
ate blemish, because we think that Mr. Hunger into madness
Kingsley is prone to make use of this and Every plunging pike.
similar forms of expression. In the poem Fill the lake with wild fowl ;
named The Outlaw, a poacher, for inFill the marsh with snipe;
stance, justifies his occupation-
'I do but hunt God's cattle upon God's ain bills."
No doubt there has been, alike in our Shattering down the snow flakes
literature and in the other forms of our Off the curdled sky.
social intercourse, too marked a line of Hark! The brave North-easter I demarkation drawn between things sacred Breast-high lies the scent,
and things profane; but we doubt whether On by holt and headland,
the miscellaneous application of our Over heath and bent. Chime, ye dappled darlings,
Maker's name be the right way to cure Through the sleet and snow.
this, or to induce a simpler, or more Who can over-ride you?
constant and reverent recognition of that Let the horses go!
divine life in which we live, and move, Chime, ye dappled darlings,
and have our being. Down the roaring blast;
We are fault-finding, and we wish to You shall see a fox die
quit this part of our task as soon as may Ere an hour be past. Go! and rest to-morrow,
be. So let us at once suggest to Mr. Hunting in your dreams,
Kingsley that the form of one of his While our skates are ringing
poems, Saint Maura-a very powerful O'er the frozen streams.
and striking poem in many respects-is Let the luscious South-wind
open to certain rather serious objections. Breathe in lovers' sighs,
We do not speak of the sentiments the
Saint expresses : for what a saint should
or should not say under the circumstances, Heart alike and pen ?
is a matter on which we do not pretend 'Tis the hard gray weather
to speak with authority. But we are disBreeds hard English men.
posed to object to the situation.” Saint What's the soft South-wester?
Maura is being crucified alongside her 'Tis the ladies' breeze,
husband; and to wile away the hours till Bringing home their trueloves
dawn for him, she utters a discourse which Out of all the seas :
occupies some twelve or fourteen pages of But the black North-easter, Through the snow-storm hurled,
moderate-size print. Now, we do not ab. Drives our English hearts of oak
solutely affirm that it would be impractiSeaward round the world.
cable for any poet to make this subject Come, as came our fathers,
attractive, or a fit theme for artistic deHeralded by thee,
| lineation. Even Shakspeare, however, Conquering from the eastward,
with his intense dramatic energy, would Lords by land and sca.
have hesitated to employ it; and if he Come; and strong within us Stir the Viking's blood;
had ventured, the pained shape of the Bracing brain and sinew;
martyr-girl would have been lightly indiBlow, thou wind of God!"
cated rather than drawn in full. Most of
us have read Mr. Aytoun's Bothwell ; and A most vigorous discourse--with the most of us have felt that, as the soliloquy exception, indeed, of the last line, which of a man chained in a dungeon, its conwe do not like:
struction is open to a fatal objection, “Blow, thou wind of God!"
which the most careful and skillful recast
ing of parts (and we are bound to own Why, in preference to the winds which that the last edition is an immense imcome from the other points of the comprovement on its predecessors) can not
remove. But imprisonment, or even penal, battle against the Philistine-hardy of
THE DAY OF THE LORD.
Its storms roll up the sky: very beautiful in themselves :
The nations sleep starving on heaps of gold; “So they led me back :
All dreamers toss and sigh ;
The night is darkest before the morn; Which rang through all the sunlight, and the When the pain is sorest the child is born, breath
And the Day of the Lord at hand.
Freedom, and Mercy, and Truth;
Come! for the Earth is grown coward and old ;
Come down, and renew us her youth.
Haste to the battle-field, stoop from above,
To the Day of the Lord at hand. natural scenery coming from a woman who is slowly dying on the cross is some-"Who would sit down and sigh for a lost age
of gold, what repugnant to our ideas of truth and
While the Lord of all ages is here? nature. No. If we are to make the cross True hearts will leap up at the trumpet of God, the scene of dramatic action, the lines must And those who can suffer, can dare. be light, rapid, and intense; not the ima- Each old age of gold was an iron age too, ginative and picturesque address, but the And the meekest of saints may find stern work pain-wrung "My God, my God! why hast
to do, thou forsaken me?"_ihe solemn and In the Day of the Lord at hand.” simple " It is finished.” Otherwise the book, as already inti- obvious distinction between the way in
There is of course, and admittedly, a very mated, is eminently healthy. Nor do we which contemporary political subjects are except from this verdict the political treated by Mr. Kingsley, and in which songs, some of which might be thought to the Laureate, for instance, treats them. indicate a certain morbidness in the way Both poets show indeed an intense symthat social evil and injustice are looked at. But they indicate, as we think, nothing of pathy with the time; but Mr. Kingsley is the kind. They are the natural expression therefore heat, temper, fierce likings and
the combatant, the partisan. There is healthy mind. There is no dejection, de dislikings, in his rhymes. The Laureate, spondency, nor moodiness. The world is on the other hand, is serene and imparnot to be destroyed, but restored ; and the drifting sea-foam of the storm. In his
tial. He crystallizes and renders shapely the strong heart and the brawny arm are amber the fluttering insect is staid and ready to aid the restoration :
petrified. Our sayings and doings have "Forward! Hark, forward's the cry!
acquired an historic air when they reäpOne more fence and we're out on the open, pear in his poetry"suffered a sea-change, So to us at once, if you want to live near us ! into something rich and strange.” What Hark to them, ride to them, beauties! as on he has said about us are the things, we they go,
may be pretty sure, which will continue Leaping and sweeping away in the vale below! to be said about us for a good many geneCowards and bunglers
, whose heart or whose rations to come. Still, we can afford to eye is slow Find themselves staring alone."
like both men-Hofer, who fights while
he sings; Goethe, who sits apart on his There is a scriptural simplicity, a grave Olympus. severity, in certain of these pieces, which And this difference of circumstance remind us of the old preachers of the Co- must be taken into account before we can venant; stern, sour-visaged, iron-handed fairly estimate our author's poetical men, who in the retirement of healthy claims. “These poems of Mr. Kingsley," country manses girded on the sword of said an acute but evasive critic to us the the Lord and of Gideon, and went out to other day, after the manner of his craft,
" are very good ; but not good enough.” | the greatest poets-Burns, Keats, TennyThis is probably what many readers have son. The Sands of Dee—with the added felt. They expected more; and they are charms of music and girlish voices-our disappointed. “They are good; but they readers bave, no doubt, often heard; but are not good enough.” But it must be Airly Beacon and The Night Bird will remembered that the making of poems, probably be new to some of them; and so to speak, has not formed the serious we quote these pieces the more readily business of Mr. Kingsley's life, as it has of because they illustrate another noticeable the Laureate's. These snatches of music quality of the lyric—its suggestiveness. are evidently the interludes in a more en. It is the feeling and not the environment grossing drama, “short swallow-flights of (which ought to be subordinated and used song.” A thought has risen up occasion. only in so far as really necessary to give ally during reading or work that required body and concreteness to the feeling) expression, and it fitted itself naturally which forms the supreme interest of the into melodious words. Such we take to lyrist; and there is consequently much be the explanation of the contents of this more opportunity for implication, and book; excepting, indeed, the Andromeda, delicate and subdued handling in his than of which a word presently; and such a in any other form of poetry. book must be judged by a very different standard from one which is avowedly the
“AIRLY BEACOX. fruition and crown of a life-long devotion to the craft.
Airly Beacon, Airly Beacon; That Mr. Kingsley lacks genuine poetic Oh! the pleasant sight to see insight, is another averment to which it is
Shires and towns from Airly Beacon, difficult to reply. What is this subtle and While my love climbed up to me! delicate Ariel which men call the spirit of "Airly Beacon, Airly Beacon; Poetry? No two of the critics are agreed. Oh! the happy hours we lay It is, and will be forever, a question ex Deep in fern on Airly Beacon, clusively of feeling, sentiment, individual Courting through the summer's day! or national caprice. Whether Mr. Kings
“Airly Beacon, Airly Beacon ; ley be a poet in this sense must therefore
Oh! the weary haunt for me, be left to the determination of each par All alone on Airly Beacon, ticular reader. But we think most readers With his baby on my knee !" of taste will agree with us when we say that these songs and ballads display great
"THE NIGHT BIRD. force and felicity of expression, much clever and vivid appreciation of natural "A floating, a floating beauty; that they are distinguished by
Across the sleeping sea, remarkable breadth, and an almost primi All night I heard a singing bird tive literalness and simplicity of handling;
Upon the topmast tree. that the imitative or sympathetic faculty, "Oh! came you off the isles of Greece, which metaphysicians have shown to be Or off the banks of Seine; intimately allied with the imaginative, is
Or off some tree in forests free, strongly developed ; and that the close Which fringe the western main ?' texture and rare compression of the style "I came not off the old world afford a most effective and much-needed Nor yet from off the newprotest against the looseness and lawless But I am one of the birds of God, ness of recent poetic practice. If he be Which sing the whole night through.' not a poet, the man who possesses all these
"Oh! sing, and wake the dawningqualifications must have at least a very Oh! whistle for the wind; tine instinct for what poetry should be. The night is long, the current strong,
And whatever criticism may urge to the My boat it lags behind.' contrary, Mr. Kingsley, we are convinced,
“The current sweeps the old world, is a true lyric poet. Though the lyric
The current sweeps the new; feeling in this volume is more conspicuous, The wind will blow, the dawn will glow, perhaps, than the power of lyrio expres Ere thou hast sailed them through.'” sion, yet one or two of the songs are characterized by a perfection and complete The man who can write a song should ness of form which is not found except in be able to write a ballad also; for to pro
duce a really excellent old ballad, infers a “Earl Harold came to a house of nuns, good deal of the same sort of power; and And he heard the dead-bell toll; many of Mr. Kingsley's are very charm
charm. He saw the sexton stand by a grave;
Now Christ have mercy, who did us save, ing. It is in these that we note more particularly the simplicity and breadth of
Upon yon fair nun's soul.' handling to which we have referred; that “The nuns they came from the convent-gate union of the homely and the picturesque By one, by two, by three; which is found in the poetry of primitive
They sang for the soul of a lady bright peoples, and which so few modern poets
Who died for the love of a traitor knight:
It was his own lady. have been able to compass. The Longbeard's Saga, in this respect, is probably “He staid the corpse beside the grave; the most characteristic; but The Weird “A sign, a sign ! quod he, Lady—an early production-is even more
Mary Mother who rulest heaven,
Send me a sign if I be forgiven to our liking.
By the woman who so loved me.' “TUE WEIRD LADY.
" A white dove out of the coffin flew;
Earl Harold's mouth it kist; “The swevens came up round Harold the Earl,
He fell on his face, wherever he stood;
And the white dove carried his soul to God Like motes in the sunnés beam; And over him stood the Weird Lady,
Or ever the bearers wist." In her charmed castle over the sea,
But after all there is no surer test of Sang, ‘Lie thou still and dream.
the excellence of a song or a ballad than " Thy steed is dead in his stall, Earl Harold,
its capacity to affect all kinds and condiSince thou hast bid with me;
tions of men; and, as our fishing ally of The rust has eaten thy harness bright, the morning, Tom Morrice, is just now And the rats have eaten thy greyhound light, passing with his well-filled creel slung That was so fair and free.'
across his back, we may try the experi
ment at once. Tom is a keen fisher, and “ Mary Mother she stooped heaven;
used, consule Planco, to be a considerable She wakened Earl Harold out of his sweven,
bit of a poacher; not the moody, savage, To don his harness on;
and murderous miscreant who send's a And over the land and over the sea He wended abroad to his own countrie,
double charge of slugs into the poor A weary way to gon.
wretch who watches My Lord's pheasants,
without a touch of compunction, but the “Oh! but his beard was white with eld, genuine Scotch poacher, who enjoys the Oh! but his hair was gray ;
danger and romance of his calling, and He stumbled on by stock and stone,
feels no grudge against either game-preAnd as he journeyed he made his moan
server or game-keeper, considering the Along that weary way.
sport a fair trial of skill between himself “Earl Harold came to his castle-wall;
and the laird, a species of knightly en
counter of arms, over which the pale-faced The gate was burnt with fire; Roof and rafter were fallen down,
moon sits arbitress. The folk were strangers all in the town,
“ What think you of this, Tom ?” and And strangers all in the shire.
we read him
“THE THREE FISHERS.
" Three fishers went sailing away to the West,
Away to the West as the sun went down;
And the children stood watching them out of the town;
Though the harbor-bar be moaning.
“Three wives sat up in the lighthouse tower,
And they trimmed the lamps as the sun went down ;
And the night-rack came rolling up ragged and brown.
But men must work, and women must weep,
And the habor-bar be moaning.
“Three corpses lay out on the shining sands
In the morning gleam as the tide went down,
For those who will never come home to the town;
And good-by the bar and its moaning."
“ 'Deed, sir,” says Tom, rubbing his one of the common-places of history. rough seal-skin sleeve across his tanned “The influence of the sea on English lit: cheek, “ that's grewsome. Puir things! erature,” would form a tolerably attracpuir things ! but it's sair comfort. What's tive subject for discourse at a literary that line, sir, aboot the Scaur ?”
institute in these days, when almost every “And the night-rack came rolling up ragged out and exhausted, and the literary man,
literary topic of interest has been written and brown.
like the hand-loom weaver and the “ It has a gran soun,” says Tom, repeat- kelp-burner, begins to despair of his ing it to himself. “I've seen't aften on craft. the sea aboot the fa'.”
And this poem of " Andromeda”-of Thank you, Tom; we thought you which it remains to speak—is essentially would like it ; and the Rector of Eversley a “sea-story.” It is a clear and vivid may rest satisfied that he has written one picture of the sea at dawn, at noon-tide, genuine poem.
and at night. As a piece of rich and suBut, indeed, Mr. Kingsley is always perb coloring—and this was probably the great on the sea-shore, and few men have principal object aimed at in the selection said better or truer things about it-at-it is eminently happy and successful ; least since the grand old ballad of Sir Tintoret or Titian might have mixed the Patrick Spens was written. “The sea,” colors; and its warm and voluptuously according to a certain dark-eyed critic, idealized enjoyment of the powers of " is the poetic side of Mr. Kingsley's life and nature would not have unbefitted mind.” Just and true; as that golden- the painters of the “Venus” and the tongued criticism always is; but, indeed, “Europa,” and is eminently characteristic of how many English and Scotch men is of the refined sensuousness of the Greek the sea not the poetic side? We used to intellect. It needs not to sift more cufancy that we could detect the "monoto- riously the merits of a poem borrowed nous undertone” in ever so much of our from such a source; if it is graceful, literature--as we could, surely and sensi- sunny, and richly toned, more can not be bly, in the habit of thought, nay some competently asked. But listen to a page times in the cadenced speech, of those or two of these obnoxious English hexawho had lived much within sight and meters ere we put the book away. hearing of its surge. But it was not till It is evening, and Andromeda, " a snowwe saw Venice—till we learned how that white cross on the dark green walls of the constant companionship bad forced itself sea-cliff,” has been left, by her mother and upon the brick and marble of a great city, the priests, as a sacrifice to the angry on the art and architecture of a conquer- sea-gods : ing people-it was not till then we were assured that our vague suspicion was only
“Watching the pulse of the oars die down, as her own died with them,
Tearless, dumb with amaze she stood, as a stormed-stunned nestling
Wide-eyed, downward gazing in vain at the black blank darkness.”