« AnteriorContinuar »
“ I've been to blame-to blame. I have kill'd my son.
Then they clung about
So those four abode
But Dora lived unmarried till her death.'—-vol. ii., p. 33-41.
• Audley Court,' and Walking to the Mail,' are in a lighter style, and with less of interest. • The Talking Oak' is more important, but does not satisfy us so well. This also, like most of Mr. Tennyson's better poems, is love-inspired and love breathing.
But an ancient oak, that is won by a poet to utter Dodonæan oracles, would hardly, we conceive, be so prolix and minute in its responses. In · Locksley Hall the fancy is again at home. It is, perhaps, on the whole, the one of all these poems in which far-extended thought is best involved in genuine and ardent imagination. A quick and generous heart pours out through the lips of a young man who has been deceived by the woman he loved, and who, inflamed with disappointment, reviews at passionate speed— far unlike the prosaic slowness of professional reviewers—the images that the darkened world now presents to him, and the diverse paths of action that he is tempted to try. We know not what the author means by his hero's talk of comrades and bugle-horns; for all the rest is the direct outbirth and reflection of our own age. The speaker tells his former happiness in the following lines :
Then her cheek was pale and thinner than should be for one so young,
The images that haunt him, of the faithless maiden's married life with a despised
husband, are full of bitter strength; but we prefer a small specimen of his more indistinct and wider notions :
Can I but re-live in sadness? I will turn that earlier page.
Lady Clare' is not memorable; but the Lord of Burleigh' well deserves citation, as an example of the skill with which a poet can find a true and complete imaginative interest in an anecdote of our actual refined life :
* In her ear he whispers gaily,
“If my heart by signs can tell, Maiden, I have watch'd thee daily,
And I think thou lov'st me well.” She replies in accents fainter,
“ There is none I love like thee." He is but a landscape-painter,
And a village maiden she. He to lips, that fondly falter,
Presses his without reproof; Leads her to the village altar,
And they leave her father's roof. “I can make no marriage present;
Little can I give rny wife.
And I love thee more than life."
Ancient homes of lord and lady,
Built for pleasure and for state.
Evermore she seems to gaze
Where they twain will spend their days.
He shall have a cheerful home;
When beneath his roof they come.
Till a gateway she discerns
And beneath the gate she turns;
Than all those she saw before :
Bows before him at the door.
When they answer to his call,
Leading on from hall to hall:
Nor the meaning coin divine,
“All of this is mine and thine."
They by parks and lodges going
See the lordly castles stand:
Made a murmur in the land.
Says to her that loves him well,
Where the wealthy nobles dwell.” So she goes by him attended,
Hears him lovingly converse, Sees whatever fair and splendid
Lay betwixt his home and hers;
Parks with oak and chestnut shady,
Parks and order'd gardens great,
Here he lives in state and bounty,
Lord of Burleigh, fair and free;
Is so great a lord as he.
All at once the colour flushes
Ignorance only, or lunacy, could deny bim Her sweet face from brow to chin:
a deep internal power of true poetry. But As it were with shame she blushes,
even ibis, and not merely the manly pasAnd her spirit changed within.
sions and the soft affections, even the shapThen her countenance all over Pale again as death did prove;
ing and inspired imagination itself, is alBut he clasp'd her like a lover,
ways subject to the considerate dominion of And he cheer'd her soul with love.
the moral idea. Emotion. the most gene
ral and obvions, the necessary impulse of So she strove against her weakness,
all poetry in every age, is resirained in all Though at times her spirit sank;
his writings by the awful presence of selfShaped her heart with woman's meekness To all duties of her rank :
centred will. The feelings are described And a gentle consort made he,
rather than shared; the tragic passions And her gentle mind was such
are summoned up only to be rebuked by a That she grew a noble lady,
more solemn conjuration than their own; And the people loved her much.
the free enjoyment of life and nature apBut a trouble weighed upon her,
proved only within the bounds of unrelax
ing caution; and love-the name bubbled And perplexed her night and morn, With the burthen of an honour
by every wave of Hippocrene and thunderUnto wbich she was not born.
ed in all the floods and storms of the main Faint she grew, and ever fainter,
ocean of our being—is here a grave ritual As she murmur'd, “Oh, that he
sound spoken over the still waters drawn Were once more that landscape-painter, from the well of Truth for a penitential bapWhich did win my heart from me.” tism.
Of course it would be far from our design So she droop'd and droop'd before him, Fading slowly from his side:
to charge this great writer with want of Three fair children first she bore him,
feeling. A po t without feeling! Fire Then before her time she died.
without warmth, and a heart without pul
sation! But it is clear that his feelings Weeping, weeping late and early,
are always strictly watched by his meditaWalking up and pacing down,
tive conscience too strictly, not for wisdom, Deeply mourned the Lord of Burleigh,
but for rapture. Not a prophet in the Burleigh-house by Stamford town. And he came to look upon her,
wilderness lifting up his testimony against And he looked at her and said,
an evil generation, for the he rt of the seer “ Bring the dress, and put it on her,
must be red and fierce as molten iron-not That she wore when she was wed.” a bermit in his cave retired from human
joys, for the anchorite floats above his Then her people, softly treading,
rocky foor, forgetful of laws and retribuBore to earth her body, drest
tions, in an ecstasy of self-denying love, In the dress that she was wed in,
that supplies the place of decalogue and That her spirit might have resi." --- vol. ii., pp. 201-205. duties--but like the prophet and the monk,
this poet turns aside from the busy ways Every thoughtful reader of the poems of life to speculate, in sage and somewhich we have thus glanced through will times awful rhetoric, on the wondrousness be led to compare them with those on simi- of existence, and the care with which we lar themes, of present humin existence in must tend the purity of its fountain in the the country, by the most profoundly reflec- heart. There is no face so lovely, no act tive of our living poets, Mr. Wl'ordsworth. so gushing over with keen lise, that it can 'Michael,' •The Brothers, the story of kindle at once the minstrel into song, hurMargaret in the beginning of The Excur- rying liim beyond all thought of wrong and sion, • Ruth.'— these also are English right, and having warrant enough in the Idylls, drawn from the well-springs of Na- zealous heat which it inspires. Only in ture, and finished with the painful care of communion with the stars, the mountains, a great artist. How naked and bare they and the sea, the flowers of spring and auall are in their solemn stillness! Nor is it tumn leaves, and all the simple mysteries of only in these poems, but even in works of natural things, does bis heart pour, without lighter and gladder movement, that we are pause, a stream of melodious gladness, and 'conspelled 10 listen to the bard as to a grave fear no danger in its own happy ecstasies. teacher of moral truth, whom the spi.it of Even in these solemn elevations of soul he spontaneous enjoyment, and even the sym- does not forget to impose a scheme of toils pathy with whatever is pathetic or grand on human life. Among streams and rocks in man, cannot hurry beyond the school of he begins with discourse of virtue ; ard his compassionate but austere stoicism. 'when he has risen on the ladder of bis
great man !
vision to the stars, we still hear him singing and capable of such general application, from the solar way, that it is by temper- that it may be regarded as one of the most ance, soberness, and chastity of soul he has important steps made lately in the restoso climbed, and that the praise of this he- ration of a sound and efficient church-sysroic discipline is his last message to man tem among us. That it is simple and kind. A noble temper of heart! A truly obvious, such as might bave occurred to
He has strangely wedded his any mind in passing through one of our philosophic lore to the sweetness of poetry. churchyards, or looking at the tablets which But the poetry would have streamed out in disfigure the walls of our churches, is no a freer gush, and flushed the heart with disparagement to the merit of the sugampler joy, had the moral been less obtrud- gester. Most of our greatest inventions ed as its constant aim.
have been of this nature.
To have appreIn the younger of these two idyllic writ- ciated its value, and placed it before the ers, on the whole the most genial poet of public in a form likely to fix attention, and English rural life that we know-for Burns to induce the adoption of it, is in itself no was of another language and country, no slight thing. And the pure, practical, and less than school—ihere is a very different devotional spirit of the little work in which stamp of soul. In his works there has been it is contained will give it a recommendaart enough required and used to give such tion, which Mr. Markland may well claim clear and graceful roundness; but all skill as his own. of labour, all intellectual purpose, kept behind the sweet and fervid impulse of the
• It is not (he says) the object of these pages heart. Thus, all that we call affection,
to suggest the banishing of sepulchral monuimagination, intellect, melts out as one long reverencing, as we must, the antiquity of the
ments altogether from our churches, deeply happy sigh into union wit' the visibly custom and the feeling of love and respect for beautiful, and with every glowing breath of the dead, “ as the last work of charity we can human life. In all his better poems there perform for them,” which in many instances is this same character—this fusion of his prompts their erection; and also believing that own fresh feeling with the delightful affec- they have often been the means of producing a tions, baffled or blessed, of others and salutary impression upon the living. “ The
sensations of pious cheersulness which attend with the fairest images of the real world as
the celebration of Sunday," says Wordsworth, it lies before us all lo-day. To this same
are profitably chastised by the sight of the tendency all legend and mystery are sub- graves of kindred and friends, gathered together ordinate-to this the understanding, theo- in that general home, towards which the rizing and dogmatizing, yet ever ministers, thoughtful, yet happy, spectators themselves a loyal giant to a fairy mistress. In his are journeying.” The descendant of a poble better and later works the fantastic and in-house who in his family mausoleum“ sees his
steel-clad sires and mothers mild” reposing on genious brain, abounding in gold-dust and their marble tombs, and the peasant who saundiamond-powder, and the playmate of ters among the mouldering heaps of the fore. sphinxes and hieroglyphic beasts, pours out fathers of his hamlet, are alike susceptible of its wealth, and yokes its monsters only for some mournful pleasure, arising from ihe conthe service of that homely northern nature, templation of these relics of veneration;" and without whose smile all wealth is for us
are alive to the sentiments so exquisitely exbut dead stones, and all mysteries but pressed by Gray in a stanza which ought never
to have been expunged from his Elegy :weary task-like puzzles.
“Hark! how the sacred calm that breathes around
Bids every fierce tumultuous passion cease ; In still small accents whispering from the ground
A grateful earnest of eternal peace.” Art. V.- Remarks on English Churches, Tombs of different periods, and of styles characand on the Expediency of rendering Offend in point of taste), collected in and around Sepulchral Memorials subservient to Pious and Christian Uses. By J. H. which some of them at least were intended to
a place of worship, must promote the feeling Markland, F.R.S. and S.A. Oxford, excite. The lesson on mortality is most striking, 1842. 12mo. Second Edition.
when we see the earthly pomps of age after age,
in the outward fashion of each period, all gaMR. MARKLAND has long been known for thered within the same precinct; the dead, his zealous and indefatigable services to great and small, of different generations, waitthe Church-services not the less valuable ing alike the Resurrection. as rendered by a layman. And he has
Still, it must be admitted that commonplace now added another to their number, by a
monuments and tablets have been, and continue suggestion so likely to accord with the pre- cess might be wisely restrained. On the walls of
to be most needlessly multiplied, and that this ex. sent improved state of religious feeling, 'many churches, instead of contributing to the
beauty of the fabric, they are unsightly excres-, their own testamentary directions, or by the
Not only has every vacant place been mistaken kindness of surviving friends, iombs seized upon, but portions of the original struc- of a costly and substantial character are preture have been, and are shamefully mutilated pared for numbers, whose claims to sepulchral to receive them. For example: Mr. Rickman, honours could not well be classed with ibose of speaking of the ancient altar-screen at Beverley, the hero of Fontenoy. The poet's lament is “unrivalled in its description of work,” states not to apply to them, and, after a vast expense “ that some remarkably fine and intricate tracery and waste of talent and labour, the “ polished has been cut away to put in some poor modern marble,” in the shape of a statue or bust, is monumental tablets." The beautiful altar. placed upon its pedestal.'— p. 36, &c. screen in the Lady Chapel of York Minster, and the screens in various other cathedrals and And the suggestion which follows is obchurches, have equally suffered. A long cata- vious :logue of similar enormities might be given, as instances of gross carelessness and depraved
· If, from the comparatively humble station taste.
which an individual may have occupied, or • In the majority of cases, why is not the sim- from his uneventful life, no useful lesson can be ple gravestone allowed to suffice? Perhaps the taught by the inscription on his tomb, why very individual whose name is to be engraved should not an expenditure (which in this case on a costly monument was so averse to notoriety, must be prompted by somewhat of vanity in his that the distinctive excellence of his character surviving friends) receive another and a higher consisted in those retiring qualities which never direction ? Might not the cost be made instrudesired to travel out of the domestic circle. mental to a better and a holier end ? Might it
*** It is my will (the excellent Bishop San- not be devoted to the service and glory of God, derson desired) that no costly monument be and to the benefit of those who worship in His erected for my memory, but only a fair flat mar
house? For more than a century, mural monuble stone be laid over me. And I do very much ments with cherubs, skulls, lamps, and twisted desire my will may be carefully observed herein, columns, with little variety, were permitted to hoping it may become exemplary to some one deform our churches. In later days we have or other; at least, bowever, testifying at my
had the urn or the sarcophagus-strange ornadeath-what I have so often earnesily professed ments in a Christian temple !-or a female in my lifetime—my utter dislike of the vast figure, veiled with drapery, sitting under a wilexpenses laid out in funeral solemnities, with low, bending over a tomb, or leaning upon an very little benefit to any, which, if bestowed in extinguished torch! These designs have bepious and charitable works, might redound to
come wearisome and uninteresting from repetithe public or private benefit of many persons." tion, and unless they proceed from the chisel of Dr. Wells requested “ to have no stone set up
a master, cannot but be wholly disregarded. It to his memory;" but he did leave a monument should be an object, therefore, with us all, where in his parish, for he rebuilt the parsonage at his our influence may extend, to endeavour to reoun cost. Mr. Newman justly observes that strain the passion for erecting sepulchral memo“it is always a satisfaction to have evidence rials, in order that they may be confined excluthat an author is writing under the practical in- sively to those, who, from their distinguished fluence of his own principles." Sir Henry
talents and their useful lives, merit posthumous Wotton directed his executors to “ lay over his honours; and that when they are erected, due grave a marble
stone, plain and not costly; con- attention should always be paid to the proper sidering that time moulders even marble to dust, disposal of them in our churches, and also to for monuments themselves must die.”
their adaptation to the character of the building, * Again, how frequently does it happen that which is to contain them. But far more strongly on such memorials all that is mentioned is may it be urged, that instead of costly monunothing more than what the parish-register ments, memorials should be chosen, which, could tell us! “ Most inscriptions record nothing from being really useful, might be stamped else of the buried person, but that he was
with a more imperishable character. born upon one day and died upon another: the
• In pointing out another class of memorials whole history of his life being comprehended in for the dead, as substitutes for a large proportion those two circumstances that are common to all of unimportant and unedifying monuments and mankind. I could not but look upon these re- tablets, the object should be to associate the gisters of existence, whether of brass or marble, names and the virtues of those who are really as a kind of satire upon the departed persons, worthy of such commemoration with some who had left no other memorial of them, but thing more important and more beneficial than that they were horn and that they died.”
all that sculpture and epitaphs alone can afford. . Collins, in his exquisite lines on the death of
On the death of the head of a family of rank Colonel Ross, gives to that brave soldier a grave ual and temporal, of a neighbourhood should be
or wealth, the more pressing wants, both spiritcovered with turf, and tells us that “: A ërial hands shall build his tomb,
consulted, and a parish church, a district church With shadowy trophies crown'd."
or chapel, a school, almshouses, or an hospital But men " of meaner mould, life's common
should be erected or enlarged, as circumstances are not to be thus easily satisfied. By to an existing building be called for, then let in
might require. If no such building or additions * A still more lamentable instance may be seen quiries of the following kind be made. Does in the exquisite Lady Chapel, or Trinity Church, the body, or an aisle of the church of the parish, attached to Ely Cathedral.
its chancel, porch, roof, tower, or spire, call for