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the seventh book, gives full expression to the teaching of Rousseau, and paints the primitive age of happiness, when all the family of man freely enjoyed their goodly heritage". Joan expresses Southey's Unitarian stage of religious development; she is inspired by God and continually appeals to heaven, but she will have nothing to do with the ceremonies of the church; when the Bastard Orleans has brought her to the king at Chinon, and she has explained her divine message before him and the assembled "prelates and priests and doctors" of the church, they ask her whether she has been "a duteous child of holy church", confessed, and sought absolution; she answers that in childhood it was only "artificial awe" she felt for "the forms of worship", "a cold damp" chilled her on the threshold of a church; it was only "a God of Terrors" made her tremble before the crucifix; but in riper years she saw "the eternal energy pervade the boundless range of nature and felt love through the whole world"; she fled "the house of prayer", and "made the lonely grove her temple "
66 or laid me down
It was for "such intense delight of quiet adoration" she forsook "the house of worship"; she had "no thought of sin and did not need forgiveness". The priests are horrorstruck and propose that her divine mission should be tested by the ordeal of being plunged into a pool to see if she will float and of walking over red-hot plough-shares. The bastard will not hear of such a thing, and resolves that they try the "noblest ordeal" of victory over the English host; a pale blue flame from a "trophied tomb" beside, and "a sound of arms" within it, back up her champion. Southey, in fact, many years before he had met Wordsworth, was a nature-worshipper, and makes his heroine the same; she thinks that the birds
"did warble forth Sweeter thanksgiving to Religion's ear,
There is no vice, no misery in "the greenwood's quiet shade", no wretched mother "famine-fallen", whose wan look "shall one day with damning eloquence against the oppressor plead". "Nature teach sin !" "Oh blasphemy against the holy One who made us all for happiness and love". Scattered over the poem there are pictures of nature such as might have come from him during his later residence amongst the Lakes. But the pictures of battle and slaughter necessarily predominate; for he had the Iliad in his mind, and the later epics modelled on it; he had read translations of it, and of Tasso's Jerusalem Freed, Camoens' Lusiad, and Ariosto's Orlando Furioso; he had likewise read The Faery Queen. There had been published posthumously Glover's huge unread epic, The Athenaid, when he was a boy at school; this and the Leonidas of the same poet had a great influence over his young imagination, stirring him to raptures for liberty, and to ambition to write similar long epics. Before he left school he had also read Goethe's Werther and the novels of Rousseau. And thus was he completely ready for his task. The fighting scenes in the siege of Orleans that he lengthens out and so monotonously repeats are evidently modelled on the Iliad and its imitations. But through them runs a suppressed romance; the old lover of Joan, Theodore, follows her to the war; he is bidden return home; but he remains and fights in disguise; he kills the English leader Salisbury, and is slain; Joan then discovers him, and she and Conrade bear him to his burial in a neighbouring abbey; the monks try to persuade her to remain, now that her task of driving out the English is past; but she indignantly refuses even though she has seen in vision her ultimate fate, her auto da fe as a witch. The poem goes no farther than the raising of the siege of Orleans, the pursuit of the English, and the crowning of Charles at Rheims.
4. In the original draft of the poem there had been interwoven with it a thread of allegory, with a tendency to eighteenth century personifications. From the ultimate form this disappeared, and then a vision of Joan's in the ninth book became an excrescence; it was taken out of its setting and made into a separate poem called The Vision of the Maid of Orleans. Whilst asleep after her work of freeing the beleaguered city she seems to be led by Despair into the dwelling of the dead and to be shown all the horrors of death; the personified abstraction ever and anon offers her a dagger to destroy herself with; she steadily refuses; in the Second Book the fiend vanishes, and the angel form of her dead Theodore takes his place; and he leads her to see the punishments of the various vices and offences; Care sleeplessly toils in a forge; the wealthy sit in cells "brilliant with gem-born light" over the useless treasures; gluttons have all they wish on earth and are sick of it; here are seducers, hypocrites, the malicious, the cruel to animals, slave-traffickers, cardinals, "the servants of the servants of the Lord", the writers of "lascivious lays" alive yet "loathly corpses ", monarchs "the murderers of mankind", "each bearing on his brow a crown of fire", and worst of all "the hero-conquerer of Agincourt, Henry of England" who tells her of all the atrocities he had perpetrated; here they are to remain in the house of Penitence,
"till the whole human race,
Equalling in bliss the aggregate we caused
Of wretchedness, shall form one brotherhood,
In the Third Book they go to the cavern of Futurity; she refuses "to read the book of fate "; but at her own request she sees the cottage of her old uncle Claude where she was brought up, and she meets her dead friend Madelon, who had with her so often gazed
"Into the dark, deep sky, till the baffled soul,
Lost in the infinite return'd, and felt
The burthen of her bodily load, and yearned
And with this spirit as guide they see the happy vale wherein those "who nurse on earth their nature's gentlest feelings" dwell; and Theodore descants on the growth of oppression and
poverty, and depicts the time when "Earth shall once again be Paradise", where "Virtue and Equality" shall "preserve the reign of Love." There is a reminiscence in this of the Divine Comedy of Dante, as well as much of the artificialities of the eighteenth century, and much of the romanticism of the new era with its love of sentiment and of supernatural horrors.
5. But there was in both these poems an ominous fluency that meant the absence of deep or penetrative thought, creative imagination, or close-wrought art. He was but twenty-two when his Joan of Arc was published; and yet he had sketched out many epics, a series, for example, on the religions of the world; one of these he was busy with before the century closed; it was Thalaba The Destroyer, which did not appear till 1801; it embodied the spirit of Arabian worship, and tells in irregular but often very musical unrhymed lines the quest of a young hero Thalaba for the slayer of his father and his destruction of the Domdaniel, the hall of sorcerers underneath the ocean; it contains many brilliant and striking pictures of nature. He had already finished Madoc, a narrative poem in blank verse on the adventures of a Welsh hero who was supposed to have emigrated to America in the 12th century and established the Christian religion in Missouri driving out the Aztecs into Mexico. By midsummer 1799 he had "reached the penultimate book" of his work which he would not call by "the degraded title of epic"; but he did not publish it till 1805. He had begun it at Bath in the autumn of 1794; he thought it would "probably be the greatest poem he should ever produce"; and so he kept it by him for revision. It is in two parts; in the first, Madoc in Wales, the Welsh hero has returned from America to his native land, and has to encounter the trail of the Saxon over it; he leaves in disgust; in the second part, Madoc in Aztlan, he fights with the Aztecs and defeats them, and they, warned by the outburst of their sacred volcano at the close of the century, leave their country and emigrate to Mexico. Southey tells us that the poem was much influenced by Landor's Gebir; it is still more deeply tinged with Ossian, though the sentences are much longer; there
is the same imitation sublimity, the same love of sounding names, and something of the same seeming definiteness, but real vagueness, in the conception of the scenes.
6. He had also read with great delight in boyhood Shakespeare, and Beaumont and Fletcher; and his first literary achievement was in the dramatic form; in 1794, when twenty years of age, he put into Wat Tyler all his revolutionary ardour and all the new socialistic ideas. To shame him, when he had become a hard and fast Tory, it was surreptitiously published in 1817. He therefore included it in the complete edition of his works in 1837, in order that it might not be supposed "that he was more ashamed of having been a republican than of having been a boy". The drama consists of three acts and represents Wat Tyler, Jack Straw, and John Ball as patriots and martyrs. The wild tirades against over-taxation were welltimed considering how much Pitt was trying to extract from the country. In the first scene Wat is mournful at the door of his forge and Hob Carter talks with him; Tyler says "I have only six groats in the world and they must soon by law be taken from me". Hob bursts out 66 Curse on these taxes-one succeeds another"; "our ministers " "force away our boys" to "feed the crows of France". Tyler is very sad over the prospects of his daughter Alice and her betrothed Piers; the tax-gatherers enter and one of them lays hold of the girl; Wat brains him; and a mob gathers crying "Liberty, No poll tax, No war." In the second act the people are massed on Blackheath and sing their socialistic song of revolt; the priest John Ball addresses them, and tells them of "The Son of God" "humble in mien, lowly in heart ", preaching woe to the rich;
66 Ye are all equal, nature made ye so;
But they are to remember mercy; and show their oppressors that they "excel them in humanity". In its third scene at Smithfield Tyler speaks up boldly to the king (Richard the Second), and is stabbed from behind by Walworth, Mayor of London. The third act depicts the ruthless and dastardly cruelty of the revenge for the rising. Tyler and Ball are painted as the most manly, upright, and independent